See our right-hand column for announcements and news briefs. Scroll down the right-hand column to access the Archives -- links to articles posted in the main column since 2007.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Horsetail Scramble to offer run, walk, picnic at Churning Rapids July 4

HANCOCK -- The 17th Annual HorseTail Scramble 10K Trail Run and 5K leisurely Fitness Walk will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 4, at Churning Rapids, 53044 Hwy M 203, Hancock (4.5 mi. past Hancock Beach on M 203 towards McLain State Park).

Churning Rapids host Terry Kinzel asks a young volunteer to help distribute awards and prizes at the 2008 Horsetail Scramble. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Join the fun –- glide along forested trails past woodland streams, view Lake Superior from the pasture against the sky and take a jump in the pond to cool off at the end. Scramblers are invited to join the music (Rhythm 203 will perform favorites), feast and festivities following the Scramble. If you stay for the celebration, please bring a dish to share.

Rhythm 203 plays a variety of folk music at the Horsetail Scramble. Here they perform a favorite tune during the 2008 celebration. (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

WARNING: The Scramble is run in the afternoon of a summer day over woodland trails. All risk is accepted by the scramblers themselves.

Kids of all ages enjoy games like the Piñata at the 2008 Horsetail Scramble picnic following the races. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

There is no entry fee. Any donation is welcome! Donations will go to the Keweenaw Land Trust’s Land Stewardship Fund. KLT has received pledges matching the first $1500 and would like to take advantage of the whole match. Those donating at least $15 will receive a Horsetail Scramble bandana and a compact fluorescent bulb.

For more information contact Terry Kinzel at 906-482-6827. Join the fun and support the Keweenaw Land Trust!

"New Works by Susie Kilpela" exhibit opens at Vertin Gallery

CALUMET -- An opening reception for "New Works by Susie Kilpela" will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 3, at the Vertin Gallery, 220 Sixth Street, Calumet.

"Susie is a popular art teacher at Michigan Tech, a native of the Keweenaw, with an MFA from UM Ann Arbor -- a wonderful, inspiring artist," says Joyce Koskenmaki in her Gallery Guide. "I personally love Susie's work and feel excited about this exhibition."

This exhibit continues through Aug. 5. For more information call 906-337-2200.

Rep. Mike Lahti applauds grant to turn Crystal Manor into housing, retail space

LANSING -- State Representative Mike Lahti (D-Hancock) recently applauded nearly $1.8 million in federal grants administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) that will help pay to convert Crystal Manor in Iron County into a mixed retail-residential building with 25 apartments.

"In these tough economic times, too many of our hard-working families are struggling just to make ends meet," Lahti said. "This project will provide an affordable place for the families in our communities to live. Because of this funding 25 more families will have a great place to live in an excellent location."

The rehabilitation of the historic three-story Crystal Manor building in downtown Crystal Falls will create eight one-bedroom and 17 two-bedroom units. The first floor of the building will be rented as retail space. The building previously was used as an upscale hotel and a home for the elderly.

Hovey Corporation of DeWitt is the developer of the project and will have a $3.1 million mortgage with MSHDA to go along with the $1.8 million grant.

"This project will breathe new life into Crystal Manor," Lahti said. "This situation is great for families living there as well as for those who will find employment either in its construction or in the retail spaces. I'm looking forward to seeing this project get started as soon as possible."

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Updated: "Let's Rock" exhibit opens July 3 at Ed Gray Gallery

Susan Robinson, author and illustrator of the booklet Is this an Agate? An Illustrated Guide to Lake Superior's Beach Stones: Michigan (2001), is one of the four artists exhibiting their work at the Ed Gray Gallery this month, opening with a reception Friday, July 3. (Image © Susan Robinson and courtesy Ed Gray Gallery.)

CALUMET -- "Let’s Rock," a four-person show, will open with a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, July 3, at the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet. It includes "Painting" by Susan Robinson, "Mineral specimens" by George Robinson, "Photography" by John Jaszczak and "Sterling Jewelry w/local Keweenaw stones" by Julie Sanford.

In addition to the various photographs and works of art inspired by the geological world on exhibit at the "Let's Rock" show, the Ed Gray Gallery will also host two programs given by Dr. George Robinson, curator of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and professor of Mineralogy at Michigan Tech.

The first of these -- to be held at 7 p.m. Friday, July 17, in the new Calumet Art Center -- will be an illustrated talk on how rocks and minerals present themselves as naturally occurring objects of art and what artists may gain from studying them.

The second program -- "Is this an Agate?" -- will be held at 7 p.m. July 24 in the new Calumet Art Center. It will focus on the various beachstones, including agates, that may be found along Lake Superior's shoreline and how to identify them. This program will utilize both photographs and actual specimens to illustrate the various rocks and minerals discussed, and participants are encouraged to bring along their agates and other beachstones (or rock and mineral specimens from anywhere) for free identification.

The new Calumet Art Center is located at 57055 Fifth Street, near the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's.

For more info call 906-337-5970.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Young musicians join Whitewater band at Covington Finnish Music Fest

Whitewater band members Bette Premo (far left on stage) and and Dean Premo (right at microphone) are joined by young fiddlers Emma Dlutkowski (second from left) and Carrie Dlutkowski of Stanton Township during the June 27 Finnish Music Festival in Covington. Dancers include Kay and Hal Seppala (left foreground) of Chassell. Kay Seppala's Kivajat Dance Group also performed during the festival. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © and courtesy Susan Dlutkowski)

Houghton County Dems' guest to speak on "Organizing for Better Health Care" July 1

HOUGHTON -- The Houghton County Democrats will meet at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, July 1, at the Super 8 Motel in Houghton. Special guest Alethiea Henry, Michigan Director, Organizing for America, will speak on "Organizing for Better Health Care."

The talk will follow the regular monthly meeting. Interested persons are welcome.

Club Indigo to present Charlie Chaplin film July 10

By Joe Kirkish*

CALUMET -- Club Indigo will continue the traditional summer showings of classical American films on Friday, July 10, with Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, 1936, at the Calumet Theatre.

Modern Times, the first film since Chaplin's 1931 hit City Lights, is the swan song for his celebrated Little Tramp persona. The Little Tramp works on a factory conveyer belt, one of millions trying to cope with a modern world dominated by machines. He is caught in the cogs of a malevolent machine, is used to test an automatic feeder and finally runs amok. His further adventures include a spell in prison after being falsely accused of being a Red agitator, and he suffers other indignities until he encounters the Gamin, a gutsy young woman (Paulette Goddard, Chaplin's love on and off the screen) on the lam from juvenile officers. After still more experiences with the vicissitudes of modern life, both she and the Little Tramp toddle off hand in hand into a rural sunset to the tune of Chaplin's own created music -- and the movie's theme song, "Smiles," a tune that became a sensation for years to follow.

The movie begins at 7:15 p.m., preceded at 6 p.m. by an all-California buffet provided by the chefs from the Calumet Miscowaubik Club. Cost for both film and buffet, still $18. Movie alone, $5. Children, half fare. To assure seating at the buffet or to obtain further information, call the Calumet Theatre: 337-2610.

Modern Times has been made possible by the sponsorship of Swede's Gift Shop and Keweenaw Minerals, Copper Harbor.

*Editor's Note: See Joe Kirkish's new blog at

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Covington Finnish Music Festival honors Johnny Perona

A highlight of the June 27 Finnish Music Festival in Covington was a percussion performance by these young admirers of the late Johnny Perona, Copper Country musician, in whose memory the festival was dedicated (note poster). Accompanying the young "bones" players are Wil Kilpela (right) on accordion, percussionist Randy Seppala (background) and (far left) Oren Tikkanen on guitar. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Portage Library to offer Storytime, Creative Writing Workshop July 2

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library’s Summer Reading Program continues with more activities for children, adults and young adults this week.

Isle Royale National Park Interpretive Ranger Jordan Kibat will offer a "Water Olympics" Storytime at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, July 2. He will read stories about aquatic environments, show a short power point presentation about Lake Superior and the importance of water and have children perform simple water experiments. Kids will also use fingerpaints to illustrate their favorite water scenery.

Also on Thursday, July 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Rekha Ambardar will present a Creative Writing Workshop for adults and young adults that will focus on building conflict in the short story. Examples of published stories will be used, and a writing exercise on the development of the protagonist and the basis of conflict in a story will be conducted. Both experienced and beginning writers are welcome, and writing materials and handouts will be provided.

Ambardar is the author of two contemporary novels, His Harbor Girl and Maid to Order, and over seventy short stories, articles and essays in print and electronic magazines. She is an adjunct professor in business at Finlandia University. Visit her website at

Children are also invited to Storytime every Monday with Maria Silva and alternating Wednesdays beginning July 1 with the Houghton High School Key Club. Storytimes are from 11 a.m. – Noon and include stories and a project.

All library programs are free and everyone is invited to attend. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570.

Editor's Note: See our Keweenaw Now slide show of the opening of Portage Library's Summer Reading Program on June 13, 2009 (right-hand column, this page).