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.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Portage Library to offer "Crochet 101" July 20

HOUGHTON -- Librarian and crafter Rachele Lambert will teach "Crochet 101" at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 20, at the Portage Lake District Library. This beginning class will teach the joys and benefits of crocheting; explain the difference between crocheting and knitting; discuss tools, yarns and how to read a pattern; and teach crochet lingo. Stitches taught will be the foundation chain, single crochet, double crochet and finishing off. A short project is planned that participants may take home.

If participants have their own supplies from UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects), Grandma’s attic, or from when they thought they could teach themselves, please bring them. If not, supplies will be provided.

"Come and join the crochet adventure," Lambert said, "and learn a fun, creative craft for a lifetime."

Children are invited to Storytime from 11 a.m. to Noon every Monday with Maria Sliva and alternating Wednesdays with the Houghton High School Key Club. These programs 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 or visit .

Stupak secures $30.8 million for Northern Michigan energy, water projects

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) voted Friday, July 17, in support of the Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which includes $30.8 million for Northern Michigan projects. H.R. 3183 provides funding for the U.S. Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers and related federal agencies. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 320 to 97 and now awaits consideration in the U.S. Senate.

"The Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water bill makes a significant investment in Northern Michigan, particularly the infrastructure and maintenance needs of our navigable waterways," Stupak said. "The First Congressional District touches three of the five Great Lakes and is nearly completely surrounded by water. It is fitting that the bulk of water infrastructure spending for Michigan be directed to Northern Michigan and I was pleased to help provide this critical investment."

Northern Michigan Projects

$23,010,000 for the Corps of Engineers to operate and maintain the Soo Locks. Funding will be used to improve the efficiency of the locks and reduce the risks of downtime and vessel delays. Work will focus on the Poe and MacArthur locks, as well as other infrastructure at the facility.

$1,122,000 for Ontonagon Harbor. Funding will be used for pier repairs and dredging of the harbor.

$335,000 for Presque Isle Harbor. Funding will be used to maintain the harbor’s navigational structure and mapping of the channel.

$233,000 for Menominee Harbor. Funding will be used to maintain the harbor’s navigational structure.

$203,000 for Charlevoix Harbor. Funding will be used to remove obstructions in the harbor and map the channel. Sand blowing over the structures causes sediment build-up that requires annual clearing.

$37,000 for the Keweenaw Waterway. Funding will be used for environmental stewardship activities and for coordinating structural repairs.

Although a dollar amount is not specified, the bill also directs the Corps of Engineers to perform repairs to the Mackinac Island Harbor breakwater.

$300,000 for energy efficiency and weatherization upgrades at Gogebic Community College. Funding will be used to replace hot water heaters with energy-efficient models, install energy recovery ventilators on furnaces, modernize air handling units, replace boilers and weatherize the main academic building with energy-efficient windows.

$3 million for the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research (CPBR) -- a non-profit corporation whose membership includes 43 leading U.S. research universities, including Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University. The consortium’s research produces technological innovations for higher quality crops and cropping practices, improved biomass energy production, commercially valuable alternative co-products, objective information on the relationship between genetically engineered plants and the environment, prevention/remediation of hazardous wastes and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

$2,612,000 for surveillance of Michigan’s northern boundary waters, including monitoring of water levels and other coordinated activities with the International Joint Commission (IJC).

Click here for an MP3 radio actuality with Congressman Stupak's comments on this bill.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Aura Jamboree, Old Time Dance to be July 17-18

AURA, MICH. -- The Aura Jamboree and Old Time Dance will take place Friday and Saturday, July 17-18, in Aura, Mich. The festival, now in its 33rd year, will feature ethnic Finnish and Russian music, Bluegrass, Folk, Tradition, Country and Folk Rock.

Musicians will perform on the Community Hall stage and jam outdoors under the trees, beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, with a dance from 8:45 p.m. to midnight. On Saturday the music begins at 1:15 p.m., and the dance will again be from 8:45 p.m. to Midnight.

Local music lovers will recognize Copper Country favorites among the performers, including the PasiCats, Ana Gawboy, White Water, Rhythm 203, Wil Kilpela and Friends, Oren Tikkanen, Kelly Suvanto, Dave Bezotte, Tanya Stanaway and more. Other performers include musicians from Detroit, St. Clair Shores, Menominee, Marquette, Charlevoix, various towns in Wisconsin and even a band from Kansas and Oklahoma.

Visit the Aura Jamboree Web site for the schedule.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MTU students meet President Obama in Ghana

HOUGHTON -- Eight Michigan Tech University students who are in Ghana doing community development projects this summer had the chance of a lifetime last weekend. They were able to get tickets for the farewell ceremony as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama prepared to leave Ghana, and many of them got to shake the President's or the First Lady's hand.

These MTU students had a chance to meet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in Ghana last week. Pictured here with Air Force One in the background are, front row, Anne Aho and Alison Springer-Wilson; second row, Evie Skoy, Roger Matias, SherAaron Hurt and Kurt Terhune; back row, Jonathan Congdon and Mark Kinnunen.

The students, who are from MTU's Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies’ Pavlis Institute for Global Technological Leadership, have created a blog about this exciting experience and about their projects in Ghana.

For the full story and excerpts from their blog, see Jennifer Donovan's article on the MTU Web site.

Calumet Art Center to host Open House, programs, classes

CALUMET -- The public is invited to an Open House, "Honoring the Youth of the Keweenaw," at 7 p.m. this Saturday, July 18, at the new Calumet Art Center, 57055 Fifth Street.

A new book, KEWEENAW Art from our Youth, by youth of the Keweenaw, will be on sale in the Center's Performance Hall on the main floor. The book, published by Miskwabik Press, is a collection of artwork and writing by 75 local youth.

"This is a significant book," said Ed Gray, Miskwabik Press editor, "and we want the kids to know that the community appreciates their efforts."

The cost of the book is $22.50, and all proceeds go to Calumet Art Center programs.

After a ceremony of appreciation, refreshments will be served in the studios downstairs to the participating youth, their families and the public.

The Calumet Art Center, in conjunction with the "Let's Rock" exhibit now at the Ed Gray Gallery, will host two programs by Dr. George Robinson, curator of the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and professor of mineralogy at Michigan Tech.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, July 17, Dr. Robinson will give an illustrated talk on how rocks and minerals present themselves as naturally occurring objects of art and what artists may gain from studying them.

His second presentation at the Calumet Art Center, at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 24, is titled "Is this an Agate?" and will focus on the various beach stones, 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 Calumet Art Center is located in this remodeled community church at 57055 Fifth Street, near the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's. (Photos courtesy Ed Gray)

Calumet Art Center classes

On Thursdays, Monica Rovano will be giving piano and voice lessons. Call 296-9320 for information.

Ed Gray will offer "Fun with Clay: Clay Beads" from 10:30 a.m. to Noon on Monday, July 20, for youth, ages 10-17. The class fee is $5.

Also from 10:30 a.m. to Noon, on Monday, July 27, Gray will offer "Fun with Clay: Clay Tiles," for youth, ages 10-17. The class fee is $5.

Drum Circle

Everyone is welcome to a Drum Circle from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, at the Calumet Art Center. These will be held regularly on the last Saturday of the month. Call 281-3494 for more information.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Update: NISGUA drawing deadline extended to July 22

HANCOCK -- The Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) has extended for another week the deadline for its drawing to support human rights and justice in Guatemala. The tickets for the drawing must be received by Wednesday, July 22.

It is still possible to purchase a $25 ticket to win fabulous prizes (A free trip to Guatemala! A week-long vacation in the Colorado mountains! CASH! and many more....) while supporting the program work of NISGUA with your $25 (per ticket) donation.

Hurry, because only the first 750 tickets received will be entered!

Questions? Contact NISGUA Board Chair Melinda Van Slyke at 608-588-5223 or

You can purchase tickets online at: * or by mailing a check in the amount of $25 per ticket to:

NISGUA Chance for Peace
Attn: Melinda VanSlyke
228 E. JeffersonStreet
Spring Green, WI 53588.

*Editor's Note: The Web site listed above does not have the new deadline listed, but it has been confirmed by Sue Ellen Kingsley, executive director of the Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project (CCGAP), which works with NISGUA for human rights and justice in Guatemala.

Hancock's 34th Annual Canal Run / Walk to be July 18

HANCOCK -- The 34th Annual Canal Run is Saturday, July 18. Registration through closes on Wednesday, July 15. Participants are encouraged to register early so information can be put into the computer for the chip timing.

The event includes a 10-mile run, a 10-mile walk and a 5-mile run along the Portage Waterway on Highway M-203. Both the 10-Mile Run and the 10-Mile Walk start at McLain State Park and finish at the Citizens Bank building in Hancock. The 5-Mile Run starts near High Point Road in Hancock. The 10-Mile Walk begins at 7 a.m., the 10-Mile Run at 8 a.m. and the 5-Mile Run at 8:30 a.m. The Awards will begin at approximately 11 a.m. (EDT).

The race course is on a paved road surface. Since the road is not closed to traffic, participants are requested to run along the side of the road.

An All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Dinner, sponsored by The Hancock Business and Professionals Association, will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 17, at the Finlandia Hall Café. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12, free for kids under 6. Tickets are available from the Daily Mining Gazette, Kukka Kauppa Flower Shop, Citizens Bank (Hancock only), With These Hands, or at the door. It will include live music, raffles for many great prizes and Bib pick-up for racers.

For information call 483-2223. See the Canal Run Web site for details.

Joyce Koskenmaki exhibit opens in Marquette

HANCOCK -- Paintings by Artist Joyce Koskenmaki of Hancock are on exhibit now through August 9 at the DeVos Gallery of Northern Michigan University in Marquette. An opening reception, with music, will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Thursday, July 16.

"Bear in Boat," by Joyce Koskenmaki. This is one of her new paintings now on exhibit at the DeVos Gallery, Northern Michigan University, Marquette. (Photo courtesy Joyce Koskenmaki)

Ritch Branstrom of Rapid River is exhibiting an installation in the Gallery, while Koskenmaki's work is on the walls. Branstrom is well known for his sculptures made from found objects.

Koskenmaki, who grew up in Baraga County, is known for her paintings of animals, trees and rocks.

"We learned to pay attention to changes of season, weather, where things grew, where animals lived, how they behaved, what they ate, what their tracks looked like, etc.," she writes in her Artist's Statement for this exhibit.

"Recently I painted a series which included hiding places, first for rocks, then for animals. It was about feeling safe, protecting the animals which in a previous series had served as protectors for myself," Koskenmaki explains. "I used my sketchbooks full of petroglyphs and pictographs and the notes on Finnish runes for protective markings around them. Currently I am sensing more playfulness emerging in the paintings I have just finished, such as the bear in a boat. He is having fun instead of hiding. It’s summer."

Joyce Koskenmaki exhibited her rock and petroglyph paintings at the Community Arts Center in Hancock in June 2007. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

Koskenmaki has traveled widely, pursuing her love for Chinese landscape painting in China, for ancient rock art in the West and in Scandinavia. She looked for animals not only in zoos and wildlife parks, but even in Africa.

She returned to the Copper Country in 1998 and taught for four years at Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design. Now "retired," Koskenmaki has her own studio at the Jutila Center in Hancock, where she works every weekday and welcomes visitors.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Updated: Musical Mondays: Keweenaw Heritage Center to present patriotic concert July 13

Calumet's Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's, a former French church, is the scene of "Musical Mondays," a series of Monday evening summer concerts by community musicians and singers. Pictured here are the three musical groups that performed ethnic music on July 6: Maple Sugar Folk (singing in foreground), Thimbleberry (left) and Bob Norden's German Band (right). (Photo © 2009 and courtesy Dave Grahek)

CALUMET -- "Musical Mondays in Calumet" continues at the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's at 7 p.m. tonight, Monday, July 13, with "This Land is My Land" -- a patriotic concert performed by local community musicians. No admission charge - donations invited. Proceeds from all Musical Monday events will be used for the "universal accessibility" project at the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's.

The historic photo exhibit, "Keweenaw's Music Heritage," (pictured above) is on display each weekday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. as well as Monday evenings during the concerts.

Ethnic Music concert a success

The July 6 Musical Mondays event, "Hear Your Heritage -- Ethnic Bands," was well attended.

Here's a sample of French music and singing by the Maple Sugar Folk: "Alouette" ...

Led by Wellesley Pereira, the Maple Sugar Folk sing "Alouette," with gestures, during the July 6 Musical Monday event, "Hear Your Heritage -- Ethnic Bands," in the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's in Calumet. (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

Evan Dixon leads the Maple Sugar Folk in singing "Sur la route de Berthier" in French, accompanied by Thimbleberry, left, Dave Bezotte (their director, on keyboard) and Randy Seppala, percussion. Singers are, from left, Marcia Goodrich, Karin Schlenker, Amanda Binoniemi, Janet Wieber, Ralph Horvath, Barry Pegg, Ruth Robertson and Barbara Lide. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The audience enjoyed several German tunes by Bob Norden's German Band ...

Bob Norden's German Band performs a favorite German tune. Band members are, from left, Roger Laub, tuba; Bob Norden, trombone; Sherrie Belligrini, drums; Benji Brotherton, trumpet; and Debbie Zei, clarinet. (Photo © 2009 and courtesy Dave Grahek)

Barbara Lide and Karin Schlenker, left, sing a favorite German tune in German with Bob Norden's German Band. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The Thimbleberry Band joined with musicians from Maple Sugar Folk to play some favorite Finnish, French Canadian and Croatian tunes ...

Randy Seppala (foreground) plays spoons in the style of the late John Perona, his teacher, for a popular Finnish tune. Thimbleberry includes, from left, Oren Tikkanen on mandolin, Libby Meyer on fiddle, Matt Durocher (seated in background) on guitar, Dave Bezotte on keyboard and Maple Sugar Folk guitarist Cory McDonald. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Guest photographer Dave Grahek captured this close-up shot of Thimbleberry fiddler Libby Meyer. Meyer is also a classical violinist and is Executive Director of the Copper Country Suzuki Association and Concert Master of the Keweenaw Symphony. (Photo © 2009 and courtesy Dave Grahek)

Update: After tonight's patriotic music concert at the Keweenaw Heritage Center, the next four Musical Mondays concerts will be held at 7 p.m. at the Calumet Theatre:*

July 20: "The 4-Man Fishin' Tackle Comedy Barbershop Quartet"

July 27: Lee Murdock and Mike Deren -- "Songs of the Great Lakes"

Aug. 3: Bob Milne -- "Ragtime Pianist"

Aug. 10: Kathy and the Boys: "Tribute to Patsy Cline and Country Western Music."

Visit the Calumet Theatre Web site for more information and cost of tickets.

*Editor's Note: We regret some errors posted earlier in the above list of Calumet Theatre concerts. These have been corrected.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Carl Mayer's Watercolor Landscapes on exhibit in Kerredge Gallery

HANCOCK -- The Community Arts Center presents Watercolor Landscapes by Carl Mayer in the Kerredge Gallery through July 31. The public is invited to an opening reception and demonstration from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 17.

Carl Mayer, a Lake Linden native living in Marquette, has studied with professional watercolorists such as Nita Engle, Zoltan Szabo and Robert Wood. He earned his Masters Degree in Art Education from Northern Michigan University in 1962. He taught Art at Marquette Senior High School for 25 years and has conducted watercolor painting workshops since 1970. In 1999 Mayer was recognized with the Outstanding Art Educator of the Year Award in the Marquette area. He is a signature member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and was chosen to be an Artist in Residence at Porcupine Mountains State Park in 2008.

A Watercolor Workshop on "Interpreting Trees in the Landscape" with Carl Mayer will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 18. The workshop is for all skill levels. The fee is $75 with all materials included. Space is limited, so register in advance by calling the Community Arts Center at 482-2333. The exhibit is supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.

River of Words exhibit extended

The River of Words exhibit -- environmental and nature art by K-12 students from around Michigan -- is still on display in the Youth Art Gallery at the Community Arts Center. Each year, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, River of Words conducts an international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of watersheds. This exhibit has been extended through the month of July.

See our slide show with some examples of this youth art.