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, November 20, 2009

Finlandia Student Nurses host food drive through Nov. 23

HANCOCK -- A food drive, sponsored by the Finlandia Student Nurses Association, will support local food banks.

Donation boxes are located at Shop-Ko and Maurice’s in Houghton, Superior National Bank and Finlandia Hall in Hancock, Louie’s Super Foods in Calumet and Louie’s
Super Foods and Quality Hardware in Lake Linden.

The food drive continues through Monday, Nov. 23. For information, call 487-7357.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Portage Library to host discussions, films Nov. 18, 21, 23

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library continues to offer a diverse range of programs and events.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, members of the group "Vegan Vitality" will present a forum for discussion about the interconnectedness of our eating practices as it relates to our health-care crisis, our economic crisis, our global warming crisis and our ethics. Their objective is to narrow the gap in understanding between all perspectives on these subjects and to offer a direct way to resolve these problems by being inclusive and respectful advocates for healthy ethical eating. Gretchen Janssen will discuss the environmental impact of the meat industry; Anne Haywood will highlight ethical concerns in the meat industry; and JoAnne Thomas will present the nutritional aspects of a vegan diet. All folks of all diets are welcome to participate in this educational discussion with freedom from pressure or adverse attitudes about their food choices.

To celebrate the anniversary of the birthday of Harpo Marx, Ariel Lake will host A Night at the Opera at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21. In this classic 1935 film, the Marx Brothers take on high society when two lovers who are both in operas are prevented from being together when the man is not accepted as an operatic tenor. With typical sustained zaniness, the Marx Brothers turn the opera into utter chaos by substituting the music to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and selling peanuts in the aisle. Birthday cake and ice cream will be served and everyone with a sense of humor is invited.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, Joseph Hernandez will host the film Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood. This brand new and critically acclaimed film throws light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that sells kids everything from junk food to violent video games.

"Consuming Kids will change the way you think about childhood in the 21st century," Hernandez says. This program is presented by The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Library programs are free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Stupak to hold telephone town hall meeting Nov. 18

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) will hold a telephone town hall meeting at 6 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. CST on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009. The telephone town hall will allow residents of the First Congressional District to ask Stupak questions on a range of issues, including health care and the economy. This will be Congressman Stupak’s fourth telephone town hall meeting with constituents since April.

"These telephone town hall meetings allow me to reach out to the entire First District to hear constituent concerns and answer questions about a range of issues including the recent health care bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives," Stupak said. "I appreciate the feedback at my town hall meetings, both in Northern Michigan and the telephone town halls. I am looking forward to another constructive conversation with constituents."

Constituents in the First District who wish to participate in the telephone town hall can sign up by visiting and selecting "E-mail and Telephone Town Hall Sign-Up" or by calling Congressman Stupak’s office at 1-800-950-7371 to request they be included on the call. In order to join the call, individuals must have registered prior to 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov. 17 and be available to answer their phone between 5:50 p.m. EST and 6:20 p.m. EST on Wednesday night.

Last week Congressman Stupak held a town hall meeting in Escanaba. In September he held a town hall meeting in Negaunee and in October he held town hall meetings in Cheboygan and Petoskey. Stupak held his last telephone town hall meeting on Sept. 30, with 5,132 people representing all 31 counties in the First Congressional District joining the call.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Simon Shaheen, renowned Arab musician, to perform at Rozsa Nov. 18

HOUGHTON -- The internationally-acclaimed, Grammy-nominated instrumentalist Simon Shaheen -- one of the most significant Arab musicians, performers and composers of his generation -- will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Rozsa Center.

Simon Shaheen, musician and composer, will give a concert at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Rozsa Center. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

Shaheen's work incorporates and reflects a legacy of Arabic music, while it forges ahead to new frontiers, embracing many different styles in the process. Shaheen dazzles his listeners as he deftly leaps from traditional Arabic sounds to jazz and Western classical styles. His soaring technique, melodic ingenuity and unparalleled grace have earned him international acclaim as a virtuoso on the 'oud and violin.

A Palestinian, born in the Israeli village of Tarshiha in the Galilee, Shaheen spent his childhood steeped in music. His father, Hikmat Shaheen, was a professor of music and a master 'oud player.

"Learning to play on the 'oud from my father was the most powerful influence in my musical life," Shaheen recalls.

He began playing on the 'oud at the age of five, and a year later he was studying violin at the Conservatory for Western Classical Music in Jerusalem.

"When I held and played these instruments, they felt like an extension of my arms," Shaheen says.

Most recently, Shaheen has focused much of his energies on Qantara. The band, whose name means "arch" in Arabic, brings to life Shaheen's vision for the unbridled fusion of Arab, jazz, Western classical, and Latin American music -- a perfect alchemy for music to transcend the boundaries of genre and geography. The group's release Blue Flame earned eleven Grammy nominations and high accaim by the Los Angeles Times as "stunning" and "meticulously conceived."

While Qantara has been the focus of Shaheen's recent attention, he also continues to lead the Near Eastern Music Ensemble, which remains active by performing more traditional concerts in museums and art centers and participates in Shaheen's Arab Music Retreat. In 2009, Shaheen directed the multi-faceted orchestral program Aswat (Voices) -- Celebrating the Golden Age of Arab Music and Cinema, in association with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan.

A retrospective program of Shaheen's contemporary and traditional Arab music styles is offered in his most available North American touring format, a five-piece ensemble of master musicians. Additionally, Shaheen tours as a solo artist internationally and as a lecturer throughout the academic world promoting awareness of Arab music through numerous lecture and workshop presentations.

Sponsored by the James and Margaret Black Endowment.

Ticket prices for the general public are $20 and $15; MTU student prices are $15 and $10 (MTU student ID required). To purchase tickets contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200, The Central Ticket Office (SDC) at 487-2073, Tech Express (MUB) at 487-3308 or go online at No refunds, exchanges, or late seating, please.