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, February 19, 2010

Rozsa Art Gallery to host reception for Chandra Dieppa Ortiz exhibit Feb. 20

HOUGHTON -- The Rozsa Center is hosting an opening reception for artist Chandra Dieppa Ortiz's solo exhibit, "The Record Player Project: Fragment/Appropriate/Remix," at 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, in the Rozsa Art Gallery.

Dieppa's work is powerful and colorful -- contemporary in subject matter, but timeless in its honest and unflinching observation of the human condition.

Curator Michael G. Bennett of Vassar College writes this of Dieppa's work: "The works of the artist known as Dieppa reveal and render problematic any number of societal issues, but always through a visual vernacular that stresses the beauty intrinsic to even the most inhumane conditions. Like the works of the great appropriationists/collagists of the 20th century, bracketed by Braque, Picasso and other cubists at its opening, and near its close by Romare Bearden, Dieppa's art visualizes fragmented spaces, multi-dimensional collapses and detonated yet immediately almost-recognizable figures, all reconstituted by her polarizing thought and deft technique into a coherent form, like iron filings in a strong magnetic field."

Dieppa works in paintings, mixed media collage and assemblage -- and explores the historical and contemporary use of storytelling. Dieppa uses musical forms such as jazz, blues and hip-hop to create complex rhythmic compositions that create emotional environments where fragments, symbols and images play against textured surfaces.

Her work explores issues of race, class, gender and culture in the hopes of creating a dialogue between communities and generations by visualizing cultural armor. Dieppa believes that "cultural armor" protects by using love, humor, faith, music, stories and the telling of truths to empower and inspire each generation. Currently, Dieppa is interpreting the works of the late playwright August Wilson through collages that juxtapose the rhythm, dialect and "beautiful struggle" of the black experience in the 20th century.

Dieppa currently works as an adjunct professor at Massachusetts College of Art and with Boston Public Schools as a violence prevention specialist and teacher trainer. She was recently nominated for the prestigious Foster Prize from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during Rozsa Box Office hours -- 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, contact the Rozsa at 487-3200 or For more information on Chandra Dieppa Ortiz, visit

Family Snowshoe Adventure at Redwyn's Dunes, Great Sand Bay, Feb. 20

HOUGHTON -- The next Family Adventure hike is from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, at Michigan Nature Association's sanctuary, Redwyn’s Dunes on Great Sand Bay (3.5 miles northeast of Eagle River and 4 miles southwest of Eagle Harbor).

Bring snowshoes. Meet trip leader, Joan Chadde of the Western UP Science, Math and Environmental Education Center, at the trailhead along M-26. We can warm up at the Eagle Harbor Inn afterwards!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rio Tinto/Kennecott haul road would impact bird species: Feb. 20 is deadline for public comments

By Skye Haas, vice-chairman, Laughing Whitefish Audubon Society

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) comment period for the proposed Rio Tinto/Kennecott haul road to serve the Eagle Project sulfide mine near Marquette ends this Saturday, Feb. 20.

This proposed road will cut right through some of the last great roadless, wild areas of Michigan.

This proposed habitat degradation and fragmentation through the Michigamme Highlands caused by the creation of the proposed Woodland Road will have a negative impact on the breeding bird species that can be found in this area. I have found after five years of conducting Breeding Bird Atlas Surveys, that the northern Marquette County watersheds provide some of the greatest diversity, richness and abundance of bird species present in the Upper Peninsula.

American Bittern. (Photo © and courtesy Skye Haas, )

Links to more information on this proposed road can be found here:
(The first link is a synthesis of the following links, though dive on in if you like!)

Black-backed Woodpecker. (Photo © and courtesy Skye Haas)

Species that use this area for breeding that are listed by the MDNRE and MNFI (Michigan Natural Features Inventory) as State Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern include the following: Spruce Grouse, Common Loon, American Bittern, Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Merlin, and Black-backed Woodpecker. Also of interest are these IBA Audubon watch-list species that nest in this area: Olive-sided Flycatcher, Bay-breasted Warbler, and Canada Warbler.

Spruce Grouse. (Photo © and courtesy Skye Haas)

Finally, even though it is currently not on a watch-list, I have become increasingly concerned that Boreal Chickadees are experiencing a potential significant decline in the Upper Peninsula. The Michigamme Highlands are the epicenter for this species in the UP, and further fragmentation to their habitat would likely contribute to their decline.

Rather than further develop one of the more remote and near-roadless wild areas of Michigan, we should be strengthening our commitment and stewardship to protect such special areas. There are already existing roadways (the Triple AAA and Co Rd 550) that could service as transport routes for the Eagle Project.

Please note that the MDNRE is looking for technical comments as they apply to Part 303 Wetlands Protection.

Here are some ways to get your comments counted:

Email comments at the following link -- generates an automatic email from their website:

or send directly to:

Smolinski, Mike (DEQ) -- -- person in Gwinn, Mich., who will make the permit decision. Include:
RE: Woodland Road Application File: 09-52-0086-P

Hayes, Kate (DEQ) -- person in Lansing who is in charge of this permit relative to Consolidation.

Cary Gustafson -- Kate's boss in Lansing.

Snail mail might make the deadline if sent priority or express mail immediately as follows:

Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment
P.O. Box 30204
Lansing, MI 48909
RE: Woodland Road Application File: 09-52-0086-P


Mr. Mike Smolinski
Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment
420 5th St.
Qwinn, MI 49841

cc: Director Rebecca Humphries
Mason Building,
Sixth Floor,
P.O. Box 30028,
Lansing MI 48909

and, finally:
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, Michigan 48909
PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 – Constituent Services
FAX:(517) 335-6863

The more comments we can get in the better. Your comments must be in their hands by close of day Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010.

Editor's Note: Guest author Skye Haas, vice-chairman, Laughing Whitefish Audubon Society, recently sent this letter to an email list of birders. Keweenaw Now requested and received permission from Skye Haas to publish it, with his photos, for our readers' information.

Finlandia Art and Design alumni exhibit to open Feb. 18

Kayo Miwa's "Snow Covered Walk" is among the art works to be exhibited in the first Finlandia University International School of Art and Design alumni exhibit Feb. 18-March 24 in the Finnish American Heritage Center. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University International School of Art and Design (ISAD) will present its first alumni exhibit at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from Feb. 18 to March 24, 2010.

An opening reception for the artists will take place at the gallery from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18. An artist talk will begin at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

"Logo Design for Art on the Rocks" by Stephanie Lake is part of the alumni exhibit.

In the 11 years since the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degree program began at Finlandia University, 87 students have graduated in five concentration areas: Ceramic Design, Fiber Arts/Fashion Design, Interdisciplinary Design, Graphic Design, and Studio Arts.

The Alumni 2010 exhibit spotlights the current work of 22 Finlandia BFA graduates.

For 2004 BFA graduate Mike Godell, paintings evolve from doodles done while working as a graphic artist.

Graphic artist Mike Godell's "Owl Tree Bubble."

"My work is a place to rest, a place away from the exhausting qualities of the technologies that consume daily life," says Godell. "Lost in the patterns, while recreating moments that have etched themselves into my consciousness, I weave sensations of excitement and serenity with a touch of magic."

Melisa Gronowski ('08) may just use your trash to create her art. In pieces titled "Footprints," Gronowski poses questions about the environment and recycling.

"When you walk through the trash and rubble, do you leave footprints… or do you just add to the destruction?" Gronowski asks. "We tell ourselves, 'Someone else will take care of it.' What happens when an entire society begins to think that way? What are we left with?"

Ansley Knoch, "Costumes designed for Shoebox Tour, Iceland 09."

Robert Lake ('07) sees his design work as purposeful. "Through all the struggles I have been faced with I still wake up every day with the passion to design and create art," Lake notes. "I give thanks to God for giving me this gift to make the world better by not creating objects but tools for life."

Since graduating in 2009, fiber artist Chaslyn Duffek has started an environmentally conscious business called Wool Origins.

"Embracing a conscious awareness of the environment and producing functional, one-of-a-kind interior textiles is the foundation of my art," Duffek explains. "Designing and constructing each piece individually by hand ensures a non-toxic, eco-friendly process that requires full attention to excellence and detail."

Alex Zablocki, "Ceramic cups."

Additional mediums included in the Alumni Exhibit 2010 include ceramic design, installation art, fashion design, painting, drawing and art made from recycled materials.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 12 to 4 p.m., or by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Black History Month celebration continues at Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON -- The 2010 Black History Month Celebration continues at Michigan Tech this week. Here is the schedule of upcoming events:

DiversiTEA -- 4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17, Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. Presented by Multicultural Affairs. Discussion about the origins of the "N" word and its uses in modern culture. This presentation, by Nicole White and Dr. Mel C. Norwood, will set the stage for further dialogue by Jabari Asim, author of the popular book, The N Word, who will visit the Tech campus Monday, Feb. 22.

Swingin' Beats Move the Streets -- 7 p.m. , Thursday, Feb. 18, MUB Commons. Black Student Organizations Showcase.

Comedian Ronnie Jordan -- 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 19, Memorial Union Ballroom. Presented by Student Activities Comedy Series.

Justice Week -- Feb. 19-26. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Open Mic Coffee House -- 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20, Wadsworth Hall Campus Café Annex. Presented by the Black Student Association.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sons of Norway, KNSC host successful Barneløpet Ski Race

A photo essay by Michele and Gustavo Bourdieu

During the recent Third Annual Sons of Norway Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race, a young skier heads down the river trail in the gorge at Maasto Hiihto. The six-kilometer race along the river was a new addition to the Barneløpet this year. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now, unless otherwise indicated.)

HANCOCK -- The Third Annual Sons of Norway Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race attracted about 70 young skiers and a number of supportive parents, some of whom skied with their kids, on Feb. 7 at Maasto Hiihto Trails in Hancock.

Parents and kids prepare for the Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race at Maasto Hiihto Trails on Feb. 7. Ski waxing is provided at left.

Barneløpet skiers practice a few runs before the races begin. (Videoclips by Keweenaw Now)

"We had a good turnout," said John Diebel, Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club Board member and treasurer and one of the organizers of the race.

Some of the younger participants line up for the start of the Barneløpet races.

The Barneløpet, a Norwegian word meaning "the children’s race," welcomed youth ages three through 17 and their families. The non-competitive event was sponsored by Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge 5-670, Portage Health, the City of Hancock and the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC).

Skiers line up near the Maasto Hiihto Chalet as the six-kilometer race is about to start.

"Thanks to all the volunteers, the event was a success again this year," said Wayne Stordahl, Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge president.

This year a new event was added -- a challenging six-kilometer course, which descends into the gorge and follows the scenic river trail along the stream.

Skiers head toward the river trail during the six-kilometer race. (Photo © and courtesy John Diebel. Reprinted with permission.)

Barneløpet skiers follow the river trail during the new six-kilometer course through the gorge at Maasto Hiihto. (Videoclip by Keweenaw Now)

For more novice skiers, relatively easy one-, two-, and four-kilometer freshly groomed striding courses were available for both youth and adults.

A young skier heads toward the finish line.

Although the races were non-competitive, awards were given to those with the best times: Ethel Karinen for the 1-k race, with a time of 6:42; Heidi Karinen for the 2-k, with 11:26; Sal Sharp for the 4-k, with 19:45; and Pete Karinen for the 6-k river trail ski, with 24:13.

"Who needs poles?" This little guy seems to be doing just fine without them as he heads for the finish line.

In addition, all youth who finished their course received a colorful Norwegian Olympic-style enameled medallion.

The Sons of Norway 2010 Barneløpet medallion was awarded to each skier who completed a course in the race.

Skiers were treated to cookies and hot chocolate or coffee, thanks to volunteers who braved the cold to serve the large numbers of participants outside the chalet.

Yum! Nothing like cookies and hot chocolate to warm up after a race!

After the race, a group of advanced young skiers received special travel scholarships from KNSC to help them qualify for the Junior Olympics.

Following the Barneløpet races, these skiers each received a generous scholarship check from KNSC for travel expenses to help them qualify for the Junior Olympics: Pictured, from left, front row, are Ruth Oppliger, Emily Humes and Emily Oppliger; back row, from left, Elias Featherly and Kai Sharp. (Photo © and courtesy John Diebel. Reprinted with permission.)

Watch for a slide show with more photos of the 2010 Barneløpet, coming soon!

For more information about the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club, visit their Web site.

Sons of Norway is an international organization promoting Norwegian traditions, fraternal fellowship, and cultural learning in the United States, Canada and Norway. Local Sons of Norway lodge activities may include language camps, scholarships, handcrafts, cooking and cultural classes, heritage and sports awards programs, travel opportunities and the monthly Viking Magazine. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., Sons of Norway was founded in 1895.

Visit for more information about the local chapter of Sons of Norway.

Max J. Seel named Michigan Tech provost, vice president for academic affairs

HOUGHTON -- Max J. Seel was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at Michigan Technological University today, Feb. 15, 2010. Seel, who has been acting as interim provost since January 2009, was one of three finalists for the position.

Max J. Seel, newly appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at Michigan Technological University. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University. Reprinted with permission.)

"The University community is extremely fortunate that Max has agreed to serve as provost and vice president for academic affairs," said Michigan Tech President Glenn D. Mroz. "His extensive experience as a faculty member, department chair and college dean will serve us well. He is dedicated to Michigan Tech and has a vision for its future consistent with our strategic plan and long term goals."

The provost is the chief academic officer of the University. As such, he is responsible for all of Michigan Tech’s academic programs and faculty. The provost is also responsible for development and implementation of strategic initiatives to raise academic programs to the highest level. He promotes scholarship, expansion of Michigan Tech’s research, and efforts to increase and enhance diversity.

"I am honored to be chosen as Michigan Tech's next provost and vice president for academic affairs," said Seel. "I will do my best to contribute to growing Michigan Tech as premier technological research university, to advancing the unity of teaching and research, and, together with all the other administrators and staff, to making faculty and students successful."

A native of Germany, Seel received a PhD in computational solid-state physics and theoretical chemistry from the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg and spent a postdoctoral year at the IBM research laboratory in San Jose, Calif. He taught and did research in quantum chemistry and computational physics at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg until joining the Michigan Tech physics faculty in 1986 ...

Read the rest of this article by Jennifer Donovan on the Michigan Tech News.

Portage Library to host young violinists, 100th birthday celebration this week

HOUGHTON -- The Copper Country Suzuki Association will present "Big Violins for Little People, Part II" from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton.

The Portage Library also invites everyone to celebrate its 100th birthday on Thursday, Feb. 18. Cake and ice cream will be served beginning at noon. A display of memorabilia will commemorate 100 years of community service which began on Feb. 18, 1910 in what is now the Carnegie Museum. Later in the spring, the museum and the library will co-host celebrations that pay tribute to a century of great community service.

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

Updated: Rail Transportation Education Center opening ceremony, Railroad Night to be Feb. 16

HOUGHTON -- The grand opening of the new CN Rail Transportation Education Center (CN RTEC) will be from 8:55 a.m. to 9:55 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Dillman Hall 315 and 316.

The event begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and short speeches by David Ferryman, vice president of Network System Engineering at CN; David Reed, vice president of Research at Michigan Tech; and Pasi Lautala, director of the Rail Transportation Program at Michigan Tech. A showcase of current and recent rail activities and light refreshments will be provided in the rooms after the ribbon cutting. Everyone is welcome to the opening ceremonies.

CN (Canadian National), one of the largest railroads in North America, recently donated $250,000 to Michigan Technological University's Rail Transportation Program to create the CN Rail Transportation Education Center (CN RTEC).

Update: Railroad Night to be Feb. 16

On Tuesday evening, Feb. 16, Michigan Tech's Rail Transportation Program will sponsor its 5th annual Railroad Night, at the North Shore Grill at the top of the Best Western Franklin Square Inn, Houghton. The keynote speaker will be Tony Hatch, a senior transportation analyst on Wall Street. A number of rail-related companies and sponsors of the Michigan Tech program will have displays. Railroad Night begins at 7 p.m., and Hatch is scheduled to speak at 9 p.m.

Keweenaw Krayons, Horizon School to host Mardi Gras celebration Feb. 16 in Mohawk

MOHAWK -- Keweenaw Krayons will hold its annual Mardi Gras celebration from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 16, at Horizons Alternative High School and Keweenaw Krayons Art Center, 110 Stanton Ave., Mohawk.

Directions: Coming from Calumet turn right on either 2nd or 3rd St. and go one block to Stanton (the school is between 2nd and 3rd).

The Mardi Gras Celebration features Cajun food -- including vegetarian options -- music, silent auction, art sales, mask making and more…

The menu consists of Gumbo (vegetarian and regular), Cajun salad, red beans and rice, corn bread and Keweenaw Krayons' famous berry sundaes.

From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the talented duo of Heaven Hawkins and Tony Laux will play a mix of easy folk and indie. Jazz and Blues by Steve Loukus and John Snyder will follow from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Heaven Hawkins, right, and Tony Laux will perform a mix of easy folk and indie music at the Keweenaw Krayons - Horizon Alternative School Mardi Gras celebration Tuesday, Feb. 16, in Mohawk. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the door. Pre-schoolers eat free and family discounts are available. If you can’t make it, but want to support Keweenaw Krayons and Horizon's S.T.A.R.S., consider purchasing tickets for us to give away…

Tickets are available at the following places: Mohawk: the Mohawk Superette, Horizons Alternative High School, Keweenaw Krayons Art Center; Copper Harbor: the Gaslight General Store, the Mariner; Calumet: Vertin Gallery, Michigan House Café and BrewPub, 5th and Elm Coffee Shop; Hancock: The Lone Wolf Hair Den, 5th and Elm Coffee Shop; Houghton: Good Times Music, Cyberia Café.

If you cannot make it to one of these sites but know for sure you are coming, you can call Keweenaw Krayons at 337-4706 or email and tickets will be put aside at the $10 price. For current information on the Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras event check out