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, March 19, 2010

Mike Lahti announces candidacy for Michigan 38th District Senate seat

In front of the Houghton County Courthouse this morning, March 19, State Rep. Mike Lahti announces his candidacy for the Michigan 38th Senate District seat, now held by term-limited State Senator Mike Prusi. In this video clip he talks about the importance of creating jobs and helping businesses in this district. Lahti traveled around the Upper Peninsula today, making his announcement. (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

Guatemala accompanier to speak in Hancock March 19

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project (CCGAP) invites interested persons to a presentation by accompanier Joshua Cohen tonight at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Hancock. The presentation will be preceded by a potluck at 6 p.m.

Accompanier Josh Cohen in Guatemala. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project)

"Josh is a very engaging young fellow and has some interesting views and observations concerning his time in Guatemala," said CCGAP director Sue Ellen Kingsley. "He will also be showing pictures of his time in the Ixcan region of Guatemala."

Cohen will also be be speaking in several classes on Friday, March 19, and Monday, March 22.

Visit the CCGAP Web site to read more about Josh Cohen's work in Guatemala.

Rolf Peterson: On Stupak's recommendation to delist gray wolf

Editor's Note: U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) recently urged the U.S. Department of the Interior to delist the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and complete the transition back to state management. In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Stupak noted that estimates from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) place the gray wolf population in Michigan at approximately 580 wolves in 2009, demonstrating a sustained recovery of the gray wolf, which in 1960 had been virtually eliminated from northern Michigan.*

Keweenaw Now invited Rolf Peterson, Michigan Tech wildlife ecologist, who has led the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Predator-Prey Study for more than 35 years, to comment on Rep. Stupak's recommendation. Here is Rolf Peterson's reply:

By Rolf Peterson

I think Stupak's endorsement of wolf delisting is appropriate. The recovery goals for wolves in the Great Lakes Region have been met and surpassed for over a decade. When wolves are listed as endangered by the federal government, state authorities can't deal effectively with wolves that are killing livestock, so that is an important change needed (and that is the critical change needed in the short term).

If wolves were listed as threatened, as in Minnesota, then wildlife authorities could use lethal control on depredating wolves, but that would still be a federal listing that was not recommended in either the federal or state recovery plan.

It makes most sense to stick to the recovery plans carefully prepared by specialists at both federal and state levels. Michigan has done an excellent job of enforcing wolf protection laws; and the state is in a better position to do this than the federal government, consistent with the state recovery plan.

Should there be concern for public safety? Like most wild animals, wolves can be dangerous (a teacher was killed in Alaska last week while jogging in a remote area -- the first such case in modern times in the U.S.) but wolves are not considered an important threat to human safety.

Regardless whether or when wolves are delisted, wolves on Isle Royale will be fully protected because they reside in a national park.

*Editor's Note, cont.: Click here for the rest of Rep. Stupak's press release.

Rolf Peterson will speak on "The Wolves of Isle Royale" at 7 p.m. Friday, March 19, in Marquette -- the kickoff event for the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition's UP Celebration.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Celebrate UP Environment March 19-20, Marquette

MARQUETTE -- The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) invites the public to a FREE celebration of what’s great about the U.P. on Friday evening, March 19, and all day Saturday, March 20. The event will be held at the three corners where Ridge and Front Streets intersect in downtown Marquette.

The kick-off presentation will feature "The Wolves of Isle Royale" by Rolf Peterson, Michigan Tech Wildlife Biology research professor, at 7 p.m. Friday, March 19, at the Federated Women’s Clubhouse. Peterson's talk will be followed by Winter Study, filmed on Isle Royale in 2010 by George Desort.

Individual presentations on Saturday, March 20, will be as follows:

Peter White Public Library -- Community Room

10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. "Nine-day Moose River Snowshoe Expedition: Moose River Crossing to James Bay on the Arctic Ocean, February '09" -- Michael Neiger, wilderness guide

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Discussion: "Climate Change, Spirituality, and Citizen Campaigns" -- Eric Hansen, author, hiker, activist

1 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Manoomin (Wild Rice): Ojibwe Spirit Food -- a film by Michael Loukinen, NMU professor of sociology and documentary filmmaker, with Roger LaBine, Ojibwe wild rice harvester

The Landmark Inn -- Sky Room

10 a.m. - 11 a.m. "Winging it U.P. and Green Birding" -- Scot Stewart, educator, birder, photographer

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. "The Pictured Rocks Journal: New Media in National Parks" -- Craig Rademacher, NMU professor of outdoor education and leadership management, publisher

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. "Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park: A Perspective on the Origin of Michigan’s Largest State Park" -- Bob Sprague, park manager, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

The Landmark Inn -- Board Room

10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Walking Paths and Protected Areas of the Keweenaw (Michigan Nature Association, 2009) -- Joan Chadde, environmental educator, author

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. "Making a Birch Bark Canoe" -- John and Victoria Jungwirth, woodwright and herbalist (view a Jungwirth birch bark canoe in the Landmark Inn lobby)

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. "Integrating Solar Energy into your Life" -- Sue Robishaw and Steve Schmeck, homesteaders, artists, solar electric system consultants

Federated Women’s Clubhouse

10 a.m. - 11 a.m. "A Not-Too-Serious Look at Landscape Painting" -- Patrick St. Germain, artist

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. "Mother Tongues/Other Tongues" -- Open Mike Session for UP Celebration Poems and Writings: Mary Kinnunen and Jeff Eaton, writers

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. "Bremner River Journal: A Vignette in Film and Words about Seeking Solitude"-- Steve Pence and Chris Ozminski, wilderness canoeists

Panel Discussion with the Public

Peter White Public Library -- Community Room

3 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. "Protecting the U.P. Landscape: A How-to Guide for Landowners Large and Small"


Bill Davis, Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy; Kim Herman, Forest Ecologist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE); Justin Miller, Forestry Consultant; Jessica Mistak, Fisheries Biologist, (DNRE)

Moderator: Mary Martin

Public Reception

Federated Women’s Clubhouse

5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Join Current and Past UPEC Board members for wine and hors-d’oeuvres.

Click here for a brochure with details of this event and presenters' bios.

NOSOTROS to host Latin American Film Festival Mar. 23-25

HOUGHTON -- NOSOTROS, Michigan Tech's Hispanic students' organization, will host a Latin American Film Festival this month.

Three movies, all with English subtitles, will be shown at Fisher 135. Cost is $3. There will be homemade finger food for sale.

Here is the schedule:

7:30, Tuesday, March 23 -- Los Viajes del Viento (The Wind Journeys) (Colombia). Runtime: 117 minutes. See info on the film at

9:15 p.m., Wednesday, March 24 -- Super Amigos (Super Friends) (Mexico). Runtime: 82 minutes. See

7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 25 -- Gigante (Giant) (Uruguay). Runtime: 84 minutes. See

For more information, contact Claudia Toro, president of NOSOTROS, at

The following helped out with this event: Undergraduate Student Government, International Programs and Services, Global City, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Uphill 41 and the Film Club.

For more about NOSOTROS, visit their Web site.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Finlandia's Fusion Fest to offer art, music, family fun Mar. 20

During the 2009 Fusion Fest, Finlandia art and design student Lana Bosak, left, now a Finlandia senior, and Kelly Suvanto, now a senior at Houghton High School, enjoy oil painting, one of the free activities available to community visitors as well as students during the festival. This year's third annual Fusion Fest will also have live music and dancing lessons, food and children's activities, in addition to an artists' market (Keweenaw Now 2009 file photos).

HANCOCK , MI – Finlandia University ’s International School of Art and Design will host its third annual Fusion Fest art and music festival from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, at the university’s Jutila Center campus. Admission is free and all are welcome.

During last year's Fusion Fest at Finlandia's Jutila Center, Juice DeMers, a student of fiber arts in Finlandia's International School of Art and Design, demonstrates how to spin yarn.

Featured at the festival are art demonstrations, live music, an art scavenger hunt, group painting, raku pottery demonstrations, tie dyeing, children’s activities, food, free dancing lessons from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., an artist’s market with work from students and local artists, and more.

Cynthia Coté, Copper Country Community Arts Center executive director, participates in the 2009 Fusion Fest. Admiring her art display are Noah Aschauer and Anne Haywood.

Attendees can purchase a Fusion Fest t-shirt and tie dye it for free, or bring a 100-percent-cotton garment from home to tie dye for a small fee.

New to Fusion Fest this year is a "Cookies as Your Canvas," an artful cookies baking contest. For official rules, please call 487-7225 and come to the bake sale to cast your vote for a people’s choice award!

Sarah Anderson, now a senior art and design student at Finlandia, displays some of her art work during the 2009 Fusion Fest.

Proceeds from Fusion Fest help fund an annual student trip to the Self Employment in Arts conference in Chicago. At the conference, Finlandia Art and Design students learn about business opportunities in the arts, receive one-on-one career coaching, network with art students and professionals, and learn from successful artists working around the country.

Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus (former hospital) is located at 200 Michigan Avenue, Hancock. For more information, call 906-487-7225 or e-mail

Federal stimulus money funding Hancock projects could total $15.9 million

HANCOCK -- Federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will soon total more than $15 million for the City of Hancock, if the latest water project is funded as anticipated.

During the November 2009 City Council meeting, Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson uses a City map to indicate locations where the new water project will make needed repairs of infrastructure. Also pictured, seated from left, are James Hainault, mayor pro-tem, and councilmen John Slivon and Ted Belej. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

"We're up to almost $15.9 million of stimulus money for projects," said Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson. "It's all Obama's money. It's amazing."

Anderson noted these projects include water and sewer improvements, housing, transit, roads and a district heating study. The funding includes both grants and loans.

"The interest rate is at an all-time low," Anderson added. "They have more grant money to give away this year than ever before. We're never going to get a better deal."

While the $3.6 million drinking water project completed last year was not funded through ARRA, a new phase of the water project, should ARRA provide the $7.9 million in the application, would be funded by a $5.8 million grant and the rest loans, all stimulus money, Anderson explained.

The biggest part of this new project is to put a new transmission main up to Painesdale, the source of Hancock's water.

The sewer improvements will be funded by $4 million in federal stimulus funds -- about half grants and half loans.

John Fukey, technician for Tunnel Vision, with the truck containing video equipment that has been televising sewer problems in certain Hancock neighborhoods. Since last November, the company has been working with OHM (Hitch Engineering) on the design for a $4 million sewer project, to be funded by federal stimulus money. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Last week the Tunnel Vision contractor was completing the video exploration of the sewer lines in areas of Hancock known to have problems.

"They're televising about seven miles out of 30 miles of sewer line," Anderson noted. "It's for the design of the project. We hope to have the design done by the end of May."

Tunnel Vision is working with OHM (Hitch Engineering) on the project design.

Anderson said the bidding for the sewer project construction should be done by June, since the City's goal is to start the sewer work by mid-summer this year.

After a Public Hearing preceding their Feb. 17 meeting, the Hancock City Council approved Ordinance #273 to increase the water rate from $5.75 per 1000 gallons to $6.85 per 1000 gallons and to increase the turn on / turn off fees to $60 each.

"We still expect one more rate increase related to the new (water and sewer) projects," Anderson said.

Water-sewer fees for Hancock residents contribute to the cost of the project loans. The stimulus funding helps keep these increases at a minimum.

"It's too bad I don't get a commission!" Anderson joked.

The Hancock City Council will hold its regular monthly meeting tonight, Wednesday, March 17, in the Council Chambers, City Hall. A work session will be held at 6:30 p.m., followed by two Public Hearings at 7:30 p.m.:

1. Public Hearing on proposed purchase of 29.64 acres of land from Tonne Construction Company for $135,000.00.
2. Public Hearing on proposed ordinance #274 "AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND ORDINANCE NO. 268, KNOWN AS THE HANCOCK HOUSING FOUNDATION TAX EXEMPTION ORDINANCE" for the start of the 24 unit Quincy Haven Apartment project construction to December 31, 2010, regarding their payment in lieu of tax.

The regular meeting will follow the Public Hearings. Click here for the Agenda.

Editor's Note: Thanks to City of Hancock Clerk Karen Haischer, the updated City of Hancock Web site includes agendas and minutes of meetings. Visit the Web site at

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Conservation District Tree Sale ordering deadline is March 26

HOUGHTON -- Orders for the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) 2010 Tree Sale are due by Friday, March 26. Pick-Up Times are from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, May 7, and from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday, May 8, at the Houghton County Arena in Hancock.*

The Houghton County Arena, inside the Fairgrounds in Hancock, is the pick-up location for the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District Tree Sale. Here present and future gardeners find a wide variety of trees, shrubs, berry bushes and more. (Keweenaw Now 2009 file photo)

The Annual Tree Sale is the Conservation District's major fundraiser of the year. All proceeds go to conservation efforts and education in Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

This year the sale includes conifers for reforestation (red pine, white pine and white spruce); trees for wildlife (a wide variety from cedar to white birch, black cherry, sugar maple, plum, etc.); shrubs for wildlife; lilacs; holly; hydrangea; asparagus; rhubarb; and more.

Mix-and-match varieties of fruit trees include apple, cherry, peach, pear and plum. Berry bush species of blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry are also available while they last.

As in past years, HKCD will be selling conservation merchandise as well, including bluebird houses, bat houses, tree guards and planting bars.

Click here for the Tree Sale Catalog and click here for an order form.

Visit the HKCD Web site for more details and a newsletter with highlights of the District's recent activities.

Volunteers for the Tree Sale are greatly appreciated. For more information call 906-482-0214.

*A $15 late fee will be charged for orders not picked up by noon, Saturday, May 8.

Video, Photos: Copper Dog 150 Finish in Mohawk

MOHAWK -- Keweenaw Now guest photographer Connie Julien shares some photos and videos she took at the finish of the first Copper Dog 150 Race held this past weekend, March 12-14. Originally scheduled for Calumet on Sunday, the finish of the race was moved up to Mohawk because of the warm weather. However, that didn't lessen the enthusiasm of the crowd!

Katherine Manderfield of Pelkie, Mich., crosses the finish line in the Copper Dog 150, for the last leg of the race -- Copper Harbor to Mohawk. (Video © 2010 Connie Julien. Used with permission.)

And here are some photos:

Mike Barnett of Chatham, Mich., heads towards the finish line after racing 25 miles from Copper Harbor to Mohawk. (Photo © 2010 Connie Julien. Reprinted with permission.)

These dogs just finished the 25 mile run from Copper Harbor to Mohawk. (Photo © 2010 Connie Julien. Reprinted with permission.)

At the end of the race, these beauties still have their boots on! (Photo © 2010 Connie Julien. Reprinted with permission.)

For a TV 6 News video about the race, click here. Race results are at this link. Visit the Copper Dog 150 Web site for more photos, videos and info.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"Greening the Ghetto": Majora Carter to speak at Rozsa March 20

HOUGHTON - - "I believe that you shouldn’t have to leave your neighborhood to live in a better one." Green activist and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Majora Carter is on a mission: to lead her community out of poverty and fight environmental injustice by bringing green-collar jobs to the area. In just over a decade, Ms. Carter has vaulted from working as a community volunteer, knowing almost nothing about environmental issues, to becoming a nationally known advocate for environmental justice.

The Rozsa Center will host a presentation by Majora Carter at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 20. Carter will speak on public health, poverty alleviation, climate change and green-collar job training and placement systems. Her lecture is free and open to the public.

Majora Carter was born, raised, and continues to live in the South Bronx. Her career has taken her around the world in pursuit of resources and ideas to improve the quality of life in environmentally challenged communities. She founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 after writing a $1.25M Federal Transportation grant to design the South Bronx Greenway with 11 miles of bike and pedestrian paths connecting the rivers and neighborhoods to each other and to the rest of the city. That project secured over $20 million in funds for first phase construction and serves as alternative transportation, economic development anchor, storm water management infrastructure as well as healthy recreation.

She has been instrumental in creating riverfront parks, building green roofs, working to remove poorly planned highways in favor of positive economic development and successfully implementing the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) program -- a pioneering green-collar job training and placement system -- seeding a community with a skilled workforce that has both a personal and an economic stake in their urban environment.

These accomplishments grow from her notion that self-image is influenced by surroundings -- so those surroundings should be beautiful! Her vision, drive and tenacity earned her a MacArthur "Genius" Grant. She started 2007 as one of Newsweek’s "25 To Watch" and ended the year as one of Essence magazine’s "25 Most Influential African Americans." She has been named one of the "50 most influential women in NYC" by the New York Post for the past two years, and "NYC’s most influential environmentalist" by the BBC World Service. Majora is president of the Majora Carter Group, LLC; a board member of the Wilderness Society, SJF, and CERES; and host of a special national public radio series called "The Promised Land."

To learn more about Majora Carter, her projects and her quest, visit

Sponsored by the Environmental Sustainability Committee/Students for Environmental Sustainability, CCE (Committee for Cultural Enrichment) and the Van Evera Distinguished Lecture Series Endowment.

For more information contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200 or visit