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, June 26, 2010

Sen. Levin to discuss Afghanistan on Face the Nation June 27

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- Tomorrow, Sunday, June 27, 2010, Michigan Senator Carl Levin will appear on CBS's Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

Face the Nation airs at different times on different stations, so check your local listings for the time and channel in your area.

You can click here after the broadcast to watch clips and full episodes on the Face the Nation Web site.

Editorial from Rep. Stupak: Gulf spill holds lessons for protecting Michigan waters, Great Lakes from drilling, sulfide mining

By U. S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee)

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- It is difficult to think of northern Michigan without also thinking about the Great Lakes. These waters are vital to our economy and are relied upon by 45 million people for drinking water, fishing, recreation, agriculture, industry and shipping.

That is why, in 2005, I fought to pass a federal ban on oil and gas drilling in and under our Great Lakes. As we are witnessing right now in the Gulf of Mexico, oil spills know no boundaries. Without a federal policy, all of the Great Lakes states could have different laws on drilling in our shared waters, putting us all at risk. As the tragedy in the Gulf unfolds, the importance of this ban on drilling in the Great Lakes takes on a greater significance.

In my investigations as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, we have uncovered thousands of pages of documents showing BP was willing to cut corners on safety in order to save time and money -- this despite the fact that BP’s own engineers described the well as a "nightmare well."

This mismanagement has continued in BP’s response to contain the leak and clean up the spilled oil. The latest report estimates 35,000 to 65,000 barrels of oil are leaking into the Gulf daily -- up to 12 times more than BP’s original estimate of 5,000 barrels a day. Even BP admits the earliest the spill will be stopped is August when drilling of relief wells is completed. In the meantime oil continues to flow, contaminating marshlands and beaches and killing the fish and seafood that much of the Gulf’s economy depends on.

While drilling for oil and gas is banned in the Great Lakes, other actions still threaten our waters. Mining has been done safely to the benefit of the Upper Peninsula economy for generations, but the sulfide mine proposed in Marquette County by the Kennecott Minerals Company raises concerns that have yet to be adequately addressed.

Both BP and Kennecott’s parent company, London-based Rio Tinto, have earned reputations for their willingness to cut corners on safety and environmental safeguards to improve their bottom lines.

BP reached an agreement with the President to set up an independent escrow fund to ensure the residents of the Gulf receive the claims they deserve in a timely manner. I remain concerned that Kennecott’s $17 million assurance bond does not provide nearly enough funding to address potential contamination that may continue years after Kennecott leaves the U.P. Like BP, Kennecott -- not the taxpayers -- should be responsible for the cost of cleaning up any pollution they create.

Unfortunately Michigan’s mining laws fall short of holding Kennecott accountable. State permits were approved without requiring an Environmental Impact Statement and without independent baseline hydrological and geological studies. Because there is no evidence of the environment’s condition before Kennecott starts mining, there is no way to prove what damage they cause.

We should heed the lessons we have learned from the Gulf spill. Weak state regulations in place for sulfide mining are worthless without proper enforcement. Given Michigan’s continuing budget problems, it seems unlikely the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment will have adequate resources to ensure Kennecott is complying with safety and environmental standards. Kennecott should be responsible for providing the state with the funding needed for these inspectors.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will announce by the end of the month whether federal permits are necessary for the mine to move forward. Kennecott deserves a timely answer from the EPA just as the people of Michigan deserve stronger safeguards and greater financial assurances from Kennecott.

Oil companies have been engaged in deepwater drilling for 30 years, yet they have been completely unprepared to handle a worst-case scenario. Sulfide mining has never been done -- much less done safely -- in our region. I have little confidence that the proper precautions and contingency plans are in place to prevent contamination of our streams, rivers and the Great Lakes. The financial protections put in place for taxpayers are symbolic at best. As we have seen in the Gulf spill, if we wait until a problem occurs to find a solution it is already too late.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Keweenaw Krayons to sponsor Recycled Art workshop June 23-24

MOHAWK -- The second of several summer workshops in the Keweenaw Krayons Ripple Effect Recycled Art Program will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, and Thursday, June 24, at Keweenaw Krayons Art Center in Mohawk.

On Wednesday Artist Rachel Sommer will lead participants in the making of a mosaic art piece. On Thursday participants can attend Open Studio time to continue working on their projects with Rachel’s assistance. It is hoped that participants will learn the art medium and then teach it to others, thus creating a Ripple Effect.

Cost for the class, which includes supplies to make one mosaic art piece is $5. Participants can create a mosaic using one of Keweenaw Krayons' flower pots or recycled wood frames and/or garden stepping stones, or they are welcome to bring something small from home to use as a base. Ceramic, glass or wood are acceptable materials as long as the piece is not flexible. (No metal or plastic). Wood should be water-proofed prior to class (commercial sealer or 4 parts water to 1 part white glue, 4 coats).

Some possible ideas of items to bring are: candle holders, picture frame, vase, stepping stone, mirror frame, light fixture, wood box, soap dish, tissue box, cup, etc.

All ages are welcome, but youth younger than six are asked to bring an adult or older teen along. Participants are invited to bring special pieces to such as shells, stones, beach glass, etc., to add to their art piece. As always family discounts, bartering and scholarships are available.

In order to have enough supplies pre-registration is required. Call 337-4706 or email

The summer workshops are sponsored in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Copper Country Community Arts Council and the Denise Marth Memorial Grant through the Superior Child Abuse Prevention Council. For more information and a complete list of summer classes, check out

Finlandia / Suomi to host All-School Reunion June 25-27

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University invites all Finlandia and Suomi College alumni to an all-class reunion this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 25 to 27.

Hosted by the university’s International Alumni Board and the Office of Alumni Relations, the three-day reunion includes a packed schedule of social gatherings, meals, presentations and many other activities.

Visit, or contact Cheryl Ries, Finlandia director of alumni relations, at 906-487-7317, to obtain a complete schedule of events and to register.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Water ceremony in Marquette honors Lake Superior, Eagle Rock, all water, Mother Earth

From Stand for the Land

MARQUETTE -- A water ceremony was held on June 19 in observance of National Sacred Places Prayer Day and in honor of Eagle Rock and Lake Superior. The ceremony was held at sunrise (6 a.m.) at Little Presque Isle Point, Marquette, on the shores of Lake Superior to pray for threatened sacred places and to honor Lake Superior and all water and Mother Earth. The ceremony was open to the public and over 40 people were in attendance.

Participants in the June 19 National Sacred Places Prayer Day at Little Presque Isle Point, Marquette, prepare for the water ceremony. (Photo courtesy Stand for the Land)

According to ceremony leader Cheryl Boyd, "The water is very important to us. We can’t live without it. It’s the women’s responsibility to pray for the water, to ask the creator to heal the water. We continue to say prayers for the Gulf waters too and for the animals and life there as well."

Nearly three weeks ago, May 27, heavily armed state and local police officers raided an Eagle Rock encampment arresting two KBIC (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community) members.

"Eagle Rock, a sacred place to Anishinaabe people, is currently threatened as the proposed mine portal for the Rio Tinto/Kennecott Eagle Mine on the Yellow Dog Plains. Our fresh groundwater, waterways and Lake Superior are threatened by the Eagle Mine and increasing sulfide and uranium mining interests throughout the Great Lakes region," said KBIC member Jessica Koski.

Koski is also the co-founder of the new group Oshkinawe-Ogichidaag Akiing, "New Warriors for the Earth," who, along with Stand for the Land, helped to organize the ceremony.

Observances and ceremonies are being held across the country from June 18 through June 23 to mark the 2010 National Days of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places.... Read more on Stand for the Land.

Celebrate Summer Solstice June 21 with music, merriment at Copper Island Beach Club

From Oren Tikkanen*

HANCOCK -- Professor Doctor Libby Meyer -- fiddler, farmer and bon vivant -- has expressed a wish that summer solstice celebrants should gather at the Copper Island Beach Club on the waterfront in Hancock TONIGHT, Monday, June 21, for communal merriment, music-making and gentle mayhem.

The Thimbleberry Band will be there, and the hope is that you will show up with your acoustic instruments, voices, dancing feet and good attitudes. Plan on being there about 7:30 p.m.

Who knows how it may develop? Perhaps as a song-circle with each taking a turn at presenting or leading a tune or song. Perhaps some unruly elements will break away and start one or more jams outside. Maybe we'll spill over into Porvoo Park for exuberant celebration!

The Beach Club staff will, of course, stand ready to dish up your favorite snacks and beverages.

It's the longest day of the year. It's the first day of SUMMER!

Now you know as much as I do. Come on over and see how it turns out...

*This announcement courtesy Local Music.