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Friday, October 01, 2010

Portage Lake District Library to host book signing Oct. 2

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host a book signing with local author Lisa A. Shiel from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Shiel will present her latest book, Forgotten Tales of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and share wonderfully offbeat and all-but-forgotten tales from the U.P.'s history. Find out why the barber said to the corpse, "That’s the best I’ve ever seen you look." Meet the sleeping man who rode the rails without a train. Discover the truth behind the rumors that one mining town was cursed with the ten plagues of Egypt, and learn why hugs terrified an entire city.

A resident of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Lisa A. Shiel researches and writes about everything strange, from Bigfoot and UFOs to alternative history. She is the author of six books, including Strange Michigan and the award-winning Backyard Bigfoot. She formerly served as president of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association. You can find her online at

Children's Storytime begins Oct. 6

Storytime for the school year begins on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the Portage Lake District Library and will be held every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Young children are invited to come for stories, craft projects, occasional music and lots of fun.

During inclement weather, weekday sessions will follow school closings. For Saturday programs, please call the library to check for closings.

Children are also encouraged to use the Children’s Listening Center at the library. Music, foreign languages and stories on CDs are available for use during their visits to the library. Up to four people at a time can use the equipment, including parents who want to help their children learn another language or simply enjoy music or a good book together. Please ask a librarian to help get you started.

Library presentations are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Thursday, September 30, 2010

First Friday to offer art, FiberRama sale, music Oct. 1

HANCOCK, CALUMET -- This First Friday, Oct. 1, offers art gallery receptions in both Calumet and Hancock and musical entertainment as well.

Community Arts Center in Hancock to host three First Friday events

A closing reception for Marquette artist Andy Gregg's Bike Art will be held from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Community Arts Center. Refreshments will be served.

Gregg makes functional eco-friendly furniture from salvaged bike parts. His chairs, tables, barstools, coat racks and mirrors are modern and stylish with an urban look. The artist, who has a fine arts degree in photography, was inspired by designers and architects such as Mies van der Rohe and Charles Eames. Click here to read our Sept. 5 article with some samples of Gregg's work.

Following the reception downstairs, Phyllis Fredendall, fiber artist and Finlandia University professor, will give a slide presentation and talk about rag rugs in Finland, their widespread use and their loving care from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. upstairs in the Community Arts Center's ballroom. A suggested donation of $5 at the door includes a special preview shopping at FiberRama, a sale of yarn, fabric and notions from 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Proceeds from FiberRama will benefit the Community Arts Center. The sale will open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2.

The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Call 482-2333 for more information.

Ed Gray Gallery to host two-person show

For the month of October, the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet will present a two-person exhibit featuring Linda Ferguson and Barry Bernstein. A reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1.

Ferguson says her series of paintings and drawings, "What Birds Fly Through," is meant to represent the atmosphere of a forest landscape.

Ferguson studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and acted as a gallery curator for fifteen years. She is currently pursuing an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Barry Bernstein’s pottery has been influenced by the work of Marv Zehnder, former NMU ceramic professor; Richard Devore, and Joseph Albers.

"My pots are wheel thrown vessels," Bernstein says. "I use the vessel form as my canvas and the firing process as my paint brush. It’s important for me to have intense color on top of wheel thrown pieces. Incidentally, it took me about 20 years before I felt that I had begun to get these things right."

Bernstein uses his surroundings to inspire his work. The slits in his pieces reflect his experience with the Dead River Falls; the square cut-outs in the pots represent the ore dock in Marquette.

The Ed Gray Gallery is located at at 109 Fifth St, Calumet.

Vertin Gallery to present David Niec exhibit

An opening reception for "Seasons in the Wild: Night and Day," an exhibit of paintings by David Niec, will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, at the Vertin Gallery in Calumet. The exhibit will run through Nov. 3.

The Vertin Gallery is at 220 Sixth St. in Calumet. For more information call 906-337-2200.

Copper Country Associated Artists to offer Origami art

From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. this Friday, the Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) in Calumet invite the public to join in making flying folded paper cranes and fishes floating as a mobile. It's the ancient art of Origami. For over 300 years, Japanese mothers have been teaching this wonderful art of paper folding. And your turn is now. Members of the CCAA will provide the materials and instruction needed to turn folded paper cranes and fishes into a small balanced mobile. The CCAA Studio/Gallery is at 112 Fifth Street, Calumet.

Music at Conglomerate Café

From Oren Tikkanen:

Libby Meyer, the Music Doctor, will bring her furious fiddling and her rag-tag band of Old Hippies, aka the Conglomeratz, to the Conglomerate Café on 5th Street in Calumet to celebrate the First Friday of the Autumn. Libby and the 'Ratz will be stirring up a fine stew of Irish and American fiddle tunes, folk-songs, Finnish and other European dance melodies, and who knows what. Take a break while art-gallery browsing, and stop in for some of Madame Babette's fine pastries, coffee, tea, or something stronger. Enjoy the music from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. this Friday, Oct 1.

The Conglomeratz are Hugh Ralinovsky, the hermit painter from Jacobsville, on mandolin; Doug Bacon, finalist in the competition for "longest senior citizen pony-tail," on guitar and 5-string banjo; Oren Tikkanen, the original Calumet Beatnik, on tenor banjo, spoons, and anything left over.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sulfide mine opponents rally in Marquette

By Michele Bourdieu

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, supporters of sulfide mine opponent Charlotte Loonsfoot rally in front of the Marquette County District Courthouse, where she presented a "no contest" plea against a charge of trespassing on Native American ceded land leased to Rio Tinto-Kennecott for the Eagle Project sulfide mine. (Video clip and photos by Keweenaw Now)

MARQUETTE -- A Rally of support welcomed Charlotte Loonsfoot, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) member, as she emerged from the Marquette County District Courthouse in Marquette on Tuesday morning, Sept. 28.

Supporters greet Charlotte Loonsfoot, third from right, outside the Courthouse, shortly after she received a 30-day delay of sentence for her "no contest" plea against a misdemeanor trespassing charge. Also pictured are, from right, Laura (Furtman) Gauger of Duluth, Cynthia Pryor of Big Bay, James Haun of Skanee and KBIC elder Betsy Robillard Ross.

Loonsfoot was arrested for trespassing on May 27, 2010 -- while camping and praying on Eagle Rock, an Anishinaabeg (Ojibwa) sacred site, located on public land leased by Rio Tinto-Kennecott for their Eagle Project sulfide mine.

After entering a plea of "no contest," Loonsfoot received a 30-day delay of sentence on the misdemeanor trespass charge, which will be dismissed if she respects all the terms of the one-month probation.

A TV-6 reporter interviews Charlotte Loonsfoot outside the Marquette County District Courthouse on Sept. 28 after she presented her plea agreement against a charge of trespassing.

Loonsfoot's defense attorney said the plea allowed her to admit no wrongdoing.

"I decided to accept the plea agreement I offered to the prosecutor after seeing the outcome of Cynthia Pryor's case, held earlier this year," Loonsfoot said.

Pryor, arrested last April for trespassing on state land that Kennecott considered leased to them, despite the fact that the legality of permits required for the lease was being contested, asked for a jury trial and was found guilty after the judge refused to allow the evidence of the permits and lease into her defense. Pryor received a six-month delay of sentence.

Assuming Pryor's case would likely serve as a precedent, Loonsfoot said she chose the "no contest" plea since she didn't expect she would have a fair trial.

Loonsfoot appeared to be cheerful and glad to see her supporters

"It's just the beginning," she said. "I plan to run for a seat on the (KBIC) Tribal Council to try to change things from within. I feel the Council could be doing more to try to enforce our rights ... on treaty lands and they're not, probably because of prior commitments."

Loonsfoot said she plans to keep fighting the mine, which is located on ceded territory. Under Native American treaty rights, Loonsfoot and other KBIC members claim the Anishinaabeg people should be allowed to hunt, fish and gather on ceded territories.

This banner marks the entrance to a second camp that Charlotte Loonsfoot and family members set up recently, with permission, not far from Eagle Rock, on private property not belonging to Kennecott. Although they are not presently camping there, the banner remains.

Loonsfoot and another KBIC member, Christopher Chosa, were among six people at Eagle Rock when police arrived there on May 27 and asked them to leave. Four protesters left the site when asked, while Loonsfoot and Chosa were not willing to leave immediately and were arrested.

According to the Marquette Mining Journal, Chosa pleaded "no contest" in July and received a six-month delay of sentence and six hours of community service in early September. His case will also be dismissed if he fulfills the terms of the six-month probation.

Kennecott, working with local law enforcement, removed the camp structures and a community garden planted by campers at Eagle Rock.

Eagle Rock is now fenced off and nearly hidden behind high berms as Rio Tinto-Kennecott prepares to turn it into the entrance to an underground mine for a large nickel and copper ore body located under the nearby Salmon Trout River. Sulfide mine opponents believe the river, which empties into Lake Superior, is in danger of potential pollution by Acid Mine Drainage.

The area around Eagle Rock is now a construction site surrounded by a fence and high berms. No trespassing signs can be seen from the Triple A Road.

Laura Gauger (formerly Furtman) came all the way from Duluth, Minn., to support the Rally for Loonsfoot.

Gauger is a former resident of Wisconsin who is still fighting Kennecott Minerals because of water pollution caused by the company's Flambeau mine near Ladysmith, Wisconsin. Gauger also camped out at Eagle Rock last May with Loonsfoot and other supporters, both Native and non-Native.*

"It was important to me to show solidarity wih my friends in the U.P. who are fighting Kennecott," Gauger said.

She noted the similarity between Kennecott's Eagle Project and their Flambeau mine is that both are metallic sulfide mines, although the Flambeau mine was an open-pit type and the Eagle mine is intended to be underground.

"The Flambeau mine is yet one more example of how no one has mined a metallic sulfide ore body without polluting the water. That's important for the people of Michigan to know because Kennecott is holding up that (Flambeau) mine as their calling card to get in here," Gauger explained. "I want the people here to know that they have friends in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ontario and Manitoba who stand solidly beside them in fighting Kennecott -- and we're going to beat this thing."

Gauger presented evidence of stream and ground water pollution at the Flambeau mine when she spoke at the 2009 Protect the Earth event in Marquette. She, Professor Al Gedicks of the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse, and the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council (WRPC) are plaintiffs in a lawsuit being filed against Kennecott Minerals and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The case is not yet in court.

"We continue to consult with attorneys and our scientific consultants," Gauger explained.**

Wisconsin has a moratorium law on sulfide mining.***

Green Party First District Congressional candidate Ellis Boal, who drove up from Charlevoix to attend the Rally, said it was Gauger who told him about Kennecott's Eagle Project last spring when he was vacationing and hiking in the U.P. He also talked to Greg Peterson, journalist for Indian Country Today, who has written several articles about the Kennecott sulfide mine. Since then Boal has opposed the Kennecott Eagle Project sulfide mine as part of his official campaign platform.

Green Party Congressional candidate Ellis Boal, second from left, chats with Amy Conover, third from left, while Rally participants wait outside the Marquette County District Courthouse to greet Charlotte Loonsfoot after her court appearance on Sept. 28. Also pictured are Catherine Parker, left, and Jon Saari, Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) Board member, right.

"No amount of regulation is going to solve the problems of the Kennecott mine," Boal said. "Kennecott is the camel's nose under the tent."****

Save the Wild U.P. Director Kristi Mills helped organize the Rally to support Loonsfoot.

"It's not over," Mills said. "This is another stepping stone on our way to protecting the U.P."

Save the Wild U.P. Director Kristi Mills, left, leads Rally participants in a march near the Marquette County District Courthouse on Sept. 28. Gail Griffith, right, peace activist and sulfide mining opponent, carries a blue and white United Nations flag and a peace flag.

Also among the Rally participants was Jon Saari, Board member of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC).

Saari said he attended the Rally to show "solidarity with Native Americans willing to step forward to protect their treaty rights and the water that supports us all."

James Haun of Skanee, a former United Auto Workers union chairman, carried a sign and a flag and wore a tee-shirt protesting Rio Tinto as a kind of British colonialism. He expressed concern about the company's present cutting of trees along the roads leading to the Eagle mine site.

As Rally participants march near the Courthouse, James Haun of Skanee displays his sign, flag and tee-shirt protesting the two British corporations, Rio Tinto and BP. At left, foreground, is Rachelle Giuliani of Marquette, carrying a sign in support of Charlotte Loonsfoot.

"The 510 and the Triple A on the eastern end going into Big Bay used to have a canopy like a golden tunnel surrounding this road this time of year," Haun said. "Now look at it. It's been cut back on both sides of the road. Stumps prevail, and it'll never be the same as it was in our lifetime. Color tours as we knew them are over. That was one of the special areas to drive through."

At the intersection of County Road 510 and the Triple A Road near Big Bay, Rio Tinto-Kennecott has cut trees along the sides of the road, destroying the tree canopy (some of which remains along the extension of 510, at the left of the photo). Click on photo for larger version.

Rachelle Giuliani of Marquette said she joined the Rally as a member of the human race.

"I'm concerned about the health and welfare of all the people who live here, so I stand for well being, health and peace for all -- including the construction workers, the miners and Kennecott itself," Giuliani said. "I like that Lakota saying: 'We're all related.'"

Giuliani generously treated the Rally participants to a breakfast at the Sweet Water Café after the Rally.

* See our May 9, 2010 article, "Native, non-Native campers on Eagle Rock oppose sulfide mine."

** See details on Laura (Furtman) Gauger's presentation at the 2009 Protect the Earth workshops in our Aug. 5, 2009 article, "Protect the Earth 2009: Part 1."

*** Click here for a description of Wisconsin's 1997 Mining Moratorium Law.

**** Ellis Boal is running for the Congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak. Other candidates include Republican Dan Benishek and Democrat Gary McDowell. Watch for our interview with Ellis Boal, coming soon.

Gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero to visit Marquette, Escanaba Sept. 30, Oct. 1

LANSING -- Virg Bernero, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and mayor of Lansing, will stop in Marquette and Escanaba Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 as part of his "Fighting for Main Street" campaign trip through Michigan, which he kicked off recently in Muskegon and Traverse City.

A Rally for Virg Bernero will be held from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, at the Marquette Dems Headquarters, 125 W. Washington St., Marquette. RSVP to (906) 226-3366.

A Meet and Greet with Virg Bernero will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, at the Besse Theatre Art Gallery, 2001 N. Lincoln Road, Escanaba.

To learn about Virg Bernero, visit his Web site.

See also Keweenaw Now's June 11, 2010 article, "Virg Bernero, Michigan gubernatorial candidate, defends working man during Houghton visit."

Bernero accepts debate proposal

On Monday, Sept. 27, Gubernatorial candidate and Lansing mayor Virg Bernero accepted an offer to participate in a debate from a large organization of Flint pastors, who had sent an official invitation to both Bernero and his opponent Rick Snyder.

The Concerned Pastors for Social Action invited the candidates to debate in Flint in the next several weeks. The Bernero campaign immediately accepted.

"Debates provide the public the opportunity to really get to know the candidates," said Bernero. "I welcome the opportunity to compare my economic plan and my record of creating jobs here against Mr. Snyder’s record of creating jobs in China. I am glad to accept the pastors’ offer for a debate."

The pastors said in their invitation that the debate would follow a town hall meeting format with moderators and focus on issues directly affecting Flint residents. The Concerned Pastors of Social Action reportedly represent dozens of congregations throughout the Flint area.

Missoula Children's Theatre to present "King Arthur's Quest" Oct. 1, 2, at Calumet Theatre

CALUMET -- The Calumet Theatre is pleased to present King Arthur’s Quest by the Missoula Children’s Theatre at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, and at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Watch the Damsels in Distress sound the warning of trouble. Witness the Lady of the Lake as she produces the sword in the stone. Hide with the Camelotians when the Ghost of Arthur’s Father visits the castle. See the Giant tower over the questing knights. Cheer for the King when he makes friends with the terrible dragon. Listen in as Morgan le Fey and Mordred propose a better plan. Join the Knights and Squires of the Round Table as they try to do the right thing. Hope for the best outcome as your favorite characters of Camelot -- Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, Taleisin, The Raven and Lancelot wrestle with the challenges faced by their people. Follow the original twist on this familiar story as it weaves its way through a landscape full of surprises!

Ticket prices for The Missoula Children’s Theatre are $10 for adults and $5 for children, $15 for both shows and are available by phone or by visiting the Calumet Theatre box office. Box-office hours are Monday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and two and one half hours before show time. For more information, please call the Calumet Theatre box-office at (906) 337-2610 or check the Theatre Web site at

Missoula Children's Theatre is a non-profit organization based in Missoula, Montana. This coming year more than 55,000 cast members across the globe will take to the stage to the delight and applause of their families, friends, community, neighbors and teachers!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Conservancy needs to meet funding goal for Conglomerate Falls Oct. 1

Letter from John Griffith, North Woods Conservancy president:

Thank you so much for donating to Conglomerate Falls (CF) and helping to spread the word about the project. Hundreds of people have donated to the project, from $3.50 to $3,000 each. Together we have raised just over $20,000. Only $10K to go!

North Woods Conservancy (NWC) must raise the $30,000 down payment by this Friday, Oct. 1, 2010.

If everyone who has already donated gets one other person to donate $25, we'll make it.

Remember those chain letters and pyramid schemes of the 70s and 80s, where supposedly if you sent a dollar to the top name on the list, then in a couple weeks you'd get a dollar from 10,000 people (that somehow never came)? Well, the CF project is kind of like that, with one big difference: instead of having only one winner at the top of the pyramid, in this case everybody wins! We all can go and visit Conglomerate Falls.

I think sometimes people think that the amount of money needed is so large, that their $25 won't make a difference

Wrong! Many hands make light work. All we need is 400 $25 donations. All donations are tax-deductible!

But remember this:

  • $100 donors are entered into drawing for one week at the cabin (10 prizes)
  • $500 donors get one week at the cabin (includes deer hunting rights)
  • $1,000 donors get a week at the cabin and their name on a plaque at the cabin.

Send your donation to NWC, PO Box 124, Calumet, MI 49913. Questions: Call 906-337-0782.

Visit the NWC Web site for more information.