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, November 06, 2010

Portage Library Wellness Series continues with presentation on medicinal herbs Nov. 11

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host its monthly program in the Natural Health and Wellness series from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11.

Horticulturist Wendy Wiegert will give a slide show presentation on "Medicinal Herbs and How to Use Them." She will explain what medicinal herbs are and how they are grown, harvested, and prepared for use. Participants will learn the advantages of using alternative medicinal herbs; what the functions and properties of herbs are; which herbs treat common ailments such as colds, flu, arthritis, diabetes, and more; and they will learn how to get daily vitamins and minerals from herbs. There will also be a display of a variety of herb plants, dried herbs, and herbal salves and oils.

Weigert has been studying, growing, and using medicinal herbs for 30 years and raises over 60,000 naturally grown heirloom plants with an emphasis on medicinal herb plants. She strives for sustainable agriculture on her farm outside of Hancock and sells culinary and medicinal herbs, salves, oils, and extracts as well as vegetable, herb, and flower plants.

This natural health and wellness series is held on the second Thursday of each month. All programs begin at 6:30 p.m., they are free, and everyone is welcome. No pre-registration is required. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Library honors all Veterans

The Portage Lake District Library is honoring all Veterans during the month of November. People are invited to bring a photo of family members who have served or who are currently serving in the armed services for a display in the library. Cake will be served beginning at 1 p.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Everyone is invited. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Kantele Jam to meet Mondays in November at Finnish American Heritage Center

HANCOCK -- The Kantele Jam meets from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Monday evening in November at the Finnish American Heritage Center. This Monday, Nov. 8, the group will meet in the Archive Reading Room. The last three Mondays they will meet in the theater.

Kay Seppala, third from left, and her kantele students perform during an ethnic music event at the Keweenaw Heritage Center in Calumet. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

"We'll have music for all levels -- from 'three notes only' five-string parts, to challenging 10-string pieces," says Kay Seppala. "Most of the music will be familiar -- bring your old lesson music; it may be more comfortable for you to use that for some of the songs."

Participants may come to as many sessions as they wish. There is no requirement to attend every week.

Kanteles will be available for use -- first call or come, first reserved!! If an instrument is available, you may use it for the evening; better yet, you may rent instruments until Heikinpaiva, at $10 per month for a 10 string, or $5 a month for a five string, Seppala adds. Call Kay to reserve a kantele: 523-6271.

Other instruments -- concert kantele, fiddle, guitar, flute, mandolin, etc. -- are welcome, but they must tune to the little kanteles. The group will be starting in D major. Please call Kay if you have questions or comments.

From DC Bureau: Midwest mining rush threatens water: Part I: Foreign-owned mining companies vs. U.S. regulators

By Tiffany Danitz Pache
Posted Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, on

Some of this nation’s most pristine ancient forests, glacial wetlands and fresh water lakes are under threat from large, multinational mining companies that plan to extract billions of dollars in copper and nickel using methods untested in a water-rich environment. The Great Lakes Basin -- America’s largest supply of surface fresh water -- faces the duel dangers of increasing prices for industrial metals and a failing economy in desperate need of good paying jobs. These economic realities have weakened efforts to protect the region. ... Read the rest of this investigative article, the first in a series, on

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Letter to Editor: Mining threatens public lands

IRON RIVER, Mich. -- [Editor's Note: This is a letter to the editor, sent to Keweenaw Now today. The letter also appeared recently in the Marquette Mining Journal. It is reprinted here with the author's permission. Keweenaw Now welcomes readers' comments on the letter. See below to post a comment. If you wish to send us a reply to the letter, or a letter on a related topic, please email it to and we will consider publishing it.]

Greetings Editor,

My father and I enjoyed hunting public lands. Because my dad was a miner, swing shifts made it difficult to make time on the weekends for recreation, but I happily skipped school in order to go hunting.

We did not have access to private land or a camp, depending on public land as our only means to hunt, fish, camp, hike and canoe.

I continue to live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan because of the many acres of accessible public land. Today, access to our public land is threatened. Foreign mining companies are laying claim to public lands.

Being raised in an iron ore mining community -- Iron River, Michigan -- and a third generation miner myself, I was aware of the problems of past mining, including ongoing pollution from the closed Buck and Dober mines. I assumed those problems would have been addressed and corrected using modern mining methods, but they have not.

According to a 2006 study, while 100 percent of mines reviewed predicted zero water pollution before opening, 76 percent ended up polluting the water anyway. Exposure to this pollution can cause many health problems in humans and wildlife.

From 1998 to 2007 the federal government spent at least $2.6 billion to remediate just some of the many abandoned and polluted mine sites.

In Michigan the Yellow Dog Plains, Huron Mountains, McCormick Tract Wilderness Area, Ottawa National Forest and the Shakey Lakes Savanna in the Escanaba River State Forest are currently being considered for mining operations. The Upper Peninsula is not a unique situation. Public lands throughout the Great Lakes Basin are being explored, such as the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area and the Superior National Forest in Minnesota. In Canada, the Lake Superior Provincial Park and the Pukaswa National Park in Ontario. Native American and First Nation lands are also being considered for mining in Canada and the U.S.

Development of these areas would limit our land use and have a negative effect on our water and wildlife.

We have a daunting task before us. Our pleas to government agencies responsible for protecting our public lands for all people, the animals, the environment and future generations, are falling on deaf ears. Mining would limit our land use, poison much of the land and water and leave future generations questioning our decisions.

We need to act now with one voice. Defend Our Public Land.

Richard Sloat, Iron River, Mich.

Remembering: Fall colors

William Gayk of Keweenaw County and Marquette sent this great photo of fall colors in response to our invitation to readers to submit their photos during a great color season. Thanks, Bill! Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © 2010 and courtesy William Gayk)

New art exhibits to open in Calumet First Friday, Nov. 5

CALUMET -- First Friday, Nov. 5, in Calumet will include opening art receptions in three galleries. These are free and open to the public.

Vertin Gallery to host Joyce Koskenmaki's "New Work, Inspired by the Kalevala"

Aino's Rock, by Joyce Koskenmaki. Oil on panel. (Photo courtesy Joyce Koskenmaki)

At the Vertin Gallery, "New Work, Inspired by the Kalevala," by artist Joyce Koskenmaki, will be on exhibit from Nov. 5 to Dec. 1. The opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5. Refreshments will be served.

"My paintings are inspired by the old Finnish folk tales compiled as the Kalevala," Koskenmaki says. "They are mostly new, with two older paintings that fit the theme and one embroidery from 1996."

The Vertin Gallery is at 220 Sixth St. in downtown Calumet. Hours are Monday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Sunday. Call 906-337-2200 for more information.

Juried Fiber Show at Ed Gray Gallery

The annual November fiber show will be hung at the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet on Friday, Nov. 5, and will be followed by a public reception from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The show is juried and will include the work of local artists Lynn Anderson, Audrey Chamberlain, Eve Lindsey, Millie Little, Dolly Luoma, Katherine MacInnes, Jean Medlyn and Eileen Sundquist.

Three additional artists, Elizabeth Leifer, Julie Sanford and Sharlene Schollmeyer, who have strong affiliations to the Keweenaw, will also be represented in the show. A final artist, Donna Kallner, known nationally as a fiber artist and teacher, will have her work in the show.

The gallery is located at 109 Fifth Street, Calumet. Visit the Ed Gray Gallery Web site for more information.

Copper Country Associated Artists offer copper tooling

The Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) invite the public to their studio / gallery at 112 Fifth Street for a copper tooling project from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5. Participants will design a small 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" work. All tools, materials and instruction are free!

Tooling by Miriam Pickens. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Associated Artists)

First Friday CCAA demonstrations are an opportunity to discover a variety of arts and fine craft techniques from some of the area’s most talented artists.

Wonderful bakery and coffee will also be provided. Donations are appreciated. The CCAA Studio / Gallery is located at 112 Fifth Street in Calumet. Winter Gallery hours are Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. FIRST FRIDAYS, the Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Please call 906-337-1252 or visit the CCAA Web site for further information.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mixed Media Installations by Jordan Siegler at Reflection Gallery in November

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, will host an exhibit of mixed media installations by Jordan Siegler from Nov. 1 to Nov. 27, 2010.

An opening reception and artist talk will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Reflection Gallery in the Jutila Center. The reception is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Jordan Siegler, a graduate of Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design, is exhibiting his mixed media installations at Finlandia's Reflection Gallery through Nov. 27.

The exhibit, "ContraPerspectives," translates stories from a childhood perspective into an adult mindset. Siegler explains that the exhibit is concept-heavy and uses a collection of media and materials to tell a story. The materials include Styrofoam, plastic wrap, lint, clothing, and spray paint.

Siegler says that the show was developed through his exploration of and meditation on two perspectives separated by time. His exploration of the child’s perspective and the adult’s perspective has melded a fascinating exhibition.

Siegler approaches his creative process with the belief that the resulting pieces are secondary to the concept behind them. He explains that to fully appreciate his installations, time must be taken to understand their intentions.

Lint 19, by Jordan Siegler. Material: Dryer lint. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

"The lint pieces in this exhibit are a restoration, post-breakdown," Siegler notes. "Lint is a cast-aside remnant of a violent process. I’ve built it into something that resembles its origin, but is in no way the same and will never function in the way it would have prior to violence. Lint is purity lost. I am the shirt and pants, restored."

Siegler’s use of Styrofoam, plastic wrap, and spray paint are from the aged, adult perspective.

"Toxic processes and materials, melted Styrofoam, layers of suffocating plastic wrap -- this is the perspective of distant memory. It’s simply a matter of perspective," he explains.

Styrofoam, by Jordan Siegler. Material: Styrofoam and spray paint.

Jordan Siegler completed a bachelor of fine arts with a concentration in sustainable design at Finlandia University in 2009. He has been employed as a project manager at the Marketing Department Inc., Houghton, Mich., since January 2010.

The Reflection Gallery is on the second level of Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus, Hancock. For additional information, please contact Yueh-mei Cheng, professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375 or e-mail

Jocelyn Benson: Thank you ...

[Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from an email received today from Jocelyn Benson, Democratic candidate for Michigan Secretary of State.]*

From Jocelyn Benson:

From the beginning, this campaign was about a different kind of leadership; leadership that puts you first, and fights for you.

We fell short of victory yesterday by just a few percentage points, with 1,437,825 Michigan voters casting their vote in support of our vision.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of this campaign, and for your tireless work to help us reach voters all across the state.

The work ahead of us, and my pledge to you remain the same. As I have done throughout my career, I will continue to work to ensure that our democracy remains in the hands of our people. I will stand up to any powerful special interest that is trying to drown out your voice. I will work to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. And I will stand up to anyone, anywhere that tries to deceive our citizens about their right to vote.

While it may be easier to work for this change with the authority of an office, we owe it to the citizens of Michigan to work wherever we are, however we can, to speak our voice, organize others, and work to enact laws to push for the changes we need.

I also want to offer my deepest thanks to the people who worked closely with me for nearly two years to fight for a better Michigan. ... Our work together will continue.

* See also the Detroit Free Press article "Republican Johnson triumphs in battle for Michigan secretary of state."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

McDowell congratulates Benishek

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard) addressed supporters in Sault Ste. Marie at approximately 10 p.m. (EDT) to thank them for their support and inform them that he had called Republican Dan Benishek to congratulate him on being elected to Congress from Michigan’s 1st District. McDowell’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Thank you all for being here tonight and for your support throughout this campaign.

Before I go any further I have to thank some people who helped make this campaign possible.

First and foremost, my family. Particularly my wife, Carrie, and our three daughters, Alivia, Emily and Rochelle. Their support these past six months has made this campaign worth it.

I also want to thank my entire campaign staff; everyone who has worked these past weeks and months here in the Soo and in the field offices across this district. In a district this large no campaign could afford the staff it would take to do all of the work. So I also want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who have showed up to knock doors and make countless phones calls because they believe in this campaign and in a brighter future for northern Michigan.

This campaign has come a long ways in a short time. Like most people across northern Michigan, I was shocked that Friday in April when Congressman Stupak announced he would not seek another term. Most of us had assumed Bart would continue to represent us well for many, many years to come. The thought of running for Congress hadn’t even crossed my mind.

But thanks to the support and encouragement from my family, I entered this race to make sure northern Michigan continues moving forward.

I’ve traveled to every corner of this 31-county district, from Bay County to the Keweenaw and every point in between.

Voters are fed up with government but not for the reasons Dan Benishek and his supporters want you to think. People are fed up because elected officials have quit working together; they have quit even trying to find common ground.

This campaign has always been about bridging that divide; about listening to other people and working out solutions to our problems. Together.

Together, we have come a long ways.

It is in that sense of cooperation that I just called Dan Benishek to congratulate him on being elected northern Michigan’s next congressman. Dan Benishek and I have had our differences throughout this campaign and I have no doubt we will continue to have them. But now is not the time to dwell on those differences.

My campaign has always been about looking forward, about believing that northern Michigan’s best days are still ahead of us. And tonight is no different.

Tonight isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about northern Michigan.

We didn’t wake up six months ago believing this would be easy; we didn’t wake up today believing this would be easy. The work we all did throughout this campaign was not wasted. We not only showed countless northern Michigan voters why we have to aim for a brighter future; but we got many of them to work with us to achieve that goal.

That work doesn’t end tonight or tomorrow or next year.

We overcame a lot of obstacles to get this far in this race and I have each and every one of you to thank for that.

Thank you for believing in me, for believing in this campaign, and for believing in a better future for northern Michigan.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Voters Guide, TV6 First District Congressional debate available on line

HANCOCK -- The "Voters Guide 2010," published by the Copper Country League of Women Voters, is now available on the League's Web site. The Guide -- still available in print in some local libraries, cafés, etc. -- has a Table of Contents to help you search for Michigan candidates and their positions on issues. Decide intelligently for whom you wish to vote and write down their names in the form on p. 27 to take with you to the polls tomorrow.

Although not all candidates replied in time to have their ideas included in this non-partisan publication, a good number of them are included with their answers to the League's questions and their political party affiliation listed.

Click here to read this helpful "Voters Guide 2010" on line.

If you missed the Oct. 26 TV6 (WLUC Marquette) debate among the candidates for the 1st District Congressional seat, to succeed Congressman Bart Stupak, the entire debate is now on line. Click here to watch the hour-long debate.

See also Noël McLaren's recent TV6 interview with 1st District Congressional Candidate Gary McDowell, posted Oct. 27, 2010.

Opinion: Democrats rally to support local candidates

[Editor's Note: Houghton County Democrats and U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak, who is retiring, hosted a rally at the Democratic Party headquarters in Houghton last night, Sunday, Oct. 31, to show support for their candidates: State Rep. Gary McDowell, Congressional candidate for Stupak's 1st District seat; State Rep. Mike Lahti, candidate for the 38th District State Senate seat now held by Mike Prusi, who is term-limited; and Scott Dianda, candidate for the 110th District State Representative seat now held by Lahti. Keweenaw Now guest writer and photographer Brian Rendel offers his views on the rally and the Democrats' campaign.]

By Brian Rendel, Co-chair, Houghton County Democratic Party

HOUGHTON -- About 40 or so people showed up to the rally last evening to hear from the candidates and from Bart. Despite the rumors and the hostile advertising, I think our state and congressional candidates will win thanks to massive efforts by volunteers around the district and hard work by each of the candidates and their teams, which are coordinating their resources. The final push is getting our identified voters to show up to the polls and vote tomorrow.

Gary McDowell, 1st District Congressional candidate to replace Congressman Bart Stupak, right, addresses Democratic supporters at a rally held at the Houghton County Democratic Party headquarters in Houghton Sunday evening, Oct. 31. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos © 2010 and courtesy Brian Rendel. Reprinted with permission.)

No candidate will please all people on all issues. Gary McDowell is the candidate who will represent this district the best. We need every single vote for him to be elected.

Dan Benishek (McDowell's Republican opponent) would not represent our district well. He wants to weaken government and favors corporate interest over the people. Benishek claims to be for the environment but says our regulations are too strict. Benishek opposes the government trying to make health care more available to people. Benishek wants Americans to trust Wall Street with our Social Security. His answer to complex problems is to simply make government the enemy and starve it with more cuts in taxes.

All our Democratic candidates support better health care for more people, regulations that protect the environment, and protecting the fundamental services such as public education and early childhood health care that can only be provided fairly and fully if government is responsible. We simply cannot afford to let our ideals distract us from moving forward on our long and sometimes frustrating path to progress.

Energized at the rally held just two days before the election, candidates are in good spirits as they talk and joke with local supporters in Houghton. Pictured here are, from left, 1st District Congressional Candidate Gary McDowell of Rudyard; State Rep. Mike Lahti of Hancock, candidate for the 38th District State Senate seat; Scott Dianda of Calumet, candidate for the 110th District State Representative seat; and Congressman Bart Stupak of Menominee, who announced his retirement last spring.

Seeing many people of all ages and from all wings of our diverse party turn out in Houghton County and surrounding counties to volunteer to knock doors, make phone calls, and help us get out the Democratic vote is very encouraging. The coordinated effort I believe is bigger than it was in 2008. It is through the enormous strength of these amazing people -- to be able to set aside the disappointments they may have with Democrats in the past two years -- that we can keep moving forward, even if it is slow at times. We cannot afford to lose a single vote because that vote may cost the election and set us back years.

Hundreds of volunteers in the 1st District have identified thousands of voters who do not vote in every election who have told us they favor our Democratic candidates. Interested readers may volunteer to help us encourage these voters to have a voting plan, know their voting place, and be sure they vote tomorrow. Call 523-1233 to volunteer.

State Rep candidates Dianda, Huuki present views, hear residents' concerns at Copper Harbor forum

By Michele Bourdieu

COPPER HARBOR -- Two candidates running for Mike Lahti's 110th District State Representative seat both hail from the Keweenaw -- Scott Dianda, Democrat, of Calumet, and Matt Huuki, Republican, of Houghton. The two spoke on issues that matter to them and listened to residents' concerns during a public forum held in mid-October in Copper Harbor.

Scott Dianda of Calumet, Democratic candidate for 110th District State Representative, addresses a group of residents in the Copper Harbor Community Building during a forum held here in mid-October. Seated at the table, at right, is Matt Huuki of Houghton, Republican candidate for this position. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

Lahti's seat is open because he is a candidate for the State Senate, 38th District.

Both Dianda and Huuki cited jobs as a priority for the Upper Peninsula.

Dianda, who was born and raised in Calumet, where he previously ran his family's party store business, said his most recent work -- eight years as a state employee (heavy equipment operator) for the Michigan Department of Transportation -- gave him experience with many issues of state government. During the past two years, he added, as an elected representative for the Michigan State Employees Association, Dianda traveled to 83 counties and worked with all 19 departments of the state, learning a great deal about how state government works and how it needs reform in some areas as well.

Dianda pointed out that the Upper Peninsula no longer has much agriculture. The potato farms it had in the past are gone. The lumber industry needs to be expanded. Another, controversial, issue up here is the mining.

"The Kennecott mine in Marquette County is taking place," he said. "Construction is going on right now, and they are going and developing that area."

Dianda said the district needs a representative who will consider these issues of jobs, development and the economy while making sure the people are protected by regulation that can assure this area remains pristine, no matter what businesses come up here.

"That's important to me because I live here," Dianda said. "I worked in Copper Harbor, so tourism to me means a lot because it helped me go on to higher education."

Dianda noted he spent summers in Keweenaw County and worked in the Delaware mine as a tour guide and also at the Copper Harbor Lighthouse while a teenager.

"Our area is great. It's a beautiful area. We're blessed to have what we have up here," Dianda said. "I want to see us succeed, and I want to see us grow."

Dianda said he is glad to see people move here and he welcomed the new residents in the audience.

"We've got so many homes that need to be occupied, so we're glad to see people come from outside the area," he said.

Matt Huuki, a small business owner (auto glass and auto repair) in Atlantic Mine, began by telling the Copper Harbor audience he is not opposed to tourism but people need base industries in order to support it. Huuki noted Baraga and Ontonagon counties -- historically the centers for base industries -- now have some of the highest unemployment in the nation.

"That's unacceptable," he said.

Matt Huuki, standing, right, addresses Copper Harbor residents during a forum for the candidates running for the 110th District State Representative position now held by Mike Lahti, who is running for State Senator. Scott Dianda, the Democratic candidate, is seated at left. At far left is Janet Shea, Copper Harbor business owner, who organized the forum.

"I've watched the battle with Kennecott. Now I do believe these mines have to be clean," Hukki said. "They have to be watched -- (to make sure) they're not destroying our our way of life and our beautiful environment."

Huuki said he believed Kennecott would make a difference in Baraga County. His example of mines being able to operate right next to beautiful natural resources was the White Pine mine.

"My Dad worked at White Pine his whole life. He actually got killed at White Pine in '87, but he loved that job," Huuki said. "White Pine is right next to Porcupine (Mountains) State Park. That mine employed 3200 people at one point in time -- good paying jobs."

Huuki said he thought Porcupine Mountains State Park was healthier when that mine was operating, judging from his childhood memory of long lines at the ski hill. Hukki expressed his view that it's the base industries that create money that gets spent in recreation areas.

Huuki also gave examples of members of his family who attended Michigan Tech University but had to leave the area to get jobs. He estimated that was true for 90 percent of Michigan Tech grads. Huuki said he believes mining will give Michigan Tech "a purpose for being here."

Huuki also talked about his interest in ATVs.

"I want to see ATVing become as popular and as attractive as snowmobiling," Huuki said. "I want to see that become another avenue of revenue for us, especially up here in the Keweenaw."

Janet Shea, Copper Harbor business owner, who organized the forum and invited Dianda and Huuki to talk, said Copper Harbor is actually looking for a kind of industry that would meld into tourism.

Huuki said he believed 500 mining jobs could lead to a wave of jobs -- potentially 1000 or 1500 jobs -- in local businesses such as machine shops. On the other hand, he said he believed bio-mass is an industry that is not sustainable because it would put mill jobs in jeopardy and it has to be subsidized.

Joanne Thomas of Allouez questioned Huuki on his quote of 500 jobs, noting Kennecott had projected 75 local jobs. Huuki said he was talking about Orvana Minerals planning to hire 500. (Orvana's Copperwood Project is located 30 miles from the White Pine Mine, near Lake Superior.) Huuki added he believes Kennecott is starting small but those jobs will expand out.

Dianda answered Shea's question by saying he felt the tourism industry in Keweenaw County -- snowmobiling and skiing, for example -- would continue to expand.

"I don't think we're waiting for something else to come in," Dianda said. "We have things in this county that are working, and we've got to grow those things. The tourist dollars that come in here are very important."

Dianda added Michigan Tech is bringing a lot of people and research to the area, including Ford Motor Company and General Electric. These are people who are going to buy homes, put children in schools and take advantage of recreational opportunities in the area, he said.

"The more people we bring to the area, the better we all have it," Dianda said.

Dianda said he also believed more could be done in Keweenaw County in areas such as Mt. Horace Greeley, near Gratiot Lake. A longer -- 30-40-year tax break -- could encourage an industry to hire local people. As for the mining, he said we have to be sure it's done right. Another possibility is agriculture.

"Agriculture is something that we do not take advantage of," Dianda said. "It's a long-term focus and it starts with the educational system."

Dianda gave the example of blueberry bog at Rice Lake and the historic example of people who, in the past, grew potatoes and winter vegetables up here. We should do as other states are doing and promote growing local food, he said.

Shea said Keweenaw County also needs a good high-tech infrastructure -- and possibly a trade school -- to attract young people to come here or stay here to work.

Dianda agreed that high-tech infrastructure is needed to attract people to locate in the area. To Huuki's argument for "base industry," Dianda replied that, while industry is needed, it shouldn't shadow everything else. He agreed that many people up here are good at trades. Vocational education and cottage industries should be encouraged.

"The one key thing we have to remember in this election," Dianda said, "is that we can't just elect people who say they're just going to go out and start slashing state government."

Slashing the state budget threatens important services like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (which helps small businesses), transportation and the school system. The state needs to prioritize with its budget, Dianda noted.

Elsebet Jegstrup, who recently moved to the Copper Harbor area, said she believed both government and private service industries -- insurance companies, for example -- could exist in Keweenaw County without harming the environment.

"It seems to me we have to call the service industry also a base industry because there is more service industry today," Jegstrup said.

Dianda said elected officials need to move forward to communicate the needs of the people to the state government.

Peg Kauppi, co-owner of the Mariner North in Copper Harbor, asked Dianda how he would be able to get people to listen to him in Lansing.

Dianda said his experience working with every state department in Lansing has made him known to state officials and given him the knowledge of state government needed for the representative's job.

In a discussion about stimulus money and what it was used for, Dick Powers of Copper Harbor, former Grant Township supervisor, noted some of the money was used for signs, culverts and guard rails that weren't needed, while a ditch that needed repair didn't receive funding.

"We can't keep living in the past," Powers said. "We 've got to think, What can we bring up here that's different?"

As an example, he noted Michigan Tech, formerly a School of Mines, has changed for the better with its emphasis on other programs and modern technology. Copper Harbor needs technology to attract people, Powers added.

"We haven't got a good communications system yet," Powers said.

One really successful program in Copper Harbor is the trail system -- both motorized and non-motorized -- for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter and biking in the warmer seasons.

Sam Raymond, owner of the Keweenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor, an outfitter and guide for silent sports such as mountain biking and kayaking, and vice-president of the non-profit Copper Harbor Trails Club, said he now employs 13 people in his business.

During the candidates forum, Sam Raymond, standing, foreground, owner of the Keweenaw Adventure Company in Copper Harbor and vice-president of the Copper Harbor Trails Club, speaks about the success of his company and especially the recent popularity of the mountain biking trails in Copper Harbor.

"I've been doing this now for 12 years," Raymond said. "I'm really pleased to say that, despite this recession and downturn in the economy, the last three years have been my best three years in business."

Raymond said a big part of his business growth has been the trails.

"We've been getting national recognition for our mountain bike trail system. We're part of the International Mountain Biking Association and they've designated Copper Harbor as what they call an 'epic ride' -- which is based on the quality of the trails, the terrain, the location, the scenery," Raymond explained. "We're one of 48 epic rides in the world, so they consider us to be some of the best."

Especially this summer, he added, people from all over the country have been seeking out Copper Harbor as a mountain biking destination.

Joanne Thomas of Allouez said Raymond's success is a testament to the growing potential in non-intrusive industries that this region is uniquely suited to expand.

"This is why it is crucial that all protections of our natural resources and habitat are continued and strengthened," Thomas said. "The attractions that draw most folks to this area to vacation and set up summer residences are the natural beauty and the still spectacular environment for silent sports -- not the devastation that can easily result from invasive mining and other polluting industries."

Thomas also mentioned the growth of the arts in the Keweenaw, with an increased number of art galleries and cultural activities.

Dianda said he was also impressed by this growth in his home town of Calumet, noting the example of the Vertin Building with its large gallery and art studios.

Shea pointed out to the candidates that one problem for tourism, which includes the trails, is that Keweenaw County has very little public access since so much of the land is privately owned and securing easements on that land depends on negotiating with landowners and obtaining funding to purchase easements.

Don Kauppi, co-owner of the Mariner North, who is active in working to obtain private property easements for trails, said a Recreation Committee including both Keweenaw and Houghton counties is hoping to establish and define a position for a qualified person to negotiate with landowners for both motorized and non-motorized trails. Some trails start as far south as Toivola.

"A government body can't do that," Kauppi said.

It has to be an individual with qualifications to evaluate land, negotiate with landowners and access a fund to pay for the easements, he explained.

"We've got to define our product (the terrain) -- whether it's motorized or non-motorized, so everybody knows where they're allowed to be -- define, sign and patrol," Kauppi said.

The cooperation of the sheriffs' departments and the DNRE (Department of Natural Resources and Environment) is necessary to protect the property owners through enforcement.

The problem with the trails on the state-owned Keweenaw Tip property (both motorized and non-motorized) is there is no legal access to connect to the trails up there because of private property. Ideally they would like to have a mountain bike trail from Eagle Harbor to Keweenaw Point, Kauppi said.

"We understand from Fort Wilkins that the State Parks Department is going to apply for some funding (to connect to those trails)," Kauppi added, "so we're hoping that if one of these guys gets in office they can help with that application."

Kauppi said he knows both candidates personally and considers them both good people.

One local resident asked the candidates if they would fight for Lake Superior -- which he said is "the best thing we have going up here."

Dianda said he considered Asian Carp one of the biggest Great Lakes issues.

"Those things have to be stopped in Chicago," he said. "It should be a non-issue."

Citing the recent oils spills in the Gulf and near Kalamazoo, Dianda also noted his opposition to drilling for oil in the Great Lakes.

Dianda said he believes the Pure Michigan ads should focus on the 110th District of the Upper Peninsula -- pictures of people on the bike trails, people fishing -- as they have done for recreational areas near Traverse City, for example. And these ads need to be funded.

"You've got four representatives in the UP. There's 106 of them south of the Mackinac Bridge," Dianda noted.

Dianda emphasized the importance of having representatives in Lansing who will see that the state budget cuts do not cut the valuable funding needed in the U.P.

"We are going to be the ones that will feel the effect if they start downsizing any type of state government," he said.

After the forum, both candidates stayed to chat with individual residents.

"I think a benefit to this meeting was in exposing the candidates to the interests and concerns of Keweenaw residents," Joanne Thomas noted. "The 'debate' was comfortable, friendly and informative."

Click here to visit Scott Dianda's Web site.

Click here to visit Matt Huuki's Web site.