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, November 12, 2010

U.P. Native’s book wins prize in Arizona

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Winners of the first annual Purple Dragonfly Book Awards contest, which recognizes excellence in children's literature, were announced recently at the Arizona Authors Association Banquet in Glendale, Arizona. Deborah K. Frontiera’s entry, Living on Sisu: The 1913 Union Copper Strike Tragedy, received First Place in the historical fiction category.

Book cover courtesy Deborah K. Frontiera. Reprinted with permission.

"Winning any place in the Purple Dragonfly Contest is a huge honor because in order to maintain the integrity of the Dragonfly Book Awards, a minimum score of 55 out of 80 must be earned for a place to be awarded to the entrant -- even if it is the sole entry in a category," stated Linda Radke, president of Five Star Publications, the sponsor of the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards. "Competition is steep, too, because there is no publication date limit as long as the book is still in print."

Frontiera’s book, Living on Sisu: The 1913 Union Copper Strike Tragedy, describes the events of the strike by Western Federation of Miners members against the copper mining companies of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from a young person’s point of view. The book is designed specifically for students in grades three through eight, but older students and adults have found it a fascinating read as well.

"I sometimes refer to the book as 'Michigan’s Alamo,' because the events described are just as historically significant to the state of Michigan and the nation as a whole as the battle of the Alamo was to Texas and then the nation, but very few people are aware of it," Frontiera said. "It is my hope that the book will make people more aware of the importance of this segment of United States history. Winning this prize with its accompanying publicity will go a long way toward reaching my goal. I spent five years researching and writing the story. Accepting the prize validates all that effort and is a huge honor for me. Schools and teachers who would like to use the book as part of Language Arts or Social Studies curriculum will find free classroom materials to go with the book in the 'articles' section of my Web site."

Only recently, Frontiera learned from a cousin that her great aunt and uncle, Ransom and Gail Pearce, who died many years ago, were married in 1913, and on Christmas Eve, the day of the Italian Hall Tragedy (when seventy-four people -- mostly children -- were trampled to death in a panic that resulted from a false cry of "Fire!") Gail Pearce was in Calumet delivering charity baskets.

"I remember going to Aunt Gail’s house when I was a child. Connections like that make the story even more special to me," Deborah stated.

Deborah grew up in Lake Linden, Michigan, the daughter of Clarke Olson and the late Celia Pearce Olson. She now resides in the Spring Branch area of Houston, Texas, where she continues her writing career and works with Houston’s Writers In The Schools program. She and her husband, Jasper Frontiera (a Saginaw native), have four adult daughters and two grandchildren (and a soon-to-be-born third). She spends the summer months each year at a cottage on Rice Lake, a few miles from where she grew up.

Visit Deborah’s web site at to learn more about the author and her work.

The Purple and Royal Dragonfly Book Awards are part of the family of Five Star Dragonfly Book contests, which include the Chocolate Dragonfly Book Awards, honoring food-related publications; the Green Dragonfly Book Awards, saluting books that create awareness of the environment and eco-friendly living; and Dragonfly eBook Awards, which celebrate eBooks. For more on Five Star Dragonfly contests, access Five Star Publications can be reached at or by calling 480-940-8182.

Editor's Note: See our July 30, 2009, article about Deborah Frontiera, with a review of her award-winning book: "Local author makes Copper Country history come alive for kids, adults."

Superior Wind Symphony to perform "American Voices" Nov. 13 at Rozsa

HOUGHTON -- The Superior Wind Symphony will perform "American Voices" at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 13, in the Rozsa Center.

The diverse history of our country has provided a vast musical palette that is easily identifiable as the "American Sound." The concert will feature music by Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland and Florence Price.

"Our country's cultural heritage is incredibly diverse, and our music reflects this eclectic tradition," says Nicholas Enz, conductor. "Elements of music from Latin America, Africa and Native America are foundational building blocks for these composers. From vaudeville to New Orleans Dixieland Jazz, this will be a concert to remember."

The symphony and its some fifty players, are well known for liveliness and humor, as well as excellent musicianship.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students. To obtain more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200 or at Tickets are also available at the door.

Keweenaw Art Affair to offer art, crafts for sale Nov. 13

HOUGHTON -- The Keweenaw Art Affair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, in the Houghton High School Gym.

More than 40 artists will offer their arts and crafts creations for sale at the event. In addition, volunteers from the Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project will be selling hand-crafted items from Guatemala.

Don't miss this chance to do some quality holiday shopping!

Ski Tigers to hold Registration, Ski Swap sale Nov. 13

HOUGHTON -- Registration and a Ski Swap sale for the Ski Tigers will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, in the Houghton High School Multi-Purpose Room. Drop-off for the ski swap is from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

The Copper Country Ski Tigers group provides young skiers (ages 5-17) with cross-country skiing instruction, fun on the snow and companionship. From first-time skiers to high school racers, Ski Tigers receive individual and age-appropriate instruction. Ski Tigers will meet every Saturday at 1 p.m. from January 8 through March 18, 2011.

For more information, contact Roger Tervo at 523-0036 or or visit the Ski Tigers Web site.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

UPEC seeks Environmental Education Grant applications

MARQUETTE -- The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) again offers a grant opportunity for educators and youth workers who provide quality environmental education programs to regional children from preschool to high school. The UPEC Environmental Education Fund offers grants of up to $1,000 for the 2011 calendar year, with applications due Dec. 15, 2010.

Teachers, 4-H leaders, Scout leaders, museum staff members, youth service workers -- individuals or groups who wish to start or maintain an environmental project involving preschool through high school age children -- are eligible for funding which may be used for all program expenses other than salaries.

UPEC has funded everything from middle school students cleaning up and monitoring the chemical composition of water bodies to elementary students creating outdoor journals, to high school students testing soil samples on snowmobile trails, to a museum creating hands-on nature exhibits. As the UP’s oldest grass roots environmental organization, UPEC is equally willing to fund outstanding projects inside and outside of formal school settings.

To learn more about the program, download a grant application, and obtain mailing information, go to UPEC’s website at Completed applications must be postmarked or emailed no later than Dec. 15, 2010.

Meeting to brainstorm best use of county land near Courthouse to be Nov. 14

HOUGHTON -- A meeting to brainstorm THE BEST USE of the two-block piece of land west of the Houghton County Courthouse will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14, at the First United Methodist Church, 401 Quincy St., Hancock.

The lower half of this aerial photo shows the two-block piece of Houghton County land west of the County Courthouse in Houghton that had been proposed for a justice center on the November 2, 2010, ballot. County voters voted "no" on the proposal. The Pewabic community garden is in the center of the publicly owned piece of property. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © 2010 and courtesy ADAM JOHNSON | brockit inc.)

"I'd like to call the project 'The County Common,' said organizer Carolyn Peterson. "I have a concept that there is a best use for this land, and I want people to come and work together with creative ideas."

Peterson said she had two main motives for inviting county residents to this brainstorming meeting:

1. to get something beautiful right at the center of Houghton County and

2. to restore people's faith in community action.

"We, the residents of Houghton County, already own this whole piece of property," Peterson noted. "What an incredible opportunity we have to do something creative with that space!"

Peterson was one of the community members instrumental in establishing the Pewabic community garden, which is at the center of this piece of property.

"I don't want to move the garden. I like the garden where it is," she said.

Peterson said the purpose of this meeting is to bring citizens together to plan something that meets the needs of the county officials (jail, office space) AND allows for an expanded community garden and a park, perhaps.

"We need a grass-roots effort to restore our faith in each other and local government's faith in us," Peterson said.

Anyone with questions about the meeting should call Carolyn Peterson at 482-4696.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Authors to sign book on Finnish sauna tradition Nov. 12 at North Wind Books

HANCOCK -- Author Michael Nordskog and photographer Aaron W. Hautala will speak about and sign copies of their book, The Opposite of Cold: The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition, at Finlandia University’s North Wind Books, Hancock, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12.

The Opposite of Cold is a full-color history and celebration of Finnish sauna in the western Great Lakes region and a commemoration of the history, culture, and practice of Finnish sauna in the north woods.

With stunning photographs of unique and historic saunas of the region -- including the oldest sauna in North America, incredible surviving saunas from immigrant farmsteads, and gorgeous contemporary saunas from noted architects -- in their book Nordskog and Hautala unveil the importance and beauty of sauna culture in modern Midwestern life.

The book singing event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

North Wind Books is located at 437 Quincy St. in downtown Hancock. For additional information, please call the bookstore at 906-487-7217.

Finlandia to present second "Niskavuori" drama Nov. 11 - 14

HANCOCK, MI – Four performances of the Finlandia University fall play The Bread of Niskavuori, translated from the Finnish and directed by Melvin Kangas, will take place Nov. 11 to 14, 2010, at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

The Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening performances, Nov. 11, 12, and 13, begin at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday, Nov. 14, matinee begins at 2:30 p.m.

The Bread of Niskavuori, is the second in a series of plays written in the 1930s by Estonian Hella Wuolijoki (1886 to 1954). The dramas, set in Finland between the 1880s and the 1940s, depict a saga of power struggles, complicated love relations, and clashes between the traditional and the modern among the people who live and work at the country house Niskavuori.

Loviisa, one of the saga’s central characters, is the strong-minded matriarch who controls Niskavuori. In the first installment of the play series, presented at Finlandia in October 2009, Loviisa’s son, Aarne, left his wife Martta for the schoolteacher, Ilona, and fled Niskavuori.

In The Bread of Niskavuori, Arne has returned to help his mother take care of the farm, but ultimately Niskavuori’s fate rests on the power of its wise women.

Tickets are $5 per person and may be purchased at the door prior to each performance. Finlandia students with I.D. may attend free.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is located at 435 Quincy Street in downtown Hancock. For additional information, please contact Lynne Sweeney at 906-487-7204.

Community Arts Center to hold Open House, annual meeting Nov. 10

New mural for the Copper Country Community Arts Center by Nicole Yarroch. (Photo courtesy Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center in downtown Hancock invites you to its Open House and Annual Meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10, for all friends, supporters, and members. Join a spirited conversation about the future of the Arts Center in a review of the financial outlook, building plans, programs, and strategic goals.

The Open House will also celebrate the opening of the 17th annual Shaft exhibit, in which talented local artists interpret local mining history, as well as the unveiling of the new mural on the building by Nicole Yarroch. Light refreshments will be served.

The Community Arts Center is owned and operated by the Copper Country Community Arts Council and is located at the end of the first block, 126 Quincy Street. For more information call 482-2333 or visit the Community Arts Center's Web site.

Monday, November 08, 2010

NOSOTROS to host Latin Music social Nov. 12

Latin Music social poster by Julio Rivera. Click on image for larger version.

HOUGHTON -- Another great Latin American event is coming up! Join us -- NOSOTROS -- for a fun and relaxing time, learn how to dance Latin music, and make new friends. NOSOTROS will host a Latin Music social from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12, in MUB Ballroom A, on the Michigan Tech campus.

Free dance lessons from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. will be followed by two hours open floor with salsa, merengue, bachata and much more!

No partner needed! Family friendly! All levels! Free!

Hope to see you all there!!

This event is organized by NOSOTROS, Hispanic Student Organization at Michigan Tech. For information contact Alessia Uboni, at

Sunday, November 07, 2010

FOLK to present program on Great Lakes area mining Nov. 10

HOUGHTON -- Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) will hold their General Membership Meeting and a program on "The State of Mining around the Great Lakes Area" from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at Portage Lake District Library on the Houghton Waterfront. The meeting will be short and will include a vote on the by-laws.

Guest speakers for the program will be Teresa Bertossi and Gabriel Caplett, from the Marquette area. They are the editors of the new magazine, Headwaters. The first issue was titled "Mining, Land and Water, Where do we go from here?"

The meeting and program are free and open to the public. For more information on FOLK, visit their Web site. To read the first issue of Headwaters, click here.