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Friday, December 17, 2010

Community Arts Center hosts exhibit by Jens Carstensen

"Down to the Lake II," Oil, by Jens Carstensen, whose work is now on exhibit at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock through Dec. 24, 2010. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- "I find more and more that a painting will remind people of something that has happened in their own lives. There is nothing a painter loves more than making a connection with the viewer."

These are the words of Jens Carstensen; and for us to make a connection with the artist it may be as easy as a visit to the Copper Country Community Arts Center, where his paintings are currently on exhibit. Carstensen’s work is mainly about how he sees landscapes.

Farming Country, Oil, by Jens Carstensen.

According to the Geographer, Donald Meinig, "Any landscape is composed not only of what lies before our eyes but what lies within our heads."

Clouds, water, trees, roads, barns, and bathers: All of these elements of landscape are translated into brushstrokes by Carstensen and communicate scenes of familiarity that are visual, but also emotional.

"Fractured Sky," Oil, by Jens Carstensen.

"A landscape," Carstensen says, "is state of mind. When I look at the hills, the cornfields, the woods, I am filled with an impression which I want to capture on 2-D canvas. I am always asking myself: What is the inner image of a scene I am witness to, and how close is my painting to that inner image?"

He often draws on impressions from his time spent in the Western Lake Superior region. Carstensen has a second home in Michigamme, where he often paints local landscapes.

"Straight and Narrow," Oil, by Jens Carstensen.

"In Michigamme I have access to a place that affords peace, light, and freedom from distractions," he notes.

Friederike Roach, who represents Carstensen at the Moonshine Gallery in Michigamme, observes that Jens’ "deft use of color brings out the interplay of light between transient clouds, living vegetation, and solid human-made objects."

When Jens Carstensen translates what he sees into paint on a canvas we, the viewers, are witness to a way of seeing that is particular to Carstensen’s experiences. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, raised in Denmark, and spent many years in Madison, Wis., on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin -- not teaching art, but working in pharmaceutical research. For Jens, art and science combine in the use of shape and color to "focus and capture the mood I first experienced in a certain place."

This exhibition can be seen at the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery through Dec. 24. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturdays 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.

Youth Gallery: Art by students in CLK Schools

An exhibit of art by K-12 students in CLK (Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw) Schools is now in the Youth Gallery of the Copper Country Community Arts Center.

"Summer Memory," by Karlee Chute, third-grade student at Calumet Elementary School. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

CLK art teachers are Susan Rosemurgy and Debbie Mues. The exhibit will continue through the month of January.

"Portrait of Thomas Jefferson," by Abbey Koskiniemi, fifth-grader at CLK Elementary.

Tempera by Brian Torola, 12th grade student at Calumet High School.

Ceramics by Byron Parks, Grade 11, Calumet High School.

The Community Arts Center also has a wide selection of art for sale. Check it out for your last-minute holiday shopping. For more information call (906) 482-2333 or visit the Web site:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Carnegie Museum to hold Open House Dec. 16

HOUGHTON -- The Carnegie Museum's Annual Holiday Open House will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. TODAY, Thursday, Dec. 16. The public is invited to enjoy snacks, hot chocolate, and the completed gingerbread houses on display, including the walk-through playhouse. At 4 p.m. Chris Alquist, Portage Lake District librarian, will read stories; and at 5 p.m. members of the Copper Country Suzuki Association will perform a small concert.

The Holiday Exhibit continues through Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. Hours: Tuesdays noon - 7 p.m., Thursdays noon - 5 p.m., Saturdays noon - 4 p.m. Closed Saturday, Dec. 25, and Saturday, Jan. 1.

As a special for the holidays, in addition to regular hours, the museum will be OPEN from noon - 5 p.m. Wednesday, DEC. 29.

Click here for Keweenaw Now's Nov. 27 article on the gingerbread houses and more on the Carnegie Museum in Houghton.

Click here to visit the Carnegie Museum Web site.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Maple Sugar Folk to lead French-Canadian song, dance in Lake Linden Dec. 17

LAKE LINDEN -- Maple Sugar Folk will lead an evening of French-Canadian music and dance from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17, at the Little Gem Theater in Lake Linden.

Accompanied by Dave Bezotte on organ, Maple Sugar Folk sing the favorite "Oh Christmas Tree" in English, French ("Mon beau sapin") and German ("O Tannenbaum") at the Chassell Heritage Center and Museum Dec. 12, 2009. Singers are, from left, Barry Pegg, Ralph Horvath, Amanda Binoniemi, Karin Schlenker, Janet Wieber (behind Schlenker), Marcia Goodrich and Barbara Lide (seated next to Bezotte). This year the group will perform French-Canadian favorites at the Little Gem Theater in Lake Linden this Friday, Dec. 17. (2009 Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

The program will include traditional response songs and Christmas songs with plenty of opportunities to sing along, French-Canadian dance tunes for listening and dancing, and an opportunity to learn two French-Canadian folk dances. The event is part of Lake Linden’s Christmas Festival taking place on Friday and Saturday.

Favorite French songs will include "Il est né," "Un Flambeau Jeanette Isabelle," "Douce Nuit" (tune of "Silent Night"), "Cantique de Noël" (tune of "O Holy Night"), Mon Beau Sapin (tune of "O Christmas Tree"), "Alouette" by the father-son duo Wellesley and Christian Pereira, "Chevalier de la Table Ronde" by Barry Pegg and more ...

The Lake Linden Christmas Festival takes place in downtown Lake Linden from Friday, Dec. 17, through Sunday, Dec. 19.

Friday events will also include a Christmas Light Parade and Tree Lighting of the Love Light Tree at 5 p.m. on the main street. All are welcome and line-up is at 4:30 p.m. After the Maple Sugar Folk music event, the Little Gem Theater will be showing the movie Scrooge.

A Christmas Craft Show will be held at the Lake Linden Hubbell Elementary School Gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18. Santa will be available for visits during the show. At 3 p.m. the movie Home Alone will be shown at the Little Gem Theater.

On Sunday, Dec. 19, the Lake Linden-Hubbell School Band and Choir Concert will take place at the school at 2 p.m.

For more information call 906-296-2066.

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club board meets Dec. 15; skiing good on Maasto Hiihto

Gromit the snow dog has fun on Maasto Hiihto trails. (Photo © 2010 and courtesy Arlyn and Sandy Aronson)

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) will meet at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, Dec. 15, at the Hancock Chalet. All are welcome. Questions? Call Jay Green, KNSC president, at 487-5411.

Ryan Holt posted this trail report for Maasto Hiihto yesterday, Dec. 14: "Dragged, leveled, and set track on all trails at Churning and Maasto this morning and afternoon. Trails are firm and in very good to excellent condition except for the portion of Mud Lake Loop between Tomasi Rd. and the east gate at Churning. We'd call this trail a bit bumpy, but otherwise good."*

Last week Arlyn Aronson, trail boss, reported Holt dragged most of the trails as seen in the photo of Sandy Aronson and Gromit the snow dog below.

Sandy Aronson and Gromit the snow dog check out the trails on Maasto Hiihto the first week in December. Trails are even better now with last weekend's snowfall. (Photo © 2010 and courtesy Arlyn and Sandy Aronson)

Arlyn Aronson also reported last week that he and George Houle cleared branches that were pulled down by heavy snow.

"This was mostly in the area commonly called 'the triangle' or the 4-way intersection in Churning Rapids plus on the new trail called trail 4, from Tomasi Rd. up to Churning Rapids," Aronson said. "Some of these areas were impassable after that heavy snow. Please thank George for his help, next time you see him."

George Houle is seen here while rolling River Trail #4 on Maasto Hiihto. Gromit the trail dog supervises. (Photo © 2010 and courtesy Arlyn and Sandy Aronson)

Learn more about the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club and Maasto Hiihto Trails on the KNSC Web site.

Joanne Thomas practices her 180-degree turn on St. Urho's trail at Maasto Hiihto today, Dec. 15. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

*Visit Keweenaw Trails for updates on snow conditions for various cross country trails in the area.

Monday, December 13, 2010

PasiCats' Pikkujoulu warms Brownstone Hall with song, dance

By Michele Bourdieu

On Sunday, Dec. 12, Pasi Lautala on accordion, Oren Tikkanen on banjo and Dave Bezotte on keyboard -- joined by singer Megan Plis -- lead the Pikkujoulu (Finnish Little Christmas) audience in singing Christmas carols in Finnish and English at the newly remodeled Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

ATLANTIC MINE -- The first ever Pikkujoulu (Finnish Little Christmas), hosted Sunday, Dec. 12, by the PasiCats at the newly remodeled Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine, was an international, intercultural event. Despite the cold, snowy weather, the festivities attracted a diverse group of Finns, Finnish-Americans and others from local communities as well as international students from Michigan Tech.

Finnish students from Michigan Tech University helped lead the singing of Christmas carols in their own Finnish language during the Dec. 12 Pikkujoulu (Finnish Little Christmas), hosted by the PasiCats at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. Pictured here are, from left, clockwise, Janne Vartiainen, Outi Vartiainen, Jukka Simila, Linda Kartano and Hanna Nummila.

The audience first enjoyed singing along with Christmas Carols in both Finnish and English, accompanied by Pasi Lautala on accordion; Oren Tikkanen on banjo, guitar and mandolin; and Dave Bezotte on keyboard. Song sheets with the Finnish words were provided. Pasi was joined by Finnish students from Michigan Tech in leading the Finnish carols, and a young singer, Megan Plis, who led the singing in English. Some favorites -- like "Silent Night" and "Jingle Bells" -- were sung in both languages.

Finnish students from Michigan Tech join Pasi Lautala on accordion and Oren Tikkanen on guitar in singing Finnish songs.

After the singing, dancers warmed up fast to the PasiCats' repertoire of waltzes, polkas, fox trots, country tunes and even tango and humppa.

Dancers do a lively Finnish schottische to "Deck the Halls." Joining Lautala and Tikkanen to play dance music are PasiCats "Paris" (Bob) Hiltunen and Mike LaBeau.

Meg Pachmayer and Anna Leppanen of Finnsight offered yummy baked goods, hot coffee and the irresistible glögi -- a hot and spicy fruit punch with secret ingredients revealed only to those who bought a Christmas card with the recipe. Shopping bags, CDs, and flash cards for learning Finnish were also available for sale.*

Launching their new business, Finnsight, are Meg Pachmayer, left, and Anna Leppanen. Among the homemade goodies they sold at Pikkujoulu were prune cookies, cinnamon rolls, cake with mocha frosting and, to drink -- glögi and Finnish coffee.

According to the Finnsight Web site, the new company will soon be selling Finnish products online. Their purpose is to preserve Finnish language and culture by creating and designing Finnish-themed gift items and educational tools for people with Finnish roots, Finnish friends, or just a Finnish interest.

These Iranian students -- all graduate students at Michigan Tech -- ventured out in the cold to learn about Finnish customs, songs and dances at the Dec. 12 Pikkujoulu celebration in Brownstone Hall. Pictured from left are Amir Gheitasi,Kosur Khaksari, Hosna Ajilian and Hamed Pouryousef.

Susie Landers and her husband, Tim Landers, are responsible for the transformation of the old St. Mary's Hall into the Brownstone Hall -- a new venue for dances, parties, wedding receptions and more.

Susi Landers, right, joins Anna Leppanen at the Finnsight table during Pikkujoulu. Landers and her husband, Tim Landers, owners of Brownstone Hall, have been working hard for months to remodel the building.

"We purchased it in July 2010," Susie Landers said. "We've been working 24-7 since then trying to get it up and running."

The beautiful wood floor, the stage and chandeliers are welcome additions for any event. The kitchen is still in the process of being remodeled.

The Hall is already being reserved for wedding receptions, Susie noted. After Jan. 1, 2011, she hopes to have a schedule of events.

More photos of Pikkujoulu:

Pikkujoulu is a family tradition. Riikka Hepokoski and her husband, Mark Hepokoski, who recently moved to Hancock from Tampere, Finland, brought their children, dressed in festive Finnish outfits, to share in the fun. Riika is pictured here with three of them -- from left, Johan, 9; Greta, 7; and Brita, 4. Baby Anna, 6 months, is not pictured but was all snuggled in her basket.

Dancers Debbie Stouffer and Chuck Kautto drove all the way from Herman for the event.

Here's hoping the PasiCats will make Pikkujoulu an annual Copper Country tradition!

*Editor's Note: Click here to visit the Finnsight Web site.

Student Environmental Coalition fights to "Save the Wild U.P."

MARQUETTE -- The President of Grand Valley State University’s Student Environmental Coalition (SEC), Katie Sexton, is hoping to help the Upper Peninsula's modest manpower in the process of gaining momentum, educating and informing Michigan’s students about the metallic sulfide mining process.

"People in the U.P. lack the numbers to create a strong political opposition to this mine, and this organization is a way of getting other Michiganders, environmentalists, and people concerned with the basic human right to fresh, clean water concerned about the threats that these mining projects pose," Sexton said....
Read the article about these concerned students by Anya Zentmeyer of the Grand Valley Lanthorn, posted Dec. 9, 2010, on Save the Wild UP.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Houghton County Dems honor Congressman Bart Stupak

By Michele Bourdieu

U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak speaks to Houghton County Democrats at a potluck luncheon the group held for him on Dec. 11, 2010, at the Super 8 Motel in Houghton to express appreciation for his 18 years representing Michigan's First District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak told Houghton County Democrats his last few months before retirement have been busier than he had anticipated. He spoke at length about the tax bill now before Congress and expressed confidence it would be passed before the end of the year.

The Congressman also announced he would be leaving for Boston and Cambridge, Mass., soon to finalize a teaching fellowship at Harvard University to begin in January 2011. This commitment will soon be scheduled with half a dozen speaking engagements all across the State of Michigan early in 2011. Stupak was firm, however, about his decision not to run for public office -- at least not for the next four years.

Stupak, who announced his retirement last spring, has served 18 years as U.S. Representative for Michigan's First District, which includes the entire Upper Peninsula and part of Northern Michigan below the Mackinac Bridge.

He was the guest of honor at a potluck luncheon given by Houghton County Democrats on Dec. 11, following his appearance at the Michigan Tech Midyear graduation, where he was the guest speaker and received an honorary doctorate in Environmental and Energy Policy from the university.

"I can't imagine anybody who represents the Upper Peninsula and its values better than Bart Stupak, and I think people are really going to miss him," said Brian Hoduski, co-chair of the Houghton County Democratic Party.

Hoduski presented the Congressman with an engraved piece of local copper as a small gift of appreciation from the Houghton County Democratic Party (HCDP). Hoduski also announced the HCDP's annual service award will be named the Stupak Service Award.

Janet Gregorich, HCDP vice-chair, a longtime member of the group (since 1979), said she believes Stupak has been the best Congressman for the First District.

Congressman Bart Stupak reduces his height for a photo with petite Janet Gregorich, Houghton County Democratic Party vice-chair, during the Dec. 11 potluck luncheon HCDP members and friends held in honor of Stupak.

"He cared about the people of our district and knew the issues before he cast his votes," Gregorich said. "I will miss him, and I wish him well."

Gregorich presented Stupak's longtime Houghton Congressional Aide, Amy Wisti, with a holiday basket of goodies as a gift from the group.

Wisti praised the group for their ability to work and get things done.

"We've just got such a great party here. I think we've been able to accomplish an awful lot," Wisti said. "It really has been a wonderful 18 years and before -- and I will be here, still doing it."

Wisti was recently named HCDP Vice Chair for Candidate Recruitment.

Amy Wisti, Bart Stupak's Houghton Congressional aide, chats with Brian Rendel, left, HCDP co-chair, at the luncheon for Congressman Bart Stupak held Dec. 11 at the Super 8 Motel in Houghton. In the background are Scott Dianda of Calumet, former Democratic candidate for 110th District State Representative (the position now held by Mike Lahti), and John Laitinen, Franklin Township trustee.

Stupak noted Amy Wisti, her family and others in the Houghton County Democratic Party have been supporting him since he first ran in the primary for State Senate in 1990. Although he lost in that primary, two years later he was elected to Congress -- and stayed until this year. He praised HCDP for being the most organized Democratic Party in his district.

"Amy's right," he said. "Whenever something was asked of you, you always did it -- which made all of us successful. This election that we had here (2010) just defies logic."

People with "the most inexperience" have won -- across the nation, he noted. He gave examples of very experienced colleagues -- longtime incumbents -- who lost in this election.

"We (the Democrats) can't compete with corporate money," Stupak said in answer to a question on strategies for the 2012 election.

He said he'd like to see Congress pass legislation requiring corporate-sponsored campaign ads to indicate the name of the company paying for the ad.

"I think the Democratic Party as a whole must start recruiting -- actively, actively," Stupak said.

He noted the Democratic Party has done more in these last two years than any other modern Congress -- from Wall Street reform to children's health care, national health care and ending the war in Iraq.

"We've done it. No one gave us credit," the Congressman added.

Stupak expressed concern for the unemployed and said it's important to pass the tax bill in this session of Congress.

"We'll pass the tax bill and the part we're all struggling with -- those unemployed Americans who have not been able to find jobs in this slow, slow recovery where the corporations are filthy rich, they have the biggest bank accounts they've ever had in their history and they won't hire anybody because they want more," he said.

Questions from the group included concerns about the economy and Social Security.

John Slivon of Hancock asked, "If you approve this tax cut for the rich, how is it going to affect Social Security?"

Stupak said Social Security doesn't have a separate trust fund. (He noted some reforms in the health care bill could increase Social Security and Medicare.)

"All of us working, including myself, are paying for the retirees," he explained. "That's the way the system is designed."

Stupak estimated the amount of money coming in for Social Security will continue to be greater than the amount going out until about 2030.

"But on the massive ledger, where you had the war for Iraq, or (now) for Afghanistan, where we're spending $2 billion a month, that's draining us. We're not paying for that. We're borrowing the money."

Tax breaks vs. unemployment

Stupak pointed out that the tax break the Republicans want is over $900 billion -- greater than the stimulus ($787 billion) package Republicans opposed in the last election. His argument to Republicans complaining of tax increases is that it's really just going back to the Clinton economy.

"We had a pretty good economy under President Clinton, despite those so-called taxes," Stupak said.

He noted it's hard to "balance" the needs of unemployed people with the tax concerns of the rich.

"The best stimulus package is really giving unemployed people money, because they spend it all," he said. "Rich people don't spend it. They put it in their IRAs and everything else."

Stupak noted the Democrats' votes for the stimulus and Wall Street reform put the United States in a better position than some European countries that are struggling right now.

"Our economy, while slow, is stable," he said.

Stupak also praised Michigan's outgoing Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm for tough cuts to balance the budget. Those cuts put Michigan in a better position than other states whose budgets are now in the red, he said.

Stupak to stay active in Party

Stupak said he and his wife, Laurie, have been precinct delegates for the Democratic Party for about 36 years -- ever since they got married. He said they will still be active in politics. He plans to continue serving as a precinct delegate, though he doesn't plan to run for office, at least not in the next four years.

Stupak jokes with Democrats about living during retirement on money his wife, Laurie, seated fourth from left, has saved.

Stupak announced he will be doing a fellowship at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard beginning in January. He'll be teaching a course on how this Congress really works. In addition to teaching a class he'll be guest lecturing in other classes and in community organizations in the Boston-Cambridge area.

The Congressman told Keweenaw Now he already has at least six speaking engagements around the state of Michigan lined up for the first three months of 2011.

He also has been invited to speak for the Front 40 group that is opposed to the mine near Menominee, where he lives. Stupak said he has great objections to that mine because it is a potential sulfide mine right in the wetlands between Michigan and Wisconsin, in the Menominee River watershed.*

The Congressman, who has expressed concerns about Kennecott's Eagle Mine in the past, still considers it as being in an environmentally sensitive area; but he said Michigan's new mining law means the federal government has little to say about it now, especially since Kennecott obtained their underground injection permit without the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). As for Eagle Rock, the sacred Ojibwa site being used as the portal for the Eagle Mine, Stupak said he had spoken with members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and other Native American groups about it but had no plans to talk to them now. He doesn't agree with the argument that treaty rights should offer protection for Eagle Rock.

Stupak said he thinks there will be more mining in the Upper Peninsula.

"As the oil goes up so does (the price of) precious metals," he noted. "Economically it's worthwhile going back to mine the precious metals and gold and other things we have in the Upper Peninsula."

Stupak said he's not necessarily in favor of mining. If he were to speak out against a mine now, it would be as a private citizen.

"I'd look at each mine on its merits," he said. "Hard-rock mining-- we've done that for so many years up here I don't have a lot of problems with that. Sulfide mining, which we've never done in Michigan -- I do have concerns."

He said he is not opposed to the potential Copperwood mine near Wakefield, since it is hard-rock mining, but not sulfide mining.

Asked if he had any plans to run for public office in the future, Stupak said he wouldn't say "never," but he really wants to step back for a while.

"I promised I'd give myself four years away from running for office," he said. "I want to be a private citizen for a while."

Democrats: "We'll miss him."

Several Democrats at the potluck event said they would miss Stupak, especially because of his dedication to the people of the First District.

Houghton County Democrats served this special cake at the luncheon for Bart Stupak on Dec. 11.

Catherine Lewis of Houghton, one of the youngest members of the group, said she joined the Democrats when Obama was running and then "just kind of stuck around." She plans to continue to be involved with the Democratic Party.

Lewis expressed disappointment at Stupak's retirement decision.

"I'm sad he's retiring. I'm going to miss him," she said. "I think he really took into consideration the people of his district. He really represented us."

Stupak also expressed encouragement and his wishes for success in the future to fellow Democrats despite their losses to Republicans in the recent election -- State Rep. Mike Lahti of Hancock, who ran for State Senate, and Scott Dianda of Calumet, who ran for the 110th District State Representative position Lahti now holds.

Lahti said he had no plans to run for public office again.

State Rep. Mike Lahti of Hancock and his wife, Sharon, attended the luncheon for Congressman Bart Stupak on Dec. 11.

"It's nice to be back home. It feels like I'm retired," Lahti said. "I'm still going to be involved with the Democrats and with the community."

Dianda had words of praise for Stupak.

"Mr. Bart Stupak has always been there for the people of his First Congressional District," Dianda said. "He's always put the needs of the people first, and he's always been so accessible. He's a true man of the people to be so accessible to the voters."

Dianda said he would continue to be involved with the Democratic Party. He was recently named HCDP Vice Chair for Political Organizing.

"I'll still be one of the watchdogs for the people," he said.

Brian Rendel, co-chair of the Houghton County Democratic Party, predicted people will miss Stupak even more in the future.

"Bart did a huge amount of work for District 1 in Michigan, and I think the District will appreciate all that work even more as we get to know our new Congressman. Bart will be a tough act to follow," Rendel noted.

Barbara Manninen of Hancock, who was recently named HCDP Membership Chair, said she always tried to watch Stupak on C-Span because, as Chair of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (under the House Committee on Energy and Commerce), he demonstrated a good grasp of many issues -- from food safety to Toyota's sudden acceleration problem to the BP oil spill to Great Lakes protection.

"It was amazing -- the knowledge that man has, in addition to legislative skill," Manninen noted. "He was a real worker for protecting the Great Lakes. We all treasure our Great Lakes -- our habitat, our tourism, clean water -- all depend on the Great Lakes."

Thomas Baldini of Marquette, Congressman Stupak's district director for the past eight years and former chair of the International Joint Commission (IJC) for the Great Lakes (a board of experts appointed by the United States and Canada to protect the Great Lakes boundary waters) was also present at the event.

Thomas Baldini, left, of Marquette, Congressman Stupak's district director for the past eight years and former chair of the International Joint Commission (IJC) for the Great Lakes, talks with Scott Dianda of Calumet, former candidate for Michigan 110th District State Representative and now HCDP vice chair for political organizing.

"He and I go back a long, long way," Baldini said. "We were friends even before he was running for office."

Baldini noted he was chair of the IJC at about the time Stupak was first elected to Congress during Clinton's administration. He said Stupak, as a boss, was very supportive and easy to work with. At the time Stupak announced his retirement from Congress, Baldini praised Stupak's work and dedication to protecting the Great Lakes from water sales, oil drilling in and under the lakes, and contamination.**

Congressman Bart Stupak says good-bye to supporters and friends after the Houghton County Democratic Party's potluck luncheon of appreciation held for him on Dec. 11. In the foreground are, from left, Scott Dianda and Mike Lahti.

Ann Pace of Hancock, an active member of the Houghton County Democrats, offered this comment: "I didn't always agree with him, but I was always proud that he was my Congressman, and I value his tenacious fidelity to what he believes is right."

Editor's Notes:

* The Front 40 is a grass-roots environmental group specifically opposed to mining company Aquila Resources' proposed Back 40 mining operation along the Menominee River in Menominee County, Michigan.

** See our April 9, 2010, article, "Stupak announces decision not to continue in Congress," with Thomas Baldini's comments on Stupak as "Guardian of the Great Lakes."

Portage Library begins Isle Royale Series, Young Adult Book Group

In November 2010 at the Portage Lake District Library, Dr. John Vucetich, Michigan Tech University professor of wildlife ecology, participated in an environmental ethics discussion led by Michael Nelson, resident philosopher of the Isle Royale wolf/moose project. Here Vucetich reads from his contribution to Nelson's book of essays, MORAL GROUND: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Dr. John Vucetich will present "Of Moose and Wolves" from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, at the Portage Lake District Library. Dr. Vucetich will show slides taken on Isle Royale, which is home to the world’s longest-running study of a predator and its prey, and share the knowledge and understanding gained from years of studying the relationship between moose and wolves. Participants will also be able to see and touch bones and other items found on the island.

Dr. Vucetich is an Assistant Professor of wildlife ecology at Michigan Tech University. His interests include population biology, environmental ethics and the ecology of wolves and moose. He has worked on Isle Royale for nearly 20 years and, along with Dr. Rolf Peterson, has been co-leading the Isle Royale wolf-moose project since 2000.

This will be the first of a series of presentations on Isle Royale. Library presentations are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Portage Library announces Young Adult Book Group

The Portage Lake District Library invites students to join its Young Adult Book Group for teens.

The first meeting is from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13. Participants will meet at the library on the second Monday of each month and possibly more often if there is interest. Students will choose what they will read, and the selection will include books, poems, magazines and newspapers.

This program is free, no registration is required and it is open to all area high school students. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570.