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, January 07, 2011

Letter: Correction for the KEMC power line extension permit

[Editor's Note: A Jan. 4, 2011, article in the Marquette Mining Journal, "Mine power issue debated," cites several citizen comments on a DNRE (Department of Natural Resources and Environment) hearing held Dec. 7, 2010, concerning a power line extended from Marquette County Road 550 to the vicinity of the Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. (KEMC) Eagle Mine and whether an amendment to Kennecott's mining permit application is needed. In the following letter to the editor, mining expert Jack Parker comments further on that hearing.]

When announcing the most recent DEQ approval of the power line extension permit for Kennecott -- the OGS Director (DNRE Office of Geological Survey) erred, intentionally or otherwise, by describing the request as follows: "To change from on-site generation of electricity to purchase from Alger Electric."

As described in the letter from KEMC to Joe Maki, DNRE, dated 11.15.2010, the request was for: An amendment to MP012007 to extend electric power from County Road AAA (CR AAA) to the Power House located in the mining area …

Similarly the Notice of Public Meeting issued for Dec. 7, 2010, by the DNRE described the request as being "For an amendment to extend electric power from County Road AAA to the power house located in the mining area … "*

The Director then dismissed public comments because they did not apply to the request as he described it.

Clearly the permit was granted for a request which did not exist, is in error, and must therefore be revoked and the power must be cut off.

The Director repeatedly made deceptive statements in this permitting procedure, in public, and is subject to the penalties prescribed.

The permit is also invalid because the Triple AAA extension was itself not permitted properly and should be removed.

Thank you,

Jack Parker, Mining Engineer
Baltic MI 49963
January 6th 2011

*Editor's Note: See our Nov. 25, 2010, article, "MDNRE to hold public meeting on Kennecott mining permit amendment request Dec. 7."

From Tech Today: Robert Janke, former biology professor, passes

By John Gagnon, Michigan Tech promotional writer*

HOUGHTON -- Robert A. Janke, who loved cross-country skiing, indulged a pronounced sweet tooth, mainly in the form of pies, and devoted himself to his work at Michigan Tech and on Isle Royale, died Wednesday, Dec. 22, at PortagePointe. He was 88.

Janke taught at Tech for more than 40 years -- first physics, then biology. His specialty was plant ecology, in particular the identification of the flora of Isle Royale, where he also studied forest succession -- from both natural change and fire -- as well as the effects of moose on the forests.

Colleagues recall Janke as physically fit, intellectually solid, and socially inclined. "He just liked people," said Ken Kraft, a colleague. "He loved to lead a group on weekend cross-country skiing outings."

Kraft, a former associate professor, first met Janke in 1961. Kraft described Janke as both a park naturalist and a scientist on Isle Royale, where he worked every summer, beginning in the 1940s.

"He had an affection for Isle Royale," Kraft recalls. "He'd still be there if he could."

Professor Emeritus Rolf Peterson, who first met Janke in 1967, recalls him as "a very cheerful guy who was helpful and reliable."

Peterson didn’t work with Janke, but they both worked extensively on Isle Royale, so they crossed tracks often. Peterson described Janke as a man of integrity and accomplishment -- "known for his work in forest ecology for many decades, and one of the first two forest ecologists at Tech."

Janke, who retired in the early 1980s, earned a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Michigan, a master's in physics from Michigan Tech, and a doctorate in biology from the University of Colorado.

Janke attended Portage Lake United Church, in Houghton, where he was active in the choir. He also enjoyed singing in the Copper Country Chorale and the Ecumenical Choir, and he enjoyed folk dancing.

In 1944, he married the former Nadine Key. The couple lived first in Houghton and then Boston Location. His wife preceded him in death in 2006.

*Editor's Note: Keweenaw Now wishes to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Robert Janke. This obituary appeared in the Jan. 4, 2011, issue of Tech Today. Reprinted with permission.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

First Friday in Calumet to offer art openings, basket making

CALUMET -- The first Friday of 2011, Jan. 7, will feature exhibit openings and art activity in three Calumet galleries.

Vertin Gallery to exhibit art by Ray Ellison

The Vertin Gallery presents the work of Ray Ellison in his show Ring, Rang, Rung: Communication…Past, Present and After Now!

Ray Ellison graduated with his Masters in Fine Art from Michigan State University in 1976. Since then he has been an active member of the Lansing art scene, co-founding galleries and doing art installations. Currently he is a Vertin Artist with a cabin in the Upper Peninsula and a desire to become a permanent resident.

Ellison’s show deals with the telephone and the changing way we communicate through it as it changes from a fixture at the corner store to something we keep in our pocket. He examines how society’s attitude toward the receipt of a phone call has changed and expresses regret over the loss of the event that a phone call used to be.

"The phone had a special place in the home. When it rang it was news (good or bad) from far away places. It brought voices that evoked emotional responses; news of births, deaths, special events that were taking place!" Ellison says. "Today there is no phone in the hallway; it’s in your pocket. The ring tones are as varied as the stars in the sky. This immediate contact is eroding personal communication skills in the young. Looking someone in the eye when you talk or shaking hands on a contract is a thing of the past."

Ring, Rang, Rung: Communication...Past, Present and After Now! will be on display from Jan. 7 through Feb. 2. An opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 7, with an artist talk at 7:15 p.m.

Located in the heart of downtown Calumet, the Vertin Gallery is one of the Upper Peninsula’s premiere galleries, featuring art across all mediums including painting, copper, jewelry, sculpture and fine woodworking. The work in the gallery changes frequently and, each month, premiers a new exhibit to feature fresh new artists of the highest quality. For more information on the gallery and upcoming events, please visit or call (906) 337-2200.

Ed Gray Gallery to feature All Gallery Show

The Ed Gray Gallery features Gallery artists in an All Gallery Show during the month of January 2011. An opening reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 7.

For the February Miniature Show, the Ed Gray Gallery is issuing a call for entries, with a deadline of Jan. 26, 2011. This all media-juried show will be exhibited Feb. 4 - Mar. 3, 2011. Entries are limited to outside dimensions of 5 in. by 5 in. by 5 in. The opening reception for the Miniature Show will be held on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011.

Basket Making at Copper Country Associated Artists

Like Brigadoon, Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) are appearing from their winter nap just for this First Friday event on Jan. 7, 2011.

Participants will create a small basket that can hold, for example, napkins and stuff. Learn the basics of this art, and have an enjoyable time…for the evening and the rest of the winter.

Talented members will assist you as the evening, starting at 6 p.m., grows intense until 9 p.m. Materials are provided for the evening.

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. The CCAA Gallery is located at 112 Fifth Street in Calumet.

For the winter, the Gallery will be open only for First Friday events. So,come visit and enjoy.

For more information about the CCAA call 906-337-1252 or visit

Portage Library to offer new database Webinars Jan. 11

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library recently acquired two remarkable databases for its patrons to use: Mango and Universal Class.

Shawn Leche, Portage Library director, will present a Webinar that will teach people how to use these databases from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11.

Mango is an online language learning system that teaches practical conversation skills for real communication. Each lesson combines real life situations and audio from native speakers with simple, clear instructions. The courses are presented with an appreciation for cultural nuance and real-world application that integrates components of vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and culture. It includes over 30 languages and 10 courses which teach English as a second language. Patrons can choose a level of instruction from basic to complete courses that are more in-depth. The database features a fluency button to click on to hear a word pronounced at normal speaking speed.

Universal Class offers over 500 online continuing education courses taught by real instructors with remote, 24/7 access so people can study at their convenience on their own schedule. Patrons can enroll in up to five courses at a time and have six months to finish each course. A complete list of classes is posted on the library’s website.

Mango and Universal Class are available free of charge to all Portage Lake District Library patrons.

This Webinar is free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

"Embracing Mortality" course to be offered at Portage Library

HOUGHTON -- "Embracing Mortality," a five-week course exploring end-of-life options available here in the Copper Country starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Portage Lake District Library.

Participants can expect a supportive atmosphere, group discussions, and group speakers that include a physician, Hospice nurse and funeral directors. The classes are sponsored by the Community Coalition of Grief and Bereavement. Class size is limited to 25 people, but the course will not be offered unless 15 people register.

"Facing the enormity of the term limits we all live with need not be frightening or morbid," says instructor Carolyn Peterson. "In fact, we laugh a lot in this course! A major goal of the course is to add joy and meaning to whatever time we have left to live."

To obtain more information and to pre-register, contact instructor Peterson at 482-4696 or email

Sons of Norway to meet Jan. 9

HANCOCK -- Sons of Norway will hold their general membership meeting at 6:30 p.m. this Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Hancock. Members will plan the 2011 Kalendar for the Ulseth Lodge.

Please bring a dessert or finger food to share. The program will feature "Cabin Experiences in Norway" presented by Lois and Gary Blau.

For more information visit the Sons of Norway Web site.

Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance Board members re-elected

HOUGHTON -- Bob Mark, Michigan Tech University School of Business and Economics, and Dave Olsson of the Marketing Department were re-elected to three-year terms on the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) Board of Directors at the organization’s annual meeting in December 2010.

According to Phil Musser, KEDA Executive Director, "Both Bob Mark and Dave Olsson are experienced business people, are fully tuned in to the business community, and are absolutely committed to helping grow the Keweenaw regional economy. We are fortunate to have them on the Board."

Other KEDA Board members include: Jim Baker, Michigan Tech office of Technology and Economic Development; Brian Baccus, Peninsula Powder Coating; Brian Helminen, Designotype Printers; Chuck Nelson, Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital; Steve Palosaari, Superior National Bank; Glen Simula, GS Engineering; and Phil Musser, KEDA Executive Director.

KEDA is a private, non-profit, economic development organization that helps grow local companies and jobs in Keweenaw, Houghton and Baraga Counties by helping local entrepreneurs start up new companies, helping existing companies expand, and attracting companies to the Keweenaw. KEDA provides hands-on assistance including business plans, project feasibility, financing, professional development seminars and employee training, and other assistance. KEDA also initiates special projects that create opportunities for future economic growth.

For more information, contact Phil Musser at 906-482-6817 or via e-mail at

Calumet Art Center to host Open Studio nights

CALUMET -- The Calumet Art Center will host Open Studio nights on the first and third Wednesdays of the month beginning Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. Artists are invited to come to work on any project of their choice from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Soup and bread will be provided for participating artists. A five dollar donation is requested.

The Calumet Art Center is located at 57055 Fifth Street in Calumet. For more information call 906-281-3494.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Thoughts about biomass, forests, and our energy future

By Steve Garske, invasive plant specialist for GLIFWC*

ODANAH, WIS. -- Humans have been using biomass ever since they figured out how to make a fire. And for most of human history this strategy worked quite nicely. But the landscape is changing fast. The rush for new sources of energy is on, driven by declining oil and gas reserves, increasing reliance on imported fossil fuels, rising energy prices, and the risks of global climate change. In an attempt to address these serious issues (or cynically capitalize on them, as the case may be), some politicians and corporate "leaders" have been touting "biomass" and "biofuels" as solutions. ...

Click here to read the rest of this well documented article published recently in the Winter 2010-2011 issue of Mazina'igan.

Mining updates from GLIFWC*

Click here to read, in this same issue of Mazina'igan, the article "Base metal mine development activity in the ceded territories," by John Coleman and Esteban Chiriboga, GLIFWC staff. The article includes maps showing metallic mineral leases and exploration boreholes in the ceded territories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

*The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) represents eleven Ojibwe tribes who reserved hunting, fishing and gathering rights in the 1837, 1842, and 1854 Treaties. As a tribal resource management agency, GLIFWC strives to provide opportunities for tribal members to exercise treaty rights during well-regulated, off-reservation seasons throughout the treaty ceded territories. Visit their Web site at

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Michigan Tech scientists to probe secrets of clouds

By Marcia Goodrich, Michigan Tech senior writer

HOUGHTON -- Clouds play a crucial part in regulating climate, but precious little is actually known about their inner workings and their role on Earth. A group of scientists hopes to change that, thanks to a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant provides the lion's share of the funding for a chamber that will allow researchers to study cloud processes under realistic temperatures, pressures, and humidity levels -- mimicking conditions from sea level to the lower levels of the stratosphere, where jet planes fly.

The chamber, to be located in the Great Lakes Research Center, won't be built until later in 2011, but lead investigator Raymond Shaw expects it will be in the shape of a cylinder, two meters in diameter and one meter high.

"With a volume of pi, we have taken to calling it the pi can," says Shaw, a professor of physics. ...

Read the rest of this article on Tech Today.