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, February 05, 2011

New slide show: Art from the Kalevala

Chatting with Cynthia Coté, Copper Country Community Arts Center executive director, during the Jan. 29 "Art from the Kalevala" closing reception, Peter Van Pelt offers his interpretation of Joyce Koskenmaki's "Seagull" painting. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Keweenaw Now has just posted a new slide show on the January 2011 "Art from the Kalevala" exhibit at the Copper Country Community Arts Center. A closing reception for the exhibit was held on Jan. 29, 2011, during the Heikinpäivä celebration.

At the Rompings of the Braidheads, by Jack Oyler. Acrylic.
"Is there room upon this island,
Land enough upon the mainland
As a place for me to play in,
As a field for me to dance on
At the sportings of the virgins,
At the rompings of the braidheads?" (from the Kalevala)

The Kalevala is a 19th-Century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology. It is regarded as the national epic of Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature.

Twelve local artists interpreted various scenes from the Kalevala in their works exhibited at the Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery during January. The artists are Eileen Sundquist, Jack Oyler, Paul Osmak, Paul Olson, Eric Munch, Clyde Mikkola, Jan Manniko, Joyce Koskenmaki, Melissa Hronkin, Susan Hamilton, Bob Dawson, and Cynthia Coté.

Some of the artists included lines from the Kalevala, in translation, to describe the scene portrayed in their art. We have included some of these in the slide show captions.

In case you missed the exhibit and the reception, check out our slide show by clicking here or on any of the photos in our slide show link (right column).

Watch for a slide show of more Heikinpäivä events, coming soon.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Celebrate Chinese New Year with FREE entertainment Feb. 6 at Rozsa

HOUGHTON -- Welcoming the Chinese New Year 2011, the Year of the Rabbit, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) at Michigan Tech will host a celebration on Sunday, Feb. 6.

Chinese Night entertainment will begin at 8 p.m. in the Rozsa Center on the Michigan Tech campus. The performance will feature a magic show, dance, drama, and gifts for the audience! This year the entertainment event is FREE and all are invited!

The Chinese dinner on campus has been canceled; however, Ming's Buffet in Houghton will prepare many traditional Chinese dishes for this event, at normal price.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Khana Khazana to serve Indian cuisine Feb. 4

HOUGHTON -- Khana Khazana, a weekly lunch featuring international students cooking dishes from their homelands, will offer delicacies from India from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4, in the Memorial Union Food Court at Michigan Tech.

Komal Tayal and Sachin Joshi will prepare chicken chettinad, a southern Indian dish; paneer-aloo kofta, curried cheese and potato dumplings; and seviyan kheer, a dessert made from vermicelli. Tayal and Joshi both are graduate students in mechanical engineering.

A full meal costs $6 and includes a fountain drink, tea or coffee. Items also are available à la carte for $2.

Khana Khazana is a collaborative project of international students and Dining Services. The campus and community are welcome.

First Friday in Calumet offers art gallery events Feb. 4

Miniature art works by local artists Leona Blessing (top left and right), Kristyn Blessing (top center), Fredi Tadeucci (second row) and Ed Gray (pottery) are part of the Miniature Show on display at the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet Feb. 4 - March 3, 2011. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- First Friday, Feb. 4, in Calumet will offer three new art gallery events with opening receptions.

Miniature Show opens at Ed Gray Gallery

The Ed Gray Gallery presents the Miniature Show, a juried show, whose pieces are limited to outside dimensions of 5 inches, by 5 inches by 5 inches. Entries cross the spectrum of media, to include pottery, painting, quilting, glass and more. The opening reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4. Refreshments will be served.

According to artist and Gallery owner Ed Gray, the show has generated much interest among area artists, including some who have never before shown their work in the Gallery. It includes more than 90 pieces.

The Miniature Show will be on display through March 3, 2011. The Ed Gray Gallery is located at 109 Fifth Street, Calumet. Visit the Gallery's Web site for more information.

Vertin Gallery to present works by two artists

The Vertin Gallery is pleased to present the artwork of Melissa Hronkin and Kerri Corser in its newest exhibition, "Transmutations," which will be on display from Feb. 4 through March 3. A public reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4. Refreshments will be served.

"Transmutations" features encaustics and two- and three-dimensional mixed media work with beeswax from Hronkin and oil and gouache paintings from Corser. Their work revolves around the process of change, primarily in an alchemical sense. Corser focuses on the exact moment of change, depicting the movement and magic of an instant. Hronkin’s work explores texture and radial designs as she continues her fascination with the ultimate alchemist, the honeybee.

Located in the heart of downtown Calumet, at 220 Sixth Street, 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.

Copper Country Associated Artists to host "Bookmaking"

On Feb. 4, be sure to stop in at the Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) Gallery at 112 Fifth Street in Calumet for another unforgettable First Friday creative experience. Miriam Pickens will be there to help guide you through the making of a handmade, self-decorated book. Your creation could be used as a valentine with photos and verse, recipes for a friend or a pressed flower collection. The possibilities are endless.

Talented CCAA members will assist you as the evening, starting at 6:30 p.m., grows intense until 9 p.m. Materials are provided for the evening, and refreshments are served.

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. Visit the CCAA Web site for more information.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Backyard birds weather Chicago storm

Chicago's airports and streets may be paralyzed by the snowstorm, but backyard birds like this cardinal made it to the local "restaurant" in one of Chicago's northwest suburbs. Why did the photographer take the photo through the window? Reported 15 inches of snow with 5- to 6-ft. drifts and temperature tonight predicted to be 15 below with -35 wind chill. Pretty balmy here in the U.P., hey? (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Sue Dunn. Reprinted with permission.)

"Biased and Edgy: New Quilts by Joe Cunningham" to open Feb. 3 at Community Arts Center

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Council presents "Biased and Edgy: New Quilts by Joe Cunningham" in the Community Arts Center’s Kerredge Gallery Feb. 3 through Feb. 26.

Joe Cunningham grew up in Flint, Michigan. He started playing guitar and drums at an early age and began playing music professionally in high school. He made his living from music until he was invited to write the catalogue for a quilt documentation project. To prepare for that he learned how to make quilts; and since 1979 he has been making, writing about, talking and teaching about, and even singing about quilts. Today he lives in San Francisco with his wife and sons, working from his quilt studio in the city and living in the Presidio National Park, the former Army base adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge.

From the beginning, Cunningham has been a student of quilt history, writing scholarly articles, essays and books on the subject. In his studies he ran across the story of Joe the Quilter, an Englishman who made quilts in the late 1700s, a story which inspired him to create a one-man musical quilt show called Joe the Quilter. The show is comprised of songs, stories and original quilts all created to tell the tale of the original Joe the Quilter. In 2001 he added the show to his repertoire of lectures and classes, leading to performances throughout the country.*

The Community Arts Center will host a public reception and gallery talk with a sampling of Cunningham’s original music from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3. On Tuesday, Feb. 8, he will give a talk and demonstrate various hand and machine quilting techniques at the Arts Center. The program will be from 10 a.m. until noon. There is a small fee and space is limited so please register by calling the Community Arts Center at 482-2333. This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a. m. - 6 p.m. and Saturdays 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Visit the website at for more information.

*Editor's Note: To see samples of Joe Cunningham's quilts, visit his Web site.

Reflection Gallery hosts children’s book illustrations by Finlandia artists

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, is hosting an exhibition of children’s book illustrations by Brooke Cummings and Mallory Torola through Feb. 26, 2011.

Book illustration by Brooke Cummings, Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Illustration major. Click on images for larger versions. (Images courtesy Finlandia University)

An opening reception and artist talk will take place at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Reflection Gallery, located on the second level of the Finlandia University Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan St., Hancock. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Brooke Cummings and Mallory Torola are both junior Illustration majors in the Finlandia University International School of Art and Design. The women both used colored pencils on illustration board, along with oil and liquin gel to blend the colors into vibrant images. Liquin is an alkyd medium traditionally used in oil painting to speed the drying rate of oil paint.

Cummings found inspiration for her work in recalling that as a child she enjoyed "Look and Find" books such as the I SPY series from Scholastic Books.

"Each page drew me in as I searched for the specific character, object, or place you needed to find, ending with a growing satisfaction once I’d completed a page," she explains.

Book illustration by Brooke Cummings, Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Illustration major.

The "Look and Find" game is simple, but Cummings’s illustrations are complex, vibrant, and highly detailed.

"Rather than creating a book with one continuous storyline, I wanted to create a game with a different story on each page, and create a fun atmosphere for the people viewing it," she says.

Cummings says that to intensify the colors and give her work a more painted look she spread liquin gel and oil over the colored pencil drawings. While she is very familiar with colored pencils, she notes that the use of the liquin and oil was an approach she hadn’t used before.

Mallory Torola presents illustrations from Into the Land of Sunshine, a book about a young girl and her monster friend from under the bed. The girl and the monster venture in imaginary lands, learning lessons along the way.

Book illustration from Into the Land of Sunshine, by Mallory Torola, Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Illustration major.

"I like to draw images and scenes that people can relate to -- ones that are childish, fanciful, and colorful," Torola says about her work. "I incorporate quirky characters and animals with human qualities into my pieces because I think we trust and remember these images from childhood -- a time when everything was simpler."

As her medium, Torola also used the combination of colored pencil with oil and liquin.

"The liquin and oil dissolve and blend with the colored pencil, enabling me to build up bright layers of many different colors much faster than oil paint or colored pencil alone," Torola explains.

Book illustration from Into the Land of Sunshine, by Mallory Torola, Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Illustration major.

"The technique is a very successful combination," she adds. "The method draws my images off the page, creating bright, fun scenes of imaginary, distant lands."

For additional information, please contact Yueh-mei Cheng, professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375 or

Keweenaw Heritage Grants workshop to be Feb. 3

CALUMET -- The National Park Service (NPS) at Keweenaw National Historical Park and the Keweenaw NHP Advisory Commission have scheduled the 2011 Keweenaw Heritage Grants workshop for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, at park headquarters, located at the corner of Red Jacket Road and US-41 in Calumet.

Targeted audiences for the grant program workshop are owners and operators of historic properties and providers of copper-related history programs within Houghton, Keweenaw, or Ontonagon counties and the northern half of Baraga County.

This first workshop will prepare potential applicants for the 2011 Keweenaw Heritage Grants program, focusing on the various types of projects that potential grantees may want to consider, and will include examples of past projects and sample applications. NPS professional staff will be on hand to advise attendees on issues related to planning a successful project and submitting an application that will compete well.

The Keweenaw NHP Advisory Commission will be offering $100,000 in grants for its part of the 2011 program, doubling its available funds from 2010. Advisory Commission grants will be available to owners and operators of historic properties, and providers of copper-related programs. Advisory Commission grants will be subject to a 1-to-1 match, although up to 100 percent of the match may be in-kind.

National Park Service grants will be available to owners of historic property within the Calumet and Quincy units of the park, subject to a 1-to-1 cash match, in accordance with the current park legislation. The NPS will have up to $50,000 available for its part of the 2011 Keweenaw Heritage Grants program.

Grants for both the Advisory Commission and the NPS will range between $1,000 and $50,000. There will be one application to apply for both funding sources. Organizations that operate Keweenaw Heritage Sites will receive greater consideration for the grants, although all applications will be considered. Projects will be selected for funding based on answers submitted in the application, available funds, and a balance of project types and location.

Grant applications will be available at the workshop, and thereafter at park headquarters or on the park’s website, Grant applications will be due by the close of business on Monday, April 11. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of NPS staff and Advisory Commission members. Grant awards will be announced by April 29. Grant funds will typically be available to successful grantees by June 1, 2011.

Potential grant applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the workshop to avail themselves of professional advice and assistance with planning efforts. For additional information, please call park headquarters at 906-337-3168 or email:

The North Wind: Northern Michigan University closed because of security threat

MARQUETTE -- According to The North Wind (Northern Michigan University's campus news source) NMU in Marquette has closed down today after authorities were alerted of a blog that allegedly mentioned shooting students on campus and having the results be worse than the Virginia Tech shootings.

The latest update, at 11:45 a.m., reports that "Public Safety has the situation under control on campus, but that 'as a precaution, ask that people do not come to campus and that students remain in their residence halls.'"

The North Wind Web site adds that five entrances to Marquette General Hospital will remain open, but will be closely monitored. Schools near the NMU campus, including Marquette Senior High and Father Marquette, have been closed for the day.

Visit The North Wind online for more details.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Marquette officials discuss Kennecott haul road options

MARQUETTE -- Two recent meetings of Marquette city and county officials included discussion of Rio Tinto-Kennecott's plans to haul ore from their Eagle Mine to the Humboldt mill west of Ishpeming. While the original haul route in the company's mining permit application included a railhead north of Marquette, their recent options seem to be either hauling the ore through local roads or through the woods on the proposed County Road 595 -- a route similar to that of the former Woodland Road proposal, which was opposed by three federal agencies because of potential impacts to the environment. The company reportedly rejected the County Road 595 idea earlier this month.*

On Thursday, Jan. 27, some local elected officials from townships, the Marquette County Board, and the cities met with the Marquette County Road Commission to discuss whether or not to move forward on Rio Tinto’s County Road 595/Woodland Road ore hauling project. The meeting was closed to the public.

However, Headwaters News spoke with Jim Iwanicki, Marquette County Road Commission engineer, who said, "'The general consensus of the group was that the existing road system was not in the best public safety interest of the community as a whole and they wanted to continue to look at what options there were to continue on the 595 project.'"

Click here to read the Headwaters News Jan. 28, 2011, article by Gabriel Caplett, "Marquette County Officials Discuss Plan to Build Rio Tinto’s Ore Hauling Road."

On Monday, Jan. 31, the Marquette City Commission discussed Rio Tinto - Kennecott's haul road plans at their regular meeting, open to the public.

An article today, Feb. 1, in the Marquette Mining Journal reported on that meeting, noting Kennecott's current proposal to upgrade and use existing roads, including Marquette County Road AAA, County Road 510, County Road 550 and Wright Street -- which runs through the city -- to get to U.S. 41 and the Humboldt facility met with "a strong negative response" from the city officials.

The article, by Journal staff writer Christopher Diem, also includes some public comments made at this meeting.

Click here to read the Feb. 1 Mining Journal article, "City commission unhappy with Kennecott haul move."

* Editor's Note: See the Jan. 18, 2011, Headwaters News article, "Rio Tinto Wilderness Haul Road Plan Cancelled a Second Time."

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Writing Outside" kicks off new lecture series at Finlandia

HANCOCK -- The lecture series "Writers on Location" kicked off at Finlandia University on Jan. 25 with a talk by local writer Katie Alvord called "Writing Outside: Crafting Prose In and About Nature."

Author Katie Alvord speaks to an audience at Finlandia University on "Writing Outside: Crafting Prose In and About Nature." Her Jan. 25 presentation was the first in a series, "Writers on Location." (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Speaking to an audience of more than 40 people, Alvord shared several stories about nature writing. She also read excerpts from her work and showed slides, including photographs taken by award-winning nature photographer Don Jackson.

During her talk about "Writing Outside," Katie Alvord showed this image of a bald eagle by award-winning nature photographer Don Jackson. (Photo © and courtesy Don Jackson Photography. Reprinted with permission.)

Alvord told first of a trip to Klamath Basin on the California-Oregon border, where she climbed to a ridgetop bird blind in sub-zero temperatures with photographer Jackson to write about watching bald eagles.

Don Jackson, nature photographer, is shown here with his photo "Screaming Eagle," which was taken in Klamath Basin, where Alvord and Jackson collaborated on an article about eagle-watching. (Photo © and courtesy Don Jackson Photography. Reprinted with permission.)

Alvord also discussed writing about Central, Michigan’s Heritage Apple Project, a joint effort of the Keweenaw Land Trust and Keweenaw County Historical Society, and talked about her 2007 article series on climate change in the Lake Superior basin for Keweenaw Now. That series went on to win a national journalism award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.*

"Writers on Location" is being presented for students and community members by Finlandia’s English Department and Hancock Central High School. Next up in the series is a talk by award-winning children’s author Lesley du Temple, who will discuss natural history writing for children in the lecture titled "Tigers in Your Living Room." The program -- scheduled for 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1, in Finlandia’s Chapel of St. Matthew -- is free and open to the public.

* Editor's Note: Click here to read about Katie Alvord's award and find links to her three Keweenaw Now articles on climate change.

Calumet Art Center to host Open Studio night Feb. 2

Artist Mike Ramos works on one of his paintings during the Open Studio on Wednesday, Jan. 5, in the Calumet Art Center. (Photo courtesy Ed Gray)

CALUMET -- The Calumet Art Center will host a working studio night from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 2. Artists are invited to come and work on projects of their choice, bringing their own materials for the projects. Soup and bread are served from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Open studio is available until 8 p.m. No pre-registration is required. A five dollar donation is requested.

Artist Ed Gray, Calumet Art Center executive director, works on a weaving project on Jan. 5, 2011, during the first Wednesday Open Studio night at the Calumet Art Center. (Photo courtesy Ed Gray)

"So far we have had about 15-17 [artists] and everyone takes a turn making the soup," said artist Ed Gray, Calumet Art Center executive director, of the recent turnout for the Open Studio. "Others make the homemade bread for the 5:30 to 6, and then everyone picks a spot and goes to work on their art."

Fiber artist Lynn Anderson works on a sewing project during the Jan. 5 Open Studio night at the Calumet Art Center. (Photo courtesy Ed Gray)

The Calumet Art Center is hosting open working studio nights every first and third Wednesday of the month. The Center is located at 57055 Fifth Street in Calumet.

For more information visit the Calumet Art Center Web site or email

Public invited to meet new Park Superintendent Feb. 3

CALUMET -- The National Park Service at Keweenaw National Historical Park and the Keweenaw NHP Advisory Commission will host an open house to greet new superintendent Mike Pflaum as he assumes the helm this week. The public is invited to meet Mike at the open house from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, at park headquarters located at the corner of Red Jacket Road and US-41 in Calumet.

Pflaum, most recently the Regional Partnerships Coordinator in the National Park Service (NPS) Midwest Regional Office in Omaha, is a 30-year NPS veteran. Mike served as the Chief Ranger at Mount Rushmore National Monument for eleven years prior to his appointment at the regional office.

"I’m very excited about this opportunity," Pflaum said of his new assignment. "I am looking forward to working collaboratively with park partners and the outstanding park staff, and to getting to know the people of the community. I am drawn by the fascinating history of Keweenaw National Historical Park and the natural beauty of the area."

Mike’s family includes his wife, Barbara, a former NPS Park Ranger, and two daughters, Katie, 20, a student at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, and Emily, 23, a music teacher in Minneapolis. In addition to their work in the parks, Mike and Barbara enjoy hiking, cross country skiing, photography, and exploring the great parks, historic sites, and wildlands of the nation. They are looking forward to pursuing these interests in and around Upper Michigan’s Copper Country.

Refreshments will be provided at the open house by the Advisory Commission. For additional information, please call park headquarters at 906-337-3168.

Photo: Mike Pflaum, new Keweenaw National Historical Park superintendent. (Photo courtesy Keweenaw NHP)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mitten, Mitten, Who’s Got the Mitten?

HOUGHTON -- Grade school children are invited to join the fun in a Mitten Hunt at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the Portage Lake District Library.

Children will listen to classic stories about mittens, decorate mitten booklets to make their own mitten story, and search for hidden paper mittens throughout the library. When they find all the mittens, they will receive a mitten cookie to take home, decorate and eat. Gluten-free cookies will also be available for those who want them.

This event is sponsored by the Copper Country Reading Council and the Portage Lake District Library.

Library programs are free and open to all. For more information, you may call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Photo: One of several colorful mittens from Mary Biekkola Wright's 2006-2007 art project (Keweenaw Now file photo)