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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Backroom Boys to play dance music at Beach Club Feb. 12

HANCOCK -- Old-fashioned swing, New Orleans blues, tango, even waltzes and a polka! Come on down to the Copper Island Beach Club at the foot of Tezcuco Street on the Hancock waterfront from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday night, Feb. 12, for an evening of Backroom Boys dance music that moves your feet but still allows conversation.

Have your own Winter Carnival in a cozy, friendly atmosphere with a real wooden floor!

The Backroom Boys are, as usual, John Munson on sax, clarinet, and piano; Bob Norden on trombone and vocals; and Oren Tikkanen on bluesy banjo, guitar, and vocals.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rozsa presents casual symphony, progressive rock, comedy events for Winter Carnival Feb. 12

HOUGHTON -- For Winter Carnival revelers of all kinds looking for something to do on Saturday, Feb. 12, in between statues, hockey, and the torchlight parade, Michigan Technological University’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts offers three very different entertainment options:

The first show is a casual, relaxed afternoon performance of light classical favorites by the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, at 2 p.m. Students and their Winter Carnival visitors can all come to the Rozsa Center to warm up with a classical music matinee!

According to Dr. Joel Neves, music director for the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, "The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 40th anniversary season with a concert of light classical favorites during Winter Carnival. These include selections from Beethoven's cosmic Fifth Symphony; Elgar's Enigma Variations; Ravel's impressionistic Pavane for a Dead Princess; and the gypsy-inspired folk music of Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody No. 1. A surprise piece will end the concert."

General admission to this Saturday afternoon concert will be at a significantly reduced rate of $5 (free to Michigan Tech students).

Next, for those looking for a combination of progressive rock and visual art, Somnium, a Hancock-based band whose music recalls Pink Floyd, presents a music-art fusion show, opening at 7 p.m in the Rozsa Center Art Gallery.

Somnium, along with a supporting collection of collaborating visual artists, presents "The After Days: A Somnium Event," exploring a fictional near future where society has collapsed. This free event is an uncommon collaborative effort that brings together music, visual art and multimedia from both local and out-of-the-area artists and musicians. The exhibition will remain in the gallery for three weeks after the Feb. 12 opening night.

Finally, come laugh out loud with Pablo Francisco, AKA "The Movie Trailer Guy," this year’s Winter Carnival Comedian, sponsored by the Michigan Tech Student Entertainment Board, at 9 p.m. Saturday in the Rozsa Center. Pablo continues to bring his audiences to their feet with boisterous laughter and applause. He weaves together his arsenal of characters, spontaneous outbursts, and clever insights to create a stand-up show that resembles an hour-long comedic jazz riff. He is an off-the-wall, animated character that points out the absurdity in an illogical, pop-culture obsessed world. His unmatched take on pop culture has taken him into the ranks of the most popular touring comedians worldwide. This show contains adult language and content, not appropriate for children. Ticket prices for the general public are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors, and $28 for students.

To purchase tickets, contact Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at the Rozsa Center Box Office at 487-3200, the Central Ticket Office (SDC) at 487-2073 or go online at No refunds, exchanges, or late seating, please.

Frequent, severe fires turn Alaskan forests into a carbon production line

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech University Director of Public Relations

Posted Feb. 10, 2011, in Michigan Tech News

HOUGHTON -- Alaskan forests used to be important players in Mother Nature’s game plan for regulating carbon dioxide levels in the air. It’s elementary earth science: Trees take up carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.

But now, American and Canadian researchers report that climate change is causing wildfires to burn larger swaths of Alaskan trees and to char the groundcover more severely, turning the black spruce forests of Alaska from repositories of carbon to generators of it. And the more carbon dioxide they release, the greater impact that may have in turn on future climate change.

"Since the proliferation of black spruce, Alaskan soils have acted as huge carbon sinks," says Evan Kane, a research assistant professor in Michigan Technological University’s School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. "But with more frequent and more extensive burning in recent decades, these forests now lose more carbon in any fire event than they have historically been able to take up between fires."

Kane is co-author on a paper published in the January 2011 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. Lead author on the research study titled "Recent Acceleration of Biomass Burning and Carbon Losses in Alaskan Forests and Peatlands" is Merritt R. Turetsky of the University of Guelph, Ontario. ...

Read the rest of this article in the Michigan Tech News.

Headwaters: Slide Show: Obama visits U.P.

MARQUETTE -- Headwaters News has posted a slide show of President Obama's visit to Marquette on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. Here is a preview -- some excellent photos by Teresa Bertossi, Miriam Moeller and Eeva Miller:

Obama jogs to meet a waiting crowd at K. I. Sawyer Airport. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2011 Teresa Bertossi and courtesy Headwaters News)

Obama gives a prepared statement about Northern Michigan University's broadband internet program. (Photo © 2011 Miriam Moeller and courtesy Headwaters News)

Signs welcome Obama at a Great Lakes clean water rally. (Photo © 2011 Eeva Miller and courtesy Headwaters News)

Click here to see the full slide show with captions by Headwaters co-editor Gabriel Caplett.

Headwaters contributor Richard Sloat took a video of President Obama's motorcade and the Great Lakes Water and Welcome Rally along the Lake Superior shoreline in Marquette. Click here for the video.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

From Ashland Current (Wis.): Anti-mining meeting example of actual democracy

ASHLAND, Wis. -- "According to Saginaw Chippewa member Marty Curry, who lives on Madeline Island, tribes ought to offer conservation jobs, selective timber harvest, habitat improvement, and wild rice re-reseeding to the community. Curry says, 'We shouldn’t trade two hundred years of hunting, fishing, basket making, sugar bushing and gathering wild rice for 35 years of mining jobs.'"

This is one statement from a recent meeting on the Bad River Reservation which focused on efforts by the Cline Mining group to open a large, metallic sulfide, acid producing, open pit mine in the Penokees, upstream from the reservation sugar bushes, wild rice beds and Chequamegon Bay.

Read this opinion piece by Nick Vander Puy of La Pointe, Wis., published Feb. 9, 2011, in the Ashland Current.

Parade of Confections gourmet dessert auction to raise funds for Community Arts Center Feb. 10

HOUGHTON -- Looking for a special treat for Valentines Day? Dress up and come out for the annual Parade of Confections live auction of decadent gourmet desserts. The Parade of Confections is an annual fundraiser for the Copper Country Community Arts Center and will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10, at the Michigan Tech Lakeshore Center, on the downtown Houghton waterfront, 600 E. Lakeshore Drive.

Event auctioneer Phil Musser, executive director of KEDA (Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance), will begin the live auction at 7 p.m. sharp. The evening will also include a silent auction of jewelry and art, live music by the talented Mike Irish, and hors d'oeuvres. People may bid on desserts individually or in groups.

Some of the delectable desserts up for auction include: Engadine Chocolate Torte and Glazed Apricot Torte by Evie Johnson, cheesecakes by Joan Schumaker and Mark Klemp, Flan à la Roberto by Sandra Boschetto-Sandoval, Chocolate Espresso Torte by Harriet King, Red Velvet Cake by Christine Sommerfeldt, Christine Young’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, Black Forest Cherry Torte by Eric Karvonen, Christa Walck’s Best Baked Rice Pudding, Chocolate Mousse Cake and Strawberry Cream Cake from Kangas Café, Almond Fairy Torte by Norma Nominelli, Chocolate Truffles by Carol Ekstrom, Reine de Saba French chocolate almond cake by Patricia Van Pelt, Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake by Sue Bies of the Michigan House, Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting by De la Terre and Täytekakku (Finnish Filled Cake) by Tiina Sakari.

Thank you bakers, paraders, volunteers, Michigan Tech Lakeshore Center, Celebrations, and Keweenaw Co-Op for helping to support this event.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC) is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to serving the community. There is no admission, but donations are welcome as this is a major fundraising event. The CCCAC is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Call 482-2333 for more information or visit

Warm up with hot drinks during Winter Carnival

HOUGHTON --Stop by the new home of the Michigan Tech Alumni Association (Alumni House) for a cup of hot chocolate from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., during the Winter Carnival All-Nighter TONIGHT,Wednesday, Feb. 9. Also, don't miss your chance to show off your snow-sculpting skills by helping out with the Alumni Association snow statue. The event is sponsored by Liberty Mutual and the Michigan Tech Student Foundation.

While enjoying all the activities of Winter Carnival Weekend, feel free to stop by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and warm up with hot cocoa, hot cider, coffee, tea and snacks from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 11; and from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 12.

The Center is located in the Hamar House in the middle of campus and close to the broomball courts.

CDI will be open during its regular hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 11.

Sons of Norway invite youth, families to 4th annual Barneløpet ski race Feb. 13

During the 2010 Sons of Norway Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race, a young skier heads down the river trail in the gorge at Maasto Hiihto. The six-kilometer race along the river was a new addition to the Barneløpet last year. Click on photos for larger versions. (File photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge 5-670 invites area youth and their families to the 4th annual Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski race from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Maasto Hiihto cross-country ski trails. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. at the Hancock Chalet in the Houghton County Fairgrounds.

Parents and kids prepare for last year's Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race at Maasto Hiihto Trails. Ski waxing is provided at left.

The Barneløpet, a Norwegian word meaning "the children's race" and pronounced "bar NEE lop it," is FREE and open to youth ages three through 17 and their families. Parents are encouraged to ski with their children if they wish.

The event is sponsored by Sons of Norway, Portage Health, the City of Hancock, and the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC).

"This is a special day for youth and their families to spend some time skiing and having fun together," says Wayne Stordahl, president of the local chapter of Sons of Norway. "Cross-country skiing is a popular family activity in Norway, and we want to encourage that here too."

Some of the younger participants and parents line up for the start of the 2010 Barneløpet races.

Stordahl adds that a second reason for hosting the Barneløpet is to spotlight the great cross-country trails in Hancock. He says the the KNSC maintains and grooms over 26 kilometers of "striding" ski trails, with financial assistance from the City of Hancock, membership dues and volunteers.

In February 2008, Wayne Stordahl, left, of Hancock, a member of the Sons of Norway, organized the first Barneløpet race, assisted by KNSC's Jay Green of Houghton, who also made the chili. This is the fourth year the Sons of Norway and KNSC are organizing the race.

The KNSC will groom four courses for this event. Relatively easy one-, two- and four-kilometer courses will be set, as well as a more difficult six-kilometer course, which descends into the gorge and follows the stream. Skiers can "stride" any of the four courses.

The non-competitive family ski race is free, with a suggested free-will donation of $3 per skier or $5 per family.

Yum! Cookies and hot chocolate after the race -- thanks to volunteers!

All youth who finish their course will be awarded a colorful Norwegian Olympic-style enameled medallion. Skiers will also be treated to cookies and hot chocolate after they finish.

Click here for a Barneløpet registration form.

For additional info, contact Wayne Stordahl at 906-482-0292 or visit

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Rally to celebrate President Obama's visit to Marquette

MARQUETTE -- The newly formed Upper Peninsula Coalition for Clean Water will be hosting a Rally in support of President Obama and his visit to Marquette on Thursday, Feb. 10. He will be in town for only three hours -- honoring the Wireless initiatives at Northern Michigan University (NMU), town businesses and two public schools -- one in Big Bay and one in Negaunee.

The Rally will begin at noon outside the Vandament Arena in Marquette next to the Superior Dome on Fair Avenue.

The President will be giving a talk at 1:20 p.m. inside the Vandament Arena at NMU praising them for their initiative (audience by invitation). In the morning he will be video conferencing to the schools and their children and may be strolling downtown Marquette to visit the Midwest's biggest Carhartt distributor (Getz's) and the U.P.'s own candy maker and distributor (Donkers). He is expected to depart by 3 p.m.

Parking is available in the Lakeview/YMCA lot. Parking lots located north of the Dome are also open; however, other lots around the Dome are restricted. The Rally will take place along Fair Ave. in front of the Berry Events Center. Look for the BLUE WATER FLAGS and spirited people!

Bring signs and flags. Suggestions for signs: "WELCOME OBAMA!" -- "Protect our Water," "Clean Water Forever," "Water is Life," "Five Great! One Superior!" and more. Extra signs will be available.

The U.P. Clean Water Coalition was formed quickly and without fan fare. Coalition members are preparing letters to Washington, D.C., on-line petitions, running newspaper and radio ads and working with other Great Lakes states in getting the word out.

President Obama to discuss National Wireless Initiative in Marquette Feb. 10

WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, Feb. 10, President Obama will travel to Marquette, Michigan, where local businesses have been able to grow as a result of broadband access, with particular benefit in exporting goods to new markets around the world.

In his State of the Union Address, the President called for a National Wireless Initiative to help businesses extend the next generation of wireless coverage to 98 percent of the population. The next generation wireless network in Marquette is an effective demonstration of how the President's proposal to open up airwaves will spark new innovation, put people back to work, grow the economy and help America win the future.

The President will deliver remarks on the National Wireless Initiative at Northern Michigan University. This event will be open to pre-credentialed members of the media. Public attendance is by invitation only.

Prior to delivering remarks, the President will see a demonstration of how the University's WiMAX network has enabled distance learning for university and community students and will meet local business owners who have used broadband access to grow their businesses. The WiMAX demonstration will have pooled press coverage.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a plan for America to out-build the competition to win the future. This plan for a 21st century infrastructure is about rebuilding our roads, rails and runways; but it is also about attracting new businesses to our shores and having the resources to ship American goods, products and ideas anywhere in the world. In order to do that, America must have the most reliable ways to move people, goods and information -- from roads and airports to high-speed rail and high-speed internet.

Public invited to tour Hancock's "green school" Feb. 10

HANCOCK -- The Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI) will host a public tour of the new Hancock Middle School at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10, led by engineer Lou Meyette and architect Jen Towles.

Michigan Tech's Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, and Tech's Isle Royale Institute are partners in LSSI.

The tour will focus on "green school design" features, including site selection, building envelope, lighting, ventilation, energy efficient heating/cooling and efficient use of electricity.

Chassell High School science teacher Mary Markham, coach of the Michigan Tech High School Enterprise team in Chassell, will share her experience at the first annual National Green Schools Conference.

Finlandia to present Nordic film Feb. 10

HANCOCK -- Last Cowboy Standing is the feature film of this month’s Nordic Film Series at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock. The film will be shown twice -- at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m. -- on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Released in 2009, Last Cowboy Standing (Skavabölen Pojat) is a family drama about two brothers in conflict.

Eighteen-year-old Rupert still suffers from nightmares about his abusive father. To him, his father is a curse. To his younger brother Evert, however, father is still father. Trouble and conflict slowly brew between the brothers, and the situation leads to tragedy.

The two-hour film is in Finnish with English subtitles. There is no charge to attend the film, but donations are accepted.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is located at 435 Quincy St., downtown Hancock. For additional information, please call 906-487-7549.

Monday, February 07, 2011

From Headwaters: Industry reps discuss future of mining and logging in the U.P.

At the recent annual meeting of Operation Action UP at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, panel members include, from right, Andre Ware (Rio Tinto), David Holli (Holli Forest Products), Don Ryan (Meeting Host), and Dale Hemmila (Cliffs Natural Resources). (Photo © 2011 Teresa Bertossi. Reprinted with permission.)

MARQUETTE -- Teresa Bertossi of Headwaters News recently attended Operation Action UP’s annual meeting, themed "Natural Resources: The Next Generation," at Northern Michigan University. The event was advertised as a panel of "natural resource experts" and the announcement of 2010 award winners, including businesses that have contributed to the economic well being of the Upper Peninsula.

Bertossi cites three industry representatives on the panel: Rio Tinto’s Exploration Manager Andrew Ware, Holli Forest Products’ President Dave Holli, and District Manager of Public Affairs for Cliffs Natural Resources Dale Hemmila. She contrasts their views of the role of natural resources in the Upper Peninsula economy with results from a recent survey conducted by a group of social scientists and natural resource experts from the Carsey Institute.

The purpose of the survey was "to investigate how rural Americans view socioeconomic and environmental changes affecting their lives and communities." Five Upper Peninsula counties were surveyed.

Survey results show that the U.P. ranks high in measures of poverty and out-migration of residents, traits often associated with natural resource-dependent communities. The report also explains that although the U.P. was, "At one time, a region with a high proportion of blue collar middle-class jobs dependent upon natural resources … the future of the U.P. may now rely upon the preservation and maintenance of its natural amenities that could attract new kinds of development."

To read an interesting contrast between viewpoints of these two types of "natural resource experts," click here for Bertossi's article, posted today, Feb. 7, 2011, on Headwaters News.

Letter to Editor: Road to somewhere

By Catherine Parker*

MARQUETTE -- The first line of the Endangered Species Act says, "various species of fish, wildlife, and plants in the U.S. have been rendered extinct as a consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation."

There has been talk amongst local officials about "opening up" western Marquette County to economic development by bisecting the wilderness with a new county road.**

Not a winding country lane, as it was falsely depicted on a certain mining company's website, but one designed with large ore trucks in mind.

The original Woodland Road would have crossed through the headwaters and wetlands of four watersheds, posing significant risk to water and wildlife. The County Road 595 corridor straddles this same route and was never more than a thinly veiled attempt by Rio Tinto to get its haul road built, most recently under the auspices of the County Road Commission.

It has been an open secret that local officials and Kennecott expected federal regulators to relax their standards when dealing with a public as opposed to a private road, but that has not been the case.

Although Rio Tinto has announced that it is no longer interested, county officials are intent on lobbying the EPA for approval of the Woodland Road/CR 595, sending off a letter in haste, asking them to "start moving on it."

Is it appropriate for our local officials to be pressuring the EPA to ignore the law? Nearly three-fourths of the original wetlands area in our state, an estimated 11 million acres, has been destroyed. It is not in the public's best interest to adopt a cavalier attitude toward what remains.

The Road Commission, under pressure from city, county and township officials, continues to press forward with plans for CR 595, despite the absence of a funding source and shrinking transportation dollars.

Sixty-one percent of Marquette County Road Commission (MCRC) roads need repairs -- 380 miles, at a cost of $160 million. Under current funding, only 6 to 8 miles of road can be fixed per year.

Additionally, 52 out of 94 MCRC bridges need work; and, according to the Road Commission, it would take $40 million to repair or replace them.

As Iwanicki himself said, "Road funding is at a breaking point."***

Why, then, aren't our local officials directing their lobbying efforts towards maintaining the roads we already have, while protecting the environment and community we cherish?

Editor's Notes:

*Catherine Parker is a resident of Marquette. This letter also appeared in the Marquette Mining Journal on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011. Reprinted here with permission of the author.

** See our Oct. 25, 2010, article, "Opponents of proposed 'public' mine haul road call for more public input" and the Feb. 1, 2010, update, "Marquette officials discuss Kennecott haul road options." See also the Feb. 6, 2011, Marquette Mining Journal article, "Kennecott looked at many options for ore haul route."

*** James Iwanicki is the road engineer for the Marquette County Road Commission.