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, March 18, 2011

Enjoy "Sones de Mexico" at Rozsa Mar. 18, 19

HOUGHTON - - Be transported to the warmth and exhilaration of a beautiful Mexican evening, courtesy of the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, presenting Chicago's premier folk music ensemble Sones de Mexico for two nights, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 18 and 19.

Sones de Mexico was formed in 1994 to keep the tradition of Mexican son alive in its many regional forms. Some of its original work has experimented cross-culturally with symphonic, Irish, folk, country and western, jazz, and rock music, though never abandoning its roots in Mexican son. The term son (which literally translates as "sound") refers to a particular type of Mexican folk music from the countryside.

This presentation is supported by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts with additional contributions from Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, General Mills Foundation, and Land O'Lakes Foundation.

Ticket prices are: Adult $20, Senior $18, and Student $14. To purchase tickets, contact Michigan Tech Ticketing Services at the Rozsa Box Office at (906) 487-3200, the Central Ticket Office (SDC) at 906) 487-2073, or go online at No refunds, exchanges, or late seating, please.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Houghton rises UP to recall Gov. Rick Snyder

On Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2011, on Shelden Avenue in Houghton, local residents organize a spontaneous Solidarity Rally to support the thousands of Michiganders who gathered at the Capitol in Lansing that same day to protest Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's recent budget legislation. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Jeremy S. Sandrik)

By Jeremy S. Sandrik*

HOUGHTON -- On Wednesday, March 16, 2011, a small group of rabble rousers and malcontents, myself included, gathered at 5th and Elm Coffee House in Houghton, Mich., to express solidarity with workers, seniors, and the middle class of Michigan that are under attack by Governor Snyder's recent budget legislation. Our numbers were few, but our spirit was indomitable as we marched down Shelden Avenue under the banner reading "Recall Snyder," enduring raised middle fingers and enjoying honks, smiles, and raised fists as we reached the end of the day's procession at Veterans Park at the Houghton end of the Portage Lift Bridge.

Moms and kids help paint a large "Recall Snyder" sign outside the Fifth and Elm Coffee House in Houghton. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Jeremy S. Sandrik)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that Republican Governor Rick Snyder has successfully rammed anti-Union, anti-democratic legislation through both houses of Michigan's legislature. Snyder's budget balances his 86 percent cut in business taxes on the backs of seniors, whose pensions will now be taxed. More sinister to my mind is the language that allows the Governor's office to declare a school or municipality in a state of emergency (or hire a corporation to do so) and assign an emergency financial manager with the power to dissolve collective bargaining contracts as well as whole elected school boards or local governments. Let that marinate . . . an unelected appointee with the power to undo the will of the people at the local level. Does this sound like smaller government?

After marching down Shelden Avenue, the group calls attention to their sign with drumming in Veterans Park, just above the Portage Lift Bridge in Houghton. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Jeremy S. Sandrik)

I thought not, and when the wheels began turning toward mobilizing on Facebook, of course, I was happy to find I was not alone. Our event was not meticulously orchestrated, but we had spontaneity on our side. The point here was to get our faces and voices together, rather than be another digital act of clicktivism. We wanted to see each other -- and be seen by our community at large as a real human presence. We wanted to stoke the fire that I believe burned at the core of every person who came out -- and build momentum toward not only a larger demonstration and protest, but a movement to restore dignity for the worker, democracy for America.

Drummers Stephanie Trevino and Matt Bradley add music to the rally. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Jeremy S. Sandrik)

On that note, there seemed to be consensus that the next real action in the framework of the traditional democratic process that can be taken by the engaged citizen is petitioning to recall Snyder ( One should note that the State of Michigan will not recognize online petitions; and signatures will not be counted on petitions that circulate prior to July 1, 2011. What that means is that there is time to build steam and grow a movement so that, when July 1 rolls around, the Copper Country and the U.P. will be swarming with busy bees with petitions, alongside the black flies.

Jeremy S. Sandrik, author of this article raises a fist for democracy during the Solidarity Rally at Veterans Park in Houghton on March 16. Sandrik and other local citizens organized the rally spontaneously to show support for the March 16 Rally in Lansing, which reportedly attracted about 6,000 participants. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Jeremy S. Sandrik)

Harry S. Truman said, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." That said, no organization or single person can take responsibility for the gathering in Houghton that took place yesterday, nor for the larger movement restoring honor to the American worker. In my mind, part of the problem we have here is the slavish adherence to pyramidal hierarchies as opposed to distributed networks. It’s not important who leads a movement, only the density of connections at the core. Heads are easily decapitated, but neural networks adapt and rewire when there is damage to the brain. However, you need to be able to access the network. If you’d like to get involved in the movement to recall Governor Snyder, particularly in the Houghton/Hancock/Keweenaw area, feel free to email me at Alternatively, you can get hooked up with the official Snyder recall campaign at the aforementioned

Any future protests, demonstrations, marches, sign-painting parties, etc., will be announced here on Keweenaw Now, and with a little more lead time.

Vive la résistance!

Editor's Note: Guest writer and photographer Jeremy S. Sandrik is a Copper Country resident.

Hancock City Council to hold Special Meeting Mar. 23

HANCOCK -- The Hancock City Council will hold a Special Council Meeting from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 23, in the Hancock City Hall.

The meeting agenda includes a Staff update and background briefing on the following topics:

a) Gov't Lot 8
b) Gov't Lot 5*
c) Potential land sales
-Sampson Street water tank parcel
-Portage Twp. parcel
d) Downtown traffic re-route concept.

The Council will also consider scheduling a special meeting to review and consider water project bids.

*Editor's Note: For background on Government Lot 5, see Joe Kaplan's Oct. 15, 2010, "Letter to Hancock Recreation Commission."

For background on the Government Lot 5 / Swedetown Creek issue, see our May 20, 2008, article, "Hancock's Swedetown Creek 'issues' include mineral rights," and our Dec. 16, 2008, article, "Hancock City Council to hold public hearing on land sale, hear report on sand / gravel survey Dec. 17."

International Night, "The World Is Our Stage," to be Mar. 20 at Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON -- The Michigan Tech International Club will host the annual International Night, "The World Is Our Stage," Sunday, March 20. A dinner will be served at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Commons, and the performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the Rosza.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $12 for students. To purchase tickets, contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200 or online at

Celebrate Iranian New Year at Khana Khazana Friday, Mar. 18

HOUGHTON -- Since this weekend marks Iran's New Year celebration, Hasti Asayesh Ardakani, an Iranian undergraduate in mechanical engineering, will help Michigan Tech celebrate by cooking an authentic Iranian lunch for Khana Khazana (food treasure). The menu includes Tah chin, a Persian layered saffron rice and chicken entree; barley soup; and Persian yogurt, a yogurt and cucumber side dish.

The food will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, March 18, in the Memorial Union Food Court. A full meal costs $6 and includes coffee, hot tea or a fountain soda. Menu items also are available à la carte for $2 each.

Khana Khazana is a weekly series of ethnic lunches cooked by international students. It is a collaborative effort of international students and Michigan Tech Dining Services.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Updated: From Michael Moore: Lansing Capitol occupied now!

LANSING -- Protesters are occupying the Capitol Building in Lansing. Visit for live video and photos of the all-day March 16 Rally protesting Governor Rick Snyder and recent Republican legislation.

Update: See for videos and photos of today's protest and some protesters being arrested at the Capitol. Michael Moore reported 6000 people participated in the Rally today, Mar. 16.

Keweenaw Geopark proposal to be discussed Mar. 18

HOUGHTON -- A proposal for a Keweenaw Geopark will be discussed from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, March 18, in M and M Room U113 on the Michigan Tech campus. Professor Benjamin van Wyk deVries, from the Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont Ferrand, France, an experienced promoter of Geoparks throughout Europe, will lead the discussion.

Geoparks are places that ...
  • have destination identities similar to national heritage areas.
  • are defined by the geology of the landscape and transcend boundaries of protected areas.
  • operate as a partnership between people and land managers working to promote Earth heritage through education and sustainable tourism.
  • are nationally or globally significant geologic areas.
While there are currently 77 Geoparks worldwide, none of these are located within the US.

The discussion is free, and all are welcome. For more information, see

Michigan Tech graduate student wins a spot in International Satellite Imaging Competition

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech director of public relations

HOUGHTON -- There is trouble in paradise. Across what used to be home to half a million people making a living farming, raising livestock or fishing, the land is becoming inhospitable to vegetation. The flocks of migratory birds that used to fill the skies are rarely seen.

An aerial view of the marshes of southern Iraq. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University. Reprinted with permission.)

The region used to be called the Garden of Eden. It’s located in a region of Iraq known as Mesopotamia, a formerly fertile valley between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that is becoming increasingly arid due to rising salinity of the soil. Now a graduate student at Michigan Technological University, originally from Iraq himself, has developed a plan to use high-resolution satellite imagery to analyze the salinity of the ground and -- hopefully -- find ways to make the Garden of Eden fertile again.

DigitalGlobe, a company that manufactures a high-resolution, 8-band sensor for satellite imaging, found the project so innovative and promising that they have invited Sinan Abood, an interdisciplinary PhD student in environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, to participate in a worldwide competition called the 8-Band Challenge. More than 500 proposals were submitted; Abood’s is one of 10 that were accepted. The competition, open to graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows, is slated to be judged this spring. ... Read the rest of this article on the Michigan Tech News.

Noon Rally in solidarity with Lansing Rally to be held in Houghton Mar. 16

HOUGHTON -- A Rally in solidarity with the Lansing protests will be held at noon on Wednesday, March 16, in Houghton. If you wish to join, meet at noon at the Fifth and Elm Coffee House, 326 Shelden Ave., Houghton. The group plans tentatively to march to Veterans' Park near the bridge.

Read about the Lansing Rally planned for noon on Wednesday at the state Capitol Building on

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Music lovers fill Brownstone Hall to benefit musician Greg Wright

ATLANTIC MINE -- Approximately 400 people filled the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine Sunday, Mar. 13, to listen to and dance to lively music by an array of local bands. The event -- "Wright Aid" -- was a benefit for Greg Wright, a local musician who is undergoing cancer treatments.

A crowd of young and older music lovers fills the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine on Mar. 13 at the "Wright Aid" concert to benefit musician Greg Wright, who is undergoing cancer treatments. Here Bernie Larsen (on guitar, center) of Spinout Records is joined by, from left, Ed Hancock; Mike LaBeau on drums, Scott McIntosh, bass; and Mark McEvers, keys. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Marshall Weathersby*)

Susie Landers, co-owner of the Brownstone Hall and of Good Times Music in Houghton, said she often receives requests for musicians to volunteer their talents at community events and Greg Wright is one of them.

"It was nice that we were able to give back to someone who has been giving to our community for so many years," Landers said.

The idea for the benefit concert came to her and her friend and colleague, Melissa Davis, when they heard about Wright's medical condition.

"It actually started with Melissa and I talking about it," Landers explained. "It snowballed and turned into an avalanche."

Davis and Landers were both members of the organizing team for the Wright Aid concert.

Davis was chatting with Landers in the Good Times Music Store today, Tuesday, noting this is a difficult time for Wright because of the cancer treatments he is enduring.

"We hope that it really helps Greg's morale to know that people care so much about him," Davis said.

Just a few minutes later Davis received a warm "thank you" text message from Wright. Apparently knowing about the concert lifted his spirits.

Bernie Larsen, singer / songwriter / guitarist, said he returned to the area from California just for the "Wright Aid" benefit. Here he is joined in a number by Mike LaBeau on drums. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Marshall Weathersby)

Bernie Larsen, singer / songwriter /guitarist and former Houghton resident, now living in Glendale, Calif., in the Los Angeles area, said he came to town just for the benefit.

"Greg Wright has played on several records I have produced while living in Houghton," Larsen said. "I had a venue/gallery called 'exurban' and he was in several bands that performed. He is commonly known as one of the best drummers in the area and a great person/friend."

*Keweenaw Now guest photographer Marshall Weathersby of Laurium, who took photos of the "Wright Aid" concert to send to Greg Wright, shared the above photos with Keweenaw Now at our request.

Letter: NeighborGoods offers ways of sharing, building community

To the editor:

NeighborGoods is a new way to share our stuff and build a stronger community!

In tough times, we all want to cut our budgets while still making and doing things we enjoy. In a recent TED Talk (, Rachel Botsman spoke about collaborative consumption, which is a fancy way to say, "sharing stuff." She points out the average drill is used for 7-13 minutes in its lifetime and that what the owner was really after was the hole, not the drill. What if we had a better way think about stuff that emphasized access, not ownership?

One thing I love about the Keweenaw is that many of us already share. I know who to ask for a wheelbarrow and a rototiller on my block. I wonder who else is out there, willing to share a ladder or a Monopoly game and may live across town or in Hancock. That said, I invite you to join me on NeighborGoods ( and get sharing. It's free, can save you some money, and may help us get to know each other.

Jeremy Sandrik

"Celebrate the UP" with Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition Mar. 18-19

HANCOCK -- The Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) will hold its third annual "Celebrate the UP" event in Houghton and Hancock this Friday and Saturday, March 18-19. The event is held to celebrate what's special about the Upper Peninsula, in terms of its natural setting, recreational opportunities, and unique culture.

The event will begin with a free concert by popular string band White Water singing/playing "Songs of the North Country" from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. in Michigan Tech's Noblet Forestry Building, Atrium-room G002, in Houghton with a reception to follow.

White Water musicians Dean and Betty Premo will be joined by local musicians Emma and Carrie Dlutkowski.

"Celebrate the UP!" continues on Saturday, March 19, at Finlandia University's Jutila Center in Hancock.

Speakers will give free presentations on 12 areas of interest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a reception to follow. These include such topics as: Isle Royale, The Trap Hills, Paddling the Western UP, Loons, Bats, Birds, Moose, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Fisheries, Sustainable Living, Sustainable Forestry, Wildlife Filmmaking and Photography, and Native Indian historical uses of Copper and Minerals. These talks will be followed by a Panel Discussion of "The UP's Role in our Energy Future" with pros and cons of wind power and biofuels.

UP Environmental groups will have a number of display tables set up in the Jutila Center Lobby all day for your information.

The celebration will conclude with refreshments and music by the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Players, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., in the Jutila Center Room 323.

Something for everyone!

For more details click here for the detailed schedule and visit the UPEC Spring Newsletter to learn about the presenters.


Friday, 7 p.m. Concert in Houghton: Follow US-41 to MacInnes Drive to 7th Street, park around back of the Michigan Tech Forestry Building, enter through the Gene Hesterberg Hall doors and walk down the big stairway (elevator on the right).

Saturday, 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Presentations in Hancock: From the bridge, follow the main street (U.S.-41) past Citgo, turn South on Michigan Street to the Jutila Center which is the old Hospital building. Parking is available on all sides of the Center.

Photos: Senior citizens rally in Lansing to protest Snyder's tax plan

Jacqueline Morrison, senior manager of state operations for AARP Michigan, starts off a day of protests Tuesday, March 15, 2011, on the steps of Michigan's Capitol Building in Lansing. The Detroit Free Press reported more than 1,000 seniors and retirees attended the protest against Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget-balancing plan to tax pensions like ordinary income. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Marshall Anderson*)

Banner and signs announce the theme of the March 15 AARP Rally in front of the Capitol Building in Lansing: "It's NOT Fair." (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Marshall Anderson*)

The Detroit Free Press reported today, "Chanting, 'It’s not fair,' and, 'Recall Rick,' the crowd -- 400 were bused in by AARP Michigan -- heard speakers denounce Snyder's fiscal plan as an unfair tax shift from businesses to retirees and the middle class that would hurt funding for schools, universities and basic city services." (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Marshall Anderson*)

Read the Free Press article, "Seniors rally at Capitol to protest Snyder's plan to tax pensions."

*Keweenaw Now guest photographer Marshall Anderson, now living in Lansing, is a former Daily Mining Gazette photographer.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Headwaters: EPA to respond to Levin, Stabenow’s Rio Tinto road request

By Gabriel Caplett
Posted March 11, 2011, on Headwaters News

MARQUETTE -- Some political supporters of Rio Tinto may be disappointed to learn that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have oversight of the company’s ore hauling project, part of its Eagle Mine, whether local government or the company applies for the permits.

In January the Marquette County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to federal representatives asking to "please inquire on Marquette County’s behalf on the length of the review process and why a public application for a new public road is being considered as an extension of a private road application that was filed by a private company."

The letter, signed by Chairman Charles Bergdahl, claimed that a new ore hauling road would "provide additional recreational opportunities to the public as well as provide a direct benefit to the timber, mining, and gravel industries."

Several weeks later Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow forwarded the county’s request on to EPA Director Lisa Jackson. ... Click here to read the rest of this article on Headwaters News.

Updated: Wildflower presentation Mar. 14; "Build Green" film with Dave Bach Mar. 17 at Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON -- Bob Wild, Park Interpreter, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, will give a presentation on Michigan Wildflowers from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Monday, Mar. 14, in G002 Hesterberg Hall, Michigan Tech Forestry Building.

RSVP for dinner (optional) at 5:15 p.m. by contacting Lorest Roberts ( or 482-0331).

Build Green, the third in the Green Film Festival series, will be shown at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Mar. 17, in G002 Hesterberg Hall and the Atrium in the Michigan Tech Forestry Building. The 43-minute film offers a refreshing look at environmentally‐smart building materials and practices that better protect against the elements while saving money and resources. Dave Bach, builder, will lead a discussion following the film until 8:30 p.m.

No RSVP is needed for this Green Film event. FREE and open to the community. $3 suggested donation. Coffee / tea and dessert provided. Bring your own drink mug! Bring your family, friends and students.

Events are sponsored by the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative with funding from the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, Great Lakes Fishery Trust, and Wege Foundation.

The Green Film Festival is sponsored by Michigan Tech's Center for Water and Society, the Lake Superior Stewardship Inititiative, the Keweenaw Land Trust and the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

The next film in the series is scheduled for April 21.

For more information, contact Joan Chadde at or 487-3341.

Great Bear Chase skiers welcomed to Flamingo Hill

CALUMET -- Skiers in the Great Bear Chase races at Swedetown Trails last Saturday enjoyed some challenging hills. Flamingo Hill was one of those. Keweenaw Now was there to record the unofficial cheering section, a group of spectators urging skiers on.

Flamingos and the Great Bear Chase mascot welcome skiers at the top of Flamingo Hill during the March 12, 2011, Great Bear Chase races. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Cheering spectators urge Great Bear Chase skiers on as they climb Flamingo Hill during last Saturday's race at Swedetown Trails in Calumet. (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

Watch for more photos and videos of the Great Bear Chase race, coming soon!

Concerned Citizen: Rio Tinto not following law with electric project

By Gene Champagne

BIG BAY -- Why did the Concerned Citizens of Big Bay, a grassroots citizen organization, file a contested case petition against the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) over an amendment for the use of electrical power and the extension of existing power lines to Rio Tinto’s Eagle Mine site on the Yellow Dog Plains? The answer is simple.

The laws and regulations set forth in Part 632 of Michigan’s new mining law were not followed....Read the rest of this article, posted March 10, 2011, on Headwaters News. (The article also appeared as a Guest Op-ed in the March 13, 2011, Marquette Mining Journal.)