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, April 09, 2011

Artist booth applications available for June 2011 Spring Art and Music Festival

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center has artist booth applications available for the 10th annual Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival happening in downtown Houghton on Saturday, June 11.

During the 2010 Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival last June, fiber artist and designer Andrea Puzakulich welcomes visitors to her Distant Drum Designs booth of unique fashion designs and fiber art. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The deadline to apply for a booth is Friday, May 27. The Festival is co-sponsored by the Copper Country Community Arts Council and the City of Houghton. The booth fee is $65; the demonstrating artist booth fee is $55.

Stop by to pick up an application or call 482-2333 for more information. The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.

Superior Wind Symphony, Campus Concert Band to perform Apr. 10

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Superior Wind Symphony and Campus Concert Band will perform at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 10, in the McArdle Theatre on campus.

This concert has been rescheduled twice because of the band's support of the Huskies Women's Basketball Team's appearance in the championship game.

The Campus Concert Band will begin the program with a set that includes "Cajun Folksongs" by Frank Ticheli. This work is a setting of two folksongs from southern Louisiana and was composed as a tribute to this culture. The Campus Concert Band will close with Julius Fucik's grand march, "The Florentiner."

Following the Concert Band, various chamber music ensembles, including the saxophone sextet and trombone quartet, will take the stage to showcase their small group talents.

The concert will conclude with the Superior Wind Symphony. The ensemble returned from a two-day residency in Ironwood, where they worked with area high school and middle school bands and performed an evening concert at the Historic Ironwood Theatre. The symphony will play Bach's "My Jesus, Oh What Anguish," a chorale considered to be one of Bach's most haunting and poignant expressions of sorrow and compassion.

The audience will also be treated to Percy Grainger's "Molly on the Shore" and Johann Strauss' famous "Radetzky March." The highlight of the performance will be John Mackey's "Xerxes." This piece is what the composer calls an "angry concert march." While it maintains the traditional form of a march, the harmonies and tone colors are darker and recollect Xerxes, the King of Persia. The piece features the percussion section on traditional and nontraditional instruments like a brake drum that was picked up from Ed's Iron Salvage.

Ticket prices are $10 for the general public, $5 for students, and free for Tech students with ID. To purchase tickets, contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200, the Central Ticket Office (SDC) at 487-2073, or go online at

No refunds, exchanges or late seating, please.

The McArdle Theatre is located on the second floor of the Walker Arts and Humanities Center, which is attached to the Rozsa Center.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Carnegie Museum to hold reception for Western UP Science Fair winners Apr. 9

HOUGHTON --Student-scientists and their award-winning projects from the 13th Annual Western UP Science Fair will have a reception from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton, where the projects are on display.

The award-winning science projects from the 13th Annual Western UP Science Fair are on display through April 30 at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. To the right of the poster is a project by Cecilia Wallace, Houghton Middle School, which won First Place in the Eighth Grade, Individual Division. Cecilia's teacher is Mrs. Davis, 8th Grade. (Photo courtesy Elise Nelson, Carnegie Museum director.)

Several of the student-scientists will demonstrate their experiments. Refreshments will be served.

This exhibit includes projects created by students in area schools. Each project communicates the results of an experiment conducted by a student using the scientific method.

This project by Nikira Maki, of P. Latendresse Elementary in Baraga, won First Place in the Fourth Grade Environmental Division. Nikira's teacher is Mrs. Vanhala, 4th Grade. (Photo courtesy Elise Nelson, Carnegie Museum director.)

Projects were judged using a rubric that examined scientific content of their written report, the presentation of the results on the display, and the ability of the students to answer judges' questions concerning their experiment.

The exhibit, which will run through the end of April, is co-sponsored by the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education and the Michigan Tech student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Members of the Michigan Tech student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), who are co-sponsors of the Western UP Science Fair, attended the February reception for their exhibit, "Engineering the Gateway to Success: A Tribute to Engineers Past and Present," displayed at the Carnegie Museum for Black History Month. Pictured here are, from left, Elise Nelson, Carnegie Museum director; Tayloria Adams of Richmond, Va., NSBE president; Tayloria's daughter Aiyanna; and Ornella Nkurunziza of Burundi. Adams and Nkurunziza are graduate students in chemical engineering. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

These Michigan Tech students also attended the reception for the Black History Month exhibit. Pictured, from left, are Ashli Fueri of Detroit, pharmaceutical chemistry; Nicole White of Detroit, accounting; Kari Jordan of Detroit, mechanical engineering; and Beyanka Sutton of Flint, accounting. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Admission is free. The Carnegie Museum is on the corner of Huron and Montezuma streets in Downtown Houghton. Hours are from noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, and noon to 4 p.m., Saturdays.

Music, Silent Auction event to benefit Gundlach Shelter Apr. 10

HANCOCK -- The Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter will hold their Third Annual Music Event and Silent Auction fundraiser from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, at the Orpheum Theatre (formerly PIC Theatre), Home of Studio Pizza, 425 W. Quincy, in Hancock.

Don't miss this opportunity for good music, good food and good company!

Music will be provided by Melissa Davis, RHYTHM 203, the Gospel Choir, and Alexandra Dixon. Visitors will have a chance to bid on a variety of silent auction items including jewelry, jams, quilts, services, gift cards and more...

Light refreshments will be served. Studio Pizza will donate 20 percent of their pizza sales during this event. Everyone is welcome. Admission is free, but donations benefit the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter.

For information about the Shelter, visit their Web site.

Khana Khazana to serve Indian cuisine Apr. 8

HOUGHTON -- Khana Khazana (food treasure), a weekly international lunch cooked by international students, will feature food from India served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, April 8, in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Food Court.

The menu includes butter chicken (the famous mouth-watering dish, loved by the whole of India), Palak Paneer (consisting of spinach and paneer cheese in a curry sauce), Rice Kheer (an Indian rice-pudding dessert whose origin goes back to 2000 years).

The students serving the fare are Divya Priyanka, of electrical engineering, Komal Tayal, of mechanical engineering, and Sachin Joshi, of mechanical engineering.

A full meal costs $6, and each dish is available à la carte for $2. A free fountain soda, tea or coffee comes with a full meal.

Khana Khazana is a weekly ethnic lunch, a collaboration of international students and Michigan Tech Dining Services.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

WAVE to hold Waffle Breakfast fundraiser Apr. 9 in Marquette

Lake Superior near Marquette. WAVE (Water Action Vital Earth) has been formed to preserve our water resources and promote a sustainable future. They are holding their first fundraiser, a WAFFLE BREAKFAST, this Saturday, Apr. 9. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © 2010 and courtesy Stand for the Land. Reprinted with permission.)

MARQUETTE -- WAVE (Water Action Vital Earth) -- a new citizen-based group seeking to preserve Michigan’s pristine waters -- invites you to their first fundraiser of the season: a WAFFLE BREAKFAST from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette.

The breakfast will include multi-grain organic waffles, wild UP blueberries, UP maple syrup, UP sausage (Dina Mia's finest), UP farm-fresh eggs, UP fresh-roasted coffee and juice. Suggested donations: $7 adults, $6 students, $5 children and seniors. Call (906) 250-3284 for more information. The "Wafflettes" look forward to serving you!

All attendees will be entered in a drawing for a delicious door prize. Best of all, the person who brings the biggest "brood" (of family or friends) in for breakfast will receive a gift basket of delectable goodies worth $60. Don’t miss this chance to help preserve what makes the UP so unique and special -- our water!

The Messiah Lutheran Church is at 305 W. Magnetic St., between Presque Isle Ave. and 3rd St. -- near Northern Michigan University and Marquette General Hospital.

Editor's Note: Click here to read about WAVE's letter to Gov. Snyder.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Paintings by Georgi Tsenov at Kerredge Gallery Apr. 7-30

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center presents "My New Streets," an exhibition of plein air paintings by Georgi Tsenov in the Kerredge Gallery April 7 through April 30.

With Puffy Clouds, by Georgi Tsenov. (Image courtesy Community Arts Center)

An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 7. Everyone is invited, and refreshments will be served.

Tsenov, a Bulgarian artist currently living in Houghton, says, "Living between the two cities, walking around in their snowy splendor, I discovered America in a different way. I started creating a realistic and at the same time a magical picture with the power of accumulated emotions. I started to paint the area through contemplation and emotional touch, living in the magnetic space between the cities of Houghton and Hancock. The steep streets became my new studio under the sky."

Georgi Tsenov lives in Houghton with his wife who is a post-doctoral research scientist in Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, and their six-year-old daughter. He is the son of a famous Bulgarian sculptor and is from Sofia, Bulgaria. He received his education at the National School of Fine Arts in Sofia. Tsenov is a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists and has received numerous awards and solo exhibitions in Bulgaria. This is his first exhibition in the United States.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. This exhibit is made possible with a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information call (906) 482-2333 or visit

WUPCAT to host presentation on Huuki refusal Apr. 7

On Apr. 2, 2011, concerned citizens listen to speakers at the rally preceding the Bridge for Unity Walk across the Portage Lift Bridge in Houghton. Many carry signs indicating solidarity with workers, unions and teachers. This Thursday, Apr. 7, Terry LaJeunesse of the Michigan Education Association, who spoke at the rally, will offer a presentation / discussion on his telephone conversation with State Rep. Matt Huuki. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)*

HOUGHTON -- The Upper Peninsula Community Action Team (WUPCAT) is hosting a presentation and discussion at 6:30 p.m. at the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Commons Area on Thursday, April 7. The talk will be led by Michigan Education Association representative, Terry LaJeunesse, who will report on the details of a phone conversation he had with State Rep. Matt Huuki following the Bridge for Unity Walk that took place in Houghton, Mich., on Saturday, April 2.

The WUPCAT event is free and open to the public.

During the 45-minute phone conversation Monday with LaJeunesse, State Rep. Huuki refused a request to meet with a group of constituents if they are public employee union representatives or members, indicating that he saw no point in having a discussion with people who do not support his positions. He called unions "irrelevant," and confirmed that he fully supports Governor Snyder’s new Emergency Financial Manager (EMF) law.

Elise Matz, Houghton County Democratic Party (HCDP) Communications vice chair and co-organizer of the Bridge for Unity Walk, said the presentation will be followed by a discussion.

"We want to talk to people about not just the budget and the EMF, but about the 40-something anti-worker bills that are making their way through the Michigan legislature right now," Matz said. "We are going to distribute printouts of legislation being tracked by the AFL-CIO for people to peruse. We will welcome them to follow up with questions."

The bills include those that would strictly curtail collective bargaining rights, force privatization of public services, and weaken worker safety protections. Local union representatives and members will be present.

WUPCAT is a non-partisan volunteer group committed to supporting labor rights in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is not endorsed by any political candidate or political candidate committee.

Brian Rendel, Houghton County Democratic Party co-chair, said HCDP members last month asserted their commitment to support local labor in its struggle against the Republican war on workers.

"We stand in solidarity with public employees and the membership of every local union," Rendel said. "We will fight for public employees, organized labor in the private sector, low-income workers, students, retirees, teachers, schools, universities, municipalities, and families."

The Houghton County Democrats will hold their regular (first Wednesday) monthly meeting at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Apr. 6, at the Super 8 Motel in Houghton.

*Editor's Note: See our Apr. 4 article, "Bridge for Unity Walk calls for citizen involvement against Gov. Snyder's budget cuts, new legislation."

See photos of the Bridge for Unity Walk by Jeremy Sandrik on his flickr page.

See video of the Walk by Brian Rendel and friends.

Photos by Jeremy Sandrik: Bridge Walk for Unity

Participants in the Apr. 2 Bridge Walk for Unity listen to speakers defending schools, workers' rights and democracy against Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed budget cuts, anti-union policies, tax breaks for rich corporations and Emergency Financial Manager legislation -- which could allow the governor to fire elected officials and take over municipalities and school districts. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2011 Jeremy Sandrik. Reprinted with permission.)

HOUGHTON -- On April 2, 2011, the Houghton County Democrats along with local labor unions, teachers and supporters gathered at the base of the Portage Lift Bridge connecting Houghton and Hancock for the Bridge Walk for Unity. They gathered in resistance to Michigan's recent Emergency Financial Manager legislation (EFM) and Governor Snyder's budget, which slashes taxes for the rich while putting a burden on education and low-income citizens.

Participants begin their walk on the Portage Lift Bridge. (Photo © 2011 Jeremy Sandrik. Reprinted with permission.)

After listening to speakers explain the purpose of the event, the crowd of more than 150, carrying signs, walked up to the Portage Lift Bridge, crossed to the Hancock side and back, and stood on the bridge displaying their signs.

Jeremy Sandrik, Keweenaw Now guest writer and photographer, has posted his excellent photos of the event on flickr.

Many of the participants represented concerned workers and union members. (Photo © 2011 Jeremy Sandrik. Reprinted with permission.)

Click here for the photo page. The slide show is truly a photo essay of the event. The signs say it all. The photos are protected by a license (attribution - non-commercial) under Creative Commons. Please click here for Jeremy's photo use policy.

See also our Apr. 4 article, "Bridge for Unity Walk calls for citizen involvement against Gov. Snyder's budget cuts, new legislation."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Hancock Library to host "Drawing Families into Nature" Apr. 6

HANCOCK -- Award-winning author-illustrator Wendy Halperin will teach youngsters about nature and how to draw birds, wildflowers, bugs, trees and more. The free event will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 6, at Hancock Public Library at Hancock High School on Campus Drive. All ages are welcome.

Halperin will also give a workshop for K-12 teachers from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 6, at the Nara Nature Center.

On April 7-8, she will visit area schools for one-hour workshops with students.

To learn more about Halperin's work, see

The events are cosponsored by Copper Country Reading Council and Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.

For more information, contact Evie Johnson at or Joan Chadde at .

Monday, April 04, 2011

Tuesday, Apr. 5, Jazz night at Shelden Grill

HOUGHTON -- A Tuesday night of Jazz will begin at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Apr. 5, at the Shelden Grill in Houghton. Michigan Technological University's Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept. Chair Dan Fuhrmann will be melting the piano, joining legacy Fat Cow members Adam Johnson, Steve Jones, and Jack Matheson with special guest on sax, daughter of MTRI director Nik Subotic.

No cover, but get there early to get a seat and a view. The Shelden Grill is at 820 Shelden Ave. in downtown Houghton, on the 7th floor of the Franklin Square Inn.

Finlandia to hold discussions on teaching Apr. 6, 20

HANCOCK -- A series of two discussions regarding the practice of teaching will take place from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, and Wednesday, April 20, in the Finlandia University Education Lab, Nikander Hall Room 25, Hancock.

On Wednesday, April 6, Doreen Klingbeil, Houghton Elementary School principal and new Houghton-Portage Township Schools superintendent, will discuss, "How to get hired: What principals look for."

On Wednesday, April 20, a panel of local teachers, along with Terry LaJeunesse of the Michigan Education Association, will share advice on teaching "Your first year and beyond."

The sessions are free and open to the public. They are presented by the Finlandia University Elementary Education Department, in cooperation with the Finlandia University Education Club.

For information, contact Wade Tillett, assistant professor of elementary education, at 906-487-7280 or

Bridge for Unity Walk calls for citizen involvement against Gov. Snyder's budget cuts, new legislation

By Michele Bourdieu

Families with children were very visible at the Bridge for Unity Walk last Saturday, Apr. 2, in Houghton. More than 150 concerned citizens participated in the Walk on the Portage Lift Bridge, protesting Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's budget with proposed cuts to schools, taxes on the working poor and seniors' retirement, and tax breaks for corporations -- as well as the Emergency Financial Manager legislation, which could allow the governor to fire elected officials and take over municipalities and school districts. (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Speeches, signs, cheers, drums, bells, horns and camaraderie marked the Bridge for Unity Walk last Saturday, Apr. 2, in Houghton. Organizers of the event estimated more than 150 people joined in the Walk.

Marching peacefully across the Portage Lift Bridge and back, participants included union members concerned about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's policies, young families and teachers concerned about children's education, and citizens objecting to provisions of Gov. Snyder’s budget that would eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for Michigan’s working poor, tax seniors’ pensions and eliminate tax breaks on charitable donations to public universities, while extending $1.8 billion in tax breaks to corporations.

At the Houghton end of the Portage Lift Bridge, participants in the Apr. 2 Bridge for Unity Walk, many with signs, gather to listen to speakers before beginning the Walk across the bridge to Hancock and back. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

Terry LaJeunesse, co-organizer of the event and local director of the Michigan Education Association (MEA) welcomed the crowd assembled below the Lift Bridge for the Walk.

"Small business suffers when the masses lose their buying power. The masses -- public sector workers and lower income families -- are losing buying power under Snyder's plans," LaJeunesse said. "Public school employees alone in Houghton and Baraga (counties) will lose up to $6 million a year of buying power. What small businesses are going to be able to afford a hit like that?"

LaJeunesse announced that more events would follow this one, including a Town Hall meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m.Thursday, Apr. 7 (place to be announced). He intends to invite State Rep. Matt Huuki.

"We want Mr. Huuki to explain to us how the budget plan is going to benefit Michigan," LaJeunesse said. "It will benefit a few large corporations in Michigan, but it isn't going to benefit Michigan."

Jeremy Sandrik, a graduate student in chemistry at Michigan Tech and guest writer and photographer for Keweenaw Now, pointed out the importance of solidarity, working together, like a family.

Jeremy Sandrik, Michigan Tech graduate student and writer and photographer, addresses the crowd gathered for the Bridge for Unity Walk near the Portage Lift Bridge on Apr. 2.

"What we do today sends a message," Sandrik said. "What we're talking about today is preserving democracy -- especially preserving democracy at the local level."

He reminded the crowd, too, that their actions would give an example to the younger generation. He stressed the importance of not just preaching to the choir -- the importance of trying to engage people with different viewpoints, including members of the Tea Party (who are planning a rally in Houghton for April 16) -- and the necessity of working together.

An excerpt from Jeremy Sandrik's speech to the crowd gathered near the Portage Lift Bridge on Apr. 2. Sandrik encourages participants gathered for the Bridge for Unity Walk to get to know the people walking with them and to share the message of the Walk with people of different viewpoints.*** (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

"What we're doing today has got to build momentum," Sandrik said."We've got to keep this going."

Retired Calumet High School (CHS) English teacher Barbara Simila introduced her former student David Torola, who now teaches English at CHS and who has also taught in Lake Linden.

David Torola, Calumet High School English teacher, speaks on what it's like to be a teacher in Michigan today.

Torola described teaching public school in Michigan as "both wonderful and horrible."

"It is wonderful because I get to work every day with some of the most creative, humorous, happy and energetic people in the world -- the children of Michigan," Torola said. "I get to turn kids on to good books, great prose and poetry." (He quoted William Carlos Williams' famous poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow.")

Praising his colleagues as well, Torola said he believed there are dedicated teachers in every public school in Michigan.

"I love my job," he said.

On the other hand, Torola said, Governor Snyder does not support the work of public school teachers and other public employees.

"The future of Michigan is not with the corporations our governor would like to give tax breaks to on the backs of the poor, the elderly, public employees, union workers, our schools or our children. While I love what I do, teaching in Michigan can be horrible," Torola noted. "As a teacher with nine years of experience, I make less than I did 15 years ago as a (non-union) carpenter."

Torola said Michigan's problems should not be blamed on public employees, including teachers who work hard every day for the children of Michigan -- who are its future. He urged the audience to open their wallets and give to political candidates who will support Michigan's real future -- what is right and best for all of Michigan.

"Complacency is no longer an option," Torola added. "We must act to save our state from the oligarchy Governor Snyder is trying to put in power."

Elise Matz, co-organizer of the Walk and Houghton County Democratic Party Communications vice chair, spoke about Gov. Snyder's Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) legislation that allows him to declare a "financial emergency" in towns or school districts and appoint someone to fire local elected officials, break contracts, seize and sell assets, and eliminate services. Under this law, whole school districts can be eliminated without public participation.

Elise Matz, co-organizer of the Bridge for Unity Walk and Communications vice chair of the Houghton County Democratic Party, encourages those attending the event to contact their representatives about the recent Emergency Financial Manager legislation.

"Someone's going to decide if you have too many teachers in your school; someone's going to decide if you have too many police officers in your community; they're going to decide if that park that's been in the middle of your town for 100 years is going to continue to be public property," Matz said. "If you believe in representative democracy, then the Emergency Financial Manager law is an outrage -- and we want to send that message to our representatives -- that if they support this they do not support us."

Brian Rendel, Houghton County Democratic Party co-chair, welcomed any Republicans in the crowd but noted the November 2010 elections gave Republicans their third chance at "complete control" of Michigan government (from the State Supreme Court and Attorney General to the Senate, the House and the Governor).

Brian Rendel, Houghton County Democratic Party co-chair, calls for unity among working people, retirees, unemployed, labor unions -- all those who object to giant corporations that pay little or no taxes and even receive tax benefits in the billions.*

"Democrats haven't had that control since 1985," Rendel said. "The group of Republican representatives, senators, and governor who promised voters jobs are delivering the opposite. Instead of working hard to bring Michigan better jobs, they are working hard to make working harder for workers. Michigan's Republican-controled government has declared war on Michigan's workers with 40 pieces of new legislation -- each a smack-down of Michigan workers."

Rendel reminded the crowd that corporate America pays little or no taxes and even gets money back from the government in tax benefits. He gave as an example General Electric. Despite their opening a business Smart Zone here in Houghton, with 50 engineering jobs, GE did not contribute any of their $14 billion in profits ($5 billion in the U.S.) to support Smart Zones, infrastructure or services in this area since they paid no taxes, Rendel noted.

"They didn't pay a dime. In fact, they actually got something called a tax benefit -- of $3.2 billion. How is that possible?" Rendel asked. "There is no shortage of money, people. None. We have a shortage of fairness."

Rendel noted American workers -- including those in Michigan -- had good jobs and benefits when America put people first.

"Tell State Senator Casperson to stop pandering to corporate greed and to start paying attention to human need. Tell State Representative Huuki to stop voting the way his party tells him and start voting the way his constituents tell him. Tell Governor Rick to keep his emergency managers out of the Copper Country and start respecting the good people of Michigan like he promised voters he would do," Rendel said.

Calling on everyone to unite -- from professors to nurses to sanitation workers, families, retirees, poor, unemployed, police officers, labor unions and more -- Rendel started a chant among the crowd: "We are one!"*

As the crowd heads toward the stairs leading up to the Lift Bridge, children carry signs showing support for their teachers.

Marchers then climbed the stairs up to the bridge and crossed to the Hancock side and back, attracting many honks of positive support from passing cars. During the event, several expressed their views to Keweenaw Now.

Clarence McDonald, retired United Auto Workers chair and former chair of the Houghton County Democratic Party, noted his concerns about Snyder's Emergency Financial Managers.

"That is an accident waiting to happen," McDonald said. "These financial advisers could absolutely run the community in the ground."

He added the budget can't be balanced with the proposed cuts.

"They're going to have to raise some taxes and quit trying to do it on the backs of all the poor people, the young people, the old people -- they need to get to the affluent ones," McDonald said.

Clyde Mikkola of Calumet said he wasn't sure he agreed with most of what was happening at this event but he attended it to see who these people are and what they think. He said one thing he did agree on was the opposition to Governor Snyder's "sending people into areas where municipal governments have jurisdiction and having him override their decisions."

Nancy Herck of L'Anse, a physician's assistant at Baraga County Memorial Hospital (thus, a public employee), said she was originally from Wisconsin but has lived 15 years in the U.P.

"This is too important to let go. I tell people it doesn't matter if you are blue collar, white collar, green collar or no collar," Herck said. "We are all in this together. We have got to take a stand. They'll always be rich people, but it doesn't mean they get to rape and pillage."

Brian Hart of Escanaba, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW Local 510), said he came to the Walk to support his union brothers for the right to collective bargaining -- not only in Michigan but also in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

Commenting on Governor Snyder, Hart said, "He's not my favorite governor -- not today."

John Pastore, Michigan Tech mathematics major, who writes for the university's comedy publication, The Daily Bull, said he was attending this protest rally because he could agree with the message.

"Rick Snyder's budget is rather foolish at best, and it's engineered to cause chaos. Well, that's kind of flagrantly unethical," Pastore noted, "so I'm here to make a moral stand."

Scott Dianda, former Democratic candidate for local state representative (who lost to Matt Huuki despite knocking on thousands of doors during his campaign last summer and fall) joined the Walk, carrying a sign in support of education.

Scott Dianda, former Democratic candidate for the state representative seat now held by Matt Huuki, pauses on the Lift Bridge with his former teacher, Barbara Simila.

"We definitely have to get out and make it known that we are not going to stand around while a lot of our local governments are stripped. We need to get out there and support our education system. We're here to support all of our working people in Michigan, in our U.P.," Dianda said. "(People) need to be aware that these folks work hard every day. And we need to have our state services. We must have our state services."

John Slivon of Hancock said he believes people need to realize that they have an eight-hour day and time on weekends -- and Social Security -- because of the work done by progressives in the past.

"What the Tea Party doesn't understand is that if you have effective government you've got to be willing to pay for it. That's just the price of freedom," Slivon said.

Elise Matz, co-organizer of the event, said she couldn't be happier about the turnout.

"I really hope that this is a way to open a dialogue -- with Matt Huuki at least," Matz said. "I wonder if both Hukki and Casperson realize what they have done, because they ran to keep Lansing out of our lives and they're putting Lansing right in the middle of our lives, in our communities (by voting for recent legislation)."

Brian Hoduski, Houghton County Democratic Party co-chair, said he thought it was great to see people move to action, to be brave enough to show their community where they stand on issues -- especially on cuts to schools.

Houghton County Democratic Party Co-chair Brian Hoduski, far left with "Recall Rick" sign, chats with other local residents during the Walk across the Portage Lift Bridge.

"These Copper Country schools here can't take this. There's going to be kids on buses almost half the school day if they force these Upper Peninsula schools to consolidate," Hoduski said. "Can you imagine if you live in Ewen Trout Creek and they close that school and you've got to go to Ontonagon?"

Hoduski questioned whether legislators in Lansing have any idea about rural schools -- or care about them.

"Republican or Democrat, you ought to care about this issue if you care about your kids," he said.

Hoduski, Matz and Rendel all urged people to contact State Representative Matt Huuki and State Senator Tom Casperson about these issues.**

More photos ...

Marchers representing the United Steelworkers display their banner as the Walk begins.

Sunshine contributes to marchers' enthusiasm and spirit of camaraderie during the Walk.

Editor's Notes:

*See the "We Are One" video of this Apr. 2 Bridge for Unity Walk by Brian Rendel and friends published on YouTube. The video is also available now on the Houghton County Democrats' Web site.

"We Are One" is also the slogan of a movement inspired by a moment of history: On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life. The workers were trying to form a union with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).

During the week of April 4, 2011, unions, people of faith, civil and human rights activists, students and other progressive allies will host a range of community- and workplace-focused actions. Click here for the "We Are One" Web site.

** Contact Matt Huuki, District 110 state representative, at 906-231-2546 or toll-free at (888) 663-4031 or email him at or

Contact Tom Casperson, District 38 state senator at (517) 373-7840 or email him through his Web site.

*** See Jeremy Sandrik's March 24, 2011, Keweenaw Now article, "Congressman Benishek meets, greets Keweenaw constituents; awesomeness ensues."

Last snow of winter?

Hancock residents woke up this morning, April 4, 2011, to see a "winter wonderland" of neighborhood trees and streets covered with snow. Winter is still with us ... for a while. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

NOSOTROS film showing Apr. 6 to benefit Cancer Society

Poster announcing the NOSOTROS showing of the film Pan's Labyrinth on Wednesday, Apr. 6, to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Click on image for larger version. (Poster courtesy Julio Rivera)

HOUGHTON -- The NOSOTROS organization of Latino students at Michigan Tech has formed a team for the 2011 Relay for Life, a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.

NOSOTROS will be showing the Spanish film Pan's Labyrinth at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 6, in Fisher 135 on the Michigan Tech campus. Cost per person is $3 (All funds go to the American Cancer Society). The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles and is rated R.*

Questions? Please contact This event is sponsored by the Michigan Tech Undergraduate Student Government.

The Michigan Tech University 2011 Relay for Life will take place from 7 p.m. Friday, Apr. 15, to 7 a.m. Saturday, Apr. 16, at the Michigan Tech Student Development Complex (SDC). Click here for details.

Copper Country Relay for Life to be June 24-25, 2011

The 2011 Relay For Life of the Copper Country will take place from 1 p.m. on June 24, 2011, to 1 p.m. June 25, 2011, at the Houghton High School Track.

The Copper Country Relay For Life Team Captain Kickoff will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12, at the Magnuson Hotel Franklin Square Inn (formerly Best Western Franklin Square Inn), 820 Shelden Ave., Houghton. Invite any interested in Relaying! **

*Click here to learn more about the film Pan's Labyrinth.
** Click here to learn more about the Copper Country 2011 Relay for Life.