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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Letter: Proposed Ohio law threatens Great Lakes, violates international agreements

Editor's Note: This letter, or a version of it, has been published in other media outlets, most recently the Lansing State Journal online. We are reprinting it here with the permission of the author, Catherine Parker of Marquette, a member of WAVE (Water Action Vital Earth).

Governor John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Oh 43215-6117

Dear Governor Kasich,

Have you seen the Aral Sea? What was once the fourth biggest inland sea is now mostly desert! It does not seem wise to implement lax regulations for water usage, particularly when Lakes Erie and Michigan already have, by far the largest water withdrawals in the Great Lakes system.

We are stewards of the most remarkable body of water on this planet. Collectively, the Great Lakes contain about 84 percent of the fresh surface water in North America and 21 percent of the fresh surface water in the world! Fresh water is a finite and increasingly valuable global resource -- critical for business, yes, but, even more so, for sustaining life itself.

The proposed law, which would require permits only for operations that tap more than 5 million gallons of water a day from Lake Erie, more than 2 million from rivers or groundwater, or more than 300,000 from designated "high quality" streams, is special interest legislation that is not consistent with international agreements governing the use of these waters.

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, a legally binding interstate agreement, requires its members to plan for the welfare and development of the water resources of the Basin as a whole.

As a citizen of the state of Michigan, residing on the south shore of our great Lake Superior, I view bills such as the one that was recently passed by both houses of the Ohio legislature as a threat to the future of the entire Basin.

I urge you to abide by the spirit and intentions of the Compact. The waters of the Great Lakes Basin are to be held in trust for the public, and decisions regarding its usage and protections should be consistent with standards adopted by all members.

Please do not sign this bill.

Thank you,
Catherine Parker, for WAVE
Marquette, MI

Friday, July 08, 2011

Keweenaw Krayons to launch Art on Wheels program with party July 10

MOHAWK -- Keweenaw Krayons is hosting a party to celebrate the beginning of its Art On Wheels Summer Program, which will bring art instruction and fun to youth throughout Keweenaw County and northern Houghton County. The event, to be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, is free for people of all ages. It will take place at Keweenaw Krayons in the Horizon School building in Mohawk.

Art on Wheels Launch Party poster. Click on poster for larger version. (Image courtesy Keweenaw Krayons)

Crafts planned for the big day include making cement pavers to decorate Keweenaw Krayons’ newly replanted and expanded garden. Children will be encouraged to participate in classic playground games like Red Rover and Duck-Duck-Goose as well as some improv activities.

All guests are eligible to enter a raffle for a chance to win an Art On Wheels tee-shirt. Singer-songwriter Brooke Basto will entertain the crowd with an eclectic mix of covers and her own work.

The event will also feature the debut of the new Art On Wheels Art Car, a 1996 Chevrolet Corsica that will fly the Art On Wheels banner in the absence of Stephanie Treviño’s Make and Do Art Bus.

"The Make and Do Art Bus, which was to be the cornerstone of the Art On Wheels program, was involved in a freeway accident that left it totaled," said Elise Matz, Keweenaw Krayons' newly appointed executive director. "Thankfully, Ms. Treviño walked away from the crash with only minor injuries."

During the June 2011 Art and Music Festival in Houghton, artist Stephanie Treviño conducts an art activity with kids in her Make and Do Art Bus, just weeks before an unfortunate accident totaled the bus. Luckily, Ms. Treviño suffered only minor injuries. Her project -- a senior project for her graduation from Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design -- will continue, thanks to an Art on Wheels Art Car. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The Art On Wheels Art Car is scheduled to stop in locations throughout northern Houghton and Keweenaw counties during July and August of 2011. Towns scheduled for stops include Calumet, Copper City, Amheek, Eagle River, Eagle Harbor and Copper Harbor.

The Keweenaw Krayons Art on Wheels Summer Art Program is funded in part by Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Copper Country Community Arts Council and the Denise Marth Memorial Grant through the Superior Child Abuse Prevention Council.

Free scientific excursions on "Agassiz" research vessel at Strawberry Festival July 9

CHASSELL -- "How do scientists assess the health of Lake Superior" is the focus of four free scientific excursions offered at the Strawberry Festival on Saturday, July 9. The public is invited to sign up for the free 45-minute scientific excursions aboard the research vessel "Agassiz" by calling 487-3341 or coming to the Chassell marina dock on Saturday. Spaces go quickly. On-site sign-up begins at 12:30 p.m.

The "Agassiz," a Michigan Tech research vessel, docked in Chassell at a previous Strawberry Festival scientific excursion event. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

On each excursion, a Great Lakes scientist will demonstrate the use of sampling equipment to collect plankton, sediment and other water quality information indicating the health of the lake, or in this case, Chassell Bay. Microscopes will be on board so participants can view the organisms. Participants will learn the connection between land uses and the health of the Great Lakes.

The excursions will depart from the Chassell marina dock at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Eighteen persons may participate on each trip (must be at least 7 years of age). Life jackets will be available for all passengers. Displays on the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative (LSSI), educational materials and sampling kits will be available for the public to investigate the coastal wetlands along the shore.

"Copper Country residents and visitors are encouraged to learn how scientists study the Great Lakes and what factors contribute to a healthy lake," explains Joan Chadde, education program coordinator. "These scientific excursions have been offered for the past five summers and have been extremely popular. Youth and adults enjoy the opportunity to interact with Great Lakes scientists and ask questions."

The event is coordinated by the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education, in partnership with the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative. The outings are funded by the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society and the Chassell Lions Club.

Electronics Recycling collection to be July 9 in Hancock

HANCOCK -- The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) will sponsor an Electronics Recycling collection from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 9, at the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, 540 Depot St., Hancock.

Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, is non-working, obsolete, or unwanted computers, monitors, televisions, audio/visual equipment, printers, scanners, copiers, keyboards, mice, and other home electronic equipment.

The RSVP Electronics Recycling is a local initiative to provide households and small businesses with an environmentally and economically sound solution to disposing of electronic waste. The Western Upper Peninsula Electronics Recycling Program will accept the following items during collection events:

Cellular Phones, Computer Monitors, Computer towers (Central Processing Units), Copiers, Cordless Telephones, Fax Machines, Fluorescent light bulbs (4 foot – 8 foot bulbs), Keyboards and Computer Mice, Laptop Computers, Microwave ovens, Batteries (Alkaline, Nickel Cadmium, Lithium, Mercury), Printers, Scanners, Stereo equipment, Televisions, VCR and DVD Players. Note: No single electronic device weighing more than 150 lbs will be accepted.

Individuals who have generated electronic waste as a result of use within a household are not restricted to the number of electronic devices brought to collection sites.

However, hazardous waste regulations do limit the amount of e-waste which may be collected from businesses. Therefore, businesses must contact the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program prior to a collection date, to receive approval of disposal amounts.

Most items are recycled for free, but some fees are charged for certain items, such as batteries and microwave ovens. Click here for the fee schedule.

For additional information, questions, or if you are a business seeking approval for participation in an e-waste collection, please contact the Western Upper Peninsula
Electronics Recycling Program at (906) 482-7382.

Reminder: Recall Rick Snyder Petition Signing to be July 9 in Veterans' Park

HOUGHTON -- As part of the State-Wide Recall Gov. Rick Snyder Petition Signing event, a local petition signing will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, in Veterans' Park (just up from the Portage Lake Lift Bridge) in Houghton.

Any Michigan registered voter can sign at this event. You do not have to be a resident of Houghton County.

In case of rain, the alternate indoor location will be: UAW Office, 509 Shelden Ave., Houghton.

Click here to find the event page on Facebook.

NOSOTROS to hold potluck get together July 9

Poster for the NOSOTROS potluck summer get together this Saturday, July 9, at the East Houghton Waterfront Park. Click on poster for larger version. (Poster courtesy Julio Rivera)

HOUGHTON -- NOSOTROS is organizing a potluck summer get together from 4 p.m. to dusk on Saturday, July 9, at East Houghton Waterfront Park (next to the Super 8 Motel).* Expecting great weather, we are planning to have games and enjoy the sun. You can bring any outdoor game (frisbees, bocce ball, etc.), dominoes, board games, a beach chair, etc.

There are no BBQ facilities; however, you are welcome to bring your own grill. You can dance or listen to music or just hang around, sit by the deck and meet new friends. Eating will start at 6 p.m.

* Alcohol allowed for those 21 and older (no glass)
* Bring your own dishes and silverware
* Bathroom facilities available
* No dogs allowed

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact

*Click here for directions.

Updated: Cheap Therapy to play at Porvoo Park July 8

HANCOCK -- Cheap Therapy will perform from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, July 8, at Porvoo Park on Hancock's beautiful waterfront. Dorn Dyttmer will also entertain with his banjo-uke. They will be the third act in Hancock's Canal Rock series, which goes on every Friday from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., through August 26th. You can come by car or boat to hear them perform at the peaceful, waterfront setting.

Next week will feature Uncle Pete's All-Star Barbecue Blues band.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Orpheum Theater to host folk music groups July 7

HANCOCK -- Red Tail Ring from Kalamazoo will be playing the Orpheum Theater at the Studio Pizza in Hancock Thursday evening, July 7. Doors open at 7 p.m.

They play great mountain folk music and will be joined by the Copper Country folk music duo Gratiot Lake Road, who play beautiful, harmonic folk music.

"There is a $5 cover, and everything we serve can be eaten during the show!" said Studio Pizza owner Mike Shupe.

For information call 482-5100.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Updated: July 9 Marquette Rally to kick off Campaign to Defend Our Water, Stop Eagle Mine

MARQUETTE -- Save the Wild UP (SWUP) and its partner, Water Action Vital Earth (WAVE), are organizing a new campaign to halt development of Rio Tinto / Kennecott's Eagle Mine on the Yellow Dog Plains: the UP Grassroots Campaign to Defend Our Water and Stop the Eagle Mine. They invite all concerned citizens to join them at a kick-off Rally at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, at the County Courthouse in Marquette.

Protesters held a peaceful rally against the Kennecott Eagle Project and sulfide mining on May 6, 2010, at the Marquette County Courthouse. Two groups, Save the Wild UP (SWUP) and Water Action Vital Earth (WAVE), are planning another rally to kick off their new UP Grassroots Campaign to Defend Our Water and Stop the Eagle Mine at 1 p.m. on July 9, 2011, at the Courthouse. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The Marquette County Courthouse is at 234 West Baraga Ave., Marquette.

Featured speaker will be Laura (Furtman) Gauger of Wisconsin, author of the book, The Buzzards have Landed. Other speakers include Dr. Alan Olson, addressing the importance of water, Jon Magnuson of the Cedar Tree Institute, and longtime activist Scott Rutherford of Hancock.

Speakers will make the case that the mine poses a clear and present danger to our watersheds of Lake Superior, and to the health of local citizens for generations to come.

WAVE holds that this mine is only the beginning of exploitation, and will lead to water contamination on a scale hitherto unknown in this area.

Following the rally, participants will travel to public lands near Eagle Rock for a time of meditation and reflection, before going to Big Bay for a picnic supper and Big Bay’s annual Fireworks.

The purpose of the campaign is to arouse, inspire, and mobilize citizens to make a renewed effort to block the mine. Its specific objective is to convince Governor Snyder to issue an executive order to halt work on the mine and call for a complete third-party impact study (EIS) on every aspect of the Eagle Mine project.

The group requested the Governor in March to take just such action. He refused, diverting their request to the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality), the agency responsible for permitting Kennecott's inadequate mining application.

Gov. Snyder's refusal precipitated this campaign.

Kennecott has publicly stated its intent to blast the mine portal into Eagle Rock, a sacred site of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) people, in mid-September.

This photo shows the camp at Eagle Rock, an Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) sacred site, May 25, 2010, just before campers were ordered to leave and Kennecott fenced off access to Eagle Rock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The open-ended campaign will begin July 9. While it has a political objective, the campaign will have a spiritual, nonviolent foundation. Members of the group will have an encampment at the mine site near Eagle Rock. They will fast, vigil, do walks and consider other nonviolent means of expressing their distress at the continued development of the mine.

Scott Rutherford, 77, of Hancock, a veteran and member of WAVE, is planning an extended, open-ended fast, beginning July 9.

Scott Rutherford of Hancock, a member of WAVE, announces the July 9 Rally during the July 4, 2011, Horsetail Scramble event at Churning Rapids in Hancock. Rutherford also mentioned his intention to fast as part of the UP Grassroots Campaign to Defend Our Water and Stop the Eagle Mine and passed out brochures about the campaign during this event, which was attended by about 200 people. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

"The fast is, in part, an appeal to Governor Snyder to reflect on the moral implications of his refusal to call a halt to work on the mine," Rutherford says.

Here are other ways citizens can participate in the Campaign: Call and write Governor Snyder. Visit the SWUP Web site to get information about how and when to contact the Governor and what to say to him.

Everyone of good heart is welcome to participate in all events of the campaign, say the members of WAVE and SWUP. The SWUP site will also be publishing updates on the campaign.

SWUP and WAVE also invite concerned citizens to visit the encampment and vigil and fast with them, help out at the SWUP office in Marquette or donate to the campaign. (See the SWUP Web site for information on donations.)

For more details, click on this letter from SWUP and WAVE.

More mines on the way

The western region of the Upper Peninsula lies in a band of sulfide ore that extends from Ontario across the UP and Wisconsin into Minnesota. It reportedly contains the richest deposits of nickel and copper in North America. They are encased in five billion tons of low-grade rock.

Baraga and southern Houghton County have been extensively explored for nickel and copper ore deposits. Recently Kennecott received a permit to begin exploration in the Ottawa National Forest. Bitterroot Resources also has explored for uranium near Jacobsville.*

*Editor's Notes: Click here for a January 2010 article on Bitterroot's uranium exploration. Bitterroot claims to own 363 square miles of mineral rights in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, mainly in Ontonagon, Houghton, Baraga, and Iron Counties. Read about their interest in copper and nickel in these areas.

Update: Volunteers still needed for final stages of "Story Line" Installation

Community artist Mary Wright explains her Story Line project, now being displayed inside and around the Rozsa Center, to Michigan Tech students, from left, Faith Lambert, who is working with Michigan Tech's Summer Sports Program, and Summer Youth Program student leaders Karmen Vrooman and Danielle Poma, who stopped to read the story panels on campus last week. Volunteers are needed this week to complete the display. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HOUGHTON -- The final push is on: Community Artist Mary Wright is in the final stages of installing her Story Line project, in preparation for the Pine Mountain Music Festival opera Rockland, which will have its New World Premiere July 15 and 17 at the Rozsa Center in Houghton. The project, the single largest art installation in the history of the State of Michigan, is already taking shape in the Rosza lobby and around the Rosza building and the neighboring Walker Building on the Michigan Tech campus.

Volunteers are needed tomorrow, Wednesday, July 6, to thread panels onto wires (think clothes lines) as part of the Story Line Installation at the Rosza Center. Volunteers are needed for one hour or two hour threading sessions on Wednesday, July 6:
Session 1: 10 a.m. - noon
Session 2: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Session 3: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Editor's update: Mary says thanks to those who helped on Wednesday. More volunteers are needed for Thursday and Friday, July 7 and 8. Same schedule as above.

Come to the Rosza Lobby to be put to work. Please indicate how may people are coming by clicking on this link:

Houghton High School student Tyler Paakola (foreground), originally of Green Bay, Wis., and now living in Tapiola, Mich., and Michigan Tech student Zach Eckert of Battle Creek, Mich., string story panels on lines being hung on the windows of the Rozsa Center lobby for the Story Line project. Both volunteered for several hours last week. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

If you are available other times or only for an hour tomorrow, please do come, there will be someone to put you to work. Community art is about the community. Grab two friends and come on over to the Story Line to be a part of it.

Contact Mary Wright for more information at 906-361-5548

Editor's Note: See our July 3 article, "Volunteers needed to help display 'Story Line' project" for more information and photos of the display.

Pine Mountain Music Festival String Octet to perform July 8 in Houghton

HANCOCK -- Pine Mountain Music Festival announces that the PMMF String Octet will give a concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 8, at Grace United Methodist Church in Houghton. Other performances will be in Kingsford on July 6, Ironwood on July 7, and Marquette on July 11. Tickets are $20, or $10 for students and children.

The Pine Mountain Music Festival String Octet musicians are pictured here, top row to bottom row: John Madison, Molly Hughes, Karen Jenks, Caroline Coade, Judith Teasdle, Daniel Thomas, Carrie Pierce, Paul Lundin. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

The octet members are also members of the orchestra for the new opera Rockland, which will premiere Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17, at the Rozsa Center in Houghton. The violinists include Karen Jenks of the Ann Arbor, Flint and Saginaw orchestras; Molly Hughes, who plays with Michigan Opera Theatre and the Flint Symphony; Paul Lundin, an Escanaba native who directs the "Strings on the Bay Series" there; and Judith Teasdle, a freelance chamber musician and teacher in Oakland University’s Preparatory Division. Violists are Caroline Coade, who is a member of Detroit Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, and John Madison, who is principal violist with Michigan Opera Theatre and substitutes with the Detroit Symphony. Cellists are Carrie Pierce, who is principal cellist with Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and Daniel Thomas, who plays with Detroit Symphony Orchestra and other southeast Michigan orchestras.

Their program includes works by Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn. Since the players usually appear as members of full orchestras, they are looking forward to playing as part of a smaller ensemble and performing these chamber works "on their own."

Joshua Major, the Festival’s artistic director, says, "This will be a very dynamic concert; the pieces are masterworks, and the players are superlative musicians."

The Pine Mountain Music Festival String Octet concerts are sponsored by Champion, Inc.

Still to come in the PMMF 2011 season are appearances in Ironwood (July 12) and Calumet (July 14) by Ameriikan Poijat, a Finnish-American brass septet from Minneapolis; and the New World Premiere of Rockland, an opera based on local history, at the Rozsa Center in Houghton on July 15 and 17.

Pine Mountain Music Festival presents a season of opera and classical music each June-July in the Dickinson County area, the Marquette area, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and other towns in the Upper Peninsula. Visit their Web site at or call 888-309-7861 for more information. Tickets are also available through the Rozsa Center Box Office (which is operating out of the Student Development Complex on MacInnes Drive), telephone 487-3200.

Register now for Gratiot Lake Conservancy's Dragonfly, Aquatic Plant workshops

GRATIOT LAKE -- A few spots are still available in two August workshops sponsored by the Gratiot Lake Conservancy (GLC): the Aug. 13, 2011, Dragonfly / Damselfly Workshop and the Aug. 20-21 Aquatic Plant Workshop. Advance registration and payment are required to reserve a place.

Dragonfly / Damselfly Workshop

Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © and courtesy Jim Hay of Gratiot Lake Conservancy. Reprinted with permission.)

A Beginners' Workshop on Dragonflies and Damselflies will be led by amateur odonotist Bob Marr from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at GLC's Noblet Field Station and nature sanctuary, Gratiot Lake.

Learn identification, safe capture and release, and observation of these "winged dragons" and "neon toothpicks."

The class will be held mostly outside. The workshop is suitable for adults and children 11 and older accompanied by an adult.

Advance registration and payment are required to reserve a place. Click here to fill out the Enrollment Form and please send with a check for the $20 fee ($15 GLC members) made out to "Gratiot Lake Conservancy" to Gratiot Lake Conservancy, P.O. Box 310, Mohawk, MI 49950.

Aquatic Plant Workshop

Are you a fisheries biologist, botanist, environmental consultant, biological technician, aquatic biologist, extension agent, college student, etc., who would like to improve your knowledge of aquatic plant identification? If so, be sure to sign up for GLC's two-day Aquatic Plant Workshop to be led by botanist Janet Marr from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, near Eagle Harbor, Mich.

Botanist Janet Marr (foreground) leads an Aquatic Plant Workshop in 2007. (Photo © and courtesy Gratiot Lake Conservancy. Reprinted with permission.)

This class will also be useful to volunteer monitors or lake association members interested in learning how to identify aquatic plants and invasive species in order to protect healthy ecosystems in inland lakes.

Space is limited and advance enrollment is required. The fee for this two-day workshop is $70 ($55 for Gratiot Lake Conservancy members). To enroll, complete the enrollment form and send with a check made out to "Gratiot Lake Conservancy" to Gratiot Lake Conservancy, PO Box 310, Mohawk MI 49950.

Click here for more details on the Aquatic Plant Workshop.

A Janet Avery Scholarship is available for each of these workshops To apply, email Bonnie Hay at Please put the name of the workshop in the subject line. In the body of the message include your name, contact information, affiliation, why you would like to attend the workshop, and how you intend to use what you learn in your work, studies, or teaching.

Eaglet at Gratiot Lake

2011 Gratiot Lake Eaglet in early June. (Photo © 2011 and courtesy Jim Hay of Gratiot Lake Conservancy. Reprinted with permission.)

Eagles have returned to the nest on Gratiot Lake once again, and an eaglet now resides there. Photos and videos are now available on the GLC Web site.

In early June, there always seemed to be an adult in the nest or on a tree limb next to the nest. Now, although one of the adults can usually be heard nearby, the eaglet spends hours on its own watching, sleeping, preening its fancy new feathers, flapping its quickly developing wings, or crying to be fed. Early in June the eaglet seemed to spend much time sleeping, and it could be seen napping in various locations in the nest.

Click here for Jim Hay's great photos and videos of the eaglet (You can even watch the eagle feeding the baby!) and more info ...

Monday, July 04, 2011

Club Indigo to feature Miscowaubik Club buffet with film July 8

CALUMET -- The Miscowaubik Club in Calumet has announced this menu for the Club Indigo buffet on Friday, July 8, at the Calumet Theatre:

Herb roasted pork loin with mushroom marsala sauce
Grilled Atlantic orange teriyaki salmon (The chef may go with a different sauce.)
Fresh vegetable medley
Roasted garlic Yukon Gold potatoes
New York cheese cake

If you're familiar with the club, you already know this will be a banner buffet. It begins at 6 p.m., with the film 12 ANGRY MEN following at 7:15 p.m. With Henry Fonda in the lead of 11 other Hollywood classic actors, this suspenseful jury film is the dark horse of the year, absolutely stunning in its cast, direction, and creation of a dozen believably fleshed-out characters. See the movie and you'll never forget it!

Cost for buffet and film, $18. Film alone, $5. Special reduction for kids, who find this movie fascinating. Call the Calumet Theatre at least a day in advance for the buffet: 337-2610.

The Mariner North, Copper Harbor, and the Magnuson Hotel, Houghton, sponsor the film.

Seaman Mineral Museum to open in new facility July 5

HOUGHTON -- The A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum is opening in its new facility at 1404 E. Sharon Avenue (just east of Garnet Street on Sharon across from the ATDC) at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 5.

The Beauty of Minerals gallery and the gift shop are open, and the complete Copper Country gallery will open by about mid-July. These two galleries will provide a glimpse of the new museum, as they represent only about 20 percent of the total exhibit space.

In October additional galleries will be open to the public; the exhibit space will be completely open by May 2012. The museum will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, from July 5 to mid-October. Visit now for a glimpse inside the new facility and again as more exhibits open up.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Portage Library to host two programs July 7

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host two events on Thursday, July 7.

The first -- just for kids -- is part of a series of summer programs about Isle Royale at the library.

From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Isle Royale National Park rangers Lori Honrath and Katie Donovan will present "Sounds of Isle Royale National Park." Children will listen to the sounds of Isle Royale where animals and humans are communicating in their own special ways. They will learn to identify some of the common "voices" from the forests and lakes of Isle Royale and play "sound" bingo. There will be skulls, skins, and silhouettes of animals whose "voices" they will learn.

At 6:30 p.m. the Portage Lake District Library and the Keweenaw Co-op will co-host a screening of the documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate in the community room at the library.

The Dark Side of Chocolate reveals shocking evidence that child and forced labor continue in the cocoa fields for millions of children, nearly a decade after major players in the cocoa industry promised to resolve the problem. This 2010 documentary exposes the ongoing use of child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in the cocoa industry in West Africa. Screenings of the film are taking place nationwide to send one clear message to the chocolate industry: abusive child labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry will not be tolerated.

A discussion will follow the film, and visitors will have a chance to eat samples of Fair Trade chocolates made by small companies that show it is possible to eliminate forced labor and child labor from the production of chocolate.

All library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Volunteers needed to help display "Story Line" project

By Michele Bourdieu

Artist Mary Wright's Story Line community art project is now being displayed in and around the Rozsa Center. Michigan Tech students Karmen Vrooman, left, of Lansing and Danielle Poma of Durand, Mich., walking near the Rozsa, stop to read stories on the cloth panels. Both are working at Michigan Tech's Summer Youth Program. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech students Karmen Vrooman of Lansing and Danielle Poma of Durand, Mich., both involved with the Michigan Tech Summer Youth Program, happened to be walking near the Rozsa Center on campus one sunny afternoon last week when the Story Line Project cloth panels hanging outside the Rozsa caught their attention. As they stopped to read some of the stories, community artist Mary Wright, who directs the project, just happened to come along, saw they were curious and explained to them the purpose of the Story Line, an art and history project related to the coming Pine Mountain Music Festival opera Rockland.

One of the story panels, written by a student from Washington Middle School in Calumet, tells the story of Edmond Koskiniemi of Allouez, born in 1909, who worked as a miner for Calumet and Hecla. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

With the help of volunteers, Wright had been working all day -- for several days -- to accomplish the daunting task of hanging more than 7,000 of these cloth panels created from stories that Upper Peninsula residents -- men, women and children -- have written about ancestors who faced adversity in the past. Many of the panels have historic photos or images related to their stories.

Soon Michigan Tech student Faith Lambert of Dryden, Mich., joined the group to hear Wright recite her favorite story -- about Anna Podnar, the Croatian immigrant grandmother of Kendra Turpeinen of Chassell, who wrote the story.

Artist Mary Wright, holding her hat in the wind, explains her Story Line project, now being displayed inside and around the Rozsa Center, to Michigan Tech students, from left, Faith Lambert, who is working with Michigan Tech's Summer Sports Program, and Summer Youth Program student leaders Karmen Vrooman and Danielle Poma.

"I like this kind of stuff," Lambert said of the community art project. "It's nice to see this on campus."

Mary invited the students to volunteer in the coming week or to spread the word about her need for volunteers to help hang the panels in and around the Rozsa Center in preparation for the Pine Mountain Music Festival's New World Premiere of the opera Rockland, by Finnish composer Jukka Linkola. The opera, which will be performed at the Rozsa Center July 15 and 17, tells the story of a 1906 Upper Peninsula copper miners' strike, during which two miners were killed.

The project is being funded by the Michigan Humanities Council, but many volunteers are needed now to help with stringing the stories on clotheslines, clipping the stories to the lines, cutting the lines and hanging them from a ladder or tying them to trees on campus.

"It's a labor-intensive process," Wright noted. "Many hands make light work."

In fact, Wright said anyone is welcome to volunteer for any amount of time they can give -- even 15 minutes.

Inside the Rozsa lobby volunteers were busy organizing, taking inventory and stringing the cloth panels to plastic clotheslines for hanging both inside and outside the building.

Mary Wright gives her "thumbs-up" gesture for the progress being made on the Story Line project -- more than 7,000 cloth panels with stories of ancestors -- now being hung for the display in and around the Rozsa Center in preparation for the opera Rockland. Pictured with her are volunteers Jo Lorichon of Hancock, left, and Alice Jarvi of Atlantic Mine.

Alice Jarvi of Atlantic Mine, who calls herself Mary Wright's "associate," said she had already put in 300 hours just in the month of June helping with the project.

"Whatever Mary says, I don't say anything -- I just do it," Jarvi said.

Jarvi noted seeing the final results in the Rozsa -- story panels covering the windows -- helped her understand all the work was rewarding and all the cloth panels would be used.

Jo Lorichon of Hancock had also put in many hours as a volunteer.

"When people experience this, it isn't just a single experience," Lorichon said. "It involves memories, inspiration, emotion -- and it ties everybody together because they all feel the same way."

Volunteers Anne Patrick of Hancock and Michigan Tech student Zach Eckert of Battle Creek, Mich., string story panels on plastic lines for hanging in the Rozsa Center lobby.

Anne Patrick of Hancock, who was stringing panels on the very long lines for hanging, said she started volunteering for the project by sewing the panels.

"They were all hemmed on three sides to get a solid border and so we can string them on the lines. It's a lot sturdier than using clothespins," Patrick explained. "On and off, whenever I can, I'll come over and help."

Patrick said one challenge is to keep working without being distracted by the stories themselves.

"You've really got to stop yourself from reading the stories while we're putting them on or we'd never get anything done," Patrick said. "The stories are so fascinating."

Michigan Tech student Zach Eckert of Battle Creek, who is studying chemical engineering, worked with a steady rhythm stringing panels on one of the lines.

Asked why he volunteered, Eckert said, "I was walking by, and they asked for some help."

Houghton High School student Tyler Paakola, originally of Green Bay and now living in Tapiola, was learning about the local history through a real "hands-on" experience.

Houghton High School student Tyler Paakola, originally of Green Bay, Wis., and now living in Tapiola, Mich., strings story panels on lines to be hung on the windows of the Rozsa Center lobby for the Story Line project. Doing the same, in the background, is Michigan Tech student Zach Eckert of Battle Creek, Mich. Both volunteered for several hours last week.

"My Mom volunteered me," Paakola said.

He had already been helping Wright for six hours that day.

Along with the story panels, the following inspirational sayings are spelled out across the Rozsa lobby windows: "There are heroes everywhere and stories to be told and passed on," and "You are alive as long as your stories are told."

Story panels are interspersed with historic photos of the period, like this one depicting striking workers.

Anyone with a few minutes, an hour or more to volunteer is invited to drop at the Rozsa to help today or any day this week except Monday, July 4. It's best to call Mary Wright first at (906) 361-5548.

Read more about the Story Line project, including some examples of individual stories, on the Story Line Web site.

Note: See also our previous story and video of artist Mary Wright, speaking about the project at Portage Lake District Library, "'Story Line' community art, history project exhibited in conjunction with 'Rockland' opera," posted June 21, 2011.

To order tickets for the opera Rockland, click here.