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, September 09, 2011

Nostalgic Music, Dance in Eagle Harbor Sept. 9

EAGLE HARBOR -- A Nostalgic Music and Dance Party will be held, beginning at 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Friday, Sept. 9, at the Eagle Harbor Community Building.

David Owens, the Nostalgia DJ of Eagle Harbor, will play music from the 1950s and earlier -- songs and dance music -- from his collection of original recordings.

Dance to original rock 'n roll, swing, foxtrot, waltz, polka! Sing along! Request favorite songs! Or just listen and reminisce.

The party is free and open to the public. It will be great if you can bring desserts, snacks, or drinks.

Info: Call (906) 289-4404 or email

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Stand for the Land: Ho-Chunk elders petition EPA for protection of Eagle Rock

From Stand for the Land:
Posted Sept. 8, 2011

On August 31, 2011, members of the Ho-Chunk tribal court and other elders sent a letter to EPA’s Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, stating their belief that the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Assessment involving the sacred site known as Eagle Rock, omitted key considerations.

They contend that the consultation process should have involved all Chippewa tribes, not just the Lake Superior group, and that it should have taken into consideration the significance of the site to indigenous peoples who occupied the region before the Chippewa.

A 2010 Resolution adopted by the National Council of American Indians notes that "Eagle Rock has been linked to ancient ceremonial sites in Wisconsin and Montana by local tribal history and more recently by exhaustive research and on-site surveys…"

The letter also states that the Act was not properly administered by the Michigan DEQ, since the State regulatory agency determined that Eagle Rock was not a place of worship because it did not have a building on it. ...

Click here to read the rest of this article on Stand for the Land, which has links to the letter and the resolution.

"Mining Madness" film on Eagle Project to be shown Sept. 8 at Ojibwa Casino

BARAGA -- The film Mining Madness,Water Wars: The Great Lakes in the Balance will be shown at 6 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Sept. 8, in the Chippewa Room at Ojibwa Casino in Baraga.

Produced by the National Wildlife Federation, this 33-minute film highlights the controversial Eagle Project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Testimonies reveal the threats that this sulfide mine poses to water, wildlife and people, including concerns of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

The film is part of the monthly "Mining Impacts on Native Lands" Film Series, and it is free and open to the public. The goal of the series is to increase community awareness and capacity in the midst of growing mineral interest throughout the region. Featured films will focus on the environmental and social impacts of mining, particularly on Native communities. Mining updates will be provided and discussion welcomed.

Finlandia University Gallery to hold closing reception for Finnish textile artists' exhibit Sept. 8

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Gallery will host a closing reception for the exhibit "White Forests, Blue Sky: Two Generations of Art Textiles, Paper and Metal Constructions" from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Sept. 8, with an Artist Talk beginning at 7:15 p.m.

Finnish artist Anna-Riitta Haavisto talks about the "White Forest, Blue Sky" exhibit with visitors to the Finlandia University Gallery in June 2011. She will return to the gallery for the closing reception tonight, Thursday, June 8. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

Finnish textile artists, mother and daughter Riitta-Liisa Haavisto (1930-2009) and Anna-Riitta Haavisto, transform the traditional methods and materials of the textile arts in markedly different ways. Riitta-Liisa employed an expressive, painterly approach to embroidery, using jewel-toned fabrics and threads to create scenes inspired by nature, folklore, and current events. Riitta-Liisa’s daughter, Anna-Riitta, stretches the boundaries of fiber art in thought-provoking, three-dimensional sculptural objects constructed of sand, stones, steel, plastic, fiber, silk, cotton, paper, wood -- and even water. Since 1998, the Haavistos’ work has been featured in more than 22 joint exhibitions in Finland, England, Scotland, Norway, Germany, Spain, the United States, and Canada, and dozens of group exhibitions.

Leena Vanni, Finnish journalist, who contributed articles to both the Finnish American Reporter and Keweenaw Now this year, admires some colorful textile art by the late Riitta-Liisa Haavisto during the opening of the "White Forests, Blue Sky" exhibit last June.

More information about the artists is available in Fiber Art Today, by Carol K. Russell; Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2011.

The Finlandia University Gallery is located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy St., Hancock.

Click here to read more about the "White Forests, Blue Sky" exhibit, which opened June 20, 2011.

Finlandia University Gallery announces extended hours

Starting immediately, and through the month of April 2012, the gallery is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as well as on Thursday evenings until 7 p.m., and on Saturday afternoons from noon to 4 p.m.

Featured at the gallery starting Sept. 22 will be an exhibit of fiber art sculptures titled "Explorations: The Flexible Linear Element," by artists Tracy Krumm and Carol Lambert.

An opening reception for the artists will take place at the gallery from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22.

For additional information, please call 906-487-7500 or visit

Updated: From Stand for the Land: Detroit News promotes U.P. mining

UPPER PENINSULA -- Stand for the Land posted on Sept. 7, 2011, an excerpt from the Sept. 7, 2011, Detroit News editorial promoting mining in the Upper Peninsula, in particular the Eagle Mine on the Yellow Dog Plains.

We join Stand for the Land in calling readers' attention to this editorial and the comments it immediately drew from outraged citizens aware of the truth about Rio Tinto /Kennecott's record of environmental degradation and human rights abuses.

The editorial states, "The Eagle Mine promises to be one of the most environmentally friendly mining operations in the world. If it is successful, it could revive the mining industry in the U.P. and do so in an environmentally responsible way. It could also lead the way to a much-needed employment surge in the region."

Click here to read the editorial.

Click here to read the comments.

Update: Click here to read the response from mining expert Jack Parker.

See also our Sept. 2, 2011, article, "Groups ask Judge to halt mine blasting at Eagle Rock."

Visit Stand for the Land for articles and photos on the Eagle Mine issue.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Community Arts Center to host sculpture installation by Ronda Jones

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center will host "Imaginary Friends," a sculpture installation by Ronda Jones, in the Kerredge Gallery from Sept. 8 - Oct. 1.

Artist Ronda Jones is pictured here with one of her "imaginary friends." (Photo courtesy Community Arts Center)

The public is invited to a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, to meet the artist and enjoy refreshments.

In her statement about the exhibit, Jones writes, "Born of long days alone in my parents’ back yard, 'Imaginary Friends' is a body of needle felted wool and mixed media sculpture that pays tribute to the magical creatures, friend and foe, I created as a five year old to keep me company and to explain the unexplainable."

Ronda Jones is a graduate of Finlandia University’s International School of Art and Design. She is a full-time studio artist and a full-time Mom to a creative child with a wild imagination of his own.

This exhibit is supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. For more information call 482-2333 or visit the website at

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sit-in against Tar Sands XL Pipeline concludes peacefully Sept. 3; national campaign to follow

Article and photos by Kate Flynn*

In front of the White House, protesters against the Tar Sands XL Pipeline display signs on Saturday, Sept. 3, the final day of the peaceful two-week sit-in and civil disobedience. Their signs and banners were later taken away by the United States Park Police before the police began making arrests. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos © 2011 and courtesy Kate Flynn)

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- A White House sit-in that has been called the largest environmental civil disobedience act in decades culminated in two days of protest on Friday, Sept. 2, and Saturday, Sept. 3. The 14-day sit-in was held in objection to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, which would transport crude oil over a distance of 1,980 miles from Canada to the U.S.

Organizers are pledging to escalate a nationwide campaign to push President Obama to deny the permit for the pipeline.

Climate activist Bill McKibben, who helped organize the protest, encouraged attendees not to view the fight against the pipeline as over.

Bill McKibben, author and environmentalist, who was one of the first leaders arrested during the sit-in, addressed assembled protesters on Saturday., Sept. 3, the fourteenth and final day of protest outside the White House against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. "This has turned into the biggest civil disobedience protest about anything this century," he stated.

"The next month or two are going to be absolutely crucial," he told those assembled before Saturday’s sit-in.

Hundreds of individuals took to the sidewalk in front of the White House on both days, risking arrest by the United States Park Police, while dozens more held signs, danced and sang across the street in Lafayette Square. The protest, which has been going on for the past fourteen days, has seen 1,252 arrests.

Protesters in front of the White House on Saturday, Sept. 3, display signs objecting to the Keystone XL Pipeline. "Game Over" is what NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who was arrested during the protest last week, said about the tar sands exploitation and the pipeline. A petition with more than 600,000 signatures opposing the pipeline was delivered to the White House on Sept. 3.

"Third warning, they came out and got us," said Joey Firman of Arlington, Va., who was arrested on Thursday after being asked to leave the sidewalk area three times by police. Firman and other protesters were not jailed upon arrest, but rather brought to a processing center and required to pay a $100 fine before being released. “Even my SWAT-team guy who arrested me, he was like, 'Tell me about this pipeline,'" Firman said. "So I told him about it for like three minutes and he was like, 'Thank you.'"

The protest has been largely peaceful and has seen support from people all over North America, as well as the local D. C. area. A number of indigenous leaders, many of whose communities would be directly affected by the pipeline, made their voices heard on Friday.

During the sit-in on Friday, Sept. 2, protesters hold a sign that says, "Respect Sovereignty / Honor Indigenous Rights." Several indigenous leaders addressed the crowd in front of the White House.

Chief Bill Erasmus -- of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada -- said his people are already being affected by the tar sands and pipeline.

Chief Bill Erasmus of the Dene Nation in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, speaks to assembled protesters on Friday, Sept. 2.

"We want people to know what our concerns are. We're saying that this pipeline is not needed," Chief Erasmus said. “Our people, in some areas, can no longer eat the fish. Our people can no longer drink the water. The oil is not for America; the oil is for the highest bidder."

Deborah Whitebloom of the Oklahoma Lakota Nation addressed the fact that the pipeline would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest freshwater aquifers in the world.

Deborah Lightbloom of the Oklahoma Lakota Nation speaks to assembled protesters on Friday, Sept. 2. She addressed the fact that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would cross roughly 2,000 streams, lakes and creeks, as well as the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world's largest aquifers.

"This is our territory," Whitebloom said. "We have to stand up and say no -- say no to the pipeline, say no to the corporations."

Candy Mosset spoke to assembled protesters on behalf of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

"It's going to affect all of us; it is, in fact, affecting all of us," she said, referring to the negative environmental impacts of the pipeline.

During the Sept. 2 protest, Candy Mosset speaks on behalf of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Maryland State Sen. Paul Pinsky also addressed the protesters on Friday, Sept. 2.

"We have to move in a forward direction," said Pinsky. "We need solar, we need wind. We have to speak truth to power."

Pinsky also said that he disputes the State Department’s final Environmental Impact Statement, released on August 26th, on the proposed pipeline. The report concludes that any environmental impact of the pipeline will be minimal. Pinsky was later one of the estimated 166 people arrested on Friday, Sept. 2.

Maryland State Senator Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George's) makes a public statement before the Friday, Sept. 2, White House sit-in. He was later arrested.

Many see the pipeline issue as crucial to whether or not President Obama will receive voter support from environmentalists in the next election cycle.

Members of the Ali-Latouche family, of Berwyn Heights, Md., line up on Fri., Sept. 2, to take part in the protest.

"This is a real chance for Obama to take a stand on something," said attendee Steve Paisley, of Ithaca, New York. "He is not going to get reelected by doing what he’s been doing, which is waffling and compromising and doing nothing. No one on the left is going to support that; even people in the middle are going to recognize someone who stands up for what they believe in, even if they don’t share that belief."

The Reverend Lennox Yearwood, a D.C.-area minister and community activist, addresses assembled supporters and protesters after the sit-in on Saturday, Sept. 3.

The final State Department hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline will be held on Oct. 7, 2011. A final decision on the pipeline is expected from President Obama by the end of the year.

Editor's Notes:

*Guest reporter Kate Flynn is a graduate student in journalism at American University in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Hancock High School and Beloit College. Kate also worked as a journalism intern for both Keweenaw Now and the L'Anse Sentinel in 2010. This is her second article on the Keystone XL Pipeline protest. Click here to read her first article in this series, posted Aug. 31, 2011.

** See "The Indigenous Call: Take Back Our Future," a short video clip showing indigenous people at the protest, including some being arrested.

Tars Sands Action, organizers of the sit-in, will soon announce Phase 2 of the protest against the pipeline. Visit their Web site for updates.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Updated: Tall Ships Regatta photos from Turku, Finland

Editor's Update: On Aug. 29, 2011, we published this article with links to photos of the Tall Ships Regatta in Turku, Finland. Since then we received permission to publish some of the individual photos. Here is the revised article with photos of the Tall Ships and some additional photos from readers in Turku, Finland:

Aug. 28, 2011, photo of Tall Ships Regatta, Turku, Finland. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photo © 2011 Shoja Lak. Turun Tietokuva Oy. Reprinted with permission. Photos courtesy Kalle Ipatti, Photographer-in-Chief, Turun Sanomat)*

TURKU, FINLAND -- The city of Turku, Finland, celebrated a Tall Ships Regatta in late August. The Regatta was reportedly the biggest event in the celebration this summer of Turku as the 2011 European Capital of Culture.

View of one of the tall ships participating in the Tall Ships Regatta in Turku, Finland, celebrating the city as the 2011 European Capital of Culture. (Photo © 2011 Shoja Lak. Turun Tietokuva Oy. Reprinted with permission. )

Keweenaw Now reader Annukka Vepsäläinen, a resident of Turku, who directed us to these photos in the Turku newspaper Turun Sanomat, recalls her own experience at the Tall Ships Regatta a few years ago with her partner, Pasi Laihonen:

"Pasi and I had the chance to be there a few years ago when the same ships were leaving Turku. One of Pasi's friends has a beautiful boat, made according to the style of a typical archipelago boat. It was an experience I'll never forget. There were hundreds of boats there to witness the moment. I'm adding a picture from 2006 when Pasi, I and some friends were going on a short trip with that same boat."

The Tall Ships Regatta brought back memories for Annukka Vepsäläinen of Turku -- including the memory of taking a trip in this Finnish archipelago boat, in which she had also witnessed the Tall Ships Regatta in Turku. (Photo © 2006 Pasi Laihonen and courtesy Annukka Vepsäläinen. Reprinted with permission.)

Annukka Vepsäläinen and Pasi Laihonen relax in the Finnish archipelago boat. (Photo © 2006 and courtesy Annukka Vepsäläinen. Reprinted with permission.)*

Click here for a night photo with fireworks.

Click here for more photos, including close-ups of the ships.

Click here to read -- in English -- about Turku's Summer of Culture celebration held on the banks of the River Aura.

* Editor's Note: Thanks (kiitos) to our reader Annukka Vepsäläinen, a resident of Turku, for directing us to news of the Regatta in the Turku newspaper Turun Sanomat; thanks to Kalle Ipatti, Turun Sanomat Photographer-in-Chief, for permission to use photos of the Tall Ships; and to Pasi Laihonen for his photos.

Portage Library to host Survival Shelter Building Program

HOUGHTON -- David Talaga, founder of the Houghton Primitive Skills and Wilderness Survival School, will teach children and adults how to build a survival shelter at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Tech Trails in Houghton.

This program will take participants out of the library and into the woods. Participants will first walk around the Tech Trails to see various survival shelters that kids have built. The group will then work together to build a survival shelter.

In this program, participants will learn which types of trees make the best shelter, what to avoid when setting up a shelter, what are the best types of materials for covering your shelter, different types of shelter construction methods, and hands-on construction of a lean-to survival shelter.

Participants should meet at 6:30 p.m. in the Tech Trails parking lot off of Sharon Ave. Hiking shoes or boots, a light jacket, and a water bottle are recommended.

Talaga has been learning and teaching wilderness survival and primitive skills for over nine years. He studied at the Tom Brown, Jr., Tracker School and also studied under Dave Canterbury, co-host of "Dual Survival," a wilderness survival documentary television series on the Discovery Channel.

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

Mini-grants available to non-profits for arts, cultural projects

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Council is accepting applications from non-profit organizations for mini-grants of up to $4,000 for arts and cultural projects. The deadline for submission of applications is Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Funding is for projects that take place between Feb. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2012.

The Mini-grant program is a grants-giving partnership funded by the State of Michigan through the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and administered by agencies in each region of the state. The Copper Country Community Arts Council serves as the Regional Re-granting Agency for the six counties in the Western UP.

MCACA mini-grants are available to registered non-profit organizations located in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties. These include (but are not limited to) service organizations, arts and historical organizations, churches, professional associations, public and non-public schools, and municipalities.

Mini-grants provide up to $4,000 for locally developed, high quality arts and cultural projects, which are special opportunities to address local arts and cultural needs and increase public access to arts and culture. Mini-grant funds require a 1:1 match which can be cash or in-kind.

Mini-grant applications must be submitted to the Community Arts Center by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Awards will be announced in January 2012. Applications and guidelines are available on the Copper Country Community Arts Council web site ( or by phoning (906) 482-2333.

The Community Arts Center will host a grant writing workshop designed to assist organizations interested in applying for Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) Mini-grant funds. The workshop will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, at the Community Arts Center located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Please phone 482-2333 to reserve your space. Technical assistance is also available by appointment.

For more information, call Regional Re-granting Coordinator Cynthia Coté at 482-2333 or email

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to hold meeting Sept. 7

HANCOCK -- KNSC (Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club) will hold its first meeting of the season at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, at the Hancock Chalet. The general public is welcome. For those new to the area, KNSC is a nonprofit club that maintains the Maasto Hiitto/ Churning Rapids classic cross country ski trail system in and adjacent to the City of Hancock.

The Hancock Chalet is at the Houghton County Fair Grounds (also called the Driving Park). More questions, call Jay Green, president, at 906-487-5411.