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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Michigan Tech's Library Café now open 7 days a week

By Carol Johnson Pfefferkorn* and Michele Bourdieu

Michigan Tech's Library Café student baristas Anit Nayak of India, left, graduate student in mechanical engineering, and Elaheh Gorgin of Iran, graduate student in math, say they are happy with the expanded hours at the café, which is usually quite busy and popular with both faculty and students. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- The J.R. Van Pelt Library Café at Michigan Tech has expanded its hours, thanks to student requests. The Library Cafe is now open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays, says Dining Services Director Matt Lean.

Anit Nayak, Michigan Tech graduate student in mechanical engineering, says he enjoys working as a barista in the café and welcomes the expanded hours. On Friday afternoon, Nov. 11, just a day before the new hours would begin, several café customers kept him busy making espresso coffee drinks and serving treats -- like chocolate cupcakes and more. Assisting him was Elaheh Gorgin of Iran, graduate student in math.

"It's fun," Nayak said. "It's busy most of the time."

Ellen Marks, director of the J.R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library, said the number of library users has risen by 15 percent over the past two years -- and longer café hours will accommodate increased public traffic, as well as students from other colleges, such Gogebic Community College.

The café, which opened in August 2009, enhances one role of the Library, which is to bring students, faculty and staff together for meetings, study and conversation.

"The café helps us send the message that the Library is the academic heart of the campus," Marks says.

Audrey Mayer, professor in Forestry, was meeting with Friday's guest speaker, Dr. Virginia Dale of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who had just given a talk on sustainable bio-fuels, and Laura Matkala of Helsinki, Finland, graduate student in forestry. All three were enjoying gourmet tea and the bright, cheerful atmosphere of the café -- which is also quiet enough for meetings and study, since it is located just inside the library's main entrance, off to the left of the circulation desk and lobby area.

Michigan Tech Forestry Professor Audrey Mayer, left, meets with guest speaker Virginia Dale of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, center, and Laura Matkala of Helsinki, Finland, graduate student in forestry, after Dr. Dale's Nov. 11 presentation, "Steps toward sustainability of bioenergy."

"This is usually where I prefer to meet -- because of the caffeine," Mayer said.

She was enjoying a cup of organic chai.

Just before his meeting, Forestry student Carl Leonard of Detroit filled a cup with Starbucks French Roast coffee to help himself wake up.

Forestry student Carl Leonard of Detroit chooses the Library Café's Starbucks French Roast to help him wake up before a meeting.

"I went fishing this morning and have a meeting now," he said.

Since the Library Café is also connected to the campus wireless network, students can bring their laptops and work while enjoying coffee or tea -- or even a sandwich for lunch.

Dan Freiberg of Grand Rapids takes advantage of the campus wireless connection as he works on materials science with his laptop in the Library Café.

Dan Freiberg of Grand Rapids, who is studying materials science and engineering, was hard at work with his laptop. He likes the light from the large windows and the view of campus, Freiberg noted.

Picking up a chocolate cupcake for a snack was Rudiger Escobar of Guatemala, Ph.D. candidate in volcanology. Escobar said he comes to the café "pretty often, especially when I'm feeling groggy."

Rudiger Escobar of Guatemala, Ph.D. candidate in volcanology, stops in the Library Café for a chocolate cupcake, a quick snack for carry-out on a Friday afternoon.

During the week, the Library Café continues its regular hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

By the way, Keweenaw Now's editor sampled the Cappuccino, and it was just right -- with a dark chocolate truffle on the side!

* Guest writer Carol Johnson Pfeffercorn recently moved to the Keweenaw from the Menominee area. In addition to writing, she is assisting Keweenaw Now with advertising and public relations.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Carnegie Museum to host Michigan Tech Steel Bridge Team Nov. 12

HOUGHTON -- Bridge engineers of all ages and skills are encouraged to come to the Carnegie Museum from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, when the Michigan Tech Steel Bridge Team will help young participants assemble and explore the 21-foot long steel bridge created by the team for the 2011 Student Steel Bridge Competition. The team will also be on hand to guide visitors through the museum's many "Building Bridges" hands-on activities about the design and engineering of bridges.

New Exhibit Opening Reception

The public is invited to an opening reception from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, for the Carnegie's new exhibit, "We Have To Go Out" -- A History of the U.S. Life-Saving Service of the Keweenaw, an exhibit by the Keweenaw County Historical Society.

Other Current Exhibits

"Remember Me -- Letters and Photos from WWII Soldiers to a Laurium Barkeep"*

"Across the Border: Canadians in the Upper Peninsula"

"Golden Anniversary of the Portage Lift Bridge" and "Building Bridges" a hands-on look at engineering bridges.*

"A Stroll Down Shelden Avenue: Commercial Development of Downtown Houghton 1852-1910."

For more information about the exhibit, other current exhibits, or group tours, please call (906) 482-7140 or send email to:

Visit the Carnegie Museum's Facebook page for more information and for updates on current exhibits and programs.

* See Keweenaw Now's June 18, 2011, article on "Building Bridges" and "Remember Me -- Letters and Photos from WWII Soldiers to a Laurium Barkeep"

Jocelyn Benson explains Nov. 12 "Engage Michigan" to local Democrats

By Michele Bourdieu

Jocelyn Benson (standing) chats with Houghton County Democrats during her Nov. 4, 2011, visit to Houghton. Sharing a pizza at the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton are, from left, Laura Swenson of Hancock; Karl Johnson and his wife, Barbara Nelson, of Calumet; and Janet Gregorich of Painesdale.

HOUGHTON -- On Saturday, Nov. 12, Jocelyn Benson, Wayne State University law professor and former Democratic candidate for Michigan Secretary of State, will chair Engage Michigan -- a convention in Lansing about "values, vision and victories" for Democrats around the state -- an opportunity to share ideas about the future of Michigan.

The Convention, organized by the Michigan Democratic Party, will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Lansing Center, 333 East Michigan Ave. in Lansing (at the corner of North Cedar and East Michigan in downtown Lansing).*

Knowing the distance might prevent Upper Peninsula Democrats from attending the convention, Benson recently visited several towns in the U.P., including Houghton, to present her ideas on Democratic values and vision and to discuss ideas and suggestions that she might take to the convention. She met with a group of Houghton County Democrats on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton.

Benson first spoke about why she is a Democrat -- her own values and ideas of what government should do for the people it represents.

"I'm a Democrat because we're the party of the people," Benson said. "How can we have a government that invests in our people and helps our people thrive?"

Noting that more than half of the voters in the state of Michigan are not coming out to vote, Benson told the Houghton County group she was still impressed and inspired by energized county Democratic parties "like yourselves" -- willing to come out on a Friday afternoon to have a conversation about improving our state to make sure government reflects our values.

Engage Michigan is a project Benson has been working on for the past year. Its purpose is "to create a space for us to come together where we can have a conversation about how we can work together to engage people in our world," she explained.

Benson asked the group if anyone could say that everyone in their world -- people who share their values -- had voted in the last election. No one could answer affirmatively.

Benson explained how the Engage Michigan convention would allow people of different ages and backgrounds to meet with other Democrats, including some of their state representatives, to share a discussion about Democratic values -- how to talk about them with neighbors and friends who share these values but are not engaged and not voting.

During a Nov. 4, 2011, visit to Houghton, Jocelyn Benson, chair of the Nov. 12 Engage Michigan convention, tells a group of local Democrats, gathered at the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton, about the goals and procedures of the event, which will take place at the Lansing Center.* (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

"Too often we look to people on the ballot," Benson said. "Every one of you has to be a candidate."

Rather than knocking on doors with a message for people you don't know, Benson advises starting a conversation with neighbors and friends you do know and helping them get engaged.

"It's you talking to the people that trust you that's going to be the factor that changes things," Benson said.

She suggested that each person should try to get five more people who share his or her values and who didn't vote in 2010 to vote in 2012.

"It's our job to get them to vote," she said.

Janet Gregorich of Painesdale noted the last election was very negative. She asked Benson for ideas on how Democrats could counter negative TV ads, for example.

Benson said it takes conversations with people you know, communicating the right message to counter what they may hear and see in the negative ads.

"If we give up, and if we allow the negative talk and allow the people that are benefiting from disengagement to continue to thrive, then the vision we have for our state will never come true," Benson said.

She mentioned the Occupy movement as an example of people coming together around issues, not around politics -- around a vision that they want to see.

Benson asked the group to remember one thing:

"This is what drives me: If we don't fight for that government (a government that represents our values), if we don't fight to get the people we fight for to fight with us -- and engage the people we know, who are close to us (but) who aren't engaged as well -- if we don't do that, nobody else will," Benson said.

Barbara Manninen of Hancock said she would like to see Benson on television.

"You're like a prophet. I like what you're saying, but I don't know why you're not on television," Manninen said. "Can we get you on Rachel Maddow?"

Benson agreed that Rachel Maddow wants us to think.**

Laura Swenson of Hancock was impressed by what Benson had to say.

"She's great!" Swenson said. "Communicating with friends is a good way to get them out to vote so they can vote for their values."

Barbara Nelson of Calumet also had a positive reaction to Benson's ideas. She said she believed Benson would be a good voice for the Democratic Party.

"I think she is fabulous," Nelson said. "I think she's very engaging. I told her I think she could be the next Hillary."

Dorothy Love, former Houghton City Council member, said Benson was right about personal contact.

"The turnout we had in 2008 was due to personal contact," Love said.

Ann Pace of Hancock added, "She (Benson) wants us to engage on the basis of our own personal values. (In other words) We should kick butt!"

Scott Dianda, Houghton County Democratic Party member and former Democratic candidate (2010) for State Representative of Michigan's 110th District, said he was inspired by Benson's talk.

"We're so glad that we have such a fire for the Democratic cause," Dianda said. "She's inspiring for all of us, and we're looking forward to her future in Michigan politics and beyond."

* For information on Engage Michigan, visit the Web site: Registration is still possible on site Saturday if you are in Lansing. If not, you can participate in the discussion and forum on line at

See also the Engage Michigan Facebook Page.

** Rachel Maddow is the host of "The Rachel Maddow Show," which airs on MSNBC at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, and is rebroadcast at midnight Eastern. You can see her show on TV or click here to watch video clips.

Houghton couple report on DC protest against Keystone XL Pipeline, Tar Sands oil

Shirley Galbraith of Houghton (in orange vest, to left of "No Tar Sands" sign) holds hands with Canadian journalist Naomi Klein during the Nov. 6, 2011, protest in front of the White House -- aimed at convincing President Obama to say "No" to the Keystone XL Pipeline, potentially destined to carry Tar Sands oil from Canada through the United States to Texas. At left, next to Klein, is Gerald Amos of the Haisla Nation in British Columbia, which is threatened by another pipeline -- one planned to transport oil from the Tar Sands in Alberta over the Canadian Rockies to the Western coast of Canada, to be loaded on giant oil tankers destined for Asian markets. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

By Shirley Galbraith
With photos and videos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now*

HOUGHTON -- The "Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline" is one of many concerns characteristic of environmental devastation and toxic pollution of our planet. If President Obama approves the construction of this pipeline, we are looking at a giant step backwards in our attempts to deal responsibly with our looming climate change. This proposed pipeline by a foreign company will pump through America's heart, stretching from Alberta to the Texas coast and including the area around the huge Ogallala aquifer.

Protesters lined up in front of the White House on Nov. 6 display signs directed at President Obama, who has the authority to approve or deny the Keystone XL Pipeline without a vote of Congress.

This is not only a political issue, but a humanitarian one as well. When it leaks, and it will, as all pipelines historically have broken here and there, it will contaminate the drinking water for millions of people. There are those who support the construction of the pipeline claiming it will provide thousands of jobs. However, they exaggerate the number of jobs it will create; and they fail to acknowledge that these jobs will be temporary. The President is currently weighing the economic, political, and environmental implications.

Canadian journalist Naomi Klein addresses the crowd of about 12,000 people gathered in front of the White House on Nov. 6, 2011, to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline and Tar Sands oil. (Videos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

We drove for two days to Washington, DC, to join with approximately 12,000 people who peacefully surrounded the White House with signs in the hope of encouraging President Obama to deny a permit for the Keystone oil pipeline. The demonstration was very well organized -- and, as we all joined hands in a spirit of cooperation and commonality, it reminded us of how everything is interconnected and how we are called upon to work together for an ethical caretaking of our environment and the future of the planet.

Questioning the claims of "jobs" projected for the Keystone Pipeline, MC and protest organizer Bill McKibben introduces Roger Toussaint, international vice-president of the Transport Workers' Union, who speaks about the solidarity of the labor and environmental movements in opposing the pipeline.

Among the speakers who shared inspiring words were the following:
Bill McKibben -- who co-founded, a global movement to solve the climate crisis, and who played a prominent role in the organizing of the event -- was an eloquent master of ceremonies; John Adams, founding director of the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council); Reverend Jim Wallis, Christian author and social justice advocate ("This rally…feels like a revival for the clean energy future"); Roger Toussaint, international vice-president of the Transport Workers' Union; Naomi Klein, author and social activist known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization; actor Mark Ruffalo and his 10 year old son; Gerald Amos of the Haisla Nation in British Columbia ("I am convinced the remnants of my culture will not survive an oil spill"); comedian Dick Gregory who made the analogy of how we must be like turtles -- hard on the outside, soft on the inside, and willing to stick our necks out; and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., community activist and president of the Hip Hop Caucus.

Protesters march with a long mock pipeline around the White House, chanting "Soil not oil" and "Yes, we will -- stop the Pipeline."

There were numerous others in this assembly consisting of people from all paths of life, Midwestern union members, First Nations leaders, environmentalists from across the country, and a remarkable showing of high school and college students from all over.

A young protester holds up his CornFinger "Stop" sign.**

It was also heartening to see hundreds of young children taking an active part -- because, after all, it was for the sake of our children and grandchildren and all children that we gave up creature comforts to make this remarkable trip.

* Houghton residents Shirley Galbraith, author of this article, and her husband, Allan Baker, who took the photos and videos for Keweenaw Now, stand with the protesters in front of the White House.

** The CornFinger sign and waving fingers express solidarity with the people of Nebraska and other states whose environment, especially water, could be impacted by the TransCanada pipeline. See

Editor's Notes:

On Thursday, Nov. 10, Bill McKibben, who helped organize the Nov. 6 protest with, reported a partial victory in the effort to call attention to the dangers of the Keystone XL Pipeline and Tar Sands oil with this statement: "Um, we won. You won.

"Not completely. The president didn’t outright reject the pipeline permit. My particular fantasy -- that he would invite the 1253 people arrested on his doorstep in August inside the gates for a victory picnic by the vegetable garden -- didn’t materialize.

"But a few minutes ago the president sent the pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review, which most analysts are saying will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess.

"There’s no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world’s second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster...."

Click here to read the rest of McKibben's statement on

Visit our YouTube channel, Keweenaw News, to see more video clips of speakers at the protest.

Documentary film on Pebble Mine postponed to Nov. 18

BARAGA -- The film Red Gold: The Pebble Mine Debate, originally scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11, has been postponed because of Veterans' Day activities in Baraga. It will be shown at 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, at the Ojibwa Senior Citizens Center in Baraga.

Image from poster courtesy Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Department of Natural Resources.

This 55-minute documentary chronicles the importance of the largest wild Pacific salmon fishery on the planet and the proposed underground and open-pit gold, copper, and molybdenum mine proposed at its headwaters. This mine, if built, would be the largest in North America and produce three billion tons of waste over its lifetime.

Red Gold gives all sides of the debate a chance to be heard, from industry officials to the people of Bristol Bay, Alaska -- Native, commercial and sport fishermen -- whose way of life depends on this extraordinary fishery.

This film is part of the "Mining Impacts on Native Lands" Film Series. The goal of this monthly film series, hosted by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department, is to increase community awareness and capacity in the midst of growing mineral interest throughout the Lake Superior region. Featured films will focus on the environmental and social impacts of mining, particularly on Native communities. All films are free and open to the public. Mining updates and information will be provided and discussion welcomed.

Click here to view Red Gold's trailer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Updated: Michigan Tech International Club to hold bazaar Nov. 12

HOUGHTON -- International goods and goodies will be on sale in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Commons from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12, at the second annual International Bazaar. Sponsored by the International Club, the bazaar kicks off International Education Week.

The bazaar is a cultural gathering that enables the local community to experience the multiculturalism of the Keweenaw in a relaxed, festive setting. Area students and businesses will sell a variety of exotic trinkets and pastries from around the world.

Update: NOSOTROS, the Latin American student group, will participate, too -- offering purses, wallets, and other items from Guatemala.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Khana Khazana to serve Indian cuisine Nov. 11

HOUGHTON -- Indian food returns to Khana Khazana, to be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 11, in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Food Court. These dishes -- characterized by the extensive use of spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit -- impress people every time.

This Friday's Indian cuisine, prepared by Abhinav Sharma, will include Shahi paneer with cream, tomatoes and spices; Malai Chicken, with the rich flavor of cream curry; Jeera Rice, with cumin seeds; and Lassi, a popular yogurt-based drink.

Cost is only $2 for each item or $6 for full meal (Only full meal includes a free beverage). Vegetarian food is also provided.

Khana Khazana (Food Treasure) is a collaboration of Michigan Tech International Students and Michigan Tech Dining Services.

Portage Library to hold Harvest Book Sale Nov. 11, 12

HOUGHTON -- The Friends of the Portage Lake District Library invite all book lovers to their Harvest Book Sale to be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday evening, Nov. 11, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. A half price sale will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday and continue until 2 p.m.

New and gently used books for children and adults will be sold to raise money for library projects and items that the Friends provide. The selection of books is excellent and will make great gifts for the holidays.

The Harvest Book Sale also includes a feast of pumpkin treats. People are encouraged to bring pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pies, and any favorite pumpkin dish to try. Foods will not be for sale, but rather are for everyone to sample and enjoy. Recipes can be shared and copies can be made at the library. Gluten-free pumpkin treats will also be available. Bringing food is not required for participation in this event.

Projects that the Friends of the Library have done include buying books, furniture, the Children’s Listening Center, and other materials. Proceeds from book sales also pay for annual events sponsored by the Friends of the Library -- including the Salsa Contest, the Summer’s Bounty Social, and the English Tea. Information on how to become involved with the Friends will be available at the book sale.

For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Club Indigo to present award-winning film Nov. 11

CALUMET -- November's Club Indigo at the Calumet Theatre Friday, Nov. 11, features an amazing drama from one of Iran's finest women filmmakers, Samira Makhmalbaf.

Blackboards tells the dramatic -- and sometimes humorous -- story of a pilgrimage by two groups of Kurds, who travel from Iran to Iraq on foot. They are accompanied by teachers who carry blackboards on their backs, hoping to make money by teaching anyone they encounter along the way.

The movie has been highly praised by critics and won a top award from the Cannes Film Festival.

The show will be at 7:15 p.m., preceded at 6 p.m. by a Middle Eastern buffet provided by chefs from the Keweenaw Co-op of Hancock. Portage Health of Hancock and Nagamoon Gifts of Calumet sponsor the film.

Cost for both buffet and movie is $18; the movie alone is $5.

Tickets for the buffet can be purchased by calling the Calumet Theatre at 337-2610.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Finlandia to present Finnish film Nov. 10

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center will show the Finnish film Törni: A Soldier’s Tale Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at both 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The film is free and open to the public.

Törni: Sotilaan Tarina (Törni: A Soldier’s Tale, Finland, 2007) follows the life and career of Lauri Törni, a highly-decorated 20th century Finnish soldier who served in the armies of three different nations.

The film is in the Finnish language with English language subtitles. The Finnish American Heritage Center is located on the campus of Finlandia University at 435 Quincy St., Hancock.

For additional information, contact Hilary Virtanen, programming coordinator for the Finnish American Heritage Center, at 906-487-7505.

Main Street Calumet Farmers and Artisans Market open Saturdays

CALUMET --Main Street Calumet’s Farmers and Artisans Market has changed its day and time. The market will now be open weekly on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. year round. It will still be held in the Merchants and Miners Building at 200 Fifth Street, in downtown Calumet (corner or Fifth and Portland streets).

Local products, crafts and seasonal produce will be featured as always. Artisans, growers, businesses and organizations that offer products made in the area are invited to join us as vendors. The market is not charging a table fee from now through the end of the holiday season.

If you have questions or need additional information please contact Main Street Calumet at 906-337-6246 or

Mary Ann Beckwith exhibit to open Nov. 11 at Rozsa

HOUGHTON -- The public is invited to join artist Mary Ann Beckwith at a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, as she opens a retrospective of her work, "Images Now and Then," in the Rozsa Gallery, downstairs in the Rozsa Center.

Beckwith, a professor in the Michigan Tech University Department of Visual and Performing Arts, may be best known for her watercolors. Among her many honors, she has been elected to the Watercolor Honor Society of Watercolor USA and has had a gallery dedicated in her name at Central Michigan University.

A recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, Beckwith has been on the Michigan Tech faculty for 38 years and is committed to sharing the artist's experience with students of all disciplines.

"Painting and helping others to experience painting still gives me a flutter in my stomach, a kind of lightheaded joy and satisfaction like that of a thirst quenched," she says. "I love the stages of painting, all the stages. That pristine white surface and the vision of what might be, the first bits of color or lines, and then, slowly, the awareness that this whole process might be beyond my control."

Beckwith is equally a painter and a teacher with a passion for both. She is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Allied Artists, Watercolor Honor Society of Watercolor USA, International Society of Experimental Artists (Nautilus Fellow), Society of Layerists in Multimedia, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and many state and regional societies.

"Images Now and Then" will be on display in the Rozsa Center from Nov. 11 to Jan. 27. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The exhibit is made possible by the James and Margaret Black Endowment.

Friends of Calumet Library to hold meeting Nov. 8

CALUMET -- Friends of the Calumet Public Library will hold their monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the library. The meeting is open to the public.

This is an open meeting, and new members and new ideas are welcome. There are many ways to lend a hand at the library: programming ideas, volunteer opportunities, the Red Jacket Readers book club, and more! Come find out what's ahead in the upcoming year at the Calumet Public Library. Don't forget to voice your preferences for books to be included in next year's book club list. Your input is needed!

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library. For more information, visit the library or call 337-0311 ext 1107.

In case of bad weather, when school is cancelled, all library programs are cancelled.

"Reading with Kids: A Workshop for Parents" to be held Nov. 11 at Jutila Center

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Reading Council will sponsor "Reading with Kids: A Workshop for Parents" from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, at Finlandia University's Jutila Center (the old hospital), 200 Michigan St., Hancock.

Share success stories of parents who've experienced trials and tribulations with their own readers! Gather great tips from educators and parents on how to continue supporting literacy at home. Learn what current literacy research says about reading and learning. Collect the Copper Country's TOP 10 FAMILY READS for different age levels. Then, browse the North Winds Books display in the lobby to pick up some great gifts for your reader. Go home with a door prize and encouraging ideas for Reading with Kids!

Age-level break-out sessions will last 30 minutes. Sessions will run twice (15-minute intermission between). Age levels include Birth, preK, K - 2nd grade, 3rd - 5th, Middle School, High School.

Childcare activities will be provided by Finlandia Education Students.

Co-sponsored by Michigan Tech's Department of Humanities. For more information on this event, contact Evelyn Johnson at 487-2982 or email

Monday, November 07, 2011

MDEQ Notice: Public meeting on Copperwood Orvana mining permit application to be Nov. 9

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, will conduct a public meeting on the application for a mining permit for the proposed Copperwood Mine, submitted by Orvana Resources US Corp. The location of the proposed mine is in Ironwood and Wakefield Townships, Gogebic County, Michigan. The application was submitted under the requirements of Part 632, Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Mining, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The MDEQ received the application on September 23, 2011, and determined it to be administratively complete on September 26, 2011.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for interested parties to exchange information through informal discussions and formal comments on the application. The meeting will be held on November 9, 2011, at Gogebic Community College, Lindquist Student Center -- Courtside Dining Area, E-4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood, Michigan 49938, according to the following schedule:

6 p.m. to 7 p.m. -- informal meeting

7:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. -- formal public comments

Note: all times are Central Standard Time (CST)

The MDEQ will accept written comments on the application from interested persons until 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, 2011. Send written comments via US mail to: MDEQ, Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, 525 W. Allegan St., P.O. Box 30256, Lansing, Michigan 48909; or via email to

Another public hearing will be held later on the proposed permit decision.

A copy of the application may be reviewed at the following locations:

MDEQ Upper Peninsula District Office, 420 5th Street, Gwinn, Michigan 49841
Contact Tina Coluccio, 906-346-8520.

MDEQ Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, 525 W. Allegan St., Lansing, Michigan 48933
Contact Steve Wilson, 517-241-1542.

Gogebic Community College Library, E-4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood, Michigan 49938

The application may also be viewed on the Internet at,4561,7-135-3311_4111_18442-262826--,00.html

Copper Harbor Trails earn world-class "Ride Center" designation

By Sam Raymond

COPPER HARBOR -- For those who may not have heard the exciting news already, the Copper Harbor Trails were recently designated as a new IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) "Ride Center" -- currently one of seven such Ride Centers in the world.

World-Class Copper Harbor Trails offer variety and challenges for mountain bikers of all levels. Here Tony Schwenn, left, and Kyle Bordeau tackle a challenging trail. (Photo © Aaron Peterson of and courtesy Sam Raymond)

IMBA's staff scored points based on the variety of trails in a location where riders may park their vehicle and experience all in one place. From gateway trails, to extensive cross country trails, flow trails and downhill/gravity trails and a biker friendly community, Copper Harbor was scored as one of the premiere mountain bike destinations anywhere.

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered, paid Club dues, participated in events, donated, ridden the trails and talked them up over the years, as your support has helped to make this happen! *

There was a solid presence of bikers in town all season long, from early May through early November. We have to believe all of the Keweenaw's trail systems will continue to see more riders as a result of this designation!

2011 finished on a high note with the completion of the new gravity/dirt jump trail (Flying Squiriel), the 1st phase Garden Brook re-route (a new easy-rated flow trail) and re-working of the berms on the upper part of "The Flow" -- all since Fat Tire/Labor Day Weekend. Here's to a great season and looking forward to another great season of riding in 2012!

* Click here to learn more about international "Ride Centers."

Editor's Note: Guest writer Sam Raymond is Vice-President of the Copper Harbor Trails Club and owner of Copper Harbor's Keweenaw Adventure Company.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Photos, videos: Grand Opening of Calumet Visitor Center (Union Building)

By Michele Bourdieu

On Oct. 27, 2011, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin speaks outside Keweenaw National Historical Park's Union Building -- now the Calumet Visitor Center -- just before cutting the ribbon for the building, which now houses historical displays. Also pictured are, from left, Tony Bausano, Calumet Village president; Paul Lehto, Calumet Township supervisor; Mike Reynolds, National Park Service Midwest Regional director; Kim Hoagland, Keweenaw National Historical Park (NHP) Advisory commission chairperson; and Mike Pflaum, Keweenaw NHP superintendent. Following the ribbon cutting, a Naturalization Ceremony for new U.S. citizens was held on the remodeled third floor of the building. See below for a video of Sen. Levin's speech. (Photos by Keweenaw Now unless otherwise indicated)

CALUMET -- Anita Campbell of Calumet is one of many local Copper Country residents who donated a family treasure to the historical displays in the newly opened Union Building of Keweenaw National Historical Park (NHP), now known as the Calumet Visitor Center. Her donation is a Western Federation of Miners pin that belonged to her maternal grandfather, Heikki Hautala, who immigrated to Calumet in 1910.

Anita Campbell of Calumet donated her grandfather's Western Federation of Miners pin (at top of photo) to the historic exhibits in the newly opened Union Building of Keweenaw National Historical Park (NHP) -- now known as the Calumet Visitor Center. The photo also shows a copper miners' strike button from 1968. Click on photo for larger version.

"He worked for 45 years for C and H (Calumet and Hecla Mining Co.)," Campbell said.

Campbell was excited about the Grand Opening of the Union Building /Visitor Center, with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and American Naturalization Ceremony held on Oct. 27, 2011. She had been busy for days, preparing for the tours of the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's, across the street, since these would follow the ceremonies. Campbell, who serves as Keweenaw Heritage Center secretary, is very active in historical preservation activities in the Calumet area.

"The events last Thursday were extremely heartwarming for us as we've been involved with helping this Park get off the ground since back in the mid-1980s," Campbell said. So Kim Hoagland's remarks expressing 'fierce community pride' really said it all."

Kim Hoagland, historian and chair of the Keweenaw NHP Advisory Commission, welcomes the public to the Calumet Visitor Center opening ceremonies on Oct. 27, 2011. (Video clips by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

U.S. Senator Carl Levin, honored guest speaker at both ceremonies, explained that "Union" in the name of the building does not refer to labor unions such as the Western Federation of Miners, which was active at the height of the copper mining boom in early 20th-century Calumet. The building was actually used as a meeting place for community groups and fraternal organizations -- from the Freemasons to the Odd Fellows.

According to the Keweenaw NHP Web site, "For nearly eighty years, the Union Building served as a meeting place for over twenty of Calumet’s fraternal groups and benevolent societies. Many of these organizations possessed elaborate and secretive rituals that forged strong connections between members and provided them with a level of security and acceptance in the local community. These groups, whose membership was often based on national identity and/or religious affiliation, provide a chronicle of Calumet’s past ethnic and religious makeup."*

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin speaks at the Grand Opening of the Calumet Visitor Center (Union Building) on Oct. 27, 2011.

The Senator was instrumental in securing federal funding for the restoration of the building, which now houses exhibits that tell the story of Calumet's mining history and of the immigrants from many countries who came here to work in the mines.

"All of us who live here and are so proud of the Keweenaw's history are mighty happy to see the story told in such an awesome exhibit," noted Anita Campbell. "The short video, Risk and Resilience, shown at the exhibit, is very well done and so touching."

Following the ribbon cutting with Sen. Levin, an American Naturalization Ceremony was held on the third floor (remodeled ballroom) of the Visitor Center.

Mike Pflaum, Keweenaw NHP superintendent, welcomed the new citizens and the audience, noting how fitting it is that the naturalization ceremony be held in this national park, with its historical link to immigrants. Pflaum then introduced Kathleen Harter Keweenaw NHP chief of interpretation.

"It's been Kathleen's vision for this event that has carried us to the reality that we're all here today," Pflaum said.

Kathleen Harter, Keweenaw NHP chief of interpretation, welcomes the public and the new U.S. citizens to the Naturalization Ceremony in the Calumet Visitor Center on Oct. 27, 2011. **

Carol Poggi, Deputy Clerk from Marquette, opened the court session for administering the Oath of Allegiance to nine new United States citizens. The ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors by the Junior ROTC and singing of the National Anthem by local singer Jan Arnold.

The American Naturalization Ceremony on the third floor of the Calumet Visitor Center begins with a Presentation of Colors by the JROTC and the National Anthem sung by Jan Arnold.

The Honorable Timothy P. Greeley administered the Oath to the nine new U.S. citizens, who hailed from six different countries. They were Ruth Gill, Simon Carn, Mohamed Tarchoun, Cliff Millado, Julie Hall, Shirley Harrell, Tsao-Yin Liu, Paul Jueckstock and Christa Newhouse.

The Honorable Timothy P. Greeley administers the Oath of Allegiance to nine new U.S. citizens in the third-floor remodeled ballroom of the Calumet Visitor Center (Union Building) on Oct. 27,2011. This video clip also includes an excerpt from remarks by guest speaker Sen. Carl Levin.

Mick Dedvukaj, District director for the Detroit District of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, congratulated the new citizens and told an amusing story of how he became a naturalized citizen himself, years after his parents brought him to the U.S. from Albania.

Mick Dedvukaj, District director for the Detroit District of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, puts the new citizens and the audience at ease with an amusing story about his own experience as a naturalized U.S. citizen. ***

Many visitors to the ceremonies took advantage of the occasion to tour the new historical exhibits in the building.

John Slivon of Hancock examines an exhibit on copper mining and the one-man drill.

This exhibit tells how the one-man drill threatened miners' jobs.

Knowledge of copper mining in the Keweenaw Peninsula goes back as far as French explorer Samuel de Champlain, according to this display. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

This exhibit on mineral rights mentions Ojibwe treaty rights.

Here are photos of a few of Calumet's 34 churches that served various ethnic groups during the mining boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

At the same time, Calumet had more than 60 bars or taverns.

Visitors can open this school desk to learn about the teacher in the photo.

This school exhibit describes how children from different ethnic groups studied together in the public schools and "got along."

The new Visitor Center is open from now until Thanksgiving from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday.

After Thanksgiving, the Calumet Visitor Center will be open Thursday - Sunday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The facility is free to all individuals and groups and includes two floors of fully accessible interpretive exhibits.****

* Click here to read more about the history of the Union Building.
** Click here for our video clip of Kathleen Harter's welcoming talk.
*** Click here for our video clip of Mick Dedvukaj's personal story about becoming a U.S. citizen.
**** Click here to learn more about the Calumet Visitor Center Project.

Editor's Note: Visit our KeweenawNews You Tube channel to view these and more of our video clips on YouTube.