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, December 30, 2011

ARTE MAYA 2012 Guatemalan calendars still available

HANCOCK -- Some beautiful ARTE MAYA Guatemala calendars for 2012 are still available for sale through the Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project (CCGAP).

"When you buy a calendar, you're not only supporting the Guatemalan artists, but also you're supporting the solidarity work of the Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project and our national organization, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA)," says Sue Ellen Kingsley, CCGAP director. "2012 is probably the last year these gorgeous art calendars will be produced. Thanks to those of you who already bought your calendars!"

Contact Sue Ellen Kingsley at and let her know how many calendars you would like to order. The rates depend on quantity: $20 apiece for one or two, $18 apiece for three or four, $15 apiece for five or more. Student rate is $15 each. Include your address if you wish to have the calendars mailed to you.

You can also order them on line at Click here for more information.

These make a great New Year's or belated Christmas gift!

Snow dog Gromit offers trail snow update

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club groomer at work along Gromit's favorite Swedetown Creek gorge on Maasto Hiihto Ski Trails. (Photos courtesy Arlyn and Sandy Aronson)

HANCOCK -- Gromit the snow dog reports grooming is taking place on Maasto Hiihto trails but cautions humans to take care and use rock skis.

Grooming goes on at night, too.

"With some white gold falling here yesterday, I sent a pack member out to roll it down," Gromit writes. "He found the trails definitely improved with the modest amount that came. Although they'd still recommend using rock skis out on Keweenaw Nordic's trails."

On Christmas Eve, Gromit reports, "the lake hadn't dumped all that much snow around here so we headed to the North Country Trail near Rockland and brought snowshoes with us in case it was too shallow for skis."

Gromit with Sandy Aronson enjoying a five-hour snowshoe and the view from the North Country Trail near Rockand on Christmas Eve, 2011.

On Dec. 12, Gromit, Sandy and Arlyn took a short drive north of Hancock to do a three-mile hike to the top of a Lookout ridge. "All-paw drive" was needed to get to the top for a view, she says.

Sandy and Arlyn Aronson and Gromit enjoy a view of Lake Superior from their Lookout hike in early December.

Gromit in her element!

See more photos of hiking, skiing and snowshoeing with Gromit in our "low snow" season on Gromit's blog, The Trail Mutt Reports.

Backroom Boys to play for dancing New Year's Eve at Copper Island Beach Club

HANCOCK -- Bring in the New Year on the wooden dance floor of the Copper Island Beach Club in Hancock with the Backroom Boys from 9 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Dec. 31. Dance the last hours of the old year away to swing, jazz, blues, polkas, and waltzes, all with a touch of New Orleans.

The Backroom Boys are John Munson -- clarinet, sax, and keyboard; Bob Norden -- trombone and vocals; Matthew Durocher -- bass; Oren Tikkanen -- guitar, banjo, and vocals; and possibly Randy Seppala -- washboard, bones, spoons, drums, etc.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Congressman Benishek to meet with constituents in Mohawk Dec. 29

MOHAWK -- Dan Benishek, U.S. Congressman for Michigan's First District, will host a "Meet-n-Greet" from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29, at Slim's Café, 8 Mohawk Street in Mohawk.

Constituents will have the opportunity to share their thoughts and concerns on issues facing Congress. Casework staff will also be available to assist citizens in need.

Note: No appointment or RSVP is required to attend this event. However, the schedule is subject to change. Therefore, attendees may need to call 989-448-8811 to confirm the event.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

HuffPost: Article on Italian Hall disaster by Steve Lehto

HANCOCK -- Steve Lehto, author of two books on the Italian Hall disaster, recently published an article in the Huffington Post, "The Italian Hall Disaster: One Reason to Observe a Silent Night This Christmas Eve," posted on Dec. 21, 2011.

Lehto notes that Christmas Eve marks the anniversary of the tragic events of Dec. 24, 1913, when someone yelled "Fire" -- a false alarm --during a Christmas party in Calumet's Italian Hall and at least 73 people, mostly children, died in the panic that ensued.

Click here to read the Huffington Post article.

Author Lehto, who is a professor and practicing attorney as well, has researched the Italian Hall tragedy and written about it in Death's Door: The Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder and Shortcut: The Seeberville Murders and the Dark Side of the American Dream (To access Steve Lehto's Facebook Resource Page on the Italian Hall, click on the ad on this page for the second book, published this year).

Common Dreams: Utah doctors join law suit against Rio Tinto

SALT LAKE CITY -- Rio Tinto's Bingham Canyon mine is a large contributor to Salt Lake City's air pollution. (Forbes Magazine rates Salt Lake City's air quality as the ninth most toxic city in the country.)

Dr. Brian Moench, President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, authors a worthwhile article, posted this morning by mega site CommonDreams.

The article states: "Taking inspiration from the Occupy Movement, last week a group of doctors and environmental groups in Salt Lake City, Utah, announced a law suit against the third largest mining corporation in the world, Rio Tinto, for violating the Clean Air Act in Utah. This is likely the first time ever that physicians have sued industry for harming public health."

Click here to read the article.

Keweenaw Social Dance seeks dancers, musicians for community dance events

LAKE LINDEN -- Keweenaw Social Dance, a community group, is looking for people who know how to dance cultural dances, hip hop, and more. They are also seeking bands who play anything in the dance genre. Right now they are especially interested in Finnish dancing, in preparation for Hancock's Heikinpäivä Mid-Winter Festival in January.

Recently the group held two dances, preceded by dance lessons, at the Little Gem Theater in Lake Linden. The Backroom Boys provided the music for those events, so the dance lessons included Blues, Swing, and Slow Dance.

The Backroom Boys play dance music for the Dec. 23, 2011, Keweenaw Social Dance event at the Little Gem Theater in Lake Linden. (Photo courtesy Chuck Hill. Reprinted with permission.)

Dance instructor Chuck Hill, who started the Social Dance Club at Michigan Tech, is now working on this community based program -- Keweenaw Social Dance.

"It's going to have a lot of the original's dances, but I look to add on to that curriculum," Hill says. "I'm currently teaching East Coast Swing, Slow Dance, Blues, Argentinean Tango, Waltz, Cha Cha, Merengue, and bits and pieces of other dances."

Hill is also working on restoring the Little Gem Theater for events. That means new upholstery, wood floor, paint, sound equipment, lighting, etc., he explains.

"The way it works is seat sponsorship," Hill says. "$75 a seat and your name stays on it forever and you can be part of the effort. I also just got ballet barres and mirrors that I will be installing upstairs for the new program of ballet, jazz, and tap. Little by little."

If you are interested in helping teach Finnish dance or in playing Finnish music in preparation for Heikinpäivä or in helping Chuck Hill plan dance events with local talent, be sure to email him at or call him at 906.370.9532.

Click here for the Heikinpäivä schedule.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

New Congressional report says current Congress most anti-environmental in history

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- A new Congressional report documents the anti-environment record of the First Session of the 112th U.S. House of Representatives.*

It confirms that the 2011 House of Representatives is the most anti-environment House in the history of Congress and highlights House Republicans’ unrelenting assault on basic environmental protections that have existed for decades. The House has averaged more than one anti-environmental vote for every day it was in session during 2011.

The following statement -- issued Dec. 15, 2011 -- is from Martin Hayden, Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation:

"Earthjustice commends Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Edward Markey (D-MA), and Howard Berman (D-CA) for their stunning and thorough report that underscores the breadth and scope of the House of Representatives’ year-long assault on clean air, clean water, public health, public lands and very future of our planet. The report’s findings are simply breathtaking. Under the leadership of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House has voted 191 times to weaken or obliterate environmental protections. Twenty-two percent of all floor votes taken this year have been targeted at denying Americans environmental protections they have long supported. Just this week, Speaker Boehner continued playing political games with our children’s health by burying a provision in the House-passed tax bill to indefinitely delay a long overdue standard to clean up toxic air emissions, including mercury, from industrial boilers and incinerators. The boilers rider would cause thousands of Americans to die unnecessarily every year, and thousands more to suffer serious and debilitating illness."

The report includes examples of Congressional votes and legislation on such topics as blocking efforts to prevent climate change; undermining the Clean Air Act; undermining the Clean Water Act; removing protections for public lands, fish and wildlife; weakening safety requirements for offshore drilling; cutting support for clean energy technologies and programs; allowing unsafe disposal of toxic coal ash; curtailing review of the Keystone XL Pipeline; reducing funding for environmental protection; and obstructing the regulatory process.

* Click here to access this Dec. 15, 2011, report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Minority Staff.

Editor's Notes: This press release from Earthjustice was forwarded to Keweenaw Now by the Northwood Alliance, Conover, Wis.

Earthjustice update: "On December 21, 2011, the Obama administration issued the first-ever limits on power plants' emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollutants. Earthjustice played a critical role in achieving these critical protections."

Click here for the Earthjustice Dec. 21, 2011, press release.