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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

HANCOCK -- Old jazz and dance music with the Backroom Boys will swing in the New Year, starting at 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Dec. 31, at the Copper Island Beach Club on the Hancock waterfront, bottom of Tezcuco Street.

"Music you can dance to, with sound levels at which you can still carry on a conversation," says musician Oren Tikkanen. "Leave your earplugs at home, but bring your dance shoes."

The Backroom Boys tonight are Bob Norden, trombone and vocals; John Munson, tenor sax, clarinet, and piano; Scott MacIntosh, bass; and Oren Tikkanen, banjo, guitar, and vocals.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Swedetown Trails allow snow bikes on "Fat Tuesdays"

From Cynthia MacDonald, President
Swedetown Trails Club

CALUMET -- After 6 p.m. on Tuesdays snow bikes are allowed on all Swedetown trails. You must have a season or day pass. Fat tire bikes (3.7 or larger tires) only -- no mountain bikes.

Snow bikes (fat bikes) have very large tires and operate with very low air pressures to keep from sinking into snow. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Chris Schmidt)

Here’s the expected trail courtesy: Yield to skiers. Do not ride near the groomed tracks. If you must stop please stay on the edge of the trail away from groomed area.

Note: Fat Tuesday is cancelled when conditions are soft.

There is no end-of-day sweep at Swedetown Trails. Let someone know your plans and ride safely. Cell phone service is coming to the trails near the M203 trailhead very shortly, but until it is working we don't really know the coverage.

For more information visit For trail conditions see Chalet phone: 337-1170.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to host moon fire ski Dec. 29

Gromit the Trail Dog spent Christmas in Ironwood. "We stayed at my favorite lodging, Wolverine Village," she said. "We've been here many times before so I must recommend them -- plus they are just across the road from the ski trails." Gromit is looking forward to the moon fire ski at Maasto Hiihto in Hancock this Saturday, Dec. 29. (Photos courtesy Gromit's Trail Mutt Reports, recently updated)

HANCOCK -- Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club’s moon fire ski will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 29, at Maasto Hiihto Trails. Come on out for an evening of fun!

Start at Tomasi Trailhead at 6:30 p.m. This is just northwest of Portage Hospital. The trail will be skier-groomed. Ski approximately 3 K. Enjoy a bonfire, roasting sausages, telling truthful stories. Do wear a head lamp in case the clouds obscure the moon.

Sandy Aronson and Gromit enjoy some lake snow coming down on the Big Powderhorn ski slopes.

Sandy, Arlyn and Gromit Aronson say, "We enjoy seeing all trail users attend."

Arlyn reports Maasto Hiihto's base is quite rough and not deep enough to groom, but skiers have been on them, so they are "skier-groomed."

Questions? Call 487-9229 or 370-2911.

Click here to visit Gromit's Trail Mutt Reports for more photos of her recent adventures.

DEQ accepting further public comment on Orvana application for wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit

Editor's Note: This is a letter from Steve Casey, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Upper Peninsula District Supervisor, Water Resources Division, addressed to concerned citizens who sent comments concerning the Orvana Copperwood application for a wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit for their proposed copper mine near Wakefield, Mich. While the deadline for these comments was Dec. 18, 2012, DEQ officials are still accepting further comments. Casey explains why in this letter, sent via email on Friday, Dec. 21.


First and foremost, we did not effectively achieve our goal of effectively reaching beyond the legally required minimum public participation for this application.  Hopefully we’ll "hit the mark" this time by clarifying how to access the complete application, the December mitigation supplement and overviewing a few other issues.

Application Access:

1.We will consider all comments that we receive prior to making a decision on this application. We do not expect to make a decision until January 21, at the soonest. We’ll let you know immediately if our review time is shortened.
2.The entire Part 301/303 application has been available on the DEQ web site since November 30. The December 3 press release was meant to, in part, make it easier for the public to find and review the entire application without having to go through the FOIA process. This is not required by statute, but was done as an outreach. The second page of the November 28 public notice and the second page of the December 3 press release provided a link to the DEQ webpage, from which the entire application could have been found. In hindsight, it was not easy to do so. The most direct way to view the entire application is to go to this link:,4561,7-135-3307_29692_24403-290574--,00.html

This link includes the public notice (which largely consists of documents from the application that were scanned) as well as the entire application. The actual application (not the "poorer quality scanned documents" as John Coleman described them in his email) is found below the "Table of Contents" file about a quarter of the way down this link.  Several of you expressed interest in seeing the more detailed mitigation plan that was submitted earlier this week. We added it to the website yesterday. These files are on the same link and are labeled:

Supplemental Information added 12-20-2012
If you have a problem finding any of this information, please contact me at (906) 346-8535 or or Jim Caron at (906) 875-2071 x.103 or

Hopefully, the information in this email better achieves our goal of providing an effective opportunity for meaningful public comment on this application.

Other Clarifications

Several other clarifications might assist you in providing meaningful comments on this application. Again, these clarifications are based on a quick review of the comments received to date and are meant to help you review the application. Please be assured that we will fully consider all comments that we have received and will receive and that our review is far from complete.

1.The feasibility study for utilizing tailings for mine backfill is found in Appendix E under Tab 5: "Alternative Analysis" on the link described above.
2.The department’s September 5 letter to Orvana on their previous application and their response are attached.* We are reviewing the November 28 application to determine whether it adequately addresses the issues DEQ raised in the September 5 letter. 
3.The department is in the process of imposing additional conditions in the Orvana Part 632 permit to ensure that several concerns address in tribal/public comments are addressed. Please contact me if you would like additional information on that process.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Steve Casey
Upper Peninsula District Supervisor
Water Resources Division
(906) 346-8535

Note: To send electronic comments on this project go to CIWPIS-on-line, type in the file number 12-27-0050-P on the left panel and select "Search."

*Editor's Note: Email Steve Casey at to request copies of these letters.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"Art from the Kalevala" call for entries for Jan. 8-26, 2013, exhibit

Death and Rebirth, by Paul Osmak. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- Artwork is being sought for the exhibition "Art from the Kalevala,"which will take place January 8-26, 2013, in the Kerredge Gallery at the Community Arts Center in Hancock.

The Kalevala is an important literary work -- the epic poem of Finland. Its rich imagery provides a hearty topic for visual art, and the exhibit fits into Hancock’s mid-winter festival, Heikinpäivä. An open house reception will be held from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, during the Heikinpäivä celebrations. Many people come to Hancock during this time and will enjoy the exhibition’s connection with Finnish culture. Artists may submit up to three pieces, each of which should include the lines from the Kalevala that inspired the work. There is no fee to participate, but a 40 percent commission will be charged on any work sold. If your art is not for sale please note "NFS."

Bear Hunter's Charm, inspired by the Kalevala, Rune 46: The Bear. Fabric, by Cynthia Coté. This piece was part of the January 2012 Kalevala exhibit at the Community Arts Center. See Keweenaw Now's slide show of works in the 2012 exhibit.

Copies of the Kalevala can be found at the local libraries or may be researched on line. Artwork should be delivered to the Arts Center, 126 Quincy St. in Hancock, during the first week of January: from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday Jan. 2-4, or 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5.

For more information call: 906.482.2333 or email:

Have a peaceful holiday and New Year!

Keweenaw Now wishes all our readers a peaceful, happy and safe holiday season!

May 2013 be a year of peaceful progress for our endangered planet, brotherhood and sisterhood among diverse nations and cultures, and health and happiness for all of you.

Paloma de la paz. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sing carols tonight in Hancock

HANCOCK -- Artist Mary Wright invites all to come and sing carols to celebrate the reconstruction of the old sauna at 6 p.m. TONIGHT, Christmas Eve, on Quincy Green on Quincy Street, Hancock (in front of the old middle school).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Scott Dianda, sworn in as 110th District State Rep, outlines priorities

By Michele Bourdieu

Hancock Mayor Bill Laitila, left, administers the oath of office to newly elected 110th District State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), accompanied by his wife, Debbie, during a Dec. 8, 2012, ceremony and celebration at Michigan Tech University. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- While his official term does not begin until the Michigan House of Representatives meets in January, newly elected Michigan 110th District Rep. Scott Dianda has wasted no time since his election in November to the House seat held by Republican Matt Huuki for the past two years. Dianda has been meeting with constituents, listening to their concerns and presenting his own priorities for the future of Michigan -- and especially for the future of the seven counties he represents in the Western Upper Peninsula.*

Dianda recently spoke to two very different audiences. On Dec. 6, 2012, he addressed members of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce and on Dec. 8 he was officially sworn in as a state representative during a ceremony attended mostly by his Democratic supporters. Jack LaSalle, Dianda's campaign manager, introduced Dianda, his wife Debbie and Hancock Mayor Bill Laitila, who administered the oath of office.

Here is a video clip of the swearing-in ceremony, held at Michigan Tech University:

Scott Dianda (D-Calumet), newly elected State Representative for Michigan's 110th District, accompanied by his wife, Debbie, is sworn in to his office in a ceremony at Michigan Technological University on Dec. 8, 2012. William Laitila, Mayor of Hancock, Mich., administers the oath of office. Dianda thanks the audience of supporters for their work during the campaign and mentions education as his top priority for the future of Michigan and his district. (Videos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Dianda outlines priorities for business growth at Chamber of Commerce meeting

"We have to do it together," Dianda told Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce members at their Dec. 6 "Eggs and Issues" breakfast meeting, outlining his hopes for the future through education, technology, agriculture and improved transportation to attract new business and industry to the Western Upper Peninsula.

In this video clip Dianda speaks about his Calumet family roots and his confidence in this area's potential for future growth:

Scott Dianda, newly elected Michigan 110th District State Representative, addresses members of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce at their "Eggs and Issues" breakfast meeting on Dec. 6, 2012. Dianda outlines his priorities and ideas for attracting new business to the seven counties he represents in the Western Upper Peninsula.

Dianda mentioned the need for dredging the Keweenaw Waterway (aka Portage Ship Canal) to facilitate commercial transport by water.

The Keweenaw Waterway was last dredged in 1994. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers Web site, it is due for dredging soon, but this work has been backlogged for lack of funding.**

Keweenaw Now asked Noel Urban, director of Michigan Tech's Center for Water and Society and professor of environmental engineering, about the environmental impacts of dredging the Keweenaw Waterway, especially since several public beaches are located on it. In his research, Urban specializes in water quality, including sediment contamination.

"There are mine tailings throughout the whole of the waterway, and dredging will re-suspend those fine, copper-rich particles," Urban explained.

Urban said the water would be turbid for a while after the dredge but he wasn't sure whether that would impact the beaches.

"Just from the copper there aren't really health issues for humans," Urban added. "There may be some implications for wildlife. It's primarily the aquatic invertebrates that would be affected."

One issue in the Ripley area is a plume of hydrocarbons at the bottom of the canal, he said

"The EPA and DEQ are now trying to figure out how best to clean it up," Urban said. "If one were to dredge that and stir that up over a large area it could spread the problem."

These are oil-related products, denser than water, that have a relatively small impact while on the bottom; but they are probably carcinogenic and toxic to aquatic organisms that come in contact with them, Urban explained.

According to the US Army Corps of Engineers Web site, "The Keweenaw Waterway Confined Disposal Facility has adequate capacity for at least the next 25 years of dredging."**

Dianda told Keweenaw Now the Keweenaw Waterway is presently only used by the Ranger (the passenger boat that takes visitors to Isle Royale), pleasure craft and a once-a-year delivery of salt for the roads; and it has potential for shipping manufactured products, which would attract business and create jobs.

"I want to be sure we're sticking to the federal schedule for dredging the canal, making sure that's a viable waterway," Dianda said, "but I also want to make sure that we're doing things correctly and not hurting anything."

Dianda noted he plans to work with US Senators Levin and Stabenow and Congressman Dan Benishek on the dredging issue.

During the Chamber meeting, Dianda also spoke about local government control and government efficiency:

At the Dec. 6, 2012, meeting of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce, Scott Dianda, recently elected Michigan State Representative for the 110th District, speaks about local government control and his own experience traveling in various parts of the state.

During a question and answer session, Steve Karpiak, Osceola Township supervisor, asked about property taxes for small local units of government and about road issues. Dianda, who has worked for the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) said he was aware of the urgent need for funding maintenance of roads and bridges. He also expressed concern about the impacts of salt on the roads in the U.P.

Following his presentation, Representative Elect Scott Dianda fields questions from members of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce. In this video clip he discusses the problems with roads in the U.P., the need for rail to take some of the burden off the roads and the need for funding. Steve Karpiak, Osceola Township supervisor, expresses concerns about the stamp sand used on the roads and the fact that the DEQ no longer allows re-use of it because of toxicity.

Others in the audience asked Dianda for his views on welfare fraud, funding "Pure Michigan" for tourism, and the latest legislation on ATVs.

Glenn Anderson, Hancock city manager, asked Dianda what his position is on allowing ATVs to use major trunk lines, including crossing bridges such as the Portage Lift Bridge.

The pending Senate Bill 1020 would allow ORV/ATV ("4-wheeler") vehicles to cross the bridge on the roadway.***

According to Anderson, the City of Houghton recently passed an ordinance to allow ATVs to cross the bridge from the Houghton side. The Hancock City Council has not taken any official position but they are supportive of the bill.

"I'm hoping the bill passes," Anderson told Keweenaw Now.

The ATV trails end on each side of the bridge, so there is a gap. At present, ATVs can cross the bridge from the Hancock side only with an escort. Anderson pointed out that ATVs can now go the same speed as the traffic on the bridge and might actually cause more of a hazard with an escort, requiring them to go more slowly than the 25 m.p.h. speed limit.

Scott Dianda answers questions from members of the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce at their Dec. 6 meeting in Houghton. Glenn Anderson, Hancock city manager, third from left at table in background, asked about new pending legislation on ATVs and on the mining severance tax.

Dianda said he is supportive of allowing ATVs to cross the bridge.

"As far as the bridge crossing goes, I think they should be able in the summertime to go across there with a 4-wheeler (if they have a 5- or 6-foot red flag on the back)," Dianda said. "We can't have a tourism area where they can't cross and get on this island."

Dianda also fielded questions on the current legislation for a mining severance tax and on eliminating personal property taxes. Here is an excerpt from the discussion on taxes:

Scott Dianda answers questions on the mining severance tax and personal property taxes. Gov. Snyder signed recent legislation on both of these yesterday, Dec. 20, 2012.

Dianda said he was in favor of the original severance tax that gave 100 percent of revenue to the local units of government, schools, etc.-- who would normally benefit from the property taxes that the severance tax would replace -- but he is concerned now that the tax is 65 percent local revenue and 35 percent to a state fund. He said he hoped the Governor would be fair since the UP has only four votes (in the House) compared to 106 for the Lower Peninsula.****

In his talk with Chamber of Commerce members, Dianda expressed his wish to stay in communication with them. He has publicly posted his cell phone number and invited constituents to contact him. While his official State House of Representatives Web site will not be available until the January session, Dianda can be reached at (906) 369-3338 or by email at


* The 110th District includes these counties: Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Marquette (partial), and Ontonagon.

** Click here to see the US Army Corps of Engineers Web page on the Keweenaw Waterway.

*** Click here for SB 1020.

****The mining severance tax (HB 6007-6012) was passed by both houses of the Michigan Legislature this month and was approved by Gov. Snyder on Dec. 20, 2012. Click here to access these bills, now referred to as PA 410 of 2012. Click here for an article on Gov. Snyder's approval of this severance tax legislation and also the personal property tax bill. Click here for the article on bills Gov. Snyder signed on Dec. 20, 2012.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rozsa Center family Christmas celebration to include "Ana's Angels" Benefit for Olsson family

The Rozsa Center, brightly decorated for the holidays, will be the scene of a special Christmas celebration and Ana Olsson Benefit Friday, Dec. 21. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- Let’s get 1000 people to the Rozsa Center on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, in support of the Olsson family, for a very special community Christmas celebration -- a family holiday event and Ana Olsson Benefit.

Evening highlights include an original presentation of "The Night Before Christmas" by the students of the Michigan Tech Youth Dance Program along with select members of the Michigan Tech Dance Team and Tech Cheer Team, followed by a screening of the Walt Disney Studio's 1983 film, Mickey's Christmas Carol, in the Rozsa theater. The dance and movie will begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $8.

An Ana Olsson Benefit Bake Sale and Silent Auction will be ongoing in the Lobby, from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. And why do we need to meet the goal of 1000 tickets sold? Because most exciting of all, a major contribution by the Brule Family Foundation has created a "challenge donation" that will match a $5 donation to the Ana Olsson benefit for every ticket sold to this event!

A narrator will read the beloved Christmas story, "A Night Before Christmas," as the young dancers, "asleep in their beds," become "visions of sugar plums." And while "nothing was stirring, not even a mouse," little tumbling toddlers will bound around a Christmas tree on stage! Speaking of little mice, following this endearing performance by our local budding dancers, guests will be treated to a beloved animated movie featuring every child’s favorite character, Mickey Mouse! Mickey stars as the over-worked, underpaid employee of Ebenezer Scrooge in Mickey's Christmas Carol. Mickey is joined by such Disney notables as Scrooge McDuck as miserly Scrooge, Donald Duck as Scrooge’s affable nephew, Goofy as a clumsy version of Marley’s Ghost, and Jiminy Cricket, Willie The Giant, and Pete -- and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

Enjoy a heartwarming evening in the beautiful Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts as we show our support for the Olssons as they deal with Ana’s illness. Free hot chocolate and child-friendly beverages will be provided. For details on how to donate to the bake sale or silent auction, please contact benefit organizer Joyce Smith, (906) 281-1042. (Please note this corrected phone number.)

Tickets for the entire evening are $8. To purchase tickets, please call (906) 487-2073, go online at, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton.

Performance tickets are not required for participation in the bake sale or silent auction portion of the benefit, although ticket sales will directly result in donations to the Ana Olsson benefit. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday-Friday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to show times.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Detroit Free Press: "Snyder vetoes concealed weapons bill"

LANSING -- At 3:54 p.m. today the Detroit Free Press posted this update: "Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill this afternoon that would have allowed gun owners with extra training to carry their concealed weapons in schools, day care centers, churches and stadiums.

"In his veto letter sent to the Legislature shortly before 4 p.m., Snyder said the bill had a fatal loophole that didn’t allow for those institutions to opt out of the new legislation and prohibit weapons from their buildings," the article states.

Earlier today, the Free Press posted an article noting religious leaders and other concerned citizens were writing to the Governor, asking him to veto the legislation, and were planning a vigil outside his office for 4 p.m. today.

Michigan U.S. Senator Carl Levin also urged Snyder to veto the "flawed" legislation.*

The Free Press noted, "The veto comes just four days after a horrific shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which a heavily armed 20-year-old muscled his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults."**

*See "Sen. Levin urges Gov. Snyder to veto concealed-weapons bill passed by Michigan Legislature."

** Click here to read the Detroit Free Press article on the veto.

Dec. 18 is deadline for comments on Orvana's wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit for Copperwood Mine

LANSING -- Today, Dec. 18, 2012, is the deadline for public comments on Orvana Corporation's revised application for the wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit needed to construct the Copperwood Mine north of Wakefield in Gogebic County.

In response to comments from the public, Native American tribes, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality), the applicant made numerous improvements to its original submittal. The withdrawal and resubmittal of this application allows regulators to consider a single permit application instead of the original application with multiple corrected documents, and was necessary because of a pending deadline for resolving EPA concerns with the original application.

According to the DEQ, the revised application includes the following major improvements:
  • An improved analysis of alternatives for reducing environmental impact, including a detailed review of the feasibility of placing tailings back in the mine.
  • Utilizing natural channel design (versus ditches) for channels diverting existing streams around the proposed tailings basin. The new design incorporates wetland creation in the floodplain of the new stream channels.
  • Raising the height of the tailings basin to reduce its footprint.
  • Modifications of facilities to slightly reduce wetland impacts.
  • Adding two preservation tracts totaling 820 acres to the wetland mitigation plan.
  • Improving the stream mitigation plan by the creation of 10,500 feet of natural stream channel and replacement of a culvert on Two Mile Creek that is blocking brook trout passage on a tributary to the Wild and Scenic Cisco Branch of the Ontonagon River.
  • More accurately characterizing the length of streams impacted by the tailings basin.
The application can be reviewed at and enter file number 12-27-0050-P. Comments can be submitted electronically from this site.  Or CLICK HERE to go directly to the comment form.

Editor's Note: 
See our two July 2012 articles on the June 28, 2012, MDEQ public hearing on the Orvana project:  "MDEQ hearing on Orvana Copperwood air, water quality permits: Part 1, Questions"  and "MDEQ public hearing on Orvana Copperwood mine: Part 2."

Portage Library offers Food for Fines program throughout the Holidays

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library is offering its Food for Fines program during the months of December and January. Patrons can pay up to $10 in overdue fines by bringing non-perishable food items to the library. The food will be donated to local food pantries.

Patrons are encouraged to bring small, individual sized portions for recipients of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly programs. Large family size packages and canned goods will be donated to the Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul. Foods that have reached the expiration date or are close to it will not be accepted.

The Food for Fines program is for overdue fines only and does not include money owed to the library for lost or damaged materials. Those who wish to contribute food yet have no library fines are welcome to do so. All donations will be immensely appreciated.

The library staff thanks everyone who is participating in the Food for Fines program and wishes everyone a Happy Holiday season.

Sen. Levin urges Gov. Snyder to veto concealed-weapons bill passed by Michigan Legislature

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Monday, Dec. 17, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., urged Governor Snyder to veto the concealed-weapons bill approved by a lame-duck session of the Michigan Legislature last week.  Levin’s statement follows:

"Governor Snyder is considering whether to sign a flawed concealed-weapons bill passed in a lame-duck vote of the Michigan Legislature. The arguments in favor of this bill were flawed before last Friday. Now, it is unthinkable that Michigan would make it easier to bring weapons closer to our children in their schools."

Editor's Notes:
The bill in question, Senate Bill 59, was passed by Michigan's Republican-controlled legislature on Thursday, Dec. 13, during the lame-duck session, the day before the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Click here to read an analysis of the bill.

See also this Detroit Free Press article, posted today, Dec. 18, 2012: "Some fear gun bill on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's desk could put public schools at risk." 
The article points out errors in the bill that fail to protect schools. It also notes several religious leaders have written to Snyder stating their opposition to the bill and religious groups plan a vigil outside his office at 4 p.m. today.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board recommends recreation projects, land acquisitions totaling $23,538,700

LANSING -- The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) board of trustees recently recommended to the Michigan Legislature that 76 recreation development projects and land acquisitions totaling $23,538,700 be funded in 2013. The board this year considered a total of 142 applications seeking $37,880,200 in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated based on scoring criteria developed by the MNRTF board.

Local Upper Peninsula projects recommended include the following:
  • Baraga County: Village of Baraga, Marina Peninsula Boardwalk Project -- $50,000
    Development to include a boardwalk at the Baraga Marina Peninsula.
  • Gogebic County: City of Ironwood, Michigan’s Western Gateway Trail Improvements -- $225,000
    Development to include multi-use non-motorized paved recreational trail starting at Ironwood and connecting to Hurley, Wisconsin, at the western end. It will traverse easterly through cities of Bessemer and Wakefield.
  • Iron County: City of Iron River, Nelson Field Accessibility Improvements -- $49,900
    Development to include ADA-accessible pathways, connector path, viewing platform, new entrance ticket booth/storage shed, and grandstand back railing extension.
  • Keweenaw County: Grant Township, Grant Township Park/Copper Harbor Playground Renovation -- $49,000
    Development to include replacing playground equipment and surfacing in Grant Township Park.
  • Marquette County: City of Marquette, McCarty’s Cove Permanent Restrooms -- $88,800
    Development to include permanent restrooms at McCarty's Cove.
  • Marquette County: Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority, Iron Ore Heritage Trail-Tilden Township Section Development -- $281,000
    Development to include a 4.8-mile interpretive heritage trail from Winthrop Junction to Ely Township, providing a continuous trail from Kawbawgam Junction to Chocolay Township to Ely Township (approximately 32 miles). 
"Michigan’s natural resources and recreation opportunities are a big part of what is driving our state’s reinvention," said Gov. Rick Snyder. "I applaud the Trust Fund board for recommending the kind of investment that builds on the appeal of our great outdoor spaces for long-term economic and quality-of-life rewards in communities throughout Michigan."

The Trust Fund board can recommend funding for both development projects and acquisitions to local and state agencies. This year, it awarded $14,466,500 for acquisition grants and $9,072,200 for development grants. Seventeen grants were awarded to local units of government for a total of $11,956,500 for acquisitions, while five acquisition grants went to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for projects totaling $2,510,000. For recreation development projects, the board recommended a total of $7,822,200 be awarded to 49 local units of government while five DNR projects garnered a total of $1,250,000.

"The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund provides tremendous support to communities that want to offer residents and visitors quality recreation opportunities, while ensuring broad public access to hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in Michigan’s special, scenic places," said DNR Director Keith Creagh.

The MNRTF is a restricted fund that was established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation. It is funded through interest earned on funds derived from the development of state-owned minerals. In 1985, Michigan voters chose to make the MNRTF part of Michigan's constitution, ensuring the program's future.

The Trust Fund board’s recommendations will go to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. The Legislature then forwards a bill to the governor for his approval.

A list of the final recommendations made by the Trust Fund board is available at

Saturday, December 15, 2012

MTU Swing Club to host Holiday Swing Dance Dec. 15

HOUGHTON -- The MTU Swing Club will host a Holiday Swing Dance TONIGHT, Saturday, Dec. 15, in Michigan Tech's Memorial Union Ballroom. The Backroom Boys will play live music from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., followed by DJ'ed music until midnight.

Haven't been to swing in a while, or bringing an friend who doesn't know the dance? Not to worry! Come to the beginner lesson at 6 p.m. (Semi-formal to formal attire preferred.)

This is all FREE. Yes, that's right, five hours of dancing, three with live music, all for the low, low price of exactly ZERO DOLLARS.

Orpheum Theater to host Marquette music variety showcase Dec. 15

HANCOCK -- The Orpheum Theater and Studio Pizza of Hancock, Mich., will feature performances by three varied Marquette, Mich. - based bands -- Kiddywompus, Couchfort, and Revolving Doors -- TONIGHT, Dec. 15, 2012.

The three Marquette - based bands will be performing original music cultivated in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan -- Kiddywompus: head-bobbing country/blues-infused roadhouse music; Couchfort: third-wave emotive hardcore/post-punk; Revolving Doors: brit-garage rock with experimental songwriting. Merchandise will be available for purchase at the performance venue.

There will be a $5 cover charge. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and an all age audience is welcome.

Steve Jones to perform at Orpheum Dec. 16

At 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec 16, Steve Jones will be putting on a solo performance at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock, where he will debut some new songs along with some classic hits! Steve's brother and nationally renowned singer Nathan Jones will be making a guest appearance.

CDs will be available in limited quantity featuring these new original songs. $10 at the door. See you there!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Save the Wild UP to hold Holiday Cookie Sale Dec. 15

MARQUETTE -- Save the Wild UP will be holding a Holiday Cookie Sale from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 15, at Messiah Lutheran Church, 305 W. Magnetic Street in Marquette.

Stop in for homemade cookies, pies, candy, dog biscuits, and quiches for Christmas morning breakfast -- all lovingly made. One dozen cookies for a suggested donation of $12 -- the perfect gift.

Join friends for a cup of cocoa and quiche Saturday morning.

All proceeds go to Save The Wild U.P.'s 2013 Keeping It Wild Campaign.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rozsa Center to host "A Choral Mosaic" Dec. 15

Michigan Tech Concert Choir. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts)

HOUGHTON -- Need a break from the holidays? Enjoy "A Choral Mosaic," at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Rozsa Center. This will be a beautiful performance by the Michigan Tech Concert Choir and conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, performing a special concert that includes the repertoire that will be performed in May on tour to Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovenia.

The first half of the concert features conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers performing for the first time in the Rozsa Center. They will perform the music of Paul Hindemith as well as settings of folk tunes from Poland, Finland, and Estonia. Another highlight will be Burt Carols old and new, featuring a number of carols by composer Abbie Betinis, the great-niece of Alfred Burt. The Tech Concert Choir will perform sets of music around the following themes: Marian Motets (Orlando di Lasso, Stephen Paulus, W. A. Mozart), Night Songs (Franz Schubert and Morten Lauridsen), Songs of Voyage (including music from South Africa and Canada), and Americana that features the music of Stephen Foster and William Dawson.

According to Jared Anderson, D.M.A., Michigan Tech.’s Director of Choral Activities, "The choirs at Michigan Tech are really excited to perform music that they have loved singing this semester. This concert will be the first time that the newly formed group, conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, has performed in the Rozsa Theatre. The concert will have a little bit of something for everyone, from folksongs and spirituals to classical motets, from contemporary part songs and musical theatre to newly composed Christmas carols."

Tickets are $12.75 for General Admission; Michigan Tech students are free. To purchase tickets, call 487-2073, go online at, or visit Ticketing Operations at the SDC.

SDC Ticketing Operations hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and noon to 8 p.m., Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to showtimes.

The Rozsa Center will be closed for the holidays starting Saturday, Dec. 22. Normal business hours will resume on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Tickets can be ordered online at or by contacting Ticketing Operations at the SDC at 487-2073.

Community Arts Center to host Holiday Party, Calumet Schools Art Exhibit Dec. 14

Holiday Party poster courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center.

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC) is holding a holiday party from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.  This event is also the opening reception for the Calumet Schools Art Exhibition, held in the Youth Gallery at the same time.

The evening will feature artist demonstrations in spinning, letterpress printing, clay, encaustics, and painting; a sing along with Rhythm 203; and children’s activities including card making and story time with Chris Alquist.

Stop by for cookies, refreshments, door prizes, and holiday fun. This event is free and all are invited.

In addition, 2012 and 2013 CCCAC Members also receive 10 percent off gallery sales all day.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.  Call 482-2333 for more information.

Khana Khazana to serve food from five countries Dec. 14

HOUGHTON -- Chinese, Indian, Korean, Swedish and Thai dishes make up a truly international menu for the last Khana Khazana of the semester at Michigan Tech. International students from all five countries will be cooking the special lunch, served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 14, in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Food Court.

Dishes include a Chinese soup made of boiled Tilapia with pickled cabbage and chili; biryani, an Indian dish made with vegetable and rice; Korean dak ggo chi, a grilled skewer of chicken; yum ma-ma ruam-mid, a Thai spicy noodle salad with vegetables, shrimp, chicken and sweet-sour sauce; and homemade fruit ice cream with fruit, strawberry jam and whipped cream, a Swedish specialty.

A full meal costs $6.95 and includes a fountain drink. Individual items are available for $2.50 each.

Khana Khazana is a collaboration of international students and Michigan Tech Dining Services.

Winter Family (K-6) Fun Night at Nara Nature Center: Science and Art of Snow Dec. 13

HOUGHTON -- K-6 students and their parents are invited to enjoy a fun evening together learning about the science of snow, making a variety of snowflakes, and taking a night hike at the Nara Nature Center and Park. The event will take place from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., TONIGHT, Thursday, Dec. 13.

Both activities will be offered from 6 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. and from 6:50 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Families may participate in one or both indoor and outdoor activities. There is a suggested donation of $1 per person (children under 5 years are free) to cover materials and refreshments. Hot chocolate, cider and tea will be available.

Families will hike, on foot or on snowshoes, listening and looking for signs of wildlife as part of a naturalist-led hike. Child and adult snowshoes will be provided while supplies last. If available, please bring your own snowshoes. Dress warmly!

The Winter Family Fun Night is a great way to get families outdoors and active! Let us know you're coming by calling 487-3341. The event is co-sponsored by the Western U.P. Math and Science Center and the Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Videos, Photos: Finlandia celebrates Finnish Independence, Finnish American art

By Michele Bourdieu

At the opening of Finlandia University's Finnish Independence Day celebration on Dec. 6, 2012, Dan Maki, Finlandia University professor of history and Finnish culture, leads the audience in singing the Finnish national anthem, "Maamme" (Our Land), while members of the Kivajat Dancers present the flags of Finland and the United States. The event was held in the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- A large crowd filled the Finnish American Heritage Center on Dec. 6, 2012, to celebrate Finnish Independence Day with music, dance, Finnish poetry, art and holiday refreshments.

The occasion was also the opening of this year’s Finnish American Contemporary Artist exhibition in the Center's Finlandia University Gallery. The visiting artist, Marja Lianko, gave a presentation on her art and spoke with visitors to her exhibit in the Gallery at the end of the celebration.

In the Finlandia University Gallery artist Phyllis Fredendall, left, Finlandia University professor of fiber art, visits with artist Marja Lianko, whose exhibit opened in conjunction with the Finnish Independence Day celebration Dec. 6, 2012. The exhibit, "Marja Lianko: From There to Here," is on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through January 12, 2013.

The Kivajat Dancers, a local youth group of dancers who have also performed in Finland,  kicked off the celebration with some lively Finnish folk dances that delighted the audience.

The Kivajat Dancers, a youth group founded and directed by Kay Seppala, perform Finnish folk dances at the Finnish Independence Day celebration on Dec. 6, 2012, in the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Next in the program, Kaisa Mäenpää of Helsinki, a visiting Finnish journalist for the Finnish American Reporter, and five students from Hannu Leppänen's beginning Finnish class at Finlandia University read excerpts from poetry by Finnish poet and journalist Eino Leino.

Visiting journalist Kaisa Mäenpää of Helsinki reads an excerpt from "Nocturne," by Finnish poet and journalist Eino Leino, and five students from Hannu Leppänen's beginning Finnish class at Finlandia University read excerpts from Leino's poem "Minä." The students, reading after Mäenpää, are (in order) Kayla Olson, Tomoyuki Ishizuka, Brenna Thompson, Retti Waara and Neal Simons.

Following the poetry reading, Hilary Virtanen, Finnish American Heritage Center public programming coordinator, announced the 2013 Hankooki Heikki award winner, Dan Maki, longtime Finlandia University professor of history and Finnish culture.

Each year, the Finnish Theme Committee in Hancock selects one person whose work toward preserving and promoting Finnish culture in the area goes above and beyond "normal" efforts. That person is  "Hankooki Heikki" and presides over the Heikinpäivä Mid-Winter Festival, wearing the crown and robe that come with the honor.

Dan Maki, Finlandia University professor of history and Finnish culture, accepts the 2013 Hankooki Heikki award from Hilary Virtanen, Finnish American Heritage Center public programming coordinator, and agrees to reign over the Heikinpäivä Mid-Winter Festival, set for Jan. 26, 2013, in Hancock.

To celebrate the opening of this year’s Finnish American Contemporary Artist exhibition, visiting artist Marja Lianko presented a slide show of her work and spoke about her childhood in Finland, the influence of Finnish memories on her art, her immigration to the United States and her new work now on exhibit in the Finlandia University Gallery.

Carrie Flaspohler, Finlandia University Gallery director, introduces Finnish-American artist Marja Lianko, who was born in Finland and now lives in Massachusetts. With a slide show of her work in the background, Lianko speaks about her childhood in Finland, her immigration to the United States, and influences on her art.

Finnish American artist Marja Lianko talks about her work, some of which is on exhibit in the Finlandia Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center. This is the second part of her talk on Dec. 6, 2012, during the Finnish Independence Day celebration.

"Leaving," 2012, by Marja Lianko. Birch, plaster, and mixed media.

The Independence Day celebration concluded with the singing of a patriotic Finnish song and refreshments.

Dan Maki sings "Kotimaani ompi Suomi" (Finland is my Homeland), a patriotic Finnish song, accompanied by pianist Dave Bezotte. Some members of the audience join in singing.

Community tree planting grant applications now available through DNR, DTE Energy Foundation

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the DTE Energy Foundation today announced that applications for the 2013 DTE Energy Foundation Tree Planting grant program are now available. This program is funded by the DTE Energy Foundation and administered by the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.

"These grants help increase the number of properly planted trees in our communities," said Kevin Sayers, Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) program coordinator. "Trees improve both the environment and quality of life in the neighborhoods where they grow."

Eligible applicants include local units of government, nonprofit organizations, tribes and schools that:
  • are located within the service territory of DTE Energy’s utility subsidiaries Detroit Edison and MichCon; and   
  • have not received a grant during the previous year’s DTE Energy Foundation grant cycle.
Projects that are eligible include tree planting activities on public lands such as parks, rights of way, arboretum areas and school grounds plantings. A total of $60,000 is available in matching grants of up to $3,000, each to be awarded on a competitive basis. All grants require a 1-to-1 match, which can be made up of cash contributions or in-kind services, but may not include federal or state funds.

Grant applications must be received by Jan. 31, 2013, at the address below. Award announcements are anticipated during March for projects that must be completed by Dec. 31, 2013.

For more information or to get a grant application, visit the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry website at or contact Kevin Sayers at 517-241-4632, via email at or by mail at P.O. Box 30452 Lansing, MI 48909.

Portage Library Wellness Series continues with "Qigong and Tai Chi for Stress Relief" Dec. 13

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host its monthly program in the Natural Health and Wellness series from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13.

Darlene Basto will present "Qigong and Tai Chi for Stress Relief," and she will explain and demonstrate how these practices are used to help us relax and revitalize. Participants will learn and practice qigong and tai chi movements as well as learn self-massage, breathing, relaxation, and meditation techniques.

Everyone is encouraged to wear comfortable, loose clothing and flat, slip-resistant shoes, and to bring a water bottle for rehydration afterwards.

Basto is a certified Qigong and Tai Chi instructor and teaches weekly classes in Calumet. Her workshops and teachings focus on health and on practices to relieve stress that allow the body to work with its own natural healing abilities.

The Natural Health and Wellness series is held on the second Thursday of each month. All library programs are free, and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

UPDATED: KBIC elder comments on proposed wolf hunt despite cancellation of DNR meeting

By Michele Bourdieu

Charlotte Loonsfoot, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Natural Resources Committee chairwoman, introduces KBIC elder Earl Ojiingwaanigan to a group of concerned citizens gathered for a scheduled meeting of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council on Dec. 10 at Michigan Tech. Unfortunately, the meeting was cancelled, but several people stayed to hear Ojiingwaanigan's comments on the position of the wolf in Ojibwe culture and his opposition to proposed Michigan wolf hunt legislation. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- "The wolf is a spiritual being. He is wise. He is our teacher."

This statement was at the heart of Ojibwe elder Earl Ojiingwaanigan's comments to Keweenaw Now and to a small group of concerned citizens who showed up at
Michigan Tech on Monday evening, Dec. 10, for the scheduled Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council (CAC) meeting. Unfortunately, those present had not been informed that the meeting had been cancelled as of Sunday night because of inclement weather in Marquette and the lack of enough CAC members for a decision-making quorum.

The meeting was supposed to begin at 5:30 p.m., and public comments were part of the agenda. At about 5:50 p.m., the group heard the meeting was cancelled because of the weather. However, some stayed to listen to Ojiingwaanigan, who had traveled from Crystal Falls (about 70 miles) to Houghton to present to CAC members and DNR officials his comments on proposed legislation for a wolf hunt in Michigan.*

Ojibwe elder Earl Ojiingwaanigan expresses his opposition to a proposed wolf hunt in Michigan. He explains the traditional fraternal relationship of the wolf and the Ojibwe. "The wolf is my brother in faith," Ojiingwaanigan says. A small group of citizens listen to Ojiingwaanigan in the Memorial Union Ballroom at Michigan Tech, where a meeting of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council (CAC) was supposed to take place on Monday, Dec. 10, but had been cancelled as of Sunday evening. While the cancellation was announced to people on the DNR's email lists, these citizens, and Keweenaw Now, were unaware of it. They stayed for a while to listen to comments Ojiingwaanigan had planned to make at the meeting. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Earl Ojiingwaanigan continues ...

Ojibwe elder Earl Ojiingwaanigan, who is fluent in the Ojibwe language, notes he comes from a family of chiefs. He says he feels slighted that he was not consulted about the proposed wolf hunt legislation sponsored by outgoing 110th District State Rep. Matt Huuki and State Senator Tom Casperson.* He mentions broken treaties and a lack of understanding about the culture of the Ojibwe people, who consider the wolf their brother. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Charlotte Loonsfoot, KBIC member and KBIC Natural Resources Committee chairwoman, said she came to the scheduled meeting to support Ojiingwaanigan and to ask the DNR and CAC members to include Native American tribes in all their affairs and decisions concerning Nature and wildlife.

"We view them in a different way," Loonsfoot said, "and our input would be valuable and insightful to managing the resources we all live in. I want us all to work together as one instead of being separate."

Loonsfoot added she believes separation between groups is not helping the effort to keep a balance in the land we all share in the State of Michigan.

"I am also upset they cancelled the meeting as there was no bad weather for miles, and we made time for them," Loonsfoot said. "They could have made time for us."

A DNR spokeswoman said the agency didn't know until Sunday evening that they were going to cancel the meeting.

Debbie Munson Badini, spokeswoman from the DNR Marquette office, said a winter storm warning in Marquette Sunday evening and messages from several CAC members saying they would not be able to attend Monday's meeting in Houghton (for various reasons) led the DNR to decide on Sunday night to cancel Monday's meeting. She noted there would not be a required quorum (one more than 50 percent of members).

"We alerted the CAC members Sunday night and alerted everyone on our email lists Monday morning," Munson Badini said.

The DNR's Citizens' Advisory Council (CAC) includes members from all over the Western Upper Peninsula, she explained -- from Marquette and Delta counties all the way to Gogebic County on the western end.**

Munson Badini also noted the wolf hunt legislation was not part of the actual agenda for this meeting, but public comments can include any issue of citizens' concerns. The Dec. 10 cancelled meeting has been re-scheduled for Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. Munson Badini said the agenda for Jan. 14 would include the same items that were scheduled to be discussed on Dec. 10.

While those who received an email from the DNR may have been told the lack of a quorum was another reason, in addition to inclement weather, that the Dec. 10 meeting was cancelled, the DNR Web site merely mentioned "due to weather" as the cause. ***

In fact, it appears Michigan Tech was not notified of the cancellation. Not only was the meeting listed on the door of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) Ballroom Monday evening when people, including some Michigan Tech students, arrived to attend it, but the MUB staff had, as Ojiingwaanigan noted, prepared coffee, tables and chairs for the meeting.

Paul Campbell of Calumet said he asked the MUB student manager if he knew anything about a cancellation and received a negative reply.

"We brought the student manager right up into the building, and he told everyone the MUB wasn't notified and the DNR would still have to pay the bill -- for the use of the room, beverages, etc.," Campbell said.

In addition to the KBIC elder from Crystal Falls people had come from Baraga, Calumet and other locations outside of Houghton, he added.

"The DNR's lack of credibility is low enough," Campbell said, "and when they do things like this without notifying the public it gets even lower."

UPDATE (Dec. 12): DNR spokesperson Debbie Badini sent a correction on the above comments. She writes:
"A detailed cancellation notice was sent to UP media, our email list subscribers and was posted to our website on Monday morning. You can see the notice here:

"Also, our room reservation contact at Michigan Tech was notified on Monday that the meeting was canceled (your article says that they weren’t, but we called them right away Monday morning).

"Additionally, the winter weather advisory was in place for the entire western part of the UP on Sunday and Monday (not just Marquette)." Click here for the advisory.


* See our Nov. 7, 2012, article, "KBIC opposes legislation for wolf hunting season in Michigan."  Click here to read SB 1350, passed by the Senate on Nov. 29, 2012. Click here to read about HB 5834.

** Click here to learn about the DNR Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Councils.
Click here for a nomination form for  interested citizens to sit on the council.
Click here to read the Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council Charter.
Click here for minutes of the July 16, 2012, meeting of the Western Upper Peninsula CAC (the most recent minutes posted on their Web site).

*** See this cancellation announcement.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery to hold Artists Holiday Celebration through Dec. 31

MICHIGAMME, Mich. -- Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery will celebrate this special season with its first annual Artists Holiday Celebration from now through Dec. 31, 2012.

"Pine Boughs," by Kathrine M. Savu. (Photo courtesy Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery)

During the holidays, over 40 artists and 10 local authors are exhibiting in the gallery a variety of original art: drawings, gelatin prints, glass, linocuts, metal, mixed media, paintings, photography, pottery, sculptures, silk batik, wood art, woodcuts, and books.

A special Artists Holiday Celebration will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, at Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery. Holiday Refreshments will be served.

Featured artists are: Mary Ann Beckwith, Pat Butler, Thomas Cappuccio, Ted Carland, Jens Carstensen, Scotty Cathcart, Meegan Flannery, Helga Flower, John French, Maureen Gray, Ed Gray, Bill Hamilton, Susan Hardiman, Pat Hicks Ruiz, Nan Hoeting Payne, Marc Homant, Jeff Johnston, Bryan Kastar, Connie Kerkove, Paula Kiesling, Janet F. Koenig, Mary Anne Kublin, Michael LaTulip, Tom Larson, Troy Lichthardt, Ron Lukey, Joanne McCoy, Sandra Palmore, Brook Powell, Seri Robinson, Rudd, McCafferty, Peg Sandin, Kathrine Savu, Earl Senchuk, Lynn Southward, Laura Stahl Maze, Francis Valela, Craig Weatherby, Emil Weddige and Dale Wedig.

Inside the Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery. (Photo courtesy Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery)

Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery specializes in Original Fine Art. Every year the gallery celebrates up to eight shows and receptions with artists and the strong support of art enthusiasts. Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery is Open Year Round. During the winter months, it is open Mondays through Fridays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info call: 906-323-6546.

The Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery is located at 136 E. Main, HC 1 Box 3477, Michigamme, MI 49861.

DNR's Dec. 10 Western UP Citizens' Advisory Council meeting cancelled because of weather

MARQUETTE -- The Department of Natural Resources' (DNR's) Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council (CAC) that was scheduled to meet in Houghton County TONIGHT, Monday, Dec. 10, at Michigan Technological University's Memorial Union Building in Isle Royale Ballroom B has been cancelled because of weather.

The meeting has been rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 14, in Houghton.

Click here for information on future CAC meetings.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve: EPA issues decision on CR 595

From Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (reprinted with permission)
Posted Dec. 5, 2012*

BIG BAY -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Dec. 4, 2012, that they are both removing and upholding objections to the permit for County Road 595. The objection over whether the Marquette County Road Commission did an adequate job analyzing the alternative routes was removed. The objection over whether the Road Commission supplied an adequate Compensatory Mitigation Plan was upheld.

This wetland in the proposed CR 595 corridor is one of many sensitive areas that would be impacted by the proposed wilderness road intended primarily for hauling ore from the Eagle Mine to the Humboldt Mill. In their recent decision on the permit application for the proposed road, EPA continues to object to the inadequacies in the Compensatory Mitigation Plan for wetland and stream impacts. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Jessica Koski)

Originally, the EPA came up with their objections in April 2012, with the consultation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The main issues they saw with the project were the potential for damaging impacts on aquatic resources, a lack of information regarding alternatives analysis, and a project purpose that was too narrowly defined. After allowing the permit applicant to resubmit information regarding the EPA's concerns, as well as holding a public hearing and soliciting public comments, they have now supplied their decision letter. Along with the decision letter was a document listing the requirements that the applicant needs in order to satisfy the EPA's only remaining objection over the Mitigation Plan.

That letter states that the applicant will be required to supply more information, such as a long term management plan for streams and wetland mitigation, secured mineral rights of wetland preservation area, a stewardship agreement with a third party who will maintain the proposed preservation area, and demonstrated financial assurances for construction and long term management of aquatic resources.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has 30 days to satisfy the objection by either denying the permit or issuing a permit for the application that contains a sufficient Compensatory Mitigation Plan. If the MDEQ does not act within that time period, the permit application would then be transferred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"For those of us who were, and still are, very concerned about the full impacts this project would have, we are glad that at least one objection has been upheld," states Emily Whittaker, Executive Director of Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve. "We particularly are interested to see how the applicant will respond to the numerous requirements needed before the permit can be issued or work started. We also request the chance to review the additional documentation that would be supplied for the project's Compensatory Mitigation Plan."

At the Aug. 28, 2012, EPA Public Hearing on CR 595 in Marquette, Emily Whittaker, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP) executive director, summarizes YDWP's concerns about CR 595 for the EPA panel. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Jeremiah Eagle Eye)**

For more information on the EPA's action, visit their website at This website has the documentation including the EPA's letter to the MDEQ, the EPA's list of requirements for the mitigation plan, and all past documents regarding the project.

Editor's Notes:
* The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve is an environmental organization comprised of grassroots individuals who take environmental ethics to heart. They focus on informing the public about the watershed, conducting sound science, and protecting the resources from threats like sulfide mining. Learn more about their work by visiting their Web site at

**Members of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP), including their Executive Director, Emily Whittaker, spoke during the comment period at the Aug. 28, 2012, EPA Public Hearing on County Road 595. Click here for part 2 of Keweenaw Now's coverage of that hearing. Click here to read YDWP's formal resolution on CR 595, sent to the EPA during the public comment period.

DNR's Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council to meet Dec. 10 in Houghton

HOUGHTON -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council (CAC) will meet in Houghton County on Monday, Dec. 10, at Michigan Technological University's Memorial Union Building in Isle Royale Ballroom B, located at 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., DNR staff will present division reports on current DNR projects and business and answer questions from council members and the public. The council meeting will immediately follow from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (all times are Eastern).

Agenda items include:

    DNR presentation on regional state forest planning process
    Upper Peninsula Deer Advisory Team recommendations
    Public comment (for public comment instructions, see

The Eastern Upper Peninsula and Western Upper Peninsula CACs are designed to advise the DNR on regional programs and policies; identify areas in which the department can be more effective and responsive; and offer insight and guidance from members' own experiences and constituencies.

The council members represent a wide variety of natural resource and recreation stakeholders and interest groups. Agenda items are set by the council members, and council recommendations are forwarded to the DNR for consideration.

CAC meetings are open to the public. If you would like to be considered as a future CAC member, please fill out the application form found on the DNR website at For more information, contact DNR Upper Peninsula Regional Coordinator Stacy Welling Haughey at 906-228-6561.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Keweenaw Land Trust to host presentation on mineral rights, mining permitting at Annual Meeting Dec. 9

HOUGHTON -- The Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT) will hold its 16th Annual Membership Meeting from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at Hesterberg Hall, Michigan Tech Forestry Building. Members of KLT and the public are invited to attend.

The KLT membership business meeting will begin at 1 p.m. followed by a presentation at 2:15 p.m. titled "Mineral Rights and Mining, an explanation of the State of Michigan’s process for mineral leasing and mine permitting." Presenters are Tom Hoane of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), that manages state-owned mineral rights, and Joe Maki of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), that is responsible for the mining permitting process.

A silent auction and reception with refreshments will follow. The auction is a continuation of the nature-oriented auction begun at KLT’s Apple Smash earlier in the fall. Bid on fabulous guided outdoor adventures, beautiful locally crafted artwork, and delicious edibles created by your friends at the KLT. Be sure to bring your pocketbook! Questions? Call Pat at the KLT (482-0820).

Keweenaw Brewgrass to perform at Orpheum Theater TONIGHT, Dec. 7

HANCOCK -- TONIGHT, Friday, Dec. 7, brings a rare occasional treat -- Keweenaw Brewgrass will be bringing their awesome traditional bluegrass back to the Orpheum Theater! Music starts at 8 p.m.! Special Guests Barnstormers will be opening up the show and will be a treat unto themselves! Come and enjoy a night of exceptional music. Doors open at 7:30. $7 ($5 students).

The Orpheum Theater is at 426 Quincy St. (Studio Pizza) in Downtown Hancock. For information call 906-482-5100.

Click here for info about Keweenaw Brewgrass.

Hampton Rock String Quartet "rocks" 2nd Keweenaw Honors String Festival Dec. 7-8

HOUGHTON -- The Grammy-nominated Hampton [Rock] String Quartet (HSQ) is joining the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra (KSO) at Michigan Tech's Rozsa Center for a two-day residency on December 7 and 8, 2012, with a final concert on the Rozsa stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night, Dec. 8, 2012. As the world's best selling string quartet, HSQ plays classically-influenced arrangements of Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Nirvana, and more.

Wireless Magazine says: "One listen will change the way you hear both classical and pop music."

The Hampton Rock String Quartet will be the featured guest artist for the 2nd Keweenaw Honors String Festival, with high school string players from Houghton, Negaunee, Marquette, and Escanaba joining the string quartet and KSO in clinics, masterclasses, rehearsals, and the closing concert. The public is invited to the following events during the Festival (all on the Rozsa stage):

Friday, Dec. 7: 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. -- Masterclass with HSQ and student musicians

Saturday, Dec. 8: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. -- Q and A with HSQ; 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. -- KSO/HSQ/Festival Combined Concert.

The final concert features the KSO performing movements from Holst's "The Planets" and a world premiere by composer Elizabeth Meyer. The Hampton Rock String Quartet will then rock the night away with an electric array of classic rock songs, ending with a combined performance with KSO and Festival strings on Queen's "We Will Rock You."

Tickets for the final concert are $22.75, $21.75 for seniors and $20.75 for students. To purchase tickets, call (906) 487-2073, go online at, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday and noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to show times.

This performance is sponsored by the Katherine M. Bosch Endowment and Minnesota Public Radio. Michigan 

Enjoy Christmas in Calumet fun Dec. 8

CALUMET -- Christmas in Calumet continues this Saturday, Dec. 8, with more fun for the whole family.

Here's the schedule:
Santa arrives downtown via horse-drawn wagon at 11 a.m.
Visits with Santa and free goodie bags, Rowe Furniture, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Free horse-drawn wagon rides, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Holiday music by strolling musicians, various downtown locations, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Carolers tour the downtown, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Little Bit of Outlaw to play dance music Dec. 8 at Dance Zone, Marquette

MARQUETTE -- A Little Bit of Outlaw will play for your dancing and listening enjoyment at Dance Zone from 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. Come and bring your friends for a fun pre-holiday time. $6 per person at the door. Please do remember to bring clean shoes to protect your knees and the dance floor.

The Dance Zone is at 1113 Lincoln Avenue, corner of Lincoln and College Avenues, in Marquette. For more information about Dance Zone events and dance lessons, visit their Web site at

Finlandia Young Women's Caucus for Art to hold concert, silent auction Dec. 7

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University chapter of the Young Women’s Caucus for Art (YWC) will host a concert and silent auction from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Silent auction items include artwork by Joyce Koskenmaki, Margo McCafferty and Tom Rudd, Rebecca Langlais, and Maggie Parr. Music will be performed by local artists Rhythm 203, Randy Wakeham, and The Rest.

Admission is $5. Free refreshments will be served.

Proceeds will help Finlandia YWC members travel to New York City in February 2013 to attend the 41st annual conference of the Women’s Caucus for Art.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

First Friday in Calumet: Galleries feature local artists, unique gifts

CALUMET -- Calumet galleries will be exhibiting hand-made art works for sale this month with First Friday evening, Dec. 7, openings and receptions. Take advantage of this opportunity to find unique holiday gifts for the special people on your list!

Ziyad and Company: Glorious Gifting

Ornament by Jack Oyler, one of the artists whose work is featured at Ziyad and Co., Calumet. (Photo courtesy Ziyad and Co.)

The art work of local and Michigan artists will be featured for this season of giving. The Ziyad and Co. gallery will be filled with wonderful one-of-a-kind handmade unique gifts. Don't miss their December Glorious Gifting show! Choose from over 75 different artists and find the perfect Holiday gift.

An open reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on First Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at Ziyad and Co. art gallery at 109 Fifth St, Calumet. For information call 906-337-5970 or email Happy Holidays from Ziyad and Co. art gallery!

Copper Country Associated Artists: Gifts and Door Prizes

Winter pillow by Jeanne Rosemurgy. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Associated Artists)

The Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) will be celebrating the Christmas Season with a Holiday Open House on the evening of Dec. 7, the last First Friday of 2012. The Gallery will be filled to the brim with creations made by over 25 artists who call the Copper Country their home. From watercolor leaves by Ginny Douglas to colorful quilts by Millie Little, there will be a broad selection of gifts available for purchase. Every half hour a door prize will be called. Thanks to the CCAA Artists, you'll have a chance to win one of the following prizes:

*    a Matted Print donated by Photographer Mark Upton,
*    a Fused Glass piece by Nancy McCabe,
*    a Ceramic Pot by Miriam Pickens,
*    a Wire Wrapped Pendant by Pam Hecht,
*    a Print by Ellen Torola,
*    a Collage by Fredi Taddeucci,
*    a Necklace by Kathleen DeLisle,
*    a Basket by Dolly Luoma.

The event will run from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m, and refreshments will be served.
The CCAA Gallery will be open for special events and First Fridays during the months of January through April. The artists will be spending those months working on projects rather than keeping the gallery open for regular hours. Some classes for the general public may be offered during those months, and you can check their web page at for more information.

Calumet Art Center: A Tradition on the Keweenaw

This First Friday in Calumet, stop in at the Calumet Art Center between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and see the Gallery as it moves into a wonderful space and new artists are added. The Center has for sale many new works that have been made to benefit their youth programs.

The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth Street, Calumet.

Gallerie Bohème: December exhibit

The December exhibit at Gallerie Bohème will include the outstanding lifelike carved Birds and Feathers from Stuart Baird, exquisite small still life oil paintings by Margo McCafferty, and a few new fish from the Lake Superior indigenous series by Tom Rudd. A reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on First Friday, Dec. 7, with refreshments and good company.

Gallerie Bohème will be open on a limited schedule throughout the winter. They will be open for the first Friday events and on each Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  through April 2013. So if you can't make it Friday night stop by on Saturday, (there might a few leftovers from the Friday party).

The other option is that Tom and Margo are always close-by or in the gallery, and a call to 369-4087 will open the door and turn on the lights; heat takes a minute or two longer.

Noteworthy women's chorus to perform Christmas music in Calumet, Hancock

Singers from Noteworthy, the Copper Country women's barbershop chorus, perform holiday songs at last year's Christmas tree lighting in Calumet. The group will give two Christmas concerts this year -- Dec. 6 in Calumet and Dec. 13 in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo, 2011)

CALUMET -- Noteworthy, the Copper Country's only women's barbershop chorus, will headline two concerts of music for the Christmas season. Both begin at 7 p.m. and benefit local charities.

The first concert, TONIGHT, Thursday, Dec. 6, will be held at Calumet United Methodist Church. At this concert, Noteworthy will be joined by the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School Choir, under the direction of Sara Perfetti, singing a variety of seasonal tunes ranging from "You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" to the gentle ballad "Not that Far from Bethlehem."

The second concert, on Thursday, Dec. 13, will be held at Church of the Resurrection in Hancock. This is a chance to enjoy Perfetti’s strong soprano voice alone and in quartet with Marian McKellar, Ross Coltman and Peter Manderfield. The group will sing "Still, Still, Still," "In the Bleak Midwinter," "When A Child Is Born," and a medley of carols.

"We’re excited to be able to reach out to audiences in both the Houghton-Hancock  area and the north end," said director Joan Petrelius." This is music that everyone loves, and we’re also happy to help support organizations that do so much good in our community, especially during the holiday season."

At both venues, Noteworthy will perform a program ranging from the lighthearted "It’s a Marshmallow World" to devout songs of the Christmas story. Among them is a richly layered, four-part rendition of the modern classic "Mary Did You Know?" A few of the other holiday favorites on the program are "It's Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas," "Jingle Bell Rock," and the classic old English melody "I Saw Three Ships."

Also, the quartet JAMSession -- including Margaret Axford, Janet Dudenas, Allyson Jabusch and Sara Niemeyer -- will perform "A Time for Joy." And The Copper Notes quartet -- with Bonnie Horn, Shelba Marietta, Hollie Pierce and Marilyn Sager -- will sing the Beach Boys’ Christmas single "Little Saint Nick" and "Christmas Song."

There is no charge for admission. A free-will offering will be taken at both concerts. The Calumet concert will benefit the Sts. Martha and Mary Conference of St. Vincent de Paul, with the Hancock concert supporting the local St. Vincent de Paul organization. Both organizations are ecumenical and provide support to the area’s needy families.