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, January 20, 2012

Main Street Calumet to host workshop on hoop houses Jan. 25

CALUMET -- The Main Street Calumet Market will host the third in its series of free public workshops at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, at the Village of Calumet Council Chambers (located in the Calumet Theatre building), 340 Sixth Street, Calumet. Kelly Cantway, Special Projects Coordinator with the Marquette Food Co-op, will conduct the workshop, which is based on her experience working on five hoop house projects in Marquette County.

Hoop houses are unheated greenhouses that are gaining popularity, with individual and commercial producers, as a way to protect plants from harsh weather conditions, extend local growing seasons and consequently increase a producer’s output and income. Ms. Cantway’s presentation will cover a variety of topics -- including how to get started with financial assistance, hoop house construction, and the potential to harvest and market produce year round.

An example of how a variation on hoop houses is being used to extend the growing season on a farm in Maine can be found in a video titled "Living Off The Land," part of a series titled Diary of a Foodie produced by Gourmet Magazine. Click here and go to 1:50 (1 min. 50 sec.) into the video. A second episode entitled "The Collective" shows how a small town in Vermont is using agriculture and food production to establish a brand for area products and help revive the local economy. Click here and go to segments beginning at 12:40 (to 18:23) and again at 20:34.

Given the time of year, the Main Street Calumet Market would also like to direct local growers' attention to a free webinar presented by the Practical Farmers of Iowa titled "Tax Preparation Training for Farmers," which was held on Jan. 10, 2012. If you missed the original webinar, it is available on their Web site. The information is applicable to growers in all 50 states.

For additional information or questions about the workshop please contact the Main Street Calumet Market at 906-337-6246 or

Keweenaw Community Foundation to host Pure Gold fund raiser Jan. 24

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Community Foundation (KCF) will host its annual Pure Gold event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the Isle Royale Ballroom on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton. The event raises funds to support the operations of KCF. The theme is "Opening Doors," signifying the Foundation's role in supporting community organizations.

The evening begins with social hour, cash bar and live music, followed by a three-course dinner at 7 p.m. The main course includes red wine braised short ribs, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and a dinner roll. Following dinner, a key donor will be recognized and other community awards will be presented.

This year, the event will wrap up with a live auction. The highlight of the auction is an authenticated Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings jersey. In addition to the jersey, other auction items include a 24-karat gold half-carat diamond pendant on a gold slide and a four-night stay at Crescent Ridge in Park City, Utah, including two round-trip tickets.

Anyone interested in attending this elegant and fun evening should call the Keweenaw Community Foundation at (906) 482-9673 or visit (click on "Giving" tab, then "Make a Donation" and enter description as "Pure Gold Tickets 2012"). The dinner is $75 per person or $500 per table. Various sponsorship levels, which include tickets and recognition, are also available. Business attire is appropriate.

Swedetown Trails to host free skiing, snowshoeing Jan. 22

A skier heads down one of Swedetown's picturesque, well groomed cross-country trails. Everyone is invited to enjoy them for free on Sunday, Jan. 22, during the Winter Trails Day event. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

CALUMET -- Swedetown Ski and Snowshoe Trails invites everyone to a Winter Trails Day on Sunday, Jan. 22. Free all-day trail pass for skiing or snowshoeing. Pick up your pass at the Chalet any time after 10 a.m. If you have a trail pass to other areas, this will be a great time to visit Swedetown and try all the great trails. Lights are on until 10 p.m. At the Chalet, free hot chocolate and apple juice from noon to 5 p.m. Stop in and say hi!

Free hot chocolate and apple juice will be served from noon to 5 p.m. during Winter Trails Day, Sunday, Jan. 22, here at the Swedetown Chalet. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

For anyone wanting to try skiing, Cross Country Sports of Calumet, co-sponsor of this event, will provide free snowshoe or ski rentals. First come, first served for rental equipment, as available from noon to 5 p.m. Come to the Swedetown Chalet to check out equipment. Copper Island Ski Club members will be on hand to suggest trails for beginners and to guide hourly snowshoe hikes.

For more info on Swedetown Trails, visit their Web site.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Orpheum Theater to host singer songwriter showcase from Mostly Midwest Jan. 20

HANCOCK -- The Orpheum Theater in Hancock, home of Studio Pizza, will host's first songwriter showcase at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5. Free Mostly Midwest buttons with admission!

The show will feature the following: SMALL HOUSES , MATT LANGLAIS, and TORCHES.

For more details check out Keweenaw Music on Facebook and join the interactive postings there!

New exciting opportunity for clean energy jobs in Michigan

From the Michigan League of Conservation Voters*
Posted Jan. 12, 2012

Michigan has the chance to seize a remarkable opportunity in 2012 that will create thousands of new jobs and dramatically improve public health across the state. A proposed ballot initiative that would increase the state's renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025 is being put forth for the 2012 November elections. What does that mean? A quick breakdown:
  • If the proposal gathers enough signatures, it will then be considered for placement on the November ballot. It will require that 25 percent of Michigan’s energy come from clean, renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass by 2025.

  • Right now, Michigan imports the vast majority of its energy from other states and countries, sending billions of dollars out of Michigan each year. Instead of producing our own energy -- and creating our own jobs -- we are importing dirty coal from other states and oil from the Middle East. This proposal will help us build a clean energy industry right here in Michigan.

  • This initiative will help expand Michigan’s clean energy production, without significantly increasing energy prices. In fact, studies by independent economists predict that it would cost the average Michigander, at most, $15 per year, or only $1.25 per month.

  • Unfortunately, we're lagging behind other states who have already realized the importance and value of more renewable energy. Twenty other states, including Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa, have already adopted measures similar to this initiative without significant increases in utility costs for consumers.

  • Beyond creating Michigan jobs and expanding Michigan's economy, using more wind and solar energy will reduce pollution and give Michigan families cleaner and healthier air and water, protect the Great Lakes from more mercury pollution, and reduce asthma and lung disease.
* Editor's Note: This article is reprinted with permission from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Check out their Web site at
You can follow them on Twitter at @michiganlcv or on Facebook for quick updates.

Keweenaw Krayons Adult Open Studio postponed to Jan. 26

MOHAWK -- Because of the weather forecast for this evening, Thursday, Jan. 19, the first ever Adult Open Studio at Keweenaw Krayons is CANCELLED. Adult Open Studio will now take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26. This free event is an opportunity for artists to create in a relaxed environment with like-minded folks. Bring a project you are already working on, or call ahead to ask about supplies on hand. Keweenaw Krayons can provide tools and materials for mosaics, fabric arts, decoupage and much more! 906-934-3824.

Kids' Open Studio still happening, Saturday, Jan. 21

This Saturday, from noon - 3 p.m., parents and kids are welcome to attend the Kids' Open Studio in the Art Room at Keweenaw Krayons Mohawk facility (Horizon School). Saturday Open Studio is a free, monthly event geared to kids but open to all who wish to stop in. This month, staff have hand-picked some supplies for making Valentine cards and gifts. Kids are also welcome to bead, paint and even use the hot glue gun (with permission).

To learn more about Keweenaw Krayons, visit their Web site.

Club Finndigo to present Finnish film, dinner at Calumet Theatre Jan. 20

CALUMET -- In conjunction with the Heikinpäivä mid-winter festival, the Calumet Theatre will host Club Finndigo on Friday, Jan. 20, with the Finnish film Steam of Life (Miesten vuoro), a 2010 documentary about Finnish men in the sauna, speaking from the heart.

Staff from the Kangas Café in Hancock will serve a Finnish dinner at 6 p.m., and the film will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The menu will include a pork/beef stew, salmon casserole, rieska flat rye bread, tossed salad with dressing, pannukakku oven pancake, rice pudding, fruit soup and prune tarts. Beverages will include hot apple cider and lemonade.

Dinner and movie cost $18; movie alone is $5. Call TODAY and make a reservation if you wish to attend the dinner: (906) 337-2166.

Khana Khazana to serve Thai cuisine Jan. 20

HOUGHTON -- Food from Thailand is on the menu this Friday, Jan. 20, as Khana Khazana (food treasure) returns for the spring semester. Parawee Pumwongpitak, a graduate student from Thailand, will cook Khanom Pang Na Kung Roy Nga, an appetizer of shrimp toast with sesame seeds; Pad krapao kai, which is basil stir-fry with chicken over rice; and cookies Singapore, traditional Thai cookies with cashew nuts.

Lunch is served in the Memorial Union Food Court from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A full meal, which includes a free beverage, costs $6. Individual entrees are available for $2 each.

This is the second anniversary of Khana Khazana, a weekly lunch cooked by international students and featuring the foods of their countries. Khana Khazana is a collaborative effort of international students and Michigan Tech Dining Services.

Pilgrim River Watershed Advisory Council meeting CANCELLED

HOUGHTON -- The Pilgrim River Watershed Advisory Council (PRWAC) meeting originally scheduled for tonight, Thursday, Jan. 19, has been CANCELLED because of weather. The meeting has been postponed and will most likely be held after Jan. 30, 2012. Click here to read about the meeting.

Al Gedicks to speak on Penokee Iron Mine proposal Jan. 19

ASHLAND, Wis. -- Author and activist Al Gedicks, professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, will present "Extreme Mining: The Penokee Iron Mine Proposal" from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, in the Sentry Room of the Sigurd Olson Evironmental Institute of Northland College in Ashland, Wis.

Al Gedicks, professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, speaks at the Protect the Earth Gathering at Van Riper State Park near Champion, Mich., on Aug. 6, 2011. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

Gedicks is the author of Resource Rebels: Native Challenges to Mining and Oil Corporations. Last September Z Magazine published Gedicks' article, "Resisting Resource Colonialism in the Lake Superior Region," on the projected Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) open-pit mine for taconite iron deposits of the Penokee Range in northern Wisconsin.*


"Al is concerned with environmental sociology, Native Americans--and how multinational mining and oil companies affect both. He is also a recognized filmmaker with five films to his credit.

His most recent film, Keepers of the Water, about the Indian-environmental alliance against the proposed Crandon, Wisconsin mine, was awarded "Best Environmental Program" at the 1997 Red Earth American Indian Film and Video Competition in Oklahoma City.

His other films cover the topics of Finnish immigrant experiences and the impacts of mining on Native American and rural communities. Al teaches Racial and Ethnic Minorities, the Sociology of Film, Environmental Sociology, Foundations of Sociological Analysis and American Indians and the Environment. His research and publications center on the issue of environmental threats and sociocultural dislocation posed by mining and oil projects...."

* Editor's Notes:

Click here to read Gedicks' article, "Resisting Resource Colonialism in the Lake Superior Region."

For more about Al Gedicks and the Penokee proposal, see our Nov. 19, 2011, article, "Updated: Penokee iron mining proposal threatens Bad River watershed."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Green Film Series to present "Economics of Happiness" Jan. 19

HOUGHTON -- The popular Green Film Series starts Thursday, Jan. 19, with a documentary film called Economics of Happiness. The 65-minute documentary examines how "going local" can be a powerful strategy to help repair ecosystems, societies and ourselves.

Michigan Tech Assistant Professor Daya Muralidharan (School of Business and Economics) will lead a discussion after the film. Coffee and dessert will be served. The program runs from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Forestry G002.

The Green Film Series is free, although a $3 donation is suggested by the sponsors: Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Keweenaw Land Trust and Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Updated: Pilgrim River Watershed Advisory Council MEETING POSTPONED

Editor's Note: The following meeting has been cancelled because of weather. It may be postponed to a date after Jan. 30.

HOUGHTON -- The Pilgrim River Watershed Advisory Council (PRWAC) will hold its first meeting from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, in the MTU Lakeshore Center Community Room, Houghton. The public is invited to attend.

The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) received a Michigan Coastal Zone Management/DEQ/NOAA grant to prepare a Pilgrim River Watershed Management Plan. A Watershed Management Plan includes a fact-based assessment of water quality, the fishery, habitats, land uses, road and stream crossings, any impairments and other factors impacting water quality of the river and surrounding land. This factual information along with community input will be used to develop a plan with voluntary recommendations to help the community understand and manage a healthy watershed.

PRWAC Meetings provide a public forum for constituents of the Pilgrim River Watershed to provide input. Michigan Tech S-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students and Keweenaw Land Trust will help facilitate this session.

This meeting is sponsored by the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District.

For more information contact Sue Haralson, HKCD Administrator, at 906-482-0214 or by email at

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to meet Jan. 18 at Chalet

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club will meet at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Hancock Chalet. Everyone is welcome. Questions? Email or call 487-5411.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Finlandia to host talk on music in "Kalevala" epic Jan. 18

HANCOCK -- Dr. Carl Rahkonen will speak about the role of music in Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala, at 2 p.m. this Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Topics will include the use of music in traditional performances of Kalevala folk poetry, references to music within the poems themselves, and the use of the Kalevala as an inspiration in modern music.

Rahkonen is music librarian and professor at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University; his dissertation subject was "Kantele Traditions of Finland."

Rahkonen was 2010-11 Finlandia Foundation Lecturer of the Year, and he is a member of the national board of FinnFest USA.

The event is free and open to the public. For information, call 487-7505.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is in downtown Hancock at 435 Quincy Street.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wisconsin State Journal welcomes letters on Penokee mine for Jan. 22 paper

MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin State Journal will do a round-up of letters to the editor on the proposed Penokee mine in next Sunday's paper (Jan. 22).

The deadline to get letters in to them is this Wednesday, Jan 18.

You can email letters (no more than 250 words long) to, or use the web form here:

For more information contact

Click here if you need background info.

Updated: Keweenaw Krayons gears up for 2012 art, music

Editor's update: The Adult Open Studio scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, has been cancelled because of weather. It is postponed to next Thursday, Jan. 26. Click here for details.

MOHAWK -- Keweenaw Krayons' 2012 winter schedule introduces changes to the organization’s open studio and guitar class schedule.

Keweenaw Krayons participants should be aware that the 2011 Fall Open Studio hours are no longer in effect. Instead, Open Studio will be held the third Saturday of each month through May. In addition, there will be an Adult Swim Open Studio on the third Thursday of each month through May. Both events are free to the public.

"I want to devote more energy to providing an exciting experience each time somebody visits Keweenaw Krayons," said Elise Matz, Keweenaw Krayons director. "Hosting Open Studio one Saturday each month allows us to plan special activities for the kids and anybody else who wants to participate. For Thursday Adult Swim, it’s a chance for mature artists to relax, visit, and get inspired."

Diana Langdon will continue teaching a Crayon Crafts workshop on the first Monday of each month. Crayon Crafts explores the many things one can do with that humble art supply, the crayon. Activities include (but are not limited to) wax molding and wax painting. This series is for kids of all ages, and adults are welcome to join as well. It is free to the public, but participants are encouraged to call ahead or register online so that Keweenaw Krayons can prepare adequate staffing and supplies.

Group guitar lessons for kids 14 and under, made possible by the Dan Schmitt Gift of Music Fund, will also continue to take place at Keweenaw Krayons. However, class times have moved from Saturday afternoons to Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Classes at Calumet High School will continue to be held each Tuesday after school.

Those who wish to learn more about any of these programs can call Elise at (906) 934-3824 or visit our website for updates. Parents and students can register for all events by visiting and clicking on "Calendar of Events."

Hunters, anglers, pack Alpena town hall to oppose Casperson's Land Cap

From the Michigan League of Conservation Voters

ALPENA -- A Jan. 13, 2012, article from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters reports that On Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) presented his public land bill to a room full of hunters and anglers at a town hall meeting in Alpena, Mich.

The article states, "This town hall wasn’t about just any bill; it was about SB 248, the Land Cap Bill, which would restrict the amount of land available for hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and hiking. The citizens at this town hall proved that conservation is not a partisan issue, and that protecting and preserving land for public use transcends party politics."*

The article notes that, in addition to members of the League of Conservation Voters, this town hall was attended by a large group from Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) as well as representatives from Trout Unlimited, the Pigeon River Country Association, the Quality Deer Management Association, horseback riding groups and township administrators.

"The Land Cap Bill would require the state to sell land if it wanted to purchase more after it reached the cap," the article explains. "If a parcel became available in southern Michigan, where there is currently little public land, the DNR would have to sell off land somewhere else, likely in the Upper Peninsula, where timber, paper, and mining companies could acquire it cheaply."

Since Casperson refuses to exempt Natural Resources Trust Fund land from the cap, his bill "would also eliminate the primary purpose of the Natural Resources Trust Fund, which is to purchase state land for recreation," the article adds.**

While he tried to counter citizens' concerns about the Trust Fund by saying it is protected by the Michigan Constitution, Casperson "failed to mention that a constitutional amendment he proposed would use the Trust Fund to build logging and mining roads on state land," the article says.***

* Click here to read the whole article from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
** Click here to read about the State Senate vote on this bill last June.
***Read about this proposed amendment.

Click here to see You Tube videos of this town hall meeting.

Woods Person post: "To Mine or Not to Mine"

On Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012, Woods Person, a blog from Wisconsin's North Woods, posted "To Mine or Not to Mine," Chapters 1 and 2, submitted by Cousin Jack, AG (Amateur Geologist).

The mine in question here is the proposed open-pit iron mine Gogebic Taconite (GTac) hopes to construct in the Penokee Hills in northern Wisconsin.

In Chapter 1, the author of these two articles writes, "I have been looking at and listening to the Penokee Problem for several months. I have taken in all the info available to me.

"I took the day off today and read through a definitive text -- the 1929 Wis. Geo. Survey book by geologist H. R. Aldrich -- entitled Geology of the Gogebic Iron Range. He seems to know his stuff and I had to skim much of it to discover what is pertinent to the GTac story."

In Chapter 2, the author, who says he has 60+ years in mining and geology, tells us what he learned from that 1929 treatise concerning the area of the proposed GTac mine. He concludes that GTac has insufficient information to make a mining proposal and that the lease should be recalled.

Click here to read why.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Calumet Art Center offers Snow Sculpture Competition, after-school program, more

CALUMET -- The Calumet Art Center announces several events in their recent newsletter. Here are some excerpts:

Snow Sculpture Competition

It’s time to be creative and decide to build a snow person, animal or whatever creation you can dream up. The Calumet Art Center is providing the building site, beginning Sunday, Jan. 15. Build and sculpt until the judging on March 6, and prizes will be awarded on March 8. First, Second and Third prizes will be awarded in the following categories: individual youth, individual adult and group. Have fun in the snow in Calumet!!

BHK Great Explorations Program

The Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw Counties Great Explorations after-school eight-week program held at the Calumet Art Center will be completed on Jan. 18. The community is invited to attend an open house at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 18, to view the students' work in clay and weaving. Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 25, an eight-week session will begin using clay and copper.

Calumet Art Center announces new assistant director

Monica Rovano is not new to the Art Center -- more like an old friend. She is new in the position of Assistant Director. Monica has stepped into the position to assist Ed Gray with many of the responsibilities of running the Art Center and its many activities.

Visit the Calumet Art Center on Facebook to read more about their activities.

Keweenaw Krayons to offer winter Tai Chi, Qigong Wellness classes

MOHAWK -- Back by popular demand, Darlene Basto is scheduled to teach Tai Chi and Qigong Wellness classes at Keweenaw Krayons this winter. An experienced instructor, Basto is certified by the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi (IIQTC).*

Both classes begin their six-week run on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Keweenaw Krayons’ facilities in Mohawk. Qigong Wellness runs from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tai Chi 8 commences shortly after, at 6:45 p.m., and ends at 7:45 p.m. Participants can register for both courses by visiting and clicking on "Calendar of Events" to view the schedule.

Each course costs $75 separately, or students can sign up for both classes and pay $125. The optional companion book for both classes, The Healer Within, is $15. Those who wish to register for both classes at the discount rate should contact Keweenaw Krayons Director Elise Matz at (906) 934-3824.

About Qigong

While reducing stress, the Qigong Wellness techniques also increase vitality. These gentle but effective mind-body exercises are done seated and standing, with a focus on breathing, meditation and self-massage techniques. Core-strengthening, this ancient Asian practice deepens breathing and relaxation, which assists the body in healing itself. The method, with continued practice, aids in enhancing the immune system. No floor work. Other benefits include balance (falls prevention), increased flexibility and clarity of thought.

About Tai Chi 8

Tai Chi 8 includes an eight-movement "Tai Chi EasyTM" practice developed by the IIQTC, as well as some mind-body strengthening qigong exercises. No previous tai chi or qigong experience is necessary, but it is helpful for deepening the practice. These movements increase coordination and focus while also enhancing balance, flexibility, and relaxation.

* Click here to learn about the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi.