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, March 16, 2012

Pilgrim River Watershed Advisory Council to meet March 19

HOUGHTON -- The Pilgrim River Watershed Advisory Council (PRWAC) will hold its third meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, March 19, in the Michigan Tech Lakeshore Center Community Room, 600 East Lakeshore Dr., Houghton. The public is invited.

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 students and the Keweenaw Land Trust will help facilitate this session.

Special Presentations will include the following:
1. Geology
2. Wetlands and Hydrology
3. Fisheries
4. Recap of prior meetings

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

NOSOTROS to host film about El Salvador March 18

HOUGHTON -- The annual Latin American Movie Night, hosted by NOSOTROS, will showcase Voces inocentes (Innocent Voices)," at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 18, in Fisher 135 on the Michigan Tech campus.

Set in El Salvador during the 1980s, the film shows how a boy tries to live a normal life coping with the vicious civil war. The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles. It is rated R.

The cost of the movie is $3.

Click here for more information about the movie or email

This event is sponsored by the Undergraduate Student Government.

Copper Country Chorale to perform Spring Concert March 18

HOUGHTON -- The Copper Country Chorale will perform a Spring Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18, at the Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church, 1010 Madeleine St. in Houghton.

The featured work is Gabriel Faure's REQUIEM with Vicki Usitalo, Gregory Campbell, Brandon Veale and Dave Waisanen singing the solos. Carol Waisanen will be the director and Melvin Kangas the accompanist.

Special guest performer is Patrick Valencia, classical guitarist. He will perform guitar pieces of the Romantic period. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the door.

Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery to perform Sacred Music, Sacred Dances March 16, 17 at Rozsa

Mystical Arts of Tibet poster courtesy Rozsa Center.

HOUGHTON -- The Mystical Arts of Tibet Featuring the Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery will culminate in two performances of Sacred Music and Sacred Dances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17, at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. All seats are $20.

The Sacred Music Sacred Dance performance is comprised of eleven selections. As described in the program, "the monks invoke creative awareness within themselves and the audience. As they sing in the multiphonic style typical of Drepung Loseling's dominant role at the annual Monlam Chenmo Festival, the monks create a world as seen through the eyes of inner perfection. This is sent forth as an offering for world healing."

The Drepung Loseling monks are featured on the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack of the motion picture Seven Years in Tibet, starring Brad Pitt. They also performed with Philip Glass in the live premiere presentation of his Academy Award nominated music/score to the Martin Scorsese film Kundun. On previous tours the monks have shared the stage with Philip Glass, Kitaro, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, Natalie Merchant, the Beastie Boys, and many others. As well as performing in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, the Herbst Theater and the Ravinia Festival, they have appeared in hundreds of university auditoriums, civic halls, festivals and churches across the country.

Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery perform sacred dance. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

These Tibetan monks have been working all week on a Sand Mandala in the Rozsa lobby. The Sand Mandala Closing Ceremonies will take place at 9 p.m. (after the dance performance) on Saturday, March 17, in the Rozsa lobby. According to the Washington Post, sand mandala creation is described as "A Universal expression of the human subconscious…it transports you."

To symbolize the impermanence of life, the monks then sweep up the sand mandala. Audience members will be given vials of this sand as keepsakes of the ceremony. This event is free and open to the public.

To purchase tickets to Sacred Music Sacred Dance, 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. Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office will only open two hours prior to show times.

This event is sponsored in part by the Katherine M. Bosch Endowment and the James and Margaret Black Endowment. This presentation is supported by the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, General Mills Foundation, and Land O’Lakes Foundation.

Friends of Van Pelt Library Book and Media Sale is March 16

HOUGHTON -- The annual Friends of the Van Pelt Library Book and Media Sale will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 16, in the Memorial Union Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus.

The book prices are $2 for hardbacks, $1 for softcover, and $0.50 for trade paperbacks. Used media is also available: $2 for DVDs, $1 for CDs, and $0.50 for VHS and cassette tapes. Even bigger bargains start at 3 p.m., with books at $5 per bag.

Community members and visitors can receive a parking pass at the sale to allow free parking on campus at metered or visitor spaces.

All proceeds from the sale benefit the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Click here for more information.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Updated: Lake Superior Binational Forum to hold public meeting March 23

ASHLAND, WIS. -- The Lake Superior Binational Forum will hold a public meeting, "Mining Impacts and Lake Superior: A Basinwide Approach," from Noon to 5 p.m. (CDT) on Friday, March 23, at the AmericInn Conference Center, 3009 State Highway 2 East, Ashland, Wisconsin.

No registration is needed to attend this meeting in person. Admission is free; however, seating is limited to 300 people in the AmericInn Conference Center.

What is the purpose of this public meeting?

The Lake Superior Binational Forum developed its vision statement 20 years ago by members from diverse perspectives around the lake who shared one common core value: "Water is life, and the quality of water determines the quality of life."

This public meeting has been organized in the spirit of that original vision -- it will offer speakers addressing the economic, environmental, and social impacts that open-pit iron ore strip mines may have on basin communities.

Speakers will talk about these topics:
  • How ferrous mining may affect regional economies -- and the types of jobs a mining economy offers
  • How ferrous mining has historically affected the natural environment in the basin
  • How the binationally approved lakewide management plan addresses sources of water, land, and air pollution, and how mining activities may affect the goals of the Lake Superior Binational Program's Zero Discharge Demonstration Program
  • How sovereign nations are responding to proposed mine operations in both countries.

The Forum welcomes a special guest to this meeting!

Speaking at this meeting will be Ms. Susan Hedman, Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency's Region 5. Ms. Hedman, who was appointed to her position by President Obama, will talk about the role of the US EPA regarding mining issues in the Great Lakes.*

Click here for the agenda for this public meeting.

Why is this meeting being held in Ashland, Wisconsin?

The Binational Forum is interested in hearing from diverse stakeholders living in northern Wisconsin and Michigan communities as communities face possible economic and environmental changes due to proposed mining operations.

Webinar Access: If you can't attend in person, this meeting is also offered as a live webinar. You must register if you choose to join the webinar. Space is limited to 100 online guests, so register early. You will be able to watch and listen to speakers' presentations, but will not be able to ask questions. There is no fee for the webinar. Click here to register for the webinar.

Who should attend?

This public input session is intended for:

Residents of the western Lake Superior region interested in hearing fact-based information about mining operations and potential impacts on communities; local elected officials and community leaders; business owners and operators; natural resource managers for agencies and tribes; educators and representatives from regional organizations of all kinds -- anyone with a vision for how to protect and restore the natural environment of the Lake Superior basin.

The Forum has also scheduled an open public comment period starting at 4 p.m. to allow people to give comments and ask questions about open pit ferrous mines. Speakers' PowerPoints and other recordings of the presentations will be made available on the Forum's web site in early April.

The Binational Forum holds four meetings a year in host communities around the basin in the U.S. and Canada to hear public comments about issues related to Lake Superior. These meetings allow the Forum to learn what issues people are concerned about. The Forum also brings in speakers to inform communities about the Lake Superior Lakewide Management Plan and successful regional practices taking place that help meet management plan goals.

*Editor's Note: Click here to read Teresa Bertossi's Feb. 12, 2012, article on EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman's presentation in Marquette.

Visit to learn more about the Lake Superior Binational Forum.

Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter to hold Annual Music Celebration and Silent Auction March 18

HANCOCK -- The Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter will hold their Fourth Annual Spring Music Celebration and Silent Auction from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 18, at Studio Pizza’s Orpheum Theatre, Hancock.

Bette Chavis, emcee at the 2011 Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Spring Music Celebration, speaks about domestic violence issues. Chavis will again emcee the annual event this Sunday, March 18, at the Orpheum Theatre in Hancock. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Musical performances by Alexandra Dixon, RHYTHM 203, Melissa Davis, and the Backroom Boys -- with Emcee Ms. Betty Chavis.

Silent Auction donations include: Michigan Tech Athletics (foot ball tickets), Becky Christianson (hand-crafted home decor), Keweenaw Co-op (dinner for two), Karla Kitalong (hand-made baby afghans), Joe Kirkish (photos), Algomah Acres Honey Farm (gift basket), Peterson’s Fish Market (gift certificate), Marilyn Midkiff, hairstylist (gift certificate), Kathy’s Country Flowers (gift certificate) -- and much more from local businesses and artists.

RHYTHM 203 offers a variety of song during the 2011 Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Music Celebration and Silent Auction. Musicians / vocalists are, from left, Sue Ellen Kingsley, Phyllis Fredendall and Norman Kendall. The group will perform at the annual event again this Sunday, March 18. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Special thanks to Studio Pizza for donating 20 percent of their pizza sales to the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter during this event.

Suggested Donation of $5 at the door. Light refreshments will be served.

All donations and proceeds from this event will go to The Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.

Cheap Therapy to hold St. Patrick's Day dance in South Range

SOUTH RANGE -- Cheap Therapy is throwing a dance party from 8 p.m. to midnight on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, at the Range Lounge in South Range.

Whether or not you have a case of late winter blahs, take advantage of this CHEAP THERAPIST! Wear green, eat some snacks, maybe have an adult beverage from the cash bar -- and dance the night away. Cost is only a $5 co-pay at the door -- the rest is covered under the Affordable Healthcare Act!

It is a special occasion for the band as it will be their last gig with extraordinary bass guitar player, Matt Durocher. He is heading off to Japan on the adventure of a lifetime -- taking his 4-string bass ukelele to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Khana Khazana to serve South Korean cuisine March 16

HOUGHTON -- Food from South Korea is on the menu for lunch at Khana Khazana (food treasure) this Friday, March 16. The meal will be cooked by two Korean exchange students at Michigan Tech: Jonghwan Park, in electrical engineering, and Suji Kang, in environmental engineering.

The menu includes bulgogi, a grilled beef and vegetable dish; jabchae -- the transparent bean noodles called dangmyun with vegetables; and fried green pumpkin. Khana Khazana will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, March 16, in the Michigan Tech Memorial Union Food Court.

A full meal costs $6 and includes a free beverage. Each item is available separately for $2. Vegetarian dishes are also provided.

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

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Backroom Boys to play for dancing at Little Gem March 16

LAKE LINDEN -- The Backroom Boys are back with another night of great dance music! They will play a variety of dance music from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, March 16, at the Little Gem Theater in Lake Linden (700 Calumet St.).

Chuck Hill will teach some Swing Dance lessons from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will continue to teach throughout the night as needed. Don't forget to ask about blues, slow dance, and any other dances you're interested in!

All forms of drink are allowed. $5 cover.

Historian Larry Lankton to speak at Calumet Library March 14

CALUMET -- Friends of the Calumet Public Library will host "The Uniqueness of Calumet," a presentation by Larry Lankton, local historian and author, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. TONIGHT, March 14, at the Calumet Library. The event is open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Besides being the biggest and the richest of the Lake Superior copper mines for decades, what else set the Calumet and Hecla mine -- and Calumet -- apart from other mine companies and towns on the Keweenaw? Historian Larry Lankton will talk about lifestyle and landscape at Calumet and contrast it with what was found in other diverse mine locations and communities along the mineral range.

Following the presentation, there will be a reception and book signing. Copies of Lankton’s latest book, Hollowed Ground: Copper Mining and Community Building on Lake Superior, 1840-1990s, will be available for sale. Proceeds will go to support library programming and acquisitions.

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

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sen. Stabenow applauds U.S. challenge to China’s illegal restrictions on rare earth elements

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today applauded U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for taking action to address China’s illegal restrictions on the export of rare earth minerals. Today, the Trade Representative announced he was filing a case with the World Trade Organization challenging China’s anti-competitive practices. Senator Stabenow was among the first to urge the Administration to address this problem. These rare earth materials are important components in many U.S. made-products, including hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, energy efficient lighting, and automobiles.

"I have been calling for strong action to address China’s illegal actions and am glad that action is now being taken," said Sen. Stabenow. "Michigan's economic turnaround depends on innovative businesses being able to manufacture the products of the future. We cannot let China's unfair trade practices stop job growth."

China is currently hoarding rare earth elements critical to a wide range of industries -- from hi-tech batteries for advanced technology vehicles, to smart phone batteries to important military technologies. China now controls production of more than 95 percent of the world’s supply -- and has increasingly been using export controls to reduce the amount available on the world market. This in turn has sent costs skyrocketing for businesses that manufacture products that require rare earth elements. China also has policies to prevent foreign companies from mining rare earth elements within its borders.

The European Union and Japan joined the United States in requesting World Trade Organization consultations regarding China’s unfair export restraints on rare earths.

Senator Stabenow has also been leading the effort to help revive America’s rare earth development. Her Battery Innovation Act includes a provision that would improve our nation’s critical minerals supply chain.

Transit workers' union backs Michigan renewable energy ballot proposal

LANSING -- The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), a statewide organization representing Michigan public transit workers, has endorsed a Michigan ballot initiative that would raise the use of renewable energy to 25 percent by 2025.

The Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs initiative is collecting petition signatures to put the 25 percent renewable energy standard before voters in November.

A resolution adopted by the ATU states, "Investing in more renewable energy will also help diversify Michigan’s economy, especially Michigan’s manufacturing sector, attracting new investments and opening the door for companies and workers to innovate and diversify so they can truly compete in the 21st Century energy economy."

The ballot proposal also includes strong consumer protections by limiting rate increases to no more than 1 percent in any year. That equates to no more than $1.25 per month for families and businesses to get more of their power from clean, renewable sources.

"We know using public transit helps reduce air pollutants, but we should also be powering our homes and businesses with cleaner, more renewable sources of energy, which is why we support the ballot initiative," said Katie Kelley, president of the ATU Michigan Legislative Conference Board. "Michigan shouldn’t be left in the wake of other states that already have stronger renewable energy standards."*

Mark Fisk, spokesman for Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs, commended ATU members for endorsing the ballot initiative.

"We are thankful for the support of ATU members," Fisk said. "Workers understand this proposal will create more jobs in Michigan that can’t be outsourced."

More information on the ballot initiative can be found at

* Editor's Note: See how Michigan compares with other states on renewable energy goals in this week's Michigan League of Conservation Voters Political Week in Review (PWIR). See especially the article, "Gov. Chris Christie Approves 22.5% by 2021 for New Jersey."

Monday, March 12, 2012

DEQ hearing on Orvana mine project attracts local support, critiques of tailings pile near Lake Superior

Geologist Chuck Brumleve, mining specialist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), presents KBIC's critique of the planned Orvana Resources Copperwood mining project during the Department of Environmental Quality hearing on the project last Tuesday, March 6, at Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, Mich. (Photo courtesy Steve Garske)

By Steve Garske*

IRONWOOD, MICH. -- More than 300 people attended the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hearing in the gymnasium of Gogebic Community College in Ironwood on Tuesday night, March 6, 2012, to give their views of the Orvana Resources "Copperwood Project." This proposed underground mine would be located north of Ironwood and east of Black River Harbor, near the Lake Superior shoreline. The company has submitted plans for the mine and has received a draft permit from the Michigan DEQ.

Nearly all the people who commented said they were in favor of the mine and believed the DEQ should issue a mining permit to Orvana. Most who spoke were either local officials or business owners who would likely profit from the mine.

Local officials, residents express support for proposed mine

A representative of the Gogebic Range Water Authority (GRWA) started the comment session, saying that the GRWA could supply the mine with up to 5.5 million gallons of water per day, though he thought they would use much less than this. Ironwood School Superintendent Tim Kolesar said the mine would help reverse a long-term decline in school enrollment. Wakefield mayor Dick Bolen said the mine would "make this special place even more special."

Nearly all the people who spoke thought that the mine would help revive the local economy.

Several people stated their belief that the old mines scattered around western Gogebic County haven't hurt the environment at all, so this one wouldn't either. Dr. Jeff Miller (MD) commented that "even if things went wrong" and there was a serious problem with acid mine drainage from the tailings pile, that "nature is resilient" and always recovers.

Others gave nostalgic reasons for supporting the mine: mining is our heritage, life was good back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, when the mines were operating, and by approving this mine we can start to bring back those days. At least half a dozen people said that Orvana had been open about their plans and that they trusted the company completely. Several said Orvana has financially supported various community events, and noted the company cares about the local communities.

Orvana Copperwood Project Coordinator Dave Anderson said Orvana has fulfilled all the requirements of Part 632. He said they have been collecting data for four years now and "no one has questioned their data." He said the mine "will not release any contaminants" and the discharge water would be cleaner than Lake Superior water. Anderson said they were working on a solution to the subsidence problem. (Until recently, the company had planned to remove the pillars when they were done mining and allow the overlying rock layers to collapse, dropping surface levels as well. Now they are looking into leaving the pillars intact to support the underground mined openings indefinitely.)

Critics note safety concerns, risks from above-ground tailings piles

Only a few people had comments that were critical of the proposal. One resident (a retired miner named James Anderson) told the panel that he was in favor of mining, but that the DEQ should pay attention to safety concerns. He said when he worked at the White Pine mine two co-workers were killed in an underground accident. He related how they knew that particular part of the mine was unstable but were ordered to work there. He said that if the workers had had a union, they could have refused to work in that dangerous mineshaft without being fired, and the union could have forced the company to make repairs. The former miner also related how pollution from the White Pine mine made its way to the Mineral River, killing the trout. He suggested hauling the tailings to the White Pine smelter to be processed.

A major point of contention with this mining permit stems from the fact that instead of moving the tailings back into the mine when ore extraction is finished (the industry standard), the company plans to simply pile them on the surface, in what is termed a "tailings disposal facility" or TDF. The tailings waste pile would eventually reach 140 feet high and cover 346 acres, or a little over one-half square mile. It would directly fill in about 8,000 feet of streams and 60 acres of wetlands. This tailings pile would be at risk of leaching heavy metals and other contaminants into nearby creeks, ravines and groundwater -- and eventually into Lake Superior. Tailings piles can leach sulfuric acid and heavy metals for centuries.

Geologist Chuck Brumleve, mining specialist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), pointed out that KBIC is only 70 miles east of the Orvana site and reminded the audience that the tribe reserved the right to hunt, fish and gather in the ceded territory under the treaty of 1842. Noting how Native American tribes typically consider the impact of their decisions on seven generations, Brumleve said the decisions the company and the DEQ make will determine if we have a clean mine or a dirty mine. He pointed out that backfilling the mine with the tailings would be a much better solution than piling them above ground, where they will need perpetual monitoring and treatment. He said backfilling after the ore has been extracted has become a common practice in underground mines around the world.

Michelle Halley, attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, questioned whether Orvana had fulfilled the requirements of Part 632. While she was pleased that Orvana had made a verbal commitment to abandon its plans to allow subsidence, she also expressed the view that the mine should be backfilled, thereby greatly reducing the size and environmental impact of the TDF. Halley pointed out that the planned leachate collection system underlies only a small portion of the TDF and therefore is inadequate, and would be a violation under Part 632. She also noted the proposed mine would encounter an underground fault zone, suggesting that the conductivity of the fault should be tested before they reach it, to ensure that they be prepared to correct the problem when they do reach the fault. Finally, she said the 180 days that Orvana would be allowed to submit updated models and predictions about ground water impacts and subsidence if monitoring shows unexpected results is much too long.

As one of the participants mentioned to this author, it seemed very few people of typical high school or college age were present at the hearing. In fact, it appeared that about 90 percent of the audience consisted of people of middle age or older. Yet young people are those who will be most affected by a poorly-planned mine. While looking to revive the good old days of mining, we might also want to revive the much older tradition of considering the seventh generation when making decisions about resource extraction in the UP.

Written comments accepted until April 3, 2012

According to their website, the DEQ will continue to accept written comments on their proposed decision to grant a Mining Permit until 5 .m. EDT, April 3, 2012. Comments can be mailed to MDEQ, PO Box 30256, 525 West Allegan Street, Lansing, MI 48909, or emailed to The DEQ is scheduled to issue a final decision on the Mining Permit on or before 5 p.m. on May 1, 2012. The final decision date may be extended if the DEQ requires additional information from Orvana based on questions raised by public comments.

The author thanks KBIC Mining Technical Assistant Jessica Koski for helpful background information relating to the Orvana Resources mining permit application.

*Editor's Note: Guest author Steve Garske is a resident of Marenisco, Mich., in Gogebic County.

Genealogical Society meeting to present Volunteering at Family Search March 13

HOUGHTON -- Family Search has long been a mainstay in genealogical research, providing free access to a wide range of records, documents, and other genealogy resources. But providing this valuable resource and keeping it free is dependent on a vast army of volunteers.*

Society President Avis West will speak at the March meeting of the Houghton Keweenaw County Genealogical Society at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, in the Community Room of the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton. The meeting is open to the public.

President West will provide a walk-through on doing volunteer data entry at Family Search as a way to give back and contribute to this valuable service. West will be demonstrating the website, showing how to register, what choices are available on which data bases to work on, different levels of difficulty, and how it works -- all of which can be done at home.

Anyone who is interested in genealogy or becoming a member of the Society is encouraged to attend this meeting. For further information, call 482-4021 or email

* Family Search is at

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Christine Saari to give reading, book signing March 15 at Community Arts Center

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center will host a reading and book signing by Christine Saari at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 15. Saari will read from her book Love and War at Stag Farm: the Story of Hirschengut, an Austrian Mountain Farm, 1938-1948.

Join author Christine Saari, as she shares excerpts from her compelling story about a farmhouse in the foothills of the Austrian Alps during the pivotal years of WWII and the people and events of this shattering time who bring the story alive.

Christine Saari is a writer and visual artist. After completing her studies of English and German in Austria she emigrated to the United States (1964). She has been living in the Upper Peninsula since 1971 and spends spring time at the Austrian family farm, which is now in the hands of her sons. She has established a gallery there to hold her "Family Album" collection which tells the story of her family, a visual counterpart to her book.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is at 126 Quincy St., Hancock. Call 906-482-2333 for more information.

J.W. Nara Photograph Exhibit visits L’Anse

J.W. Nara produced thousands of studio portraits, including this group of four Calumet miners. Nara's photography is the topic of an exhibit visiting the L'Anse Area School Public Library through April 6, 2012. (Photograph courtesy Michigan Tech Archives.)

L'ANSE -- "People, Place and Time: Michigan’s Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara," a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, has moved to the L’Anse Area School Public Library in L’Anse, Michigan. The exhibit explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara and is open to the public through April 6, 2012, during the library’s normal hours, Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. The library is part of the L’Anse Area Schools campus at 201 North Fourth Street, L’Anse, MI 49946.

John William Nara was born in Finland in 1874. He later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America’s most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J. W. Nara’s lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula.

Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story, but Nara also captured the Keweenaw’s rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads.

The traveling exhibit, funded in part by descendants Robert and Ruth Nara of Bootjack Michigan, works from historical photographs held at the Michigan Tech Archives. Interpretive panels highlight the people, places, and times that J.W. Nara experienced during his lifetime and include material on urban life, farming, and the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike.

A small exhibit catalog is available at no charge and includes three Nara photograph postcards from the collection.

The exhibit will remain on display at the L’Anse Area School Public Library through Friday, April 6. For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505 or via e-mail at