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Saturday, March 24, 2012

From Woods Person: Sixteen Months -- A Mine Proposal Retrospective

By Wendy Thiede*
Posted on Woods Person March 21, 2012. Reprinted, in part, with permission.

Wendy Thiede, the author of this article, and her husband, Richard Thiede, who publishes the Woods Person blog from northern Wisconsin, pause for a chat with Keweenaw Now during a break at Lake Superior Binational Forum's March 23, 2012, meeting on "Mining Impacts and Lake Superior: A Basinwide Approach" in Ashland, Wis. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

IRON COUNTY, WIS. -- When the mining company came to town, we learned many things about our land, our water, and ourselves. With the promise of 700-2000 jobs and economic prosperity, Gogebic Taconite won the hearts of local citizens, local politicians, state legislators, and the governor. Virtually everyone was on board that cold day in January 2011 at the Ashland Visitor’s Center as eager job seekers listened attentively to GTac’s managing director, Matt Fifield, assure us he could work within the law to build a gigantic open pit mine. Oh, there may have been a few skeptics who realized from the outset how drastically this would alter the area we all love, but most were enthusiastic.

What we had confirmed at that meeting was that a very large amount of iron ore exists in the Penokee Hills -- so large as to attract investment by a billionaire coal baron from Florida. A subsidiary of the Cline Group, Gogebic Taconite was formed and set up shop in Hurley. Residents of the area got excited that their dream of the return of the mines would actually materialize and somehow got the notion that GTac would start hiring right away. Businesses from Hurley to Milwaukee saw dollar signs as visions of trickle down sales danced in their heads. And Governor Walker began to think he could actually fulfill his campaign promise to create jobs by bowing to the whim of a gazillion-dollar man....

Click here, on the Woods Person blog, to read the rest of this article -- a very thorough review of the Gogebic Taconite proposal for an open-pit iron mine and the events that eventually led to the company's recent statement that they would withdraw the proposed project, even before applying for a formal mining permit.

* Editor's Note: Wendy Thiede, the author of this article, is a resident of Iron County, Wis., where Gogebic Taconite proposed the open-pit iron mine for the Penokee Hills.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ed Gray "Sacred Vessels" used as gifts for cruise ship christening

CALUMET -- One of several of the new Viking River Cruise ships, the IDUN was christened March 21 in Amsterdam before an audience of 1000 people from around the world. Gail Wiswedel had the honor of performing this christening and had chosen two "Sacred Vessels," by Calumet Art Center Director Ed Gray, as gifts for the event. One will be on permanent display aboard the IDUN for all to enjoy and the other will be presented to the CEO of the cruise line.

Viking River Cruises operates in several countries and is the largest river cruise line to date. The company has won awards several years in a row including Conde Nast Traveler’s "Gold List" and Travel + Leisure’s "World Best." With the IDUN’s christening a little bit of the Calumet Art Center will be a part of the memory-making trips for years to come.

Letter: Planning Commission deserves thanks, respect, cooperation

Dear Fellow Copper Country Citizens:

I'd like to take a moment to thank the folks serving on the Houghton County Planning Commission. Their participation in a civic project of this importance and scope serves all of us as we look to the area's future and what an "ideal" county could look like at that time.

Hopefully, disrespect, interference and lack of civility toward these, and other community members who have been appointed, elected or volunteered to serve in a variety of ways, will stop. We harm the very spirit and substance of democracy when interrupting meetings and allowing rudeness to substitute for rational, organized and thoughtful submission of verbal or written materials for consideration.

Opposition to proposed agendas or documents can be expressed in ways that are not intimidating or threatening. Cooperation is the key to accomplishing many things, and our county plan is important -- and deserves all of our best efforts. Thanks again to those who have stepped forward and worked for a future of lasting, diverse, creative -- and, cooperative -- substance.

Yours on the up trail,
Sue Raker-Galloway
Farmer, Beekeeper
Woodland Location

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Khana Khazana to offer Persian cuisine March 23

Poster for Khana Khazana, featuring Persian cuisine this Friday, March 23, in Michigan Tech's Memorial Union Food Court. Click on poster for larger version. (Poster courtesy Khana Khazana)

HOUGHTON -- This Friday Khana Khazana (food treasure) will feature Persian food from Iran. The meal will be cooked by Sara Alian, a graduate student studying geospatial information sciences.

The menu includes kabab koobideh, beef and lamb kabab; sabzi polo, rice and herbs; kahchi, made with saffron and wheat flour; ahsh reshteh, an ash (thick soup) with noodles; kotlet, a vegetarian potato dish. Khana Khazana will be served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Friday, March 23, in the Memorial Union Food Court on the Michigan Tech campus.

Today, March 21, celebrate the beginning of spring along with the Persian New Year by planning to enjoy this great cuisine for lunch on Friday.

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

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

Back Room Boys and Friends to play music at Canterbury House benefit March 25

The Back Room Boys and Friends will play a variety of music to benefit Canterbury House beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at the Orpheum Theater (Studio Pizza) in Hancock. Pictured here are Back Room Boys musicians (standing, from left) Oren Tikkanen, John Munson and Bob Norden, and (on percussion) Randy Seppala. (Photo courtesy Back Room Boys)

HANCOCK -- The Back Room Boys and Friends will showcase their wide-ranging music in an upcoming benefit for the Canterbury House, beginning at 5 p.m., Sunday, March 25, in the Orpheum Theater (Studio Pizza), in Hancock.

There will be a $5 donation at the door.

The Back Room Boys and Friends will play traditional jazz, swing and Latin, with a touch of Yooper polkas and waltzes.

Canterbury House in Houghton offers tutoring for international students, meals and activities. Help support their work and enjoy the great music of the Back Room Boys and Friends Sunday, March 25, at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock. (Photo © and courtesy Lucas Lago)

Canterbury House, a student mission of the Episcopal Church, supports an English tutoring program for international students and their families, no-cost meals and a number of other activities that support students at Michigan Tech and Finlandia, faculty, staff and their families.

For more information, contact Nancy Byers Sprague at 487-2284 or at

Teachers' union backs renewable energy ballot initiative

LANSING -- American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan has joined a growing list of groups endorsing a ballot proposal to increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2025. The proposal means reduced air pollution and improved public health.

AFT Michigan, which represents 35,000 members who work in preschools, K-12, colleges and universities, announced its endorsement during a meeting in Detroit this week.

"Our members support the thousands of jobs and billions in investment this ballot initiative will mean for our state," said AFT Michigan President David Hecker. "Generating more clean energy will help power our homes, schools and businesses, will reduce pollution and improve public health for our children."

Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs is currently collecting petition signatures to put the 25 by 2025 standard before voters in November. More than 20 other states have higher renewable energy standards than Michigan at this point.

Mark Fisk -- spokesman for Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs -- commended members of AFT Michigan for their endorsement of the 25 by 2025 campaign.

"AFT Michigan members are preparing our children for the 21st century economy and we’re excited they’ve joined in our efforts to promote the renewable energy sector in our state," Fisk said. "This ballot proposal will be a game-changer for Michigan’s economy."

More information on the ballot initiative can be found at

North Country Greens to meet March 21 in Marquette

MARQUETTE -- North Country Greens will meet at 5 p.m. TODAY, Wednesday, March 21, in the Whitman lobby on the campus of Northern Michigan University, Marquette. Everyone interested in growing the Green Party is encouraged to attend.

For information about the Green Party of Michigan, visit their Web site.

Lana Pollack of International Joint Commission to present World Water Day lecture at Michigan Tech March 22

HOUGHTON -- Can science save the Great lakes? It’s an appropriate question to ask on World Water Day, which is Thursday, March 22, and even more appropriate since Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center is nearing completion and scheduled to open this summer.

Lana Pollack, chair of the US Section of the International Joint Commission, will examine the threats to the health of the Great Lakes and discuss how research data-based policy-making can protect them, at a free public World Water Day Lecture at 5:30 p.m. in Room 103 of the Electrical Energy Resource Center (EERC) on the Michigan Tech campus. The International Joint Commission is an independent, bi-national organization that works to prevent and resolve boundary waters disputes for the common good of the US and Canada.

Before the lecture, the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society (CWS) will sponsor a graduate poster session and competition to highlight the ongoing research on water at MTU. The poster session is scheduled for 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. in the front atrium of the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering building.

In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of water research and CWS, students from six different departments have registered posters -- in two categories, research and classes. The posters will be judged and cash awards made in both categories.

"World Water Day is the signature event for CWS," Noel Urban, CWS director and Michigan Tech professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "The poster session, guest speaker and reception provide an opportunity for CWS members from all of 11 departments represented by the center to socialize and sow seeds for future collaborations."

The lecture is sponsored by the CWS and the Visiting Women and Minority Lecture Series. A reception will follow the lecture in the Dow 6th floor lobby.

Finnish American Heritage Center to present film on Finnish immigration to Canada March 22

HANCOCK --The Finnish American Heritage Center at Finlandia University will present two special screenings of Under the Red Star (Canada, 2011, 79 minutes) at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 22.

Poster for Under the Red Star courtesy Finnish American Heritage Center. Click on poster for larger version.

In 1910, Finnish immigrants built the Finnish Labour Temple in Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay). In its early days it was inseparably linked to the activities of Canadian labor and the left. The Big Finn Hall was a place where culture and politics came together. Written and directed by Kelly Saxberg (Letters from Karelia), this film integrates archival footage, photos and fictionalized scenes to bring to life the lively and dramatic past of the early years of Finnish immigration to Canada.

Under the Red Star tells the story of the struggle for a just society in early twentieth-century Canada. The film is presented in English and Finnish (with English subtitles). Under the Red Star premiered at the Northern Character International Film Festival in Murmansk, Russia, and also received the People’s Choice Award at the Bay Street Film Festival in Thunder Bay.

Ms. Saxberg will be in attendance at these screenings, marking the first showings in the United States, and offering an opportunity for the audience to engage in discussion following the film. Student groups are especially encouraged to attend. To learn more about the film, visit The Finnish American Heritage Center is located on the campus of Finlandia University at 435 Quincy Street in Hancock. To obtain more information on the Hancock screenings, or to RSVP for class groups, please call Hilary Virtanen, Public Programming Coordinator at the Finnish American Heritage Center, at 906-487-7505.

Finlandia to hold Silent Auction, Luncheon fundraiser for Tanzania program March 24

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Service and Learning in Tanzania program will host a Silent Auction and Soup and Salad Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24, in Mannerheim Central, the university’s former cafeteria in Mannerheim Hall on Franklin Street, Hancock.

The fundraiser will help six Finlandia students travel to Tanzania this May for the seventh annual three-week service and learning experience near Dar es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania. Two faculty members will accompany the students.

On the lunch menu are Tanzanian vegetable soup, winter squash soup, wild rice soup, green salad, and homemade desserts.

Silent auction items include Tanzanian sisal rugs, batik fabric and wood carvings from Tanzania, handicrafts, hotel passes, Copper Harbor Lighthouse tour passes, and merchandise and certificates from local businesses.

Advance tickets are $7 each, or $8 at the door. Finlandia students with a valid ID attend for $5 per person. Children ages six to 12 attend for $3 each; children under six years attend free.

A ticket must be purchased to participate in the silent auction.

Since 2006, 43 students have participated in Finlandia’s Service and Learning in Tanzania program. The total cost per student is $3,000. The students’ goal is to raise half of the cost through fundraising; the remaining half is paid for out-of-pocket.

Advance tickets may be purchased from Finlandia University director of servant leadership René Johnson. Contact René at 906-487-7558 or

NOSOTROS to hold Spring Colors Party, Dance March 24

Poster courtesy NOSOTROS. Click on poster for larger version.

HOUGHTON -- NOSOTROS will hold a Spring Colors Party and dance from 9 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, March 24, in MUB Ballroom A on the Michigan Tech campus. From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Salsa lessons will precede the open floor dance. Free!

Wear bright colors to welcome spring! Learn how to dance to Latin music and make new friends. Email Ali Mirchi at for more information.

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club board to meet March 21

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) board will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the Hancock chalet. KNSC is seeking new board members, especially a recording secretary (does not have to be a board member).

Please email with offers to join the board or with any questions.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Updated: Tea Party views dominate meeting on County Master Plan

By Michele Bourdieu

At a public meeting held March 12, 2012, at the Portage Lake District Library, Guy St. Germain, standing, Houghton County Planning Commission chair, welcomes public input on the draft update to the 2006 Master Plan for Houghton County. Other Planning Commission members include (seated at the table from left) Susan Burack, Jack Duweke, Dana Richter and Barbara LeFex Lewis. Planning Commission members not present at this meeting were Anton Pintar, Evan McDonald, Jon Leinonen and Bill Fink. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Members of the Houghton County Planning Commission faced considerable criticism of the County's Master Plan at a March 12, 2012, meeting intended to take public input on updating the five-year-old plan.

About 45 local residents, including commissioners, attended the meeting in the Portage Lake District Library Community Room. Members of Concerned Citizens of the Upper Peninsula (CCUP, aka local Tea Party), led by their director, Mary Sears, presented many arguments against the Master Plan and circulated a petition against the Plan, which Sears says is a step to county zoning. *

Residents who appeared to be CCUP members or supporters (although most did not give their names) pointed out contradictions and negativity in the language of the 2006 Land Use Plan (now called the Houghton County Master Plan), while expressing the view that the plan would lead to county zoning -- despite the fact that the Houghton County Board of Commissioners, which approved the Plan in 2006, has gone on record as opposing county zoning but offering the plan as a guide to townships and municipalities, should they wish to use it for grant applications and recreation plans or as a model for local (not county) zoning.

[Keweenaw Now presents here some video clips of the meeting, as well as links to additional video clips we have posted on YouTube, in order to offer readers the opportunity to view and listen to comments made at the meeting. The video clips are numbered in chronological order in their titles on our YouTube channel, Keweenaw News, in order to facilitate following the discussion at the meeting.]

Guy St. Germain, Houghton County Planning Commission chair, explains the purpose of the Master Plan and the fact that Houghton County does not intend to adopt county zoning:

Guy St. Germain, Houghton County Planning Commission chair, opens the March 12 public meeting in Portage Lake District Library by explaining the purpose of the County's Master Plan and the fact that Houghton County does not intend to adopt county zoning. While some townships and municipalities in the county have zoning, the Master Plan is a guide, not a zoning document, he notes. (Video clips by Keweenaw Now)

St. Germain said the Planning Commission welcomes public comment (the purpose of this meeting) to assist them in updating the draft Master Plan. The public is invited to attend the next two Planning Commission meetings -- Tuesday, March 20, and Tuesday, April 17, and to offer further input. Both meetings will be held at 4 p.m. on the 5th Floor, Houghton County Courthouse.**

UPDATE (March 21): At the Tuesday, March 20, Houghton County Planning Commission meeting, it was decided to extend the public comment period and revision of the Master Plan. The public may now comment on the Master Plan during public comment periods at the Planning Commission meetings on April 17 (5 p.m.), May 15 (3 p.m.) and June 19 (5 p.m.) and during Houghton County Board of Commissioners meetings preceding June 19. (See Editor's Notes below.) The Planning Commission will hold a formal public hearing on June 19 at the beginning of that meeting. Written comments can also be sent to the Planning Commission up to June 19. The revised Master Plan will be made available on line.**

UPDATE: The comment period will end June 19, 2012, after which the Planning Commission will present the revised Plan to the County Board of Commissioners for adoption, probably at their July 10, 2012, meeting.

A flyer circulated at the March 12 meeting by members of the Concerned Citizens of the Upper Peninsula (CCUP) Tea Party group reflects some misconceptions about the Master Plan (formerly known as the Houghton County Land Use Plan). The flyer's heading is "Stop the Houghton County Land Use Plan."

The flyer quotes as follows from what appears to be the Houghton County Land Use Plan: "What you need to know about Land Use Plans: 'In addition to providing a general framework for decision-making the plan will assist the Planning Commission in updating the zoning ordinance to reflect the desired future land use pattern for the County. ...'"

This quote, taken out of context, gives the impression that Houghton County has or intends to have a zoning ordinance -- but it does not.

Mary Sears, CCUP director, presented the group's view that Houghton County intends to have county zoning and pointed to the Keweenaw County Zoning Ordinance for comparison, although Keweenaw County is the only county in Michigan which, because of its small size, has adopted county zoning:

Mary Sears, director of Concerned Citizens of the Upper Peninsula (CCUP), a Tea Party group, speaks at the March 12 public meeting on the Houghton County Master Plan (formerly called the Houghton County Land Use Plan). She presents CCUP's view that the Master Plan will lead to county zoning. Planning commissioners at the meeting replied that the Plan is merely a guide and the Houghton County Board of Commissioners has gone on record saying the County has no intention to adopt county zoning.

In a reply to Sears' statements, Planning Commissioner Jack Duweke, who has been on the Commission since the inception of this Plan, attempted to clear up this misconception about the Master Plan, noting "there was never a support for county zoning -- ever."

St. Germain added the Master Plan's purpose is "to provide a general guideline ... for those units (townships and municipalities) who may want to launch from that guideline into zoning. The County has not ever intended to do zoning and has gone on record as (saying) that."

Only a few Houghton County townships actually have zoning: Duncan, Chassell, Portage and Calumet townships.

Dave Mattson, Chassell Township supervisor, said he believed his township residents are happy to have zoning.

"When we're dealing with friends and neighbors the zoning can be handled more delicately and precisely," Mattson told Keweenaw Now after the meeting. "I think people are afraid of losing control at the local level -- losing zoning controls to the higher levels of government."

Rev. Bob Langseth, who said he was active in working on Calumet Township's land use plan, spoke in support of the Houghton County Master Plan:

Rev. Bob Langseth speaks about the success of land use planning and zoning in Calumet Township and expresses support for the Houghton County Master Plan.

How much open space?

The amount of open space and public access to land for recreation was a subject of discussion at the meeting.

Rolf Peterson asked the planning commissioners if a map of Commercial Forest (CFA) land for the whole county could be added to the Master Plan, since it is related to public access. (Click here for video clip 3 with this question.)

Randy McClellan projected specific pages of the draft Master Plan and pointed out discrepancies in some places as well as his mathematical calculations of how much public access land is available per person:

Randy McClellan addresses the question of open space and public access in his projection of specific pages of the draft Master Plan. He also talks about the Torch Lake Superfund, which is mentioned in the Plan.

Citing statements about the waterfront real estate potential of remediated stamp sand sites, such as the Torch Lake Superfund, McClellan pointed out that covering the stamp sand does not remove all the toxic pollution in the water.

"How can you even think about selling lots on potentially hazardous land?" he asked.

Later McClellan challenged the view of a young resident who said he believed the pollution would clean itself naturally in a few years. (See video 14)

Acknowledging McClellan's points were valid, Planning Commissioners St. Germain and Duweke said they would look at that section of the plan again and make sure the language is read as descriptive and not as an endorsement of such real estate sales on toxic areas.

McClellan noted Houghton County has plenty of open space per person and not that much rural residential development. He also supported his views with population statistics stated in the draft Master Plan, noting the high percentage of unemployed residents over 16 years of age (45 percent), noting these residents would not be buying property and depriving others of open space. Planning Commissioner Jack Duweke replied that some of the figures were taken from the census. He agreed with McClellan on some of his points on contradictions in the Plan. He also explains one purpose of the plan was to help in township border land use planning:

Randy McClellan points out discrepancies on "rural residential development" in the draft Master Plan. County Commissioner Jack Duweke agrees with some of McClellan's points and explains the intentions behind the 2006 Plan with regard to townships.

McClellan also found negativity in the Plan's statements on people "dumping" and posting no trespassing signs on their own property. Click here for video clip 7 on this subject.

St. Germain thanked McClellan for his presentation and said he would take note of his comments.

To other residents who noted
negativity in the language of the Plan, both St. Germain and Duweke indicated they appreciated the input. (Click here for various comments in video 8)

"The intent was not to make it onerous and threatening," Duweke said, "and your comments will be listened to."

Donna Des Jardin of Lake Linden spoke about the importance of attending township meetings. She gave an example of her work to help Lake Linden acquire funding for a farmers' market. Later Des Jardin defended the Master Plan as a needed overview so that township boards would not just follow their own agendas when few residents attend their meetings.

Another resident asked that the comment period be extended beyond April 18. (Click here for video 9 with these comments.)

Anonymous businessman asks commissioners about their business background

One resident, a retired business owner who chose to remain anonymous but who appeared to be a member or supporter of CCUP, spoke about his own background in business and manufacturing. He asked the Commissioners to describe their own backgrounds and their experience in business.

"It's a fair question," the businessman said:

Retired business owner asks planning commissioners about their business background.

The businessman accused the commissioners of "condescending looks." He said the Master Plan is "part of a whole network of things that are going to take away many of our liberties and freedoms in this country."

Residents value independence, less government

John Larson, a middle school teacher in Calumet who moved here from Grand Rapids, said he has grown to appreciate the independence of people in this area. He described his good relationship with his neighbor and suggested the commissioners
go back to the board and admit that "these people don't want this." (Click here for video 11 with Larson's comments.)

A woman from Hancock and Elm River cites her extensive travel and work in other countries and states as a basis for Tea Party views. Bill Manderfield talks about his nervousness at the idea of government control:

An unidentified, well traveled nurse says the Plan "is taking away our freedoms." Bill Manderfield says he thinks the area has improved environmentally. He says he doesn't want a Planning Commission or any government telling him how to manage his property.

Teacher John Larson gave an example of community members helping needy children in school when state funds are insufficient. He applied this to the land use plan, which he sees as leading to loss of local control:

Teacher John Larson speaks again for local control. The anonymous businessman accuses the Plan of "land grabbing our property rights" and "refining lies." Commissioners Duweke and Richter reply.

"This was a plan that the state required us to do," Duweke said.

He repeated the initial purpose of the plan to help townships and municipalities with recreation planning, grant funding and zoning at the township level.

"I'll look at this with new eyes," he said.

Mary Sears made some final comments on how zoning can affect property values and taxes.

In his final comments, the anonymous businessman said, "We don't like it (the Plan). We see the door that it opens, and it's not good. It leads to socialism."

Another unidentified Tea Party resident asked the Commissioners to look into Agenda 21. ***

In summary, St. Germain said, "There were some substantive individual comments about things that we need to look into in the Plan to either correct or modify or rewrite, but it's clear that the bigger message ... (is) disagreement with the possibility of renewing and re-establishing a master plan, or, at a minimum, if the Master Plan is re-established, that its tone be radically different than the one that was read into this by much of this audience."

St. Germain noted also that the Planning Commission is truly interested in public feedback. That is why they set up the series of three meetings (see above).

"I was overwhelmed by the number of people here," St. Germain added, "and I was glad to hear the amount of commentary on our Master Plan."

Editor's Notes:

*Learn more about CCUP on their Web site. CCUP is identified as a Tea Party group on the Tea Party Patriots Web site.

** The Master Plan can be viewed and downloaded at

In addition to attending the Planning Commission meetings mentioned above, the public can attend the following County Board of Commissioners' meetings:
-- Regular meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, 5th Floor, Houghton County Courthouse.

-- Regular Meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, 5th Floor, Houghton County Courthouse. Update: This follows a Houghton County Planning Commission meeting at 3 p.m. the same day.

More Updates on Houghton County Commissioners meetings:

-- Regular Meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 12,
5th Floor, Houghton County Courthouse.

-- Regular Meeting
at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, 5th Floor, Houghton County Courthouse. (Will probably act on the Master Plan at this meeting.)

Written comments on the Master Plan should be sent by US Mail to Houghton County Planning Commission, c/o Houghton County Controller, Houghton County Courthouse, 401 E. Houghton Avenue, Houghton, MI 49931 or by email to Planning Commissioner Bill Fink at by June 19, 2012.

*** Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

Click here to read "Agenda 21 And The Tea Party Threat To Smart Planning Rears Its Ugly Head in California."

Click here to read "We Don't Need None of That Smart-Growth Communism."

Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area to hold Planning Meeting March 20

Botanist Janet Marr, second from left, leads a group of volunteers in pulling invasive garlic mustard from a site in Laurium in May 2011. (Photo courtesy Janet Marr)

HOUGHTON -- The Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area (KISMA) will hold a Planning Meeting from 9 a.m. to Noon on Tuesday, March 20, in the Community Room of the Michigan Tech Lakeshore Center, 600 E. Lakeshore Dr., Houghton. The meeting is open to anyone having an interest in controlling invasives.

The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District is partnering with the US Forest Service, Ottawa National Forest, to provide for a Cooperative Weed Management Area covering Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties. Funding for this project is from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The preliminary agenda is as follows:

1. RRIP-IT-UP summary: 2010 and 2011
2. Review draft of KISMA Memorandum of Understanding
3. Develop work plan for 2012. What infestations would you like to see treated?
4. What educational efforts do you recommend?
5. Are you aware of an invasive species area in need of a survey?
6. Plans for Spring 2012 garlic mustard work.

Bonnie Hay of Gratiot Lake proudly displays a bag of garlic mustard she pulled from a property in Laurium in May 2011. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

For more information contact the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) Office at 906-482-0214.

Gluten-Free Recipe Exchange to meet March 19 at Portage Library

HOUGHTON -- Regular meetings of the Gluten-Free Recipe Exchange are held from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on the 3rd Monday of each month, September through May, at the Portage Lake District Library. The next meeting will be on Monday, March 19, and everyone is invited to participate.

Each month features a different type of food, and March’s meeting will focus on grain-free ideas. Participants are welcome to bring their favorite grain-free dish for sampling and are encouraged to share their recipes. Copies of the recipes will be made at the library. Please list all ingredients used in making foods that are shared at these meetings and identify the brand names of the gluten-free ingredients. Bringing food is not a requirement for attendance.

Participants are also encouraged to bring their former favorite recipes that they want help converting to gluten-free. Help will be available.

The Gluten-Free Recipe Exchange is organized by and for those who are interested in or required to follow a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free eating requires the avoidance of all wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Most people find it challenging at first, but are excited to find recipes and foods that are fun and easy to make and tasty to eat. The Gluten-Free Recipe Exchange is an opportunity to share those great recipes and learn from others. Everyone who is interested in learning more about gluten-free eating is encouraged to attend.

This program is free and open to all. For more information, please call a member of the group at 281-5216. You may also call the library at 482-4570 or visit