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, June 01, 2012

Portage Library to offer watercolor class for children June 2

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will offer a watercolor class for young children and elementary age students from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 2.

"Let’s Play with Color!" will be presented by artist Sun-Young Park. Participants will squeeze and spray water colors onto paper and learn how to use tissue paper to create different effects. Kids will experience the beauty of mixed colors spreading on the paper as they see their work turn into flowers, animals, dinosaurs or whatever they imagine it to be.

Sun-Young Park studied oriental fine art in South Korea earning her Bachelors degree in Fine Arts in 1996 and a Masters of Arts in 1999. The subject of her works comes primarily from nature; flowers, butterflies, wind, and mountains. She uses traditional oriental painting materials including oriental inks and Korean traditional papers. Park has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions.

Library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Conservation District to host Pilgrim River Potluck June 5

HOUGHTON -- Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) will host a Pilgrim River Potluck at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, at the Nara Park Chalet, two miles east of the Michigan Tech campus.

The special guest will be Matt Warner, Department of Environmental Quality Grant Project manager, Michigan Coastal Management Program, for the Pilgrim River Watershed Management Plan.

Please bring a dish to pass and RSVP to Sue Haralson, HKCD administrator, at 482-0214 or email

Backroom Boys to play jazz, swing at Carmelita's June 1

CALUMET -- The Backroom Boys will be playing traditional jazz and swing from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. TONIGHT, First Friday, June 1, at Carmelita's Southwestern Grill, 618 Oak Street  in Calumet. Call 337-4025 for reservations.

The Backroom Boys, pictured standing from left, Oren Tikkanen, John Munson, Bob Norden and, seated, Randy Seppala will play jazz and swing tunes at Carmelita's in Calumet TONIGHT, First Friday, June 1. (Photo courtesy Backroom Boys)

"Special guests Bob and (perhaps) Belinda will be sitting in on bass! Check out the gallery shows, and come on down for some music (and dancing if there's room)," says musician Oren Tikkanen.

Fourth Annual Health, Safety Fair offers activities for all June 2 at Portage Health

HANCOCK -- The Fourth Annual Health and Safety Fair is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, June 2, at Portage Health in Hancock. Activities for all ages will include the following:

Car seat clinic (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Health Screenings -- total cholesterol, blood glucose, bone density, blood pressure, urine protein, hearing, oximetry, heart rate, body mass index and waist circumference
Youth bike helmet giveaway -- (125 available -- first come, first serve) Professionals will be available to properly fit helmets.
Ambulance and fire truck tours
Cyber safety information
Physicians, nurses, therapists and pharmacists available to answer questions
Healthy cooking demo and snacks
Chair massages
Expired medication disposal
Canal Run and Chain Drive registration -- Although the Chain Drive early registration deadline was May 31, Lori Hauswirth says, "Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival will have a table tomorrow at the Portage Health Health Fair. If you stop in and visit us, we'll let you sneak in at the early rate and still get a bamboo shirt with registration."
Giveaways and a chance to win one of two mountain bikes
Hands-Only CPR lessons offered
Plus much more ...

The entire event is FREE. Bring family/friends out anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, no registration required! Click here for more information.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

First Friday, June 1, to offer four new art exhibits in Calumet galleries

"Melt-Off, Lake Superior," copyright 2012 by Eric Munch. An exhibit of Eric Munch's color photography will open June 1 at the Vertin Gallery in Calumet. Click on photo for larger version.

CALUMET -- New art exhibits will open at the Ed Gray Gallery, Gallerie Bohème, the Vertin Gallery, and the Omphale Gallery and Café on First Friday, June 1, in Calumet

"The Keweenaw Beneath Our Feet" opens with a reception from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. this Friday at the Ed Gray Gallery in Calumet. Featuring painter Susan Robinson and jewelry artists, Julie Jerman-Melka and Julie Sanford, the show honors the geology of the Keweenaw.

Susan Robinson's paintings of rocks are well known to local inhabitants. Julie Jerman-Melka fashions jewelry from Keweenaw bedrock while Julie Sanford creates using local gemstones. This show is a testament to the Keweenaw and its gifts. The Ed Gray Gallery is at 109 Fifth Street in Calumet.

Gallerie Bohème will feature "Meditations," new artworks by Joyce Koskenmaki, from June 1 to July 4, 2012. An opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. this Friday, June 1.

Gallerie Bohème is located at 426 Fifth St. in Calumet. For more information contact Tom Rudd at 906-369-4086.

The Vertin Gallery will welcome back photographer Eric Munch as featured artist for the month of June.

Munch is known for his black and white photographs, but his current work delves into the world of color. He captures the subtle and unique colors of the local landscape in uniquely beautiful images.

An opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Vertin. Munch will speak about his current work and answer audience questions around 7:15 p.m.

The Vertin Gallery is at 220 Sixth Street in downtown Calumet.

Don't miss the Calumet High School Art Exhibition at the Omphale Gallery and Café, offering art, food, and music from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 1. The exhibit, which is curated by Logan Karrio and Esme Johnson, continues through June 30.

Visit the Omphale's Facebook page for photos of some of their tempting treats.

Copper Country Associated Artists to hold Grand Re-Opening, dragonfly workshop June 1

Creating wire and bead dragonflies like these will be the objective of a First Friday workshop at the Copper Country Associated Artists Studio and Gallery on June 1. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Associated Artists.)

CALUMET -- Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) will celebrate a Grand Re-Opening at the CCAA Gallery on First Friday, June 1, at their new location, 205 Fifth St. in Calumet.

Friday, June 1, will be a special evening with prize drawings, refreshments and a real summery project that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you haven't stopped in to see this new space, the Grand Re-Opening would be a good time to come see the artists and visit with friends.

Members at the CCAA will be hosting a "wire and bead dragonfly" workshop from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. this First Friday. These delightful little critters can hang from a screen door or window. All materials will be provided, but if you have some special beads or wire that you would like to use, you are welcome to bring it along. Extra long-nosed pliers could also come in handy. This workshop is free and open to the public, though donations are always welcome.

Participants and Gallery visitors can enter a drawing for a gift certificate as well as prizes offered by some of the CCAA artists.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Updated: Keweenaw Chain Drive early registration deadline is May 31

Chain Drive participants head across the Portage Lift Bridge. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HANCOCK -- The early registration deadline for the Portage Health Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival is TOMORROW, Thursday, May 31. After midnight on May 31 (Thursday), festival shirts are not included and fees go up. Please register soon so you can enjoy the awesome bamboo shirt. You can register online at or print a registration. 

Printed registrations can be dropped off at the Keweenaw Chamber of Commerce in Houghton.

The 2012 event is on Saturday, June 16! The Portage Health Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival mountain bike race includes 16- and 32-mile point-to-point cross-country distance races through the Maasto Hiihto and Churning Rapids trail systems in Hancock. Racers will finish at the Portage Health campus with food, beverages, tunes, and awards.  Distance events will begin with a 10 a.m. roll-out at the Magnuson Hotel - Franklin Square Inn, at the east end of Shelden Avenue in downtown Houghton.

Junior Chain Drive: Kids line up for the start at Portage Health. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The Junior Chain Drive youth races begin at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. The Junior Chain Drive starts and ends at Portage Health, using a single-track trail in a wooded area east of the hospital. The event includes timed races for youth ages 8-13 and non-timed races for those ages 7 and under. Registration is day-of-event only.

Volunteers still needed

Dan Dalquist reports that he still needs traffic control volunteers for the Chain Drive. If you respond no later than May 31, your volunteer shirt will be available before the race.

Locations needed:
 Shelden and Rhythm -- need 2 people
 Shelden and Ambassador -- 2 people
 Navy St and Tezcuco -- need 2 more
 In Hancock -- Jasberg and Wolverine -- need 1
 M-203 and Atlantic St. -- need 1
 Crossing at Snowmobile trail and snowfence trail - Need 3 - 10:30 to 12, 12 to 1:30, 1:30 to sweep
 Doug's Bypass exit onto Campus drive -- 1
 Campus Drive and Portage St. -- need 2-3 from 12:15 to last racer
 First Aid Tent -- need medical professional for the Chain Drive (10:30 to 2) and for Kids race (2:30 - 4)

Please click here to respond through the Chain Drive volunteer site and include your shirt size or respond directly to

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pine Mountain Music Festival to host Keweenaw Kickoff Gala June 12

HANCOCK -- Pine Mountain Music Festival (PMMF) announces the opening event of its 22nd Season, the Keweenaw Kickoff Gala on June 12, at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, Houghton.

This traditional kickoff event is a festive occasion to meet the festival's 2012 Resident Opera Artists in a more intimate and personal setting. These Resident Opera Artists (ROA) from all over -- Oregon, Ohio, Texas, Maryland, Bermuda, and Illinois -- come together in the Upper Peninsula for the first time. Following an elegant dinner, guests will enjoy highlights from opera and American musical theatre repertoire.

Joshua Major, Pine Mountain Music Festival artistic director. (Photo courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

Joshua Major, PMMF Artistic Director, and Lucy Thrasher, ROA Program Director will host the evening event. Susan Byykkonen, accomplished teacher and pianist from Calumet, Mich., will accompany.

Be the first to meet the Festival’s six Resident Opera Artists, who will later star in Mozart’s Così fan tutte on June 21 at Calumet Theatre, as well as in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music on July 13 and 15 at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, Houghton.

PMMF’s 2012 Resident Opera Artists are (top to bottom, left to right) Jacqueline Shoda-Iwasaki, Martin Bakari, Julie Tabash, Alex De Socio, Jonathan Christopher, and Claire Shackleton. (Photo courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

The ticket price includes full dinner and dessert, and there will be a cash bar. This year’s elegant dinner will feature a choice of entrées: brie-stuffed French-cut chicken breast with Minnesota wild rice pilaf and chef’s vegetables or Lake Superior trout with parsley potatoes and chef’s vegetables. Tickets are $75 and are available until June 5; call 1-877-746-3999 (toll free.) Seating is limited

Pine Mountain Music Festival presents a season of opera and classical music each June and July in Dickinson County, Marquette County, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and in other towns in the central and western Upper Peninsula and northeast Wisconsin. Visit for season details or call 888-309-7861 for more information.

Michigan Tech Summer Teacher Institutes application deadline is June 1

HOUGHTON -- This Friday, June 1, is the application deadline for the 2012 Michigan Tech University Five-Day Summer Teacher Institutes in June and July 2012. The following institutes are being offered to teachers:

June 18-22 -- Global Change Teacher Institute at Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Mich.

This five-day Institute will prepare you to engage your middle and high school students in a real-world study of the effects of global change on ecosystems, including the impacts of climatic change on forests -- elevated carbon dioxide and ozone levels, nitrogen saturation, acid rain, and invasive species. Cost: $350 off campus includes five lunches, three MTU graduate credits and instructional materials; $625 also includes five nights lodging and all meals.

June 25-29 -- Great Lakes Watershed Investigations Teacher Institute at Michigan Tech University

Explore  the physical, chemical, and biological components of the Great Lakes ecosystem, using the Lake Superior watershed as the classroom: Agassiz research vessel, day at Gratiot Lake, visit streams, wetlands, stewardship projects. Cost: $295 includes five lunches, three MTU graduate credits and instructional materials; $595 also includes five nights lodging and all meals.

July 9-13 -- Forestry Teacher Institute at Michigan Technological University

Through lecture, hands-on data collection, classroom activities, and field trips, participants will learn tree ID, forest measurements, forest health and insect pests, wildlife, and carbon sequestration. Cost:  $485 off campus includes five lunches, three MTU graduate credits and instructional materials; $725 with four nights lodging and all meals.

July 16-20 -- Great Lakes Maritime Teacher Institute in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula

Traveling course with overnights in Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie, and Manistique. Explore the historical, economical and environmental aspects of Great Lakes shipping -- visiting an iron ore mine, Whitefish Point Shipwreck Museum, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard’s Vessel Traffic Service, Soo Locks, limestone quarry,  lighthouses and more, exploring many facets of the shipping industry: intermodal transportation, port safety, history and economics. Cost:  $495, includes two MTU graduate credits, most meals and four nights lodging.

July 23-27 -- Exploring the Geology of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Explore unique geologic features  in the Keweenaw, Porcupine Mountains, Presque Isle Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Tahquamenon Falls with geologists and educators. Cost: $495, includes two MTU graduate credits, 4 nights lodging, and most meals.    

To obtain more information and to submit applications, please contact Joan Chadde, Institute Coordinator Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, 105 Dillman Hall, Michigan Tech University, 1400 Townsend Dr., Houghton, MI  49931
Phone:  906-487-3341   FAX:  906-487-1620    EMAIL:   

Prof. Martha Sloan awarded Michigan Tech's 2012 Distinguished Service Award

By John Gagnon, Michigan Tech Promotional Writer, Tech Today Editor
Posted May 24 on Michigan Tech News

HOUGHTON -- Martha Sloan, professor and associate chair of Michigan Tech's  Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, has received Michigan Technological University's 2012 Distinguished Service Award.

Martha Sloan, professor and associate chair of Michigan Tech's  Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University)

She has been at Michigan Tech since 1969.

Sloan was cited for service and leadership in the University Senate, her department, the College of Engineering and, overall, the University.

Colleagues single her out for bringing international stature to Michigan Tech via work in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), where she served as president, the first woman to do so.

"She represents Michigan Tech to the world," says Associate Professor Mark Johnson, of the School of Technology.

As well, Sloan was saluted for mentoring female faculty and students. She evidenced "undying support and encouragement of mentoring before it was vogue," according to Professor Dana Johnson, of the School of Business and Economics. She says that Sloan is selfless and dedicated to "furthering careers other than her own."

Click here to read the full story on the Michigan Tech News.

Calumet Theatre to host "Superior" Luau fundraiser June 2

CALUMET -- The Calumet Theatre will host its major annual fundraiser and silent auction beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, with a social hour in the Red Jacket Ballroom located on the 2nd floor of the Theatre. This year’s "Superior" Luau sports a Hawaiian theme with a "Superior" twist.

Guests are encouraged to dress in Hawaiian attire and casual wear is always acceptable for this fun evening.

The evening includes a silent auction featuring a Clarion Hotel Green Bay weekend get-a-way, an Isle Royale Queen IV cruise, a Joe Masini flight lesson in a Beech Skipper, luxury motel  accommodations at AmericInn, Country Inn, and Dapple Gray, a Herman Jeweler’s German Cuckoo clock, Daily Mining Gazette subscription and many, many more favorites.

Tickets for this open to the public event are $60 per person, $110 for two, full table discounts. Price includes  hors d’oeuvres, beverages, music, door prizes and a special buffet dinner by Kangas’ Café and Catering featuring macadamia crusted chicken and kalua pork. Dinner is followed by "Superior Hawaiian" themed entertainment. Reservations can be made by calling the Calumet Theatre at (906) 337-2166 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday  through Friday.

Proceeds will support daily operational expenses of the Theatre.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Updated: High school robotics project to help Isle Royale staff monitor invasive species

By Michele Bourdieu
Outside the Portage Lake District Library, following a presentation about Isle Royale for kids and parents, Dollar Bay science teacher Matt Zimmer, second from left, chats with students, parents and kids during a demonstration of the student-designed Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), or underwater robots, Zimmer and his students will take with them on a trip to Isle Royale this week. Also pictured are students Justin Rogan, left, and Samantha Richards. Nathan Olson, right, of Hubbell, accompanied his son Riley Olson, 6. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- A group of Dollar Bay High School students and their teacher, Matt Zimmer, will head for Isle Royale on the Ranger this Tuesday, May 29, after working all year on their Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) -- underwater robots, designed and constructed in their Marine Robotics classes to monitor invasive species such as zebra mussels.

Victoria Kangas, one of the Dollar Bay High School students who helped make the ROVs in Matt Zimmer's Marine Robotics class, points out the LED headlights on one of the robots displayed in the Portage Library during the May 15 program -- the last in the the "Explore Your National Park" series of family programs presented at the library by Isle Royale National Park rangers.                   

Zimmer said this will be the first trip to Isle Royale for all 20 students, who will spend the night camping on the island and return on Wednesday, May 30.

"They'll take two ROVs with them and will train the rangers to operate them," Zimmer said.

"The students spent six hours on Saturday (May 26) working on the two ROVs and have planned a final work session for Monday (May 28, Memorial Day)," Zimmer wrote in an email follow-up message to Keweenaw Now on Sunday, May 27.

Some of the students demonstrated the ROVs in a tank of water outside the Portage Lake District Library on May 15, following a presentation by Isle Royale National Park Ranger Valerie Martin -- "Wade into Isle Royale" -- during which children had a chance to be "aquatic ecologists" and to learn about food chains and the lives of underwater creatures that live in the water surrounding Isle Royale, including some uninvited invasive species.

During her presentation "Wade into Isle Royale" at the Portage Library, Valerie Martin, Isle Royale National Park ranger, teaches children about habitat and leads them in a song about "Phytoplankton." (Video clips by Keweenaw Now)

Martin has done several of these family activities at the Portage Library and has a great rapport with the children, involving them physically in the adventure.

"My job is perfect for me because I do what I like to do best," Martin says, "to try to connect people to nature and get them excited about going out on their own to explore these things -- and I get to be silly and creative!"

In one of Ranger Valerie Martin's activities, children learn about food chains by playing the roles of creatures that eat one another.

Ranger Martin introduces the concept of invasive species with a father-son game in which Dad is an invasive zebra mussel, a species the robots are intended to monitor once they arrive on Isle Royale.

Valerie Martin explained that the Dollar Bay students' robotics project is a partnership with the Park Service. The students will actually be training the park staff in how to use the robots. Park staff will then give the students feedback so they can improve the robots.

Outside the Portage Library, Victoria Kangas shows children how to use a remote control with a computer monitor to operate the robots, which are in a water tank several feet away. The object is to get the robot to pick up an item from the bottom of the water tank.

Dollar Bay student Justin Rogan explains some parts of the robot.

Zimmer notes three purposes of taking the robots to Isle Royale:
  • First, they can inspect incoming vessels for invasive species such as zebra mussels.
  • Second, the robots can monitor the existing population of zebra mussels to see if they are reproducing.
  • Third, the robot acts as an ice breaker with the public so the rangers can talk to the public about zebra mussels through informal discussion.
"It's wonderful for the students," Zimmer said. "They learn concepts in science and then apply those concepts in a real-world situation."

The Dollar Bay S.O.A.R. (Student Organization of Aquatic Robotics) displayed this exhibit about their project in the Portage Lake District Library. (Click on photo for larger version.)

The robotics project is sponsored by the High School Enterprise, Square One Education Network and the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.