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.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Video: They're off! Keweenaw Chain Drive Bike races begin ...

HANCOCK -- Chain Drive bike racers crossed the Portage Lift Bridge this morning on their way to the Maasto Hiihto-Churning Rapids Trails in Hancock for the 2012 Portage Health Keweenaw Chain Drive 16- and 32-mile point-to-point cross-country distance races.

This morning, June 16, cyclists cross the Portage Lift Bridge from Houghton to Hancock on their way to the Maasto Hiihto-Churning Rapids Trails for the 2012 Portage Health Keweenaw Chain Drive races. (Video clip by Keweenaw Now)

The Chain Drive promotes the sport of mountain biking for the whole family and supports trail preservation efforts throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula. All funds raised by the festival will go to trail improvement, access and acquisition projects in Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

The Junior Chain Drive begins at 3:30 p.m. today 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 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Portage Health.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Community Arts Center to offer classes in Zentangle, Basic Drawing

HANCOCK -- Registration deadlines approach for two art classes being offered at the Community Arts Center in Hancock: Zentangle and Basic Drawing.

Zentangle image courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center.

Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. In this four-week class, Cari Raboin will instruct students in the beginning steps for creating Zentangles using 3.5" x 3.5" art paper tiles, fine line pen, and pencil. A variety of patterns (called "tangles") will be taught along with how to use shading, variations on patterns, and adding enhancements. Those familiar with the zentangle method will be shown some tangle variations and other options for embellishments.

The class will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays on July 11, 18, 25, and August 1 at the Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC), located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Register before Tuesday, June 19, for the discounted rate of $55; after June 19 the fee is $65. Materials included. The deadline to register is Tuesday, June 26.

Call the CCCAC at 482-2333 for more information.

Still room in Basic Drawing Class; deadline to register: June 16

A few places still remain for the Basic Drawing Class at the Copper Country Community Art Center. This drawing class will explore line, shape, value, shading, and perspective with instructor Tammy Gajewski. Working with pencil, charcoal, craypas, and ink, the class will draw organic still life. Expand your mind and the size of your work or focus your mind to create detailed work. Bring a picture you find challenging or that you would like to learn how to draw. Good introduction class for anyone wanting to learn more about drawing. The class fee is $45. All materials are included.

The Basic Drawing Class will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock. The deadline to register is Saturday, June 16. Call the CCCAC at 482-2333 to learn more details or to register.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Michigan Tech News: A Mystery Solved: 3 Wolves Drowned in Old Mine Shaft at Isle Royale National Park

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech Director of Public Relations
Posted on Michigan Tech News, June 14, 2012

HOUGHTON -- During their 2012 Winter Study, Michigan Technological University population biologist John Vucetich and wildlife ecologist Rolf Peterson started wondering where the wolves of Isle Royale National Park had gone. They only found nine wolves; and, as far as they could tell, only one was a female. They expressed serious concern that the wolves of Isle Royale might be well on their way to extinction.

Now they know what happened to at least three of those wolves, one of them a young female who likely would have contributed to the population’s viability in the future.

In late May, National Park Service biologist Ted Gostomsk reported one or more animal carcasses floating in water in a deep, 19th-century mine shaft at Isle Royale. With the aid of the Park Service, Peterson and his wife, Carolyn, went in to investigate. They recovered and examined what was left of the animals and then collected the bones.

"We found there had been a real catastrophe in early winter, before we arrived on the island in January," said Vucetich. "There were three dead wolves from the Chippewa Harbor Pack in the shaft: a collared male that we had been unable to locate this winter, an older male -- maybe the alpha male -- and a female born in 2011.

"We now understand a major reason for the decline in pack size of the Chippewa Harbor Pack in 2012, and perhaps why we saw such a desultory pattern of travel and low kill rate in this pack," Vucetich said.

The pack seemed to have no "game plan" following the large loss of so many individuals, he explained....

Click here for the full story on the Michigan Tech News.

"North of the 45th Parallel" exhibit to open June 15 at DeVos Art Museum in Marquette

MARQUETTE -- The DeVos Art Museum in Marquette will host the exhibit "North of the 45th Parallel" -- featuring 52 artists from Michigan,Wisconsin and Minnesota -- from June 15 through August 5. The North of the 45th is an annual juried exhibition of artists living North of the 45th Parallel in these three states.

An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 15, at the museum, which is located at at the corner of Tracy and 7th Street on the campus of
Northern Michigan University. The reception will feature live music by Kerry Yost and The Chanteymen and a special one-night art performance by Emily Lanctot.

Each year a different juror from outside of the area, but within the Midwest, is asked to select pieces for the exhibition from an open call for entries. The jury process is anonymous and based on image, title, media and dimensions. This year's exhibition is juried by Wally Mason, director of the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Click here to learn more about the exhibit and the artists who will be featured this year, including several from the Copper Country and Marquette areas.

Hours at the DeVos Art Museum are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Wednesday and Friday, noon - 8 p.m. Thursday, and 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Calumet Art Center to host Finnish-Style Rug Workshop Oct. 5-7

CALUMET -- The Calumet Art Center will host a Finnish-Style Cotton Rug Workshop with Wynne Mattila from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 5, 6 and 7, 2012. The class is limited to eight persons.

At present six open places remain. Pre-registration and payment are required. This is on a first come, first served basis.

Class Fee is $285; material fee is $30.

The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth Street. For more info call 906-281-3494 or 906-281-3494.

UPDATED: Public comment requested on two Public Health Assessments for Torch Lake Superfund site; public meeting to be June 20

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has released two Public Health Assessments for the Torch Lake Superfund site and surrounding areas located in the Upper Peninsula, specifically Houghton and Keweenaw counties, for public comment.

The Public Health Assessment for "Physical hazards in the Torch Lake Superfund site and surrounding area" describes the physical hazards present from former copper mining activities. The report concluded that many physical hazards are present at places where former copper mining activities occurred. MDCH recommends that in order to make public safety a top priority, access to these places should be restricted or the hazards should be removed.

The Public Health Assessment for "Evaluation of Municipal and Residential Drinking Water around Torch Lake" looked at potential chemical exposure from municipal and private drinking water. This report found that municipal water is safe and meets applicable standards and regulations. There is not enough information on possible chemical levels in private wells installed or screened in stamp sand.

MDCH will host a multi-agency open house Wednesday, June 20, with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, followed by a public meeting to discuss the reports. The meeting will take place at Lake Linden-Hubbell High School located at 601 Calumet St., Lake Linden. The open house will be from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m., and the public meeting will start at 7 p.m.

MDCH also invites the public to provide comments on the Public Health Assessments. The documents are online at under "Health Assessments and Related Documents." Scroll down on that page and click on Torch Lake Superfund Site and Surrounding Areas. (Or Click here to go directly to the list of Torch Lake documents.) Copies are also available at the Lake Linden-Hubbell Public School Library located at 601 Calumet Street, Lake Linden, and the Portage Lake District Library at 58 Huron St., Houghton.

Information and comments may be sent to either Christina Bush or Dr. Jennifer Gray at Division of Environmental Health, Michigan Department of Community Health, 201 Townsend St., Lansing, MI 48913. Comments must be received by Aug. 10. Responses to all comments will be provided in the final version of the assessments.

The department's Division of Environmental Health conducted the Public Health Assessments under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Information concerning the human health effects of exposure to environmental contaminants can be found on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) web page at

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pine Mountain Music Festival to present Mozart opera

HANCOCK -- Pine Mountain Music Festival presents Mozart’s great opera Così fan tutte  at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, at the historic Calumet Theatre. The opera is a masterpiece of comic invention and dramatic detail. The alternative title, The School for Lovers (La scuola degli amanti), is perhaps a more precise description of the opera -- four naïve young lovers trying to understand and figure out the nature of love and relationships.

Martin Bakari and Jacqueline Shoda-Iwasaki in Così fan tutte. (Photo © Joe Kirkish and courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

Two young men disguise themselves to test their lovers’ fidelity, but what starts out as fun and games turns into something no one quite bargained for. The mischief makers, Don Alfonso and Despina, two characters with a little more experience, lead the young lovers through the opera, imparting their worldly advice and cynical points of view.

Tickets are $30 for adults or $10 for students and are available at Michigan Tech Ticketing Services (located at the Michigan Tech Student Development Complex), or by calling 877-746-3999.  Tickets are also available at the Calumet Theatre Box Office and at the door. There will be a free pre-opera talk one hour before the performance.

The opera will be sung in Italian, with English surtitles above the stage. Così fan tutte will also be performed at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 17, at the Vulcan Performing Arts Center in Norway and at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at Kaufman Auditorium in Marquette.

The singers for Così fan tutte will be the festival's six Resident Opera Artists. A chorus composed of local singers from the Keweenaw area will round out the cast for this dramatic and popular opera. The opera will be conducted by the remarkable Joseph Mechavich (Il matrimonio segreto 2010) and directed by Artistic Director, Joshua Major.  Mr. Mechavich will present a pre-opera talk one hour before performance.

Claire Shackleton and Alex DeSocio in Così fan tutte. (Photo © Joe Kirkish and courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

Mezzo-soprano Claire Shackleton performs the role of Dorabella while the role of Fiordiligi is sung by soprano Jacqueline Shoda-Iwasaki. Singing the parts of the two fiancés are tenor Martin Bakari as Ferrando and baritone Alex DeSocio as Guglielmo.   Completing the cast is Julie Tabash as Despina, the maid, and Jonathan Christopher as Don Alfonso. All six Resident Opera Artists will also perform in A Little Night Music in July.   

This production is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Pine Mountain Music Festival presents a season of opera, classical and popular music each June-July in the Dickinson County area, the Marquette area, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and in other towns in the Upper Peninsula. Headquartered in Hancock, Michigan, it is supported by donations, ticket sales and grants. Visit the web at or call 888-309-7861 for more information.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Big Bay citizens' kayak trip to raise funds for third-party air monitoring program at Eagle Mine

BIG BAY -- Some members of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay are having a kayaking fundraiser to help create public awareness for an independent, third-party air monitoring program for the Eagle Mine.

This is a view of the bay of Big Bay, where kayakers will set out on one part of their fundraising journey, which will be divided into two trips for safety concerns. (Photo © and courtesy Gene Champagne of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay)

The group -- Carla and Gene Champagne, Ben Kent. Emily Whittaker, Cynthia Pryor, and Bill Kinjorski -- will soon kayak from the mouth of the Iron/Yellow Dog River to the mouth of the Salmon Trout River. This fundraiser will fulfill part of a Fresh Water Future grant of $2,500 the group received last year. The kayakers are also the proposed Eagle Mine Air Quality Monitoring Team.

"The fumes (from the Eagle Mine) are making folks nauseous. Kennecott is venting right into the pristine air up there," says Gene Champagne, author of a recent opinion article on this issue, published in the Marquette Mining Journal on June 3, 2012.

In that article, Champagne writes, "The time has come to seek the best available, and least disputable, science with regards to air quality monitoring for the Eagle Mine in northern Marquette County and any other hard rock (sulfide) mines that follow. To this end. the Powell Township Board, at its May 22 meeting, passed a resolution that calls for an independent, third party air monitoring program for any current and future mines that may affect Powell Township."*

The second part of the kayaking trip will require crossing Big Bay (3.5 miles across), resting perhaps at the black rocks on the west side of the bay, and then continuing around Salmon Trout Point (center of this photo) and into Salmon Trout Bay and the mouth of the Salmon Trout River. Lake Superior can be seen to the right beyond the point. (Photo © and courtesy Gene Champagne of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay)

Two other members of this group, Carla Champagne and Cynthia Pryor, recently requested this independent, third-party air monitoring program for the Eagle Mine at Rio Tinto's Annual General Meeting with shareholders in London, England.**

Concerned Citizens of Big Bay will be collecting donations through July on their Web site and plan to post photos of the two-day kayaking trip on the site as well. The kayakers hope to start the journey, which is weather and wave dependent, this month (or possibly as early as this week). They have a maximum of six kayakers in order to leave little to no footprints and impact upon the private lands they will be launching from.

Concerned Citizens of Big Bay fund many of their activities out of their own pockets, with the help of supporters.

"If you can give a little to our own fundraiser we can hopefully have some added impact to the proper and scientific monitoring at Eagle Mine," Gene Champagne notes.

Click here to donate to the fundraiser on the group's Web site.

Editor's Notes:
* Click here to read Gene Champagne's guest op-ed article, "Science, public relations are two different things."

** In case you missed it, see Keweenaw Now's updated May 23, 2012, article, "Big Bay residents report on Rio Tinto AGM in London."

Bike prizes offered for kids who participate in Chain Drive races

HANCOCK -- Portage Health, sponsor of the Chain Drive Bike races scheduled for Saturday, June 16, is offering bike prizes for kids who participate.

Junior Chain Drive race participants head for the novice trail at Portage Health in Hancock. This year a TREK Mountain Bike will be given as a door prize for a participant, age 13 or under, in the Junior Chain Drive. Two bikes will be given to young participants in the Chain Drive 16-Mile race. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

"Portage Health wants kids on bikes," says Lori Hauswirth, race organizer. "Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival is one way we are going to get them riding. If you have/know someone under 18, this is the year for them to ride Chain Drive. Two bikes will be given randomly as door prizes to kids that ride the 16-Mile event. A Kona Kahuna Deluxe will go to a rider ages 14-18 and a Kona Fire Mountain will be given to a rider 13 or under. A TREK Mountain Bike will be given as a door prize for the Junior Chain Drive. Let's encourage the kids to get out there and ride!"

Junior Chain Drive

Registration for the Junior Chain Drive is from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, June 16, in Portage Health Conference Room 5. Races start at 3:30 p.m.

Those who would like to fill out the paper work for the kids' race ahead of time can send Marc Norton, Junior Chain Drive director, an email request at and he'll send you a pdf that you can print and fill out ahead of time if you wish.

Price is $5 per racer.

Volunteers still needed:

Plenty of spots are still open to help with the Junior Chain drive.

Registration -- still need 2-3 more
Traffic Control -- 7 more needed
Lap Counters -- 2 needed
Rabbit -- 1 needed for 1-lap race
Sweeps -- 5 needed (or two who can ride 8 miles)
1st Responders -- 1 more desired
Emcee (race starter, awards announcer) -- 1 needed

Click here for the schedule of the Chain Drive Race events.

Click here for information on the Junior Chain Drive.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

UPDATED: MDEQ taking public comments on Orvana's Copperwood Project; public hearing to be June 28

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is holding a public comment period until Thursday, June 28, 2012, and a public hearing also on June 28, 2012, on Orvana Resources US Corp’s proposed installation and operation of a copper mining and ore processing facility known as the "Copperwood Project."

The facility is proposed to be located in Ironwood (T49N R46W) and Wakefield (T49N R45W) Townships, Gogebic County, Michigan. The public comment period and hearing are to allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the Department’s proposed conditional approval of a Permit to Install (PTI). It has been preliminarily determined that the installation of the Copperwood Project will not violate any of the Department’s rules nor the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The facility’s impact will not exceed 80 percent of the available increments for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter less than ten microns.

According to Steve Casey, MDEQ Water Resources Division district supervisor of the Upper Peninsula District Office, who will be chairing the meeting, the Public Hearing is for the Air Quality, Wetlands and Inland Lakes and Streams permits.

"We will have the staff person who is preparing the NPDES water discharge permit in attendance too," Casey said. "So the public will be able to comment on air, water, wetland/inland lakes and streams issues (which will cover tailings placement)."

Copies of the Department staff’s analysis and proposed permit conditions are available for inspection at the following locations, or you may request a copy be mailed to you by calling 517-335-4607. Please reference Permit to Install Application Number 180-11.
UPPER PENINSULA: DEQ, AQD, 420 Fifth Street, Gwinn (Phone: 906-346-8300)
LANSING: DEQ, AQD, Constitution Hall, 3rd Floor, North Tower, 525 West Allegan Street (Phone: 517-335-4607)
IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP: N10892 Lake Road, Ironwood (Phone: 906-932-5800)
WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP: 414 North County Road 519, Wakefield (Phone: 906-224-8551)
GOGEBIC COUNTY: 200 North Moore Street, Bessemer (Phone: 906-663-4518)

The public is encouraged to present written views on the proposed permit action. Written comments should be sent to Ms. Mary Ann Dolehanty, Permit Section Supervisor, MDEQ, AQD, P.O. Box 30260, Lansing, Michigan, 48909-7760. Comments may also be submitted from the webpage: (click on "Submit Comment" under the Orvana Resources US Corp, Permit to Install No. 180-11 listing). All statements received by June 28, 2012, will be considered by the decision-maker prior to final permit action.

On June 28, 2012, a public hearing will be held starting at 7 p.m. C.D.T. at Gogebic Community College, Lindquist Student Center -- Courtside Dining Area, 2nd Floor, E-4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood, Michigan. The sole purpose of the public hearing will be to take formal testimony on the record. During testimony, questions will not be answered; however, staff will be available to answer questions outside the hearing room.

Prior to the hearing, an informational session will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. C.D.T. also at Gogebic Community College, Lindquist Student Center -- Courtside Dining Area, 2nd Floor, E-4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood, Michigan. Staff will provide a brief introduction regarding the proposed project and will be available to answer questions.

Individuals needing accommodations for effective participation at the hearing should contact Ms. Cari DeBruler at 517-335-4607 one week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance.

Part 632 Mining Permit for Orvana approved in April

On April 30, 2012, the MDEQ announced approval of a mining permit to Orvana Resources US Corp. for the proposed Copperwood Mine in Gogebic County, Michigan.

The department's decision followed a detailed review of Orvana's permit application, public comments and supplemental information to determine whether the proposed mining operation meets the strict standards of Michigan's mining law, Part 632 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.

Based on all information available, the DEQ has determined the application meets or exceeds the requirements for approval.

Additional permits are required for the Copperwood Mine, including permits for air emissions, water discharges, wetlands impacts, and inland lakes and streams modifications. The DEQ is still reviewing those applications.

The mining permit is not effective until all other Michigan environmental permits for the proposed mining operation are issued.

Click here for more MDEQ information about mining in Michigan.

DEQ seeks input on air quality monitoring document

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's draft 2013 Michigan Ambient Air Monitoring Network Review document is available for public comment through Friday, June 15, at 5 p.m.

Annually, the Network Review is the principle tool used by staff of the DEQ's Air Quality Division to plan ambient air quality monitoring activities. The Network Review examines Michigan's ambient air monitoring network in operation during 2011-2012 and recommends changes based on monitor history, population distribution, and modifications to the federal monitoring requirements under the Clean Air Act.

The 2013 Network Review document is available on the DEQ Web page at Feedback from public comments will be reviewed with respect to ambient air monitoring activities to be carried out in 2013.

Comments may be submitted either electronically to, or by U.S. mail to Amy Robinson, DEQ, Air Quality Division, P.O. Box 30260, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7760.

For more information on Michigan's air quality, go to To view real-time air monitoring information, select the MIair icon.

Portage Library to host acupressure presentation by massage therapist June 14

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host its monthly program in the Natural Health and Wellness series from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 14.

Professional Massage Therapist Angel Janssen will present "Acupressure to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain." Participants will learn a simple acupressure self treatment that can be used to relieve pain caused by stress and tension that is held in the neck and shoulder areas.

Janssen is a licensed and nationally certified massage therapist in practice for over 20 years in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Michigan. She is a master level LaStone Therapist, a Reflexologist, and a 2nd Degree Reiki Practitioner. The focus of her massage practice is health maintenance, stress reduction, and pain relief with advanced training in aromatherapy, massage for people living with cancer, as well as massage for the medically frail. Janssen is the proprietor of Synergy Massage and Wellness.

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

Beach Volleyball Leagues open to community this summer

HANCOCK -- Two summer Beach Volleyball Leagues are open to the community and are starting soon.

Leagues will play at the Copper Island Beach Club (Hancock) sand volleyball court. Doubles (2 person teams) will play on Monday evenings. Recreational (4-person teams) will play Wednesday evenings.

Cost is $20 per person (for the whole season); leagues run for 10 weeks.

Call 482-2269 to register a team or e-mail

Additional summer tournaments include Bridgefest and Canal Weekend opportunities, locally.