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 22, 2012

Time to register or volunteer for July 21, 2012, Canal Run

HANCOCK -- It's just about one month until the 37th Annual Canal Run! The event is set for Saturday, July 21. The long-standing tradition is held along the Portage Waterway on Highway M-203.

Both the 10-mile run and 10-mile walk start at McLain State Park and finish in downtown Hancock. The 5-mile run and 5-mile walk start on High Point Road, also finishing in downtown Hancock.

2011 Canal Run participants arrive at the Finish in Hancock. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

There are great ways to be involved.

First, you can participate in one of the four events:
10-mile run, 10-mile walk, 5-mile run, 5-mile walk. Registration is only $25 if completed by July 14. All participants will receive a bamboo t-shirt.

Local, hand-crafted awards are given out for many age groups. Visit to register or to obtain more information.

After the 2011 Canal Run, participants gather at the Hancock Tori market tent for refreshments.

Second, you can volunteer. On Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, volunteers are needed  at varying times.

Positions include Registration, Water Stops, Traffic Control, De-chippers, Back-up Timing and many more.

Visit to fill out the form and the volunteer coordinator will respond to you with details.

This year, the Canal Run can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare social media.

Michigan Tech archaeologists to host free tours at Cliff Mine site June 23-24

HOUGHTON -- This weekend is the second of the three open houses at the Cliff Mine Archaeology Dig. Michigan Tech professors and students are giving free tours of their excavations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24. Tour groups will leave from Cliff Drive, starting at the top of each hour.

Michigan Tech industrial archeology students excavate the wooden floor of the 1850-1869 washhouse building, part of the Cliff Mine Stamp Mill complex. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University)

Last weekend, 73 people took the tours, noted Tim Scarlett, project co-director and Michigan Tech associate professor of social sciences.

"They gave us great feedback that enabled us to tweak the tours for this coming weekend," Scarlett said.

This 2010 photo shows part of the Cliff Mine site at the time Michigan Tech researchers were beginning their archaeological project. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Visitors can see many different parts of the Cliff Mine and Clifton town this year. Graduate student Sean Gohman and his team are showing off additional excavations in the Stamp Mill Complex, including the 1850-1869 mill and Warren’s Mill, which was built and operated in the early 20th century.

Three years of mapping have also been completed.

Sean Gohman, right, Michigan Tech graduate student leading the team of industrial archaeology students studying the Cliff Mine site, points out on a map some historic areas at the site to Gina Nicholas, second from left, of the Gratiot Lake Conservancy.  Nicholas was guiding a Reading the Landscape "Stamp Sand Remediation" tour of the Cliff Mine site in August 2010, when the researchers were in the beginning stages of their archaeological project. Stamp sand at the site is being stabilized to protect a branch of the Eagle River. At left is Rob Aho, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) project director for the stamp sand remediation. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

"We can now show people a foundation in the woods in the middle of the ghost-town of Clifton, point to an historic map, aerial photograph, historic photograph, or satellite image and say you are exactly here. 'This is that building,'" said project co-director Sam Sweitz, an assistant professor of social sciences at Michigan Tech.

After discovering indications of large, butchered animal bones buried deeply in one part of Clifton, another student team started excavating in an area between a group of houses.

"We think this may be a butchering area where cattle were slaughtered and cut up to feed the workers in the boarding houses," said Anna L. Sweitz, another project researcher.

Excavators should be uncovering a large deposit of those bones this weekend.

"We think this should be an exciting discovery, but with archaeology, you can never be sure!" said Scarlett. "If we knew what was there, we wouldn’t need to dig to discover things -- so as the saying goes, 'Don’t count your chickens!'"

Besides the open excavations in the Mill and in town, the teams will give visitors site maps with some freshly cut trails marked on them.

"We’ve cut new paths through the woods and placed historic photos and maps on them so people can walk through parts of Clifton on their own," said Scarlett. "We’ll also help them find the cemeteries so they can hike to see them if they wish."

The Keweenaw County Road Commission owns this National Register-listed site. They allow Michigan Tech’s Industrial Archaeology teams to conduct research and give tours to the public.

The project is sponsored by grants from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission, Michigan Tech’s Department of Social Sciences and private gifts to the Michigan Tech Fund.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kivajat Dancers to kick off "Music on the Menu" at Portage Library June 22

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to bring a lunch and enjoy "Music on the Menu," an outdoor series of events held on the dock outside the library.

The Kivajat Dancers, under the direction of Kay Seppala, will perform traditional Finnish folk dances from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 22.

The Kivajat Dancers began in the fall of 2004 and are sponsored by the Finnish American Heritage Center at Finlandia University and the Finnish Theme Committee of the City of Hancock.

Children ages 7 - 14 learn the dances and perform in colorful costumes funded by a grant from Finlandia Foundation International. They have performed in festivals in Finland, Canada, Minnesota and Michigan. Translated, Kivajat means the "Merry Makers."

Everyone is invited to eat and relax while enjoying the performance. In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

This event is part of the library's Summer Reading Program and is free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Green Film Series to present documentary on nuclear power and waste June 21

HOUGHTON -- The Green Film Series will present the 58-minute documentary film Into Eternity, followed by coffee, dessert and facilitated discussion from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21, in GOO2 Forestry Building on the Michigan Tech campus. Admission is free, but a $3 donation is suggested.

Every day, all over the world, large amounts of high-level radioactive waste created by nuclear power plants is placed in interim storage -- vulnerable to natural and human-caused disasters and to societal upheaval and terrorism. Into Eternity explores the mind–boggling scientific and philosophical questions that use of nuclear power and associated long-term nuclear waste storage poses for human civilization.

Dr. Wayne Pennington, Michigan Tech Department of Geological Science and Engineering chair, will be the discussion facilitator.

The Green Film program is partially funded with a grant from the League of Women Voters of the Copper Country, Friends of the Land of Keweenaw, and the U.P. Environmental Coalition.

Co-sponsors are Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative,
Keweenaw Land Trust, Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society and Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Click here for more information on this film.

Click here to read more about the Green Film Series at Michigan Tech University.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Folias Flute and Guitar Duo to perform at Jutila Center June 24

HANCOCK -- The Jutila Center Community Performance Hall in Hancock will host a fantastic flute and guitar performance and an art/informational display at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 24.* 

Folias Flute and Guitar Duo will perform a concert at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at the Jutila Center Community Performance Hall in Hancock. Click on poster for larger image. (Poster courtesy Pat Valencia)

Folias Flute and Guitar Duo have played many venues across the U.S. and other parts of the world. The flute and guitar duo's performance will present original compositions influenced by their many journeys and adventures in Michigan and around the Great Lakes region. The husband and wife group are from Grand Rapids, Mich., and are involved in many music groups and programs. Carmen Maret is a music educator and Pearl Flute representative. Andrew Bergeron is a guitar teacher at three colleges in the Grand Rapids area.** 

During this event the Copper Country Guatemala Accompaniment Project (CCGAP) will have a display of Guatemalan ethnic handicrafts and information highlighting the organization's humanitarian efforts within Guatemalan communities. Handicrafts will be available for purchase and donations are welcomed.*** 

Fee at the door is, $5. A short reception will follow the performance.

This event is sponsored by Valencia Estudio.

* Click here for directions to Finlandia University's Jutila Center Global Design.

** Take a look and listen at Folias Music.

*** Click here to learn more about CCGAP.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pine Mountain Music Festival to present Bergonzi String Quartet concerts

HANCOCK -- A perennial favorite with Pine Mountain Music Festival audiences since 1995, the Bergonzi String Quartet bring their charm, humor, and great music-making to the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, Houghton. Tickets are $25 and are available at Michigan Tech Ticketing Services by calling 487-2073, or at the door.

The Bergonzi String Quartet will perform this week in Houghton and next week in Kingsford and Marquette in Pine Mountain Music Festival Concerts. (Photo courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

Members of the quartet are Glenn Basham and Scott Flavin, violins; Pamela McConnell, viola; and Ross Harbaugh, cello. This year they will be joined by piano sensation Tian Ying to perform a new arrangement of George Gershwin’s great Rhapsody in Blue for Piano and String Quartet. Also featured on the program are Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade, Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major, Gershwin’s Three Preludes, and three pieces arranged by Scott Flavin. This concert is sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Power Company.

Other performances of this concert will be at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 25, at First Presbyterian Church, Kingsford, and at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, at Reynolds Recital Hall, Marquette.

The Quartet is based in Florida, where its four members are faculty members at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. In addition, first violinist Glenn Basham is concertmaster of the Naples (FL) Philharmonic Orchestra, and second violinist Scott Flavin is concertmaster of the Florida Grand Opera and Florida Classical Orchestra.  Violist Pamela McConnell has performed as soloist and chamber musician all around the world and in the U.S. in such prestigious places as Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center. Cellist Ross Harbaugh has appeared as soloist with many orchestras including the Atlanta, Cincinnati, Keweenaw, Grand Rapids, and Canadian Chamber Orchestras.

The members have extensive collective experience, performing in virtually every major center in the world, with concerts throughout Europe, North and South America, New Zealand, and Asia.

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 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, or call 1-877-746-3999 for tickets.

Portage Library to host Bergonzi Quartet in Children's Concert June 23

The Bergonzi String Quartet will also host a free children’s concert at 1 p.m., Saturday, June 23, at the Portage Lake District Library, Houghton. Featured will be The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant, arranged for String Quartet by Pamela McConnell and narrated by Joshua Major, PMMF artistic director.

There is no admission for this library children's concert and all are welcome to attend. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Portage Library to host Ann Arbor Hands On Museum for Kids Science Festival

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library and the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum will present a day of incredible, inquisitive science for kids on Wednesday, June 20, from 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Students and their families will have a chance to do interactive tabletop science experiments that challenge their imaginations and show that science is very cool. Some of the activities include Antacid Launch, Centripetal Swing, Paperclip Ships, Teasing Gravity and more. Kids may choose any or all of the activities to try out.

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