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, July 28, 2012

Keweenaw Heritage Center to host ethnic music July 30

Maple Sugar Folk perform French-Canadian tunes in the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's, Calumet, during a July 2009 ethnic music concert. They will be among several groups and solo vocalists to perform ethnic music this Monday, July 30, at the Keweenaw Heritage Center. (Keweenaw Now file photo)*

CALUMET -- The Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's in Calumet will host a summer evening of ethnic music at 7 p.m. Monday, July 30. Dave Bezotte has again invited several local musicians who will be sharing their music from around the world.

Here are the performers and their songs:

FINNISH: "Maailman Matti," Dan Maki

CZECH: "Stodola Pumpa" (Arr. Mark Weston)
CORNISH: "Song of the Jolly Roger (C. F. Chudleigh Candish)
Male Chorus -- Dave Bezotte, Bill Francis, Dick Hazzard, Don Kuiper, Pasi Lautala, Ardys Maki (Accompanist), Dan Maki, Pete Manderfield, Jeremiah Mason, Bryan Milde,
Barry Pegg, Brandon Veale, Carol Waisanen (Conductor), David Waisanen

SWEDISH -- "Calle Schewens vals," Barbara Lide

FINNISH, FRENCH, UKRAINIAN -- Selections to be announced
Trio Tumpelot -- Pasi Lautala, Anna Gawboy, and Meghan Pachmayer

FRENCH -- "Plaisir d’amour," Ruth Robertson

FRENCH-CANADIAN -- "Belle Rose du Printemps," "Alouette," "Vive l’amour"
Maple Sugar Folk -- Dave Bezotte, Amanda Binoniemi, Marcia Goodrich, Barbara Lide, Barry Pegg, Ruth Robertson, Karin Schlenker, Janet Wieber *

GERMAN -- "Der treue Husar," Barbara Lide

NORWEGIAN -- Selections to be announced, Jo Storaker, Accordion

AMERICAN -- "What a Wonderful World" (Douglas and Weiss), Karin Schlenker

There is no admission charge, but a free-will offering will be taken partway through the concert to benefit the Heritage Center.

*Editor's Note: For a preview, click here to see our video clip of Maple Sugar Folk singing "Alouette" at the 2009 ethnic music concert.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Michigan Nature Association to sponsor Keweenaw hikes July 28, Aug. 4

CHASSELL -- Announcing two more hikes for the next two Saturdays, Michigan Nature Association Keweenaw Stewardship Organizer Nancy Leonard says the turnout for the Estivant Pines hike last Saturday was great.

"Hannah Rooks shared interesting historical tidbits as well as pointing out some of the flora and fauna residing in among the great old trees," Leonard notes. "This coming Saturday we'll meet at Gratiot Lake Overlook Nature Sanctuary for a hike and a picnic and a paddle, if you wish."

The Michigan Nature Association (MNA) will sponsor a hike, picnic, and paddle at Gratiot Lake Overlook Nature Sanctuary beginning at 11 a.m. TOMORROW, Saturday, July 28. Join stewards Jill Burkland and Randy Freisinger for a hike on the Overlook Trail, then picnic on the shores of Gratiot Lake and go for a paddle afterwards if you wish. Bring along sturdy footwear, bug dope, water, your own picnic, and canoe or kayak.

To get there, follow US 41 north of Calumet to the sign for Gratiot Lake (across the highway from the historic town of Central). Turn right (east) and travel 5 miles to the bottom of the hill. Turn left and drive .75 miles to the DNR public access site on Gratiot Lake. The trailhead is across the road.

Aug.4:  Lichen study and hike at Grinnell Memorial Nature Sanctuary

Join naturalist Karena Schmidt at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, for a strenuous trail hike at this huge rhyolite monolith known locally as Bare Bluff. Along the way, Karena will help participants study the lichens that encrust the rocks. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring your lunch and water.

To get there, drive north on US 41 to eleven miles south of Copper Harbor. Turn right at the sign for Lac La Belle and Mt. Bohemia. Drive about 5 miles to Lac La Belle, turn left on the Bete Gris Road and drive about 2 miles to the Smith Fisheries Road and turn left. Travel another 2.5 miles, bearing right, to the parking area marked with an MNA sign.

KBIC's 34th Annual Maawanji'iding (Powwow) is July 27-29 in Baraga

Joining dancers of all ages, a young shawl dancer displays her colorful regalia at last year's Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Powwow in Baraga. The 34th Annual event begins today, July 27, and continues through Sunday, July 29, at the Ojibwa Campground in Baraga. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

BARAGA -- KBIC's 34th Annual Maawanji'iding (Powwow) is underway at the Ojibwa Campground in Baraga. Grand Entries for the Keweeenaw Bay Indian Community's annual event are scheduled for TONIGHT, Friday, July 27, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 28, at Noon and 7 p.m.; and Sunday at Noon.

Highlights of today's (Friday's) events include Traditional Teachings, Princess Crowning, Honor Elders Special and Youth 2-step Championship.

Tomorrow, Saturday, includes the Fry Bread Contest, Feast, Hand Drum Contest, Veterans Special, Drum Challenge, and Midnight 2-step Championship.

Click here for details.

Teachers explore Upper Peninsula geology from Horseshoe Harbor to Tahquamenon Falls

By Michele Bourdieu 

In front of the Quincy Mine's historic No. 2 shaft in Hancock, participants in a teachers' geology institute listen to Tim Scarlett, left, archaeologist and Michigan Tech professor in Social Sciences, as he describes developments in 19th- and early 20th-century technology for getting miners down into the Quincy Mine, one of the deepest in the world, which eventually reached reached 9,280 ft. deep on the incline (approx. 6,800 ft. vertical). (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- A group of 18 middle and high school teachers from across Michigan -- and also from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri and Indiana -- listened intently as
Michigan Tech Professor Tim Scarlett led them on a tour of the Quincy Mine in Hancock on Tuesday, July 24.

The Quincy Mine was just one of several geological sites they have been exploring this week during the five-day teacher institute on geology sponsored by Michigan Technological University’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach and the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education.

Michigan Tech Professor Tim Scarlett explains to teachers how the different levels at the No. 2 Shaft of the Quincy Mine, with a stamp mill at the lower level, used gravity to save energy.

Scarlett first described industrial improvements in getting the miners down into the mine and back up. He then talked about sorting what comes out of the mine, the use of gravity, air shafts, the 9000 ft. long cable and the mathematics involved in the technology of its use.

Teacher participants in Michigan Tech's geology institute head towards the Quincy Hoist House for a view of the steam hoist and an underground tour of the mine.

Inside the Hoist House, teachers have a view of the 17-ton copper boulder on display. This large piece of native copper was discovered in Lake Superior at Great Sand Bay in Keweenaw County in 1991 and brought to the Quincy Mine Hoist House in July 2001.*

The teachers had spent Monday visiting several sites in the Keweenaw, including the Centennial #6  rock-collecting site; Mohawk #4, the source of Gay stamp sands; lava tops in Eagle Harbor; Brockway Mountain; stromatolites at Horseshoe Harbor; and the cobble beach and lichen rings at Hunter's Point.

According to Joan Chadde, institute coordinator, during Monday's tour the teachers learned about mining in the Keweenaw from Michigan Tech Research Professor of Geological Engineering and Sciences Bill Rose and from Ross Grunwald, vice-president of exploration for Highland Resources, a Canadian company now beginning exploratory drilling of historic Keweenaw copper deposits in order to determine the future mining potential of some former native copper mines and of some related copper sulfide sites on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

"We toured the whole Keweenaw Peninsula yesterday (Monday)," said Tammy Daenzer, a seventh-grade science teacher from Birch Run, Mich. "It was very interesting and very scenic."

On Tuesday morning the group heard about ancient copper mining from Patrick Martin, Michigan Tech professor of archaeology. 

Cindy McCormick, who teaches English and science at Jeffers High School in Painesdale, said she had taken Joan Chadde's teachers' institutes before but this was the first time she has taken a geology institute.

"It was awesome," McCormick said. "I think my favorite part was the earth caching at Horseshoe Harbor."

Geology institute participant Cindy McCormick, who teaches English and science at Jeffers High School in Painesdale, prepares for the underground tour of the Quincy Mine. Hard hats and jackets are recommended for the tour. The temperature in the mine on July 24 was 43 degrees F.

Earth caching brings you to a unique geological formation, she said.  It's an activity teachers can use with their students.

"It's kind of like a scavenger hunt. You use a GPS," McCormick explained.**

As the Quincy Tram prepares to start for the underground tour, guide and driver Esa Leppanen, left, gives an introduction to the teachers and other visitors on board.

Ruth Ann Hodges of Lansing, math consultant for the Michigan Department of Education and math instructor at Lansing Community College, also participated in the institute.

Hodges had one word to describe the trip so far: "Great!"

After the Quincy Mine tour, the teachers spent Tuesday afternoon visiting the Seaman Mineral Museum with George and Susan Robinson and the Caledonia Mine in Greenland with Richard Whiteman. They traveled to the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park Tuesday evening for dinner, optional hiking and an overnight stay.

The group spent Wednesday morning on a geologic tour of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park with Bob Wild, park interpreter. Wednesday afternoon they traveled to Marquette for a visit to Presque Isle Park with Dr. Bob Regis of Northern Michigan University.

Thursday's agenda was devoted to a trip to Munising and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, including a Pictured Rocks boat cruise and an optional sand dune hike.

For today, Friday, July 27, the final day of the institute, the group's destination will be Tahquamenon Falls State Park with hikes to both the Upper and Lower Falls, guided by Department of Natural Resources interpreter Theresa Neal -- and a picnic.

After exploring the geological landmarks of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the teachers will discuss ways to bring what they’ve learned back to their classrooms.

The institute features a new publication, A Guide to Geology Field Trips in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, designed for middle and high school teachers. It will be a useful resource for both classroom and youth educators, and those wishing to know about the unique and diverse geologic features of the U.P. The publication is a culmination of more than five years of work by more than a dozen geologists and educators including Michigan Tech faculty, staff and graduate students, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Funding for the development and production of the publication was provided by Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan Tech Department of Geological Mining Engineering and Sciences, and Michigan Space Grant Consortium. Joan Chadde coordinated the publication of the guide.

"It describes field trips teachers can take their students on," Chadde said of the publication.

The Guide also describes student activities related to learning about the geological sites. It includes field trips to six different sites: the Keweenaw Peninsula, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, and Fayette State Park.

Editor's Notes:
* Click here to read about transporting the copper boulder to the Quincy Mine Hoist House and see photos of the event in our July 2001 article, "MTU museum to exhibit copper boulder from Keweenaw's Great Sand Bay," published in Keweenaw Today, the predecessor of Keweenaw Now. The article is archived by

** See to learn about earth caching and geocaching.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Visiting artist to give letterpress demo at Community Arts Center

HANCOCK -- Laura Brown, member of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts Artists Co-Op, will hold an informal letterpress printing demonstration at the Copper Country Community Arts Center from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, July 27.

Brown is a book artist, printmaker, and letterpress printer whose work is inspired by geography, topography, and place. Her work centers around comparing and contrasting places she has lived, visited, and seen in pictures or read about in books.

There is no charge to attend the demonstration. The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock and is dedicated to "Fostering an Environment where the Arts and People Grow Together." Call 482-2333 for more information.

Peaceful Uprising to honor Tim DeChristopher, other political prisoners with moment of silence TODAY, July 26

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Today, at 3 p.m. MDT (5 p.m. EDT) July 26, Peaceful Uprising is holding a moment of silence exactly one year (to the hour) from the time climate activist Tim DeChristopher was scheduled for his sentencing last year. They will be honoring a moment of silence -- for the harsh sentence he received as well as the fate of other political prisoners, across time and borders.

On Eagle Rock, near Big Bay, Mich., in August 2009, climate activist Tim DeChristopher, third from left, joins participants at Protect the Earth in holding up cups of pure water during a ceremony of appreciation and prayer for keeping the water clean. DeChristopher later poured water from Salt Lake City, where Kennecott Minerals Co. has its headquarters. Kennecott (Rio Tinto) is now drilling a portal to the Eagle Mine under Eagle Rock. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Gabriel Caplett)
"We want to commemorate those who have been to jail for justice, those who are currently suffering inhumane treatment for the courage of their convictions, and all of those who have come before them," says a message from Peaceful Uprising on their Web site.

This day also coincides with their community's response to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), holding their 39th Annual Conference in the heart of Salt Lake City. A wide coalition has come together to "welcome" ALEC, in an effort to expose this example of government and corporate collusion.

Visit Peaceful Uprising for more information on their activities.

Click here to read about this event and see photos on the Peaceful Uprising Facebook page.

Trio Tumpelot to perform at Portage Library's Music on the Menu July 27

Trio Tumpelot, from left, Ana Gawboy, Pasi Lautala and Meghan Pachmayer, perform a Finnish folk tune during Hancock's 2012 Heikinpäivä Mid-winter Festival at the Finnish American Heritage Center last January. Trio Tumpelot will perform at noon TOMORROW, July 27, outside the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

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.

Trio Tumpelot will perform from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, July 27. The trio consists of Pasi Lautala playing a 5-row accordion, Ana Gawboy playing a concertina, and Meghan Pachmayer performing on a stand-up base. The group plays a mixture of old and newer folk and dance hall tunes that are mainly from Finland, but their music also includes tunes from Ukraine, France, and other countries.

Everyone is invited to eat, relax, and enjoy the lunch hour while listening to some great music. In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

Library programs are free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Dance Zone, Blueberry Festival offer dance activities in Marquette July 26-28

MARQUETTE -- Dancers will find some great events this weekend in Marquette -- at the Dance Zone and the Blueberry Festival.

BLUE CHAMPAGNE will be back at Dance Zone for an open dance from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 28.

"If you missed them last time, ask someone who was at their last dance," says Marge Sklar, Dance Zone director. "They were great!"

The Blueberry Dance Festival is going on through the weekend. Check out the free dance workshops and learn some new steps. Here is the schedule:

Thursday, July 26, 2012 Kaufman Auditorium, 611 North Front St. in Marquette:
Performance: 7:30 p.m. Featuring Ami Mattison, The Beladinas, Erica and Mike Waite, and special guest performers. Advanced tickets: Youth/Student: $6, Adult: $11. Tickets available at the door for an additional $3.

Free Workshops on Friday and Saturday: Come out and try something new or review something you already know:

Friday, July 27 -- 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (all sessions are at Ringside Fitness, 181 W. Bluff St.)

9 a.m. -- Middle Eastern "Belly Dance" -- All levels/All ages
10 a.m. -- Zumba -- All levels/All Ages
11 a.m. -- Lyrical -- Intermediate Level/All Ages
12 p.m. -- Lindy Hop/Charleston -- Beginner Level/All Ages
1 p.m. -- Bachata -- Beginning/Intermediate Level/All Ages
2 p.m. -- Bulgarian -- All Levels/All Ages
3 p.m. -- Modern -- Intermediate/Advance Level/Ages: Teen/Adult
4 p.m. -- Cecchetti Ballet -- Intermediate Level/Ages: 10 and Up
5 p.m. -- Hip-Hop -- All Ages/All Levels

Saturday, July 28-- 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. (all sessions are at Dance Zone, 1113 Lincoln Ave.)

9 a.m. -- Hip-Hop -- All Levels/All Ages
10 a.m. -- Contemporary -- All Levels/All Ages
11 a.m. -- Highland Sword Dance -- All Levels/Children
12 p.m. -- Highland Sword Dance -- All Levels/Adult
1 p.m. -- Zumba -- All Levels/All Ages
2 p.m. -- Salsa/Merengue -- All Levels/All Ages
3 p.m. -- Eastcoast Swing -- All Levels/All Ages
4 p.m. -- Mambo -- Level: Beginning/Intermediate, Ages: Teen/Adult
5 p.m. -- Vienesse Waltz -- All Levels, Ages: Teen/Adult

Also at the Dance Zone:
Zumba -- Wednesdays and Fridays, 6 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.
Looking ahead a couple of weeks: Texas Two-Step Class at Dance Zone on 4 Thursdays beginning August 9. The country, or Texas, two-step is a dance that would fit with the music played by many of the UP bands, especially the popular country bands that abound in this area.

Click here for more dance info on the Dance Zone Web site.

Click here for more info on the Blueberry Festival.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Court: Flambeau Mining Company violated Clean Water Act

MADISON, Wis. -- A federal court ruled yesterday that the Flambeau Mining Company violated the Clean Water Act on multiple occasions by allowing pollution from its Flambeau Mine site -- near Ladysmith, Wis. -- to enter the Flambeau River and a nearby tributary. Eleven of these occasions occurred within the applicable statute of limitations, resulting in liability for 11 violations of the Act.

"The Clean Water Act requires that discharges of pollutants to public waters like the Flambeau River be regulated by a permit that sets clear limits on the amount of pollutants and protects the water quality of the stream," said James Saul, an attorney with McGillivray, Westerberg and Bender. "The Flambeau Mining Company never sought or obtained such a permit and therefore was found to be in violation of the Act."

The lawsuit resulting in yesterday’s ruling was filed early last year by the Wisconsin Resources Protection Council (WRPC), the Center for Biological Diversity and Laura Gauger against the Flambeau Mining Company, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto plc and formerly of Kennecott Minerals Company. The complaint charged that the mine site, which closed in 1997, discharges stormwater runoff containing toxic levels of metals from a detention basin known as the biofilter.*

Monitoring data from the mining company and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources show that copper levels in the discharge exceeded Wisconsin’s acute toxicity criterion of 8 µg/L -- set to protect fish and other aquatic species -- sometimes by several times.

Plaintiffs prevailed on most issues in the case on pre-trial motions. The sole issue left for the liability trial was whether Flambeau Mining Company’s discharges actually reached the Flambeau River or an adjacent tributary known as Stream C. During a five-day trial in May, Flambeau Mining Company claimed that the discharges never reached these waters.

In yesterday’s order, the judge rejected that claim, in part by citing multiple documents authored by Flambeau Mining Company itself stating that the discharge entered Stream C.

For example, the judge noted, "Anyone concluding that no biofilter discharge ever reached Stream C . . . would have to disregard the evidence of the plan that defendant designed for handling runoff from the industrial outlot -- a plan that the DNR approved."

"We’re glad to see the court recognized what concerned citizens have known for years: that even a relatively small-scale copper mine can still pollute our waters for years after it has closed," said WRPC Executive Secretary Al Gedicks.*

"We cannot allow mining companies to pollute our water," said plaintiff Laura Gauger. "They need to follow the same laws as you and I do."*

The court’s decision also undercuts the Flambeau Mine’s status as an environmentally successful "example mine." Wisconsin’s Mining Moratorium Law prohibits the mining of a sulfide ore body unless mine proponents can point to a mine that has been closed for at least 10 years without polluting the environment.

"There are a number of large copper-mine proposals pending in this region, and the continuing pollution at this much smaller and short-term mine does not bode well for the larger strip-mine projects," said Marc Fink, attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The judge approvingly noted Flambeau Mining Company’s efforts to remediate the mine site. Many of these measures, including a recent series of infiltration basins, were undertaken after plaintiffs filed their suit.

The Wisconsin Resources Protection Council (WRPC) is a statewide, nonprofit membership organization concerned with the environmental impacts of metallic mining on the state’s precious water supplies, on the tourism and dairy industries, and upon the many Native American communities that are located near potential mine sites. WRPC educates the public about the consequences of allowing international mining corporations to develop a new mining district in the Lake Superior region.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 375,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. See

Ms. Laura Gauger is a member of WRPC and the Center of Biological Diversity. Ms. Gauger is formerly a resident of Spooner, Wis., and currently resides in Duluth, Minn.

The citizen groups and Ms. Gauger were represented in the case by attorneys James Saul, Pamela McGillivray, Christa Westerberg and David Bender (McGillivray, Westerberg and Bender; Madison, Wis.), Kevin Cassidy and Dan Mensher (Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center; Portland, Ore.) and Marc Fink (Center for Biological Diversity; Duluth, Minn.).

*Editor's Note: See our Aug. 5, 2009, article, "Protect the Earth 2009: Part 1," in which both Laura Gauger (formerly Furtman) and Al Gedicks spoke about pollution at the Flambeau Mine. See more background on this lawsuit in our Jan. 25, 2011, article, "Updated: Lawsuit filed against Kennecott subsidiary for water pollution at Flambeau Mine site."

Gratiot Lake Conservancy to hold annual members meeting July 30

Eagle by Jim Hay. (Photo © Jim Hay and courtesy Gratiot Lake Conservancy)

GRATIOT LAKE -- Gratiot Lake Conservancy announces its annual members meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, July 30, at the Eagle Harbor Community Building (Schoolhouse) on M-26 in Eagle Harbor.

The business meeting will be followed by a slide show and video presentation of Jim Hay’s nature photography.

The public is welcome. Call 337-5476 for further information.

Take a Chance for Peace and win a trip to Guatemala

HANCOCK -- August 1 is the deadline for the annual NISGUA (Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala) Take a Chance for Peace Drawing.

Prizes include a round trip ticket to Guatemala as well as cash and all kinds of other goodies. For every $25 donation you get a chance to win. Besides the grand prize of a trip to Guatemala, you could win Spanish lessons on Skype, cash, fair trade coffee, books on Guatemala, and other unique items. Click here for a full list of prizes and info on how to make your donation.

Over the last few months, NISGUA has been inspired by acts of solidarity across borders, even as state forces in Guatemala repress social protests and protect financial interests. Here are some examples of their work:
In April, NISGUA staff and counterpart organizations coordinated powerful events around Goldcorp's annual meeting of shareholders.

In May, NISGUA's network and other U.S. citizens took action and asked Congress to maintain the ban on U.S. funding for the Guatemalan military.

Over the past six months, international observers have accompanied hundreds of people seeking justice for genocide.

Click here to learn more about their work.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Orpheum Theater to host two music events July 25, 26

HANCOCK -- The Orpheum Theater in Hancock will host two special musical events this Wednesday and Thursday, July 25 and 26.

On Wednesday, July 25, Steve Jones and The Garden City Hot Club celebrate the release of their debut CD, "Live at Root Notes," with special guests Adam Johnson on drums, and Dan Furhmann on piano. Show starts at 8 p.m.

CDs will be available at the door. Admission is $10, or $15 gets you a CD with admission! This also will be the kick-off show for their Mid-West/East-Coast tour.

On Thursday, July 26, the Orpheum will host Traditional Finnish Music from the band Finn Hall! $7 gets you in and doors open at 7:30 p.m. Don't forget your dancing shoes and Polka clothes!

Portage Library to host Storytime, Isle Royale Program for Kids July 25

HOUGHTON -- Portage Lake District Library will host two different programs for children on Wednesday, July 25 -- Storytime for young children by three graduates of Storytime and a continuation of the Isle Royale summer program for kids.

At 11 a.m. Wednesday Ann, Kate, and Elizabeth Desrochers will present "A Dragons Storytime." The Desrochers children will read stories about dragons and lead a craft project that participants will make and take home.

Graduates of Storytime are children who participated in library Storytimes when they were young and now know how to read. They plan every aspect of their Storytime program including the theme, books they will read, and the activity for kids to do. All materials are supplied by the library, and all graduates of Storytime are invited to plan their own event. Contact Chris Alquist at the library for more information.

The Portage Lake District Library continues to host a series of summer programs about Isle Royale just for kids.

From 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Wednesday Isle Royale National Park rangers Lori Honrath and Katie Donovan will present "Sounds of Isle Royale National Park." Children will listen to the sounds of Isle Royale where animals and humans are communicating in their own special ways. They will learn to identify some of the common "voices" from the forests and lakes of Isle Royale and play "sound" bingo. There will be skulls, skins, and silhouettes of animals whose "voices" they will learn.

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

Monday, July 23, 2012

Kilpela, Janeshek take firsts in 2012 Canal Run 10-mile race

Jonathan Kilpela of Atlantic Mine crosses the finish line in Hancock to win the men's 10-mile run in less than an hour during the 2012 Canal Run on Saturday, July 21. Kilpela's time was 0:56:16.5. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

Posted on Canal Run 2012

HANCOCK -- Saturday's 37th annual Portage Health Canal Run went off without a hitch, with 640 racers registering to race in the big event.

Participants in the 2012 Canal Run register for the race on Saturday, July 21, near the Hancock Tori (farmers' market). 

It's the biggest year ever for the Canal Run.

Amy Janeshek was the big winner for the women's 10-mile run, while Jonathan Kilpela was the top male finisher in the 10-mile run.*

Volunteers offer healthy snacks for the runners at the Canal Run booth in Hancock.

Full results are available here. Keep checking back to, the Canal Run Facebook page and Twitter page for more information, including free photos from

*Editor's Note: See how Jonathan Kilpela kept in shape while studying in Finland last year in our Feb. 18, 2011, article, "Two Michigan Tech students study in Finland."

First public meeting on 1913 Miners' Strike commemoration is TODAY, July 23

By Erik Nordberg, University Archivist for the Michigan Tech Archives

HOUGHTON -- Commitments from community organizations and volunteers are needed for activities to mark the centennial of the 1913 Michigan copper miners’ strike. A series of public meetings are scheduled over the next three months to finalize the schedule for next year’s commemorative events. The nearly year-long strike by members of the Western Federation of Miners in 1913-14 is one of the most significant events in Copper Country history and also figures critically in national labor struggles of the era.

The first public meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. TODAY, Monday, July 23, at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. Today is also the 99th anniversary of the start of the 1913 strike. Additional meetings are scheduled  at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Houghton Township Community Room in Eagle River and at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Ontonagon Theatre in Ontonagon. Individuals are welcome to attend any or all of these meetings.

These meetings intend to confirm specific events during the commemoration. Historical exhibits, speakers’ events, tie-in activities for K-12 students, tours of historic sites connected to the strike, a scholarly symposium on historical topics, a memorial ceremony at the Italian Hall site, and other activities will engage both local residents and out-of-town visitors in remembering and understanding this important era in local history.

All meetings are free and open to the general public. For more information contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487-2505, e-mail at, or visit

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kennecott applies for additional 15,000 acres of state-owned mineral rights in Upper Michigan

From Stand for the Land

According to an article posted on Stand for the Land July 19, 2012, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is proposing to lease more than 15,000 acres of state-owned mineral rights in Baraga, Houghton and Iron counties to Kennecott Eagle Minerals, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto.

The article states that the DNR contacted landowners (who own the surface rights even though the State of Michigan owns the mineral rights) in March 2012 and instructed them to contact the DNR Minerals Management Section Office by March 31, 2012, if they had questions.

A  June 27, 2012, public notice regarding the proposed mineral leasing says written comments by interested parties must be received no later than 30 days from the date of the publication (thus comments must be received by Thursday, July 26, 2012).*

Stand for the Land has written to the property owners asking that they request a public hearing on the leases.

"If Kennecott obtains mineral leases beneath the specified parcels, they will then have the right to enter the properties for mineral exploration," the article explains.  "If metals are found and determined to be feasible to mine, ownership of the surface would not prevent the mineral rights owner from mining. Surface rights owners must be compensated for any harm, but the land would become a mine."

Concerning Rio Tinto's exploration in the area, Dan Blondeau, advisor in communications and media relations for Rio Tinto, told Keweenaw Now the company would not come on a property owner's land and explore without their permission.

"We would not come onto a property owner's land and start exploring for minerals without their prior knowledge," Blondeau said. "We will always ask permission from a property owner before exploring on their land. We would not explore, drill on someone's land without their permission. That is not how we operate."

Stand for the Land is asking the DNR for a public hearing because the leases also include mineral rights on 6,900 acres of Federal Forest land and 2,500 acres of State land.

"Because these are public lands, we believe it is the DNR’s responsibility to hold a public hearing and provide for an extended comment period," the article notes.

The article notes concerns about risks to groundwater, streams and lakes, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, wetlands, and wildlife habitat should these leases lead to mining activity in the region.

If you have concerns or wish to request a public hearing, please write to
Shaun Lehman
DNR, Minerals Management Section
P.O. Box 30452
Lansing, MI 48909-7952

or e-mail:  with "Application 2012-3 Comments" in the Subject box.

See this complete article on Stand for the Land for more details, including a letter you can use to request a pubic hearing, a map of the mineral lease area, the surface owner notice, and information on metallic mineral leasing in Michigan.

* Click here for the Public Notice listing the properties to be leased.