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, October 27, 2012

Michigan Tech's Library to reopen Sunday after fire, damage in Archives

HOUGHTON -- The J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library at Michigan Technological University will reopen at noon on Sunday, Oct. 28. Because of a fire in the Michigan Tech Archives on Friday, the library has been closed.

The archives are located on the garden level of the library and will remain closed until further notice. The source of the fire is unknown and is under investigation by the Michigan State Police fire investigator.

Most of the damage was caused by water from a zoned sprinkler release, which was activated automatically when the fire was detected. Both the Houghton Fire and Police Departments responded. The most fragile documents have been removed from the area to cold storage, and work is ongoing to assess the damage and begin restoration.

"Currently, we are working through our disaster plan to address the most immediate needs to preserve and restore these unique documents," said Erik Nordberg, University archivist.

Researchers and professionals who need access to the area can call the archives office at 906-487-2505 or email For all other library information and services, call 906-487-2508 or email

Except for the closed garden level, the library will maintain regular hours after it opens on Sunday.

Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi to perform Oct. 30 at Rozsa Center

HOUGHTON -- The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi are coming to Michigan Tech's Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m., next Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University)

According to Susanna Brent, Rozsa Center Director, "Their live performances are the ultimate African drum experience."

One of the greatest percussion ensembles in the world, the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi have performed in the same way for centuries, passing down traditions and techniques from father to son. Their performances were traditionally a part of particular ceremonies, such as births, funerals and the enthronement of Kings.

In Burundi, drums are sacred and represent, along with the king, the powers of fertility and regeneration. The origins of their performance being shrouded in ancient legend and mystery, the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi channel the energy and creative spirit of a nation through these drums and the rituals surrounding them. The large drums -- "Ingoma" -- are made from hollowed tree trunks covered with skin. The "Amashako" drums provide a continuous beat, and "Ibishikiso" drums follow the rhythm of the central "Inkiranya" drum.

The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi will perform at Michigan Tech's Rozsa Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30. They will offer a matinee for home-schooled K-12 children at 1 p.m. the same day. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University)

The thunderous sound of the drums with the graceful yet athletic dance that accompanies this masterful performance represents an important part of Burundi's musical heritage. Since the 1960s the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi have toured outside of their country, becoming a popular attraction at concert halls and festivals around the world. Their massed drum sound, or the "Burundi beat" as it became known, also caught the ear of Western musicians and they appeared on Joni Mitchell's, The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975). Their distinctive sound also influenced British rock bands of the early 1980s, such as Adam and the Ants, and Bow Wow Wow. It was seeing the drummers that inspired Thomas Brooman to organize the first WOMAD festival in 1982, an event that helped to spark the whole World Music boom.

Drum circles are welcome all day Monday, Oct. 29, and Tuesday, Oct. 30, in the Rozsa Lobby; and participants will get discount tickets. Come to the Rozsa Lobby with your drum either day, play for a little while (9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday or 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday), and get a "Buy one get one Free" coupon for Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi tickets!

In addition, for area schools and families with home-schooled K-12 children, the Rozsa will have a special daytime "Class Acts" performance at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Tickets are just $1 for this 50-minute children's matinee performance.

Finally, Michigan Tech’s African Students Organization will be hosting a free "Taste of Africa" reception in the Rozsa Lobby with traditional foods of Africa from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday evening before the show. Organization members will be in traditional dress.

To purchase tickets tickets for the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi, call (906) 487-2073, go online at, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), 600 Mac Innes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday and 12 noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $24.75/Adult, $22.75/Senior, $20.75/Students. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to show times.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Finlandia club to host "Soup for Sneakers" Oct. 27

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Student Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Club will host a "Soup for Sneakers" lunch, silent auction, and raffle from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 27,  at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Lunch attendees who bring a new pair of tennis shoes for children ages newborn to 13 will be entered in a prize raffle. Raffle tickets will also be available for purchase.

On the lunch menu are assorted soups and chili, bread, desserts, and beverages.

Shoes and proceeds will be donated locally and to "Shoes 4 Kids," a national organization which provides shoes to children in need.

Admission is $6 per person and $5 for Finlandia students. Children aged six and under may attend free. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Advance tickets holders are eligible to enter a special prize drawing. Advance tickets may be purchased from Finlandia PTA students, faculty, and staff.

For more information, please call 487-7377.

Community Arts Center to host Open House, discussions Oct. 26

HANCOCK -- Celebrating its 20th year and the launch of its Letterpress and Book Arts Studio, the Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC) will host an Open House from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26. A brief presentation at 7 p.m. will be followed by a letterpress demonstration.

Interested persons are also invited to take part in discussion groups as the CCCAC plans for the future. The topic areas will include: Fundraising and Friend-raising, Fostering a Sense of Community, Education and Outreach, Visual Identity, and Building Care and Facility Use. These will take place earlier Friday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please RSVP by calling 482-2333 if you are interested in the discussion groups.

Refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public. The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Finlandia Gallery to host "Color of Kindness: Anne Beffel," opening Oct. 25

HANCOCK -- "Color of Kindness: Anne Beffel" will be featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, Oct. 25 to Dec. 1, 2012.

Jiryu Compassionate Dragon 4, by Anne Beffel. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

An opening reception for the artist will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the gallery on Thursday, Oct. 25. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

With eyes, minds, and hearts open to color, artist Anne Beffel and the Finlandia University community will explore how people visualize kindness by asking, "What is the color of kindness?" Beffel asked friends and strangers this question for four months and translated their responses into nearly 100 paintings.

The paintings will be on display at Finlandia University Gallery and will serve as a springboard for conversations about visualizing kindness. During her weeklong stay, Beffel is talking with students and hiking the far northern Michigan landscape in search of examples of the "color of kindness."

Finlandia University Gallery will be awash with gestural sparks of color. Each painting is inspired by one of Beffel’s conversations about kindness. Beffel’s neighborhood gardens as well as vast land and seascapes provided color sources.

Artist Anne Beffel. 

"Sometimes, after I ask this question about kindness and color, a story revealing an important memory of kindness emerges: an exchange between a teacher and student or a neighbor’s experiences as a peace worker in nine different African countries," Beffel says. "However, most people remain with the description of the color itself and linger there briefly. I often see them moved to joy. This exchange is in and of itself a moment of shared kindness."

Known for working with ideas such as attentiveness and apologies on the East and West coasts, Beffel welcomes the opportunity to explore the far north coast of her home state.

"I’ve been working in the public realm for over a decade, so this return to studio work naturally includes a social aspect. I welcome the curiosity of strangers as I paint out of doors. Our conversations are as much art works as the paintings themselves."

Beffel is an associate professor of art at Syracuse University, New York. Since earning degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa, and participating in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Studio Program in New York City, she has worked within contexts as diverse as the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan, Saint John’s Benedictine monastery in rural Minnesota, and the New York Downtown Hospital and surrounding streets, offices, and community centers.

Her most recent projects have been at the Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York; the Gandhi statue in Union Square, New York; and Occidental Square Park, Seattle, Washington.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

For additional information, please contact Carrie Flaspohler, gallery director, at 906-487-7500 or

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Houghton/Hancock Bike and Pedestrian Survey available on line

HOUGHTON, HANCOCK -- The Houghton and Hancock Bicycle and Pedestrian committees and the Michigan Tech Bike-Friendly Campus Committee have released an on-line survey to gather input about local cycling and walking routes. All community members who bike or walk, and those who are interested in doing so, are asked to take 10 minutes and complete this brief survey.

On May 11, 2012, cyclist Sara Salo pedaled to Houghton -- the last miles of her 5,000 + mile School Lunch Tour, on which she visited hundreds of elementary schools and communities, promoting healthy choices for children. Now she is here in Hancock working with local committees on a survey to help improve the safety of non-motorized travel in and between Houghton and Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Arne Kinnunen)

Learning where people regularly walk and bike will help to improve the safety of non-motorized travel in and between these communities. The survey will be open until Nov. 21 with results available by early 2013. The information gathered will be used to develop project priorities, provide supporting information for future grant proposals and contribute to city non-motorized plans.

The survey can be accessed on the City of Houghton or the City of Hancock websites, or directly at For more information please contact Sara Salo, 906.482.7382, at the Western UP Health Department.

Michelle Halley of National Wildlife Federation to give keynote address at annual FOLK meeting Oct. 24

HANCOCK -- FOLK (Friends of the Land of Keweenaw) will hold its Annual Meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, at the Orpheum Theater at 426 Quincy St. in Hancock.  The public is invited.

Michelle Halley of the National Wildlife Federation will speak on the topic "Metallic sulfide mining laws and regulations in Michigan and the Upper Great Lakes: Do they protect our environment and our health and well-being?"

Ms. Halley is an attorney and the Lake Superior Project Manager for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). She has represented NWF and other clients in litigation at Michigan appellate courts and the Supreme Court. Recently, she was involved in the complex litigation regarding the Rio Tinto/Kennecott Eagle Mine. She also provided oversight of the important NWF study "Sulfide Mining Regulation in the Great Lakes: A Comparative Analysis of Sulfide Mining Regulation in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario."*

The Program is as follows:
6 p.m. -- Gathering and Refreshments
6:30 p.m. -- Keynote Address by Michelle Halley
7:45 p.m. -- Membership Meeting.

FOLK, founded in 1989, helped our citizens carry out a grassroots campaign that blocked the construction of a pulp mill on Keweenaw Bay. 

FOLK, in response to the potentially large scale resumption of new mining in the western U.P., has now organized the FOLK Mining Education and Empowerment Campaign. 

The two purposes of the Campaign are to (1) ensure that new mining in the western Upper Peninsula will not place at risk the environmental, economic, and human health of the region, and (2) to empower our citizens to participate knowledgeably and effectively in the exploration and permitting process for new mines.

FOLK has available on its recently inaugurated mining education website ( a report on the relationship of mineral rights to property rights. The report is of great value to property owners. Also available is an extensive collection of other information responding to the concerns our citizens have about the possible resumption of mining in our region.

For more information, contact Scott Rutherford at

* Editor's Note: Click here to read this NWF report.

Michigan LCV: Benishek booed for climate denial in Petoskey

From Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV)
Posted Oct. 22, 2012, on Michigan LCV's Political Week in Review

At a debate in Petoskey last week, Congressman Dan Benishek (R, 1st District) proudly and unapologetically spewed the same climate-denial rhetoric that landed him on the national League of Conservation Voters' "Flat Earth Five" list. In response, the audience booed him and then laughed at him for claiming he was a scientist (he is a doctor). He said: 

"Well, frankly, I’m not sure how significant global warming is…[audience boos]…well, I don’t know, I’m a scientist…[audience laughter]…Well I don’t know, I’ve studied medicine. I’ve written research papers, I’ve done peer review journals, I spent a lot of time in the sciences and you know I’m not exactly sure what’s happening with the climate."

Gary McDowell, Benishek's challenger to represent the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula in Congress, replied, "I think virtually every scientist who is not working for BP or the Koch brothers -- and Dr. Benishek -- agree that we have to do something." (Actually, even Koch-funded scientists admit climate change is real, as well as 97 percent of actual scientists who study the issue.)

McDowell had a 90 percent lifetime score on the Michigan LCV Scorecard as a state legislator and earned a 100 percent in his last term ending in 2010. Benishek, on the other hand, has only a 3 percent score from the national League of Conservation Voters for his one term in Congress, which named him to their "Flat Earth Five." He has voted to weaken Clean Water Act protections and consistently denied the existence of climate change, even as Great Lakes levels drop from a lack of ice cover and increased evaporation, cherry crops were decimated from erratic weather patterns, and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is killing thousands of deer in southern Michigan because the midges which spread them are emerging earlier and living longer into the fall due to warmer weather.

Michigan LCV ran television ads last month highlighting Congressman Benishek's dismal voting record on clean water protections, which helped McDowell bump past Benishek in the polls.

Click here to watch the debate video!
Click here to read the Oct. 16, 2012, Michigan LCV article on the Petoskey debate, held on Oct. 15, 2012.

See the Michigan LCV's Political Week in Review for these stories as well:

Michiganders aren't buying big utilities' false claims, despite the $10 million being spent on statewide advertising (about Proposition 3).

The Conservation Voters of Michigan PAC launches northern Michigan radio campaign.

Some new anti-poaching bills offer a rare bright spot for a generally anti-conservation Legislature.