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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Poor Artists Sale to be Dec. 1 in Calumet

These raku-fired tiles by Leslie Sotala were among many beautiful handcrafted items for sale at the 2011 Poor Artists Sale. The work of more than 60 artists will be exhibited for sale at the 36th annual Poor Artists Sale next Saturday, Dec. 1, in the CLK Gym in Calumet. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The 36th annual Poor Artists Sale will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at the CLK Gymnasium in Calumet.

Ceramic artists Dennis and Leslie Sotala with the display of their ceramic art at the 2011 Poor Artists Sale.

The Poor Artists Sale is hosted by the Copper Country Community Arts Council as a benefit for the Community Arts Center in Hancock. This year’s sale offers the work of more than 60 artists. Shoppers will find handmade jewelry and pottery, holiday wreaths, ornaments, baskets, wood art, glass, fiber arts, photography and much more.

At the 2011 Poor Artists Sale, fiber artist Andrea Puzakulich of Distant Drum Designs  displays unique clothing she designs and creates.

Shop and visit with friends in a relaxing, social atmosphere, renew your Arts Council membership (or join for the first time) and enjoy homemade treats at the hospitality table.

During last year's Poor Artists Sale, wood craftsman Mike Gage has help at his booth from his wife, Debbie Mues -- art teacher and artist -- and Debbie's granddaughter Sonora.

For more information stop by the Copper Country Community Arts Center at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock or call 482-2333.

More photos from the 2011 Poor Artists Sale:

Colleen Carroll, ceramic and glass artist, a graduate of Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design, who has also directed the Community Arts Center's summer arts camp, sells her creations at the 2011 Poor Artists Sale.

Kristi Mills of Big Bay traveled quite a distance to exhibit her decorations made of birch bark and other natural materials at last year's Poor Artists Sale in Calumet.

Becky Weeks, fiber artist and creator of vintage clothing, models one of her unique hats at the 2011 Poor Artist Sale.

Jane Nordberg offers her colorful handcrafted bags for sale at the 2011 Poor Artists Sale.

Friday, November 23, 2012

University of Minnesota-Duluth to host Forum on Wild Rice and Mining Nov. 26

DULUTH, MINN. -- A Forum on Wild Rice and Mining (Manoomin Miinawaa Miskwaabikakewin Maawandwewenge) will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, in the Rafters Room of the Kirby Student Center at the University of Minnesota at Duluth.

The forum will focus on issues of wild rice and sulfide mining in Minnesota in relation to culture, economics, legislation, and treaty rights. Presenters include professional and tribal experts from various fields and rice harvesters who will speak on the importance of wild rice to the Anishinaabe people and the environment. Speakers from Michigan and Wisconsin will provide an overview of mining on Anishinaabe lands in Lake Superior. The forum is free and open to the public.

Protect Our Manoomin is an Anishinaabe grassroots organization that provides education and outreach on issues of wild rice and the effects of mining in Minnesota.

The forum is sponsored by Protect Our Manoomin and co-sponsored by the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG). To learn more about Protect Our Manoomin, visit their Web site.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Home for the Holidays Gift Market to offer art, music, books, more Nov. 24 in Rozsa Lobby

Home for the Holidays poster courtesy Melissa Hronkin.

HOUGHTON -- The 15th Annual Home for the Holidays Gift Market will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, in the Lobby of the Rozsa Center on the Michigan Tech campus.

At the 2011 Home for the Holidays Gift Market, Bob Marr offers his Birch Creek Leatherworks handcrafted items for sale. He will be participating in the event again this year. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

In addition to handcrafted items from local artisans, this year's Home for the Holidays event will feature authors, illustrators, publishers, musicians, composers and gourmet food. Admission is free, and visitors will have the opportunity to win door prizes!

Harpist Sidney Butler plays holiday music and displays her stained glass art as well during the 2011 Home for the Holidays Gift Market. Musicians will also be part of this year's event, and some will be selling their CDs. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Don't miss this great opportunity to purchase unique, quality holiday gifts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

From Anishinaabekwe: Watch trailer for "Water Journey"

By Anishinaabekwe 
Posted on her Anishinaabekwe blog on Nov. 10, 2012
Reprinted with permission.

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) member Terri Denomie, left, joins Josephine Mandamin of Thunder Bay, Ont., during the 2011 Mother Earth Water Walk, on the way to the final destination, Bad River, Wis. (Keweenaw Now file photo © 2011 and courtesy Roxanne Ornelas)

WATER JOURNEY -- a 94-minute documentary about Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, water warrior, will be playing at the 2012 Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival Nov. 21-25, 2012. This remarkable story follows one woman's quest to raise awareness about water's fragile existence.

Click here to visit Anishinaabekwe and see the trailer for this film about Josephine's 2011 walk to bring water from the oceans to the Great Lakes.

For more from Urban Rez Productions visit For more water stories visit SAMAQAN: Water Stories' Facebook page:

Keweenaw Now had the honor of meeting Grandmother Josephine Mandamin and hearing her speak to members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) when she stopped for a visit in Baraga on June 8, 2011, on her way to the conclusion of the water walk at Bad River, Wis.

Josephine Mandamin of Thunder Bay, Ont., speaks to walkers and visitors during the reception held by Keweenaw Bay Indian Community members on June 8, 2011, at Ojibwa Community College in Baraga, Michigan. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

Click here to read our Aug. 5, 2011, story, "KBIC welcomes 2011 Mother Earth Water Walk participants."

Emily Waisanen to sign children's book Nov. 20

HANCOCK -- Emily Waisanen will sign copies of her new children’s book, The Book Monster, at Finlandia University’s North Wind Books from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. TODAY, Tuesday, Nov. 20.

The Book Monster front cover. (Image courtesy Finlandia University)

Published this fall by Orange Hat Publishing, The Book Monster is Waisanen’s first book. It is illustrated by John Konecny.

The Book Monster loves to eat books -- not read them, EAT them! Whether it’s munching on mysteries or chomping on children’s books, the Book Monster is always looking for a delicious read.

Author Emily Waisanen. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Waisanen graduated from Hancock High School. She now lives in Fond du Lac, Wis., with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her Web page or her Facebook page at

For more information please contact North Wind Books at 906-487-7217.

Monday, November 19, 2012

From Michigan LCV: A Lame Idea for Lame Duck

By Ryan Werder, Michigan League of Conservation Voters Political Director
Posted Nov. 19, 2012, on the Michigan LCV's "Political Week in Review"

We successfully targeted Rep. Matt Huuki (R - Atlantic Mine) for defeat this election because of his history of supporting anti-conservation legislation.

Two days after he was defeated, Huuki underscored our point by introducing a mining tax package that fails to compensate his district and the state for the natural resources that are extracted -- and the risk of sulfuric acid leakage that comes with it.

Huuki Gift-wraps severance tax package for sulfide mining companies

On the first day of the lame duck session, outgoing Representative Matt Huuki (R - Atlantic Mine) introduced a mining severance tax package that could end up being far more helpful to out-of-state mining companies than to Michigan.

The package, composed of House Bills 6007-6012, would replace the traditional method of valuing and taxing a nonferrous metallic mine (like sulfide mines) with a 2.75 percent severance tax. This is simply too low. The hazards of sulfide mining are immense and well documented. Those pictures of yellowish-orange rivers? That is the same sulfide mining that was recently approved by the DEQ to be constructed within 200 ft. of Lake Superior.

Not only is this under-valuing of remarkable Northern Michigan land selling ourselves short, the revenue collected from the proposed "severance tax" of 2.75 percent would not properly benefit the local communities who will feel the brunt of this invasive mining technique. Of the funds collected, 60 percent would go to local units of government and 40 percent would go into a rural development fund. Furthermore, it creates exemptions for transportation and environmental compliance costs.... Click here to read more.

Inside the Election

Starting this week, I'll take you inside our electoral work to give you a glimpse of how we replaced  anti-conservation incumbents with environmental champions. As we typically say here at Michigan LCV, for Michigan to have legislators who value our natural resources, we have to elect them first. We’ll begin with a race in Northern Michigan -- particularly fitting considering the race involved the re-election of the aforementioned Rep. Huuki. I’m sure it’s no surprise given his anti-conservation lame duck agenda, but we endorsed his challenger, Scott Dianda.

Our strategy for Michigan LCV endorsements is to make limited endorsements, and back them up with significant resources. This cycle, the process started off with a questionnaire that we sent to candidates early in the year. Scott Dianda's response to the questionnaire showed that he was the kind of conservation leader we wanted to see in the legislature.

Additionally, Huuki's dismal record on conservation issues made this seat one that could greatly benefit from a change in representation. Huuki's record included sponsorship of HB 4746, which made it almost impossible for local townships to zone out natural resource mining -- like sulfide mining -- unless they could prove that "very serious consequences" would result.

We officially endorsed Scott Dianda for the general election in early October, 2012, and began an independent expenditure campaign through our Conservation Voters of Michigan PAC. We sent four rounds of high-quality mail pieces to 10,000 specifically-targeted voters in the 110th District in the western Upper Peninsula. The mailers highlighted Matt Huuki's lowlights as a legislator, including his votes to weaken environmental protections. In the last weeks before Election Day, we stepped up our efforts with radio ads emphasizing the same message.

When the final votes were counted, Scott Dianda had defeated Matt Huuki by a margin just over a thousand votes. Scott Dianda ran a great campaign in his own right, and we certainly don't take sole credit for his victory. Our efforts, though, helped put Dianda over the top and make sure that the western Upper Peninsula is represented by someone who shares the conservation values of its residents in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Houghton County Nov. 6 election results

By Michele Bourdieu

HOUGHTON -- Results of the election for Houghton County are now final since the Canvassers' recent report. They found a few changes, but nothing that changed the winners as reported shortly after the Nov. 6 election. The following numbers are from the original results reported to Keweenaw Now from Houghton County on Nov. 7 and state unofficial totals as posted on the Michigan Secretary of State Web site.*

For the Presidential election, Houghton County remained a red spot in a blue state, giving the Republican ticket Romney/Ryan 8040 votes (53.92 percent) to 6530 votes (43.79 percent) for Obama/Biden. Green Party candidates Stein/Honkala received 137 votes (less than one percent).

According to unofficial results on the Michigan Secretary of State Web site, statewide voting resulted in 2,560,016 Michigan votes for Obama and 2,111,141 for Romney, with Green Party candidate Jill Stein receiving 21,831 votes in Michigan.

County Democrats had more success in the U.S. Senate race, giving incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow 7466 votes (50.81 percent), thus contributing to her victory over Republican challenger Pete Hoekstra, who received 6690 county votes (45.53 percent).

Michigan voters overall showed confidence in Sen. Stabenow, giving her 2,731,095 votes over Hoekstra's 1,764,109.

In the non-partisan state election for two 8-year term State Supreme Court Justices, among seven candidates Houghton County voters chose Stephen Markman with 5361 votes and Bridget M. McCormack with 4140 votes. The statewide unofficial results show McCormack with the most votes -- 1,545,262 -- and Markman the second-most -- 1,494,361.**

For the one open position for partial-term Supreme Court Justice (term ending Jan. 1, 2015) Houghton County voters gave Brian Zahra the most votes -- 5610. Statewide Zahra was the winner with 1,742,193 votes.

Republican incumbent Dan Benishek keeps his First District Congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, receiving 7527 votes (51.42 percent) from Houghton County voters, while Democratic challenger Gary McDowell received 6521 votes in Houghton County (44.55 percent). Libertarian candidate Emily Salvette received 437 votes (2.99 percent), while Green Party candidate Ellis Boal had 144 votes (less than one percent).

According to a Nov. 9 posting on, the Associated Press reported McDowell conceded after waiting a few days because of the close election. Benishek's margin of victory was less than one percent of the total votes cast in the First District -- 346,567. Unofficial totals were 166,902 for Benishek and 164,574 for McDowell.***

Democrat Scott Dianda of Calumet, winner of the 110th District State Representative seat, defeated Republican incumbent Matt Huuki of Atlantic Mine in total votes, but not in Houghton County, where voters gave Huuki 7453 votes (50.87 percent) to Dianda's 7141 (48.74 percent).

Unofficial totals for all of the 110th District, as posted on the Michigan Secretary of State's Web site were 19,702 votes for Dianda and 18,617 votes for Huuki. The 110th District includes Baraga, Gogebic, Iron, Marquette and Ontonagon counties as well as Houghton and Keweenaw. Dianda had more votes than Huuki in Baraga, Gogebic, Iron and Marquette counties.

The six state proposals were all defeated by Houghton County voters, as they were statewide.

County contested races

Democratic incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Mike Makinen retains his position after a close race against Republican challenger Pam Dobbs. Makinen received 7131 votes (50.44 percent) to Dobbs' 6936 votes (49.06 percent).

For the position of Houghton County Treasurer, Republican incumbent Kathleen A. Beattie retained her position with 8791 votes over Democratic challenger Linda M. Pizzi, who received 5178 votes.

Three contested seats on the Houghton County Board of Commissioners resulted in two Republican winners and one Democrat.

For District 1, in a race to fill the seat of retiring County Commissioner Ed Jenich, Republican Tom Tikkanen received 1882 votes over Democrat Rick Kasprzak's 1068 votes.

In District 3, Democratic incumbent County Commissioner Anton Pintar retained his seat with 1334 votes against a challenge by Bill Manderfield (no Party affiliation), who received 834 votes.

District 5 voters gave 2177 votes to Republican incumbent Timothy Palosaari and 1442 votes to Democratic challenger Judith Rupley.

City of Hancock 

In the City of Hancock, a contested race for at-large City Councilor had only two write-in candidates. Former Hancock Mayor Barry Givens, with 239 votes, defeated Kevin Hodur, who received 52 votes.

Hancock voters defeated a Hancock City Millage Proposal -- for an increase in property taxes up to 15.00 mills from approximately 13.4215 mills to be used for general operating expenses.

Township contested races

In one of three contested races in Portage Township, Supervisor Bruce Petersen, a Democrat, retained his position against Republican challenger Mike Wilmers. Petersen received 788 votes and Wilmers 691.

A second contest in Portage Township -- for Treasurer -- resulted in a victory for Republican incumbent Carol Little, who received 1069 votes to defeat challenger Quincy Higgins Arney (no Party affiliation), who had 264 votes.

In the third race, four Portage Township Trustees were elected from among seven candidates. The winners were Republican Bill Bingham (former township supervisor), 793 votes; Democrat John Ollila, 727 votes; Democrat Peggy Lee Anderson, 720 votes; and Republican Andrew M. Kemper, 677 votes. The candidates not elected were Democrat James Zerbst, 671 votes; Mark Jalkanen (no Party affiliation), 502 votes; and Jonathan Stone (no Party affiliation), 419 votes.****

Two Chassell Township trustees were elected from three candidates: Republican Ryan Kuntze received 588 votes, and Democrat Daniel P. Palosaari received 544 votes. Democrat George M. Rajala received 363 votes.

The non-partisan contest for Duncan Township clerk resulted in 92 votes for Kathleen Allen and 12 votes for Rebecca M. Ferrell.

Elm River Township Supervisor Shawn Hagan (no Party affiliation) was re-elected with 73 votes, defeating Independent challenger Joe Siller, who had 61 votes.

Two Elm River trustees were elected among three candidates: Democrat John Kelly received 113 votes; Richard Trudgeon (no Party affiliation) was also elected, with 74 votes. Democrat Dale R. Baumler, Jr., received 54 votes.

The Franklin Township trustee election -- a close race -- also resulted in two out of three candidates being elected: Republican Daniel J. Dulong, Jr., received 369 votes; Republican Mary Sears was second with 338 votes. Democratic incumbent John Laitinen received 314 votes.

Two trustees were chosen from three candidates in Osceola Township as well: Democrat Donald D. Wareham received 461 votes; Republican Aaron Janke was also elected, with 457 votes. Democrat Bonnie J. Joyal received 384 votes.

In the Schoolcraft Township race for supervisor, Republican Joel Keranen, with 571 votes, defeated Democrat Sam Buschell, who received 268 votes.

The Schoolcraft Township clerk contest went to Republican Gary Wenberg, with 465 votes, defeating Democrat Mary Beth Hodges, who had 374 votes.

In the Schoolcraft Township trustee contested race, two Democrats -- Kevin P. Codere with 500 votes and Susan C. Marcotte with 432 votes -- defeated Republican Gerald J. Primeau, who had 423 votes.

In a contested race for township clerk, Torch Lake Township elected Democrat Mary A. Isola with 604 votes. Republican candidate Tamar Cieslinski received 370 votes.

In a contest for Torch Lake Township treasurer, Republican Diane Zurcher retained her office with 574 votes against challenger Dennis G. Pini (no Party affiliation), who received 342 votes.

For more details on Houghton County results, including village elections and results of uncontested races, visit the Houghton County Web site.

* For more details on Michigan unofficial election results, including totals from each county, visit the Michigan Secretary of State Web site.

** See our Oct. 30, 2012, article on Bridget Mary McCormack's skype visit in September with Houghton County Democrats.

*** Click here to read the Nov. 9 Upper Michigan Source article on McDowell and Benishek results.

**** See our Nov. 3, 2012, article on the Portage Township candidates' forum.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thousands to march at White House Nov. 18 for climate solutions, against Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

Protesters in front of the White House on Sept. 3, 2011, display signs objecting to the Keystone XL Pipeline. "Game Over" is what NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who was arrested during the protest, said about the tar sands exploitation and the pipeline. Another protest against the Keystone Pipeline will take place in front of the White House today, Nov. 18, 2012. (Keweenaw Now file photo © Kate Flynn)

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a recent news conference President Obama made several statements about his willingness to tackle the climate crisis. is helping to lead a
rally at the White House TODAY, Sunday, Nov. 18, over the Keystone XL pipeline. Executive Director May Boeve issued the following statement:

"The climate silence is broken, and now the President can show us he's serious with a decision already on his desk: rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would unlock so much carbon that climate scientists say, if it were built, it would be 'game over' for the climate.

"The president can stop this dangerous pipeline with his pen; and, if he does, the American people will support him. This pipeline is not in the national interest."

IEA confirms Bill McKibben’s "Do The Math" numbers founder Bill McKibben, author and environmentalist, addresses assembled protesters on Sept. 3, 2011, during one of last year's protests outside the White House against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. (Keweenaw Now file photo © Kate Flynn)

OAKLAND, Calif. -- This week the International Energy Agency released its World Energy Outlook and confirmed estimates that the overwhelming majority of known fossil fuel reserves (75-80 percent) will have to be kept in the ground to avoid two degrees Celsius temperature rise. founder Bill McKibben, who is on a national tour discussing this math, issued the following statement:

"A week after we launched the nationwide 'Do The Math' tour, the planet's chief energy watchdogs put out a huge report that essentially confirms what we've been saying: most of the carbon in the fossil fuel industry's reserves has to stay below the ground if we're going to keep the planet from disastrously overheating.*

"For American leaders, keeping carbon in the ground means blocking the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, stopping coal ports on the Pacific Coast, ending mountaintop removal, and cracking down on rampant fracking. Easy long-term gestures aren't enough any more; we've delayed so long that we have to stop exploiting new extreme energy.

"This is the basic, horrifying math of the planet we live on. Business as usual will bust it -- that's why we're on the road all month and why a divestment campaign is suddenly building out of nowhere."**

Shirley Galbraith of Houghton (in orange vest, to left of "No Tar Sands" sign) holds hands with Canadian journalist Naomi Klein during the Nov. 6, 2011, protest in front of the White House -- aimed at convincing President Obama to say "No" to the Keystone XL Pipeline. (Keweenaw Now file photo © Allan Baker)

Following’s "Do the Math" event at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC, today, thousands will gather in Freedom Plaza and then march around the White House to
show President Obama that he has their support if he stands up to Big Oil and says no to the destructive Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. A rally will follow the march and will feature Bill McKibben, Sierra Club President Allison Chin, Oklahoma-based environmental leader Earl Hatley, and music from folk singer Nahko.


* More information on the tour is at

** and partners are building a nation-wide campus divestment movement. Endowments at the country’s universities exceed $400 billion and they should not be invested in an industry that is cooking the planet. More information is at

Editor's Note: Click on the following links to read Keweenaw Now's coverage of the 2011 protests against the Keystone Pipeline in front of the White House by guest reporters Kate Flynn, Shirley Galbraith and Allan Baker.

"Protesters continue White House sit-in against pipeline for tar sands oil," by Kate Flynn (Aug. 31, 2011).

"Sit-in against Tar Sands XL Pipeline concludes peacefully Sept. 3; national campaign to follow," by Kate Flynn (Sept. 6, 2011).

"Houghton couple report on DC protest against Keystone XL Pipeline, Tar Sands oil," by Shirley Galbraith, with photos and video by Allan Baker (Nov. 11, 2011)