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Friday, December 07, 2012

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve: EPA issues decision on CR 595

From Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (reprinted with permission)
Posted Dec. 5, 2012*

BIG BAY -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Dec. 4, 2012, that they are both removing and upholding objections to the permit for County Road 595. The objection over whether the Marquette County Road Commission did an adequate job analyzing the alternative routes was removed. The objection over whether the Road Commission supplied an adequate Compensatory Mitigation Plan was upheld.

This wetland in the proposed CR 595 corridor is one of many sensitive areas that would be impacted by the proposed wilderness road intended primarily for hauling ore from the Eagle Mine to the Humboldt Mill. In their recent decision on the permit application for the proposed road, EPA continues to object to the inadequacies in the Compensatory Mitigation Plan for wetland and stream impacts. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Jessica Koski)

Originally, the EPA came up with their objections in April 2012, with the consultation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The main issues they saw with the project were the potential for damaging impacts on aquatic resources, a lack of information regarding alternatives analysis, and a project purpose that was too narrowly defined. After allowing the permit applicant to resubmit information regarding the EPA's concerns, as well as holding a public hearing and soliciting public comments, they have now supplied their decision letter. Along with the decision letter was a document listing the requirements that the applicant needs in order to satisfy the EPA's only remaining objection over the Mitigation Plan.

That letter states that the applicant will be required to supply more information, such as a long term management plan for streams and wetland mitigation, secured mineral rights of wetland preservation area, a stewardship agreement with a third party who will maintain the proposed preservation area, and demonstrated financial assurances for construction and long term management of aquatic resources.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has 30 days to satisfy the objection by either denying the permit or issuing a permit for the application that contains a sufficient Compensatory Mitigation Plan. If the MDEQ does not act within that time period, the permit application would then be transferred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"For those of us who were, and still are, very concerned about the full impacts this project would have, we are glad that at least one objection has been upheld," states Emily Whittaker, Executive Director of Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve. "We particularly are interested to see how the applicant will respond to the numerous requirements needed before the permit can be issued or work started. We also request the chance to review the additional documentation that would be supplied for the project's Compensatory Mitigation Plan."

At the Aug. 28, 2012, EPA Public Hearing on CR 595 in Marquette, Emily Whittaker, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP) executive director, summarizes YDWP's concerns about CR 595 for the EPA panel. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Jeremiah Eagle Eye)**

For more information on the EPA's action, visit their website at This website has the documentation including the EPA's letter to the MDEQ, the EPA's list of requirements for the mitigation plan, and all past documents regarding the project.

Editor's Notes:
* The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve is an environmental organization comprised of grassroots individuals who take environmental ethics to heart. They focus on informing the public about the watershed, conducting sound science, and protecting the resources from threats like sulfide mining. Learn more about their work by visiting their Web site at

**Members of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP), including their Executive Director, Emily Whittaker, spoke during the comment period at the Aug. 28, 2012, EPA Public Hearing on County Road 595. Click here for part 2 of Keweenaw Now's coverage of that hearing. Click here to read YDWP's formal resolution on CR 595, sent to the EPA during the public comment period.

DNR's Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council to meet Dec. 10 in Houghton

HOUGHTON -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Western Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council (CAC) will meet in Houghton County on Monday, Dec. 10, at Michigan Technological University's Memorial Union Building in Isle Royale Ballroom B, located at 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., DNR staff will present division reports on current DNR projects and business and answer questions from council members and the public. The council meeting will immediately follow from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (all times are Eastern).

Agenda items include:

    DNR presentation on regional state forest planning process
    Upper Peninsula Deer Advisory Team recommendations
    Public comment (for public comment instructions, see

The Eastern Upper Peninsula and Western Upper Peninsula CACs are designed to advise the DNR on regional programs and policies; identify areas in which the department can be more effective and responsive; and offer insight and guidance from members' own experiences and constituencies.

The council members represent a wide variety of natural resource and recreation stakeholders and interest groups. Agenda items are set by the council members, and council recommendations are forwarded to the DNR for consideration.

CAC meetings are open to the public. If you would like to be considered as a future CAC member, please fill out the application form found on the DNR website at For more information, contact DNR Upper Peninsula Regional Coordinator Stacy Welling Haughey at 906-228-6561.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Keweenaw Land Trust to host presentation on mineral rights, mining permitting at Annual Meeting Dec. 9

HOUGHTON -- The Keweenaw Land Trust (KLT) will hold its 16th Annual Membership Meeting from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at Hesterberg Hall, Michigan Tech Forestry Building. Members of KLT and the public are invited to attend.

The KLT membership business meeting will begin at 1 p.m. followed by a presentation at 2:15 p.m. titled "Mineral Rights and Mining, an explanation of the State of Michigan’s process for mineral leasing and mine permitting." Presenters are Tom Hoane of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), that manages state-owned mineral rights, and Joe Maki of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), that is responsible for the mining permitting process.

A silent auction and reception with refreshments will follow. The auction is a continuation of the nature-oriented auction begun at KLT’s Apple Smash earlier in the fall. Bid on fabulous guided outdoor adventures, beautiful locally crafted artwork, and delicious edibles created by your friends at the KLT. Be sure to bring your pocketbook! Questions? Call Pat at the KLT (482-0820).

Keweenaw Brewgrass to perform at Orpheum Theater TONIGHT, Dec. 7

HANCOCK -- TONIGHT, Friday, Dec. 7, brings a rare occasional treat -- Keweenaw Brewgrass will be bringing their awesome traditional bluegrass back to the Orpheum Theater! Music starts at 8 p.m.! Special Guests Barnstormers will be opening up the show and will be a treat unto themselves! Come and enjoy a night of exceptional music. Doors open at 7:30. $7 ($5 students).

The Orpheum Theater is at 426 Quincy St. (Studio Pizza) in Downtown Hancock. For information call 906-482-5100.

Click here for info about Keweenaw Brewgrass.

Hampton Rock String Quartet "rocks" 2nd Keweenaw Honors String Festival Dec. 7-8

HOUGHTON -- The Grammy-nominated Hampton [Rock] String Quartet (HSQ) is joining the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra (KSO) at Michigan Tech's Rozsa Center for a two-day residency on December 7 and 8, 2012, with a final concert on the Rozsa stage at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night, Dec. 8, 2012. As the world's best selling string quartet, HSQ plays classically-influenced arrangements of Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Nirvana, and more.

Wireless Magazine says: "One listen will change the way you hear both classical and pop music."

The Hampton Rock String Quartet will be the featured guest artist for the 2nd Keweenaw Honors String Festival, with high school string players from Houghton, Negaunee, Marquette, and Escanaba joining the string quartet and KSO in clinics, masterclasses, rehearsals, and the closing concert. The public is invited to the following events during the Festival (all on the Rozsa stage):

Friday, Dec. 7: 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. -- Masterclass with HSQ and student musicians

Saturday, Dec. 8: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. -- Q and A with HSQ; 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. -- KSO/HSQ/Festival Combined Concert.

The final concert features the KSO performing movements from Holst's "The Planets" and a world premiere by composer Elizabeth Meyer. The Hampton Rock String Quartet will then rock the night away with an electric array of classic rock songs, ending with a combined performance with KSO and Festival strings on Queen's "We Will Rock You."

Tickets for the final concert are $22.75, $21.75 for seniors and $20.75 for students. To purchase tickets, call (906) 487-2073, go online at, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday and noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to show times.

This performance is sponsored by the Katherine M. Bosch Endowment and Minnesota Public Radio. Michigan 

Enjoy Christmas in Calumet fun Dec. 8

CALUMET -- Christmas in Calumet continues this Saturday, Dec. 8, with more fun for the whole family.

Here's the schedule:
Santa arrives downtown via horse-drawn wagon at 11 a.m.
Visits with Santa and free goodie bags, Rowe Furniture, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Free horse-drawn wagon rides, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Holiday music by strolling musicians, various downtown locations, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Carolers tour the downtown, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Little Bit of Outlaw to play dance music Dec. 8 at Dance Zone, Marquette

MARQUETTE -- A Little Bit of Outlaw will play for your dancing and listening enjoyment at Dance Zone from 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. Come and bring your friends for a fun pre-holiday time. $6 per person at the door. Please do remember to bring clean shoes to protect your knees and the dance floor.

The Dance Zone is at 1113 Lincoln Avenue, corner of Lincoln and College Avenues, in Marquette. For more information about Dance Zone events and dance lessons, visit their Web site at

Finlandia Young Women's Caucus for Art to hold concert, silent auction Dec. 7

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University chapter of the Young Women’s Caucus for Art (YWC) will host a concert and silent auction from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Silent auction items include artwork by Joyce Koskenmaki, Margo McCafferty and Tom Rudd, Rebecca Langlais, and Maggie Parr. Music will be performed by local artists Rhythm 203, Randy Wakeham, and The Rest.

Admission is $5. Free refreshments will be served.

Proceeds will help Finlandia YWC members travel to New York City in February 2013 to attend the 41st annual conference of the Women’s Caucus for Art.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

First Friday in Calumet: Galleries feature local artists, unique gifts

CALUMET -- Calumet galleries will be exhibiting hand-made art works for sale this month with First Friday evening, Dec. 7, openings and receptions. Take advantage of this opportunity to find unique holiday gifts for the special people on your list!

Ziyad and Company: Glorious Gifting

Ornament by Jack Oyler, one of the artists whose work is featured at Ziyad and Co., Calumet. (Photo courtesy Ziyad and Co.)

The art work of local and Michigan artists will be featured for this season of giving. The Ziyad and Co. gallery will be filled with wonderful one-of-a-kind handmade unique gifts. Don't miss their December Glorious Gifting show! Choose from over 75 different artists and find the perfect Holiday gift.

An open reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on First Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, at Ziyad and Co. art gallery at 109 Fifth St, Calumet. For information call 906-337-5970 or email Happy Holidays from Ziyad and Co. art gallery!

Copper Country Associated Artists: Gifts and Door Prizes

Winter pillow by Jeanne Rosemurgy. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Associated Artists)

The Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) will be celebrating the Christmas Season with a Holiday Open House on the evening of Dec. 7, the last First Friday of 2012. The Gallery will be filled to the brim with creations made by over 25 artists who call the Copper Country their home. From watercolor leaves by Ginny Douglas to colorful quilts by Millie Little, there will be a broad selection of gifts available for purchase. Every half hour a door prize will be called. Thanks to the CCAA Artists, you'll have a chance to win one of the following prizes:

*    a Matted Print donated by Photographer Mark Upton,
*    a Fused Glass piece by Nancy McCabe,
*    a Ceramic Pot by Miriam Pickens,
*    a Wire Wrapped Pendant by Pam Hecht,
*    a Print by Ellen Torola,
*    a Collage by Fredi Taddeucci,
*    a Necklace by Kathleen DeLisle,
*    a Basket by Dolly Luoma.

The event will run from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m, and refreshments will be served.
The CCAA Gallery will be open for special events and First Fridays during the months of January through April. The artists will be spending those months working on projects rather than keeping the gallery open for regular hours. Some classes for the general public may be offered during those months, and you can check their web page at for more information.

Calumet Art Center: A Tradition on the Keweenaw

This First Friday in Calumet, stop in at the Calumet Art Center between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and see the Gallery as it moves into a wonderful space and new artists are added. The Center has for sale many new works that have been made to benefit their youth programs.

The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth Street, Calumet.

Gallerie Bohème: December exhibit

The December exhibit at Gallerie Bohème will include the outstanding lifelike carved Birds and Feathers from Stuart Baird, exquisite small still life oil paintings by Margo McCafferty, and a few new fish from the Lake Superior indigenous series by Tom Rudd. A reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on First Friday, Dec. 7, with refreshments and good company.

Gallerie Bohème will be open on a limited schedule throughout the winter. They will be open for the first Friday events and on each Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  through April 2013. So if you can't make it Friday night stop by on Saturday, (there might a few leftovers from the Friday party).

The other option is that Tom and Margo are always close-by or in the gallery, and a call to 369-4087 will open the door and turn on the lights; heat takes a minute or two longer.

Noteworthy women's chorus to perform Christmas music in Calumet, Hancock

Singers from Noteworthy, the Copper Country women's barbershop chorus, perform holiday songs at last year's Christmas tree lighting in Calumet. The group will give two Christmas concerts this year -- Dec. 6 in Calumet and Dec. 13 in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo, 2011)

CALUMET -- Noteworthy, the Copper Country's only women's barbershop chorus, will headline two concerts of music for the Christmas season. Both begin at 7 p.m. and benefit local charities.

The first concert, TONIGHT, Thursday, Dec. 6, will be held at Calumet United Methodist Church. At this concert, Noteworthy will be joined by the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School Choir, under the direction of Sara Perfetti, singing a variety of seasonal tunes ranging from "You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" to the gentle ballad "Not that Far from Bethlehem."

The second concert, on Thursday, Dec. 13, will be held at Church of the Resurrection in Hancock. This is a chance to enjoy Perfetti’s strong soprano voice alone and in quartet with Marian McKellar, Ross Coltman and Peter Manderfield. The group will sing "Still, Still, Still," "In the Bleak Midwinter," "When A Child Is Born," and a medley of carols.

"We’re excited to be able to reach out to audiences in both the Houghton-Hancock  area and the north end," said director Joan Petrelius." This is music that everyone loves, and we’re also happy to help support organizations that do so much good in our community, especially during the holiday season."

At both venues, Noteworthy will perform a program ranging from the lighthearted "It’s a Marshmallow World" to devout songs of the Christmas story. Among them is a richly layered, four-part rendition of the modern classic "Mary Did You Know?" A few of the other holiday favorites on the program are "It's Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas," "Jingle Bell Rock," and the classic old English melody "I Saw Three Ships."

Also, the quartet JAMSession -- including Margaret Axford, Janet Dudenas, Allyson Jabusch and Sara Niemeyer -- will perform "A Time for Joy." And The Copper Notes quartet -- with Bonnie Horn, Shelba Marietta, Hollie Pierce and Marilyn Sager -- will sing the Beach Boys’ Christmas single "Little Saint Nick" and "Christmas Song."

There is no charge for admission. A free-will offering will be taken at both concerts. The Calumet concert will benefit the Sts. Martha and Mary Conference of St. Vincent de Paul, with the Hancock concert supporting the local St. Vincent de Paul organization. Both organizations are ecumenical and provide support to the area’s needy families.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Reflection Gallery to exhibit art by Phyllis Fredendall Dec. 6 - Jan. 31

South Face, fiber art by Phyllis Fredendall, is part of her exhibit "Look Both Ways…New and Used Works" in the Reflection Gallery in Hancock. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, will host an exhibit of past, recent, and new work by Hancock artist Phyllis Fredendall from Dec. 6, 2012, to Jan. 31, 2013.

An opening reception for the artist will be held at the Reflection Gallery from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6. The reception is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

"Look Both Ways…New and Used Works" is a retrospective exhibit of Fredendall’s work that highlights the many ideas and memories that appear in her work.

Artist Phyllis Fredendall is professor of fiber and fashion design at Finlandia University's International School of Art and Design. 

"This has been a chance to gather favorite pieces that are in the collections of friends and family and reconsider them in the light of more recent work," Fredendall says. "Bodies of work document phases in the artist’s life. Family history, political events, maps, the relationship of place to memory, and the mine shafts all have served as inspiration."

A connection to Finland strengthens Fredendall’s work. In fact, it was there that she discovered her love of felting.

 Vaari's Passage, by Phyllis Fredendall.

"The unique properties of wool have kept my attention since I learned hands-on felt making techniques 15 years ago in Finland," Fredendall says. "But it was on Isle Royale when I realized that I could use this great medium to chart the paths of humans and animals that so fascinated me. That was 2002, and I have been working with wool as an art medium ever since."

Maps, pathways, and waterways; curves, lines, shapes, and color; wool, silk, and beads … and memory. All of these things are incorporated in Fredendall’s body of work, which she describes a "human attempt to reflect the complexity and glory of this precious planet."

 Of  Relics and Remembered Treasures, fiber art by Phyllis Fredendall.

Fredendall is a professor of fiber and fashion design at Finlandia University, where she has taught for almost twenty years. She has a master of fine arts from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vt. Her work has been exhibited in Finland and nationwide.

The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan Street, Hancock, MI 49930.

For additional information, call 906-487-7500 or e-mail

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Documentary on persecution of Baha'is to be shown at Michigan Tech Dec. 6

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) and International Programs and Services (IPS) will host the stimulating documentary Education Under Fire from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, in Fisher 325.

At the Portage Lake District Library last May, Michigan Tech Professor Saeid Nooshabadi, right, speaks about the persecution of Baha'is in Iran and answers questions on the film Education Under Fire, which he and his wife, Laleh Vahdat (standing in background), presented to a community audience. The film will be shown this Thursday, Dec. 6, at Michigan Tech. (Keweenaw Now file photo) *

Education Under Fire tells the story of the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), a community-run initiative in Iran that serves young Baha'is who are barred from university because of their religious beliefs. Following the presentation will be a facilitated discussion by Laleh Vahdat and Sundra Moyyad, members of the Baha'i Faith, and Michigan Tech Professor Saeid Nooshabadi.

This event is sponsored by IPS and Nooshabadi. For more information, contact CDI at 487-2920. For information about upcoming diversity-related events, email Renee Wells at

Click here for specific information about the film.

*Editor's Note: Click here to see our Sept. 7 article about this documentary.

Letter: Is the resumption of mining good public policy for the Western U.P.?

By Linda Rulison, President, FOLK (Friends of the Land of Keweenaw)

There is a rush to re-introduce mining into the western Upper Peninsula. FOLK is very concerned. There has been no assessment -- involving our citizens -- of its risks and benefits for our region. Let's do a public assessment and find out if this new mining is good public policy.*

Beneath the western U.P lie sulfide ore bodies that reportedly contain some of the richest deposits of nickel and copper in North America. The exploitation of the ore bodies began in 2011 when Kennecott Eagle Minerals began excavating the Eagle Mine. New mines are currently being developed in Gogebic and Menominee Counties with extensive exploration taking place in Baraga, Ontonagon, Houghton and Keweenaw Counties. The western U.P. could once again become a mining district.

The state government is strongly backing new mining, using the argument that it will bring new jobs and provide new sources of revenue for local governments, as well as the state. Our local governments appear to have uncritically accepted the state’s view of the favorable impact of new mining. None has spoken out against it or even expressed any concern.

Sadly, there has been no assessment or public discussion of the risks and benefits of new mining, a discussion in which our citizens would have a voice and would be able to say whether they believe that a resumption of mining is in the region’s best interest.

Citizens need to be informed. Below are some of FOLK’s concerns:
  • The risk posed to the environmental and human health of our region. Every metallic sulfide mine developed in water-rich areas like ours has created acid mine drainage (AMD). AMD together with the heavy metals it breaks down can contaminate surface and groundwater and end up in our streams and lakes, including Lake Superior, creating health risks for countless generations.
  • The threat to our economic well-being. Evidence suggests that mining could fuel a new cycle of economic boom and bust in the UP. It could also adversely affect the current patterns of economic development. Since the closing of the last native copper mine, a new economy has emerged in our region. It is diversified across several economic sectors and is increasingly based on small high tech companies and tourism.

  • The state’s failure to develop and enforce effective mining laws and regulations. According to a recent National Wildlife Federation Report, our state government is not properly applying or enforcing Part 632 of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Part 632 regulates sulfide mining.** 
  • The limited role of citizens in the approval of permits for mining exploration and the development of new mines. (Local government has no role at all.) This is a reflection of the very limited control citizens exercise over the region’s resources.
FOLK Grassroots Education and Empowerment Campaign

To assist our citizens and institutions in making an assessment of the risks and benefits of new mining, we have initiated a grassroots mining education and empowerment campaign. It has three basic objectives:
  • To introduce a mining policy for our region that requires that new mining  projects will (1) preserve, not degrade, our region’s natural and social environment and (2) strengthen, not harm, our economy.
  • To provide our citizens, community leaders, and private and public institutions with the capacity to make informed and responsible decisions regarding new mining projects in our region.
  • To enable our citizens to have an effective voice in the formulation of a mining policy and in the permitting of new mining projects.
The campaign entails research and outreach. FOLK has completed one research project: a study of the relationship of property rights and mineral rights. It is available on our website.***

FOLK is undertaking a second research project. We have contracted with a consulting firm to evaluate the implications of new mining for our economy. 

FOLK has also started an outreach and education program. An important activity is the organization of house parties where citizens can explore together, with FOLK’s support, the ramifications of new mining in our region and decide how they can best respond. These gatherings will help assure that our citizens have a deserved say in the future of new mining in the western U.P.

FOLK needs your input. We invite you to join us in making the assessment of the risks and benefits of new mining in our region.

To learn more about the campaign as well as ways you can participate in it, please visit our website:


* FOLK formed in 1990 to lead our citizens in a successful effort to block the construction of a bleached craft paper mill on Keweenaw Bay. The mill would have had a devastating impact on our environment and economy. FOLK is an active all-volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining a healthy Lake Superior bioregion.

** See Mining Laws and Regulations tab at

*** Click here to read about property rights and mineral rights.

The foregoing was published as an op-ed article in the Dec. 1, 2012, edition of the Daily Mining Gazette and will appear in other news media. There are no restrictions on its reproduction or publication.

Finlandia to celebrate Finnish art, independence Dec. 6

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University will celebrate Finnish art and independence starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6,  at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

Victory Garden No. 3, by artist Marja Lianko. Acrylic and Mixed Media on Panel, 2011 -- part of this year’s Finnish American Contemporary Artist exhibition, "Marja Lianko: From There to Here," at the Finlandia University Gallery from Dec. 6, 2012, through Jan. 12, 2013. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

The celebration joins two long-standing traditions at Finlandia: the annual commemoration of Finland’s independence and the opening of this year’s Finnish American Contemporary Artist exhibition, "Marja Lianko: From There to Here," at the Finlandia University Gallery. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

The dual program will feature the Kivajat Finnish American dancers, a talk by Finnish American artist Marja Lianko, a Finnish poetry reading, and the performance of Finnish patriotic songs by Dave Bezotte and Dan Maki.

Finland is celebrating her 95th year of independence. The Finnish American Contemporary Artist exhibition is marking its 22nd year with this exhibition by Marja Lianko. The exhibition will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through Jan. 12, 2013.

Born in Finland, artist Marja Lianko has worked in media including painting, silkscreen, monoprints, and mixed media sculpture. Her work chronicles her emigration journey and is also influenced by her travels, her memories of Finland, her experiences as a mother, and the challenges of balancing life and work in a new country.

The artist Marja Lianko with some of her work.

Lianko lives in Massachusetts. She taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., from 1976 to 1999.

On a wintry morning several decades ago, Finnish immigrant Marja Lianko arrived in New York City by ship following a stormy Atlantic Ocean crossing.

"I remember that I had no inkling how my life was going to turn out," Lianko reflects. "I was twenty-years-old with a head full of dreams and a new green card in my pocket."

Lianko’s paintings chronicle her emigration journey, from childhood memories to the personal symbolisms of a new life discovered and fully-lived.

In an article in the Boston Globe, art critic and writer Cate McQuaid comments that "(Lianko’s) paintings seem to represent a deeper truth, a kind of music accompanying her through life."

Other influences on Lianko’s work are her travels within the U.S. and in Europe, her experiences as a new mother, balancing life and work in a new country, and her memories of Finland.

 Eeva, 2012, by Marja Lianko. Birch, plaster, mixed media.

"I see a map of my life with markers for time and change," Lianko notes. "I see uplifting events, new discoveries, and visits to foreign lands. I also see trying times, obstructions, and sorrow, all of them creating a personal patchwork of intricate patterns … and Finland," she adds, "always Finland, with its melancholic beauty, the birches, the pine trees, the somber songs of my childhood, appearing again and again."

The Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC), and the Finlandia University Gallery within, are located at 435 Quincy Street on the campus of Finlandia University.

For more information, please contact Hilary Virtanen, FAHC programming coordinator, at 906-487-7505, or Carrie Flaspohler, Finlandia University Gallery director, at 906-487-7500.

Michigan House committees to consider legislation for wolf hunt

LANSING -- Anyone concerned about potential legislation to permit a wolf hunt in Michigan can comment on three bills being considered by House committees in Lansing this week. You do not need to be a Michigan resident to comment.

SB 1350 / HB 5834 are scheduled to be considered by the Michigan House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation at 9 a.m. today, Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Room 307 of the House Office Building, Lansing. To comment, please call or send an email to: Committee Clerk: David Mead, Phone: 517-373-2013, email: AND call or email the Committee Chair, Representative Frank Foster, email: or call (517) 373-2629.

Click here for a fact sheet on SB 1350 and HB 5834.

SB 996 is scheduled for the Michigan House Agriculture Committee, which will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Room 307, House Office Building, Lansing. Call or submit written comments to: Committee Clerk: Cath Petroskey, Phone: 517-373-8538, email: AND Committee Chair Representative Kevin Daley, Phone: (517) 373-1800 or email

Click here for a fact sheet on SB 996.

See also our Nov. 7, 2012, article, "KBIC opposes legislation for wolf hunting season in Michigan."

Public Meeting on Mining Issues to be Dec. 5-6 in Ashland, Odanah, Wis.

ASHLAND, Wis. -- A Public Meeting about Mining Issues will be held Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 5-6 in Ashland and Odanah, Wis. It is sponsored by the Penokee Hills Education Project; Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College; and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.

The Penokee Hills Education Project is proud to present Bob Kincaid, 9th-Generation Appalachian, son of a coal miner, and human rights activist, who will be talking about his community's experience with modern mining on Dec. 5 and 6. Living in the heart of Appalachia, Kincaid has first-hand experience with the health crisis due to modern mining in the mountains above his home. Instead of bringing prosperity, mountaintop removal mining has brought cancer deaths and birth defects to the people he loves.

Bob Kincaid will be speaking at the Bad River Convention Center in Odanah, Wis., at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5. On Thursday, Dec. 6, Northland College will be hosting a panel discussion on Modern Mining at 7 p.m. in the Alvord Theater, featuring Bob Kincaid; Jessica Koski, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Mining Specialist; and Bad River Chairman Mike Wiggins, Jr. These events are free of charge and open to the public and the media.

Click here to listen to a WOJB interview of Bob Kincaid on mountaintop removal effects on Penokee Hills in NW Wisconsin.

Click here to watch Bob Kincaid in Washington, DC, where he joined with Appalachian human rights activists who converged at EPA headquarters on June 8, 2011, to thank them for standing up to the coal industry and urge them to do more.

The Mining Impact Coalition of Wisconsin, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization whose mission is public education, networking, and grassroots organizing on the environmental, health, social, and economic issues of mining that disproportionately affect Native and rural populations.

The Penokee Hills Education Project is an education and outreach project of the Mining Impact Coalition and is focused on issues related to the proposed development of iron mining in northern Wisconsin.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Superior Watershed Partnership seeks public input at Town Hall Meetings to introduce Community Environmental Monitoring for Eagle Mine

MARQUETTE -- The Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) is hosting a series of town hall meetings to introduce the Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) that will conduct an on-going, independent assessment of the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine and report findings to the public.

Under the cooperative agreement announced in October, Rio Tinto is providing the Marquette County Community Foundation with funding ($300,000 annually) to establish and oversee an independent program to conduct environmental monitoring related to mining operations. SWP staff will coordinate and implement the program working with universities, contractors and EPA - approved laboratories to evaluate the Eagle Mine, the Humboldt Mill and transportation routes.

At Rio Tinto's Sept. 26, 2012, community forum in L'Anse, Simon Nish, Rio Tinto director of community communications and external relations, explains the company's agreement with the Superior Watershed Partnership and the Marquette Community Foundation for independent monitoring of the Eagle Mine. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Monitoring will include verification of Rio Tinto's permit requirements for air quality, groundwater, surface water, wildlife, plant life as well as additional monitoring of other potential impacts. The CEMP is also designed to accept third party funding to expand monitoring if needed.

SWP/CEMP Town Hall Meetings are distinct from previous community forums held by Rio Tinto. Members of the public, community organizations, tribes and others are encouraged to attend to learn more about the program, ask questions and provide recommendations for additional monitoring. Anyone who is unable to attend can provide feedback by calling the SWP at (906)228-6095 ext.20 or on-line at

Additional town hall meetings will be held quarterly in 2013 to report to the public and seek additional input.

The following community forums will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. this week:

Monday, Dec. 3: Humboldt Township Hall -- 244 CR FAF, Champion
Tuesday, Dec. 4: Powell Township School -- 101 Deutsch Ave, Big Bay
Wednesday, Dec. 5: Baraga Best Western Hotel -- 900 US 41, Baraga
Thursday, Dec. 6: Lakeview Arena -- 401 E. Fair Ave, Marquette

Portage Library to host events for kids Dec. 4 and Dec. 8

HOUGHTON -- Portage Lake District Library will host two events by and for children this Tuesday, Dec. 4, and this Saturday, Dec. 8.

Suzuki Violin Performance to include violin "petting zoo" Dec. 4

The Portage Lake District Library will host a Suzuki violin performance for children and their parents from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

"All Things Violin!" will be a musical presentation by Suzuki instructor Robert Hicks and students from the Copper Country Suzuki Association. They will demonstrate how to play the smallest member of the stringed family and show how its versatility and range of tone make it a leading member of the string family.

Children of all ages are invited. They will have an opportunity after the performance to try out an instrument as part of a violin "petting zoo."

Portage Library invites kids to make Christmas cards Dec. 8

The Portage Lake District Library invites young children and elementary age students to make Christmas cards from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.

"Let’s Make Christmas Cards!" will be presented by artist Sun-Young Park. Participants will use colored paper, ribbons, and all things that sparkle to make a beautiful Christmas card to take home.

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

Joey’s Seafood and Grill to hold Schools for Schools fundraiser for Houghton Elementary PTO Dec. 4

HOUGHTON -- Joey’s Seafood and Grill in downtown Houghton will sponsor a special Schools for Schools fundraiser to support Houghton-Portage Township Elementary’s Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). Guests are invited to dine in or carry out between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Houghton Elementary’s PTO will receive 20 percent of each bill.

"Our initiative is to fund-raise, to purchase new school equipment and library books and provide field trips, so that young students don’t have to sell door-to-door," says Amy Schrank, PTO President.

The Schools for Schools fundraiser was initiated by Joey’s Seafood and Grill owners, Cheryl and Alan Kiley, whose children attend Houghton Elementary School. By simply enjoying a great meal at a locally owned downtown restaurant, guests can simultaneously help support Houghton Elementary students.

All community members are welcome to stop by Joey’s Seafood and Grill on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Please mention this charity prior to receiving your bill.

For more information, contact Houghton Elementary PTO President, Amy Schrank, or call Joey’s Seafood and Grill, (906) 483-0500.