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Saturday, January 19, 2013

DEQ still accepting comments on Orvana Copperwood wetlands, inland lakes, streams permit

By Michele Bourdieu (Video updated; please see below.)

This map shows location of the proposed Orvana Copperwood mine in Gogebic County, between the Presque Isle and Black rivers and west of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, near the shore of Lake Superior. Click here for a location map from the Orvana wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit application to the Department of Environmental Quality, now under review.  (Map courtesy Keweenaw Bay Indian Community)

MARQUETTE -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is still reviewing the Orvana Copperwood mining project's application for a wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit (Part 301/303) and, at the same time, adding conditions to Orvana's Part 632 mining permit -- because of public comments received in December 2012.

A Dec. 21, 2012, letter from Steve Casey, Michigan DEQ Upper Peninsula District Supervisor, Water Resources Division, to concerned citizens who submitted comments by the Dec. 18, 2012, deadline, acknowledged more time was needed to allow comments and to allow the DEQ to review the application in the light of supplemental information.

At the June 28, 2012, public hearing on air and water quality permits for the Orvana Resources Copperwood mining project, held at Gogebic Community College, Steve Casey, right, Michigan DEQ Upper Peninsula District Supervisor, Water Resources Division, and James Caron, Water Resources Division decision maker for the Parts 301 and 303 permit, invite the public to make comments. (Keweenaw Now file photo)*

"We will consider all comments that we receive prior to making a decision on this application," Casey wrote in this letter.  "We do not expect to make a decision until January 21, at the soonest."

Since Jan. 21 is a holiday (Martin Luther King Day), comments received on Jan. 22, and possibly after that date, would still be considered, Casey noted in a Jan. 16 telephone conversation with Keweenaw Now. Casey said he had not received any additional letters after Dec. 18, despite the indefinite extension of the comment period, other than a letter addressed to the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service comments on Orvana's revised permit application

The USFWS letter, sent on Jan. 11, 2013, to Melanie Haveman, USEPA Wetlands and Watersheds Branch, Region 5 in Chicago, is a follow-up to the USFWS Aug. 13, 2012, letter commenting on the original permit application, which was re-submitted to the DEQ with some changes on Nov. 26, 2012.

In their Jan. 11 letter, USFWS acknowledges that the new application has addressed some, but not all of their concerns: "The applicant has adequately addressed our concerns regarding their alternatives analysis, removal of waste rock, potential impacts to Canada lynx, risk of contaminant exposure to migratory birds, and the adequacy of stream mitigation; however we still have several outstanding concerns," the letter states.

Since the Gogebic Range Water Authority (GRWA) recently withdrew their permit application (to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) to install and operate a water intake structure from Lake Superior and decided to look for a groundwater or other source, USFWS notes the following: "If the applicant is proposing to acquire process water from groundwater or other locations, the potential impacts of the water withdrawal to existing wetlands and aquatic habitats should be addressed."

Randy Scott, GRWA engineer, recently told Keweenaw Now that one reason they withdrew that application for water intake from Lake Superior was that, as they got into the design of the water intake structure, the costs began to escalate from about $7 million to $9 million for construction and maintenance -- and the marine contractors were worried about risks involved with working in the lake.

Lake Superior shoreline near the site of the proposed Orvana Copperwood mine. Plans by the Gogebic Range Water Authority to construct a water intake structure to withdraw water from Lake Superior for the mine and local communities were abandoned because of high cost and safety concerns. (Photo © and courtesy Jessica Koski)

"We started paying more attention to groundwater," Scott said. "There might be groundwater capability."

He said they are investigating that possibility, but real work would have to wait until spring. The water supply need would be about 350 to 400 gallons per minute. The location would be halfway between Wakefield and the mine site, west of CR 519. GRWA has subcontracted the hydrogeology work to Boulder Associates. Groundwater is regulated by the DEQ rather than the U.S. Army Corps, Scott noted.

The Jan. 11 USFWS letter also asks that the applicant develop a detailed plan to monitor for and prevent the spread of non-native invasive species.

"Monitoring for the spread of invasive species is critical to preserving the natural communities surrounding the proposed project," the letter states. "The applicant provides measures within their wetland mitigation monitoring plan to monitor for non-native invasive species. However, the applicant fails to provide any specific details on how non-native invasive species will be monitored throughout the proposed project area."

In addition, USFWS reiterates their concern about impacts to migratory bird habitat: "We also recommend the applicant minimize their impacts to migratory bird habitat by avoiding clearing habitat between April 15 and August 15."

An eagle near the site of the proposed Copperwood mine. In her Dec. 18, 2012, letter to Steve Casey, Margaret Comfort of Marquette County asks, "Can you GUARANTEE that the Family of Eagles soaring along the Shoreline of the Mightiest Lake on the Planet will still be in the Neighborhood after the Invaders pull out of Paradise and take it with them?" (Photo courtesy Bad River Environmental Department)

Since part of Orvana's proposed wetland mitigation includes "preserving" existing wetlands, USFWS in their Jan. 11 letter states, " Finally, we recommend that the applicant fully mitigate for all wetland impacts by either restoring or creating in-kind wetlands within the same watershed at appropriate mitigation ratios and provide permanent protection of the functions and values of the newly created wetland."

USFWS also recommended "that the applicant provide a longterm management plan and financial assurances for all mitigated wetlands."

Federal agencies send their comments to EPA, which will then send a letter to DEQ with federal concerns, Casey explained.

"We're still reviewing the permit," Casey said. "EPA comments are forthcoming."

Casey said some of the comments received by Dec. 18, 2012, pertained more to the Part 632 mining permit Orvana has already received than to the wetlands/streams permit. For this reason he has asked Joe Maki, DEQ state mining specialist in the Upper Peninsula Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, who is in charge of the Part 632 mining permit, to add conditions to the mining permit before a decision is made on the wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit.

"We want to put all the pieces together -- different regulatory tools," Casey said. "We want to make sure all the different statutes are in concert so that we can make a good decision to protect the environment."

One problem is that the wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit (Part 301/303) under review right now is only a five-year construction permit, not an operations permit like Part 632, Casey explained.

DEQ adding conditions to Part 632 permit

"The 632 permit governs how they operate and how they close, so we're putting additional conditions on 632 because of the comments on the wetlands permit that relate to the long-term operation and closure of the mine," Casey said.

For example, several streams run through the tailings basin (which is more than 300 acres), and the company plans to divert those streams around it.

"Once the tailings basin is closed and vegetated, we want the water to go back into the channels it used to go through," Casey noted. "We want to put it back in its natural configuration."

Since that happens after five years, it would have to be included in the Part 632 permit, Casey added. He said Joe Maki is working on this.

"He's doing a good job of getting us what we need," Casey said.

Maki recently gave a presentation on Michigan's mining permitting process at a meeting of the Keweenaw Land Trust in Houghton. In this video clip he answers a question on the Orvana Copperwood mining project, for which he approved the Part 632 mining permit.

During his presentation at a recent meeting of the Keweenaw Land Trust, DEQ State Mining Specialist Joe Maki answers a question on whether acid mine drainage is a possibility at the Orvana Copperwood mine. (Video clip by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now) Editor's Note: This video clip is now public. Please excuse the delay if you weren't able to access it previously.

Several letters dated on or before Dec. 18, 2012, expressed frustration at the short comment period posted in the DEQ's Dec. 3, 2012, press release on the permit application and the fact that detailed information was not available on the DEQ Web site.

Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission voices concerns

John Coleman, environmental section leader for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), Madison, Wis., office, made these comments on Orvana's Nov. 26, 2012, revised permit application in his Dec. 18, 2012, letter to the DEQ:

"The application does identify new mitigation ideas for the project but did not include mitigation plans with the permit application. In reference to mitigation plans, the
Nov. 24th letter states, 'We also intend to be submitting supplemental application information to you prior to December 14, 2012' (page 16).  The permit application
references 'the Stream Impact and Mitigation Summary dated November 21, 2012,' yet no such materials were made available for review prior to the comment deadline of December 18th. We are interested in reviewing and commenting on those materials when they become available."**

New information available on DEQ Web site

As of Dec. 20, new information was posted on the DEQ Website, including the following documents, dated Dec. 14, 2012:
The DEQ updated their Web site on the Orvana permit with the new information in response to Coleman's and several other public comments received during the brief comment period ending Dec. 18.

As Casey stated in his Dec. 21 letter, "The entire Part 301/303 application has been available on the DEQ web site since November 30.  The December 3 press release was meant to, in part, make it easier for the public to find and review the entire application without having to go through the FOIA process. This is not required by statute, but was done as an outreach. The second page of the November 28 public notice and the second page of the December 3 press release provided a link to the DEQ webpage from which, the entire application could have been found. In hindsight, it was not easy to do so. The most direct way to view the entire application is to go to this link:,4561,7-135-3307_29692_24403-290574--,00.html."

Several public comments mentioned concerns about the tailings or TDF (Tailings Disposal Facility) and asked Orvana to consider backfilling. 

Casey noted the feasibility study for utilizing tailings for mine backfill is found in Appendix E under Tab 5: "Alternative Analysis" (on the above DEQ link).***

KBIC: Respect treaty rights, protect water

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), in their letter of Dec. 18, 2012, signed by Jessica Koski, KBIC mining technical assistant, notes that the wetlands and streams Orvana proposes to fill for the Copperwood project are located within Anishinaabe ceded territory under the Treaty of 1842 at LaPointe, which reserves for KBIC the rights to hunt, fish, trap and gather in this territory.

"Irreversible injury to area wetland and streams of local watersheds of Lake Superior associated with this proposed permit, notably the construction of a very large permanent surface tailings disposal facility, will result in unacceptable destruction and degradation to these water resources -- and significantly affect the public and tribal trust in these resources," Koski writes.

Map of the proposed Copperwood mine from the earlier permit application, showing the location of the large Tailings Disposal Facility (TDF), right of center. (Map courtesy Jessica Koski)  Click here for a more detailed site plan from the November 2012 re-submitted application.

While the Alternatives Analysis of the re-submitted permit includes some analysis of backfilling the mine with tailings (the KBIC letter requested the DEQ make this Alternative Analysis accessible on the DEQ Web site) the alternatives indicate the company is unwilling to put the tailings underground for various reasons, chiefly "safety" and cost.

In the KBIC letter Koski also points out that the re-submitted application actually indicates an increase in impacts to streams: "When Orvana applied for their initial mine permit, they stated an impact of 8,000 feet of streams. Their previous wetland and fill permit application increased the impact to 13,000 feet of streams. Now,after more accurate accounting of direct on-site stream impacts, the total stream impact has increased to a total of 16,557 -- more than double what Orvana initially proposed in their mine permit application."****

A July 8, 2012, letter from GLIFWC staff, commenting on the earlier application, cites Orvana's own consultant, Knight Piesold, as pointing out some benefits of mine backfill with tailings. The letter also cites several sources of information on backfilling and states GLIFWC's position that the surface disposal of tailings is inappropriate.

Richard Sloat of Iron River, like KBIC, also questioned the increased stream impact in his Dec. 18, 2012, letter to the DEQ.

"Under the Clean Water Act, the applicant must first document that it has Avoided and Minimized impacts prior to Mitigation," Sloat writes. "The revised permit application seems to have Enlarged versus Minimized impacts in the case of the Tailings Disposal Facility (TDF) which began at a stated 8,000 feet of streams in Orvana's initial Mine Permit Application, to 13,000 feet of streams in their previous Wetland/Stream Fill Permit Application, now -- more than double what was stated in their initial mine permit plans.....16,557 feet of streams to be eliminated immediately adjacent to Lake Superior for the disposal of tailings into perpetuity."

Sloat also comments on the risk of contaminated water flowing towards Lake Superior.

"Re-designing on-site storm water management so that several detention basins discharge the water into existing downstream watercourses and two diverted/relocated streams is not wise," he notes. "What if this water is contaminated? The untested contaminated water will flow unchecked towards Lake Superior. "I must add that the DEQ does not have a way to absolutely control toxic water from entering into waters of the State from mine sites. I cite the abandoned Buck and Dober mines in Iron County, Michigan, as examples. Reduction of the contaminants is possible but the pollution still flows."

Casey said the Copperwood deposit Orvana plans to mine is very similar to the one at the former White Pine Mine. He noted the tailings from White Pine have been sitting in the weather for almost 50 years.

"DEQ has periodically sampled the storm water that runs off the tailings, and there has never been a problem (of acid mine drainage)," Casey said. "We have a whole list of things we check for coming from any mine, and White Pine is no exception; but there's no significant problem at White Pine right now."

Copperwood, though, is closer to Lake Superior than White Pine. Comments on the Orvana mining proposal -- both at public hearings and in letters sent to the DEQ and the EPA reflect considerable concern about its location.

In her Dec. 18, 2012, letter on Orvana to both DEQ and EPA regulators, Catherine Parker of Marquette, referring to the Rio Tinto-Kennecott Eagle Mine permitting process, writes, "It is unfortunate that we have a new mining law that does not have siting requirements, among other shortcomings. In spite of the fanfare touting it as the toughest of its kind in the nation, Part 632 most certainly is not so, as evidenced by the ease with which Kennecott has alternately ignored and manipulated its provisions, and the fact that DEQ is prepared to allow something like 16,000 feet of stream to be filled with tailings, within close proximity to the largest freshwater lake in the world. We have no greater resource than our clean water; thus, preserving and protecting it should be our highest priority."


* For questions and comments at the June 28, 2012, public hearing on Orvana permits, see our two articles: "MDEQ hearing on Orvana Copperwood air, water quality permits: Part 1, Questions" and "MDEQ public hearing on Orvana Copperwood mine: Part 2."

** The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) is an organization exercising delegated authority from 11 federally recognized Ojibwe (or Chippewa) tribes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Those tribes have reserved hunting, fishing and gathering rights in territories ceded in various treaties with the United States. GLIFWC’s mission is to assist its member tribes in the conservation and management of natural resources in the ceded territories and to protect habitats and ecosystems that support those resources. The proposed Copperwood mine is located within the territory ceded by the Treaty of 1842.

*** Click here to read the rest of Steve Casey's Dec. 21, 2012, letter.

**** Click here to read the KBIC letter of Dec. 18, 2012.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Snowshoe hikes in Porkies to be held Jan. 19, 26

SILVER CITY, MICH. -- Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located on the south shore of Lake Superior near Silver City in Ontonagon County, is offering guided snowshoe hikes on Saturdays in January. Two more hikes are scheduled -- for Jan. 19 and Jan. 26.

All experience levels are welcome. Meet at 1 p.m. EST at the log cabin between the open slope and the chalet near the ski hill. See the map for directions. The group will stop at East Visa to take in the view, then trek through untouched snow on the way down. Participants are encouraged to bring a camera on this picturesque hike.

The park has extra snowshoes available to borrow for those who do not have their own; simply arrive a few minutes early. The hikes is 1.5 - 2 hours and of moderate difficulty. Participants can take part in this hike, then make some new "trails" of their own.

If the weather is not favorable for snowshoeing, the event may be canceled. Please call ahead to inquire about cancellations by calling 906-885-5206.

For more information on winter recreation opportunities at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, call (906) 885-5275 or visit

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What's with the Russians and ballet?

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech Public Relations Director

HOUGHTON -- Ever wonder why ballet is so important to Russian culture? Interested in learning more about classical Russian and American Ballet? If so, Michigan Tech's Rozsa Center invites you to attend Ballet 101, a pre-performance discussion of classical Russian and American ballet, by Donna Armistead, Mary Muncil and Elizaveta Egorova, at 6 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 19, in the Rozsa Center Lobby.

Ballet 101 will feature a panel discussion and brief demonstration of traditional ballet movement and gesture, and will explore the history and culture of classical Russian ballet. Armistead, a local dance educator and choreographer, will focus the discussion specifically on the ballet Sleeping Beauty, to be performed by the Russian National Ballet Theatre later that evening.*

Armistead is an admissions assistant at Tech and a former principal dancer with the Ballet Dance Theatre of Boston and the Buffalo Ballet Theatre. Mancil is head coach for the University's Competitive Cheer Team and Dance Team. She also coordinates Tech's youth dance program and pilates program.** Egorova is a PhD candidate in electrical and computer engineering, specializing in power and energy systems. She is from Russia.

Ballet 101 is free, and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. 

* Click here to read about the Russian National Ballet performances coming to the Rozsa Center Friday, Jan. 18, and Saturday, Jan. 19. You do not need to attend the ballet to attend Ballet 101.

** Click here to read about Michigan Tech's Power Pilates classes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Green Film Series continues at Michigan Tech, beginning Jan. 17

HOUGHTON -- The Green Film Series at Michigan Tech will continue to present issues and dialogue one Thursday each month, January-May 2013. The events will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Atrium and G002 Hesterberg Hall, Noblet Forestry Building, on the Michigan Tech campus.

Coffee, dessert and facilitated discussion will follow each film. Cost: Free, $3 suggested donation.

The series begins this Thursday, Jan. 17, with the 29-minute film River Planet, which explores the very different environmental, cultural and social issues around how humans and wildlife interact with six major rivers on our planet. The discussion facilitator for this film will be Evan McDonald, Keweenaw Land Trust. He will discuss local efforts to protect the Pilgrim River Watershed -- a local area vulnerable to urban development.

Here is the schedule of films to follow:

Feb. 21: Last Call at the Oasis -- Be it through consumption or contamination, water is becoming more scarce globally, including in the United States. (108 min.)
Discussion Facilitator: Prof. Alex Mayer, Michigan Tech Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

March 14: The Strange Disappearance of the Bees -- Across the globe, the disturbing mass death of bees has more than just beekeepers worried -- at least one-third of the world’s food relies on bee pollination. (58 min.)
Discussion Facilitator: Melissa Hronkin, apiarist and proprietor of Algomah Acres Honey Farm.

April 18: Switch -- Join energy visionary Scott Tinker as he explores the world’s leading energy sites, from coal to solar, oil to biofuels, many highly restricted and never before seen on film. (98 min.)
Discussion Facilitator: Prof. Wayne Pennington, chair, Michigan Tech Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

May 9: Chasing Ice -- Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog ventures to the Arctic to document the melting of ice mountains using state-of-the-art, time-lapse photography. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet. (76 min.)
Discussion Facilitator: Prof. Sarah Green, chair, Michigan Tech Department of Chemistry.

The Green Film Series is Cosponsored by Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and Keweenaw Land Trust.

Finlandia Gallery to exhibit "Matthew J. Frock: Love Squared" Jan. 17 - Feb. 16

HANCOCK -- "Matthew J. Frock: Love Squared" will be featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from Jan. 17 to Feb. 16, 2013.

Love 24, by Matthew J. Frock. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

An opening reception for the artist will take place at the gallery from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

In this exhibit of more than twenty original illustrations, artist and writer Matthew Frock invites the viewer to journey to the planet Earl where scientists Gary and Ronda are about to discover a new and mysterious energy and make "Love Squared."

In preparation for their space journey, Gary and Ronda have converted Ronda’s house into a spaceship. But before they lift off, they must face some obstacles, including "Earl bureaucracy, daytime-television, and mob mentality," according to a synopsis of the book on Frock’s website.

Love 27, by Matthew J. Frock. Acrylaguache on illustration board, 2011.

Frock explains that Love Squared is intended to enlighten and instill a state of reflection in the reader. He describes it as "humorous confirmation for like-minded readers and a cuddly, warm arguing gun for those who would be at odds."

At least, in Frock’s mind it is these things. He adds that the audience is always entitled to their own interpretation of his writing and his humorous, thought-provoking illustrations.

"As a painter, the documentation of vision is a given. It goes with the territory," Frock notes in his artist’s statement. "As an artist, I insist the visions I pursue be meaningful and provide my audience with a beneficial experience. Love Squared falls within these parameters."

Love Squared is Frock’s first illustrated book. He says the book "began as a single paragraph and in my mind it was an overly ambitious animated film that I’d never be able to afford to make."

However, his vision persisted and he recalls that once he began the writing process, his ideas flowed as if "the book needed to write itself and I was merely a conduit."

Artist Matthew J. Frock.

"I wrote the story in a week," Frock says. "It flowed like the stream of consciousness my ideas are written in, except in far greater detail."

Frock created more than 30 illustrations for Love Squared using acryla-guache on illustration board.

Frock received a bachelor of fine arts in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, and a master of fine arts in painting from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pa. He currently teaches art at the Haverford School in Haverford, Pa. Visit his website at

"Love Squared" will be on display through Feb.16, 2013.

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 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

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

Idle No More movement honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on his birthday

Photo courtesy #idlenomore, Facebook page for the Idle No More movement, posted on Jan. 15, 2013, birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Reprinted with permission.

Keweenaw Now extends thanks to the Idle No More Facebook page (#idlenomore) for permission to publish the above photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His statement is an inspiration for their peaceful global protest to reclaim indigenous people's rights to their treaty rights and protection of land and water.

Thanks also to #idlenomore for posting a link to our Jan. 14, 2013, article, "Videos, photos: KBIC Idle No More Rally/Walk expresses solidarity on protecting treaty rights, environment," on the Jan. 11, 2013, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Idle No More Rally/Walk in Baraga.

Michigan Tech to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., at banquet Jan. 21

HOUGHTON --  The 24th annual MLK banquet will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, in Michigan Tech's MUB Ballroom. The event will feature guest speaker Dr. Tricia Rose, who will give a presentation on the history of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Legacies of the Civil Rights Era. Tickets are free and can be picked up at Hamar House, Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), on the Michigan Tech campus.

For more information contact Dr. Renee Wells, CDI assistant director, at (906) 487-1829.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Russian National Ballet to perform Jan. 18, 19, at Rozsa

A scene from Cinderella by the Russian National Ballet, coming to the Rozsa Center this Friday, Jan. 18, along with Sleeping Beauty, Saturday, Jan. 19. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Technological University’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts will present two magical nights of incomparable Russian ballet! Direct from Moscow, the Russian National Ballet Theatre, featuring fifty of Russia’s finest dancers, will perform two timeless ballet pieces, Cinderella on Friday, Jan. 18, and Sleeping Beauty, on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 7:30 p.m. each evening.

According to Rozsa Center Director Susanna Brent, "…the Russian National Ballet Theatre is an institution in Russian Ballet. Legendary Bolshoi principal dancer Elena Radchenko, the founder of the Russian National Ballet Theatre, has focused the company on upholding the grand, national tradition of the major Russian ballet works."

Cinderella: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18

On the first of two nights, they will perform Cinderella, Rostislav Zakharov’s 1945 ballet for the Bolshoi seen as the first landmark Cinderella. Zakharov was then the Bolshoi’s principal choreographer, and he conceived the work at a time when the Soviets were in a celebratory mood: the German World War II invasion had been beaten back and a new ballet was needed which could serve as a metaphor for triumph over tyranny. The great Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev created a definitive score for Cinderella, and the work received a triumphant premiere on Nov. 21, 1945, at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Prokofiev dedicated his composition to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, saying "…. I see Cinderella not only as a fairy-tale character but also as a real person, feeling, experiencing, and moving among us. What I wished to express above all in the music of Cinderella was the poetic love of Cinderella and the Prince, the birth and flowering of that love, the obstacles in its path and finally the dream fulfilled."

Sleeping Beauty: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19

On the second evening, the Russian National Ballet Theatre performs perhaps the greatest of Russian ballets: Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, a crowning jewel of the preeminent 19th-Century choreographer Marius Petipa's career. Although not immediately well received at its premiere on Jan. 15, 1889, Sleeping Beauty is often considered the finest achievement of the classical ballet. It is a grandiose and refined blending of the traditional, expressive, and spectacular -- in a lavish theatrical setting. Tchaikovsky was delighted with the invitation to write the music for a ballet based on Charles Perrault's well-known fairy tale. The Sleeping Beauty was the first of Petipa's classics to be seen in Western Europe. Under the title The Sleeping Princess, it was presented by Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929) in London in 1921. In 1939, it was remounted in Great Britain and has been considered the foundation of the Classical ballet repertory in that country ever since. It has now been adopted worldwide, and performance of the leading role remains a kind of initiation rite for aspiring ballerinas.

Further, if great classical Russian ballet is not enough, Rozsa guests who arrive early will be treated to an added bonus each evening: At 6 p.m. on Friday a reception and gallery opening  titled "The People Respond: Paintings by Miguel Levy," will take place in the Rozsa Gallery. Saturday, patrons are invited to a "Ballet 101" workshop to be presented at 6 p.m. in the Rozsa Lobby. Tickets to the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty performances are not required to attend either the gallery reception or the ballet workshop, and both are free and open to the public.

The Russian National Ballet Theatre performances are sponsored by the James and Margaret Black Endowment.

Tickets to the ballet performances each evening are $28.75, adults; $26.75, seniors; and $24.75 for students. To purchase tickets, please 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 12 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.

Rozsa Gallery to host exhibit of paintings by Miguel Levy

"Free Gaza!" painting by Miguel Levy. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts presents "The People Respond: Paintings By Miguel Levy" in the Rozsa Gallery, opening this Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, with a reception for the artist at 6 p.m. Come explore Levy’s expressive, powerful paintings depicting people in times of crisis. Witness resistance and human courage through the eyes of this self-taught painter and Michigan Tech professor. The exhibit will run for four weeks, until Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, and is free and open to the public.

Miguel Levy is a Professor of Physics and Materials Science working in photonics at Michigan Tech. He is also a self-taught artist. He was born in Lima, Peru, and lived in New York City for more than 20 years before moving to Houghton in March 2000.

According to Levy, "History is not made up of the actions of presidents, generals and prime ministers. History is made by ordinary people in their millions and hundreds of millions standing up against injustice and for a better life….It is this courage that the exhibit aims to recapture."

Rozsa Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday - Friday. Rozsa Gallery events are sponsored in part by the James and Margaret Black Endowment.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Videos, photos: KBIC Idle No More Rally/Walk expresses solidarity on protecting treaty rights, environment

By Michele Bourdieu

Participants in the Jan. 11, 2013, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Idle No More Rally/Walk set out from Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College and walk to the KBIC Senior Citizens' Center in Baraga to express their solidarity with the global movement for indigenous rights and environmental justice. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

BARAGA -- Brightening up the end of a wet, drizzly day with their colorful regalia, signs, drums, songs and chants, participants in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
(KBIC) Idle No More Rally/Walk in Baraga expressed their solidarity with indigenous people asserting treaty rights and environmental justice on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013.

At Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Elder Donnie Dowd (center, with hat) offers encouragement to participants in the KBIC Idle No More Rally/Walk on Jan. 11, 2013.

About 50 or more people joined together for the event, which began at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College with prayers and encouragement, some in the Ojibwa language, offered by KBIC Elder Donnie Dowd. Despite very recent open-heart surgery, Dowd also led the walk down to the Ojibwa Senior Center for ceremonies, dances and songs, followed by a feast of chili and corn bread.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Idle No More Walk begins at the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College. Walkers head through Baraga to the KBIC Senior Citizens' Center to continue their Rally, dance, sing and enjoy a feast. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

A group of Lac Vieux Desert youth from Watersmeet, Mich., joined the walk, adding their chants of "Idle No More" to the songs of the leaders.

The number of participants increases when youth from the Lac Vieux Desert Chippewa community (Watersmeet, Mich.) join the KBIC Idle No More Walk as it progresses through the streets of Baraga.

The Idle No More indigenous movement is gaining supporters around the world, many of whom held events on Friday, Jan. 11, the day First Nations (Aboriginal) leaders in Canada were scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston to discuss Bill C-45 -- recent legislation that First Nations leaders in Canada say violates claims to self-governance and control of traditional land bases and also threatens the environment by reducing federal protection for bodies of water and fisheries.

Idle No More walkers in Baraga carry signs to show support for the Canadian First Nations protests against Bill C-45 and to express their own concerns about water issues and treaty rights. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

According to an article in, "The bill significantly reduces the number of federally protected bodies of water, which critics fear will leave them open to harm from major resource projects, such as Enbridge's proposed $6-billion pipeline from Alberta's tarsands to Kitimat. Changes to the Indian Act will allow aboriginal people to sell or lease their land to non-natives. Critics say that the changes, which were done without consultation, violate aboriginal treaty rights."*

Toward the end of their walk, Idle No More participants gather for a circle dance before continuing to complete their rally and share a feast at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Senior Center.

Charlotte Loonsfoot, one of the organizers of KBIC's Idle No More, says Bill C-45 can also affect natural resources in the Great Lakes Basin and treaty rights of tribes living in the United States as well as in Canada.

"We share Lake Superior with Canada so what they do there affects us here in the UP, northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota," Loonsfoot said. "And since the bill C-45 has protection for lakes and streams at the 2 digits instead of millions I am very concerned for our freshest water in the world. This will also affect our treaty rights to hunt, gather, and fish because if our food and medicines are contaminated from Canada's pollution it is a violation to the tribal governments of the United States."

After the feast in the KBIC Senior Citizens' Center, organizers of the Idle No More event pose for a photo: from left, Jessica Koski, Nancie Lamb, Margaret Boyer and Charlotte Loonsfoot.

The youth group from Watersmeet joined the KBIC Rally/Walk at an invitation from Marisa Van Zile of the Sokaogon Chippewa of Mole Lake, Wis. (some of whose family members were involved in the struggle against the Crandon Mine in Wisconsin).

Van Zile, now a student at Northern Michigan University, where she is studying sociology and Native American studies, said she had attended several Idle No More events in Minnesota as well as Wisconsin before helping to organize the Jan. 6 event in Watersmeet, Mich.

"I was inspired to bring that home," Van Zile said.

After Watersmeet, she returned to Mole Lake for an event on Jan. 10 and then returned to Michigan for the Jan. 11 Idle No More in Baraga. Van Zile also said she was happy to meet KBIC's Charlotte Loonsfoot at the Watersmeet event last week.

"She's my hero," Van Zile said. 

KBIC Idle No More co-organizer Charlotte Loonsfoot carried this wolf flag during the walk. The proposed wolf hunt, recently passed as legislation in Michigan, is another of her concerns. "I walked for the wolf," Loonsfoot said, "because the wolf is our brother and we're brothers and sisters with Canada, so it all ties together."

Jessica Koski, KBIC member, was also an organizer of the Jan. 11 Idle No More event in Baraga. At the gathering of the participants in the Senior Center, she read her statement of solidarity with the Idle No More movement.

Jessica Koski, KBIC member, reads a statement of solidarity with the global Idle No More movement for indigenous rights and protection of land and water.

"Today, we are standing in solidarity with people across the globe for First Nations and indigenous peoples in Canada. The movement calls upon the government of Canada to honor and implement Aboriginal Treaty rights of First Nations. This call echoes throughout the world in many indigenous communities and nation-states, including our own right here at Keweenaw Bay," Koski stated. "This movement began with the hearts and courage of indigenous women. It is about the land, water, healing, and justice. Corporate profits have been privileged over our lands and waters for too long. Indigenous peoples, deeply rooted in place, continue to carry ancestral knowledge and wisdom of how to walk a good way of life, what we call Mino-Bimaadiziwin, on Aki, Mother Earth. With our youth, Elders and women, we are stepping into our leading role. Many say we are the last chance of saving the planet."**

KBIC's event was also held in support of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who has been on a hunger strike for more than a month to call attention to this bill and other problems between First Nations peoples and the present Canadian government under Harper. She had requested the meeting with Harper and Johnston, but ended up boycotting it, along with other leaders from Ontario and Manitoba, when Harper said he would meet only a half hour and Johnston refused to attend.***

However, a Jan. 12, 2013, Canadian Press article said the meeting lasted four hours and "National Chief Shawn Atleo declared that Harper has finally agreed to top-level talks to modernize and implement the ancient treaties that were always supposed to bring peace and prosperity to First Nations."****

Spence and other leaders, however, were not satisfied with the results of the talks, and she is apparently continuing her hunger strike (a liquid-only diet) despite requests by some First Nations leaders that she end it.*****

Idle No More founder Sylvia McAdams says the agenda from the Jan. 11 talks between the government and First Nations leaders is too narrow, since it doesn't include removing the C-45 legislation. She says the peaceful grassroots movement, now worldwide, will continue. They are calling on a worldwide Idle No More event, co-ordinated with other groups, on Jan. 28.******

Margaret Boyer, who also helped organize the Jan. 11 KBIC Idle No More event, explained her own connection to the movement in Canada: She is from Batchewana First Nation, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, under the Robinson-Huron treaty of 1850. Boyer moved to this area two years ago to attend Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, but she has family in Canada and concerns about her children and grandchildren.

Co-organizer Margaret Boyer speaks to the group of KBIC Idle No More participants about First Nations issues in Canada and her own concerns for her family there.

"I am Canadian but have lived most of my life here in the States because I love living here," Boyer said. "I first heard about the Idle No More movement from Facebook in November. I followed the movement's actions from the beginning to present."

Boyer said she has no T.V. or radio in her house, so all her outside communication is from Facebook.

"The quick uprising is due to social networking," Boyer added. "There are a lot of things going on with this movement. My main concern is the dismantling of the Indian Act without any regard to First Nations."

Georgenia Earring of KBIC, who also participated in the Idle No More visit to Eagle Rock on Dec. 28, was among many who joined the Walk in support of Theresa Spence.

"I'm here in support of Chief Spence," Earring said, and the power of prayer -- coming together for indigenous people and their treaty rights."

KBIC Tribal Council Member Elizabeth Matthews also mentioned support of Theresa Spence's effort.

"Just like everybody else it affects us down here in the States, and we are in support of Chief Theresa Spence," Matthews noted. "And I hope she accomplishes what she set out to do."

Matthews added the Tribal Council gave a money donation for Friday's feast following the Walk.

KBIC Tribal Council Member Elizabeth Matthews, left, enjoys the feast after the Walk with KBIC Elder Janice Shalifoe, center, and Lisa M. Denomie, KBIC member and program director for the Early Childhood Child Care Center.

Joining in the Walk and the dances that followed was Lisa M. Denomie, KBIC member and program director for the Early Childhood Child Care Center.

"The first thing they need to do is unite," Denomie said of the indigenous groups joining the Idle No More movement. "That's the only way you're going to become stronger. This is a good start to bring back the Anishinaabe way. People are making peace here."

Participants in the Jan. 13, 2013, Idle No More event at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Senior Center in Baraga, Michigan, do a dance and song to honor people fasting for Indigenous peoples' rights and environmental justice, including Chief Theresa Spence and two KBIC members who fasted for this event: Denise Cadeau, Keweenaw Ojibwa Community College dean of student services, and Nancie Lamb, co-organizer of the event.

Sheila Halverson, wearing a traditional jingle dress, and Sammi Tolenon, Miss KBIC, wearing her shawl dance regalia, do a healing dance as others sing to the beat of the Four Thunders Drum. The dance preceded a feast for all participants in the KBIC Senior Citizens' Center.

Margaret Comfort from Marquette County also attended the Walk.

"I was honored to be amidst some of the leaders, the visionaries, of their community -- Charlotte Loonsfoot, Jessica Koski, and Nancie Lamb," Comfort said. "It made my heart smile to see the mothers with their children and the teens walking in solidarity with Chief Spence. As Margaret Boyer said, this work is for our children and grandchildren. This work is about giving a voice to ALL people."

Corrie Hohli of Calumet also participated in the Rally/Walk, carrying a sign in the Ojibwa language, which she studies. It said, "Gaa Geyaabi Bizaanabi magasinoon!" Hohli said, while it is difficult to translate "Idle No More" into Ojibwa exactly, this phrase means, "No longer will we sit quietly."

KBIC member Jeffery Loman, who had just moved back to Baraga from Alaska and was settling into his new residence near the college, said he heard the drums of the walk as he was pulling out of his driveway and then saw the group walking. He joined them at the Senior Center for the talks, dances, drumming and feast.

"I was delighted and inspired to see the protest and (delighted) that my community is joining other nations in being Idle No More," Loman said.

Loman, who has been following the Eagle Mine issue on Facebook and who spoke at public forums held by Rio Tinto when he was visiting the area in the past, said he has no plans to leave the area now that he has moved back to Baraga.

"I have a lot of things that I want to do here. There's a lot of work to be done to protect the natural resources of the tribe and to protect the reservation environment -- all these people that live here," Loman explained. "There's a lot of litigation on the horizon."

More photos ...

KBIC Elder Donnie Dowd speaks to participants in the Jan. 11 Idle No More Rally at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

KBIC's Debbie Williams presided over sacred ceremonies and spoke at the Rally.

Carrying colorful signs and their flag, youth from Lac Vieux Desert join the Walk and chant "Idle No More!"

A young participant in the walk carries a sign stating a major purpose of the Idle No More movement: "Protect Our Treaties, Land, Water and Animals."

Arriving at the Senior Citizens Center are some leaders of the Walk: from left, Rodney Loonsfoot, Jessica Koski, Lisa M. Denomie and Donnie Dowd.


* Click here for the article, "Idle No More: The problems with Bill C-45."

** Read the rest of Jessica Koski's statement, "Idle No More: Global Day of Action," on Keepers of the Water.

*** See "Indigenous Movement 'Idle No More' Gains Allies" on ABC News/ Univision.

**** See "Atleo: Harper commitment to treaty talks will bring fundamental change."

***** See "Chief Theresa Spence will continue to forgo solid food, spokesman says."

****** Watch this video: "CTV QP: 'Idle No More' founder speaks out."

Editor's Note: Read our two articles about the Dec. 28, 2012, KBIC Idle No More visit to Eagle Rock: "IDLE NO MORE: Returning To Our Sacred Places - Migizii wa sin" and "More photos: Idle No More: Returning to Migizii wa sin (Eagle Rock)."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Finlandia to host documentary, author visit for Campus Read selection

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University will introduce its spring 2013 Campus Read selection at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15,  with a screening of the documentary film The
Armenian Genocide
at the university’s Chapel of St. Matthew, Hancock.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Campus Read selection, The Gendarme, by Mark T. Mustian, is a novel set alternately in early 20th-century Turkey and in the U.S. in the 1990s.

Mustian will be on the Finlandia campus Feb. 11 and 12, 2013, to speak in several classes and engage in other campus and community activities. His visit is sponsored by Finlandia University and the Lutheran Writers Project at Roanoke College.

Mustian will present a public lecture titled "Words and War" at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, at Finlandia’s Maki Library. Also, Mustian will speak on the topic "Where is God?" at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the Chapel of St. Matthew.

Additional Campus Read 2013 activities include a student writing contest with the theme "Forgotten" and a public panel discussion about the cruelties of armed conflict and war later this spring.

"The Finlandia University Campus Read Committee found Mr. Mustian’s novel rich with opportunity for poignant and pertinent classroom discussion," said Terri Martin, assistant to the executive vice-president for academic and student affairs and a member of the committee.

To those around him The Gendarme’s protagonist, World War I Turkish veteran Emmet Conn, is a senile 92-year-old man, notes a book synopsis on the author’s website. Conn has been affected by memory loss since being injured in the war. Now, at the end of his life, he’s beset by frightening dreams and visions and he becomes convinced that they are actual memories of events he and others have denied or purposely forgotten. In the dreams, Conn is a gendarme escorting Armenian women and children from Turkey. A young woman among them, Araxie, captivates him and becomes the love of his life. But when the trek ends, the war separates them. Seven decades later, Conn sets out to find Araxie and beg her forgiveness. The Ottoman Empire’s systematic extermination of ethnic Armenians from their homeland in what is now Turkey came to be known as the Armenian Genocide or the Armenian Holocaust. It was implemented in two phases, during and after World War I: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and forced labor, then the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches to the Syrian Desert. The total number killed is estimated at between 1 and 1.5 million.

When Mustian, who has Armenian ancestors, learned of the fate of these people and of those who survived the forced trek into Syria by Turkish soldiers, he recalls that he was mesmerized. How could this horrible thing have happened? Mustian asked himself. And why do so few know anything about it?

As Mustian began to read survivors’ stories and history books, he learned of Turkey's denial that this occurred; and he learned that to speak of the Armenian deaths as genocide remains a crime in Turkey to this day. Eventually, he began to write The Gendarme, a novel about the deportations told from the point of view of one of the policemen, the gendarmes, who escorted these groups from the country.

Mark T. Mustian is an author, attorney, and retired city commissioner. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, three children, and dog. He is the current chair of the Lutheran Readers Project, a nationwide effort to connect readers and writers associated with the Lutheran faith. Mustian’s fiction has been published widely. Visit his website at

The Gendarme (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2010) is available for purchase at North Wind Books and will also be available for purchase at public events during Mark Mustian’s visit to campus.

For additional information, please contact Terri Martin at 906-487-7512 or

Cross Country Trails notice: Swedetown Trails re-opened; ice on Tech Trails

CALUMET -- After being closed for two days, Swedetown has received five inches of new snow overnight and trails are open. The new snow is rolled over the icy base. By now the groomers will have set tracks on the easy and intermediate trails near the Chalet. Less new snow on Papa Bear and towards M203 trail head.

January 13th (today) is Winter Trails Day sponsored by Swedetown Trails Club and Cross Country Sports of Calumet. Free all-day pass for skiing or snowshoeing. Free snowshoe or ski rentals, provided by Cross Country Sports of Calumet. First come, first served for rental equipment, as available from noon to 5 p.m. Come to the Swedetown Chalet to check out equipment. Trails Club members will be on hand to suggest what trails to try.

At the Chalet, free hot chocolate and apple juice from noon to 5 p.m.*

Warning: Ice at Tech Trails

HOUGHTON -- Just a warning to potential skiers at Michigan Tech Trails. In the parking lot, stadium, and trailhead area there is absolute glare ice under the snow. Wherever the water from the thaw couldn't drain well there is a significant risk of falling and parking lot auto accidents. Grooming snowmobiles have gotten stuck on flat ground and groomers are falling like nine pins. Use caution or wait until the new snow (yay!) bonds with the ice.*

* Editor's Note: Sorry for late posting of these Sunday morning announcements.