See our right-hand column for announcements and news briefs. Scroll down the right-hand column to access the Archives -- links to articles posted in the main column since 2007.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

NOSOTROS to hold Spring celebration dance TONIGHT, Mar. 2

Poster courtesy NOSOTROS.

HOUGHTON -- Celebrate Spring with NOSOTROS by dancing and sharing the music from your country from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. TONIGHT, Saturday, March 2, in Michigan Tech's MUB Ballroom A. Come early -- 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. -- for a free salsa lesson (learn the basic steps!) Lear how to dance Latin music and make new friends!
- No partner needed
- Family friendly
- Open to public
- All levels - FREE!!

It will be a great event since NOSOTROS is going to invite other student organizations to join the celebration of spring!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finlandia Foundation Lecturer of the Year at Heritage Center Feb. 28

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center will host two lectures by Glenda Dawn Goss, professor of musicology at the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, Finland, at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28. Refreshments will be served following each lecture.

Goss, who is the Finlandia Foundation Lecturer of the Year, will present her talk, "Sibelius and Finland’s Awakening," which is based on over two decades of research. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Finland experienced an unprecedented Golden Age of music and art late in the 19th century. Among the crowning achievements of this age were the compositions of Jean Sibelius, whose works served as a soundtrack to Finland’s growing sense of cultural independence. As the Finns enjoyed this flourishing of the arts, a political awakening resulted, while Finland was still an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire.

Goss began her research on this dual topic in 1989 in Finland, where she has lived since 1998. Her most recent publication is a major biography of Jean Sibelius: Sibelius: A Composer's Life and the Awakening of Finland (2009).

The lecture presentations are hosted by the Finnish Theme Committee/ Finlandia Foundation Copper Country Chapter and the Finnish American Heritage Center with generous support from Finlandia University’s Campus Enrichment Fund, the Michigan Technological University Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Finlandia Foundation National, and an anonymous donor.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is located on the campus of Finlandia University at 435 Quincy Street in Hancock. For more information, call 906-487-7505.

From Wisconsin Citizens Media Coop: State-wide opposition to Wisconsin mining bill grows

By Barbara With
Posted Feb. 26, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative

During a Feb. 25, 2013, press cbonference, a coalition of elected Wisconsin officials ask for state-wide support against the proposed SB1/AB1 Wisconsin mining bill, which the Wisconsin Senate is expected to take up today, Feb. 27.* (Photo © and courtesy Barbara With. Reprinted with permission.)

MADISON, WIS. -- On Monday, Feb. 25, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe called a press conference to demonstrate growing solidarity against SB1/AB1, the (Wisconsin) mining bill that would strip control away from local governments and exempt mining companies from having to abide by current air and water standards. Members of a coalition made up of area elected officials asked for state-wide support against a bill that will ultimately jeopardize all of the water in the state.

Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen summed up the group’s unified message: "This is not a Native Sovereign issue vs. the State of Wisconsin. This is a water and legislative issue that affects us all."

Bayfield Mayor Larry McDonald quoted the Lake Superior Binational Forum in expressing the intricate relationship of water to the area: "Water is life. The quality of water determines the quality of life. This is a world-wide issue."

Several members of other Wisconsin Tribal Nations spoke in support of Bad River and against the bill. Rose Soulier from Red Cliff shared the message she personally gave Governor Walker: "In November, at a Tribal quarterly meeting with the Governor, I asked that he consult with all Tribal Nations and not shove this mining bill down our throats." She added, "Well, that never happened. We’ve been choking back our tears ever since."  Click here to read the rest of this article and learn more about this issue on the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative Web site.

* Editor's Update: Barbara With concludes that the Wisconsin Senate is expected to take up the bill today, Feb. 27. If it passes out of the Senate, the Assembly is projecting a March 6 date to take a vote for final passage. She notes on Facebook that many communities in northern Wisconsin are opposed to this bill, written to facilitate the proposed Penokee open-pit mine. The Senate debate on the bill may be on live stream beginning at 11 a.m. TODAY, Feb. 27, at

See also this YouTube video of the "Iron Mine = Genocide" protest by Overpass Light Brigade, who present their message in front of the Capitol in Madison while Picture Rock Drum sings and snow flies.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Kaivama, Finnish-American folk duo, to perform TONIGHT, Feb. 26, at Orpheum Theater

HANCOCK -- KAIVAMA: Finnish-American Excavators, a Minneapolis-based Nordic folk duo, are touring the U.P. and coming back to the Orpheum Theater at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Feb. 26.

"They were awesome in 2011, and its great to have them back," says Michael Shupe, Orpheum owner.

Doors open at 7 p.m. $10 at the door, $5 for students.

Check out their music here: and at
Everything else is at

Click here for a Daily Mining Gazette article on the duo.

Finnish American Heritage Center to host history of Finlandia University Feb. 27

HANCOCK --  Join Finlandia University Director of Communications Karen Johnson for a slide show and talk detailing the history of the college at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27.

This event is free and open to the public. The Finnish American Heritage Center is at 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. For more information, call 487-7348.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Volunteers needed for Great Bear Chase cross-country ski race March 9

Skiers climb a challenging hill at Swedetown Trails during a previous Great Bear Chase race. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

CALUMET -- The Great Bear Chase is right around the corner -- Saturday, March 9, 2013. If you are available that weekend, please consider volunteering for this great community event. Organizers are still looking for 20-30 volunteers to make this event a success. Options include registration, aid stations, back-up timers, de-chippers and much more.

It takes about 100 or so volunteers to make this event a go every year. Most of those volunteers are avid users of the Swedetown Trails, which take in all of the profit from the Great Bear Chase. The race ends up being one of the biggest fundraisers for the trails each and every year.*

This year the race offers three distances in both classic and freestyle skiing, including the most popular -- the Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon of 50 km. All races take place at the beautiful Swedetown Trails. The event will also include the 14 km classic race that was added last year. This race is the shortest, and it was such a hit in its first year that the Great Bear Chase is proud to be adding it to this year’s events.

Click here to learn more about the six great events and the great snow conditions for the race at the Portage Health Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon Race Guide, and click here to register on line. Register before March 7 for the final discount.

* Feel free to check out the volunteer page.

Keystone Pipeline protest: over 40,000 people in freezing cold

By Shirley Galbraith
Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now*

Thousands protest in the largest climate protest in history in Washington D.C. on Sunday, Feb.17, 2013. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)*

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- We knew there would be a crowd but the numbers exceeded our expectations by far: Over 120 buses arrived from all over the country, in addition to many individual hardy souls who found their own transportation. All gathered at Washington Square on Sunday, Feb. 17, to send a President's Day message to President Obama to stop choosing money over human lives. By not supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline, he would restore our faith in his promises to protect our earth from toxic climate change.

Protesters display their sign as participants gather for the largest climate protest to date.

We were truly excited to be part of this historic event, the biggest protest so far, with over 40,000 crying out for the future of our planet. We had driven 8 hours from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to a small Amtrak station in Indiana, and then spent 15 hours on the train to Washington DC with little sleep. But that didn't put a damper on our spirits. On the train we were happy to meet up with 180 friends from Minnesota, representing an organization called Mn350 whose mission is to inspire Minnesotans to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis and create a sense of new possibilities for our planet.

Members of Mn350, a Minnesota group concerned about climate change, were on the same train with Shirley Galbraith and Allan Baker of Houghton, Mich., author and photographer of this article -- all heading for the Keystone Pipeline protest held on Feb. 17, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

Included in this large group were several high school and junior high school students, according to Julia Nerbonne, their lead convener. Energy and hopes were high as speakers spoke and singers sang while the train rumbled along.

Freezing temperatures and strong wind did little to daunt those of us at the rally as we jumped up and down to keep warm, waved clean energy signs, chanted, and listened to several inspiring speakers.

After hearing from leaders of the climate movement in a rally of thousands near the Washington monument, energized protesters, many carrying signs calling for clean energy and "Forward on Climate," gather in front of the White House to send President Obama their message.

Reverent Lennox Yearwood of the "Hip Hop Caucus" kept us moving and energized. Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, reported several positive results of their efforts including the shutting down of over 300 power plants and an increase in wind and solar power units.

We were almost ashamed to be from Michigan, where our governor wants to go ahead with fracking! Crowd members called this "rotten!"

Signs reflect a wide variety of groups and individuals, young and older, participating in the Feb. 17 Keystone Pipeline protest.

Bill McKibben, climate activist, urged us to make sure our planet does not overheat with a "carbon bomb" that, he said, would be the result of approving the Pipeline.**

Van Jones, a former greenhouse specialist, said, "If you don't fight for what you want, you deserve what you get." He appealed to the younger generation, stating, "Stop being chumps -- you deserve to have a future."

And if Obama does approve the Pipeline, Jones said, it would define Obama in history’s eyes.

"Every other gain this president has done will be erased over the next ten, twenty, thirty years by floods, by fires, by droughts, by super storms. His legacy is on the line,” Jones noted.

These parents brought their children to the Keystone Pipeline protest. As several speakers at the event noted, clean energy is necessary for the future of present and future generations.

Rosario Dawson, an actress and environmental activist, talked about saying yes to our health and not listening to arguments that tar sands and fracking are safe.

Tom Steyer, a billionaire investment fund manager in California and major fundraiser for Obama, spoke as a strong foe of the Keystone project. He said proponents of the Pipeline claim "it is business as usual because we use fossil fuels. But the time for business as usual has passed."

Two protesters display their sign asking for change from political leaders who have failed to recognize the threat that fossil fuels pose to the health of the planet.

Most impressive and heart-rending were our indigenous friends from tribes in Canada, the United States, and British Columbia. Jacqueline Thompson, Saik'uz first Nation Chief of the Indian Alliance which represents 135 First Nations in Canada, described the Pipeline crisis as a human issue that impacts all people.

"We are all connected," she emphasized. "Irresponsible, environment-damaging projects put our communities, our water, our culture, our land, our fish, our animals, and most importantly, our plants, at risk. It puts at risk my neighbors to the east of me that live at the tar sands. The government doesn’t recognize these people, and these people have been dying of mysterious cancers. Their water is polluted; their animals are sick; and Mother Earth is sick."

As we marched to the White House and back, spirits were high. We chatted with others as we walked up Constitution Avenue and a sense of camaraderie prevailed despite the chilling wind.

Bundled up against the cold weather, protesters march toward the White House.

Later that evening while warming up, we watched parts of the rally on TV. We were amazed to learn that while we were participating in the largest climate rally ever, urging President Obama to enforce better standards for carbon pollution, and reject the KXL toxic Pipeline, the President was golfing in Florida with a couple of Texans who are key oil, gas and pipeline players.

In front of the White House, protesters send their President's Day message to President Obama even though he isn't home.

No one would deny the President a day of recreation, but his choice of partners made us feel a little shaky about whether he will indeed honor the promises he made at his second Inaugural and State of the Union addresses, namely to prioritize and confront climate change by preserving our resources. Well, it remains to be seen. Whose side will he be on?  Hmm…sigh….

Editor's Notes:

* Guest writer Shirley Galbraith and her husband, Keweenaw Now photographer and videographer Allan Baker, previously shared their impressions of the Nov. 6, 2011, Keystone Pipeline protest with Keweenaw Now readers. Click here to read their 2011 article with photos and videos.

** Bill McKibben is president and founder of, chief organizers of the Keystone Pipeline protest. "350 means climate safety," the group notes in their mission statement. "To preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million to below 350 ppm. But 350 is more than a number -- it's a symbol of where we need to head as a planet."

Visit to read more and see photos and videos of the Feb. 17, 2013, Forward on Climate protest.