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 30, 2013

Finlandia "Conflict and Cruelty" discussion to be Apr. 2

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University will host a panel discussion titled "Conflict and Cruelty" at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, at the Finlandia University Chapel of St. Matthew, Hancock.

The panel discussion, originally scheduled for March 19 (postponed because of weather), is part of the university’s "Write on the Edge" author series sponsored by Finlandia University and Hancock Public Schools.

Mark Lounibos, assistant professor of English at Finlandia University, will moderate the panel discussion.

Lounibos says that each of the panelists will briefly examine a historical incident of oppression, injustice, persecution, and violence from across the globe, followed by an opportunity for audience discussion.

"The presentations by these scholars of history and literature will consider not only the historical records, but how these incidents have been interpreted and received," Lounibos notes.

The panelists are Bill Knoblauch, assistant professor of history at Finlandia University; Bob Johnson, professor of rhetoric, composition, and technical communications at Michigan Technological University; and Lauri Anderson, professor of English at Finlandia University.

For more information about the author series, contact Suzanne Van Dam, assistant professor of English, at or call 906- 487-7515.

Portage Library to host Beekeeping Program Apr. 1

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites those who want to learn about the amazing world of honey bees to an evening with local beekeeper Todd Gemelli as he presents "An Introduction to Beekeeping" from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 1.

His slide show will cover bee hive basics and how honey bees go about their business. Participants will learn what types of equipment a beekeeper uses, how much time it takes to maintain hives, and what the costs and rewards of beekeeping are. There will be a small, empty hive and basic tools of the trade to examine and pure Keweenaw honey to taste.

Gemelli has been a beekeeper for 13 years. He is fascinated by the important role bees have in nature and is eager to share his knowledge and experience with others.

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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Persian New Year display at Michigan Tech Library marks symbolism, family customs

This display of symbolic items in Michigan Tech's Van Pelt and Opie Library is in honor of the Persian New Year, Norouz, celebrated at the time of the vernal equinox (Mar. 20 or 21), which marks the beginning of spring. The display is courtesy of the Iranian Community at Michigan Tech. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- An attractive display near the circulation desk of Michigan Tech's Van Pelt and Opie Library celebrates the Persian New Year, Norouz, which means the New Day. Norouz, celebrated over a period of 13 days at the beginning of spring, dates back thousands of years to Zoroastrianism, an ancient Iranian religion and philosophy.

The Persian New Year display includes an explanation of family customs during this time -- which include spring cleaning, shared by all household members.

The display includes several items, each of which has a symbolic meaning. Some examples are sib (apple), symbolizing beauty and health; sumac, a spice made of ground reddish drupes, suggesting the color of sunrise; samanoo, a sweet pudding made of wheat germ, symbolizing affluence; serkeh, vinegar, which stands for old age and patience; sir, garlic, which represents medicine; sabzeh, wheat, barley, and/or mung-bean sprouts, symbolizing rebirth of nature in spring; senjed, dried oleaster fruit symbolizing love.

During the 13-day celebration, Iranians visit the elder members of their extended families, who receive guests with open arms and give gifts, or Eidi, to the children. On the 13th day families picnic in parks or on any spot of grass they can find -- a tradition to avoid bad luck. They also dispose of wilting sprouts in streams and rivers. While doing so, many make a wish for good luck in the year ahead by tying two strings of sprout.

For more information, you can email the Iranian Community at Michigan Tech at

Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District Tree Sale is underway

HOUGHTON -- The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) is holding its Annual Tree Sale NOW! Tree orders are due by Friday, April 5, in the Conservation District Office, 600 E. Lakeshore Dr., Suite 2, Houghton, MI 49931. Please order early!*

Customers pick up tree sale orders at the Houghton County Arena in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Pick up times are from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, May 3, and from 10 a.m. until Noon on Saturday, May 4, at the Houghton County Arena, 1500 Birch Street, Hancock.

A $15 late fee will be charged for orders not picked up by noon on Saturday, May 4.

Note: Extra stock will be sold at the pick up site.

The Annual Tree Sale is HKCD's major fundraiser of the year. All proceeds go to conservation and education efforts in Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

Volunteers welcome!

You can help with the Tree Sale if you can spare any hours from Monday, Apr. 29, through Saturday, May 4. For more information call HKCD at (906) 482-0214.

* This year's Tree Sale offers a wide variety of native conifers, trees and shrubs for wildlife, native wild flowers, asparagus, rhubarb, grapevines, fruit trees, and berries.
Click here to see the full catalog and order form on the HKCD Web site.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Worm castings, worm casting tea offer ideal natural fertilizer

By Gustavo Bourdieu
(Translated from Spanish by Michele Bourdieu)

HANCOCK -- Earlier this month I attended a workshop on worm castings and worm casting tea technology, presented by Tom Dumble at the Calumet Theatre. The event included a very interesting film about tea from worm manure, an ancient but very efficient and natural method of fertilizing plants -- on either a large or small scale -- an ideal system especially for those who love to grow their own vegetables in a natural, organic way. By using this low-cost fertilizer, a farmer or gardener can obtain healthy, abundant plants without using chemicals that are harmful to our health.

The documentary film Tom presented was very educational and useful. After the film, those in the audience exchanged ideas and ways of producing such delicious and nutritive tea for plants. Tom also sold some of this worm manure and tea to workshop participants. Sponsored by Main Street Calumet Market, the workshop was free and very interesting.

Tom Dumble will offer another presentation on worm castings and worm castings tea from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the Portage Lake District Library. The event is free and open to the public. For more information call or email Carol Pfeffercorn at 231-6447 or

Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery is exhibiting mixed media by Laura Stahl Maze through Apr. 27

MICHIGAMME -- The Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery is now exhibiting "Mystic Dream," featuring mixed media by Laura Stahl Maze, through April 27, 2013.

"The Seven of Them," mixed media by Laura Maze. (Photo courtesy Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery)

A Sunday Afternoon Reception will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Mar. 31, 2013, in the Gallery, located at 136 E. Main, Michigamme, Mich. The public is invited and refreshments will be served.

Laura Stahl Maze thinks about how to connect the unknown mysteries found in her work with her viewers.  After investigating new ideas with gelatin mono-prints, Maze has lately returned to direct painting.

"Painting is not new to me, but I am discovering new things," Maze says. "My paintings with the textures of canvas can be more controlled -- printmaking involves more surprises."

Nevertheless Maze’s prints and paintings are similar in the distinctive style and hue structure in all of her work. Her ability to balance color and saturation lends harmony to each painting.

Maze’s art reflects her passion for interpreting the simple beauty of nature: "I want people to use their own imaginations to see what I want them to see," she notes. "I try to convey the essence of my ideas across the whole canvas."

One of her artistic aspirations is to stir the viewer’s innate curiosity to search and find more than they could discover in just a passing glance: "I love it when people see something in my work that I missed!"

By bringing out one shape after another, Maze develops trees and buildings, landscapes and cityscapes. The process is one part control, two parts creativity and three parts spontaneity.

"While I am obviously in control, I think that the freedom to not over-plan is a hallmark of my work." Maze explains, "The natural way for me is to use my imagination to create a non-traditional interpretation of my ideas."

Michigamme Moonshine Art Gallery Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and Saturday by chance. For more information call 906-323-6546.

Opening reception, fashion show for Finlandia art and design students is Mar. 28

HANCOCK -- An opening reception for a juried exhibit of artwork by Finlandia University art and design students will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. this Thursday, March 28, at the Finlandia University Gallery, Hancock.

Melanie Houghton: Homage to Hofmann, oil painting. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

A fashion show will begin at 7:15 p.m., and awards for student excellence will be presented. Much of the artwork will be available for purchase. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The exhibition includes art by students working in media including drawing, painting, illustration, ceramic design, fiber arts and fashion design, sculpture, integrated design, graphic design, digital media, photography, and mixed media/installation.

Dylan Peterson: Reuse Chair, old walkers and scrap canvas.  

Gallery director Carrie Flaspohler notes that the structure of the juried student exhibit has been changed this year.

"This year students entered work in one of three categories: two dimensional, three dimensional, and freshman work," Flaspohler says, explaining that the reduced number of categories is intended to eliminate artificial separations of media and encourage students to be inventive in their use and combinations of artistic media.

Sarah Jalkanen: Original Bag Design with Jacquard Fabric, designed fabric and hand-woven strap.

In each of the three categories, the jury will select a first and second place award, and an honorable mention award. The jury is comprised of a faculty member, a graduating ISAD (International School of Art and Design) senior, and a community member.

Finlandia art and design student Tori Schwanke installs work by Hailey Macias: These Nuts, digital photography.

New awards this year are a Best of Show Award, a Faculty Award -- an outstanding work selected by ISAD faculty -- and a Purchase Award -- a work which the ISAD will purchase for its permanent collection.

The exhibit is featured from March 28 through April 17, 2013.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy St., downtown Hancock.  For information, call 487-7500.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reflection Gallery to host closing reception for graphic design exhibit Mar. 28

Prospect Exhibition poster by Collin Hover, Amanda Connelly, Amy Gehling, and Ashley Palmer. (Poster courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, will host a closing reception for "Small Spaces, Significant Sway," an exhibit of professional graphic design work, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28.

The reception is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served.

Curated by Robert Grame, Finlandia associate professor of graphic design, the exhibition highlights diverse and thought-provoking work from designers across the United States.

"'Small Spaces, Significant Sway’ explores the power of small design artifacts that deliver incredible and indelible impact," Grame says.

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

Isle Royale Wolves fall prey to inbreeding problems

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech Public Relations Director
Posted Mar. 26, 2013, on Michigan Tech News

Wolves of Isle Royale National Park. (Photo courtesy Michigan Technological University)

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Technological University’s annual Winter Study of the wolves and moose of Isle Royale National Park counted eight wolves on the island this winter, down one from last year. And as far as the researchers could tell, no wolf pups were born in 2012.

"This is the first year since 1971, the year reproduction first began being monitored, that we did not detect any sign that pups had been born during the past year," wrote John Vucetich, the Michigan Tech population biologist who heads the annual study, in the 2012-13 Winter Study annual report released this week.

"We failed to detect signs of courtship or mating in the Chippewa Harbor Pack in either of the past two winters," Vucetich went on to say. "This winter, we observed signs of courtship in the West-end Trio, but we cannot say if mating occurred."

Inbreeding could be affecting reproduction. All of the wolves at Isle Royale National Park are highly inbred. The Isle Royale wolf population was founded from three wolves—a female and two males—that arrived on Isle Royale more than five decades ago.

Inbreeding continues to be a serious concern. The Isle Royale wolves already show spinal anomalies that are a result of close inbreeding for several generations, and there are likely other physical or physiological effects, the researchers say.

Most wolves have an average life span of less than five years. If the wolves on Isle Royale continue not to breed, the population will soon be gone.

Click here for the full story on Michigan Tech News.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Journey of Nishiyuu walkers arrive in Ottawa

Walkers in the Journey of Nishiyuu arrive in Ottawa today. (Photo by Paul Seesequasis. Reprinted with permission.)

OTTAWA -- The Journey of Nishiyuu (quest for unity) walkers have arrived in Ottawa. Watch this livestream on Occupy Toronto: More than 70 countries are watching this live.

The original 7 walkers leave northern Quebec in January on their 1600 km walk to Ottawa. Joined by many along the way, they just arrived today in Ottawa. (File photo by Stanley Jason George)

They have walked 1600 km from Hudson Bay to demonstrate the strength of Cree culture and First Nations unity. Visit their Facebook page for photos and more information.