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, June 08, 2013

North Country Trail Peter Wolfe Chapter to sponsor hike at Canyon Falls June 9

HANCOCK -- The Peter Wolfe Chapter of the North Country Trail Association will hold their first Second Sunday hike of the summer from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. TOMORROW, Sunday, June 9. If you wish to join the hike, meet them at 1 p.m. in the Canyon Falls parking lot on US 41 in Baraga County, 10 miles south of L'Anse, Mich., just South of Alberta. Bring friends!

View at Canyon Falls. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Bring sturdy shoes, water, snack, and insect protection. Dogs are best left at home or on a short leash for this hike.

Doug Welker will be leading the hike. For more information email him at or call him at 906-338-2680.

Visit the North Country Trail Web site to learn more.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Archaeologist Susan Martin to speak on prehistory copper mining June 9

HOUGHTON -- Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (KUUF) will continue the monthly forum series on mining in the UP with a presentation by Susan Martin, Michigan Tech University professor emerita of archaeology, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 9.

Martin will speak on prehistory copper mining in this region. The early Native Americans lived primarily by fishing, gathering and hunting. They had great knowledge of the physical properties of materials they used.

Martin is the author of Wonderful Power: The Story of Ancient Copper Working in the Lake Superior Basin.

KUUF programs and services are held in the community conference room at the BHK Center, Waterworks St. entrance, Houghton.

More information about the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is available at 482-5586 and on the web at

Thursday, June 06, 2013

First Friday exhibits in Calumet offer Finnish-American-inspired art and activities June 7

Map of Calumet galleries you can visit on First Friday. (Map courtesy Tom Rudd of Galerie Bohème)

CALUMET -- First Friday in Calumet -- TOMORROW, June 7 -- art exhibits and activities will include a Finnish American theme in preparation for the coming FinnFest 2013.

This Tervetuloa (Welcome, in Finnish) sign is a sample of art that participants in the Copper Country Associated Artists June 7 First Friday workshop will be invited to create. (Image courtesy Copper Country Associated Artists)

Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) will be hosting a workshop from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 7, to make Finnish-style Welcome signs.

CCAA members will provide all of the materials and will be on hand to instruct participants on lettering and embellishment.  It is hoped that these signs will be displayed at homes around the Copper Country to welcome the Finnish guests during FinnFest 2013, scheduled for June 19-23. The workshop will be free and open to the public, but donations are appreciated.

Ziyad and Co. (former Ed Gray Gallery) will celebrate the artwork of four Finnish Americans -- Kenneth Koskela, Edith Marshall-Maki, Frederica (Tiapala-Sibilsky) Taddeucci and Bill Haapala-Wiard -- who have come together to share their creative Finnish works of art this First Friday.

"Thousand Word Picture Poem," by Edith Marshall-Maki. (Photo courtesy Ziyad and Co.)

An open reception, including drumming by the Blue Heron drumming group, will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ziyad and Co. gallery, located at 109 5th Street, Calumet.

Galerie Bohème will present Drawings and Sculpture by Susanne Kilpela, with a reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 7, and a Finn Fest reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 20.

Sculpture by Susanne Kilpela. (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

"This month there should be no snow or ice and we have Susie Kilpela's, unique, innovative and exciting artworks," says Galerie Bohème host Tom Rudd, "so stop by check out the work, have a slice of bread, a glass o' something, a piece of cheese, see and talk to people that you haven't seen since last summer, or last month."

Galerie Bohème is at the north end of Fifth Street. For more information call Tom Rudd at 906-369-4086.

Just up Fifth Street a few steps from Galerie Bohème you may hear live music by the Backroom Boys Jazz Band (trio version)  at the Omphale Gallery and Café. Stop in for a Finnish waltz or tango, taste some of Julie's gourmet treats and check out the exhibit of illustrations and comics by Finnish American artist Pamela Kotila. The exhibit will be featured at the Omphale through June 29.

A scene from artist Pamela Kotila's "Spidersilk" web comic, part of the June exhibit of her comics and illustrations at the Omphale Gallery and Café in Calumet. (Photo courtesy Julie DePaul Johnson)

Kotila, a 2010 graduate of the Finlandia University International School of Art and Design, is originally from Dodgeville, Mich. She currently lives in Japan, where she is employed as an assistant English language teacher. Perhaps best known in the Copper Country for her fashion designs, for the past two years Kotila has been focusing on web comics and illustrations. The Omphale Gallery exhibition will feature new works from her web comic, a fantasy comedy titled "Spidersilk." Though mostly for entertainment, Kotila says her character-driven comics carry themes of tolerance, equality, and diversity.

The exhibit’s curator, artist Joyce Koskenmaki, says Kotila’s show is an opportunity to see an art form that is currently underrepresented in the western Upper Peninsula area.

"Comics are now created for wider audiences, cover diverse topics, and stretch to any genre and use various mediums," Koskenmaki notes.

Kotila recently published a short story in a comic magazine in Japan. She updates "Spidersilk" twice a week on Visit her website at

Update: The Calumet Art Center at 57055 Fifth Street will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.on June 7.  This First Friday’s project will be  CLAY TILE. A  6"x 6" tile will be ready to carve and paint in designs of your choice. The tiles will be fired and ready to pick up in two weeks. Find your inspiration while touring the center and open studio featuring looms of all types; lamp work bead station; library and writing studio; and the clay studio, where the center is gearing up for the Empty Bowls Project. You can also see the recently completed stage expansion in the Performance Hall built by the Calumet High School workshop students.

The Calumet Art Center Gallery also features works for sale by artists Ed Gray and Emily Gray Koehler to benefit the center's youth programs. Learn about recent classes, projects and upcoming events including the Summer Youth Art Program. Refreshments will be served. For more information call 906-934-2228.

State Sen. Casperson to host town hall meeting June 7 in Calumet

CALUMET -- State Sen. Tom Casperson will host a town hall meeting with constituents from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 7, at the Calumet High School auditorium. 

Casperson will give a brief overview of current issues facing the Michigan Legislature. A question and answer session will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Finlandia Gallery to host "Kokoelmasta" exhibit of art by Finnish and Finnish American artists, opening June 6

Marja Lianko, "Victory Garden No. 9." Acrylic and mixed media. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- In conjunction with FinnFest USA 2013, the Finlandia University Gallery, Hancock, will exhibit works by 29 Finnish American and Finnish artists, all from the gallery’s permanent collection, from June 6 through September 4, 2013. The gallery is located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock.

An opening reception for the exhibit, which is titled, "Kokoelmasta," will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the gallery Thursday, June 6. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Joyce Koskenmaki, "Birches and Sunset." Oil on linen.

Since 1990, the Finlandia University Gallery has presented the annual Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series, as well as numerous exhibits of work by living Finnish artists. Carrie Flaspohler, gallery director, says many of these artists have generously donated pieces of their work to the Finlandia University Gallery and a number of local art patrons have also donated artwork to the gallery.

"I am always grateful for the generosity of these artists and patrons and for their long term commitment to the gallery," Flaspohler says. "They are the foundation that has made Finlandia University Gallery one of the leading exhibitors of Finnish and Finnish American art in the United States."

Sixteen new pieces have been added to the Finlandia University Gallery’s collection this year, including four new works from Finnish artists and 12 by Finnish American artists. The new work includes a stainless steel sculpture, handmade jewelry, paintings, architectural designs, tapestry, printmaking, and mixed media work.

Bruce Niemi, "Rising Together." Stainless steel.

"It is wonderful to see Finlandia University’s art collection grow in such a significant way. The Finnish and Finnish American artists that I have worked with at the gallery are leaders in the contemporary art community," Flaspohler says.

The artists and patrons who made recent donations will be recognized at a reception during FinnFest USA 2013. The date and time will be announced shortly.

Included in this summer’s exhibit are Finnish artists Anna Alapuro, Jari Arffman, Ariadna Donner, Anna-Riitta Haavisto, Aura Jylhä-Vuorio, Aino Martikainen, Ilkka Väätti, Kristian Venäläinen, and Tatu Vuorio.

Anna-Riitta Haavisto, "Puzzle VIII," 2011. Mixed technique / stainless steel, rubber.

The featured Finnish American artists are Rudy Autio, Elsa Bekkala, Tiffany Besonen, Petri Flint, Marlene Ekola Gerberick, Yeshe Helander, Gladys Koski Holmes, Gerald Immonen, Dina Kantor, Tia Salmela Keobounpheng, Vaino Kola, Joyce Koskenmaki, Désirée Koslin, Marja Lianko, John Lundeen, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Bruce Niemi, Kathleen Oettinger, David Salmela, and Tarmo Watia.

Tia Salmela Keobounpheng, SILVERCOCOON Jewelry, Jewelry stand: FLOTIFORM. "Minus-Plus" jewelry stand -- designed by Steven Swanson with Tia Salmela Keobounpheng.

The exhibit catalog published for the 2011 Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series 20th Year Retrospective will be available for purchase during FinnFest USA, June 17 to 22, 2013. The 48-page soft cover book includes 19 full-color reproductions of the artwork featured in the 2011 retrospective exhibit, and detailed artist biographical information.

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., or by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.

Walk to support Ontonagon County Cancer Association to be June 8 in Bruce Crossing

Nutmeg says, "Won't you join us for the knock out Cancer Walk in Bruce Crossing this Saturday?" Nutmeg will be "leading the pack" along with her owner and leash holder, Margaret Comfort of Michigamme. (Photo courtesy Margaret Comfort)

BRUCE CROSSING, MICH. -- Settlers Federal Credit Union in Bruce Crossing is having a knock out Cancer Walk starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 8. The 5-mile loop starts and finishes in the Settlers Federal Credit Union parking lot. Cost is $20 per person. Sign up at Settlers Federal Credit Union. 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Ontonagon County Cancer Association.

You can donate to the cause by sending a check made out to "Settlers Federal Credit Union" (earmarked for "Cancer Walk") to Settlers Federal Credit Union, 14623 State Highway M-28, Bruce Crossing,  MI  49912.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Heart and Hands Award nominations due June 21

HANCOCK -- Nominations for the 2013 Heart and Hands award are due by Friday, June 21. Celebrate a Copper Country person who has given of his or her Heart and Hands to promote Peace, Justice or the Environment.

Last year's Heart and Hands Award winners -- Gina Nicholas, right, (adult award) and Maria Sliva (youth award) -- display the Heart and Hands sculpture after their awards were announced at the Churning Rapids Horsetail Scramble July 4, 2012, event. At far left is host Terry Kinzel, whose late parents' estate funds the annual award through the Heart and Hands Society, founded in 1998. Click here to read more about last year's winners. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

Please consider nominating this person (or couple) for this year’s Heart and Hands Award. The nomination form only takes a moment to fill out, and the recognition will mean a lot to a deserving individual.

Submit nominations to: Heart and Hands Award, 53044 Hwy M-203, Hancock, MI 49930 or The award will be announced at the annual HorseTail Scramble on July 4, 2013.

Again this year there are two categories of nominations: ADULT AWARD (receives a $1000 monetary award that they donate to a non-profit of their choice) and YOUTH AWARD for a young person age 21 or under (receives a $350 monetary award that they donate to a non-profit of their choice).

Include the following information:
1. Candidate name and address
2. Your name, address, phone number, and email
3. Answer in 500 words or less:
How has the candidate had a significant impact on the Keweenaw community -- giving of themselves in a caring, committed, or heartfelt way in the area of peace, justice, human needs and/or environmental stewardship? Please be specific about what form their contribution and involvement has taken.

Click here to download the nomination form.

Visit for more information.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Opinion: Public wolf education lacking

By Nancy Warren* 

(Photo of wolves courtesy National Wolfwatcher Coalition. Reprinted with permission.)

When the Michigan DNR (Department of Natural Resources) receives a wolf complaint, they investigate the situation and, if it is verified that wolves are involved, they take appropriate action. This includes lethal removal of the offending wolves.

Last year, when wolves ventured into an Ironwood residential area, it was determined that two wolf packs were taking advantage of the abundance of deer in the neighborhood. Even though no one was threatened or harmed, DNR killed eight wolves as a precautionary measure.

Livestock owners who experience wolf depredation are granted permits to kill any wolf on their property. In addition, any livestock or dog owner can kill any wolf in the act of attacking their animals. DNR also initiates control actions. Last year, 18 wolves were killed as a result of verified livestock depredation by wolves. These actions were carried out in accordance with the 2008 Wolf Management Plan developed through a process involving 20 diverse stakeholder groups.**

When human-wolf conflicts occur (or are only alleged), they are inevitably followed by considerable media coverage. In one instance, a man near Iron River claimed he was cornered and bitten on his arm by a wolf in his garage. It was the talk of the town, reported as front-page news and was the subject of local talk radio. However, when it was later confirmed through DNA analysis that the bite was from a dog, that fact was barely reported.

In 2010 a man claimed he was treed by "snarling and growling" wolves in Delta County; but, as his story traveled across the country, it began to unravel. He had shared this story with the local press but not the DNR. When DNR heard of the allegation, they attempted to investigate, but the man refused to disclose the location. Coincidentally, the man was an officer of a sportsmen’s group that was vocal in their opposition to wolves. Eventually, the story faded from the press, but the incident remains active in the imagination of those who fear wolves.***

A 2004 Michigan survey found respondents generally had poor knowledge of wolves, noting that public understanding had not improved significantly during the 12-year period following the re-establishment of the wolf population in the UP.

As a result, the Michigan Wolf Management Plan placed a strong emphasis on public education where it states in Section 6.1, "Researchers, managers and stakeholder groups generally agree an informed public is important for successful wolf conservation and management," adding also that "the presentation of accurate, unbiased information is especially important when education is used as a tool to help resolve wolf-related conflicts among stakeholders."

Further, the Plan states, "Providing prompt and professional responses to information requests is one way to increase individual understanding, dispel misconceptions, and generate support for wolf management efforts" (Section 6.1.2).

Last month, DNR verified that three dogs were killed by wolves in three separate instances near Atlantic Mine. Swift action was taken and three wolves were killed within days of the attacks. Yet, the situation was made worse when the DNR issued a press release wrongly stating the third dog was killed by wolves while chained in a fenced yard (the fence was under construction, with the whole back end open).

During an interview that aired May 9, 2013, on Michigan Radio, MI DNR point man Adam Bump said, "So you have wolves showing up in backyards, wolves showing up on porches, wolves staring at people through their sliding glass doors…while they're pounding on it…exhibiting no fear."****

This piqued my curiosity. I knew wolf complaints in Ironwood were down substantially after the eight wolves were killed in 2012. So, I submitted a FOIA request asking for copies of the verified complaints. They responded with a cost estimate of $265.

Then, I revised my request asking only for a copy of the report showing the verified complaints of wolves staring at people through sliding glass doors. My request was denied because, "Based upon our best information, knowledge and belief, the information you requested does not exist in our files. Nor is this material available by any other name reasonably known to the DNR."

Section 6.1 of the Wolf Plan reads, "Controversy tends to receive attention, and the public may receive inaccurate or exaggerated impressions of the extent of wolf-related conflicts."

I couldn’t agree more.


* Guest author Nancy Warren is National Wolfwatcher Coalition Great Lakes Regional director.

** Click here for the 2008 Michigan Wolf Management Plan.

*** Click here for the Nov. 10, 2010, article, "Wolves send U.P. forester up a tree." Note that the article appeared in both the Escanaba Daily Press and the Marquette Mining Journal a whole month after the alleged incident.

**** Click here for the Michigan Radio interview, "Are people in Ironwood really afraid of wolves? (part 2)."