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 15, 2013

Rozsa Gallery hosts Five Contemporary Finnish-American Artists exhibit to help celebrate FinnFest

HOUGHTON -- Five Contemporary Finnish-American Artists is the current exhibition at the Rosza Gallery located in the Rozsa Performing Arts Center at Michigan Tech. The five Finnish-American artists from Maine to Minnesota have brought or sent their work to help celebrate FinnFest. The exhibit, which opened this week, is free and open to the public through June 23.

Chris Koivisto's "transformations of forests and sounds" installation is part of the exhibit Five Contemporary Finnish-American Artists, now displayed in the Rozsa Gallery and continuing through June 23. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

Chris Koivisto, a ceramic and bronze sculptor from near Ely, Minnesota, has installed bronze cast wild animal heads on specially constructed walls depicting the forest, as well as traditional pottery inspired by the north woods, lakes and rivers. He calls this work "transformations of forests and sounds."

Marlene Ekola Gerberick lives and makes her art in Bath, Maine. Her installation of paintings titled "Six Pouches and One Feather" features quiet still life renderings of single objects. She is also a poet and will have her latest book, Of Ghosts Deep in Memory, published by the Siirtolaisus Instituuti of Turku. Finland.

John Lundeen lives near Munising, in a beautiful house attached to the side of a cliff over Lake Superior. His paintings reflect a fascination with the workings of nature and symbols of communication. They are inspired by the strong horizon, the storms, clouds, and images he sees every day, providing a base for him to depart into a world of vision and metaphor.

Marlene Wisuri's studio is also on Lake Superior, near Duluth, Minnesota. She is best known for her photography, but this work is an homage to her parents. Paper constructions are made from the saved documents -- checks, financial statements, etc. -- which she discovered after her mother died. She uses geometric patterns referencing the art of quilting for the formal design elements of the pieces.

Three paintings by Kayleen Ylitalo Horsma are part of a body of work sharing her Finnish ethnicity and culture, made possible by a grant from the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, which provides funding for exceptional artists to create new work.

This exhibition is in conjunction with FinnFest USA 2013 and is on display through June 23. It is free and open to the public during the Rozsa Center's regular business hours. The public is invited to a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 22. The Rozsa Gallery is located on the lower level of the Rozsa Center.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Main Street Calumet Market to open June 15

CALUMET -- The Main Street Calumet Market will open this Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market features locally grown and made items. It will be located in the lobby of the Merchants and Miners Bank building, 200 Fifth St. (corner of Fifth and Portland Streets) in downtown Calumet.

Any growers, artisans, crafters or businesses that produce locally made items and would like to become market vendors should contact Main Street Calumet at 906-337-6246 or email for additional information. There is no vendor fee.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Walk to drill site for proposed iron mine in Penokee Hills to be June 15

ASHLAND, Wis. -- The Penokee Hills Education Project invites friends and neighbors on a walk to the Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) drill site in the Penokee Hills, beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.

Beautiful rock formations along the Tyler Forks River in the Penokee Hills near Mellen, Wis. (Keweenaw Now file photo © and courtesy Steve Garske)

Exploratory drilling in the Penokee Hills, which is now underway, has been permitted by the Wisconsin DNR over specific objections from local citizens and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

This walk is an opportunity to safely observe what test drilling looks like, firsthand, and to see how it impacts a pristine landscape. The walk will take place on lands that are open to the public, and the Penokee Hills Education Project encourages all walkers to obey the law and practice non-violence. The walk is approximately 3 miles through fairly hilly terrain. Be sure to bring your camera and bug spray! Persons of all ages are invited.

Directions: From Mellen, Wis., take Highway 77 east. Enter into Iron County and at approx. 8.75 miles from Mellen, turn right on Moore Park Road. Follow the road until you reach the "Road Closed" signs. Park on the RIGHT side of the road only.

The Penokee Hills are targeted by Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) for mountain top removal mining. This process would pulverize a 22-mile strip of the Penokee Hills and would release contaminants such as mercury, arsenic, other heavy metals, sulfates, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides into the air and water.

The polluted water would flow throughout the watershed, into the Bad River, threatening  wetlands and sensitive ecosystems essential for the survival of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The proposed mine would likely contaminate the drinking water for thousands of people living in Ashland and Bayfield Counties.

Looking west at the ridge Gogebic Taconite, a subsidiary of the Cline Group, wants to dig up for an open-pit iron mine. Tyler Forks River is in bottom of frame. (Photo courtesy Penokee Hills Education Project)

No taconite mine has ever operated without causing serious pollution.

The Penokee Hills Education Project was formed to educate the public about risks to the Bad River watershed and the Penokee Hills posed by GTAC’s mountaintop removal mine; to share relevant information about the impact of mining on our economy, health, and environment; and to connect with citizen-led groups locally, statewide, and nationally.

Click here to learn more about the Penokee Hills Education Project.

Club Indigo to offer "Everlasting Moments" -- film and Finnish buffet

CALUMET -- The June Club Indigo, a precursor to FinnFestUSA, is the next offering at the Calumet Theatre. It is a Jan Troell (director of The Emigrant) film Everlasting Moments, based on a true story and starring Finnish actress Maria Heiskanen in the role of a mother of seven and wife of a womanizing lout of a husband. She finds escape through a camera which opens up a new world to her. The early 1900s are magnificently created, shot in a sort of sepia color to suggest the portraits our heroine creates so very successfully despite all odds -- beautifully acted, beautifully directed, beautifully memorable.

The film begins at 7:15 p.m. Friday, June 14, and will be preceded at 6 p.m. by a Finnish buffet from the chefs at the Kangas Café, Hancock. Cost is $19 for film and buffet, $5 for film alone. Special discount for children ten and younger. To attend the buffet, a call should be made to the Calumet Theatre by Thursday, June 13. Please call 337-2610.

Note to the hearing impaired: the theatre has been wired for amplification of sound for your adaptable hearing aid.

Gov. Snyder's staff to hold mobile office hours in Houghton June 14

HOUGHTON -- Gov. Rick Snyder's staff will hold mobile office hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. TOMORROW, Friday, June 14, at the 5th and Elm Coffee House, 326 Shelden Ave., in Houghton.

The governor's staff members will be available to answer questions, take suggestions, and help assist constituents with state-related issues.

Visit the Governor's Web site at or call if you have questions: 517-335-7858.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rio Tinto agrees to sale of Eagle project

Press Release from Rio Tinto
Published June 12, 2013

CHAMPION, Mich. -- Rio Tinto has reached a binding agreement to sell its Eagle project to Lundin Mining Corporation for an estimated US$325 million in cash. This transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013 and is subject to regulatory approval.

The Eagle project in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States includes a high-grade underground nickel-copper mine and mill. Construction commenced in June 2010 and is approximately 55 per cent complete.

Chris Lynch, chief financial officer of Rio Tinto said, "The sale of Eagle demonstrates our renewed focus and discipline in the way we allocate capital. We are making good progress on a number of other potential divestments as part of our goal to achieve substantial proceeds from divesting non-core assets.

"We believe Eagle will have a sound future under its new ownership given Lundin’s commitment to the development of the project. Rio Tinto will continue to manage Eagle to the highest safety and environmental standards during the transition to the new owner."

Click here to read the full press release.

Portage Lake District Library to host Kivajat Dancers, family Summer Reading events, book sale this weekend

Chris Alquist, right, Portage Lake District Library community programs coordinator, helps Krissy Sundstrom register her family for the Summer Reading Program during last year's opening day of Summer Reading activities. The 2013 Summer Reading Program begins this Saturday, June 15. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HOUGHTON -- Portage Lake District Library invites the whole family to three different events this weekend -- Music on the Menu with the Kivajat dancers on Friday, June 14, and -- on Saturday, June 15 -- opening day activities and registration for the Portage Lake District Library Summer Reading Program and the Friends of the Library Book Sale.

Music on the Menu, June 14: Kivajat Dancers

In the Finlandia Gallery at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Kay Seppälä, right, directs her Kivajat Dancers, during a Heikinpäivä celebration. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Everyone is invited to bring a lunch and enjoy traditional Finnish folk dancing and music on the dock outside the library from noon - 1 p.m. on Friday, June 14.

The Kivajat Dancers began in the fall of 2004 under the direction of Kay Seppala. Sponsored by the Finnish American Heritage Center at Finlandia University, children ages 8 - 13 learn the dances and perform in colorful peasant costumes funded by a grant from Finlandia Foundation National.

The children performed for the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, at FinnFest 2008 in Duluth; and they have danced in festivals in Finland, Canada, Minnesota, and Michigan. Translated, Kivajat means the "Merry Makers." They will also be performing at FinnFest next week!*

In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

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

Summer Reading Program begins June 15

Opening day activities and registration for the Portage Lake District Library Summer Reading Program will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Kids are invited to make crafts, and everyone can create an ice cream sundae in the community room.

Kids enjoy a variety of craft activities during the 2012 Summer Reading Program opening day. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The "Dig into Reading!" Summer Reading Program will continue through Saturday, August 17, and people may register throughout the summer. Participants will receive a reading log, book bag, and bookmark when they register and prizes as they progress through their reading lists. The Summer Reading Program is open to all ages, children through adults. Reading logs may include books, magazines, audio books, reading to young children, or being read to.

The Summer Reading Program includes Storytimes and programs and events for all ages. Look for programming information in the library, the media, and at

Everyone is invited to join the fun of digging into reading!

Friends of the Library Book Sale June 15

While you're in the library this Saturday, don't miss the Friends of the Portage Lake District Library Book Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The sale will take place in the Michigan and Local History room. New and gently used books will be sold to raise money for library projects and materials that the Friends provide.

Adult and children’s hardcover books will sell for $2 and paperbacks for $1. A half price sale will be held from 2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

* Editor's Note: Click here for a video clip of the Kivajat dancers performing at the Dec. 6, 2012, Finnish Independence Day celebration at the Finnish American Heritage Center.

Developments at Torch Lake Area of Concern

By Noel R. Urban, Michigan Technological University Director, Center for Water and Society, and Professor, Environmental Engineering

From: Lake Superior Binational Forum Water is Life Newsletter Article -- Summer 2013. Reprinted in part with permission.

While a cursory look suggests that little is happening at the Torch Lake Area of Concern (AOC) in northern Michigan, a second glance reveals considerable activity. That is the interim finding of an ongoing Integrated Assessment of the Torch Lake AOC. This project, funded by Michigan Sea Grant, is enabling three faculty at Michigan Technological University to review the status of the site and to make recommendations to appropriate management agencies for potential future work.

This project combines the skills and perspectives of environmental engineers (Noel Urban and Judith Perlinger) and a social scientist (Carol MacLennan) who work in close coordination with agency personnel to produce policy-relevant research. The research team will combine existing information with previously untapped information to provide a comprehensive picture of the mining and environmental history of the area, to educate and engage stakeholders, and to supply material that can be used to help remediate the site where needed.

Click here to read the rest of this article on the Water is Life newsletter ...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Michigan Tech Summer Teacher Institutes application deadline is June 14

Michigan Tech's research vessel, the Agassiz, will help teachers collect Great Lakes ecosystem data during the 5-day Great Lakes Watershed Teachers Institute June 24-28. (File photo courtesy Michigan Technological University)

HOUGHTON -- This summer, Michigan Tech is offering four summer institutes for middle and high school teachers through its Western UP Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education. The application deadline has been extended to this Friday, June 14.

Each institute runs for five days. Michigan Tech offers two graduate credits for completion of an institute. Here is the schedule:

The Great Lakes Watershed (June 24-28): Teachers explore the physical, chemical, and biological components of the Great Lakes ecosystem, using the Lake Superior watershed as the classroom: collect data aboard the Agassiz research vessel; visit streams, wetlands, stewardship projects; participate in Earth Force stewardship and MEECS Water Quality Unit workshops.

Global Change (July 8-12):This 5-day Institute will prepare teachers to engage  middle and high school students in a real-world study of the effects of global change on ecosystems, including the impacts of climatic change on forests -- elevated carbon dioxide and ozone levels, nitrogen saturation, acid rain, and invasive species. Teachers will participate in workshop and receive NEW MEECS Climate Change Unit.

Forest Management and Resources (July 15-19): Through lecture, hands-on field data collection, classroom activities, and visits to an active logging site and sawmill, participants learn tree ID, forest measurements, forest health, disease and insect pests, forest soils, carbon sequestration, forest best management practices, and sustainable forest management. Sessions are presented by Michigan Tech faculty and professional foresters. Teachers receive $200 of classroom and field supplies, including tree iD field guides, D-tapes, meter tapes, log sticks, and more.

Maritime Transportation and Ship-building (July 23-26): Explore the ship-building yards that design and construct multi-million dollar yachts, U.S. Coast Guard vessels, and Great Lakes freighters in Green Bay, Marinette, Sturgeon Bay and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Participants will visit ACE Marine, Marquis Yachts, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, Port of Green Bay, NOAA weather station, Lake Michigan's Badger ferry, and several maritime museums. Institute will visit in NE Wisconsin.

More information, costs and application forms are available online at

For more detailed information, please contact Joan Chadde, institute coordinator, at, 906-487-1029. 

Portage Library to host presentation on Scandinavian stamps June 11

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake Philatelists invite everyone who is eager for FinnFest to begin to a special presentation about Scandinavian stamps from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, at the Portage Lake District Library.

Steve Lund from Minneapolis will show slides of his visits to Finnish, Swedish, and Danish stamp shows. His presentation will include descriptions of his many years of collecting Scandinavian stamps with a special focus on stamps from Finland. There will also be a display of Scandinavian stamp catalogs and books as well as items from his extensive collection including albums and exhibits. There will be time for questions and discussions afterwards.

Lund was born in Hancock and began collecting stamps as a boy. His ethnic heritage led him to specialize in stamps from Norway, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. He has been a member of the Scandinavian Collector’s Club (SCC) since 1992, became President of the Viking Chapter (Minneapolis) in 2010 and national Executive Secretary in 2012. His exhibit of Swedish cancels and postal history, "Cancelled Lund," has achieved gold award in the United States and silver award in Sweden. His articles, reviews, reports and photos have been published in the SCC journal The Posthorn.

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

Monday, June 10, 2013

More information for comments on proposed Brockway Mountain cell tower

COPPER HARBOR -- Citizens concerned about the proposed cell tower on Brockway Mountain may wish to consider some new information for their comment letters.

Stephen DelSordo, Federal Preservation Officer for the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) recently replied to an email from Gina Nicholas, who had written to him and to Brian Grennell, Cultural Resource Management specialist in Michigan's SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office), asking for their "immediate intervention in the ill-conceived cell tower proposed for Brockway Mountain Drive in Keweenaw County, Michigan."

Nicholas noted in her message that Michigan's State Preservation Office (SHPO) has the right to invite direct FCC involvement when a proposed tower is under 200 feet.

In DelSordo's reply to Nicholas, he encouraged writing to the following project proponents:

Ed Roach of SBA Communications, email:
Laura Halpenny of SBA Communications, email:
Bill Sill, Attorney for SBA, email:
Amos Loveday, Consultant for SBA, email:

DelSordo also suggested providing comments to the FCC attorneys assigned to this project in order to help the agency have a complete record of public comments. These are the FCC attorneys: Don Johnson, email:; Dan Abeyta, email:

DelSordo added he will be traveling during the next two weeks and will have limited access to his email.

Editor's Notes:
This information posted at the request of Gina Nicholas, who also reported that several concerned citizens also received this information from Stephen DelSordo today. In spite of the June 10 deadline, letters can still be sent to the persons listed above.

See also the May 29, 2013, article, "Citizens, groups, speak at public meeting on potential effects of proposed cellphone tower on Brockway Mountain."

Portage Library to host English "Walking Tour" presentation TONIGHT, June 10

HOUGHTON -- Adventurer and traveler, Sandy Hubscher, will present "A Walking Tour of Bath, England, and the Surrounding Countryside" from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Monday, June 10, at the Portage Lake District Library.

Her slide show presentation will take participants on an historical journey where they will discover the ancient Roman Baths, visit the last of the great medieval churches of England at Bath Abbey, and marvel at the magnificent Assembly Rooms that were built in 1769 and used as a setting in Jane Austen’s novels. Participants will learn about the Cotswolds, which is an area of gentle hills, stone villages, historic market towns and outstanding countryside located between Gloucester, Bath, Oxford, and Stratford. They will also ‘set out’ on footpaths to the countryside, picturesque towns, and sites such as Bradford-on-Avon, Lacock Abbey, and the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Participants will enjoy sampling English tea with scones and cream. Brochures, maps, and books will be on display, and anyone who has an English accent is welcome to read a short excerpt from Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice.

This program is for all ages. Everyone is invited to attend library events and all presentations are free. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative: Iron County (Wis.) residents concerned about land lease to mining company

By Rebecca Kemble
Posted June 6, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative
Reprinted in part with permission.

IRON COUNTY, WIS. -- The Iron County Citizens Forum held a public meeting at the Oma Town Hall on June 5 to receive information on County Forest Law and the Iron County option to lease contract with Gogebic Taconite, a newly formed company with plans for a large mountain top removal iron mine in the region.

This map shows the proposed first phase of the mine and the Iron County lease area. Click here for larger version. Map by Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) courtesy Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.

The meeting was organized by Terry Daulton, who called the first gathering of the citizens forum in April, 2013, to "provide Iron County citizens with a venue for learning, discussion and participation leading to activities and events that affect Iron County residents in a significant way, with a special emphasis on natural and cultural resources and sustainable development."

The initiative was stimulated by the passage of an iron mining bill earlier in the year that eases the way for a 22-mile long mountain top removal project proposed by Gogebic Taconite in the Penokee Hills near the shores of Lake Superior. The first 4-mile phase of the mine would be located primarily in Iron County. ...

Click here to read the rest of this article.

See also: " (Wis.) DNR grants early permit for exploratory drilling in the Penokee Hills," posted May 31, 2013, on Midwest Environmental Advocates Web site.

Friends of Brockway Mountain: Deadline for comments on Brockway cell tower is June 10, 2013

By Friends of Brockway Mountain

This photo, taken from a lookout point on Brockway Mountain Drive, looking east, offers a view of the town of Copper Harbor, the harbor at left and Lake Fanny Hooe at right. The proposed cell tower location would be about 3/4 of a mile west of this lookout point. (File photo by Keweenaw Now)

COPPER HARBOR -- If you love the scenic value of BROCKWAY MOUNTAIN and historic BROCKWAY MOUNTAIN DRIVE your ACTION is Needed NOW!!!!

Please do something TODAY or TOMORROW, Monday, to help protect Brockway Mountain from degradation and damage from an ill-conceived cell tower location. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: the deadline for comments is Monday, June 10, 2013.

If we don’t act, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) are not going to do anything and will let SBA and Ramaker proceed with a 199-foot cell tower on Brockway Mountain Drive that will require power to be run up the Drive from Copper Harbor.

The following actions would help communicate that the local community strongly supports and has been requesting an alternative to a cell tower on Brockway Mountain Drive.

1. Please call (leave a message) and email Brian Grennell, Cultural Resource Management specialist in Michigan's SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office). Tell Brian that the only acceptable mitigation for the proposed Brockway cell tower is to find an alternate location(s). Also ask Brian to invite the FCC’s Steve DelSordo to participate in a process to work with the community in order to find alternatives that will serve the cell phone needs of the Copper Harbor community and surrounding region.

Email Brian Grennell at or call him at 517-335-2721.

2. Call and write Steve DelSordo, Federal Preservation officer for the FCC. Tell him Brockway Mountain's constituents respectfully request that a more transparent and honest process be used to work with the community to bring cell service to Copper Harbor and the surrounding area. Ask the FCC to become an active facilitator and help the community protect Brockway Mountain -- a historic, ecological and scenic vista treasure of Keweenaw, Michigan, and the World -- while at the same time establishing a reasonable cell phone approach and installation for the area.

Email Steve DelSordo at, call him at 202-418-1986, or write to him at
Stephen. G. DelSordo, Federal Preservation Officer
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

3. The Ramaker (SBA Consultant) comment period ends on Monday, June 10, 2013. The above actions are needed by then, and messages should continue to be sent to Ramaker (! In the message, say who you are and state, "The only reasonable mitigation for a cell tower on Brockway Mountain is to find an alternative site." If you have already sent comments to Ramaker, also send them to Steve DelSordo and Brian Grennell.

IF SHPO and the FCC receive many requests this weekend, they will have grounds to do something different.

Thank you for helping to save this TREASURE!!

Editor's Note: See the May 29, 2013, article, "Citizens, groups, speak at public meeting on potential effects of proposed cellphone tower on Brockway Mountain."