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Friday, August 16, 2013

Sen. Stabenow visits Houghton County Dems' fundraiser

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), second from left, hosted a reception and expressed her support for 110th District State Rep. Scott Dianda, fourth from left, at a fundraiser for Dianda held on August 12, 2013, by the Houghton County Democratic Party. Also pictured are, from left, Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, Debbie Dianda and Sharon and Mike Lahti. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow hosted a reception and fundraiser for 110th District Michigan Rep. Scott Dianda Aug. 12 at the Shelden Grill in Houghton.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow with 110th District Michigan Rep. Scott Dianda of Calumet. Stabenow hosted a fundraising reception for Dianda's 2014 campaign Aug. 12 in Houghton.

The informal fundraising event kicked off Dianda's campaign for re-election in 2014. Also present to show their support were Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, other Michigan Democratic House members and about 30 door-knocking supporters for Dianda.

Greimel, who represents Michigan's 29th House District downstate, has visited the Copper Country several times and is an enthusiastic supporter of Dianda, who, he told local Democrats, is the hardest-working legislator in the House.

Visit the Houghton County Dems' Facebook page for more on their activities.

Click here for Rep. Scott Dianda's Web site.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Guitarist Steve Jones to perform at Portage Library's "Music on the Menu" Aug. 16

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to bring a lunch and enjoy "Music on the Menu," an outdoor series of events held on the dock outside the library.

Steve Jones will perform his unique sound and intricate rhythms of jazz and blues guitar music from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16.

Everyone is invited to eat, relax, and enjoy the lunch hour while listening to some great music. In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

This event is part of the library’s Summer Reading Program and is free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Red Metal Radio Show to dramatize 1913-14 Copper Miners' Strike Aug. 15 live on K-Bear Radio

CALUMET -- The Red Metal Radio Show will take to the airwaves for the fifth straight year with a live broadcast on K-Bear, WHKB-FM, 102.3, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, from the historic Calumet Theatre. The show, which is part of Main Street Calumet’s Heritage Days, has always focused on some aspect of local history or culture, and this year takes on the topic of the 1913-14 Michigan Copper Strike.

Red Metal Radio Show co-hosts Oren Tikkanen and Kris Kyro Johnson will offer a dramatic trip into the past with radio "coverage" of the 1913-14 Copper Miners' Strike at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Aug. 15, in the Calumet Theatre. Here -- in the stage performance of the show at the theatre during Finn Fest on June 20, 2013 -- they tell the story of the strike with the help of local actors and actual journalists Dick Storm and Todd Van Dyke. The show will be broadcast on K-Bear, WHKB-FM, 102.3 and streamed live on the K-Bear Web site. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The show’s writer, producer, and host is Oren Tikkanen, who says that this year’s topic is a dramatic departure from previous shows.

"We’ve usually taken a nostalgic, light-hearted approach to looking back at the boom times of the Copper Country," Tikkanen notes, "but there’s nothing light-hearted about the Copper Strike. It was deadly serious, and we take it seriously. But it’s a great story and it’s our story and we are glad to be telling it."

As usual, the Red Metal Radio Show uses "the magic of radio" to carry the listener into the past through the sounds and voices of bygone days. Tikkanen says that the format of this program is "radio news coverage" of the Strike.

"We are fortunate that we have two real-life radio newsmen with us," Tikkanen adds. "When you hear Dick Storm and Todd Van Dyke interviewing James MacNaughton from Calumet and Hecla, and Big Annie Clemenc from the union, it gives a sense of immediacy to these events from 100 years ago.”

Tikkanen reports that the show has been expanded for this year because of the topic: "We’ve gone to a two-hour format so that we can cover some of the most important events and issues in the Strike story -- and even then, we’ve had to cut out a great deal. We hope our show will stimulate people to read the history books and delve into the archives and find the important points that we may have missed."

The public is encouraged to be part of the audience at the Calumet Theatre, and ticket information is available at 337-2610.

"We already performed the show for Finnfest USA in June as a stage presentation," Tikkanen explains, "and the audience feedback was very positive. People felt like they were really there in 1913 listening to the news, and they said our reporting was fair and balanced."

Since this is a live radio broadcast, audience members are requested to be in their seats by 6:50 p.m. The show will be streamed live on the K-Bear website for those who are outside the broadcast range.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Center for Biological Diversity: Agency backtracks on attempt to exclude wolf experts from review of wolf delisting proposal

From a Center for Biological Diversity Press Release
Posted Aug. 12, 2013

Photo of wolf courtesy Reprinted with permission.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Aug. 12, 2013, that it will put on hold the scientific peer review of its proposal to remove protections for gray wolves across the country while it reviews its own actions leading to the disqualification of three scientists from the review panel.

Dr. John Vucetich, co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study and Michigan Tech professor of wildlife ecology and management, was one of the three excluded scientists. Vucetich has been studying the wolves of Isle Royale National Park for the past 20 years and is one of the nation’s leading wolf researchers. Vucetich was a member of the Mexican wolf recovery team and in 2011 participated as a peer reviewer of the Service’s decision to drop federal protections for the gray wolf in Wyoming.

Last week it was revealed that three scientists were excluded from the peer review because they signed a letter calling into question some of the science behind the proposal to delist the gray wolf.* While the Service initially claimed that it had not asked for the three scientists to be removed, emails between the contractor supervising the peer review process and the scientists themselves confirmed that the Service had in fact done exactly that.

Here is an interview with John Vucetich from the California Wolf Center posted on Aug. 9, 2013:

The California Wolf Center interviews Michigan Tech Professor and wildlife ecologist John Vucetich, co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study, concerning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) exclusion of scientists from a peer review of their wolf delisting proposal. This interview was posted on Aug. 9, 2013. USFWS announced on Aug. 12, 2013, that it would put the peer review on hold. (Video courtesy California Wolf Center. Re-published with permission.)

"We’re glad to see the Fish and Wildlife Service admit this mistake and hope this means there will be a true independent review of this deeply flawed proposal to remove protections for gray wolves," said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Unfortunately, this is but one example of how the Fish and Wildlife Service has been twisting the scientific process to get the desired political result of no more protections for wolves."

Peer review, a step required by the Endangered Species Act, is critical in ensuring that federal protections are not lifted before a species is fully recovered. In the case of the wolves, the Fish and Wildlife Service is contracting with a private company to conduct the peer review. Recognizing their scientific expertise, the private contractor hired for the review contacted several of the signers to the letter to participate in the review, including Dr. Vucetich, Dr. Robert Wayne and Dr. Roland Kays.

Dr. Robert Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles, is a leading wildlife geneticist and has studied the evolutionary and ecological relationship between wolves and other canine species in the United States and around the world. Dr. Roland Kays of North Carolina State University is a zoologist whose research focuses on the ecology and conservation of mammals. Kays’ research has focused on the genetic relationship and evolution of wolves and coyotes in North America.

As part of its contract, the outside contractor was required to submit the résumés of each peer reviewer to the Service with the names redacted. However, because each of these scientists has published hundreds of articles, it was easy for the Service to deduce who the contractor had selected. The Service then sent the contractor a copy of the letter asking that any signers be removed.

"The Service should take a moment to reflect on why it felt it was necessary to go to such lengths to control the peer review process of this proposal," said Hartl. "Perhaps it’s because the decision to delist the gray wolf is based on politics, not solely on the best available science."

This is the first time the Fish and Wildlife Service has imposed restrictions at the outset for whether scientists could be involved in peer review based on what it termed an "affiliation with an advocacy position."**....

The letter from the scientists and another from the American Society of Mammalogists raised a number of scientific questions about the agency’s proposal to remove protections for wolves, which today survive in just five percent of their historic range in the lower 48.***


* Click here to read the May 21, 2013, letter from scientists addressed to Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and Dan Ashe, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

** Click here to read the June 25, 2013, Order Statement of Work from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Criteria for peer reviewers are listed on pp. 2-3. Under "Advocacy," the document states, ""Reviewers will not be known or recognized for an affiliation with an advocacy position regarding the protection of this species under the Endangered Species Act."

*** Please note that wolves in Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment (which includes wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and portions of adjacent states) were delisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December 2011 (by a rule that took effect in January 2012). Click here for USFWS Questions and Answers on that decision. Since then Minnesota, Wisconsin, and -- most recently -- Michigan have legislated wolf hunts. A petition for a referendum against the second Michigan legislation (PA 21) to allow a wolf harvest (despite the success of a first petition drive against an earlier law) is now underway. Watch for a story on this, coming soon.

Visit the Center for Biological Diversity Web site for more background on their efforts to protect wolves.

See also this article by environmental journalist Todd Wilkinson: "Feds' wolf panel fails on science, objectivity."

Monday, August 12, 2013

Author Steve Lehto to speak on new edition of his book "Death's Door" Aug. 14 at Brownstone Hall

Author Steve Lehto speaks about the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike during his 2012 presentation at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. This Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, Lehto will speak about the new edition of his book Death's Door -- the Truth Behind the Italian Hall Disaster and the Strike of 1913 at the Brownstone Hall during an event again sponsored by the Adams Township School District Foundation, Inc., and the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center. (Keweenaw Now file photo)*

ATLANTIC MINE -- Author Steve Lehto will discuss the second edition of his book Death's Door -- the Truth Behind the Italian Hall Disaster and the Strike of 1913 during "An Evening with Steve Lehto" from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine. The event is open to the public.

The Adams Township School District Foundation, Inc., and the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center are hosting the event, similar to Lehto's visit that they sponsored in June 2012. In this new lecture, Lehto will update attendees with even more new information on this dark chapter in Michigan's past.

This book is a revised and expanded version of Lehto's 2006 book, Death's Door -- the Truth Behind Michigan's Largest Mass Murder. This new edition builds on that strong foundation with additional information and new photographs.

In his introduction to this second edition of Death's Door, Steve Lehto writes, "I first worked on this project in the early 2000s, and Death's Door was published in 2006. After the book came out, I continued researching the Italian Hall and the strike while working on other projects. Among other things, I met with countless people who had ties to the story, and many of them had information regarding the events in my book. I also uncovered more evidence regarding what happened at the hall and during the strike. I decided that with the 100th anniversary approaching, it would be appropriate to release an updated and revised version of the book, including everything I know so far.

"And to assure that we never forget how their children were stolen away."

During a book signing at Copper World in Calumet on June 20, 2013, author Steve Lehto chats with customer Delores Aho of Ontonagon about the second edition of his book Death's Door (which she is holding), while Copper World owner Tony Bausano looks on. Lehto was visiting the Copper Country on June 20 for the Italian Hall Ceremony and lectures he gave at Finn Fest.**

Lehto also spoke about his books and gave a book signing at the Brownstone Hall last year for the Adams Township School District Foundation, Inc., and the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center. The group invited him to return for a second presentation this summer.*

Like the event last year, this Wednesday's event will include discussion, book signing, wine tasting, hors-d'oeuvres, coffee and desserts. Admission is $10, which is tax-deductible and will help support scholarships and projects sponsored by the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center, which is an affiliate of Adams Township School District Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. In addition to scholarships, the Foundation funds are used to provide for teacher and student inspired programs as well as to assist in the preservation and enhancement of school buildings.

Editor's Notes:

* See our June 19, 2013, article about Steve Lehto, which includes video clips and photos from his presentation at Brownstone Hall last year.

** See our July 7, 2013, article with videos and photos of the Italian Hall Ceremony.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Novelist Carol Sheldon to launch new book on Copper Country with library presentations, book signings

CALUMET, HOUGHTON -- Novelist Carol Sheldon, author of two fictional accounts of the Copper Country, will give two presentations this week at local libraries to launch her newly published book, Driven to Rage.

"I love to write about relationships and human rights issues," Sheldon says.

An intimate tale of a family divided, the story is set in 1913 when miners and laborers are desperate, and drama unfolds in a human, personal light. Readers of Sheldon’s previous book, Mother Lode, will recognize earlier characters, while those familiar with Copper Country history will enjoy familiar events and elements applied in creative historical fiction.

Reading and book signing at Calumet Library Aug. 14

Sheldon will present "Love and Strife in the Mining Families of 1913" -- a reading and book signing -- from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the Calumet (CLK) Public Library. The event it open to the public -- all ages welcome! Refreshments will be served

Sheldon will present the "story behind the story," including her own ties to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Following the presentation, Sheldon will be available to sign books.  Proceeds from the sale of books during this event will go to support projects sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library. For more information, visit the library or call 337-0311 ext. 1107.

Portage Lake District Library to host Carol Sheldon Aug. 15

The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to an evening of readings and reflections with author Carol Sheldon from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15.

Sheldon will discuss her recent historical novel, Driven to Rage, and read excerpts from this book that tells the story of the 1913 Copper Miner’s Strike. In this tale, Sheldon's second historical novel about the Copper Country, conscience is set against convention and brother against brother as miners and laborers unite to face the power of copper mine bosses. Readers will meet heroes and scoundrels as well as Big Annie, a woman so strong in her determination to help the struggling miners that she could not be shamed or silenced.

This novel "explodes with tension," according to author Teresa LeYung-Ryan.

"You’ll recognize characters in this copper mining town, including Sheriff Earl Foster from the riveting Mother Lode," LeYung-Ryan says. "How we suffer, struggling with lust, loyalty and tolerance. Driven to Rage is powerfully moving; Sheldon is a master storyteller of relationships. Reminiscent of Gone With the Wind and Grapes of Wrath."

Sheldon's award-winning historical novel Mother Lode is set in the rough frontier state of Michigan in the late 1800s during the heyday of copper mining. Mother Lode placed in the top five percent of 5000 entries in Amazon's International Novel Contest of 2011. Recently it won the Bay Area Independent Publishers’ Association award for Best Fiction.

The highlights of Sheldon's writing career have been for the stage, and her award winning plays were chosen for professional productions on the east coast. Sheldon also writes poetry and teaches writing in Marin, California, where she lives.

There will be a book signing and selling after the presentation at Portage Library.

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

More book signings

Carol Sheldon will give additional book signings and sell her books as follows:

Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. - noon. Tori Farmers' Market, Hancock.
Thursday, Aug. 15, 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. North Wind Books, Finlandia, Hancock.
Friday, Aug. 16, 10 a.m. - noon. Quincy Mine, Hancock; 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Copper World, Calumet.
Saturday, Aug.  17, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Heritage Festival, Agassiz Park, Calumet; 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Grandpa's Barn, Copper Harbor.

For more information about Carol Sheldon, visit her Web site,

(Photo: Book cover for Driven to Rage, courtesy Carol Sheldon.)