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, August 24, 2013

Portage Library to host local author Corey LaBissoniere

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to an evening of readings and imaginative discussion with local author Corey LaBissoniere from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26.

LaBissoniere will discuss his novel that takes young adults into the mysterious underworld known as the Land of Enchantas. Land of Enchantas tells the tale of four teenagers who, after a chain of collisions and mishaps, embark on a forced journey into the remarkable underworld beneath their small town. In the depths of an old mine they discover talking animals, screaming vegetables, evil sorcerers, and other mythical creatures. In order to find their way home, the teens must fulfill an ancient prophecy and restore peace to the Land of Enchantas.

LaBissoniere has been writing since he was a child, and this is his first published book. He works as an adoption specialist in Houghton and enjoys extreme sports, outdoor activities, and travel. He is a member of the Upper Peninsula Authors and Publishers Association.

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

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

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to hold meeting Aug. 26

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) will have a board meeting (open to all) at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug 26, at the Hancock Chalet. Agenda items include the middle bridge, a fall work schedule and a winter activities schedule.

Questions,  email Jay Green, KNSC president, at or call him at 906-487-5411.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Houghton County Fair 2013 is underway -- Aug. 22-25

Kids enjoy the "Super Slide," one of the favorite rides at the Houghton County Fair. (2012 photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The 62nd Annual Houghton County Fair is underway today, Thursday, Aug. 22, and continues through Sunday, Aug. 25, at the Fairgrounds in Hancock. This year's theme is "The Country Life."

These 2012 prize-winning guinea hens invite everyone to "Come to the Fair!" (Video by Keweenaw Now)

To get to the fairgrounds take US 41 to Hancock, turn north on Ethel and west on Ingot OR M203 west to Birch, and proceed north on Birch.*

Tonight, Thursday, the Miss Houghton County Queen Pageant will take place at 6:30 p.m. on the indoor stage. Afterwards, don't miss the Caboodlestoppers show at 8 p.m. and the Great American Duck Races at 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT -- both on the Midway. Exhibit buildings are open until 10 p.m.

Friday is Senior Citizens' Day, and a program for seniors age 55 and over will include a free lunch, entertainment, and prize drawings from noon to 4 p.m. at the Indoor Arena. Also the Ruth E. Best Homemaker of the Year (FCE) and Open Class Exhibits Awards will be at 12:15 p.m. on the Indoor Stage.

Exhibit for Carol Kreher, winner of the 2012 Homemaker of the Year award. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Other highlights for Friday are the Dairy and Beef Show at noon in the Livestock Pavilion, the Equine Freestyle Demonstration by Copper Country Horse Riders at 1 p.m. in the Horse Arena, the Sheep and Goat Show at 3 p.m. in the Livestock Pavilion, the Horse Jumping Show at 5 p.m. in the Horse Arena and the Farm Tractor Pull at 6 p.m. in the Main Event Arena.

Cindy and Gary Miller of Pelkie show off daughter Katie's steer during the 2012 Houghton County Fair. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

On Saturday, don't miss the Youth Talent Show at 12:30 p.m. on the Indoor Stage, Ward’s Local Logging Competition in the Main Event Arena at 1 p.m., Tom Katalin's Music at 5 p.m. on the Indoor Stage and more.*

Finally, on Sunday, at 9 a.m. an Open Horse Show will take place in the Horse Arena; at 1 p.m. Music on the Indoor Stage will be Wolf Gang Old Rock and Roll and Old Country; and the Main Event Arena will be the scene of the Demolition Derby at 2 p.m.

Rides for all ages are provided this year by TJ Schmidt and Co. Amusements. (2012 photo by Keweenaw Now)*

Entertainment is included with Admission, except Carnival Rides. Rides and the Midway open at noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

*Click here to see the online Fair brochure listing fees, Carnival Ride Specials, map and (scroll to page 2) the complete schedule.

Calumet Art Center to host The 1913 Singers TONIGHT, Aug. 22

CALUMET -- Much has been written about the 1913-1914 Copper Miners’ Strike, but new research has uncovered what strikers and company loyalists sang to raise morale and build solidarity both on and off the picket lines. Join Alice Margerum and The 1913 Singers as they perform "All the news that’s fit to sing: verses from the 1913-14 copper strike" -- songs and poems that were published in local newspapers during this tumultuous period.

This presentation will take place at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, at the Calumet Art Center, located at 57055 Fifth Street in Calumet, Michigan (at the corner of Red Jacket Road and Fifth Street). It is free and open to the public.

This special performance offers a rare opportunity to hear the music of the period. Margerum scoured all the local sources she could find to learn what music people were listening to during the strike. Songs from the Miners’ Bulletin, the official pro-union newspaper of the strike; Työmies, the daily Finnish language newspaper from Hancock; and Truth, the anti-union newspaper of the Citizens’ Alliance all contained songs, verses, and poems. The 1913 Singers, vocalists from the Houghton and Hancock area, have revived these songs, which are an often-overlooked part of the history of the labor confrontation.

The Fourth Thursday in History series arranges public presentations on important aspects of Copper Country and regional history, including techniques for historic preservation. Presentations are scheduled in venues throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula, particularly at historic sites associated with specific topics. They are free and open to the public.

For further information, including specific directions to this event, contact Keweenaw National Historical Park at (906) 337-3168 or check the web at

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve: Citizens asked to attend public hearings on northern Marquette County road changes

From: Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
Posted Aug. 21, 2013, on the Yellow Dog Watershed blog

BIG BAY -- While the upgrades to CR550 are underway, an entirely new section of road is being constructed from the [Eagle] mine gate to the Champion Twp-Michigamme Twp line (roughly where 595 would have ended). While the changes to Triple A develop, the existing Triple A road will remain open and then the old section will be "obliterated" sometime afterwards. The Triple A project is being paid for by the state, and Lundin Mining Corp. will pay a matching portion. Basically state dollars (your dollars) are being used to straighten a section of county road for the mine. ... Click here to read more.

Public Hearing Notice:

The Marquette County Road Commission will hold a public information meeting on construction improvements to County Road 550 from Harlow Creek northerly 3.1 miles as a part of the scheduled board meeting on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, at 6 p.m. at the Powell Township Hall, 101 Bensinger, Big Bay, MI 49808. A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m.

Work included in this project consists of milling and resurfacing the existing asphalt or crushing the existing asphalt in place, regrading the material and repaving the area.

Any questions or concerns related to the above project should be directed to the Marquette County Road Commission, 1610 North Second Street, Ishpeming, MI 49849 or via phone at (906) 486-4491.

Another Citizen Action/Public Hearing Notice:

A Public Hearing will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. as a part of a 6 p.m. Special Meeting of the Marquette County Road Commission to be held at the Powell Township Hall. Click here for further detail and maps.

The Road Commission is proposing upgrading CR 510 between CR 550 and CR KAA (Triple A). and CR KAA and CR AAA (Triple A) from CR 510 to the Michigamme/Champion Township line. The Road Commission is anticipating needing right of way for both projects. It is anticipated that construction of these projects will be started in October of 2013.

Michigan LCV: No more Petcoke in Detroit

From Michigan League of Conservation Voters' Political Week in Review
Posted Aug. 19, 2013

Last week, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing joined Michigan LCV members in taking action on petroleum coke piling high along the Detroit River. Bing ordered all petcoke to be removed from the city by August 27th. His decision affirms calls for cleanup from local leaders like State Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), and concerns from US Congressman Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Township) that no long-term studies on petcoke’s impact have been completed.

Thousands of Michigan LCV members signed on to stand with both Peters and Tlaib since petcoke piles showed up in Detroit, and now both legislators have hard copies of your signatures. On Friday, Michigan LCV met with Representative Tlaib in her Detroit office just around the corner from remaining petcoke piles, to deliver a list of Michiganders from all over the state who support her continual pressure for cleanup. To see the petition delivery, follow our brand new Instagram account (MichiganLCV), or check out our
Facebook page.

Click here to read more articles from Michigan LCV's Political Week in Review.

Editor's Note: Read about petcoke and watch a video of Detroit activist Jarret Schlaff of DCATS (Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands) speaking about citizens' protests against petcoke pollution in their neighborhood in Keweenaw Now's July 22 article, "Videos, photos: 'Oil and Water Don't Mix' rally draws hundreds concerned about Great Lakes."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Portage Library to host "Social Security: Your Questions Answered" Aug. 21

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library is hosting a series of financial workshops designed to give participants the information they need to understand the basics of investments so they can make decisions about their financial goals.

Bob Nelson, CFP, AAMS financial adviser from Edward Jones, will present "Social Security: Your Questions Answered" from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21. This educational program will help people understand how Social Security fits into their retirement income plan. Participants will also learn when the best time to start taking benefits is and how taxes may affect Social Security.

This program is free of charge, and it includes time for questions and answers.

Nelson has attended numerous Edward Jones Financial Advisers Leaders Conferences, and he recently received the Spirit of Caring Award. This award is designed to recognize those financial advisers who exemplify the values, culture, and spirit of giving back.

For more information about this seminar, please call Bob Nelson at 482-8680 or call the library at 482-4570.

Michigan LCV: Natural Resources Trust Fund to hold U.P. Town Halls

From: Michigan League of Conservation Voters
Posted Aug. 19, 2013

This week, Town Halls for Michigan's Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) cross the Mackinac Bridge and begin their Upper Peninsula tour. Show up to support quality state parks and public land!

Join Michigan LCV members at these meetings to show your support for an NRTF that stays true to its promise of protecting Michigan's state parks and natural resources for future generations. Here is this week's meeting information, and specific examples of how the NRTF benefits Upper Peninsula communities:

State Representative Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) will host three meetings in his district on Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 20, 21:
  • Iron Mountain: Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m. (Central Time). Fornetti Hall at Bay College West, Room 104, 2801 North US 2. Recent NRTF projects in Dickinson County: Iron Mountain City Park improvements, Millie Mine Bat Viewing Trail development.

  • Menominee, Wednesday, Aug. 21, from 8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. (Central Time). Schloegel’s Restaurant, 2720 10th St. Recent NRTF projects in Menominee: Quiver Falls and Piers Gorge land acquisition.

  • Escanaba, Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 2:30 p.m. Bay de Noc Community College, Joseph Heirmann Building, 2001 N. Lincoln Road. Recent NRTF projects in Delta County: Van Cleve Park Harbor Point revitalization, Sac Bay land acquisition.
State Representative John Kivela (D - Marquette) will host a meeting in his district on Wednesday, Aug. 21, from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Marquette City Commission Hall. Recent NRTF projects in Marquette County: Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook development, Perkins Park improvements, Iron Ore Trail development.

Click here for Michigan LCV's full article with links to info on these projects and more about the NRTF.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dianda to host town halls on HB 4612 -- no-fault auto insurance changes

 CALUMET -- State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) will be hosting a series of town halls to discuss House Bill 4612, a Republican-backed bill that would make significant changes to Michigan's current auto no-fault laws.*

Rep. Dianda will be joined by representatives from the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN). The town halls will feature remarks by Dianda, a presentation from CPAN and a question-and-answer segment. These events are free and open to the public.

Here is the schedule of the town halls:

Monday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m., at the Gogebic Community College Lindquist Center Courtside Room, E4946 Jackson Road in Ironwood
Tuesday, Aug. 20, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Ontonagon Village Office, Village of Ontonagon Council Chambers, 105 Michigan Ave. in Ontonagon
Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the City of Houghton Council Chambers, 616 Shelden Ave. in Houghton
Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. at the Village of L'Anse Chamber Room, 101 N. Main St. in Baraga
Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Iron County Courthouse Chamber Room 2, S. Sixth St. in Crystal Falls.

*Click here to read CPAN's Summary Analysis of HB 4612.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

From Woodsperson: Asbestos Part II

From: Woodsperson
Posted on Woodsperson blog Aug. 17, 2013
Reprinted in part with permission.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN --  In our previous post on the presence of asbestiform minerals in the Penokee range, we promised to "follow the rumor" that the mineral had been found at the mine site. Lots of phone calls to good people like Tom Evans and Esther Stewart of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS) plus interviews with concerned geologists, mining engineers and attorneys completed the story.*

We’ll come back to the rumor later.  But first, I found that a lot of people, including myself, did not fully understand the geological reasons behind the occurrence of asbestos in the Penokee rock. So, briefly, here’s how it got there.

A Little Geology

The Gogebic Range resulted when tremendous forces broke the miles-thick crust of the earth and thrust our part up at a 60 degree angle. On Lake Road near Mellen, we can see a cross-section of this standing-on-end earth crust starting on the south with a small outcrop of some of the oldest rock on earth -- the first stable crust -- some 2.5 billion years old.  Going north we see layers of rock that previously had accumulated at the bottom of a shallow sea -- the Palms formation. At a very sharply defined point the rock turns magnetic -- the Ironwood formation. A story, which could be another complete post, is that if you look at this slow accumulation of silt as kind of a clock of the life history of the earth, this instant where non-magnetic rock becomes magnetic rock is the exact time that modern life forms began on earth.

I digress.

In this photo the dark lines are "mafic" (lava -- probably gabro) intrusions into the lighter colored, fractured host material, a sedimentary rock of some kind -- not iron rich in this case. The arrowhead shaped feature at the end of the squiggly intrusion into a crack has some larger crystals which could be some asbestos-like material. (Photo © and courtesy Woodsperson blog)
The awful forces, strong enough to rend the crust of the earth, not only lifted the base to a 60 degree angle but, as you might imagine, shattered the layers of archaen crust and their overlaying layers of sedimentary (silty) rock. Cracks and crevices opened up and the underlying molten rock from lower in the crust oozed up in between the layers of shattered surface rock. This incredibly hot lava reacted with the iron and silicon and other elements in the rock to create metamorphosed new minerals. Some of those minerals cooled slow enough to form long or spiral or snowflake crystals of very high strength and high bulk density -- asbestos.

The geology lesson ends here. The result of this cataclysm is a random, chaotic set of asbestiform minerals scattered throughout the Gogebic range, being more prolific near the east and west ends of the range.  Keep the chaos and randomness in mind as you read further.  ...

Click here to read the rest of this article on

* For Part I of this series of articles on asbestos in the Penokees, see "They're doing it again!" -- posted on the Woodsperson blog Aug. 4, 2013.

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, candidate for Sen. Levin's seat, to meet public in Bruce Crossing Aug. 18

BRUCE CROSSING, Mich. -- U.S. Congressman Gary Peters (D-Pontiac), who represents Michigan's 14th Congressional District and who has announced his candidacy for retiring U.S. Senator Carl Levin's seat, will meet with Upper Peninsula citizens at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Sunday, Aug. 18, at Stannard Township Hall in Bruce Crossing.

The event is sponsored by the Ontonagon County Democrats and is open to the public.

Stannard Township Hall is behind the fire hall on Hwy 45 in Bruce Crossing. It is across from Settlers Co-op and in the next building east of the VFW Hall. Parking is in the rear.

To learn about Congressman Peters visit his Web site.

U.S. Congressman Benishek to hold town hall meetings in Hancock, Negaunee Aug. 19

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Michigan First District U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek will hold two public town hall meetings TOMORROW, Monday, Aug. 19.

From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (EDT), Benishek will meet with constituents at the American Legion Post, 1320 Quincy St., Hancock. He will be in Negaunee from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Negaunee Elks Lodge No. 1116, 107 North Pioneer Avenue.

Constituents will have the opportunity to meet with Dr. Benishek and share with him their thoughts and concerns on legislative issues facing Congress. Casework staff will also be available to assist constituents with questions regarding federal agencies.

For more information on Congressman Benishek, visit his Web site.