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Saturday, September 07, 2013

Michigan Tech News: Immunization Beads Garner Top Prize in 3D Printers for Peace Contest

By Marcia Goodrich, Michigan Tech Magazine Editor
Posted Sept. 5, 2013, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted with permission

John Van Tuyl's VaxBeads, designed to serve as a vaccination record for children in the developing world, won first prize in the 3D Printers for Peace contest. (Photo © and courtesy John Van Tuyl)

HOUGHTON -- A brightly colored innovation to help families and doctors keep track of childhood vaccine records in the developing world has won the 3D Printers for Peace Contest.

The contest was organized last spring by Michigan Technological University’s Joshua Pearce, who had become alarmed that 3D printing was known primarily as a technology for making homemade guns. "We wanted to celebrate designs that will make lives better, not snuff them out," said Pearce, a 3D printing aficionado and an associate professor of materials science and engineering and electrical and computer engineering.

The 3D Printers for Peace contest did just that, by underscoring the power of the new technology to make the world a better place, according to Pearce. "I’m really happy with the diversity of designs," he said. "They showcase the ability of the 3D printing community to benefit humanity."

The first-place entry, VaxBeads, was submitted by John Van Tuyl of Hamilton, Ontario. The plastic blocks act as an immunization record. Each color and shape represents a vaccine, and the blocks can be printed with a child’s initials, date of birth and an identifying number. Van Tuyl receives the top prize, an Open-source Series 1 3-D Printer donated by Type A Machines.

A master’s student in mechanical engineering at McMaster University, Van Tuyl has a biomedical background, which prompted him to focus on improving immunization rates in the developing world. "We have the capacity to immunize against many diseases, but it’s not getting accomplished," he said. Putting easily interpreted medical records into the hands of the people could help, he thought. So he developed VaxBeads, which can be strung into a necklace to represent a person’s immunization record. "They are more permanent than paper, and I thought families would be more likely to save the beads than standard vaccination cards."

The judges were impressed with the design’s originality and practicality. "VaxBeads are a novel idea; no one has done anything like that yet," said Pearce. "John demonstrated the ability of 3D printing to address a real need in the developing world. You could print beads fast enough to hand to children, and if they were to wear the necklace to the doctor’s office, it would be quick and easy to identify missing vaccinations."

Matthew Courchaine, who took second place in the contest, is working on a double major in computer and electrical engineering at Michigan Tech. He will receive a MOST version of the RepRap Prusa Mendel open-source 3D printer kit for his entry, a solar-powered water purification cone. It is designed for use during disasters or in regions where clean water is a precious commodity. "As long as you have some sunlight and a source of water, it will work," Pearce said.

This solar water purification cone, by Matthew Courchaine, earned second place in Michigan Tech's 3D Printers for Peace competition. (Photo © and courtesy Matthew Courchaine.)

Courchaine, of Crystal Falls, has been hooked on 3D printers since he built one himself and started using it to make household items, knick-knacks and the like. "When I saw Dr. Pearce’s description of the contest, I completely agreed with his reasoning. Often times, I will get asked jokingly to print someone a gun, but I think that the 3D printing revolution is a great thing and has endless possibilities."

Several similar products are already on the market. "The challenge was to recreate the technology so that it can cheaply be produced using 3D printing," Courchaine said.

The third prize, a MatterHackers sampler pack of filament, was awarded to Aaron Meidinger for his design of a braille tablet, which could let a sighted person leave short notes to a blind person, or vice versa. Plastic tiles with letters in both braille and the alphabet can be arranged on a platform reminiscent of Scrabble. "It’s simple, easy to make, and definitely would work," said Pearce.

Aaron Meidinger designed Scrabble-like tiles with letters in both braille and the alphabet to take third place in 3D Printers for Peace. (Photo © and courtesy Aaron Meidinger)

Meidinger, a mechanical engineering major at Arizona State University, started thinking about language after taking a sign language class in high school. "Braille is to the blind as sign language is to the deaf, and braille is certainly not intuitive for a sighted person," he said. "There are extremely expensive tools out there that aim to create braille on a computerized tablet, but I wanted to design something that would be simple and educational for a sighted person to use, and could be useful in many ways for non-verbal communication for the blind. Even if you can’t write braille, you can arrange tiles to spell out what you need to."

Pearce expressed his thanks to all the 3D Printers for Peace participants. "All the open-source entries demonstrated the technical ability and promise of low-cost 3D printers to provide for humanity’s needs and advance the cause of peace."

All the entries are posted on, which now has 146,000 open-source designs that can be downloaded for free and printed by anyone with a 3D printer.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Photos: Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk

MACKINAC BRIDGE -- Friends of Keweenaw Now shared some photos of the 56th Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk, Sept. 2, 2013:

After a visit to Houghton last week, Jessie Vital Files (Michigan Tech graduate in forestry) and her husband, Michael Files, headed back to southern Michigan with a stop at the Mackinac Bridge and joined thousands of energetic walkers for the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk. "Ready to do it (5 miles to go) non stop," she writes about this photo. (Photos © and courtesy Jessie Vital Files unless otherwise indicated.)

The large crowd sets out across the Straits of Mackinac on the five-mile bridge, which connects the Upper Peninsula, near St. Ignace, with the Lower Peninsula at Mackinaw City, Mich.

Traffic guards help keep the walkers on one side of the bridge, while the flow of traffic continues.

A great view of the majestic bridge ...

The large crowd gathers at the Finish Line!

Alexandra Thebert, left, Save the Wild U.P. executive director, sent this photo, commenting, "We made it! It was about 50 degrees but didn't rain and no one lost their hat to the wind!" Also pictured with her are Jennifer Finstrom, Louise Anderson, and Paul Finstrom. (Photo © and courtesy Alexandra Thebert)

Click here for more information about the Mackinac Bridge Walk -- in case you plan to do it next year!

Orpheum Theater to host local folk music bands TONIGHT, Sept. 6

HANCOCK -- The Orpheum Theater in Hancock will host two local folk music bands TONIGHT, Friday, Sept. 6 -- Adam Kentala and Tony Laux (known as The Marquette Generals) and Gratiot Lake Road.

"Come out to the Orpheum for a night of thought-provoking lyrical harmonies, banjo-plucked melodies, and some tasty bass-driven jams," says Orpheum owner Michael Shupe. "These guys have all played the Orpheum stage in the past, but never all together, so be sure not to miss it."

Shupe adds that, as rumor has it, Gratiot Lake Road and Tony Laux will be moving away soon, so don't miss the show tonight!

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Music begins at 8 p.m. Cost: $5 for the show.

For details visit these Web sites: and

Next Friday, Sept. 13, the Orpheum will host Copper Country favorites Red Tail Ring and on Saturday, Sept. 14, Superstars Greensky Bluegrass.

The Orpheum Theater is located at 426 Quincy St. in downtown Hancock. Call 906-482-5100 for more information.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

First Friday in Calumet, Sept. 6, to offer art, music, dance

CALUMET -- First Friday evening, Sept. 6, will offer new gallery exhibits, an art workshop, music and dance events in downtown Calumet.

Paige Wiard Gallery to host work by Erv Lewandowski 

Lynx in Winter, by Erv Lewandowski. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

The Paige Wiard Gallery will be welcoming award-winning artist Erv Lewandowski who specializes in colored pencil drawings of subjects and settings from across North America and beyond. Recognized for his contemporary realism/hyperrealism studies, his approach to nature, landscapes, and waterscapes is unique in style, meticulously rendered in detail, and visually appealing in form, content, and composition.

Black Slate Falls, by Erv Lewandowski. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

Lewandowski's waterscape images depicting slowly moving stream currents, quiet river pools, bubbling brooks, cascading waterfalls, and shoreline settings perfectly illustrate his ability to create the illusion of a speck of time, measure of space, and fluid movement with a subject that is in constant motion.

An opening reception for the artist will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, at the Paige Wiard Gallery, 109 5th St., Calumet. If you have any questions please call 906-337-5970.

Create miniature "Art from Nature" at Copper Country Associated Artists

Copper Country Associated Artists will offer a workshop, "Creating Art from Nature," from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on First Friday, Sept. 6, at their Gallery and Working Studio, 205 Fifth St. in Calumet.

Participants will learn the technique of natural impression using inking and paint with specimens of nature to create miniature works of art. Designs created with this technique can be used as an accent on a greeting card, a framed piece of art or original wrapping paper.

For more information, please call 906-337-1252. This workshop is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be available.

Tom Rudd to exhibit his Lake Superior fish at Galerie Bohème

Silver Shiner, by Tom Rudd. (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

September at Galerie Bohème will be a month for fish -- with art by Tom Rudd -- a series of 38 fish native to Lake Superior, 20 of them so far.

"Mostly small fish made big -- sculpins, sticklebacks, darters, bass, a couple of trout and other outrageous sweet-water monsters," Rudd notes. "Will also have a couple of stone fish and plenty of cast and painted Pisces."

The public is invited to the opening reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, at Galerie Bohème, 423 5th St. in Calumet. Punch, bread and cheese will be served.

Omphale Gallery and Café to feature art by Margo McCafferty and Tom Rudd

Just up Fifth Street from Galerie Bohème, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 6, First Friday visitors will find more art by Tom Rudd -- and by his wife, Margo McCafferty -- at the Omphale Gallery and Café. Music will be provided  by Robin Oye.

The Omphale will be offering their two-for-the-price-of-one Latte Frappuccino Special again as well.

Please note their winter hours: M-T-Th-Fri-Sat: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (9 p.m. on First Friday). Closed for rest and restocking Sunday and Wednesday!

Music, art at Calumet Art Center Sept. 6

While you're in Calumet on First Friday, stop by the Calumet Art Center, 57055 Fifth Street, and tap your toes to the accordion music of Marilyn Monsivais!

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 artists are gearing up for the Empty Bowls Project. Learn about the center's recent classes and projects and upcoming events.

More music events on First Friday ...

Click here to read about the Keweenaw Social Dance Argentine tango workshop.

Click here to read about the benefit dance to raise funds for lightning damage to the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's.

If you missed First Friday events in July or August, see Keweenaw Now's new slide show, Summer Art 2013, with photos of local art exhibits and activities. Right now it's at the top right corner of Keweenaw Now -- or click here to go directly to the slide show.

Club Indigo to feature Disney's "Fantasia" Sept. 6

CALUMET -- This could be the last time to see the Disney original (1940) classic Fantasia -- with its inspired animation set to familiar classical music -- on the big screen.

Club Indigo will feature this historic film at 7:15 p.m. TOMORROW, Friday, Sept. 6, at the Calumet Theatre with a fantasy buffet from Calumet's Miskowabik Club at 6 p.m. Cost of food and film is $19 and film alone is $5. Special discount for children ten and under. For seating at the buffet, call the Calumet Theater at 337-2610.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Benefit dance at Keweenaw Heritage Center Sept. 6 to help repair steeple struck by lightning

Damage to the Keweenaw Heritage Center (St. Anne's) steeple from a recent lightning strike. A benefit dance will be held here Sept. 6 to raise funds for repairs. (Photo courtesy Anita Campbell)

CALUMET -- Jim and Teri Enrietti, along with Don Masnado, will be providing music for a benefit dance from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6, in the lower level of the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's, at 5th and Scott streets in Calumet. Admission will be $5, and additional donations will be very welcome. 

Proceeds will go toward meeting any deductible for repairs to the steeple following the recent near-catastrophic lightning strike and to putting measures into place that will help prevent future strikes.

Click here to read about the lightning strike and see photos of the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's.

Keweenaw Social Dance to offer two Argentine tango workshops Sept. 5, 6 in Calumet

CALUMET -- Keweenaw Social Dance will host two workshops of Argentine tango in their Calumet studio at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 5 and 6. Each workshop will be followed by an open dance at 8 p.m.

Braden Giacobazzi, former vice president of the Michigan Tech Social Dance Club, will be coming to the Keweenaw to teach some of his very well polished Argentine tango. He excels in this dance and is a great teacher. Take advantage of this a once-in-a-year opportunity to learn the tango or to improve your dancing skills. Casual dress and somewhat slippery shoes are a good thing to have for these occasions.

Admission is $10. The studio is at 333 Fifth Street in Calumet. Call 906.370.9532 or email for more information.

Christine Saari's "Cigar Box Shrines" exhibit to open TONIGHT, Sept. 4, at Community Arts Center

Canoe full of Roses, a Cigar Box Shrine by artist Christine Saari, is part of her exhibit opening with a reception tonight, Sept. 4, at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center will host "Cigar Box Shrines," a recycling project by Christine Saari, who will give a gallery talk at the opening reception for the exhibit to be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, Sept. 4.

"Like much of my work, this project is about creating something new from something old, recycling 'stuff' I have kept for years," Saari says. "This project started in 2012, when a friend gave me a few cigar boxes while I was going through accumulated materials in my studio. As I worked, I realized I was making little shrines, honoring other artists' work as well as gifts that had been sitting around for years, little noticed -- giving these objects new life."

More than 50 Cigar Box Shrines will be included in this exhibit, promising to be a rich spectacle of treasured items showcased by Christine's sensitive and whimsical imagination.

The exhibit, in the Kerredge Gallery, will continue through Sept. 28.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Induction Ceremony for "Big Annie" Clemenc into Labor's International Hall of Fame honors Calumet labor leader of 1913 Copper Miners' Strike

By Michele Bourdieu

Shawn Ellis, Labor co-chair of Labor's International Hall of Fame, presents an award honoring Big Annie Clemenc to Annie's great granddaughter Anne Marie Kelly of Oak Lawn, Illinois, during the Induction Ceremony for Big Annie held on July 26, 2013, in the Calumet Visitor Center. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- An estimated 175 people nearly filled the Third Floor Lodge Room of the Calumet Visitor Center on July 26, 2013, for the Induction Ceremony to mark the acceptance of Big Annie Clemenc, labor leader during the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike in Calumet, into Labor's International Hall of Fame.

Keweenaw National Historical Park officials hosted the event, which was held just a few days after the actual centennial of the strike's official beginning -- July 23, 1913. The ceremony was one of many events scheduled this year in commemoration of the centennial.*

Special guests for the ceremony included Big Annie's great granddaughters, Anne Marie Kelly and Debra Devlin of Oak Lawn, Illinois, and their children; Shawn Ellis, Labor co-chair of Labor's International Hall of Fame; Lyndon Comstock, nominator of Annie for the honor and author of Annie Clemenc and the Great Keweenaw Copper Strike (2013).

In the Calumet Visitor Center, Keweenaw National Historical Park Ranger Tom Baker welcomes the audience to the July 26, 2013, Induction of Annie Clemenc into Labor's International Hall of Fame and introduces special guests, including Annie's descendants -- Anne Marie Kelly and Debra Devlin of Oak Lawn, Illinois, and their children, seated in the front row.

After a welcome by Mike Pflaum, Keweenaw National Historical Park (KNHP) superintendent, and an introduction by Tom Baker, KNHP park ranger and management assistant, Comstock presented the historical context for the induction. He reported on the research he did for his book on Annie and the strike -- and he noted how his interest in Annie began while working on research with his cousin Joanne Thomas of Allouez, who put together the museum exhibit on Annie, now displayed in the Coppertown Mining Museum in Calumet.**

At the July 26, 2013, Induction of Annie Clemenc (Big Annie) into Labor's International Hall of Fame in the Calumet Visitor Center, Lyndon Comstock, author of Annie Clemenc and the Great Keweenaw Copper Strike, talks about Big Annie's origins and how she came to embody the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike in Calumet, Michigan. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Comstock continues his talk about Annie and describes the events that led up to the Italian Hall tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1913:

Author Lyndon Comstock speaks about Annie's leadership role in the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike, her heroism and the Italian Hall tragedy.

In his conclusion, Comstock affirms his belief that Big Annie deserves being included in Labor's International Hall of Fame and introduces Shawn Ellis, Labor co-chair of the organization, based in Detroit:

Lyndon Comstock concludes his speech about Annie and introduces Shawn Ellis, Labor co-chair of Labor's International Hall of Fame, who explains the process for selection of inductees. (The official induction of Annie Clemenc into Labor's International Hall of Fame took place on May 16, 2013, in New York, NY.)

Anne Marie Kelly, great granddaughter of Big Annie Clemenc, accepts the 2013 Labor's International Hall of Fame Induction Award from Shawn Ellis and offers an acceptance speech to the appreciative audience:

After accepting the 2013 Labor's International Hall of Fame Induction Award from Shawn Ellis, Anne Marie Kelly, Big Annie's great granddaughter, introduces her sister, Debra Devlin, and welcomes Virginia Burns, author of Tall Annie, a biography of Big Annie for young readers. Kelly also notes she is inspired to meet young visitors who attended the event because they are interested in Annie and writing about her for school projects.

 A program from the May 16, 2013, Labor's International Hall of Fame event, distributed at the Calumet event, notes Annie Clemenc shared the honor of 2013 induction with Evelyn Dubrow, a lobbyist for the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union, and with Viola Liuzzo, who was killed by Ku Klux Klansmen while aiding civil rights marchers during the march to Selma, Alabama, in 1965.

The program describes how Annie Klobuchar Clemenc carried the flag in the daily marches during the 1913-14 Copper Miners' Strike in Calumet.

"She was arrested several times," the program notes. " She was physically attacked by strikebreakers, company goons and local police. But she never wavered in her determination to bring social justice to a mining workforce that was underpaid, forced to work under dangerous conditions and subject to constant management harassment."

Stuart Baird, manager of the Coppertown Mining Museum, who has been enthusiastic about having the "Big Annie" exhibit in the museum for the centennial, commented on the induction ceremony.

"I think it's the best event they ever had to celebrate Big Annie's legacy," Baird said.

 More photos ...

After the Induction Ceremony, Big Annie's great-granddaughters, Anne Marie Kelly, right, and Debra Devlin (holding award) are pictured here with Shawn Ellis, Labor co-chair for Labor's International Hall of Fame.

Following the Induction Ceremony, authors Lyndon Comstock and Virginia Burns offered book signings for the public.

Lyndon Comstock, author of Annie Clemenc and the Great Keweenaw Copper Strike and nominator of Annie to Labor's International Hall of Fame, is pictured here with Janet Gregorich of South Range after signing his book for her. The two chatted about their Croatian heritage, very close in background to Annie's. In his book, Comstock discusses Annie's Slovenian heritage and her connection with Slovenian women's groups.

During her book signing event at the Coppertown Museum after the Induction Ceremony, Virginia Burns of Owosso, Mich., author of Tall Annie, chats with Debra Devlin, great granddaughter of Annie Clemenc, and her son, Patrick.

Virginia Burns makes a special friend during the book signing -- Madison La Bonte of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., who is doing a school project on Big Annie.

Virginia Burns is pictured here at her book signing in Coppertown Museum with her family members who attended the Induction Ceremony -- from left, her grandson John Ritchie, her daughter Meg Ritchie of Owosso (Mich.) and her son Duncan Ritchie. Duncan and his son John made the trip from Madison, Wis.

After the Induction Ceremony, Big Annie's descendants from Oak Lawn, Ill. -- Anne Marie Kelly and her daughter Aine, right, and Debra Devlin and her son Patrick -- visit the "Big Annie" exhibit at the Coppertown Mining Museum. Debra and Aine are holding the 2013 Labor's International Hall of Fame Induction Award the family received during the ceremony.

Susan Comstock, left, author Lyndon Comstock's sister, from Evanston, Ill., and Peggy Germain of Calumet, author of articles on the Italian Hall disaster, visit the "Big Annie" exhibit after the induction ceremony.

* Click here to see our videos of the Italian Hall Ceremony held in Calumet during Finn Fest on June 20, 2013.

** Click here to read our July 22, 2013, article with photos of the "Big Annie" exhibit, created by Joanne Thomas.

New slide show: Summer Art 2013

HANCOCK -- See our latest slide show, Summer Art 2013, for some samples of art exhibited in July and August in Calumet and Hancock.

Calumet artist Jack Oyler's work is displayed during the July 5, 2013, open house for Laura Smyth's Smythtype Design at 104 Fifth St., Suite A, above Café Rosetta in Calumet. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Click here for the slide show. Watch for announcements on First Friday in Calumet exhibits, coming up this Friday, Sept. 6.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

From The Progressive: Wis. GOP to ban public for miles from mine

By Rebecca Kemble
Posted Aug. 31, 2013, on The Progressive
Reprinted in part with permission

MADISON -- This week’s Friday afternoon news dump in Wisconsin was a doozy: A new bill to allow the Gogebic Taconite iron mining company to bar the public from using public access land on an eight-square-mile parcel near their proposed mine site. This is an area that attracts people from all over the country to enjoy the excellent trout fishing and hunting.

Announced late on Friday afternoon before the long Labor Day weekend, the bill is being fast-tracked and may pass into law before the end of September. It is up for a public hearing this Wednesday and is scheduled to be voted out of committee on Thursday. (Photo inset © and courtesy Rebecca Kemble. Reprinted with permission.)

Senate Bill 278 was introduced by Senators Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend). Tiffany championed the second go round for the massive mining deregulation bill that finally passed into law last spring, after corporate interests backing the plan spent millions unseating Democratic State Senator Jess King last November to clinch the extra Republican vote needed on the bill, since Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) broke ranks to oppose the measure.

Outside a public hearing at the Hurley High School, August 15, 2013. (Photo © and courtesy Rebecca Kemble. Reprinted with permission)

Nobody was willing to take credit for writing the bill before it was passed, but after it was signed into law Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald was not ashamed to admit that lawyers for GTac wrote the bill.

Even though the law pushes the contested case hearing (an administrative legal proceeding in which the public may contest mining company data and claims and call them to testify under oath) until after the mining permit has already been granted, and severely reduces the role of the Department of Natural Resources in the regulatory process, eliminating most of their enforcement authority and rendering them little more than bureaucratic "box checkers," apparently the company’s lawyers didn’t go far enough and now they have to pass a new law. ...

Click here to read the rest of this article.