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, October 19, 2013

TONIGHT, Oct. 19: Orpheum Theater to hold benefit concert for Engineers Without Borders

HANCOCK -- TONIGHT, Saturday, Oct. 19, the Orpheum Theater will host a concert to support a great cause at the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Band Benefit, featuring local musicians Kevin Blackstone, The Leslie Cabinets (aka, Erika Vye and Steve Brimm), and Gratiot Lake Road.

EWB is a humanitarian organization that provides service learning opportunities to Michigan Tech students. Students are given the chance to travel to developing communities worldwide and help design sustainable engineering projects that will help improve quality of life for the members of these communities.

The EWB Band Benefit raises money for travel and project expenses for students involved in the organization. For more on EWB and what they do for communities around the world visit

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with music starting at 8 p.m. The cover charge is $7 at the door.

Photos: Gromit the Trail Mutt reports on bridge work, autumn adventures ...

By Gromit the Trail Mutt
Posted on her blog, The Trail Mutt Reports 
Reprinted with permission

"Many of you already know that the bountiful melt we had this spring severely undermined the middle bridge in Swedetown Creek gorge," says Gromit the Trail Dog, left, on her blog, Trail Mutt Reports. "Fellow trail mutt Bella, Mark, my pack, and me came down to try and figure some way to make it last until next fall, when a new bridge could be rolled over it." Pictured here with Gromit are Mark Roberts, Bella and Sandy Aronson. (Photos © and courtesy TheTrail Mutt Reports)

HANCOCK -- Gromit the Trail Mutt, a member of the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club, has been busy supervising the work at Maasto Hiihto Trails as volunteers prepare the trails for the cross country ski season.

During recent work on the middle bridge at Swedetown Creek gorge, Gromit the Trail Dog takes a pause with friends, from left, Andre Laplume and his son Nick and Mark Roberts.

Today, Oct. 19, is another Saturday of work on bridges along Swedetown Creek on the beautiful Maasto Hiihto river trail. Volunteers will also be whacking weeds on Sidewinder Hill. If you wish to volunteer for trail work, contact Arlyn Aronson at 906-370-2911.

Gromit has also posted on her blog some great photos of her recent adventures hiking at Bare Bluff, attending the blessing of the animals and more ...

"Up the fault we climbed. No problem for all paw drive!" Gromit writes about the recent Bare Bluff hike with her friends.

"The view from the top is what it's all about," Gromit adds.

Gromit was on her best behavior for the Blessing of the Animals at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, but couldn't help noticing a friendly participant behind her.

See Gromit's Trail Mutt Reports blog for more photos and news about her adventures in the Keweenaw and beyond!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kevin Hodur approved to fill vacated Hancock City Council seat

Hancock City Councilor Lisa McKenzie congratulates Kevin Hodur and welcomes him to the City Council following the Oct. 16 Hancock City Council meeting. Hodur, who has run for City Council twice, applied for the Ward II seat recently vacated by Jeremie Moore and received unanimous Council approval at this meeting. Also pictured, second from left in background, is Councilor John Haeussler. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- At their Oct. 16, 2013, monthly meeting, the Hancock City Council unanimously approved accepting Kevin Hodur's application to fill the Ward II Council seat vacated recently by Jeremie Moore, who was obliged to move from the area for family reasons.

"Since Jeremie's life took another turn and he's moved out of the area, I feel it's my obligation to represent my fellow citizens," Hodur said.

In 2010 Hodur ran for this seat and lost to Moore by only a few votes. In 2012 he ran against Barry Givens, former Hancock mayor, for an at-large Council seat, but was defeated. Hodur will now remain on the Council until this term expires in November 2014. He will have the option of filing a petition next August to be placed on the November 2014 ballot should he decide to run for a two-year term, which would expire in November 2016.

Hodur recently completed a Ph.D. in the Humanities Department at Michigan Tech and now holds a full-time staff position as a creative writer for the university. In addition, he teaches a class in composition at Michigan Tech and a class in public speaking at Finlandia University.

At the end of the meeting Council members congratulated Hodur and welcomed him to the Council.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Keweenaw National Historical Park reopens to visitors

CALUMET -- Keweenaw National Historical Park re-opened to visitors today. Visitors can access all public areas and the Calumet Visitor Center. Keweenaw National Historical Park has been closed since Oct. 1 due to the lapse in Congressional appropriations.

"We are excited and happy to be back at work and welcome visitors to Keweenaw National Historical Park," said Superintendent Mike Pflaum. "Autumn is a particularly special season to enjoy all that the park and our partner sites have to offer."

The park is fully open, including the Calumet Visitor Center located in downtown Calumet. The visitor center is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in October. During the winter months, November through April, the visitor center will be open on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative: Grothman brings back asbestos bill just in time for DNR revelation

By Barbara With
Posted Oct. 11, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative (WCMC)
Reprinted in part with permission

This is the first in a WCMC four-part series on asbestos.

MADISON, WIS. -- On Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, Wisconsin State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) introduced a substitute amendment to controversial SB13, the torts and personal injury trusts reform bill that makes it harder for victims of asbestos poisoning to receive trust money allotted for dealing with mesothelioma. Introduced back in February by Grothman and Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere), SB13 had a public hearing on April 11, although  the hearing results have yet to be posted on the official Wisconsin legislative website.

On Oct. 6, WCMC broke the story of abundant grunerite asbestos at Bulk Sampling Site 4 of the proposed Gogebic Taconite (GTac) mining project in the Penokee Hills. GTac repeatedly denied the presence of asbestos in their bulk sampling permit application. The state Department of Natural Resources knew that grunerite was present at GTac’s bulk sample sites but did little to give the public information on the potential health risks. DNR Hydrologist Larry Lynch went so far as to say he would trust GTac to come up with a plan to contain the asbestos that they themselves were denying existed.

Bad River Tribal Chair Mike Wiggins Jr. accused GTac of a cover-up, calling their denial of the presence of asbestos "a compelling premeditation for disaster." ...

Photo insert: A cross polarized light image of a piece of grunerite asbestos from Bulk Sampling Site 4 taken by pointing a cell phone down the camera port of a microscope showing the asbestos needles. The width of the piece is approximately 300 microns = 0.3 mm or about 1/100th of an inch. (Photo © and courtesy Dr. Joseph Skulan)

Click here to read the rest of this article on

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve: Marquette County Road Commission planning to build potential new road sections for Eagle Mine

By Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP)
Posted in their Oct. 16, 2013, Newsletter
Reprinted with permission

At the Oct. 15, 2013, Marquette County Road Commission public hearing held in Ishpeming, Mary Ellen Krieg of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay stands up to make public comment. (Photo © and courtesy Emily Whittaker)

BIG BAY -- The Marquette County Road Commission held a public hearing [Tuesday] night [Oct. 15, 2013] regarding the road work that is proposed to service Eagle Mine on the Yellow Dog Plains. Work plans for the road were made public in late September which revealed plans to build new sections of road instead of upgrade County Road 510 and County Road AAA. Some sections of the old road are planned to be kept but the majority of the route would be completely new road.

According to the Road Commission, the road work will cost around $20.8 million dollars and will be paid for entirely by "private" funds.

It was also stated at the meeting that this road would not be built if the mine was not there. It is being paid for by the mine, and would be designed specifically for ore-hauling trucks. It is clearly a mining road, even though Lundin’s mining permit states that they will use existing roads and upgrade CR 510/CRAAA.

It is important for the community to keep in mind that once the mine is closed there is no plan in place for maintenance of these new roads that were made to service large trucks. Public funding would have to be used unless the Road Commission can devise an alternative way to pay for ongoing maintenance well past the life of the mine. Since it is likely this public agency would use tax dollars to maintain this route made specifically for Eagle Mine, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve urges people to contact both the Road Commission and the Marquette County Board of Commissioners. Let them know that tax dollars should not be used toward this project at anytime, especially for ongoing maintenance after the mine is closed.

Many concerned citizens came to the meeting [Tuesday] night to bring up valid points about this project. Several people commented on the fact that this road is being designed for 55 mph traffic. Concerns about safety, collisions, and speed limits were all made.

Mary Ellen Krieg of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay stated, "I have spoken with several friends who are engineers about this project. They all stated that building the road to service trucks going 55 mph makes no sense. Loaded ore trucks should never go that fast in the first place."

Many spoke about their desire to keep the canopy intact, instead of having a 150-feet clear span on both sides of the road.

"This area is used by our members as a place to come recreate and see the scenic beauty of MarquetteCounty. We urge you to carefully consider whether the public wants this 'new road' if it is not for the public benefit," said Emily Whittaker, Special Projects manager of YDWP.

Please take the time to contact the Road Commission and let them know you do not want to see any new sections of road made. They should stick to the plan of using existing roads only. For more information on the plan, click here to visit the Road Commission's Web site.

Editor's Note: The Marquette County Road Commission will hold another meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, at the Ishpeming Township Hall, 1575 US Highway 41 W, Ishpeming, Mich.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cloud Cult indie rock band to perform Oct. 19 in Rozsa Center

HOUGHTON -- Cosmological pop band Cloud Cult is driving to Houghton on their bio-diesel bus as a part of their indie rock "Love 2013" tour. They will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 19, in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

Cloud Cult developed in 1995 as founder Craig Minowa recruited several other artists to contribute to his solo recordings. His first full-length album, The Shade Project, caught the interest of a few small independent labels who urged Minowa to consider performing the songs live. Craig worked the next four years on a new studio project which would be the first official Cloud Cult album, Who Killed Puck?

Sarah Young appeared on this album for the first time on cello and Eduardo Vaz assisted with drums on a few of the songs. Minowa's early work earned Cloud Cult several offers from record labels, but all were rejected in favor of self-publishing and maintaining total control over the ethical aspects of the business practices. Committed to "greening the recording industry," in 1997, lead singer Craig Minowa formed Earthology Records on his organic farm, powered by geothermal energy and built partially from reclaimed wood and recycled plastic.

"The place is so far out in the boonies, you can barely find it, because it’s not on the maps," said Dan Montalto, an MTV Producer who brought a camera crew to the farm to film a short MTV feature on the band. This nonprofit label uses only recycled materials and donates all profits to environmental charities.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for Michigan Tech students. For tickets, go online, or call Ticketing Operations at the Student Development Complex, 487–2073, or visit in person. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours and will only open two hours prior to show times.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NOSOTROS to hold Latin dance, salsa lessons Oct. 18

Poster courtesy NOSOTROS. Click on poster for larger version.

HOUGHTON -- NOSOTROS Latin Student Organization at Michigan Tech will hold a Latin Dance from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, in MUB Ballroom A on the Michigan Tech campus. The open floor dance will be preceded by salsa lessons from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

This is the first Latin event of the semester and all are invited to learn how to dance to Latin music and make new friends. The event is free and open to the public. No partner is needed and all levels are welcome.

For more information contact

Brian Miller, Randy Gosa to entertain with traditional Irish music at Calumet Art Center Oct. 17.

Northern Minnesota native Brian Miller (Bua), left, and Wisconsinite Randy Gosa will give a concert of northwoods Irish music and stories from the lumber camps on Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Calumet Art Center. (Photo courtesy Calumet Art Center)

ST. PAUL, MINN.; CALUMET, MICH. -- Over a million people emigrated from Ireland to North America during the famine years of the mid-1800s. Their influence on the culture and politics of American cities like Chicago and Boston is well known.

But what about the tens of thousands of Irish who made their way in the more rural parts of 19th-century North America? Many settled in the forests of New England and eastern Canada in the midst of a booming lumber industry driven by the very population growth they contributed to. Irishmen went to work, alongside men of other ethnic backgrounds, in lumber camps where their rich stores of traditional songs and dance tunes quickly became valued as bunkhouse entertainment. By the time the lumber boom had moved westward into Michigan, Irish musical styles had come to dominate a new distinct tradition of northwoods music.

Northern Minnesota native Brian Miller (Bua) and Wisconsinite Randy Gosa will bring this music, and the stories surrounding it, to life with a concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Calumet Art Center, 57055 Fifth Street, Calumet. The cost is $12 at the door.

Brian Miller sings and plays guitar, bouzouki and harmonium while Randy Gosa adds mandolin, tenor banjo and harmony vocals to their rich arrangements of forgotten songs and dance tunes. The music will be complemented by a slideshow of historical photos from the lumbering era.

Miller and Gosa’s Calumet performance will focus on songs and dance tunes connected to songs and singers with ties to Michigan. The duo is en route to a performance in Mount Pleasant presented by the Michigan Humanities Council and the Michigan State University Museum Program commemorating folklorist Alan Lomax's field trip collecting traditional music throughout Michigan In 1938. They will also draw on 1924 audio recordings recently discovered by Miller of an Irish-American singer who worked and sang in the Michigan woods in the 1870s.

Brian Miller and Randy Gosa have been featured on Minnesota Public Radio and on TPT TV’s Minnesota Original; and they have toured nationally to festivals including The University of Chicago Folk Fest, Milwaukee Irish Fest and the Arizona Highland Celtic Fest.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wolf Awareness Week is Oct. 14-18, 2013, at Northern Michigan University

Learn about wolves at Northern Michigan University this week. (Photo of wolf courtesy

MARQUETTE -- The Northern Michigan University (NMU) Wildlife Society Student Chapter is sponsoring "Wolf Awareness Week" from today, Monday, Oct. 14, through Friday, Oct. 18.

Highlights include guest speakers from the Michigan Predator Prey Project; Isle Royale National Park and Michigan Tech (including Rolf Peterson, co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf Moose Study); the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; and NMU's Center for Native American Studies.

The week will also include documentary films and weekend community interpretive programs at MooseWood Nature Center. Here is the schedule:

Schedule for Wolf Awareness Week at Northern Michigan University Oct. 14-18. Click on image above for a larger version. (Schedule courtesy Northern Michigan University Wildlife Society).

Shirts for Wolf Awareness Week will be sold to raise money for the International Wolf Center's education programs. Visit for more information.

Tech Theatre Company to present Neil Simon play Oct. 17-19, 24-26

HOUGHTON -- The Tech Theatre Company will present Brighton Beach Memoirs, by playwright Neil Simon, at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 to 19 and Oct. 24 to 26, in the McArdle Theatre, in the Walker Center on the Michigan Tech campus.

Brighton Beach Memoirs is a witty, yet poignant recollection of growing up during the Depression. Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play features a 15-year-old Eugene Jerome, an aspiring writer coming of age in a loving, yet crowded home in Brooklyn, New York, in 1937. Eugene struggles with his desire to hold onto childhood dreams (like pitching for the New York Yankees), while trying to understand puberty as he turns the corner into manhood, helping his older brother to provide for the family. Note: Strong language and adult content may not be suitable for young children.

Tickets are $13 for adults and $8 for youth. Click here to purchase tickets on line. Tickets will also be sold at the door at McArdle Theatre.

Michigan Tech holding "Week of Wellness" activities Oct. 14-18

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech is holding a "Week of Wellness" with activities from today, Oct. 14, through Friday, Oct. 18.

Events today, Monday, include an Ultimate Frisbee tournament at 5 p.m. at the Michigan Tech softball fields and "Bootcamp" at 6 p.m. in the SDC Dance Studio.

Other highlights of the week include Pam Dove, nutritionist, at 4 p.m. on Tuesday in the Garden Level of Wads; a Health Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday in the MUB Ballroom; a Fall Camping crash course at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Outdoor Adventure Program / Wellness House; a Houghton - Portage 5 k race at 6 p.m. Friday with start/finish in front of Hamar House; Nosotros Latin Dancing lessons at 8 p.m. Friday in the MUB Ballroom; and more (click on poster for the schedule).

Some events require registration. Sign up in the Outdoor Adventure Program House from noon to 5 p.m. during the week.