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, December 07, 2013

Gromit the Trail Mutt: Adventures from Maasto Hiihto to the Porkies

HANCOCK -- Gromit the Trail Mutt recently updated her blog with photos of her Thanksgiving adventures and her supervision of the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club's new trail cutting work near the Apostolic Lutheran Church, which is expanding the parking lot -- hence the need to move the Maasto Hiihto ski trail in that area of Hancock.

In November Gromit the Trail Mutt supervises the crew cutting the new trail to replace the former one near the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Hancock. (Photos © and courtesy Arlyn and Sandy Aronson)

Gromit observes that the new trail is done before Thanksgiving.

Gromit leads her pack for a pre-Thanksgiving ski at Churning Rapids, the higher part of the Maasto Hiihto Trails.

Sandy Aronson and Gromit check out bridges in the gorge on the Maasto River Trail.

Gromit and friends enjoy a post-Thanksgiving trek in the Porkies.

Check out Gromit's blog, Trail Mutt Reports for many more photos of her recent adventures in the Keweenaw and beyond.

Friday, December 06, 2013

From Alaska to Keweenaw: Artist Donna Lenard captures boreal beauty

By Cyndi Perkins*

A year after her return to the western U.P., watercolorist Donna Lenard is culling her best for holiday art shows, including the 37th annual Poor Artists Sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, in Calumet. She’s also mulling a retrospective exhibit that’s snapped into sudden focus with the clarity and intensity of a Keweenaw winter. 

Artist Donna Lenard is all smiles whenever she's able to share her work. (Photos © and courtesy Cyndi Perkins)

Lenard, fresh off a decade spent living in a small wooden cabin tucked into the wilds of the Goldstream Valley north of Fairbanks, is one of more than 60 talented artists and artisans showcasing their wares at a venerable and stellar event prized by those who delight in one-of-a-kind finds.

"I liked the feeling of being in a little box in the wilderness," Lenard says of her Alaskan sojourn. "I am not a curtain person. I had lots of moose in the back yard. They were my only garden tenders. They liked to nibble on the willows."

There were advantages to life without indoor plumbing. The northern lights that first dazzled her during an outhouse trek on a frigid February night resulted in her popular "Warm Welcome" series.

Northern lights and boreal landscapes are among Donna Lenard's favorite subjects.

Describing her work as "loose and dreamy," Lenard says, "I like using washes -- dreamy and tranquil is what I hope to achieve, so people’s imaginations can work with the paintings. Being self-taught allows me to be more open. When people say, 'I’ve never seen anything like that,' or 'this reminds me of a place I used to go,' that’s the stuff that keeps you going."

There is a definite theme of trees running through the majority of Lenard’s work.

"Most everything I paint will have trees," she says.

Lenard likes to work on a painting in progress during her shows and has even collaborated with musicians during live performances.

And so it is with two of her current pieces, "Joyful Wood" and "Lakeside Yule," featuring the iconic evergreens that inject color and life into otherwise bleak winter landscapes. "Boreal Hideaway," a serene and symmetrical series of birch trunks, features a tender green-and-yellow spring palette.

The avid birder is no stranger to the western Upper Peninsula. She moved here in her 30s and continues to explore via snowshoe and canoe, reveling in all seasons, although fall is her favorite, for "the color and the smells in the air." Her preferred time of day in any season is "right when the sun is starting to set."

An Illinois native who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, Lenard was introduced to the U.P. through a romantic relationship.

"I was dating a guy who vacationed in Rockland. I instantly fell in love with the Upper Peninsula," she says. "I moved to the U.P. with new eyes."

Moving to Alaska several years later was a long-time dream come true.

"I had been wanting to go there since I was 16," Lenard says.

Mission accomplished; and after 10 years it was time for another transition. Lenard loaded up her belongings and with the help of friend Deborah Hilscher of Portage Entry drove a U-Haul truck from Fairbanks to Keweenaw, camping and sight-seeing along the way. The only disappointment was the guard’s refusal to stamp their passports at the Canadian-U.S. border. They’d been looking forward to that.

As is her habit Lenard will be working at her easel during the Poor Artists Sale, drawing energy from Keweenaw’s colorful tribe of creators and patrons. The easygoing cat lover doesn’t view these kinds of events as a place where many paintings will necessarily be sold. The atmosphere is hectic; crowds block contemplative views. But seasonal shows are a great introduction that can lead to future sales and commissioned work. Smaller, inexpensive items such as hand-painted gift tags, magnets featuring miniatures of her original works and stationery embossed with those entrancing northern lights are other easy entry points to familiarization.

Perhaps the most wondrous aspect of Lenard’s current path is an everything-old-is-new-again revelation.

"I keep all my rejects," she explains. "I didn’t realize I’d brought 30 black bags back with me from Alaska."

Among those efforts were several pieces that show exciting promise for further development. They also showed Lenard a personal and professional progression that will lend itself well to a one-woman exhibit, a project now on her drawing board. Lenard is also happily re-establishing contact in her old stomping grounds farther to the west, in Silver City, at Jackie McMullen’s Great Lakes Trading Company. A new lakescape series in preliminary development features the many moods and color spectrums of Mother Superior.

An optician by trade, Lenard benefits from a portable second profession. Her discerning eye also prompts her to carefully examine each piece in progress from every possible angle.

 The optometrist remains true to her artistic vision.

"I always take my work and look at it in a mirror, look at it upside down. I want it to be present. In my portraits, I want the gaze to follow."

Lenard, who previously worked in detailed pencil, doesn’t naturally lean toward painting people, animals or flowers.
"I’ve done a lot of commissions. They are sometimes difficult but it pushes me in a good way in new directions -- things I would never do on my own," she says.

That’s how Lenard’s "Pet Pride Portraits" was established.

"My friend Larry’s dog passed away. I knew the dog. It was a friendly, happy dog," says Lenard, who works from photos to create cherished keepsakes.

Honey Girl, one of Donna's kitties, serves as an illustration of her prowess with commissioned pet portraits.

Lenard says she paints every day: "I will go at it in the morning for three to four hours until I’m hungry. I keep my easel set up all the time. That blank page just calls me over."

Having just finished the first draft of my novel manuscript, I can’t resist a self-centered question: "Donna, how do you know when you’re done?"

She laughs, tossing her lush curtain of salt-and-pepper hair.

"Good question," she says. "I know when I’ve put too much in it. You want everything to fit together; there has to be a flow to it. Sometimes I just like to do the washes and then let it sit and simmer. I have been known to blow dry a work that I want to get back to in a hurry, but most of the time I like to give myself the time to look at it and see what’s missing."

Feel free to ask Lenard questions if you stop by her booth. She enjoys teaching as well as learning tricks of the trade, knowing firsthand the value of shared knowledge.

"I’m open to doing instructing here, but I’d need to find a space," Lenard notes. "I’m not rigid. I don’t want to tell you how to paint but how the color and water works."

Lenard doesn’t paint on canvas. She’s constantly experimenting with different paper weights and textures, as well as paints (currently using a honey-based brand). She displays the Yupo brand plastic watercolor surface during exhibits, just in case any fledglings are wondering how to work with this relatively new material.

"You can spray it with water and wash it off to re-use when you’re playing with different techniques," she explains.

For example, "salt makes nice snowflakes," says the artist, chuckling over the memory of announcing this new-to-her method in front of a friend and his daughter.

"We learned that in fourth grade," the little one announced.

"What was a fresh technique to me was nothing new to this child," Lenard says, smiling. "It’s about seeing new things and trying to create new images. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen in the future -- how the work is going to progress."

For a virtual gallery tour of Lenard’s work, visit her Facebook page.

* Guest author Cyndi Perkins is a free-lance writer, former editor of The Daily Mining Gazette and a seasonal Keweenaw resident.

Copper Country Chorale to perform Christmas Concert Dec. 8

HOUGHTON -- The Copper Country Chorale will perform its Christmas Concert at 3 p.m. this Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Portage Lake United Church in Houghton. The concert will also feature the Sometimes Monday Night Recorder Group. Christmas Concert theme is "Glory Through the Ages" with selections that reflect this theme.

Tickets are $7 and can be purchased at the door. The Portage Lake United Church is located at 1400 E. Houghton Avenue, across from the Michigan Tech campus.

K-SNAG to hold Adopt-a-Kitten event Dec. 7

HOUGHTON -- K-SNAG (Keweenaw Spay-Neuter Assistance Group) is holding an Adopt-A-Kitten event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Erickson Feed, Seed, and Pet Supply on the Main Street of Hurontown. KSNAG asks you to consider adopting or fostering a cat or kitten, as the need for permanent or temporary homes is great.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra to present "1863-2013: Lincoln and Gettysburg" Dec. 7 at Rozsa Center

HOUGHTON -- The year 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address, both seminal moments during the mid-point of the Civil War. The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra (KSO) will honor these historic events with "1863-2013: Lincoln and Gettysburg" -- music inspired by Lincoln, Gettysburg, the Proclamation, and the Civil War, including the first major symphony written by an African-American composer.

Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz joins the KSO as narrator of Copland’s Lincoln Portrait to conclude this commemorative concert, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Rozsa Center. Tickets are $19 for adults, $6 for youth. Michigan Tech students are free with the Experience Tech Fee.

This event is presented by the Michigan Tech Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Also available, the night of the performance, is a "VPA Livestream" of the music, for those who are not able to be present for the event.

Click here to order tickets or to access the livestream at the time of the event. You may also order tickets by calling Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), (906) 487–2073, or visit in person at 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours prior to show times.

UPDATE: Genealogical Society Book Launch postponed to Saturday, Dec. 7

HOUGHTON -- Because of the snowstorm and school closings today, Dec. 5, the Carnegie Museum announces a postponement of the Houghton-Keweenaw County Genealogical Society (HKCGS) book launch and reception for their commemorative book titled Families Left Behind, originally scheduled for today, Thursday, Dec. 5. Instead, the event will be held from NOON to 4 P.M. on SATURDAY, DEC. 7, at the museum.

The book is the result of the contribution by many HKCGS members of untold hours spent researching and writing "memorials" of the families of the people who died at the Italian Hall tragedy on 24 December 1913.

Click here for our Dec. 3 article on the event.

Celebrate Christmas in Calumet on First Friday, Dec. 6

Local musicians and carolers, including members of the Noteworthy women's chorus, lead Calumet residents and visitors in singing during the 2011 Christmas Tree Lighting in the plaza next to the Calumet Theatre. This year the event will take place at 6 p.m. on First Friday, Dec. 6. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- First Friday in Calumet, Dec. 6, will be part of Main Street Calumet's annual three-week Christmas in Calumet celebration. Before you set out to visit the art galleries or attend the 7 p.m. premiere screening of the documentary Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 at the Calumet Theatre, join local residents and carolers for the Village of Calumet Christmas Tree Lightning at 6 p.m. in the plaza next to the Calumet Theatre. Enjoy a cup of hot cider and help carol in the season!

This month the art galleries in Calumet are offering a wide variety of art works suitable to purchase for holiday gifts.

Paige Wiard Gallery: Glorious Gifting

Handmade art work like this ornament by artist Bill Wiard will be featured for sale at the Paige Wiard Gallery's Glorious Gifting show beginning Friday, Dec. 6. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard)

The art work of local and Michigan artists will be featured at the Paige Wiard Gallery for this season of giving. The Gallery will be filled with wonderful one-of-a-kind handmade unique gifts. An open reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on First Friday evening, Dec. 6, in the Gallery, located at 109 Fifth St, Calumet. Come to the Glorious Gifting show and find the perfect Christmas gift.

For information email or call 906-337-5970.

Galerie Bohème: Small art works by local artists

Strolling musicians play holiday music in front of the Galerie Bohème on Fifth Street in Calumet. (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

For the month of December, starting at the First Friday reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Galerie Bohème will be showing be showing an outrageous group of artists presenting a unique batch of small art works for sale.

"The walls will be full and crowded," says Galerie Bohème host Tom Rudd. "So be here early and pick your favorites."

Exhibiting artists include Stewart Baird, Cynthia Coté, Shelly Hahn, Susanne Kilpela, Margo McCafferty, Clyde Mikkola, Mike Ramos, Georgi Tsenov, and Tom Rudd.

"I always have some Lake Superior native fish and strange paddles hanging around the Bohème," Rudd notes about his own art.

For out-of-town residents, Rudd says he is willing to send photos of the art works, which will be easy and inexpensive to ship.

Galerie Bohème is also open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. You may also call 906-369-4087 if you are in town and need an art fix, Rudd adds.

Omphale Gallery and Café:   French Buffet and Joyce Koskenmaki exhibit opening

"Tied Yellow Trees," by Joyce Koskenmaki. Oil on linen.

The Omphale Gallery and Café will celebrate First Friday, Dec. 6, with a double event. A reception for the official opening of Joyce Koskenmaki's exhibition "Between Abstraction and Imagery" will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will feature light refreshments and LIVE music. At the same time, the Omphale will also be serving a French buffet of rustic country cuisine, featuring guest chef Patrick Curtin, at $20 per person.

Koskenmaki says the title of the exhibit, "Between Abstraction and Imagery," represents her effort "to put them together" in this recent work.

"Some of the work is purely abstract, some is quite realistic, of animals and birds. An ongoing struggle," Koskenmaki notes.

The Omphale Gallery and Café is at 431 Fifth Street in Calumet.

Copper Country Associated Artists: Holiday Open House

The Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) welcomes you to their First Friday Holiday Open House from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 6. You will find ornaments, gifts, stocking stuffers and cards, all homemade in the Copper Country. Many of the artists will be on hand to answer questions about their pieces.

Enjoy an abundance of homemade holiday treats  and door prizes throughout Friday evening.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, the CCAA Holiday Open House will continue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the "Christmas in Calumet" celebration. The Copper Country Associated Artists Gallery is at 205 Fifth Street in Calumet. It will be open from Thursday through Saturday during the Holiday Season. Call 906-337-1252 for more information.

UPDATE:  Calumet Art Center: Open House

The Calumet Art Center will be holding an open house from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on First Friday, Dec. 6. You can enjoy the youngest students' art work on display: paintings, weaving, shadow puppets, etc. The Center's Great Inspirations students and instructors have been truly busy. Find your inspiration while touring the weaving, glass bead making and clay studios. Your winter "wonderland" can be more "wonder" full if you sign up for a class!

The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth Street. Call (906) 934-2228 for more information.

Christmas in Calumet schedule for Saturday, Dec. 7:

JROTC pancake breakfast to raise fund to bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Calumet, 7:30 a.m. - noon.

Santa arrives downtown via horse-drawn wagon, 11 a.m.

Visits with Santa and free goodie bags, Rowe Furniture, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Free horse-drawn wagon rides, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Holiday music by strolling musicians, various downtown locations, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Carolers tour the downtown, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Calumet Theatre: Elvis - Tony Rocker and the Comeback Special Band, plus the Theatre's Grand Raffle Drawing, 7:30 p.m.*

Gallery events, various locations, all day.

The 36th annual Poor Artists Sale at the CLK Gymnasium in Calumet, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.**


* Visit the Calumet Theatre Web site for details.

** Click here for more on the Poor Artists Sale. Visit the Main Street Calumet Web site for a complete schedule.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Finlandia to celebrate Finnish Independence, honor FinnFest USA volunteers Dec. 6

The Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock will be the scene of a Finnish Independence Day celebration from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. The Center now has a new dance floor. Check it out and dance to the music of Wil Kilpela and Friends! This photo, taken last summer at the time of FinnFest USA 2013, includes the giant chairs, labeled Äiti (Mother) and Isä (Father), on display during the festival. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Every year since Finland became independent in 1917, Finlandia University has celebrated this achievement. They’re doing so again this year and honoring the folks who made the area’s most Finnish event possible.

The public is invited to a celebration of Finland’s independence from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at Finlandia's Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC). This event will also honor the countless donors and volunteers who made FinnFest USA 2013 an event the Copper Country -- and thousands of guests -- will remember for decades to come.

The event is free and open to the public. It will feature refreshments, door prizes, dancing to the music of Wil Kilpela and Friends, and the reenactment of some of your favorite scenes from FinnFest’s opening ceremony.

At 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, the FAHC will host a screening of the new film Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913, a documentary that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Italian Hall tragedy and the copper miners' strike that took place in the Copper Country a century ago.

The film is about one hour long. Afterward, some of the people featured in the film -- including author Steve Lehto and FAHC Director Jim Kurtti -- will be on hand for a discussion.*

The film screening is free and open to the public; donations are appreciated. All proceeds from this event will support the Finnish American Heritage Center and Historical Archive at Finlandia University.

For information about either or both events, call the Finnish American Heritage Center at (906) 487-7302 or (906) 487-7549.

*Editor's Note: Read more about the documentary Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 and see a trailer of the film in our Dec. 3 article about the premiere screenings of the film.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

"Red Metal" documentary to be shown at Calumet Theatre Dec. 6, Finnish American Heritage Center Dec. 8

By Michele Bourdieu (with information from Michigan Tech Archives and Finlandia University)

Poster for the PBS premiere of the documentary film, Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913, by Emmy award-winning producer Jonathan Silvers and Saybrook Productions. The film will be shown at the Calumet Theatre at 7 p.m.on Friday, Dec. 6, and at the Finnish American Heritage Center at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8. (Poster courtesy Steve Lehto)

CALUMET -- The premiere of Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913, a documentary film by Emmy award-winning producer Jonathan Silvers and Saybrook Productions, will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at the Calumet Theatre. Admission is free. Donations are welcome and will go to support the Calumet Theatre and the Michigan Tech Archives.

In Calumet's Lakeview Cemetery last year, filmmakers Bob Lee, left, and Jonathan Silvers of Saybrook Productions Ltd. film footage for their documentary, Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913, which will premiere on PBS Dec. 17, 2013. Author Steve Lehto has been a consultant for the film. (File photo © and courtesy Steve Lehto)

Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 focuses on the 100th anniversary of an epic labor strike that devastated Michigan’s Copper Country and made a lasting impact on the American labor movement with the Italian Hall Disaster that left 73 people dead. The tragedy was immortalized by Woody Guthrie in his ballad "1913 Massacre," performed in the film by Steve Earle.

Narrated by Richard Harris, the film traces the Copper Country strike from its hopeful start to that tragic conclusion. Using more than 100 images from the rich historic collections of the Michigan Tech Archives, Red Metal explores the intensifying battle between organized labor and corporate power, as well as related issues of immigration and technology.

The film will have its television premiere on PBS at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. (Individual PBS stations may choose to air it at a different time.)

Here is a preview of the film:

Red Metal: The Copper Country Strike of 1913 from Jonathan B. Silvers on Vimeo. Appearing in this clip are Larry Lankton, Michigan Tech professor and historian; Davey Holmbo, Calumet Theatre director; Alison (Kim) Hoagland, Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission chairperson; and Steve Lehto, author, attorney and historical advisor to the film. (Video posted here with permission.)

Steve Lehto, historical advisor to the film, to conduct Q and A session

Following the film at the Calumet Theatre, there will be a Q and A session with Steve Lehto, historical advisor to the film, author, and attorney. Among his books are
Death’s Door: The Truth Behind the Italian Hall Disaster and the Strike of 1913 (Second Edition, 2013) and Michigan’s Columbus: The Life of Douglass Houghton (2009).

Lehto made several trips to the Copper Country with the filmmakers and acted as their historical consultant for the documentary.

In addition to his research and writing, Lehto taught law and history at the University of Detroit for ten years. Lehto's knowledge of law and his research into court proceedings and legal documents add interest to his books on Copper Country history. He recently gave several presentations locally on the 1913 Strike and the Italian Hall disaster.

On August 14, 2013, Lehto spoke at the Brownstone Hall in Atlantic Mine at an event sponsored by Adams Township School District Foundation, Inc., and the Sarah Sargent Paine Historical Research Center.

Here are some video clips from that presentation:

At his presentation in Atlantic Mine on Aug. 14, 2013, Steve Lehto, author of Death’s Door: The Truth Behind the Italian Hall Disaster and the Strike of 1913, speaks about the Italian Hall and causes of the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Continuing his presentation, Lehto speaks about the strike parades, Big Annie Clemenc and other strike leaders.

In this video clip, Lehto describes the Italian Hall disaster and what happened when someone yelled a false alarm of "Fire!"

Steve Lehto, along with others who appear in the Red Metal documentary, will also be present for a discussion following the Finnish American Heritage Center's screening of the film at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.

The screening is free and open to the public; donations are appreciated. All proceeds from Sunday's event will support the Finnish American Heritage Center and Historical Archive at Finlandia University.

For more information, call (906) 487-7302.

Editor's Note: See also the Nov. 18, 2013, MLive article about Steve Lehto's role in this film, "Former Flint DJ promotes documentary showcasing centennial of tragic Michigan event," by Scott Atkinson.

Genealogical Society to launch their book on Italian Hall family project Dec. 7 at Carnegie Museum

This memorial to the three Mihelchich children -- Paul, 5; Agnes, 7; and Elizabeth, 9 -- who perished in the Italian Hall disaster is part of the Houghton-Keweenaw County Genealogical Society project, "Family Ties: Memorials to Those Lost in the 1913 Italian Hall Tragedy," on exhibit in the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. The project has now been published in a book, Families Left Behind. A book launch and reception will be held at the Carnegie Museum from NOON to 4 P.M. on SATURDAY, DEC. 7. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

EDITOR'S UPDATE: Please note the date and time change for this event because of inclement weather!

HOUGHTON -- Throughout this year, the Copper Country community has been commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Italian Hall disaster in a variety of ways, and the Houghton-Keweenaw County Genealogical Society (HKCGS) has been part of that effort. Early in the year, as part of its mission to assist members and non-members with family research in the local area and encourage a broader understanding and appreciation of genealogical research, HKCGS began a project to honor the victims of the disaster by researching the genealogies of their families.

This project is now on display as an exhibit at the Carnegie Museum, in Houghton, and tells the story of the devastating loss these families suffered and how it affected their lives and the community as a whole.

This photo shows part of the memorial to Lydia Johanna Luoma, age 10, who was also a victim of the Italian Hall disaster. Fortunately, her two younger sisters survived. According to the story, their father, Ivar, threw the youngest sister, Minda, who was about 4, over the crowd and out the door. A neighbor found her and took her home. The other sister, Milma, about 9, actually woke up in the morgue when the mortician began to spray the bodies with water. She was sent home alive and safe, though she retained scars from being stomped upon.

To further honor the victims of the Italian Hall disaster, HKCGS announces the completion of a 110-page commemorative book titled Families Left Behind, creating a permanent record of this project for individuals to own and helping to insure that these stories that have survived a century will continue to be preserved.

The book is the result of the contribution by many HKCGS members of untold hours spent researching and writing "memorials" of the families of the people who died at the Italian Hall tragedy on 24 December 1913. There are 49 families featured in the book, with 73 deaths, most of which were children. Many photographs are included, along with additional research added since the creation of the exhibit. More than just a collection of names, photos and dates, this project tells "the rest of the story," all of which is tragic and heartbreaking.

UPDATE: The release of Families Left Behind will be celebrated with a book launch and reception at the Carnegie Museum from NOON to 4 P.M. on SATURDAY, DEC. 7. Refreshments will be served.

The Carnegie Museum is located on the corner of Huron and Montezuma in historic downtown Houghton.

Free admission. Parking across Montezuma in City lot. Museum hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 482-7140 or email

Editor's Note: See our Sept. 20, 2013, article, Carnegie Museum to hold Third Annual Night at the Museum Sept. 21, for more photos about this exhibit and others at the museum.

"The Parable of the Palace," art by Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, to open Dec. 5 at Finlandia Gallery

HANCOCK -- The 23rd Annual Contemporary Finnish-American Artist Series Exhibition will feature the work of Christian Narkiewicz-Laine: "The Parable of the Palace" at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from Dec. 5, 2013, to Jan. 11, 2014.

"Ghost Paintings," by Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, 2013. Pyrotechnic Installation. Varied Dimensions, Video Stills. Filmed in High Definition Digital on DVD. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

An opening reception will take place at the gallery from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. Christian Narkiewicz-Laine will present an artist talk beginning at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Christian Narkiewicz-Laine is one of Finland’s leading conceptual artists and a social and political activist, working in the United States and Europe. His work is often openly critical of the American government’s stance on democracy and human rights, voicing his dissent about war, guns, violence, and the death penalty.

In 2004, he galvanized America’s literary community and published American Poets Against the War, with the contributions of the United States’ most important poets, writers, Pulitzer Prize winners, and MacArthur Genius fellows. He has been nominated and has won prestigious prizes for peace and human rights.

Narkiewicz-Laine’s career has included diverse fields including fine arts, curating, architecture, and social and political criticism.

His work is celebrated for its lyricism and stark poetry that transcends the often-commonplace subjects and materials that the artist uses to create his pieces. Although there is a consistency of theme and a common emotional thread to his art, the media that he employs are remarkably varied in scale and substance -- from photography, drawings and tracings to presentations and installations of sound, texts, new materials, and ready-made or found objects.

"Byzantium No. 1, by Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, 2013. 24 percent Lead Crystal Glass with blue Swarovski Crystal Gems. 5 x 5 x 28 inches.

"I believe in the departure of traditional materials in art," notes Narkiewicz-Laine in a monograph about his work titled Praxis. "To me, art in our time is about the use of new materials as a vehicle for expression. I like to experiment with new materials that produce unexpected and innovative outcome."

Narkiewicz-Laine often presents found objects with which he interferes as little as possible, creating new works that investigate ideas of the self and others in their unique time and place.

His work challenges his audience to question their assumptions. With thought-provoking content, non-traditional art processes, ephemeral media that engage our senses -- such as scent, smoke, and sound -- Narkiewicz-Laine makes us think.

"Is it art?  I suspect most people don’t understand the artist’s attempt to stray from traditional materials or the use of ephemeral materials in the creation of art," observes Narkiewicz-Laine. "However, I do know that when I present a work of art using materials such as smoke of sound, the audience reacts in a positive way, thinking, I never thought about that or I never saw it in this light. And isn’t that a remarkable way to react? I mean, creating a work of art through a different understanding about what art is or, in fact, challenging the viewer to see something new in an entirely different way. I believe taking the viewer to a place never visited is an important part of the art process."

For this exhibit Narkiewicz-Laine will present new paintings, sculpture, photography, and video.

Narkiewicz-Laine has been the Museum President and CEO of The Chicago Athenaeum since 1988. In 2007 he also became the Director/CEO of The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies based in Dublin, Ireland, and Athens, Greece.

He was educated in architecture at the Université de Strasbourg, France, (1970-1972) and studied archaeology in Athens, Greece, (1972-73). He returned to the United States in 1973 and graduated from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois, in 1975.

In the 1990s, he instituted the prestigious International Architecture Awards and The American Architecture Awards and is the chief curator of GOOD DESIGN -- a program originally founded by Eero Saarinen and Charles and Ray Eames in Chicago in 1950. In 2010, he established the European Prize for Architecture.

Narkiewicz-Laine has exhibited his artwork in the United States as well as Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, and Scandinavia. He has authored essays and criticisms on architecture, urbanism, and industrial design for numerous American, European, and Japanese publications.

To learn more about Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, visit his Web site.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

For more information, call 906-487-7500.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion announces December events

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion announces these coming December events:

A film screening of Running the Sahara, based on the life of Ray Zahab, will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, in Fisher 135. Free admission and concessions.

Ultrarunner and inspirational speaker Ray Zahab will discuss his adventures -- including running to the South Pole, running across the Gobi desert, running across Baffin Island, and running through the Amazon -- at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Forestry Atrium.

International Club is hosting a HOLIDAY PARTY from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, in ROTC Gymnasium. There will be music, activities, and both a Traditional Christmas Cookie Contest and an International Dessert Contest. Everyone is welcome. Email Ash at for more info.

The Dial Help "Healthy Man Beard Competition" will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, in the Ballroom at the Bluffs. The event raises awareness about healthy masculinity and the role men play in standing up against violence. For more info, visit

Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative: Bill Williams’ Spanish Mistake Is Wisconsin’s Nightmare

By Joseph Skulan and Barbara With
Posted Nov. 30, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative

Gogebic Taconite (GTac) President Bill Williams will likely be brought to trial in Spain for his part in the environmental crimes allegedly committed by the Cobre Las Cruces (CLC) mining operation while he was a senior manager of the company, according to court documents obtained from Ecologistas en Acción (EIA).

One of the complaints filed with the Spanish courts alleges that Williams, who went to work at CLC in 2006, failed to follow official technical standards relating to the grade of mine wall slopes set forth by CEDEX (a policy, research and training agency of the Spanish Ministry of Public Works). The complaint further alleges that Williams’ decision to ignore these standards resulted in the collapse of the walls of the mine. ...

Click here to read the rest of this article on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.

Editor's Note: See also Joseph Skulan's "Letter to Spain: An introduction to GTac’s proposed Penokee Hills iron mine," posted today, Dec. 2, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.

Editor's Update:  Also just posted today, Dec. 2, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative: "Dispatch from the Penokee Hills," by Mel Gasper. Lac Courte Oreilles tribal member and administrator fo the Harvest Educational Learning Project (HELP) near Mellen, Wis.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Portage Library to host presentation on Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Dec. 3

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host the Western U.P. Health Department for a presentation about the nation’s new health care law at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Ray Sharp, Western U.P. Health Department manager of community planning and preparedness, will present "Understanding the Affordable Care Act, Also Known As Obamacare." Sharp will show a brief video, discuss the main provisions of health care reform and answer questions from the public about the insurance programs, eligibility, rules, and costs.

Ray Sharp, Western U.P. Health Department manager of community planning and preparedness, introduces his presentation,"Understanding the Affordable Care Act," on Oct. 29 at Houghton High School. Sharp will offer the free community presentation again this Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

This presentation is part of the health department’s campaign to let people know what the details are about the Affordable Care Act and to clear up confusion about the new health insurance program.

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