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 14, 2013

Michigan Tech Choirs to present "At Winter Solstice" concert TONIGHT, Dec. 14

HOUGHTON -- The choirs of Michigan Tech -- the Concert Choir and conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers -- join to present "At Winter Solstice" at 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Dec. 14, at the Rozsa Center.

The concert of choral music will celebrate winter in the northland. Selections from Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Israel and the United States reflect on snow and the season of Christmas.

Ticket Prices: Adults,$13;Youth, $5, Michigan Tech Students Free with Experience Tech Fee.

Click here to order online.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Carnegie Museum to host Gingerbread Extravaganza Family Day Dec. 14; Open House Dec. 19 with "1913 Singers"

HOUGHTON -- The Carnegie Museum in Houghton will celebrate its 7th Annual Gingerbread Extravaganza Family Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. TOMORROW, Saturday, Dec. 14.

Part of a previous Carnegie Museum Gingerbread display. (File photo courtesy Elise Nelson, Carnegie Museum director)

The Candy-Covered Playhouse is ready for young visitors, and Santa’s elves will take photographs as children visit Santa Claus upstairs. Please bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to a local food pantry in exchange for your child’s photograph. Hot Chocolate and festive snacks will be served.

As is the Carnegie's tradition, throughout the afternoon, Portage Lake District Librarian Chris Alquist will read to the children. New this year will be a Student String Quartet of local musicians, who will perform traditional music.

Awards and prizes will be announced for all new entries to the Gingerbread display, which has been set up at three locations -- the Carnegie Museum, the Portage Lake District Library, and the Houghton City Center.

1913 Singers to perform songs from 1913 Copper Miners' Strike at Carnegie Open House Dec. 19

The Carnegie Museum will hold an Open House from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. the 1913 Singers will perform songs from the 1913 Copper Miners' Strike.

The "1913 Singers" perform songs from the 1913-14 Copper Miners' Strike during the 2013 Writing Across the Peninsula Conference at Michigan Tech on Oct. 24, 2013. The group will perform again at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19, at the Carnegie Museum. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

During the 1913-14 Copper Country Strike, locally written songs and poems about the strike were published in local newspapers. The "1913 Singers" formed in January 2013 to revive these songs of the copper strike for the centenary celebrations.

During their Oct. 24 performance at Michigan Tech, the "1913 Singers" projected translations of some of the songs from different ethnic groups involved in the 1913-14 Copper Miners' strike, such as this translation (from Finnish) of a "Copper Territory Strikers' March." (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The strike had had at least three specially written anthems: one in English ("The Federation Call"), one in Finnish ("Kuparialueen lakkolaisten marssi" -- "The Copper Country Striker's March") and one in Italian ("Inno dei Scioperanti" -- "The Hymn of the Strikers"). The "1913 Singers" perform these anthems as well as some 1913-14 parodies of popular songs, which had been adapted to talk about the events of the strike and were published in the strike newspaper, the Miners' Bulletin. These include "The Pay of the Scab," "Where Do you Stand," "Michigan, my Michigan" and "The Workingman."

Although the songs were published in the newspaper without music, the vocal arrangements they use for all of the strike songs are based on sheet music of the period.

The majority of "1913 Singers" are involved in other local musical groups including the Michigan Tech Concert Choir, Keweenaw Symphony, and Copper Country Chorale.

Carnegie Exhibits continue

The following exhibits are currently continuing at the Carnegie Museum:*

Last Days of Italian Hall: Photographs of Calumet's Italian Hall 1981-1988 -- Twenty-one photographs, many never before exhibited, of Calument's Italian Hall by local photographer Eric Munch.

Family Ties: Memorials to those Lost in the 1913 Italian Hall Tragedy -- An exhibit by the Houghton Keweenaw County Genealogical Society.

Rural Reflections: Finnish American Buildings and Landscapes in Michigan's Copper Country -- Photographs by Ryan Holt with Historical Narrative by Arnold Alanen.

From the Old School: Memories from the Old Houghton High School 1923 - 1989 -- Oral histories about life in "the Old School."

The Carnegie Museum is on the corner of Huron and Montezuma in historic downtown Houghton. Free admission. Parking across Montezuma in City lot. Open Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 482-7140 or email

*See our Sept. 20, 2013, article on current Carnegie exhibits.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Highland Copper Co./Keweenaw Copper Co. to hold community information meetings

[Editor's Update: The session to be held at Gogebic Community College has been postponed. Please see below.]

CALUMET -- Highland Copper Company Inc. and its subsidiary Keweenaw Copper Co. invite community members to the first of a series of community information sessions.

All sessions will be held from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

The purpose of these sessions will be to update the community on Highland Copper’s proposal to purchase the White Pine Mine as well as other current projects in the western Upper Peninsula.

After the presentation, community members will be encouraged to ask questions and complete a brief survey.

Here is the schedule of meetings:
  • Ontonagon High School - Cafeteria - Wednesday, Dec. 11
  • Gogebic Community College (Ironwood) - Solin Center, Room B21 - Thursday, Jan. 9 [Note new date.]
  • Calumet High School - Commons Area - Wednesday, Jan. 15
  • Houghton High School - Multipurpose Room - Thursday, Jan. 16
All information presented, in addition to schedules for future information sessions, will be available at Keweenaw Copper’s website, See also

Editor's Notes: See also Keweenaw Now's Nov. 27, 2013, article, "Highland Copper Co. to acquire White Pine from Copper Range and continue Keweenaw mining exploration." 

Highland Copper has also updated their corporate presentation. Click here for the December 2013 presentation with more details, maps, etc.

Lecture to address technologies' impacts on everyday life TONIGHT, Dec. 11, at Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON -- Chelsea Schelly, Michigan Tech professor of social sciences, will give a talk, "Seeing the Social in the Material of Everyday Life," at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, Dec. 11, in Room G002, Hesterberg Hall of the U.J. Noblet Forestry Building at Michigan Technological University.

The technologies that we use in our everyday life, from electricity to cellphones to foods, impact the environment and the ways we relate to one another and to our communities, says Schelly. These technologies also shape the social and political organization of our society. We learn what "normal" life is, through our interactions with the materials that make life possible and comfortable.

In this talk, Schelly will discuss some of the reasons people adopt alternative technologies and some of their implications. By recognizing that these technologies have social implications, we can begin to question how to best use these technologies to promote sustainable communities.

Her talk is sponsored by the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech's Department of Social Sciences, the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and the Keweenaw Land Trust.

The talk is free and open to the public. Coffee and tea will be served, and visitors are invited to bring cookies.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Michigan Tech students to present study on feasibility of minewater as geothermal energy for Calumet Dec. 12

By Michele Bourdieu

CALUMET -- A free public presentation exploring the social feasibility of using minewater as a geothermal energy source in Calumet, Michigan, will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in the CLK Schools Commons.

The public is warmly invited to a community gathering and presentation of the results of a research project assessing the social and economic feasibility of tapping into mine shafts for geothermal energy in Calumet. The presentation will look at the opportunities and challenges associated with using the legacy of mining in the community as a sustainable and independent energy source. The project is the result of a collaborative effort between Main Street Calumet, Dr. Richelle Winkler and students at Michigan Technological University.

Students in Michigan Tech Prof. Richelle Winkler's 2013 fall semester class on rural community development and research take a GPS reading of the Calumet No. 3 mineshaft (the brick structure) located on the CLK Schools property. Pictured at right is Calumet Village President David Geisler. The playground is in the background. The school currently uses water from the mine to water the football field. (Photo © and courtesy Rahul "Neil" Bose, a student in the class.)

A discussion and social will follow the presentation with coffee and snacks. Free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome!

Winkler said this fall semester her interdisciplinary social sciences class, Rural Community Development: Communities and Research, is made up of five graduate students and three undergraduates, who have been working on this project. They are also collaborating with a Michigan Tech enterprise class on technical aspects of the project. Winkler noted that community members also come to the class and participate in the research process.

"Each year we do a different project with Calumet," Winkler said. "What we want to do is build a long-term relationship with Calumet -- and we've partnered with Main Street Calumet in particular.

Last year the project concerned Main Street Calumet's monthly First Friday events.*

Elmore Reese, Main Street Calumet volunteer, said Main Street Calumet's Economic Restructuring Committee has been looking into the possibility of using minewater as a potential energy source for the town for some time.

"We were very happy and grateful when Michigan Tech professor Dr. Richelle Winkler developed a class that has produced a study on the social feasibility of using minewater as a geothermal energy source in Calumet," Reese said. "I'm eagerly looking forward to the public presentation on Thursday."

Michigan Tech's Keweenaw Research Center at the Houghton County Airport already uses minewater as geothermal energy for both heating and cooling and for some of their work, Winkler added.

Reese noted Main Street Calumet is hopeful that the Keweenaw Research Center system can be adapted for use in Calumet.

The purpose of the presentation and discussion this Thursday is to help people in the community decide whether this is something they would like to do, Winkler explained.

Calumet Village President David Geisler is very excited about the potential for green energy in the community.

"I think if something like that came to fruition -- what a plus for Calumet!" he said. "It's a green source of energy. It's renewable -- zero emissions."

Geisler added the possibility of a geothermal energy source would attract business to the community and would piggy back on what Michigan Tech is already doing with their research.

"It puts us on the map as a community that is innovative and on the leading edge of technology," he added.

Geisler admitted the infrastructure would be expensive, but he believes green energy is something both federal and state governments support so it has a good potential for funding.

"What a terrific thing for this community," he said. "I'd love to see it happen."

Winkler said Calumet has about 37 mine shafts in the local area. The water in them averages 55 degrees F. while most geothermal systems use water that is only 45 degrees. Since water in the Calumet mines is warmer than the norm, it would be more efficient. A heat exchanger sucks heat out of the water and multiplies it, she explained. The water is then piped right back into the mine.

As part of their research, the students did about 15 formal interviews with people in Calumet and studied examples of other locations in the world that are using minewater for geothermal energy. They also did G.I.S. (Geological Information Systems) work to calculate the distance between mine shafts and key buildings in the Calumet community.

The minewater has the potential for geothermal energy use in homes as well as commercial buildings or industries, Winkler noted.

[Update: We just received the following comment on email.]

Carrie Karvakko, a student in Winkler's class who has participated in the project, said the class has been a great learning experience for her.

"I am from the area but was pleasantly surprised with how much I learned and didn't already know," Karvakko noted. "Also, I am a teacher at Houghton High School and found this research to be relevant. I have already included some aspects about Calumet's resources in some of my lesson plans for my U.S. History class. It's great to provide my students with material that comes from the area (close to their hearts) while teaching."

CLK Schools is located at 57070 Mine Street in Calumet. Enter through the west entrance off Red Jacket Road.

For more information about Main Street Calumet, visit their Web site.

* See the May 10, 2013, Michigan Tech News article "Study: Art Strengthens Community Ties in Calumet," by Karina Jousma, about Prof. Winkler's student study of Main Street Calumet's First Friday art tours.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative: Ashland County Board Chair Calls for Repeal of Mining Law

By Pete Russo and Charles Ortman
Posted Dec. 8, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative
Reprinted in part with permission

[On December 7, 2013, in an editorial that ran in the Ashland Daily Press, Ashland County Board Chair Pete Russo and Board Member Charles Ortman called for a repeal of Act 1, the new (Wisconsin) ferrous mining law that was written by Gogebic Taconite and passed into law last March. - WCMC Editors]

Gogebic Taconite (GTac) President Bill Williams is wanted in Spain for his role in arsenic pollution of a river and aquifer near a mine he was involved in before coming here, despite promises that were made of "new technology" and "engineering our way out of anything." At some point engineering failed and arsenic began. Mr. Williams’ response to the Spaniards’ umbrage at arsenic in their aquifer, "It’s just opposition to the mining in that area."

Background knowledge of this area of Mr. Williams’ life would have undeniably changed the flavor of every hearing on the new ferrous mining law. Certainly his promise of new technology preventing any environmental degradation would have been met with the skepticism it deserved. ... Click here to read the rest of this article on the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative Web site.

Photo (inset): Ashland County Board Chair Pete Russo, left, and Board Supervisor Charles Ortman at a press conference July 10, 2013 after GTac was caught employing
a paramilitary militia in Arizona to patrol their drill sites in the Penokee Hills. (Photo © and courtesy Rebecca Kemble)

Noteworthy to perform annual Christmas concert Dec. 12 in Calumet

The women's chorus Noteworthy, directed by Joan Petrelius, left, performs a December 2012 holiday concert at the Church of the Resurrection in Hancock. This year they will offer their annual Christmas concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12, at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Calumet. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

CALUMET -- The women's barbershop chorus Noteworthy will be performing its annual Christmas concert at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 12, at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Calumet.

In addition to Christmas favorites, the group promises "some really fun music." The concert will include Corbin Eddy playing the organ.

While no admission will be charged, donations will be taken to support the CLK food pantry and 31 Backpacks, which provides food for local schoolchildren who would otherwise go hungry over the holidays.*

St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church is at 301 Eighth Street in Calumet.

* Editor's Note: To learn about 31 Backpacks, read the recent article, "Students Build a Website to Help Hungry Kids," by Marcia Goodrich, on the Michigan Tech News.

Wax clinic for cross-country skis to be offered Dec. 11 at Nara Center

HOUGHTON -- Toko Ski Wax technical support team member Mike Young will demonstrate the basics of waxing cross-country skis and will answer questions from participants at a wax clinic beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Nara Center on US 41 between Houghton and Chassell, just north of the Pilgrim River.

Sponsored by the Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Club, the wax clinic is free and open to the public.

Some cross-country trails in the area are groomed. Check out Keweenaw Trails for current trail conditions and a schedule of cross-country ski events.