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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Guest article: Michigan Tech alumni discover new variety of Greenstone in the Keweenaw

By Shawn M. Carlson

While mineral exploration companies pore over maps and drill core data in the hopes of developing new mines in Michigan, others take a more academic approach and seek out new types of minerals, rare species not previously known to occur in our state -- like the recent discovery made by two Michigan Tech alumni, Shawn M. Carlson and Travis A. Olds.

This past summer Carlson, an industry mineralogist from Crystal Falls, Mich., and Olds, a Ph.D. candidate in environmental actinide chemistry at the University of Notre Dame, were prospecting around a long-abandoned mine near Copper Harbor and encountered something unusual.

"The discovery is a variety of pumpellyite -- the scientific name for Michigan’s state gemstone -- but this one has a lot of manganese in it, enough to transform its color from the traditional green into various shades of pink, tan, and brown," said Olds.

Thin transparent slice of Michigan greenstone (state gem) with watermelon-like, yellowish-green rim surrounding a pinkish-red, manganese-rich core. (Photo © and courtesy Shawn M. Carlson)

Manganese-rich "greenstones" are known from a few other worldwide localities, but this is the very first report of the material in Michigan and probably the first report in all of North America. Though of little interest to major mining firms, new mineral finds in the Keweenaw are uncommon and tend to generate a lot of discussion amongst lapidaries, rockhounds, and mineral artists.

"Discovering a mineral new to the state of Michigan is rare enough as it is, but to have that mineral be a new variety of our state’s official gemstone -- it’s pretty exciting," said Olds.

The discovery is part of an ongoing effort to advance our understanding of Michigan’s economic, environmental, and collectible mineralogy by documenting every type of mineral known to occur here, no matter how rare or common, large or small.*

*Author's Note: For details about this "Mineralogy of Michigan" project please see

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to host moonlight bonfire and ski TONIGHT, Jan. 11

Grooming Maasto Hiihto River Trail on Jan. 5. (Photos © and courtesy Arlyn and Sandy Aronson. Reprinted from The Trail Mutt Reports with permission.)

HANCOCK -- Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club will host their monthly moonlight bonfire down in Swedetown gorge TONIGHT, Saturday, Jan. 11. Meet at 6:30 p.m. at the chalet in Hancock and ski down Sisu hill. The fire is just upstream from there on the River Trail. (You may ski in from any trail head -- the chalet is the closest.)

On New Year's Eve Gromit the Trail Mutt and Sandy Aronson check out the "covered" bridges on Maasto Hiihto. Here they are on the Middle Bridge over Swedetown Creek.

Come on by any time between 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Hot dog roasting should be in full procession. And Mother Nature is even going to help out a little!

Click here for more photos of Gromit the Trail Mutt's skiing adventures and more.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dance Zone Marquette to host Blue Champagne for Jan. 11 dance, Sweetheart Ball Feb. 14 with Black Pearl, more ...

MARQUETTE -- Dance Zone Marquette will host the band Blue Champagne for a dance beginning at 7 p.m. TOMORROW, Saturday, Jan. 11. Entrance price is $10 per person.

Also coming up at Dance Zone:

Contra and Old-time square dance from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, with All Strings Considered playing. Good, wholesome fun for the whole family!

Dance Zone will host their First Ever Sweetheart Ball on Friday, Feb. 14; Dinner Dance starts at 6 p.m. Black Pearl will play after dinner. $20 per person; reservations required in advance.

West Coast Swing Lessons with Brian and Janell Larson 4 Sundays: Jan. 19, Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and Feb. 16. $20 per person for all 4 lessons. Contact or 906-226-0138 for more information.

Other regular events:   

    Sundays -- Ballroom dance lessons with the Steppin' Out Dance Club, 7 p.m.  FREE
    Mondays -- Square dance, mainstream and plus, 7:30 p.m. $5 per couple.
    Tuesdays --  International Folk Dance, 7:15 p.m. FREE
    Fridays --
             2nd and 4th Fridays -- Hula dance lessons, 7:15 p.m.
             1st and 3rd Fridays -- Contra and square dance. All Strings Considered playing on Jan. 17, Feb. 7, March 21, April 4, May 2. Other Fridays dance to CDs; family-friendly events
    Zumba -- M, F, 6 p.m. Contact Alesia for more information.
Please encourage your friends to attend these events! Please bring clean shoes to protect the dance floor.

Let Marge know if you have any questions. Call 906-236-1457.  Dance Zone is at 1113 Lincoln Avenue (Lincoln and College) in Marquette. For more details visit

Michigan Nature Association to lead snowshoe hike Jan. 11

CHASSELL -- Michigan Nature Association will host a snowshoe hike beginning at 1 p.m. TOMORROW, Saturday, Jan. 11, at River Bend NS.

Join stewards Gwen and Mike Stockwell for a snowshoe hike to a rarely visited sanctuary in Houghton County. The group will hike out through the woods to the picturesque bend in the Otter River and back. Please bring your own snowshoes, snacks and water. Mike notes that hikers will be traversing CFA land that is currently being harvested. It may be necessary to carry your snowshoes part of the way or to bushwhack around any processing underway.

Getting there:

FROM HOUGHTON -- Go south on US 41 to Chassell and turn right at the blinking light onto Chassell-Painesdale Rd. After 3 miles, the road hooks left into Tapiola Road; go another 9 miles to first stop, turn right on Askell Road which hooks left onto Pelkie Road.  Go 2 miles to Fish Hatchery Road (Elo) and turn right; go 1.5 miles to fire number 15500 and turn right onto a long driveway.

FROM BARAGA -- From US 41, go west on M38 (blinking yellow signal) for 6.9 miles to Pelkie Road; turn right and go 6.6 miles to Fish Hatchery Road; turn left and go 1.5 miles to fire number 15500; turn right onto a long driveway.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Heikinpäivä enrichment classes begin Jan. 13; register now

Leading the 2013 Heikinpäivä Parade are Hilary Virtanen (in red) and Hal Seppälä with the banner, followed by the wagon carrying last year's Hankooki Heikki, Dan Maki, who reigned over the festival. This year the parade and other main events for the 15th annual Heikinpäivä Mid-Winter Festival will take place on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- As winter’s icy grip takes hold on the Copper Country, what better way to warm up than to bake some loaves of bread, or learn to weave, or make some beautiful music -- in preparation for Hancock's Heikinpäivä Mid-Winter Festival.

You can learn to do any of these on Monday, Jan. 13, as the 2014 Heikinpäivä enrichment programming gets under way with a trio of classes at Zion Lutheran Church in Hancock.

At 2 p.m and 6 p.m., retired bakery owner Edith Maki will present "Finnish Breads -- Plain and Fancy." For a $15 fee, participants can learn to make a variety of Finnish breads from the former proprietor of Spice of Life Bakery.

At 6 p.m. that same day, fiber arts enthusiast Eileen Sundquist will share her skills in tablet weaving; folks taking that course will pay a $20 fee, which includes supplies; and participants take home a mini loom.

Also at 6 p.m., Kay Seppälä will lead a class on how to play the 5-string kantele. For a $10 fee (with instruments provided) people of all skill levels can learn to make music on the Finnish lap harp.

Kay Seppälä, instructor (musician, in foreground), and her kantele ensemble perform during the 2011 Finnish Independence celebration in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

To sign up for any of these classes, call Mary at (906) 482-1413 or email mpekkala Click here for more info about the classes.

Heikinpäivä is the annual midwinter festival created and conducted by the Finnish Theme Committee of the City of Hancock. It is sponsored by the Finnish American Reporter and Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center and Historical Archive.

More classes and family activities are scheduled for the next two weeks, leading up to the main Heikinpäivä festival day -- Saturday, Jan. 25. For detailed information about the festival, visit

Portage Library Wellness series continues with Healing Touch workshop TONIGHT, Jan. 9

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host its monthly program in the Natural Health and Wellness series from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Jan. 9.

Cathy Lucchesi-Gedda will present "An Introduction to Healing Touch Workshop." Healing Touch is an energy therapy in which practitioners consciously use their hands to clear, restore, energize, and balance the energy field in order to support and facilitate healing.

The goal of this class is to inspire participants to tap into their own natural gifts for healing. Participants will learn concepts and techniques that promote health and facilitate healing for themselves and loved ones. Healing Touch is for any individual who wants to enhance their health and wellness and explore energy medicine as an educated consumer.

The Natural Health and Wellness series is held on the second Thursday of each month. All library programs are free, and everyone is welcome.

For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Nordic Film Series to present animated Finnish film "Seven Brothers" Jan. 9

HANCOCK -- An animated movie based on one of the greatest Finnish novels ever written begins the 2014 portion of the Nordic Film Series slate TODAY, Thursday, Jan. 9.

Seven Brothers, the only novel by famed Finnish author Aleksis Kivi, is the basis of a short, animated film of the same name. Beginning the Nordic Film Series for 2014 with this film is appropriate since this year is considered the centennial anniversary of animation in Finland. This showing is also the kickoff event for Heikinpäivä 2014. Watch for more information about this mid-winter festival, coming soon to Hancock.

The film will be shown at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the Wiljanen Community Hall of Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center. The screenings are free and open to the public; donations are appreciated.

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

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Call for art entries: "Art from the Kalevala" exhibit, coming soon

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center is seeking entries for its "Art from the Kalevala" exhibit, which will take place in the Kerredge Gallery in conjunction with Hancock’s mid-winter festival, Heikinpäivä, taking place Jan. 12-28.

Swan of Tuonela, oil, by Joyce Koskenmaki. From a previous "Art from the Kalevala" exhibit. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
"If the river-swan you shoot me,
Shoot the great bird on the river,
There on Tuoni's murky river..."

The Kalevala is an important literary work and is the epic poem of Finland. Since its rich imagery provides a hearty topic for visual art, the exhibit fits nicely with the festival. Many people come to Hancock during this time and will enjoy the exhibition’s connection with Finnish culture.

Artists may submit up to three pieces. Please include the lines from the Kalevala that inspired your work. There is no fee to participate but there is a 40 percent commission on any work sold. If your art is not for sale please note "NFS."

Please deliver your work to the Community Arts Center during the following dates: from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday - Friday, Jan. 8-10, or from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11.

The Community Arts Center will host an Open House Reception from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, during Heikinpäivä Mid-winter Festival.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. For more information email: or call 906-482-2333.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Calumet Village holds Italian Hall Tragedy Centennial Ceremony on Christmas Eve, 2013

By Michele Bourdieu

During the Italian Hall Tragedy Centennial Ceremony on Christmas Eve, 2013, Calumet Village President Dave Geisler, right, reads the names and ages of the 73 victims, mostly children, who were crushed to death on Dec. 24, 1913, in Calumet's Italian Hall when a false alarm of "Fire!" caused a panic. A descendant of one of the victims comes forward to take a rose from the commemorative wreath honoring the victims. At left is Sue Dana, Calumet Village comptroller, who assists with the wreath. The ceremony was held at the Italian Hall historic site -- a park including the arch that remains from the building, demolished in 1984. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now unless otherwise indicated.)

CALUMET -- While hardly warming the Christmas Eve, 2013, cold temperatures, a bit of sunshine helped brighten the scene at the Italian Hall historic arch as Calumet Village officials, church leaders, singers, and a large crowd of residents and visitors solemnly commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Italian Hall tragedy.

Here are some video highlights of the event:

As the Centennial Ceremony begins, Dave Geisler, Calumet Village president, welcomes residents and visitors to the commemoration and introduces the other speakers, including the Rev. Laura Eaton of Christ Episcopal Church and her son, the Rev. Jess Peterlin. At the Italian Hall historic site, 73 luminaries and a wreath with 73 white tea roses honor the victims. (Videos by Allan Baker for Keweeenaw Now)

During the Italian Hall Tragedy Centennial ceremony in Calumet, Mich., on Dec. 24, 2013, members of the Noteworthy chorus sing "Amazing Grace," a hymn to honor the victims.

As Calumet Village President Dave Geisler reads the last of the 73 names of the Italian Hall disaster victims, relatives come forward to take a rose from the commemorative wreath. Sue Dana, Calumet Village comptroller, reads Psalm 23. Following his closing comments, Geisler offers residents and visitors Christmas wishes in several of the languages spoken in Calumet 100 years ago.

Following the ceremony, visitors were invited to view the display of historic photographs in the Calumet Village Hall and the traveling exhibit from the Michigan Tech Archives, "Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan's 1913-1914 Copper Strike," in the Calumet Theatre.

More photos of this Italian Hall Centennial event:

This sign marks the arch from Italian Hall as a historic site commemorating the victims of the 1913 tragedy. (Photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Luminaries at the historic arch honor the victims on Christmas Eve 2013, marking the centennial of the Italian Hall tragedy.

A close-up of the luminaries -- one for each of the 73 victims.

Following the Italian Hall Tragedy Centennial Ceremony on Dec. 24, 2013, visitors view historic photos on display in the Calumet Village Hall. This is a photo of the deadly stairwell and the doors at the entrance.

This historic photo of Italian Hall is part of the exhibit in the Calumet Village Hall.

A historic photo of the funeral for the victims that was held on Dec. 28, 1913.

Late into the evening of Christmas Eve, 2013, the luminaries near the Italian Hall historic arch continue to burn in honor of the Italian Hall victims. (Photo © Eric Munch, 2013. Reprinted with permission.)

During the afternoon and evening of Christmas Eve, 2013, Calumet church bells tolled for the victims.

During the evening of Dec. 24, 2013, the bells at St. Paul the Apostle Church ring out in remembrance of the victims of the Italian Hall disaster of Christmas Eve, 1913.

Editor's Notes: See also our Dec. 24, 2013, article, "1913 Massacre filmmakers talk about their documentary on Italian Hall disaster."

Click here to learn about the traveling exhibit, "Tumult and Tragedy," which is available to the public in the Calumet Theatre through Jan. 16, 2014.

Monday, January 06, 2014

From Woods Person: We Are a Nation of Laws

Or, how an insurance company may yet save Iron County, Wis., from disaster

By Woods Person
Published on on Jan. 6, 2014
Reprinted here in part with permission.

IRON COUNTY, WIS. --  In a four minute meeting on the morning of December 9th, 2013, the Iron County (Wis.) Forestry Committee of the County Board voted unanimously to evict members of the Lac Courte Oreilles band of the Lake Superior Ojibwe from their Harvest, Education, and Learning Project camp, (HELP), on county forest land. Little discussion of the rationale for this decision and no consideration of the possible legal repercussions and consequences of it occurred at that public meeting or, for that matter, in any other public meeting....

Click here to read the rest of this article (and its documentation) on the Woods Person blog.

See also "Truth or Consequences in the Penokee Hills," a letter from Jack Parker, geologist and mining engineer from Baltic, Mich., posted on the Woods Person blog on Jan. 5, 2014.

Sen. Levin comments on Great Lakes invasive species study

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, made the following statement today about the release of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study into the movement of invasive species into the Great Lakes:

"I welcome the arrival today of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Inter-basin Study prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The report provides a framework for stopping the movement of destructive invasive species, including Asian carp, between the two basins. With a $7 billion fishery at stake, it is urgent that we do everything we can to curb the threat of invasive species, and this report will help Congress determine how to provide the most effective protections for the Great Lakes. I look forward to working with my colleagues and other stakeholders in achieving that goal."

According to an Associated Press article posted and updated today, Jan. 6, 2014, the report includes "construction projects in Chicago waterways that could cost more than $18 billion and take 25 years to complete."*

* See "Army Corps proposes alternatives to protect lakes" on

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Keweenaw Garden Club event scheduled for Portage Library Jan. 6 to be postponed

HOUGHTON --The Keweenaw Garden Club meeting and presentation, "Winter Sowing Your Way to a Beautiful Garden," scheduled for Monday evening, Jan. 6, at Portage Lake District Library, will be postponed to a further date, to be announced.

Since schools will be closed tomorrow, Jan. 6, because of inclement weather, the Portage Library will also be closed.

Editor's Note: Keweenaw Now announced this event earlier today. Thanks to Chris Alquist, Portage Library community program director, for the update.