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.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Barneløpet children's ski race to be Feb. 9 at Maasto Hiihto Trails

HANCOCK -- Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC), Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge and the City of Hancock will sponsor their annual Barneløpet children's classic cross-country ski race this Sunday, Feb. 9, at Maasto Hiihto Trails.

Sandy Aronson and Gromit the Ski Dog patrol the Maasto Hiihto River Trail during the 2013 Barneløpet children's ski race. See Gromit's Trail Mutt Reports for recent photos of last week's Retro Ski event at Maasto Hiihto and Churning Rapids. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The Barneløpet (pronounced bar-NEE-lop-it) first began in 1987 and was modeled after the "Barnebirke," a children’s cross-county ski race held each year as a part of the world-famous American "Birkebeiner" held in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Registration is open for ages 3 through 17 years old; parents are encouraged to ski with their children if they wish -- to make it a family outing!

Parents ski with their children at a previous Barneløpet ski race at Maasto Hiihto Trails in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The Barneløpet start is at the Hancock Four Seasons Chalet trailhead on the Maasto Hiihto cross-country trail system with groomed and marked courses of 1, 2, 4, and 6 km, each for children of differing ages/abilities.

Registration is at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Four Seasons Chalet at the trailhead in Hancock (County Fair Grounds).

Start Times:  2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in age groups. Non-competitive. Ski for time or take your time!
Youth skiers who complete their chosen course receive a large, colorful enameled Participation Medallion and can enjoy the hot chocolate and cookie treats provided at the Chalet for everyone after they finish.

A suggested donation of $3 per child or $5 per family, to help defray the costs of the event, is welcome.

To download a registration form, click here.

Calumet galleries, studios, offer exhibits, art activities TONIGHT, Feb. 7

"Let the Storm be Outside" by j.d. Slack is part of the February exhibit -- opening today, Friday, Feb. 7 -- at the Paige Wiard Gallery in Calumet. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

CALUMET -- First Friday in Calumet, Feb. 7, offers a variety of art exhibits and activities -- all free and open to the public.

"Color My Winter" exhibit opens at Paige Wiard Gallery

Stop in the Paige Wiard Gallery to bring color into your winter. For the month of February artists have worked their color magic to create vivid and amazing color in their art work.

"Patchwork" by Joyce Koskenmaki. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. TONIGHT, First Friday, Feb. 7. The Paige Wiard Gallery is at 109 5th St, Calumet. For more information contact the gallery at 906-337-5970 or email

Galerie Bohème to feature art by Margo McCafferty, Tom Rudd, Stuart Baird

This First Friday the Galerie Bohème will be highlighting new casein paintings from Margo McCafferty, recent color reduction woodcuts from Tom and Margo McCafferty Rudd, a couple of new fish from Tom and scads of hand-carved feathers from Stuart Baird.

"Roofcows" by Margo McCafferty. (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

A reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. TONIGHT at Galerie Bohème, located at 423 Fifth Street in Calumet. Refreshments will include bread and cheese and perhaps a good grape beverage.

Calumet Art Center to hold Open Studio

Students work on the past Calumet Art Center Youth Board’s project -- just one example of the space available for open studio work. (Photo courtesy Calumet Art Center)

The Calumet Art Center will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. this First Friday, Feb. 7.

The Center is offering an Open Studio where you can find the space you need to start, continue or finish your own personal art project. There is plenty of space available so bring your materials and friends with you. Find your inspiration while touring the Center's looms of all types, lamp work bead station, library and writing studio and the clay studio. Learn about their recent classes, projects and upcoming events.

The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth St. For more information email or call 906-934-2228.

Copper Country Associated Artists to host "Art of Doodling" workshop

An "Art of Doodling" workshop will be presented by Heather McGee Soumis at the Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) Studio and Gallery TONIGHT, First Friday, Feb. 7.

An example of the "Art of Doodling." (Image courtesy Copper Country Associated Artists)

Using markers, pens and watercolors, participants will learn how to take doodling to the next level and turn it into real art. Heather will also demonstrate turning your art into a homemade journal -- and will invite people to sign up for a journal class.

The workshop will be open to doodlers young and old, 7 and up please. Participants can stop by and try it out any time between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Refreshments will be available, and the workshop is free and open to the public. The CCAA is located at 205 Fifth Street, just next door to Hahn Hammered Copper.

Phi Taus in Hancock capture seventh straight Winter Carnival statue crown

By Dennis Walikainen, Michigan Tech Senior Editor
With photos by Keweenaw Now

"As the snow falls from above, a beast discovers love" -- by the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity in Hancock -- is the first place winner in Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival fraternity division for the seventh year straight! (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- With a large and detailed snow statue based on The Beauty and the Beast, Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, located on West Quincy Street in Hancock, won the fraternity division of the month-long statue competition for the seventh consecutive year.

Entrance to the "Beast's" castle with icy chain. In the background are Belle (Beauty) and the Beast.

Tau Kappa Epsilon’s tribute to The Lion King, next to the Administration Building, took second place, and Delta Sigma Phi’s Toy Story entry, next to Wadsworth Hall, was third.

All the statues had to follow this year’s Winter Carnival theme: "Nostalgic Films of Childhood Days Come to Life in Frosty Ways."

Michael Braun of Phi Kappa Tau said they had a solid crew of twenty members logging some 200 to 300 hours each, since they returned after the holiday break.

"I’m proud of the results," said the fourth-year chemical engineering major from Pinconning, Mich.

Belle and her beloved Beast dance in the ballroom of the castle after the magic of love transforms him.

Seven-time winner Phi Kappa Tau is known for detailed ice sculptures such as this tea service.

Among women’s groups, Alpha Sigma Tau, on College Avenue near Franklin Square, took first with a tribute to Cinderella. Theta Chi Epsilon was second, with Peter Pan; and Delta Zeta third, with the Wizard of Oz.

The Residence Hall category found Summit/WIE, also focusing on The Lion King and located in front of the Walker Arts and Humanities Center, on top, followed by Mama’s Boys and Raptor Hall.

Army ROTC (Land Before Time) bested Air Force ROTC (Jurassic Park) in the Student Organization group, with Four-Wheelers coming in third.

The all-nighters, who only had from 4 p.m. Wednesday to 8 a.m. Thursday to complete their artwork, had results in three categories. On-Campus champions were the Lutheran Collegians, followed by the National Association of Home Builders. The Off-Campus category was won by Lutheran Campus Ministries, and Bastille won the University Housing category.

Click here for Michigan Tech's photos of the winning statues.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Winter Lover's Market to be held in Marquette Feb. 8

MARQUETTE -- A Winter Lover's Market (a.k.a. Cabin Fever Market) will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Marquette Commons, 112 Third Street in Marquette.

Locally hand grown and handmade items will be available, including the following:
Produce, Grass-Fed and Organically-Raised Meat, Maple Syrup, Polish Fire, Baked Goods, Candles, Soap, Body Care Products, Jewelry, Note Cards, Journals, Knives, House Wares, Chimes, Artwork, Children’s Toys, Aprons, Leather Goods, Nuno-Felted and Tie-Dyed Clothing.

These new Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP) stickers will also be available at the Feb. 8 Winter Lover's Market in Marquette. All proceeds from YDWP goods will go to protect the environment. (Photo courtesy Wendy Johnson)

According to Wendy Johnson, ice skating is possible as well. For more information visit

Ski for the Key at Swedetown Trails to benefit Trails and Omega House Feb. 8

CALUMET -- Come on out to Swedetown Trails for Ski for the Key (formerly Ski for the Heart) this Saturday, Feb. 8.

This is a fundraiser to support Omega House hospice and Swedetown Trails. Ski or snowshoe at your own pace and then come on in to enjoy some food and a nice social occasion. Snacks will include Co-op Chili, cornbread and much more.

Though the name has changed, the format of the event remains the same: participants will collect pledges in advance of the event for each kilometer skied or snow-shoed between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. Participants raising more than $50 will receive a beautiful cotton long-sleeved t-shirt. Prizes will be awarded to participants who raise the most money and who ski the most kilometers.

Register in the Chalet any time after 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, and turn in your envelope before 2 p.m. Enter as a team or an individual. Many prizes.

If you're not available Saturday, you can ski or snowshoe today, Feb. 6, or tomorrow, Feb. 7. Ski or snowshoe for up to 5 consecutive hours on a single day; record the date, time and distance on your collection envelope; and turn it in to your team captain.

Click here for more information.

Save the Wild U.P. hosts poetry contest through March 15

MARQUETTE -- Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) has announced a new poetry contest, "Putting the Wild into Words," designed to highlight the environment of the Upper Peninsula. SWUP is seeking submissions of nature-related poems -- written in the spirit of wilderness, or inspired by personal connections with the unique landscape of Upper Michigan.

Save the Wild U.P.’s poetry contest is free and open to all current residents of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The contest runs February 1 - March 15, 2014. Any U.P. writer may submit online (one entry per person):

"Saving the Wild U.P. means naming, cherishing, and then protecting what makes Upper Michigan such an incredible place -- our language, our lakes, and our lands. We’re delighted to sponsor this new contest, because 'Putting the Wild Into Words' will help spotlight that vital vein that runs between landscape and our identity," said Kathleen Heideman, president of SWUP.

Russell Thorburn, U.P. Poet Laureate, will judge. In April, National Poetry Month, Thorburn will join the winners for two special poetry readings, to be held in Munising and Marquette.

Asked how his own poetry connects, Thorburn shared a few lines of his work: "To the cold stones and sky and those crows who don't know they're only shadows against the snow departing, the voices of all those who sing from a lost wilderness, snow day after snow day, 'in lairs and asylums of the tremendous shout.'"

In 2013, Russell Thorburn was named the first Upper Peninsula Poet Laureate, chosen by literary-minded experts from around the peninsula. Thorburn is the author of five books of poetry, including Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged (Marick Press), and Approximate Desire (New Issues Poetry).

Winning poets will be contacted in mid-March, and invited to participate in two special "Putting the Wild into Words" poetry readings with judge Russell Thorburn.* Winning poems will be featured on Save the Wild U.P.’s website. Poets awarded first, second and third prize will each receive valuable gift certificates from U.P. businesses who support Save the Wild U.P.’s grassroots environmental work.

* Click here for more details on the contest.

Hancock Tori (Market) to be open Saturday, Feb. 8, at First United Methodist Church

HANCOCK -- The Hancock Tori (Market) will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 8, at the First United Methodist Church next to the Quincy Green in downtown Hancock.

Take a break to shop for some hand-crafted items during Winter Carnival. It's just in time to find a surprise for your Valentine!

A fund raising lunch by the Methodist ladies will be available. Everyone is welcome!

Read more about the Hancock Tori on their Facebook page.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival 2014 is underway with lots of snow for statues

By Marcia Goodrich, Michigan Tech Magazine Editor

Michigan Tech students build statues during the All-Nighter during Winter Carnival 2013. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

HOUGHTON -- This year's Michigan Tech Winter Carnival presents no shortage of snow for the construction material with more than 100 inches that have fallen this season. Mounds of the white stuff dot campus, more than enough for student organizations to build their signature statues of snow and ice, following the theme "Nostalgic Films of Childhood Days, Come to Life in Frosty Ways."

Last year's winner in the fraternity division, Phi Kappa Tau in Hancock, took first place with this giant snow structure and its icy details, inspired by "The Incredibles" animated movie. Fraternities and sororities have been working for a whole month on their creations this year, but have the advantage of more snow. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The All-Nighter kicks off at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, when students put in a final push on their statues before judging the following morning. Crowds of people wander through campus, drinking hot chocolate and enjoying music and camaraderie. Eventually, they drift home, leaving students to labor until the statue-building deadline, 8 a.m.

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (Hamar House, Building 13 on campus) will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5. During the All-Nighter, statue builders and friends are welcome to come in from the cold to warm up with free coffee and snacks.

On Thursday morning visitors will flock to campus to see the snowy dioramas. Among the entertainment offerings, sleigh rides begin at 9 a.m. and sled dog rides begin at 3 p.m., Feb. 6-8, near Douglass Houghton Hall.

Winter Carnival, sponsored by Blue Key, is about much more than statues, however.

Click here for a schedule of event highlights. You can also learn more at Click here for a detailed schedule.

Parking during Winter Carnival and extended shuttle service

To accommodate the many visitors during Winter Carnival, Transportation Services will unlock the following lots at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5. This means you will be allowed to park in these designated areas without a permit:
Lot 9 (commuter lot by the Rozsa Center)
Lot 5 (graduate student lot by the Rozsa Center)
Lot 11 (near the Administration Building) Open at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7
Lot 27 (pay lot between the Administration Building and MUB)
Overnight parking: you may park in Lot 9, the commuter lot by the Rozsa Center

Lastly, there will be free parking at all metered spaces.

Transportation Services will also extend its operations during Winter Carnival. The shuttle will run from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. The City of Houghton shuttle service will run its regular scheduled service.

For any questions or comments regarding Winter Carnival parking regulations or shuttle bus service, call Transportation Services at 487-1441 or Public Safety and Police Services at 487-2216.

Rep. Dianda calls on Governor to act on propane crisis

LANSING -- State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) called on Gov. Rick Snyder today to act quickly in aiding U.P. residents struggling to stay warm during the propane shortage. According to the Michigan Public Service Commission, propane inventories in the U.P. are 46 percent below last year’s level, and the shortage is causing increased propane costs.

"I am deeply concerned for the many Michigan families struggling to pay their propane bills and stay warm this winter," Dianda said. "It saddens me that the governor has not yet taken sufficient action to help U.P. families, and I am asking that he take the appropriate steps to ensure all Michiganders are kept safe during this record-setting cold winter."

Among his recommendations for the governor is a suggestion to call on the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) to increase the availability of low-interest loans to propane suppliers. The governor has yet to do this. Dianda would also alter Michigan’s Winter Protection Plan criteria to allow more families who rely on propane to qualify for assistance.

"We are being called upon to take decisive action during this propane crisis," said Dianda. "I do not think the governor understands the urgency of the situation or the hardship that price spikes and rationing have caused in the U.P. Today I say to Gov. Snyder, 'We share the responsibility of protecting our constituents. It is our job as officials elected by the people to keep Michigan families safe and warm during this harsh winter.'"

Currently, there is some state assistance available for families and individuals who are in danger of losing their heat and can demonstrate need. Those in need of help are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 to connect with local aid agencies or contact their local Department of Human Services office. Those with questions or concerns are encouraged to contact Dianda’s office toll-free at (888) 663-4031.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Tech Theatre Company to present modern fairy tale with dance, music Feb. 6-8, Feb. 13-15

HOUGHTON -- The Tech Theatre Company presents Rose and the Rime, a spectacular modern fairy tale of courage and hope in the face of adversity and fear. The fable features Rose, a very special girl who embarks on an adventure to save her town, Radio Falls, Michigan, from perpetual winter. The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 6, 7, 8 and Feb. 13, 14, 15 in the McArdle Theatre, in the Walker Center for Arts and Humanities at Michigan Technological University.

The play includes dance, and original music composed by students. For younger audiences (5 and under) the Saturday performances include a backstage tour with the cast and crew to help children become more comfortable with potentially scary content.

According to Director Patricial Helsel, "Welcome to the world of Rose. Her town has fallen under a spell cast by the Rime Witch leaving its residents in perpetual winter. With the actors and production crew, the directing and design staffs have collaborated in bringing to life Rose’s adventure to save her town. The production includes a corps of 'sprites' who facilitate the transformation of locations and moods. 

"Tech’s production incorporates aerial silk dance as a binding element allowing the set to come to life. Rose’s world is further formed and transformed by original music and sound effects that take the audience on a journey across glacial cliffs, into mysterious ice caves, and into the belly of the Rime Witch. The mood moves from silly yet mysterious, to edge-of-your-seat frightening, to victorious glory and painful sorrow, and back again to light-heartedness. Some scenes may be scary for young children. Tech Theatre is offering pre-show tours before the Saturday performances, at 6:30 p.m., in an attempt to prepare and acclimate youngsters by experiencing the environment through 'touch,' 'see,' and 'listen.' Families with tickets for the Saturday performances should meet in the lobby of the McArdle Theatre, Walker 2nd floor."

General admission is $13, youth tickets (17 and under) are $8, and Michigan Tech student tickets are free with the experience Tech fee.

The play is presented by the Michigan Tech Department of Visual and Performing Arts.  To purchase tickets, call (906) 487-2073, go online at, or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday; and 12 noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets will also be available at the McArdle Theatre box office, located on the second floor of the Walker Center for Arts and Humanities, two hours prior to the show.