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, May 24, 2014

LaRose Wellness Retreat to host "Balancing the Wheel of Life" retreat-seminar May 31

View of Keweenaw Bay from LaRose Wellness Retreat. (Photo © and courtesy Cheryl LaRose)

KEWEENAW BAY -- "Balancing the Wheel of Life," a half-day retreat-seminar will take place on Saturday, May 31, at the LaRose Wellness Retreat, 12383 US Hwy 41, Keweenaw Bay.

The afternoon session is already filled, but a morning session has been added: a seminar from 9 a.m. to noon, and a spa from noon to 2 p.m.

Learn tools to balance and recalibrate your life in this interactive and fun seminar with eMerge Life Coach Cynthia Drake. The seminar cost is $40. This includes a complimentary hot tub, sauna and light lunch. Also available: foot soak/massage (gratuity).

Pre-registration is required. To ensure your spot reserve early. Pre-register on line at or call 906-370-5011.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Christopher Germain announces run for Michigan Senate, 38th District

ESCANABA -- Christopher Germain recently announced that he is formally launching his campaign as a Democratic candidate for State Senate in Michigan's 38th District -- a seat now held by Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba). Germain, a realtor and volunteer fire captain from Escanaba, is a life-long area resident.

"In my work as a realtor, I talk with Upper Peninsula families every day," Germain said. "I know what concerns they have when they are considering where to put down roots. With our state’s unemployment rate still one of the highest in the nation, local schools shutting their doors, and working families shouldering the burden of corporate tax breaks, it is obvious that the U.P. needs a stronger voice in the State Senate."

As a nine-year veteran of the Ford River Fire Department, Germain is especially concerned about drastic cuts to public safety services. He will work to restore crucial funding to local police and fire departments and area correctional facilities.

"The men and women who keep our communities safe have been forced to do more with less, and that needs to end," Germain said. "These severe cuts compromise public safety. Adequate funding is crucial to protecting our communities and keeping these workers safe on the job."

With devastating cuts in recent years forcing the closure of several public schools across the district, restoring education funding will be a top priority for Germain. His campaign will also focus on preserving the Upper Peninsula’s natural beauty and ending tax hikes on working families and senior citizens.

"This Legislature has dished out tax breaks to corporations with no strings attached, and it has all been done on the backs of the middle class and senior citizens," Germain said. "Retirees who played by the rules and worked hard their whole lives have been hit with a new tax on their pensions to help pay for these corporate handouts. The 38th District needs a senator who will oppose these tax hikes and put the middle class first."

In addition to his service with the Ford River Fire Department, Germain is also active with the Delta County Jaycees, Delta County Relay for Life, and Delta Lodge 195 of Free and Accepted Masons. He also serves as the President of the Upper Peninsula Association of Realtors, Inc.

"I have a long history of serving my community, and I’m excited to take that passion for public service to Lansing," Germain said. "I will be traveling around the Upper Peninsula in the weeks ahead to meet with voters. I am looking forward to learning more about their concerns and the issues most important to them."

Germain will be launching a website soon at  He will also be announcing a campaign kickoff tour that will include various stops around the Upper Peninsula. This will give voters an opportunity to meet with him face to face and ask questions about the campaign.

Click here to visit Germain's campaign Facebook page.

The 38th Senate District spans the western and central Upper Peninsula. The district includes Alger, Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft counties.

Inset photo: Christopher Germain. (Photo courtesy Christopher Germain)

North Woods Conservancy to hold Open House at Seven Mile Point May 24, 25, 26

Lake Superior beach at Seven Mile Point, between Ahmeek and Eagle River. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

CALUMET -- North Woods Conservancy will sponsor an Open House at Seven Mile Point (SMP) from noon to sunset this Memorial Day Weekend -- Saturday, Sunday and Monday -- May 24, 25 and 26.

The spectacular Lake Superior beach at Seven Mile Point is opening for the season -- 1,000 feet of sand and 800 feet of billion year old bedrock, including the Point and several agate-rich basaltic cobble beaches. Join hosts Sandy and Ruth at the beach this weekend and welcome spring along with the birch trees, ladyslippers, warblers, mergansers, and eagles.

Seven Mile Point is open every weekend from mid May to mid October; if you host for a weekend, you can camp Saturday night. Please respect the neighbors by driving slowly on the private entry road and by staying on the Seven Mile Point property (the boundaries are marked at the beach tree line).

For this weekend only, car stickers won't be required.

Annual memberships include a car sticker for SMP entry; Monthly Sustainers, who pay $10 a month to support 7-Mile Point, are members; otherwise a user fee is required ($28 for annual car sticker or $7 per person per day). All memberships and user fees are used to pay the mortgage for this beautiful property. Members may pick up their car stickers at the Visitor Center or at Seven Mile Point during open hours. For members who have renewed already or plan to renew this weekend, 2014 car stickers will be available by Saturday, May 31 (you can pick the stickers up at the Visitor Center if it is open/hosted, or at Seven Mile Point).

Click here for directions to Seven Mile Point and more information -- or call Jane at 906-370-3248.  

Click here if you wish to be a host at SMP or the Visitor Center, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to book your hosting shift, either at Seven Mile Point, the Visitor Center, or one of each.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve to hold Volunteer Stream Monitoring Training May 24

Kris Wierenga, Ally Dale and Sandy Nye monitor macroinvertebrate habitats and populations in the Middle Branch Salmon Trout River. (Photo © and courtesy Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve)

BIG BAY -- Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP) is getting ready for stream monitoring on the Salmon Trout and Yellow Dog Rivers through the Michigan Clean Water Corps program (MiCorps).

YDWP will host their bi-annual Volunteer Stream Monitoring Training starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 24, at the Powell Township School, located at 101 Deutsch Ave. in Big Bay.

This training is open to the public and free of charge. The event will begin with an indoor presentation at the school; then participants will head to the water for some hands-on training in the stream.

A portion of the monitoring involves collecting and sorting macroinvertebrates -- small aquatic creatures that live in water bodies. They like different types of habitats and some tolerate higher levels of water pollution than others. State-wide programs such as MiCorps collect them and do chemical testing to ultimately help determine how clean our water is.

This is a volunteer-based project. To RSVP to this May 24 event please contact Christy at: or call 906- 345-9223.

YDWP is especially in need of local individuals who are interested in taking on leadership roles for this program and becoming crew leaders. This would entail taking on extra training to gain confidence with your collection skills and bug identification. You will become responsible for taking volunteers into the field to complete a couple sites per season. Please let YDWP know if you are interested in this exciting opportunity to take a step forward in the protection of our water.

Don't forget to sign up for the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Training session this weekend! No previous experience is required to participate in this citizen science monitoring, and everyone is welcome to attend.

See also the YDWP Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hancock City Council to hold Public Hearing on one-way street issues TONIGHT, May 21

HANCOCK -- The Hancock City Council will hold a Public Hearing at 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, May 21, preceding the regular monthly Council meeting. Public input is being sought on the following issues:

1. Citizen input to convert White Street between Reservation Street and Pine Street from two-way traffic to one-way traffic. The city traffic count for White St. indicates 2,339 vehicles use the up-bound lane and 3,356 vehicles use the down-bound lane in a 24-hour period.

2. Citizen input to convert Tezcuco Street between Quincy Street and Hancock Street from two-way traffic to one-way traffic down. The city’s traffic count for this block of Tezcuco Street indicates 3,225 vehicles use the down-bound lane and 275 vehicles use the up-bound lane in a 24-hour period.

Oral and written comments are welcomed.

These two items are included in the agenda for the meeting under New Business as follows:

-- Consider motion converting White Street from Reservation Street to Pine Street from two-way to one-way (direction not yet indicated).
-- Consider motion converting Tezcuco Street from Quincy Street to Hancock Street from two-way to one-way downward bound (South).

Michigan Nature Association to sponsor Keweenaw field trips May 26, 31

CHASSELL -- Michigan Nature Association (MNA) will sponsor two upcoming Keweenaw nature field trips.

Join Joseph Youngman and Lynn Murphy at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 26, for a Birds and Bugs Field Trip at Klipfel Nature Sanctuary -- on the trail and along Brockway Mountain Drive.  Participants will keep eyes and ears open for spring migrants and year-round residents. Bring along your own water, snacks, bug repellent and wear sturdy footwear for hiking.

To get there from Eagle Harbor, follow M-26 north and turn right onto Brockway Mountain Drive. Travel several miles to the Brockway Mountain Lookout and continue 2 miles past and look for the large MNA Events sign.

(The "road closed" sign might still be up at Brockway Mtn. Dr. entrance, but the road is open to travel.)

Note: This event was originally scheduled to happen in Estivant Pines, but road wash-out issues and snow-covered trails decreed the change of location.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, Amy Schrank, Michigan Tech aquatic ecologist, will lead an Aquatic Biology Field Trip at Black Creek Nature Sanctuary.

Participants will meet at the Black Creek trailhead and explore the wetlands and resident creatures along the 3.5-mile trail. Pack water, snacks, bug repellent, sunscreen, hat, and wear sturdy footwear that can handle moisture. This activity is suitable for the family.

To get there from Calumet, turn west onto M-203 and travel 1.25 miles to Tamarack Waterworks Road and turn right. Travel 2.5 miles on Tamarack Waterworks Rd. to Sedar Bay Rd. and turn right again. Follow Sedar Bay Rd. approximately 2.5 miles until reaching the Black Creek trailhead sign and parking area on the right.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Portage Library to host sailing family working for climate change awareness May 21, 22

HOUGHTON -- This Wednesday and Thursday, May 21 and 22, The Portage Lake District Library will host events about climate change on Lake Superior as seen through the observations and research of Mark and Katya Gordon, who own and operate an adventure sailing business based out of Knife River, Minnesota.

Here is a schedule of the events:

Wednesday, May 21:

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- The Portage Lake District Library invites homeschooled youth and their families to participate on a grand adventure exploring a 40' sailboat while learning about climate change on the Great Lakes and participating in activities that contribute to a lower carbon footprint.

Activities include a brief discussion about climate change, how it affects our region, and why it is a problem. Participants will also take a carbon footprint quiz, make a nature journal, transform an old t-shirt into a handy cloth bag, and play an active game outdoors that demonstrates our interconnectedness to the earth. Participants are asked to please bring a t-shirt.

Everyone will be invited to go aboard the Gordons' sailboat and explore it inside and out. Kids will learn about sails, rigging, steering, solar and wind power, GPS, the galley, and the head. Their boat, the Amicus II, will be docked just past the west end of the library.

Katya and Mark Gordon homeschool their children Cedar (11) and Lamar (9), and they have lived and cruised on sailboats for over a decade. They started a school aboard their boat for youth who want to travel with them as they research the effects of climate change on the Great Lakes. Their trip is titled "Sea Change" to highlight the effects climate change has already brought to our "sea" and to foretell the cultural shift that is taking place surrounding the urgent issue of climate change.

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. -- On Wednesday evening the Gordons will present "Sea Change: Addressing Climate Change on Lake Superior," sharing their sailing stories through pictures and video. This presentation is open to everyone.

The Gordons have sailed to the Bahamas and back twice and completed numerous sailing voyages on Lake Superior with their two children, logging thousands of miles on their 40-ft. steel sailboat, the Amicus II. They will discuss their observations and studies on climate change and present ideas for those who want to become involved in building awareness around this issue.

Thursday, May 22:

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- Everyone is invited to an Open House aboard the Gordons' sailboat for a tour of the boat and an opportunity to learn about sustainable sailing and climate change on Lake Superior. Their boat will be at the Houghton dock west of the library.

4:15 p.m. -- The Gordons will show a 42-minute film called Do the Math, which is a fast-paced and inspiring film about the rising movement to solve the climate crisis. This will be followed by a discussion on how people can learn skills that drive change. They will share information about the Citizens' Climate Lobby and explain how that organization works with Congress to build common ground and advance effective energy policies. For more information about the film, visit

Captain Mark Gordon has more than 25 years experience directing wilderness programs and leading wilderness trips for people of all ages. He has been a licensed Captain and EMT for 20 years and currently holds a 50 Ton Masters license. He has climbed, sailed, hiked and canoed throughout North America. He bought his first sailboat in 1985 and has been sailing ever since.

First Mate Katya Gordon is a lifelong sailor and veteran of outdoor wilderness experiences and has led trips in mountains, lakes, deserts, rivers, and oceans. She is an advanced facilitator and trainer in restorative justice, restorative processes and circle keeping.

Mark and Katya Gordon and their two children have lived and cruised on sailboats for over a decade and have sailed well over 15,000 miles on Lake Superior and beyond. This year they expanded their sailing program and onboard classroom for young adults to include bringing climate change information, knowledge, and ideas that inspire action to people they meet onshore.

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

Portage Library, Reading Council to host presentation on plastic water bottles May 20

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library and the Copper Country Reading Council invite kids, teens, their families and community members to learn about the
environmental impact they can have by making one small change: reducing or eliminating the use of plastic water bottles.

From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20, Michigan Technological University student Melissa Michaelson will discuss the impact that throwing things away has on the environment. She will show slides of a display of 600 plastic water bottles she created to illustrate how many bottles of water people consume in the United States every half a second.

Michaelson made this display for a social change project at MTU that was inspired by similar projects showing that Americans consume 1500 plastic bottles of water every second. With this astonishing rate of consumption, only a small amount of these bottles are recycled while the vast majority are thrown into landfills and end up in waterways and oceans. The end result is a great deal of pollution -- most of which we can’t see from where we live but which has immense impact on the environment.

"While recycling is important," Michaelson said, "my hope is to show how easy it is not to buy plastic water bottles. While they have their place in emergency situations when water quality is in question, the everyday use of bottled water is an easy habit to change."

Michaelson will explain how the goal of her project is to allow people to decide for themselves and to feel empowered to make a change one step at a time.

Michaelson is a wife, mother of two, and an undergraduate at MTU. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Anthropology because she loves learning about ways humans have interacted with their environment throughout history. She believes there is great value in learning from all cultures, traditions, and generations and that the earth is worth preserving for future generations.

This event is offered by the Copper Country Reading Council in partnership with the Michigan River of Words and the Portage Lake District Library. Refreshments will be served following the presentation.

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