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.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Art, Music Festival to welcome summer June 21 in Houghton

Visitors check out booths with exhibits by local artists at a previous Houghton Art and Music Festival. This year's festival will take place Saturday, June 21. (Keweenaw Now file photos)

HOUGHTON -- Celebrate the first day of summer at the Houghton Art and Music Festival from noon -7 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, on the upper parking deck in downtown Houghton. The festival, now in its 12th year, provides an opportunity to hear live local music, spend time downtown, and shop at regional artist booths. The event is free and open to everyone

Artist booths will feature many quality art items -- stained glass, pottery, jewelry, fiber art, paintings, wearable art, photography, honey products and more -- for sale.

Music is a big part of the Art and Music Festival. Here the Thimbleberry Band plays a variety of tunes at the 2012 Festival. Picture, from left, are Oren Tikkanen, Matthew Durocher, Libby Meyer and Dave Bezotte. Under the title, "What the Folk?" the duo Tikkanen and Meyer will entertain at this year's festival.

This year’s music line up is as follows: Noon, Steve Jones; 1 p.m., Backroom Boys; 2 p.m., Tom Blood; 3:15 p.m., What the Folk? Libby Meyer and Oren Tikkanen; 4:30 p.m., Viney Willa; and at 5:45 p.m. Uncle Pete’s BBQ Blues Band. Sound will be provided by Kenny Stahl with music coordinated by brockit, inc.

The Frog Hop scavenger hunt will take place at local businesses from noon - 5 p.m. The Frog Hop is a fun way to spend some time downtown and earn a chance to win prizes. The Frog Hop is for people 16 and over, while the Junior Frog Hop is for youth ages 15 and under. Get your Frog Hop cards at one of the participating businesses or, during the festival, visit each of the businesses listed on the card for a stamp, get your last stamp at the Community Arts Center booth and your card will be put in a prize drawing. Participating businesses include 5th and Elm Coffee House, The Bike Shop, Bliss Spa, The Blue Iris, Chickadees, Downwind Sports, Good Times Music, The Lunch Bag, Your Crazy Place, Pizza Works, Surplus Outlet, Swift True Value Hardware, and the Yummy Bar. Prize winners will be drawn throughout the day; you need not be present to win. (Frog image courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

The Arts Center will also have an information booth with the ever popular Extreme Bake Sale.

Community Arts Center members Christa Walck, left, and Harriet King volunteer at the Extreme Bake Sale during the 2012 Art and Music Festival.

The festival will include a variety of fun and free family art activities led by local artist and art educator Melissa Hronkin: Noon - 2:30 p.m. -- Fish prints, 2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. -- Mask making, and 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. -- Painting.

Author Debbie Frontiera sells her books at the 2012 Art and Music Festival.

Festival will also feature a children’s bike decorating booth and bike parade for youth ages 3-16. Bike decorating, with art supplies and help provided by Bike Initiative Keweenaw (also known as BIKE!), will take place from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., with a bike parade around the art festival from 1:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. There is no cost to participate. Children must wear a bike helmet to ride in the parade. Visit the BIKE! tent on the west side of the festival grounds on the Houghton parking deck behind 5th and Elm restaurant. BIKE! asks drivers and cyclists to share the road, reminding drivers to watch for cyclists and pedestrians and cyclists to follow traffic laws.

The Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival is an outreach effort of the Copper Country Community Arts Council with support from the City of Houghton. Sponsors are the Keweenaw Brewing Company, 5th and Elm Coffee House, Minnesota Public Radio, and brockit inc. For more information, call the Community Arts Center at 906-482-2333 or visit

Portage Library to host Summer Reading Program opening, Friends of Library Book Sale June 21

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host two events from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, June 21 -- opening activities for the Summer Reading Program and a Friends of the Portage Lake District Library book sale.

Summer Reading Program is for all ages

Chris Alquist, right, Portage Lake District Library community program director, helps Ann Desrochers, left, and Kate Desrochers sign up for the library's Summer Reading Program at last year's opening event (June 2013). (Keweenaw Now file photos)

The Portage Library's Summer Reading Program is open to all ages, children through adults. During Saturday's opening day activities and registration, kids are invited to make crafts and everyone can create and enjoy an ice cream sundae in the community room.

At the June 2013 opening of Portage Library's Summer Reading Program, kids enjoy their ice cream sundaes. At other tables, library assistants and parents help children with craft projects.

The "Fizz, Boom, Read!" science theme Summer Reading Program will continue through Saturday, Aug. 16, and people may register throughout the summer. Participants will receive a reading log, book bag, and bookmark when they register and prizes as they progress through their reading lists. Reading logs may include books, magazines, audio books, reading to young children, or being read to.

The Summer Reading Program includes Storytimes and programs and events for all ages. Look for programming information in the library, in the media, and at Everyone is invited to join the fun and see what they will discover when their scientific curiosity begins with reading!

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

Friends of the Library to hold Book Sale June 21

The Friends of the Portage Lake District Library invite everyone to their Book Sale on Saturday. The sale will take place in the Michigan and Local History room. New and gently used books will be sold to raise money for library projects, materials, and events that the Friends provide.

Volunteering for Friends of the Portage Lake District Library at their June 2013 Book Sale are Nancy Bird, left, and MaryFran Desrochers.

Adults' and children’s hardcover books will sell for $2, while paperbacks, audio books, DVDs, and CDs will sell for $1. A half price sale will begin at 2 p.m.

Iranian sweets and treats made by Mina Nikfarjam will be available for free and for sampling throughout the day. Nikfarjam sells her popular traditional foods and desserts at the Tori Market in Hancock throughout the summer.

Projects that the Friends of the Library have done include buying books and other materials, furniture, computers, and the Children’s Listening Center. They also sponsor numerous free events year round at the library for all to enjoy. Information on how to become involved with the Friends will be available at the book sale.

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kivajat Dancers to perform at Music on the Menu June 20 at Portage Library

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to bring a lunch and enjoy traditional Finnish folk dancing by the Kivajat Dancers at Music on the Menu from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 20, on the dock outside the library.

In the Finlandia Gallery at the Finnish American Heritage Center, Kay Seppälä, right, directs her Kivajat Dancers. At noon this Friday, June 20, they will perform outside the Portage Lake District Library at Music on the Menu. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The Kivajat Dancers began in the fall of 2004 under the direction of Kay Seppälä. Sponsored by the Finnish American Heritage Center at Finlandia University, children ages 8 - 13 learn the dances and perform in colorful peasant costumes funded by a grant from Finlandia Foundation National.

The children performed for the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, at FinnFest 2008 in Duluth, and they have danced in festivals in Finland, Canada, Minnesota, and Michigan. Translated, Kivajat means the "Merry Makers."

Everyone is invited to eat and relax during the lunch hour while enjoying the performance. In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

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

Volunteers needed to help clean up Huron Creek area in Houghton June 21

Huron Creek in Houghton, Michigan, near Wal-Mart. A cleanup of the creek area will be held this Saturday, June 21. Volunteers are needed. (Photo © and courtesy Carol Korpela)

HOUGHTON -- Volunteers are invited to help with a cleanup of Huron Creek from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 21, in Houghton. The group will work downstream from Wal-Mart to Arby's picking up litter along the Huron Creek. Please come prepared (bug spray and sturdy boots, preferably rubber boots, are recommended).

The City of Houghton will provide rubber gloves, trash bags, and litter sticks. Snacks and refreshments will also be provided. If you have fishing nets with long handles, please bring them.

Meet at the north-east corner of the Wal-Mart parking lot near the stream crossing.

Call or text Carol at 281-6456 to sign up. Click here for the Facebook page on this event.

Friends of Calumet Public Library to host author presentation, book signing June 18

CALUMET -- Friends of the Calumet Public Library will host a presentation and book signing by Dan Kemp, author of A Yooper’s Summer on Isle Royale, a novel about two Michigan Tech students working on the island during the summer of 1965.

The event will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. TONIGHT, Wednesday, June 18, in the CLK Commons. It is open to the public -- all ages invited. Refreshments will be served.

Kemp’s presentation will be followed by a book signing, and copies of his book will be available for sale.

For more information, visit the library or call 337-0311 ext. 1107.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Joe Derocha, Democratic candidate for Marquette County Commission, to hold Campaign Kick-Off event June 19

Humboldt Township Supervisor Joe Derocha points out the multi-volume permit (on top shelf) that will allow Lundin Mining (who purchased the Eagle Mine from Rio Tinto) to process ore from the Eagle Mine at the Humboldt Mill. Derocha is now running as the Democratic candidate for Marquette County Commission District 2. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

NEGAUNEE, Mich. -- Joe Derocha, Humboldt Township supervisor, is the Democratic candidate for Marquette County Commission District 2, which includes the townships of Negaunee, Ishpeming, Ely, Humboldt, Republic, Champion and Michigamme. He invites supporters to attend a Campaign Kick-Off Event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 19, 2014, at Derocha's 41 Steak House, 5 miles west of Ishpeming on US 41.

Donation/Tickets are $20 at the door. Food, beverages and live entertainment will be provided.*

Derocha is unopposed in the Aug. 5 Democratic Primary Election. In the November 4, 2014, general election he will run against Republican Justin Carlson.

A lifelong resident of Marquette County and a local business owner, Derocha has years of experience working with the County Board on issues critical to Marquette County and District 2 in particular. As supervisor of Humboldt Township since 2008, he has been involved with the community in several ways.

Since taking office, Derocha has donated his time and a portion of his supervisor’s salary to create a pantry that serves a free monthly community lunch open to all residents. He has worked with local residents and officials at all levels of government (township, county, state and federal) to improve the economic conditions, enhance job creation opportunities, and improve the quality of services to the residents of Marquette County.

The hallmarks of his vision, Derocha says, are "job creation, environmental stewardship, and enhancing the quality of life of [my] constituents in District 2."

Derocha has worked with the EPA, DNR, and DEQ on numerous environmental remediation issues in the industrial district known as the Humboldt Mill Project. (The Mill, when completed, is destined to be used for processing ore from the Eagle Mine near Big Bay, Mich. -- scheduled to begin production later this year.) He also led the effort to reactivate an abandoned rail corridor serving the Humboldt Mill. Derocha has followed the mill project closely and has expressed his concern that the local environment be protected. In addition, he established dialogue with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community recognizing and respecting their ceded territory.

Derocha was an instrumental part of the Marquette County negotiating team for the non-ferrous mining severance tax in Lansing. Because of his efforts local units of government and the Republic-Michigamme and the local NICE school districts have benefited greatly.**

"I am a local guy," Derocha notes. "I know this place and the people and they know me. As a Marquette County Commissioner I will keep fighting to do good things for the economy and our way of life in this place that we call home."

Editor's Notes:
* This campaign event is hosted by the Committee to Elect Joseph Derocha, 12 Krooks Road, Negaunee, MI 49866.

** See our Dec. 1, 2012, article,"Updated: County, township officials oppose Huuki's mining severance tax bills" on the severance tax and the Humboldt Mill.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Save the Wild U.P. to sponsor guided hike to Pinnacle Falls June 18

Poster announcing Save the Wild U.P.'s Guided Hike to Pinnacle Falls courtesy Save theWild U.P.

MARQUETTE -- Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) will sponsor a a guided hike to Pinnacle Falls near Big Bay at 12:30 p.m. this Wednesday, June 18. Experts Cynthia Pryor and Lon and Lynn Emerick will lead the way and will discuss the unique ecology and history of this special place -- including Keewaydinoquay, the naming of the Yellow Dog River, and risks brought by sulfide mining just upstream.

Pack your own lunch for a group picnic at the falls. RSVP required! Meet up: Big Bay Outfitters, Big Bay at 12:30 p.m. before group leaders head to the Yellow Dog Plains. Plan to arrive early! Save your spot today by emailing or by calling (906) 662-9987.

Hikers will have the opportunity to meet SWUP's new Outreach Coordinator, Northern Michigan University alumna Alexandra Maxwell. A lover of the wild lands and lakes of the Upper Peninsula, Alex is leading the group's summer outreach efforts -- and she’d love your help!

Whatever your time or talent, get in touch today to help save the wild U.P. by writing Alex at