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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Great Lakes Research Center, Portage Library to host science program on Great Lakes July 1

Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC). Boat docks are to the right of photo. The GLRC will partner with Portage Lake District Library for a special science program on the Great Lakes, including a boat ride on the Agassiz research vessel on Tuesday, July 1. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HOUGHTON -- The Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) will partner with Portage Lake District Library to host a special science program that will pique students' interest in the Great Lakes and what lives there.

The program is scheduled for 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., Tuesday, July 1, and will begin at the library. Participants will ride the Agassiz research boat to the GLRC where they’ll visit a laboratory to use microscopes to peer at the water and dissect a fish stomach to find out what they eat! At the completion of the lab, students and adults will travel by Michigan Tech van back to the library where there will be more to do.

Station Activities

Station One: A library book activity run by the library staff in the community room of the library. All ages are welcome.

Station Two: The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) run by Dollar Bay High School SOAR -- outside the library on the dock. All ages are welcome.

Outside the Portage Lake District Library, Dollar Bay science teacher Matt Zimmer, second from left, chats with students, parents and kids during a demonstration of the Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), or underwater robots, students designed and constructed in their Marine Robotics classes (2011-12) and took to Isle Royale in May 2012 to monitor invasive species such as zebra mussels. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Station Three: The scientific excursion on Agassiz, which will board at the dock by the library. It is for ages seven and up, with room for 14 youth and adults. The Agassiz departure times are as follows: 6, 6:45, 7:30 and 8:15 p.m. It is advised to arrive 15 minutes early.

Station three also has boat making at the library, which will be run by the library staff and will be held at the swimming pool on the lawn outside. All ages are welcome.

Station Four: A visit to the GLRC Lab to view plankton with a microscope, dissect fish stomachs and examine sediment/Diporeia. The Agassiz will drop off youth and adults at the lab. Lab participants will return to the library via Michigan Tech van.

Station four also will be hosting the opportunity to make A Great Lakes Mural along the library windows. The library staff will be running this event. All ages are welcome.

Reserve a space on the Agassiz by calling the Portage District Library at 482-4570 or sign up at the library checkout desk. First come, first served.

For more information, contact Joan Chadde at 487-3341 at the GLRC or Chris Alquist at 482-4570 at the Portage Lake District Library.

This program is funded by General Motors and the Portage District Library.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Friends of Calumet Library to hold used book sale June 28

CALUMET -- Friends of the Calumet Public Library will hold a used book sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, in the CLK Multi-Purpose Room, located down the hall from the library. The sale is open to the public.

Featuring a wide variety of books, CDs and DVDs, the sale is the annual fund raiser for Friends of the Calumet Public Library. The CLK Multi-Purpose Room is located down the hall from the library.  (When entering the building from the library parking lot, turn left and the multi-purpose room will be a few feet down the hall on your left.) The book sale is scheduled during Calumet’s PastyFest celebration -- family fun for everyone -- another reason to enjoy the day’s festivities!*

Proceeds from this fundraiser go to sponsor library services and programs not provided for by the general library budget. In 2013-2014, funds were used to purchase large-print books, multiple titles for the Red Jacket Readers book club, and many new books including additions to the children’s, young adult, and adult collections. Funding also helps bring evening programs at the library throughout the year and the Friends assisted with the renovation of the library’s community room by providing funds for the purchase of the new floor. 

If you have gently-read books or other materials to donate to this event, please bring them to the library prior to Friday, June 27.

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

*Visit Main Street Calumet to see the event schedule for Pasty Fest, a family event which will be held this Saturday, June 28, in Agassiz Park.

"Trio Bibliothèque" to entertain at Music on the Menu June 27

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to bring a lunch and enjoy Music on the Menu, an outdoor series of events held on the dock outside the library.

"Trio Bibliothèque" will perform from noon -1 p.m. on Friday, June 27. Libby Meyer on fiddle, Anna Gawboy on concertina and Oren Tikkanen on guitar will play a lively and eclectic mix of folk music and other genres.

Everyone is invited to eat, relax and enjoy the lunch hour while listening to some great music. In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

This event is part of the library’s Summer Reading Program and is free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cynthia Coté to present photos of Iceland June 27

Photo from "Art Trip to Iceland: the Southern Coast," by Cynthia Coté. (Photo © and courtesy Cynthia Coté)

HANCOCK -- Join Cynthia Coté as she shares photos from her trip to the southern coast of Iceland this past spring. Cynthia took part in a tour for photographers and artists that focused on capturing the beautiful terrain of Iceland.

The presentation will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 27, in the Copper Country Community Arts Center ballroom.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Call 482-2333 for more information. There is no fee to attend the presentation, but donations to the Arts Center are appreciated.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

LaRose Wellness Retreat to host "Retreat/Seminar: Universal Laws of the Road" June 28

LaRose Wellness Retreat poster courtesy Cynthia Drake.

HOUGHTON -- Cynthia Drake, eMerge certified life coach, will lead a "Retreat/Seminar: Universal Laws of the Road" from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at the LaRose Wellness Retreat, 12383 US Hwy 41, Keweenaw Bay. The Retreat is from noon to 2 p.m. and the Seminar from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Participants will explore Universal Truths and how they are applying them in their lives or how they can. This will include such things as the Law of Transformation -- self actualizing to a place where you are learning from your mistakes or past hurts and turning them into life lessons. The retreat will also offer time/space to spa (light lunch, pool, sauna, hot tub, etc.) and perhaps play along the shores of Lake Superior.

Click here for a reservation or call 906-353-6714. Cost is $40, which includes complimentary spa facilities.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Portage Library to host book discussion, community connection meeting this week

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library announces two community events -- a book discussion on June 25 and a community connection meeting for trailing spouses on June 26.*

"Reading as Inquiry" discussion June 25

The Portage Library invites everyone to bring a lunch and gather on the dock outside the library for a community book discussion from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25.

This event is part of a series of events planned for Michigan Technological University’s "Reading As Inquiry" campus and community summer reading program.

The book chosen for this year is In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir by Neil White. It tells the story of how White served eighteen months in a federal prison in rural Louisiana for bank fraud. This prison was also home to the last people in the United States who were disfigured by leprosy. Amid an unlikely mix of leprosy patients, nuns, and criminals, White’s compelling new life journey began. White describes his discovery that redemption can be taught by society’s most dreaded outcasts.

This book leads to a great discussion on many levels and people are welcome to participate even if they have not had time to read the book yet.

In case of bad weather, the book discussion will be held in the community room.

White will give a presentation for the public at the Rozsa Center from 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 26.

Community Connection Meeting June 26

The Portage Lake District Library will host a community connection meeting that is designed to help trailing spouses who would like to network with other people to find ways to fit in and contribute to the community.*

The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 26. Childcare will be provided in the library during the meeting.

Susan Nielsen and Catherine (Hui-wen) Hsin will facilitate the meeting and guide participants as they brainstorm ways to use their talent, expertise, education, and experience in ways that fit with their current family situation. Beyond volunteering or employment, this venue can serve as a means of making friends, sharing resources, and seeking input on aspects of life in the Keweenaw where participants may need support.

Nielsen has lived in the area for three years and has met spouses searching for a way to keep their skills sharp and apply their talents in ways that are meaningful to them, their children, and the community. Hsin also moved to the area three years ago and is currently teaching part-time at Michigan Tech. She hopes more spouses in this area -- regardless of their ethnicity, culture, or background -- can find opportunities here that utilize their expertise and skills in addition to raising children.

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

* A "trailing spouse" is a person who follows his or her life partner to another city (or country) because of the partner's work assignment.

Carnegie Museum trolley tours begin June 24 with "Tracing the Remains of Houghton's Isle Royale Mine"

HOUGHTON -- The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw will host a series of monthly trolley tours for the upcoming summer season. The first tour, "Tracing the Remains of Houghton’s Isle Royale Mine," will take place TOMORROW, Tuesday, June 24. Dr. Erika Vye, geologist, and Wil Shapton, historian and trolley driver, will lead the tour.

Participants will learn about the geology that created the Copper Country while touring the remnants of Houghton’s Isle Royale Mine, which spanned 3,500 acres before it closed operations in the late 1940s.

Tours will board the Red Jacket Trolley at the Carnegie Museum at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Cost is $25 and includes refreshments at the museum. The museum will be open from Noon to 9 p.m. Please come in to enjoy light refreshments and to view the current exhibits before or after your tour.

As space is limited, it is highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance. Please email to reserve your seat; however, your seat is not guaranteed until payment is received. You may purchase your ticket at the Carnegie Museum, which is open Tuesday and Thursday from Noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday Noon to 4 p.m. Please call the museum at 482-7140 or email or for further assistance.

This is the first in a series of monthly summer trolley tours. Other tours include "Copper Country Streetcars" with Dr. William Sproule, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University (Thursday, July 31) and "Houghton’s Geology" with Dr. William Rose, Professor Emeritus, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University (Friday, August 22).
Each one-and-a-half-hour tour will begin at the Carnegie Museum and focus on a different aspect of local cultural or natural history. Sponsored by local businesses, 100 percent of all ticket fees help support exhibits, programs, and building restoration.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hancock City Council approves one-way street changes

By Michele Bourdieu

At the corner of White Street and US 41, traffic barrels and barriers prevent cars from turning downhill on White Street, which is now one-way going up from downtown Hancock. Cars going up the hill, like those pictured here, can still turn left or right on US 41 (North Lincoln Ave.). (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- White Street in Hancock will now be a one-way street going uphill from Quincy Street to U.S. 41, according to a recent vote by the Hancock City Council -- reversing their previous decision (at their May meeting) to make it one-way only to Shafter and Pine streets.

Some residents heading south on US 41 (North Lincoln Ave.) toward Hancock, accustomed to the White Street "shortcut" to downtown, have been surprised this week to see the street blocked off -- especially since some signs based on the first decision are still up and have confused some drivers.

A no-left-turn sign has been posted here on Shafter Street for cars approaching White Street, to warn them of the one-way change. However, a sign saying "two-way traffic ahead" (background, beyond stop sign) was apparently intended for the original May 21 decision of the Hancock City Council to allow two-way traffic at the top of White Street down to this corner, where Shafter and Pine streets would be open to traffic going to downtown Hancock. This decision was changed at the Council's June 18 meeting to eliminate any two-way traffic on White Street. Thus residents must find alternatives to access these side streets and the "two-way traffic ahead" sign should be removed.

After some discussion at their June 18 meeting, a majority of Council members voted to make all of White Street one-way, despite the inconvenience to residents who have been used to turning off US 41 onto White Street in order to access Pine Street and Shafter Street neighborhoods.

Ward 1 Councilman Ron Blau, who represents some of these neighborhoods, including the east end of Hancock, was the only Council member to vote "no" on the June 18 vote (He and Ward II Councilman Kevin Hodur both voted "no" on May 21). Blau expressed concern that people used to coming downhill on White Street would be looking for other "shortcuts" on neighborhood streets and this could especially endanger children in these neighborhoods.

As of Friday, June 20, traffic barrels have been placed to block the left-turn lane from Quincy Hill on U.S. 41, and barriers prevent traffic from descending White Street from either direction. 

Traffic barrels on US 41 block the left-turn lane for cars coming from the north -- preventing cars from turning left on White Street -- a former "shortcut" to downtown Hancock. Cars coming uphill on White Street, now one-way, can turn either north or south on US 41 at this corner.

In the very near future, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will do the work necessary to make more permanent markings and signs to replace the barrels and wooden barriers.

After the June 18 meeting, Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson issued a traffic control order for work to be performed by MDOT, stating,

"Description: Remove the markings for the left run lane on US 41 intersection of 41 and White Street and install signs on the North bound lane of US 41 NO RIGHT TURN and South bound lane NO LEFT TURN onto White Street. Reason: Safety Issues."

However, like Councilman Blau, some residents are already questioning whether making White Street one-way will really make the traffic situation safer.

"In trying to solve one problem they may have created several more," said local resident Chris Alquist.

Alquist said this week she had a hard time turning left onto Ethel Street from US 41 because of increased opposing traffic coming south on US 41 -- which she attributed to White Street being blocked as an alternative route to downtown Hancock.

"The cars were relentless. They just kept coming and coming," she said. "It's going to force people to find alternate shortcuts."

Preceding their May 21, 2014, meeting, the Hancock City Council held a public hearing, during which several residents expressed their views on making White Street one-way (one lane northbound, uphill) and Tezcuco Street one-way (southbound, downhill, from Quincy Street to Hancock Street).

Susan Burack, a resident of the Scott Building at the bottom of White Street, said residents of the Scott Building might be inconvenienced by the one-way on White Street, but they still support the change.

"Several [Scott Building] residents have suggested that it should have happened a long time ago," Burack said.

Barbara Bouwkamp, who owns a home on White Street, was in favor of making that street one-way going uphill for safety reasons.

Barbara Bouwkamp, who owns a home on White Street, addresses the Hancock City Council during the public hearing on the one-way street changes, preceding the Council's May 21, 2014, meeting. Also pictured here are, seated from left, At-Large Councilman Barry Givens, Ward III Councilman John Slivon and At-Large Councilman Ted Belej.

"Trying to get out of a parking space on White Street [with the traffic coming downhill too fast] is just a catastrophe waiting to happen," Bouwkamp said.

Jack Eberhard of the Book Concern said his business might benefit from one-way on White Street, but he was concerned about how often an ambulance might need to come down White Street to save time. He also wondered what message the blocked part of the street would send to visitors coming to downtown Hancock from the north.

Hancock resident Bonnie Holland said she was in favor of one-way on White Street because of safety issues, especially for those who park on Quincy Street.

Amanda McConnon, a resident of Quincy Street in Hancock, who said she favors making White Street one-way, also mentioned the need for safety for those who walk and shop in the downtown area. She suggested having more clearly marked walkways to help ensure the safety of pedestrians.

Quincy Street resident Amanda McConnon addresses the Hancock City Council during the public hearing preceding the Council's May 21 meeting. McConnon spoke of the need for more efforts to ensure the safety of pedestrians on Quincy Street in downtown Hancock.

Robert Stites, Hancock Police officer, said he has lived on White Street for 25 years and has had to build barriers in front of his house for protection from traffic. He mentioned accidents often happen at the bottom of the hill.

During the Hancock City Council's May 21 public hearing, Hancock Police officer Robert Stites, who lives on White Street, expresses his support for making White Street one-way.

"One-way up would be the best," he said.

Mark Johnson of Gartner's Gallery questioned blocking off White Street's downhill traffic to downtown. As a retailer, he noted he was in favor of more traffic in the downtown area for businesses. He also said he had a problem with Tezcuco Street going only downhill, since Gartner's trucks use Tezcuco going uphill to get into their parking lot.

Tezcuco Street between Quincy and Hancock streets is now blocked to uphill traffic and is one-way going downhill. Note Gartner's Gallery trucks parked at right. Mark Johnson of Gartner's Gallery is concerned about the one-way change since the trucks have previously used the uphill lane for deliveries.

Johnson also expressed concern about snow removal. If more parking spaces were added on Tezcuco, there wouldn't be room for the snow; additional parking on the east side of Tezcuco would also be problematic for his delivery trucks. Johnson said he would be willing to let the City build a parking deck on top of his lot if funding is available.

At the May 21 Council meeting some Councilors expressed support or concerns before voting for the one-way on White Street.

Mayor Lisa McKenzie said she believed it would make White Street safer for walking and biking.

Kevin Hodur, Ward II councilor, said he had spoken to residents on White Street who said that if their only option is to go up the street they can't do it, especially in winter.

"I'm not convinced that this is the solution," Hodur said.

During the May 21 meeting, the Council voted 5 to 2 to pass a motion to convert White Street between Reservation St. and Pine Street from two-way traffic to one-way traffic upbound. The City traffic count for White Street indicates 2,339 vehicles use the upbound lane and 3,356 vehicles use the downbound lane in a 24-hour period. Councilors Ron Blau and Kevin Hodur voted no.

The Council also voted to convert Tezcuco Street between Quincy Street and Hancock Street from two-way traffic to one-way traffic downbound. The City’s traffic count for this block of Tezcuco Street indicates 3,225 vehicles use the downbound lane and 275 vehicles use the upbound lane in a 24-hour period. The vote on this motion was unanimous.

The June 18 City Council decision to make all of White Street one-way going uphill may not be set in stone if citizens express enough significant objections.

This photo shows the view from Pine Street, with signs on White Street warning cars of the one-way so they will not turn right (downhill).

The angle and position of this same one-way sign, seen from the corner of Shafter and White Street, could be confusing since it appears to point to Shafter St. rather than White Street.

If residents have concerns about the decision or the signing, they can write a letter to Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson or contact the Councilor representing their Ward or any of the at-large City Council members.*

Lt. Randy Mayra of the Hancock Police said if anyone has a concern about cars speeding on their neighborhood streets, they can call the Hancock Police at their non-emergency number, 906-482-3102, or leave a message. If reporting reckless or dangerous driving call 911, he added.

The police enforce the signs, but they do not put them up, Mayra explained. Any complaints about signs should be addressed to the City Manager or the Councilors.

* Note: For contact information see the City of Hancock Web site.

Eagle Mine tours still open to public

Eagle Mine near Big Bay, Michigan. Aerial photo showing surface facilities. (Photo courtesy Eagle Mine)

MARQUETTE -- Once again Eagle Mine near Big Bay, Mich., is offering tours to the public so people may see the surface facilities that support this modern day nickel-copper mine scheduled to begin production at the end of 2014.

Tours continue on Fridays from now through mid-October. The duration of the tour is 4.5 to 5 hours.

Itinerary: The tour will depart promptly at 12:30 p.m. from the Eagle Mine Information Center, 153A West Washington Street, Marquette.

Tours will return to the Information Center between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. depending on travel time.

Note: Reservation confirmation is required. The minimum age for the tour is 16 years old. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Participants will be walking approximately one half mile during the tour.

To register for a tour of the Eagle Mine please call (906) 273-1550 or visit the Information Center located at 153A West Washington Street in downtown Marquette. All tours will depart from and return to the Information Center.

Click here for details and a full list of dates.