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, July 26, 2014

Save the Wild U.P. seeks Fall 2014 Intern Corps Members

MARQUETTE -- Do you want to save the wild U.P.? Apply today to be an Intern Corps Member to join Team Save the Wild U.P. starting in the Fall 2014 Northern Michigan University school semester. The deadline for applications is Aug. 1, 2014.

Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP), located in Marquette, is at the forefront of protecting our environment and unique culture while promoting sustainable economies. They're calling for a federal corruption investigation of state mining regulators, tracking new mining developments, educating the public on the hazards of sulfide mining -- and hosting free hikes, picnics, concerts and more to celebrate the wonderful wild U.P.!

The Intern Corps Program is an independent, interdisciplinary experience designed to educate new leaders on the hazards facing Michigan's Upper Peninsula -- while teaching you the skills to make a difference in your community!

The SWUP Intern Corps program will empower you as a citizen researcher and allow you to network with like-minded professionals and organizations. It includes free training, fields trips, and more! In addition, they'll provide $500 stipends to several qualifying applicants, and can work with your university advisor or professor to ensure credit.

Before you apply, visit to get a better sense of what they do. And feel free to ask questions by writing or calling (906) 662-9987. SWUP welcomes diversity and is proud to be an equal-opportunity organization.

Fellows will be interviewed and accepted on a rolling basis. Space is limited. Click here to apply on line.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Michigan Nature Association to sponsor Spotted Knapweed Pull July 26

Spotted knapweed is an invasive plant that should be pulled before its seeds allow it to spread. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

CHASSELL -- The Michigan Nature Association invites volunteers to join steward Nancy Leonard, KISMA (Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area) director Meral Jackson and crew for a Spotted Knapweed Pull at Keweenaw Shores II Plant Preserve at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 26.

Help is needed in the ongoing task of removing the invasive Spotted Knapweed from the conglomerate shoreline in this Class C plant preserve. Afterwards, enjoy a picnic (bring your own) at a nearby roadside park. Bring along bug repellent, sunscreen, work gloves, hat, sturdy footwear and an asparagus cutterweeder if you have one. Additional tools, drinking water and snacks will be supplied.

Please RSVP if possible so leaders can determine how many tools will be needed.

To get there, follow M-26 about 10 miles east of Eagle Harbor and park along the side of the road where you’ll see an MNA sign. Please email to obtain more information and to RSVP.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Carnegie Museum to host "Copper Country Streetcars" tour July 31

HOUGHTON -- The Carnegie Museum will host "Copper Country Streetcars" with tour guide Bill Sproule, Michigan Tech professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 31. Space is limited but some seats are still available.

Don't miss the chance to travel back in time on board the Red Jacket Trolley and follow the route of the Houghton County Traction Company, which operated throughout the Copper Country for over thirty years beginning in 1900.

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, which will be open from Noon to 9 p.m. on July 31. Please come in to enjoy light refreshments and to view current exhibits before or after your tour.

Carnegie Museum recommends purchasing 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 Museum -- open Tuesday through Friday 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 second in a series of monthly summer trolley tours. The next tour, on Friday, Aug. 22, is about Houghton’s Geology with tour guide William Rose, Michigan Tech Professor Emeritus, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences.

The Carnegie Museum is on the corner of Huron and Montezuma in Houghton.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Penokee Hills Education Project provides the truth amid a sea of mining misinformation

By Barbara With
Posted July 21, 2014, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative
Reprinted in part with permission

Penokee Hills Education Project (PHEP) helped sponsor this billboard south of Hurley, Wis., on Highway 51. (Photo © Bill Heart and courtesy Barbara With. Reprinted with permission.)

NORTHERN WISCONSIN -- On June 27, 2014, Penokee Hills Education Project (PHEP) offered information sessions at three locations around the proposed mine site in the Penokee Hills as a way to bring truth to the massive amounts of misinformation being spread by Gogebic Taconite (GTac), pro-mining elected officials, and state and local media. Frank Koehn, Pete Rasmussen and Mike Wiggins Jr. addressed a large crowd to share facts and answer questions that GTac and the Wisconsin DNR seem intent on avoiding.

One such misinformation session held on June 5, 2014, in Minoqua, Wis., was entitled, "Mining in the Penokee Range Forum." Ann Coakley, director of Mining and Materials Waste with the Wisconsin DNR, was asked about how much water the mine would use. Coakley’s answer, "A lot. A real lot," was indicative of the kinds of evasive answers concerned citizens receive when asking about substantial issues that will affect the entire region. ... Click here to read the rest of this article and see videos of the June 5 and June 27 meetings.

Editor's Note:
To learn more about the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative, visit their Web site.

Orpheum Theater to host Uncle Pete's BBQ Blues Band with Gail English July 24

HANCOCK -- Uncle Pete's BBQ Blues Band is finally coming to The Orpheum Theater, and Gail English (aka Mz. Behavin') will be joining them for a whole set or even more TOMORROW, Thursday, July 24.

"Featuring some of the most amazing players in the Copper Country, Uncle Pete's offers a real variety of blues, not just the old standard Chicago Blues that many bands play," says Mike Shupe, Orpheum Theater owner. "These guys use their horn section to venture into Blue Jazz, Kansas City, New Orleans and more!"

Doors open after sound check, around 7:30 p.m. Music begins about 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults, $8 students or senior citizens, and $5 kids!

The Orpheum Theater is at 426 Quincy St. (Studio Pizza) in Hancock. Visit them on Facebook for more coming events.

Calumet Art Center to host Voice Workshop Recital July 24

CALUMET -- The Calumet Art Center will host a Voice Workshop Recital at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24. The participants from the Christine Seitz Adult and Young Person’s Voice Workshops will present a short program of selections they polished during recent workshop sessions.

This event is free and open to the public.

The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth Street, Calumet. For more information call 906-281-3494 or e-mail:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Adults and kids learn about Great Lakes research, fish food web, marine robotics, more ...

By Michele Bourdieu

On July 1, 2014, visitors board Michigan Tech's research vessel Agassiz at the dock outside the Portage Lake District Library for a short excursion to Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC). On the boat they learned about equipment scientists use to study the bottom of the lake. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Michigan Tech's research vessel Agassiz has been making a round of public appearances this summer, offering kids and adults a chance to learn about ways that scientists study the Great Lakes. Keweenaw Now had a chance to visit the Agassiz on some of these trips and take photos and videos for a series of articles. This is the first article in the series.]

HOUGHTON -- Kayla Golde, 8, and her sister, Madison Golde, 10 -- accompanied by their parents, Tammy and Emmett Golde, of Elo, Mich. -- recently participated in a variety of activities designed to offer families a chance to learn about life forms in the Great Lakes and how scientists study them.

On July 1, 2014, the Portage Lake District Library and Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) partnered for a science program that included a ride on the Agassiz from the Portage Library to the GLRC, a visit to a GLRC laboratory to see what's in the water -- using microscopes -- and to dissect a fish stomach, and a chance to drive and observe the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) designed by Dollar Bay (Mich.) High School students to photograph what's under the water.

Here are some photos and videos from that event:

Before riding on the Agassiz, Kayla and Madison learned about the ROVs from Lance Kangas, a Dollar Bay High School student in science teacher Matt Zimmer's marine robotics class ...

Near the Portage Lake District Library, Dollar Bay High School 10th grader Lance Kangas demonstrates how to control the ROV and view what it is photographing on the bottom of the Keweenaw Waterway (Portage Canal). Kayla Golde, 8, and Madison Golde, 10, of Elo, observe closely. Casper Carn, 4, of Hancock, takes a peek at the computer screen. Life guard Sarah Lyle of Houghton is on hand for safety. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

After some instructions from Lance, Kayla and Madison were anxious to drive the ROV themselves:

Madison drives the ROV by remote control as Kayla follows its movements on the computer screen. Dollar Bay (Mich.) High School students first designed the ROV in their marine robotics classes (2011-2012). It has been used by National Park Service staff at Isle Royale National Park to identify invasive species underwater.

Asked what she thought of the ROVs, Kayla said, "They're cool!"

Dollar Bay High School senior Stanley Peterson was on the dock making adjustments to one of the ROVs for a demonstration.

"It's fun," Peterson said -- about working with the ROVs. "I want to go to school for engineering. This has a lot of science and math involved."

Stanley Peterson, who will be a senior at Dollar Bay High School next year, works on one of the student-designed ROVs on the dock outside Portage Lake District Library. He hopes to study engineering in college.

Dollar Bay High School science teacher Matt Zimmer (in green shirt) answers visitors' questions about the Remotely Operated Vehicles designed by his students.

Soon it was time for Kayla, Madison and their parents to take the boat ride on the Agassiz, followed by a visit to a fish laboratory in the Great Lakes Research Center.

Joan Chadde -- Education/Outreach Program coordinator for the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, Western U.P. Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education -- checks off names of passengers who reserved their seats for the Agassiz scientific excursion on July 1, 2014. Captain Steve Roblee, standing on boat deck,  welcomes visitors and provides life jackets for those who need them (including a special size required for small children).

At left is Captain Roblee's assistant, Terrianna Bradley of Detroit, who explains  equipment used on the research boat. Passengers pictured here include, from right, Barry Drue, L'Anse Sentinel editor (ready to take notes!); his wife, Kathy Drue; an unidentified passenger; Peter Rudnicki of Chaplin, Conn., and his Mom, Wendy Heikka.

"How unsinkable is this boat?" asked Peter Rudnicki, age 7 and 3/4.

Agassiz Captain Steve Roblee explained the many safety features of the boat, including, if ever it should be required for rescue, aircraft from Traverse City, Mich. He noted the Agassiz has multiple uses -- research, a lab for Michigan Tech classes, and public education.

Assisting Captain Roblee on this trip was Terrianna Bradley, Michigan Tech environmental engineering student.

Agassiz Captain Steve Roblee and his assistant, Terrianna Bradley, are pictured here with some of the equipment used to study the lake and its sediments. Bradley is holding an instrument that measures the depth of the water, dissolved oxygen and temperature.

Bradley said she is really enjoying her summer job working under the General Motors Ride the Waves program that helps support these educational excursions on the boat.

"I've been doing this all summer," she said. "I love this! The best part of my job is going on the lake and teaching science to kids."

The Agassiz dropped off the passengers at Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center, where they headed for a fish lab.

During the lab visit in the GLRC, Mark Kransz of DeWitt, Mich., a Michigan Tech environmental engineering student who has a minor in fish biology, explains the food web for fish in Lake Superior.

While visitors observe dissected fish to learn about what fish eat, Mark Kransz explains that one purpose of the dissection is to show how the lakes are affected by what fish eat, since pollution goes up the food chain.

Xena Cortez, Michigan Tech environmental engineering student, points out to Kayla Golde and her family a drawing of an organism Kayla has just observed under a microscope in the fish lab.

Helping visitors observe bloodworms, a type of benthos found in Portage Lake, under a microscope in the lab was Julia Rice, who is studying civil engineering at Michigan Tech. Rice is from Alcoma, Mich., near Lake Huron. She says she has lived near the water all her life and wants to be a "green" civil engineer.

"Right now I'm interested in the water side of civil engineering," Rice explained.

Julia Rice, center, of Alcona, Mich., who is studying civil engineering at Michigan Tech, shows some bloodworms under the microscope to Robin Kisiel and her Mom, Sharyn Kisiel, of Chassell.

A poster in the fish lab explains the life cycle of the bloodworm, a common type of benthos in Portage Lake.

Peter Rudnicki, age 7 and 3/4, said he didn't know what fish ate before the excursion on the Agassiz and the visit to the lab but he learned a lot from the event.

"The boat is like a mini-lab where they take samples and then take them to another lab, where they analyze and study them," Peter noted.

In the GLRC fish lab, Peter Rudnicki and his Mom, Wendi Heikka, of Chaplin, Conn., study a poster that explains how the mouth position of the fish while eating helps identify them.

After the lab visit,  a Michigan Tech van took the visitors back to the Portage Library for some boat building or more observations of the ROVs.

Madison Golde, left, and her sister, Kayla, build their boats in the community room at Portage Lake District Library.

At Portage Library kids have fun sailing boats they made themselves in a small, plastic "lake."

Chase Crisman, who will be 10 in August, said he liked the boat ride, but the activity he liked the best was making this submarine out of aluminum foil and toilet paper rolls.

Iriina Aho, 4, of Hancock, proudly displays the colorful sailboat she made at Portage Library.

Portage Library also provided materials for young artists who just wanted to draw or color their own creations. Here Arli O'Connor, 10, of Chassell, draws a woodpecker. Arli said she went on the boat excursion and found out there was a lot to learn about the lake. "I didn't dissect a fish, though," she said.

Chris Alquist, Portage Lake District Library community program director, who helped organize the activities, said she loves this kind of event.

"It was a lot of fun," Alquist said. "What was really nice about this was that there was a variety of events that appeal to many interests."

At least 60 people rode on the Agassiz that day and more visitors came for other activities, she added.

This science program was funded by General Motors and the Portage Lake District Library.

Wisconsin Tribes set to meet with EPA regarding proposed Penokee mine

By Barbara With
Posted July 21, 2014, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative 

Reprinted in part with permission

Flags representing the tribe of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa taken at the Penokee Hills Education Summit in September 2013. (Photo © and courtesy Rebecca Kemble)

NORTHERN WISCONSIN -- On August 21, 2014, the six tribes of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Federation will meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials to urge them to stop mining activity in the Penokee Hills in northern Wisconsin. Tribal leaders sent a letter in May requesting the meeting and asking the EPA to invoke a section of the Clean Water Act in order to prevent the devastation of a proposed 22-mile open-pit mountaintop removal iron ore mine from destroying the Bad River watershed:

"CWA§404(c) authorizes the EPA to restrict, prohibit, deny, or withdraw the use of an area for the disposal of dredged or fill material, including mining wastes, when it is determined that discharge will have unacceptable adverse effects on fisheries, wildlife, shellfish beds, municipal water supplies, or recreational areas."

.... Click here to read the rest of this article on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.
Click here to read the May 27, 2014, letter from Wisconsin tribal leaders to the EPA concerning the Clean Water Act and the proposed Penokee mine. The letter is from six bands of the Anishinaabeg Territory Watersheds and Waters of Lake Superior: Bad River Band of Lake Superior, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior, Lac du Flambeau Band, St. Croix Band, Sokoagon Band, and Lac Courte Oreilles Band.

Visit United in Defense of the Water to learn how you can take action by writing a letter of support to EPA.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Capt. Donald Kilpela will present "So You Want to Own an Oil Tanker" July 23 at Calumet Public Library

CALUMET -- Friends of the Calumet Public Library will host "So You Want to Own an Oil Tanker," a presentation and book signing by Captain Donald Kilpela, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m on Wednesday, July 23, in the library.

From the snowy Keweenaw to the beauty of the Caribbean -- what could go wrong with a well-designed business plan to operate a small oil tanker, the M/T MacVie, as a family business? Captain Donald Kilpela, owner of the Isle Royale Queen and gifted story teller, will fill us in on his family’s trials, failures, and occasional successes in a venture that turned out to be a highly risky gamble. Copies of Kilpela’s newly released book, So You Want to Own an Oil Tanker, will be available to purchase and can be signed after the presentation. Book sales will go to benefit the Calumet Public Library.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library, this event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

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

History comes to life with costumed interpreters at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

Costumed interpreters -- including children from the park's Future Historians program -- bring the past to life at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park this summer. (Photo courtesy Fort Wilkins Historic State Park)

COPPER HARBOR -- History comes alive every day at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor with costumed portrayals of men and women who were stationed at the fort during the summer of 1870. Modeled after actual members of the army garrison and based on extensive historical research, interpreters bring the fort to life from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily through Aug. 15.

The state park is home to a restored 19th-century army post that, in addition to the daily costumed portrayals of soldiers and their families, features three-day, living-history encampments and museum exhibits enlivened by the sights and sounds of army life nearly 150 years ago. Upcoming encampments are scheduled for July 22-24, July 30-Aug. 1 and Aug. 13-15.

The three-day camps are presented by The Future Historians, a youth association from the Michigan Iron Industry Museum at Negaunee. Children from the museum group receive intensive training during the spring before assuming the costumed roles of children at Fort Wilkins during the summer camps. Throughout the summer, 59 participants will demonstrate children’s games and chores while telling visitors about growing up in 1870.

Interpreters provide park visitors with a glimpse of what life was like at Fort Wilkins in the mid-1800s. Here they demonstrate a stickhoop game that was popular at the time. (Photo courtesy Fort Wilkins Historic State Park)

Built in 1844 to keep peace in Michigan’s copper country, Fort Wilkins was abandoned two years later and re-garrisoned by federal infantry from 1867 to 1870. Today it remains a well-preserved example of a mid-1800s fort, including officers’ quarters, soldiers’ barracks, married enlisted men’s quarters, hospital, workshops, powder magazine and guardhouse.

The historic site also features the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, where exhibits interpret the light station and its keepers. Public access to the lighthouse museum is by a tour boat concession that operates daily from the Copper Harbor Marina. For more information, go to or call the park at 906-289-4215.

Fort Wilkins -- including the restored fort, the Copper Harbor Lighthouse and the 1844 Pittsburgh and Boston Mining Company mine sites -- is one of 11 nationally accredited museums administered by the Michigan Historical Center, an agency within the Department of Natural Resources. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the outdoor museum is open daily from 8 a.m. until dusk through mid-October.

A Recreation Passport is required to enter Fort Wilkins Historic State Park. The passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking "YES" for the $11 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing license plates through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches. The passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($31 annual, $9 daily) at any state park or recreation area or (annual passes only) through the Michigan e-Store at

Learn more about the Recreation Passport at

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to