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, August 08, 2014

Copper Country "Festa Italiana" to offer family fun, food, entertainment Aug. 9 in Hancock

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country "Festa Italiana" will take place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. TOMORROW, Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Houghton County Arena, 1500 Birch St. in Hancock.

The event will include traditional Italian American food and beverages for sale by local vendors, traditional Italian American music, contests and entertainment.

Admission is $5 (12 and over). Tickets for food and beverages must be purchased at the ticket booth. No cash sales inside the venue. Beer and wine sales require proof of age.

16 teams will compete in a Bocce Tournament. Games and activities will be held for children. Contests include a Spaghetti Eating Contest, a Grape Stomp, a Pizza Toss and Italian American Trivia.

Here is the entertainment line-up:

11 a.m. -- Opening Ceremony, announcements and the National Anthem performed by local soloist Annette Butina

11:30 a.m. -- PJ Olsson's Rock Camp Kids

12:30 p.m. -- Contest Hour: Spaghetti Eating, Pizza Toss and Grape Stomp

1:30 p.m. -- Anastasia Lee -- Classical Crossover Artist

2:30 p.m. -- Jim and Teri Enrietti and Don Masnado

3:30 p.m. -- Joe Magnino and Lori Giese-- Festival European

4:30 p.m. -- Jim and Teri Enrietti and Don Masnado and special guests

5:30 p.m. -- Jan and Gino -- The Soundz of Time

6:30 p.m. -- Award for BocceTournament and Italian Trivia

7 p.m. -- Jan and Gino -- The Soundz of Time

8 p.m. -- The Whatevers

10 p.m. -- Ciao and Grazie!

Eagle Harbor Art Fair to feature 60 artists Aug. 9, 10

The annual Eagle Harbor Art Fair will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10, near St. Peter's by the Sea in Eagle Harbor, Mich. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Associated Artists)

CALUMET -- Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) will host the Eagle Harbor Art Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 9, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10, in Eagle Harbor, Mich.  CCAA has been hosting the fair for more than 50 years, and the 2014 Fair will feature 60 artist vendors selling their wares -- photography, pottery, jewelry, painting, woodworking and more.

Miriam Pickens, ceramic artist and photographer, will be the featured artist at this year's Fair. The event takes place in a large park near St. Peter's by the Sea church.

Ceramic artist Miriam Pickens displays her wheel-thrown pottery at the Houghton Art and Music Festival. This year she will be the featured artist at the Eagle Harbor Art Fair. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

"I'll be in the church basement with all my wares, underglazing a plate," Pickens notes.*

Goodies to eat are provided by Eagle Harbor Township to raise money for various projects. The annual Eagle Harbor Art Fair is an enjoyable family event -- free and open to the public. Several motels, a swimming beach and restaurants can be found in Eagle Harbor as well as a few miles up or down the road in Eagle River or Copper Harbor.

Editor's Note: Miriam Pickens also takes beautiful photos of butterflies. Visit her Facebook page to learn more.

Calumet Art Center to present New Chamber Music Concert TONIGHT, Aug. 8

Poster for New Chamber Music Concert TONIGHT, Aug. 8, 2014, at Calumet Art Center. (Poster courtesy Calumet Art Center)

CALUMET -- The public is invited to the Calumet Art Center's annual New Chamber Music Concert at 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Friday, Aug. 8.

Hosted since 2011 by the Calumet Art Center and composer and guitarist Paul Seitz, the concert will also feature soprano Christine Seitz, composer/percussionist Tom Bjoraker, pianist Jon Ensminger, cellist Pat Quimby, vibraphonist Briana Trainor, violinist Erica Bjoraker, and friends. They will present recent works by composers with close ties to Calumet, the Upper Peninsula, and the participating artists.

A suggested donation is $8.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Portage Library to host Keweenaw Family Music's "Something Awesome" Aug. 8

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.

"Something Awesome" will perform from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, August 8. This group is made up of people who attend Keweenaw Family Music’s weekly adult jam session and who have a great time singing and performing on ukulele, guitar, accordion, cello, fiddle, drums, and piano.

The group plays a variety of folk and popular songs and will feature Amanda Plummer on ukulele and guitar, Kari Lyle on guitar and vocals, Sharon Levine on accordion, Chris Plummer on guitar and cello, and Matt Seigel on ukulele. Audience participation is welcome and encouraged.

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.

Club Indigo to present original "KING KONG" Aug. 8 at Calumet Theatre

CALUMET -- KING KONG, the original 1933 film, restored and uncut, will be this month's Club Indigo food and film event -- to be shown Friday evening Aug. 8, at the Calumet Theatre.

The film is at heart the amazing ape (and dinosaur) animation of Willis O'Brien, his cutting-edge model work, the CGI of its day; but it's also the tragic story that stays etched on the memory, well beyond the imitations that followed and attempted to recreate a power and majesty that never quite adds up to the same overwhelming experience of the original -- arguably THE monster movie of all time, the abiding take on the beauty-and-the-beast motif that still has a mythic power which belies its years.

The plot is well recognized: Hollywood filmmaker Robert Armstrong imperils starlet Fay Wray on a prehistoric island in his bid to turn a local legend into a celluloid hit. Taking the giant gorilla back to civilization for entrepreneurial gain turns out badly for all concerned, not least the captive creature who ends up on top of the Empire State Building in one of cinema's greatest climaxes. This is a thrilling adventure with a good heart, offering an early eco-message at the same time.

For more information call the theatre at 337-2610.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

New exhibit, "Flight Path," to open Aug. 7 at Community Arts Center in Hancock

Collages by Melissa Hronkin (at left) and mobiles by Judy Sarosik are part of the August exhibit, "Flight Path," opening TOMORROW, Thursday, Aug. 7, at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center and Melissa Hronkin)

HANCOCK -- "Flight Path" is the new exhibit opening Thursday, Aug. 7, at the Copper Country Community Arts Center's Kerredge Gallery in Hancock. The exhibit features photographs, collage and encaustic paintings by Melissa Hronkin and origami mobiles by Judy Sarosik.

A public reception for the artists will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. TOMORROW, Thursday, Aug. 7. The exhibit continues through Aug. 30.

Earlier this year Melissa Hronkin took part in The 100 Day Art Project, a community challenge to make 100 pieces of art in 100 days. Because of her tight schedule and commute to work her studio became mobile. Her photographs became a springboard for new work, exercising "being in the moment and looking outward." She used her collection of words, papers, and drawing and painting materials to collage the photos and make meaningful art.

Walking the beaches of Marquette, Judy Sarosik has always picked up special pieces of driftwood, playing with balance and creating mobiles -- adding beads, bells, coins, etc. She combined these with her love of patterned paper and the craft of folding, both Japanese origami and iris folding, which originated in Holland. Each mobile she makes is a meditation. Each one, with all its elements, holds special meaning -- often symbolizing good fortune, wealth and prosperity.

Together their work makes a stunning display of color and movement, paying homage to the beauty of nature and the act of finding the time and space to create art.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Enjoy Perseid meteor shower at Michigan state parks Aug. 9-16

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites residents to grab their blankets and head to participating Michigan state parks Aug. 9-16 to enjoy one of the biggest and most visible astronomical events of the year: the Perseid meteor shower.

Some state parks in Michigan are staying open late and offering "Meteors and S’mores" events in honor of this natural light show. Many of these events feature astronomy presentations, as well as -- you guessed it -- s’mores. A few participating parks also will offer free movies to complement this natural light show.

Meteors and S’mores events are scheduled at the following state parks (counties). Parks with an asterisk next to the name will offer a free movie before the meteor shower:

Saturday, Aug. 9
  •  Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland), 9 p.m. (beach parking lot)
  •  Fort Wilkins Historic State Park (Keweenaw), 10 p.m. (parade grounds) This program features guest speaker Joel Kimball, professor at the South Dakota School of Mining and Technology
Sunday, Aug. 10
  •  *Ionia Recreation Area (Ionia), 8:30 p.m. Star Wars: A New Hope (beach day-use area)
  • Leelanau State Park (Leelanau), 8:30 p.m. (day-use picnic shelter)
  • Van Riper State Park (Marquette), 10 p.m. (campground shelter building)
Tuesday, Aug. 12
  • Brimley State Park (Chippewa), 7 p.m. (visitor beach playground)
  • Muskallonge Lake State Park (Luce), 9 p.m. (community fire pit in the day-use area)
  • Silver Lake State Park (Oceana), 9 p.m. (dune pedestrian lot)
  • Hoeft State Park (Presque Isle), 9 p.m. (hospitality site)
  • Wilderness State Park (Emmet), 9 p.m. (amphitheater)
  • Rifle River Recreation Area (Ogemaw), 10 p.m. (ranch ball field)
  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonagon), 9 p.m. (Union Bay campground)
  • North Higgins Lake State Park (Crawford), 9 p.m. (park beach pavilion)
Wednesday, Aug. 13
  • Young State Park (Charlevoix), 10 p.m. (park baseball field across from loop 4)
Thursday, Aug. 14
  •  Van Buren State Park (Van Buren), 9 p.m. (southern side of the beach parking lot)
Friday, Aug. 15
  • Baraga State Park (Baraga), 10 p.m. (park picnic area)
  • *Pontiac Lake Recreation Area (Oakland), 8:30 p.m. Star Trek (2009) (west picnic area) 
Saturday, Aug. 16
  • Aloha State Park (Cheboygan), 8:30 p.m. (camp host site no. 47)
  • Burt Lake State Park (Cheboygan), 9 p.m. (fire pit on the west side of the interpretive building)
  • Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston), 9 p.m. (Chilson Pond behind the park headquarters). This program features guest speakers from University Lowbrow Astronomers.
  • Hartwick Pines State Park (Crawford), 8 p.m. (campground amphitheater)
For more information about Meteors and S’mores events at Michigan state parks, please check the state park event listings at, or contact Elissa Dennert at 989-313-0000. For specific information about a state park, please contact the park directly.

There is no charge to attend Meteors and S’mores, but a Recreation Passport is required for any vehicle entering a Michigan state park. The Recreation 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 a license plate 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. In addition, Recreation Passport holders can experience real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program.

The Recreation 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 this creative way of sustaining Michigan's outdoor recreation and natural resources at For information on Passport Perks shopping discounts or how businesses and retailers can enroll in the program, visit

Monday, August 04, 2014

Photos: Copper Harbor celebrates Lake Superior Day 2014 with R/V Agassiz excursions, ROVs, canoe races, picnic, more ...

By Michele Bourdieu

Visitors to Copper Harbor on July 20, Lake Superior Day, board Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz for an educational tour of the harbor. Checking names of passengers (who reserved seats in advance) is Lloyd Wescoat, Copper Harbor resident and project advisor for Michigan Tech's Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative program. At right is Xena Cortez, Michigan Tech environmental engineering student who has been assisting with Michigan Tech's Ride the Waves program (funded by General Motors) -- a series of community activities including public education about the Great Lakes on the Agassiz. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

COPPER HARBOR -- Free educational boat rides on Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz were a popular attraction at Copper Harbor's July 20 Lake Superior Day celebration.

"We're so grateful the Agassiz could come here because it's just never happened in Copper Harbor before," said Lloyd Wescoat, Copper Harbor resident and project advisor for Michigan Tech's Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative program.

During Copper Harbor's July 20, 2014, Lake Superior Day celebration, Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz takes visitors around the harbor to learn how scientists use the boat to study Lake Superior and nearby waterways.

Wescoat noted the 25-minute excursions scheduled between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. were all filled with visitors, mostly from the local Keweenaw area, who were asked to sign up for a specific time in advance. She was able to add an extra ride at 4:30 p.m. but, unfortunately, had to turn some people away after that. For many of the visitors it was a first-time ride on the Agassiz, which holds 15 passengers plus the captain and a scientist.

In Copper Harbor, Michigan Tech doctoral student and researcher Marcel Dijkestra of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was the Great Lakes scientist who offered a presentation on the boat as it cruised around the harbor, driven by Captain Travis White.

Dijkestra spoke about his research in ecosystem modeling.

"We are building an ecosystem model to evaluate the impacts of changes to the ecosystem that can be due to climate, invasive species or nutrient loadings to the lake," he said.

Marcel Dijkestra, Michigan Tech doctoral student in environmental engineering, speaks about the health of Lake Superior to passengers on the Agassiz as the boat cruises around the harbor during Copper Harbor's 2014 Lake Superior Day celebration. In the background, driving the boat, is Captain Travis White.

The Agassiz excursions have been part of several community events scheduled this summer, thanks to the Ride the Waves program, funded by General Motors.*

"The whole Lake Superior Day celebration creates awareness of the importance of protecting the waters of Lake Superior," said Wescoat, who noted this was the second year Copper Harbor has celebrated the event as a community and the first year the Agassiz has been part of it.

Visitors this year also had an opportunity to learn about the Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) designed and constructed by Dollar Bay High School students.

This curious young man just happens to be Mathijs Dijkestra, son of Michigan Tech scientist Marcel Dijkestra. Xena Cortez, Michigan Tech student in environmental engineering, helps Mathijs drive the ROV that can be seen in the water next to the dock. He can observe its movements on a computer screen.

Matt Zimmer, left, Dollar Bay High School science teacher, explains the workings of an ROV to Tom Paynter, owner of the Delaware Mine in Keweenaw County. They discussed the possibility of using one of the ROVs to explore what's under the water in the mine.

In addition to these educational activities, Lake Superior Day in Copper Harbor included canoe races, rowing and paddling demos, painting for kids, a copious picnic all day, musicians -- and solo songs by Don Kilpela, Jr., Isle Royale Queen captain and lead organizer of the event.

More photos ...

Lake Superior Day visitors participate in a canoe race in the harbor. Here they are rounding a buoy before rowing back to the dock for the finish ...

Canoe racers head for the finish ...

On the boardwalk visitors cheer for the winners of the canoe race ...

Canoe race winners Gail and Bill Drake of Lac LaBelle paddle toward the dock.

Participants in one of Keweenaw Adventure Company's "Porter's Island Paddle" kayak tours are guided by instructor Ryan Holt (in green kayak). The tour was not officially part of Lake Superior Day, but kayak tours were available that day.

Dan Weirsgalla, also one of Keweenaw Adventure Company's instructors, demonstrates kayaking techniques for Lake Superior Day visitors lined up along the Copper Harbor boardwalk.

Here Weirsgalla demonstrates the proper way to do a kayak "roll."

Terry Smythe, fitness director and founder and coach of Michigan Tech's Rowing Club, demonstrates some rowing techniques for the audience.

Kids have fun painting a model freighter during the Lake Superior Day celebration in Copper Harbor July 20, 2014.

Two Megs painting together -- Meg (Vivian) North, former Grant Township Supervisor and now science and math teacher at Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk, helps young Meg Ruhonen of Atlantic Mine put finishing touches on her contribution to the model freighter painting.

After a picnic of hot dogs and sausage, corn on the cob, soup, salad, and ice cream served all afternoon in Copper Harbor's 6th Street park, visitors enjoyed some of this special Lake Superior Day 2014 cake to top off a great day!

* Editor's Note:
This is the second in a series of articles about the Agassiz, Michigan Tech's research vessel, and its use in community events for education about the Great Lakes this summer. See our first article in the series, "Adults and kids learn about Great Lakes research, fish food web, marine robotics, more ..." -- posted July 22, 2014.

VOTE: August 5 Primary Election is TOMORROW; info, sample ballots available online

HANCOCK -- Tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, is the day to vote in the Michigan Primary Election. Voters can obtain information about candidates on several non-partisan Web sites.

First, the State of Michigan lists all official candidates for the Aug. 5 Primary Election here. Some candidates' names are linked to their Web sites.

The Michigan League of Women Voters provides information on candidates' answers to questions on certain issues. Go to to find your polling place and to access their voters' guide to learn where candidates stand on certain issues. Unfortunately not all candidates have responded to their questions, but by typing in your location (for your privacy the Web page does not save it) you can find out which candidates are on your local ballot and compare the views of those who have replied to the non-partisan League's questions. also provides voter information and another way to compare candidates' views on issues. Again, though, some candidates have not replied to the questions. Click here to access the Mlive Voter Guide.

One State Ballot Proposal is on the Aug. 5 Primary Ballot: Michigan Use Tax and Community Stabilization Share, Proposal 1. Click here for a detailed explanation of Proposal 1 and lists of officials and organizations in favor of the proposal as well as those opposed. Citations from media editorials are also included. See also Public Act 80 of 2014, on which the proposal is based.

For Houghton County voters, there is also a Renewal of County Road Millage proposal.

You can obtain a sample Michigan ballot by filling in your information on the Web site here.

Contested races

For the major U.S. and State legislator seats, the local primary ballot shows only two contested races: On the Democratic Party ballot, two candidates are running for the 38th District State Senate seat now held by State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba): Christopher M. Germain and Chris LaMarche. To read about Christopher M. Germain, you can visit his Web site: To learn about Chris LaMarche visit his Facebook page:

Recently Germain and LaMarche participated in a forum sponsored by the Delta County League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women and the Delta Chamber of Commerce. See "Germain, LaMarche differ on state spending cuts in candidate forum," by Craig Woerpel on

See also Keweenaw Now's March 15, 2014, article on Chris LaMarche's visit to the Houghton County Democratic Party at their March meeting.

On the Republican Party Primary ballot, U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek is being challenged by Alan Arcand of Iron River, who appears to be a Tea Party candidate.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Pine Mountain's Glenn Basham to join Steve Jones, Garden City Hot Club Aug. 4 at Orpheum Theater

Guitarist Steve Jones and violinist Glenn Basham with the Garden City Hot Club. (Photo courtesy The Orpheum Theater)

HANCOCK -- The Orpheum Theater will host a special Gypsy Jazz and Swing show Monday evening, Aug. 4, with hometown boys Steve Jones, Bob Hiltunen, Scott McIntosh, aka The Garden City Hot Club -- but that's not all!

"Once a year Glenn Basham joins the hot club crew for an amazing blowout performance -- and Monday is that show for this year!" says Orpheum owner Mike Shupe. "Glenn is the violinist for the Pine Mountain Music Festival's Bergonzi String Quartet (as well as a major Symphony Orchestra down south) and he also plays a mean jazz violin! The Garden City crew and Glenn will also be joined by other special guests for the performance, so this show is a must not miss event!"

Music starts about 8:30 p.m., and doors open at 7:30 p.m. or just after sound check. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and senior citizens, and $5 for kids. 

The Orpheum Theater is at 426 Quincy St. in downtown Hancock.