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, October 18, 2014

Prof. Alex Mayer to present talk on Huron Creek at Carnegie Museum Oct. 21

HOUGHTON -- The Carnegie Museum is convening a series of Tuesday evening community discussions about the Keweenaw’s natural history. Professor Alex Mayer (Environmental and Geological Engineering at Michigan Tech) is a leader in research concerning Great Lakes water issues. On Tuesday, Oct. 21, he will meet with interested people to discuss a local river, Huron Creek, which is part of local natural history.

The title of Professor Mayer’s talk is: "The (un)natural history of Huron Creek, a working stream on the Keweenaw Peninsula."  Refreshments and introductions are at 6:30 p.m., and lecture/discussion from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. in the Carnegie Museum Community Room.

"I will describe the creek’s history, the impacts on the creek from human activities, and efforts that are underway to restore the creek's ecosystem and aesthetic value," Mayer says. "I want to hear about your ideas for restoring the creek and any of your memories of interacting with the creek."

Humans have spent money and materials to alter the natural pattern of the river, trying to create an environment for work, business and a better life. Mayer has studied these efforts and is very interested in listening to people to hear about natural history along the river. Bring your memories and those told to you by others. How can we live best with rivers and other natural features of our town? Can we develop a management plan which considers the best that rivers can contribute to the quality of life?

All people are welcome. These seminars are meant to attract a broad public and to discuss how university-based research can benefit everyone. Citizen input is a main focus.

Click here for more details and a map of Huron Creek.

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

(Inset photo of Prof. Alex Mayer courtesy Michigan Technological University)

Rozsa Center to present "Camelot" Oct. 21

Camelot poster courtesy Rozsa Center.

HOUGHTON -- The national tour of Lerner and Lowe’s legendary musical, Camelot, arrives at the Rozsa Center for one night only -- at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21. This bold new interpretation of the four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical tells the story of King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Houghton Elementary fourth grade student Tom Knewtson, who auditioned in September, appears at the end of Act Two as Tom of Warwick.

The production is a sumptuous, visually arresting re-imagining of the time-honored fable of chivalry, majesty and romance.

"This is sort of a reinvention of Camelot. It’s the story as you’ve never seen it before," said Rozsa Center Interim Director Mary Muncil. "This version is a darker, grittier, more dramatic rendition. Never has this story been more captivating."

The story tells of King Arthur, who rules his kingdom with new ideals, bringing peace to a troubled land. But, when his beautiful new Queen Guinevere and the dashing Sir Lancelot, his most trusted knight, give in to their passion for each other, one of the most fabled love triangles of all time ensues.

Cost is $22 for adults and $11 for youth age 17 and under. Michigan Tech student tickets are free with the Experience Tech Fee. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling the Ticketing Office in the SDC at 487-2073 or visiting in person. Hours for the Ticketing Office are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Concerned Clergy invite public to Benediction at Eagle Mine entrance Oct.18

Poster courtesy Concerned Clergy of Marquette.

MARQUETTE -- Interfaith "Concerned Clergy of Marquette" encourages everyone to participate this Saturday, Oct. 18, in events about sulfide mining operations in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

From noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday the public is invited to a Liturgy of Loss and Hope Benediction: Prayers at the front gate of Eagle Mine on County Road Triple A in Michigamme/Powell Townships. Meet at 11 a.m. at Big Bay Outfitters in Big Bay and a guide-car will lead you to the site.

This is a communal opportunity for reflection and meditation on the commencement of mining activity on the Yellow Dog Plains.

Participants / speakers will include the following:
Kathleen Heideman, poet
Michael Waite, songwriter-musician
Rochelle Dale, Jan Zender and Cynthia Pryor, Yellow Dog Watershed residents
Nancy Railey, classical pianist
Guests from Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, Soto Zen Buddhist priest
Jon Magnuson, Lutheran ELCA pastor
and other leaders from the region’s faith communities. 

Two organizers spoke with ABC 10 WBUP - CW 5 WBKP, noting residents who live near the mine no longer enjoy a quiet, clean and peaceful existence..

It's a chance to balance the equation, Marquette Lutheran Pastor, the Rev. John Magnuson of Marquette, executive director of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute, told ABC10 in a recent interview.*

"'There has been a lot attention about the economic development and the revenue the new (Eagle) mine is bringing in Powell Township,'" Magnuson said in the interview. "'But there's not been an equal amount of attention given to the grief and the loss of what's happened to the people that live near this new mine and to the wetlands and the forests and the wildlife."'

"Benediction means looking backward and forward," said Soto Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg in the ABC10 interview.

At 7 p.m. Saturday  evening, a candlelight service will be held at Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette.

* Click here for the ABC 10 interview.

Barn Concert to feature musical groups, family singalong at Belsolda Farm Oct. 18

Barn Concert photo courtesy Wendy Johnson.

MARQUETTE -- A Fallin' Leaves (Heated!) Barn Concert will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, at Belsolda Farm, 488 Mangum Rd., Marquette. Doors open at 6 p.m. Music begins at 6:30 p.m. The concert will feature Milo Birch, The Accidentals, and Shannon Wyatt with Bob Mahin.

The Accidentals will host a family Ukes and Kazoos singalong with free kazoos and cider after the concert so bring the whole family!

Tickets are available at the Marquette Food Co-op: $10 Adults, $8 Teens, 12 and under FREE!

DIRECTIONS from Marquette: Follow US-41/M-28 through Harvey. Stay on US-41 to Mangum Rd. (Beaver Grove). Take Left onto Mangum Rd. Take Right at 488 Mangum Rd. -- Belsolda Farm.

Please Contact Milo at (906) 361-5179 with any questions. See also their Facebook page.

Editor's Note: The Accidentals will perform at 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Friday, Oct. 17, at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock. Click here for details.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Candidate Forum for Election 2014 to be Oct. 17 in Hancock

HANCOCK -- A Candidate Forum, which may be the Keweenaw's only public debate for Election 2014, will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, in the auditorium of the Hancock Middle School, located at 501 Campus Drive (near Portage Hospital) in Hancock.

Democratic and Republican candidates for State Senate 38th District, State Representative 110th District, and Houghton County Commissioner 1st and 3rd Districts have been invited. These include Incumbent State Senator Tom Casperson (R) and his Democratic opponent, Christopher Germain; Incumbent 110th District State House Representative Scott Dianda (D) and his opponent, Bob Michaels (R)*;  District 3 Incumbent County Commissioner Tony Pintar (D) and his opponent, Mark Kemppainen (R); and District 1 County Commissioner candidates Rick Kasprzak (D) and his opponent, Eugene Londo (R).

The Forum will cover issues concerning children and youth in the Keweenaw region, including early childhood and K-12 education and social services. Time for audience questions will be made available.

This event is open to the public -- free admission.

Voter information and literature will be available prior to the candidate forum from 5:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. Someone will be there to address any questions you might have, including voter registration and absentee ballots.

The Forum is sponsored by League of Women Voters of the Copper Country, Copper Country Human Services Coordinating Body, Copper Country Great Start Collaborative, and Superior Child Abuse Prevention Council.

* Bob Michaels (R) was invited but reportedly is unable to attend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

People's Climate March, Part 2: Video Report: Riding People's Climate Train to New York

By Michele Bourdieu

On Sept. 19, 2014, Amtrak passengers riding a People's Climate Train assemble for a group photo at a train stop in Buffalo, NY, on the way to New York City for a weekend of workshops, meetings, lectures by climate activist leaders and the Sunday, Sept. 21,  People's Climate March. Some stayed in New York on Monday, Sept. 22, for a Flood Wall Street march as well. Pictured with the group are Houghton residents Allan Baker, Keweenaw Now videographer, and his wife, Shirley Galbraith, Keweenaw Now guest author (second row, seated right).* (Photo by Gustavo Bourdieu for Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The Amtrak train for New York City, dubbed the "People's Climate Train" by passengers who boarded it in San Francisco, picked up more passengers bound for the Sept. 21 People's Climate March along the way. Amtrak arranged for the group to be seated together in two cars, which facilitated a day of presentations, workshops and discussions on various climate change issues -- and networking among both young and old. A spirit of camaraderie and solidarity prevailed.

Susan Riederer, co-chair of the Boulder, Colo., Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) chapter, was one of the organizers of talks and discussions on the People's Climate Train.

Keweenaw Now staff boarded the train in Chicago at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18. Friday was a long day, especially since a health emergency on the train caused a delay of several hours; yet the nearly 24-hour ride from Chicago to New York City was nothing to those people we met who had been riding the train since California and other points west.

One of these, Diana Cabcabin of San Francisco, gave a presentation about Typhoon Haiyan, which had affected her family directly since it struck their town in the Philippines:

During workshops on the People's Climate Train on the way to New York City on Sept. 19, 2014, Diana Cabcabin of San Francisco talks about Typhoon Haiyan, which struck her family's home town in the Philippines. In a later presentation, Cabcabin speaks about mining companies that exploit poor communities in the Philippines. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Cabcabin is a member of Women for Genuine Security, a group that advocates for justice and educates the public about historical inequities. She questioned the value of trade agreements in the Asia Pacific region that favor large corporations rather than people in poor communities vulnerable to impacts of climate change.

A California journalist and author, Christopher Cook, spoke about the relationship between climate change and industrial agriculture with large-scale food production:

San Francisco journalist and author Christopher Cook notes that industrial, concentrated agriculture around the world produces great amounts of toxic pollution and carbon emissions while making it difficult for subsistence and small-scale farmers to survive. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Cook, who is the author of Diet for a Dead Planet, also published an article on riding the train from San Francisco. He actually filed the article when the train stopped in Chicago, and it was posted on Sept. 19.**

Activist James Blakely of Boise, Idaho, said he also boarded the train in San Francisco. He spoke about his recent experience in Alberta, Canada -- participating in the 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk with First Nations people who are most immediately impacted by this industry:

James Blakely of Boise, Idaho, recounts his participation in the 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk in Alberta, Canada. led by First Nations tribes of the area. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)***

Blakely pointed out that the boreal forests, once rich in biodiversity, are destroyed to enable the industry to mine the tar sands. The process puts so many toxins into the environment that the First Nations people can no longer hunt and fish as they used to do for subsistence.

"The only real jobs up there are for the oil companies, so they're now almost forced to work for the oil companies or leave their land," he said.

According to Lemmon McMillan of Evanston, Ill., talking about climate issues must include the intersectionality of poverty, racism and gender inequality. These social justice issues, along with government corruption and U.S. foreign policy, are all connected, he says.

Lemmon McMillan of Evanston, Ill., joins in the discussion of climate change and insists it must be discussed in connection with social justice issues, especially poverty and racism. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

McMillan, whose own heritage includes Native American and African American roots, is working on a series of videos intended to discuss these issues and how they are all related.

McMillan said he spoke with teenagers from an African American community on the south side of Chicago and one asked him why he should be concerned about climate change that might kill him in 20 or 30 years when he's facing situations (police or gang members) that could kill him now.

"The climate movement needs to answer that question," McMillan said. "We all have to support each other and understand that all our issues are related."

Two other Illinois residents -- Jill Paulus of Wheaton, Ill., and Joyce Good of Chicago -- spoke about an environmental issue that is now impacting people of many different socio-economic groups -- fracking:

Jill Paulus of Wheaton, Illinois, and Joyce Good of Chicago speak about fracking in Illinois and legislation to regulate it. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Paulus and Good spoke about citizens' grassroots efforts to learn about legislative "rules" for fracking and the importance of participation in public hearings on the issue.

The climate movement, led by and other groups, more recently has been encouraging students on college campuses to influence their colleges and universities to divest from fossil fuel companies. This divestment takes as a model the divestment from South Africa which helped to end the unjust apartheid system.

On the People's Climate Train, Becky Romatoski, a graduate student at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), spoke optimistically about increasing numbers of colleges, students and faculty now beginning to divest from companies that produce fossil fuels:

Rebecca ("Becky") Romatoski, a doctoral candidate in nuclear science and engineering at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), talks about students, faculty and colleges that are divesting from fossil fuel companies. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

"The biggest issue is not hurting these people (fossil fuel companies) financially, but hurting them on a moral level," Romatoski said.

Romatoski is a member of the student group Fossil Free MIT. After the Sept. 21 People's Climate March, she wrote to Keweenaw Now saying the march was a great way to recruit more MIT students for that group, which is active in raising awareness of climate change on campus.****

"Our group right now has succeeded in getting MIT to have a committee on climate change which will propose actions for MIT, and our group has secured divestment as one key aspect the committee will consider," Romatoski writes.

 As for the People's Climate Train, she notes it was a great and unique experience.

"I will never forget it and the empowerment and excitement from the experience!" Romatoski adds.

Amanda Gabryszak boarded the train in Salt Lake City and, once she realized it was a People's Climate Train, joined in the discussions and workshops, played her guitar in the lounge and regretted that she had to get off in Buffalo, NY, and was unable to attend the Climate March.

Amanda Gabryszak took this photo on the People's Climate Train and wrote a blog article on her experience, noting she even led a workshop on conservation biology. Keweenaw Now's videographer, Allan Baker, is pictured here in the aisle. While people often had to stand in the aisle to hear the speakers, they were very considerate about making room for other passengers passing through the cars. (Photo © and courtesy Amanda Gabryszak. Reprinted with permission.)*****

Susan Riederer, co-chair of the Boulder, Colo., chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, also commented about the positive experience of the People's Climate Train, the Climate March and the Flood Wall Street action, in which she also participated.

"I am still on a high from our time together (on the train), the march and then my time with the Flood Wall Street direct action," she wrote in an email to Keweenaw Now last week.

Here Riederer speaks about the Citizens' Climate Lobby:

During the workshops held on the People's Climate Train Susan Riederer of Boulder, Colo., describes her experience working with the Citizens' Climate Lobby. (Video by Keweenaw Now)******

Another speaker who rode the train from San Francisco -- Pete Gang, an architect from Petaluma, Calif. -- explained the connection between green building and climate change:

Architect Pete Gang of Petaluma, Calif., speaks about green building and climate change. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Gang pointed out that at least 40 percent of all energy is used in the making and operation of buildings. In addition, 50 percent of the energy used in commercial buildings is used for heating and cooling space and water.

"Green building is a very simple idea -- just trying to make buildings that are more energy efficient, resource efficient and people friendly," Gang explained, "because actually a lot of buildings that we build, especially commercial buildings, are full of chemicals that are known to be toxic to humans."

Gang said he has designed green residential buildings with a range of alternative techniques, including straw-bale, which is an agricultural waste product that could be put to better use as wall insulation. His guidelines for building an energy efficient house follow this order: 1) reduce the demand by designing the building so it needs minimal energy for heating or cooling (with insulation, windows, size, etc.); 2) use energy-efficient appliances; 3) use renewables like solar and wind to provide energy.

Three activists planning to participate in the Sept. 22 Flood Wall Street action spoke about action and civil disobedience, encouraging listeners to take training that would be provided in New York before committing to a civil disobedience action. They also explained that supporters would also be needed for those who may get arrested.

Aaron "iLLLy" Murphy described his own efforts to find active solutions to the climate problem:

Aaron "iLLLy" Murphy suggests possible solutions to the climate problem, including his own experience living in an intentional community, Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village in Missouri. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Illinois resident Hillary Colby described her experience with civil disobedience in Chicago:

Illinois resident Hillary Colby speaks about her experience as one of the original Chicago 22 who risked arrest in front of the federal building in Chicago during a protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline in June 2012. (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Bobby Wengronowitz, a graduate student at Boston College and one of the organizers of the workshops and talks on the People's Climate Train, shared his views on why "putting your bodies on the street" in the Climate March is a good beginning and why the Flood Wall Street action is even more important:

Activist Bobby Wengronowitz emphasizes the importance of the Flood Wall Street action planned for Sept. 22, 2014, in New York City (a day after the People's Climate March). (Video by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Regina Birchem of Minneapolis, a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, said she chose to ride the People's Climate Train to New York rather than taking a bus from Minneapolis because of a train experience she had in 1995 -- traveling from Helsinki to Beijing for the 4th World Conference of Women:

Regina Birchem of Minneapolis explains how a 1995 train ride with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom -- from Helsinki to Beijing for the 4th World Conference of Women -- inspired her to take the People's Climate Train to the 2014 People's Climate March in New York. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

Finally, as the train approached Penn Station late Friday evening, Jorge Arauz of Ecuador, who now lives in Madison, Wis., told Keweenaw Now why he was heading for the People's Climate March.

Jorge Arauz of Madison, Wis., displays the sign he made to take to the People's Climate March. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

"It's just painful to live every day seeing what's happened," Arauz said. "It's outrageous to see the inaction of our leaders."

Soon Arauz was leading the group in a song titled "Sing for the Climate":

As the People's Climate Train approaches New York City on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, travelers keep up their spirits and motivation as they join in singing.

* This is the second in a series of articles about the People's Climate March and related events Sept. 19-22, 2014, in New York City. Shirley Galbraith is the author of "People's Climate March, Part 1, Letter: Houghton couple travel to New York to march for planet's future," posted on Keweenaw Now Sept. 30, 2014.

** See Christopher Cook's article, "All Aboard the People’s Climate Train," posted Sept. 19, 2014, on Earth Island Journal.

*** Click here to read more about the Tar Sands Healing Walk.

**** Read about Fossil Free MIT on their Web site.

***** Click here to read Amanda Gabryszak's blog entry on the People's Climate Train.

****** Click here to learn about the Citizens' Climate Lobby.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Portage Library to host "Postcards from the Past" at Oct. 14 Philatelists' meeting

HOUGHTON -- October is National Stamp Collecting Month, and the Portage Lake District Library will host the Portage Lake Philatelists for their monthly meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. TONIGHT, Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Guest speaker and long-time stamp collector Glen Kivela will present "Postcards from the Past." In this "show and tell" presentation, Kivela will show the different kinds of cards that are collected and explain the history behind them. His collection that will be on display will feature early to mid-century postcards that show the history of the Copper Country and the Upper Peninsula.

This program is geared towards beginning and experienced stamp collectors as well as those who are curious about looking at local history from a unique point of view.

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected to host Town Hall Meeting TONIGHT, Oct. 13, in Marquette

Propositions 1 and 2 on the November 2014 Ballot would allow more wolf hunting in Michigan. Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is holding a Town Hall Meeting TONIGHT, Oct. 13, at the Marquette Ramada Inn to discuss the issue. (Photo courtesy

MARQUETTE -- Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will host a Town Hall Meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. TONIGHT, Monday, Oct. 13, at the Marquette Ramada Inn, 412 W. Washington St., Marquette.

Learn about Michigan's wolves and how you can get involved to defeat ballot Proposals 1 and 2 this November.

Click here for more information.

Click here for links to access the proposals.

Finnish American Heritage Center to host contra dance Oct. 15

HANCOCK -- Due to popular demand, Finlandia University’s Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC) will offer contra dancing monthly during the academic year.

The first contra dance of the season will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the FAHC Wednesday, Oct. 15. Instruction will be provided at the beginning of the session, and the dance is easily learned by anyone regardless of experience. No partner is necessary, and all ages and skill levels are invited to attend. Cost is $6 per person.

Music for the dance will be provided by members of the Thimbleberry Band, and Colin Hoekje will serve as the caller. Hoekje, a student at Michigan Tech, has experience calling at contra dances, including a major contra dance event in Lower Michigan earlier this year.

Contra dances are also set for Nov. 12, Jan. 14, Feb, 11, March 18 and April 8 at the Finnish American Heritage Center, located at 435 Quincy Street in Hancock, on the campus of Finlandia University.

For more information, call (906) 487-7302.