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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Claudia Schmidt, jazz and folk singer, to perform Oct. 25 at Orpheum Theater

Poster announcing concert by Claudia Schmidt, legendary jazz and folk singer, who will perform at the Orpheum Theater this Saturday, Oct. 25. Proceeds will benefit Save the Wild U.P. and Friends of the Land of Keweenaw. (Poster courtesy Orpheum Theater) 

HANCOCK -- Legendary jazz and folk singer Claudia Schmidt will be performing Saturday, Oct. 25, at The Orpheum Theater in Hancock to benefit Save the Wild UP and FOLK (Friends of the Land of Keweenaw).

The evening will begin with a Happy Hour at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and will be available at the door or in advance by credit card by calling (906) 485-5100.

Michigan native Claudia Schmidt is known for her original songs accompanied by her 12-string guitar and mountain dulcimer. To learn more about Schmidt and the 19 albums she has recorded and to listen to a sample of her singing, visit her web site

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

Green Party Candidate Ellis Boal to speak in Marquette TONIGHT, Oct. 23

MARQUETTE -- Ellis Boal, anti-fracking activist and Green Party candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (1st District), will speak at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Peter White Public Library, Lions Room 1st floor, in Marquette.

Ellis Boal, Green Party candidate for the District 1 U.S. Congressional seat now held by Republican incumbent Dan Benishek, will speak at the Peter White Library in Marquette tonight, Oct. 23. (Photo courtesy

Boal is a labor/environmental attorney and long time Green Party member from northern Michigan who last year won an injunction against 13 huge frack wells, three of which would have been the largest in the U.S.

The public is invited to meet the candidate, ask questions about issues of concern and learn more about the political party that is challenging the two corporate parties.

League of Women Voters Forum in Traverse City to be broadcast

Ellis Boal participated in a League of Women Voters Forum in Traverse City, which will be broadcast on Interlochen Radio, available online, at 9 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Oct. 23. The forum was recorded on Tuesday, Oct. 21. UpNorth TV videotaped the forum and will feature it TODAY, Thursday, Oct. 23, at 4:30 p.m. It can also be viewed on a cablecast Friday, Oct. 24, and after that, online.

Republican (incumbent) Congressman Dan Benisheck, and Democratic candidate Jerry Cannon also participated in the forum.

To learn more about Ellis Boal, visit his Web site,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Sandra Perlow: Permeated Surfaces" to open at Finlandia Gallery Oct. 23

Open Stairway, by Sandra Perlow. Collage, pencil and canvas, 2014. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- "Sandra Perlow: Permeated Surfaces" will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from Oct. 23 to Nov. 24, 2014.

An opening reception at the gallery will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23. Sandra Perlow will give an artist talk beginning at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Biomorphic forms float and merge, drift and collide like improvised verse in Sandra Perlow’s painted collages. Her visual plane includes rich fields of color and organic abstraction mixed with layers of found and printed paper.

In Perlow’s collages accumulations of forms and textured surfaces inspired by the view from her Chicago studio perform a visual call and response. Echoing the flow of pedestrians, the colorful pattern of window displays, and the syncopated geometry of buildings and skyscrapers, her compositions are records of movements and matter.

The Great Gate, by Sandra Perlow. Acrylic, collage, and canvas, 2014.

"In my work singular forms move through complex networks, and organic shapes find balance with architectonic structures," notes Perlow. "The visual exchanges reflect the ongoing dialogue between nature, industry and self."

Many of the titles for Perlow’s work come from literary sources. One especially inspiring is Thomas Mann’s four part novel, Joseph and His Brothers. Music helps relax the mind and suggest new imagery. Like the titles, which are suggestive, Perlow listens to the process until she visually feels a response.

Perlow lives and works in Chicago. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the Midwest, California, and in New York City. In September 2014, she participated in a three-person show at the Evanston Art Center in Evanston, Illinois. This exhibit brought together three diverse artists with the shared interest of exploring boundaries that exist between the natural and artificial.

The artist Sandra Perlow.

Sandra Perlow received her B.A.E. at the School of Art Institute of Design, Her M.A. from the Illinois Institute of Design, and her M.F.A. from the School of Art Institute of Chicago.

Her work is represented by Dubhe Carreno Gallery in Chicago, Ill., and Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"Permeated Surfaces" will be on display through Nov. 24, 2014.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday noon to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

For more information, call 906-487-7500.

Destination cinema at Michigan Tech: 41 North Film Festival Oct. 23-26

The 41 North Film Festival brings award-winning films and filmmakers to Michigan Tech Oct. 23-26. (Image courtesy Michigan Tech University)

HOUGHTON -- The 41 North Film Festival (formerly Northern Lights) celebrates its 10th anniversary with a name change and an outstanding slate of recent
award-winning films and special guests. It will be held from Thursday, Oct. 23, to Sunday, Oct. 26, in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts on the Michigan Tech campus. The festival is free and open to the community.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, kicking off the festival this year will be director Mark Levinson and his documentary Particle Fever, which follows six scientists involved in the launch of the Large Hadron Collider -- the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet. The film provides an unprecedented window into this major scientific breakthrough as it happened.

Edited by Academy-Award winner Walter Murch, the film celebrates human discovery and raises important questions about the limits of human knowledge.

Mark Levinson, has worked closely with directors such as Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) and on films including Se7en, Cold Mountain, and The Pledge. He also has a PhD in Physics from UC-Berkeley. He will be on hand for a Q and A following the film.

At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, filmmaker, actor and entrepreneur Ravi Patel and his father, Michigan Tech alum Vasant Patel (Mechanical Engineering, class of 1970), will present the new documentary, Meet the Patels. When Ravi Patel, the son of Indian immigrants, finds himself at a romantic crossroads in his late 20s, love becomes a family affair and an adventure in cross-cultural understanding. The film recently won the Founders Grand Prize for best film at the Traverse City Film Festival. It was produced by Geralyn Dreyfous, who was here at the film festival in 2008 with the Academy-Award-winning Born into Brothels.

In addition to these featured events, the festival will offer a great selection of independent films, including the critically acclaimed Boyhood (Linklater, 2014); The Overnighters (Moss, 2014), which won the 2014 Sundance Jury Prize for Intuitive Filmmaking; Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity (Gund, 2014), and the indie sci-fi film, Coherence (2014). There will also be shorts programs and other great events for festival goers.

The event is sponsored by Michigan Tech's Humanities Department, the Visual and Performing Arts Department, and the College of Sciences and Arts. For the full schedule, visit Contact Erin Smith at 906-487-3263 or for more information.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guest article: Houghton County Medical Care Facility: Public option faces crucial battle

By Rick Kasprzak*

This year’s election contains a ticking time bomb. The future of the Houghton County Medical Care Facility (HCMCF) is at stake, and few people know about it.

The millage which supports the HCMCF is due to expire in 2016. At stake is the future care for seniors in Houghton and Keweenaw counties. There have been prior rumblings among some of the candidates for the County Board of Commissioners who would sacrifice the future of seniors in Houghton and Keweenaw counties for the promise of lower property taxes. Current Houghton County District 1 candidate Eugene Londo said in a radio interview which aired Oct. 5 he, "would like to make it as much of a stand-alone operation as possible." This is a case of tilting at windmills.

The HCMCF, located in Hancock, is one of the largest of the 197 publicly funded medical care facilities in Michigan -- serving about 400 of the senior citizens of Houghton and Keweenaw counties. Keweenaw County provides a portion of the funding to the HCMCF in order to maintain 15 beds there for Keweenaw County residents.

The HCMCF is there for mainly elderly residents who don’t have the means to provide for their own care in a private facility. A bed at a privately owned senior center in the area costs in the neighborhood of $250/day. That’s a neighborhood not many residents on fixed incomes can afford.

"We’ve taken residents when other facilities have turned them down," explained Administrator Tammy Lehto. "We do not require proof of ability to pay in order to receive services." The only reason patients are turned down at the HCMCF is, "if we are medically unable to provide for their care," according to Lehto.

In turn this means the HCMCF is able to serve a population which otherwise may not be able to receive services.

"Roughly 80 percent of our patients are on Medicare," Lehto said. "This is a segment of the population which has traditionally been underserved."

The advantage of maintaining public support of the facility lies in the reimbursement rate from the federal government. The Medicaid/Medicare program has two different levels of payment. A private facility is reimbursed at a lower rate than a facility such as the HCMCF, which gets roughly 10 percent of its operational budget from the millages raised in Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

The reimbursement rate from the federal government is higher for a publicly funded facility than it is for a privately run facility, resulting in about an extra $400,000 in federal taxes being returned to the area.

"I would like it to be as much of a stand-alone operation as it can be," Londo said.

Since forcing the HCMCF off of public funding would result in the loss of the $400,000 of our federal tax dollars returning to the area, it would be a case of cutting off our nose to spite our face.

In addition, the HCMCF is one of the largest employers in the area -- employing about 300 people.

Lehto said historically that has allowed the HCMCF to prevent employee turnover, which is crucial to better care for our elderly residents.

"Better wages and benefits allow us to retain our employees, who in turn are able to provide better care. We have a very low turnover rate here," Lehto noted. "We have a very high satisfaction rating among our patients and their families."

The other advantage of being a publicly funded operation is the ability to plan for the future needs of Houghton and Keweenaw County residents. The HCMCF is planning a future expansion, one that may need to be put on hold until the millage question is settled in the 2016 election.

"Having that public funding has allowed better planning for the future needs of the residents of Houghton County," Lehto added. "We can be creative and stay at the forefront of meeting the changing needs of the residents of both counties."

For example, while traditionally a long term care facility, the HCMCF has seen an increase in people requiring short term care for such things as physical therapy. Lehto said the facility is considering adding an entire floor devoted to physical therapy, and the foundation for that expansion was laid as far back as the 1970s. When the facility was built, the design incorporated a structure that would allow additional floors to be built above the existing ground level.

All of a sudden, candidate Londo’s statement in his Oct. 5 radio interview that he’s "not opposed to selling the Medical Care Facility," sounds extremely dangerous.

Inset photo: Rick Kasprzak volunteers at the Houghton County Democratic Party's booth during the August 2014 Houghton County Fair. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

* Editor's Note: Guest author Rick Kasprzak, vice-chair of the Houghton County Democratic Party, is a candidate for District 1 (Calumet Township and Hancock Township) Houghton County commissioner. A fundraiser for Kasprzak's campaign is being held at 6:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Tuesday, Oct. 21, at Carmelita's in Calumet. Click here for more information.

Portage Library to host children's author M.C. Tillson Oct. 22

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library, the Copper Country Reading Council, and Michigan’ Tech’s English Education Program invite families and teachers to enjoy a special evening with children’s author M.C. Tillson.

Tillson will present a short talk appealing to children, teens, parents, and teachers about her Michigan Lighthouse mystery series from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22. She will also read excerpts from her books The Clue at Copper Harbor, The Mystery at Eagle Harbor, and The Secret of Bete Grise Bay and explain how the books’ characters found themselves hot on the track of lighthouse adventures in the Keweenaw.

Tillson, author of several children's books, lives in California and is the owner of A and M Writing and Publishing. Chapter-by-chapter lesson plans for her Michigan Lighthouse Adventure books align with Michigan’s 3rd grade common core standards. Puzzle books that include crossword puzzles, word searches, and math riddles are also available for two of the books in the Michigan Lighthouse trilogy; and the third one is being planned.

The program will allow time for a question and answer session as well as a book signing and selling following the presentation.

This event is for all ages. Library programs are free and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Fundraiser for Rick Kasprzak, candidate for Houghton County commissioner, to be held TONIGHT, Oct. 21

CALUMET -- A fundraiser will be held for Rick Kasprzak, candidate for District 1 (Calumet Township and Hancock Township) Houghton County commissioner, at 6:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Tuesday, Oct. 21, at Carmelita's in Calumet. The purpose of the event is to help  raise funds for the final messaging efforts of Kasprzak's campaign.

Rick Kasprzak volunteers at the Houghton County Democratic Party's booth during the Houghton County Fair this past August 2014. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Rick Kasprzak is a two-time Democratic candidate for Houghton County's District 1 who became involved in local politics in 2007 during the Obama campaign. Rick has been a resident of the Copper Country since 1993 except for a three-year stint in Arizona training to be a chef. Rick is a believer in farm to table and tries to incorporate those principles in both his work and home. He maintains two vegetable gardens and an herb garden in the summer, in which he utilizes only compost for fertilizer. He also buys his meat from local farmers.

Part of Rick Kasprzak's vegetable harvest. In addition to growing healthy food in his two gardens, Rick took time this summer to knock on about 900 doors in District 1 to learn about citizens' concerns.

Health issues are important to Kasprzak. One of his top priorities, if elected, will be to protect the publicly funded Houghton County Medical Care Facility in Hancock from privatization.*

Coffee and appetizers will be made available. A suggested donation of $15 per person or $20 per couple is requested. Additional items from the bar and dining menu are available to purchase. To help the venue prepare adequately please consider letting Rick know you plan to attend by calling him at 369-1517 or sending an email to

Carmelita's is at 618 Oak Street in Calumet.

* Update: See Rick Kasprzak's guest article, "Houghton County Medical Care Facility: Public option faces crucial battle."

National Wolfwatcher Coalition to present "Politics or Science? The Hunting of Wolves!" Oct. 21 in Hancock

Photo of wolf courtesy National Wolfwatcher Coalition. Reprinted with permission.

HANCOCK -- Nancy Warren, Great Lakes Regional Director and Executive Director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition (NWC) will present "POLITICS OR SCIENCE? THE HUNTING OF WOLVES!" at 7 p.m. TONIGHT, Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.

Warren will explore the role of politics in the decision to hunt wolves. Where is the science? Is there any scientific evidence to support the recreational hunting of wolves?

Voters will see two important proposals on the November ballot:

1. Should wolves be a hunted game species?

2. Should the Natural Resources Commission, an unelected political body, be authorized to designate any species (not just the wolf) as game?

NWC believes the answer to both is NO. The public is invited to this discussion.

The Finnish American Heritage Center is at 435 Quincy Street, Hancock.

(Inset photo of Nancy Warren by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gluten-Free Recipe Exchange to feature pumpkin treats TONIGHT, Oct. 20, at Portage Library

HOUGHTON -- Pumpkin treats and recipes will highlight the Gluten-Free Recipe Exchange meeting from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Monday, Oct. 20, at the Portage Lake District Library.

Each month features a different type of food, and for October’s meeting participants are invited to bring their favorite pumpkin treats for sampling and their recipes for sharing. Copies of the recipes will be made at the library. Please list all ingredients used in making foods that are shared at these meetings and identify the brand names of the gluten-free ingredients. Bringing food is not a requirement for attendance.

Participants are also encouraged to bring their former favorite recipes that they want help converting to gluten-free. Help will be available.

The Gluten-Free Recipe Exchange is organized by and for those who are interested in or required to follow a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free eating requires the avoidance of all wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Most people find it challenging at first, but are excited to find recipes and foods that are fun and easy to make and tasty to eat. The Gluten-Free Recipe Exchange is an opportunity to share those great recipes and learn from others. Everyone who is interested in learning more about gluten-free eating is encouraged to attend.

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