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, December 05, 2014

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to host "Middle Bridge Music Jam" fund raiser Dec. 6 at Orpheum Theater

HANCOCK -- Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club will hold a "Middle Bridge Music Jam" from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock.

The event is a fund raiser to help with the cost of replacing the middle bridge in the Swedetown gorge on Maasto Hiihto Trails. The replacement is estimated to cost $30,000.

Mark Roberts, who volunteers for bridge repair at Maasto Hiihto, inspects damage to the middle bridge over Swedetown Creek. (Photo courtesy Arlyn Aronson)*

The following bands will provide music for listening and dancing:

Realtime Jazz with Mike Irish (bass), Charles White (piano), Kirsten White (trumpet and vocals) and Adam Johnson (percussion).

Keweenaw Brewgrass featuring Doug Oppliger (guitar, vocals), Bogue Sandberg (dobro), Marshall Weathersby (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Craig Kurtz (banjo, bass, vocals), Jim Hertel (bass, banjo, vocals) and special guest Libby Meyer (fiddle).

PasiCats -- "arguably the third best Finnish dance band in the whole Copper Country" -- including Pasi Lautala (accordion and lead vocals), Bob (Paris) Hiltunen (guitar), Belinda Mattfolk (bass) and Shawn Badanjek, with special guest Oren Tikkanen.

Tickets for the event: General admission -- $15 in advance, $20 at the door; students, $10; preteen kids, $5. Advance tickets are available at the Orpheum Theater, Downwind Sports or any Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club board/club member.

* For details on the middle bridge and more photos, click here.

For more information on the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club, visit their Web site.

Public invited to celebrate Finnish Independence Dec. 6 at Finnish American Heritage Center

The Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock will host the 97th annual Finnish Independence Day celebration at 6 p.m. TOMORROW, Saturday, Dec. 6. It will include music, dance, food and fun for the whole family. (Photo courtesy Hilary Virtanen)

HANCOCK --  In keeping with a now-97-year tradition, Finlandia University will celebrate the independence of the country of its founders at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Finnish American Heritage Center on Quincy Street in Hancock.

This year’s program will feature a variety of local talent, ranging from youth folk dancers, to vocal and instrumental musical talents, to a dramatic reading. The evening will conclude with a dance from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the Pasi Cats and Oren Tikkanen providing the music. Also at this event, the City of Hancock’s Finnish Theme Committee will proclaim the 2015 selection of Hankooki Heikki, the person honored for his or her contributions to Finnish culture in the area.

The Kivajat youth dancers perform two Finnish dances during the 2014 Parade of Nations international entertainment at Dee Stadium in Houghton. They will perform at the Dec. 6 Finnish Independence Day celebration and will accept donations for their next trip to Finland. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

As the dance band plays, the Kivajat and Loistavat youth folk dancers will provide tasty Finnish treats and will be accepting donations to help fund their trip to Finland in July 2015 for the Tanssiva Turku dance festival. They’re intending to send 33 dancers across the ocean for the festival, so all assistance is appreciated.

The program is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Calumet galleries, studios, shops offer First Friday gift shopping, art exhibits, more ...

CALUMET -- First Friday in Calumet -- Dec. 5, 2014 -- will offer visitors a chance to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts while enjoying new art exhibits and art activities in the holiday atmosphere of Christmas in Calumet.

Paige Wiard Gallery: "Glorious Gifting"

This pendant designed by Sue Hubbard is one of many one-of-a-kind gifts for sale at the Paige Wiard Gallery. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Yes, it's that time of year again to start looking for the perfect Christmas gift. Visit the Paige Wiard Gallery for their "Glorious Gifting" show. Find the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list. The gallery will be displaying unique one-of-a-kind gifts, with a variety of price ranges.

An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5 at 109 5th Street, Calumet. For more information please call 337-5970 or email

Calumet Art Center: Open Studio

Ceramic artist Ed Gray, Calumet Art Center executive director, is pictured here with pots he fired recently. Visit the Center on First Friday to see art in progress. (Photo courtesy Calumet Art Center)

Visit the Calumet Art Center, 57055 Fifth St., for an Open Studio where you can find the space you need as well as inspiration to start, continue or finish your own personal art project. If you're looking for a unique gift created by local artists, browse the Center's studios, where you'll find reliquaries, paintings and woodcuts, woven bookmarks and jewelry.

Find your inspiration while touring the center and open studios featuring looms of all types, lamp work bead station, library and writing studio and the clay studio where there are always works in progress. Learn about recent classes, projects and upcoming events. Stop in on First Friday during your gallery tour. For more information call (906) 934-2228.

Galerie Bohème:  Group show

"Orange Bike," pen ink and colored pencil, by Cynthia Coté. (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

Galerie Bohème is pleased to bring you a December group show featuring outstanding artist works by Margo McCafferty, Tom Rudd, Cynthia Coté, Georgi Tsenov and more.

The opening reception will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5. So stop by check out the art, have a cuppa, a cookie, talk with friends and neighbors and take some fine art home for the holidays. Galerie Bohème is at 423 Fifth St. For more information, call (906) 369-4087.

Copper Country Associated Artists: Open House with Artists

At the Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) "Artist Open House," member artists will be in the gallery from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5. Come browse, visit the artists and shop for the unique gifts they have created for this holiday season. For more information, contact the gallery at 337-1252, Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The CCAA Gallery is at 205 Fifth St.

Hahn Hammered Copper: Ornaments and unique items

Stop in at Hahn Hammered Copper on First Friday to see what's new for the Holidays. Enjoy homemade cookies while you browse our own hand-hammered copper ornaments and unique salvaged items. Add a rustic touch to your loft with a barbed wire wreath, or a vintage brass candlestick from an old Copper Country church or perhaps an Odd Fellows Saint Nicholas mask!

Whatever your taste, you're sure to find something at Hahn Hammered Copper, 203 Fifth St. in Calumet.

Cross Country Sports: Holiday Open House

At Cross Country Sports, a Holiday Open House, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., will feature works by local artists including Jeremy Rowe of Night Sky Photography, Elaine Eikenberry, Heather Mroz, Eric Ollis of UP Panorama, Jen Szubielak and Barbara Flanagin.

Stop in at 507 Oak Street for holiday cookies and refreshments, in-store discounts and a drawing for a door prize at 9 p.m.! For more information, call 337-4520.

Café Rosetta: Poetry Reading, art by Jacquelyn Williams

Café Rosetta is pleased to host a Community Poetry Reading and Slam from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on First Friday! Let out your inner poet by sharing your latest creation or your favorite poetry piece. Or, win a cash prize/gift certificate in the Poetry Slam! A poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. This is a community event, open to all ages.

Jacquelyn Williams is Café Rosetta's December featured artist. Jacquelyn is excited to be returning to the Rosetta to share her love of art. Her works for this season include a beautiful variety of autumnal and winter landscapes on canvas, framed original oil pastel sketches and hand-painted holiday ornaments. Stop in to enjoy Jacquelyn's art or pick up a perfect original gift!

Café Rosetta is at 104 Fifth St. in Calumet.

Click here to learn about more Christmas in Calumet events this weekend.

Enjoy Christmas in Calumet art, music, family activities beginning Dec. 5, 6

These snow people from Avolio GlassWerks are among the one-of-a-kind gifts for sale at the Paige Wiard Gallery's "Glorious Gifting" show -- part of the First Friday gallery events that will kick off Christmas in Calumet activities this weekend. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

CALUMET -- Christmas in Calumet activities begin this weekend and continue almost to the New Year. During the weeks preceding Christmas come to Calumet to capture that old fashioned, small town holiday spirit! Enjoy a concert or a play, visit Calumet's unique shops and galleries for one-of-a-kind gifts and dine at one of the fine restaurants. Parking is free in downtown Calumet through Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.

Here is a schedule of events for this weekend, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6:

Friday, Dec. 5:

    First Friday events at galleries, shops, and eateries, 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
    Terry Lee Goffee -- "Johnny Cash Tribute," Calumet Theatre, 7:30 p.m.*

Saturday, Dec. 6:

Visits with Santa and free goodie bags, Rowe Furniture, 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Holiday music by strolling musicians, various downtown locations, Noon -3 p.m.
Poor Artists Sale at CLK High School Gym, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.**  

Click here for the rest of the schedule on Main Street Calumet's Web site.

* Visit the Calumet Theatre Web site for more information on this event.

** Click here for more details on the Poor Artists Sale.

For more information about any of these events, please contact Main Street Calumet at (906) 337-6246. (Inset photo courtesy Main Street Calumet)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

38th Annual Poor Artists Sale to feature wide variety of handmade items Dec. 6 in Calumet

HANCOCK -- The 38th annual Poor Artists Sale will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, at the CLK Gymnasium in Calumet  Enjoy work from more than fifty local and regional artists.

Poster for Dec. 6, 2014, Poor Artists Sale. (Poster courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

The Poor Artists Sale is hosted by the Copper Country Community Arts Council (CCCAC) as a benefit for the Community Arts Center in Hancock. Shoppers will find handmade jewelry and pottery, holiday wreaths, ornaments, baskets, wood art, glass, fiber arts, honey products, candles, photography and much more. Shop and visit with friends in a relaxing, social atmosphere, renew your Arts Council membership (or join for the first time) and enjoy homemade treats at the CCCAC hospitality table.

Fiber artist Andrea Puzakulich is pictured here with her original Distant Drum designs at a previous Poor Artists Sale. Check out her booth of unique clothing at this Saturday's Poor Artists Sale at the CLK Gymnasium in Calumet. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
This year’s artists include: Deanna Attee, Herbal Oasis Bodycare; Janice Brogan; Ritch Branstrom; Mark Bukovich; Colleen Carlyle, Native Sister Soaps; Connie Cogger; Rachel Cranford; Ryan Dalman; Dawn Dodge; Tom Doman; Elaine Eikenberry; Genevieve Faber; Randall Geda; Linda and Mike Greene; Connie Hedmark; Lindsey Heiden; Melissa Hronkin and John Hersman, Algomah Acres Honey Farm; Georgiana Hurst; Patsy Keyes; Edward Kisiel; June Klein; Lenore Lampi; Rowan Leithauser, Violet Star Clothing; Heather Lindquist; Kevin Maki; Barbara Maronen; Deb Matthews; Terri Merrick; Heather Mroz; Jim O’Brien; Rich Pethtel; Andrea Puzakulich, Distant Drum designs; Jodi Rauvala; Toivo Salo; Rick Shapero; JR Scott; Diane Simonson, Keweenaw Bay Wreaths; Sue Stephens; Nancy Stoneman; Grace Strong; Bill and Edith Wiard; and Lois Woodworth.  Community groups: Houghton Keweenaw Counties Genealogical Society, Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association and thirteen Finlandia student artists from the Young Women’s Caucus.

For more information stop by the Copper Country Community Arts Center at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock, visit, or call 906-482-2333.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Artist Clint Jukkala exhibit to open Dec. 4 at Finlandia University Gallery

"Useful Fictions," oil on canvas, 2014, by Clint Jukkala. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- The 24th annual Contemporary Finnish American Artist Series Exhibition -- featuring Clint Jukkala: Lenses, Portals and Escape Plans -- will be on display at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, from Dec. 4, 2014, through Jan. 2, 2015.

An opening reception at the gallery will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4, with an artist talk beginning at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

At once reflective and irreverent, Jukkala’s paintings depict a world in which rationality gives way to the realm of psychology, memory and daily life. Framed and reframed by circular forms evocative of eyes, goggles, or periscopes, our view into Jukkala’s world is constantly shifting. Jukkala asks us to become aware of our own thinking and sense perceptions -- our consciousness. With both humor and profundity, Jukkala offers us a fresh perspective on the sublimity of daily life.

"The Feeling of Knowing," oil and acrylic on canvas, 2011, by Clint Jukkala.

"My paintings offer portals into sensory worlds of color, geometry and remembered experience," notes Jukkala. "Ostensibly abstract, they refer to the real world, suggesting interior spaces, windows and landscape vistas. Through framing and reframing, the paintings unfold, creating pictures within pictures and spatial ambiguities."

Artist Clint Jukkala pictured with some of his paintings in 2014.

Referencing the tradition of geometric abstraction, Jukkala’s paintings stretch its conventions, combining strong saturated color and highly textured surfaces with image making.

"By restoring abstraction to the body, Jukkala generates new forms and surprising connections -- imagination being the subject as well as the primary interest of these works," writes Hearne Pardee in his review of Jukkala's work in The Brooklyn Rail.

"Suspended between the sublime, or sublimated, and the visceral, Jukkala playfully combines devices of high modernism with elemental images, exploring the world generated by his primitive visual logic. Jukkala evokes an abstract sublime that lurks in the pure fields of modernist color. But by making images he also roots himself in an alternative modern tradition, one that goes back beyond Magritte to the Metaphysical Painting of De Chirico and Carrà," continues Pardee.

Jukkala received his Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Washington, and his Master of Fine Art from Yale University School of Art. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in New York, including a solo exhibit at Bravin Lee Programs, New York, NY, in June 2014.

He is currently a Professor and Chair of Graduate Programs at PAFA -- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts -- and previously taught at Yale University and University of Connecticut.

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.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Paddle to D.C." team to reach Washington this week with petition to protect Boundary Waters, Lake Superior from proposed sulfide mining

By Michele Bourdieu

Kessler Silvelet, 4, adds his signature to the canoe that is now on its way to Washington, D.C. -- part of a petition to protect Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Superior from projected sulfide mines. Dave and Amy Freeman of Ely, Minnesota, are "Paddling to D.C." with the petition and expect to arrive this Tuesday, Dec. 2. On Sept. 11, 2014, Amy Freeman and her teammate, Olivia Ridge, gave a presentation in the Portage Lake District Library on the Freemans' educational work. (Photos by Keweenaw Now unless otherwise indicated.)

HOUGHTON -- Dave and Amy Freeman of Ely, Minnesota, and members of their team  plan to arrive in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 2, 2014, with their canoe full of signatures for a petition to protect Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Superior from plans for sulfide mining in northern Minnesota. Their canoe trip this fall also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, which established the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.*

The Freemans, named "National Geographic Adventurers of the Year" for 2014, are outdoor enthusiasts / educators who, before setting out on this trip from Ely last August, spent three years kayaking, canoeing and dog sledding 11,700 miles across North America -- while communicating via Internet with children in schools who interacted with them and even gave them suggestions for their trip.

Through the Freemans' "Wilderness Classroom," students again participate in the couple's adventure -- this time a 2,000-mile canoe and sailing trip from the Boundary Waters to Washington, D.C.

Dave and Amy Freeman of Ely, Minn., posted this recent photo of paddling down the Chester River towards Chesapeake Bay with a Thanksgiving update on their "Paddle to D.C." blog as they near their goal of arriving in D.C. on Dec. 2. (Photo © and courtesy Dave and Amy Freeman. Reprinted with permission.)**

Each week this fall -- since September 2 -- elementary and middle school students have been using STEM-focused lessons to join the adventure and learn along with the Freemans through educational updates, video conferencing and a variety of educational activities. The Freemans and their team will also record data ranging from the amount of garbage they produce, to water quality measurements for students to interpret.***

The Freemans launch their canoe in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. They set out early this fall on their "Paddle to D.C." trip from Ely, Minnesota, to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of potential pollution from sulfide mining. (Photo © and courtesy Nate Ptacek)

On Sept. 11, 2014, at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton, Amy Freeman gave a presentation including both the nearly 12,000-mile North American adventure from the Pacific Northwest to Key West via the Arctic and the reasons for the current "Paddle to D.C." trip. The event, "Protecting Our Precious Waters," was sponsored by the Portage Library and Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK).

Here are some video excerpts from the presentation:

At the Portage Lake District Library on Sept. 11, 2014, Amy Freeman begins her presentation with photos and videos of kayaking, canoeing and dogsledding 11,700 miles across North America with her husband, Dave Freeman. Their human-powered trek took them from the Pacific Northwest to Key West via the Arctic. She stopped in Houghton during their present trip, "Paddle to D.C.," 2,000 miles by canoe and sailboat to call attention to sulfide mining threats to the Boundary Waters in Minnesota and the Lake Superior watershed. Chris Alquist, Portage Library community program director, introduces Amy and explains that Dave Freeman was unable to attend as scheduled because of high winds on Lake Superior that day. Click on YouTube icon for a larger picture. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Amy Freeman describes animals she observed at the beginning of the Freemans' 3-year trip -- including humpback whales that came very close ...

During her presentation at the Portage Library, Amy Freeman describes the Arctic sled dog portion of the Freemans' nearly 12,000-mile trip via kayak, canoe and sled dog. She explains how students interacted with the team and made a decision about one of the dogs, 12-year-old Fennel, who, they felt, deserved retirement.

Amy Freeman describes navigating through the Boundary Waters in the fall. They followed the route of the voyageurs to Grand Portage, where they saw some spectacular Northern Lights, photographed by their friend Bryan Hansel, who joined them on this part of the trip.

Showing photos of cities they passed through on the East coast, Amy explains how they stopped along the way to give community presentations. She points out that wild areas still exist not too far from some cities. Amy describes how they felt when they finally completed their trip at Key West, Florida.

Why the Freemans are "Paddling to D.C." -- sulfide mining threats in Minnesota

During the second part of the presentation, Olivia Ridge, also of Ely, Minn., a member of the Freemans' team, speaks about the grassroots effort to save the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior watersheds from the threat of proposed sulfide mines by Polymet and Twin Metals in Minnesota. Click on YouTube icon for larger view of maps.

Amy Freeman and Olivia Ridge describe examples of acid mine drainage that already exists from old mines and from new prospecting (exploration) for future mining in Minnesota.

Following the presentation, Freeman and Ridge invited members of the audience to sign the "petition" canoe and the written petition to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from sulfide mining. The petition can also be signed on line.****

Kyle McGurk of Green Bay, Wis., a third-year Michigan Tech student in electrical engineering, signs the Freemans' canoe.

Amy Freeman commented on the double purpose of "Paddling to D.C." -- taking the petition to Washington to request that federal agencies enforce the Clean Water Act and the Wilderness Act and also stopping in communities along the way to share their message about sulfide mining.

"When we were planning this trip it wasn't the paddling that was the challenge," Amy Freeman told members of the Houghton audience. "It was planning events like this along the way. This is new to us."

After the presentation, Amy Freeman, left, pauses for a photo with, from left, Chris Alquist, Portage Lake District Library community program director and FOLK board member; Connie Julien, FOLK member, who hosted the visitors in her home; and Olivia Ridge of Ely, Minn., a member of the Freemans' team and spokesperson for the grassroots effort to save the Boundary Waters from sulfide mining.

Connie Julien, FOLK member, said Amy Freeman and Olivia Ridge stayed at her home during their visit to Houghton while they waited for the Freemans' sailboat to arrive after it was held up in Ashland, Wis., because of high winds and waves (preventing Dave Freeman from participating in the presentation).

"It was a pleasure to host them and hear of their exciting adventures so far on this long journey to our Nation's Capitol," Julien said. "We are so proud of their quest to bring the issues of environmental protection to our legislators and communities along their route in such a dramatic way."*****

Ann Pace and John Slivon of Hancock (formerly of Minnesota) also commented on the presentation.

"I thought it was very impressive because they have clearly thought through the issues involving this kind of mining in their particular community and environment," Pace said.

Slivon added, "Their issues are exactly our issues -- polluting the last great unpolluted fresh water system in the world."


* On September 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act, which set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wildlands, including the one-million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, for the use and benefit of the American people. In the 50 years since that event, over 100 million acres in the U.S. have been preserved for the public through the Wilderness Act.

** Click here for the Freemans' Thanksgiving blog entry on their Web site.

*** Click here to learn about the Freemans' Wilderness Classroom activities allowing young students to participate in "Paddle to D.C."

**** Visit "Paddle to D.C." to learn more about the trip. Click here to sign the petition.

***** See the Freemans' Sept. 18 blog entry, "To Houghton After the Gale," for their impressions of the Houghton visit.