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Saturday, April 04, 2015

Wolf supporters file suit challenging law intended to undermine will of Michigan voters

Logo courtesy Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

LANSING -- Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has filed a lawsuit in Lansing in the Michigan Court of Claims to overturn the so-called Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act on the grounds that it violates the state’s constitution. The lawsuit challenges an underhanded legislative effort intended to overturn the result of two 2014 ballot measures through which Michigan voters soundly rejected sport hunting of wolves.

"The proponents of this misleading legislation combined several unrelated issues into the law such as funding for the control of Asian carp and free hunting licenses to members of the active military," said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. "It was a cynical and veiled attempt to prevent Michigan voters from having a say on hunting of wolves and other animals."

In November 2014, Michigan voters overwhelmingly rejected two wolf hunting measures, including Proposal 2, which would have transferred authority to open new hunting seasons on protected species such as wolves to the unelected, politically-appointed Natural Resources Commission. Unlike laws enacted by the legislature, decisions of the Commission cannot be overturned by voters. Proposal 2 was rejected in 69 of Michigan’s 83 counties, and in all 15 congressional districts. It received more than 1.8 million "no" votes -- more votes than any statewide candidate who won election.

Title slide for the Oct. 21, 2014, presentation by Nancy Warren, Great Lakes regional director and executive director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, at the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo by Allan Baker)*

Tucked in among the many provisions of the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act was language reenacting Proposal 2 if rejected by voters, thereby transferring decision-making authority on important wildlife management issues to a panel of bureaucrats that is not accountable to the public. This purpose of the law was obscured by the law’s proponents in violation of the Michigan constitution.

Fritz said the lawsuit is necessary even though in December 2014, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., reinstated protection of Great Lakes wolves under the Endangered Species Act, a decision resulting in a current ban on wolf hunting and trapping in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

"Some members of Congress are attempting a forced delisting of wolves and renewed hunting and trapping. It’s important to prevent the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act from taking effect so the decisions made by Michigan voters are honored once and for all, and that wolves remain protected. This unconstitutional law also gives the Natural Resources Commission unilateral authority over many protected species -- not just wolves," said Fritz.

The proponents of the misleadingly named Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act include the same politicians and state officials who exaggerated and even fabricated stories about wolf encounters with people in Michigan in order to justify opening a wolf hunting and trapping season. Nearly two-thirds of all wolf incidents in the U.P. occurred on a single farm, where the farmer baited wolves with cattle and deer carcasses.**

This goes much further than wolves -- it’s a power grab by politicians to eliminate public participation in decisions relating to wildlife management. As a result of overreaching and unconstitutional law, new hunting seasons on sandhill cranes and other vulnerable and protected species could be created -- and Michigan citizens would be powerless to reject such action.

  • In December 2012, the Michigan legislature passed a wolf-hunting law (Public Act 520 of 2012) that was approved during the 2012 lame duck session and was based on fabricated stories about wolf incidents in the U.P. 
  • In March 2013, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submitted more than 255,000 signatures to place Public Act 520 on the November 2014 ballot. This halted implementation of the law pending voter approval or disapproval.
  • In May 2013, the Michigan legislature, ignoring the people, passed a second law (Public Act 21 of 2013) to give the political appointees on the Natural Resources Commission the power to designate game species and thereby effectively eliminate citizens’ right to vote on important wildlife management issues.
  • In March 2014, Keep Michigan Protected submitted more than 225,000 signatures to place Public Act 21 on the November 2014 ballot. This halted implementation of the law pending voter approval or disapproval.
  • In August 2014, the Michigan legislature approved the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to prospectively reenact Public Act 520 and Public Act 21 in the event that voters rejected these laws in the November 2014 election.
  • Public Act 520 and Public Act 21 were placed on the November 2014 ballot, as Proposal 1 and Proposal 2, respectively. Voters repealed Proposal 1 (moving the wolf to the game species list) with a 55 percent "no" vote, and they defeated Proposal 2 (giving the unaccountable NRC the authority to decide which species can be hunted), with a 64 percent "no" vote.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, The Humane Society of the United States, Detroit Zoo, Detroit Audubon Society, the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and others have petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to downlist the wolf from endangered to threatened status. This would retain protections for wolves, which Michigan voters said they want, but also allow more flexibility in dealing with the occasional problem wolf that threatens livestock.

Editor's Notes:

* See our Nov. 2, 2014, report on the presentation by Nancy Warren,Great Lakes regional director and executive director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, "Video report: Wolf hunt based on politics, not science -- why vote "NO" on Proposals 1 and 2."

** Click here to read about wolf incidents at this farm with poor animal husbandry practices.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

First Friday, April 3, in Calumet to offer art, music, poetry, more ...

Mask of amphibious cat, sculpture by Tom Rudd. Read the story behind the mask below! (Photo courtesy Galerie Bohème)

CALUMET -- First Friday in Calumet, April 3, 2015, will offer new exhibits, art activities, music, refreshments and more.

Galerie Bohème: "More Good Art" and story of cat sculpture

Galerie Bohème will exhibit "More Good Art," a presentation of new works by local artists. The opening reception for this April exhibit will be from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on First Friday, April 3.

Artist and Galerie Bohème host Tom Rudd recounts this story behind his cat sculpture, part of the new exhibit:

"On a perfectly calm summer day I had the good fortune to canoe Lake Superior, specifically the inside passage between Eagle Harbor and Esrey Park on the windward side of the Keweenaw Peninsula. I paddled and drifted between submerged rocks, dodged ancient basalt outcroppings and small islands.

"Just east of the largest small island I came upon something startling and exciting.

"For the past many decades I have searched for the true Lake Superior monster, and here stretched out on the rocks in front of me were the ghostly remains of the very beast.

Lake monster ghostly remains. (Photo courtesy Tom Rudd)

"Questioning the life of this critter I came to the conclusion that this had been a cat, an amphibious cat! I decided to render my impression of the amphibian creature in the form of a mask to at least give her a face. Perhaps later I will guess the remaining anatomy, the life style, feeding habits, etc., of the aquatic feline.

"So for now check out the mask that scared the bejeepers out of our cat."

Galerie Bohème is at 423 5th Street in Calumet. Call 906-369-4087 for more information.

Paige Wiard Gallery: "Poetry Takes Flight"

Poets have a long association with birds and bird song, and in appreciation of National Poetry Month Paige Wiard Gallery is hosting a special First Friday literary event. Local author, Laura Smyth, will be on hand from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. to sign copies of her newly released poetry chapbook, Wandering In My Mind (Finishing Line Press, 2015).

Laura Smyth left years of urban existence behind for life on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. Her poetry is often inspired by the intersection of human nature and the natural world. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, has published in online and print journals and anthologies, and is a founding member of the Keweenaw Writers Workshop. She is also a book designer by profession and the owner of Smythtype Design.

Inset photo: Cover for Laura Smyth's poetry chapbook, Wandering In My Mind. Reprinted with permission.

The gallery will also feature a special show of paintings, photographs, sculpture and prints of all things birds by some of the gallery's best artists.

Woodpecker, by Ladislav Hanka. (Photo courtesy Paige Wiard Gallery)

The Paige Wiard Gallery is at 109 Fifth Street in Calumet. For additional information, please call 906-337-5970, or check out

Calumet Art Center: "Sock Puppet Workshop"

If you are young at heart and enjoy a cool project, stop by the Calumet Art Center between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to join a "Sock Puppet Workshop" led by Anna Ehl. From socks to inspiration, all necessary ingredients will be provided, and donations are accepted but not required. While you’re at the Art Center, explore the ongoing projects and check out the upcoming class offerings. For more information, call 934-2228 or check out the website at

The Calumet Art Center is at 57055 Fifth Street.

Copper Country Associated Artists: Flint Knapping Demonstration

Artist Steve Hecht will demonstrate the ancient art of flint knapping from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on First Friday at the Copper Country Associated Artists (CCAA) gallery, 205 Fifth Street. Learn about selecting good stones and creating arrowheads using techniques that have been passed down through the centuries. Check out the new works by CCAA artists, and sign up for classes being offered this spring. For more information, call 337-1252 or check out the website at

Hahn Hammered Copper: Vintage Copper

Stop in at Hahn Hammered Copper this Good First Friday and see what’s "new" in old copper! Examine some very nice vintage Cobre copper pieces hand-crafted in Mexico and, as always, the Hahns' very own hand-hammered copper. See also their ever evolving assortment of odd and unusual items. Come in and nibble on a cookie and have a sip of tea at Hahn Hammered Copper.

Hahn Hammered Copper is at 203 Fifth Street.

Cross Country Sports: New for Spring

See what’s new for spring at Cross Country Sports, 507 Oak Street!  Photography by Jeremy Rowe and Eric Ollis; pottery by Jess Kane and Elaine Eikenberry; and jewelry by Heather Mroz, Jen Szubielak and Annele Sakari will be featured this First Friday.

Café Rosetta: Poetry and Art

In addition to the regular First Friday Open Mic Poetry reading from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Café Rosetta, 104 Fifth Street, will feature works by local artist Laura Cooley. Her work focuses mainly on single subjects in a contemporary style using acrylics.

Omphale Restaurant and Gallery: Food, Art and Live Music by the Backroom Boys

The Omphale Restaurant will feature a great mix of appetizers and entrées and live music by the Backroom Boys from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. "Lake and Sky," a multimedia exhibition by K Carlton Johnson will be featured in the gallery.

The Omphale Restaurant and Gallery is at 431 Fifth Street in Calumet.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Save the Wild U.P. to host "Poets of the Wild U.P." April 2 in Marquette

"Poets of the Wild U.P." poetry reading poster courtesy Save the Wild U.P.

MARQUETTE -- Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) invites the public to celebrate "Poets of the Wild U.P." with a poetry reading featuring Milton Bates, Janeen Pergrin Rastall, Kathleen M. Heideman and Russell Thorburn from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 2, at the Peter White Public Library’s Shiras Room. The event will lend a uniquely environmental emphasis to National Poetry Month. The reading is free and open to the public.

"Our goal in sponsoring this reading is to highlight the special connection between yoopers and the environment, through the work of four local authors who draw inspiration from Lake Superior, U.P. environmental issues, and the natural beauty of Upper Michigan’s wild places," said Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP’s interim director.

The U.P.’s environment figures differently in the work of each poet.

"There’s a strong spirit of place, an identification with wildness and struggle, at the heart of our stories," says Jon Saari, Northern Michigan University emeritus professor of history. Saari -- whose wife, Christine, is a poet and artist -- serves as Save the Wild U.P.’s vice president.

Milton Bates, the winner of Save the Wild U.P.’s "Putting the Wild into Words" 2014 poetry contest, taught English literature for thirty-five years at Williams College and Marquette University. During that time he was also a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright lecturer in China and Spain. He has published half a dozen books on subjects such as the poet Wallace Stevens, the literature and film of the Vietnam War, and the natural and human history of the Bark River Valley in Wisconsin. On retirement he and his wife moved to the Upper Peninsula, which provides material for many of his poems.

Janeen Pergrin Rastall lives in Gordon, Mich, population 2. She is the author of the chapbook In The Yellowed House (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including The Midwest Quarterly, Midwestern Gothic, Border Crossing, The Michigan Poet, and Dunes Review. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes.

Kathleen M. Heideman, SWUP's president, will receive the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center’s 2015 Outstanding Writer Award. She has completed artist residencies with watersheds, forests, the National Science Foundation, and the National Park Service -- including Isle Royale and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Informed by landscape and environmental concerns, her work has garnered recognition from the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Bush Foundation.

"For me, 'Saving the Wild U.P.' means naming, cherishing, and protecting what makes the Upper Peninsula of Michigan such an incredible place -- our creative culture, our clean water, and our wild lands," Heideman says. "When I consider the beautiful work of our local artists creating pottery, landscape painting, woodworking, etc., their material connection to place is obvious at a glance. Poets are really doing the same thing -- using woods, water and rocks to create our work."

Russell Thorburn served as the U.P. Poet Laureate from 2013-2015. He lives in Marquette with his son and wife. A manuscript consultant for poets, he takes orphan poems that don’t fit together and arranges the pieces in a way that not only makes sense, but makes beauty. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Salt and Blood, an experimental noir, is forthcoming from Marick Press -- who also published his third book of poetry, Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged.

National Poetry Month, founded by Academy of American Poets, is the world’s largest literary celebration, involving millions of readers, teachers, students, librarians and authors and celebrating the critical role of poetry in our lives each April.

The Peter White Public Library is at 217 N Front St. in Marquette.

Finlandia Gallery to host student art exhibit opening, fashion show April 2

HANCOCK -- A juried exhibit of artwork by students in the Finlandia University International School of Art and Design (ISAD) is featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, Hancock, from April 2 through April 22, 2015. A reception for the artists will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, at the gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy St. A student and alumni fashion show will begin at 7:15 p.m., followed by a presentation of awards for student excellence. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The exhibition includes works by students working in media including drawing, painting, illustration, ceramic design, fiber arts and fashion design, sculpture, integrated design, graphic design, digital media, photography, and mixed media/installation.

"The annual student juried exhibit provides a venue to celebrate the talents of our students," notes Carrie Flaspohler, gallery director/curator of the Finlandia University Gallery. "For many students this is their first experience entering work into a juried exhibit. It is a great learning tool for their professional career."

Much of the student artwork featured in the juried exhibit will be available for purchase.

The awards include best of show, awards for freshman, 2-D and 3-D, a faculty award, and a purchase award. The jury included a faculty member, a graduating ISAD senior, and a community member.

For more information, contact the Finlandia University Gallery at 906-487-7500.