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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Local firefighters put out grass fire, protect trees in Hancock

By Michele Bourdieu

A cloud of smoke rises along US-41 in Hancock, near Pat's IGA, after the first tall flames of a grass fire were extinguished by the Hancock Fire Department's deluge gun, or water cannon. Fire fighters from this Quincy, Franklin and Hancock Townships Fire Department truck join the effort, using their hand hoses to put out the rest of the fire, which occurred about 4:15 p.m. Friday, Apr. 17. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Two volunteer fire departments quickly stopped a grass fire from spreading to tall trees along US-41 (North Lincoln Ave.) in Hancock Friday afternoon, Apr. 17. Local police were on the scene for safety and traffic control.

Hancock volunteer firefighter Mark Dennis said they received the call about 4:15 p.m. on Friday, and it took them about three or four minutes to reach the scene. Firefighters from the joint Quincy, Franklin and Hancock Townships Fire Department joined them in putting out the fire.

Hancock and local township firefighters put out a grass fire on US-41 (North Lincoln Drive) in Hancock on Friday afternoon, April 17. A total of five fire trucks participated in putting out the fire and preventing it from spreading to nearby trees. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Hancock's fire trucks have a deluge gun, like a water cannon, that sprays a lot of water at a time -- 1000 gallons of water a minute, Dennis explained.

"After the deluge gun knocked it down, the rest of the hand lines (hoses) from the other trucks mopped it up," he said.

Firefighters hose down the grass fire to keep it from spreading to nearby trees. Hancock firefighters confirmed power lines (seen here near the trees) at the site were not involved in the fire.

Asked if the power lines at the site had anything to do with the fire, Dennis replied that no electrical wires were involved at all. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Dennis added later that the fire burned a few of the tall pine trees at the bottom, but not at the top of the trees.

A police officer controls traffic on US-41 in Hancock as firefighters extinguish the last of the grass fire. Traffic coming from the north was stopped briefly during the operation.

Dennis said Hancock and Houghton Police departments, Houghton County Sheriff's officers and Michigan State Police were also on the scene to assist with safety and traffic control.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Conservation District to celebrate Earth Day with 63rd Annual Meeting Apr. 22; Tree Sale to be May 9

HOUGHTON -- Celebrate EARTH DAY with the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District (HKCD) at their 63rd Annual Meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Apr. 22, at the Ramada Inn, First Floor Conference Room, Hancock.

The event will include an Election for two Board Members, a Complimentary Buffet Supper and a Silent Auction.

The guest speaker will be Dr. Dan O'Brien, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Veterinarian. He will speak on "Bat conservation and White Nose Syndrome: How you can help the survival of one of nature’s greatest mosquito repellants!"

Everyone is welcome to this evening of food and conversation. RSVP is not required, but is appreciated. Email or call 906.482.0214.

Annual Tree Sale: Saturday, May 9

The Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District will hold a ONE DAY TREE SALE: First Come, First Served from 8:30 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, May 9, at the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District Office, 711 W. Lakeshore Drive, Houghton.

A Monarch butterfly spreads its beautiful wings in a garden in Calumet. (Video © and courtesy Gustavo Bourdieu)

New varieties have been added this year. Also, you can help Monarch butterflies by purchasing and planting milkweed ($3 per plant, 4 for $10). See Meral Jackson's article, "The Mighty Monarch: How can we help them survive?" and check out the trees and plants for sale in the HKCD 2015 Tree Sale catalogue on their Web site.

You can help With the Tree Sale! HKCD will appreciate any time you can spare from Monday, May 4, through Saturday, May 9. For more information on work session times and dates call HKCD at (906) 482-0214 or (906) 370-7248.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

DNR’s Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council to meet TONIGHT, Apr. 16, in Newberry: "Ask DNR" on WNMU-TV TONIGHT

LANSING -- DNR’s Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council to meet April 16 in Newberry

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources ( DNR) Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens' Advisory Council will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Apr.16, at the Comfort Inn in Newberry, located at 13954 State Hwy. M-28. The meeting will take place in the motel’s conference room.

Agenda items will include the following:
  • DNR division reports by staff.
  • Subcommittee reports.
  • Wildlife habitat workgroup update.
  • Wolf program update.
  • Conservation officer academy update.
  • Public comment (for instructions, see
The Eastern Upper Peninsula and Western Upper Peninsula citizens’ advisory councils are designed to advise the DNR on regional programs and policies, identify areas in which the department can be more effective and responsive, and offer insight and guidance from members’ own experiences and constituencies.

The council members represent a wide variety of natural resource and recreation stakeholders and interest groups. Agenda items are set by the council members ­and council recommendations are forwarded to the DNR for consideration.

Citizens’ advisory council meetings are open to the public. Anyone interested in being considered as a future council member should fill out the nomination form found on the DNR website at For more information, contact the DNR Upper Peninsula regional coordinator’s office at 906-225-1331.

"Ask the DNR" to air on WNMU-TV Channel 13 TONIGHT, April 16

MARQUETTE -- "Ask the DNR" returns to WNMU-TV Channel 13 in the Upper Peninsula at 8 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, April 16. (EDT). The show will focus on the trout fishing opener and fishing regulations, spring wildlife activity and wildfire prevention.

The hour-long program features a panel of Michigan Department of Natural Resources employees taking questions from viewers who call in during the live show to 800-227-9668. Questions are answered live on the show; any questions not answered before the end of the episode will be answered by phone call to the viewer.

This episode will feature conservation officer Kevin Postma, wildlife biologist Monica Joseph, fisheries biologist George Madison and fire specialist Bryce Avery.

"Ask the DNR" is produced five times a year on WNMU-TV 13, the public television station in Marquette, Michigan. It is aired live on public television stations throughout the Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin and typically replays the following day at noon. Please consult local television listings to confirm replay times for the program.

Green Film Series to present "Dirt!" the movie TONIGHT, Apr. 16, at Michigan Tech

During the 2013 Global Change Teacher Institute at Michigan Tech, Evan Kane, soil scientist, U.S. Forest Service Research Station, talks about part of his research experiment on peatlands and the effects of climate change on their ability to hold carbon. Kane will be the facilitator for the Green Film Series discussion on the film Dirt! tonight, Apr. 16, at Michigan Tech.* (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HOUGHTON -- The 2015 Green Film Series will present the movie Dirt!, followed by discussion, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Apr. 16, in G002 Hesterberg Hall, Forestry Building, Michigan Tech. Dr. Evan Kane, Soil Scientist, U.S. Forest Service Research Station, will be the discussion facilitator.

This 80-minute film brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil.

It is also a call to action: "When humans arrived 2 million years ago, everything changed for dirt. From that moment on, the fate of dirt and humans has been intimately linked." How can we affect that relationship for the better? (2009)

Cost: Admission FREE. Enjoy refreshments and facilitated discussion. $3 suggested donation.

The Green Film Series is co-sponsored by the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and the Keweenaw Land Trust.

* Click here to read our story on the 2013 Global Change Teacher Institute.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Talking Rocks, Talking Sky: Authors of books bridging oral and earth/planetary history to visit Houghton, Apr. 14-15

The Carnegie Museum Seminar Series in Keweenaw Natural History will present "Talking Rocks: Common Ground -- geology in the Lake Superior Region and Native Americans" on Tuesday, Apr. 14. (Image courtesy Carnegie Museum)

HOUGHTON -- Two distinguished authors from Duluth, Ron Morton and Carl Gawboy, will visit Houghton and Michigan Tech as part of the Carnegie Seminar Series in Keweenaw Natural History on Tuesday and Wednesday, Apr. 14-15.

Morton is a geologist and emeritus professor from University of Minnesota, Duluth. Gawboy is an Ojibwe elder and well-known artist. They have taught unique classes together that bridge legend and geological science.

A reception will be held at the Carnegie Museum Community Room at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Apr. 14. Discussion, introductions and light refreshments will be featured, and this will be followed by a joint presentation titled: "Talking Rocks: Common Ground -- geology in the Lake Superior Region and Native Americans."

As the geologist carefully presents a modern scientific perspective, the storyteller eloquently recounts a traditional Native American understanding, passed on through tales, myths, and symbols that illustrate how intimately his people have known and honored the earth and its history for over a hundred centuries. 

Duluth authors Carl Gawboy and Ron Morton will also give a presentation and book signing at the JR Van Pelt Library, Michigan Tech campus, on Wednesday, Apr. 15. (Book cover photo courtesy Carnegie Museum)

A book signing (Two books: Talking Rocks and Talking Sky) will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Apr. 15, in the East Reading room, First floor, JR Van Pelt Library, on the Michigan Tech campus. It will be followed, from 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., by a joint presentation titled: "Talking Sky: Ojibwe constellations and sky stories -- how they used them to live on and with the land."

From the important seasonal constellations (Moose, Panther, Wintermaker, and Nanaboujou) through wandering wolves, flying skeletons, and brave fisher to meteors and comets, the authors bring to life the sky world of a northern people.

This special visit is sponsored by the Carnegie Museum of Houghton with additional support from the Departments of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, and Social Sciences, the JR Van Pelt Library, the Indigenous Issues Discussion Group and the Isle Royale and Keweenaw National Parks Association. If you wish to meet with these visitors contact Elise Nelson (906 482-7140 or

The Carnegie Museum is located at 105 Huron Street on the corner of Montezuma Avenue in Houghton.

Click here for more information about these special events.