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, June 26, 2015

Portage Library to host Summer Reading Program Opening Day family activities, Used Book Sale June 27

Parents and kids enjoy making their own ice cream sundaes during the 2014 Portage Lake District Library Summer Reading Program Opening Day activities. This Saturday, June 27, 2015, the library's community room will again be the scene of ice cream sundaes and craft activities for the whole family.  (Keweenaw Now file photos)

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will hold two events from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 27: Opening Day activities for their Summer Reading Program and a Used Book Sale.

Summer Reading Program

The Portage Library Summer Reading Program is open to all ages, children through adults. This Saturday, kids are invited to make crafts and everyone can create an ice cream sundae in the community room.

Parents, library aides and volunteers help kids with craft activities during the 2014 Summer Reading Program Opening Day at Portage Lake District Library.

The "Every Hero Has a Story" Summer Reading Program will continue through Saturday, August 29; and people may register throughout the summer. Participants will receive a reading log, book bag, and bookmark when they register and prizes as they progress through their reading lists. Reading logs may include books, magazines, audio books, reading to young children, or being read to.

The Summer Reading Program includes Storytimes and programs and events for all ages. Look for programming information in the library, the media, and at Everyone is invited to join the fun and learn the stories of heroes!

For more information, please call the library at 482-4570.

Used Book Sale

The Friends of the Portage Lake District Library invite all book lovers to their annual Summer Book Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 27.

Gloria Melton of Houghton and Cindy Barth of Dollar Bay are pictured here at the 2014 Friends of the Library Used Book Sale at Portage Library. This year the sale will again take place at the same time as the Summer Reading Program, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 27.

The sale will take place in the Michigan and Local History room at the library. An excellent selection of new and gently used books, audio books, and DVDs for adults and children will be sold to raise money for library projects and items that the Friends provide. A half price sale will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Projects that the Friends of the Library have done include buying books, furniture, computers, a work bench for staff, the Children’s Listening Center, and other materials. Proceeds from book sales also pay for annual events sponsored by the Friends of the Library including the Salsa Contest, the Summer’s Bounty Social, Scrabble Tournaments, Blind Date with a Book, the Friendship Tea and more. Information on how to become involved with the Friends will be available at the book sale.

For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Eagle Mine exploration of "Eagle East" site raises environmental concerns

From Save the Wild U.P.*

Eagle Mine's environmental impacts continue to expand. This aerial photograph taken on June 19, 2015, shows the following: 1. Salmon Trout River, Eagle orebody and Main Vent Air Raise, 2. Eagle Rock and mining portal tunnel, 3. Eagle Mine surface facility, and 4. new drilling rigs, logging and mineral exploration in what Lundin Mining is calling the "Eagle East" area. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

MARQUETTE -- Lundin Mining, parent company of Eagle Mine, recently announced exploration results for the potential orebody known as "Eagle East," which is located outside the current footprint of the mine and said to contain "high grade massive and semi-massive copper-nickel sulfide mineralization."

With the current Eagle orebody located just below the Salmon Trout River and Eagle East exploration approaching the Yellow Dog River, environmental groups are speaking out about renewed concerns regarding ground and surface water contamination, the creeping industrialization of the Yellow Dog Plains, undisclosed exploratory drilling, trash left by exploration contractors, and the threat posed by acid mine drainage (AMD).

The Yellow Dog River, part of which is designated a National Wild and Scenic River, is threatened by the proximity of the Eagle Mine and Eagle's continued mineral exploration. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

AMD is a dangerous byproduct of sulfide mining. Sought-after minerals such as copper, nickel, lead, cobalt, silver and zinc are embedded in sulfides; the process of extraction brings the sulfide-rich rock into contact with air and water, resulting in sulfuric acid. AMD could devastate watersheds like the Salmon Trout or the Yellow Dog, as it has historically devastated watersheds in coal mining regions, and in hardrock mining districts throughout the Rocky Mountains.

In Michigan, mineral exploration is regulated under Part 625, which establishes the protocol for adherence to environmental protections during the exploration phase. According to the state’s "Typical Metallic Mining Exploration Flowchart," much of the mineral exploration process occurs before any permits are required, allowing industry to perform much of the exploration process without regulatory or public scrutiny.

PVC pipe left behind by unregulated mineral exploration on the Yellow Dog Plains. (Photo courtesy Save the Wild U.P. (Photo courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

Companies currently conducting exploratory drilling on the Yellow Dog Plains do so with impunity. According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) website, "(E)xploration companies are extremely secretive about their projects. All information regarding exploration drilling is considered proprietary under Part 625." According to the MDEQ, "Most metallic mineral exploration occurs in an area exempt from acquiring a Part 625 permit."

The lack of oversight has real consequences. Following a phase of surface and seismic mineral exploration in 2014, performed by Lundin Mining contractors who pulled miles of geophysical survey cables through the landscape, piles of PVC pipes were left abandoned in forests, ravines, and swamps, a plague of plastic ribbons fluttered from trees, and ATV tracks cut through wetlands.. Members of the public -- including adjacent landowners and watershed groups -- learn of exploration drilling sites only when the drill rigs appear, bringing 24-hour drilling noise, or leaving behind pools of drilling fluid.

Drilling oil from mining exploration in the Yellow Dog Watershed. (Photo © and courtesy Shawn Malone)

"Given the new Wild West mining camp vibe, who is monitoring the work of Lundin's numerous contractors?" asked Alexandra Maxwell, Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) interim director. "What enforcement tools are in place to guarantee adherence to environmental safeguards, as specified under Part 625? Is anyone really checking the situation on the ground? It appears that Lundin’s contractors don’t even pick up their trash when they finish a project."

The circle on this photo shows trash left by Eagle Mine exploration contractors. (Photo courtesy Save the Wild U.P.)

While Lundin is quick to promote the potential "Eagle East" discovery to its investors, the company insists that it is too soon to consider any environmental concerns.

Eagle Mine’s spokesman Dan Blondeau has stated, "We're very early in the exploration stage for this area. It's too early to tell if this will materialize into anything significant. It's too early to talk mining or permitting.”

According to the MDEQ’s mineral exploration flowchart, however, drilling is actually one of the final stages of exploration.

Kathleen Heideman, SWUP president, says, "Lundin's new orebody appears to be comprised of copper-nickel-platinum-palladium, all wrapped in a matrix of massive hype. Investors, beware! No word on how much uranium-vanadium-arsenic this orebody will contain -- but the Yellow Dog River will be directly threatened. This is nothing to celebrate."

Michael Loukinen, SWUP advisory board member, filmmaker, and retired professor of Sociology at Northern Michigan University, has also expressed concern that the Yellow Dog River could be contaminated by expansion of mining in this area.

"Rio Tinto (former owner of Eagle Mine) had made a big public relations effort to assure citizens that their mining was going to leave a small footprint and would NOT contaminate the Yellow Dog River watershed -- just the Salmon Trout River. Now by 'discovering' a so-called new deposit they are incrementally expanding their footprint and clearly violating their promises," Loukinen noted. "I fear that this will not be the first discovery of new deposits but the beginning of a pattern of new environmental losses."

Cynthia Pryor,Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP) board member, says a hydrologic assessment of the Yellow Dog Plains is needed.

"In 2004, the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve (YDWP), Concerned Citizens of Big Bay, all but one of the townships of Marquette County, and the Marquette County Commission petitioned the State of Michigan to require that a full Hydrologic Assessment of the Yellow Dog Plains be done, by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) -- 'before' any mining activities took place on the Plains. That did not happen," Pryor noted. "Now, more than ever, there needs to be a third party hydrologic assessment of the Plains; and the only party qualified to do an unbiased assessment is the USGS. They are already involved in surface water monitoring on the Plains, so let them do their job and give us, the people of the State of Michigan, the straight story about the cumulative impact of these sulfide metallic mines on the Yellow Dog Plains."

Jeffery Loman, former federal oil regulator, expresses concern that Eagle Mine is in violation of the Clean Water Act.

"The mine’s industrial wastewater discharges at Eagle mine are presenting to the surface," Loman said. "Soon there will be undisputed evidence that Lundin is violating the Clean Water Act. When people across the U.P. finally realize our water is at risk, Eagle East will go South."

* Founded in 2004, Save the Wild U.P. is a grassroots environmental organization dedicated to preserving the Upper Peninsula of Michigan's unique cultural and environmental resources. For more information visit

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Calumet Library to host "Butterflies and Moths of Houghton County" June 24, Used Book Sale June 27

Monarch butterfly observed in Houghton County. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET -- The Calumet Library will host two events this week: a presentation on butterflies and moths on Wednesday, June 24, and a used book sale on Saturday, June 27.

"Butterflies and Moths of Houghton County"

Are you curious about the butterflies that visit your garden? Do you know the difference between moths and butterflies? From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 24, Dr. Thomas Werner, Michigan Tech assistant professor of genetics and developmental biology, will share his knowledge with young and old in a presentation titled "Butterflies and Moths of Houghton County" at the Calumet Library. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Werner will demonstrate how to distinguish butterflies from moths, what the life cycle of these beautiful creatures looks like, and how you can identify the species that visit your own backyard. Growing up in East Germany, Dr. Werner discovered his passion about butterflies and moths at the age of 10 and has been collecting and breeding them since 1981. His program will include photographs he has taken of the many butterflies and moths in the area.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library. For more information, visit the library or call 337-0311 ext. 1107. (In case of bad weather, when school is cancelled, all library programs are cancelled.)

Used Book Sale

Sponsored by the Friends of the Calumet Public Library, the used book sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, is the organization’s annual fund raiser. Featuring a wide variety of books, CDs and DVDs, the collection will be on sale at the CLK Multi-Purpose room located down the hall from the library. (When entering the building from the library parking lot, turn left and the multi-purpose room will be a few feet down the hall on your left.) The book sale is scheduled during Calumet’s PastyFest celebration -- family fun for everyone -- another reason to enjoy the day’s festivities!*

Proceeds from this fundraiser go to sponsor library services and programs not provided for by the general library budget. In 2013-2014, funds were used to purchase large print books, multiple titles for the Red Jacket Readers book club, and many new books including additions to the children’s, young adult, and adult collections. Funding also helps bring evening programs to the library throughout the year and updates to some of the public computers.

If you have gently-read books or other materials to donate to this event, please bring them to the library prior to Friday, June 26.

Calumet Public Library hours are Monday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Tuesday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Wednesday 8 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Thursday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

For more information, visit the library or call 337-0311 ext. 1107.  

* Click here to learn about Pasty Fest 2015.

Community Arts Center to hold Beading Class July 6, 13: register TODAY for discount

Tubular Herringbone beadwork. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center will host "Tubular Herringbone: To Twist or Not to Twist," a beading class with Debra Goldman, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays, July 6 and 13.

In this class, students will learn the herringbone beading technique to make their own bracelet, how to begin a bead ladder, making a tubular rope, altering the stitching pattern to produce a twist, and finishing their piece. Recommendations will be given depending upon skill level and the time the student will be able to devote outside of class to complete the project. A brief history of herringbone will be given and different materials will be discussed.

The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Portage Library to host Financial Workshops beginning June 23

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library is hosting a three-part series of financial workshops designed to give participants the information they need to make decisions about their financial goals.

Chris Riesgraf, financial adviser from Edward Jones, will present Foundations of Investing from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23. This educational program is geared towards people who want an overview of investing, including key terms and investment types. Foundations of Investing covers basic features of bonds, stocks, and mutual funds and the importance of asset allocation.

Other workshops in this series are as follows:
Retirement By Design on July 21: Learn investment strategies to plan for retirement. This workshop also includes how to add flexibility to help handle unexpected events.

Ready or Not? Preparing for the Unexpected on August 18: Participants will learn how to develop a proactive strategy for protection against the unexpected and for providing for their family's future.

All programs begin at 6:30 p.m., are free of charge, and include time for questions and answers. Everyone is welcome. For more information, please call Riesgraf at 482-8680 or call the library at 482-4570.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Community members invited to sing in Heritage Hymn Festival July 25 at St. Anne's, Calumet

Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's. (Photo © and courtesy Anita Campbell)

CALUMET -- A small group of community members have been working hard this year to plan a Heritage Hymn Festival scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, July 25, 2015, at the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's in Calumet.

"I wanted to give you all a heads-up about this unique opportunity to sing with friends and other community members in the Festival Choir," said organizer Anita Campbell. "We have invited Dr. Michael Burkhardt of Livonia, Mich., to share his talents in preparing the Choir with a morning rehearsal and then leading the evening Hymn Festival. Dr. Burkhardt is also a very talented organist and will be performing three solos on the historic Barckhoff pipe organ. A wonderful local brass quartet has cheerfully agreed to join us, which, along with the amazing acoustics of the building, will help make  this a truly glorious evening of spiritually moving music, highlighting the faith heritage of the many different ethnic groups that came to the Copper Country."

The Keweenaw Heritage Center's restored 1899 Barckhoff pipe organ. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The public is invited to attend this special service with several opportunities for audience singing. There is no admission charge. However, a free-will offering will be taken to offset the expenses and raise funds for the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's.

Please note, if you would like to sing in the Festival Choir, please register in advance by emailing or call Kathleen at 337-2567 for more information. There will be a 10 a.m. rehearsal the morning of the festival, and there is a $10 registration fee for singers, which includes lunch.