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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Calumet Art Center holds Grand Opening of new Heritage Rose Garden

From Calumet Art Center
Photos by Emily Newhouse

Visitors to the Calumet Art Center enjoy the July 3 Grand Opening of the Center's new Heritage Rose Garden. (Photos © and courtesy Emily Newhouse unless otherwise indicated.)

CALUMET -- The Calumet Art Center celebrated the Grand Opening of their newly planted Heritage Rose Garden on July 3 during the First Friday Art Walk. Visitors enjoyed light refreshments and cups of rose-hip tea for the occasion. The Rose Garden is the newest addition to the Center and offers a pleasant downtown Calumet outdoor retreat for doing art projects, holding a drumming circle or just sitting and meditating.

The garden is the result of the serendipitous meeting of fellow local gardeners Dawn Andersson and Karena Schmidt. About ten years ago Dawn, who can coax life out of all things green and has a particular love for roses, began collecting snippets pruned from roses growing in overgrown, untended cemeteries and abandoned homesteads throughout the Keweenaw. These old roses are survivors -- cold-hardy, fragrant, disease resistant, many petaled and blushing in myriad shades of pink. These are the roses that beautified the gardens of early settlers and honored the departed at their gravesides. It did not take long before Dawn's garden in Calumet was burgeoning with thriving specimens of her collected roses. Yet for Dawn and her husband, Bob, their primary desire was to have a garden fit for growing vegetables and the flourishing roses occupied too much space. They determined the roses would need to be planted elsewhere in order to make way for produce.

In addition to the flowers beds in the Heritage Rose Garden, a space is provided for activities such as art projects and a drumming circle. Pathways allow visitors to walk through the garden.

Dawn and Karena casually discussed options for the roses one evening last September and they came up with the idea of planting a rose garden for the local community and visitors to enjoy. The idea of cultivating the roses at the Calumet Art Center seemed ideal and the idea was presented to Director Ed Gray and the Board members. The Heritage Rose Garden proposal met with resounding approval.  The garden layout was designed by Karena in part to fulfill her Master Gardener's certification.  Calumet Township Supervisor Paul Lehto and his crew generously demonstrated their support for the rose garden early this spring by tilling up the lawn and providing wood chips for mulch.

In early May, a few days after the soil was tilled, while Dawn was busy at home digging up the still winter-dormant roses, Bob, Ed and Karena kept busy preparing the ground and digging holes in the new garden. In keeping with Ojibwa tradition, into each hole a pinch of sacred tobacco was sprinkled before planting, mulching, and watering. The good folks at Pat's Foods saved cardboard boxes for the project. Bonny Lynn and Karena flattened them and placed them thickly all around the roses so that weeds will be held in check. Over the cardboard innumerable pails of wood mulch were hauled and distributed by local artisan Barb Flannagin, township workers and Art Center board members. The physical labor and contributions of volunteers were many, giving the garden a foundation of community spirit and resulting in one of those "what blesses one blesses all" situations.

Calumet Township Supervisor Paul Lehto and other volunteers helped with tilling and provided the wood-chip mulch, pictured here.

Complementing the garden are five comfortable two-seater benches and a picnic table. These benches are part of a fund-raiser for the Art Center. For $350 one can procure a bench, and a named plaque will be secured to the bench to honor the donor. The garden has a grand wooden arch entryway, wheelchair accessible, commissioned by Felix and Virginia Fournier -- who have been great enthusiasts for the Art Center. At the core of the garden is a five-foot metal sculpture designed and built by Brenden Keenan. This work of art poignantly reflects an important dynamic in Calumet, the juxtaposition of the tender beauty of the roses and the starkness of the rusting metal remains of industrial equipment, reminding us of the mining ventures of nearly a century ago.

The Rose Garden's grand wooden arch entryway, wheelchair accessible, was commissioned by Felix and Virginia Fournier. (Photo courtesy Calumet Art Center)

In mid-May 24 students from Carroll College in Milwaukee enrolled in  Ed Gray's "Footprints of the Ancestors" class  -- a full-immersion one-week course where students learn and participate in keeping alive the traditions of the Ojibwa. These students gathered stones from the Superior shoreline and surrounded the garden with their geologic finds of Keweenaw basalts, granites, porphyrites, and other volcanic wonders.

The roses -- which include the floppy-branched Gallicas, sacred Damasks and highly scented Bourbons, are planted in four concentric rings with pathways guiding the wanderer from one ring to the next. At the east edge of the garden is a crescent shaped flower-bed with a mix of perennial plants that show their glory in the springtime, prior to the roses blooming. To the west is another crescent garden-bed with plants that will bloom in late summer. As the roses adjust to their new home, refinements to the gardens will continue to unfold. In this first season it is expected about one-third of the roses will bloom.

The Calumet Art Center is located at 57055 5th St. Learn more about the Art Center's many traditional art-based activities and classes for youngsters and adults, including the "Footprints of the Ancestors" class, by visiting their website or phoning (906) 934-2228. It is hoped that many will visit often to stroll the garden, enjoy the beauty, inhale the delicate fragrances, sit on the benches.  Come alone or with friends to engage in conversation, reflect, and find some measure of peace in this new garden for the community -- a sanctuary created by community spirit.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hancock Canal Run to celebrate 40th anniversary July 18

A runner heads for the Finish line on Quincy Street in Hancock during the 2014 Canal Run. More than 800 participants are expected for this year's race, which celebrates 40 years of the event. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HANCOCK -- The Hancock Canal Run is celebrating 40 years on Saturday, July 18, 2015. The Canal Run was started in 1975 and has grown to become the U.P.’s largest race, with over 800 participants this year. The race includes a 5-mile walk, 5-mile run, 10-mile walk, 10-mile run and half marathon.

Last-minute registration for participants will be available from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. TODAY, Friday, July 17, at Finlandia Hall on Finlandia University's campus. Click here for details.

The 10-mile walk will start at 7:15 a.m., half marathon at 7:30 a.m., 10-mile run at 8 a.m., 5-mile walk at 8:55 a.m. and 5-mile run at 8:50 a.m. Click here for the race map.

Shuttle service will begin at 6 a.m. Saturday. Participants should plan on boarding the shuttle about an hour before their race is scheduled to start.

Runners board the early-morning shuttle bus from downtown Hancock (in front of the Finnish American Heritage Center) to the start point of their race. (2014 Keweenaw Now photo)

A pre-race pasta dinner will be served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. TODAY, Friday, July 17, at Finlandia Hall, put on by the Keweenaw Co-op. Dinner is $10 for adults, $5 for children (6-12 years old) and free for children under 6.

The Kids' Dash -- free for all kids -- will once again be a quarter-mile sprint taking place on the same course racers will come down, including having kids go through the finish-line chute. Registration will begin at 10 a.m. near Krist Oil (formerly Citgo), with the first wave beginning at 10:15 a.m. The course is closed from traffic, is not timed, has no age limits and all participants will receive a Canal Run Kids' Dash finisher's medal.

Participants in the 2014 Canal Run enjoy snacks served by volunteers after the race on the Quincy Green in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Bob Olson founded the run in 1975. Olson, an avid runner, owned WMPL radio at the time. For several years he ran the event with his family and a couple volunteers. The well-run race continued to grow, and after a few years Olson contacted Ken Seaton, president of D and N Bank, which signed on to sponsor and support the event.

With the support of D and N Bank, which is now FirstMerit Bank, the race continued to grow. In the early 2000s Portage Health (2007) and Finlandia University (2010) signed on to help the event. In 2009 the race was expanded to include a five-mile option. In 2013 a half marathon was added.

The race is self-sustaining, bringing in enough money in registration fees and sponsorships to cover all the costs. Since 2011, the organizing committee has donated $7,000 to area non-profit organizations.

Volunteers may still be needed. Click here for info on volunteering or see our notice in the Keweenaw Now News Briefs, right-hand column.

Visit the Canal Run Web site for more details.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pine Mountain Music Festival to conclude with concerts July 16, 17, 18

HANCOCK -- The Pine Mountain Music Festival (PMMF) will present its final concerts this week on Saturday, July 18, at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts: the Honors Orchestra Chamber Concert of high-school-aged musicians and the PMMF Symphony Orchestra Concert, conducted by Artistic Director Donald Schleicher, featuring local soloists and a chorus of singers from the Upper Peninsula. The symphony concert will also be presented in Kingsford July 16 and Marquette July 17.

Honors Orchestra Chamber Concert

The outstanding high-school-aged musicians of the Honors Orchestra Program will have an opportunity to showcase their talent, performing in individual chamber groups in a concert at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at Portage United Church, 1400 Houghton Ave. in Houghton. Repertoire will be announced from the stage. Cost is free, but donations will be accepted at the door.

PMMF Symphony Orchestra

Conducted by Artistic Director Donald Schleicher, the PMMF Symphony Orchestra, consisting of professional musicians and students of the Honors Orchestra Program, will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op.125, the Overture to Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss and Romanze by Sibelius. Featured soloists include baritone Levi Hernandez and local vocal stars tenor Miles Mykkanen, mezzo-soprano Lara Neves, and soprano Tory Wood. They are joined by a combined chorus of voices from throughout the Upper Peninsula. General Cost: $26. Student/Child Cost: $11.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the following locations:

Thursday, July 16: Kingsford High School, 431 Hamilton Ave., Kingsford, Mich.

Friday, July 17: Reynolds Recital Hall, 1400 Presque Isle Ave., Marquette, Mich. Click here for tickets.

Saturday, July 18: Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, 1400 Townsend Avenue, Houghton, Mich. Click here for tickets.

Inset photo: PMMF Artistic Director Donald Schleicher. (Photo courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Orpheum Theater to host Finn Hall -- Finnish music night -- July 16

Dance to Finnish music at an old time Finn Hall Thursday, July 16, at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Orpheum Theater)

HANCOCK -- Ralph Tuttila has put together an all star cast of Finnish musicians from all over the Midwest to entertain at the Orpheum Theater in Hancock Thursday, July 16, for your dancing pleasure! He also called up his good friends in FinnFolk from Detroit to add to the night.*

Oren Tikkanen says, "Hei, Toverit (comrades) -- some of the Midwest's best and favorite players of traditional Finnish music will be gathering at the Orpheum-Studio Pizza in Hancock at 8:30 p.m. this Thursday, July 16, in an evening of old-time Finnish music for dancing and listening. The line-up includes Don Reinholm, Carol Reinholm (Towhead and Papu), Roger Juntunen Hewlett, Kristen Kreiner, Ron Karvonen, Steve Niemi, Ralph and Jaana Tuttila, Carl Rahkonen, Oren Tikkanen, and who knows who else?

"Kyllä, ystävät! The Orpheum will be the old-time Finn Hall on Thursday, so come on over to 426 Quincy Street in Hancock. NIINPÄ!!"

Ralph Tuttila was exposed very early to Finnish music at home and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan Finnish community where he grew up. He was a member of the Finnish Kantele ensemble "Koivun Kaiku" for 13 years playing a variety of traditional Finnish instruments While with that group, he travelled to Finland and performed at the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in 1993. Koivun Kauku was awarded performers of the year in 1996 by the Finlandia Foundation National. This involved considerable performances throughout the USA. During that time, Koivun Kaiku produced four recordings.

Ralph has learned his music and instruments almost exclusively in the folk tradition. He is also a dancer and musician with the Kisarit Finnish folkdancers and teaches various types of dance -- Finnish and other couple social dances including tango.

Music starts at 8:30 p.m., doors open for socializing at 7:30 p.m. Adults $10, Senior Citizens and Students $7. Don't forget your dancin' shoes!

* FinnFolk will also perform on the dock outside the Portage Library from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, preceding the Orpheum concert. Click here for info.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Portage Library to host music events July 16, 17

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host two music events this week.

FinnFolk to perform July 16

Some of the best players of traditional Finnish Music will be performing at the Portage Lake District Library from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, on the dock outside the library.

FinnFolk hails from Farmington Hills in lower Michigan and features Roger Hewlett, Don Reinholm and Carol Reinholm on accordion, Steve Niemi on guitar, Ron Karvonen on mandolin, and Kristen Kreiner on flute. Their music includes Finnish, Slovenian, and other folk tunes.

"Music on the Menu": Trio Tumpelot -- July 17

On Friday, July 17, the Portage Lake District Library invites everyone to bring a lunch and enjoy "Music on the Menu," an outdoor series of events held on the dock outside the library.

Trio Tumpelot will perform from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday. The trio consists of Pasi Lautala playing a 5-row accordion, Anna Gawboy playing a concertina, and Meghan Pachmayer performing on a stand-up base. The group plays a mixture of old and newer folk and dance hall tunes that are mainly from Finland, but their music also includes tunes from Ukraine, France, and other countries.

Everyone is invited to eat, relax, and enjoy the lunch hour while listening to some great music. In the event of bad weather, the program will be held in the community room.

Library programs are free and open to all. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club reports progress on Maasto Hiihto Middle Bridge project

Replacement of the Middle Bridge across Swedetown Creek on the Maasto Hiihto river trail is nearly complete, thanks to Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club and the City of Hancock. (Photos © and courtesy Arlyn Aronson.)

HANCOCK -- The Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC) has posted a Summer 2015 Newsletter with reports on their Middle Bridge project in Swedetown Gorge. The project, led by KNSC Vice President Mark Roberts, is ongoing and still welcomes volunteers.

On July 3, led by KNSC Vice President Mark Roberts, left in background, volunteers help mix and pour the last footer for the Middle Bridge.

"In the spring of 2013, we had to shore up the downstream side because it had washed away with the heavy spring runoff, and in the summer of 2014 we replaced one of the main beams that had rotted away and collapsed," Roberts reports in KNSC's Summer 2015 Newsletter.

The 2015 project has been to replace the whole bridge. With contributions from the City of Hancock, KNSC purchased a steel replacement bridge last fall.

Mark Roberts welcomes help from volunteers of all ages. 

"The bridge is designed to span the creek without a mid support and to DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) load and safety standards," Roberts adds.

KNSC plans to reuse tools and equipment to replace the Sisu Bridge in 2017.

The above photos are from KNSC's new blog. Click here for more photos and updates.

Click here for KNSC's Summer 2015 Newsletter, with more details on the Middle Bridge project and news about other KNSC projects and activities.

Gromit the Trail Mutt continues to post on her blog great photos of her adventures with KNSC members and hiking groups exploring great trails in the Keweenaw and beyond.

Gromit the Trail Mutt learns about Freda sandstone on a recent hike with friends near Agate Beach.

Click here to see photos of Gromit's latest adventures on The Trail Mutt Reports.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Keweenaw Waterway Cruises on Ranger III begin July 16

Ranger III will be taking passengers on Thursday afternoon Keweenaw Waterway Cruises beginning this Thursday, July 16. (Photo courtesy Isle Royale National Park)

HOUGHTON -- Isle Royale National Park is accepting reservations for the Keweenaw Waterway Cruises on the following Thursday afternoons: July 16, July 23, July 30, and August 20. Ranger III will depart the Houghton dock at 1 p.m. for a two and a half hour cruise which travels on the Keweenaw Waterway and returns to the Houghton dock at 3:30 p.m.

The 165 foot Ranger III, piloted by Captain Bill Hanrahan, with a crew of nine, can carry up to 128 passengers. In addition to scenic vistas and wildlife observations, the cruise will venture a short distance into Lake Superior. It is advisable for passengers to bring a light jacket to protect against the frequent chill. Refreshments are available at the Ranger III Grill.

Due to the cruises’ popularity, advance reservations are recommended. Reservations can be made Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 906-482-0984 or by stopping in the Isle Royale National Park’s Houghton Visitor Center. Ticket prices are: $20 for adults, $5 for youth under sixteen, and infant tickets are free. The cruise is an excellent opportunity for a get-together with your family and friends to enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the Keweenaw Waterway.

Pine Mountain Music Festival to host Piano Recital by Ralph Votapek July 14 at Rozsa Center

HOUGHTON -- The first Van Cliburn International Competition gold medalist, Ralph Votapek, will perform a Piano Recital at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts on the Michigan Tech campus.

A familiar favorite of Pine Mountain Music Festival audiences Votapek's playing "embodies all that is best in 20th century piano traditions, combining the fire, poetry and tonal warmth of the grand-manner prewar era with the modern-day virtues of fastidious clarity and electrifying rhythmic flair." 

His repertoire includes Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin and Gershwin.

Tickets for the recital are General Cost: $26; Student/Child Cost: $11.

For more information about the Pine Mountain Music Festival, visit their Web site.

Inset photo of Ralph Votapek courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival.