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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Israeli-American peace activist to speak at Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan universities Sept. 16, 17

HOUGHTON -- Miko Peled, an Israeli-American peace activist and author, will be in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for two events -- one at Michigan Tech and one at Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

Peled will present "Freedom and Justice: The Keys to Peace in Palestine/Israel" at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Great Lakes Research Center, Room 202 on Michigan Tech's campus. 

(Inset photo: Miko Peled. Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Peled will have a conversation titled "Settler colonialism in the 'promised lands': Similarities and differences between the U.S. and Israeli treatment of Indigenous peoples" with Martin Reinhardt, Northern Michigan University professor of Native American Studies. The conversation will take place at 7 p.m. in Mead Auditorium-West Science Building on the Northern Michigan University campus.

Miko’s father, Matti Peled, was one of the key Israeli generals in the 1967 six-day war, when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza. His grandfather was one of the founders of the state of Israel. In 1997 tragedy struck his family as Miko's beloved niece Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. That tragedy propelled Miko onto a journey of discovery. It pushed him to re-examine many of the beliefs he had grown up with, and it transformed him into a courageous and visionary activist in the struggle for human rights and a lasting peace in Palestine/Israel.

Miko Peled writes about his journey in his book The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. He relates how his father had questioned his own role in Israel's domination of Palestine and became "a general turned man of peace." Miko tells how he fulfilled his own dream of becoming a professional martial artist and teacher and how he dedicates time to travel from California back to the country he calls Palestine/Israel and to work for peace with the help of Palestinian friends and like-minded Israelis seeking change.

Martin Reinhardt is a mixed ancestry Anishinaabe Ojibway citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. His is an associate professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University, where his current research focuses on revitalizing the relationship between humans and Indigenous plants and animals of the Great Lakes Region. As a staunch advocate of the rights of Indigenous peoples, Martin has conducted extensive research on American Indian treaties and is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the State of Michigan regarding the attempted sale of treaty-ceded territory to Graymont Mining Corporation.

(Inset photo: Martin Reinhardt. File photo courtesy Martin Reinhardt)

For more information about these events contact Miguel Levy at

These events are sponsored by Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion and departments of Humanities, Social Sciences and Physics; the Michigan Tech Indigenous Issues Discussion Group; and Northern Michigan University's Center for Native American Studies.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Public comment period on permit renewal for L'Anse Warden plant extended; DEQ to hold public hearing

MARQUETTE -- The public comment period for the draft renewal of a Renewable Operating Permit (ROP) to be issued to the L'Anse Warden Electric Company, LLC, for their biomass plant in L'Anse, Mich., has been extended beyond the original Sept. 9, 2015, deadline. Based on requests from the public, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has decided to hold a public hearing on the draft ROP. The time and place for the public hearing has yet to be announced.

According to Chris Hare, DEQ Air Quality Division acting district supervisor and decision maker on the ROP, the DEQ will continue to accept written comments until the time of the public hearing. Public comments during the hearing will also be considered. Since a public hearing must be announced 30 days in advance, Hare noted, this hearing could take place in late October.

While some concerned citizens have complained about air pollution from the L'Anse Warden plant and some question the burning of tires and railroad ties in the plant, the ROP does not give the DEQ authority to say the company can't burn what they're permitted to burn, Hare explained.*

"What we can do is possibly look at the permit to see if they're  meeting emission requirements," Hare said.

The ROP, which is renewed every five years, includes required monitoring, testing and record keeping.

During a presentation in April 2015 at the Portage Lake District Library, two concerned citizens -- Diane Miller and Catherine Andrews -- spoke about reports of air pollution from the plant and its potential effects on children playing in the vicinity.**

Ed Lancaster is the inspector for the permit. Written comments should be addressed to Lancaster's attention at the following office address: Upper Peninsula District Office, Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, 1504 West Washington St., Marquette, MI 49855 (Phone: 906-228-4853).

* Click here and scroll down to the ninth item, L'Anse Warden Electric Company, for links to information about the ROP. Click here for the Aug. 10, 2015, Draft ROP for the L'Anse Warden plant.

** Watch for an article on this issue, coming soon.