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Friday, October 23, 2015

Student group prepares for Isle Royale Tour at international environmental conference to be held at Michigan Tech

ASPEN students enjoy backpacking at Isle Royale National Park in August 2015. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

By Monica Lester*

Posted Oct. 20, 2015, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted here with permission.

Students who are concerned about the environment have banded together to form the Association of Students for People, Environment and Nature (ASPEN). And they don’t just talk the talk. They took a 6-day backpacking trip at Isle Royale National Park in August to explore and learn about the island, so they can share its natural resources with professionals from around the world at the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) at Michigan Tech next June.**

ASPEN was created earlier this year as an official student chapter of the International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR). Its goal is to create an opportunity where people with these interests could network, professionally develop and be a part of something bigger like the IASNR’s international conference.

"We want to create opportunities that aren’t already available," says Chris Henderson, president of ASPEN. "Conferences can introduce students to people in the field and give them a chance to volunteer."

The student members of ASPEN took their Isle Royale backpacking trip as part of an initiative of ASPEN, the Isle Royale Institute (IRI) and IASNR. The initiative plans student-led field trips to Isle Royale for participants at next year’s conference.

When they arrived on the island, the group met with Ken Vrana, IRI director; Liz Valencia, chief of interpretation and cultural resources; and Phyllis Green, park superintendent. They learned about some of the ongoing projects and changes in the park:
  • IRNP wolf-moose-vegetation management plan, environmental impact assessment and public comment period.
  • Park relationship with industry and jurisdiction over an international Great Lakes shipping lane.
  • Recent addition of a solar photovoltaic array that will cut Rock Harbor power costs.
They also learned about the many uses of the M.V. Ranger III -- it’s a people ferry, garbage mover, gas/diesel tanker, and has been used to release young fish that were raised in state hatcheries into Lake Superior.

The next day they set out for their trip throughout the island. The group hiked, fell asleep to loons, awoke to the Northern Lights, took a swim in the lake, discussed the ecology and history of the island, and ended the trip with a red squirrel trying to steal their pizza at a restaurant in Rock Harbor.

ASPEN meets regularly and is looking for help with the upcoming conference. Anyone interested should contact Chris Henderson at

* Monica Lester is a student writer for the Michigan Tech News.
** Click here to learn about the ISSRM, which will bring in academics, professionals and graduate students from all around the world to Michigan Tech June 22-26, 2016.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Finlandia University Gallery to host exhibit by Finnish photographer Kari Soinio through Nov. 25

City of Ghosts. Photography by Kari Soinio. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University Gallery)

HANCOCK -- "Kari Soinio: From Landscape to Place," a photography exhibit, is featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, Hancock, from Oct. 22 through Nov. 25, 2015. An opening reception for the exhibit will take place at the gallery from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. TONIGHT, Thursday, Oct. 22, with an artist talk by Kari Soinio beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Photography by Kari Soinio. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University Gallery)

Kari Soinio is a New York based artist working mainly with photography. He received his BA from the Lahti Polytechnic in his native Finland and his MFA from University of Art and Design in Helsinki. He also has studied at the International Center of Photography in New York.

"Both my landscape and auto portraiture work have evolved and taken different paths in photography, which I still feel challenges me constantly," notes Soinio. "I enjoy the infinite possibilities camera and photographic techniques offer as means of expression, from documentary style to more conceptual approach."

Soinio has exhibited in numerous group shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki among them. A monograph "From Landscape to Place" was published in 2009 in conjunction with shows at Heino Gallery and a mid-career survey at Kerava Art Museum near Helsinki. His show at the Institut Finlandais in Paris was part of Mois de la Photo in 2010 and received significant attention from French art press.

His work has been shown internationally at Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, England; NGBK gallery, Berlin, Germany; Arthouse, Sofia, Bulgaria; Ludvig Museum, Budapest, Hungary; Signe Vad galleri, Copenhagen, Denmark; Peer Gallery, New York, USA; Gallery Papatzikou - Photobiennale Thessaloniki, Veroia, Greece; Ingrid Hansen Gallery, Washington DC, USA; Municipality of Neapolis Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece; Kakelhallen, Mariehamn, Åland. Soinio's work has appeared in NY Arts Magazine, Connaissance des Arts, l'Humanité, Réponses Photo, Art Actuel, La Tribune, Next Level and in numerous books, newspapers and tv programs in Finland.

At Finlandia University Gallery Kari Soinio will be exhibiting work from three photographic series: City of Ghosts, Beautiful City and A Way by Numbers.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy St., downtown Hancock. For more information, contact the Finlandia University Gallery at 906-487-7500.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Aquila Theatre to present "Romeo and Juliet" Oct. 22 at Rozsa

HOUGHTON -- Experience the beauty of Aquila Theatre’s new production of Romeo and Juliet, playing at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The story is so well known, star-crossed lovers who are doomed from the start, so why is this production special? This minimal adaptation is a joy of the senses: Simple, pared-down and shadowy, Aquila Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet, directed and adapted by Desiree Sanchez, is a completely new way to experience one of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays.

Shakespeare’s eight plus actors are cut down to five, the original seventeen roles reduced to eight. The story is condensed, focused, and chiseled away at until it stands out in uncluttered relief. Capulet is gone, and some of his lines go to his wife, Lady Capulet -- Juliet’s mother. The actors speak and move beautifully in choreographed precision. Sanchez creates a nearly architectural, unified effect moment to moment, one that is constantly shifting; these shifting effects mesmerize -- and, at times, astound.

Company composer Joe Louis Robertson has written a score that is modern and urban in tone. Costume Designer Clare Amos has created visually striking and classically elegant costumes, a memorable fusion that is surreal, cloud-like, and woven – the stuff of fairies and dreams. For the most part dimly lit, the stage brightens up here and there to set the mood and irradiate the action.

According to a recent review by Sam Hall, of DC Metro Theater Arts, "This is a very real and very serious production, full of shadows and chiaroscuro light. Romeo and Juliet step onstage as more than horny teenagers or conventionally doomed lovers. They are two young persons come together burning ardently within the flame of life, snuffed out in heedless misunderstanding…. We have here a remarkable fusion of design, text, and performance; of consciousness, scenery, sound, light, space, meaning, and movement. This is Romeo and Juliet as high tragedy, a balletic dream sculpted in moonstone ghost; a lighted candle melting in wax from mise-en-scène to mise-en-scène; a grandeur of poetry and high art. It is beautiful and disturbing. Deeply moving, without a trace of sentimentality."

A pre-performance discussion with Aquila Theatre tour members will take place at 7 p.m. in the Rozsa lobby. Tickets for Romeo and Juliet are on sale now: $24 for adults, $10 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Advance reserved seating is now available, please order tickets early! Area high school groups will also be attending, at discount Class Acts rates (advance Class Acts school group reservations are required) as a part of the Rozsa Class Acts educational outreach program.

Tickets are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, online at, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance.  Please note the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.

DEQ postpones public hearing on L'Anse Warden permit

[EDITOR'S UPDATE: According to Ed Lancaster, DEQ Air Quality Division environmental quality analyst, DEQ will continue to accept public comments on the draft renewable operating permit (ROP) for L’Anse Warden Electric Company LLC until the new public meeting, which will be held at the earliest in January 2016.*]

MARQUETTE -- The DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) today postponed the public hearing on the draft renewable operating permit (ROP) for L’Anse Warden Electric Company LLC originally scheduled from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at the L'Anse Area School Cafetorium. The hearing will be rescheduled at a later date.

The L’Anse Warden Electric Company recently informed the DEQ that the company’s latest emissions testing indicates it may not be able to comply with air quality regulations. The DEQ cannot move forward with the current draft renewable operating permit if a non-compliance issue exists. The DEQ will conduct further review of final emissions testing data, and may need to develop a compliance plan.

The DEQ will notify the public once a new date is scheduled for a public meeting and hearing on the draft renewable operating permit. All previous comments submitted by interested parties will be kept.*

The date, time and location of a future public hearing or public meeting will be published in the DEQ environmental calendar as well as in local newspapers. Individuals who have already submitted comments will also receive notification of a future public hearing or meeting.

* Written public comments can be sent to Ed Lancaster, Upper Peninsula District Office, Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, 1504 West Washington St., Marquette, MI 49855 (Phone: 906-228-4853).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

41 North Film Festival returns to Rozsa Center Oct. 23-25

Banner for 41 North Film Festival courtesy Rozsa Center.

HOUGHTON -- The 41 North Film Festival returns to Michigan Tech’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts Friday through Sunday, Oct. 23-25, bringing critically acclaimed independent films that are currently in festivals or theaters around the country and the world, along with guest filmmakers. All events are free and open to the public.

This year, the festival will feature filmmaker/photographer/climber/athlete Jimmy Chin, whose new documentary Meru tells a compelling story about risk, determination and friendship as it follows the efforts of three internationally famous climbers (Chin among them) to reach the Shark’s Fin summit of Mount Meru in the Himalayas.

Jimmy Chin -- award-winning filmmaker/photographer/climber/athlete. (Photo courtesy 41 North Film Festival)

The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23. Chin will speak after the film, answering questions and meeting with students. He is an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured regularly in National Geographic. The film Meru won the 2015 Sundance Audience Award.

At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, the festival will feature The Wanted 18 by Amer Shomali/Paul Cowan (in collaboration with Afuken). The Wanted 18 is a unique production that combines stop-motion animation, interviews, original drawings, and archival footage to bring to life one of the strangest chapters in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Poignant and thought-provoking, humorous and serious, it shows the power of grassroots activism, peaceful resistance and courage in a part of the world that is fraught with negative imagery and despair.

Another festival highlight is a new documentary about the Taser Corporation, Killing Them Safely. With significant implications for engineering ethics and marketing, this documentary investigates how a weapon marketed as "safe" has become responsible for scores of deaths each year. The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, with director and journalist Nick Berardini present.

Killing Them Safely is a documentary about the Taser Corporation. (Photo courtesy 41 North Film Festival)

Festival Director Erin Smith says she travels to film festivals during the year and tries to keep up with what's happening in independent cinema.

"I pay particular attention to what the community here would be interested in, as well as to programming films that are receiving critical acclaim," Smith says.

Among the 15 other films screening during the weekend are Drone, King Georges, Mavis! and Here Come the Videofreex.

The festival will also feature an exhibition of documentary storytelling that employs Oculus Rift VR technology. Projects featured include Ferguson Firsthand, which uses a virtual reality environment to invite the audience into the scene, where they can encounter people and objects that tell the story, and Herders, which provides an immersive cinematic look into the lives of Mongolian yak herders.

By bringing compelling stories about the world and today’s important issues to campus-- along with filmmakers whose research and artistry tell those stories -- the 41 North Film Festival offers the community an opportunity to consider and discuss complex questions around science, engineering, industry, politics, history and the human condition.

Festival sponsors include the Michigan Tech Departments of Humanities and Visual and Performing Arts, and the Van Evera Distinguished Lecture Series at the Rozsa Center. For the full schedule and program, visit: and 41 North Film Festival on Facebook. For more information about the festival and its events, please contact Erin Smith at

Monday, October 19, 2015

Public Notice: DEQ Air Quality Division to hold public hearing on L'Anse Warden Renewable Operating Permit Oct. 29

LANSING -- The Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division (AQD) is holding a public comment period until October 29, 2015, on the draft renewal of a Renewable Operating Permit (ROP) under consideration to be issued to L'Anse Warden Electric Company, LLC, located at 157 South Main Street in L'Anse, Michigan. The facility’s Responsible Official is Steve Walsh, General Manager/Chief Operating Officer.

Major stationary sources of air pollutants are required to obtain and operate in compliance with an ROP pursuant to Title V of the federal Clean Air Act of 1990 and Section 5506(1) of Part 55, Air Pollution Control, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. The ROP is intended to simplify and clarify a facility’s applicable requirements and compliance with them by consolidating all state and federal air quality requirements into one document. The proposed ROP will result in no emissions change at the facility.

Copies of the draft ROP and the Staff Report are available for inspection at the following locations or you may request a copy be mailed to you by calling or writing the District Office at the address and telephone number listed below:

The AQD Permits Internet Home Page -

Upper Peninsula District Office, Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, 1504 W. Washington Street, Marquette, Michigan 49855 (Phone: 906-228-2906)

LANSING: Department of Environmental Quality, Air Quality Division, Constitution Hall, P. O. Box 30260, Lansing, Michigan 48909-7760 (Phone: 517-284-6776)

All persons are encouraged to present their views on the draft permit. Persons wishing to comment should submit written statements by October 29, 2015, to the attention of Ed Lancaster at the District Office referenced above. The decision maker for the permit is Chris Hare, Acting Upper Peninsula District Supervisor.

An informal question and answer period, immediately followed by a public hearing, will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on October 29, 2015, at L'Anse Area School Cafetorium.

Comments will also be accepted at the public hearing. Persons needing accommodations for effective participation at the public hearing, should contact Ed Lancaster at the District Office referenced above a week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance.