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Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Houghton County Cardboard Recycling Center to open Jan. 4

This map shows the approximate location of the new Houghton County Cardboard Recycling Center in Atlantic Mine.

HOUGHTON -- If you're a Houghton County resident but not a resident of the City of Hancock, which has curbside recycling, you can benefit from FREE recycling of CARDBOARD beginning Monday, Jan. 4, at the new Houghton County Cardboard Recycling Center located adjacent to the Houghton County Transfer Station in Atlantic Mine.*

Hours will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM HOUGHTON: Head west on highway M26 toward Atlantic Mine/South Range. One mile past the stoplight at Green Acres Road turn right onto Erickson Drive. The Recycling Center is on the right after about 0.1 mile. The address is 17808 Erickson Dr. Call (906) 482-8872 for information.

Acceptable materials are the following: corrugated cardboard; boxes made of paperboard (shoe, cereal, detergent boxes…); brown grocery bags and packaging; frozen pizza boxes; boxes with small amounts of tape, staples, plastic windows.

Note: All boxes should be free of food and flattened/broken down. Do not place recyclables in plastic bags.

Unacceptable materials: food; grease- or oil-saturated materials; paper products such as newspapers, magazines, junk mail; plastic or plastic bags; styrofoam.

The cardboard products you recycle will be sold to industries that use recycled cardboard to manufacture new products. The money from the sale of the cardboard will be used for operating costs at the Houghton County Recycling Center.

Cardboard and paper waste make up 41 percent of the municipal solid waste stream; in other words, cardboard is the biggest manufactured product in the waste stream by weight.

Recycling cardboard takes 24 percent less energy and produces 50 percent less sulfur dioxide than making cardboard from raw materials. Individuals who recycle will see a reduction in their costs for waste disposal. Waste Management is now charging for recycling, but at the Houghton County transfer station this cardboard recycling is free for residential users; commercial users must check with the office for rates.

One ton of recycled cardboard saves 390 kW hours of electricity, 46 gallons of oil, 6.6 million Btus of energy and 9 cubic yards of landfill space.

The Houghton County Cardboard Recycling Center is funded with a $90,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to Houghton County. The Copper Country Recycling Initiative and the Houghton County Board of Commissioners were instrumental in the development of this new cardboard recycling center.

Celebration Jan. 16 at Portage Lake District Library

Celebrate the opening of the Houghton County Cardboard Recycling Center at a special, fun-filled event planned for 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at the Portage Lake District Library. Lots of fun hands-on activities for kids are planned, including Making Paper, Garbage Pizzas, Recycling Machine, Making Forts, Waste-Free Lunch Safari, and more! A recycling display and information on plans for how to improve curbside recycling in Houghton County will be available, including information on how you can get involved.

Everyone is invited to enjoy FREE refreshments and cake. Several children’s recycling books and other prizes will be raffled.

*Editor's Note: Hancock residents are encouraged to take advantage of monthly curbside recycling, usually on the last Thursday of the month. Click here for details.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Peace Corps takes Michigan Tech grad student to Kyrgyz Republic

Peace Corps Volunteer Cole Bedford, left, is pictured here with a community member wearing a kalpak, traditional Kyrgyz headwear, standing in front of a Kyrgyz yurt. (Photo courtesy Cole Bedford. Reprinted with permission.)

By Monica Lester
Posted on Michigan Tech News Dec. 1 and modified Dec. 3, 2015
Reprinted with permission

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech has a worldwide footprint. Whether it is where students or faculty come from, where they have traveled or where they have worked, Tech has made an impact on the world and continues to do so. Take Cole Bedford, a Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program graduate student in civil engineering at Michigan Tech, now serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The Kyrgyz Republic, unofficially known as Kyrgyzstan, is located in Central Asia. It is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east.

Kyrgyz Republic

"The Kyrgyz Republic is not where I had imagined myself serving," Bedford admits. After being barred from traveling to tropical locations due to the Peace Corps’ extremely rigorous medical requirements, Bedford had to turn down an invitation to Peru. Instead, he accepted an invitation to the Kyrgyz Republic. "I was originally pretty disappointed by the concessions I felt I would be making by accepting a post here, but now that I’ve been in Kyrgyz Republic for six months -- having experienced the generosity and enthusiasm of the people, the richness of the culture, and the awesomeness of the landscapes -- there’s nowhere I’d rather be."

Bedford is from Sturgis, South Dakota, and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 2013.

"I had wanted to be a Peace Corps volunteer since I was a kid and always planned on joining immediately after finishing my bachelor’s degree," says Bedford. "As I worked my way through undergrad, though, it became more and more clear that the kind of work I imagined myself doing 10 or 15 years down the road would require a master’s degree."

That meant Bedford was faced with two unappealing options for himself: either complete his master’s first and then join the Peace Corps, or leave for the Peace Corps and then have to come back to a classroom afterwards. Then he discovered the Peace Corps Master's International (PCMI) program and decided not only that it was the right program for him but that Michigan Tech was the best place to do it.

Peace Corps Master's International

"Tech’s program is one of the oldest, the largest, and, to my mind at least, far and away the best," Bedford says. "The faculty has experience doing just the kind of international development work that I hope to do myself. That Tech is a small technical school so much like my alma mater is just icing on the cake."

Michigan Tech offers PCMI programs in 10 departments. PCMI students combine a master’s degree with Peace Corps service. Michigan Tech has more students actively serving in the Peace Corps than any other campus in the country, and Tech students have served in 52 countries around the world.*

For his first three months in the Kyrgyz Republic, Bedford lived with a host family to learn the language and integrate into the local culture. Bedford found that language is his largest challenge. "I’m sure that language will be challenge for the duration of my service," he says, "but I’m always working on it, and it gets better every day."

After the introductory period, he was sworn into service and began his community work, which he’ll be doing for two years. He is now a health extension volunteer, living and working in the community to raise awareness about the need for health education. Along with community leaders and peer educators, Bedford teaches families and youth about basic nutrition and sanitation, prevention of noncommunicable diseases, reproductive health, and prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Peace Corps Goals

Bedford hopes to accomplish the Peace Corps’ three goals while overseas:

1)    To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
2)    To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
3)    To promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

He wants to be a part of helping communities recognize their own ability to maintain and develop water distribution infrastructure, much of which has been largely neglected since the republic’s independence from the Soviet Union.

"The Kyrgyz people are extremely capable, and I’m certain that with the right resources and technical knowledge, there is no positive change that they can’t make," says Bedford.

He also wants to show that as an American he really isn’t all that different from them, and he wants to share with his friends and family back home that the people in the Kyrgyz Republic are similar to them too.

"The most rewarding moments are those spent connecting with the people in my community," Bedford says. "It’s quite a thing to find common ground with someone whose background -- culturally, geographically, linguistically -- is so radically different from my own and then to build a friendship upon it."

After the Peace Corps, Bedford hopes to work on small-scale civil projects in little towns and help create real, tangible, positive change in those communities.

* Editor's Note: Click here to learn more about Michigan Tech's Peace Corps Master's International Programs.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Senior citizens enjoy holiday food, music at Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Christmas dinner in Hancock

Senior citizens enjoy musical entertainment during the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Christmas meal at the Church of the Resurrection in Hancock. The singers are members of the Michigan Tech Concert Choir, led by Jared Anderson. A flute quintet also entertained during the annual event. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Upper Michigan Chapter, hosted holiday meals served by community volunteers for senior citizens on Christmas Day in several Upper Peninsula locations -- including Baraga, Calumet, Copper City, Hancock, Houghton, Marquette, Ontonagon, South Range, and Tapiola.

The seniors who attended the Christmas 2015 dinner at the Church of the Resurrection in Hancock enjoyed a special treat of holiday music provided by members of the Michigan Tech Concert Choir, led by Jared Anderson, and a flute quintet.

"It is a wonderful party, and I made some new friends!" said volunteer Carolyn Peterson of Houghton. 

Volunteers visit with senior citizen guests of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly during the 2015 Christmas Day dinner at the Church of the Resurrection in Hancock. At the table in the foreground volunteer Carolyn Peterson (center in red) chats with one of the guests. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

Community volunteers prepare and serve the meals in addition to setting and decorating tables and, finally, washing the dishes. During the meal volunteers sit with the guests and visit. Each table includes flowers, a tradition from France, where Little Brothers originated.

Little Brothers serves people age 60 and older who are aging without social support. It was founded in Paris, France, in 1946 by Armand Marquiset, a French nobleman who saw the plight of the elderly living in war-ravaged Europe. Armand wanted to help and began by sheltering the homeless elderly and taking meals and clothing to them. The program developed to include friendship, home visits and holiday celebrations for these people who missed the love of family.

"Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is an extraordinary organization which touches the lives not only of elders but also of many, many people in our area who volunteer and donate, making this a caring community," said Hancock resident Susan Burack, who often volunteers for Little Brothers activities.

To learn more about Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly visit their Web site. You can also visit them on Facebook.