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, January 15, 2016

Jazz Cabaret: Backstage at the Rozsa is Jan. 15, 16

Nick Black of Momentum, a 9-piece horn band that will play during the Jazz Cabaret: Backstage at the Rozsa Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15, 16. (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center)

HOUGHTON -- Time for a jazz check-up?  Dr. Mike’s Rx for indoor winter activities = Jazz: Creative, fresh, interactive, soothing, food for the soul, and nourishment for the ears. Join Jazz Studies Program Director Mike Irish and the Michigan Tech Jazz ensembles for two nights of Jazz Cabaret: Backstage at the Rozsa at 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday nights, Jan. 15-16.

Jazz Cabaret: Backstage at the Rozsa will administer the basic nutrients of swing, bebop, Latin, funk, soul, blues, and contemporary to heal anything that ails you.  Let these in-house musicians make your evening memorable, enjoyable and enriching. The Rozsa stage becomes a pop-up jazz club, and the intimate club atmosphere is a perfect setting for the "jazz-med staff," including Jaztec: A mainstream quintet that will stimulate all of your vital signs; Momentum: A 9-piece horn band providing the latest in soul treatments; and the Dan Fuhrman Trio:  They will get your blood pumping with adventurous takes on great jazz standards.

Tickets for Jazz Cabaret: Backstage at the Rozsa are on sale now: $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets for Backstage at the Rozsa are limited, please order tickets early! Tickets are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, 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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Green Lecture Series to present Betsy Hartmann lecture on population, environment Jan. 14

Author and researcher Betsy Hartmann will speak on population and environment at the Green Lecture Thursday, Jan. 14, at Michigan Tech. (Photo courtesy Green Lecture Series)

HOUGHTON -- The Green Lecture Series will present "Rethinking the Links Between Population and Environment: Toward a More Hopeful Future" from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, in B002 Hesterberg Hall and Forestry Atrium, in Michigan Tech's Forestry Building.

This event is free and open to the public.

Presenter Betsy Hartmann is professor emerita of development studies and senior policy analyst of the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her research, writing, teaching, and lecturing focuses on the intersections between population, migration, environment and security issues. She is widely published in popular, policy, and scholarly venues. She is the author of Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control and two political thrillers about the Far Right, The Truth about Fire, set in the Copper Country, and Deadly Election. She is the co-author of A Quiet Violence: View from a Bangladesh Village and co-editor of the anthology Making Threats: Biofears and Environmental Anxieties.

In spring 2015, Betsy was a Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Chair in India where she lectured and did research on Indian and international population policy. She has consulted for the United Nations Environment Program and UN Women, and is the recipient of a 2012 Mesa Refuge Writing Residency in Point Reyes, Calif., to write about climate change. A long-standing activist in the international women’s health movement, she is known nationally and internationally for her work to challenge and reform population policy and promote reproductive and environmental justice. She received her B.A. magna cum laude in South Asian Studies from Yale University and her Ph.D. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

Betsy lives in Amherst, Mass., where she is currently completing a book on apocalyptic thinking in the United States, provisionally titled The America Syndrome: Apocalypse and the Anxieties of Empire. The book will be published in Spring 2017 by Seven Stories Press in New York.

The event is sponsored by the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the Keweenaw Land Trust, and Michigan Tech's Department of Social Sciences.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Updated: Michigan Tech, NMU, Finlandia to commemorate Martin Luther King Day with special events

Michigan Tech University will commemorate Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Jan. 18, with a banquet and readings in local schools. Northern Michigan University will honor King with a March for Equality, presentations and service projects. Finlandia students will volunteer for community service. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion)

HOUGHTON, MARQUETTE --  While university classes are cancelled for Martin Luther King Day -- the federal holiday marking King’s birthday -- on Monday, Jan. 18, Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan universities will hold community events, including guest speakers, honoring the late civil rights leader. Finlandia students will volunteer for community service and attend an educational panel.

Michigan Tech to sponsor school readings, MLK Banquet

During the school day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) on Monday, Jan. 18, Michigan Tech students, faculty, staff and community members will read books about the life and legacy of Dr. King to local school children. Houghton Elementary, Barkell Elemetary (Hancock) and TR Davis Elementary (Dollar Bay) are participating. 

Michigan Tech's 27th Annual MLK Banquet will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ball Room. The event, open to the public with free reservations, features a buffet dinner, musical performances from Tech's Momentum Jazz band, spoken word poetry and a keynote address from William P. Jones, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of the books The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights and The Tribe of Black Ulysses: African American Lumber Workers in the Jim Crow South.

Following the banquet, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the MUB Ballroom, there will be "Interfaith Insights and Prayers for a Beloved Community." The public is invited to join a group reading of different interfaith passages of peace. The event is held by the Cooperative Campus Ministry.

Tickets for the banquet are free and available by making an online reservation here.

NMU to mark MLK Day with March for Equality, service projects, more ...

At Northern Michigan University (NMU) in Marquette on Monday, Jan. 18,  an MLK March for Equality will begin at noon at the Payne/Halverson lobby and proceed to the Peter White Lounge of the University Center, where there will be food and speakers addressing race and diversity. Following the presentations, participants will engage in service projects, including book readings at the U.P. Children’s Museum and volunteering at the Salvation Army. In the Peter White Lounge, some will make blankets and knitted items that will be distributed to community organizations such as the Women’s Center, Harbor House and Room at the Inn. Others will make cards for veterans.

Author and motivational speaker Antoine Moss, known as the "Man of Inspiration," will deliver the keynote presentation at NMU at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, in the Cadillac/Brule Rooms of the University Center. Admission is free. Moss will address "Three Steps to Becoming Unstoppable with Your Purpose and Mission in Life." He will combine his passion and personal stories with the dreams and goals set forth by Martin Luther King Jr. Moss is the author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, based on his professional experience from internships with NASA, the FBI and the U.S. Congress. More recently, he partnered with Les Brown, George Fraser and other influential leaders to write an Amazon No. 1 bestseller, Mission Unstoppable: Extraordinary Stories of Failure’s Blessings.

NMU’s 20th annual Drag Show will culminate the week of equality at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, in Vandament Arena. Admission is free for NMU students and $5 for others. There is no reserved seating. NMU’s revitalized student group, OUTlook, will host the event.

For more information, contact the NMU Multicultural Education and Resource Center at 906-227-1554, or the NMU Volunteer Center at 906-227-2466.

Update: Finlandia students to offer community service on MLK Day

On Monday, Jan. 18, Finlandia University students will not have classes; but Finlandia student volunteers will be conducting community service at churches, non-profits, and schools in Hancock, Houghton, Chassell and Calumet. Tasks range from chopping wood for local elders to hanging elementary student art displays.

After an 11 a.m. brunch in the Finlandia Café, at noon students will board buses that will take them to various community service sites. They will return to campus for a snack in the Finnish American Heritage Center at 2:45 p.m., followed at 3 p.m. by an educational panel featuring six Finlandia faculty members who will examine the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr., through history, philosophy, religion, art, and literature.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Save the Wild U.P.: MDEQ needs real leadership in 2016

MARQUETTE -- Grassroots environmental group Save the Wild U.P. (SWUP) is calling on Governor Snyder to appoint an individual with proven experience in environmental protection to fill the leadership vacuum at Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), following Director Dan Wyant’s resignation. Wyant resigned, along with a top MDEQ public relations staffer, after a State Task Force blamed MDEQ for Flint’s water quality crisis.

"This situation is urgent and new leadership is critical," said Alexandra Maxwell, SWUP’s executive director. "The MDEQ needs a leader with an environmental track record, not a career administrator or an industry insider. The clock is ticking on a number of environmental permits currently under review by the MDEQ -- including a mine permit application for what could be Upper Michigan’s second sulfide mine."*

Maxwell added that the lack of MDEQ leadership means the task of defending clean water and wild places falls to grassroots organizations such as Save the Wild U.P., FOLK (Friends of the Land of Keweenaw), Front 40, and Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

In the case of the Flint crisis, that task has fallen to ordinary citizens whose lives and health depend on their water supply, noted Kathleen Heideman, SWUP president.

"At the highest level, MDEQ leaders have repeatedly failed to protect water quality in Michigan. The MDEQ can’t go on treating our priceless rivers like sewer pipes, useful only for flushing away wastewater discharges," Heideman said. "I applaud the concerned citizens in Flint who spoke out in order to sound the alarm about their contaminated water -- that’s grassroots activism. These ordinary citizens are truly heroes. It’s clear that the EPA only got involved in Flint because of citizen efforts, while the DEQ tried to cover up the problem."

Steve Garske, SWUP board member, said the Governor needs to do more than apologize.

"Michigan visitors, residents, and wildlife alike depend on clean water -- for everything from habitats to recreation to drinking water," Garske said. "The Governor has apologized for the DEQ’s failure to ensure that the city of Flint had a safe water supply, for disregarding the concerns of local citizens and denying there was a problem. Now we hope he gets serious about reorganizing the MDEQ so that it works for the people of this state, instead of benefiting the big corporate polluters they’re supposed to be regulating."

According to Jeffery Loman, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community tribal member and former federal oil regulator, Dan Wyant was hand-picked as MDEQ director for the very purpose of benefiting industry at the sake of the environment.

"Wyant was totally incapable of managing the agency," Loman said. "Snyder needs to be held accountable for appointing Wyant, just as he should now be held accountable for the egregious mismanagement of Flint’s water quality crisis."**

SWUP's Maxwell summed it up: "Our message to Governor Snyder is simple," she said. "In 2016, Michigan deserves real environmental leadership."

UPDATE: In a recent email, Gene Champagne of Concerned Citizens of Big Bay told Keweenaw Now that experience with the permitting process for the Eagle Mine has made him aware of the need for house cleaning in the upper echelons of state government and the MDEQ.

"The 'Flint Water Crisis' does not surprise people here in the UP who have witnessed first hand the current culture, as imposed by upper management, the MDEQ, our legislature, and our governor," Champagne said. "Those who have followed the permitting process for the Humboldt Mill and especially Eagle Mine have witnessed data manipulation and non-compliance for developing and enforcing the law and rules set forth in Part 632 of our state's mining laws. Perhaps now those with the authority to do so will take a serious look at what has already been presented to them, both in Flint and the UP, and clean house at the MDEQ. The citizens of this state need to know that MDEQ is there to protect them and the environment. Currently the DEQ makes a mockery of the permitting process to the benefit of the applicant at the expense of our children and grandchildren. My heart goes out to the residents, and especially the children, of Flint. I also feel for those at the MDEQ who are trying to do a good job, only to be overturned and given orders from the upper echelons."

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 contact or call (906) 662-9987. Get involved with SWUP’s work at on Facebook at or on Twitter @savethewildup.

Editor's Notes:

* See "Environmentalists criticize proposed open-pit sulfide mine near Menominee River; MDEQ to hold Public Hearing Jan. 5," posted by Keweenaw Now on Jan. 4, 2016.

** See a video from Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show on Dec. 19, 2015: "Flint toxic water tragedy points directly to Michigan Gov. Snyder." 
See also this excellent article on Truth Out: "Brain Damage: Children Suffer the Consequences of Anti-Regulation in Michigan."

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Letter: Support curbside recycling efforts

By David Hall, member,
Copper Country Recycling Initiative

To Keweenaw Now:

Thanks for the article about recycling here in Houghton County.* This region -- for too many years -- has been far behind the curve regarding recycling. We say we love this place, but DO we? Here on the Keweenaw Peninsula we recycle a paltry 5 percent of our waste stream while the national average is 34 percent. Some cities in the USA are approaching a 75 percent recycling rate!

A decent curbside recycling service removes about 50 percent of the volume of our waste stream now going to the landfill, thereby DOUBLING its lifespan! Each 6-10 acre "Cell" in OUR landfill costs 3.5 - 4 million dollars to build and a new one must be built every 7 years or so. When a Landfill Cell is full it must be monitored for many decades into the future for toxic waste and pollutants they inevitably create. This future cost is very expensive as well. We can easily do better than we are currently doing! It is a political choice to be wasteful and not recycle. Let's change this scenario!

Houghton and Hancock are renegotiating their Waste Collection contracts this spring, and our city councils have an opportunity to include a curbside recycling service for every household in both cities within these multi-year contracts.

It is great that Hancock has a curbside recycling system in place, and those who worked many years ago to make it happen should be thanked for their hard work. The City Council should be thanked for considering a modern recycling program in their future waste hauling contracts, one that is more comprehensive.

Hancock's system will not change unless they want to have a private recycler; e.g., one Wisconsin company would distribute two bins to every household, one for garbage and one for all recyclables, and the recycling would be collected bi-weekly most likely. If you read the MTU report by Richelle Winkler's class, the cost of such a program may actually cost LESS than Hancock is paying now and it would collect a lot more recycling than does the current program where most residents do not use it and the recycling rate is poor.** 

Currently, all of the recycling collected in Hancock (and Houghton too) is trucked to a company in Wisconsin, and Hancock PAYS $70/ton to give it to them.

We are hoping for a more REGIONAL scale for the recycling system with both Hancock and Houghton joining in a good system involving every household. We feel if such a system is in place it can only grow to neighboring localities. Recycling is essentially a mining operation, and the greater the concentration of resources the more viable it is economically. It is an economy of scale.

I urge all of you who wish to have a recycling program here to write or call your City Council members and express your support for a CURBSIDE RECYCLING SERVICE to be included in the upcoming contracts. You must act now if you wish to enact change. Our elected officials need to know they have public support for a recycling program, one that is long overdue. This contact information is listed below. Your call or letter WILL make a difference. Thanks for taking action.

David Hall

* See "Michigan Tech students publish report on waste management, recycling in Houghton, Hancock, Michigan Tech."

** See pp. 38-40 of the report, "Waste and Recycling Programs in Hancock and Houghton, Michigan, and Michigan Technological University."


City of Houghton
616 Sheldon Ave.
Houghton, MI 49931
City Manager: Eric Waara

City of Hancock City Hall
399 Quincy Street
Hancock, MI 49930
906-482-2720 [phone]
906-482-7910 [FAX]
City Manager: Glenn Anderson
cell: 906-458-9101

(Inset photo: David Hall. Photo courtesy David Hall)