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Friday, November 11, 2016

Carnegie Museum to host Erik Lilleskov on "Forest Fungi and the Future" Nov. 15

The Carnegie Museum in Houghton is hosting a 2016-2017 series of Natural History Seminars on "Living in the Woods: The Natural Future of the Keweenaw." Next Tuesday, Nov. 15, Erik Lilleskov, USDA Forest Service, will present "Forest Fungi and the Future." (Photo courtesy Carnegie Museum)

HOUGHTON -- Erik Lilleskov of the USDA Forest Service will present "Forest Fungi and the Future" Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. Refreshments and Introductions will be from 6:30 p.m - 7 p.m., followed by the Lecture and Discussion from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.

"One visible part of fungi can be seen as mushrooms popping up out of soil or rotting wood, but most people know little about what the hidden parts of fungi do for a living, yet they are fascinating, diverse, and paradoxically are central to both forest health and disease," Lilleskov notes. "In my talk I will try to open a window into both the natural history and natural future of fungi in a rapidly changing world."

This event is sponsored by State Wide Real Estate of Houghton.

The December and January seminars will be offered by two professors in Michigan Tech's School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science:

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, Prof. Andrew Storer will present "What are the Threats to Trees in our Natural Future?"

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, Prof. David Flaspohler will present "Birds of the Keweenaw."

FUTURE SPEAKERS (Details to be announced):

Feb. 21, 2017 -- Melissa Hronkin, Algomah Acres Honey House
March 21, 2017 -- Panel Discussion with members of the USDA Forest Service Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science.
April 18, 2017 -- Evan McDonald, Keweenaw Land Trust

The Carnegie Museum is on the corner of Huron nd Montezuma Streets in Historic Downtown Houghton.

Visit the Carnegie Museum Facebook Page.

Inset Photo: Erik Lilleskov. (Photo courtesy Carnegie Museum of Houghton)

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Power of the Sacred Lakota Prayer

Jingle dress dancers praying in front of the road block set up by DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) security. (Photo © and courtesy Barbara With)

By Barbara With
Posted Nov. 5, 2016, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative
Reprinted in part with permission.

STANDING ROCK, N.D. -- It’s been eight months since LaDonna Brave Bull Allard opened her land on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to establish the Sacred Stone Camp as a way to defend her people and their water against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) using sacred Lakota prayers.

Allard is the tribe’s Historic Preservation Officer. In 1863, her great-great-grandmother Nape Hote Win (Mary Big Moccasin) survived the Whitestone Massacre. The camp represents the continuation of her family’s long history of fighting for survival against resource extraction corporations, the Catholic Church, and the US government. But in organizing this resistance, the Lakota Dakota Nakota peoples known collectively as Oceti Sakowin or the Great Sioux Nation, seems to be at the center of an extraordinary moment in time, a perfect storm for an emerging world-wide peace movement.

Since last April, the camp has grown from a handful of Sioux to an expansive community representing over 300 tribes and various nationalities from around the world. It has also gone from a place of celebration to a war zone, complete with LRAD, rubber bullets, mace, snipers, dog attacks, helicopter and plane harassment, percussion bombs, road blocks, illegal arrests, strip searches, destruction of possessions and sacred items, tazers in the face, emotional trauma, and something called an "Active Denial System," a machine that operates like a giant microwave, heating the skin of the targeted human subjects....CLICK HERE to read the rest of this article on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative.

*Author Barbara With is a citizen journalist from La Pointe, Wis., who traveled recently to North Dakota to visit the Standing Rock water protectors. 

State Representative Scott Dianda re-elected to 110th House District seat

LANSING -- Election results at 1 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, according to Upper Michigan Source (WLUC-TV6 in Marquette), report that 110th District State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) has defeated Republican challenger Greg Markkanen 63 percent to 37 percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Dianda received 23,526 votes and Markkanen 14,015 votes.   

Rep. Dianda issued this statement on the election results:

"From Copper Harbor to Crystal Falls and Ironwood to Ishpeming Township, I am humbled by the people of the 110th House District for continuing to put their faith in me as their representative. When I was first elected in 2012, I went down to Lansing to fight for good-paying jobs, deliver a good education to our children, and secure affordable energy rates for families and small businesses. I look forward to continuing that fight in Lansing to build a stronger and more prosperous U.P. that works for everyone. I would like to thank my opponent, Greg Markkanen, for running a clean and respectable campaign. But above all, I want to thank my supporters. This election belongs to all of you. You have entrusted me to represent our U.P. values and I will continue to ensure our voice is heard in Lansing."

Inset photo: State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet). (Photo courtesy Scott Dianda

Monday, November 07, 2016

Congressional Candidate Lon Johnson holds Town Hall in Keweenaw County

By Michele Bourdieu

First District Democratic Congressional Candidate Lon Johnson (center in dark jacket) holds an informal Town Hall discussion at Slim's Café in Mohawk on Oct. 5. Jacqueline Jaaskelainen (in background behind Johnson), Keweenaw County Democratic Party chair, arranged the venue when Johnson expressed his wish to meet with Keweenaw County residents. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
MOHAWK -- In the final weeks of the election campaign, First District Democratic Congressional Candidate Lon Johnson traveled all over the 32 counties in the district holding Town Halls and participating in candidate forums. He made a special trip to the northernmost county -- Keweenaw -- with a Town Hall visit to Slim's Café in Mohawk on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Thanks to the organizing efforts of Keweenaw County Chair Jacqueline Jaaskelainen, Slim's offered their dining room that day to fit the candidate's busy schedule -- following his participation in the Ontonagon Candidate Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and a Wednesday morning Town Hall at Carmelita's in Calumet -- and preceding a Town Hall he held at the Downtowner in Houghton that Wednesday evening.

On Nov. 2, 2016, Lon Johnson posted on his Facebook page this map of his tour of the First District, showing his extensive participation in candidate forums and town hall meetings. (Map courtesy Lon Johnson for Congress)

In an email reply to Keweenaw Now, Brian Spangle, Johnson's campaign manager, confirmed Lon has visited with voters in all 32 counties of the 1st Congressional District.

"On a comparison of the mileage from his home in Kalkaska, it seems that Ironwood / Gogebic County was the furthest he traveled, with Mohawk and Keweenaw being a very close second," Spangle notes. "The great news is we covered everywhere in between Gogebic and Chippewa counties, and from coast to coast (Mason County to Alcona County) in the Lower Peninsula, and left no county unvisited."

The Mohawk event was very informal, allowing participants to ask questions and discuss issues such as fresh water, Social Security, education, renewable energy, tourism and gridlock in Congress.

Johnson began by stating some of his priorities: a better government (not divided, angry and partisan as it is now), a tax code that doesn't continually favor the wealthy, trade deals that work for us, a strong economy along with environmental protection. He noted we should be thinking 10, 20, 30 years into the future.

Lon Johnson and his wife, Julianna Smoot, are pictured here with the 1985 Coachmen RV in which they have traveled all over Michigan's large First Congressional District to attend candidate forums, debates and Town Hall meetings. (Photo courtesy Lon Johnson for Congress)

"We've got to make money here, but we also have to protect our environment," Johnson said. "That means continued sustainable logging and sustainable mining practices, but it also means a renewed effort to protect our Great Lakes. Fresh water is who we are."

Fresh water, Line 5, climate change

Johnson noted the First District has more fresh water than any district in the United States.

Ruth Mohr of Eagle Harbor congratulated Johnson for being concerned about the pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac.

"I'm not opposed to pipelines," Johnson said. "Pipelines are the safest way to move oil. We don't want oil moved on a truck or by train or, heaven forbid, on a boat."

Johnson noted there are smart places to put pipelines but putting pipelines in the Great Lakes is not smart.

"This current pipeline that we're talking about -- Line 5 -- this is a 63-year-old oil pipeline pushing a half a billion barrels a day through the Straits of Mackinac, and it hasn't been independently inspected," Johnson said. It's dangerous. And when you operate in our Great Lakes -- or anywhere on land -- you must be 100 percent transparent. If you're not willing to be transparent you forfeit the right to use our resources."

This pipeline could be shut down at the Straits and propane could still be delivered via Line 5 to the U.P., Johnson added.

Here's a video ad showing Johnson's fight to shut down Line 5 and protect the Great Lakes:

This video shows Lon Johnson speaking about Line 5 at a Town Hall in St. Ignace, near the Straits of Mackinac. (Video courtesy 

Mary Byers of Eagle Harbor said she was glad to hear Johnson is looking years ahead with his concerns, because some local residents are too shortsighted in thinking Lake Superior is here forever.

"With climate change California, Arizona, the whole southwest is coveting our water," Byers noted. "They want it. And if we get the wrong people in Congress we could lose our water."

Johnson said our water is his concern because those Western states have more members of Congress than the Great Lakes states do. Besides working right now on our legal protections, we have a moral responsibility to show the world how to use and protect fresh water, he said.

"We need to create and make the U.P. and northern Michigan the hub for the use and protection of fresh water," Johnson noted.

This means, for example, showing manufacturers, farmers, the military and the energy industry how to use less water and build a better economy.

Byers noted she has met many Republicans who don't believe in climate change and don't see the problem.

"The climate's changing," Johnson said. "The question is can we do something about it, and I believe that we should."

Johnson noted his Republican opponent Jack Bergman, when asked about Line 5 on television, called it a "business decision."

"Protecting our Great Lakes is not a business decision," Johnson said.

Invest in people, not corporations

Johnson also said he wants the U.P. and northern Michigan to be a place where families can stay and succeed.

"Number one we've got to protect what you've already earned -- your Social Security, your Medicare, your V.A. benefits," Johnson said. "There is a real effort in Washington, D.C., to move those benefits of yours -- that you worked a lifetime for -- to private corporations -- to privatize them. I'm opposed to that."

Johnson said thinking years ahead means bringing high speed Internet and mobile telephone service into the whole district, investing in our infrastructure and renewable energy, funding a new Soo Lock and restoring passenger rail service to the area to promote tourism. It means making college affordable and investing in local school districts and making sure they're not privatized.

Johnson said the biggest difference between himself and his opponent Jack Bergman is that he, Johnson, believes in investing in people, our land and the Great Lakes.

"Jack Bergman wants to take basically our tax dollars and send them off to Wall Street in the hopes that it will trickle down and support us. That doesn't work. When you give these massive tax breaks to these corporations -- number one, it doesn't come back to us, and number two, they take the revenue and hide it overseas."

Jacqueline Jaaskelainen, a former teacher, said she was glad to hear Johnson supports public schools, because we have to be committed to investing in public schools to be sure children are being educated. While home schooling can be done correctly, she said, sometimes there are loopholes and the children do not receive the education they need

Gridlock in Congress

Ernest Mooney of Eagle Harbor said he believes the biggest problem in this country -- that stands in the way of education, immigration reform, building infrastructure and more -- is gridlock in Congress -- the inability to compromise.

"In the Congress nobody gets along," Mooney said. "I think what made this country great, at least up to the Civil War, was the ability to compromise and find common ground between people."

During the Oct. 5 Town Hall in Mohawk, Ernest Mooney of Eagle Harbor, left, asks Lon Johnson about gridlock in Congress and what he would do about it. Also pictured are Thomas Renier, second from left, and Gordon Jaaskelainen. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Mooney asked Johnson how he would combat gridlock if elected to Congress.

Johnson said it begins with example and common courtesy, civility, not questioning others' motives.

"When you're an elected officer you have an obligation to serve everyone regardless of what their party is," he said. "We also need to start looking at institutional changes to our political process."

Johnson said the way congressional lines are drawn (according to parties) elected officials have no institutional incentive to compromise -- for fear of losing re-election in a primary.

"We also have to get these billions of dollars of corporate money out of politics," Johnson said.

He noted his admiration for former First District Congressman Bart Stupak, who has endorsed him. Stupak is a good example of compromise, being able to work across party lines, Johnson noted.

Renewable energy

Ruth Mohr told Johnson there seems to be a lot of interest in solar energy locally. She mentioned the Keweenaw Research Center's finding that solar energy is feasible in this area, but the example of some electric companies that have reduced the rewards for net metering on residential solar makes her wonder what the future holds for such efforts to introduce renewable energy sources.

Johnson said people shouldn't be punished for investing in renewable energy. Policies shouldn't go backwards. Renewable energy can create jobs and lessen our dependence on foreign carbon-based energy.

"We need to start investing in renewable energy -- be that bio, geothermal, solar or wind," Johnson said. "Our nation gives an enormous amount of tax breaks to the oil and gas industry. We need to start incentivizing the same for renewable energy."

Mooney commented that the Republicans, as opposed to the Democrats, are pushing for the use of coal, and the coal and oil and gas industries have lots of money. To fight Republicans you have to fight the money they spend on legislatures, he said.

"I think we have to demonstrate to people the advantages of solar and wind," Johnson replied, "and at the same time we've got to start to move resources away from the oil and gas industry and over to solar. We're starting to see more -- as individual consumer demand goes up for it -- private industry will follow."

To a question on wind energy, Johnson said he's in favor of renewable energy, but decisions on what kind of energy and where to put it should be made by the local communities.

After Johnson left to go to his next Town Hall in Houghton, Paul Taipale of Eagle Harbor told Keweenaw Now he was very impressed with the candidate.

"He was at our level, listening carefully and answering the questions directly," Taipale said.

Mary Byers of Eagle Harbor also had a positive reaction.

"He seemed sincere,"  Byers said. "He doesn't talk just to hear himself talk. He was very open to our questions and comments, and he did seem knowledgeable about the issues that voters are concerned about."

To learn more about Lon Johnson's positions on important issues, click here.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Houghton County Democrats volunteer hours to Get Out the Vote

Volunteers at the Houghton County Democratic Party (HCDP) headquarters in Hancock (Mich.) give up hours of their time today, Nov. 6, to participate in the Get Out the Vote effort by making phone calls to likely Democratic voters. Pictured here, from left, are Jan Burkhouse of Torch Lake Township; Judy Endsley of Calumet; Betty Gaff of Dollar Bay; and Janet Gregorich, HCDP vice chair. At right is Nick Wisti, First District Congressional Candidate Lon Johnson's campaign representative. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

By Carol MacLennan

HANCOCK -- Volunteers are at the phones and in the neighborhoods to make sure Democrats get to the polls on Tuesday. Working from this past Friday evening until Tuesday at 8 p.m, about 80 volunteers are staffing over 130 four-hour shifts to get the work done, according to Brian Hoduski, Houghton County Democratic Party chair.

"We know that the last push to get out the vote (GOTV) increases the voter turnout by one to three percent," Hoduski said.

On Sunday, Nov. 6, volunteer John Carpenter, right, reports to  Brian Hoduski, center, Houghton County Democratic Party chair, with his walk list, for the Get Out the Vote campaign. The list, explained Hoduski, identifies voters who don't often vote so volunteers can visit them with information. At left is Curtis Audette, State Rep. Scott Dianda's legislative director, who is discussing election day strategy with Hoduski. "We're just making sure there is no voter intimidation at the polls," Audette said.

In a year like this, one percent can make a big difference. The most recent poll for the First Congressional District puts Democrat Lon Jonson one percent ahead of Republican Jack Bergman in a critical race for the US House of Representatives.

The Democrats are actively calling and door-knocking for the Houghton County Commissioner contested races in County Districts 1, 2 and 5.

One volunteer at the phones noted, "We have a chance to turn around the County Commission Board this year. Our candidate for the second district, Valorie Troesch, has been going door-to-door for over a week to meet constituents."*

Despite a broken wrist, Carol MacLennan, right, author of this article, joins volunteers in the GOTV campaign. Also working at this table is Jan Burkhouse of Torch Lake Township. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Scott Dianda, State Representative for Michigan’s 110th District, has been out talking to citizens for several days on his own campaign and assisting Lon Johnson in his campaign for Congress and the local Democrats for County Commissioner seats.

*Editor's Note: Click here for our article on the Sept. 29, 2016, League of Women Voters of the Copper Country Candidate Forum for Houghton County candidates, including those in the contested races for County Commissioner. See also our article on County Commissioner Candidate Valorie Troesch's Oct. 29th "Meet and Greet" event in Franklin Township.