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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Italian Hall Memorial committee seeks donations; Jim's Pizza in Calumet to match $5,000 through May 2017

This image depicts the future Italian Hall Memorial (inset at left), which will list -- engraved on black granite -- the names and ages of the victims of the 1913 Italian Hall disaster in Calumet. Next fall the memorial will be added to the park on the site of the original Italian Hall at 7th and Elm streets in Calumet. The arch from the Italian Hall now marks the site. (Image courtesy Mike Lahti)

CALUMET -- A new Italian Hall Memorial is slated to be installed in the fall of 2017 at the present Italian Hall site at 7th and Elm streets in Calumet. An Italian Hall Memorial committee of volunteers is now raising funds for the black granite monument, on which the names and ages of the 73 victims of the Christmas Eve 1913 tragedy, many in family groupings, will be engraved.

The Italian Hall Memorial will honor the memory of the victims, mostly children, who were crushed to death in the stairwell of the Italian Hall when someone yelled "Fire" -- a false alarm -- during a Dec. 24, 1913, Christmas Party for the children of striking miners.

Memorial to be funded through donations

Mike Lahti, Italian Hall Memorial committee chairperson, said the goal of the fundraiser is to raise $30,000 to finance the memorial and its installation on the site, which is a property of Calumet Village, plus other site work. So far the committee has raised about $8,000 toward the goal.

"The Calumet Village Council has been very supportive in helping us get the donations we need in order to pay for the project," Lahti said. 

Poster announcing Jim's Pizza offer to match donations up to $5,000 towards the Italian Hall Memorial through May 2017. UPDATE: Jim's Pizza will continue to match donations through June! (Poster courtesy Marc Norton, Copper Island Printing)

UPDATE: Jim's Pizza in Calumet is offering to match up to $5,000 in donations toward the monument through JUNE 2017. Donors may drop their contributions in the box at Jim's Pizza or mail them to the Village of Calumet, 340 6th St., Calumet, MI 49913.

Donation checks are to be made payable to the Village of Calumet - the Italian Hall Memorial fund. The contributions are tax deductible.

Finlandia University's Bachelor of Fine Arts Diploma Works Exhibition opens

Art Therapy Capstone by Laurin LaBonte. (Photos courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- Finlandia University’s International School of Art and Design (ISAD) 2017 Bachelor of Fine Arts Diploma Works Exhibition is now being displayed through June 2, 2017, at the Finlandia University Gallery, located in the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.

A reception for the artists will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Apr. 29, at the gallery. The artists will be introduced at 7:15 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Artwork by Jordanne Bowen.

The artworks featured in the annual Diploma Works Exhibit represent the final body of student work for each graduating bachelor of fine arts (BFA) student. The works include intensive research projects, series of individual artworks, and design prototypes. A variety of media is represented, including drawing, painting, sculpture, interior design, textile design and graphic design.

Artwork by Kelsey Dowd.

The 2017 International School of Art and Design graduating seniors are Jordanne Bowen and Kelsey Dowd.  Art therapy research by Laurin LaBonte is also on display.

Please call 906-487-7500 for more information. Learn more about this exhibit, other exhibits and the Finlandia University Gallery in general by visiting

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Public invited to commemorate Workers' Memorial Day Apr. 28 in Calumet

Poster for Workers' Memorial Service to be held Friday, Apr. 28, in Calumet.

CALUMET -- On April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers' Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and to renew the fight for safe jobs.

A Workers' Memorial Service and Community Gathering will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28, near the Italian Hall Memorial at 7th and Elm streets in Calumet. The public is invited to attend a short ceremony to commemorate the workers and children who died in the Italian Hall Tragedy of 1913 and to draw inspiration from the brave Copper Country workers who stood up for workers' rights and safety in the workplace. All are welcome!

Speakers will include the following:

Welcome by Katie Barglind, U.P. Regional Labor Federation

Invocation by Melinda Quivik, Portage Lake United Church

Bill Wanhala, Western UP Community Labor Council

Joanne Thomas, author of the book Across a Century: Annie of Red Jacket

(Laying Flowers)

Closing by Scott Dianda, State Representative, 110th District

If anyone knows how to play the guitar or can sing, a song at the end of the memorial would be welcome. For more information contact Katie Barglind at or call her at 906-282-1390.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sen. Debbie Stabenow learns about Michigan Tech's Great Lakes research during visit to GLRC

By Michele Bourdieu

During her April 1, 2017, visit to Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) is interviewed by local media. On display for the Senator, in the background, is Michigan Tech's buoy for the Straits of Mackinac.

HOUGHTON -- U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) heard from Michigan Tech faculty and students about projects related to the Great Lakes during her April 1, 2017, visit to the university's Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) in Houghton.

Several of the projects have received funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), including work on invasive species and algal blooms in the lakes, removal of the Gay stamp sand threatening fish in Lake Superior, and the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) that includes research buoys in the Great Lakes. 

During the Senator's visit she first heard a presentation from Amy Marcarelli, Michigan Tech associate professor of biological sciences concerning research on invasive species and algal blooms in the Great Lakes and the importance of the GLRI in funding such projects. Here is a video excerpt from Prof. Marcarelli's presentation:

During Sen. Debbie Stabenow's Apr. 1 visit to the Great Lakes Research Center, Amy Marcarelli, Michigan Tech associate professor of biological sciences, speaks about mapping and controlling algal blooms and invasive species such as Eurasian Watermilfoil in the Great Lakes. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Senator Stabenow expressed her own concern that GLRI funding would be cut dramatically by this administration.

Following Marcarelli's presentation, Sen. Debbie Stabenow comments on the importance of GLRI (Great Lakes Restoration Initiative) funding for Great Lakes scientific projects. Seated next to her is Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz.

Charles Kerfoot, Michigan Tech professor in biological sciences and director of the Lake Superior Ecosystem Research Center, presented an update on the Gay Stamp Sand and the U.S. Army Corps project to dredge the stamp sand (old mining waste) that has migrated into Lake Superior, threatening especially the Native American fishery at Buffalo Reef on the east side of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Here are some excerpts from his presentation:

During Sen. Debbie Stabenow's visit, Michigan Tech Professor Charles Kerfoot explains how researchers have used Lidar (laser detection) technology to detect the migration of millions of tons of stamp sand from the former mining areas near Gay, Mich., into Lake Superior. Click on YouTube icon for larger screen.

Prof. Kerfoot described negative biological and economic impacts of stamp sand destroying benthos and fish at Buffalo Reef, the GLNPO (Great Lakes National Program Office)-funded U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to dredge the stamp sand (using a vacuum method) and the need for funding to support continued Michigan Tech research to support that project.*

Prof. Kerfoot points out how the stamp sand kills the benthos and fish and notes projected economic losses for local tribes that depend on the fishery. He also explains how the stamp sand is moving across the Big Traverse seawall into the Traverse River. Click on YouTube icon for bigger screen.

Guy Meadows, Great Lakes Research Center director, presented an update for the Senator on the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS), which includes Michigan Tech's buoys in the Great Lakes:

GLRC Director Guy Meadows speaks about the valuable information gathered through the Great Lakes buoys and the usefulness of Michigan Tech's Web site He also notes the fact that GLOS, which includes eight Great Lakes states, receives less funding than other regional observing systems.**

Finally, the Senator learned about Michigan Tech's research program for developing autonomous vehicles.

Sen. Stabenow hears from Brent Burns, director of industry and government relations for Michigan Tech; Michigan Tech Prof. Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering; and Jeremy Bos, Michigan Tech assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, who will be the new faculty advisor for the university's Robotic Systems Enterprise program. Sen. Stabenow adds her own comments, based on her experience, on the need to be aware of the human side of autonomous vehicles -- how to make the person in the car feel comfortable -- as well as the technology.

Cameron Burke, Michigan Tech student in computer engineering, said he was excited to be working with the robotics program and autonomous vehicles and would probably focus on these in graduate school in the future. For example, he noted some of the experiments include sending the vehicles out into the snow or rain to determine how they could be safer than a regular car.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow meets with Michigan Tech students during her visit to the Great Lakes Research Center on April 1, 2017. Students pictured with the Senator are, from left, Ryan Van Goethem, graduate student in biological sciences; Carmen Leguizamon, graduate student in biological sciences; Mitchell Anderson, computer engineering; Jennifer Ling, electrical engineering; Jacob Prins, mechanical engineering; and Cameron Burke, electrical and computer engineering. In the foreground is a Clearpath Husky, an autonomous, battery-operated ground unit created by students working on autonomous vehicle research. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

"A lot more testing has to be done," Burke said.***

Following the presentations, Sen. Stabenow offered some closing remarks:

Sen. Stabenow comments on the need to educate the public on protecting the Great Lakes and expresses her appreciation for the research being done at Michigan Tech.

Keweenaw Now had the opportunity to ask the Senator about her views on climate change and what could be done about the present administration's plans to silence the Environmental Protection Agency and de-fund environmental projects.

She agreed citizens need to unite and "push back" against the Republicans' anti-environment agenda. The Senator said she was supportive of the March for Science (which occurred this past weekend) and the People's Climate March scheduled for April 29 and planned to participate in them.

GLRC Director Guy Meadows told Keweenaw Now he was happy the Senator was able to visit the GLRC. He noted the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a very important source of funding, especially for remediating damage to the lakes and protecting them.

GLRC Director Guy Meadows chats with Sen. Debbie Stabenow following the presentations.

"We greatly appreciate how hard Senator Stabenow works for the Great Lakes," Meadows said.


* Click here to read about the Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

** The buoy was in the GLRC on Apr. 1 because the buoys come out of the water for winter in late fall so they won't be damaged by ice. They are put back in the spring. See our Sept. 13, 2015, article, "Michigan Tech/Enbridge buoy deployed in Mackinac Straits; Gov. Snyder visits GLRC."

*** Michigan Tech is one of eight universities selected to participate in a new collegiate competition -- AutoDrive Challenge, a three-year project to design, build and test a fully autonomous vehicle. See the April 12, 2017, article, "Look, Ma, No Driver: The AutoDrive Challenge," by Allison Mills, in the Michigan Tech News.