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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Local Finns to host Juhannus Mid-Summer Festival in Askel, Hancock, Toivola, Bruce Crossing June 23-25

Juhannus poster courtesy Finlandia University.

HANCOCK -- The Finns of the Copper Country will host the Juhannus Mid-Summer Festival June 23, 24 and 25 -- a celebration of Finnishness and community -- featuring live music, Finnish food, an expanded Tori market, a music camp, plays, dances, a traveling sauna and more. Juhannus '17 is a celebration of the Finnish American presence in the Copper Country in the context of the Republic of Finland's Centennial.

Events will take place in four communities: Askel, Hancock, Toivola and Bruce Crossing. All are welcome.

Here is the schedule:*

Friday, June 23: Annual Hanka Heritage Day (moved from August to June) will take place at the Hanka Finnish Homestead Museum in Askel: Celebrating Finnish farm life
        1 p.m. - 5 p.m. -- Museum open with docents, enactors and farm animals
        1 p.m. - 5 p.m. -- The Traveling Sauna (Finland 100 USA)
        1-p.m. - 5 p.m. -- Live music performance: Ameriikan Poijat and others
        1 p.m. - 5 p.m. -- Representatives from the World’s Largest Greeting Card project on site, collecting signatures
        1 p.m.- 3 p.m. -- Finnish Folk Music Camp class: Arto Järvelä at the caretaker’s cottage
        1 p.m. - 3 p.m. -- Finnish American log buildings lecture by Frank Eld at the horse barn
        3 p.m. -- Flag raising, with remarks by Finland’s Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi
        4 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. -- Kivajat Dancers perform
        5 p.m. - 8 p.m. -- Dance on site with a traditional Finnish tanssilava (outdoor dance floor)

Saturday, June 24 -- Finnish American Heritage Center/Finlandia University, Hancock:
Celebrating bonds between Finland and the U.S. -- Old and New
       9 a.m. -10:30 a.m. -- "Topics in Modern Finnish Genealogy" by Greg Isola – Chapel of St. Matthew
       Midsummer pole (Juhannussalko) dedication
      10 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- The Traveling Sauna
      10 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- Outdoor Tori (Quincy Green), including Tori + art fair, and indoor Finnish Tori (Finnish American Heritage Center’s Martha Wiljanen Hall)
      10 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- Representatives from the World’s Largest Greeting Card project on site, collecting signatures
     11 a.m. -- Flag raising, and remarks from Ambassador Kauppi
     11 a.m. - 1 p.m. -- Music by Ameriikan Poijat and others w/ short performance by Kivajat Dancers
     1 p.m. - 3 p.m. -- Finnish Folk Music Camp class, Chapel, upstairs: Arto Järvelä
     1 p.m. - 3 p.m. -- "A History of the Quincy Hill Scandinavian Church," by Greg Isola, Chapel, downstairs
    4 p.m. -- Tammy Santti-Kero art reception, Community Arts Center. See right-hand column.

Saturday, June 24 -- Agate Beach, Toivola: Celebrating the ancient traditions of Juhannus and the 125th anniversary of the community’s settlement
        1 p.m. -- Registration for Toivola homecoming participants
        1:30 p.m. -- Welcome by 125th anniversary celebration committee
        2:30 p.m. -- Original play "Stories of Oar" by Kris Kyrö
        3:30 p.m. -- Group photo of Toivola 125th anniversary participants
        4 p.m. -- Log building preservation lecture by Frank Eld at Agate Beach Hall
        4 p.m. -- Supper w/food vendors
        6 p.m. -- Raising of Finnish and American flags; greetings by Ambassador Kauppi
        6 p.m. - 10 p.m. -- Traveling Sauna on site
        6 p.m. - 10 p.m. -- Representatives from the World’s Largest Greeting Card project on site, collecting signatures
        6:15 p.m. -- Original play "Stories of Oar" by Kris Kyrö
        7 p.m. - 10 p.m. -- Dance with Ameriikan Poijat and others (Kivajat to perform during intermissions)
        9 p.m. -- Lighting of the Juhannus kokko

Sunday, June 25 -- Settlers’ Co-Op Centennial, Bruce Crossing: Celebrating Finnish American Co-operatives
        1 p.m. - 4 p.m. -- Live music at Settlers' Co-op
        1 p.m. - 6 p.m. -- Traveling Sauna on site
        1 p.m. - 6 p.m. -- Representatives from the World’s Largest Greeting Card project on site, collecting signatures
        3 p.m. -- Kivajat performance
        3:30 p.m. -- Dedication of Heritage Wall
        4 p.m. -- World premiere of Kristin Ojaniemi’s documentary of the Settlers’ Co-Op at VFW Hall
        6 p.m. -- Dance at VFW Hall

* All events subject to change.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hancock City Council to hold Public Hearing including White Street preceding June 21 meeting

These one-way signs at the corner of White Street and U.S. 41 in Hancock are intended to warn motorists the street is for upbound traffic only, with the exception of bicycles. The bike lane (lower left in photo) was added last summer to allow cyclists to ride downhill on White Street. (June 19, 2017, photo by Keweenaw Now)

HANCOCK -- The question of whether White Street in Hancock should continue to be one-way going uphill from downtown Hancock to U.S. 41, according to the City Council decision in 2014, or return to a two-way street will be discussed at a Public Hearing at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday, June 21, preceding the monthly City Council meeting in the Council Chambers, 399 Quincy Street, Hancock.

The no-right-turn sign (upper left in photo) above U.S. 41 warns northbound traffic not to turn down White Street now that it is one way. (June 19, 2017, photo by Keweenaw Now)

Three years ago, in 2014, the Hancock City Council approved making White Street from Reservation Street to N. Lincoln Dr. (US 41) one-way upbound only. The Council made its decision after several residents supported the one-way upbound for safety reasons.*

Prior to the 2014 decision, White Street had 24-hour vehicle counts of 2,339 downbound and 3,356 upbound for a total of 5,694 vehicles. In 2015, the 24-hour vehicle count on the upbound lane was 4,825 -- an increase of 43 percent over the prior upbound lane count. The City estimates that if White Street was reopened to two-way traffic, there would be a 24-hour vehicle count of between 7,325 and 8,000 vehicles. Another addition to White Street is the bike lane marked for downbound bicycles, which are allowed despite the one-way upbound for vehicle traffic.**

This photo, taken in 2014 at the corner of White Street and US 41, shows traffic barrels and barriers that were set up to prevent cars from turning downhill on White Street, which is now one-way going up from downtown Hancock. Cars going up the hill, like those pictured here, can still turn left or right on US 41 (North Lincoln Ave.). Eventually motorists got used to the one-way street, and improved signs replaced the barriers. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Oral and written comments are welcomed.

The Council will discuss and consider White Street options during the New Business part of the meeting.

In addition to the question on White Street, these two issues will also be a part of the Public Hearing:
  • Public Hearing on FY 17/18 Fiscal Year Budget with $7,958,150 in revenue and $7,441,347 in expenses.
  • MEDC Grant # MSC-215003-CDF Close out grant for Vollwerth’s Expansion Grant.
The Council will also welcome John Haeussler as At-Large City Council member for a term ending in November 2018.

Editor's Notes:

* See our June 22, 2014, article, "Hancock City Council approves one-way street changes."

** See our Aug. 30, 2016, article, "Hancock bike lane on White St. allows cyclists to ride against one-way motorized traffic."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Portage Lake District Library to host Houghton County Democratic Party workshop on running for local office June 19

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host the Houghton County Democratic Party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, June 19, for "A Primer on Running for Local Office: Getting You to 'Yes.'"

This workshop will be lead by Valorie Troesch and will address the truths and myths about what it takes to run for local office. Participants will learn what the local elective and appointed positions are and what qualifications are required for each position, how to get on the ballot, how to prepare to run for local office, how to run a winning campaign, and what resources are available to support candidates. People who have run for local office, including Troesch, will share their experiences.

Valorie Troesch waves to supporters during a local parade last summer, when she first ran for Houghton County Commissioner. Troesch, an active member of the Houghton County Democratic Party, said she may run for this same office again. She plans to share her experiences with citizens interested in running for local office at a workshop on Monday, June 19, at the Portage Lake District Library. (Keweenaw Now file photo courtesy Valorie Troesch)

"We Democrats work hard to advocate for values and policies that reflect who we are and that promise better lives for the people in our community," Troesch commented. "Too often, however, local elective offices go unchallenged by Democrats because the prospect of running for office is so daunting. If you have ever considered putting your hat in the ring, this workshop is for you!"

There is no cost to attend, and light refreshments will be served. Those who are interested in participating may contact Troesch at

All library events and programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information please call the library at 482-4570.