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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Guest article: Line 5 under Mackinac Straits poses dire risk to Great Lakes waters

By Zoe Person*

Zoe Person, the author of this article, is pictured here with her friend Nathan ("Nate") Frischkorn at the Sept. 2, 2017, Pipe Out Paddle Protest in Mackinaw City against Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. Both are majoring in environmental studies at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. In addition to joining protesters on the beach during the kayak / canoe launch, Nathan and Zoe led a protest march through Mackinaw City that afternoon. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

Line 5 poses a dire risk to the Straits, to the Great Lakes region, to the largest surface freshwater system on earth, to the drinking water for 40 million people, to life -- and it continues to run unabated. It needs to be decommissioned immediately, before it inevitably ruptures and poisons our Great Lakes.

Burdened by the increased pressure of pumping an additional 541,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands crude oil per day, it will leak toxic spills potentially more devastating than those experienced in Kalamazoo. The continued use of this pipeline offers us nothing but the foreseeable and tragic destruction of our water and lives by a completely unaccountable oil and gas industry for the sake of their private profit. It is essential for us to remember that water is alive and we are that water. We can’t live without clean water, breathable air, and a healthy land base. We need to transition to sustainable energy independence.

I’m grateful for the protest organizers and everyone who convened. Participating was inspiring and exciting. I’m definitely glad I went. I listened to some heart-rending stories of resistance, especially from a man who lives next to frack sand mines and from a woman with a basket of fragrant sweet grass who was at Standing Rock. We raised awareness and incited conversation among those we passed while marching in protest, dancing, drumming, and light brigading. The locals were supportive.

Speakers at the press conference shared vital information. Two 20" pipelines designed to last for 50 years were put under the Straits in 1953. Line 5 passed its expiration date 14 years ago. It has introduced invasive species. Huge portions of the protective enamel coating have eroded, exposing bare metal. It's bent and deformed and floating down there in some parts for hundreds of feet without at least 20 percent of the anchors that were supposed to be installed to support it, in violation of the easement. Enbridge has no coherent plan for cleaning the spill. They said they would light the oil on fire. When the spill happens, Mackinac Island will be engulfed within 8 hrs.**

As Lee Sprague said, "I’m against Enbridge pipeline one through infinity. Pipelines they’re thinking about, I’m against."

It was great to hear from such fiery, sincerely caring, and devoted candidates as Dana Nessel.***

Editor's Notes:

* Zoe Person, the author of this article, is a Northern Michigan University student majoring in environmental studies.

** See a recent post by Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW (For Love Of Water), "Ecological disasters do not wait for political elections." Kirkwood points out in her update how the State of Michigan has continued to delay a solution to Line 5 problems. She notes also, "Enbridge has an outstanding permit request to install 22 additional anchors. But the state is in no position to authorize these permits because the anchors themselves have caused the bare metal exposure on the pipeline."

*** See our Sept. 16, 2017, article, "3rd annual Pipe Out Paddle protest against Enbridge's Line 5 under Mackinac Straits attracts Native, non-Native water protectors," which includes photos and videos of the event and the speakers at the press conference.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Two events in Baraga to kick off National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

BARAGA --  Niimigiimiwan, "Dancing in the Rain," a 9th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Event, will be hosted by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Office of Violence Against Women and the Baraga County Shelter Home on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Niiwin Akeaa Recreation Facility, 111 Beartown Rd. in Baraga.

The Guest Speaker will be Native GRAMMY recording artist Star Nayea, who will share her triumphant, awe-inspiring life story during the event. It also includes a Domestic Violence Awareness Walk at 11 a.m., small group workshops, a feast, 50/50, and raffles.

Preceding Saturday's event, Star Nayea will present "Build Love From the Inside Out," from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, also at the Niiwin Akeaa Recreation Facility in Baraga.

October is the 9th annual National Domestic Violence Awareness month. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Youth Programs group has extended a special invitation to surrounding communities, including Michigan Tech students, staff, and faculty, to attend these two events.

For more information call 906-353-4599 or 906-353-4643. Transportation is available.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Music-O-Rama to celebrate variety of music in concert by Michigan Tech music ensembles Sept. 30 in Rozsa Center

Michigan Tech's Superior Wind Symphony, pictured here, will join other Michigan Tech music ensembles to play music from around the globe in the annual Music-O-Rama concert at 7:30 p.m.Saturday, Sept. 30, in the Rozsa Center. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University)

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Tech's Department of Visual and Performing Arts will present Music-O-Rama at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30, in the Rozsa Center. This annual musical variety concert celebrates the diversity, history, and variety of music at Michigan Tech.

Performers from all of the major Michigan Tech music ensembles: Jazz Lab Band, Superior Wind Symphony, Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers, Michigan Tech Concert Choir, and AstroSax will appear throughout the hall, playing music from around the globe -- from America to  Latvia, France to Mexico, Brazil to Italy. The concert will begin on a patriotic note with Igor Stravinsky’s arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner, for band and choir. Then enjoy more band and folk music selections including Yankee Doodle, Old Man River, and a Brazilian folk song, Samba-lelê, to stir memories and evoke bygone days.

According to Jared Anderson, chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department and director of Choral Activities, "This concert features performances from all of the auditioned music ensembles at Michigan Tech and shows how talented our students are. Music-o-rama has become an audience favorite for the past number of years for its fast pace and varied repertoire. I know that the audience will love the show."

There will be something for every musical taste, with composers including Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Ottorino Respighi, and Arturo Márquez. The concert will end with the Superior Wind Symphony and the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra combining for a performance of "The Pines of the Appian Way" from Respighi’s Pines of Rome.

Tickets are on sale now: $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, online at, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or the night of the show at the Rozsa Box Office, which opens two hours prior to performances.