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 26, 2018

EPA task force to hold public meeting on saving Buffalo Reef Jan. 30 in Lake Linden

This map shows the area of the potential 2018 stamp sands project for additional stamp sand removal and containment near Gay on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior. The project's main purpose is to save the trout and whitefish spawning areas on Buffalo Reef (center of map). Click on map for larger version. (Map courtesy Michigan DNR)

[Note: This Department of Natural Resources (DNR) news release is being issued in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.]

A cooperative multi-entity task force created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reminding the public about a public meeting set for Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Lake Linden, on efforts to save the important lake trout and whitefish spawning areas on Buffalo Reef.

The underwater reef is threatened by shifting stamp sands, a by-product of copper milling done in the community of Gay, beginning in the early 1900s and lasting roughly 30 years.

The public meeting will be held from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, at the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School Auditorium, 601 Calumet Street in Lake Linden. A session previously scheduled for Dec. 5 was postponed due to inclement weather.

In addition to the Jan. 30 public meeting, an invitation-only Wednesday, Jan. 31, meeting on Buffalo Reef for EPA task force members and scientists has also been set. That session was previously scheduled for Dec. 6, but was canceled because of blizzard conditions.

The EPA formed the task force to develop a long-term plan over the next couple of years to contain and potentially reuse the stamp sands. The group will gather input from many stakeholders, including the public.

"We will be soliciting public input on what issues the plan needs to address and looking for volunteers to help us understand and resolve those issues," said Steve Casey, a task force member representing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Editor's Note: For background on this issue see our Nov. 21, 2017, article, "DNR stamp sand dredging buys time; EPA provides $3.1 million for Army Corps dredging to protect Buffalo Reef fish spawning habitat."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Heikinpäivä 2018 is underway!

The bears that "roll over" in mid-winter sometimes lead the Heikinpäivä Parade on Quincy Street in Hancock. At 11 a.m. this Saturday, Jan. 27, the 2018 Heikinpäivä Parade will also feature KARHUN PEIJÄISET (The Bear Spiral) on Quincy Green, led by Ralph and Jaana Tuttila and the Bears. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

HANCOCK -- Heikinpäivä 2018 celebrates Mid-Winter, when, according to Finnish tradition, "the bear rolls over." This year the annual festival, created in 1999 by the City of Hancock's Finnish Theme Committee, again offers a variety of activities for the whole family. Heikinpäivä themes are taken from the Finnish folk saying associated with the name day for Heikki (Henrik’s day, Jan. 19).

Each year the Finnish Theme Committee selects a Hankookin Heikki (The Heikki of Hancock), who then presides over the Heikinpäivä festivities. Chosen because of his/her contributions to the preservation and enhancement of Finnish-American cultural life in Michigan’s Copper Country, Hankookin Heikki’s main event task is to ride what is the arguably the world’s largest kick sled, a crowd favorite at Heikinpäivä, donning the traditional Hankooki Heikki robes and crown, and waving the copper scepter in the festival’s mid-winter parade.

The 2018 Hankookin Heikki is filmmaker Kristin Ojaniemi, a lifelong resident of Bruce Crossing. Ojaniemi recently created the documentary film Co-operatively Yours, telling the story of the Finnish cooperative movement in North America through the lens of the Settlers Co-op in Bruce Crossing, which celebrated its centennial in 2017. Ojaniemi traveled to Finland to conduct research and interviews for the film, and through this project she has gained a stronger appreciation and understanding of her Finnish roots and those of her home community. (Inset photo: Filmmaker Kristin Ojaniemi. (Photo courtesy Finnish Theme Committee)

While enrichment events have been happening since Jan. 10 (see our right-hand column for the the music events this week), Saturday, Jan. 27, offers free activities for all and a Tori (market) with homemade and Finnish-related crafts for sale.

Here is the schedule beginning with Saturday, Jan. 27:

10 a.m. - 3 p.m. -- Tori Market, Finnish American Heritage Center (FAHC)


10 - 11 a.m. -- Finn Aire (Roger Juntunen-Hewlett)
11 -11:30 a.m. -- PARADE and KARHUN PEIJÄISET (The Bear Spiral) on Quincy Green, led by Ralph and Jaana Tuttila and the Bears.
11:30 a.m. - Noon -- Lautala Boys (Pasi Lautala)
Noon -  1 p.m. - Jonathan Rundman
1 - 2 p.m. -- Laulun Aika (Ralph Tuttila)
2 -  2:30 p.m. -- Jouhikko Kombo (Alice, Matt and Clare)
2:30 - 3:00 p.m. -- Tanja Stanaway

Fun outside on Quincy Green:

Kids enjoy a ride on the vipukelkka (whipsled) during Heikinpäivä in Hancock. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.  -- Vipukelkka (Whipsled), kicksleds, and plenty of outdoor fun! Quincy Green.

11 a.m. - PARADE, downtown Hancock. Line up at La Cantina restaurant at 10:30 a.m. Prizes.

Following parade -- Wife-carrying contest and kicksled races, Quincy Green. Prizes.

No lingering at the café! Couldn't tell what the "wife" was yelling here, for lack of translation, but she managed to stay on hubby's back through the "Finnish" line. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

More activities Saturday:

11 a.m.  -- Author talk and book signing by Karl Bohnak, author of SunBurns to Snowstorms, North Wind Books, Hancock.

1 p,.m.  -- Author talk and book signing by Kate Remlinger, author of Yooper Talk, Finnish American Historical Archive.

3 p.m. -- Polar Bear Dive, Hancock waterfront. Sponsored by Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

7 p.m. -- Heikinpäivä iltamat (hors d’oeuvres, dance), Finnish American Heritage Center. $12.00 -- with old-time Finnish dances, such as jenkka, raatikkoon, polkka and waltzes.

Sunday, January 28:

2 p.m. -- Finnish Hymn Sing and Concert, Zion Lutheran Church, Hancock. Open to the public.

Friday, February 2:

6:30-8:30 p.m. -- Family Fun Night, Finnish American Heritage Center. $5 per family. For information, call (906) 523-6271.