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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Pine Mountain Music Festival to bring concerts to six UP communities June 17-30

The Bergonzi Trio will perform classical concerts in Houghton, Marquette and Iron Mountain during this year's  Pine Mountain Music Festival. (Photos courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

HOUGHTON -- The Pine Mountain Music Festival (PMMF) is proud to announce an exciting season -- June 17-30, 2019. This year's festival marks the 29th year of bringing Classical and World Music to the communities of Houghton, Hancock, Calumet, Marquette, Iron Mountain and Crystal Falls.

The classical foundation of PMMF for years has been the Bergonzi String Quartet. This year they return as a trio: Scott Flavin and Ross Harbaugh are joined by the young piano virtuoso Lindsay Garritson. The new group is guaranteed to delight! Beethoven’s Archduke Trio is being prepared for this season by special request. They will perform Beethoven's Archduke Trio on June 19 in Marquette, on June 21 in Iron Mountain, and on June 22 at the Rozsa in Houghton. Don't miss this long standing tradition. The Bergonzi Trio will be presenting Free Family Concerts in libraries in all three towns in the afternoon.

The festival kicks off Monday, June 17, in Iron Mountain when Moira Smiley and Jefferson Hamer present a one of a kind concert.

Singer Moira Smiley will perform with guitarist and singer Jefferson Hamer in Calumet, Marquette and Iron Mountain.

Moira Smiley creates and performs new work for voices while Jefferson Hamer, a gifted guitarist and singer, weaves gorgeous instrumental lines with close harmonies. Jefferson astounds as singer/songwriter and as an interpreter of Child ballads and, when he plugs in, as a dynamic rocker.

Jefferson Hamer, guitarist and singer. (Photo © Joe Singh and courtesy Pine Mountain Music Festival)

Moira and Jefferson will also be in Marquette Tuesday, June 18, and at the Calumet Theatre Wednesday, June 19. Jefferson will do a special solo concert at the Crystal Theatre, Crystal Falls, on Thursday, June 20.

The next troupe, "Trust me, will rock your world," explained the Head of Music, Stony Brook, NYU, enthusiastically. They are Miles Masicotte, Hristina Blagoeva, and Giovanni Perez. Miles, originally a jazz pianist turned classical pianist, with his wife, Hristina, a Bulgarian flute player,
are paired with Giovanni Perez, a show-stopping flutist.

They will be at the Calumet Theatre Wednesday, June 26.

"It will be something really exciting, original and classic," PMMF Director Douglas Day anticipates.

Perhaps the most notable new dimension comes from the inclusion of the UPStarts -- young performers from across the U.P., joining Miles Massicotte and Giovanni Perez, both from New York, who will act as mentor professionals to the UPStarts.

This year's UPStarts are (clockwise from above left) Eric Banitt, piano; Benjamin Merte, bass; Kalee Hernendez, piano; Karen Albert, mezzo-soprano; and Benjamin Zindler, trombone. 

PMMF will present the group of eight dynamic young performers in a single show opening as the finale of Marquette’s Artweek celebrations, in the Presque Isle Bandshell, Friday, June 28. Free to all thanks to Travel Marquette and the Arts and Culture Office of Marquette. The group will perform June 29 in Kingsford's First Presbyterian Church and June 30 at the Rozsa in Houghton.

Of special note to opera fans, UPStart soprano, Liz Grugin will join Karen Albert in Delibes’ Duo des fleurs / Sous le dôme épais from Lakmé. Arias from Rossini and Bizet echo 29 years of PMMF opera.*

You may purchase tickets at the door for all events. Calumet and Crystal Theatres order at All other shows order through Michigan Tech's Ticketing Service: (887)746-3999 or through, all concerts are at 7:30. Check the web site ( for the Children's Concert time in your area.

Through the $129 Family Pass, the Festival hopes to draw the next generation into a love of classical music through live performances. The Pass covers the whole family for all shows. Our patrons make up the difference by including a gift with their orders.

* Click here for the PMMF Schedule.

Inset photos: Miles Masicotte, Hristina Blagoeva, and Giovanni Perez. 

Western UP Tribal, County residents asked to take short survey to assist Hazard Mitigation Plans

HOUGHTON -- Hazard mitigation is any action taken before, during or after a disaster to eliminate or reduce the risk to human life and property from natural, technological, or human-related hazards. The Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) has been recently contracted by Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and the six western counties in the Upper Peninsula to update and draft the five-year hazard mitigation plans.

In addition to guiding mitigation for KBIC and the counties, the plans will ensure their communities are eligible for certain grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Members of the public can have a voice in the planning effort by taking a short survey. Online responses are preferred and can be provided at the survey links below. The paper survey is available at the city and township halls, county clerk’s office, and public libraries.

Please take the 5-minute survey regarding hazards in your community by July 12, 2019. To access the online survey, click on the link below for the region that you live in.

The survey links are as follows:

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community:







The information you provide will help WPPDR and county and tribal officials better understand local hazard concerns and can lead to mitigation activities that should help lessen the impact of future hazard events in your community. All responses will be kept confidential.

For more information or for a paper survey contact:
Rachael Pressley,
WUPPDR Project Coordinator
1-906-482-7205, ext. 116.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Deploying High-frequency Radar in the Straits of Mackinac

High-frequency radar towers, like the pilot tower shown here near Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinac City, Michigan, create maps of an entire area rather than providing only a single point of data. (Photo © Nathan Shaiyen and courtesy Michigan Tech University)

By Kelley Christensen, Michigan Tech Science and Technology Publications Writer
Posted June 10, 2019, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted here in part with permission

As Great Lakes water levels rise to record heights, remotely monitoring currents and waves grows in importance.

The currents of the Straits of Mackinac are known for their volatility; they have for millennia pushed the birch bark canoes of Native Americans and voyageurs alike off course and forced lake freighters aground.

The currents are also part of the complex lake system that links Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. Monitoring currents and waves in the Straits -- and throughout the Great Lakes -- is of great interest to scientists, municipal managers, the shipping industry, environmentalists and government agencies.

In late May, Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Technological University and oceanographer by training, and Guy Meadows, director of Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center, conducted the first test of a high-frequency radar system specifically tuned for use in the Great Lakes. 

Inset photo: Lorelle Meadows and Guy Meadows received a grant from the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) to bring a pilot high-frequency radar project to Michigan. (Photo © Nathan Shaiyen and courtesy Michigan Tech University)

Great Lakes Geometry

High-frequency radar is a shore-based remote sensing system used to measure currents offshore by sending a low-power electromagnetic pulse over the water. The electromagnetic wave interacts with marine surface waves, which scatter the radar signal. By measuring the magnetic pulse bounces from marine waves back to the radar tower, researchers are able to map the speed and direction of the underlying currents. ... Click here to read the rest of this article and see a video about this research on the Michigan Tech News.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Gov. Whitmer signs executive order creating UP Energy Task Force

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. (Photo courtesy

LANSING -- On June 7, 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that creates the UP Energy Task Force, which will do the following: assess the UP’s overall energy needs and how they are currently being met; identify and evaluate potential changes in energy supply and distribution; and formulate alternative solutions to meet the UP’s energy needs -- including alternatives to the current distribution of propane through Line 5, which poses an unacceptable threat to The Great Lakes.

"Our jobs, economy, and public health depend on the preservation of The Great Lakes, which literally define us as a state," said Whitmer. "Enbridge has a disappointing safety record in Michigan, and the dual pipelines that run through the Straits of Mackinac create an unacceptable risk of an oil spill by anchor strike or other means. Such an event would be catastrophic for The Great Lakes and our economy, and would send energy costs skyrocketing for UP families. This task force will help make recommendations that ensure the UP's energy needs are met in a manner that is reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound."

UP residents are currently incurring some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. Implementing real energy solutions will begin to rein in these high rates and provide relief to hardworking UP residents.

Moreover, about 25 percent of UP residents use propane for home heating, and much of that propane is delivered through the Line 5 pipeline. The future of Line 5, however, is uncertain.  As a report this week from the National Transportation Safety Board made abundantly clear, only by happenstance did Michigan avoid a catastrophic oil spill in The Great Lakes just last year, when a 12,000 pound anchor inadvertently dragged across the bottomlands of the Straits of Mackinac struck Line 5.* The unacceptable threat posed by the continued operation of the pipelines through the Straits, as well as the lack of an established back-up propane distribution system were Line 5 to malfunction, make developing alternative solutions a priority.

Attorney General Dana Nessel commented in support of Gov. Whitmer's Executive Order establishing the U.P. Energy Task Force.

"I commend Gov. Whitmer for taking a proactive approach to ensuring our UP residents have a long-term solution that reins in the exorbitant energy costs they face each day," Nessel said. "Enbridge has made clear its primary focus is its bottom line. And while the Governor and I work in tandem to decommission Line 5 as quickly as possible to protect our Great Lakes and the health and safety of our residents, her task force is a necessary step to ensure we meet the energy needs of all our state’s residents for generations to come."

Executive Order 2019-14 establishes the UP Energy Task Force, which will address the significant energy challenges that UP residents are facing. This task force will look for alternative, long-term solutions to rein in UP energy rates in regions facing the highest costs and identify alternatives to meeting the UP’s current propane-supply needs. The UP Energy Task Force is charged to do the following:
  • Be an advisory body to the governor within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).
  • Consist of at least 13 voting members appointed by the governor, all of whom must be Michigan residents and possess relevant expertise.
  • Formulate solutions for meeting the UP’s energy needs, with a focus on security, reliability, affordability, and environmental soundness.
  •  Complete a final report in two stages. First, by submitting a propane plan to the governor by March 31, 2020, which will focus on alternative means to supply propane in the event of a Line 5 shut down. Second, by submitting the remainder of its report by March 31, 2021. 
This executive order will be effective immediately upon filing.

To view the full executive order click here.

Inset photo: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

* Editor's Note: See our June 5, 2019, article, "Michigan AG Nessel: Safety Board Report on Line 5 Anchor Strike means operating Line 5 'incredibly dangerous.'"