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, March 13, 2020

Public performances and receptions at Rozsa and McArdle Theatre canceled through April 17

HOUGHTON -- According to directives by Michigan Tech administration, all public concerts/performances/receptions in the Rozsa Center and McArdle Theatre in the Walker Arts and Humanities Center scheduled during March 16-April 17, 2020, are canceled. Student productions/concerts will not be rescheduled. The Rozsa is working with agents to reschedule Rozsa Presenting Series events for the next season. Following is a list of canceled events:

March 20:  Don Keranen Memorial Concert
March 20:  Superior Wilderness Reception (the art exhibition will remain open during the safety period)
March 25:  The Solidarity Question (Lecture series)
March 28:  Manual Cinema (In negotiation for reschedule in Fall)
April 3:  Audiopharmacy (Looking at rescheduling)
April 4:  Evelynn Glennie (Looking at rescheduling)
April 4:  Vieux Farka Touré (Looking at rescheduling)
April 15-18:  The Importance of Being Earnest
April 17:  Onomatopoeia (Student Art Reception)
April 19:  A Choral Kaleidoscope
April 21-22:  Student Art Opening (Studio Here Now)
April 26:  Theatre Appreciation Plays

Events outside the March 16-April 17 window are being considered. Updates on the status of performances and events can be found in the events calendar on the Rozsa Center webpage.

Refunds for tickets purchased for these events will be made. More information on processing these refunds will be shared within the next week. If an individual would like to donate their ticket refund to the Michigan Tech Fund (Friends of the Rozsa Center) this will be an option. Refund information will be sent out to subscribers and ticket holders within the next week. More information about the COVID-19 response at Michigan Tech can be found at www.mtu.edu/covid-19.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

U.P. Energy Task Force to meet March 13; public can comment through April 6

During an informal discussion session in February at the Portage Lake District Library in Houghton, U.P. Energy Task Force members Jennifer Hill, Marquette City Commissioner and contractor with Citizens Utility Board of Michigan, and Roman Sidortsov, Michigan Tech assistant professor of Energy, offer residents an update on the first phase of the UP Energy Task Force work on propane supply and transport. Michigan's residential propane use is the highest in the U.S. Hill and Sidortsov were not speaking on behalf of the Task Force but were relating information they have learned from being members of it. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

LANSING -- Members of the U.P. Energy Task Force will meet Friday, March 13, in Harris and Lansing to review a final technical report on propane availability in the Upper Peninsula and discuss a draft of the panel’s recommendations.

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. with U.P. members of the Task Force in the Wolf Conference Room at the Island Resort and Casino, W399 Highway 2 and 41, in Harris, and Lansing-area members in the Lee Walker Conference Room on the atrium level of Constitution Hall, 525 West Allegan Street, Lansing. There will be a public comment period at both locations beginning at 11 a.m.

The Draft Recommendations of the Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force Part I - Propane Supply contains proposed actions the Governor, Legislature, and state agencies may consider pursuing to better track and anticipate supply and demand, minimize disruption impact, and provide a more cohesive plan for those who are disproportionately affected by high energy costs in the U.P.

This slide from the presentation at Portage Library lists some of the propane issues that could be included in the Task Force report. Click on photo for larger version. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The draft document will be posted next week to the Task Force’s website, Michigan.gov/UPEnergyTaskForce.

Public comments on the recommendations section of the draft document can be submitted via email to EGLE-UPEnergy@Michigan.gov. All comments submitted through April 6 will be considered by the Task Force for possible inclusion in the final report, which is due to the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer by April 17. The submission date was extended to allow for a longer public review period.

People who need special assistance to participate can contact Kimber Frantz at 517-284-5035 in advance of the meeting.

Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order outlined specific goals for the U.P. Energy Task Force:
  • Assess the U.P.’s overall energy needs and how they are being met.
  • Formulate alternative solutions for meeting the U.P.’s energy needs, with a focus on security, reliability, affordability, and environmental soundness. This includes, but is not limited to, alternative means to supply the energy sources used by U.P. residents, and alternatives to those energy sources.
  •  Identify and evaluate potential changes that could occur to energy supply and distribution in the U.P.; the economic, environmental, and other impacts of such changes; and alternatives for meeting the U.P.’s energy needs due to such changes.
The draft propane document is the first of two reports the U.P. Energy Task Force is to submit to the Governor. A full report on overall U.P. energy issues and alternatives is due March 31, 2021.

Follow the activities of the U.P. Energy Task Force at Michigan.gov/UPEnergyTaskForce.

Please send your comments regarding the work of the UP Energy Task Force to: EGLE-UPEnergy@Michigan.gov. Comments submitted via the above email address will be shared with all UP Energy Task Force members. Comments submitted will become part of the public record and subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Finlandia University transitions to online instruction as response to coronavirus

From: Finlandia University President Philip Johnson:

HANCOCK -- According to the latest (March 12) coronavirus (COVID-19) response update from Finlandia University President Philip Johnson, Finlandia is taking steps to ensure safety and wellness for the Finlandia campus and community.

Effective today, March 12, Finlandia University is implementing the closing of Finlandia Hall. All students will be required to vacate the residence hall by no later than Tuesday, March 17, at 5 p.m.

Class instruction is transitioning to online. The following are excerpts from President Johnson's March 12 letter to the Finlandia community:

a) Face-to-face classes, labs, and clinicals are cancelled Friday, March 13, through Tuesday March 17. Faculty will transition their courses from face-to-face to Canvas, the online learning platform, during this time period.

b) Classes will resume as fully online through Canvas on Wednesday, March 18, and continue through the remainder of the semester. Faculty understand that moving their courses to the online platform can be an unsettling disruption for students. In response, the University is building support tools and processes designed to encourage continuous learning and minimize disruption. Faculty and advisors will continue to work during this transitional time and are available to students through established office hours and electronic communications.

c) The delivery of science labs, studios, and clinicals will be determined within the respective department and communicated through their respective faculty or deans.

d) Students enrolled in a second half wellness course are asked to speak to their advisors regarding alternatives.

e)  Graduating seniors are asked to continue working with their faculty advisors as they continue working towards a successful completion of their final year. Deans will be working with faculty to ensure minimal disruption occurs during this final leg of their academic journey.

All higher risk faculty and staff are encouraged to seek potential arrangements to work remotely.  This request can be made to the Office of Human Resources at (906) 487-7339 or alyson.delandsheer@finlandia.edu. Any student who has been exposed to a known case of COVID-19 or may be exhibiting symptoms of fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing is asked to report to Dean of Students Erin Barnett at (906) 487-7231 or  erin.barnett@finlandia.edu. Anyone who is ill is asked to stay home.

Administrative and other offices remain open and operations continue. Academic support and tutoring will be available via video and teleconferencing. Students awarded Federal Work Study will receive further guidance in a separate email.

Effective immediately, campus events are limited to 25 persons or fewer unless otherwise authorized. The Honors Banquet scheduled for April 17 will not be held as currently configured. Alternatives are being investigated. Decisions regarding commencement activities will be made by April 3.

Updates will be provided. Stay informed by visiting finlandia.edu/coronavirus and regularly checking campus mail.

Click here to read the complete letter from President Johnson.

For more information on the Coronavirus Disease, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Announcement: March 13 KBIC Tribal Water Day cancelled

From: Valoree Gagnon, Director, University-Indigenous Community Partnerships, Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center:

"The KBIC Tribal Water Day that was scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, March 13, in Baraga has been cancelled. There is no word on rescheduling it at this time but we will keep you updated if we hear any news."

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Michigan Tech to suspend face-to-face instruction through April 17, 2020

HOUGHTON -- In an effort to protect the health and safety of our community from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), effective Monday, March 16, 2020, Michigan Technological University will suspend all face-to-face instruction and move classes to a virtual instruction environment. This arrangement will remain in place until Friday, April 17, 2020. The University will decide by April 10, 2020, whether to extend the time period.

"We must all stay vigilant to help protect each other and our community from the potential effects of this virus," said Michigan Tech President Rick Koubek. "Michigan Tech’s COVID-19 response team, consisting of University leadership and public health officials, has reviewed and is modifying as needed our plans for preventing the contraction and/or spread of COVID-19. Six University task forces have prepared for and are responding to implications and impacts on the campus community."

The University is taking this preemptive measure to mitigate potential impacts associated with the spread of the virus. Michigan Tech students are currently on Spring Break and the vast majority of them have traveled outside the Houghton-Hancock area. As there is no way to definitively know who, if anyone, has been exposed to COVID-19, the University is limiting the amount of time students will spend in close proximity to each other for at least 14 days after Spring Break ends.

"We are working closely with Michigan Tech to monitor developments related to COVID-19," said Pete Baril, director of community planning for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department. "We thank them for their proactive approach in helping mitigate the impacts associated with the spread of the disease."

Michigan Tech students are permitted to return to campus, and each student is expected to make the choice that is best for their personal situation. On campus, the University strongly encourages all students, faculty, and staff to practice appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures. Because the University’s priority is the community’s health and safety, high-risk populations, as identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are encouraged not to return to campus. All dining services and residential housing will remain open and operational.

At this time, Michigan Tech Athletics will not cancel or postpone any on- or off-campus athletics events and will remain in normal operation, consistent with guidance from the NCAA, GLIAC, and WCHA. The Athletics department may revisit this decision based on NCAA, CDC, or Western Upper Peninsula Health Department guidance, or as the situation warrants.

The health, safety and security of Michigan Tech students, faculty, staff, and fans will continue to guide the University’s decision-making process moving forward. The University is working closely with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and following the guidance of the CDC in monitoring COVID-19 developments.

Please keep in mind this is a fluid situation and circumstances can change rapidly. The most up-to-date information -- including President Koubek's message to faculty, staff and students -- is available at mtu.edu/covid-19.

Editor's Note: Keweenaw Now will continue to post updates on COVID-19 developments in the university and local community in this column or in our right-hand column.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Updated: KBIC Natural Resources Department to host Tribal Water Day March 13

Poster courtesy Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Natural Resources Department.

UPDATE: Unfortunately this event has been cancelled. See this announcement.

BARAGA -- The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Natural Resources Department (NRD) will present a Tribal Water Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, March 13, at the Ojibwa Casino Bingo Hall in Baraga. The event is free and open to the public.

Here is the Agenda:

8 a.m. - 9 a.m. -- Doors Open. Please take this time to view the display area and network.

9 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. -- Welcome and Importance of Protecting and Healing Our Waters. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Council Leadership.
KBIC Water Walkers: Raising Awareness to Protect Nibi.

9:30 - 10:30 a.m. -- Developing Water Quality Standards. Alan Walts, Director, Tribal and Multi-media Programs Office, EPA.

10:30 - 11:10 a.m. -- KBIC Water Quality Standards Development. Cory McDonald, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University.

11:10 - 11:50 a.m. -- KBIC Fisheries Program: State of the KBIC Fisheries Program, Past, Present and Future.
Gene Mensch, KBIC NRD, Fish Biologist
Karen Anderson, KBIC NRD, AIS Specialist.

Noon - 1 p.m.: Lunch Provided

1 - 1:30 p.m. -- Assessing Climate Vulnerability through Science and Ojibwa Knowledge. Rob Kroll, Policy Analyst, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC).

1:30 - 1:50 p.m. -- KBIC Manoomin (Wild Rice) Current Restoration Efforts. Kathleen Smith, KBIC NRD Habitat Specialist.

1:50 - 2:10 p.m. -- Wetlands as the Ojibwa Medicine Cabinet. Karena Schmidt, KBIC NRD Ecologist.

2:10 - 2:40 p.m. -- Panel Discussion on Community Environmental Monitoring Program:

Geri Grant, Superior Watershed Partnership
Matt Johnson, Lundin Mining
Community Foundation of Marquette County
Evelyn Ravindran, KBIC NRD.


2:40 - 3 p.m. -- An Update on Perfluouroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). Tom Asmus, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

3 - 3:20 p.m. -- Bridging Knowledge Systems and Expertise for Understanding Landscape Contamination. Judith Perlinger and Noel Urban, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University.

3:20 - 3:40 p.m. -- National Marine Sanctuary -- a Keweenaw Lake Superior Designation?
Bill Rose and ERika Vye, Great Lakes Research Center, Michigan Technological University.

3:40 - 4 p.m. -- Closing Remarks.

For questions, please contact: Stephanee Cree at (906) 524-8700 or scree@kbic-nsn.gov