Thursday, October 19, 2017

Deadline for comments on Eagle East amendment to Eagle Mine permit is Oct. 23; citizens voice concerns at MDEQ public hearing

By Michele Bourdieu

During his presentation preceding the Sept. 25, 2017, public hearing on Lundin Mining Company's application for an amendment to the Eagle Mine Part 632 permit in order to mine Eagle East, Joe Maki, geology specialist for the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Oil, Gas and Minerals Division (Upper Peninsula office) addresses some public comments on Eagle East received before the hearing. Moderating the hearing, at left, is Steve Casey, Upper Peninsula district coordinator for MDEQ's Water Resources Division. (Photos by Keweenaw Now unless otherwise indicated.)

ISHPEMING, MARQUETTE --  The deadline for public comments on Lundin Mining Company's March 21, 2017, application for an amendment to the Eagle Mine's Part 632 mining permit -- in order to mine an extension called Eagle East -- is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Several concerned citizens have spoken out against the proposed amendment -- in both written comments to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and spoken comments at the June 8, 2017, informational meeting and the more recent public hearing held on Sept. 25, 2017, at Westwood High School in Ishpeming.*

At the Sept. 25 public hearing, most of those opposed to the project said they believe Lundin should apply for a new Part 632 Mining Permit for Eagle East instead of just an amendment to Eagle Mine's permit. DEQ officials claimed they have been reviewing the amendment application (which they determined "significant" on Apr. 19, 2017) following the same process they would follow for a new permit application. A mining expert representing the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) expressed several concerns about safety and offered reasons why both projects should be under one permit because potential problems at Eagle Mine could affect Eagle East.

Joe Maki, geology specialist in MDEQ Oil Gas and Minerals Division (Upper Peninsula office), began the hearing with a brief presentation on the Eagle East amendment application, the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), and DEQ responses to frequent public comments so far.

In his summary of the application, Maki noted the following:
  • Eagle East access ramp is approximately 1.2 miles from Eagle Mine
  • Eagle East ore body is approximately 3000 feet below the surface
  • Underground mining method
  • No additional surface facilities
  • Cemented backfill will be employed.
This diagram from the application for Eagle East illustrates the connection between the Eagle Mine (upper left) and Eagle East (lower right) ore bodies. Both projects will share the surface facilities already in place for Eagle Mine. (Image courtesy Lundin Mining Co. and Michigan DEQ)

In his summary of the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for Eagle East, Maki noted these points:
  • Ongoing studies are presented in Eagle Mine annual report.
  • Since no new surface features will be built for Eagle East, the flora and fauna baseline and the surface hydrology baseline are still valid.
  • Updated studies in the EIA include new information on geology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, rock mechanics and cumulative impacts.
Maki noted the importance of the "tight backfill" for the stability of the crown pillar of the mine (the crown pillar is the rock in the roof over the mined out areas). He spoke about the crown pillar for both the Eagle Mine and Eagle East in addressing several concerns about subsidence stated in public comments:

Joe Maki replies to a comment on the 2016 Permit Condition E8, which includes a plan to collect additional data to confirm crown pillar stability. Click on YouTube icon for larger screen. (Videos by Keweenaw Now)

Maki also addressed concerns about a 2016 accident at the Eagle Mine, termed a "fall of ground":

Joe Maki addresses public concerns about the "fall of ground" with a summary of DEQ inquiries that finally determined proper mining procedures were followed and the accident was a minor safety issue.

A 12-page summary of public comments received before Sept. 25, 2017, and MDEQ's responses to them was provided to persons attending the hearing. It is also available on the MDEQ's Web site.**

Despite Maki's assurances, other public comments call for independent investigation into the stability of the Eagle Mine before the amendment for Eagle East is granted.***

On July 6, 2017, the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition's (UPEC's) Mining Action Group (MAG), along with Freshwater Future, expressed their concerns about mine stability in a letter to Hal Fitch, director of the MDEQ Oil, Gas and Minerals Division, and Michigan Attorney General Schuette following an investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which called the "fall of ground" event "substantial," designating it a "large block failure."

In the letter the two groups state the following: "Our greatest concern is that Eagle Mine, as designed, is at substantial risk of hydraulic or structural failure. As MSHA’s investigation concludes, 'it must be assumed that similar discontinuities could be encountered, any time.' Furthermore, extracting ore from the highest levels of the mine, as authorized by the MDEQ under permit condition E8, will diminish the strength of the crown pillar -- the undisturbed rock mass that is left between the active mine workings and the surface. If Eagle Mine experiences a catastrophic underground collapse due to unmapped faults -- or failure of the crown pillar -- water from the overhead Salmon Trout River or wetlands could flood the mine and cause acid rock drainage on a large scale. This water flows directly to Lake Superior."

One of MDEQ's written responses to a comment on the need for subsidence monitors states, "While subsidence is not predicted to be measurable at the surface as a result of utilizing the approved mining method for mining Eagle and Eagle East, the MDEQ will require that Lundin Mining continue subsidence monitoring at Eagle and expand the surface monitoring to Eagle East."****

During an informal question-answer period preceding the official part of the hearing, Maki replied to some specific questions from the audience.

Botanist Steve Garske asked about a rare plant he had observed in the area of the mine site:

Botanist Steve Garske questions the validity of the flora baseline mentioned in the EIA because of a rare plant he believes has not been included.

Charlotte Loonsfoot of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) asked about the timing of the baseline data and the use of waste rock:

In response to Charlotte Loonsfoot's question on baseline data, Joe Maki notes the types of new data included in the amendment application that were not included in the original Eagle Mine Part 632 permit. (See third item under EIA summary above.) However, he does not give any examples of the data.

Loonsfoot spoke again later, during the official hearing, asking MDEQ officials to respect treaty rights and her tribe's concerns about the water.

Following the question-answer period, Hal Fitch, right, director of the MDEQ Oil, Gas and Minerals Division in Lansing, joins Steve Casey at the table for the formal hearing. The hearing rules require that persons wishing to make comments state their concerns. Questions are not answered during the hearing.

During the hearing, another member of KBIC, Jeffery Loman, who has experience as a federal regulator, commented on his and his tribe's concerns:

Jeffery Loman of KBIC reminds MDEQ officials that rock from Eagle East will be added to the Humboldt Pit -- an increase in sulfides, which can affect water quality. He notes that both the Department of the Interior and the State of Michigan have a trust responsibility to protect natural resources within tribal ceded territory.

Speaking on behalf of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition's (UPEC's) Mining Action Group (MAG), UPEC president Horst Schmidt notes a series of public comments on the Eagle East mining project proposed amendment and challenges MDEQ's responses.

In this excerpt, UPEC president Horst Schmidt cites several public comments reported in MDEQ's comment / response document and asks further questions from the Mining Action Group to clarify the responses on such issues as financial responsibility, the access tunnel begun without a permit, potential impacts on infrastructure from the extended life of the mine, hauling times and noise pollution, highest-grade ores, and backfilling with sand and gravel.*****

UPEC's Mining Action Group submitted extensive comments on Eagle East on July 20, 2017. Keweenaw Now referred to several of these comments in our Aug. 28, 2017, article.*

During the hearing Chuck Brumleve, mining specialist for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, noted the tribe's concerns about safety assurances, measures to protect water quality in the future, financial assurances, and reasons why Eagle East should be part of the same, but improved, mining permit for Eagle Mine since problems with Eagle Mine could affect Eagle East:

Chuck Brumleve, mining specialist for KBIC, summarizes some of the main points in the tribe's official comments to MDEQ on the Eagle East amendment application. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

In KBIC's official comments sent to MDEQ on July 20, 2017, they remind state officials that, as Brumleve explained, it is logical to include Eagle East in the Part 632 mining permit for the Eagle Mine rather than seek a separate permit since Eagle East will share most of the infrastructure of the Eagle Mine; therefore, issues with the Eagle Mine should be included in the permitting process for Eagle East -- not off the table.

This map from the Eagle East application shows the location of the yellow Eagle Mine ore body (Eagle Main) on the left, the Eagle Mine infrastructure in the gray area in the center (to be shared with Eagle East) and the Eagle East project on the right. Click on image for larger version. (Image courtesy Lundin Mining Co. and Michigan DEQ)

Kristen Mariuzza, Lundin's new general manager of Eagle Mine, also attended the hearing. She told Keweenaw Now that the reason for including Eagle East in the Part 632 permit for Eagle Mine is based on the fact that the surface facilities are the same -- with no new construction on the surface.

"If we apply for a new permit it's the same process," Mariuzza said.******

KBIC's written comments emphasize that the need for safety considerations affects both Eagle Mine (Eagle Main) and Eagle East: "Examples of one mine -- if problems arise in the Eagle Main decline, like an LHD (Load Haul Dump vehicle) hydraulic line splits, sprays and the LHD catches fire, this would affect all of Eagle East since all access for Eagle East relies on the Eagle Main decline. If collapse of ground in the Eagle Main open stopes causes an air blast, this destructive air wave would affect Eagle East workers since the two mining areas are connected by two large open declines. If the Eagle Main crown pillar rock mass under the Salmon Trout River dilates and starts to transmit a significant amount of water flow through the crown pillar, the increased inflow would affect Eagle East workings or operations. Another example is that mine egress in an underground emergency can only proceed through Eagle Main since Eagle East is a total dead-end."

Concerning the emergency egress for miners, KBIC notes, "Without any shafts or raises from surface to the Eagle East production area, the only way out in the case of fire, collapse or other disruptions are the declines. A burning haul truck or LHD loader could quickly render the declines inaccessible or impassable."

KBIC also states, "Because the depth of the Eagle East ore body is much deeper than Eagle, there is an increased amount of overburden rock pressure acting down on the mined-out void created by the Eagle East operations."

They also question the "tight backfill" methods mentioned above by Joe Maki, not only because the cemented backfill is low-strength and may consolidate but also because of the lack of safe access if miners were expected to work in the last open spaces at the top of the stopes in either Eagle Main or Eagle East.

While expressing admiration for Brumleve's presentation at the hearing, Chauncey Moran of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve disagreed on KBIC's preference for one permit to include Eagle East. Moran stated his belief that, for several reasons, a separate permit is needed for Eagle East. Moran also addressed Hal Fitch directly by reading a letter to him, reminding Fitch that he, Moran, had participated in the 2004 and 2005 committee meetings with stakeholders -- meetings that led to the legislation that became the Part 632 Nonferrous Metallic mining law.

Chauncey Moran reads a letter to Hal Fitch during the hearing. He speaks of his participation in the committee of selected stakeholders who offered input at meetings that led to the Part 632 mining law and explains why he thinks Eagle East should have a separate permit, not just an amendment.

Following the hearing, Keweenaw Now asked Hal Fitch for his reactions to the comments presented.

"I think we heard a lot of sincere concern about the protection of the environment and our natural resources, and I think that people know that's what we're about," Fitch said. "We can only enforce the laws that are on the books though."

Fitch noted also that comments that provide concrete information -- such as science-based facts rather than opinions -- are more helpful to MDEQ in the permitting process. He said the permit application team also includes staff from the Department of Natural Resources (e.g. Fisheries and Wildlife sections) and the State Archaeologist.

"We can't operate in a vacuum," Fitch added. "We have to recognize that our society needs resources such as metals. So our job is to make sure that if those resources are to be developed it needs to be done in a protective manner."

To comment on the Eagle East amendment application, send or deliver written comments to DEQ Eagle East Permit Amendment, Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals, 1504 West Washington Street, Marquette, MI 49855, or email comments to DEQ-Mining-Comments@michigan.gov, including "Eagle East Proposed Decision" as the subject. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.

Notes:

* For background, see our Aug. 28, 2017, article, "DEQ issues proposed decision to grant Eagle East amendment to Eagle Mine Part 632 permit despite public opposition."

** To access this 12-page document with MDEQ's responses to comments from the June 8, 2017, public meeting, click here and find the link under Eagle East Permit Amendment. This page also has links to other documents, including Lundin's Response to DEQ's July 31 questions.

*** See especially Comment and Response No. 8, pp. 2-3 in above-mentioned document.

**** See Comment and Response No. 2, p. 1 in above-mentioned document.

***** See Comments and Responses 1, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 in above-mentioned document.

****** According to an article in Upper Michigan Source, Kristen Mariuzza previously worked as health, safety, environment and permitting manager at Eagle Mine.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Winona LaDuke, Native American environmental activist, to speak in Houghton, Baraga Oct. 25

Poster announcing Winona LaDuke's Oct. 25 visit to Michigan Tech and a showing of her film this Wednesday, Oct. 18. (Poster courtesy Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion)

HOUGHTON -- Winona LaDuke, Native American environmental activist, will be featured at three coming events in Houghton and Baraga. She will be a guest speaker on Wednesday, Oct. 25, as part of the Social Justice Lecture Series, sponsored by Michigan Tech's Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The local Indigenous People's Day Campaign, a community group interested in indigenous peoples' rights, is co-sponsoring her visit and a feast to follow. Preceding her talk at Michigan Tech, she will be a guest speaker Oct. 25 at the Lunch and Learn Series Food Sovereignty Series at the Niiwin Akeaa Center, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, in Baraga.

 
(Poster courtesy Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College)

This week, in order to acquaint the public with LaDuke's work, her documentary, First Daughter and the Black Snake, will be shown at  7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Fisher 135 on the Michigan Tech campus. The film showing is free and open to all. It can also be seen on YouTube for rent or purchase.*

Winona LaDuke, who comes from Ojibwa ancestry in Minnesota, is an American environmentalist, economist and writer, known for her work on tribal land claims and preservation as well as sustainable development. In 1996 and 2000, she ran for Vice President as the nominee of the Green Party of the United States, becoming the first Native American woman to receive an electoral vote for Vice President of the United States.

LaDuke is also the co-founder, with Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, of Honor the Earth, a Native-led organization which addresses the two primary needs of the Native environmental movement: the need to break the geographic and political isolation of Native communities and the need to increase financial resources for organizing and change. Winona continues to function as the group's Executive Director of Honor.

Honor the Earth's Mission Statement, according to their Web site, is as follows: "Our mission is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, the arts, the media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for those not heard."**

Honor the Earth is also a co-sponsor of LaDuke's talk at Michigan Tech, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 25, in the MUB Ballroom.

LaDuke's Lunch and Learn talk in Baraga will focus on Food Sovereignty and the work of the Honor the Earth organization. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Niiwin Akeaa Center, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College. Those wishing to have lunch at this event should RSVP  to one of the following: Kit Laux (906) 524-8203 or klaux@kbocc.edu; DeAnna Hadden (906) 524-5757 ext. 22 or (906) 201-0361 or dhadden@kbic-nsn.gov; Valoree Gagnon (906) 201-0393 or vsgagnon@mtu.edu.

* Click here to learn how you can rent or buy the film First Daughter and the Black Snake on YouTube.

** Visit the Honor the Earth Web site to learn more about their work.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

"Configurations," new art by Joyce Koskenmaki, now on exhibit at Kerredge Gallery, Copper Country Community Arts Center

Images of trees are part of "Configurations," new work by artist Joyce Koskenmaki, now on exhibit through Nov. 4 in the Kerredge Gallery at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center is presenting "Configurations," new work by local artist, Joyce Koskenmaki in the Kerredge Gallery through Nov. 4, 2017.

In her statement about the exhibition Koskenmaki says, "Configurations is about my responses to two of my closest family members having near-death experiences this year, and also about my own fall and surgery and need for healing. The shapes begin with abstraction and evolve into imagery, mostly trees, as they are my daily companions on my walks with my dog. They are also my helpers and protectors."

This new body of work is comprised of paintings and drawings in a variety of mediums including casein, which is a milk-based tempera paint; gouache; acrylics; water soluble pastels; color pencil; and graphite. They are abstract works that have taken shape as single trees and groupings. The trees are strong and moody and all suggest a personal story.

Artist Joyce Koskenmaki in her studio in Hancock. (Photo courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

Koskenmaki has shown her work nationally and internationally, won awards and residencies, and taught at six different colleges. She came back to the UP because it feels most like home.

This exhibit is supported by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Copper Country Community Arts is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. For more information visit www.coppercountryarts.com or call (906) 482-2333.

Community Arts Center to celebrate 25 years at Auction Party Oct. 20

The Copper Country Community Arts Center will celebrate 25 years at a party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20. The public is invited to enjoy Silent Auctions, a 10-item Live Auction, Artist Demos, Food and Music. For a suggested donation of $10-$20, help the Arts Center celebrate and raise funds for years to come! Auction items of goods, services, and art will be set up in various locations around the Arts Center building with plenty of time to peruse. See an item you really want? Then get it with the I WANT THAT NOW price. Enjoy fabulous food, live music, and drinks. There will also be demonstrations in the letterpress studio, clay studio, and classroom -- plus the unveiling of a new mural by Abigail Tembreull. A 10-item LIVE AUCTION with Ray Sharp, door prizes, and some art surprises will round out a fun evening.

For more info and news, click here to access the current October 2017 Newsletter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tech Theatre to present "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" Oct. 12-14 and 18-20 at McArdle Theatre

Poster for Tech Theatre's coming performance of Picasso at the Lapin Agile courtesy Michigan Tech University.

HOUGHTON -- Art or science, what has more power to change the future? Come and have drinks with Einstein and Picasso, at the Lapin Agile, a bar in 1904 Paris, as delightfully imagined by actor, comic, musician, and yes, playwright, Steve Martin. In his first full-length play, Martin puts Picasso and Einstein on a funny and poignant collision-course to drink, laugh, and debate the genius and imagination that inspires both. Members of the audience can even "drink" at the bar! There will be seats at the café tables for a few lucky audience members each night, with refreshments and snacks served as part of the performance.

Tech Theatre, directed by Christopher Plummer, Michigan Tech professor in Visual and Performing Arts, presents Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a thoughtfully comedic look at the power of imagination at the start of the 20th Century, from the perspective of two giants of their time. The show, at 7:30 p.m. each night, will run for two weeks: Thursday - Saturday, Oct. 12 - 14, and Wednesday - Friday, Oct. 18 -20, in the McArdle Theatre, located in Walker 207 on the Michigan Tech campus.

A long-running and popular Off-Broadway play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile began with a first reading of the play at Steve Martin's home. Tom Hanks read the role of Picasso, and Chris Sarandon read Einstein. Following further development, the play opened at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago on October 13, 1993. The show then enjoyed a successful run in Los Angeles and then made its way to New York City. The New York Times wrote, "It’s important to remember that the playwright of Picasso at the Lapin Agile is Steve Martin, stand-up comic, actor, writer, banjo player and something of a genius in his own right. So when big questions are being addressed, you can be sure that a layer of silliness is always in place (and, subversively, a layer of seriousness beneath that)."

According to Alexandra Walker, Tech Theatre’s stage manager for Lapin Agile, "The play explores the question 'what is the power of genius?' As Picasso and Einstein argue over who will be able to change the century more with their work, we come to the conclusion: Both art and science are important, summed up in the words of Freddie, the Lapin Agile bartender/owner Freddie, proposing a toast with his patrons: 'No movement will be as beautiful as the note across the staff, the line across the paper, or the idea across the mind.'"

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 mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or the night of the show at the McArdle door, which opens one hour prior to performances.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Portage Library to host Running for Local Office workshop Oct. 11

HOUGHTON -- The Portage Lake District Library will host the Houghton County Democratic Party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, for "A Primer on Running for Local Office: Getting You to 'Yes.'"

Valorie Troesch, former Democratic candidate for Houghton County commissioner, will lead this workshop.

Valorie Troesch is pictured here at a local parade during her 2016 campaign for Houghton County commissioner. (File photo courtesy Valorie Troesch)

People who have run for local office will share their experiences 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.

"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 houghtondems@gmail.com.

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

At the invitation of the Baraga County Democratic Party, a similar Running for Local Office workshop will be held in Baraga County from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the new Hospital.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Benefit Concert for Italian Hall Victims' Memorial Monument to feature local musical talent Oct. 8 at Calumet Theatre

Poster for Oct. 8, 2017, concert at the Calumet Theatre to benefit the Italian Hall Victims' Memorial Monument. (Poster courtesy Joanne Thomas)

CALUMET -- Local musician Oren Tikkanen will host a Benefit Concert of American Roots Music, featuring a variety of local talent, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, at the historic Calumet Theatre. Following the concert, a reception with fine local food will be held in the Theatre Ballroom.

This fundraiser is a donation event to purchase the monument that pays tribute to the victims of the 1913 Italian Hall tragedy. All donations are welcome.

This image shows the current layout inscription planned for the monument, listing the names and ages of the victims in family groups. It does not reflect the natural variations in color and dimension of the granite stone, nor the metallic sheen of the copper-colored dividing line. (Image courtesy Italian Hall Tragedy Victims Memorial Facebook page)

The show is both a remembrance of the Italian Hall Tragedy and a celebration of the music and lives of American working people. The program will include songs of sadness and loss, joy and humor, unity and hope.

The performances will include the following:

The 1913 Singers -- Today's 1913 Singers include Alice Margerum (coordinator), Brad Baltensperger, Victoria Baltensperger, Molly Chabalowski, Ric Catoni, Bill Fink, Barbara Lide, Susan Martin, Fred Quivik, Charlie Wallace, Chuck Young, Clare Zuraw (at the piano).

Preceding the screening of the documentary 1913 Massacre on Oct. 24, 2013, at Michigan Tech's Writing Across the Peninsula Conference, the 1913 Singers perform "Strike Songs." Today's 1913 Singers group will perform at the Oct. 8 Benefit Concert for the Italian Hall Victims' Memorial Monument at the Calumet Theatre. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

The 1913 Singers group was formed by Alice Margerum to perform songs that were sung during the 1913 Copper Strike. The 1913 Singers performed many concerts during 2013, the centennial year of the Copper Strike. This performance includes a hymn that was sung in the funeral procession for 59 of the victims of the tragedy. In the middle of the hymn one of the singers will read a newspaper description from that time about the funeral procession.

Michelle Hawkins and Valerie Anderson DePriest -- Both Michelle and Valerie have deep roots in the Copper Country. Michelle has performed and recorded in the acoustic music duo "Viney Willa." Valerie has had a long musical career as a professional singer, choral director, and public school music teacher. This will be their first appearance together; and they will present songs from Iris Dement, Stephen Foster, and the Carter Family.

The Acoustic Jimmy Hats -- Adam Kentala, Tony Laux, Luke Dedo, Matt Bradley, Josh Mortti, and Jake Tenharmsel. The band plays and sings classic American folk and country songs in a lively and rollicking style.

Keweenaw Brewgrass is a popular eclectic and bluegrass-oriented group featuring vocal harmonies and acoustic instrumentals. Today's performers are Bogue Sandberg, eight-string dobro; Doug Oppliger, guitar/vocals; Kora Melia Johnson, fiddle; Marshall Weathersby, mandolin/guitar/vocals; Matthew Durocher, bass.

The Thimbleberry Band -- Dave Bezotte, Belinda Mattfolk, Matthew Durocher, and Oren Tikkanen -- is a group devoted to playing the folk and ethnic music of the Keweenaw region and is acting as the "house band" to provide musical support for the featured performers as needed.

Food vendors will include the Keweenaw Cooperative of Hancock, Jim’s Pizza and the Keweenaw Coffee Works of Calumet.

For more information about the Italian Hall Victims' Memorial Monument, visit their Facebook page.

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.