About This Site
About Our Authors
Katie Alvord is a local freelance writer and the author of a book about
transportation reform, Divorce Your Car! Ending the Love Affair with the
Automobile. Over the last 20 years her articles and essays have appeared in
a variety of publications, including the Boston Globe, Santa Rosa
Press Democrat, Sonoma Index-Tribune, Upper Peninsula Post, E
Magazine, Northern Lights, Orion Afield, Silent Sports,
The Urban Ecologist, Utne Reader, Wild Earth and Wine
Katie holds a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of
California at Davis and a Master's in Library and Information Studies from the
University of California at Berkeley, where she also studied journalism. She has
lived in the Copper Country since 1994.
Businesses feel the heat: Lake Superior warms up, part 3
By Katie Alvord Posted 06/30/2007
On June 21, the Senate passed an energy bill that would increase
average vehicle fuel efficiency, a measure meant at least in part to combat global warming. Meanwhile, in the Copper Country,
some businesses -- particularly those based on winter tourism -- might already have been feeling global warming's effects. In this
final segment of a three-part series on climate change in the Lake Superior
Basin, Katie Alvord looks at ways local businesses have already been affected by warming temperatures, how some have
responded with potential solutions and what some scientists say about the future of winter in our area.
Photo: Making snow at Mont Ripley Ski Hill near Hancock. In warmer winters, ski areas rely more on artificial snow.
The tall, slanted pipe in left foreground is newer, more energy-efficient snowmaking equipment.
(Photo © 2007 and courtesy Mont Ripley.)
Lake Superior Basin feeling heat: Part 2
By Katie Alvord Posted
The next G-8 summit starts on June 6 in Germany; and, with climate change high on the agenda, George W. Bush has responded to European pressures
by announcing his own counter-proposals for stemming greenhouse gas emissions. As world political leaders debate what to do about climate
change, several scientists from around Lake Superior say local plants and animals are already showing the effects of rising average
temperatures. Their findings range from northward shifts in bird and small mammal ranges to unexpected plankton blooms to a
diminishing moose population on Isle Royale, and some are expressing concern about what a
warming climate might mean for our future. more
Photo: Isle Royale moose shows areas of skin rubbed bare due to tick
infestation. Moose lose fur when they rub against trees in an attempt to remove ticks.
Warmer temperatures favor ticks and make moose more vulnerable to winter tick infestations.
(Photo © 2007 John Vucetich. Reprinted with permission.)
Second renewable energy forum attracts
By Katie Alvord Posted
HANCOCK -- A larger-than-expected turnout at a Hancock renewable energy forum caught the organizers by surprise -- again.
Well over 100 people flocked to the April 17 forum, "Renewable Energy: Reducing Home Energy Costs, Part
2," held at Lakeview Manor and organized by the Keweenaw Sustainability Project
(KSP). The April forum featured talks by Terry McNinch about solar
photovoltaics; Terry Kinzel on solar, hydroelectric, and wind power; Mike Benda on his large residential wind system; and Dave Bach about retrofitting homes for energy efficiency and conservation.
The forum was a follow-up to the KSP renewable energy forum held in February,
which also attracted a large crowd. KSP also sponsored a Solar, Wind and
Retrofitted Home Tour on May 19, during which visitors were able to see some of
the energy systems presented at the forums. more
Photo: More than 100 interested residents attended the April
17 forum, "Renewable Energy: Reducing Home Energy Costs, Part
2," held at Lakeview Manor in Hancock and organized by the Keweenaw Sustainability Project
(KSP). (Photo © 2007 Gustavo Bourdieu. Reprinted with permission.)
Lake Superior warming fast: Researchers surprised by strong trends
By Katie Alvord Posted 05/03/2007
A growing number of regional officials and researchers have been examining how
climate change may already affect air, water and ice within the Lake Superior basin.
This regional work is taking place as the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) completes
its Fourth Assessment Report on the state of the world’s climate. The IPCC is releasing its 2007 assessment in segments, and the next will be released Friday, May
4. In the first in a series of articles on climate change, Keweenaw
Now guest writer Katie Alvord reports recent climate changes affecting Lake
Superior, as researched by scientists at the University of Minnesota Duluth and
Michigan Tech University and as observed by meteorologists and by officials at
Isle Royale National Park and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. more
Photo: Ice melting along the Lake Superior shoreline in late
March 2007. (Photo © 2007 Katie Alvord. Reprinted with permission.)
"Power is in Our Hands Walk" calls for reducing carbon emissions
HOUGHTON -- About 30 people attended a talk and pinwheel parade with the theme
"The Power is in Our Hands" on a sunny Saturday, April 14, in Houghton. The
event was part of a national campaign called "Step It Up, Congress --
Cut Carbon 80% Or More by 2050." More than 1,300 other "Step It Up" events took place across the country on this same day.
The Houghton event started with a talk at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Anne
Newcombe, who organized the event, talked of the need for laws to restrict carbon
emissions; and Barry Solomon, Michigan Tech professor specializing in energy issues,
gave advice about home conservation techniques. The parade walkers carried a banner stating, "Step It Up, Congress - Cut Carbon 80% by
2050," signs and pinwheels and walked from Houghton to Hancock and back.
Some came by bike to protest fossil fuels. more
Photo: "The Power Is In Our Hands" walkers
carry a banner expressing solidarity with the national "Step It Up, Congress"
event to address climate change. The walk from Houghton to Hancock
and back was a family-friendly community event coordinated with over 1,000 other
related events around the country. (Photo © 2007 Gustavo Bourdieu
Renewable energy events draw local crowds
By Katie Alvord Posted
A growing number of Copper Country residents like the idea of renewable power, if turnouts at recent meetings are any indication.
A wind energy talk by Calumet Girl Scouts attracted attention in January.
A Hancock forum on solar, wind, and energy conservation, sponsored by the
Keweenaw Sustainability Project (KSP), drew a larger-than-expected crowd in
February, as did a
Small Wind Seminar sponsored by Michigan State University Extension in Houghton in March.
KSP will sponsor another forum, "Energy Costs, Part 2," at 7 p.m. on
Tuesday, Apr. 17, at Lakeview Manor in Hancock. The forum will include presentations on solar power,
wind power and retrofitting older homes to save energy. more
This 10 KW wind turbine helps offset electricity needs for the adjacent home, which is also connected to the power grid.
Energy Association and courtesy Lynn Hamilton.)
Proposed Trans-Superior Cable would hit Keweenaw Peninsula
BAY, ONT. -- As part of "bold new expansion plans" announced this
spring, an electrical utilities group in Canada hopes to lay a power
transmission cable across Lake Superior from a projected petroleum coke power
plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, across a tip of Isle Royale, to the Keweenaw
Peninsula. Guest reporter Katie Alvord investigates possible impacts of the
Cdn$9 billion project. more
Afghanistan: War for oil? Local voices weigh
HOUGHTON -- This month, as Congress considers a sweeping energy policy
bill and the Bush administration continues to push for oil drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the debate over United States energy
security raises questions about the role of oil in the current Afghan
conflict. Guest writer Katie Alvord explores these questions with experts
at Michigan Technological University. more
Michigan registers warmest winter on record
-- Guest writer Katie Alvord reports that preliminary numbers indicate this was
the warmest meteorological winter -- through February -- ever measured for the
state of Michigan. The National Weather Service says the last four months have
been the warmest November through February on record in Marquette, with the
average temperature hitting 27.2 degrees. more
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