January 2007 News
December 2006 News -- February
January 2007 News
Residents oppose Mt. Bohemia rezoning requests at hearing
By Michele Anderson
Posted 01/29/2007 Updated 01/30/07
MOHAWK -- A public hearing on requests for zoning changes in Keweenaw County drew a crowd of nearly 50 to the Mohawk School on Jan. 16, as the Keweenaw County Planning Commission endeavored to update the County Zoning Map to correspond to the new proposed Keweenaw County
zoning ordinance. The Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the new proposed ordinance at their
Feb. 14, 2007, meeting.
While the hearing concerned five different rezoning requests for various parcels in the County, most of the discussion and public comment was devoted to a controversy surrounding a request by Black Bear, Inc., for rezoning part of the Mt. Bohemia property near Lac La
The Keweenaw County Planning Commission intends to make a decision on the requests for
rezoning at their regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, in the Courthouse in Eagle River.
Photo: Ed Kisiel, left, Eagle Harbor Township supervisor, addresses the Keweenaw County Planning Commissioners during the Jan. 16, 2007, public hearing on the new zoning map in the Mohawk School. Jon
Soper, Planning Commission
chairman, replies to questions as he displays a map showing zoning
districts in question. (Photo © 2007 Michele Anderson)
Artist Mary Biekkola Wright, Rick Kauppila named 2007 Heikinpäivä Hankooki Heikkis
HANCOCK -- Hankooki Heikki, an honor given by the City of Hancock’s Finnish Theme Committee each year at the annual Heikinpäivä
mid-winter festival, is bestowed on a person or people whose commitment to preserving and promoting Finnish culture in the area goes above and beyond
"normal" efforts. This year the honors go to artist Mary Biekkola Wright
-- affectionately known as the
"chair lady" or "the woman with all the mittens" -- and her trusty behind-the-scenes helper Rick Kauppila.
Read about their efforts, the coming Heikinpäivä events and other artwork on
exhibit in Hancock. more
Photo: One of several colorful mittens from Mary Biekkola Wright's art
project decorates the sidewalk along Quincy Street in preparation for the 2007 Heikinpäivä
festivities. (Photo © 2007 Michele Anderson)
DEQ disappoints with "proposed" approval of Kennecott sulfide mine
MARQUETTE, LANSING -- Several local groups express disappointment at the Michigan Department of
Environmental Quality's Jan. 9, 2007, "proposed decision" to approve permits to Kennecott Eagle Minerals
Co. for their proposed sulfide mining operations below the Yellow Dog Plains in northwestern Marquette County. The DEQ will now continue its technical review and, by law, will make a final decision following another public hearing and
comment period. Public hearings will be held from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on March 6, 7 and 8, 2007, in the Michigan and Huron Rooms of the Northern Michigan University Center in Marquette.
Written public comments on this "proposed decision" will be accepted through April 5, 2007. Several local groups -- including the Yellow Dog Watershed
Preserve, Save the Wild UP, Huron Mountain Club, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
statewide environmental groups say this proposed decision is wrong for Michigan. "The permit application is filled with ambiguous responses," said Michelle Halley, attorney for the National Wildlife Federation. "Kennecott is expecting the people of Michigan to trust that they can operate a sulfide mine that will not contaminate the surrounding areas, but the track record of both Kennecott and sulfide mining is filled with contamination and inaccurate predictions." Halley
noted a recent study found that faulty water quality predictions and regulatory failures result in the approval of mines that create significant water pollution problems at more than three quarters of mines studied. Read more on
Save the Wild U.P. and
Recovery. Read the DEQ
Decision. For a viewpoint from downstate, read Jack Lessenberry's Jan.
17, 2007, article, "Ready
to swim in sulfuric acid?" in Detroit's Metro Times.
Stupak comments on Bush's Iraq address, votes for minimum wage increase
WASHINGTON -- Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) issued a statement regarding President Bush's Jan. 10
address on Iraq. "Since June, this Administration has twice escalated the number of troops in Baghdad and
neither of these troop surges had the desired effect of bringing stability and security to Iraq," Stupak
said. "While I look forward to hearing the views of members of the military and other Members of Congress
on this issue, I am not yet convinced that President Bush adequately demonstrated tonight how this new
escalation will be any different. Adding another 21,500 troops at a cost of more than $5 billion is not
what the American people want." Stupak also voted today (Jan. 10) for bipartisan legislation to increase
the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation
by a vote of 315 to 116. Stupak, who co-sponsored the legislation, said it will benefit more than 13
million American workers and their families.
MTU Master's International Peace Corps Volunteer returns after service in Togo
By Michele Anderson and Amber Kenny Posted
From raising bush rats to planting trees to teaching teenagers about organic
farming and health, Amber Lily Kenny of Houghton completed several important
projects during her two years in Togo, West Africa. She shares with Keweenaw
Now readers some inspiring and humorous tales of her adventures and
cross-cultural experiences as a Michigan Tech Master's International Peace Corps
Volunteer. Amber is back at MTU finishing her Master's research in forestry and
hopes to return to West Africa to work in another aspect of international development.
Read her stories and see two pages of
Photo: Three-year-old Antoinette has fun cooking with Peace Corps Volunteer Amber Kenny during one
of Antoinette's frequent visits to Amber's village home in Togo. (Photo © 2006 Amber Kenny)
Kris Freeman takes second win at U.S. Cross Country Championships
Two-time Olympian Kris Freeman (Andover, NH), a member of the U.S. Ski Team, picked up his eighth U.S. gold medal by winning the 15K freestyle race Thursday, Jan. 4, at
the U.S. Cross Country Championships on the Michigan Tech Trails, while 18-year-old Alexa
Turzian (Sun Valley, ID) won the women's 10K freestyle race to become what is believed to be the youngest U.S. cross country
champion. It was the second win in 24 hours for
Freeman, who won the men's 10K classic on Wednesday. He covered the three-lap, 15K course in
39:34.7 with two-time Olympic teammate Lars Flora (Anchorage, AK) in second place (40:21.8)
and James Southam (also of Anchorage), another 2006 Olympic athlete in third (40:38.2). Racers again faced
temperatures in the low 40s and soft trail conditions. After the races on Thursday, volunteers moved several truckloads of snow, using their backs and their shovels to ensure a solid base for Saturday's individual classic sprint races. On Sunday, for the first time ever, the U.S. championships will include a team relay event. Teams of two skiers will alternate, skiing three laps each. Sunday's events begin at 10 am. A complete list of results and the schedule for the remaining three races are at
www.seniornationals.org. Read details and see photos on the
U.S. Ski Team Web
site. Photos are also being posted on Brockit.com.
Photo: James Southam of Anchorage, Alaska, leads
a group of skiers up a slope at the MTU Trails during the U.S. Cross Country
Championships 15K freestyle race on Thursday, Jan. 4. Olympic athlete Southam
finished third in the race, winning a bronze medal. Click on photo for a larger
version. (Photo © 2007 Adam Johnson of Brockit.com.
Reprinted with permission.)
NMU student Lindsay Weier takes women's classic ski title
Lindsay Weier of Mahtomedi, Minn., a Northern Michigan University student, took the women's classic ski title Wednesday, Jan. 3, in the U.S. Cross Country Championships as the U.S. Ski Team dominated the opening day of the 2007 Championship
races at the Michigan Tech Nordic Training Center (MTU Trails) in Houghton. Weier and Kris Freeman, of Andover, N.H., winner of the men's race, are both members of the
U.S. Ski Team and competed in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics. Weier will also compete with her NMU college team this year.
U.S. team members took five of the six podium spots in the men's 10 km and the women's 5
km races. The races also include the U.S. disabled championships. Chris Klebl won the men's sit-ski competition, while Monica Bascio won
the women's title. Sit skiers traverse the course on a skiing equivalent to a wheelchair, using their poles and arm strength to
propel themselves. Skiers report the trails held up well despite record high temperatures
for January, with the mercury soaring to 41. Groomers are working late into the night getting the track ready for the freestyle race on
Thursday. Read more and see results on the Senior
Nationals Web site.
Photo: Junior Olympics skiers compete on Michigan
Tech's cross country trails in March 2006. Some of these skiers graduate to
compete in the U.S. Cross Country Championships being held this week on the MTU
Trails, which have held up under warm weather conditions for both competitions.
Click on photo for larger version. (Photo © 2006 Adam Johnson of Brockit.com.
Reprinted with permission.)
MTU Trails ready for U.S. National Cross Country Skiing Championships through
Several member of the 2006 U.S. Olympic team will join more than 400 other skiers at the U.S. National Cross Country
Skiing Championships at the Michigan Tech Trails in Houghton this week. The first race day is Wednesday,
Jan. 3, with the classic distance competition. Male skiers will cover a 10 kilometer course,
while the women will ski 5 km. Thursday, Jan. 4, brings the freestyle competition, with the men skiing 15 km and women skiing 10 km.
After a rest/training day, competitors will ski in two sprint races -- the individual classic sprint
on Saturday, Jan. 6, and the team sprint on Sunday, Jan. 7. In spite of
the limited snowfall this season, the MTU Trails are covered with snow and ready
for the race, thanks to the city of Houghton and many volunteers who have pitched in to move snow from where it is NOT wanted to the place where it IS wanted
-- the ski trails themselves. Dump trucks collected snow from football,
soccer and other local fields. “Our volunteers, partners and sponsors have made an outstanding effort to make sure the course is ready to
go,” said organizing chair Mike Abbott. Visit www.seniornationals.org
for more information and links to three webcams.
Mt. Bohemia zoning issues to top Dec. 14 Planning Commission meeting
By Michele Anderson Posted
12/13/2006 Updated 12/14/2006
EAGLE RIVER -- Definitions and uses of yurts in relation to the Mt. Bohemia Ski Resort
at Lac La Belle will
be a major topic for discussion at the Keweenaw County Planning Commission meeting to be
held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14. (Please note this time. Keweenaw
Now regrets the error in the time posted on Dec. 13.) The discussion on yurts was tabled at the Nov. 28 Planning Commission meeting, during which
Lonie Glieberman, Mt. Bohemia Ski Resort (Black Bear, Inc.) president, and his attorney Frank
Ellias addressed the Commission with concerns about definitions of ski resorts, ski hills
and yurts in the new potential Keweenaw County zoning ordinance. The Keweenaw County Board
of Commissioners is expected to vote on the new ordinance by February or March, 2007.
Glieberman, Mt. Bohemia Ski Resort (Black Bear, Inc.)
addresses the Keweenaw County Planning Commission during their Nov. 28
meeting in the Courthouse in Eagle River. At left is Planning
Commissioner Joe Langdon of Lac La Belle. (Photo © 2006 Michele Anderson)
DEQ proceeds with Kennecott sulfide mine application, still opposed by community groups
Emily Svenson and Michele Anderson Posted
MARQUETTE -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) resumed processing Kennecott Minerals' application for a sulfide mine under the Yellow Dog Plains and Salmon Trout River on Oct. 26, 2006. A debate over the
proposed Eagle Project mine, to be located about 30 miles northwest of
Marquette, has been ongoing since
the spring of 2003, when Kennecott’s proposition became public. Both local and
national groups oppose the mine, citing especially the danger of Acid Mine
Drainage to trout streams and ultimately Lake Superior. On Nov. 14, 2006, the
DEQ issued a permit review update on the proposed Eagle Project mine, stating public comments on Kennecott’s response
to the DEQ's questions on their initial application will be accepted until
Dec. 26, 2006. The DEQ will make a proposed decision to grant or deny the Part 632
permit application on January 9, 2007, and will also issue notice of a consolidated public
hearing (on the Part 632 permit and on air and groundwater permit applications) expected to be held in mid-February.
Photo: A view of the Salmon-Trout River, which flows through an area proposed for
Kennecott Minerals' Eagle Project sulfide mine. The River contains a rare
population of Coaster Brook Trout. (File photo © 2005 Northwoods
Wilderness Recovery. Reprinted with permission.)
2006 News -- February 2007 News
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