"living & working" in the Keweenaw
If you agree that more good nature & community loving people would be welcome here, please re-post the "Living & Working" page: www.mainstreetcalumet.com/living--working.html
Tucked away in Calumet’s backyard are the Swedetown trails. The 30K of nordic ski trails, 8K of snow shoe trails and 3K of multi-purpose trails are a draw for both local and regional visitors. Making the most of the abundant of snow in the area, the trail system provides enthusiasts of all skill levels a way to challenge their abilities and enjoy the beauty of the woods in winter.
Main Street Calumet recently spoke with Barb Flanagin, Board Member of the Swedetown Trails Club, the organization that develops and maintains the trails. Swedetown Trails Club is a non-profit with many volunteers, and Barb wanted to
highlight the importance of the Swedetown Trails to our community.
Our Groomers are Important: There is more than just riding on a fancy piece of equipment to keeping the trails in the condition skiers like to have them. Running the new Prinoth Husky, quarter of a million dollar machine, safely and well is the job of a skilled operator. Various snow conditions impact how they groom and it takes awhile for a new groomer to learn the “tricks of the trade” and they go through rigorous training. Finally, it takes the right sort of individual, with the right attitude, to get out there every day throughout our long winter months. Despite early season preparation, wind and snow can cause downed trees, and unexpected maintenance issues sometimes arise, which can add to the average five hours of daily grooming time.
Trail Pass Fees Pay for Winter Trail Grooming Operating Costs: It is a fairly common misconception, and an understandable one, that taxes pay for all of the work that goes into providing the high quality Nordic ski experience that users enjoy. This may create the belief that a resident shouldn't have to pay for a pass since it is township land. While initially some tax money went toward paying for the purchase of the land, no tax money goes towards operational costs. These costs, and related ones such as plowing parking areas, and lighting and heating of the chalet, are covered by the budget built with the fees paid for the trail passes.
We Are Supported by Volunteers: A lot of things are done by volunteers: They prepare the trails before snow comes, work on long term improvements such as correcting the flow of tight turns, leveling the terrain, putting in culverts in low, wet spots, brushing and cutting back overhanging limbs, checking the lights to find which are in need of repairs, making sure signs are visible so people don't get lost. Club members also use their skills to make upgrades and repairs to the chalet and other buildings whenever possible. Friendly hosts greet visitors at the chalet. So much of the work can be attributed to volunteers that it is safe to say that Swedetown Trails wouldn’t exist without their efforts.
Swedetown is a great community asset. People come from far and wide to use the trails; our snow is very reliable and the trails are great. Many groups use the trail system for training, even for the Birkie. Being out in the woods and breathing clean pine air is good for one's health and even if you don't ski, the multi-purpose trails are packed so that you can walk in the woods in the winter.
It’s time to get excited about curling! Every four years, during the Winter Olympics there is an increased level of interest in the sport - ranging from mere curiosity to ambitious plans on making the next US Olympic Curling team. If either of those descriptions fit somewhere in your wheelhouse you have the opportunity to learn more about the sport with the Copper Country Curling Club (CCCC) right here in Calumet.
Gary Lassila (President of the CCCC) met with Main Street Calumet crew to show us the facility and talk a little bit about this upcoming season. Gary explained that there is a noticeable “Olympic Bump” every four years, and this year should prove no different. For those interested in taking up the sport, you should know that everything you will need will be provided, but those more experienced curlers will eventually end up purchasing their own equipment.
The curling facility itself is outstanding. Aside from the incredible work done to install the curling lanes, or “sheets” into the old C & H Drill House, there is a fantastic warming room that even includes video monitors of the far end sheets, so observers can follow the action comfortably from within the warming facility. According to Gary, the "natural ice" housed in a permanent facility, such as it is in the old C & H Drill House, is the only one of its kind in the U.S.
What follows here is excerpted from the Copper Country Curling Club - and do not hesitate to contact Gary Lassila should you have any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Open Houses are coming fast, and if you want to learn the sport, or join a league as a skilled player, it is time to move into action. And with the Olympics coming, Gary does expect to hold an additional “learners” open house at some point during Olympics.
“December is here and the Copper Country Curling Club is preparing for another great season. We hope that everyone who curled last year will return and of course, we are always looking for new curlers. Feel free to forward this to anyone you think might be interested. Please e-mail me if you do not plan to curl this year.
Good news everyone...we have reduced membership dues!
1st year players and students = $60 (last year $70)
2nd year players = $80 (last year $120)
3 or more years = $120 (last year $160)
These memberships allow you to play in either Tuesday or Thursday league if you wish to. An additional $20 is required if you want to play both nights. If you plan to curl this upcoming season, please submit a membership form or e-mail me that you plan to play.
Link to membership form: https://sites.google.com/site/coppercountrycurlingclub/membership
(scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the 2nd blue arrow)
Dues will not be required until late January. League play is tentatively set to begin on Tuesday January 2nd and Thursday January 4th. Learn to Curl will begin on Wednesday, January 10th.
The weekly schedule remains the same:
Monday – college curling night (MTU & Finlandia students)
Tuesday – League curling, games at 7pm and 9pm
Wednesday – Learn to Curl from 7pm-9pm
Thursday – League curling, games at 7pm and 9pm
The Learn to Curl program is for people with very little or no prior curling experience. It will take place on Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm and will run throughout the curling season (about 10 weeks) beginning January 10th.
We now have a “Social membership” for people who would like to join the Copper Country Curling Club, but do not want to curl. The social membership is aimed at people who will be visiting the club to watch family/friends curl. The cost is $30. (a social membership is NOT required to visit the club to watch curling)
We are planning two Open Houses – Wednesday evening Jan. 3rd, 6-9pm and Saturday afternoon January 6th, noon-3pm. The open houses are a good opportunity for people to visit the club and throw a few rocks. We may have additional Open Houses during the 2018 Olympics in February.
Feel free to visit our website and/or contact me or if you have any questions.
Gary Lassila - Copper Country Curling Club
Becky Koivu started collecting clothing for those in need in her basement closet 15 years ago. Her daughter, Ann Roberts, took over when Becky passed away. "The New Beginnings Free Store" has evolved into a real store located at 119 5th Street, Calumet. Anyone can shop there and no money is ever required. Donations are accepted. Those donations can be used at Christmas for the Angel Tree Mission, to help people with utility shut off notices, or even helping people with medical appointments outside of the local area.
Throughout the year the volunteers regularly reserve the best items and then present them in a display for children who want to select (at no cost) presents for their parents on Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and Christmas. New Beginnings accepts donations of all working and clean items (with the exception of out-dated electronics). Their greatest ongoing need is for strong volunteers who help keep the store and basement storage organized. The yearly Angel Tree campaign matches childrens' gift requests to local residents who would like to purchase and drop off an unwrapped gift at the store. As of today there are still 100 remaining children requests to be matched.
However, no child is ever turned away. If necessary the store will take funds from the operating capital to provide the gifts matching that child's request. If you would like to fill a Calumet child's wish list there is still time. Drop by the store today, message the store on Facebook, or call Terry at (906) 370-9240 or Lynn at (906) 934-3602.
Open for business since late September, Off Shore Fish & Chips is delivering on their name - producing some of the finest fish and chips this side of the Atlantic. Howard Blake, along with his daughter Emily, have worked hard to continuously refine the menu and have hit upon several items that are sure to satisfy your cravings. Howard says he wants to keep the menu simple to allow them to "bring fresh, affordable food to everybody." Howard has several years of experience in the kitchen, having honed his craft in Florida, the Carolinas, as well as a run at The Hut. He and his partner Rod Chapman bring over 80 years of cooking knowledge to the table.
Rod and Howard had the idea to open a new location after finding success in Lake Linden (which also does some catering and events), Howard and Emily pitched the former gallery Omphale in Calumet, at 431 Fifth Street.
Howard and Emily both feel there are good things happening in Calumet, with good people, and they are excited to be part of it.
Off Shore Fish & Chips has appetizers, family size offerings, and dinner baskets for your options. Emily recommends trying the Buckets, as you'll get an order for 4 people for the price of three. They get lots of pick up orders for the buckets, for people and families getting out of hockey practice, or after a long day of school or work.
Come in, give them a try, and I assure you that you'll be happy. And don't forget, they are open through the Copper Dog - they're just at the other end of the street!
Text by Leah Polzien, Executive Director, Main Street Calumet.
Any event, no matter the size, takes a lot of effort to put together. What many see as a single day of fun is the result of months of preparation. I am beginning to see community events not just as fundraisers for a cause or a good time but as community team building exercises. Each time you put an event together you find yourself working together with a variety of people and building relationships with them. Pasty Fest 2017 was the result of many hours of communication, outreach, networking and sometimes compromise. What follows is a list of those who contributed and deserve a pat on the back! Let the length of this list be a testament to the hours invested and connections made.
To the Pasty Fest Committee; Krissy Delesha, Valerie Newmann, Lynette Webber, Josh Mortti, Jim Newman, and David Crowley. Thank you for donating your time and brain power, you are gems.
To the Keweenaw National Historical Park for providing a space for Kid's Activities, bodies to help with set-up and tear down, and last minute signage creation. A special thank you to Park Superintendent Wendy Davis for taking on the Rock Painting Class at the last minute when not one, but two instructors suffered medical issues!
To the folks at Universal Metals, Copper Island Printing and A1 Toilets for quick work and being flexible with last minute changes. To Café Rosetta for providing toilet paper when we ran out in the ladies room. To Copper World for providing electrical access and displaying the Pasty Fest awards. To the gents at Peninsula Auto for generously allowing us access to their electrical panel, to power the entire event if it hadn't rained! To Ken Olkkonen for electrical wizardry. To CLK Schools Food Service for lending us warmer ovens so we could conduct the Bake-Off. To Tim Gasperich and Calumet Township for their help locating and delivering straw for seating. To Columbia Linen for rugs to cover power cords and prevent tripping hazards. Fred Reese for subsidizing our need for the cool awards he produces! To the Village of Calumet for help with street closures, parade guidance, and police presence. Trish Golus and Phyllis Locatelli for letting us access the Heritage Center repeatedly after hours. To Todd VanDyk and everyone at Houghton Community Broadcasting for their excellent evert coverage, sponsorship and support. Keweenaw Coffee Works for providing burlap bags for costume construction. The CHS Band and ROTC for coming out to perform during their summer break! To our parade route security helpers thanks for helping to keep everyone safe!
Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with everything from costume creation, to selling pasties, to cleaning bathrooms; Ed and Dori Hallquist, Kathie Dianda, the Beiring Families of Calumet and Cedar Bay, Deb and Lew Lambert, Sue Dana, Mike Delesha, James Dahl, Lee Peterson, Candy Pham, Patty Webber, Katie Keller, Brandi Golden, and Caitlin Woodie.
Thank you to our event sponsors Pasty Central and Vollwerth's for providing support to make this event happen. To our Baker's Basket sponsors; ShopKo Calumet, Copper World, Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association and Karl Larson.
To our vendors for showing up again this year, we know it's a LOT of work; Denali Restaurant, Connie's Kitchen, Suomi Restaurant, Lindell's, Pasty Central, Copper Harbor Pasty, Vollwerth's, Poshak's Projects, MSU Extension, Keweenaw Time Traveler, Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center, Girl Scouts of America, Lady A's Crafts, BHK Child Development, Deb Strieter, Lois Woodworth, Juneberry Gifts, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Delightful Designs, Helping Hands for Vets, Project Hope, Calumet Women's Club, Little Laurium Luxuries, Mucked Up, Copper Country Humane Society, J&J Fish Pond, North Harvest CSA, Boersma Family Farm, the Veterans Center, Annika's Cupcakes, and Circle Back Farm,
To all the musicians and performers; Bob Hiltunen, Tom Katalin, Bob Norden and Friends, Last Minute Mile, Kerry Paul, Kevin Blackstone, 47 North Fusion, Keweenaw Jui Jitsu, SuperNova Yoga, Hooping with Cecelia, Keweenaw Youth Symphony Orchestra, Calumet High School Drama Club and the Cardio Drummers,
Last but not least thanks to the members of Main Street Calumet for supporting our organization so we can continue to hold great events and make positive changes in Calumet.
If I've failed to mention anyone who helped out with Pasty Fest 2017 please don't hesitate to mention it so I can include your name on this list!
We're excited to feature a post from the Keweenaw Roller Girls Blog and hope to see you at Saturday's bout!
Keweenaw Roller Girls 2017 season started off with a bang as our first WFTDA sanctioned game is now in the books. It was a tough battle against Chippewa Valley Roller Girls of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. They’ve been on the track several season longer than KRG and really have some superb leadership that has carried their strategies and game play over the years. Ending their season against KRG, they left with a powerful 261 to 65. Though the score visually was a huge blow out, the gameplay itself was exciting. If you never looked at the scoreboard you might not have known who had won the game. Some great skating skill was displayed by both teams, and the 1 on 1 battles in the front of the pack, usually against CVRG’s #25 Stunt Double, were so thrilling it really didn’t seem to matter to the home crowd that KRG was having their butts handed to them. With more than 500 in attendance at the Calumet Colosseum, the house “Ooohhs” and “Ahhhs” could be heard clearly on the track amongst the chaos of shouting skaters, whistles, and the house PA.
Keweenaw showcased some new talent at the first game in Calumet this season. Glam Bam #18, Amelia HitsHart #724, and AfroDisiac #88 played in their first game as rookies against a seasoned WFTDA All Star team. We are so proud of their fearlessness (okay, maybe they were a little scared, but they didn’t show it), and their great sportsmanship. Talk about a trial by fire. These new skaters are ones to keep your eyes on. As any team should know, every loss is a win if you learn something from it, and we certainly took some pointers, made adjustments, and are ready for the games ahead of us.
Next up on the schedule for June 10th, a new team on the scene, Shipwreck Alley Roller’s(SAR) of Alpena, Michigan. They will be making their way up the peninsula this weekend, and what a great time to hit the road! This team has a lot of soul and we look forward to strengthening our connections with them. First recognized at the 2016 Mitten Kitten Tournament in Mackinaw City, SAR was in full force co-hosting and lending support to River City Renegades and the entire organizing crew. They were growing their league and supporting the growth of roller derby, and we are all about that! They have quite a presence and are hard to not notice with their iconic pirate-skull logo with pretty eyelashes.
Get ready and make some evening plans for this Saturday as KRG prepares for their opponent from below the bridge. School is out for the kids and we’re all in the mind-set for having some fun. Bring your kiddos to the game, or bring that gal who you know would just be great at roller derby (we want to recruit her).
Tickets are $5.00 for adults, and the kids 10 and under are FREE! Bevies, grub, and rolling thunder. What better way to spend a Saturday night in Calumet!?
Check out the Keweenaw Roller Girls' Facebook page for updates!
Images and text by Chelsea Batten http://chelseabatten.com
Light filters through the windows of the Calumet Village Hall like a fine rain, lifting the honeyed tones of its woodwork. Joe Snow’s earnest demeanor fits well within this setting. Seated at his desk and peering down at the first of a neat file of papers, he looks like a Norman Rockwell scene. Even more so when you consider that he grew up in Calumet during its heyday, watching the flames rise from the foundry chimneys across from the Colosseum.
As his father’s air force career was coming to a close, Joe’s family resettled in Calumet in 1965. He was in third grade, a student at Sacred Heart. He and his friend used to run around town on a Friday night, excited by the hustle and bustle.
“It was packed all the time. All the stores were open. Vertin’s had all four floors lit up. The Parkside Restaurant was a booming place. There were something like twenty-seven bars, and just as many churches. People were employed; there was activity all the time.”
The village changed quickly when the mines closed. People started moving away, shuttering their homes and businesses behind them. Joe got through high school and college while working at his father’s body shop and Calumet Electronics, then followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force.
Even while traveling the world and starting a family, the Keweenaw stayed strong in his memory.
“It was always home. It was always where I’d planned to be. In the service, a lot of people went on vacations here and there. Our vacation was coming back here [and] seeing our families.”
In 2016, after Joe retired from the service, he and his wife left their home in Washington State to return to the Keweenaw. They moved into Joe’s parents’ old home just north of Tamarack, took up cross-country skiing, and became regulars at the Calumet Golf Course. However, announcing their move brought a certain amount of skepticism, even from his old friends who were still in the area.
“A lot of people I talked to, they said, ‘Are you sure you want to move back here?’ I say, why wouldn’t I? This is home. Yeah, it’s changed a lot, but maybe there’s something I can do to make it better. When I found out this position was open, I thought this would be something I could contribute to.”
As village manager, Joe wears a dizzying array of hats. He jokes that he’s still reading the job expectations in his contract. Along with holding monthly village council meetings and making sure the city’s bills get paid, he serves as an administrator for the zoning board as well as for the Downtown Development Authority. And of course, there’s being the point person for any question a Calumet resident might have. When it comes to the thousand and one questions of daily life in a village, the buck stops with him.
“There’s constantly people coming in, asking questions. Some are fairly simple—‘Can I tear up the sidewalk to put a driveway in?” Other questions are more complicated—“‘There’s a house with a loose pane; I’m afraid it might fall into the street.’ Then we have to track down the homeowner. We had a lady come in because her next door neighbor’s dog was crapping in the yard. She said, ‘Is there an ordinance about the dog running loose?’ And yeah, turns out there is. “There are lots of things I have to bring to council. But I don’t ever say, ‘That’s not us.’ I’ll either find out who they can talk to or point them in the right direction.”
The immediate challenge is picking up where the previous manager left off. The gap between village managers has left Joe to orient himself and restore operations to good working order. “One of the things I'm trying to do is establish Operation Instructions”—Air Force speak for a clear procedural system—“so that whoever comes after me, everything's in place for them.” For this, he depends on the help of village council president Dave Geisler, as well as his secretary, Corrinne, who has held down the village hall office through the tenure of three past managers.
Balanced against all this fine detail is a long-term vision for Calumet's future. Joe has made it his mission to get the village on the path toward revitalization. He is working on preservation measures such as stabilizing Calumet’s historic sandstone buildings and restoring the village hall’s clock tower to function again. Already, he has applied for grants that would set up a fund for the maintenance of Agassiz Park, and he has led the council in passing an ordinance against urban blight.
Taking care of the village’s appearance is a cornerstone of economic development in the area. Another crucial component is forging partnerships amongst the Keweenaw’s many development and tourism organizations. This region-wide effort would not only benefit everyone, but it could potentially restore Calumet to its former place as commercial center for the Keweenaw.
“People in this area have a lot of pride in the community. I don’t mean just Calumet. The Keweenaw is really one big community. I want to work with other municipalities to get people to work together, instead of in isolation.” Partnership, Joe says, is essential for any of these efforts to be effective. “There are some things that I can do, but there are things a lot of other people can do. I know people from my experiences traveling around that may be able to financially assist—bring a business in, maybe invest in the village. [And] citizens can help out, also. People here are very friendly and helpful."
Joe says that he took the Midwest’s work ethic for granted until his travels around the country showed him how rare a quality it is. People from this area, he says, are closely bonded by their pride in their hometown, their community spirit, and their commitment to getting a job done well. “I think those people would be the same ones who would be able to help the village move forward.”
Fortunately, this fierce local spirit is one of Calumet’s richest resources. And unlike copper, it doesn’t go away.
“I don’t think anything’s going to happen tomorrow. But if everybody continues to work together, the small things start showing up, and hopefully people get a little more pride in the community. Then they can maybe take on things themselves. We have to grow together. You don’t forget about home.”
Keweenaw Coffee Works, Calumet's popular micro roastery, is expanding their operations with a bigger roasting machine in order to upgrade their manufacturing capabilities, to keep up with the steadily growing demand for their delicious artisan coffee. The exciting upgrade means the small batch roastery will be able to bring more sustainably produced coffee to more coffee-loving customers, while also creating great job opportunities in the local community.
Appreciated for their fresh, high-quality, and sustainably produced coffee, Keweenaw Coffee Works has maintained a steady business growth for the past 5 years. With happy customers returning frequently, and public demand for specialty coffee drastically increasing, the company is nearing capacity and needs to upgrade manufacturing capabilities to continue to grow.
Keweenaw Coffee Works is currently operating on a 6 lb roaster, roasting 15 to 18 lbs per hour. The new machine will be able to roast 25 lb per batch, with an output of approximately 80 to 100 lbs per hours, greatly increasing the capacity and supply capabilities so they can bring their specialty coffee to more locations across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Midwest.
“Basically, a new machine means we can roast in one hour what we normally roast in one day!” says founder Valerie Baciak. She continues, “Those who drink our coffee know we've done our research and taken the time to inspect all aspects of our product to meet their expectations – passion is our number one ingredient! We are so happy that the response to our coffee has been so great, and now we can’t wait to expand our operations further and bring more people in!”
About Keweenaw Coffee Works Keweenaw Coffee Works opened in 2013, and was founded by Nate and Val, a married couple sharing a passion for great food and hospitality excellence. Their love for high quality coffee started when Nate started to roast his own coffee at home and sharing it with friends and family. The roastery is focused on providing sustainable, great tasting coffee served with a smile, and their philosophy behind every cup is that small is beautiful – that’s why they work closely with suppliers to support small artisan farms.
In order to raise funds for the new equipment and expand their business, Keweenaw Coffee Works has launched a Kickstarter campaign, which has already surpassed its original funding goal. To keep the momentum up, they have introduced some great stretch goals. For example, if they hit $45K, they'll donate a pound of coffee to food banks and Meal on Wheels programs across the state of Michigan in the name of each backer who joins the campaign. From now until April 23 2017, fans and coffee enthusiasts can back the campaign in return for some great rewards, such as delicious coffee (of course!), exclusive enamel mugs, original artwork, T-shirts, and more.
For more information about Keweenaw Coffee Works check out their website, Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.
Contact: Valerie Baciak email@example.com