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Flood relief: Take action now and help locally or from afar

Here are ways to help with the flood relief effort in the Keweenaw, whether you live here and have been directly affected by the flash floods, or you live far away, but still want to help.



If you would like to volunteer for flood relief efforts, please register at the Houghton County Flood Volunteer Reception Center, located at Evangel church (1114 College Ave. in Houghton). You can register in person or by requesting a form via email or via their Facebook page. the VRC asks that you register even if you have been volunteering on your own because “it’s important for the assessment of disaster financial need and agency funding.”

Call the VRC at 906-233-6621 to get started as a volunteer & find out where your help is most needed. If you are volunteering at a site, you can also call the VRC to request supplies.

Donating supplies

If you would like to donate supplies, you can drop them off at the Dee Stadium in Houghton.

Update as of Saturday, June 23 via Houghton County Flood Volunteer FB page:


GENEROUS SUPPORTERS: We have all the donations of water and food that we need. Thanks to all who have so generously provided them. Please do not bring or send more at this time as we’re running out of room. If you are looking to donate material goods, consider waiting until early next week when we will be able provide you with a more comprehensive picture of what our needs are moving forward into the next phase.”

As of Friday June 22, list of needed supplies included:

  • Fans
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Long sleeve rubber gloves
  • Face masks
  • Eye protection
  • First aid kits
  • Squeegees
  • Coolers
  • Extension cords
  • Power strips
  • Boots
  • Place to do laundry
  • Pry bars, crowbars
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Pic axes
  • Ear plugs

If shipping supplies from Amazon or other retailers, please ship donations to:

c/o Evangel
1114 College Ave
Houghton MI 49931

Financial support

Disaster relief funds have been established by the Keweenaw Community Foundation and by the Portage Health Foundation.

Contributions to the Keweenaw Community Foundation can be made online at or mailed to Keweenaw Community Foundation, 236 Quincy Street, Hancock, MI 49930.

Contributions to the Portage Health Foundation can made online at or mailed to Portage Health Foundation, 400 Quincy Street, Hancock, Michigan 49930.

Supporting individual families

GoFundMe pages have been set up for several local families who sustained especially heavy losses. Here are the ones I’m aware off; please let me know of others:

Cards and notes for the Markham family can be dropped off at the Houghton Elementary School or Middle School offices.

Please email me with any updates. For up-to-date news and information about flood recovery efforts, see the Keweenaw Report. Also, see

Stay safe and stay together, Keweenaw. Much love.




Daily actions (local, state, and national): October 9, 2017

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day, FAM!

The October 8 New York Times Editorial, “The Republican’s Guide to Presidential Etiquette,” sums up my feelings for this week: what can we do in the face of an administration that seems determined to make the presidency into a joke and plunge the nation, if not the world, into chaos?

I think that all we can do is keep moving forward and keep taking action. It is so easy to become hopeless and paralyzed in the face of the unrelenting barrage of outrageous and insulting statements and actions coming out of the white house, but that is probably part of the strategy, if there is still a strategy. Let’s keep moving forward in supporting our community and resisting the nastiness coming out of Washington.

Local. Attend the Fall Powow this Saturday, October 14 at the SDC from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm. Grand Entry at 1:00 and 7:00.

Local. Attend the Running for Local Office workshop hosted by the Houghton County Democratic Party. The event takes place this Weds, Oct 11, at the Portage Lake District Library. 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. This is a basic primer on running for local office. Goals of workshop are:

  • Know what local elective and non-elective positions there are
  • Know what you need to do to get on the ballot
  • Know what you can do right now to get ready to be a candidate
  • Know the core components of a campaign plan
  • Know the resources available to local Democratic candidates

State (via Michigan Resistance). “Urge State Representatives on the Insurance Committee to support the Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform Plan and the Greimel Bill

  • The bipartisan auto insurance reform plan known as the Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform Plan aims to keep lifetime injury coverage while reducing costs to drivers and adding consumer protections to the insurance system.
  • The plan creates a Fraud Prevention Authority that will address fraud committed by claimants and providers as well as prevent insurance companies from wrongly and knowingly denying legitimate claims, which drives up litigation and expenses.
  • An additional set of reforms, referred to as the Greimel Bill, work in conjunction with the Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform Plan to require that rate savings are passed on to drivers.

Please call these Michigan State Representatives on the Insurance Committee:

Lana Theis: 517-373-1784
Beau LaFave: 517-373-0156
Curt VanderWall: 517-373-0825
Jason Wentworth: 517-373-8962
Tom Barrett: 517-373-0853
Gary Glenn: 517-373-1791
Jim Runestad: 517-373-2616
Michele Hoitenga: 517-373-1747
Hank Vaupel: 517-373-8835
Michael Webber: 517-373-1773
Joesph Bellino: 517-373-1530
Phil Phelps: 517-373-7515
Sherry Gay-Dagnogo: 517-373-3815
Robert Wittenberg: 517-373-0478
Abdullah Hammoud: 517-373-0847

Hello, I am calling to urge Representative _____ to support the Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform Plan and Greimel Bill. These reforms keep the lifetime injury coverage that so many Michiganders who become catastrophically injured depend on while reducing costs and passing on the savings to drivers. We are in dire need of auto insurance reform and the Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform Plan and Greimel Bill strike the perfect balance of coverage and affordability.”

National (via Rise UP Indivisible). Rise UP Indivisible has asked its members to write to Bergman encouraging him to take action on gun control. Why don’t we joing them? While you’re writing to him, you might ask why his recent visit to Michigan Tech wasn’t better publicized, and why he dodged or refused to answer the questions that were presented to him.

Here are the details about the letter to Jack:

“So this week, let’s concentrate on a single message for our dear U.S. representative, Jack Bergman. We can congratulate him first on joining the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives. I received this news from the Keweenaw Climate Community. Then let’s encourage him to take at least a baby step in combating gun violence.

Dear Rep. Bergman,
I am proud of you for signing the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives. You are someone who obviously cares about our environment and wants to take measures to protect our Great Lakes and the increasing hazards associated with climate change.

I have grave concerns about the direction our country is going, in respect to gun rights. I would like to see you step up and support banning bump stocks on semi-automatic weapons. Most Americans favor more gun control measures than that. I would like to see you someday bravely separating yourself from the pack to support such measures. We do not want to take away our rights to own a gun. We just want our legislators to put in place some restrictions that will save lives and possibly prevent future mass killings.

(Your Name)
(Houghton or Keweenaw) County, Michigan”



Local Action: Millage meeting for Portage Lake District Library tomorrow (Thurs 9/28)

Hi FAM! I’m trying to get back to sending out action alerts after an unually busy August/September. Please see Chris Alquist’s message below about a meeting tomorrow for those interested in helping with the PLDL’s 2017 millage renewal:


FAM members expressed an interest in helping with the 2017 millage renewal for the Portage Lake District Library that will be voted on this November. Please forward this to FAM members.

The Friends of the Library encourages everyone who wants to work on the millage renewal and help with planning to attend their next meeting:

Thursday, September 28, 6 pm at Maria Bergstrom’s house 

The meeting will be a chili potluck dinner, so feel free to bring a side dish to share (or just come since there will be plenty of food). Bring along friends who would be interested in helping advocate for the library.

If you are willing to help with election efforts but can’t attend this meeting, please send an email to folpldl to let us know.

You may contact Maria Bergstrom, President of the Friends of the Library, at 906-523-4050 for more information.

Also, details of the millage renewal can be found on the library’s website at Click on About, then click on 2017 Library Millage.

Thank you for all your help with this!

Chris Alquist
Community Programs Director
Portage Lake District Library
58 Huron St.
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 482-4570

Sept 5 local action: Help to end gerrymandering in MI

Good afternoon, FAM! Voters Not Politicians is collecting signatures with the goal of getting a measure on the ballot to combat gerrymandering.

Voters not Politicians is collecting signatures at the Houghton Farmer’s Market tonight from 3:00 – 5:00. Please stop by and sign if you can! See this message from one of our local organizers for more opportunities to sign the petition and get involved in the effort:

Voters Not Politicians ( is leading a huge grassroots, non-partisan effort to end Gerrymandering in Michigan. Their current goal is to collect enough signatures to get language on the ballot in 2018 that would allow legislative district lines to be drawn by an independent commission. Each signature must be collected on paper by this winter! Here’s how you can help:

1) Sign the petition! There are approximately 8 local petition collectors (myself included) that will be going to different events to get signatures. We will try to post any opportunities on the FAM Facebook page, and the VNP events page: You can also contact me ( or another trained volunteer, and we’ll make sure a petition gets to you!

Upcoming signing events:
  • Houghton Farmers market, 9/5. 3:00pm – 5:00pm (that’s today!)
  • Parade of Nations, 9/17. Time and location TBD
  • Gay Fire Dept Pancake breakfast, 10/7. 9:00am – 10:30am

2) Tell a friend! A lot of people haven’t heard anything about this effort, but fully support it once they know what it’s about. Talk to your spouse/friends/family in Michigan about this and keep an eye out for future signing events you can point them towards.

3) Become a ‘trained volunteer’ – trust me this is really easy! It involves a video and online quiz and then you can be registered to collect signatures. If you have 10-20 friends or co-workers that you think might be on board, this could be an efficient use of time. The best way to set this up is to contact our local captain Valorie Troesch (

August 14 actions: Take action against white supremacy

Good morning, FAM. I’m sure, like me, you are feeling overwhelmed, saddened, and disgusted in the wake of the racist and anti-Semitic violence in Charlottesville. The thing is, although they were horrifying, the events in Charlottesville were not shocking or surprising. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 917 active hate groups in the U.S., and they are emboldened by a president who continually dog whistles his support of their agenda and refuses to denounce their actions.

Here are small steps you can take today to combat hate:

National. Donate to an organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center that is dedicated to fighting hate groups. To donate to the SPLC, click here.

National. In the wake of Charlottesville, Representative Jack Bergman tweeted, “These bigoted acts should be condemned and denounced by all Americans!” While it is good that Jack is denouncing bigotry, his refusal to specify whose bigoted acts he is condemning (like Trump’s refusal to do so) is troubling. Let’s call Bergman (202-225-4735) to demand that he specifically condemn the actions of white supremacists, and that he condemn them as acts of domestic terrorism. Let’s demand that our representatives in Congress hold Trump accountable for his refusal to distance himself from white supremicists. Specifically, we could ask Bergman to sponsor, as this article from The Atlantic suggests, “a bipartisan congressional resolution that condemns white supremacists and censures the president.”

National. (via Daily Action): “Today’s Daily Action is to call the White House at 844-241-1141 (will put you through to either the main switchboard or the comment line) to condemn President Trump’s statements regarding the tragedy in Charlottesville and to urge him to do better. Trump’s statement which cast the blame on “hate on many sides” created a false equivalence between white supremacists, racists and anti-semites – and the counter-protestors.

A later statement from the White House tried to clarify what the President said but only made things worse – because the President refused to say it himself.

Indeed, the founder of a neo-Nazi website called the Daily Stormer thanked Donald Trump for his support saying ‘He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.’
The White House needs to know that we are watching. If the lines are busy, call again.

We are tracking the number of calls and so even though the President tries to lie about everything from TV ratings to inaugural crowd sizes and approval poll numbers, he will not be able to lie about how many people have called him today to condemn his coddling of violent domestic terrorists.”



CTE millage vote tomorrow – Tuesday, August 8

Dear FAM,

Don’t forget to vote at your usual polling place tomorrow for the career and technical education (CTE) millage! As a recent Daily Mining Gazette op-ed put it, "If passed, this millage would support relevant training and career exploration, provide technical and employment skills for students to be successful in their chosen career field and provide our community with future trades people, health care workers and college graduates to meet the needs of local businesses in the Copper Country."

Polls are open from 7AM to 8PM. Please turn out to vote and enourage others to do so. This is our chance to make a meaningful difference in our loal community.