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 coppercountrystrong@gmail.com 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 https://www.gofundme.com/kcf-disaster-relief-fund or mailed to Keweenaw Community Foundation, 236 Quincy Street, Hancock, MI 49930.

Contributions to the Portage Health Foundation can made online at http://www.phfgive.org/contribute.php. 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 coppercountrystrong.com

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”



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 (http://www.votersnotpoliticians.com/) 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: http://www.votersnotpoliticians.com/signingevents. You can also contact me (schmi349@gmail.com) 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 (vtroesch@gmail.com)

Week of June 13 actions: Help beautify Hancock, RSVP for “How to Run for Local Office Workshop,” & call about AHCA

Good afternoon, FAM!

Local: I learned today that there is a need for volunteers to plant annuals along Hancock’s main street. Although this isn’t a political action, it is a way to beautify and spread good will in our local community, and I thought some of you might be interested. Here is the information I have: “This is the first year in quite a while that there will be annuals planted down Hancock’s main street (Quincy Street). It’s rather involved so the following times have been allotted for prepping and planting so all flowers will be in place for the upcoming Bridgefest weekend.

Tuesday/today – 5 to 7 pm
Wednesday – beginning around 2pm through 7pm
Thursday – from 11am to 2pm and 4pm to ?
Friday – from 9am- 11am

Your help would be appreciated if you can spare an hour or two. The more the merrier. Let me know and plan to bring gloves, hand garden tools, etc. Thanks!”

If you can spare some time to help with the planting, please do! Contact Jeannie (jsdecler@mtu.edu) for more information.

Local (via Houghton County Democratic Party). RSVP for “How to Run for Local Office Workshop.”

RSVP by emailing Valorie Troesch at vtroesch@gmail.com, or RSVP on the Facebook event.

On Monday, June 19, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm, the HCDP is hosting a workshop on running for local office at the Portage Lake District Library. According to the Facebook event page, “this Workshop will address the truths and myths about what it takes to run for local office. If you have ever considered putting your hat in the ring, this workshop is for you! Come and learn:

What are the local elective and appointed positions and what are the qualifications for these offices?

How do I get on the ballot?

How do I prepare myself to run for local office?

How do I run a winning campaign?

You won’t be in this alone – What resources are there to support me?

Hear from others who have been there.”

This promises to be an excellent and informative workshop, and I hope to see you there!

Federal (via Rise UP Individible). “AHCA is on the fast track to get passed this month and is currently in the hands of 13 male U.S. senators. Everyone else has been left in the dark, as far as we know. Our parent organization, Indivisible, has requested us to join a furious campaign this month to get in touch with our senators and express our dismay (you can read Indivisible’s alert on our FaceBook page. Here are some highlights that you can begin to do immediately)”:

Wednesday, June 14 is National Senate Call-In Day:Our senators Stabenow and Peters are strong supporters of improving the ACA. They should be as fired up as you are and doing everything within their power to stop or slow the process in the Senate. Ask them to withhold consent on all Senate business until Republicans agree to hold a public hearing on TrumpCare.

Here’s a suggested script (you can request to speak to a HEALTH STAFFER instead of the intern or aide answering your call):

Senator Stabenow: 202-224-4822
Senator Peters: 202-224-6221

‘Hi, my name is __________ and I live at ______________. I hope Senator (Stabenow) (Peters) is fired up about fact that the Senate might decide on passing their version of the AHCA without consulting the rest of the Senate and without getting approval from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office). I ask the Senator to withhold consent from all Senate business until a public hearing on the AHCA is held.’

We are so lucky that our two senators care deeply about providing decent healthcare for all! If you want to reach across the aisle to people who need more persuading, please contact the following senators, and encourage any family or friends who live in these states to contact them as well: Susan Collins (ME) (202) 224-2523; Lisa Murkowski (AK) (202) 224-6665; Dean Heller (NV) (202) 224-6244; Shelley Moore Capito (WV) (202) 224-6472; Bill Cassidy (LA) (202) 224-5824; Rob Portman (OH) (202) 224-3353; Tom Cotton (AR) (202) 224-2363; Cory Gardner (CO) (202) 224-5941; Jeff Flake (AZ) (202) 224-4521; Pat Toomey (PA) (202) 224-4254; and Dan Sullivan (AK) (202) 224-3004.”



Local Actions: Progressive Regional Caucus and Hancock City Council vacancy

Local (via FAM FB). Progressive Regional Caucus: Marquette, MI.

Tomorrow (Weds Jun 1) there is a Progressive Regional Caucus being held in Marquette, MI. The Caucus is hosted by Progress Michigan, and according to the event page “the goal of this meeting and others like it around the state is to bring together likeminded activists and organizations to work together in order to advance progressive causes in our communities and the entire state. We want to know what actions you’re taking locally, what issues you care about, and how we can help each other in those efforts. We want this to be a collaborative effort that allows us to take action in our neighborhoods and unify the progressive community in Michigan.”

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Weds June 1
Location: 1510 M-28, Marquette, MI 49855, United States

Local (via Daily Mining Gazette). NOTICE TO CITY OF HANCOCK RESIDENTS.

The Hancock City Clerk is accepting applications from interested persons to fill an At-Large vacancy seat on the City Council. The term of this Council appointment runs until November, 2018. You must be a registered voter in the City of Hancock to apply for this vacancy.

Applications will be accepted for this opening until 5:00 p.m. local time, Wednesday, June 7, 2017 with tentative Council action to make the appointment at a special meeting on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 starting at 6:00 p.m.

Submit applications to:

Mary Babcock
City Clerk
399 Quincy St.
Hancock, MI 49930

URGENT local action: HPTS Bond Proposal vote tomorrow (Tues, May 2)

Good afternoon, FAM.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 2) is the vote for for the Houghton-Portage Township Schools 2017 Bond Proposal.

I personally plan to support the proposal because I believe that it will allow for necessary infrastructure and facilities updates–not only the much-discussed updates to athletics facilities, but also updates to classrooms, restrooms, and the HS auditorium; to information technology; to heating and ventilation systems; and to the parking lot configuration (I can personally attest to the fact that the current elementary school drop-off/pick-up situation is untenable and unsafe, so I’m really happy to see that a solution is in the works).

Here is the link to the informational brochure about the bond proposal so that you can review it and make your own decision.

Please get out and vote, FAM!

Voting Locations & Hours – All Polls Open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Tues, May 2

City of Houghton
Precinct 1 – Houghton Fire Hall (for residents west of Bridge Street)
Precinct 2 – Dee Stadium (for residents east of Bridge Street)

Portage Township
Precinct 1 & 2 – Hurontown Fire Department
Precinct 4 – Doelle Senior Center



April 18 actions: turn out in defense of science, the environment, and Georgia!

There are lots of opportunities for action this week, FAM: let’s turn out to defend our environment, march for science, & make calls to flip a congressional seat in Georgia. You might even consider a spur-of-the-moment road trip to Escanaba tomorrow afternoon…

Local. Don’t forget that the Houghton Keweenaw Conservation District vote is taking place at their annual meeting this Thursday, April 20 at 5:00 at the Orpheum Theater (426 Quincy St.) in Hancock. It’s too late now to request an absentee ballot, but if you can’t make their meeting you can also stop by their office to cast your vote: 711 W. Lakeshore Drive, Houghton. Call the office first to make sure someone is there: 482-0214. As a reminder, we are suggesting that you vote for James Tercha and Steven Siira who will keep the conservation district doing the good work we have all come to know and love. See the April 11 FAM post for more information.

Local/National. This Saturday, April 22, join the MarchforScienceHoughton for more details

State (via Michigan Resistance). “Shut down the Enbridge Line 5 Oil Pipeline: The Enbridge oil pipeline Line 5, which is 64 years old, runs underneath waterways that connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. It has a number of problems that can quickly escalate into major environmental issues.”

Michigan Resistance suggests that we call these members of the House Energy Policy Committee, to which the resolution has been referred:

  1. Chair Gary Glenn (Midland): 517-373-1791
  2. Roger Hauck (Mt. Pleasant): 517-373-1789
  3. Tom Barrett (Potterville): 517-373-0853
  4. Triston Cole (Gaylord): 517-373-0829
  5. Jim Tedder (Village of Clarkston): 517-373-0615
  6. Joseph Bellino (Monroe): 517-373-1530

“Hi, I am calling to ask Representative ____ to support House Resolution 51 and urge the governor and attorney general to shut down the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline. The Great Lakes and clean water are among the most precious resources for Michigan families. The highly problematic line, which has shown coating issues, could cause major economic and health issues in our region. I urge you to please support House Resolution 51 and end the Engbridge Line 5 pipelines on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.”

Federal. As I’m sure you know, there is a special election taking place today in Georgia’s 6th congressional district! If you would still like to volunteer to make calls and help to get out the vote for democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in Georgia and help him to earn more than 50% of the vote in order to avoid a runoff, you can sign up here.

Federal. Jack Bergman is hosting a town hall in Escanaba tomorrow (Weds, April 19) from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Bay de Noc Community College (2001 N Lincoln Road, Escanaba, MI 49829). I know it’s quite a long drive to make mid-week (it’s almost as though he doesn’t want a large turnout…hmmmm…), but if you can attend please do! If you would like to attend but don’t have a ride go ahead and message the list or post to our FB page; maybe we can work out some carpools. If anyone does attend, we’d love to hear how it went.