Tag Archives: Deborah K. Frontiera


Story and photos by Deborah K. Frontiera Two years ago, Sue Collins, an associate professor in the Humanities Department at Michigan Technological University, came up with the idea of a community-wide commemoration of the end of World War I and the Copper Country’s involvement in it. She formed a core committee of community members, including […]

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Accordian to Jim

Story and photos by Deborah K. Frontiera Copper Country accordionist Jim Enrietti celebrated his 82nd birthday in July. He began to play the accordion when he was 7 or 8 years old. He was unsure exactly how old he was when he discovered his maternal grandfather’s two-row, diatonic button box accordion. That grandfather, John Ceretto, […]

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For love of music

By Deborah K. Frontiera Musician Jan Arnold and I sat on the porch of her summer home on the beach of Little Traverse Bay in the Copper Country on a lovely day in June. The lake was calm, the air clear—a great view of Traverse Island (Rabbit Island) just five miles away and across Keweenaw […]

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North Woods Conservancy preserves land for public use

by Deborah K. Frontiera For generations, people in Houghton and Keweenaw counties fished, hiked and picnicked along the Gratiot River, the beach of Lake Superior at Seven Mile Point and several other areas. People always considered these places as “public land.” In the past, such areas had belonged to mining companies and other corporations that did […]

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KBOCC celebrates Michigan authors

by Deborah K. Frontiera A few years ago, the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College in L’Anse had a beautiful new library with a huge deficit in the number of volumes it contained. The college set about seeking to fill those shelves, asking for donations of “special collections.” Many years earlier, Steve Covieo, author of You […]

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Jutila Center: New businesses grow on old foundation

by Deborah K. Frontiera Karin Van Dyke, vice president for university relations at Finlandia University, is head of Finlandia University’s business incubator with offices on the third—ground floor—of what was once the St. Joseph Hospital and then Portage Hospital, the Lily I. Jutila Center for Design and Business. The 120,000-square-foot, nine-floor building was renovated with […]

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Taking the “dis” out of disability

The first time I met Gretchen Preston, I knew she was a remarkable woman. Preston has been legally blind for many years, but has not let that slow her down, or dampen her dreams. Her children’s books, the Valley Cat series, are delightful; she is active in the community; she can ski, hike and join […]

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Margaret Helminen and Designotype employee Nancy Larson (Margaret’s right hand) checking the weekly schedule that keeps it all together. (Courtesy Deborah Frontiera)

Calumet couple build success in business and family life

by Deborah K. Frontiera Close to the intersection of U.S.-41 and Airpark Boulevard in Houghton County, sits an attractive blue and white building with the sign “Designotype Printers.” One can see easily from the size of the structure that this is a successful business. What isn’t quite so apparent is the family behind this enterprise and […]

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Entrepreneurship 101

MTEC SmartZone helps tech business startups By Deborah K. Frontiera This year, the Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation, or MTEC SmartZone (affiliated with Michigan Technological University) celebrated its tenth anniversary. The actual date of its birth was somewhere in the summer of 2002, but it took a while to get operations going, so the celebrated anniversary […]

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Finlandia University: AKA Suomi College or University of Sisu Part II

By Deborah K. Frontiera When Suomi College was first established in the 1890s, all of the classes were taught in Finnish, except the English class. This served the children of Finnish immigrants well, but left many people with the impression that the school was “too Finnish” for anyone else. V. K. Nikander wrote at the […]

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Finlandia University Part I—The First 50 Years

by Deborah K. Frontiera In the spring of 2012 when I took on the task of compiling a “new” history for Finlandia University, I didn’t fully realize what I had gotten myself into. The monstrous task would keep me occupied more than full time for the entire summer and half of the fall. I heard […]

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Nara Nature Park welcomes public

by Deborah K. Frontiera We all like a place of peace and solitude in the outdoors that we hope never gets crowded. The Nara Nature Park fills that bill. It is a place the City of Houghton and Michigan Technological University would love for the entire world to know about and use in many ways: hiking, […]

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