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Bits and Pieces for Feb. 1
The Bits and Pieces column for today was launched on Thursday evening, and yes, that’s a little late. 

Visiting friends and computer problems have put the project a little behind.

But I’ll catch up.

Technology problems linked to the new system installed about a week ago set us back Thursday. We were not much tardy, but enough that I had to make the trip to Elcho/Summit Lake with four bundles of papers. 

It was a pretty ghastly trip. I took it easy, but even in areas where there hadn’t been much, if any plowing, drivers were really whizzing along. 

A fully-loaded log truck went past quickly and in about a quarter mile it was necessary to slow down to allow the driver to turn onto Highway B.

Cars and trucks towing snowmobiles were going like mad, too, and in an emergency, they couldn’t stop. Or at least not suddenly.


The clerk at the Summit Lake Gas N Go convenience store told me that winter was already half over.

Today is Feb. 1, and it seems this winter stuff started as our youngsters were counting their Halloween candy.

After Thursday’s snow, temperatures had already started to skid.

If not one thing, another.


A friend, Moira Scupien, wrote a note this week enclosing an opinion piece from the New York Times from just after the death of legendary folk singer, activist and thinker, Pete Seeger.

Written by Andrew C. Revkin, it discusses Seeger’s life, art and death.

“I was humbled to be among those who were able to pay Pete a visit over the last several days at New York-Presbyterian Hospital...,” he wrote.

That afternoon there was a “healing circle” of song, and Revkin's friends were singing a folk song, “River,” written by Bill Staines.

Staines is a folk artist, author and one of what is likely the last of the true troubadours on the road these days. He will pay his friends in Antigo another visit on Feb. 18.

I have seen his performances repeatedly and the songs are familiar, often drawing crowd participation singing at least the chorus portions. It is also very likely that “River” is likely to be on the program, again.

Staines certainly does not need to come to Antigo at this point in his life and career. That is one of the elements that makes him a national treasure.

His appearance is coordinated by Antigo Community Theater with the singing to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Edison Club Events Center. Admission is $10, and I urge all to attend.


As long as we’re moving along on notes from friends, Lloyd Godell sent a message this week including an article from the Marquette Mining Gazette, that Michigan community’s daily newspaper.


Since the Bits and Pieces column discusses mining every now and then, perhaps an explanation is necessary.

I think it was 1975 whenI got a note from a female resident of Sand Lake in Forest County telling me strange things were going on in the woods around the lake. Drilling and strangers were not part of the usual landscape in that area between Crandon and Mole Lake.

She suggested Exxon Minerals had made a major discovery in the area, and indeed they had.

For years I spent untold time at meetings and hearings, often emotional and certainly interesting centering on that mine issue.

The mine site was eventually sold several times, millions and millions of dollars were poured into the project and finally, under the ownership of one of the world’s largest mining companies, it ended. It was sold to a local industrial firm, and the tent on the “Crandon Project” was folded.

Today the “Crandon Deposit” lands are held by the Mole Lake Sokaogon and Potawatomi Indian tribes, and they want no mining.

But that mineral trove is still down there, the studies have been done and 100 or 500 years from now, as resources may be more scarce, who knows what might happen.


While there are few signs of the try for mining in the Crandon area, things are heating up in Upper Michigan.

Lloyd’s newspaper note concerns the Keweenaw Copper Co. operations based in Calumet, Mich., and its bid for 4,000 additional acres of mineral rights across that area of the state.

Already holding 9,000 acres, it would expand into Gogebic, Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

The firm, partially owned by Canadian interests, is not wasting time. It does not want to get involved in the extended debates and meetings from Crandon. This will happen in five years or not at all, I guess.

The firm’s geologists know there is copper in the target areas, but what I found interesting is that they were looking at the White Pine mine, which is just sitting there since it closed around 1970 in White Pine, Mich.

The city is still there, so are the houses, bowling alley, stores and the mine.

But I don’t know anything about marketable copper.


It is the same with the Keweenaw investment working out, but Vail Resorts, the massive Colorado organization, has confidence. It is shifting its attention to the Midwest.

I was reading an article explaining that Vail is buying smaller ski areas to battle the leveling off of the popularity of skiing to keep its properties busy.

If they can keep the interest high, then the young people may be able to talk their families into going to those Colorado and Utah facilities Vail owns.

So far the purchases are near big cities. Mount Brighton just outside of Detroit and Afton Alps, near Minneapolis, are two. 

I’ve skied the Afton facility, and while I don’t recall the slopes back in the later 1960s, I do remember the entertainment in the barroom.

It was the first nickelodeon I had ever seen, and I put a quarter in and it went like mad.

That was long past the nickel days.

By the way, Granite Peak in Wausau is owned by the same people who own Lutsen, a tremendous ski and recreational area in northern Minnesota.

They have stuck millions in that Wausau facility — maybe trying to lure us to Lutsen.


There isn’t much going on locally, at least not on the public records beat.

The weather, heating fuel — especially propane — taxes and once in a while, necessity are keeping us off the streets. 

That’s a disaster for businesses, and it breaks my heart.

I have friends who heat with LP gas in true trouble.

2016 space
612 Superior Street
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

*Member WNA & NNA

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