Thursday, March 17, 2011

Faculty Member, Wrestlers Keep Tabs on Native Japan

At least a few people on the NMU campus have a vested interest in the events unfolding in Japan after last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami: Mitsutoshi Oba (Art and Design) and two Japanese wrestlers who managed to fly out of Tokyo over the weekend to visit the U.S. Olympic Education Center. Oba has been in the United States for 20 years (the past four as an art historian at NMU), but almost all of his family lives in Japan. They reside southwest and north of Tokyo, safe distances from the impacted area.

"I tried to call Friday and couldn't get through because of infrastructure damage," he said. "Eventually I was able to communicate through e-mail. They are not in the region where the earthquake hit, but they have experienced smaller earthquakes and know it can happen at any time. They are worried about the unstable conditions with the nuclear plant. The government and electric company began a scheduled shutdown of larger districts in Japan. That included my sister's family. My brother-in-law had to stay overnight at his company in Tokyo because of the blackout and no transportation running. There is some confusion. I have been following the news closely."

The USOEC welcomed two Japanese wrestlers on Sunday. Both were in Tokyo during the quake and tsunami. Despite the potential distraction of the tragic events in their home country, they competed in last night's Greco-Roman dual at Westwood High School with wrestlers from the USOEC and U.S. Marines. They will continue to train at the USOEC through March 27. An interview through an interpreter could not be obtained before press time.


NMU Group Returns from Middle East

With support from a $165,000 federal Title VI grant designed to strengthen Northern’s international studies and language curricula, a 14-member delegation recently visited Israel and Turkey as part of a year-long study of the Middle East. Their efforts will culminate with added or revised courses relevant to this key region of the world.

The group is pictured at a two-day fall workshop on campus led by a pair of Middle East scholars from the U.S. Institute of Peace. Members are: Ansley Valentine and Shuang Xie (Communication and Performance Studies), Carol Steinhaus and Charles Rayhorn (Business), Gabriel Brahm, Jaspal Singh and Peter Goodrich (English), J.D. Phillips (Mathematics and Computer Science), Maya Sen (Psychology), SaraJane Tompkins (Olson Library), Michael Loukinen (Sociology), Rebecca Ulland (Modern Languages and Literatures), Rob Legg (Geography) and project director Timothy Compton (Modern Languages and Literatures). Full Story



reception areaMost NMU Employees Satisfied with Benefits Program


Nearly 97 percent of the 602 full-time employees who responded to an anonymous electronic survey earlier this year report they are satisfied to very satisfied with the total NMU benefits program. Paul Duby (Institutional Research) recently presented a summary of the results to the benefits advisory committee.


In addition to level of satisfaction, the survey measured employees’ knowledge of available benefits by asking which they personally use. Those with the highest use include dental/vision insurance, medical/prescription drug coverage, the Bookstore discount and the Health Center (pictured). Of the 80 percent taking advantage of the Health Center, more than 67 percent use it for primary care. Full Story



NMU Professors Co-Edit Whitefish Cookbook

Whitefish is a regional staple, but for those who follow the same recipe or preparation method each time they make it, the rut is over. A new cookbook co-edited by Chris Kibit and Deb Pearce (Technology and Occupational Sciences) offers a fresh perspective on this native species and fully exploits its versatility and flavor. Wild Caught and Close to Home: Selecting and Preparing Great Lakes Whitefish was produced by Michigan Sea Grant.

The spiral-bound paperback features about 60 recipes from regional chefs, culinary educators and fishermen. Local contributors include Kibit, Pearce, Nathan Mileski (Dining Services) and Ted Thill, owner of Thill’s Fish House. Many cookbooks are organized by categories such as appetizers, salads, main entrees and desserts. Wild Caught and Close to Home is different. Full Story and Sample Recipes


Indigenous Earth Issues Summit March 25

The fourth annual Indigenous Earth Issues Summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, March 25, at NMU’s Whitman Hall commons. The family-friendly event is open to the public and free of charge. Advance registration is required for meals and children’s activities and requested by 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 22.

Award-winning Chickasaw author and international speaker Linda Hogan (pictured) will deliver the keynote at 1 p.m. Her talk is titled “Animals, Human Beings and the Earth.”  Hogan is a novelist, poet and essayist who has addressed indigenous environmental philosophies and various threats posed by industrialism. Her books include Solar Storms, Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World and Mean Spirit, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Full Story


Students Volunteer in Belize Over Spring Break

Twenty-six students participated in Northern's first volunteer abroad opportunity in Belize over spring break. Miriam Moeller (International Programs), who led the trip with James Cantrill (CAPS), called it a “total success.”

Students painted the school in the poor town of El Progresso and drew the school’s emblem on the side of the building. They also built a picnic table, assembled a basketball hoop, taught an arts and environmental lesson and played games with the children. Students brought two boxes of donated items ranging from school supplies and encyclopedias to soccer balls and toothbrushes.

Full Story


Wilson Joseph sWilson Talks About CIA Leak

Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson will present “The Politics of Truth: Inside the Valerie Plame-Wilson/CIA Leak Controversy” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, in the University Center Great Lakes Rooms. Admission at the door is free for NMU students with ID and $2 for the general public.

Under direction from the Bush Administration in 2002, Wilson was sent to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium yellowcake from Niger for Iraq’s nuclear program. Wilson reported there was no truth to the claims and when it later became clear the administration had misled the American people about the yellowcake claim, he was the first to openly challenge the administration in its justification for war. Nine days after Wilson stated his conclusions in a New York Times article titled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” his wife’s identity as a covert CIA officer was revealed by senior White House and State Department officials. The leak resulted in the conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff on four accounts of perjury, lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice.



Jan Seppa (IT-Information Services) is a voracious reader, as evidenced by a favorite quotation taped to her office wall: “When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”

Reading is at the top of Seppa’s priority and personal expenditure lists. She not only buys books regularly; she also holds on to them.  The second bedroom in her Harvey duplex has become a personal library, with bookcases lining the walls and filling the closet. She even had a coffee table custom-made with shelves to store more titles. But her passion for the written word was not ignited until adulthood. Full Story




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Updated: March 18, 2011

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