Lead Stories

Thanksgiving Stories
2:39 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

'Roofless' in Traverse City, not homeless

Credit Peter Payette

Just before Thanksgiving at IPR, we hear the story of a family in difficult or unusual circumstances. This year, we meet a group of people who you might not think of as a family – but they do. They’ve lost a lot of members in the last year, people who might have been forgotten but are not thanks to a little house in Traverse City.

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Marriage & Family
11:18 am
Tue November 25, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court: Michigan files response brief in appeal over same-sex marriage ban

Michigan has filed its response with the US Supreme Court to the legal challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The state is asking the court to take the case, and uphold the US 6th Circuit Court’s decision that voters and legislators – not judges -- should decide the question.

“This case comes down to two words: who decides,” is the opening to the state’s brief. “The history of our democracy demonstrates the wisdom of allowing the people to decide important

issues at the ballot box, rather than ceding those decisions to unelected judges.”

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Great Lakes
5:45 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Undercover agents go after illegal commercial fishing

A two-year investigation of illegal fishing in the Great Lakes led to raids on businesses in Charlevoix and Beaver Island earlier this month. The raids were part of an undercover operation. It involved creating a fake business in the Upper Peninsula to buy and sell fish. Federal agents involved claim the business made 550 sales and 400 involved fish taken illegally by commercial fishers.

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6:58 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

How our attitudes figure into the wolf debate

Less than a month after voters weighed in on wolf hunting in Michigan, a new study looks at the attitudes driving the wolf debate.

The study, co-authored by Meredith Gore of Michigan State University, tries to better understand why controversy persists in wolf management in Michigan.

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Dark Sky Park
8:35 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Benjamin Franklin and the Stars

With Thanksgiving happening across the country this week, it’s time to consider one of our most pervasive cultural myths: Benjamin Franklin’s preference for the turkey as the national emblem of the United States.

This cultural myth is based on a letter Franklin wrote in 1782 to his daughter Sarah about the eagle as the national emblem. In the letter, Franklin wrote: “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. …while the Turkey is in Comparison, a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America…”

Unfortunately for the turkey, it has become much preferred as table-fare rather than as enduring emblem, which might be due to the fact that there are no turkeys represented in the star patterns overhead.

What we do have overhead is the star pattern of the eagle, recognized throughout history and across cultures as the constellation Aquila. And despite Franklin’s opinion of the eagle as a bird of bad moral character, many cultures, from the Ancient Greek to the Native American and even to the International Astronomers Union, have all recognized Aquila as the eagle constellation. Sometimes, different cultures see different creatures in the star patterns, but the fact that so many see the eagle in the constellation Aquila lends itself to the fact that the eagle is regarded as one of the most sacred creatures in the world, perhaps even making it too sacred to eat.  

So as you’re settling in for traditional fare this Thanksgiving, look to the West, where you can find Aquila the eagle setting into the horizon, its star Altair the brightest object in that region of the sky this Thanksgiving week.