Lead Stories

Paying for College
3:41 am
Wed April 16, 2014

How One Michigan City Is Sending Kids To College Tuition-Free

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 8:00 am

Paying for college presents a tremendous hurdle to many families, from wading through paperwork and navigating financial aid to understanding the long-term implications of college debt.

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Extreme Winter
5:23 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Flooding Subsides Up North

Flooding in the Mesick area Tuesday.
Credit Tom Carr

  The Boardman River and the upper Manistee have crested and are expected to fall slowly overnight. Both rivers reached record high levels Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service office in Gaylord.

Wexford County's state of emergency continued Tuesday, even as spring flooding in the region slowed. The county's worst-hit area is along the Manistee, north of Mesick.

Wexford Lieutenant Richard Denison says police in dry suits waded up to doorsteps of flooded homes to make sure nobody was stranded.

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Stateside
4:58 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

How effective are online classes for K-12 students in Michigan?

Online learning. Make no mistake about it: It is here and it is growing.

The number of students taking online courses has grown 52% in the past three years. In the 2012-2013 school year, some 55,000 students in Michigan took a virtual course.

A new report from the Michigan Virtual University looks at virtual learning for K-12 students –who’s taking online classes, what kinds of classes and how effective the classes are.

The results are mixed.

Jamey Fitzpatrick is president and CEO of Michigan Virtual University, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Oil and Gas Drilling
4:48 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

When Williamsburg Erupted

One of hundreds of cauldrons that erupted in Williamsburg, Michigan in April of 1973 when a nearby drilling rig punctured a pocket of gas under high pressure.
Credit Geology Department at Northwestern Michigan College

Starting with President Nixon in 1973, every U.S. President has pledged to make America energy independent. That same year, 500 drilling permits were issued in Michigan, and the quest for domestic oil nearly destroyed one small village in Northern Michigan.

Williamsburg is about halfway between Traverse City and Kalkaska. It was settled in a place American Indians called the Weesh Ko Wong, or clear cold water, because of the many natural springs that bubble up there. Spring-fed trout ponds and a state fish hatchery were once the pride of Williamsburg.

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Michigan Food & Agriculture
4:17 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Warm Up Could Bring Quick Halt To Maple Syrup Season

Joe Woods among his maple trees in Rapid City.
Credit Tom Carr

Warm days and cool nights have the sap running steadily through a web of plastic tubes into Joe Woods' sugar shack in Rapid City.

But the cold winter started things about three weeks late for Woods and other commercial syrup makers in the area.

So far, Woods has produced about 400 gallons, which is about half of an ideal year.

He thinks he may be able to get one more week of good sap.

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Eco-Friendly Initiatives
3:58 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Traverse City To Get Water Bottle Filling Stations

The proposed model for the water bottle filling stations.
Credit traversecitymi.gov

It might get a little easier for the Traverse City community to be green this summer.

The city is getting three water bottle filling stations this summer. One new and two retrofitted stations will be installed in The Open Space. They will have a unified look and are forest green in color. 

The concept will go to the city commission next week for approval.

Katie Lowran is deputy city clerk for Traverse City. She says the purpose is two-fold.

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Adoption & Marriage
10:47 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Gay Couple Wants State To Recognize Marriage, “For Our 13 Kids”

Plaintiffs Clint McCormack (front), Bryan Reamer (back), and some of their 13 children. One child's face has been obscured because she is in foster care.
Credit Jake Neher

The ACLU of Michigan is suing the state to force it to recognize the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples who got married last month.

Clint McCormack and Bryan Reamer are one of eight couples named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday.


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Stateside
8:38 am
Tue April 15, 2014

New statewide plan aims to improve recycling

How can the state of Michigan improve its recycling habits?

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 3:29 pm

Gov. Rick Snyder rolled out a new statewide recycling plan today in hopes of convincing more of us to recycle.

The governor and recycling activists say we can do a lot better when it comes to recycling. 

Right now, Michigan recycles about 15% of all reusable materials. That's way below the national average of 35%. And Michigan is seventh among the eight Great Lakes states in its recycling performance.

What are we losing by throwing out all that glass, plastic, metal and paper? And what's in the governor's plan to get us to recycle these materials? 

We were joined by Kerrin O'Brien, executive director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition. 

Listen to the full interview above.

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Flooding
6:37 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Roads Are Flooded Throughout Northern Michigan

Kid's Creek overflows onto Cedar Street in Traverse City Monday afternoon.
Credit Peter Payette

Several Northern Michigan counties have seen flooded out roads and homes.

Wexford County, on Monday, went in a local state of emergency due to flooding. Several roads closed with washouts all over the county.

In Emmet County, one lane of US-31 was closed in the Bay View area.

Brian Gutowski is with the Emmet County Road Commission. He says Monday the lane closure was due to the Tannery Creek flooding.

"We’ve got up to a foot of water right on US-31, and it’s flooding into a couple of the residential streets also, which are county roads," he said.

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Benzie County
12:32 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Community Fights Back After Overdose Deaths

Funeral Director Gaylord Jowett has noticed a rise in drug-related deaths in his community. He's now offering free drug-testing kits. "I'm sure if a family says, 'Yeah, we went to the funeral home and we picked this up for you...' hopefully it will be an eye-opening experience for some."
Credit Linda Stephan

The use of heroin and other drugs is on the rise across northern Michigan, but the effects are being felt particularly in the small, tight knit communities of Benzie County.

Toxicology reports are not back for the two latest victims. But if their deaths are confirmed overdoses the count will rise to six deaths in two years. And some in the community are looking for anything they can do to ward off the next.

Drugs Testing Kits At The Funeral Home

It’s not just the police who have noted a rise in heroin and other drug-related deaths in Benzie County.

“You’re taking care of a lot your friend’s kids now,” says Funeral Director Gaylord Jowett. Some of those funerals have taken place at the Jowett Family Funeral Home in Benzonia.

Listen to the audio story.

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