Betsy Coffia for State Representative

Democrat Betsy Coffia is again rejecting fundraising contributions from political action committees and the Democratic Party during her campaign to become Grand Traverse County’s next state representative. Coffia is an outspoken advocate for campaign finance reform.

“This is an easy talking point,” Coffia told IPR News Radio in an interview earlier this month, “ … but it’s a very different thing to walk the walk.”

An extended interview with Coffia is available at the bottom of the story.

Coffia, who won 47 percent of the district’s vote in 2014, is only accepting fundraising dollars from individual donors. She says Michigan is in a state of severe political crisis because of the influence of large political spenders.

“What it really comes down to is a state government where we have elected officials who are more accountable to their special interest donors and their party bosses … than they are to the voters,” Coffia says.

Christopher Rountree conducts the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at Kresge Auditorium.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

On Saturday, Interlochen Center for the Arts launched a $100 million comprehensive fundraising campaign called “Create Amazing.”  

Donations will fund scholarships, programs and new facilities, including a music building.  

Tim Dougherty, vice president of advancement, says the campaign is now open to the public.

“This campaign will give everyone a place to unite through the power of the arts,” says Dougherty. “We’re very excited about opening this up to the public and inviting even more support for this wonderful place.”   

Getting what we wish for: this week on The Dark Sky

Jul 25, 2016

The moon is waning slowly through the morning sky this week, stopping to meet the star Aldebaran, the fiery bull's eye in the constellation Taurus on Friday, an hour before sunrise. This will be a beautiful sight, visible in the East at about 5:19 AM.

The technical term for this meeting of the moon with a star is "occultation" and it happens when the moon passes directly between us and a star.

Each year, Interlochen Arts Camp becomes home to the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, high-school age musicians working with renowned conductors from all over the world.

 In the third of our 2016 episodes, Maestro Christopher Rountree conducts the musicians in Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Nico Muhly's So Far, So Good and Igor Stravinsky's 1919 Firebird Suite

Community members gather to hear free music from the new street piano in Traverse City.
Cheyenne Herron

A brightly colored piano was unveiled in Traverse City on Thursday evening. 

It sits in the middle of a new gathering space near the intersection of Front and Park Streets downtown. About 50 people of all ages stopped by to enjoy the warm evening and some free music.  

Michigan Bookmark is a series that features Michigan authors reviewing Michigan books.

Seasonal Roads is the title of L.E. Kimball’s impressive new book of stories. The title refers to roads that are unplowed and therefore unpassable in winter. Kimball guides you down some of these roads in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – into cabins, forests, and rivers, and into the lives of three women. Author Lisa Lenzo has this review.

The 2016 Traverse City Film Festival will celebrate the State Theatre's Centennial among other things.
Daniel Wanschura

The 12th Annual Traverse City Film Festival gets underway next Tuesday.

This year, the 32 officially selected films are all directed by women. Meg Weichman is the Creative Director for the film festival. She says it was founder Michael Moore who had the idea making all the official selections, films that were directed by women. 

"We did try to look for more films by female filmmakers this year, and we were shooting for maybe just having fifty percent," explains Weichman. She says what they found was staggering. "Michael loved so many great movies by women, he wanted to make all of our official selections in competition just directed by women."


NORTHWEST MICHIGAN HORTICULTURE RESEARCH CENTER

The tart cherry harvest has begun in northern Michigan. The cherry crop is large this year, but growers are dealing with rising numbers of spotted wing drosophila as they harvest.

Drosophila is a tiny insect that originally came from Asia. The bugs have found a home in Michigan in recent years, and their numbers have been growing.

Nikki Rothwell is coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. She’s been studying spotted wing drosophila.

Jim Nugent says growers are spraying a lot more this year.

2016 continues its record-setting heat streak this week

Jul 21, 2016

If you like it hot, you're in luck.

If you can't stand to sweat, it might be time to crank up the air conditioning or head to the nice cool basement.

Michigan's going to be so hot over the next few days, it's being called the "Ring of Fire."

Claire Lynch performs with her band, 'The Claire Lynch Band' in IPR's Studio A
Lisa Fierstein

Claire Lynch is considered by many to be one of the finest female voices in bluegrass. And also one of the first. When she started, there were few other female bluegrass artists.

"Some historians have said that if a woman performed on stage without a chaperon ... she was considered sort of a hussy," explains Lynch. She says the 'good ol' boy, protect your woman attitude' lasted longer in bluegrass than it did in a lot of other genres. 

After this year, Claire Lynch plans to step away from full-time touring with her band, The Claire Lynch Band. Her final tour includes a couple of stops in Northern Michigan. The group performed their concert A Midsummer Night’s Dream last night at The Garden Theater in Frankfort, and will play tonight at the InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City. 

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