Aaron Selbig

Managing Editor

Aaron Selbig began his journalism career in Alaska, at the alt-weekly Anchorage Press in 1999. It has taken him in many different directions over the years, including print, web and commercial and public radio. He has won many awards over the years for his reporting, including a 2017 Edward R. Murrow award (Midwest region). In 2009, Aaron took over as news director for public radio station KBBI in Homer, Alaska, where he served for five years. He has served on the board of directors for Public Radio News Directors, Incorporated. Aaron came to IPR in in July 2014 and is happy to call northern Michigan home. He lives in Interlochen with his wife, Nova, and son, Otto. His elder son, Gabriel, is a student at the University of Nevada.

Aaron Selbig

The Traverse City airport is not allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to operate at the terminal.

Drivers say the problems started this week. They say Cherry Capital Airport security officers are accusing them of trespassing and asking them to leave.

Uber driver Laura Johnson says she was approached by security while unloading a passenger Friday morning.

“[He said] that I wasn’t allowed at the airport, and that I needed to leave immediately or I would be charged with trespassing or jailed,” says Johnson.

University of Wisconsin

A large number of dead fish have been washing up on the shores of a lake near Gaylord. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the dead fish along Otsego Lake are adult white suckers that have died after spawning.

DNR biologist Dave Borgeson says fish die-offs happen in Michigan’s inland lakes every year, but this one is unusually large.

“There’s a lot more suckers this year,” says Borgeson. “I think it had to do with a late spring and then that really rapid warm up, which caused it to be a little more dramatic this year.”

Grand Traverse County

The search for Grand Traverse County’s next leader is down to two candidates. County commissioners will choose between a local law enforcement officer and a former state representative from Bay City.

The commission has been searching for a new administrator since the surprise resignation of Vicki Uppal in January. With the help of a consulting firm, the commission has named two finalists for the job – Nate Alger and Thomas Hickner.

Aaron Selbig

The president of the village of Kalkaska has been removed from office.

Jeff Sieting made headlines a year ago when some of his anti-Muslim social media posts went viral. On Facebook, Sieting compared Islam to “a flesh-eating bacteria,” and called for nuclear weapons to be used on Muslim cities.

A recall effort began soon after the posts came to light, and yesterday, Kalkaska voters chose a new leader to replace Sieting.


Peter Payette

Plans for a mixed-use development next to the Meijer store in Acme Township may finally be moving forward. The 157-acre “Village at Grand Traverse” has been beset with problems since it was built by Acme Township.

Grand Traverse County

Leaders in Grand Traverse County will wait until a new administrator is hired before they decide how to spend a budget surplus.

The county’s finance director says there’s about an extra $8 million in the budget. The money comes from increased property tax revenue and unforeseen savings in employee health care and the removal of the Boardman River dam.

Radio Television Digital News Association

IPR reporters Morgan Springer and Dan Wanschura have won 2018 regional Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).

Aaron Selbig

A state board recommends the State of Michigan buy 300 acres of Lake Michigan shoreline that’s currently owned by a sand mining company. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board of directors has voted to spend $7.5 million toward a new deal with Sargent Sand Company.

Sargent Sand has been mining sand on its property inside the borders of Ludington State Park since the 1930s. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has tried several times to buy the land back from the company but the deals have always fallen through.

Great Lakes Maritime Academy

The Great Lakes’ only merchant marine academy will get a million federal dollars for training. The Great Lakes Maritime Academy is in Traverse City.

Rear Admiral Jerry Achenbach says Congress recognizes the growing demand for trained merchant mariners.

“There’ll be 20,000 jobs for credentialed merchant mariners over the next several years," says Achenbach. "So I think it’s an acknowledgement of the cost of maritime education and the nation’s need for credentialed mariners.”

Merchant mariners operate cargo and passenger ships.

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

The leader of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will keep his job.

Tribal Chairman Sam McClellan was the target of a recall election this week. Voters narrowly elected to keep McClellan despite accusations he misused a tribal credit card last year.

McClellan says those accusations are false.

“The issue they were trying to recall me on was all fabricated,” says McClellan. “There was nothing there, and it’s sad that our nation – the Grand Traverse Band – that we would take it that far.”

Nobuhiro Suhara

Traverse City officials are teaming up with an LGBT organization to build a piece of public art downtown.

The city Arts Commission plans to erect a “wishing tree” in the Warehouse District during the annual Up North Pride week in June. The tree is meant to hold handwritten wishes tied to its branches.

The City Commission approved the project Monday night and approved spending up to $2,000 on the tree.

Traverse City resident Rick Buckhalter opposed the project. He said the Arts Commission is overstepping its bounds.

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

Members of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will vote in a tribal election next week.

They will be choosing candidates for the tribal council, and they will also be asked whether or not to recall Tribal Chairman Thurlow “Sam” McClellan.

McClellan has been accused of misusing tribal credit cards during a trip to Washington, D.C. last year. But he’s also been an outspoken critic of the Tribal Council’s plan to build a new casino.

Aaron Selbig

The leader of Michigan’s only International Dark Sky Park has resigned. Mary Stewart Adams served as program director at the Emmet County-owned park for nine years.

Adams says a “difference in philosophy” with county leaders led to her resignation Monday.

“It’s unfortunate that it had to come to this,” says Adams. “My understanding was that we would stay in conversation with one another, and that while I needed to hear from them what I could be doing better, they also needed to hear that from me. But it felt very much like a one-sided conversation.”

UPDATED Weds., March 14, with comment from Rep. Jack Bergman.

Several northern Michigan high schools plan to take part in Wednesday morning’s national walkout. Organizers say the walkout is meant to honor the victims of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida – and to call for stricter gun laws.

Senior Jade Ebel organized the walkout at Reed City High School. Ebel says she was motivated to organize a walkout after a recent campus shooting at Central Michigan University.

Kate Teegardin, Flickr

Over the last three years, many of the Grand Traverse County’s top officials have resigned or been fired, and the county is now looking for its fourth administrator since 2015.

Much of the turmoil stems from the county’s pension debt – the amount of money the county has promised to retired employees. Right now, Grand Traverse County doesn’t have enough money to cover the pension debt.


Grand Traverse County

To an outsider, Grand Traverse County is a picture of success. New homes and businesses are popping up all over Michigan’s third-fastest growing county, and property values are on the rise.

But insiders describe a county government in chaos.


Google Maps

Traverse City will not write Proposal 3 into its zoning laws. Prop 3 was passed by voters in 2016; it forces a public vote on any building over 60 feet tall. The law became part of the city charter but not part of its zoning code.

Mayor Jim Carruthers said at a meeting last Monday night that writing the law into both places would clear up confusion. But most city commissioners – including Richard Lewis – disagreed.

Russell Dzuba

A historic dock in Leland’s Fishtown village has been badly damaged by ice.

One of the wooden posts that supports the dock was raised upward several feet, taking the dock upward with it.


Grand Traverse County

The administrator for Grand Traverse County abruptly resigned Wednesday.

Vicki Uppal served as Grand Traverse County administrator for only four months. She took over for Tom Menzel in September, and quickly began shaking things up in the county leadership. 

Peter Payette

State biologists want to stock Lake Michigan with more Chinook salmon. A new proposal from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would increase stocking by 67 percent over the next two years.

Last year, the DNR cut the stocking numbers. But Jay Wesley, the DNR's Lake Michigan Basin Coordinator,  says that plan got pushback from the public.

Aaron Selbig

Northern Michigan has a child care crisis. Child care centers are closing, and parents find themselves on long waiting lists to find care for their kids.

Ben Schumin

Otsego County has the highest rates of shoplifting in Michigan. According to data compiled by M-Live, Otsego County had 142 shoplifting arrests in 2016.

TheraCann

A Canadian company that wanted to build a $20 million medical marijuana facility in Kingsley has changed its plans. TheraCann says it still wants to do business in Michigan - just not in Kingsley.

TheraCann

Kingsley is the latest northern Michigan community to pass new medical marijuana rules.

TheraCann

Kingsley is the latest Michigan town to give the green light to medical marijuana businesses. A vote by the village council this week clears the way for TheraCann, a Canadian company that wants to build a $20 million marijuana facility in the Kingsley Industry Park.

The building would be right next to Marc McKellar's house.

“Frankly, I’ve never been a proponent of marijuana … whatsoever," says McKellar. "I never contemplated it, really. Never thought about it.”

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