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.

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.”

Aaron Selbig

A group in Antrim County has been working for more than a decade to connect a bike trail between Suttons Bay and Harbor Springs. But now, a northern Michigan legislator says the path could harm the agriculture industry.

Last week, Representative Triston Cole of Mancelona took a road trip along the section that would extend Traverse City’s TART Trail north along U.S. Highway 31 to Elk Rapids. He brought with him Representative Tom Barrett – the chair of the House Agriculture Committee – and they heard from local farmers.

Aaron Selbig

A pair of political newcomers is challenging three incumbents on the Traverse City commission. All five candidates gathered Wednesday night at a forum put on by the League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area.

The forum packed a large community room at the Traverse Area District Library. Voters showed up to hear from five candidates running for three seats on the city commission.

Brett Levin

Leaders in Traverse City are taking a “wait and see” approach to changing the city’s marijuana laws.

At a meeting Monday night, the city commission discussed how it might adapt to new marijuana regulations coming from the State of Michigan.

Peter Payette

The State of Michigan wants the federal government to postpone approval for development plans in Acme Township.

The dispute centers on 157 acres of land next to the Meijer store.

Petoskey Public Schools

The Petoskey school district has stepped into the debate over Native-American logos in sports.

Dan Wanschura

A group of Kalkaska residents says their community supports a recall of village president Jeff Sieting.

Kalkaska for Peace formed after posts on Sieting’s Facebook page went viral in June. In one post, Sieting compared Islam to “a flesh-eating bacteria,” and called for nuclear weapons to be used on Muslim cities.

“We were very concerned about the type of publicity that Kalkaska was receiving, and we wanted to do something about it,” says organizer Elizabeth Dunham.

Chateau Chantal

Mark Johnson, one of the pioneers of winemaking in northern Michigan, has died. He was 65 years old.

Johnson grew up in Mancelona, but he learned winemaking in Germany. 

Sam Corden

The Crystal Café in Benzonia has been a popular breakfast spot for 20 years. The café serves standard diner fare like corned beef hash, but also get creative – with dishes like Hawaiian omelets and bread pudding French toast.

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