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.

TheraCann

When the Pugsley Correctional Facility closed last year, the village of Kingsley lost more than 200 jobs. Now a medical marijuana company from Canada says it can replace about 100 of those jobs, if it’s allowed to build a production facility in the Kingsley Industry Park.

Aaron Selbig

A judge sentenced a Traverse City man to one year in prison for assaulting a homeless man last July.

For the first time since his arrest, 19-year-old Maayingan Brauker admitted to the crime at his sentencing hearing in 86th District Court Tuesday. 

NASA

Early Thursday morning, the Space X Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station. The capsule is carrying supplies for the astronauts who live aboard the ISS, but it’s also carrying an experiment devised by students at Traverse City West High School.

The students want to know how quickly blue algae grows in space, and they convinced NASA to send their algae samples.

Matt Mikus

Protesters gathered in Petoskey Thursday as Congressman Jack Bergman arrived for a speech.

Amanda Holmes

The town of Leland has raised $250,000 to buy its own dredging equipment. The money comes from private donations through the crowd-funding website FundLy.

Leland Harbormaster Russell Dzuba says the federal government used to pay for harbor dredging, but in recent years, it hasn’t been a priority.

Traverse City Record-Eagle

Earlier this month, the Traverse City Record-Eagle published a story called “Race Against Time," which told the tale of Ronald Norfleet, an African-American man from Detroit who was sentenced to 56 years in prison for dealing heroin in Grand Traverse County.

Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County Administrator Tom Menzel announced his resignation last month.

When Menzel was hired in 2015, he had a reputation for righting the financial ship at the National Cherry Festival and Bay Area Transportation Authority. Grand Traverse County commissioners hoped he would do the same for the county.

He immediately started making moves, but some of them – like asking county employees to pay more for their health and retirement benefits – have met with resistance.

Aaron Selbig

A Traverse City man was convicted Monday of assaulting a homeless man.

After a day-long trial, jurors found 19-year-old Maayingan Brauker guilty of assaulting David Whitney, who was kicked and punched last July while sleeping near Central United Methodist Church.

Amanda Holmes

Small harbors in Michigan have a big problem. Over time, access to harbors gets blocked by sand and sediment, and the harbor needs to be dredged. But the money to pay for dredging just isn’t there anymore.

DargaWorks

A new four-story apartment building is prompting questions about the future of Traverse City’s Warehouse District.

DargaWorks wants to build a multi-use development called “Warehouse Flats” on what is now a parking lot at Garland Street and North Union. DargaWorks says the proposed 59-foot building would provide workforce housing and a public parking garage.

It’s a new year, and the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners has a couple of new members – and possibly a new direction. The change comes at a time when the county is facing financial problems – including a pension debt of more than $50-million dollars.

In its first meeting last week, the board elected Commissioner Carol Crawford to lead them into the new year.

Peter Payette

Hate crime laws, with their roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, were originally intended to protect people from violence based on their race or religion.

Aaron Selbig

Donald Trump’s surprise run to the presidency captured most of the attention around last year’s election, but in Emmet County, there was another quiet revolution. Residents there voted out four sitting members of the county Board of Commissioners, and two more incumbents stepped down.

Crystal Mountain Resort

A 10-year-old skier from Chicago died Monday after a crash at Crystal Mountain Resort. Resort spokesman Brian Lawson says the girl was part of a group taking a ski lesson on an intermediate trail.

“The skier skied slightly ahead of the class, apparently lost control briefly and then struck a tree,” says Lawson.

The girl was considered a "level four" intermediate skier and she was wearing a helmet. Lawson says snow conditions were good Sunday, but the girl may have hit an icy patch.

Airbnb.com

All over the world, vacation rental websites like Airbnnb, VRBO and homeaway.com are changing the way people travel. The websites promise you’ll get a more “authentic” travel experience when you stay in someone’s home instead of a hotel.

Northwestern Michigan College

The Traverse City commission has a new member. After Commissioner Ross Richardson resigned last month, his colleagues had to pick someone to fill out his term until November of next year. Out of 11 candidates, they picked Michele Howard.

Howard is a librarian at Northwestern Michigan College. She’s done a lot of work in the community – at school PTOs, local ski races and at her church. She's expected to be sworn in Monday night.

City of Traverse City

Traverse City planners say the city's laws on short-term vacation rentals are outdated.

The current rules outlaw renting your home for less than 30 days, unless you're an approved "tourist home." A tourist home is like a traditional bed and breakfast. The law says you can rent a room in your house for up to a week, but you must be present in the home and you must get a license first.

But City Planner Missy Luick says the popularity of websites like Airbnb has led many people to rent rooms illegally.

Aaron Selbig

An extortion case against a Traverse City resort owner is headed back to court. The Michigan Attorney General’s office says Bryan Punturo used threats to convince a competitor to pay him $19,000 a year.

In their first court case, state prosecutors said Punturo threatened competing parasailing operator Saburi Boyer. Punturo said he would “crush” and “bury” Boyer if he wasn’t paid. But 86th District Court Judge Thomas Phillips said that while Punturo’s behavior was “reprehensible,” it wasn’t illegal.

Aaron Selbig

If you’ve spent a summer day on the beaches of Grand Traverse Bay, you’ve probably seen parasailers soaring across the sky. Parasailing is a popular, fun way to get out on the water, but the Traverse City parasailing business also has a cutthroat side.

Aaron Selbig

UPDATE, Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Officer Michael Peters resigned from the Traverse City Police Department Monday evening. 

ORIGINAL STORY, Monday, Nov. 14.

A Traverse City police officer has been suspended after flying a Confederate flag at a public protest.

Voters in Traverse City have passed Proposal 3, which will require a public vote for any building over 60 feet in the city.

Prop 3 passed with 53 percent of the vote. It will amend Traverse City’s charter, taking away the city commission’s ability to approve a building taller than 60 feet without a vote of the people.

The debate over Prop Three has been contentious. Both sides have said the proposal is likely to be decided in a courtroom.

Munson Healthcare

Munson Medical Center in Traverse City hopes to get city approval for a tall building before voters decide Proposal 3 Tuesday. Prop 3 would subject any building over 60 feet tall to a public vote.

Munson’s plans have become an issue in the public debate over Prop 3. Opponents of the proposal have pointed out that the proposal, which started with a dispute over a tall building in the downtown area, could impact the ability of the region’s medical center to develop.

Sam Corden

Members of the two groups on either side of the Proposition 3 issue in Traverse City gathered at the City Opera House Wednesday night for a debate. Prop 3 would send any plans for a building over 60 feet tall to a citywide vote.

Former city commissioner Jeanine Easterday and restaurateur Paul Danielson represented Stand Up TC, a group opposed to Prop 3. Attorney Grant Parsons and law professor Brenda Quick represented the Save Our Downtown campaign committee, a group that supports Prop 3.

IPR News Director Pater Payette and reporter Aaron Selbig moderated the debate.

Leelanau Urgent Care

The only urgent care facility in Leelanau County has closed. Leelanau Urgent Care in Suttons Bay shut its doors this month when owners Dave and Janice Lemak moved.

The Lemaks had run the facility for the last 14 years, according to the Leelanau Enterprise. They moved to Reno, Nevada.

Urgent care facilities typically treat patients who require immediate care, but don’t need an emergency room.

Michelle Klein with the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department says the facility will be missed.

Women's Resource Center

For over 40 years, the Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City has provided shelter and relief to victims of domestic violence. The center operates a crisis hotline and a 22-bed shelter, among other services.

But the Women’s Resource Center has recently come under criticism. Former employees say a new management style has led to the departure of many experienced workers, and some services have been cut.

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