David Cassleman

Morning Edition Host, Reporter

David Cassleman is a reporter and Morning Edition host for IPR News Radio. He got his start in public radio at WDET in Detroit, and joined Interlochen Public Radio in June 2014. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan.

David Cassleman

Republican Jason Gillman sees many problems with the way Lansing works these days. Gillman, a former Grand Traverse County Commissioner, is taking on incumbent Rep. Larry Inman in the 104th District’s Republican primary.

He says lawmakers made a mistake last year with the roads funding package by throwing money at the problem irresponsibly. Gillman is also targeting the recent $617 million bailout of Detroit Public Schools, which he says was a misstep.

“[The district] should have gone to bankruptcy,” Gillman says.

He favored a plan that along with bankruptcy would have offered more charter school options to Detroit students.

Gillman has run for the 104th district seat before. In 2012, he took on incumbent Wayne Schmidt in the Republican primary — he lost.

Gillman sat down to talk with IPR News Radio earlier this month:


Grand Traverse County’s state representative said he was somebody who could help end gridlock in Lansing when he was elected two years ago. It was a time when voters wanted lawmakers to find a way to fix Michigan’s roads.

Two years later, state Rep. Larry Inman has a roads funding package to tout as he runs for re-election. The billion dollar plan passed last fall after a bitter debate.

Inman says he deserves another two years representing the 104th district.

“Overall I think for a freshman just learning the system … I think I did pretty good,” Inman told IPR News Radio in an interview.
 

Inman has a Republican challenger on the primary ballot this August, Jason Gillman. Gillman is a former colleague of Inman’s on the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners.

On the Democratic side, Betsy Coffia is running in the primary unopposed after Megan Crandall dropped out of the race. Coffia, who has run twice before, won 47 percent of the district’s vote in 2014.

Kelly Clark, a Libertarian candidate and  a Traverse City Area Public Schools board member, is also running.

David Cassleman

When you think about car towns, you might not picture Traverse City. But the town used to be home to an automobile manufacturer. A company called Napoleon Motors briefly made cars and trucks in downtown Traverse City during the late 1910s and 1920s.

Napoleon was originally located in Ohio, but Traverse City officials were able to lure the company to northern Michigan with tax incentives, says Jonathan Klinger. He’s the vice president of public relations at Hagerty Insurance — a company that insures classic cars.

“It was a very exciting time for what was a new automotive industry,” Klinger says.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state legislature is on summer break for the next couple months but expect lawmakers to take on significant legislative questions when they return in September, says Rick Pluta.

Pluta is Capitol bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network.

One of the those questions is energy reform — a topic that legislators have been debating for months in Lansing.

“There are a lot of disparate entities who have different ideas about how [energy reform] ought to look,” Pluta says in an interview with IPR News Radio.
 


Fred Harrington

Fred Harrington had almost reached Beaver Island across 30 miles of choppy Lake Michigan water, when he decided to turn back.

“With only one good paddler left, I made a decision to go back rather than go the rest of the way to the island,” Harrington says.

Five of his six paddlers had gotten "violently" seasick early Monday morning, while on their way to Beaver Island in a 34-foot canoe. The U.S. Coast Guard picked up the sick paddlers.

They were headed to a traditional Native American ceremony celebrating the summer solstice on the island.


In case you missed it, Republicans Jason Allen, Jack Bergman and Tom Casperson debated the issues on IPR News Radio on Friday, June 17.

The three are candidates for Michigan's 1st Congressional District.

Listen below to a recording of the entire call-in show, and click this link for a forum with the Democratic candidates recorded earlier this month.


Want to know where northern Michigan Republicans stand on Donald Trump? On Line Five? On the economy?

Now is your chance to question the Republicans running for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan. Leave your question in the comments below, and we just might ask it on air on Friday, June 17 at 1 p.m.

You can also call in during the hour with your question for Jason Allen, Jack Bergman and Tom Casperson. The number is 231-276-4432.

Diane Bostow

Michigan Libertarians have picked a former schoolteacher to run for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan.

“This is a district that is frugal, hard-working people and they kind of like to be left alone,” says Diane Bostow, who is a former teacher and entrepreneur from the Upper Peninsula town of Gwinn.  

Michigan Libertarians selected Bostow at the state party’s convention last month.
 


In case you missed it, Democrats Lon Johnson and Jerry Cannon debated the issues on IPR News Radio on Friday, June 10. Johnson and Cannon are both candidates for Michigan's 1st Congressional District.

Listen below to a recording of the entire call-in show, and be sure to join us next Friday -- June 17 -- when the Republicans convene for a live call-in show at 1pm.


Worried about Line 5 at the Straits? Wondering about the northern Michigan economy?

Now is your chance to question the Democrats running for U.S. Congress in northern Michigan. Leave your question in the comments below, and we just might ask it on air on Friday, June 10 at 1 p.m.

It’s a live forum and call-in show with the Democratic candidates for U.S. Congress in the 1st Congressional District — Jerry Cannon and Lon Johnson.

Call in during the forum at 800-681-5929.

David Cassleman

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters is pushing a federal agency to speed up a report that could lead to a new lock built at Sault Ste. Marie.

A 2015 analysis from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warns of a scenario where a six month closure at the largest lock at the Soo, Poe Lock, leads to the nation’s automobile industry grinding to a halt. That could send the economy spiraling into a deep recession.

“It is a critical piece of infrastructure not just for Michigan but for the whole country,” U.S. Sen. Gary Peters says in an interview with IPR News Radio. Sen. Peters along with Sen. Debbie Stabenow have been advocating for a new lock at the Soo.


National Park Service

Steve Yancho has deep ties to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He retired several years ago as chief of natural resources after a decades long career with the park.

“I came here with the intention of being, maybe here for a year … but instead it lasted a lifetime because I fell in love with this place,” Yancho says.

And beyond his own career, Steve has another connection to Sleeping Bear Dunes: his son Sam works as a park ranger there, too.

The Yanchos recorded a conversation about the park for the storytelling initiative StoryCorps last year. The National Park Service is celebrating its centennial this year, and StoryCorps visited Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as part of that celebration.

“It's hard to put into words how much this area means to me now that I grew up with it.  It's a part of who I am today,” Sam Yancho says.


David Cassleman

An environmental group has more money to clean up a polluted Traverse City waterway.

The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay has picked up a state grant worth nearly $600,000 to pay for ongoing work on Kids Creek, a tributary of the Boardman River that meanders along U.S. 31 in Traverse City. The group has been restoring stretches of Kids Creek for longer than a decade.

Detroit Public Schools

Governor Rick Snyder’s call for a bailout for Detroit Public Schools has been unanswered so far by the state legislature. DPS is more than $500 million in debt, and school officials have warned that they won’t be able to pay teachers after June 30 without a cash infusion from the state.


U.S. Geological Survey

An environmental group is testing a new weapon in the war on invasive, aquatic species in northern Michigan.

It’s a pesticide called Zequanox that kills zebra and quagga mussels, and is approved for use in open water by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council of Emmet County will test it on zebra mussels in inland lakes in the area next year.

From Elk Rapids to Beaver Island, voters have approved tax millages and bonds to pay for school expenses.

Tuesday’s election was one of four dates this year when schools can ask for money.

A bond proposal for Elk Rapids Schools passed by a margin better than two-to-one, according to unofficial results. The bond will pay for technology and safety upgrades over four years.

David Cassleman

Dozens of school districts across Michigan are asking voters to approve tax proposals on Tuesday.

In northern Michigan, Elk Rapids Public Schools has a technology and safety bond on the ballot. Leland Public Schools has a similar bond proposal.

DTE Energy

Ten years ago, Michigan’s residential electricity rates were below the national average. That is not true anymore.

Today, Michigan’s ratepayers have the highest rates in the Midwest, and the price per kilowatt hour could get even higher this year.   

Last month, we heard from an advocate for customers in Michigan, but today we hear from one of the state’s largest utilities about why prices go up.

David Mengebier is vice president of governmental, regulatory and public affairs for Consumers Energy.


Congressional candidates in northern Michigan have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars so far in 2016. Candidates in the 1st Congressional District have combined to raise $561,218 since January 1, according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission last week.

“When it comes to purely candidate fundraising, the 1st District led the way in the … first three months of 2016,” says Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Mauger says there were other congressional districts with higher fundraising totals, but those totals were skewed by candidates loaning themselves large sums of money.

Mauger discussed the political fundraising battle in northern Michigan with IPR News Radio earlier this week:
 


Megan Crandall has filed to run as a Democrat in the race for Grand Traverse County’s state House seat. In 2010, the Traverse City school board member ran for the 104th state House District as an independent.

“I’m running as a [Democrat] because there is no place for me in this Republican party,” Crandall says. “I’m a Milliken Republican. I’m concerned about the environment. I support education. I support responsible government.”

Michigan has a bad reputation when it comes to government openness. Last year, the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity gave the state an ‘F’ in government transparency and accountability.

The governor’s office is exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and so is the state legislature. That means emails and other records are often out of reach for reporters and other government watchdogs.

But a group of Michigan lawmakers wants to end those exemptions to FOIA that have shielded the executive and legislative branches since the 1970s . They’ve unveiled a package of bills that would reform the state’s FOIA laws, by creating the Legislative Open Records Act.

“Any elected official who is not in favor of transparency … really is not qualified to hold public office under our system of government,” says Rep. Lee Chatfield of Emmet County.

IPR News Radio spoke to Chatfield, who is a co-sponsor of the legislation:


An environmental group opposed to an oil pipeline beneath the Great Lakes has requested that state leaders shut down the pipe due to alleged safety violations.

The group Oil & Water Don’t Mix says the company operating Line 5 — Enbridge — is violating an easement granted by the state more than 60 years ago. The easement allows Enbridge to move oil and natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac.

A letter sent to the governor and attorney general's offices alleges several violations of the easement, including corrosion on the pipeline walls and failure to meet thickness requirements.

Enbridge says the group is making false assumptions, but environmental leaders say the evidence is clear.

Electricity rates have skyrocketed for Michigan residents in the past decade. The average price per kilowatt hour has increased by nearly 40 percent since 2008. Rates could go even higher, if the state’s biggest utilities have their way this year.

But ratepayers do have some advocates working on their behalf to try to keep prices down. They are a group called the Michigan Utility Consumer Participation Board.

The UCPB says poor funding restrains them from doing more on behalf of ratepayers. Jim MacInnes, the chair of the UCPB, wants to increase the group's funding from around $600,000 to $1.5 million per year.

Jim MacInnes — who is also the president of Crystal Mountain Resort — spoke with IPR News Radio last week:


Jack Bergman, a former three-star Marine Corps general running for Congress in northern Michigan, wants to “get the budget under control” on day one if elected.

The Republican recently entered the race in Michigan’s competitive 1st Congressional District. The district includes the northern third of lower Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula.

“Congress needs to start working together, negotiating the tough decisions,” Bergman told IPR News Radio in an interview last week.


Supporters of transgender rights are responding to Republican attacks on proposed  guidelines for school districts in Michigan.

“[The guidelines are] really all about creating a safe and supporting learning environment for all Michigan students,” says attorney Jay Kaplan of the ACLU of Michigan. Kaplan worked on writing the recommendations.

Kaplan spoke to IPR News Radio about the policy statement the state Board of Education will soon be asked to vote on:


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