Morgan Springer

Reporter/Producer

Morgan Springer is a reporter at Interlochen Public Radio. Her stories have been featured on NPR, Michigan Radio, WHYY's The Pulse and National Native News. Morgan won a 2016 first place national PRNDI award and a 2017 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story "Grandmother's letter from the Holocaust." Her story "Behind bars, transformation through poetry" won a first place, national PRNDI award in the soft feature category in 2015.

She has an undergraduate degree in International Studies from Earlham College. After graduating, she did a stint as the constituent services coordinator for the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office before leaving to work at a garden center. In 2014, she went to the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, bringing her briefly back to her home state of Maine.

Ways to Connect

Jack Boyd

Cases of chronic wasting disease have been slowly increasing among deer in Michigan. Before hunting season this fall, there were nine cases of the disease. Now that number has risen to 30 suspected cases.

Michigan Tech University

A wildlife researcher suspects Isle Royale National Park may be down to just one wolf. The island used to have a pack of significant population of grey timber wolves, but the population has dwindled to just two in recent years in part because of inbreeding.

A fired employee from Grand Traverse County has been offered the position of Emmet County administrator. Jennifer DeHaan served as deputy administrator for Grand Traverse County until the county's new administrator, Vicki Uppal, asked her to resign or be fired for “poor performance.”

DeHaan refused to resign, saying the county's issues with her were political and not about performance. She was fired last month.

Commissioners voted 5–2 to offer DeHaan the administrator position last Thursday.

Courtesy of Penni Johnson

 

He was born April 29th, 1976. His parents named him James Dean Fuson.

Grand Traverse County

The family of an inmate who committed suicide in the Grand Traverse County jail claims county officials knew the jail posed a suicide risk for inmates but did little to fix it.

Michigan earned a lot more in taxes from Airbnb rentals this summer than was initially projected. 

"In just three months, it’s meant nearly $1 million to the state Department of Revenue," says Ben Breit, the Midwest press secretary for Airbnb, "which obviously benefits the entire state and hopefully all the municipalities."

Jacob Wheeler

The owner of Sugar Loaf on the Leelanau Peninsula says it will eventually reopen as a four-star, year-round resort.

The former ski resort would have fine dining, a spa, vineyards and in-house wine among other amenities.

Jeff Katofsky bought the property last year. He told people at a public meeting today that he has not made a decision yet about downhill skiing at the resort. He says the ski equipment on site is unusable and beyond repair. 

Morgan Springer

 

(Editor’s note: we recommend you listen to the story.)

In March 2001, Fred Williams left his friend Tanya Davis’ house to get groceries. He was 17 and living on the west side of Detroit. Fred says he weighed two options before he left.

“I had Hometown Groceries on Joy Road and Wyoming,” Fred recalls, “or I had Foodarama on Livernois and Julian.”

Fred chose Foodarama because he could buy spaghetti ingredients and make a drug sale at the same time. He’d been selling drugs for about three years – mostly as a “corner boy” selling for someone else.

Lakeland Correctional Facility

 

(Editor’s Note: We recommend you listen to this story.)

Mark Smith was 17 when he shot and killed another teenager. He got the mandatory sentence – life without parole. But that didn’t mean Mark stopped living life.

Twenty years into his incarceration, Mark started corresponding with a straight-laced, Canadian woman named Dawn Dietrich. 

 

(Editor’s note: we recommend you listen to this story.) 

Jose Burgos was 16 years old when he shot and killed Omar Kaji. It happened during a bogus drug deal in 1991 in southwest Detroit. 

“The whole plan was, we’re going to make it look like – from the outside looking in – there’s 10 pounds of marijuana in this bag,” says Jose.

The Eyaawing Museum was designed around this central exhibit. A pair of mated eagles were doing a bonding ritual where they lock talons and freefall together. Their wing tips hit two powerlines and the pair were electrocuted to death.
Morgan Springer

Two replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships have drawn protests from Native American groups. The boats – called the Niña and Pinta – are touring the Great Lakes this summer and are now tied up in Grand Traverse Bay at the Clinch Park Marina.

Kent Shoemaker

One of the most memorable characters in the novel "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë is Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester. He is a wealthy man who hires Jane Eyre as a governess.

Mr. Rochester is known as the passionate, difficult and mysterious man who falls in love with her in the story. But little is learned about his background in Brontë’s novel. Now, 170 years after "Jane Eyre" was published, writer Sarah Shoemaker tells his story in a new book called "Mr. Rochester."

Morgan Springer

In Traverse City’s East Bay, on the busy hotel strip on U.S. 31, is Don’s Drive In. The pink and turquoise restaurant is known for its burgers and shakes and the fact that it’s kind of old school.

Aaron Selbig

A local human rights official is proposing Traverse City not become a sanctuary city. Earlier this year, community members asked the Traverse City Human Rights Commission to explore the designation. Sanctuary city status would mean local law enforcement would not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), potentially protecting people living in the country illegally from deportation.

Morgan Springer

The pressure is on for schools to improve reading scores in Michigan. Last fall, the state legislature passed the third-grade reading bill. The bill goes into effect in two years and will require schools to hold back third-graders who are not proficient readers, with a few exceptions.

Dan Wanschura

 

Last night, hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Kalkaska. Two groups stood on either side of U.S. 131 near the National Trout Memorial. The protest was over Facebook posts made by Kalkaska village president, Jeff Sieting.

Morgan Springer

Last month, a crane tipped over at a large construction project at St. Marys Cement Plant in Charlevoix. No one was hurt, but a disagreement has unfolded between people who think the incident is a fluke and people who say it’s one of many safety issues.

Marc Goldberg

In 1989, during her sophomore year in college, writer Andrea Petersen had her first panic attack. She was standing in the basement of an academic building at the University of Michigan waiting to sign up for classes.

Emmet County board fires administrator

May 19, 2017
Petsokey News Review

The Emmet County administrator was fired by county commissioners last night. After a closed-door discussion at a commission meeting that lasted almost two hours, commissioners unanimously decided to fire Marty Krupa effective immediately.

"It was kind of unexpected," Matt Mikus, a reporter for the Petoskey News-Review, told IPR.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Tick season is here in northern Michigan, and with it comes a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease. Lyme disease is transmitted when blacklegged ticks – commonly called deer ticks – bite humans. If untreated, Lyme disease can have serious health consequences like inflammation of the brain or spinal cord, nerve pain or short-term memory loss. Early signs of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms and muscle aches.

Grand Traverse County

Three volunteer members of Grand Traverse County's Pension Advisory Board submitted their resignations Monday.

The county has a pension debt of more than $50 million. The advisory board is working to identify ways to reduce it and present those findings to county commissioners.

In their letter of resignation the citizen members – Christopher Radu, Robert Zimmerman and Michael Gillman – say, "our recommendations have been solicited, but appear to be ignored."  

Morgan Springer

Low-performing schools throughout Michigan have to turn in transformation plans to the state that show how they will improve. They are due Monday. Forty-five schools were identified by the state's School Reform Office in January. Betsie Valley Elementary in Thompsonville is one of two schools in northern Michigan on the list of schools. The other school is Bear Lake High School in Manistee County.

Max Pixel

Some police officers in northern Michigan wear body cameras; others do not. Two recent incidents in northern Michigan show why cameras can be useful. One incident was in Antrim County. The other in the City of Manistee.

Morgan Springer

Research shows the quality of a toddler's education is incredibly important. It often determines a child’s success in the future. However, state and federal dollars typically don’t kick in until a child gets to preschool. Before that – from birth to three years old – families are often on their own.

Mesick Consolidated Schools District website

School officials in Mesick say they need $14.5 million to demolish, rebuild and upgrade their schools. Residents in the district will vote on the millage in May.

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