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

When people think of the Kennedy family, they’re most likely thinking of the famous Kennedy men. John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic president in the nation’s history; he was assassinated in his first term. His brother Bobby was attorney general and a senator until he was assassinated while running for president. Ted Kennedy was a Massachusett's senator for decades until his death in 2009.

The Old Mission Peninsula School will have new leadership starting this fall. The elementary school will no longer be a part of Traverse City Area Public Schools; it will become a public charter school authorized by Grand Valley State University.

Dena Schweitzer has been named Director of Academics there. She has worked as a speech pathologist in local public schools for more than 25 years. 

Jack Boyd

State biologists are asking the public for help combating a fatal disease that threatens deer. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is holding public hearings about chronic wasting disease (CWD) in April and May.

“CWD is one of the biggest threats – that we have long-term – to the sustainability of our deer herd,” says Chad Stewart, deer management specialist at the DNR.

JJ, Flickr

Police have stopped two kilograms of cocaine from being sold in northern Michigan. The cocaine was allegedly mailed from an address in Texas to James Lopez of Benzie County. Law enforcement intercepted the package at a local post office before it reached Lopez.

Michigan State Police Lt. Dan King, head of the Traverse Narcotics Team (TNT), says they rarely see drug packages this large in northern Michigan.

“To my memory, it’s the largest seizure and arrest of cocaine in Benzie County,” says King.

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Michigan Tech University

The National Park Service is one step closer to reintroducing wolves to Isle Royale National Park. The park in Lake Superior would get 20 to 30 new wolves in the next three years.

Isle Royale once had around 50 wolves. But Park Superintendent Phyllis Green says fewer new wolves have made it to the island in recent years because Lake Superior is freezing over less. She attributes that to the warming climate. As a result, there’s been inbreeding and disease in the wolf population.

Morgan Springer

The superintendent of northern Michigan’s largest school district will keep his job. The board of Traverse City Area Public Schools voted unanimously to keep Superintendent Paul Soma during his annual performance evaluation Monday.

More than 60 people showed up for an emotional school board meeting in Traverse City Area Public Schools district Saturday. Most people showed up in support of Superintendent Paul Soma.

David Cassleman

Updated March 9, 2018 at 4 p.m.

A letter from Traverse City school administrators alleges the district superintendent bullies and intimidates female principals.

Morgan Springer

It’s been two years since the U.S. Supreme Court said states across the country had to reconsider the sentences of nearly 2,000 juvenile lifers. But not much has changed in Michigan since that January 2016 ruling for most of those prisoners.

Michigan had the second-largest juvenile lifer population in the country – with more than 360. So far, only 30 percent of juvenile lifers have been resentenced. Antonio Espree is one of them.

 


Aaron Selbig

A 36-year-old female prisoner, Marilyn Palmer, was found dead in a Grand Traverse County jail cell Wednesday night. This is the second death at the jail in the past year.

Emmet County

A northern Michigan man has been sentenced after posting a mass shooting threat on Facebook. Thirty-three-year-old Kevin Wayne Hansen was charged with an attempted threat of terrorism. He pleaded guilty.

Emmet County Prosecutor James Linderman says on Nov. 27, 2017, Hansen threatened to kill at least 59 people, referencing the massacre in Las Vegas last year.

Kevin Hansen's Facebook post:

Woman's March Network

  

Next month, students from hundreds of schools across the country will walk out of classes for 17 minutes, protesting gun violence in schools. This comes in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 people died.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

On Tuesday, The Watershed Center said Grand Traverse Bay was officially frozen. The official designation happens after West Bay is frozen from Traverse City to Power Island for more than 24 hours. Even though that's only a fraction of the bay, that's been the official measurement for over a hundred years.

Heather Smith, Grand Traverse Baykeeper at The Watershed Center, says the bay didn’t freeze over the last two winters – not since 2015. She says, since 1990, it has only frozen between 20 to 30 percent of the time.

DNR officials inspect the first fish speared during the 2018 Black Lake sturgeon fishing season. The female sturgeon weighed 45.8 pounds and was nearly five feet long.
Morgan Springer

 

It’s dawn on February 3 on Black Lake near Onaway. It's freezing cold and snowing lightly. A procession of big pickup trucks and snowmobiles drives across the ice toward villages of fishing shanties, specks in the hazy distance.

Aaron Selbig

A special prosecutor will handle a jail suicide case in Grand Traverse County. The state attorney general has appointed the Antrim County prosecutor to take over.

Alan Halloway hanged himself in the Grand Traverse County jail last summer. An investigation by Michigan State Police found that corrections officers violated multiple policies and procedures. For example, it took officers three hours to find Halloway dead in his cell; they were supposed to check him every hour. 

Students spin, balance, jump and walk at different stations in the gym at Central Grade School in Traverse City. Each movement is designed to help train the brain to read better.
Morgan Springer

 

A growing body of research says more physically active kids do better in school. But, across the country, time for gym class and recess has been replaced with more sedentary time in classrooms. Traverse City Central Grade School is doing the opposite though, giving kids more exercise to help boost their reading scores.

State health officials says infants in Michigan die at a higher rate than the national average. 

The state Department of Health and Human Services says there were 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in Michigan in 2015. The national average was 5.9 deaths per 1,000.

MDNR

A new study says killing wolves to protect livestock doesn't work that well. It shows that non-lethal methods in the Upper Peninsula are just as effective as lethal ones. The study comes from the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the University of Wisconsin. 

 


Morgan Springer

For decades, residents living near the Wexford County Landfill have been dealing with contaminated drinking water. The landfill was built in the 1970s and was mismanaged at times. Now, a new proposal at the site is creating new concern for residents.

Grand Traverse County

The Grand Traverse County prosecutor wants an outside attorney to handle a county jail suicide case. Alan Halloway hanged himself in the jail this summer.

Prosecutor Bob Cooney is asking Attorney General Bill Schuette to appoint a special prosecutor, because he says he could appear impartial in the case.

Cooney has advised the county in a lawsuit related to the suicide, and he was the one who charged Halloway with attempted murder this summer.

A bill to make English the official language in Michigan has passed a House committee. HB 4053 would require all public government documents be written in English, although they could be printed in another language as well.

Northern Michigan Representatives Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Tristan Cole (R-Mancelona) are co-sponsors of the bill.

Nora Boydell

Farmers might have more time to come up with cage-free housing for their egg-laying hens.

In 2009, the state passed a bill saying farmers could not confine their lay hens throughout the day. The hens must be able to stand, lie down or turn 360 degrees during most of the day. But a new bill before the Michigan Senate would delay the start date of those rules by five years, from 2020 to 2025. 

Jack Boyd

A doe with chronic wasting disease has been found at a deer farm in Mecosta County. The fatal, neurological disease can be found in deer, elk and moose.

The number of deer thought to be infected with CWD tripled this fall, bringing the tally to 30 cases. Seventeen suspected cases were found in Montcalm County around hunting season. The deer farm's infected doe is the northernmost confirmed case so far. 

This summer a man hanged himself to death in the Grand Traverse County jail. Officers found Alan Halloway dead in his cell in July. It took three hours for corrections officers to discover his body. Officers were supposed to check Halloway's cell every hour, but did not do so, according to a report by the Michigan Sheriffs Association.

 


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