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

Morgan Springer

What would it be like if Jesus Christ visited you periodically, and you chatted for a while? G.T. Long imagined just that and wrote about his interactions with Jesus in Facebook posts for the past two years. Then this year, he turned those posts into a book called Another Sunday in Horton Bay.

In one excerpt from August 23rd, Long describes seeing Jesus in his yard playing with wild turkeys. Long says to Jesus, "I thought that was more for kids."

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office

Police all over Michigan have a lot more work to do these days. The number of incidents they respond to are up, but the number of officers is down in most places. That’s in part why the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office has asked the county for funding to hire five new deputies in 2017. But an audit presented to the county board of commissioners last night says that’s not a good idea. 

 


Emmet County

You can now ride your bike from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron on a fully-improved trail network. The trail system starts in Charlevoix, heads to Mackinac City and then goes down to Alpena. It spans about 140 miles.

Morgan Springer

The family-owned restaurant Hofbrau Steakhouse and American Grill in Interlochen is changing its name after being asked to do so by a German company. The German beer maker Staaliches Hofbräuhaus says the Hofbrau is violating its trademark.

The restaurant owners considered fighting it, but decided the best thing to do was to pick something new. So they're holding a public naming contest. People can propose names for the restaurant, and the winner gets a prize.

Morgan Springer

I’m staying at D. H. Day Campground in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with family. My uncle, aunt and three cousins are visiting from New York. It’s a perfect evening – in my opinion –  at Site 15. Somewhat cool; sweaters and socks weather. The sky is flecked with stars, and the peepers are out. We sit around around the fire roasting marshmallows for the classic camping dessert: s'mores. 

Morgan Springer

A plan to create a nonprofit to save the elementary school on Old Mission Peninsula was presented publicly last night. At the joint meeting, board members from Peninsula Township and Traverse City Area Public Schools were asked to work with the soon-to-be-created Old Mission Peninsula Education Foundation to keep the school open. TCAPS had proposed closing it because of low enrollment.

Morgan Springer

Class begins this week for 57 school districts in Michigan, including three districts within the Wexford-Missaukee Intermediate School District. Schools are required to start after Labor Day in Michigan, but these districts applied successfully for a waiver from the Michigan Department of Education.

One district starting early is Manton Consolidated Schools. Their first day is Wednesday, August 24th.

Morgan Springer

This past year, the Traverse City Historical Society received a diary. The diary was donated by a woman from Kalamazoo who bought it at an antique store in Traverse City while on vacation. It was written in 1919 by a 15-year-old boy who lived in town. The author didn't identify himself.  The Kalamazoo woman gave the historical society the diary with one request: figure out who wrote it.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

The group working to save the elementary school on Old Mission Peninsula is ready to go public with its proposal. They began planning after Traverse City Area Public Schools' board held postponed a decision to close the school because of a potential $800,000 donation. TCAPS officials were considering closing the school because they said it was losing the district money each year because there aren’t enough students.

The board will decide tonight if they’re willing to hear the proposal for the first time in a joint meeting with the Peninsula Township board.

Morgan Springer

We all know cigarettes are bad for you, and it’s incredibly hard to quit. It takes most people between five and eight attempts to actually quit, according to a Farid Shamo, a public health consultant with the Tobacco Control Program the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Lately, DHHS is focusing on a particular group: people with HIV. Half of them smoke.

 

David Cassleman

Dr. Flora Biancalana, a family practice physician, began prescribing abortion pills when she opened her Traverse City practice 15 years ago. At the end of this month, she is closing her practice, Rising Star Wellness Center. She's the only abortion provider for women in the region. So next month, women will have to drive to Grand Rapids or Marquette to get an abortion.

"Certainly that has become glaringly obvious that abortion services are missing any place north of Saginaw or Bay City," says Lori Carpentier, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

She says Planned Parenthood only found out about the closure a few weeks ago. Its health clinic in Traverse City refers patients seeking an abortion to a list of providers in the state. Dr. Biancalana is one of the referrals on that list. 


Reese Lassman

You probably remember the photos from last year’s Sandbar Bash and the stories: 10,000 people on the lake, trash in the water, higher E. coli levels, underage drinking, trespassing and loud music.

"It was really, really obtrusive and obnoxious last year," says Sue Kelly. "I was out on my patio vibrating. We have not had that this year."

Mackinac Center for Public Policy

 

A lawsuit filed Wednesday against a tourism bureau in northern Michigan could affect tourism businesses statewide. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy filed the lawsuit against the Indian River Michigan Tourist Bureau on behalf of an Indian River resort owner. It says the bed fees the bureau charges guests for each rental are unconstitutional. 

Morgan Springer

A group is working to open an LGBT community center in Traverse City. Around 60 people gathered to discuss the proposed center at a town hall meeting last night.

 

  The meeting began with a moment of silence for those killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday. Steph White, the executive director of Equality Michigan, talked about violence against the LGBT community.

 

U.S. COAST GUARD AIR STATION TRAVERSE CITY

It will be harder to throw a huge party on the Torch Lake sandbar in the future. Last Fourth of July, the Sandbar Bash drew around 10,000 people. That party prompted a lawsuit from the Torch Lake Protection Alliance, a group working to preserve the lake.

Yesterday, Judge George J. Mertz of Kalkaska Circuit Court ruled in favor of the TLPA's lawsuit which said the Sandbar Bash violated safety, environmental and zoning laws. 

MDOC

Today, the Michigan Department of Corrections announced that Pugsley Correctional Facility in Kingsley is scheduled to close in September. The low security prison employs 230 people.

State Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) says the loss of 230 jobs is "a huge negative for Grand Traverse County."

He says it’s not only bad news for employees at Pugsley and their families, it’s bad for businesses.

Morgan Springer

Two elementary schools in Traverse City are closing. The board at Traverse City Area Public Schools made that decision a few months ago. Parents were torn up about it, but now the kids are dealing with the reality of having to find a new school. Around 70 students from Interlochen Community School, one of the schools that’s closing, visited Westwoods Elementary School last week to get to know their future school.

 

Kingsley Area Schools

A student in Kingsley who identifies as bi-gender has requested use of the bathroom of the student’s choice. Kingsley Area Schools superintendent Keith Smith says the student spoke at a board meeting in April about having a fluid gender identity between male and female.

Smith says it's his impression that the student wants to be able to use either bathroom. The district is waiting to hear back from an attorney about the bi-gender student’s request before moving forward.

 

TC Retreat

TC Retreat, a sober living house in Traverse City, does not violate zoning laws. On Tuesday night, the city's Board of Zoning Appeals voted seven to one to overturn an earlier decision that said TC Retreat violated the single-family zoning district where it's located. TC Retreat is a house for people recovering from addiction, located on Comanche Street. 

At the meeting a number of people gave public comments. Some people from the neighborhood indicated they thought TC Retreat violated zoning laws.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

Traverse City Area Public Schools is closing their two International Baccalaureate elementary schools –Interlochen Community School and International School at Bertha Vos. They're relocating IB to Traverse Heights Elementary School next year.

TCAPS has promoted the IB program as an innovative teaching program with a proven success rate. Statewide the Kellogg Foundation has been funding the creation of these programs in schools throughout northern Michigan. And school officials say the program is very successful with students from economically disadvantaged households.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

A large financial gift to the public school system in Traverse City might save an elementary school. The last minute offer from an unknown individual has put Traverse City officials in an unusual position.

Traverse City Area Public Schools district has long been a leader in demanding that support for education in Michigan not depend on where a child lives. But school officials say this offer is one they have to consider.

This isn’t a new issue. Infusing private money into public schools is happening nationwide.

Kids Count Data Center

More Michigan children are living in poverty. According to this year’s Kids Count data, more than one out of five children - or 22.6 percent - in Michigan lives in poverty. 

Every county in northwest lower Michigan has more poverty now than it did in 2007 before the recession.

 

Mackinac Bridge Authority

More people took a trip over the Mackinac Bridge in 2015 than in 2014. That means more tourists are heading to the Upper Peninsula.

Bob Sweeney, secretary of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, says traffic over the bridge was declining since its peak year in 1999.

"But in 2015, we had a major uptick," says Sweeney. "Our traffic increased 7.4 percent over the previous year."

Bridge traffic had hit its lowest point around 2008.

Sweeney says tourist trips account for about 80 percent of the bridge’s traffic.

To protect yourself from assault, be aware of your surroundings. That’s what twelve women and girls learned last weekend at a self-defense class at The Rock of Kingsley. 

The class was in direct response to sexual assault statistics.

The Woda Group

 A judge has ruled that Traverse City commissioners should not have approved a Special Land Use Permit for a nine-story building development downtown. Grand Traverse County Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers vacated the permit on Thursday.

Rodgers said the city commission did not gather information legally required for the permit before they approved the development.

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