Morgan Springer


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

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.



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. 


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.

Morgan Springer

The German company, Staaliches Hofbäuhaus or HB, says the Hofbrau Steak House and American Grille in Interlochen has to change its name.

This week Hofbrau’s owners, Brian McAllister and Laurie Bouwman, got a letter from the German company saying HB has a trademark on the name.

"HB, therefore, demands that you change the name of your establishment by removing the word HOFBRAU from the name of your restaurant," reads the letter signed by company officials.

Morgan Springer

The board of education for Traverse City Area Public Schools voted to close two elementary schools Monday night. International School at Bertha Vos and Interlochen Community School will close at the end of this school year.

The vote was unanimous to close Bertha Vos. Board member Megan Crandall was the only dissenting voice in the 6:1 vote to close Interlochen.

Morgan Springer

Republican presidential hopeful and Ohio Governor John Kasich spoke to a couple hundred people at a Traverse City town hall on Saturday morning.

The Republican's main message was to pay attention to each other because "we need to be connected with one another."

Jill Coverdill of Grawn says she’ll vote Kasich in Tuesday's Michigan primary because the other Republican candidates are "frightening."

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was in Traverse City today. Hundreds of people waited calmly in line to see him speak.

Sanders told a packed crowd that the decline of Detroit - and the decline of the American middle class - is partly due to international trade policies.

He says many trade policies cater to big money interests.

Morgan Springer

School board members for Traverse City Area Public Schools are set to decide next month whether to close three elementary schools. But right now TCAPS officials are looking into other ways to save money. 

There were more than 25 alternative options mentioned at the last board meeting, but a number of school officials say none of them are viable. That leaves some parents wondering if a look at alternatives is a formality or is actually being taken seriously. 


Morgan Springer

For senior citizens who are single in northern Michigan, it can be tough to meet someone. But not everyone struggles. Margaret Anne Small and George Bailey met at a dance at the Traverse City Senior Center over two years ago, and they're still going strong.

There have been some hiccups along the way. Money issues are holding them back from getting married, and it also means Margaret Anne has to live with her children, keeping her away from George in the winter months when she rotates between Traverse City and Las Vegas.

Morgan Springer

The superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools says the district should close two elementary schools at the end of this year to save money, and he says a third elementary school should close in several years.

At a TCAPS board meeting on Monday night, superintendent Paul Soma recommended closing Interlochen Community School and the International School at Bertha Vos in June. The schools have the lowest enrollment of any elementary school in the district. Under the plan, the International Baccalaureate programme currently housed at Interlochen and Bertha Vos would be relocated to Traverse Heights Elementary.


Morgan Springer

Since the announcement that three Traverse City Area Public Schools elementary schools might close, people are getting together to try to save them. They’re brainstorming ways to save money, make money or increase enrollment. 

The Old Mission Community Connection Group met last weekend at Peninsula Community Library. They’re hoping good ideas will save Old Mission Peninsula School, Interlochen Community School and the International School at Bertha Vos.


Grand Traverse County Easling Pool

Easling Pool in Traverse City is set to reopen on Wednesday. Grand Traverse County’s only public pool is under the new management of Grand Traverse Bay YMCA.

“We’re trying to partner with the county to try to save an entity that has been in this community for years," says Jay Buckmaster, CEO of the YMCA. "So we will do what we do, which is run great programming and run great pools, and I guess it’s going to be to the community to see if there’s enough need to be able to sustain it long-term."

TC Retreat

A new recovery house for men opened last month in Traverse City. The sober living house has room for six men in recovery. 

Tom Gilbert is the president of TC Retreat, the non-profit that oversees the house.

"People frequently need a safe place to practice what they’ve learned in treatment," Gilbert says. "That’s where TC Retreat comes in with the recovery home, asking folks to make a six month commitment to practice their new sober living skills."