Peter Payette

News Director

Peter Payette is the News Director at Interlochen Public Radio, the broadcast service owned and operated by the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He manages the news department, has hosted its weekly program Points North, and reports on a wide range of issues critical to the culture and economy of northern Michigan. His work has been featured on NPR and Michigan Radio and in Traverse Magazine. He teaches radio storytelling to students at the Interlochen Arts Academy. He is also working on a book about the use of aquaculture to manage Great Lakes fisheries, particularly the use of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to create a sport fishery in the 1960s.

Peter loves telling stories about northern Michigan and hopes he never has to move away. He has vacationed in Benzie County his entire life. His wife Sarah is his biggest fan. They have three children, Isabelle, Amelia and Emmet, and live happily in Traverse City's Kid's Creek Neighborhood. 

Some of his favorite stories have been about the ongoing search for the wreck of the first schooner to sail the upper Great Lakes, or the prospects for obscure fish in the lakes, and any story that requires some knowledge of the past to understand what is happening today.

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Thanksgiving Stories
2:39 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

'Roofless' in Traverse City, not homeless

Credit Peter Payette

Just before Thanksgiving at IPR, we hear the story of a family in difficult or unusual circumstances. This year, we meet a group of people who you might not think of as a family – but they do. They’ve lost a lot of members in the last year, people who might have been forgotten but are not thanks to a little house in Traverse City.

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Great Lakes
5:45 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Undercover agents go after illegal commercial fishing

A two-year investigation of illegal fishing in the Great Lakes led to raids on businesses in Charlevoix and Beaver Island earlier this month. The raids were part of an undercover operation. It involved creating a fake business in the Upper Peninsula to buy and sell fish. Federal agents involved claim the business made 550 sales and 400 involved fish taken illegally by commercial fishers.

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Michigan Energy & Environment
10:03 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Electric bills could go up dramatically for people in the UP

People in the UP could be paying more each month to keep the coal-powered Presque Isle Power Plant open.

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 11:58 am

The cost of electricity could jump dramatically next month in the Upper Peninsula.

Residents there might have to start paying to keep a coal plant open that isn't entirely needed anymore. The increase will be a harsh blow to a region that struggles economically.

Brimley is a little town at the end of the road on Lake Superior’s south shore. There’s a bar, a casino and a couple motels. Brimley State Park draws campers here in the summer and into Ron Holden’s IGA grocery store.

"Basically the six weeks of summer pay for the rest of the year’s bills, " he says. On the wall of the IGA are deer heads, a black bear rug, and a flag that says, ‘American by choice, Yooper by da grace of God.’

But being a Yooper might cost more starting December 1. Holden expects his store’s electric bill will be $700 a month higher and he has no idea where he’ll get that money.

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The Environment Report
12:12 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Drilling for oil and gas is on the decline in Michigan

In this map from 1999, the green dots represent oil wells, the red dots indicate gas wells, and the black dots are dry holes.
Randall Schaetzl, MSU

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 10:52 am

News of a decline might sound surprising since there has been so much excitement and controversy over horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in recent years.

But not many high-volume, horizontal wells were actually drilled since 2010, and the company that led the recent fracking boom has left the state.

That leaves the industry and its watchdogs wondering where new action will come from.

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Energy
3:22 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Energy crisis brewing in the Upper Peninsula

There are plenty of questions about how we’ll generate electricity in the U.S. in the next century. But the problem is particularly pressing in the Upper Peninsula. The owners of the Presque Isle power plant in Marquette are ready to close it. The agency that regulates the energy grid won’t allow that, and residents of the UP are paying millions of dollars to keep it running.

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