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.

Ways To Connect

Peter Payette

Vintners in Michigan could have another disaster on their hands this year. Last year, Michigan vineyards produced about one fourth of the grapes grown in a normal season. The results could be about the same this year and that might leave wineries with little in the their cellars.

Tom Carr

Michigan has a number of wind farms because the state basically made them mandatory in 2008. That was when lawmakers decided a certain amount of our electricity must come from renewable resources, and utilities built wind turbines to comply.

Now, wind energy is, by some measurements, among the cheapest ways to keep the lights on. But nobody seems to be rushing to build more.

In fact, the man who has developed the wind farms we have in northern Michigan says his enthusiasm for wind is waning.

Michigan State University

Traffic over the Mackinac Bridge has been in a steady decline for almost 20 years. That fact is included in a report on Michigan's tourism industry out this week from Michigan State University.

Traffic over the bridge peaked around 1998, when almost five million trips were made. The number dropped below four million just before the recession in 2008. It has continued a steady decline except for a slight bump coming out of the recession.

The Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce supports a sales tax increase to fix Michigan’s roads. That’s good news for the plan that has lost some key support in recent weeks. The higher tax would raise more than a billion dollars a year for transportation spending.

Critics say there was another option, one that did not involve new taxes. But Doug Luciani, President and CEO of the Traverse City chamber, says they looked at that plan too.

“It didn’t address the full load of the transportation needs,” he says. “It fell far short of what the transportation needs are.”

Peter Payette

Terri Wooten never wanted to write academic poetry.

“I had a vision of writing for the common people,” he says.

More than 30 years ago, he built a circle of boulders—88 in all—behind his house north of Elk Rapids. Since then, poets and storytellers have gathered around the campfire to perform for audiences that sometimes number more than 100.

This month, an anthology of Wooten’s poetry is out called "The Stone Circle Poems." Peter Payette stopped by his house and sent this postcard.

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