Peter Payette

Executive Director

Peter Payette is the Executive Director of Interlochen Public Radio and has managed the news department since 2001. For more than a decade, he hosted the weekly program Points North and has reported on a wide range of issues critical to the culture and economy of northern Michigan. His work has been featured on NPR, Michigan Radio, Bridge magazine and Edible Grande Traverse. He has taught journalism and radio production to students and adults at Interlochen Center for the Arts. 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 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. 

Many of his favorite stories are about obscure fish in the Great Lakes or the new arrivals changing the food web.  He also admires the people keeping the rock 'n' roll revolution alive in the woods of northern Michigan and enjoys any story that reconnects the past to the present.

Ways to Connect

Linda Stephan

Traverse City school officials were surprised Tuesday when voters shot down two bond proposals. One would have paid for the reconstruction of three elementary schools. TCAPS was not alone though. Almost half the schools in Michigan were unsuccessful at passing bond proposals this election.

Linda Stephan

Schools Struggle
School districts outside of Leelanau County had a tough time with voters yesterday.

Voters in Traverse City, Kalkaska, and Elk Rapids rejected bond proposals to repair and renovate school buildings and other facilities. Unofficial results show very narrow margins. In Traverse City the main request to borrow $35 million failed by about one percent of the vote. In Kalkaska, less than 30 votes out of more than 1,000 tipped the difference against the request.

A new group devoted to veterans’ issues has sprung up in Northern Michigan. The woman behind it is a retired Lieutenant Colonel who believes her father suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder. She figures at least one million U.S. veterans out there suffer the same today and that the problem has been largely misdiagnosed.

When Linda Fletcher’s dad died, she cleaned out his desk and found an article about him receiving a Silver Star for his valor in Italy. Fletcher, who was an army nurse, realized he had never spoken to her about the medal.

A teacher from Petoskey has joined a lawsuit against the state's largest teachers union. It's been filed by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy on behalf of eight Michigan public school teachers.

Ray Arthur wants to stop paying union dues. He says he was never given any information about how to opt out of the Michigan Education Association and in September he was told he missed the August window to do so.

12:00 am

UPDATE: The artifact recovered by Great Lakes Exploration Group was a block of wood a little more than a foot in length. It appeared to have been hewn on at least one side and was blackened evenly on all sides, almost like wood charred in a fire. Archeologists on the dive had little to say about the object. They will continue to focus their efforts around the beam of wood that was originally found protruding from the bottom of the lake.

6:00 pm

A doctor in Gaylord will perform a CAT scan this weekend on a 20-foot, waterlogged piece of wood. The procedure is being contracted by a group of underwater explorers hoping to uncover a famed 17th Century Great Lakes shipwreck.

Explorers are paying Otsego Memorial Hospital an undisclosed dollar amount for the procedure, which they hope will reveal enough tree rings in the timber to date it.

Recently we reported how native fish are doing really well in one of the Great Lakes. The fish involved are not exactly well known species. But there is one that’s a household name in lakeshore communities and its success is sparking some scientific debate.

A fish with a cult following
Food and travel writers who visit The Cove seldom forget to mention the Chubby Mary. It’s a Bloody Mary with smoked chub in it. Mario Batali even put a photo of the cocktail on Bon Appetit’s website along with his endorsement.

Traverse City Area Public Schools ran afoul of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act during the last election, according to a letter issued Thursday by the Secretary of State. It says a district mailer advocated a “yes” vote for a school bond proposal. The district is not allowed to do that with taxpayer funds and other resources.

“We didn’t intend to violate the act or mislead folks and I think I need to apologize to Mr. Gillman, to our parents and our staff and community for any confusion the mailer caused,” says TCAPS Superintendent Steve Cousins.

Asian Carp Or Silverfin?

Mar 21, 2013

One of the strategies to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes is to eat the ones living in the Mississippi River. But finding a market for millions of pound of carp is not a simple matter. It will take more than a name change. We brought a few chefs together at The Great Lakes Culinary Institute to see what they could do with the fish. Hear about that and why harvesting an invasive species isn’t always a wise management strategy.

The number of sea lampreys remains high in Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie, according to a new report to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The eel-like fish was one of the first invasive species to arrive in the lake. It frequently kills lake trout and can also harm white fish and salmon.

According to the report, the number of lampreys in Lakes Michigan and Huron is just above the goal, but the problem with sea lamprey is most serious in Lake Erie. There are believed to be more lampreys in Erie now then there were when control programs began there.

In Cadillac one of the city’s most historic buildings is in the process of being reborn. But the market is tough these days for new office space, even for what might be the most ornate office building up north.

Monument to Cadillac’s golden age

It’s hard to imagine a more historic building in the region. The Cobbs and Mitchell building stretches back to the lumber era when Cadillac was an economic powerhouse. Cliff Sjogren, past president of the Wexford County Historical Society, says it had the strongest economy in Michigan.

Truth & Fiction About A State Pig Ban

Apr 19, 2012

For well more than a year, Interlochen Public Radio has been reporting on a possible ban in the state of Michigan of certain types of pigs. The ban passed and went into force April 1st.

The headlines for this story have never seemed sexy. But now that the ban is in place, a series of viral articles depict the state conservation officers as armed thugs raiding small farms.

The articles are full of misrepresentation and exaggeration. We're convinced at least one photo at the top of a story by Natural News is doctored.

The state says it has begun visiting farms suspected of having illegal pigs.

Michigan's Department of Natural Resources has banned certain species and it took full effect on Sunday. The DNR says it visited six farms Monday and found no feral swine.

The state has published a list of physical characteristics it uses to identify pigs. Wildlife officials say these kinds of pigs are an invasive species and a wild population would be very destructive in Michigan.

Farmers and ranchers have responded with a handful of lawsuits.

Novelist Jodi Picoult will appear at the National Writers Series in Traverse City this year. The line-up for the winter and spring was announced today.

Picoult has written nearly 20 books, including the best seller 19 Minutes, a fictional account of a high school shooting in a small town.

Also coming to the book festival in Traverse City this year are journalist and author Anna Quindlen and Michael Sandel, the host of the PBS show "Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?".

UPDATED Thursday October 20th

During the twentieth-century the scale of food production in the United States went big. Farms became vast corporations and food is sold today in huge volumes. That's why it's hard for small farmers to expand business far beyond the local farmers market. But northern Michigan keeps adding to the number of people trying. A new effort to help them recently won support from economic development officials in Lansing.

Start-up food businesses face obstacles

The federal government is ready to give three more lighthouses to historical groups in Michigan. One is the Waugoshance Lighthouse in northern Lake Michigan. It's an offshore light about 25 miles west of Mackinac City. Chris West is the President of the Waugoshance Lighthouse Preservation Society. He says the light has been out of use for almost 100 years but is still well known to boaters.

A moratorium on demolishing buildings on Mackinac Island ends today, but island officials are still debating how to preserve their 200-year-old village.

The village of Mackinac Island has numerous buildings that date back to the early 1800s and some are older than that. Some of the streets run according to the plan laid out by the British in 1780.

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