Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County

The family of an inmate who committed suicide in the Grand Traverse County jail claims county officials knew the jail posed a suicide risk for inmates but did little to fix it.

2017 northern Michigan election roundup

Nov 8, 2017
Sam Cordon

Please note, these are unofficial election results.

Traverse City commission:

Traverse City commissioner Gary Howe has lost his seat in a tight race. Brian McGillivary, a former Record Eagle reporter, has won a spot on the new commission. 

Morgan Springer

In Traverse City’s East Bay, on the busy hotel strip on U.S. 31, is Don’s Drive In. The pink and turquoise restaurant is known for its burgers and shakes and the fact that it’s kind of old school.

Grand Traverse County

Three volunteer members of Grand Traverse County's Pension Advisory Board submitted their resignations Monday.

The county has a pension debt of more than $50 million. The advisory board is working to identify ways to reduce it and present those findings to county commissioners.

In their letter of resignation the citizen members – Christopher Radu, Robert Zimmerman and Michael Gillman – say, "our recommendations have been solicited, but appear to be ignored."  

Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County Administrator Tom Menzel announced his resignation last month.

When Menzel was hired in 2015, he had a reputation for righting the financial ship at the National Cherry Festival and Bay Area Transportation Authority. Grand Traverse County commissioners hoped he would do the same for the county.

He immediately started making moves, but some of them – like asking county employees to pay more for their health and retirement benefits – have met with resistance.

It’s a new year, and the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners has a couple of new members – and possibly a new direction. The change comes at a time when the county is facing financial problems – including a pension debt of more than $50-million dollars.

In its first meeting last week, the board elected Commissioner Carol Crawford to lead them into the new year.

Green Party wins Grand Traverse County seat

Nov 9, 2016

Grand Traverse County has a new commissioner from the Green Party. Tom Mair won the seat with 53 percent of the vote.

He ousted incumbent Christine Maxbauer, the chair of the Grand Traverse County board. She received 46 percent of the vote.

"I'm actually pretty surprised," Mair told Interlochen Public Radio early Wednesday morning.

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office

Last week IPR News Radio reported that police in Michigan are responding to many more incidents today than a decade ago, and they’re doing it with fewer officers. Part of the problem is not as many people want to be police officers these days, and it’s especially hard to hire new officers in northern Michigan.


Grand Traverse County

Judge Philip Rodgers announced his retirement from the 13th Circuit Court this week. Rodgers presided over many big cases in northern Michigan, including the fight over a nine-story building in Traverse City.

In a letter announcing his retirement, Rodgers thanked the attorneys he's worked with over the years, calling them “the most interesting and humorous people in the world.”

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. 

 


Aaron Selbig

Grand Traverse County Commissioner Christine Maxbauer was sentenced Monday to a year of probation for drunk driving.

Maxbauer pleaded guilty to the charge. She said she drank a bottle of wine at home July 7th before driving to her sister’s house because of a family emergency.

Maxbauer was arrested by Traverse City police after she hit a parked car on Front Street. Police measured her blood-alcohol content at 0.16 percent – twice the legal limit.

In court, she apologized for what she called “poor judgment.”

Veterans Administration

A new project aimed at improving veterans’ health care has the support of Grand Traverse County. County commissioners passed a resolution tonight supporting Project Cherry Tree, a group that wants to connect local veterans with local health care services.

Right now, many veterans have to drive to Saginaw or Ann Arbor for medical care.

Leaders of the new project want to connect veterans with health care services closer to home. The group also wants to provide educational and job opportunities.

Betsy Coffia

The race for Grand Traverse County’s seat in the state House has a new – but familiar – candidate. Betsy Coffia filed paperwork to run for the 104th House district before yesterday’s deadline.

Coffia ran for the seat in 2012 and 2014. She says she has hundreds of volunteers from past races who are ready to help again.

Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County’s financial problems have reached crisis level. The county administrator says an emergency manager would be the next step, if the county can't get its financial house in order.

A big part of the problem is there’s not enough money to fund retirement and health care promises made to former employees.

Grand Traverse County Easling Pool

The cost of paying benefits to retired government workers is skyrocketing and taxpayers in northern Michigan are footing the bill. The burden is forcing cities, townships and counties to get creative in how they deal with it.

 

In the village of Kalkaska, four former employees are suing over the village's decision to stop paying for their health care.

 

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."

Human trafficking charges against Jamel King, a drug dealer from the Detroit area, have been dropped.

Recently, King took a plea deal, pleading guilty to cocaine possession and intent to deliver.

Both Cooney and Traverse City Narcotics commander, Dan King, say human trafficking is a county issue that goes beyond Crick and this one case, but it can be difficult to prosecute.

Grand Traverse County wants the YMCA to run its troubled swimming pool. County commissioners voted Wednesday night to turn management of the Easling Pool over to the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA. The pool has been closed since October due to lack of funding.

The county would pay the YMCA $50,000 in management fees during a one-year trial.

Most commissioners support the plan but County Administrator Tom Menzel said it’s a bad idea.

Northern Michigan Human Trafficking Awareness Summit

 

Law enforcement says human trafficking is definitely happening northern Michigan, but it’s hard to prosecute. 

They have trouble getting victims to talk, and without the victim’s testimony, it’s often hard to tell if prostitution is forced or voluntary.

There’s a summit this Friday and Saturday in Cadillac where they’ll be talking about these issues.

 

More sex crime charges for Native American leader

Aug 20, 2015
Peter Payette

UPDATE: Today, Grand Traverse County prosecutors charged Derek Bailey with two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and with being a sexually delinquent person.

Bob Cooney, prosecuting attorney for Grand Traverse County, says, "These are just allegations, but the idea of a sexually delinquent person is that it’s not just a one-time act. Because of repetitive behaviors, the statute is designed to give the court more discretion to fashion a sentence that is protective of the public." 

Aaron Selbig

UPDATED on Thursday at 1pm with statement from AT&T.

Officials in Grand Traverse County want to know why the 911 system failed during Sunday’s storm.

Emergency calls in Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Kalkaska Counties had to be rerouted for several hours after the storm. Some of the calls ended up at a dispatch center in Petoskey.

Linda Stephan

Updated: Monday at 12 p.m.

Grand Traverse County Chair Christine Maxbauer issued a local state of emergency on Monday afternoon.

Storms ripped through northern Michigan Sunday afternoon and early evening, bringing winds up to 70 miles per hour.

The wind uprooted trees, broke limbs and downed power lines, leading to widespread power outages. Fifteen thousand people in Grand Traverse County were without power as of 10 a.m. Monday morning.

Aaron Selbig

Local governments are turning to social media to reach citizens where they are. 

The Grand Traverse County 911 dispatch center has probably the most-"liked" Facebook page in northern Michigan. Deputy Director Jason Torrey says the idea for the page came in the spring of 2012, when a huge snowstorm caused chaos all over the county.

“It dumped two and a half feet of snow – wet, heavy snow," says Torrey. "It took power out in the whole county.”

Six months after its creation, the Grand Traverse County Joint Housing Task Force has finished its work.

The task force was formed last October to bring together county, township and Traverse City leaders on housing issues. It will hold its final meeting today.

County Planning Director John Sych says the task force was never supposed to last long-term.

“This was really just intended to … bring some of our elected leaders up to speed (and) identify some key actions that they can continue onwards, after the task force has concluded,” said Sych.

Pages