News

Your connection to northern Michigan news.

There’s a consistent wisdom in the world of fairy tales that weaves through every culture, and it’s this: what you put into the world will come back to you, filled with the goodness, truth, beauty, or negativity, that you put into it. So how are the stars involved in this?

Michigan actor and musician Jeff Daniels will tour through northern Michigan next week.
Luke Pline

When you think of Jeff Daniels, maybe you think of Harry Dunne from the film Dumb and Dumber. Harry is one of Daniels’ most iconic roles, but you’ve probably seen him in dozens of other roles throughout the years, too. More recently, he starred in HBO’s TV series The Newsroom

Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington turns 150 years old on November 1st.
Dan Wanschura

Gayle Turnwald has been volunteering at Big Sable Point Lighthouse for about 20 years. One morning in November of 2003, she went downstairs and noticed the smell of freshly baked bread coming from the kitchen.

Michigan earned a lot more in taxes from Airbnb rentals this summer than was initially projected. 

"In just three months, it’s meant nearly $1 million to the state Department of Revenue," says Ben Breit, the Midwest press secretary for Airbnb, "which obviously benefits the entire state and hopefully all the municipalities."

Jacob Wheeler

The owner of Sugar Loaf on the Leelanau Peninsula says it will eventually reopen as a four-star, year-round resort.

The former ski resort would have fine dining, a spa, vineyards and in-house wine among other amenities.

Jeff Katofsky bought the property last year. He told people at a public meeting today that he has not made a decision yet about downhill skiing at the resort. He says the ski equipment on site is unusable and beyond repair. 

Joyce Harrington Bahle was Jim Harrison's assistant for over 35 years. Here she's pictured sitting in one of Jim's old chairs.
Dan Wanschura

Well-known Michigan author Jim Harrison passed away last March. If you remember reading about him after his death, a couple things might stick out. First, he wrote a lot – poetry, fiction and essays. And you probably remember hearing how much he loved to eat and drink. Jim Harrison was also a wilderness man. He didn’t like city-living but loved to be surrounded by nature.

Aaron Selbig

A group in Antrim County has been working for more than a decade to connect a bike trail between Suttons Bay and Harbor Springs. But now, a northern Michigan legislator says the path could harm the agriculture industry.

Last week, Representative Triston Cole of Mancelona took a road trip along the section that would extend Traverse City’s TART Trail north along U.S. Highway 31 to Elk Rapids. He brought with him Representative Tom Barrett – the chair of the House Agriculture Committee – and they heard from local farmers.

Morgan Springer

 

(Editor’s note: we recommend you listen to the story.)

In March 2001, Fred Williams left his friend Tanya Davis’ house to get groceries. He was 17 and living on the west side of Detroit. Fred says he weighed two options before he left.

“I had Hometown Groceries on Joy Road and Wyoming,” Fred recalls, “or I had Foodarama on Livernois and Julian.”

Fred chose Foodarama because he could buy spaghetti ingredients and make a drug sale at the same time. He’d been selling drugs for about three years – mostly as a “corner boy” selling for someone else.

Joe Ross

Candidates for governor are on the campaign trail in Michigan. They’re raising money, giving speeches and trying to get support before the primary election next August.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is term-limited, so it’s an open seat race for the first time since 2010. 

Jandy Sprouse tends to one of the Tibetan yaks that she raises at her ranch in Maple City. Jandy and her husband Brad are part of a growing local fiber movement, where customers are looking for locally made textiles for their clothing.
Matt Mikus

Jandy and Brad Spouse raise yaks on their ranch in Maple City. The yaks are a little smaller than a dairy cow, but they don’t look like one.

"They have a long fiber that comes down, and it looks like a skirt,” explains Brad. “They have a very long tail that’s similar to a horse." 

 


Lakeland Correctional Facility

 

(Editor’s Note: We recommend you listen to this story.)

Mark Smith was 17 when he shot and killed another teenager. He got the mandatory sentence – life without parole. But that didn’t mean Mark stopped living life.

Twenty years into his incarceration, Mark started corresponding with a straight-laced, Canadian woman named Dawn Dietrich. 

A ballot initiative aims to change the way Michigan draws the boundaries of legislative districts following the census. 

Redistricting can have a big impact on the state’s politics by affecting the demographics of districts. Right now, state lawmakers are in charge of drawing the maps for state and congressional districts.

Grupo Ayé is a Cuban salsa band from Grand Rapids. They perform in Traverse City on Satruday night.
Grupo Ayé

Grupo Ayé is a Cuban salsa band from Grand Rapids. And even if you don’t know how to dance, there’s at least one guy who thinks you won’t be able to help yourself when you hear their music.

“You have to dance to this music,” says Robert Mulligan, the band’s founder. “When you hear it, your body just naturally wants to move.”


Aaron Selbig

A pair of political newcomers is challenging three incumbents on the Traverse City commission. All five candidates gathered Wednesday night at a forum put on by the League of Women Voters of the Grand Traverse Area.

The forum packed a large community room at the Traverse Area District Library. Voters showed up to hear from five candidates running for three seats on the city commission.

 

(Editor’s note: we recommend you listen to this story.) 

Jose Burgos was 16 years old when he shot and killed Omar Kaji. It happened during a bogus drug deal in 1991 in southwest Detroit. 

“The whole plan was, we’re going to make it look like – from the outside looking in – there’s 10 pounds of marijuana in this bag,” says Jose.

The suicide rate for Michigan veterans is more than twice as high as the state's overall rate, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs last month.

Hundreds of juveniles in Michigan have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Now they have a chance at freedom.

IPR News Radio begins a series called ‘Irredeemable’ Wednesday morning that tells some of the stories of these people. 

Reporter Morgan Springer is leading the project. She answered questions about ‘Irredeemable’ and about these prisoners.

Matt Mikus

Northern Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman took questions in Petoskey over the weekend. Bergman spoke at North Central Michigan College on Saturday.

He was asked about natural resources, immigration and health care reform.

Bergman said he wants to find solutions to improve health care but the problem is challenging, especially in rural areas.

Over 50 authors will partake in events throughout the weekend at the 2nd Annual Harbor Springs Festival of the Book.
Harbor Springs Festival of the Book

A three-day book festival kicks off in Harbor Springs on Friday.

Over 50 authors from around the country will be there for panel discussions, readings and other events.

“We’re celebrating the culture of books in a beautiful part of the world, where most events are free,” says Amy Gillard, executive director of the festival.


Brett Levin

Leaders in Traverse City are taking a “wait and see” approach to changing the city’s marijuana laws.

At a meeting Monday night, the city commission discussed how it might adapt to new marijuana regulations coming from the State of Michigan.

CREDIT STEVEN DEPOLO/FLICKR - HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/STEVENDEPOLO/5233546650

Swiss company Nestle has been criticized for its plan to take more water out of northern Michigan. Opponents say the company wants to take too much water from the area – and an increase in pumping will degrade streams and wetlands. But the company denies the allegations.

An old mural on the Coburn building in downtown Petoskey was recently repainted by artist Äbby Kent.
Matt Mikus

If you walk through downtown Petoskey, you might notice some old advertising murals on the sides of a few buildings. 

One of them is on the Coburn building on Mitchell Street. The mural is a weathered patchwork of ads for companies that used to occupy the building, like H.A. Easton Hardware and Cook Electric Company.

The mural had almost entirely faded away, until a local artist decided to restore it.

 

University of Michigan

The state of Michigan will sponsor a new analysis of the risks posed by an oil and gas pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. 

In June, the state cancelled a contract with a firm doing a previous risk study, when it learned one of the firm’s researchers was also working on a project for Enbridge – the company that operates Line 5. 

Peter Payette

The State of Michigan wants the federal government to postpone approval for development plans in Acme Township.

The dispute centers on 157 acres of land next to the Meijer store.

A painting of Wilberforce Falls, which is located north or the Arctic Cirlce in Canada. Cory Trépanier was inspired to paint the Canadian north in his project, "Into the Arctic."
Cory Trépanier

When Canadian Cory Trépanier graduated college, he jumped into the world of commercial art. He did airbrush painting for ad agencies and magazines. A lot of work inside a studio.

Then when he was 33, he took a trip to Lake Superior to paint the natural landscape.

“That was a turning point for me,” he says. "All I could recall, with my wife in the vehicle, was talking about, ‘how am I going to spend more time painting my own work?’”

 

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