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Your connection to northern Michigan news.

The Michigan State Board of Education is trying to pressure schools to drop team mascots and nicknames that are offensive to Native American tribes.

The board is asking the Legislature to adopt budget sanctions on schools that won’t scrap offensive Native American mascots.

“We want to make sure that students are able to go to school and to learn and be in environments that are conducive to learning, and so that is why it’s quite important,” said Pam Pugh, a Democratic board member.

Aaron Selbig

Public health officials in northern Michigan say they’re “troubled” by the Republican health care plan.

Congressional Republicans are debating the American Health Care Act, which would replace the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare.

The Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance, a coalition of health departments in 25 northern counties, released a statement Tuesday saying the Act will drive up the number of uninsured people, and will jeopardize programs like immunizations.

David Cassleman

Spanish class would be all but eliminated from Traverse City elementary schools under a budget recommendation made by the district superintendent’s office Monday night.

David Cassleman

Some supporters of building a new Soo Lock are hopeful that President Trump could finally be the one to deliver the goods.

Groups like the Lake Carriers’ Association have been trying to get a new lock built at Sault Sainte Marie for decades. 

New Hope Shelter

Efforts to expand a homeless shelter in Cadillac have been put on hold after public opposition. New Hope Shelter has five locations in the Cadillac area, including shelters for men, women and families.

The organization was planning to move its men’s shelter to a larger building near the downtown to meet growing demand for beds, but opponents had a number of complaints. Among them, opponents said the location would negatively affect Cadillac’s downtown revitalization efforts and was not in line with Cadillac's master plan.

Shanny Brooke opened up the Higher Art Gallery in Traverse City in November. She wants to bring more modern and contemporary art to the northern Michigan community and is coming up with unique ideas to do so.
Dan Wanschura

Shanny Brooke moved from Florida to Traverse City about nine years ago. Soon, she noticed that her type of art, was missing. She sees a lot of what she calls “loons and dunes,” but little modern or contemporary art. 

Shanny says that’s because businesses cater to tourists and visitors.

 

Northern Michigan’s Congressman says he’s just now getting a chance to look at the details of a new Republican health care plan. But Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) sounded upbeat talking about it during a telephone town hall he hosted on Tuesday night. 

It was hours after fellow House Republicans unveiled their plans for replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“The American Health Care Act … is going to ensure that number one everybody is able to get health care,” Bergman said.

TheraCann

When the Pugsley Correctional Facility closed last year, the village of Kingsley lost more than 200 jobs. Now a medical marijuana company from Canada says it can replace about 100 of those jobs, if it’s allowed to build a production facility in the Kingsley Industry Park.

Benzie County Central Schools

A school board in Benzie County will consider closing Platte River Elementary School later this month. The head of Benzie County Central Schools says the district needs to save money.

Charles Ross is the creator of the One Man Star Wars Trilogy. He's performed the show thousands of times all over the world. He'll be at the City Opera House in Traverse City, March 10.
onemanstarwars.com

For the past 16 years, actor Charles Ross has been performing his One Man Star Wars Trilogy.

“Every time I think that the show is going to dry up, Star Wars just keeps on putting new things out and making new generations of fans,” he says. 


Aaron Selbig

A judge sentenced a Traverse City man to one year in prison for assaulting a homeless man last July.

For the first time since his arrest, 19-year-old Maayingan Brauker admitted to the crime at his sentencing hearing in 86th District Court Tuesday. 

Hunting Works for Michigan

Hunting boosts the Michigan economy by $2.3 million annually, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. And Hunting Works for Michigan estimates 34,400 hunting jobs are created in the state.

Lauren Duski is a country singer-songwriter from Gaylord. On Monday, she advanced to the next round of NBC's, 'The Voice.'
MPRM Communications

A country singer from Gaylord advanced to the next round of NBC’s reality TV show The Voice. Lauren Duski is a 25 year-old singer-songwriter who grew up performing in northern Michigan. 

She sang You Were Meant for Me by Jewel, during her first appearance Monday night. 

Duski says attending Interlochen Arts Camp in 2001 influenced her decision to pick that particular song.

Last week was dramatic at the state Capitol. In a late night vote, a dozen GOP House members broke from their Republican colleagues and voted with Democrats against a bill that would have lowered the state income tax to 3.9 percent. 

The legislation failed and never made it to the state Senate. 

Sen. Wayne Schmidt of Traverse City had questions about the income tax bill. 

“It was easy to say, ‘let’s lower taxes,’ Schmidt told IPR News Radio in an interview. “But was it the right amount? Is it what working families wanted?” 

“I’m all about giving tax relief but you’ve got to make sure it’s especially targeted for working families,” Schmidt said. 

 

Schmidt spoke with IPR News Radio about the tax legislation, and about two bills that he has introduced. 

NASA

Early Thursday morning, the Space X Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station. The capsule is carrying supplies for the astronauts who live aboard the ISS, but it’s also carrying an experiment devised by students at Traverse City West High School.

The students want to know how quickly blue algae grows in space, and they convinced NASA to send their algae samples.

Matt Mikus

Protesters gathered in Petoskey Thursday as Congressman Jack Bergman arrived for a speech.

Peter Payette

Northwestern Michigan College will soon offer classes specifically aimed at adults with learning challenges and disabilities. The college announced the pilot program earlier this week. 

The eight courses will cover a variety of lifelong learning topics, including robotics and animal care. 

 


The 89th Academy Awards ceremony will take place in Hollywood this Sunday evening.
Ivan Bandura

If you’re using Oscar nominations as a reference, La La Land is one of the best films in history, with 14 nominations.

Only two other films— All About Eve and Titanic— have been nominated 14 times by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

Amanda Holmes

The town of Leland has raised $250,000 to buy its own dredging equipment. The money comes from private donations through the crowd-funding website FundLy.

Leland Harbormaster Russell Dzuba says the federal government used to pay for harbor dredging, but in recent years, it hasn’t been a priority.

Photo courtesy of Gary D. Smith at Picture This.

The varsity girls basketball coach at Traverse City West High School has died, school officials confirmed on Wednesday. 

Mike Wilde coached a variety of sports in Traverse City Area Public Schools for more than 30 years, including basketball, baseball and football.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Cormorants will be safe from sharp shooters in the Great Lakes this spring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not ready to restart a program that allowed lethal control of the birds to protect sport fish, and the agency says it might be years away.

For more than a decade, the federal government allowed double-crested cormorants to be killed in 24 states in the eastern U.S. In the Great Lakes, it was mainly done to protect sport fish like perch and bass.

Traverse City Record-Eagle

Earlier this month, the Traverse City Record-Eagle published a story called “Race Against Time," which told the tale of Ronald Norfleet, an African-American man from Detroit who was sentenced to 56 years in prison for dealing heroin in Grand Traverse County.

Lawmakers in Lansing might not try to do away with the state income tax after all; but, they are still looking to reduce it.

A new version of the bill would gradually cut the tax from 4 point 25 percent to 3 point 9 percent.

Bill sponsor Representative Lee Chatfield says he is happy with the changes.

Morgan Springer

A school in Grand Traverse County has been working to turn things around. Blair Elementary School is a lower-performing school with a number of challenges. Last fall, IPR reported that the school significantly improved reading scores. Now the school is tackling behavioral issues.

Federal Communications Commission

Many people in northern Michigan live without access to broadband internet. Others have high-speed fiber connections. In this special call-in hour, IPR tackles the future of broadband in northern Michigan.

 

In Kalkaksa County, 60 percent of residents lack access to high-speed internet. That’s according to data from the Federal Communications Commission, which increased its standards for speed in 2015. 

More than a third of rural residents in the United States do not have access to broadband service, according to the FCC. 

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