News

Your connection to northern Michigan news.

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. 

Frank Pahl's automatons play a prominent role in Neruda's Suitcase, a show playing Thursday and Friday at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Dan Wanschura

Frank Pahl is a different kind of composer. What other people see as toys or junk, Frank sees as music-making potential.

“I didn’t grow to appreciate Tinker Toys until I was, wow, pushing 40,” he says.

David Cassleman

The past few weeks have been challenging ones for a new refugee program in northern Michigan. The plan is to resettle up to 15 refugee children with foster families in the Traverse City area this year.  

President Trump has complicated things with his executive order on immigration and refugees.

But with the order temporarily halted, the program in Traverse City is welcoming its first refugee on Wednesday — a teenage girl from Africa. 

 

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.

Veterans in rural America often have to travel far to get medical care. In northern Michigan, a veteran enrolled in health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs might be required to drive to Saginaw, Detroit or Ann Arbor for a doctor’s visit. 

Jetty Rae performs a song off her new album, 'Can't Curse the Free' in IPR's Studio A. The album features a different sound from Jetty's previous projects.
Dan Wanschura

Jetty Rae is a singer-songwriter who used to live in Charlevoix.

Lately she’s been traveling the country in an Airstream and working on a new sound. She recorded her new album in Nashville— it’s called Can’t Curse the Free

ENBRIDGE

An environmental group from Traverse City is challenging the claim that Line 5 is needed to keep residents of the Upper Peninsula warm.

FLOW released a report this week about the oil and gas line that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. The group says the line is an "immanent hazard" to the Great Lakes and the report says Enbridge exaggerates the number of homes heated with propane pumped in on Line 5.

Michigan State Police

People with drug problems can now ask the Cadillac state police for help without fear of being arrested. The Michigan State Police Cadillac post began participating in the Angel Program this month.

An administrative law judge has sided with a company called Harrietta Hills Trout Farm that's operating in Grayling. It produced nearly 69,000 pounds of rainbow trout last year.

The state granted a permit to the company in 2014. But some groups challenged that permit, and it ended up in court.

Last week, the judge issued a proposal for decision that the business should keep the permit that’s allowing it to expand.

Opponents of the fish farm are vowing to keep fighting the permit.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope – it’s a meteor, or a fireball, or space junk...

A bright, unidentified object flying over Lake Michigan last night caught onlookers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan saying just that.

But what was it?

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