We've Got Issues

We've Got Issues follows the critical issues facing northern Michigan by tracking how policy and politics affect people. Join us Monday mornings at 6:44 and 8:44 a.m.

What issues do you care about? Tell us about what matters to you. Leave IPR a message at                   231-276-4441. Email us at gotissues@interlochen.org.

David Cassleman

Thousands of households in Michigan generate their own electricity with solar panels. They’re reimbursed by utility companies for any extra power they put into the grid under a program called net metering. 

But under new rules, those customers are going to get less in return. 

 


David Cassleman

Democrats have struggled to find candidates to run for office in Grand Traverse County. 

In recent elections, Democrats let most seats on the county Board of Commissioners go unchallenged. 

U.S. Coast Guard

Michigan’s attorney general is suing an Escanaba-based shipping company that he claims is responsible for a mineral oil leak in the Straits of Mackinac earlier this month.

David Cassleman

President Donald Trump’s plan to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure hasn’t gone anywhere yet. 

Earlier this year, Trump proposed investing $1.5 trillion in the nation’s roads, bridges and other systems. However, only a fraction of the money would come from the federal government in the plan. Instead, most would come from state and local governments. 

 


David Cassleman

Michigan’s roads are falling apart.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a D- letter grade for the condition of its roads in a report released last month.

Chuck Grimmett

Michigan State University’s interim President John Engler criticized state lawmakers last week for a package of bills that would give sexual assault victims more time to file lawsuits, among other changes. 

Morgan Springer

A new education report says third-graders are getting worse at reading in Michigan, even though the state has spent tens of millions trying to reverse the trend in the last few years. 

 


State Rep. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) made a tough choice last month. He decided not to run for re-election in the Michigan House of Representatives. Instead, he’s running for the state Senate. 

It’s a decision that has disrupted two competitive political races in northern Michigan. 

 


Aaron Selbig

State Rep. Curt VanderWall has announced he won’t run for re-election and will instead run for the state Senate. That means the race for the 101st District seat is wide open. 

Cheyna Roth

A group of state lawmakers is proposing to end public elections for university boards in Michigan and to give that power entirely to the governor. 

The people who govern Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University are elected by the public. The state’s 12 other public universities have board members that are appointed by the governor. 

 


Airbnb

It’s becoming easier and easier to rent out your home through websites like Airbnb and VRBO. But short-term vacation rentals are illegal in many areas Up North, including in much of Traverse City. 

Aaron Selbig

Members of Congress usually raise more money than the people running against them. But in northern Michigan, Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) was outraised by a Democrat in the final quarter of 2017. 

Morgan Springer

Gov. Rick Snyder is calling for more money to be spent on public schools in Michigan. The governor spoke about the issue during his final State of the State address last week. 

 


Suzannah Tobin

Last fall, northern Michigan’s congressman announced he was joining the Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s a group of more than 60 Democrats and Republicans who want to address the challenges of climate change.

Morgan Springer

For decades, residents living near the Wexford County Landfill have been dealing with contaminated drinking water. The landfill was built in the 1970s and was mismanaged at times. Now, a new proposal at the site is creating new concern for residents.

A former state Supreme Court Chief Justice has ended his campaign for one of Michigan's seats in the U.S. Senate. Republican Bob Young announced last week that he was withdrawing his name from consideration. 

His departure means three Republicans remain in the race. They’re hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who is running for a fourth term. 

Listen to an interview below with the Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta, who discusses how this news affects the race. 


This summer a man hanged himself to death in the Grand Traverse County jail. Officers found Alan Halloway dead in his cell in July. It took three hours for corrections officers to discover his body. Officers were supposed to check Halloway's cell every hour, but did not do so, according to a report by the Michigan Sheriffs Association.

 


The oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac will be shut down during bad storms. That’s just one of the agreements reached in a deal announced last week by the state of Michigan and the Canadian oil transport company Enbridge.

TheraCann

Kingsley is the latest northern Michigan community to pass new medical marijuana rules.

Morgan Springer

Many school districts Up North – and across the state – are suffering from chronic budget problems. It comes at a time when there’s also increasing pressure from parents and lawmakers for students to do better in school.

Harrietta Hills Trout Farm

Part of a lawsuit is going forward against a company running a fish farm on the Au Sable River.

Opponents of the fish farm allege it’s polluting the trout stream. The company called Harrietta Hills Trout Farm denies it. Now a judge says the operation violates the law, but for a reason that has nothing to do with pollution.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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