Latest Northern Michigan News


1:23 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Carrying on an 11,000-year-old tradition

Credit Fred Keeslar

Stephen Drake, a math professor at Northwestern Michigan College, took up the hobby of knapping 30 years ago when his son Eric was a boy. 

Knapping is the ancient art of chipping stone into a desired shape.

“One day my son was banging on rock with a hammer,” Drake recalls. “I asked him what he was doing and he said he was trying to make an arrow head. I took him to the Con Foster Museum and we looked at arrowheads and started experimenting. There weren’t many books at that time.”

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Dark Sky Park
8:00 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Mars and the social media mania

The planet Mars has been in the news a lot lately, and this week it will be visible crossing the path of Milky Way stars, accompanied by the Moon in the southwest Tuesday night.  More than any other planet, Mars has been at the center of the most extraordinary examples of the mischievous effects of social media.

In 2003, Mars came as close to Earth as it had in recorded history, leading to the erroneous and annually repeated internet legend that the red planet will appear as large as the Moon.

Nearly 80 years ago this week, 23-year-old Orson Welles and his colleagues broadcast a radio rendition of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds reciting events in the novel as if they were a real news broadcast. The idea that aliens were invading from Mars caused mass hysteria. That was October, 1938, nearly 40 years after HG Wells originally penned his novel The War of the Worlds, a scientific romance written in response to several significant events in the 1890s.

In 1894 the scientific community was excited about Mars’ close approach to the Earth. Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli reported observing ‘channels’ on the surface there.  Because it was commonly held then that Mars was an old and exhausted planet that had once sustained life, it was not unusual for scientists to seek there for evidence, just as NASA’s Curiosity Rover does today. 

Then came increasing militarization in Europe and the cataclysmic eruption of Mt Krakatau. These events fueled the hyper-realism behind HG Wells’ writing style, and the possibility of invasion by aliens caused Mars-mania to reach fever pitch.

Interest in life on Mars sustains into our own time. Over 200,000 people have already applied for a one-way trip to the desolate planet.

Given the enduring interest and mischief stirred by our red neighbor, perhaps the question we need to ask is not “is there life on Mars?” but rather, “What does Mars stir to life within me?”

Michigan Arts & Culture
5:57 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Ludington to host first 19-day "History Prize" event in 2016


Ludington will host a new 19-day history festival when it launches in the summer of 2016.

Several Michigan communities were vying for the festival, called History Prize. Organizers are modeling after the hugely successful ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids.

“We’re still early in the planning stages but very hopeful this is going to have a huge impact, not only for Ludington and Mason County, but the surrounding region as well,” says Brandy Henderson, of the Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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1:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Volunteer labor last chance for county ice rink

Credit Tom Carr

We’ve all heard of pay-to-play sports. Well, for Cadillac recreation league hockey players it’s work-to-play. That’s because it is now up to them to keep their county-owned hockey rink open.

Volunteers are also helping several other counties and cities around Michigan and elsewhere in this era of tight budgets.

Eric Gustafson, for instance, could have been working around the house on a recent Saturday. Instead, he stepped into what feels like a refrigerator with classic rock blaring.

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Michigan Healthcare
5:24 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Munson leaders say they have a final agreement to buy hospitals in Cadillac, Grayling

The sale of Mercy Cadillac to Munson Healthcare is likely to be final February 1st.
Credit Linda Stephan

Leaders at Munson Healthcare say they have a final agreement to buy two more hospitals. Mercy Cadillac and Mercy Grayling are currently owned by a major Catholic health system based in Southeast Michigan, CHE Trinity Health.



The deal is expected to be final February 1st. For now leaders are keeping quiet about the purchase price and other financial details. The sale still needs approvals from the government and the Catholic Church.

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