Latest Northern Michigan News

Interlochen Public Radio connects you to the stories, people and places of northern Michigan.

NMC says faculty opted out of board agenda

Oct 21, 2016
Northwestern Michigan College

Faculty at Northwestern Michigan College could again report directly to the college board at regular meetings, according to the NMC administration. But the faculty says the offer comes with too many restrictions.

The faculty report agenda item has been a point of contention since 2007. That’s when the college board stopped hearing directly from teachers at its monthly meeting. After that, faculty could speak at board meetings for 3 minutes periods during the public comment section of the agenda.

Morgan Springer

The pressure is on for districts and teachers to have their students reading proficiently. That’s after Michigan’s third grade reading bill passed this month. The bill says that students who don’t read well by third grade might be held back. It would take effect in three years. So for schools that are struggling, that means turning things around fast. There’s a grade school near Traverse City that has been trying to figure out how to do that.


The meteor shower season continues this week with the peak of the Orionid overnight Friday to Saturday, and since Autumn is also the season for celebrating the dead, here’s an ancient myth to keep you entertained while you’re out wishing on the falling stars.



Radio Diaries: Awake at Night

Oct 14, 2016

My mother told me that when she was a little girl, there were times she couldn’t sleep at night.  “I would lie in bed and imagine that somewhere in the world there must be a single gas station that was open,” she said.  “Then I didn’t feel so alone and could go back to sleep.”

Her story comforted me, too, when I was awake in the quiet darkness.  I could picture that same gas station—the pump out front and a light on inside, with one guy at the desk reading a magazine.  Somehow, the world wasn’t so scary and I wasn’t so lonely.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

The superintendent for Traverse City Area Public Schools says it is unlikely the district will find a way to save Old Mission Peninsula School. Last year, Paul Soma recommended the district close the elementary school due to low enrollment. But when an anonymous, private donor offered $800,000 in March toward saving the school, TCAPS officials postponed the decision to close it. 

Since then, a community group has been meeting with school officials to come up with a creative way to save the school using the private money.

Radio Diaries: Closer to the Fire

Oct 10, 2016

It is late in the fall to be camping.  Darkness comes early and brings a creeping chill that penetrates my cotton sweatshirt.  I pull up the hood and lean closer to the campfire.  My husband grabs another piece of wood and lays it across the glowing logs.

“This oak burns real nice,” he says.  “Smells good, too.”  Turns toward me, then. “Say, are you warm enough?”

“Almost,” I say and stuff my hands into my pockets.

Kingsley gains students, TCAPS loses them

Oct 5, 2016
Morgan Springer

It was count day in Michigan public schools Wednesday. It's the day where public schools figure out how many students they have and how much money they’ll get from the state. State money is calculated on a per pupil basis.

Preliminary results show that Traverse City Area Public Schools lost 70 students. Last year, TCAPS had 9,594 students. This year there are 9,524.

One school, Old Mission Peninsula School, lost 20 students. Last fall, school officials recommended closing the school due to low enrollment numbers. 

Venus and the scales of Libra: this week on the Dark Sky

Oct 5, 2016

On October 5th, Venus is closest to the star Zubenelgenubi, the "alpha" or brightest star in the constellation Libra. Edit | Remove

In ancient astrological tradition, the constellation Libra is ruled by the planet Venus, goddess of love and beauty. Venus is our evening star right now, and this week it will pass very close to the brightest star in Libra, triggering the Sicilian fable “Catherine and Her Destiny.”

Fewer people want to be cops in northern Michigan

Sep 30, 2016
Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office

Last week IPR News Radio reported that police in Michigan are responding to many more incidents today than a decade ago, and they’re doing it with fewer officers. Part of the problem is not as many people want to be police officers these days, and it’s especially hard to hire new officers in northern Michigan.

Radio Diaries: Leaves for Mildred

Sep 30, 2016

Mildred was a large, middle-aged woman who sat in the back row of my workshop and told me  she had to leave at the break.  “My husband is in the hospital,” she said and I wondered if she was just bored.

Two weeks later, I received a letter from Mildred, a letter that came from Hawaii.  “My husband died that afternoon,” she wrote, “and I sold my house and moved to Honolulu to be near my daughter.”

Classic rock will soon sound different on northern Michigan radios: WKLT has a new owner.

Blarney Stone Broadcasting, which operates rock station WQON (Q 100.3) in Grayling, has bought several stations from Northern Broadcast, Inc., including WKLT.

Blarney Stone intends to simulcast WQON on WKLT. 

“We believe that listeners in northern Michigan have a vast musical desire to hear more than just the same 300 songs over and over again,” says Sheryl Coyne, the president of Blarney Stone Broadcasting. “So we are going to transition [WKLT] … into a larger music library focused on listener requests.”

TC teachers get pay increase into 2020

Sep 28, 2016
Morgan Springer

Updated October 5, 2016: The contract agreement was ratified this morning by Traverse City Area Public Schools' board. The teachers union ratified the agreement on Monday.

Traverse City teachers could secure a three-year contract giving them a pay increase into 2020. Officials in Traverse City Area Public Schools have reached a tentative contract agreement with the Traverse City Education Association, the teachers' union.

This week the Moon comes to New Phase ~ for the second time this month ~ which makes it a good time to talk about how the Moon moves through our sky.

The Moon moves around the Earth in roughly a circular orbit, and it completes one orbit in 27.3 days. This is called its “sidereal period.” But just because the Moon has completed one orbitdoesn’t mean that it comes right back to the same phase again…this is because over that 27.3 days, the Earth has also moved, so you could say the Moon has some “catching up” to do.

Radio Diaries: Well-Hung Door

Sep 23, 2016

I live in an old house—and there are some nice things about old houses.  Nooks and crannies, history and character.  There are also other things, many of which appear on a list called “Improvements.”  Last summer, it was a new back door.  The old door was here when my husband and I bought the house 20 years ago—and it had huge claw marks in the wood as if the Hound of the Baskervilles had been trying to get in.

Morgan Springer

What would it be like if Jesus Christ visited you periodically, and you chatted for a while? G.T. Long imagined just that and wrote about his interactions with Jesus in Facebook posts for the past two years. Then this year, he turned those posts into a book called Another Sunday in Horton Bay.

In one excerpt from August 23rd, Long describes seeing Jesus in his yard playing with wild turkeys. Long says to Jesus, "I thought that was more for kids."