Latest Northern Michigan News

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

Tyler Bevier, BATA

Residents of Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties voted Tuesday for expanded bus service. Voters approved a millage increase for the Bay Area Transportation Authority that will give them an extra $1 million next year. BATA says it will use the money to buy new buses and expand routes.

Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Max Anderson says the vote shows that the community values the BATA service.

Grand Traverse County

Three volunteer members of Grand Traverse County's Pension Advisory Board submitted their resignations Monday.

The county has a pension debt of more than $50 million. The advisory board is working to identify ways to reduce it and present those findings to county commissioners.

In their letter of resignation the citizen members – Christopher Radu, Robert Zimmerman and Michael Gillman – say, "our recommendations have been solicited, but appear to be ignored."  

Morgan Springer

Low-performing schools throughout Michigan have to turn in transformation plans to the state that show how they will improve. They are due Monday. Forty-five schools were identified by the state's School Reform Office in January. Betsie Valley Elementary in Thompsonville is one of two schools in northern Michigan on the list of schools. The other school is Bear Lake High School in Manistee County.

Fleda Brown reads from her new book, The Woods are on Fire: New and Selected Poems. And poet, essayist, and fishing guide Chris Dombrowski discusses his memoir Body of Water: A Sage, a Seeker, and the World's Most Elusive Fish.

Radio Diaries: Civility

Apr 28, 2017

When I was growing up, my mother always wore a dress—a housedress for housework and something nicer when she went out.  Women wore hats, too, and so did men—hats with brims that they took off indoors.

Things were different for children, too.  When adults came into the room, we were expected to stand up.  And we addressed them as Mr and Mrs, not by their first names.

Another formality—strictly enforced in my home—was writing thank you notes.  Even before I could write, I learned to print the words “thank you.”

More and more people in northern Michigan are collecting disability checks. 

In some northern Michigan counties, nearly 20 percent of working-age adults are enrolled in disability insurance through Social Security. That’s according to a report published by Bridge Magazine this month. 

Nationwide, the average is about five percent. 

“We have in northern Michigan disability rates that are mainly seen in the deep South and in Appalachia,” says freelance writer Chad Selweski, who reported the piece for Bridge Magazine.

 


We typically associate ghosts and witches with Autumn and the season of the dead, but did you know that there are traditions for observing the same thing during the last week of April when life is springing up from the Earth?

Radio Diaries: Being Loved

Apr 24, 2017

My first year in college I met a fellow who was a couple years older—a good-looking, take-charge kind of guy who made me feel special and cherished.  Soon, he persuaded me to go steady and then began talking marriage.

I was dazzled by his attention—so dazzled that I couldn’t see clearly, couldn’t see him at all—his interests and goals—and whether we were really compatible.  But I convinced myself that I loved him—and much later realized I was only in love with being loved.

The Lyrid Meteor Shower starts this week and comes to its peak overnight Saturday. What’s the best thing to know about it? It’s story, because if you find yourself under cloudy skies, you’ll still have something to marvel at!

Tyler Bevier with the Bay Area Transportation Authority

The Bay Area Transportation Authority is asking for more money to expand its bus system in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties. BATA has put a millage proposal on the ballot May 2. 

If it passes, the millage rate would go up from .3447 to .5 mill for five years. BATA officials say the tax would raise an additional $1.1 million next year. People who own a home worth $200,000 would pay $16 more per year than they do now.

Radio Diaries: Antique Commode

Apr 14, 2017

In a corner of my living room sits an antique wooden cabinet which we’ve always called the “commode.”  It was originally designed as washstand with an elegant marble top for a pitcher of water and a cupboard underneath for a chamber pot.

Radio Diaries: Run Off

Apr 10, 2017

My husband and I are canoeing the Manistee River in early spring.  This might be our favorite season because the water is high and fast—and there are no bugs yet.  We can still see through the woods and catch a glimpse of deer, beaver, turkeys.

The hard work belongs to Dick who sits in the stern and guides us around fallen trees and through tumbling rapids.  Up in the bow, I only have to keep paddling and keep watch.

There’s a terrific tale of King Arthur unfolding among the stars this week.

So here’s the set up: It’s Spring, and the two inner planets Mercury and Venus are both at retrograde, and the Moon is about to make its first opposition to the Sun for the season.

Mercury, as messenger, is moving backward out of the evening sky, so it’s like the post office is closed, and we can all expect communications to be mixed up or delayed.

Max Pixel

Some police officers in northern Michigan wear body cameras; others do not. Two recent incidents in northern Michigan show why cameras can be useful. One incident was in Antrim County. The other in the City of Manistee.

The north pole of Saturn forms an unusual hexagon, in this image from the Cassini Mission

In their regular, or direct motion, The naked-eye planets appear to move eastward against the background of stars. But before 10 days have passed April, four of the five naked-eye planets will be moving backward, or retrograde. This means they will appear to move west word against the background of stars.

Radio Diaries: Security Blanket

Mar 31, 2017

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I have a security blanket.  I suspect that most of us do.  Our parents may have taken away the old flannel rag we carried around and slept with, but we found some kind of substitute. 

It might be corn chips or ice cream or a ratty old sweatshirt, but now that we’re grown up nobody can take it away.  For me, my security blanket is, well, a blanket.  Call it arrested development, but don’t take it away.

National Writers Series: An evening with Beth Macy

Mar 30, 2017

"Factory Man” is Beth Macy’s first book. It’s the story of American furniture maker John Bassett the third, and his struggle to keep his furniture company in business in the face of increasing competition from abroad.Macy’s latest book is “Truevine: Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, And a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South.” It’s about two albino African American boys who were kidnapped in Virginia and forced to work in the circus as sideshow freaks. Beth Macy talks this hour with fellow author and journalist John U. Bacon.

Morgan Springer

Research shows the quality of a toddler's education is incredibly important. It often determines a child’s success in the future. However, state and federal dollars typically don’t kick in until a child gets to preschool. Before that – from birth to three years old – families are often on their own.

Because the first New Moon of the season occurs Monday evening, March 27th, we get to watch its beautiful crescent adorn the western horizon most of this week.

Up until very recently, the planet Venus brilliantly dominated the western horizon, casting her veil of love and beauty over the sunset world. But Venus has disappeared into the arms Sun, who is escorting her to her morning star position, where she’ll remain there for the rest of this year. 

Radio Diaries: Never Give Up

Mar 24, 2017

When my daughter was ten years old, I left my marriage and turned her life upside down.  Sara was furious with me, justifiably furious.   

Often, when she was at her dad’s house, I called to check in with her.  Sara would come to the phone but not talk to me.  So I carried on a conversation as if she were part of it, then told her I loved her and said good-bye.

Mesick Consolidated Schools District website

School officials in Mesick say they need $14.5 million to demolish, rebuild and upgrade their schools. Residents in the district will vote on the millage in May.

Courtesy of Matt Morgan

Another retired Marine Corps officer is considering a run for northern Michigan’s seat in U.S. Congress. This time it’s a Democrat. 

Matt Morgan of Traverse City says he has filed paperwork to challenge Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) next year. 

The Sun strides over the celestial equator Monday morning March 20, and all at once, it’s Spring! In the words of Johnny Mercer, at such a moment “Ma Nature’s lyrical, with her yearly miracle, Spring, Spring, Spring!”

When the Sun moves over the celestial equator we say it’s Equinox, a moment that inaugurates what Irish poet William Butler Yeats called “the most beautiful and living of the year.” 

Radio Diaries: My Father's Dog

Mar 17, 2017

When I was twelve years old, I was finally allowed to get a puppy and my father charged me with full responsibility for her care.  “You won’t ever see me walking a dog!” he said.

She was six weeks old, a black-and-white cocker spaniel whom I named Cindy.  The early days were hard, especially the nights when she whined nonstop despite the ticking clock and hot water bottle we tucked in alongside her.

National Writers Series: An evening with John Donvan

Mar 16, 2017

John Donvan wrote "In A Different Key: The Story of Autism" with co-author Caren Zucker. Donvan is a journalist who contributes to ABC News and Nightline. He's also the moderator for public radio's Intelligence Squared U.S. Donvan talks this hour with writer and mother of an autistic son Cari Noga. She asked Donvan how the story of autism begins.

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