Latest Northern Michigan News

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

What sign are you? This week on The Storyteller's Night Sky

Nov 21, 2016

We’re drawing toward the end of November, which means that now, the signs of the zodiac start to get all mixed up.

Radio Diaries: Making a Statement

Nov 18, 2016

“Clogs are in this season,” a colleague said to me, “so you’re in fashion.”

“That’s always my goal,” I replied, thinking that I have probably never been in fashion and certainly not on purpose.  In fact, I wasn’t aware that I had bought clogs.  I picked out these slip-on shoes because they were comfortable.

This all happened a while ago now but for a brief time, my feet were stylish.  As for the rest of me, well...  “It’s the L.L. Bean look,” I say if called upon to identify my philosophy of fashion.  I’m not called upon often.

You've undoubtedly heard the November Full Moon referred to as the "super moon", because it is the closest Full Moon to Earth in nearly 70 years. But what does that mean?

The Moon's orbit around the Earth is not a circle, it's an ellipse, which means the Moon-Earth distance is always changing.

The technical name for the Moon closest to Earth is "perigee Moon". A perigee Moon can be 50,000 km closer than an apogee Moon, which is the Moon furthest away from us. 

Interlochen Public Radio

Voter turnout in northern Michigan on Tuesday was the highest it has been in at least two decades and Republican voters dominated the election up north. Donald Trump won every county but Marquette and Republican Jack Bergman won a resounding victory in the race for U.S. Congress.

Bergman won Michigan’s 1st Congressional seat by more than 55,000 votes over his Democratic opponent Lon Johnson. In 2012, this race—between different major party candidates—was decided by less than 2,000 votes.

Sam Cordon

For presidential race results go to NPR's election page for detailed information.

For more state election information visit Michigan's Secretary of State website.

U.S. 1st Congressional District:

Radio Diaries: Live Music

Nov 7, 2016

After camping for three days in the rain, we decided to go into town for supper.  The town was Munising, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and the restaurant was the Falling Rock Café & Bookstore.  All we wanted was a dry place and some good food.

The bonus was live music!  A dozen gray-haired musicians were sitting in the front window of the funky, high-ceilinged old building—playing their hearts out.  Fiddles, guitars, mandolin, dulcimer, bass, ukulele, piano.  Scottish, Irish and Celtic tunes—one after another while we tapped our feet and ate our sandwiches.

There’s a convergence of things taking place this week on Friday, when 11.11 rolls around on the calendar, and did you know that there was a time when 11.11 marked a celebration of religious and military cooperation.

Munson Healthcare

Munson Medical Center in Traverse City hopes to get city approval for a tall building before voters decide Proposal 3 Tuesday. Prop 3 would subject any building over 60 feet tall to a public vote.

Munson’s plans have become an issue in the public debate over Prop 3. Opponents of the proposal have pointed out that the proposal, which started with a dispute over a tall building in the downtown area, could impact the ability of the region’s medical center to develop.

National Writers Series: An evening with David Maraniss

Nov 3, 2016

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist David Maraniss says he was inspired to write his latest book after watching a now-iconic Chrysler commercial. David Maraniss was born in Detroit and is now an associate editor at the Washington Post. He’s written biographies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Vince Lombardi, Roberto Clemente, and others. His newest book, “Once in a Great City,” traces the heyday of Detroit and its decline. He talks with fellow journalist John U. Bacon. David Maraniss starts out explaining more about how he decided to write “Once in a Great City.”

We’re at the bitter end of the campaign season, and it’s easy to feel like turning on the news is a bit like opening Pandora’s box~so I want to see if this is a valid analogy to make, given what’s happening in the sky right now.

In classical Greek Mythology, Pandora is the first woman to be created, and her name means: She who receives gifts from all the gods.

Radio Diaries: Brother & Siter

Oct 31, 2016

Last summer, my brother took me sailing on Lake Huron near where he lives.  When Bob struggled to haul up the sail, his voice held an edge of panic.  “Oh, oh, this isn’t good.”  Panic that I instantly recognized because we both tend to catastrophize about things.  

Of course we do.  We grew up in the same family where problems were often denied, rarely solved.  Later, drinking a beer in his back yard, we talked about this tendency—and other issues we’ve dragged with us from childhood.

Radio Diaries: Bad Boss

Oct 24, 2016

He might have been the worst boss I ever had.  I’ll call him Roy and he could have been a gifted leader.  He was smart and experienced and wonderfully funny.

But there was a dark side to Roy that emerged after he was hired.  He didn’t work very hard and couldn’t deal with problems or conflict.  Instead, he’d just leave the building—get in his car and drive around listening to country music.

National Writers Series: An evening with Paola Gianturco

Oct 24, 2016

Photojournalist Paola Gianturco’s work with women has taken her around the world, documenting their struggles and success stories. Her latest book, “Grandmother Power: A Global Phenomenon” profiles activist grandmothers from fifteen countries across five continents. The women in Gianturco’s books tell their stories in their own words, accompanied by her photographs. Fellow photographer Tony Demin will talk to Gianturco about her work. And we’ll hear from Jackson Kaguri, founder of the Nyaka AIDS Orphan Project.

“In folklore, angels tickle harps and the Devil plays the violin. So it is hardly surprising that extraordinary musical ability in mere mortals has long been explained by way of heavenly blessings or, more frequently, dark pacts…” So begins the tale of “The Dark Fiddler ~ The Life and Legend of Nicolo Paganini”.

I recently took my stories of the stars to Davenport, Iowa, and while I was there, I visited the Figge Museum downtown, where there was a fabulous exhibit of the art of Gary Kelley, for his book on the notorious 18th century Italian violinist Paganini.

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.

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. 

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.”

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.”