Latest Northern Michigan News

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

Game Of Pickleball Picks Up In Traverse City Area

Sep 26, 2013

When IPR talked to pickleball players in the area we were told again and again, "Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America." Which seems like it would be a tough thing to measure. But it's clear, at least, that pickleball is gaining popularity in northern Michigan.

The racquet sport was invented in the Seattle area in the 1960's. It's played on a court with wooden or plastic paddles and a hollow, ventilated plastic ball known as a wiffle ball.

And The Winner Is ... The Cherry Bowl

Sep 12, 2013

It’s good news for the theater because starting next year – only digital theaters will have access to Hollywood’s new releases. Theaters that can’t afford the digital conversion may eventually go out of business. Honda sponsored the contest. It awards new digital equipment to the drive-ins to get the most votes in a poll. Movie-goers were able to vote online and by texting on their phones. 

Family Reports Issy Stapleton Is Walking, Talking

Sep 9, 2013
The Status Woe / The Status Woe

The father of an autistic girl from Benzie County says Isabelle Stapleton is making “incredible strides” in her recovery.

At The Drive-In

Sep 9, 2013

Across the country – hometown drive-in theater owners wonder whether the transformation to digital technology will sink their businesses. Many drive-ins face having to raise upwards of 80,000-dollars to install digital projectors… or they’ll be cut off from the world of modern cinema and lucrative new releases.

The Cherry Bowl Drive-In in Honor is no exception.

But many are hoping community spirit over the drive-in will be enough to save the day.

Tri-District Virtual School To Compete This Fall

Aug 16, 2013

Three small northern Michigan school districts are teaming up next year to form a new cyber school. Suttons Bay, Manistee and Crawford AuSable all had their own online programs before joining forces for the Great Lakes K12 Virtual School. The consortium will serve all of the northern Lower Peninsula but it will have to compete with two statewide cyber schools.

Community Members Gather To Learn Native Language

Aug 13, 2013

The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians are in the midst of a three-day language and culture camp at the tribe’s Leelanau County Pow Wow grounds.

Tribes from Manistee to Harbor Springs and beyond are working to bring back the first language of the Great Lakes. Only two members of the Grand Traverse Band are fluent today. That’s, in part, because generations of Indian children were forced to attend English schools and leave their language and culture behind.

Northern Michigan Could Become Federal Drone Test Site

Aug 12, 2013

A group based in Alpena is competing for a chance to test unmanned aircraft. It is still not legal for most private groups to fly drones, so the group is competing against 24 other applicants nationwide to be one of six federal test sites, the first of their kind.

The designation would allow the statewide cluster of experts known as the Michigan Advanced Aerial System Consortium to fly drones, even for commercial interests.

Interlochen Public Radio went on the air 50 years ago. A lot of big ideas have shaped northern Michigan since then. We’ve highlighted a few in our summer series, 50 Years of Big Ideas, but by far the most recent idea is the refurbishing of the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City.

A new kind of community garden officially opened with a ribbon cutting today near Traverse City. It’s a solar energy garden funded by customers who lease solar panels from Cherryland Electric Cooperative.

The SUN Alliance, is the first of its kind in Michigan. Electric customers can buy a share in a solar project that’s installed and maintained by the company.

The co-op already has installed the first array of 80 panels on its property and 80 more customers are on a list waiting for panels to arrive for a second array.

A special Michigan grand jury, including members from Grand Traverse County, will investigate meningitis deaths and illnesses linked to tainted steroid injections. The grand jury will look into whether any laws were broken in connection with an outbreak that has killed 16 people in Michigan. To people have died from the tainted injections since the request for a grand jury was originally filed. 

Same-Sex Couple Marries In Harbor Springs

Mar 18, 2013

Two men from Boyne City were the first same sex couple in Michigan to be legally married. The ceremony took place Friday, only minutes after the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians signed a statue to legalize gay marriage within the tribe.

The two men have been together 30 years. Newlywed Tim LaCroix is a member of the Odawa tribe. His spouse, Gene Barfield is not. Under their tribal marriage, Barfield will now get spousal benefits from the tribe.

Fat Tires Catch On Up North

Mar 8, 2013
Courtesy of Einstein Cycles

This winter you may have noticed bikes with unusually fat tires rolling around northern Michigan. Jason Lowetz says sales of fat tire bikes took off this year. Lowetz owns Einstein Cycles in Traverse City. He says the fat tires allow riders to "float" on sand and snow.

A northern Michigan Indian tribe will recognize marriages among gay and lesbian couples. The chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Dexter McNamara, says he will sign a new marriage statute into law next Friday at his office in Harbor Springs.

“This is about people being happy,” McNamara said in the email announcement. He says denying same-sex marriage rights is discriminatory under an equal-protection clause found in the tribe’s constitution.

The tribe’s legislative body passed the marriage statute earlier this week in a split vote: five to four.

Harbor Springs Tribe Takes Step Toward Same-Sex Marriage

Mar 6, 2013

An Indian tribe in Harbor Springs could become the third tribe in the nation to recognize gay marriage. The governing council of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians approved the proposal this week.

Even though Michigan's constitution bans same-sex marriage, native tribes have their own sovereign authority. 

Annette VanDeCar says tribal leaders are recognizing a long native tradition of honoring "two spirit people."

The Status Woe

This week, a mother in Benzie County wrote a blog post about the abuse she suffers at the hands of her autistic daughter. The 13-year-old is prone to violence. She’s put her mom in the hospital. And as she grows, she grows harder to restrain.

The family accumulated massive debt to pay for early interventions. For the next leg of her care, the community is chipping in.

Protecting Mackinac Island's History

Jan 4, 2013

A public hearing is set for next week on Mackinac Island. After that, there will be nothing left but for the city council to decide whether old buildings in the 200 year-old city need protection. Brad Aspey talks with IPR News Director Peter Payette. 

Traverse City's "Gun Safe Mom"

Dec 21, 2012

With every school shooting, Missy Smith is reminded of the tragedy her own family once suffered at the hands of a child with a gun. Her 12-year-old brother was shot and killed decades ago while visiting the home of a classmate.

Years later, as a new mom in Traverse City, Smith was uncomfortable sending her children to play in homes where guns were left unlocked. But there was an irony; Smith had married into a hunting family and there were unlocked firearms in her own home. She left gun safety to her husband at first.

Wet House Proposal Raises Questions Of Zoning, Timing

Dec 10, 2012

The homeless population in Traverse City has grown, following years of economic recession. Homelessness has also grown more visible, which has the attention of city leaders who last week added an alcohol ban to three downtown city parks.

Residents and business owners complain a few homeless people have been causing problems including loitering, drinking, fighting in parks, and in city heavily reliant on its status as a quaint beach and foodie town.

Local Food Hub Gets State Backing

Dec 3, 2012

A five million dollar project to improve distribution of locally grown products got a nod last week from the state Department of Agriculture. The state will invest $200,000 dollars into a regional food hub organizers hope to build at Traverse City’s former state hospital, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

Meningitis Cases Continue To Rise

Nov 29, 2012

Officials with Munson Medical Center say they’ve seen 37 illnesses possibly related to tainted steroid injections, and two confirmed cases of joint infections.

The number of cases continues to climb statewide, with Michigan topping the nation in illnesses related to a fungal meningitis outbreak. Michigan health officials have linked a total of 185 cases and 10 deaths to the outbreak. Those numbers include infections, as well as fungal meningitis cases, and a stroke.

Election 2012

Nov 6, 2012

5:30 A.M.EST

Michigan's Emergency Manager law appears to be heading toward repeal. Unofficial results show it is the only ballot drive that will be successful. (A no vote is success for the petitioners who want the law struck down.) The other five were amendments to the state constitution and were all soundly rejected.

UPDATE Friday 10/12/2012: The number of cases statewide has grown to 41 and  local health officials say there is a suspected case in Grand Traverse County. A Munson Medical Center spokeswoman says they've been a number of nervous patients in the emergency department, and she encourages people to read the guidelines below before coming in to the hospital. 

Michigan currently has 25 confirmed fungal meningitis cases, including three deaths associated with a national outbreak believed related to tainted steroid injections.

Steroid Medication Linked To Meningitis Outbreak Distributed In Michigan

Oct 5, 2012
Alex E Promios/Flickr

Michigan has been added to a recall of a steroid suspected in a nationwide meningitis outbreak.

Four clinics in Michigan received the steroid medication used to treat back pain, but there have been no cases of meningitis reported in the state in connection with the drug.

For most of us summer winds down this holiday weekend but not if you're a surfer. The surfing season is just starting up. The Dairyland Surf Classic is in Sheboygan, Wisconsin this weekend. It claims to be the largest freshwater surfing contest in the world.

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