Northern Michigan Elections & Government


4:10 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Unmarried women voters may be crucial in the upcoming fall elections

As Michigan's August 5 primary and November election draw closer, there are some very tight races shaping up.

The Cook Political Report says four congressional Republicans are in tight races. Representatives Dan Benishek in the 1st, Tim Walberg in the 7th, Justin Amash in the 3rd and Kerry Bentivolio on the 11th districts are in very competitive races. Add to that the race to fill Democrat Carl Levin's Senate seat and the race for governor. All of these, according to Cook, are among the most competitive races in the country.

So who are the voters who could most influence the outcome of these races, depending upon whether they stay home or go to the polls?

For the answer we turned to Page Gardner, president of the non-profit and nonpartisan Voter Participation Center. She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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School Bonds
3:13 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Elk Rapids School Bond Denied Again

Voters rejected the Elk Rapids Public Schools bond on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, for the second time in four months.

Voters have rejected Elk Rapids Public Schools’ bond for the second time in four months. The $10.9 million bond was for a new gym, security and athletic upgrades.

Elk Rapids superintendent Steve Prissel is disappointed with yesterday’s outcome.

"We have a supportive community when it comes to education. We know that," he says. "However, the voters spoke and there's not support for capital projects."

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Jail Overcrowding
12:06 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Crowded Jail Forces Wexford County To Act

Wexford County is looking at building a larger jail for at least $12 million, and Commissioners say it is the top priority this year.

The county boards its overflow prisoners in neighboring counties, and the number of inmates is expected to rise gradually in coming years.

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School Bonds
10:01 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Northern Michigan School Will Try To Pass Bond For Second Time

An exterior of the potential new gym and main entrance at Elk Rapids High School. The gym is part of the $10.9 million bond on next week's ballot.

Last November, almost half the schools in Michigan were unsuccessful at getting voters to approve their bond proposals. That included Kalkaska, Traverse City and Elk Rapids, all of which lost by a narrow margin. Elk Rapids Public Schools is back with the exact same proposal—$10.9 million over 20 years—on next week’s ballot.

Seventh grader Rebecca Marolf is excited about the idea of a new gymnasium. She’s with her dad at the Elk Rapids High School boys’ basketball game. The Cherryland Middle School student thinks the district needs another gym.

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School Bonds
10:47 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Area Schools Seek Additional Money On Election Ballot

Voters will decide on Tuesday, Feb. 25, whether to fund area schools' bond proposals.

Three school districts up north are asking voters to pay to improve safety, technology and buildings. Alanson, Elk Rapids and Manton school districts all have new measures on the ballot for next month’s election.

Last November, almost half the schools in Michigan were unsuccessful at getting voters to approve their bond proposals. That included Elk Rapids Public Schools, which lost by a narrow margin. They are back with the exact same proposal that includes security upgrades at all its buildings and a new high school gymnasium.

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1:56 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Political Candidates To Disclose Convictions Under Proposed Legislation

State Rep. Klint Kesto is sponsoring a measure that would require political candidates to disclose felony convictions within the past 10 years.

Those with political aspirations in Michigan may have to disclose felony convictions that happened within the past 10 years. State Rep. Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township) has introduced legislation that would add a checkbox to candidate forms.

The Republican lawmaker says the bill would not prevent felons from running.

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Politics & Culture
6:15 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Former Michigan Lt. Gov. Connie Binsfeld Dies At 89

Connie Binsfeld died Sunday at age 89.
Credit Michigan Women's Hall of Fame

Former Lieutenant Governor Connie Binsfeld has died. A teacher from Leelanau County, she began her political career on the county commission. She went on to become one of the most respected names in Michigan politics.

Women were not too common on the Leelanau County commission in the early 1970s. The way Dixie Stephen—a young mother at the time—remembers it, the men didn’t much appreciate Connie Binsfeld.

“She really did her homework,” Stephen remembers. “In the county commission meetings, Connie’s voice was always the clear voice of reason and that wasn’t always well accepted.”

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Traverse City Mayor
4:41 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Estes Gets 18 Months Probation

Traverse City's mayor will serve 18 months of probation for drinking and driving. Michael Estes was sentenced today. His probation will include alcohol and drug screenings and attending 12-step meetings three times a week.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Kooney says requirements like the 12-step meetings make the sentence more restrictive than what is typical is for a first-time offense.

"Also, an 18 month probation is a longer period of time than typical," says Kooney. "What we normally see on a first offense is 12 months."

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Election 2013
10:57 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Estes Re-Elected Mayor, TCAPS Requests Denied

Credit Linda Stephan

Schools Struggle
School districts outside of Leelanau County had a tough time with voters yesterday.

Voters in Traverse City, Kalkaska, and Elk Rapids rejected bond proposals to repair and renovate school buildings and other facilities. Unofficial results show very narrow margins. In Traverse City the main request to borrow $35 million failed by about one percent of the vote. In Kalkaska, less than 30 votes out of more than 1,000 tipped the difference against the request.

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Traverse City Government
12:00 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Traverse City Mayor Arrested For Drunk Driving

Mayor Mike Estes is up for re-election. Courtesy photo.

UPDATE: A written response via email from Mayor Michael Estes.

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