Aaron Selbig

Managing Editor

Aaron Selbig began his journalism career in Alaska, at the alt-weekly Anchorage Press in 1999. It has taken him in many different directions over the years, including print, web and commercial and public radio. He has won many awards over the years for his reporting, including a 2017 Edward R. Murrow award (Midwest region). In 2009, Aaron took over as news director for public radio station KBBI in Homer, Alaska, where he served for five years. He has served on the board of directors for Public Radio News Directors, Incorporated. Aaron came to IPR in in July 2014 and is happy to call northern Michigan home. He lives in Interlochen with his wife, Nova, and son, Otto. His elder son, Gabriel, is a student at the University of Nevada.

Crystal Mountain Resort

A 10-year-old skier from Chicago died Monday after a crash at Crystal Mountain Resort. Resort spokesman Brian Lawson says the girl was part of a group taking a ski lesson on an intermediate trail.

“The skier skied slightly ahead of the class, apparently lost control briefly and then struck a tree,” says Lawson.

The girl was considered a "level four" intermediate skier and she was wearing a helmet. Lawson says snow conditions were good Sunday, but the girl may have hit an icy patch.

Airbnb.com

All over the world, vacation rental websites like Airbnnb, VRBO and homeaway.com are changing the way people travel. The websites promise you’ll get a more “authentic” travel experience when you stay in someone’s home instead of a hotel.

Northwestern Michigan College

The Traverse City commission has a new member. After Commissioner Ross Richardson resigned last month, his colleagues had to pick someone to fill out his term until November of next year. Out of 11 candidates, they picked Michele Howard.

Howard is a librarian at Northwestern Michigan College. She’s done a lot of work in the community – at school PTOs, local ski races and at her church. She's expected to be sworn in Monday night.

City of Traverse City

Traverse City planners say the city's laws on short-term vacation rentals are outdated.

The current rules outlaw renting your home for less than 30 days, unless you're an approved "tourist home." A tourist home is like a traditional bed and breakfast. The law says you can rent a room in your house for up to a week, but you must be present in the home and you must get a license first.

But City Planner Missy Luick says the popularity of websites like Airbnb has led many people to rent rooms illegally.

Aaron Selbig

An extortion case against a Traverse City resort owner is headed back to court. The Michigan Attorney General’s office says Bryan Punturo used threats to convince a competitor to pay him $19,000 a year.

In their first court case, state prosecutors said Punturo threatened competing parasailing operator Saburi Boyer. Punturo said he would “crush” and “bury” Boyer if he wasn’t paid. But 86th District Court Judge Thomas Phillips said that while Punturo’s behavior was “reprehensible,” it wasn’t illegal.

Aaron Selbig

If you’ve spent a summer day on the beaches of Grand Traverse Bay, you’ve probably seen parasailers soaring across the sky. Parasailing is a popular, fun way to get out on the water, but the Traverse City parasailing business also has a cutthroat side.

Aaron Selbig

UPDATE, Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Officer Michael Peters resigned from the Traverse City Police Department Monday evening. 

ORIGINAL STORY, Monday, Nov. 14.

A Traverse City police officer has been suspended after flying a Confederate flag at a public protest.

Voters in Traverse City have passed Proposal 3, which will require a public vote for any building over 60 feet in the city.

Prop 3 passed with 53 percent of the vote. It will amend Traverse City’s charter, taking away the city commission’s ability to approve a building taller than 60 feet without a vote of the people.

The debate over Prop Three has been contentious. Both sides have said the proposal is likely to be decided in a courtroom.

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.

Sam Corden

Members of the two groups on either side of the Proposition 3 issue in Traverse City gathered at the City Opera House Wednesday night for a debate. Prop 3 would send any plans for a building over 60 feet tall to a citywide vote.

Former city commissioner Jeanine Easterday and restaurateur Paul Danielson represented Stand Up TC, a group opposed to Prop 3. Attorney Grant Parsons and law professor Brenda Quick represented the Save Our Downtown campaign committee, a group that supports Prop 3.

IPR News Director Pater Payette and reporter Aaron Selbig moderated the debate.

Leelanau Urgent Care

The only urgent care facility in Leelanau County has closed. Leelanau Urgent Care in Suttons Bay shut its doors this month when owners Dave and Janice Lemak moved.

The Lemaks had run the facility for the last 14 years, according to the Leelanau Enterprise. They moved to Reno, Nevada.

Urgent care facilities typically treat patients who require immediate care, but don’t need an emergency room.

Michelle Klein with the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department says the facility will be missed.

Women's Resource Center

For over 40 years, the Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City has provided shelter and relief to victims of domestic violence. The center operates a crisis hotline and a 22-bed shelter, among other services.

But the Women’s Resource Center has recently come under criticism. Former employees say a new management style has led to the departure of many experienced workers, and some services have been cut.

Aaron Selbig

Traverse City has called in an expert to help with its growth and development issues. The city hired consultant Joe Minicozzi to take a look at the economic impact of land parcels throughout Grand Traverse County.

Minicozzi says Traverse City is on the right track to growth and development.

“Traverse City is really cool,” says Minicozzi. “I think you’re doing a lot of things in your downtown right. You’re growing and harvesting more wealth in an area where you already have an infrastructure investment.”

Munson Healthcare

Lyn Jenks has served as CEO of Charlevoix Hospital since 2012. She announced her retirement last week.

Jenks has overseen many changes at the hospital. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government views healthcare much differently, and that’s had a big impact on small, rural hospitals.

Aaron Selbig

A district court judge has thrown out extortion charges against a Traverse City resort owner. Judge Thomas Phillips says the Michigan Attorney General’s Office failed to make its case that 58-year-old Bryan Punturo committed a crime.

State prosecutors alleged Punturo, owner of the ParkShore Resort on East Grand Traverse Bay, threatened the owner of a competing parasailing business. Puntoro allegedly convinced the victim, Saburi Boyer, to pay him $19,000 a year in exchange for not forcing him out of business.

Grand Traverse County

Judge Philip Rodgers announced his retirement from the 13th Circuit Court this week. Rodgers presided over many big cases in northern Michigan, including the fight over a nine-story building in Traverse City.

In a letter announcing his retirement, Rodgers thanked the attorneys he's worked with over the years, calling them “the most interesting and humorous people in the world.”

David Barr

The Traverse City Arts Commission wants to put a new modern art sculpture in the city.

The estate of David Barr is offering to donate one his steel sculptures. Barr was the founder of the Michigan Legacy Art Park. He died last year.

Arts Commission chair Mary Gillett says the commission is working with the Dennos Museum to select one of Barr’s pieces, and find a good location for it.

Village of Kalkaska

The Michigan Supreme Court says Kalkaska Village will have to pay nearly $200,000 to a former employee.

Former clerk Virginia Thomas sued when the village council stopped paying her health benefits in 2014. Thomas said a 20-year-old letter promised lifetime health benefits for her and three other employees. A jury and the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in Thomas’s favor, and the state Supreme Court upheld those rulings this week.

Aaron Selbig

Grand Traverse County Commissioner Christine Maxbauer was sentenced Monday to a year of probation for drunk driving.

Maxbauer pleaded guilty to the charge. She said she drank a bottle of wine at home July 7th before driving to her sister’s house because of a family emergency.

Maxbauer was arrested by Traverse City police after she hit a parked car on Front Street. Police measured her blood-alcohol content at 0.16 percent – twice the legal limit.

In court, she apologized for what she called “poor judgment.”

Harbor Springs Area Historical Society

If you live Up North and you want to see big-name musicians live, you often have to drive to Grand Rapids or Detroit. That’s because it’s difficult – and expensive – to get popular artists to travel so far out of their way.

But 50 years ago, a small teen nightclub in Harbor Springs was drawing acts like the Beach Boys and Roy Orbison. Club Ponytail was a major hot spot for young people all over northern Michigan until it burned down in 1969.

Veterans Administration

A new project aimed at improving veterans’ health care has the support of Grand Traverse County. County commissioners passed a resolution tonight supporting Project Cherry Tree, a group that wants to connect local veterans with local health care services.

Right now, many veterans have to drive to Saginaw or Ann Arbor for medical care.

Leaders of the new project want to connect veterans with health care services closer to home. The group also wants to provide educational and job opportunities.

Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to own your own lighthouse, there’s one for sale in the Manitou Passage. The federal government is auctioning off the 81-year-old North Manitou Shoal Light, with an opening bid of $10,000.

The auction is part of an effort to restore and maintain Michigan’s historic lighthouses. But restoring a lighthouse might be more difficult than you think.

Aaron Selbig

An extortion case against a Traverse City resort owner may not go to trial. Yesterday, Judge Thomas Phillips said he’s not convinced that accusations against the owner of Park Shore Resort amount to extortion.

Prosecutors say Bryan Punturo threatened a competing parasailing business,  saying he would put them out of business if he wasn’t paid $19,000 a year. They say Punturo made statements that he would “crush” or “bury” the victim’s business.

State’s attorney Matthew Payok said Punturo’s threatening statements were caught on email and voicemail.

Travel Marquette

Hunting and fishing have been on a slow decline in Michigan for years. They’re being replaced by other outdoor activities, like paddle-boarding and mountain biking.

Some states, like Colorado and Utah, are actively marketing outdoor adventure to younger people, hoping to lure them to visit – or even possibly stay.

But in Michigan, it’s a mixed bag. A few cities, like Marquette, are trying to aggressively boost their reputation as a destination for outdoor adventure.

NORTHWEST MICHIGAN HORTICULTURE RESEARCH CENTER

The tart cherry harvest has begun in northern Michigan. The cherry crop is large this year, but growers are dealing with rising numbers of spotted wing drosophila as they harvest.

Drosophila is a tiny insect that originally came from Asia. The bugs have found a home in Michigan in recent years, and their numbers have been growing.

Nikki Rothwell is coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. She’s been studying spotted wing drosophila.

Jim Nugent says growers are spraying a lot more this year.

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