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.

City planners are re-working a proposal to allow “granny flats” in Traverse City. Granny flats are small apartments attached to a house or garage.

Originally, the plan required a lease of at least six months for the apartments. But the city commission delayed a vote on the issue after the city attorney said that requirement may not be legal.

Planning Director Russ Soyring said he’s working with the city attorney on a solution.

An investigation of the Traverse City Police Department is nearing completion.

Officers did not arrest then-City Manger Jered Ottenwess after responding to a 911 call at his home February 16th. Ottenwess later pleaded “no contest” to charges of domestic violence and attempting to resist police.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney says two lieutenants from the sheriff’s department are conducting the investigation.

“And I expect to get a report fairly soon … possibly within the next couple of days (or) maybe a week at the outside,” said Cooney.

Peter Payette

Grand Traverse Academy founder Steven Ingersoll has been found guilty of tax fraud. A federal jury acquitted Ingersoll of wire fraud – a charge that carries a more severe penalty. Ingersoll evaded taxes by moving money between business and personal bank accounts.

MLive reporter Cole Waterman has been following the trial in Bay City for a month. He says Ingersoll and the other defendants heard the verdict at about 12:30 Tuesday afternoon.

"None of the defendants seemed to react in any overt way," said Waterman. "They were all pretty stoic.”

Traverse City has doubled the number of crews working to thaw out pipes throughout the city.

Last week, Traverse City saw a huge uptick in the number of people calling in to complain about frozen water pipes. As of yesterday, more than 300 people had called in.

In response, the city doubled its effort. It now has five crews working overtime to thaw out pipes at residences throughout the city.

Aaron Selbig

Outbreaks of measles and whooping cough have died down in northern Michigan. But a new state law has gone into effect that makes it harder for parents to refuse vaccinations for their children.

Parents seeking a vaccine waiver for “philosophical” reasons will first have to meet with a public health nurse. Health officials hope the new law will reduce Michigan’s high waiver rate but research shows the plan could be ineffective – or even backfire.

The Traverse City Commission voted tonight to accept the resignation of City Manager Jered Ottenwess. Ottenwess offered to resign last week after being charged with domestic violence and attempted assault on a police officer. He has pled “not guilty” to the charges.

Ottenwess’ attorney, Matt Vermetten, said he is getting help in a treatment facility and is focused on his family.

Traverse City Manager Jered Ottenwess has been charged with domestic violence and attempted assault on a police officer.

The charges stem from an incident at Ottenwess' home last week. They were filed today by the Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorneys Office. Prosecutors allege that during a police call to his home last Monday, Ottenwess attempted to assault two officers from the Traverse City Police Department. He is also charged with assaulting his wife.

Police say the city manager of Traverse City was not arrested during a call to his home last Monday but the incident is under investigation.

Police were called to the home of City Manager Jared Ottenwess last Monday afternoon. Traverse City Police Chief Michael Warren describes the call as a “medical assist” but a report from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s office says police responded to “a disorderly subject.”

Aaron Selbig

Many developmentally disabled adults living in group homes in northern Michigan will soon be looking for a new place to live.

Their advocates are protesting new guidelines that could force them out of the homes where they live, work and socialize. But the agency making the changes says that due to budget cuts, their hands are tied.

Aaron Selbig

An up-and-coming bluegrass musician from Traverse City is about to hit the big stage. Nik Carman will be joining the Accidentals Wednesday night to open up for Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

It’s a big step for nine-year-old Carman, who’s been performing in coffee shops for only a year or so.

Carman is one of those musicians who can pretty much do it all. He can strum a banjo, pick a mandolin, play a guitar and sing his heart out.

The Traverse City Planning Commission says “granny flats” could be a good way to combat the city’s affordable housing problem. The commission voted last night to allow homeowners throughout the city to build small apartments on their property.

Commissioner John Serratelli said the move was driven in part because of comments from downtown business owners.

“They had numbers of jobs that were unfilled because people could not afford to live in close enough proximity that they would accept the jobs,” said Serratelli.

Smith Group JJR

Traverse City is moving forward with a plan to build a $9 million-dollar fishing pier out into Grand Traverse Bay but local fishing experts say the location of the pier – near the mouth of the Boardman River – is not an ideal place to fish.

Traverse City commissioners looked over the new pier design at their meeting last night. The document features colorful images of walleye, salmon, steelhead and smallmouth bass.

But fishing guide Ted Kramer told the commission the 500-foot pier is in the wrong spot for fishing.

Aaron Selbig

Experts say the affordable housing problem in Leelanau County has reached “critical mass” – the point where talk must turn to action. A meeting on the subject Thursday morning drew a crowd full of developers and government officials.

Sarah Lucas from Networks Northwest led the meeting. She says that when people think of the term “affordable housing,” they might see an image of a large, run-down apartment building on the edge of town. But in Leelanau County, that public perception is changing.

Gene Jenneman, Dennos Museum

Last night, the Traverse City Commission introduced a new policy on how the city seeks out pieces of public art.

Public art has been a touchy subject in Traverse City for years. In 2008, public outcry derailed plans to put a modern art sculpture called Time Myth on the shore of Grand Traverse Bay. Time Myth is a 30-foot-tall, angular, white sculpture that’s been displayed in a courtyard at the K-Mart headquarters in Troy.

The public conversation about Time Myth quickly deteriorated and the idea was scrapped.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Indigenous Peoples Day would "replace" Columbus Day. Columbus Day, a federal holiday, has never officially been recognized by Traverse City. We regret the error.

UPDATE (Jan. 20th, 11 a.m.): Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes has called for a postponement on voting to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, due to the fact that two commissioners will be absent from tonight's meeting.

Traverse City Film Festival

The Traverse City Film Festival is asking for public money to help pay for a Hollywood-style “walk of fame” outside the State Theatre. The walk-of fame would feature concrete handprints of celebrities like Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and Matthew Modine.

To keep it accessible year-round, festival officials plan to install a heated sidewalk in front of the theatre. They’re asking the publicly-funded Downtown Development Authority to contribute $18,000 toward the effort.

Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes said that could set a bad precedent. 

Luke Ratray

Contemporary classical music sometimes gets a bad rap – from both classical music purists and a broader audience not used to music that doesn’t always follow a melody. But among the genre’s fans, eighth blackbird is considered a fearless and innovative ensemble. They’ve been rewarded with three Grammy awards.

The six members of eighth blackbird came together at Oberlin Conservatory in 1996. A couple of its members have changed over the years but the group’s focus on exploring musical boundaries has not.