Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County

Updated on 10/9/18 10:50 a.m.: Addison "Sonny" Wheeloch of District 4 was the only Republican to attend the forum last night.

 

The Republican candidates for the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners withdrew from a forum scheduled for tonight. They say they are protesting the League of Women Voters (LWV), whose local branch is sponsoring the event.

Psychonaut/Wikipedia Commons

County prosecutors in Michigan are warning of a resurgence of methamphetamine throughout the state. They say the latest incarnation of the drug is much more potent and addictive than it used to be.

The meth that’s sold on the street these days usually doesn’t come from homemade labs. It’s imported from places like Mexico.

Morgan Springer

It could be a competitive race for Michigan’s 104th house seat this coming election. The district covers Grand Traverse County. Republicans have held this seat firmly for at least 20 years.

A northern Michigan lawmaker says he will not participate in any debates or forums before the election. Larry Inman (R-Traverse City) withdrew from a League of Women Voters forum scheduled for October 8.

In an email, Inman’s campaign manager Ashleigh Ackerman said they’re disappointed they couldn’t make it work out, but the Grand Traverse County representative doesn't have the time in his schedule. 

"Our campaign offered to do a written questionnaire, which would be easily available to those that would not be able to attend a forum," she said.

State of Michigan

People in Blair Township are now dealing with PFAs contamination. On Friday, twelve households started getting bottled water at the township hall. That’s after contamination was found in wells this week. 

PFAs are found in things like fire-fighting foam and are linked to cancer.

Psychonaut/Wikipedia Commons

Methamphetamine use is on the rise in Michigan.

Prosecutors say imported “crystal” meth from Mexico is now replacing homemade meth labs. A report from Michigan State Police says homemade meth labs are in decline.

Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County settled with the family of Craig Carlson – who was killed more than 10 years ago.

Morgan Springer

Residents will continue funding improvements in Traverse City schools. Voters passed a $107 million bond for Traverse City Area Public Schools. According to unofficial election results, 67 percent (15,679 residents) voted yes, while 33 percent (7,662) said no.

The money will go towards things like building reconstruction, safety and technology improvements and bus replacements. 

“I mean you have to educate your kids or you’re going to be nowhere," says Kathleen Ziege who lives in Interlochen and voted for the bond.

Grand Traverse County is doing a better job of funding retirement plans for its employees, according to a new report from the Municipal Employees Retirement System, or MERS.

MERS is an independent organization that invests retirement funds for Michigan municipalities.

Antrim County

It’s been five months since a special prosecutor was asked to review a suicide at the Grand Traverse County jail. 

Alan Halloway hanged himself in the jail nearly a year ago. It took three hours for officers to find Halloway after he died; they were supposed to check on him every hour. 

An earlier investigation by the Michigan Sheriff’s Association found that two corrections officers did not follow jail policies and procedures; both officer no longer work there.

Polestar LGBT+ Community Center of Traverse City/Facebook

Polestar LGBT+ Community Center of Traverse City opened its doors Saturday. It's the first of its kind in northern Michigan.

Grand Traverse County

Nate Alger is the new Grand Traverse County administrator. On Wednesday, the county board of commissioners unanimously approved Alger’s contract. Alger is expected to sign the contract with a starting salary of $124,000 and a start date of July 1.

 

Alger takes over a county that is dealing with instability as it tackles pension debt, suicides in the jail and employee dissatisfaction. Alger says stagnant pay and reduced benefits have caused some animosity with employees in the past, but he plans to work on that.

Whitewater Township

The Whitewater Township board has rejected a plan to allow short-term rentals. The proposal would have allowed residents to build new structures on their lots and rent them out on websites like AirBnb.

The idea came from the township planning commission but it was met with resistance from the community. Residents circulated a petition against the plan and presented it to the board at a meeting Tuesday night.

Google Maps

The argument over short-term rentals has come to Whitewater township. The township’s planning commission wants to relax zoning rules so new rentals can be built on existing residential lots.

Under a new proposal, residents who own at least 30,000 square feet of land could build a second structure on their property. The new structure could be up to 1,200 square feet in size.

The proposal would allow homeowners to rent their new structures on websites like AirBnB.

But township supervisor Ron Popp says it’s a bad idea.

Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County commissioners have picked a local law enforcement official to lead the county. This morning they voted four to three to offer Nate Alger the county administrator job.

Grand Traverse County

The search for Grand Traverse County’s next leader is down to two candidates. County commissioners will choose between a local law enforcement officer and a former state representative from Bay City.

The commission has been searching for a new administrator since the surprise resignation of Vicki Uppal in January. With the help of a consulting firm, the commission has named two finalists for the job – Nate Alger and Thomas Hickner.

Morgan Springer

Following two suicides at the Grand Traverse County jail, county leaders are focusing their attention on mental health services there. That will likely mean the county will spend more money on the jail. In a meeting last night, mental health stakeholders suggested some improvements.

Peter Payette

Plans for a mixed-use development next to the Meijer store in Acme Township may finally be moving forward. The 157-acre “Village at Grand Traverse” has been beset with problems since it was built by Acme Township.

Grand Traverse County

Leaders in Grand Traverse County will wait until a new administrator is hired before they decide how to spend a budget surplus.

The county’s finance director says there’s about an extra $8 million in the budget. The money comes from increased property tax revenue and unforeseen savings in employee health care and the removal of the Boardman River dam.

David Cassleman

Democrats have struggled to find candidates to run for office in Grand Traverse County. 

In recent elections, Democrats let most seats on the county Board of Commissioners go unchallenged. 

Aaron Selbig

A 36-year-old female prisoner, Marilyn Palmer, was found dead in a Grand Traverse County jail cell Wednesday night. This is the second death at the jail in the past year.

Kate Teegardin, Flickr

Over the last three years, many of the Grand Traverse County’s top officials have resigned or been fired, and the county is now looking for its fourth administrator since 2015.

Much of the turmoil stems from the county’s pension debt – the amount of money the county has promised to retired employees. Right now, Grand Traverse County doesn’t have enough money to cover the pension debt.


Grand Traverse County

To an outsider, Grand Traverse County is a picture of success. New homes and businesses are popping up all over Michigan’s third-fastest growing county, and property values are on the rise.

But insiders describe a county government in chaos.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

On Tuesday, The Watershed Center said Grand Traverse Bay was officially frozen. The official designation happens after West Bay is frozen from Traverse City to Power Island for more than 24 hours. Even though that's only a fraction of the bay, that's been the official measurement for over a hundred years.

Heather Smith, Grand Traverse Baykeeper at The Watershed Center, says the bay didn’t freeze over the last two winters – not since 2015. She says, since 1990, it has only frozen between 20 to 30 percent of the time.

Aaron Selbig

A special prosecutor will handle a jail suicide case in Grand Traverse County. The state attorney general has appointed the Antrim County prosecutor to take over.

Alan Halloway hanged himself in the Grand Traverse County jail last summer. An investigation by Michigan State Police found that corrections officers violated multiple policies and procedures. For example, it took officers three hours to find Halloway dead in his cell; they were supposed to check him every hour. 

Pages