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Northern Michigan is shaped by food. Our orchards, farms and vineyards create the landscape. A burgeoning culinary scene defines many of our downtowns. And the agriculture, tourism and hospitality industries dominate our economies.

Migrant Housing Controversy In Elberta Gets Uglier

Fruit grower Loy Putney wants to build migrant housing at the site of an old motel.
Fruit grower Loy Putney wants to build migrant housing at the site of an old motel.


Controversy over a migrant housing proposal in Benzie County got uglier Wednesday night.

A packed house showed up to hear village officials explain a decision to deny a permit for housing for migrant labor. The meeting had to be postponed because the required officials weren’t present. But on a table where people signed-in for the meeting someone put copies of a news article about beheadings in Mexico related to Mexican drug cartels.

The Elberta Village clerk says it was unfortunate and terrible and village officials are trying to find out who did it.

Fruit grower Loy Putney is suing the Village of Elberta. He says he’s been denied a permit based on racist attitudes. Last month, a council member referred to Putney’s plan to fix up an old building to house migrant workers as a “trash house.”

Putney’s attorney sent a copy of the article about drug cartels to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights where an investigation of the Elberta council already is underway.

Bob Allen reports on a variety of issues that reflect the changes and challenges that affect northern Michigan including rapid population growth in a region of unsurpassed natural beauty. Bob has often noted that he is proud inform and enrich lives in the local community by presenting an array of fine programming through Interlochen Public Radio.