Daniel Wanschura

Morning Edition host / broadcast director

Ever since he was young, Dan has been fascinated with radio. From hearing the dulcet tones of John Gordon broadcast Minnesota Twins games, to staying up late listening to radio theater, he was captivated by the imaginative medium. 

In 2012, Dan graduated from Thomas Edison State University. In 2015, he moved from the Twin Cities to northern Michigan to work at Interlochen Public Radio.

Dan has received numerous awards for his reporting including three Edward R. Murrow regional awards and one national PRNDI award. His work has also been heard on NPR, Minnesota Public Radio, Michigan Radio, and KFAI Radio.

Dan enjoys playing volleyball with his wife Erin, driving on Michigan’s renown M-22 highway, and volunteering as a leader in Grand Traverse Young Life. He is also a lover of the Oxford comma — much to the chagrin of his editors.

'Never Ending Story, Spider Man's Eye' by artist FreindsWithYou.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City is a lot noisier than normal. That's because it's now home to 10 blow-up sculptures, each inflated by air pumps.


Keweenaw Convention & Visitor's Bureau

Warmer winter temperatures are causing snow totals in many areas around the Great Lakes to drop dramatically. Scientists say a warmer climate means less lake effect snow. That leaves snow enthusiasts and businesses that depend on snow scrambling to try to adapt. 

  

A skier weaves in between trees at Mount Bohemia in the Keweenaw Peninsula. During a normal winter, 'Boho' can get upwards of 300" of fresh snow. But due to a lack of snow this year, the resort finally just opened this week – its latest opening ever.
Michigan Snowsports Industries Association

Warmer winter temperatures are causing snow totals in many areas around the Great Lakes to drop dramatically. Scientists say a warmer climate means cold and snowy winters will likely become more and more unreliable.

That leaves snow enthusiasts and businesses that depend on the snow, scrambling to try to adapt.

  

DNR officers Tim Rosochacki (left) and Matt Theunick investigate the location where three cow elk were poached in the Pigeon River State Forest in 2019. Last week, the DNR arrested three men in connection to the poaching incident.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Three relatives have been arrested in connection with poaching three elk in the Pigeon River State Forest over a year ago. 

Lake Michigan is lower than it was at this point last year, but still 31 inches above its long-term average.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

All five of the Great Lakes closed out 2020 at lower levels than they were a year ago. But according to new projections from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the upper lakes are still expected to remain high in 2021.


The 45th Annual Vasa Festival of Races in Traverse City has been canceled due to COVID-19.
Roger Hagerman

The 45th annual North American Vasa Festival of Races has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. After exploring other options, the Vasa board unanimously voted on Tuesday night to call off the event.


Search and rescue efforts continue for the pilot of the F-16 that crashed in the Upper Peninsula Tuesday night.
Wisconsin National Guard

UPDATE - 12/11/2020: 
The pilot of the F-16 fighter jet that crashed in the Upper Peninsula Tuesday night has been found dead. According to the 115th Fighter Wing, the pilot's identity hasn't been released yet.

Local, state, and military crews searched in dense woods for almost two days before finding the pilot on Thursday.

There have been 57 drownings in Lake Michigan in 2020, which is the most on record according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Fifty-seven people have drowned in Lake Michigan this year, making it the deadliest on record.


Several containment booms have been placed around a sunken barge in West Grand Traverse Bay. Efforts to refloat the vessel began Friday.
U.S. Coast Guard

Efforts to refloat a partially submerged barge in West Grand Traverse Bay started Friday. The barge sank November 30th, about 100 yards from shore.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the vessel still has 40 gallons of oil and diesel fuel on board but it’s not leaking into the water.

The Grand Haven lighthouse and waves get a good dose of what Todd and Brad Reed call, "magic light" during a November storm in 2015.
Todd and Brad Reed Photography

For most people, November isn’t a great time for a day at the beach. But Ludington photographers Todd and Brad Reed aren’t most people. They dream of capturing Lake Michigan at its gnarliest.


Michigan DNR biologist Steve Griffith checks on one of several bear traps set up around Traverse City on November 20, 2020.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

In October, a black bear was spotted roaming the Meijer parking lot in Traverse City. That bear, now dubbed the "TC Bear" by the Michigan Department of Natrual Resources, is still on the loose.

Now, the DNR is trying to lure the bear into various traps in Traverse City with things like syrup and bacon, but so far ― it isn't taking the bait. 

A black bear wanders through the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts, just south of Kresge Auditorium on November 6, 2020.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

The number of black bear sightings in northern Michigan is on the rise, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 


sign stands next to U.S. Highway 31 in Grand Traverse County.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

By the end of the night tonight, President Donald Trump will conclude his 2020 campaign like he did in 2016 — by stopping in Michigan. The Trump campaign has made the battleground state a frequent destination in its effort to retain the White House.

With regular firearm season starting November 15th, the DNR reports a 17% increase in the number of deer hunting licenses sold so far this year.
David Kenyon / Michigan DNR

There’s been a surge in the number of deer hunting licenses sold in 2020, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It likely coincides with an overall increase in outdoor recreation during the pandemic.

With regular firearm season starting November 15th, the DNR reports a 17% increase in the number of deer hunting licenses sold so far this year.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore unveiled its new mobile visitor center recently.
U.S. National Park Service

Sleeping Bear Dunes is hitting the road. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the national lakeshore is rolling out a 'mobile visitor center.' The idea is to bring a little bit of northern Michigan to those who haven’t had a chance to experience it.


Above average precipitation is expected over the Great Lakes from December through February, according to NOAA.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan could see a lot of snow this winter according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which came out with its 2020 U.S. Winter Outlook on Thursday.


Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week, hear how high water in the Great Lakes is unearthing Native American burial sites. In some places along Lake Michigan, human remains have been discovered at the beach.

Also, more water isn’t the only reason the lakes are higher, a higher elevation that is. The Great Lakes are still rebounding from the last ice age.

 

And what’s in those holes in your garden?

 

    

 

Search and Rescue missions in the Great Lakes are up from last year by nearly 300.
U.S. Coast Guard

The pandemic, high water levels, and warm temperatures could mean more drownings on the Great Lakes. 

There have been 58 reported drownings so far this year, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. 32 of those have occurred in Lake Michigan.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Water levels on the Great Lakes might finally start going down.

With the exception of Lake Superior, each of the Great Lakes have likely reached their peak water levels for the year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Courtesy Bill Milliken, Jr.

When the late William Grawn Milliken first told his mother about his aspirations to serve in government, she told him to be a “statesman, not a politician.” He went on to be Michigan’s longest-serving governor, make the state a national leader in environmental policy and leave a legacy of civility and bipartisan public service.

Watch a recording of the memorial event on Facebook. 

From left to right, David Chown, Laurie Sears and Miriam Picó released a new album recently called, 'Live at St. Andrews'.
Lancaster Photography

A trio of Traverse City artists are out with a new album called "Live at St. Andrews." It features David Chown, Miriam Picó and Laurie Sears during a 2018 show at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Beulah.


Art from U.P. artist Katie Eberts is featured on a billboard on U.S. Highway 2 in the Upper Peninsula. The billboards went up last month thanks to the non-profit, Save Art Space.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

After crossing the Mackinac Bridge and heading west on US Highway 2 in St. Ignace, I’m looking for something I was told would be just outside of town.

 

Believe it or not, I’ve come to this part of Michigan to look at a billboard.

  

In the mid-19th century, a persuasive Mormon leader named James Jesse Strang led hundreds of followers to Beaver Island in the middle of Lake Michigan. Then he declared himself the King of Earth and Heaven.

 

That’s the story author Miles Harvey tells in his new book, The King of Confidence - A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch.

 


Young fans watch a Traverse City Pit Spitters game during the 2019 season.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

After starting last week, the Traverse City Pit Spitters season has been put on hold. The same goes for the newly created Great Lakes Resorters and Northern Michigan Dune Bears.

Several players recently tested positive for COVID-19 which prompted the pause.

 

 


Lake Michigan waves crash onshore at a beach in Frankfort, Michigan. Lakes Michigan and Huron were almost three feet above the June water level average.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Water levels in the Great Lakes continue to remain high. 

Every month this year, Lakes Michigan and Huron have surpassed record-high water levels set in the 1980’s. In June, those lakes were nearly three feet above average. 


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