Max Johnston

Reporter/producer

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a general assignment reporter. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio and WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources could increase the number of elk tags given to hunters next year.

It would be the first increase in four years. 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announced Tuesday that they are revoking tariffs on Turkish dried tart cherry producers.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Two members of the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education are safe from a recall election — for now. Circuit Court Judge Kevin Elsenheimer ruled Monday that a recall petition against them is invalid.

According to state law, officeholders can't be recalled during the first year of their term. The petition against Anderson and Forton was filed last November, nearly two months before they hit their one-year mark in office.

Both were relieved after court let out.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Updated 01/10/2020 at 5:22 p.m.

The recall effort against State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) is officially over. 

The Michigan Secretary of State's office found that the group behind the recall fell 208 signatures short of the 12,201 they needed to trigger a recall election.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

International refugees can continue resettlement in Grand Traverse County through the federal government, according to a unanimous vote of the county board of commissioners Wednesday morning.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

The group behind the recall effort to remove Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) from office got some breathing room Tuesday.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Syringe service programs involve giving medical supplies and clean needles to injection drug users.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say people in those programs are three times more likely to stop using drugs than those who aren't in them.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

A jury found State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) not guilty Tuesday on a criminal charge of lying to the F.B.I.

The jury couldn’t reach a verdict on two other counts of soliciting a bribe and attempted extortion so the judge declared a mistrial.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

The fifth day of the federal criminal trial against State Rep. Larry Inman ended with no verdict Monday as the jury deliberates the case into Tuesday.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Five witnesses testified during the fourth day of the trial of state Rep. Larry Inman, who was in federal court this week on charges of extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the F.B.I. He has plead not guilty to all charges.

Inman, (R-Williamsburg) himself took the stand Friday, a gametime decision by his attorney that seemed to suprise most of the people in attendance. 

Inman takes the stand

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

State Rep. Larry Inman is in federal court this week facing charges of extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the F.B.I. He is accused of trying to sell a "no" vote on Michigan's prevailing wage law to a trade union last year.

The third day of testimony featured 7 witnesses, including current and former legislators, a federal agent and the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

The second day of state Rep. Larry Inman's trial started early Wednesday morning, and Inman appeared calmer than the first day, taking time to chat with reporters, security gaurds and court staff.

Five people took the stand, giving the prosecution and defense plenty of opportunities to ask questions throught the day.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) appeared in court Tuesday for the first day of his criminal trial. He’s in federal court facing charges of extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI.


Rick Pluta / MPRN

State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) will go to federal trial Tuesday on charges of allegedly soliciting a bribe, extortion and lying to the F.B.I.

Michigan House of Representatives

The speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) will testify at Rep. Larry Inman’s (R-Williamsburg) criminal trial next week, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Chatfield and Inman exchanged text messages throughout the time period last year that Inman allegedly tried to sell his vote on Michigan's prevailing wage law.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Language to recall three members of the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board was approved Tuesday.

The recall efforts aim to remove Sue Kelly, Matt Anderson and Pam Forton from the board. They have 10 days to appeal.

Tart cherry farmers in Michigan are suffering the fallout of an international trade war. While farmers wait to see where those political cards fall, many in northern Michigan are bearing down for the winter. 

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

Voters denied a bond proposal for Benzie Central Schools today by a vote of 1,674 to 1,573, according to unofficial election results from the district.

A similar bond proposal failed by a slim margin in May, but turnout was higher this time around with nearly 700 more votes cast, according to District Superintendent Matt Olson. He says the district isn't sure if or when they will put another bond proposal to voters.

"We gotta sit down and do some reflection, we know there needs to be a path forward," Olson said. "The specifics of that path? We gotta digest and figure out."

Gregory Varnum

The Michigan Court of Claims ruled on Thursday in favor of Enbridge and its plan to house the Line 5 oil pipelines in a tunnel under the straits of Mackinac.

In 2018, former Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law authorizing the Mackinac Bridge Authority to oversee the construction of a tunnel for Line 5. Earlier this year Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a suit for state agencies to stop work on it. Enbridge also filed suit and now the court knocked down Whitmer and Nessel's order.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

The former superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools got $180,000 as part of a separation agreement with the district. Ann Cardon resigned Oct. 17 after allegedly clashing with several school board members.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

In the midst of tension between the U.S. and global trade partners like Turkey, northern Michigan’s iconic cherry industry is stuck in the middle.

Tart cherry farmers have been undercut by foreign competitors for years. Many farmers thought tariffs implemented by the Trump administration would help, but they haven’t.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Traverse City Area Public Schools. Recently hired Superintendent Ann Cardon resigned last week. Now during the ensuing controversy, social media chatter has turned into efforts to recall several members of the district school board.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

After weeks of tense meetings, bad blood and tumult on the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education, the district has a new — albeit interim — Superintendent in Jim Pavelka. He held a short meeting with reporters Friday morning.

Pavelka said School Board President Sue Kelly reached out to him Thursday afternoon, shortly before a board meeting in which previous Superintendent Ann Cardon formally resigned.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Ann Cardon has resigned as superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools. 

After 45 minutes of public comment at a special meeting of the TCAPS Board, Board President Sue Kelly announced Cardon’s resignation.

Update 9:42 p.m. 10/17/19: A federal judge set the trial date. This story has been updated to reflect that change.

A motion to dismiss the criminal charges against State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) has been denied.

Now Inman will go to trial in federal court over charges of soliciting a bribe, extortion and lying to the F.B.I. Federal prosecutors allege Inman tried to sell his vote on Michigan's prevailing wage law last May.

Pages