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 House of Representatives

State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) is accused of extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI. He has plead not guilty to all charges.

The trial is set for August 6 in Grand Rapids.

Prosecutors say Inman texted a lobbyist from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCCM) in June 2018 and offered to vote ‘no’ on a prevailing wage bill if MRCCM and other trade unions would donate more to his campaign.

Michigan House of Representatives

Prosecutors want to delay the trial of State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) by 30 days in order to prepare for his defense.

Aaron Selbig

The State of Michigan Court of Appeals says Traverse City Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power showed “extreme bias.”

Last year Power sentenced Samantha Lynn Hughes to 13 to 24 months in prison for methamphetamine use. Hughes was pregnant at the time, and the sentence would have kept her in prison for the birth of her child.

“Thinking about [Hughes] versus the unborn child I think I know whose side I’m on,” Power said.

In their decision, the Court of Appeals said that sentence was unfair.

Wikimedia Commons

Record rainfall this year has hit northern Michigan crops hard, and now farmers Up North are getting some help from the federal and state governments.

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office

Green Lake Township currently relies on other deputies from across Grand Traverse County, but now the county will assign an officer to the township.

Interlochen Center for the Arts, Green Lake Township and Grand Traverse County will split the bill. Overall, the officer will cost about $130,000, which includes training and equipment costs.

Vice President of Finance and Operations at ICA Pat Kessel says an officer nearby will make campus safer.

Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will buy $30 million of tart cherries from domestic farmers this year, according to Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet.)

"The tart cherry industry has gone above and beyond to fight adverse circumstances facing their market, including the unfair dumping of cheap imports from Turkey and other foreign countries," Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) said in a press release.

The tart cherries will be used in federal food assistance programs like the National School Lunch Program.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Researchers say if your kid goes to a good preschool, they'll be better off as an adult. A four-decade study from the HighScope Educational Research Foundation looked at the long-term effects preschool had on students. It found that kids who went to high-quality preschools grew up to have higher incomes and IQs than those who didn't. They also committed fewer crimes and had fewer teenage pregnancies.

Max Johnston

The attorney for State Representative Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) wants the charges against his client dismissed. Inman has plead not guilty to charges of extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI. 

Wikimedia Commons

Update: The U.S. Forest Service says the ban may still go into effect next summer, but it is one of several options they are pursuing.

Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

The U.S. International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce announced Friday that they will investigate cherries imported from Turkey.

Tart cherries are the largest crop in northwestern lower Michigan, and growers here say they can't compete with Turkey. Some Turkish tart cherry products sell for half the price of domestic ones.

Ben LaCross, a grower in Leelanau County, says to break even he needs to make around 25 cents per pound for his tart cherries.

Michi

State Representative Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) will seek treatment for long-term use of pain medications.

Michigan House of Representatives

The resolution was introduced by Speaker of the State House Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills). 

Shelly McSawby

This week on Points North, Native American tribes have treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather, but many face racism and harassment when they use them. Plus hear some pet peeves of people in northern Michigan.


Morgan Springer

The hearing will determine if Traverse City Area Public Schools has to pay back over $700,000 to the state. The Michigan Department of Education planned to take back the money last year because TCAPS allegedly misreported student enrollment at the Northern Michigan Partnership, a homeschool program in Interlochen.

Noah Fortson / NPR

Special counsel Robert Mueller is making a statement about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Watch his remarks at the Justice Department live.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

There are more than 1.2 million drivers over the age of 65 in Michigan, and statistically they are safe on the road.

But a county in northern Michigan has one of the highest rates of car accidents for senior citizens.


U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.)

Newly released images from Enbridge Energy show damage sustained to the Line 5 oil pipelines from an anchor strike last April.

The video and photos given to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation show a gash across the east pipeline, and several dents and scrapes on the west pipeline. In written testimony Enbridge identifies three dents on the pipelines caused by the anchor strike, the longest was more than 23 inches.

Enbridge also provided all this information to the U.S. Coast Guard who is investigating the strike.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital is closing their maternity unit on May 31. Many residents criticized that plan at a town hall on Saturday.

Jessica Cracraft is 28 weeks pregnant and says she planned on giving birth at the hospital.

"I don't want to have to go to a new hospital. I don't want to have new nurses, and I don't want to have a new doctor," Cracraft said. "I only have 11 weeks left."

State Representative Jack O’Malley (R-Lake Ann) said the closure will make Manistee less attractive to young people.

Dan Wanschura

Elections were held across Michigan on Tuesday, and school bonds were on many ballots.

Unofficial election results show that school bonds in Ludington and Leland passed, but a $47.8 million proposal for Benzie County Central Schools narrowly failed by 114 votes, or just under 2 percentage points. Another proposal in Kingsley Area Schools overwhelmingly failed with 73 percent of voters saying ‘no.’

Up North Pride

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will be the grand marshal for an LGBTQ+ pride march in Traverse City next month.

The Visibility March will be held by Up North Pride, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group. Founder Jonny Cameron says they chose Nessel because she has fought for LGBTQ+ rights during her career.

“She’s making sure that we are protected, as parents, as families, in the state of Michigan,” Cameron says.

Up North Pride says Nessel is the first openly gay candidate elected to state office.

GREGORY VARNUM

Electrical cables in the Straits of Mackinac were severed when an anchor struck them last year. More than 400 gallons of mineral oil, acting as a coolant, leaked out.

The Line 5 oil pipelines were damaged during the same incident.

A proposed tunnel would house Line 5 and the electrical cables to avoid more damage, an idea Enbridge Energy supports and Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she is open to.

But in a letter, Vice President of American Transmission Company Tom Finco says that plan could be dangerous.

GREGORY VARNUM

The Line 5 oil pipelines in the straits of Mackinac were struck by an anchor last April. Then at a hearing held by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) in August, Enbridge Energy Vice President David Bryson pledged to release information on the strike.

BRIDGE MAGAZINE/MICHIGAN HEALTH & HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION

The hospital in Manistee will close their maternity unit on May 31. In a statement, the CEO of Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital James Barker says providing maternity services is a challenge for rural hospitals.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Dollar General is a chain of convenience stores that sell a variety of cheap goods. They have more than 15,000 locations across the United States, that’s more branches than McDonalds.

Dollar General says they offer customers an affordable and convenient shopping choice, but some small communities in northern Michigan say they undercut local business.

Wikimedia Commons

Judges say Michigan’s 1st Congressional District was gerrymandered and needs to be redrawn. It was part of a federal court ruling announced Thursday.

Michigan's 1st Congressional District streches over most of northern Michigan and the entire Upper Peninsula. In their decision, the judges said the district was drawn to benefit Republican candidates.

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