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.

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.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board will hold a special meeting Thursday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m.

TCAPS Board Member Erica Moon Mohr told IPR the board will discuss a separation agreement with superintendent Ann Cardon.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

In a radio interview with Vic McCarty on WTCM Monday morning, Traverse City Area Public Schools Board President Sue Kelly broke her silence on an alleged fallout with TCAPS Superintendent Ann Cardon.

Kelly dodged direct questions on Cardon or her future with the district.

Northwestern Michigan College

The Northwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a two-year contract for new school president Nick Nissley Monday.

“We are extremely pleased to conclude our comprehensive and transparent presidential search by officially welcoming Dr. Nissley to NMC,” said board chair Chris Bott via press release. “Dr. Nissley’s proven experience in leadership and innovation make him the right leader to take our community’s college forward.”

Traverse City Area Public Schools

The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board is allegedly at odds with new District Superintendent Ann Cardon, and there is speculation that Cardon may be out of a job soon.

The school board hasn't commented on Cardon's future or the nature of the disagreement, but Board President Sue Kelly put out a joint statement with Cardon Monday.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Ann Cardon still has a job, for now.

She’s the superintendent of Traverse City Public Schools — a job she’s had for a little over two months, after the school board unanimously voted to offer her the position earlier this year.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The board of Traverse City Area Public Schools could look at removing recently-appointed Superintendent Ann Cardon at a special meeting today, sources tell IPR

Gary Langley / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, how rising water levels and shoreline erosion are threatening homeowners on the coast of Lake Michigan.

Plus, how businesses in Fishtown are already falling into the water.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Two men confessed to shooting and killing a two-year-old bald eagle near Manistee on Saturday, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan will get $2.6 million from drug manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser Group, according to the Michigan Attorney General's office.

Michigan filed suit with 32 other states claiming that the company misled doctors, patients and the public while marketing the drug. 

Airbus

The Trump Administration announced they will put $7.5 billion worth of tariffs on goods flown into the U.S. on flights from Airbus. That will include several tart cherry products from Austria, Germany and Hungary. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, the Pere Marquette River is internationally-recognized for its brown trout, lake trout and salmon. But locals are worried that a train could soon derail and spill toxic chemicals into the river.

Plus, amidst road budget debates in the State Capitol, hear a Q&A about Michigan's crumbling bridges.

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

The federal agency that regulates pipelines across the United States announced new rules Tuesday.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) implemented regulations that increase inspections and leak detection technology on pipelines, while also increasing oversight on damaged pipelines.

Enbridge

Enbridge announced that it will install more steel supports along the controversial Line 5 oil pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

Many have had concerns over the safety and integrity of the 60-year-old pipelines.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the plan and permitting needed for installation.

According to a press release, the energy company says it will put 54 more supports along Line 5. Work is set to start immediately and should be finished later this week, according to Enbridge.

Enbridge has installed 147 supports on Line 5 since 2002. 

Peter Payette

The U.S. International Trade Commission will levy tariffs against Turkish tart cherry exporters, according to a press release obtained by IPR.

Taylor Wizner

This week on Points North, a private prison in Baldwin will hold immigrants convicted of crimes. Some nearby residents argue it will bring jobs to the area, while others want nothing to do with it.

Plus hear about a legal scholar turned writer whose stories brought her back to northern Michigan.

Rick Pluta

Prosecutors say State Rep. Larry Inman’s (R-Williamsburg) alleged bribery attempt is not protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Inman's legal team claims that campaign contributions are protected under the First Amendment, after the Citizens United decision in the U.S. Supreme Court from 2010.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Court-appointed attorneys defend people who can’t pay for a lawyer of their own, but the state didn’t give those attorneys a fair shot to defend their clients, according to the ACLU.

That means more convictions and harsher sentences that could have been avoided, says the ACLU. More state funding and training for those lawyers is meant to balance the scales.

(Editor's note: We recommend you listen to the story before reading.)

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we dive into how the state is trying to help underpaid and overworked court-appointed attorneys. Plus a former employee of the Traverse City State Hospital reflects on 30 years on the job.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, thousands of students are back in school. Hear how state efforts to improve reading and writing scores for third graders may be getting lost in translation.

Plus an interview with the new Superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Several beaches in northern Michigan are under advisories for E. coli contamination.

Beaches at Clinch Park, Traverse City State Park and Suttons Bay Marina are under level 2 advisories. That means beachgoers should avoid contact with the water above the waist.

The Traverse Senior Center Beach is under a level 3 advisory, meaning visitors should avoid all contact with the water.

Environmental Health Director for the Grand Traverse County Health Department Daniel Thorell says that more testing will be done Friday morning.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

In 2016, then Gov. Rick Snyder signed the controversial “Read by Grade Three” bill into law. It's meant to improve the reading and writing abilities of third graders in Michigan, but if their scores don’t rise students could be held back.

As the law starts to take effect, educators are frustrated with how it aims to get test scores up. 

Back to school

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Another cougar was spotted in the Upper Peninsula, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. A camera snapped a photo of the animal in Delta County on Aug. 17. 

This is the 40th confirmed sighting of a cougar in Michigan by the DNR since 2008.

Cody Norton, large carnivore specialist for the DNR, says they are seeing more cougars lately, but there's no evidence that there is a breeding population of cougars in the state.

Max Johnston

Munson Medical Center in Traverse City will get a $400,000 grant to expand Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction.

MAT involves the use of prescribed medication to curb opioid cravings and withdrawals. Many in the medical community say it’s a strong tool to combat the opioid epidemic.

The hospital will use the grant money to train staff in the Emergency Room to treat patients suffering from substance use disorder (SUD), says Terri Kelte, behavioral health director at Munson.

Kevin Donner

This week on Points North, tribes try to bring sturgeon back to Michigan’s waters. Plus one man realizes his dream of running a curling league. 

Sturgeon are a prehistoric fish that can live up to 100 years old, but overfishing and habitat destruction has decimated their population across the state.

Baby sturgeon were released last weekend as part of a joint effort between the state, tribes and conservation groups to restore populations of this ancient fish. 

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