Morgan Springer

News Director

Morgan Springer joined IPR in 2015. Her series "Irredeemable," about Michigan juvenile lifers and the state's resentencing process, received a 2017 first place national PRNDI award and a regional Edward R. Murrow award. Her stories "Irredeemable, episode 3: Tortured choice," "Grandmother's letter from the Holocaust" and "Behind bars, transformation through poetry" have also recieved national awards. You can hear her stories on NPR, the Michigan Public Radio Network, WHYY's "The Pulse" and National Native News.

Morgan has an undergraduate degree in International Studies from Earlham College. After graduating, she did a stint as the constituent services coordinator for the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office before leaving to work at a garden center. In 2014, she went to the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies to study radio and documentary film, bringing her briefly back to her home state of Maine.

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Wikimedia Commons

This week on Points North, we look at animals and the threats they face. Great Lakes piping plovers were on the verge of extinction in the 1980s, but recently they’ve been making a comeback. Still, their slow recovery is hindered by absent-minded beach walkers, high water levels and racoons.

 


Aaron Selbig

This week on Points North, former inmates of the Grand Traverse County Correctional Facility claim their basic hygiene needs are sometimes ignored. IPR talked to half a dozen women who say it could take hours for officers to bring them feminine hygiene products.


Michael Coghlan/Flickr

 

When Kelsey Buttars was incarcerated at the Grand Traverse County Correctional Facility in 2017, corrections officers would typically bring feminine hygiene products around at least once per day. But on one particular day when she was on her period, she says she had run out of pads.

Buttars says she wrote out a few request slips for more, but she was ignored. Then she pressed the button in her cell for help, but she says she was ignored again. She waited on the toilet in her cell.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, elderly drivers in Grand Traverse County get in car accidents at a higher rate than most other Michigan counties. We explore the challenges of giving up the keys.

 


St. Joseph Public Schools

Northern Michigan’s largest school district is one step closer to hiring a new superintendent. On Monday, the board for Traverse City Area Public Schools voted unanimously for Ann Cardon to proceed to the final round.

Cardon has 10 years of superintendent experience and is the current head of St. Joseph Public Schools downstate.

"I like the fact that she’s basically done everything, teacher, principal, leader and she’s been involved with finance and with unions," TCAPS Board Member Doris Ellery says.

Creative Commons

Michigan health officials are trying to educate parents that are skeptical of vaccines, encouraging them to immunize their kids. But it’s not working in Grand Traverse County, where more and more parents are opting out of vaccinations. Plus, a dietician helps people cook healthier food.


Michigan House of Representatives

State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Traverse City) was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges of extortion, bribery and lying to the FBI. U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge alleges Inman offered to trade one of his votes in the House for campaign money. 

The indictment says 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. 

Benzie County Sheriff's Office

Investigators have still not found a missing plane in Lake Michigan. They suspect it crashed Sunday night about four miles off the coast of Frankfort

Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel says the pilot contacted air traffic control to say he was having issues.

“The last thing they heard from the pilot was that the engine had locked up and was dead, and then it was shortly thereafter that that they lost radar contact with them,” says Schendel.

BAY VIEW CHAUTAUQUA INCLUSIVENESS GROUP

Housing discrimination cases against Bay View Association near Petoskey have been settled. The resort community has been accused of discriminating against non-Christian homeowners.

Two lawsuits filed by current homeowners and a claim filed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allege Bay View broke fair housing laws by only allowing Christians to own homes at the resort community.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, a U.S. soldier was injured in a training exercise and discharged from the army. Then he found an unusual way to cope with his depression and serve his country: beekeeping.

 


Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

Five people who design newspaper layouts were laid off in Traverse City on Tuesday. They worked for CNHI, the company that owns the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Record-Eagle Publisher Paul Heidbreder says the employees were part of a local "design hub" that worked on layouts for newspapers across the country, but CNHI is reducing the number of papers designed out of Traverse City. 

DTE Energy

DTE Energy is among 60 Fortune 500 companies that did not pay federal income taxes in 2018. That’s according to the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

DTE spokesperson Peter Ternes confirmed in an email they did not pay those taxes last year.

Ternes says the company, which provides electricity and natural gas to millions of customers in Michigan, follows current federal tax laws and claims their capital investments as deductions.

Dan Wanschura

More than 50 Michigan counties will hold elections Tuesday, May 7. School funding is the focus of most of them.

Benzie County Central Schools district is asking voters to approve $47.8 million for a new elementary building and an addition to the middle and high school. Ludington, Kingsley and Leland school districts also have bond requests.

Kalkaska County wants to improve the Kaliseum Recreational Complex. It’s asking for a 1.5 mill increase to its facilities millage.

Wikimedia Commons

A former juvenile corrections facility in Baldwin could become a prison for immigrants. 

In a press release, State Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) said the current owners of the shuttered North Lake Correctional Facility received a 10-year federal contract. It would allow Geo Group, Inc. to hold non-U.S. citizens for immigration offenses and other crimes.

VanderWall says it would bring more than 300 jobs to the area.

Courtesty of Theresa Schurman

This week on Points North, a hunter was shot and killed by another hunter on opening day of deer hunting season last fall. It was ruled an accident, but it became apparent there was more to the story. Plus, the bond between a hunter and his dog.


Courtesty of Theresa Schurman

Last year, two people were shot and killed in Michigan while deer hunting. One of the victims, Justin Beutel, was hunting on family property near Torch Lake. 

It was Nov. 15, opening day of firearm deer hunting season, when another hunter shot Beutel from about 50 yards away. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigated the case. 

“We would classify it as an accident at this point,” says Lt. Jim Gorno, a DNR conservation officer.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, after school bonds fail, some districts keep asking taxpayers again and again to change their minds. One small district in northern Michigan is renewing their attempt. Plus, more religious discrimination allegations against Bay View and local musicians play a violin that made it through the Holocaust.


BAY VIEW CHAUTAUQUA INCLUSIVENESS GROUP

Bay View Association, a summer resort community in Petoskey, has been under fire for alleged housing discrimination. A group of homeowners has filed two lawsuit against the association, claiming it is violating housing discrimination laws by requiring homeowners to practice a particular religion. They filed their second lawsuit last week.

The first suit

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Dozens of school districts across the state will put bond proposals to voters next month. They are asking residents to pay for improvements in schools, but in some small communities in northern Michigan, a tax hike for your schools can be a tough sell.

RTDNA

Interlochen Public Radio has won a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow award from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, local governments across Michigan aren't letting recreational marijuana businesses open in city limits. But residents in one village Up North are trying to overrule their local government's decision – something that could set a precedent statewide. Plus, a look at one northern Michigan tribe’s maple sugaring operation. 


Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, a renewable energy company wants to build a wind farm in a forested part of the Upper Peninsula, but there’s resistance. Plus, the last coal plant providing electricity in the U.P. shuts down.


Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

After 17 students were shot and killed in Parkland, Florida last year, Benzie County wanted to make their schools safer. They decided to address that by putting cops in their schools, and taxpayers agreed to pay for it. That sounds like a good thing but it turns out it was more complicated than it seemed.

 

Benzie County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Miller started in the schools in January. He serves 1,400 students in the Benzie County Central Schools district and deals with any criminal activity.

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

Reservations will be required for all campsites in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore starting April 1.

Most of the sites at Platte River Campground already took reservations, but D.H. Day Campground was entirely first-come first-serve, leading to long lines overnight as people waited to nab a site. The National Park Service says the change to reservations will fix those long lines.

Charlevoix County Sheriff's Office

Counterfeit money is circulating in northern Michigan, from Emmet and Charlevoix counties to Traverse City and Cadillac. Most of the bills are $100s, have Chinese writing on them and feel more like paper than money.

Captain Jim Bussell with the Traverse City Police Department says counterfeit money has shown up in northern Michigan before but the distribution has changed recently.

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