Taylor Wizner

Health care and tourism reporter

Taylor Wizner is the health care and tourism reporter for IPR News. She joined IPR in 2019 after reporting at WDET in Detroit and graduating from Columbia Journalism School. When not sharing the news of the day, she enjoys being outdoors with her dog and listening to podcasts.

Courtesy of the Michigan State Police

 

The times of lounging on a crowded beach or walking through a busy downtown without a mask are coming to an end.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan announced possible COVID-19 exposure at Torch Lake on July 4, when thousands of visitors partied on the lake’s sandbar.

Courtesy of Munson Healthcare

 

Reversing the trend of many rural hospitals across the country, Munson Healthcare’s Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital is offering inpatient services to Benzie area residents again.

Courtesy of EGLE

 

An Ingham County Circuit Court Judge ruled today to continue a temporary restraining order against Enbridge, while also allowing the company to resume operations on the western leg of its Line 5 pipeline. 

The decision comes after a long hearing in court yesterday, during which the state and Enbridge each made their case for why the state should, or shouldn't, be able to regulate the pipeline.

Interlochen Public Radio

 

The coronavirus is starting to creep back into northern Michigan. 

Taylor Wizner

 

Munson Healthcare says it will cut 25 administrative jobs, alter services and cut capital projects, as it deals with financial losses incurred during the pandemic.

Courtesy COVID Act Now

Update 6/22/20: Northwest Michigan Health Services corrected numbers it shared with IPR. 

Taylor Wizner

 

In the early days of the pandemic Munson Healthcare administrators were in a flurry of panic.

 

 


Governor's Office

 

A new order signed Friday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer will soon allow Michiganders to get their hair cut or styled – as well as head to the gym or a movie theater – with certain precautions.

The restrictions will be lifted first in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula starting Wednesday -- followed by southern Michigan starting June 15th.

In northern counties, indoor gatherings of 50 people will be permissible.

Interlochen Public Radio

 

There continues to be few new COVID-19 cases reported in northwest lower Michigan. No positive diagnoses were added to the region Tuesday. This weekend, the state only revealed a new diagnosis in Wexford County and two in Otsego County. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

 

An inmate at North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin has died after contracting COVID-19.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons indicated the death on its website, Friday.

The site shows 27 inmates are currently confirmed sick with COVID-19, while 56 inmates have recovered from the disease.

The prison holds 1,560 immigrants who have been convicted of federal crimes and will be deported following their sentence.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Clarification 5/21: The following story was edited to clarify statements made by GEO Group. A representative from GEO Group says the company has not been aware of any hunger strikes at North Lake Correctional Facility and that the prisoners' allegations are false. 

Update 5/21: No Detention Centers in Michigan says the North Lake inmates ended their hunger strike on Monday after some situations improved.

About a dozen incarcerated immigrants started a new hunger strike on Friday at the North Lake Correctional Facility to protest their treatment. The activist group No Detention Centers in Michigan reported it’s the fourth strike they’ve been alerted to at the Baldwin facility in the last three months.

Michigan National Guard

 

Michigan is working with the National Guard to test all inmates in state prisons. It’s one of the first states in the country to do widespread coronavirus testing in prisons, which have become hot spots for the virus.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Update 5/14/20: IPR has learned the inmate hunger strike mentioned in the following story ended on May 13. 

As several hundred prisoners from California saturate North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, more than 100 inmates started a hunger strike, refusing food until they’re tested for COVID-19.

All of this is happening as cases of coronavirus double at the immigrant prison.

Taylor Wizner

 

Update 5/13/20: The Federal Bureau of Prisons began publishing data about privately-managed federal prisons around May 8. That information can be found here

On April 21, IPR reported there were nine inmates at the North Lake Correctional Facility who tested positive with COVID-19. 

Since that story was published, IPR has been unable to obtain further information about the number of inmates who are sick, who have died or recovered from the disease. 

 

Michigan DNR

 

Overnight camping at Michigan state parks won’t be allowed until late June, the state Department of Natural Resources says.

State forest campgrounds and harbors run by the DNR will open on June 10, while overnight camping and shelters at state parks are set to open on June 22.

Most state-maintained parks, trails and dock sites are currently open to the public.

The parks have canceled reservations before June 22, including the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the DNR says. 

 

Families and friends that have succumbed to COVID-19 in northern Michigan will live on forever in the memories of those who loved them. 

Every passing was a blow to the tight-knit communities throughout the region. 

Interlochen Public Radio

This story was updated April 22 at 11:55 a.m. with more information from District Health Department #10.

Health officials confirmed coronavirus cases in what the state calls “congregate care facilities” in Otsego and Crawford counties this week. The Health Department of Northwest Michigan says a cluster of nearly 20 positive cases were found at an undisclosed care facility in Otsego County over the weekend.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Nine inmates at the North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin tested positive for COVID-19, according to the state.

Last week, GEO Group — the company that owns the prison — said five prison employees also have the disease.

hatchski/Flickr

Two Michigan residents say their constitutional rights are being violated because they can’t visit their second home in northern Michigan. 

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

National Cherry Festival organizers say the annual Traverse City festival will not go on as planned this year. 

The festival, which typically occurs the week of the Fourth of July holiday, attracts more than 500,000 people a year to the region, organizers say.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

 

  

Updated 4/16/20 with additional North Lake worker who tested positive.

 

Five employees at a North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin tested positive for COVID-19.

Inmates who interacted with infected employees are in medical quarantine, says GEO Group, the prison operator.

North Lake Correctional Facility is a federal prison that holds up to 1,700 immigrants who’ve been convicted of felonies.

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Epidemiologists say the coronavirus is slowing its spread in southeast Michigan and the state could see its peak number of cases soon. But COVID-19 is still appearing in northern Michigan and its peak may come later, some say.

 


Sarah Allis works at Leland Mercantile in Leland. Essential businesses like grocery stores are now required to screen their employees for symptoms of COVID-19 and take proper social distancing measures.
Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

County health departments are asking businesses that remain open to step up their efforts to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

 

One employee who works for Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons, a senior living facility in Traverse City, tested positive for COVID-19. 

The coronavirus diagnostic was announced Tuesday, April 7 by the Grand Traverse County Health Department.

 


Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Inmates inside the North Lake Correctional Facility — an immigrant prison in Baldwin — allege conditions are so unsafe that some have been put in prolonged solitary confinement. 

They further allege prison guards are segregating the facility by race, and the amount of food that they’ve been getting recently hasn’t been enough, specifically citing a lack of protein.  

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