Taylor Wizner

Reporter/Producer

Taylor Wizner is passionate about empowering communities through solid reporting. She joined IPR in 2019 after working as an associate producer at WDET in Detroit. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School and the University of Michigan and has interned for NPR’s flagship show "All Things Considered." When not sharing the news of the day, she enjoys eating Detroit-style pizza and listening to narrative podcasts.

Morgan Springer

 

The Glen Lake School Board has identified a likely candidate to be their new superintendent. 

The district, which has been dealing with conflicts since last year, just added three new members to its board last week.

Wikimedia Commons

 

Some Michigan hospitals are experiencing a critical shortage of blood. Blood banks say supply is typically low in the summer because high school students, who make up a bulk of donations, are on break. But this year is especially bad. 

Spectrum Health, which has hospitals in west Michigan, says its reserve is down 84% from normal levels. Statewide blood banks are now issuing an emergency call for people to give blood.

 

Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier accused of sex crimes against many young women, visited and donated to Interlochen Center for the Arts. He was a student camper at Interlochen in the late ‘60s.  

 

A spokesperson for ICA says Epstein made contributions to the school and sponsored the building of a visitors cabin on campus.

 

Epstein stayed at that lodge for a week in August, 2000. But the school says there are no accusations against Epstein from current or former students. 

CREDIT CREATIVE COMMONS

Grand Traverse County health officials say there has been a confirmed case of measles in the county.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Facebook page

 

The National Park Service is improving access for disabled visitors to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Parks Service recently added a ramp at the Platte River boat launch and an all-terrain wheelchair that goes on trails. They also have beach wheelchairs available.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Park Ranger Merrith Baughman says the parks should be available to everyone.

"Here’s some way that people who would otherwise have trouble getting on the beach can access beautiful parts of the park," she says.

The Friends of the Boyne River

Boyne City plans to make it illegal to jump into the river from a stretch of boardwalk and other locations.

Mayor Tom Neidhamer says police noticed large roots and other dangerous material near an area where local kids like to jump 20-30 feet into the water.

"We don't to stop people from having fun," he says. "That's what living in Northern Michigan is all about. But there's a safety issue."

He says swimming and floating on the river will still be allowed.

City commissioners expect to vote on the ordinance at the next meeting on July 9.

Morgan Springer

The Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District has started to replace several members of the Glen Lake School Board.

Four members of the seven-member board resigned on Wednesday, in protest of the departure of the district’s superintendent.

The TBAISD is now looking for applications from people who reside in Glen Lake to finish the remaining terms. Two of the appointments will last for a year, while the others go through 2022.

image captured from Sen. Gary Peters' YouTube page

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has introduced a bill to improve a country-wide broadband coverage map.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Half a century ago, hundreds of pairs of piping plovers lived in the Great Lakes. But by the 1980s, they were on the verge of extinction and only a dozen pairs remained.

Over time, wildlife biologists have helped increase the population. But it’s still well below a stable number and each year there’s a new threat.

 

Piping plovers are small, stout white-gray birds. In the spring, they can be found nesting on the shores of the Great Lakes. Once a fixture on the lakes, the birds are now on the federal Endangered Species List.

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.

Taylor Wizner

More and more school work is being done online, but some students across the country are falling behind their peers because they don’t have internet at home.

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office

The Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office has appointed a new jail administrator.

 

Lieutenant Christopher Barsheff has been promoted to Captain, and will now oversee the Corrections Division. Barsheff has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 1996, and has led the community policing program and supervised deputies.

Barsheff’s predecessor, Todd Ritter, was accused of misusing funds and using his position to engage in sexual relationships with former inmates.

Creative Commons

 

This spring, a measles outbreak in southeast Michigan spread because of a high concentration of unvaccinated people. The outbreak was contained to that part of the state, but Grand Traverse County is still a high-risk area because of the large number of unvaccinated students.

After a state mandate required parents to learn the risks of not vaccinating their kids, immunizations increased across Michigan. But in Grand Traverse Couty, many are still saying 'no' to vaccines.

Meghan Flaska used to vaccine her kids without a thought.

Medical marijuana lottery selection
Taylor Wizner

A lottery was held in Traverse City on Friday to hand out licenses for medical marjiuana centers. The city clerk selected the winners by lottery out of 72 applicants.

Valerie Rissi’s eyes lit up when her business was called.

Rissi was retired until her daughter convinced her to apply for a licence for a medical marijuana center. She worked on her application for over two years

"I thought 13 of 72, what’s your odds? Not real well, but that’s why it’s the lottery," she says.

Creative Commons

Students with disabilities in northern Michigan now have more opportunities to get workplace experience.

A Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District program works with students ages 16 to 26 with cognitive or emotional impairments.

Mimi Kinney, the Transition Coordinator at the ISD, says students are trained and placed in different jobs.

"We help them beef up their self advocacy skills," Kinney says. "Then we help them put them into play and into actual opportunities in the community."

Map shows prescribed burn areas
National Parks Service

For the first time, the National Park Service will do a controlled burn at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Officials say they plan to start the fire in two forested regions covering about 900 acres in the Platte River District.

Micah Bell is a fire prevention educator with the Great Lakes Fire Management Zone. He says without fire as a disruptor, hardwood trees will outcompete the pines and alter the forest’s ecology.

 

Marty Achatz poses with a Sasquatch statue
Marty Achatz/Facebook

 

Marty Achatz was more than a little surprised to be nominated as the Upper Peninsula Poet Laureate for a second time.

"I was absolutely flabbergasted," he says. "Stunned for a couple days."

 

Regardless of what Achatz says, the Ishpeming native is a fan favorite for a reason. Reading his poems you can feel the pangs of heartache and moments of joy in equal measure.

Taylor Wizner

 

Last winter freezing temperatures hit some people harder than others. On Neebish Island, 20 miles south of Sault Ste. Marie, thick ice formed on the St. Mary’s River.

Teen parents in Grand Traverse County
Taylor Wizner

 

As teen pregnancy rates fall across the country, Grand Traverse County is struggling to bring them down. A new program in Traverse City may help; it’s restructured and expanded to include dads.

Grand Traverse County Commissioners
Taylor Wizner

 

After passing a much debated prayer policy, the Grand Traverse County Commission started its first meeting of February with an invocation. 

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners approved two controversial policies today during a meeting that lasted seven hours.  

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City/Facebook

Two weeks into the government shutdown, some Michigan communities are coming together to support federal employees working without pay. One of the groups affected is the U.S. Coast Guard. Workers got their December paycheck on Monday, but they’re not sure when they’ll get their next one.