Points North

Fridays at 6:45 a.m and 8:45 a.m

Points North is a show about the land, water and inhabitants of the upper Great Lakes.

Each week we look into what draws people to northern Michigan — the beaches, orchards, dunes and forests — and the deeper stories behind these postcard settings. 

How to listen: On the dial Fridays at 6:45 a.m. and 8:45 a.m.  | pointsnorthradio.org | the IPR app | wherever you get your podcasts

A black bear wanders through the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts, just south of Kresge Auditorium on November 6, 2020.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

The number of black bear sightings in northern Michigan is on the rise, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 


Cherry growers mixed business and politics this election season. That's not something the industry has been known to do.


Philip Hutchinson, provided by Terri Wilkerson

A group of tribal citizens and activists have uncovered a potential cultural site at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac from close to 10,000 years ago — the end of the last Ice Age. Researchers say it could be a major archeological find.

 

The cut at this site is called shelter wood. About half the tree canopy was left after harvest. The forest floor was later turned up with construction equipment to allow more seeds to germinate.
Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Young trees have a tough time growing in many northern Michigan forests. That might sound strange since our region is full of trees, but many hardwood species can’t produce seedlings faster than deer can eat them. On this episode of Points North, hear about an idea to solve this problem that might sound counterintuitive: more aggressive logging.

James Marvin Phelps

On the ballot this election is a proposal to change how Michigan spends the money it gets from oil and gas production.

Right now the state uses oil and gas dollars to buy and maintain public lands, and for nothing else.

 

Under Proposal 1 this program would continue in perpetuity.

Courtesy of Michael Huey

Sleeping Bear Dunes turns 50 this month. It’s a destination that brings well over a million visitors to the dunes along Lake Michigan every year

 


Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This week, hear how high water in the Great Lakes is unearthing Native American burial sites. In some places along Lake Michigan, human remains have been discovered at the beach.

Also, more water isn’t the only reason the lakes are higher, a higher elevation that is. The Great Lakes are still rebounding from the last ice age.

 

And what’s in those holes in your garden?

 

    

 

Eric Calabro, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

 

In some inland lakes invasive plants grow so thick, motor boats get stuck and you can’t fish or swim. 


Amanda Holmes

This week we look into why commercial fishers in the Great Lakes have been left out of federal aid for fisheries nationwide, to the tune of $300 million. (The Great Lakes got zero.)

Field Guide: It's not the goldenrod

Sep 17, 2020
Cheryl Bartz

Cheryl Gross says a common misconception is “beautiful yellow goldenrod flowers” are the cause seasonal allergies. 

“They’re not,” says the president of Plant it Wild.

 

Gross says the real culprit is ragweed.  

 

It blooms at the same time as goldenrod, but isn’t very noticeable. It’s dull green with tiny dull green flowers.  

 

Ragweed doesn’t need to be flashy because it doesn’t need to attract insects. 

 

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

This week we bring you two birds with very different reputations. 

Field Guide: tomato hornworms

Sep 4, 2020
Courtesy of Duke Elsner

While no gardener welcomes a tomato hornworm--they eat twice their weight in leaves each day--they are impressive creatures.

 

They pupate underground, six inches underground. Duke Elsner says that’s amazing since caterpillars aren’t really built to tunnel. Then they have to get back out as a moth.  

 

“It’s remarkable how many survive at all in this world,” says the retired MSU Extension educator.

 

Peter Payette

Maria San Miguel was nervous about getting a coronavirus test. 

“I was seeing on the television and the internet that there was something they were going to put up your nose really far,” she says in Spanish. 

Kaye LaFond

This week on Points North, democrats worry the controversial Line 5 pipeline is dividing labor,  environmental and tribal groups ahead of the Michigan primary.

Plus, hear how environmental policies could impact the presidential race in Michigan. 


Michigan likely needs realtor buy-in to pass a septic code

Feb 28, 2020
A man in jeans and a lightly-colored coat stands on a front porch dusted with snow.
Mike Krebs / Traverse City Record-Eagle

Realtors and interest groups opposed to regulation are shaping septic system policies in Michigan's state and local politics.

Realtors don't like the idea of inspections tied to home sales. Anti-regulation lawmakers don't like the alternatives.

Samantha York / Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry

This week on Points North: Grand Traverse Bay is freezing less and less, according to historical data.

Plus, making music that sounds like melting glaciers.

Ice cover on Lake Michigan is happening less and less, and that’s why Grand Traverse Bay hasn’t frozen this year. 

The bay had already frozen out to Power Island by this time last year and the year before.

Read the full story. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North: The foundation of the historic Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort is crumbling.

High waters and waves cracked the barrier that protects it from Lake Michigan.

Plus, there are not many commercial fishers left in the Great Lakes.

In Michigan, they have long been at odds with the state Department of Natural Resources.

Now people who catch fish to sell say the state is attempting to put them out of business.

 

 

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North we take a look at pollution in Charlevoix. Also, there's no immediate solution for excessive drinking on northern Michigan rivers. 

Plus, Little Traverse Bay is getting new ferry service. 

 


Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we examine the tart cherry tariff fallout and what it means for the industry. 

Plus, a Northport man made his childhoom dream a reality after a traumatic brain industry in his late 30s. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we dissect how many elk were poached this winter and why that number has increased. 

Plus, guides are illegally helping hunters bag an elk. What’s next for the guide industry?

Last month, three more elk were poached in the Pigeon River State Forest.

It was the latest in a series of elk poaching that has made the past few months some of the worst in recent memory for Michigan’s elk herd.

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

Rivers all over the world have the same problem — fish can’t swim up them because of dams.

 

Fisheries biologists want to see if they can leave dams in place but allow certain fish to pass, but it’s complicated and the idea has created controversy in Traverse City. 

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we talk to the publisher of the Glen Arbor Sun about a proposed housing development near Crystal Lake. Also, a man lost nearly 80 pounds on a plant-based diet. 

 

Plus, kids now have access to STEM learning at regional libraries. 

 

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

 

This week on Points North, we have inspiration for your New Year’s resolutions with stories about fresh starts and big life changes.

 


 

Golam Rabbani was a human rights lawyer until he was forced to flee Bangladesh for opposing the government. He and his family made their way to Traverse City by way of New York and Port Huron. 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Syringe service programs involve giving medical supplies and clean needles to injection drug users.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say people in those programs are three times more likely to stop using drugs than those who aren't in them.

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we examine propane needs in the Upper Peninsula. Do yoopers need Line 5 for propane, or would they survive without the pipelines?

 

Tribal nations, Michigan’s governor and environmental groups are all calling for a shutdown of Line 5: the pipeline that carries oil underneath the Straits of Mackinac.

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