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Points North

Points North, Ep. 3: Surviving winter

Taylor Wizner

This week on Points North, a community prepares to be stranded on an island in the middle of winter. Plus, a furrier transforms animal pelts into expensive clothes. 

Neebish Island community braces for winter isolation

Credit Taylor Wizner
A ferry takes people to and from Neebish island -- when ice isn't in the way.

Last year on Neebish Island, 20 miles south of Sault Ste. Marie, thick ice formed on the St. Mary’s River. When the U.S. Coast Guard cut it, the island ferry got stuck, and residents were stranded at home for almost a month. Islanders call this 'ice cutting season,' and they know they could be stuck at some point during each winter.

Learn how Neebish Island residents are preparing for this 'ice cutting season.'

One of the few furriers in the state wants to keep you warm

Credit Morgan Springer
Michael Fridrich Henke has something to keep you warm in the winter: fur.

There used to be a furrier in most Michigan towns, says Michael Fridrich Henke. Now, he says it’s a dying craft. That hasn’t stopped Henke, a third generation furrier, who has worked the trade off and on for the past 40 years. 

Michael Fridrich Henke is the owner of Fridrich Furs in Traverse City.

We want to hear from you:

In an upcoming show, we’ll have a story about how tariffs are impacting cherry farmers. Have trade wars or policy affected your life? If so, how? Maybe you’ve watched the price of milk change or paid more to buy a car.

Call us with your comment at 231-276-4444 or email a voice memo to You can also post a comment below.

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. 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, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.