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Points North

Points North, Ep. 32: Crumbling infrastructure threatens Michigan residents and environment

Taylor Wizner
Interlochen Public Radio
Several trees just below the train tracks have fallen into the river because the soil underneath eroded away.

This week on Points North, the Pere Marquette River is internationally-recognized for its brown trout, lake trout and salmon. But locals are worried that a train could soon derail and spill toxic chemicals into the river.

Plus, amidst road budget debates in the State Capitol, hear a Q&A about Michigan's crumbling bridges.

Locals worry erosion could cause chemical spill in Michigan's Pere Marquette River

Credit Taylor Wizner
Jim Bos and Park Smith talk about fishing trips they're planning.

The Pere Marquette River is a nationally recognized trout stream that attracts anglers from all over the world. But 10 years ago, fishermen started noticing land give away just below a rail line that crosses the Pere Marquette.

Locals are worried that a train that runs on the line will soon derail, spilling chemicals into the river.

Hear how it may be too late to stop a disaster.

Michigan's bridges need work — Q&A explains

Credit Rick Pluta / MPRN
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer watches as a road expert explains damage to bridge infrastructure in August.

While Gov. Gretchen Whitmer battles with the State Legislature over the budget for Michigan's roads, the state's infrastructure is collapsing. According to a story in Bridge Magazine, no Midwestern state has a higher percentage of deficient bridges as Michigan, which at 10.7 percent is well above the national rate of 7.6 percent.

Data journalist Mike Wilkinson spoke with IPR reporter Noelle Riley about the issues facing bridges across Michigan. 

IPR's Noelle Riley discusses Michigan's crumbling infrastructure with Bridge Magazine's Mike Wilkinson

Your favorite books

Credit Wikimedia Commons

IPR was at at the Harbor Springs Festival of the Book and the Traverse Area District Library Book sale last month.

We asked visitors what books they love, and here’s what several had to say.

You told us what your favorite books are.

Inspiration for this project comes from Bookmarks, a new series from “To The Best of Our Knowledge.” 

The show’s host Anne Strainchamps will be at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Traverse City on Tuesday, Oct. 15 to share book recommendations from some of the world’s greatest authors. 

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.