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Points North, Ep. 43: Glen Arbor proposed development, veganism and STEM kits for kids

Noelle Riley
Interlochen Public Radio
Elijah Daddario, left, uses a 3D pen with the help of Andy Schuck, youth coordinator at Traverse Area District Library. The 3D pen is one of 22 toys found in STEM kits available at the library.

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. 





Glen Arbor eyed for housing development
Credit Angela Brown / Leelanau Vacation Rentals
Revamping Crystal Harbor Marina in Glen Arbor is also included in a businessman's proposal to build a housing development next to Crystal River.


People looking for a scenic shallow river to paddle in northern Michigan often find the Crystal River.


It flows through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore before reaching Glen Arbor, and it’s as clear as its name. 


Now a businessman in Glen Arbor wants to buy $4.5 million dollars worth of property on the Crystal River, just upstream from the boat launch.  


And the idea has raised an outcry in the community. 


Jacob Wheeler publishes the Glen Arbor Sun and has been writing about the proposal and joined IPR in studio to talk about it. 



Listen to what he had to say here.


Local man loses 80 pounds on plant-based diet
Credit Courtesy
John Vinkemulder switched to a plant-based diet years ago.



John Vinkemulder, of Frankfort, was overweight most of his adult life. 


A doctor told him he needed a stent in his heart, but a friend told him about a book a few years ago that changed his life. 


He never had to get the stent.


Red Pine Radio producer Leslie Hamp caught up with John at one of his favorite places to eat — Burger King, that offers a plant-based burger. 



Listen to the full story here.


STEM kits in northwest Michigan libraries boost learning
Credit Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio
Traverse Area District Library Youth Coordinator Andy Schuck stands with Newton's Road Executive Director Barb Termaat. They teamed up to offer STEM kits at the library.


Libraries around the region are making science fun for kids.


It’s part of an effort to make science and technology more accessible to youth in the Grand Traverse region. 


A local nonprofit called Newton’s Road is giving libraries high tech toys like robots and complex puzzles in STEM kits.


Elijah Daddario, 5, played with the kits last Saturday at the Traverse Area Distict Library. His grandfather Don Daddario was with him, as he often takes Elijah to the library.


The library’s Youth Coordinator Andy Schuck was also on hand to help Elijah.


“We identified this a couple years ago as a need for families that weren’t able to get it at school or after school,” he said.


The STEM kits started at his branch two years ago, and there are 22 different types of learning tools found in the kits.


They’re now also available in Elk Rapids, Traverse City East Bay and Kingsley libraries, thanks to $2,000 in grant money from Traverse City Sunrise and Elk Rapids rotaries. 


“Right now and 15 to 20 years from now... there are going to be a lot of STEM jobs, using a lot of these same problem solving tools,” Schuck said. 


Coding, geometric concepts, computer programming, physics and anatomy are just a few concepts learned from toys in the kits. 


“One of the coolest ones is the squishy human body, where the organs are all squishable and so kids can stretch out the small intestines and see that it’s longer than the entire body,” said Barb Termaat who runs Newton’s Road. 


The goal now is to raise more money and get the kits in 20 libraries across the region, she said.


Parents and kids can check our the STEM kits for free.


For Sarah Flickinger, who has two daughters under 7 years old, that’s a win.


“It’s a good way to kind of bring Science into the house and make it interesting,” she said.


She also loves that the STEM toys go back to the library and don’t stay in her toy collection.


To find out more about Newton’s Road, click on this link.


Listen to the full story here.

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