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Points North

Points North, Ep. 47: Charlevoix pollution rises from the grave, and an update on river drinking

Kaye LaFond
Interlochen Public Radio
Barbara Godwin-Chulick, her daughter and grandchildren live in her building in downtown Charlevoix. The soil beneath it is contaminated with toxic PCE.

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. 



The EPA says Charlevoix would clean itself, but it hasn't

Credit EPA
Map of contamination sources in downtown Charlevoix.


The City of Charlevoix is known for its beaches, lighthouse and fishermen, but it's less well known as a superfund site.

Pollution was first discovered in the city’s groundwater in 1981. The city quickly switched to Lake Michigan drinking water, as legal restrictions were put on the groundwater.

Read the full story here.


No immediate solution for excessive drinking on rivers up north

Credit Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio
Interlochen Public Radio
Crowds of people attended a Boardman River forum Wednesday night.

If you’re upset about drunken crowds on northern Michigan rivers in the summer, don’t expect change anytime soon.

This week, the U.S. Forest Service said it will not prohibit alcohol on the Au Sable, Pine and Manistee rivers this year. 

And at a forum about the Boardman River Wednesday, a Michigan DNR officer said they can’t arrest people for being drunk and disorderly on the water.

Read the full story here.

New ferry service to start on Little Traverse Bay

Little Traverse Bay is getting a new ferry service. It will run from Petoskey to Harbor Springs starting this May.

Peter Fitzsimons runs Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, and he says a ferry is great for those who don’t get on the water much.

"Like Traverse City, like Charlevoix, like Petoskey and Harbor Springs, we liver here, but rarely do any of us get an opportunity to get out on the bay," he says.
But, he adds it can be tough to make a buck.

“I don’t understand the economics of ferries, but if they were profitable, I’m sure we would see more. Mother nature is so unpredictable, you can spend a week at the dock, and not be able to run out on the bay,” he saays.


A nonprofit called the Little Traverse Bay Foundation will run the ferry service.