Grand Traverse County

Taylor Wizner

 

It’s exactly 1 p.m. Monday when Interlochen residents Aaron and Mary Kay Stander click on Grand Traverse County’s website.

Morgan Springer

A former jail administrator in Grand Traverse County is headed to prison after receiving a minimum of 16-months in jail for embezzlement and neglect of duty. 

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

State prosecutors have struck a plea deal with a former Grand Traverse County jail administrator charged with abusing his office. In the 13th Circuit Court Friday, Todd Ritter pleaded guilty to three charges, including embezzlement and willful neglect of duty.


Taylor Wizner

 

Northwest lower Michigan is seeing a rapid rise in the number of COVID cases. Until recently, the region has largely avoided COVID spikes.

But as temperatures drop, residents are having to shift practices and behavior. 

In late May when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the stay-at-home order for northern Michigan, Traverse City local Tyler Harkert braced for a rush of downstaters. 

Interlochen Public Radio

 

Northwest lower Michigan health departments reported 37 possible COVID-19 exposure sites since Monday, August 10.

 

They included typical exposure sites, including restaurants, retail stores and airplane flights, but they also include other types of locations that have recently cropped up — a community pool, skate park and a ferry.

Morgan Springer

Former Grand Traverse County Jail Administrator Todd Ritter was in district court virtually Friday facing four felonies and one misdemeanor. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has charged him with embezzlement, larceny, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, misconduct in office and willful neglect of duty.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

 

State or local health department confirmed COVID-19 cases in northern Michigan:

Last updated September 29, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.

Paul-W, Flickr

Beach access is now being permitted in some locations after heavy rains on Saturday led to a sewage spill in the Boardman River.

 

After E. coli tests were done yesterday, the Grand Traverse County Health Department says Clinch Park and Bryant Park Beaches are safe for full body contact.

 

Slightly higher E. coli levels allow only for partial body contact at Sunset Park Beach.  This includes activities such as wading, fishing and paddling.

Peter Payette

Grand Traverse County residents are having a hard time coping with the Great Lakes’ near record high lake levels.

“We’re seeing unprecedented storms and high, high levels in the lakes and groundwater, and the combination is just causing a lot of issues unfortunately,” said Arthur Krueger, director of municipal utilities for Grand Traverse County.

One of these issues is regular flooding in basements of local homes and businesses. Some desperate residents have turned to illegal solutions.

Dan Wanschura

The public health advisory for Grand Traverse County has been lifted today.

 

E. coli levels in the Boardman River have now returned to a safe level for full body contact with the water.

 

After heavy rains caused 54,000 gallons of sewage to leak from a manhole cover into the Boardman River last Thursday, several beaches and locations along the Boardman River were closed.  All of those locations are open and safe for use again.

 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

More Democrats are running for office in Grand Traverse County than ever before, says the local Democratic chair.

Democrats will run for seats in county government, including board of commissioners and township trustee, according to a press release.

“There is a lot of energy … for change, transparency and a different form of government than what everybody seems to be used to,” says Grand Traverse County Democrat Party Chair Chris Cracchiolo.

Interlochen Public Radio graphic

A man in his 60s and a woman in her 70s died of COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County in a 24 hour time period.

A woman walks across an empty Front Street in Traverse City on Saturday, March 28, 2020. Grand Traverse Health Department officials want visitors coming to the county coming from COVID-19 hot spots to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

If you’re traveling to Grand Traverse County, please quarantine yourself. That’s the message from the Grand Traverse County Health Department. It's requesting a 14-day self-quarantine for anyone coming to the county from areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.


Aaron Selbig / Interlochen Public Radio

Grand Traverse County is declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus. Chairman of the county board of commissioners Rob Hentschel said in a letter that the declaration will make state and federal funds available to buy much needed equipment for hospitals and medical providers. 

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

 

The Grand Traverse County Health Department says a symptomatic person who later tested positive for COVID-19 may have spread the disease in the community last week.

The sick person was on a Delta flight from Detroit Metro Airport that arrived in Traverse City at about 5 p.m. last Monday. The health department says people who were on that flight should self-quarantine until next Monday.

Kaye LaFond

 

The Grand Traverse County Health Department repored its first positive case of COVID-19 on Sunday.

The resident is a man in his 20s who has a history of international travel. He is recovering at his home. 

The Health Department says its working to identify and contact anyone the man potentially exposed. 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Over the weekend, Grand Traverse County officials released guidelines for residents to stop the community spread of coronavirus. 

Administrators say there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County, as of noon Sunday.

 

Aaron Selbig

A lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday alleges that inmates of the Grand Traverse County Jail can't get prescribed medications from health care officials.

Greg Hall filed the suit with his mother Cheryl Hall and brother-in-law Brad Lafuze, both of whom have been incarcerated at the Grand Traverse County Jail.

Max Johnston

The 86th District Court in Traverse City has changed their policy on third party bond payments. It comes after a letter sent Tuesday from The American Civil Liberties Union that accused the court of using an unconstitutional bail policy.

In a letter to the court and the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Office, the ACLU says the court used bail payments from the family and friends of defendants to cover various court costs on their cases, which they say is unconstitutional.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Court-appointed attorneys defend people who can’t pay for a lawyer of their own, but the state didn’t give those attorneys a fair shot to defend their clients, according to the ACLU.

That means more convictions and harsher sentences that could have been avoided, says the ACLU. More state funding and training for those lawyers is meant to balance the scales.

(Editor's note: We recommend you listen to the story before reading.)

Taylor Wizner

More than 50 people wanting to recall Rep. Larry Inman, R-Williamsburg, met at the Traverse Area District Library yesterday, asking people for help collecting signatures and donating money and supplies.

Petitioner Sandy Hardy says the group seeks a recall because Inman is not serving his constituents.

“So we are here because we want representation and we feel we deserve it,” she says.

Many people were upset Inman has missed over 80 legislative votes since May and that he is still collecting a salary. 

Noelle Riley

Two controversial agenda items proposed by the Grand Traverse County Commissioners supporting Line 5 and the U.S. Census question were postponed Wednesday.

Aaron Selbig

The State of Michigan Court of Appeals says Traverse City Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power showed “extreme bias.”

Last year Power sentenced Samantha Lynn Hughes to 13 to 24 months in prison for methamphetamine use. Hughes was pregnant at the time, and the sentence would have kept her in prison for the birth of her child.

“Thinking about [Hughes] versus the unborn child I think I know whose side I’m on,” Power said.

In their decision, the Court of Appeals said that sentence was unfair.

CREDIT CREATIVE COMMONS

Grand Traverse County health officials say there has been a confirmed case of measles in the county.

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office

Green Lake Township currently relies on other deputies from across Grand Traverse County, but now the county will assign an officer to the township.

Interlochen Center for the Arts, Green Lake Township and Grand Traverse County will split the bill. Overall, the officer will cost about $130,000, which includes training and equipment costs.

Vice President of Finance and Operations at ICA Pat Kessel says an officer nearby will make campus safer.

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