Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office

Last week IPR News Radio reported that police in Michigan are responding to many more incidents today than a decade ago, and they’re doing it with fewer officers. Part of the problem is not as many people want to be police officers these days, and it’s especially hard to hire new officers in northern Michigan.


Grand Traverse County

Judge Philip Rodgers announced his retirement from the 13th Circuit Court this week. Rodgers presided over many big cases in northern Michigan, including the fight over a nine-story building in Traverse City.

In a letter announcing his retirement, Rodgers thanked the attorneys he's worked with over the years, calling them “the most interesting and humorous people in the world.”

Grand Traverse Sheriff's Office

Police all over Michigan have a lot more work to do these days. The number of incidents they respond to are up, but the number of officers is down in most places. That’s in part why the Grand Traverse Sheriff’s Office has asked the county for funding to hire five new deputies in 2017. But an audit presented to the county board of commissioners last night says that’s not a good idea. 

 


Aaron Selbig

Grand Traverse County Commissioner Christine Maxbauer was sentenced Monday to a year of probation for drunk driving.

Maxbauer pleaded guilty to the charge. She said she drank a bottle of wine at home July 7th before driving to her sister’s house because of a family emergency.

Maxbauer was arrested by Traverse City police after she hit a parked car on Front Street. Police measured her blood-alcohol content at 0.16 percent – twice the legal limit.

In court, she apologized for what she called “poor judgment.”

County to support health care project for veterans

Aug 17, 2016
Veterans Administration

A new project aimed at improving veterans’ health care has the support of Grand Traverse County. County commissioners passed a resolution tonight supporting Project Cherry Tree, a group that wants to connect local veterans with local health care services.

Right now, many veterans have to drive to Saginaw or Ann Arbor for medical care.

Leaders of the new project want to connect veterans with health care services closer to home. The group also wants to provide educational and job opportunities.

Coffia to face Crandall in 104th district primary

Apr 20, 2016
Betsy Coffia

The race for Grand Traverse County’s seat in the state House has a new – but familiar – candidate. Betsy Coffia filed paperwork to run for the 104th House district before yesterday’s deadline.

Coffia ran for the seat in 2012 and 2014. She says she has hundreds of volunteers from past races who are ready to help again.

Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County’s financial problems have reached crisis level. The county administrator says an emergency manager would be the next step, if the county can't get its financial house in order.

A big part of the problem is there’s not enough money to fund retirement and health care promises made to former employees.

Grand Traverse County Easling Pool

The cost of paying benefits to retired government workers is skyrocketing and taxpayers in northern Michigan are footing the bill. The burden is forcing cities, townships and counties to get creative in how they deal with it.

 

In the village of Kalkaska, four former employees are suing over the village's decision to stop paying for their health care.

 

Grand Traverse County Easling Pool

Easling Pool in Traverse City is set to reopen on Wednesday. Grand Traverse County’s only public pool is under the new management of Grand Traverse Bay YMCA.

“We’re trying to partner with the county to try to save an entity that has been in this community for years," says Jay Buckmaster, CEO of the YMCA. "So we will do what we do, which is run great programming and run great pools, and I guess it’s going to be to the community to see if there’s enough need to be able to sustain it long-term."

Human trafficking charges against Jamel King, a drug dealer from the Detroit area, have been dropped.

Recently, King took a plea deal, pleading guilty to cocaine possession and intent to deliver.

Both Cooney and Traverse City Narcotics commander, Dan King, say human trafficking is a county issue that goes beyond Crick and this one case, but it can be difficult to prosecute.

Grand Traverse County wants the YMCA to run its troubled swimming pool. County commissioners voted Wednesday night to turn management of the Easling Pool over to the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA. The pool has been closed since October due to lack of funding.

The county would pay the YMCA $50,000 in management fees during a one-year trial.

Most commissioners support the plan but County Administrator Tom Menzel said it’s a bad idea.

Northern Michigan Human Trafficking Awareness Summit

 

Law enforcement says human trafficking is definitely happening northern Michigan, but it’s hard to prosecute. 

They have trouble getting victims to talk, and without the victim’s testimony, it’s often hard to tell if prostitution is forced or voluntary.

There’s a summit this Friday and Saturday in Cadillac where they’ll be talking about these issues.

 

More sex crime charges for Native American leader

Aug 20, 2015
Peter Payette

UPDATE: Today, Grand Traverse County prosecutors charged Derek Bailey with two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and with being a sexually delinquent person.

Bob Cooney, prosecuting attorney for Grand Traverse County, says, "These are just allegations, but the idea of a sexually delinquent person is that it’s not just a one-time act. Because of repetitive behaviors, the statute is designed to give the court more discretion to fashion a sentence that is protective of the public." 

Officials don't know why 911 system failed during storm

Aug 6, 2015
Aaron Selbig

UPDATED on Thursday at 1pm with statement from AT&T.

Officials in Grand Traverse County want to know why the 911 system failed during Sunday’s storm.

Emergency calls in Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Kalkaska Counties had to be rerouted for several hours after the storm. Some of the calls ended up at a dispatch center in Petoskey.

Linda Stephan

Updated: Monday at 12 p.m.

Grand Traverse County Chair Christine Maxbauer issued a local state of emergency on Monday afternoon.

Storms ripped through northern Michigan Sunday afternoon and early evening, bringing winds up to 70 miles per hour.

The wind uprooted trees, broke limbs and downed power lines, leading to widespread power outages. Fifteen thousand people in Grand Traverse County were without power as of 10 a.m. Monday morning.

Aaron Selbig

Local governments are turning to social media to reach citizens where they are. 

The Grand Traverse County 911 dispatch center has probably the most-"liked" Facebook page in northern Michigan. Deputy Director Jason Torrey says the idea for the page came in the spring of 2012, when a huge snowstorm caused chaos all over the county.

“It dumped two and a half feet of snow – wet, heavy snow," says Torrey. "It took power out in the whole county.”

Housing task force wraps up work

Apr 15, 2015

Six months after its creation, the Grand Traverse County Joint Housing Task Force has finished its work.

The task force was formed last October to bring together county, township and Traverse City leaders on housing issues. It will hold its final meeting today.

County Planning Director John Sych says the task force was never supposed to last long-term.

“This was really just intended to … bring some of our elected leaders up to speed (and) identify some key actions that they can continue onwards, after the task force has concluded,” said Sych.

Report compares wait times at VA clinics nationwide

Apr 10, 2015

Veterans in northern Michigan rarely face long wait times for health care. That’s according to a new report that compares wait times at veterans’ health facilities across the country.

Nationally, nearly three percent of veterans have to wait longer than 30 days for a medical appointment. But at clinics in Gaylord and Traverse City, that percentage is almost down to zero.

Investigators with the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department recommend criminal charges against a Traverse City police captain. A report released Thursday says Captain Mike Ayling mishandled a police call to the home of then-City Manager Jered Ottenwess.

Ottenwess was not arrested during the February incident but later pleaded “no contest” to charges of domestic violence and resisting police. The investigators asked County Prosecutor Bob Cooney charge Ayling with “willful neglect of public duty.”

Cooney says the request is not an actual criminal charge.

Vaccination numbers trending upward

Mar 31, 2015

Fewer parents in northern Michigan are opting out of vaccinations for their children. Health officials say the trend is positive but there is still more work to do.

In Leelanau County, just over 12 percent of parents requested a vaccine waiver for their kindergarteners this year. That number is down from nearly 20 percent the year before.

In Grand Traverse County, the rate of vaccine waivers is down from 13 percent to just under 10 percent. County Health Officer Wendy Trute says that’s a step in the right direction.

An investigation of the Traverse City Police Department is nearing completion.

Officers did not arrest then-City Manger Jered Ottenwess after responding to a 911 call at his home February 16th. Ottenwess later pleaded “no contest” to charges of domestic violence and attempting to resist police.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney says two lieutenants from the sheriff’s department are conducting the investigation.

“And I expect to get a report fairly soon … possibly within the next couple of days (or) maybe a week at the outside,” said Cooney.

Aaron Selbig

Outbreaks of measles and whooping cough have died down in northern Michigan. But a new state law has gone into effect that makes it harder for parents to refuse vaccinations for their children.

Parents seeking a vaccine waiver for “philosophical” reasons will first have to meet with a public health nurse. Health officials hope the new law will reduce Michigan’s high waiver rate but research shows the plan could be ineffective – or even backfire.

Traverse City Manager Jered Ottenwess has been charged with domestic violence and attempted assault on a police officer.

The charges stem from an incident at Ottenwess' home last week. They were filed today by the Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorneys Office. Prosecutors allege that during a police call to his home last Monday, Ottenwess attempted to assault two officers from the Traverse City Police Department. He is also charged with assaulting his wife.

Police say the city manager of Traverse City was not arrested during a call to his home last Monday but the incident is under investigation.

Police were called to the home of City Manager Jared Ottenwess last Monday afternoon. Traverse City Police Chief Michael Warren describes the call as a “medical assist” but a report from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s office says police responded to “a disorderly subject.”

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