Grand Traverse County

Aaron Selbig

The Grand Traverse County Health Department wants another nurse to help fight outbreaks of measles and pertussis.

The health department has been stretched thin since the pertussis outbreak began six weeks ago. Workers have put in more than 1,000 hours of overtime and many worked through Thanksgiving.

Health Officer Wendy Trute says her team has been busy re-tracing the steps of people who have come down with pertussis and measles.

Grand Traverse County could be facing an outbreak of measles following a pair of confirmed cases of the disease. 

Two siblings, ages 19 and 20, apparently contracted the disease while on a recent trip to the Philippines. That country has had a serious measles outbreak over the last year, with more than 50,000 reported cases and more than 100 deaths.

The two siblings had not been vaccinated against measles.

Grand Traverse County no longer leads the state in the number of illegal dump sites.

Last month, the Michigan Department of Resources identified 55 dump sites on public land throughout the county. But thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers, all 55 piles of trash have been cleaned up.

The effort was led by DNR volunteer coordinator Ada Takacs. She said all sorts of things were found at the sites.

“We find anything from gum wrappers all the way up to major … trailer homes that were abandoned and then maybe stripped of metals," she said.

Mall worker died of a heart attack, says pathologist

Oct 15, 2014
Tom Carr

Police say the man whose body was found yesterday morning at the Grand Traverse Mall died of a heart attack – and not as a result of foul play.

An autopsy performed in Grand Rapids on 64-year-old Ricky Alan Billings confirms the cause of death.

The Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office originally called Billings’ death “suspicious,” due to a wound found on his head. But a pathologist’s report says the wound was not a contributing factor to his death.

Billings was employed as a night-shift housekeeper at the mall.

Tom Carr

 UPDATE: 5:50PM The Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man found dead as 64-year-old Ricky Alan Billings, who was a night shift housekeeper at the mall. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday in Grand Rapids.

Police are investigating a death at the Grand Traverse Mall in Traverse City.

Lt. Brian Giddis of the Grand Traverse Sheriff's Dept. said the death occurred inside the mall, sometime after closing hours last night. The body of a man between 60 and 70 years old was found this morning. Police do not know the cause of death.

Kids Cove closed due to elevated arsenic levels

Sep 25, 2014
Grand Traverse County

Officials in Grand Traverse County have closed Kids Cove playground after a test revealed elevated arsenic levels in the soil.

Tom Carr

While the state of Michigan grapples with how to regulate e-cigarettes, the electronic glow of the devices will still be allowed at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center.

The county parks and recreation commission has snuffed out a proposal to ban electronic cigarettes on civic center grounds. Smoking traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products is already prohibited.

But Dan Laubenheimer, who manages an e-cigarette store, applauded the committee’s decision not to ban the devices.

Some Gun Enthusiasts Favor Moving Hoosier Valley Range

Jun 17, 2014
Michigan DNR

Some gun enthusiasts are supporting the state’s plan to move the long-time gun range in Hoosier Valley. The shooting area could soon be replaced by one of three proposed sites in Grand Traverse County.

People have been shooting at Hoosier Valley since the 1960s. But residents living nearby began to complain about noise and safety concerns in the last few years.

DNR Plans to Replace 'Hoosier Valley' Gun Range

Jun 11, 2014
Laura Herberg

The state Department of Natural Resources plans to replace a long-time shooting range south of Traverse City. The informal gun range is in Hoosier Valley.

It’s prompted complaints from residents in Blair Township concerned with noise and safety.

Bill Sterrett is a District Supervisor with the DNR. He says a subdivision of more than 100 homes is located near the range.

“It’s not that it’s been a dismal failure there. It’s just the location itself is just not conducive to … to having shooting occur in such close proximity to other populated areas.”

Three school districts up north are asking voters to pay to improve safety, technology and buildings. Alanson, Elk Rapids and Manton school districts all have new measures on the ballot for next month’s election.

Last November, almost half the schools in Michigan were unsuccessful at getting voters to approve their bond proposals. That included Elk Rapids Public Schools, which lost by a narrow margin. They are back with the exact same proposal that includes security upgrades at all its buildings and a new high school gymnasium.

A Grand Traverse County deputy testified in federal court he had no choice but to shoot Craig Carlson after a stand off at the man’s Interlochen home in 2007. Wednesday’s testimony was the first time Charlie Jetter has spoken publically about the shot he fired, ending an 11-hour barricade.

Arriving On Scene
Deputy Charlie Jetter lived close to Craig Carlson’s home in Interlochen. He was one of the earlier officers to arrive on the scene as part of a regional SWAT team.

Jury Could Hear Carlson Shooting Case

Jan 6, 2011

A federal judge has ruled in favor of former Grand Traverse County sheriff Scott Fewins in a wrongful death lawsuit that goes back to a 2007 police scene.

But it remains a question whether a deputy and sharp-shooter used excessive force when he killed Craig Carlson. That may go to trial this fall.

Craig Carlson died by a single bullet, after an all-night standoff with police at his home in Interlochen. He was 49. Three years after his death, and it's the final moments of his life that remain a mystery.

Former GT County Sheriff Dismissed From Lawsuit

Jan 5, 2011

A civil lawsuit against Grand Traverse County and former Sheriff Scott Fewins has been dismissed by a federal judge.  But the sniper who shot Craig Carlson in November 2007 could still end up before a jury. Deputy Charles Jetter is accused by Carlson's family of using excessive force.

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