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Your connection to northern Michigan news.

ANNETTE ELIZABETH ALLEN / NPR

The U.S. House of Representatives is holding open hearings in its impeachment inquiry into President Trump. All hearings will be streamed through this video player as they are live.

An aerial photo of a river with a bridge and an area of vegetation that looks like it's returning after being removed.
Gary Langley / Interlochen Public Radio

Three dams were removed from the Boardman River in Grand Traverse county in the last seven years. It was the largest ever dam removal project in the State of Michigan, and one of its main goals was to return the river to a more natural and healthy state. Scientists say fish, floodplains and aquatic insects are doing well since the dams came out.


Gary Langley, FAA certified sUAS pilot / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we dive into the restoration of the Boardman River since three dams were removed.

 

The story ties into the thousands of aging dams in Michigan. Many are more than 50 years old, and some aren’t safe. Removing them is good for floodplains and native fish, but it costs money — sometimes more than is available.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

A millage that would fund early childhood development for young children in Leelanau County passed in a close vote Tuesday.

 

The tax won by just about 100 votes, with 3,343 votes in favor and 3,244 against, according to unofficial election results as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

 

Leelanau County will continue to provide services for families with children under the age of five for the next five years. 

 

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Jim Carruthers, 56, will remain the mayor of Traverse City.

He won Tuesday’s election against Shea O’Brien, 32, an employee at Burritt's Fresh Market, who had never run for office before.

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

Voters denied a bond proposal for Benzie Central Schools today by a vote of 1,674 to 1,573, according to unofficial election results from the district.

A similar bond proposal failed by a slim margin in May, but turnout was higher this time around with nearly 700 more votes cast, according to District Superintendent Matt Olson. He says the district isn't sure if or when they will put another bond proposal to voters.

"We gotta sit down and do some reflection, we know there needs to be a path forward," Olson said. "The specifics of that path? We gotta digest and figure out."

Michael Gilmore / Flicker

Ten communities will decide Tuesday whether they want businesses to be able to sell recreational marijuana. Last November, the state passed a law legalizing recreational marijuana. Since then, the issue has slowly been debated in communities at the ballot box. 

“I would expect to see for the next several years many local ballot initiatives opting into recreational cannabis businesses in their communities,” said Robin Schneider, executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association. The organization advocates for marijuana businesses.

If ever there was a time to prepare a ceremony of the stars, then this week is it! The Moon is a waxing gibbous through the midnight hour; Venus is putting on her evening gown; and Mars is keeping company with the star of abundance at dawn ~ but that’s not all.

Starting in October 2021, 17-year-olds will no longer automatically be treated as adults in Michigan’s criminal justice system. 


A group of people stand in a brightly-lit concrete tunnel where colorful artwork covers the walls.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday for new artwork installed in the Clinch Park tunnel in downtown Traverse City. The art honors the Anishinaabek, people indigenous to the region — specifically, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

“Mazinaadin,” the name of the new exhibition, translates to “make an image” in Anishinaabemowin. The project is a collaboration between the Traverse City Arts Council and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Tribal chairman Sam McClellan said walking through Clinch Park tunnel was “awesome.”

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, Leelanau voters will decide the fate of an early childhood program.

Plus, tribal and city officials celebrate the new Clinch Park art installation honoring the Anishinaabek.

 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

A program that’s been providing services to Leelanau County young children for twenty years is out of money. To save it, the program’s supporters are asking the community to pay a five year tax that would keep it afloat. Others argue the program overlaps with other government services.

Research shows the first five years of a child’s life are critical to their development and can have lifelong effects. Leelanau County is asking residents to pay a tax that will continue funding a program supporters claim will help children ages zero to five in the county.

Gregory Varnum

The Michigan Court of Claims ruled on Thursday in favor of Enbridge and its plan to house the Line 5 oil pipelines in a tunnel under the straits of Mackinac.

In 2018, former Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law authorizing the Mackinac Bridge Authority to oversee the construction of a tunnel for Line 5. Earlier this year Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a suit for state agencies to stop work on it. Enbridge also filed suit and now the court knocked down Whitmer and Nessel's order.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

The former superintendent of Traverse City Area Public Schools got $180,000 as part of a separation agreement with the district. Ann Cardon resigned Oct. 17 after allegedly clashing with several school board members.

Democratic state lawmakers say all people need to be able to make independent decisions about their reproductive health. House Democrats announced their plan for a so-called Michigan Reproductive Health Act Tuesday.

Ex-MSU president’s criminal case can go to trial

Oct 28, 2019

The criminal case against former president of Michigan State University, Lou Anna Simon, can go forward to trial. A district court judge made the ruling Monday.

Simon is charged with two misdemeanors and two felonies because prosecutors say she lied to law enforcement during its investigation into MSU in the aftermath of Larry Nassar. Nassar is the former sports medicine doctor who pled guilty to sexually assaulting  his patients for decades. 

New public art in Traverse City's Clinch Park Tunnel honors Anishinaabe heritage. The murals were painted by artist Bobby Magee Lopez from Denver, Colorado.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

New public art is now on display in Traverse City at the Clinch Park Tunnel, and it once again features art murals honoring the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

It’s the week of Halloween, a festive and mischievous celebration rooted in the ancient agrarian observance of the Autumn Cross Quarter Day, when stories abound about encounters with supernatural beings associated with fate.

'Red flag' laws could get Senate hearing

Oct 25, 2019

A package of bills in the state house could enact so-called “red-flag laws” that allow law enforcement to take away firearms from people who could be a risk to themselves or others. 

The legislation has been sitting in the senate since February but now bill sponsors say they have been promised a hearing.

Similar laws have or will soon be enacted in 18 other states including Illinois and Connecticut. The laws have been posited as way to reduce mass shootings, domestic violence and suicide.

Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

The online application process for the state’s new Independent Redistricting Commission is now open. People can now apply to be on the 13-member Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced the launch of the online application process Thursday.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

In the midst of tension between the U.S. and global trade partners like Turkey, northern Michigan’s iconic cherry industry is stuck in the middle.

Tart cherry farmers have been undercut by foreign competitors for years. Many farmers thought tariffs implemented by the Trump administration would help, but they haven’t.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, northern Michigan’s signature cherry industry is struggling amid trade tensions and a lack of federal support.

Plus, learn about a 10-acre corn maze in Traverse City. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

If there’s one essential experience of fall in northern Michigan, it’s getting lost in a corn maze. In Traverse City, Jacob’s Farm has hosted a 10 acre corn maze for a decade.

 

 

Wet corn stocks smack in the wind at the maze entrance.

But Brett Hood, the farm manager and maze master, says the windy and rainy conditions don't keeping people away.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Traverse City Area Public Schools. Recently hired Superintendent Ann Cardon resigned last week. Now during the ensuing controversy, social media chatter has turned into efforts to recall several members of the district school board.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers say school buses need to be more secure.

A package of bills would make it a crime to enter a school bus without the permission of the driver. In some cases, it would be a felony. The buses would also be allowed to have a sticker saying that people trying to get on without permission could be arrested.

A bigger focus of the package of bills for student transportation advocates, involves preventing people from illegally passing stopped school buses.

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