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Your connection to northern Michigan news.

Search and rescue efforts continue for the pilot of the F-16 that crashed in the Upper Peninsula Tuesday night.
Wisconsin National Guard

UPDATE - 12/11/2020: 
The pilot of the F-16 fighter jet that crashed in the Upper Peninsula Tuesday night has been found dead. According to the 115th Fighter Wing, the pilot's identity hasn't been released yet.

Local, state, and military crews searched in dense woods for almost two days before finding the pilot on Thursday.

Steve Ioya / Flickr

A group of Christian high schools claims Michigan’s COVID-19 restrictions violate religious freedom rights. The schools have filed a federal lawsuit in west Michigan to block the continuation of the restrictions.

Today on Stateside, a group of Ann Arbor physicians is calling for in-person schooling for the district’s younger students. We speak with a doctor about why he thinks the benefits outweigh the risks. Plus, as holiday traditions are put on hold, a performance of the Nutcracker moves online. And, Christmas tree sales are booming as people look for a slice of normal in 2020. 

On Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced an extension of the restrictions put in place three weeks ago.
Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

Citing continuing concerns about hospital capacity and “alarmingly high” death rates, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a 12-day extension of the COVID-19 restrictions initially put in place three weeks ago.

Flickr user jimflix!

The state is poised to award over $40 million to fund public land projects this year. The money will go towards big-ticket properties like thousands of acres next to the Pigeon River Country State Forest, land along the St.

The biggest news this month is the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that comes at Winter Solstice, but we shouldn’t overlook next week’s Total Solar Eclipse, even though it won’t be visible to us in North America. The mystery of this eclipse at this time is still important in the unfolding narrative of 2020, which is now in its final chapter.


There have been 57 drownings in Lake Michigan in 2020, which is the most on record according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Fifty-seven people have drowned in Lake Michigan this year, making it the deadliest on record.


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.


Several containment booms have been placed around a sunken barge in West Grand Traverse Bay. Efforts to refloat the vessel began Friday.
U.S. Coast Guard

Efforts to refloat a partially submerged barge in West Grand Traverse Bay started Friday. The barge sank November 30th, about 100 yards from shore.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the vessel still has 40 gallons of oil and diesel fuel on board but it’s not leaking into the water.

Interlochen Public Radio

The number of new coronavirus cases reported in northern lower Michigan appears to be falling, after surging to record highs last month. 

86th District Court Zoom

Update 10/4/20: Both Null brothers have made their bonds and were released Thursday from the Grand Traverse County jail.

An 86th District judge agreed to conditions Wednesday that make putting up bail much easier for two men charged with aiding in a terrorist plot.


Today on Stateside, now that Michigan's ballots have been counted, political demographers are examining the state's 2020 election results. An expert at the Brookings Institute talked to us about how and where support for President Donald Trump formed roots in Michigan—and whether it's likely to continue after he leaves office. Also, we revisit a conversation about parenting amid the COVID-19 pandemic and talk to a Detroit hip-hop artist about breaking the mold in a city rich with talent.

MAXIM JENKINS / WKAR-MSU

After a lot of action in the Spring, the state legislature has been quiet on COVID-19 for months. Instead many have focused on legal and political battles.

Now legislators on both sides say that gridlock over the pandemic is likely to continue.

There was an eclipse in the early hours of this Monday morning, when the Moon came to Full Phase among the stars of Taurus and slipped into the outer edge of Earth’s shadow, which begs the question astrologically: which is easier to deal with, a full shadow, like at total eclipse; or the barest hint of shadow, like this one?

The Grand Haven lighthouse and waves get a good dose of what Todd and Brad Reed call, "magic light" during a November storm in 2015.
Todd and Brad Reed Photography

For most people, November isn’t a great time for a day at the beach. But Ludington photographers Todd and Brad Reed aren’t most people. They dream of capturing Lake Michigan at its gnarliest.


Taylor Wizner

Hospitals across northern Michigan say they have enough beds, ventilators and PPE for this surge in COVID cases — the most of the pandemic.

Their problem now is having the staff to care for these patients, especially as the virus spreads through communities and healthcare workers themselves fall ill.


Charles Dawley

One northern Michigan county reeling from COVID-19 is Emmet County. It’s counted almost 800 cases and 27 deaths from the disease.

Michigan Board of State Canvassers

A bipartisan state board has certified the results of the November 3 general election and awarded the state’s 16 electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.

Michigan DNR biologist Steve Griffith checks on one of several bear traps set up around Traverse City on November 20, 2020.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

In October, a black bear was spotted roaming the Meijer parking lot in Traverse City. That bear, now dubbed the "TC Bear" by the Michigan Department of Natrual Resources, is still on the loose.

Now, the DNR is trying to lure the bear into various traps in Traverse City with things like syrup and bacon, but so far ― it isn't taking the bait. 

In many traditions, this last full week of November draws to a close the season of honoring loved ones who have died, and now ceremonial tradition turns toward the celebration of light that comes at the darkest time of year with Winter Solstice, next month.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers meets Monday at 1 p.m.
Maxim Jenkins / WKAR-MSU

At the Michigan Board of State Canvassers meeting on Monday, two Democrats and two Republicans will meet to certify the results of Michigan’s election. Unofficial results, which have been certified by all of Michigan’s 83 counties, show President-Elect Joe Biden with a lead of more than 154,000 votes, roughly 14 times the margin by which President Donald Trump won the state in 2016.

The resolution of legal claims in the Flint water crisis has taken a significant step.  

Details of a more than $641 million proposed  settlement of civil claims were filed in federal court on Tuesday.

Today on Stateside, we check in with the director of Michigan’s department of Health and Human Services in light of the new COVID-19 orders going into effect Wednesday. We'll also hear about how Native Americans in nineteenth century Michigan were at the forefront of the fight for equal voting rights in the state. Plus, a conversation about how to have awkward conversations surrounding your Thanksgiving plans (or lack thereof).

The Michigan Court of Appeals says certifying the state’s election results will go ahead. The court rejected an emergency motion from Republican challengers unhappy with Election Day vote counting.

Republican poll challengers asked the court to stop the certification of the votes in Wayne County. Because Wayne has the most voters, that would essentially slow or stop certifying the statewide results.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Starting Wednesday, restaurants in Michigan are again limited to delivery and takeout, high school and college classes can only be online, and non-professional sports games are cancelled. That’s under an order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s public health director.

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