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Your connection to northern Michigan news.

Besides the beautiful apparition of Venus and Jupiter in the morning sky this week, the thing that will undoubtedly be most talked about is the coming Total Eclipse of the Moon, which will be visible across the United States, reaching maximum totality in the midnight hour of the eastern time zone.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says automotive innovation goes hand-in-hand with Michigan’s efforts to fix its roads. 

Bridge Magazine/Michigan Health & Hospital Association

It’s getting harder to find hospitals where women can give birth in Michigan. The number of hospitals with obstetrics care has dropped significantly over the past four decades, and rural areas have been hit the hardest.

Beth Tarkington

Bob Tarkington always wanted to go to music school. So when the Frankfort summer resident retired, he decided to do just that. It took two tries to get accepted, but now Tarkington is a senior in a jazz studies program in Georgia. He says it’s easy to spot him in his school choir: just look for the student with a shock of white hair.


Snowshoeing at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
NPS.gov/Kerry Kelly 2007

Updated Jan. 15, 2019: As of Saturday National Park maintenance workers have begun plowing and picking up trash.

While many federal employees continue to be out of work during the partial government shutdown, about 30 volunteers are filling in for park rangers at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

Members of the non-profit group Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes have emptied trash receptacles, cleaned and restocked bathrooms, and groomed 20 miles of trails around the Lakeshore.

Michigan's congressman Jack Bergman announced he will donate his salary during the federal government's partial shutdown.
Jack Bergman

Congressman Jack Bergman is donating his salary during the Federal Government’s partial shutdown.

In a statement yesterday, Bergman announced he’s giving his pay to local charities in Michigan’s First Congressional District.

Essay: Cleanliness

Jan 11, 2019

My mother was fond of saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” as she pointed me toward my bedroom.  It was years before I discovered this wasn’t one of the Ten Commandments, wasn’t even in the Bible. 

A new documentary remembers Interlochen's glacial history to the present.
Chris Hintz

When the lumber industry moved into northern Michigan’s forests, settlements popped up everywhere. But when the trees were gone, the lumber camps moved on to new areas and the communities left behind would often fade away.

A new documentary tells the story of why the village of Interlochen was different.

 


THERACANN

Recreational Marijuana became legal in Michigan on Dec. 6, 2018. Otsego County Prosecuting Attorney Brendan Curran says he welcomed it.

“We have a significant drug problem here, and that problem is not marijuana. That problem is drugs that kill people” Curran says. “That’s what I’ve intended to focus as much resources as possible on.”

Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive directive she says will help secure equal pay for equal work among state employees.

The directive prohibits state agencies and departments from asking about a potential employee's current or previous salaries until they give the applicant a conditional offer of employment that includes proposed compensation.

Judy Welch is the executive director for the West Michigan branch of Michigan Women Forward. She says this could help women who have historically been paid less.

Michigan Tech University

After sixty years, the winter study on Isle Royale has been put on hold because of the federal government shutdown. 

CREDIT DAN MOYLE / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

Counties across Michigan are being sued over a common foreclosure practice. When a foreclosed home is auctioned by the county, they keep the profits.

The Crescent Moon is making a solo sweep up the evening sky this week, not meeting a single planet until it passes by Mars next Sunday.

This You Should Know: Balloon man

Jan 5, 2019
Cheryl Bartz

Mike Webb says he’s always been fascinated by balloon twisting – the shaping of ordinary-looking balloons into extraordinary things. The Benzonia resident is the self-styled "chief entertainment officer" for Balloon Dog Productions. In other words, he’s a professional balloon twister.


CREDIT SKEEZE/PIXABAY

The man responsible for shooting another hunter near Torch Lake has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. David Michael Barber of Gaylord was arraigned in court Friday.

Essay: Circle of Light

Jan 4, 2019

I am walking in my neighborhood on a winter day and see a mother pulling a small child on a sled. As they cross the street, the sled bounces down a curb and suddenly I feel the jolt and it is my mittened hands gripping the wooden frame.

U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City/Facebook

Two weeks into the government shutdown, some Michigan communities are coming together to support federal employees working without pay. One of the groups affected is the U.S. Coast Guard. Workers got their December paycheck on Monday, but they’re not sure when they’ll get their next one. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued her first executive directive as Michigan’s governor. The directive requires state department employees to report threats to public health, safety or welfare up the chain of command, and it requires those threats to be investigated.

“We thought this was an important way to lead on the first day. To tell state employees we listen to them, and public health is paramount to anyone’s ego, to anyone’s agenda, to any one department’s arena,” says Whitmer.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to know if a law passed during last year’s lame duck session is constitutional, and she’s enlisted new Attorney General Dana Nessel to look into the matter.

Outgoing governor Rick Snyder signed a law before leaving office. It created the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority. That authority will oversee a tunnel to house a new section of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline. That pipeline carries oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac.

At this great division of time between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, it’s comforting to know that from one year to the next, there will always be eclipses, and meteor showers, and, of course, Mercury will make its several retrogrades. But even with all this predictability, one year differs from the next pretty dramatically in the course of human history, so the trick is to find the unfolding narrative. 

This You Should Know: Animal training

Dec 29, 2018
Fred Keeslar

Wendy Intrieri trained dolphins at SeaWorld for a decade. Now she’s training horses in Leelanau County. Intrieri says she uses positive reinforcement techniques with her animals, a method that can be used with all kinds of pets.


Essay: Chronic Illness

Dec 28, 2018

Sometimes when our family was on a trip, my father would start driving wildly and too fast.  We begged him to stop but he was ornery, rebellious.  My brother and I were terrified, my mother furious.  But Dad wasn’t drunk; he was having an insulin reaction—and needed something to eat. 

The waning gibbous Moon is activating a centuries old traditional story this week when it sweeps past the Beehive Star Cluster an hour before sunrise Christmas morning, and then past the star Regulus at the heart of Leo, the Lion the morning following.

The Beehive Cluster was first catalogued in 130 AD by the Greek astronomer Claudius Ptolemy in his “Almagest”. This fuzzy group of stars is at the heart of the constellation Cancer, and Ptolemy used a word to describe them that means both “hive” and “manger”.

This You Should Know: Grand Traverse Bay

Dec 22, 2018
T.J. Harrison

Oligotrophic. It’s a word that describes the oxygen-rich, nutrient-poor environment of Grand Traverse Bay. Nutrients are the enemy of a healthy bay, says former Grand Traverse Baykeeper John Nelson. And he says everyone has a role to play in maintaining the cold, clean water.

 

 


Morgan Springer

Traverse City Area Public Schools could catch a $700,000 break related to a review of its homeschool program.

The Michigan Department of Education is currently reviewing that homeschool program, the Northern Michigan Partnership, to see if TCAPS collected too much money per students. If that’s what they determine, they could ask the district to pay roughly $700,000 back to the state.

But a spending package passed by the legislature early Friday morning included grant money to cover that cost.

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