News

Your connection to northern Michigan news.

Dan Wanschura

More than 50 Michigan counties will hold elections Tuesday, May 7. School funding is the focus of most of them.

Benzie County Central Schools district is asking voters to approve $47.8 million for a new elementary building and an addition to the middle and high school. Ludington, Kingsley and Leland school districts also have bond requests.

Kalkaska County wants to improve the Kaliseum Recreational Complex. It’s asking for a 1.5 mill increase to its facilities millage.

Wikimedia Commons

A former juvenile corrections facility in Baldwin could become a prison for immigrants. 

In a press release, State Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) said the current owners of the shuttered North Lake Correctional Facility received a 10-year federal contract. It would allow Geo Group, Inc. to hold non-U.S. citizens for immigration offenses and other crimes.

VanderWall says it would bring more than 300 jobs to the area.

Essay: Looking Back

May 3, 2019

“The first time I saw your mother,” my father liked to say, “I knew I was going to marry her.’” He was sitting in church choir at the time and my mother was coming in late to practice. Late on purpose so that she would be noticed. It was a fairytale beginning, my parents’ marriage. 


Michigan students are a signature away from getting four snow days forgiven after a brutal winter left some schools closed for weeks. The state Senate sent the bill to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk Thursday. 

GREGORY VARNUM

The Line 5 oil pipelines in the straits of Mackinac were struck by an anchor last April. Then at a hearing held by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) in August, Enbridge Energy Vice President David Bryson pledged to release information on the strike.

Courtesty of Theresa Schurman

This week on Points North, a hunter was shot and killed by another hunter on opening day of deer hunting season last fall. It was ruled an accident, but it became apparent there was more to the story. Plus, the bond between a hunter and his dog.


Courtesty of Theresa Schurman

Last year, two people were shot and killed in Michigan while deer hunting. One of the victims, Justin Beutel, was hunting on family property near Torch Lake. 

It was Nov. 15, opening day of firearm deer hunting season, when another hunter shot Beutel from about 50 yards away. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigated the case. 

“We would classify it as an accident at this point,” says Lt. Jim Gorno, a DNR conservation officer.

A state Senate committee approved a budget provision to financially penalize communities with sanctuary city policies. 

State officials are warning Michiganders to completely avoid touching PFAS foam. Previously, they emphasized not ingesting it.

PFAS (poly and perfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of chemicals used in firefighting foam, water-proofing substances, and more. The chemicals have been found in 119 municipal water systems.

The Michigan DNR has proposed a partial ban on deer baiting in the U.P. among other recommendations, in advance of the 2019 hunting season.
Michigan DNR

A ban on deer baiting could spread to the Upper Peninsula for the 2019 hunting season.

Last year, the first deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in the U.P. and that prompted the recommendation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The deer was found in southern Dickenson County.

Chad Stewart, deer and elk specialist for the DNR, says the ban would not be across the entire U.P.

“We’re proposing just a small area focused around that index case that we identified last year,” he says.

Michigan students may not get any additional snow days forgiven this year. 

The state Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would have forgiven four state declared emergency snow days. But after that vote, several Democrats voted to not give the bill immediate effect. It’s a procedural move which renders the bill useless because it would not take effect until well after the school year has ended.

BRIDGE MAGAZINE/MICHIGAN HEALTH & HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION

The hospital in Manistee will close their maternity unit on May 31. In a statement, the CEO of Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital James Barker says providing maternity services is a challenge for rural hospitals.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Dollar General is a chain of convenience stores that sell a variety of cheap goods. They have more than 15,000 locations across the United States, that’s more branches than McDonalds.

Dollar General says they offer customers an affordable and convenient shopping choice, but some small communities in northern Michigan say they undercut local business.

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Students with disabilities in northern Michigan now have more opportunities to get workplace experience.

A Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District program works with students ages 16 to 26 with cognitive or emotional impairments.

Mimi Kinney, the Transition Coordinator at the ISD, says students are trained and placed in different jobs.

"We help them beef up their self advocacy skills," Kinney says. "Then we help them put them into play and into actual opportunities in the community."

This week we’re already halfway through the Spring, when the “Cross Quarter” known as May Day occurs on May 2nd, which was a time celebrated in ancient Rome as the festival of Floralia, in honor of the flower goddess Flora, the daughter of Oceanus and the beloved of Zephyrus, the west wind.

Wikimedia Commons

Judges say Michigan’s 1st Congressional District was gerrymandered and needs to be redrawn. It was part of a federal court ruling announced Thursday.

Michigan's 1st Congressional District streches over most of northern Michigan and the entire Upper Peninsula. In their decision, the judges said the district was drawn to benefit Republican candidates.

On this edition of Michigan Writers on the Air:

Author Heather Shumaker will discuss her debut children’s book, The Griffins of Castle Cary,

Veteran women’s fiction and romance writer Tanya Anne Crosby will read from and talk about her newest novel, Everyday Lies,

And Fleda Brown will read some stunning shipwreck poems by Michigan writer Cindy Hunter Morgan.

Listen to the whole episode below:

CARLOS OSORIO / AP

Originally published on April 25, 2019 8:07 pm

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

A federal court in Michigan says that the state's Republican-controlled legislature unfairly drew some of Michigan's state legislative and U.S. House district lines and that a divided government will have to come up with new boundaries.

Essay: Leaving Home

Apr 26, 2019

It began with me sleeping overnight at my grandparents’ house. They lived close by, so it didn’t feel like being away, or not very far away. The next step was sleeping overnight at my best friend’s. Everything about Bonnie’s house was different:  late bedtime, unlimited candy, noisy furnace. 


Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, after school bonds fail, some districts keep asking taxpayers again and again to change their minds. One small district in northern Michigan is renewing their attempt. Plus, more religious discrimination allegations against Bay View and local musicians play a violin that made it through the Holocaust.


BAY VIEW CHAUTAUQUA INCLUSIVENESS GROUP

Bay View Association, a summer resort community in Petoskey, has been under fire for alleged housing discrimination. A group of homeowners has filed two lawsuit against the association, claiming it is violating housing discrimination laws by requiring homeowners to practice a particular religion. They filed their second lawsuit last week.

The first suit

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Dozens of school districts across the state will put bond proposals to voters next month. They are asking residents to pay for improvements in schools, but in some small communities in northern Michigan, a tax hike for your schools can be a tough sell.

Libor Ondras holds a violin from the 'Violins of Hope' project. It's a collection of violins that made it through the Holocaust.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

During the Holocaust, some six million Jewish people were killed. Some of them were musicians. 

Currently, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra has a violin which made it through the Holocaust. The violin is a rich brown color and has a beautiful inlaid Star of David decorating the back of it.

Map shows prescribed burn areas
National Parks Service

For the first time, the National Park Service will do a controlled burn at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Officials say they plan to start the fire in two forested regions covering about 900 acres in the Platte River District.

Micah Bell is a fire prevention educator with the Great Lakes Fire Management Zone. He says without fire as a disruptor, hardwood trees will outcompete the pines and alter the forest’s ecology.

 

Julie Viken / Pexels

The fight over abortion rights has resumed in the state Legislature. A state House committee opened hearings Wednesday on legislation to ban the dilation-and-evacuation abortion procedure.

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