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Your connection to northern Michigan news.

On Tuesday the planet Mars will be closer to us than it will be for another 15 years, so the question is: will we be inspired by the red planet’s genius or its demon?

Courtesy Michigan Executive Officer of the Governor

Citing a recent surge of COVID-19 in the Upper Peninsula, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is moving the region back one stage in the state’s reopening plan.

 

The order will take effect Friday, October 9.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

The small town of Idlewild in Lake County was once called the “Black eden” of Michigan. For decades it attracted thousands of Black musicians, entrepreneurs and families every weekend.

Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance

Cold fall and winter weather may be the death knell for some northern Michigan bars and restaurants, worry several northern Michigan chambers of commerce.

 

Currently, the state requires these restaurants only seat 50% occupancy indoors, while bars can’t serve any patrons inside. Over the summer, the venues overcame those limits by serving more people outside. 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Northern Michigan is mostly white and rural. If you’re Black, like Dilla Scott and her three children, life Up North can be hard.

They say they’ve been harassed over their 30 years living here. They’ve endured, relying on each other and their faith in God.

But now the arrest of a family member has shaken their conviction.

And they are wondering if it is time to go.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Jill Biden, wife of Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, spoke in Traverse City on Tuesday.

A crowd of over 100 people wearing masks and sitting six-feet apart listened outside Right Brain Brewery as Biden called for early in-person and mail-in voting.

“We have to show them we’re not gonna sit by and just watch what happens. We’re going to decide what happens by voting today,” she said.

Biden said her husband would unify the country if elected. Chasten Buttigieg, Traverse City native and husband of former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, also spoke.

Consumers Energy says it will help thousands of northern Michigan residents with their energy bills. The company is pledging $12 million to help state residents and small business owners hit hard by the pandemic.

The utility says for the first time it’s offering assistance to families at most income levels who struggle to pay their bills. They say 40,000 customers in Michigan owe money or are in crisis.

The Harvest Moon rises Thursday, October 1st, and this year, it’s the first Full Moon of Autumn, and the first to appear above the celestial equator. This matters for us in the Northern Hemisphere because it means that from now until Spring, we will experience more moonlight than sunlight.

Today on Stateside, the Upper Peninsula recorded its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases this week, and Houghton County’s public schools will close face-to-face instruction starting Monday for two weeks. We check in with the Western U.P.’s health officer to find out more. Also, a documentary filmmaker’s first feature film, set in Michigan. Plus, a journalist and an organizer on Black voters’ roles in the upcoming presidential election.

Linda Stephan / Interlochen Public Radio

Voting by absentee ballot began Thursday in Michigan.

Absentee ballots were put in the mail to people who requested them. Registered voters can also stop by clerks’ offices to fill out their ballots.

Today on Stateside, Cornelius Fredrick died after being pinned down by staff members at the residential youth facility where he lived. A Michigan Radio investigation found that there were plenty of warning signs about the facility—and the private company that ran it—in the years leading up to the 16-year-old's death. Plus, the Detroit auto show is being pushed back until the fall of 2021. We'll talk about what that means for the city's economy. 

Screenshot of the MI Safe Start Map on Sept. 24

 

Cases of COVID-19 in the Traverse City region have been declining this week and the percent of positive tests has also been decreasing.

 

  

 

But public health officials repeat the same refrain: don’t let your guard down. The pandemic is far from over and the upcoming flu season, in-person classes resuming and the cold pushing people in-doors — where risk is higher — remain top of mind.

 

The Autumn Equinox occurs at 9:31 am on Tuesday the 22nd, but it’s what happens in the aftermath that’s drawing my attention this week, because of its relationship to the threefold mystery of being human.

Interlochen Public Radio

 

Testing wastewater can rapidly detect COVID-19 outbreaks in college campuses, nursing homes and prisons.

Thanks to a $10 million dollar grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act the state is beginning to test wastewater across Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the State Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will team up with local health departments and colleges for the three month pilot.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Most school districts Up North have returned to in-person learning in the past few weeks, and several are already seeing COVID-19 cases among students and staff.

On Stateside, how can schools keep COVID-19 cases under control on campus, while also holding in-person classes? Albion College is hoping that their pandemic pod model might be the answer. Also, why the spectacular skies caused by Western wildfires are a reminder of the collective stakes of climate change. And finally, we hear from members of an artist collective that questions white people's fascination with—and sometimes fetishization of—Indigenous culture.

On Stateside, the state Senate passed a bill this week that allows local and county clerks to begin preparing absentee ballots a day ahead of the election. We check in with two clerks on whether the state's election system is ready for a potential wave of absentee ballots as November approaches. Also, a Detroit Free Press reporter updates on the Big Ten’s decision to resume football this fall. Plus, a look at the legacy of the first Black faculty member at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

Just days before Traverse City students return to in-person learning, the district announced a student athlete has tested positive for COVID-19.

Low Power on WIAA 88.7FM

Sep 15, 2020

WIAA 88.7FM will be operating in low power mode to accommodate a tower climb. Upon completion of the tower climb full broadcast power will be restored. We appreciate your patience and understanding, and if you have issues listening during this time you can always listen online.

Today on Stateside, a petition aiming to curb the governor's executive powers is nearing the number of signatures it needs. And, graduate students at the University of Michigan are continuing their strike against the school over concerns about COVID-19 regulations and precautions. Plus, a conversation with the director of Michigan Opera Theatre about how he plans to add to Detroit’s illustrious musical legacy.

Members of the Graduate Employees' Organization (GEO) at the University of Michigan have voted to continue their strike for another week. The university has called the strike a "profound disruption" to students' education, and has asked the Washtenaw County Circuit Court to order striking GEO members to return to work.

U of M filed a restraining order and preliminary injunction against GEO with the Wastenaw County Circuit Court. GEO leadership assured members that no individual is at risk because U of M filed an injunction, and promised to update its members as it has more information.

When the stars were regarded as divine spiritual beings, or rather the outer vestments of such beings, then it was understood that each month, in its journey through the sky, the Moon would have an encounter with these beings. As such, the Moon was regarded as the coordinator of the festival cycles of the year, for the Moon was the gateway between the earthly/physical and the celestial/spiritual worlds, which are being celebrated in such festivals.

On Stateside, a church in Romeo grapples with systemic and politically motivated vandalism. And, what six months of COVID have looked like. Plus, we continue a focus on Detroit Month of Design with a conversation with the winner of the Design in the City competition.

Students across the state are going back to school this week, and most Up North will return to in-person learning. Kingsley Schools started in late August and had a student test positive for COVID-19 during the first week back.

Courtesy Legs Inn

 

A steady stream of visitors to resort areas in northern Michigan over the summer exceeded national tourism averages. But local businesses are still hurting from lost revenue during the state’s COVID-19 lockdown, and are now putting their hopes into fall tourism.

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