News

Your connection to northern Michigan news.

A river flows through a wooded landscape. The banks are lined with hemlock trees and half-melted piles of snow.
Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently seeking public comment on an application for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) to set their own water quality standards. The KBIC is based out of L'Anse Township in the Upper Peninsula.

Stephanie Cree, water resources specialist for the tribe, says they would be the first one in Michigan to have that authority.

“It's gonna allow us to set our own water quality standards for the waters here on the reservation, where right now we follow the standards of state and federal guidelines," she says.

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

Five people who design newspaper layouts were laid off in Traverse City on Tuesday. They worked for CNHI, the company that owns the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Record-Eagle Publisher Paul Heidbreder says the employees were part of a local "design hub" that worked on layouts for newspapers across the country, but CNHI is reducing the number of papers designed out of Traverse City. 

Dan Wanschura

Elections were held across Michigan on Tuesday, and school bonds were on many ballots.

Unofficial election results show that school bonds in Ludington and Leland passed, but a $47.8 million proposal for Benzie County Central Schools narrowly failed by 114 votes, or just under 2 percentage points. Another proposal in Kingsley Area Schools overwhelmingly failed with 73 percent of voters saying ‘no.’

DTE Energy

DTE Energy is among 60 Fortune 500 companies that did not pay federal income taxes in 2018. That’s according to the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

DTE spokesperson Peter Ternes confirmed in an email they did not pay those taxes last year.

Ternes says the company, which provides electricity and natural gas to millions of customers in Michigan, follows current federal tax laws and claims their capital investments as deductions.

Up North Pride

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will be the grand marshal for an LGBTQ+ pride march in Traverse City next month.

The Visibility March will be held by Up North Pride, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group. Founder Jonny Cameron says they chose Nessel because she has fought for LGBTQ+ rights during her career.

“She’s making sure that we are protected, as parents, as families, in the state of Michigan,” Cameron says.

Up North Pride says Nessel is the first openly gay candidate elected to state office.

Nearly 1000 years ago, a star went super nova in the region of the Bull’s Horns, in Taurus, and this week, the waxing crescent Moon will sweep over the very spot, opening the door on a fascinating bit of cultural and scientific history.

Medical marijuana lottery selection
Taylor Wizner

A lottery was held in Traverse City on Friday to hand out licenses for medical marjiuana centers. The city clerk selected the winners by lottery out of 72 applicants.

Valerie Rissi’s eyes lit up when her business was called.

Rissi was retired until her daughter convinced her to apply for a licence for a medical marijuana center. She worked on her application for over two years

"I thought 13 of 72, what’s your odds? Not real well, but that’s why it’s the lottery," she says.

Ludington Area School District

School districts across Michigan have bond proposals going to a vote on May 7.

Ludington Area Schools district is asking the community for a new elementary building, renovations to the middle and high school and improvements to technology, transportation, arts and athletic facilities.  

District Superintendent Jason Kennedy says the district needs signficant renovations.

"The average age of the facilities in Ludington is 64 years old," Kennedy says. "We need to consider doing more than just fixing and repairing the facilities."

GREGORY VARNUM

Electrical cables in the Straits of Mackinac were severed when an anchor struck them last year. More than 400 gallons of mineral oil, acting as a coolant, leaked out.

The Line 5 oil pipelines were damaged during the same incident.

A proposed tunnel would house Line 5 and the electrical cables to avoid more damage, an idea Enbridge Energy supports and Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she is open to.

But in a letter, Vice President of American Transmission Company Tom Finco says that plan could be dangerous.

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.

Creative Commons

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.

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