Northern Michigan Elections & Government

Linda Stephan

A plan to boost funding for drug enforcement in Benzie County could face problems if voters approve it.

Questions have emerged over the language used in the ballot proposal.

Police Report Reveals New Details From Gomery Case

Aug 12, 2014
David Cassleman

Grand Traverse County’s Prosecutor has released police reports from the Clarence Gomery case.

Gomery pleaded not guilty in District Court last Friday to a charge of solicitation to murder. He is accused of trying to hire a hit man in July to kill attorney Christopher Cooke.

Gomery Case Headed To Trial

Aug 8, 2014
David Cassleman

A judge in Traverse City decided on Friday that there is enough evidence against attorney Clarence Gomery to bring his case to trial.

Gomery pleaded not guilty in District Court to a charge of solicitation for murder. He is accused of trying to hire a hit man in July to kill attorney Christopher Cooke.

Gomery is a former assistant prosecutor for Grand Traverse County -- and former county prosecutor for Leelanau County.

Schmidt Faces Bellfy For Senate Seat

Rep. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) will be the GOP nominee for the 37th state Senate race this fall. He beat Rep. Greg MacMaster (R-Kewadin) with about 55 percent of the votes cast in the GOP primary.

Unofficial results have Schmidt beating MacMaster in every county in the senate district but Cheboygan.

Both candidates are currently representatives in the Michigan House.

As Boomers Age, Counties Ask Voters For Senior Funding

Aug 1, 2014
Kalkaska County Community Center

Many voters in northwest Lower Michigan will decide whether to continue funding services for senior citizens in Tuesday’s primary election.

Leelanau County and Emmet County each have senior millage renewals on the ballot -- and two other counties in the area are looking to increase property tax rates.

They’re responding to an ever-growing population of seniors, whose numbers are straining budgets.

Linda Stephan

Benzie County will ask voters to boost funding for drug enforcement this November. Officials in the cash-strapped county have created a millage proposal that would allow a sheriff’s deputy to join the region’s drug task force, called the Traverse Narcotics Team.

Laura Herberg

The Traverse City splash pad needs major repairs, according to a preliminary report by consultants hired by the city.

The report details 18 different issues -- including safety hazards. It also says the splash pad at Clinch Park doesn't meet state code in several areas.

Pro-Fluoride Group Wants Public Vote In Boyne City

Jul 16, 2014 - CC-BY

A Boyne City group wants fluoride back in the public water supply. That’s after Boyne City leaders ended the 40-year fluoridation program in May.

The group “Citizens United for Dental Health” is organizing a petition-drive to get the question on the November ballot.

Tom Veryser, the President of Michigan Community Dental Clinics, is a dentist and Boyne City resident. He supports fluoridation. He says he's seen anti-fluoride activism in the past, but was still shocked with the city commission's vote.

Former County Prosecutor Accused Of Plotting Murder

Jul 14, 2014
David Cassleman

A former Grand Traverse and Leelanau County prosecutor is behind bars – accused of conspiring to murder another Traverse City lawyer in a murder-for-hire plot.

Attorney Clarence Gomery faces one count of solicitation for murder. Grand Traverse County alleges Gomery tried to hire a hit-man to kill attorney Christopher Cooke.

Deputies arrested Gomery early Monday morning in Leelanau County.

Traverse City Defines Rules For Homeless Shelters

Jul 8, 2014

In a split vote Monday, the Traverse City Commission gave final approval to new rules governing homeless shelters. The move paves the way for formal debate over a specific emergency shelter proposal. Safe Harbor, which is made up of a consortium of churches that take turns housing the homeless in the winter months, wants to open a 100-bed facility off Eighth Street on Wellington.

Leaders of Safe Harbor say they believe their plans will pass muster under these new rules, and they hope to open Traverse City’s first homeless shelter before the end of the year.

Voters in Wexford County will get to decide whether to continue supporting their bus system.

The county commission unanimously undid a vote from May that would have kept bus funding off the ballot.

But some commissioners still question whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth from the service.

Karen Carey took the bus to the Wexford County Commissioners meeting, where a driver helped her off with a wheel-chair lift.

Carey says she depends on these buses.

Tom Carr

While the state of Michigan grapples with how to regulate e-cigarettes, the electronic glow of the devices will still be allowed at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center.

The county parks and recreation commission has snuffed out a proposal to ban electronic cigarettes on civic center grounds. Smoking traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products is already prohibited.

But Dan Laubenheimer, who manages an e-cigarette store, applauded the committee’s decision not to ban the devices.

Traverse City will at least delay a move to allow café seating in some downtown parking spaces. Monday commissioners voted to send the plan back to committee. 

In addition to so-called “platform cafes,” the proposal would allow café seating on the sidewalks to take up all but four feet of the walkway. Disability advocates Monday asked the commission to leave at least five feet for pedestrians, possibly six.

TC Commission Approves Fluoride In Water

Jun 17, 2014
David Cassleman

The Traverse City Commission voted five-to-one on Monday night to purchase a year’s supply of fluoride and continue a program that began more than 60 years ago.

Commissioner Jim Carruthers cast the lone vote against water fluoridation -- which he has opposed since he was first elected to the commission six years ago. Debate lasted for about an hour before the vote, where representatives from both sides of the issue had a chance to make their case.

TC Commission To Look At Fluoride In Drinking Water

Jun 16, 2014
David Cassleman

Every year in Traverse City, commissioners budget almost $30,000 to keep adding fluoride to the water supply. That usually passes with little fanfare. But this year it’s up for extra debate, and a group in town is raising some fierce opposition.

Mike Estes

The Mayor of Traverse City has endorsed Greg MacMaster in the race for Michigan’s 37th Senate District.

Mike Estes likes MacMaster’s commitment to fix Michigan’s roads without raising taxes or charging new fees. Estes believes new revenue will eventually be needed to fix the state’s roads, but he says the first steps should be to work within the current budget.

Elk Rapids School Bond Denied Again

Feb 26, 2014

Voters have rejected Elk Rapids Public Schools’ bond for the second time in four months. The $10.9 million bond was for a new gym, security and athletic upgrades.

Elk Rapids superintendent Steve Prissel is disappointed with yesterday’s outcome.

"We have a supportive community when it comes to education. We know that," he says. "However, the voters spoke and there's not support for capital projects."

Crowded Jail Forces Wexford County To Act

Feb 21, 2014

Wexford County is looking at building a larger jail for at least $12 million, and Commissioners say it is the top priority this year.

The county boards its overflow prisoners in neighboring counties, and the number of inmates is expected to rise gradually in coming years.

Last November, almost half the schools in Michigan were unsuccessful at getting voters to approve their bond proposals. That included Kalkaska, Traverse City and Elk Rapids, all of which lost by a narrow margin. Elk Rapids Public Schools is back with the exact same proposal—$10.9 million over 20 years—on next week’s ballot.

Seventh grader Rebecca Marolf is excited about the idea of a new gymnasium. She’s with her dad at the Elk Rapids High School boys’ basketball game. The Cherryland Middle School student thinks the district needs another gym.

Three school districts up north are asking voters to pay to improve safety, technology and buildings. Alanson, Elk Rapids and Manton school districts all have new measures on the ballot for next month’s election.

Last November, almost half the schools in Michigan were unsuccessful at getting voters to approve their bond proposals. That included Elk Rapids Public Schools, which lost by a narrow margin. They are back with the exact same proposal that includes security upgrades at all its buildings and a new high school gymnasium.

Traverse City Mayor Arrested For Drunk Driving

Oct 24, 2013
Mike Estes

UPDATE: A written response via email from Mayor Michael Estes.

Disagreements among conservatives will be on display in a northern Michigan primary during the coming year. Two experienced Republican lawmakers are running for the 37th state senate seat. The recent Medicaid vote is already emerging as a central issue in a race that will highlight some of the differences between Governor Snyder and the right wing of his party.