Traverse City

Acme Township to reconsider ban on short-term rentals

Jan 16, 2017
VRBO

For decades, short-term vacation rentals in Acme Township have operated largely under the radar, but with a recent surge in the number of complaints, the issue has become more contentious.

It’s a new year, and the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners has a couple of new members – and possibly a new direction. The change comes at a time when the county is facing financial problems – including a pension debt of more than $50-million dollars.

In its first meeting last week, the board elected Commissioner Carol Crawford to lead them into the new year.

Peter Payette

Hate crime laws, with their roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, were originally intended to protect people from violence based on their race or religion.

Photographer John Robert Williams shows a portrait he took of Gov. William Milliken. Williams recently donated his film collection to the Traverse Area District Library.
Dan Wanschura

John Robert Williams has been a professional photographer in Northern Michigan for over 40 years.

Recently, he donated his film collection to the Traverse Area District Library. It includes portraits of people, scenic landscapes, fine art shots, architecture, and much more.

 

 


Adler family

Seventy five years ago this month, the United States declared war on Germany during World War II. That declaration had a dramatic impact on a Jewish family living in Austria and their family members who escaped the Holocaust and settled in Traverse City.

 


Airbnb.com

All over the world, vacation rental websites like Airbnnb, VRBO and homeaway.com are changing the way people travel. The websites promise you’ll get a more “authentic” travel experience when you stay in someone’s home instead of a hotel.

Meet Michele Howard, TC's newest commissioner

Dec 12, 2016
Northwestern Michigan College

The Traverse City commission has a new member. After Commissioner Ross Richardson resigned last month, his colleagues had to pick someone to fill out his term until November of next year. Out of 11 candidates, they picked Michele Howard.

Howard is a librarian at Northwestern Michigan College. She’s done a lot of work in the community – at school PTOs, local ski races and at her church. She's expected to be sworn in Monday night.

City of Traverse City

Traverse City planners say the city's laws on short-term vacation rentals are outdated.

The current rules outlaw renting your home for less than 30 days, unless you're an approved "tourist home." A tourist home is like a traditional bed and breakfast. The law says you can rent a room in your house for up to a week, but you must be present in the home and you must get a license first.

But City Planner Missy Luick says the popularity of websites like Airbnb has led many people to rent rooms illegally.

State appeals extortion case against TC resort owner

Nov 29, 2016
Aaron Selbig

An extortion case against a Traverse City resort owner is headed back to court. The Michigan Attorney General’s office says Bryan Punturo used threats to convince a competitor to pay him $19,000 a year.

In their first court case, state prosecutors said Punturo threatened competing parasailing operator Saburi Boyer. Punturo said he would “crush” and “bury” Boyer if he wasn’t paid. But 86th District Court Judge Thomas Phillips said that while Punturo’s behavior was “reprehensible,” it wasn’t illegal.

Aaron Selbig

If you’ve spent a summer day on the beaches of Grand Traverse Bay, you’ve probably seen parasailers soaring across the sky. Parasailing is a popular, fun way to get out on the water, but the Traverse City parasailing business also has a cutthroat side.

Aaron Selbig

UPDATE, Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Officer Michael Peters resigned from the Traverse City Police Department Monday evening. 

ORIGINAL STORY, Monday, Nov. 14.

A Traverse City police officer has been suspended after flying a Confederate flag at a public protest.

Prop 3 passes in Traverse City

Nov 9, 2016

Voters in Traverse City have passed Proposal 3, which will require a public vote for any building over 60 feet in the city.

Prop 3 passed with 53 percent of the vote. It will amend Traverse City’s charter, taking away the city commission’s ability to approve a building taller than 60 feet without a vote of the people.

The debate over Prop Three has been contentious. Both sides have said the proposal is likely to be decided in a courtroom.

Pros, cons of Prop 3 debated at Opera House

Oct 27, 2016
Sam Corden

Members of the two groups on either side of the Proposition 3 issue in Traverse City gathered at the City Opera House Wednesday night for a debate. Prop 3 would send any plans for a building over 60 feet tall to a citywide vote.

Former city commissioner Jeanine Easterday and restaurateur Paul Danielson represented Stand Up TC, a group opposed to Prop 3. Attorney Grant Parsons and law professor Brenda Quick represented the Save Our Downtown campaign committee, a group that supports Prop 3.

IPR News Director Pater Payette and reporter Aaron Selbig moderated the debate.

 

For many visitors, Traverse City is the heart of Up North.

The natural beauty is complemented by the town’s vibrant culture of fine foods, craft beer and endless festivals.

But for locals, all that popularity comes at a cost.

 

What happens to a picturesque city when its charms draw more and more people who want to live or work there, and when the push for new housing threatens the very thing that made that city so special?

Traverse City is wrestling with these questions right now, including the lack of affordable housing.

Women's Resource Center

For over 40 years, the Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City has provided shelter and relief to victims of domestic violence. The center operates a crisis hotline and a 22-bed shelter, among other services.

But the Women’s Resource Center has recently come under criticism. Former employees say a new management style has led to the departure of many experienced workers, and some services have been cut.

Aaron Selbig

Traverse City has called in an expert to help with its growth and development issues. The city hired consultant Joe Minicozzi to take a look at the economic impact of land parcels throughout Grand Traverse County.

Minicozzi says Traverse City is on the right track to growth and development.

“Traverse City is really cool,” says Minicozzi. “I think you’re doing a lot of things in your downtown right. You’re growing and harvesting more wealth in an area where you already have an infrastructure investment.”

Morgan Springer

Updated October 5, 2016: The contract agreement was ratified this morning by Traverse City Area Public Schools' board. The teachers union ratified the agreement on Monday.

Traverse City teachers could secure a three-year contract giving them a pay increase into 2020. Officials in Traverse City Area Public Schools have reached a tentative contract agreement with the Traverse City Education Association, the teachers' union.

Grand Traverse County

Judge Philip Rodgers announced his retirement from the 13th Circuit Court this week. Rodgers presided over many big cases in northern Michigan, including the fight over a nine-story building in Traverse City.

In a letter announcing his retirement, Rodgers thanked the attorneys he's worked with over the years, calling them “the most interesting and humorous people in the world.”

David Barr

The Traverse City Arts Commission wants to put a new modern art sculpture in the city.

The estate of David Barr is offering to donate one his steel sculptures. Barr was the founder of the Michigan Legacy Art Park. He died last year.

Arts Commission chair Mary Gillett says the commission is working with the Dennos Museum to select one of Barr’s pieces, and find a good location for it.

Aaron Selbig

Grand Traverse County Commissioner Christine Maxbauer was sentenced Monday to a year of probation for drunk driving.

Maxbauer pleaded guilty to the charge. She said she drank a bottle of wine at home July 7th before driving to her sister’s house because of a family emergency.

Maxbauer was arrested by Traverse City police after she hit a parked car on Front Street. Police measured her blood-alcohol content at 0.16 percent – twice the legal limit.

In court, she apologized for what she called “poor judgment.”

Morgan Springer

This past year, the Traverse City Historical Society received a diary. The diary was donated by a woman from Kalamazoo who bought it at an antique store in Traverse City while on vacation. It was written in 1919 by a 15-year-old boy who lived in town. The author didn't identify himself.  The Kalamazoo woman gave the historical society the diary with one request: figure out who wrote it.

The proposed rail line route from TC to Ann Arbor.
Groundwork Center

The Groundwork Center in Traverse City has $120,000 to study a passenger rail line to Ann Arbor. The new funding comes from federal, state and local sources. 

Hans Voss, executive director of the Groundwork Center, says the study is a crucial step toward passenger rail service in northern Michigan. 

David Cassleman

Dr. Flora Biancalana, a family practice physician, began prescribing abortion pills when she opened her Traverse City practice 15 years ago. At the end of this month, she is closing her practice, Rising Star Wellness Center. She's the only abortion provider for women in the region. So next month, women will have to drive to Grand Rapids or Marquette to get an abortion.

"Certainly that has become glaringly obvious that abortion services are missing any place north of Saginaw or Bay City," says Lori Carpentier, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Michigan.

She says Planned Parenthood only found out about the closure a few weeks ago. Its health clinic in Traverse City refers patients seeking an abortion to a list of providers in the state. Dr. Biancalana is one of the referrals on that list. 


Cartoon creatures invade Traverse City

Jul 13, 2016
Aaron Selbig

The smartphone game Pokemon Go has caught on all over the world, including Traverse City. By now, you’ve probably at least heard of the hot new “augmented reality” game that’s been in the news for causing car accidents and security issues at the White House.

 

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