Traverse City

Peter Payette

Police in Traverse City are investigating a pair of attacks on homeless men this week. The victims were kicked, and had firecrackers and stones thrown at them. 

Two were injured badly enough to be taken to the hospital. David Whitney has a broken nose and 27 stitches on his forehead, above his eye and, he says, inside his mouth. His left eye is swollen and blue. 

"They came back in here three times to continue," Whitney says of the attacks. "[They] dragged me down there ... kicking the stuffing out of me.

Aaron Selbig

A group home for developmentally disabled adults in Traverse City has lost most of its residents over the last two years.

People who live at BrickWays get help with daily activities like cooking and doing their laundry, but changes in Medicaid have reduced their benefits to the point where they’re forced out of the home. The budget cuts have trickled down from the federal government into Michigan’s mental health system.

Advocates for the developmentally disabled say it’s not fair.

New York City Dept. of Transportation

Outdoor cafes in Traverse City could be moving from the sidewalk to the street.

The Downtown Development Authority is debating a plan to allow “platform” cafes, which would take up two parking spots outside a restaurant.

The Downtown Development Authority will discuss the concept Friday morning.

DDA Executive Director Rob Bacigalupi says he wants to loosen rules on sidewalk cafes that were passed two years ago.

Morgan Springer

A group is working to open an LGBT community center in Traverse City. Around 60 people gathered to discuss the proposed center at a town hall meeting last night.

 

  The meeting began with a moment of silence for those killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday. Steph White, the executive director of Equality Michigan, talked about violence against the LGBT community.

 

The Ticker is reporting on Facebook that a sewage spill has led health officials in Grand Traverse County to suggest staying out of the water at some beaches in Traverse City.

80s nostalgia is strong in new TC arcade

Jun 1, 2016
Aaron Selbig

It’s been 35 years since the heyday of video game arcades. By the late 1980s, most arcades had died, but over the last few years, the classic games started making a comeback, popping up in hip neighborhoods in major cities.

A Traverse City couple saw the trend and decided they wanted in on the action. Last week, they opened their new arcade, the Coin Slot, in the warehouse district.

It’s the first time I’ve been in a real arcade in I don’t know how long.

The Accidentals have been busy since last we spoke in 2013.

All told, the young musicians performed a whopping 230 shows across the country after graduating high school last year.

 

The dynamic Traverse City trio was named one of Billboard Magazine's top seven breakout acts of South by Southwest in 2015.

And now, they've just released their newest EP, Parking Lot.

TC Retreat

TC Retreat, a sober living house in Traverse City, does not violate zoning laws. On Tuesday night, the city's Board of Zoning Appeals voted seven to one to overturn an earlier decision that said TC Retreat violated the single-family zoning district where it's located. TC Retreat is a house for people recovering from addiction, located on Comanche Street. 

At the meeting a number of people gave public comments. Some people from the neighborhood indicated they thought TC Retreat violated zoning laws.

Traverse City resort owner charged with extortion

May 10, 2016
Michigan Attorney General's office

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has accused a Traverse City resort owner of extortion. 

Attorney General Bill Schuette says 58-year-old Bryan Punturo, owner of the ParkShore resort, threatened the owners of a competing parasailing business on Grand Traverse Bay. Puntoro allegedly convinced the victim to pay him in exchange for not forcing the victim out of business.

Attorney Brace Kern represents the alleged victim – Saburi Boyer – in an ongoing civil case.

Aaron Selbig

Do you think Traverse City is headed in the right direction?

Join us today at 1 p.m. for an hourlong call-in program about the future of Traverse City. Our panel of guests will discuss future plans for Division Street, the need for walk and bikeability and the heated debate over tall buildings.

You can call in during the show with your thoughts and questions at 231-276-4432. You can also submit questions on our Facebook page or on Twitter (@IPRNewsRadio).

Adler Family

In 1939 a young Jewish family fled their home in Vienna to escape the Holocaust. Henry and Ilse Adler and their baby came to Traverse City when they were sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom, formerly Congregation Beth El.

But they didn’t know what had happened to family they’d left behind. 

Then in 1948, three years after World War II  ended, Ilse got a letter from her parents. It was written on toilet paper in diary form, describing how they'd fled from Vienna to Hungary.

Aaron Selbig

Costco is coming to Traverse City, but even before ground is broken for the big box store, city officials are worried Costco might try to get a so-called “dark store” tax assessment.

That’s when big retailers argue that the value of their stores is only equal to an empty – or “dark” – store. They’ve been winning these disputes all over Michigan.

Opponents are fighting back, saying dark store assessments are hurting communities.

Wikipedia

Officials in Traverse City are concerned that if Costco comes to town, it will take advantage of so-called “dark store” tax assessments. That’s when businesses argue for lower tax rates based on what their stores would be worth empty – or “dark.”

Retailers like Target, Meijer and Costco have appealed their assessments in Michigan, hoping to pay less money in taxes. They say if they turned around and tried to sell their stores, not many companies would want to buy them. The Michigan Tax Tribunal, which decides tax appeals, has been ruling in favor of retailers.

Traverse City Area Public Schools

Traverse City Area Public Schools is closing their two International Baccalaureate elementary schools –Interlochen Community School and International School at Bertha Vos. They're relocating IB to Traverse Heights Elementary School next year.

TCAPS has promoted the IB program as an innovative teaching program with a proven success rate. Statewide the Kellogg Foundation has been funding the creation of these programs in schools throughout northern Michigan. And school officials say the program is very successful with students from economically disadvantaged households.

Division Street plan includes two roundabouts

Apr 14, 2016
Aaron Selbig

There’s a new plan to fix Division Street in Traverse City. The street has long been considered one of the most dangerous routes in northern Michigan, especially for people walking or biking.

Four years ago, voters agreed to give up some city park land for the project. Now the plan is in the hands of the city commission.

Traverse City Commissioner Gary Howe says the section of the road between 14th Street and the bay is confusing and dangerous.

Traverse City will not appeal judge's ruling

Apr 13, 2016

The Traverse City commission decided today not to appeal a judge’s ruling on the nine-story Pine Street development downtown.

Last month, judge Philip Rodgers said the commission acted improperly when it approved a permit for the development. The commission voted this afternoon on whether to spend $10,000 to hire a lawyer to work on an appeal, but approval failed by one vote.

City Commissioner Amy Shamroe says the city will still work to improve the permitting process.

Safe Harbor of Grand Traverse

The Safe Harbor homeless shelter in Traverse City will have a permanent home. Monday night, the city commission agreed to sell an unused city building on Wellington Street to Safe Harbor for $50,000.

The deal says the building must be a functioning shelter by 2018. After 10 years of operation, Safe Harbor would own the property outright.

Safe Harbor Board Chairman Peter Starkel said his group is ready for the next step.

How many times have you said this while you’ve been on vacation?

“I wish we could just live here all the time.”

As it turns out, among the thousands who have visited Traverse City over the last couple decades, many of them have said that. And followed through and made that wish come true. It’s becoming more than the National Cherry Festival and a fun place to spend a long weekend in the summer.

Traverse City jumped 10 spots in the second annual Arts Vibrancy Index, released by Southern Methodist University.
marada / Flickr

Traverse City is once again ranked among the country’s most vibrant arts communities.

The second annual Arts Vibrancy Index released by Southern Methodist University, puts the northern Michigan city at number 10 on the list among small to mid-sized communities.

That’s a 10 spot jump in ranking. The same study ranked Traverse City 20th on the last year’s list.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was in Traverse City today. Hundreds of people waited calmly in line to see him speak.

Sanders told a packed crowd that the decline of Detroit - and the decline of the American middle class - is partly due to international trade policies.

He says many trade policies cater to big money interests.

Morgan Springer

For senior citizens who are single in northern Michigan, it can be tough to meet someone. But not everyone struggles. Margaret Anne Small and George Bailey met at a dance at the Traverse City Senior Center over two years ago, and they're still going strong.

There have been some hiccups along the way. Money issues are holding them back from getting married, and it also means Margaret Anne has to live with her children, keeping her away from George in the winter months when she rotates between Traverse City and Las Vegas.

The Next Idea

Most anyone would agree that Traverse City is one of Michigan’s crown jewels. It’s a beautiful location and a great place to live, visit and retire.

But one thing Traverse City has lacked is a strong central point for the area’s tech industry.

Russell Schindler is a Traverse City geologist and entrepreneur. He basically got sick and tired of driving nearly four hours to Ann Arbor for tech meet-ups, so he started a new group, called TC New Tech.

Grand Traverse County Easling Pool

Easling Pool in Traverse City is set to reopen on Wednesday. Grand Traverse County’s only public pool is under the new management of Grand Traverse Bay YMCA.

“We’re trying to partner with the county to try to save an entity that has been in this community for years," says Jay Buckmaster, CEO of the YMCA. "So we will do what we do, which is run great programming and run great pools, and I guess it’s going to be to the community to see if there’s enough need to be able to sustain it long-term."

TC Retreat

A new recovery house for men opened last month in Traverse City. The sober living house has room for six men in recovery. 

Tom Gilbert is the president of TC Retreat, the non-profit that oversees the house.

"People frequently need a safe place to practice what they’ve learned in treatment," Gilbert says. "That’s where TC Retreat comes in with the recovery home, asking folks to make a six month commitment to practice their new sober living skills."

Bay Pointe 'adopted' by Detroit mega-church

Nov 24, 2015

A big church in Traverse City is about to become part of a bigger church from metro Detroit. Bay Pointe Community Church announced Sunday that it will be “adopted” by the Troy-based Kensington Church.

Kensington says the new church will be called “Kensington Traverse City” and will act as a “hub” for more churches in northern Michigan.

Bay Pointe founder and pastor Nick Twomey will be replaced by Pastor Steve Andrews from Kensington. Twomey founded Bay Pointe in 1998.

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