Traverse City

Hagerty Insurance

One of Traverse City’s largest employers will expand its operation into Denver. The president of Hagerty Insurance says the expansion will give the company a back-up call center.

Hagerty made plans for an additional location last year, after routine maintenance shut down its operation for a couple hours. Company president, McKeel Hagerty, says the incident showed that the business was vulnerable to factors outside of their control.

A new residential project for chronic alcoholics opened earlier this month in Garfield Township. "Dann's House" is a so-called "wet house," a place where homeless people with severe alcoholism can live - and drink - in a permanent home.

Karen McCarthy is secretary of the board for Stoneshouse, the non-profit group that opened Dann's House August 1st. She says the project is named for her brother, Dann.

The History Press

All those festivities going on in Traverse City the next 10 days, the jet planes and carnival rides, that all started with a prayer about ninety years ago. Some cherry growers in the region asked local clergy to bless their blossoms. Somebody saw the potential to draw visitors. A little more than a decade later, 100,000 visitors where coming to the National Cherry Festival.

Brooks Vanderbush walks through this history in a new book about the festival.

Parking spaces in downtown Traverse City could be used for outdoor dining this summer. The plan is to allow businesses to use designated parking spaces from May to October. The city commission gave preliminary approval on Monday. 

The proposal still needs a final vote. If approved, so-called “platform” seating could be in place by the end of this month.

The Downtown Development Authority supported the plan in a unanimous vote. 

Downtown Traverse City Expected To Get Free Wi-Fi

May 13, 2014
Svrdr / WikiCommons

Starting this summer, the streets of downtown Traverse City should have free Wi-Fi.

It’s a project of the Downtown Development Authority and Traverse City Light and Power. The Light and Power board will vote on authorizing the wireless system and Aspen Wireless as the contractor. A 10-year contract is expected to be approved Tuesday evening. 

DDA executive director Rob Bacigalupi says the project was driven by visitor expectations. 

Lorax / WikiCommons

Traverse City Commissioners voted yesterday to replace some parking meters with electronic pay stations.

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) made the request partially because thieves stole $70,000 from parking meters two years ago. They had copied meter keys and also broke open meters to gain access. Annual parking meter revenue is approximately $650,000.

The 12 pay stations will be installed in five downtown parking lots and one block of Front Street. The particular block has not been decided yet, but the DDA is considering between Cass and Park Streets.

Opponents of a controversial housing development in Traverse City prevailed last night with the city commission. The proposal to allow four houses where only three can be built under current zoning rules came up one vote short.

Most of the public comment came from residents of Slabtown Neighborhood who were against the proposal. Many said it would make traffic problems worse along West Front Street. Some said that there was no good reason for the change.

Traverse City To Get Water Bottle Filling Stations

Apr 15, 2014

It might get a little easier for the Traverse City community to be green this summer.

The city is getting three water bottle filling stations this summer. One new and two retrofitted stations will be installed in The Open Space. They will have a unified look and are forest green in color. 

The concept will go to the city commission next week for approval.

Katie Lowran is deputy city clerk for Traverse City. She says the purpose is two-fold.

The debate over homeless shelters in Traverse City will go to a sub-committee on Monday. Traverse City’s planning commission wants a recommendation about where emergency homeless shelters will be allowed in city limits.

There are currently no shelters in the city, but one has been suggested. The proposed homeless shelter within city limits has been a controversial issue lately.

Russ Soyring, planning director for the city, says the facilities are a safety net.

Tom Hubbard / Flickr

Visitors to Traverse City this summer could be eating dinner where cars are usually parked. Outdoor seating may replace some parking spaces this summer in the Cherry Capital. 

Yesterday, an ad hoc committee expanded the plan from downtown to the entire city. It would allow so-called "platform cafes" in select parking spaces from May to October. 

Jim Carruthers, mayor pro tem and committee chair, says the committee reviewed the proposal.

Sara Hoover

When Jordan Lindberg’s grandmother passed away, his father went into a funeral parlor to buy an urn for a woman who had always been frugal.

“She was 18 years old when the stock market crashed,” Lindberg said. “So, she was one of these people for whom a lavish expenses would have seemed to her to be inappropriate.”

Sticker Shock Launches Idea

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Area wineries brought home gold from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, earlier this month. Six Northern Michigan wineries placed at the annual event, which is billed as the largest competition of American wines in the world. More than 1,500 wineries competed from 25 states.

Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery was among three area wineries that won double gold, the highest honor in each category. Winemaker Jay Briggs at Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery says the awards are helping to gain attention outside the region.

The National Writers Series has announced its event lineup for the 2014 Winter, Spring and Summer seasons at the City Opera House in Traverse City. Here's the schedule: 

February 27 - Kelly Corrigan, March 17 - George Packer, April 8 - Steve Luxenberg, April 24 - Anchee Min, May 29 - Emily Griffin, June 10 - Daniel James Brown, June 26 - Karin Slaughter, July 7 - Diana Gabaldon

Everything's Rosie At This Winter's Comedy Fest

Jan 24, 2014

TV personality and stand-up comedian Rosie O'Donnell will headline this year's Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival. O'Donnell will open the festival at the State Theatre on February 13 at 8:30 p.m. The three-day festival is also featuring Michael Ian Black of VH1, Tig Notaro of "This American Life" and Tim Meadows of "Saturday Night Live." Festival founders Michael Moore and Jeff Garlin will also host "Hot Comedians and Snowblower Races" on Front Street. Organizers also promise "an improv group or two," open-mic sets and family-friendly comedy. 

Downtown Parking Meters To Be Upgraded

Jan 23, 2014

Parking meters in downtown Traverse City may become relics of the past.

The Downtown Development Authority is considering replacing individual meters with pay stations. Executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, Rob Bacigalupi, says there are several reasons.

“One is they accept credit cards. Just by replacing the meter housing, like on an individual meter, that doesn’t allow you to use credit cards,” he says. “You have better, real-time information with a pay station so it’s actually a more efficient method of enforcing parking.”

Traverse City's mayor will serve 18 months of probation for drinking and driving. Michael Estes was sentenced today. His probation will include alcohol and drug screenings and attending 12-step meetings three times a week.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Kooney says requirements like the 12-step meetings make the sentence more restrictive than what is typical is for a first-time offense.

"Also, an 18 month probation is a longer period of time than typical," says Kooney. "What we normally see on a first offense is 12 months."