Upper Peninsula

Taylor Wizner

This week on Points North, a community prepares to be stranded on an island in the middle of winter. Plus, a furrier transforms animal pelts into expensive clothes. 


Upper Peninsula
Wikimedia Commons

 

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office says it will do whatever it can to block a proposed price increase on electricity in the Upper Peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO) hopes to raise their rates, which would bring in almost $10 million. If approved, it would mean customers' bills will increase by 10 percent.

Assistant Attorney General Michael Moody says the power company is asking for too much.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration has given western Upper Peninsula counties a grant to rebuild flood-damaged roads.

USER: ADAMSHOOP / FLICKER

Researchers at Michigan Technological University will pump water down mine shafts in the Upper Peninsula, spinning hydroelectric turbines along the way.

Roman Sidortsov, professor of Energy Policy at Michigan Tech, says that could generate renewable energy. Sidortsov says the UP relies on importing electricity that comes from fossil fuels, but this research could provide a homegrown alternative for the region.

"You can basically start developing your own energy," Sidortsov says. "[These] kinds of installations do generate quite a bit of economic activity."

Lee Erck smokes his pipe in the basement of his home just outside Marquette.
Dan Wanschura

Just off U.S. Highway 41 outside of Marquette, there’s an old man who lives alone in a small, one-bedroom house. Most days he's upstairs sitting at his desk or downstairs in his workshop. There he makes some of the best tobacco pipes in the world.

 


Morgan Springer

 

The percentage of Americans who fish is in decline and that decline has had an impact on conservation projects, because hunting and fishing licenses help fund everything from habitat restoration to clean water programs.

Federal Communications Commission

Thousands more people could soon have broadband internet access in the Upper Peninsula. 

Software giant Microsoft Corp. has announced it’s partnering with Packerland Brodband, a small internet service provider based in Iron Mountain. 

Well... it's not an absolute "no."

It's more of a "probably not," given what we've learned about the Huron Mountain Club in reporting this story.

We'll get to the downright practical ways you might get into the club below. In the meantime, we'll just say it doesn't hurt your chances if you’re Channing Tatum, or related to Henry Ford (and even Ford had trouble getting in).

It’s been a pretty rotten year for the farmers who grow timothy hay, a Michigan crop that's not very familiar to most.

Timothy hay is an important feed for horses, cattle and small animals, like pet bunnies and guinea pigs, among others.

Some of the best timothy hay comes from the eastern Upper Peninsula, but farmers there are enduring a season that will go into the record books for all the wrong reasons.

There is no better reminder of what a diverse state we live in than contemplating the differences between the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula.

Wil Rankinen​ is an associate professor of communication sciences and disorders at Grand Valley State. He's also a born and raised "Yooper." Rankinen is spending his summer exploring the way Yoopers talk by criss-crossing the UP to record long-time residents.

It's the heart of winter, and there you are in the heart of the Upper Peninsula, wanting to raise some money for the community.

If you're the Rotary Club of Iron Mountain-Kingsford, you embrace the winter and come up with a pretty unique fundraiser: the Car Plunge Contest.

Jayna Huotari, secretary of the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Rotary Club, joined Stateside to talk about the third annual contest, including how placing bets on when a 1998 Saturn will fall through the ice became a fun, and successful, fundraiser.

ENBRIDGE

An environmental group from Traverse City is challenging the claim that Line 5 is needed to keep residents of the Upper Peninsula warm.

FLOW released a report this week about the oil and gas line that runs under the Straits of Mackinac. The group says the line is an "immanent hazard" to the Great Lakes and the report says Enbridge exaggerates the number of homes heated with propane pumped in on Line 5.

Happy birthday, Michigan!

On Jan. 26, 1837, 180 years ago today, Michigan became the 26th state to join the union.

Before that could happen, there was some housekeeping to do, namely: to settle the fight between Michigan and Ohio over a narrow strip of land known as the Toledo Strip. The conflict is otherwise known as the "Toledo War."

State Archivist Mark Harvey from the Michigan History Center joined Stateside to look back at how the state of Michigan got started.

Aaron Peterson stands atop Sugarloaf Mountain, in Marquette. He's launching the Fresh Coast FIlm Festival, in hopes of making more adventure seekers aware of the U.P. and some of the conservation issues facing the Midwest.
Dan Wanschura

Aaron Peterson grew up and attended school in Wisconsin. After college, he moved to southern Minnesota, where he lived for about nine months. That's when he and his fiancé decided to move north to Michigan. They chose Marquette, literally because of how it looked on a map. 

 

Both of them are really big kayakers and they wanted a place where they could settle down, raise a family and still play outside.

Composer Eugene Birman (left) and librettist Scot Diel on the shores of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula. The two artists created a contemporary opera that had its U.S. premiere in Marquette, Michigan.
Jacques-Alain Finkeltroc

Last summer, we met Eugene Birman and Scott Diel on an island in the middle of Lake Superior. They were working on their newest opera called State of the Union.

On almost everything Birman and Diel have attempted to do, they've tried to ask themselves, "Why does it have to be this way? Can it be different?"

Eugene Birman says in most cases, other people have responded, "Well yeah, I guess it can be.”


Happy 906 Day!

Michigan's Yoopers want us all to know that today is the day to celebrate what they consider to be America's greatest area code. 

Bugsy Sailor is the self-titled "Official Unofficial Ambassador of the Upper Peninsula."

He joined us today to talk about the U.P. why the 906 area code deserves its very own day of celebration.

Charles Dawley

Communities near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are doing their best to deal with a surge of tourists.

Attendance at the park has been rising for five years. Last year, the number of visitors jumped by 37 percent - to more than 720,000 people. That’s caused issues with parking, and a lack of restrooms and hotel rooms.

Munising Mayor Rod DesJardins says the popularity of the park is changing his town.

“We used to be somewhat of a sleepy, backwater town with a modest summer tourist economy," says DesJardins. "Now we are a premier destination in the Midwest.”

Mackinac Bridge Authority

More people took a trip over the Mackinac Bridge in 2015 than in 2014. That means more tourists are heading to the Upper Peninsula.

Bob Sweeney, secretary of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, says traffic over the bridge was declining since its peak year in 1999.

"But in 2015, we had a major uptick," says Sweeney. "Our traffic increased 7.4 percent over the previous year."

Bridge traffic had hit its lowest point around 2008.

Sweeney says tourist trips account for about 80 percent of the bridge’s traffic.

The Marquette area recently received some painful news when Lourenco Goncalves, the CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources announced that the Empire Mine would be closing by the end of the year. More than 400 workers from the region are affected by the announcement that iron ore production, that has been a big part of the area’s economy for a long time, will end.

Poet and writer Keith Taylor joins us today to offer a quick list of recommendations for some good reading.

So ... these words are 'banished' in 2016

Jan 8, 2016
Aaron Selbig

Every year, Lake Superior State University comes up with a list of banished words – words and phrases they say have become overused. This year’s list includes the words “stakeholder” and “manspreading.”

The top word on this year’s list is “so” – as in beginning a sentence with “so.”

A few of the banished words and phrases are things you hear in public radio. Like the word “conversation” – as in “join the conversation.”

The largest ski jump structure in the world is located, not in Bavaria, not in Switzerland, not even Scandinavia.

It's Ironwood's Copper Peak in the Upper Peninsula. At 469 feet, ski jumpers soar through the air at 65 miles per hour.

Copper Peak was built in 1970. The last ski flying competition happened there in 1994.

But, plans are afoot to renovate the ski jump for a September 2017 contest.

The first day of autumn is less than a week away, but if you’re planning to take a trip up north to marvel at the fall colors, MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa tells us you might want to wait.

He says rain and warm weather are keeping the trees lush and green.

  One of the most striking features of the waterfront in Marquette is the Upper Harbor ore dock. Built in 1912, the pocket dock is still in use today.

Maritime historian Frederick Stonehouse says the city of Marquette began because of the discovery of iron ore back in 1844 in the Ishpeming and Negaunee area, about 20 miles west of Marquette. The city developed as the shipping port for the delivery of iron ore.

We asked you on Facebook. We went outside the studio (*gasp*) and asked people in the street. You tweeted us on Twitter. You told us 70 experiences every Michigander should have at least once. 

These are in no particular order...except to note Sleeping Bear Dunes was, hands down, the most popular response.

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