Latest Northern Michigan News

Interlochen Public Radio connects you to the stories, people and places of northern Michigan.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office is investigating a criminal complaint against Grand Traverse County Commission Vice Chair Ron Clous. He displayed a firearm during a constituent’s public comment in a virtual board meeting in January.

Grand Traverse County

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners didn't punish Board Vice Chair Ron Clous Wednesday for pulling out a gun during a constituent's comments last month.

Field Guide: Snow Fleas

Feb 1, 2021
Cheryl Bartz

Winter is one season when Northern Michigan is free of insects, right? Wrong. Hear about an exception you can find if you look closely.

Grand Traverse County

The Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting Thursday after Co-Chair Ron Clous pulled out a rifle during a constituent's public comment last week

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave her third State of the State speech Wednesday night. Because of the coronavirus pandemic it was the first delivered virtually, with the Governor speaking from her Lansing office.

In it she called for bipartisan solutions to the coronavirus.

Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners

Ron Clous, vice chair of the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners, showed off a rifle as a constituent voiced concerns about guns during a virtual meeting Wednesday.

During the public comment period, a resident expressed concerns that members of the Proud Boys, a far-right group with a history of violence in the state, had attended a previous meeting.

National Writers Series: An evening with Albert Woodfox

Jan 5, 2021

In 1971, Albert Woodfox was sent to Angola prison for armed robbery. A year later, Albert was put in solitary confinement after being convicted of killing a guard. He was innocent of this crime, but stayed in solitary for 43 more years. After finally being released in 2016, Albert wrote a book about his experiences in prison, called “Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement.” Albert appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event and spoke with news director for radio station WDET, Jerome Vaughn.

U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) says he will object to the certification of the November election results this week. He’ll join several other Republicans from both chambers that will challenge the results due to unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Gretchen Carr / Interlochen Public Radio

A group of neighbors in Traverse City have turned an annual holiday light display into the spot to feel some Christmas spirit. This year, they began collecting money for those in need. 


Conner Desilets / Interlochen Public Radio

In a flurry of action at the end of the Legislative Session in Lansing Monday, State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) was let back into the Republican caucus in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Interlochen Center for the Arts

The Iron Pig Smokehouse in Gaylord and Friske’s Farm Market in Antrim County have repeatedly defied health and safety protocols during the pandemic despite enforcement from their local health department.


After a lot of action in the Spring, the state legislature has been quiet on COVID-19 for months. Instead many have focused on legal and political battles.

Now legislators on both sides say that gridlock over the pandemic is likely to continue.

Outdoors: Chickadee contact call

Nov 18, 2020

Just like humans, chickadees are social.

They split up into pairs during the breeding season, but this time of year, they  form flocks with other chickadees and often with other birds such as nuthatches and small woodpeckers, and they move through the forest in a group.

By definition, a forest is full of trees, and sight lines are limited.

Occasionally, a little chickadee suddenly realizes that it cannot see its flockmates (if that's a word).

National Writers Series: An evening with Bob Giles

Nov 15, 2020

May 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings. Ohio National Guardsmen killed four students and wounded nine others during an anti-Vietnam war protest. At that time, Bob Giles was managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal. His team reported on the shootings, both while it was happening and the aftermath. Now Bob has written a book about the incident called “When Truth Mattered.” Bob appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. He spoke with former host of Michigan Radio’s “Stateside,” Cynthia Canty.

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana, and her family moved to the United States when she was two years old. Her birth country figures prominently in her two books, “Homegoing,” and her latest, “Transcendent Kingdom.” Yaa appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. She spoke with Detroit’s director of arts and culture, Rochelle Riley. In the second half of the program, Kate Walbert’s writing often focuses on women’s lives, like her novel “A Short History of Women,” and her latest collection of short stories, “She Was Like That.” Kate appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event.

Chasten Buttigieg is best known for being the husband of former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. Chasten grew up in Traverse City, where he found life as a gay teenager difficult. He’s written a memoir about his experiences, called “I Have Something to Tell You.” Chasten appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event and spoke with writer and acupuncturist Elon Cameron. In the second half of the program, Christopher Haugh and Jordan Blashek are friends. Chris is a Democrat, and Jordan is a Republican.

A black bear wanders through the campus of Interlochen Center for the Arts, just south of Kresge Auditorium on November 6, 2020.
Interlochen Center for the Arts

The number of black bear sightings in northern Michigan is on the rise, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. 

Lester Graham

Republican-led State House and Senate committees met today to vote themselves subpoena power to examine the conduct of the election. The vote by the joint House and Senate oversight committees fell along party lines.

Michigan’s junior Democratic Senator Gary Peters has won reelection to the U.S. Senate—eking victory out of a razor-thin margin. Before the election, polls showed Peters could retain his seat, but that the race would be tight. 

Outdoors: Shakespeare's starlings

Nov 4, 2020

Eugene Schieffelin loved the plays of William Shakespeare, and he also loved birds.

I get that. But I just watch them - the plays and the birds.

Schieffelin had a grand plan to pay tribute to the Bard by bringing every bird mentioned in the Shakespearean plays to the Americas.

In just one line, in just one play - "Henry IV" - Shakespeare mentioned starlings.

According to unofficial election results, Republican John Roth has kept Michigan’s 104th State House District red.


Roth won a clear victory for the GOP yesterday in a race that has been increasingly competitive in recent elections. 


Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services is lowering the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings and sending the Traverse City region back to Phase 4 of the MISafeStart Plan. The move comes as the state sees record-high COVID cases.

Outdoors: Into the Woods

Oct 28, 2020

Halloween is the perfect time to listen to a recording of the musical "Into the Woods."

"You go into the woods / where nothing is clear / where witches, ghosts and wolves appear / into the woods and through the fear / you have to take the journey."

When his fairytale characters go "into the woods," Stephen Sondheim is using the lyrics as a metaphor for a dangerous quest required to make wishes come true.

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The race for northern Michigan’s 104th district could decide which party controls the state house.

Outdoors: Art in pandemics

Oct 21, 2020

I recently re-read "Station Eleven." This post-apocalyptic novel was the selection for the 2015 Great Michigan Read, so I read it then.

The book, set during and following a catastrophic pandemic, draws comparisons between a group of actors and musicians who travel and perform along the familiar shore of Lake Michigan and the troupes of itinerant performers who traveled through Shakespeare's England.