Latest Northern Michigan News

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

Outdoors: Art and trees

Sep 9, 2020

We all know that trees are essential for the environment, but trees are actually quite important to visual artists as well.

While the finest papers are still made from rags, these days, most paper comes from wood pulp.

Paper also is processed and sized with various gums derived from trees.

Rosins, usually from pine trees, are used as surface coatings for many papers.

Many historical works of art - especially Italian paintings - were created by dissolving pigments in walnut oil.

Gums from trees act as binders for watercolors.

Courtesy Legs Inn

 

A steady stream of visitors to resort areas in northern Michigan over the summer exceeded national tourism averages. But local businesses are still hurting from lost revenue during the state’s COVID-19 lockdown, and are now putting their hopes into fall tourism.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was the keynote speaker at a campaign event in Traverse City Friday. In his speech he said he views winning Michigan as key to securing President Donald Trump’s re-election bid.

Outdoors: Monarchs of the lake

Aug 26, 2020

"He was an Englishman." I'm thinking that when W.S. Gilbert wrote "I am the monarch of the sea" for the operetta "HMS Pinafore," he was not referring to the North American butterflies known as monarchs. 

Occasionally, either because of defective instincts or being blown off course, monarchs are found roosting on drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

But monarchs do not belong on the sea.

Outdoors: Shakespeare's Roses

Aug 19, 2020

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Apparently, Shakespeare liked roses. He mentioned them - not just in "Romeo and Juliet" - but in more plays and sonnets than any other flower.

Being emblems of the Houses of York and Lancaster, red and white roses thrived Shakespeare's historical plays. 

What could be more romantic than a long-stemmed red rose?

Search and Rescue missions in the Great Lakes are up from last year by nearly 300.
U.S. Coast Guard

The pandemic, high water levels, and warm temperatures could mean more drownings on the Great Lakes. 

There have been 58 reported drownings so far this year, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. 32 of those have occurred in Lake Michigan.

Tom Swift

After Leelanau County Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle was caught using, and later defending, a racial slur, local officials are arguing about the county’s response. 

Max Johnston

Unofficial election results are in for Michigan's August Primary. The following results are subject to change as more information comes in.

1st Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) ran unopposed in Tuesday's primary. His Democratic challenger is Dana Ferguson, who won the party's nomination. Michigan's 1st Congressional District is comprised of the entire Upper Peninsula and parts of northern Lower Michigan.

101st State House Seat

Dan Wanschura

Clerks across the northwest lower Michigan region say they’re getting a lot of mail-in ballots for Tuesday’s primary.

“We have more than doubled the number of absentee ballots that have been cast for this election compared to the August 2016 election,” Traverse City Clerk Benjamin Marentette said.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Secretary of State has pushed for voters to use absentee ballots. As of July 28, the state has given out 1,977,116 absentee ballots. For context, by July of 2016 the state had only given out 546,032.

Don’t wait. Drop off your ballot in person. It’s too late to put it in the mail if you want it to be counted. That’s the advice elections officials are giving voters in advance of Tuesday’s primaries when a record number of votes will be cast via absentee ballot. 


Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan’s primary is Tuesday, August 4. Voters across the state will head to the polls or mail in their ballots on state and national office and local proposals.


National Writers Series: David Blight and Miles Harvey

Jul 23, 2020

You might say David Blight is absorbed with the life of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. David, who's an author, teacher and historian, has written three books about him. His latest is called “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.” It won the Pulitzer Prize for History, and is now being adapted into a movie for Netflix, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama. David appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. He spoke with author and director of Arts and Culture for the city of Detroit, Rochelle Riley.

Elaine Weiss is a journalist and writer whose latest book is “The Woman’s Hour.” It’s about the struggle to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow women the right to vote. Elaine appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. She spoke with Traverse City Record-Eagle columnist and teacher, Susan Odgers. In the second half of our program, we’ll hear a discussion with William Kent Krueger talking with Doug Stanton. William is the author of the Cork O’Connor series of mystery novels. His latest book is a stand-alone novel called “This Tender Land.” 

Outdoors: Baby skunks

Jul 7, 2020

When I think of Interlochen, I can’t help but thinking of lines. Morning line-up, lines for meals, lines for tickets, lines at the Melody Freeze.

The animal kingdom is filled with lines, too.

Take baby skunks. Skunk kits look just like adults, only cuter.

They develop musk glands when they are about eight days old, and they learn how to spray after a few weeks.

Kits stay in their nests for about the first three weeks of their lives, but when they do emerge, the stubby-legged infants  follow their mother in a single-file line.

Outdoors: Shakespearean flowers

Jul 6, 2020

The plays of Shakespeare are filled with references to herbs and flowers. 

“There’s fennel for you and columbines.  There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.”

In "Hamlet," when Ophelia mentions flowers, Shakespeare was making statements that probably were quite obvious to his audiences.

In Elizabethan times, fennel was the symbol of flattery, while columbines signified marital infidelity and ingratitude. Daisies were symbols of unhappy love. 

Outdoors: Federation squirrels

Jul 3, 2020

The rodents that thrive in dry sandy fields at Interlochen are called thirteen-lined ground squirrels. At least, that’s what we call them now.

Around Independence Day, I like to recall their original common name: federation squirrels.

These grasslands creatures have thirteen stripes, alternating dark and light, that are interspersed with little dots that look rather like stars.

Outdoors: The river of the Saw Beaks

Jul 2, 2020

The Little Betsie River connects the two lakes at Interlochen. Then the Betsie River flows from Green Lake to Lake Michigan.

They were named for a duck: a merganser.

Early maps of Lake Michigan bear names given by the French. They called the Betsie "la Reviere du Bec-Scie," or "the River of the Saw Beaks."

The French called mergansers “saw beaks” because of the serrations on the ducks’ narrow  bills. These sawtooth edges aid the birds in capturing and holding onto the slippery fish that make up the bulk of their diet.

Outdoors: Loons' breath control

Jul 1, 2020

At Interlochen, breath control is a big deal. 

Singers, wind players, actors and dancers all have to deal with the basic need to have enough breath to produce their art.

Our beloved loons have breath control under control.  These remarkable birds can dive and stay under water for about three minutes, maybe more. And that is while undergoing strenuous exercise!

You can watch them disappear beneath the surface, but it is anybody’s guess where they might resurface.

Outdoors: Countersinging birds

Jun 30, 2020

I love antiphonal music! 

The ethereal back and forth of double choirs in European cathedrals. The African American call and response form in jazz and gospel music.  And my personal  favorite: several brass choirs  stationed around the sides of Kresge Auditorium echoing back and forth through the hall and into the mall.

The dawn chorus at Interlochen is rather like antiphonal music. Birds take turns singing.   

Outdoors: The flowers that bloom in the spring

Jun 29, 2020
CC BY-SA 4.0

Have you ever noticed how often singers sing about nature?

Take Gilbert and Sullivan.  Librettist Sir William Schwenk Gilbert was remarkably knowledgeable in matters "vegetable, animal and mineral."

For example, in "The Mikado," Nanki Poo and Koko, addressing the shade intolerance of woodland wildflowers, sing,  “The flowers that bloom in the spring / tra la / breathe promise of merry sunshine.”

Audio Guide to Summer: June 26

Jun 26, 2020
Margot Wynkoop

Fireflies are out and have been spotted in northern Michigan this week. The best place to see fireflies is in tall grass where there is little other light.  The flashing lights are a signal to attract mates. 

Fireflies are carnivores.  In their larval state they eat slugs and snails, so they’re good for your garden and your lawn.

Audio Guide to Spring: June 19

Jun 19, 2020
Cheryl Bartz

It’s time for snapping turtles to lay their eggs.  Snapping turtles are easy to identify because of their large size, the spikes on their tail and their strong, muscular legs.  It’s now peak nesting season for snappers and other Michigan turtles. That’s a pretty good time to see them actually.  Jim Harding, a retired Wildlife Outreach Specialist for the Michigan State University Museum, says they need to move into the open to lay their eggs. 

"Sunset Station" in Arcadia Township has been devestated by high waters from Lake Michigan pounding its shoreline.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

Water levels in the Great Lakes are really high right now. Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie are all breaking records and creating all sorts of problems for communities on their shores.

Pandemic Stories: Racing the coronavirus

Jun 17, 2020
Kris Kruid

Kris Kruid was halfway across the world and had to race the coronavirus to get back to her home in Honor.  Borders were slamming shut behind her. She was in 13 airports in 8 days.  She told her story to Red Pine Radio producer Cheryl Bartz.

“I was in Botswana on a trip we’d been planning for a year to go on safari and then go see the great apes," she recalls. "Then my traveling companion turned on her phone and saw the news about borders closing. So then we had to get out.  South Africa was closing, and Kenya had already closed."

Taylor Wizner

 

In the early days of the pandemic Munson Healthcare administrators were in a flurry of panic.

 

 


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