Latest Northern Michigan News

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

Terry McMillan is a bestselling author known for her novels that feature female African American characters. Two of them, “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” were made into major motion pictures. Her latest book is “It’s Not All Downhill from Here.” Terry 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 our program today, we’ll hear a discussion with Scott Turow.

Audio Guide to Spring: June 12

Jun 12, 2020
Green frog photo
Baroness / Creative Commons

Green frogs

The rest of June is the peak time of year to hear green frogs calling.  “Green frog” is actually a species name.  These frogs might be green, yellow, olive or brown.

Kathy Gray, who volunteers with the Michigan DNR Frog and Toad Survey says, “it’s only the males who sing and they are trying to attract a female. That is how they sound. Like a banjo string. Just one kind-of-not-in-tune banjo string being plucked.”

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

White supremacists were behind rumors that a protest over the killing of George Floyd would turn violent, according to the Traverse City Police Chief.

“The ‘alt-right’ was saying they were ‘alt-left,’” Chief Jeff O’Brien told city commissioners Monday night.

Audio Guide to Spring: June 5

Jun 5, 2020
Captain-tucker CC

Monarch Butterflies are arriving in Michigan.  They overwinter in Mexico.  But it’s not actually the same monarch that arrives in Michigan that left Mexico. For some reason the monarch can make the trip from Michigan down to Mexico, but to return takes a few generations of butterflies.  So the one that arrives in Michigan might be the great great grandchild of the one that left Mexico.

Audio Guide to Spring: May 29

May 29, 2020

It’s the peak of fawning season in Northern Michigan.

Steve Griffith, wildlife biologist with DNR, says right about now does are leaving their groups to find secluded places to give birth.  “As soon as the fawn can manage to walk, she’ll move them to a new spot and hide them.  And she’ll leave them for 8, 10, 12 hours at a time, feeding, but feeding close by, then she’ll come back and nurse. People think they’re abandoned. Very likely not the case. The mother is nearby.”

Max Johnston

U.S. tart cherry growers and processors narrowly voted to renew the Federal Marketing Order last week. The FMO passed with 53 percent of growers and 57 percent of processors in favor.

Audio Guide to Spring: May 22

May 22, 2020
Bill Erickson

On the Guide this week:

Kirtland’s Warblers will be showing up in the jack pine forests around Gaylord and Grayling this week.  There’s been good news about this bird in recent years. If you went back to 1971, there were just 167 pairs of Kirtland’s Warblers in the world.  In 2017, there were 2,000 pairs. That allowed it to be reclassified as a threatened species rather than an endangered species. 

Executive Office of the Governor

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says some rural regions of the state can partially re-open Friday, May 22 due to low COVID-19 infection rates. Restaurants and bars will be able operate at 50 percent seating capacity in the Upper Peninsula and 17 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Audio Guide to Spring: May 15

May 15, 2020
Bill Erickson

This week on the guide: 

This week is prime time for bird watching up north. You can see all kinds of colorful birds like Indigo Buntings, Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers and a whole range of warblers and they’re easier to see because the trees haven’t leafed out yet. 

Gretchen Carr

Life in northern Michigan relies on the water, land, forests and other natural wonders of the upper Great Lakes region.  IPR is committed to journalism that deepens our understanding of the natural world. That world is changing and our journalism needs to keep up. 


Audio Guide to Spring: May 8

May 8, 2020
Emily Cook

This week on the guide:

Early season trout fly fishing centers around the Hendrickson fly hatch that some call “The Gentlemen’s Hatch.”

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Several proposals on the ballot for Tuesday’s election passed in northern Michigan.

Here’s a list of unofficial results to ballot proposals:

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

On Tuesday, May 5 residents across Michigan will vote on local ballot proposals. Due to the coronavirus pandemic most voting will be done by mail, but there will be some in-person options for those who want or need it.

Cheryl Bartz

On the guide this week: the sky dance of woodcocks, the appetite and torpor of bats and the first spring flowering ephemerals.



Michigan House of Representatives

State House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) is running for Antrim County Sheriff.

Cole has represented northern Michigan’s 105th district - which includes parts of Antrim, Otsego, Charlevoix, Montmorency and Oscoda counties - in the state house since 2014. 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

More Democrats are running for office in Grand Traverse County than ever before, says the local Democratic chair.

Democrats will run for seats in county government, including board of commissioners and township trustee, according to a press release.

“There is a lot of energy … for change, transparency and a different form of government than what everybody seems to be used to,” says Grand Traverse County Democrat Party Chair Chris Cracchiolo.

National Writers Series: An evening with Peter Heller

Apr 19, 2020

Peter Heller is a writer of literary nonfiction and novels, including his bestseller “The Dog Stars.”  His latest novel, “The River,” is a thriller that draws from some of Peter’s own experiences canoeing wild rivers. Peter Heller talks this hour with fellow author Peter Robertson. 

Cheryl Bartz

On the guide today: how eastern chipmunks use social distancing, the danger of overharvesting ramps and the sonic power of ruffed grouse.

The video we mention, produced by the Ruffed Grouse Society, is here.

Thanks to Cheryl Bartz, Larry Mawby and Leslie Hamp for production help.

Sarah Allis works at Leland Mercantile in Leland. Essential businesses like grocery stores are now required to screen their employees for symptoms of COVID-19 and take proper social distancing measures.
Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

County health departments are asking businesses that remain open to step up their efforts to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

Leslie Hamp

On the audio guide today: the first butterflies of spring, nesting bald eagles and oak wilt.

Also, a good reason to put off raking up all that leafy debris in your yards. 

You can report sightings of turtles and other reptiles and amphibians to the Michigan Herp Atlas.

Connor Desilets / Interlochen Public Radio

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people across the state are working remotely from home — or not at all. But on April 7 the State House of Representatives will go back to work in Lansing.

Michigan House of Representatives

The state house majority leader wants the Governor to let some Michigan businesses get back to work. State Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) said so in a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late Monday.

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.
Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin / CDC

As coronavirus continues to spread in Michigan, the pandemic puts the state's blood supply at risk.

Tell us your pandemic stories

Mar 24, 2020
Gretchen Carr


The pandemic is affecting not only our health as individuals and communities, but our livelihoods, economy and political system in many ways.

During this time, Interlochen Public Radio wants to know how the crisis is affecting your life in northern Michigan. What are you doing in response? What's the hardest part? How do you pass the time? What about your neighbors?

Ty Schmidt got the idea and let us know something he is thankful for in this madness.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan rises nearly every day. As the pandemic worsens, putting food on the table is getting harder for some people in rural communities.

Now school districts are rushing to feed students that relied on school lunches, and food pantries in northern Michigan are trying to feed the rest.