February 27, 2024

The People & The Olive Charts Traverse City’s New Global Focus

Bravo to Aaron Dennis, Jacob Wheeler, and all the rest of the Run Across Palestine crew for producing an event and a piece of courageous journalism that matters to the world. In The People & The Olive, a 70-minute documentary that received its premiere Monday night in Traverse City’s downtown State Theatre, Aaron and Jacob join camera, reporting, and story-making skills to explore the dangerous irony of a native people, Palestinian olive farmers, walled off …

Read More

Benzie County’s Gorgeous Leaves of Fall

The anguish of fall is upon us in northern Michigan. The astonishing colors, temporary as they are, are brushed onto this magnificent place I’ve called home for two decades. Yesterday, on one of the last road bike rides of the year, I took this gallery of shots with my iPhone. Every corner on our two-lanes, virtually empty of traffic these days, a billboard of reds and oranges and yellows unfolds, the colors deepening with the …

Read More

On Beautiful Fall Day Central Lake Is Shuttered For Business

CENTRAL LAKE, MI – There is no sprawl in Central Lake, a northern village of 942 residents in magnificent  Antrim County. At this time of year rows of feed corn await harvest and the green white pine and multi-colored hardwood forests pour down the hillsides to the deep blue waters of the lake that gives the village its name. (see pix above and below) Central Lakes possesses an asset all-too rare in American communities – …

Read More

The Temptations in Northern Michigan

Though Detroit’s become a signpost for where the rest of America is heading unless we change our ways right quick, there was a time when it was vital. So vital, in fact, that Detroit produced music so blazingly good that it became a sound track of the American empire at its height. That, of course, was the sound of Motown. Last night The Temptations performed here in northern Michigan.  One of the premier groups that …

Read More

Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion at Interlochen

In 2004, as “Prairie Home Companion” neared its 30th anniversary, the New York Times said Garrison Keillor, the live Saturday night radio show’s host, was “stapled to something bigger than he is.” That’s about as apt a description of Keillor’s contribution as I’ve read. Last night, Keillor and all of the Prairie Home Companion crew broadcast the show from Kresge Auditorium at the Interlochen Center for the  Arts here in northwestern Michigan. It was a …

Read More

At Last, Spring in Northern Michigan

BENZONIA, MI — Just as the first flying flakes of snow in October signal the onset of winter here in my hometown, the emergence of the snow white petals of the forest-dwelling trillium are a strong forecast of summer’s welcome warmth. No more so than this year. It’s been an unusually cold and wet spring. The ice didn’t come off Crystal Lake until well into April this year. On April 19 and 20 it snowed …

Read More

Village at Grand Traverse Commons in The NY Times

In 2003, just before major construction began to transform Traverse City’s 19th century psychiatric asylum into the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Ray Minervini told me that within a decade or so the development would be a mixed use neighborhood with 800 residents, 1,000 jobs, and more than $100 million in residential, retail, and office development. That and other details were published in Traverse Magazine. Today I updated that original article in the New York …

Read More

Marty Lagina and the Pursuit of A Clean, Green Economy

Nearly 13 years ago, in a first floor conference room of the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City, Marty Lagina and Frank Mortel sat side by side across a large wooden table, glowering at me through narrowed eyes. Lagina (with wife Olivia above) was the founder and chief executive of Terra Energy, an independent that had grown to become the most active driller and one of the largest producers of natural gas in Michigan. The …

Read More

Lake Michigan Nears Lowest Level Ever Recorded

  Tom Kelly, who directs the Inland Seas Education Association in Suttons Bay and is among the state’s foremost authorities on the Great Lakes, showed me a number of very interesting graphs earlier this week about the falling water levels in the Great Lakes. Much of the nation’s attention this summer was directed to Lake Superior, where evaporation, much lighter winter snows and unusually dry spring and summer seasons had produced miles of shoreline nobody had ever …

Read More

Michael Moore Directs A Downtown Smash

  On Monday night Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning director, best selling author, and one of the nation’s most vociferous detractors of the Iraq War and the Bush White House, was in the newly renovated lobby of the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City complaining about the lights. “It’s all wrong,” he said, pointing to the ceiling where fluorescent lights shined brightly from fixtures where he wanted dimmer incandescent bulbs. “They didn’t have bright fluorescent lights in 1949.” On Saturday night, November 17, …

Read More