May 22, 2019

Al Parker | Author


Vanished

May 18, 2019

The sun was high in an azure sky as John Block stubbed out his cigarette, hoisted luggage from the back of the family’s Ford Ranchero, and packed it neatly inside the white and green Cessna 150 at the Macomb Airport, north of Detroit.

It was about 11am on a Monday, and John,... Read More >>

Flying Civilians Saving Lives

May 18, 2019

Did you know that a service organization founded to protect America’s shorelines from German submarines lives right here in northern Michigan?

“The Traverse City Civil Air Patrol started in 1955 and has been in continuous service ever since,” said Wayne &ldquo... Read More >>

Pause. Honor. Remember.

May 18, 2019

For many in northern Michigan, Memorial Day weekend means the unofficial kickoff to summer — with cookouts, sports events and, if the weather allows, fun in the water.
 
But lest we not forget the real reason for this three-day weekend: to honor Americans who died in... Read More >>

In the Driver’s Seat

April 27, 2019

An ongoing shortage of qualified truck drivers is having an impact across the nation, including at businesses in northern Michigan.

Industry experts estimate that between 60,000 and 100,000 drivers will be needed over the next decade to meet an already robust and steadily incre... Read More >>

Women-only Adventures

March 2, 2019

Sue Barenholtz has built a business out of two of her favorite activities: travel and fostering great female friendships.

“Over the years, I’ve noticed two major facts,” said Barenholtz, who moved in Boyne City last year. “A lot of women want to travel b... Read More >>

Catch Her If You Can

March 2, 2019

Legs churning, ponytail bobbing, 6-foot-1 Charlevoix hoopster Elise Stuck races down the court, dribbling with her left hand and swerving around two opponents.

She suddenly stops at the foul line, drawing three defenders to her, then whips a pass to a teammate for an easy layu... Read More >>

Love & Basketball

Feb. 9, 2019

Go to a Boyne City High School basketball game, and you’ll see something rarer than a Detroit Pistons victory parade.

The Ramblers’ Nick and Julie Redman have the distinction of being among a very small number of married couples in Michigan coaching varsity basketball.... Read More >>

Bells Will Be Ringing

Dec. 15, 2018

From its humble beginnings in 1891 in San Francisco, the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable charitable efforts in the nation. Last year it raised $144.5 million that went to support an array of community programs.
And it wouldn&rsq... Read More >>

Beloved Alden Bar Bought, Becoming Torch Lake Beer Co.

Dec. 15, 2018

It’s never easy replacing a local legend.

But that’s the challenge facing Daniel D. Minor and Adam Morris.

In October, Minor bought the Alden Bar and Grille, a Torch Lake landmark where locals have long mingled over drinks and dinners. Minor owns a numb... Read More >>

Coming to a Chimney Near You

Dec. 15, 2018

Jeffery Schatzer isn’t Santa Claus. At least, for most of the year he isn’t. He’s a clean-shaven writer who now makes Bellaire his home after working in Indianapolis and Midland. But as the days shorten, the beard starts to grow, and by the time December rolls around, Sc... Read More >>

Tune in, Toyko

Dec. 8, 2018

On the basketball court, football field, or volleyball court, teamwork is the key to success.

It’s no different with Boyne City High School’s student-produced sports broadcasts on the Rambler Sports Network, an award-winning program that airs select football, basketbal... Read More >>

The Ski Resort’s Secret Cemetery

Dec. 8, 2018

By Al Parker

Atop a windswept hill west of downtown Grayling, an American flag stiffens in the breeze and stands as a lonely sentinel above perhaps the smallest military cemetery in the nation. Here, two Michigan soldiers lie for eternity.

The site, tucked deep in the wood... Read More >>

New Super App for Seniors

Dec. 1, 2018

Sharon has multiple sclerosis and it’s difficult for her to attend regular church services.

Ninety-two-year-old Mavis gave up her car, which meant giving up her beloved volunteer work at a grade school.

Gladys, who lives in a senior housing facility, enjoys making vi... Read More >>

  "All We Want for Christmas"

Nov. 24, 2018

The economy is strong, the unemployment rate is down, and if you’re one of the lucky folks who’ve had food on the table and a roof over your head in 2018, maybe you’re looking to give a lil’ something back to the universe as gratitude for your good fortune. If so, ... Read More >>

From Spuds to Sportswriting to Spirits

Nov. 3, 2018

Kalkaska native Chris Iott grew up on the family’s potato farm southeast of the village of Kalkaska and worked there with his two brothers and five sisters. While his brothers took over the operations of Iott Seed Farms, Iott went into journalism, where he spent 20 years, much of it... Read More >>

Tis the Season for Car-Deer Collisions

Nov. 3, 2018

Denny Guernsey knows more than a little about car-deer accidents.
As a principal agent at the Ford Insurance Agency in Traverse City, he’s kept busy this time of year fielding calls from clients who have had an unfortunate meeting with a buck or doe.     &nb... Read More >>

For the Dogs

Oct. 20, 2018

Kathy Hyland loves dogs.

So when Lucy, her beloved Boston Terrier, developed intestinal and skin issues, Hyland made it her mission to get to the root of the problems. “I researched pet foods and was shocked to find out some of the things about the pet food industry,&rdq... Read More >>

Life is Beautiful

Oct. 13, 2018

The concern rises in Bernadette Oesterling’s voice as she talks about her husband Gene’s medical dilemma.

“We’re trying to get people’s attention,” she said. “I’m searching for a way and a place to begin about a very personal and... Read More >>

The Fruitful Impact Of Northern Michigan's Wine Economy

Sept. 29, 2018

A new study confirms what a lot of folks — locals and tourists alike — have known for years: The Michigan wine industry is big business and getting bigger.

Using the most recent data available, the report shows that it is responsible for more than $5.4 billion in ec... Read More >>

The Bay View Wine Trail

Sept. 22, 2018

The Bay View Wine Trail might not be as well-known as the wineries of the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas, but it’s quietly building a solid reputation for quality vintages.
Home to 12 wineries, the trail runs from Ellsworth to Harbor Springs, with most of its members conve... Read More >>