August 4, 2021

Al Parker | Author

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 >>

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 >>

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...

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...

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Lose Yourself Among Hartwick’s Ancient Pines

Sept. 15, 2018

Covering just a shade under 10,000 acres, sprawling Hartwick Pines State Park is one of the largest state parks in Michigan.

Its rolling hills, formed by an ancient glacier deposit, overlook the verdant valley of the east branch of the AuSable River north of Grayling, four sma... Read More >>

Where Have All the Whitefish Gone?

Sept. 15, 2018

Whether you grill it, bake it, bake it, steam it, boil it, or broil it, Lake Michigan whitefish is one of the most popular — and tasty — dishes available across northern Michigan.                &n... Read More >>

Coach Wooer Comes Home

Sept. 1, 2018

“Unbelievable, just unbelievable,” muttered Tim Wooer, not even trying to conceal the frustration in his voice as he trots to confront a linebacker who missed his assignment during a Thursday morning scrimmage.
          &...

What Really Happens When You Hit a Slot Machine Jackpot

Sept. 1, 2018

It’s the dream of every slot player: Slide money into the machine, press the button, (or pull the handle if you’re an old school player), and watch the symbols line up.
Winner. Winner. Winner!
&...

An Enduring Toast to a Hero Lost

Sept. 1, 2018

The worn green and white football jersey might seem out of place hanging on the wall of the clean, airy tasting room of a beautiful Leelanau County winery.

But when you hear the story behind the uniform, it makes sense.

Rob and Ed Brengman, who own and operate Bren... Read More >>

How much craft beer we brew — and drink — Up North

Aug. 25, 2018

Overall beer sales in Michigan have been declining for years, but the amount of suds produced and sold in the state by brew pubs and microbreweries has increased almost six-fold since 2007, according to the Michigan Liquor Control Commisson.
       ...