August 12, 2020

Patrick Sullivan | Author

The Libertarians are Coming

Aug. 8, 2020

Something in the ether, maybe, brought together a bunch of people who over the last year or so declared themselves Libertarians and got nominated to run for local, statewide, and federal office.

They’re not an easily organized group of individuals, but they are united in the... Read More >>

Three Races to Watch

July 25, 2020

Across Northern Michigan, sheriffs and prosecutors are facing challenges from within their own party.

Perhaps the most dramatic of the races, at least in terms of backstory, is in Emmet County, where a former chief assistant prosecutor has challenged his one-time boss for his job.... Read More >>

MiddleCoast’s Ginger Kölsch

July 18, 2020

A new beer from Traverse City’s Middlecoast Brewing Co. is made for summer and tastes a little like Detroit’s own Vernors.

That unmistakable flavor isn’t a mistake, but what’s blended into Middlecoast’s Ginger Kölsch isn’t actually Michigan... Read More >>

A Novel Perspective

July 18, 2020


As the pandemic descended upon northern Michigan and changed all of our lives, Vicki Shurly, director of the Peninsula Community Library, was on the frontlines at the beginning, when the virus turned from abstraction to reality, and at the next sea change, when places like ... Read More >>

Line 5 on Trial

July 11, 2020

Times were different when Line 5 was stretched underwater across the five miles of the Straits of Mackinac in 1953. The project was barely a blip in the news. People were hungry for new sources of energy to fuel their cars and homes. The pipeline existed for decades in a blissful state of... Read More >>

King of Beaver Island

July 4, 2020

It is possible to make the argument that James Strang is the most interesting person who ever lived in northern Lower Michigan. He was a self-proclaimed prophet, an abolitionist, a con man, possibly a pirate, and he crowned himself king of Beaver Island, ruling over its inhabitan... Read More >>

A Tale of Three Cities

June 20, 2020

On a day in the first week of January, Alex Marshall attended church, dropped family off at his mother’s house, picked up some Chinese food, and headed home. He soon realized he was being followed by a police cruiser.

The lights never flashed, and the siren never activated, ... Read More >>

The Time Four Guys Named Winn Decided to Start a Business

June 13, 2020

John Winn’s grandmother bought a boat when he was a child, a used 15-footer with an outboard engine big enough to pull people on waterskis.

Boating got into John Winn’s blood. He said he knew then that boating would be his life.

“And it just went from the...

Up North Gangland

June 6, 2020

As a professor at University of California Berkley, Robert Knapp spent decades researching and teaching ancient Roman history.

In retirement, however, he wanted to return to his own roots. He bought an old cabin near Clare, Michigan, not far from where he grew up, and started spen... Read More >>

Boyne Theater to Get New Life

June 6, 2020

Just as theaters of all kinds around the world face uncertain futures amid a global pandemic, officials in Boyne City announced the revival of a historic 1903 theater.

Richard Bergman, owner of the Boyne City Taproom and the Boyne Theater, had worked for 18 months to develop a pla... Read More >>

Northern Michigan’s Own Jeopardy! Star

May 23, 2020

Cadillac resident Ben Scripps went on a winning streak on the game show Jeopardy!, winning in his first two appearances. Unfortunately, the third appearance wasn’t a charm; Scripps ultimately lost to competitor Nathan Berger, of Portland, Maine, after making a big bet on wh... Read More >>

Summer People

May 16, 2020

On a sunny Friday afternoon on the first of May, the Emerald Isle, the massive 130-foot car ferry capable of carrying 294 passengers, 15 vehicles, cargo, and a semi-truck, completed its 32-mile journey and pulled into port at Beaver Island on its first trip of the season.

There...

Cadillac Cinema Might be Saved

May 16, 2020

A nonprofit group plans to save the Cadillac 4 movie theater in downtown Cadillac after the venue closed amid a bankruptcy.

The Cadillac Footliters, a community theater group, has made an offer to purchase Cadillac’s only movie theater, noting that it plans to make the hi... Read More >>

Addiction Isn’t Taking a Break

May 2, 2020

Methadone saved Mariah Pelky’s life but getting the dose that helps the Interlochen resident resist her narcotics addiction requires she drives to a clinic in Gaylord six days each week.

Still, she considers herself to be one of the lucky ones. The methadone and a stable ... Read More >>

TC Filmmaker's Doc Championed by Moore; Panned by Environmentalists

May 2, 2020

A Traverse City filmmaker’s documentary about green energy was a massive hit after Michael Moore promoted the film on his YouTube channel, garnering millions of views — but backlash from environmentalists around the world.

“I am thrilled that Planet o...

The Earth Day Celebration That Wasn't

April 25, 2020

This year’s 50th Earth Day didn’t arrive with the fanfare that long-time environmental activist Ann Rogers had hoped.

After all, it wasn’t just a milestone for Earth Day, it was also the 40th anniversary of the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, o... Read More >>

Peace or Panic? A Mid-COVID Chat with TC Police Chief O'Brien

April 18, 2020

Even before Friday, March 13 — the day Michigan went into a semi-lockdown and schools across the state shut their doors — local officials were devising a plan for handling the quickly approaching crisis.

Traverse City Police Chief Jeff O’Brien said he and othe... Read More >>

Vice v. Virus

April 11, 2020

Northern Express set out to talk to some of the people who work in the industries that produce these products to learn how the pandemic has impacted their jobs.
There might not yet be any pot stores open in Kalkaska,... Read More >>

Weed in the Time of Coronavirus

March 21, 2020

Recreational marijuana shops have only just started opening up around Michigan in recent months, most of them downstate.

But near to Traverse City, two recreational pot businesses have opened their doors, both of them in Benzie County: Great Lakes Natural Remedies Inc., in Benz... Read More >>

Anti Viral

March 7, 2020

Health officials in northern Michigan are gearing up for the arrival of COVID-19, a.k.a. coronavirus. We circled the region to find out what's happening, where — and what's next.

‘Prepared, not Panicked’
Many people never have to wo...