March 29, 2020

Patrick Sullivan | Author


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... Read More >>

Portrait of an Alleged Small-town Pimp

Feb. 29, 2020

Warning to our readers: The story that follows contains graphic language and details of a sexual and violent nature.

At noon on a chilly Tuesday last February, a 36-year-old woman walked with a friend into the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office to complain that someone ... Read More >>

The Gravel Pit Next Door?

Feb. 22, 2020

Little did Jim Brouwer know when he opened his mail one day last August that a legal notice he held in his hand would virtually take over his life in the coming months, sending him door to door to warn neighbors and to enlist others to join his cause.

When Brouwer and his wife, Ca... Read More >>

Struggles of a Mom and Pop Pot-shop Owner

Feb. 15, 2020

Stephen Ezell has been in the legal pot business as long as than just about anyone in northern Michigan. He’s lived through the awkward, clumsy legalization of first medical and the recreational marijuana.
Ezell said that his business, Interlochen Alternative Health — a m... Read More >>

'Receipts, Hair, Bullet Fragments & Rumors'

Feb. 8, 2020

There were eight elk killed in poaching cases in the Pigeon River State Forest this season. Five of those killings remain unsolved. Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigators want to catch those responsible for every last elk death, even if it takes years.

... Read More >>

Go inside the 86th

Feb. 1, 2020

Michigan’s 105 district courts aren’t the state’s highest or farthest-reaching courts. They’re a starting point, where the accused go to face initial charges, a judge, and sometimes even a jury. District courts are charged with resolving their region’s le... Read More >>

A Punishment to Fit the Crime

Jan. 25, 2020

The trial of Robert Jensen Schwander for the brutal murder of Carly Lewis in June 2011 was not about whether or not Schwander killed Lewis — he confessed to killing her early in the investigation. Rather, the trial was supposed to determine what kind of killing had occurred.
Read More >>

Iron Fish's Copper Queen

Jan. 11, 2020

A Benzie County distillery is offering a taste of Michigan’s Copper Country in a whiskey that’s based on a century-old recipe.

Copper Queen, originally served in the saloons of Red Jacket — now Calumet —  when the copper mining industry made the Kew... Read More >>

Was it Racism?

Jan. 11, 2020

It was on a warm, sunny summer evening when the 13-year-old Cadillac student bought some cookies at one of the city’s Dollar Generals before heading home on his bicycle via a section of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, a 92-mile trail that runs from the southeast end of Cadillac&rs... Read More >>

Mirror of History

Jan. 4, 2020

If you drive by the old white house on Mission Road in the village of Old Mission, on the Old Mission Peninsula, there isn’t anything about it that jumps out at you to reveal what a significant building it is. There is a historical marker, but other than that, it looks like another ... Read More >>

Committed in 2012. Solved in 2019.

Dec. 14, 2019

When a man passed a note through a Walgreens drive-thru saying that he’d rigged the store with a bomb and needed all the morphine and Ritalin the Grand Traverse store had, an alert pharmacy clerk and quick action by detectives soon led to all the evidence needed to identify a suspec... Read More >>

Kalkaska: Marijuana Mecca

Dec. 7, 2019

For weeks, in a shopping plaza near the southern limits of the village of Kalkaska, workers have been busy transforming a former Forest Area Federal Credit Union branch into a marijuana store.

The Village of Kalkaska wants to be a mecca for marijuana, and as recreational mariju... Read More >>

Welcome to the Golden Age of Shipwreck Hunting

Nov. 30, 2019

The era of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes ended in 1975 with the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, according to Michigan historian and shipwreck hunter Ross Richardson. Improved weather forecasting and larger vessels have meant there haven’t been many significant wrecks since then.Read More >>

A Decade on the Front Lines of the Opiate Epidemic

Nov. 23, 2019

Christopher Hindbaugh didn’t know what he was getting into when he took over as executive director of Addiction Treatment Services in 2009. The Traverse City-based nonprofit — which had been providing substance abuse services to the community for 30 years — was in deep f... Read More >>

We’ve Been Here Before

Nov. 16, 2019

People were caught off guard when Lake Michigan reached record highs in 1986, the last time lake levels were near the level they are today. That year, like this year, the lake crept onto highways, washed away beaches and trees, and tumbled homes from bluffs into the unpredictable inland s... Read More >>

Double Life

Nov. 9, 2019

Warning: Details in the following story might be disturbing to some readers.

There was talk among a small group of inmates at the Grand Traverse County jail, talk of a monster who lived in town, one who would lure young men to his office after dark, offer them meth, an... Read More >>

Time to Decide

Oct. 26, 2019

It may be an off-year election, but contested mayoral elections in the region’s two largest cities are heating up. Elsewhere, voters will be asked to weigh in on whether to fund schools and how public money should be spent. Northern Express zeroed in on some of the most significant ... Read More >>

Inside American Waste

Oct. 19, 2019

A failed 2012 experiment bore the nearly 50-year-old waste hauler — and environmentally conscious northerners — some unexpected fruit: a series of massive machines that can take in and tackle more recyclable materials than most any system in the nation. Northern Express fo... Read More >>

Saving Our Sacred Earth

Oct. 12, 2019

Located on 200 acres on a pond in the woods between Kalkaska and Mancelona, the Au Sable Institute still looks like the small summer boys camp it once was, since its founding in the 1950s.

But it’s much more than a camp today. Throughout the school year, Au Sable hosts hu... Read More >>