June 26, 2019

Patrick Sullivan | Author

Home Again

July 14, 2018

Jennifer Rodgers walked into a courtroom July 3 and got something that seemed for months to be out of her reach: permission to spend time with her mom.

The court ruling arrived just in time for Rodgers — and friends and family of her mom, 80-year-old Martha (pictured above, ... Read More >>

The Good Hart Murders: Case Closed

July 7, 2018

Northern Michigan’s most notorious cold case, the horrific 1968 murder of six members of the Robison family in Good Hart, has seemingly languished unsolved for five decades, a festering open wound amid an otherwise idyllic setting.

For the past decade, retired high scho...

Conservative Conservationist

June 30, 2018

When Thomas Bailey took over as executive director of the Little Traverse Conservancy 34 years ago, he sat down and read a couple years’ worth of the nonprofit’s newsletters. While he found them to be informative, he also found that the writing lacked heart.

Bailey bel...

Strapped Times at Sleeping Bear

June 23, 2018

Next time you visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you probably won’t notice that park officials and volunteers are scrambling behind the scenes to accommodate skyrocketing numbers of guests with a budget that’s flat or in decline.

Stagnant operational budgets...

The War Against Oak Wilt

June 23, 2018

The infection probably hopped over from a neighbor’s woods, in the form of a beetle carrying a fungus and attracted to the sap seeping from a trunk damaged last summer. It left one red oak tree dead amid a forest of red oaks.

The tree’s death was confirmed this spring ... Read More >>

Does Grand Traverse Bay Have a Plastic Problem?

June 16, 2018

Some seasoned beachcombers noticed an alarming amount of plastic trash washed up along Grand Traverse Bay this spring, fueling worry that’s been building over how so much plastic is getting into the Great Lakes and what the consequences might be.

Photographer John Robert Wil...

Why doesn’t Traverse City have a methadone clinic?

June 2, 2018

At her practice in Traverse City, Dr. Julia Riddle treats pregnant women, many of whom are addicted to opiates. On her days off, she drives 60 miles to Gaylord, to work at one of the only centers in northern Michigan that distributes methadone to help patients beat their addictions to her... Read More >>

The Mystery of the Keuka

May 26, 2018

She was known as Lake Charlevoix’s party barge, and you either loved her — or you hated her.

The Keuka was just one of many open secrets around northern Michigan during Prohibition, one of the places where everyone knew you could get a drink. This one happened to float... Read More >>

Rehearsal for a Line 5 Failure?

May 19, 2018

When an anchor strike punctured an underwater pipe in the Straits of Mackinac on April 1, releasing an estimated 600 gallons of a petroleum-based fluid into the Great Lakes from an electrical transmission line, the response was hampered by extreme weather.

Opponents of Enbridge En...

Welcome to the Neighborhood Bars of Maxwelltown

May 12, 2018


There used to be more bars in Manistee, per capita, than anyplace else in the state. Or at least, that’s how the story goes.

“People like to say that, but it’s never really been substantiated,” said Mark Fedder, executive director of th... Read More >>

Traverse City’s Safe Harbor

May 5, 2018

The longtime NIMBY debate about creating a permanent homeless shelter on Traverse City’s Wellington Street — near the public library, a neighborhood, and main thoroughfare — came to a decisive close when Safe Harbor finally opened its doors in 2017. While it hasn't b... Read More >>

Arcadia Divided

April 28, 2018

You’d have a hard time fitting on a campaign sign the reasons opponents of two Arcadia Township trustees want to see the officials removed from office. Likewise, those trustees’ supporters would have just as hard a time briefly making their case.

The township is divide...

Another Strange Twist in Bank Heist Case

April 21, 2018

Charges against bank robbery suspect William Minore were suddenly dismissed by a federal judge, leaving prosecutors scrambling to figure out their next move.

Minore was transferred from Grand Rapids to Traverse City April 18 and was arraigned the next day on felony weapons charges... Read More >>

LaSusa v. Antrim County

March 31, 2018

Mike LaSusa was visiting family last summer when conversation turned to a decade-old murder and suicide in Elk Rapids.

LaSusa vaguely recalled the sordid details, so he searched online and read news accounts, first of 16-year-old Sam Avery’s death and the suicide, two years ... Read More >>

The Big Bargain

March 24, 2018

Northern Michigan isn’t a hotbed of unionism, but in recent years, at least at some of the region’s community colleges, unions have made strides. Faculty at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City organized in 2015.

Now a vote is scheduled in April at North Cent... Read More >>

Camp Chasm in Charlevoix

March 17, 2018

There’s a township just northeast of Charlevoix with miles of Little Traverse Bay shoreline along its northern end, and at its south, miles of Lake Charlevoix shore. In between lie 42 square miles of rolling farmland, curving country roads, nature preserves, and woods.

It&rs...

Welcome to Michigan’s Most Remote Brewery

March 10, 2018

After years of planning and honing his beer-making skills, this spring, Patrick McGinnity plans to open Beaver Island’s first microbrewery.

Opening a craft brewery is challenging. Opening one on a remote island in Lake Michigan that’s either a 15-minute plane ride or a... Read More >>

Kalkaska Murder Mystery

March 3, 2018

One of the suspects in a Kalkaska County murder case — one that’s been alternately described as a botched robbery or a drug deal gone wrong — also faced questions in connection with a fatal drive-by shooting in Detroit two years earlier.

Jason Morgan (above cente...

A Death in the Jail

Feb. 24, 2018

Attorneys for the family of a man who took his own life in the Grand Traverse County Jail want answers. They’re asking how it’s possible that an inmate — one who’d just been taken off suicide watch — could be left alone for hours with the means to accomplish ... Read More >>

The Saga of Noverr Farms

Feb. 10, 2018

A nasty years-long battle between neighbors in the pastoral hills of South Lake Leelanau might be settled soon. But one of the parties, Frank Noverr, has no intention of settling down.

At the heart of the conflict is Noverr’s barn and 26-acre farm, a stunning lake-view parce... Read More >>