September 19, 2019

Patrick Sullivan | Author

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 >>

Bad Trip

Feb. 5, 2018

Dustin Jones and Casey Mutter learned a valuable lesson last October: If you’re freaking out on acid, don’t call police.

That’s what Mutter did Oct. 18 when Jones needed to be brought down from a drug-induced panic attack at the home they share in Long Lake Towns... Read More >>

A Sister’s Pain

Feb. 3, 2018

Michigan State Police Sergeant Melvin “Paul” Holbrook was murdered by his wife in 2009; his sister recalls years before his death she believed his wife was capable of killing him.

Meleen Froman said she wants to speak about Joni Holbrook following a Jan. 15 Norther... Read More >>

Transforming “The Armpit” of Leelanau County Into The Gateway

Jan. 27, 2018

The tiny township of Greilickville has shaken off most its industrial roots, but its mish-mosh mix of businesses, beach, driveways, and docks along M-22 have made the bayside township a traffic nightmare and eyesore. The township is eager to improve, but is the only solution — p... Read More >>

The North's Childcare Crisis

Jan. 27, 2018

Lack of professional childcare is a crisis in northern Michigan that’s tantamount to the affordable housing shortage. Unlike housing, however, the childcare shortage disproportionately affects women.

In Traverse City, there are months-long waiting lists for childcare for inf... Read More >>

Joni Holbrook served 7+ years for murdering her husband. Now she wants a second chance.

Jan. 13, 2018

Joni Ankerson Holbrook is back home in northern Michigan after serving half of a 15-year maximum prison term for the murder her husband, Paul Holbrook, a state police sergeant.

The 56-year-old was sentenced to six to 15 years in prison for second-degree murder. She served 7 &frac1... Read More >>

Dr. Ultra Marathoner

Jan. 6, 2018

At times, even Geoff Burns has to force himself to run in the snow and cold. That’s strange for a kid who grew up in Leelanau County and went on to become an ultramarathon champion.

But since Burns lived for a year in Southern California, winter running in Michigan has becom... Read More >>

A Trail Floating Through the Woods

Dec. 30, 2017

Leelanau State Park’s new fat-bike trail is not a typical trail. It’s called a floating trail, because it only exists on top of the snow. And though cross-country skiers, hikers, and snowshoers are welcome on the trail, it’s really meant for fat biking.

That mean...

New Age for Medical Marijuana

Dec. 16, 2017

Michigan announced new emergency rules for medical marijuana facilities this month, and municipalities across the state are debating whether to opt in and permit provisioning centers or marijuana production.

But in northern Michigan, the supply of medical marijuana for many card-b... Read More >>