March 3, 2024

Ren Brabenec | Author


Will a National Lawsuit Affect Northern Michigan Real Estate?

Feb. 10, 2024

A recent $1.8 billion real estate lawsuit made national headlines, raising the question of whether the way real estate transactions are carried out may change.

Though the suit is being appealed, the initial judgment in Sitzer v. The National Association of REALTORS® (... Read More >>

Writing in Pursuit of Meaning

Jan. 27, 2024

The human race faces infinite unknowns. Every time a question is answered and a mystery is solved, another reveals itself. And while some mysteries are new, others are questions humans have asked themselves since the dawn of civilization. What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What... Read More >>

U.P. Winter Adventures Await

Dec. 16, 2023

How do we know that a significant part of our state is an undiscovered gem? A running joke (and statement of pride amongst Yoopers) is that, occasionally, a cable news segment, weather forecast, textbook, or even the History Channel will display a map of the United States…without t... Read More >>

A Safe and Sober Holiday Season

Nov. 18, 2023

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, at least 20 million Americans meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. That means nearly one in 10 U.S. adults struggle with drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two.

Because addiction is widespread and can affect ... Read More >>

"Together, We Can Be Really Powerful"

Oct. 28, 2023

What started as a humble effort to create a safe space for teens in Leelanau has become a county-wide movement.

Leelanau Investing For Teens (LIFT) is an organization whose mission is “dedicated to empowering local youth to discover their strengths by investing in their evol... Read More >>

Democracy Is a Participation Sport

Oct. 7, 2023

When asked why she is optimistic about the future of American democracy, Heather Cox Richardson says the answer—for her, at least—is a simple one.

“I believe in the concept of human self-determination, and I believe that democracy is the form of government most l... Read More >>

The Generational Impact of Habitat for Humanity

Sept. 23, 2023

With prices for building materials and vacant land rising and wages barely keeping up with inflation, helping residents become homeowners has never been more challenging.

“Building materials are 40 percent more expensive today than they were just a few years ago,” says... Read More >>

How a Gun Became a Symbol of America

Sept. 9, 2023

Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson, journalists at The Wall Street Journal and authors of American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15, will take the stage for a National Writers Series conversation at the City Opera House on Tuesday, September 19, at 7pm.

The topi... Read More >>

Great Lakes, Great Movies

Sept. 2, 2023

Many northern Michigan residents are still feeling a bit forlorn about the loss of the Traverse City Film Festival. But in classic Yooper fashion, our neighbors to the north are more than willing to lend a hand and save the day. Case in point: This year’s Soo Film Festival, to be he... Read More >>

Water Knows No Borders

Aug. 19, 2023

This fall, students, entrepreneurs, and tech-savvy youths ages 18 to 35 from across the U.S. and Canada will be able to compete and collaborate in innovating tech solutions to North America’s freshwater challenges.

AquaAction, a Canadian and American nonprofit dedicated to r... Read More >>

Michigan’s Sixth Great Lake

July 29, 2023

The U.S. Geological Survey defines groundwater as “Water that exists underground in saturated zones beneath the land surface. It fills the pores and fractures in underground materials such as sand, gravel, and other rock, much the same way that water fills a sponge.” Nationall... Read More >>

The Rivers of Our River Towns

July 1, 2023

According to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan has over 76,000 miles of rivers and streams. To put that figure into perspective, if each river and stream in the Great Lakes State were connected, they’d be long enough to circle the Earth three ti... Read More >>

A Brief History of Isle Royale: The Evolution of the Least-Visited National Park

May 20, 2023

Isle Royale is the least-visited but most re-visited national park in the lower 48. How is it that a spot that receives as many visitors in a year as Yellowstone gets in a day is the most popular park to return to out of the hundreds in the country?

As w... Read More >>

Press Freedom Here and Abroad

April 29, 2023

The World Press Freedom Index assesses the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories. In 2022, a record number of countries—28 of them—were ranked “very bad” for press freedom, including Russia, China, and Iran, as well as North Korea, which placed dead ... Read More >>

Not Your Average Trails

April 8, 2023

The sunlight in your eyes may seem sharp after months of gray, but it’s a welcome reminder that we did it; we survived another Michigan winter. Now you want to get outside, but you want to kick the season off with something unique and special. Rather than the typical hike, you want ... Read More >>

The Devil’s Element

March 4, 2023

Dan Egan, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the author of New York Times bestseller The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, will take the stage at the City Opera House in Traverse City March 10 for an event in partnership with the National Writers Series and ... Read More >>

Off the Beaten Path

Jan. 21, 2023

A Finnish friend in the U.P. recently defined the term sisu for us. She says sisu refers to the extraordinary determination the Finnish Yoopers use to not just survive the winter but to thrive in it.

During the cold months of January and February, it’s easy to forget the nat... Read More >>

Fire Means Flee: Hiker’s Firsthand Account of Isle Royale’s Mt. Franklin Wildfire

Nov. 12, 2022

No one expects a wildfire when backpacking an island, not until smoke is heading your way and park rangers evacuate your campground.

The morning of Aug. 13 found me hiking Isle Royale National Park’s iconic Greenstone Ridge, a much-anticipated adventure my father and I had b... Read More >>