March 3, 2024

Todd VanSickle | Author

Free College? Read Between the Lines

Sept. 4, 2021

Jim and Wendy Rowe are basic EMTs with the Frederic Township Fire Department. They love their job and caring for people.

They see a significant part of the healthcare industry moving toward paramedicine, where paramedics make house calls to deliver care to the elderly and sick &md... Read More >>

Smooth Sailing

Aug. 28, 2021

On Wednesday nights, the waters of West Grand Traverse Bay churn with Grand Traverse Yacht Club teams racing for inter-club glory.

The eye-catching boats – a fleet of 14 Melges 24s – are known for their easy set-up and high performance on both inland lakes and big open... Read More >>

4 Rivers. 4 Adventures. Go!

June 12, 2021

Northern Michigan is a kayaking mecca — and for good reason. The region’s myriad waterways offer a variety of adventures for all levels of kayakers, and an opportunity to rent one of these boats is as ubiquitous as it is to buy. (A visit to your local Meijer or sporting goods ... Read More >>

There's Gold in Our Timber

May 22, 2021

You’ve probably seen the high demand for lumber and its skyrocketing prices of late. Or maybe, like folks driving along M-72 between Williamsburg and Grayling in the last year, you noticed a large swath of forest has vanished. With mega South American company Arauco’s open... Read More >>

Local Nurses Speak Out

Dec. 5, 2020

Ask any nurse right now; there’s a good chance he or she has a story about crying in the bathroom while at work. 

Although nurses have always had to deal with stress on the job, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse as a second wave pushes northern Michigan h... Read More >>

Kalkaska's Moose & Stella's

Oct. 24, 2020

Dan Bloomquist and his wife, Evamarie, bought Breakfast & Burger Express in downtown Kalkaska at a great time: December 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Bloomquist considers the forced closure a bit of a lucky break. 

“It took a little while because some...

COVID-19's Impact on Migrant Workers and the North's Ag Economy

Oct. 3, 2020

Cherry Bay Orchards president Mark Miezio remembers getting a phone call on Labor Day weekend that he hopes he never receives again.

“It was a very terrifying thing to get that phone call that one of our new workers tested positive for COVID-19,” he said. 


Voting Up North

Sept. 5, 2020

On a warm, muggy August afternoon, Donald Hager, 93 years old, sat at his kitchen table with his wife Elaine, 91, trying to recall the first president he had voted for.

“It is whoever ran against [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt,” Donald said, with a chuckle. “I think... Read More >>

Billy Bob’s Boneyard Deep-Fried Potato Salad

May 30, 2020

Billy Bob’s Boneyard is one of the newest food trucks in Kalkaska. Their specialty: homemade pulled pork. Available on sliders, macaroni and cheese, fries, nachos, and more,  this succulent, sweet, and tangy pork is good enough to stand alone, but if you’re going to pair ... Read More >>

Your 2020 Summer-Hike Hot List

May 30, 2020

The pandemic might have kiboshed many of our traditional summer events and festivals, but the hiking season is still on in northern Michigan.

With more than 12,000 miles of hiking trails throughout the state, and — let’s be honest — some of the prettiest of the m... Read More >>

A Truly Dope Degree

April 11, 2020

When Dr. Rod Hanley became the tenth president of Lake Superior State University in 2018, he knew it was a time for a change.
“I pulled in the provost Dr. Lynn Gillette, and I said, ‘You know we need to form some new academic programs,’&rd... Read More >>

Human Trafficking in our Backyard

March 28, 2020

Amy Rouleau is the director of Restoration Place, a non-profit in Genesee County that educates the public about human trafficking.
Since 2012, Rouleau has often found herself on the frontlines rescuing human trafficking victims. It is an emotional experience fil... Read More >>

Dangerous Legal Drug? Or Nature's Answer to Opioid Addiction?

Feb. 22, 2020

In January 2017, Ron Porritt remembers waking up with a sheriff’s deputy standing over him. He had overdosed on heroin, and a friend had called the police. It was at that moment he realized his life needed to change.

Porritt’s addiction to opiates began after a series ... Read More >>

Chicken Pickle Pizza

Jan. 4, 2020

The sign outside of the Kal-Ho Lounge in downtown Kalkaska promises patrons “Good Food and Pizza.” That sign is a gross understatement if you’ve ever tasted the bar’s Chicken Pickle pizza, which is easily some of the best pie you can get east of Traverse City. And,... Read More >>

Thirsty Sturgeon's Cajun Chicken Mac and Cheese

Dec. 14, 2019

Just outside of Wolverine, the Thirsty Sturgeon Bar and Grille sits on the bank of the Sturgeon River. Depending on the season, the restaurant is popular among kayakers or snowmobilers.  Although there are many reasons to stop at this restaurant, the homemade macaroni and cheese migh... Read More >>

The Incredible Shrinking Up North Population

Oct. 26, 2019

In 2009, Jessica Estes was laid off from her job at a major automaker. She was about 21 years old, and while many of her peers were having kids, the thought of having a family during that time scared her.

The economy has rebounded, but that experience of poverty and struggle has m... Read More >>

Rolling Oak’s Donut Beer

Oct. 19, 2019

Downtown Grayling’s Rolling Oak Brewery loves thy neighbor. So much so that its brewers, Radel Rosin and Jason Malone, created a beer to honor of one of ’em. The guys like to keep business as local as possible, said Rosin, so, in addition to sourcing ingredients like hops from... Read More >>

“We Are in a War Zone Against this Disease.”

Oct. 5, 2019

What is this contagion? What does it mean for the future of our fruit and orchards? And what — if anything — can we do about it?
In southwest Lower Michigan in 2000, fire blight ripped through a large portion of the region’s apple orchards. The ... Read More >>

Paddle Hard Brewery's Wide Awake Stout

Aug. 24, 2019

Paddle Hard Brewing in Grayling has taken the guilt out of having a beer for breakfast. Its newly released Wide Awake Stout is strong on coffee flavor and buzz, yet — in strong contrast to traditional stouts, which tend to feel thick and heavy — it’s light and refreshing... Read More >>

Bojack’s Kolacky

Aug. 10, 2019

Bojack’s Bake Shop and Cafe in Mancelona — a quick stop right off US-131 — has been in business for 20 years, but it has the vintage-homey feel of a 1950s diner inside a knotty pine cabin. The cafe serves an excellent breakfast, but its freshly made pastries steal the sh... Read More >>