October 22, 2020

Todd VanSickle | Author

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

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 >>

Paying the Rent in Paradise

July 27, 2019

Faith Mulholland is a single mother who is an assistant manager at Wendy’s in Interlochen. Her commute to work is about 10 minutes from Grawn, where she pays $650 a month for a two-bedroom manufactured home, but she hasn’t always been so fortunate.
“The ...

Trout Town Margarita

July 27, 2019

The start of the week just got a lot cooler in Kalkaska, thanks to Trout Town Tavern and Eatery’s Margarita Monday special. The $3 margaritas are a great way to help you forget about any Monday blues. The punch of tequila is contrasted by the sweet and sour lemony flavor of the marg... Read More >>

Torch Lake Lemonade

July 13, 2019

There is one problem with Torch Lake during the summer: You never want to leave. The lake’s beautiful blue waters are a main attraction for visitors and residents alike. A good way to end a day of fun on the water is with a Torch Lake Lemonade on the deck at Dockside bar and grill o... Read More >>

Yankee Boy’s Cheesecake

May 18, 2019

Saving room for dessert can be a tough task, especially when a restaurant serves good food. But save yourself from this dilemma and order the cheesecake first at the Yankee Boy in South Boardman — you won’t regret it. Unlike most cheesecakes, this homemade dessert is not dense... Read More >>

What Lurks Beneath Your Home

May 4, 2019

There's a potential killer in almost every home in Michigan. It’s silent, invisible, and scentless. And, although there is a way to identify it, most homeowners will not.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Surgeon General’s ... Read More >>

Don't Call it Puppy Love

April 20, 2019

A couple years ago a close friend of mine was splitting up with his wife. The situation had all the complications of a messy divorce: who gets the house, mutual friends taking sides and accusations of infidelity. Fortunately, they didn’t have kids. Or, at least, I thought they didn&... Read More >>