Taylor Wizner | Michigan Radio
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Taylor Wizner

Taylor Wizner is passionate about empowering communities through solid reporting. She started at IPR in 2019 after working as an associate producer at WDET in Detroit. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School and the University of Michigan, and has interned for NPR’s flagship show "All Things Considered." When not sharing the news of the day, she enjoys eating Detroit-style pizza and listening to narrative podcasts.

Traverse City Area Public Schools’ passed an anti-racism resolution late Monday night after hearing hours of public comment over how strong a stance the district should take.

Talks of creating a resolution began after an incident in April when several Traverse City students participated in a Snapchat group purporting to be a "Slave Trade" where students bid on and sold some minority students.

paramedics standing outside ambulance doors
Mat Napo / Unsplash

There is a major shortage of emergency medical service workers across the state. But paramedic education programs require extensive certification and can be costly to start up. For that reason, they aren’t often offered in rural communities.

North Central Michigan College is now opening satellite programs in Gaylord and Alpena for students who currently don’t have access.

The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City runs from July 5 through July 12.
User: Michigan Municipal League / flickr

More Michigan cities are applying for “social districts.”

The goal is to spur economic activity in downtown areas that suffered losses due to COVID.

Last year Michigan passed a law essentially allowing public drinking on Main Streets, as long as communites designate the area as a "social district.”

gretchen whitmer sitting at table
State of Michigan

One of the alleged accomplices in the plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer has gained some more freedoms Wednesday as he awaits his next court appearance.

The pretrial hearing for the men accused of supporting the alleged plot against the governor was originally set for December last year, but it's been postponed because of the pandemic.

lake house
Adobe Stock

State lawmakers may vote on legislation this week that would strip communities of the ability to regulate vacation rentals.

Weekend and week-long rentals have exploded in popularity in recent years, leading cities and small lakeshore towns to regulate where they are allowed and how many there can be.

Adobe Stock

The question of whether businesses should require masks has stressed northern Michigan’s hospitality industry. As the region’s population begins to swell for the warmer months, tourism officials say they’re taking a cautious approach.

Typically when the cherry trees begin to bloom, northwest Michigan sees an influx of people visiting their summer cottages or vacationing.

woman gets COVID vaccine
Adobe Stock

Earlier in the pandemic, health officials were worried Indigenous populations would be hesitant to get a COVID vaccine. Now, they’re among the most vaccinated populations in the country. That's according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Michigan, community nurses say there was already a lot of trust in tribal health centers that administer the shots.

Telephone
user mconnors / morgueFile

Operators of domestic abuse hotlines across the state say more women are calling them in crisis, as pandemic stress has led to more violence at home.

Eric Stiles, a program director with the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, says they’ve documented an increase in survivors of abuse who have called their statewide hotline in 2021, compared to last year.

Cherry Capital Airport sign in front of trees and a blue sky
Traverse City Capital Airport

The state health department is trying to encourage more people to get tested for COVID-19 by making it convenient.

The state is beginning to offer testing at travel sites. Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City is the first airport to offer free rapid tests.

a person holds a vaccine vial
Adobe Stock

When vaccinations opened to northwest Michigan’s older population, health officials reported a “crushing demand.” Now that appointments have opened to all ages, they can’t find enough people.

The health officer for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, Lisa Peacock, says with almost half the region vaccinated, the other half seems to be hesitant.

Charlie Day in hospital
Candace Day

A rare side effect of COVID-19 can cause respiratory and heart failure in some young people.

Health professionals call it “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children,” or MISC.

One northern Michigan family says finding out their young son had it was one of the scariest moments of their lives.

It was mother’s worst nightmare. Kandace Day’s four-year-old son was air-vacced to the hospital with 15 doctors rushing him to the ICU.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is moving the Upper Peninsula back to Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan.

Whitmer downgraded the U.P.'s category after a surge of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. It is the first region in the state to move backwards.

Outside the North Lake Correctional Facility entrance in Baldwin.
Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

On April 21, Interlochen Public Radio reported there were nine inmates at the North Lake Correctional Facility who tested positive with COVID-19.

Since that story was published, IPR has been unable to obtain further information about the number of inmates who are sick, who have died or recovered from the disease.

people holding signs
Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Inmates inside the North Lake Correctional Facility — an immigrant prison in Baldwin — allege conditions are so unsafe that some have been put in prolonged solitary confinement.

They further allege prison guards are segregating the facility by race, and the amount of food that they’ve been getting recently hasn’t been enough, specifically citing a lack of protein.

sign on grocery store door
Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

Health officials are worried about people traveling up north from downstate and other areas around the country to their second homes.

Many are coming to northern Michigan to hunker down as the COVID-19 disease spreads in cities throughout the United States.

Nestle Waters won't appeal Osceola Township pumping site

Feb 20, 2020
bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

After a years-long battle, Nestlé Waters will not get the water pumping building it wants in northern Michigan.

The company did not appeal a court decision in December, effectively stopping the bottler from being able to build on land it wasn’t zoned for.

 

Nestlé Waters will not get the water pumping building it wants in northern Michigan. 

The company did not appeal a court decision in December, effectively stopping the bottler from being able to build on land it wasn’t zoned for.  

Jed Jaworski

Large waves and Lake Michigan’s record high water level are breaking down the barrier that protects the historic Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort.

Key parts of the structure are fractured and falling apart. Supporters of the lighthouse are trying to get repairs done. 

But Interlochen Public Radio's Taylor Wizner reports that a lengthy process may stand in the way.

 

The Pere Marquette River is a nationally recognized trout stream attracting anglers from all over the world.

Five years ago, hops were in high demand in Michigan, and more and more farmers started experimenting with the crop. 

Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen Center for the Arts

Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier accused of sex crimes against many girls, visited and donated to Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Epstein has been accused of preying on girls who aspired to be performers, although the school says they have no record of any complaints from current or former students.

Half a century ago, hundreds of pairs of piping plovers lived in the Great Lakes. But by the 1980s, they were on the verge of extinction and only a dozen pairs remained.

Over time, wildlife biologists have helped increase the population. But it’s still well below a stable number and each year there’s a new threat.

 

More and more school work is being done online, but some students across the country are falling behind their peers because they don’t have internet at home.