Here are 10 stories from the past week that had a big impact on Northern Michigan.
1. Former Traverse City daycare worker facing child abuse charges
A Northern Michigan daycare worker has been charged with two counts of child abuse for actions that were caught on camera. The Grand Traverse Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Kyle Attwood, said 22-year-old Grace Lacoste was working at Traverse City’s Central Day Care Center at the time but has since been fired. Lacoste is facing two counts of 4th degree child abuse for allegedly handling two children, under the age of four, in a rough manner. Attwood said the incidents happened May 10 and 11. “An employee in a childcare role at the center was roughly handling, jerking around, pushing that sort of thing. Looking at it, it appears that it could be somebody who was overwhelmed and frustrated and wasn’t appropriately channeling those emotions and instead let that boil over into how they handled the children there,” said Atwood.
2. U.S. Coast Guard: Estimated 1,000 gallons of diesel spilled just off 5th Avenue Beach in Manistee
U.S. Coast Guard personnel, along with state and local agencies, responded Wednesday to a report of the motor vessel Manitowoc spilling diesel in Lake Michigan, nearly 1.5 nautical miles (~1.7 miles) offshore of Manistee. Near 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, the 612-foot bulk carrier motor vessel Manitowoc reported a hull breach on its starboard diesel tank. The maximum spill potential is 45,174 gallons of diesel.
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3. Osceola County Sheriff’s Office arrests four men after human trafficking sting
Four were people arrested in a third Northern Michigan human trafficking sting within one week. The other operations happened in Presque Isle County and in Charlevoix County. The Osceola County Sheriff’s office said they arrested four people who tried to meet up with an underage girl last Friday.
4. Steve Lajoie and Wesley Dean win the 2023 Au Sable River Canoe Marathon
Steve Lajoie and Wesley Dean are taking home the trophy after a time of 14:23:06 this was Dean’s first ever marathon win, but for Lajoie it was number 13. It came down to the wire as Steve and Wesley were just 5 seconds ahead of Christophe Proulx and Ryan Halstead at the last checkpoint before the finish line, Foote Dam. The duo were able to open up a two-minute gap in the last hour.
5. The search is on for a new water supply in one Upper Peninsula area
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that while a water source was confirmed in Ontonagon County, a search for a more manageable replacement of that water source continues. A Michigan DNR crew recently uncovered an old wellhead off the Bill Nichols Rail-Trail, discovering that it supplies two homes and the trailside stop where the water has been used for drinking and other watering needs for decades.
6. Controversial Gotion battery plant one step closer after land acquisition
Tuesday night’s Green Charter Township board meeting was a contentious one, as the board brought the controversial Gotion battery plant one step closer to becoming a reality. In front of a fired-up room of residents and local college students, the board approved a land development agreement that lays out terms and obligations for both the township and Gotion after Gotion acquired 270 acres for their plant. Reactions from the audience Tuesday night were mixed, as the room was split with supporters and those opposed. The mixed crowd bickered until Supervisor Jim Chapman yelled at the crowd to quiet down.
7. Michigan man forced to quit his epic swim across Lake Michigan due to weather
Poor conditions forced a 59-year-old Michigan man to quit an attempt to swim across Lake Michigan after just hours in the water. Jim Dreyer, of Grand Haven, entered the lake from Bradford Beach in Milwaukee early Tuesday. He planned to swim 82.5 miles to Grand Haven City Beach in Michigan. He expected to complete the trip in 60 hours. Tuesday marked the day 25 years ago he set out on his first record-setting swim between the two states. That 1998 swim was a 50-mile point-to-point swim from Two Rivers, Wisconsin to Ludington, Michigan, which grew into a 65-mile swim due to strong currents.
8. S.S. Badger ending season early impacts tourism in Ludington
Michiganders and people from across the lake rely on the S.S. Badger to commute. With the car ferry being out of commission for the remainder of the season, it is having a big impact on tourism in Ludington. The general manager of Best Western in Ludington, Kati Gonzales, says she say the impact immediately. “The phone calls started immediately,” she said.
9. Gov. Whitmer talks historic budget, affordable housing, insurance ruling with 9&10 News
Northern Michigan’s News Leader went one-on-one Tuesday with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer less than 24 hours after she signed a historic state budget into law. The nearly $82 billion budget is the largest in state history. Tuesday, the governor brushed off any criticism over the budget’s size. “I think that it’s also important to note that we’ve been really fiscally responsible. We paid down billions in debt since I’ve become governor. We have amassed a $2 billion rainy day fund. So in the event we see bubbles in the in the economy going forward, that we’ve got some security. We also have created a rainy day fund for schools,” said Whitmer.
10. Unsolved: The Kelly Boyce Hurlbert hit and run
It’s just before 2 a.m. on July 5, 2013, as Kelly Boyce Hurlbert begins her bike ride home after spending the night working at North Peak Brewing Company. “Especially at that time of year, they would take their bikes to and from work all the time just to not have to deal with the car and the traffic. And she would ride into town constantly instead of driving,” said Kelly’s sister Nicole. But as she neared the end of her journey home along Washington Street, Kelly was hit. “I got woke up to a phone call saying we needed to get up to Traverse. It was bad. We needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible,” recalled Nicole. Kelly was dragged for more than a block, somehow entangled in the vehicle that hit her.