Environment & Science
3:14 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Developer gets OK for road across Michigan dunes

The view of the McClendon property from the mouth of the Kalamazoo River.
Credit Lindsey Smith/Michigan Radio

SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Construction is expected to begin in the coming months on an access road across part of the Lake Michigan shoreline for 18 home sites.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Singapore Dunes LLC says it has received permission from the state Department of Environmental Quality to build the two-lane blacktop in Allegan County's Saugatuck Township.


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Environment & Science
8:00 am
Wed January 8, 2014

State regulators to issue permit for controversial development in duneland, with conditions

The DEQ will require a land easement to minimize impacts to the unique interdunal wetland ecosystems on the property. This is the property just south of the proposed development.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A controversial development that’s proposed on 300 acres of critical duneland in Saugatuck is likely to get the state permit it needs to get the project rolling. The parcel has been at the center of a years-long legal battle.

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Politics & Culture
5:11 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

On today's show, we took a look at key election results from around the state, from marijuana to gay rights. How did you vote?  And what's the take away from Election 2013?

Then, we spoke with Michigan singer-songwriter Stewart Franke as he takes us inside his battle with leukemia.

And, we talked Michigan beer. A new film looks at the craft beer scene in our state.

First on the show, it has been quite a journey for a candidate who got booted off the primary ballot, was going to fold his tent and walk away, then was urged to mount a write-in campaign, swept the primary and today, is the new Mayor-Elect of Detroit.

Mike Duggan has become Detroit's first white mayor in 40 years, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek has covered the Duggan campaign and was at the victory party last night. She joined us today.

4:45 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith talks about the Saugatuck-Douglas vote

Signs for and against the proposed merger are seen all over Saugatuck and Douglas.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith talks about the Saugatuck-Douglas vote

We turn now to the West Side of the state.

That's where Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith has been following a ballot proposal calling for the merger of Saugatuck and Douglas, two smaller cities just south of Holland.

Lindsey Smith joined us today to talk about what the voters said.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
7:08 am
Tue November 5, 2013

The big races and proposals this Election Day

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Detroit could have its first white mayor in 40 years

"A former write-in candidate once thought to have little chance of surviving Detroit's primary election is favored to become the city's first white mayor in 40 years. Former health care executive Mike Duggan is leading the polls over Wayne County sheriff Benny Napoleon," the Associated Press reports

Three cities vote on easing marijuana laws

"Voters in three Michigan cities have a chance to give some legal protection to users of small amounts of marijuana. Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing would ignore possession of an ounce or less of marijuana on private property. People must be at least 21 years old," the Associated Press reports.

Cities of Saugatuck and Douglas could merge

Voters in the two west Michgian cities could vote to turn Saugatuck and Douglas into one town.

Politics & Government
10:47 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Two lakeshore cities have rare opportunity to vote on whether to merge into one

Signs for and against the proposed merger are seen all over Saugatuck and Douglas.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Voters in the neighboring Michigan cities of Saugatuck and Douglas have a big decision to make in tomorrow’s election. The tourist towns on the shores of Lake Michigan could become a single city.

If you live in Saugatuck or Douglas, there’s no way you can avoid the touchy conversation about consolidation. Campaign signs tell voters to “Save our towns” or “We’re better together.”

Even the kids on the playground have opinions.

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Environment & Science
10:57 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Public asks state to reject development plans, consider buying dune land in Saugatuck

A number of people cited concerns about impacts to the unique ecosystems on the property. This is the property just south of McClendon's.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Many people are asking the state to consider paying millions of dollars for a few hundred acres of land in Saugatuck. The land is sandwiched between Saugatuck State Park and a nearly 200-acre nature preserve.

Community leaders tried to buy the property a few years ago. They were outbid by a wealthy businessman. After a years-long legal battle over development rights, the property was listed for sale this month.

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Environment & Science
11:38 am
Mon August 26, 2013

After years-long legal battle, developer lists dune land property for sale in Saugatuck

The view of the McClendon property from the mouth of the Kalamazoo River.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

After years of legal wrangling over development rights, energy giant Aubrey McClendon has put a huge property up for sale in Saugatuck. The 300-acre parcel includes coastal dunes near Lake Michigan.

McClendon bought the land in 2006 for about $40 million. He spent millions on engineers, architects, designers; and then battling Saugatuck Township in court for the right to develop the land.

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Politics & Government
1:56 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Report shows taxpayers could save $500,000 if Saugatuck and Douglas merge

Members of the Michigan State Boundary Commission review a map of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A new study from an independent research group shows taxpayers in the cities of Douglas and Saugatuck could save more than half a million dollars a year if the local governments merged.

Eric Lupher is Director of Local Affairs for the independent Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He authored the study on a potential merger of city governments in Saugatuck and Douglas. You can read the full report on the CRC’s website.

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Politics & Government
4:37 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Voters will have a say in proposed merger of two West Michigan communities

Travis Randolph, with the Consolidated Government Committee, helped start the effort to merge the two cities in 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Soon people living in the lakeshore cities of Saugatuck and Douglas will vote on a proposed merger of their local governments. The State Boundary Commission ruled today the question should be on the ballot in August or November.

A citizens group began the process to merge in 2011. The Consolidated Government Committee is pushing for the merger to save taxpayer money.

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Politics & Government
4:31 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Group opposing merge of Saugutuck, Douglas turns in petition signatures

Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities posted this photo on the group's facebook page with the note "signed sealed delivered."
Matt Balmer Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities

A group that’s against a proposed merger of two cities in West Michigan turned in more than enough signatures today to put the question before voters.

About 2,000 people live in the neighboring cities of Saugatuck and Douglas.

Matt Balmer is a spokesperson the Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities. The group collected 342 signatures in the past few weeks.

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Politics & Government
6:58 am
Sun February 3, 2013

Vote appears likely on Saugatuck-Douglas merger

Map of Douglas and Saugatuck
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

SAUGATUCK, Mich. (AP) - The proposed merger of Saugatuck and Douglas in Allegan County seems likely to be headed to a ballot.

88 signatures are needed. The Grand Rapids Press says the petition already has been signed by more than 300 residents in the two small cities. The deadline to get the names to Lansing is Feb. 19.

Groups on both sides of the issue already have formed. Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities questions whether there would be significant savings in a merger. Supporters say the savings could be $500,000 a year.

Politics & Government
6:14 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

State Rep. will not receive jail time for drunken driving

Republican state Representative Bob Genetski
Photo courtesy of Rep. Genetski's office

State Representative Bob Genetski will serve no jail time for his drunken driving conviction handed down last month.

The Republican from Saugatuck will have to complete 40 hours of community service. He’ll also have to pay fines and court fees.

Genetski was pulled over for driving while intoxicated in January by a Michigan State Police officer. His blood alcohol level was .08 an hour and a half after his arrest.

A jury found him guilty last month.

The maximum penalty would have been 93 days in jail. It could also come with up to 360 hours of community service, and a maximum $500 fine.

Jail time is unusual for first-time offenders.

6:53 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Plans to develop huge plot of lakefront land near Saugatuck submitted to township

An Oklahoma energy executive is submitting his plans for a new development on 300 acres near Lake Michigan in Saugatuck. Aubrey McClendon owns the development Singapore Dunes LLC.

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Politics & Government
11:25 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Proposal to merge cities of Saugatuck and Douglas inching forward

People in the audience who are against the proposed merger raise their hands at the request of the State Boundary Commission chair.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Hundreds of people showed up for a public hearing in Saugatuck Wednesday night. Most spoke against the proposed plan to merge the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas.

Travis Randolph is with the group that’s behind the idea. He hopes a state commission will decide the proposal is reasonable enough to put before voters.

"The ultimate poll is an election and that’s all we’re trying to get to. So that everybody can have a say. And in the process of getting to the election, you have to go through dealing with those people who have emotional connection to the present, not to the future,” Randolph said.

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2:46 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

One lawsuit settled, but likely more to come in Singapore Dunes case

This is an artist rendering of how a proposed marina might look. Singapore Dunes LLC provided it in July 2011. Singapore wants to build a marina, condos and a hotel among other things on the property.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A federal judge has signed off on a long-standing legal dispute between Saugatuck Township and Oklahoma energy executive Aubrey McClendon. The case revolves around the potential development of 300 acres of land McClendon owns that includes critical dunes near Lake Michigan.

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12:52 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Public hearing on effort to merge Saugatuck, Douglas set for June

Tom Dailey Creative Commons

The state has rescheduled a public hearing on the proposed consolidation of the cities of Douglas and Saugatuck. The hearing was set for later this month. But the state pushed it back to next month because notice of the hearing wasn’t mailed out at least 30 days prior.

Local leaders were upset the original public meeting was scheduled at a smaller venue in the middle of a workday anyway. It's now been rescheduled for 4p.m. June 20thinside the Saugatuck High School gymnasium.

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4:08 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Saugatuck and Douglas take a step toward becoming Saugatuck-Douglas

Members of the Michigan State Boundary Commission review a map of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The picturesque west Michigan towns of Saugatuck and Douglas have taken another step toward becoming the picturesque city of Saugatuck-Douglas.

A state commission decided a proposal to merge the two into one city met enough legal requirements to move to the next step.    

Merger supporters say it will save money.

“Our studies have shown that we could save a million dollars annually through just the simple unification of the governments into one unity," says Bobbie Gaunt, with the Consolidated Government Committee, which is pushing the merger proposal.

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4:00 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Three West Michigan communities consider merging into one

Travis Randolph is part of the group petitioning the state to allow a vote to merge three West Michigan communities.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This week there will be an important hearing for those hoping to merge three West Michigan communities. A group of citizens is asking the state to allow the cities of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township to merge into one city. 

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1:47 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Saugatuck Twp accepts proposed settlement with billionaire

A federal judge will consider another proposed settlement in a legal case between Saugatuck Township and a private developer. The township approved the proposed settlement Wednesday night.

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