tourism

Stateside
4:19 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

How will climate change affect Michigan tourism?

A "Pure Michigan" advertisement.
Pure Michigan YouTube

When you think "Michigan," you have to think tourism. It's big business for the Mitten.

The now-famous "Pure Michigan" commercials are airing on network TV for the first time.

Pure Michigan advertising attracted more than four million out-of-state visitors last year. But how will our warming climate impact what those visitors might be able to do and enjoy when they come to Michigan?

Sarah Nicholls is an associate professor of tourism at Michigan State University, and Jim MacInnes is President and CEO of Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville. They joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

The Environment Report
8:50 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Neighbors express concerns about proposed sand and gravel mine near Chelsea

Mary Mandeville (L) and Tim and Mary Jane Eder on Island Lake. The proposed mine site is west of the lake.
Rebecca Williams Michigan Radio

You can listen to today's Environment Report above.

A Ready-Mix concrete company, McCoig Materials, wants to open up a mine on a site north of Chelsea. The two parcels of land they want to mine are in between the Waterloo and Pinckney Recreation areas. This part of southeast Michigan has a lot of little lakes and unique natural areas.

McCoig Materials wants to operate the mine for 22 to 30 years and remove 11 million tons of sand and gravel.

People who live on the lakes nearby have been raising concerns about that.

Mary Mandeville spends summers in her cottage at Island Lake.

“Just to the west of us is where the proposed gravel mine would be putting in their operations. We’re very concerned about the impact on the environment, on the water table level. We’re concerned about air quality with all the dust from the dumping of the gravel into the trucks.”

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Business
10:18 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Michigan tourism industry should see a boost in 2014

“With each year of the recovery, people have more and more confidence in the economy and are therefore more comfortable,” says Dan McCole, assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Community Sustainability.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

2014 may be a ‘robust’ year for Michigan’s tourism industry.

Stock markets and consumer confidence are high, housing markets are improving and unemployment is down. Michigan State University researchers say these are all factors that play a role in determining if people will take a vacation.

The MSU researchers presented their annual tourism forecast at an industry conference in Traverse City this morning.

They’re predicting a 4.5% increase in hotel receipts this year compared with 2013, which was a strong year for Michigan tourism.

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Politics & Government
10:23 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Traverse City leaders vote to limit festivals

The film festival has become quite popular in Traverse City.
Andrew McFarlane Creative Commons

The waterfront in Traverse City used to be an industrial area. Now it's open space with parks, beaches and bike trails.

With that comes festivals, and some city residents say there are too many. They complain of "festival fatigue." City leaders voted last night to lower the number of festivals allowed in the open space area from six to four.

More from the Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Commissioners said the new limitation would address resident concerns about the number of large events at the Open Space in a reasonable manner. Commissioners split on the question, reflecting the temperament of city residents who offered varying opinions on the need for more festivals.

“We are limiting one event at one park,” Commissioner Jeanine Easterday said before running through a long list of festivals and events that remain. “We are not eliminating events for Traverse City.”

Environment & Science
3:08 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Lake Erie to be focus of Ohio legislative group

Sport fishing boat on Lake Erie.
Credit Mark Brush/Michigan Radio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A bipartisan group of Ohio lawmakers plans to make Lake Erie the focus of discussions next year.

State Sens. Randy Gardner, a Bowling Green Republican, and Capri Cafaro, a Democrat from Hubbard, say the Lake Erie Caucus will meet in January to address state and federal policies related to the body of water.

The group will look at ways to preserve the environmental health of the lake and to work on related economic growth and tourism issues.

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Stateside
4:41 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Traverse City is bursting with festivals, but is that a good thing?

The Traverse City film festival is one of the city's best known festivals.
Michigan Municipal League Flickr

Can there be too much of a good thing?

That question is buzzing around Traverse City now that summer is behind them.

Some residents are saying they're not happy with the burst of festivals drawing throngs of visitors to Traverse City. Others say those festivals and those visitors add up to jobs for locals and dollars pumped into the economy.

What's the balance that can be struck as Traverse City works to develop a blue economy based on its beautiful freshwater location?

John Flesher, reporter for The Associated Press, and Ken Winter, the longtime Petoskey newspaper editor and publisher, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
10:30 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Should short term room rentals be allowed in Grand Rapids? Task force considers options

Grand Rapids will appoint a task force to take a deeper look at how it should regulate people who want to rent out rooms in their homes on popular websites like Airbnb. The websites allow people to rent out a guest room or just their couch for a night or two.

Technically it's illegal in Grand Rapids. The city commission was considering adopting regulations to allow them. But many people renting space said the city fees and taxes wouldn’t be worth the money.

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Transportation
4:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Off-road vehicles could ride on way more road shoulders if Snyder signs bill

Gary Chancey Creative Commons

4x4s and other off-road vehicles could be allowed on many more Michigan roads, under a bill that’s headed to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Currently, ORVs can drive on the shoulders in the Upper Peninsula and eight counties in the Lower Peninsula.

John Chad is director of Happi-Trails ATV Club in Grayling. He says the changes would be great for local riders and increase tourism.

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Economy
11:09 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Tourism spending in Michigan expected to rise again this year

A Lake Michigan sunset.
User acrylicartist MorgueFile.com

Researchers predict tourists will pump more money into the Michigan economy this year.

Tourism spending in Michigan went up by about 6 percent in 2012, and Michigan State researchers say the state should see a similar increase this year.

They predict a 5.5 percent increase in spending for 2013.

Michigan State University experts, Sarah Nicholls and Dan McCole, released their annual tourism forecast today at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Detroit.

More from an MSU press release:

Nicholls said The Henry Ford in Dearborn had a record year with visits up 25 percent, to 1.9 million. Visits to Michigan’s popular national parks – including Sleeping Bear Dunes, up 14 percent; Pictured Rocks, up 6 percent; and Isle Royale, up 5 percent – far outpaced the 1 percent average increase at all national parks across the country.

In the state’s hotel sector, 2012 saw the highest occupancy rates since 2000, added Nicholls...

“We can attribute these positive outcomes in 2012 to a combination of factors including the warm, dry summer and fall, a continued rebound in consumer confidence, relatively steady gas prices and the continuing influence of the state’s Pure Michigan advertising campaign,” Nicholls said.

Despite the positive trends, the researchers say something unexpected could change things. They're waiting to see how the economy will fare when the effects of the sequester budget cuts set in.

The researchers say Michigan fits well with many tourism trends occurring around the country.

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Politics & Government
11:58 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Making room at the table for dogs

sheknows.com

A state lawmaker wants to open the doors of Michigan restaurants to dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Currently, only service animals, like guide-dogs, are allowed in restaurants.

Margaret O’Brien wants to change that.   The Kalamazoo County Republican wants to let local communities and restaurants decide whether they will permit dogs to sit with their owners at outdoor tables.

“Some pet owners say they love their pet more than their children, because they give so much love,” says O’Brien, “This will allow them to take them to the restaurant.”

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Stateside
4:56 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Father and son go on a road trip and bring us a guide to 'Yooper Bars'

Map of bars in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
http://yooperbars.com

Anybody who lives in Michigan would not be shocked to hear that there is a lot of good beer, and a lot of good bars to support it.

The problem is finding where exactly are all of the good bars and drinks.

That mystery has been left to word of mouth, hearsay, and luck - until now.

Recently a father-son duo have helped in providing a solution to that problem by doing the kind of research that many dream about. 

On a month long road trip they searched every corner of the Upper Peninsula to find exactly where good bars,  good drinks, and good times can be found. 

The results of their bar hopping excursion were thoroughly documented in a travel guide, entitled Yooper Bars.

In their guide, they break down the history, flavor and atmosphere of over 100 bars that help make the Upper Peninsula unique.

The guide is packed full of facts, bar savvy and humor, such as each bar's specialty drink, food, staff,  celebrity sightings, and favorite jokes.

We had an opportunity to sit down father and researcher emeritus, Randy Kluck as well as his son, author and entrepreneur, Kevin Kluck. 

The two give us the details on memorable food, drink, stories, and tell us about what it takes to visit 110 out of the 300 bars that are located in the Upper Peninsula.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
3:17 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Bear cub petting zoo bill headed to Governor Snyder’s desk

beingmyself flickr

Governor Rick Snyder will have final say on a bill that would let tourists handle and take pictures with bear cubs. The state Senate today approved changes made by the House last week.

The bill would let the public handle cubs up to 36 weeks old or less than 90 pounds.

Some lawmakers worried the measure would lead to a surge of new bear petting zoos across the state looking to cash in on the experience.

But lawmakers in the state House last week limited the bill so it would only apply to businesses already offering bear petting.

Bill sponsor Senator Tom Casperson had opposed the change, but says it was necessary to get enough votes in the House.

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Law
3:49 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Meet the man behind the bear cub bill

Dean Oswald
oswaldsbearranch.com

The Michigan House approved a bill Thursday to allow tourists to come in close contact with bear cubs.

The bill only really affects one bear sanctuary in the Upper Peninsula.

Meet Don Oswald of the Oswald Bear Ranch.

“I have 31 bears here right now. They’re my babies,” Oswald said.

You can find YouTube videos of Oswald bottle feeding his “babies,” usually given to him after their mother bears are killed in logging or cars accidents.

He says he’s gotten about a dozen bears from state agencies like the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan; from Ohio, Minnesota, New York and South Dakota. Some come from breeders who can’t sell the bears, Oswald said.

“If I don’t have them they’re going to be euthanized,” Oswald explained.

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Arts & Culture
1:05 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Pure Michigan brings pure economic benefits to the state

A highway sign as seen when entering Michigan
michigan.org

Bridge Magazine published an article this week that shows the scale and value of Michigan's tourism sector.

Contributor Jeff Alexander writes the sector accounts for $17.7 billion of Michigan's $300 billion-plus economy.

Citing state tourism data, Alexander writes since it's launch in 2006,  the Pure Michigan campaign has helped attract out of state visitors by focusing on the states natural beauty and historic attractions.

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Business
2:12 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Stateside: Pure Michigan's history of allure

The effective Pure Michigan campaign has long promoted the state's northern region
www.michigan.org

The Pure Michigan campaign is credited with attracting 3.2 million out-of-state visitors to Michigan.

It is an effective campaign with a surprisingly long history.

Michael Federspiel, executive director of the Little Traverse Historical Society and history professor at Central Michigan University spoke with Cyndy about the Pure Michigan of the past.

According to Federspiel, Northern Michigan was faced with reconstructing its image

“It was an area looking for an identity,” said Federspiel.

The major message of 19th century promotional campaigns was a combination of relaxation and exploration.

“During those years when the railroads were in charge of publicity, they would create booklets that would be in hotels and railroad stations. They would point to Northern Michigan where you could be very active, or not active at all. The Pure Michigan campaign targets non-Michiganians,” said Federspiel.

According to Federspiel,  in 1898 Ernest Hemingway's family decided to come to Petoskey and bought property. The Hemingway family still owns that original cottage.

“You have resort communities that were founded in the 1870’s that were places people came to spend the season.”

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

Sports
3:30 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

NHL lockout felt beyond Detroit

The Grand Rapids Griffins play in the Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids.
Jeremy Bronson Creative Commons

The ongoing lockout of the National Hockey League could cause the cancelation of the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor. The outdoor game is supposed to be at the University of Michigan Big House on New Year’s Day. The week-long Hockeytown Winter Festival in Detroit would be canceled with it.

That would be a bummer for the Red Wings’ affiliated team the Grand Rapids Griffins, which is supposed to play at the festival.

“It’s a sad time for hockey right now,” said Bob Kaser, VP of Community Relations for the Griffins (among other job titles).

He says some fans have traveled to Grand Rapids to get their hockey fix during the lockout. Fox Sports Detroit broadcast a Griffins game last week. But Kaser’s not really thrilled about the circumstances.

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Law
1:14 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

M-22: Who owns the rights to road signs in Michigan?

Broneah Inc.'s trademark on the M-22 highway route marker.
USPTO

Several weeks ago I posted on the debate taking place over the trademark owned by brothers Matt and Keegan Myers.

They've captured the love people have for northwest Michigan and Leelanau County with their M-22 business.

M-22 has been a success, but they've also been working to keep others from selling stuff emblazoned with a Michigan state road sign symbol.

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Law
1:02 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Owners of M-22 logo promise to "go down fighting"

State route M-22 winds through Michigan's scenic Leelanau County.
Larry Page wikimedia commons

Several years ago, brothers Matt and Keegan Myers had an idea - capitalize on the love people have for the Leelanau County area by selling t-shirts, hats, coffee cups, bumper stickers, wine, and other items with the state highway M-22 logo on them.

State highway M-22 winds through the scenic coastal areas northwest of Traverse City, and along the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan's "pinkie."

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Arts & Culture
11:32 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Idlewild, the "Black Eden," celebrates 100 years

Bathers at Idlewild Beach in 1940
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

They called it the “Black Eden.”

From the 1920’s to 60’s, tens of thousands of African Americans poured into the resort town of Idlewild, Michigan. They came to escape steaming summers in segregated cities, and to see some of the greatest musicians of the age.

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morning news roundup
6:56 am
Fri August 31, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Ballot rulings expected Friday

"The state Supreme Court is expected to rule Friday on challenges to four questions that could go on the November ballot. The challenges focused on the wording of the proposals, and whether they fully explain how they would change the Michigan Constitution.The questions at issue would guarantee collective bargaining rights in the state constitution, allow an expansion of non-tribal casinos, require two-thirds super-majorities for the Legislature to raise taxes,  and make it harder to build a new international bridge in Detroit. Three other questions have already been approved for the ballot. The deadline to finalize the ballot is a week away," Rick Pluta reports.

Detroit police pay cuts

"The city of Detroit can move forward on cutting police officers' pay by 10 percent and implementing 12-hour work shifts. Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen MacDonald lifted an injunction Thursday, allowing Detroit to impose $75 million in police cuts. City leaders say the cuts are necessary to help trim the budget deficit.
Detroit Police Officers Association President Joe Duncan filed a lawsuit to stop the pay cuts and longer work shifts. Police Chief Ralph Godbee says about 1,500 patrol officers will work the longer shifts in an effort to cut costs, while keeping more officers on city streets," Vince Duffy reports.

Mitten fight makes money

"A good-natured PR war between Michigan and Wisconsin has won a national award. Last December, Wisconsin began using a brown knitted mitten in its winter tourism campaign. That prompted an outcry from many in Michigan, who consider this the true mitten state. The two states' travel associations used the publicity to raise money to buy mittens and gloves for those in need. This week a national travel association gave both states an award for the effort. According to the association the controversy resulted in 17-milion dollar worth of free media coverage," Lindsey Smith reports.

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