A Mother-Daughter Tragedy, A Trooper Killed, and a 9/11 Anniversary – Week of September 12, 2013

After a summer recess of sorts, TBR returns, and this week I’m joined by Pat Sullivan from Northern Express.

It’s been a very somber couple of weeks in the news business. The whole region has been shocked by the tragedy in Benzie County, where a mother is accused of trying to take her own life and the life of her teenage, autistic daughter. The family is well-known in the community and their struggles with their autistic daughter have been well-publicized and often-documented. There are mixed emotions but much support for this family, despite the circumstances of the failed murder-suicide.

Another shocking story is the murder of Michigan State Police trooper Paul Butterfield, who was shot on a traffic stop. He was able to radio information about the driver and passenger before the incident, and that information helped law enforcement track down the husband and wife to a gas station, where a shootout ensued. This story, too, seems more full of questions than answers.

It’s also the Sept. 11th anniversary, and in addition to local events to mark the occasion, Pat and I discuss where we were as young(er) journalists on that tragic day.

It’s a “heavy” show this week but I hope you’ll tune in for some thoughtful insight on the stories making headlines across the region.

Bill Froehlich, WTCM Radio News, Host of “The Briefing Room”

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Bears Attack, Drunk Drivers, and Fireworks Laws – Week of August 22, 2013

On this week’s program we are joined by 9&10 news reporter Vanessa Fayz, and Pat Sullivan of the Northern Express.

Our topics this week include the local story that’s getting national attention: a young girl in Wexford County is out for a jog is mauled by a black bear. This is definitely one of those “water cooler stories” that you’ll find yourself talking about for days with co-workers and friends! We also discuss why the story is getting so much attention from national news outlets.

Leelanau County has a relatively new sheriff’s “blog” (a police blotter of sorts), and lately it seems to be riddled with drunk drivers and related incidents. Vanessa talked with the sheriff about the trend and we also highlight some of the interesting cases from recent days.

Pat takes a closer look at fireworks laws and how local governments are trying to set the ground rules in their own communities. What’s okay and what’s not, and what happened when Pat went out to buy fireworks for his own family?

And there seems to be a new lead in the Kellyann Boyce Hurlbert hit-and-run case. She was killed July 5th while riding her bike home from work, but $50,000 in reward money and hundreds of tips have yet to lead to an arrest. And this “new lead” also seems to be falling flat for police.

Thanks for tuning in this week!
Bill Froehlich, WTCM Radio News, Host of “The Briefing Room”

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Surgery, UAVs, and Environmental Issues – Week of August 15, 2013

On this week’s program I’m pleased to welcome back Linda Stephan from Interlochen Public Radio and Jacob Wheeler from the Glen Arbor Sun.

This week IPR did a story on Munson Medical Center, and a low ranking it received from Consumer Reports for surgical safety. Linda explains where the story tip came from and how IPR looks beyond the headline to analyze both “what” it means and the “why” to the ranking.

Jacob brings us a perspective on news from Leelanau County, including the decision by the County Commissioners to disband from the Economic Development Corporation. He’s learned that many locals are unhappy with the county’s decision.

Alpena is looking at the potential for an economic boost. The community is eager to possibly be among the six federal tests sites for unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones). A statewide consortium is supporting the move and thinks Alpena is poised to be one of the finalists.

That’s just the first half of the show this week! Also on the agenda: tourism traffic this season at Sleeping Bear Dunes, the revival of native American language, fracking and brine issues and the pumping of tar sands oil.

We hope you’ll tune in!

Bill Froehlich, Host of “The Briefing Room”




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Festival Overload, the Bijou, Fracking, and Federal Funding – Week of August 1, 2013

On this week’s edition of “The Briefing Room” we’re joined by Vanessa Fayz from 9 & 10 News and Jeremy McBain from the Petoskey News Review.

One story getting lots of headlines this week is the Traverse City Film Festival and the opening of the Bijou By the Bay theater. Vanessa was there for opening night and gives us a sense of the atmosphere for the big celebration.  We also talk about the massive renovations that took place at the Con Foster Museum building, and the “temporary permit” for occupancy.

Jeremy shares an update about “fracking” in Emmet County, and the ongoing concerns from some local residents and the response from the industry about the safety of the practice.

Vanessa learned about a local company in Traverse City that’s ready to explode in to the market for ethanol & biodiesel. It’s a story that started as a small lab-sized, kitchen business eight years ago, and is now growing from a hobby to a full-time operation.

Federal funding for Great Lakes cleanup is in jeopardy, and as Jeremy says it’s now “hitting home.” We talk about the federal sequester cuts and the response from local environment groups as the budget woes are ongoing. Much of this is still to be determined, which makes it a hard story to report. We also discuss the challenges of news airtime, newsprint space, and how to best cover these kinds of stories.

We wrap up with a discussion on Venetian Festival and many of the other festivals dotting the northern Michigan landscape each summer. Can you say “Pistachio Festival”? No, we thought not.

Thanks for watching!
Bill Froehlich, Host of “The Briefing Room”



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An Accident Investigation, A Film Festival, and a New Bar, with a Twist – Week of July 25, 2013

On this week’s show I’m joined by Pat Sullivan with the Northern Express.

The big story of the month has been the hit and run death of Kellyann Boyce Hurlbert in Traverse City, who was struck and killed while riding her bike home from work on July 5th. Pat and I talk about the media coverage of this story, the stalled investigation, the hundreds of tips that have been received, and how family and friends are helping to keep the story in the headlines.

Another headline-dominating story this week is the Traverse City Film Festival, which launches its 9th year. We talk about Pat’s story this week in the paper, and the Bijou by the Bay theater, which has met with its own controversy prior to opening night.

A Wexford County couple has opened the Northwoods Bar / Lounge in Cadillac, and Pat headed south when he heard about the renovations, but also about the notion that this historic building may be haunted. But when he arrived, he found out that the business partners, who are gay, have met with some resistance in the community because of their orientation. Rumors about the new “gay bar” began circling, although that was never their intention when they opened it. Pat tells us how the story he went in search of turned out to be very different from the story he actually covered.

Thanks for watching this week!

Bill Froehlich, WTCM Radio News, Host of “The Briefing Room”

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Hockey, Hall of Fame, All-Stars, and Off-Season – Week of July 18, 2013

It’s another sports edition of The Briefing Room this week, with my guests Mike Misico from the Kalkaska Leader and ESPN Radio’s Northern Michigan Press Box, and James Cook from the Record-Eagle.

Hockeytown North has been busy recently, with the Red Wings Development Camp at Centre Ice Arena. James Cook was there, and we get some insight about what’s worth watching as we prepare for this season. Some big names were there, including Darren Helm and Chris Chelios. Meanwhile, Red Wings Chris Chelios and Brendan Shanahan have been named to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Baseball fans are celebrating this week’s All-Star game, and it was a big one for the American League, the Tigers, and Jim Leyland. But what’s the outlook for the 2nd half of the regular season, and what are the post-season prospects?

Mike gives us some analysis of the Pistons off-season moves, and it’s hard to believe we’re weeks away from the NFL preseason. Lots to cover this week, I hope you’ll join us!

Bill Froehlich, WTCM Radio News, Host of “The Briefing Room”

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A Hit-and-Run Tragedy, Splash Pad Problems, and a Motorcross Melee – Week of July 11, 2013

This week on The Briefing Room I’m joined by Sara Simnitch from 9&10 News/Fox 32 News, and Pat Sullivan with the Northern Express.

First things first, we chat with Sara about a big career change of sorts. While she’s still with 9&10/Fox 32, she’s moving from the Traverse City bureau to the main studios near Cadillac, where she’ll be anchoring Fox 32 News at 7 & 10 pm and 9&10 News at 11. We’ll find out how the late nights are treating her, what’s different about the new position, and congratulate her on the promotion!

As for some of the big stories this week, we first tackle the trouble at the Clinch Park water feature, which shut down just days after opening due to a sewage backup. There are now health concerns as well as questions about permitting and how to fix the problems.

But by far, the biggest story of the week is the tragic death of Kelly Boyce Hurlbert, a 29 year old Traverse City woman hit and killed while riding her bike home from work, at 2 a.m. on Friday July 5th. Police are looking for tips (you can call 947-TIPS) as they investigate the case. It’s been a week and the reward is growing, and so are the number of tips, but still no “big break” in the investigation.

Pat Sullivan joins me for the second half of the program, and we continue the conversation about Kelly’s death. A memorial service is expected to bring hundreds of people to F&M Park, and many of them will likely bring their bikes to take a ride in Kelly’s honor after the service.

Another story for Pat this week is the effort to bring a motorcross area to the Tip of the Mitt region. Despite the enthusiasm by the developer, it’s meeting some opposition from local residents.

Thanks for tuning in to the show!

Bill Froehlich, WTCM Radio News, Host of “The Briefing Room”

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