Jacob Wheeler


The federal shutdown hit Sleeping Bear Dunes. So volunteers rushed in.

January 24, 2019 | Jacob Wheeler

Michigan’s majestic national park had to shutter its visitor’s center and curb popular snowshoe hikes. But a hardy group of park angels is hauling trash, cleaning toilets and helping maintain the park during the shutdown.

Cancer diagnosis brings clarity to one Trump voter

April 18, 2017 | Jacob Wheeler, Ron French

In Harbor Springs, Cynthia Shafer battles illness and political assumptions

Meet Michigan's divided: Cynthia Shafer

January 24, 2017 | Jacob Wheeler

Meet Cynthia Shafer, from Harbor Springs.

Meet Michigan's divided: Ben Shomo

January 24, 2017 | Jacob Wheeler

Meet Ben Shomo, from Traverse City.

Meet Michigan's divided

January 24, 2017 | Nancy Derringer, Ron French, Pat Shellenbarger, Jacob Wheeler

Can 11 passionate Michigan residents and families reach across the political and cultural chasms that too often divide our state?

In Cheboygan, waiting for entrepreneurs to take a chance

August 9, 2016 | Jacob Wheeler

The city’s downtown stores are shuttering. While some hope for a shift to a tourism-based economy, a port project is betting on new industry

Are prostitutes lawbreakers or trafficking victims?

June 9, 2016 | Jacob Wheeler

A human trafficking court in Washtenaw County is dispensing with assembly line prosecution of prostitutes. Instead, the court identifies whether women have been coerced into the sex trade, and offers them services to begin a new life.

What government owes Flint’s poisoned immigrant community

May 24, 2016 | Jacob Wheeler

Latino immigrants, including some in the U.S. illegally, were among the last to know about lead in Flint’s water. What is the state’s duty to help hard-to-find residents?

One year later, undocumented immigrant children quietly settling in Michigan

June 2, 2015 | Jacob Wheeler

The anti-immigration protests last summer in Vassar have given way to the more mundane process of placing nearly 200 unaccompanied minors with relatives or foster families. Michigan remains one of the nation’s most welcoming states.

Hispanic immigrants playing more critical role in Michigan’s farm economy

June 2, 2015 | Jacob Wheeler

As residents flee rural areas in Michigan and across the country, Hispanic workers are becoming an even greater force in agricultural production. Nearly 3-in-10 Michigan farms are now owned by non-U.S. citizens.

New rules for fracking disclosure in Michigan

May 22, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

Proposed rules require more testing around drilling sites and disclosure of the chemicals used by energy companies. Environmentalists call the rules a step forward, but not nearly enough to protect Michigan waters and public health.

Tension on Au Sable and Manistee rivers

May 22, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

A conservation group squares off against Encana over frack drilling near a Michigan fly fishing haven.

Michigan’s fracking bonanza challenges state regulators

May 20, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

Michigan has seen explosive growth in hydraulic fracturing, bringing a mix of high-paying jobs and environmental and health concerns to rural communities.

Oil and gas is big business for Kalkaska County

May 20, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

Oil and gas field workers average $64,000 in Kalkaska County, a region where unemployment still tops 10 percent.

Fracking's Hollywood problem

May 20, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

One indelible image related to hydraulic fracturing – that of a homeowner setting his own water on fire – has dogged the fracking industry since the release of "Gasland," a documentary.

A divisive practice's pros and cons

May 20, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

Fracking’s economic benefits are weighed against the potential risks to Michigan’s environment and public health.

Downhill run for Sugar Loaf: Property decays and owners dither

February 26, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

Since its closing in 2000, the iconic Leelanau ski resort has been a case study on how to turn a magnificent property into a rotting, unsellable eyesore.

Community groups try, and fail, to reopen Sugar Loaf

February 26, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

Hearts are in the right place, but missteps dog efforts to sell the scenic resort.

How to run a profitable ski resort? Think summer, too

February 26, 2014 | Jacob Wheeler

A beautiful mountain is no longer enough to keep a ski resort in business in Michigan. Successful resorts include facilities and attractions to keep tourists coming year-round.