The beta version of our new website is now available. Switch to beta – you can come back to our original site at any time.

Ron Riekki was born and raised in the U.P. His books include “U.P.” (Ghost Road Press), “The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works” (Wayne State University Press), and other books, plays, and chapbooks. He has twice been nominated for Illinois Press Awards for journalism and prefers waffles for brunch. The views and assertions of guest columnists do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

Under its blanket of snow, Michigan’s most Christmas-perfect region makes memories

The Upper Peninsula in winter looks like a Currier and Ives print. And what’s for dinner on the big day? How about some venison?

Read more

You can take the boy out of the U.P., and this one went into showbiz

Actor Stephen Wiig talked his way from Negaunee into Metallica’s road crew, and from there he hasn’t really looked back.




Read more

One main street, many bars, and a stubborn U.P. problem

Alcohol – and, increasingly, drugs – are deeply ingrained in over-the-bridge culture. And like everywhere, they are behind the area’s crime statistics.




Read more

For such a beautiful part of Michigan, the U.P. isn’t ready for its close-up

Why do so many films made in the state shoot in the southern regions? People, equipment and inadequate promotion.




Read more

When we all sat on one blanket, in U.P. summer celebrations of yore

Today, fireworks and patriotism are complicated things for many. Then, they were part and parcel of the best day of summer.




Read more

Under the U.P. skies, it holds the reflection of all it sees

If you grew up in Michigan, you might have a place like Teal Lake. Lucky you.




Read more

By the shores of Gitche Gumee, another writer finds inspiration

Ellen Airgood is one recent Upper Peninsula novelist whose work has traveled beyond the state. But she still hasn’t quit her day job.




Read more

For U.P. residents, some health data to provoke chest pains

Does the Upper Peninsula have abysmal health statistics because of geography, behavior, poverty or something else? Likely all of the above.




Read more

From the U.P. to the Screen Actors Guild? It’s kind of a funny story…

How does a kid from Negaunee become a card-carrying union brother of George Clooney? Practice, practice, practice.




Read more

Steve Hamilton on the real, and fictional, Upper Peninsula

Steve Hamilton is a bestselling author who locates his crime stories not in the big city, but in the small town of Paradise, Mich., a dot on the U.P. map overlooking Whitefish Bay. His books include “A Cold Day in Paradise,” “Winter […]

Read more

Root for the Pack above the Mack? Heretic!

If you live in the Upper Peninsula and fly a booger-green and pus-yellow flag from your house, please realize you are grossing us out. And you should move. Back with the sinners and cons who live in Wisconsin. The reason for this […]

Read more

Why do readers find ghost stories too haunting to put down?

I have noticed, at several bookstores, an entire row dedicated to tales about Michigan ghosts with titles like “Haunted Michigan: recent encounters with active spirits,” “Michigan’s Most Haunted: A Ghostly Guide to The Great Lakes State,” “Haunted Travels of Michigan: A Book […]

Read more

In examining U.P.’s issues, Native Americans weigh in

Sometimes I get disappointed in Yoopers when they refuse to discuss the problems we have in the area, wanting to pretend there are none. I’d much rather address them and start the discussion about solutions. When I think of issues that need […]

Read more

No Michigan poet laureate? In the U.P., a grassroots campaign

No less an authority than the Library of Congress notes that Michigan has no poet laureate, a shortcoming we share with Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania. In national benchmarks of iambic pentameter and blank verse, we fall short. Why? How […]

Read more

U.P. natives reveal the good places to eat, without a pasty among them

Novelist Jim Harrison once observed that the farther north you travel in Michigan, the worse the food gets. Of course, some Yoopers think the opposite. One must remember Harrison is far from being a true-blood Yooper, one who appreciates the artistry of […]

Read more

Under the postcard-perfect U.P., a reality only natives see

I’ve lived in Mount Pleasant, Oshtemo, Forest Park, Rogers Park, and worked in Chicago, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Oak Park and Mackinac Island. I’m probably forgetting some places. Nomadic, I’ve stomped around the Midwest, circling Lake Michigan maybe 100 times. I find myself writing […]

Read more

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.