The Michigan DNR confirmed there are cougars in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan today, releasing a photograph of the large cat strolling through a Clinton County neighborhood. This is not the first sighting of cougars in the Lower Peninsula, but it is the first time the DNR admitted it.

The Michigan DNR to date confirmed 35 sightings of cougars in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The DNR insist the animals are just visitors and there are no breeding cougars anywhere in Michigan. All reports of cougars in the Lower Peninsula until today were denied, including a report near Howell last year, where a home owner shot a video of the cat. The DNR told the 28 year old woman the animal in the video was a house pet.

Last year Up North Progressive spoke with an orchard grower near Grand Traverse County who said they put a trail camera on the property when workers saw a large cat walking around near the creek that runs past the orchard. The camera caught a picture of what appeared to be a cougar with cubs. According to the orchard grower, the DNR admitted it was a cougar ‘off the record’. Other sightings in the Traverse City region, as well as sightings around the Lower Peninsula have all been denied until now.

The DNR offers these tips if you see a cougar:

  • Face the animal and do not act submissive.
  • Stand tall, wave your arms and talk in a loud voice.
  • Never run from a cougar or other large carnivore.
  • If children are present, pick them up so they cannot run.
  • Do not crouch and get on all fours.
  • If attacked, fight back with whatever is available.
  • DO NOT play dead.
  • Report the encounter to local authorities and the DNR as soon as possible.

So far, the DNR insists cougars do not live in Michigan. They’re only visiting and not breeding anywhere in the state. It seems the DNR believes cougars prefer to go elsewhere to raise their young, despite the state obviously having enough food for them to visit. Another thing the orchard owner claimed the DNR told them ‘off the record’ – the cougars in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan were secretly introduced here by the DNR. Thank goodness that can’t possibly be true, since it’s official that the cougars in Michigan are tourists, not residents.

The DNR has a link to a page on their website for reporting a cougar sighting. For more information, contact Kevin Swanson at 906-458-1889.

This is Jeff Sieting. He’s the Village President of Kalkaska, Michigan. This pure up north town is known for trout fishing. They celebrate the sport with a giant trout fountain on Main Street.

Jeff Sieting owns the Hotel Sieting across the street from the fountain. He’s worked hard for the village making things better, and the townspeople do appreciate his hard work. Sieting also works hard making things out of wood, like these old timey-styled gumball machines.

Jeff Sieting turned the first floor of the Hotel Sieting into a shop to sell his homemade old timey artesianal gumball machines and antiques. Being on Main Street and right across the road from the giant fish fountain seemed like the ideal location.

Except it hasn’t worked out that way for Jeff Sieting. Most tourists who come to Kalkaska don’t stop to buy homemade gumball machines, no matter how well made or nice looking they are. People stop in Kalkaska to fuel up, eat, and head to the cottage or cabin to do what everyone from downstate comes up north to do – enjoy being up north. Sure, people stop to take a picture of the giant trout fountain because that’s cool. Then they might notice the bar or ice cream shop across the street and head over for some refreshment. Gumball machines? Where are the fudgies supposed to stash those in their boats and campers – toss out the beer and Koegel Viennas?

Needless to say, when your big plan to sell your overpriced handmade gumball machines doesn’t work out, you’re going to get grumpy about it.

There’s another issue that very likely has something to do with people avoiding the Hotel Sieting. Since last fall, a large sign urging people to vote for Trump has hung prominently over the front door of the gumball machine store/hotel. Sieting’s hotel was covered with Republican campaign signs during the election. He removed most of them afterward, but the Trump sign remains. When people in town pointed out he was violating the law, he changed the word “vote” on the sign to “pray 4”.

People still didn’t buy his gumball machines, and the fact the sign wasn’t taken down and people weren’t happy about it grew from local grumbling to regional and statewide notice. A radio personality in Flint who used to live in Kalkaska made Sieting’s social media page’s content aware to the public, including an anti-Muslim rant that suggested “kill them all.”

More out of towners got involved. A woman named Phoebe Hopps who was involved in the Women’s March on Washington organized a “no hate” protest against Sieting for the rhetoric he shared on Facebook to take place in front of the giant trout fountain on June 23, 2017 at seven o’clock in the afternoon. Not to be outdone, more out of towners called Your Defending Fathers announced a 2nd amendment demonstration in support of Sieting and Trump to take place in front of the Hotel Sieting on the same day beginning at six thirty. Bikers welcome and pizza for all.

The residents of Kalkaska? They looked on and wondered what on earth they did to deserve all of the attention.

People arrived for both demonstrations. This is what it looked like on the giant trout fountain side of the street:

And this is what it looked like on the Hotel Sieting side:

There were flags and placards with messages being carried on the sidewalk. Some nice folks brought extra flags for people to hold. On the Hotel side, people shouted things like, “Get a job! Have any of you served?” And in on more than one occasion, when they chanted “USA USA USA,” the no hate demonstrators joined in with them. One man shouted, “Just like the Muslims, you’re a bunch of f****** dumbasses!” This prompted the no hate demonstrators to chant, “love not hate!” The heckler’s answer? “At least we have God on our side!”

It wasn’t enough for the Sieting supporters to stay on their side of the street. Many came over to the no hate side and argued with demonstrators about why all Muslims deserved to die, that they were all going to hell for supporting LGBT rights and not accepting Trump as their personal lord and savior. One debate turned into a shouting match and prompted the police to move in.

People carrying firearms and wearing MAGA hats did the best they could to intimidate the no hate demonstrators. Trucks and motorcycles drove back and forth making as much noise as possible and flipping off the peaceful no hate side of the road. Coal rollers billowed black smoke, and some made sure to honk their horns when they drove on the Hotel Sieting side.

As the afternoon became evening, the police presence on the street grew more obvious. Most of the no hate demonstrators moved further down the street to get away from the Sieting demonstrators who were also patronizing the Kal Ho Lounge. They occasionally walked out onto the sidewalk, shouted insults and profanity before going back into the bar.

Kalkaska locals who talked to the Up North Progressive commented on the fact that most of the people demonstrating on both sides were not residents of the village. What especially bothered them was the purpose of the demonstration and the negative publicity their town received from the public and the press. The local TV stations were there to take pictures and interview demonstrators. Most people walked away afterward assuming this all started over a Trump sign that’s still violating the law, free speech rights, the 2nd amendment, hate speech … and they’re all wrong.

This is about Village President Jeff Sieting getting mad at a town because no one wants to buy his gumball machines. The Trump sign still violates the law, but Sieting refuses to take it down, especially now when it’s getting people to notice his hotel. Maybe they’ll notice his gumball machines next.

After last week’s revelation that former Grand Traverse Academy Principal Brooke Capser accepted a position with Lowell School in Missoula, Montana, and tried to cover it up for weeks before the end of the school year, Up North Progressive received a challenge that perhaps not all of the facts in evidence were considered before publishing the article. Once more details about the situation came to light, the solution became clear as day. The following is offered not to scold, bully, or make light of the situation, but to offer sincere advice on how to fix the problem at GTA, and every other for-profit charter school in Michigan.

One of the main functions of third party management that operate charter schools is human resources. It’s up to the manager to hire staff for the school. Brooke Capser was hired by Full Spectrum LLC, not Grand Traverse Academy. Mark Noss owns Full Spectrum LLC and is the business partner of convicted felon Steve Ingersoll, who managed GTA through his for-profit company, Smart Schools LLC. The parents of children attending GTA have no choice how teachers and principals are hired.

The process for hiring teachers and principals at a real public school is quite different. There is no third party manager trying to eke a profit out of taxpayer money that’s supposed to be spent educating children. Interviewing new teachers and principals is conducted by school district administration. Candidates go through a rigorous interview process by a team of teachers, administrators, and even parents and students in some cases. The successful candidate’s name is then submitted by the building principal to the school board, who vote to approve the new hire.

The school board at a real public school are not cronies, friends, family, spouses or business partners of the third party manager. School board members are elected by the community of the school district. What does this mean? Community members and parents of children attending that district choose who sits on the school board; not Steve Ingersoll, and not Mark Noss. There are people on the GTA school board who have been there since the school opened and they have never been elected to that position.

With all of the talk of school choice and charter schools supposedly offering more choice to parents and students, doesn’t it seem odd that these for-profit corporations really don’t offer the parents or students much choice in how their school is operated or who makes the decisions or who hires the staff or who decides to just shrug their shoulders and say “C’est la vie” when the third party manager makes off with millions of dollars the state handed to that charter school to educate the students? Who in their right mind continues to send their children to a school run by people they didn’t choose, and obviously educating children is not their first and only priority?

Any parent fed up with the useless cronies running a school where the primary goal is real estate deals, selling snake oil vision therapy your health insurance vision plan won’t cover for good reason, and the corporate-appointed school board rubber stamping the third party manager’s federal felony fraud needs to realize the whole organization is a corrupted failure. For-profit charter schools only offer an illusion of choice. There is no fixing this. It’s not management company verses school board – they’re all in on the corruption together.

If you want the power to make real choices for your children’s education, enroll them in a real public school where one hundred percent of your tax dollars pay for education and you get to choose the school board running it. No more unscrupulous douche bags. No more useless cronies. Up North Progressive challenges you to consider your options for your children and enroll them in a school that offers real choice.

If you’re a big fan of the Sunday Morning news shows you just got your first big dose of a man named Jay Sekulow. Never heard of him? Unless you’re a regular viewer of the 700 Club and CBN “News” you probably haven’t had much exposure to this legal titan of religious liberty, or the organizations he represents.

For decades, Jay Sekulow has enjoyed a close business relationship with Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson, the last bastion of 70s and 80s TV evangelism everyone who survived the Reagan administration remembers. Sekulow is a regular on Robertson’s 700 Club and CBN News, where he’s talked about leading the charge against satanic LGBT people, satanic religions other than dominion Christianity, satanic women who think they should choose their own health care and force poor, victimized employer insurance pay for it, and all of the other satanic stuff happening in God’s America.

Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow opened a law school in 1986 because Virginia certainly didn’t have plenty of law schools educating law students capable of passing the Bar Exam. RegenTTTT University School of Law is one of the lowest rated schools in the country, and if it weren’t for President Bush, job numbers out of school would be much lower. Jay Sekulow also runs an organization called the American Center for Law and Justice, a <>law firm that functions something like the American Civil Liberties Union, except instead of protecting people’s civil liberties, the ACLJ helps God-loving business owners discriminate by claiming their first amendment rights are being violated, and school children using the bathroom based on their gender identity are actually scary men preying on defenseless little girls. You get the idea.

Sekulow has a radio show, several non-profit charities that afford him a very lavish lifestyle, and acts as a shadowy figure behind the throne in Washington DC, be it helping President Bush pick Supreme Court Justices, backing the Russian ban on gay propaganda, or joining Trump’s legal team. Today was possibly Sekulow’s first time being interviewed by the mainstream media over a truly high-profile case, and it was glorious.

Nice to see Chris Wallace remember who his dad is on Father’s Day and actually interview someone.

Trump has the best legal minds working for him. Jay Sekulow is famous for stating inspiring rock solid legal statements like:

The Pledge clearly acknowledges the fact that our freedoms in this country come from God, not government.

Which means the Pledge of Allegiance, written by a Socialist and didn’t mention God until the 1950’s, supersedes the US Constitution on religion in this country.

Those of us counting down the seconds until the end of Trump can take heart he’s hiring only the best legal minds to defend him and we can look forward to more Sunday Morning comedy.

Since Monday, Up North Progressive has enjoyed a large number of visitors due to the bizarre behavior of Grand Traverse Academy concealing Principal Brooke Capser’s leaving the for-profit charter school for a new job in Big Sky Country. Today the Traverse City Record-Eagle tapped in to run pass interference for GTA:

Officials at Missoula County Public Schools confirmed GTA elementary principal Brooke Capser has been hired to serve as principal beginning in July at Lowell School in Montana. But GTA officials said they were unaware of her new position and have not started a replacement process.

MCPS’ board of education approved Capser’s hire at a board meeting Tuesday. The district’s Director of Human Resources David Rott said Casper will begin serving in her new role next month.

Capser refused to confirm information related to her move. GTA Superintendent Susan Dameron said she was unaware of Capser’s new job offer and has no immediate plans to find a replacement before next school year

“That’s news to me,” Dameron added.

What, Capser’s leaving? WE HAD NO IDEA.

Here’s the facts.

The Principals Message page was updated in late may to reflect Brook Capser was the new principal of Lowell School.

Once discovered, rumors started that GTA would be looking for a new principal soon.

Susan “that’s news to me” Dameron and GTA board member Leslie Werth denied this happening. The Principals Message page changed after May 27, 2017, with the outgoing principal’s name.

That Capser found a job with a new school isn’t the story here, the story is that GTA administration and board made efforts to cover up Capser’s new job with staff, parents, and students, and now with the help of local press the cover up continues. If you’re associated with GTA, you should be asking what is the purpose of a so-called “public” school covering up staff changes.

To Brooke Capser, good luck with your new job in Montana. Lowell School will be better because you’re there.

If there’s one thing schools hate, it’s scandal. They will do anything possible to avoid their name in the paper involving any wrong doing, real or perceived; which is why the staff and parents of GTA are probably living a total nightmare right now (and lets face it, have been for years). The Traverse City Record-Eagle has done a good job so far printing softball articles that the Michigan Department of Education nor the Attorney General’s office is not investigating GTA about the millions of dollars of tax payer money Ingersoll and Friends stole and this is just a case of mean people screaming fire at a tiny wisp of smoke. The only guilty party’s in prison now. Nothing to see here, every thing’s fine.

Can you imagine the front page headlines if this three-ring circus of a financial scandal happened with Traverse City Area Public Schools?

One GTA-related story the Record-Eagle hasn’t printed is the already-happened-but-no-one’s-supposed-to-know-about-it-yet resignation of Brooke Capser, former Principal of GTA. She has a new job in her home state of Montana as Principal of Lowell School in Missoula. You can see her name here on the Principals Message page on the school website:

And here she is listed in the staff directory on the same website:

By now you’ve probably mashed that link and seen this:

And you’re about to say, “Hey, wait a minute – according to the school’s website, this Brian Bessette guy is the principal, not Brooke Capser! Brooke Capser is even listed on GTA’s Leaders website right now!”

And you would be right. So let’s do some internet detective work. Open up your favorite search engine and type in, “Brooke Capser Lowell School

The top two search hits are the Lowell School Principals Message page and the school directory, both showing Brooke Capser’s name in bold. Click on the little green arrow next to the link and you will see a cached archive of the page. On May 27th, 2017, Those pages with Brooke Capser’s name were live on the Lowell School website.

So what happened? Grand Traverse Academy happened. They don’t want anyone to know Brooke Capser no longer works for them because some rats know when it’s time to flee the sinking ship. Of course, all the smoke and mirrors surrounding Brooke Capser’s change of career leads to the next question – why is it so important for GTA to conceal that Brooke Capser has a new job?

Remember staff, parents, and students of Grand Traverse Academy, make sure to wish your former principal good luck at her new school in Montana. Tomorrow is your last day with Mrs Capser and you will have a new principal next fall. Won’t that be exciting!

Well a candidate who’s racist in his very first speech
Is usually a no way!
And a candidate who mocks the disabled in a speech
Is anything but worthy.
But a candidate caught on tape saying “I tried to fuck her but she’s married” and “grab her by the pussy!”
He’s the candidate the GOP is proud to have found!
Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe!

Trump’s a long shot to win at best.

Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe!

But enough redhats could do it yet.

A president who’s staff is besties with Russians
is usually an OH SHIT!
And a president who paid hookers to piss in a hotel bed
is usually considered grotesque!
But a president who shares secrets with foreigners in the oval office
gets nothing but nods from his staff and kids
He’s exactly the president the GOP deserves to have
Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe!

Lying fake news never watch them
Failing New York Times witch hunt!

Trump wants to deport all the brown skinned people
But the courts are fighting to stop him.
Trump wants to kill off the poor and give tax cuts to the rich
But the Senate knows it’s political poison.
Trump makes a fool of himself with NATO and our allies
But touches an orb with King Suleiman.
October can’t get here soon enough!
Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe!

Lowest ratings of a president yet!

Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe!

Collusion with the Russians? You bet!

Oh what will Trump tweet next tomorrow?

Covfefe! Covfefe! Covfefe!

Spicer’s all out of gum the sorrow!


Enjoy your day, and remember those who served.

The Up North Progressive sure is.

Today in –

The completely unsurprising win of Greg Gianforte for the sole House of Representatives seat in Montana. Greg set a precedent ( or if you’re the fat orange bitch, president) on Wednesday that all you need to clinch your win in any election is put a reporter in a choke hold and body slam him to the ground.

The people of Montana want someone with a volatile temper and no regard for the first amendment representing them in Washington D.C. If you still count yourself among the red-blooded Americans carefully navigating your survival through the post-piss pig landscape of Trumptardistan, things like now probably look a little bleak. After all, will other degenerate trash running for office under the GOP banner believe their ticket to victory is commit assault?


Republicans, especially redhat brigade Republicans don’t want civility, maturity, or even someone with a basic sense of humanity representing them in public office. They want knuckle-dragging reactionary thugs. This is the American utopia redhats dream of.

Nothing matters, we’ll make up our own alternative facts, and if you try to shove the truth in our faces, we’ll beat the shit out of you and win the election anyway.

Enjoy your holiday weekend.