Nicole Walton

News Director

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.

Following a graduate school stint at Miami University of Ohio and moves to Indiana and Wisconsin, Nicole decided the U.P. was where she needed to be, so she moved back to Marquette and Public Radio 90’s news room. She’s been there ever since as host of NPR’s Morning Edition and now as News Director. Nicole’s stories have been heard on the Michigan Public Radio Network and National Public Radio.

Nicole lives in Marquette with two incredibly cute cats.

Ways to Connect

MARQUETTE, MI (WNMU) - This year’s Superior Bike Fest in Marquette has been canceled.

In a press conference Thursday afternoon co-race director Jim Grundstrom said although officials had one of the best planning years so far, as of Wednesday night only 58 riders were registered for the June 24-26 race. Normally more than 500 riders sign up for the event.

UNDATED (WNMU) - The Michigan Tax Tribunal is dealing with a backlog of about 41,000 property tax assessment appeals.

The Detroit News reports that pending cases represent billions of dollars in challenged assessments, and in some cases date back years. They could result in local governments having to refund–with interest–millions of dollars in taxes they’ve gotten.

HOUGHTON, MI (WNMU) - A Houghton County man has been found not guilty of criminal sexual conduct involving a young relative.

Jerry Wisniewski, 41, of Painesdale was charged with first and second-degree CSC for allegedly abusing the girl several times a week starting a year-and-a-half ago. He was also accused of texting her and asking for explicit photos.

Trial began Wednesday in Houghton County Circuit Court. Thursday the case went to the jury, which returned a verdict of innocent on both counts shortly after 4 p.m.

UNDATED (WNMU) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is taking another look at its plan to close 23 state forest campgrounds.

The campgrounds are in the Upper and Northern Lower Peninsulas and aren’t used much. The DNR proposed closing them to save money at a time of budget cutbacks.

Director Rodney Stokes had planned to sign a closure order Thursday. But spokeswoman Mary Dettloff says it was delayed so the department can talk with local governments interested in running some of the campgrounds.

UNDATED (WNMU) - A ban on baiting and feeding deer may soon end in most of Michigan.

The Natural Resources Commission tentatively agreed Thursday to let hunters spread up to two gallons of bait at each hunting site throughout the Lower Peninsula, except for the section of Northeastern Michigan where Bovine Tuberculosis remains a problem.

The existing two-gallon limit in the Upper Peninsula would continue. The Commission would also allow recreational feeding of deer statewide, except for the Bovine TB zone.

UNDATED (WNMU) – A group of organizations say they are pushing forward with a campaign to ask voters to repeal Michigan’s new law governing state-appointed financial managers.

Michigan Forward says the effort will be kicked off Thursday night with a town hall meeting in Pontiac City Council chambers.

The new law was signed by Governor Rick Snyder in March and gives financial managers broader powers to correct communities’ and school districts’ finances. Under the law, they can restructure contracts and take away the power of elected officials.

UNDATED (WNMU) – State Police say the number of traffic deaths in Michigan rose 8 percent last year, the first increase in seven years.

The Office of Highway Safety Planning said Wednesday that 937 people were killed on Michigan streets and highways in 2010, up from 871 in 2009. The Office says 980 people died in 2008.

Nationally, the U.S. Transportation Department says that 32,788 people were killed on roads in 2010, down 3 percent from 2009.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WNMU) – A member of Congress is proposing legislation to remove federal protections of gray wolves across the lower 48 states.

Michigan Republican Candice Miller introduced the bill this week. It would turn over management of gray wolves to state wildlife agencies everywhere outside Alaska where they’re known to exist, including the Western Great Lakes, the Northern Rockies, the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest.

WASHINGTON (WNMU) – A federal program that subsidizes commercial air service for small towns and rural communities across the lower 48 states is struggling to remain aloft.

The program, known as Essential Air Service, began in 1978 after the government deregulated the airlines. It gives carriers a financial incentive not to drop lightly traveled routes that lose money.

Conservatives say the $200 million program is wasteful, while supporters say it’s a lifesaver for rural economies. Now, they say it’s more vulnerable than ever as Congress tries to reduce the budget deficit.


MARQUETTE, MI (WNMU) – Many Marquette residents were stunned when they looked out to Picnic Rocks Wednesday.

Normally featuring the year of the current graduating class, the rock was painted instead with the phrase “beat your wife.”

In order to keep private citizens from venturing out on their own to take care of the graffiti, city officials launched a boat and removed the message with gray paint. They say obliterating the phrase sends a clear message that the community is offended by the idea of domestic violence.