Episode 2307: eFoiling and Unpaid Bills

An encore presentation of stories about eFoiling, water infrastructure, and The Catch. 


eFoiling and Unpaid Bills – Episode 2307


In the latest episode of Great Lakes Now, “eFoiling and Unpaid Bills.” Join us for encore presentations of award-winning stories about an eFoiling adventure on Lake Huron, water infrastructure woes in Benton Harbor, MI, and a brand new edition of The Catch.



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In the Month of July on Great Lakes Now

Click the tabs to read descriptions of each feature in Episode 2307.

Great Lakes Now contributor Ian Solomon prepares to try eFoiling on Lake Huron.

Watch The Feature

What’s an eFoil?

SEGMENT 1 | Tawas City, MI

For years, water sports enthusiasts have been riding the wind on the Great Lakes with windsurfing, kiteboarding, even surfing. But now, there’s a new trend called hydrofoiling. 

The rider is on a board with a wing that extends into the water and then uses a kite or a hand-help wing to propel it. WIth hydrofoiling sports like kitefoiling or wingfoiling, the board actually glides above the water. 

But even hydrofoiling has something new, something that doesn’t require the wind. It’s called eFoiling and uses a small electric motor to drive the board. 

GLN Contributor Ian Solomon traveled to Tawas City, Michigan, to meet Mark Kuban, a watersports instructor, who gives him an eFoiling lesson.  According to Kuban, eFoiling is gaining popularity across the Great Lakes region.

“This is blowing up on the Great Lakes,” Kuban said.. “This is super fun on any lake or any body of water.”

Ride along as Ian tries to master this new sport in the chilly waters of Lake Huron.

Read his column about the experience.


Here is other Great Lakes Now work on this topic: 

Surfing the Great Lakes: ‘What? People do that here?’

Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad.

Watch The Feature

Unpaid Bills

SEGMENT 2 | Benton Harbor, MI; South Haven, MI

As part of the “Water’s True Cost” journalism project, Bridge Michigan journalist Kelly House investigates the underfunding of systems expected to deliver clean, safe drinking water. 

The story begins in Benton Harbor, Mich., a city of about 9,000 people, near the mouth of the St. Joseph River. In October 2021, state officials advised Benton Harbor residents to drink only bottled water because the tap water contained high levels of lead. 

While Benton Harbor is the latest city in Michigan to face a water crisis, it’s far from alone. In many ways the origins of Benton Harbor’s problems are shared among many communities on the brink of facing a similar challenge, which is dealing with the consequences of inadequate investment in water systems. 

The root of these shared water crises is actually financial, and it’s impacting poor and affluent communities alike. 

A short drive from Benton Harbor is South Haven, Mich. – a lakefront community and popular vacation spot. Although South Haven has a relatively new filtration plant, the pipes that carry water to the more than 11,000 people relying on the system are aging. 

Reporter Kelly House explores why the aging infrastructure hasn’t been replaced and discovers it’s largely because of the unpopularity of price hikes. It’s a longstanding problem hinging on the difficulty in gaining buy-in from politicians and the public to raise rates on a system that is mostly invisible. 

Here is other Great Lakes Now work on underinvestment in water infrastructure: 

Water woes loom for Michigan suburbs, towns after decades of disinvestment

Michigan’s 20th Century water systems too big for its shrinking city populations

The Catch: Benton Harbor’s lead pipes and the plan to replace them

Leaders of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary estimate they’ve found roughly half of the shipwrecks hiding in the depths of Thunder Bay.

Watch The Feature

The Catch: News about the Lakes You Love

SEGMENT 3 | Manistique, MI; Lake Superior, Cleveland, OH

This segment – The Catch – in our award-winning PBS program will keep you in the know. This month, stories about exploring shipwrecks through a glass-bottom boat ride, a Great Lakes food podcast spotlights overlooked stories of regional cuisine and culinary traditions, and a look into how this season of Canadian wildfires has been one of the worst in more than 20 years. 

First up, come along to Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, MI. The sanctuary is home to about 200 shipwrecks, but only half have been located. To see these shipwrecks, seasonal tours are taking place where passengers can expect to see two to five shipwrecks per tour. “These tours are really for all ages. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is 4300 miles in Lake Huron, so there’s lots to see. They’re narrated, so you get the maritime history, but then you also get to enjoy the beautiful Alpena shoreline,” said Emily Bingham, a reporter with MLive, who recently covered the seasonal offering. The unique part about these tours is the visibility afforded to patrons by way of the boats’ glass bottoms, which give passengers a chance to see the shipwrecks below without having to don scuba gear!

Next, a look into how a food podcast is striving to change the narrative around food stories and culture in the Great Lakes region. The podcast Eat Your Heartland Out is partnering with GLN to roll out five special episodes tailored to showcasing the culinary classics of the Great Lakes. Capri Cafaro, podcast host and Great Lakes Now contributor, is devoted to sharing the breadth and depth of these foods, and one episode about freighter chefs even inspired a segment of our show! Other segments focus on wine production, the craft brewery industry, and the commercial fishing industry in the Great Lakes. 

Finally, an update on the cause behind one of the worst Canadian wildfire seasons in more than 20 years. The effects of these fires are being felt far and wide, as Prairies Reporter for The Narwhal Drew Anderson explains. Fire suppression through costly forest management practices helped to set the stage for these wildfires, and Anderson believes that dry conditions and hot temperatures will continue to fuel the wildfire pattern in the years to come. “So this summer, predictions are that it will continue to be hot, then it will continue to be dry across most of Canada, which does not bode well for these fires dying off, quieting down and the smoke dissipating,” Anderson said. To protect yourself, Anderson and public safety officials recommend staying indoors and having air purifiers with HEPA filters can help combat the strain of breathing in the wildfire smoke, as Anderson says the smoke can cause extensive lung damage. 

Click here for more from Great Lakes Now’s The Catch 

Previous Episodes

Featured Articles

Book Review: Saving our changing menu in the Great Lakes region and beyond
- by Capri S. Cafaro

“Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need” offers examples of how our global food system is affected by climate change. More importantly, it offers hope and solutions for the future that can be applied right here in the Great Lakes region and beyond. 

Climate change is harming Michigan hunting and fishing, groups warn lawmakers
- by Bridge Michigan

Michigan’s wild places — and the fish and wildlife that call them home — are under threat as warmer temperatures cause species to migrate northward and rivers to overheat. Advocates called for more resources to protect Michigan’s fish and game from those changes.

New NASA imagery reveals startling behavior among group of ‘banished’ beavers: “[They] were just about everywhere”
- by Wild Hope Staff

NASA satellite imagery has recently shown that beavers banished to rural Idaho have made significant improvements to waterways in the region. These dams are already buffering against floods and reducing the risk of forest fires.

Michigan Legislature tackles ambitious climate legislation. How far will it go?
- by Interlochen Public Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released the MI Healthy Climate Plan last year. Now the state legislature is trying to take those goals and turn them into law.

Digital Credits
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Anna Sysling.