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It’s the first week of June, soon school will be out of session, and the beaches are beckoning. Michigan is expecting a strong summer tourism season in 2015, as families plan trips to all manner of destinations across the Great Lakes State.

courtesy Tim Lane/Lansing Art Gallery

In May, we told you about Keys In the City, a project combining art and music around the Lansing area. Pianos decorated by local artists are beginning to crop up in public spaces, and you can enjoy them as art or even sit down and tickle the ivories yourself. Now, the Lansing Art Gallery is launching a public art project of its own.

Reviewers love to talk about the sophomore slump. Whether it’s a musician, a film director or an author, critics can’t get enough of speculating if an artist will be able to hit it out of the park twice in a row. And it isn’t just critics paying attention. The follow-up to a successful debut can often make or break a career. That second work is where artists prove to their audience whether they are a one-hit wonder or someone worth following for years to come.

“It’s every citizen’s right to film the police.” Those are the words of ACLU Michigan Executive Kary Moss. The occasion was this week’s announcement that the civil liberties organization would offer a free smartphone app that enables users to videotape police encounters. The Mobile Justice Michigan app would then automatically send the video to the ACLU for review.

April Van Buren/WKAR

If you’re planning your summer vacation, you’re probably going to be booking a hotel or summer cottage soon. And so will some of the winged visitors to the Horticultural Demonstration Gardens here on the MSU campus. But, lucky for them, the bees at MSU’s “bee hotels” won’t be needing reservations.

Current State #549 | June 3, 2015

Jun 3, 2015

  

  Today on Current State: Michigan House Republican Majority Leader Kevin Cotter joins Mark Bashore and MPRN's Rick Pluta to talk about budget negotiations over education, roads; the Andromeda Community Theatre in Charlotte puts on a production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" in the city's historic courthouse; farmers in Michigan are upset with new federal water rules; and our "Neighbors in Action" segment features the Greater Lansing Food Bank's Lansing Roots program.

Office of Kevin Cotter

  Road funding, education spending and other budget issues are among the focus of discussions at the state capitol.   There were several developments yesterday in education spending.  A measure meant to bridge the funding gap between school districts emerged.   Meanwhile, a focus in the road funding debate continues to be whether the money for a fix can be found among existing revenue or if new revenue is required.

Courtesy of Andromeda Theatre Company

 The Andromeda Community Theatre in Charlotte is about to launch an ambitious staging of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” It’s been adapted from the beloved Harper Lee novel by Christopher Sergel.

Wikimedia commons

Many Michigan farmers are wrapping up their spring planting this month.  But this season, there’s a cloud hanging overhead...and it’s not bringing nourishing rain.  It is, however, all about water.   Last week, the U-S Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule on what it calls the “Waters of the United States.”  The action expands the EPA’s jurisdiction over more waterways protected by the Clean Water Act.   The agency says the action is necessary to keep the nation’s waters clean.

 Wednesday on CS means it’s time for Neighbors in Action, when we feature people and organizations working to make Greater Lansing a better place. Today, we learn about Lansing Roots, a business incubator for aspiring farmers with limited means.  To learn more about the program, Current State talks to Alex Bryan, from the Greater Lansing Food Bank, the organization behind the program.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Last week on Current State, we heard from the leader of a Michigan petition effort that's aimed at banning hydraulic fracturing in the state. Fracking, as it’s called, pumps a combination of water and chemicals into underground rock where natural gas and oil are trapped. The process crushes the rock surrounding the deposits and frees them. The growth of hydraulic fracturing is credited for making the United States the world’s leading producer of oil and gas.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Current State has taken you to some historic sites in Detroit, including a stop last week at the house where former President Ulysses S. Grant once lived. Now, we turn to Lansing for some history that’s closer to home. Scott Pohl recently met up with historian Tom Truscott at Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Flickr - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

The conversation around climate change often focuses on how it will disrupt human life. Scientists warn that food shortages, flooding in coastal cities, and deadly heatwaves are just a few of the potentially devastating consequences of a warming planet. But humans aren’t the only ones at risk. Even small changes in temperature could drastically alter the native habitats of plants and animals across the globe, including here in Michigan.

http://www.interlochen.org/

June in Michigan brings the sounds of ballgames, splashing waves, and summer music festivals. WKAR’s Jody Knol and Peter Whorf have a Current State preview of summer concerts around the Great Lakes State.

Current State #547 | June 1, 2015

Jun 1, 2015

Today on Current State: The Lansing Regional Brownfields Coalition gets a $500,000 grant for cleanups; MSU Jazz Studies professor Rodney Whitaker remembers trumpet great Marcus Belgrave; AARP Michigan pushes legislation to help caregivers; and Michigan wildflowers.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Officials say there are some 2,800 vacant, under-utilized and contaminated brownfield sites in Mid-Michigan. Some are the legacy of a wave of automotive plant and parts supplier closures spanning three decades. Others are former gas stations, garages and dry cleaning shops that contain an array of environmental pollutants. These idle sites are a threat to public health and a barrier to economic development. Now, a new federal grant will be put towards remediation.

http://marcusbelgrave.net/

Detroit jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave died just over a week ago. Early in his career he backed many Motown musicians, and was in Ray Charles’ band. He later worked with many jazz greats including Max Roach and Charles Mingus. He also was a mentor to many of today’s best jazz musicians, including bassist Rodney Whitaker, who is the director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University.

www.senatormargaretobrien.com/

Last week, we spent some time learning about a unique support group for caregivers based in Albion. Caring for the Caregivers is a monthly gathering that allows caregivers to share their challenges and learn about relevant skills. Today, we take another look at caregiving, this time at proposed legislation aimed at helping Michigan’s estimated two-million caregivers.

Courtesy Harris Nature Center

From Celandine Poppy to Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Michigan wildflowers are in full bloom this time of year. Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. you can look and learn all about Michigan blossoms in a class at Meridian Township’s Harris Nature Center.

MSU Today | May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015

Spartan Baseball and Anthony Ianni

Current Sports #483 | May 29, 2015

May 29, 2015

  On today's Current Sports with Al Martin, we invite Mike Price of the "Miracle League of Mid-Michigan" to talk about the organization and how it allows children with disabilities to live out their athletic dreams! Al also gives CS engineer, Issac Constans, his own spelling bee in honor of the national event held last night. The show is closed out with "Reflection Friday." 

State capitol
Jake Neher / MPRN

The end of a stimulating month in Michigan politics and government is about here. The legislature is busy hammering out a new budget, considering a prevailing wage repeal and getting to know some visiting Presidential candidates better.

Here on Current State we have devoted a lot of air time to people and groups looking to encourage small business startups in Michigan. Current State’s Melissa Benmark has the story of the founder of a small West Michigan startup, and his thoughts on how it became successful.

The next election in Lansing is not until August, but city officials always want to instill the importance of voting in their citizens. Tomorrow, they’ll try a fun new approach. During Lansing’s annual Be A Tourist in Your Own Town event, the Lansing city clerk’s office will set up three polling sites for people of all ages to cast their votes on some pressing issues such as chocolate, vanilla or strawberry?

Flickr - Scott Ellis

Coming up with more money for roads is a big topic of discussion this week on an island with no cars. The key issue: can the legislature finally come up with more than a billion dollars in new revenue for transportation.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Our Live Music Friday guest today on Current State is guitarist-singer-songwriter Greg Nagy. He’s released his third CD, “Stranded,” and he’ll be playing tonight at Moriarty’s in Lansing. In years past, he’s been a member of the Lansing blues band Root Doctor, and as a solo artist, he’s appeared on WKAR-TV’s “Backstage Pass”.

MPRN Jake Neher

Jeb Bush says he’ll be spending a lot of time in Michigan if he decides to run for president.

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher has more.

Bush was in Michigan giving the kind of speech you’d expect from someone eying the Republican nomination in 2016. He touted his record as governor of Florida a decade ago and criticized the Obama administration’s economic policies.

At an event in Lansing, he told reporters Michigan will be a critical state for any Republican running for president next year.

Current Sports #482 | May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015

On this Thursday's edition of Current Sports, Al and Isaac kick it off with their long-awaited discussion of whether or not the three point has harmed basketball. They also relate this to the Rockets-Warriors series and preview the NBA Finals. Then, Al and Isaac talk about the strange story of a former MSU basketball player who just went on an unexpected and unprovoked Twitter rant. Next, Al reminisces with this edition of 'Throwback Thursday'. Finally, the show closes with a discussion of Jim Harbaugh's most recent comments on MSU.  


Current State #545 | May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015

Today on Current State: both sides of the prevailing wage debate in Michigan; Joshua Davis discusses life after "The Voice"; chronic wasting disease in Michigan deer; and writer Dave Frazier's book “Drafted: Vietnam at War and at Peace.”

Scott Pohl/WKAR

An effort to repeal Michigan’s 50-year old prevailing wage law moved forward this week. On Tuesday, the state board of canvassers approved the form of a citizen petition that could put it to a vote in the state legislature. Meanwhile, the Michigan Senate has already passed such a measure and sent it to the House, but a citizen petition, if approved by the legislature, could not be vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder. The Governor opposes repeal.

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