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In Michigan
12:33 am
Fri March 20, 2009

An MSU player's journey from Bosnia to basketball

EAST LANSING, Mi – EAST LANSING, Mi (WKAR) - Most of the players in the NCAA basketball tournament have dreamed of playing in the "Big Dance" since they were kids. When Michigan State's Goran Suton was a kid, playing collegiate basketball was the furthest thing from his mind. Suton grew up in Sarajevo. His family's emigration to America has brought him from a life of strife and warfare, to one of bouncing basketballs, championships -- and maybe the NBA.

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In Michigan
1:05 am
Thu March 19, 2009

Lansing district considers restructuring facilities

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Parents of Lansing school children are concerned about the district's proposal to close some schools and consolidate others. The district took public comments on the plan last night at Eastern High School.

A district task force recommends the construction of four new elementary schools and one new high school, which would then allow the district to close a dozen or more older schools.

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In Michigan
7:02 am
Wed March 18, 2009

Ottawa Street Power Station on historical list

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mi (WKAR) - Lansing's Ottawa Street Power Station has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The 70-year-old Art Deco building is being rehabilitated by Accident Fund Insurance.

Bob Christenson is with the State Historic Preservation Office. He says the Power Station was built to provide electricity and steam heat to city during its rapid growth early in the 20th century.

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State
3:40 am
Wed March 18, 2009

House Committee passes drug company immunity

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (MPRN) - The House Judiciary Committee passed a package of bills Wednesday to repeal Michigan's drug company immunity law.

Representatives from drug manufacturer Pfizer testified before the committee that if the law is rescinded, drug makers and jobs would leave Michigan.

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Top Stories
1:01 am
Wed March 18, 2009

Food assistance payments will rise April 1

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Starting next month, more than one million Michigan residents on the federal food assistance program will have more to spend on groceries. The boost is part of the federal economic stimulus package.

On April 1, eligible families will automatically receive a 13.6 percent increase in their food assistance benefits.

That works out to about $80 more each month for a family of four.

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In Michigan
12:55 am
Wed March 18, 2009

Arts community meets to discuss funding

Lansing, MI – LANSING, MI (WKAR) - Artists and leaders of local arts groups gathered Wednesday to discuss how to lobby for greater state funding.

In her budget, Governor Jennifer Granholm proposed a cut of $7.5 million in mini-grants to arts organizations.

State representative Joan Bauer of Lansing told the group how to reach legislators on the appropriate sub-committees about restoring the mini-grants.

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Top Stories
4:28 am
Tue March 17, 2009

Enviros: Keep Michigan wetlands program

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mi (MPRN) - Environmental groups are preparing to battle Governor Granholm's proposal to scrap Michigan's wetlands protection program and turn it over to the federal government. They will meet at the state Capitol today to make their case to lawmakers.

Michigan is one of just two states to issue its own permits for developing on or near a marsh or stream.

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Top Stories
4:22 am
Tue March 17, 2009

Mental health courts suffer budget cuts

Lansing, MI – LANSING, Mi (MPRN) - Law enforcement officials and judges are pushing Governor Granholm to continue funding mental health courts. The Governor has proposed cutting the funding from Michigan's 2010 budget.

The coalition says the court pilot programs offer irreplaceable treatment for mentally ill, nonviolent offenders, at a bargain to taxpayers who would otherwise pay for their incarceration.

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Top Stories
2:29 am
Tue March 17, 2009

OFIR Disapproves Some Auto Rates

Lansing, MI – LANSING (WKAR) - The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation is denying the request of seven auto insurance companies who've asked permission to enact rate increases.

The state says those companies are using discriminatory tactics. The disapproved insurers include such names as Progressive and Michigan Millers.

Insurance regulator Ken Ross says those companies use credit scoring to determine how high to set their premiums.

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In Michigan
1:24 am
Tue March 17, 2009

Lansing development slows down in tight economy

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Top Stories
8:02 am
Mon March 16, 2009

Lawmaker proposes Lansing-Detroit MagLev train

East Lansing, MI – A local state representative is forming a taskforce to look at the feasibility of building a Magnetic Levitation, or MagLev, train system between Lansing and Detroit.

Brighton Republican Bill Rogers says the high-speed transportation system would be the first of its kind in the United States. Rogers says the MagLev rail system would revolutionize transportation in the state.

Rogers says the system he envisions would be privately funded and operated.

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State
9:49 am
Thu March 12, 2009

Granholm, Mich. universities still talking tuition

Lansing, MI – LANSING (AP) - Gov. Jennifer Granholm says she is "getting close" to a deal with Michigan's public universities to provide some tuition relief for students and families headed into next school year.

Granholm wants universities to freeze tuition rates in exchange for some of the federal stimulus money headed Michigan's way.

But the Democratic governor has run into opposition because she proposed a 3% cut to university state aid for the budget year that begins in October.

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State
9:46 am
Thu March 12, 2009

Mich. revenue decline in Feb. worse than expected

Lansing, MI – LANSING (AP) - The Senate Fiscal Agency says state coffers are taking an even bigger hit than expected as tax revenues fall.

According to the agency's February report released Wednesday, tax collections for the month fell almost $100 million short of earlier estimates.

SFA senior economist Jay Wortley says the decline was "much worse than expected."

The national recession has worsened Michigan's economic woes, pushing unemployment up to 11.6% and causing residents to cut back on spending, which hurts state revenues.

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Top Stories
5:57 am
Thu March 12, 2009

State park entry fees could go down

Lansing, MI – LANSING (MPRN) - The cost of visiting a state park or recreation area could go down next year for Michigan residents. House and Senate leaders say the Legislature will adopt a plan soon to dump the $24 annual windshield sticker and the $6 daily entry fee.

Instead, park users would pay $10 for a license plate that gives them access to state parks, recreation areas, and boat launch sites.

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State
7:32 am
Wed March 11, 2009

SOCC: Cut pay by 10% for governor, lawmakers

Lansing, MI – LANSING (MPRN) - A state commission has recommended a 10% rollback in the salaries of the governor and other executive branch officers, and 110 state lawmakers. It's now up to the Legislature to approve the recommendation of the State Officers Compensation Commission.

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Top Stories
7:28 am
Wed March 11, 2009

Gingrich appears before Senate committee

Lansing, MI – LANSING (MPRN) - Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was in Lansing Tuesday. He testified before a state Senate committee on health care reform.

Gingrich has been working on health care reform since retiring from Congress. He says making everyone's medical records electronic is key to ensuring proper care. And he says people need to take more responsibility for their health by quitting smoking, eating well, exercising, and controlling chronic conditions.

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Top Stories
7:28 am
Wed March 11, 2009

MI House passes reprieve for homeowners

Lansing, MI – LANSING (MPRN) - State House Democrats approved a plan to give Michigan homeowners a 90-day reprieve when facing foreclosure. Democrats say the bill will benefit borrowers and lenders.

But House Republicans say the measure would flood courts with too many new lending disputes.

Democrat Andy Coulouris sponsored the plan. He says some lenders may not like the bill, but the reprieve will help protect home values, which benefits everyone in Michigan.

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Top Stories
7:32 am
Tue March 10, 2009

OFIR Disapproves Some Auto Rates

Lansing, MI – LANSING (WKAR) - The Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation is denying the request of seven auto insurance companies who've asked permission to enact rate increases.

The state says those companies are using discriminatory tactics.

The disapproved insurers include such names as Progressive and Michigan Millers.

Insurance regulator Ken Ross says those companies use credit scoring to determine how high to set their premiums.

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In Michigan
7:29 am
Mon March 9, 2009

ANR Week begins at Michigan State

East Lansing, MI – EAST LANSING (WKAR) - The 94th annual Agriculture and Natural Resources Week is underway at Michigan State University. Programs focus on activities ranging from fishing, to pesticide education, to breeding rabbits.

Spokesperson Laura Probyn says there's an emphasis on helping farmers find new ways to sell what they produce. One example of that is cheese-making.

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State
5:15 am
Mon March 9, 2009

Court: Psych records shielded from subpoenas

Lansing, MI – The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled the state attorney general cannot subpoena the records of a psychologist unless patients give their okay.

Psychologist Gerard Williams was accused of over-billing. The attorney general, acting on behalf of the state Department of Community Health, filed subpoenas seeking records related to 10 of Williams' patients.

Williams refused to turn over the files, saying his office contacted the patients, and none of them agreed to release their records.

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In Michigan
7:30 am
Fri March 6, 2009

MSU tennis at San Quentin

East Lansing, MI – EAST LANSING (WKAR) - The Michigan State University men's tennis team is traveling to California for a series of matches next week, but before those matches, they'll spend some time in an unusual setting for tennis.

They'll visit San Quentin prison, where a tennis program has become part of the exercise and discipline regimen for inmates, some of whom are incarcerated for life.

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State
5:19 am
Fri March 6, 2009

Michigan's underemployment rate almost 19%

Lansing, MI – Michigan's January jobless rate of 11.6% does not include people who gave up looking for work, or have part-time jobs. Those groups boosted Michigan's unemployed-and-under-employed rate to 18.7%

State and federal statistics show almost 352,000 people in Michigan had either given up looking for work in the past year, or were holding part-time positions while seeking full-time employment.

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In Michigan
7:38 am
Thu March 5, 2009

Author says GM's annual report not surprising

East Lansing, MI – EAST LANSING (WKAR) - The author of a book on General Motors says news that the auto maker's auditors have doubts about its future isn't surprising. William Holstein, author of the book, Why GM Matters, was in town for a book tour Thursday.

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Watch Video
4:00 pm
Wed March 4, 2009

Root Doctor | BackStage Pass

w.r. richards WKAR

Classic soul, R & B, traditional blues and inspired originals from a Michigan favorite.

Originally aired 3/4/09

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State
3:40 am
Tue March 3, 2009

Supreme Court hears Dow arguments

Rick Pluta

Audio Feature

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) -- A group of property owners brought their case against Dow Chemical to the Michigan Supreme Court today. It's been almost six years since the property owners first went to court, claiming dioxin contamination made their homes unsafe, and reduced their property values.

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State
3:03 am
Tue March 3, 2009

Supreme Court hears Dow arguments

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) -- A group of property owners brought their case against Dow Chemical to the Michigan Supreme Court today. It's been almost six years since the property owners first went to court, claiming dioxin contamination made their homes unsafe, and reduced their property values.

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In Michigan
10:00 am
Tue February 17, 2009

Locals fear political fights could cost Michigan money

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) -- Michigan can expect about $18 billion from the economic recovery bill signed today by President Obama. Some of it will be in the form of tax breaks. Some of it will be funding for public works projects that will create jobs. State and local officials say they're anxious to put the money to work as soon as possible. And they hope that won't be delayed by fights over who controls the money.

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In Michigan
10:00 am
Tue February 17, 2009

Campaign to urge governor, lawmakers to fix defense counsel system

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (WKAR) - A coalition will launch a campaign tomorrow to get state officials to act on a report issued last June. It says Michigan fails to ensure that people who can't afford an attorney get proper legal representation, and the state may be violating the U.S. Constitution. But fixing the problem will require money the state does not have during a budget crisis.

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In Michigan
9:59 am
Thu February 12, 2009

Governor presents "painful" budget to Legislature

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN) -- Governor Jennifer Granholm's budget request for the coming fiscal year cuts money for schools, universities, prisons, and health care. The governor says the recommendations are painful. But she says the plan attacks the built-in spending pressures that created years of recurring budget deficits.

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Watch Video
4:00 pm
Wed January 21, 2009

MSU Professors of Jazz | BackStage Pass

Hard bop with jazz bassist Rodney Whitaker and colleagues from the College of Music at MSU

Originally aired 1/21/09

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