Joe Linstroth

Producer, Current State

Joe Linstroth is the senior producer of WKAR's Current State.

Prior to joining WKAR in January 2013, Linstroth was a producer for WBEZ -- Chicago Public Media's long-running global affairs show, Worldview, and contributed to The Morning Shift and The Afternoon Shift, as well as "Changing Gears," a series on the Midwest economy.

Linstroth's reporting abroad includes stories about Bulgaria's wine industry, Kosovo’s parallel education systems and Kosovar Albanians' undying love for Bill Clinton.

In previous lives, Joe co-founded two sketch comedy groups in Chicago and was a case manager and health services coordinator for a 250-bed homeless shelter on the city's Westside.

Originally from Minnesota, Joe has a BA in history from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University.

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Politics & Government
1:25 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Media key to creation of independent debate commission

It's largely up to the state's broadcast media if Michigan wants to have an official debate commission, says Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network
Credit Flickr/Tim Lydy

With elections not too far off, there's been the usual back and forth between candidates about debates. Currently, the terms and conditions of political debates in Michigan are mostly left up to the candidates to decide, which often leaves them lacking in substance for voters.  

We explore the idea of an independent statewide debate commission and what affect it might have on Michigan's democratic process with Rick Pluta, Capitol bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. 

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Music
12:34 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

LIVE MUSIC: Lansing's The Springtails

The Springtails are (left to right) Bob Bryan, Lou Rudner, Julianna Wilson, and Andy Wilson.
Credit WKAR

    

We're back with our Live Music Fridays series and featuring The Springtails. The Lansing-based band has released one album so far called "Because We're in Love" in 2013. The quartet performs a variety of styles, from swing and vaudeville standards to original compositions.

The Springtails play for us live all hour. 

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Economy
1:37 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Between pensions and police: Flint faces financial situation

Credit Flickr- Michigan Municipal League

In Flint, city leaders and residents continue to struggle with serious fiscal challenges. Lately, the focus of the debate has been over whether city services or benefits for municipal retirees is more important.

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Politics & Government
12:54 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Congressman Kildee on Vassar plan: 'These kids are in danger'

Cong. Kildee says people should not confuse the current humanitarian crisis with immigration issues.
Credit Courtesy - Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

Many in our state are closely watching events in Vassar, Michigan. The community 65 miles northeast of Lansing in Genesee County could become the temporary home of 60 to 120 mostly young refugees from Central America.

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Families
12:31 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Neighbors in Action: MSU's International Friendship Program

The International Friendship Program matches international students with local Lansing residents and families.
Credit Courtesy - International Friendship Program

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the International Friendship Program at Michigan State University, an organization that aims to ease the transition for international students and connect Lansing residents with the world by sponsoring cross-cultural friendships.

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Environment
12:30 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Activist details Michigan pipeline concerns

The University of Michigan animation shows the damage that would occur if a pipeline rupture occurred near the Mackinac Bridge.
Credit Courtesy - National Wildlife Federation

Pipelines have been a hot topic in Michigan in the last few years. Very recent developments suggest the issue is intensifying. Canada’s Enbridge is part of a proposal to install about 600 miles of new, interstate natural gas pipelines, about 150 miles of which would run through Michigan. Besides arousing environmental concerns over a possible pipeline rupture, the proposal affects homeowners whose properties were not long ago disrupted by another Enbridge project.

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Politics & Government
1:24 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Personal Property Tax reform reflects mistrust between legislature, municipalities

Citizens Research Council of Michigan

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On August 5th, Michigan voters will head to the polls to select who goes on to represent each party in November’s general election. They’ll also be asked to vote on Proposal 1, which is the first step in what has been a long-fought effort to reform the state’s Personal Property Tax.

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Politics & Government
12:02 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Peters: Still no response from Land about senate debates

Congressman Gary Peters (D-Detroit), at the podium.
Credit Courtesy - peters.house.gov

It’s been four weeks since Democratic Congressman Gary Peters proposed a series of five debates with his opponent in the race for the U.S. Senate from Michigan. He will (likely) face former Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land in November.

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Health
11:48 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Neighbors in Action: Care Free Dental Clinic's Pay It Forward program

The Pay It Forward program aims to build the community by providing free dental services in exchange for community service.
Credit Courtesy - Care Free Dental Clinic

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the Care Free Dental Clinic’s new Pay It Forward program, which offers dental care in exchange for volunteer service in the community.

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Arts & Culture
1:08 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

A genocide survivor and MSU poet pursue healing through writing

In Rwanda, July 4 marks the end of the annual mourning period to remember victims of the 1994 genocide.
Credit Flickr/Jolly Jolson

While we’ll be celebrating Independence Day here in America tomorrow, halfway around the world the date also marks a national holiday in Rwanda, though it’s a much more somber occasion.

July 4 is Rwanda's Liberation Day and it marks the end of the country’s official mourning period for the more than one million people who were murdered during the genocide there in 1994. And this year, of course, is the 20th anniversary of those horrific 100 days.

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Families
11:43 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Neighbors in Action: MY Lansing CAP

My Lansing CAP aims to provide a variety of services for Lansing's youth through their network of grassroots organizations.
Credit Courtesy of NEON

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the Mayor’s Young Lansing Coalition and Partnerships, or MY Lansing CAP. The coalition, which was officially announced last week, features a broad array of community partners and stakeholders that are coming together to improve the quality of life for Lansing’s young people of color.

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Economy
1:34 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

State to look at passenger rail from Holland to Detroit

Credit Flickr- Slmnc

Last week, the Michigan Department of Transportation announced that it plans to study the viability of a passenger rail service that would connect Holland, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit. The study has been mandated in the state’s 2015 budget.

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Education
2:16 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Neighbors in Action: 2020 Girls

2020 Girls hopes to involve 100 girls per year in programs that inspire interest in STEM subjects.
Credit Courtesy of 2020 Girls

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature 2020 Girls, a Lansing-based program that aims to grow the next generation of professional women in the STEM fields by introducing young girls to the wonders of robotics, game design, and more.

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Education
12:56 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Free Press' charter school review triggers varied reactions

Amber Arellano and Brian Shaughnessy discuss transparency and other issues at the heart of the charter school debate.
Credit Flickr - Sarah Razak

The tension between advocates of traditional and charter schools in Michigan has intensified. That’s because of recent stories in the Detroit Free Press which raise serious doubts about the operation and oversight of the state’s nearly 400 charter schools.

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Music
1:19 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

LIVE MUSIC: Marshall Music's Friday Jazz Lunch Bunch

Marshall Music's Friday Jazz Lunch Bunch live in Studio S.
Credit WKAR/Aaron Young

Our Live Music Friday Series continues with yet another extremely talented local jazz group. Marshall Music has started a Summer Jazz Lunch series that involves live jazz from noon to 1 p.m. every Friday. People are encouraged to bring their lunch and relax to some free jazz during the noon hour.

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Politics & Government
2:44 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Could Michigan learn from Minnesota's high tax success?

Minnesota's gas tax formula differs from Michigan's.
Credit Flickr - Mark Turnauckas

As Michigan works to recover from the economic downturn and the decline in its manufacturing base, there have been plenty of debates over which policies will set Michigan on a long-term path toward more prosperity.

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Education
1:13 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Lansing Schools superintendent on budget, arts ed, and future of Eastern

Eastern High School is Lansing's oldest remaining high school building.
Credit Flickr- New City One

The Lansing School District is facing a projected $6-million budget deficit next year. The school board has authorized privatization of the district’s bus system and the layoffs of up to 95 employees.

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Music
1:07 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

LIVE MUSIC: The Spragues and Pumpstock Music Festival

The Spragues perform live in WKAR's Studio S on Current State.
Credit WKAR/Aaron Young

Saturday, June 7th is the date of the fifth annual Pumpstock Music Festival. The annual gathering in East Lansing’s Bailey Park features live American roots music and local food.

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Health
2:30 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Living with a severe mental illness: One Lansing woman's story

Despite her severe mental illness, Lansing resident Jerri Nicole Wright has a part-time job, owns a home, and has been married for 20 years.
Credit WKAR/Joe Linstroth

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and to commemorate, Current State’s Joe Linstroth speaks with longtime Lansing resident Jerri Nicole Wright about what it’s like to live with a severe and persistent mental illness.

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Science
12:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Open Science movement challenges status quo

The Open Science movement attempts to break down barriers both inside the science community and with the general public.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Studying the final frontier of space got a little bit easier this month. On May 5th, a group of scientists launched an online simulator that allows users to explore our galaxy in incredibly accurate detail in a span of billions years. But what’s the most innovative part of this new project? Anyone can use it whether you’re getting your doctorate in astrophysics or you’re just a curious websurfer.

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Arts & Culture
11:47 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Neighbors in Action: The Homeless Angels

The Homeless Angels aims to share the stories of the homeless with the larger Lansing community.
Credit The Homeless Angels

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature The Homeless Angels, a new Lansing-based organization that does outreach and referrals primarily for street-based homeless people.

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Environment
1:31 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Great Lakes Month in Review: Army Corps of Engineers, Asian carp and Waukesha's water troubles

Wilson discusses tensions between the Army Corps of Engineers and environmental groups over the Asian carp problem.
Credit Flickr - michiganseagrant

At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and Chicago-based journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the Basin.

For today’s Great Lakes Month in Review, we have more on the efforts to keep Asian carp and Waukesha, Wisconsin out of Lake Michigan.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
1:20 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Pinning down Lansing's pro wrestling scene

The IROG's next event is on June 13 at the Green Union Hall in Lansing.
Credit Courtesy of Danny Shay

Before the International Ring of Grapplers (IROG) was founded in Lansing two years ago, the best chance of seeing moves like a piledriver and a Double Chickenwing, and the high-flying wrestlers who perform them, was likely on TV.

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Politics & Government
1:22 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Net neutrality debate: Will the way we use the internet change?

Credit Flickr - Jason Mcleod

There has been a lot of recent buzz around the idea of net neutrality and how it will affect people’s everyday use of the internet. Net neutrality is the debate over free use of the internet and has been going on for several years now.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
1:19 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

'Oddball Michigan': Tridges, concrete kitsch, and trees from space

"Oddball Michigan: A Guide to 450 Really Strange Places" is a recently published book which seeks to catalog all of the oddball tourist destinations throughout our state, and there are plenty of them.

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Music
1:13 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

LIVE MUSIC: Lindsay Lou & Joshua Rilko

Josh Rilko and Lindsay Lou performing live in studio on Current State.
Credit Marie Steinbock

This week’s Live Music Friday featured Joshua Rilko and Lindsay Lou of Lindsay Lou and the Flatbelly’s. They played several new tracks from their most recent EP, "Here Between". Their first record was released in 2010 and they have been touring for two years, playing 200 shows within the last year.

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Arts & Culture
12:14 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Neighbors in Action: Memorial fund for Rite Aid shooting victim

Michael Addo was killed last Monday at the Rite Aid pharmacy in Frandor.
Credit Courtesy photo

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the local effort to raise funds for the funeral and family of Michael Addo, the pharmacist who was shot to death at the Rite Aid in Frandor last Monday.

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Politics & Government
11:28 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Report suggests Michigan tax cuts have hampered prosperity

Michigan ranks 49th in the country in terms of the percentage of state and local taxes paid by business.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A recent report casts doubt on the impact of two decades of tax-cutting in Michigan. It suggests that the resulting cuts in public revenue have seriously prevented greater prosperity.

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Arts & Culture
11:25 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Neighbors in Action: House of Promise

Credit http://www.thehouseofpromise.com/

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature one woman’s effort to turn her passion for addressing the horrors of human trafficking into action.

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Health
11:15 am
Tue May 13, 2014

EL health forum explores cost containment

Credit Wikimedia Commons

In the era of Obamacare, we often hear of healthcare delivery. That refers to the various ways patients are served by health professionals. For example, there are primary care from a general practitioner, secondary care at a hospital, and urgent care.

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