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.

Ways To Connect

"Monday Morning Quarterbacking" around the state involves more than football today. Michigan’s main Gubernatorial candidates squared off in a town hall style debate last night. Republican incumbent Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer appeared before a TV studio audience of undecided voters in Detroit. Viewers in mid-Michigan saw the town hall on WKAR-TV.

It’s Live Music Friday today and we have a very special guest, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Jon Brooks. His new album, which is a collection of murder ballads, is called “The Smiling and Beautiful Countryside.”

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 Michigan Parkinson Foundation, a  statewide non-profit that focuses on education and support for individuals and families affected by the neurological disorder. This Saturday, the Michigan Parkinson Foundation will be hosting a walk-a-thon and 5K in Okemos to raise awareness and money for their efforts.

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 40-percent of adults with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression received no treatment in the previous year. This comes at an enormous cost to the sufferers and their families, as well as to society at large, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

Beginning in the late 90’s, Colonel Michael Bloomfield was a part of three space shuttle missions to the International Space Station, the third as commander. He grew up in Lake Fenton in Genesee County.

Flickr - lehooper

Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network revisits several of September's biggest Michigan news stories with state capitol reporters Jonathan Oosting of MLive and Inside Michigan Politics publisher Susan Demas.

"The game is afoot". That's one of many recognizable phrases from the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. John Bursch is a Grand Rapids lawyer who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on eight occasions. Now, one of his most unusual clients is the Doyle estate.

In the last thirty years, a Lansing resident by the name of David Lee Arnold has been convicted of indecent exposure 17 times, that’s according to the Lansing State Journal. Today, Arnold will appear in Ingham County Circuit Court to receive his sentencing for exposing his genitals at three different coffee shops in East Lansing and Meridian Township since 2013. Current State has learned that it’s expected that part of his sentencing agreement with Judge Rosemarie Aquilina today will include the requirement that Arnold must be injected with a medication called Depo-Lupron. Both Arnold’s attorney and the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

The recent spate of violent episodes connected to well-known sports figures has brought the subject of domestic abuse back into the spotlight. It’s a problem that’s never far from home, though, and for every high-profile case, there are countless incidents among our own friends, relatives and colleagues.

When you think of sitting down to read a book, you probably aren’t expecting blinking lights, musical accompaniment, and Mexican wrestling masks. But that’s exactly what you’ll get with "DOC/UNDOC", a recent collaboration of book, performance, and sound artists, including renowned Latino performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña.

Are we truly a Comeback State? Just how much can a governor influence the economy? The Citizens Research Council, an independent, non-partisan research organization that analyzes public policy questions, recently analyzed data to try to answer these questions.

Michigan courts, especially District Courts, assess criminal defendants all sorts of fines and fees. This revenue is crucial for cities and counties, and these fines and fees vary widely across Michigan. Ingham County relies on them for $800,000 of its annual budget. The District Court in East Lansing, according to city budget numbers, has netted the city $3-million a year for the past three years. It’s one of the only departments that actually makes money for the city.

Could a community food co-op be a model for a viable, online news source? A news “cooperative” if you will? Two East Lansing residents  are about to learn the answer to that question.


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 Kiwanis Aktion Clubs. The nationwide program, with 34 clubs across Michigan, is one of the only service clubs for adults with disabilities.

TV Campaign Ad

Where in Michigan is Terri Lynn Land? With the November election fast approaching for Michigan’s first open Senate seat in 20 years, many are wondering where the GOP candidate has been. She’s taken heat for not publicizing her campaign schedule, for avoiding the media, and for refusing to debate her Democratic challenger, Congressman Gary Peters.

In more and more career tracks, from sales to journalism to finance, an internship is required for young and new employees looking to break in. And following this trend, more colleges are now mandating internships as part of their degree requirements. But many of these internships are unpaid, which leaves these workers at the bottom of the pecking order with few workplace protections, including from a boss’s inappropriate advances and unwanted attention.

This weekend in Lansing, boaters and rowers enact an ornate tradition dating back millennia: dragon boating. Dragon boats are long, decorated watercraft with up to 20 paddlers.

James Haveman has enjoyed a long career in public health in Michigan, including several in key leadership positions. Twice the director of the Michigan Department of Community Health, Haveman’s last day in that position is next Monday.

What if your family history was fraught with men who died of heart attacks at an early age? Would you want to know if you, too, could be susceptible to heart disease in your forties? If you’re a new parent, would you want to know if your newborn son will develop say, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a rare, always lethal condition that affects only boys?  The answers, should you want them, could be found with the help of a genetic counselor.

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 Michigan’s AmeriCorps program. The nationwide volunteer program is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week. / MSU/WKAR

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon recently welcomed the 12th Freshman class to East Lansing since taking over the top spot at MSU. In what’s become a late summer ritual, she spent much of the weekend travelling the campus in a golf cart, greeting, assisting and talking with new and returning students and their families.

When we think of capturing solar energy, we often think of the large, clunky panels on rooftops that are expensive and inefficient. But what if your windows could capture the energy of the sunlight as it passes through them to help run your coffee maker or heat your house in the winter?

Momentum toward addressing issues of sexual violence on college campuses has strengthened considerably in the last year. Back in April, a White House task force released a comprehensive report to address sexual assault on our nation’s college campuses. Reports of sexual assault are on the rise at many colleges and universities, and there’s a list of more than 50 universities that are under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assaults on their campuses, a list that includes both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

Arbitus Press

Labor Day weekend is upon us. And with that, one last tourist-filled weekend at Mackinac Island before the hotel owners, fudge shops, and temporary workers begin battening down the hatches for another long winter. For many a Michigander, Labor Day Mackinac Bridge walk, in its 57th  year, marks the unofficial end of summer.

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 Next Step Program at Peckham, the vocational rehabilitation non-profit. The program offers individualized services and support for 18-21 year olds who have a prior juvenile record.


Michael Brown is being laid to rest today in Ferguson, Missouri, 16 days after the young African-American was killed by a white police officer. Unrest that was the rule in the days following the shooting has abated in the St. Louis suburb, but a host of critical questions remain unanswered.

Flickr/Kim Daram

If you commit a crime, get caught, do your time, pay your debt to society, rehabilitate your life, and give back to the community, how long should you have to live with that criminal record? For many ex-offenders, the answer is for the rest of their lives. And that record creates all sorts of roadblocks, from gainful employment to obtaining child custody to the ability to receive a student loan. 

But there is a process by which certain ex-offenders can clean up their criminal records. It’s called expungement.


Cuatro Sur's sound is inspired by Spanish and Latin American traditional music. Both members of the East Lansing-based duo hail from Spain originally; Miguel Cabañas is from Salamanca, and Norberto Aguado is from Seville. The two will perform this weekend in Old Town as part of the Renegade Theatre Festival.

Flickr/Paull Young

Michigan is bursting at the seams. We’re one of the most obese states in the nation, with nearly one third of Michiganders being classified as obese, and 65 percent who are considered overweight or obese. With all that extra fat comes substantial costs to society, from rising health care expenses to lost worker productivity to lower GPA's among youth.

Summer is the time of year when newly minted college graduates are pounding the pavement to grab that first job of their careers. One Michigan State University graduate is trampling a much softer surface: the fairway.