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

Courtesy - Habitat for Humanity Lansing

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 Lansing chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates affordable homes and is one of the most recognized non-profits in the world.

Flickr - Justin Rumao

One billion dollars. That’s the amount the state could lose because of a July ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court, according to the Treasury Department.

flickr/Matt Hurst

One of the many things we Michiganders take pride in is our craft beer industry, which is often cited as one of the best in the country. And as this state’s craft beer scene expands and matures, women are increasingly playing a more crucial role in the tradionally male-dominated industry.

msutoday.msu.edu, G.L. Kohuth

Last month it was announced that Michigan State University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center had received an anonymous gift of $1 million. The gift has been called the Support Outreach Action and Respect Fund (SOAR). It’s the largest donation in the history of Michigan State University’s LGBT resource center.

Courtesy - Michigan College Access Network

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 College Access Network, which is a statewide organization dedicated to increasing access to higher education for low-income, minority and first-generation college students in Michigan.

Flickr - NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Residents of Toledo and northwest Ohio got the go-ahead to resume drinking city water yesterday. Since Saturday, more than 400,000 residents of the area had been warned not to consume or use the water after health officials determined unsafe levels of microcystin. The potentially deadly bacteria, which was likely created by an algae bloom in Maumee Bay on the west end of Lake Erie, can cause serious liver and nerve damage.

Courtesy - Lansing Economic Development Corporation

Today we look at how economic incentives are used in the Lansing area. There is fierce competition out there among cities and communities, not just in Michigan but across the country, to attract new businesses that will bring jobs and economic growth. This competition often gives companies the upper-hand when asking for tax abatements and other incentives from local taxpayers. But just how much should Lansing give up in tax revenue for, say, 1000 new jobs? And once that deal is made, how are the numbers tracked to see if, indeed, those new jobs have materialized? What are the consequences if they don’t?

Courtesy - "Fight Blight and Spur Revival in Flint, Michigan"

It’s no secret that Flint has been ravaged by blight and neglect over the past couple of decades. Hundreds, if not thousands, of abandoned homes are scattered across the city. While Flint’s problems are pretty daunting when viewed all at once, one former Flint resident has decided to help out by focusing on a single, burned-out, abandoned house.

flickr - puck90

As enrollment in the state’s Healthy Michigan program continues, many of the state’s Community Mental Health officials have been sounding the alarm that they do not have sufficient funds to treat everyone who comes to them for help. In fact, there have already been scattered reports of people being cut off from state mental health services due to the shift in funding caused by the Medicaid expansion.

umich.edu

Last week, General Motors announced plans to expand its Delta Township plant and requested a 50% tax break over 12 years from the Lansing City Council. Similarly, the new logistics center at General Motor’s Grand River plant that just started construction that comes with a $4-million tax break.

vfwnationalhome.org

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 VFW National Home for Children. The campus, located in Eaton Rapids, offers a nationwide help-line and has 42 single-family homes for families of active duty military or veterans from around the country.

gophouse.org

We are just one week away from the primary election here in Michigan, which means it’s the home stretch for the candidates vying for their party’s nominations to succeed Congressman Mike Rogers in the 8th Congressional District.

www.electmikebishop.com

Mike Bishop is a leading contender for the chance to represent Lansing and East Lansing in the U.S. Congress beginning next year. A recent EPIC/MRA poll shows the former State Senate leader enjoys a 12 percentage point lead over his closest competitor in the GOP-leaning 8th district.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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