Kevin Lavery

News Reporter and Host

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews for Current State. He's also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."

Prior to coming to WKAR in 2006, Lavery was a reporter at KWMU in St. Louis, Missouri, covering local politics, government, and biotechnology issues.

Lavery's journalism career began in the Navy. He studied journalism at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana; worked as news director and television producer for American Forces Network-Japan; and served in Antarctica as radio program director at the McMurdo Station Research Facility on Ross Island.

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Politics & Government
12:17 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Without revisions, Sen. Peters a ‘no’ on Trans Pacific Partnership

Credit Jake Neher/MPRN

Democratic Michigan Sen. Gary Peters has gotten behind legislation that would address two very different national issues: criminal justice and student debt. Monday, on a visit to Detroit, the state’s junior senator called for a “top to bottom” review of the U.S. criminal justice system by creating a National Criminal Justice Commission. And last week, Peters introduced the Federal Adjustment in Reporting (FAIR) Student Credit Act. It would help private student loan borrowers rehabilitate defaulted loans.

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Sports
12:06 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Okemos to debut summer youth cricket league

Brian Dunn, with some youth cricket equipment
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Millions of people around the world are wild about a sport many native-born Americans have never played. Cricket is second only to soccer in global popularity. There are several adult cricket leagues in the Lansing area, and it’s not uncommon to see an evening game in progress at a local school playground, but this summer, officials in Okemos will offer the sport to young children for the first time.

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Arts & Culture
11:39 am
Wed May 20, 2015

MI Muslim performs call to prayer in 50 states

Jameel Syed, a muaddhin for the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills, traveled across the U.S. to perform the Islamic call to prayer in all 50 states.
Credit Twitter/Jameel Syed

A Muslim faith leader from southeast Michigan has recently returned home from a long trip.  It was not the time-honored pilgrimage to Mecca, which all Muslims are encouraged to do at least once during their lifetimes. Instead, Jameel Syed toured America, visiting mosques in all 50 states.  

Syed is a muaddhin, which is a special position in the Islamic faith who calls the faithful to prayer several times each day and is affiliated with the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills. Current State's Kevin Lavery talked to Syed about the motivation behind the trip. 

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Politics & Government
12:59 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Rep Singh: GOP, Dem leaders should confer on roads

Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing)
Credit Courtesy of Rep. Sam Singh

It’s a busy time under the dome in Lansing these days. Just two weeks after the historic defeat of a road funding proposal that would have altered the Michigan Constitution, House Democrats and Republicans are offering competing alternatives. The GOP plan would shift revenue to a transportation fund by various means, including siphoning funds from tribal casino revenues and eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit. Meanwhile, Democrats propose raising the gas tax by 15 cents per gallon over the next three years.

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Politics & Government
12:02 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

MI Senate sends prevailing wage repeal to House

State Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) chairs the committee that sent the prevailing wage repeal to the full Senate.
Credit http://www.senatormikeshirkey.com/

People who build schools and other public infrastructure projects in Michigan might soon see a lighter paycheck. Yesterday, the Michigan Senate voted to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law. That provision mandates that wages paid in state government contracts are based on collective bargain agreements.

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Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Anuzis cruises into Cruz campaign

Credit Flickr - Gage Skidmore

Eighteen months away from the 2016 presidential election, two Democrats and six Republicans have formally thrown their hat into the ring. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the first Republican to announce his candidacy. Cruz is the son of Cuban immigrants who before his congressional career was the longest-serving Solicitor General in Texas history.

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Politics & Government
12:14 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Lansing City Council green-lights BWL audit

Lansing city council member at-large Carol Wood
Credit WKAR Photo

After a marathon session, the Lansing City Council last night approved Mayor Virg Bernero’s proposed 2015-16 budget, but it was not a complete victory for the mayor. The council also rejected his plan to create a new layer of oversight to regulate the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Bernero proposed establishing the position of inspector general to review the BWL’s procedures to ensure greater accountability, but after hours of debate and several failed attempts to pass amendments, the city council instead decided to fund an audit of the BWL by an independent agency.

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Environment
12:02 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Mason residents debate proposed oil drilling

Dr. Jack Carmichael of Mason (left) and Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason) discussed proposed oil drilling.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

There’s no shortage of talk in Michigan about renewable energy sources. But despite all our efforts to go green, our state is still very dependent on fossil fuels. Recently, a Traverse City-based oil and gas company has been looking at an area in and around the city of Mason as a possible drilling site.

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Politics & Government
11:55 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Aerial photography guides MI surveyors, first responders

We’ve all whiled away a few idle minutes here and there lost in fascination over aerial imagery online. It’s fascinating to be able to zoom in on your own house and then drag your mouse to the other side of the world on your screen and scan some exotic country. There are many practical applications for digital aerial photos, of course. In Michigan, state officials have recently wrapped up an annual mission to photograph 12,000 square miles of the state.

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Politics & Government
11:44 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Analyst: re-shuffling existing state revenue to fix roads will be politically challenging

Gov. Snyder campaigned extensively for passage of Proposal 1. Voter rejection means he and state lawmakers must start over in finding a way to pay for road repairs.
Credit Jake Neher/MPRN

Last night, months of impassioned rhetoric, TV spots and old fashioned stumping came to an abrupt end. Michigan voters soundly defeated Proposal 1, the constitutional amendment designed to fund repairs to the state’s faltering roads. The proposal would have increased the state sales tax by one percent, while also sending money to schools and local governments.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:44 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Volunteers make recommendations for MI foster care children

The state of Michigan has recently conducted its annual training for Foster Care Review Board volunteers. The program is run by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Credit WKAR File Photo

Last Friday, we aired an interview with Jose Carrera, the director of clinical services at St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing.  Mr. Carrera spoke of an ongoing program at St. Vincent that evaluates an at-risk child’s physical and emotional well-being.  Some of those children are in foster care.

Today we look at a different facet of the foster care system. 

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:43 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

MSU Alumni Association to go dues-free in 2016

The MSU Alumni Association will discontinue collecting dues in July 2016.
Credit WKAR File Photo

The Michigan State University Alumni Association announced a major change last week: starting in the summer of 2016, it will no longer require membership dues.  

Current State’s Mark Bashore spoke with MSUAA Executive Director Scott Westerman about why his organization is dropping the dues requirement.

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Community
11:39 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Innovative assessment program in Lansing benefits at-risk kids

St. Vincent Charities in Lansing.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing is one of the largest human service providers in Michigan. One of its core missions is caring for at-risk children. Some have direct, ongoing ties with their parents, while others are in foster care. The organization has just completed its first year of a new clinical assessment program designed to place kids in the best possible care setting.

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Education
11:50 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Hertel, EL student group drafting sex education reforms

State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr.
Credit http://www.hertelforsenate.com/

Two weeks ago, a now infamous sex education class at East Lansing High School unleashed strong reactions among parents and students. The abstinence-based course was conducted by Pregnancy Services of Greater Lansing, an organization that opposes abortion. The class provoked negative comments about the so-called SMART curriculum now in place at East Lansing High School.

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Politics & Government
11:47 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban reaches the U.S. Supreme Court

MPRN's Rick Pluta is at the U.S. Supreme Court to cover arguments in Michigan's landmark gay marriage case.
Credit Courtesy Rick Pluta

The day millions of Americans have been waiting for is finally here. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a series of cases focusing on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Thirty-six states currently allow the practice. Michigan is not one of them. Michigan joins three other states in defending their bans.

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Politics & Government
12:14 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

MI Air National Guard troops to combat ISIS

Brigadier General Leonard Isabelle
Credit Courtesy, Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

The Michigan Air National Guard has sent troops to the Middle East to, in the words of military officials, “eliminate” ISIS, the terrorist group responsible for numerous acts of violence in Iraq and Syria. About 350 airmen based at Selfridge Air National Guard base near Detroit are now in the region, as well as twelve A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft. The A-10, nicknamed, the “Warthog,” is equipped with a high-powered rotary cannon capable of destroying a tank.

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Sports
12:04 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Spartans' spring football game draws record crowd

MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio put his team through its paces at Saturday's Green and White game at Spartan Stadium.
Credit MSU Sports Information

MSU football fans made history over the weekend. A record 48,000 people packed Spartan Stadium on Saturday to witness this year’s Green and White scrimmage. It was the largest attendance ever recorded for the annual spring tradition.

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Politics & Government
11:39 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Newest Lansing city council member won’t run in August

Lansing city councilmember at large Vincent Delgado has decided not to run in this year's election.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

Vincent Delgado was appointed to the Lansing city council in February to fill the remaining term vacated by Derrick Quinney, who left the post after his selection as Ingham County Register of Deeds. Delgado has decided not to run for re-election in the August 4 primary. His term will end January 1.

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Politics & Government
11:41 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Former Detroit EM Kevyn Orr credits city workers for "rising to the occasion"

Credit Flickr - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Four months ago, the city of Detroit turned the page on a difficult chapter of its long and storied history. Last December, Detroit emerged from the nation’s largest-ever municipal bankruptcy. The so-called “grand bargain” that sealed the deal cut $7-billion of the city’s debt and injected millions of dollars to reduce pension cuts for city retirees.

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History
11:36 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Lansing residents remember historic 1975 flood

This Lansing intersection was under water during the 1975 flood.
Credit Norris Ingells / Courtesy Lansing State Journal

This week we’re looking back on an event that’s become part of the folklore of mid-Michigan. Forty years ago, a late winter storm followed by locally heavy rains produced one of the worst floods in Lansing history. Current State’s Kevin Lavery speaks with some local residents who remember well the Flood of 1975.

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Environment
11:38 am
Tue April 21, 2015

MI naturalists recruit volunteers to track disappearing rusty blackbird

The rusty blackbird population has declined dramatically over the last few decades.
Credit Flickr - Don Faulkner

All sorts of migratory birds that winter in the southern United States are returning to their northern breeding grounds. Many birds that live in Canada and Alaska are passing through Michigan. Bird watchers are keeping a close eye out for one particular subspecies whose numbers have plummeted over a period of decades.

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Politics & Government
12:04 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Lansing police chief anticipates the future of body cameras

The Lansing Police Department will soon add a controversial new tool to its equipment list: 100 body cameras. Some law enforcement agencies in mid-Michigan are already experimenting with the devices. The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office has 25 body cameras on hand. In Ingham County, officers are testing a few cameras at the county jail, and the department is preparing to receiving more. The East Lansing and Michigan State University police departments are also planning to use body cameras. The device has evolved from a technological novelty to the centerpiece of a new front in the struggle for racial harmony and civil rights.

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History
12:06 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Historian explains Michigan’s reaction to Lincoln assassination

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while sitting in this chair at Ford's Theatre. It's now on display at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.
Credit Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures / Flickr

For the past four years, American have been captivated by events remembering the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Two years ago, the nation saw one of the largest gatherings in memory of the Battle of Gettysburg. Now we’ve come to the dramatic climax of the war: 150 years since the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:16 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

MSU to gauge sexual assault climate on campus

MSU is distributing a voluntary online survey to gauge perceptions of sexual assault, and to assess how well their programs and services are working.
Credit Courtesy Michigan State University

A survey distributed to all Michigan State University students asks them to offer their opinion about sexual assault.  MSU will use the information to assess the effectiveness of its current programs and services.

We talk with Paulette Granberry Russell, the university's Title IX Coordinator and director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

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Politics & Government
11:44 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Prop 1: more than just roads

In just over a month, Michigan voters will decide the fate of Proposal 1. That’s the statewide ballot initiative that would generate more than $1-billion to repair and maintain Michigan roads. It’s a complex plan with many parts, the implications of which reach beyond highways and bridges. If approved, the measure would enact a constitutional change to the state sales tax, and also trigger a number of statutory changes. The Citizens Research Council of Michigan has been following the developments of Proposal 1.

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Community
12:49 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

MSU student honors late friend with bike trip to Final Four

Derek Blalock goes for a warm-up ride near his East Lansing home before leaving Wednesday for Indianapolis. Blalock will embark on a 6,500 mile trip this summer to raise funds for heart screenings for middle and high school athletes.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

T-minus two days and counting. Two days left before the Spartan men’s basketball team strides into Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to face Duke University in the NCAA Final Four. This is Michigan State’s fourth time in the Final Four in a decade. and they’re hoping to carve out their first national title since 2000. Thousands of people are pouring into Indianapolis by car or plane this week.

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Arts & Culture
11:28 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Giant mural to capture Lansing’s early REO heritage

Artist Tony Hendrick works on a quarter panel of what will be a 58-foot mural celebrating the history of Oldsmobile in Lansing.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Forty years ago, Lansing said goodbye to a proud piece of its civic identity. In May 1975, the Diamond REO truck factory on Washington Avenue closed its doors, ending seven decades of Oldsmobile production in Lansing. Today, just one of those original buildings remains, and it will soon be adorned with a work of art celebrating the Oldsmobile era. It’s a mural, and when it’s finished, it will measure 56 feet long by 28 feet high.

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Environment
12:06 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

MSU raising money to restore iconic polar bear

Darin McCullough and Dr. Scott Winterstein are working to restore this polar bear at the entrance to MSU's Natural Resources building.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

For decades, first time visitors to the Natural Resources building on the MSU campus have been startled by the guard keeping watch by the north doors. Standing nine feet tall and weighing 300 pounds, a huge polar bear stands frozen in time, in a menacing pose. Polar bears have been on the Endangered Species list since 2008, and though long dead, the MSU bear is once again in danger. The bear was killed in Barrow, Alaska in 1957. It’s showing some wear and needs to be repaired soon.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
11:43 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Bike adventurist says northern Michigan trails are best on Earth

Bob Downes has ridden bike trails around the world for 30 years. He says the trails of northern Michigan are the best he's seen.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

The calendar says it’s spring. You may be getting over a dose of cabin fever and dreaming of a getaway Up North. If you’re pulling your dusty bicycle out of the garage, then a Michigan author has your guide to some of the best trails in the Lower Peninsula.

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Education
11:34 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Incoming MI Superintendent: adults must help students "take ownership" of learning

Brian Whiston has been chosen to be Michigan's next state School Superintendent.
Credit dearbornschools.org

Public education in Michigan will have new leadership this summer. Last week, the state board of education voted 7 to 1 to hire Dearborn schools chief Brian Whiston as the next State Superintendent. He will replace Mike Flanagan, who will retire in June after 10 years at the helm of the Michigan Department of Education. Whiston’s appointment is pending formal approval from the state board, which is expected soon.

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