Kevin Lavery

News Director

Kevin Lavery has been news director at WKAR since September 2006.

Just prior to coming to WKAR as news director, 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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Environment
11:13 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Fifty years of salmon in Michigan

MSU Project FISH coordinator Mark Stephens
Credit http://msutoday.msu.edu/

Fall on Michigan’s waterways means it’s time for the salmon to spawn. Salmon can be found in many places, including the Red Cedar River and the Grand River.

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Education
10:53 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Stockbridge students assist in search for lost Pacific aircraft

(L-R) Jeremy Spink, Brandon Ostrander, Tyler Heeney and Philip McCleer of the Stockbridge High School robotics team.
Credit WKAR-Kevin Lavery

The trees are starting to look very stark in Michigan these days as autumn digs in. Many “snowbirds” are thinking about escaping to more pleasant climates, including a team of young engineers from rural Stockbridge in Ingham County. Stockbridge High School has a robotics team which for the past three years has traveled to the tropical island of Palau to use their machines to search for lost history.

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Health
11:59 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Local families, courts confront rise in heroin use

Wes (left) and Aaron Emerson of Mason. Aaron is a former heroin user who is back in school and writing.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Unintentional drug overdoses in Michigan have quadrupled in the past decade. Much of that has been driven by an increase in opiate usage, including heroin. Many addicts start out hooked on prescription medication, but move to heroin because it is cheaper and more readily available. The problem touches an untold number of victims and their families.  Earlier this week, area leaders gathered at Michigan State University to address the growing problem.

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Health
12:13 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Ingham health officer says county prepared for Ebola

Lansing area health officials say the region is prepared if the ebola virus comes to mid-Michigan.
Credit Flickr - NIAID

Lansing area leaders in health, government and transportation are taking what they call “comprehensive steps” to prepare for Ebola. Yesterday, officials representing the Ingham County Health Department, Sparrow and McLaren Health Systems, the city of Lansing and others briefed the media on what contingency plans they’ve been making.

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Politics & Government
12:02 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Disaffected veterans revive Whig party

The logo of the Modern Whig Party of America is an owl. The last known national meeting held by the Whigs was at the Owl Club in Brooklyn, New York in 1852.
Credit https://www.modernwhig.org

Election Day is now just two weeks off. Democrats and Republicans in Michigan and across the country are rallying their bases in a final push to get out the vote. Some voters, though, lean towards other political persuasions. There are a handful of smaller parties out there, like the Green Party and the Libertarians. One such party is blowing the dust off an old 19th century name and re-booting for a 21st century world.

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Education
1:26 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Clarifying claims on MI education spending

Credit Flickr - Bart Everson

Education officials in Michigan are crunching the numbers this month, following the statewide student “Count Day” back on October 1. The bi-annual count determines the state’s per pupil funding allocation. Obviously, it’s in every school district’s best interest to turn out as many students as possible on that single day. But teachers and administrators across the state continue to struggle to fund mandatory programs. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of rhetoric on the campaign trail about school funding. But what story does the data show?

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:10 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

Farewell, Current State producer Joe Linstroth

Joe Linstroth
Credit WKAR

Current State bids a reluctant but fond farewell today to the founding producer of our program. Joe Linstroth returns to his Ann Arbor alma mater as he leaves WKAR for a position at the University of Michigan's public radio station.

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Politics & Government
12:51 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Local candidate forum gives voice to youth issues

Tonight, candidates for three state House and two state Senate districts will meet in Lansing for a candidates’ forum. These public events are fairly routine in the weeks leading up to a big election, but this one puts a twist on the usual format. Current State’s Kevin Lavery reports that the candidates who’ll face this group of questioners will not be getting their vote on November 4. This forum will be run by middle and high school students from grades 7 through 12.

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Politics & Government
12:34 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

League of Women Voters continues historic role in urging turnout

The November 4 general election is now less than 30 days away. Candidates for a variety of offices are introducing themselves to potential constituents to make their case for why they deserve their vote. Tonight in East Lansing, eight city school board candidates will discuss their views at a public forum. The event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Michigan. It’s an organization that takes its voter education mission very seriously.

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Politics & Government
10:38 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Ahead of new cases, MI Supreme Court justices describe their roles

The Michigan Supreme Court chambers
Credit http://courts.mi.gov/courts/

Every year, October is when the state’s highest court, the Michigan Supreme Court, begins hearing oral arguments. That process is set to start tomorrow at the State Capitol building.

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History
10:37 am
Mon October 6, 2014

UM Magna Carta display celebrates 800 years of legal history

An image of the Magna Carta
Credit Flickr - James Joel

This is an important time of year for the legal profession. Both the U-S and Michigan Supreme Courts begin hearing oral arguments this week. The American judicial system traces its roots back to English common law. And now, an iconic symbol of our legal heritage has come to Ann Arbor for public display.

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Economy
12:46 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

State cuts to food assistance felt in Lansing

Credit Flickr - Phillip Stewart

The new fiscal year begins Wednesday here in Michigan and for the federal government. It’s the first day that low-income households can apply for home heating assistance funds.

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Education
11:01 am
Tue September 23, 2014

New statewide hotline aims to curb school violence

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette unveils 'OK2SAY,' a new statewide student safety initiative. It's a 24-hour reporting system that allows people to make anonymous tips that may prevent acts of school violence. It's modeled after a successful program in Colorado.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Public school students in Michigan have been back in class for three weeks now. Some kids have been back even longer. Educators and law enforcement groups are capitalizing on the fresh school year to launch a new statewide safety initiative.  It’s called “OK2SAY.”

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Politics & Government
12:30 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Local firefighters train for difficult rescues

Firefighters must sometimes rescue victims trapped in confined spaces, like underground equipment rooms.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

A number of firefighting crews have been camped out along a main road at Michigan State University for the last couple of days. They’ve been taking part in an annual training exercise to learn how to rescue victims trapped in confined spaces. Current State’s Kevin Lavery reports that it turns out MSU has an ideal spot for this type of instruction.

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Environment
11:23 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Michigan officials fight proposed Lake Huron nuke waste storage

Sen. Phil Pavlov
Credit senatorphilpavlov.com/

Residents of Michigan’s Thumb region are looking across Lake Huron with some concern these days. The Canadian utility provider, Ontario Power Generation, is seeking approval to build an underground nuclear waste disposal site near the town of Kincardine, Ontario.

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Education
10:29 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Key Michigan universities adjust to dwindling research funds

Michigan State University is currently building a 130,000 square foot bioengineering facility. It's scheduled to open in 2015. Scientists across the U.S. are competing harder for tight federal grant funding, particularly from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Bioengineering facility is planned at MSU.
Credit MSU Office of Planning and Budgets

Universities across the U-S are settling into the fall semester. Here in Michigan, a large amount of their research focuses on biomedicine and life sciences. The bulk of federal funding for these pursuits comes from the NIH, the National Institutes of Health. But the NIH has had its budget squeezed in recent years, and times are tough for scientists facing intense competition for dwindling dollars.

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Community
1:03 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

At divided Friendship Baptist Church, one congregation seeks to end other's right to convene

Credit Flickr - Steve Snodgrass

A long-standing dispute within a Lansing church has captured public attention for several months. Friendship Baptist Church on Pleasant Grove Road is a house divided. Two congregations, each with its own pastor and governance boards, are asserting their claim to the building. But the doors to the church have been barred since June, and neither side has since held services there.

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Politics & Government
1:17 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Lansing activists spur dialogue on racism, gun violence

Lansing residents march along Holmes Street to call attention to recent shootings in the city. The activists were also protesting police brutality. Organizers will host a community forum on these issues tonight at 7 p.m. at Letts Community Center in Lansing.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Tomorrow marks one month since the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The event sparked protests and violent clashes in Ferguson on a level seldom seen since the Civil Rights Era of the 1960’s. The incident also spurred positive conversations and peaceful activism across the country, including Lansing. On Saturday, a few dozen people gathered on the city’s southwest side for a peace march.

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Education
1:02 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Eastern High School parents anticipate make or break year

Lansing Eastern High School
Credit WKAR file photo

If Lansing School Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul has her way, students, faculty and staff returning to Eastern High School are in for a year of “seismic change.” Recent test scores put Eastern among the bottom 5% of Michigan schools in reading, writing, math, social studies and science. District leaders fear a state takeover unless scores improve.

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Health
12:55 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Six months in, Lansing homeless clinic reduces ER visits

The clinic at 430 N. Larch in Lansing is jointly run by Sparrow Health Systems and Volunteers of America Michigan. Officials say since it opened in March, their on-site services have helped reduce the number of ambulance calls to the shelter.
Credit Courtesy - Volunteers of America Michigan

Back in March, we told you on this program about a new venture between Sparrow Health System and Volunteers of America Michigan. That project was the creation of a new medical clinic near downtown Lansing to meet the needs of the region’s homeless population.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
12:06 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

AUDIO POSTCARD: 2014 Mackinac Bridge Walk

The Mackinac Bridge Walk first took place in 1958. Each year, it draws tens of thousands of participants from across Michigan and the U.S.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Thousands of people flocked to the Straits of Mackinac yesterday for the 57th annual Mackinac Bridge Walk. It’s one of those things that truly brings a cross-section of our state together at one time.

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Economy
11:44 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Ingham home auction offers look at local housing economy

The housing market in Michigan is much healthier today than it was four years ago.  Foreclosure rates have been declining in that time, though there was a slight uptick in filings in July.

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Politics & Government
12:51 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Civil Rights icon John Lewis tells students to 'get into good trouble'

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) was one of the original Freedom Riders, directed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and led the march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on 'Bloody Sunday' in 1965. Lewis was in East Lansing to talk to MSU students and community members. His book, "'March: Book One,' is this year's 'One Book, One Community' selection.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

It’s back to school week for thousands of students at Michigan State University. In between moving into their dorm rooms and finding their way around campus, freshmen have been reading this year’s “One Book, One Community” selection. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia has written a graphic novel called “March: Book One.”

Lewis was in East Lansing Monday to speak to MSU freshmen and to meet members of the community.  Current State's Kevin Lavery spent a few minutes with the civil rights icon.

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Politics & Government
2:35 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Camp Grayling war games teach critical battlefield skills

Soldiers prepare to board a CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter at Camp Grayling.
Kevin Lavery WKAR

Last week, President Obama ordered precision air strikes against members of Islamic State, the militant group that’s fighting U.S.-backed ethnic minorities in northern Iraq.  The president has thus far not committed ground forces to the region. Meanwhile, the United States continues air and ground attacks in Afghanistan.  

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Business
12:21 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

After delay, new EL transportation hub on track for 2015

The new East Lansing hub is projected to open by Fall 2015.
Credit Flickr - Matt Katzenberger

Just off the MSU campus, demolition crews are preparing to raze the first in a series of buildings to make way for a new multi-modal transportation center. The 40-year-old Amtrak depot will eventually come down and be replaced with a larger facility that can handle train, bus and even taxi traffic.

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Arts & Culture
1:36 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Michigan wines getting better with age

Guest wine judge Courtney Casey samples a collection of local wines at the 37th annual Michigan Wine Competition at MSU.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

As the farmed cherry harvest in Michigan is finishing up, viticulturists are preparing to collect grapes in a couple of weeks. Michigan’s wine industry is in a state of steady growth. 

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Politics & Government
12:33 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

U.S. 6th Circuit hears Michigan's gay marriage case

Pluta says Michigan's case is unique as it directly challenges the State of Michigan's ban on gay marriage rather than approach the issue obliquely.
Credit Flickr

Marriage equality supporters in Michigan are closely watching events unfold today in Cincinnati. That's where the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The court may decide the fate of Michigan's ban as well as those in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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Environment
12:57 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Michigan farmers adjusting to climate change

Opinions vary on whether changes in agriculture driven by climate change are positive or negative.
Credit Flickr - Parker Knight

If you’ve found yourself putting on a sweater or light jacket on cool evenings this summer, you’ve probably wondered what’s going on with the weather. The polar vortex that visited us so harshly last winter made a return visit a few weeks ago, dropping temperatures below normal. It turns out that there’s at least one upside to climate change; one that could help our farm economy.

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Politics & Government
12:25 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Tuesday's primary ballot: Reading, roads and recreation

Credit Flickr - Vox Efx

Tomorrow is primary election day in Michigan, and along with important party primaries for congress and the state legislature, a number of funding issues go before voters.

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Environment
3:17 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Michigan farms turn waste to wattage

Green Meadow Farms milks 3,200 dairy cows. Their waste could eventually generate up to 800 kilowatts of energy.
WKAR/Kevin Lavery

Few sights on the American landscape are as iconic as an old-fashioned farm windmill. From the era of Civil War through today, they harnessed the wind to pump water and run machinery. Today, farmers have other means of generating power.

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