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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Science & Technology
11:30 am
Fri December 19, 2014

FRIB leads to MSU power grid upgrades

MSU's T.B. Simon power plant will supply energy for the massive FRIB facility.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

The construction of what will become the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, continues at Michigan State University. The massive concrete floor of the underground chamber has been poured. Last week, the MSU Board of Trustees approved plans to connect a new power line from the T.B. Simon Power Plant on the south end of the main campus here in East Lansing to FRIB. It will require a substantial amount of power.

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Politics & Government
11:18 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Breaking down Michigan's competing road funding plans

The clock is counting down on the lame duck legislature at the state Capitol. Tomorrow is the last full day of the session. Lawmakers are facing a hard deadline to reach a deal to raise more than a billion dollars each year in new revenue to fix Michigan’s deteriorating roads.

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Politics & Government
11:34 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Michigan AG office warns of holiday charity scams

The Michigan Attorney General's office investigates reports of unsolicited phone calls from people claiming to represent charitable organizations.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

We’re halfway through December, and you’ve probably noticed retailers aren’t the only people competing for your cold, hard cash. ‘Tis the season for charitable organizations to ramp up their efforts to solicit donations. Most groups out there do represent worthy causes, but the holidays also tend to bring out the less-than-legitimate actors hoping to pull off the perfect scam.

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Politics & Government
11:26 am
Thu December 11, 2014

EL officials push back against GOP plans limiting local control

East Lansing city manager George Lahanas
Credit http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/

This week, the Michigan legislature has caught the ire of some municipal leaders who fear the state may be overstepping its reach into local government. One Republican sponsored bill now headed to the House floor would ban local communities from entering into negotiations with developers over wages and  so-called “community benefits.”  The measure has evoked criticism from a number of Democratic civic officials.

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Politics & Government
11:10 am
Wed December 10, 2014

LPD chief, leading pastor address community's policing concerns

Union Missionary Baptist Church pastor Dr. Melvin T. Jones addresses the crowd gathered for a forum on community and police relations in Lansing.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

For weeks, the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers involved in their deaths have sparked sometimes violent protests across the country. The cases have even reached mid-Michigan.

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Economy
11:12 am
Mon December 8, 2014

MI retailers push for sales tax fairness

Many online retailers, like Amazon, don't collect the state sales tax from customers in Michigan.
Credit Flickr - Carl Malamud

Last week we learned that e-commerce sales on Cyber Monday 2014 topped $2-billion. That’s up more than 15-percent over last year. Big box giant Walmart and online powerhouse Amazon saw sizeable surges in their bottom lines. But the reports are not welcome news for everyone, including traditional brick and mortar retailers in Michigan.

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Politics & Government
11:15 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Ingham County experiments with police body cameras

Recent police custody deaths have led to a call for more widespread usage of law enforcement body cameras.
Credit Flickr - West Midlands Police

The recent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland have re-ignited the debate over whether police officers should be made to wear body cameras to record their interactions. Some law enforcement agencies around the country have been experimenting with the technology. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is expected to announce next month that all city police will soon wear body cameras. In Ingham County, sheriff’s deputies working at the city jail are already trying them out.

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Environment
11:13 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Limited energy infrastructure curtails rural development

Credit Flickr - Seth Sawyers

Shortly before Thanksgiving, some rural businesses in Michigan’s Thumb region faced a difficult request. At the peak of the fall harvest, Consumers Energy asked several customers to voluntarily curtail their natural gas usage for 10 hours a day. The shutoff didn’t last long, but agri-business leaders say it highlighted an ongoing concern for the future of Michigan’s energy infrastructure.

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Economy
12:02 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Pilot program seeks permanent housing for Lansing's homeless

Rebecca Porter (left) was homeless for most of the past year. She is working with case worker Amanda Fleckenstein (right) and others at Volunteers of America Michigan to move into permanent housing. She hopes to be in her new home by Christmas.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Michigan’s long winter months can give anyone the blues, but it’s an especially dangerous time for the homeless. Hundreds of people in mid-Michigan live on the streets, and their circumstances are diverse. In Lansing, officials are so far pleased with the results of a pilot program to move 11 people out of a makeshift camp and into permanent housing.

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Politics & Government
12:00 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Jobs, roads top concerns in post-election poll

Jeff Williams of Public Sector Consultants
Credit http://www.pscinc.com/

The 2014 election is in the rear view mirror, but its effects will certainly echo for years to come. After the last ballot was cast, some 600 Michigan voters were asked for their opinion on a number of statewide issues.

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Business
11:55 am
Tue December 2, 2014

New BWL emergency ops manager briefs community leaders on winter plan

Credit Credit Joe Linstroth/WKAR

Mid-Michigan is already getting a taste of winter, no matter what the calendar says. As the weather turns colder, the Lansing Board of Water and Light is preparing for the possibility of power outages.

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Education
11:44 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Report: state should expand services to at-risk children

The Michigan legislature won’t be back to work until December 2, when lawmakers return for a three-week lame duck session. In the meantime, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has been thinking about what it believes should be the state’s next major investment strategy.

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Education
1:17 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Tech bus designed to drive science learning

The Tech Transport Bus will bring mobile STEM education to students in the Lansing area starting in July.
Credit Courtesy / ITEC

For many students, the sight of their school bus rolling into their neighborhood each morning conjures up a flurry of emotions, and not all of them are positive. But a new project being unveiled today in Lansing hopes to re-make the image of the bus as a key part of the educational experience. This bus is a much more modern, high-tech creation. In fact, it’s called the Tech Transport Bus.

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Education
1:11 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

National Guard academy challenges MI youth to make a change

Raina Miller (right) is one of more than 100 cadets now attending the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy. After suffering bouts of anxiety and depression, Raina voluntarily entered the academy. Her mother, Robyn, is a retired military police officer.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Two months into the traditional school year, Michigan students are already thinking about Thanksgiving break. That includes students who are taking a less conventional route through their studies. Right now, more than 100 teenagers from communities across the state are participating in the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy, a program sponsored by the Michigan National Guard.

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Health
11:50 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Local East Africans face unwarranted Ebola profiling

Yesterday, the last patient known to have Ebola in the United States was released from a New York City hospital. Dr. Craig Spencer was infected with the virus while working in Guinea with the group Doctors Without Borders. His case contrasts with that of Kacie Hickox, the nurse from Maine who recently fought legal efforts to have her movements restricted following a stint in West Africa treating ebola patients.

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History
12:52 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Michigan vet reflects on life-altering service in Vietnam

Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, when Americans remember and thank those who have served their country in the armed forces.
Credit Flickr - DonkeyHotey

Ninety-six years ago today, the guns fell silent across Europe, marking the armistice that ended the First World War. Veterans Day has been officially observed as a federal holiday in the United States since 1954. Here in mid-Michigan, local veterans are having their stories preserved for the future.

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Community
12:01 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Same sex marriage ban upheld; what's next?

April DeBoer reacts to the 6th Circuit ruling with her partner, Jayne Rowse, (right) and their legal team.
Credit Rick Pluta/MPRN

Supporters of same sex marriage in Michigan were handed a major setback late yesterday. After about an eight month wait, the 6th Circuit federal appeals court reaffirmed the state’s ban on same sex marriage.

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History
10:59 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Jackson's claim to GOP history

This 1910 photo marks the spot in Jackson, Michigan where some 1,500 people met on July 6, 1854 for the first formal convention of the Republican Party.
Credit Flickr / Wystan

On this Election Day, we have a political story that has nothing to do with influencing your vote. Instead, it’s a look back at our history. The city of Jackson claims a unique place in American politics. Jackson hosted what historians say was the very first convention of the brand new Republican Party 160 years ago.

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Politics & Government
11:28 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Clerks Byrum, Swope offer Election Day how-to

Months of campaign rhetoric come to a finale tomorrow, when  Michiganders will have their say at the polls. More than 4.7-million residents voted in the 2012 presidential election. This year’s contest is almost sure to draw fewer voters than two years ago.

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Business
11:28 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Audio Postcard: Harvest time in Michigan | WKAR

Zach Rappleye farms 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans near Jackson. Many farmers in southern Michigan experienced a cooler and wetter summer than normal, which pushed back the harvest. Rappleye says he hopes to finish by mid-December.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Orange and yellow are the colors of the season across mid-Michigan, as the fall harvest continues. After a bone-chilling winter, many areas of the Lower Peninsula saw a cooler and wetter summer than usual. Some farmers are racing the clock to harvest corn and soybeans and plant winter wheat.

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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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