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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History
12:05 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

The Michigan Meridian mapped the Mitten 200 years ago

The Michigan Meridian, which marks the state's original north-south survey line, was drawn in 1815. It's the baseline from which many political subdivisions in the state were drawn. In Meridian Township, named for the Michigan Meridian, a 14-foot metal sculpture called 'Meridius Prime' commemorates this bit of geographic history.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

For many of us in the Lansing area, U-S Highway 127 is our gateway “Up North” to the more idyllic Michigan to which we all dream of escaping. But decades before the highway was built, surveyors drew an imaginary north-south line that would become the basis of countless maps of the state. It’s called the Michigan Meridian, and 2015 marks its 200th anniversary. The Michigan Meridian runs right through Meridian Township.

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Politics & Government
11:39 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Lansing PAC teaches winning campaign strategies

Credit wzzm13.com

There’s been a lot of attention this year on the road funding proposal that will go before Michigan voters in a special election on May 5, but later this year, many political jurisdictions including the city of Lansing will hold primary elections in August and a general election in November. The Lansing Regional Chamber Political Action Committee is teaching techniques for candidates preparing to campaign. It’s a non-partisan group that endorses candidates with a pro-business, pro-economic development platform.

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Community
12:08 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Afghan who served alongside Mid-Michigan soldier builds new life in America

'Z' became an interpreter for the U.S. Army at age 16 in his native Afghanistan. He came to the U.S. through a special immigrant visa. He's working to achieve American citizenship.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Last Friday, we brought you the story of William Milzarski, a retired Army officer who was awarded the Purple Heart. He was wounded in 2011 while serving as a platoon leader in Afghanistan. While he was there, Milzarski befriended two Afghan men who worked alongside him as interpreters. Milzarski is now helping those men become American citizens.

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Health
12:00 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

MSU chemist patents potential Alzheimer’s treatment

Dr. Muraleedharan Nair is a natural products chemist at MSU. He's working with a botanical compound called withanamides, which are showing promise as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.
Credit Courtesy - MSU Department of Horticulture

The first documented case of Alzheimer’s disease was recorded in 1906. Since then, scientists have struggled to understand the cause of this neurological disorder that robs the mind of normal behavior. A Michigan State University chemist believes a natural compound from a well-known medicinal plant may one day be used to treat Alzheimer’s. He’s patented that compound in the hopes of starting human clinical trials.

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History
11:52 am
Fri March 20, 2015

NUWARINE exhibit celebrates women in uniform

The name NUWARINE represents the military branches in which women have served: NU (U.S. Army Nurses); WAR (WAVES, WACs and SPARs); and INE (Marines).
Credit Courtesy - Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame

In tandem with Women’s History Month, a new exhibit in Lansing celebrates a unique group of military veterans. Founded in 1947, Post 535 in Lansing is the last all-female American Legion post in the state of Michigan. It was founded by female World War Two veterans, but it also includes women who’ve served in more recent conflicts.

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Environment
11:21 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Trade group, environmentalist weigh in on Snyder energy plan

Credit Flickr - Dr. Farnsworth

Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder announced the creation of a new state entity: the Michigan Agency for Energy. The action comes less than a week after the governor called on the state to increase its reliance on  clean energy. Snyder has set a goal for the state to draw up to 40-percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. He also wants to see the state become more energy efficient and reduce waste.

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Community
1:16 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Mid-Michigan Purple Heart recipient opens his heart to Afghan comrades

Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

    The Purple Heart is the oldest military award the United States of America gives to its service members.  It’s sometimes called “the medal nobody wants,” because it’s given to those killed or wounded in combat.  Now, a mid-Michigan man has joined those ranks.  First Lieutenant William Milzarski is  retired from the U-S Army.  He first enlisted back on August 1, 1990 -- the day before Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.  He spent just a few years in as a heavy construction operator.  He was injured, got out and eventually went to Cooley Law School.

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Business
11:08 am
Wed March 11, 2015

At MSU, former Missouri Lt. Governor rallies small farmers to fight Big Ag

Joe Maxwell
Credit http://www.humanesociety.org/

Michigan State University has always been known for its strong Agriculture and Natural Resources programs. The university is in the midst of its 100th annual ANR Week, which showcases the sciences of farming and environmental stewardship. One recent conference highlighted farm sustainability into the 21st century.

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Community
11:37 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Michigan’s ALPACTs work behind the scenes to prevent Ferguson-style conflict

Last week, two key events in the arena of civil rights took place within days of each other, though one received much more attention than the other. On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a stinging report on the practices of the Ferguson, Missouri police department. Three days before, a presidential task force submitted a report offering recommendations for building trust between communities and the police. Here in Michigan, a sustained effort to create that sense of trust has been quietly underway for years.

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Economy
12:21 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

MI utilities prepare for expected energy shortage

Credit WKAR File Photo

Later this month, Governor Rick Snyder is expected to deliver a special message outlining Michigan’s energy production goals. The Michigan Public Service Commission says the state will experience an energy shortfall as soon as next year, largely due to the planned retirement of nine coal-fired power plants in Michigan in the coming years.

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Health
12:03 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

New Lansing program seeks greener, healthier homes

Hector Moreno (center) instructs Lansing-area assessors on the types of environmental and health hazards they may encounter in their work in the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. Moreno is an environmental assessor with the national GHHI office in Baltimore, Maryland.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Anyone who’s ever bought or lived in an older home knows there is always something to fix. In an ideal situation, it’s a patch here, some paint there, but older homes are sometimes plagued with environmental problems that can threaten the health of their occupants. These issues run the gamut from lead paint chips to mold to leaky stoves and furnaces. A new program in Lansing is now training assessors to not only document those defects, but to help improve residents’ health.

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Economy
12:45 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers keep commerce flowing

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Neah Bay (WTGB-105) at port in Algonac, Michigan. The boat was built in 1979. It's one of several icebreakers that operate each winter on the Great Lakes.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Winter is still holding a firm grasp on Michigan and much of the country. In a state surrounded by fresh water, it’s imperative that the Great Lakes and the rivers which feed them are kept open for commerce. That’s the job of the United States Coast Guard, which operates several icebreaking ships on the lakes.

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Science & Technology
12:56 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

In wake of FCC ruling, MSU researchers launch net neutrality study

MSU Professors Steve Wildman (center) and Johannes Bauer (right) with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission enacted historic new rules governing broadband technology. The FCC moved to reclassify internet service providers under Title Two of the Telecommunications Act, an 80-year-old law originally written to regulate telephone companies. Democrats hailed the decision as a victory for open access to the Internet, and a means to prevent so-called “fast lanes” for those who could afford to pay for quicker service. Some Republicans criticized the move as increased government control over the Internet.

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Business
12:35 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

MI farmers speak out on road funding, ethanol, water use

Credit Wikimedia commons

It’s still too cold for spring planting, but the legislative issues Michigan farmers care most about are heating up again. Yesterday, dozens of crop producers from across the state met in Lansing for the annual Lansing Legislative Seminar, sponsored by the Michigan Farm Bureau. Farmers met in conference sessions to talk about a number of current issues, and many had a chance to speak one on one with their local lawmakers.

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Arts & Culture
1:38 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Local fashionistas land on Lansing's "Runway"

"The Runway" opened in October in the former J.W. Knapp's department store in downtown Lansing. It's the city's only fashion industry incubator.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Michigan State University students Katie Raynard and Anami Chan will receive an award honoring their work to demonstrate diversity through artistic expression.  The two MSU seniors are studying apparel and textile design. 

Raynard is an associate designer at The Runway, the new fashion industry incubator in downtown Lansing that’s only been up and running for about four months now. 

Current State’s Kevin Lavery recently toured the building, which is in a historic venue.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:37 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

"Station Eleven" named 2015 Great Michigan Read

Emily St. John-Mandel's "Station Eleven" has been named a 2015 Great Michigan Read novel.
Credit Courtesy www.emilymandel.com

The Michigan Humanities Council recently announced its Great Michigan Read title for 2015 and 2016. It’s “Station Eleven”, a novel about a post-apocalyptic world set largely in Michigan.

In January, Current State’s Scott Pohl talked with author Emily St. John Mandel about her book, which was a 2014 National Book Award finalist.  It's now the newest Great Michigan Read title.

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Politics & Government
12:11 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

MSU assistant dean to join Lansing City Council

MSU Assistant Dean Vincent Delgado is joining the Lansing City Council.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

The Lansing City Council will officially be back at full strength tonight, when it swears in its newest member.  Vincent Delgado was appointed to the council Thursday night in a 6 to 1 vote.  He’ll finish the current term vacated by Derrick Quinney, who stepped down after becoming the new Ingham County Register of Deeds.

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Politics & Government
12:03 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

CRC recommends new approaches to state revenue sharing

If you track how the state of Michigan spends its money, you're aware that much of it  goes to cities and municipalities. Eight days ago, Governor Snyder proposed an increase of $24-million in the states next budget be assigned to revenue sharing for cities, townships and villages. That would make a total of $788-million. Another $214-million would go to counties.

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Politics & Government
11:46 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Michigan activists respond to immigration injunction

Immigration advocates in Michigan are decrying a federal judge’s ruling striking down two executive orders protecting millions of immigrants from deportation. Last November, President Obama announced two programs that were set to take effect today.  One would prevent  undocumented parents of children legally living in the U-S from being sent back to their countries of origin. The other extends protections for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U-S as children.

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Education
12:00 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

MSU launches film studies degree program

MSU professor Joshua Yumibe
Credit english.msu.edu/

The Oscars will be handed out next Sunday night. This is the 87th year for the Academy Awards. The subtle nuances of film make for an entertaining past time. But the cinema is also a serious course of study for many people. Now, Michigan State University has created a new Bachelor of Arts program in film studies.

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Education
11:48 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Stockbridge students dive into marine biology

Madelyn Armstrong (left) and Chloe Hypes are among a group of students from Stockbridge High School who spent 24 hours in a submersible chamber in Key Largo, Florida. They spoke with students back in Stockbridge via Skype.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Back in October, we told you on this program about a team of students at Stockbridge High School in rural Ingham County who build robots. The Stockbridge students build underwater robots that search for downed World War Two aircraft in the South Pacific. Now, some of the kids are off on another expedition where it’s considerably warmer than it is here.

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Politics & Government
11:42 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Other states may be models for Michigan veterans services

State officials estimate about 30,000 military veterans live in the Lansing region. A new program aims to connect veterans’ services such as health care and educational benefits more efficiently.

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Business
11:23 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Michigan native takes the helm at National Geographic

National Geographic Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg met with MSU students during a visit to East Lansing this week.
Credit courtesy MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences

For generations, National Geographic magazine has brought images of the world, both stunning and subtle, to millions of people. It’s parent organization, the National Geographic Society, was founded in 1888 by 33 men whose ranks included John Wesley Powell, the explorer who led a famous expedition to the Grand Canyon in 1869. Today, National Geographic continues its scientific and educational mission in the digital age. Susan Goldberg is the magazine’s editor in chief.

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Arts & Culture
11:13 am
Tue February 10, 2015

"Okemos Brewing Company" serves up classic rock online

Dan Kelley, whose Okemos Brewing Company online radio program offers 'handcrafted quality rock 24/7'.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Radio has many attractive qualities: its immediacy, its scope, its personal touch. Others in our profession feel that way, too, and some have even made that passion their hobby. Dan Kelley, technology manager with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, is one of those people.

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Politics & Government
11:45 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Rep. John Lewis talks civil rights at MSU

Cong. John Lewis visited MSU in August. He speaks on campus again today as part of the "Slavery to Freedom" lecture series.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

This month, Michigan State University is reflecting on a landmark moment in its 16-decade history. On February 11, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior came to campus to launch a fundraising drive for a program that would send volunteers on an educational outreach mission to Mississippi. During that speech, Dr. King called for what would later become the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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Business
11:42 am
Thu February 5, 2015

More venture capital driving Michigan startups

Credit Flickr - Keith Cooper

Business watchers in Michigan are heralding some good news in the start-up world. A new report released by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP finds venture capital investment in Michigan was up nearly 100-percent in 2014 from the previous year.

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Sports
11:04 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Top athletes to compete in MI Senior Olympics

Last week on this show, Current State's Scott Pohl reported on the growing popularity of pickleball, a racket sport that looks like a cross between tennis and badminton. Well, if you liked that, you’ll probably love what’s coming up this weekend. The annual Michigan Senior Olympics winter games kick off Saturday in Oakland County, and pickleball is on the program.

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Community
11:47 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Volunteers brave cold to connect with Lansing's homeless

Dozens of people led by the Volunteers of America in Lansing scoured the streets early Thursday morning to seek out the homeless and guide them to shelter.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Dozens of volunteers have wrapped up an evening out in the cold on the streets of Lansing. Last night, the Volunteers of America in Lansing conducted its annual Point in Time Count, which tracks the homeless in our community.

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Arts & Culture
11:39 am
Tue January 27, 2015

"Master Harold" tackles racism and relationships

The three principal actors in "Master Harold and the Boys" rehearse at the Wharton Center. The show runs January 30 and 31. From left: Gavin Lawrence, Shawn Hamilton, and Justin Dietzel.
Credit http://www.whartoncenter.com

The Wharton Center at Michigan State University is preparing to host its next theatrical production this weekend. “Master Harold and the Boys” by Athol Fugard is a story of friendship, racism, and hope. The play will be performed Friday and Saturday at Wharton Center.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:30 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Two views on school choice in Michigan

Lansing-area educators are observing National Schools Choice Week.
Credit WKAR File Photo

Educators across the country are hosting discussions in conjunction with National School Choice Week.

There are a number of events in the Lansing area, including the screening of a documentary on school choice at the Capitol on Tuesday morning. That event is sponsored by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which bills itself as a nonpartisan research and educational institute based in Midland. 

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