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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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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Politics & Government
11:36 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Ingham Sheriff's job: a family affair?

Scott Wrigglesworth (center) and Gene Wrigglesworth (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Gene Wrigglesworth has worn a policeman’s badge for almost 50 years. For more than half that time, he’s served as the Ingham County Sheriff. But in 2016, an era in the county’s history will come to an end. This week, he announced that he will not seek re-election.

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Community
11:43 am
Mon January 19, 2015

1961 Freedom Rider keynotes MLK holiday luncheon

Henry Thomas was a Freedom Rider in 1961. He's the keynote speaker at today's luncheon in Lansing marking the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

We remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today. Cities across America are holding various events, including in Lansing. In 2015, the day seems to resonate with even greater impact than usual, following a tumultuous year of unrest. We've seen events like the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York and Tamar Rice in Cleveland. You could feel the echoes of the 1960’s, when protests and violence were much more widespread.

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Community
11:20 am
Mon January 19, 2015

A civil rights essay: Sandra Seaton

Sandra Seaton
Credit www.sandraseaton.com/

At the start of today's Current State, we heard from Henry Thomas, one of the original 13 “Freedom Riders” who rode through the Deep South in 1961 to defy Jim Crow laws. Now, on this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, we end with an essay from one of our mid-Michigan citizens who remembers the sting of segregation. Sandra Seaton is a local playwright who spent part of her childhood in Tennessee.

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Education
11:45 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Policy org studies declining enrollment, school funding, suggests changes

Current State host Mark Bashore, with Craig Thiel (right) of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Educators in schools all over Michigan will take a head count of their students next month to determine their slice of the state funding pie. Michigan currently spends more than $7,000 each year per student. A new report  from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan suggests lawmakers should alter its per pupil allocation system to reflect the reality of steady declines in  enrollments.

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Environment
11:54 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Young wolf brothers join sister at Potter Park Zoo

A young male gray wolf stands near his older sister sitting on a perch behind him at Potter Park Zoo.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Take a moment now, and think back to your childhood, and your elementary school music class.  You might remember listening to Sergei Prokofiev’s 1936 classic “Peter and the Wolf.”  The wolf is an enigmatic figure in our imagination, but the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing is helping us learn more about wolves with the arrival of two male gray wolves. The brothers are each eight months old.

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Politics & Government
12:17 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

New House Speaker Cotter weighs MI tax options

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant)
Credit http://gophouse.org/representatives/central/cotter/

What is ahead for Michigan in 2015? An income tax cut? A sales tax hike? Could elected officials move to repeal the state’s prevailing wage provisions? All are possible. A clearer picture will begin to emerge Wednesday when the 2015 Michigan legislature convenes.

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Politics & Government
12:06 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Sales tax foe says funding already there for MI roads fix

Keith Allard
Credit WKAR

On today's show, we heard briefly from Keith Allard of the recently formed group, "Protect MI Taxpayers." Allard is also Chairman of the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association and a recent unsuccessful candidate for the state legislature. His group is launching a campaign urging voters to defeat the call to increase the state sales tax by a cent. Michigan voters will decide that issue on May 5.

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Economy
11:42 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Lansing gets $6-million to fight blight

Ingham County Land Bank executive director Jeff Burdick stands outside a severely blighted vacant home on Lansing's east side. The city of Lansing is using a $6-million federal grant to eliminate blight and help stabilize property values.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Now that we’re into the new year, you might be thinking ”I’m ready to give myself a makeover.” It’s not just people who have that impulse. Entire communities plan what they’ll look like in the future, and that often means getting rid of outdated eyesores. That’s a polite description of what cities large and small deal constantly deal with: urban blight. The city of Lansing has recently received a federal grant to eliminate blighted properties.

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Economy
11:34 am
Thu January 8, 2015

MSU students and local non-profit partner on energy efficiency

Credit WKAR Photo

After a mild Christmas, the new year is bringing more wintry conditions to mid-Michigan. The arctic chill makes heating our homes and offices a high priority in our lives. This month, an East Lansing non-profit is launching a pilot program to help dozens of people stay warm this winter and cool next summer.

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Community
10:05 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Neighbors in Action: Greater Lansing Food Bank | WKAR

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. The holiday season can be a rough time for those among us who don’t have enough to eat, but it’s also the time when local food banks see their largest donation volume of the year. Today we take a trip to the Greater Lansing Food Bank, which is busy trying to clear out its stock over the next couple of weeks.

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Politics & Government
11:37 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Justice Michael Cavanagh reflects on 32 years on MI Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael Cavanaugh
Credit http://courts.mi.gov/courts/

When 2014 comes to a close, so too will an era in Michigan’s judicial system. On New Year’s Day, Justice Michael Cavanagh will retire after 32 years on the Michigan Supreme Court. Only one other person in history has served longer on the state’s highest court, and not by much longer.

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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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