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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Economy
1:34 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

MSU economist maps U.S. cocaine trafficking

MSU professor Dr. Siddharth Chandra has devised a map that tracks cocaine trafficking across U.S. cities. Red circles indicate cities where cocaine is least expensive. These are often hub cities from which cocaine is distributed. Blue circles show destination cities where cocaine is most expensive.
Credit Siddharth Chandra

Last month, a federal judge sentenced a 90 year old Indiana man to three years in prison for his role in transporting more than 1,200 kilograms of cocaine into Michigan. The man’s age spurred new attention to an old problem.  Illegal drug trafficking is an ongoing epidemic across the United States. Now, a Michigan State University professor has created a new way to track the flow of cocaine into the country.

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Arts & Culture
1:53 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Symposium highlights Michigan's role in modern architecture

The Michigan State Medical Society building in East Lansing is a leading local example of modern architecture.
WKAR/Kevin Lavery

The history of 20th century design in Michigan isn’t just about automobiles. After World War II, Michigan was a hub for architects who broke away from the neo-classical shapes inspired by ancient Greece and Rome. The era of modern architecture lasted about 30 years and produced many structures still seen today.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
2:43 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Community rallies to rebuild EL park

Volunteers work on the new playground equipment at Patriarche Park.
WKAR/Kevin Lavery

A popular East Lansing park is in the midst of a major transformation. All week, dozens of volunteers have been hammering, lifting and drilling sections of what will soon be a new playground at Patriarche Park. They’re expecting to wrap up work today, and Current State’s Kevin Lavery has been following their progress. 

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Environment
2:36 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Michigan may authorize new uses for toxic coal ash

Coal ash is the byproduct generated by coal-fired electric power plants. It's commonly mixed with concrete as a road construction filler, and it's also sometimes spread on farm fields. Some studied have linked coal ash exposure to lung cancer.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / CheshireCat@TO

One of the bills that cleared the Michigan legislature this session was a provision that allows certain bio-waste materials to be re-used for beneficial purposes. These substances include things like cement kiln dust, wood pulp and coal ash. Coal ash is the leftover residue from coal burned by electric power plants.

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Politics & Government
1:10 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Michigan roads: Is the solution in the asphalt?

Consultant Rahn Bentley explains how asphalt cement is blended with crushed rocks and other aggregates to form road pavement. Lansing Asphalt in Delta Township heats the mix to more than 300 degrees Fahrenheit and can produce up to 400 tons of asphalt each hour.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

The $1-billion road funding package that Michigan lawmakers have been struggling to pass in the final days of the session failed to achieve consensus last night. As of this morning, the Michigan Senate will have just a few hours to try to cobble together  a plan to raise the revenue to fix the state’s roads.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
12:16 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Despite intense winter, Michigan tourism warming up

Michigan summer tourism remains unaffected by cold waters.
Credit Flickr - Kristy

Michigan had one of the most brutal winters it has ever seen, and unfortunately its impacts are still lingering.  As people begin to plan their summer travels, there may be some residual effects from this winter.

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History
12:01 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Michigan Remembers D-Day: Today's Generation Honors the Greatest Generation

The B-17 bomber "Yankee Lady" is housed at what remains of the Willow Run bomber plant near Ypsilanti. The Yankee Air Museum is planning to move into the space once it's refurbished.
Kevin Lavery WKAR

On June 6, 1944, more than 160, 000 Allied forces traversed the English Channel to land on the beaches of Normandy in France.  Operation Overlord, commonly known as "D-Day," was the largest seaborne invasion in history.  The offensive marked the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.

WKAR is proud to honor the sacrifice of all veterans, living and dead, who gave of themselves to restore freedom and hope to a war-torn world.

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Health
1:08 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Teaching first aid for mental health

Credit http://www.ceicmh.org/

For decades, organizations like the American Red Cross and local fire departments have offered courses in basic first aid. Many Americans who are not in the medical field have a working knowledge of how to perform CPR. But few people are trained to give mental health first aid. That’s the aim of an ongoing training series being held this summer in Lansing.

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History
2:31 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Exhibit celebrates 125 years of local innovation

The 1901 Oldsmobile Runabout being transported in Lansing this past week.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

If you’ve found yourself passing through Lansing City Hall these past couple of days, you may have noticed a treasured piece of the city’s past. In the lobby now sits a 1901 Curved Dash Olds Runabout. It will be on display there through October as part of a new exhibit entitled “Made in Lansing.”

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Business
12:19 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Volunteers enlisted to protect state from cybercrime

Lohrmann says that the need for an emergency response team was at the center of the Corps' creation.
Credit Flickr - marsmet tallahassee

Anyone who ever uses a computer gets hit now and then with e-mail spam or the occasional computer virus. Many are just minor hassles that try to derail our plans, but some do cause significant damage. Now imagine how often large companies and government agencies get hacked by those seeking to inflict harm. To address this, the state of Michigan is creating an all volunteer defense team, the Cyber Civilian Corps.

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Health
1:26 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Michigan providers address costly hospital readmissions

Moving from an authoritarian to a collaborative model of healthcare is one of the many issues being discussed at the 2014 Care Transitions Statewide Summit.
Credit Flickr - Pyros Papaspyropoulos

Nationwide, a significant number of people who leave the hospital return within days or weeks for another stay. The reasons for this are varied. A conference taking place Wednesday at Michigan State University seeks to address how to implement better transitions between health care settings

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Politics & Government
1:01 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Okemos fourth graders lobby for state amphibian

Northern Spring Peeper
Credit paherps.com, Bob Hamilton

Some elementary students in Okemos are wrapping up their school year with a crash course in political lobbying.

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Arts & Culture
11:57 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Director previews 51st EL Art Festival

The 51st annual East Lansing Art Festival is Saturday and Sunday.
Credit http://elartfest.com/

The East Lansing Art Festival returns this weekend for its 51st run. The two-day event in the city’s downtown core features more than 180 artists and musicians. For many long-time attendees, the East Lansing Art Festival signals the unofficial start of summer.

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Health
11:26 am
Wed May 14, 2014

MSU physician discusses risk of ibuprofen and related drugs

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Ibuprofen is one of the most widely used over the counter pain medications in the United States. Most consumers know it under such brands as Advil and Motrin. The labeling on these products purport to treat a variety of pains, from headaches to arthritis to the common cold. A growing body of research in the last few years suggests those labels should contain stronger warnings.

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Health
11:13 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Michigan researchers pick up pieces of children study

Dr. Paneth says infant mortality has declined, but not because we know more about its causes; we've gotten better at treatment.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

In 2011, Michigan State University embarked on a national project to study the impact of the environment on the health of children from birth to age 21. The National Children’s Study was designed to be the largest such research of its kind. MSU was part of a statewide team which interviewed more than 100 pregnant women in Wayne County. They were in search of data that might determine their children’s long term health outcomes.

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Politics & Government
1:32 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

CRT Report: BWL culture, recordkeeping, technology must change

Lansing mayor Virg Benero (left) received the Community Review Team report on the December ice storm outage yesterday from Chairman General Michael McDaniel.
Credit Joe Linstroth/WKAR

It’s become clearer how Lansing’s publicly-owned utility, the Board of Water and Light, failed its customers following last December’s ice storm. A detailed review by an investigative panel explores the utility’s actions before, during and after the storm that knocked out power to some 35,000 customers.

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Health
11:25 am
Mon May 5, 2014

MSU pushes potential Parkinson's drug to clinical trial

MSU physicist Lisa Lapidus (right) and graduate student Srabasti Acharya are part of a team researching the effects of laser radiation on a specific protein molecule. The molecule CLR-01 shows promise as a viable drug in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Huntington's and ALS.
Credit Courtesy - Michigan State University

Neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s cost the U-S billions of dollars each year. Last year, a study supported by the National Institutes of Health found that in 2010, the cost of treating Alzheimer’s alone neared $215-billion.

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Arts & Culture
4:07 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Art fair gives voice to older foster children looking for homes

Michigan has just over 13,000 children in its foster care system.  Most are living in  licensed homes, but many live with relatives who are either licensed or unlicensed to provide care.  Still others are in child caring institutions.

May is National Foster Care Month and as part of that observance, one mid-Michigan agency is sponsoring an exhibition of artwork made by foster care children in search of adoption.

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Business
2:10 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Fading down the back stretch: Michigan horse racing industry struggles to keep up

Mike Stommen of Hazel Park Raceway says you can come to the racetrack and study horses' past performances and 'make your own luck.'
WKAR/Kevin Lavery

Horse racing fans around the country are gearing up for the Kentucky Derby next Saturday. The storied run that kicks off the quest for the Triple Crown will bring thousands of people to Michigan’s three horse tracks. Many will place their bets as they watch the Derby via simulcast. They’ll also come to cheer on local horses and riders who come to the tracks to test their mettle.

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Science and Technology
2:00 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Ann Arbor emerging as global leader in connected vehicle technology

Connected cars can talk wirelessly with each other and with other parts of the traffic system to adjust to road conditions and avoid accidents.
Credit Flickr - Sherman Mui

If you were a fan of the 1980’s TV show “Knight Rider,” you’ll remember actor David Hasselhoff riding around in a modified Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that could talk, fly and even scan other vehicles. It was cutting edge TV sci-fi at the time, but so-called “smart cars” are not that far away (minus the flying, of course).

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Education
2:00 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Teaching international students offers lesson for professors

Professors often must find creative ways to engage international students in the classroom.
Credit Flickr - Todd Fong


It is no secret that Michigan State University has a growing body of international students. There are about 4,300 Chinese students alone enrolled at MSU.  It is a trend that is prompting faculty and staff to re-evaluate how they respond to the challenges of educating this growing segment.  

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History
1:54 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

New book chronicles Lansing's First Family

The Turner-Dodge house is the only 19th century residence in the greater Lansing area open to the public.
Credit Flickr - Greater Lansing Convention & Visitor's Bureau

Take a drive through Lansing Township north of the Capitol, and you’re likely to pass by a stately Classical Revival-style mansion.  Beginning in 1855, the  Turner-Dodge House on North Street was home to several generations of one of  Lansing’s most prominent families.  Today, it’s an interpretive center with its own spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Arts & Culture
12:10 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Local municipalities turn to public art for placemaking

'Meridius Prime' by metalsmith artist Tim Higgins is the latest in a series of public art projects being unveiled in mid-Michigan communities.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

If you live, work or just drive through Meridian Township, you’ve probably noticed the large metal sculpture in the roundabout at Marsh and Hamilton Roads. The work, entitled “Meridius Prime,” is a 14-foot tall piece commemorating the Michigan Meridian, the north-south baseline by which the state was surveyed in the 19th century. The sculpture is part of a plan to install public art that relays a community’s “sense of place.”  The artwork is a project of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership.

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Politics & Government
11:56 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Michigan National Guard fights to keep its share of funding

Proposed cuts in troop levels have Michigan’s military leaders concerned.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

This month, the U-S House will begin debating, amending and re-writing President Obama’s proposed 2015 defense budget. Over the next five years, the administration proposes spending $115-billion above the cap Congress enacted as part of the budget sequestration process. The plan could set up a showdown between Congress and the White House, and that could affect funding for the Michigan National Guard.

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Politics & Government
12:33 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Ingham treasurer Schertzing joins 8th District race

Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing has announced his candidacy for the 8th District.
Credit Courtesy tr.ingham.org

Tomorrow is the filing deadline for all potential political candidates to run in the August 5th primary election. Last month, 8th District Republican Congressman Mike Rogers  shocked many of his constituents with news that he will not seek re-election.

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Science & Technology
12:05 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Series of lunar eclipses begins overnight

Tonight will see the first of four lunar eclipses between now and September 2015. The event is known as a tetrad.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The planet Mars won’t be the only red object in the night sky tomorrow. If you happen to be up before dawn, check out the moon around 3 a.m.  If the weather is clear, Earth’s celestial neighbor will take on a reddish tone during a total lunar  eclipse.

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Economy
4:53 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

State prisoner reentry program looks to address unemployment

Russ Marlan of the MDOC says that they have about 43,500 prisoners in Michigan's 31 correction facilities. Releases vary from around 9,000 to 10,000 a year.
Credit Flickr - foreverdigital

Inmates who leave Michigan prisons at the end of their sentences need an array of support services to help them successfully reenter society. The Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative was created in 2003 to fulfill that goal. The program has done quite well in the years since, but the state is still seeking ways to improve. The Michigan Department of Corrections is asking service providers to help enhance the post-prison experience for those who’ve served their time.

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Health
12:54 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

New initiative aims to put more local food in hospitals, schools

The founders of the Food to Institution Network are trying to get more locally sourced food into the cafeterias of large entities like school districts, hospitals, and universities.
Credit Flickr - Barberton Community Foundation

Michigan has long been proud of its diverse agricultural profile. Many growers are active in the “buy local” movement through farmers’ markets and food hubs. Now, MSU and the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center are launching the Michigan Food to Institution Network.

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Politics & Government
11:47 am
Mon April 7, 2014

The bumpy process of prioritizing road funding

Each spring, Michigan faces the problem of repairing roads damaged during the winter.
Credit Flickr - _chrisUK

Last week, Michigan House Republicans proposed a new funding plan that would allocate nearly a half billion dollars each year through 2018 to repair the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. Fixing Michigan roads is a perennial problem each spring, and the situation is particularly dire after such a severe winter. Certainly, everyone wants their own neighborhood streets and highways repaired first. But transportation planners and engineers must rely on hard data to make decisions about which roads get fixed, and when.

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Science & Technology
12:39 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Aw, shucks: Corn waste yields feed and fuel

MBI employee Laurel Hills inspects a tub of corn stover used in the AFEX project. It's a process by which leftover corn residue, or stover, is treated with ammonia and heat to release sugars. The end product makes a good feedstock for cattle as well as a promising biofuel.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Spring planting season for corn in Michigan is still at least a month away, but scientists who study the crop’s amazing versatility want you to cast your vote for a “home-grown” project. The Michigan Biotechnology Institute, or MBI, is developing a process that seeks to get more use out of the leftover  residue of the plant that’s not fit for human consumption.

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