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
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.

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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Lifestyle & Recreation
3:16 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

AUDIO POSTCARD: Crego Park Grand Re-opening

Children learn to kayak at Fidelity Lake, the heart of Ralph W. Crego Park. The facility re-opened Thursday after being closed since 1986.
WKAR/Kevin Lavery

A once vibrant green space in Lansing shuttered nearly 30 years ago has come back to life. Yesterday, Mayor Virg Bernero and others stood on a new boat dock on a 15-acre lake to cut the ribbon re-opening Ralph W. Crego Park.

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Business
11:34 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Ypsilanti offers cautionary tale on GM tax breaks

GM's Delta Township Plant
Credit Flickr - _salguod

Last Friday, General Motors announced plans for a $37-million expansion of its Delta Township auto production plant. GM will ask the city of Lansing for a tax incentive package to help finance the project. The company will make its initial request to the Lansing City Council this evening.

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Politics & Government
1:23 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

GOP candidates for 69th share economic priorities

Frank Lambert (left) and George Nastas III (right) are competing in the republican primary to represent Michigan's 69th district.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

Michigan’s 69th House district covers parts of the cities of Lansing and East Lansing, as well as Meridian and Williamston Townships. It’s one of the state’s most culturally diverse political districts and historically, the 69th has leaned Democratic.

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Politics & Government
12:35 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Eighth District Dems decry lack of public forums

Four Democrats are campaigning together as each seeks their party's nomination for Michigan's 8th congressional district. The incumbent, Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) is leaving Congress at the end of his term. The Michigan primary election will be held August 5. From left: Eric Schertzing, Ken Darga, Jeff Hank and Susan Grettenberger.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

It’s not uncommon in small political races for several candidates to run together as a slate to fill a number of vacancies. For example, candidates for the local school board sometimes appear together as a unit, in hopes voters will sweep them all into office.

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Politics & Government
12:33 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Mediator: Lansing church dispute at an impasse

Bishop Maxwell says the dispute is not a theological one, but rather an administrative disagreement.
Credit Nicole Strobel

The sign on the vacant church building on Pleasant Grove in south Lansing says “Friendship Baptist,” but in recent months relations between two groups within the congregation have been anything but friendly.

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Environment
1:33 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Lengthy clean up of former GM sites could start next year

Lansing Township Planning and Development Director Steven Hayward stands at the site of the former General Motors metal forge along West Saginaw. GM used the solvent 1,4 dioxane in its manufacturing process before the plant was shut down a decade ago. The contamination will be cleaned up by RACER Trust, the company charged with managing some 90 former General Motors properties across the country.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

This week, Lansing area residents had an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening at the large vacant tracts of land along West Saginaw where General Motors factory buildings once stood. The three sites were torn down in 2005 and in the last 18 months, officials have found chemical contamination on the grounds including 1,4 Dioxane.  

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Business
1:14 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Bigger fireworks, bigger safety concerns

American Eagle Super Store is one of the Midwest's largest fireworks retailers.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

We’re celebrating Independence Day as a nation tomorrow, and that means fireworks. Michigan relaxed its fireworks sales law in 2012, so there are now more roadside stands and large retailers hawking their wares.

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History
12:01 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Civil Rights Act at 50: Michigan was a pioneer

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law 50 years ago today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended the ceremony.
Credit Flickr - U.S. Embassy New Delhi

On Friday, our nation celebrates its 238th birthday. But today, America is also observing the passage of one of the most significant laws ever crafted in its history.  On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law that forbids discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was born in an era of violence and intolerance in America.

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Environment
11:50 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Environmentalist responds to criminal probe of Lansing oil spill

Powers says that the oil spills have most likely been caused by one entity.
Credit Flickr - Jay-P

Last Thursday, an oil spill was discovered in the Grand River near Old Town in Lansing. As crews continue to clean it up, city officials are planning their next moves. Yesterday, Lansing mayor Virg Bernero held a news conference to give an update on the spill.

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Health
2:27 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Awareness, prevention highlight National HIV Testing Day

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human H9 T cell, colorized in blue, turqoise, and yellow.
Credit Flickr- NIAID

Today is National HIV Testing Day. Across Michigan this weekend there will be events and opportunities for free HIV tests, including Ingham County, which has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the state.

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History
2:25 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

A century ago, two bullets sparked the 'Great War'

The arrest of Gavrilo Princip, who murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.
Credit Flickr- Ruslan

It’s been a full century since the event that triggered what the world once believed to be “the war to end all wars.” 

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