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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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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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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