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.

Pages

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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History
1:48 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Preserving MSU's audiovisual history

MSU archivist Portia Vescio says many MSU interviews and sportscasts are in formats that are now obsolete. MSU is soliciting public donations to digitize those records.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR


The Michigan State Spartans had a great run through March Madness, making the Elite Eight. Coach Tom Izzo may want his team to watch the playback of Sunday’s game against the U-Conn Huskies for a little self-analysis. MSU has a lot of tapes like that and other sporting events, some of which pre-date World War II. However, those old film and video clips are falling apart over time. Now, MSU is asking the public for donations to digitize those records for posterity.

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Environment
1:45 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Recent spill triggers closer look at tar sands shipping on Great Lakes

Demonstrators gather in Chicago to protest the BP oil spill in Lake Michigan.
Credit Flickr - BobboSphere

Last week, as much as 1,600 gallons of oil spilled into Lake Michigan from the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, 20 miles from Chicago. After a week-long cleanup, authorities say they have found no further trace of spilled oil in the area. However, the political ramifications of the spill are likely to remain long after this incident. The BP refinery processes oil from tar sands found in Canada. Tar sands contain a thick petroleum that’s gaining popularity as a new energy source. New technology is making it easier to mine tar sands, but some worry that could increase the likelihood of more spills like the one last week.

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Science & Technology
1:47 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

MSU cybercrime expert looks at hierarchy of hackers

Jared Andrews of MSU has seen cybercrimes that range from being minor, repairable annoyances to more invasive breaches.
Credit Flickr - Steve Petrucelli


Last December, some high tech grinches tried to steal Christmas for one major retailer. Computer hackers broke into the Target Corporation mainframe and downloaded some 40-million credit card numbers.  The breach was executed despite the fact that Target had installed malware detection software months before.

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Science & Technology
12:59 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

MSU breaks ground on historic FRIB project

Site preparation for the FRIB project.
Credit Courtesy of frib.msu.edu

This is a big day at Michigan State University for one of the biggest projects in mid-Michigan. A host of dignitaries are formally breaking ground at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, commonly known as FRIB.

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Environment
12:57 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Emergency personnel plan for mid-Michigan flood scenarios

Emergency personnel are preparing for the dangers of possible springtime flooding.
Credit Fickr - cseeman

The mercury is slowing climbing and Thursday marks the first day of spring. As the snow fades away it’s time to be aware of the dangers of flooding. High water can be a dangerous scenario for drivers on the roads and also for anyone in low-lying areas. First responders are getting ready for those potential hazards.

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Business
3:37 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

City finance expert: Lansing ballpark plan a step forward

Eric Scorsone thinks the development project at Cooley Law School stadium represents a manageable risk for the city of Lansing.
Credit Flickr - mwlguide

It’s hard to tell with all the new snow, but we’re three weeks away from  the “Crosstown Showdown” home opener between the Lansing Lugnuts and the MSU Spartans. Yesterday, Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson and city leaders announced plans for a $22-million development at Cooley Law School Stadium.

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Politics & Government
12:42 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Proposal would restore tax revenue for Michigan communities

Fowler says that there are no more tax incentives for companies relocating to Michigan, but as former tax credits expire, it creates revenue in the state.
Credit Flickr - agrillifetoday


Fourteen months ago, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation eliminating the state personal property tax levied on business equipment. The move was heralded as welcome change by business owners who said the tax put them at a competitive disadvantage and inhibited job growth. However, local governments are worried about how they will replace the revenue that kept their vital services running. Now, a series of bills introduced this week in the Michigan Senate seeks to preserve that funding.

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Politics & Government
1:22 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Research on parenting to figure in federal same sex marriage trial

Conservatives are supporting research that they argue explains why a biological one man, one woman household is the optimal situation for a child.
Credit Flickr - Melvin_Es

A federal judge in Detroit will hear opening arguments today on a case that could potentially overturn Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. In 2012, two lesbian nurses sued Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette. The couple is raising three special needs children, but they cannot legally adopt them unless they are married.

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NewsRoom
4:15 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Financial Health Team Proposes Cuts, Consolidations

The Lansing Financial Health Team will present a set of recommendations to the city council on Monday. They include restructuring pension and retiree health care programs, merging public services and possibly selling the City Hall property.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR

The financial health team commissioned by Lansing mayor Virg Bernero to come up with cost-cutting measures is preparing to release its final plan. 

The team is outlining broad changes to the city’s pension and retiree health care systems.  One recommendation would be for the city to transfer pension management to the Michigan Employees’ Retirement System, which could save the city an estimated $700,000 annually. 

Team member Eric Scorsone says Lansing’s biggest challenge is tackling $450 million worth of unfunded employee legacy costs.

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NewsRoom
4:53 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Michigan Nurses Demand Mandatory Staffing Ratios

Credit WKAR File Photo

The Michigan Nurses Association is supporting legislation that would require minimum nurse to patient staffing ratios.  Nurses say the measure will save lives and help avoid costly mistakes.

The Safe Patient Care Act would require a one-to-one nurse to patient ratio in critical care and surgical units, one to three for non-trauma units and one to four in pediatrics.  Supporters say hospitals often purposely fail to meet adequate staffing levels to save money, instead imposing mandatory overtime on their nurses.  

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NewsRoom
3:27 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Public Interest Groups Warn of Sequestration Shock in Michigan

Credit WKAR File Photo

Barring an act of Congress today, big cuts to a host of federal programs will take effect at midnight.  In Michigan, public interest groups are  describing how large a hit the state might take.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Wed February 27, 2013

MSU Press: Book Details Tense Relationship Between U.S. Military, Tribes

Credit Courtesy Michigan State University Press

Forty years ago, 200 members of the American Indian Movement took over the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.  The group was protesting the federal government’s failure to honor various treaties with native tribes.  The location was symbolic.  In 1890, as many as 300 Lakota Indians were killed at Wounded Knee by the U.S. Army.  The standoff lasted 73 days, and claimed three lives.

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Education
1:03 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

East Lansing schools seek upgrade in technology

Credit WKAR file photo

Tomorrow, East Lansing voters will decide on a school bond issue to upgrade outdated equipment.  Officials say hundreds of phones, computers, cameras and clocks in the city’s schools are becoming obsolete.  The district is asking residents to approve a millage that would not exceed 1.26 mils over the next five years. The measure would raise more than $5 million for the upgrade.  

WKAR’s Kevin Lavery visited East Lansing High School to talk with the district’s director of technology, Christian Palasty, who says there’s a sizable amount of equipment to replace.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Mon February 25, 2013

East Lansing Schools Say Bond Approval Crucial to Upgrade Technology

Credit WKAR File Photo

Tomorrow, East Lansing voters will decide on a school bond issue to upgrade outdated equipment.  Officials say hundreds of phones, computers, cameras and clocks in the city’s schools are becoming obsolete.  The district is asking residents to approve a millage that would not exceed 1.26 mils over the next five years. The measure would raise more than $5 million for the upgrade.  

WKAR’s Kevin Lavery visited East Lansing High School to talk with the district’s director of technology, Christian Palasty, who says there’s a sizable amount of equipment to replace.

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Politics & Government
4:07 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

New State Representative Tom Cochran Outlines 2013 agenda

Having been a House democrat for six weeks now, 67th District Representative Tom Cochran discusses what's going on in the Michigan Democratic party.
Credit Michigan House Democrats

Mason Democrat Tom Cochran prevailed in the 67th State House District race last November.  In his freshman term, the former Lansing fire chief sits on the House Transportation and the Insurance committee.

He shares his thoughts on state's road funding, the leadership of Michigan Democrats, and getting acclimated to the state capitol.

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Sports
2:01 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

The Izzone gives Spartans distinct home court advantage

The Izzone is considered one of the best student sections in the country.
Credit Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletics

MSU ran over Michigan last week thanks, in part, to a rocking home crowd. Some said it was the loudest they’d heard the Breslin Center in a long time.  When the #4 Spartans take on the #1 Hoosiers tonight, the place should be roaring again with help from the student frenzy that is The Izzone.  

Current State’s Kevin Lavery checks out what gives the Spartan’s such a home court advantage.

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Arts & Culture
2:47 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Video project highlights MSU's work around the globe

Spartans Will. 360 project documents the work MSU researchers, alumni and students are doing around the world. Above, a malaria clinic in Malawi.
Credit Courtesy of Spartans Will. 360

A team of video storytellers from Michigan State University is wrapping up a two-month journey around the world.  The crew is documenting the work of MSU researchers in countries such as China, Brazil and Malawi as they tackle challenges ranging from malnutrition and disease to human organ trafficking.  The project is called “Spartans Will. 360.”  

Current State’s Kevin Lavery catches up with team leader Jim Peck by phone in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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NewsRoom
7:57 pm
Sun February 17, 2013

Video Crew Documents MSU’s Global Footprint

MSU physician Dr. Gretchen Birbeck cares for a young boy suffering from epilepsy in a village in Zambia. Her work is being documented by an MSU field crew as part of the "Spartans Will.360" project.
Credit Kurt Stepnitz / MSU Office of Communication and Brand Strategy

A team of video storytellers from Michigan State University is wrapping up a two-month journey around the world.  The crew is documenting the work of MSU researchers in countries such as China, Brazil and Malawi as they tackle challenges ranging from malnutrition and disease to human organ trafficking.  The project is called Spartans Will.360.  

WKAR’s Kevin Lavery caught up with team leader Jim Peck by phone in Dhaka, Bangladesh a few days ago to learn more.

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NewsRoom
2:15 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Lansing Hosts First in Series of Energy Forums

Credit WKAR File Photo

The Michigan Public Service Commission is holding a series of public forums around the state to gather input on Michigan’s future energy policy.  Lansing was the first stop on that tour. 

The public service commission regulates the state’s utilities.  It wants to hear the public’s suggestions and concerns about the direction of Michigan’s energy policy.  The commission says its main focus areas are renewables, energy efficiency and electric power choice. 

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Environment
12:39 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Michigan Farm Bureau outlines 2013 agenda

Keeping up transportation routes, like roads and bridges, enables the agricultural industry to thrive and gain access to needed resources.

More than 400 Michigan farmers had a chance to meet with state legislators this week to talk about their priorities for 2013.  The Michigan Farm Bureau has outlined three main focus areas for its agenda: access to markets, workforce development, and regulatory reform. 

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NewsRoom
2:23 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Lansing City, Township Open to Talks on Waverly Site

The Lansing City Council has authorized putting the former Waverly golf course up for sale.
Credit Courtesy Brandon Howell / MLive Media Group

The Lansing City Council has approved putting the former Waverly golf course up for sale.  The focus now moves to how the city and Lansing Township will work together on any future redevelopment. 

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero closed the Waverly golf course in 2007 during a tight budget crunch.  The city of Lansing owns the site, but it's physically located in Lansing Township.  Lansing city councilman Brian Jeffries says once the property is sold, the city would receive a one- time lump sum.  However, he's interested in talking with the township about a so-called "425 agreement."

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NewsRoom
10:41 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Museum Exhibit Showcases the Fascination of 3D

Stereoscopes were invented in the early 19th century. They gave rise to the modern 3D technology now widely seen in the movies.
Credit Courtesy MSU Museum

Long before movies were invented, people living in the 19th century were fascinated with a simple device that brought photographs to life.  The stereoscope allowed two images to be viewed as one three-dimensional portrait.  Photos from that era depicted nearly every aspect of life, from the familiar to the exotic.

On Sunday, the MSU Museum opens an exhibit that pays tribute to stereoscopes and the world of 3-D technology.  Many of the items were part of the personal collection of the late Val Berryman, a beloved museum curator who passed away in January. 

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Politics & Government
5:17 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson vows more initiatives to help Michigan veterans

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson announced a series of new initiatives to help Michigan's nearly 700,000 military veterans today.  

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NewsRoom
4:27 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Environmentalists Demand Action on MSU Coal Ash

Nick Clark with Clean Energy Now is among those calling on Michigan State University to properly dispose of tons of residual coal ash produced by the campus power plant, seen in the distance.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Environmental advocates are calling on Michigan State University to properly dispose of large deposits of coal ash buried for years beneath the campus.

The group Clean Energy Now says tons of residual toxic ash produced by MSU’s coal-fired power plant were found during a 2007 excavation.  Some ash was sent to a landfill, but the group asserts more than 90,000 cubic yards of ash were improperly relocated on university property. 

Clean Energy Now’s Nick Clark says buried coal ash poses an immediate public health hazard.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:46 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Current State #15 | February 1, 2013

Today on Current State, a discussion about no-fault auto insurance reform, the historic Hill Auditorium at U-M turns 100, a play about Lansing's Urbandale neighborhood and a chat with concert pianist Paul Barnes.

Governor Rick Snyder and other Republicans are calling for reforms to the state's landmark auto no fault insurance law.  They claim the law, which provides for unlimited lifetime medical benefits, often from brain and spinal cord injuries, has led to excessive rates for Michigan drivers.

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NewsRoom
11:48 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Bernero Says Lansing is “Powered Up” For Future

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero speaks at the site of the former Grand Trunk Western railroad depot in the city's REO Town neighborhood. The 1902 structure is undergoing a major renovation.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR

On Monday, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero portrayed, in his words, a city “powered up” for the year ahead.  For his annual State of the City address, Bernero chose a refurbished railroad depot in the shadow of the city’s rising co-generation power plant which will come online this summer. 

But while Bernero acknowledged Lansing’s financial challenges, he steered clear of details.

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NewsRoom
4:24 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Bernero Says Lansing is Strong but Promises More Cuts

Credit WKAR File Photo

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will deliver his eighth State of the City address Monday night.

Bernero will speak at the historic Grand Trunk Western Railroad train depot, a century-old landmark that’s undergoing a major refurbishment by the Lansing Board of Water and Light.  The mayor will tout the progress of the co-generation power plant that’s rising to life nearby in Lansing’s REO Town neighborhood, as well as other successes.  

While Bernero says the city’s outlook is good, he faces a $9 million budget deficit that he says he’s confident he can rein in.

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