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.

Ways To Connect

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.”

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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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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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.  

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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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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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.

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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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.

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.

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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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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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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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

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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