Mark Bashore

Host, Current State

Mark Bashore is host of Current State, WKAR's daily news show focusing on community issues, arts and culture, music and more.

Mark is well-known to WKAR listeners as mid-Michigan host of All Things Considered for several years prior to hosting Current State.  

Mark Bashore joined WKAR in May 2007. Prior to his arrival at WKAR, he hosted a talk show on WJIM AM in 2005 and previous to that was morning show host and producer at WFMK in Lansing for 14 years.

Ways To Connect

Courtesy of Rep. Sam Singh

It’s a busy time under the dome in Lansing these days. Just two weeks after the historic defeat of a road funding proposal that would have altered the Michigan Constitution, House Democrats and Republicans are offering competing alternatives. The GOP plan would shift revenue to a transportation fund by various means, including siphoning funds from tribal casino revenues and eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit. Meanwhile, Democrats propose raising the gas tax by 15 cents per gallon over the next three years.

Courtesy Startup Grind Lansing

Few if any Lansing success stories compare with that of Two Men and a Truck. The moving company began in 1985 as an after school endeavor with an advertising budget in a ceramic dish.  Today, founder Mary Ellen Sheets leads a company whose revenue clears $300-million annually. Two Men and a Truck has locations in 39 states and four countries. It has completed roughly five million moves. It also donates about two and a half million dollars in moving services annually.

http://www.loretobowbazar.in/

Sister Cyril Mooney is renowned for her decades of work to improve education for the impoverished of Calcutta, India. Sister Cyril was initiated into the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Loreto order, in her native Ireland in 1955. She has been affiliated with the Loreto School of Calcutta almost all the years since.

http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/

Economist Ruth Beier became a member of the East Lansing City Council in January. She says she grew tired of attending council meetings, complaining and getting nowhere, so she decided to run for office. Beier says it’s time for East Lansing to do things differently. Mainly, she says, it needs to shift more attention and resources away from the city’s commercial downtown to its neighborhoods.

Christopher N. Hull

Dozens of bird lovers have journeyed to Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo recently to view the area’s first nesting bald eagles in decades. The nest sits in a large tree in a marshy area in the middle of the Red Cedar river. What’s the likelihood that the birds could make that area a permanent home? Biologist Christopher Hull has his doubts. He has vield the nest and the eagles a number of times, and he thinks the eagles may be in the process of abandoning the nest now.

State officials and other stakeholders are asking Michigan commuters a question: do you drive to work alone? If so,  they want to remind you of options that could not only reduce air pollution, but lower your gas budget and benefit your health. Governor Rick Snyder has declared May Commuter Challenge Month. Part of the effort is aimed at the many drive alone commuters that you see on the state’s roads every day.

Integrity. Respect. Service. Excellence. For its 313,000 members around the world, those are the stated values of International Toastmasters. Toastmasters’ focus is on developing communication and leadership skills in its members.

WKAR File Photo

A recently retired Michigan State University employee is not taking his retirement lying down.  

Back in March, Mr. Ken Dawson told Current State about his plan to spend five months hiking America’s Continental Divide.  The 3,100-mile solo adventure began April 15 in in extreme southern New Mexico, not far from the Mexican border.

Current State’s Mark Bashore connected with Ken Dawson by phone on Saturday as he was passing through Pie Town, New Mexico.    

Scott Pohl/WKAR

In four days, Michigan voters will decide whether or not to increase the state sales tax by one cent on the dollar. Proposal 1 would raise just over $1.2-billion which would, in a couple of years, be spent on road and bridge improvements. But the measure also earmarks about $800-million for areas including education, municipalities and help for some low income Michigan residents.

WOOD-TV

Social media and the internet have helped solve a Michigan-based disappearance dating back more than 30-years. 17-year old Carol Ann Cole of Kalamazoo vanished in 1980 shortly after leaving Michigan for Texas. For about as long, Louisiana authorities had been trying to identify the body of a young woman found in woods near Shreveport. Posts on Facebook and Craigslist, described as “happenstance”, helped bring together authorities and members of Cole’s family in February. It was six days after the Facebook page was launched.

File photo / WKAR

Auto-no fault insurance reform, a U.S. Supreme Court hearing for Michigan’s same sex marriage ban and critical budget discussions were among the top  political news stories in our state in April.

Flickr - Ray Dumas

Michigan legislators are in a pitched and partisan battle over proposed reforms to the state’s auto no-fault insurance system. Mainly Republican reformers are intent on lowering the state’s sky-high car insurance premiums by imposing cost controls on catastrophic accident claims. Mainly Democratic opponents say the move threatens a strong system that may be the best in the nation. Many allege it’s a money grab by the insurance industry and their allies in the legislature.

Steven Terry of Williamston is the first ever deltiologist, or collector of picture postcards, to appear on Current State. His collection numbers around a thousand. A specialty is postcards featuring images of the MSU, or more correctly, the Michigan Agricultural College campus from about a century ago.

The months-long discussion about whether to raise Michigan's sales tax by a penny is nearing an end. Voters will decide the issue next Tuesday. According to Michigan’s ‘Citizens Research Council,” the measure would eventually generate about an additional $1.3-billion to be spent on the state’s roads and bridges. It creates a new formula for assessing the state’s gas tax, which would be tied to the wholesale price of gasoline. At current prices, it would go up about 10 cents per gallon. Whatever the increase, it would be lessened somewhat by the removal of sales tax from gasoline.

For about a week, sex education has been one hot topic in the Lansing area. It began last week when Alice Dreger, an author, college professor and activist, live tweeted from her son’s sex ed class at East Lansing High School. Among the quotes from the instructors, according to Dreger: “Safe sex is kind of a misnomer.” “You'll find a good girl. If you find one that says 'no,' that's the one you want." Dreger and many others on social media blasted the approach for being outdated, unconcerned with credible data and focused on fear and shame.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Last night, there was yet another episode in the dispute between Niowave and its residential neighbors in Lansing’s Walnut neighborhood. The Lansing City council’s Planning and Development committee heard from about ten exasperated Walnut residents about a plan that would let the high-tech company out of some of the requirements it agreed to last year to fix up a large metal building on its property.

courtesy Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society

Former U.S. Sen. Robert Griffin of Michigan was laid to rest yesterday in Traverse City. Griffin died late last week at the age of 91. After serving in World War II, the Detroit native began practicing law in Traverse City. The Republican eventually served in the U.S. House and Senate for a total of 22 years until he was narrowly defeated for re-election to the Senate by Democrat Carl Levin in 1978.

Flickr - The Tire Zoo

Two weeks from today, Michigan voters will decide whether to increase investment in the state’s crumbling roads and bridges with a one cent increase in the state sales tax. The discussion over whether to invest more in infrastructure has raised the issue of  the warranties that sometimes cover that work.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Yesterday, Republicans in the U.S. Congress marked their 100th day of being the majority legislative party in Washington. Mike Bishop represents that majority in his capacity as the recently sworn in congressman from Michigan’s 8th District, which covers Lansing and East Lansing along with Ingham and Livingston counties and part of Oakland county.

The Lansing Police Department will soon add a controversial new tool to its equipment list: 100 body cameras. Some law enforcement agencies in mid-Michigan are already experimenting with the devices. The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office has 25 body cameras on hand. In Ingham County, officers are testing a few cameras at the county jail, and the department is preparing to receiving more. The East Lansing and Michigan State University police departments are also planning to use body cameras. The device has evolved from a technological novelty to the centerpiece of a new front in the struggle for racial harmony and civil rights.

Courtesy Michigan Radio

The 28th Rally of Writers is Saturday in Lansing. The annual one-day conference will bring together leading Michigan writers like “Bootstrapper” author Mardi Jo Link, author and WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael and others with audiences who love reading and aspire to write themselves. The keynote speaker will be Jack Lessenberry, whose essays on Michigan politics are seen in publications across the state and heard on our Michigan Public Radio Network sister station in Ann Arbor, Michigan Radio.

http://gophouse.org/representatives/southwest/callton/

For years now, Michigan has struggled with how to implement its medical marijuana law. Voters approved legalized pot in 2008, but applying the law has been fraught with complications. Patients, caregivers, physicians, law enforcement, local and state governments and the courts all have had different concerns. The challenge boils down to how to regulate the drug and how to get it safely and responsibly to the people who are entitled to it. In recent years, Republican State Rep. Mike Callton has been in the middle of the state legislature’s effort to move forward.

Courtesy U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Senate and House of Representative both continue efforts to write the country’s first comprehensive education legislation since "No Child Left Behind" expired back in 2007. Both Republican-led chambers are at work on measures that address various issues:  educational accountability, local versus federal authority and school choice among others. The Senate measure is scheduled to go before the Education committee today. U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan is an influential critic of some features of these measures.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Since 2009, Michigan officials have been ramping up an effort to address the health consequences of climate change. For example, health experts anticipate greater respiratory challenges like asthma as warmer temperatures intensify smog and fuel more wildfires that emit soot. The Michigan Climate & Health Adaptation Program, MI-CHAP, is participating in a joint effort with the national Centers for Disease Control to create what it calls "climate-ready states and cities."

Flickr - Rachel McBee

Fifty years ago today, people in six midwest states including Michigan were still in shock from a massive tornado outbreak April 11th and 12th. The 1965 Palm Sunday outbreak was the third deadliest on record in the U. S., and it helped to usher in the modern system of watches and warnings to inform people about severe weather.

Courtesy Capital City Film Festival

The fifth annual Capital City Film Festival is underway and runs through Sunday.

This year, the festival features not only about 80 independent films at venues in and near downtown Lansing,  but dozens of musicians coming together for live performances as well.

Current State welcomes the two co-directors of the 2015 event, Payal Ravani and Dominic Cochran.

Courtesy Michigan State University

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon has announced the school will stop burning coal at the university sometime next year.  

In a webcast on “MSU’s Energy Future,” President Simon called sustainability a “guiding institutional principal” and said it’s “great opportunity” for the school to continue to reduce its environmental impact.

Bumper sticker with Lansing Loves GM
Monica Reida / Flickr

One of the most dramatic chapters in recent Lansing history involved the groundbreaking effort to ‘Keep GM’ that began in 1996.   Former Mayor David Hollister remembers well the day General Motors’ executive Ed Donovan shared with him “some good news and some bad news.” After the 100th birthday of Oldsmobile, the company wouldn't have any new product for Lansing. 

WKAR File Photo

Lansing's elected officials have begun discussions over the city's fiscal 2016 budget.  

Among other items, Mayor Virg Bernero's proposed spending plan calls for the creation new, high-ranking position at the Lansing Board of Water & Light.  

There's also ongoing discussion over pay raises for the mayor, city clerk and city council set to take effect on July 1.

Lansing city councilmember Carol Wood talks about budget issues...and about a recent ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) operation at City Hall.

There are few issues of public importance in Michigan that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce does not weigh in on. The state chamber is the advocate for businesses and job providers across the state. It assists more than 6,000 member employers, trade associations and local chambers in the legislative, political and legal process.

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