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.

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The Michigan legislature is in the eleventh hour of this year’s lame duck session. This week, legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder have been meeting more often to try to hammer out a measure for road and bridge funding in the state. A couple meetings were held yesterday, and the Governor expressed concern over how little time remains. The 2014 session is scheduled to conclude tomorrow.

New contract bargaining between the United Auto Workers union and American automakers is scheduled for next year. Recently, we’ve been getting a clearer picture of the union’s priorities. UAW President Dennis Williams has indicated members want to eliminate a recently introduced  feature of the autoworker landscape:  “two-tier” wages and benefits.

Courtesy of Rep. Sam Singh

The Michigan legislature is in the middle of an eventful lame duck session. Efforts are in high gear to hammer out a road and bridge funding measure before the session wraps next Thursday, but many other important issues are also being debated.

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.

“It’s as if a well has been sunk deep into the sediment of my life, an artesian well drilled into the stratified, impermeable bedrock of the past, and every memory that is forced to the surface breeds another ten in front of my eyes.” Those provocative words come from Sting’s 2003 memoir, "Broken Music." They recall his 1987 experience with a South American psychotropic brew called ayahuasca.

Many in Michigan’s charter school community are crying foul over a recent report that criticizes the state’s charter school authorizers. Authorizers of charter schools are educational institutions, often colleges, whose responsibility is to ensure oversight, accountability and adequate performance.

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.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

A family who has spent the last 15 years putting down roots in East Lansing is hoping to persuade U.S. authorities not to order them back to Central America. Oscar Castaneda is a native of Guatemala. He traces his predicament to likely bureaucratic errors dating back to the mid 1990's.

Important data recently shed light on the financial relationships between key members of Michigan’s medical community. Sunshine provisions contained in the Affordable Care Act require disclosure of the money paid to physicians and teaching  hospitals by drug and medical device manufacturers.

Tonight, a Michigan-born superstar returns home to perform a legendary album. Tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Stevie Wonder will perform all the tracks on the album “Songs In The Key of Life.”

Michigan is not among the first states that come to mind when you mention the aerospace industry. An amateur rocket launch scheduled for Saturday in southwest Michigan is unlikely to change that. On Saturday afternoon, members of a Michiana Rocketry Club plan to blast a port-a-potty into space near the community of Three Oaks, near the Indiana state line.

WKAR/Bill Richards

The Michigan legislative session beginning in January will include new leadership in the Senate and the House for both parties. Republican Arlan Meekhof will succeed Randy Richardville as Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader.

Flickr - Adrian Clark

Open enrollment for health insurance offered through the Affordable Care Act has begun again. Michiganders without health coverage can enroll in plans offered by 16 different insurance carriers. The enrollment period runs through February 15, but anyone wanting coverage by the beginning of the year needs to enroll by December 15.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Discussions continue at the State Capitol over whether to expand protections offered by Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen anti-discrimination law. That’s the landmark 1976 measure which legally bans discrimination in the state based on religion, race, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial and marital status. Several factions have emerged. Democrats and some Republicans appear to be united behind an expansion that would protect lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender persons. Other Republicans favor a measure that would not include trans persons, but include the others.

Activists refer to human trafficking as “modern day slavery,” wherein people, often young and often female, are subjected into work, prostitution or other dehumanizing behavior. Michigan will be strengthening efforts to combat human trafficking in 2015. Twenty-one new laws are scheduled to take effect on January first.

An historic corner in downtown Lansing has been revitalized. Tomorrow is the grand re-opening of the Knapp's Centre. The event caps a $36-million redevelopment of the five-story art deco structure, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In about eight weeks, a crop of new Michigan legislators will be sworn in.  One of them, Democrat Curtis Hertel Jr., cruised to victory in Michigan's 23rd Senate district, which is nearly coniguous with Ingham County.  Hertel currently serves as the County Register of Deeds. He will succeed Gretchen Whitmer, who is term limited.

Scott Pohl/WKAR

Technological change is continually reshaping the media landscape. It’s been forcing those of us in the media to adopt new ways of communicating news and information. That evolution has been especially challenging in the newspaper world. While publishers are hopeful that modest rises in online advertising and revenue will continue, a multi-year trend of overall declining ad revenue continues. According to the Pew Research Journalism Project, it dropped another 2.6-percent in 2013 compared to the previous year.

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.

Tuesday evening, Lansing and East Lansing residents learned who their next U.S. Congressman would be. Former Republican State Senator Mike Bishop will become part of a GOP majority Congress in January.

Flickr - Steve Mays

Some mid-Michigan members of the Episcopal Church are disagreeing with each other over a recent resolution on guns. At a late October convention in Lansing, The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan passed a resolution supporting stricter gun control. It includes calls for background checks on all gun sales and a ban on certain military style, semi-automatic weapons.

Jake Neher/MPRN

With some exceptions, Michigan Republicans have reason to celebrate the 2014 mid-term election. Several major statewide offices, as polls ususally suggested, went to GOP incumbents including Governor Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. But Democrats are celebrating the election of Congressman Gary Peters to the U.S. Senate and a victory on Michigan’s conservative leaning Supreme Court.

Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Eleven months ago, the Lansing Board of Water and Light came under intense criticism for its response to a historic power outage just days before Christmas. About 40-percent of the BWL’s customers lost electricity for several days. The incident sparked a detailed,  independent review of the agency’s procedures. Now, the Lansing Board of Water and Light has named Lansing Assistant Fire Chief Trent Atkins as its first-ever Emergency Operations Manager.

Today, we’re launching a new segment on Current State. “Desert Island Downloads” gives people a chance to talk about music they consider indispensable, what they’d want with them on the proverbial desert island.

Current State’s coverage of the 2014 mid-term election continues this week. Yesterday, we heard from the Republican candidate for the 8th Congressional district, Mike Bishop. While the 8th, which includes Lansing and East Lansing, has been reconfigured to the GOP’s advantage, Democrat Eric Schertzing says he’s confident heading into the contest, which is now one week away.

Next Tuesday, Ingham county voters will help determine who will represent them in the U.S. Congress. Today and tomorrow, Current State visits with both of the major party candidates. Many observers favor Republican Mike Bishop to win in the 8th district, which comprises Ingham, Livingston and northern Oakland counties.

In eleven days, Michigan voters will decide who will hold a handful of statewide offices, one of them, Attorney General. The race pits incumbent Republican Bill Schuette against Democratic challenger Mark Totten, who was a guest on Current State last week.

Courtesy Pam Byrnes for Congress

Democrat Pam Byrnes is running to unseat Republican Tim Walberg in Michigan's 7th congressional district, which includes Eaton County.

Byrnes says she's running because Washington is broken and not serving Michigan families.

Courtesy Mark Totten for Attorney General

If the flyers, phone calls and door knockers haven't tipped you off yet, it's election season in Michigan.

But before you hit the polls, you need to know a little bit about what and who is on the ballot.

As part of Current State's "Election 2014" series, we speak with the Democratic candidate for Michigan attorney general, Mark Totten.

Totten is a former federal prosecutor and a professor of criminal law and ethics at Michigan State University.  

Courtesy Joan Marcus

The Broadway production of "Once" is running at the Wharton Center at Michigan State University this weekend.  It's a contemporary love story involving a pair of young musicians in Ireland.

Current State's Mark Bashore talks with cast member Evan Harrington, who has a plum supporting role in the cast as "Billy."