Melissa Benmark

Morning Edition Host

Melissa Ingells Benmark is the host for Morning Edition and also produces features and interviews for the program, with an emphasis on the arts.

Melissa came to WKAR from WCMU in Mount Pleasant.

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NewsRoom
1:18 pm
Sat May 2, 2015

Earthquake Felt in Mid-Michigan

This just in from the Ingham County Homeland Security and Emergency Management: "A magnitude 4.0 earthquake occurred southwest of Battle Creek just after noon today. While on the low end of the scale, it is still quite rare for Michigan. There has been a report of one structure damaged in East Lansing - if you have additional information or see any damage please contact our office." 517-676-8223 for non-emergencies, 911 for emergencies.

Health
12:08 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

MSU study to look for link between belly fat and high blood pressure

Dr. Greg Fink
Credit Courtesy MSU Today

For a while now, medical professionals have thought there was a connection between abdominal fat and high blood pressure. Turns out, that belly fat may be more or less talking to the body’s blood vessels. The National Institutes of Health has given a grant to some MSU researchers who want to listen in on what that conversation might be.

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History
11:33 am
Fri April 24, 2015

New book looks at golden age of boat building in Michigan

We think of Michigan as the center of the auto industry, but there have been times in our history when production of recreational boats was a thriving industry as well. In fact, many of the best known boat names like Chris-Craft originated here.

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Education
12:07 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Mid-Michigan author looks at “worldplay” in children and adults

A mid-Michigan author has published a book that examines the connection between childhood’s imaginary worlds and adulthood creativity. Michelle Root-Bernstein is an historian, independent scholar, and educator affiliated with Michigan State University, and she is very interested in what makes people creative. Her recent book is called "Inventing Imaginary Worlds: From Childhood Play to Adult Creativity Across the Arts and Sciences".

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Politics & Government
12:04 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

Lansing police chief anticipates the future of body cameras

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.

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History
10:58 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Remembering Michigan’s 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak

Credit 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.

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NewsRoom
10:08 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Raphael reviews travel mystery

Lev Raphael.
Credit Joan Young

WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael has a look at "Under the Channel" by Gilles Pétel.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:15 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Baby animals may be best left alone

Credit Clay Junell/Flickr

Baby animals are making their way into the world as the weather gets warmer.  Here in mid-Michigan we might see fawns, newborn birds and rabbits and more.  But what if you see one without an obvious parent nearby?  Current State's Melissa Benmark talks with MSU professor of zoology Jim Harding.

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Arts & Culture
11:06 am
Wed April 1, 2015

Actor’s bowling shoes immortalized on Michigan-made website

Credit davemaddensbowlingshoes.com

Remember "The Partridge Family", the iconic 1970s singing TV family? Their manager, Reuben Kincaid, saw their potential and his guidance allowed them to travel around in a converted bus, making music. Well, that manager, Reuben Kincaid, was played by actor Dave Madden. Today we’ll hear from a West Michigan man who saw the potential in a pair of shoes that once belonged to Dave Madden.

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Environment
11:23 am
Tue March 31, 2015

MSU study raises doubts about biodegradable plastics

Credit Flickr - Public Affairs

A new study out of MSU finds that some additives that supposedly help plastic bags biodegrade really aren’t effective. Issues of biodegradation and recycling are a lot more complicated than “good plastic vs. bad plastic".

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Health
11:39 am
Fri March 27, 2015

UM study: fast food may be addictive

Dr. Ashley Gearhardt
Credit www.lsa.umich.edu/psych

A new study from the University of Michigan indicates that there may be something to those fast food cravings you get. The findings indicate that highly processed foods heavy in fat, salt, and sugar are among the most addictive foods out there.

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Arts & Culture
11:32 am
Thu March 26, 2015

MSU Theatre presents psychological thriller “Bug”

The MSU Department of Theatre’s production of “Bug” starts tonight and runs this weekend and next. It’s a psychological thriller by Tracy Letts, who wrote “August: Osage County.” The show deals with themes of trauma, paranoia, and trust.

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Environment
11:44 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Slimy microorganism increasing in northern Michigan lakes

Holopedium glacialis is being increasingly found in upper Michigan waters.
Credit Courtesy - Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Scientists are noting increased numbers of a zooplankton in some inland lakes that are just plain slimy. Holopedium glacialis is a mucus-coated microorganism that, in groups, makes a ball of slime something like clear tapioca pudding. The slime can clog water pipes and disrupt the food web.

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Health
10:41 am
Wed March 18, 2015

UM, Cancer Society exhibit promotes colorectal cancer awareness

Visitors can walk through this 14-foot high giant replica of the colon at Briarwood Mall between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Credit Courtesy University of Michigan Health System

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. Health professionals will tell you that kind of cancer can be treated quite successfully, but first it has to be detected. And to be detected, people have to know to get screened for it. That’s why this Saturday you may notice a giant inflatable colon at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor.

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Environment
11:53 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Volunteers lend an ear to track Michigan toads and frogs

In the natural world, it’s fair to say that if amphibians aren’t happy, then nobody’s happy. Frogs and toads are incredibly sensitive to water quality, and an upcoming volunteer survey in Michigan aims to check on amphibian well-being in the state.

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Arts & Culture
11:45 am
Thu March 12, 2015

MSU music faculty to revel in Ravel

Deborah Moriarty
Credit http://music.msu.edu/

The next Joanne and Bill Church West Circle Series concert from the MSU College of Music happens on Monday. It’s called “Maurice Ravel, Man of Mystery", and features a number of MSU faculty musicians, including the head of the College’s piano area, Deborah Moriarty.

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Arts & Culture
11:36 am
Wed March 4, 2015

NYC jazz guitarist teaches, performs at MSU

Credit Courtesy - MSU College of Music

The MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence program with the MSU College of Music has another feature artist working with students on campus this week. Current State talks with guitarist Peter Bernstein of New York City.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
11:55 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Beer from 100 MI breweries on tap at Grand Rapids festival

Michigan’s expanding brewing culture will be well-represented today and tomorrow in Grand Rapids. The 10th Annual Winter Beer Festival will feature more than 100 Michigan breweries with over 1000 different craft beers available to sample.

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Business
12:55 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Passenger rail plan would link Ann Arbor, Traverse City

Credit http://www.mlui.org/

Earlier this month, the Michigan Land Use Institute floated the idea of a new passenger train service from Ann Arbor to Traverse City. It’s a complicated process, but it appears that one of the biggest components is getting people excited about it.

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NewsRoom
6:16 am
Fri February 20, 2015

School Closings for Fri. 2/20

Here are the school closings for Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties for Friday, 2/20/15.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
12:17 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Spartan Stampede gallops into East Lansing

The Spartan Stampede is at the MSU Pavilion Friday through Sunday.
Credit http://www.msurodeoclub.com/

The 46th Annual Spartan Stampede starts tomorrow at the MSU Pavillion. It’s presented by the MSU Rodeo club and features much of the stuff you’d expect at a rodeo.

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Arts & Culture
11:58 am
Thu February 19, 2015

MSU Theatre takes on "the Scottish play"

The MSU Department of Theatre presents 'Macbeth' February 20 through March 1.
Credit http://theatre.msu.edu/

The MSU Department of Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s "Scottish play" begins tomorrow night at Fairchild Theatre. Full of abuses of power, political wrangling, and outright murder, it hits home for audiences even 400 years after Shakespeare wrote it.

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NewsRoom
7:10 am
Thu February 19, 2015

School Closings for Thurs. 2/19

Here are the school closings for Ingham, Eaton and Clinton Counties:

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Arts & Culture
11:19 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Artist, activist Harry Belafonte speaks at MSU

Harry Belafonte speaks on the MSU campus today, part of the Slavery to Freedom lecture series.
Credit Courtesy photo

EDITOR'S NOTE: This interview has been edited from its original airing on 90.5 FM and AM 870 WKAR.

He was born in Harlem, but he had a voice that came straight from Haiti. He’s won three of the entertainment industry’s Big Four: three Grammys, an Emmy and a Tony. A star of the stage and the studio, and a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He's the legendary Harry Belafonte. Today, he’ll speak at Michigan State University about his passion for civil rights.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
11:36 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Mr. Right vs. Mr. Right Now

MSU researcher Chris Adami
Credit https://natsci.msu.edu/

Evolutionary biologists at MSU have determined that a spouse in the hand is better than one that might be more suitable down the road.

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Music
11:54 am
Fri February 6, 2015

MSU Symphony takes on epic Mahler Third

MSU director of orchestras Kevin Noe brought the hefty Mahler Third score to WKAR.
Credit Melissa Benmark/WKAR

The MSU Symphony Orchestra and several University choruses are taking on the epic Mahler Third Symphony on Saturday.

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Arts & Culture
11:29 am
Tue February 3, 2015

Singer-songwriter John Gorka brings road, studio experiences to EL

John Gorka's Ten Pound Fiddle concert is Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in East Lansing, starting at 8 p.m.
Credit http://johngorka.com/

The next guest at East Lansing’s Ten Pound Fiddle is well-loved singer-songwriter John Gorka. He’ll be performing this Friday night.

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Sports
11:11 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Recapping Spartan hoops and the Super Bowl with Al Martin

MSU men's basketball coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans beat Michigan in overtime on Sunday.
Credit Flickr - hilaryhiggins

Never mind the Super Bowl, the Spartans beat Michigan in men's basketball yesterday. It took overtime for MSU to defeat the Wolverines 76-66.

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NewsRoom
8:11 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

School Closings for Monday: Clinton, Eaton Ingham Counties

Updated 2/2/2015 6:20 a.m.

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Breaking
7:22 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

Snow Emergency Declared in Lansing

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has declared a snow emergency in Lansing, according to Ingham County emergency officials.

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