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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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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Environment
11:11 am
Fri January 30, 2015

BWL falcon family future up in the air

A 2014 image of Viper and Eckert in Lansing.
Credit http://lbwl.com/

Some downtown Lansing residents are being watched intently for signs of courtship. The saga of the peregrine falcons who live at the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s Eckert Power Station continues with some new twists.

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Arts & Culture
11:25 am
Wed January 28, 2015

What do diners, bullfighting and hair salons have in common? Candacy Taylor.

Documentarian Candacy Taylor speaks in the RCAH Theatre in MSU’s Snyder-Phillips Hall, starting at 7 p.m.
Credit http://taylormadeculture.com/

MSU’s Residential College in the Arts and Humanities continues its Wednesday Night Live series tonight. Candacy Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and documentarian for the Library of Congress. She owns Taylor Made Culture, a company that produces multimedia projects that examine culture and identity in America.

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Community
11:31 am
Thu January 22, 2015

WKAR panelist previews human trafficking documentary, discussion

The WKAR Community Cinema preview of 'A Path Appears' is tonight at 7 p.m. in MSU's Communication Arts and Sciences Building.
Credit courtesy

WKAR's next Community Cinema event is tonight, featuring a preview of “A Path Appears". This three-episode series is journalist Nickolas Kristof’s latest collaboration with his wife, Sheryl WuDun, and is a follow-up on the book and movie “Half the Sky.” The subject of both is human trafficking, but “A Path Appears” focuses on the subject here in the United States.

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Environment
11:14 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Are companies downplaying environmental performance?

Dr. Tom Lyon, University of Michigan Dow Chair of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce
Credit http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/

Companies sometimes try to look more environmentally friendly than they are, but a new study indicates they might also downplay their “green” achievements, depending on who’s listening to their message.

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Music
11:54 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Essay ponders role of Beethoven’s heart in his music

Did an arrhythmia influence the works of Beethoven?
Credit Flickr - Eric E Castro

An essay that recently appeared in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine asks the question, was Beethoven literally composing "from the heart"? Could some of Beethoven’s rhythmic inspiration come from the arrhythmia of his own heart?

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NewsRoom
10:00 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Raphael reviews "The French Intifada"

Lev Raphael.
Credit Joan Young

Our book reviewer Lev Raphael has a timely book for us this month. It's "The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs" by Andrew Hussey.

Lev Raphael is our book reviewer. When he isn’t writing novels or teaching, he occasionally blogs for the Huffington post.

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Arts & Culture
11:37 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Featured cellist Bion Tsang plays Tchaikovsky’s "Variations on a Rococo Theme" with LSO

LSO conductor Timothy Muffitt
Credit WKAR file photo

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s next Masterworks concert is this Saturday at Wharton Center in East Lansing. The program includes works by Haydn, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.

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Health
12:10 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

U-M researcher looks to Brazil for breast milk bank ideas

Dr. Lisa Hammer
Credit http://www.mottchildren.org/

You’ve heard of blood banks, tissue banks and organ donation, But are you aware of breast milk banks? Likely not, because they are not widespread in the U.S.

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Politics & Government
11:38 am
Thu December 18, 2014

A legal primer on religious displays at the Capitol

MSU Law professor Frank Ravitch
Credit http://www.law.msu.edu/

A display at the state Capitol sponsored by a group called “The Satanic Temple” is raising eyebrows, even though it hasn’t been put up yet.

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Environment
11:02 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Researchers eye spread of invasive faucet snails

Faucet snails are appearing along the Great Lakes coasts.
Credit Courtesy Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth

The populations of an invasive snail in the Great Lakes may be increasing, according to a new study. Researchers from ten universities including Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University have found “faucet snails” in more areas along the Great Lakes coastline than experts previously thought.

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Environment
12:17 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Study: eating right may not do right by environment

Dr. Martin Heller
Credit http://css.snre.umich.edu/

A new Michigan study looks at what we eat in the context of its environmental impact. Every few years, the U. S. Department of Agriculture puts out guidelines on how Americans should eat to maintain good health. The balance between fruits and vegetables, protein, and other nutrients has been the topic of much debate.

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