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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Sports
12:17 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Returning to run the Boston Marathon

The 2014 Boston Marathon begins at 10:00 this morning.
Credit Flickr - Paul Goodman

The 2014 Boston Marathon is being run today. This longstanding tradition in the running world is even more significant to its participants this year, in light of last year’s bombing of the event. A number of people from mid-Michigan are participating, and Current State's Melissa Benmark catches up with one of them.

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Business
1:58 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Saranac syrup-maker sticks to tradition

Last year, John Smith produced 361 gallons of maple syrup, compared to 250 gallons this year.
Credit Flickr - Wigwam Jones

As you drive west from Ionia, Michigan, you’ll come to the little town of Saranac. Its streets are lined with a bountiful number of large old maple trees. And this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see many of them with pails and spouts attached to collect sap for maple syrup.

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Arts & Culture
4:44 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

'Mobile in Black and White' film encourages racial dialogue


Video courtesy of www.mobileinblackandwhite.org

 

The Capital City Film Festival starts tomorrow and runs through the weekend. On Saturday, a film about race relations in America will air at Dart Auditorium in Lansing. It’s called “Mobile in Black and White”. The film, which originally featured four shorter segments broken up by discussions, is directed by Robert Gray.

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Science & Technology
11:56 am
Fri April 4, 2014

NPR's Krulwich cultivates the beauty in science

Krulwich's 7 p.m. talk is called 'Talking Science to Non-Scientists: Saddam Hussein’s Secret Octupus and Other Stories'.
Credit Flickr - Jared Kelly

The Michigan State University Science Festival continues through this weekend. A familiar voice will speak at Kellogg Center as part of the festival: Robert Krulwich. Current State’s Melissa Benmark spoke with him earlier this week.

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NewsRoom
9:12 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Lev Raphael reviews "A Darker Shade"

People who really got into reading “The Millenium Trilogy” are going to have to face up to the truth: most likely no more Stieg Larsson books are coming out in the future. But if you still have a fever for Swedish crime fiction, our book reviewer Lev Raphael has your prescription. The book is “A Darker Shade: 17 Swedish stories of murder, mystery and suspense including a short story by Stieg Larsson.”

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Environment
12:42 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

MSU Museum looks at 'Turtles in Trouble'

The exhibit runs through Sept. 21 in the MSU Museum's Art-Science-Creativity Gallery.
Credit Flickr - Alexandra MacKenzie

A new exhibit at the MSU Museum focuses on the plight of turtles around the world. “Turtles in Trouble” is meant to boost awareness of the impact humans have on turtles populations worldwide.

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Music
12:11 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

LSO to feature American composers Copland, Bernstein

In Bernstein's 'Symphonic Dances from West Side Story', the composer sought to remove the pieces from the pit orchestra setting.
Credit Flickr - Greater Lansing Convention & Visitor's Bureau

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s next MasterWorks concert is Saturday night at Wharton Center. It features music from American composers Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland.

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Arts & Culture
12:56 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Lights, camera, pie: film documents town devoted to pie

Longtime mid-Michigan artist Jane Rosemont is making a documentary called, "The Pie Lady of Pie Town."
Credit Flickr - oh estelle

Art, like life, goes through phases and changes. A longtime mid-Michigan artist who relocated to New Mexico a few years ago is exploring the inspirations there and has just come out with her first short film. Many listeners will be familiar with Jane and Dick Rosemont. He was one of the forces behind Flat Black and Circular, an East Lansing record shop, and she was a fine arts photographer.

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Politics & Government
1:40 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Law enforcement acclimates to pursuing drugged driving

Officer Wes Evans says recognizing and arresting those who are impaired by substances while driving will make our streets safer.
Credit Flickr - neoporcupine


Drunk driving has been a public safety problem for years across the United States. A similar and growing threat is that of drugged driving. Some new law enforcement programs are targeting people who get behind the wheel under the influence of various drugs, sometimes in combination with alcohol.

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Health
2:02 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Global food fraud: What's on your plate?

Those who commit food fraud are stealthy, but the Food Fraud Initiative works with a preventative approach to change the fundamentals of testing and buying products.
Credit Flickr - Martin Cathrae

We take the safety of our food supply as a given. We expect the food will contain what’s on the label and not contain other things that might be harmful. But globalization and new technology can sometimes compromise these expectations.

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NewsRoom
6:33 am
Wed March 12, 2014

School closings for Weds., 3/12

Here are school closings for Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties:

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Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Breaking down the debate over juvenile lifers

The Michigan Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the fate of more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life with no chance of parole as juveniles.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments today on what should be done with more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life with no chance of parole as juveniles.  The Michigan case follows a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring life without parole sentences for minors violates the U.S. constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. 

Current State speaks with the Michigan Public Radio Network’s statehouse bureau chief, Rick Pluta.

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Politics & Government
1:59 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Hurting while helping: Outside aid often undermines post-civil war democracy

Michael Colaresi researched 136 civil wars from 1936 to 2007 for his recent study, “With Friends Like These, Who Needs Democracy? The Effect of Transnational Support from Rivals on Post-Conflict Democratization.”
Credit Flickr - Vlad Archic

There’s probably never been a time in history when there wasn’t war and conflict going on somewhere in the world, but amid the Arab Spring and the situation between Russia and Ukraine, right now seems like an especially good time to talk to an expert on international conflict.

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Arts & Culture
11:32 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Voices of Experience: Rabbi Morton Hoffman of East Lansing's Shaarey Zedek Congregation

Rabbi Morton Hoffman says there's now a pattern of intermarriage between Jewish individuals and people from other religions, or even with no religion at all.
Credit Flickr - Rocky Romero

We all know people in our community who we feel are extraordinary for their memorable life experiences or their sacrifices.  Maybe for their success or their service, and for the insights that result from those experiences.

Getting better acquainted with extraordinary people is the focus of Current State’s ongoing series, Voices of Experience.

Rabbi Morton Hoffman was the head of Congregation Shaarey Zedek from 1983 until 2000, and then again for a few years until 2003 when he re-retired.

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Politics & Government
12:34 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Supreme Court hears arguments on EPA's reach

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today about the EPA's ability to regulate certain kinds of emissions.
Credit Flickr - SalFalko

The U. S. Supreme Court hears arguments today that will help determine the scope of what kinds of emissions the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate. The outcome could have a big effect on industrial facilities nationwide.

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NewsRoom
7:53 am
Wed January 29, 2014

School Closings and Delays for Weds., 1/29

Here are the school closings and 2 hour delays for Ingham, Eaton, and Clinton counties.

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NewsRoom
8:04 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Updated closings for Tuesday morning, 1/28

University of Michigan CLASSES CANCELED

Other Mid-Michigan school closings:

Clinton County

DeWitt Public Schools    
Fowler Public Schools    
Meadowland Preschool    
Ovid-Elsie Area Schools

Pewamo-Westphalia Schools    
St. Johns Public Schools   
St. Peter Lutheran    

Eaton County

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NewsRoom
8:05 am
Mon January 27, 2014

School Closings for Monday, 1/27

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

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NewsRoom
6:12 am
Tue January 7, 2014

School Closings for Tuesday, January 7

INGHAM COUNTY:

Dansville, East Lansing, Haslett, Holt, Lansing, Leslie, Okemos, Stockbridge, Webberville, Williamston

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NewsRoom
9:18 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Raphael Reviews 'Gatsby' Fashion

WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael has “The Great Gatsby” on his mind…especially the fashions of that era. He recently read “Fashion in the Time of the Great Gatsby” byLaLonnie Lehman. He spoke with WKAR's Melissa Benmark.

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NewsRoom
5:00 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

GR Hogs Help West MI Vets

Harley riders return from the American Heroes Ride.
Credit Melissa Benmark / WKAR

In honor of Veterans’ Day, WKAR has a snapshot of one of the many efforts across the state and nation to help those who have returned from duty. This fall, the Grand Rapids Harley Owners Group held an event called the American Heroes Ride to raise money for west Michigan vets. The event included a chili cookoff and raffles, but the centerpiece was a group ride. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark was there to watch, and hear, all the bikes come in after their journey…and she followed up on what the funds have been used for.

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NewsRoom
10:59 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Raphael Reviews "The Wheel Spins"

WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael has been checking out a book with a PBS connection. It's “The Wheel Spins” by Ethel White. He spoke with Melissa Benmark.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Raphael Reviews "Detroit City Is The Place To Be"

Lev Raphael.
Credit Joan Young

WKAR's book reviewer Lev Raphael has been reading a non-fiction book about Detroit that actually focuses on what’s positive about the city.  He spoke with Melissa Benmark.

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NewsRoom
12:12 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Raphael Reviews "The Raising"

Book reviewer Lev Raphael.
Credit Joan Young

WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael is finally done grading student papers and has been reading a book set on a Midwestern college campus. The book is “The Raising” by Laura Kasischke. Lev Raphael spoke with WKAR’s Melissa Benmark about it.

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NewsRoom
12:12 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Raphael Reviews "The Raising"

Book reviewer Lev Raphael.
Credit Joan Young

WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael is finally done grading student papers and has been reading a book set on a Midwestern college campus. The book is “The Raising” by Laura Kasischke. Lev Raphael spoke with WKAR’s Melissa Benmark about it.

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NewsRoom
12:12 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Raphael Reviews "The Raising"

Book reviewer Lev Raphael.
Credit Joan Young

WKAR book reviewer Lev Raphael is finally done grading student papers and has been reading a book set on a Midwestern college campus. The book is “The Raising” by Laura Kasischke. Lev Raphael spoke with WKAR’s Melissa Benmark about it.

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NewsRoom
9:10 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Ruling On MI Same‑Sex Marriage Ban Will Wait For SCOTUS Decisions

Credit File Photo / WKAR

A decision on whether Michigan’s gay marriage ban is constitutional will wait until this summer. A federal judge in Detroit says he wants to see how the US Supreme Court rules on a pair of gay marriage cases before he makes his ruling.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri March 1, 2013

LSO Plays Music Of New World

Lansing Symphony Orchestra Conductor Timothy Muffitt.
Credit Courtesy / Lansing Symphony Orchestra

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s MasterWorks 5 concert is Saturday night at Wharton Center. Music of Barber and Dvorak is on the program, as well as a piece called “Ancestral Waters” by Brian Gaber. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark checked in with LSO conductor Timothy Muffitt for a preview of the concert.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Under The Radar: Raphael Reviews "Savage Continent"

A portion of the cover of "Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of WWII.
Credit Courtesy / Amazon

Book reviewer Lev Raphael has been reading a book about the aftermath of World War II in Europe. It's called Savage Continent by Keith Lowe. He talked about it with WKAR's Melissa Benmark.

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Music
11:26 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Ladysmith Black Mambazo still going strong after 50 years

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was founded in South Africa in the early 1960s by Joseph Shabalala.
Credit Courtesy of Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is coming to Wharton Center to perform their signature South African Zulu-style choral music. They began singing in competitions in the 1970s, and rose to worldwide fame when they appeared on Paul Simon’s album “Graceland” in 1986. They’ve recorded over 50 albums, and their latest tour has a stop in East Lansing.

WKAR’s Melissa Benmark speaks with one of the longest-singing members, Albert Mazibuko, about the group's longevity.

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