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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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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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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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Coming To Wharton Center

Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Albert Mazibuko is on the far left.
Credit Luis Leal

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is coming to Wharton Center Wednesday to perform their signature South African Zulu-style choral music. They began singing in competitions in the 1970s, and rose to world-wide 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 spoke to one of the longest-singing members, Albert Mazibuko, about the music his group performs.

An interview with Albert Mazibuko of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

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Music
11:07 am
Thu February 7, 2013

MSU Symphony Orchestra’s latest program includes Beethoven, Copland

The MSU Symphony Orchestra’s next concert is Friday, Feb. 8, at the Wharton Center. They’ll play Beethoven’s First Symphony, music from Aaron Copland’s “Billy the Kid,” and “The Chairman Dances” by John Adams. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark speaks with MSU Director of Orchestras Kevin Noe about the the program, starting with the Beethoven, which has a beginning that almost sounds like an ending.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Thu February 7, 2013

MSU Symphony plays Beethoven, "Kid," Adams

MSU Director of Orchestras, Kevin Noe.
Credit Courtesy / MSU College of Music

The MSU Symphony Orchestra’s next concert is Friday at Wharton Center. They’ll play Beethoven’s First Symphony, music from Aaron Copeland’s “Billy the Kid,” and “The Chairman Dances” by John Adams. Adams has described the piece as an “out take” from his opera, “Nixon in China.” WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with MSU Director of Orchestras Kevin Noe about the music.

A conversation with Kevin Noe, MSU Director of Orchestras

NewsRoom
9:44 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Shatner Brings His World To Wharton

William Shatner
Credit Joan Marcus

William Shatner brings his one-man show to MSU's Wharton Center on January 24th. It's called "Shatner's World: We Just Live In It." WKAR's Melissa Benmark speaks with William Shatner via phone from California, about the show, what he's done in his 60-year career, and what projects he still hopes to do.




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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Raphael Talks About Alain de Botton's Newest Book

Book covers for Alain de Botton's
Credit Courtesy / Amazon

In our Under the Radar segment this month, something completely different. Reviewer Lev Raphael and WKAR’s Melissa Benmark talk about sex. In a G-rated kind of way.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

LSO To Play Brahms, "Red Violin"

Timothy Muffitt, Music Director and Conductor of the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.
Credit Courtesy photo / LSO

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra is resuming its 2012-2013 season with a concert featuring Brahms’ Symphony #1 and music of Corigliano from the movie “The Red Violin.” WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with conductor Timothy Muffitt for a preview.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri December 28, 2012

2012 A "Surreal" Year In Michigan Politics

The front of the Capitol building in Lansing.
Credit File photo / WKAR

As 2012 winds down, we’re looking back at some of the events and trends of the year. Most people are unlikely to remember 2012 as an uneventful year, politically—especially in Michigan. Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network has been covering Michigan politics for 25 years now, and he says it was a year that surprised even him.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Looking To A Michigan Tragedy For Perspective On Sandy Hook

Author Arnie Bernstein.
Credit Courtesy / University of Michigan Press

It’s been a week now since the deadly school shootings in Connecticut. People are still looking for answers, and trying to come to grips with what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. WKAR's Melissa Benmark talked to someone who has written extensively about the worst school massacre in the U. S. to date—one that happened in Bath, Michigan.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Raphael Reviews Pearl Harbor Book On 71st Anniversary of Attack

A detail of the book's cover.
Credit Courtesy / Amazon.com

Seventy-one years ago today, Japanese forces bombed the U. S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The event led directly to American entry into World War Two. On this anniversary, our book reviewer Lev Raphael talks about Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation Into War by Steven Gillon. He spoke with WKAR’s Melissa Benmark.

WKAR's Melissa Benmark talks with book reviewer Lev Raphael about a book probing FDR's thoughts and actions in the first 24 hours after Pearl Harbor.

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NewsRoom
12:00 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Food Bank Announces New Farming Program

Credit Logo courtesy / Greater Lansing Food Bank

WKAR'S Melissa Benmark spoke with Alex Bryan of the Greater Lansing Food Bank about a new program called Lansing Roots.  It will be a farm business incubator for people with limited resources.

An interview with Alex Bryan of the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

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