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.

Ways To Connect

http://msutoday.msu.edu/

Dead bodies are not completely dead. Bacteria and insects live on and near corpses, and what kind of organisms are there can tell scientists lots of useful things, including how long a body has been dead. To learn from what’s called the “microbiome,” though, researchers need access, unfortunately, to dead bodies, and the more recent, the better. Bodies that are donated to research institutions are kept in cold storage for long periods of time which means the results are different.

http://music.msu.edu/

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s next MasterWorks concert is Saturday at Wharton Center. The MSU State Singers, University Chorale and Choral Union get involved with this LSO concert.

http://neuroscience.msu.edu

An MSU researcher is part of a team that’s been looking at a possible link between Vitamin D deficiency and suicide attempts. The research was published this fall in the journal “Psychoneuroendocrinology.”

WKAR

Current State bids a reluctant but fond farewell today to the founding producer of our program. Joe Linstroth returns to his Ann Arbor alma mater as he leaves WKAR for a position at the University of Michigan's public radio station.

www.lansingsymphony.org/

The next Lansing Symphony Orchestra concert is Saturday night at MSU’s Wharton Center. The concert features Chopin’s first piano and Mendelssohn’s Italian symphony, and a new piece that people may not have heard yet.

Courtesy - Michael Wilson

Some legendary New Orleans musicians will be in East Lansing tonight. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Allen Toussaint play at Wharton Center at 7:30. Allen Toussaint has pretty much done it all.

Joan Young

We hear from our book reviewer Lev Raphael each month, but it’s been a while since we looked at one of his own books. Lev is an author as well as the host of our Under the Radar segment. It’s been a number of years since we last heard from character Nick Hoffman, but he’s back. The new book is called "Assault With A Deadly Lie."

http://www.tezathemovie.com

An Ethiopian filmmaker whose films deal with themes of displacement and powerlessness is in East Lansing this week. Haile Gerima is best known as the director of "Sankofa", and his most recent film, "Teza", will be shown along with an earlier work, "Bush Mama", over the next few days.

http://isabelwilkerson.com/

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist will be at Wharton Center this week. On Thursday, Isabel Wilkerson will discuss her book "The Warmth of Other Suns" in a joint appearance with television journalist Soledad O’Brien. Wilkerson’s book is an epic work of non-fiction that chronicles the great migration northward of Southern African-Americans.

Flickr - Amy

Strange weather in Michigan continues to affect various kinds of agriculture. Current State’s Melissa Benmark has been checking into the effects of a hard winter and a cool summer on the wine industry in the state.

michele-norris.com - Mary Noble Ours

To longtime NPR listeners, Michele Norris is a familiar voice. She’s the former co-host of All Things Considered, and is the curator of the Race Card Project. Her memoir, “The Grace of Silence,” is one of the offerings in the most recent “One Book, One Community” program.

http://www.great-mi.org/

Here on Current State we do lots of reporting on environmental programs and policies in the Great Lakes region, but it’s always good to remember that taking care of our waters often happens because someone decides to fight pollution one empty bottle at a time. That’s happening in Jackson this coming weekend.

Flickr/Steve Wilson

    

Say you’re a woman, and  you’re interviewing for a job in a traditionally male-dominated field like engineering. What qualities about yourself should you highlight in your interview? A new MSU study offers some ideas.

www.laughthroughbreastcancer.com/

What is sisterhood? One Michigan woman’s experience suggests the path to acquiring a loving sister can be unexpected and extraordinary. Ruth Ebenstein belongs to a diverse group of breast cancer survivors whose mission is to support women with the disease who live in conflict zones.

Flickr - Brooke Singer

Starting in 2017, the state of Minnesota will ban the use of an antibacterial chemical in consumer products. Triclosan has been found in the waters and fish of the Great Lakes, and a number of health organizations in Canada are urging their government to ban the chemical as well.

www.nwf.org

The National Wildlife Federation has a new president and CEO. Collin O’Mara was recently in Michigan for an environmental tour of the Detroit Area, and stopped by Current State. For a CEO, he’s fairly young at 30 years old. Current State’s Melissa Benmark asked him what environmental values he brings to this position that might be different than someone in their fifties or sixties.

WKAR

The Great Lakes Folk Festival kicks off next weekend in East Lansing. One of the musical attractions is the traditional Klezmer group Heartland Klezmorim from the Lansing Area. They join us today as part of our Live Music Fridays series.

Joan Young

Our reviewer Lev Raphael has been reading a tale about supplementing one’s income…with art thefts. The book is “Headhunters” by Jo Nesbo.

Flickr- Light Brigading

At the end of each month we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. 

Flickr - 401(K)_2012

From the Detroit bankruptcy to a high-profile lawsuit against phone giant Verizon, pensions are in the news lately. With all the talk about pensions being frozen, or reduced, or bought out, we wanted to get kind of a “Pensions 101” perspective.

Flickr - Ian Muttoo

A recent Michigan State University study indicates that the more familiar young children are with the brand names of less healthy foods, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese. The study is interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is how you get a bunch of 3 to 5 year olds to express themselves on ideas like brand identification.

Flickr - Patrick Lewis

Fishing in Michigan is big business. The state DNR estimates that anglers spent $2.4 billion in trip-related expenses and equipment in 2011. Besides Michigan’s Great Lakes and rivers, our inland lakes attract considerable fishing as well. In fact, six Michigan lakes were recently included in a national fishing magazine’s “100 Best Bass Lakes of 2014” list.

Flickr - American Life League

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled yesterday that the craft company Hobby Lobby can be exempted from paying for certain types of employee birth control.

Wiki Commons

If you live in Michigan it seems like every summer is a time to complain about the mosquitoes being really bad this year, but how bad are they, really?

WKAR/Nancy Kelly

 

 We all know Michiganians we feel are extraordinary --for their memorable life experiences or their sacrifices.  Maybe for their success or their service, and for the insights they produce. Getting acquainted with extraordinary people is the focus of Current State’s ongoing series, “Voices of Experience.”

Flickr-Janet Sharp

It was inevitable that Current State caught the buzz about Beepalooza. The free bee education event is this Sunday at Michigan State University’s Horticulture Demonstration Gardens. The main question is, why do we need to be educated about bees?

Pandelis Karayorgis- Wikimedia Commons

The Summer Solstice Jazz Festival takes place in East Lansing this Friday and Saturday. There will be live jazz downtown from a variety of groups and the Broad Art Museum is participating as well with a unique event.

Flickr - Eric Wagner

The World Health Organization and Pan-American Health Organization recently expressed concern about the lack of knowledge of the health problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. Many people in these groups are essentially “invisible” to the healthcare community for a variety of reasons including the fear of negative consequences if they are honest with their health providers about their status.

Michigan State University Press

A new memoir from the MSU Press looks at what happens when a professional couple decides to get in touch with their agrarian dream of life in the country. Richard Gilbert teaches writing at Otterbein College in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. He’s the author of “Shepherd”.

WKAR's book reviewer Lev Raphael has a look this month at "The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World," by George Prochnik.

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