Current State

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Mid-Michigan's news destination for the informed, the caring and the curious. News and issues, arts and attitudes, and the personalities that make the heart of Michigan beat.

man speaking to reporters
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

The state of Michigan has filed nearly two dozen new charges against Dr. Larry Nassar.  The former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University physician is accused of sexually assaulting a number of young women who came to him as patients seeking medical treatment.  Nassar now stands accused of 25 counts of criminal sexual conduct.


U.S. Supreme Court
Jeff / flickr creative commons

You might think that the gap between the far left and the far right in American politics is getting larger, but MSU College of Law professor Frank Ravitch thinks there are ways these opposing forces could work together.


crowd at high school
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

In the 2016 election, Michigan House Republicans edged out Democrats by just 3,000 votes.  Yet, the GOP won more than 57 percent of all state House seats.  Their victory was the result of creative map making.

 

State legislative districts are drawn by whichever political party is in power.  Both Democrats and Republicans tend to draw those boundaries to consolidate their voting base.  The practice is called “gerrymandering,” and opponents say it diminishes the voice of the people.


James McClurken photo
Scott Pohl / WKAR-MSU

We continue our conversations with Lansing city council candidates today with James McClurken. He’s running against incumbent Jessica Yorko, who is expected to run for re-election in the fourth ward.


MSU Trustees photo
Scott Pohl / WKAR-MSU

Today’s MSU Trustees meeting was tumultuous, with calls to do more to prevent sexual assaults on campus and for President Lou Anna Simon to resign over allowing controversial Breitbart News writer Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus last year.


city skyline at sunset
Courtesy / flickr/Steve Marr

America has had a long history of turbulent race relations.  It took nearly a century of struggle after the Civil War to tear down the Jim Crow laws that isolated blacks from whites.  While institutional racism had been embedded into the law in the segregated South, racial disparities took on more subtle forms in the North.  So-called “sundown towns” existed from coast to coast -- including in Michigan.

 


We talk with Edward McClelland about his book examining the way we talk, “How to Speak Midwestern."

map of Michigan
Courtesy / U.S. Dept. of Interior

In 2021, Michigan will re-draw its congressional and state legislative boundaries.  The law says each of these geographic tracts of land must contain as equal a number of people as possible.  This mandate creates a jigsaw puzzle of irregular shapes across the political map.

For decades, political parties have “gerrymandered” these borders to their own advantage.  Technically, it’s illegal for a single party to group its voting base in a specific area, but the practice can be hard to prove.   Now, grassroots support is building to place redistricting back in the hands of the people.

 


Christopher Jackson photo
Scott Pohl / WKAR-MSU

WKAR’s conversations with Lansing city council candidates continue with newcomer Christopher Jackson. He’s running for an at-large seat.


woman near dental equipment
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

A new service is starting Tuesday to help the homeless in mid-Michigan.  The Volunteers of America is opening a dental clinic at its downtown Lansing shelter.


hoop house photo
Scott Pohl / WKAR-MSU

For city-dwellers, farming might not appear to be a viable career option. A program in Lansing works to encourage urban farming through the Lansing Urban Farm Project apprenticeship program.


Current State | February 11, 2017

Feb 10, 2017

This week on Current State: Mickey Hirten of Lansing City Pulse; a Poet Laureate for Lansing; BWL tree trimming; a Black History Month look at innovation; the Michigan Film and Digital Media office; reconstructive surgery on a disfigured dog; distracted driving; hydropower; and Anat Cohen.


Mickey Hirten photo
WKAR File Photo

Michigan State University continues trying to address sexual assault on campus. The issue’s staying in the news because of this week's announcement of allegations of sexual assault by three members of the MSU football team.


Dr. Brayden Stanley photo
Isaac Constans / WKAR-MSU

A dog that was badly disfigured and abandoned has a new nose, thanks to a team from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.


man trims tree near power line
Kevin Lavery / WKAR-MSU

If you live in East Lansing, you may have been hearing a lot of chainsaws lately.  The city is in the midst of a five-year tree trimming project.  The Lansing Board of Water and Light is clearing branches away from power lines in hopes of avoiding the massive electric outages the region is prone to in icy and windy conditions.


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