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.

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Politics & Government
12:59 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Rep Singh: GOP, Dem leaders should confer on roads

Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing)
Credit Courtesy of Rep. Sam Singh

It’s a busy time under the dome in Lansing these days. Just two weeks after the historic defeat of a road funding proposal that would have altered the Michigan Constitution, House Democrats and Republicans are offering competing alternatives. The GOP plan would shift revenue to a transportation fund by various means, including siphoning funds from tribal casino revenues and eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit. Meanwhile, Democrats propose raising the gas tax by 15 cents per gallon over the next three years.

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Sports
12:55 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Daughter of Spartan football legend honors dad with documentary

Gene Washington was a track and football star at Michigan State University in the 1960s.
Credit http://www.throughthebanksoftheredcedar.com/

In the 1960s, MSU football coach Duffy Daughterty made the first major recruiting efforts to bring African-American players from the deep south into the sport…players who could not be admitted to segregated schools. That pool of talent wound up bringing championships to East Lansing. Maya Washington is the daughter of one of those players, Gene Washington. She’s making a documentary film about her dad called “Through the Banks of the Red Cedar.”

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Environment
12:50 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Shrinking alewife population could deplete Great Lakes salmon

Credit Flickr - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

The alewife was once the scourge of the Great Lakes. The small, silver herring made its way into the basin through the St. Lawrence River in the late 19th century and proceeded to wreak havoc on the ecosystem. If you were around the region in the 1960s, you might remember the stench of thousands of dead alewives washing up on Great Lakes beaches. Now, scientists are concerned with a decline in the population of this invasive species and how the shrinking numbers of alewives could impact their main predator, the popular Chinook salmon.

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Business
12:44 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

“Two Men” founder to tell her story at Startup Grind event

Two Men and a Truck founder Mary Ellen Sheets
Credit Courtesy Startup Grind Lansing

Few if any Lansing success stories compare with that of Two Men and a Truck. The moving company began in 1985 as an after school endeavor with an advertising budget in a ceramic dish.  Today, founder Mary Ellen Sheets leads a company whose revenue clears $300-million annually. Two Men and a Truck has locations in 39 states and four countries. It has completed roughly five million moves. It also donates about two and a half million dollars in moving services annually.

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Community
12:38 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

MSU’s Living History Project: 85-year-old Domingo Berlanga of Flint

Domingo Berlanga
Credit Courtesy MSU Living History Project

For the past year, students in MSU's School of Journalism have documented the life experiences of seniors in our state as part of the multimedia initiative "The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan's Oldest Old." Oldest old refers to individuals who are 85 years old or older. It's also the fastest growing age group in the U.S. In our third installment of the four part series, we hear from 85-year-old Flint resident Domingo Berlanga.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:06 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Today in MI History: Bath School Bombing 5-18-1927

On May 18, 1927, disgruntled school board member Andrew Kehoe detonated 500 lbs. of explosives in the Bath Consolidated School in Bath Township. The blast killed 45 people and injured 58. It remains the deadliest act of school violence in U.S. history.
Credit Flickr/larrysphatpage

Decades before the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, CT, the deadliest act of school violence in U.S. history took place in mid-Michigan. 

On May 18, 1927, a disgruntled school board member, Andrew Kehoe, detonated 500 lbs. of explosives he'd hidden in one wing of the Bath Consolidated School in Bath Township.  The blast killed 45 people and injured 58.  Kehoe had also stored another 500 lbs. of dynamite in the school's other wing, which failed to explode.  Kehoe later killed himself and four other people in a truck bomb explosion outside the school.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:07 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Current State #539 | May 15, 2015

Today on Current State: State Sen. Mike Shirkey discusses Senate passage of a measure repealing the state's prevailing wage law with Mike Stobak of Barton-Malow; the rebuilding of Fort Holmes on Mackinac Island; Sister Cyril Mooney on the Loreto School of Calcutta; and Live Music Friday with Ben Fuhrman.

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Politics & Government
12:02 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

MI Senate sends prevailing wage repeal to House

State Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) chairs the committee that sent the prevailing wage repeal to the full Senate.
Credit http://www.senatormikeshirkey.com/

People who build schools and other public infrastructure projects in Michigan might soon see a lighter paycheck. Yesterday, the Michigan Senate voted to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law. That provision mandates that wages paid in state government contracts are based on collective bargain agreements.

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History
12:00 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

State to rebuild historic Fort Holmes on Mackinac Island

Fort Holmes was reconstructed by the WPA in the 1930s, but has deteriorated in recent years.
courtesy Phil Porter, Mackinac Island Historic Parks

School is winding down, the temperatures are rising, and that means it’s time to start planning those summer vacations. At the top of the list for a lot of people is Mackinac Island. The 3.8 square mile island in between the two peninsulas has been a beloved vacation spot for generations of Michiganders. This summer, history  buffs will have a special treat on the island as the Mackinac Island Historic Parks rebuilds the historic Fort Holmes.

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Education
11:55 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Sister Cyril’s educational mission in India spans six decades

Sister Cyril Mooney has devoted her career to educating the children of Calcutta.
Credit http://www.loretobowbazar.in/

Sister Cyril Mooney is renowned for her decades of work to improve education for the impoverished of Calcutta, India. Sister Cyril was initiated into the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Loreto order, in her native Ireland in 1955. She has been affiliated with the Loreto School of Calcutta almost all the years since.

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Arts & Culture
11:54 am
Fri May 15, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Ben Fuhrman

Ben Fuhrman performs in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Our Live Music Friday guest today is Ben Fuhrman. In recent years, Ben has been a member of the local group Wisaal. Tonight, he’ll perform a solo mandolin recital at the MSU Community Music School on South Hagadorn Road in East Lansing, starting at 8 p.m.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:08 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Current State #538 | May 13, 2015

Today on Current State: Saul Anuzis signs on to run the Michigan presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz; rebuilding Ionia County's iconic Whites Bridge; Neighbors in Action: YMCA of Lansing; and Kalamazoo's usonian homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Anuzis cruises into Cruz campaign

Credit Flickr - Gage Skidmore

Eighteen months away from the 2016 presidential election, two Democrats and six Republicans have formally thrown their hat into the ring. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the first Republican to announce his candidacy. Cruz is the son of Cuban immigrants who before his congressional career was the longest-serving Solicitor General in Texas history.

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History
1:05 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Iconic Ionia County bridge to be rebuilt

Whites Bridge was burned down by an arsonist in 2013. Money has now been raised to rebuild it.
Credit Courtesy Whites Bridge Historical Society

A historic Michigan landmark in Ionia County is set for restoration soon. For close to 150 years, Whites Bridge near the small town of Smyrna in Ionia County served both a practical and picturesque function. Practical as a way for travelers in the area to cross the Flat River, and more recently as a scenic area popular with shutterbugs and young people getting their engagement photos taken. Two years ago, someone burned it down. But bridge lovers have raised enough money now for a complete rebuild.

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Community
11:57 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Neighbors in Action: YMCA of Lansing

Wednesday on Current State means it’s time for Neighbors in Action, when we feature people and organizations working to make Greater Lansing a better place. Today, we hear about an organization you’re probably familiar with: the YMCA. What you might not know is the organization offers a lot more than swimming lessons, including programs for adult refugees and physical education programs in Lansing public schools.

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History
11:53 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Kalamazoo boasts unique collection of Frank Lloyd Wright homes

Frank Lloyd Wright
Credit Flickr - Shinya Suzuki

“Usonian” is an architectural term attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright, describing some of his affordable family home designs beginning in the 1930s. Usonian homes were typically small, single story dwellings without a garage or much storage. But they were as thoughtfully designed as Wright’s commissions for far wealthier clients. A group of young professionals in Kalamazoo County was among the first to embrace Wright’s innovative idea.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:20 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Current State #537 | May 12, 2015

Today on Current State: Lansing city council member Carol Wood on passage of Mayor Virg Bernero's budget proposal; MSU's Living History Project with 90-year-old Katherine Sattler; analyst Skip Pruss on the debate over regulating electricity in Michigan; a preview of the last concert of the LSO season; and the Peppermint Creek Theatre Company is planning a fall program featuring Michigan veterans.

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Politics & Government
12:14 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Lansing City Council green-lights BWL audit

Lansing city council member at-large Carol Wood
Credit WKAR Photo

After a marathon session, the Lansing City Council last night approved Mayor Virg Bernero’s proposed 2015-16 budget, but it was not a complete victory for the mayor. The council also rejected his plan to create a new layer of oversight to regulate the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Bernero proposed establishing the position of inspector general to review the BWL’s procedures to ensure greater accountability, but after hours of debate and several failed attempts to pass amendments, the city council instead decided to fund an audit of the BWL by an independent agency.

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Community
12:09 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

MSU’s Living History Project: Katherine Sattler, 90

Katherine Sattler
Credit Credit Courtesy MSU Living History Project

For the past year, students in MSU's School of Journalism have documented the life experiences of seniors in our state as part of the multimedia initiative "The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan's Oldest Old." Oldest old refers to individuals who are 85 years old or older. It's also the fastest growing age group in the US. In our second installment of this four-part documentary series, we hear from 90-year-old Holocaust survivor and Detroit area resident Katherine Sattler.

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Environment
11:58 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Energy analyst: MI electricity debate needs re-focusing

In the coming year, nine of Michigan’s coal-fired power plants are scheduled to retire. That has environmentalists and renewable energy advocates cheering. And the state’s two major utilities, Consumer’s Energy and DTE, say they are ready to invest in a more sustainable energy future. But first, the companies say, Michigan has to return to a fully regulated electricity market.

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Arts & Culture
11:53 am
Tue May 12, 2015

LSO wraps season with Stravinsky, Ravel, Rossini and new work by Aldridge

Credit Courtesy/Lansing Symphony Orchestra

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra closes out its season this Friday at Wharton Center. This concert features music from Stravinsky’s "Firebird" and pieces by Ravel and Rossini. It also features a new piece for piano and orchestra that area audiences haven’t heard yet.

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Arts & Culture
11:50 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Peppermint Creek bringing stories of vets to stage

Lansing’s Peppermint Creek Theatre Company is teaming up with a national organization that gathers stories from veterans and their families for an upcoming project. “The Telling Project” wants to hear from Michigan people with military ties for what Peppermint Creek will call “Telling: Lansing”. It will be staged in November.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:25 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Current State #536 | May 11, 2015

Today on Current State: East Lansing city councilmember Ruth Beier says the city should shift attention towards neighborhoods; MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa discusses mirages on the Great Lakes; filmmaker Eric Gladen brings his documentary "Trace Amounts" to East Lansing; and tech guru and PBS host David Pogue talks about Apple watches and other gadgets.

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Politics & Government
12:20 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

New EL council member calls for different approach to city development

East Lansing city council member Ruth Beier
Credit http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/

Economist Ruth Beier became a member of the East Lansing City Council in January. She says she grew tired of attending council meetings, complaining and getting nowhere, so she decided to run for office. Beier says it’s time for East Lansing to do things differently. Mainly, she says, it needs to shift more attention and resources away from the city’s commercial downtown to its neighborhoods.

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Science & Technology
12:19 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Rising spring temperatures produce Great Lakes mirages

Photographer Spencer Hughes captured this image of the Chicago skyline as seen from Grand Mere State Park in Stevensville, MI.
Credit Courtesy Spencer Hughes Photography

Picture this: you’re walking along the shores of Lake Michigan on a warm spring day. The lake breeze is blowing and the waves are lapping at your feet when all of the sudden you see something strange out on the water. Like, say, the Chicago skyline.

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Health
11:40 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Documentarian makes case to ban vaccine preservative

Filmmaker Eric Gladen will screen 'Trace Amounts' in East Lansing on Wednesday.
Credit http://traceamounts.com/

The filmmaker behind a new documentary on vaccines and exposure to mercury will be in East Lansing this week to talk about his project. Eric Gladen's movie is called “Trace Amounts: Autism, Mercury, and the Hidden Truth.” He points to the use of a preservative containing mercury called thimerisol in vaccines as being the reason for the growth in cases of autism and other conditions.

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Science & Technology
11:35 am
Mon May 11, 2015

PBS host, Yahoo tech writer on Apple watch and other gadgets

David Pogue
Credit http://davidpogue.com/

From the New York Times to "CBS Sunday Morning" to PBS’s "Nova," David Pogue is one of media’s best known presenters and reviewers of tech topics. Among his many notable accomplishments, Pogue is also recently known as technology columnist for Yahoo Tech. Pogue’s acclaimed public TV series "Making Stuff" aired last year on WKAR-TV. His show combines his unique blend of humor and analysis of the latest consumer and scientific innovations.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:08 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Current State #535 | May 8, 2015

Today on Current State: A Traverse City company seeks oil drilling rights in Mason; Michigan's aerial photography program; the possible relationship between pollen and rain; and Live Music Friday with Jackalope.

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Environment
12:02 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Mason residents debate proposed oil drilling

Dr. Jack Carmichael of Mason (left) and Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason) discussed proposed oil drilling.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

There’s no shortage of talk in Michigan about renewable energy sources. But despite all our efforts to go green, our state is still very dependent on fossil fuels. Recently, a Traverse City-based oil and gas company has been looking at an area in and around the city of Mason as a possible drilling site.

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Politics & Government
11:55 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Aerial photography guides MI surveyors, first responders

We’ve all whiled away a few idle minutes here and there lost in fascination over aerial imagery online. It’s fascinating to be able to zoom in on your own house and then drag your mouse to the other side of the world on your screen and scan some exotic country. There are many practical applications for digital aerial photos, of course. In Michigan, state officials have recently wrapped up an annual mission to photograph 12,000 square miles of the state.

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