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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Education
11:35 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Behind the effort to create a new Lansing area high school

Organizers say many leaders of local Lutheran congregations think now is the time to try and get a new high school off the ground.
Credit Flickr - Jerzy Kociatkiewicz

The idea of starting a high school under any circumstances is a daunting one, to say the least. With schools struggling all across Michigan, the economy still on the rebound, and the constant political maneuvering in education policy, the task of creating a new high school in the Lansing area seems that much more difficult.

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Arts & Culture
11:30 am
Fri April 11, 2014

'Once,' 'Kinky Boots' highlight Wharton's upcoming Broadway lineup

Along with 'Once' and 'Kinky Boots', the Broadway schedule for next season includes 'Annie'. The Dance Theatre of Harlem is also on the schedule, along with violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman.
Credit Flickr - William Hartz

For many years, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts at MSU has announced its schedule for the coming year with a big story in the Sunday paper. Patrons are especially anxious to know what shows will be in East Lansing next year, and today, Current State’s Scott Pohl has the scoop on the first of two Wharton Center previews.

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Arts & Culture
11:26 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Saginaw artist sketches his way to ESPN, Complex

Sean Mack says he was influenced by Marvel comics.
Credit Courtesy of Sean Mack

Artist Sean Mack said he’s been drawing since he was in diapers, and all that practice paid off. His work is now being featured in two popular publications: ESPN’s TrueHoop Blog and Complex’s music site.

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Music
11:20 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Ann Arbor Symphony closes season with Brahms

90.5 Classical will broadcast Saturday's Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra concert live at 8 p.m.
Credit Flickr - Ann Arbor YSO

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra closes its 2013-14 season Saturday night at the Michigan Theatre with an all-Brahms program.

Current State's Peter Whorf spoke with music director Arie Lipsky about the upcoming season and Saturday's concert.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:38 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Current State #294 | April 10, 2014

Today on Current State: MSU legal scholars argue student-athletes are employees; spoken word artist Sarah Kay; new MSU project expected to help create thousands of Michigan jobs; and 'Latin is America' celebrates cultural collaboration.

Sports
1:34 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

MSU legal scholars argue student-athletes are employees

Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon co-authored an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week against unionizing college athletes.
Credit Flickr - Rich Renomeron

Late last month the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that football players at Northwestern University qualify as employees under federal law and can therefore unionize. The decision has been divisive. While some applaud the move to provide players with more rights and financial compensation, others fear that the collegiate athletic system will be destroyed by the move.

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Arts & Culture
1:22 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Spoken word artist Sarah Kay seeks human connections through words

Credit Flickr - Steve Jurvetson


Sarah Kay is a spoken word artist, teacher and author. She’s performed her poetry around the country, including at the Lincoln Center and the United Nations. Her TED Talk has gathered hundreds of thousands of views.

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Economy
1:14 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

New MSU project expected to help create thousands of Michigan jobs

The Food Processing and Innovation Center is raising the funding for the estimated $5.5 million project. It’s expected to consist of a mix of federal and state dollars, along with a commitment from MSU and five industry partners. It will be located on Hewlett Road.
Credit Courtesy - Michigan State University


There are plans to build a new center here at MSU that, if realized, proponents say could have a substantial economic impact on the state of Michigan, including the creation of potentially thousands of new jobs. Current State's Joe Linstroth talked with Chris Peterson, an agricultural economist and the head of MSU’s Product Center, who says there are more than 600 mid-sized food processors in the state of Michigan. Many of these companies’ facilities are maxed out, meaning that if they want to create a new product, they don’t have the capacity to test the product or its manufacturing and packaging techniques to see if it’s economically viable.

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Arts & Culture
12:47 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

'Latin is America' celebrates cultural collaboration

The MSU Percussion Ensemble is part of the 'Latin IS America' music festival.
Credit Courtesy of MSU College of Music

The second MSU "Latin IS America" series got underway Wednesday and continues at campus locations and around the Lansing area through next Saturday, April 19. It's a ten day festival that includes lectures, discussions, and concerts.

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Radio Made in Michigan
5:02 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Current State #293 | April 9, 2014

Today on Current State: Enhancing the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Program; Youth Action Committee; "Mobile in Black and White" director Robert Gray; and the Capital City Film Festival.

Economy
4:53 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

State prisoner reentry program looks to address unemployment

Russ Marlan of the MDOC says that they have about 43,500 prisoners in Michigan's 31 correction facilities. Releases vary from around 9,000 to 10,000 a year.
Credit Flickr - foreverdigital

Inmates who leave Michigan prisons at the end of their sentences need an array of support services to help them successfully reenter society. The Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative was created in 2003 to fulfill that goal. The program has done quite well in the years since, but the state is still seeking ways to improve. The Michigan Department of Corrections is asking service providers to help enhance the post-prison experience for those who’ve served their time.

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Education
4:48 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Neighbors in Action: Youth Action Committee

courtesy of Robin Miner-Swartz


It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the Capital Region Community Foundation’s Youth Action Committee or YAC. The committee is made up of high school students in the Tri Country Area who volunteer and distribute grants to area non-profits that serve youth.

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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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Arts & Culture
4:41 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

More music, films at this year's Capital City Film Festival

The fourth Annual Capital City Film Festival starts this Thursday and runs through Sunday.
Credit Courtesy of Capital City Film Festival

The fourth Annual Capital City Film Festival will showcase four days of films. Shorts, documentaries,  and narrative features are all included. The festival starts Thursday and runs through Sunday. Capital City Film Festival Director Dominic Cochran and Festival Coordinator Payal Ravani discuss this year’s offerings.

Radio Made in Michigan
1:32 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Current State #292 | April 8, 2014

Today on Current State: the McCutcheon ruling on campaign financing; how winter impacted Michigan fruit; and the push for local food in large institutions.

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Politics & Government
1:28 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

More freedom or less democracy? Sorting out ramifications of the McCutcheon ruling

The McCutcheon decision effectively raises the individual political donation limit from $117,000 to approximately $3.5 million.
Credit Flickr - marsmet462

The U.S. Supreme Court last week came out with another controversial ruling on our nation’s campaign finance laws.

In the case McCutcheon versus the FEC, the Supreme Court struck down the limits on the overall amount of money an individual can give to all federal candidates and committees in a two-year election cycle.

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Business
1:00 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Michigan peaches, wine grapes take hit in brutal winter

Mark Longstroth thinks the harsh Michigan winter will result in a 50 percent reduction in peaches.
Credit Flickr - nehavish

The sun may be shining and the snow may be melting, but the effects of this year’s harsh winter are still lingering. The ice and cold of the season damaged some of Michigan’s fruit trees.

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Health
12:54 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

New initiative aims to put more local food in hospitals, schools

The founders of the Food to Institution Network are trying to get more locally sourced food into the cafeterias of large entities like school districts, hospitals, and universities.
Credit Flickr - Barberton Community Foundation

Michigan has long been proud of its diverse agricultural profile. Many growers are active in the “buy local” movement through farmers’ markets and food hubs. Now, MSU and the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center are launching the Michigan Food to Institution Network.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:48 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Current State #291 | April 7, 2014

Today on Current State: prioritizing road repair; local poet publishes book; business leaders update Michigan turnaround plan; and working while in school.

Politics & Government
11:47 am
Mon April 7, 2014

The bumpy process of prioritizing road funding

Each spring, Michigan faces the problem of repairing roads damaged during the winter.
Credit Flickr - _chrisUK

Last week, Michigan House Republicans proposed a new funding plan that would allocate nearly a half billion dollars each year through 2018 to repair the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. Fixing Michigan roads is a perennial problem each spring, and the situation is particularly dire after such a severe winter. Certainly, everyone wants their own neighborhood streets and highways repaired first. But transportation planners and engineers must rely on hard data to make decisions about which roads get fixed, and when.

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Arts & Culture
11:45 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Local poet explores sights, sounds of Michigan

Jean Van Wieren is selling 'This Mitten Is Tightly Knit' primarily through her Facebook and Etsy websites.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Poetry, art, and Michigan. All have inspired local writer and artist Jeanne Van Wieren. The Williamston Enterprise columnist has published a book of her art and poetry called “This Mitten Is Tightly Knit”.

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Business
11:39 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Business leaders update "Michigan Turnaround Plan"

Doug Rothwell, CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, says Michigan has seen significant improvement in terms of a balanced budget and tax rates since 2009.
Credit businessleadersformichigan.com

An organization that includes many of Michigan’s top corporate leaders is making new recommendations on the way ahead for the state. “Business Leaders for Michigan” is a non-profit whose 90 or so members are among the top executives of the state’s most established businesses including General Motors, Dominos Pizza and Meijer.

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Education
11:33 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Uphill both ways: the myth of working your way through college

MSU Student Randy Olson's research found that working your way through college is much more difficult than it was for previous generations.
Credit Flickr - Tax Credits

Many college students have heard lectures from their elders saying "I worked my way through school, why can’t you?" Randy Olson, an MSU graduate student, decided to calculate if it was still possible to work your way through school. He concluded - it’s not.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:13 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Current State #290 | April 4, 2014

Today on Current State: Dem LG candidate Lisa Brown; "La Boheme" comes to MSU; NPR's Robert Krulwich; and live music with Lansing's Wisaal.

Politics & Government
12:11 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

New Dem LG candidate outlines priorities

Mark Schauer describes Brown as 'a fighter' who 'knows how to lead.'
Credit Courtesy of Lisa Brown

Michigan's Democratic candidate for Governor, Mark Schauer, selected his running mate this week. To no one's surprise, Schauer selected Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown.

Before her election as Clerk, the West Bloomfield resident represented central Oakland County for two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives. Before that, she worked both as an attorney and realtor.

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Music
11:59 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Heartbreaking opera classic comes to MSU

La Boheme opens tonight at 8 p.m. in the Fairchild Theatre at MSU.
Credit Flickr - Andrea Puggioni


MSU Opera Theater perform’s Giacomo Puccini’s "La Boheme" this weekend at Fairchild Theatre. Current State’s Peter Whorf spoke with director Melanie Helton and music director Daniel Beckwith, and the three are also joined by cast members for WKAR studio performances.

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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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Music
11:51 am
Fri April 4, 2014

LIVE MUSIC: Lansing's Wisaal

From L to R, members of Wisaal are: Mike List, Ty Forquer, Tim Patterson, Ben Fuhrman, Igor Houwat and Will Cicola.
Credit WKAR/Joe Linstroth

Current State's Live Music Friday series features Wisaal, an East Lansing-based band that combines Eastern and Western musical styles to form a sound that’s all their own. Wisaal is made up of members Ben Fuhrman on mandolin, Igor Houwat on oud, Will Cicola on clarinet, Tim Patterson on bass, and Ty Forquer and Mike List on percussion.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:01 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Current State #289 | April 3, 2014

Today on Current State: Rochester Hills mayor Bryan Barnett running for congress in the 8th district; MSU Museum exhibition 'Turtles in Trouble'; corn waste yields feed and fuel; a book review of Matthew Quick's "The Good Luck of Right Now"; and Michigan's trail system.

Politics & Government
12:56 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Enthusiasm for public service drives mayor in run for Rogers' seat

Barnett says he brings a unique perspective as a mayor 'who has seen what effective leadership can do and how it can deliver results.'
Credit https://www.rochesterhills.org/

In fewer than 24-hours, the race for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District picked up two new candidates. Both are Oakland County Republicans. 

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