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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Environment
12:42 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

MSU Museum looks at 'Turtles in Trouble'

The exhibit runs through Sept. 21 in the MSU Museum's Art-Science-Creativity Gallery.
Credit Flickr - Alexandra MacKenzie

A new exhibit at the MSU Museum focuses on the plight of turtles around the world. “Turtles in Trouble” is meant to boost awareness of the impact humans have on turtles populations worldwide.

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Science & Technology
12:39 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Aw, shucks: Corn waste yields feed and fuel

MBI employee Laurel Hills inspects a tub of corn stover used in the AFEX project. It's a process by which leftover corn residue, or stover, is treated with ammonia and heat to release sugars. The end product makes a good feedstock for cattle as well as a promising biofuel.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Spring planting season for corn in Michigan is still at least a month away, but scientists who study the crop’s amazing versatility want you to cast your vote for a “home-grown” project. The Michigan Biotechnology Institute, or MBI, is developing a process that seeks to get more use out of the leftover  residue of the plant that’s not fit for human consumption.

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Arts & Culture
12:32 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Book Review: Matthew Quick's 'The Good Luck of Right Now'

Credit HarperCollins

Believing in a destiny can be very addicting. It can add security, and maybe even help the world feel like less of a harsh place. But how do you tell the difference between destiny, luck and just the pure happenstance of living? In Matthew Quick’s new novel “The Good Luck of Right Now” he takes on this question through the character of Bartholomew Neil.

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Politics & Government
12:18 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Come trail away: State looks at adding trains system to Pure Michigan campaign

The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance works on more than 2,700 miles on trails in the state.
Credit Flickr - Randen Pederson


The Pure Michigan brand has brought attention to the state’s lakes, breweries and museums. Some are hoping that the Pure Michigan designation may bring the same attention to the state’s trail systems. Recently, a five bill package was introduced to lawmakers that would promote a “Pure Michigan Trail Network.” The bill would solidify trail standards and connect trail ways with communities.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:51 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Current State #288 | April 2, 2014

Today on Current State: the new Kids Count in Michigan report; a Public Poetry Announcement; mapping the Midwest; GM ignition failures; and the Michigan Minority Health Coalition.

Education
12:49 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Latest kids count: Michigan's numbers abysmal on child well-being

Jane Zehnder-Merrell says the percentage of African American children living in high poverty areas in Michigan is the highest in the nation, nearly 20 percent above the national average.
Credit Flickr - Deval Patrick

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its latest Kids Count Report yesterday that looks at child well-being across the country. For the first time, its researchers broke down the numbers across ethnic and racial groups and found disparities nationwide when it comes to how our children are faring.

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Arts & Culture
12:43 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Public Poetry Announcement: Jane Kenyon

Credit Flickr - Licorice Medusa

Current State contributor Stephanie Glazier reads "At the IGA: Franklin, New Hampshire", by Jane Kenyon.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
12:42 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

From Newfoundland to Georgia: trying to map the Midwest

Cartographer Bill Rankin compiled several maps of the Midwest into one image, finding that the definition of the Midwest is not necessarily as simple as one might think.
Credit Courtesy of www.hshm.yale.edu

If you live in Michigan, you live in the Midwest, right? Well, maybe not. While the U.S. Census Bureau defines the Midwest as a 12 state region between Ohio and North Dakota, many other organizations and individuals have their own definitions.

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Politics & Government
12:39 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Congress probes GM recall effort

GM's new CEO Mary Barra was included in Fortune's list of the Most Powerful Women in Business in 2013. Today, she will be giving a testimony before a Senate Panel about GM ignition switch failures.
Credit Courtesy of Fortune Live Media Flickr

General Motors has recalled 2.6-million vehicles for ignition switch failures, failures that are linked to at least 13 deaths. Considering the recent $1.2 billion dollar penalty levied against Toyota for that company’s problems related to sudden accelerations, dealing with the ignition switch problem could become very costly to the automaker.

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Health
12:36 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Neighbors in Action: Michigan Minority Health Coalition

Dr. Othelia Washington Pryor explains that in almost every category, the health outcomes for people of color are worse than whites, including infant mortality rates and diabetes.
Credit Flickr - World Bank Photo Collection


Today in our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place, we feature the Michigan Minority Health Coalition. It’s a statewide organization that works to improve the health of Michigan’s ethnic and racial minority populations.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:53 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Current State #287 | April 1, 2014

Today on Current State: the Michigan Corps Social Entrepreneurship Challenge; MSU launches a fund drive to save audiovisual archives; tar sands shipping on the Great Lakes; the Abrams Planetarium's 50th Anniversary; and East Lansing’s Moist Towelette Museum.

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Business
1:51 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Michigan social entrepreneurs seek profits and change

This year, Michigan Corps and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation are hosting their second competition for Michigan entrepreneurs.
Credit courtesy of michigancorps.org

Social entrepreneurship, where for-profit businesses seek to offer creative solutions to our society’s biggest needs, has become a rising trend across the country. Last year, Detroit was home to the nation’s first social entrepreneurship competition, which attracted more than $1-million in new investment for a diverse group of new businesses that focus on such issues as energy efficiency, affordable medical devices, and coffee roasting.

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History
1:48 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Preserving MSU's audiovisual history

MSU archivist Portia Vescio says many MSU interviews and sportscasts are in formats that are now obsolete. MSU is soliciting public donations to digitize those records.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR


The Michigan State Spartans had a great run through March Madness, making the Elite Eight. Coach Tom Izzo may want his team to watch the playback of Sunday’s game against the U-Conn Huskies for a little self-analysis. MSU has a lot of tapes like that and other sporting events, some of which pre-date World War II. However, those old film and video clips are falling apart over time. Now, MSU is asking the public for donations to digitize those records for posterity.

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Environment
1:45 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Recent spill triggers closer look at tar sands shipping on Great Lakes

Demonstrators gather in Chicago to protest the BP oil spill in Lake Michigan.
Credit Flickr - BobboSphere

Last week, as much as 1,600 gallons of oil spilled into Lake Michigan from the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, 20 miles from Chicago. After a week-long cleanup, authorities say they have found no further trace of spilled oil in the area. However, the political ramifications of the spill are likely to remain long after this incident. The BP refinery processes oil from tar sands found in Canada. Tar sands contain a thick petroleum that’s gaining popularity as a new energy source. New technology is making it easier to mine tar sands, but some worry that could increase the likelihood of more spills like the one last week.

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Science & Technology
1:42 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

For Golden Anniversary, Abrams reassembles original star projector

Courtesy of John French


This year MSU’s Abrams Planetarium is celebrating 50 years. To mark the milestone the Planetarium's original star projector is being resembled by one of the original staffers. Current State’s Emanuele Berry spoke with John Hare, who worked at Abrams nearly 50 years ago.

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Arts & Culture
1:39 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

'City of the Arts' boasts Musee du Towelette Humide

The oldest specimens in curator John French's Moist Towelette Museum are from 1963.
Credit WKAR/Joe Linstroth

Every year, thousands of people from around the state and elsewhere visit a museum in the Lansing area: the state of Michigan Historical Museum downtown perhaps, or the dynamic new Broad Art Museum in East Lansing are two that come to mind.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:12 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Current State # 286 | March 31, 2014

Today on Current State: Month in Review for March; National Geographic editor to visit MSU; e-cigarette regulation; and Failure:Lab at MSU.

Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Month in Review: March's biggest news stories

Rep. Mike Rogers recently stated that he will not seek reelection come November.
Credit Flickr - CSIS | Center for Strategic & International Studies

At the end of every calendar month, Current State hosts its regular reporter roundtable to review the biggest stories of that month. Current State looked back at the drop out of a shoe-in, the unresolved gay marriage issue, the bumps facing road funding and the contest for Attorney General in Michigan.

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Environment
12:03 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

National Geographic editor on photography, climate change

National Geographic editor Dennis Dimick will be speaking at MSU on Thursday, April 3.
Credit Flickr - poptech/John Santerre

While for some media outlets photography is taking a back seat, at National Geographic it continues to be a central part of the brand. The photos featured in the magazine not only take readers around the world, but they also help tell the story of our changing environment.

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Politics & Government
11:59 am
Mon March 31, 2014

E-cigarettes present new options, problems for lawmakers, smokers

E-cigarettes are gaining popularity among smokers.
Credit Flickr - Terry Ozon

One of the issues being considered at the state capitol in recent weeks is the regulation of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat up a liquified nicotine solution. That produces a vapor rather than the smoke from tobacco cigarettes. Users call this “vaping” as opposed to smoking.

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Arts & Culture
11:53 am
Mon March 31, 2014

MSU brings cathartic stories of failure to Wharton

MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis will be one of the speakers at Failure: Lab.
Credit www.msuspartans.com

Earlier this year Current State’s Emanuele Berry introduced listeners to Failure:Lab. The event asks presenters to share a story of failure with the world.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:26 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Current State #285 | March 28, 2014

Today on Current State: Cong. Mike Rogers' departure  triggers speculation among Dems, GOP; Healthy Michigan Plan begins enrolling low income residents next week; LSO to feature American composers Copland, Bernstein.

Politics & Government
12:24 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Who's next? Mike Rogers' departure triggers speculation among Dems, GOP

Ballenger says Cong. Rogers didn't seem to give much of a heads-up to members of his own party about his decision not to run for another term. The filing deadline to run for the seat is April 22nd.
Credit Flickr - CSIS | Center for Strategic & International Studies

Mike Rogers, U.S. representative of our 8th district in East Lansing, says he will not seek reelection after his term ends this year. He made the announcement official on a Detroit radio station, and said that he has been invited regularly to talk about national security issues on T.V. and radio.

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Health
12:18 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Healthy Michigan Plan begins enrolling low income residents next week

Healthy Michigan is expected to enroll 322,000 people by the end of 2014, and over 500,000 by the end of 2016.
Credit Flickr - Susan


Two notable developments related to health insurance take place in just a few days. Monday is the last day for Americans to sign up for coverage on healthcare.gov without incurring a penalty on their federal taxes next year. Healthcare.gov is the federal website functioning as an insurance exchange for 36 states, including Michigan. The next day, April 1st, is the first day close to a half-million low-income Michigan residents can enroll for coverage offered by the ‘Healthy Michigan’ plan.

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Music
12:11 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

LSO to feature American composers Copland, Bernstein

In Bernstein's 'Symphonic Dances from West Side Story', the composer sought to remove the pieces from the pit orchestra setting.
Credit Flickr - Greater Lansing Convention & Visitor's Bureau

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s next MasterWorks concert is Saturday night at Wharton Center. It features music from American composers Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:59 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Current State #284 | March 27, 2014

Today on Current State: 'Storming the Hill' to stem veteran suicides; Newly married gay couple from Lansing faces legal limbo with confidence; Director of noted English choir leads Grand Rapids ensemble. 

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Politics & Government
12:58 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

'Storming the Hill' to stem veteran suicides

Iraq war veteran Nick Cook now works to help Michigan veterans with access to benefits and other resources.
Credit stormthehill.org


All this week, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been in Washington D.C. to lobby for legislation aimed at reducing the numbers of veteran suicides.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
12:52 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Newly married gay couple from Lansing faces legal limbo with confidence

Greg McNeilly says that marriage is "too clumsy an entity to regulate the heart."
Credit Flickr - guccio


The lives of a Lansing couple took a profound and very public turn last weekend. After more than 12 years in a serious relationship, attorney Douglas Meeks and investment executive Greg McNeilly became one of Michigan’s first same sex couples to be legally married.

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Music
12:44 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Director of noted English choir leads Grand Rapids ensemble

Andrew Nethsingha of the St. John’s College Choir at Cambridge University is helping the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys prepare for two weekend concerts.
Credit Courtesy/Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys

An unusual choir of men and boys based in Grand Rapids will present a Lenten season program this Friday and Saturday at St. Andrews Cathedral in downtown Grand Rapids.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:59 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Current State #283 | March 26, 2014

Today on Current State: Revising standardized tests in Michigan; Verger's Dahomey photography at the MSU museum; and Michigan food and farming systems.

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