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.

Courtesy International Headlands Dark Sky Park

Looking for a spectacular view of the stars? Try heading out to one of the Michigan state parks staying open late this weekend for International Dark Sky Week.

If you live in the city, you might not look up at the night sky that often.

And even if you do, there’s probably not much to see beyond the rows of lit windows on tall buildings.

But at certain state parks this weekend, you can trade in the hazy glow of streetlights for a sky full of stars during International Dark Sky Week.

Courtesy Cascade Engineering

Cascade Engineering in Grand Rapids is hiring former inmates as a part of the Michigan initiative called "30-2-2," where 30 companies pledge to hire two former inmates and track their progress for two years.

Michigan leaders are having an ongoing discussion about prison reform in the state.  Among other things, they’re trying to cut soaring spending on state prisons, which currently runs at about $2 billion yearly.  

Courtesy Randy Napoleon / Facebook

MSU Jazz Studies professor Randy Napoleon is our Live Music Friday guest. He has a new CD called “Soon.” You can see him at Lansing’s Robin Theatre on April 29th.

Our Live Music Friday guest today is Randy Napoleon. He’s a professor of guitar in the MSU Jazz Studies Program. His new CD is called “Soon.” On the CD, he’s joined by Rodney Whitaker on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums.

Randy has a Lansing concert coming up at the Robin Theatre in REO Town on April 29th.

Today on Current State: the Michigan Environmental Council's James Clift on Enbridge Line 5; the Durufle Requiem; MSU carves out national landscaping title; a review of "My Name is Lucy Barton," by Elizabeth Strout and the 150th anniversary of the Grand Army of the Republic.

WKAR File Photo

Last year, the State of Michigan ordered a study of Enbridge Energy’s ‘Line 5,’ which carries up to 500,000 barrels of light crude and natural gas liquids daily under the Straits of Mackinac.  We talk with James Clift with the Michigan Environmental Council about the study and his concerns about Enbridge Energy's Line 5.

How safe are the oil and gas pipelines running beneath the Mackinac Straits?

For more than 60 years, hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and natural gas liquids have travelled through the lines daily without incident.

Wikimedia/Kennethaw88

When it comes to music, there is something to be said about perfectionism. Maurice Duruflé was a composer whose severe self-criticism allowed him to only publish 14 works during his lifetime. David Rayl with the MSU College of Music talks about preparing for one of these intricate masterpieces for a performance coming up this weekend: the Duruflé Requiem.

The MSU College of Music travels off-campus this Saturday for a concert at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lansing.  The venue was chosen because the musicians need one particular instrument for this concert: the organ.

team with giant check
Philippe Nobile

More than 60 colleges and universities from the U.S. and Canada compete in the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, also known as the “Landscape Olympics.”

This year, Michigan State University took home the national title.

Michigan State University brought home the national championship this year.

No, not in basketball.  In landscaping.

The MSU Student Horticulture Association landscape team competed at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, also known as the “Landscape Olympics” held at Mississippi State University.

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Have you ever loved a book so much that its characters felt like friends? Our book reviewer Scott Southard says that’s exactly the feeling you’ll get from Elizabeth Strout’s new novel “My Name is Lucy Barton.”

WKAR contributor Scott D. Southard gives his take on Elizabeth Strout’s new novel “My Name is Lucy Barton.”

Kevin Lavery, WKAR

The Grand Army of the Republic fought the Confederacy in the Civil War.  When the war was over, thousands of soldiers kept the name and formed their own fraternal organization.  The G.A.R. cared for veterans and their families decades before the creation of the Veterans Administration. 

On April 6, 1866 – 150 years ago this week – Union soldiers who’d fought in the Civil War came together to form one of the world’s first veterans organizations.

Today on Current State: Michigan's economy impacts voter allegiance; an exhibit in Lansing highlights the education of Helen Keller; Gateway Youth Services and the A2SO performs Holst's "The Planets."

Flickr/DonkeyHotey

Michigan’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in almost 15 years. But while the economy is on the upswing, not all Michigan workers are feeling the recovery. And that’s had an impact on political allegiances for both sides of the aisle.

Current State's Mark Bashore talks to Bridge Magazine reporters Ted Roelofs and Nancy Derringer about who the economic recovery isn’t reaching and how those workers have influenced the presidential primaries.

Mark Bashore, WKAR

Anne Sullivan, renowned teacher to Helen Keller, described her as “a child in a strange country.”

A new Library of Michigan exhibit of the same name explores the innovative tools and techniques that enabled Helen Keller to learn, not just how to communicate, but later about subjects including science, math and geography. 

Kevin Lavery, WKAR

The Greater Lansing area has many shelters and organizations to help the homeless.

But Gateway Youth Services is the only one for homeless and unaccompanied youth.

Current State’s Mark Bashore talks with Gateway Youth Services director Jennifer McMann and outreach coordinator Sophia Estrada Ferrera.

Flickr/Reflected Serendipity

He composed 8 operas, 4 ballets, music for 13 plays and many dozens of orchestral and vocal works.

But Gustav Holst is best known for a single masterpiece.

His seven- part suite, The Planets was completed 100 years ago.  The audio astrological tour has been a mainstay of the concert repertoire ever since.

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra performs the work this Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theatre.

It’s also a live broadcast on 90.5 Classical...and it’s streamed at wkar.org.

Today on Current State: the Detroit News' Nolan Finley on the fractured state of the GOP; helping trauma survivors through fashion; U-M study studies risks of oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac and the carillon at MSU's Beaumont Tower.

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