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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Radio Made in Michigan
11:39 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Current State #493 | March 10, 2015

Today on Current State: Efforts to prevent Ferguson-like disturbances in Michigan; Michigan products head to South by Southwest; the Michigan Seafood Summit; and an MSU retiree prepares to hike the Continental Divide for charity.

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Community
11:37 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Michigan’s ALPACTs work behind the scenes to prevent Ferguson-style conflict

Last week, two key events in the arena of civil rights took place within days of each other, though one received much more attention than the other. On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a stinging report on the practices of the Ferguson, Missouri police department. Three days before, a presidential task force submitted a report offering recommendations for building trust between communities and the police. Here in Michigan, a sustained effort to create that sense of trust has been quietly underway for years.

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Economy
11:31 am
Tue March 10, 2015

SXSW to showcase Michigan’s creative economy

Tens of thousands of music and movie fans will descend on Austin, Texas next week for the South by Southwest festival. The festival’s line up features a number of Michigan musicians, but they won’t be the only ones representing the Mitten state. Joining them will be a team from the arts advocacy group Creative Many, formerly ArtServe.

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Business
11:27 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Seafood Summit explores future of Michigan aquaculture

You might not guess that Michigan is a haven for seafood, since we’re so far from the ocean,  but Michigan has long had thriving commercial fisheries, and aquaculture of fish and shrimp has grown by leaps and bounds in the last thirty years. So, what does the future hold for the state’s seafood industry? That’s the focus of the first annual Michigan Seafood Summit taking place tomorrow at MSU’s Kellogg Conference Center.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
11:22 am
Tue March 10, 2015

MSU retiree to hike Continental Divide for youth charity

Ken Dawson
Credit http://www.cdtjourneyforthekids.com/

Like thousands of Michigan baby-boomers, Ken Dawson is planning to retire soon. Dawson has spent six years at Michigan State University, most recently as a project representative in the school’s Infrastructure, Planning and Facilities Department. Unlike many of those retiring boomers, he will soon be embarking on a challenging adventure. Beginning in about a month, the Farmington Hills resident will begin a 3,100 mile hike atop the spine of North America: the Continental Divide.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:48 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Current State #492 | March 6, 2015

Today on Current State: A dispute over a proposed charter school in Brighton leads to an arrest; the Michigan roots of the office cubicle; riding bicycles on a frozen Lake Superior; and Live Music Friday with Hatchet Man and The Frog.

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Education
12:44 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Brighton charter school flap demonstrates public-private tension

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Last weekend in Brighton, Michigan, an opponent of a proposed charter school in that community was arrested. His infraction was his refusal to leave an  “invitation only” meeting involving charter school supporters. Michigan charter schools receive public funding amounting to  nearly $1-billion a year and are subject to oversight by the Michigan Department of Education. Glenn Ikens insists that as a Brighton resident and a taxpayer, it entitles him to attend such meetings.

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Business
12:40 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

The cubicle wasn’t designed to make you miserable

Credit Flickr - Katy Warner

The cubicle gets a pretty bad rap. The boxy workspace has become almost synonymous with isolation and corporate drudgery. But that’s not what its creator Robert Probst intended when he launched his innovative “Action Office” design in 1964.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
12:37 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

On Lake Superior, a different kind of “ice-cycle”

The North Coast Cycling Association will hold its Bike Across Water race this weekend on Lake Superior.
Courtesy - John Murphy

Most Midwesterners are ready to thaw out after this cold and snowy winter. It's pretty exciting to see above 40 degree temperatures forecasted for next week. But there’s one group of people who aren’t ready to say goodbye to the ice and snow just yet: the North Coast Cycling Association in Bayfield, Wisconsin. They rely on a frozen Lake Superior for their Saturday trips to Madeline Island.

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Arts & Culture
12:19 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Hatchet Man and The Frog

Hatchet Man is Dave Matchette (right), and Frog is S.J. Forgey.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Our Live Music Friday guests today are Hatchet Man and the Frog. Hatchet Man is Dave Matchette, and the Frog is S.J. Forgey. You know them from their local bands Frog and the Beeftones and The Uptown Band. Both of them work at Elderly Instruments in Lansing.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:26 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Current State #491 | March 5, 2015

Today on Current State: Michigan's future energy needs; incivility in social media; a Lansing program to make homes healthier and more energy efficient; a preview of Saturday's LSO concert; and Scott D. Southard reviews Emma Hooper's "Etta and Otto and Russell and James".

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Economy
12:21 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

MI utilities prepare for expected energy shortage

Credit WKAR File Photo

Later this month, Governor Rick Snyder is expected to deliver a special message outlining Michigan’s energy production goals. The Michigan Public Service Commission says the state will experience an energy shortfall as soon as next year, largely due to the planned retirement of nine coal-fired power plants in Michigan in the coming years.

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Community
12:11 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Is social media making us meaner?

Rex LaMore (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore
Credit April Van Buren/WKAR

Online comment sections are rarely friendly places, especially if they have anything to do with politics. What starts as a debate quickly devolves into name calling and personal attacks. So, what is it about the Internet that seems to bring out our rudeness, and is it possible for online spaces to foster collaboration or civic engagement instead of bickering? Those are some of the topics being discussed at an upcoming forum hosted by MSU’s Center for Community and Economic Development.

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Health
12:03 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

New Lansing program seeks greener, healthier homes

Hector Moreno (center) instructs Lansing-area assessors on the types of environmental and health hazards they may encounter in their work in the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative. Moreno is an environmental assessor with the national GHHI office in Baltimore, Maryland.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Anyone who’s ever bought or lived in an older home knows there is always something to fix. In an ideal situation, it’s a patch here, some paint there, but older homes are sometimes plagued with environmental problems that can threaten the health of their occupants. These issues run the gamut from lead paint chips to mold to leaky stoves and furnaces. A new program in Lansing is now training assessors to not only document those defects, but to help improve residents’ health.

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Arts & Culture
11:58 am
Thu March 5, 2015

LSO concert debuts new work by local composer

LSO Music Director Timothy Muffitt. The 'Masterworks 5: Enigma Variations' concert with guest artist Richard Sherman on flute is at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Cobb Great Hall of MSU's Wharton Center.
Credit Courtesy Lansing Symphony Orchestra

The Lansing Symphony performs music by Mozart, Elgar and local composer Marjan Helms at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Wharton Center. Before the concert, WKAR classical music host Jody Knol will talk with Helms, who’s work “7 Ascents for Flute and Orchestra” will be performed. That PreView conversation is at 7:15 p.m. Saturday in the Jackson National Lounge.

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Arts & Culture
11:45 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Book Review: Emma Hooper's "Etta and Otto and Russell and James"

Life is a wondrous bit of magical happenstance. Sadly, we usually forget that fact in the mundanity of it. We go from day to day lost in worries about jobs, family, and the future. Hours and days slip by one after another with little thought or memory attached to them.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:54 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Current State #490 | March 4, 2015

Today on Current State: State Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge); a preview of tonight's TEDxMSU; Neighbors in Action: Autism Spectrum Partners Providing Instruction, Recreation, and Enrichment (ASPPIRE); and jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein.

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Politics & Government
11:48 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Sen. Jones on animal cruelty, religious freedom measures

Sen. Rick Jones (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

In January, a Lansing woman, accompanied by her two children, made a grisly discovery at the Rose Lake Wildlife Research Area, not far from East Lansing. According to the Lansing City Pulse, the three, who were on a mid-winter walk, came across the frozen body of a dog, which appeared to have been abandoned inside a small kennel in dangerously cold temperatures. According to the story, Bath Township Police are investigating the incident. They say it appears to be a case of animal cruelty, a felony in Michigan punishable by up to four years in prison.

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Education
11:44 am
Wed March 4, 2015

TEDxMSU brings student focus to storytelling series

Another TEDx event is on tap tonight in East Lansing. For tonight's TEDxMSU, MSU students have played a lead role in organizing the storytelling event, and many of the speakers are also scheduled to be students. It’s at 6 p.m. in the Cobb Great Hall of MSU’s Wharton Center.

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Community
11:38 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Neighbors in Action: Autism Spectrum Partners Providing Instruction, Recreation, and Enrichment

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 learn about a non-profit working to help young adults on the autism spectrum develop better social skills. Current State talks with the executive director of Autism Spectrum Partners Providing Instruction, Recreation, and Enrichment (ASPPIRE), executive director Bob Steinkamp, and program alum and current office manager and peer mentor Aileen Hecht.

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Arts & Culture
11:36 am
Wed March 4, 2015

NYC jazz guitarist teaches, performs at MSU

Credit Courtesy - MSU College of Music

The MSU Federal Credit Union Jazz Artist in Residence program with the MSU College of Music has another feature artist working with students on campus this week. Current State talks with guitarist Peter Bernstein of New York City.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:54 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Current State #489 | March 3, 2015

Today on Current State: A ride on a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker; Chinese advertising art comes to MSU; the possible threat posed by microplastics; and kids helping adults improve their English language skills in Okemos.

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Economy
12:45 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers keep commerce flowing

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Neah Bay (WTGB-105) at port in Algonac, Michigan. The boat was built in 1979. It's one of several icebreakers that operate each winter on the Great Lakes.
Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Winter is still holding a firm grasp on Michigan and much of the country. In a state surrounded by fresh water, it’s imperative that the Great Lakes and the rivers which feed them are kept open for commerce. That’s the job of the United States Coast Guard, which operates several icebreaking ships on the lakes.

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Arts & Culture
12:27 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

"Seeing Differently" through Chinese advertising art

The 'Seeing Differently' exhibit at MSU includes works from the self portrait series of Wei Da, a student at Shanghai Normal University.

A new art exhibition on the MSU campus has brought works done by top advertising students from China to East Lansing. The exhibition is called “Seeing Differently: Solving Communication Problems From Two Sides of the World”, and the art includes some interesting works. It’s here on the ground floor of the MSU Communication Arts Building for the next three months.

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Environment
12:25 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

UM researcher says microplastics could threaten Great Lakes fish

University of Michigan researcher Melissa Duhaime
Credit http://www-personal.umich.edu/

Take a look in your medicine cabinet or your shower and you’re likely to find microbeads. Those are the small plastic spheres used as exfoliants in products like face wash or toothpaste. The tiny beads have been big news since scientists found them showing up in the Great Lakes several years ago. Last week, Michigan became the latest state to introduce legislation that would ban products containing microbeads.

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Education
12:19 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Okemos kids help adult English language learners

Kids in Okemos are helping adults improve their English language skills.
Credit WKAR/Peter Whorf

For more than three decades, Lansing area elementary public schools have broadened student’s worlds by teaming with adults from around the globe. The greater Lansing area has a huge international community, with more than 100 countries represented on the MSU campus alone. Many of those people want to improve their English skills, and for many different reasons.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:04 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Current State #488 | March 2, 2015

Today on Current State: The recent FCC ruling on net neutrality; a preview of this week's Suren Bagratuni concert with Ralph Votapek; part two of our "Voices of Experience" conversation with former Cong. Joe Schwarz; and Detroit News sportswriter Lynn Henning on the Detroit Tigers in spring training.

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Science & Technology
12:56 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

In wake of FCC ruling, MSU researchers launch net neutrality study

MSU Professors Steve Wildman (center) and Johannes Bauer (right) with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission enacted historic new rules governing broadband technology. The FCC moved to reclassify internet service providers under Title Two of the Telecommunications Act, an 80-year-old law originally written to regulate telephone companies. Democrats hailed the decision as a victory for open access to the Internet, and a means to prevent so-called “fast lanes” for those who could afford to pay for quicker service. Some Republicans criticized the move as increased government control over the Internet.

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Arts & Culture
12:52 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Bagratuni, Votapek collaborate on variations, sonatas

Suren Bagratuni and Ralph Votapek perform together on Thursday.
Credit Courtesy - MSU College of Music

This Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the MSU College of Music’s Cook Recital Hall, cellist Suren Bagratuni and pianist Ralph Votapek collaborate for a performance of four works. The duo will play sonatas by Benjamin Britten and Johannes Brahms, and variations by Beethoven and Martinu.

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Politics & Government
12:47 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Voices of Experience: Joe Schwarz reflects on a life of service

Former Cong. Joe Schwarz
Credit http://fordschool.umich.edu/

Last Thursday, Current State aired part of an interview with former Congressman Joe Schwarz of Battle Creek. Dr. Schwarz, who is a physician and head and neck surgeon, represented Michigan’s 7th district in 2005 and 2006. That discussion focused on his political and medical careers, and his service in southeast Asia, which included service as a surgeon during the Vietnam War and then as a CIA operative. Schwarz has never returned to that part of the world in the 40-plus years since those experiences.

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