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
2:02 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Michigan State Bar seeks end to 'dark money' in judicial elections

The Michigan Bar Association is trying remove so-called 'dark money' political ads from the airwaves.
Credit flickr/Keith Burtis

In election seasons, so-called “issue ads” have become a predictable feature of the media landscape.  Issue ads don’t mention a candidate.  Instead, they promote or attack an issue.  Because the ads are not about candidates, the groups paying for them aren’t subject to the same disclosure requirements as candidate ads.  

“Issue ads” have flooded judicial elections with many millions of dollars from unidentifiable sources.  Critics say it’s impossible to know a judge is impartial in the courtroom if it’s not clear WHO helped elect them.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:00 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Ten Pound Fiddle kicks off new season with favorite Claudia Schmidt

Credit flickr/PhotoPhiend

East Lansing has long been a hotbed for folk music. The city is home to the Great Lakes Folk Festival every year, and for 39 years, Ten Pound Fiddle has brought great music to town.

Sally Potter books concerts for Ten Pound Fiddle. The season starts tonight with Claudia Schmidt and Dean McGraw at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Grove Street, starting at 8 p.m.

Current State's Scott Pohl talked with her about the plans for this year.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:57 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

MSU Community Music School celebrates 20 years of music education

The Michigan State University Community Music School celebrates its 20th anniversary this month.
Credit WKAR File Photo

The MSU Community Music School is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this month.  We're joined by the school's executive director and associate dean for outreach and engagement, Rhonda Buckley. Also joining the conversation is of the school's bassoonist, Andrea Worful.

And live music throughout the show was provided by CMS performers Andrea Worful (bassoon), Cassandra Hibbard (clarinet), Maggie Gambill (flute), and Tess Miller (flute), Marissa Olin (flute). 

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:51 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

WKAR’s Jeanie Croope bids adieu

WKAR TV Host and Communications Manager Jeanie Croope is retiring after 32 years of faithful service. Thanks for the memories, Jeanie. We'll miss you.
Credit WKAR File Photo

We’re taking a moment today to bid adieu to a member of our WKAR family that many of you have come to know and love over the years. 

Jeanie Croope has been one of our TV hosts for years during broadcast specials and fundraisers.  She's also WKAR's communications manager, and she's retiring after 32 years of service.

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Radio Made in Michigan
4:21 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Current State #157 | September 12, 2013

Today on Current State: a GOP advisor addresses Tea Party criticism; the Lansing Symphony Orchestra season opener; a pioneering teacher explains the World Peace game and MSU jazz musician Etienne Charles goes 'Creole Soul' searching.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:39 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Michigan GOP advisor addresses inter-party tension

The division between Republicans like Governor Rick Snyder and the GOP’s Tea Party wing, have grown more noticeable recently. Last month, Wes Nakagiri of the Tea Party group 'Retake Our Gov' told WKAR-TV’s Tim Skubick that he supports a challenge to Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley at next year’s GOP convention.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Republicans in Michigan and around the country are locked in an intense debate over the party’s direction and priorities.   

 

Recently, internal tensions affecting the party encourage state Democrats over their election prospects in 2014.  Last week, the party leaked a memo describing the Michigan GOP as “coming apart at the seams.”  

 

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:37 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Percussion concerto starts LSO season off with a 'strike'

Credit Wikimedia Commons

    

The Lansing Symphony Orchestra’s first MasterWorks concert is Friday night at Wharton Center. It features music of Dvorak and Enescu and a modern percussion concerto by Jennifer Higdon.

 

WKAR’s Melissa Benmark spoke with conductor Timothy Muffitt about the concert.

 

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:22 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Pioneering teacher steers fourth-graders to solve world's problems

 

Imagine if we could solve all the world’s problems in a few weeks—global warming, famine, diseases, ethnic tensions—all resolved. Sounds impossible, right? Well, apparently it’s not -- at least, not for John Hunter’s students.

Over 30 years ago, the Virginia-based teacher created the World Peace Game. To play, students take on the role of world leaders and are charged with solving 50 interlocking problems. Students win if they fix all 50 crises and every country's asset value increases.

Hunter has written a book and given a Ted Talk about The World Peace Game. He and his students were also featured in the 2010 documentary World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements.  Hunter spoke on Wednesday for the Residential College of Arts and Humanities Wednesday Night Live Series.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:19 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

MSU jazz artist Etienne Charles does some 'Creole Soul' searching

Etienne Charles' new album, 'Creole Soul' is a mix of folk, jazz, calypso, reggae, Haitian voodoo music and more.
Credit Courtesy MSU School of Music

 This summer, MSU assistant professor Etienne Charles debuted his fourth album, called "Creole Soul." It’s received favorable reviews from The New York Times and NPR, and spent some time high up on the jazz charts. Charles, who is also one of the MSU Professors of Jazz, will be playing some of his music at the Broad Art Museum on Thursday night.

 

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:55 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Current State #156 | September 11, 2013

Today on Current State:  new hotel developments are coming to Lansing Township; Michigan firefighters struggle with funding cuts and health care issues; Neighbors in Action highlights the Women's Center of Greater Lansing; youth adult author Holly Black on her new vampire novel, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" followed by Scott Southard's review of Ms. Black's book.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:54 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Lansing Township planner defends commercial growth

Credit WKAR File Photo

Lansing Township’s Eastwood development continues to grow.  Township officials recently gave the green light to Lansing developer Mike Eyde to build a $10 million Fairfield Inn and Suites near U.S. 127 and Lake Lansing Road.   It’s slated to open in 2015.  The Fairfield will follow the scheduled opening of a nearby Hyatt Place hotel.  It would make five hotels in the vicinity of Eastwood.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:52 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Michigan firefighters weather budget cuts, seek better health care

Mark Docherty is the president of the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union, which represents some 5,000 firefighters in 130 municipalities. The union is pushing for legislation that would provide a 'cancer presumption' that would cover firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer that are presumed to be the result of exposure to hazardous substances.
Credit Kevin Lavery / WKAR

Today is September 11.  It’s been 12 years since the horrible events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania that saw nearly 3,000 people die at the hands of terrorists.  As Americans, we still feel unsettling emotions at the mere mention of the term “Nine-Eleven.”  

We remember with pride, however, the selfless bravery of  our first responders who rushed into harm’s way to save lives.  While we still hold police and firefighters in high regard, those professions have weathered their share of hardships in the years since.  

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:51 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Neighbors in Action: Women's Center of Greater Lansing

Credit Courtesy Women's Center of Greater Lansing

Our Neighbors in Action segment features people and organizations working to make our community a better place. This week, we feature the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing. The non-profit offers a variety of services including counseling, employment assistance, even auto maintenance classes for women in the Lansing area.   

Current State speaks with executive director Cindie Alwood.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:40 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

YA author Holly Black dishes on new vampire novel, answers fans' questions

Young Adult genre author Holly Black will visit Lansing this week. Current State spoke with her about her new novel, 'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.'
Credit Courtesy amazon.com

The trend of teen novels transporting their readers to fantasy worlds filled with vampires, fairies and monsters is relevant once again this month with the release of a new book called The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, written by Holly Black, who will be visiting Lansing this week.

Black, who’s most famous for co-writing The Spiderwick Chronicles series, reveals her fear of zombies and answers questions from local fans from Okemos High School. 

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:36 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Book review: Holly Black's 'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown'

Our book reviewer Scott Southard deconstructs 'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown' by Holly Black.
Credit Courtesy amazon.com

I have never understood the whole vampire thing (and that’s apart from my personal distaste of them). If an alien was to rocket past our planet and spy just a fraction of our entertainment, they would think we were taken over by the undead.  They are everywhere—books, TV, movies—you can’t escape them and it seems a lot of us wouldn’t want to anyway.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:10 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Current State #155 | September 10, 2013

Today on Current State: MSU Board of Trustee candidate Melanie Foster on professor scandal; our "Detroit Water Renaissance" series continues with a look at the walleye industry; a Great Lakes Week 2013 update; the impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:08 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

MSU board candidate reacts to Penn saga

MSU trustee candidate Melanie Foster says the Professor Penn saga has nothing to do with politics, but about bullying in classroom.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Melanie Foster has served on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees on two separate occasions.  Last week, the former business owner announced she wants to serve again.

 

We spoke with Foster about her candidacy and her reaction to the recent removal of MSU professor William Penn.

 

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:02 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Detroit’s Water Renaissance: Walleye fishing industry nets millions for local economy

Lance Valentine, owner of Walleye 101, shows off his catch.
Credit Judi Smelser

Water attracted early settlers to Detroit and water fueled its growth. Now it’s an important asset to the city’s recovery. We continue to explore the challenges and opportunities for Detroit’s waterfront in our series "Detroit’s Water Renaissance."

So far we’ve looked at daylighting streams and rebuilding shorelines. Today, we explore the Detroit River’s fishing industry.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:59 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Great Lakes Week conference stresses lake level, watershed access

One of the topics under discussion at the Great Lakes Conference was that of Waukesha, Wisconsin, a city outside of the Great Lakes basin that says they need water diverted from the lakes because their wells are contaminated by radium.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

    

Organizations from across the Great Lakes region are converging in Milwaukee for Great Lakes Week. Great Lakes journalist and commentator Gary Wilson is at this year’s conference. Wilson says two of the major issues are low lake levels and water divergence.

 

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:57 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Michigan business spokesman shares fears on ACA

 

Michigan business owners continue efforts to understand their responsibilities ahead of the launch of the Federal Affordable Care Act.  A few weeks ago, Current State spoke with Rob Fowler, CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, who talked about the challenges business owners are facing.  He said many of his members are struggling.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:48 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Remembering the American victory at the Battle of Lake Erie

A huge boat building effort was made in Detroit before the Battle of Lake Erie, according to MSU historian Roger Rosentreter.
Credit dartmouth.edu

 

For the United States, the War of 1812 took a turn for the better on this date 200 years ago. American naval forces defeated the British in The Battle of Lake Erie. The victory secured the lake and ensured that Michigan and Ohio would remain the sovereign territory of the U.S.A.

Current State’s Scott Pohl talked with MSU historian Roger Rosentreter about the Battle of Lake Erie.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:48 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Current State #154 | September 9, 2013

Today on Current State: a discussion on civility versus academic freedom in the wake of the removal of MSU professor William Penn; the impact of the sequester on academic research funding; "Welcome to Flint" shows the beauty and tragedy of Flint in photos and Current Sports host Al Martin talks about the MSU Spartans' dull offense.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:47 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

MSU professor stresses importance of due process in Penn affair

The John A. Hannah Administration Building at Michigan State University.
Credit WKAR File Photo

Highly controversial comments made recently by a Michigan State University professor continue to be a topic of discussion both locally and beyond.  

Last week, creative writing professor William Penn sparked an intense backlash after a video surfaced of him suggesting Republicans had “raped the country” and included many closet racists.  A student attending the lecture told MLive.com that Penn also denigrated Christians and athletes.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:46 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Photographers capture the beauty and the misery of Flint

Juan Madrid

Flint: the most violent city in the nation, a failed city, an urban wasteland.  These are the headlines that have defined Flint, but they don’t tell the whole story.

“Welcome to Flint,” is a collaborative project by photographers Juan Madrid and Brett Carlsen.

The two New York-based artists travel on and off to Michigan, trying to capture the city of Flint. Current State’s Emanuele Berry spoke to the pair about their project.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:46 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Evidence of sequestration effects appears in MSU research labs

Recent reports indicate federal spending cuts are forcing some U.S. researchers to consider moving their projects overseas.
Credit WKAR File Photo

Last March, the federal government enacted an $85 billion spending cut known as the "sequester."  It's taken some time to assess the effects of these cuts, but as the federal fiscal year comes to a close on September 30, new budgets are reflecting spending decreases.

The cuts are having an effect on scientific research.  Reports have documented laboratory closings and layoffs, and one significant study showed one-fifth of U.S. scientists have contemplated moving overseas because of the decline in funding.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:45 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

MSU offense struggles to get going against South Florida

The season is still young, but so far, the Spartan defense is outperforming its offense when it comes to putting points on the scoreboard.
Credit WKAR File Photo

The Michigan State University Spartans clinched a 21 to 6 victory over the University of South Florida in East Lansing Saturday.  The MSU offense scored only one drive in the game; the rest of the scoring was handled by the defensive squad.  Mark Bashore talks with Current Sports host Al Martin about the game, which saw three different MSU quarterbacks turn in lackluster performances.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:44 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Current State #153 | September 6, 2013

Today on Current State: China expert Tom Watkins on Gov. Rick Snyder's investment trip to Asia; Edgewood Village opens a new "network center;" author Gordon Young on his book "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City;" a Dearborn Heights fast food restaurant bucks the minimum wage trend and a preview of the fall film season.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:43 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

China expert analyzes Snyder's foreign investment mission

Gov. Rick Snyder is on a nine-day foreign investment mission to China and Japan.
Credit Flickr/fritzmb

According to Governor Rick Snyder’s office, in 2012 Michigan companies exported 22 percent more goods and materials to China than during the previous year.  Chinese foreign investment reached $1 billion.

Such numbers make clear why Governor Snyder on Wednesday left for China and Japan on a nine-day investment mission. This is the governor’s third trip to Asia since taking office, illustrating his commitment to bringing more direct foreign investment into the state.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:42 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Historic housing complex adds new 'network center'

Edgewood Village in East Lansing was founded more than 40 years ago to offer amenities not normally associated with public housing. Now, the facility is opening a new 'network center.'
Credit Courtesy Greater Lansing Housing Coalition

One of the Lansing area’s most historic and vital housing communities continues to evolve and grow, more than 40 years after it was conceived.

East Lansing’s Edgewood Village is the site of 135 apartments and townhouses for low and moderate-income residents, the physically impaired and the elderly.  It includes common areas, a computer lab---amenities and other services not often associated with low-income, publicly funded housing.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:42 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

'Teardown' author reflects on his work after Detroit bankruptcy

Gordon Young is the author of 'Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City.'
Credit WKAR File Photo

Back in June, we heard from author Gordon Young. His book about Flint, called “Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City,” had just been published. Gordon Young is back in East Lansing today to do a Brown Bag presentation for Our Daily Work, Our Daily Lives,  a multi-faceted project run by the Michigan Traditional Arts program at the MSU Museum, and by MSU’s School of Labor and Industrial Relations.

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