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
5:36 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Public Poetry Announcement: Paisley Rekdal

Credit Flickr/James P. Mann

Paisley Rekdal's "Happiness" is the featured Public Poetry Announcement read by Current State contributor Stephanie Glazier. 

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:16 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Muskegon's U.S.S. Silversides played key role in World War II

The U.S.S. Silversides saw a lot of combat in the Pacific during World War II. She's now permanently docked in Muskegon.
Credit Peter Whorf / WKAR

Today marks 68 years since the official Japanese surrender to the U.S. and the ending of World War II.

The submarine U.S.S. Silversides played an important role in the epic struggle in the Pacific.  From 1941 to 1945, the Silversides inflicted heavy losses on Japanese shipping.  The sub sank the third most tonnage of any submarine in the U.S. Navy.

The U.S.S. Silversides Submarine Museum  - and the sub itself – are now located in Muskegon, Michigan.

WKAR’s Peter Whorf joined Silversides docent Garry McKeen for a tour of the boat.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:23 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Current State #142 | August 14, 2013

Today on Current State: the debate over children's vaccinations; remembering the Northeast blackout of 2003; historic baseball plays out in Dearborn; our Neighbors in Action segment profiles Elder Law of Michigan and the return of the Renegade Theatre Festival.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:23 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Debating the pros and cons of childhood vaccinations

Data shows an increase in the number of Michigan children who are not getting their annual vaccinations.
Credit flickr/Sanofi Pasteur

Michigan health officials and physicians have launched an awareness-raising effort to get more young people vaccinated.  The move comes after data showing an increase in the number of Michigan parents choosing not to get their kids vaccinated.    Last year, more than 7,000 kindergartners alone in the state had some kind of vaccination waiver.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:22 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Remembering the Northeast Blackout of 2003

The Northeast Blackout on August 14, 2003 affected some 55 million people in the U.S. and Canada.
Credit flickr/Erin M

About 250 miles southeast of WKAR's studio in East Lansing is the town of Eastlake, Ohio.  Ten years ago, an electric generation plant in that small Cleveland suburb went offline, triggering the largest power outage in U.S. history.  The Northeast Blackout of 2003 affected 10 million people in Canada and 45 million Americans.  Here in Michigan, more than two million homes and businesses went dark, mostly in metro Detroit.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:22 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Dearborn hosts World Tournament of Historic Baseball

Dearborn recently played host to the World Tournament of Historic Baseball.
Credit Peter Whorf / WKAR

Dearborn’s Greenfield Village recently played host to the World Tournament of Historic Baseball.  WKAR’s Peter Whorf spoke with championship team member Michael Ossy about baseball in the 1860's.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:21 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

NIA: Elder Law of Michigan, Inc.

Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. is a nonprofit organization advocating for the rights of vulnerable adults.
Credit flickr/Sheba_Also

Our Neighbors in Action segment features Elder Law of Michigan, Inc.  It's a nonprofit charitable organization that promotes, protects and advocates for the rights, health, housing and economic well-being of vulnerable adults.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:21 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Renegade Theater Festival begins Thursday in Lansing's Old Town

The eighth edition of the Renegade Theatre Festival begins Thursday in Old Town Lansing.
Credit flickr/Tim Green

The eighth edition of the Renegade Theatre Festival in Old Town Lansing starts Thursday. Events are planned at several locations over three days, with a number of local theater companies taking part.

Joining us today for a preview are organizers Chad Badgero and Melissa Kaplan. Chad is the founder and artistic director of Lansing’s Peppermint Creek Theatre Company; Melissa is the performing arts coordinator at Lansing Community College.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:04 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Current State #141 | August 13, 2013

Today on Current State:  Michiganders look to increase recycling rates; an update on the wolf hunting debate; an interview with and review of a local author’s new book and a father and son discuss their emotional WWII memorial trip.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:04 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Michigan's recycling rate is lowest in Great Lakes region

Michigan's recycling rate is the lowest among the Great Lake States.
Credit Wikimedia commons

At 20 percent, Michigan's recycling rate is 10 percent lower than the regional average.  Many people around the state are hoping to change that.  In 2012, Governor Rick Snyder identified increasing Michigan's recycling rates as a priority for his administration.  Michigan Recycling Coalition executive director Kerrin O'Brien discusses what a comprehensive recycling plan might include. 

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:00 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Local author explores relationships, dreams and goals with 'The Life List'.

Fox 2000 recently purchased the film option for "The Life List".
Credit http://lorinelsonspielman.com

A new book by mid-Michigan author Lori Nelson Spielman is getting some buzz. "The Life List" is a novel that explores the relationship between a mother and daughter, and taps into the dreams and goals we have in our youth that somehow got lost with time. Spielman spoke with WKAR's Melissa Benmark about how her career as a homebound teacher started to lead her down the road to writing.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:59 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Book Review: Lori Nelson Speilman’s ‘The Life List’

Foreign rights to “The Life List” have sold in Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, France, China, Brazil, Israel, Poland, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Russia, and Bulgaria.
Credit http://lorinelsonspielman.com

I never liked the book description, “women’s fiction.”

It is the literary equivalent of the pink aisle in toy stores, no boys allowed. The funny thing is I have yet to see a book described as men’s fiction, but I am assuming it would involve fast cars, loose women and a lot of laser guns.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:56 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Father and son make World War II memorial trip

The World War II Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the final resting place of 8,301 American soldiers.
Credit Wikimedia commons

U.S. Army Private Grover Plaunt died in Germany, a month before the end of World War II.  That was April 12, 1945.  He was laid to rest in a military cemetery in The Netherlands. 

Last week, two of Private Plaunt’s descendants:  his son Joe of Muskegon, and Joe’s son Randy, became the first relatives ever to visit his grave in a military cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:23 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

GLFF acting director Lora Helou reflects on festival's impact

Great Lakes Folk Festival acting director Lora Helou has been involved with the annual event for 13 years.
Credit Courtesy Michigan State University

For 13 years, our first guest this evening has played a role in the Great Lakes Folk Festival.  Today, Lora Helou is the festival's acting director, and to those of us in the media, she’s been the “go-to” person regarding this event. She offers an overview of the weekend's festivities. 

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:23 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Local folk artist Joel Mabus talks about his music

Mid-Michigan folk artist Joel Mabus
Credit Courtesy of joelmabus.com

The music schedule at the Great Lakes Folk Festival features several Michigan acts this year. They include the swing dance music of Paulette Brockington of Highland Park and the Cuban/Caribbean music of Tumbao Bravo out of Ann Arbor.  Artist Joel Mabus is a long-time local favorite.  He stopped by the Current State tent to catch us up on his music.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:22 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

A master of metal molds an apprentice of his art

Tim Higgins (left) and Sam Pettersen are metalsmiths who've worked together for the past year through the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program
Kevin Lavery WKAR

Among the dozens of people plying their crafts here at the Great Lakes Folk Festival weekend are members of the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.  For 26 years, the Michigan State University Museum has supported master artists and their apprentices who keep our state’s artistic traditions alive. There are nine master and apprentice teams at this year’s festival.  Current State’s Kevin Lavery met one pair in a small mid-Michigan town who are turning scrap into sculpture.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:22 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

A chat with local folk aficionado Bob Blackman

Bob Blackman (right) hosted "The Folk Tradition" on WKAR for nearly three decades.
Credit Peter Whorf / WKAR

Bob Blackman's name is virtually synonymous with folk music in mid-Michigan.  He's  been associated with the Great Lakes Folk Festival for many, many years.  He’s a fixture with Elderly Instruments in Lansing, a real center of folk music in this community.  Many people in our audience remember him as a part of the WKAR family.  Bob Blackman hosted “The Folk Tradition” on WKAR for nearly 30 years.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:22 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Nyaka AIDS Orphan Project raises funds for Ugandan village

Jackson Kaguri was honored in 2012 as a "CNN Hero." He's the founder of the Nyaka AIDS Orphan Project which helps children in Uganda.
Credit Jackson Kaguri

One of the vendors at the Great Lakes Folk Festival is the Nyaka AIDS Orphans project.  The organization offers paper-bead necklaces and traditional baskets from Uganda. The artists who created them are grandmothers in Nyaka who use the income to support the families affected by the disease.

Jackson Kaguri is the founder of the Nyaka AIDS Orphans project. He was a CNN Hero last year, was featured in Time Magazine in 2010, and is the author of the book, “The Price of Stones,” about building a school for AIDS orphans  in his village in Uganda.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:21 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Hmong folk singer Mai Zong Vue brings her traditional music to folk festival

Current State's Mark Bashore speaks with Hmong folk singer Mai Zong Vue about her performance at the 2013 Great Lakes Folk Festival.
Credit Peter Whorf / WKAR

Hmong folk singer Mai Zong Vue travels to the Great Lakes Folk Festival from Wisconsin.  She spoke with Current State's Mark Bashore about the music of her homeland.

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Radio Made in Michigan
8:15 pm
Sat August 10, 2013

WKAR at World Tournament of Historic Baseball

Greenfield Village "La-Dee-Dahs" take in a game
Peter Whorf

This coming week, Current State takes you to this year's World Tournament of Historic Baseball at Greenfield Village.  Teams from around the Great Lakes region and beyond squared off this weekend for 19th century baseball supremacy.   Tune in for the sounds of the games, cheering crowds, brass bands, steam trains and more.  Plus, an inside look at 19th century baseball from one of the members of the Saginaw Old Golds - 2012's championship squad   The historic baseball season continues throughout Michigan into the fall...

Radio Made in Michigan
4:19 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

A recap of Current State's top stories from the last two weeks

Here's a review the top stories on Current State from the past two weeks:  

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:12 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Current State #139 | August 8, 2013

Today on Current State: low voter turnout in Lansing; Medicaid reimbursement; climate change and violence; and musician Lee Murdock.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:11 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope seeks higher voter turnout

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope
Credit Courtesy/City of Lansing

Tuesday was primary election day in Lansing.

Voters decided Mayoral and city council candidates for November’s general election.  In Haslett, voters approved a $10-million sinking fund for school building maintenance.

A predictable feature of many primaries is low voter turnout.  Tuesday in Lansing was no exception.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:08 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

How will the Affordable Care Act affect Michigan's medical providers?

Credit Flickr/surroundsound5000

The Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare, is well underway across the USA.

In Michigan, debate continues over expanding Medicaid coverage to thousands more people.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:04 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

The link between climate change and violence

Solomon M. Hsiang is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at UC-Berkeley
Credit Courtesy/Solomon M. Hsiang

On June 25, President Obama released a comprehensive plan to fight climate change.

The plan pointed out that last year was the warmest year on record for our country. While the efforts to fight against climate change continues, researchers seem to have found another reason to prevent climate change: violence.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:59 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Musician Lee Murdock heading to the Great Lakes Folk Festival

Lee Murdock will be at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing this weekend.
Credit Courtesy/Lee Murdock

The Great Lakes Folk Festival starts Friday night in East Lansing.

This long-time mid-Michigan event features traditional arts, dance, culture and music from around the world. WKAR’s Current State will broadcast live from the festival Friday at 6 p.m.

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Radio Made in Michigan
8:56 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Living History aboard the USS Silversides

Garry McKeen shows us the Silverside's forward torpedo room
Peter Whorf

As part of Current State's ongoing coverage of Michigan culture and history, we've been exploring a number of the fascinating  year-round and seasonal events and exhibits across the Great Lakes.  Join us next week in Muskegon, Michigan as we explore the USS Silversides Submarine Museum at its beautiful Lake Michigan location.  You'll hear the remarkable docent (and fellow former Chicagoan) Garry McKeen with moving and personal stories of the all-volunteer submariners who served aboard the Silversides beginning just eight days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:38 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Current State # 138 | August 7, 2013

Today on Current State: Lansing city council candidates O'Dell and Canfora; baby-boomer suicide rate; Coolio; the Firecracker Project; and the World Dwarf Games at MSU.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:38 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Lansing city council primary sends candidates to November ballot

Voters advanced Lansing city council candidates to November's general election this week.
Credit File photo/WKAR

Voters have now determined who will be in November’s general election for the Lansing City Council.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:36 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Baby boomer suicide rate on the upswing

Experts in suicide prevention tend to focus their outreach efforts on two segments of the population:  young adults and the elderly.  But shifting data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have some professionals reconsidering that approach.

Last month, statistics showed a 60% increase in suicide among women in their early 60’s and a 50% spike among men in their 50’s. The data covers the calendar year 2010.

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