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
12:14 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Current State #500 | March 20, 2015

Today on Current State: The story of an Afghan interpreter seeking American citizenship with the help of Purple Heart awardee William Milzarski; a new art gallery displays works by young people in Lansing; an MSU chemist researches a natural compound that could help in the fight against Alzheimer's disease; a Lansing museum exhibition honors military women; and Live Music Friday with Randy Napoleon.

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Community
12:08 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Afghan who served alongside Mid-Michigan soldier builds new life in America

'Z' became an interpreter for the U.S. Army at age 16 in his native Afghanistan. He came to the U.S. through a special immigrant visa. He's working to achieve American citizenship.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

Last Friday, we brought you the story of William Milzarski, a retired Army officer who was awarded the Purple Heart. He was wounded in 2011 while serving as a platoon leader in Afghanistan. While he was there, Milzarski befriended two Afghan men who worked alongside him as interpreters. Milzarski is now helping those men become American citizens.

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Arts & Culture
12:05 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

REACH Studio Art Center opens Lansing’s first youth gallery

The REACH Studio Art Center's youth gallery will be open Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. to see the exhibition of works by young artists.
Credit Joy Baldwin

Last night, hundreds of people headed to REO Town for the opening of Lansing’s first youth art gallery. The show featured the work of students from REACH Studio Art Center, a nonprofit community arts center.

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Health
12:00 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

MSU chemist patents potential Alzheimer’s treatment

Dr. Muraleedharan Nair is a natural products chemist at MSU. He's working with a botanical compound called withanamides, which are showing promise as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.
Credit Courtesy - MSU Department of Horticulture

The first documented case of Alzheimer’s disease was recorded in 1906. Since then, scientists have struggled to understand the cause of this neurological disorder that robs the mind of normal behavior. A Michigan State University chemist believes a natural compound from a well-known medicinal plant may one day be used to treat Alzheimer’s. He’s patented that compound in the hopes of starting human clinical trials.

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History
11:52 am
Fri March 20, 2015

NUWARINE exhibit celebrates women in uniform

The name NUWARINE represents the military branches in which women have served: NU (U.S. Army Nurses); WAR (WAVES, WACs and SPARs); and INE (Marines).
Credit Courtesy - Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame

In tandem with Women’s History Month, a new exhibit in Lansing celebrates a unique group of military veterans. Founded in 1947, Post 535 in Lansing is the last all-female American Legion post in the state of Michigan. It was founded by female World War Two veterans, but it also includes women who’ve served in more recent conflicts.

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Arts & Culture
11:49 am
Fri March 20, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Randy Napoleon

Randy Napoleon plays guitar with drummer Nick Bracewell and bassist Joe Vasquez live in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Our Live Music Friday guest today is guitarist Randy Napoleon. He’s recorded a couple of CD’s, “Between Friends” and “The Jukebox Crowd”, he’s played on dozens of other recordings and has toured extensively, notably with Freddy Cole.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:24 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Current State #499 | March 19, 2015

Today on Current State: Gov. Snyder's creation of the Michigan Agency for Energy; author Jacqueline Woodson; John Schneider's visit to Cuba; classical music from the Dali Quartet and the Ann Arbor Symphony; and MSU hockey heads into the B1G tournament.

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Environment
11:21 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Trade group, environmentalist weigh in on Snyder energy plan

Credit Flickr - Dr. Farnsworth

Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder announced the creation of a new state entity: the Michigan Agency for Energy. The action comes less than a week after the governor called on the state to increase its reliance on  clean energy. Snyder has set a goal for the state to draw up to 40-percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. He also wants to see the state become more energy efficient and reduce waste.

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Arts & Culture
11:17 am
Thu March 19, 2015

National Book Award winning author devotes career to young readers

Jacqueline Woodson's speech is at 7 p.m. in MSU's Erickson Hall KIVA.
Credit http://www.jacquelinewoodson.com/

An award-winning author of books for young readers is coming to East Lansing this week. Jacqueline Woodson's 30 books for young adults, middle graders and children have won a multitude of awards including a National Book Award in 2014 for “Brown Girl Dreaming”. The MSU Department of Teacher Education is bringing her in for a talk tonight.

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Arts & Culture
11:12 am
Thu March 19, 2015

John Schneider on cultural exchange trip to Cuba

John Schneider (right), with Current State guest host Melissa Benmark.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

For almost 25 years, Lansing and mid-Michigan connected through John Schneider's column in the Lansing State Journal. He left the paper in 2012, but new columns appear regularly. Recently, readers took in an account of John’s visit to Cuba, where he encountered “breathtaking scenery and warm people.”

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Arts & Culture
11:08 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Classical music schedule includes Ann Arbor Symphony, Dali Quartet

The Dali Quartet
Credit http://www.daliquartet.com/

The classical concert season is in top gear right now, with old favorites and new music coming to our area this week. Current State's Peter Whorf sat down with the Dali Quartet yesterday to talk about their upcoming performance with the MSU Wind Symphony.  They’ll play Joel Puckett’s work entitled "Short Stories" tonight at the Wharton Center.

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Sports
11:04 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Spartan hockey team preps for B1G tournament

The surging MSU hockey team is heading into the Big Ten Tournament in Detroit this weekend with a number 2 seed. That earned them a bye into the second round, where they’ll play tomorrow against the winner of today’s Michigan-Wisconsin game.

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Radio Made in Michigan
10:57 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Current State #498 | March 18, 2015

Today on Current State: State Rep. Jeremy Moss; Neighbors in Action: Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan; the retirement of a pro football rookie reopens concerns about concussions; a Colorectal Cancer Awareness Week event in Ann Arbor; and Scott D. Southard reviews "Bird Box" by Josh Malerman.

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Politics & Government
10:54 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Moss makes quick trip from MSU student to state Rep

Rep. Jeremy Ross (D-Southfield), right, with Current State guest host Sue Carter.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

State Representative Jeremy Moss was elected last fall to the district 35 seat in the Michigan House, based in Southfield. It's a mild surprise that he replaces the member he worked for, Rudy Hobbs. Maybe the even bigger surprise is that Moss graduated from Michigan State University's School of Journalism not quite seven years ago.

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Community
10:48 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Neighbors In Action: Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan

The stories of families like that of Sonya Webster, aided by the Ronald McDonald House of mid-Michigan, can be found at rmhmm.org.
Credit http://rmhmm.org/

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 talk about an organization you might recgonize from the donation jar if you’ve picked up a Big Mac anytime lately: the Ronald McDonald House.

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Health
10:46 am
Wed March 18, 2015

NFL rookie’s retirement renews concussion debate

This week, NFL rookie Chris Borland retired from the San Francisco 49ers over head injury concerns.
Credit Flickr - torbakhopper

Earlier this week, Chris Borland, a top rookie in the National Football League last season and a San Francisco 49ers linebacker, made a rather surprising decision. After one year in the pros, he decided to step away from the sport and call it quits. His explanation was concern about the long-term effects of trauma to the head and the reality of concussions.

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Health
10:41 am
Wed March 18, 2015

UM, Cancer Society exhibit promotes colorectal cancer awareness

Visitors can walk through this 14-foot high giant replica of the colon at Briarwood Mall between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Credit Courtesy University of Michigan Health System

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. Health professionals will tell you that kind of cancer can be treated quite successfully, but first it has to be detected. And to be detected, people have to know to get screened for it. That’s why this Saturday you may notice a giant inflatable colon at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor.

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Arts & Culture
10:36 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Book Review: Josh Malerman's 'Bird Box'

"Bird Box" by Josh Malerman scared the pants off me. Please don’t think I’m saying this lightly. While horror movies can terrify me for days, horror books rarely have the same punch for me. Usually, they feel predictable, formulaic, like something conjured from an old episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" minus the wit or surprises.  But "Bird Box" was different, and it was terrifying.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:36 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Current State #497 | March 17, 2015

Today on Current State: How Ingham County could be impacted by the Obamacare case now before the U.S. Supreme Court; new Lansing State Journal columnist Judy Putnam; how artificial fertilizers might be affecting the nitrogen cycle; and the Grand Rapids Bach Festival.

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Health
11:29 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Ingham health official on potential impact of SCOTUS ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.
Credit rosebennet/flickr

Once again, the future of Obamacare is in the hands of the United States Supreme Court. This summer, the court’s interpretation of four words in the Affordable Care Act will have a significant impact on the future of the law. Many Americans are counting on millions of dollars of Obamacare federal tax credits to pay for health insurance coverage. The high court’s ruling will determine whether those credits will be offered or withdrawn to residents of 34 states, including Michigan.

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Business
11:27 am
Tue March 17, 2015

New LSJ columnist returns to journalistic roots

Judy Putnam (right) of the Lansing State Journal, with Current State guest host Sue Carter.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

A well-established policy advocate in Lansing is beginning a new chapter in her career this week. Judy Putnam has been the communications director of the Michigan League for Public Policy for seven years. This week, she returns to her roots in journalism as a columnist for the Lansing State Journal.

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Environment
11:10 am
Tue March 17, 2015

MSU study finds artificial fertilizers throw off the nitrogen cycle

Credit WKAR file photo

Nitrogen plays an essential role in plant growth, but it’s a scarce resource in nature. Farmers used to have to use beans or legumes to fix the nutrient into their fields. But with the advent of artificial fertilizers, agriculture has been able to bypass that step and put the nitrogen directly into the soil. While this has allowed farmers to increase production of nutrient intensive crops like corn, it’s had some other, not so great, side effects.

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Arts & Culture
11:03 am
Tue March 17, 2015

Grand Rapids celebrates Bach in bars and cathedrals

Grand Rapids celebrates the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach with its biennial Bach Festival this week at numerous venues throughout the Grand Rapids area.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:23 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Current State #496 | March 13, 2015

Today on Current State: Interim BWL chief Dick Peffley weighs in on the controversy surrounding "hidden costs" of a capital project; Lil Darlins Vaudeville revives a classic American art form; a mid-Michigan man receives the Purple Heart and opens his home to his Afghan colleagues; and live music from Donny Brown and company. 

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Politics & Government
1:23 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Interim BWL chief criticizes capital project’s “hidden costs”

Dick Peffley, Interim Manager for the Lansing Board of Water and Light
Credit Credit: Lansing Board of Water and Light

For two months, our first guest has been navigating highly publicized change at the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Dick Peffley’s retirement was interrupted in mid-January when he was asked to serve as interim General Manager of the city-owned utility after the sudden dismissal of Peter Lark. Peffley spent 38-years at the Board of Water and Light in several managerial positions including as Executive Director of Operations and once before as interim General Manager. When he accepted the job, he commented “I want to do what’s best for the BWL and our cu

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Arts & Culture
1:23 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Michigan vaudeville troupe puts modern twist on bygone genre

Lil Darlins Vaudeville members Katie Corr (Kitty Darlin) on the left, Jo Serrapere (Jo Darlin), and Laura Bates (Lulu Darlin).
Credit Credit: Tasha Oltman

  

 

   Fred Astaire. Buster Keaton. Fats Waller. Mae West. 

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Community
1:16 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Mid-Michigan Purple Heart recipient opens his heart to Afghan comrades

Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

    The Purple Heart is the oldest military award the United States of America gives to its service members.  It’s sometimes called “the medal nobody wants,” because it’s given to those killed or wounded in combat.  Now, a mid-Michigan man has joined those ranks.  First Lieutenant William Milzarski is  retired from the U-S Army.  He first enlisted back on August 1, 1990 -- the day before Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.  He spent just a few years in as a heavy construction operator.  He was injured, got out and eventually went to Cooley Law School.

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Music
1:16 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Donny Brown

Donny Brown, former drummer for the Verve Pipe, in Studio S. Accompanied by Abbey Hoffman on vocals and Kay Rinker O'Neil on flute and vocals.
Credit WKAR/April Van Buren

 

   One of Michigan’s top recording and touring acts over the last 20 years was The Verve Pipe. Their highest charting single was “The Freshman”, which peaked at number 5 on the U.S. record charts in 1996.  The drummer in those days was Donny Brown. Now, Donny's stepped out from behind the drum set and taken up the guitar for his solo act. His new E.P. “Hess Street”, which was named after the Saginaw street he grew up on, came out late last year. 

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:01 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Current State #495 | March 12, 2015

Today on Current State: Cuts to adult education funding in Michigan; a Department of Natural Resources survey on the well-being of frogs and toads; Michigan Film Office Director Jenell Leonard; and Monday's MSU music faculty concert with the music of Ravel.

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Education
11:58 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Report says Michigan hurting from adult ed cuts

Michigan League for Public Policy CEO Gilda Jacobs (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Enrollment in adult education in Michigan has dropped by nearly half since 2001. State funding in adult ed has fallen a whopping 88-percent since the mid 90’s. Those are among the noteworthy findings in a new report that urges reinvestment in adult education.

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