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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Politics & Government
12:20 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

New EL council member calls for different approach to city development

East Lansing city council member Ruth Beier
Credit http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/

Economist Ruth Beier became a member of the East Lansing City Council in January. She says she grew tired of attending council meetings, complaining and getting nowhere, so she decided to run for office. Beier says it’s time for East Lansing to do things differently. Mainly, she says, it needs to shift more attention and resources away from the city’s commercial downtown to its neighborhoods.

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Science & Technology
12:19 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Rising spring temperatures produce Great Lakes mirages

Photographer Spencer Hughes captured this image of the Chicago skyline as seen from Grand Mere State Park in Stevensville, MI.
Credit Courtesy Spencer Hughes Photography

Picture this: you’re walking along the shores of Lake Michigan on a warm spring day. The lake breeze is blowing and the waves are lapping at your feet when all of the sudden you see something strange out on the water. Like, say, the Chicago skyline.

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Health
11:40 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Documentarian makes case to ban vaccine preservative

Filmmaker Eric Gladen will screen 'Trace Amounts' in East Lansing on Wednesday.
Credit http://traceamounts.com/

The filmmaker behind a new documentary on vaccines and exposure to mercury will be in East Lansing this week to talk about his project. Eric Gladen's movie is called “Trace Amounts: Autism, Mercury, and the Hidden Truth.” He points to the use of a preservative containing mercury called thimerisol in vaccines as being the reason for the growth in cases of autism and other conditions.

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Science & Technology
11:35 am
Mon May 11, 2015

PBS host, Yahoo tech writer on Apple watch and other gadgets

David Pogue
Credit http://davidpogue.com/

From the New York Times to "CBS Sunday Morning" to PBS’s "Nova," David Pogue is one of media’s best known presenters and reviewers of tech topics. Among his many notable accomplishments, Pogue is also recently known as technology columnist for Yahoo Tech. Pogue’s acclaimed public TV series "Making Stuff" aired last year on WKAR-TV. His show combines his unique blend of humor and analysis of the latest consumer and scientific innovations.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:08 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Current State #535 | May 8, 2015

Today on Current State: A Traverse City company seeks oil drilling rights in Mason; Michigan's aerial photography program; the possible relationship between pollen and rain; and Live Music Friday with Jackalope.

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Environment
12:02 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Mason residents debate proposed oil drilling

Dr. Jack Carmichael of Mason (left) and Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason) discussed proposed oil drilling.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

There’s no shortage of talk in Michigan about renewable energy sources. But despite all our efforts to go green, our state is still very dependent on fossil fuels. Recently, a Traverse City-based oil and gas company has been looking at an area in and around the city of Mason as a possible drilling site.

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Politics & Government
11:55 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Aerial photography guides MI surveyors, first responders

We’ve all whiled away a few idle minutes here and there lost in fascination over aerial imagery online. It’s fascinating to be able to zoom in on your own house and then drag your mouse to the other side of the world on your screen and scan some exotic country. There are many practical applications for digital aerial photos, of course. In Michigan, state officials have recently wrapped up an annual mission to photograph 12,000 square miles of the state.

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Environment
11:47 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Do April flowers bring May showers?

Dr. Alison Steiner
Credit Courtesy University of Michigan College of Engineering

Think about an everyday substance like pollen. There’s lots of it floating around right now. It’s probably on your car windows. Botanists think of pollen’s role in the world as helping propagate new plants. Allergists think of pollen’s role as being something that causes sneezing.

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Arts & Culture
11:42 am
Fri May 8, 2015

LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY: Jackalope

Jackalope is Mike Lawrence (left), Charlie Richardson (center) and David Stowe (right).
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

It’s another Live Music Friday here on Current State, and we’re happy to welcome Jackalope to WKAR’s Studio S. The guys in Jackalope are Charlie Richardson, David Stowe and Mike Lawrence. They played their country, blues, and western Americana music throughout the show.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:43 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Current State #534 | May 7, 2015

Today on Current State: Michigan's teacher shortage; an update on Lansing's bald eagles; workplace deaths in Michigan; Scott D. Southard reviews "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel; and a preview of Mighty Uke Day 5.

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Education
11:39 am
Thu May 7, 2015

MI schools face staff shortages as enrollment declines in teacher prep programs

MSU College of Education Dean Don Heller
Credit Courtesy MSU College of Education

Ask a five year old what they want to be when they grow up and chances are you’ll hear things like a doctor, a teacher, and maybe Batman. Obviously, not many kids grow up to be Batman, but increasingly there are also fewer and fewer growing up to be teachers. Across the country and here in Michigan, the number of students choosing to go into teaching preparation programs is declining.

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Environment
11:35 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Local biologist fears Red Cedar bald eagles have abandoned nest

The female bald eagle arrives at the Lansing nest in April.
Credit Christopher N. Hull

Dozens of bird lovers have journeyed to Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo recently to view the area’s first nesting bald eagles in decades. The nest sits in a large tree in a marshy area in the middle of the Red Cedar river. What’s the likelihood that the birds could make that area a permanent home? Biologist Christopher Hull has his doubts. He has vield the nest and the eagles a number of times, and he thinks the eagles may be in the process of abandoning the nest now.

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Health
11:31 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Study: Michigan workplace accidental deaths down, but homicides up

A worker recently died in an accident at the Fiat Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant.
Credit Flickr - jpowers65

Workers Memorial Day was last week in the U.S. If you’ve never heard of the observance, it’s something labor unions worldwide conceived to raise consciousness about fatalities on the job. This week, there’s news of a Detroit man crushed to death in a stamping plant accident. There are about 5,000 workplace deaths around the country each year, and Michigan State University has a role in keeping track of those that occur in Michigan.

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Arts & Culture
11:25 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Book Review: Emily St. John Mandel's "Station Eleven"

These days, it seems every writer, producer, and director out there wants to say something about the apocalypse. Whether it’s a TV show full of zombies or a movie about an alien invasion, you just can’t seem to escape the end of the world. "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel is also about the end of life as we know it, but don’t let that deter you. This book is about more than just survival and desperation. It’s about humanity itself.

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Arts & Culture
11:21 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Mighty Uke Day returns to Lansing with flash mob, Capitol strum

Ben Hassenger (right) is the organizer of Mighty Uke Day. He was joined by Steve Szilagyi in WKAR's Studio S.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Mighty Uke Day 5 is Friday through Sunday in Old Town Lansing. It’s promoted as a celebration of the “diminutive yet dynamic” instrument and its ties to Michigan culture. There will be performances by professionals, and opportunities for beginners to try their hand at playing the ukulele.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:50 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Current State #533 | May 6, 2015

Today on Current State: What's next after voter rejection of Proposal 1; the campaign challenging motorists not to drive solo; Neighbors in Action: Listening Ear; and a new book examines the link between values and science in the climate change debate.

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Politics & Government
11:44 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Analyst: re-shuffling existing state revenue to fix roads will be politically challenging

Gov. Snyder campaigned extensively for passage of Proposal 1. Voter rejection means he and state lawmakers must start over in finding a way to pay for road repairs.
Credit Jake Neher/MPRN

Last night, months of impassioned rhetoric, TV spots and old fashioned stumping came to an abrupt end. Michigan voters soundly defeated Proposal 1, the constitutional amendment designed to fund repairs to the state’s faltering roads. The proposal would have increased the state sales tax by one percent, while also sending money to schools and local governments.

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Environment
11:37 am
Wed May 6, 2015

State challenges MI commuters not to drive solo

State officials and other stakeholders are asking Michigan commuters a question: do you drive to work alone? If so,  they want to remind you of options that could not only reduce air pollution, but lower your gas budget and benefit your health. Governor Rick Snyder has declared May Commuter Challenge Month. Part of the effort is aimed at the many drive alone commuters that you see on the state’s roads every day.

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Community
11:34 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Neighbors In Action: The Listening Ear

Wednesday on CS means it’s time for Neighbors in Action, when we feature people and organizations working to make Greater Lansing a better place. Today, we hear about Listening Ear, an organization that offers support and counseling to people in crisis.

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Environment
11:30 am
Wed May 6, 2015

U-M prof examines science vs. values in climate debate

Dr. Andrew Hoffman is the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. His new book "How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate" examines ways in which non-scientific views shape opinion on the subject of global climate shifts.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:07 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Current State #532 | May 5, 2015

Today on Current State: GM has built 500-million vehicles and is investing in plants around the country, including Lansing; the MSU Living History Project with 98-year-old Helen Glass of Lansing; tracking Michigan butterflies; International Toastmasters President Muhammad Murad; and Keys in the City brings pianos decorated by artists to Lansing and East Lansing.

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Economy
12:02 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

500 million cars and counting: GM reinvests in Delta, other U.S. plants

GM CEO Mary Barra (right) and Chevrolet's Alan Batey (left) presented veteran Trent Brining with the keys to a 2016 Malibu to celebrate the automaker's 500-millionth vehicle.
Credit Courtesy © General Motors

General Motors has been around for 106 years, and they’ve built a lot of vehicles. In fact, that number has recently surpassed 500-million. Half a billion Chevys, Cadillacs, and, of course, Lansing-built Oldsmobiles, and others. It's an amazing number. That’s far more than any other car company.

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Community
11:51 am
Tue May 5, 2015

MSU’s Living History Project: Helen Glass, 98, of Lansing

Helen Glass
Credit Courtesy MSU Living History Project

For the past year, students in MSU's School of Journalism have documented the life experiences of seniors in our state as part of the multimedia initiative "The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan's Oldest Old." Oldest old refers to individuals who are 85 years old or older. It's also the fastest growing age group in the U-S.

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Environment
11:32 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Volunteer monitors track Michigan’s 150 butterfly species

The Mitchell's Satyr butterfly
Credit Ashley Wick

Along with the spring tulips and early morning birds, you might have also started to notice a few butterflies now that the weather has warmed up. Michigan is home to over 150 species of butterflies, from swallowtails to monarchs. And that means that  soon, volunteer monitors will be out in full force for the annual state butterfly survey.

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Business
11:28 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Businessman from Dubai brings Toastmasters message to EL

Integrity. Respect. Service. Excellence. For its 313,000 members around the world, those are the stated values of International Toastmasters. Toastmasters’ focus is on developing communication and leadership skills in its members.

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Arts & Culture
11:24 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Pianos decorated by artists head to Lansing, East Lansing

When you’re walking around Lansing and East Lansing this summer, one of the new attractions you’ll be seeing will be pianos. Not indoors, in entertainment venues where you might expect them, but outdoors, and they won’t be ordinary pianos, either. Each will have been decorated by a local artist. It’s all part of a new project from the Capital Area Blues Society called Keys in the Cities.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:45 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Current State #531| May 4, 2015

Today on Current State: the CATA Multi-Modal Gateway is set to open in July; golfboarding in Ann Arbor; training volunteers for Michigan's Foster Care Review Board program; MSU retiree Ken Dawson hikes the Continental Divide, and no more dues for the MSU Alumni Association.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:45 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

New East Lansing CATA center nears completion

The new CATA Multi-Modal Gateway under construction in East Lansing near the Michigan State University campus is slated to be completed in July.
Credit WKAR File Photo

The Capital Area Transportation Authority will soon unveil its new Multi Modal Gateway in East Lansing.

The station, just south of East Lansing’s existing Amtrak facility will incorporate rail, city, regional and national bus lines in one large modern locale.

The Multi Modal Gateway is slated to open this July, which is earlier than originally expected.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:44 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Ann Arbor course first in state to offer "golf-boarding"

Justin McNeil of Golfboard (left) and John Kuenzli (right) with WKAR's Scott Pohl.
Credit Courtesy Diana Kuenzli

You’ve heard of surfing. You’ve heard of skateboarding. You’ve heard of snowboarding. Maybe you’ve even tried one of them, or all of them. But you might never have heard of golfboarding.

Golfboarding is a new phenomenon in golf. Rather than walking or using a golf cart, golfers step onto a motorized skateboard-like device to get around the course. It looks like a cross between an oversized skateboard and a segway.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:44 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Volunteers make recommendations for MI foster care children

The state of Michigan has recently conducted its annual training for Foster Care Review Board volunteers. The program is run by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Credit WKAR File Photo

Last Friday, we aired an interview with Jose Carrera, the director of clinical services at St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing.  Mr. Carrera spoke of an ongoing program at St. Vincent that evaluates an at-risk child’s physical and emotional well-being.  Some of those children are in foster care.

Today we look at a different facet of the foster care system. 

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