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
9:34 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Mike Whorf on WKAR

Mike Whorf in his home recording studio
Peter Whorf

Mike Whorf is known to countless Michigan and midwestern radio listeners as the long-time host of WJR's Kaleidoscope. The daily program which aired from the mid-1960s to the late 90s won the coveted Peabody Award in 1968...as well as numerous other statewide and national honors.

 

Kaleidoscope brought listeners an hour-long journey into people, places and events - woven together with period music, archival news recordings, and Whorf's distinctive narrative.

 

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:30 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Current State #23 | February 13, 2013

Current State #23 | February 13, 2013

Today on Current State: City Pulse's Andy Balaskovitz on the latest Lansing city council squabble, potential sale of city's Board of Water and Light; Neighbors in Action features ePIFanyNOW; solutions to record low water levels in Great Lakes ; an "owl prowl"; and Business Leaders for Michigan CEO Doug Rothwell.

Politics & Government
1:08 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Latest Lansing City Council squabble, privatizing Water & Light

The Lansing city council is having an intense squabble involving technology and transparency.  Two unresolved issues appear to be at the heart of the dispute.  

First, did a city employee erase information from the city-issued laptop of council person Kathie Dunbar?  

Second, should a full council session involving “computer usage”-- presumably related to the incident -- have been closed to the public and the media?  

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Lifestyle & Recreation
12:54 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Neighbors in Action: ePIFanyNOW

Since 2009, ePIFanyNOW's events, which promote random acts of kindness, have steadily grown in popularity. Above, the February 2012 participants.
Credit Courtesy of Bob Hoffman

Each Wednesday in our Neighbors in Action segment, we feature a person or an organization that is working to make our community a better place.

This is a listener-generated segment, meaning that each week, the person or organization we highlight will be nominated by you.

For this week, we look at ePIFanyNOW, which organizes at least two events a year where everyone and anyone is invited to gather together and pass kindness forward. Started in 2009, the events have drawn so much interest that last year, ePIFanyNOW was featured on the CBS Evening News.

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Environment
12:28 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Lakes Michigan and Huron reach record low water levels

This month Lake Michigan and Lake Huron hit record low water levels. The receding water is causing environmental and economic problems in the Great Lakes Basin.

To offset the water levels, Governor Rick Snyder has proposed a $21 million budget to dredge harbors. Patrick Doran, director of conservation for the Michigan Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and Jon Allan, director of the Office of the Great Lakes, discuss dredging and the future of the Great Lakes’ water levels.

Lifestyle & Recreation
12:16 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Prowling for owls in the dark Michigan woods

The Harris Nature Center's "Owl Prowl" gives people of all ages the chance to spot an owl in Michigan's woods.
Credit John Hollingsworth (Wikimedia Commons)

Meridian Township’s Harris Nature Center offers a variety of winter evening tours, including walking tours, by snowshoe and by cross country skis.

WKAR’s Peter Whorf takes us on a recent Saturday night “Owl Prowl," where guided night tours through the Center's woods could lead to an owl-spotting.  

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Business
11:55 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Business Leaders for Michigan outline priorities for 2013

Doug Rothwell, CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, says transportation infrastructure is a priority for 2013.
Credit Courtesy of Business Leaders for Michigan

The organization Business Leaders for Michigan calls itself the state’s “business roundtable.”  It’s comprised of the top executives of Michigan’s largest corporations and universities. The organization develops strategy and advocates policy that its members believe can grow the state’s economy.  

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:42 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Current State #22 | February 12, 2013

Today on Current State: Lansing City Council member Brian Jeffries and Lansing Township Supervisor Kathy Rodgers discuss the sale of Waverly Golf Course; MSU jazz professor Rodney Whitaker reflects on his career and previews an upcoming performance;  founders of the Birmingham Urban League recall Alabama in the 1960s; and the MSU band's role in big games.

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Business
1:37 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Lansing officials move closer to selling Waverly Golf Course

About a year ago, Lansing voters approved a proposal to sell the 120-acre Waverly Golf Course, along with the  adjacent Michigan Avenue Park.  Last night, the Lansing City Council considered the next step -- a formal decision to sell the land.  Lansing City Councilman Brian Jeffries, who heads the council’s planning and development committee, and Lansing Township Supervisor Kathy Rodgers discuss what this means, along with the larger future involving all that park and green space on Lansing’s Westside.

Music
1:31 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

MSU jazz professor Rodney Whitaker plays milestone concert Friday

MSU Director of Jazz Studies Rodney Whitaker and the Professors of Jazz play at Cook Recital Hall in the MSU Music Building on Friday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. The concert happens to coincide with Prof. Whitaker's birthday.

WKAR’s Melissa Benmark speaks with the musician about the milestone performance.

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Arts & Culture
1:00 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Founders of Birmingham Urban League recall Alabama in 1960s

The Urban League was just one of many civil rights groups working in Alabama during the 1960s. Above, NAACP attorney Arthur Shores' Birmingham house after it was bombed in 1963.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Alabama in the 1960s was at the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. The bus boycotts, the marches, the sit-ins, the snarling dogs and gushing fire hoses -- many of that era’s iconic moments happened in Alabama.

Under the leadership of Whitney Young, the National Urban League, which is one of our country’s oldest civil rights organizations, joined the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and others in the fight to end Jim Crow segregation in the Deep South.

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Sports
12:48 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

The MSU band's role in a big game

John Madden is associate professor of music, associate director of bands, and director of the Spartan Marching Band at Michigan State University. Professor Madden and the Spartan Brass will be embedded in the Izzone tonight as the Spartans square off against the Michigan Wolverines for their first-ever meeting as Top-10 ranked teams.

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Radio Made in Michigan
3:27 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Current State #21 | February 11, 2013

Today on Current State:  Local business leader and chairman of the MSU Board of Trustees Joel Ferguson opens up about business, politics; 21st century community building around the #lovelansing Twitter hashtag; sports with the Detroit Free Press' Joe Rexrode, Lansing business news with MLive's Angela Wittrock.

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Politics & Government
3:15 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Developer, MSU Trustee Joel Ferguson opens up about business and politics

Joel Ferguson is chair of the MSU Board of Trustees and co-founder of the Lansing-based F&S Development Company.
Credit Courtesy of MSU

Joel Ferguson has been among Lansing’s most influential people in business, politics and community service for many years.  The founder and president of Ferguson Development is also active in Democratic party politics statewide and nationally.  And he currently serves as president of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
3:02 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

#lovelansing: Community-building in the 21st century

A unique community has evolved around the #lovelansing Twitter hashtag. It started as a way for Lansing-lovers to tweet the places they go and things they do. It’s now full of retail and restaurant specials, sure, but also links to Lansing State Journal articles, cultural events, and it’s even been used to rally volunteers during a holiday shortage of meal deliverers.

Early users Robin Miner-Swartz and Belinda Thurston discuss the evolution of the #lovelansing hashtag.

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Sports
2:48 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Sports check-in with the Detroit Free Press' Joe Rexrode

Detroit Free Press sportswriter Joe Rexrode joins us every Monday and Friday to discuss what's happening in the sports world -- from Michigan State to local prep athletics to the pro leagues. This time, he previews tomorrow's huge men's basketball game between Michigan and Michigan State in East Lansing. 

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Economy
2:22 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Lansing business news with MLive's Angela Wittrock

MLive's Lansing beat reporter Angela Wittrock joins us every Monday for a rundown of the latest news about the local economy, business and development. 

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Radio Made in Michigan
6:00 pm
Sun February 10, 2013

Year Of The Snake, Night Of The Owl

Saturday's Chinese New Year Festivities at Meridian Mall
Peter Whorf

Coming up this week on Current State, you'll hear the sounds of Chinese New Year in Mid-Michigan from Saturday's Meridian Mall festivities.  Hundreds gathered for music, dance, painting, games and many other Chinese arts and traditions in celebration of the Year of the Snake.  Later in the week, a visit to the Harris Nature Center's  Owl Prowl with Park Naturalist Katie Adams.  Just how many kinds of owls call Michigan home?  What do they sound like?  Katie tells all.

Radio Made in Michigan
5:24 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Current State #20 | February 8, 2013

Today on Current State: State Budget Director John Nixon and State Representative Sam Singh discuss Governor Snyder's budget proposal, sports with Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press, the largest LGBT college student conference comes to Lansing this weekend, Kirk Cousins on his NFL rookie year, and a breakdown of the Grammy nominees in classical music.

Politics & Government
5:11 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Governor Snyder's budget proposal for fiscal year 2014

Governor Rick Snyder unveiled his fiscal year 2014 budget on Thursday.  The $50 billion spending plan calls for increases in education funding, as well as in health, public safety and other areas.  The administration also wants to hike gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to help pay for more than a billion dollars in road and infrastructure repairs.  

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Sports
4:57 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Sports check-in with Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press

Detroit Free Press sportswriter Joe Rexrode joins us every Monday and Friday to discuss what's happening in the sports world -- from Michigan State to local prep athletics to the pro leagues.

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Arts & Culture
4:51 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Lansing hosts largest LGBT college student conference in nation this weekend

What’s being billed as the nation’s largest gay college student conference will be held this weekend in Lansing.  The Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference expects 2,000 people to attend at the Lansing Center. It was organized by students from Michigan State University, and is open to all college students. Erica Shekell, director of marketing and public relations for the conference, discusses the weekend's events.

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Sports
12:32 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Former MSU QB Kirk Cousins on his NFL rookie year

Former MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins showed flashes of success as a rookie backup for the Washington Redskins' RGIII.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Former Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins was back in Michigan yesterday headlining the MSU Club of West Michigan's third annual Spartan Winter Tailgate in Grand Rapids. Current State contributor Russ White caught up with Cousins yesterday.

Russ White can be heard every Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. on MSU Today on AM870 WKAR or at SpartanPodcast.com.

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Music
12:17 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

WKAR’s music team breaks down Classical Music Grammy nominees

The 55th Grammy Awards ceremony takes place Sunday night at 8pm on CBS. Millions of eyes and ears will be turned to some of the world’s most popular music that evening.

Classical music, as usual, will be somewhat of a sidebar. The classical Grammys are typically announced off-camera in a separate awards ceremony. But the fact remains that the breadth and depth of classical music leads to a large number of categories, nominations and awards.

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Radio Made in Michigan
6:54 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Current State #19 | February 7, 2013

Current State #19 | February 7, 2013

Today on Current State: Michigan moves closer to expanding Medicaid, assessing MSU and U of M football recruiting classes, a Public Poetry Announcement featuring Robert Hayden, the murals on West Saginaw in Lansing, and a preview of the MSU Symphony's upcoming performance.

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Health
12:08 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Medicaid expansion in Michigan closer to reality

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder made it official yesterday:  He supports expanding the state’s Medicaid program.  

The federal Affordable Care Act offers to cover the costs of all the newly insured for three years.  That could total up to a half-million Michigan residents.  Proponents cite the savings to hospitals for no longer having to eat the emergency room costs of the poor who can’t pay.  Currently, those costs are now passed along to the hospitals’ other paying customers.

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Sports
11:59 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Grading the football recruiting hauls for MSU, U of M

National Signing Day is a minor secular holiday for college football fans. It's the day when the nation's top-rated recruits announce where they'll be playing football next year. Local sports journalist Jack Ebling breaks down yesterday's announcements and who's joining the Spartans and the Wolverines.  

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Arts & Culture
11:49 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Public Poetry Announcement: Introduction and poet Robert Hayden

Michigan poet Robert Hayden was the first African American to be named, what is now called, poet laureate.

Today we’re starting a new recurring segment on Current State. It’s called Public Poetry Announcement.

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Arts & Culture
11:36 am
Thu February 7, 2013

The history behind the murals at Shanora's Beauty and Barber Supply

The murals at Lansing's Shanora's Beauty and Barber Supply, 829 W. Saginaw St., celebrate figures in African American culture.
Credit Peter Whorf/WKAR

Just a few blocks northwest of the Capitol building is Shanora’s Beauty and Barber Supply at 829 West Saginaw Street. Shanora’s was established by its owner Ora Fuller 29 years ago today.

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Music
11:07 am
Thu February 7, 2013

MSU Symphony Orchestra’s latest program includes Beethoven, Copland

The MSU Symphony Orchestra’s next concert is Friday, Feb. 8, at the Wharton Center. They’ll play Beethoven’s First Symphony, music from Aaron Copland’s “Billy the Kid,” and “The Chairman Dances” by John Adams. WKAR’s Melissa Benmark speaks with MSU Director of Orchestras Kevin Noe about the the program, starting with the Beethoven, which has a beginning that almost sounds like an ending.

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