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
12:02 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Pension reformer urges shift to 401k-style plans

Dan Liljenquist says lasting pension reform would put workers in control of their own retirement.
Credit Courtesy of www.mackinac.org

Fewer Americans enjoy the benefits of a pension in retirement. The recession wiped out so much invested wealth, enough of it earmarked for public workers’ pensions, that states fell much further behind in funding them. A period of transition continues, with state and local governments switching more workers to 401k style retirement plans.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:15 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Current State #301 | April 22, 2014

Today on Current State: recycling in Michigan; white nose syndrome in Michigan bats; Muslim mental health programs; 2015 Department of Defense budget; and wild turkey mating rituals.

Environment
12:12 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Advocate responds to bolstered Michigan recycling plan

Gov. Snyder hopes to increase the amount of recycling done in Michigan.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Earlier this month Gov. Snyder released a plan to increase recycling in the State of Michigan. At 15 percent, the state has one of the worst residential recycling rates in the nation.

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Environment
12:12 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Fungus threatens Michigan's bat population

White nose syndrome has been detected in bats in 25 states.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Since 2006, a deadly bat fungus called white nose syndrome has spread its way throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada, decimating bat populations. This April, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed that the disease has been detected in Michigan.

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Health
12:05 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Breaking the stigma: Training imams to identify mental illness

The Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Later this week in Dearborn, doctors, psychologists, social workers, and religious leaders from around the world will gather for the Sixth Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference. According Dr. Farha Abbasi, an MSU assistant professor of psychiatry and a founder of the conference, this is one of the very few of its kind in the world, if not the only one.

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Politics & Government
11:56 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Michigan National Guard fights to keep its share of funding

Proposed cuts in troop levels have Michigan’s military leaders concerned.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

This month, the U-S House will begin debating, amending and re-writing President Obama’s proposed 2015 defense budget. Over the next five years, the administration proposes spending $115-billion above the cap Congress enacted as part of the budget sequestration process. The plan could set up a showdown between Congress and the White House, and that could affect funding for the Michigan National Guard.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
11:53 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Turkey love: Even birds need a wingman

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Here in mid-Michigan we’re finally starting to see signs of spring after the long winter. Current State’s Melissa Benmark has been enjoying the humor, and hopefulness, of a spring ritual she’s been witnessing in her back yard.

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Radio Made in Michigan
12:41 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Current State #300 | April 21, 2014

Today on Current State: Lansing BWL report delayed again; Schertzing running for 8th District congressional seat; the history of autism; new delivery service on three wheels; and a Michigander runs the Boston Marathon.

Business
12:40 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

BWL ice storm report delayed again

Louney attributes delays to a desire by the Community Review Team to dig deeper into the issue.
Credit Joe Linstroth/WKAR

There will been another delay in the release of the report reviewing the response of the Lansing Board of Water and Light to last December’s huge ice storm.

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Politics & Government
12:33 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Ingham treasurer Schertzing joins 8th District race

Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing has announced his candidacy for the 8th District.
Credit Courtesy tr.ingham.org

Tomorrow is the filing deadline for all potential political candidates to run in the August 5th primary election. Last month, 8th District Republican Congressman Mike Rogers  shocked many of his constituents with news that he will not seek re-election.

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Health
12:27 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Autism's mysterious, complex past

Dr. Jeffrey Baker says autism appeared on the medical scene in 1943.
Credit Courtesy of www.dukemedicine.org

April is Autism Awareness Month. It’s a condition that’s much examined by the medical community, but still elusive in its causes and treatments. 

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Business
12:23 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Entrepreneur rolls out green, three-wheeled delivery service

Yvonne LeFave says she decided to launch her business because she wanted to show people what's possible.
Credit Courtesy of Go Green Trikes

A new eco-friendly business will hit the ground peddling tomorrow. Go Green Trikes will employ electric-assisted bikes  to make deliveries in the greater Lansing area.

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Sports
12:17 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Returning to run the Boston Marathon

The 2014 Boston Marathon begins at 10:00 this morning.
Credit Flickr - Paul Goodman

The 2014 Boston Marathon is being run today. This longstanding tradition in the running world is even more significant to its participants this year, in light of last year’s bombing of the event. A number of people from mid-Michigan are participating, and Current State's Melissa Benmark catches up with one of them.

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Radio Made in Michigan
2:16 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Current State #299 | April 18, 2014

Today on Current State: controlling Michigan's prison spending; a Saranac syrup-maker; MSU students work to make clean water more accessible; and live music with The DeCamp Sisters.

Politics & Government
2:05 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

With soaring costs, Michigan struggles to control prison spending

Michigan has around 43-thousand prisoners in its state system. They reside in 31 state prisons and affiliated health care facilities.
Credit Flickr - Todd Ehlers

  

A host of challenges associated with Michigan’s prison system make corrections one of the state’s biggest and most persistent issues. No discussion of Michigan corrections lasts long without the topic of its dollar cost coming up.

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Business
1:58 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Saranac syrup-maker sticks to tradition

Last year, John Smith produced 361 gallons of maple syrup, compared to 250 gallons this year.
Credit Flickr - Wigwam Jones

As you drive west from Ionia, Michigan, you’ll come to the little town of Saranac. Its streets are lined with a bountiful number of large old maple trees. And this time of year, it’s not uncommon to see many of them with pails and spouts attached to collect sap for maple syrup.

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Environment
1:56 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

MSU students work to make clean water more accessible in developing world

MSU Engineering students (L to R) Grant Golasa, Scott Oldham, and Shenli Pei with their recently developed water purification device. The mechanism includes a small, battery powered mercury bulb and switch. Its light neutralizes impurities.
Credit Emanuele Berry/WKAR

Earlier this year, Current State welcomed John Barrie from the Appropriate Technology Collaborative to Studio S. He explained that the collaborative  creates new technologies to improve the quality of life in developing countries worldwide. The organization also collaborates with universities. This year, a team of Michigan State Engineering students worked to build a water purification system for low income countries.

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Music
1:32 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

LIVE MUSIC: The DeCamp Sisters from Romeo, Michigan

L to R: Riley and Libby DeCamp
Credit WKAR/Joe Linstroth


Today for our live music Friday series, we welcome The DeCamp Sisters to the studio. Hailing from the Romeo, Michigan, Riley and Libby DeCamp bring their earthy and harmonious music to life.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:15 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Current State #298 | April 17, 2014

Today on Current State: a Detroit bankruptcy update; helping Michigan combat veterans; MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine; 50 years of Mustangs; and Scott Southard reviews "The Way North".

Politics & Government
1:14 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

State offers money up front in Detroit bankruptcy

The state is offering to sweeten its proposal to contribute 350-million to Detroit's plight.
Credit Credit Flickr - Maia C


Developments toward a ‘grand bargain’ to speed the end of Detroit’s landmark  bankruptcy have been unfolding quickly. Late on Tuesday night, negotiators from the city and two of its retiree pension funds reached tentative deals involving cuts and cost-of-living revisions.  Those agreements were two more hurdles cleared toward an $816-million arrangement that could lessen pension cuts, allow reinvestment in city services, and prevent the sale of city-owned art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. However, more agreements need to be hammered out with other creditors.

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Politics & Government
1:08 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

State trust fund helps Michigan combat veterans

Holm served in the Marine Corps for 25 years and has been awarded numerous medals including the Meritorious Service Medal.
Credit Credit Flickr - Bart


The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund helps combat-era veterans weather economic emergencies. The fund operates within the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. The director of the Agency, Jeff Barnes, recently appointed U.S. Marine veteran Lindell Holm to run the trust fund.

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Health
1:02 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

MSU continues leadership role in osteopathic medicine

The MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine expects to play a key role in addressing Michigan’s physician shortage, which is expected to rise to at least four to five thousand physicians by the year 2020.
Credit Flickr - Steven Depolo

Michigan State University is home to the nation’s first publicly-funded Osteopathic Medical School in the country. MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine is also the top-ranked school of its kind in the nation.

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Lifestyle & Recreation
12:58 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Mustang celebrates 50 years of pony car evolution

More than 8 million Ford Mustangs have been sold since April 1964.
Credit Flickr - dave_7


Fifty years ago today, America’s historic journey with the automobile took an adventurous detour. On April 17, 1964, Detroit’s Ford Motor company unveiled the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair, trading stamps not included.

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Arts & Culture
12:46 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Book Review: 'The Way North' edited by Ron Riekki

Credit Wayne State University Press

Reviewing a literary collection can feel a lot like reviewing a local talent show.

It can be hard to sum up the entire experience, since every act is unique, and it is unfair to compare the performers to each other; even though we all do it, no matter what the focus of the talent show is or the age of those involved. And like that talent show, literary collections tend to have their writers who take your breath away and make you lean forward in your chair, as well as the ones who make you wonder what you’re missing on TV. "The Way North" is a collection showcasing some of the leading voices in the Upper Peninsula literary movement.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:46 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Current State #297 | April 16, 2014

Today on Current State: the Citizens Research Council of Michigan's 'Tax Outline'; an MSU psychologist's study on positive and negative thinking; CASA of Eaton and Barry counties; and Virginia Poet Laureate Sofia Starnes.

Politics & Government
11:45 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Michigan stakeholders rely on non-partisan ‘Tax Outline’

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan recently released its Michigan Tax Outline, a report that summarizes tax data.
Credit Flickr - Ken Teegardin

There are 59 different taxes yielding nearly $40 billion in public revenue. That is a snapshot of current Michigan tax levies contained in a comprehensive new report. The money is used to pay for police and fire protection, Medicaid coverage, state employee salaries, schools, roads and lots more.

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Health
11:42 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Are you born with the glass half full?

MSU psychology professor Jason Moser's new study found that there were big differences in brain activity between positive and negative thinkers.
Credit Flickr - Anton Peck

Do you tend to see the glass half full or half empty? A new study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology is the first to show that brain activity is actually different between positive and negative thinkers, so just telling someone to try and see the glass as half-full isn’t going to help them do it.

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Radio Made in Michigan
11:39 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Neighbors in Action: CASA for Kids in Barry and Eaton Counties

Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children Executive Director Becky Carson says there are 170 kids in foster care each month in Eaton and Barry counties.
Credit Courtesy of www.barryeatoncasa.org

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature the CASA for Kids in Eaton and Barry Counties. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children.

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Arts & Culture
11:37 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Virginia Poet Laureate shares work with Michigan audience

Poets Anita Skeen (left) and Sofia Starnes discuss their latest projects and the closing of the RCAH Center for Poetry's Spring Poetry Festival.
Credit Emanuele Berry/WKAR

Each year, in honor of National Poetry Month in April, MSU's Residential College in the Arts and Humanities’ Center for Poetry brings a series of poets to campus to conduct readings and workshops with the public. Current State spoke with Poetry Center Director Anita Skeen and Virginia Poet Laureate Sofia Starnes about this year’s festival, and both read from their works.

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Radio Made in Michigan
1:08 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Current State #296 | April 15, 2014

Today on Current State: the City of East Lansing budget; a proposed underground storage facility by Lake Huron; Take Back the Night events address sexual assault awareness; and the documentary "Particle Fever."

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