WKAR

WKAR Features
7:31 am
Fri December 9, 2011

Gregorian previews Home for the Holidays

Maestro Leon Gregorian Photo: Courtesy MSU College of Music

EAST LANSING, MI – MSU Symphony conductor Leon Gregorian has been on research leave this semester. He'll be back to conduct the MSU Symphony Orchestra next semester, and then plans to retire in April. He'll be conducting the upcoming "Home for the Holidays" concert, and WKAR's Melissa Benmark recently spoke with him, asking him first about his time off.

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WKAR Features
6:43 am
Thu December 8, 2011

MSU offering hospice service for pets

Isabel (Izzy) received care from MSU's pet hospice service. Photo: Courtesy Casey Williamson and Brandt Peterson

EAST LANSING, MI –

In the last few days of a dying person's life, hospice care can provide comfort in the home setting.

Now, the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine is offering hospice care for pets.


Brandt Peterson and Casey Williamson met in 1999 while walking their dogs Isabel and Suki in Austin, Texas. Isabel didn't easily warm up to strangers, but was affectionate with them. She also was very athletic.

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In Michigan
6:37 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Senate panel approves abortion insurance rider

LANSING, MI –

A proposal to limit access to health care coverage for abortion procedures has cleared a state Senate panel. The proposal would require employers or individuals purchasing health care plans to pay higher premiums if they want to include abortion coverage.

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In Michigan
6:29 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

USDA awards $10.4 million in food safety grants

EAST LANSING, MI –

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $10.4 million in grants to universities in 13 states for projects designed to boost the safety of the nation's food supply.

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the grants Wednesday during a visit to Michigan State University in East Lansing, which is receiving three grants totaling nearly $2.9 million.

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In Michigan
5:25 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Ex-Dem leader gets probation in election scam

PONTIAC, MI –

The former leader of the Oakland County Democratic Party has been sentenced to probation for forging documents and fraudulently entering candidates under the Tea Party banner.

The goal apparently was to confuse voters and take votes from Republican candidates in some local races in 2010. The so-called Independent Tea Party candidates didn't know their names were being used.

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In Michigan
5:15 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Oakland County politics go statewide

LANSING, MI –

A fight over political power in Oakland County played out Wednesday before a legislative committee. Republicans want the Legislature to change the rules to let the GOP-controlled county commission re-draw its own districts. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, the proposal was adopted by the House Government Operations Committee on a party-line vote.

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In Michigan
4:43 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Bill would ban taxpayer-funded live-in partner benefits

LANSING, MI –

Local governments, school districts, community colleges, public universities, and the state could not offer benefits that cover the live-in partners of public employees, under a bill that's on its way to Governor Rick Snyder's desk. As Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reports, the state Senate approved the measure Wednesday on a mostly party-line vote.

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In Michigan
10:04 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Michigan Senate approves workers' comp changes

LANSING, MI –

Legislation that could help employers reduce costs related to compensating workers injured on the job has been approved by Republican-led Michigan Senate.

The bill was approved Wednesday by a 20-16 vote. The measure returns with some significant changes to the Republican-led House, which earlier approved an initial version of the bill.

Police and fire department workers would be exempted from some measures under the Senate plan.

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WKAR Features
8:55 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Broad Museum preparing inaugural exhibit

The Broad Museum is slated to open on April 21, 2012.
Melissa Benmark, WKAR

EAST LANSING, MI – Workers are busy building the new art museum on the Michigan State University campus. They've finishing laying the concrete floors and installing heating and air conditioning.

The university recently announced that the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum will open to the public on April 21st.

Meanwhile, next door, in temporary offices overlooking the construction site, director Michael Rush and his staff are busy preparing the inaugural exhibits.

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In Michigan
6:26 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Debate on how to pay for heating aid continues

LANSING, MI –

At the state Capitol, House and Senate leaders say they're getting closer, but still don't have an agreement on how to help low-income families with their winter utility bills. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, lawmakers continue to negotiate as the Legislature's winter break fast approaches.

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In Michigan
6:23 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

LaHood: Chevy Volt is safe despite battery fires

WASHINGTON –

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the Chevy Volt is safe to drive even though the government is investigating fires caused by damage to the electric car's battery.

LaHood told reporters Tuesday that his department isn't trying to protect the maker of the Chevrolet Volt, General Motors, from possible repercussions from the government's safety investigation.

LaHood says his department isn't in the business of protecting the automobile industry.

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In Michigan
6:19 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

AFL-CIO claims 66,000 in Michigan could lose jobless benefits

LANSING, MI –

The Michigan AFL-CIO is urging Congress to act to prevent an estimated 66,000 Michigan citizens from losing jobless benefits soon.

In a new report, the union says the current average federal benefit to the state's unemployed totals $296 a week. The funding is set to expire unless Congress acts by January 1.

The report also claims young people and people of color would be disproportionately impacted if benefits are not extended.

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In Michigan
5:26 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Gov signs anti-bullying bill into law

LANSING, MI –

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a measure into law that requires all school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, Snyder says the law is a good start.

Snyder says he was bullied from elementary school through college for being a nerd. He says no kids should have to endure that kind of torment, no matter the reason.

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Top Stories
4:14 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Michigan governor signs anti-bullying measure

LANSING, MI –

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation giving schools six months to put anti-bullying policies into place.

The ceremonial signing took place Tuesday afternoon.

Michigan recently ended up in the national spotlight after GOP senators passed an anti-bullying bill that included a clause saying the legislation didn't "prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."

Democrats say the exceptions would have made it even easier to bully.

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WKAR Features
3:09 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Ingham commissioner Schor supports road agency change

Photo: Mark Bashore/WKAR

LANSING, MI –

After 98 years, the Ingham County Road Commission could come to an end soon. Next week, the county board of commissioners is expected to approve a measure that would bring road operations under its purview.

It's been a turbulent year at the road commission, with accusations of widespread dysfunction and the controversial departure of Operations Manager Jim Benjamin.

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In Michigan
6:43 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Comerica: Michigan economy continues slow climb

LANSING, MI –

A new report shows Michigan's economy is continuing to take slow steps toward recovery.

Comerica Bank said in the monthly report released Monday that the state's September economic activity index rose one point over the month before. The index level is now 24 percent above the low it hit during the recession and slightly better than its year-ago level.

Comerica chief economist Robert Dye says Michigan's economy continues to improve as auto sales and vehicle production increase.

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In Michigan
6:33 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Report: Wall that crushed boy previously wobbled

WILLIAMSTON, MI –

A police report on the crushing death of a student at Williamston High School says a gym wall that collapsed was wobbly years earlier.

Fourteen-year-old Gabriel Corbett died Oct. 26 when a concrete wall fell on him at the school in Williamston, 20 miles east of Lansing. He'd been doing pull-ups on the wall after basketball practice.

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In Michigan
6:16 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Advocates speak out as MI liquor advisory board nears recommendations

LANSING, MI –

Advocates for strong liquor control laws say they are upset they were left out of meetings of an advisory board preparing to make recommendations on changes to alcohol rules that will eventually go to Governor Rick Snyder. Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber has more.

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In Michigan
6:12 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Computer glitch leads to challenge before MI Supreme Court

LANSING, MI –

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear a case Tuesday where an African-American man claims he was denied a fair trial because of a computer error. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, the error caused fewer jury notices to go to households in African-American neighborhoods.

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In Michigan
4:15 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

MSU survey shows support for Gov at all-time low

EAST LANSING, MI –

A new poll shows Governor Snyder's approval rating is at an all-time low among
Michigan residents.

Michigan State University's State of the State' poll shows only about one in five residents give the governor an excellent' or good' rating. Snyder's approval rating was about double that when he took office.

Charles Ballard is the director of the State of the State survey. He says Snyder's
support among his GOP base is eroding.

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In Michigan
4:15 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Michigan governor to sign anti-bullying measure

LANSING, MI –

Schools will have six months to put anti-bullying policies into place once Gov. Rick Snyder signs the measures into law.

A spokeswoman says the governor plans to do that Tuesday afternoon.

Michigan recently ended up in the national spotlight after GOP senators passed an anti-bullying bill that included a clause saying the legislation didn't "prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction."

Democrats say the exceptions would have made it even easier to bully.

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In Michigan
4:14 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Charter school expansion up for possible vote

LANSING, MI – The state House could vote this week on some controversial changes to K-12 education. The measures are part of a package that would allow more charter schools and more online schools.

State Representative Tom McMillin chairs the House Education Committee. He says it's important for lawmakers to approve the changes before they leave for a winter break.

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In Michigan
6:39 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Pensioner groups call for MI pension-tax repeal

LANSING, MI –

Advocates for senior citizens and retirees say state lawmakers who voted for the new tax on pensions will pay a political price in next year's re-election campaigns - unless they act soon to repeal the law. Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber has more.

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In Michigan
6:23 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

CMU faculty to vote on tentative deal in January

MOUNT PLEASANT, MICH – Central Michigan University faculty members plan to vote in January on whether to ratify a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract.

A statement provided to The Associated Press by CMU Faculty Association President Laura Frey on Friday says the vote will take place the first week of the spring semester, which begins Jan. 9.

An informational meeting for union members is Dec. 12.

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In Michigan
6:21 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Okemos won't use American Indian head logo

OKEMOS, MI –

A Lansing-area school district has decided to stop using an American Indian head logo for its high school.

The Lansing State Journal reports a letter announcing the elimination of the Chieftain logo was sent Thursday to parents at Okemos High School.

The decision was arrived at by a four-person committee originally formed in the spring of 2004. The letter says the committee made a good-faith effort to phase out the use of human imagery or the Indian head silhouette as the school logo.

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In Michigan
6:18 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Defense commission told bad lawyers cost taxpayers, children

LANSING, MI –

The state commission charged with the task of ensuring adequate legal representation for criminal defendants with court-appointed lawyers heard hours of testimony Friday at a hearing in Lansing. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, the commission was told taxpayers and, often, children pay the costs of a poor indigent defense system.

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WKAR Features
7:45 am
Fri December 2, 2011

MSU to play first Big Ten Championship game

EAST LANSING, MI – The first ever Big Ten Championship game on Saturday pits Michigan State University against Wisconsin. WKAR's Melissa Benmark talks with sports writer Jack Ebling about the historic event.

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In Michigan
6:14 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Detroit finances under preliminary review by state

LANSING, MI –

The state is beginning a preliminary review of Detroit's finances to determine if the city should be considered for takeover by an emergency manager.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon says he does not see bankruptcy as an option for Detroit.

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In Michigan
6:30 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Snyder vetoes first bill

LANSING, MI –

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed a measure that would have outlawed state rules that are stricter than federal standards. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, this marks the first time during his 11 months in office he has rejected a bill sent to him by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

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In Michigan
6:26 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Detroit mayor: Move for state takeover premature

DETROIT –

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is sharply criticizing an expected state review of the city's finances, which is a first step toward a possible state takeover.

Bing told a Thursday news conference that Detroit is making progress on its budget and cash flow problems on its own.

A spokesman for Bing's office said earlier that a state review could begin as early as Friday. Bing says he opposes the move, which is the first step toward the appointment of an unelected emergency financial manager.

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