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.

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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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.

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.

Current State #21 | February 11, 2013

Feb 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.

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

Feb 11, 2013
Joel Ferguson photo
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.

#lovelansing: Community-building in the 21st century

Feb 11, 2013

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.

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. 

Lansing business news with MLive's Angela Wittrock

Feb 11, 2013

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. 

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.

Current State #20 | February 8, 2013

Feb 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.

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.  

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.

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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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

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.