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Wednesday, May 20,2015

End-ish times

Dead Russian dances with a live American at Lansing Symphony season closer

by Lawrence Cosentino
By now, people expect rapture — if not The Rapture — from Lansing Symphony Orchestra season finales. Friday’s splendid concert, the final salvo of the 2014-15 season, brought rapture, all right, but with a touch of unease. After an evening of old-sounding “new” music and newsounding “old” music, you have to wonder whether we are living in the symphony orchestra’s end times — or at least its endish times.
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Wednesday, May 13,2015

Attack of the 300-foot mushroom

Notice of proposed 911 tower mobilizes nearby residents, township officials

by Lawrence Cosentino
They reasoned. They pleaded. They cried. They bucked the sheriff. They hauled out visual aids. In the end, they toppled the invading tower — for now. A group of Clinton County residents got a whirlwind civics lesson last week when they banded together to fight off a proposed 300- foot wireless communication tower for emergency 911 services, scheduled to go up near several houses in Victor and Bath townships this fall.
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Wednesday, May 13,2015

Spring ‘exuberation’

Symphony premiere brings major composer, new music to Lansing

by Lawrence Cosentino
Thanks to a good reputation and a bit of luck, the Lansing Symphony Orchestra will play the world premiere of a tuneful piece for piano and orchestra by one of the nation’s top composers at Friday’s final MasterWorks concert of the season. Robert Aldridge will be on hand this week to see his baby, “Variations on a Folk Tune for Piano and Orchestra,” come into the world after eight years of gestation.
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Wednesday, May 6,2015

Strong Reactions

Inside The Provocative Field of Food Allergies

by Lawrence Cosentino
The kids are not all right. Last week, Karen Bishop, a 35-year nurse and specialist in what she calls food allergies, showed me pictures of children with frightening and photogenic problems.
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Wednesday, May 6,2015

The big wheel’s cozy wheelhouse

Harper House tour offers glimpse inside Lansing´s biggest mansion

by Lawrence Cosentino
Back in the 1930s, Lansing wheel magnate Harry Harper and his wife, Ragna, threw “tulip time teas” at their cozy 35-room crib at 1408 Cambridge Road each May. They weren´t formal affairs. The Harpers were downto-earth types. About 500 to 600 guests would hang out near the sunken pool, admire the grounds, tour the house and munch on sandwiches.
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Wednesday, April 29,2015

That oldtime emission

Pollution at Erickson, threat of suit over Eckert shadow BWL´s aging fleet

by Lawrence Cosentino
As the Lansing Board of Water & Light charts a path out of the coal era, dustups over emissions violations at its coal-fired Erickson and Eckert power stations are adding urgency to the transition. In a letter to the BWL dated March 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that the BWL made two sets of "major modifications" to its 45-year-old Erickson power plant, one in 2010-‘11 and another in late 2012, that "resulted in a significant net emissions increase," mainly of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.
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Wednesday, April 29,2015

Making good, flying home

Wharton Center gig is a homecoming for drummer Lawrence Leathers

by Lawrence Cosentino
When earthy, brainy, playful 26-yearold vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant hits the Wharton Center´s Pasant Theatre tonight, she’ll be in good, and appreciative, company. Lansing-born drummer Lawrence Leathers, now a deeply dug-in denizen of the New York jazz scene, is an awestruck fan as well as a collaborator.
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Wednesday, April 29,2015

Alone together

Rodney Whitaker is fine company ‘When We Find Ourselves Alone’

by Lawrence Cosentino
There is a beautiful paradox in the title of bassist Rodney Whitaker´s new album, “When We Find Ourselves Review Alone.” Whitaker is a singular artist in a plural universe. As a bassist, Whitaker is at the top of his art, but his instrument almost always puts him in harness to a group. As the director of jazz studies at MSU, teacher and mentor to a generation of young jazz artists, community builder in East Lansing and family man with seven children, he has chosen a path that is anything but lonely.
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Thursday, April 23,2015

Stringing it together

Colombian harpist fuses jazz, Latin and folk

by Lawrence Cosentino
THURSDAY, APRIL 23 — Edmar Castaneda can turn his harp into a trellis of flowers or a barge full of fireworks. Forest waterfalls and urban skylines shimmer from its vibrating lines. The Colombia-born harpist throws folk, Latin and jazz rhythms and melodies into a gorgeous mélange that is completely his own invention.
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Thursday, April 23,2015

Monuments and machine guns

Tour explores Capitol building’s connection to Civil War

by Lawrence Cosentino
THURSDAY, APRIL 23 — In the wake of the Civil War, one particular tour of Michigan’s brand new state Capitol building got a little too lively. Chicago historian Matt VanAcker can show you an obscure entry off the west lawn — the only one with double doors — that opened into the an armory, a military storehouse containing small arms, gun carriages and a Gatling gun.
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