Amanda Magnus

Producer, "The State of Things"

Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC.  She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies. 

The band Natural Born Leaders
Courtesy of Natural Born Leaders

The band Natural Born Leaders describes its sound as “the Fugees meets Black Sabbath.” The Asheville-based group is comprised of five members whose musical styles and influences range from metal and hard rock to hip-hop and folk.

DeWayne Barton in the Burton Street Peace Gardens
Angeli Wright / Asheville Citizen-Times

A highway expansion project in Asheville is set to destroy several homes in a historically black community for the third time. Parts of the Burton Street Neighborhood in West Asheville were demolished by state highway projects in the 1950s and 1960s. Now the proposed Interstate 26 connection project will go through the neighborhood again.

Ana Nuñez
Courtesy of Ana Nuñez / Fay and Grafton

Ana Nuñez was nine years old before she ever stepped foot inside a grocery store or tasted an apple. Nuñez grew up in Cuba with intermittent access to food and medicine and abundant electricity shortages. In 1991 her father defected to the United States, and a couple years later the family followed.

The cover of 'For Your Own Good: Taxes, Paternalism, and Fiscal Discrimination in the Twenty-First Century.'
Courtesy of Todd Nesbit / Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Selective taxes on items like cigarettes and alcohol are often imposed by the U.S. government to help consumers make better choices. But according to economist Todd Nesbit, these so-called “sin taxes” can have unintended consequences that thwart this mission.

From left to right: JAMM, Naima, J Rowdy, Lil Monsta, and Zone.
Amanda Magnus / WUNC

Two years ago, the Afrofuturist digital makerspace in Durham started offering hip-hop workshops. Local students gathered at Blackspace to learn about writing and met each Friday night in a public park to rap and make beats. Out of those gatherings, a group of students – who call themselves the Blackspace Afronauts – put together their first album: “Revenge Of The Afronauts.”

A child looks out a window at Knightdale High School, which has been converted into an evacuation shelter for people affected by Hurricane Florence in Kinghtdale, N.C., Sunday, Sep. 16, 2018.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

As Hurricane Florence flood waters continue to recede, thousands of students are still out of school in North Carolina. Estimates show this storm caused three times as much damage to the state’s schools as Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers hold a special session Tuesday to discuss the response to Hurricane Florence. Legislators will decide how much money to appropriate for disaster relief while citizens and state agencies are still trying to tally up the damages.

'Young Frankenstein' poster
Matthew Nenninger & Tracie Andrews / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/2P9H7Ja

Most horror movies are meant to be spooky and scary...but bad acting or cheap special effects can turn a terrifying tale into campy one. The classic example is “Evil Dead” or a B movie like “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”

Some films blend horror with humor, two genres that some would call opposites. “Shaun of the Dead” and “Young Frankenstein” are two well-known comedy-horror movies.

Becky Buller playing the fiddle
Michael Weintrob

 Bluegrass has been a part of Becky Buller’s life since she was five years old. She grew up as the fiddler in her family band in Minnesota, received classical violin lessons and learned about bluegrass fiddling from other musicians at various music festivals. 

HSUS
HSUS

Do large-scale hog farms make their neighbors sick? A new study from Duke University researchers show residents who live close to industrial hog farms have a higher risk of potentially deadly diseases. 

Pixabay

There are over 2.2 billion people who use Facebook at least once a month. The social networking site is one of the largest companies in the world and Forbes has ranked Facebook as one of the most valuable brands. 

Courtesy of Matthew DeMichele / RTI International

While last month's “Unite The Right” rally in Washington D.C. was small, it brought renewed attention to white supremacist groups in the United States. 

Brett Kavanaugh
Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s future on the U.S. Supreme Court is in flux after an allegation of physical and sexual assault. 

Ramon Espinosa / AP Photo

One year ago, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The Category 4 storm had winds up to 150 mph and decimated the unincorporated territory. Millions of Americans were left without power and water in Puerto Rico in the wake of the storm. A report from George Washington University estimated the death toll of the hurricane to be 2,975. 

The North Carolina National Guard was deployed to help in the fight against Florence.
NC National Guard

North Carolina is still reeling from Hurricane Florence. The death toll from the storm rose to at least 37 people in three different states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina. There are roughly 10,000 people still in shelters. Governor Roy Cooper urged those who evacuated to stay put. 

Garry Knight / Flickr Creative Commons

The wealth gap in the United States is growing – and it has negative consequences beyond the economy. A recent report from the Pew Research Center shows the American middle class continues to lose financial ground to the upper class. 

Linda Rupert

Tropical Depression Florence is well inland, but North Carolina is still reeling from the storm. All of the state’s 100 counties have experienced some form of National Weather System alert, from flash flood watch to hazardous weather outlook.

 In a two-hour special broadcast to stations around North Carolina, The State of Things speaks with residents, journalists, officials and experts about the devastating storm impact. 

Vehicles drive through water from the White Oak River flooding Highway 24 as Hurricane Florence hit Swansboro N.C., Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.
Tom Copeland / AP Photo

North Carolina is feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence. The major storm is expected to cause catastrophic flooding and long power outages. Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii and WUNC politics reporter Rusty Jacobs for the latest from the governor and on state response.

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Hurricane Florence, which is now a Category 2 storm, continues to bear down on the Carolina coast. The National Weather Service says it is likely to be “the storm of a lifetime” for certain portions of that coastline. Officials have ordered the evacuation of over 1 million people from the coasts of North and South Carolina. Scott Sharp, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Raleigh speaks with host Frank Stasio with the latest report.

Alisha Locklear Monroe's piece 'Symbolic'
Courtesy of Alisha Locklear Monroe / Center for the Study of the American South

A new art exhibit explores contemporary Lumbee identity by bringing together two artists with very different backgrounds and one thing in common: being Lumbee.

City of Greensboro

  A team of researchers from universities across the state will begin testing air and municipal water samples throughout North Carolina this month in search of potentially-toxic compounds.

Hanily Sam / Flickr Creative Commons

Panhandling has been a hot political topic in the city of Greensboro this year. 

Stacy Lynn Waddell's work, 'Self Portrait.'
Stacy Lynn Waddell, photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion. / Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Historically underrepresented, overlooked, and excluded artists are the focus of the latest exhibition at The Nasher Museum in Durham. The museum has been collecting art centered on diversity and inclusion since it opened its doors in 2005.

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Healthcare reform has been a hotly-debated topic for decades. The United States spends about twice as much on healthcare than any other wealthy country in the world, but American health outcomes are worse.

A map of the U.S. from Jacqui Castle's new novel, 'The Seclusion.'
Jacqui Castle / Inkshares

What if the United States built walls along its borders with Mexico and Canada? That is the premise of a new, young adult dystopian novel that imagines what an isolationist United States would look like in the year 2090. 

flag-draped casket of Sen. John McCain
Alex Brandon / AP

Federal judges ruled again that North Carolina’s Congressional map is unconstitutional due to partisan gerrymandering. In their ruling, the judges left open the option to order redrawing the districts before the 2018 election. What impact could this ruling have on the midterm elections and congressional control? 

The cover of Anne-Claire's new album, 'I Still Look For You.'
Kendall Atwater

When Anne-Claire Niver’s grandmother died in 2016, her small family was devastated. Niver was so grief-stricken that writing music about her grandmother was painful – too painful for her to imagine writing a song or recording an album about the loss. 

Los Angelos gang member being tattoed
J. Ross Baughman 1982 / Wikimedia Commons

Guilford is one of eight counties in North Carolina that has more than 40 gangs, according to 2016 numbers from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol GangNET database. In 2017, Greensboro had a record 42 homicides, and 11 of those killings were gang related. That same year, the number of violent deaths in High Point was nearly three times greater than killings in 2016. 

NC State House
NCGA

The North Carolina General Assembly is in a last-minute special session, called yesterday, to rewrite two proposed constitutional amendments to appear on the November ballot.

Ben McKeown / WUNC

Earlier this week the state turned down Chemours’ suggestion to raise the acceptable amount of GenX, a chemical found in the water, soil and air around its North Carolina plant. The Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board instead affirmed the state’s conservative threshold of the chemical for drinking water. 

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