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. 

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Flickr user Erik Hersman

Last week North Carolina state legislators filed a proposal that would ask voters to decide whether a photo ID requirement should be added to the state’s constitutional qualifications to vote. Voters won’t necessarily see more details before deciding on the proposed constitutional amendment. Lawmakers would add those details later in a separate bill.

a picture of Southernmost, Silas House's new novel
Courtesy of Silas House

In his latest novel, Silas House examines what it is like to fundamentally disagree with the people you love. “Southernmost” (Algonquin Books/2018) centers on an evangelical preacher, Asher Sharp, who takes in two gay men after a devastating flood in their small Tennessee town.

Prescription pills
Wikpedia

A bill in the North Carolina General Assembly would allow law enforcement to have access to a statewide database of prescribed controlled substances. This is the latest move by the legislature to help curb the opioid epidemic in North Carolina.

State Superintendent of Public Schools Mark Johnson
NC Public Schools

The North Carolina Supreme Court released a ruling Friday over who is in charge of running the state’s public schools: the State Schools Superintendent or the State Board of Education. After the decision was unveiled, both sides claimed victory.

A floating home on the Fontana Lake in North Carolina.
Tim Robison, courtesy of Our State Magazine

In its first season, the “Away Message” podcast from Our State Magazine focused on remote places in the state. For its newly-released second season, the podcast explores lost or forgotten stories in North Carolina’s history.

A picture from the play 'The Lost Colony.'
Courtesy of Andrew Lawler

In 1587, more than 100 men, women, and children traveled to the New World from England to found a colony on Roanoke Island. The colony’s governor went back to England later that year to get more supplies and returned in 1590. But by then, the colonists were gone.

Several hands of different colors raised.
John LeMasney / Creative commons

A controversial charter school bill passed in the General Assembly on Wednesday. The bill would allow four municipalities outside Charlotte to run their own charter schools.

Courtesy of Dr. Kimberly Johnson

Even though she grew up in a small, historically black community in Mississippi, Kimberly Johnson heard plenty of conversations about racism and discrimination.

Phil Cook's album cover for "People Are My Drug."
Courtesy of Phil Cook

 Phil Cook moved to North Carolina from Wisconsin over a decade ago. Even though he is from the Midwest, Cook says he has always been a student of Southern music. He had romantic ideas about the South from a young age, even with no experience of the region.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show on a theater marquee.
Mark Miller (CC-BY-SA)

 

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” spurred one of the biggest cult movies phenomenons. But the sci-fi musical mashup did not impress at the box office when it opened in 1975. In fact, a Halloween show in New York City and a national rollout of the film was canceled due to terrible reviews. Decades later, the film has been running continuously in movie theaters for longer than any other movie — with many of the showings happening at midnight on weekends.

Hogs in a large-scale farming barn.
Public Domain

North Carolina’s pork industry has been in the spotlight since a jury awarded tens of millions to 10 people living close to one Eastern North Carolina hog farm. The money was awarded as nuisance payments for noxious odors, floating fecal dust and other byproducts of large-scale farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFO’s.

Representative Nelson Dollar of Wake County listens to debate on the state budget during general session at the State Capitol on June 21, 2017.
Matt Couch / WUNC

Last year the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly voted to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on the state budget plan.

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

More than 15,000 North Carolina teachers traveled to Raleigh last week for a teacher rally. The event brought national attention to the state’s education budget and teachers’ demands for more resources and support staff to increase student safety.

photo of eastman amongst red and blue baloons, speaking at a podium
Nati Harnik / AP Photo

Female candidates swept primary elections in Pennsylvania and Nebraska this week. Will this wave continue into the November midterm elections? And Wednesday’s teacher rally in Raleigh is part of a wave of teacher protests in red states. What impact could this have on the midterms?

photo of a young woman pushing someone in a wheelchair
Pxhere / Public Domain

More than 40 million people provide unpaid care to a family member or loved one, according to data from the National Alliance for Caregiving. But these statistics leave out youth caregivers: a group of more than a million young people under the age of 18 who care for a family member because of a chronic health condition, disability, or a mental health problem, including addiction.

book cover for 'no sad songs'
Courtesy of Frank Morelli

When author Frank Morelli was in high school, his grandfather moved in with the family after he was diagnosed with Pick’s disease, a progressive form of dementia. Morelli noticed how his father struggled to become a caretaker, trying to keep his promise of giving his father a death with dignity as the disease progressed. 

a portion of a pipeline
Roy Luck / Flickr Creative Commons

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court issued a decision that created a roadblock for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review of the pipeline. The federal review is known as an incidental take statement, and it is meant to set limits on killing threatened or endangered species during construction and operation. 

photo of a doctor
www.maxpixel.net/Doctor-Medicine-Health-Stetoscope-Medical-563428

In 2014, former President Barack Obama’s health care law gave states the option to expand Medicaid. North Carolina was among 18 states who chose not to expand the program. At the time, many officials in those states expressed concern over how much expansion would cost.

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

Nearly 40 school districts in North Carolina will close schools on Wednesday, May 16. That is the opening day for the legislative session, and thousands of teachers from around the state plan to protest in Raleigh for better pay and working conditions. The demonstration comes as teachers strike and walk out in other states around the country, like Arizona, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

photo of the band playing onstage
Courtesy of Farewell Friend

Under the umbrella of “alternative country,” you will find the music of Farewell Friend. Guitarist and vocalist Tom Troyer, guitarist Mark Byerly, and upright bass player Evan Campfield perform live at the Triad Stage’s Upstage Cabaret in Greensboro.

composite image of artist honorees and the words '50 for 50'
Courtesy of the North Carolina Arts Council

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council, the state agency decided to profile 50 artists with North Carolina roots. The project is called “50 for 50,” and it includes artists from bestselling-author David Sedaris to poet and musician Shirlette Ammons.

photo of tony williamson holding a mandolin
Courtesy of Tony Williamson

This year is the 50th anniversary of mandolin player Tony Williamson’s recording career. Throughout the years, he has played with bluegrass legends like Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs and Sam Bush. But in the 1980s, Williamson suffered a series of accidents and injuries, and a surgeon told him he would never play the mandolin again. He went through a long transition that included experimenting with Chinese medicine, a spiritual awakening and trying to look at the world a little differently.

photo of ariel dorfman
Courtesy of Seven Stories Press

Many of writer Ariel Dorfman’s works explore power dynamics in a post-colonial world. His latest novel is no exception. “Darwin’s Ghosts” (Seven Stories Press/2018) centers on a man whose life is changed on his 14th birthday when his father takes a Polaroid picture of him. However, in the photo protagonist Fitzroy Foster’s face is not his own. Instead, his face is that of a stranger.

headshot of serapio
Courtesy of Luis Carlos Serapio

Luis Carlos Serapio crossed the border from Mexico as an undocumented immigrant in the early 1990s. He was looking for a better life. He moved around, from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Utah, and then to the East Coast. After visiting Asheville for a wedding, he and his first wife fell in love with the city. They soon decided to take a leap of faith and just move there.

book cover for 'murder on shades mountain,' picturing a dirt road
Duke University Press

In 1931, Willie Peterson was arrested for the attack of three white women in Birmingham, Alabama. He did not match the description that the sole survivor of the attack gave police, other than the fact that he was black. He was convicted and sentenced to death.

headshot of Josh Stein, NC flag in the background
Courtesy of NCDOJ

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has signed onto several federal lawsuits since taking office in January 2017. He joined 14 other Democratic attorneys general in a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. Earlier this month Stein signed on to a multi-state lawsuit to block a question about citizenship on the upcoming 2020 Census. A week later, he and 15 other Democratic attorneys general filed a motion to intervene in a Texas lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act.

book cover for 'the peacemakers: leadership lessons from twentieth-century statesmanship'
Courtesy of Sanford School of Public Policy

There were breakthroughs on several seemingly impossible conflicts in the 20th century: the Cold War came to a close; apartheid ended in South Africa; relations warmed between the United States and China; and the violence between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland quieted. Can 21st century leaders learn from those behind these peacemaking efforts from the previous 100 years? Bruce Jentleson tackled this question in his new book, “The Peacemakers: Leadership Lessons From Twentieth-Century Statesmanship” (W. W. Norton and Company/2018). The book profiles 13 leaders, including negotiators, activists, and trailblazers.

photo of Nikki Haley speaking at the United Nations
Julie Jacobson / AP Photo

This week marked another rift in the Trump administration, this time over imposing new sanctions on Russia. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the president would announce those new sanctions during her appearance on Sunday talk shows. On Tuesday, a top White House official negated that comment and blamed Haley’s statement about sanctions on “momentary confusion.” Haley shot back, saying “I don’t get confused.”

the five members of kooley high posing in a parking lot
Brett Villena

North Carolina hip-hop group Kooley High is out with their new album “Never Come Down.” The acclaimed Kendrick Lamar-collaborator Patrick Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder, is executive producer for the album and one of the tracks includes Grammy-nominated artist Rapsody who was also a founding member of the group. Rapsody has since branched off for her own solo career, but she is still close with the group that helped her get her start.

Deana Martorella Orellana's mother, Laurel Martorella (left), and Orellana's sister, Robin Jewell, hold her Marine Corps photo. Orellana killed herself a year after leaving the Marines. She had agreed to undergo counseling the day she died.
Jay Price / American Homefront

Female veterans are nearly 2 1/2 times more likely to commit suicide than civilian women, according to data from the Veterans Administration Suicide Prevention Program. The same data show male veterans are 18 percent more likely to kill themselves than civilian men. Why are female veterans struggling? The advocacy group Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) released six recommendations on the mental health needs of women service members and veterans based on a poll of veterans in the civilian world and women on active duty.

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