The State of Things

M-F 12 Noon, M-Th 8p, Sat 6a

Host Frank Stasio.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

We bring the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you. We are a live show, and we want to hear from listeners. Call 1-877-962-9862, email sot@wunc.org, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Or join our live audience for remote broadcasts from Greensboro's Triad Stage and Raleigh's Museum of Natural Sciences. And you can listen to Political Junkie Ken Rudin Fridays on the program.

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a little angry man with his head turning red and ears blowing steam
Creative Commons

Rampant school shootings, recent mail bomb threats and a massacre at a synagogue give the impression that Americans are angry. And a quick flick through the news provides ample examples of leaders spouting angry rhetoric and encouraging violence. So, are Americans getting angrier?

Christine Darden in 1975
NASA / NASA

The book and film “Hidden Figures” tells the story of African-American women at NASA in the 1960s who worked as human computers and helped to open outer space to astronauts. And North Carolina has its own “hidden figure” to claim: Christine Darden.

Ashely Evans / Western Carolina University

Kevin Rumley had a near-picturesque upbringing that he describes being like a 1950s Disney movie. Growing up in Fairfax, Virginia, Rumley and his two brothers played music, rollerbladed and skateboarded on the halfpipe their dad built them.

A vote here sign in Chapel Hill
Amy Townsend / WUNC

  The headlines shifted quickly this week from analysis of the historic midterm elections to news that Jeff Sessions was ousted from the White House. Political Junkie Ken Rudin talks about the fast week in political news, including the appointment of acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

Motherboard

The new film “The Most Unknown” from Motherboard is both documentary and experiment. It takes viewers on a stunning visual journey into surprising corners of the world and follows along as nine scientists meet for the first time.

Kym Register standing in front of The Pinhook's logo
Courtesy of Kym Register

The Pinhook in Durham has won local awards for being the best gay bar in the Triangle, but it is not actually a gay bar. The music venue and bar is an inclusive space that prides itself on belonging to the community — and not just the LGBTQ community.

Former guards from the Cherokee County Detention Center alleged a pattern of inmate abuse and improper conduct in a recent investigative report from Carolina Public Press.

Vote Here sign
Erik Hersman / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/1ezRl1S

2018 midterm voter turnout in North Carolina was the highest its been in decades. But not everyone who wanted to cast a ballot was able to do so. A pre-election analysis from WRAL showed that a change in early voting requirements disproportionately affected rural and poor voters in North Carolina.

Courtesy Michelle Dorrance

Michelle Dorrance is revolutionizing tap dance, and the world is watching. Dorrance stomps and slides across the floor with movements that are experimental, loose, romantic and everything in between. She breaks the rules of what many expect tap dance to look like, and reinforces that tap dancing is first and foremost about making music.

North Carolina with red and blue in the background
NPR

North Carolina Republicans lost their supermajority in the General Assembly but declared victory in three competitive U.S. House seats. Meanwhile state voters approved four of six constitutional amendments including photo voter ID, but they repudiated the Republican plan to give the legislature more control over judicial and state board appointments.

Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/p/fvhbd4

By November 15, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt and the school's Board of Trustees will present their plan for the future of the Confederate Silent Sam monument that was topped by protestors in late August. The statue is currently being stored at an undisclosed location.

 William Travis Jewelry has been a fixture in Chapel Hill for more than 15 years. Behind the success is William Travis Kukovich, an award-winning jewelry designer with a pedigree in metalsmithing. Kukovich is a fifth-generation metalsmith who became a bit of a prodigy in the jewelry industry when he won the highest award in his profession at the age of 26.

pxhere.com

BBC Radio reporter and producer Giles Edwards first came to North Carolina to look at the politics of voting access in 2014. It was one year after the U.S. Supreme Court had gutted the Voting Rights Act and not long after North Carolina embarked on its own efforts to overhaul voting, including eliminating same-day voter registration and reducing early voting. That legislation was later struck down by the Supreme Court. Through conversations with politicians, activists and experts, Edwards created an audio analysis of the many ways North Carolinians were seeing their voting access change.

While walking a mall in New Jersey, a teenaged Jim Henderson heard the sound of a group of saxophonists. He rushed to see who these musicians were and found one man playing three saxophones and a nose flute at the same time.

Credit Lynn Hey / For WUNC

Republican incumbent Tedd Budd and Democratic challenger Kathy Manning are in a tight and heated race to represent North Carolina's 13th Congressional District. Budd won in 2016 with no prior political experience, and Manning is in the same position this year. Budd owns a gun store and shooting range in Advance, North Carolina, while Manning has spent her career in law and philanthropy.

a photo of Harvey Milk at Mayor Moscone's desk
Creative Commons

Harvey Milk was not the first openly-gay elected official, but is certainly one of the most famous. After two unsuccessful bids for a set on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Milk won twice, Milk won in 1977 and proudly represented those on the fringes. He believed the only way for the gay community to gain rights was to have a seat at the table.

Natalie Rhea / Courtesy of Tish Hinojosa

Tish Hinojosa grew up with her feet in two worlds. Her parents are Mexican immigrants who raised her and 12 siblings in San Antonio, Texas. 

Bruce Campbell as Ash in 'Evil Dead II.'
Wendy / Creative Commons https://goo.gl/DgesD8

Not all horror movies are scary or spooky. Some films, like “Shaun of the Dead” or “An American Werewolf in London,” actually have a big dose of comedy in them. Others, like “Evil Dead II” or “Troll 2,” play up their campy elements.

A graphic for Casa Azul of Greensboro's event, Dia De Muertos.
Courtesy of Casa Azul

Many Americans spend a lifetime running away from their own mortality. Death is the so-called ‘great connecter,’ yet it is a topic taboo at the dinner table. But this avoidance is not universal.

Courtesy SHAN Wallace

A new batch of artists has hunkered down for an experimental, immersive residency in Greensboro's Elsewhere Museum. For the nearly month-long Southern Constellations Fellowship, artists from different generations and backgrounds play, perform and present their work within the walls of Greensboro's thrift store-turned-museum.
 

A photo of Laura Jane Vincent and her guitar
Courtesy of Laura Jane Vincent

When singer-songwriter Laura Jane Vincent set out to record her entry for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, she knew just the place to do it. Her relatives owned a historic farmhouse tucked away in rural Glendon, North Carolina that still contained the nearly-untouched office of a country doctor named Murdo Eugene Street who died in 1944.

A headshot of Georgiary Bledsoe
Courtesy of Georgiary Bledsoe

From an early age, Georgiary Bledsoe aspired to a life beyond what she knew as a child. She is the youngest of 17 siblings and grew up very poor in East Saint Louis, Illinois, a city often considered one of the most dangerous in America.

Jakeli Swimmer in front of his classroom.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Of the nearly 16,000 enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, fewer than 300 can fluently speak the Cherokee language. Most of those speakers are over the age of 50 and think their heritage language is on the brink of extinction.

Paula Poundstone On 39 Years Of Funny

Oct 26, 2018
Michael Schwartz

Paula Poundstone got her start as a stand-up comedian nearly four decades ago at open mic nights, meticulously planning out her jokes but invariably ad libbing. Over the course of her career in comedy, she has worked to strip away the scripted nature of her routines to become truly improvisational. She has also let her witty humor wander farther and farther from the stage, as a voice actor, NPR quiz show personality, author and most recently podcast host. Poundstone is the author of "The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness" and the host of the weekly podcast "Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone." 

These Women Are Giving Voice To A Prison Sentence

Oct 26, 2018
courtesy of Susannah Long

There is some scripture that inmates at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women can deeply relate to: stories about women who suffer at the hands of abusers and decide to fight back, and text that exalts God despite challenges and pain on earth. When musician and prison volunteer Susannah Long started a songwriting workshop in the facility, she used this scripture as the jumping-off point for inmates to express their lived experience by creating their own songs. 

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

  Is the high cost of health care keeping black women from following up on breast cancer treatment? A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reveals black women are less likely to adhere to breast cancer follow-up treatments.

A picture of a coal ash pond.
Waterkeeper Alliance

How does coal ash impact human health? A new review of existing research shows a link between living close to a coal power plant or coal ash pond and higher risks of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as higher risks of premature mortality, lung cancer, infant mortality, and poor child health. The research does not draw a direct link between these conditions and coal ash. 

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

In North Carolina some voters are weighing in on an issue that has a big impact on immigrant families. The 287(g) program allows local law enforcement officials to partner with immigration agents. Six counties in North Carolina currently have 287(g) agreements: Cabarrus, Gaston, Henderson, Mecklenburg, Nash and Wake. The program has become a hot topic in several of North Carolina’s County Sheriff’s races.

ILO in Asia and the Pacific / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/2PSyGCE

State employees in North Carolina spend a lot of money on healthcare and cost their employer millions. State treasurer Dale Folwell has argued these fees are obscure and out of control. He has called the financial reimbursement model unexplainable, unacceptable, and unsustainable and says the state is at risk of overpaying medical claims since it cannot independently verify it receives the proper contractual discounts. Now his proposal for how to fix it—and save the state $300 million—has been unanimously accepted by the state health plan board. 

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