The State of Things

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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.

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Raleigh writer Angela Davis-Gardner loves Japan. She went there to teach when she was a young woman fresh from her undergraduate studies at Duke University. The landscape and the people stayed in her imagination so profoundly that she has visited several times and set her most recent books there. “Plum Wine” examines the aftermath of World War II in Japan. And her new book, “Butterfly’s Child” (The Dial Press/2011) moves between Japan and America at the end of the 19th century.

Arthur Lenk, director of the Department of International Law in Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will deliver a lecture at Duke University’s Law School today, focusing on Israel, the Middle East peace process and international law. Revolution in Egypt and Tunisia, civil war in Libya and unrest throughout the region mean Israel’s long-held relationships with other Middle Eastern states are in transition.

www.paulgreen.org

You may recognize the name Paul Green as that of the playwright who penned the long-running outdoor drama "The Lost Colony" or gave his name to the theater that houses the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Playmakers Repertory Company. Green's legacy is actually much greater. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, wrote screenplays for Hollywood and fought for decades in his home state of North Carolina for progressive causes and social justice.

Haroon Moghul
themaydan.org

The Muslim Student Association at Duke University is presenting a series of lectures by experts on Islam with the goal of generating positive dialogue about Muslims in America. This year’s “Islamic Awareness Month” comes on the heels of Congressional hearings examining the spread of radicalism and extremism in Muslim communities across the U.S.

Sidney Lowe
newsobserver.com

The NCAA tournament is here along with the March madness that goes with it. Sixty-eight teams are competing for the championship. Two big North Carolina contenders – the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University – are in the mix, but North Carolina State University missed the tournament cutoff and coach Sidney Lowe resigned in the aftermath.

Derrick Allen
newsobserver.com

Last week, Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson publicly criticized the State Bureau of Investigation’s handling of a 1998 murder case, saying the SBI withheld evidence that could have aided the defendant in trial. The case of Derrick Allen, who spent 12 years in jail for the sexual assault and murder of a 2-year-old girl, is the latest to bring attention to the SBI’s policies and procedures at its crime lab.

Food Deserts

Mar 15, 2011
www.trosainc.org

A food desert is a community where healthy food is hard to find. It’s not as much about hunger as it is about access. Many people living in food deserts can afford to shop, they just can’t find a place to shop. Food deserts exist in rural as well as urban settings. It’s hard to say how many food deserts there are in North Carolina because the definition is derived from statistics on income levels, availability of transportation as well as scarcity of grocery stores. Joining host Frank Stasio to discuss the food desert phenomenon are Wendy Noel, the manager of TROSA Grocery in Durham, and Joshua Stack, director of communications for MANNA Foodbank, a Western North Carolina nonprofit that collects, stores and distributes food.

www.stevereich.com

Composer Steve Reich combines recorded voices, instruments and repetitive patterns into the unique style of music called minimalism. He has used that music to explore themes like the Holocaust, cloning, and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. The Kronos Quartet will premiere Reich's new piece "WTC 9/11" at Duke Performances on Saturday, but first host Frank Stasio talks with Reich about that composition and his pioneering body of musical works.

http://englishcomplit.unc.edu/morgan

Amy Hempel is among America's most beloved short story writers. She's also a famous writing teacher – at Harvard University, Bennington College and the Sewanee Writer's Conference, to name a few placeAmy Hempel is among America's most beloved short story writers. She's also a famous writing teacher – at Harvard University, Bennington College and the Sewanee Writer's Conference, to name a few places where students have benefited from her tutelage.

At the corner of Angier Ave. and Driver St. in Durham sits Joe’s Diner. The special there is a 1 lb. all-beef hot dog, but what’s really special about the place is the relationship between its owner, Joe Bushfan, and the restaurant’s financier, Dan Hill. The unlikely partnership between Bushfan, a former celebrity bodyguard, and Hill, an insurance broker, started as a chat about business investments and has grown into an effort to revitalize East Durham’s neighborhoods.

Members of adolescent social cliques tend to dress alike, talk alike and share the same interests. But, a new study out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests that more dangerous behaviors – specifically engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury – are also contagious among friends. UNC psychology professor Mitch Prinstein joins host Frank Stasio to talk about investigating seemingly infectious harmful behaviors among young peer groups.

David Halperin’s new novel "Journal of a UFO Investigator" has extraterrestrial abduction, human-alien hybrids and spacecraft galore. The content reads like a straight science fiction tale at first, but beneath the fantastic story is another one about a boy facing loneliness and the imminent death of his mother.

Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security

Congressional hearings to investigate the “radicalization of Muslims in America” begin today on Capitol Hill. The hearings, called by New York Rep. Peter King, who is the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, are being criticized as racist for singling out the Muslim community in an exploration of homegrown terrorism.

The North Carolina Gazetteer
The North Carolina Gazetteer

Historian William S. Powell first assembled “The North Carolina Gazetteer” in 1968. The book has since served as an essential reference for readers with an interest in the state and the fascinating stories that are attached to places like Frying Pan, Hanging Dog, and Naked Mountain. Powell’s book has recently received an update with help from Michael Hill, research supervisor at the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.

Public Demonstration in Wisconsin
cbsnews.com

As unionized public workers continue to face off with Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker over budget cuts and collective bargaining rights, Americans' interest in the role of unions and collective bargaining in our political and economic systems has spiked. What do this battle and other labor-government standoffs in the Midwest mean for unions in general? What repercussions could the movement have in North Carolina, a Right to Work State?

'The Egg'
goodnightraleigh.com

Roy Gussow's “Ellipsoid Construction,” better known as "The Egg," has been an icon on the campus of North Carolina State University since the sculptor unveiled the chromium steel work of art behind Brooks Hall more than 50 years ago. Gussow was one of the many talented artists who flocked to the NCSU's School of Design in the 1950s, giving shape to a bold, new way of thinking at a university that had been known primarily for its agriculture and engineering programs.

Scott Huler
piedmontlaureate.com

Writer Scott Huler's nonfiction books, investigative journalism, commentary and humor have made him a fixture on the local literary scene. Now he adds the title Piedmont Laureate to his already impressive resume. Huler joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his program as Piedmont Laureate -- story telling events and conversations among writers -- and his upcoming book projects about the South and Southerners

Reuven Moskovitz's experience as a Jew during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany made him sensitive to injustice everywhere. That's why he joined Captain Glyn Secker and other Jewish activists on a boat that tried to run the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and bring aid to the Palestinians there.

John Marc Diptych
Photograph by Jeff Whetstone

Late last month Jeff Whetstone premiered his newest artwork. It's a video depicting a turkey hunt. But it's not a documentary. The hunter uses the female turkey's call to lure a male turkey. Then, the hunter translates the call into English. None of what the female turkey says to the male turkey is suitable for public radio. But to hear a confident American man – muscle-bound, tough, armed and dressed for hunting – talk dirty in the voice of a female turkey is to have your sense of gender, species, nature and wildness ultimately confounded.

North Carolina lawmakers are considering two bills that could radically alter the state’s public schools. Senate Bill 8 would remove the state’s 100-school limit on charter schools. House Bill 41 would offer tax credits to parents who send their children to private schools. Host Frank Stasio talks about what is at stake for the state's public schools with WUNC Education Reporter Dave DeWitt; Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Education Freedom in North Carolina; Helen Ladd, Edgar T. Thompson Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy; and N.C. Rep. Paul Stam (R), one of the sponsors of House Bill 41.

Delta Rae

Mar 4, 2011
www.deltarae.com
www.deltarae.com

Durham-based band Delta Rae utilizes simple instrumentation and soulful harmonies to create a sound that the members call “gospel pop.” In their short existence, they have crafted an eclectic catalog of songs that showcase influences ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Coldplay. With a successful self-titled EP of Southern-tinged pop songs, and sold-out shows on both coasts behind them, they start out this year with their “Graet Mondays” series, releasing free new music on their website every week.

It took Raleigh resident Mary Lambeth Moore decades to tease her intriguing short story about sisters in a small North Carolina town during the mid-1970s into a novel. The result is "Sleeping with Patty Hearst" (Tigress Publishing/2011), an intriguing book that follows a teenager named Lily as she navigates identity and community in 1975 and 1976.

Bob Sheldon moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina from Colorado in the late 1970s and by 1981 he had opened The Internationalist Reading Room. By 1991, the Internationalist was a bookstore and Bob Sheldon was dead. His murder remains unsolved. But because of his politics, speculation as to who wanted to harm Bob Sheldon runs rampant. The Internationalist is now a thriving nonprofit and community flashpoint on Franklin Street in the heart of Chapel Hill. The store's journey from reading room to business mirrors Chapel Hills journey from a progressive, affordable college town, to a well-off, sophisticated southern city.

Efland, North Carolina artist Dave Alsobrooks wanted to bring some life to empty historic buildings in Durham, North Carolina. So, he painted pictures of ordinary people doing everyday tasks, and he posted them in the windows of vacant Durham properties. It's part of “New Neighbors,” a project he developed to help revitalize North-East Central Durham. Host Frank Stasio will talk about the project with Alsobrooks and Cathleen Turner, director of the Piedmont regional office of Preservation North Carolina.


As we struggle to propel ourselves out of the dregs of a global recession, some of the most creative thinkers in the country are working to address the world’s looming financial problems. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina academics and entrepreneurs are pioneering paths they believe will change the world.

Legend has it that a man-eating beast terrorized the former province of Gévaudan in south-central France in the 18th century. It attacked hundreds and attracted the attention of King Louis XV, who vowed to protect the French people and have the monster killed. Jay Smith, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says the beast was just a wolf, but that we can learn a lot about history by studying how this myth was formed.

Even as technology and changing business models reshape the mass media landscape, questionable journalistic practices remain entrenched. The racial and socio-economic profile of a victim greatly influences how and where the media plays stories about them. We take a look at four recent and continuing news stories: the Rocky Mount, N.C. serial killer murders, a non-violent prison protest in Georgia, a Monroe, N.C. teen who went missing in Baltimore, and the attack and sexual assault on CBS reporter Lara Logan in Tahrir Square in Egypt.

www.marrydurham.com

A big event is in the works for those who want to show their pride and support for the city of Durham, North Carolina. On March 19th, residents and non-residents can take part in a group ceremony to “marry” the Bull City. Donations collected for the event will sponsor five local charities.

http://publicpolicy.unc.edu

W. Hodding Carter III was the face of President Jimmy Carter's administration during the 444 days that American hostages were held by Islamic militants in Iran. Hodding Carter, the son of a Mississippi newspaperman who fought against the injustices of Jim Crow, never planned a career in politics. He inherited a love for journalism and eventually became editor of his father's paper, the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, Mississippi. Gradually, Hodding Carter stopped just observing and writing about the movement for equality, and joined it instead. This led him down a road that would take him out of journalism and into politics.

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/

There's reason to be optimistic about the economy in the Triad region of North Carolina. While traditional manufacturing jobs in textiles and furniture have mostly dried up, better paying jobs in biotech, shipping and many other fields are emerging. Justin Catanoso, executive editor of the Triad Business Journal, talks with host Frank Stasio at Greensboro’s Triad Stage about the state of the economy.

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