The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

The inside of a cell at central prison.
Courtesy of Rose Hoban

Is the North Carolina Department of Public Safety breaking its own rules? A 2016 policy change prohibits inmates with mental health issues from being held in solitary confinement for more than 30 days. So why was Devon Davis, who is developmentally delayed and has mental illness, kept in solitary for more than five months last year?

Poster image of art of Monét Noelle Marshall stuffing money in her mouth.
Derrick Beasley

Artist Monét Noelle Marshall has been working intensely on a new three-part performance art project: “Buy It Call It.” It explores the price people put on their bodies and souls and how capitalism uniquely impacts women and people of color.

In 'Gone Dollywood: Dolly Parton's Mountain Dream' author Graham Hoppe explores how the country-music star's theme-park is reclaiming Appalachian narratives and uplifting the community.
Courtesy of Graham Hoppe

Dollywood is Dolly Parton’s mountain, dream theme park in Sevier County, Tennessee. On the surface, the concept conjures up images of a kitchy and over-the-top Appalachian amusement park. But a new book by writer and folklorist Graham Hoppe looks behind a narrative of Appalachian stereotypes and reveals a place that has served and nourished a community and family for years.

NC State House
Courtesy of NCGA

Republican legislative leaders released their plan for the state budget late Monday. The bill includes a 6.5 percent average pay hike for teachers, raises for full-time state employees, and a $60 million fund for continued Hurricane Matthew recovery.

The Wild Bison truck stop, pictured here at night, is where Rao began her reporting for her novel.
Courtesy of Maya Rao / WUNC

Before 2008, western North Dakota was a faded frontier. The vast and sparsely-populated area had been steadily losing population since the Great Depression. But the discovery of the Bakken oil fields, in combination with new fracking technology, paved the way for what Maya Rao calls a modern-day gold rush.

Kerri Mubaraak with participants from Hunter Elementary School in Greensboro
Courtesy of Kerri Mubaraak / WUNC

Kerri Mubaarak is the artistic director of Greensboro-based Scrapmettle Entertainment Group. Their Blueprints program gives youth the opportunity to create, write and produce arts projects from inception to performance. One day she received a call from educators at Ecole Actuelle Bilingue primary school in Senegal saying: our fourth and fifth graders are interested in radio, can you come up with a course of study for them?

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.

headshot of Bishop Michael Curry
www.dionc.org

Bishop Michael Curry became one of the stars at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after delivering a rousing 14-minute-long sermon at the event. 

Curry is the first African-American to head the Episcopal church and the first American to preach at a British royal wedding. 

A former employee at Candler Living Center, a facility for mentally ill and disabled adults outside Asheville, N.C., contracted with Recovery Connections for workers. It houses nearly 30 residents.
Courtesy of Nancy Pierce / Reveal

For years, clients who sought treatment for addiction at a North Carolina-based rehab program found themselves in a system of exploitative labor, according to a new investigation by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Michael C. Munger speaking
Courtesy of Michael C. Munger / WUNC

In 2010 the first Uber passenger was picked up in San Francisco. The business model quickly took off, and one year later was available in New York and Chicago and then went international.

Isabel Taylor with guitar
Courtesy of Isabel Taylor

Isabel Taylor wanted to perform on stage for a long time. So long, in fact, that it became one of those dreams that lingered until it felt more and more distant. So she finally set a deadline: by 40 she would take the stage at an open mic.

A group of protesters outside of the Greensboro coliseum before R Kelly is scheduled to perform.
Skip Foreman / AP Photo

A Texas woman filed a lawsuit Monday accusing R.Kelly of sexual battery and knowingly infecting her with herpes. This is the latest in a decades-long string of allegations against the R&B artist that detail an array of misconduct, including his repeatedly holding women against their will in a “sex cult.” Hollywood leaders recently renewed the #MuteRKelly movement to demand that companies who profit from his music cut ties.

A promotional poster for the 1959 Douglas Sirk film 'Imitation of Life'
Reynold Brown

This year US consumers are estimated to have spent an average of $180 each for Mother’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. This month Movies on the Radio gives moms a tribute money can not buy with a show devoted to mothers.

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.

Misumena Vatia, or Crab spiders, are able to change color to blend in with their surroundings.
Sean McCann / University of Chicago Press

Despite being an entomologist, Eleanor Spicer Rice was not a likely candidate to write a book about spiders. She is terrified of the creatures. Or at least she was until she partnered up with acclaimed arachnologist Chris Buddle of McGill University.

Ashley Thomas posing with athletes from the Valor Games
Bridge2Sports

Each year the Valor Games come to the Triangle and give disabled veterans and those in the armed services the opportunity to compete in sports that help them build strength, confidence and tenacity.

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 pauli murray in her later years in priest's attire
UNC Digital Library and Archives

Pauli Murray is an often-overlooked civil rights trailblazer. She staged her first “protest” at 5 years old  when her aunt gave her grandfather three pancakes while she only received one. Murray was arrested for sitting in the whites-only section on a Virginia bus 15 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat.

festival poster picturing a stylized image of a man playing the harmonica
Piedmont Blues Preservation Society

For 32 years, the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society has been hosting its Carolina Blues Festival, which it calls the longest running blues festival in the Southeast. Joining host Frank Stasio for a preview of this year’s events is Atiba Berkley the president of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society. He’ll talk about the preservation society’s commitment to bringing blues to the next generation.

photo of Hinton. he has a black eye and other abrasions.
City County Bureau of Identification

A Wake County grand jury handed up felony assault indictments this week for Cameron Broadwell, a Wake County sheriff’s deputy and North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers Michael G. Blake and Tabitha Davis. The three are accused with violently beating and injuring Kyron Dwain Hinton, a Raleigh resident who was homeless at the time of the incident. Hinton was approached by law enforcement on April 3 in East Raleigh, and what happened next landed him in the hospital for three days with injuries that included a fractured eye socket, broken nose and 20 dog bites.

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. 

Supporters of raising pay for teachers began to march in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday morning.
James Morrison / WUNC

Thousands of North Carolina teachers march through the streets of Raleigh on Wednesday to call for higher pay and for more resources for their students. The march is part of the wave of educator-led activism across the nation in backlash to federal and state-level education budget cuts.

headshot of chancellor cummings
Courtesy of UNCP

Retired surgeon and former state Medicaid Director Robin Gary Cummings took office as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2015. Cummings is a Pembroke native and member of the Lumbee Tribe. His tenure has been marked by efforts to expand economic and educational opportunities for residents of Robeson County, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

photo of michelle lhooq in a club
Luis Nieto Dickens

Female and queer artists will make up a majority of the lineup at this year’s Moogfest in downtown Durham. It’s a roster that pushes back against the prominence of men as the creators, performers and promoters in the electronic music industry.

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.

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