Adhiti Bandlamudi

Audion Fellow for Guns & America
Suzanne Barakat, sister of murder victim Deah Barakat addressed his killer Craig Hicks in court. The family sought a hate crime charge in the case.
Jason DeBruyn / WUNC

Craig Hicks, the man accused of killing three Muslim students in 2015, pleaded guilty to their murders and received three consecutive life sentences on Wednesday. The families have been seeking closure in the case for four years.

Photo: Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha
Our Three Winners

The man charged with killing three Muslim students in Chapel Hill in 2015 is expected to plead guilty to their murders next week.

As school security has become a top priority in communities across the country, security companies have found a thriving new market for their products. But in a sea of gadgets and technology, how do school districts effectively sift through and find the products that can truly help prevent a school shooting?

The ‘Big Aha Moment’

The Chatham County School District has about 8,700 students within its system and is situated in the center of northern North Carolina, a mix of rural and suburban communities.

On Tuesday, April 30, a gunman killed two students and injured four others at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Lockdown drills have become increasingly common in schools across the United States. Though drills differ from school to school, they usually require students to crouch in a corner of their darkened classroom, away from the door, and stay quiet until the teacher says it is okay to start talking again. Students start practicing these drills as early as pre-school, before they can truly understand what threat they are hiding from.

The second NC Chinese Lantern Festival at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre consists of 20 displays made of silk and over 15,000 LED lights.
Ryan Wilusz / WUNC

Since Thanksgiving, Cary has been hosting the fourth annual Chinese Lantern Festival. Every year, around 85 to 90,000 people visit Cary to see the lights.

Holidays can be hard for grieving families. In Charlotte, N.C. a support group called Mothers of Murdered Offspring, or MOM-O, has an annual tradition to help its members get through a season that can feel relentless: they host a Thanksgiving meal for local families who have lost a loved one to homicide.

Rep. Ted Budd, R-NC, answers questions from the media at his election party in Bermuda Run, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, after voting in the state ended. Voters re-elected Budd to the House, defeating Democratic challenger Kathy Manning.
Woody Marshall / AP

North Carolina’s Congressional delegation will continue to be made up by 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Though races in the 2nd, 9th, and 13th Districts were close, the Republican candidates in each district won at the end of the night.

Chef Jose Andres feeds search and rescue teams in Columbus County, NC
World Central Kitchen

Chef Jose Andres started the World Central Kitchen to provide meals for those affected by the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Eight years later, his organization teamed up with local chefs to cook meals for people displaced by Hurricane Florence.

PLAYlive Nation, a nightclub-style video game lounge, is one big, dark room with club music playing in the background. Flat-screen televisions line the walls with XBox gaming systems plugged into each one. There's a big, comfortable chair for each television. Almost every screen is taken up by someone playing Fortnite.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

This fall Nintendo re-released the Super NES Classic, a mini-version of one of its first consoles from the 1990s. It sold out in stores in just a few hours — the latest example of the craze for retro-games and their hardware.

As an Indian-American, I don't immediately associate Bollywood films with food — mostly because the characters in many Bollywood movies are too concerned with dance numbers and melodrama to be bothered by what's for dinner. So, when I came across the new cookbook Bollywood Kitchen, I feared it might have been written by someone who knew nothing about Indian culture and only a bit about Bollywood, "curry" and naan.

Angry Orchard, Strongbow, Woodchuck — these are some of the biggest national cider brands. (By the way, they're all owned by major beer companies.) But those big brands weren't what people came to drink at this fall's Rock the Core cider festival in Washington, D.C.