Kaia Findlay

Producer, "The State of Things"

Kaia Findlay is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show. Kaia grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a household filled with teachers and storytellers. In elementary school, she usually fell asleep listening to recordings of 1950s radio comedy programs. After a semester of writing for her high school newspaper, she decided she hated journalism. While pursuing her bachelor’s in environmental studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, she got talked back into it. Kaia received a master’s degree from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism, where she focused on reporting and science communication. She has published stories with Our State Magazine, Indy Week, and HuffPost. She most recently worked as the manager for a podcast on environmental sustainability and higher education. Her reporting passions include climate and the environment, health and science, food and women’s issues. When not working at WUNC, Kaia goes pebble-wrestling, takes long bike rides, and reads while hammocking.
 

Lyndsey Gilpin

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced the cancellation of the controversial 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline Sunday. 

Cars at a drive-in movie
Cpl. Ali Azimi

Social distancing guidelines are pushing many social interactions outdoors — so why not the movies? Drive-in theaters had their heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s, with showings of family classics, kitschy horror films, sci-fi wonders and — ahem — “adults-only” flicks. The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a resurgence of interest in the iconic activity. 
 

Headshot of Knapp.
Nora Knapp

Nora Knapp turns her dreams into song lyrics. Three-year-old voice memos on her phone become foundations for melodies and song titles. These chance inspirations are the building blocks of Knapp’s new album “Contradox.” 

Collins sits at a table under a George Floyd mural that reads "George Floyd Rest in Power."
Courtesy of Armando Collins

For Armondo Collins, growing up in a predominantly-black neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota meant several things. It meant that he had to pass through majority white, wealthy communities whenever he wanted candy from the corner store. And it meant that he got stopped by the police a lot. 

Sign reads: "Atlantic Coast Pipeline No Trespassing"
Lyndsey Gilpin

A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week allows the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to travel under a section of the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. 

Fayetteville City Council
City of Fayetteville, North Carolina

Who polices the police? Protesters rising up against George Floyd’s death and police violence have raised this question, including in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville City Council voted in support of establishing a citizens advisory board for issues of police misconduct at a special meeting Monday night. 

Demonstrators hold up signs in support of the DACA program.
Courtesy of Laura Garduño Garcia

Last Monday opened the beginning of a tense week for many U.S. immigrants. Then, relief: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects over 600,000 people in the country from deportation. 

A person waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court building.
Ted Eytan

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay, lesbian and transgender employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of sex on Monday. The 6-3 decision extended the definition of “discrimination on the basis of sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender discrimination. 

Senior Airman Ian Beckley

 
As businesses reopen and summer weather lures people into public spaces, health officials in North Carolina worry about the pandemic’s increasing toll on the population. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state topped 45,000 this week. 

Courtesy of Ronnie Pepper

When Ronnie Pepper was a kid, his mother told him he could not be the president or an astronaut. Though she did not say it aloud, Pepper understood that it was because of the color of his skin. Patterns of internalized oppression and ingrained racism are some of the targets of recent protests and calls for social change across the country. 

Author Carole Boston Weatherford reads to students
Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford wrote her first poem in first grade. She dictated it to her mother on the way home from elementary school in Baltimore. 

Sign outside Chemours' Fayetteville Works site
Vince Winkel

Three years ago this weekend, the public learned about the presence of a toxic chemical compound known as GenX in the Wilmington-area drinking water. 

University students sit in a classroom
Tulane Public Relations

In 2016, a 43-year-old black man named Keith Lamont Scott was shot by police about a mile away from the main campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The shooting sparked demonstrations in the student body, but the administration was slow to respond. 
 

Workers cutting meat
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Meat processing facilities in North Carolina have seen coronavirus outbreaks among their workers, disrupting supply chains and causing concerns about meat shortages. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told a North Carolina news collaborative on Tuesday that there are 2,146 cases in 28 outbreaks at meat processing facilities. 

Nursing home residents sit around a table.
PJ Johnson

Nursing homes are hotspots for spreading the coronavirus. Long-term residents can more easily stay isolated from family and friends, but workers and short-term patients travel in and out of nursing home communities. Many may be asymptomatic, unknowingly providing an opportunity for the virus to enter and exit vulnerable communities. 

Headshot of Andrea Harris.
Courtesy of The North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development

Andrea Harris was a force to be reckoned with. An advocate for the economic advancement of minority communities in the state, she tore down barriers that prevented those communities from owning homes or running businesses. 

Courtesy of Crystal Moore

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, people with substance use disorders and those in recovery find themselves at risk for relapses and overdoses. Feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety act as triggers for substance use and mental health issues. 

Andrea Circle Bear was eight months pregnant and serving a two-year sentence for a drug charge when she became the first female federal prisoner to die from the coronavirus. Her death sparked questions and conversation about what placed her in prison and why she was held there under the circumstances. 

Cooper sitting leaned over a table with reporters standing behind him.
NC Governor Roy Cooper

Hundreds of people protested Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home restrictions for churches in Raleigh Thursday morning.

Going to a movie at a drive-in or outdoor screening makes memories: the picnic dinner with friends, that tinny sound coming through the car speakers, the joyous anticipation for the start of the movie as the giant screen looms out of the growing dusk. 

Flooding in a small town street
North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency

The Atlantic hurricane season begins in less than a month. Researchers predict an active season with as many as 22 named storms, a small portion of which may become major hurricanes. But it takes only one storm to cause major damage, and emergency managers are preparing for the worst.

Courtesy of Karen Willis Amspacher

Coping and recovering from a crisis is nothing new for North Carolina’s coastal residents. Hurricanes have altered life for generations of families along the Atlantic seaboard who regularly weather floods, evacuations and damage to homes and communities.

Cooper speaking at a press conference.
Governor Roy Cooper

 

North Carolina transitions into the first phase of easing coronavirus restrictions today at 5 p.m. Gov. Roy Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, announced the new guidelines on Tuesday: retail businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity with cleaning and social distancing standards, while bars, salons, gyms and entertainment venues will remain closed. People can visit non-family members in small gatherings. 
 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Stimulus checks are rolling into bank accounts across the country, but many have experienced confusion about when, and if, their portion of the $2 trillion economic relief package is coming. 

Courtesy of Jenni Lawson

North Carolina’s coastal counties draw millions of visitors each year with their scenic shorelines and festive events. Tourism is the primary economic driver in beach communities like Corolla, in Currituck County, but the coronavirus will prevent hotels, restaurants, vacation rentals and events from operating at full capacity this summer. 

Wall crouched on the street wearing a mask surrounded by protestors.
The News & Observer Staff

As death tolls rise, new testing information surfaces and doctors race to find a vaccine for COVID-19, breaking news is not in short supply. 
 

Courtesy of Justin Catanoso

When in-person classes were cancelled for the semester at Wake Forest University, Professor Justin Catanoso knew he would have to break some of his own rules. 

Alina Vilchenko

Remember the days when school, work, home life and social engagements kept our schedules packed to the brim, and a little bit of leisure time was hard fought? The coronavirus has turned the work-life balance upside down for many folks. 

Collin Parker

Has anyone checked on the huggers? As weeks of social distancing wear on, many are missing the comforts of a warm embrace — especially those who live alone. Touch has always been an essential emotional and physiological need. In its absence, more people are seeking out creative solutions. From self-massage and weighted blankets to pet fostering and adoption, those sheltering in place are finding new ways to connect with their bodies and their inner selves.

Courtesy of Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Whether passing the peace, the communion chalice or the collection plate, touch is central to many church congregations. But while church members are sheltering at home, pastors and faith leaders have had to find new ways to provide their parishioners with a sense of togetherness.

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