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.

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a black-and-white photo of men on the Watergate Committee, including Rufus Edmisten
Associated Press / AP

Rufus Edmisten cut his teeth in the political world as counsel to former U.S. Sen. Samuel Ervin Jr. Ervin was the chairman of what is commonly known as the Watergate Committee, and Edmisten played a key role in that committee’s work as well.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

New abortion legislation is sweeping the country, with states introducing ever-more polarizing bills to constrict and expand access. With Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, legislatures in states like Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi are pushing the envelope as they presume the Supreme Court may be receptive to rolling back or overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized the procedure. North Carolina has been issuing legislation aimed at restricting abortion providers, patients and employers since 2011.

A woman in a prison cell
Officer Bimblebury / Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2JTob1G

The number of incarcerated women in North Carolina is growing faster than the number of incarcerated men. According to statistics from Prison Policy Initiative, the number of women in the state prison population increased 19% from 2009 to 2015. In that same time period the number of men in the state prison population increased only one percent.

Image of Cherokee County Courthouse
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr, Creative Commons

For years, the Cherokee County Department of Social Services illegally removed dozens, and potentially even hundreds, of children from their homes. Instead of seeking an official court order from a judge, DSS workers instead instructed numerous families to sign custody and visitation agreements (CVAs) to authorize removal of their children.

Courtesy of Jacquelyn Dowd Hall

Growing up in turn-of-the-century Georgia, the Lumpkin children were steeped in a culture of white supremacy. The older girls performed in rallies for “The Lost Cause,” while their father took a direct role in the Ku Klux Klan. But the two youngest Lumpkin sisters, Grace and Katharine, veered well off the path their family had set for them. They became activists and authors who railed against racial and economic oppression.

Archival image of a flag in a field in Woodstock.
Lisa Law

Is it morally superior to be ironic than to be idealistic? This question and decades of lived experience as a musician and music novelist drive Lewis Shiner’s latest literary opus: “Outside The Gates of Eden” (Subterranean Press/2019)

Sonny Kelly on stage
Huth Photography/Courtesy of Sonny Kelly

North Carolina playwright, actor and teacher Sonny Kelly has made it his mission in life to inspire others. He aims to use performance and ministry to connect with people, especially marginalized kids. As a young man in the U.S. Air Force, Kelly felt like he had no real purpose or direction in his life.

Bill Herndon / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wrherndon/4588634635

Earlier this week Alabama’s governor signed into law an effective ban on abortion in the state. Other states, like Missouri, Louisiana and Ohio are also moving in a similar direction.

Jenna Glass in front of a book shelf
Courtesy of Jenna Glass

In the fictional world of Seven Wells, women are treated as possessions and forced to produce male heirs to continue the hereditary monarchies in their patriarchal society. There is magic in Seven Wells, but men have more magical powers than women, and women’s magic is considered dirty and shameful.

photo of Zach Meeker and Jim Waddelow in front of an orchestra
Raleigh Little Theatre

When “West Side Story” debuted on Broadway in 1957, it was an instant hit. The new take on “Romeo and Juliet” set in 1950s New York City earned seven Tony nominations in its first year.

By 1961, the musical was turned into a movie that was equally successful and took home 10 Academy Awards.

an eviction notice on a front door
Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons/http://bit.ly/2HmJ9nV

North Carolina is a hotspot in the nation’s eviction crisis. As of 2016, the state’s rate of evictions and eviction filings were nearly double national rates. New reporting shines a light on the specific problems in Durham County, where gentrification is pushing out long-time residents and advocates say the city is in a time of crisis.

Harriet Tubman is an American legend. History books know her best as the architect of the underground railroad, but she was also the brains behind a dangerous expedition during the Civil War.

She may have also had a rich and complex love life, but the details of that for now are mostly fictional ones, portrayed in the new historical novel “The Tubman Command” (Arcade/2019).

an artist rendering of Omisade Burney-Scott wearing headphones
Artist: Wutang McDougal / Courtesy of Omisade Burney-Scott

Omisade Burney-Scott felt alone as she approached menopause. There were no resources to help guide her through this transition — nothing like the Judy Blume novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” that helped her through puberty. So Burney-Scott decided to create a resource of her own: “Decolonizing the Crone,” a multimedia project that collects the stories and experiences of women over 50.

Dan Bishop with a microphone in his hand
Chuck Burton / AP

State Sen. Dan Bishop of Mecklenburg County won Tuesday’s Republican primary election for the 9th Congressional District. Bishop beat out nine other candidates with 47.7 percent of the vote.

What if someone was given a diagnosis that they have “six to live.” No one knows if it will be six days, six weeks or six months. Author Carrie Knowles uses this premise as a starting point for her short story “SIX” featured in her latest collection “Black Tie Optional: 17 Stories” (Owl Canyon Press/2019).

Dopiaza / Flickr Creative Commons

In literature, film and popular culture, vegans have long been mocked and dismissed as naive, privileged white women who allow emotion to guide their lifestyles. Food choices are indeed shaped by class and race, but using a “vegan lens” to analyze what people see and read may allow them to better recognize these “enmeshed oppressions,” according to Western Carolina University English Professor Laura Wright. She’s the editor of “Through a Vegan Studies Lens: Textual Ethics and Lived Activism” (University of Nevada Press/2019). 

Jennifer Brookland

Sam Frazier is a Greensboro-based singer, songwriter and musician with two solo CDs under his belt in addition to collaborations with some of the area’s top talent. The lyrics in his original songs move between silly and soulful, as his poetic storytelling speaks to our all-too-human nature. 

Frank, Helen and Minerva on stage at the Triad Stage.
Dana Terry/WUNC

One of the first undocumented immigrants to seek sanctuary in a North Carolina church has been granted permanent residency.

The Greensboro Bound Literary Festival has come a long way in just three years. The event was the brainchild of book lover Steve Colyer who thought that with the Triad’s rich literary scene, Greensboro needed its own book festival.

UNCG Chemistry

Nadja Cech grew up in a hippy community in Oregon, spending her days building fairy houses in the woods and drawing and collecting plants. So after she became a scientist— and an associate professor of chemistry at just 23 years old — it made sense to her to look to nature for some of our most pressing medical needs. 

Courtesy of Chuck Liddy

Chuck Liddy stumbled into a career as a photojournalist after he found out he could walk into  high school football games for free if he had a camera around his neck. But the photography enthusiast had already converted a bathroom in his house into a darkroom and enjoyed experimenting with the camera his dad had taken into the Vietnam War. Once Liddy was on staff at a newspaper, he began a career of taking risks and adopting the new technology of the day, from digital cameras to drones.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

Thursday marked the crossover deadline in the North Carolina General Assembly: a moment at which bills must receive approval from either chamber or likely remain dormant until the next cycle.

Horace Kephart with a pipe in his mouth, a gun in his hand and a snake nailed to the wall.
Courtesy of Western Carolina University Hunter Library, Special and Digital Collections

Naturalist Horace Kephart is a Southern Appalachian icon. He authored beloved books about hiking and exploring, and one of his most famous is even lovingly referred to as the “camper’s Bible.” But Kephart is perhaps best known for his crusade to preserve the Great Smoky Mountains.

Ms. Connie B was a dream come true for her father. He was a gospel singer who loved to harmonize. Unable to rely on local performers, he prayed to father children who could sing so that he could have his own singing group.

An image of a jail cell
AlexVan / pixabay Creative Commons

North Carolina is changing its job screening process for correctional officers. Now, only a fraction of applicants will have face-to-face psychological interviews. Prison officials say the change will save money and help hire officers more quickly to fill vacancies. Critics say eliminating the interview is a dangerous move.

family sitting around the dinner table
pixabay

For years health experts have been touting the benefits of sitting down at the dinner table for a family meal. The tradition of a big Sunday dinner after church is not uncommon in the South, but not many people meditate on all of the labor that goes into making a home cooked meal possible.

a giant cube made of white plastic pipes with blue film negatives making up the sides
Courtesy of Christina Lorena Weisner

The River Cube will marry art and science in its 275-mile journey down the Neuse River. The cube itself is made of found aerial footage of an unknown river system, and while it goes on its journey down the river, a team alongside it will collect scientific data, including photographs and water samples.

An Enviva wood pellet plant in Northampton, N.C.
Courtesy of Enviva

Burning wood pellets as a form of energy has been a growing trend since 2009 when the European Union deemed it carbon neutral and began to subsidize the conversion to this “greener” form of energy.

Illustrated graphic of Sonic South
Ginnie Hsu

The Southern Oral History Program is guided by the philosophy that “you don’t have to be famous for your life to be history.” Since 1973, it has collected 6,000 interviews that document the American South.

A giant face puppet surrounded by people holding red sticks
Courtesy of Paperhand Puppet Intervention

Artists Jan Burger and Donovan Zimmerman met while working together on the Haw River Festival in Saxapahaw. Burger thought it would be fun to create a puppet show for the fourth graders who attended the educational program, and he asked Zimmerman to help him. This collaboration led to the birth of the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a project that uses cardboard, bamboo, papier-mâché and other assorted items to create giant puppets, masks and shadow plays.

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