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The Tarball Chronicles

Last year, the world watched in horror as nearly five million barrels of crude oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was caused by the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling for BP. The company frantically tried to cap the spill in the following months. Finally, last July, workers were successful. The world’s outrage subsided, and its attention waned. Not so for Wilmington-based writer David Gessner. He went down to the Gulf of Mexico during the spill to get a first-hand account of what was happening. His experiences there are documented in a new book, “The Tarball Chronicles" (Milkweed Editions/2011). Host Frank Stasio speaks with Gessner, an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, about the BP oil disaster.

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.