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.

Pixabay

We’re STILL waiting on nominations for the Academy Awards. So, in the meantime, we’re making our own list!

What was your favorite film of 2019?

Send your nomination to sot@wunc.org for your chance to be on the next Movies on the Radio with film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon.

Press shot for Bell.
Mallory Talty

Jennah Bell’s love of music started with Disney movies and musicals. By age six she had matured past the soundtrack to “Annie” and discovered the magic of Stevie Wonder and the Beatles and began to understand the wide range of stories that music can tell.

Protestors holding signs.
Bob Karp

Five former employees of the Hampton Inn in Mebane filed a complaint in Guilford County Superior Court alleging wage theft totalling $24,681. They assert that money is from unpaid bonuses and vacation time, mileage reimbursement, a malfunctioning time clock and more.

Historical sign
Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/31557195515

The term “Underground Railroad” evokes the image of the legendary Harriet Tubman engineering daring escapes in a false-bottomed carriage or slaves following the North Star through dark woods. Researcher and longtime history professor Adrienne Israel says those popular images only tell a sliver of the story.

Trump at the rally in Michigan.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2020 is more than a presidential election year — it is also the beginning of a new decade. Does this mean a new era of politics?

Photo of the Cat's Cradle from behind the stage at a show.
Courtesy of Steve Balcolm

At 17 years old, he was barred from entering the front door of the Cat’s Cradle, so John Howie Jr. instead got on the stage of the Chapel Hill club.

The Come Up Show, Ebru Yildiz and Hans Watson

North Carolina musicians made waves on the national stage in 2019. Close to a dozen artists from the state, including Rhiannon Giddens, DaBaby and J.Cole, are up for Grammy Awards in 2020, and new talent keeps popping up.

roller derby skaters in the middle of a jam
Dutcher Photography http://bit.ly/35Ni1bm

2019 was a big year for the state of North Carolina: lawmakers held the second-longest legislative session in the state’s history, the city of Durham celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding, and a major hurricane hit the coast in September. State of Things producers were busy covering these stories and many more.

Protesters hold signs, one reads 'Love not hate makes America great.'
Anthony Crider

The segments produced by a State of Things producer are as diverse as the people who listen to the show. Dana Terry joins host Frank Stasio to share how diversity informs the stories they tell and highlights some of the standout moments of the year, including a conversation with Jacob Tobia, a gender non-conforming Raleigh native who ran off to Hollywood to make it big.

Holub-Moorman talking into a microphone at Motorco Music Hall.
Dalvin Nichols II / 8-bit Photog

The newest team member for WUNC’s daily talk show also produced the program’s first episode of the Embodied series, which explores topics related to sex, relationships and health. The series is hosted by Anita Rao and launched in July with an hour-long conversation about changing landscape of sexual education in North Carolina. Since then, the team has crafted weekly episodes for the series, featuring conversations ranging from fecal bio-art to intimacy through the ages. 

Producer Laura Pellicer in a field in Harnett County
Courtesy Sandra Davidson

 

 

In 2019, The State of Things met musical visionaries, people fighting to save endangered cultures, and folks who supported their neighbors through another devastating hurricane. The individuals and stories at the heart of those conversations stuck with State of Things producer Laura Pellicer throughout the year.

City council members.
Max Cooper / Courtesy of the Asheville Blade

The people of Asheville successfully fought against an effort from the North Carolina state legislature to change how the city’s local elections were run.

Fred Rogers was an awkward, introverted child who spent his early years playing alone with puppets, tinkering on the piano and enjoying the company of his grandfather. While most people age out of the pain of their youth, Rogers translated those memories into lessons and stories that touched the hearts and minds of a generation of children.

R.A. Fountain

A.R. “Archie” Ammons never wanted to be called a Southern writer. Raised in rural Columbus County, Ammons wrote reverent poems about a Depression-era landscape of tired mules and empty tobacco barns, touting his bootstraps’ ascent to literary fame. Yet he bemoaned the South as uneducated and chose to spend most of his adult life teaching and living in upstate New York.

Yang, Buttigieg and Warren at the debate.
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The next step would send impeachment papers to the Senate, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is delaying that action until Senate leaders reach an agreement on the ground rules of the trial.

Book cover that reads 'Speaking of Feminism: Today's Activists On The Past, Present, And Future of The US Women's Movement.'
UNC Press

Why is feminism imagined as waves? These ocean waves, crashing then retreating, can make it appear like ideas come out of nowhere and eclipse everything that came before.

Oral history provides different frameworks for understanding the history of feminist activism.  Personal narratives of the movement capture the constant push and pull of ideology and action — how the definition "feminist" is constantly evolving and sometimes is irrelevant to real social progress. 

Middleton singing into a mic and playing an acoustic guitar.
Courtesy of Nancy Middleton

Durham called folk rocker Nancy Middleton back home after 11 years in Nashville.

NC legislative building
Jayron32 http://bit.ly/2Mcy7DJ

Historians will know 2019 as a year in which not a lot happened in the North Carolina legislature. Lawmakers did not pass a new state budget, despite holding the second-longest legislative session in state history. Gov. Roy Cooper was not able to expand Medicaid in the state, and the legislature did not pass any large social policies.

Woman stands in front of the Code The Dream office.
Courtesy of Dan Rearick

Part of the American dream includes a solid education with the promise of a lucrative job down the road. For students in North Carolina who are undocumented or recipients of DACA, that dream is elusive. These facts were part of the impetus for Code the Dream, a nonprofit organization that teaches immigrant and minority youth the art and science of coding.

Headshot of Grabarek.
Credit: Herald-Sun Courtesy of Durham County Library

Former mayor of Durham, Wensell “Wense” Grabarek, died on Sunday, Dec. 15 at the age of 100.

Grabarek entered office just as the Civil Rights movement reached a boiling point in May of 1963. Police were ready with tear gas as mass demonstrations advocating for integration took over the city. After 850 protesters were arrested, the new mayor asked permission to speak at a rally at St. Joseph’s AME Church. Standing at the pulpit, he acknowledged the congregation’s grievances and asked for time to find a solution. 

Illustration of someone surrounded by life stressors.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

The World Health Organization now officially lists workplace burnout as an occupational syndrome in its International Classification of Diseases manual.

The statue before activists toppled it.
Don McCullough / flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/fvHbD4

New documents released from the University of North Carolina System reveal some of what happened behind closed doors as UNC Board of Governors negotiated its $2.5 million settlement with the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans over the controversial Silent Sam statue.

Pxhere

North Carolina is not spending enough on education, according to a new report commissioned by Superior Court Judge David Lee. The report outlines that due to the state’s declining public education spending, public schools and academic performance are declining.

The cover of Emily Wallace's book "Road Sides"
Emily Wallace

An unpopular opinion — highways and fast food are quintessentially Southern. The mid-20th century development of the interstate system ripped and restitched the fabric of Southern society, and out of that rebirth, Nabs, Biscuitville and Duke’s Mayo were born.

Kneecap driving while inhaling a Cook Out tray is not recommended, but it is part of modern North Carolina identity. However, these days, that identity is as hard to pin down as an unlicensed food truck. For example, the taco has taken over Southern Appalachia. 

Art depicting animals and fruit.
Kevin Sloan

Fasting from words has changed Alex Grant’s poetry. Touring and selling his craft sickened the award-winning poet, and he left the business seven years ago with no intention of returning. But, last year, Grant was drawn back after writing a poem to a dying friend.

Picture of the Cherokee County courthouse
Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

For more than a decade, Cherokee County Department of Social Services (DSS) workers took children from their parents with no judicial oversight, using a fraudulent document called a Custody and Visitation Agreement, or CVA.

Lind in his Duke uniform.
Courtesy of Laughinghead Photographers

Fred Lind recently retired as the top attorney at the Guilford County Public Defender’s office. A job he thought would only last a few years became a 45-year commitment to the community.

BRIAN BATISTA / FOR WUNC

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted today to make Kevin M. Guskiewicz the permanent chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill. Guskiewicz had been serving as interim chancellor since Carol Folt resigned from the position in February. This appointment comes amidst ongoing controversy over the BOG decision to hand over ownership of Silent Sam and a $2.5 million trust to the North Carolina Sons of Confederate Veterans.  

Courtesy of UN FCCC

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP 25) ends this week in Madrid. One of the primary goals was to iron out details of the Paris Agreement. Leaders from around the world came together, but for the most part, the United States was notably absent. 

Dina Deykun

Music offered Arsena Schroeder a way out from the lucrative path set before her. In college, she interned with financial firms and spent a summer on Capitol Hill, but she began to realize that  the high-powered executive lifestyle was not her calling. She was the first in her family to finish an undergraduate degree, but after that point she abandoned the path everyone expected her to follow. 

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