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.

Bailar half out of the pool.
Sydney Clair Photography

Schuyler Bailar was swimming solo before his first birthday. He learned a love for swimming at Mommy and Me classes, competed in his first swim meet at age 7 and qualified for national competitions before he got to high school. 

Ballen and his son.
Courtesy of Dwayne Ballen

Dwayne Ballen spent the early years of his childrens’ lives jetting between the East and West Coasts. He worked as a sportscaster in Los Angeles, but his family lived in the Triangle. When his eldest son Julian was diagnosed with autism, everything changed.

NC legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Results are in for special congressional elections in North Carolina’s 3rd and 9th Districts. In the closely-watched 9th District race, Republican Dan Bishop slipped past Democrat Dan McCready with a 2-point lead.

Old photos of the massacre.
Courtesy of the General Negative Collection, North Carolina State Archives

Wilmington is the setting for some of North Carolina’s oldest history — including the only coup d’etat to ever take place in the United States. In 1898 a mob of armed, white supremacists torched the offices of the local black newspaper, killed many African American residents and overthrew the elected government.

Matt Bertone

The work of dung beetles is not sexy, but it has a monumental impact on our ecosystem. They break down feces, recycle nutrients and help control the spread of disease.

A tree and telephone line fell across a street in Greensboro.
Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

The city of Greensboro has helped more than 200 renters become homeowners this year.

Film poster showing an illustrated portrait of the lead singer angrily yelling
John Rash

Soon after moving to Mississippi, documentary filmmaker John Rash was looking for a way to fill his evenings. A lifelong member of the punk community, he had his eye out for show billings. One name grabbed his attention — Negro Terror. Once he heard the band's anti-fascist and Black Power politics combined seamlessly in their lyrics and followers, he knew there was a story to be explored.

Book cover depicting illustrated weapons and technological devices in a roq
Routledge

For almost 15 years, fans of The Real Housewives franchise have reveled in the explosive verbal and physical brawls that take place on screen. Pair that with the constant barrage of political rants on Twitter and viral violent YouTube videos, and one might wonder how much our hearts and minds are being altered by the images and language around us.   

Photo of House of Dues at the Triad Stage in downtown Greensboro
Dana Terry/WUNC

For almost a decade House of Dues has been part of the Triad music scene. But they got their start playing at a Mardi Gras party. Led by guitarist and vocalist David Bolton, the group counts BB King, The Nevilles and Herbie Hancock as the inspiration behind their blues, funk, and R&B blend. House of Dues plays at Fishers Grille in Greensboro on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.

Yoo and his family with a family of African immigrants.
Courtesy of Lawrence Yoo

Pastor Lawrence Yoo’s vision for changing the world combines community service and entrepreneurship, and he has used this model in his own life.

NWS Newport/Morehead City

Hurricane Dorian continues to move up the Atlantic coast, and while many areas were spared, it has created dangerous flooding conditions on North Carolina’s barrier islands. Flash flooding sent quickly rising waters into homes on Ocracoke Island this morning and hundreds of people may still be trapped. Gov. Roy Cooper said this morning in a briefing that communication is  limited and rescuers will have a difficult time reaching the island.

Andrew Yang at a speaking event in front of an American flag.
Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons

Two long-awaited special elections in North Carolina are just days away. On Tuesday, Sept. 10 voters will cast ballots in the 3rd and 9th Congressional Districts.

A doctor holding a stethoscope.
Pxhere

North Carolina did not expand the number of adults eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but the state is pursuing other avenues of healthcare reform. The state Department of Health and Human Services and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have teamed up to work on a program to shift how healthcare is paid for.

Headshot of the bandmembers of Bleeder.
Courtesy of Bleeder

Shelby Smoak was born a bleeder. As a child with hemophilia, he spent a lot of time on crutches, using a cane or limping, but he has long refused to let fear control his life.

A satellite image of Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As Hurricane Dorian churns up the U.S. Atlantic coast, North Carolinians are experiencing strong winds and rain. The storm could cause more than 700,000 power outages in the Carolinas, according to Duke Energy predictions.

ReadyNC

A year after Florence, Dorian restarts the cycle of disaster preparedness, damage control, and recovery. Florence’s toll was especially harsh on North Carolina’s Spanish-only speakers, who were not included in many state and local outreach efforts before and after the storm.

Hundreds of protesters hold ant-white supremacy signs.
Anthony Crider

Hundreds showed up for “A March Against White Supremacy” in Hillsborough over the weekend in response to a klan rally held in the town the week before.

Map outlining North Carolina's House districts.
Courtesy of the North Carolina State Board of Elections

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel in Raleigh ruled that North Carolina's legislative maps are unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders that favor Republicans. The court ordered state legislators to draw up new maps within two weeks, ahead of the primaries for the 2020 election. Republican Senate leader Phil Berger announced that he will not appeal the decision, despite many earlier pledges to do so from Republican lawmakers and staff.

People rollerskating on a flat track in wearing team unirforms.
Robert Davezac

The fast-skating, hard-hitting sport of roller derby was incredibly popular in the United States from the 1940s to the 1970s. The sport fell out of favor and into dormancy for several years — until a few punk-rock women in the early 2000s decided to pick it back up again.

A face superimposed onto a park scene.
Courtesy of Craig Walsh

It took North Carolina more than 40 years to ratify the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. The new art installation “1971” commemorates three North Carolina women who contributed to expanding voting rights in the state: Mary Jones Phillips, Mae McLendon and Diane Robertson.

Island World

Hollywood continues to change the English language. We constantly quote and misquote cinema — sometimes without ever having seen the referenced film. Sometimes the line we keep repeating simply doesn’t exist! Whether it’s from Monty Python, Spike Lee or Spielberg, movie quotes are the way we map our cultural common ground.

On the next Movies on the Radio, we want to know your notable quotables. What bits of dialogue do you most often pepper into conversation? Which lines do your friends and family inevitably end up quoting?

A yellow flag with red and blue circle around a gold star.
Wikimedia

Voters will cast their ballots this week in elections for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians tribal government.

A sepiatone picture of a chair with two winding dragons as the back and arms.
Gregg Museum of Art & Design

Furniture maker Tilden Stone crafted a steam boat 200 miles from the sea. Despite the portholes, pointed bow and stacks, he meant for this structure to be his home, and he lived in it until his death in 1952. At his nephew’s house — also in Lincolnton, North Carolina — he constructed a giant shoe in the front yard.

Monica White walks in a field with a farmer.
Courtesy of Monica White

It is difficult to disentangle agriculture from oppression in African American history. From slavery to sharecropping, farming for black Americans has frequently manifested in some form of exploitation. But scholar Monica White aims to reframe the history of black agriculture through examining moments of resistance and resilience.

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.

A warehouse of barrels.
Courtesy of Southern Distilling Company

The ABC Store is a tradition that has ruled North Carolina since the end of prohibition. Alcohol was a divisive political issue after prohibition ended, and North Carolina took a firm stance.

Mipso

The North Carolina-based band Mipso is always on the move. The group is just finishing up a 20-stop summer tour of the U.S. and Canada, and this fall the group will venture back out to a slew of European countries including France, Germany, Austria and Sweden.

One of the vape juice's packaging looks like a juice box, others have unicorns.
Courtesy of the North Carolina Attorney General's Office

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced lawsuits against eight electronic cigarette companies earlier this week. He alleges that their marketing practices and flavor selection specifically target kids and teens.

Christina Koch is in between two astronauts in space suits.
NASA

A North Carolinian is slated to set a new record on the International Space Station.

A few bowls of flour sit out on a table.
Courtesy of Molly Dektar

In her debut novel “The Ash Family” (Simon & Schuster/ 2019) Durham native Molly Dektar draws on her personal fascination with cult psychology and devout sustainability.

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