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North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

This week in state politics, a conversation about the "raise the age" bill, voter identification, and an audit detailing misuse of funds at the state's largest managed mental care organization.

The North Carolina Legislative Building
Dave Crosby / flickr

 

A 3 a.m. vote at the state legislature last week resulted in the sudden transfer of $1 million from education, nutrition and cultural programs to pilot programs combating opioid addiction. The money was taken exclusively from districts represented by Democrats.

An image of the musical trio KING
Alex King

About six years ago, twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother decided to team up with their friend Anita Bias to form the musical group KING. Little did they know the trio would soon cross paths with Prince and eventually receive a Grammy nomination. 

MIDDLE WEST MANAGEMENT

Phil Cook has become a fixture in the Triangle music scene since moving to North Carolina from Wisconsin more than a decade ago. His love for collaboration means he has lent his writing, production, and multi-instrumental skills to countless projects.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this edition of the WUNC politics podcast, a conversation with Rose Hoban of North Carolina Heath News.

AgriLife Today, Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo / Flickr, Creative Commons

Two Appalachian State University students have won second place at an international competition for their creative, sustainable biofuel project.

Ali Moxley and Kelsey Simon pitched an idea to have corn chip factories use cooking oil left over from manufacturing to fuel trucks that transport packaged chips.

ep_jhu / Flickr, Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/63jLJE

North Carolina is receiving a large federal grant to treat people addicted to opioids. Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday that the state will receive $31 million for treatment initiatives over the next two years.

Richard Topping is the Chief Executive Officer of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.
Cardinal Innovations Healthcare

The CEO of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions, a company that accepts hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal Medicaid money to pay for the care of mental and behavioral health patients in North Carolina, was overpaid by $1.2 million, and the company’s executives and board of directors enjoyed retreats, chartered flights, Christmas parties and other perks "potentially resulting in the erosion of public trust," according to an audit.

Flickr Creative Commons

A noncompete agreement is designed to prevent an employee from leaving his or her employer to work for a competitor. For decades, many companies required senior management to sign those agreements to protect information about the inner workings of their organizations. However, noncompete agreements are becoming more common down the economic ladder, barring blue-collar workers’ mobility and bargaining power in the workplace.

www.pulitzer.org / Gigi Kaesar

When it comes to relations between the United States and Russia, it can be hard to tease out the politics from the personalities. Sovietologist and political scientist William Taubman has made this task into something of a specialty. He has studied Russian language, politics and culture for 50 years, and  is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the biography, "Khrushchev: The Man and his Era" (W.W. Norton & Co./2003).

Courtesy CERN

In a cavern 100 meters below the surface of the earth, physicists are constructing the universe – theoretically at least. Physicist Kate Shaw is a researcher studying CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. She works specifically on the 7,000 ton ATLAS detector that is investigating fundamental particles. 

photo of an apple on top of books
Kate Ter Haar / Creative Commons

North Carolina public school students missed more than one million days of classroom instruction while suspended during the last school year. That's according to a new brief on school discipline released Wednesday by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

SNAP
Dept. of Agriculture

The State Senate's recent budget proposal includes a provision that threatens to cut food assistance for tens of thousands of children in North Carolina.

Terry McCombs / Flickr Creative Commons

A new report from the Youth Justice Project shows that public school students in North Carolina lost 1 million days to school suspensions in the 2015-2016 school year. According to the report, the rate of short-term school suspensions is increasing, and disproportionately affects African-American students, boys, and students with disabilities.

Charlie Thompson / www.homeplaceunderfire.org

In the 1980s, rising interest rates, decreased farm prices, and misguided federal policies led to a crisis that hit farmers across the nation. Many farmers were either forced to sell their properties or driven to foreclose.

Ted Richardson/Winston-Salem Journal

Darryl Hunt was exonerated in 2004 after serving almost 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. In the years that followed his release, Hunt became known as a champion for racial justice. His story was featured in the widely-viewed HBO documentary “The Trials of Darryl Hunt.”

Thom Tillis speaking
http://thomtillis.com/

Updated at 4 p.m. 5/17/2017

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina has been released from the hospital after collapsing during a Washington, D.C., race Wednesday morning.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse seen from the light keepers house in Buxton. The lighthouse was put in service in 1870 and is the world's tallest brick lighthouse at 208 feet. Its beacon can be seen 20 miles out at sea.
Cliff Owen / Associated Press

House Bill 2 apparently did not dampen tourism in 2016.

North Carolina recorded a record $22.9 billion in visitor spending last year, according to figures recently put out by the Department of Commerce.

That’s an increase of 4.3 percent from 2015 and supported more than 218,000 tourism jobs, according to commerce.

Inside Raleigh-Durham International Airport, RDU
RDU

The state Senate's proposed budget includes more than $60 million for projects at Raleigh-Durham and Piedmont-Triad International Airports.

Chris Pizzello / AP Images

In the new Netflix series “Dear White People,” conversations about racism on a college campus take center stage. The story features members of the Black Student Union at a fictional Ivy League college called Winchester University, where the main character hosts a socially-conscious radio show. The series has received praise for featuring nuanced stories of students of color, and backlash by some who consider the show racist.

Fifth-graders at Mariam Boyd Elementary in Warrenton, North Carolina, use Chromebooks to answer questions about a story they’re reading. Their teacher, Charis Shattuck, says the technology allows her to review her students’ work in real-time and give them
Lisa Philip / WUNC

North Carolina lawmakers are banking on the benefits of digital learning. Four years ago they passed legislation requiring that state funding for textbooks be replaced by funds for digital materials.

The deadline is this summer. But educators and student advocates say the transition threatens to leave behind the many kids who can’t access high-speed internet at home.

Rev. William Barber will work on a national Poor People's Campaign.
Chuck Burton / AP

North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber said he will pick up a campaign Dr. Martin Luther King Junior began just before his assassination.

Nchole Yeo / Flickr

For the first time in three years, researchers will be able to compare how students in North Carolina's voucher program compare to their peers in public school.

Photo: The U.S. Supreme Court building
Sno Shuu / Flickr Creative Commons

The Supreme Court announced this morning that it will not review North Carolina’s controversial 2013 voter ID law. 

Justin Ashley

Justin Ashley was a star teacher at McAlpine Elementary School in Charlotte. In 2013 he won state awards naming him “Teacher of the Year” in history and social studies. But his personal life was falling apart. Ashley says he had $100 in his bank account and a worsening prescription drug addiction.

Ben and Jerry's, Voter ID
Leoneda Inge

The Supreme Court will not review North Carolina’s invalidated Voter ID Law, leaving in place a ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that had struck down the law. A lower court ruled that some provisions in the law "target African Americans with almost surgical precision," and therefore unconstitutional.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey (center-right) listens while State Superintendent Mark Johnson gives his monthly address to the board.
Jess Clark / WUNC

In June, a panel of North Carolina judges will hear a case that pits Republican against Republican in a power struggle over who should steer the Department of Public Instruction.

Laurent Dubois: American Songster Radio Podcast Episode 12

May 15, 2017

In 2005, Laurent Dubois had an encounter that would spark his transformation from a historian with a banjo to a historian of the banjo.  It was an unusual example of the instrument that began to deepen his curiosity—a Haitian artifact that had languished for most of its life in a museum collection.  

An image of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange
Alex Loops

Songs We Love is a series and a podcast that looks at the stories behind some of the songs we're playing on our new music discovery stream, WUNC Music.

For this episode, Eric Hodge sits down with Chapel Hill's Mandolin Orange to discuss their song "Wildfire" from the album Blindfaller.

"Wildfire"  is a bit more political than the average Mandolin Orange song. Andrew Marlin says that with this song he wanted to speak his mind on what racism in the South means these days.

Chuck Davis, ADF, African American Dance Ensemble
African American Dance Ensemble, Inc.

Chuck Davis, the founder of the African American Dance Ensemble died Sunday in Durham.

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