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Music Maker Relief Foundation

Ron Hunter was born and raised in a log cabin on a sharecropping farm in the countryside near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As a kid he wanted to be a cowboy. He often donned a cowboy hat and practiced country-western songs while riding a make-believe horse. Later in life Hunter found a deep connection with the stories he can tell through the blues, and he gained recognition for his unique style.

The Dismal Swamp will reopen on 10/31/17 after being closed for more than a year because of damage from Hurricane Matthew. The trees have been cleared, but there's a layer of green duckweed now.
Courtesy of the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center

The Dismal Swamp Canal will reopen Tuesday under restricted conditions. The Army Corps of Engineers closed it more than a year ago, after damage from Hurricane Matthew.

Ed Marshall

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.

On this episode, Eric Hodge chats with Raleigh's The Veldt about their song "Token" from the album The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation.

Austin Allen / Duke Nicholas School of the Environment

Duke University researchers have new insight into why marine animals are eating plastic.

PONCE, PUERTO RICO -  North Carolina National Guard SSG Joe Rodriguez carries donated water and MRE's for Nani Soto in a distribution center in a sports arena in the Southern town of Ponce, the 2nd largest city in Puerto Rico, on October 20, 2017.
Angel Valentin / For WUNC

It has been more than five weeks since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Close to three-quarters of residents on the island are still without power. Many also still do not have access to food or safe drinking water. 

woman wearing Virtual Reality glasses
Nan Palmero / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/qJPZEL

For years North Carolina has been one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. This growth has had a profound impact on the state’s environment, government and economy. 

Image of Pat Mother Blues Cohen
Courtesy of Pat Cohen

Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen started singing blues tunes as a young girl to entertain her parents’ friends at their home in Edison, New Jersey. She later worked for years in the casino industry and won casino talent competitions so often that she was banned from participating. 

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

This week in North Carolina politics, a discussion on the latest state redistricting developments, a state lawmaker who is officially changing parties from Republican to Democrat, and a look at whether any leaders can bring people back to the middle.

calculator with the word college
Jake Rustenhoven / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Roy Cooper has declared this Financial Aid Awareness Week, and this Saturday colleges across the state will hold FAFSA Day events. That means it's time for prospective college students to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The single application allows students to apply for both federal and state grants and loans to help pay for higher education.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Jonathan Kappler got hooked on North Carolina politics during high school when he served in the House as a page. Today he's the Executive Director of the NC Free Enterprise Foundation.

a condom in package
Rorro Navia / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/6QBs6G

North Carolina has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country. The state has the dubious honor of ranking in the top 10 on three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists for 2016:

Cover of 'The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy'
Cambridge University Press

In the last 50 years, the wealth gap between white families and black and Latino families has more than tripled. Today the median net worth of white families is nearly 10 times that of black families, according to recent data from the Federal Reserve.The wealth gap is nothing new in the United States and has only gotten worse along racial lines. 

Jen Kirkman
Courtesy of Jen Kirkman

When Jen Kirkman started doing stand-up comedy in the late 1990s, she said she enjoyed being able to just sit on a stool and tell funny stories about her life. She has always been willing to share personal anecdotes about a range of topics, including the struggles that come with being a woman in comedy. But her storytelling is not limited to the stage. 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford said a task force of league athletic directors will work to find solutions to problems in the college basketball.

Swofford said Wednesday during the ACC media day it will include retiring Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage, Boston College's Martin Jarmond, Florida State's Stan Wilcox and Duke's Kevin White. It will include Paul Brazeau, the league's senior associate commissioner for men's basketball operations.

view of flooded I-95 after Hurricane Matthew
Jay Price / WUNC

Small business owners affected by Hurricane Matthew can apply for assistance from a new block grant program.

Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz
Insomnia Cured Here / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/5GMFkD

Magical beings on the silver screen take audiences on a journey into worlds that only exist in their imagination. They fly, cast spells, play tricks, and blur the line between the real and the fantastic. For many years Hollywood treated witchcraft and magic as mostly bad things, but over time some supernatural powers have earned a better reputation. 

Several hands of different colors raised.
John LeMasney / Creative commons

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation has found that children of color and those from immigrant families lag behind others in nationwide measures of health, education and economic security.

The entraces to a National Weather Service Office.
Sarah / Flickr/ Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/9SxTbo

Local National Weather Service offices are staffed by meteorologists around the clock. They offer updates about severe weather and other emergencies, as with the tornadoes that touched down in North Carolina this week. But the Weather Service is facing a protracted staffing shortage nationwide.

1st Lt. Erin Graham of the North Carolina National Guard inspects a washed out bridge in the small Puerto Rico community of Vallaja.
Jay Price / WUNC

A North Carolina-based engineering battalion is making slow progress repairing roads that were blocked or damaged in Hurricane Maria. But months of work lies ahead.

Photo: UNC Board of Governors Chair Louis Bisette and UNC President Margaret Spellings
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

 The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors has been caught up in a number of controversies this year. 

Brenna Berry Photography

In 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued an executive order that banned homosexuals from holding jobs in the federal government or receiving a security clearance. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Take it from Seattle, having Amazon’s headquarters in your city can be a blessing. 

John McCord / UNC Coastal Studies Institute

Archaeological researchers at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute have identified a shipwreck in the Outer Banks as a World War II assault craft. Locals had previously rumored that the wreck was a gravel barge that ran aground in the 1960s, but a recent excavation suggests the vessel had a more remarkable past.

"Based on initial assessment, the story's often much deeper, and it's only through research that we get at that story, and in this case it was a surprise to me," said lead research Nathan Richards.

PONCE, PUERTO RICO -  North Carolina National Guard SSG Joe Rodriguez carries donated water and MRE's for Nani Soto in a distribution center in a sports arena in the Southern town of Ponce, the 2nd largest city in Puerto Rico, on October 20, 2017.
Angel Valentin / For WUNC

Last week marked one month since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, and conditions remain primitive on much of the island. About one million people remain without running water and three million are without electricity.

Principal Denita Dowell-Reavis stands in front of the doors to Faith Elementary, a school in Rowan County.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

This is Denita Dowell-Reavis’ second year as a principal at Faith Elementary, a public school in the small town of Faith, in Rowan County. She worked hard last year. While finishing her doctorate degree in educational leadership, she helped her school exceed its expected test scores.

My Teacher: Keeping the Class Together

Oct 23, 2017
Kimani Hall / WUNC

WUNC's My Teacher Series explores student-teacher relationships across North Carolina and tries to find out what it takes to make a connection in the classroom.

Courtesy of Kumarini Silva

 Kumarini Silva grew up in the midst of a violent civil war in Colombo, Sri Lanka between the government and rebel groups. She was mostly sheltered from the violence because of her father’s status as a U.N. diplomat, but her family still helped those they knew were in danger. They moved to Liberia when Silva was a teenager but had to leave after a few years after a violent conflict erupted inside the country.

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated 3:16 p.m., October 20, 2017

Four North Carolina inmates are facing murder charges after the deadliest escape attempt in state prison history killed two prison workers, investigators said Friday.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

As lawmakers reached across the aisle in an effort to move forward on changes to the Affordable Care Act, Washington erupted in another controversy this week.

Mark Dorosin, managing attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights
Gerry Broome / AP

Two attorneys at the UNC Center for Civil Rights say they plan to carry on the center's mission despite losing their positions. 

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