News

The book cover to "An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth."
Little, Brown and Company

Astronaut Chris Hadfield was first inspired to pursue a career in space travel at 9 years old after watching the Apollo 11 Moon landing on television. The desire to explore space led him to the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, the Canadian Armed Forces and eventually to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Rev. Gil Caldwell (far right) with Martin Luther King, Jr.
truthinprogress.com

In 2007, Methodist Reverend Frank Schaefer performed the marriage service for his son Tim's wedding.

The seemingly routine action dramatically altered Schaefer's career because the same-sex union was prohibited by the church. Schaefer’s performance of marriage vows put him at the center of a controversy. He was stripped of his credentials but after a trial, the defrocking was overturned.

Photo: Rep. Harry Warren (R-Rowan)
Jorge Valencia

Members of a North Carolina legislative panel approved a plan on Wednesday to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a restricted driver’s license if they pass a criminal background check and meet several other requirements.
 

For sponsors of the bill, the plan is a way to help police enforce local laws when they interact with people who are living in the country illegally. Local charities in Winston-Salem and Greensboro and authorities in Charlotte either issue or are looking for ways to issue identification cards, said Rep. Harry Warren (R-Salisbury).

Classroom
WUNC File Photo

Despite concerns of overcriminalization, a Senate committee on Wednesday gave the first nod to a bill that would make it a felony offense for older students to assault school employees.

Bill sponsor Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) said the provision would protect school personnel who faced more than 1,300 assaults in the last school year, according to the Department of Public Instruction.

“It needs some serious attention to highlight that this is a problem and you will get more than a slap on a hand if this occurs,” said Tillman.

Jim Carrey
Wikipedia

For the next edition of the "Movies On The Radio" series The State of Things wants to know which movie scenes crack you up. We don't mean scenes that just made you chuckle – we mean knee-slapping, doubled-over, abs-hurt-the-next-day laughter. 

Is it the takeoff scene from Airplane!?

The ribs scene from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka?

A picture of an oil rig
BOEM

 Two elected officials from North Carolina addressed a Congressional hearing today examining the impacts of the Obama Administration plan to open the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf to oil exploration.

This morning, Governor Pat McCrory restated his general support for the plan to the House Subcommittee On Energy and Mineral Resources.

“Energy development is good for the country’s energy independence and it’s good for North Carolina’s jobs and future careers,” McCrory said. “Let’s start this process now and stop the delays immediately.”

Taxes
www.irs.com

If you haven’t filed your North Carolina taxes yet, you may be in for a few surprises.  The state's tax code underwent major changes in 2013, but many 2014 tax filers are just noticing.

For example, some taxpayers forgot North Carolina did away with its Earned Income Tax Credit.

On Tax Day, The State of Things talks changes in North Carolina's tax laws.
Ken Teegarden / Flickr Creative Commons

Many North Carolinians are spending April 15 finishing up their income tax statements.

But others have already noticed a few surprises on their returns due to changes in the state tax code and subsidies from the Affordable Care Act. The revisions mean higher or lower tax bills for thousands of taxpayers.

N.C. State University professor Rupert Nacoste's latest book is "Taking on Diversity."
makinggumbo.com

Rupert Nacoste served in the U.S. Navy during military race riots in the 1970s.

His commanding officers chose him to facilitate conversations about race relations among his fellow sailors. The experience prompted him to pursue a career as a social psychologist. 

A picture of a prison cell.
Derek Purdy / Creative Commons

Last year Michael Anthony Kerr was found unresponsive after spending 35 days in a solitary confinement cell in North Carolina.  He subsequently died. 

Recent research has shown that the impacts of solitary confinement can have detrimental long term effects.  A new pilot program in North Carolina aims to reduce rates of solitary confinement in the state. 

Jessa Wilcox is with the Vera Institute, a non profit focused on justice and is working with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety on the program. 

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