Alex Granados

Producer, "The State of Things"

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.

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Durham's Walltown Children's Theatre is re-imagining the classic tale of The Pied Piper. It's called "Indigo Blue." In honor of the update, here is a portion of the poem by Robert Browning.

When NC NAACP President William Barber sparred with state budget director Art Pope about the state’s political policies, it made headlines. The exchange spun off of a press conference where Barber announced plans to picket stores owned by Pope.

Kat Robichaud was a musician long before she got her big break on this season of NBC’s  “The Voice.” She was in a cover band for years before landing a spot on the hit television series. She was eliminated from the show a few weeks ago, but said on the State of Things today that her time there was a highlight of her career.

"It was a dream come true," she said. "It was amazing."

Bonner Bridge
jennyk325 via Flickr Creative Commons

Updated 12/4 with video from NCDOT press conference

The N.C. Department of Transportation has closed the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet on N.C. 12 along the Outer Banks today due to immediate safety concerns.

Beat Making Lab
Beat Making Lab

  

The Beat Making lab started as a class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But its creators, Stephen Levitin – aka, Apple Juice Kid – and Pierce Freelon, quickly took it to a new level.

Wesley Hogan
Christopher Sims, via CDSPorch.com

Wesley Hogan's interest in storytelling stretches back to her childhood. 

Gavel
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

  

More than 40 new laws go into effect on December 1st in North Carolina.

They include harsher penalties for those who abuse or endanger children, and a lessening of punishments for certain misdemeanors. Host Frank Stasio gets an overview from Associated Press politics reporter Gary Robertson.

Algonquin Books

    

William Faulkner may be one of the most well-known writers of the 20th century. But you might not associate his name with southern literature if not for Louis Rubin

Rubin helped develop the genre of southern literature in its own right. A well-respected writer, an adored teacher and the founder of the Southern Literary Journal and the Society for the Study of Southern Literature, Rubin is regarded as one of the icons of southern writing.

Frank Stasio hosting 'The State of Things' from Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh
NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Today, The State of Things is broadcasting live from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Look below to watch the program live. 

Jorge Gonzales / Museum of Natural Sciences

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is the indisputable king of the dinosaurs, but it wasn’t always that way. Lindsay Zanno -- director of paleontology and geology research at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and assistant research professor in the department of biology at North Carolina State University -- helped discover a new dinosaur in North America. It is called Siats meekerorum, and it was one of the top three predators ever discovered in North America. In fact, it ruled over the early ancestors of the T-Rex. 

Nicholas Dawidoff's new book Low Collision Crossers is a look inside a year in the life of the New York Jets.
Little, Brown

  

To outsiders, football may look like bone-crushing mayhem.  The headlines coming out of the NFL center around concussions and bullying.

Musicians from New Music Raleigh perform in a production called Penelope at Kings Barcade.
newmusicraleigh.org/

  

Indy Rock does a good job of getting new music out to the ears of listeners. The same cannot be said of classical style music or opera. 

Seal of North Carolina
North Carolina Government / North Carolina Government

  

A News & Observer investigation has revealed a huge disparity in pay among local and state officials in North Carolina.

Some officials make equal pay for less responsibility than their peers. Meanwhile, these same officials get bonuses, raises and other perks while other workers struggle in a tough economy. Host Frank Stasio talks to News & Observer investigative reporter Dan Kane about his series.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper
N.C. Democratic Party

  Attorney General Roy Cooper finds himself in a unique position. He is the first Democratic Attorney General to serve in an all-GOP government since reconstruction.

The governor’s mansion and both chambers of the General Assembly are in Republican control. So he finds himself having to defend the legality of laws he disagrees with.

Western Carolina University

Scientist Robert Young says that even the most conservative estimates show rising sea levels have a strong effect on the beaches of North Carolina. 

Light rail transit with Amtrak visualization of area near Durham Station Transportation Center.
Triangle Transit Authority

  

Wake County commissioners invited a panel of experts to weigh-in on possible plans to develop rail transit in the county.

The three experts urged the county to focus on other mass transit solutions like expanding the bus system. Host Frank Stasio talks with Bruce Siceloff, a reporter for the News & Observer about the future of mass transit in Wake County.

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

  The Affordable Care Act is reaching into every community in the United States.

photo of Congress
Lawrence Jackson, whitehouse.gov.

Some North Carolina Republicans could face Tea Party challenger who think incumbents are not true conservatives.

Both U.S. Representatives Renee Ellmers and Robert Pittenger are under attack for not hewing close enough to the Tea Party line. Host Frank Stasio talks about the fallout of these battles with political junkie Ken Rudin.

Image of NC General Assembly where lawmakers are considering two controversial bills.
Credit NC General Assembly

The election this week was the last in North Carolina before some provisions of a voter ID law go into effect.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state over its new law, asserting that it may have a chilling effect. Proponents of the law say it is necessary for an even playing field.

Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said the problem with the law isn't just the provision requiring an ID to vote,

facebook.com/TheHotAtNights

The Hot at Nights are a Raleigh jazz trio with flare.

They have played some of the hottest jazz spots across the country. Now they appear on The State of Things to promote their new album, “Try This!” Host Frank Stasio talks with the band about their new album and they play live in the studio.

Creative Commons

Think you’re avoiding the advertisements when you fast forward through using your DVR?

Think again. New research from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business shows that sometimes commercials are even more effective when you’re not paying attention. Host Frank Stasio talks to Gavan Fitzsimons, a professor in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

Broadway Books

Jessica Alexander began her career as an aid worker with idealistic eyes.

But the day-to-day realities of helping rebuild disaster areas made her realize aid work is a profession with its own challenges and pitfalls. She traveled the world, helping people in Darfur, Sierra Leone and Haiti. She chronicles her journey in her memoir, “Chasing Chaos: My Decade In And Out of Humanitarian Aid” (Broadway Books/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks with Jessica Alexander about her new memoir.

She will be at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh tonight at 7:30.

NC Comicon

    

In its fourth year, the North Carolina Comicon is bringing groups of superhero creators, publishers and artists to the Durham Convention Center this weekend for a collection of nerdy goodness.

Some of the biggest names in comics will be there. And if that’s not enough, you might win a ride in the old-school Batmobile.

Jeremy Whitley, co-creator of Firetower Studios and the mind behind the comic “Princeless,” said this area is a prime spot for comic art.

christophermcelroen.com

    

   

War. The country has been engaged in it for the last decade, and yet the majority of the population knows it as little more than images on a screen.

When experimental drugs or treatments need to be tested for the market, they generally go through a series of clinical trials. However, a new study shows that nearly one third of all large clinical trials go completely unpublished. This means that information about certain drugs and treatments are not accessible to the public.

Duke Performances

You may know Nick Sanborn as the bassist of Megafaun, but his musical influence in the Triangle spreads far beyond that.

creative commons

Bats are the subject of much folklore and derision in human society. Some say they are vermin who carry rabies. Others equate them with the undead vampire of legend. 

creative commons

Ever wonder how people came up with the idea for vampires, zombies or witches?

wikipedia.org

In this Halloween fright fest, The State of Things tackles the so-called Vampire Squid and Vampire Flying Frog. 

NC Department of Commerce

Big changes are coming to the state commerce department.

A new public/private non-profit will be taking over some of the duties of recruiting new business to the state next year. But critics of the N.C. Partnership for Prosperity say similar efforts in other states have failed. Host Frank Stasio talks to 

   about the controversy.

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