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.

Ways to Connect

Jim Minz
ktempest, via Flickr.com, Creative Commons

 

Today's State of Things show is a rebroadcast of an interview with Jim Minz.  The program originally aired on April 1, 2013.

Jim Minz’s childhood in small-town West Bend, Wisconsin prepared him for two things: game shows and science fiction.

John Tedesco
Wake County Public Schools

The past few years on the Wake County School Board have been marked by controversy. Republicans came into power in 2009 and board member John Tedesco led the charge to eliminate the school assignment program, sparking outrage and national attention.

Themonti.org
Themonti.org / Themonti.org

For the past five years, the Monti, a North Carolina storytelling organization, has brought the stories of the area to crowds around the Triangle and Triad.

tor.com
tor.com / tor.com

David Drake  has garnered a reputation in the world of science fiction readers as a leader in the military sci-fi genre. But he won’t be penned in by labels. His latest novel, “Monsters of the Earth” (Tor/2013), is the third in his Books of the Elements fantasy series.

thehotelsmeltface.bandcamp.com
thehotelsmeltface.bandcamp.com / thehotelsmeltface.bandcamp.com

Chandler Kelley of the band The Hotels describes their music as, “a trashy, drunk version of big radio pop.”

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

The North Carolina General Assembly goes back into session Tuesday. Lawmakers will consider Governor Pat McCrory’s vetoes of two bills. One requires drug testing for certain welfare recipients. The other grants immigration exemptions for some seasonal workers.

www.ncga.state.nc.us
www.ncga.state.nc.us / North Carolina General Assembly

For 17 years, North Carolina Senator Ellie Kinnaird represented the constituents in Orange and Chatham Counties with passion.


Creative Commons / Creative Commons

In 2011, the Arab Spring ushered in hope for Democracy in Egypt. Hosni Mubarak fell from power, and the people took to the streets, excited about the prospects of free elections.

amazon.com
Amazon.com / Amazon.com

    

Nancy Peacock’s path to becoming a successful writer wasn’t normal but it was fun. She got interested in writing in the 4th grade when a teacher introduced her to the arts.

"I loved books," she said. "I loved storytelling, but I didn't know that was something that adults actually did."

She skipped college, choosing instead to marry her high school sweetheart.

“Certainly by not going to college, I had to work. I was sort of thrown into the work-a-day world,” she said.   

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

The General Assembly recently finished up their lawmaking session, passing a variety of legislation, some of which has stirred quite a bit of controversy locally and nationally. All that’s left now is for Governor Pat McCrory to sign those laws of which he approves and veto those he’s against. He’s done both this week.

He signed into law a controversial Voter ID law that forces voters to show ID at the polling place, as well as shortens the hours of early voting and eliminates straight-ticket voting.

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.
Flickr.com

The closing of the Healthserve Community Health Clinic in Greensboro is expected to affect thousands of low income patients. The clinic is closing, in part, because of the State legislature’s decision to reject federal Medicaid expansion. Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC Greensboro Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about this and other Triad news live from Triad Stage in Greensboro.

New River Breakdown by Terry L. Kennedy
http://www.unicorn-press.org/books/Kennedy-New-River-Breakdown.html / Unicorn Press

    

Terry Kennedy wanted nothing more than to become a business maven and take over the world when he was in college. Literature was for people with too much free time on their hands. But he gradually learned that he was terrible at business and passionate for creative writing. Kennedy's latest book of poetry is called “New River Breakdown” (Unicorn Press/2013).  

Phive is a band based in Greensboro.
Phive, Facebook

  

Greensboro-based band Phive was previously known mainly for their work as a cover band. But they’ve expanded their sound recently, thanks in part to member Afika Nxumalo and his connection to South Africa. His mother grew up there, and her experiences helped inspire the band’s recent song commemorating Nelson Mandela’s birthday, “Madiba.”

Julius Chambers
Ferguson, Chambers and Sumter

    

Julius Chambers has been a fixture on North Carolina’s legal scene for decades, helping lead the battle for civil rights and playing an instrumental role in the desegregation of Charlotte/Mecklenburg schools.

He died last Friday at 76.

Richard Nixon, Time cover April 30, 1973, The Watergate Scandal
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/ / Time Magazine

A lawyer in North Carolina served as the Assistant Majority Counsel on the Watergate Committee. Eugene Boyce was a trial attorney in Raleigh.  He spoke to Frank Stasio on the State of Things to look back on the role he played on the historic investigation of President Richard Nixon. 

Craicdown
Donn Young / http://www.craicdown.com/

The band Craicdown considers itself World Acousticana: a blend of world music and americana. Fitting then that "craic" means fun and "craicdown" means a good time. Musicians the world over gather for amusement and enjoyment, aspects craicdown embodies in name and melody. Host Frank Stasio talks with craicdown, and they play live in the studio.

unconditionalmovie.wordpress.com
unconditionalmovie.wordpress.com / unconditionalmovie.wordpress.com

When Julie Edmunds and Sara Terry became the first North Carolina family to get a second parent adoption back in 2004, they had no idea it might all be taken away from them. A second parent adoption is when someone adopts the child of a partner who he or she is not married to. In North Carolina, a state where same sex couples can’t be married, it’s an important tool.

Edmunds and Terry had their second-parent adoption back in 2004, back when it was still possible to do so.

“I still remember to this day the judge standing there and saying… ‘I deal so much with people who are trying to avoid taking responsibility for their children that it’s just wonderful to see somebody wanting to take responsibility…’” Edmunds said.  

But a court ruling in 2010 said that unmarried couples had no right to second parent adoptions in the state, possibly throwing the legal rights of people like Edmunds and Terry into question.

Melody Moezzi's 'Haldol and Hyacinths'
Avery Publishing

    

Melody Moezzi has always been outspoken. As an Iranian-American writer and attorney, she has devoted herself to discussing controversial issues like religion, politics and culture in Iran. But when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, her family and doctors encouraged silence. On this issue, they thought, you could not speak the truth. Melody would not be quiet. She decided to write a memoir of her experiences so that others with the disorder, and those who know them, could better understand. The memoir is called “Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life,” (Avery/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks to her about her experience.

'The Best Of All Possible Worlds' by Karen Lord
http://sf-fantasy.suvudu.com/ / Del Rey

  

Science fiction is a genre dominated by white men. So, Karen Lord is something of an outlier. She’s a woman, first of all, but she is also a native of Barbados, and as such brings a decidedly Caribbean perspective to her novels.  Karen Lord is in town and making various appearances around the Triangle. She will be at the Bull Spec Summer Speculative Fiction event at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh this weekend.

Two Oystercatchers walking along the shoreline at Oregon Inlet, NC
Jeff Lewis / http://www.flickr.com/photos/natureimages/

  

The oystercatcher is the clown of the bird world. It has pink legs, a long orange bill and bright yellow eyes. And the eastern population of the oystercatcher is in danger. There are only about 11,000 in existence, and scientists are doing everything they can to make sure they stick around. Lindsay Addison is a coastal biologist for Audobon, North Carolina. She’s involved in a project to track the migratory patterns of these beach birds. Host Frank Stasio talks to her about the project.

“What are they Thinking: The Straight facts about the risk taking, social networking, still developing teen brain” by Aaron M. White and Scott Swartzwelder
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc

    

While the verdict has long been out that adolescents are irrational and impulsive, recent research has shown that hormones are not the primary culprit for this behavior; the brain is also at fault.

Southern Cricket Frog in Person County, NC.
Catherine Stevens / http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiral_c/

You might be forgiven for thinking the apocalypse is underway. Recently on the State of Things we’ve talked about the mass deaths of both bees and bats and the scary implications for the rest of us. Today, we’re going to talk about the death of frogs. Jonathan Micancin says that this problem has been with us a long time. In fact, it could have been the first sign that something may be going horribly wrong in the environment.

Stephen Reynolds is an astrophysicist at North Carolina State University.
http://www.physics.ncsu.edu/people/faculty_reynolds.html

In the age of the Internet, it sometimes seems as though no questions remain unanswered. But for Stephen Reynolds, the mystery is only beginning.

Cover of Lee Ann Brown's book of poetry, 'In The Laurels, Caught' (Fence Modern Poets Series/2013).
Fence Books / fenceportal.org

Lee Ann Brown splits her time between New York City and Marshall, North Carolina, but she has a special love for her southern home.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

The North Carolina General Assembly is set to vote on a budget this week, one that has defenders of public education up in arms. The proposed budget ends teacher tenure, holds teacher salary flat and cuts funding for teacher assistants.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

This week the General Assembly passed a tax reform bill that sets the stage for the state’s budget. The bill, while sweeping, wasn’t as broad as GOP lawmakers originally wanted. A budget agreement is expected to be reached today with details emerging over the weekend.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina General Assembly finally pushed through its tax reform bill, though it’s not nearly as bold as originally proposed. Both personal and corporate income taxes will go down.

Student loan debt has reached a trillion dollars in this country, and Congress has been unable to prevent the interest rates of some federally subsidized student loans from doubling. With the skyrocketing cost of higher education, is it still worth it?

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The happenings at the North Carolina General Assembly have put the state solidly in the national focus. Major network news stations, as well as the New York Times editorial board, have begun to point a finger at the state.

Elin O'Hara Slavick

In a little less than a month, Hiroshima, Japan will reach a sad milestone. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped one of only two atomic bombs ever used in an act of aggression. It leveled the city, killing an estimated 80,000 people outright.

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