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.

Pages

State of Things
11:32 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Sister Helen Prejean

Sister Helen Prejean
Credit www.prejean.org

Sister Helen Prejean is a dedicated opponent of the death penalty. Her experience serving as a spiritual advisor to men on death row was captured in the 1995 film "Dead Man Walking," starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn and based on Prejean’s bestselling book of the same name. Through the years, Prejean has stood by six death row inmates as the government executed them for their crimes. Host Frank Stasio talks with Sister Helen Prejean about her experience fighting against the death penalty and ministering to condemned prisoners.

Read more
State of Things
11:24 am
Thu December 1, 2011

HIV in North Carolina

Stephen Inrig wants to dispel the notion that HIV is a disease that plagues mostly sub-Saharan Africa and major metropolitan cities in the United States. He is author of the book, "North Carolina and the Problem of AIDS: Advocacy, Politics & Race in the South" (UNC Press/2011). He calls the South the epicenter of HIV infections in America, and North Carolina has not been spared. In his book, Inrig follows the history of HIV in North Carolina and sheds light on the spread of the disease among minority populations in the South.

Read more
State of Things
9:44 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Tim & Scrooge

Tim & Scrooge
Credit www.osctheatre.com

Watching "A Christmas Carol" is an annual holiday ritual for millions of people around the world. The story of the mean old Ebenezer Scrooge and his conversion from sinner to savior has been shown in a variety of versions on the big screen, the television and on the stage. But for those fans wondering what happened after Scrooge's change of heart, there is only one show to watch: the musical production of “Tim and Scrooge: A Carol for a Later Christmas.” It's a play written by Nick Meglin with music by Neil Berg and the narrative picks up with a now not-so-tiny Tim 12 years after the events of the original story. Host Frank Stasio talks to Meglin about his sequel to "A Christmas Carol," which makes it local premiere at Greensboro’s Open Space Café Theatre on December 8th.

Read more
State of Things
11:37 am
Tue November 29, 2011

North Carolina Mental Health

North Carolina is poised for another radical overhaul of its mental health system. This time the changes have to do with the way state mental health agencies pay for patient care. A new law passed by the state General Assembly last spring requires agencies to become more like HMOs. Instead of billing Medicaid for individual services, agencies will get a lump sum up front, which they will then use to pay patient costs. Opponents of the legislation fear this change will lead to poor care for the state's mentally ill.

Read more
State of Things
11:36 am
Fri November 18, 2011

White Tiger

Rondy McKee

Rondy McKee began her professional life in advertising in downtown Detroit, MI. She decided to learn self defense after a few close calls with criminals. That training led her to become the first Westerner to ever join the Korean Tigers, a professional martial arts team. Today, she is also the owner of White Tiger martial arts school in Cary, NC. Host Frank Stasio talks to McKee about the sport of taekwondo.

Read more
State of Things
11:31 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Kafkaesque

Book cover, ''Kafkaesque''

Writer Franz Kafka died relatively unknown in 1924, but today his name has been immortalized in the term “Kafkaesque.” It's a word used to describe the surreal realities of the modern world, so it’s no surprise that Kafka is more popular now than he ever was in his lifetime. Writers John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly have put together a new anthology of stories called "Kafkaesque" (Tachyon/2011). It includes stories written by Kafka, inspired by Kafka and reminiscent of his style. Host Frank Stasio talks to Kessel, a professor in the English Department at North Carolina State University about the creative writing collection and why today’s readers can relate to Kafka’s works.

Read more
State of Things
9:19 am
Thu November 17, 2011

A Tribute to Thomas Berry

Thomas Berry
Credit www.thomasberry.org

Catholic priest and philosopher Thomas Berry believed that humanity and nature must coexist if human beings were going to continue to survive on this planet. He grew up and died in Greensboro, NC. In between, Berry wrote books, taught and spread the gospel of ecospirituality. Host Frank Stasio talks about Thomas Berry and his legacy with Berry’s niece Ann Somers, a lecturer in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and Valerie Vickers, a teacher of science education at UNC-Greensboro and the winner of the Greensboro Public Library’s 2011 Thomas Berry Award.

Read more
State of Things
8:46 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Meet Grant Llewellyn

Grant Llewellyn
Credit www.ncsymphony.org Audio File:

Welsh conductor Grant Llewellyn has been the music director of the North Carolina Symphony since 2004, but his music history can be traced all the way back to his childhood. His cockney grandmother used to sit at the decrepit piano in the family’s living room in Wales. There she would play badly from her limited repertoire of waltzes. Grant’s musical abilities were more auspicious. He trained from an early age in the piano and the cello, but in his late teenage years, he became fascinated with another aspect of music: conducting. Since embarking on that path, his work has spanned the globe.

Read more
State of Things
11:41 am
Thu November 10, 2011

Mercury, Mining, and Empire

Detail of a silver refining mill in Potosi
Credit www.ehcouncil.org

The roots of today’s global economy can be traced all the way back to Peru in 1569. That’s when a new Spanish viceroy arrived in pursuit of silver that would be used to fund the empire of Spain. Spain’s riches would filter throughout China and Europe, eventually helping fund England’s industrial revolution. But that silver was not easy to get. A popular method of refining the precious metal relied on mercury – with toxic consequences. Host Frank Stasio talks about the history of silver mining with Nicholas Robins, a lecturer in the Department of History at North Carolina State University and author of the book “Mercury, Mining, and Empire: The Human and Ecological Cost of Colonial Silver Mining in the Andes" (Indiana University Press/2011).

Read more
State of Things
11:30 am
Thu November 10, 2011

The Tarball Chronicles

Book cover, ''The Tarball Chronicles''

Last year, the world watched in horror as nearly five million barrels of crude oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was caused by the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling for BP. The company frantically tried to cap the spill in the following months. Finally, last July, workers were successful. The world’s outrage subsided, and its attention waned. Not so for Wilmington-based writer David Gessner. He went down to the Gulf of Mexico during the spill to get a first-hand account of what was happening. His experiences there are documented in a new book, “The Tarball Chronicles" (Milkweed Editions/2011). Host Frank Stasio speaks with Gessner, an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, about the BP oil disaster.

Read more

Pages