Charlie Shelton

Producer, "The State of Things"
Tim Fain playing violin
Courtesy of Tim Fain

 Violinist Tim Fain is a classically-trained musician, but his talents extend far beyond a classical repertoire. 

In this Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 file photo, Native people from Fiji sit in the convention center during the opening of the COP 23 Fiji UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.
Martin Meissner / AP Photo

Nearly 200 countries are wrapping up the annual U.N. climate summit in Bonn, Germany this week.

Robert Shetterly and 'Americans Who Tell the Truth'

Ella Baker spent decades fighting for civil rights and promoting grassroots activism. 

The music for the live program in Greensboro was written and performed by Carmen Bliss. The Greensboro-based singer-songwriter combines rhythm and blues compositions with lyrical narratives. Listen to her perform the song "Around" below.

 

 

Vi Lyles
Skip Foreman / AP Photo

Democrats claimed big wins across the country in this week’s elections. Meanwhile, a series of mayoral races took place in North Carolina. 

Zen Reyes, aka ZenSoFly
Courtesy of Zen Reyes / ZenSoFly

Growing up, Zen Reyes thought she would establish a career in the fashion industry. She spent some time studying fashion in New York City and figured she might become a designer one day. But eventually a different passion came calling and Reyes began producing and recording her own music under the name ZenSoFly. 

Ron Stacker Thompson
Courtesy of UNC School of the Arts

Ron Stacker Thompson knew from a young age that he wanted to be a teacher. He grew up in Chicago, excelled in school, and loved his time in the classroom. He attended Illinois State University and went on to try his hand at teaching. But his work as a drama teacher quickly led to another career on stage.

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Robert Mueller’s team handed down their first indictments this week in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates turned themselves into the FBI and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Meanwhile Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives released their tax bill Thursday with hopes to pass it through before the end of year. And federal judges reviewing North Carolina’s legislative district maps have ordered an independent “special master” to draw new lines.

Cape Fear River, NC, at Raven Rock Park
Blipperman / Wikimedia Commons

This week Brunswick County filed a lawsuit against Chemours and DuPont for their involvement in discharging the contaminant GenX into the Cape Fear River. The lawsuit is seeking to recover the costs to the county for investigating, managing, reducing and removing the chemical.

It is one of several lawsuits against Chemours and DuPont. Last week a Leland resident filed a class action lawsuit against the two companies after she discovered GenX in her water heater.

Senior Airman Brittain Crolley / U.S. Air Force

 

The U.S. Senate has backed away from a proposal to close military bases for now, but that is not stopping some communities from planning ahead for the next round of cuts.

In Goldsboro, organizations and civic leaders are teaming up with the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to improve the base’s facilities and increase engagement with the community. The partnership is a part of strategy to improve relations with the military and bolster the efficiency of the base.
 

John Coltrane
Nakadaira

John Coltrane is widely recognized as one of the most iconic and influential jazz musicians of all time. His work as a saxophonist and composer is known to the world, and it all started in North Carolina.

Public Domain / Wiki Creative Commons

Last week the federal government released thousands of files related to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
 

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. 

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.

photo of Rapsody
FortyOnceGold

In her new album “Laila’s Wisdom,” North Carolina rapper Rapsody delivers messages about community, confidence and creative control. The Snow Hill native grew up with a big family and says the album’s title is dedicated to her grandmother and her teachings, which is also something Rapsody channels in her music. 

Women's March, Washington DC, 1/21/2017
Mark Dixon / Wikimedia Commons -2017

Hundreds of thousands of women packed the streets in January as part of the Women’s March. Many donned pink, cat-eared “pussy hats” to mark their participation. This march, alongside many other public demonstrations and landmark court decisions throughout history, have made the fight for gender equality visible to the greater American public. But the movement has really been fueled day-to-day by the work of activists, organizers and regular citizens. 

UNC Chapel Hill Basketball game
Hanging Curve / Wikimedia Commons -2017

The NCAA infractions committee issued a verdict today and concluded it could not find evidence the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill violated academic rules with the use of fake classes. 

Courtesy of Tift Merritt & Bernhardt Design / bdesignny

Seventeen months after the birth of her daughter, singer-songwriter Tift Merritt is gearing up for an international tour through Europe later this month with her baby by her side. 

The James Henry Jones family.
Courtesy of film director Anna Jones (back row, second from left).

 James H. Jones made a living as a farmer in Northampton County and cemented a legacy as a community leader for equal education. His efforts pushed the school board to give African-American students more resources after the county failed to comply with standards set by the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. 

Greenbelt view from Germany
Nickel van Duijvenboden / Wikimedia Commons -2017

Today the European Green Belt is a stretch of rich and flourishing land in Western Europe that extends north to south for thousands of miles. However, during the Cold War the strip was a no-man’s land that separated the Soviet Union from non-Soviet countries. 

Diane Chamerlain, cover of 'Stolen Marriage'
Images courtesy of Diane Chamberlain.

In 1944 a polio outbreak swept across the Hickory and Charlotte area of North Carolina. Facilities in Charlotte quickly filled up with patients, leaving many in Hickory without proper treatment. In dire need of a medical facility, residents in Hickory banded together and built, outfitted and staffed an emergency hospital within 54 hours. The event came to be known as “The Miracle of Hickory.”
 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about a case from Wisconsin regarding the constitutionality of political gerrymandering. 

Voter stickers
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

In North Carolina more people are registered as unaffiliated than Republican, according to recent data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. 

An image of overturned chairs outside of West Lumberton Elementary School
Lisa Philip / WUNC

Last October Hurricane Matthew caused more than two dozen deaths in North Carolina. Floods damaged much of the eastern part of the state, and communities are still picking up the pieces.

An image of the book cover for 'The Last Ballad' by Wiley Cash
William Morrow

 

In the spring of 1929 more than a thousand workers at the Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina walked off their jobs and went on strike. At the time the mill was one of the largest producers of textiles in the South, but harsh labor conditions and unfair pay sparked unrest among the workers.

Protests went on for months and even led to violent clashes with the police. The events at the mill brought a textile worker named Ella May Wiggins into the spotlight. Wiggins served as a union organizer and also became an influential ballad singer.

Phil Roeder / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/agLDmm

The state Department of Public Instruction released a shortlist of six low-performing public schools last week that are candidates for its Innovative School District. The new program will turn over control of schools to charter school operators. 

Alex Harris

Reynolds Price was a prominent and prolific voice in Southern literature. Over the span of nearly 50 years, Price wrote dozens of works, including novels, memoirs, poems and plays. 

Courtesy of Bryant Simon

In September, 1991, a deadly fire killed 25 people at the Imperial Food Products plant in Hamlet, North Carolina. 

Workers at the chicken processing facility tried to escape after a hydraulic line spilled flammable liquid on a fryer and ignited a fireball inside the facility.

Katie Wyatt poses with children from the program she co-founded, Kidznotes.
Ken Demery Photography

Katie Wyatt first fell in in love with classical music when she joined her school’s orchestra in third grade. Wyatt played the viola and appreciated being part of a group that created art together. Wyatt was a military kid, so her family moved around about every four years. But no matter where she lived, Wyatt found a way to plug into her community through music. 

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