Charlie Shelton

Producer, "The State of Things"
An image of a gavel
creative commons

More than 300 veteran treatment courts exist around the country to help former service members who have been charged with low-level crimes. The courts put veterans in counseling and rehabilitation programs for issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. 

The number of veteran treatment courts has grown in the last decade, and proponents argue that the system better serves veterans while also cutting court, jail and prison costs. However, in states like North Carolina, only three courts exist to treat a large veteran population. 

An image of Nicole Sarrocco
Jason Hedrick

For Nicole Sarrocco, experiences with the supernatural are nothing new. As a child growing up on a tobacco farm on the border of Wake County, she knew that her family's land was filled with spirits. 

 

She went on to live in multiple haunted houses, and encounters with ghosts seemed to follow her wherever she went. Sarrocco has since worked to come to terms with the occult and channeled these experiences into a novel. 

 

 

An image of a bottle of OxyContin
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Deaths by opioid overdose are on the rise nationwide, and North Carolina remains hit hard by the epidemic.  In 2014, opioids killed more than 28,000 people, more than any years on record.  At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. 

An image of former state senator Josh Stein
Public Doman

Democrat Josh Stein and Republican Buck Newton are vying for the open seat left by Attorney General Roy Cooper who stepped down to run for governor.

Brett Villena

The Raleigh-based hip-hop group Kooley High started nearly a decade ago after its members had spent years trading rhymes with each other on campus at North Carolina State University.  In 2004, some of Kooley High's members started a hip-hop club on campus called "H2O" and helped spark a grassroots rap scene in the city.  

Vianney Le Caer / AP

The highly-anticipated film "The Birth of a Nation" tells the story of a slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831.

An image of folk singer Leadbelly
Public Domain

Rock music has roots in many different musical forms. It is shaped by the blues and jazz. Meanwhile, the narratives in rock songs can be traced back to English ballads.

An image of Duke postdoctoral associate Duke Marisol LeBron
Marisol LeBron

Growing up in the Bronx, Marisol LeBrón witnessed two conflicting realities. She saw the diverse and vibrant communities around her neighborhood of Parkchester, but she also witnessed the struggles of Bronx's residents around stigmas about poverty and crime.

An image of a memorial to Ash Haffner, who died by suicide in 2015
EdNC

The youth suicide rate has increased in North Carolina since the start of the decade. Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults between ages 15 and 19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.  

Meanwhile, LGBT youth are twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Organizations including the Child Fatality Task Force and the Wake County Public School System have offered policy recommendations and programs to prevent the rising teenage suicide rate.

An image of peace activists Ali Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger
Courtesy of Hanan Schlesinger

Even though Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger has lived in the West Bank for 33 years, he had never spent much time with a Palestinian. That was before he met Ali Abu Awwad. Schlesinger lived in the area with for decades seeing Palestinians as an invisible "other." 

An image of an empty hospital bed
Public domain

Thousands of Medicaid recipients across North Carolina are being denied government-assisted funding for personal-care services. In April 2015, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Division of Medical Assistance changed the requirements for personal-care eligibility.

Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP

The International Bluegrass Music Association is underway in Raleigh with the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards. The group The Earls of Leicester won Entertainer of the Year for the second year in a row. The group led the field in nominations. Host Frank Stasio talks with John Lawless, editor of Bluegrass Today, about notable awards and emerging bands in bluegrass.

Courtesy of Laughing Penguin Publicity

Kenny and Amanda Smith have been professional musicians as a duo for 15 years but have been playing music together as husband and wife for decades. The pair's new album is called "Unbound." Amanda Smith was a nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year, and Kenny Smith was nominated for Instrumental Performer of the Year on the guitar in the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards.
 

An image of San Francisco 49ers players protesting the national anthem
Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Since the beginning of the NFL season, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has knelt during the national anthem in protest against racial inequality. Dozens of athletes have followed in Kaepernick's footsteps.

Meanwhile, protests erupted in Charlotte last week after police fatally shot a black man. Against this backdrop, new television shows like "Queen Sugar" and "Greenleaf" unpack narratives about contemporary black life.

An image of the skyline of Charlotte, N.C.
Chuck Burton / Associated Press

In the past week, residents in Charlotte have protested throughout the city in response to the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by law enforcement. The week's events created a lingering sense of civil unrest in communities.

Stefan Litwin is a piano composer and music professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Hans Joachim Zylla

Note: This program is a rebroadcast from February 8, 2016. 

For Stefan Litwin, playing the piano is personal. Litwin was born in Mexico City in 1960 after his parents fled from the Nazis in Europe years earlier.

He grew up speaking three languages but always felt like an outsider. He went on to study piano in Switzerland and the United States, all the while channeling his family's experience in the Holocaust through composing music.

political cartoon by Keith Knight
Courtesy of Keith Knight

Whether it's an editorial cartoon or late-night comedy show, political satire is able to inform audiences while adding some much needed humor. It has been a part of mainstream media for centuries, but has taken many forms over the years.

Jim Obergefell
Emma Parker

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry in all 50 states, Jim Obergefell's long-fought journey was complete. 

An image of author Colson Whitehead
Madeline Whitehead

In the 19th century, American slaves escaped to freedom using a network of secret routes and safe houses known as  the Underground Railroad. 

In his new novel, "The Underground Railroad" (Doubleday/2016), Colson Whitehead creates a literal network of underground tracks and trains for an enslaved woman to escape life on a Georgia plantation. 

An image of gospel singer Liz Vice
Peter Dervin

Growing up in Portland, Ore., Liz Vice didn't envision herself being a gospel singing. She wanted to be in acting, and eventually landed a job as a producer for the program "Portlandia."

But after she started going to a church in her hometown, she became enthralled with gospel music through the church's worship team. She started singing with the group and eventually recorded a solo album called "There's A Light."

An image of author Ron Rash
Ashley Jones / Clemson World

For 20 years, Ron Rash has been haunted by the murder of a young woman that took place near his home. Nobody was ever charged in the case. 

But over the years, Rash began to think about the two male college students who reportedly last saw her alive. This became the spark for his latest novel "The Risen" (Ecco/2016). The book tells the story of two brothers in Sylva, N.C. whose lives changed after they befriended a free-spirited young woman in the summer of 1969. 

An image of the book cover for 'Walking Histories, 1800-1914'
Palgrave Macmillan

Walking may seem like a simple everyday act. But the act of walking has evolved over time, and a new book, "Walking Histories, 1800-1914" (Palgrave Macmillan/2016) examines how walking became a recreational activity and how it influenced both protesters and philosophers in the 19th century.

 

Image of Hank Willis Thomas's 'The natives will get restless'
ourtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

For a century, advertising campaigns have marketed products to white women by pairing phrases with images to construct a standard for white femininity. The contemporary art exhibit "Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015" ​includes a visual chronology of advertisements without the original ad's accompanying text. The collection aims to explore the intersecting dynamics of  beauty, race and gender through decades of marketing.

An image of Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba
Andrea Tani

Diali Cissokho comes from a long line of musicians and griots in his home country of Senegal. So when he came to the United States, continuing to play music was a natural progression. He teamed up with musicians from North Carolina to form a group called Kaira Ba.

An image of 'Invisibilia' co-host Lulu Miller
Grace Miller

 

In her podcast "Invisibilia," Lulu Miller explores the invisible forces that guide human behavior. Topics have included explorations of emotions like fear and loneliness or social categories like gender.

  Miller also examines the dynamics behind personal creativity and how our commitment to "dream" projects might be constraining our creative minds.

An image of musician Joan Shelley
Nathan Salsburg

Singer-songwriter Joan Shelley believes in the power of place. She strives to immerse herself in a location's history and folklore, whether that be her hometown of Louisville, Ky. or the islands of Greece.

  Host Frank Stasio talks with Shelley about how she overcame stage fright and now travels the world writing songs.

Am image of a drone capturing videos and still images of an apartment building in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Last week, the Raleigh-based company PrecisionHawk became the first company to acquire a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration that allows pilots to fly commercial drones beyond the line-of-sight.

  PrecisionHawk uses drones for aerial data analysis in industries like agriculture. The F.A.A. waiver is an extension of new federal regulations that will allow more companies to use drones for commercial use. 

An image of Yaba Blay
Sabriya Simon

  Note: This segment originally aired on Monday, March 7, 2016.

Growing up in New Orleans, Yaba Blay saw firsthand the different roles one navigates as an African-American. At home, she had to adjust to the Ghanaian culture of her parents, but outside the house, her dark skin set her apart from New Orleans' light-skinned Creole community.

An image of The Bucket Brothers with host Frank Stasio
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

Logan Valleroy and Casey Valleroy might be teenagers, but their musical prowess makes them seem like professional musicians. The brothers have been playing music since they were young.

Today, the pair play a myriad of instruments like the violin, keyboard, drums, saxophone and guitar, but started out as kids banging on pots and pans around the house. The Bucket Brothers new album is called "Our State."

Photo of Rome's Gay Pride parade
Fabio Frustaci / AP Photo

LGBT issues continue to make headlines across the country, whether it's in regards to North Carolina's controversial HB2 or how the presidential candidates plan to address LGBT rights.

But how does the U.S. compare to other countries in terms of cultural support and government policies for its LGBT community?

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