Charlie Shelton

Producer, "The State of Things"
Public Domain / Wiki Creative Commons

In the 1930s, the federal government started to map out regions deemed financially stable enough to receive mortgage assistance through a process called “redlining.” The areas identified as “too risky” for loans were largely concentrated in minority and low-income neighborhoods. During the same time, the City of Durham implemented tree-planting programs across various neighborhoods.

Cast of 'Space Girl' rehearses.
Katy Koop

In the new play “Space Girl” by Mora V. Harris, 16-year-old Arugula Suarez wants to be just like everybody else. But she is an alien from the planet Zlagdor, so it is not always easy for her to blend in. Arugula and her father Nancy have been sent to Earth to see if the planet is worth saving. As they decide Earth’s fate, Arugula must also navigate the social politics of high school without blowing her cover. She finds comfort in a wacky blend of things, including roller derby and salad. 

Ted Alexandro
Eric Korenman

Coming up as a comedian in New York City, Ted Alexandro has long appreciated the city’s diverse comic scene. On any given night, he says you can see acts ranging from comic newbies to veteran comedians like Chris Rock who are trying out new material in underground clubs. 

Chance The Rapper accepts the humanitarian award at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, June 25, 2017, in Los Angeles.
Matt Sayles/Invision / AP - 2017

Earlier this week, the BET Awards recognized some of the best in black entertainment. At the awards, Chicago-based artist and activist Chance the Rapper delivered a stirring speech after receiving the BET Humanitarian Award. Chance the Rapper was praised for recently donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools. 

An image of the gospel singer Mary D. Williams
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

When Mary D. Williams was a kid growing up in Garner, North Carolina, she often visited her grandparents in Johnston County. She remembers passing a sign that said, “You are in the heart of Klan country” along the way. The sign was a visible example of the racism her grandparents endured in rural North Carolina.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Senate Republicans released their plan to roll back the Affordable Care Act this week. The measure was drafted in secret and comes after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version of a health bill last month. The bill is expected to come to the Senate floor next week.


Cover of 'The Whole Way Home' by Sarah Creech
William Morrow/2017 / William Morrow/2017

Over the years, country music has seen iconic women like Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn become legends in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, country music remains a boy’s club for many artists. In her new novel “The Whole Way Home” (William Morrow/2017), writer Sarah Creech tells the story of one woman’s road to country music stardom.


A plate of Soul Food
Laylah Amatullah Barrayn / Byron Hurt

Soul food has been a culinary tradition for centuries. While it remains an important source of community for many African-Americans, the way certain soul foods are prepared can increase chances of cancer and other health issues. In his documentary “Soul Food Junkies” (2012), filmmaker Byron Hurt examines his family’s history with soul food and the impact of the cuisine’s traditions.


Newspaper, image enhanced to highlight word, 'truth'
PDPics / Pixabay, Creative Commons

Most fact-checkers aim to stay out of politics. But the way in which partisan news sites use fact-checking is a different story. A study from the Duke Reporter’s Lab says there is a partisan divide over how fact-checking is referenced in liberal and conservative news sites. 

Artist Kate Rhudy
Kendall Bailey / Kate Rhudy

Raleigh-based singer-songwriter Kate Rhudy picked up a violin when she was just a kid. She spent her childhood at fiddler’s conventions and regularly played folk music at home with her family. Now she has channeled her reflections on relationships, romance, and life on the road in her debut album “Rock N’ Roll Ain’t For Me.” 

Photo of author, David Gessner
Debi Lorenc / David Gessner

Today millions of people play Ultimate Frisbee. But in the 1980s, when David Gessner first picked up a frisbee, the sport was still relatively unknown.

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

A chemical compound found in the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) water supply is garnering the attention of local officials. The contaminant GenX is manufactured by the Chemours Company at its Fayetteville Works plant. GenX is a replacement for a hazardous ingredient in Teflon. GenX is a relatively new compound and has yet to be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Little data exists about the chemical’s health effects. Host Frank Stasio talks with Vince Winkel, reporter for WHQR in Wilmington, and Larry Cahoon, professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, about the effects of GenX and how officials are responding to the contaminants in the water supply. 

Cover of 'No Bull'
Ron Morris / Baseball America-2017

The Durham Bulls are one of the most well-known teams in minor league baseball, in part because of the hit movie “Bull Durham.” But the team was a success on the field and in the stands before the film.

Picture of Nina Riggs
Toni Tronu

Nina Riggs was not surprised when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She knew the disease ran in her family, and she’d spent years watching her mother battle cancer. Once Riggs’ cancer turned metastatic and incurable, she decided to reflect through writing.

A book cover
Princeton University Press

Since the beginning of a capitalist economy in the United States, business endeavors have been fraught with examples of fraud and deceit. In his new book, “Fraud: An American History From Barnum to Madoff” (Princeton University Press/2017), Edward Balleisen chronicles the history of fraud in the U.S., from mail-order scams in the 19th century to examples of corporate fraud in the late 20th and early 21st century. 

Mitch Prinstein / Penguin Random House/2017

Popularity is often a concern for teenagers, but research shows it also influences life outside the high school cafeteria. Children as young as four years old can identify their most popular peer, and one’s popularity growing up can even predict his or her lifespan.

In the new book “Popular: The Power of Likability in a Status-Obsessed World” (Penguin Random House/2017), Mitch Prinstein teases apart the distinction between two different types of popularity: likability and status. 

rapper 9th wonder on a stool
Creative Silence

Patrick Douthit has been making music as hip-hop producer 9th Wonder for nearly two decades. In the early 2000s Douthit gained recognition for his work with the North Carolina hip-hop group Little Brother. He went on to produce music for Jay-Z’s 2003 release “The Black Album” and Destiny’s Child’s 2004 album “Destiny Fulfilled.” He won a Grammy for his work on Mary J. Blige’s 2005 album “The Breakthrough.” Douthit grew up in Winston-Salem and remembers hearing his first hip-hop song in 1982 with Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock.” 

photo of Gigi Dover & the Big Love
Gigi Dover & the Big Love

For Gigi Dover & the Big Love, Americana isn't limited to American styles of music. The group hails from Charlotte and composes Southern folk using worldly instruments like the sitar and rebab.

Through its latest album, "Travelin' Thru," the band continues to strengthen the grassroots music scene in Charlotte.

St. Martin's Press

In his new novel, “Extraordinary Adventures” (St. Martin’s Press/2017), writer Daniel Wallace features the story of a middle-aged man who lives an “extra-ordinary” life. But one day, Edsel Bronfman’s mundane routine takes a turn when he receives a free weekend at a beachfront condo. But there is a catch: Bronfman must find a partner to accompany him on his trip within 79 days.


San Diego Personal Injury Attorney / Flickr/ Creative Commons

 Earlier this week, President Trump unveiled his budget proposal for 2018. The plan cuts more than $600 billion from Medicaid in the next decade, which would affect  nearly two million enrollees in North Carolina. The budget also includes deep cuts to health research and higher education.


St. Martin’s Press/2017

In his latest novel “The River of Kings” (St. Martin’s Press/2017), author Taylor Brown interweaves two journeys that take place 500 years apart on the wild and mysterious Altamaha River, also known as Georgia’s “Little Amazon.”

classroom
Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

 

Every year thousands of low-income students in North Carolina who achieve “superior” scores on end-of-grade tests are excluded from advanced programs, according to a recent report. The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer reported that high-achieving, low-income students are left out of advanced classes at a higher rate than their wealthier classmates with the same test scores.

An image of the musical trio KING
Alex King

About six years ago, twin sisters Paris and Amber Strother decided to team up with their friend Anita Bias to form the musical group KING. Little did they know the trio would soon cross paths with Prince and eventually receive a Grammy nomination. 

Flickr Creative Commons

A noncompete agreement is designed to prevent an employee from leaving his or her employer to work for a competitor. For decades, many companies required senior management to sign those agreements to protect information about the inner workings of their organizations. However, noncompete agreements are becoming more common down the economic ladder, barring blue-collar workers’ mobility and bargaining power in the workplace.

Chris Pizzello / AP Images

In the new Netflix series “Dear White People,” conversations about racism on a college campus take center stage. The story features members of the Black Student Union at a fictional Ivy League college called Winchester University, where the main character hosts a socially-conscious radio show. The series has received praise for featuring nuanced stories of students of color, and backlash by some who consider the show racist.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The White House is reeling after the president fired James Comey as FBI director earlier this week. The Trump administration said Comey tarnished the FBI’s reputation by mishandling its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. However, many Democrats suspect a cover-up and are calling for a special prosecutor into the investigation of Trump’s campaign aides’ ties to Russia.

Courtesy of The Artist

Durham-based musician Kamara Thomas knew she wanted to be an artist at a young age. But she grew up in a Christian fundamentalist household that frowned upon artistic expression.

Southerners on New Ground

Many families will not be able to celebrate Mother’s Day together this weekend due to barriers in the criminal justice system. In the United States, nearly 80 percent of women in jail are mothers, and most of those women are also single parents, according to a 2016 report from the Vera Institute of Justice. 

Duke Energy / Flickr Creative Commons

Last year Duke Energy acquired Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion. The purchase is a marker of the energy industry’s shift toward using natural gas to produce electricity. Supporters of natural gas say it is cheaper and burns cleaner than coal. But critics argue that methane leaks during storage and transportation, which can accelerate global warming.

Abingdon Press/2017

In 1947, dozens of white men in Greenville, South Carolina kidnapped and murdered a young black man named Willie Earle. Several of the men later confessed to the crime and said it was retaliation after a black man allegedly stabbed a white cab driver. However, after a trial, nobody was convicted for the murder.

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