Frank Stasio

Host, "The State of Things"

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.

From there he went to National Public Radio, where he rose from associate producer to newscaster for All Things Considered. He left that job in 1990 to help start an alternative school in Washington, DC. Frank returned to NPR as a freelance news anchor, guest host of Talk of The Nation and other national programs, and host of special news coverage.

He also presents audio theater workshops for children and teachers and conducts radio journalism workshops for broadcasters in former Soviet-bloc countries. He lives in Durham.

photo of the NC legislature
Wikimedia

A new bill in the North Carolina Legislature proposes changing the juvenile penal system to raise the age of adult prosecution for most offenses. The state is currently one of only two in the nation where 16 and 17 year olds are routinely charged as adults.

Courtesy of The Department of Special Collections at Stanford University Libraries

Flores Forbes joined the Black Panther Party when he was just 16 years old. He became the youngest member of the Central Committee and eventually got involved in the party’s military arm. 

Stories from the President's Kitchen Cabinet

Mar 16, 2017

When Adrian Miller was researching his book on the history of Soul Food, he kept coming across references to African-American cooks who had served in the White House.

Courtesy North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture

A newly-formed group comprised of former politicians, academics, and community leaders will investigate possible connections between North Carolina and the CIA’s interrogation program.

Aero Contractors, a private aviation company based at the Johnston County airport, allegedly picked up suspected terrorists and transported them to CIA-run black site prisons.

Driving Through a Changing South

Mar 15, 2017
book cover of "Discovering the South: One Man's Travels Through a Changing America in the 1930s."
Courtesy of Jennifer Ritterhouse

In the summer of 1937, Jonathan Daniels, the young, white, liberal-minded editor of the News & Observer, embarked on a driving tour of 10 Southern states. He documented the stories of the diverse people he encountered and hoped to change the national perception of the region.

An image of an advertisement for the play 'The Miraculous and the Mundane'
Manbites Dog Theater

In the new play “The Miraculous and the Mundane,” an African-American family in Durham must readjust their lives when the family’s patriarch begins to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Percy Nelson has worked hard to provide for his children, but his health issues begin to fracture the family’s stability.
 

Courtesy E.C. Hanes

When E.C. “Redge” Hanes was looking for a backdrop for his latest novel, he decided to draw from his own experience. He once raised hogs on a farm with his brother, and he also participated in an environmental study commission looking into the impact of hog farming on North Carolina’s ecology.

Hanes’ new book “Justice By Another Name” (Rane Coat Press/2017) is a tale of love and revenge set in fictional Hogg County, North Carolina.
 

An image of UNCA professors and co-hosts Marcus Harvey and Darin Waters
David Allen / UNC-Asheville

Asheville has been home to an African-American community for centuries. However, African-American residents in Asheville and western North Carolina have historically suffered from systemic inequality and racial disparities.

In the new radio program and podcast “The Waters and Harvey Show,” co-hosts Darin Waters and Marcus Harvey examine western North Carolina’s cultural history and the narratives of marginalized communities.
 

Courtesy Western Carolina University

Davy Arch grew up on a subsistence farm in western North Carolina. As a boy, he learned the value of traditional Cherokee culture from his grandfather, who taught him the old stories, how to hunt and fish, and how to identify valuable medicinal plants.

Today Arch is a practitioner of traditional medicine, a historian, storyteller and a folk artist with work on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
 

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

State lawmakers have advanced a measure that would remove some judicial appointment powers from Gov. Roy Cooper.

They also continued touting a bill that would change opiate prescription guidelines and proposed, yet again, to send 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds who are alleged to have committed nonviolent crimes to juvenile courts instead of being tried as adults.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about this week’s activity at the legislature.

An image of James Phillips, Stacy Harden and Daniel Michalak of Bombadil
DL Anderson

A few years ago, Durham-based indie-folk band Bombadil decided to do some soul searching. After one of the band members left the group, the rest of the band decided to take a step back and find a new direction. The group eventually picked up new bandmate and worked with a data scientist to create “the perfect Bombadil song.” The band’s new style guides its latest album “Fences.”
 

AP Photo/Alex Sanz

UPDATED 12:11 P.M. ON FRIDAY, MARCH 10

 

North Carolina district attorney David Learner said Friday that two assistant district attorneys no longer work for his office.

 

Learner’s statement is in response to an investigation by the Associated Press that reported prosecutors Frank Webster and Chris Back helped derail criminal investigations into allegations of abuse by church leaders of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale.

 

Courtesy Danielle Purifoy

Lawyer and environmentalist Danielle Purifoy and artist Torkwase Dyson loaded up art supplies and media equipment in a mobile art studio and traveled to North Carolina and Alabama to meet people who live in the shadows of structural racism. The documentary project “In Conditions of Fresh Water” focuses on how residents of some communities in Alamance County, North Carolina, and Lowndes County, Alabama lack access to adequate sanitation infrastructure.

Courtesy of the Artists

Indian immigrants have been been settling in North Carolina for decades. Today there are an estimated 100,000 Indian immigrants who call North Carolina home, and a large concentration of those individuals live in the Research Triangle.

 

A picture of an empty classroom.
f_a_r_e_w_e_l_l / Flickr

Today is International Women's Day, and women across the United States are participating in a mass strike called, “A Day Without a Woman.” The organizers behind the historic Women’s March on Washington that came in that wake of President Trump’s inauguration are behind the mass protest. They called on women to not attend work, not to shop, and if unable to do either of those, to wear red in solidarity. 

United Nations Photo

“Seven” is a documentary-style stage production that tells the stories of seven women who have made positive change in their countries.

The show features the true stories ranging from a woman in Pakistan who champions education for girls in disadvantaged areas to a woman in Russia who created the first domestic violence hotline in her country.

Lance Cpl. Justin A. Rodriguez / U.S. Marine Corps

The Department of Defense has launched an investigation after the non-profit news organization The War Horse broke a story about Marines spreading nude photos of female service members online. The report says Marines used a closed Facebook page to post links to explicit photos of the women with their ranks, names, and military stations of duty.

Ben Vereen
Courtesy of Isak Tiner

Ben Vereen made a name for himself on Broadway in the late 1960s with performances in hit productions like “Sweet Charity” and “Hair.” He later won a Tony award in 1973 for his role in “Pippin.” Since then, he has also acted in more than a dozen television shows, including the 1977 hit miniseries “Roots.”
 

In his one-man show “Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen,” Vereen performs hit songs from Broadway and pays tribute to iconic performers Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra.

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.

kenrudinpolitics.com

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under fire for corresponding with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 election.

The revelations are leading to more calls for a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump administration's ties to Russia.

Nin Solis

Hundreds of thousands of individuals move to Mexico from the United States each year. This number includes both those who are deported and those who choose to return. Many of those individuals spent their formative years in the United States and experience distinct challenges upon return to Mexico, including extreme culture shock, depression and mental illness, and barriers to accessing employment and education in Mexico.

Chris Charles / Creative Silence

Triangle-based jazz singer Yolanda Rabun wears many hats. She is a musician, actor and corporate lawyer. She says that each role allows her to channel her creativity in different ways.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Gov. Roy Cooper has rolled out his budget proposal for the next two years. The governor emphasized setting aside money for teacher salary increases, expanding Medicaid, and investments in economic development. The recommendation is largely a symbolic gesture as Republican majorities in the legislature will ultimately approve the state budget. Meanwhile, a bipartisan effort to repeal House Bill 2 has stalled because of opposition from both parties.

 

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

For decades, politicians have used coded language to talk about race without addressing it explicitly. Terms like "welfare queen," "illegal aliens" and "thug" are used to elicit responses from target audiences without directly addressing race. The practice is known as "dog whistle politics." However, critics of President Donald Trump argue his rhetoric is antagonistic and divisive when it comes to issues of race and inequality.

A promotional still with John Wayne and Claire Trevor from the 1939 American Western film 'Stagecoach'.
Wikimedia Commons

A gun-slinging cowboy on a mission of revenge takes down the enemy in a quick-draw duel.  He then rides off on his trusted steed with the setting sun casting long shadows on the rugged landscape. This is one of the iconic narratives in Western film, a genre which has gone through a massive evolution since its “good versus evil” and “cowboys versus Indians” days.

Courtesy Triad City Beat

Hundreds of residents from Winston-Salem joined prayer services at three mosques in the Triad area on Friday. The outpouring of support for the Muslim community was a reaction to violent, anti-Islamic speech that emerged from a meeting between far-right conservative activists held in Kernersville, North Carolina.
 

An image of a poster for the symposium 'Jewish Food in the Global South'
Carolina Center for Jewish Studies

The American South has influenced Jewish culinary traditions for more than 100 years. From combinations like pastrami biscuits to matzoh ball gumbo, the South is creatively reinterpreting centuries of Jewish foodways. 

'Lovie: The Story of a Southern Midwife and an Unlikely Friendship' (UNC Press/2016) explores the legacy of North Carolina's first nurse-midwife.
UNC Press

Lovie Beard Shelton was a pioneer in her field. As the first registered nurse-midwife in North Carolina, she helped birth more than 4,000 babies born to mothers from diverse backgrounds.
 

Folklorist Lisa Yarger first met Beard Shelton in 1996 and spent the following 20 years documenting her life. “Lovie: The Story of a Southern Midwife and an Unlikely Friendship” (UNC Press/2016) is the culmination of that journey.

Duke University

Makeba Wilbourn has been immersed in the subtleties of language since she was a child.

As the daughter of a northern white mother and southern black father, she constantly changed the way she spoke to her own family. And as she grew older, she realized she had to be an expert at code-switching in order to succeed as a biracial woman.

Today, Makeba studies how children develop those differences in language, and how that might contribute to our racial biases.

Image of bathroom sign
The LEAF Project / Flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers have filed a bipartisan bill to repeal House Bill 2 with some conditions.

The proposal got immediate backlash this week from other Democrats and LGBT rights groups who want a clean repeal of HB2, and it is not clear whether it has enough votes to pass.

Meanwhile, a committee in the state Senate has voted to issue a subpoena for Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs Larry Hall after he failed to show up at three confirmation hearings.

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