Laura Lee

Managing Editor

Laura Lee is the managing editor of The State of Things. Born and raised in Monroe, North Carolina, Laura returned to the Old North state in 2013 after several years in Washington, DC. She received her B.A. in political science and international studies from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2002 and her J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 2007.

Laura briefly strayed from her Tarheel allegiance in 2011 to obtain a masters degree in journalism from the University of Maryland where she was an Eleanor Merrill Fellow.  Prior to WUNC, Laura worked for NPR on the Washington desk, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation. She was previously WUNC's assistant news director for talk programming. 

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Image from The Andy Griffith Show
Wikimedia

Many know Mayberry as the idyllic town that was home to the fictional Andy Griffith show.

A new film highlights the characters of the true Mayberry: Mount Airy, North Carolina. Filmmaker Bill Hayes, a Mount Airy native, captured the characters and places that make Mount Airy a representation of “Hometown USA.” 

Despite economic struggles caused by the decline of textile manufacturing, The Real Mayberry continues to thrive and retain its unique character.

Image of a judge's gavel
Wikipedia

A three-judge panel of a federal court ordered the North Carolina legislature to redraw their district lines and hold a new election next year. The court found 28 of the state house and senate districts were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered. The decision requires the redrawing of the lines and shortens all the terms of members elected earlier this month to one year. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The Trump transition team is in place and the president-elect says their work is going smoothly. Today’s picks include Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn for national security adviser. But critics have called the transition "chaos,” and many questions remain about the framework of a Trump administration. And at the state level, the governor's race remains in limbo. Incumbent Pat McCrory's campaign has launched ballot complaints in 52 counties.

Stack of Ballots for Super Tuesday
Wikimedia

The race for the state's highest office is still in limbo. County Boards of Elections are counting provisional ballots this week. Attorney General Roy Cooper leads Governor Pat McCrory by several thousand votes. But McCrory says the race is not over. Host Frank Stasio talks with capital bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

 

students with laptops in classroom
Enokson / Flickr/Creative Commons

After an emotional election season, educators in North Carolina and around the country are figuring out how best to address the results of the presidential race in their classrooms.

Kathrine Switzer, running the Boston Marathon in 1967, is attacked by the race director.
Boston Herald

When Kathrine Switzer ran the Boston Marathon in 1967, she didn't set out to make history. She focused on the same things that occupy the minds of many marathon runners: pace, timing, nutrition and exhaustion.

Roy Cooper at a podium with his wife, addresses his supporters in Raleigh. North Carolina gubernatorial candidates Cooper and incumbent Pat McCrory are locked in a tie with their race likely heading to a recount.
Brian Batista / WUNC

Last night, North Carolinians watched as successful candidates for President, U.S. Senate, and State Supreme Court took to the podium to thank crowds of exuberant supporters in their acceptance speeches. But one race is still undecided: the race for North Carolina's governor. Only a few thousand votes separated Republican incumbent Pat McCrory from his Democratic challenger Roy Cooper. 

President-elect Donald Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. He is seen on stage clapping at a rally.
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Voters cast their ballots and elected Donald Trump as their 45th president. Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. North Carolinians also re-elected Republican Richard Burr to the Senate, and Democratic Judge Mike Morgan as the newest  N.C. Supreme Court Justice.

The cover of Running Man, a memoir by Charlie Engle.
Scribner/2016

Charlie Engle spent much of his young adulthood chasing the next high. His addiction to drugs and alcohol nearly cost him his life.

But he eventually attained sobriety, and along the way, developed a new passion: running. He started with marathons but moved to longer distances and adventure expeditions.

In 2006, he led a team across the Sahara, a feat documented in the film, Running The Sahara. His fame drew the attention of government officials, including one determined tax agent at the IRS.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The campaign season is in the final stretch, and both presidential candidates are making last minute pleas in North Carolina. 

Polls predict a tight race, and candidates up and down the ballot are working to get out the vote. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the election. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory spent 14 years as the mayor of the state's largest city, Charlotte, before making a run at the governor's mansion. He lost his 2008 bid but won the gubernatorial race in 2012. Four years later, he faces a tight battle with democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper. Campaign issues include House Bill 2, voter identification, the state of the economy and body cameras. Host Frank Stasio talks with Governor Pat McCrory about his priorities and his re-election bid.  

The countdown to Election Day is on, and candidates are hitting the trail in North Carolina. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visited the state earlier this week and democratic nominee Hillary Clinton stops in Winston-Salem later today, in a joint appearance with first lady Michelle Obama. What do the presidential campaigns do for candidates down ballot? And how close is the gubernatorial race? Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

Eric Loewen
GE

America’s reliance on fossil fuels is contributing to global warming, posing a threat to the future of the planet. Much of the discussion around mitigating climate change centers on sources like solar and wind power, while nuclear power is often left out of the conversation. Fear about safety and expense have hindered the development of nuclear power as a sustainable energy source for the United States, but Eric Loewen hopes to change that perception.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Vice-presidential candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine sparred earlier this week in their only debate of the season.

What did their interactions demonstrate about both campaigns, and how do the vice presidential candidates affect the race? And in the state's gubernatorial race, ad spending reaches new highs. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest. 

Worst. President. Ever.
Lyons Press, 2016

 With just a month to the election, both sides are on the attack, highlighting the shortcomings of their opposition.

Accusations fly as Clinton and Trump vie for the highest office in the country.

But as voters assess who should lead modern America, author Robert Strauss takes a look back at the nation's 15th president, James Buchanan. Strauss traces Buchanan's presidency and declares him the worst president ever. Host Frank Stasio talks with Strauss about his book,"Worst. President. Ever." (Lyons Press/2016). 

The State of Things is broadcasting live from the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh:

Textiles
Wikimedia commons

 

Last night, presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded barbs about many subjects including America's economic strength. Economic stability is a key issue in the election and also in the lives of many Americans. 

As part of the NPR Nation Engaged project, host Frank Stasio asks, “What can we do to create economic opportunity for more Americans?” One possible solution is worker-owned businesses.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt at a BOT meeting in September 2016
Emily Kristina Gabbard / WUNC

The academic and athletic scandal at the University of North Carolina dominated headlines for years.

Allegations of paper classes and inappropriate assistance to student-athletes prompted internal and external investigations. And newly released correspondence shows what was going on behind-the-scenes in the midst of revelations about academic fraud. 

Charlotte shooting protesters
Chuck Burton / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Charlotte's police chief says video footage of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott does not show 'definitive evidence' that Scott pointed a gun at officers before he was fatally shot.

Taheshia Williams, center, tells her eyewitness account of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, in Charlotte, N.C. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. Scott's death on Sept. 20 led to protests and rioting.
Nell Redmond / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Charlotte police say 16 officers were injured last night in clashes with those protesting the fatal police shooting of a black man.

The history books documented track star Jesse Owens' experiences at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, hosted in Nazi-controlled Berlin.

But Owens was not the only African-American athlete to represent the United States of America. A new film, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, documents the experiences of 18 African-American athletes representing a country that would not give them equal rights.

Hunter Lewis
Courtesy of Hunter Lewis

Hunter Lewis grew up in a big family in North Carolina where gathering for meals was the centerpiece of the day.

He deepened his passion for food when he moved to New York to work in some of the top restaurants in the city. Eventually he merged his love of food with his journalism skills. He became food editor at Bon Appetit, then editor of Southern Living and now, editor of Cooking Light.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

  Hillary Clinton is back on the campaign trail after a health issue sidelined her for a few days.

And health becomes a key issue in the campaign. Donald Trump releases some of his medical details of the Dr. Oz show. 

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in political news.

Nina Totenberg, NPR legal affairs correspondent
Wikimedia

  NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for more than four decades.

In that time, she has seen a shift not only in the way the court conducts business, but also in the way individuals consume news about the court. 

Ask The Ethicist

Sep 14, 2016
Ethics
Wikimedia / Wikimedia

What should you do if you know a friend is cheating on their spouse? Should you tell a friend who applied to your firm the real, but confidential, reason she did not get hired? 

Finding solutions to the ethical dilemmas of everyday life are the work of New York Times ethicist, Kwame Anthony Appiah. Appiah is a professor of philosophy and law at NYU. 

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