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. 

Ways to Connect

Image of Shaw University President Tashni Dubroy
Terrence Jones / Shaw University

As a teenager in Jamaica, Tashni Dubroy struggled to understand chemistry. But after a breakthrough moment in her high school chemistry class, she fell in love with the science.

She moved to the United States to attend community college, and then to Raleigh to attend Shaw University.

Prescription pills
Wikpedia

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from December 15, 2016.

President Obama signed legislation this week allocating $1 billion dollars to address the nation's worsening opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are on the rise, and current policies are inadequate in addressing the issues. 

Henry B. Moore, Library of Congress via Wikipedia

In the modern financial world, Wall Street is king, but that ascent did not happen without exploitation. In particular, African slaves provided capital for some of the nation's most powerful financial institutions.

An image of bluegrass mandolinist Sierra Hull
Gina Binkley

Bluegrass singer and songwriter Sierra Hull has been playing music professionally since she was just a kid.

Now, at 25, Sierra has released a new album that is a departure from her previous work. "Weighted Mind" features a more stripped down version of Sierra Hull's sound- a departure from her earlier works. “Weighted Mind” is nominated for a Grammy.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Hull about her life and career, and she performs songs from her new album.

 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Members of the Senate Armed Services committee met this morning to address cybersecurity and threats to the United States. President-elect Donald Trump denies any interference by Russians in his election. 

And new members of Congress took their oaths. What are the legislative goals for 2017?

Host Frank Stasio talks with Time Warner Cable News Washington Reporter Geoff Bennett talks about the inquiry and the latest political news from Capitol Hill.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

It has been a wild year in American politics. A crowded field of presidential hopefuls whittled to two candidates: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

After months on the campaign trail, Clinton won the popular vote by the largest margin in history but Trump received more Electoral College votes. Meanwhile, President Obama finishes his eight-year stint in the White House. What legacy will he leave? Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the year in politics.

The State of Things host Frank Stasio, NPR Political Correspondent Don Gonyea, and The State of Things managing editor Laura Lee
Anita Rao

As 2016 comes to a close, The State of Things staff go “behind the glass” and join host Frank Stasio to discuss their favorite shows of the year.

One of managing editor Laura Lee’s favorite segments was a conversation with Bill Leuchtenberg, professor emeritus at UNC-Chapel Hill, about his book on the U.S. presidency. She also highlights a conversation with UNC System President Margaret Spellings recorded on her first day in office.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

   Lawmakers are back in Raleigh for yet another special session​the fifth of the year.This time they reconvened to consider repeal of the controversial House Bill 2, commonly called “the bathroom bill.” The Charlotte City Council voted to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance on the condition that the legislature repeal HB2. Now it appears the House may not have the votes needed for a repeal. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii.​ 

Democratic governor-elect Roy Cooper
Logan Ulrich / WUNC

Governor-elect Roy Cooper fired back at Republican lawmakers Thursday in response to their attempts to limit his powers before he even enters office.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina General Assembly meets this week in a special short session. Lame duck Governor Pat McCrory called the session to address disaster relief funding for victims of both Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires in the western part of the state.  
 

Meet Nancy Petty

Dec 12, 2016
Reverend Nancy Petty
CREDIT PULLEN BAPTIST CHURCH

As an activist pastor at Raleigh’s progressive Pullen Baptist Church, Nancy Petty is often making news. She is openly gay and has championed marriage equality and LGBT rights. She has led Moral Monday protests and chairs the Reverend William Barber’s Repairers of the Breach board. Most recently her work has focused on facilitating interfaith dialogue with Raleigh’s Muslim community and fighting Islamaphobia and racism.  Her transformative journey from her small town upbringing in Shelby, North Carolina, paralleled major social shifts happening in the churches she has served.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory conceded his re-election bid this week and congratulated his successor, Roy Cooper. The incumbent then met with President-Elect Donald Trump about a possible Cabinet position. In the meantime, McCrory plans to calls the North Carolina legislature to a special session set to begin on Tuesday. The agenda for that session remains largely unknown. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

Injections for veterans may aid in addressing PTSD
Wikimedia

For many veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment options are limited to medication and therapy.

But head and neck injections, a new treatment option, is being hailed as a "miracle" method. A Triangle-based organization, RTI International, received a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense to operate trials of the technique at three Army hospitals. Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina is one of the facilities using the new treatment on servicemembers as part of the trial. 

The Monti
Jessie Gladdek

 In the eight years since founding The Monti, a North Carolina-based storytelling organization, Jeff Polish has chosen a variety of topics for storytellers. Participants on The Monti stage have talked about their experiences around themes like "Fear," "The End of the Road," and "Humility." 

But one topic stayed off the list: God. When Polish eventually decided to broach the difficult subject of a higher power, the response was off-the-charts.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory conceded in his reelection bid after several weeks of disputing the results. The governor congratulated Governor-Elect Roy Cooper in a video message. 

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.

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