Laura Lee

Managing Editor

Laura Lee was the managing editor of The State of Things until mid February 2017. 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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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. 

Voting sign
JustGrimes on Flickr

The North Carolina State Board of Elections makes final decisions on early voting schedules where the local boards couldn't come to an agreement. Leaders on both sides of the aisle weighed in. Will the election rules finally be set or will more legal action follow? Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

Welcome to Florida sign
Joelk75 and DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Author and comedian Dave Barry is not a Florida native, but he has embraced the state as his homeland. In his new book, “Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2016), he explores the wacky landmarks and zany stories of the Sunshine State.

 Director Michael Lewis talks with cast on Men of Israel film shoot.
Wikipedia

Traditionally, the media has blurred the line between public and private lives, and the digital age has almost eliminated that distinction entirely. Nowhere is the private becoming public more evident than in pornography. Professor Richard Cante examines the social and political implications of pornography. He is a professor of media and technology studies in the Communication department at UNC-Chapel Hill. Host Frank Stasio talks with Cante about the intersection of media and pornography.

Vivian Howard, Cynthia Hill, A Chef's Life
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Chef Vivian Howard stars in the fourth season of her PBS show, "A Chef’s Life," which debuts later this month. The premiere precedes the release of a Howard’s first cookbook, "Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes From My Corner of the South."

Photo of Don Gonyea
Doby Photography / NPR

Election Day is just more than two months away.

And the two contenders for the White House are on the trail, making their pleas to voters and attacking each other. No two candidates in history have had less favorable ratings than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea is taking a look at how voters, especially women in North Carolina, are approaching this race. Host Frank Stasio talks with Gonyea about his reporting, the candidates and life on the trail. ​

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Durham teen Wildin Acosta spoke publicly yesterday about his time in an immigration detention facility.

The Honduran native said he is happy to be back with his family and intends to advocate for others to be released.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC's Will Michaels about the latest.

Tom Ross
University of North Carolina

A bipartisan group of former judiciary members offered their proposal for congressional maps yesterday.

The partnership between Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy and the nonprofit organization Common Cause presented a new map of the state's districts to demonstrate that lines could be drawn without regard to voting history or party registration.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow Tom Ross who led the panel.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

A federal court declared North Carolina's drawing of election lines unconstitutional.

The three-judge panel said the districts must be redrawn because they are racially gerrymandered. The court will allow the election in November to proceed under the old maps.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the decision, its consequences and other political news.

The state epidemiologist in the division of public health resigned yesterday in protest over the McCrory administration’s handling of a controversy stemming from Duke Energy's handling of well water surrounding coal ash sites.

Megan Davies
NC DHHS

State Epidemiologist Megan Davies has resigned her position, effectively immediately. It is the latest twist in an ongoing dispute over coal ash contamination of home water wells and an inter-departmental fight within Governor Pat McCrory's administration. 

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