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 of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Early voting is underway in North Carolina's second primary of the year. Two incumbent members of Congress face off against each other. Also on the ballot is a seat on the state's Supreme Court.

At the legislature, the Senate wraps up its budget proposal and lawmakers move behind closed doors to hash out a compromise between the House and Senate plans.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

The Monti
Jessie Gladdek

When a volunteer storyteller takes the stage at the Triangle’s storytelling event, The Monti, the audience never knows what to expect. He might share a poignant tale about a complex relationship with a parent. Or she might prompt roars of laughter with the story of a first date gone wrong.

photo of the North Carolina Senate
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / Flickr

The North Carolina Senate reveals its version of the state's budget today.

Like the House plan, the Senate proposal raises teacher pay and other state employee salaries. And a Senate plan to change tuition structure at some state universities, including three historically black colleges and universities, is creating controversy. Plus calls for repeal of House Bill 2 continue with a rally of small business owners.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia about the latest.

photo of airport security lines
Kitt Hodsden / Wikimedia Commons

Memorial Day weekend is a peak travel time. And with more than two million travelers in TSA security lines over the holiday weekend, flying was as hassle-filled as driving.

Members of Congress have called for TSA reforms and the administration removed a top official last week. Are the changes enough to shorten the lines and keep the skies safe?

Host Frank Stasio talks with Time Warner Cable senior Washington reporter Geoff Bennett about the TSA challenges.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

High profile leaders from both sides of the political aisle try to move the state towards compromise on House Bill 2.

And at the capitol, lawmakers continue to negotiate details of the state budget. In particular, the two chambers do not have common ground on the amount and distribution of teacher pay.

And on the national stage, Trump says he officially has the delegates for the GOP nomination, and buzz continues about possible vice presidential selections.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

photo of North Carolina State Capitol Building
Nathanial Johnson / Flickr

Last night, Charlotte City Council members declined to vote on a repeal of the nondiscrimination ordinance that prompted House Bill 2. The possible vote was part of a compromise deal with some state lawmakers.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 The countdown to the conventions is on. Just a short time ago, it looked like the GOP convention would be the stage for the most drama. But Donald Trump has steadily eliminated his competition. And now all eyes are on the democratic ticket. Will Bernie Sanders go all the way to the Philadelphia convention? And how does his decision affect Hillary Clinton's chances to once again reside in the White House? In North Carolina, lawmakers are working on the state's budget, but they do so against the backdrop of continuing controversy over House Bill Two. Does that affect their priorities?

Police badge
Scott Davidson via Flickr

 

Harnett County residents have accused law enforcement officials of aggressive behavior and overstepping their authority.

A Sheriff’s deputy killed a man after entering his home without a warrant, and his family wants answers. Prison officers tased an inmate and left him in a cell where he died 20 minutes later. The entire incident was recorded on surveillance video.

Alex Harris, 1971
Alex Harris

Alex Harris was a 21-year-old, fresh out of Yale, when he received his first assignment from the Duke Public Policy program: photograph substandard housing in North Carolina. More than four decades later, Harris, a professor at the Center for Documentary Studies, gave that assignment to three of his students. The work is a part of an exhibit at the Rubenstein Gallery at Duke University called, Where We Live: A North Carolina Portrait.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

A federal district court judge upheld North Carolina's voter identification measures in a 485 page decision issued yesterday.

A federal judge has ruled North Carolina's voter ID law is constitutional.

In a 485 page opinion issued Monday, federal district judge Thomas Schroeder upheld North Carolina's voter identification laws. The decision also uphold changes to same-day registration and out of precinct provisional balloting.  

Jim Avett
Crackerfarm (Mike Beyer)

  For Jim Avett, music is just as much a part of life as eating and sleeping. The son of a minister and a pianist, Jim grew up singing in the church choir and playing several musical instruments. 

Attorney Wade Smith
Tharrington Smith

As a young boy in Stanly County, North Carolina, Wade Smith did not know what he wanted to be when he grew up; he knew only that he had a deep desire to do something "good and useful." 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The backlash over House Bill 2 continues as Governor Pat McCrory signs an executive order purported to modify the law. Opponents say the measure remains discriminatory and must be repealed.

Will the legislature act in the short session to change the law? And what effect will the controversy have on the campaign cycle?
 

Plus, Clinton and Sanders get heated in a CNN debate. The democrats continue to battle for the nomination as Cruz and Trump maintain their leads in the GOP race.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

 

Armada Cover, by Ernest Cline
Broadway Books

Following the rapid rise of his debut novel, “Ready Player One (Random House/2011),” Ernest Cline felt pressure to produce another cult classic.

His latest sci-fi work, “Armada (Broadway Books/2016)," is a New York Times bestseller and is already a hit in tech circles. The novel will be made into a major motion picture.

Dorothy Managan, 93, served as an Army nurse in Tacoma, Wa. after World War II. She recently added her life story to her medical record at the Asheville, N.C. VA Medical Center.
Jay Price / American Homefront

 

For many health professionals, treating patients is a matter of assessing their ailments, making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment where it is required. Then it is on to the next patient. But a new program in VA medical centers aims to make connections between medical professionals and their patients through narratives.
 

A handful of student protesters have occupied the administration building at Duke University for nearly a week. The demonstration is a response to an incident in which a white administrator hit a black parking attendant with his car. The attendant, Shelvia Underwood, alleges Duke executive Vice President Tallman Trask then used a racial slur in frustration. Protesters say the alleged incident raises questions about the way the school treats minimum wage employees, and have demanded Trask's resignation and a living wage for Duke employees. The university says it will negotiate.

Damon Wayans performing comedy in 2007.
Wikipedia

For some Oscar viewers this year, host Chris Rock’s jokes about race crossed a line. But in the world of humor, is there a line?  

Do certain comedians have greater license to make jokes that might be offensive if delivered by others? And does the composition of the audience matter?

Greensboro skyline
Scott Moore, Flickr, Creative Commons

Approximately 1,000 people gathered in Greensboro on Sunday to protest a controversial new law passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.

Participants voiced their opposition to HB2. Gov. McCrory signed the bill into law immediately following its passage. The measure addresses a bathroom ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council, but it has other provisions that hinder the ability of municipalities to prevent discrimination.

Lust And Wonder

Apr 1, 2016
Augusten Burroughs

Author Augusten Burroughs has a habit of making the private public. His memoir “Running with Scissors” (Picador/2003) traces his chaotic childhood with a mother with mental illness, and his eventual guardianship by her psychiatrist. His best-selling book “Dry” (Picador/2013) chronicled the painful outcomes of his drinking and drug use, and detailed his tumultuous journey to sobriety. Burroughs' newest book tackles an even more intimate topic: love. “Lust and Wonder” (St.

From “All The President's Men” to “Spotlight,” Hollywood has followed the work of reporters and journalists throughout film history. The way the fourth estate is portrayed also often reflects other elements of culture and politics in a given era. This month's Movies on the Radio features submissions from listeners about their favorite journalism scenes on the silver screen. Host Frank Stasio talks with Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, about the best in journalism films.

The Banjo: America's African Instrument
Harvard University Press

 

 

Laurent Dubois never felt like a true American until he started playing the banjo. His fascination with the origins of the instrument led him on a search to discover its roots and the ways it evolved from an African and Caribbean instrument to its present iteration. Host Frank Stasio talks with Dubois about his new book, “The Banjo: Africa's American Instrument” (Harvard University Press/2016). He also talks with musician Joe Newberry who plays live.

Bathroom sign
Wikimedia

 

  

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a law eliminating nondiscrimination provisions for LGBT individuals by city governments.

An image of Wildin David Guillen Acosta
The Acosta family

Riverside High School senior Wildin David Guillen Acosta was detained by ICE officers in January. Acosta sought asylum in the United States after he says his life was threatened by gangs in his native Honduras.

Legal efforts to stop his deportation failed, but over the weekend, Congressman G.K. Butterfield convinced the director of ICE, Sarah Saldana, to issue an executive stay that allows Acosta to remain in a detention facility in Georgia.

'Darker The Night'

Mar 22, 2016
Lisa London

Like many Americans, author Lisa London grew up with a limited knowledge of what happened in Nazi Germany during World War II. 

But when she began talking with her neighbor, Hilda Sensale, she was surprised to discover stories about the time period from the perspective of a German youth. Lisa used the experiences of Hilda as the basis for her coming-of-age book.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Hilde Sensale and Lisa London about Darker The Night (Deep River Press/2016).

 

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