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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Chatham County Line On A "Tightrope"

May 30, 2014
Chatham County Line
http://www.chathamcountyline.com/

Bluegrass group Chatham County Line may hail from Raleigh, but their rich acoustic sound has no borders. The group has two chart-topping records in Norway, but stays true to their North Carolina roots on their new album,Tightrope

Photo: The Loyola Chicago Ramblers played against Cincinnati in the 1963 N.C.A.A. tournament title game.
Ramblers

The world of sports is a multi-billion dollar industry. And sports have a special elevated place in American culture.

A new one-hour radio documentary looks at the less-examined aspect of sports: the experience of young athletes. Contested is produced in collaboration with the radio program, State of the Re:Union, and will air Monday at noon on WUNC.

Groundhog Day
Wikipedia

  You know that movie. The one you can almost recite word for word. The one you had on VHS but you wore out the copy. The one that comes on the television and you are glued to the screen.

What is it that draws viewers to these films? Why would someone watch something they have seen so many times before? Is there a sentimentality embodied in watching the same film over and over? Does it change as we age?

NC State Seal
Wikipedia

The short session of the General Assembly convenes tomorrow to address some of the state’s most controversial issues: teacher pay, unemployment and coal ash disposal. All of the issues are framed by the ongoing debate over the state’s budget. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol bureau chief Jessica Jones about the latest in legislative activity.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

  

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis this week. Tillis is also backed by former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Tillis’s rival Greg Brannon received the endorsement of Senator Rand Paul. Will big name endorsements give one candidate enough lead to avoid a run-off in the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Kay Hagan?  Just days away from the primaries, political junkie Ken Rudin takes a look at the state’s hottest races. Host Frank Stasio talks with Rudin about the factors that will matter next week at the polls.

Oscar Martinez
NPR.org

Thousands of migrants from Central America make the perilous journey through Mexico atop cargo trains for more than 2,000 miles in hopes of crossing the U.S. border. 

The Word Exchange
DoubleDay

In the near future, print is dead. Newspapers and books have been destroyed in favor of handheld gadgets that anticipate a user’s needs.

This world is the backdrop for author Alena Graedon’s debut novel, The Word Exchange (DoubleDay/2014). The story explores the complexities of language and the intersection of technology and communication.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Graedon about the book and the power of language in the digital era.

And here are the five things on Alena's reading list right now:

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

Duke Energy’s North Carolina CEO told lawmakers this week that addressing the disposal of coal ash at the 33 ponds across this state could take years. He said the proposal to move the waste to lined sites could cost up to 10 billion dollars. Environmentalists say the issue must be addressed immediately. Host Frank Stasio talks with a journalist roundtable about the latest on coal ash, other environmental issues and Moogfest. 

Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook
Tupelo Honey Cafe

Southern food is a popular cuisine in many foodie circles. But an Asheville restaurant seeks to highlight a subgenre of Southern food: Appalachian cuisine. Chef Brian Sonokus of Tupelo Honey Café and co-author Elizabeth Sims demonstrate the versatility of Appalachian cuisine in their new book, Tupelo Honey Café: New Southern Flavors From The Blue Ridge Mountains. Host Frank Stasio talks with Sonokus and Sims about the expansion of Tupelo Honey Café and their new book. 

Terry Van Duyn
votevanduyn.com

Terry Van Duyn is North Carolina’s newest state senator. The Buncombe Democrat was elected to fill the seat held by longtime legislator Martin Nesbitt who died last month after a brief battle with stomach cancer. When she heads to Raleigh next month, Van Duyn will be the only sitting senator to have been arrested in the Moral Monday protests. Host Frank Stasio talks with Van Duyn about the challenges of transitioning from protestor to legislator.

Unemployment lines
Wikimedia

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest figures on the state’s unemployed. But do these numbers paint an accurate picture of the jobs economy in North Carolina?

Host Frank Stasio talks to Triangle Business Journal Reporter Jason deBruyn about the latest statistics and the ways to count the unemployed. His recent coverage includes:

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

Outside money continues to flow into the Senate race in the Tarheel State. Republican Thom Tillis faces challenges on the airwaves as  incumbent Kay Hagan runs ads linking Tillis to sexual scandal. And the field for the 12th congressional district is large. The race for the seat long held by Mel Watt includes six democrats and two republicans. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the House and Senate races. 

Groundhog Day, The Movie
Wikipedia

You know that movie. The one you can almost recite verbatim. The one you just cannot stop watching over and over. The one that comes on the television and for some strange reason, you just can't change the channel.

Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, return to The State of Things to talk with host Frank Stasio about those films we have watched over and over.

The Great Gatsby movie set
Wikimedia

  The Hunger Games. Harry Potter. The Great Gatsby. Blockbuster films or popular literature? Do you ever walk out of the movie theater and hear, "The book was so much better than the movie."? Or do you prefer the silver screen adaptation of your favorite novel? Turning a book into a movie poses all sorts of challenges.

Execution chamber
Wikipedia

Stephen Lich Tyler drove to Texas last week to witness the execution of his father’s killer, Ramiro Hernandez Llanas. Before he left, he spoke on The State of Things about his struggles with the decision to attend and his expectations of the execution. He returned to the studio today to talk with host Frank Stasio about the experience and how it shaped his perspective on the death penalty.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

  

With less than month to go before the May primaries, congressional candidates are making their final appeals to voters. But how big a role does money play in these last stages of a campaign? Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the state’s hottest House races and the role of finances.

The Old Ceremony
Django Haskins

  

Chapel Hill band, The Old Ceremony, celebrates a milestone this weekend: their 10 year anniversary. The band will mark the occasion with a show at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw at 8pm Saturday.

First, they play live and host Frank Stasio talks with band members Django Haskins on vocals and guitar, Mark Simonsen on the organ, Gabriel Pelli on the violin, Dan Hall on the drums, and Shane Hartman on the bass.

Return From War

Apr 10, 2014
Intrepid Life Coffee and Spirits owner and Marine veteran Matt Victoriano
Carol Jackson

Military veterans face many challenges in combat zones and on battlefields. But what about the struggles they face when they return to civilian life?  

Lethal injection room
Wikipedia Creative Commons

On Wednesday night, the State of Texas executed Ramiro Hernandez-Llanas, a man convicted of the 1997 killing of professor Glen Lich.

Hernandez-Llanas was an immigrant hired to work on the Lich property when he lured Lich outside the home and beat him to death. He then returned to the house and attacked Lich's wife.

Lich was not Hernandez-Llanas's first murder victim. Hernandez-Llanas had escaped from Mexican prison where he was serving a 25-year sentence for murder.

Making plans for the weekend? Picnic
Wikipedia

Looking for weekend plans? This week on The State of Things, we chatted about many upcoming events. Here are a few:

Tuesday the show aired from The Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh and talked with science comedian Brian Malow who is part of the North Carolina Science Festival. The event hosts family-friendly events across the state through next weekend.

Cattle
Wikipedia

   

Debate over the clean-up of the February coal ash spill that dumped nearly 39,000 tons of potentially toxic waste in the Dan River last February continues. The full effects on tourism and agriculture are not fully known and environmentalists continue to debate the best methods of clean-up. At the same time, a federal investigate examines the relationship between Duke Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC's Greensboro Bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about the latest. 

Wikipedia

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. - Terrance Mann, Field of Dreams

President Jimmy Carter
Wikipedia.org

When President Jimmy Carter took office in 1977, women’s issues and gender equality dominated headlines.  Since leaving the Oval Office, President Carter has continued his work to end sexual discrimination and the abuse of women through his organization, The Carter Center.

The 39th president spoke with The State of Things host, Frank Stasio, about his new book, “A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power” (Simon & Schuster/2014).

  The North Carolina Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force met yesterday. They will make recommendations for the legislature to consider in the upcoming short session. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC's education reporter Dave Dewitt about the latest.

Museum of Natural Sciences

For many comedians, the biggest dream is a packed house at a famous comedy club. But for science comedian Brian Malow, the dream is a room packed with science and engineering types, laughing at jokes only the geekiest among us might understand. Host Frank Stasio talks with Malow, curator of the Daily Planet at the Museum of Natural Sciences.

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