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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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.

  

Patrick Cannon resigned from his position as Charlotte Mayor after being arrested on public corruption charges this week. Political Junkie Ken Rudin tells us about other public corruption cases in politics. Host Frank Stasio talks with Rudin about the charges and other latest developments in North Carolina politics.

Malek Jandali

  

For Syrian pianist Malek Jandali, music is about more than art and entertainment. It is a mechanism for social change, particularly in the context of conflict.

Sue Etheridge

For nearly a quarter of a century, art therapist Sue Etheridge has worked with mentally ill and chronically ill patients. But it is not just in a hospital; her work takes place behind bars. Etheridge provided art therapy at the medical facility at the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina. And now she works with the incarcerated at Central Prison in Raleigh. Host Frank Stasio talks with Etheridge about her work and an award she received for her efforts from the Dalai Lama.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

  

A federal grand jury has been impaneled to hear evidence about the relationship between Duke Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). At the same time, that state agency is investigating the discharge of water by the utility at a site in Chatham County. Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with WUNC's Jeff Tiberii about the latest developments on The State of Things today.

First, the court proceedings:

The highly criticized relationship between Duke Energy and DENR is the focus of the federal investigation. The U.S. Attorney's office is demanding that Duke Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources hand over records of wire transfers, receipts and any items of value that might have passed between the two.  Twenty current and former state employees have been called to testify before a grand jury about their relationship with Duke Energy. The company and state utility commission also received subpoenas. 

Wikipedia

"The book was so much better than the movie." It is a refrain we have all heard. But sometimes the film version exceeds the expectations of the written tale.

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 literary adaptations in film.

Wikimedia

  

For many, The Wizard of Oz is a happy tale of Dorothy and her little dog Toto skipping along the yellow brick road. But for some, the Wicked Witch and the flying monkeys were the visions of nightmares.

Host Frank Stasio talks with North Carolina State University film professor Marsha Gordon and North Carolina Museum of Art film curator Laura Boyes about the movies that traumatized you as a child.

Wikipedia

The Farm at Penny Lane is a 40-acre plot of land tucked away in north Pittsboro, North Carolina. But this is no conventional farming operation; it is operated by volunteers and people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums/raleighpipedrums.com

    

  

This weekend, Raleigh’s streets will be flooded with St. Patrick’s Day revelers. And the sounds of the parade will be classic bagpipe and drum tunes played by the Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums.

The group crashed a wedding last year, much to the guests' delight.

Ken Rudin

  Everybody is gushing over Zach Galifianakis's  mock interview with President Obama:

City of Durham/Durhamnc.gov

    

Two local advocacy groups released documents showing the Durham Police Department made payments to informants in criminal matters.

teacher at blackboard
Wikimedia commons

    

This week, Cumberland County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg school systems passed measures opposing a new law that eliminates teacher tenure and replaces it with a system that rewards the top 25 percent of teachers. The law addresses the complex and challenging issues of teaching evaluation and teacher pay.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Eric Guckian, senior education advisor to Governor McCrory, and Larry Nilles, an eighth grade social studies teacher and president of Wake North Carolina Association of Educators.

basketball
mvongrue via Flickr/Creative Commons

Daniel Vermeer grew up in Iowa with a passion for basketball. When his academic studies took him to Nepal, he discovered an interesting influence of American cable television: local love for the Atlanta Hawks.

"So you can imagine," says Vermeer, "[I'm] in this little hut in Kathmandu, watching TV and an Atlanta Hawks game came on.  With these enormous guys, jumping through the roof, slamming the ball..." 

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