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. 

Ways to Connect

photo of a gun show in Houston
M&R Glasgow / Flickr

Democrats in the Senate hold the floor in a 14-hour filibuster designed to force a vote on gun regulations. The measures, expected for votes next week, would restrict gun purchases for suspected terrorists and expand background checks. But the likelihood of passage seems low as the parties disagree on how to enforce the measures.

Lion King
Jared via Flickr

From Jungle Book to Jaws and Babe to Lion King, the stars of the silver screen are often not humans but instead are our four-legged friends. For the Movies on the Radio on The State of Things, tell us your favorite animal film. Email us here with "Movies" in the subject line. 

The Ant Man

Jun 14, 2016
photo of Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith

The trail of ants across the kitchen counter may be a nuisance to some, but to biologist Adrian Smith, it is a fascinating phenomenon full of mystery. Smith studies the evolution of different ants and their social patterns. He also films the insects to document their intriguing characteristics.

Ryan Gibson of Raleigh is among the hundreds of people who filled a parking lot outside of the gay night club Legends in downtown Raleigh to support the victims of the Orlando shooting.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

Just one day after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, many questions remain.

Thus far, investigators have confirmed that on Sunday morning, alleged shooter Omar Mateen attacked a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. According to reports, Mateen pledged his allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during the attack but no direct link has been confirmed between him and the terrorist group.

photo of Congress
Lawrence Jackson, whitehouse.gov.

North Carolina held its second primary of the year Tuesday and voters cast their ballots for representatives in Congress and a seat on the state's highest judiciary.

photo of David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna
Monika Evstatieva / NPR via AP

An NPR photojournalist and an Afghan translator were killed in Afghanistan this week by Taliban forces. David Gilkey and Zabihullah Tamanna were traveling in Southern Afghanistan when their convoy came under attack. Two other NPR staff were unharmed. David Gilkey is the second American journalist to die in the Afghanistan conflict.

photo of Jo Maeder
jomaeder.com

Since she was a little girl, Jo Maeder has loved radio. Her fascination became a career path and Jo became "The Madame," a popular deejay on several major rock and roll stations in Miami and New York.

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?

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