Laura Pellicer

State of Things Producer

Laura Pellicer
Credit Tammy Jean Lamoureux

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things, a show that explores North Carolina through conversation.

Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards.

Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.

Ways to Connect

Donald and Melania Trump take a tour of the Forbidden City while visiting Beijing, China as part of their five-country trip through Asia.
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

President Donald Trump has returned from his five-country tour of Asia. He characterized the trip as a “tremendous success,” but political analysts say his exuberance does not align with the political accomplishments. 

Judge Roy Moore is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women who say he tried to date them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. 

Robot from French technology summit
École polytechnique - J.Barande / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/UBfMcH

Despite the enduring narrative in pop culture of an impending apocalyptic robot-takeover, humans decided a while back to keep moving forward with plans to imbue intelligence into machines. 

Kenneth Wainstein, lead investigator into academic irregularities at UNC Chapel Hill, holds a copy of his findings following a special joint meeting of the UNC Board of Governors.
Gerry Broome / AP Photo

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s accreditor is looking into recently disclosed statements made by the university to the NCAA. 

Child at computer.
Kevin Jarrett / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/igWhB9

Thousands of North Carolina students attend virtual charter schools. The program began in 2015 as a pilot project, and the flexible format is a boon for students pursuing some professional careers, like athletics. 

Givenchy by Alexander McQueen, evening gown
Courtesy of NC Art Museum

In 1958, African-American women donned designer dresses and walked the runway for the first Ebony Fashion Fair. 

The charity fashion show was the brainchild of Ebony Magazine co-publisher Eunice Johnson and it showed African-American women as rich and successful. The fair ran for 50 years, and in that time it continued to be a space where African-American women could re-imagine their role in American society and reclaim their beauty.

John Cleese
Courtesy of DPAC / DPAC

John Cleese is undoubtedly a comedy legend. Among his many credits: he is a founding-member of Monty Python, co-creator and star of the sitcom “Fawlty Towers,” and he wrote and co-starred in the film “A Fish Called Wanda.” Cleese recently toured the U.S. and Canada with his one man show “Last Time To See Me Before I Die.” 

Khizr Khan, father of fallen US Army Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan speaks as his wife Ghazala listens during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2016.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

 Khizr Khan stepped onstage and into the public eye at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He says he was compelled to talk after then candidate Donald Trump proposed a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. 

Pixelbay

With the advent of modern DNA tests, people can now find out their genetic makeup within days. For many the tests can help strengthen a sense of heritage and ancestry. But according to indigenous scholar Kim TallBear, a specialist in racial politics in science, the results of a DNA test do not give people a license to adopt or claim membership to a Native American community.

 

Soho Artists

Yasmin Levy is an acclaimed Israeli artist known for her twist on Sephardic songs. The musical tradition came from her father who recorded and preserved folk songs in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language that emerged in the territories of the ancient Ottoman Empire after Jews were exiled from Spain in 1492.

Music Maker Relief Foundation

Ron Hunter was born and raised in a log cabin on a sharecropping farm in the countryside near Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As a kid he wanted to be a cowboy. He often donned a cowboy hat and practiced country-western songs while riding a make-believe horse. Later in life Hunter found a deep connection with the stories he can tell through the blues, and he gained recognition for his unique style.

PONCE, PUERTO RICO -  North Carolina National Guard SSG Joe Rodriguez carries donated water and MRE's for Nani Soto in a distribution center in a sports arena in the Southern town of Ponce, the 2nd largest city in Puerto Rico, on October 20, 2017.
Angel Valentin / For WUNC

It has been more than five weeks since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Close to three-quarters of residents on the island are still without power. Many also still do not have access to food or safe drinking water. 

Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz
Insomnia Cured Here / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/5GMFkD

Magical beings on the silver screen take audiences on a journey into worlds that only exist in their imagination. They fly, cast spells, play tricks, and blur the line between the real and the fantastic. For many years Hollywood treated witchcraft and magic as mostly bad things, but over time some supernatural powers have earned a better reputation. 

Photo: UNC Board of Governors Chair Louis Bisette and UNC President Margaret Spellings
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

 The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors has been caught up in a number of controversies this year. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Take it from Seattle, having Amazon’s headquarters in your city can be a blessing. 

Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rpL7cW

President Donald Trump’s phone call to the widow of a Green Beret killed in Niger has prompted questions about the level of respect the President displayed for the soldier’s service.

Comunicom / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rxcnE6

This year marks what would have been the 100th birthday of jazz legend Thelonious Monk. 

Courtesy of Joan Myers Brown

When Joan Myers Brown first started to study ballet in the 1930s, dance schools were segregated and opportunities for professional ballet careers for African-American dancers were nearly nonexistent. Nonetheless, she stuck with her training. 

Chips aisle in the grocery store
Pixabay

 In his 2018 budget proposal, President Donald Trump proposed a cut of more than $190 billion to SNAP  – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – in the next 10 years. 

microscope
PxHere

Scientific journals are periodically forced to issue retractions of scientific papers. It is a decision no scientist or publisher wants to make, but in some cases studies with major inaccuracies, or even fraud, manage to find their way into scientific publications. 

Joan Kroc at a news conference in 1984.
Greg Vojtko / AP Photo

Ray Kroc is the man who transformed McDonald’s from a family restaurant in San Bernardino, California to one of the biggest corporations in the world. 

Book cover of David Orborne's new book 'Reinventing America's Schools: Creating a 21st Century Education System' delves into case studies where the charter school system helped boost school performance.
David Osborne

The charter school experiment is in many ways still in its infancy. In the past 25 years thousands of schools across the country have turned to the model to tackle low performance and to give administrators more freedom to play with school structure. There are some glowing success stories, but studies show inconsistency in charter school performance even within particular states.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

Negotiations between the largest healthcare provider in Western North Carolina and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have failed after a months-long standoff. 

Publicity still from the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz
Publicity Image MGM film The Wizard of Oz / Wikimedia Commons

They wander the halls of Hogwarts, tempt children into sugar-encrusted homes, and sometimes get crushed by a flying farmhouse.

The mystique of the witches, wizards and warlocks continues to capture the imagination of moviegoers. And their presence in earthly and magical realms reminds viewers that things are not always as they seem.

Upstate NYer / Wikimedia Commons

A groundbreaking case over how voting maps are drawn is playing out in the Supreme Court.

Courtesy of Jeremy Markovich

Writer Jeremy Markovich decided to go far away to find new stories. In fact, he wanted to go as far from any possible road as he could get in North Carolina.

FILE - In a Tuesday June 6, 2017 file photo, hydrologist William K. Jones, walks up a mountain near the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Bolar, Va.
Steve Helber, File / AP

When Dominion Energy applied for approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the publicly-unveiled plan indicated that the natural gas line would end in the middle of a field in Robeson County, North Carolina.
 

Courtesy of Mylene Dressler

 Writer Mylène Dressler grounds her prose in her experience as an immigrant and the day-to-day happenings of life around her. But for her new book, Dressler realized the story she wanted to tell was decidedly un-grounded.

Courtesy of Beau James

The music for today's show was written and performed by Beau James. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro alum recently returned to the Triad after stints in Los Angeles and Nashville with his rock band The Heavy Heavy Hearts.

James’s solo work taps into Americana sounds and explores themes of heartbreak and identity.

Watch the video for James' song "Indigo Road" below:

Courtesy Western Carolina University

Davy Arch grew up on a subsistence farm in western North Carolina. As a boy, he learned the value of traditional Cherokee culture from his grandfather, who taught him the old stories, how to hunt and fish, and how to identify valuable medicinal plants.

Today Arch is a practitioner of traditional medicine, a historian, storyteller and a folk artist with work on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
 

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