Will Michaels

Producer, "The State of Things"

Will Michaels is a fan of news, sound and story. He started as an intern at WUNC when he was a student at the University of North Carolina. As a part of his internship, he worked for a semester on the daily national show, The Story with Dick Gordon. Will concentrated on radio while at college, studying under veteran NPR reporter Adam Hochberg. He began as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC's radio news magazine, and then became an anchor and managing editor for the program in 2009, when it was named the best college radio news program in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Will came back to WUNC in 2010 as the producer for Morning Edition for a couple of years, rising before the sun to help morning host Eric Hodge gather and present the news. In 2014, he produced WUNC's My Teacher series, part of the North Carolina Teacher Project. He is now a producer for The State of Things.

Ways To Connect

Jo Lawry is a backup singer for Sting and was featured in the movie '20 Feet From Stardom.'
Julie Skarratt

Jo Lawry's mother and father were the kind of parents who encouraged their five children to learn to play instruments in their spare time.


Jo quickly trained herself how to play with a group, and that could be why she felt more comfortable in a supporting role when she started a career in music.


NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

A long overdue state budget is now in place. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill on Friday, more than six months after he released his own budget proposal.

The approval officially ended a stalemate that extended budget negotiations nearly three months beyond the fiscal year deadline. 

The governor says he got about 90 percent of what he wanted, but a few items were left on the table.

George Gopen, professor emeritus of the practice of rhetoric at Duke University
Duke University

George Gopen thought it was a riot when he beat his college roommate in a pun contest.

"If you keep maltreating your girlfriend, she will send you a dijon letter that says poupon you."

While he loves to pun, Gopen does not take words lightly.

He has spent 45 years teaching literature, composition and rhetoric; the complexities and eloquence of the English language.

So when he heard President George W. Bush give a muddled speech in 2001, George Gopen felt compelled to write the White House.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

The North Carolina legislature gave final approval to a $21.7 billion budget early Friday morning. The vote ended a stalemate that pushed budget negotiations three months past their original deadline. The final deal maintains funding for teacher assistants, cuts the income tax rate to 5.5 percent and expands the sales tax. 

President Richard Nixon greeting Robert and his late wife Sallie Brown in the White House
Robert Brown

In the 1960s, High Point resident Robert Brown worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. as a fundraiser. Brown has also advised several prominent American politicians, including Senators John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, and Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.


Lauren Winner converted to Christianity in an experience she described as "Girl Meets God," the title of her best-selling memoir.

Since then, Winner has rediscovered her faith more than once; she found spiritual solace through community service after her mother died of cancer, and now says she has reacquainted herself with God by exploring Bible passages that equate God and Jesus with everyday images like food, clothing, and laughter. 

Jordan Lake, Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt

State lawmakers have 10 days before the latest temporary budget expires.

The House and Senate are trying to reconcile their $21 billion spending plans, and among the sticking points are environmental issues, including the state's solar energy tax credit, renewable energy standards, and water quality requirements for Jordan Lake.

Emil Kang is the executive director for the arts at UNC-Chapel Hill. He wants to elevate the arts to be as big as basketball in Chapel Hill.
UNC-Chapel Hill

Emil Kang bucked expectations when he decided to pursue a career in the arts. He was the first in his family born in the United States after his parents emigrated from Korea, and he was expected to capitalize on the new opportunity by studying medicine.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie.

North Carolina lawmakers say they need more time to reconcile differences about the state budget.

They passed another continuing resolution yesterday that funds the government through September 18.

It's the third time they have had to create a stop-gap spending measure since the fiscal year started nearly two months ago.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina has again hinted at requesting a vote to remove House Speaker John Boehner from his position. 

MikeKalasnik / Flickr Creative Commons

The North Carolina department store Belk will be sold for $3 billion to a private equity firm in New York. 

Sycamore Partners is acquiring Belk, a company with a long history in the Charlotte area. William Henry Belk founded the department store in Monroe in 1888. Belk has more than 1,000 corporate employees in Charlotte.  It's not yet clear what will happen to those employees or the nearly 300 Belk stores in the Southeast.