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

The old well at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
Tim Schleicher / flickr, Creative Commons

Legislative leaders are at odds with environmentalists over a new policy initiative at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The state budget sets aside $1 million for scientists to conduct environmental research and make public policy recommendations. But some professors worry about potential ties to the legislature that could pressure them to sway their findings for political gain.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC's Dave DeWitt about the new program, which has been dubbed the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory.

LaVare Leith Foundation

 

An organization in Durham is running what is believed to be the only sober living center for LGBT people in the South. 

LaVare's House, which was established by the LaVare Leith Foundation in 2014, has nine beds for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Roy Cooper and Pat McCrory
File photo / WUNC

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and his Democratic challenger Roy Cooper outlined their economic visions today to a room full of business leaders in Pinehurst.

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Attorneys for a Durham teenager who is being held at an immigration detention center in Georgia say they expect him to be released soon. 

Photo: A Massachusetts voting station sign
Katri Niemi / Flickr

Local elections boards are raising questions about how to restore the early voting period after a court ruling struck down North Carolina's newest elections law.

Willy Somma

Durham native Heather Havrilesky has spent most of her professional life as a social commentator of sorts. 

She has written online cartoons about the absurdity of life, reviews of crappy TV reality shows, and columns about why we love crappy TV reality shows.

It is perhaps no wonder that she has become a successful advice columnist.

Havrilesky is the writer behind "Ask Polly," a weekly column in New York magazine in which she guides readers through existential questions.

Photo of Mike Pence and Pat McCrory
Evan Vucci / AP

With a little more than three months until the 2016 elections, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is facing strong backlash—even from some fellow Republicans—​against his latest verbal onslaught, in which he attacked the parents of a fallen soldier.

The controversy comes as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton opens a sizable post-convention lead in most polls. Will this latest controversy affect Trump's chances in North Carolina? And what effect could it have on Gov. Pat McCrory, who has campaigned with Trump in the state?

Photo of Mamie Neugent
David Spear

​In the late 1980s and early 90s, North Carolina photographer David Spear spent several years documenting the lives of his neighbors, the Neugents.

The family owned a tobacco farm in Rockingham County, and his photos depicted their attempts to keep their tobacco farm alive at a time when many others were dying. He described the Neugents as "fabulous people" who "raise hell, and they don't try to hide it."

Ken Ilgunas

This program originally aired on April 21, 2016.

Ken Ilgunas was working as a dishwasher near the oil refineries of Alaska when his friend suggested they should hike the entire length of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

He immediately agreed, and a year later he started the journey from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas on foot.

Jay Price / WUNC

It is a long-standing tradition for presidential candidates to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in election years.

This year, the event is in North Carolina, a key swing state. That is especially appealing to the candidates in this election because veterans regularly vote in larger numbers than other voters. 

But this year, veterans are not enthusiastic about their choice in either party.

a thermometer surpassing 100 degrees farenheit
Joe Chung / https://flic.kr/p/4PeJ6U

North Carolina is in the midst of an extreme, extended heat wave. Heat index values are expected to be as high as 105 degrees in some parts of the state.

That much heat can make it dangerous to be outside, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Gail Hartfield.

Diana Matthews / Algonquin Books

This program originally aired April 4, 2016

Lee Smith started writing stories when she was nine years old and sold them for a nickel a piece.

Many of them were inspired by the gossip, true stories and daily grind she observed at her father's dime store, deep in the coal mining mountains of Virginia.

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

The NBA announced that the 2017 All-Star Game will not be held in Charlotte as planned.

The decision comes after state lawmakers did not make enough changes to the law known as House Bill 2 to satisfy the league. It could cost the state more than $100 million in economic impact and the decision will be a factor in the gubernatorial race between incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic challenger Roy Cooper.

Photo from "Violet"
Jon Gardiner

In the 1960s, when a young woman named Violet has an accident that leaves her with a disfiguring scar, she sets off on a journey from her home in North Carolina to seek the help of a healing preacher in Oklahoma.

Along the way, she meets two soldiers who help in her discovery of inner beauty, and guide in her understanding of racial divides in a new era for the American South.

photo of Keith Knight
Keith Knight

Knight was recently on The State of Things in advance of his appearance at the Durham Comics Fest.

Keith Knight has considered himself a cartoonist since he was in diapers, doodling on the walls of his family home near Boston.

While that spirit of creativity has not changed, the content of Keith's work has taken on more profound issues. Keith is known for drawing a weekly political cartoon called "(Th)ink" that often provides commentary on police brutality, racial profiling, and the black experience in America.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

​North Carolina's House Bill 2 and the state budget dominated the headlines during this year's legislative short session. But the bills that got less attention could also have a huge impact across the state.

One of them places regulations on the footage caught by police body cameras, and declares those tapes are not public records. That same bill also establishes the first statewide needle exchange program.

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Contrary to popular belief, statistics show that North Carolina does not have a doctor shortage problem; it has a doctor distribution problem.

Experts say the lack of funding for graduate medical education (GME) in rural areas is one reason that those communities have worse health outcomes.

photo of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Chris Roesing

Lar Lubovitch is known in the performing art world as a breakthrough choreographer in modern, ballet and jazz dancing.

One of his most heralded works is called "Concerto 622," which depicted two men in a loving relationship for the first time on the modern dance stage. It gave a face to the AIDS crisis in the mid-80s.

Photo of a police officer following the Dallas shooting
AP Photo/LM Otero

Five law enforcement officers were killed last night in Dallas. The murders happened at a protest in response to the killing of two black men this week by law enforcement officers.

On Tuesday, police shot and killed Alton Sterling while they held him down at a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

More than half of the state budget is spent on public education.

In the latest budget adjustments, state lawmakers approved an average 4.7 percent raise for teachers.

Mugshot photos of Leah Hendershot and Anca Stefan
Leah Hendershot/Anca Stefan

Earlier this month, 14 public school teachers were arrested outside of Gov. Pat McCrory's office after they linked arms and blocked a downtown Raleigh intersection. The demonstration was a response to what the teachers say is a lack of funding for North Carolina's public schools.

In the days since the protest, teachers have posted their mugshots to social media along with their reasons for demonstrating. One teacher wrote, "I've taught World and U.S. history without a textbook for the past four years." Those posts have gone viral.

Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

A private company that owns mental health care facilities in western North Carolina is coming under fire for its treatment record and its insensitive corporation name: Nutz R Us.

One family tells the Carolina Public Press that it had little control over their son's placement in a Nutz R Us facility because a private guardianship company was making his treatment decisions. The CPP investigation found the state has little oversight of the industry.

photo of Steve Michell, Tom Campbell, Sarah Goddin, Linda-Marie Barrett and Erica Eisdorfer
Courtesy of Deonna Kelli Sayed/Jon Mayes/Lance Richardson

Summer is the time of year when vacationers look for good books to take to the beach or their backyard hammocks.

These books can be the ones that are light, frivolous and enjoyable, or simply the ones that you never had the chance to finish before.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

Republican leaders at the General Assembly are working to wrap up the short session.

Today the Senate is considering a flurry of bills, including some of the most controversial legi slation of the session. One proposal could change the way police officers do their work and another could reorganize the Asheville City Council.

photo of 'The Dude Abides Party'
Ashley Sue Bullers/North Carolina Museum of Art

Summer is here and so are summer festivals. While big events like MerleFest or the National Folk Festival get much of the attention, many smaller festivals scattered throughout the state highlight the varied cultural communities in North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio talks with festival organizers about this summer’s lineup, from the Highland Games in the west to the Yam Festival in the east.


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