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

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.


photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Earlier this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained 19-year-old Wildin Acosta as he was leaving his home in Durham.

Acosta has been held in a detention facility for nearly five months while he waits for an immigration hearing. The Corrections Corporation of America says he was recently held in "restrictive housing" for nine days for three alleged citations. CCA says the disciplinary action follows ICE detention standards.

photo of Joe Webster
Efren Renteria

When Joe Webster became an attorney, one of his first cases was a civil rights lawsuit he filed against his hometown of Madison, North Carolina. He successfully argued that it was wrong for the town to deny him, a black man, his own office space in a predominantly white neighborhood.

Photo of Claudia Ruíz Massieu and North Carolina legislators
Consulado General de Mexico en Raleigh

More than 35 million of the nation’s immigrant population comes from neighboring Mexico.

And America’s relationship with Mexico is at the top of political headlines, particularly when the GOP presidential candidate advocates building a wall along the 2,000 mile border.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Claudia Ruíz Massieu.

Book cover of "The One That Got Away," by Leigh Himes
Leigh Himes

Abbey Lahey is a middle-class working mom who yearns for the finer things in life. And during a trip to the mall to return a Marc Jacobs handbag that she can not afford, she gets that opportunity.

She tumbles down the escalator and wakes up in the hospital as Abbey Van Holt, married to a wealthy man who she could have married years before.

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 a stethoscope
Wesley Wilson / Pexels

When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, the federal government hoped visits to the Emergency Room - some of the most expensive treatments in the industry - would decrease.

Instead, ER visits are rising. Experts blame the spike on patients who have health insurance for the first time and have yet to visit a primary care physician.

Flag of the United States of America, backlit, windy day.
Jnn13 / Wikipedia

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.

The divide between America's top earners and the rest of the population is wide and getting wider. 

Many experts point to the way in which the so-called "one percent" have used their economic power to tighten their grip on privilege as one reason for the widening gap.

State of Things Host Frank Stasio hosts a broadcast at the Duke Chapel on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 to commemorate the chapel's reopening.
Duke Photography

Duke University has reopened the iconic chapel at the center of its Durham campus after a $19 million renovation.

Crews have been working for a year to restore the limestone walls and ceiling that define the chapel's Gothic architecture. 

In a special broadcast at Duke Chapel, university archivist Valerie Gillispie told WUNC’s "The State of Things" the chapel has served as an institutional icon at Duke for nearly 90 years.

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

The Department of Environmental Quality has pulled the plug on SolarBees.

DEQ says it's removing the devices from Jordan Lake. SolarBees have been churning water at several spots on the lake in an attempt to reduce algae blooms, but a report from DEQ says there has been no improvement in water quality. 

The agency is reevaluating other measures that would limit runoff from the surrounding area, but developers are pushing back. 

Craig Duffy / Flickr

From "The Godfather" series to "Pulp Fiction," some of the greatest films of all time are about crimes and the people who commit them.

Movie lovers are drawn to fascinating characters like Scarface and Hannibal Lecter. Hollywood has driven good people to love bad characters for generations.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about listeners' favorite crime films in the next edition of "Movies on the Radio."

When Dawn Dreyer was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder, her therapist suggested that she make drawings as a way to cope with her depression.

The drawings evolved into a comic strip about a superhero called Bipolar Girl and Kacey the Wonderdog, who are in constant battle with The Creature, a villain who represents shame, depression and perfectionism. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The U.S. Department of Justice says North Carolina's House Bill 2 violates the Civil Rights Act. It's the latest in the fallout from HB2 and could threaten billions of dollars in federal education funds.

Meanwhile, two different polls find conflicting results in North Carolinians' support of the law. And Donald Trump is assured the Republican nomination for president.

Political analysts are speculating about who might be Trump's running mate, and whether the establishment wing of the GOP will stand behind Trump in November. 

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

Committees in the state House and Senate are weighing a measure that would prevent state agencies from issuing certain health warnings on drinking water.

Greensboro skyline
creative commons

North Carolina's House Bill 2 eliminates local anti-discrimination ordinances for the LGBT community. One municipality that lost its protections is Greensboro.

The city council passed a measure last year that included sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as categories of protection in its fair housing and city services ordinance, but the new and controversial law known as HB2 preempts such measures, and does not include LGBT people in the statewide anti-discrimination policy. 

@camtraplive / Twitter

In 1913, National Geographic published the first photographs taken with an automatic camera trap.

Wildlife photographer George Shiras rigged a string to his camera shutter and used bait to coax animals into pulling it, arguably resulting in the first animal selfies ever.

Today, the technology has come a long way, and more scientists are using it to study the behavior and diversity of species all over the world, and it has opened a new frontier in citizen science.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has said it might remove some of its health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act.
Jed Record / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly a hundred health care providers have filed complaints saying Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has not paid their claims for months.

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

For the next episode of "Movies on the Radio," The State of Things is asking, what is your favorite crime movie?

From classic crime dramas like "A Few Good Men" to law thrillers like "The Firm," film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes will break down the elements that make the best movies about crime and punishment.

Do you have an affinity for Miami drug lord Tony Montana in "Scarface"? Or do you prefer LA gangsters Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield of "Pulp Fiction"?

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

A federal district court judge upheld North Carolina's voter identification measures in a 485 page decision issued yesterday.

University of Mount Olive

  

Lenard Moore's bus ride to his segregated school in Jacksonville, North Carolina, was long, and often boring, but he quickly found that books could fill the void.

At first it was just "Green Eggs and Ham"  and "The Gingerbread Man." But those turned out to be the simple beginnings of a love for literature that blossomed into a career as a poet.

When Lenard joined the Army, poetry became his outlet. By the time he got out, he was writing an average of four poems a day, and started exploring a centuries-old form of poetry, the haiku.

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

Supporters of North Carolina's House Bill 2 say it protects public health and safety by requiring people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

But opponents point to research that says restrictions based on sexual orientation or gender identity worsen health outcomes among people in those communities. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Shoshana Goldberg, a doctoral candidate at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, about the public health implications of House Bill 2.

Algonquin Books

In the years leading up the Civil War, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

It was meant to be a compromise between Southern slave owners and Northern anti-slavery movements.

Instead, it ripped the country further apart and placed a bounty on people who had otherwise earned their freedom.

This is the context in which North Carolina author Robert Morgan wrote his newest novel. 

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Pat McCrory issued an executive order this week that changes some provisions in North Carolina's controversial House Bill Two.

It loosens some of the limits placed on discrimination protections for LGBT people, but it leaves the provisions on bathrooms and minimum wage restrictions in place.

The order was announced in the wake of a business backlash against HB2. Deutsche Bank said it would freeze the expansion it had planned for 250 jobs in Cary. Paypal recently halted plans to create 400 jobs in Charlotte.

Alan Dehmer / ManBites Dog Theater

Editor's note: this conversation contains elements of sex and violence that might not be suitable for some listeners. 

In the near future, the Internet has become a totally immersive virtual reality called The Nether, in which users can carry out their wildest fantasies.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The backlash against North Carolina's House Bill 2 continues.

Protesters in Chapel Hill shut down Franklin St. this week in opposition of the law that leaves LGBT people out of the state's non-discrimination policy.

Gov. Pat McCrory has taken the lead in defending the law, claiming it protects public safety.

Meanwhile, the chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, Hasan Harnett, says the rift between himself and the state party's leadership could cause chaos in the GOP primary. 

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