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

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

With the passing of Congressman Howard Coble, North Carolina loses one of a vanishing breed: the old style politician.

Meanwhile, municipal elections across the country led to unexpected results in some places. Salt Lake City will likely have its first openly gay mayor, pending a recount later this month. 

In Houston, voters repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance for LGBTQ residents, and Jeb Bush's numbers fall as the Republican presidential primary continues.

Faith Community Church
NC Warn

State regulators meet this week to decide whether to expedite the implementation of a new law that would change environmental standards.

It includes a cut to the number of air quality monitors in the state and allows companies to avoid fines if they self-report an environmental violation. 

On November 12th, WUNC’s The State of Things and Leadership Triangle join forces to present an issues forum on the school-to-prison pipeline, one in a series of forums organized to educate the public on important issues facing our region. 

Frank Stasio talked live with Congressman Howard Coble 12/16/2014.
Ivan Saul Cutler / Governor Morehead Forum for Economic Development

Republican lawmaker Howard Coble died yesterday at age 84.

Coble represented North Carolina’s Sixth District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years.

He was known for strong constituent services and a dedication to reducing government waste.

The congressman appeared on The State of Things in December.

Nina de Gramont
Nina de Gramont

Wilmington author Nina de Gramont has based her newest novel on her own experiences during the offseason in Cape Cod.

The thrill of the deserted landscape makes for a unique experience, but the chill of an empty town provides the perfect inspiration for a love story that turns into a murder mystery. 

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

The Greensboro Police Department is reviewing its records of traffic stops, after a New York Times article revealed deep racial discrepancies.

The newspaper's analysis found that Greensboro police searched black drivers more than twice as often as white drivers, even though they found contraband more often when the driver was white.

Michael Keenan Gutierrez
Rebecca Ames

Neal Stephens is a photographer who returned to his hometown in Colorado after World War I to find another war raging in the little coal town: a conflict between union miners and Neal's uncle, Seamus, who runs the mine.

 

In the course of the labor fight, the local sheriff is found dead, and Neal stumbles across a larger conspiracy that could end his family's mining company and land him in prison for murder.

 

UNC Board of Governors
Dave DeWitt

The UNC Board of Governors is deeply divided over how to elect a new leader.

Some board members have called for the resignation of chair John Fennebresque after he called an emergency closed-door meeting to interview a candidate.

Emails reveal several board members accused Fennebresque of botching the hiring process which started after President Tom Ross was forced to resign earlier this year. 

The division represents a split within the Republican members of the board.

Produce, Shopping, Grocery Stores
www.usda.gov

The main principle of a cooperative organization is to give ownership to the people who use its services. Every member has a say in how the business is run and shares the profits.

But for African-American communities in the United States, cooperative economics have also historically been a method of survival. 

Roland Kays is the director of the biodiversity lab at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and a professor at N.C. State University. He has an interest in the ecology and conservation of animals, particularly mammals.
Roland Kays

Roland Kays has spent his life studying the behavior and history of animals.

It started in high school when he ran the eggs of a fruit fly through an x-ray machine at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The experiment did not yield the results he wanted, but it did lead to a life as a zoologist. 

Today, Roland has a number of expeditions under his belt, including trips to Africa and South America. In 2013, he was part of the team that discovered a new relative of the raccoon, called the olinguito.

Julia Dahl grew up in an interfaith household, which informs her work now as a novelist.
Chasi Annexy

Novelist Julia Dahl grew up in Fresno, California, as the daughter of a Jewish mother and Lutheran father. Dahl says contrary to her peers' assumptions, the experience did not confuse her as a child, but gave her a rare outsider's view of both religions.

Robert Rubin is a professor of English at Meredith College and the author of 'Going to Hell in a Hen Basket.'
Robert Rubin

Misusing words and phrases drives the language purists among us crazy, but for English professor Robert Rubin, malapropisms are not only amusing but examples of how language evolves.

His new book, "Going to Hell in a Hen Basket: An Illustrated Dictionary of Modern Malapropisms" (Flatiron Books/2015), is an exploration of the newest ways that we say what we do not mean.

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.

www.laurenwinner.net
www.laurenwinner.net

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 / WUNC

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
kenrudinpolitics.com

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.

Dan Ariely is a world renowned behavioral economist at Duke University.
nrkbeta / Flickr Creative Commons

Dan Ariely credits his career to an accident that left him in a hospital bed for three years.

At age 17, Ariely suffered from third degree burns on most of his body after a chemical explosion.

It was his inability to move for long periods of time that allowed him to observe the nuances of human behavior.

Ari Berman's book 'Give Us The Ballot' looks at voting in America since the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The modern voting rights movement starts and ends with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The landmark piece of legislation was meant to give African-American voters open access to the polls.

Today, the law is still at the center of the debate about whether states can restrict that access.

Several states, including North Carolina, have passed new elections laws since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, leading to both federal and state court challenges.

Image of the North Carolina Legislative Building in Raleigh, North Carolina
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jmturner

The state Senate has passed a proposed constitutional amendment to limit income taxes and year-by-year spending increases.

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