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

Grady and Marie Jefferys
Andrew Tie

The marriage between Grady and Marie Jefferys began under uncertain circumstances.

Marie had just left a violent ex-husband, Grady had withdrawn from college, and neither of their parents approved of their relationship.

  It was a marriage that defied the social norms of North Carolina in the 1950s, when Grady started his career as a prominent Raleigh journalist and communications consultant.

Binodkpn / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Health care organizations in the Triangle have difficulty providing hospice care for terminally ill children.  End-of-life care models for children are limited in the Raleigh-Durham area.

But a new program starting in September at Transitions LifeCare will provide hospice care for 10 terminally ill children at a time.

Image of the Russell School, the last Rosenwald School in Durham County.
Phyllis Mack Horton

In the early 20th century, Sears Roebuck CEO Julius Rosenwald teamed up with educator and civil rights icon Booker T. Washington to bring formal education to African-Americans in the rural South.

Image of lethal injection table
Ken Piorkowski / Flickr Creative Commons

Legal challenges to the death penalty in North Carolina have effectively stayed any executions since 2006.

This week, lawmakers look to change that with a bill that would allow any medical professional, not just doctors, to administer a lethal injection.

Author Lori Horvitz at age 14 as an amateur magician
Lori Horvitz

For most of us, our coming-of-age stories start and end during our years in high school or college. 

They are defined by strong relationships, rebellion and that awkward junior prom.

But for author Lori Horvitz the coming-of-age story was decades in the making. When she finished writing it, the product was a collection of comedic essays that covered her childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Each tells the story of her search for identity as a quiet, Jewish Long Island girl who was exploring her sexuality.

Image of stethoscope
Dr. Farouk / Flickr Creative Commons

People who live in rural North Carolina are still more likely to suffer from serious health problems than their urban counterparts. Rural counties show higher rates of heart disease and obesity, and rural residents have a lower life expectancy.

The recent closures of rural hospitals around the state makes those residents even more vulnerable. Research shows that systemic problems like slow economic development and spotty insurance coverage also contribute to rural health disparities.

Fayetteville teacher assistant Grace King works with first graders on sight words.
Reema Khrais

Teacher assistant positions in North Carolina have been cut steadily in recent years. And the North Carolina Senate's proposed budget eliminates funding for about 8,500 more TAs in order to hire more teachers.

Teacher assistants and researchers are split on the effectiveness of TAs. 

Host Frank Stasio talks to WUNC reporter Reema Khrais about the state of teacher assistant jobs.

Image of Kathleen DuVal. Kathleen DuVal is a professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill and author of 'Independence Lost.'
Mary Lide Parker

Stories of the American Revolution often engender images of Paul Revere on horseback, George Washington crossing the Delaware or Red Coats firing during the Boston Massacre.

But down along the Gulf Coast, there were others involved in the revolution, many of whom changed American history.

Image of Marshall Brain, creator of howstuffworks.com and a professor at N.C. State
N.C. State University

North Carolina State University professor Marshall Brain grew up in southern California with a father who was a computer scientist at NASA during the agency's heyday.

Brain watched his father work on lunar excursion modules for the Apollo missions and later, major train systems in San Francisco and Atlanta.

In his spare time, he helped Marshall build a bubble machine out of spare parts. It was an enchanting childhood, and it is no wonder that Marshall was a curious boy who developed a love for all things mechanical. 

Image of video poker
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly three years after North Carolina outlawed Internet sweepstakes games, a new report shows how hard owners fought to keep them going.

  

They spent $10 million on lawyers and lobbyists over four years.

The investigation has led to the resignation of one member of the state Board of Elections.

Some of the money also went to political campaigns in North Carolina, but the report says there were no violations of campaign finance law. 

Image of fiber optics
Kainet / Flickr Creative Commons

In a bizarre turn of events, the North Carolina based company RST Fiber will no longer be providing ultra-high-speed Internet to the town of Wake Forest.

Ironically, the reason seems to be a lack of communication. The company has stopped responding to customers, partners or reporters, and it has been plagued with multiple lengthy service outages since January.

  

Raleigh Little Theatre

In the last decade, there has been a surge of new work from African-American artists in the Triangle.

But they are still grappling with a limited number of platforms, especially in the performing arts. The amount of talent is booming, but the number of roles for African-Americans is not keeping up.

Now, a group of black artists in the Triangle is trying to bridge that gap through a forum that brings artists together with local entrepreneurs and art lovers who are craving new modes of expression.

Voting sign
kristinausk / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal trial is underway in a case challenging North Carolina's elections law. Opponents say provisions limiting early voting amount to voter suppression that especially affects African-Americans. 

Supporters say the measure prevents fraud. The decision from Judge Thomas D. Schroeder could have big implications for voting laws across the country.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WFAE reporter Michael Tomsic about the latest.

NC General Assembly
Jorge Valencia

Members of the General Assembly are back in Raleigh after a week-long vacation. They still must pass a budget for the next two years and consider several other bills, including Medicaid reform and Gov. Pat McCrory's bond proposal.

And Greensboro challenges the legislature’s measure changing voting districts for the city council. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol reporter Jorge Valencia about the legislature's agenda for the rest of the summer.

Gavel
www.stockmonkeys.com / Flickr Creative Commons

Joe and Lisa Stone are small-town attorneys in Virginia. The fine residents of Henry County know Stone and Stone as the firm that looks out for the little guy. 

But when an investigation into the apparent death of a paranoid, crackpot inventor reveals an invention that could be worth millions and a big pharmaceutical company that will stop at nothing to own it, things get a little murky for Stone and Stone. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The legal challenge against North Carolina's voter ID law goes to trial next week. It's the culmination of two years' worth of arguments over the elections law passed in 2013.

Meanwhile, an early poll shows billionaire Donald Trump is the most popular Republican presidential candidate in North Carolina. 

Image of Bill T. Jones on the left. Jones is an award-winning choreographer and just completed Analogy/Dora: Tramontane.
Nazareth College / Flickr Creative Commons

Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones' newest creation, Analogy/Dora: Tramontaneis based on interviews he conducted with his 95-year-old mother-in-law, Dora Amelan, a Jewish nurse who survived the Holocaust.

Image of Sandra Bullock accepting a Golden Raspberry award in 2010 for worst actress.
Shari B. Ellis / Flickr Creative Commons

A "bad" movie can ruin a night out, or it can secretly be your favorite source of entertainment for a night in.

We all have movies that we would rather not admit we enjoy, but sometimes we cannot stop ourselves from loving corny one-liners or ridiculous action scenes.

They are on the shelf marked "Guilty Pleasures." 

Image of US Women's National Soccer Team huddling up.
kkimphotography / Flickr Creative Commons

The United States women's national soccer team won its third World Cup title this past weekend. The American women have been dominant since FIFA created the tournament in 1991.

Today's success is thanks in large part to the women who built the program in the 1990s. The hype and drama of the title in 1999 is regarded as a milestone not just for women's soccer, but for professional sports in the United States. 

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court says housing discrimination does not have to be intentional to be illegal.

Last week's ruling in the case of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project held that while the state did not intend to create racially discriminatory housing policies, the negative outcomes for minority communities in Dallas meant a violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The decision could affect the way states across the country assign affordable housing projects, including in North Carolina.

Chad Biggs (left), 35, and Chris Creech, 46, were the first gay couple to be wed in Wake County.
Jorge Valencia / WUNC

In a 5-4 ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court said all 50 states must recognize marriages between same-sex couples. The decision also means those couples can now get married anywhere and have their marriages recognized in all states.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision for the majority. Each dissenting justice also wrote his own opinion.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC capitol bureau chief Jeff Tiberii about this morning's ruling.

An image of the Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree / Wikimedia Commons

The United States Supreme Court issued a decision today upholding tax subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court's opinion.

Three justices, the court's most conservative members, dissented. The decision allows 460,000 North Carolinians to continue to receive subsidies for their health insurance.

Image of wedding rings
Robert Cheaib / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon rule on whether states can ban same-sex marriage. The right to marry could be extended to more same-sex couples, but will they actually decide to get married?

Research shows about half of the American population thinks they are just as well off if marriage is not a top priority. And the gaps in marriage rates are widening with respect to race and education.

Voting sign
Wikipedia

A lawsuit that challenges North Carolina's voting law is on hold after state lawmakers passed more changes to photo ID requirements. 

The delay in the case comes just days after the General Assembly approved a bill that eases some of the restrictions on which identifications are acceptable at the polls.

   

Both sides in the lawsuit asked for more time to figure out how the new rules might affect their cases, but they are racing against the countdown to North Carolina's 2016 primary elections coming up in March.

Image of Joel Bourne
Andrew Tie / WUNC

Eastern North Carolina native Joel Bourne was living down the road from his family farm at the end of the Green Revolution in the mid-20th century.

At that time, newly modified wheat seeds produced an agricultural boom that allowed farmers across the world to grow more crops than ever before. It was the answer to a growing crisis of food scarcity.

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