The State of Things

M-F 12 Noon, M-Th 8p, Sat 6a

We bring the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you. We are a live show, and we want to hear from listeners. Call 1-877-962-9862, email sot@wunc.org, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rpL7cW

President Donald Trump’s phone call to the widow of a Green Beret killed in Niger has prompted questions about the level of respect the President displayed for the soldier’s service.

Comunicom / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rxcnE6

This year marks what would have been the 100th birthday of jazz legend Thelonious Monk. 

Courtesy of Mysti Mayhem

Growing up in a small town in the Poconos, singer-songwriter Mysti Mayhem knew her big dreams needed to find a big stage.

photo of Rapsody
FortyOnceGold

In her new album “Laila’s Wisdom,” North Carolina rapper Rapsody delivers messages about community, confidence and creative control. The Snow Hill native grew up with a big family and says the album’s title is dedicated to her grandmother and her teachings, which is also something Rapsody channels in her music. 

Paragon Properties / Northville Woods / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/81t4tA

Carolina Public Press has spent the past year investigating adult care homes across North Carolina, and it found a lack of consistency and accountability across the board in how these centers are evaluated. But when a tip led managing editor Frank Taylor to look at one particular center, he found not only shocking violations including prostitution, but also a baffling handling of the case by the state.

Courtesy of Joan Myers Brown

When Joan Myers Brown first started to study ballet in the 1930s, dance schools were segregated and opportunities for professional ballet careers for African-American dancers were nearly nonexistent. Nonetheless, she stuck with her training. 

Courtesy of Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline sold nearly four million copies of her novel “Orphan Train” (HarperCollins/2013). The book imagined the story of Vivian, a 91-year-old woman who had been shipped west to foster care as a child. 

Chips aisle in the grocery store
Pixabay

 In his 2018 budget proposal, President Donald Trump proposed a cut of more than $190 billion to SNAP  – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – in the next 10 years. 

Women's March, Washington DC, 1/21/2017
Mark Dixon / Wikimedia Commons -2017

Hundreds of thousands of women packed the streets in January as part of the Women’s March. Many donned pink, cat-eared “pussy hats” to mark their participation. This march, alongside many other public demonstrations and landmark court decisions throughout history, have made the fight for gender equality visible to the greater American public. But the movement has really been fueled day-to-day by the work of activists, organizers and regular citizens. 

UNC Chapel Hill Basketball game
Hanging Curve / Wikimedia Commons -2017

The NCAA infractions committee issued a verdict today and concluded it could not find evidence the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill violated academic rules with the use of fake classes. 

John Rottet / The News and Observer/Cathy Davidson Media Kit

In 1869, Charles Eliot wrote a compelling article entitled “The New Education” in The Atlantic Monthly, calling for American universities to shift away from the classics-based curriculum and towards a more utilitarian system that would prepare young men for economic and political leadership. 

Courtesy of Tift Merritt & Bernhardt Design / bdesignny

Seventeen months after the birth of her daughter, singer-songwriter Tift Merritt is gearing up for an international tour through Europe later this month with her baby by her side. 

microscope
PxHere

Scientific journals are periodically forced to issue retractions of scientific papers. It is a decision no scientist or publisher wants to make, but in some cases studies with major inaccuracies, or even fraud, manage to find their way into scientific publications. 

The James Henry Jones family.
Courtesy of film director Anna Jones (back row, second from left).

 James H. Jones made a living as a farmer in Northampton County and cemented a legacy as a community leader for equal education. His efforts pushed the school board to give African-American students more resources after the county failed to comply with standards set by the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. 

Wikimedia Commons

Marcel Marceau lived a life of surprising extremes. He lost his father in the Holocaust and became a member of the French resistance in his youth. He then turned on a heel and forged himself into the most famous mime the world has ever known before dying penniless. 

Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Brazzell / Wikimedia Commons -2017

Two-thirds of states used chronic absenteeism as a metric for school evaluation in recently submitted federal plans.

Joan Kroc at a news conference in 1984.
Greg Vojtko / AP Photo

Ray Kroc is the man who transformed McDonald’s from a family restaurant in San Bernardino, California to one of the biggest corporations in the world. 

Greenbelt view from Germany
Nickel van Duijvenboden / Wikimedia Commons -2017

Today the European Green Belt is a stretch of rich and flourishing land in Western Europe that extends north to south for thousands of miles. However, during the Cold War the strip was a no-man’s land that separated the Soviet Union from non-Soviet countries. 

Birth control pill
Lee Health / vimeo commons

Teen birth rates in North Carolina are at a historic low, according to a statistical brief from the State Center for Health Statistics. 

Book cover of David Orborne's new book 'Reinventing America's Schools: Creating a 21st Century Education System' delves into case studies where the charter school system helped boost school performance.
David Osborne

The charter school experiment is in many ways still in its infancy. In the past 25 years thousands of schools across the country have turned to the model to tackle low performance and to give administrators more freedom to play with school structure. There are some glowing success stories, but studies show inconsistency in charter school performance even within particular states.

Diane Chamerlain, cover of 'Stolen Marriage'
Images courtesy of Diane Chamberlain.

In 1944 a polio outbreak swept across the Hickory and Charlotte area of North Carolina. Facilities in Charlotte quickly filled up with patients, leaving many in Hickory without proper treatment. In dire need of a medical facility, residents in Hickory banded together and built, outfitted and staffed an emergency hospital within 54 hours. The event came to be known as “The Miracle of Hickory.”
 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

Negotiations between the largest healthcare provider in Western North Carolina and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina have failed after a months-long standoff. 

Courtesy of Sarah van Gelder

Sarah van Gelder developed a sharp sense for injustice as a little girl when she moved to India with her family for a year and witnessed the poverty all around her. She decided that the only way she could make sense of her unearned privilege was to commit her life to making the world a more just place. 

Courtesy of Daniel Snyder

Magnolia Collective is made up of local musicians who describe their sound as psychedelic rock fused with Southern Gothic. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments about a case from Wisconsin regarding the constitutionality of political gerrymandering. 

Voter stickers
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

In North Carolina more people are registered as unaffiliated than Republican, according to recent data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. 

Publicity still from the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz
Publicity Image MGM film The Wizard of Oz / Wikimedia Commons

They wander the halls of Hogwarts, tempt children into sugar-encrusted homes, and sometimes get crushed by a flying farmhouse.

The mystique of the witches, wizards and warlocks continues to capture the imagination of moviegoers. And their presence in earthly and magical realms reminds viewers that things are not always as they seem.

Upstate NYer / Wikimedia Commons

A groundbreaking case over how voting maps are drawn is playing out in the Supreme Court.

Trump supporters at rally
Chuck Burton / AP Photo

Jared Yates Sexton’s life changed completely in June 2016. He went to a Trump rally in Greensboro, and while he walked amongst people who reminded him of his own family back in Indiana, he also witnessed the kind of anger and rage that mainstream news outlets were missing from their designated press areas.

Courtesy of Jeremy Markovich

Writer Jeremy Markovich decided to go far away to find new stories. In fact, he wanted to go as far from any possible road as he could get in North Carolina.

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