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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Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

All signs point to the fact that North Carolina has become a battleground in the race for the White House.

New polls out this week indicate a tight race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and both campaigns are spending large sums of money on campaign advertisements.

The Senate race between Richard Burr and Deborah Ross is also in a dead heat. Will North Carolina's voters help the Democrats take back the Senate?

Host Frank Stasio talks with Ken Rudin, the political junkie, about the 2016 election.

Photo from "I Wish You A Boat." A young husband rushes his wife to the life boat.
Robbie Wiggins

More than a decade before the sinking of the Titanic, a passenger ferry named "SS Stella" sank during a short crossing in the English Channel. The boat went down in just eight minutes, and less than half of the staff and crew on board survived.

Orquesta GarDel
DL Anderson

Orquesta GarDel has been playing a type of high-energy Latin and jazz fusion for ten years. However, the 13-piece band has gone through several iterations as band members have come and gone, but the group has maintained its mission to bring traditional Latin sounds with jazz influences to local audiences.

Host Frank Stasio talks with the group's co-director Eric Hirsh and lead vocalist Christina Alamo about the band's progress.

Photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Ken Thomas / Wikipedia

For a century the National Park Service has established and preserved parks, seashores and memorials across the country. Sites range from Yellowstone National Park to the César E. Chávez National Monument.

In 2015, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, both partially located in North Carolina, were two of the top three most visited sites in the National Park system.

However, growing concerns about climate change and big maintenance bills threaten preservation efforts.

"The Physics of Life" by Adrian Bejan
Adrian Bejan

What is life and its meaning?

That question has perplexed philosophers and other theoretical scientists for centuries.

They have sought both spiritual and intellectual guidance to come up with intricate conclusions for what it means to be alive.

But mechanical engineer Adrian Bejan says there is a much simpler conclusion: physics.

Photo of Prince from "Purple Rain"
Sound Opinions / Flickr

Music can transport people to a particular time and place in a way that not many other things can. And for that reason, it has become an essential element of film.

Sometimes music is used as a tool to underscore a particular emotion or theme, and in other instances it is so distinct and memorable that it becomes a character of its own.

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.

Family Of Earth

Aug 23, 2016
Photo of Wilma Dykeman
Jim Stokely

Wilma Dykeman published 18 books in her lifetime, including meditations on environmental conservation, race, birth control and chemically-altered food. She addressed many of these issues long before they were hot topics in public discourse.

In her first book, "The French Broad," (Rinehart, 1955) she became one of the first writers to argue that clean water could be an economic development tool.

Photo of Samuel Buell
Duke Law School - Duke Photography

In 2001, Enron Corporation, which was once the sixth-largest energy company in the world, filed for bankruptcy.

It has since become one of the most notorious examples of accounting fraud and corporate crime. However, incidents of corporate crime persisted after the Enron scandal and led to further economic turmoil in the 2008 financial crisis.

photo of Rapsody
FortyOnceGold

This program originally aired July 11, 2016.

Growing up in the small town of Snow Hill, N.C., Marlanna Evans, a.k.a Rapsody, wasn't exposed to much hip-hop music. She would listen to the songs her older cousins played in the car, but she didn't develop a love for rap until college.

While attending North Carolina State University, Evans helped a hip-hop culture grow on campus with a student music group that would meet in a dormitory lounge to rap battle. She eventually started making her own rhymes and met producer and Jamla Records founder 9th Wonder.

Actors from Raleigh Little Theatre's "Memphis"
Curtis Brown

Dewey Phillips made history in the 1950s as one of the first white radio disc jockeys to play music by black artists. He was opinionated, eclectic, and gained notoriety for being the first DJ to play Elvis Presley’s music on the radio.

After listening to Yarn's Americana music, one might assume the band hails from the South, but the group actually got its start in Brooklyn, NY. Yet it has stayed true to Southern aesthetics heard in the music of country icons like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.

Even though half of the quartet now lives in Raleigh, the band continues to tour the country and record albums. Yarn's latest album is called "This Is The Year."

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 Simone Manuel
Natacha Pisarenko / AP Photo

The Olympics are heralded as an international event rooted in intense competition, national pride and athletic successes. But the Olympic Games can often reveal complex race issues and overzealous displays of nationalism.

During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, athletes of color like U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel and U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas have been in the spotlight.

An image of an NSCU biology professor holding a St. Francis satyr butterfly
Jay Price

For years, the Pentagon has partnered with conservation groups to protect hundreds of endangered and threatened species on military bases across the country.

The partnership started at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in the early 1990s after a rare woodpecker was found and halted training on parts of the base. Since then, the military and conservationists have worked together to manage the bases' rich ecosystems.

Photo of LaToya Smith
Elizabeth Anderson

The stories of princesses like Cinderella, Belle, and Little Mermaid have been told and re-told for more than a century.

But for local director and playwright Nancy Rich, the standard princess narratives leave much to be desired. Rich co-directed the Raleigh Little Theatre production of "Cinderella" for years, and Rich has always left the process wondering, "But what does Cinderella really think?"

"The Making Of A Racist"

Aug 17, 2016
Book cover of "The Making of a Racist," by Charles Dew
Charles Dew

Like any good historian, Charles Dew was trained to conduct his research in a scientific fashion, setting aside any personal perspectives in his scholarship.

But after more than 50 years of teaching Southern history, he finally turned inward. His new book describes his experiences growing up on the white side of the color line in the Jim Crow South.

Megan Davies
NC DHHS

Some of the state’s environmental watchdogs are quitting their jobs, saying it is impossible to achieve their objectives under Governor McCrory’s administration and the Republican-led legislature.

In a recent editorial, Susan Ladd, columnist with the Greensboro News and Record, asserts that lawmakers have taken many actions to hinder environmental protection.

Photo of Sylvia Gray outside her surplus store turned thrift shop
goelsewhere.org

Sylvia Gray was an entrepreneur of ephemera. Decades after she and her husband opened a surplus store in downtown Greensboro, she turned the business into a three-story thrift shop that she filled by taking twice-daily trips to the local Salvation Army.

Photo of Andy Eversole with his banjo in Tiananmen Square
Ben Singer

Musician Andy Eversole has always wanted to travel the world and make music, and last year an unfortunate incident gave him the push he needed to make a long-time dream a reality.

An image of Doriane Lameblet Coleman
Doriane Lambelet Coleman

Growing up, Doriane Lambelet Coleman did not see herself as an athlete, but she always had a talent for running. She moved back and forth between her home country of Switzerland and the United States as a kid, and she never found a stable community until she started running track in high school.

Ken Rudin
kenrudinpolitics.com

A federal court declared North Carolina's drawing of election lines unconstitutional.

The three-judge panel said the districts must be redrawn because they are racially gerrymandered. The court will allow the election in November to proceed under the old maps.

Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the decision, its consequences and other political news.

Photo of Oscar Charleston's baseball card
Ryan Christoff

Durham and baseball are intimately connected in the minds of many Americans because of the movie "Bull Durham." But the relationship between the city of Durham and the sport dates back to more than a century before the film.

photo of Gigi Dover & the Big Love
Gigi Dover & the Big Love

For Gigi Dover & the Big Love, Americana isn't limited to American styles of music. The group hails from Charlotte and composes Southern folk using worldly instruments like the sitar and rebab.

Through its latest album, "Travelin' Thru," the band continues to strengthen the grassroots music scene in Charlotte.

The state epidemiologist in the division of public health resigned yesterday in protest over the McCrory administration’s handling of a controversy stemming from Duke Energy's handling of well water surrounding coal ash sites.

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