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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photo of Billy Graham speaking a microphone
Henny Ray Abrams / AP Photo

Evangelist Billy Graham died this morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina at 99 years old. Graham was known to many as “America’s Pastor,” and it is estimated that his sermons reached more than two billion people.

Child actress Shirley Temple in 'Poor Little Rich Girl.'
classic_film (Creative Commons)

Child actors are big players in Hollywood. Shirley Temple is one of the most famous, with 17 feature films under her belt before she turned 10. There are several film stars today who began their acting careers when they were children, like Natalie Portman and Christian Bale.

Amanda Magnus

When Juana Ortega walked into St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro last Spring, she was seeking sanctuary from deportation. But she may have also inspired a movement.

Martin W. Kane / UNC Greensboro

The rich resources of Congo are both a boon and a curse. Minerals like gold, silver, or coltan – a key component of cell phones and other electronic devices – are abundant. But their presence spurs corruption and resource battles among corporations, the government, and military groups. Congo was officially at war from 1996-2003, and the country continues to experience armed conflict.

Bandcamp.com

Christy Hopkins trained in classical music, but her heart led her to the soulful sound of Americana blues.

Photo of Sarah Gaither
Courtesy of Sarah Gaither

 Multiracial people are the fastest growing demographic group in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau projects the nation’s multiracial population will triple by 2060, but not much research has been done on this group. Sarah Gaither is hoping to change that. She’s an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, and she is also a biracial woman.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The White House has shifted stories multiple times this week regarding the timeline of spousal abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. That shifting timeline has impacted the credibility of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and spurred rumors of his firing.

photo of a man in a congregation, praying
Courtesy of Pastor Ronald Godbee

When Dr. David Casarett asks patients with a terminal illness what they would like to do with the time they have left, some stare blankly back at him. Others have a big list of family members they want to spend time with and to-do list items to check off.

photo of Versace, McGarry, and Ganz
Kerry Kehoe

In the past few years, Grammy-nominated jazz musicians Kate McGarry, Keith Ganz and Gary Versace all wanted a break from the chaos of modern American politics and world events. As the Durham-based trio headed into the studio to record new songs, they quickly noticed an emerging theme in their music: love.

photo of henderson county courthouse
Todd McDougal / Wikimedia Creative Commons

A brush with the criminal justice system for something as small as a busted tail light or speeding ticket has outlandishly large implications for people who cannot pay the fines, fees and surcharges associated with a court appearance. These costs add up for people, and they add up for the court system too. Last year North Carolina brought in more than $300 million dollars from assessing these charges.

photo of contest winners and judge at motorco music hall
Courtesy of Durham Magazine

You might find this PUN-believable, but there is an annual pun competition held in Durham each year. Contestants are matched up for one-on-one pun-offs until the final round, when the three top punners try to best each other to become the “Punster of the Year.”

students in a Chapel Hill elementary school.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

New research from the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation found that companies across the state are interested in making their businesses more family friendly. That includes policies from offering health insurance and family medical leave to paid time off, job-sharing and flexible work hours.

photo of Victor Lawe dressed as  the black panther in the studio with host Frank Stasio
Angie Perrin

Weeks before the release of "Black Panther," presale tickets were on course to outsell all other superhero movies. It was one of the most tweeted about movies of 2017, despite not having a release date until February of this year.  Host Frank Stasio takes a look at the buzz behind the movie with comic book aficionados and scholars.

Photo of Donald Trump at a microphone
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Almost half of North Carolinians are satisfied with how things are going in the state, and there is a large political divide when it comes to how voters in the state perceive the new tax law.

Photo of hand holding two paint brushes in a 'v' shape
V-Day Raleigh

 When Eve Ensler first unleashed a string of feminist, body-positive, pro-sex monologues onto a New York City stage in 1996, the themes resonated with many women. “The Vagina Monologues” went on to have a successful off-Broadway run, an HBO adaptation and an annual performance slot on college campuses around the country, and even the world. They also spawned a global anti-violence movement called V-Day, which opened a chapter in Raleigh in 2016. 

Photo of Jacobson in Duke Chapel
Courtesy of Duke University

A few nights before Marcel Tyberg was arrested by the Gestapo, he gathered an intimate group in the organ loft of his hometown church and together they sang through two masses he had composed. Tyberg, who was part Jewish, was later captured in a night raid and died in Auschwitz.

Photo of Carlton-LaNey teaching a class
Courtesy of Iris Carlton-LaNey

Iris Carlton-LaNey is often impressed by the resourcefulness and strength of those living in poor, underserved and rural communities. As a social worker, she has spent a career observing how many in those communities have a strong commitment to hard work, family and religion. And those are values she recognizes from her own upbringing on a tobacco farm in southeastern North Carolina, where education was valued above all. 

Photo of the NC state senate chambers
Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked new voting maps for Wake and Mecklenburg counties. The districts are in the state’s two most populous counties, and the decision comes just days before candidates are set to start filing for office.

Photo of Broderick presenting to a room of people, 'racial equity training' is projected onto wall
CJ Broderick, ABC Strategy & Consulting

More than two-thirds of company executives rate diversity and inclusion as an important issue, according to a 2017 survey by  Deloitte. With an increase in interest for diversity and inclusion comes an increase in demand for racial equity and diversity workshops.

photo courtesy of Young Yonder

The members of the band Young Yonder all have day jobs – in fact several of them met while helping customers at the Apple store. They make music work by packing in practices and tightly coordinating schedules. 

Ryan Melaugh/Flickr Creative Commons

A new public health report from ECU shows that the death rate for midlife whites in the state increased 6 percent from 2000 to 2013. Many of these deaths can be attributed to so-called diseases of despair, like suicide, drug overdose and liver disease caused by alcoholism.

Photo of the Uncle Sam 'I want you for the U.S. Army' poster
Wikimedia Commons

Last spring, the Army told recruiters it expected them to enlist 6,000 new soldiers – the largest mid-year increase in its history. It recently also upped its yearly recruitment goal to an unexpected high of 80,000.

Photo of 'Black Beach/White Beach' logo.
Southern Documentary Fund

Each Memorial Day weekend hundreds of thousands of African-American motorcyclists gather at Myrtle Beach for what is affectionately called “Black Bike Week.” The event brings in more than $40 million to the greater Myrtle Beach area.

Photo of sculpture of bodies in bondage
Courtesy of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center at UNC

For artist Toni Scott, the question of where her family is from has no simple answer. Years of comprehensive research conducted by her and her family showed that some of her ancestors were slave-owners, others were slaves, and still others were gifted land by the U.S. government after they marched down the Trail of Tears.

Photo of the 2018 Winter Olympics logo
Wikimedia Commons

The Winter Olympics kick off this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but the headlines leading up to the international games are dominated by a doping scandal. The International Olympic Committee banned Russia’s team as punishment for systematic state-sponsored doping.

Photo of two men and the 'Intelligently Ratchet' logo
Courtesy of Kevin Thomas

The Facebook live comedy and interview show “Intelligently Ratchet” hosts conversations that span politics, art and culture. Co-hosts Kevin “Kaze” Thomas and Karim “Bishop Omega” Jarrett set the tone for a program that is smart but approachable, and this month they are hosting a number of conversations to mark Black History Month.

Photo of Michael Scott at microphone
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Last week state officials held a public forum in Bladen County to share information and address concerns about GenX, the unregulated chemical produced by Chemours that has contaminated drinking water. Many residents said they left with more questions than answers.

Photo of two actors in 'The Christians'
PlayMakers Repertory Company

 This season Playmakers Repertory Company presents two plays written centuries apart that delve into what it means to believe and what happens when faith is shattered.

courtesy of Daniel Bolger

In 1968, brothers Tom and Chuck Hagel volunteered for an infantry unit bound for Vietnam. One of them believed in the war; one was staunchly opposed to it. 

 

Photo of Rolonda Watts.
Courtesy of Rolonda Watts

Rolonda Watts began her career as a reporter for WFMY News in Greensboro, North Carolina. She moved on from there to New York City, where she is remembered as the local news anchor during the “Today” show.

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