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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mist rises off the Cape Fear River
Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Creative Commons

State lawmakers are expected to make addressing the water pollutant GenX a priority in their upcoming legislative session. Republican Rep. Ted Davis may introduce a draft bill as early as Jan. 4 that is expected to have bipartisan support. But as News & Observer reporter Will Doran points out, a lack of funding for its provisions will likely be a sticking point.
 

Host Frank Stasio talks to Doran about the latest on GenX. He also speaks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii about other items the state legislature has on its short-term and year-long agendas.

Courtesy of New Hanover County Public Library

The 1940s was a decade of great transformation in North Carolina – the state transitioned from a mostly rural, agricultural place to one with a booming tobacco industry, strong musical traditions and a large military presence.

EPICENTER PRESS / 2017

When they got married, Weaverville residents Dennis and Christine McClure never dreamed they would write a book together. That was before they learned the harrowing tale of the construction of the Alaska Highway during World War II. The U.S. government feared an invasion from the north by the Japanese and needed a way to get troops and supplies to Alaska in eight months. Commanding Army officers were reluctant to hire black regiments for the project, but they needed the manpower.

Movies on the Radio: Money, Money, Money

Jan 2, 2018
MALIZ ONG / PESO BILLS

They say money makes the world go 'round. We think it also makes for some great films. In this installment of Movies on the Radio, we're taking a look at movies about cold, hard cash.

The post-holiday season is a time when many people look back at the memories they made and the money they spent. According to behavioral economist Dan Ariely, many of the financial decisions made during this time, and throughout the year, are based on instincts or emotions rather than value. 

FORTYONCEGOLD

2017 was a big year for both rising stars and foundational artists with roots in the North Carolina music scene. Pop-electronic group Sylvan Esso, hip-hop artist Rapsody, and other North Carolina-based artists garnered Grammy nominations, and the state’s music was elevated once again to the national stage.

Tammy Jean Lamoureux

2017 was a whirlwind year in national politics. Major national political fights, like the battle for Standing Rock, had spillover effects on the state and local level.

The State of Things Producer Laura Pellicer shares memories of her favorite stories she produced this year: from coverage of Lumbee resistance to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to conversations about scientific explorations and tech news.

Main character from 'Get Out' in 'sinking' scene
BagoGames / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/SEjzLj

2017 was a big year for new movie releases, but film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes managed to narrow down their lists of favorites to share.

Selections include “Kedi,” a documentary about the cats of Istanbul, Netflix original “Mudbound,” about two sharecropping families, and the box office-crushing release of “Wonder Woman.”

Host Frank Stasio talks with Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about 2017 movies of note. 

Laura Pellicer

Go behind the glass with The State of Things producer Jennifer Brookland, whose picks for best segments of 2017 included conversations on a civil war mystery, an overhaul of higher education, and the efforts of a hustling young entrepreneur.

Host Frank Stasio talks with producer Jennifer Brookland about her favorite interviews she produced this year including conversations with Charlotte teacher Justin Ashley, food company founder Becky Holmes, UNC allergist Scott Commins, biomedical engineer Rachel Lance, ichthyologist Alex Dornburg, education visionary Cathy Davidson and author Shawn Wen. 

Laura Pellicer / WUNC

 

 

As 2017 wraps up, The State of Things staff goes “behind the glass” to join host Frank Stasio for conversations about the highlights of the year. Some of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond’s favorite segments include a conversation with activist and community organizer Bree Newsome who removed the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse in 2015.

Liz Baier

2017 marked a unique moment for journalism. Headlines broke each hour, and conversations that long took place in the margins were brought to the center. With all of this barely in the rearview mirror, The State of Things staff takes turns joining host Frank Stasio in the studio to recap their favorite moments of the year.

IV fluids
Mads Bodker / Flickr - Creative Commons

Note: this segment is a rebroadcast from June 26, 2017.

North Carolina has been battling a growing opioid addiction epidemic. New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from North Carolina hospitals show the rise in intravenous drug use is also causing a sharp increase in the rate of heart infections. 

Cover of 'Be Free Or Die,' written by Cate Lineberry
St. Martin's Press - 2017 / St. Martin's Press - 2017

Note: this segment is a rebroadcast from June 20, 2017.

In May 1862, Robert Smalls became a Union hero overnight when he stole a Confederate steamer from the Charleston harbor. Smalls had been enslaved his whole life and decided to free himself and his family by stealing the Planter and piloting it to the Union fleet outside Charleston, South Carolina. 


Riverhead Books/2017

Note: this segment is a rebroadcast from June 1, 2017.  

Patricia Lockwood grew up in a Catholic family in the Midwest. But her family’s circumstances were a little different: Lockwood’s father was a priest. Throughout her upbringing, Lockwood navigated her father’s larger-than-life personality and the institutional bindings of the Catholic church.

Director, Spike Lee
Jordan Strauss/Invision / AP Photo

As the year comes to a close, popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown, professor of film and broadcast media at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, and Mark Anthony Neal, chair of the department of African and African American studies at Duke University in Durham, recap some of the best cultural moments from 2017 with host Frank Stasio. 

Drawing of Donald Trump scrambling to charge his phone and continue tweeting.
Dwane Powell, The News and Observer

There was nothing in Dwane Powell’s upbringing to suggest he would end up a political cartoonist. 

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Doug Jones and his wife Louise wave to supporters before speaking Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala.
John Bazemore / AP Photo

Democrat Doug Jones won the red state of Alabama in his senate race against Republican Roy Moore this week.

thanksgiving pies
Laura D'Alessandro / Flickr- Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/BxsqdH

For many North Carolinians, food is the anchor for friends and family to come together over the holidays. And a simple request to “pass the potatoes” can be a welcome interruption that keeps the family dynamic from spiralling downhill. So how do family traditions emerge and what determines their staying power for generations to come?

Christopher and Taylor Malpass
Courtesy of Christopher and Taylor Malpass / The Malpass Brothers

Christopher and Taylor Malpass didn’t go to daycare when they were little boys. They went over to their grandad’s house instead and listened to the old country jukebox records he brought home from his store.

exterior of the NC State Legislature
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Revelations of sexual misconduct at the federal level have opened up inquiries into the culture in state houses around the country. At the North Carolina General Assembly, WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii uncovered two incidents of reported misconduct: one from 2007 involving former Representative David Almond (R-Stanly), who allegedly exposed himself to a legislative assistant and then masturbated on an office chair.

Cover of 'Going to School in Black and White'
Cindy Waszak Geary and LaHoma Smith Romocki

A few years ago, Cindy Waszak Geary and LaHoma Smith Romocki were sitting together in their writing group when they realized that not only did they both grow up in Durham, but they went to the same high school during a period of racial integration in the early 1970s.

Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano
Courtesy of 'Brunch is Hell' / Brunch is Hell

Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano are experts at hosting dinner parties, or at least virtual ones. As the hosts of the podcast and radio show “Dinner Party Download,” they guided audiences through 400 conversations about culture, history, arts and food – all packaged in segments that represented different phases of a dinner party, like “small talk,” “cocktails,” and “guest of honor.” 

Two servers hand a tray of food to child in school cafeteria.
Lance Cpl. Brandon R. Holgersen / U.S. Marine Corps

Some children who rack up debt paying for lunch in their school cafeterias face a sudden swap when their hot meals are substituted for a cold sandwich or just a serving of fruit and vegetables and a cup of water. 

Voice Male magazine editor Rob Okun and other men at the Massachusetts state house in Boston taking the White Ribbon campaign's pledge to be part of the solution in ending violence again women.
Courtesy of Rob Okun

The #MeToo movement has broken a decades-long culture of silence around sexual assault and harassment and taken down a number of powerful men, including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, TV host Matt Lauer, politician Al Franken, and 30 some others compiled in a list from The New York Times. But according to writer Rob Okun, the thing that ties together all of these individual incidents is a culture of power and privilege held in place by particular ideas about masculinity. 

Cover of 'The Spark' by David Drake
Courtesy of David Drake

Society is split apart into nodes, tucked into different corners of the world and connected by a common road. It is a land where chaos rules, but with the help of the ‘Champions,’ civilization is taking hold once again. 

screen shot of code
Joffi / Pixabay Creative Commons

Two major data breaches in North Carolina have come to light in the past week. 

Mahatma Gandhi
Unknown / Wikimedia public domain

From a young age, humans receive messages from school, religion, and society about developing a strong moral compass and learning how to do “the right thing.” But according to expansive psychological research, there is a gap between how good we are and how good we think we are. 

Cover of Issue 3 of 'I Don't Do Boxes'
Courtesy of 'I Don't Do Boxes' / Tumblr

The Greensboro-based magazine “I Don’t Do Boxes” features the narratives of LGBTQ youth living in the American South and beyond. 

An image of musician Anne-Claire Niver
Kendall Atwater

The music for the live program in Greensboro was written and performed by Anne-Claire Niver. The Durham-based singer-songwriter was joined by Dan Faust on percussion and Charles Cleaver on the keyboard. She currently has a Kickstarter to help fund her upcoming album. Listen to her perform the song "Mosquitoes" below: 

L.A. McCrae holding a glass of her beer
Courtesy of L.A. McCrae

For L.A. McCrae, beer is a ministry. She owns Black Star Line Brewing Company – the first black-owned brewery in Western North Carolina. 

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