The State of Things

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Waste Not

Jul 10, 2012

Tate Rogers never expected to enter the world of waste management, but when presented with the challenge of finding a way to safely extract human waste from latrines in third-world countries, this environmental engineering student found himself struck with a brilliant idea. The idea was so simple, Rogers figured it had already been invented. It hadn't. He received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop his waste removal technology.

North Carolina native Robert Lee Vann was a pioneer of journalism during his lifetime. He served as editor of "The Pittsburgh Courier" which was the largest black newspaper in circulation until Vann’s death in 1940. He was recently commemorated in his hometown of Ahoskie, NC with a long-earned historical marker. Marvin Jones of the Chowan Discovery Group and Cash Michaels, editor of The Carolinian, join host Frank Stasio to talk about both Vann's legacy and the legacy of the black press.

Businessman Kevin Trapani will tell you that his company, Redwoods Group, does well by doing good.  Redwoods Group recently won an award that validates his claim. B-Lab, an organization that certifies socially responsible companies known as B-corps, named it one of the “Best Companies for the World.”

Hal Kwalwasser's examination of successful American school districts continues today with a look at Watauga County in western North Carolina. Kwalwasser documented the dedication of Watauga's teachers and how they work with families to make sure that students thrive in school in his book, “Renewal: Remaking America's Schools for the 21st Century” (R & L Education/2012). He joins host Frank Stasio again for the second part of our conversation on education reform.

Songwriter Willie French Lowery is best remembered for penning Indian heritage anthems like “Proud to be a Lumbee” and writing the original music for “Strike at the Wind,” an annual outdoor drama that honors a Lumbee cultural hero.  Lowery was also a successful rock musician, educator, activist and Robeson County community leader before he passed away in May at the age of 67.

Hal Kwalwasser was an anti-trust lawyer before becoming counsel to the Los Angeles Unified School District. He applied his legal skills to America's educational policy to break down the problems and find the solutions recorded in his new book, “Renewal: Remaking America's Schools for the 21st Century” (R & L Education/2012).

Xiu Xiu Always

Jul 5, 2012

The experimental pop band Xiu Xiu has been a fixture on the indie music scene for the past ten years. While they are not famous in the conventional sense, they have a strong cult following. Xiu Xiu has toured the world over and produced eight critically acclaimed albums, including their newest "Always.”

Poet Peter Cole is known for his translations of Hebrew literature and medieval Hebrew poetry, but in his latest translation, "Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition" (Yale University Press/2012),  he explores the spiritual side of Jewish faith.

What did Chapel Hill look like during the Civil Rights Movement? Photographer Jim Wallace captured images for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel. But Wallace didn’t see fire hoses or police dogs turned on protesters.

NC at the World Saxophone Congress

Jun 29, 2012

Wayne Leechford is a classical baritone saxophonist. Most people haven't heard of classical saxophone, and it is difficult to find classical music specifically written for that instrument. Therefore, Wayne personally commissioned composers to write music for his new album, “Works of Art.”

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