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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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.

FILE - In a Tuesday June 6, 2017 file photo, hydrologist William K. Jones, walks up a mountain near the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Bolar, Va.
Steve Helber, File / AP

When Dominion Energy applied for approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the publicly-unveiled plan indicated that the natural gas line would end in the middle of a field in Robeson County, North Carolina.
 

An image of overturned chairs outside of West Lumberton Elementary School
Lisa Philip / WUNC

Last October Hurricane Matthew caused more than two dozen deaths in North Carolina. Floods damaged much of the eastern part of the state, and communities are still picking up the pieces.

An image of the book cover for 'The Last Ballad' by Wiley Cash
William Morrow

 

In the spring of 1929 more than a thousand workers at the Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina walked off their jobs and went on strike. At the time the mill was one of the largest producers of textiles in the South, but harsh labor conditions and unfair pay sparked unrest among the workers.

Protests went on for months and even led to violent clashes with the police. The events at the mill brought a textile worker named Ella May Wiggins into the spotlight. Wiggins served as a union organizer and also became an influential ballad singer.

man holding gun at shooting range/gun club
Peretz Partensky / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/qwZP5f

The killing spree in Las Vegas was the deadliest in modern U.S. history. But mass shootings have tended to result in laxer gun laws, not stricter ones, according to Susan Ladd, columnist for the Greensboro News & Record.

North Carolina Collection, UNC Chapel Hill / Wikimedia Commons

As many cities struggle to deal with their Confederate monuments, Greensboro has its own concrete legacy of white supremacy to contend with: Aycock Street was named after former governor and white supremacist Charles Aycock, whose name has already been removed from a Greensboro middle school and several other public buildings around the state.

Courtesy of Leslie Isakoff

Leslie Isakoff grew up climbing, flying and spelunking in Alabama and on international trips with her family, where she made friends with local kids and saw firsthand the effects of hunger.

Courtesy of Mylene Dressler

 Writer Mylène Dressler grounds her prose in her experience as an immigrant and the day-to-day happenings of life around her. But for her new book, Dressler realized the story she wanted to tell was decidedly un-grounded.

Courtesy of Beau James

The music for today's show was written and performed by Beau James. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro alum recently returned to the Triad after stints in Los Angeles and Nashville with his rock band The Heavy Heavy Hearts.

James’s solo work taps into Americana sounds and explores themes of heartbreak and identity.

Watch the video for James' song "Indigo Road" below:

Courtesy Western Carolina University

Davy Arch grew up on a subsistence farm in western North Carolina. As a boy, he learned the value of traditional Cherokee culture from his grandfather, who taught him the old stories, how to hunt and fish, and how to identify valuable medicinal plants.

Today Arch is a practitioner of traditional medicine, a historian, storyteller and a folk artist with work on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
 

Loamlands

Kym Register and Will Hackney are Loamlands, a folk-rock band whose often dark lyrics focus on local stories like urban development in Durham and overlooked queer history. The title track off their newest album, “Sweet High Rise,” is a direct reflection on watching the One City Center on Main Street in Durham climbs upward, forever changing the city skyline. Register’s thoughtful lyrics are supported and sometimes played off against contrasting layers of Hackney’s arrangements.


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