The State of Things

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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, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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An image of musician Joan Shelley
Nathan Salsburg

Singer-songwriter Joan Shelley believes in the power of place. She strives to immerse herself in a location's history and folklore, whether that be her hometown of Louisville, Ky. or the islands of Greece.

  Host Frank Stasio talks with Shelley about how she overcame stage fright and now travels the world writing songs.

Am image of a drone capturing videos and still images of an apartment building in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

Last week, the Raleigh-based company PrecisionHawk became the first company to acquire a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration that allows pilots to fly commercial drones beyond the line-of-sight.

  PrecisionHawk uses drones for aerial data analysis in industries like agriculture. The F.A.A. waiver is an extension of new federal regulations that will allow more companies to use drones for commercial use. 

The Honor Was Mine: A Look Inside the Struggles of Military Veterans
Grand Harbor Press

 Therapist Elizabeth Heaney left her private practice to participate in a Defense Department initiative that offers free, confidential counseling to combat veterans and their families. Despite more than 30 years of counseling experience, she realized that her military clients were unlike any patients she’d met before. She learned to let go of preconceived notions of the military and to adopt new ways to forge relationships with her tight-lipped clients. Gradually the stories of war, loss and re-adjustment to civilian life came tumbling out.

Welcome to Florida sign
Joelk75 and DonkeyHotey on Flickr

Author and comedian Dave Barry is not a Florida native, but he has embraced the state as his homeland. In his new book, “Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/2016), he explores the wacky landmarks and zany stories of the Sunshine State.

Image of NC Author Belle Boggs
Courtesy of Belle Boggs

Infertility affects one in eight couples in the United States, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association. That statistic amounts to millions of Americans, but despite the high numbers, many keep their struggle private. For many years writer Belle Boggs was one of those individuals.

 Director Michael Lewis talks with cast on Men of Israel film shoot.

Traditionally, the media has blurred the line between public and private lives, and the digital age has almost eliminated that distinction entirely. Nowhere is the private becoming public more evident than in pornography. Professor Richard Cante examines the social and political implications of pornography. He is a professor of media and technology studies in the Communication department at UNC-Chapel Hill. Host Frank Stasio talks with Cante about the intersection of media and pornography.

An image of Yaba Blay
Sabriya Simon

  Note: This segment originally aired on Monday, March 7, 2016.

Growing up in New Orleans, Yaba Blay saw firsthand the different roles one navigates as an African-American. At home, she had to adjust to the Ghanaian culture of her parents, but outside the house, her dark skin set her apart from New Orleans' light-skinned Creole community.

Photo of Felicia Reeves
Suzan Bayorgeon

Prosecutors in North Carolina and New Jersey are reopening the case of Felicia Reeves, a western North Carolina woman who was found dead in New Jersey last year.

Authorities originally concluded that Reeves had taken her own life in a motel room, but Reeves had claimed to be a police informant, raising questions about whether someone would have wanted her dead.

There is no evidence that police in New Jersey followed that lead during their investigation of Reeves' death.

Photo of the Benvenue grill in Rocky Mount
Dudley Marchi

The Tar Heel State might not be the first place one would expect to find French influence. In fact, most people associate early North Carolina with English influence.

But a new book by NC State professor Dudley Marchi explores the many connections between French culture and the Old North State.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Marchi about "FraNCe: The French Heritage of North Carolina."

An image of The Bucket Brothers with host Frank Stasio
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

Logan Valleroy and Casey Valleroy might be teenagers, but their musical prowess makes them seem like professional musicians. The brothers have been playing music since they were young.

Today, the pair play a myriad of instruments like the violin, keyboard, drums, saxophone and guitar, but started out as kids banging on pots and pans around the house. The Bucket Brothers new album is called "Our State."

Photo of Rome's Gay Pride parade
Fabio Frustaci / AP Photo

LGBT issues continue to make headlines across the country, whether it's in regards to North Carolina's controversial HB2 or how the presidential candidates plan to address LGBT rights.

But how does the U.S. compare to other countries in terms of cultural support and government policies for its LGBT community?

Vivian Howard, Cynthia Hill, A Chef's Life
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Chef Vivian Howard stars in the fourth season of her PBS show, "A Chef’s Life," which debuts later this month. The premiere precedes the release of a Howard’s first cookbook, "Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes From My Corner of the South."

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Flickr user Erik Hersman

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to issue a stay in North Carolina's voter identification law.

The Court voted 4-4 on the request from Governor Pat McCrory and others.

Photo of Don Gonyea
Doby Photography / NPR

Election Day is just more than two months away.

And the two contenders for the White House are on the trail, making their pleas to voters and attacking each other. No two candidates in history have had less favorable ratings than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea is taking a look at how voters, especially women in North Carolina, are approaching this race. Host Frank Stasio talks with Gonyea about his reporting, the candidates and life on the trail. ​

Photo of "Black Flag (For Elizabeth’s)," by Skylar Fein
Courtesy of the artist and Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana.

The American South is rooted in a complex social, political and cultural history. For some, images of the South include tobacco, barbecue and bluegrass, while others also envision a South forever grappling with a complicated history of racial discrimination.

The exhibit "Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art" includes 120 works from 60 artists that challenge myths about the South and explores it's wide range of perspectives.

Cover of "Another Brooklyn"
Jacqueline Woodson

In the late 1960s, Jacqueline Woodson and her family moved north from the segregated South to Brooklyn, New York.

It was a racially formative time and place that would later be known as the last wave of the Great Migration.

But at the time, Jacqueline simply knew Brooklyn as home. It was the place where she and her friends grew from children into adults, and shared the best and worst of a city that had become a vibrant destination for people of color.

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Durham teen Wildin Acosta spoke publicly yesterday about his time in an immigration detention facility.

The Honduran native said he is happy to be back with his family and intends to advocate for others to be released.

Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC's Will Michaels about the latest.

Tom Ross
University of North Carolina

A bipartisan group of former judiciary members offered their proposal for congressional maps yesterday.

The partnership between Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy and the nonprofit organization Common Cause presented a new map of the state's districts to demonstrate that lines could be drawn without regard to voting history or party registration.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Terry Sanford Distinguished Fellow Tom Ross who led the panel.

Staring Down Fate

Aug 30, 2016
Photo of Chris Lucash
Jeffrey Mittelstadt, WildSides

Chris Lucash spent close to three decades working with the endangered red wolf population in North Carolina. He was present when the first wolves were released back into the wild in the late 1980s and helped support the wild population as it grew to its peak in the 2000s.

In June of 2015, Lucash was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, and he passed away just one year later.

Kisha Daniels in Kenya
Kisha Daniels

Kisha Daniels graduated from Skidmore College on a Saturday and started her first master's program  at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill the following Monday.

Photo of a young Tarish Pipkins
Courtesy of Tarish Pipkins

Tarish Pipkins describes puppetry as composing a symphony in 3-D, and one quick glimpse at his work clarifies exactly what he means. Pipkins' puppets are incredibly complex, but they move in both a realistic and graceful way.

Ken Rudin

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.