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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Duke Energy / Flickr Creative Commons

Last year Duke Energy acquired Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion. The purchase is a marker of the energy industry’s shift toward using natural gas to produce electricity. Supporters of natural gas say it is cheaper and burns cleaner than coal. But critics argue that methane leaks during storage and transportation, which can accelerate global warming.

Courtesy of Kathryn Clarke

Holidays like Mother’s Day are often marked by cards, bouquets, or a heartfelt gift. But for the past three years, local writers have been gathering together to celebrate the occasion through storytelling. “Listen To Your Mother” features live readings about every aspect of motherhood, from the messy to the mundane.

Sarah Sneeden / Viking/Penguin Publishing

For nearly 20 years, Ann B. Ross has written about the lives of the outspoken Miss Julia and her band of friends. They live in the fictional town of Abbotsville.

The newest novel in the Miss Julia mystery series takes the book’s heroine to the coast where a hurricane bring both chaos and surprising treasures. Ross lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and her town has provided endless inspiration for the characters and content of her work.

GERRY BROOME / ASSOCIATED PRESS

A rush to execute death row inmates in Arkansas led to national concern about the use of the death penalty. In North Carolina, juries continue to send people to death row. They sentenced 16 people to death in the last ten years. But in that time there has not been a single execution. Some are questioning why the country has the death penalty if it is not being used. Others advocate for abolishing it altogether. They say it does not deliver the justice it intended, costs too much, is not administered fairly, and could amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Abingdon Press/2017

In 1947, dozens of white men in Greenville, South Carolina kidnapped and murdered a young black man named Willie Earle. Several of the men later confessed to the crime and said it was retaliation after a black man allegedly stabbed a white cab driver. However, after a trial, nobody was convicted for the murder.

Liz Bell

Many communities in eastern North Carolina are still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The storm hit the East Coast last October, and in Edgecombe County hundreds of students were displaced after flooding nearly destroyed Princeville Elementary School. Now the Edgecombe County school board must decide on next steps for rebuilding the school.

David Hoffman

Earl Scruggs is considered one of the most influential banjo players of all time. He made a name for himself performing with Bill Monroe’s band on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in the mid-1940s. Scruggs went on to compose seminal records like “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”

Phillip Lewis

In the novel “The Barrowfields” (Hogarth/2017) a character named Henry grows up revering his literary father, a man who ensconced the family in a strange house on a hillside in western North Carolina. But his father’s dark unraveling pushes Henry away.

He abandons the sister and mother he had promised to protect and vows to stay away from his gloomy mountain hometown forever. But the ties of family and home prove stronger than Henry’s will to escape them both.

McGuire's Miracle The Documentary

Alexander Julian is credited with the iconic revamp of Tar Heel sports uniforms. But his journey to creating the legendary Carolina blue argyle was a long time in the making. Julian drew up his first designs when he was a child, and he started working the sales floor at his father Maurice Julian’s haberdashery when he was in his teens.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 

This Saturday marks 100 days in power for the Trump administration. The Trump team is touting the president’s accomplishments, which include job creation efforts and national security measures. A significant number of these measures were instituted through executive orders or memorandums, a maneuver for which Republicans criticized former President Obama.

Man Bites Dog Theatre

What do we choose to remember as we grow older? How do the stories we tell ourselves shape our own identity? The play “Marjorie Prime” explores these questions through the story of an 85-year-old woman dealing with memory loss. Marjorie finds companionship in artificial intelligence modeled after a younger version of her deceased husband.

Rebecca Ward

 After more than 15 years, rapper Joshua Gunn is familiar with the Durham hip-hop scene. As a teenager Gunn made a name for himself in underground Durham rap battles. He paired up with artists like acclaimed DJ Terminator X of Public Enemy and MC Lyte.

Courtesy of Karen Ziegler

LGBTQ individuals have long been pushed out of religious and spiritual communities, but that has not made all of them lose their faith. In fact, many LGBTQ folks have taken on leadership roles to advocate for and heal their communities. 

All-Star Comedy Team Creates Middle-Grade Comic Novel

Apr 27, 2017

When a comedian, a cartoonist and an author team up to write young adult fiction, it leads to a hilarious book about a sixth-grader with a secret.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

 

Governor Roy Cooper’s political battle continues with the Republican-led General Assembly. The state House and Senate voted this week to override Cooper’s veto of a bill to consolidate the state elections and ethics boards.

Courtesy of Penguin Books

Sixteen years ago, environmentalist Paul Hawken searched for a comprehensive list of the most effective solutions to climate change. He was dismayed to find that not only was there no such compendium, but no one seemed capable of producing one. So, Hawken decided to make one himself. He gathered data from scientists and organizations to map, measure and model existing solutions to climate change and the effects they would have if scaled 30 years into the future.

Barry Lam / hiphination.org

 When professor Barry Lam needed a break from the college classroom, he set out to turn his scholarly passion into a podcast. “Hi-Phi Nation” uses investigative journalism and narrative storytelling to peer inside under-explored philosophical question.

Public Domain / Wiki Creative Commons

In the 1930s, the federal government started to map out regions deemed financially stable enough to receive mortgage assistance through a process called “redlining.” The areas identified as “too risky” for loans were largely concentrated in minority and low-income neighborhoods. During the same time, the City of Durham implemented tree-planting programs across various neighborhoods.

Elsa Loissel

Bird brains are the size of a nut, or possibly even smaller in some cases. But a plethora of new research shows that despite their small brain size, birds are actually among the most intelligent members of the animal kingdom.

“The Genius of Birds” (Penguin Books/2016) profiles a range of winged-beasts who are expert problem solvers and mappers with their own social networks and cultural traditions. Host Frank Stasio talks with science writer Jennifer Ackerman about her new book. Ackerman speaks tonight at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh at 7 p.m.

Kathy Cowell

A childhood spent in downtown Manhattan did not dampen Adam Summers’ passion for the outdoors. His family took yearly trips to Canada’s woods and streams, which instilled in him a special passion for marine life. Now a comparative bio-mechanist, Summers is an expert in the evolution, anatomy and movement of fish.

Courtesy Cliff Missen

People with few means but big hearts stepped in to help Cliff Missen as he transitioned in and out of foster care as a child. When he turned 18, Missen made a vow to pay it forward and live a life in ​service of the poor. He made good on that promise when he brought well-drilling technology to rural villages in Liberia and an information technology program to Joss, Nigeria.

By Source - Fair use March for Science

Tens of thousands of scientists are expected to descend on Washington, D.C., this Saturday for the March for Science. Partner marches are set up in more than 500 cities around the world to bring together scientists and science supporters. Threats to budget cuts at the National Institutes of Health, and the Trump administration’s position on scientific research have galvanized the march movement.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

In his latest novel, “The Moon and The Other” (Simon & Schuster/2017), science fiction writer John Kessel envisions a collection of people living on the moon in the middle of the 22nd century. The story follows four main characters as they navigate the social structures of each colony, including the “Society of Cousins,” where men receive societal privileges but are denied the right to vote.

 

Courtesy North Carolina Opera

Georges Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” is an opera that pits the dynamics of a love triangle against the union of brotherhood. The opera, set in historic Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, features one of the most famous duets in opera history. The North Carolina Opera presents their interpretation of “The Pearl Fishers,” an opera that was only popularized long after Bizet’s death.

The 2017 election laid bare stark divisions between urban and rural areas of the United States, and North Carolina was no exception. While highly-regarded research universities and the creation of Research Triangle Park helped turn the state’s economy around in the 1950s, they also created an economic and political wedge that continues to grow to this day.

Nina Honeycutt and Elizabeth Anderson

 Social workers are often embedded with populations who are ignored and marginalized. A group of social work students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wanted to break down the divide and find a way to introduce some of these individuals to the wider community. They collected personal testimonies from 18 individuals from all walks of life with the hope that these narratives will increase awareness and compassion for those who are often silenced. 

Sufis Doucet

For Durham-based architect Phil Freelon, 2016 was a year of triumphs and setbacks. Freelon was the lead architect for the National Museum of African American History & Culture and celebrated the museum’s opening in Washington D.C. last fall. But months before the opening, Freelon was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Joe Wolf / Flickr Creative Commons

Dystopian films take viewers to cities in the sky and barren, post-apocalyptic landscapes. They explore futuristic universes while also tapping into the darker side of the human condition. 

In this episode of "Movies on the Radio," listeners discuss their favorite dystopian films. Host Frank Stasio talks with experts Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about how dystopian art emerges from societal reaction to politics and government.

Laura Boyes will host a screening of the 1930 Film "King of Jazz" at Friday, April 21 at 8 p.m. at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. 

And on May 5, you can catch Marsha Gordon at a special screening of The Big Red One at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. 

HCC Public Information Office Biotechnology Program

The Research Triangle is dotted with life sciences research and development companies, and Big Pharma operates sizeable manufacturing facilities in surrounding counties. The industry is a big player in North Carolina’s economy. It supports high-paying jobs, and in 2016 alone, it contributed an estimated $86 billion to the state’s economy.

Bonnie Rochman

Parents today have more options to determine and influence their children’s genetic makeup than ever before. But is knowing more about one’s DNA always empowering? In the new book “The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids- and the Kids We Have” (Farrar, Straus, Grioux/2017) writer Bonnie Rochman explores the possible benefits and drawbacks to modern genetic testing.

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