The State of Things

WUNC's The State of Things brings the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to you.  The State of Things Podcast presents new stories every weekday with topics from our show.  To subscribe:Get a daily show update and special news. Subscribe to our podcast on Google Play or iTunes.  Or, use the links at the right.Visit the main SOT page.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The House has approved a stopgap measure to fund the government through mid-February, but Senate Democrats seem dissatisfied. They want concessions including deportation protection for some young immigrants before giving their vote.

N.C. Department of Transportation
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation last summer aimed at preventing violence during police stops.  House Bill 21 instructed that the Department of Motor Vehicles update the driver’s license handbook to include updated guidelines for behavior during a police stop.

Courtesy Rachel Kiel

Rachel Kiel grew up buried in stacks of records in her family home, and from an early age her musical influences were abundant and varied. 

Men drinking beer.
Max Pixel / Max Pixel - Creative Commons

Women live longer than men in many countries around the world. In the United States, women outlive men by an average of five years. Scientists have long attributed this divide to genetics and biology, but a physician at Duke University is posing an alternative theory: toxic masculinity. 

man preparing injection
Carol E. Davis - US Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/axqcCi

The American medical system is good at providing care to people in the middle: those who need regular doctors’ visits and a few medications. But the system is inadequate for many patients with complex needs. And although they make up a tiny proportion of healthcare users, these high-need patients end up using a shockingly high percentage of health dollars.

winnow ant
Alex Wild

According to Eleanor Spicer Rice, ants have a range of personalities, from team player to charismatic. What she will not call them, however, are pests. 

Jessica Lussenhop / BBC News

A new investigation by the BBC has uncovered scores of cases where women allegedly endured sexual harassment or may have been forced to do sexual favors to avoid eviction or secure housing.

Fracking on the Haynesville Shale near Shreveport, Louisiana.
Daniel Foster (Creative Commons)

 Author Daniel Raimi began his journey studying natural gas and oil development in Durham. While interning at a state agency, he wrote a report about the potential for shale gas development in North Carolina. Since then, he has visited every major oil and gas producing region of the country to examine the local impacts of shale production.

courtesy of Natasha Powell Walker

Visual artist Natasha Powell Walker was struck by the dichotomy required of her as a woman in corporate America: at work she had to be cutthroat and self-promotional, while her friends and family expected her to be loving and nurturing as soon as she left the office.

West Lumberton Elementary teacher June Hunt helps second grader Niveah Barnes with a grammar assignment in their temporary classroom at Lumberton Junior High. Flooding from Hurricane Matthew destroyed the home where NIveah was living.
Lisa Philip / WUNC

A new study from the Public School Forum of North Carolina confirms a large and growing gap in public school funding between the wealthiest and the poorest counties. The study found that in 2015-2016, the 10 highest spending counties spent $2,364 more per student than the 10 lowest-spending counties, and the gap has increased every year since 2011.

a street sign with the words education and future on them
Creative Commons/TCODL

 

Education equity is becoming a popular phrase among educators, but what does it mean, and what is North Carolina doing to provide a sound education to both privileged and disadvantaged students? Nonprofit news organization EdNC explores the topic in their new documentary series “Equity Meets Education,” a story told through the eyes of four African-American leaders. 

infant sleeping
Andrés Nieto Porras / Wikimedia Commons -2017

Doctors at fertility clinics often recommend women test their ovarian reserve to see how many eggs they have left. While the test can show how long a woman has before menopause, it was also commonly used to evaluate women’s likelihood of naturally conceiving. 

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. 

Courtesy of Daniel Snyder

Magnolia Collective is made up of local musicians who describe their sound as psychedelic rock fused with Southern Gothic. 

Computer keyboard
Defence Images/Creative Commons

More than half of North Carolinians were affected by personal data breaches in 2017. This month the North Carolina Department of Justice announced that the number of people hit in 2017 was seven times the number affected in 2016.

Ten years after the Great Recession North Carolina’s economy is back on its feet by many measures. Rates of employment are up, and the hard-hit manufacturing sector has been superseded by a growing tech and professional services industry.

colorful clouds of gas and dust in the orion star-forming region
NASA

Once a year the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences gathers researchers who spend their waking hours investigating the mysteries of the universe. At ‘Astronomy Days,’ scientists divulge their new findings. 

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

Federal judges ruled yesterday that the state's congressional districts drawn by Republican lawmakers are too partisan. They described them as  drawn to “entrench Republican domination of the state’s congressional delegation.” This ruling marks the first time a federal court has struck down a congressional map on those grounds. 

DRESTWN | FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The news media industry has changed enormously in the past 10 years. Every day the line between news and entertainment is blurred further, and the Internet redefined who is considered a journalist. Host Frank Stasio spends the hour examining this blurred line and how it affects news consumers.

Thomas Farr, with right hand raised, is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee.
Alex Brandon / AP Photo

Thomas Farr is a Raleigh-based lawyer who has counseled North Carolina Republicans on a multitude of racially divisive cases.

Women in Hollywood came forward this weekend at the Golden Globes to declare that “Time’s Up” for tolerating sexual harassment. Their new initiative is one of many bubbling efforts in the country to shine a light on gender inequity and harassment in the workplace.

University of Georgia Press

An interracial farmer’s co-op built upon the principles of cooperative communalism existed for 20 years in rural Mississippi. Scholar Robert Hunt Ferguson explores this socio-economic experiment in his book “Remaking the Rural South: Interracialism, Christian Socialism and Cooperative Farming in Jim Crow Mississippi” (The University of Georgia Press 2018). Ferguson is a professor of history at Western Carolina University.

Courtesy Raymond Barfield

For most of his life, Raymond Barfield was a person of faith. He grew up in the church and maintained his faith right up to his early years as a physician. But his time working as a pediatric oncologist pushed him to the limits of his emotional and spiritual capacity.

Associated Press

The relationship between President Trump and former campaign strategist Steve Bannon seems to have hit an all time low. In an official statement the president declared Bannon has “lost his mind.”

Courtesy Melissa Darrow Engleman

'Now Voyager' is the dreamy fourth album by Greenville, North Carolina-based composer Melissa Darrow Engleman. Through compositions like “In Neptune’s Shadow” and “Jupiter’s Moons,” Engleman carries listeners on a musical expedition. 

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Healthcare in North Carolina is a tale of corporate giants in which business moves have major spillover effects on access and quality of healthcare for millions of residents. 

the cover of Joshua Davis's book, "From Head Shops to Whole Foods."
Joshua Davis

In the 1970s, independent bookstores, local food co-ops and credit unions shaped a new consumer landscape that was as much about protest as it was about purchase.

In his new book “From Head Shops To Whole Foods: The Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs” (Columbia University Press/2017) history professor and author Joshua Clark Davis digs into the unique environment that led to the rise and demise of these businesses.

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.

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