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:

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An image of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond with hip-hop producer  9th Wonder
Anita Rao

As the year wraps up, "The State of Things" takes a moment to reflect on the highlights of 2016 with the program's producers. Some of producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond's favorite segments include conversations with hip-hop producer 9th Wonder and hip-hop artist Rapsody.

He also chose a conversation with members of the Durham Bulls minor league baseball team and recaps what brought identical twin comedians the Sklar brothers to the Triangle.
 

Host Frank Stasio talks with producer Charlie Shelton-Ormond about his favorite conversations from 2016. 

 

The State of Things host Frank Stasio, NPR Political Correspondent Don Gonyea, and The State of Things managing editor Laura Lee
Anita Rao

As 2016 comes to a close, The State of Things staff go “behind the glass” and join host Frank Stasio to discuss their favorite shows of the year.

One of managing editor Laura Lee’s favorite segments was a conversation with Bill Leuchtenberg, professor emeritus at UNC-Chapel Hill, about his book on the U.S. presidency. She also highlights a conversation with UNC System President Margaret Spellings recorded on her first day in office.

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

   Lawmakers are back in Raleigh for yet another special session​the fifth of the year.This time they reconvened to consider repeal of the controversial House Bill 2, commonly called “the bathroom bill.” The Charlotte City Council voted to repeal its non-discrimination ordinance on the condition that the legislature repeal HB2. Now it appears the House may not have the votes needed for a repeal. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii.​ 

Toby was one of many 'learned pigs' that spelled words and solved math problems onstage in England and America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Basic Books

Pigs are a beloved part of North Carolina culture and vital to the state’s economy, but internationally their reputation is more divisive.

An image of Negar Mottahedeh
Golbarg Bashi

It's easy to think of a "selfie" as a narcissistic way to accrue "likes" on social media and  flaunt your latest traveling adventures. But every "selfie" tells a story about the photographer's world.

Negar Mottahedeh, associate professor of literature at Duke University in Durham, says taking a selfie is a humanizing way to document history in the age of social media. In a recent speech at TEDxDurham, Mottahedeh illustrated the ways selfies can be used as tools for protest and citizen journalism.

Nathania Johnson

We asked our listeners to make their selections for favorite topic or most engaging conversation on The State of Things in 2016. 

Portrait of Marshall Rauch from 1962.
Courtesy Marshall Rauch

Marshall Rauch made a name for himself as the first Jewish senator in North Carolina. Before that he played basketball for Duke, fought in World War II, helped integrate Gastonia, and was the largest producer of Christmas ornaments in the world.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Rauch about his legacy and how his faith played a key role in everything he did including the Christmas business.

Protesters Jenny Lynch of Apex, left, and Heidi Alcock of Chapel Hill.
Jess Clark / WUNC

The General Assembly building on Jones Street in downtown Raleigh literally shook Friday as protesters reached a boiling point over bills Republican lawmakers had pushed through during a surprise special session.

Despite the protests, lawmakers concluded the session Friday afternoon, passing two bills that curb the powers of incoming Democratic governor Roy Cooper.

Image of exhibit celebrating the history of The Scrap Exchange and Durham's Lakewood neighborhood.
Katy Clune

North Carolinians throw away 11 million tons of waste each year, contributing to the more than 200 million tons of waste discarded by all Americans. 

David Simchock

Balsam Range's new album, "Mountain Voodoo," has taken the band to the top of the bluegrass charts with its mix of bluegrass, gospel, and honky-tonk.

Band members Buddy Melton, Tim Surrett, Darren Nicholson, Caleb Smith, and Marc Pruett chat with Frank Stasio about hosting "A Bluegrass Kinda Christmas," and Raleigh's evolution as a haven for bluegrass musicians of all stripes.

Democratic governor-elect Roy Cooper
Logan Ulrich / WUNC

Governor-elect Roy Cooper fired back at Republican lawmakers Thursday in response to their attempts to limit his powers before he even enters office.

North Carolina legislative building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A wild day at the North Carolina General Assembly began with bipartisan support for a $200 million disaster relief bill and ended with an unscheduled special session, dozens of new bills, and an effort to remove some authority from Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper.

In a chaotic scene of political theater, Republicans flexed their legislative muscles and proposed a series of provisions that would remove certain powers from the Executive Branch, including the Secretary of State and Governor. 

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

The North Carolina General Assembly meets this week in a special short session. Lame duck Governor Pat McCrory called the session to address disaster relief funding for victims of both Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires in the western part of the state.  
 

Todd Turner

When Sherrill Roland was in his last year of graduate school at UNC-Greensboro, he was charged for crimes he did not commit in the District of Columbia. 

Meet Nancy Petty

Dec 12, 2016
Reverend Nancy Petty
CREDIT PULLEN BAPTIST CHURCH

As an activist pastor at Raleigh’s progressive Pullen Baptist Church, Nancy Petty is often making news. She is openly gay and has championed marriage equality and LGBT rights. She has led Moral Monday protests and chairs the Reverend William Barber’s Repairers of the Breach board. Most recently her work has focused on facilitating interfaith dialogue with Raleigh’s Muslim community and fighting Islamaphobia and racism.  Her transformative journey from her small town upbringing in Shelby, North Carolina, paralleled major social shifts happening in the churches she has served.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory conceded his re-election bid this week and congratulated his successor, Roy Cooper. The incumbent then met with President-Elect Donald Trump about a possible Cabinet position. In the meantime, McCrory plans to calls the North Carolina legislature to a special session set to begin on Tuesday. The agenda for that session remains largely unknown. Host Frank Stasio talks with political junkie Ken Rudin about the latest.

Tom Rankin

Beloved North Carolina authors Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle first partnered up with Nashville-based musicians Matraca Berg and Marshall Chapman to help design the musical “Good Ol’ Girls,” which debuted in 2010. 

An image of the band Elizabeth Haddix and the Gurley Flynns
Dave Clark

Back in the mid-1990s, singer/songwriter Elizabeth Haddix had just entered law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when she realized academics should not be the only thing in her life. On the first day of class, she went to the local music store and bought herself an acoustic guitar to fill her passion for a creative outlet.

Injections for veterans may aid in addressing PTSD
Wikimedia

For many veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment options are limited to medication and therapy.

But head and neck injections, a new treatment option, is being hailed as a "miracle" method. A Triangle-based organization, RTI International, received a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense to operate trials of the technique at three Army hospitals. Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina is one of the facilities using the new treatment on servicemembers as part of the trial. 

The Monti
Jessie Gladdek

 In the eight years since founding The Monti, a North Carolina-based storytelling organization, Jeff Polish has chosen a variety of topics for storytellers. Participants on The Monti stage have talked about their experiences around themes like "Fear," "The End of the Road," and "Humility." 

But one topic stayed off the list: God. When Polish eventually decided to broach the difficult subject of a higher power, the response was off-the-charts.

Courtesy of Kumarini Silva

This year marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11, an event that sparked dramatic shifts in global policy and international relations. 

JC Raulston Arboretum Digital Archive

Horticulturist J.C. Raulston died in 1996, but his legacy lives on at the North Carolina State University arboretum that bears his name, the nine plants named in his honor, and all over the backyards and nurseries of North Carolina. 

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory conceded in his reelection bid after several weeks of disputing the results. The governor congratulated Governor-Elect Roy Cooper in a video message. 

David Goldman / AP

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters are celebrating after the Army Corps of Engineers announced it will block a pipeline from being built under a dammed off portion of the Missouri River.

An image of the book cover for 'Metaphors Be With You'
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Poet Robert Frost once said, "An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor."

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