The State of Things

State Senator Tom Apodaca
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The General Assembly adjourned late Friday and lawmakers headed home.

They passed a $22.3 billion budget before they left, giving state employees a small raise and setting aside more money for the rainy day fund. They also made a small tweak to House Bill 2, the so-called bathroom bill.

photo of Alexis Pauline Gumbs, her nephew, and stepsister
Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Some scholars are criticized for staying within the ‘ivory tower,’ and creating work that’s only accessible to a highly-academic audience. Alexis Pauline Gumbs does not receive that criticism.

She identifies as a community-accountable scholar and puts that identity into practice by intentionally bringing scholarly ideas into non-academic settings. This manifests in online educational projects like ‘Eternal Summer of The Black Feminist Mind,’ which creates accessible curricula from black feminist work.

Travis Mulhauser

Note: this program is a rebroadcast.

For a number of years, there was one particular image that continued to haunt Travis Mulhauser: a young girl in a hooded sweatshirt who comes across an abandoned baby. He eventually decided to let his imagination play out her story, and it resulted in his debut novel “Sweetgirl” (Harper Collins/2016). The book follows 16-year-old Percy James, whose search for her mother in the dead of winter takes her on an unexpected journey.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The United States Supreme Court issued decisions this week in several high profile cases related to abortion restrictions and immigration regulations.

The high court also agreed to hear North Carolina's redistricting suit. Their decisions could affect voters in November.

Photo of Dominique Witten
Dominique Witten

Comedian Dominique has performed alongside Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle. But she says her comedic inspiration doesn’t come from these comedy all-stars, it comes from her mother.

She was raised by a straightforward woman who encouraged her to ‘tell the truth’ and ‘call it as you see it,’ and that’s exactly what she does on stage.She has appeared on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam,” was a finalist in last year’s “Last Comic Standing,” and currently stars in the hit TV series “Black Jesus” on Adult Swim.

photo of Kathy Mattea
Arlin Geyer/Warren Wilson College

For the last 25 years, the Swannanoa Gathering has brought thousands of people from across the world to experience the old-time musical traditions of Appalachia.

The five-week program features workshops in traditional folk, guitar composition and Celtic music and includes instruction from Grammy award-winning musicians like Janis Ian and Tom Paxton.

Photo: North Carolina's Old State Capitol building.
Soggy6 / Flickr

Lawmakers convened in Raleigh nearly a month ago for a short session to address the state's budget. But legislators have proposed measures on other items including bills on coal ash, light rail and sanctuary cities.

Also this week, Senator Fletcher Hartsell, a Republican from Concord, was indicted on charges of illegal campaign expenditures. The long-serving member in the Senate says he will not resign.

Photo of a ball and chain with "student loans" written on it
thisisbossi / Flickr

Forty-two million people in the United States owe $1.3 trillion in student debt, according to a recent report from Reveal radio program in conjunction with the Center for Investigative Reporting.

In 2014 in North Carolina, 61 percent of students graduating from public and private four-year institutions graduated with loans amounting to an average of $25,000 per individual, according to The Project on Student Debt. The privatization of Sallie Mae and the continued disinvestment in public higher education at the state level contribute to the problem.

Mugshot photos of Leah Hendershot and Anca Stefan
Leah Hendershot/Anca Stefan

Earlier this month, 14 public school teachers were arrested outside of Gov. Pat McCrory's office after they linked arms and blocked a downtown Raleigh intersection. The demonstration was a response to what the teachers say is a lack of funding for North Carolina's public schools.

In the days since the protest, teachers have posted their mugshots to social media along with their reasons for demonstrating. One teacher wrote, "I've taught World and U.S. history without a textbook for the past four years." Those posts have gone viral.

Frank Taylor / Carolina Public Press

A private company that owns mental health care facilities in western North Carolina is coming under fire for its treatment record and its insensitive corporation name: Nutz R Us.

One family tells the Carolina Public Press that it had little control over their son's placement in a Nutz R Us facility because a private guardianship company was making his treatment decisions. The CPP investigation found the state has little oversight of the industry.

An image of Durham-based music producer 9th Wonder
Creative Silence

 

Between the beats and rhymes of every hip-hop song is a story. A rapper catches a snapshot of their experiences with the lyrics. Meanwhile, the DJ or producer often samples older songs for the beat, in turn creating a lineage of music.

photo of Steve Michell, Tom Campbell, Sarah Goddin, Linda-Marie Barrett and Erica Eisdorfer
Courtesy of Deonna Kelli Sayed/Jon Mayes/Lance Richardson

Summer is the time of year when vacationers look for good books to take to the beach or their backyard hammocks.

These books can be the ones that are light, frivolous and enjoyable, or simply the ones that you never had the chance to finish before.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature.

State Senators approved a budget Tuesday night following more than an hour of review and debate.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

Republican leaders at the General Assembly are working to wrap up the short session.

Today the Senate is considering a flurry of bills, including some of the most controversial legi slation of the session. One proposal could change the way police officers do their work and another could reorganize the Asheville City Council.

photo of 'The Dude Abides Party'
Ashley Sue Bullers/North Carolina Museum of Art

Summer is here and so are summer festivals. While big events like MerleFest or the National Folk Festival get much of the attention, many smaller festivals scattered throughout the state highlight the varied cultural communities in North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio talks with festival organizers about this summer’s lineup, from the Highland Games in the west to the Yam Festival in the east.


photo of Brett Harris
Jeremy Lange

Durham-based singer-songwriter Brett Harris didn't grow up in a musical family, but he has found one in the Triangle.

Harris is a touring member of The dB's and a core member of Big Star’s Third, a group that recreated '70s rock group Big Star’s album “Third” with live on-stage performances. In his new solo album, “Up in the Air,” Harris lets his strengths as a songwriter and storyteller shine on an original set of indie-pop songs.


Book Cover For 'In A Different Key'
Crown Publishers

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.  

The term "autism" dates back to the 1930s when a pediatrician named Hans Asperger coined it to describe young boys he was treating who had high intelligence but limited social skills.

The new book, "In A Different Key: The Story of Autism" (Crown/2016) looks at the term and documents how scientific and popular understanding of the disorder have shifted and evolved tremendously in the past century.

Aminatou Sow

Note: This program is a rebroadcast.

About five years ago, Aminatou Sow was working for a technology company in Washington D.C. and came across an article detailing how few women work in tech. The statistic did not match her personal experience as she knew of a number of women working in tech-related fields, from NASA to the National Security Agency.

photo of Muhammad Ali
AP / AP

In 2009, President Obama declared June "African-American Music Appreciation Month." The tribute started as "Black Music Month" in the 1970s. While the name has changed, it continues to be a time to celebrate the ways black artists have shaped music. These artists include three people who have recently died; Prince, Billy Paul and Phife Dawg. They each left a dynamic legacy in different genres.

photo of Wildin Acosta
Courtesy of the Acosta family

Earlier this year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained 19-year-old Wildin Acosta as he was leaving his home in Durham.

Acosta has been held in a detention facility for nearly five months while he waits for an immigration hearing. The Corrections Corporation of America says he was recently held in "restrictive housing" for nine days for three alleged citations. CCA says the disciplinary action follows ICE detention standards.

A completed Earthcasting installation in Portland, Oregon by sculptor Thomas Sayre.
Courtesy of MINNOW MEDIA

Sculptor Thomas Sayre tackles work that is exceptional.

His giant sculptures use the earth as a casting mechanism. Although his art is unusual, it is not solitary.

photo of Joe Webster
Efren Renteria

When Joe Webster became an attorney, one of his first cases was a civil rights lawsuit he filed against his hometown of Madison, North Carolina. He successfully argued that it was wrong for the town to deny him, a black man, his own office space in a predominantly white neighborhood.

photo of a gun show in Houston
M&R Glasgow / Flickr

Democrats in the Senate hold the floor in a 14-hour filibuster designed to force a vote on gun regulations. The measures, expected for votes next week, would restrict gun purchases for suspected terrorists and expand background checks. But the likelihood of passage seems low as the parties disagree on how to enforce the measures.

photo of Greg Humphreys Electric Trio
Mike Benson

After more than 15 years touring as a musician, Greg Humphreys decided it was time to slow things down. He took a break from his career as a solo artist to focus on other things he'd put on the sidelines. He eventually moved to New York City, got married and had a kid.

Photo of Claudia Ruíz Massieu and North Carolina legislators
Consulado General de Mexico en Raleigh

More than 35 million of the nation’s immigrant population comes from neighboring Mexico.

And America’s relationship with Mexico is at the top of political headlines, particularly when the GOP presidential candidate advocates building a wall along the 2,000 mile border.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Claudia Ruíz Massieu.

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