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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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."

Courtesy of Malinda Maynor Lowery

Malinda Maynor Lowery is a Lumbee Indian whose family goes back more than 10 generations in Robeson County. Lowery was born in Lumberton, N.C. but raised in Durham, where from an early age, she often fielded the question, “what are you?” Although she grew up in a family with a strong sense of Native identity, this question stayed with her much of her life, and eventually became the subject of much of her academic and documentary work.

James MacPherson / AP Photo

Thousands of protesters have spent months at the site of the proposed $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline under a lake near Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The protesters say it threatens the safety of the water and undermines a sacred native site. 

An image of former UNC housekeepers Barbara Prear and Marsha Tinne
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

On November 26, 1996, a group of housekeepers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill settled a lawsuit with the university that provided the workers with increased wages, improved career training and education programs and more transparent communication with university administrators.

The settlement was the culmination of a movement led by the UNC Housekeeper's Association. The group's efforts follow a legacy of activism by workers at UNC-CH.

Mandolin Orange
Scott McCormick / Sacks & Co.

Mandolin Orange's new album, "Blindfaller," moves between a haunting warning about politics, allusions to lingering effects of historical wars in the South, and a honky-tonk ode to life on the road.

wildfire photo
Stuart Palley for Reveal

Wildfires continue to sweep through the Southeastern United States. More than 28,000 fires have burned approximately 1.5 million acres of land in the region so far this year, according to The National Interagency Fire Center.

Image from The Andy Griffith Show
Wikimedia

Many know Mayberry as the idyllic town that was home to the fictional Andy Griffith show.

A new film highlights the characters of the true Mayberry: Mount Airy, North Carolina. Filmmaker Bill Hayes, a Mount Airy native, captured the characters and places that make Mount Airy a representation of “Hometown USA.” 

Despite economic struggles caused by the decline of textile manufacturing, The Real Mayberry continues to thrive and retain its unique character.

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