The State of Things

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

Committees in the state House and Senate are weighing a measure that would prevent state agencies from issuing certain health warnings on drinking water.

Greensboro skyline
creative commons

North Carolina's House Bill 2 eliminates local anti-discrimination ordinances for the LGBT community. One municipality that lost its protections is Greensboro.

The city council passed a measure last year that included sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as categories of protection in its fair housing and city services ordinance, but the new and controversial law known as HB2 preempts such measures, and does not include LGBT people in the statewide anti-discrimination policy. 

@camtraplive / Twitter

In 1913, National Geographic published the first photographs taken with an automatic camera trap.

Wildlife photographer George Shiras rigged a string to his camera shutter and used bait to coax animals into pulling it, arguably resulting in the first animal selfies ever.

Today, the technology has come a long way, and more scientists are using it to study the behavior and diversity of species all over the world, and it has opened a new frontier in citizen science.

Police badge
Scott Davidson via Flickr

 

Harnett County residents have accused law enforcement officials of aggressive behavior and overstepping their authority.

A Sheriff’s deputy killed a man after entering his home without a warrant, and his family wants answers. Prison officers tased an inmate and left him in a cell where he died 20 minutes later. The entire incident was recorded on surveillance video.

NASA

Doug Wheelock has spent more than 178 days in space. He has been on six space walks, and describes the experience as trying to do a “ballet dance on fingertips,” where the slightest movement goes a long way.

In his almost two decades with NASA, he has spent six months as the Crew Support Astronaut for the International Space Station, served as liaison with Russia’s Cosmonaut Training Center, and trained both Russian and American astronauts for space trips. 

Michelle Lanier

Michelle Lanier’s roots in North Carolina are so deep that she describes “every branch of her family tree having at least a sapling that crosses into the state.” She has a great-grandparent who preached at the oldest black Episcopal church in the state, one who was salesmen on Durham’s Black Wall Street, and one who helped establish the state’s first black high school.  

NaShonda Cooke

In 2010, humorist and blogger Ann Imig was looking for a way “give motherhood a microphone.” She coordinated an event in her hometown in Wisconsin where women from all walks of life gathered to share their stories about motherhood.  Now, writers from across the nation gather to continue this trend by sharing their experiences of mothering—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield has said it might remove some of its health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act.
Jed Record / Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly a hundred health care providers have filed complaints saying Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has not paid their claims for months.

Isle of Shoals
North Carolina Museum of Art

Childe Hassam was an incredibly prolific impressionist painter who made thousands of works throughout his career. A great majority of his paintings document the life and landscape of Appledore Island, a small island off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire.  A collection of 39 of these paintings is on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art until June 19.

Host Frank Stasio talks about the exhibit “American Impressionist: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals” with curator John Coffey, art historian Kathleen Burnside, and marine biologist Hal Weeks.

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

For the next episode of "Movies on the Radio," The State of Things is asking, what is your favorite crime movie?

From classic crime dramas like "A Few Good Men" to law thrillers like "The Firm," film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes will break down the elements that make the best movies about crime and punishment.

Do you have an affinity for Miami drug lord Tony Montana in "Scarface"? Or do you prefer LA gangsters Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield of "Pulp Fiction"?

Ashley Rhodes-Courter

More than 400,000 children in the United States are living in foster care. The statistics about what happens to these children later in life are startling: only about 50 percent finish high school, less than 10 percent go on to higher education. Ashley Rhodes-Courter is an exception to this statistic, but she has devoted her life’s work to speaking out on behalf of her many former foster care siblings who continue to struggle.

University of Mount Olive

  

Lenard Moore's bus ride to his segregated school in Jacksonville, North Carolina, was long, and often boring, but he quickly found that books could fill the void.

At first it was just "Green Eggs and Ham"  and "The Gingerbread Man." But those turned out to be the simple beginnings of a love for literature that blossomed into a career as a poet.

When Lenard joined the Army, poetry became his outlet. By the time he got out, he was writing an average of four poems a day, and started exploring a centuries-old form of poetry, the haiku.

Flickr/Washington State House

 

Governor Pat McCrory announced his $22.3 billion proposed budget plan this morning, which represents a 2.8 percent increase in total state spending. He shared key provisions of his proposal, like an average 5 percent pay increase for teachers, but he will not release his full, detailed budget proposal until next week.
 

Pixabay / Public Domain

The politics of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 continue to make national headlines, as religious communities weigh in on the law's effects. Supporters of HB2 say it is a necessary measure to keep people safe in bathrooms. Opponents say the measure discriminatory and not in line with their faith.

 

Jim Avett
Crackerfarm (Mike Beyer)

  For Jim Avett, music is just as much a part of life as eating and sleeping. The son of a minister and a pianist, Jim grew up singing in the church choir and playing several musical instruments. 

photo of a unisex bathroom sign
Tombe / Wikipedia

Supporters of North Carolina's House Bill 2 say it protects public health and safety by requiring people to use public restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

But opponents point to research that says restrictions based on sexual orientation or gender identity worsen health outcomes among people in those communities. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Shoshana Goldberg, a doctoral candidate at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, about the public health implications of House Bill 2.

Algonquin Books

In the years leading up the Civil War, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

It was meant to be a compromise between Southern slave owners and Northern anti-slavery movements.

Instead, it ripped the country further apart and placed a bounty on people who had otherwise earned their freedom.

This is the context in which North Carolina author Robert Morgan wrote his newest novel. 

Image of two best friends
Flickr/ Stuart Seeger

Best friends are the constant in many people's lives. They rescue each other when a car breaks down. They join go on late-night quests for fast food. And they console and support each other in a time of need. The relationships of best friends have been fodder for movie plot lines for decades and exist in all genres.

Attorney Wade Smith
Tharrington Smith

As a young boy in Stanly County, North Carolina, Wade Smith did not know what he wanted to be when he grew up; he knew only that he had a deep desire to do something "good and useful." 

Armada Cover, by Ernest Cline
Broadway Books

Following the rapid rise of his debut novel, “Ready Player One (Random House/2011),” Ernest Cline felt pressure to produce another cult classic.

His latest sci-fi work, “Armada (Broadway Books/2016)," is a New York Times bestseller and is already a hit in tech circles. The novel will be made into a major motion picture.

Governor Pat McCrory
Hal Goodtree / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Pat McCrory issued an executive order this week that changes some provisions in North Carolina's controversial House Bill Two.

It loosens some of the limits placed on discrimination protections for LGBT people, but it leaves the provisions on bathrooms and minimum wage restrictions in place.

The order was announced in the wake of a business backlash against HB2. Deutsche Bank said it would freeze the expansion it had planned for 250 jobs in Cary. Paypal recently halted plans to create 400 jobs in Charlotte.

Alan Dehmer / ManBites Dog Theater

Editor's note: this conversation contains elements of sex and violence that might not be suitable for some listeners. 

In the near future, the Internet has become a totally immersive virtual reality called The Nether, in which users can carry out their wildest fantasies.

Leesa Jones

The story of the American Civil War is often told through famous battles and important generals. But that narrative doesn’t accurately represent North Carolina’s civil war story. In this state, the impact of the civil war was felt more on the homefront, within the homes, families and communities of ordinary people. The North Carolina Museum of History has begun an effort to pay tribute to these lesser-known Civil War stories through the North Carolina Civil War History Center, set to open in 2020.

Dorothy Managan, 93, served as an Army nurse in Tacoma, Wa. after World War II. She recently added her life story to her medical record at the Asheville, N.C. VA Medical Center.
Jay Price / American Homefront

 

For many health professionals, treating patients is a matter of assessing their ailments, making a diagnosis and prescribing treatment where it is required. Then it is on to the next patient. But a new program in VA medical centers aims to make connections between medical professionals and their patients through narratives.
 

A handful of student protesters have occupied the administration building at Duke University for nearly a week. The demonstration is a response to an incident in which a white administrator hit a black parking attendant with his car. The attendant, Shelvia Underwood, alleges Duke executive Vice President Tallman Trask then used a racial slur in frustration. Protesters say the alleged incident raises questions about the way the school treats minimum wage employees, and have demanded Trask's resignation and a living wage for Duke employees. The university says it will negotiate.

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