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.

Photo of the 2018 Winter Olympics logo
Wikimedia Commons

The Winter Olympics kick off this week in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but the headlines leading up to the international games are dominated by a doping scandal. The International Olympic Committee banned Russia’s team as punishment for systematic state-sponsored doping.

Photo of two men and the 'Intelligently Ratchet' logo
Courtesy of Kevin Thomas

The Facebook live comedy and interview show “Intelligently Ratchet” hosts conversations that span politics, art and culture. Co-hosts Kevin “Kaze” Thomas and Karim “Bishop Omega” Jarrett set the tone for a program that is smart but approachable, and this month they are hosting a number of conversations to mark Black History Month.

Photo of Michael Scott at microphone
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

Last week state officials held a public forum in Bladen County to share information and address concerns about GenX, the unregulated chemical produced by Chemours that has contaminated drinking water. Many residents said they left with more questions than answers.

Photo of two actors in 'The Christians'
PlayMakers Repertory Company

 This season Playmakers Repertory Company presents two plays written centuries apart that delve into what it means to believe and what happens when faith is shattered.

courtesy of Daniel Bolger

In 1968, brothers Tom and Chuck Hagel volunteered for an infantry unit bound for Vietnam. One of them believed in the war; one was staunchly opposed to it. 

 

Photo of Rolonda Watts.
Courtesy of Rolonda Watts

Rolonda Watts began her career as a reporter for WFMY News in Greensboro, North Carolina. She moved on from there to New York City, where she is remembered as the local news anchor during the “Today” show.

 Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Despite warnings from law enforcement, President Donald Trump released the controversial Republican memo on the FBI. He confirmed in an early-morning Tweet that he believes that top officials have “politicized the sacred investigative process.”

Image of three different maps of North Carolina, with different districts.
Courtesy of Jonathan Mattingly

In the past few months, the courts have found fault with North Carolina’s state and congressional maps. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that state legislative districts are unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering, and last month a three-judge panel in federal court determined that there is partisan gerrymandering in the state’s congressional districts. 

Courtesy of Mysti Mayhem

Growing up in a small town in the Poconos, singer-songwriter Mysti Mayhem knew her big dreams needed to find a big stage.

Photo of prescription bottle and pils
Eric Norriss / Flickr Creative Commons

Jeffrey Halbstein-Harris had already beat addiction twice by the time he was in his 30s. But a doctor assured him that the opioids he was prescribing for Halbstein-Harris’s diabetic neuropathy were both effective and non-habit forming. Nevertheless, Halbstein-Harris became dependent and went through a painful withdrawal process.

child and man playing chess outdoors
Frankie Torres / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/agWs9r

Human beings have been learning long before schoolhouse walls were ever built, bubble tests invented and recess bells rung. So why is there still so much confusion and debate about the purpose of school, the goals of education and the best ways to empower students to succeed in life? 

Photo of two women holding signs
Anne Meador / Flickr Creative Commons

After months of deliberation, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has granted an important permit for the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The 401 water quality permit will allow developers Dominion Energy and Duke Energy to construct the pipeline along the I-95 corridor as long as they adhere to certain water quality standards. More permits are required for construction to begin, but opponents were hoping the state would withhold the water permit, which could have stopped construction of the pipeline even with its federal approval.

Photo of the seven widowed fathers in the group
Courtesy of Dr. Justin Yopp

Two psychiatrists at the North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center work closely with patients near the end of their lives – and with the family members left behind. Throughout their careers, Dr. Donald Rosenstein and Dr. Justin Yopp have supported many young widowed mothers whose husbands passed away, but they noticed there were far fewer resources for widowed fathers who were raising children alone.

McGuire's Miracle The Documentary

Alexander Julian is credited with the iconic revamp of Tar Heel sports uniforms. But his journey to creating the legendary Carolina blue argyle was a long time in the making. Julian drew up his first designs when he was a child, and he started working the sales floor at his father Maurice Julian’s haberdashery when he was in his teens.

Photo: Reading behind bars
Impact Sports Prison Ministry

This week the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter to state officials asking them to remove “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness” (The New Press/2012) from the list of banned books in state prisons. The book argues that the U.S. criminal justice system is a contemporary system of racial control.

Courtesy PublicAffairs

Between 2005 and 2013, 10 students in the national college fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) died due to alcohol and hazing. Bloomberg journalist John Hechinger reported extensively on the frat and dubbed it the “deadliest fraternity in America.”

Courtesy Lakota John

Lakota John did not have to wait long to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a touring musician. At just 12 years old he was invited to travel across the country and play his ragtime blues.

Child actress Shirley Temple in 'Poor Little Rich Girl.'
classic_film (Creative Commons)

Everyone is familiar with famous child actress Shirley Temple. But there are a lot of other child actors in Hollywood, and there are many movies where the kid steals the show. In the next installment of Movies on the Radio, we're talking about movies featuring child stars.

Phelan M. Ebenhack / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Donald Trump just celebrated his first year in office, and the burning question in some circles is: should Oprah Winfrey take his place? The buzz around #Winfrey2020 started after she gave a rousing speech at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.

WARNER BROS. PICTURES

Countless films have used money as a central theme throughout the years, from the 1924 silent film “Greed” to recent hits that explore the 2008 financial crisis, like “Margin Call” and “The Big Short.”

Erin Flynn, Hank Pressley, and Paul Ringel getting ready to go on stage at the Triad Stage in Greensboro.
Jenn Brookland / WUNC

High Point University history professor Paul Ringel wanted to give his students a lesson in local history that took them beyond traditional sources and into the very community they were studying. He led students through an oral history project in which they interviewed community members about their experiences living through and participating in the civil rights movement from the base of William Penn High School, which was then a segregated, African-American institution.

Flickr Creative Commons/Stephen Melkisethian

By their own admission Republican lawmakers have purposefully drawn the state’s election maps in favor of their own party, sending 10 Republicans and just three Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives.

LORENA GUILLEN TANGO ENSEMBLE

In the new album “The Other Side of My Heart,” the Lorena Guillén Tango Ensemble tells the stories of Latina immigrant women in the United States. Lorena Guillén moved to the U.S. from Argentina about 20 years ago.

Courtesy of Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Stephanie Elizondo Griest grew up between two cultural identities: her father is white from Kansas, and her mother is Chicana, or Mexican-American.

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. 

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