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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James Olin Oden

Jul 27, 2012

The Ancient Celts told stories to each other through song. They had chants for battle and mourning dirges when their heroes fell. Raleigh-based musician James Olin Oden says the contemporary Celtic music scene is alive and well.

A recent study at North Carolina State University highlights how deceptive advertising affects the brains of consumers. This could have implications for aging and injured brains and how they are able to vet advertising for falsehoods. Host Frank Stasio talks about the study with Stacy Wood, Langdon Distinguished Professor of Marketing at N.C. State University’s Poole College of Management.

This program originally aired on June 20, 2012. For a link to the audio, click here.

“One Man…Two Titanium Legs…100 Chickens.” That’s the tag line for a forthcoming documentary called “The Farmer Veteran Project” produced by Vittles Films. The movie centers around the story of Alex Sutton, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who was seriously injured on his final tour of duty. Sutton now raises heirloom chickens in North Carolina and uses farming as a way to heal from the trauma of combat.

Coach, educator and activist LeRoy T. Walker spent his career breaking the color barrier. He was the first African-American coach of a U.S. Olympic Track Team, the first black president of the United States Olympic Committee and the man who, along with Duke University coach Al Buehler, united the races around the sport of track and field in Durham, NC.

How do older adults maintain healthy, sustainable lives? How does the community they live in come into play? These questions reach into the spheres of urban planning, development policy, and public policy. Kendra Heatwole-Shank explored these ideas and more by keeping track of some seniors with the help of GPS technology.

Alexandra Fuller's first book, "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" (Random House/2001) was an international bestseller. It chronicled her childhood in colonial Africa as her family moved from impoverished farm to impoverished farm, landing in Rhodesia in time for the country’s war of independence.

Jay Leutze was a non-practicing lawyer writing a novel, working for the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and minding his own business in his home in western North Carolina when he got a phone call from an impassioned and outraged 14 year old named Ashley. She and her aunt and uncle, Ollie and Curly, were sure that the new scar on a nearby mountain was a violation of the state's Ridge Act.

Intimate Wars

Jul 24, 2012

An experience early in Merle Hoffman’s career as a counselor solidified her life’s mission.  She was asked to speak to and comfort a woman who was struggling with the decision to have an abortion. Holding that woman’s hand on that difficult day started Hoffman on the path of advocating for the reproductive rights of women everywhere.

So Rich, So Poor

Jul 24, 2012

More than 20 million people in the United States are living in extreme poverty at this moment.

That means that the income for a family of 4 is half below the poverty line, or $11,000. Six million people’s incomes consist only of food stamps. These are shocking numbers, and Peter Edelman says most people are not familiar with the bleak reality of why extreme poverty exists. Edelman is the author of “So Rich, So Poor: Why it’s so Hard to End Poverty in America”

Meet Joe Liles

Jul 23, 2012

On the Appalachian Trail, there’s a phenomenon that hikers call “trail magic.” It refers to acts of kindness and generosity that take place between strangers on the trail. Joe Liles was the happy recipient of many forms of trail magic when he hiked in 2009. It was a sort of karmic return for his lifelong work as an educator, an artist, an activist, and a curious traveler. Liles, a retired teacher, joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his career in the classroom and his efforts to promote local art and preservation of American Indian culture.

Saint Pauli

Jul 20, 2012

In the Episcopalian Church, it is customary for someone to be deceased for 50 years in order to become a saint. However when it came to Pauli Murray, the church’s General Convention chose to set aside the rule and include her in the book “Holy Men, Holy Women: Celebrating the Saints” (Church Publishing/ 2010), giving her status as a saint.

Viva Cackalacky!

Jul 20, 2012

UNC-CH professor David Garcia tried something a little different last year for one of his classes. It was called "Musical Movements: Migration, Exile, and Diaspora," and instead of a lecture, it was hands-on. The students produced a compilation CD of Latin music from around North Carolina.

Viva Cackalacky!

Jul 20, 2012

UNC-CH professor David Garcia tried something a little different last year for one of his classes. It was called "Musical Movements: Migration, Exile, and Diaspora," and instead of a lecture, it was hands-on. The students produced a compilation CD of Latin music from around North Carolina.

Orquesta GarDel

Jul 20, 2012

Orquesta GarDel is a lively group with a Latin core but a diverse offering of members. Thirteen artists with experience in Latino music as well as African- and Anglo American jazz make music perfect to dance to.

When James Clark retired as an English professor from North Carolina State University, he wasn't done teaching. He went from the classroom to the retirement home, where he taught the elderly how to share their experiences with family and friends through creative writing.

Charles "Chic" Dambach didn't set out to bring peace to the world. In fact, he went to college to smash heads with fellow football players. But when racism on the team forced him to confront the inequities of the world, his path changed. From volunteering with the Peace Corps to working as chief of staff for a U.S.

Andy Griffith died earlier this month at his home on Roanoke Island, NC at age 86. Griffith was a native son of North Carolina, who proudly brought a tender vision of Southern culture to the masses through television. His portrayal of a wise and honest country lawman on “The Andy Griffith Show” won many hearts.

One night in December 1995, Jill Marker was leaving her job as assistant manager of an artificial flower shop called the Silk Plant Forest in Winston-Salem, NC when she was savagely beaten and left for dead. A few months later, police charged a man named Kalvin Michael Smith with the crime and he was convicted by a jury the next year. Smith has always maintained his innocence and several follow-up investigations show that police may have mishandled the case.

Occasionally, there are headlines about a new company coming to the area and bringing a certain number of jobs with it. Politicians love to talk about job creation, but what does it really mean for a local economy when a handful of people have a shot at employment? How many new jobs would it take to have a truly positive impact on a down economy and does it matter if the jobs are low wage?

Legend has it that Baldemar Velasquez led his first fight for migrant farmworkers’ rights at the age of 12. He started working in the fields at 4 years old and soon became a self-taught scholar of social justice.

The merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy was supposed to be a powerful marriage of relative equals, but from the moment they combined, the problems started. The board of the new company ousted one of its new leaders, sparking investigations and cries of betrayal. Host Frank Stasio talks to News & Observer reporter John Murawski about the controversy.

There was never any doubt that Yolanda Rabun was cut out for the spotlight. She attended a performing arts high school in Atlanta, GA where she honed her singing and acting skills.  She continued to perform while attending law school where she soon learned that the courtroom is just another kind of theater.

Saluting the Montford Point Marines

Jul 12, 2012

The U.S. Marine Corps remained segregated until 1948. The first group to break the color barrier was a group of African-American men who trained at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. They became known as the Montford Point Marines. Earlier this summer, the Montford Point Marines were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, DC. FM Hooper was among the men who were honored at the ceremony.

American Ninja

Jul 12, 2012

Stephen Hayes was a kid when he first read about ninjas in a James Bond novel. When Hayes got older, he devoted himself to martial arts and eventually decided to seek out the origins of the ninja in Japan. There, he learned the martial art of ninjitsu from ninja masters and brought what he learned back to the United States.

IV (intravenous)

Jul 11, 2012

Diana Darby left her life as a television writer in Los Angeles to become a musician in Nashville. Now she is on her fourth album, titled "IV (intravenous).” It was written after a series of misfortunate incidents caused her to take a break from writing and recording. Darby joins host Frank Stasio to play live and speak about her first CD in six years.

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