The State of Things | Blue Ridge Public Radio

M - F Noon - 1PM

The State of Things host Frank Statio
Credit WUNC-FM

WUNC’s flagship program, “The State of Things” covers many diverse issues and topics in North Carolina. Host Frank Stasio talks with authors, musicians, politicians, policymakers and everyday citizens about subjects that matter to North Carolinians. The program can now be heard in Western North Carolina, M - F from noon to 1, thanks to an ongoing partnership between Blue Ridge Public Radio and WUNC, headquartered in Chapel Hill.

The State of Things is a live show that welcomes comments, feedback and questions from listeners. Call 1.877.962.9862, email sot@wunc.org, or tweet @state_of_things. Follow The State of Things on Facebook or Tumblr.

Get a daily show update, and special news.

Or, join the live audience for remote broadcasts from Greensboro's Triad Stage and Raleigh's Museum of Natural Sciences. And you can listen to Political Junkie Ken Rudin Fridays on the program.

Federal judges ruled again that North Carolina’s Congressional map is unconstitutional due to partisan gerrymandering. In their ruling, the judges left open the option to order redrawing the districts before the 2018 election. What impact could this ruling have on the midterm elections and congressional control? 

Cardiologist Dr. Ross Simpson has spent years studying premature sudden death. He investigates why people between the ages of 18-64 with no pre-existing conditions are dying in North Carolina. 

When Anne-Claire Niver’s grandmother died in 2016, her small family was devastated. Niver was so grief-stricken that writing music about her grandmother was painful – too painful for her to imagine writing a song or recording an album about the loss. 

Gina Hawkins made history last summer when she became the first woman and first African-American police chief of Fayetteville. She is now one of six African-American women at the helm of police departments around the state. But when Hawkins took the job, she had no idea it would garner so much national attention, including an interview on NBC’s “Megyn Kelly Today.”

Ask Americans to name people who led the fight for civil rights in the 1960s and figures Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks will quickly emerge. But Duke professor Michael Hardt argues that contemporary social protest movements have moved away from centralizing power and promoting figureheads. That observation is the thesis of his latest book “Assembly” (Oxford University Press/2017) co-authored by Antonio Negri.

On a busy Thursday morning at Asheville Children's Medical Center, Dr. Sam Kohn made the rounds. It was toward the end of summer break, so there were lots of back-to-school check-ups and vaccines on the schedule that day.

The Confederate statue Silent Sam, which stood on University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s campus since 1913, was toppled last week. On Tuesday the UNC Board of Governors held a nearly five-hour meeting, conducted almost exclusively behind closed doors, to decide what to do with the controversial statue.

When Martha Kelly was 18, she knew comedy was her career of choice. Paralyzed by fear, Kelly took what appeared to be an easier road and enrolled in college.

A federal court has again found North Carolina’s congressional district map to be unconstitutional, ruling that it was drawn to favor Republicans. The panel was reconsidering the case at the direction of the Supreme Court, which declined to hear it earlier this year. With November’s midterm elections quickly approaching, the court must now decide whether to demand new maps be drawn and who should draw them. 

Guilford is one of eight counties in North Carolina that has more than 40 gangs, according to 2016 numbers from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol GangNET database. In 2017, Greensboro had a record 42 homicides, and 11 of those killings were gang related. That same year, the number of violent deaths in High Point was nearly three times greater than killings in 2016. 

Hundreds of people lined up in Detroit this morning to bid farewell to Aretha Franklin at her public visitation. The singer’s outsized legacy has crystallized in the days since her death on Aug. 16, 2018. 

Cheetie Kumar grew up in Chandigarh, India with America on the mind. Her family talked often about moving overseas to pursue a fresh start in the United States. Her parents lived through Indian Partition in 1947, a bloody conflict during which Kumar’s mother lost both of her parents. For their family, moving to the U.S. was both about finding new opportunities and gaining distance from trauma. 

The North Carolina General Assembly is in a last-minute special session, called yesterday, to rewrite two proposed constitutional amendments to appear on the November ballot.

Earlier this week the state turned down Chemours’ suggestion to raise the acceptable amount of GenX, a chemical found in the water, soil and air around its North Carolina plant. The Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board instead affirmed the state’s conservative threshold of the chemical for drinking water. 

Silent Sam may no longer be standing on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, but activist Maya Little says the fight is far from over. 

They call it psychedelic-hillbilly-rock, but the singer-songwriter duo Ladies Gun Club also embraces the term Americana.

Silent Sam fell to the ground Monday night, breaking through the dirt around its pedestal. Protesters cheered, and police, for the most part, looked on as protesters kicked the statue and captured photos of the controversial Confederate symbol. 

During her speech at the Golden Globes, Oprah introduced many people to Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old sharecropper who was gang raped in 1940s Alabama and risked her life to seek justice. 

Inmates around the country are on strike demanding improved prison conditions, better pay and increased rehabilitation services. The National Prison Strike started Tuesday, and is set to end on Sunday, Sept. 9.  

The best filmmakers can craft a world so vivid viewers can imagine themselves living alongside the characters. Through intricate sets, or the magic of animation, cinema becomes America’s dream machine. 

Silent Sam, the controversial confederate monument that stood on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus is gone.

A team from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has been working to identify the names of people who were made slaves in America through documents including wills and bills of sale. The Digital Library on American Slavery lists about 80,000 slaves, and is referenced by tens of thousands of users each month. 

When Triad-based artist Molly McGinn agreed to organize a new weekly music night at a local venue, she wanted it to look and sound a little different. 

When Hurricane Matthew devastated her rural community, Michelle Skipper was there to help. She and her husband cooked and did laundry for hundreds of people staying at an emergency shelter in St. Pauls, a small town in Eastern North Carolina. 

While last month's “Unite The Right” rally in Washington D.C. was small, it brought renewed attention to white supremacist groups in the United States. 

Under the 15-year presidency of Stephen Scott, Wake Technical Community College grew by leaps and bounds. Full time enrollment more than doubled, the total budget more than quadrupled, and the college added five new campuses, including one in RTP that opened earlier this month. 

The sound of Sidecar Social Club is rooted in the grit and authenticity of old jazz, but their performances are not stuck in the past. The band incorporates elements of rhythm and blues, Latin music and even rock. 

A three-judge panel met Wednesday to discuss two challenges to constitutional amendments proposed by the Republican-led General Assembly.

A coalition of concerned community members and activists filed a federal discrimination complaint Monday against the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education and School System. It alleges that they mishandled concerns about mold and air quality at the elementary school Ashley Academy for Cultural & Global Studies, which serves a predominantly black and Latino population in eastern Winston-Salem.

 In the early 1990s, U.S. Congress authorized 1,000 special visas for displaced Tibetans living in exile in India and Nepal. Tenzin Kalsang is a Tibetan who came to the U.S. as part of that resettlement. Despite a steady stream of struggles, and trying to navigate life without her family, Kalsang took a job as a cleaner in an office building. It was there that she struck up a friendship with writer and educator Madeline Uraneck, and the two went on to consider each other family. 

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