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Gov. Cooper Highlights Community Service In WNC On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper made several stops through Western North Carolina Mon. to mark the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

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The State of Things

“The State of Things” covers diverse issues & topics in NC. Frank Stasio talks to authors, musicians, politicians, & citizens about subjects that matter to North Carolinians.

The third Monday of January is a U.S. federal holiday honoring the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., but two Southern states — Alabama and Mississippi — also use the day to celebrate Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate forces during the Civil War.

The Canadian Armed Forces are helping residents dig out of the snow after a powerful blizzard hit the easternmost province of Newfoundland and Labrador over the weekend.

In the capital city of St. John's, the snowstorm completely buried cars and caused thousands to lose power. The massive storm dumped as much as 30 inches of snow on the city, according to The Guardian.

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The United States now has 46 million people age 65 or older. That's a record number, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

When Heather Woock was in her late 20s, she started researching her family history. As part of the project she spit into a tube and sent it to Ancestry, a consumer DNA testing service. Then in 2017, she started getting messages about the results from people who said they could be half-siblings.

"I immediately called my mom and said, 'Mom, is it possible that I have random siblings out there somewhere?'" Woock says. She remembers her mom responded, "No, why? That's ridiculous."

How confident are Iowa Democrats in their choices, now two weeks out from the caucuses?

The response Renee Kleinpeter gave NPR when asked which candidates she's narrowed her choice down to could sum it up: four seconds of laughter.

"I'll go with anybody who could beat [President] Trump," she said after laughing. "I wish somebody could tell me."

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So a pretty big week in Washington, D.C., with a Senate impeachment trial beginning tomorrow.

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When NPR host Scott Simon was in his late teens, he took a job in an assisted living facility in Chicago, working with people who had developmental disabilities.

"It was more formative in my life, I think, than most any war I've covered, any political campaign I've covered, any reportorial experience I've had," Simon says. "It really opened my eyes into seeing the world differently."

Simon has wanted to tell this story for years, and so he drew on the experiences he had back then to write a new mystery for young readers called Sunnyside Plaza.

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Arts & Performance

Grace Engel


If you’re a proud multitasker, you might want to make plans for the night of Jan. 22 to go to LT Laundry in West Asheville.

“We’ll be doing laundry. People can bring their laundry if they like,” said A. Eithne Hamilton, an Asheville dance and film artist behind an immersive performance called “Solidago.”

 

“Solidago” is among nearly three dozen shows wrapped into the Asheville Fringe Festival, home to this region’s most inventive, experimental and hard-to-define performers. Performances run Jan. 23-26.

courtesy of the artist


Shane Parish says he’s a self-taught musician, which isn’t a typical credential for someone earning a living as a guitar instructor.

“I’m not coming at it from this woo-woo perspective,” he said of his teaching practice. “We can get very specific and technical and advanced, theoretically, but I realized most of it is being present with that person in our time together. I look at it as a conversation about something we are mutually interested in.”

This is an evolved and expanded view for someone, while growing up in Tallahassee, Fla., who came to music as a lifeline.

Colby Caldwell


Molly Sawyer used to sculpt stylized horses and human figures from clay. That changed after her battle with breast cancer.

“The work became a response to my own direct experience with life, death,” she said. “I guess the issue of mortality has always been present in my deeper thought process.”

Today, Sawyer’s work is a mashup of found objects such as driftwood, stone and metal rods with braided or balled-up wool, twine, ash and fur. She usually works large, with some installations at once clumped on the floor, leaning against a wall and hanging from the ceiling.  

The dimensions and materials make this body of work difficult to place in galleries focused on sales, but Sawyer is riding a wave of exposure in area museums and art centers. She’s among the 50 artists invited into the Asheville Art Museum’s “Appalachia Now!” exhibition, and Sawyer is soon opening solo shows at Revolve in Asheville and at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.

Audrey Wash


Asheville’s Tongues of Fire are still a young band, but vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Lowell Hobbs has already absorbed some time-worn lessons.

For instance, twice now, the band has invested many months, untold amounts of money and healthy doses of hope to perform at the South By Southwest Festival in Austin, Tex.

“We’ve never been accepted officially, but that has not stopped us,” Hobbs said. “It’s interesting being one of the bigger bands in Asheville, like our shows are usually packed, and then we’ll go down to SXSW and it’s like being thrown into this sea. I spent like six months working every contact I had and just begging people, and get like three showcases and maybe one of them is good. It’s definitely really frustrating and we’re very burned out, but we’re not gonna stop.”