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.

Isabel Taylor wanted to perform on stage for a long time. So long, in fact, that it became one of those dreams that lingered until it felt more and more distant. So she finally set a deadline: by 40 she would take the stage at an open mic.

In 2010 the first Uber passenger was picked up in San Francisco. The business model quickly took off, and one year later was available in New York and Chicago and then went international.

A Texas woman filed a lawsuit Monday accusing R.Kelly of sexual battery and knowingly infecting her with herpes. This is the latest in a decades-long string of allegations against the R&B artist that detail an array of misconduct, including his repeatedly holding women against their will in a “sex cult.” Hollywood leaders recently renewed the #MuteRKelly movement to demand that companies who profit from his music cut ties.

This year US consumers are estimated to have spent an average of $180 each for Mother’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. This month Movies on the Radio gives moms a tribute money can not buy with a show devoted to mothers.

Last year the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly voted to override a veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper on the state budget plan.

More than 15,000 North Carolina teachers traveled to Raleigh last week for a teacher rally. The event brought national attention to the state’s education budget and teachers’ demands for more resources and support staff to increase student safety.

Despite being an entomologist, Eleanor Spicer Rice was not a likely candidate to write a book about spiders. She is terrified of the creatures. Or at least she was until she partnered up with acclaimed arachnologist Chris Buddle of McGill University.

Each year the Valor Games come to the Triangle and give disabled veterans and those in the armed services the opportunity to compete in sports that help them build strength, confidence and tenacity.

Female candidates swept primary elections in Pennsylvania and Nebraska this week. Will this wave continue into the November midterm elections? And Wednesday’s teacher rally in Raleigh is part of a wave of teacher protests in red states. What impact could this have on the midterms?

Pauli Murray is an often-overlooked civil rights trailblazer. She staged her first “protest” at 5 years old  when her aunt gave her grandfather three pancakes while she only received one. Murray was arrested for sitting in the whites-only section on a Virginia bus 15 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat.

For 32 years, the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society has been hosting its Carolina Blues Festival, which it calls the longest running blues festival in the Southeast. Joining host Frank Stasio for a preview of this year’s events is Atiba Berkley the president of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society. He’ll talk about the preservation society’s commitment to bringing blues to the next generation.

A Wake County grand jury handed up felony assault indictments this week for Cameron Broadwell, a Wake County sheriff’s deputy and North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers Michael G. Blake and Tabitha Davis. The three are accused with violently beating and injuring Kyron Dwain Hinton, a Raleigh resident who was homeless at the time of the incident. Hinton was approached by law enforcement on April 3 in East Raleigh, and what happened next landed him in the hospital for three days with injuries that included a fractured eye socket, broken nose and 20 dog bites.

More than 40 million people provide unpaid care to a family member or loved one, according to data from the National Alliance for Caregiving. But these statistics leave out youth caregivers: a group of more than a million young people under the age of 18 who care for a family member because of a chronic health condition, disability, or a mental health problem, including addiction.

When author Frank Morelli was in high school, his grandfather moved in with the family after he was diagnosed with Pick’s disease, a progressive form of dementia. Morelli noticed how his father struggled to become a caretaker, trying to keep his promise of giving his father a death with dignity as the disease progressed. 

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court issued a decision that created a roadblock for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review of the pipeline. The federal review is known as an incidental take statement, and it is meant to set limits on killing threatened or endangered species during construction and operation. 

Retired surgeon and former state Medicaid Director Robin Gary Cummings took office as chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 2015. Cummings is a Pembroke native and member of the Lumbee Tribe. His tenure has been marked by efforts to expand economic and educational opportunities for residents of Robeson County, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.

Thousands of North Carolina teachers march through the streets of Raleigh on Wednesday to call for higher pay and for more resources for their students. The march is part of the wave of educator-led activism across the nation in backlash to federal and state-level education budget cuts.

Female and queer artists will make up a majority of the lineup at this year’s Moogfest in downtown Durham. It’s a roster that pushes back against the prominence of men as the creators, performers and promoters in the electronic music industry.

In 2014, former President Barack Obama’s health care law gave states the option to expand Medicaid. North Carolina was among 18 states who chose not to expand the program. At the time, many officials in those states expressed concern over how much expansion would cost.

Nearly 40 school districts in North Carolina will close schools on Wednesday, May 16. That is the opening day for the legislative session, and thousands of teachers from around the state plan to protest in Raleigh for better pay and working conditions. The demonstration comes as teachers strike and walk out in other states around the country, like Arizona, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

Greensboro will host its first-ever literary festival this weekend. 50 planned events will feature more than 80 writers who are as diverse as the topics they cover, including authors who are undocumented, gender fluid, and from a range of other religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Under the umbrella of “alternative country,” you will find the music of Farewell Friend. Guitarist and vocalist Tom Troyer, guitarist Mark Byerly, and upright bass player Evan Campfield perform live at the Triad Stage’s Upstage Cabaret in Greensboro.

Candis Cox was working as a representative with American Airlines at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport when she was thrust into the role of political activist. Cox is a transgender woman, and after the passage of North Carolina House Bill 2, she was told she could no longer use the bathroom that aligned with her gender identity.

Waffle House has become embroiled in a new public scandal, and African-American activists are calling for a boycott. Early this week, a video went viral of 22-year-old Anthony Wall getting choked by a police officer outside of a Waffle House in Warsaw, North Carolina.

Two weeks ago, 10 Bladen county residents were awarded $5 million each in punitive damages after winning a hog nuisance lawsuit against Murphy-Brown/Smithfield Foods. This week U.S. District Judge Earl Britt severely cut the award. Instead of the millions they were expecting, the plaintiffs will each get only $250,000.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the North Carolina Arts Council, the state agency decided to profile 50 artists with North Carolina roots. The project is called “50 for 50,” and it includes artists from bestselling-author David Sedaris to poet and musician Shirlette Ammons.

This year is the 50th anniversary of mandolin player Tony Williamson’s recording career. Throughout the years, he has played with bluegrass legends like Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs and Sam Bush. But in the 1980s, Williamson suffered a series of accidents and injuries, and a surgeon told him he would never play the mandolin again. He went through a long transition that included experimenting with Chinese medicine, a spiritual awakening and trying to look at the world a little differently.

The highest rent prices in the nation can be found in metropolitan areas like Manhattan or San Francisco. So why is it that Greensboro has some of the highest eviction rates in the country? Greensboro is ranked seventh on the list of the top evicting large cities in the U.S., according to Princeton University’s Eviction Lab. 

In Steven Burke and Randy Campbell’s Hillsborough home, 1,200 miniature buildings are on display. The extensive collection of American folk art buildings represent everything from movie theatres, to gas stations, to family homes, and they reflect a wide swath of American architecture.

Many of writer Ariel Dorfman’s works explore power dynamics in a post-colonial world. His latest novel is no exception. “Darwin’s Ghosts” (Seven Stories Press/2018) centers on a man whose life is changed on his 14th birthday when his father takes a Polaroid picture of him. However, in the photo protagonist Fitzroy Foster’s face is not his own. Instead, his face is that of a stranger.

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