Description: The Ozarks have long been an isolated part of the country. Steep mountains break up the landscape into hills and hollows, making each little town into its own microcosm in this place some call the “State of the Ozarks”—the state line between Missouri and Arkansas meaning little to them. Here, families have stayed in the same hollows for generations with little influence from the outside world. Everyone knows everyone else… and their parents, and their grandparents. Which means that daily life here is steeped in the past, for better or for worse. In this episode, SOTRU goes deep into the lives of people who live with the ghosts of their past: a family living with the legacy of a murder, young fiddlers learning songs passed down for centuries, and a married couple overcoming a history of domestic violence—together.
Incude: "I'm Al Letson and"
Outcue: "...first this news"
News Hole: 1:00-6:00
SEGMENT A (12:29)
Incue: "I'm Al Letson and you're listening to State of the Re:Union"
Outcue: "on State of the Re:union"
A-1. The Long Way Around
Producer Laura Starecheski tells host Al Letson about the lengths she went to avoid the Ozarks on a bicycle trip. Could all the bad things she’d heard about the Ozarks be true? Al and Laura trek to Missouri to find out.
A-2. Cindy and CJ: Part 1
The Mahan family spends most of their time separated by prison walls. Cindy and her children Brandon and Carlie live in Vienna, Missouri. Just about every weekend, Cindy takes the kids up to the maximum security Jefferson City Correctional Center to visit their dad, CJ. But once every two months, they get to have a special visit, all together, with none of the usual restrictive rules. That’s because CJ and his family are part of a special 4-H club that only meets in the prison. The goal is to teach incarcerated fathers how to be better role models for their children—a pretty bold idea, considering that all the fathers in the club are in prison for serious crimes, CJ included. In this story, we listen in on the 4-H meeting, and hear the story of how Cindy and CJ met as teenagers in the town of Eminence, Missouri, where Cindy’s father, the sheriff, vowed to keep them apart. CJ tells the story of his crime, and we hear about the mystical moment (“divine intervention”, Cindy calls it) that brought them back together after years of separation.
SEGMENT B (18:59)
Incue: "I'm Al Leton"
B-1. Cindy and CJ: Part 2
We continue the story with Cindy and CJ’s prison courtship, marriage, and hopes for the future. How did CJ go from prison thug to father? Will Cindy’s family ever believe that CJ has changed? And what does the future hold, whether CJ ever gets out of prison, or not?
B-2. Fiddling at McClurg
McClurg used to be a little town. Now it’s just a crossroads out on two hair-pin highways. But every Monday night the old storefront fills up with musicians who’ve been meeting here for decades to play Missouri old-time music. Brought over by Irish and Scottish immigrants, the tunes have been passed down from fiddler to fiddler in the Ozarks for literally centuries… but this music is fragile now, as the old-timers die off, and take the songs with them. Can a new generation of young fiddlers maintain the link to the past?
SEGMENT C (18:59)
Incue: "I'm Al Letson"
Outcue: "This is N-P-R"
C-1. Dear Ozarks Letter: A letter from Illinois-based writer Janet Smith Post to the place she grew up.
C-2. Hit No More
Our last Ozarks story is about something that’s often hidden from friends and neighbors, which makes it hard for communities to deal with together: domestic violence. So what happens when you take something seen as private, taboo even, and make it a community issue? Producer Laura Starecheski found a group here in the Ozarks trying to solve the problem by dealing directly with perpetrators, men who hit their wives or girlfriends. We listen in on a meeting of a group called Hit No More, led by a former batterer named Larry Copelin. Then we hear the intimate story of one couple overcoming domestic violence, told by husband Dean and wife Ruth. Their transformation is relatively new, but Ruth and Dean are determined to shed light on their dark past—in the hopes of changing lives in the Ozarks.
C-3. Wrap-up / Montage
Laura and Al banter back and forth about their journey to the Ozarks, and we finish with a montage of voices touching on the insular life of this extended Ozarks family.
PROGRAM OUT @ 59:00
Broadcast Window Begins 06/04/2012
The Spring 2012 Season of State of the Re:Union (SOTRU) will be available June 1, 2012 on PRX and the Content Depot without charge to all public radio stations, and may be aired an unlimited number of times prior to December 31, 2012. The program may be streamed live on station websites but not archived. Excerpting is permitted for promotional purposes only.
State of the Re:Union is produced by Al Letson, presented by PRX, and co-distributed by NPR and PRX. Major funding for the State of the Re:Union comes from CPB, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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