Catherine Brand

Host, "All Things Considered"

Fed up with the frigid winters of her native state, Catherine was lured to North Carolina in 2006. She grew up in Wisconsin where she spent much of her time making music and telling stories. Prior to joining WUNC, Catherine hosted All Things Considered and classical music at Wisconsin Public Radio. She got her start hosting late-nights and producing current events talk shows for the station's Ideas Network. She later became a fill-in talk show host and recorded books for WPR's popular daily program, Chapter A Day. 

Catherine is just as comfortable on stage as she is behind the microphone. She holds a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys using her musical background in her work with the North Carolina Symphony. For the past several seasons, she has hosted a pre-concert program called Meet the Artists. Catherine adores being a being a mom and loves spending time exploring the natural world with her beautiful little girl, Wren.   

Ways to Connect

Over the last year, Chapel Hill-based songwriter and producer Chris Stamey has been working on a narrative song cycle set in Manhattan in the early 1960s. Called Occasional Shivers, it centers around a circle of jazz theater performers and their experiences.

Image of William Shakespeare.
Books18 / Flickr

Composers have been writing music influenced by stories and dramatic works for centuries, and Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream is no exception. It has been made into a ballet, an opera, and has inspired a great number of musical compositions, perhaps the most famous of which is the incidental music written by Felix Mendelssohn to accompany the play.

This weekend, the North Carolina symphony, in collaboration with the NC School of the Arts, is bringing this tale to life on stage. The music depicts a fanciful world of fairies, elves, and wood sprites.

A picture of a spiral bound notebook.
Solja Virkkunen / Creative Commons

Durham County will move forward with a  program that offers educational services for incarcerated youth.

During a six-month pilot program, the Durham Literacy Center provided male inmates ages 16-to-24 with life skills and job readiness training.

Brian Jones from the Durham County Sheriff's Office says the program will now be expanded to include female inmates and will help prepare youth to take the General Equivalency Development (GED) test.

A close-up picture of a snowflake
Alexei Kljatov / Creative Commons 2.0 http://earthdesk.blogs.pace.edu/files/2013/12/snowflake.jpg

A winter storm system is expected to sweep into the state tonight and leave 4 to 8 inches of snow in its wake. Freezing precipitation is likely to come at the end of the storm too. Meteorologist Darin Figurskey of the National Weather Service spoke with WUNC's All Things Considered host, Catherine Brand, about this wintry weather.

Betty Mack and Carol Taylor of Asheville, partners of 41 years, show their marriage certificate
Casey Blake via Twitter

A judge's decision last week to legalize same-sex marriage in North Carolina has brought out many polarizing opinions.  Political candidates and office-holders have come down on either side of the debate.  Among them are the two men who may face off for governor in 2016. 

Andy Taylor is a political science professor at N.C. State University.  He says Roy Cooper and Gov. Pat McCrory could see the fallout from this legal issue spill into their potential campaigns.

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg will begin rolling out its new Mass Warning and Notification System this month.

Already proven and tested at Pope Air Field after the last few years, the AtHOC technology will connect Fort Bragg service members, the civilian workforce, and their families with immediate emergency and crisis information.

Ben Abel is a public information officer on post. He says the system will be used primarily for situations involving life, health, and safety:

Early Voting
Leoneda Inge

A  federal appeals Court in Charlotte heard arguments Thursday on whether or not changes to North Carolina's voting law can go into effect before the November election. The changes were passed by the Republican-led General Assembly last year. Critics argue the laws restrict access to voting, particularly among minority groups.

The North Carolina NAACP has argued the changes are a violation of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, and of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Doctors at Duke Hospital.
Duke Medecine

According to new report on the website BetterDoctor.com, Raleigh and Greensboro are among the top cities in the country facing a physician shortage. The data compares populations based on U.S. Census Data with the number of registered primary care doctors.

a banner for try transit month
gotriangle.org

Triangle Transit agencies in Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary and Raleigh are participating in a campaign this month to encourage commuters to ride the bus. The organization says leaving your car at home can save you time and money - not to mention the stress of driving in traffic. Some area buses have also upgraded their Wi-Fi to 4G.

"Changing your commute can add an hour to your schedule or you can get work done by using the Internet Wi-Fi that's on some of the buses," said Triangle Transit's Lauren Parker.

Tormod Sandtorv / Flickr/Creative Commons

Researchers at Duke University suggest getting rid of homes for orphaned children will not lead to better child well-being.

The study followed children in low- to middle-income children from Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, and Tanzania. It looked at many factors in the children's lives including emotional trauma, growth, memory and the health of both the child and caregiver.

Kathryn Whetten is professor of public policy at Duke and directs the school's Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research. 

A composite image shows the facial differences between an ancient modern human with heavy brows and a large upper face and the more recent modern human who has rounder features and a much less prominent brow.
Robert Cieri / University of Utah

About 50,000 years ago, people started developing tools. They started making art, in caves. And they started cooperating. Simultaneously, that's when our faces went from looking like the skull on the left, to the one on the right.

A group of researchers from Duke and the University of Utah are theorizing that the correlation is not coincidence; that, in fact, the changing shape of skulls signals a change in something else that would have made cooperation more likely: A drop in male testosterone levels.

Skulls at Choeung Ek Memorial, (AKA "The Killing Fields") outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Newport Preacher / Flickr

When people started mentioning the possibility of using tribunals to bring justice to leaders of the Khmer Rouge, not everyone was thrilled. A 1999 headline from the Phnom Penh Post reads "Khmer Rouge Trials Could Renew Trauma."

Gun Free Zone
NC-ACE

Back in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to take on what some have called an "epidemic" of youth violence.

One of the initiatives was the Academic Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention, or NC-ACE. The program focused on Robeson County which, at the time, had the highest levels of youth violence in the state. NC-ACE is now entering the final year of its efforts, with some of the programs scheduled to wrap up at the end of the summer.

A beach near Wilmington, NC.
libby via flickr, Creative Commons

New figures are out on the impact of North Carolina's tourism industry.  According to a national survey by the U.S. Travel Association, there were 52.5 million visitors to North Carolina last year. They spent about 4 percent more in 2013 than they did the year before - setting an all-time spending record.

"It's the only sector that gained back all the jobs it lost during the recession," said Wit Tuttell, head of the state's Division of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development. 

Hurricane Hazel uprooted over 100 trees on campus, tore the roof off the press box at the stadium, destroyed homecoming displays, and damaged stone work on the Chapel. Campus clean-up was greatly aided by a campaign created by the women of East Campus (th
Duke University Archives / Flickr/Creative Commons

Sixty years ago, Connie Ledgett and her first husband, Jerry Helms, were honeymooning on Oak Island near Wilmington. They had no idea that 140 mile-per-hour winds and an 18-foot storm surge were headed in their direction. That storm was Hurricane Hazel and it would be the strongest category 4 hurricane ever seen in the state. It devastated a 35-mile stretch of the coast.

electronic cigarettes
dikiy via Flickr, Creative Commons

Shortly after the F.D.A. announced newly proposed regulations of the exploding E-Cigarette market, Greensboro-based Lorillard released  a statement on the matter:

Raleigh greenway boardwalk
City of Raleigh

The city of Raleigh has dedicated the recently-completed final section of the Walnut Creek Greenway Trail. Now more than 15 miles long, the trail winds through the southern part of the city from Lake Johnson to the Neuse River Trail.

Todd Milam is a planner for the city of Raleigh's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department. He says the trail includes nearly a mile of 10-foot-wide boardwalk that takes walkers, runners, and bikers through secluded wetlands.

Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

The Mountains-to-Sea-Trail is getting a new coastal plains route that will take it away from the Neuse River.  The new path tracks through an area of geological significance called the Cape Fear Arch.

It'll also add about 150 miles to the length of the trail.   Kate Dixon is executive director of the citizens group Friends of the Mountains to-Sea-Trail.  She says the hikers will see what is considered one of the most important natural areas in the whole northern hemisphere...

The Cary Treatre
Town of Cary

Triangle film and theater enthusiasts will have a new venue to check out starting this weekend. "The Cary" has been getting a facelift over the past year. It officially opens Saturday in downtown Cary. It'll show documentaries, 'indie' films and classic box office hits. 

Lyman Collins is cultural arts manager for the town of Cary. He says not much of the original 1940's theatre remains...

Lithium ion battery from a laptop computer
Kristoferb / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Scientists in the Triangle might have discovered a non-flammable liquid electrolyte that could be instrumental for longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries found in cell phones, laptops, and some electric cars.

The research could also provide a solution to the recent high-profile battery fires in the Tesla Model S car, iPhones, and Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

trees down wilmington
Jason Tyson / Twitter @JTysonWrites

The city of Wilmington prides itself on its "urban forest." Beautiful Oaks, Myrtles and Dogwoods line the historic streets. The Wilmington Tree Commission hands out awards to properties with particularly good preservation and landscaping policies. It's consistently named a "Tree City USA" by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

But when an ice storm hits, limbs begin to fall. And so do power lines.

US 64, Wendell
NC Department of Transportation

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is all hands on deck this morning.

More than four hundred trucks have been in action over the last 48 hours pre-treating and clearing roadways of snow from the mountains to the Outer Banks.

The western piedmont got about an inch of snow, and some areas of the Triangle near I-95 have seen 5 inches. Snow accumulations in Easter North Carolina could exceed six inches.

Most schools across the region are closed today.

U.S. Army

Ground was broken this week on a new center at Fort Bragg that will focus on the treatment of traumatic brain injuries. According to the latest estimates from the Defense Department, there have been hundreds of thousands of these cases diagnosed - and perhaps as many that have not yet been diagnosed.

Nine of these new centers are planned for different communities in the United States. They are known as the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) Satellite Centers. 

6th April 2000 Visit of Nelson Mandela to give a lecture at LSE on 'Africa and Its Position in the World.' Held at the Peacock Theatre.
Wikipedia Creative Commons / Library of the London School of Economics and Political Science

Celebrations will commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela this weekend across the Piedmont. The former South African President died last week at the age of 95.

Deborah Blackman is President of the South African Tarheels, one of the groups coordinating the memorials.  She says the respect Mandela earned as a prisoner and as a political leader still resonates across the world.

Salim Virji / Flickr Creative Commons

Raleigh residents have until January first to take advantage of the city's toilet upgrade reimbursement.

Raleigh has been giving out $100 rebates for efficient toilets since 2009. It was part of an effort to encourage water conservation following the severe drought in 2007 and 2008.

Ed Buchan is Raleigh's environmental coordinator. He says the city is ending the rebate program, because rate-payers have embraced the efficiency effort.

"So we have this business case analysis, we looked at the program, and we budgeted $500,000 a year for the rebates," Buchan says.

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