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

An aerial view of the site.
Duke Energy

A large parcel of undeveloped land near Siler City has been chosen by Duke Energy to take part in the utility's Site Readiness Program. The utility selected a total of 17 sites in the Carolinas, ten of which are in North Carolina. Duke Energy's Jeff Brooks says the 1700-acre Chatham County tract will be assessed for its potential to lure large industry and manufacturing to the area and calls it a "win-win" for everyone.

B.J. Sanders and her son Chad tell of losing a family member to a drug overdose.
Community Care NC

In 2009, Wilkes County in the northwestern part of the state had the 4th highest rate of prescription drug overdose deaths in the country. Two years later, those numbers dropped by 68 percent. That's because of a program called Project Lazarus, which is now going to be implemented statewide.

A scene from a Lost Colony performance.
The Lost Colony

The North Carolina outdoor drama The Lost Colony has been tapped for a 2013 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.  With 75 seasons under its belt, the yearly production on Roanoke Island began in the summer of 1937 and has continued almost every year since. It is the longest-running symphonic drama in the country. This video shows clips from the play:

Coastal Properties via Flickr, Creative Commons

Blacks and Hispanics are paying significantly more in home prices than whites. That's according to new research out of Duke University that tracked more than two million home sales in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and L.A.

Butch Grove, Wake Tech’s associate vice president of creativity, sustainability and college improvement, announces Joulebug.
Wake Tech

Wake Tech Community College is backing up its commitment to sustainability with the launch of a new partnership with JouleBug, a mobile app customized for its students. The free JouleBug app was created in Raleigh and gives users points, pins, and rewards for making sustainable choices – like taking shorter showers, recycling, or eating on campus to reduce vehicle emissions.

Veteran student, Fort Bragg
Fayetteville Tech Community College

Veterans who want to go back to school will soon have access to academic counseling and career advice through a new program at Fayetteville Technical Community College.  The school has purchased a building on Fort Bragg Road to serve as a veterans center on campus.  President Larry Keen says veterans will be given special assessments and mentoring to help them graduate, get work, or start a new business.

A 17-year periodic cicada from the Magicicada genus in Brood XIII. Cicadas from this genus will emerge in NC soon.
Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons

North Carolinians in the western Triangle and Triad soon will be visited en masse by the ear-splitting song of the 17-year cicadas. Over the next ten days or so, cicadas from  a group classified as Brood II will begin emerging from the ground and begin a month-long mating frenzy. The females will lay their eggs by sawing little slits into twigs on trees and depositing their eggs into those slits. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground and tunnel into the soil to feed on tree roots, where they'll stay for another 17 years until they become adults.

Bat with white-nose fungus.
Photo courtesy Ryan von Linden/New York Department of Environmental Conservation

A deadly fungus known as white-nose syndrome has been decimating bat populations in the Eastern United States and is spreading quickly through western portions of North Carolina. It was discovered in upstate New York in 2006. The infection is marked by a white frosting of fungus around the bat's nose, ears, and wings.

The confederate flag with a star cut out, preserved for the NC Museum of History.
NC Museum of History

A battle-worn confederate flag has undergone a $6500 dollar preservation and has now been returned to the North Carolina Museum of History. The flag was lost in the final months of the Civil War and was carried by the 6th Regiment of North Carolina in the Battle of Sailor's Creek in Virginia. It was captured by Union forces in 1865.

Jackson Marshall, the museum's assistant director of programming, says the flag has been cleaned and placed under glass in an acid-free environment that should last another 50 years.

Medics in training at Fort Bragg
Sgt. April de Armas/82nd CAB, Fort Bragg

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) alleges that at least 300 goats are killed and maimed at Fort Bragg each month for medical training.  Now activists are applauding signs the army may be starting to the change the way soldiers are trained for trauma response. According to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress has required the military to lay out a timeline to phase out the use of animals for training purposes.

A scene from last year's Science Festival.
NC Science Festival

The N.C Science Festival – a series of more than 300 science-related events at locations across the state – kicks off this Friday.  It’s the third year for the festival, and it's expected to draw more than 200,000 participants. The first event is a stargazing party for all ages at 45 different sites across the state. Triangle-area venues include the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, Marbles Kids Museum and Imax Theater in Raleigh, the Morehead Observatory in Chapel Hill and Jordan Lake in Apex. 

a pharmacist
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Prescription drug overdose kills an average of three people per day in North Carolina. 

Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill say a statewide system designed to reduce those numbers – North Carolina Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS) – is effective - but grossly underused.

CSRS went into effect in 2007, following a legislative mandate, but of the 34,000 providers authorized to prescribe controlled substances, only a third have registered with the CSRS, and fewer than half of those actually use it.

Il Palio's buttermilk fried shrimp salad
Susan Reda

Patients at UNC Hospitals will soon be able to dine bedside on four-diamond fare from Il Palio at the Siena Hotel. UNC's Nutrition and Food Services Director Angelo Mojica is teaming up with Adam Rose, executive chef at Il Palio, to feature some of the restaurant's gourmet cuisine. UNC's Mojica says this kind of thing has never been done before in health care. He's in the process of reaching out to other high-end eateries in the Triangle and says it's a win-win for participating restaurants and UNC Hospitals.

Brittany Darst

A new exhibit at UNC Chapel Hill aims to challenge the way people think about the word "disability." It's a collection of photos and narratives written by students called "This Able Life." UNC junior Katie Savage founded the campus group, Advocates for Carolina. She says she hopes the exhibit will help dissolve the stigma often associated with disability and transform the word into something celebratory that empowers and inspires.

Several live cold-stunned green turtles from Cape Lookout Bight
NC Sea Turtle Project

155 sea turtles were rescued off North Carolina’s coasts and beaches this year and treated for “cold shock,” caused by low water temperatures.  That’s more than usual, and about half the animals are still recovering. Wildlife officials reported a record number of sea turtle nests last summer. They say it's not likely high numbers will be seen again this season because the same turtles don't typically come back to nest every year.

A new map detailing high-risk habitat areas for land-based wind energy projects has been posted online by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new map detailing high-risk habitat areas for land-based wind energy projects has been posted online by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Patients at UNC hospitals will soon be able to dine bedside on 4-diamond fare from Il Palio at the Siena Hotel. UNC's Nutrition and Food Services Director Angelo Mojica is teaming up with the executive chef from Il Palio - Adam Rose - to feature some of the restaurant's fine cuisine.

2010 tornado in Iredell County, NC
England / Flickr

A new tornado app from the American Red Cross is out this week. Available in both English and Spanish, it gives users instant access to local, real-time information on severe weather alerts and warnings. Barry Porter from Triangle Red Cross says it's linked directly to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Traffic Jam
Texas A&M Urban Mobility Report

Drivers in the Triangle spend less time dealing with traffic jams and congestion than most other metropolitan areas of a similar size. Texas Transportation Institute recently released its annual Urban Mobility Report.

flu shot
samantha celera, via Flickr, Creative Commons

According to new research out of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, some people who suffer from the flu emit far greater amounts of the virus than others.  A small pilot study found 5 out of 61 patients who tested positive for flu released 32 times more of the virus in air samples taken during routine care. 

Trash at a state landfill.
N.C. Division of Waste Management

North Carolina residents are throwing less trash in the state’s 40 landfills than they have in 22 years. Numbers began trending downward three years ago, and the state average is now less than a ton per person per year. Ellen Lorscheider from the state division of solid waste says that the plastic bottle ban of 2010 is cutting the amount of waste. While that trend is good news for the environment, she says it could also have something to do with the ongoing financial crisis.

GO INTERACTIVE WELLNESS, Flickr, Creative Commons

Treatment for mental illness that is safe, healthy, and not too expensive can be hard to find. But new research from  Duke University suggests that yoga might be effective in treating certain psychiatric symptoms.

Raleigh's old Stone's Warehouse building could be the future home to talented Triangle-area artists who often struggle to make ends meet. The city council has approved a 99-year lease with the state Historical Preservation Foundation for project. Landmark Asset Services is a Winston-Salem firm that specializes in such rehabs. The group has teamed up with developer Vann Joines - who says the 7-and-a-half million dollar Raleigh Arts Village will encourage people - from woodworkers to storytellers -to be an economic driver for the community.

For the first time since the Vietman War era, Fort Bragg has a new chapel. The 82nd Airborne's All American Chapel replaces the old Division Memorial Chapel. It's a contemporary worship space - that features an environmentally-friendly design, more than 22-thousand square feet, and seating for more than 600. Base Spokesman Ben Able says the pinnacle of the chapel are refurbished stained-glass panels that show the history of the 82nd airborne and various combat missions starting with World War one...

North Carolina's 2013 Inaugural Ball to celebrate newly-elected governor Pat Mccrory and Council of State members kicks off tonight. The event has been hosted by the Junior League of Raleigh since 1933. The group uses the ball as a fundraiser for projects aimed at improving the lives of children. Inaugural ball co-chair Virginia Yopp says the festivities feature North Carolina food, local bands, and surprise guest speakers. She says tonight's Rock the Ball concert was created so everyone - young and old - would have a chance to participate in the festivities.

A research team out of Duke has developed a way to use sickle cells to treat cancerous tumors. Sickle cells are typically associated with a potentially lethal genetic blood disease. Lead author Mark Dewhirst is a radiation oncologist and director of Duke's Tumor Micro-circulation Lab. He says when the crescent-shaped sickle cells are injected into mice, they tend to stick like Velcro to the vessel walls - thereby blocking the blood vessels that surround the tumor.

There were 460 meth lab busts in the state last year. That's a record high. It's up from 344 busts the year before. State Bureau of Investigation agents attribute the rise to an increase in a simpler method of making the drug called "one-pot" or "shake and bake." Criminals cook the meth in a plastic soda bottle - using much smaller levels of the main ingredient, pseudo-ephedrine - commonly found in cold medicine.

NC Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn
NC Symphony

Handel's Messiah -- it's a staple this time of year for community sing-alongs and professional orchestras alike. The North Carolina Symphony is performing the work this weekend at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh. I spoke with conductor Grant Llewellyn earlier this week. He says he understands why the work has endured to become a holiday classic.

Your favorite couch or sofa could be dangerous for your health. More than half of all couches tested in a Duke University-led study were found to contain potentially toxic flame retardants. One of the main offenders: a chemical called "Chorlinated Tris". It's a probable carcinogen that was used in children's pajamas back in the 70's. It was phased out due to its health risks. Lead researcher Heather Stapleton is associate professor of environmental chemistry at Duke's Nicholas School:

Some area community colleges are reporting increased enrollment for the coming semester, among them Durham Tech and Wake Tech. Numbers for Wake Tech Community College are already over 20-thousand with a few days left to register. Wake Tech President Stephen Scott credits the steadily-improving economy to the a surge in enrollment along with class affordability and quality in the programs. Placement, he adds, is nearly 100 percent in many fields of study including medical, IT, and engineering. Scott says part of the success may be due to how the college looks at a technical education.

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