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

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.

It's the end of an era. The last mental health patient has been transferred from Dorothea Dix hospital in Raleigh to the newer Central Regional in Butner. The closure has been in the works for more than a decade. Lucky Welsh oversees the network of state psychiatric hospitals for the Department of Health and Human Services:

Teams of scientists from NC State and the University of Maryland are developing new wireless sensors designed to detect structural deficiencies in bridges. They hope the smart technology will help prevent bridge disasters like the one in Minneapolis 5 years ago that claimed the lives of 13 people. Lead scientist Mehdi Kalantari is a research engineer from U-M-D. He says the sensors are durable and are built to withstand harsh conditions...

Recent puppy mill raids in Brunswick and Jones Counties have prompted more discussion at the General Assembly about the need for legislation to regulate commercial breeders. About half of all states have such measures in place. Mondy Lamb from the the SPCA of Wake County says large breeding operations are escaping through a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act. She says North Carolina regulates every other entity that houses large numbers of dogs.

The red-light camera program at select intersections in Cary could be eliminated over multiple concerns, among them complaints the system is wrongfully issuing citations. The system is operated by the company Redflex. It collects nearly 90-percent of the revenue from traffic violations captured by the cameras. Town Manager Ben Shivar says local officials have have been less than impressed by the company's performance.

Overall crime across the state is down by nearly one percent, according to the latest statistics from the North Carolina Department of Justice. That makes the 2011 crime rate the state's lowest since 1977. It also marks the third consecutive year of decline. It's not all good news, though. Murder is up by almost six percent. Overall crime in some Triangle-area counties, including Chatham and Franklin, appears to be on the rise.

An exhibit about Roanoke Island's role in the Civil War opens at the Outer Banks Visitor Center today. Curator Kaeli Schurr says capturing the island was an important part of the strategy for both the confederacy and the union.

Kaeli Schurr: After a long summer of both sides training troops and devising military strategy, both knew that whoever would be able to control the supply lines would control all of eastern North Carolina. And that led then to being able to disrupt the supply lines from Wilmington up to the Confederate capital in Richmond.

The future of food, farming, and sustainability are topics at a symposium today and tomorrow at UNC and Duke. Jaqueline Olich is from the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at UNC; she's also one of the coordinators of the event. According to projections from the United Nations, Olich says food production will have to increase by up to 100-percent by the year 2050 to sustain an estimated 9 billion people.

Chatham County schools are trying to get kids to be more active through 'Eat Smart Move More' grants. The goal of the project is to encourage schools and teachers to integrate physical activity into the curriculum no matter what the discipline. Holly Coleman is with the Chatham County Health Department:

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources is designating High Point-based Thomas Built Buses as an "Environmental Steward." Julie Woosley is the manager of the state's Environmental Assistance Center. She says Thomas Built recycles 100% of the waste it creates.

UNC Chapel Hill this afternoon will officially mark the opening of its new Comprehensive Angelman Syndrome Clinic at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities. Anne Wheeler is a psychologist at CIDD; she's also co-coordinator for the new clinic. She says Angelman Syndrome is a rare congenital disorder that occurs in about 1 in 15-thousand births.

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