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 bus participating in the Bus on Shoulder System (BOSS) program.
NCDOT

After a year of success in Durham County, the state's first Bus on Shoulder System (BOSS) is ready to expand into Wake County. The North Carolina Department of Transportation allows transit buses to travel on the shoulders of designated stretches of roadways to bypass congested traffic, but only when speeds drop below 35 miles per hour.

A cannon raised from Blackbeard's Queen Anne Revenge on Friday, August 16, 2013.
NC Dept. of Cultural Resources

Researchers off the North Carolina coast are on dive number two for the year. Their goal is to recover artifacts from the wreck of Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, which ran aground near Beaufort nearly 300 years ago.

Project Director Bill Ray Morris says this excavation will focus on the forward part of the ship near the bow.

NC FAST is the new electronic food stamp system.
NC FAST

The state's new electronic food distribution system or NC FAST has been beset by a myriad of software and other problems that have caused backlogs and delays in issuing food stamps.  The new system was rolled out to all 100 counties this past February in hopes of streamlining services for those in need.  David Atkinson is director of the Carteret County Department of social services. His county was one of the first to implement NC FAST. He says while his staff is among the most skilled at using the system, it only works about three quarters of the time.

Sunburnt feet after a kayaking trip.
Laura Brunow

New research out of Duke University could put an end to painful sunburns. Scientists have discovered a way to block TRP-V-4, a skin molecule responsible for the redness and pain following prolonged sun exposure.

"Like reddening, formation of soreness and blisters... influx of blood, inflammatory cells, of cells that make itch," said Wolfgang Liedtke, a neurobiology professor at Duke. "That is the tissue injury response down to the level of non-visible."

solar panels
Strata Solar

A new six megawatt solar farm is under construction the Orange County community of White Cross. When it’s completed, it will be the second largest in the Triangle. The project is being designed by Chapel Hill based company, Strata Solar. The firm's Blair Schoof says when it's up and running, the 35-acre farm will provide energy for about 750 homes.

Strata Solar is the state's largest solar developer, responsible for generating more than 145 megawatts around the state. Schoof says two farms in the Triangle area are already operational with eight more planned for next year.

A North Carolina hog house being kept cool by large fans.
Bob Nichols, USDA NRCS

A fatal swine disease is striking the nation's hog industry. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus or PED is usually deadly for baby pigs. Its symptoms resemble dysentery, and it's spread through bodily secretions. Tom Ray, director of Livestock Health Programs for the state department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, says so far, there have been only four confirmed cases in North Carolina. He expects the impact for farmers and the state's economy to be significant.

A southern cricket frog
Matt Edmonds, creative commons

Southern cricket frogs are disappearing in the Piedmont of North Carolina at an alarming rate. Their disappearance mirrors a national trend that shows dwindling populations of all amphibians including other frog species, toads and salamanders. They play an important ecological role by feeding on pests and other insects.

Break the Grip of the Rip sign
James Albright via Flickr, Creative Commons

Dangerous rip currents off the Carolina coast are to blame for the deaths of seven people over the 4th of July holiday. That number is double the average number of rip current deaths in a year. Community leaders are calling the tragedies a wake-up call and are trying to find ways to prevent future drownings.

Putting signs and red flags up at various beach access points is one of several ideas, says Anthony Marzano, the director of emergency services in Brunswick County, where four of the deaths took place. 

Two Ob/GYN doctors review test results.
Mercy Health

For decades, women have been told to get annual screenings for cervical cancer. In 2009, mounting scientific evidence prompted major groups like the American Cancer Society to recommend less frequent screenings; every 3 years instead of every year.

Despite the revised guidelines, about half of the OB/GYNs surveyed reported they continue to provide yearly exams. Dr. Russell Harris from UNC's Center for Health Services Research says that practice is outdated and may do more harm than good.

Rain and thunderstorms are predicted for most of North Carolina.
screengrab, ABC News radar

Scattered storms are once again in the forecast for this afternoon. The pattern of late-day thundershowers each day is not so unusual, according to meteorologist Darrin Figursky from the National Weather Service in Raleigh. He says what has been a bit atypical is the amount of widespread rainfall we've gotten as a result of these storms.

"Now a lot of that was probably due to the remnants of Andrea at the beginning of the month, where on one day we got four to five inches," Figursky says.  "So for the month with that in mind, we're running three to four inches above normal for the month. We're only maybe an inch or an inch or an inch and a quarter of being in the top five wettest Junes of all time."

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