Eric Hodge

Host, "Morning Edition"

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.

In August 2004, he took over the Morning Edition slot where he enjoys the challenge of bringing North Carolina news to listeners each weekday. Eric moved to Carrboro from New York City in 2000. He worked for the BBC and XFM radio while living in London, England. He has also run his own music marketing company, worked for major record labels in both New York and London, and worked on the Grammy Award nominated Harry Belafonte project, "The Anthology of Black Music."

Eric grew up in Michigan, trained at the Broadcast Center in St. Louis with CBS's KMOX radio and worked at a variety of stations in the Midwest and upstate New York.

Ways to Connect

Stingray at NC Aquarium
ncaquariums.com

This summer saw a big jump in the number of people who were stung by stingrays off the coast of Corolla on the Outer Banks. Ocean Rescue officials say the usual number of stings is between one and five. But this year, there were 70 to 100. Olivia Burrus is the curator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. She's says the stingrays may have found a lot of food in the area.

North Carolina's electric cooperatives want you to get rid of that old refrigerator or freezer that's in your basement or garage. The Fridge and Freezer Farewell Program is meant to get secondary, older and inefficient models out of circulation. Valerie Woods works for GreenCo Solutions which helps the electric coops reach their energy efficiency and renewable energy goals. She says nothing goes to waste.

Valerie Woods: "They break out the insulating foam, they recycle the refrigerants, all the plastics and metals are recycled as well as the capacitors."

Bean plataspid
ncsu.edu

An insect that feeds on invasive kudzu is making its way into North Carolina. The so-called kudzu bug was first discovered in Georgia several years ago. Jack Bacheler is an entymologist with N.C. State University. He says the problem is the beetle, called the bean plataspid, also likes crops like soybeans.

Hurricane Irene's flood waters caused some waste water treatment plants to overflow in the eastern part of the state while cutting off power to others. State officials are warning people in flooded areas to avoid contact with contaminated water as they begin the arduous task of clean up. Susan Massengale works for the North Carolina Division of Water Quality.

Duke University researchers are recommending a simple test to determine whether newborns have a serious health concern. About one percent of all babies are born with congenital heart disease. But spotting the problem early can be difficult. Doctor Alex Kemper is an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke. He says there is an easy way to help pinpoint the problem.

An Asian beetle that first turned up in Michigan is threatening to spread to North Carolina. The Emerald Ash Borer arrived in the U.S. about ten years ago. Since then it's spread from the midwest, to most of the states surrounding North Carolina. Brian Haines works for the state Forest Service.

Bedbugs have recently been found on the campus of Wake Forest University. Officials say dogs discovered evidence of the pests in a very small number of dorm rooms. Those rooms have been treated and are expected to be free of bedbugs as students arrive. Michael Waldvogel is an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina Statue University. He says N.C. State and Wake Forest use heat generating equipment to deal with any outbreaks of bedbugs.

Mitch Easter is a legend in the world of alternative music. He was a founding member of Let's Active, produced the first REM recordings back in the early 80s and has since helped scores of young bands hone their sound. One of the guitars used in those original REM recording sessions was among half-dozen instruments stolen from Easter's home in Winston Salem. 

Beyonce is up at the top of the pop music charts this summer. The fact that she's in the top 10 again is no surprise, but what is surprising is that a record from Bon Iver is near the top of the charts. The band is the latest project by former Raleigh resident Justin Vernon. He's coming back to the Triangle next week to play the Raleigh Amphitheater.

Chatham county officials take a step toward protecting the area's natural resources today. The Comprehensive Conservation Plan for Chatham County is the first of its kind in North Carolina. An event being held in Pittsboro this afternoon will unveil details of the voluntary program. Leigh Ann Hammerbacher works for the Triangle Land Conservancy which contributed to the plan.

North Carolina's U.S. senators say they're on board with a new proposal to decrease the national debt. A bipartisan proposal released Tuesday from a group of six senators would attempt to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. The plan from the so-called "Gang of Six" cuts spending from the defense budget, Medicare and Medicaid. It also increases some tax revenues. Democratic Senator Kay Hagan says she supports the proposal.

Members of Congress from North Carolina are weighing in on the talks in Washington about the debt ceiling. The country could default on its debt after August 2nd if a deal isn't reached between Congress and the White House. Much of the impasse centers around taxes. Second district Representative Renee Ellmers says she is with her Republican colleagues who say tax increases are off the table.

The Bonner Bridge connects Bodie and Hatteras Islands on the Outer Banks
ncdot.org

State officials are accepting bids today for construction of the new Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks. The span will be built just to the west of the current bridge over the Oregon Inlet. Victor Barber works for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. He says three companies will submit bids with the winner being chosen by late this afternoon.

Big game hunting could be coming to the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. A new proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would allow limited hunting for white tail deer and feral hogs. Mike Bryant is a refuge manager for six areas including Currituck. He says the rule changes would mark the first time deer and hog hunters would be allowed in the refuge.

A new study from Duke University reveals that many of the world's undiscovered plant and animal species are in danger. Researchers say many of the missing species live in areas being developed or deforested. Stuart Pimm is the Doris Duke Chair of Ecology at Duke. He says a new mathematical model doubles the number of plant species believed to be under threat.

A new park honoring all members of the military opens Monday in Fayetteville. A dedication ceremony for the North Carolina Veterans' State Park is scheduled for 10 a.m. on the Fourth of July. Jennifer Lowe works for the city of Fayetteville. She says among the displays is the "Oath Wall" which features the raised hands of military members taking the enlistment oath.

New Research at North Carolina State University points to the disadvantages of improperly disposing of biodegradable plastics. The products are designed to break down in composting bins. James Levis is an N.C. State PhD candidate and one of the study's organizers. He says the problem is that most biodegradable plastics are being thrown in the trash.

North Carolina National Guard troops are helping battle the huge wildfires in Arizona. About three dozen guard members are flying airborne tankers dropping chemical fire retardant on the blazes. Lieutenant Colonel Rose Dunlap is with the 145th Airlift Wing based in Charlotte. She says logistics for fighting such large fires are complex.

Historians estimate that more than 56,000 Americans died in prison camps during the Civil War. That's a casualty figure that is far greater than any single battle. The South's most famous prison was at Andersonville in Georgia. Conditions there were horrible; the food was scarce and often rancid. Nearly 29 percent of all prisoners detained at Andersonville died before the end of the war. Singer Dave Alvin wrote a song about it after he discovered that one of his relatives died there.

New research shows getting so-called "unbanked" people into the formal banking system can be good for the community. Alejandro Sanchez works for the Latino Credit Union in Durham. He says the study from the University of Virginia listed several advantages to bringing banking to previously unserved areas.

A team from N.C. State could win a national competition today to design an environmentally friendly car. There are sixteen teams in the finals of the Eco Car contest being held in Washington this week. The winner will be announced later today. Jonathan Lohr is an assistant team leader for the Wolfpack. He says their car uses electricity and a bio-diesel engine.

The North Carolina baseball team is heading to the College World Series for the fifth time in six years. The Tar Heels grabbed an early lead Saturday against Stanford and hung on through lousy weather to sweep the best of three series in the NCAA super regional. Head coach Mike Fox says his team earned another trip to Nebraska.

Battle of Bentonville
UNC-Chapel Hill, NC Collection

  The site of the bloodiest battle in North Carolina history is now the location for a memorial to confederate soldiers. A ceremony tomorrow afternoon will recognize a long lost graveyard at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site. Derrick Brown is the assistant manager of the facility. He says an old photo and some new technology helped find the area where confederate soldiers were buried. 

Transportation issues will be the focus of a series of public meetings this week in Durham, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. State and local officials are trying to deal with clogged roads and highways with plenty of growth still to come. Andrew Henry is a transportation planner for the Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization. He says there are at least two answers to the problem.

It was nearly two years ago that U.S. Airways flight 1549 bound for Charlotte had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Everyone on board survived what was called a miracle landing. This week the plane is making one last journey to the Queen City where it will go on display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. Shawn Dorsch is the president of the facility. He says the plane will arrive Friday for a special event with the crew and passengers including Captain Sullenberger before going on public display Sunday. 

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