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

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. 

Sgt. Furney Bryant, 1st NC Colored Troops
NC Dept. of Cultural Resources

A ceremony today in Wilmington is honoring black soldiers who served in the Civil War. A North Carolina Highway Historical Marker will be unveiled just outside the National Cemetery in the city. Jim Steele is the manager of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site. He says a combination of free blacks and former slaves participated in a fight to take the fort.

Debris from last month's tornadoes that hit central North Carolina is still being cleaned up. In Raleigh, officials are advising residents to get the rest of their yard debris out to the curb by June first. There is also an effort by city workers to clear streams and rivers of downed trees that could contribute to flooding. Steve Abbot works for the state Department of Transportation. He says contractors are still collecting debris outside of Raleigh as well. 

Residents of North Carolina are being urged to get ready for hurricane season which officially begins next week. Forecasters and other officials are using this week to highlight some of things you can do to prepare for the big storms. Jeff Orrock is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh. He says a busy forecast means its time to get supplies like food, water, medicine and batteries purchased and organized.

The pirate Blackbeard's flagship is the focus of a spring dive that begins May 23rd. The Queen Anne's Revenge went down off the North Carolina coast in June, 1718. Recovery efforts have been underway for years at the site of the wreck near Beaufort. Mark Wilde-Ramsing is the state underwater archeologist and is heading up the project. He says there are several goals for the two-week dive.

The Hi Mount neighborhood just north of downtown Raleigh is being considered for addition to the National Register of Historic Places. Officials say the post-war community was planned in the late 1930s with construction finished by 1954. Martha Hobbs is a preservation planner with the city. She says the recognition could be a boost for the area. 

A new study from Duke University explains the source of salinity in well water on the Outer Banks. Professor Avner Vengosh directed the study. He says salinity levels are rising in wells on the Outer Banks. 

Avner Vengosh: "But our study shows the salinity is not derived from sea water intrusion as some had feared before, but its rather from flow of natural occurring ground water originated from fossil sea water."

The Amazon Rain Forest is being threatened by a gold rush. A new study from Duke University shows that surface mining is eating up large chunks of the forest in Peru. Jennifer Swenson is an assistant professor who worked on the project. She says satellite photos help assess how much land is being affected.

Jennifer Swenson: "I looked at two main mining sites that are new and over two years 1800 hectares of primary forest was removed. Think of that in terms of football fields, its actually 4 and a half football fields a day."

There's a new effort underway to reduce pollution in Durham. A number of the city's diesel vehicles have been fitted with emissions reduction equipment similar to that used to cut nitrogen oxide levels from power plants. Stephen Piccot is the Director of The Southern Research Institute and is in charge of the pilot project.

The entrance of an exhibit resembling a 1700s pirate ship
N.C. Museum of History

The history of the Tar Heel State goes on display tomorrow at theNorth Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Officials say The Story of North Carolina is so large the exhibit will open in two parts. The first half begins with the earliest signs of civilization and runs through the 1830s. Raelana Poteat is one of the museum's curators. 

People involved in video games are converging on Raleigh today. The East Coast Game Conference is a two day event that attracts programmers and developers from across the U.S. and Europe. Troy Knight is the operations director for the conference. He says the industry is an important and growing part of the Triangle's economy.

Troy Knight: "Within the Raleigh and just Wake County region we have about 40 plus game companies which consists of about 1,200 plus employees that work out there. The average salary is roughly around $79,000."

A photo featured in the exhibit

North Carolina's role in the Civil War is the subject of a photo exhibit opening today in Fayetteville at the Cumberland County Public Library. "Freedom, Sacrifice and Memory" is a traveling show that will visit fifty public libraries across the state.

There could be some help coming for victims of bullying in North Carolina. A symposium at N.C. State today highlights the different types of bullying and what can be done to protect students.

Dr. Tina Hancock is the head of the Department of Social Work at the University and one of the organizers of the event. She says the internet will be a big focus of today's meetings.

"They will be addressing the various forms that bullying can take place from social media and the responsibilities of professionals in schools settings to protect children from cyber-bullying."

History buffs and students can keep up with what happened across the state during the Civil War through Twitter. The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources is tweeting the words of North Carolina civilians who witnessed the events of the war.

LeRae Umfleet is organizing the project. She says diary, journal entries and letters are being used as sources for the tweets as part of the 150 year commemoration of the war:

A relic from the Civil War Battle of New Bern is back in North Carolina. The combat sword from one of the few female union soldiers to play a prominent role on the battlefield is in the hands of a local Civil War memorabilia dealer.

Will Gorges says Kady Brownell was credited with helping her Rhode Island regiment avoid friendly fire by climbing to high ground and using her unit's flag to wave off an attack from fellow union soldiers: