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

Several African-American historic sites across Durham are being considered for historic designation. Preservation officials say criteria include sites where significant events took place, buildings with architectural significance, and homes of prominent African-American families. Bob Ashley is the executive director of Preservation Durham. He says there are quite a few contenders for designation.

Veterans in need of health care in eastern North Carolina will soon have a bigger facility. An expansion of the Veterans Administration clinic in Greenville gets underway with a ground breaking ceremony Thursday morning. Peter Tillman works for the Durham VA Medical Center. He says the expansion will allow the Greenville clinic to offer more services.

The tents that have been at Peace and Justice Plaza in downtown Chapel Hill since mid-October will be packed up today. Occupy Chapel Hill-Carrboro organizers say a press conference, potluck dinner and dance party will mark the end of this phase of the occupation. Katya Roytburd is involved with planning today's activities. She says the Occupy Chapel Hill-Carrboro movement has a busy agenda.

The boom of shale gas extraction in the US and elsewhere has prompted Duke University to organize a two day conference on the topic. Organizers say the controversial process of gas extraction called fracking will be one of the main focuses of the gathering. Rob Jackson is a professor of environmental sciences at Duke and one of the event's organizers. He says his department is ready to monitor water supplies if fracking is allowed to take place in this state.

Be sure to tune in Christmas night at 6 for a special edition of the program Last Motel when host Eric Hodge and will be joined by the band Chatham County Line. They're a bluegrass-inspired band that has spent the last couple weeks criss-crossing North Carolina and Georgia with a holiday concert series.

North Carolina's first modern-era toll road opens later this morning in the Research Triangle Park. The first leg of the Triangle Expressway connects highway 147 to North Carolina 540. Officials say they'll cut the ribbon at about 10:30 a.m. with the road open for traffic around noon. David Joyner is the executive director of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. He says drivers will not have to pay until January 3rd.

Hurricane damaged Highway 12 on Hatteras Island is the subject of two public workshops this week. The only road along parts of the Outer Banks was breached in several places by Hurricane Irene in August. Traffic is rolling again on temporary fixes, but state officials want to move forward with permanent repairs. Greer Beatty works for North Carolina's Department of Transportation.

Recent warm weather has not stopped ice skaters from hitting a rink in Graham. The synthetic surface at the Children's Museum of Alamance County does not rely on cold weather or freezing water. Carlyn Sautter works for Graham Parks and Recreation.

Carlyn Sautter: "It is not ice, its actually a very dense polymer. But it skates like ice, it actually looks like ice, so you kind of feel like you're on ice when you're out there. You do use real ice skates so it gives it that added effect as well."

State of the Sounds

Nov 17, 2011

The health of the bodies of water that surround coastal North Carolina is being discussed today in New Bern. The state's eight sounds are managed by a program through the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Jim Hawhee works for DENR. He says what happens in Raleigh and Durham effects the water in the sounds.

People who live in the Raleigh area and want to use alternative fuels for their cars or trucks have a new choice. A station on New Bern Avenue opens today with both E-85 ethanol blend and bio-diesel available. It's the first of its kind in the state capital. Anne Tazewell is the transportation manager for the North Carolina Solar Center at N-C State. She says alternative fuel stations are slowly spreading across the state.

A new study from Duke University sheds more light on teen drug use. Researchers found Native American youths have the highest rate of drug use followed by whites, Latinos, African Americans and Asians. Dan Blazer is a professor of psychiatry at Duke and senior author on the study. He says drugs are a serious problem among 12 to 17 year-olds.

A new study from Duke University points to tough times ahead for some tree species. Researchers examined data on climate change and the effect rising temperatures are having on tree populations in the eastern U.S. James Clark is a professor of biology and statistics at Duke. He says models that predicted trees would move with the climate were wrong.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is finally getting a management plan. The long-delayed outline for the next twenty years goes to a series of public hearings starting later today. Phil Francis is the park's Superintendent. He says much of the land that forms the backdrop for many of the views along the parkway's 469 miles is privately owned.

Hot Rize in Raleigh

Oct 7, 2011
Tim O'Brien
hotrize.com

“Hot Rize” is a bluegrass band that takes its name from an “ingredient” in Martha White brand flour and cornmeal. Formed in Colorado in the late 1970s , the band’s current line-up plays in Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh this weekend.  Hot Rize is deep fried in bluegrass but as guitarist and founding member Tim O’Brien told Eric Hodge in a recent phone conversation, the four young fellows that formed band had interests that went beyond bluegrass.

A clean-up is underway along the shoreline of Jordan Lake. Corporate sponsors are picking up propane tanks, bottles and cans near the southern end of the lake where the Haw River brings in debris from storm water runoff. Fran DiGiano is the president of the group Clean Jordan Lake. He says volunteers will try to finish the job this weekend.

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.

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