Eric Mennel

News Producer

Eric Mennel prepares the afternoon/evening "drive time" newscast on WUNC. Previously, he was a producer for The Story with Dick Gordon. Eric has reported for All Things Considered, This American Life, 99% Invisible and other radio programs. He covered protests and security measures at the 2012 Republican National Convention for WUSF Tampa and NPR News. One day, he hopes to own a home with a wrap-around porch.

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Duke Porn Star
7:15 am
Tue March 4, 2014

The Duke Porn Star: Three Waves Of Internet Shaming

'Belle Knox' provided this self portrait to the site xojane.com
Credit Belle Knox

Update 3/5/14: In a new op-ed on xoJane.com, Lauren revealed her stage name and image:

“Today, I am choosing to reveal my porn identity to the world. My name is Belle Knox, and I wear my Scarlet Letter with pride.” Knox also gave an interview to Playboy magazine's website.

Here is our original story:

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Pork Virus
11:32 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Where Do Pigs Go When They Die?

Credit Chris Cioffi

North Carolina's pig industry is under assault. A new virus, that just arrived in America last spring is spreading through the pork population, causing as much as 2% of the herd to die. What's most alarming is how fast Porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, takes hold.

"I mean you can go in and see a house that looks completely normal, running around, feeding everything. You can come back this afternoon and half the pigs are dead," said Dr. Tom Ray of the state veterinary office.

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Triangle Transit
5:23 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Triangle Transit Is Filming A Soap Opera On Its Busses

A still from the online soap opera, As The Bus Stops

Erika dashes on to the 36-seat passenger bus. She's exasperated, but remarkably well put together. She's young, and afraid.

"Prescott... I'm late," she says, her hand gripping a rail for balance.

"... No you're not." He replies. "With the GoLive Real-Time Arrival System, you'll never be late for the bus again!"

"No..." she says. "I mean... I'm late."

Also, Prescott has an identical twin, Sebastian, who might be the father.

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ACA Numbers
6:29 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Numbers Include People Who Never Paid

Credit NC Department of Health and Human Services

This week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that 6,400 people went all the way through the process of enrolling for a plan on the federal exchange, but never paid their first month's premium. Thus, they were never eligible to receive benefits. The federal government, however, has been including those people in its tally of newly enrolled individuals.

The Affordable Care Act requires that individuals pay their first month's premium before they can receive benefits.

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Downed Trees
7:41 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Wilmington: City Of (Problematic) Trees

Fallen tree limbs line the streets of downtown Wilmington.
Credit Jason Tyson / Twitter @JTysonWrites

The city of Wilmington prides itself on its "urban forest." Beautiful Oaks, Myrtles and Dogwoods line the historic streets. The Wilmington Tree Commission hands out awards to properties with particularly good preservation and landscaping policies. It's consistently named a "Tree City USA" by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

But when an ice storm hits, limbs begin to fall. And so do power lines.

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Arts & Culture
5:01 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Why Did Dozens Of Santas Gather At Golden Corral In Durham, NC Recently?

Santa Charlie Easton
Credit Eric Mennel

Content Advisory: If Santa is real to your kids, this story may not be suitable for them.

It was a normal night at the Golden Corral Buffet and Restaurant off Highway 65 in Durham, North Carolina. Men and women just getting off of work were there to have their dinners, with families taking advantage of the all-you-can-eat dessert line.

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Climate Hub
6:19 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

NC State Is Becoming A Federal Government Favorite For Big Projects

NC State University
Credit NC State

It's been a big year for NC State - and it's only February.

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Ferry Tolls
5:00 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Five Things You Should Know About NC's Proposed Ferry Toll Hikes

The proposed rate structure for new ferry tolls
Credit NCDOT

The NC Department of Transportation is holding hearings this week on whether or not to raise the cost of riding the state's ferries (even in places where it's currently free). Here are five things you should know about the plan.

1) Nearly everyone would pay a little more; Some would pay a lot more.

There are four ferry routes at play here. Two of them don't currently charge passengers at all. Under the new structure, rates would go up anywhere from $0.50 to $28, basically everywhere, depending on your route and the size of your vehicle.

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Weather
11:29 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Snow Day: Authorities Mobilize As The State Shuts Down

US 64, Wendell
Credit NC Department of Transportation

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is all hands on deck this morning.

More than four hundred trucks have been in action over the last 48 hours pre-treating and clearing roadways of snow from the mountains to the Outer Banks.

The western piedmont got about an inch of snow, and some areas of the Triangle near I-95 have seen 5 inches. Snow accumulations in Easter North Carolina could exceed six inches.

Most schools across the region are closed today.

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Environment
7:47 am
Fri January 24, 2014

200,000 Waterfowl At NC's Lake Mattamuskeet: A Symphony Of Sight And Sound

Migration of birds at Lake Mattamuskeet
Credit Lake Mattamuskeet Wildlife Refuge

The annual migration of waterfowl to Lake Mattamuskeet is underway in Swan Quarter. Roughly 200,000 birds were counted in the National wildlife refuge this month, continuing a rising trend over years past.  That means visitors to the lake are in for some noise for the next month or so. The  birds have made the refuge their temporary home.   John Stanton with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service said it's a remarkable sound, followed by a remarkable silence:

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