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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Flood Maps
5:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Have We Been Overestimating Flood Risk On The Outer Banks?

A preliminary projection of what areas will see gains and reductions in base flood elevation.
Credit NC Department of Public Safety

It would be easy to look at the newest round of floodplain maps and think that we've been wrong about the Outer Banks all this time.

For the past decade, the standard line has been that things on the coast are getting worse. Sea levels are rising; the shoreline is eroding; flooding is becoming a bigger threat. Flood risk is largely determined by a series of maps produced by the state of North Carolina. Those maps then make their way to FEMA, who administer the National Flood Insurance Program. Basically, the higher your risk, the more you pay in flood insurance.

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Sylvia Hatchell
7:05 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Hatchell: Doctor Says She'll Be "100% Ready" For Next Year

UNC Women's Basketball Coach Sylvia Hatchell
Credit UNC Athletics

Sylvia Hatchell still watches practice. The school has a satellite link that feeds to her iPad.

She still gives the post-game talks. Two minutes after the Lady Heels beat South Carolina on Sunday, she was on speaker phone in the locker room.

The player text her photos from the road. She says she works two to five hours every day, a lot of which is with Associate Head Coach Andrew Calder, who's been in charge since Hatchell took a step back the year to undergo treatment for Leukemia.

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Tobacco Trail
8:55 am
Wed March 26, 2014

How Dangerous Is The American Tobacco Trail, Really?

A group of police, pastors and park advocates began the process of identifying problem areas on the trail.
Credit Eric Mennel / WUNC

For residents of the Triangle, it's no secret that a certain portion of the American Tobacco Trail has an image problem.  Here's a selection of comments on stories about the trail:

We have been hearing about the high crime rate on this trail for a while now. It amazes me that anyone sets foot on it, especially in the Durham area.

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yMusic
3:24 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Setting The Shuttle Launch To Music

yMusic rehearses while in residency at Duke
Credit Eric Oberstein / Duke Performances

Scott Lee grew up on the Gulf coast of Florida. Once in a while, on a clear night, at the right time of year, he could walk outside, look 150 miles to the East, and see the glow of a shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral.

"As they rise upwards, they kind of start to curve," Lee said. " And it's a really interesting phenomenon, because they're still just going straight up. But to you, it looks like they're coming back down. So you start to wonder... 'Is something wrong?' "

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Sports
5:14 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

'It's Everything. It's Personal' - NCCU's LeVelle Moton On Coaching In NCAA Tourney

LeVelle Moton
Credit LeVelle Moton via Twitter

Updated Saturday March 22, 2014:

LeVelle Moton's Twitter profile says it all:

"Basketball is what I do, not who I am. Child of God, Hattie Mac's Baby boy. Head Coach At North Carolina Central University."

Moton seemed destined to be the head coach at NCCU. He grew up in Raleigh, and lived with his mother in a housing project. He was a McDonald's All American Nominee at Enloe High School, was Wake County Player of the Year, and was selected for All State.

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Race and Politics
3:44 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

On Racism: 'This Is Our Heritage. You Can't Get Away From It'

Ta-Nehisi Coates is writer and Senior Editor at The Atlantic
Credit The Lavin Agency

Last month, Michael Dunn was convicted of attempted murder, after firing several rounds into an SUV of young black men. Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old, was killed in the incident. Dunn is 47, and he is white. Dunn invoked the "Stand Your Ground Law" to defend his actions, and the jury was deadlocked on whether to charge him for Davis's murder. He'll face a retrial this summer.

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Flood Risk Map
8:51 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Map Geeks Rejoice! NC's Flood Risk Map Is Here

Credit NCDPS

This month, North Carolina launched FRIS, the Flood Risk Information System. It's the first system of its kind in the country to put all of the state's flood risk data, county-by-county, building-by-building, into one digital initiative.

It's not the prettiest map ever designed, but it's full of all sort of information that used to require a lot of manpower to produce for whoever wanted it.

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Rails To Trails
7:01 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

What Does The Supreme Court Rails-To-Trails Decision Mean For NC?

The American Tobacco Trail in Durham.
Credit Laura Candler

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in an 8-1 decision, that just because the government had been granted a federal right of way for building railroads, doesn't mean the government gets to keep that right of way after the railroad is no longer in use.

At issue was whether or not the land the rail line sits on should go to the property owner adjacent the rails, or if the government can allow other groups to use it for such projects as rails-to-trails.

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Environment
2:48 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

South By Southeast: 18 Environmental Journalists Travel North Carolina

Sara Peach, from the UNC School of Journalism, photographs a rental home in Mirlo Beach. The sand underneath the home is eroding at a rate of 14 feet per year. Any method of entering the home has been washed out.
Credit Eric Mennel / WUNC

I moved to North Carolina last July. I moved to Durham. Directly to Durham. Did not pass go. Did not collect $200. And for all intents and purposes, I’ve stayed in Durham.  What I’ve known of life outside the Triangle has been limited to Instagram photos from vacationing friends (#OBX #Sunrise) and the occasional press release on highway construction (#NC12FeetBelowSeaLevel).

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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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