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.

Eric left WUNC in January 2015.

Ways To Connect

Fiddler Bobby Hicks
Eric Mennel / WUNC

Bobby Hicks had no intention of playing fiddle as a kid. He was playing mandolin in a band with his brothers when one of them asked for some help.

"My brother had a friend he wanted in the band, but he couldn't play anything," said Hicks. "So he talked me into teaching him to play the mandolin, and then they fired me."

It was to all our benefit.

keith crisco
criscoforcongress.com

Democratic congressional hopeful Keith Crisco has died.  He was 71 years old.

Crisco was set to be involved in a possible runoff with Clay Aiken in the 2nd congressional district.  He died reportedly after a fall at his home in Asheboro Monday afternoon.  The death was confirmed by an employee at Asheboro Elastics, the company Crisco co-founded. 

The state Board of Elections released a statement on Crisco's passing.

graduation
Duke University

Several universities are holding their commencement exercises this weekend. Here's a look at what's in store.

The Speakers

UNC Chapel Hill: Dr. Atul Gawande.

Dr. Gawande has become a household name for fans of science and medical journalism. He's a leader in the field of how to make health care more efficient and more effective on an institutional level. He also gave a TED talk, which makes him pretty hip.

Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan
NC General Assembly/US Senate

Biggest Stories

Thom Tillis bested the wide field of GOP contenders for U.S. Senate with 45 percent of the vote. It was a wide enough margin to avoid a runoff -  a scenario many in the Republican party are glad to have avoided. He'll now turn his attention to incumbent Democrat, Kay Hagan, who won her primary (as expected), taking 76 percent of the vote.

Jacinta White, Poet
PoetryHeals.com

For National Poetry Month, we talked with four different North Carolina poets about their work and their relationship with the art form.

Name: Jacinta White

Location: Kernersville, NC

Organization: The Word Project, using poetry workshops to help with personal and community healing.

Fisherman catches Red Drum of the NC Coast
Flickr user, creative commons

When the state announced earlier this month that the Red Drum fishery was closed, it was problematic for commercial fishermen. Commercially speaking, Red Drum is a bycatch fish, meaning it's only ever caught on accident, when trying to catch other fish. The fisherman are allowed to take in a total of about 250,000 a year -- a limit they hit much more quickly this year because Red Drum numbers are up.

electronic cigarettes
dikiy via Flickr, Creative Commons

Shortly after the F.D.A. announced newly proposed regulations of the exploding E-Cigarette market, Greensboro-based Lorillard released  a statement on the matter:

map, states, veteran education assistants
Student Veterans of America / StudentVeterans.org

North Carolina is one of only eight states in the country where none of the state's schools offer in-state tuition or residency exemptions for veterans. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the number of veterans living in the state is expected to balloon by as much as 60,000.

This presents an opportunity for the state to change course and join the rest of the country in training service members who have called North Carolina home while in the military, though are technically residents of the states from which they enlisted.

A preliminary flood maps show gains and reductions in base flood elevation along the coast.
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.

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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