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

Dean Smith Center, UNC Chapel Hill
Dave DeWitt

The University of North Carolina basketball program is considering renovating or possibly replacing the Dean Smith Center.

The school's Athletic Director, Bubba Cunningham, would like to add premium seating to the arena.  Similar changes were recently made to the football stadium in Chapel Hill to become what is now called the "Blue Zone." Cunningham said the seats may largely pay for themselves.

Alumni Game Dean Smith Roy Williams Michael Jordan
totomaru / Flickr

At a ceremony at the White House Wednesday, President Obama awarded former UNC basketball coach Dean Smith the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The president bestowed the nation's highest civilian honor on a class of recipients including civil rights activist Bayard Rustin and women's rights advocate Gloria Steinem.  Smith was lauded not just for his many athletic achievements, but also for his impact on the community he calls home.

Nursing students working in the simulation lab during class.
Lower Columbia Community College / Flickr

Two North Carolina schools are partnering to provide future nurses with a path to a bachelors degree.

The new program is a joint venture of North Carolina Central University and Central Carolina Community College.  It's designed to allow students at the community college to take university-level nursing courses.  Betty Dennis is chair of the NCCU Nursing department.  She said many nurses never bother to get a four-year degree.

NFL Plays near the goal line
beefy_n1 / Flickr

The NFL Players Association announced a partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday to provide medical services and support to former football players. 

The program is called "The Trust".  It's the result of a multi-million dollar collective bargaining agreement reached after the 2011 league lockout.  Bahati Van Pelt is executive director of The Trust. He said the UNC Brain and Body Health Program and its director, Kevin Guskiewicz, were natural partners for the NFLPA.

HealthServe is closing in Greensboro this week and 20,000 people will have to find a medical provider elsewhere.

A total of 1,662 North Carolinians have signed up for a health plan in the federal marketplace.

That's according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of the 30 states that have signed up individuals, North Carolina has the fourth most, behind Florida (3,571), Texas (2,991) and Pennsylvania (2,207). 

United Community Ministries

Tonight's cold front will mean a push to capacity for many area homeless shelters.

At Urban Ministries of Durham, a process known as "White Flag" allows for some usual shelter rules to be pushed aside in the event of inclement weather. Typically, the shelter has a limit on the number of days any one person can stay there, and restrictions on what days they can check in.

Internet Summit

The sixth annual Internet Summit is in Raleigh this week, and organizers are hoping to leave conference goers a little starstruck.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

First Lieutenant Nathan Rimpf of Raleigh lost both his legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan last year.  He received a Purple Heart and got two titanium legs when he returned. And on Thursday he'll be a new home owner.