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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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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Fast Food Study
11:12 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Fast Food: A Symptom, Not The Cause Of Childhood Obesity

Credit jasonlam via Flickr, Creative Commons

It's easy to point the finger at fast food joints. A decade after the breakout documentary, Super Size Me, the cheap, un-nutritious, happy meal is a go-to candidate for public ire when it comes to childhood obesity.

But a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina says that explanation might be too easy.

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House On Wade Avenue
1:57 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

VIDEO: What's Inside This House On Wade Avenue?

This house, at 3215 Wade Avenue, holds a secret
Credit Eric Mennel

 Update: 1/27/14, 10:35 a.m.: Nine days after our story "What's Inside This House On Wade Avenue" premiered here, the video story has 857,751 views on YouTube (and counting). The story has broken all previous records for WUNC in terms of page and video views. Find a new interview with the star of the show, Perry Allen, construction projects administrator for the city of Raleigh, below the story.

What's Inside This House On Wade Avenue?

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Sexually-Oriented Stores
7:42 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Greensboro City Council Agrees: Walgreens Is Not A Sex Business

Greensboro City Council, 2014
Credit City of Greensboro

In a unanimous vote, the Greensboro City Council agreed Tuesday that its definition of a sexually-oriented business was too broad.

The problem stems from some businesses not realizing they were sexually-oriented. Spencer's, (the black light infused, sort-of-ironic t-shirt and chain wallet store often found in malls) was cited by the city as violating it's definition of "sexually-oriented." Of course, Spencer's pushed back, arguing that the items in its store that are explicitly for adults can also be found in a drug store.

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