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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Budget Agreement
6:24 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

N.C. Lawmaker Thinks Budget Comprise Is Too Small To Signal Change In Washington

Credit price.house.gov

Rep. David Price (D-NC) plans to vote for the budget agreement, proposed on Wednesday by representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA). Though he's not convinced it will be enough in the long run.

"It's hard to imagine sequestration looming over us for ten years," said Price.  "We are going to need to do something bigger and ambitious at some point."

"It does not necessarily mean we're on our way to larger agreements," Price added.

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Environment
6:37 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Is North Carolina To Blame For Northern States' Air Pollution?

Pollution fills the air from the Blue Ridge Paper mill in Canton North Carolina, deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Credit Doug Bradley / Flickr

That's not an easy question to answer.

Earlier this week, eight Northern states filed a petition with the EPA alleging that states from the South and Midwest are producing enough smog that it's affecting the air quality downwind. But how much can be blamed on North Carolina?

On the face of it, it's likely that some of North Carolina's air pollution does seep across state lines.

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Traffic Deaths
5:46 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Traffic Fatalities Rise; Trend Likely To Continue

A car accident on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill
Credit Triplezero / Flikr

After a six-year dip in the number of traffic fatalities in North Carolina, deaths in 2012 rose by 5.5 percent. That's according to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The federal agency says 1,292 people died in car accidents in North Carolina last year, with 33,561 fatalities occurring nationwide.

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Bonner Bridge Lawsuit
8:00 am
Sat December 7, 2013

SELC: Bonner Bridge Lawsuit Will Move Forward

Credit Southern Environmental Law Center

Despite a public blasting from state and local officials, the Southern Environmental Law Center says it plans to move forward with a lawsuit opposing replacing the Bonner Bridge.

"We have no plans to drop this lawsuit," said Derb Carter, Director the SELC North Carolina offices. "We're filing briefs next week. We are doing everything we can to make sure the case proceeds promptly to a conclusion."

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Unemployment Benefits
9:45 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

New Rules To Receive Unemployment Benefits

North Carolina's Unemployment Rate
Credit U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

As jobless numbers continue to drop, North Carolina Department of Commerce officials are announcing new rules for people receiving unemployment benefits. 

Beginning next February, claimants will be required to present a photo I.D. at an in-person meeting within four weeks of receiving their first benefits. Currently, the meetings are done at random.  

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Law
5:57 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Police Memorial Brings Raleigh In Line With Other Major Cities

An artist rendering of the new memorial at night.
Credit Dennis Lane / Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation

In 2009, Major Dennis Lane and other police officers road their bicycles from Raleigh to Washington D.C., in honor of officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  They stopped at various cities along the route. And they noticed something different between these cities and Raleigh; Many of them had memorials erected in honor of fallen officers.

"Of the 50 largest cities in the country, there were only two cities that did not have a police memorial of some sort; Raleigh and Indianapolis, " said Lane.

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Business & Economy
3:16 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Name This Underwear; Change A Life

The Phoebe Judge Floss of Digging for the Truth
Credit WUNC

Last year, Urban Ministries of Durham made national news with their online game, Spent. They teamed up with McKinney, an advertising agency, to help re-create the experience of living below the poverty line.

But, after playing Spent, "I think you get through...  and it feels pretty hopeless," said McKinney associate creative director, Jenny Nicholson. UMD and McKinney wanted to bring some of that hope back.

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Dinosaur Discovery
6:00 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Local Scientist Makes Most Awesome/Terrifying Discovery Of The Year

Credit Jorge Gonzalez

Researchers from North Carolina and Chicago announced  the discovery a new dinosaur today.

Siats Meekerorum (known colloquially as "SEE-ahtch") is thought to have been one of the three largest predators in America, at one time even larger than the Tyrannosaurus. This particular specimen was 30 feet long... and it's an adolesent.

Dr. Lindsay Zanno, a paleontologist at N.C. State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, is one of the co-discoverers. She told WUNC that we're still trying to figure out what led to Siats's demise. But there are theories.

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Sports
6:18 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

UNC Considering Renovations To Dean Smith Center

Dean Smith Center, UNC Chapel Hill
Credit 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.

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Sports
5:21 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

UNC Coach Dean Smith Recieves Presidential Medal Of Freedom [Video]

UNC Basketball Alumni Game. (From right) Michael Jordan, Roy Williams, Dean Smith.
Credit 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.

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