Laura Candler

Web Producer

Laura moved from Chattanooga to Chapel Hill in 2013 to join WUNC as a web producer. She graduated from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in the spring of 2012 and has created radio and multimedia stories for a variety of outlets, including Marketplace, Prairie Public, and Maine Public Broadcasting. When she's not out hunting stories, you can usually find her playing the fiddle.  

Ways to Connect

A self-contained sewage recycling system being designed by Duke and Missouri engineers.
Duke University

Two years ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched a research competition called “Reinvent the Toilet,” challenging researchers to create a sewage disposal system that requires no electricity and could be used in developing countries. Marc Deshusses, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, pitched an idea to the Foundation and won $100,000 to take it further.

Vijay Dey at the White House Kids' State Dinner on July 9.
Mei Dey

Twelve-year-old Chapel Hill resident Vijay Dey took a special trip to the White House last week after being selected as one of 54 nationwide winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a program sponsored by food website Epicurious and Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. The Challenge asked young chefs to submit a healthy recipe that meets the USDA’s MyPlate standards, meaning half of the dish is comprised of fruits and vegetables. They also were encouraged to submit the story behind the dish.

Dey’s winning recipe was for Spring Rolls, a dish he said was inspired by his grandfather. “My grandpa makes that recipe and I thought it tasted really good,” Dey said. “And it fit with the MyPlate food group categories.”

WUNC was ranked the number 5 public radio station in the country.
Laura Candler

A new report by The Media Audit names WUNC one of the top five public radio stations in the country. The report used cume ratings – the estimated number of people who have listened to the station during a given period – to determine stations’ popularity. WUNC was ranked number five, with nearly 17 percent of adults in the market listening to the station in the past seven days at the time of the report.

The Indigo Girls with Eric Hodge on Last Motel, at Manifold recording.
Manifold Recording

This summer, the Indigo Girls played a show at Manifold Recording in Pittsboro, streamed live on WUNC’s Last Motel with Eric Hodge. During their time on stage, they played a range of songs and also spoke about their lives and musical careers. 

The Last Motel live stream features portions of this concert as part of the program rotation from now until Sunday, July 14.

Here are a few highlights from the show:

On playing with a symphony orchestra:

Ira Glass and the This American Life producers celebrate their 500th episode this weekend.
Adrianne Mathiowetz

UPDATE: Hear Episode #500 on the TAL website.

If you are a This American Life listener, get ready to celebrate. The popular radio show is reaching a milestone this weekend, broadcasting its 500th episode. To celebrate, Ira asked each of the show’s producers to recall their favorite moment—whether that be a single phrase or an entire story—and talk about that moment during a special, behind-the-scenes, “best-of” episode airing this weekend.

Protesters gather outside the legislative building to protest the abortion bill passed by the Senate Wednesday morning.
Jessica Jones

There are a range of facilities in North Carolina where a woman can get an abortion: a stand-alone clinic, a physician’s office, an ambulatory surgical facility, a hospital, and a hospital-affiliated clinic or health center. According to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute in 2011, the most common abortion providers in the state are stand-alone clinics, which are licensed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Most clinics that provide abortions also offer a range of other services related to reproductive health.  In addition to clinics, all hospitals and obstetrics/gynecology doctors are legally licensed to perform abortions, although not all do.

How would House Bill 695 affect abortion providers in NC?

On July 3, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill (HB 695) that, if signed into law, would likely shut down all 15 clinics that provide abortions in the state. It would not affect the one abortion-performing ambulatory surgical center in Asheville, nor would it threaten hospitals or hospital-affiliated women’s health centers.

The falling forward motion the baseball pitcher affects the amount of force applied to the ball.
Adrian Bejan

Scientists have known for years that the athletes topping the podium in speed sports, like swimming and running, have grown taller over the past century. Now, new research from Duke University shows that athletes in a range of other sports, including certain team sports, are following a similar trend.

Office of Pat McCrory
NC Governors Office

Governor Pat McCrory said that he will veto a bill that places stricter regulations on clinics providing abortions unless state lawmakers make significant changes to the bill. McCrory's office released a statement this morning saying “major portions of the bill are of sound value,” however he would block the measure unless the legislature amends it to include provisions his administration outlined yesterday.

This male baby gorilla was delivered by C-Section at N.C. Zoo Sunday Acacia. A name has not yet been chosen.
Aaron Jesue

UPDATE: The North Carolina Zoo announced on Wednesday that the baby gorilla born to mother Acacia has died. They say that the cause is uncertain, although it is possible that the mother may have accidentally rolled over onto the the infant in her sleep.

Blue Ridge Community College hopes to offer a degree in craft beer brewing starting this fall.
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr, Creative Commons

Many college students become immersed in beer culture when they go to college, but it’s usually not in the classroom. That might be about to change at three North Carolina colleges hoping to offer degrees in craft beer brewing next year.

Take Me to the Beach helps people find the right beach in the Outer Banks.
Inductice Ideas LTD

Have you ever visited the North Carolina coast only to have a hard time finding the right public beach access? That’s the situation that Sara Brubaker found herself in when she moved to the Outer Banks three years ago. So Brubaker got in touch with the app development company Inductive Ideas LTD to find a solution to the problem.  The result is a new smartphone app called Take Me to the Beach, a guide to Outer Banks beaches that provides information about public access, beach amenities, lifeguards, and distances from beaches to food and drink.

Duke researcher Ari Friedlaender attaching a suction-cup tag to the back of a blue whale off the coast of southern California.
Courtesy of Ari Friedlaender; NMFS Permit 14534

New research from Duke University looks at how whales are impacted by military sonar used in underwater training exercises.  The study was conducted off the coast of California and found that whales might avoid important feeding sites when exposed to mid-frequency sonar routinely produced at a nearby military training site.

John Anton

In early April, Mandolin bar manager John Anton hopped on a plane to Lima to meet up with seven other bartenders from across the country. Each had won a national cocktail contest sponsored by Campo de Encanto, the makers of an ancient Peruvian liquor called pisco. The prize was a trip to Peru to learn how the spirit is distilled. When the group stepped off the plane, they were immediately greeted by the owner of the company and a bottle of pisco. It was 4:30 a.m.

Pisco is an old drink, made in Peru since the 1600’s. It’s distilled from grapes instead of grains, and it’s traditionally aged in clay containers that impart no color. The result is a smooth, clear spirit that some liken to grappa. Similar to wine, Anton claims “you can really taste where it came from,” due to the quality that the grapes impart.

Blue Morpho butterfly
Museum of Life and Science

It sounds like a dream—a thousand iridescent butterflies fluttering around in a glass atrium—but this month you can experience it for real at the  Museum Of Life and Science’s Magic Wings Butterfly House. Starting today, the Butterfly House’s one thousand Blue Morpho butterflies will begin hatching from their chrysalises and living out their two to three week adult stage among the House’s other insects and tropical flora.

A roach hooked up to a computer controlled by video game software.
Alper Bozkurt

Do you ever wish that you could control roaches? That technology has now been developed, thanks to researchers at North Carolina State University. 

Unfortunately, it requires catching the roaches first.

Jim Haberman

A group of researchers led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Religion Professor Jodi Magness has unearthed a group of significant mosaics at an ancient synagogue in Galilee. The mosaics, which consist of hundreds of tiny stone cubes, depict scenes from in the Bible and have been dated to the fifth century.

Hartman Center, Rubenstein Library, Duke University

The season finale delivered many memorable moments that will keep us guessing until next year. Stan tells Don that he wants to be the one that goes to Los Angeles to open a satellite office that will service the Sunkist account. After a bad phone conversation with Sally, Don gets drunk at a bar when he is supposed to be at work. Later he wakes up in jail. Pete is horrified to find out that his mother is lost at sea. She married Manolo on a cruise and it is presumed that he threw her overboard in order to inherit her money.

Screen shot of the 'Pick the Protester Game' on the Civitas website.
screen shot of Civitas website

The  Civitas Institute posted an online database of Moral Monday/Witness Wednesday arrestees yesterday on its website, prompting a flood of responses and online commentary. The database includes demographic breakdowns of 382 people by political affiliation, age, race, and employment, and even includes a “Pick The Protester Game" in which the user must match a piece of demographic information with one of three mugshots.

Hartman Center, Rubenstein Library, Duke University

Don stays home from work feigning illness and drinking too much, as he mourns what happened with Sally. Ken goes hunting with two Chevy executives and accidently gets shot in the face. Betty tells Don that Sally doesn’t want to visit him anymore and that she wants to go to boarding school. Ted and Peggy’s fondness for each other becomes apparent to others in the office. Harry calls Don to tell him that Sunkist has approved a large media budget.

Former NC Governor Jim Holshouser
The family of Jim Holshouser

Former North Carolina Governor Jim Holshouser has died.  Holshouser's family says he died this morning at a hospital in Pinehurst.  A native of Boone, he was North Carolina's first Republican governor in the 20th century, serving from 1973 to 1977.  Holshouser received an undergraduate degree from Davidson College and a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill. 

While in office, Holshouser created a UNC Board of Governors and supported the expansion of public school kindergartens. He also established rural health clinics and added to the state parks system.

Wolfpack players Logan Ratledge (gray shirt) and Jake Armstrong (red shirt) playing baseball with Little Leaguers.
NC State

NC State's Wolfpack has had the entire season to prepare for its World Series shot this weekend, but when they arrived at the hotel in Omaha this week, a couple players managed to get in a last minute pickup game with a Little League team on the lawn of their hotel.  NC State communications caught players Logan Ratledge and Jake Armstrong on film batting with an 11-and-under team from Colorado Thursday afternoon. Nearby hotel and car windows were spared –they used a wiffle ball.

Exoneree Orlando Boquete
David Persoff

In 1982, a woman notified the police that two men had broken into her home, and one of them had sexually assaulted her. She described the sexual offender as a Latino man wearing no shirt and with no hair.  After the police responded to the call, they found a group of Cuban-Americans in the parking lot of a convenience store. A man named Orlando Boquete was among them, the only one who wore no shirt and had little hair, although he did have a large, black mustache. 

The police arrested Boquete right there and took him to the victim’s home, where she identified him, from 20 feet away in a police cruiser at night, as the perpetrator. After she identified him that night, she added to her testimony that the perpetrator had a mustache.

Boquete testified at the trial that he was with his family watching TV at the time of the crime. Afterwards, he went to the convenience store with his cousins, where the police picked him up.  The jury didn’t buy it. Another piece of evidence ignored at the trial was blood type. The fluids found on the victim’s clothing revealed that the perpetrator had Type A blood. Boquete and the victim are both Type O, but the forensic analyst who testified at the trial did not mention this crucial fact.

Boquete was charged and convicted of sexual battery and burglary in 1983 and sent to prison.

Exoneree James Waller
David Persoff

“The worst thing you can be is a sex offender because it’s dirt that you can’t wash off.”

Those words were spoken by James Waller in an interview with WUNC at the Innocence Network Conference in Charlotte in April. Waller spent decades in prison and on parole after being wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy. When he went to jail, he was 23. When he was exonerated in 2007, he was 50.

UNC professor Paul Jones located a Web page from 1991 on his old NeXT computer
screen shot

It might not be much to look at, but in the history of the World Wide Web,  this image is a landmark. It's the earliest web page found so far, according to scientists at the nuclear research group CERN (the same organization that developed the Large Hadron Collider) who are trying to locate the genesis of the Web.  The page was brought to their attention by Paul Jones, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Exoneree Christopher Scott
David Persoff

Update 12/31/13: This story was mentioned in a Huffington Post list of notable prison stories from 2013. All the stories from this series are available for you to read and hear.

When Christopher Scott walked out of the Dallas courthouse a free man after 12 years of wrongful imprisonment, Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins declared that it might be the biggest case yet for his office.  Not only had they exonerated two people (the other was Claude Simmons Jr.) involved in the same murder case, but they did it without DNA evidence. Watkins said that the case would likely cause DA offices across the country to take non-DNA exoneration requests a little more seriously.

Exoneree Marvin Anderson
David Persoff

Marvin Anderson was exonerated in 2001 after spending 15 years in a Virginia prison and four years on parole for crimes he did not commit. His exoneration was granted after DNA evidence excluded him from the crimes, and he was the 99th person in the country to be exonerated due to DNA evidence gathered post-conviction. But had some evidence been taken more seriously at his original trial, Anderson never would have had to serve prison time for someone else’s crimes in the first place.

Exoneree Jeffrey Deskovic
David Persoff

Jeffrey Deskovic was 16 when one of his female classmates, Angela Correa, was found murdered in the woods in their hometown in upstate New York.  He says didn’t know her well, but she was always friendly to him in the school hallways.  At the girl’s funeral, Jeffrey broke down in heavy sobs and visited her wake multiple times.  It was there that some people started to suspect that he might have had something to do with the murder.

The group of Elon graduates filmed the 'Friends' intro in the University's Fonville Fountain.
David Gwynn

A group of graduating seniors at Elon University have been recognized nationally for their YouTube video that imitates the intro of the popular sitcom “Friends.” The group of six then-seniors (now graduates) asked the university's vice-president for permission to frolic in the university’s Fonville Fountain to shoot the short film.

Johnnie Lindsey was exonerated after 26 years in prison.
David Persoff

In 1981, a 27-year-old white woman was riding her bike when she was attacked and raped by a shirtless African American man. A rape kit was collected, and a line-up of potential perpetrators was assembled for the victim to review, but she did not identify anyone. A year later, the police mailed her six photos from a new line-up. There were two men without shirts. The victim picked out Johnnie Lindsey, one of the shirtless men, as the perpetrator, and in 1983 he was charged with the crime.

Exoneree Julie Baumer
David Persoff

When Julie Baumer rushed her new-born nephew Philipp to the hospital on October 3, 2003, she had no idea what was wrong. He couldn’t keep his formula down for more than a few hours and wouldn’t take a bottle. Philipp was 6 weeks old and has spent the first week of his life in the neonatal intensive-care-unit after a difficult delivery. His mother, Julie’s sister, struggled with drug addiction and had already given up one child for adoption. Not wanting to see another child leave the family, Julie had offered to help care for her sister’s infant.

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