Laura Lee

Assistant News Director for Talk

Laura Lee is WUNC’s Assistant News Director for Talk. Born and raised in Monroe, North Carolina, Laura returned to the Old North state in 2013 after several years in Washington, DC. She received her B.A. in political science and international studies from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2002 and her J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 2007.

Laura briefly strayed from her Tarheel allegiance in 2011 to obtain a masters degree in journalism from the University of Maryland where she was an Eleanor Merrill Fellow.  Prior to WUNC, Laura worked for NPR on the Washington desk, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation.

Ways to Connect

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie.

Seventeen GOP presidential contenders took the stage last night in a two-tiered appearance on Fox. Did the event help or hurt poll leaders Donald Trump and Jeb Bush?

Plus, the debate over Planned Parenthood funding continues on the Hill.

And Jon Stewart ends his 16-year run on The Daily Show.  

A Polished Soul

Aug 5, 2015
Image of Michael Rae Anderson
Michael Rae Anderson

Michael Rae Anderson grew up in poverty and in an abusive household. As an adolescent, he saw his peers with new cars and plenty of money earned by selling drugs.

Anderson began selling drugs and guns as a teen. A fight over drugs ended with a shooting and Anderson was charged with first-degree murder. He took a plea and served 17 years on a life sentence.

Gavel / Flickr Creative Commons

The trial of a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer in the shooting of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell is underway this week.

Wes Randall Kerrick is charged with fatally wounding Ferrell, who had been involved in a car accident and knocked on a door for help. The resident of the home told officers she believed Ferrell was a burglar. Kerrick shot Ferrell 12 times.

Image of Nnenna Freelon, who stars in 'The Clothesline Muse'
Chris Charles

Clotheslines were once a part of everyday life for most American families. Women would often gather at community clotheslines, and neighbors in high rise buildings chatted over shared clotheslines hanging between their apartments. 

The new multimedia theatrical production “The Clothesline Muse” explores the history and culture of the clothesline, and looks at what it can tell us about changing community structure and relationships.

Image of Sydney Scherr, who is a jeweler and professor now working with victims of sex trafficking.
Sydney Scherr

For many victims of sex trafficking, the struggle continues after escaping the industry. Without skills to earn a livelihood, they may turn to prostitution.

Jeweler and professor Sydney Scherr started a project to teach sustainable jewelry design to victims of sex trafficking. She leads groups of students to instruct and create designs through simple techniques so that they can earn a living. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Scherr and two students involved in the project: Ezatul Mazwe Muhammad Arif and Hanson Foong.

Wind Energy In NC

Jul 16, 2015
Wind turbines
Martin Pettitt / Flickr Creative Commons

A stretch of land that was once called “The Desert” by locals is now the site of a potential new economy in North Carolina: wind energy.

And the market for the energy produced by the wind farms already has a buyer: Amazon. Meanwhile, the legislature continues to debate environmental deregulation measures.

Image of Tommy Sowers
Duke University

Tommy Sowers served two tours in Iraq as a green beret. The Duke graduate earned a Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, and he taught at West Point and at Duke.

Sowers ran as the Democratic Party's nominee for Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in 2010 and later became an assistant secretary for the Veterans Affairs. He worked to help veterans gain access to benefits.

Image of sticky notes with one titled find job / Flickr Creative Commons

New economic numbers out this month show workers in the Triangle are finding fewer jobs, and those who do have employment are making less money. 

The latest unemployment figures are the highest the Triangle has seen since August of last year. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Triangle Business Journal reporter Jason deBruyn about the latest figures. 

Sydney Scherr

Raleigh metalsmith and enameller Sydney Scherr traveled to Malaysia in 2009 to build the jewelry design program at Raffles College of Higher Education. Through a chance meeting with a fellow metalsmith, Scherr began to document the building of a 22-foot tall Hindu temple chariot. 

The work consists of 1,760 pounds of silver and many embellishments. The temple travels throughout communities. Scherr is the first female ever permitted to participate in the construction of such a temple.

Photo: The North Carolina seal in front of the state legislative building
Jorge Valencia

Lawmakers take up the state's budget with a month-end deadline looming. Senate leaders passed their plan this morning. It increases pay for new teachers but cuts back on teaching assistants. 

The $21 billion plan also puts Medicaid under the control of an outside agency. But the Senate plan differs greatly from the House proposal and the Governor's plan. Lawmakers need to reconcile the differences before June 30 or pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded.