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.
kenrudinpolitics.com

Governor Pat McCrory and state Senate leaders clashed this week over how to distribute sales tax revenues.

Meanwhile, in the House, lawmakers passed a bill to restore historic preservation tax credits but a medical marijuana proposal died in House committee. Advocates say just having a chance to speak was a victory.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Political Junkie Ken Rudin about the latest in North Carolina political news.

A U.S. Dept. of Commerce report says high-wage jobs are on the decline in North Carolina.
Andrew Magill / Flickr Creative Commons

New numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce show personal income in North Carolina is lower than the national average.

The state ranks 38th in average annual income. And North Carolina’s unemployment numbers are improving but does that show the full picture? High-wage jobs are vanishing and North Carolinians are taking low-wage positions.

Duke professor William "Sandy" Darity studies the economics of social inequality.
@SandyDarity / Twitter

The term “social inequality” points to disparities in economics. 

But in reality, social inequality means inequities in many spheres: health, law, education and culture. Dissecting Inequality: Disparity and Difference in the 21st Century, a conference at Duke this week, explores the reasons for social inequality and the scientific approaches to addressing it.

N.C. author Liza Wieland
East Carolina University

For North Carolina author Liza Wieland, three separate narratives converged to her new book, Land of Enchantment.

The novel traces the experiences of three multiracial women in three different parts of the country. The characters share common themes around love, loss, racial identity and art. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with writer and English professor at East Carolina University Liza Wieland.

Composer and musician Jenny Scheinman wrote the score for a film comprised of 70-year-old archival footage.
Jenny Scheinman

North Carolina photographer Herbert Lee Waters created more than 200 films of people in communities across North and South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

He called the collection Movies of Local People, and he showed the films at small theaters so the subjects could see themselves on screen. 

Now, more than six decades later, his work is being revived as part of an experimental documentary project called Kannapolis A Moving Portrait.

Publix is one company with an employee stock ownership plan.
Mike Kalasnik / Flickr Creative Commons

In many workplaces, "the boss" is a board or group of investors.

But in a growing number of businesses, employees are taking ownership. Some use an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, and others use a cooperative structure.

 For companies like Southwest and Publix Super Markets, employee engagement is critical because employees are the bosses. The structure can also offer tax incentives.

Today's segment is a rebroadcast of Death Rides The Rails.

  

Railroads across America carry hundreds of billions of dollars of toxic materials every year. 

The body charged with regulating the industry, the Federal Railroad Administration, admits it inspects less than one percent of railroad activity. What risks does shipping hazardous materials on the railroads create? 

Host Frank Stasio talks with reporter Marcus Stern. His work, Boom: North America’s Explosive Oil-By-Rail Problem, examines regulatory responses to oil train explosions and the nation's aging railroad infrastructure. The work is a collaborative effort of Inside Climate NewsThe Weather Channel and The Investigative Fund.

Today's segment on What Animals Tell Us About Love And Relationships is a rebroadcast. 

After a bad end to a long-term relationship, animal behavior expert Jennifer Verdolin decided to look to the animal kingdom for new insight on dating. 

She dug into animal behavior literature and applied her findings to the dating world. She approached each new date as if she were an animal trying to find a mate. Her new book, Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship And Mating Tell Us about Human Relationships (Prometheus Books/2014), compares the courtship rituals and mating behaviors of animals to their human equivalents. 


J.B. Buxton
J.B. Buxton

    

J.B. Buxton began his career in education in an unlikely place: South Africa.

As a Morehead Scholar from UNC, Buxton taught in a South African school as apartheid began to crumble. The experience shaped Buxton's perspective on education and launched his long career in education policy.

He served as education advisor to Governor Easley and as Deputy State Superintendent of the North Carolina Schools. Buxton now leads the move for a charter school to serve Southeast Raleigh's neediest students.

David Joy's new book tells the story of a young man working for his father's meth ring in rural North Carolina.
David-Joy.com

Jacob McNeely grew up in the mountains of North Carolina.

A life of crime as an employee of his father's meth ring is the only one he has ever known. But a violent event and a reunion with his first love offer McNeely the possibility of escape. 

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