Laura Pellicer

State of Things Producer

Laura Pellicer
Credit Tammy Jean Lamoureux

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things, a show that explores North Carolina through conversation.

Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards.

Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.

Ways to Connect

Pollution in Shanghai, China
Leniners / Flickr - Creative Commons

Burning fossil fuels through cars and coal plants is exacerbating the presence of ground-level ozone gas in the air we breathe. The gas has been linked to negative effects on pulmonary health, but a new study from Duke University shows ozone may have serious consequences for heart health as well. 

Penguin Random House

Historian Nancy MacLean stumbled upon the work of James M. Buchanan when she was on the hunt for the ideological roots of the school voucher system. The Nobel Prize-winning economist was at the forefront of a push to popularize libertarianism. 

Profile photo of Wendell Tabb outside WUNC Durham studios.
Courtesy Wendell Tabb

Wendell Tabb spent much of his life training for a career as a stage actor. So when an opportunity arose to teach drama at Hillside High School in Durham, he thought the gig would be a detour on his life journey.

Donald Trump Jr.
Richard Drew / AP - 2017

Senate Republican leaders unveiled the newest version of their health care bill intended to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The new bill differs from the Senate’s last attempt in a few significant ways, namely a resurrection of two Obama-era taxes on high-income individuals. 

foster care children
Credit U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

The opioid crisis continues to ravage the United States. Children of family members caught up in the epidemic face a particular set of pressures. One of the markers of that extra pressure is the steady rise in foster care rates around the country. In North Carolina the number of children in the foster care system has risen 28 percent in the past five years and is now at a 10-year high. 

Two eagles flying
Ellen Tinsley / Dreaming Song Photos

Ellen Tinsley is acutely aware of the behavior and patterns of bald eagles in North Carolina. The retired equine veterinarian is a bald eagle monitor for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. She spends most mornings at Jordan Lake tracking the behavior of Petruchio, Kate, Hershey and Godiva – eagles who have nested in the area. 

Big Dubya / Flickr - Creative Commons

A federal voter fraud commission’s request for voter data from individual states has prompted concern from voters and politicians. The commission was formed at the behest of President Trump in reaction to claims of widespread voter fraud. In North Carolina the state elections board is facing a wave of calls from voters who want to voice opposition, or even cancel their voter registration in reaction to the federal data request.

Eddie Wise on the day of his eviction from his family farm.
Courtesy John Biewen

Eddie Wise comes from a family of farmers who worked the land for three generations. He and his wife Dorothy had dreams of raising animals together, so they decided to start their own farm near Whitakers, North Carolina. 

Men drinking beer.
Max Pixel / Max Pixel - Creative Commons

Women live longer than men in many countries around the world. In the United States, women outlive men by an average of five years. Scientists have long attributed this divide to genetics and biology, but a physician at Duke University is posing an alternative theory: toxic masculinity. 

'Lord of Monsters,' written by John Claude Bemis
John Claude Bemis / Disney-Hyperion/ 2017

 

In his “Out of Abaton” series, North Carolina author John Claude Bemis has created a fantastic twist on an ancient Venetian empire. But it is one in which monsters and a once-servantile robot-puppet push the boundaries of reality.

The second book in the series, “Lord of Monsters,” (Disney-Hyperion/ 2017) brings youth into a new, more regal landscape for the character Pinocchio. It also thrusts Pinocchio and other characters into a battle against ancient monsters. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Elements of President Donald Trump’s travel ban went into effect Thursday evening. The Supreme Court determined the modified ban can apply to foreigners who do not have a “bonafide relationship with any person or entity in the United States.” This applies to foreign nationals of six majority-Muslim countries and refugees from any country. 

North Carolina State Legislative Office Building.
W Edward Callis III / Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers are rushing to tackle a large number of bills in an effort to wrap up their legislative session for summer break. One of the top priorities for Republican legislators was to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget bill. That override passed through the House with a 76-43 vote on Wednesday. 

Cover of Hope Larson's new book, 'Knife's Edge.'
Farrar, Straus & Giroux/2017

Twin siblings Alexander and Cleopatra are back on another big adventure. In the graphic novel “Knife’s Edge” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux/2017) the duo pair up to find a hidden treasure they believe is rightfully theirs. But their voyage to track the prize reveals new mysteries about their family and its potentially nefarious past. 

Loamlands

Kym Register and Will Hackney are Loamlands, a folk-rock band whose often dark lyrics focus on local stories like urban development in Durham and overlooked queer history. The title track off their newest album, “Sweet High Rise,” is a direct reflection on watching the One City Center on Main Street in Durham climbs upward, forever changing the city skyline. Register’s thoughtful lyrics are supported and sometimes played off against contrasting layers of Hackney’s arrangements.


Soldier training with firearm
Edward Johnson / Flickr - Creative Commons

We often think of the battlefield as a place of chaos, where the explosive sounds of gunfire ring out over commands. But the technology of warfare is changing and so is the sound.


Cover of 'Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk.'
UNC Press

When it comes to bohemian art scenes and creative subcultures, the South has often been overshadowed – or sometimes even dismissed – in favor of metropolitan areas like New York or San Francisco. But a new book seeks to highlight the creative thinkers and diverse art scenes that influenced culture in the South, as well as those that permeated into the art, literary, and food scenes in northern states.


House and Senate Republicans detailed parts of their compromise spending plan on Monday, June 19, 2017.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Yesterday evening, the North Carolina Senate and House leaders reached an agreement over how to spend and raise state funds. The compromise deal lays out a 3.3 percent increase in teacher pay for the coming year, and raises pay for most other state employees by $1,000. 


Photo of Tom Barrack, real estate mogul
Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Thomas Barrack is a real estate mogul and President Donald Trump’s good friend. He built a housing empire by swooping in and purchasing foreclosed homes during the recession.

Brett Williams as Kate Monster and Aaron Boles as Princeton
Areon Mobasher​ / Avenue Q

“Everyone’s a little bit racist,” according to the characters in the musical “Avenue Q.” The humorous show stars humans and puppets who are grappling with the realities of being imperfect adults in an imperfect world. It involves drinking, harsh language and nude puppets. Raleigh Little Theatre brings the show to the stage with a performance featuring a local cast and original puppets. 

Photo of Dr. Charmaine Royal
Charmaine Royal / North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

With the rise of a competitive market for personal gene testing, the tool is becoming more available and affordable to the public. People can now swab their cheek, send the sample off to a lab, and wait patiently for a private company with a massive gene database to tell them where in the world their genes are from. But what do these tests reveal about personal identity and what do they imply about race? 

Picture of author, John Grisham
Billy Hunt / Grisham Publicity

 

John Grisham is a masterful and prolific storyteller best known for his courtroom dramas. But in his latest book, “Camino Island” (Doubleday/2017), Grisham breaks from the courtroom and brings readers into the underworld of rare and stolen books. 

Man holding hand gun
Peretz Partensky / Flickr - Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed with a lower court ruling stating that 28 legislative districts in North Carolina are gerrymandered along racial lines. A three-judge panel is now contemplating the next steps, including when and how the state can rectify these unconstitutional districts.

Jordan Green / Triad City Beat

Triad City Beat Senior Editor Jordan Green spent a year investigating housing ownership in lower income neighborhoods of High Point, North Carolina.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Green about the racial lines of poverty in lower income neighborhoods, and how nearly more than 80 years of racial economic housing policies has limited access to loans and squashed opportunities for upward mobility for many African-Americans in High Point. 

Courtesy Rob Dunn

The banana is always in season and always available at the grocery store. A new book explores how the prevalence of the popular fruit is a model for the dangers of a food system that is increasingly dependent on fewer food staples.

“Never Out Of Season” (Little, Brown, and Company/2017) by biologist Rob Dunn, a professor in the department of applied ecology at North Carolina State University, walks readers through the precarious corporate food system and explains how diversity is crucial to crop survival.

Joan Marcus, 2016

Ariana DeBose has been moving up in the Broadway world by leaps and bounds. The North Carolina native got her start in showbiz with a role on the television show "So You Think You Can Dance" when she was only 18 years old. Just a few years later, she became one of the original ensemble cast members of the hip-hop Broadway sensation "Hamilton.”

Betsy Blake / American Friends Service Committee

Juana Luz Tobar Ortega is a mother of four and grandmother of two who has lived in Asheboro, North Carolina for more than 20 years. Tobar Ortega works, pays taxes, and is active in her local church. She is also undocumented. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered Tobar Ortega to return to her native Guatemala by the end of May 2017. Instead, Tobar Ortega made the radical decision to take refuge at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro, where the vestry voted to shelter her and protect her from deportation.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

The North Carolina House outlined a $22.9 billion spending plan that calls for about $350 million in tax cuts. It allots funding for pension adjustments for state retirees and $181 million for teacher raises. 

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

Film remakes can introduce a beloved film to a new audience or take a mediocre movie to a new level of greatness. But when a remake is badly executed, it can butcher a cherished classic. On this edition of “Movies on the Radio,” film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes pick apart the artistry of a remake.

An image of veteran farmer Alex Sutton
Courtesy Alix Blair

Note: this segment is a rebroadcast from November 10, 2016.

A new documentary explores the personal journey of North Carolina veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Alex Sutton. Sutton carves out a life as a farmer after three military combat tours in Iraq. But his path to healing is marked by stark contrasts between bucolic farm life with his wife and children, and the challenge of grappling with both post-traumatic stress disorder and his own post-war identity.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

President Donald Trump jets around the world on his first foreign trip while back in the U.S., the G.O.P.’s American Health Care Act is under review. The Congressional Budget Office released a report this week that claimed 23 million Americans would be left uninsured under the new plan.


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