Laura Pellicer

State of Things Producer

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

Man stares at phone in dark room.
Japanexperterna.se / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/sBDC4d

Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC tech podcast “Note to Self,” has spent years thinking about how people interact with technology. Zomorodi led tens of thousands of listeners through an experiment to help them unplug from their devices. 

Trump sits at head of table to discuss public safety operations in Texas in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.
Evan Vucci / AP Photo - 2017

President Donald Trump traveled to Texas this week in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. He met with a number of government officials and rescue workers but received criticism for not meeting with flood victims. 

patrons at self checkout
Wikipedia Commons

The balance of people and machines in the workplace is shifting. 

Jurassic Park at Universal Studios
Marco Becerra / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/aKoNmk

Dinosaurs have graced the silver screen since the early 20th century. But depictions of the pre-historic creatures in movies are often comically inaccurate. 

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina House and Senate have approved new plans for dozens of district boundaries. 

Jedediah Purdy and Norman Wirzba sit together on some rocks.
Donn Young / Duke University

The Anthropocene is considered by many scholars and scientists to be the epoch in which humans became a dominant force in shaping the world around us. 

Pxhere - Creative Commons

Sisters in Crime is an organization that asks the tough questions, like how many hours does it take for rigor mortis to set in, and which critters feast on dead bodies. The group is a collection of women crime writers and readers who meet regularly to support each other’s writing. 

Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina lawmakers released new voting maps last weekend. The freshly-drawn district lines come after 28 House and Senate districts were found by the U.S. Supreme Court to be illegally gerrymandered along racial lines. 

An image of the total Solar eclipse 1999 in France
Luc Viatour

On Monday, Aug. 21 millions of Americans will experience a cosmic event of a lifetime: a total solar eclipse. This is the first time in 99 years that people from coast to coast can witness the moon completely covering the sun.

Laura Pellicer

For close to two decades, Richard Joyner fought to get away from the farms of Pitt County, North Carolina. He grew up in a family of sharecroppers and repeatedly witnessed racial and economic injustices. His family was never properly compensated for their labor, and his father was treated poorly by white land owners.

Later in his life, Joyner became the pastor for the small 300-person community of Conetoe, North Carolina. Within one year, 30 of his congregants died from health-related illnesses. He decided to return to farming to grow healthy food for his community.

(5/26/17) Johnny Beck Jr. during interview at Franklin Correctional Center in Bunn, N.C. Beck is one of 67 former teen offenders in N.C. serving life without parole, even after U.S. Supreme Court ordered states to reconsider juvenile prison sentencing.
Gerry Broome / AP Photo - 2017

 In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a mandatory life sentence without parole for juvenile offenders is unconstitutional. Last year, the court said the ruling also applies to more than 2,000 inmates who were convicted as teens and are serving life sentences across the country. 

death row jail cell
Christopher / Flickr - Creative Commons-https://flic.kr/p/4wekKV

On the stage stand six men who are serving sentences on death row. They have backgrounds filled with complexity and trauma, and they are the characters in the new play “Count.” 

A stone obelisk honoring  Zebulon Vance
Travis / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/dsjqqa

 In the heart of downtown Asheville sits Pack Square, a bustling center lined by popular restaurants and ongoing construction projects. A stone obelisk stretches skyward from the center of the square honoring Zebulon Vance, North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War. 

Bull shark
Brook Ward - https://flic.kr/p/PtKaBo / Flickr - Creative Commons

Intertwining ocean currents off the coast of North Carolina form a unique environment for marine species. Both tropically-inclined and colder water animals mingle at the intersection of the Gulf Stream and the arctic Labrador Current. 

UNC Board of Governor's Committee
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

In a committee meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Tuesday, members voted to approve a litigation ban on the UNC Center for Civil Rights

Workers installing solar panels
skeeze / Pixabay - Creative Commons

A panel of three federal judges has set a deadline for lawmakers to redraw 28 legislative districts that were found to be racially gerrymandered. The judges have also determined that North Carolina will not have special elections this year. Meanwhile Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill that will boost solar energy in the state, but the new law also includes a moratorium on wind development through December 2018.

Crews working at the site of the damaged transmission line
Courtesy of the NC Dot

UPDATE: Officials now estimate between six and 10 days for power to be fully restored for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

Governor Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of tourists on the islands after a contractor sliced through a line carrying electricity from mainland Dare County late last week. The islands are now running on alternative backup generators, but residents are being advised to reduce their electricity consumption. 

Cover of 'Flood'
Courtesy of Melissa Scholes Young

Author Melissa Scholes Young is from Hannibal, Missouri, the city where writer Mark Twain lived as a child. The town is rooted in the mythology of Twain, and for Scholes Young it was the perfect place to set her first novel. 

Arm of Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.
Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff - Dominique A. Pineiro / Flickr - Creative Commons

High-level U.S. military officials are clarifying the policy surrounding transgender service members after President Donald Trump announced a ban of transgender members of the military via Twitter. Trump cited “tremendous medical costs and disruption” as a cause of the ban. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a message to top military officials clarifying that “no modifications” to the military’s transgender policy will come into effect as a result of the declared ban. 

pipeline construction
Public Herald / Flickr - Creative Commons

The federal regulatory body responsible for assessing for the environmental effects of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline recently released their final report. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission determined the project will incur “some adverse effects” but proper safety and environmental mitigation will reduce the risk “to less-than significant levels.” 

woman holds sign as man speaks into microphone
Marc Faletti / Rewire Media

As some states move to crack down on abortion clinics, protests at some facilities are heating up. In North Carolina scores of activists descend every weekend on A Preferred Women’s Health Center, an abortion clinic in Charlotte. Calla Hales, the director of the clinic, says anti-abortion protestors have become increasingly aggressive, and local police navigate a gray-zone of enforcing city ordinances.

stars at night
Jeremy Nicholson / Flickr - Creative Commons

Listening to audio is something we often do alone, whether it is in the car on the way to or from work or through a set of earbuds during an evening run. But people in Durham have another option for listening to audio stories with an event series called "Audio Under The Stars,” which gives adults permission to partake in their own kind of storytime. The events take place summer evenings on the lawn of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The series is now in it's fourth season.

Photo of Reverend Mykal Slack
Courtesy Mykal Slack

Mykal Slack grew up in rural Georgia in an enormous extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. He was raised as a girl — the sex on his birth certificate — but from a young age he remembers crafting imaginary worlds in which he had a boy’s name.

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.

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