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

Jon Eric Johnson

A woman dressed as a 1960s secretary sits in front of a rare vintage typewriter and asks people to engage in something even more rare – to share their unedited political opinions with a stranger. It’s all part of the “I Wish to Say” performance art project created by Sheryl Oring.

Courtesy Sönke Johnsen

Sönke Johnsen was always driven by art. As a youth he captured documentary photos on the streets of Pittsburgh and developed them in a homemade dark room. Later he practiced and taught modern dance. But Johnsen's pursuit of artistic awe led him on a surprising path toward biology. Today, as a professor of biology at Duke University, he plunges thousands of feet under the sea, discovering mysterious marine animals that hide in plain sight. He has won multiple awards for his scientific writing, teaching, and mentorship.

The 'Old Well' UNC-Chapel HIll
Caroline Culler / Wikipedia

The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, requested public records from the university about sexual assaults on campus. Journalists want to know who has been held responsible for sexual assault and how the perpetrators were punished.

 


An image of UNC's Old Well
yeungb / Wikipedia Creative Commons

The NCAA and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are at loggerheads over the ongoing investigation into academic fraud at the university. Recent correspondence between the two organizations, obtained by the News and Observer, shows the sports association no longer considers the university a partner in the investigation into fake classes targeted at student athletes.

Headshot of Bill Marshall, Kenan Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina
Courtesy Bill Marshall

This past Tuesday, Hillary Clinton won 49 percent of the popular vote while Donald Trump won only 48 percent. Ultimately, Trump took home the presidency because voters don't elect the president, electors do. 

Bill Marshall, a UNC law professor, and former Deputy White House Counsel during the Clinton administration, breaks down how the Electoral College system works, and why it has led to differences between popular and electoral votes in two recent elections.
 

Roy Cooper at a podium with his wife, addresses his supporters in Raleigh. North Carolina gubernatorial candidates Cooper and incumbent Pat McCrory are locked in a tie with their race likely heading to a recount.
Brian Batista / WUNC

Last night, North Carolinians watched as successful candidates for President, U.S. Senate, and State Supreme Court took to the podium to thank crowds of exuberant supporters in their acceptance speeches. But one race is still undecided: the race for North Carolina's governor. Only a few thousand votes separated Republican incumbent Pat McCrory from his Democratic challenger Roy Cooper. 

President-elect Donald Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. He is seen on stage clapping at a rally.
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Voters cast their ballots and elected Donald Trump as their 45th president. Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. North Carolinians also re-elected Republican Richard Burr to the Senate, and Democratic Judge Mike Morgan as the newest  N.C. Supreme Court Justice.

A picture of a gavel on a table.
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it will send election monitors to watch the polls in five North Carolina counties. This comes after the state chapter of the NAACP filed a lawsuit alleging local election boards acted illegally when they removed the names of thousands of people from voter registration rolls in three counties within 95 days of the election.

A view of the Blue Ridge Parkway on October 11, 2016 north of Devil's Couthouse in western North Carolina.
Jennifer Mesk / http://humansofasheville.net

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau paints a complex picture of the changing demographics in western North Carolina. Carolina Public Press managing editor Frank Taylor sifted through the data to find trends in poverty, education, and employment, as well as to undercover political implications of the area's demographic makeup.

Image of multicolor gems. A new PBS NOVA series explores gems and precious stones, some found right in North Carolina.
PBS NOVA

Hiddenite, North Carolina, is a tiny community with a big secret. Emeralds, some of the largest in the world, along with sapphires, and other precious stones lay hidden under the earth at this site in Alexander County. A new series of the popular PBS show NOVA, titled “Treasures of the Earth,” takes a deeper look at the science behind this local phenomenon.

Cover Image from ‘Resisting Arrest Poems To Stretch The Sky,’ a new anthology of poetry about police aggression against people of color.
Jacar Press

Does a smile help defend against potential police aggression? What is a mother’s role in protecting her child from a dangerous situation? A new collection of poems, “Resisting Arrest Poems to Stretch the Sky” (Jacar Press/2016), explores these questions through the work of more than 70 writers.
 

Political Junkie Ken Rudin
Ken Rudin

Early voting is underway in North Carolina and predictions for which party is leading the state have already emerged. Meanwhile both parties continue actively campaigning in swing states including North Carolina. Republican Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump, is raising a red flag concerning what he says is a rigged election and both parties have turned Trump’s ‘nasty woman’ comment into a rallying cry.
 

Screenshot from the 1961 cult film 'Hercules in the Haunted World' showing a male character hovering over a woman laying on a slab
SPA CINEMATOGRAFICA

It’s a battle oft overlooked by the history books, but North Carolina Opera is paying tribute to the epic battle between Hercules and vampires in their new live-film event.
 

A gif image of a timelapse of host Frank Stasio's right underarm microbes grown at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences' Genomics & Microbiology Research Lab.
Courtesy Julie Horvath

They live in every nook and cranny of your body, from your belly button to your armpits. A new exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences explores the secret world of human microbes. Host Frank Stasio speaks with biologists Julie Horvath and Rob Dunn about the implications of microbial diversity for human health, and about Frank’s own armpit ecosystem.
 

Cover image of Wedding Bell Blues, a new mystery novel by Ruth Moose
Courtesy Ruth Moose

An eccentric yet beloved, homeless bride-to-be, her freshly-murdered fiancé and an evasive white rabbit are some of the residents of Littleboro, North Carolina, a town where mysteries abound. They are also the conjurings of author Ruth Moose, that come to life in her new book “Wedding Bell Blues” (Minotaur Books/2016).

Host Frank Stasio talks with Moose about developing her cast of characters, and about picking up where her last book left off, a book she first wrote more than 25 years ago. 

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump battled it out on the podium earlier this week in their third and final debate of the season. It was the first time a Fox News anchor moderated a presidential debate.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Ken Rudin, the political junkie, about the candidates’ debate strategies and about their comedic spar at an annual charity roast. 

Political pins show off the name and campaign slogans of former US Congressman Nick Galifiniakis.
Courtesy Ken Rudin

The son of two Greek immigrants, Nick Galifianakis was a surprising pick for politics in 1960s North Carolina. "Pick Nick", a new book by former UNC history professor John Semonche, published by Tidal Press, takes an intimate look into Galifianakis’s rise to political prominence, first as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly and later as a United States Congressman.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Semonche and Galifianakis about his political legacy and the infamous battle against former US Senator Jesse Helms.​

Judge Mike Morgan, a candidate in the N.C. Supreme Court race, standing by an American flag.
Courtesy Mike Morgan

The race for a seat in the North Carolina Supreme Court is one of many down-ballot races that may not be top of mind for most North Carolinians. However, this year’s race carries the potential for a significant political shift.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, a registered Democrat, says the N.C. Supreme Court is becoming increasingly politicized. He is fighting to win the seat of incumbent Justice Bob Edmunds, a registered Republican. 

Headshot of N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds.
Courtesy of Justice Bob Edmunds

Down-ballot races in North Carolina do not generally conjure the hearty debate and civic attention of higher profile elections. But this year, the race for a seat on North Carolina's Supreme Court may also carry a significant ideological shift.

Image of Reginald Newberne, a former North Carolina State Trooper, against a brick wall.
Laura Pellicer

A former North Carolina State trooper won a $3.75 million verdict in a long-running whistleblower case. State trooper Reginald Newberne claims that in 2000, a fellow officer told Newberne he injured his hand while punching a teen suspect. Newberne says he was hesitant about filling out an official report, but he later offered a detailed account of the incident to his superiors. Newberne was subsequently fired from his position in the Highway Patrol for a violation of the “truthfulness directive”.
 

Black and white photo of renowned jazz singer Nnenna Freelon.
Chris Charles

Jazz singer Nnenna Freelon, and jazz guitarist Scott Sawyer, cut their teeth performing as a duo in listening rooms, bars, and even hotel lobbies back in the 1980s. Over the past decades, their individual careers have taken off, bringing them Grammy nominations and leading to collaborations with artists around the world. Both artists settled in the Triangle and are now pillars of the jazz scene in the state.
 

Headshot of Eric Fair, a former interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Amy Cramer

In 2004, photographs capturing extreme abuse of detainees at the American-controlled Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were released to the public, sparking a humanitarian outcry. That same year, Eric Fair was working as an interrogator at the prison. Fair's new memoir, "Consequence" (Henry Holt/2016) is an unflinching look back at his time at Abu Ghraib and the mental and physical pain he inflicted on detainees as part of military-sanctioned interrogations.

Greensboro Police Department

Guilford County prosecutors will not bring criminal charges against a white officer who aggressively attacked a black man. Greensboro City Council members repeatedly called for prosecutors to review the initial investigation. Dejuan Yourse was on his mother's front porch when he was punched in the face, wrestled to the ground, and subsequently arrested by Officer Travis Cole.  

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