Leoneda Inge

Race and Southern Culture Reporter

Leoneda Inge is WUNC's "Race and Southern Culture Reporter." She is the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position, which explores modern and historical constructs to tell stories of poverty and wealth, health and food culture, education and racial identity.

Leoneda's most recent work includes the series, "Perils and Promise," an in-depth series focused on the challenges of rural education in Vance County. Leoneda has also featured reports on "Organic Tobacco," "Rebuilding Slave Cabins" and traveled to Tokyo, Japan tracking the importance of North Carolina’s pork industry to that country.

Leoneda is the recipient of three Gracie Awards from the Alliance for Women in Media and several awards from the Associated Press, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2006, she and a team of WUNC journalists won an Alfred I. DuPont Award from Columbia University for the series "North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty."

Leoneda is a graduate of Florida A&M University and Columbia University, where she earned her Master's Degree in Journalism as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics. In 2014, Leoneda traveled to Berlin, Brussels and Prague as a German/American Journalist Exchange Fellow with the RIAS Berlin Commission/RTDNF.

Ways to Connect

Millennials
Kenan Flagler Blog

It’s been a tough job market for the young worker since the last recession and economic downturn.  Many in that under-35 age group have been squeezed out for lack of experience or credentials.

But a growing number of companies are seeing the benefits of hiring Millennial workers.  Two North Carolina companies in the Triangle stand out.

It’s hard to keep up with all the “best places to work” lists that include analytics software giant SAS.

Fayetteville State University, Nursing Program, FSU
Fayetteville State University

North Carolina has more nursing schools and programs than most states its size.  So when Fayetteville State University suspended its Bachelor’s Degree nursing program in 2009, it was a big deal for the state and the school.

Today, the nursing program is open and admitting students.  In fact, the first class of graduates have all passed their national board exam.

There's a radio ad playing on Fayetteville's commercial stations.

A teenager locking down a summer job as a lifeguard used to be a big deal.

But this summer, several parks and recreation departments and YMCA's across the country are reporting a shortage of lifeguards. And an improving economy may be playing a big role.

The Ridge Road swimming pool in Raleigh, N.C. is packed. There are easily 200 people here competing in a swim meet, some of them as young as 5 years old.

Minimum Wage, Home Care Workers
Leoneda Inge

From California to New York, a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour is becoming more of a reality.  Durham workers rallied Thursday in support.

Most of the people rallying outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Downtown Durham were longtime home care and child care workers, like Tolanda Barnette.   Barnette says after more than a decade of working in child care in North Carolina, she still only makes $10 an hour.

“We do the hardest and the most work in the child care center and we are the least and most underpaid," said Barnette.

Produce, Shopping, Grocery Stores
www.usda.gov

A new study out of Duke University shows people shopping with reusable bags often make surprising choices.

Bryan Bollinger is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. He says they examined the habits of close to 900 families who shopped at a California supermarket. Bollinger says here’s what happened if they shopped with their own, reusable bag.

Lucille Ervin, Durham, St. Mark AME Zion
Leoneda Inge

There was a special birthday celebration for one of Durham’s long-time residents Tuesday.

Lucille Ervin turned 108 years old.  About 30 people gathered on the lawn of St. Mark AME Zion Church to wish her well and sing "Happy Birthday".

Ervin moved to North Carolina from South Carolina 80 years ago.  And she’s been here ever since.  She was born in Charleston and raised by an Aunt and Uncle who lived on land handed down by their slave owners, according to Dorothy Fuller, Ervin's cousin.

Durham Art, Mariott City Center, Durham Sculpture
Leoneda Inge

Durham community leaders, artists and residents are working to make sure downtown remains people-friendly as it grows.

After a year of getting to know Durhamites, award-winning Landscape Architect and Environmental Artist Mikyoung Kim presented an art infused vision plan for downtown Durham.  Kim’s job was to connect the corridor between the Old Durham Bulls Ballpark and the new one.

Google Fiber, Google, Internet Construction
Google Fiber

Folks in the Triangle cheered when Google announced it was bringing ultra-high-speed internet and TV service to the area.  Google officials say now it’s time for patience as they start digging up and building new infrastructure to accommodate the technology.

A lot of lobbying and planning went into the Triangle and Charlotte being chosen for Google Fiber, which can deliver data 100 times faster than your basic Internet service.

Governor Pat McCrory was one of the biggest cheerleaders at the announcement five months ago.

Deborah Woodward, St. Paul AME Church, Piano, Vigil
Leoneda Inge

Hundreds of people of multiple colors and creeds filled St. Paul AME Church in Chapel Hill Friday.  It was a vigil to remember the slain members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Vivian Howard, Cynthia Hill, A Chef's Life
Leoneda Inge

Kinston is the heart of Lenoir County in eastern North Carolina.  Longtime residents say it was heart-breaking to see their hometown fall apart as traditional industries like textiles and tobacco disappeared.  But during the past decade a new, more diverse economic landscape has developed. 

One person who is getting a lot of credit for helping to transform her hometown of  Kinston is Chef Vivian Howard.

Nothing brings Kinston residents together like the annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse.

Colored Troops
Leoneda Inge

Events commemorating the 150th Anniversary marking the end of the Civil War are wrapping up across the south.  It is noticeable that most of the visitors attending these events are white.

But organizers at the Stagville State Historic Site in Durham made sure their event over the weekend would be more diverse.  They say “Freedom 150” focused on the lives of the former slaves once the Civil War came to an end.

An image of the Stagville barn
UNC

Events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War are wrapping up. Organizers will mark the freedom of hundreds of slaves after the war Saturday, May 30, at the Stagville Historic site in Durham.

The event is called “Freedom 150.”  Jerome Bias sits on the Historic Stagville Foundation Board.  He says they are trying to make sure slavery is not forgotten.

Charles Hayes, RTRP
Research Triangle Regional Partnership

The Research Triangle Regional Partnership is celebrating twenty-five years of marketing and growing the economic base of the region.

Charles Hayes heads the Research Triangle Regional Partnership and remembers when the group’s economic development focus was in three counties.

“UNC Chapel Hill, Duke and NC State University and the cities they were in," said Hayes.

Collage Dance Company
Jerri Dorsey-Hall

The Collage Dance Company has wowed audiences for decades with its authentic African costumes, precise foot-work and exquisite drumming.  And some of the performers are as young as ten years old!

Tonight, the Durham-based company is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary with a performance at the Carolina Theatre featuring more than one generation on stage.

Light Emitting Diodes
Mike Deal / Flickr

Durham-based Cree, known for its LED lighting, is spinning off another company.

Cree is calling the new business group the Cree Power and Radio Frequency Division.

Sharon Belenzon is an Associate Professor of Strategy at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.  Belenzon says he was not surprised by the news.

“So this legal separation in many, many cases creates huge value when you have divisions which have high growth opportunities and divisions which have low growth opportunities," said Belenzon.

Wake Tech, Co-Curricular Transcripts
Melody Wiggins

Community college graduates at Wake Tech can now get a second transcript to show off their leadership, volunteerism and sports skills.

Wake Tech is the first community college in the state to offer Co-Curricular Transcripts or CCTs.

And Glenn Strumke is the first Wake Tech student to take advantage of the additional transcript that could help in a job search or school search.

South Estes, Public Housing, Chapel Hill
Leoneda Inge

A big step is underway to help bridge the “digital divide” in Chapel Hill.

Town officials announced today, along with AT&T, that residents living in eight of its public housing communities will soon have free internet service.

The move is a long time coming, especially in a town that is already one of the most wired in the state.

The South Estes Public Housing Community in Chapel Hill sits right off 15/501, near University Mall.  The 44 units were built in 1970, are gray in color and probably need a little fixing up. 

Garner Police Department, Police OFficers
Leoneda Inge

Commentary about tragic encounters between police and the public, mainly black men, has been a mainstay in the news these days.

Whether it’s the low pay or the bad publicity, police departments say it’s been increasingly hard to recruit new officers.

The images and sounds of police officers in riot gear, marching through the streets of Baltimore are hard to erase.

Bronto, American Tobacco
Leoneda Inge

Durham-based Bronto Software has been sold for $200 million dollars to NetSuite of San Mateo, California.

Bronto Software, founded in 2002, has been growing like gangbusters for years.  

“We had a great 2014, over 40% growth.  And we have even more amazing things for 2015," said CEO Joe Colopy in a video of the company's fourth quarter update in 2014.

CBC Americas, Japan
Leoneda Inge

CBC Americas of Japan is moving its US headquarters from New York to North Carolina.

Japan-based CBC makes flooring and plastics as well as video surveillance products.  Its new offices will be in Cary, with a distribution center in Mebane, creating more than 100 jobs.

Governor Pat McCrory applauded the move. He said the state is helping to make these jobs happen.

Bennett Place, Civil War
www.ncdcr.gov

Thousands of history buffs are expected to visit the Bennett Place State Historic Site this week in Durham.  150 years ago, Confederate and Union generals met at the Bennett farm to negotiate a big surrender of troops.

But did this event essentially mark the end of the Civil War?  It’s according to who you ask and where they’re from.

The Bennett family farm was close to 190 acres of corn, wheat and oat.  Today, about 35 acres of the original farm is left and much work and money has gone into restoring and preserving the site.

Housing
Leoneda Inge

Bankers, credit officers and policy makers are in Raleigh this week for the American Mortgage Conference, presented by the North Carolina Bankers Association.   They say financing home ownership remains at a crossroads.

Taxes
www.irs.com

If you haven’t filed your North Carolina taxes yet, you may be in for a few surprises.  The state's tax code underwent major changes in 2013, but many 2014 tax filers are just noticing.

For example, some taxpayers forgot North Carolina did away with its Earned Income Tax Credit.

Darryl Johnson, Black Mayors
Leoneda Inge

The mayors of some of America’s oldest all-black towns gathered at UNC Chapel Hill this week.

The conversations centered on history, race and how to keep these communities economically viable.

The gathering was almost like a family reunion.  The mayor of Hobson City, Alabama doesn’t always get to see the mayor of Mound Bayou, Miss.

“I’m Darryl Johnson, I’m mayor of the greatest city in Mississippi.  Mound Bayou, Mississippi."

Black Panthers
www.theblackpanthers.com

Documentary lovers are in downtown Durham today through Sunday for the 18th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

This year features three Center Frame documentaries, selected by a special committee.  One of this year’s featured films is “3 1/2 Minutes," by Director Marc Silver. 

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