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

Researchers and business experts in developing countries are meeting at UNC Chapel Hill to discuss one of the newest models to help move people out of poverty.

This new business model is called micro-franchising.   It’s different from micro-enterprises which involve small amounts of seed money to help a poor person become an entrepreneur. Jason Fairborne is the author of Micro-Franchising – Creating Wealth at the Bottom of the Pyramid.  He says micro-franchising can help more people:

Pat Green
Pat Green Facebook re-election page

The sheriff of Franklin County abruptly resigned over the weekend.

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Green has been with the department for more than 25 years.  Green said he was stepping down because of “major health and personal matters.” But Green’s abrupt departure may have a lot to do with a recent request from Franklin County District Attorney Sam Currin. He asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into missing money from the sheriff’s office. No word on how much money. Green was first elected as sheriff in 2006.

Numbers released by the state’s Employment Security Commission shows 2010 as a year of static job growth – but better than 2009.

Numbers released yesterday show the unemployment rate edging up a bit – from 9.6-percent in October – to 9.7-percent in November and 9.8-percent in December.

Larry Parker is a spokesman for the Employment Security Commission.   He says the unemployment rate has increased because a lot more people are looking for work again.  One of the biggest job growth areas for 2010 was in Professional and Business Services:

Triangle Home Sales

Jan 24, 2011

Home sales were down in 2010 in the greater Triangle area.  But the average price of homes went up. 

The federal tax credit for first time home buyers kept housing sales on track for the first two quarters of 2010.  But when the program ended – housing sales took a hit.

Stacey Anfindsen is director of the Triangle Multiple Listing Service.  He says the total number of home sales in the greater Triangle area was 20,643 homes – six-percent behind sales in 2009.  But the average price of homes jumped three-percent.

A new report from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business shows a shortage of skilled workers in the U-S may be one of the main reasons for the off-shoring of American business service jobs.  Arie Lewin is a Duke professor of strategy and international business.  He says American companies in I-T services and software development are not saving money by off-shoring

SAS Celebrates Success

Jan 21, 2011

SAS has a lot to celebrate this week. The software company continues to hire during the tough economy. 

SAS founders and employees enjoyed champagne and sparkling cider at their Cary headquarters yesterday. For the second year in a row – they’ve been ranked number one on Fortune Magazine’s “Best Companies to Work For” list. SAS is also celebrating record revenue for 2010 – 2.43 billion dollars, up 5.2-percent from the year before. John Sall is co-founder and Executive Vice President of SAS.

Martin Luther King Jr.
UNC Librairies

Parades, speeches and community projects fill today’s agenda for many across the state on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

In Raleigh, the Martin Luther King Committee is busy with a prayer breakfast this morning.

And then around 11am, the 31st Annual Martin Luther King Holiday Memorial March.

Foreclosure filings in North Carolina broke a state record last year.

An analysis of 2010 foreclosure filings shows approximately one in 63 housing units in the state faced foreclosure

The North Carolina Justice Center has released a county-by-county look at housing and commercial foreclosure filings.

Jeff Shaw with the Justice Center says numbers show Brunswick, Mecklenburg and Union counties suffered the most. He says the foreclosure problem is a jobs problem.

An Electric Marriage

Jan 10, 2011

A surprising but not shocking marriage was announced in North Carolina today.  Two – well branded utility companies – decided to get hitched. And if regulators approve the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy – the union will form the largest utility company in America.

Duke Energy and Progress Energy officials announced today they are merging their companies. Duke Energy will be the name of the combined company. Its headquarters will be in Charlotte and it will become the largest utility in the country. Progress Energy C-E-O William Johnson will be the new Duke Energy leader. He says the merger is good for North Carolina:

Latest numbers show – the North Carolina unemployment rate has increased in every corner of the state.

Wells Fargo Economist Mark Vitner
NC Chamber of Commerce

National and state economies are expected to improve in 2011 – but by only just a little bit.

Yesterday’s Economic Forecast Forum in Research Triangle Park was about telling the hard truth.  Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner:

"We’re still on a path that we’re seeing extremely modest job growth."


Billie Redmond is trying to stay optimistic.   She’s the CEO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Trademark Properties in Raleigh.

More than one thousand people are gathering in Research Triangle Park today to hear the latest news on the 2011 economy. Economists are already saying it should be better than 2010.

  One big draw at this year’s Economic Forecast Forum is outgoing U-N-C president Erskine Bowles – who is also known for serving as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  Thad Woodard is President and C-E-O of the North Carolina Bankers Association.  He says Economist Mark Vitner of Wells Fargo will give the forecast:

Drive-By Art

Dec 29, 2010

The department of transportation’s Wildflower Project has received much praise over the years. North Carolina DOT officials say they hope their new arts policy for state highways and byways will also get a lot of attention.

Some arts projects already in place include the metal leaves on the pedestrian bridge in Cary spanning US 1-64 and the mural under I-240 in Asheville. 

Don Lee is the State Roadside Environmental Engineer for DOT.  Lee says the new policy will help guide the placement of public art.  He says North Carolina has a good track record:

Time For KWANZAA

Dec 27, 2010

Many folks are taking down their Christmas trees this week – but in some communities, celebrating continues with the African-inspired Kwanzaa.

North Carolina joins other state and local governments in fighting fraud and crime thanks to technology developed at SAS Institute.

Governor Bev Perdue thanked SAS over and over for its expertise in advanced analytics technology.  She says in these tough economic times it saves the government money to be able to improve public safety and reduce fraud.

Perdue says she remembers taking her concerns about Medicaid fraud to SAS:

2010 Census Results

Dec 21, 2010

Today, the first round of 2010 U.S. Census results will be released. States are anxiously waiting to find out if they get a new congressional seat or not.

I guess you can say today is Apportionment Day. Apportionment is the process dividing the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states.

Wayne Hatcher is the Census Regional Director based in Charlotte.

" In 2000 the state of North Carolina gained one additional district, the 13th district for the state.  It’s a big deal to gain a district, it’s a big deal to lose a district as well."

State Jobless Rate Up

Dec 17, 2010

New numbers out today paint a struggling jobs picture for the state of North Carolina.

 North Carolina lost more jobs in November than any other state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the state lost 12-thousand 500 jobs.

That may explain why the state’s unemployment rate crept up by a tenth of a percent to 9-point-7 percent in November.

Rockwell, `The Problem We All Live With,` 1963, oil on canvas, 36 x 58in., Illustration for Look, Jan. 14, 1964
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, NRM. 1975.1, Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Ill.

American Chronicles – The Art of Norman Rockwell is currently on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  It has traveled the country since last Spring.  The exhibit includes some 40 original oil paintings – chronicling six decades of Rockwell’s work – and a complete set of more than 300 Saturday Evening Post covers.  Rockwell was meticulous in creating scenes of American life – whimsical and idyllic.  During the latter part of his life – he took his work out of New England and captured what was transforming the south – the Civil Rights movement.

America has not reached the peak of the foreclosure crisis. But a survey by Fannie Mae says that hasn’t hampered people’s dreams of home ownership.

North Carolina is among the ten states hit hardest by foreclosures this year - up there with Florida, California and Ohio.  Doug Duncan is Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae – the Federal National Mortgage Association.  He says their 2010 Own-Rent Analysis says no matter the person’s race, geographic region or income –aspirations of home ownership are strong.

CFOs More Optimistic

Dec 15, 2010

Chief Financial Officers say they are a lot more optimistic about the economy in this last quarter of 2010 than they were just a few months ago.

More than 800 CFOs from across the country – representing public and private companies – were surveyed by Duke University and CFO Magazine. 

Kate O’Sullivan is Senior Editor at CFO Magazine.  She says 50-percent of the CFOs surveyed say their companies plan on spending money in the new year on everything from research and development to full-time hiring.

The wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards is being laid to rest today.  Hundreds of supporters and some protestors have vowed to gather outside the service.

Elizabeth Edwards is being remembered as a mother, wife author and role model for many across the country.   It’s her celebrity that is drawing a radical, anti gay protest from Kansas to Raleigh.  George Reed is the executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches. He says hundreds of people have joined the council in denouncing Westboro Baptist Church.

Black farmers in North Carolina and across the country are celebrating the signing of a bill authorizing payments to settle a racial bias lawsuit.

For decades – African American farmers have complained to the government about discrimination from the United States Department of Agriculture – or USDA.  With the stroke of a pen – President Barack Obama signed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 – freeing up 1.15-billion dollars in settlement money. 

Pres. Barack Obama at Forsyth Tech
Jennifer Rotenizer, Winston-Salem Journal

There have been encouraging signs the economy is no longer shrinking – but growing.   President Barack Obama told a crowd in Winston-Salem yesterday he will continue to fight for investments in education and innovation – a move he says will help continue the country’s economic recovery.   The president’s words were welcomed by students and staff at Forsyth Technical Community College where they’re in the business of re-invention and re-training.

President Barack Obama will be in North Carolina today visiting students at Forsyth Technical Community College.

President Obama’s visit is the highlight of a year of celebrations at Forsyth Tech. The community college is 50-years-old.  For the first time in the school’s history – Forsyth Tech has more than 10-thousand students enrolled. Many of the students are laid off workers or those insecure about their current jobs.  Gary Green is president of Forsyth Tech. He says President Obama’s visit means a lot.

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