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

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. 

PNC Bank
www.pnc.com

A bi-annual survey of small and medium-sized businesses across the state shows signs of optimism and caution.

The PNC Bank Spring 2015 Economic Outlook Survey shows 50 percent of business owners expect to see profits improve in 2015.  That’s up from just 37 percent last Spring.

Mekael Teshome is an Economist with PNC.

Diverse Workforce
www.americanprogress.org

A new report shows the Research Triangle region needs to work harder to ensure a more equitable future for women and people of color.   

The “Equitable Growth Profile” of the Research Triangle Region was presented this week at the Research Triangle Park Headquarters, sponsored by the Triangle J Council of Governments and the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments.

RDU
www.rdu.com

There is a major push to bring a second Trans-Atlantic flight to Raleigh Durham International Airport.  The Airport Authority wants it, the business community wants it, and so do travelers.

But don’t hold your breath.  Luring international flight service to RDU can be just as hard as trying to convince a major corporation to move here.

Predictify Me
www.predictify.me

The United Nations says suicide bombings in Pakistan are shockingly common, especially near schools.  A Raleigh start-up company is working to change that.

The security software company is called “Predictify Me.”

Rob Burns is the CEO of "Predictify Me."  He and co-founder Zeeshan Usmani of Pakistan have developed an algorithm they say can warn schools when an attack is imminent. 

A picture of a shadow of scaffolding.
Trapac / Flickr

There was a deadly construction accident Monday in Raleigh.  A number of men were working on an 11-story building in a busy section of downtown when the accident occurred.  

Witnesses say three men fell to their deaths and a fourth man was hospitalized when scaffolding buckled and collapsed.

John Boyette is a spokesman for the City of Raleigh.

“This involved a scaffold, a collapse of a scaffold.  So that seems to be what the investigation is centering on," said Boyette.

Kehinde Wiley, 21c Museum
Leoneda Inge

Downtown Durham has been the home of one hotel for a long time - the Marriott.  But now there are two.  A second hotel held a ribbon-cutting this week in a very historic spot.

The new boutique hotel is called 21c Museum Hotel Durham.  It stands in what folks call the old CCB or Sun Trust Building.  The 18-story hotel was designed by the same architects who designed the Empire State Building.   

Shoebox Lunch
Leoneda Inge

Those re-enacting the historic Voting Rights march from Selma to Montgomery will gather on the steps of the Alabama state capitol today.  The event wraps up more than a week of commemorations marking the 50th anniversary march.  

Optical fiber used for high speed internet.
Michel Tronchetti

It’s not nearly as fast as the Gigabit service promised by Google Fiber and AT&T.  But, Time Warner Cable has announced faster internet service is coming to North Carolina soon .

The new, upgraded service is called TWC Maxx. 

“So, TWC Maxx is our plan to transform the Time Warner Cable customer experience," said Scott Pryzwansky.

Scott Pryzwansky is the Public Relations Director for Time Warner Cable spokesman in the Eastern United States.  He says their new internet service will be up to six times faster than the current service, with no change in price.

A picture of hands holding cash.
401(K) 2013 / Flickr

The Council for Entrepreneurial Development says start-up businesses in the state are receiving record-breaking funding.

The CED annual Investors Report shows technology, life science, advanced manufacturing and clean-tech companies raised $622 million in 2014.  That’s about 35 percent more than in 2013.

Dhruv Patel is CED’s Director of Investor Relations.

“I think we have companies that are holding their own, companies that are making great progress and can compete with the best of the best," said Patel.

A Duke University study found a link between poverty and smoking in adolescents.
Valentin Ottone via Flickr, Creative Commons

A new study out of UNC shows few online vendors have figured out a way to block minors from buying electronic cigarettes.

The study at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center included a group of teenagers who were recruited to go online and attempt to purchase nicotine e-cigarettes from 98 vendors.  The minors succeeded more than 90 percent of the time.

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