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

Fresh Market
Leoneda Inge

There is a fresh food movement underway and the competition is getting tasty!

One of the most dominant and well-known fresh food grocery store brands in the country is Whole Foods.  It’s in the middle of building 1,000 new stores.

But it’s not the only trendy grocery store snapping up real estate in the Triangle.

Steve Schemm enjoys showing off The Fresh Market that opened just this month on University Drive in Durham, from the poinsettias near the front door to the meat market.

City of Fayetteville Police Department
bethebadge.com

There’s an organization in Holly Springs that trains law enforcement officers across the country to better serve their communities.

The International Academy of Public Safety or IAPS, began training police and sheriff’s departments five years ago.  Today, more than 12,000 law enforcement officers in ten states have participated in their program. More than 3,000 of them are in North Carolina.

Chris Hoina is an expert trainer at IAPS.  He says one of their biggest success stories is in Jefferson Parrish, Louisiana.

One of RTP's smaller businesses, AgBiome, does work with stinkbugs.
Patrick Coin / Flickr/Creative Commons

The largest research park in North America sits in the middle of North Carolina.  And this week, one of Research Triangle Parks' largest tenants – GlaxoSmithKline – announced it’s laying off 900 employees.

The trend over the past decade shows a major shift away from relying on big multi-national companies with sprawling campuses in favor of smaller operations.

Carol Folt
Leoneda Inge

A UNC Chapel Hill alum has committed the largest individual gift ever to the university.  The $100 million dollars is for the pharmacy school.

UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt made the announcement Wednesday outside the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

"I am almost speechless," said Folt.

Stephanie Tyson
Leoneda Inge

If you have lived in North Carolina for any amount of time, you have likely heard this is the sweet potato state.  More sweet potatoes are grown here than anywhere else in the country.

So this Thanksgiving, there are bound to be sweet potato side dishes on many tables.

North Carolina will be missing out on $51 billion from Mediciad because they chose not to expand coverage.
http://eofdreams.com/money.html

A new report from the Secretary of State’s office shows charitable giving in North Carolina is drastically down. 

Latest numbers show giving at nearly $21.5 million dollars.  That’s down by more than $10 million dollars from the year before.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall says she’s not surprised the economy continues to have an effect on donations to charities and non-profits.  But she is disappointed solicitors are hauling in a bigger chunk of the money.

A picture of fresh produce.
Jina Lee / Wikipedia

North Carolina farmers and distributors are expected to get an earful from the Food and Drug Administration today.

The gathering in Greensboro is an official FDA listening session about implementation of the Food Safety and Modernization Act.  It was signed into law in 2011.

Joe Reardon is North Carolina's Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture for Consumer Protection.

Joanne Abel
Leoneda Inge

Durham-based Self Help Credit Union is celebrating 30 years of community and financial service.

Self Help Credit Union officially opened for business in 1984 and has earned a reputation for serving the underserved.

Joanne Abel and her partner were the first to secure a home loan.  Abel remembers her home on Driver Street in East Durham, like it was yesterday.

Kari Underly
Leoneda Inge

Most of America’s food industry is male-dominated, from the farmers to the chefs.

But a group of women gathered in Chapel Hill, N.C. this week to learn and hopefully take their rightful place in the competitive meat business.  And that includes bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan.

Let’s start with the hog. 

Kari Underly has pulled out a saw to cut around the elbow of a slab of hog on the table.   She's wiping her brow, cutting up a hog is hard work.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jessica Keith and other members of the 17th Training Wing at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, render a salute as the American flag passes by during the Veterans Day parade in San Angelo, Texas, Nov. 6, 2010. Airman Keith p
Staff Sgt. Heather L. Rodgers / U.S. Air Force via Flickr/Creative Commons

Computer giant Lenovo is teaming up with the non-profit Dress for Success to help get female veterans into the civilian workforce.

Numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show the unemployment rate among female veterans is nearly double what it is for male vets.

Beth Briggs is Executive Director of Dress for Success Triangle.  The organization trains women to get them back in the workforce and provides them with a wardrobe. 

Steve Troxler
Michelle VonCannon

North Carolina’s Agriculture and Biotechnology communities have launched a new global economic development platform.  

Doug Edgeton is President and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.  He said Wednesday's announcement brings Agriculture, Biotechnology, company growth and jobs together. 

“We have the companies, we have the research, we have the workforce, what we have lacked is something to call it," said Edgeton.  "So without further adieu, I’d like to officially unveil “AgBiosphere.”

NC State Voter
Leoneda Inge

Students at NC State traveled by party bus to the polls on this Election Day.

In 2012, more than 13,000 people voted at NC State’s Talley Student Union.  But it’s no longer a voting site.  So students got creative.  The student government association won a Cosmopolitan Magazine contest that provided a party bus to the new off-campus polling place, which included Cosmo male models. 

Patrick Woodie
NC Rural Center

The North Carolina Rural Center is holding its 2014 Rural Assembly today in Raleigh.  It’s been two years since the last gathering.

2013 was not a good year for The Rural Center.  The non-profit was issued a scathing audit and its longtime leader Billy Ray Hall was forced to retire.

Patrick Woodie is the newly named president. 

Stanley Hughes
Leoneda Inge

The federal tobacco buyout program has officially ended.  The last of the tobacco buyout checks are being distributed this month.

The program, officially known as the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP),  was started to help farmers transition from the Depression-era quota system to the free market. 

North Carolina has fared pretty well during the transition:

Charles Iacovou
www.wfu.edu

Wake Forest University’s business school is ending its traditional full-time MBA program.

Controversial?  Practical?  Charles Iacovou is Dean of the Wake Forest Business School.

“It was about time and it was the right time," said Iacovou.

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

North Carolina’s unemployment rate edged downward in September.  But some still call the latest jobless report “mixed.”

The state’s jobless rate sits at 6.7 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the month before.

NCCU Law
Leoneda Inge

A community center near downtown Raleigh was buzzing with activity over the weekend.  It wasn’t kids playing, but instead people getting help making out their wills.

Malinda Holloway, 64, came early for her appointment at Project Will Power at Top Green Community Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Holloway heard about the event at church and decided she wanted a will now, despite resistance from her daughter.

Hispanic Business
Fusion Multicultural Marketing

Hispanic entrepreneurs and other business and community leaders are in Durham today for the Annual Hispanic Market Advantage Conference.

Iris Ramirez Reese is the CEO of Fusion Multicultural Marketing and Communications and she helped organize the conference.

Reese says there were a lot of haters when she first got started.

Triangle Startup Weekend
Triangle Startup Weekend

Triangle Start-up Weekend is underway in Raleigh, and the focus is on women.

Eleanor Ismail will be there.  She's President and Co-Founder of Aura Life, a company that’s developing natural remedies for yeast infections.  She has this start-up advice.

“Just go with boldness, have courage, be open-minded, be a team player and just have fun," said Ismail.

Ebola Sign
Leoneda Inge

The first diagnosed Ebola case in the United States and the first death, has raised awareness of the deadly disease from California to the Carolinas.

Hospitals and health professionals are especially on alert.  The state Department of Health and Human Services has been working closely with health care providers since the summer, to prepare for the possibility of an Ebola patient being diagnosed here.

NC Welcome Sign
NC Commerce

The state’s new Economic Development office is officially open and several employees have walked over from the Commerce Department.

About 34 people moved from Commerce to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, located on Weston Parkway in Cary.  The new non-profit partnership essentially privatizes some of the Commerce Department’s duties.  John Lassiter chairs the board.

Longfellow Real Estate
Leoneda Inge

Downtown Durham has undergone a major transformation over the past decade.  And economic development projects are not slowing down with new hotels, office space and housing under construction.

Yesterday, community stakeholders came together to announce the latest big project.  It’s called the Durham Innovation District or "Durham ID," for short.

The Durham Innovation District or Durham ID will stretch from North Duke Street all the way to the Durham Farmer’s Market when it’s all finished. 

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

The governor and his workforce development team are keeping busy until it’s time for the legislature to meet again.  They are visiting 1,000 businesses in 100 days in all 100 counties.

It’s being described as a fact-finding tour.   State Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker is taking part in the tour that is part of NCWorks.

Steve Zelnak
NC State

NC State University now has endowed its first chair for a dean, and it’s in the College of Management.  Chancellor Randy Woodson made the $4 million announcement Tuesday.

“This is the first endowed chair for a Dean at N.C. State, and the first college that was endowed and we couldn’t be more pleased," said Woodson.

American Underground
www.americanunderground.com

Start-up companies and entrepreneurs housed at The American Underground in Durham and Raleigh will now also have access to free work space in Silicon Valley.

Jim Whitehurst is President and CEO of Red Hat.  His company is teaming up with The American Underground to offer the space.

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