Leoneda Inge

Changing Economy Reporter

Leoneda Inge is WUNC's Changing Economy Reporter. She came to North Carolina in 2001 and has spent most of that time tracking job loss and other major changes in the state's Tobacco, Furniture, and Textile industries. In 2006, Leoneda and a team of journalists won an Alfred I. DuPont Award from Columbia University for the series - North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty.  

Leoneda has won several other first place awards - including three Gracie Awards from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television, several Associated Press Awards and a Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.  

Leoneda has worked in commercial and public radio for many years and has produced reports for news magazines on NPR, Marketplace, and Voice of America.  Leoneda is a graduate of Florida A&M University.  In 1995, Leoneda was named a Michigan Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.  In 2008, she received her Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University where she was a Knight-Bagehot Journalism Fellow in Business and Economics.  In 2009, Leoneda traveled to Tokyo, Japan as a fellow with the Foreign Press Center.

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North Carolina agriculture continues to grow – despite the down economy.

N-C State Agriculture Economist Mike Walden told Agri-business leaders today in R-T-P – the state’s Ag Industry generates nearly 70-billion dollars for North Carolina’s economy.

37th US Colored Troops re-enactors participated in Pvt. Frank Worthington's headstone ceremony, Civil war
Leoneda Inge

Summer-time is known for neighborhood get-togethers and family reunions.   That’s what the Worthington-Wellington family did this month in Wilson, North Carolina.  But a big cook-out was not the highlight.  This year, family gathered at Maplewood Cemetery to honor Private Frank Worthington – a member of the 14th Regiment North Carolina Colored Troops – Heavy Artillery.  After years of letter-writing and historical research – Private Worthington finally has a Civil War Memorial Headstone – a rarity for African Americans.

Community leaders in Durham, Orange, Chatham and Person counties are meeting tomorrow to get an idea of what the future holds in business, education and other sectors.

The regions in North Carolina weathering the economic storm the best these days are the Charlotte region and the counties surrounding Raleigh.  Mark Vitner is the chief economist for Wells Fargo.  He says just like the nation, the North Carolina economy is stuck in a slow-growth mode.

Shaw University is bringing back a familiar administrator to lead the institution as it searches for a new leader.

Shaw University is bustling this week as students return for the fall semester.  But they returned to a school without a president. Irma McClaurin resigned last week after less than one year on the job.  Andrew Tillery is a 23-year-old senior at Shaw.

Andrew Tillery:  "Like, I’m a senior, I’ve been here a little, a long time now. And for 11 months, you know that, you can’t hardly get a bond with a president like that for a school."

Federal and state leaders are celebrating the second phase of a major broadband initiative across North Carolina.

Today’s virtual ground-breaking will take place in four corners of the state – including the Elizabeth City State University campus and the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.  Joe Freddoso is president and C-E-O of M-C-N-C.  He says the independent, non-profit has been funded to build more than15-hundred miles of broadband infrastructure – statewide.

There is a major move underway to grow the state’s Biotechnology industry by diving for opportunities off the coast.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center has approved a 2-point-5 million dollar grant to establish a Marine Biotechnology Center of Innovation.  Scientists have already been using marine life to develop commercial products, but the four year grant will likely accelerate the process.   Norris Tolson is the president and C-E-O of the Biotech Center.  He says the industry is excited by such a move.

Galloway Ridge retirement facility is undergoing a $102 million dollar expansion.
Leoneda Inge

A good, long-term construction job is still hard to come by in North Carolina.   That wasn’t the case just a few years ago when the industry was growing as fast as the state’s population. Today – a lot of the projects in motion are moving ahead with bond money or private funding approved before the economic downturn.  One construction site that has put many people back to work is in Chatham County.

Many companies are still slow to bring back workers during the down economy.   But staffing agencies are busier than ever.

One of the largest staffing agencies in the country is Kelly Services.   And today they’re hosting a job fair at the McKimmon Center at N-C State.


Andrew Crawford is the North Carolina territory Vice President for Kelly Services.  He says over the last couple of years they didn’t need to have many job fairs because of the high number of job candidates.

Fiscal policy experts and money managers came together today at UNC-Chapel Hill to debate the country’s impending debt crisis. 

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan told the crowd – it’s time for shared sacrifices as the country gets close to hitting its 14-point-3 trillion dollar debt ceiling.

Kay Hagan:  "And I think that’s where the public is going to have to get involved and say, you know, Washington, it’s time to put those partisanship battles aside, this is serious stuff."

A Durham company is planning to build a plant in Henderson that will produce one-of-a-kind solar modules. 

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