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

Corey Harris
Leoneda Inge

A report released this week by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development shows start-up companies across North Carolina are raising bigger rounds of funding.

One company out of Greensboro, raised $1 million in its first seven months.

Many of these new companies are in Raleigh for the CED Tech Venture Conference.

Some 80 start-up companies were invited to this year’s CED Tech Venture Conference, spreading out their trinkets, candy and ink pens in two large demo rooms.

Tech looking image
Wonderlane / Flickr/Cretive Commons

Tech leaders and tech start-ups #OnTheRise are in Raleigh this week to show what they’ve got.

Some 80 companies have been selected to display their ideas and jockey for attention from investors at the CED Tech Venture Conference.

Jay Bigelow is CED’s director of entrepreneurship.  He says the goal is to connect with corporate partners and venture capitalists

Pelican's Snoball
Leoneda Inge

Economists and politicians say it’s becoming easier for most adults to get a job these days. But if you are a “young” adult, your story may be different.

Years into the economic recovery, there are still a lot of unemployed and underemployed people, which is slowing the recovery for young adults.

And in North Carolina, the jobless rate for that group is especially high. 

McCrory spoke about his decision to sign HB 589 in a video.
NC Governor's Office

Gov. Pat McCrory released a video Friday stating, he will not call the General Assembly back to Raleigh for a special session.  In it he says he doesn't see the need to bring legislators back after a long and at time contentious short session. 

“It would be counter- productive and a waste of taxpayer money to bring the General Assembly back when there is no agreement in place on issues already voted on," McCrory said in the video release.  "And after a lengthy session, they need a break and frankly, I need a break from them.”

Tom Armstrong
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina is known for its diverse agriculture offerings.  And you can always count on the State Farmer’s Market to feature the best the state has to offer, from collard greens to sweet potatoes.

But on Thursday, for the first time, the State Farmer’s Market hosted Seafood Day.  Enthusiasts said it’s been a long time coming.

It was the perfect day for a fish fry.  It was hot outside and the fish was hot, right out of the skillet.

Foreclosure Sign
www.housingwire.com

Private and community-based mortgage lenders are meeting in Raleigh this week to talk home ownership for future generations.

The American Mortgage Conference features an impressive line-up in the world of banking and home finance.  Leaders from the Federal Home Loan Banks of Atlanta and Chicago will address the crowd, along with lending managers from BB&T and North State Bank.

Fast Food Workers
Leoneda Inge

Fast food workers in North Carolina rallied Thursday in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage.  As in New York City, Detroit and Chicago, some workers chose civil disobedience.

Fast food workers came from Charlotte, Raleigh and other cities to lock arms with workers in Durham.  And at lunch time, right in the middle of Morgan Street, across from a McDonald’s, dozens of demonstrators sat down, and chanted.

“We can’t survive on $7.25! We can’t survive on $7.25!”

Angelina's Kitchen
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina is in the middle of the pack nationwide when it comes to women’s employment and earnings.  That’s the latest from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

Leaders in economic development circles across the state are speaking out against the General Assembly's decision to end the short legislative session without passing an economic incentives package.

For the past decade, the state has used the Job Development Investment Grants program, or JDIG, to help lure large businesses to the state, but money in the fund could run out by late October.

Solar Panels
Strata Solar

Strata Solar has constructed more than 60 clean energy projects across North Carolina, and they hosted a ribbon-cutting Thursday.

It’s just another example of how fast the solar sector is growing in the state.

Betsy McCorkle is Director of Government Relations for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association.  She says solar represents $1.5 billion in investments across North Carolina, and growing.

Jobs
Thinglass / Shutterstock.com

North Carolina’s unemployment rate hasn’t moved much in the past several months as the state continues its slow trek towards job growth.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reports a July jobless rate of 6.5 percent.  That’s one-tenth higher than the month before, but 1.6 percentage points lower than a year ago.

Wake County
www.wakegov.com

Wake County is celebrating a major milestone this week. Latest numbers show the county will welcome its one millionth resident.

So, bring out the pulled pork and the craft beer!  If calculations from the Census Bureau and the Carolina Population Center are correct, Wake County will have one million residents by Friday.

Phil Matthews is Chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

Michelle Mills
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina’s manufacturing story is old and complicated.  In just the past decade, the state has seen many traditional manufacturing operations shut down, devastating tens of thousands of workers and their families.

But this decade has also witnessed the growth of a new kind of manufacturing. Next Generation manufacturing is cleaner and more nimble and requires highly-skilled workers.  And you have to start early building a talented workforce.

Teen Suicide
www.teensuicideprevention.org

A new study out of Duke University shows there is a direct correlation between mass job layoffs and a spike in suicide-related behavior among girls and African American teenagers.

Anna Gassman-Pines found when 1 percent of a state’s working population lost their jobs, suicide-related behaviors increased by 2 to 3 percentage points among girls and black adolescents in the following year. 

Sales Tax Holiday
waaytv.com

This weekend would normally be North Carolina’s Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday.  But that ended last year.  The state Retail Merchants Association is asking business owners to track sales anyway.

The state legislature’s argument for doing away with the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday was it cost North Carolina $13 million dollars in lost sales tax revenue.

But supporters of the popular sales tax holiday say consumers saved $13 million dollars.

In 2011, a new videogame premiered that not many expected would be a hit. The game is called Spent and it is about surviving homelessness.

Spent is a collaboration  between Urban Ministries of Durham and the interactive firm, McKinney.

Dollar Tree
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina-based Family Dollar was opening hundreds of stores a year, until this year.  Now it’s being bought by Dollar Tree, one of its biggest rivals.

There are several Family Dollar discount stores in Durham, but they aren’t new.  In fact, Family Dollar announced earlier this year it would close 370 stores nationwide.

Family, friends and lawyers filled a Durham County courtroom today in support of Darryl Howard.

Howard was convicted of murdering a woman and her daughter and then setting their public housing apartment on fire.  But new DNA evidence shows Howard is likely innocent of the murders and rapes of the women.

The Innocence Project thinks so and they joined Howard in court today.

Darryl Howard has been in prison for 20 years.  But the Durham native could soon be going home – released on bond – pending a new trial. 

Corn Damage
Brian Long

The path that Hurricane Arthur took last week hit an area of the state where a lot of corn is grown.  And several farmers will be affected.

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and staff traveled by Forest Service plane to see the crop damage first hand.  Ag spokesman Brian Long says a lot of the damage was in Hyde County, known for growing corn.

“There are parts of Hyde County where you can just look and you would almost think you were somewhere in the Midwest, because it’s just is corn, and corn, and corn," said Long.

PED Virus
Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance

The New York Times reports Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea or PED virus killed an estimated 100,000 young pigs each week across the country since the virus was detected last May.

North Carolina continues to suffer.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture says, no doubt, PED has been a nasty virus and has taken an emotional and financial toll on hog farmers.

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

The latest North Carolina jobless numbers show a spike in county unemployment rates from Alamance to Yancey.  But there has been some positive movement over the past year.

May jobless numbers released by the NC Commerce Department show 92 counties with a higher unemployment rate than the month before.  But from this time last year, all 100 counties saw their unemployment rates drop.

Beyer CropScience Bee
www.astrobase.de/Sonstig/Pollinat/Bilder/00002125.jpg

Bayer CropScience is moving forward with multi-million dollar plans to upgrade its North American and Global Seeds headquarters in Research Triangle Park.

Bayer CropScience’s latest announcement includes building a new greenhouse in RTP.  The greenhouse will include research on seeds, plant disease and insect testing.  The greenhouse, plus surrounding infrastructure and parking expansion will cost about $29.6 million.

stack of money
Flickr user 401(K)2013

For the first time, North Carolina’s 16 regional councils of government have come together to create a blueprint for statewide community and economic development.  

The report is called “North Carolina Tomorrow, Building Communities for Tomorrow’s Jobs.”  It focuses on the competitive advantages of each region, like Tourism and Energy.  But also give attention to emerging technologies like video modeling and gaming.

Extraordinary Ventures
Leoneda Inge

It is high school graduation season and most young adults are preparing for life in college or in the workplace.  Landing a job in this economy continues to be hard for millions of people.  But what if you have autism?

There’s a community in Chapel Hill that has come up with several small business models that ease young people with autism into the adult world of work and self-sufficiency. 

If you talk to a parent who has a young child with autism, the conversation will eventually lead to “The Cliff.” 

Purple Heart
Leoneda Inge

A career fair gets underway this morning in Raleigh that’s not for your the average job-seeker.  It’s specifically for men and women who were injured in the line of duty.

They’re called “Wounded Warriors” and in these tough economic times, there’s a special push to get this group back to work.

Whatever the unemployment rate – it’s usually twice as high for veterans. 

Vice Admiral David Dunaway doesn’t like that statistic.

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