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

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.

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.

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