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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Business & Economy
7:45 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Will NC's New Business Tax Rate Equal New Business?

Gov. McCrory was on hand when Lenovo officially opened its first US manufacturing plant in Whitsett.
Credit State of North Carolina

Leoneda Inge reports on NC's new corporate tax rate.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed major tax reform legislation into law this week, keeping one of his most ardent campaign promises. 

The governor and his conservative Republican base have consistently said North Carolina would be better able to attract business to the state with lower taxes.

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Politics & Government
5:03 am
Tue July 23, 2013

NC Budget Proposal Eliminates The Rural Center

The NC Rural Economic Development Center has come under fire in the past week.

The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center and the Office of State Budget and Management are working to resolve issues in last week’s crippling audit.

The Rural Center wants the state budget office to release funds already obligated to local governments and other rural partners.  The problem is, the state budget office has lost confidence in the Rural Center and legislators have eliminated funding for the center in its preliminary fiscal year 2014-2015 budget.

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Business & Economy
5:50 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

NC Labor Force Shrinks, Jobless Rate Unchanged

Leoneda Inge reports on NC June Jobless rate.

The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged for the month of June.  But analysts say there are underlying problems the state should be concerned about.  North Carolina’s unemployment rate was 8.8% in June.  The same as in May.  The national unemployment rate also remained steady at 7.6% in May and June.

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Politics & Government
5:51 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Governor Calls For New Leadership At NC Rural Center

Billy Ray Hall has been the president of the NC Rural Center since it was founded.
Credit NC Rural Center

Leoneda Inge reports on state audit of NC Rural Center.

Governor Pat McCrory is calling for new leadership at the NC Rural Economic Development Center.  This comes after a scathing audit of the non-profit.  In a statement released Wednesday, Governor McCrory pretty much called for Rural Center President Billy Ray Hall and Board Chairwoman Valeria Lee to step down.  Both were instrumental in the Rural Center’s inception in 1987.

The fallout comes after a new state audit of the Rural Center which shows a failure of the organization to provide proper oversight of millions of dollars in grants.  Auditor Beth Wood says it’s disappointing.

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Arts & Culture
7:32 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Family Reunion At Rose Hill Plantation

The Harrison-Boddie Family held their reunion at Rose Hill Plantation, where their descendants were slaves.
Credit Leoneda Inge

Leoneda Inge reports on the Harrison-Boddie Family Reunion at Rose Hill Plantation.

Thanks to the Internet, more and more families have been able to complete their family trees.  For African American families, the trail has led them back to the slave plantations where their story began in this country.  The Harrison and Boddie families of Nash County have been gathering for four decades.  But for the first time, they celebrated their family reunion at the Rose Hill Plantation near Nashville.

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Business & Economy
9:16 am
Thu July 11, 2013

AARP Honors BCBS Of North Carolina For Older Workforce

Blue Cross Blue Shield NC headquarters.
Credit Blue Cross Blue Shield NC

Leoneda Inge reports on AARP award given to BCBS.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has been honored by AARP as one of the best employers in the country for workers over 50.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield employees are especially proud of this award.  About 25% of the insurance company’s workers are aged 50 and over.

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Business & Economy
5:04 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Kroger Is Buying Harris Teeter Supermarkets For $2.5 Billion

Kroger announced it is buying Harris Teeter.
Credit Mike Kalasnik via Flickr, Creative Commons

Leoneda Inge reports on Kroger, Harris Teeter merger.

Two of the largest grocery store chains in North Carolina announced their merger Tuesday.  Kroger is buying North Carolina-based Harris Teeter in a deal worth $2.5 billion.  Kroger will also pay cash for all of Harris Teeter's outstanding shares for $49.38 per share.

Kroger CFO Mike Schlotman told investors today there are no plans to close any Harris Teeter supermarkets or remove the banner from buildings.

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Business & Economy
7:20 am
Mon July 8, 2013

'The Farmery' Wants To Reinvent The Grocery Store

The Farmery sits outside Burt's Bees at American Tobacco.
Credit Leoneda Inge

There’s a movement in the Triangle to reinvent the grocery store.  A prototype of this new urban market is open for business at American Tobacco in Durham.  It’s called The Farmery

The urban market is made out of a converted 20 foot by eight foot shipping container with living wall planters hanging outside.  The concept of The Farmery is to grow and sell at the same site.

“Almost every person that walks by asks us a question, when, where, why, how, what’s this for?” 

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Business & Economy
5:00 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Are Employers Misunderstanding Facebook Posts?

Employers could make wrong assumptions about job applicants based on Facebook posts.

New research out of NC State shows it might not be smart for employers to rely so heavily on social network sites to write off potential candidates.  Yes, you can find almost anything on the internet, including videos like this one on About.com on how to prepare for an employer’s social network check.

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Business & Economy
4:21 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Big China Tobacco Company Opens Office In Cary

A tobacco farmer in Rockingham County, NC.
Credit Jim Dollar via Flickr, Creative Commons

A Chinese tobacco company has announced plans to open its North America headquarters in North Carolina.  The state Agriculture Department has worked hard to bolster trade relations with China.  And it’s paid off.

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