Rebecca Martinez

Morning Producer

Rebecca Martinez produces WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and occasionally fills in as host.

Before coming to North Carolina, Rebecca was a reporter and host at Wyoming Public Radio, where she created the “Upstarts” entrepreneur profile series and reported on environmental and cultural issues. She won a PRNDI award for soft feature reporting in 2012 and has edited and produced several PRNDI award-winning stories and episodes of “Open Spaces.”

Rebecca has reported on agriculture and community issues at The News Leader in Staunton, VA. She spent two years cutting tape, booking interviews and running scripts at NPR’s Washington, DC headquarters. As an intern at Team Group Media in DC, she was charged with ordering stage blood and vintage furniture for a documentary that aired on A&E.

A New Jersey native, Rebecca is a graduate of James Madison University’s School of Media Arts and Design. She plays roller derby. Yes, really.

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Possum Drop
4:00 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Judge Allows Brasstown To Go Ahead With NYE "Possum Drop"

A Wake County Superior Judge has upheld a permit issued to allow an opossum to be temporarily caught and displayed on New Year's Eve.
Credit Cody Pope via Wikimedia commons

A Superior Court judge will allow Brasstown's annual Possum Drop to go ahead despite opposition from animal rights activists.

Judge Allen Baddour ruled in favor of the General Assembly's new animal display bill, which allows the state Wildlife Resources Commission to issue a permit for the event.

Each New Year's Eve, Brasstown revelers catch a wild opossum and lower it to the ground at midnight in a plexi-glass box. After the opossum is fed, it's released back into the wild.

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Bird Count
4:31 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Birders On The Lookout For Snowy Owls, Other Species During Christmas Count

Birders are out counting species for the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. A few people have reported rare sightings of Snowy Owls.
Credit Michael Gäbler / © Michael Gäbler / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Nearly 600 North Carolinians are expected to get out into the woods and fields during the Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. Volunteer bird watchers will join the coordinated effort to count as many birds and species as possible within designated areas.

Curtis Smalling directs Land Bird Conservation for Audubon North Carolina. He says the federal government surveys breeding birds in the summer, but the Christmas Bird Count compiles data going back 114 winters.

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Travel
8:02 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Highway Patrol Goes Out In Force For The Holidays

One third of North Carolina's population is expected to travel for the holidays this year. AAA Carolinas says tomorrow marks the start of the holiday travel period.
Credit epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

Nearly 2.8 million North Carolinians are expected to travel for Christmas or New Year's vacations.

Gas prices and air fares are holding steady, but 48,500 more people plan to travel for the holidays this year than last, according to AAA Carolinas.

Spokeswoman Angela Daley says that could be due to the improving economy. She says the weeks that include Christmas and New Year's Day are the most popular travel time, and it's also the longest. Daley says that makes it easier for people to plan trips at their convenience.

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Environment
8:48 am
Thu December 19, 2013

NCDOT Evaluates 17 Routes To Complete The I-540 Loop

NCDOT is collecting data along 17 proposed routes to complete the I-540 beltway around Raleigh.
Credit NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is considering 17 alternative routes to complete construction on the I-540 beltway around Raleigh.

Project Manager Eric Midkiff says that's down from hundreds of options the North Carolina Department of Transportation has already considered.

In the 1990s, the DOT established a likely location for the roadway.   The so-called Orange Route was protected from development in anticipation of the 540 loop.

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Pension
8:14 am
Wed December 18, 2013

State Treasurer Reforms Pension Investment Policies

North Carolina State Treasurer Janet Cowell is implementing transparency reform policies for contractors who manage investments for the state pension fund.
Credit nctreasurer.com

The State Treasurer's office is putting transparency reforms in place for contractors who manage some investments for the state pension fund.

The pension fund is worth about 83-billion dollars.

Treasurer Janet Cowell says independent reviews of NC Retirement Systems showed that until 2009, some managers hired third-party brokers, or “placement agents” to arrange investments, often without disclosing to the state.

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Tobacco
8:34 am
Tue December 10, 2013

NC Ranks 45th For Tobacco Prevention And Cessation Spending

A report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids says North Carolina doesn't spend nearly enough money on programs to prevent kids from smoking or to help smokers quit.
Credit Valentin Ottone via Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina doesn't spend enough to keep people from smoking or help them quit. That's according to a report from a coalition of health organizations.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids report ranked North Carolina 45th in the country for spending on smoking and chewing prevention or cessation programs. The report says the state spent none of its tobacco tax revenue on those programs in fiscal year 2013.

Ricky Diaz of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says the state wants to serve its residents.

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Toxicology
2:01 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

NC State's Database Could Revolutionize Pharmaceutical Research

The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database can be used to track information about toxic effects of therapeutic drugs.
Credit NC State University

North Carolina State University recently beefed up its toxicology database, which could help revolutionize pharmaceutical research.

NC State's Comparitive Toxicogenomics Database already cataloged the harmful health impacts of environmental chemicals, like arsenic. Then pharmaceutical giant Pfizer collaborated with the CTD to add unintended side effects of therapeutic drugs.

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FCC
8:54 am
Fri December 6, 2013

911 Is Receiving Inaccurate Location Data From Cell Phone Calls

9-1-1 dispatch centers often receiving inaccurate location information from wireless providers when distressed people call from cell phones indoors.
Credit Dave DeWitt

If you use a cell phone to call 9-1-1 from your home or office, there's a good chance the dispatch center will receive inaccurate coordinates to your location. That's according to a report from the Federal Communications Commission.

Wireless providers deliver location information to 9-1-1 centers with each call. Land line calls include a name and address. The FCC established location accuracy standards when people generally used land lines at home and cell phones on the road. But now, 70 percent of 9-1-1 calls come from cell phones.

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VETERAN JOBS
8:18 am
Wed December 4, 2013

New Office Helps Veterans Turn Miltary Experience Into A Civilian Career

Many active duty soldiers and airmen are returning home and looking for civilian jobs, while serving in the National Guard. The North Carolina National Guard Education and Employment Center is helping Guard members parlay their military experience into job skills for civilian employers.
Credit U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans returning from deployment face a quickly-changing job market. Many have a difficult time explaining how their military experience has prepared them for the civilian work force. The unemployment rate for veterans is about 7-percent, on par with the national average.

The North Carolina National Guard Education and Employment Center helps guard members look for civilian jobs.

Manager and fellow veteran Austin Walther says they also help vets translate their military experience into civilian job skills.

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Traffic
7:43 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Raleigh City Council Suggests Tolls To Pay For I-540 Expansion

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane worries growing traffic congestion on roadways in the Triangle will hurt the area's economic growth.
Credit epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

Increasingly congested roadways are worrying officials in Raleigh.

The City Council has submitted a "wish list" of road improvement projects to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. It includes a proposal to add lanes to I-540 on the north side of the city.

The council doesn't expect the state to fund the project, so it suggested paying for the 108 million-dollar expansion by setting up tolls on the roadway.

Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin says she knows tolls would not be popular, but she thinks breaking up traffic jams would be.

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