Rebecca Martinez

Morning Producer

Rebecca Martinez produces WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition. She reports breaking news as well as feature stories and interviews about a range of subjects, including immigration enforcement and environmental sustainability. She knows a lot about municipal solid waste.

Rebecca is also the co-creator and founding producer of The Civilist with Steven Petrow. The podcast is a partnership between WUNC and PRI, and it explores how people can talk respectfully about controversial and awkward topics.

Before coming to North Carolina, Rebecca was a reporter and host at Wyoming Public Radio, where she created the "Upstarts" entrepreneur profile series. 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. Her reporting has aired on NPR, the BBC, PRI, Marketplace and National Native News.

She lives in Durham, where she volunteers on the crisis line at Durham Crisis Response Center. She also occasionally leads bike tours of the city’s murals.

Ways to Connect

A picture of a man charging an electric car.
David Dodge / Green Energy Futures via Creative Commons

As more alternative fuel vehicles take to the roadways, North Carolina is working to prepare first responders how to react when they're part of an emergency.

The NC Solar Center has worked with the State Fire Marshall's office to develop a workshop for emergency services personnel in the Triangle. Soon, responders in other parts of the state will be able to complete the training online. They'll learn to identify gas, biofuel and battery-operated vehicles.

A picture of a Viking gas-powered lawnmower.
kallerna / Wikipedia

Durham's "Get Your Grass Off Gas" campaign kicks off its fourth year next weekend. Each year, the city collects gas-powered yard equipment – like lawn mowers and weed whackers. They send those to the scrap yard and give residents discounts on new electric models.

City Sustainability Officer Tobin Freid says about 300 people have turned in gas-powered equipment over the past three years.

Michael Campbell reacts to winning the 2005 U.S. Open held at the Pinehurst Resort No. 2 Course in Pinehurst, N.C., Sunday, June 19, 2005.
John Mummert / USGA

The U.S. Open begins at the Pinehurst No. 2 golf course today. WUNC’s Jeff Tiberii is covering the event.

A picture of Eli Aquino with a rusty cannonball.
Tim Duffy

A young treasure hunter uncovered a heavy piece of history, and now it’s in the hands of the Durham County bomb squad.

Ten-year-old Eli Aquino of Hillsborough found a rusted cannonball in the Eno River near Gold Park last week. Eli has been known to collect objects he finds while sifting through the mud wearing swim goggles.

A picture of the US Supreme Court building.
Daderot / Wikipedia

The US Supreme Court has upheld North Carolina's limits on how long people have to file pollution-related lawsuits.

The case involved pollution connected with a CTS Corp. manufacturing plant in Asheville. But the decision undercut families trying to sue over groundwater pollution at Camp Lejeune.

black bear
Casey Brown / Flickr/Creative Commons

Early Monday, officials were tracking a bear in the Five Points area of Raleigh. WRAL reported that information about the bear began to come in after midnight.

A mailman working in the area told WRAL News that a couple reported seeing the bear near a home under construction at the corner of Carroll and Whitaker Mill Road.

 

A picture of fresh produce.
Jina Lee / Wikipedia

People living in a southeast Raleigh neighborhood have a new place to buy groceries. 

About 18 months ago, two Kroger stores closed forcing residents of the South Park area to travel long distances to find fresh, affordable food.  Two church groups working with volunteers, opened the Galley Grocery on Bragg Street late last month. 

Ashley Lee is a member of the Hope Community Church and helped get the new venture off the ground.  She said there are still some challenges to overcome.   
 

A picture of a baby olinguito.
Juan Rendon / Saving Species

Species are going extinct about 1,000 times faster than they should be because their habitat is being destroyed. That's according to new research led by Duke University.

Conservation Ecology Professor Stuart Pimm said the worse news is that nearly 90 percent of the species are unknown to scientists.

A picture of the Rockford restaurant's sign.
Shop Local Raleigh

The Raleigh City Council has created a task force to review the city's sign ordinance. The measure determines what signs certain businesses can have, what they look like, and where they put them.

Raleigh recently overhauled its planning code, but didn't change the sign ordinance much. Local businesses and associations have complained that the rules are too restrictive. This week, Raleigh appointed 11 business people and residents to study the issue.

Planning and zoning administrator Travis Crane says he's looking forwards to what the task force finds.

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

The Army Corps of Engineers is wrapping up the environmental impact review of a $1.4 million plan to put solar powered water mixers (also known as SolarBees) on Jordan Lake to break up algae.

Last year, the General Assembly decided to delay implementation of rules that would restrict development around the lake to reduce contaminated runoff. Instead, they had the Department of Environment and Natural Resources spend $400,000 on 36 SolarBees to churn the water and prevent chlorophyll a, which is linked to algae blooms, from building up.

A picture of the 13th Amendment document.
NC Department of Cultural Resources

North Carolina's copy of the 13th Amendment is now on tour.  The document that marked the formal end of slavery in the US will be on display at the courthouse in Historic Edenton. 

Officials say the series of stops at historic sites across the state is part of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.  The timing is also linked to Juneteenth. African Americans observe June 19th as when the last of the enslaved learned they were free in the summer of 1865. 

Sarah Koontz is a state archivist.  She said the document has to be handled with care.

A picture of insulin vials and a syringe.
.:[ Melissa ]:. / Flickr

A report from Harvard University says one-in-10 North Carolinians has diabetes, and that the disease will cost the state $17 billion per year by 2025.

Sarah Downer is a fellow at Harvard's Health Law and Policy Clinic. She said limited access to healthcare, nutritious foods and safe places to exercise are dangerous to communities.

North Carolina has the fifth highest rate of food insecurity, meaning people don't have regular access to nutritious meals. The state also ranks fifth for early childhood obesity.

A picture of a gavel on a table.
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

The state of North Carolina is appealing a judge's order for a new trial for Darryl Howard. Howard has been in prison for 19 years for the 1995 murder of Doris Washington and her daughter, Nishonda.

Judge Orlando Hudson cited new evidence and misconduct by former Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong. Nifong failed to provide Howard's attorney with a memo from a tipster who said members of a New York drug gang raped and killed Washington and her daughter. DNA evidence found on Washington's body matched another felon’s, not Howard's.

A field of flags outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC.
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

People will gather across the state for Memorial Day ceremonies honoring men and women who died in service to the US military.

Governor Pat McCrory and the commander for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune will gather for a ceremony at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington.

During World War II, the battleship participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific, survived a broadside torpedo attack, and earned 15 battle stars.

Marine Brigadier General Robert Castellvi said the armed forces are facing new issues since the time the North Carolina sailed.

Expert Infantry / Creative Commons

Women are still excluded from certain areas of military service, but the Department of Defense has given branches until 2016 to eliminate "unnecessary gender-based barriers to service". Now, bases are evaluating how women fare during training that was reserved for men.

Camp Lejeune is studying enlisted female Marines who have passed their first 29 days of general training and volunteer for another 30 days of specialized training. At the end of it, their male peers can become machine gunners and missile men.

A picture of Caleb Johnson.
wn.com

The newest American Idol comes from Asheville. Caleb Johnson won Season 13 of the televised singing competition last night.

Johnson took the stage with Kiss. Together, he and the band performed a medley of "Love Gun" and "Shout it out Loud."

He beat out Jena Irene Asciutto from Michigan.

Third time was the charm for Johnson, who had been an American Idol contestant twice before. He only made it as far as the Hollywood auditions in previous seasons.

A picture of the Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet.
Vbofficial / Wikipedia

A new bill introduced in the North Carolina Senate would allow the state to offer to buy or trade the federal government for the Oregon Inlet.

The Department of Interior took over ownership of the waterway in 1958. It charges the Army Corps of Engineers with dredging there -- being that it's an important access point for commercial fishermen and boat builders.

But state Representative Bill Cook said the feds rarely put up enough money to manage shoaling in the Oregon Inlet.

A picture of Joe Westerlund in a bird beak nose.
Spacebomb Records

Drummer Joe Westerlund is a busy man.  He plays with Triangle based band Megafaun as well as Califone and Durham's Mount Moriah.

But recently he's been working on something else altogether.  It's called Grandma Sparrow & His Piddletractor Orchestra. 

Westerlund describes it as a psychedelic children's song-cycle for adults.  It recons Frank Zappa, Monty Python and Firesign Theater.

A picture of a boy and a steer.
Green N' Growing collection / North Carolina State University Libraries

Employees from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension will travel from across the state to Raleigh today and tomorrow to celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary.

The Cooperative Extension is based out of North Carolina State University and NC A&T State University. Their personnel work in every county to connect farmers with new research and technology. But the organization, which runs 4-H, is also invested in helping families in general.

Sheri Schwab is an associate director of the Cooperative Extension at NC State.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

Police and community leaders in Fayetteville are working on a local incarnation of the Silent Siren program to help veterans in an emergency.

Fayetteville police responded last week to a call from a woman whose husband, a soldier, was parked outside a Walmart threatening to kill himself. Police approached the stand off without lights, sirens and shouting.  They were able get the soldier help.

Fayetteville wants to expand that gentle approach for emergencies involving veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or traumatic brain injury.

A map of the Strategic Transportation Investments proposed projects.
NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has ranked 3,100 proposed transportation projects. They're all vying for a chunk of the $15 billion expected to be allocated in the 2015 Transportation Improvement Program.

NCDOT's Chief Deputy Secretary Nick Tennyson said the department prioritized projects that would alleviate serious, ongoing traffic congestion. For that reason, many of the higher ranked projects are in the Triangle and Charlotte areas.

Back Porch Music on the Lawn Logo
WUNC / American Tobacco

Update: 12:28 p.m. Southern Culture on the Skids to has been rescheduled for  Thursday May 22 at 6 p.m.

Update: 12:06 p.m. Due to the weather, the concert tonight with Southern Culture on the Skids and the Letter Jackets has been canceled.  We're hope to reschedule -- stay tuned for details. We'll post updates on the main Back Porch On The Lawn Concerts page.

A picture of a chair in front of a pile of garbage.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

The Raleigh City Council wants to reduce the amount of garbage it sends to a landfill in Southern Wake County.

Raleigh pays about $33 for each ton of garbage it buries, but the city can make $30 on each ton it recycles. This morning, Raleigh's Solid waste director is presenting a list of options to increase recycling. One company in town, WasteZero, says it has the best option.

Packing The Trash Into The Landfill: How Trash Is Handled Now

A picture of a girl smoking a cigarette.
medicaldaily.com / creative commons

People who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are much more likely than the rest of the population to take up smoking. But a new report out today from Duke University shows that kids who are treated consistently for their ADHD with stimulant medication are less likely to take up the habit.

Lead author Scott Kollins said nicotine often becomes a comfort for young people who are socially awkward or have trouble concentrating.

“The treatment for ADHD addresses a lot of these things,” Kollins said.

A picture of Sylvan Esso.
Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso's eponymous album is full of catchy tracks, ripe for getting stuck in your head. "Coffee" is hypnotic, with a droning vibe that's infectious and profoundly danceable.

The Durham-based duo filmed much of the music video for "Coffee" in Carrboro months back.

Singer Amelia Randall Meath designed the video to explore different kinds of dance parties. She  is a fervent fan of contra dancing, which kicks off the video and inspired the lyrics. Meath taught band mate Nicholas Sanborn to dance for the occasion.

A picture of the Fishing Pier at Ocean Isle Beach, NC.
Pubdog / Wikipedia

Forecasters say the worst is over, at least for the Triangle. The cold front, which blew damaging winds and heavy rain is headed toward the ocean.

On Tuesday, a tornado damaged homes and trees near Stedman. Some areas between Fayetteville and Wilson saw more than four inches of rain.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brandon Dunstan said things will quiet down later today.

A picture of a jar of cash marked 'retirement'.
TaxCredits.net, “Retirement” / Flickr

Baby Boomers have less financial security in retirement than their parents did. That's according to a PNC Financial survey.

The company recently surveyed about 1,200 adults across the country and found that half of retirees are worried about running out of money.

Kathy Kraeblen is a senior wealth advisor for PNC in Raleigh. She said previous generation had a combination of a pension, social security and better savings habits, and they didn't live as long. But, Kraeblin said, Boomers can still learn to budget and re-adjust their investments.

A picture of High Point Market.
High Point Market Authority

The state Department of Cultural Resources has installed a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker at High Point Market.

Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to attend the unveiling ceremony there today.

The original market building was constructed in 1921 with 249,000 square feet of show space. Now the market offers 11.5 million square feet, and contributes more than $5 billion dollars to the state economy every year.

A picture of a calculator and a balance sheet.
Kenteegardin / Flickr

Banks, businesses and non-profits are joining forces to help North Carolianians take control of their money.

A report from the finance web site WalletHub found that the Tar Heel State ranks in the bottom-third nationally for financial literacy.

Jan Dillon is the director of the new North Carolina Center for Financial Literacy.  She said financial literacy is knowing the skills to live comfortably within one's means, like budgeting, saving and planning.

North Carolina A&T School of Nursing
North Carolina A&T

North Carolina A&T's nursing degree program is in peril after the UNC Board of Governors decided to temporarily suspend enrollment.

In 2010 and 2011, fewer than 75 percent of A&T's nursing school passed the National Council Licensure Examination on the first try.  That could have terminated the program, but the Board of Governors gave the nursing school two more years to get passing scores above 85 percent.

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