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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Biosolids
7:50 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Chemicals In Human Waste Can Harm Crop Land

Human waste, called "biosolids", is commonly used to fertilize crop land. Duke University researchers say they have found a practical way to test whether the biosolids contain chemicals that will harm the soil.
Credit Bob Is Traveling / Flickr Creative Commons

Many farms spread human waste on cropland to fertilize it. In this case, the waste is called "biosolids". It can carry household chemicals that affect important bacteria, and that can hurt soil health.

The government has had a hard time regulating chemicals in biosolids, because the equipment that measured bacterial gases was very expensive.

But a new report from Duke University's school of engineering shows that bacterial reactions to chemicals can be assessed by changes in color. That's a cheaper test to administer.

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Meningitis
9:31 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Health Department Mobilizes After Suspected Meningitis-Related Death

Meningococcal vaccines protect against most types of meningococcal disease.
Credit WikiHow: Creative Commons.

A Chapel Hill teen died suddenly on Wednesday. The Orange County Health Department suspects it was caused by a bacteria called meningococcus. It can lead to meningitis and blood infections. Both bring body aches and a rash among other symptoms.

The Chapel Hill boy only noticed symptoms a day before, but health officials estimate he was exposed to the bacteria last week.

Zack Moore is a medical epidemiologist with the state Division of Public Health.

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Education
7:48 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Teachers Ask Durham To Refuse Tenure Law, Sue The State

The North Carolina Association of Educators is organizing teachers and advocates to resist a state law that would require school boards to offer raises to the top 25 percent of teachers in exchange for giving up tenure.
Credit North Carolina Association of Educators

Some teachers and advocates with the N.C. Association of Educators are asking the Durham Board of Education to follow Guilford County's lead and decline to comply with a new state education law.

The General Assembly passed a budget that eliminates tenure in 2018. Meanwhile, school districts will offer the top 25 percent of teachers four-year contracts and $500 raises to relinquish their status.

Hillside High School teacher Nicholas Graber-Grace said the model is stacked against teachers with disadvantaged students, and it discourages collaboration among colleagues.

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Health
8:59 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Rocky Mount Community Gathers To Brainstorm After Teen Shootings

Community members and leaders will gather in Rocky Mount today to discuss potential solutions to poverty and gang violence there.
Credit Rocky Mount Police http://www.rockymountnc.gov/police/gangawareness.html

Rocky Mount community members and leaders are gathering at Word Tabernacle Church tonight for a public forum. This comes just weeks after four boys were shot on the church basketball court, and another was killed in a drive-by shooting.

Word Tabernacle Church Pastor James Gailliard said the tragedies have been a catalyst for social dialogue. He said he sees people crossing the aisle politically and having constructive discussions about how to combat gang violence, poverty and joblessness in the community.

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Black Ice
8:50 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Black Ice Danger Looms After Winter Storm

After a two day storm, black ice is still making for treacherous roadways.
Credit Danielle Scott / Flickr Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielle_scott/

The two-day snow and ice storm has finally stopped, but hazardous road conditions remain.

Kathleen Carroll is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Raleigh. She said temperatures rose into the upper-30s yesterday, causing the snow to start melting.

“The problem is that it didn't really dry out a whole lot before the sun set and temperatures started to fall again,” Carroll said. “So what's we've seen over night is a pretty good development of black ice on area roads.”

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Weather
7:27 am
Thu February 13, 2014

'Plows, Salt Trucks Working Around A Graveyard Of Abandoned Cars'

'Icy trees are not good for power lines.'
Credit Lee J. Freedman (@leefreedman via Twitter)

Yesterday's winter storm slowed North Carolina to a halt. Most schools and many businesses have closed. The weather is crippling other infrastructure, too.

Snow turned to freezing rain, making for slippery roadways across North Carolina. Plows and salt trucks are working around a graveyard of abandoned cars this morning. Hundreds of cars got stuck on shoulders and ramps, and many drivers have set out for shelter on foot. Now, the National Guard is picking up stranded motorists and taking them to emergency shelters. People stuck in cars should be ready to accept rides.

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Ice Storm
8:45 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Ice Storm Could Rival 2002 Storm Outages

Meteorologists say coming icy conditions could be similar to the ice storm that hit North Carolina in 2002.
Credit Justinsomnia / licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License

Forecasters say a serious ice storm is headed our way.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Moneypenny says conditions could be similar to those of a 2002 ice storm that caused long power-outages across the state.

Ice increases the risk of branches snapping power lines, and of motorists sliding off the road into utility poles.

Moneypenney says parts of the Piedmont could receive up to five inches of snow. It will fall on ground that's already frozen, and the air isn't likely to warm up until the weekend.

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Weather supplies
8:40 am
Wed February 12, 2014

North Carolinians Are Stocking Up Before The Storm

North Carolinians are stocking up on supplies as they prepare for a storm that will bring heavy snow and ice.
Credit Photo by mtsofan / John / found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

The National Weather Service is calling for an ice storm, not unlike one that crippled the state in 2002. Home and business owners are on the lookout for rock salt, but they're having trouble finding it.

Eileen Beatty manages Pope True Value Hardware in Durham. She says winter inventory has gotten slim since the last snowstorm.

“We don't have anything here. All the salt is gone. Kerosene heaters are gone. Electric heaters are gone. I got two snow shovels left... Two saucers and two sleds,” Beatty said. “And that's it.”

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Weather
10:50 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Power Companies Are Bracing For Ice, Outages

Ice is expected to cover most of North Carolina this week, which means power outages are likely.
Credit David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

While the state transportation department is already out salting roads, utility companies are closely monitoring the weather forecast today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Ellis said light snow is likely this afternoon, getting heavy tomorrow into Thursday. By tomorrow afternoon, he said, ice will coat much of the state.

Jane Pritchard is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. She said it would take a heavy snowfall to mess with power lines, but just a half-inch of ice can do a lot of damage.

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Politics & Government
8:54 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Clay Aiken Announces His Run For Congress

Teacher and former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken has announced he'll run as a Democrat for North Carolina's second Congressional district.
Credit Judy Butler Flickr user mystuff1 / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Teacher and former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken announced he'll run as a Democrat for the state's second Congressional district.

In a campaign video, he described his humble beginnings, growing up poor in North Carolina. He said he's got leadership experience.

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