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

Ricks / German Wikipedia

N.C. State University researchers have found that bees are more susceptible to diseases in areas where there's more pavement and less green space.

Entomologist Dave Tarpy co-authored a report in the journal PLOS ONE. It compared the levels of pathogens in both wild bees and those tended to by bee keepers.

A picture of the Shaw University sign.
Daderot / Wikipedia

A group of Shaw University alumni is suing two trustees, alleging mismanagement and conflict of interest.

Shaw alumnus  and attorney Christopher Young filed the lawsuit in North Carolina's Eastern District Court against Board Chairman Joseph Bell, Jr. and immediate past chairman Willie Gary.

Congressman Howard Coble is ending is 30 year career in politics. He will be retiring in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Stock Photo)
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Howiecoble.jpeg

Former Congressman Howard Coble died late Tuesday at age 84. The Republican represented North Carolina's sixth district for 30 years.

A picture of the Raleigh skyline at night.
Jmalljmall / Wikipedia

Buildings in downtown Raleigh will turn off non-essential lights late at night to protect migrating birds, according to the City of Raleigh Office of Sustainability.

A picture of a stack of cash, a stethoscope and a piggy bank.
401kcalculator.org / Flickr

Open enrollment began this week for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. North Carolinians will see some of the highest premium increases in the nation for individual and small group plans.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be allowed to charge an average of 32.5 percent more next year for individual plans, and six percent more for small groups. Aetna will be able to charge individual customers an average of nearly 24 percent more per month.

A sailor embraces family and friends before leaving Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for an independent deployment to the western Pacific Ocean
MC2 Tiarra Fulgham / Wikipedia

RTI International is studying whether a family-skills building program can help military families thrive as a parent transitions into and out of deployment.

Senior Project Manager Jessica Nelson says deployment puts unique stress on a family.

An illustration of the plaza outside the proposed Union Station.
raleighnc.gov

A shortage of skilled laborers and rising costs of materials is pushing Raleigh's proposed downtown train station over its $44.7 million budget.

Richard Kelly, Raleigh's interim public works director, said despite combing through budget items and weeding out high bids, the project is going to cost another $10 million to complete.

Illustration of K-9 dog for Criminal podcast
Julienne Alexander / yssrs.com

K-9 officers make up a vital part of the Hillsborough Police Department.  These dogs are highly trained, and human officers rely on them to track suspects and assist in peaceful arrests.  

A picture of corn rows.
Huw Williams / Wikipedia

Inmates at seven North Carolina prisons have grown 16,250 pounds of fresh produce for local food banks and soup kitchens since the Combating Hunger program launched last spring.

The initiative is a partnership with the nonprofit Harvest Now, which has helped set up similar programs in other states.

North Carolina Public Safety Department Spokesman Keith Acree says this will allow nearby charities to provide more nutritious food to people in their communities.

A picture of PNC Arena.
Alexisrael / Wikipedia

Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes and NC State's men's basketball team could soon have new places to grill before a game or clink glasses after a victory.

Tom McCormick, chairman of the state-appointed Centennial Authority that oversees PNC Arena, said they are planning for major renovations.

"We're 15 years old now, starting into our 16th year. And like everything else, it's always good to freshen up," he said.

PNC Arena's multi-million dollar face lift could include a rooftop patio and space for luxury tailgating.  

A picture of a young man with his head in his hands.
Sander van der Wel / Wikipedia

The North Carolina chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is hosting a two-day mental health conference in Raleigh. Discussion will focus heavily on the best practices for discussing and preventing suicide.

This week, the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force reported 46 children died by suicide last year, more than double the number in 2010.

The Core design.
UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill and the Town of Chapel Hill will break ground on the new Carolina Square project today. The mixed-use project will replace the demolished University Square shops and offices on Franklin St.

Carolina Square will have shops, apartments, office space, and a performing arts center.

Child death rates in North Carolina have held steady in recent years despite a downward trend since the 1990s.
Lotus Carroll / Flickr Creative Commons

The state's child fatality rate remained relatively unchanged in 2014 despite an increase in suicide. That's according to data released by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.

Cam Newton
Keith Allison / flickr.com/photos/keithallison/15362046036/in/set-72157647731565810

The Carolina Panthers are unbeaten after rallying in the fourth quarter yesterday. They defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 27-23.

Quarterback Cam Newton led the Panthers on a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives in the final period. He threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen with 32 seconds left.

Panthers Coach Ron Rivera said Newton's performance was stellar.

"He was phenomenal. He did the things he needed to do. He threw some really good balls. Delivered a very catchable ball on several occasions," said Rivera. "The guys made some really great plays, too."

An image of a handshake on an isolated business background
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County leaders are in informal talks about creating a united economic development partnership.

Guilford County Commission chairman Hank Henning says this proposed Guilford County Economic Development Alliance would coordinate to promote the county and its cities as a business destination.

NC State students school Howling Cow ice cream.
NC State University

As the North Carolina State Fair opens today, some of the concessions are bound to draw as many thrill-seekers as the rides. 

The fair website boasts a Food and Ride Finder that features 26 new menu items, from Carolina Crab Bites to Deep Fried Klondike Bars to S'moreos Specialty Apples.

Scott Strother owns S-2 Concessions which will present two new deep-fried items this year. One is a bacon-wrapped jumbo Tootsie Roll. The other: A peanut butter pickle.

A picture of a young couple.
Kelly Boone / Wikipedia

The nonprofit SHIFT NC has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control to help health centers coordinate and improve services for teens in Durham.

The Bull City's pregnancy rate is above the state average.

The Walters Dam on the Pigeon River in Waterville.
ChristopherM / Wikipedia

Fourteen dams failed in South Carolina as a result of heavy storms in the region. North Carolina escaped that fate this time around.

Bridget Munger of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says the state regulates more than 2,600 active dams. Many are classified as low- and intermediate-hazard levels, which means a failure could block road ways and cause thousands of dollars in damage. But nearly half of state regulated dams are considered high-hazard.

A picture of a patient and a doctor meeting over a web connection.
Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems employees can now make appointments at the tech company's private medical practice in the Research Triangle Park.

The new LifeConnections Health Center offers medical, mental, vision, telehealth and holistic care, and an in-house gym. It replaces a smaller telehealth-only clinic on the grounds. RTP is the third of Cisco's LifeConnections Centers. This facility will serve about 5,000 employees and their families.

Falls Lake
JCWF / Wikipedia

Reservoirs are full and over-flowering after North Carolina received 15-inches of rain in the past week.

State Climatologist Ryan Boyles says that's about three-months-worth of rain. Boyles says the rain was welcome, at first, after a very dry summer.

"Sometimes it's either too little or too much, and it's not very often that we can get just the right amount," Boyles said. "But in particular, it's tough to manage when so much rain falls over such a short period of time. The ground just can't absorb it."

Illustration for Criminal podcast
Julienne Alexander / yssrs.com

In 2009, Patti Hammond Shaw was arrested for assault in Washington D.C.  When she arrived at the police station, she was placed in a holding section with male inmates.  Shaw protested, but it did no good.

Shaw is a transgender woman. Her story is the subject of the latest episode of Criminal, a podcast produced in the studios of WUNC and hosted by Phoebe Judge.  

Here's how Shaw describes herself.

A cigarette in an ashtray.
Tomasz Sienicki / Wikipedia

Nicotine is about as addictive as heroin. It is also about as hard to kick, according to Dr. James Davis of the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation.

His organization is participating in the Race To Quit, NC campaign this week to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking, and to point smokers to resources.

A picture of a flooded New Jersey pumpkin patch.
Jackie / Wikipedia

The worst of the stormy weather has passed. But Brian Long of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the trouble is still ahead for farmers.

"Unfortunately, the impacts are on some of the crops that are major for North Carolina: Peanuts, sweet potatoes, cotton, tobacco, soybeans, in particular. And then you think about farmers, such as pumpkin farmers, that this is the time of year when their crop is in demand, and we're hearing some reports of pumpkins, you know, actually just floating in water in fields."

A photo of Clyde Edgerton
Brent Clark

 

Author Clyde Edgerton has written 10 novels, a book of advice, and a memoir.  Three have been made into movies, and several have made it to the stage.

 

The North Carolina native has written about small-town bigotry, religious hypocrisy and greed but in a darkly comic vein with a focus on characters.  Edgerton is also a musician and a professor of Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington.

A picture of a modern stone mason at work.
Vladimer Shioshvili / Wikipedia

As the demand for construction has started to rebound, there's a shortage of qualified craft workers.

Associated General Contractors of America says 86 percent of general contractors in North Carolina say they can't fine enough plumbers, masons, carpenters and concrete workers. That's in line with the national rate.

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