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.

Ways To Connect

A picture of electricity meters.
Mark Turnauckas / Flickr

A study from Duke University shows that customers use up to eight percent more electricity when they use automatic payments to cover their monthly bills.

Steven Sexton teaches public policy and economics. He says auto-pay keeps costs down for companies, and is convenient for customers. But it means they can lose track of their costs.

"The customer no longer has to confront those prices or look at that price information, because their payments will be transmitted, regardless of whether they look at their bills."

A picture of strawberries.
BeccaG / Flickr

North Carolina's strawberry harvest is expected to be strong, even though a cold winter damaged some plants.

Don Nicholson is a regional agronomist for the state Department of Agriculture.

"We still had those extremely cold nights, and even though the plants are dormant, they still had some damage to the crown, which translates into some growers not having much fruit right now."

Nicholson says it hasn't resulted in a marked shortage.

A picture of beer bottles
Pixabay

Psychiatrists at Duke University have found that administering high doses of alcohol to adolescent rats could limit their learning and memory into adulthood.

Their research shows binge drinking by adolescents can cause lasting changes in the hippocampus.

Aerial view of Wayne Community College campus
North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees

Updated Friday, April 17, 1:46 p.m.

Wayne Community College in Goldsboro has closed for the weekend. The college website says it closed at 10 a.m. Friday morning after receiving "several threatening phone calls over the last two days."

College authorities say the campus was not in danger today and acted "purely from a precautionary perspective."

CAT Bus Route #4 Rex Hospital at a bus stop on Hillsborough Street in Downtown Raleigh.
Mywebsite1234000 / Wikipedia

Wake County has taken plans for a light rail system off the table, for now.

The county's Transit Advisory Committee voted this week on which plans to present for public comment.

Jason Horne of Raleigh is on the 50-plus member committee.

"We have a duty, I believe, to give the best bang for the buck to the tax payers who are investing in this. And the light rail is significantly more expensive for the benefit that you would get when we could get a lot of the same benefit at the much lower cost with bus rapid transit or rapid rail transit."

A picture of a fat-tailed dwarf lemur.
David Haring / Duke Lemur Center

Duke University researchers have found a connection between a lemur's life span and its ability to hibernate.

Sarah Zehr is a Research Scientist at the Duke Lemur Center. She says scientists have long accepted that smaller species live shorter lives than larger ones.

But Zehr and her colleague Marina Blanco examined 50 years worth of data comparing the life spans of several species of lemurs the size of a squirrel, or smaller. The lemurs have varying tendencies to shut down their metabolic processes. That's called heterothermy.

A picture of a gavel on a document.
creative commons

The percentage of law students passing the North Carolina bar exam has dropped over the past five years. The state Board of Law Examiners reports 62 percent passed in July 2014.

Catharine Arrowood of the North Carolina Bar Association says the problem starts before law school.

"It appears that the first year law students that are going into the law schools are not as well prepared for either analytical thinking or excellent writing as people were 10 years ago."

Arrowood says economic downturn might play a role.

goduke.com

In men's college basketball, the Duke Blue Devils are one game away from another National Championship. 

Duke beat Michigan State 81-61 in the Final Four Saturday. That was the highest point total the Blue Devils have allowed in the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski praised his freshmen-heavy team's defense.

"These guys have learned at a quicker rate, though, than I would have expected from a young team. We've been outstanding on the defensive end, primarily in a man-to-man, but with some modifications."

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The North Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs is working with experts at Duke University to overhaul its strategy to connect vets with the right resources.

State VA Director Ilario Pantano says Duke's Evidence Based Practice Implementation Center will help the VA train its service personnel to better understand how to assess a veteran's needs.

Pantano says the experts will help create better customer management software. They'll also help improve intake questions, follow-up guidelines, and messaging.

A picture of Coach K with team on sidelines.
Duke Photography

In the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament, Duke is headed to the Final Four for the 16th time. They had a 66-52 win over Gonzaga last night.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski, praised his team's solid defense against Gonzaga, especially in the first half.

"Look, they average about 80 points a game. They're the top offensive team in the country. So we felt pretty good about holding them to 26."

It's Coach K's 12th trip to the Final Four. He celebrated his thousandth career win earlier this season.

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