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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Environment
7:58 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Why Do NC Fishermen Want To Pay More To Fund Regulation?

The US Fish and Wildlife service requires that North Carolina pay observers to check commercial fishing gillnets and make sure they don't entangle endangered sea turtles.
Credit Pedro Ramirez, Jr. / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A trade group of North Carolina commercial fishermen has proposed that the General Assembly raise their fishing license fees to pay for regulatory measures.

Flounder fishermen sometimes get endangered sea turtles caught in their gillnets, so federal law requires that the state hire trained "observers" to check nets regularly. The General Assembly only funded the observer program until next summer, but if there's no observer at all, the state will be required to stop all gillnet fishing.

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Business & Economy
8:55 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Durham-Chapel Hill Light Rail Project: Where Those Rails Might Go

Federal regulators have given the Triangle Transit Authority the green light to begin developing a light rail line between Chapel Hill and East Durham.
Credit Triangle Transit Authority

The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) has given the green-light to begin the first steps of a 17-mile light rail project connecting Durham and Orange Counties.

The decision authorizes Triangle Transit to begin development on the project, by studying the potential environmental impact of two proposed rail routes.

Triangle Transit has put together this video "fly-through" of the proposed light rail route:

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Politics & Government
8:25 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Social Justice Groups Ask HUD To Reject Raleigh Housing Plan

Fair housing activists are asking the US Department of Housing and Urban Planning to reject Raleigh's plan to sell off 175 public housing units.
Credit US Department of Housing and Urban Planning

Several social justice groups are asking the federal government to reject a Raleigh Housing Authority plan that would sell off 175 public housing units.

Housing authority director Steve Beam has said the plan would save the city money, and that the current residents of the units would receive vouchers to subsidize their rent if they moved elsewhere.

But Bill Rowe of the N.C. Justice Center wrote to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and said this plan could result in further segregating Raleigh neighborhoods.

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Development
1:25 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Pittsboro: Planning Consultant Says Chatham Park Plan Lacks Vision

The Chatham Park project could boost Pittsboro's population to 60,000 people
Credit Screen shot from online video / Preston Development Company

Preston Development Company has big plans for Pittsboro, but an urban planning consultant says it isn't very clear what they are.

The Chatham Park project is meant to turn thousands of acres into full neighborhoods of residences and office space just 15 miles from Chapel Hill. It could turn the town into a sizeable city. The project is controversial, and Pittsboro hired the Lawrence Group in Davidson to review its master plan.

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Handguns
8:58 am
Tue February 25, 2014

26 NC Counties Make It More Convenient To Apply For A Handgun Permit

Residents of 26 North Carolina counties can apply for handgun permits online.
Credit Daniel Weber's photo stream / Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Daniel Weber’s photostream

Residents of Wake County can now apply online for a permit to own a hand gun or to carry one concealed. Instead of going into an office, they can fill out the permit application and pay the fee online.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the online service makes the process more user-friendly, but just as safe as before.

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Nursing homes
7:56 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Hospitals Frequently, Quickly Readmit Medicare Recipients

A new study shows that many Medicare recipients who rehabilitate at a nursing home after a hospital stay have difficulty transitioning back to home life.
Credit SalFalko / Flickr

After a hospital stay, many seniors on Medicare will go to a nursing facility to rehabilitate before going home. But a new study from Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence shows many of them return to the hospital before long.

Mark Toles teaches at UNC's Nursing school and is a co-author of the report. He said nursing homes often provide good care, but the transition back home can be difficult.

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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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