North Carolina Voices

North Carolina Voices: a series that takes an in-depth look at complex issues that deeply touch the lives of North Carolinians. North Carolina Voices extends an approach piloted by North Carolina Public Radio-WUNC in 2002 to transcend daily news coverage by taking an in-depth look at large-scale, complex issues. 

Emily Hanford accepts the duPont award on behalf of the North Carolina Public Radio team in 2004 for the Poverty Series.

  Previous North Carolina Voices series have explored issues such as education, unemployment, war and poverty. The series won many national and regional awards, including the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Broadcast News Award.

For more information about North Carolina Voices please contact News Director Brent Wolfe at 919-445-9150 or bwolfe@wunc.org

Consert CEO Jack Roberts
Jack Roberts

New businesses to help save the planet are popping up everyday.  As a result, your ability to do environmental good may be closer to your finger tips than you think.  Already, there are pockets of households and businesses in North Carolina that are able to control their heaters and air conditioners online or from their smart phones.  They're living on a Smart Grid - that's becoming smarter and smarter every day.

As part of our series North Carolina Voices: Tomorrow's Energy, reporter Leoneda Inge has the story of one smart grid pilot project in Fayetteville.

Behind the Reporting: 'Tomorrow’s Energy'

Apr 20, 2010

If you’ve been tuned in to Morning Edition this past week or so, you’ve been hearing a series of reports about energy from WUNC’s reporters. The series, “North Carolina Voices: Tomorrow’s Energy,” addresses where North Carolinians currently get their power and where we’ll get it in the future. A lot of work goes into those six or seven-minute radio reports, which means a lot also gets left out. The melody of a coal-fired power plant and the sculptural beauty of a wind turbine are among the details of the reporting that didn’t make it on the air. On today’s show, we’ll talk with WUNC reporters Dave DeWitt, Leoneda Inge, Jessica Jones and Laura Leslie about what they took away from their reporting and what else is left to say about powering North Carolina’s future.

Durham Sustainability Manager Tobin Freid
Tobin Freid

North Carolina has topped many lists in the past few years.  It's one of the fastest growing states and ranks high for its business climate.  But in energy efficiency, NC is wading somewhere in the middle of the pack nationwide.

Universities like UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, and NC State are among the largest electricity users in the state. Some produce their own power, some buy their electricity from utility companies. And all have student bodies that are vocal in their anxiety over global warming.

As part of our series North Carolina Voices: Tomorrow’s Energy, Dave DeWitt looks at how campuses are transforming to meet their future energy challenges.

Tomorrow's Energy: Pricing Power

Apr 15, 2010
Electric power meter, energy
Creative Commons/Jc3s5h

Most energy consumers know what they pay for electricity.  But very few of us know why we pay what we do.  Who decides what a kilowatt should cost?  And how does energy policy change that?  In this segment of our series North Carolina Voices: Tomorrow’s Energy, Laura Leslie reports on the complex process of pricing power.

Energy companies are predicting that the need for power will grow in North Carolina in the coming years. With climate legislation likely, they are turning back to an energy source that has been put on the back burner for several decades… nuclear.

In February, President Obama announced 8 billion dollars in loan guarantees for a Georgia utility company hoping to build new nuclear reactors. Progress Energy and Duke Energy both have plans to also build new nuclear to serve customers in North Carolina.

Drill in N.C., Baby, Drill

Apr 14, 2010

The White House unveiled a new and controversial plan to open up more than 160 million acres of ocean floor to drilling two weeks ago. Some states were omitted from the plan, but not North Carolina and its neighbors. We’ll find out why North Carolina politicians’ once vociferous opposition to offshore drilling seems to have fizzled. Plus, will the new drilling plan help land Obama a win on climate change legislation?

Tomorrow's Energy: Quitting Coal

Apr 13, 2010

Every time you hit the light switch, half the power you use is supplied by coal.  It's one of the cheapest and most dependable fuels we have.  It's also the dirtiest.  As regulators crack down on carbon and other emissions, some say we should stop using coal altogether.  Others aren't sure that's a realistic goal.  Laura Leslie reports for our series North Carolina Voices: Tomorrow's Energy.

Energy companies are predicting that the need for power will grow in North Carolina in the coming years. With climate legislation likely, they are turning back to an energy source that has been put on the back burner for several decade: nuclear.

In February, President Obama announced 8 billion dollars in loan guarantees for a Georgia utility company hoping to build new nuclear reactors. Progress Energy and Duke Energy both have plans to also build new nuclear to serve customers in North Carolina.

NC Voices: Health Of Elders

Oct 16, 2007

People are living longer now than ever before in human history. By the year 2030, more than one-in-five people in the United States will be over the age of 65. The dream is to stay healthy into a ripe old age and die peacefully in your sleep. But the reality is likely to be quite different. Many people go through a long physical and mental decline before they die. As we wrap up our series, "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care," Rose Hoban takes a look at whether the health care system is ready for the coming flood of frail seniors.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 5

Oct 16, 2007

As part of our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care" we’ve been reporting on the remarkable rise of Type 2 diabetes. That rise is due mostly to obesity; Emily Hanford traveled to two schools in eastern North Carolina to try to find out why it's such a problem -- and what's being done about it.

NC Voices: Gene Testing

Oct 15, 2007

Since experts mapped the human genome, the continuous flow of new information has affected decisions people are making about their health. As part of our series, "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care," producer Susan Davis considers what people learn from genetic testing and if it’s always helpful. When Susan’s father died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1992 experts were not sure if there was a genetic link to the disease. But now they’re sure. And there’s a test she could take to find out if she has it.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 4

Oct 15, 2007

Type-2 diabetes may be the plague of this century. Just 20 years ago, about 30 million people in the world had the disease. Today, it’s more than five times that many. It’s a frightening prospect for health, and the health care system. Here in North Carolina, diabetes is already a direct or contributing cause in one out of every five hospitalizations. That’s billions of dollars of every year. Experts say health care providers need more effective ways to treat diabetics so they don’t end up in the hospital. A group of clinics in eastern North Carolina is trying to do it with a new model for treating chronic disease.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 3

Oct 12, 2007

This week we're focusing on health care and the rise of diabetes in northeastern North Carolina. Yesterday we met Miranda Cofield, a 50 year old woman who recently lost her health insurance. She's African American, and she's poor. These factors put her at high risk of developing complications from diabetes. Statistically, Sterling Hamilton does not face the same risks.

NC Voices: Greener Hospitals

Oct 11, 2007

This week we’re examining the health care system and asking whether it actually promotes good health. Today, we look at health care facilities themselves. From toxic chemicals and medical waste, to round-the-clock energy and water use, the way hospitals are built and maintained can have serious effects on the patients inside and on the environment beyond. So as the population ages and hospital construction booms, the health care industry is examining the central creed of medicine "to do no harm" and applying it the environment too.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 2

Oct 11, 2007

Today our look at diabetes in eastern North Carolina continues.

"Good morning, how ya doin? My name is Miranda Cofield. I live in Rich Square, NC and I am a 50 year-old patient with diabetes, type 2."

"I’m Sterling Hamilton, I live here in Conway, I’m a retired school teacher and administrator and I found out I had diabetes, Type 2, in 2000."

Sterling Hamilton and Miranda Cofield are both determined to beat their diabetes. But their experience with the disease has been very different. He gets a comfortable retirement income; she works part time as a school tutor. He has health insurance; she does not And he is white; she is black. These distinctions are significant when it comes to diabetes, and health. Emily Hanford reports for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Healthcare." She begins with Miranda Cofield.

NC Voices: Diabetes Part 1

Oct 10, 2007

Today, as part of "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care" we begin a series of reports looking at the rise of diabetes and its impact on the state. Our stories focus on northeastern North Carolina where diabetes is taking a particularly harsh toll. We begin in Northampton County, east of Interstate 95 near the Virginia border. Northampton is one of the poorest counties in the state. If you live here, you are almost twice as likely to develop diabetes than if you live in an urban area and you’re more likely to die from it. Emily Hanford prepared this report.

NC Voices: Health Disparities

Oct 10, 2007

If you’re a white North Carolinian, you’re statistically likely to be born stronger, live healthier, and die later than your African American or Latino counterpart. You’re also not as likely to suffer from a chronic disease, and if you do, you’re less likely to die of it. Some say that’s because of racial bias within the health care system. But others say the problem’s much bigger than that – and health care alone can’t solve it. Laura Leslie reports for North Carolina Voices.

NC Voices: Traditions Converge

Oct 9, 2007

Standard-issue Western health care isn’t delivering what some people want or need. They're looking for more than just another pill or procedure and piecing together medical care from several different traditions. Or, they’re bringing traditions with them from other countries. Melinda Penkava has this story for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

When Lindsay Foster Thomas landed her job as a producer for WUNC’s midday program "The State of Things," she moved from New York City to Durham with a long "to-do" list.   After finding a place to live, mapping her route to work, and checking out the best places to eat, she focused on choosing her doctors.  As part of our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care," she explains her choices.

More information:

North Carolina Institute of Medicine report

In the early nineteen sixties, two young doctors from Tufts University Medical School near Boston spent a summer treating the Mississippi freedom riders. The struggle for civil rights opened the doctors’ eyes to how much minorities and the poor lacked access to health care. So they established two community health centers - one in rural Mississippi, the other in inner-city Boston. Today, those clinics- and about a thousand more across the country- provide a safety net of care to everyone who comes through the door, regardless of their ability to pay. There are one-hundred-and-six community health centers in North Carolina. Jessica Jones spent a few days at one: the Siler City Community Health Center, about an hour west of Raleigh. She reports for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

If you don’t have health insurance, there are places you can go to get health care. Community clinics, local health departments, state funded health centers … they often provide low-cost or even free care. But they mostly focus on the basics. What if you have a heart problem and need to see a cardiologist? Or you need an orthopedic surgeon or an endocrinologist? These kinds of specialists are expensive, and there is typically no low-cost option for people who don’t have insurance. Ten years ago, doctors in Buncombe County wanted to do something about that. And the program they created, Project Access, is now a model for other programs nationwide. Dave DeWitt reports for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

NC Voices: Health Literacy

Oct 5, 2007

There are a lot of ways to get health information… from the doctor, the Internet, books, patient handouts, friends and family. But how do you know what information is best for you? Wading through and understanding it, contradictions and all, is a function of health literacy - the ability to understand and follow the doctor’s advice. Without that, even patients with good medical insurance can lose out.  Rose Hoban reports for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

NC Voices: Skipping Health Insurance

Oct 5, 2007

The United States is the only major industrialized nation that does not provide healthcare for everyone.  47 million Americans have no insurance to help pay for trips to the doctor, medicine, or emergency surgery.  People can purchase health insurance on their own, but it's usually expensive, and a lot of people who are uninsured say they can't afford it.  So they hope they don't get sick; seek charity or low cost care when they do; and even make big life decisions based on their insurance needs.  Karen Michel reports for our series "North Carolina Voices:  Diagnosing Health Care."

NC Voices: Diagnosing Health Care

Oct 4, 2007

Ask just about anyone in the health care debate what the biggest problem is, and you’ll hear the same two words – the uninsured. One out of six North Carolinians has no health insurance- that’s more than 1.4 million people. And they’re putting a strain on the entire healthcare system. Some states are taking bold steps to reform the insurance system. But North Carolina is not among them. We asked our State Capitol Reporter Laura Leslie to find out why for our series "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care."

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