Laura Pellicer

State of Things Producer

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things, a show that explores North Carolina through conversation.

Laura was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, a city she considers arrestingly beautiful, if not a little dysfunctional. She worked as a researcher for CBC Montreal and also contributed to their programming as an investigative journalist, social media reporter, and special projects planner. Her work has been nominated for two Canadian RTDNA Awards.

Laura loves looking into how cities work, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.

Ways to Connect

photo of scott pruitt
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Creative Commons

This week President Donald Trump announced he wanted an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from the fight against ISIS in Syria. In a news conference with Baltic leaders Trump said the U.S. was “very successful against ISIS.” The president has since pulled back on an urgent removal plan, and instead instructed the military to withdraw from the conflict within a few months.

photo of sarah shook and her band
John Gessner / Bloodshot Records

Chapel Hill-artist Sarah Shook did not follow an obvious path to country music. She grew up in a conservative Christian household, listened primarily to religious music and only discovered country greats like Wanda Jackson and Buck Owens in her 20s. She was also painfully shy as a kid, so when she first took the stage in early adulthood, it was a shock to her own mother.

photo of a man with a shotgun standing in a small boat with several dead nutria (large rodents).
Courtesy of Quinn Costello

They weigh 20 pounds, have bright orange buck teeth, and look like a cross between a beaver and a rat. The nutria is an invasive rodent that has become a scourge on ecosystems in Louisiana and elsewhere. In the new documentary “Rodents of Unusual Size,” filmmakers track how nutria first arrived in Louisiana and follow the work of hunters who kill the rodents for money and to protect the environment.

Remington's corporate headquarters in Madison, North Carolina.
Keri Brown / WFDD

One of the oldest gun manufacturers in the country has filed for bankruptcy. Remington Outdoor Company, based in Madison, North Carolina, has racked up nearly a billion dollars of debt and faced several lawsuits, including one moving through the courts related to the use of its AR-15-style weapon in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Actors Carlos Alcala, Sarita Ocón, Kathryn Hunter-Williams, Samuel Ray Gates, and Alex Givens pose by a brick wall in a promo picture for the play 'Leaving Eden'
HuthPhoto / Courtesy Playmakers Repertory Company

What does it feel like to be excluded? Minority communities in North Carolina have experienced economic and political exclusion at various points throughout history, and the new Playmakers Repertory Company production “Leaving Eden” brings that familiar story to light.

Aerial image of Lake Lure, North Carolina
David Dugan / Creative Commons

Lake Lure is high on Hollywood’s call list. The small town in Rutherford County has been the site for blockbuster movies including the 1987 film “Dirty Dancing.” But the community is now facing a critical situation. The dam that makes Lake Lure the idyllic spot that it is, is in urgent need of repairs that may cost up to $5 million.

A barbed wire fence stock image
Pxhere / Public Domain

Staffing and safety issues inside North Carolina prisons are at a perilous point. In 2017, five corrections officers were killed in violent incidents at Bertie and Pasquotank Correctional Institutions. And according to new reports, the deaths are a symptom of a bigger problem.

photo of Levelle Moton and a referee in action
Courtesy of LeVelle Moton

College basketball is part of North Carolina’s lifeblood, and team allegiances are not taken lightly. Yet the head coach of North Carolina Central University’s men’s basketball team is deeply respected by both those who wear the Eagles jersey and those who compete against it.

photo of brian hogan on the front steps of his home
Kathy Kmonicek / AP Photo

According to a report by The Associated Press, the Cherokee Department of Social Services has been systematically and illegally removing children from their homes for years. The actions may have started more than a decade ago and affect at least 100 families.

photo of a young boy with electronics
Courtesy Kelly Hinchcliffe / WRAL

More than 100 public schools in North Carolina have applied and been granted approval to participate in a scholastic experiment called Restart. The Restart program allows low-performing schools to operate like charter programs without having charter status.

photo of the back of an african american woman's head, facing a white woman across a table who is out of focus
Courtesy of Derrick Beasley

Throughout modern history the work of African-American artists has often been appropriated for the financial and cultural gain of those outside the black community. Black artists bare their souls to create provocative art, but their work is sometimes tokenized or categorized as being just "black art." At the Bullcity Black Theater Festival in Durham, black artists are challenging perceptions of their work through performances and community conversations. 

photo of a round table discussion, 'Black Issues Forum' banner in the background
UNC-TV

For more than 150 years, historically black colleges and universities have fostered African-American leaders and fueled social movements. Spurred by the release of Stanley Nelson’s new PBS documentary “Tell Them We Are Rising,” UNC-TV hosted a conversation with leaders of HBCUs in North Carolina on its weekly program “Black Issues Forum.” That episode, called “HBCU Legacy and Leadership,” takes a look at the continued relevance of HBCUs in today’s educational landscape.

photo of Rep. Duane Hall
NC Legislature

Democratic leaders in Raleigh are calling for one of their own to step down. According to reporting from left-leaning publication NC Policy Watch, five women say North Carolina Rep. Duane Hall (D-Wake) engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct. Hall denies the allegations, But Governor Cooper and other Democratic leaders say he must resign from his post.

photo of Lauret Savoy
Kris Bergbom

Many Americans learn their history through teachers, textbooks and films. Personal histories, however, often come from stories told amongst families. But what if pieces of a personal history are still missing from those stories? And who decides which stories to pass on and which to bury?

photo of Jennifer Pharr Davis on a big rock with a plaque
Maureen Robinson

Hiking through fields and forests has been life changing for Jennifer Pharr Davis. She is a professional hiker and adventurer. At just 21 years old, she set off on a solo hike across the entire Appalachian Trail, a path that covers 14 states and more than 2,000 miles.

photo of Rabbi Rami Shapiro
Courtesy or Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a spiritual scholar who believes the teachings of the perennial wisdom philosophy are the key to encountering the divine in a chaotic and divided society. The philosophy takes wisdom from spiritual leaders across different doctrines and finds the common truths in their message. 

photo of Billy Graham speaking a microphone
Henny Ray Abrams / AP Photo

Evangelist Billy Graham died this morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina at 99 years old. Graham was known to many as “America’s Pastor,” and it is estimated that his sermons reached more than two billion people.

Martin W. Kane / UNC Greensboro

The rich resources of Congo are both a boon and a curse. Minerals like gold, silver, or coltan – a key component of cell phones and other electronic devices – are abundant. But their presence spurs corruption and resource battles among corporations, the government, and military groups. Congo was officially at war from 1996-2003, and the country continues to experience armed conflict.

Bandcamp.com

Christy Hopkins trained in classical music, but her heart led her to the soulful sound of Americana blues.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

The White House has shifted stories multiple times this week regarding the timeline of spousal abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter. That shifting timeline has impacted the credibility of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and spurred rumors of his firing.

photo of Versace, McGarry, and Ganz
Kerry Kehoe

In the past few years, Grammy-nominated jazz musicians Kate McGarry, Keith Ganz and Gary Versace all wanted a break from the chaos of modern American politics and world events. As the Durham-based trio headed into the studio to record new songs, they quickly noticed an emerging theme in their music: love.

Photo of Jacobson in Duke Chapel
Courtesy of Duke University

A few nights before Marcel Tyberg was arrested by the Gestapo, he gathered an intimate group in the organ loft of his hometown church and together they sang through two masses he had composed. Tyberg, who was part Jewish, was later captured in a night raid and died in Auschwitz.

Photo of the NC state senate chambers
Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked new voting maps for Wake and Mecklenburg counties. The districts are in the state’s two most populous counties, and the decision comes just days before candidates are set to start filing for office.

Photo of two men and the 'Intelligently Ratchet' logo
Courtesy of Kevin Thomas

The Facebook live comedy and interview show “Intelligently Ratchet” hosts conversations that span politics, art and culture. Co-hosts Kevin “Kaze” Thomas and Karim “Bishop Omega” Jarrett set the tone for a program that is smart but approachable, and this month they are hosting a number of conversations to mark Black History Month.

Photo of two actors in 'The Christians'
PlayMakers Repertory Company

 This season Playmakers Repertory Company presents two plays written centuries apart that delve into what it means to believe and what happens when faith is shattered.

McGuire's Miracle The Documentary

Alexander Julian is credited with the iconic revamp of Tar Heel sports uniforms. But his journey to creating the legendary Carolina blue argyle was a long time in the making. Julian drew up his first designs when he was a child, and he started working the sales floor at his father Maurice Julian’s haberdashery when he was in his teens.

Courtesy PublicAffairs

Between 2005 and 2013, 10 students in the national college fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) died due to alcohol and hazing. Bloomberg journalist John Hechinger reported extensively on the frat and dubbed it the “deadliest fraternity in America.”

Courtesy Lakota John

Lakota John did not have to wait long to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a touring musician. At just 12 years old he was invited to travel across the country and play his ragtime blues.

Courtesy of Stephanie Elizondo Griest

Stephanie Elizondo Griest grew up between two cultural identities: her father is white from Kansas, and her mother is Chicana, or Mexican-American.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

The House has approved a stopgap measure to fund the government through mid-February, but Senate Democrats seem dissatisfied. They want concessions including deportation protection for some young immigrants before giving their vote.

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