Celeste Gracia

Morning Producer

Celeste Gracia was born and raised in deep south Texas. She’s always loved to read and write, so when she discovered journalism in high school, she knew it was for her. She graduated from the University of North Texas. She previously interned at CBS News Radio in New York and Morning Edition in Washington D.C. She constantly craves cookies & creme ice cream and enjoys singing along to Broadway musicals.

A map showing changes in state environmental agency funding comparing fiscal 2008 to 2018.
Courtesy of Environmental Integrity Project

A new report finds the North Carolina General Assembly cut funding for the state Department of Environmental Quality by approximately 34 percent over a decade. Only three other states in the country cut more funding for environmental regulators in the past decade.

Courtesy Duke University Hospital

Doctors at Duke University Hospital became the first in the United States to perform a new type of heart transplant this week. 

An image of a modern radiator.
Creative Commons / pxhere

A federally funded energy assistance program in Wake County hopes to reach more families in need this winter. The program pays residents’ energy providers up to $400 to help cover the expenses of heating their homes. Wake County residents over the age of 60 and individuals receiving benefits from the state Division of Aging and Adult Services are invited to apply for the program.  

Durham Public Schools
Durham Public Schools

The President of Durham Association of Educators says future demonstrations by teachers will depend on how lawmakers react to their calls for a comprehensive budget agreement that meets their demands.

Photo: 'Vote Here' sign in English and Spanish
Flickr user Erik Hersman

Updated at 8:54 a.m.

Voters in Durham overwhelmingly approved the city's $95 million affordable housing bond, now the largest housing bond in North Carolina history.

Recent storms have helped unusually large seashells wash ashore, including a large lightning whelk shell found along the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
Courtesy of Cape Lookout National Seashore

Unusually large seashells have washed ashore at Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Volunteers at the visitors center found lightning whelks and knobbed whelks as large as 12-inches long over the weekend, according to park officials. Some are stained with color gradations that suggest they were buried deep in sediment underwater.

Durham Parks and Recreation
Durham Parks and Recreation / Facebook

Former and current employees of the Durham Parks and Recreation Department are speaking out against an alleged hostile work environment.

A red wolf
Joan Lopez via Flickr/Creative Commons

The Southern Environmental Law Center is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over public records related to conservation efforts for red wolves in eastern North Carolina.

NC NAACP at a Moral Mondays rally in Raleigh.
Matthew Lenard

The election for president of the North Carolina branch of the NAACP planned for this weekend will be rescheduled.

Jazmyne Childs, a former youth and college director for the NC NAACP, speaks to reporters about her allegations that a longtime chapter member sexually assaulted her.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

A woman from the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP alleged on Wednesday that a longtime chapter member sexually assaulted her.

Strickland Farms
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

North Carolina tobacco farmers say Hurricane Dorian destroyed at least 20 to 25 percent of their total harvest, hurting the state's overall tobacco industry, according to David Thomas, of the U.S. Tobacco Cooperative.