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.

Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church Rev. Dr. William Barber II, left, speaks as Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, right, listens
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Reverend William Barber of Goldsboro delivered the homily at the official prayer service for the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden on Thursday.

Barber is known nationally for his political activism.

Bull statue Durham
Shawn Blanchard via Flickr

The Durham City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday that aims to protect workers from discrimination against hairstyles such as braids, dreadlocks or afros.

It also passed an ordinance that broadly protect members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination.

Jessie Wardarski / AP Photo


A 30-bed emergency field hospital is being set up and staffed in Lenoir to deal with an overflow of COVID-19 patients in the region.

Epic Games' headquarters in Cary, North Carolina.
Sergey Galyonkin / Wikimedia Commons

Epic Games is moving its headquarters to the Cary Towne Center. The company announced the purchase of the building on Sunday. 

screenshot WRAL

Five wrongfully convicted Black men pardoned by Governor Roy Cooper on Thursday are now eligible for up to $750,000 each for compensation for their years behind bars.

A sign directs customers to remain in their cars at Trophy Brewing on Morgan Street in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

The new stay-at-home order from Governor Roy Cooper meant to limit gatherings and the spread of coronavirus goes into effect this evening.

photo of drive-thru coronavirus testing in Chatham County
Staff Sgt. Mary Junell / U.S. Army Photo

North Carolina's overall death rate is projected to rise by 5% this year, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state Department of Health and Human Services says the death rate has been rising for the last several years, but officials expected it to increase by 2-3%. At her latest press briefing, state Health Secretary Dr.

Small businesses in the East Gate Shopping Center in Chapel Hill.
Laura Candler

The pandemic is likely dampening the usual Black Friday excitement.

A High Point University survey this month found fewer North Carolinians are planning on shopping Friday than last year.


Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and Senior Associate Justice Paul Martin Newby
Courtesy North Carolina Judicial Branch

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Elections officials will recount votes in the race for North Carolina's Supreme Court chief justice. The statewide recount will begin later this week and must be completed by next Wednesday.

A screengrab from the National Weather Service's radar at 11:41 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2020.
NWS

Updated at 12:34 p.m.

A flash flood warning is in effect for all of central North Carolina, including the Triad, the Triangle and east of the Triangle.

Multiple water rescues and flash flooding have been reported across central and western North Carolina.

Apartment balconies in Raleigh, NC.
Brandon Griggs / Unsplash / creative commons

On Tuesday, voters in Raleigh overwhelmingly approved an $80 million affordable housing bond. The bond is the largest in the city's history and will go toward building and sustaining affordable housing.

Apartment balconies in Raleigh, NC.
Brandon Griggs / Unsplash / creative commons

Voters in Raleigh are deciding on what would be the largest housing bond in the city's history. 

Joel Muniz / Unsplash / creative commons

Food pantries on university and college campuses in North Carolina are experiencing high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though there are fewer students around. Campus food pantries have historically served students in need, and that need has only increased since mid-March.

red wolf and pup
Brooke Gilley, US Forest Service / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rT5zJf

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revise its recovery plan for red wolves.

Pro-Trump caravan participants drive past counter-protesters holding 'Black Lives Matter' signs in downtown Hillsborough on Sat., Sept., 26, 2020.
Mitchell Northam / WUNC

The Orange County Republican Party hosted a 'Trump Train' Saturday to show support for President Donald Trump and other North Carolina Republicans on the ballot this November. The caravan began in Hillsborough and made its way to Mebane, before looping back to the organization’s headquarters in Hillsborough.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

A study looking at the effects of GenX on pregnant mice found the chemical compound causes serious problems in both mother and offspring. 

Protesters march through the streets of downtown Raleigh on Aug. 28, 2020, in support of Black lives and against police brutality.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Updated at 10:32 a.m. Aug. 29, 2020

Hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Raleigh Friday night to denounce police violence and the recent killings of Black Americans. Protesters marched peacefully for about three hours carrying signs with slogans including "Abolish the Police" and "Black Lives Matter."

Enayet Raheem / Unsplash/ Creative Commons

North Carolina is at risk of losing more than $5.3 billion in federal funding because of a low response rate to the U.S. Census. The managers of the state's population estimates say North Carolina is also at risk of not gaining a 14th congressional seat. 

Lighthouse
Courtesy of Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

Vacation rentals in North Carolina were booked at higher rates in 2020 than in the past two years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Sale Sign Home Real Estate
DavidDubov, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/3gfly6R

The housing market in the Triangle is booming despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from real estate analysis firm Metrostudy.

Pregnant woman.
Montse PB via flickr, Creative Commons

There’s an old wives’ tale about hurricanes having an effect on pregnant women that can cause a premature birth.

However, according to a recent study from East Carolina University, that claim is actually true.

Major the Bull wears a protective facemark in the downtown plaza in Durham, N.C. Friday, March 27, 2020.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

Starting Friday, the city of Raleigh will be requiring face coverings in public. Durham and Orange counties have already implemented local requirements.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

The family of a man who was killed by a Raleigh police officer last year has filed a lawsuit against the officer and Raleigh's city manager and police chief. 

Some dental offices in North Carolina are starting to reopen with enhanced precautions due to COVID-19.
Quang Tri Nguyen / Unsplash

Some dental offices in North Carolina are starting to reopen.

The CDC and the American Dental Association recommend that patients wait in their cars and are asked about travel history and possible COVID-19 symptoms before going in for their appointments. Dental staff are encouraged to wear more personal protective equipment, including disposable gowns and face shields.

photo of drive-thru coronavirus testing in Chatham County
Staff Sgt. Mary Junell / U.S. Army Photo


  Gregoria Riva’s two year-old son jumps up and down, the TV playing in the background. He is bored, she says, but she can’t risk letting him play outside with other kids. Riva is the sole caretaker of young Santiago. And until recently, she was employed at a meat processing plant, one of the workplaces with increased risk for COVID-19.

A view of Glenwood South, a normally bustling part of downtown Raleigh, almost completely empty due to COVID-19.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

As Governor Roy Cooper begins easing restrictions on some businesses starting Friday, local retail stores are taking precautions to open safely.

Some stores are limiting the number of people allowed inside or offering shopping by appointment for customers with health risks.

McDougald Terrance residents and supporters protested in front of Durham City Hall on January 6, 2020.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The Durham Housing Authority says all of the families of a housing complex who were displaced at the beginning of this year have returned to their homes now.

In January, nearly 300 families from McDougald Terrace evacuated their homes and moved into hotels because of concerns over elevated carbon monoxide levels. Over the past few months, DHA says it inspected the 346 units at the housing complex and replaced several hundred furnaces, water heaters and stoves.

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
N.C. Department of Agriculture / Twitter

North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said he fully supports President Trump's decision to declare meat processing facilities essential and mandate them to stay operational.

Lawyers representing residents of a nursing home in Rowan County have filed suit against the facility, which has the largest documented outbreak of COVID-19 of any nursing home in the state.

Winston, the McLean family pet, became the first dog to test positive for COVID-19.
Heather McLean / c/o Duke University

A dog belonging to a family in the Triangle has tested positive for COVID-19. It's the first known case of the coronavirus infecting a dog in the United States.

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