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.

Duke University Chapel
Bill Snead / Duke University

Under the governor's statewide stay-at-home order, religious entities are considered essential, but gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

As a result, many places of worship are now live streaming their services online.
Duke University Rabbi Elana Friedman says that so far, her student congregants seem to like it.

"There's some excitement to being able to join a service in your pajamas and have your pets with you," she said. "There's some time efficiency that some people have noted that has been helpful."

Farmers in North Carolina are finding new ways to get produce to customers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
NC State Extension / Twitter

Farmers in North Carolina are finding new ways to get produce to customers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

While there's still a large demand for fresh food, the typical ways of distributing it have been disrupted. Restaurants operating under social distancing restrictions need significantly less produce. Some farmers markets have closed temporarily.

Tables sit vacant and pollen-covered at Kabab and Curry, a restaurant on Hillsborough Street during the coronavirus pandemic in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association estimates nearly half of all hotel workers in the state will be laid off as the coronavirus pandemic curtails travel.

The N95 mask made by 3M

Duke Health is now using recycled N-95 masks in its three hospitals amid a critical shortage prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The masks are being decontaminated through a process that was already being used to clean other medical equipment.

An illustration created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the structure of coronavirus. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAM / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Updated 10:32 a.m. March 6, 2020

A second person in North Carolina has tested positive for the coronavirus. 

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
Alissa Eckert, MS / CDC

Updated at 9:02 a.m. 3/5/2020

 UNC-Chapel Hill is expanding university affiliated travel restrictions to Washington State, California and Japan as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Clinical support technician Douglas Condie extracts viruses samples as analytic work continues to examine the genetic structure of a virus in the coronavirus testing laboratory at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland, Wednesday Feb. 19, 2020.
Jane Barlow / AP

A state health task force is encouraging North Carolinians to be prepared for the potential spread of the new coronavirus in the United States. 

Rape kit supplies
Robert C. Reed / Hickory Daily Record

The Durham Police Department will soon have a fully staffed unit dedicated to investigating sexual assault cold cases.

Almost 10% of students at NC State University experienced homelessness in the past year, and nearly 15% dealt with food insecurity in the past month.

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

Employment in North Carolina's tech industry grew by nearly 21% between 2013 and 2018, the third highest growth rate in the sector nationwide.

wp paarz / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/GDRLvC

A growing number of counties across North Carolina have passed resolutions in recent weeks declaring their support for Second Amendment rights.

wild horses along Outer Banks
Thomas Wheeler / AltAdjust.com

  A group that manages herds of wild horses in coastal North Carolina is warning drivers to watch out for the animals taking advantage of unseasonably warm weather by sleeping on the sand at night.

Vote Here sign
Erik Hersman / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/1ezRl1S

The State Board of Elections has told county boards to stop issuing voter ID cards immediately.

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
Erik Hersman / Flickr

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.