Elizabeth Friend

Producer

Elizabeth Friend grew up in North Carolina listening to public radio in the backseat of the family station wagon.  She has been reporting and producing at WUNC since 2016, covering everything from Army history to armadillos.  She's also the co-founder of the beloved summer event series Audio Under The Stars. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the outside world with her family, dabbling in esoteric crafts, and cheese.

Sandy Hook Promise

At the start of the next school year, North Carolina middle and high school students will have a new tool to report threats to school safety. State Superintendent Mark Johnson introduced the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System” at a press conference Thursday.

Artist's rendering of how the Molok waste collection system will look in Raleigh.
City of Raleigh

The City of Raleigh is testing out a new way to collect trash and recycling.

A year-long pilot program aims to get roll carts off the sidewalks downtown. Instead, garbage, mixed recycling, and cardboard will be collected in large underground cylinders. Six of the cylinders are being installed at the corner of Wilmington and Hargett streets this week.

The nine-banded armadillo has been spotted more than 170 times in North Carolina in the past 12 years. Wildlife officials are asking the public to share photos and details to get a better idea of the creature's range.
Jay Butfiloski / N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

If you’ve come across a nine-banded armadillo anywhere in North Carolina, wildlife officials want to hear about it.

A picture of beer bottles
Pixabay

The Greensboro City Council voted this week to end the city’s glass recycling program. Waste Reduction Supervisor Tori Carle said downturns in the market for recycled glass forced the decision.

Airbnb
Courtesy Airbnb

The Raleigh City Council sent mixed messages Tuesday night about the future of short-term rentals like Airbnb.

An image of a wine and beer mug
chris riebschlager / Flickr Creative Commons

A Raleigh organization that serves sexual violence victims wants to help bartenders prevent sexual assaults.

NC Civil War and Reconstruction History Center

Organizers in Fayetteville want to transform a regional museum into a statewide history center focusing on the Civil War and Reconstruction. But critics worry even if it’s built with the best of intentions, it could divide the community along racial lines.

The pro-Confederate group Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County, or ACTBAC, helped install this 20x20 foot flag northwest of Hillsborough last April. Under Orange County's new regulation, this flag would be considered too large and subject to zoning
Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County

Orange County is preparing to enforce a new regulation limiting the size of flags on private property. The rule was put in place a year ago in response to complaints about a large Confederate flag flying near U.S. 70 northwest of Hillsborough.

A chance encounter between an Air Force veteran and a police officer in North Carolina helped launch a program to connect first responders with veterans in crisis.

Chief Blair Myhand and Officer Jonathan Guider of the Clayton Police Department spoke at a panel hosted by the Library of Congress last week on Veterans Crisis Intervention Training. The program teaches first responders with military backgrounds how to leverage that shared experience to de-escalate crisis situations involving veterans.

Hospital room
PROFotos GOVBA / Flickr Creative Commons

For the past 40 years, healthcare service providers wanting to open new facilities have had to get a Certificate of Need from the state Department of Health and Human Services. The regulations, known as CON laws, cover 12 different types of medical services, making North Carolina’s laws some of the most restrictive in the nation. 

solar
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A new report shows the economic impact of more than a decade of clean energy investment in the state. The study from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association finds clean energy development projects generated more than $28.2 billion dollars statewide since 2007.

Daniel Brookshire, the NCSEA’s regulatory and policy analyst, said the solar industry in particular continues to grow, despite the expiration of state tax incentives.

Picture of an imported red fire ant
Alex Wild / University of Texas

Imported red fire ants are known for building large mounds that get in the way of everything from lawn mowing to crop harvesting. They swarm aggressively when disturbed, and defend themselves with painful, venomous stings.

Artist's rendering of the proposed Civil War and Reconstruction History Center planned for Fayetteville's Arsenal Park.
North Carolina Civil War and Reconstruction History Center

Advocates for a new North Carolina Civil War and Reconstruction History Center say the proposed museum will draw visitors to Fayetteville and offer online history education to schools statewide.

A block of North Duke Street remains closed more than two weeks after a gas leak sparked an explosion that killed two and damaged 15 buildings.
Elizabeth Friend / WUNC

A memorial service will be held Tuesday for Jay Rambeaut, the gas company worker who died last week of injuries from the April 10 gas leak explosion in Durham.

His sister-in-law Donna Jackson remembered the 51-year-old Creedmoor resident as someone who loved helping his neighbors and spending time with his family.

Mapleview Farm, Orange County
Elizabeth Friend / WUNC

Multiple storms struck more than a half dozen counties in the central part of the state Friday, causing damage to hundreds of houses and commercial structures, but causing no deaths or serious injuries.

power lines
Chad Cooper / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/eA3Cr6

Low income households face a dual challenge when paying energy bills. Older homes tend to be less efficient, and energy costs eat up a greater percentage of the household's income.

At RDU, Ben Akroyd helps pilot Martin Fessele pack his Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft with supplies for victims of Hurricane Florence.  Fessele came from New Jersey to help with "Operation Airdrop."
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

More than 75,000 North Carolinians volunteered to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and the months of rebuilding that have followed.

Now, state officials and a team of experts from IBM are working to make sure the volunteer response to a disaster is well-coordinated among private and public agencies.

Officials cut the ribbon Monday on the Oak City Multiservices Center, a facility offering wraparound services for Wake County residents experiencing homelessness. The center opens to the public April 10, 2019
Wake County

A coalition of government and nonprofit groups are getting ready to open a new facility to help homeless residents in Wake County.

Eastern Carolina Broadband

Lack of reliable high-speed internet access is a persistent problem in rural North Carolina, but small broadband companies are springing up across the state to meet the needs of underserved communities.

Map of North Carolina counties that need to replace voting equipment
North Carolina State Board of Elections

Counties across the state are working to beat a December deadline to replace touch-screen voting machines with models that use a paper ballot in order to comply with a 2013 state law.

Light rail transit with Amtrak visualization of area near Durham Station Transportation Center.
Go Triangle

After the GoTriangle board of trustees put a stop to the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail project on Wednesday, local elected officials mourned the demise of the line that was supposed to link the two counties.

An artist's rendering of a light rail stop.
GoTriangle / Triangle Transit

The Durham Orange Light Rail project ground to a halt today as the GoTriangle board of trustees voted to discontinue planning for the 18-mile line from Chapel Hill to Durham.

Photo: Firefighter turnout gear
Vince Alongi / Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/vincealongi/2155757629/in/photostream/

In North Carolina, firefighters are taking steps to address high cancer rates among their ranks.

 

Firefighters are more likely to be diagnosed with and die of cancer than the general public, according to a 2015 study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Light rail transit with Amtrak visualization of area near Durham Station Transportation Center.
Go Triangle

Duke University refused to sign a cooperative agreement on the Durham-Orange light rail plan last week. School officials said they were concerned the project could disrupt sensitive medical equipment along the planned route near Duke Hospital.

Portrait of CPT. Kenisha Wilkerson
Matt Couch / WUNC

Kenisha Wilkerson was drawn to military service, despite some initial uncertainty.

"I was a little confused at first," said Wilkerson. "I was going back and forth, like, 'uhh, I might not be built for the Army.' But I knew I wanted to serve."

Portrait of Libby Brice
Matt Couch / WUNC

Libby Brice was 20 years old in 1961 when she got a job on post as a secretary for the Criminal Investigation Division, one of only three women in the unit.

Billy (left) and his brother Dewey, playing soldiers as children at Fort Bragg during World War II.
Courtesy Billy Herring

Billy Herring was seven years old when his family moved on to Fort Bragg in 1939, one of only three civilian families on post at the time. His father ran the dairy farm, supplying milk to the soldiers.

Lorie Southerland, with her husband Eric, at the opening of the new Fort Bragg Fisher House facility.
Keri Childress/Fort Bragg Fisher House

Lorie Southerland didn’t know the Fort Bragg Fisher House existed until the day she needed it.  

Her son, Spc. Michael Rodriguez, had just been killed in Iraq, and her out-of-town family needed somewhere to stay for his memorial service.  Fisher House opened its doors, as it has for hundreds of other military families, offering respite when loved ones come to Fort Bragg for medical treatment, or to mourn.

Portrait of Col. (Ret.) Fred Black
Courtesy of Fred Black

As a young lieutenant in 1969, Fred Black was one of a handful of African-American officers at Fort Bragg. He said racial tensions rarely came to a head on post, but black soldiers could face discrimination when they ventured into the wider community.

Portrait of Mike Thomas.
Matt Couch / WUNC

Mike Thomas was a young captain in the summer of 1990 when he got orders to deploy to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield. After spending nine months in the Gulf, he flew home to Fort Bragg.

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