Laura Pellicer

Digital News Producer

Laura Pellicer is a digital producer with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team. She is a former producer with The State of Things, a show that explores North Carolina through conversation.

Her coverage at WUNC of the controversial Silent Sam Confederate monument garnered a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media.

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, tracing innovations in science and technology, and pursuing stories about Indigenous rights. She is enamored with her home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she moonlights as a mediocre surfer.

Ways to Connect

Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Orrin Pilkey was sounding the alarm about climate change and sea level rise long before the topics were part of public consciousness. As an early whistleblower, his work was not always well received, but he pressed on and has authored and edited dozens of books about the environment in the past few decades. His latest book, co-authored with his son Keith, takes a look at some of the unexpected ways climate-related sea level rise will affect the lives and livelihoods of people across the United States.

Kate Medley / For WUNC

When she's not teaching English at Louisburg College, Taari Coleman can often be found on the streets of Raleigh, megaphone in hand. She is a founding organizer with NC BORN, short for North Carolina Building Our Revolution Now, a group that advocates for defunding and dismantling current law enforcement structures in the state. 

The pandemic has infiltrated and affected every aspect of human life, across the globe. The devastating health and economic impacts have been undeniable, and ever-present.

But there’s something else happening that’s not as noticeable: the animals. Creatures with fur, feathers and paws have been spotted in some unexpected places since there haven't been as many humans getting in their way.

WUNC’s Laura Pellicer and Elizabeth Friend were curious about the effect a drastic decrease in human activity might have on wildlife. So they decided to look at one animal in particular, and see if it’s behavior has changed since North Carolina shut down from COVID-19.

On this episode, we’re featuring "CREEP," an audio special about our relationship with wildlife during the pandemic.

 


Is it just us…or have animals been acting different lately?

CREEP is an unexpected audio documentary for these challenging times. Journalists Elizabeth Friend and Laura Pellicer team up to tell the story of how the COVID-19 pandemic changed our relationship with the animals.

This half-hour special takes listeners on a virtual nature walk – one that makes some unplanned stops throughout history to examine how one species in particular has started showing up in unexpected ways since we humans started social distancing.


Portrait of Cameron Dezen Hammon
Courtesy Cameron Dezen Hammon

From the time she was young, musician and writer Cameron Dezen Hammon craved a spiritual connection with the world around her.

In a sweet tea-colored swamp in Bladen County, North Carolina there is a group of trees that has intrigued researchers for decades.

Scientists knew the bald cypress trees that sprouted up from the Black River were old, and a new study reveals a number of the trees date back millennia. One tree is at least 2,624 years old.

The bald cypress' remarkable age reveal information about climate history in the region, including whether the people who lived in the area experienced significant droughts.

File photo of construction workers at a work site.
astrid westvang / Flickr, https://flic.kr/p/63KaFK

Juan José Mejia Guillén is considered an essential worker in North Carolina. He runs a small construction company, Olive and Sage Custom Building, LLC. With nearly 15 years of experience, the master carpenter is confident about his work.

Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina is not meeting the health trends required to move to the next phase of reopening, explained State Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen in Wednesday's coronavirus briefing.

A public memorial for George Floyd takes place Saturday, June 6 at Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters of the United American Free Will Baptist Denomination in Raeford, N.C.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

An estimated 10,000 mourners gathered in Raeford, N.C. to pay their final respects to George Floyd. It was the second of three memorials across the country to commorate his death. 

Pallbearers bring the body of George Floyd into Cape Fear Conference B Headquarters of the United American Free Will Baptist Denomination in Raeford, N.C. for a public viewing and private memorial on Saturday, June 6.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Updated at 9 p.m. ET

A line of mourners wrapped around a Raeford, N.C. church and extended down the highway Saturday, as thousands paid their last respects to George Floyd. 

Retired couple Pat McAulay (left) and Margaret Roesch on their front porch.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Before the shelter in place rules came into effect and businesses shut down, retired couple Pat McAuley and Margaret Roesch were forging ahead with a bold idea, to build a community where LGBTQ seniors feel at home.   

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.

Artist Shana Tucker looks out her apartment window.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

 

Red-tipped hair swept to the side, Shana Tucker bites her lower lip before looking back at the camera. 

“I learned today that someone that I grew up with is fighting for her life as a result of COVID-19,” she says through tears. “That's the first time that it sat me down and took my breath away.”

Photo of Mia Ives-Rublee with her dog Vezzini
Chris Riggs / Courtesy Mia Ives-Rublee

Mia Ives-Rublee grew up surrounded by adults who were worried about her well-being. She has Osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic bone disorder more commonly known as brittle bone disease, and uses a wheelchair to get around. 

YouTube thumbnail from coronavirus and mental health video.
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically transformed home and work life in North Carolina. For many, it has blurred the line between the once separate realms of home, office and school. And with that comes new sources of stress and anxiety. 

Graphic of a bed.
WikiHow

A solid eight hours can be hard to come by in our non-stop, tech-saturated world. But the modern science of sleep shows that shut-eye is just as critical as diet and exercise in shaping both mental and physical health.

Laura Pellicer / YouTube

 

Pollen: The scourge of spring. North Carolinians are all too familiar with the green and yellow stuff. Last year, olive green clouds of dense pollen hovered over Durham, N.C. making national headlines and making life miserable for seasonal allergy sufferers.

Creative Commons / https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1019274

Many people learn the basics in sex education classes — how men and women procreate and how to avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections. However, the science of sex goes well beyond basic textbook diagrams. In recent decades, researchers have developed a deeper understanding of the interplay between our brains and our bodies and about the mechanics of sexual desire.

Allen G. Breed / AP Photo

It's a confusing time for getting even the smallest tasks done. Grocery stores continue to be open in the Triangle. So, too, are pharmacies and many big box stores. But how do you navigate a trip through the aisles while observing social distancing and avoiding the spread of the coronavirus?

Kevin Wang, the owner of Jade Palace restaurant in Carrboro, outside of the resaturant.
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

The rise of coronavirus cases in North Carolina, and mitigation efforts to slow its spread, are affecting businesses and individuals across the state.

In Carrboro and Chapel Hill, those in the service industry are trying to cope with the drastic slump in business and many people are making changes to protect themselves and others.

A sign indicates a no-student drop-off zone with Wake County public school buses in the background.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

How the spread of coronavirus, and the mitigation efforts to control it, are impacting some schools in North Carolina.

School Districts

Durham Public Schools will close starting on Monday as a measure to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Mguu (right) is the newest member of the southern white rhino family at the North Carolina Zoo.
Moriah Angott / North Carolina Zoo

A southern white rhino calf born at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro earlier this winter has expressive fluttering ears and, according to zookeepers, particularly big feet. Now she has the name to go with that solid footing. 

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. 

Father and son, Allen and Joshua Crockett, celebrating primary night at the state GOP HQ, in Raleigh. Joshua cast his first vote today.
Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

  The mood was triumphant on primary night at the Republican Party headquarters in Raleigh. U.S. Senator Thom Tillis won his GOP primary and will run for re-election against Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.

Ellis stands in wooded area with cloud graphic floating behind him.
Mike Lento

Justin Ravary Ellis is no stranger around the Triangle music scene. The multi-instrumentalist has played bass in — and fronted — multiple bands and often has a number of collaborative projects on the go. But in 2015 he made the explicit decision to carve out more space and time for something a little more intimate.

Headshot of Holloway
Esther Hicks Photography / Courtesy of Karla Holloway

Karla FC Holloway was raised in Buffalo, New York in the midst of the battle over school desegregation. Her parents were both school administrators, and although she was not aware at the time of just how involved they were in that fight, she keenly observed their commitment to racial equality.

A massive pile of debris sits outside of town on Ocracoke Island as cleanup efforts continue a month after Hurricane Dorian. All of the waste must be collected and then loaded into trucks before being transported off the island by boat.
Madeline Gray / For WUNC

As the year comes to a close, we take a look at some of the photos that helped tell the story of 2019. From hurricanes to controversy over confederate monuments and a deadly gas explosion, here are the moments – big and small – that shaped the year in North Carolina news.

Historical sign
Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/31557195515

The term “Underground Railroad” evokes the image of the legendary Harriet Tubman engineering daring escapes in a false-bottomed carriage or slaves following the North Star through dark woods. Researcher and longtime history professor Adrienne Israel says those popular images only tell a sliver of the story.

Producer Laura Pellicer in a field in Harnett County
Courtesy Sandra Davidson

 

 

In 2019, The State of Things met musical visionaries, people fighting to save endangered cultures, and folks who supported their neighbors through another devastating hurricane. The individuals and stories at the heart of those conversations stuck with State of Things producer Laura Pellicer throughout the year.

Image of Kevin Guskiewicz
Courtesy UNC Office of the Chancellor

The University of  North Carolina Board of Governors voted today for Interim UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to step into the role permanently. 

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