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.

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NCDHHS

Updated on Jan. 15. This post will be updated periodically as we tackle your questions.

Courtesy NCDHHS

North Carolina health officials have announced a significant revamp of the state vaccine rollout plan. They have done away with the previous sub-tiered four-phase system and introduced a streamlined plan with five groups.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

Updated at 8:15 p.m.

In a Tweet issued Wednesday afternoon, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called for President Donald Trump to either step down or be removed from office. The Tweet was personally signed, indicating that it came directly from Cooper and not a member of his staff. 

Andrew Harnik / AP

Updated at 9:08 p.m.

Angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power. They forced lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupted challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Unsplash / Creative Commons


It’s a holiday season like no other. With families and friends practicing social distancing, and traditional celebrations stripped down to the bare minimum, many North Carolinians are finding themselves a bit lonelier this year.

Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

It's not easy keeping the family engaged and entertained during this unprecedented holiday, but these North Carolina museums are making that tall task a little more accessible. Across the state, museums have turned to digital technology to craft online tours that aren’t subject to regular business hours.

Jerrye & Roy Klotz / Wikimedia Commons with edit

Federal and state law enforcement have arrested 21 people associated with a large-scale drug ring involving the North Carolina campuses at UNC-Chapel Hill, Appalachian State University and Duke University.

Daniel Schludi / Unsplash / Creative Commons

Updated at 6:10 p.m.

Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that North Carolina could receive a limited supply of a COVID-19 vaccine in as soon as two weeks. Hospital workers will be first in line to get it.

Chris Seward / AP Photo

In the final countdown to Election Day, the Trump and Biden campaigns turned attention to a swath of land just north of the South Carolina border and to the diverse people who live there.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina’s coronavirus cases continue to climb, with the state hitting its second-highest new case count on Thursday.

Gerry Broome / AP Photo

Updated at 1:40 a.m. on 11/4/2020

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper was reelected Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

Laura Pellicer / WUNC

In the final days before the election, both the Trump and Biden campaigns are trying their luck at courting a last few votes. They are hoping Lumbee voters may help swing the state.

Over the weekend, Trump greeted thousands at a rally in Lumberton, Robeson County. The visit came on the heels of recent statements from both Trump and Biden asserting support for full federal recognition for the Lumbee tribe.


Playgrounds throughout Durham, N.C. city parks were closed March 26, 2020 after Mayor Steve Schewel issued a stay-at-home order for the city in an effort to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

Governor Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday that North Carolina will enter the next phase of reopening, dubbed “Phase 2.5,” starting Friday at 5 p.m.

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."

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.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, 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.

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