Laura Pellicer

State of Things Producer

Laura Pellicer is a producer with The State of Things, a show that explores North Carolina through conversation.

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, pursuing stories about indigenous rights, and finding fresh voices to share with listeners. Laura is enamored with her new home in North Carolina—notably the lush forests, and the waves where she plans on moonlighting as a mediocre surfer.

Ways to Connect

Bill Herndon / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wrherndon/4588634635

Earlier this week Alabama’s governor signed into law an effective ban on abortion in the state. Other states, like Missouri, Louisiana and Ohio are also moving in a similar direction.

Harriet Tubman is an American legend. History books know her best as the architect of the underground railroad, but she was also the brains behind a dangerous expedition during the Civil War.

She may have also had a rich and complex love life, but the details of that for now are mostly fictional ones, portrayed in the new historical novel “The Tubman Command” (Arcade/2019).

A picture of UNC grad turning their graduation tassle
UNC-Chapel Hill

Proud grads in cap and gowns walk across the stage this weekend at commencement ceremonies around the state.

Updated at 7:47 p.m.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say they have secured the scene of a shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

moogfest
Laura Pellicer / WUNC

If you’ve noticed an abundance of black minimalist attire in downtown Durham, you are not alone. Moogfest artists and attendees have descended on the Southern city, and they’ve brought their clean, tech aesthetic with them.

WUNC  has taken home five 2019 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, more than any other station in its division or region. The Radio Television Digital News Association honors excellence in electronic journalism and presents the regional Murrow Award to small and large radio, television and digital outlets.

Courtesy John McCord / Coastal Studies Institute, East Carolina University

Sand tiger sharks don’t look like the friendliest bunch. They’ve got “big gnarly teeth and really thick, stout bodies,” as Hap Fatzinger of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher describes. But despite their menacing look, the sand tiger shark is a docile, migratory species, and they often share the waters off the North Carolina coast with scuba divers.

The Women of the Confederacy monument was a gift to the state by Confederate veteran Col. Ashley Horne, and was unveiled in June 1914. It was the wish of Colonel Horne to recognize the suffering and hardship faced by women during this tragic period.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Police have arrested two people they say defaced a Confederate monument in Raleigh.  The arrests were made Sunday during a protest at the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy monument near the statehouse.

Kindergarten students TT Askew, Alicia Garcia Elvira, Haylen Lovelace and Mercy Nelms are students in Jakeli Swimmer's Cherokee language and culture class at Robbinsville Elementary.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

Marty Richardson was in high school when he started a deep dive into the history of his people:  the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe. He emerged from dusty library archives with the epiphany that his ancestors spoke Tutelo-Saponi, a language that had since nearly disappeared. 

Naomi Prioleau / WUNC

On April 15, 2018, a tornado plowed through east Greensboro damaging more than 1,000 buildings and leaving more than 20,000 households without power. One man died as a result of the event after a tree fell onto his moving car. One year later, many of the once-displaced residents have found their way back home, but three schools remain closed.

child doctor
Alex Prolmos / Flickr / Creative Commons

North Carolina House Republicans touted a bill on Tuesday that would expand health coverage to more uninsured adults who make too much to qualify for Medicaid. 

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

The chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, Robin Hayes, has been indicted on charges including wire fraud, bribery and aiding and abetting. Durham businessman and political donor Greg Lindberg, along with two of his associates, John Gray and John Palermo Jr., were also indicted. Lindberg is the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group, headquartered in Durham, N.C.

Mike Spencer / AP Photo

Updated April 2 at 4:25 p.m.

The Chair of the North Carolina Republican Party Robin Hayes has been indicted on charges including bribery. Durham businessman and the state’s largest political donor Greg Lindberg, along with two of his associates: John Gray and John Palermo Jr. were also indicted.

Ben McKeown / AP Photo

Updated at 5:55 p.m.

The University of North Carolina has placed its women's basketball coaching staff on administrative leave following the launch of an investigation into the program's culture, according to a news release issued Monday by the UNC-Chapel Hill Athletic Department.

Don McCullough / Flickr

Updated at 11:20 a.m.

UNC spokesman Randy Young said no arrests had been made as of Tuesday morning.

Updated at 7 p.m.

UNC Police have taken out arrest warrants for two suspects involved in the racist vandalism on University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's campus, said UNC Police spokesperson Randy Young.

UNC Police said they are "conducting a thorough criminal investigation" and "will not be releasing any details that could impede that investigation or subsequent prosecution," including the language used in the graffiti.

Barricades have been reerected around the Unsung Founders Memorial "to deter future incidents," and police "continue to monitor any threats to the campus," according to Young.

Updated at 3:30 p.m.

Early Sunday morning, two individuals defaced the Unsung Founders Memorial on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's campus with racist graffiti, according to a statement issued by UNC-CH Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. The memorial is located in McCorkle Place at the heart of the campus, not far from the site where the Silent Sam Confederate monument was toppled and the base later removed.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland / Flickr / www.flickr.com/photos/zen/1796555301/

Updated at 4:50 p.m.

Duke Energy Corp. has been ordered to excavate coal ash from all of its North Carolina power plant sites, slashing the risk of toxic chemicals leaking into water supplies but potentially adding billions of dollars to the costs consumers pay.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

North Carolina Democrats have found strength in numbers, and they are using if to push for an ambitious – if lofty – agenda.

Courtesy GoTriangle

The plan to establish a Durham-Orange Light Rail line is over. The GoTriangle board of trustees voted Wednesday to discontinue planning for the 18-mile line that would have connected the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Hospitals with Duke University and Duke Hospital and end at North Carolina Central University. 

Courtesy Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

The Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble may be a group of teenagers but they pack a serious musical punch. For the fourth year in a row, the ensemble made the cut to compete on stage at New York’s Lincoln Center as part of the Essentially Ellington Competition. More than 100 bands tried out for the competition with only the top 15 earning a spot.

Cover of "Blood Letters" book
Basic Books

Lin Zhao was a poet and journalist who was arrested as a political dissident during the Mao Zedong regime in China. She stands as the only known Chinese citizen to have openly and steadily opposed Mao’s communism, an opposition rooted in her Christian faith. After her arrest, she dedicated her time in prison to writing letters and poems, sometimes in her own blood, in opposition of the regime.

Panorama of United States Supreme Court Building at dusk.
Joe Ravi / Wikimedia Commons/ CC-BY-SA 3.0

The U.S. Supreme Court listened to oral arguments Tuesday morning in a North Carolina gerrymandering case that dates back to the 2016 election. The case, Common Cause v. Rucho, is a major test for the court’s position on political gerrymandering.

The Last Battleground Book Cover
UNC Press

Author Philip Gerard has spent years unearthing the lesser-known stories of the Civil War. In order to better document the history beyond the grand military strategies and exalted generals, Gerard dug deep into the archives, reading first-person testimonies, searching through hand-written letters, and speaking with a range of experts, from historians to longtime civil war reenactors.

Lilly Knoepp / Blue Ridge Public Radio

The Nikwasi Mound in downtown Franklin, North Carolina looks like a small, grass-covered hill, but for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians the site holds great importance.
 

Creative Commons / pxphere

This winter, waves of journalists across the country lost their jobs as major media organizations made significant cut backs. Among them, media giant Gannett cut an estimated 400 people, and The McClatchy Company offered voluntary buyouts to about 450 people. The mass layoffs follow years of staff cuts at newspapers and media outlets across the country. 

Courtesy Marty Richardson / Fotoworkz by Ivan Studio

Marty Richardson wanted to know more about his culture. He grew up with his family in Maryland, a ways removed from the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe in North Carolina to which he is a member.

Juli Leonard / The News & Observer Pool

Republican Mark Harris has announced that he will not run in a new election in North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District. His decision comes after state election officials conducted an investigation into the Harris campaign for hiring an operative who allegedly harvested absentee ballots. At the end of a hearing last week, the State Board of Elections ordered a new election for the district's U.S. house seat.

Portrait of Max Roach, Three Deuces, New York, N.Y., ca. Oct. 1947.
William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress

North Carolina-born jazz musician Max Roach carved out a creative legacy in music that spanned genres. Roach grew up in New York City and during the 1940s he drummed alongside artists like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. 

His recordings were innovative and during the civil rights movement, even political. To honor Roach, Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center is hosting a restaging of Roach’s “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite” recording.

Several communities in rural North Carolina struggle with water infrastructure maintenance.
Courtesy of Flickr user mycieau

A number of North Carolina communities are struggling to access safe drinking water. A WRAL investigative team tracked two decades of data and uncovered high rates of water violations, which are most pervasive in rural areas including the towns of Carthage and Butner in central North Carolina. 

Courtesy Tom Merrigan's Hot Raccoons

Raccoons. For many, they are scheming trash denizens and a neighborhood scourge. But musician Tom Merrigan has a deep and mildly obsessive relationship with the creatures and shares their propensity for night roams and mischief. His band name, Tom Merrigan’s Hot Raccoons, is a tribute to that bond. 

Screenshot from the award-winning film, 'Minding The Gap.'
Courtesy of Kartemquin Films

Bing Liu documented skaters in his hometown of Rockford, Illinois for more than a decade. Through the years, that footage became a complex documentation of youth culture featuring two young men who open up about the pressures of adulthood, abusive families, and modern masculinity. 

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