Rebecca Martinez

Morning Producer

Rebecca Martinez produces WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition. She reports breaking news as well as feature stories and interviews about a range of subjects, including immigration enforcement and environmental sustainability. She knows a lot about municipal solid waste.

Rebecca is also the co-creator and founding producer of The Civilist with Steven Petrow. The podcast is a partnership between WUNC and PRI, and it explores how people can talk respectfully about controversial and awkward topics.

Before coming to North Carolina, Rebecca was a reporter and host at Wyoming Public Radio, where she created the "Upstarts" entrepreneur profile series. She won a PRNDI award for soft feature reporting in 2012 and has edited and produced several PRNDI award-winning stories and episodes of "Open Spaces." Rebecca has reported on agriculture and community issues at The News Leader in Staunton, VA. She spent two years cutting tape, booking interviews and running scripts at NPR's Washington, DC headquarters. Her reporting has aired on NPR, the BBC, PRI, Marketplace and National Native News.

She lives in Durham, where she volunteers on the crisis line at Durham Crisis Response Center. She also occasionally leads bike tours of the city’s murals.

Ways to Connect

A picture of an American Robin.
Deja Perkins / NC State University

North Carolina State University researchers are seeking volunteers to help conduct a bird population survey in the Triangle's urban centers.

Raleigh's mayor says she will not run for another term. Independent Nancy McFarlane's fourth term in office expires later this year.

A picture of Erin Lawrimore with a pint of beer.
Jiyoung Park / UNC Greensboro

When you imagine someone who brews beer for a living, who do you picture? A chill guy in jeans and a baseball cap? He's probably white, maybe he has a beard.

Creative Commons / Via pxhere

In an effort to cut down on recycling contamination, the Town of Aberdeen has begun refusing to collect from curbside containers that hold dirty or non-recyclable materials. Town Manager Paul Sabiston says those bins will receive a red rejection tag, urging owners to remove garbage and other misplaced items before the next pick-up.

A photo of Maya De Vitry.
Laura Partain

After spending several years collaborating with her band mates in The Stray Birds, singer-songwriter Maya de Vitry set out to find a different voice. What transpired were a lot of walks in the woods, traveling to meet friends old and new and mustering the confidence to sing her own songs in her own voice. The result is Adaptations

A picture of a running tap.
247homerescue /

Greensboro is putting up $31 million to get industrial chemicals known as PFOS and PFOA out of the drinking water.

Illustration of students of different races raising hands, good for education stories on diversity and segregation.
John LeMasney / Flickr Creative Commons

Race plays a significant factor in almost every aspect of community life. But often, there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of how those conversations should be happening.

Now, a Greensboro-based organization is teaching people how to talk about race openly.

photo of an apple on top of books
Kate Ter Haar / Creative Commons

The Guilford County Schools Superintendent asked the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor to increase funding for school renovations, upgrades and new construction.

Duke University Office of Communications

It's been 50 years since nine black students at Duke University took over the Allen Building on campus to protest segregationist university policies and bring attention to the needs of black students.

Rev. Curtis Gatewood
AlamanceCountyNC /

The leader of the Alamance NAACP chastised the county board of commissioners this week for supporting Sheriff Terry Johnson's immigration detention plan.

Prison cell
DOliphant via Flickr

The State Employees Association of North Carolina is asking the Legislature to improve pay, staffing, equipment, training and benefits for corrections officers.

An image of the NPS sound map of the contiguous United States.
National Park Service

Got a neighbor who loves to run their deafening leaf blower at full blast? Even if you don't, the noise pollution in your neighborhood could be impacting the health of people and nearby wildlife there.

Now, scientists at North Carolina State University are creating a map of the natural and man-made noises in Raleigh and Durham, and they want your help.

Prison Bars
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons

The Alamance County Board of Commissioners approved a $2.8 million budget for staffing, raises and equipment upgrades, so that the county jail could resume detaining federal immigration inmates.

File photo of NYC action in solidarity with Ferguson. Mo, encouraging a boycott of Black Friday Consumerism.
Black Lives Matter Black Friday

A study from N.C. State University and the University of Chicago has found that exposure to racial discrimination is connected to the willingness of black teens and young adults to engage in activism.

A picture of a shrimp trawler.
NOAA Fishwatch / Wikipedia

The shrimping industry is booming as more of the crustaceans are being harvested farther north and later in the season.

A picture of Godfrey with thank-you cards.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

The population of older adults is surging, and they face an increased risk of depression and anxiety. Now, more mental health professionals are filling a growing need by offering in-home psychotherapy sessions.

A picture of glass bottles and jars
Creative Commons /

Moore County has made a deal with the country's largest glass recycler, and now, officials hope it will enable county residents to keep glass bottles and jars out of the landfill.

Red circles show earthquake epicenters in the eastern United States from 1972-2012
Courtesy of Scott Marshall / Appalachian State University

There was a 2.2 magnitude earthquake west of Asheville earlier this week.

A picture of glass bottles and jars
Creative Commons /

One town in Moore County is no longer accepting glass bottles and jars in curbside recycling bins. It's a cost-saving measure amid skyrocketing fees.

Recycling is becoming more expensive pretty much everywhere. But Moore County faced sticker shock this summer when a fire closed the material recovery facility that had its contract. The county tipping fee jumped from $25-per-ton to $100, making recyclables much more expensive to haul than garbage.

canned food at food bank
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

UNC REX Healthcare has launched a new food bank in response to rising rates of hunger and gaps in the federal SNAP program. North Carolina has the 8th highest rate of food insecurity in the country.

A poster of general, statewide accepted recyclable materials as described by the Department of Environmental Quality.
Courtesy of Department of Environmental Quality

If you've ever thrown out your recyclables in a garbage bag, you personally have contributed to the rising cost of recycling in America. Garbage bags aren't recyclable in conventional material recovery facilities (MRFs) and often get tangled up in the machines that sort your paper from your glass from your plastic. Then somebody has to go in, fish out that mangled plastic bag, and dispose of it properly. The same goes for textiles, scrap metal, electrical cords.

A picture of Greg Hawks.
York Wilson Photography

Greg Hawks says his new record is a culmination of all of his musical influences. That means the songs on I Think It's Time contain nods to classic country, 1970s pop/rock, rhythmic soul and his roots in the American South.

A picture of Michael Rank
Bowie Ryder /

Michael Rank is doubling down on his musical move to funk and soul. The Triangle-based singer/songwriter was known for his Stones-y, outlaw country swagger and dusty folk on a series of recordings before pivoting to Sly and The Family Stone and D'Angelo on last year's Another Love.

Duke researchers used used a commercially available instrument called the Polarstar Optima from BMG Labtech for vapor odor detection.
Courtesy of Hiro Matsunami

Researchers at Duke University have created a machine that can smell target odors, such as drugs or explosives.

Hiro Matsunami is a molecular genetics and microbiology professor at Duke. He conceded that the drug- or bomb-sniffing dogs are pretty good at their jobs, but there are downsides.

"Training dogs is pretty expensive and time consuming, and the dogs are not always motivated and available in many places," he said.

A picture of a Green Zone Drop Zone bin in Durham
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

So you've unpacked your winter clothes and are packing up your warm weather duds to hibernate until spring. But what about all the leftover clothes? Not the gently worn items that might fetch a couple bucks at a consignment store -- go ahead and sell or donate those.

Animal collisions in North Carolina ticked up in 2017, but were still well below a few years ago.
N.C. Department of Transportation

As the days get shorter, motorists should be on the lookout for four-legged obstacles on the road.

A picture of Mountain Man.
Elizabeth Weinberg

The wait is over, and your patience is being rewarded. Mountain Man has released Magic Ship,  a new album of sparse and dreamy new Appalachian-inspired folk songs.  Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso), Molly Sarle, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig (ASM) have been busy with their other bands and with solo recordings since Mountain Man's debut Made the Harbor was released eight years ago. 

calculator with the word college
Jake Rustenhoven / Flickr Creative Commons

The state's free college planning service is urging high school seniors and others interested in college to consider their financial aid options this week.

Transgender advocates were available outside the State Health Plan Board of Trustees meeting in Raleigh on Oct. 22, 2018. From left to right: Max Kadel, Noah Lewis, Connor Thonen-Fleck, Alexis Thonen, Deborah Thomson, Jeanne Duwve, Ames Simmons.
Courtesy of by Paul E. Smith

The open enrollment period ends next week for 720,000 North Carolina employees and teachers, and for the second year in a row, the State Health Plan coverage excludes gender dysphoria treatment for transgender and non-binary employees.

An infographic from the CDC on how to spot Acute Flaccid Myelitis in children.
Courtesy of the CDC

A rare and mysterious affliction appears to be on a national upswing, and North Carolina has two possible and one confirmed case of Acute Flaccid Myelitis so far this year.