News

ECU Celebrates 20th Guitar Festival

Jul 11, 2016
Joe Pellegrino / The Daily Reflector

ECU's Summer Guitar Festival was held July 6th through the 9th in Greenville with four days of concerts and workshops.  The event attracts students and experts from across the nation.   Chris Thomas has more on the festival's growth over the past 20 years and the vision for the future.

This is how things started Wednesday morning – the first day of this year’s ECU Guitar Festival. Back in 1996 just 12 people checked in for the first one. This year, 53 people registered for classes and gradually wandered into the lobby of the A.J. Fletcher School of Music.

Zika Taskforce Surveys State Mosquito Population

Jul 5, 2016
University of Florida

In response to the Zika outbreak, and any threat it may pose to North Carolinians, a statewide co-op of researchers, pest control specialists, and doctors are studying local mosquito populations – specifically, carriers of the headline grabbing virus.

The study is in its early stages, but as Chris Thomas reports, participants – and the state as a whole – may have gone into it with a hand tied behind their back.  

This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to an East Carolina University entomologist about a statewide study on mosquitoes and the Zika virus.  We detail the newly created Zika Task Force, its goals, and obstacles.  Plus, the annual sea turtle survey is underway at the coast this summer.  It’s the first time they’re using drones to count sea turtle populations at Cape Lookout Bight.  And, it's music and conversation with Jennifer Licko about her latest CD, "Sing."

Duke Marine Lab UAS

A team of researchers are conducting their annual sea turtle survey at the coast this summer.  But this year, they have a new tool to give them a bird's eye view.  Drones equipped with cameras fly over the water and capture images of sea turtles from above.

Sing - Jennifer Licko

Jun 30, 2016

INTRO – A new CD by ENC native Jennifer Licko took a long, circuitous and electronic path toward final production. George Olsen has more.

“It was a really nice collaboration of an Irish producer in Minnesota, an English producer in Florida and a Brazilian producer here in Brazil and I think it made for an interesting outcome.”   

Beyond Binary: Living a Secular Life in the Bible Belt

Jun 27, 2016
Getty/Dimitri Otis

Now we continue our series “Beyond Binary” which explores the changing demographics of our area.

Eastern North Carolina is among the key notches on the “Bible Belt.” Houses of worship can be found on the most remote country roads and it isn’t uncommon to see their lots filled to the brim at least twice-a-week.

But as Chris Thomas reports, secularism’s reemergence in America hasn’t exempted eastern North Carolina.

Public input is being sought on transportation projects planned in and around New Bern.  Jared Brumbaugh has more on the meeting set for Wednesday, June 29th. 

The largest project, carried over from last year, would upgrade U.S. 70 in James City to interstate standards, and include intersection improvements to Taberna Way, Thurman Road, Stately Pines Road and Fisher Ave.  The meeting will also include details on a new roundabout where Broad Street, Neuse Boulevard and Martin Luther King converge. 

National Park Service, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

The mystery of what exactly happened to the Lost Colony is still unknown, but archeologist are uncovering clues as to what life was like for colonist who were a part of the first English settlement attempt in the New World.  Earlier this month, archeologists discovered several pottery shards on Roanoke Island, near Fort Raleigh, dating back to the 16th century.  

This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to an archeologist with the First Colony Foundation about rare 16th century pottery pieces recently found on Roanoke Island, near the first settlement in the New World.  And, our "Beyond Binary" series continues.  We speak to a regional native who is part of a national trend opting for a life without organized religion. The Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations, and Saturday at noon on News and Ideas. 

A section of U.S. 264 in Beaufort County will be closed for the next six months as a bridge replacement project gets underway.  Jared Brumbaugh has more. 

The new span will replace the current bridge over Pantego Creek constructed in 1950 that is functionally obsolete and structurally deficient.  The project started last week and workers are installing new water and sewer infrastructure at the site now.  In the coming weeks, Resident Engineer for the State Department of Transportation Cadmus Capehart says demolition of the existing bridge will begin.

The Sampson Independant

Every third Saturday of June, the National Hollerin' Contest takes place in Spivey's Corner.  But this past Saturday's competition is probably the last time hoots and hollers are heard in this crossroads community.  Organizers say the event has been suspended because of increasing cost and decreasing participation.  But Jared Brumbaugh was there when the Hollerin' Contest was well attended and in this feature, we look back at the nearly 50 year old tradition.

What's it like to hold something older than the Parthenon in the palm of your hand? You'll find out this week on the Down East Journal when we speak to an ECU anthropologist who did just that after millennia-old, stone points were discovered in the state.  And, we say farewell to a nearly 50 year old tradition.  The National Hollerin’ Contest in Sampson County is coming to an end.  Plus, it's your opportunity to go behind the scenes at Tryon Palace.

ECU Archaeologist Weighs in on Finding Prehistoric Points

Jun 20, 2016
Lori Gross via the Charlotte Observer

Around the time the Pyramids at Giza were finished, Stonehenge was consecrated, and bronze was the next big thing in Europe and Asia, nomads living on the western hemisphere, about 300 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean, made stone points and buried them in the ground – probably for later use.

5,000 to 6,000 years, in what’s now known as New London, North Carolina near the Stanly and Montgomery County line – those points were rediscovered in Leonard and Karen Shelor’s backyard.

NC Maritime Museum Southport

A new exhibit opened last week at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport.  “Along the Colonial Cape Fear” documents the history of southeastern North Carolina from its vast supply of naval stores, shipping operations from the port in Wilmington and rice cultivation in the 1700s.

    

On this edition of the Down East Journal, Public Radio East contributes to a new permanent exhibit on display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport detailing the history of the lower Cape Fear region. We'll look at the exhibit and as well as rice cultivation in southeastern North Carolina. Also, our Beyond Binary series on underrepresented people in eastern North Carolina who fall outside traditional socio-political distinctions continues. And, author Dawson Carr and his book "NC-12: Gateway to the Outer Banks."

Zazzle (Trans Flag Gifts)

House Bill 2 has brought seldom discussed matters – especially rural parts of the nation like Eastern North Carolina – to the forefront. Namely, sexuality and gender identity.

For our “Beyond Binaries” series, Chris Thomas speaks to locals residents who find themselves outside of traditional, socio-economic demographics.

Sexuality and gender identity is getting confusing. New labels, definitions, and even pronouns seem to emerge daily.

Candidates, party leaders discuss June 7 Primary

Jun 9, 2016
North Carolina General Assembly

Most primaries for the 2016 election, took place nearly three months ago, but true to the election’s unorthodox form, primaries for U.S. House – among others – were delayed due to a change in congressional district maps.

It gave campaign staffers, and their candidates, extra time to get the word out and make their case for their respective offices.

Chris Thomas spoke to candidates and party leaders in the new, 3rd District – which includes Lenoir, Onslow, and Craven counties – about the June 7 primary.

Eastern North Carolina has its own flavor.  This week on the Down East Journal, we visit some popular – local – ‘cue destinations.   And, heading into June 7th, a primer on the primary.

This week on the Down East Journal, we begin our "Beyond Binary" series on underrepresented people segments in Eastern North Carolina who fall outside traditional socio-political distinctions.  Unaffiliated voters are a rapidly growing demographic in eastern North Carolina and, potentially, a key factor in this year's national and state races. And, as the first piling of the Bonner Bridge was installed, NCDOT got the green light to move forward with another bridge replacement .  We detail the NC12 bridge project just down the road at Rodanthe.

When you think of things that define eastern North Carolina, you may say our Civil War history or uncrowded beaches.  But nothing is more distinctive than our own flavor of barbecue.  Really, it’s all about the sauce.  The western part of the state often touts their tomato based concoction.  But here in eastern North Carolina, it’s the tangy, spicy vinegar based sauce is instantly recognized as our spin on barbecue. 

NASA

On the monthly "Carolina Skies" segment, we talk about what you can spot in eastern North Carolina's night sky, from constellations and planets to nebulas and galaxies.  Our host is Byron Mumaw, President of the Carolina Skies Astronomy Club.  This week, we focus on the fourth planet from the sun, Mars. 

NCDOT

Commuting on Highway 70 could be a bit quicker now that the Goldsboro Bypass is open.

The saltmarsh sparrow could soon become a lot harder to find along the eastern North Carolina shoreline.  Scientists say the species could be headed for extinction in the next 50 years. 

Researchers at several universities along the East Coast have been tracking saltmarsh sparrow populations and say they’ve dropped about nine percent annually since 1998.  Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Maryland/DC was involved with the study and says habitat loss due to coastal development and sea-level rise are the main factors contributing to their rapid decline.

Coastal researchers in Beaufort are developing a tool that can alert officials when sharks get too close.  Jared Brumbaugh has more on how drones could be used to spot sharks swimming near popular beach spots. 

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Marine Conservation and Ecology at Duke University Dave Johnston is currently using fixed wing and quad copter drones to study bonnethead sharks to better understand their role in the ecosystem. 

“We fly over these coastal waters, the drones collect imagery, and we’re able to bring that back into the lab.”

Beyond Binary: Unaffiliated Voters Growing in Numbers

May 31, 2016

One of the fastest growing demographics in eastern North Carolina is also one of its least defined. Since the turn of the 21st Century, the state has witnessed a dramatic uptick in unaffiliated voters.

They’re threatening to break the 2 million mark by the November election, but just how independent are “independent voters?”

Chris Thomas has more.

Aerial Mosquito Spraying Linked To Autism

May 23, 2016
University of California - Riverside

Mosquitos and similar pests are a major source of concern around the world, especially marshy areas like eastern North Carolina. These organisms can leave painful bite marks and harmful diseases, including yellow fever and the Zika virus.

But a recent study discovered a possible link between certain pesticides, the way they’re administered, and developmental delays in children.

Chris Thomas has this report.

If 2015 was the "summer of the shark" in eastern North Carolina, what about 2016?  A series of rare shark attacks along the North Carolina coast last summer may make you reticent to take a dip.  This week on the Down East Journal, we dispel shark myths with local researchers who study them.  Plus, it's mosquito season and with it, new fears of Zika.  But a new study links pesticides to autism.  We speak to the pediatrician who lead the study.  And, we tell you what's on tap for the Beaufort Music Festival this weekend.

This week on the Down East journal, tugboats and firetrucks.  Last week, tugboats were intentionally sunk near Beaufort Inlet.  We talk about why.  And, we visit the recently renovated circa 1928 Firemen's Museum in New Bern. 

You could soon pay a late fee if you’re tardy in renewing your vehicle registration. George Olsen has more.

Wayne Hoggard, NOAA NMFS SEFSC / Image ID: fish2730, NOAA's Fisheries Collection

Last summer, a string of eight shark attacks along the North Carolina coast made headlines across the nation.  A Camp Lejeune Marine bitten in the arm and right hand, and another man in his 60’s airlifted to Greenville for multiple bites to his rib cage, hips, lower leg and both hands.  Back-to-back unprovoked attacks on Oak Island severely injured a 12 year old girl, and then 90 minutes later, a 16 year-old boy on the same stretch of beach.

Pages