News

Recovery From Matthew Gradual, Not Complete, in Lenoir County

Dec 19, 2016
Chris Seward / News & Observer

Natural disasters loomed large in North Carolina in the second half of 2016. Wildfires scorched thousands of acres in the western part of the state. Here in eastern North Carolina Hurricane Matthew flooded thousands of homes and left some communities underwater for days.

Recovery is still underway and the price tag is steep.  

Chris Thomas has this update.

Lenoir County: Recovery Gradual, Not Complete

Dec 19, 2016
Chris Seward / News & Observer

Natural disasters loomed large in North Carolina in the second half of 2016. Wildfires scorched thousands of acres in the western part of the state. Here in eastern North Carolina Hurricane Matthew flooded thousands of homes and left some communities underwater for days.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been set aside for recovery following Hurricane Matthew and subsequent flooding.  This week on the Down East Journal, we examine where that money will help eastern North Carolina.  Plus, what Christmas in the colonial capital of North Carolina was like in the 18th century.  And, the Tar River Swing Band performs a concert of Christmas music next week.

This week on the Down East Journal, we examine how cold temperatures affect sea turtles and manatees passing by the North Carolina coast as they head south for the winter.  Plus, hospitals in eastern North Carolina are still dealing with the impacts of a nationwide drug shortage while learning how to work around it.  And, the ninth annual Christmas Candlelight Tour takes place in Beaufort.

Cole Dittmer/Tryon Palace

In 1770, Christmas at Tryon Palace in New Bern was vastly different than the way we celebrate today.  Food, however, has always played a major role in the season.

The largest utility-scale biogas plant in the United States breaks ground near Warsaw.  Jared Brumbaugh has more.

The $100 million dollar facility will convert methane gas from hog waste lagoons into clean energy, capable of generating approximately 290,000 MWH of electricity per year, enough to power 32,000 homes annually.  The electricity will be purchased by Duke Energy and sent to nearby power plants.  Spokesman Randy Wheeless. 

National Drug Shortage Crisis Impacts ENC

Dec 13, 2016

  For more than a decade, the United States has been dealing with a major drug shortage crisis, costing lives and money.

Though the worst of it may be over, hospitals in eastern North Carolina are still dealing with the shortage while learning how to work around it.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue

As temperatures fall and water temperatures cool, cold stunning can occur in sea turtles and manatees that haven't migrated south for the winter.  Volunteers are prepared to rescue, rehabilitate and relocate marine life impacted by cold stunning.

Study: Ecstasy Cheap in Parts of the Carolinas

Dec 6, 2016
MIchigan State University

Buying Ecstasy is a bargain in some parts of North Carolina. A recent study from Michigan State University stated the average rate for it is less than $4-per-tablet in Raleigh and Greensboro– among the cheapest rates in the United States. Because the rates are low there, the market could expand eastward and into ENC.   Chris Thomas has more.

It's been 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor.  A program in Goldsboro on December 7th detailed the surprise attack and wove the impact and experiences of Wayne County people into the presentation.

It’s been 75 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  This week on the Down East Journal, we detail a program in Goldsboro detailing the surprise attack, and the effect it had on Wayne County residents who survived. And, a new study shows that North Carolina has some of the lowest prices for ecstasy in the United States which could make it a hot spot for the production and sale of the illicit drug. 

This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to Superintendent Pat Kenney about the future of Cape Lookout National Seashore.  He’s leaving eastern North Carolina next year for a job at Yellowstone National Park.  And, how to keep the conversations civil this holiday season if they steer toward politics.

UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Local scientists have increased monitoring of the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound following Hurricane Matthew.  Algal blooms and low dissolved oxygen are a few of the problems being detected due to nutrient loads and storm water runoff. 

The election is over but all results aren't final.  This week on the Down East Journal, officials are counting provisional ballots in the canvass.  We'll talk about how that process will work in Craven and Wilson counties.  Plus, the environmental impact of Hurricane Matthew on the Neuse River and the Pamlico Sound. And, it's conversation with local celebrity chef Vivian Howard.  Just in time for the holidays, she released her first cookbook, "Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South."

Not Over Yet - The Voter Canvass in North Carolina

Nov 22, 2016
ABC 11

The Election is over but the results aren’t final. Throughout the week, provisional ballots were, and continue to be, counted and sorted in the Local Canvass.

As Chris Thomas reports, it’s a time-consuming process for local election officials.

Sorry to say – it’s not over yet.

“For election officials all across North Carolina and all across the state, it is not over for us until we actually canvass.”

Meloni Wray is director of the Craven County Board of Elections.

ECU News Services

 We detail a new pilot program started by two medical students in Greenville that seeks to help military veterans transition back to civilian life.

N.C. Department of Agriculture

Agriculture is the number one industry in North Carolina contributing $78 billion to the state's economy. Much of the food produced in our state comes from eastern North Carolina, which was recently pounded with heavy rainfall during Hurricane Matthew  leaving crops flooded and fields ravaged.  Jared Brumbaugh spoke with the Director of the Farm Service Agency Bob Etheridge after surveying in Edgecombe County.

National Institutes of Health - Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

As the baby boomer generation ages and people live longer, a new trend has emerged from the growing population of older adults.  Elder abuse affects approximately 1 in 10 seniors, according to the National Council on Aging.  

We examine the way our swing state ‘swung’ and local races that made headline news in eastern North Carolina.  Plus, the rescheduled Mum Fest finally gets its turn this weekend, we hear what’s scheduled during this annual New Bern event.  And, we detail a new pilot program started by two medical students in Greenville that seeks to help military veterans transition back to civilian life.

It’s estimated there’s hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to agriculture and livestock in North Carolina due to Hurricane Matthew. We speak to the director of the State Farm Agency Bob Etheridge who was in eastern North Carolina recently to survey the damage firsthand. Plus, we visit areas hit hard by Hurricane Matthew to explore what affect the flooding had on early voting turnout. And, elder abuse affects 1 in 10 seniors.  We detail a new screening tool that helps improve identification of elder abuse.

Hurricane Matthew recovery continues throughout eastern North Carolina including Duplin County hit hard during the storm.  Plus, flooding, downed trees and washouts were reported across eastern North Carolina prompting dozens of road closures in our area. We speak with DOT Secretary Nick Tennyson about repair efforts underway.  And how to incorporate creepy-crawly plants into your landscape during the Garden Journal.

Some residents in ENC have started to clean up from flooding while others are still displaced.  We have updates from Kinston, Greenville and Vanceboro.  Plus, 27 counties in eastern North Carolina are eligible for disaster assistance.  We talk to a FEMA representative about how to apply.

ENC Helps Swing North Carolina toward Trump

Nov 14, 2016
WWAY-TV / ABC News

North Carolina solidified its place among the “swing states” this year as Donald J. Trump took its 15 electoral votes on his way to being the 45th President of the United States.

Though some communities are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew and major flooding, eastern North Carolinians made their voices heard and helped swing this swing state toward the Republican Party’s nominee.  

Chris Thomas has this.

Donald Trump made eastern North Carolina red again – for the most part.

Early Voting Totals Up Despite Recent Flooding

Nov 7, 2016
ABC 11 - WTVD

As eastern North Carolina continues its recovery from Hurricane Matthew, polls are open for early voting. North Carolina is among the most coveted states in the Presidential Race and has one of the tightest Senatorial and Gubernatorial races in the nation.

But is voting a high priority for areas hit hardest by major flooding less than a month ago?

Chris Thomas spoke to voters and has this.

Duplin County Takes Stock After Matthew

Oct 31, 2016
WITN-TV

Hurricane Matthew recovery continues throughout eastern North Carolina, including the largely rural county of Duplin on the banks of the Cape Fear River.

Though it didn’t have record breaking flooding like neighboring Lenoir and Wayne Counties along the Neuse River, the county has a long, and costly, recovery process ahead of them.

Chris Thomas has this.

Starting all over again isn’t easy. But that’s where some Duplin County residents stand after Hurricane Matthew.

Thousands of residents and business owners impacted by flooding across eastern North Carolina have started the long process of recovery.  


Flooding, downed trees and wash outs were reported across eastern North Carolina during Hurricane Matthew prompting dozens of road closures in our region.  It’s been nearly three weeks since the storm, and crews with the North Carolina Department of Transportation have been out in full force making repairs to roads and bridges.  Some of the highways have reopened, others will remain closed for some time.   Jared Brumbaugh spoke with State DOT Secretary Nick Tennyson about repair efforts underway.

National Weather Service

The Tar River in Greenville is under flood stage for the first time since Hurricane Matthew hit the region. Now residents directly and indirectly impacted by the storm and its subsequent have begun recovering.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved a 31-day extension for applications. Residents now have until Jan. 9, 2017, to register with FEMA. The extension also applies to homeowners, renters and businesses submitting applications for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Registration is open in 45 counties.

ENC Health Current: Heroin Epidemic Impacts Region

Oct 19, 2016
Castlelight Health/WNCN

Addiction to opioids is a nationwide epidemic hitting eastern North Carolina hard – very hard.

The latest figures from the CDC have four eastern counties with drug overdose rate above the state average and a recent study from a major, healthcare provider put multiple eastern cities in the top 25 nationwide for rate of opioid abusers.

Chris Thomas has more.

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