New ID that will eventually be a near-necessity for frequent air travelers will be available at state DMV offices May 1. George Olsen has more.

This week on the Down East Journal, we detail a new citizen science program that aims to document alligator encounters throughout eastern North Carolina. Plus, we talk about the siege of Washington and the role colored troops played in that historic battle. And, a free lecture in Oriental next week highlights the unique architecture of pre-Civil War homes in Pamlico County.  

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission launched a new citizen science program where anyone who spots an alligator in the wild can upload and share their photos with biologist.  

The News & Ideas Network programming on 88.1 in Greenville is currrently off-air. The tower where our transmitter and antenna reside at the Greenville Town Commons is being removed by its owner the City of Greenville  in mid-May. Prep work prior to the removal of the tower required us to remove all broadcast equipment before the end of April. It was removed on Friday afternoon, April 28

Many residents and business owners in New Bern are opposed to the idea of parking meters in the downtown area.  City officials weigh in and talk about revitalization in the colonial capital.

ECU Study Focuses on Diabetes in Black Community

Apr 24, 2017
East Carolina University/Hi-Pace Study Exercise

Eastern North Carolina has one of the highest concentrations of black communities in the state. Bertie, Hertford, Northampton, Edgecome, and Halifax make up the top five highest African-American populations with Washington and Martin County rounding out the top 10.

African-Americans are also nearly twice as likely to have diabetes than their white counterparts - a disease that is closely linked to obesity, which is also prevalent in the black community.

This week on the Down East Journal, many residents and business owners in New Bern are opposed to the idea of parking meters in the downtown area.  City officials weigh in and talk about revitalization in the colonial capital.  And, we speak to an East Carolina University researcher about a six-month study focusing on African Americans' higher rate of diabetes in comparison to other populations. 

Yesterday (April 18) was the deadline for filing federal and state income tax returns. A gas price tracking website used it to remind people about another tax they pay many times over at about 50 cents a pop. George Olsen has more.

UNC Press

Summer is coming, with the traditional start of the season… Memorial Day… about a month away. The summer for many means travel to popular eastern North Carolina beaches in and around cities like Wilmington, Morehead City and Kill Devil Hills. A new book highlights the sights of coastal beaches less traveled. George Olsen has this.

North Carolina Strawberry Association

Spring means strawberry season is upon us.  It should be a solid season for North Carolina strawberries. Some farmers are even getting an early start.  Chris Thomas has more.

The weather in eastern North Carolina is notoriously fickle – something farmers like Steve McLawhorn are acutely aware of. He’s co-owner of Strawberries on 903 in Winterville and recalls what excessive rain did to his crop last year on his 3 acre farm.

Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance

A new report ranks the Neuse and Cape Fear Rivers in the top 10 most endangered rivers in America.  

Since October, residents across eastern North Carolina have been recovering from Hurricane Matthew.  While most people have repaired and rebuilt their homes ravaged by floodwaters, others are still living in transitional housing.  Local officials are focusing on long term recovery by identifying properties for buyouts.

This week on the Down East Journal, we visit Kinston as empty lots are transformed into small-scale farms, community gardens and recreation areas. We speak to the teenage entrepreneur who started the Adopt-A- Vacant-Lot program.  Plus, the plan for solar farms here in eastern North Carolina to become more pollinator friendly.  Also, end-of-life decisions can be difficult to talk about with family, friends, and physicians. But healthcare professionals say these conversations are necessary to have well in advance for the physical and mental well being of patients.

Founder and CEO of Kinston Teens Chris Suggs launched the Adopt A Vacant Lot program earlier this year.  The initiative seeks to transform empty lots into small-scale farms, community gardens and recreation areas. 

Strata Solar

In addition to providing a renewable source of energy, the space in and around solar farms has the potential to be suitable habitat for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.  Public Radio East's Mac McKee speaks the vegetation construction manager with Strata Solar of Raleigh Kathyrn Parker about their effort to place native pollen producing plants at each of their solar sites. 

Discussing End-of-Life Wishes Best Done Earlier than Later

Apr 7, 2017

End-of-life plans touch on a range of topics – from the kind of treatment a person wants to where they want to die. Religious rites and family traditions can also be part of end of life planning.

Decisions may include whether a person wants palliative care – meant to extend someone’s life – or hospice, meant to provide a level of comfort instead of treatment.

Edgecombe County was hit hard by subsequent flooding from Hurricane Matthew as water from the Tar River rose to dangerous levels.  Now, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is holding a flood insurance workshop on April 5th to help residents with for future disasters.  Jared Brumbaugh has details.

Disparities are emerging on what role tourism and property value play in how schools are funded.  A study released this week by the nonpartisan group Public School Forum of North Carolina found wide gaps in school funding between the highest and lowest wealth counties.  Even though a majority of public school funding comes from the state, President and Executive Director Keith Poston says these gaps are apparent when wealthier counties factor in additional resources. 

Time Warner Cable

The Carolina Museum of the Marine project, centered in Jacksonville, wants to bring attention to the region's special place in the the Corps' history since Camp Lejeune opened in 1941.

Chris Thomas spoke with the project's Executive Director Ashley Danielson about the project's goals, the progress its made, and what still needs to be done to turn stakeholders dreams into a reality.

The First Tee of Eastern North Carolina

A non-profit group in eastern North Carolina is helping kids from Carteret, Craven, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico and Pitt counties learn the game of golf.  But it’s not just about improving their golf swing or putting skills, it’s about improving as an individual.

“They get honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, perseverance, respect, responsibility, confidence.”

Administrative Assistant with The First Tee of ENC Pamela Boyd.


Participants with the North Carolina Under Dock Oyster Culture Program can attach up to 90 square feet of oyster "cages" to their coastal dock or pier and harvest their oysters any time of the year.


For the best in live classical performance tune in to PRE Public Radio East…Classical… at 89.3 weekday evenings at 7:00 pm. In addition to performances of the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings respectively, tune in for new series coming soon to Public Radio East.

Jones & Blount

Changes may be on the way for North Carolina’s driver’s education curriculum. If a bill filed in the state House of Representatives passes, prospective drivers will learn how to interact with law enforcement officers during a traffic stop.

The legislation, known as House Bill 21, has bipartisan support and proponents say it makes roadside interactions between motorists and officers clearer and safer.

But not everyone is on board with the bill.

Chris Thomas has this.

North Carolina Department of Transportation

There are thousands of registered drones in North Carolina - some are used to prevent and mitigate emergencies, including natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew. Drones have spiked in popularity recently and local and state officials recently met to talk about their place in emergency response.

This week on the Down East Journal, we detail North Carolina House Bill 251 which would allow concealed carry permit holders to have guns on some college campuses. We get reaction from local schools and students.  Also, from Hurricane Matthew recovery to keeping beachgoers safe this summer, we talk about how state and local governments are depending on drones for emergency response.  And, we hear what's on the menu for Taste of Coastal Carolina in downtown New Bern next week. 

A new House Bill proposal is generating buzz on local college campuses.  Legislation filed last week would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their handguns on to University of North Carolina system college campuses and community colleges across the state.  Some say the measure will allow students and faculty to protect themselves in the event of a shooting, while others fear it will cause more violence and chaos.

“I don’t want to be in fear of my life from not just one person, but everyone at the school because everybody wants to have a gun.”

Commercial fishermen in eastern North Carolina may soon receive a survey from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.  The information will be used in fishery management plans and to develop economic impact models.  Jared Brumbaugh has more.

In late January, the division mailed 300 written surveys to commercial fishermen with mailing addresses between Core Sound and the South Carolina border who land fish from state waters.  

“We’re looking for information about their fishing habits”


Stem cell therapy is a quickly advancing treatment being used across the country.  Now, it’s becoming more prevalent in eastern North Carolina to those living with chronic pain an alternative to surgery.  The minimally invasive procedure is showing results in alleviating back, knee, hip and shoulder pain.  Though stem cell therapy is classified by the Food and Drug Administration as experimental, patients say they’re finding relief.   Meet New Bern resident and a local endodontist Dr. Donnie Luper.  He was skeptical of the procedure at first.

This week on the Down East Journal, we revisit the soon to be built Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The project is top priority for many state and federal lawmakers and a point of contention for environmentalists.  More on a 100+ mile walk along the pipeline's route through eastern North Carolina from Robeson County to the Virginia Border.  Also, some people in eastern North Carolina are choosing stem cell therapy as an alternative to surgery to alleviate chronic pain.  We weigh the risk and benefits of the minimally invasive and experimental procedure.


  The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a proposed, 600 mile infrastructure project that, if completed, will transport natural gas from West Virginia shale fields through Virginia and into North Carolina. The pipeline’s final 200 miles go through eastern North Carolina – from Halifax to Robeson Counties.