News

ENC Split Over HB2 as Tourism Season Begins

Apr 22, 2016
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

It's been nearly a month since House Bill 2 became law, but economic, political and social fallout continues.  Demonstrations for and against the law- from prayer rallies to boycotts- have created a thick cloud of controversy and anxiety, but it also raises questions.  Among them - how has House Bill 2 affected lives in eastern North Carolina?  How have local communities responded to it?  Chris Thomas seeks answers to those questions in this report.

Duke Energy CEO Talks Past Spills, Future Projects

Apr 19, 2016
East Carolina University News Services

Duke Energy Progress is still under intense scrutiny over the 2014 coal ash spill in the Dan River and, now, for its part in the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is scheduled to run along the I-95 corridor in North Carolina.

This week, Duke Energy Progress CEO Lynn Good came to Greenville and spoke to business students at East Carolina University.

Laura Taylor, Center of Environmental and Resources Economic Policy at NCSU

Imagine you’re at the beach.  The sun, the sand and wind turbines?   This could soon be the reality along the coast of North Carolina.  As the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management moves forward with leasing thousands of acres to utility scale wind energy developers, dozens of 500 foot tall turbines could soon be built offshore.  Even though the technology would produce clean, renewable power, there are some downsides to wind farms, most noticeably aesthetics. 

Wind energy at our coast could be a renewable source of electricity for us, but it has some potential pitfalls, especially when it comes to tourism.  This week on the Down East Journal, we talk to a NC State University researcher about a new study that finds offshore wind farms could negatively impact coastal economies.  And, we speak to Duke Energy Progress CEO Lynn Good about energy projects currently underway in eastern North Carolina, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and solar facilities.

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 fifth planet from our sun and one of the brightest objects right now in the night sky, Jupiter.

National Baseball Hall of Fame

The Major League Baseball began this week – joining the local season that started nearly two months ago in Eastern North Carolina. With the start of baseball season in Eastern North Carolina it comes traditions spanning more than a century.

The National Past-Time’s seemingly waning popularity is a popular topic of debate among sports fans and experts. But as Chris Thomas reports, baseball is still alive and strong in the region – even after losing one of its long-standing teams.>>>

This week on the Down East Journal, an unlikely partnership between a scientist and a fisherman has developed to solve a critical environmental and economic issue along the North Carolina coast.  And, baseball's past, present  and future here in eastern North Carolina.

From a gas station to a "glass station," eastern North Carolina is in for some hot art.  The town of Farmville is the future location for a hand blown glass studio.  Plus, local reaction to House Bill 2.  And, what's in store for the Oriental In-Water Boat Show next weekend.

UNC Research

There’s an environmental and economic crisis along our coast and around the world.  Oyster populations are drastically low, as compared to their numbers a century ago.  In North Carolina, oyster populations have dropped 90 percent.  But two men in Carteret County think they may have the answer to the shortage.  One is a scientist, the other is a fishermen.

ECU

As more people move to eastern North Carolina to retire or raise families, communities here are undergoing a transformation.  Take downtown areas of New Bern, Greenville and Kinston for example.  These cities have undergone major revitalization and now, boast a variety of independent shops, award winning restaurants, art galleries and craft breweries.  Now, the rural town of Farmville, home to about 5,000 people seeks to become the next creative center and cultural hub in eastern North Carolina.  Todd Edwards is a member of a volunteer association focused on economic development called The

Local politicians, residents weigh in on House Bill 2

Apr 1, 2016
National Public Radio

On March 23, Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law – restricting the power of local governments to pass certain laws: namely, the ability to let transgender people use restrooms based on their gender identity instead of their given sex in certain, government run buildings.  

This came after the City of Charlotte passed an ordinance in February allowing individuals to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

This week on the Down East Journal, the winner of the best national park beach goes to... Cape Lookout National Seashore.  We’ll tell you why it’s so special.  Plus, North Pitt High School Lady’s Basketball team won the 2016 State Championship despite a challenging season that included the suspension of their head coach and two players.  We talk to members of the team about their hard fought victory.  And, the Historic Preservation Group of Lenoir County is looking for volunteers to participate in a local Park Day event on April 2nd.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

We’ve known all along that beaches along the North Carolina coast are the best around.  Now, so does everyone else in the United States.  USA Today named Cape Lookout National Seashore the Best National Park Beach of 2016.  Superintendent Pat Kenney. 

“We actually received an email from USA Today advising us that we had won.”

WITN-TV

As March Madness rages for the national, collegiate championship, 8 high school teams along Tobacco Road were crowned state champions earlier this month.

Two of those in Pitt County.

In the men’s brackets, Farmville Central capped a perfect season by beating East Lincoln High School 81-71 for the 2A crown.  

On the women’s side, North Pitt High School of Bethel clinched a narrow victory against East Davidson High School in Thomasville, also in the 2A division.

INTRO – The names of those involved in a Highway Patrol trooper involved shooting Sunday morning in Kinston have been released.

A new book by a UNC-Wilmington Creative Writing professor weaves a mystery inside past and present conflicts as viewed by the state’s Outer Banks. George Olsen has more.

Call it the “spoonful of sugar” approach to writing… buy it for the mystery, love it for the history.

Stage Set for Most November Elections

Mar 21, 2016
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  This week, more than 2 million people across North Carolina made their voices heard through their ballots in the 2016 Primary election.

Both Presidential primary races were closer than expected. Trump beat Cruz by a little more than 3 points, a narrower margin than all major polls predicted. Cruz picked up 27 delegates from the Old North State. Trump received 29.

The Agnes E. Fry was a sleek, speedy watercraft as far as 1860’s technology goes.  The 225 foot, iron hulled steamer was discovered near Oak Island late last month.  This week on the Down East Journal, we speak with the director of the Underwater Archeology Branch of the Office of State Archeology about the wreck, its history and what they hope to learn.  Plus, elections from across the State and here in eastern North Carolina. 

NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

You’ve may have heard of the recent discovery of a Civil War era shipwreck found off the North Carolina coast.  Underwater archeologists are now almost certain the large, iron hulled vessel is the Agnes E. Fry, a confederate blockage runner that was scuttled near the mouth of the Cape Fear River in 1865.  It’s the latest Civil War-era vessel to be discovered in the area for decades.

“We knew immediately what we had when we looked at it. We were like, oh yeah.”

NASA

We begin a new monthly astronomy segment on Down East Journal called Carolina Skies.  We'll be talking about what you can spot in the night sky, from constellations and planets to nebulas and galaxies.  Our host is Byron Mumaw, president of the Carolina Skies Astronomy Club.  His fascination with astronomy began at an early age reading "Sky and Telescope" magazine and has turned, over the years, into a lifelong passion.  Today, Byron tells us about one of the most recognizable constellations in the Carolina sky.

VoterID law takes affect this year

Mar 14, 2016
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Voters headed to the polls this year will notice a change in North Carolina’s election process. For the first time, a form of government identification will be required before casting ballots.

The law is controversial and subject to change, pending a court ruling. Chris Thomas has more on Voter ID.  

North Carolina’s Voter ID law went into effect this year, with the March 15 primary as its first election.

This week on the Down East Journal, what you need to know about the new Voter ID law before you head to the polls on Tuesday.  Plus, the spring outlook on the local real estate market.  And, the wild turkey population in eastern North Carolina and around the state is at an all-time high.  Now, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission is encouraging people to take up hunting.  

This week on the Down East Journal, we explore the impact of the nursing shortage here in eastern North Carolina.  We speak with local hospital and college officials about what they're doing to train and retain nurses.  Plus, major bridge construction is underway in New Bern.  We speak with NCDOT about the road project causing some delays for commuters.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission

North Carolina’s numbers are at an all-time high.  They’ve been steadily increasing across the state, but here in the eastern part of the state, turkeys have made a major comeback.  Now, the Wildlife Resources Commission is encouraging people to take up hunting.  Seminars are being held across the state to teach amateurs and experts alike the methods for hunting turkeys. 

“That might surprise some folks that if we’re interested in conserving a game animal that we want more hunters.

Real Estate home prices have rebounded in NC

Mar 11, 2016
Google Images

Spring is coming and typically it’s high time for real estate sales.  Sarah Finch leads us through the ups and downs of eastern North Carolina’s current real estate market.

The good news is Home Sales are up from lows during the great recession, but not at peak price, which makes for a good buyer’s market. But that doesn’t mean it’s great across the board.

“You know there’s no such thing as a National Real Estate Market. It’s so localized.”

NCDNCR

A Civil War-era shipwreck has been discovered off the North Carolina coast. George Olsen has more.

Jay Clark/ECU News and Communication

Nursing is a competitive market here in eastern North Carolina, so landing a job isn’t the hard part, it’s filling the positions that’s the greatest challenge.  There are occupational nurses who work at manufacturing facilities, private nursing care in homes, nurses who treat students in schools, and of course there are hospital nurses.  It can be a stressful job with long hours but registered nurses have an earning potential of about $60,000 a year in North Carolina.

NCDOT

If your commute goes into or passes through New Bern, it may require some extra time and consideration.  North Carolina Department of Transportation crews started work on two major bridges that’s expected to last through the spring. Chris Thomas spoke to NCDOT spokesperson Brad McMannen based in Craven County about the project and how it may affect area drivers.

Dominion

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a three state natural gas project connecting the Virginias and North Carolina, has a new route through the southeastern part of our state.  Now, an informational meeting is set for March 29th for landowners to hear about the changes and how it may impact them.  Jared Brumbaugh has more.  

The alternative route it is located farther from residential areas, as it parallels a Progress Energy Carolinas electric transmission line east of Fayetteville. Spokesperson for Duke Energy Tammie McGee.

The state’s public schools experienced the first increase in the dropout rate in nearly 10 years. George Olsen has more.

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