We look back at Operation Bumblebee, a highly classified missile testing program on Topsail Island during the late 1940's. 

This week on the Down East Journal, the Opioid Epidemic is hitting eastern North Carolina hard.  We focus on Carteret County. Plus, is it time to take away the keys?  How to broach the subject with older adults who put other drivers at risk.  And, the 3rd Annual Top Shelf Fishin' Festival is next Friday in New Bern where 50 Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans will enjoy a day of fishing on local waterways.

Is it time to take away the keys?  How to broach the subject with older adults who put other drivers at risk.

If you hear something that sounds like construction noise whenever a Public Radio East announcer is speaking on air, that's exactly what it is. The second floor of Barker Hall on the campus of our licensee Craven Community College is undergoing renovations over the summer, with a lot of the work taking place right above our studios. The work should not interfere with our broadcast and the noise shouldn't overpower our announcers, but will likely be noticeable. The work is scheduled to be complete by the end of August.

Emily Woodward, UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

The coastal town of Beaufort is part of collaborative research project with marine scientists to study the impact of stormwater on the Rachel Carson Reserve.

This week on the Down East Journal, we focus on the town of Beaufort and the unique stormwater challenges it faces.  Local scientists are involved in a three year effort to identify how runoff from the town impacts local waterways.  And, we hear what's in store for the 2nd Annual Funk Festival in Kinston next weekend.  

Relatively Inactive Hurricane Season Predicted in 2017

May 17, 2017

Hurricane Season is approaching and emergency management officials are encouraging residents to gear up as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week – which started on Monday.

Early, unofficial predictions indicate a less than active season along the Atlantic Basin but experts still warn that’s no reason to feel complacent.

Chris Thomas has more.

If you want a reliable preview of the year’s Atlantic Coast hurricane season, look no further than…Fort Collins, Colorado.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cape Lookout National Seashore is going green.  The park holds a ribbon cutting on May 16th to acknowledge a new photovoltaic system that provides renewable power to the remote barrier island.  Until now, the historic site was powered by a combination of diesel generators and shore power.  Now, the lighthouse area and keeper's quarters are entirely off the grid and independent of fossil fuel energy.  This week, Jared Brumbaugh speaks with maintenance supervisor Steve Sabol about the new solar project which went online last month.

This week on the Down East Journal, Cape Lookout National Seashore is going green.  A new solar project is providing renewable power to the lighthouse, keepers quarters and utility systems on the remote barrier island. Plus, with the official start of hurricane season only a couple of weeks away, we have predictions and preparedness tips for 2017.  And, what's in store for the Beaufort Music Festival next weekend.

John F. Blair, Publisher

Breweries and wineries have been proliferating in the state in recent years. Another branch of the alcoholic beverage industry is also currently trying to make its presence known. George Olsen has more.

North Carolina has had a complicated history with alcohol. Wilkes Counties was once proclaimed the Moonshine Capital of the World while North Carolina banned alcohol about 10 years prior to the start of prohibition and only removed the ban about five years after the 18th amendment creating prohibition in 1919 was repealed in 1933.    

Two state government departments are collaborating on a project memorializing the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War One. George Olsen has more.

Food Deserts Pose Health and Wellness Threat to the Region

May 9, 2017

There are deserts in eastern North Carolina. Instead of cacti and tumbleweeds, you’ll know them by a lack of nutritious food and markets with seasonal, local produce sections.

These food deserts can be found throughout the region, despite its agricultural background. But some local residents are trying to tackle the issue head on in their own way.

Chris Thomas has more.

Some Pamlico County residents who were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease have found hope in a new type of therapy; using exercise on tandem bikes to delay the progression of the disease.

This week on the Down East Journal, people with Parkinson’s disease have a promising new treatment.  We go to Oriental where tandem bikes are being used to help slow the progression of this neurodegenerative disorder.  Plus, there are deserts in eastern North Carolina, food deserts, areas with limited accessibility to fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods.  We talk about locally affected areas and how folks in Kinston and Greenville are trying to turn that around.  And, an upcoming theater performance called Warrior Women tells the story of being female on active duty in the military

The latest statewide Operation Medicine Drop campaign resulted in the incineration on Wednesday of over seven tons of prescription pills. George Olsen has more.

People who love history can’t get enough of Civil War stories.  Today, Chris Thomas has more on the 1863 Siege of Washington and the historic role African-Americans played in it.

By the time the war reached its 2nd anniversary, much of northeastern North Carolina had been reclaimed by American troops from the newly minted Confederacy.

It was part of Union General Ambrose Burnside’s expedition, meant to block Confederate attempts to use the waters within the Outer Banks, including the Tar and Pamlico Rivers, and it was one of the earliest successes for the Union cause.

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.