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.

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.

Minor League Baseball is back in eastern North Carolina as opening day for the new Down East Wood Ducks is less than two months away. This week on the Down East Journal, the historical impact of baseball from the City of Kinston and new hopes for success after a six season drought without a team to call its own. Also, proposed shrimp trawling limits move forward at the coast.  And, we talk about a statewide mammal survey already underway in eastern North Carolina. 

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted February 16th to grant a petition for rulemaking and began drafting rules to implement it. If adopted, the rules will limit shrimp trawling in most North Carolina waters.

North Carolina Coastal Federation

The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries in partnership with the North Carolina Coastal Federation will construct a 15-acre oyster reef near the Pamlico Sound.  The restoration project is part of a goal to restore 50 million oysters in North Carolina waters by 2020. 

NC Candid Critter Project

Spring is just around the corner. Since the warmer temperatures in eastern North Carolina cause bears, foxes, deer and other mammals to become more active, now is the perfect time to take part in a massive camera trapping project to help uncover the secrets of local wildlife.  Public Radio East's Mac McKee speaks with Biologist with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and NC State University Roland Kays about the statewide project, the largest ever mammal survey of its kind.

Kinston Prepares for New Baseball Team

Feb 27, 2017

On April 3, the Down East Wood Ducks will host Mount Olive College in their first exhibition game in their new home: Grainger Stadium. The 68-year-old venue has been a mainstay in Kinston’s culture and will house its first professional franchise since the Indians left following the 2011 season.  It will be the continuation of a long time tradition after a relatively brief interruption.  Chris Thomas has more. 

For 6 years – this was the sound at Grainger Stadium.

Outside of a few other amateur games and non-sporting events, it stood silent and unoccupied.

This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to Goldsboro based historians investigating an obscure but important aspect of the region’s history – former slaves who fought for freedom.  And, a preview of what’s in store for season 14 of the Carolina Chamber Music Festival in New Bern.  

Over 70 local commercial watermen were involved in a project to help remove fishing gear from North Carolina coastal waters.  A fleet of boats collected more than 4-thousand two hundred crab pots during the one and a half week project.  Jared Brumbaugh has more. 

Local Historians Reintroduce Region to Civil War Regiment

Feb 20, 2017
Dickinson College

Black regiments in the Civil War are still a relatively obscure aspect of American History. Though many didn’t battle, these units were vital in keeping the union intact.

A group of residents based in Goldsboro have rediscovered one of those regiments – the 135th U.S. Colored Troops.

It’s a Valentine’s edition of Down East Journal this week.  Did you know North Carolina is in the top ten best states for lovers?  Plus, it’s Singing Valentines with the Southern Gentlemen Barbershop Chorus.  And, we speak to North Carolina based Burke Uzzle about his 50+ year career as a photographer, including his latest work: "Perceptions and Recognitions" - photographs of local, African-American residents. 

E. Woodward/ UNC Institute of Marine Sciences.

Next week, there’s a networking event happening at the coast bringing together marine and environmental scientists and teachers.  In its fifth year, SCiREN - an acronym for Scientific Research and Education Network- is aimed at building a relationship between coastal scientists and local teachers.  Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers who attend the workshop can receive free lesson plans based on North Carolina standards – and focused on local research happening at our coast.

Janet Kagan

Next week is Valentine’s Day but February is dedicated to Black History Month which recognizes the contributions of the black community in shaping this country and the world. The Greenville Museum of Art has an exhibit on display “Perceptions and Recognitions” which highlights African-Americans from eastern North Carolina and their personal stories. The museum commissioned world renowned photographer and eastern North Carolina native, Burk Uzzle for the exhibit.

Whales and other marine mammals are believed to be impacted by seismic testing.  But what about fish?  This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to a local researcher who recently published the first study ever documenting how fish behave before and during seismic testing.  Plus, individuals struggling with sickle cell disease may be on the cusp of a breakthrough after an international drug trail ended last year.  One of the most active test areas was eastern North Carolina.  And, what to expect at the Antique Show and Sale next weekend in New Bern. 

Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point contractors will be removing old munition-related debris from a former bombing range in Bogue Sound later this month.  Jared Brumbaugh has more. 

Sickle Cell Treatment Has Breakthrough

Feb 6, 2017
Hertz Nazaire / Kreyolicious

Individuals struggling with Sickle Cell Disease may be on the cusp of a breakthrough after an international, year-long drug trial ended last year.

One of the most active test areas was in eastern North Carolina and one of its participants was Majara Mooring of Greenville.

She, like millions around the globe, live with a disease that causes hidden, though intense pain.

“Because it can be to the point where I can’t walk and one time I just told myself ‘look, just cut my limb off. I will feel better if you just cut it off, the pain will go away.”

J. McCord / UNC-CSI

Seismic testing, a controversial method used to map the ocean floor, has been shown to impact to marine mammals.  But how does it effect fish?  Some local scientist set out to discover how fish react to testing.

More than three months after Hurricane Matthew, residents in Lenoir County are still displaced from their homes.  This week on the Down East Journal, we go to Kinston where local nonprofits teamed up  to help flood victims.  And, we explain what could be causing an increase in the number of whale strandings along our coast.

Recovery is underway in Lenoir County.  Some residents impacted by record flooding are starting to move into new homes, while others are still displaced.

Uptick in Beached Whale Strandings

Jan 30, 2017
Karen Clark / The Virginia-Pilot

Beached whale sightings in North Carolina have been on the rise over the past decade – the most recent being in September with a rare, Cuvier’s beaked whale that washed ashore in Nags Head.

Chris Thomas has more possible causes for the increased number of strandings along our coast.

North Carolina is home to 8 kinds of whale, including humpback, pilot, and blue – many of which are endangered.

The number of reportable acts of school crime decreased in the 2015-2016 school year. George Olsen has more.

The state Department of Public Instruction reports the public school dropout rate improved in the 2015-2016 school year. George Olsen has more.