News

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.

Now that Hurricane Matthew has come and gone, some in eastern North Carolina are dealing with catastrophic flooding.  This week on the Down East Journal, we speak with Beaufort County residents saving personal items from rising floodwaters and visit an emergency shelter in Greenville.

Eighteen people lost their lives on North Carolina highways riding bicycles last year.  This week on the Down East Journal, we talk about new laws that took affect October 1st that aim to curb the number of crashes.  Plus, addiction to opioids like heroine is a nationwide epidemic hitting eastern North Carolina hard.  The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control have four eastern counties with drug overdose rates above the state average.  A recent study from a major, healthcare provider put multiple eastern cities in the top 25 nationwide for the rate of opioid abusers.

Hundreds of Greenville residents living in shelters

Oct 19, 2016
Nicole Craine / Reuters/RT

In Pitt County, residents are waiting for the Tar River to recede. Some are temporarily living in shelters with little to no idea of what awaits them after the all clear is given to go back home. Chris Thomas visited one of those shelters on October 11th and has this.

It’s Tuesday afternoon at E.B. Aycock Middle School. It’s situated in the middle of a residential neighborhood about a mile east of East Carolina University and about 3 miles south of the Tar River.

Some residents living near a tributary of the Tar River in Beaufort County were told to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night because water levels were quickly rising. The next day, many went back with jon boats and kayaks to rescue personal items from their homes.

NCDOT

We’ve all seen the bright yellow signs along eastern North Carolina roadways … “share the road.” 

“You’re going straight, and they pass you, and they turn in front of you. So you have to slam on your brakes because otherwise you’ll hit the car.”

Avid cyclist and New Bern resident Joe Baes rides about 100 miles a week, sometimes 2 or 300.

“Instead of freaking out, just… hey, pay attention to what you’re doing, be careful.  Then you get flipped off and then you drive away.”

INTRO – Among the cities facing the greatest difficulties from flooding in the wake of Hurricane Matthew is Kinston. George Olsen spoke with the city’s mayor B.J. Murphy who says the city is almost an island in eastern North Carolina.

OUTRO – George Olsen speaking with Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy. The mayor adds anyone looking for more information on the effects of flooding can visit either Lenoir County Emergency Services and BJMurphy360 on Facebook or on Twitter go to LenoirCountyES and BJMurphy360.

Multiple roadways are closed in eastern North Carolina due to damage and flooding. Motorists are advised to stay alert and adhere to special traveling conditions implemented by local authority in their area.  If a flooded roadway is encountered, turn around and seek an alternate route.

The following schools are closed  or  have delayed openings  this week: (as of 10/21 1645)

Lenoir County Public Schools -  operate on a 2-hour delay Monday. Tuesday thru Friday will be regular school days. Early-out day on Thursday and the teacher's workday Friday will be regular school days.

Lenoir Community College - classes resume Oct. 24

Wayne Community College -  reopen for students on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 20 and 21, but will be closed Saturday, Oct. 22.

Flooding is still a major concern for parts of eastern North Carolina.  Flood warnings continue for many local waterways including the Neuse River at Fort Barnwell, Trent River at Pollocksville, Chicod Creek near Simpson and Swift Creek near Streets Ferry.  A coastal flood advisory is in effect for coastal counties and areas adjacent to the Pamlico Sound.

We travel to hard-hit Bertie County where residents and business owners are sifting through their belongings ruined by floodwaters.  We speak with people who are now homeless, and relief workers on the ground assisting residents on the lengthy road to recovery.   

This week on the Down East Journal, we travel to hard-hit Bertie County where residents and business owners are sifting through their belongings ruined by floodwaters.  We speak with people who are now homeless, and relief workers on the ground assisting residents on the lengthy road to recovery.   Plus, we speak with an organizer of a business symposium in Greenville next week.  And, details on an upcoming performance by the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band aboard Cherry Point.

Fact Check of the Presidential Debate

Sep 26, 2016
The Hill / Getty Images

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Voice of the Pirates, Jeff Charles, talks ECU Football

Sep 26, 2016
ECU Athletics Communications

East Carolina University is an anomaly among most North Carolina universities. While much of the state looks forward to winter – to the start of basketball season – Pirates fans long for autumn and the start of football season. ECU Football is in its 85th season and 2016 may go down as one of the more notable campaigns in program history. It's Coach Scotty Montgomery first year and it follows the controversial sacking of his predecessor, Ruffin McNeill.

J. McCord / UNC-CSI

Fishermen and divers can access a new, online interactive guide to learn more about the 64 artificial reefs in North Carolina.  These underwater sites enhance fisheries that the coastal economy and culture rely on.  Now, local scientists are involved in ongoing research to determine the best way to maximize fish production at artificial reefs. 

You might be surprised to learn that North Carolina is home to 62 artificial reefs.

NCDOT

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory recently announced that the State is seeking federal approval to designate a section of U.S. 264 as a future interstate.  The 72-mile segment of highway will extend from the U.S. 264/Highway 64 near Zebulon near Wake County, and run through Nash, Wilson, Greene and Pitt counties all the way to Greenville.   The application for interstate designation has been sent to the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Office. A decision could be made as early as November.

Politics in Polite (or not-so-polite) Company

Sep 19, 2016
The Hill / Getty Images

As Election Day approaches - political rhetoric is getting tenser. Even relatively innocuous stories from the campaign trail seem to ignite heated arguments.

At times, those strong disagreements play out at public forums, social gatherings, or family get togethers.

Chris Thomas has this.  

So, you’re at the office or you’re around the dinner table – and then it happens: the conversation turns to politics.

“There has been many a family gathering where the subject was dropped…”

  As Election Day approaches, political rhetoric is getting louder. This can make for strained and tense conversations - especially in the workplace and family gatherings.  This week on the Down East Journal, how to cope with politically charged relationships.   And, we speak to State Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson about how Greenville will benefit if a section of U.S. 264 becomes an interstate.   

North Carolina has moved up to second in the nation for installed solar power.  Jared Brumbaugh has more. 

The Charlotte Business Journal reports the state added about 115 megawatts worth of new solar capacity to its power grid in the second quarter, bringing the overall total for the state to more than 1.9 gigawatts of installed solar capacity. The primary driver for solar development in the state - Duke Energy - has 35 projects online and 2 under construction.  Spokesperson Randy Wheeless says the number of solar installations will continue to grow.

Wolf Haven International

The U.S. Fish Wildlife Service has decided to continue their nearly 30 year conservation effort of the endangered red wolf in northeastern North Carolina.  But conservation groups aren’t happy with the announcement.  

University of California - Riverside

Today on the Down East Journal, we explore how prepared local healthcare providers are when it comes to the uncertainty surrounding Zika infection and microcephaly in infants.

According to the North Carolina Division of Public Health, southeastern North Carolina has the highest birthrate in the state.  This fact may play in favor of early detection and early intervention should Zika become a real threat here in eastern North Carolina.

NC Sea Turtle Project

The sea turtle nesting season is winding down and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is reporting it's a record year.  So far, there have been 1,636 nests counted along 330 miles of ocean facing sandy beaches in our state.  That number is up from last year's count of 1,300 nests and it's a significant jump from 2014 where 565 nests were reported. 

ENC Workers Facing Small Wages, Little Organization

Sep 12, 2016
Rocky Mount Telegram

Last Monday – Labor Day – marked the unofficial end of the summer season and a final chance to partake in its pleasures.

But as reports of stagnant wages, underemployment, and rollbacks on workplace discrimination protections persist, reminders of Labor Day’s original purpose have begun resurfacing. 

Chris Thomas has this.

This is what organized labor sounds like in eastern North Carolina. It’s a Lodge Meeting for the AFL-CIO’s District 110, headquartered in Havelock.

North Carolina workers are among the least unionized in the country and many blame, or credit, the state's culture and "Right-to-Work" laws.  That's especially true in eastern North Carolina's primarily agricultural and service based economy. This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to local labor leaders and labor law experts on where workers stand in the region and the role they may play in a new labor movement. Plus, we explore how prepared local healthcare providers are when it comes to the uncertainty of Zika infection and microcephaly in infants.

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