The town of North Topsail Beach will soon begin requiring an access pass to enter a highly used 4x4 permissible driving area. The area, known as Onslow County Beach Access #3 is located at the end of River Road and consists of approximately 12 acres of shoreline along the New River.

On the next Down East Journal, rip currents have been making headlines this week with the death of a teen in Emerald Isle.  To help keep you and your family safe this summer, we speak with local officials and emergency responders about rip current safety and how to break the grip of the rip.  And, hear what’s in store for the 57th annual Old Homes and Gardens Tour. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration says it can provide help to residents and business owners in Sampson County recovering from severe storms and straight line winds that struck May 29.  The damaging thunderstorms toppled trees, blocked roads, damaged agricultural property and caused major damage to at least 25 homes and businesses in Sampson County. It was the second time in a week that severe storms impacted the county.  Homeowners and business owners can apply to the SBA for low-interest federal loans of up to $200,000 to help them repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.

A new report shows the estimated economic impact for the 2017 Wings Over Wayne Airshow was in excess of $20 million dollars.  The report, by the Travel & Tourism Department for the City of Goldsboro and Wayne County quantified the economic benefits generated from overnight travel and day visitors.  More than half of the visitors attended Wings Over Wayne for their first time in 2017, and nearly 65% of all visitors travelled more than 50 miles.  Saturday's crowd estimate was 130,000 visitors, with an additional 100,000 people visiting on Sunday.

A second round of state grants will provide $10 million dollars to help with infrastructure repairs in several eastern North Carolina communities hit hard by Hurricane Matthew.  The recovery grants are part of $200 million in funding provided by the state legislature to the North Carolina Department of Commerce to address rural economic development and small business needs.  Snow Hill will receive more than $244 thousand to relocate and replace an existing pump station outside the floodplain.

This week on the Down East Journal, the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division will add another vessel to their fleet.  The new ferry is being built in Swansboro and will take passengers between Hatteras and Ocracoke Village.  And, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is expanding a federal supplemental food program to reach senior citizens in Onslow County. 

The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina announced that they are expanding their federal supplemental food program to reach more senior citizens in eastern North Carolina.  Mac McKee speaks with the Senior Manager for Communications Jessica Wichard about the program which provides vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein and dairy to seniors in need in Wake, Durham, Orange, Halifax and Onslow counties. 


Construction has begun on a new passenger only ferry that will take visitors from Hatteras to Ocracoke Village.  The ferry is expected to be operational by Memorial Day weekend 2018.

Wilson County Program Targets Childhood Obesity

Jun 9, 2017

An estimated 1 in 10 North Carolina adults have been diagnosed with diabetes.  The condition is the 7th leading cause of death in our state.  It’s statistics like these that prompted an innovative program in Wilson County that aims to curb high diabetes and obesity rates with early intervention.  Chris Thomas has more on MATCH Wellness, an interdisciplinary program empowering adolescents to make healthy decisions.  

U.S. Navy special boat teams will be conducting training exercises in and around Cherry Point waterways.  Surface direct live fire operations will take place at Marine Corps Bombing Targets 9 and 11 in the eastern Pamlico Sound.  Cherry Point Public Affairs Officer Mike Barton.

“What that basically means is they’re out there using heavy machine guns blasting holes in some of the targets.  It gives them an opportunity to train on the water, do some target training on the water.”

Craft distillers are hoping a bill that’s cleared the state Senate could give them a push to parity with local brew pubs and wineries. George Olsen has more.

Wolf Haven International

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold two meetings in eastern North Carolina this week to discuss the future management of the red wolf recovery effort.  Residents who live in the red wolf recovery area, which includes Washington, Tyrrell, Dare, Hyde and Beaufort counties, are encouraged to weigh in on an environmental assessment focusing on potential changes to the management of red wolves under the National Environmental Policy Act.

This week on the Down East Journal, we look back at Operation Bumblebee, a highly classified missile testing program on Topsail Island during the late 1940's.  And, a bird watching trip takes place this Sunday at the North River Preserve in Otway.  The restored wetland area serves as a habitat for more than 240 bird species. 

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.