Commercial fishermen gathered in New Bern recently to speak out against a proposal put forward by the North Carolina Wildlife Foundation that would close much of North Carolina's waters to shrimp trawling.

This week on the Down East Journal, we speak with commercial fishermen and conservationist at odds over a petition that would change the way commercial shrimp trawling takes place along our coast. Plus, Pitt County Emergency Services is launching a pilot program meant to prevent ER visits and bolster health and wellness in one of its most underserved areas.  And, we speak with the Artistic Director for the American Music Festival about the next performance, which pays homage to cellist Pablo Casals. 

Pitt County to Start Community Paramedic Program This Year

Jan 23, 2017
Pitt County Government

Pitt County’s rural north end – including Pactolus, Belhaven, Belvoir, and Bethel – is an especially vulnerable spot for residents, especially in times of need. The area is underserved from a health and wellness standpoint and chronic patients are prone to repeated visits to the ER.  A pilot, community paramedic program from the county’s emergency services department hopes to confront and reduce that problem at the source and it’s scheduled to serve about 20,000 people.  It’s a nationwide trend that started picking up steam over the past decade.

A state agency is encouraging home owners to test this month for radon gas. George Olsen has more.

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame has announced its 2017 inductees. George Olsen has more.

UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

A large scale sea grass study, the first of its kind, is underway at the coast.  Artificial seagrass meadows will be built in Back Sound this spring to observe how fragmenting affects fish colonization. 

This week on the Down East Journal, NCDOT's 10-year transportation plan lists more than 1,400 infrastructure projects across the state. We focus on major highway improvements in eastern North Carolina and the impact they may have for the region's commuters and visitors.  Plus, a large scale sea grass study – the first of its kind - is underway at the coast.  And, the Craven Literacy Council is holding a tutor training workshop for people who want to help adults improve their literacy skills.

This week on the Down East Journal, local governments are preparing to craft their budgets for the next fiscal year.  We focus on Pitt County's capital improvement plans.  And, it's chamber music in Greenville as East Carolina University holds their winter workshop concerts.

STIP Features Major Plans for ENC

Jan 18, 2017
City of Greenville, NC

More than 1,400 projects are part of the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s 10-year State Transportation Improvement Plan. More than 250 of those projects directly impact communities in eastern North Carolina. Some projects are more controversial than others.

Chris Thomas has this.  

Last week, NCDOT released its latest strategy for improving the state’s roads, ports, airports, railways, and bicycle lanes – also known as the STIP. The primary theme in the east: safety and connectivity.  

Community Gym featured in Pitt County CIP

Jan 10, 2017
WITN/Gray Communications System

With the start of a new calendar year, local governments in North Carolina are preparing for their budget workshops – sifting through millions of dollars in tax payer money and public institutional needs ahead of the statewide, July 1 deadline.

A major feature of many local budgets are CIPs – Capital Improvement Plans – which focus on building and equipment needs for individual departments.

ECU News Services


Researchers at East Carolina University in Greenville are using gastric bypass surgery to help patients with diabetes.

A federal lawsuit was filed Thursday challenging the construction of the Havelock bypass. George Olsen has more.

Welcome in the New Year with new programming weekday mornings on Public Radio East News & Ideas. On Point hosted by award-winning journalist Tom Ashbrook features vibrant conversation covering everything from breaking news to ancient poetry, and features writers, politicians, journalists, artists, scientists and ordinary citizens from around the world.

Recovery From Matthew Gradual, Not Complete, in Lenoir County

Dec 19, 2016
Chris Seward / News & Observer

Natural disasters loomed large in North Carolina in the second half of 2016. Wildfires scorched thousands of acres in the western part of the state. Here in eastern North Carolina Hurricane Matthew flooded thousands of homes and left some communities underwater for days.

Recovery is still underway and the price tag is steep.  

Chris Thomas has this update.

Lenoir County: Recovery Gradual, Not Complete

Dec 19, 2016
Chris Seward / News & Observer

Natural disasters loomed large in North Carolina in the second half of 2016. Wildfires scorched thousands of acres in the western part of the state. Here in eastern North Carolina Hurricane Matthew flooded thousands of homes and left some communities underwater for days.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been set aside for recovery following Hurricane Matthew and subsequent flooding.  This week on the Down East Journal, we examine where that money will help eastern North Carolina.  Plus, what Christmas in the colonial capital of North Carolina was like in the 18th century.  And, the Tar River Swing Band performs a concert of Christmas music next week.

This week on the Down East Journal, we examine how cold temperatures affect sea turtles and manatees passing by the North Carolina coast as they head south for the winter.  Plus, hospitals in eastern North Carolina are still dealing with the impacts of a nationwide drug shortage while learning how to work around it.  And, the ninth annual Christmas Candlelight Tour takes place in Beaufort.

Cole Dittmer/Tryon Palace

In 1770, Christmas at Tryon Palace in New Bern was vastly different than the way we celebrate today.  Food, however, has always played a major role in the season.

The largest utility-scale biogas plant in the United States breaks ground near Warsaw.  Jared Brumbaugh has more.

The $100 million dollar facility will convert methane gas from hog waste lagoons into clean energy, capable of generating approximately 290,000 MWH of electricity per year, enough to power 32,000 homes annually.  The electricity will be purchased by Duke Energy and sent to nearby power plants.  Spokesman Randy Wheeless. 

National Drug Shortage Crisis Impacts ENC

Dec 13, 2016

  For more than a decade, the United States has been dealing with a major drug shortage crisis, costing lives and money.

Though the worst of it may be over, hospitals in eastern North Carolina are still dealing with the shortage while learning how to work around it.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue

As temperatures fall and water temperatures cool, cold stunning can occur in sea turtles and manatees that haven't migrated south for the winter.  Volunteers are prepared to rescue, rehabilitate and relocate marine life impacted by cold stunning.

Study: Ecstasy Cheap in Parts of the Carolinas

Dec 6, 2016
MIchigan State University

Buying Ecstasy is a bargain in some parts of North Carolina. A recent study from Michigan State University stated the average rate for it is less than $4-per-tablet in Raleigh and Greensboro– among the cheapest rates in the United States. Because the rates are low there, the market could expand eastward and into ENC.   Chris Thomas has more.

It's been 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor.  A program in Goldsboro on December 7th detailed the surprise attack and wove the impact and experiences of Wayne County people into the presentation.

It’s been 75 years since the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  This week on the Down East Journal, we detail a program in Goldsboro detailing the surprise attack, and the effect it had on Wayne County residents who survived. And, a new study shows that North Carolina has some of the lowest prices for ecstasy in the United States which could make it a hot spot for the production and sale of the illicit drug. 

This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to Superintendent Pat Kenney about the future of Cape Lookout National Seashore.  He’s leaving eastern North Carolina next year for a job at Yellowstone National Park.  And, how to keep the conversations civil this holiday season if they steer toward politics.

UNC Institute of Marine Sciences

Local scientists have increased monitoring of the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound following Hurricane Matthew.  Algal blooms and low dissolved oxygen are a few of the problems being detected due to nutrient loads and storm water runoff. 

The election is over but all results aren't final.  This week on the Down East Journal, officials are counting provisional ballots in the canvass.  We'll talk about how that process will work in Craven and Wilson counties.  Plus, the environmental impact of Hurricane Matthew on the Neuse River and the Pamlico Sound. And, it's conversation with local celebrity chef Vivian Howard.  Just in time for the holidays, she released her first cookbook, "Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South."

Not Over Yet - The Voter Canvass in North Carolina

Nov 22, 2016
ABC 11

The Election is over but the results aren’t final. Throughout the week, provisional ballots were, and continue to be, counted and sorted in the Local Canvass.

As Chris Thomas reports, it’s a time-consuming process for local election officials.

Sorry to say – it’s not over yet.

“For election officials all across North Carolina and all across the state, it is not over for us until we actually canvass.”

Meloni Wray is director of the Craven County Board of Elections.

ECU News Services

 We detail a new pilot program started by two medical students in Greenville that seeks to help military veterans transition back to civilian life.

N.C. Department of Agriculture

Agriculture is the number one industry in North Carolina contributing $78 billion to the state's economy. Much of the food produced in our state comes from eastern North Carolina, which was recently pounded with heavy rainfall during Hurricane Matthew  leaving crops flooded and fields ravaged.  Jared Brumbaugh spoke with the Director of the Farm Service Agency Bob Etheridge after surveying in Edgecombe County.