The Agnes E. Fry was a sleek, speedy watercraft as far as 1860’s technology goes.  The 225 foot, iron hulled steamer was discovered near Oak Island late last month.  This week on the Down East Journal, we speak with the director of the Underwater Archeology Branch of the Office of State Archeology about the wreck, its history and what they hope to learn.  Plus, elections from across the State and here in eastern North Carolina. 

NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

You’ve may have heard of the recent discovery of a Civil War era shipwreck found off the North Carolina coast.  Underwater archeologists are now almost certain the large, iron hulled vessel is the Agnes E. Fry, a confederate blockage runner that was scuttled near the mouth of the Cape Fear River in 1865.  It’s the latest Civil War-era vessel to be discovered in the area for decades.

“We knew immediately what we had when we looked at it. We were like, oh yeah.”


We begin a new monthly astronomy segment on Down East Journal called Carolina Skies.  We'll be talking about what you can spot in the night sky, from constellations and planets to nebulas and galaxies.  Our host is Byron Mumaw, president of the Carolina Skies Astronomy Club.  His fascination with astronomy began at an early age reading "Sky and Telescope" magazine and has turned, over the years, into a lifelong passion.  Today, Byron tells us about one of the most recognizable constellations in the Carolina sky.

VoterID law takes affect this year

Mar 14, 2016
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Voters headed to the polls this year will notice a change in North Carolina’s election process. For the first time, a form of government identification will be required before casting ballots.

The law is controversial and subject to change, pending a court ruling. Chris Thomas has more on Voter ID.  

North Carolina’s Voter ID law went into effect this year, with the March 15 primary as its first election.

This week on the Down East Journal, what you need to know about the new Voter ID law before you head to the polls on Tuesday.  Plus, the spring outlook on the local real estate market.  And, the wild turkey population in eastern North Carolina and around the state is at an all-time high.  Now, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission is encouraging people to take up hunting.  

This week on the Down East Journal, we explore the impact of the nursing shortage here in eastern North Carolina.  We speak with local hospital and college officials about what they're doing to train and retain nurses.  Plus, major bridge construction is underway in New Bern.  We speak with NCDOT about the road project causing some delays for commuters.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission

North Carolina’s numbers are at an all-time high.  They’ve been steadily increasing across the state, but here in the eastern part of the state, turkeys have made a major comeback.  Now, the Wildlife Resources Commission is encouraging people to take up hunting.  Seminars are being held across the state to teach amateurs and experts alike the methods for hunting turkeys. 

“That might surprise some folks that if we’re interested in conserving a game animal that we want more hunters.

Real Estate home prices have rebounded in NC

Mar 11, 2016
Google Images

Spring is coming and typically it’s high time for real estate sales.  Sarah Finch leads us through the ups and downs of eastern North Carolina’s current real estate market.

The good news is Home Sales are up from lows during the great recession, but not at peak price, which makes for a good buyer’s market. But that doesn’t mean it’s great across the board.

“You know there’s no such thing as a National Real Estate Market. It’s so localized.”


A Civil War-era shipwreck has been discovered off the North Carolina coast. George Olsen has more.

Jay Clark/ECU News and Communication

Nursing is a competitive market here in eastern North Carolina, so landing a job isn’t the hard part, it’s filling the positions that’s the greatest challenge.  There are occupational nurses who work at manufacturing facilities, private nursing care in homes, nurses who treat students in schools, and of course there are hospital nurses.  It can be a stressful job with long hours but registered nurses have an earning potential of about $60,000 a year in North Carolina.


If your commute goes into or passes through New Bern, it may require some extra time and consideration.  North Carolina Department of Transportation crews started work on two major bridges that’s expected to last through the spring. Chris Thomas spoke to NCDOT spokesperson Brad McMannen based in Craven County about the project and how it may affect area drivers.


The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a three state natural gas project connecting the Virginias and North Carolina, has a new route through the southeastern part of our state.  Now, an informational meeting is set for March 29th for landowners to hear about the changes and how it may impact them.  Jared Brumbaugh has more.  

The alternative route it is located farther from residential areas, as it parallels a Progress Energy Carolinas electric transmission line east of Fayetteville. Spokesperson for Duke Energy Tammie McGee.

The state’s public schools experienced the first increase in the dropout rate in nearly 10 years. George Olsen has more.

National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City

On Wednesday, February 23rd, severe weather moved through the area spawning two tornados.  We speak with Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service John Cole about damages from the storm.

Lawmakers have redrawn the state's congressional district lines and as a result, certain primaries will be pushed back to the summer.  This week on the Down East Journal, we talk about how the changes may affect eastern North Carolina and the game of musical chairs local representatives face. Plus, it's been confirmed that two tornadoes touched down when severe weather moved through the region on Wednesday. We speak with the National Weather Service about damages from the storm.  And, it's music and conversation with Raleigh vocalist Jeanne Jolly.

U.S. House Preliminaries set, for now, on June 7

Feb 26, 2016

It’s been a long few weeks for members of the General Assembly and Board of Election Employees in North Carolina.

Chris Thomas explores new changes may affect Eastern North Carolina and the game of musical chairs representatives face.

So, first thing’s first – this is not the end of the state’s congressional district squabble. More legal wrangling over this issue is virtually inevitable. 

But, last Friday, the General Assembly drew new state congressional maps, making significant changes to it and the primary voting schedule.

In the wake of events that sadden or frighten us, the option is to move forward or fall back. Raleigh’s Jeanne Jolly chose the former.

I was searching, and I think that, when I went through a tough transition in my life, losing my mom, and came back home to NC to do that and be around her and be with my family and focus on that, I think that was the probably the moment in my life that I decided to do what… do everything I wanted to do musically even if I was afraid of it, and I think writing songs is scary and really vulnerable.”

Homelessness among veterans is a problem, especially here in eastern North Carolina.   The numbers are trending downward, but more needs to be done.  This week on the Down East Journal, we speak with state and local organizations about their ambitious plan to finally end veteran homelessness.  Plus, an overview of the EF-1 tornado that touched down in Down East Carteret County.  And, Coast Guard helicopters in Elizabeth City are getting a retro makeover.

National Weather Service - Newport/Morehead City

They say if you don’t like the weather in eastern North Carolina, just wait five minutes and it’ll change. That was really the case this week as some localities had snow and ice.  But the next day it was windy and warm as a thunderstorm moved through eventually spawning a tornado in Carteret County.  The potential for severe weather didn’t come as a surprise to meteorologists who had been keeping tabs on the system days before its arrival. John Cole is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport.

Onslow Community Outreach

There are more than 1,000 veterans who are homeless in North Carolina, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Today, Chris Thomas reports on the effort in Eastern North Carolina to match the claim that Virginia is now making.

North Carolina is home to some of the biggest military bases in the world, including Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. It’s hard to walk around Jacksonville without being reminded of the Marines and Sailors stationed here, and the ones who, after retirement, chose to stay there.

US Coast Guard paints 16 aircraft in retro colors

Feb 19, 2016
US Coast Guard

You may see some new colors flying overhead in eastern North Carolina this summer. Aviation workers at a logistics center in Elizabeth City are painting search-and-rescue aircraft in color schemes from the past. Sarah Finch has more on the retro makeover of US Coast Guard helicopters and airplanes. 

NC General Assembly

The General Assembly has been called back to Raleigh to redraw North Carolina's congressional map before tomorrow’s deadline.  Jared Brumbaugh has more on how the proposed changes would impact eastern North Carolina.

Survey crews with the National Weather Service office evaluated damage from what was a strong EF-1 tornado that impacted eastern Carteret County on Tuesday.  At 8:45 a.m., a tornado warning was issued for the area.   That’s when reports of damage and sightings of a tornado touching down came into the National Weather Service office in Newport.  Lead forecaster Jim Merrill says numerous trees are down on power lines along highway 70 and power lines were knocked down in Beaufort on Front Street.

You've heard the old saying "the best time to eat oysters is in months that have an 'R,'" but does that theory hold water?  This week on the Down East Journal, we talk to a marine scientist who developed a test that can be done by anyone to tell if oysters are safe to eat.  Plus, congressional districts could be redrawn for the second time in less than a decade.  We speak to an expert in North Carolina politics about the ruling and the state's strange history regarding congressional districts. And the Annual Beekeepers Conference takes place in New Bern later this month. 

Free download of Got a Lot from the CD Method to my Madness by Tommy Castro, currently featured on The Sound.  Find out more about the artist here.

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Feb 15, 2016

New Bern hosts beekeeper's spring conference

Feb 12, 2016
Google Images

The cold weather may have the honey-bees hibernating, but bee-keepers are on the move. The annual North Carolina bee-keepers conference is set for the last weekend in February in eastern North Carolina. Sarah Finch has more on the popularity of this buzzing hobby.


You may be thinking about oysters as a part of your romantic Valentine’s dinner.  They’re packed with trace minerals and vitamins A and D.  Something you hope they're not tainted by is bacteria.  The good news is now is one of the best times to consume this shellfish delicacy.

“The beginning of February is usually one of the coldest times and it’s usually when we see the lowest levels of bacteria.”

Attendance at North Carolina’s state parks set a new record in 2015. George Olsen has more.

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Feb 9, 2016

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