News

El Nino to create unpredictable winter

Jan 11, 2016
NOAA

Eastern North Carolina has been experiencing unusual weather this winter – Christmas Day marked record breaking warm temperatures.  A couple of weeks later, there were reports of snow flurries and temperatures dipping into the middle 20's.  The unsteady conditions felt throughout the nation has been attributed to El Nino.  Chris Thomas has more on how it’s affected, and may affect, the region.

Meteorologists love a challenge – at least, Lara Pagano does.

NCDOT

It was a popular gift this holiday season.  Drones are now buzzing over eastern North Carolina skies after the holiday season.  Jared Brumbaugh speaks with Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Manager for the North Carolina Department of Transportation Chris Gibson about new FAA regulations in place and some tips to stay safe.

This week on the Down East Journal, we say farewell to the old year by updating some of the most popular features from our website.  From an art project taking shape in downtown Kinston, to colonial artifacts found in Bertie County linked to the Lost Colony.

It's the popular gift item this season.  This week on the Down East journal, we speak with NCDOT's Drone Project Manager Chris Gibson about new regulations regarding unmanned aerial vehicles and tips on how to stay safe.  And, it was a big change this month for the pirate nation.  We'll talk about the head football position at East Carolina University.

The New Year means new school bus safety policies are in effect across the state. George Olsen has more.

The Onslow County Health Department is offering free testing kits so residents can check radon levels in their home. George Olsen has more.

East Carolina University

  It’s college football’s bowl season, but one post-season staple is missing from the festivities – East Carolina University. The Pirates had a disappointing season, which lead, in part, to the controversial firing of their last head coach. Now Pirate Nation’s entered a new era with a new coach and more could be on the line for the program than wins and losses.  Chris Thomas has this.

Forty illegal gaming machines and nearly $300,000 in cash were discovered Tuesday when a search warrant was served on a Trenton residence. George Olsen has more.

World's Biggest Stocking Unveiled in Fayetteville

Dec 21, 2015

Fayetteville hosted a record-setting, international event last weekend as it unveiled the world’s largest Christmas stocking.  Chris Thomas has this.

It was an enviable collaboration – spanning 50 states and three countries; measuring 1.6 tons and 7,700-square-feet.

All to create one big stocking.

On Veterans Day 2014, Spinirite LP – parent company of Washington, North Carolina based Caron United – announced it wanted to make the world’s largest Christmas stocking. Collaborating with the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.

Bogue Banks is the only place in the world where you’ll find a newly recognized butterfly species called the “crystal skipper.” This week on the Down East Journal, we take a trip to the Rachel Carson Reserve where scientists are conducting a habitat restoration project for the crystal skipper.  And, eastern North Carolina holds several world records- the newest one was unveiled in southeastern North Carolina last week.   We’ll talk about it on the Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.  

Allison Leidner

  A 30 mile stretch along the North Carolina coast is the only place in the world where you will find a species of butterfly called the crystal skipper.  This newly identified butterfly is found along Bogue Banks, from the Rachel Carson Reserve and Fort Macon State Park to as far south as Bear Island.  Because of its limited range, preserving their habitat is critical to the species survival.  Scientist Allison Leidner works at NASA headquarters in Washington D.C. in the Earth Sciences Division through a cooperative agreement.

Camp Lejeune has received the “all clear” after  bomb threats were called in this morning.  The base announced on their Facebook page that the Provost Marshall Office was working an incident in the area of the mainside Exchange/Commissary. Colonel Annita Best says a bomb threat was called in to the Starbucks inside the Exchange around 7:30.

INTRO – The goal of any author would be to get someone to read his-or-her book, and once they’re finished with that one, pick up another. For one Chapel Hill author, the goal of his latest book is for you to read it and then NOT pick up another, at least for a while. George Olsen has more.

Bland Simpson is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at UNC-Chapel Hill. Spend much time reading his latest book and you could believe his real goal is to become North Carolina’s unofficial “tourism director” in charge of state waterways.

While the largest solar generating facility east of the Mississippi River is still under construction, the majority of the renewable energy produced has already been claimed.  Jared Brumbaugh has more on the Edgecombe County project.

Trillium Health Resources

Wellness organizations in eastern North Carolina are trying to break the stigmas associated with mental disorders and substance abuse. They’ve launched a pilot program with two screening kiosks in Hyde and Dare counties to help people identify behavioral issues and connect with resources. Sarah Finch has more on these interactive booths and a new computer program that may know you better than you know yourself. 

  The first ever alligator hunting season in North Carolina could start next summer.  This week on the Down East Journal, we talk to the Wildlife Resource Commission about their proposed hunting rules and the public comment period underway.  Plus, we speak with Camp Lejeune’s Lieutenant Colonel Lauren Edwards, the first women to lead an Engineering Battalion in the United States Marine Corp.  And, we speak with Jennifer Licko and her band about their upcoming "A Celtic Christmas" concerts in eastern North Carolina. 

NC Wildlife Resources Commission

To hunt or not to hunt, that is the question on wildlife officials minds moving forward with a plan to allow the first ever alligator hunting season in North Carolina.  The State Wildlife Resources Commission has proposed rules that call for a 30-day season.  Wildlife Diversity Coordinator Allen Boynton says they’re seeking public comment on the plan now through January 25th.

“We have had requests from a number of people interested in hunting alligators.  South Carolina recently started an alligator season and after that happened, the request we received increased.”

With the expansion of opportunities for women, the United States military is changing and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville has seen its share of that change.

Recently, the base broke new ground yet again by promoting Lt. Col. Lauren Edwards to a command position over the 8th Engineer Support Battalion, the first woman to command an engineering battalion in Marine Corps history.

Chris Thomas has a profile on this Marine making history in Eastern North Carolina.

Faculty, Students Weigh in on ECU Chancellor Search

Dec 8, 2015
ECU News Services

The process to find East Carolina University’s next chancellor has begun. Several forums focused on students, faculty, and alumni have been held to find out the qualities the new head of Eastern North Carolina’s largest university should be. A total of seven public forums have taken place already statewide.  Chris Thomas attended two Greenville based sessions and has this.

This week on the Down East Journal, results are in from the latest wild turkey observation survey.  We speak with wildlife biologist Chris Kreh about the annual report which documents North Carolina’s rebounding turkey population. And, the search for a new East Carolina University chancellor has begun.  More on the Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.  

NC Wildlife Resources Commission

The populations of wild turkey continue to increase across the state.  That’s according to a recent survey from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.  Each year, the WRC conducts their wild turkey observation survey where volunteer spotters record the number of turkeys they see during a two month period.  Chris Kreh, the upland game bird biologist, says the summer observation survey takes place July 1st through August 31st.

The Martinsborough

State sponsored tax credits for revitalizing historic buildings have returned after a brief hiatus, but would-be renovators may not get as much help as they did before.

Something is better than nothing. 

A fatal industrial accident at SPX Transformer Solutions, Inc in Wayne County left two men dead and one man hospitalized.  Jared Brumbaugh reports.

51 year old Dennis Martin of Goldsboro, and 33 year old Daniel Craig Anderson of Dudley were pronounced dead at the scene.  40 year old William Saviak of Dudley is currently in the ICU at Wayne Memorial Hospital. No update on his condition was available Tuesday afternoon. Major Tom Effler with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office says emergency responders were called to the scene Monday evening around 6 pm. 

Saving abandoned historic buildings is a growing trend in eastern North Carolina.  The evidence can be seen in the downtown's of Kinston, Greenville and Goldsboro.   This week on the Down East Journal, we explore the recently retooled state tax credit for revitalizing historic structures and where these tax dollars could be put to use.  The Down East Journal airs Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.  

Conversation with local restaurateur Vivian Howard about her favorite Thanksgiving dishes, tips for less stress in the kitchen, and her TV special “A CHEF’S LIFE."

November is awareness month for Lung Cancer, the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the United States. Doctors at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville are betting on new technologies to reverse that trend. Sarah Finch has more on a new lung biopsy device and how it’s changing healthcare options in eastern North Carolina.

Prestage AgEnergy

A big juicy turkey may be the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table.  It’s likely the bird came from right here in our own state, since North Carolina ranks second in the nation for turkey production.  Now, a $25 million plant in Sampson County promising to transform turkey house waste into electricity is being built. The 165,000 square foot facility, east of Clinton, broke ground this summer.  Vice President of Prestage AgEnergy Michael Pope says the Moltonville based project has been in the works since 2011.

Turkeys: they’re the centerpiece for your Thanksgiving feast.  And a source of renewable energy.  This week on the Down East Journal, we talk to the Vice President of Prestage AgEnergy about their plant under construction in Sampson County that will convert turkey waste into steam for electricity. And, a local hospital is the first in the world to use new biopsy tool.  The Down East Journal airs Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.  

Photo by Gretchen Baugh, ECU

Is 120 the new 140? According to initial results from a nationwide blood pressure study, conducted in part by East Carolina University, it may be for some. 

One third of all Americans are hypertensive, but that rate is higher here in eastern North Carolina.  Division Chief of General Internal Medicine at ECU Brody School of Medicine, Dr. James Powell,

“Despite a lot of effort to try help a lot of folks, and we’ve helped a lot of folks through the years, Eastern North Carolina still has a very high penetration of people with high blood pressure.”

High blood pressure affects nearly a third of the U.S. population and in eastern North Carolina that number is higher.  This week on the Down East Journal, how new research carried out in part at ECU in Greenville sheds new light on the ideal blood pressure for heart and kidney health.  And, New Bern High was selected as one of four schools in the state to participate in a solar panel pilot program.  The Down East Journal airs Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on News and Ideas.  

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