Down East Journal

Fridays, Noon - 12:30pm on both networks; Saturday at noon on The News and Ideas Network
  • Hosted by Hosted By: Jared Brumbaugh
  • Local Host Jared Brumbaugh

The Down East Journal is PRE's weekly news magazine program. Each week the program
features a variety of news, information, and feature stories with a focus on Eastern North Carolina.

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.

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.

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

  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 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.

This week on the Down East Journal, the Washington Development Tourism Authority calls for artists to submit paintings of waterfowl for the 2017-2018 North Carolina Duck Stamp Competition. Plus, the skies will be clear as Tropical Storm Hermine moves out of the region.  Hear how you can track planetary movement on “Carolina Skies.”  And, music and conversation with Asheville’s “The Broadcast.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Wolf Recovery Program is responsible for the reintroduction of the species declared biologically extinct in the 1980s.  Now, after decades of work, they may dismantle the program all together. This week on the Down East Journal, we speak with local conservation groups who recently held rallies to show their support and we hear from private landowners in the red wolf recovery area that want to see the program end.

As students return to East Carolina University in Greenville, many people are surprised to learn that there’s an increase in demand for counselors to address student anxiety.  Chris Thomas visits ECU to shed some light on the trend.  Plus, we stop by Safe Harbor Farm in Maysville, a non-profit whose mission has shifted over the past year.  And, as communities in our area strive to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, we talk about a statewide grant initiative helping local towns and cities build bike paths and sidewalks.

This week on the Down East Journal,the science of living shorelines and their ecological benefits.  Efforts are underway to construct more than 2,000 linear feet of living shoreline in eastern North Carolina’s sounds, bays, rivers, and waterways.  And, craft breweries are a burgeoning business in North Carolina. We meet a couple who make it a point to visit each one… and they’re having a hard time keeping up. This week, it’s a guide to North Carolina Craft Beer & Breweries.

This week on the Down East Journal, the City of Jacksonville with the help of coastal scientists are maintaining the health of Wilson Bay using green infrastructure.  Plus, North Carolina voters are once again in limbo after a federal court struck down the 2013 Voter ID law.  We talk to local officials about their precincts, how they've dealt with three tumultuous and erratic years and about what the future may hold.  And, snakes are out and about this summer. Tips on how to stay safe in the woods, on the trail or in your own backyard. 

Pokemon Go is causing issues here in eastern North Carolina.  We speak with community colleges about how they’re dealing with an influx of people coming on campus and we talk to local officials concerned with player safety.  Plus, Fisher Houses offer toys, beds, and breathing space for military families adjusting to new lives.  We explore eastern North Carolina based Fisher Houses.  Camp Lejeune has one and the newest opened at Ft. Bragg. And, do you know what to do if you are caught in a rip current?  Find out this week on the Down East Journal.


This week on the Down East Journal, we detail the state’s first ever wind farm currently under construction near Elizabeth City.  The project has drawn criticism from some who are proposing legislation aimed at limiting future construction elsewhere in the region. We speak to local environmentalists and state representatives on the future of wind farms in eastern North Carolina.  And, 29 eastern North Carolina Arts Councils are seeking applications for regional artists grants of up to $1,000 in financial support for art projects.

This week on the Down East Journal, ECU's School of Music celebrates the 20th anniversary of it's guitar festival, four days of concerts and workshops that attract students and experts from across the nation.  We speak to organizers and participants about the Greenville festival's growth and vision.  Plus, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is seeking input from local hunters on white-tailed deer management in a statewide survey.  And, a new art exhibit called "Summertime" opens at the Crystal Coast.

This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to an East Carolina University entomologist about a statewide study on mosquitoes and the Zika virus.  We detail the newly created Zika Task Force, its goals, and obstacles.  Plus, the annual sea turtle survey is underway at the coast this summer.  It’s the first time they’re using drones to count sea turtle populations at Cape Lookout Bight.  And, it's music and conversation with Jennifer Licko about her latest CD, "Sing."

This week on the Down East Journal, we speak to an archeologist with the First Colony Foundation about rare 16th century pottery pieces recently found on Roanoke Island, near the first settlement in the New World.  And, our "Beyond Binary" series continues.  We speak to a regional native who is part of a national trend opting for a life without organized religion. The Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations, and Saturday at noon on News and Ideas. 

What's it like to hold something older than the Parthenon in the palm of your hand? You'll find out this week on the Down East Journal when we speak to an ECU anthropologist who did just that after millennia-old, stone points were discovered in the state.  And, we say farewell to a nearly 50 year old tradition.  The National Hollerin’ Contest in Sampson County is coming to an end.  Plus, it's your opportunity to go behind the scenes at Tryon Palace.


On this edition of the Down East Journal, Public Radio East contributes to a new permanent exhibit on display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport detailing the history of the lower Cape Fear region. We'll look at the exhibit and as well as rice cultivation in southeastern North Carolina. Also, our Beyond Binary series on underrepresented people in eastern North Carolina who fall outside traditional socio-political distinctions continues. And, author Dawson Carr and his book "NC-12: Gateway to the Outer Banks."

Eastern North Carolina has its own flavor.  This week on the Down East Journal, we visit some popular – local – ‘cue destinations.   And, heading into June 7th, a primer on the primary.

This week on the Down East Journal, we begin our "Beyond Binary" series on underrepresented people segments in Eastern North Carolina who fall outside traditional socio-political distinctions.  Unaffiliated voters are a rapidly growing demographic in eastern North Carolina and, potentially, a key factor in this year's national and state races. And, as the first piling of the Bonner Bridge was installed, NCDOT got the green light to move forward with another bridge replacement .  We detail the NC12 bridge project just down the road at Rodanthe.

If 2015 was the "summer of the shark" in eastern North Carolina, what about 2016?  A series of rare shark attacks along the North Carolina coast last summer may make you reticent to take a dip.  This week on the Down East Journal, we dispel shark myths with local researchers who study them.  Plus, it's mosquito season and with it, new fears of Zika.  But a new study links pesticides to autism.  We speak to the pediatrician who lead the study.  And, we tell you what's on tap for the Beaufort Music Festival this weekend.

This week on the Down East journal, tugboats and firetrucks.  Last week, tugboats were intentionally sunk near Beaufort Inlet.  We talk about why.  And, we visit the recently renovated circa 1928 Firemen's Museum in New Bern. 

This week on the Down East Journal, what North Carolina is doing to retain service members after they transition out of the military.  We speak with locals about the struggles, triumphs, and opportunities veterans face entering the private sector. Plus, we reveal the long history of an Oriental landmark turning 70 this year.  And, the North Carolina Symphony is performing their "April In Paris" concert in downtown New Bern on Sunday.

This week on the Down East Journal, a school house for African American children on the Outer Banks once facing demolition may now become a museum and store, paying tribute to the community's past. We talk to the new building owner about future plans to renovate a Rosenwald School in Currituck County.  Plus, it was a loud, fierce competition as high school student teams from across the country faced off in Morehead City for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.

Millions of dollars in economic loss are being attributed to House Bill 2.  This week on the Down East Journal, we explore potential losses for eastern North Carolina.  Plus, the local five sided beach treasure Fort Macon hosts the North Carolina State Park Centennial Celebration at the Crystal Coast this weekend.  And, the New York Theatre Ballet gives a free performance in Edgecombe County next Thursday.  The innovative chamber ballet company performs classical and contemporary dance as well as a premiere of a new dance in celebration of Tarboro native Hobson Pittman's paintings.

Wind energy at our coast could be a renewable source of electricity for us, but it has some potential pitfalls, especially when it comes to tourism.  This week on the Down East Journal, we talk to a NC State University researcher about a new study that finds offshore wind farms could negatively impact coastal economies.  And, we speak to Duke Energy Progress CEO Lynn Good about energy projects currently underway in eastern North Carolina, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and solar facilities.

This week on the Down East Journal, an unlikely partnership between a scientist and a fisherman has developed to solve a critical environmental and economic issue along the North Carolina coast.  And, baseball's past, present  and future here in eastern North Carolina.

From a gas station to a "glass station," eastern North Carolina is in for some hot art.  The town of Farmville is the future location for a hand blown glass studio.  Plus, local reaction to House Bill 2.  And, what's in store for the Oriental In-Water Boat Show next weekend.

This week on the Down East Journal, the winner of the best national park beach goes to... Cape Lookout National Seashore.  We’ll tell you why it’s so special.  Plus, North Pitt High School Lady’s Basketball team won the 2016 State Championship despite a challenging season that included the suspension of their head coach and two players.  We talk to members of the team about their hard fought victory.  And, the Historic Preservation Group of Lenoir County is looking for volunteers to participate in a local Park Day event on April 2nd.

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.