ENC Features

Stories broadcast on PRE which are of interest to Eastern North Carolina

NASA

On the monthly "Carolina Skies" segment, we talk about what you can spot in eastern North Carolina's night sky, from constellations and planets to nebulas and galaxies.  Our host is Byron Mumaw, president of the Carolina Skies Astronomy Club.  This week, we focus on the fifth planet from our sun and one of the brightest objects right now in the night sky, Jupiter.

National Baseball Hall of Fame

The Major League Baseball began this week – joining the local season that started nearly two months ago in Eastern North Carolina. With the start of baseball season in Eastern North Carolina it comes traditions spanning more than a century.

The National Past-Time’s seemingly waning popularity is a popular topic of debate among sports fans and experts. But as Chris Thomas reports, baseball is still alive and strong in the region – even after losing one of its long-standing teams.>>>

UNC Research

There’s an environmental and economic crisis along our coast and around the world.  Oyster populations are drastically low, as compared to their numbers a century ago.  In North Carolina, oyster populations have dropped 90 percent.  But two men in Carteret County think they may have the answer to the shortage.  One is a scientist, the other is a fishermen.

ECU

As more people move to eastern North Carolina to retire or raise families, communities here are undergoing a transformation.  Take downtown areas of New Bern, Greenville and Kinston for example.  These cities have undergone major revitalization and now, boast a variety of independent shops, award winning restaurants, art galleries and craft breweries.  Now, the rural town of Farmville, home to about 5,000 people seeks to become the next creative center and cultural hub in eastern North Carolina.  Todd Edwards is a member of a volunteer association focused on economic development called The

Local politicians, residents weigh in on House Bill 2

Apr 1, 2016
National Public Radio

On March 23, Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2 into law – restricting the power of local governments to pass certain laws: namely, the ability to let transgender people use restrooms based on their gender identity instead of their given sex in certain, government run buildings.  

This came after the City of Charlotte passed an ordinance in February allowing individuals to use restrooms based on their gender identity.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

We’ve known all along that beaches along the North Carolina coast are the best around.  Now, so does everyone else in the United States.  USA Today named Cape Lookout National Seashore the Best National Park Beach of 2016.  Superintendent Pat Kenney. 

“We actually received an email from USA Today advising us that we had won.”

WITN-TV

As March Madness rages for the national, collegiate championship, 8 high school teams along Tobacco Road were crowned state champions earlier this month.

Two of those in Pitt County.

In the men’s brackets, Farmville Central capped a perfect season by beating East Lincoln High School 81-71 for the 2A crown.  

On the women’s side, North Pitt High School of Bethel clinched a narrow victory against East Davidson High School in Thomasville, also in the 2A division.

A new book by a UNC-Wilmington Creative Writing professor weaves a mystery inside past and present conflicts as viewed by the state’s Outer Banks. George Olsen has more.

Call it the “spoonful of sugar” approach to writing… buy it for the mystery, love it for the history.

Stage Set for Most November Elections

Mar 21, 2016
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  This week, more than 2 million people across North Carolina made their voices heard through their ballots in the 2016 Primary election.

Both Presidential primary races were closer than expected. Trump beat Cruz by a little more than 3 points, a narrower margin than all major polls predicted. Cruz picked up 27 delegates from the Old North State. Trump received 29.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

NCDOT

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.

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.

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.”

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. 

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.

B.Fitzula/UNC

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.”

SNAP Food Stamps require 20 hour work week

Feb 8, 2016
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Big changes are coming to the food stamp program in North Carolina. On July 1st a select group of recipients will have to meet work or classroom requirements in order to keep their grocery benefits. Sarah Finch has more on these new SNAP program regulations and how local communities are preparing to combat potential hunger pains.

    

News from the waterfront town of Oriental made national headlines when a Walmart Express closed its doors last week.  Reports focused on how the closure of chain stores can impact the economy of small towns.  The store closing came months after the longtime local grocer “Town n’ Country” was shuttered.  That leaves the town of 900 without a local grocery store or pharmacy. 

Since 1998, more than 100,000 people around the world have joined the four day Great Backyard Bird Count.  The annual event, held each February,  creates a snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.  Mac McKee spoke with Director of Land Bird Conservation at Audubon North Carolina Curtis Smalling about this year’s count. 

This week, voters in Iowa caucused for their preferred Presidential candidate, setting the tone for what could be a tight race on both sides.

North Carolina’s Democratic and Republican primaries for crucial federal and state positions, including President and Governor, is less than 40 days away.

Chris Thomas spoke with state pollsters and a local party official, who weighed in on how a caucus held more than 1,000 miles away could impact turnout and results here in North Carolina.

Industrial hemp farming legalized in NC

Feb 1, 2016
North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association

In October, North Carolina lawmakers legalized industrial hemp.  Not to be confused with its sister plant marijuana, hemp has many uses for commercial products, which North Carolina farmers are excited about.  Sarah Finch has more on the state’s new hemp pilot program.

Hemp refers to a specific strain of Cannabis plants that are grown from a seed and can reach up to 15 feet tall. Although the word cannabis often brings to mind images of ‘smoking pot’ or ‘getting high’, hemp plants contain very little of the psychoactive chemical called THC.

A North Carolina based poll taken from likely voters primarily on land based phone lines and estimated 20 percent web based requests shows no clear leaders heading into the March 15th primary.  This week, Chris Thomas spoke with Jim Williams, a pollster with Public Policy's Polling office in Raleigh about who is favored in national and state races.

Additional quotes from this interview:

Camp Lejeune

Local waters around a training range in Onslow County may pose a threat to people attempting to harvest oysters, clams, crabs and fish.  Earlier this month, Camp Lejeune officials advised the public to avoid areas along the New River because of the possibility of unexploded munitions underwater.  While the military hasn’t officially restricted these waters, some commercial fishermen around Sneads Ferry are concerned it’s only a matter of time before they do. 

“People are scared around here, if you let them take that, they’re not going to stop with that.”

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