ENC Features

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

ENC Residents fought, died for Union in Civil War

Jul 18, 2016
North Carolina Union Volunteers

Thousands of men from North Carolina enlisted to fight in the Civil War, many them for the Confederacy, but some – including 1,300, white, eastern North Carolinians – went against their state’s government and fought for the Union Army. They were later joined by nearly 1,100 black men from region.  

Those decisions pit brother against brother and for some, it resulted in paying the ultimate price – on the battle field and the gallows.

Local towns along the coast are stepping up efforts to make beaches safer and more accessible.  Atlantic Beach is rolling out plastic walkways each morning to provide a stable surface for wheelchairs.  Emerald Isle is focusing on reducing the number of drownings with the installation of over 100 flotation devices along the surf.

Melissa McGaw, NCWRC

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is calling on hunters to help out with a statewide deer hunting survey to help improve deer management.  The current study expounds on another conducted in 2006 with 10,000 hunters.  Officials hope to reach over 220,000 this time.

ECU Celebrates 20th Guitar Festival

Jul 11, 2016
Joe Pellegrino / The Daily Reflector

ECU's Summer Guitar Festival was held July 6th through the 9th in Greenville with four days of concerts and workshops.  The event attracts students and experts from across the nation.   Chris Thomas has more on the festival's growth over the past 20 years and the vision for the future.

This is how things started Wednesday morning – the first day of this year’s ECU Guitar Festival. Back in 1996 just 12 people checked in for the first one. This year, 53 people registered for classes and gradually wandered into the lobby of the A.J. Fletcher School of Music.

Zika Taskforce Surveys State Mosquito Population

Jul 5, 2016
University of Florida

In response to the Zika outbreak, and any threat it may pose to North Carolinians, a statewide co-op of researchers, pest control specialists, and doctors are studying local mosquito populations – specifically, carriers of the headline grabbing virus.

The study is in its early stages, but as Chris Thomas reports, participants – and the state as a whole – may have gone into it with a hand tied behind their back.  

Duke Marine Lab UAS

A team of researchers are conducting their annual sea turtle survey at the coast this summer.  But this year, they have a new tool to give them a bird's eye view.  Drones equipped with cameras fly over the water and capture images of sea turtles from above.

Beyond Binary: Living a Secular Life in the Bible Belt

Jun 27, 2016
Getty/Dimitri Otis

Now we continue our series “Beyond Binary” which explores the changing demographics of our area.

Eastern North Carolina is among the key notches on the “Bible Belt.” Houses of worship can be found on the most remote country roads and it isn’t uncommon to see their lots filled to the brim at least twice-a-week.

But as Chris Thomas reports, secularism’s reemergence in America hasn’t exempted eastern North Carolina.

National Park Service, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site

The mystery of what exactly happened to the Lost Colony is still unknown, but archeologist are uncovering clues as to what life was like for colonist who were a part of the first English settlement attempt in the New World.  Earlier this month, archeologists discovered several pottery shards on Roanoke Island, near Fort Raleigh, dating back to the 16th century.  

The Sampson Independant

Every third Saturday of June, the National Hollerin' Contest takes place in Spivey's Corner.  But this past Saturday's competition is probably the last time hoots and hollers are heard in this crossroads community.  Organizers say the event has been suspended because of increasing cost and decreasing participation.  But Jared Brumbaugh was there when the Hollerin' Contest was well attended and in this feature, we look back at the nearly 50 year old tradition.

ECU Archaeologist Weighs in on Finding Prehistoric Points

Jun 20, 2016
Lori Gross via the Charlotte Observer

Around the time the Pyramids at Giza were finished, Stonehenge was consecrated, and bronze was the next big thing in Europe and Asia, nomads living on the western hemisphere, about 300 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean, made stone points and buried them in the ground – probably for later use.

5,000 to 6,000 years, in what’s now known as New London, North Carolina near the Stanly and Montgomery County line – those points were rediscovered in Leonard and Karen Shelor’s backyard.

NC Maritime Museum Southport

A new exhibit opened last week at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport.  “Along the Colonial Cape Fear” documents the history of southeastern North Carolina from its vast supply of naval stores, shipping operations from the port in Wilmington and rice cultivation in the 1700s.

Zazzle (Trans Flag Gifts)

House Bill 2 has brought seldom discussed matters – especially rural parts of the nation like Eastern North Carolina – to the forefront. Namely, sexuality and gender identity.

For our “Beyond Binaries” series, Chris Thomas speaks to locals residents who find themselves outside of traditional, socio-economic demographics.

Sexuality and gender identity is getting confusing. New labels, definitions, and even pronouns seem to emerge daily.

Candidates, party leaders discuss June 7 Primary

Jun 9, 2016
North Carolina General Assembly

Most primaries for the 2016 election, took place nearly three months ago, but true to the election’s unorthodox form, primaries for U.S. House – among others – were delayed due to a change in congressional district maps.

It gave campaign staffers, and their candidates, extra time to get the word out and make their case for their respective offices.

Chris Thomas spoke to candidates and party leaders in the new, 3rd District – which includes Lenoir, Onslow, and Craven counties – about the June 7 primary.

When you think of things that define eastern North Carolina, you may say our Civil War history or uncrowded beaches.  But nothing is more distinctive than our own flavor of barbecue.  Really, it’s all about the sauce.  The western part of the state often touts their tomato based concoction.  But here in eastern North Carolina, it’s the tangy, spicy vinegar based sauce is instantly recognized as our spin on barbecue. 

NCDOT

Commuting on Highway 70 could be a bit quicker now that the Goldsboro Bypass is open.

Beyond Binary: Unaffiliated Voters Growing in Numbers

May 31, 2016

One of the fastest growing demographics in eastern North Carolina is also one of its least defined. Since the turn of the 21st Century, the state has witnessed a dramatic uptick in unaffiliated voters.

They’re threatening to break the 2 million mark by the November election, but just how independent are “independent voters?”

Chris Thomas has more.

Aerial Mosquito Spraying Linked To Autism

May 23, 2016
University of California - Riverside

Mosquitos and similar pests are a major source of concern around the world, especially marshy areas like eastern North Carolina. These organisms can leave painful bite marks and harmful diseases, including yellow fever and the Zika virus.

But a recent study discovered a possible link between certain pesticides, the way they’re administered, and developmental delays in children.

Chris Thomas has this report.

Wayne Hoggard, NOAA NMFS SEFSC / Image ID: fish2730, NOAA's Fisheries Collection

Last summer, a string of eight shark attacks along the North Carolina coast made headlines across the nation.  A Camp Lejeune Marine bitten in the arm and right hand, and another man in his 60’s airlifted to Greenville for multiple bites to his rib cage, hips, lower leg and both hands.  Back-to-back unprovoked attacks on Oak Island severely injured a 12 year old girl, and then 90 minutes later, a 16 year-old boy on the same stretch of beach.

Jay Mead, Discovery Diving

 On May 6th, two tug boats were sunk about 10 nautical miles off the North Carolina coast at the site of an existing artificial reef.  The vessels now rest in about 63 feet of water and are already attracting divers and marine life.  Mac McKee speaks with President of the Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association Debby Boyce about the project and how it benefits the environment and aquatic ecosystem.

As you stroll through the streets of downtown New Bern, you may have been drawn to an intriguing two-story brick building with the city’s mascot above the balcony.  Below, four huge white doors and a sign with bold red letters that say “New Bern Fire Department.”

The 88 year old building is now the home of the New Bern Firemen’s Museum which recently moved from around the corner on Hancock Street, a plan years in the making.

Veterans Today

One of the hardest jobs veterans have in Eastern North Carolina is – finding a job.  Hundreds of thousands of Veterans in the state still couldn’t find jobs in 2015, though the unemployment rate fell sharply from the previous year.Government and private sector initiatives have been established to solve the unemployment problem among the veteran population with some success. But as Chris Thomas reports, hiring men and women who served the nation in combat is still a hard sell.

Contributed Photo

 On the corner of Broad and Church Streets in Oriental stands a venue for the performing arts and entertainment.  In the days of Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby, it was known as the Mart.  Today, we call it the Old Theater.  On May 13-14th, there was a celebration of the landmark’s 70th anniversary with live music and old timers reminiscing about the theater’s varied history. 

In the ever constant tug of war between development and environmental concerns on North Carolina’s Outer Banks both sides could almost certainly agree that no matter the state of things now they’re certainly better than one vision for the area around 1950.

   (Reads from NC 12: Gateway to the Outer Banks)

Former Schoolhouse In Currituck County Gets Second Chance

Apr 29, 2016
My Outer Banks Home Magazine

Nearly 100 years ago, residents of Currituck County rallied to build a school for the underserved African-American population. Recently, residents of the same community chose to save the dilapidated structure from destruction.  Chris Thomas reports.

How do you make the best out of a bad situation?

In the old Coinjock Colored School’s case, the answer seems to be “move it about a mile down the road.”

“Man, let me tell ya, you want to talk about remarkable engineering and some really, really, fascinating things to see."

Scott Taylor Photography, Inc

  What is a typical rate of upwelling in eastern boundary current regions in meters per day?  

That’s just an example of the types of questions high school teams had to answer at this year’s National Ocean Sciences Bowl held at the Crystal Coast.  

Friends of Fort Macon

As the sentinel of Beaufort Inlet and protector of the Crystal Coast, Fort Macon has stood weathering storms on the southern Outer Banks for nearly 200 years.  Since then, the five sided fortress has been converted into a popular state park and now draws more than a million people from around the world each year. Superintendent at Fort Macon State Park Randy Newman.

ENC Split Over HB2 as Tourism Season Begins

Apr 22, 2016
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

It's been nearly a month since House Bill 2 became law, but economic, political and social fallout continues.  Demonstrations for and against the law- from prayer rallies to boycotts- have created a thick cloud of controversy and anxiety, but it also raises questions.  Among them - how has House Bill 2 affected lives in eastern North Carolina?  How have local communities responded to it?  Chris Thomas seeks answers to those questions in this report.

Duke Energy CEO Talks Past Spills, Future Projects

Apr 19, 2016
East Carolina University News Services

Duke Energy Progress is still under intense scrutiny over the 2014 coal ash spill in the Dan River and, now, for its part in the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is scheduled to run along the I-95 corridor in North Carolina.

This week, Duke Energy Progress CEO Lynn Good came to Greenville and spoke to business students at East Carolina University.

Laura Taylor, Center of Environmental and Resources Economic Policy at NCSU

Imagine you’re at the beach.  The sun, the sand and wind turbines?   This could soon be the reality along the coast of North Carolina.  As the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management moves forward with leasing thousands of acres to utility scale wind energy developers, dozens of 500 foot tall turbines could soon be built offshore.  Even though the technology would produce clean, renewable power, there are some downsides to wind farms, most noticeably aesthetics. 

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.

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