George Olsen

Host of ATC; Producer of The Sound

George Olsen is a 1977 Havelock High School graduate. He received his B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of South Carolina in 1982 where he got his first taste of non-commercial radio working for their student station WUSC. After graduation he worked about five years in commercial radio before coming to work at Public Radio East where he has remained since outside of a nearly 3-year stint as jazz and operations coordinator at WUAL in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the early 1990s. On his return to eastern North Carolina he hosted classical music for Public Radio East before moving into the Morning Edition host position and now can be heard on All Things Considered. He also hosts and produces The Sound, five hours of Americana, Roots Rock and Contemporary Folk weekday evenings on PRE Public Radio East News & Ideas,  and is a news and feature producer for Public Radio East.

Ways to Connect

Attorney General William Barr delivers a press conference at the Justice Department ahead of the expected release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. A redacted version of the report is expected to be released on Thursday. Watch the Attorney General's press conference here Thursday morning at 0930.

Top 40 CDs as heard on The Sound 2019 (as of 4/12/19)

NC Department of Transportation

The last of road closures attributed to Hurricane Florence last September has re-opened. Zion Church Road, a two-lane stretch east of Mount Olive, re-opened to traffic last week following inspection of a new bridge on the road and adjustments to a new guardrail. The Wayne County road was the last of about 2500 road closure sites reported during the storm to re-open. A press release from the state Department of Transportation said Zion Church Road was one of many roads that were re-opened with improvements in order to be more resilient in future storms.

GREENVILLE – Officials with the city of Greenville believe the city’s computer network has been infected with a ransomware virus. A press release from the city says they have shut down the majority of their servers, but plan to bring them back online gradually to determine the impact of the virus so they can determine options to remedy the situation.

Free download of Funky Mama from Arlen Roth's new CD Tele Masters, currently featured on The Sound.  Find out more about the artist here.

Free download of Bury Me Deep from Kim Lenz's new CD Slowly Speeding, currently featured on The Sound.  Find out more about the artist here.

Free download of the title track from Karla Bonoff's new CD Carry Me Home, currently featured on The Sound.  Find out more about the artist here.

ORIENTAL – People are slowly returning to the town of Oriental as recovery efforts from Hurricane Florence continue. Town Manager Diane Miller says it appears all of Oriental has power again following a flash re-build of electrical infrastructure by Duke Energy. She was informed earlier this week that 80 power polls were damaged or destroyed along with miles of line. She described work done by Duke as having occurred at a “frantic pace” with power being restored earlier this morning (Thursday).  Customers of Tideland EMC had their power restored by yesterday.

The Neuse River through Lenoir County is expected to continue rising through Saturday morning when forecasters predict it will crest at 25 feet. Forecasters predict it will stay that way for 12-to-24 hours before slowly receding. As of this morning, the water had risen to almost 23 feet. At a press conference this morning, county emergency services director Roger Dail told reporters officials expect rising floodwaters to eventually block access to Highway 258…

The best of PRE, the best of NPR, all on your phone or tablet. It’s NPR One, a personalized stream of stories from PRE and NPR. You’ll hear headlines from PRE and NPR, local reports from the PRE news team, highlights from NPR newsmagazines, all on your schedule. Start when you’re ready, stop when you’re through, rewind to hear something again, skip to move on, pause when you need to step away… the NPR One app is designed for the way you live (and the way you sleep… it includes a sleep timer).   It’s another way to access all your favorites on PRE.

It was a record year in terms of tourism for North Carolina in 2017.

NC DOT

The public is quickly adapting to a new form of ID issued by the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

NCDOT

A lawsuit pertaining to construction of the U-S 70 Havelock Bypass is expected to be dismissed following signing of a settlement agreement. A press release from the state Department of Transportation says a settlement agreement has been signed by D-O-T and the Sierra Club, allowing the Department to proceed with the U-S 70 Havelock bypass.

A national assessment examining 4th and 8th grade math and reading skills shows little change in North Carolina over two years.

Plans are being made to convert a Greene County prison to house high security male prisoners. The state Division of Prisons says changes will be made to prisons in three counties to help them address safety, security and operational needs. Among the changes will be converting the Eastern Correctional Institution in Maury which currently houses female inmates into a facility for close custody male inmates who require the highest level of supervision within state prisons.

A pharmaceutical packaging manufacturer will locate its first U-S manufacturing plant in Wilson County. 

Recent declines in gas prices aren’t expected to continue. The Charlotte-based motorclub AAA Carolinas expects prices this spring to rise to levels not seen since the summer of 2015 when Americans were paying an average of $2.81 a gallon for regular. Prices in North Carolina have declined each of the last three weeks, standing currently at $2.41 a gallon. AAA says drivers will start to see prices spike upward in early April, a time when refineries finish maintenance and start to switch over to more expensive summer-blend gasolines.

A new business coming to Beaufort County will bring a $2.7 million investment to the area. The Governor’s Office has announced that InterMarket Technology Inc. will locate its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility to Washington. InterMarket manufactures point-of-purchase displays for such companies as Nestle, Coke, Pepsi and Dollar General as well as recycling bins. Operations in Washington will create 57 jobs over the next three years.

Free download of This is True from the CD True by the Elders, currently featured on The Sound.  Find out more about the artist here.

The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame has announced their 2018 inductees.

Free download of You Ain't Got the Heart from the CD Roll With It by the Coffis Brothers & the Mountain Men, currently featured on The Sound.  Find out more about the artist here.

New laws affecting drone usage in the state take effect December 1, 2017. One of two new laws prohibits drone usage within a 500 foot horizontal distance or a 250 foot vertical distance of a prison, jail or any correction or containment facility. The other law clarifies that state drone laws also apply to model aircraft as well, though model aircraft remain exempt from the state’s permitting requirements for drones.

Gov. Roy Cooper has proclaimed Friday, Dec. 1 as World AIDS Day in North Carolina. A press release from the state Department of Health and Human Services says the Department is joining with the Governor on the proclamation. A press release from the Department report that as of December 2016 there were an estimated 36,700 people living with HIV or AIDS in North Carolina with approximately 2600 of them unaware of their infection. According to the most recent North Carolina HIV/STD Surveillance Report, 1399 adults and adolescents were diagnosed with HIV in the state in 2016.

INTRO – On September 3, 1991 North Carolina experienced its worst industrial disaster when a fire broke out at a chicken processing plant in the Richmond County town of Hamlet, killing 25. The view at the time was that spendthrift owners neglected safety to save a buck. But a new book theorizes that the plant fire was the end result of a changing relationship between government, industry and people. George Olsen has more.

When Bryant Simon began his research into events surrounding the Hamlet Imperial Foods plant fire there was no wiggle room in where blame for the tragedy lay.

NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

A celebration of one of the state’s most famous self-taught artists takes place in Wilson Thursday, Nov. 2 with the official dedication of a park featuring his unique structures.

Drivers are warned to exercise caution on the roads with increased deer activity. Deer activity increases between October and December with mating and hunting seasons, increasing the likelihood of animal related automotive collisions. A press release from the state Department of Transportation says there were 17,901 animal related crashes in 2016… slightly below 2015’s total by 136. Over the past three years there have been close to 54,000 collisions, with 14 people dying during those collisions and 3356 injuries, 51 being serious.

The state’s infant mortality rate was down slightly in 2016. The state Department of Health and Human Services reports the state infant mortality rate for 2016 was 7.2 deaths per 1000 births, down 1.4 percent from the 2015 rate of 7.3 infant deaths. A press release from the department says the infant mortality rate seems to have plateaued, noting the rate was 7 in 2010, the state’s lowest ever rate.  There is a wide disparity in infant mortality among racial groups. White women had an infant mortality rate of 5 in 2016 while the rate for African American women was 13.4 per 1000 births.

The percentage of North Carolinians who smoke has hit an all-time low. George Olsen has more.

JACKSONVILLE – A trail-blazing former member of the Jacksonville City Council has died. A press release from the city of Jacksonville says Fannie Coleman passed away Wednesday, September 13  at the age of 88. Coleman was the first black woman elected to the City Council. She served from 1991 to 1993 and again from 1999 to 2011. Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips described Coleman as “gracious in her dealings with others and thoughtful in her advocacy.”

Seymour Johnson will be the site for the Air Force’s newest tanker squadron. George Olsen has more.

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