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.

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The Senate is holding a trial on the impeachment of President Trump, who is accused by the U.S. House of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.At the conclusion of the trial, senators are expected to vote on whether Trump should be removed from office. Proceedings are expected to begin each day at 1:00 pm through Saturdya. You can watch the proceedings here throughout the trial.

In conjuction with National Radon Action Month, a state agency is encouraging homeowners to test this month for radon gas.


The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is offering a limited number of free radon test kits. Three-thousand residential radon testing kits will be available at no charge through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ state Radon Program. The kits are available through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 


The state Board of Elections is beginning to inform voters that the photo ID requirement for the March primary will NOT be enforced. The state Board of Elections Monday released a video with the Board’s executive director Karen Brinson Bell stating that photo ID will NOT be required for in-person voting during the March primary. The requirement was due to start in March but a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking the requirement in response to a lawsuit filed by the state NAACP.

Carteret County Emergency Services

CARTERET COUNTY – An investigation into a fire that destroyed the Spouter Inn and Restaurant location in Beaufort on Sunday, Dec. 22 currently shows no evidence of foul play. A press release from Carteret County Government described the building and businesses located at the Front Street address as total losses. In addition to the restaurant and two other businesses, the building contained six apartments that housed eight people. The press release says the area of the fire’s origin has been determined but did not disclose that information pending visits by insurance concerns.

Top 100 CDs as heard on The Sound 2019

Seven Democratic presidential candidates are debating Thursday night at 8:00 pm, the smallest group yet. The December debate, hosted by Politico and PBS NewsHour, is taking place at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. NPR reporters are providing live analysis of the candidates' remarks. You can also listen to the debate on PRE News & Ideas at 89.3 across eastern NC, in Greenville at 88.1 or here at

On Wednesday at 9 AM, the full House of Representatives will debate and vote on the two articles of impeachment that have now been passed out of committee. Listen to NPR's live special coverage on PRE News & Ideas at 89.3 across Eastern North Carolina and 88.1 in Greenville. You can also watch the full house floor debate and vote on impeachment on the video stream below.

WILSON – A provider of hospital linens and uniforms will open a new plant in Wilson next year. HandCraft Healthcare Linen & Uniform Specialists plans to invest $15-16 million in the new plant to be located at the Wilson Corporate Park. It’s expected to open in October 2020 with most hiring occurring a few weeks before opening. A press release from the Economic Partnership of North Carolina says the company expects to employ between 125 and 150 people. The Richmond-based company opened another plant in High Point earlier this year.

A biopharmaceutical company plans to expand its Wilson facility. A press release from the Governor’s Office says that Merck plans a $57 million expansion at its Wilson facility, bringing 55 new jobs to the plant. The expansion will allow the plant to produce a vaccine used to prevent rotavirus gastroenteritis in children. It’s the second expansion announced by Merck this year involving the Wilson operation. In July Merck announced expansion of facilities in Durham and Wilson to produce an HPV vaccine.

East Carolina University

CHAPEL HILL – A 20-member committee has been appointed in the search for a permanent chancellor at East Carolina University. A press release from ECU says interim UNC-system President William Roper and ECU Board of Trustees chair Vern Davenport made the announcement Friday. Davenport will chair the search committee that will make recommendations to the ECU Board of Trustees, which in turn will vote on candidates to recommend to Dr. Roper. Dr.

North Carolina ranks near the nationwide average for lung cancer survival rates. The American Lung Association released its annual State of Lung Cancer report, which shows the nationwide five-year lung cancer survival rate at 21.7%, just slightly above North Carolina’s rate of 21.5%. Nationally survivor rates have improved 26% over the last decade.  The American Lung Association says early screening correlates to higher survival rates. Nationally only 21.5% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage, with North Carolina at the same rate.

Two-hundred-and-seven new jobs are on their way to Beaufort County. A press release from the Governor’s Office says Pamlico Yachtworks will open a new facility in Beaufort County. Pamlico Yachtworks is a new manufacturing division of MJM Yachts, which has been building yachts since 2002. The company plans to invest $12 million to operate the facility to be sited in Washington. While wages will vary depending on position, the average wage will be over $45,000, above Beaufort County’s average wage of nearly $38,000.

Duke Health

The numbers of state residents with severe lung injury associated with e-cigarette use continues to rise. A press release from the state Department of Health and Human Services says there are now 61 cases of people with severe lung injury. Ages of the cases range from 13 to 72. It’s part of a problem occurring across the nation, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 1604 cases and 34 deaths in the United States and the U-S Virgin Islands as of October 22. Most of those with lung injury report vaping THC infused product.

ECU Center for Survey Research

Polling indicates support for banning the sale of e-cigarette and vaping products in North Carolina, though there is a generational divide. Polling conducted by the Center for Survey Research at East Carolina University says 50% of registered voters polled support a statewide ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products. Twenty-seven percent were opposed while 23% were undecided. However, support varied greatly by age group. While only 23% of those 25-years-of-age-and-older opposed a ban, that number went up to 56% for those 18-to-24.

ECU News Service - Rhett Butler

Research at East Carolina University indicates babies born to mothers who exercise during pregnancy are healthier. A press release from ECU says the research indicates children born to mothers who exercise during pregnancy have improved motor skills, heart function and body composition. Dr. Linda May, an associate professor at the ECU School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Foundational Sciences and Research, said there’s a “dose response” to exercise… babies whose mothers exercise a little get a little benefit, babies whose mothers exercise more get more benefit.

There was good news and bad news for Gov. Roy Cooper as he heads into his re-election efforts. A Civitas poll indicates the Democratic incumbent has leads outside the margin of error against three declared and possible Republican candidates. He had a 19-point edge over New Hanover County state Rep. Holly Grange, 10-points over Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and eight over former Gov. Pat McCrory, who has not declared his candidacy. Cooper defeated McCrory by less than half-a-percentage point in the 2016 general election. There was a large undecided camp in each race, ranging from 18-to-27 percent.

An advocacy group reports the leading cause of deaths in jails across North Carolina is suicide. Disability Rights North Carolina is calling for immediate action to address mental health treatment in jails. A report from the group says statistics over four years ending in 2016 indicated that of 111 deaths in jails, at least 51 were suicides. That’s a rate of 45.9%, which their report says exceeds the 2014 national average of 35% reported by the U-S Department of Justice.

RALEIGH – The Governor’s Office reports that the U-S Small Business Administration has granted Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for counties that suffered damage from Hurricane Dorian. The declaration will allow affected residents to apply for low interest SBA disaster loans. The Governor made the request after FEMA denied individual assistance for those affected by Dorian. The SBA request was described as the first step in in establishing a state relief program following FEMA’s denial.

A portion of Topsail Island listed for sale for nearly $8 million has limited development potential according to a local environmental group. A press release from the North Carolina Coastal Federation says their analysis of land use restrictions on the 110-acre parcel on the south end of Topsail Island shows very limited development potential.  Among limits to development is the town of Topsail Beach has zoned the parcel for conservation and local land use plans and ordinances prohibit almost all forms of development.

North Carolina’s status as a purple state politically appears to remain true according to a new ECU poll. After three straight close presidential races in the state, a fourth appears to be in the offing according to the poll conducted by faculty members of ECU’s Center for Survey Research.  In hypothetical November match-ups with five Democrats, President Donald Trump holds leads over three… Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg… though his lead in each case is within the plus-or-minus three percent margin of error. His biggest lead is 2.6% over Pete Buttigieg.

Over 1 million new voters could be casting ballots in North Carolina during the next Presidential election. A report from Carolina Demography says there have been 1.1 million voter registration forms filed since November 2016. That includes those turning 18 or gaining citizenship since 2016 and prior residents registering for the first time. And while 285,000 North Carolinians have left, 370,000 have moved in. The new voters are… officially, at least… largely non-partisan. Forty-three percent registered as unaffiliated voters, compared to 29% of prior registrants.

Coastal Land Trust

WILMINGTON – The Coastal Land Trust has announced the purchase of 247 acres of Jones County property. A press release from the land trust says their Island Creek purchase lies adjacent to a portion of the Croatan National Forest southwest of New Bern. It says flora found on the property includes many rare species as well as species typically only found in the state’s Piedmont and mountain regions.

City of Greenville

Greenville residents can enjoy a new city park for one day and one day only. A press release from the city of Greenville says the city will host a pop-up park Friday, October 4. Parking spaces at the Rose’s Parking lot at the corner of Evans and Fourth Streets will become an urban park, complete with performance stage, a pergola, benches, bistro tables, grass, trees and more. The pop-up park pops-up Friday at 11 and stays popped until 8:00 that night.  It’s a late recognition of PARK(ing) Day, typically the third Friday of September, which first popped-up in 2005.

REAL ID requirements go into effect in just under a year. A press release from the state Department of Transportation reports that Tuesday, October 1 marked the one-year milestone before the REAL ID Act will go into effect. On October 1st of 2020 a REAL ID, U-S passport or another form of federally-approved identification will be required to board commercial airlines and to enter federal buildings. REAL ID won’t be required in those instances but will make it easier. Other approved documentation can be used for flying or entering federal facilities.

Duke Health

A Duke Health study indicates a potential carcinogen is present in high levels in some e-cigarette and smokeless tobacco products. The study indicates that pulegone is contained in menthol and mint flavored e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. Pulegone was banned last year by the U-S Food and Drug Administration as a food additive because of its carcinogenic properties. The agency, however, does not regulate the chemical’s presence in e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

A statewide apprenticeship program is growing. A press release from the state Community College system says the number of people in the state’s apprenticeship program increased nearly one-third during fiscal year 2019. ApprenticeshipNC, which registers apprentices and pre-apprentices, had 11,399 people in the program during the fiscal year that ended June 30. The prior fiscal year saw 8679 people in the program, which was transferred to the community college system two years ago. Apprenticeship is an employer-driven training model that combines work with related classroom instruction.

September's Democratic presidential debate has been narrowed to one night only, as more candidates have called it quits altogether.

Ten candidates are on stage for three-hour event hosted by ABC News and Univision, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. It's the third debate of the campaign and the first time that former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are all together.

Who will be the main target, what does it mean and what do the candidates stand for? Follow NPR Politics reporters here for live analysis and fact checks.

The public will have the opportunity to see demonstrations of newly certified voting systems this month. A press release from the state Board of Elections says the demonstrations will take place at five locations across the state, beginning Thursday in Haywood County. Demonstrations later this month include next Tuesday in Leland in Brunswick County and then Wednesday the 18th at the Pitt County Agricultural Center in Greenville. There will also be demonstrations in Guilford and Mecklenburg Counties.

UNDATED – Permanent residents of Ocracoke Island will be allowed back effective Monday. To help speed the delivery of hurricane relief supplies to the island, the state Ferry Division will begin emergency ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke's Silver Lake Harbor, which bypasses closed sections of Highway 12 on the island. Only high clearance vehicles will be allowed on the Silver Lake route. Ferry operations from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island will be conducted as well. Re-entry restrictions for visitors remain in effect.


UNDATED – The National Weather Service office in Newport is reporting water is beginning to rise rapidly over the eastern part of the Pamlico Sound. The National Weather Service says the tide gauge at Ocracoke has risen six-feet in the last hour-and-a-half at 6 feet, 3 inches and rising. The Weather Service anticipates similar conditions in Hatteras. They advise anyone in those flood prone areas to seek higher ground immediately. A Flash Flood Emergency has just been issued for Hyde and Dare Counties. The National Weather Service reports water levels at Ocracoke as "historic."