Jared Brumbaugh

All Things Considered Host / News Coordinator

Jared Brumbaugh is the News Coordinator for Public Radio East, covering health and the environment.  His news spots and feature stories can be heard during Morning Edition and All Things Considered.  Jared is the recipient of five North Carolina Associated Press Awards for "Best Feature," "General News," "Best Health Report," "Best Weather Report," and "Best Consumer Report." When not at the station, he enjoys hiking, traveling and honing his culinary skills.

NCDPS

Data released by North Carolina state health officials shows residents are coming in for a COVID-19 vaccine in higher numbers. The numbers published Tuesday show at least 74,000 people got a first dose last week. This is the highest weekly count since mid-May. The rise in vaccinations comes as the more contagious delta variant is being widely spread across the state. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said those who come in for a first dose will soon qualify for $100. Over the past month, hospitalizations due to the virus have nearly quadrupled. The U.S.

NCDEQ

State officials say residents in some Northeastern North Carolina counties should avoid coming into contact with an algal bloom in the Chowan River.  Counties currently affected include Chowan and Bertie Counties. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality's Divsion of Water Resources said in a news release that the algal bloom has lingered in the area since July 27, 2021.  The bloom has been observed near Edenton (from Arrowhead Beach to Rockyhock) and Colerain.

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune will require all personnel - vaccinated and unvaccinated - to wear a mask in indoor settings while aboard the installation. The requirement takes effect no later than Monday, August 2 at 8 a.m. and applies to all service members, dependents/beneficiaries (retirees), federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors. Camp Lejeune announced the new mask policy following guidance from the Department of Defense in areas of substantial or high community transmission released Wednesday.

N.C. Coastal Land Trust

One of North Carolina’s last privately owned undeveloped barrier islands is now conserved.  The 2.5-mile long Hutaff Island, located between Lea Island and Topsail Beach in southern Pender County, serves as nesting grounds for sea turtles and shorebirds. The island also has more than 1,000 acres of tidal marsh and creeks that serve as nursery habitat for fish, shrimp, and crabs. The conservation partnership involves The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, Audubon North Carolina and the Hutaff/McEachern family, funded by conservation philanthropist Tim Sweeney.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

The House select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection is holding its first hearing. The committee has been plagued with partisan conflict but is pushing forward to investigate the events leading up to and during the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Watch the hearing live at 9:30 a.m.

At-home COVID-19 vaccinations are now available to North Carolinians who cannot leave their homes.  The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with the Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency on Aging for the new initiative.  Caregivers, providers, and individuals with limited mobility can schedule an at-home vaccination by completing an online form or by calling 1-866-303-0026.  The announcement comes as state health officials urge anyone 12 and over to get a vaccine as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads across North Carolina.

NCDHHS

Two unvaccinated people are now among those who have died from COVID-19 in Onslow County in the last week.  Onslow County now has a total of 157 COVID-19 related deaths.  The highly contagious Delta variant, which was detected in the county on July 12, is likely leading to a surge in new cases. According to a news release, about 350 new cases were reported in the past week.  The county reports it’s seen a 163% increase in cases in the last two weeks.

Predictions of a baby boom during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown have gone bust in North Carolina. Data compiled by Carolina Demography showed that birth rates in North Carolina fell by 3.1% from 2019 to 2020, in line with a national decline of 3.8% over the same period. Carolina Demography is located within the Carolina Population Center at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Boone Turchi, an associate professor of economics at UNC, told the News & Observer that the skyrocketing unemployment rates during the pandemic likely prompted many people to wait to have children.

Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have approved tenure for Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. Wednesday's 9-4 vote capped weeks of tension that began when a board member halted the process over questions about her teaching credentials. The board voted to accept the tenure application at a special meeting that included a closed-door session. The university announced in April that Hannah-Jones would be joining the journalism school faculty in July. But her lawyers announced last week she wouldn't report for work without tenure.

US Drought Monitor of North Carolina

The recent rains have improved drought conditions across the region, although most of Eastern North Carolina still remains abnormally dry.  According to the latest North Carolina Drought Advisory released Thursday, Columbus County is the only county in severe drought.  Nearly 30 counties in southeastern North Carolina and the Piedmont region are in a moderate drought. Those counties include Johnston, Onslow, Pender, Robeson and New Hanover counties. 

Police in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, say two women were hit by a car while peacefully protesting a police killing. Police say Michelle Morris and Valerie Lindsey were treated at a hospital Monday night after being hit by the car of Lisa O’Quinn of Greenville. The protesters are Black and O'Quinn is white. O'Quinn was jailed on charges including assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill by the use of a motor vehicle. Police are also reviewing the case as a potential hate crime. Her first appearance is Thursday. The women were protesting the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr.

N.C. Forest Service

The N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and has canceled all burning permits for 26 North Carolina counties, citing an increased fire risk. A news release from the forest service says the ban went into effect on Monday and will remain in effect until further notice. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says the state is getting drier and hotter, and because the changes are occurring during the spring wildfire season, the ban is necessary. Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was issued.

ECU News Services

Health care providers from East Carolina University have been traveling throughout eastern North Carolina providing mobile health care screenings and COVID-19 vaccines.  The teams, equipped with two vans and a modified trailer with two exam rooms, have made stops in several rural and underserved communities along the Outer Banks and in Lenoir, Pender, and Pasquotank counties.  Since the project began last fall, the teams have conducted nearly a dozen health screening events, and administered more than a thousand COVID-19 vaccinations.

NCDOT

With peak travel season on the Outer Banks fast approaching, N.C. Department of Transportation crews will be changing speed limit signs along sections of N.C. Highway 12  in several parts of Currituck and Dare counties.

North Carolina Medicaid recipients are running out of time to ensure they’ll have no trouble getting the doctor they want when the program makes a significant shift soon. Friday is the end of open enrollment for North Carolina Medicaid Managed Care, which begins July 1. Most Medicaid recipients will participate. They can choose their primary care provider and health plan. There are several plans to choose from. People who don’t enroll will be placed in a plan automatically. Everyone will get 90 days to make changes.

Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina tax preparer has been sentenced to 22 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the IRS. The U.S. Department of Justice says in a news release that Karen Marie Jones of Durham was sentenced on Friday. In addition, one of her co-conspirators pleaded guilty last week for her role in the scheme. Court documents and statements made in court indicate Jones and two other preparers conspired to prepare false returns for clients between 2012 and 2017.

Creative Commons

North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday advanced a bill through a committee that would prevent state and local governments from punishing workers who choose not to get a COVID-19 vaccine. State Rep. Jake Johnson says his proposal is necessary to protect state and local workers from being fired or retaliated against for their health choices. State health officials worry the proposal would conflict with federal rules and create staffing shortfalls if outbreaks occur at state-operated health facilities.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Biden is addressing a joint session of Congress on the eve of 100 days in office. Watch his remarks live Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Two high-profile Black leaders in North Carolina differed greatly on congressional intervention in state elections while addressing U.S. House committee members this week. Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson told a House judiciary subcommittee on Thursday that he opposed a measure approved by the chamber last month that places new demands on federal elections run by states, But the Rev. William Barber of Goldsboro said the “For The People” measure is needed to "enact full protections of our sacred right to vote” following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

NC Coastal Land Trust

One of North Carolina’s last privately owned undeveloped barrier islands will soon be conserved.  The 2-mile long Hutaff Island, located between Lea Island and Topsail Beach, serves as nesting grounds for sea turtles and shorebirds. The island also has more than 1,000 acres of tidal marsh and creeks that serve as nursery habitat for fish, shrimp, and crabs.

NC Ferry Division

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division has announced it will return to its full schedule on April 21 on Pamlico Sound routes between Cedar Island, Swan Quarter and Ocracoke.  The division completed a test run Tuesday with the M/V Swan Quarter to make sure the channel is navigable.  It took almost a month for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear shoaling that was occurring in the ferry channel just outside of Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor. 

The full schedule beginning April 21, weather permitting, is as follows:

Chelsea Beck for NPR

President Biden is giving an address on plans to withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that prompted America's involvement in its longest war. Watch his remarks live beginning at 2:15 p.m. 

NCDHHS

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is asking vaccine providers across the state to pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after six reported U.S. cases of potentially dangerous blood clots were reported in women who received the J&J shot. None of the six cases occurred in North Carolina.

North Carolina House members are trying again to give school systems more flexibility over when they can hold classes. A House education committee on Tuesday passed several measures that would move up start dates or give districts wide-ranging control over their schedules. Current law requires districts to open the school year no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and end no later than the Friday closest to June 11. There are exceptions. A uniform calendar law passed in 2004 in response to worries that traditional summer vacations were diminishing.

Even though 2020 was the most active hurricane season on record, forecasters are projecting another busy hurricane season this year.  Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project released its first forecast Thursday predicting an above-normal season for 2021.  A total of 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes are expected this season.  The official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 31st, though storms can develop outside of that timeframe.  The National Hurricane Center will issue their tropical weather outlooks on May 15. 

North Carolina Strawberry Association

Strawberry season is underway across North Carolina.  According to the State Department of Agriculture, local growers are optimistic about the season and anticipate a crop that should last through Memorial Day.

“The recent hard frost kept strawberry growers busy protecting the plants’ tender blooms, but farmers have reported that those efforts seem to have been successful and consumers will be able to find local berries,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

NC Ferry Division

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division is suspending all service on the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferry routes through Monday, April 12.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began dredging the Bigfoot Slough last month to clear the shoaling.

A survey from AAA finds that North Carolinians are growing more confident about making travel plans this summer.  Nearly half of people in the state feel comfortable taking a trip, citing the vaccine rollout and increased safety measures as reasons they feel comfortable traveling now.  That’s a 12% increase compared to a previous survey taken in January.  About 60% of North Carolinians plan to travel this year.  45% say they will feel more comfortable traveling when they are fully vaccinated.

NCDHHS

North Carolina is now offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people in Group 5, which includes anyone 16 years and older. Nearly 5.4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in North Carolina.  According to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 38.9% of the adult population has been partially vaccinated and 26.6% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.

Cape Lookout National Seashore

The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is closed to the public due to safety concerns.  A pre-season inspection in February revealed structural problems with the stairwell, watch room, gallery walk, and lantern room.  According to a news release, the lighthouse will not be open for the climbing season. The historic structure has undergone numerous repairs and upgrades since it was built in the 1850’s, with the most recent renovation taking place in 2010.  Major repairs are scheduled to begin later this year to renovate the lighthouse.  The work is expected to take two years.

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