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.

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.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

President Biden is holding his first news conference on Thursday, March 25 at 1:15 p.m. and is expected to field questions on a wide range of topics, from the coronavirus to the influx of migrants at the border and his upcoming infrastructure effort.  

NCDPS

A financial carrot for North Carolina to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands low-income adults is raising already elevated hopes among Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and allies that the General Assembly will adopt it this year. But GOP leaders remain wary of expansion. The new federal COVID-19 relief law would give North Carolina and other states that haven’t accepted expanded coverage more money to cover traditional Medicaid patients for two years if they sign up. Cooper says the incentive creates an “open window” for expansion.

Jared Brumbaugh

Over 3.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in North Carolina. About 25% of adults in the state are at least partially vaccinated.  As of today, thousands more can receive the vaccine as the state expands eligibility to some members of Group 4.  That includes individuals with high-risk medical conditions, people experiencing homelessness, and incarcerated people who have not been vaccinated.  North Carolina plans to move to other essential workers and other people in close group living settings on April 7. 

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is testifying before Congress about the future of his department as the administration scrambles to address a wave of unaccompanied minors at the border. Watch the House hearing live beginning Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

North Carolina prison officials say COVID-19 was the cause or at least a contributing factor in the death of an inmate at Franklin Correctional Center. The inmate was a man in his early 60s. He tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 7 and was hospitalized 10 days later. Officials said in a news release that his condition worsened and he died Friday. Final determination of his cause of death will be made following review by the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Noah Fortson/NPR

President Biden is giving the first prime-time address of his presidency to mark one year of the coronavirus pandemic, a day after Congress passed a massive relief package. More than 500,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.  Watch the live stream Thursday 3/11 beginning at 8 p.m.

NCDHHS

North Carolina legislators have finalized how to distribute another tranche of federal coronavirus relief money earmarked for the state and adjusting how previous funds are spent. Both the Senate and House voted unanimously Thursday on the spending package. It allocates $1.7 billion that went to the state through a relief bill approved by Congress in December. Gov. Roy Cooper already signed a law last month that distributes $2.2 billion for the state from the December congressional action.

North Carolina legislators have advanced another bill that distributes more money from the federal government’s most recent coronavirus relief package. The legislation directing where more than $1.7 billion of relief funds will go cleared two House committees on Tuesday.  A floor vote is expected Wednesday. Gov. Roy Cooper signed legislation last month that doled out $2.2 billion in similar funds for public education, vaccine distribution and rental assistance. The measure debated Tuesday includes funds for colleges and universities, fisheries, COVID testing and tracing and food relief.

The City of Jacksonville said test results from three out of 30 of its water wells indicated trace amounts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  According to a news release, the amounts discovered are within EPA regulations and well below actionable measure. Two of the wells in question are located along Highway 111 and one is located along Gum Branch Road. Until further testing can be done, City of Jacksonville Public Services has removed the three wells from service.  The wells that revealed trace amounts of PFAS will be resampled by a private lab. 

Liam James Doyle/NPR

FBI Director Christopher Wray is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Jan. 6 insurrection, domestic extremism and other threats. Watch the hearing live beginning at 10 a.m.

Construction to extend the C.F. Harvey Parkway north of Kinston is complete and the section of roadway is expected to open Monday. The N.C. Department of Transportation said in a news release that the extension of this highway began in 2018 and is opening to traffic six months ahead of schedule. The Parkway has been extended by nearly 6 miles from N.C. 58 to N.C. 11.  The $80 million dollar project improves connectivity to areas that include the Global TransPark, the U.S. 70 Industrial Park, and East Carolina University Medical Center.

NCDHHS

North Carolina is ranked first in the nation for vaccinating the largest share of its 65 and older population.  That’s according to a report from The Kaiser Family Foundation.   The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports 49% of people 65 and older have been vaccinated.

NC Public Schools

The principal at West Craven High School has accepted a new position with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Craven County Schools said in a news release that Tabari Wallace was offered the new position as Special Advisor to the State Superintendent Catherine Truitt in the area of principal engagement. Wallace was named the North Carolina State Principal of the Year in 2018.

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