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.

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.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is holding a hearing examining the security failures that led to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Watch the proceedings live.

NCDPS

North Carolina has reached a sobering milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services today reported more than 10,000 North Carolinians have died from the virus. The state also surpassed 800,000 total cases today. At a press briefing Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper said the state’s top priority is to equitably and quickly distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We continue running an efficient vaccine distribution and are getting all of North Carolina’s allocated first doses into arms each week before we receive the next shipment,” Cooper said. 

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

  Former President Donald Trump is on trial for a second time in the Senate. This time, the House has impeached Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection. Trump's defense team denies he directly called for violence and argues that he should not be tried since he is no longer in office. The House impeachment managers say he must be held accountable for the violence at the Capitol. Watch the proceedings live.

Creative Commons

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said COVID-19 preventative practices have led to a dramatic drop in the spread of flu in North Carolina. According to a news release, similar trends are being seen nationally and globally.  Compared to last year, the state has seen very low levels of influenza and other respiratory illness this year.  Only four deaths from flu have been reported so far this season, compared to 186 deaths last season and more than 200 deaths during the 2018-19 season.

NCDPS

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says would like to see all 115 school districts in the state allow students to return to physical classrooms. But he said Tuesday that he does not support a bill from Republican state lawmakers that would do just that. Cooper instead wants districts to decide for themselves which learning options are best for their community. Advocates for teachers are frustrated the state has not bumped up that workforce on the vaccine priority list. They also worry that not enough money is being given to them to safely reopen.

Friends of Fort Macon

North Carolina State Parks had record-breaking visitation last year. The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Saturday that the high numbers underscore the public’s craving for outdoor space and exercise during the coronavirus pandemic. State parks spokeswoman Katie Hall said that North Carolina’s 41 state parks and recreation areas had 19.8 million visitors in 2020. That is 400,000 more visitors than any other year on record. It’s also 1.2 million more visitors than in 2019. The previous record for visitation was 19.4 million visitors in 2017.

NCDHHS

North Carolina is giving more of its weekly allocation of the coronavirus vaccine to large vaccination sites such as such as the Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is creating supply shortages in other areas of the state that has forced some health systems to cancel appointments or offer fewer than they'd expected. Officials in the state are working to improve their rocky rollout to administering the vaccines. North Carolina has been among the slower states in the nation to get vaccines into peoples' arms.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

The House is formally transmitting the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate, setting the stage for the trial in that chamber the week of Feb. 8. Watch the ceremony live.

NCDHHS

Local transit agencies across North Carolina will help provide transportation to and from COVID-19 vaccine sites.  According to a news release, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that approximately $2.5 million dollars in Coronavirus Relief Funding is being distributed to transit agencies to provide transportation assistance.  Individuals who need a ride to a vaccine site should reach out to their local transit agency.

Pages