PRE News

Stories broadcast on PRE which are of interest to Eastern North Carolina

NCDPS

Data from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction shows most K-12 parents won't have the option of sending their kids back to school at the start of the fall, even partially. Gov. Roy Cooper allowed districts to opt for fully remote learning in his reopening guidance. His Republican gubernatorial election opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, wants every parent to be able to have the choice for fully in-person learning five days a week.

The Pitt County Health Department said Friday that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual began exhibiting symptoms on Sunday and is currently at home in self-isolation.

State health officials have taken additional steps to protect the most vulnerable to COVID-19.  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a

Hurricane season has already been busy this year, but forecasters say it should get even nastier soon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday increased its forecast for the number of named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes this year to far above normal. Colorado State University, which pioneered hurricane season forecasting, is calling for twice the number of named storms and hurricanes this year — 24 of them. That means the season likely will run out of traditional names and start to use Greek letters. There already have been nine named storms.

NC DPS

Gov. Roy Cooper says North Carolina’s COVID-19 restrictions keeping high-risk businesses closed and mass gatherings severely limited will remain in place for another five weeks. The governor's decision announced on Wednesday means the mandates under his current executive order set to expire later this week will be extended beyond Labor Day at least. Bars, gyms, movie theaters and amusement parks must remain closed and a face covering requirement in public places will continue.

NCDOT

Tropical Storm Isaias has moved well out of Eastern North Carolina, but not after leaving behind a trail of damage.  Gov. Roy Cooper said today the storm made landfall at Ocean Isle Beach with 85 mph winds and 3-5 feet of storm surge. As it moved across Eastern North Carolina, many communities reported downed trees and powerlines and flooding.

“Damaging winds and likely tornadoes spun out from the storm, including one in Bertie County that tragically killed two people, and sent about a dozen others to the hospital,” said Cooper.

Motorist across Eastern North Carolina should be cautious of storm damage impacting travel this morning. 

A portion of East 3rd Street between Jarvis and Summit in Greenville is still closed due to a tree on a power line.  The city said in a facebook post that multiple traffic signals are out and Greenville Police are handling traffic control until they are repaired.  Greenville Utilities Commission reports 2,800 customers in Greenville are without power.  City crews will be out in the city throughout the day to assist with clean-up efforts.  

City of New Bern - Facebook

Sustained winds of about 30-40 miles per hour, and gusts up to 60 miles per hour across Craven County toppled numerous trees on to roads and power lines.  About 20,000 customers are currently without electricity in Craven County.  Most of the damage occurred in the northern and western part of the county, including the towns of Cove City, Dover, Fort Barnwell, and Vanceboro. 

City of Jacksonville - Facebook

Hurricane Isaias toppled numerous trees in the City of Jacksonville, causing widespread power outages and damage to a home in the Holiday City subdivision. The two adults and three children in the home had to be taken to a shelter. No one was injured.  Downed trees on power lines caused as many as 19,000 customers to lose power after the storm’s center passed north of Jacksonville, said Glenn Hargett, Jacksonville Assistant City Manager.

 

updated 5:55 am Tue. August 4, 2020

Hurricane Isaias has caused widespread power outages across Eastern North Carolina, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in the dark.

Isaias is forecast to return to hurricane strength early as it approaches the Carolinas, where residents are being warned to brace for flooding rains and storm surge. Isaias remained a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph on Monday morning, where the storm remained more than 200 miles south-southwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Conditions in Myrtle Beach were overcast but calm Monday morning as people strolled the shoreline. In North Carolina, officials were wrapping up evacuations of Ocracoke Island, which took a beating from Hurricane Dorian last year.

NC DPS

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency to aid in preparations for Hurricane Isaias, which he says will bring atypical challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency declaration issued on Friday runs as another declaration for the coronavirus has been in place for months. Cooper says the state could feel the greatest impact of the storm Monday night and into Tuesday. Tropical storm-force winds could be felt as early as Sunday night. Hyde County authorities announced that Ocracoke Island will be evacuated starting Saturday.

Local Scientists Explore New Way To Test For COVID-19

Jul 31, 2020
UNC IMS

Scientists at the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City are conducting research that may change the way Covid-19 infection rates are measured. PRE’s Jamie Rodriguez has more.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says the departure of its chief operating officer has nothing to do with State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s call to replace him. The DOT says Chief Operating Officer Bobby Lewis’ last day is Friday. An agency spokesperson says Lewis submitted his resignation letter nine days before Folwell announced July 15 he wanted the chief operating officer and chief financial officer removed from their jobs. DOT spokeperson Jamie Kritzer says Folwell hadn't communicated with anyone at the department before distributing his news release.

Duke Energy

North Carolina regulators have told the state’s big for-profit electric, natural gas and water utilities to keep delaying disconnections through August as customers still struggle financially from COVID-19. The state Utilities Commission issued an order late Wednesday, the same day a provision expired in Gov. Roy Cooper’s separate executive order that prevented shutoffs for all residential customers.

N.C. Dept. of Agriculture

The North Carolina State Fair has been canceled for this year due to safety, financial and attendance challenges from COVID-19. State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler made the announcement Wednesday. The fair was first held in 1853 is one of the state’s largest annual attractions, bringing in roughly 1 million visitors every October. The fair was last canceled during World War II. Troxler also cited the uncertainty of whether current mass gathering restrictions will be eased.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

On Thursday at 1030 a.m., Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta holds a celebration of life for Rep. John Lewis, who died at 80.

NCDPS

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he’s curbing alcohol sales hours at restaurants starting later this week in another effort to stem COVID-19. Cooper announced on Tuesday that starting Friday the eateries, distilleries and breweries will have to cut off sales at 11 p.m. instead of 2 a.m. Health officials says they're concerned more young people are contracting the virus and want to discourage late-night gatherings where social distancing isn’t happening. The order doesn’t apply to grocery or convenience stores, and bars remain closed.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

Attorney General William Barr is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about oversight of the Justice Department. Watch the hearing live Tuesday, July 28 at 10 am.

Several North Carolina parents have sued to halt the state’s taxpayer-funded scholarship program for K-12 children to attend private schools. Monday's filing in Wake County court comes five years after a closely divided state Supreme Court upheld the legality of the private-school grants through the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The plaintiffs in the new lawsuit say the program violates several portions of the state constitution, including those protecting religious freedom.

Liquor sales in North Carolina have seen a 12% increase during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. The Fayetteville Observer reports the jump largely came in March when Gov. Roy Cooper shut down bars and restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic. Charles Hill owns multiple liquor stores in the state. He told the newspaper that customers said they were purchasing high amounts of alcohol because of fears Cooper would also shut down liquor stores. Liquor purchases by bars and restaurants has remained below normal levels as of June.

"Bars" by foreverdigital is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Two more male inmates at a North Carolina prison with among the highest number of COVID-19 cases have died after testing positive for the virus. The Department of Public Safety ssays one offender at Albemarle Correctional Institution in Stanly County died Friday, while another housed at the prison died at a hospital on Thursday. Eight state prisoners with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic began. Three were serving their sentences at Albemarle, which has reported over 100 positive cases to date.

ENC Schools Announce Plans For Reopening

Jul 24, 2020
Onslow County Schools - Facebook

Since Governor Roy Cooper has announced that North Carolina public schools will be able to reopen under either Plan B or Plan C, each county is working to create a detailed plan for its students and staff.

Pitt County schools will be reopening on August 17th under Plan B, a hybrid between virtual and in-person learning. The school boards of Carteret, Craven, and Onslow counties have all decided on a Plan B opening for schools.

The White House says President Donald Trump will visit North Carolina on Monday to tour a business that is participating in work on a COVID-19 vaccine. The White House said Trump is expected to speak about the collaboration between the administration and the private sector to rapidly develop a vaccine and ensure rapid distribution once ready. North Carolina is a key battleground state in the coming election, and Trump’s visit marks his 10th trip there during his presidency.

ECU

 

It’s been speculated that Blackbeard intentionally ran his flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, aground near Beaufort in 1718. Now, more than 300 years later, new research from East Carolina University in Greenville shows that theory may hold water.

Road tests still aren’t being performed by examiners from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles due to COVID-19, so now certain adults are exempt from passing one to obtain a regular license. The DMV announced that starting Wednesday it’ll waive the road test for drivers 18 or older in several specific situations. This follows the General Assembly approving a law last month allowing youths to defer the road test otherwise required to obtain a limited provisional license.

As the spread of COVID-19 persists across the country and in Eastern North Carolina, the number of coronavirus cases are increasing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. PRE’s Mattie Holloway has more.

 

Annette Elizabeth Allen/NPR

President Trump holds a briefing as coronavirus infections surge in hot spots around the U.S.

Heat Wave Hits ENC

Jul 20, 2020
NWS

Eastern North Carolina is experiencing a heat wave as temperatures soared to near 100 degrees in some areas the past several days.  John Elardo, a meterologist with the National Weather Service in Morehead City said the hot temperatures combined with the high humidity values create dangerous conditions.

"It's leading to some impactful heat index values getting to around 105 degrees during the peak of the day, and that can put stress on people doing strenuous outdoor activity."

Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue - Facebook

Lifeguards on a beach in North Carolina’s Outer Banks have posted a new purple flag that is adorned with images of a jelly fish and a stringray. The Virginian-Pilot reported Sunday that that the flag serves as a warning when the sea creatures are nearby. The purple flag expands warnings to swimmers beyond the red banner that’s already flown when rip currents are present. A yellow flag also warns of heavy shore break or dangerous currents. Purple flags are a common maritime warning.

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