PRE News

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

FEMA Public Assistance will become available to local governments, state agencies and certain private non-profits in Bladen and Chowan counties, according to a news release from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's office. The cost-sharing program will provide reimbursement for costs spent on repairing infrastructure and public facilities damaged by Hurricane Dorian.

The power line that provides electricity to an Outer Banks island will be replaced with an underground cable next year. Officials with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore say in a news release Monday that they've issued a permit to replace an overhead power line on Hatteras Island that's the only source of electricity for the 1,385 electrical customers on Ocracoke Island. The cable will connect to the existing underwater power line between the two islands. The project is expected to begin in January and take about two months to complete.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that Michael Aram, Inc., an internationally renowned luxury design company, plans to relocate a logistics center to Goldsboro. The company plans to invest $5.7 million in the facility. A grant, recently awarded to Wayne County from the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, supports the reuse of a 234,972 square foot building in Goldsboro. The company, which produces jewelry and home furnishings, will create 118 jobs.

Photo ID Information Being Delivered To N.C. Voters

Dec 9, 2019

The State Board of Elections is notifying every residential household in North Carolina about the photo ID requirement for voting, which takes effect in 2020. In the coming days, information will be mailed to 4.7 million households explaining which types of photo ID are accepted, how voters can obtain a free Voter ID card, policy for voting without an acceptable photo ID, and qualifying exceptions to the requirement. It is the first of four educational mailings required by law. 



Great white sharks are showing up off the Carolina coast as winter approaches. The Charlotte Observer reported Monday that 10 great whites have been recorded off the North Carolina and South Carolina coast in recent weeks. They include one that’s almost 15 feet long and weighs more than 1,300 pounds. The group Ocearch tags the sharks with GPS trackers that “ping” each time they surface. Researchers said the southeastern coast is a “a winter hot spot" for sharks. Ocearch founder Chris Fischer said the area off Cape Hatteras is “a staging area for migration” in the fall and spring.

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.

Town of Swansboro - Facebook

SWANSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Historic cities and towns along the Southeastern U.S. coast have survived wars, hurricanes, disease outbreaks and other calamities, but now that sea levels are creeping up with no sign of stopping, they face a more existential crisis.

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.

North Carolina has new Congressional districts — and it was a process. When lawmakers went back to the drawing board last month, they had a lot to say. 

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina judges ordered a new U.S. House district map that Republican state legislators drew last month be used in the 2020 elections, deciding on Monday there wasn’t time to scrutinize the boundaries further for any left-over extreme partisan bias.

The three-judge panel agreed it was too late in the election cycle to receive evidence and testimony that would be necessary to consider detailed redistricting arguments from the lawmakers and from Democratic and independent voters who challenged the latest congressional maps.

Bree Charron/N.C. Coastal Federation

Pine Knoll Shores and the North Carolina Coastal Federation are designing an innovative stormwater project that will preserve water quality and reduce flooding in the coastal town. 

Vidant Health

Vidant Health will implement visitor restrictions starting Wednesday at the James and Connie Maynard Children's Hospital in Greenville.  Due to a rise of people with respiratory viruses in the community, the hospital will limit visitation to people 12 years of age and older, who are not exhibiting symptoms of cold or flu, fever, diarrhea, vomitting, or headaches. According to the N.C. Division of Public Health, influenza-like illnesses are increasing slightly across the state.  There have been three flu-related deaths in North Carolina so far this season.

N.C. State Board of Elections

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina officially kicks off the 2020 campaign with the opening of candidate filing for hundreds of elected positions such as governor and U.S. senator, in the state legislature and on the courts.

The State Board of Elections and all county boards begin taking candidate paperwork and filing fees at midday Monday. The filing period ends at noon Dec. 20.

Primaries will be held March 3 between multiple candidates from the same party vying for the same job.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service



Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge in Hyde County is removing thousands of invasive fish in an effort to restore water quality and aquatic grasses. 

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.

N.C. Pecan Growers Association

Pecan growers in North Carolina are reporting a good crop this year, despite a dry summer and damage from the last hurricane season. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a news release that there are a good quantity and quality of pecans this year. North Carolina is one of the top 10 pecan-producing states in the U.S.. More than two dozen commercial pecan orchards are located in North Carolina, with the majority of them in the eastern part of the state. Pecan season runs into December.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced over $4 million in funding for distance learning and telemedicine investment projects in North Carolina. ECU will receive $500,000 for a distance learning rural Dental Care Project. Beaufort County Community College will receive $81,329 for equipment to provide science, technology, eningeering, and math (STEM) courses to high school students and medical training courses through continuing education programs.

Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer

Hyde County Commissioners accepted a $600,000 state-funded grant this week to allow for more aid for people affected by Hurricane Dorian. The funding will provide rental assistance and travel trailers to meet temporary housing needs.  It will also provide professional project management assistance to the county to aid in rebuilding and recovery.  According to a news release, HB 200, which was signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper this week, included $1.7 million for repairs to the Ocracoke School and other recovery funds for Hyde County.

Jared Brumbaugh

Collards are more than just a side dish on a southern holiday table.  In a way, they’re part of the cultural fabric of Eastern North Carolina. PRE’s Jared Brumbaugh has more on how this humble cruciferous vegetable has become a tradition in the Tar Heel State.

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.

Croatan National Forest

Beginning Sunday, November 17th, seven recreation sites in the Croatan National Forest will implement standardized hours, closing at sunset and reopening at sunrise. These sites include Black Swamp OHV area, Cedar Point recreation area and Tideland Trail, Fisher’s Landing, Flanner’s Beach recreation area, Pine Cliff equestrian trails parking lot and recreation area, and Siddie Fields.

ECU News Services

A research team at East Carolina University will travel to Saipain in 2020 to study the preservation threats of sunken World War II aircraft in the Pacific Ocean.  ECU's Maritime Studies Program and Department of Biology received a $29,652 grant from the National Park Service to conduct the study. 

Town of Cedar Point

The town of Cedar Point recently opened a 56-acre park to the public. Boathouse Creek Walking Trails is located along the White Oak River and includes a kayak launch, and information station, and more than two miles of walking trails.  The site is surrounded by 18 acres of wetlands and bordered by oyster reefs along Boathouse Creek.

ECU News Services



East Carolina University is pilot testing a virtual simulation software aimed at helping faculty, staff, and students identify and address risk factors that are associated with suicide. The interactive online software called Kognito simulates a conversation with peers and allows the person using the program to choose how to respond based on issues presented. 


Jared Brumbaugh

Nearly six months after PFAS was found in Maysville’s well water supply, officials are still trying to determine the cause of the contamination and identify a long-term solution to provide safe water to residents.  Aqueous film forming foam, which was used in firefighting applications, is most likely the source of contamination.

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.

ECU photo by Cliff Hollis

East Carolina University will hold its fourth annual initiative focused on mental health and suicide prevention on Wednesday.  ECU is one of six universities in North Carolina participating in Fresh Check Day, which includes peer groups and interactive booths that provides information on mental health and suicide prevention to faculty, staff, and students.