PRE News

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

East Carolina University

East Carolina University’s chancellor sent a memo out Monday stating that some employees will be required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently expanded eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots. PRE’s Meredith Radford talks with East Carolina University’s professor of immunology and microbiology in the Brody School of Medicine Dr. Rachel Roper about who's eligible, the guidance on mixing vaccines and when vaccinations may be approved for children.

The public is getting multiple chances this week to tell North Carolina legislators what they think about U.S. House and General Assembly district boundary proposals that lawmakers have been drawing. The House and Senate redistricting committees scheduled four hearings over Monday and Tuesday to take input on maps that Republicans and Democrats have created. It’s the next step before the legislature begins voting on the plans. The legislature is aiming to enact by early November new maps for use starting with next year’s elections. One of the two hearings each day will be online only.

The federal government is shutting down the harvest of an important species of fish for the rest of the year because of concerns about overfishing. Fishermen from Maine to North Carolina commercially harvest Atlantic mackerel, which is used as food as well as bait. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it closed the fishery starting Oct. 15. NOAA says the most recent assessment of the species found that it is overfished and the level of overfishing has increased slightly.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

An abandoned vessel that ran aground on a North Carolina beach over a year ago will finally be removed. WRAL-TV reports that the removal process will start just in time for Halloween. Initially, most of the former scallop boat was visible along the shoreline. But it has been slowly sinking in sand along the beach south of Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Oregon Inlet Campground. Now, more than half of it is buried. The removal project is expected to cost around $295,000. It is expected to begin on October 25 and take roughly a month to complete.

Craven County’s board of education approved pay increases for employee groups who have not had a raise in at least 10 years at their meeting last week. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more. 



North Carolina’s unemployment rate has now declined every month for the past year. The state Commerce Department announced Friday that September's seasonally adjusted rate was 4.2% compared to 4.3% in August. The number of additional employed workers again outpaced the additional number of people entering the state’s labor force. The last time North Carolina’s rate increased was in September 2020. A 12-month streak of lower rates began the following month. The rate exceeded 13% during COVID-19 lockdowns and commerce restrictions in spring 2020. The national rate last month was 4.8%.


The number of vehicle crashes involving animals in 2020 decreased by 8.5% from 2019, according to a new report from the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Traffic Safety Unit. A total of 18,607 crashes occured in 2020, usually involving deer. In the past three years, 56,942 animal crashes occurred in the state killing six people, injuring 2,698, and causing over $160 million in damage.

Officials say two people were killed and two people were injured after a small plane crashed in North Carolina. The identities of the victims weren’t released. News outlets report Onslow County emergency management said the plane went down between Holly Ridge and Surf City. The crash site was located around 6:30 p.m. The Federal Aviation Administration said in an email that a single-engine Mooney M20J crashed after departing from Holly Ridge-Topsail Island Airport around 5 p.m. The email said both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

The leader of the North Carolina House says the latest budget offer that Republicans sent to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wouldn’t expand Medicaid broadly as Cooper wants. But Speaker Tim Moore says it does sweeten a previous proposal on worker pay raises. The legislative and executive branches are trying to hammer out a budget that Cooper would be willing to sign. The alternative would be for lawmakers to approve their own plan and try to override what would likely be a Cooper veto.

NCDOT - Facebook

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it has set an annual record for the amount of trash collected along state roads and highways — and the year isn’t over yet. The News & Observer reported Wednesday that more than 11 million pounds of litter have been picked up as of Jan. 1. The previous record was 10.5 million in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic led volunteer cleanup efforts to be canceled in 2020. Financial issues also caused the department to reduce roadside maintenance efforts.

Onslow County Government Facebook

Onslow County is the first in the region to offer a service that provides first responders with personal information when an emergency occurs. PRE’s Meredith Radford explains.




Another effort by North Carolina Republicans to check the governor’s broad powers during a pandemic or other emergency has cleared the General Assembly. The House voted Wednesday to accept the Senate’s version of legislation that would require governors to get specific support from other statewide elected leaders to secure a long-term emergency declaration. As with a similar measure last year, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto is likely. GOP lawmakers and many constituents have criticized Cooper’s extended coronavirus emergency declarations.

North Carolina senators have presented some proposals to the public on how they could redraw boundary lines for congressional and state Senate districts. The Senate Redistricting Committee posted several maps online this week that Republicans or Democrats have produced at computer terminals in the committee room in recent weeks. The House Redistricting Committee is expected to keep its computers open the rest of the week. The public has been able to watch online the committee room and activity on computer screens where drawing happens. Legislators want to approve General Assembly and U.S.

Offenders at North Carolina’s 55 state prisons won’t get cards, photos or handwritten letters anymore. Instead, officials said they will receive printed-out versions of digital scans. WNCN-TV reports that the Department of Public Safety piloted the program in four women’s prisons starting last year and says disciplinary infractions for drug possessions dropped 50 percent. The rule change went into effect at men’s prisons on Monday. The department says the program will make prisons safer, but advocates are concerned that it will hurt social connections for people behind bars.

Pitt County YouTube

Pitt County’s board of commissioners voted at their meeting Monday to prohibit carrying concealed handguns on county property. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more. 




Republican legislative leaders have sent another budget-bargaining offer to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The offices of Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore said the joint proposal was taken to Cooper’s office Tuesday. It arrived two weeks after Cooper provided his counteroffer to the initial pitch from GOP lawmakers. A state budget was supposed to be in place July 1, but slow work at the Legislative Building combined with still-significant differences with Cooper have extended talks from the summer into the fall.

City of Greenville

The City of Greenville will soon begin construction on a seventh fire station.  The $7.4 million one-story facility totals 13,583 square feet and includes three drive through lanes in its apparatus bays, seven private bedrooms, and a 25-person training room.  According to a news release, the new fire station will take between 18 and 24 months to complete. City officials will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday and dedicate the nearby open space known as Lake Firetower in honor of the families who helped complete a land exchange for the fire station’s new location.

A North Carolina judge has signaled he’s ready to formally demand legislators carry out a funding recipe to reduce public education inequities — whether or not a state budget is in place. Superior Court Judge David Lee told lawyers on Monday to draft a proposed order shortly that demands compliance with a remedial spending plan he endorsed this year. The plan calls for least $5.6 billion in new funding by 2028. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's budget proposal contains $1.7 billion through mid-2023. Republican budget proposals fell well short of that total.

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

The wild horses on North Carolina's Outer Banks are in the midst of a feeding frenzy, and observers say persimmons are their overwhelming food of choice. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund says on social media that the America]n persimmon is a fruit-bearing tree native to the coast and can be found growing throughout where the horses roam. According to the organization, the fruit becomes ripe and sweet in the fall and becomes a source of food for the horses.


The Biden administration is launching a wide-ranging strategy to regulate toxic industrial compounds used in products including cookware, carpets and firefighting foams. Environmental Protection Agency head Michael Regan says his agency is taking a series of actions to limit pollution from a cluster of long-lasting chemicals known as PFAS that are increasingly turning up in public drinking water systems, private wells and even food. The chemicals are associated with serious health conditions, including cancer.


State and federal funding was recently approved to help the City of New Bern acquire several homes in flood-prone areas. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more.




Pitt County Voter Redistricting website

The Pitt County board of county commissioners is holding a public hearing Monday during their meeting at 6 p.m. on the proposed Voter District Plan. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more.



UNC researchers study why sea turtles die

Oct 18, 2021
Daniela Rodriguez-Puente

North Carolina’s estuaries - the place where freshwater and saltwater meet - are home to things like shellfish, plants, fish and turtles. Researchers in Morehead City are studying the human impacts from climate change which is leading to warmer waters and declining populations of turtles.  This piece was produced by UNC Media Hub.


A North Carolina judge wants an update on why a funding roadmap designed to reduce public education inequities among students hasn’t been carried out so far. Superior Court Judge David Lee scheduled a court hearing for Monday in the long-running “Leandro” school funding case. He's said that the legislature and Gov. Roy Cooper should fully fund the remedial spending plan, in particular by earmarking $1.7 billion through mid-2023. Republican lawmakers and the Democratic governor are still in state budget talks that include K-12 spending.

Jared Brumbaugh

Early voting for the Nov. municipal elections started Thursday across Eastern North Carolina. 


North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says it would be “appropriate” if Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson resigned for comments he made about sex education in public schools that critics say plainly disparaged LGBTQ people. Cooper spoke on Wednesday at a bill-signing ceremony. Robinson has taken heat since last week when a video from a church appearance in June surfaced. Many Democrats called on Robinson to resign. Robinson hasn't apologized and says his comments were critical of books found in some public schools.

"Wind turbine blades" by vaxomatic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says the Biden administration will hold lease sales for up to seven offshore wind farms on the East and West coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico in the next four years. The projects are part of the administration's plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030,  generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes. Haaland says her department hopes to hold lease sales by 2025 off the coasts of Maine, New York and the mid-Atlantic, as well as the Carolinas, California, Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico.

The City of New Bern

The city of New Bern announced that its new assistant city manager will be current Havelock police chief Marvin Williams. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more. 

Gov. Roy Cooper - Twitter

A milestone energy bill that targets sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions from North Carolina power plants has become law. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed the legislation on Wednesday. The directive aims to reduce carbon dioxide output of North Carolina energy producers 70 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. North Carolina and Virginia are now the only Southeastern states that have passed legislation establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements.