By Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres (Arbeitsbesuch Mazedonien) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Syria’s civil war erupted five years ago in the summer of 2011.  According to Al Jazeera, it is the deadliest conflict of the 21st century thus far.  To put that into perspective, the United Nations estimated the death toll to be a quarter of a million people as of last August.  But that’s a fraction of the people who have fled the violence in Syria.  The BBC puts the number of displaced people at 11 million.  And all sides in this conflict have engaged in war crimes -- torture, rape, kidnapping… Public amputations of fingers, hands, feet – and gruesome executions are commonplace. 

We’ve spent week after head-scratching week following outrageous developments – often in the form of Tweets -- from Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.  We’ve witnessed the convention-shattering roller coaster of the Hillary Clinton / Bernie Sanders contest.  And, as North Carolinians, we’ve enjoyed the national spotlight for several months thanks to the recent passage of HB2…

Today, we’re getting professional help.  In the form of laughter. 


Judicial Primary Election To Be Held This Tuesday

Jun 3, 2016
New Hanover County Board of Elections

North Carolina’s judicial primaries will be held on Tuesday, June 7th.  All of New Hanover County’s 43 polling places will be open to voters from 6:30AM to 7:30PM. 

Photo: Rachel Lewis Hilburn; gardenia: Jeff Hunter

If we had an in-studio camera on this episode, you would have seen two people wearing headphones, a series of microphone set-ups, and sitting on top of a small, round table covered with a layer of green felt, you would notice a mason jar filled with a cutting from a Gardenia bush.  If you looked more closely at the jar, you would have observed tiny insects covering the petals of the white Gardenia blossom.  On this edition of CoastLine, we find out from plant and garden expert Tom Ericson what these bugs are and what to do about them. 

U.S. Department of Justice

On this edition of CoastLine, we shine a light on a criminal enterprise that has overtaken illegal gun trafficking as the second-most prolific crime around the globe for making money.  Human trafficking, which can include sex trafficking, is on the rise around the world and here in southeastern North Carolina. 


Broilers, fryers, roasters, turkey, chicken – and eggs – those are the products of the poultry industry in North Carolina.   The Poultry Federation claims that it contributes more than $34 billion to North Carolina’s economy.   Statistics from the North Carolina Poultry Jubilee are a bit more moderate:  they claim an economic impact to the state of $12.8 billion.  They don’t disagree so much, however, on the number of jobs this business creates:  between 109,000 and 110,000 people make their living bringing birds and eggs to the table.     

To fuel North Carolina’s pork industry, the state is host to more than 9 million pigs.  Turns out, that hog waste is a fuel of its own, and it’s becoming a bigger part of North Carolina’s energy portfolio.  Duke Energy announced its second swine waste-to-power project in North Carolina earlier today. 

Summer Saunders / Interfaith Refugee Ministry - Wilmington

Since October 2015, 71 people have arrived in Wilmington as refugees -- most of them from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Another 20% are from Colombia, and half a dozen have fled Burma.  Over the previous fiscal year (October - September), nearly 100 people resettled in the Wilmington area.  Most of that group came from Burma; about a quarter arrived from Colombia. 

Bob Nichols, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

North Carolina is host to more than 9 million hogs.  According to the North Carolina Pork Council, the industry generates about $11 billion a year and supports about 46,000 full-time jobs.