Jay Price

Military Reporter

Jay Price has specialized in covering the military for nearly a decade.

Before joining WUNC, he was a senior reporter for the News & Observer in Raleigh, where he traveled four times each to Iraq and Afghanistan for the N&O and its parent company, McClatchy Newspapers. He spent most of 2013 as the Kabul bureau chief for McClatchy.

Price’s other assignments included higher education, research and health care. He covered the aftermaths of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi and a series of deadly storms in Haiti.

He was a fellow at the Knight Medical Evidence boot camp at MIT in 2012 and the California Endowment’s Health Journalism Fellowship at USC in 2014.

He was part of a team that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for its work covering the damage in the wake of Hurricane Floyd, and another team that won the Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a series of reports on the private security contractor Blackwater.

He has reported from Asia, Latin America, and Europe and written free-lance stories for The Baltimore Sun, Outside magazine and Sailing World.

Price is a North Carolina native and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate. He lives with his wife and daughter in Chapel Hill.

Ways to Connect

Chris Seward, File / AP Photo

  The U.S. Army has quarantined 90 soldiers and instructors in the Special Forces school who tested positive for the coronavirus during a survival course at Fort Bragg.

Courtesy U.S. Army

A female soldier is poised to become the first to graduate from the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg and don the famed Green Beret.

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, who’s on the House Armed Services Committee, issued a statement saying the woman had met all the qualifications and is expected to graduate July 9th. She congratulated the soon-to-be graduate on Twitter.

Soldiers gather for a 2019 awards ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C. The base is one of 10 that Pentagon leaders say they are open to renaming.
Joshua Cowden / U.S. Army

With the call for changing the names of 10 Southern military bases gaining momentum, the question is starting to arise in Washington  and outside of it  what names might replace those of the Confederate generals they now bear?


Nicole Willis, left, of Clayton, NC, dines with her friend Crystal Keefe of Raleigh, on Saturday morning at Mama Dip's Kitchen in Chapel Hill, NC.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Over the weekend, restaurants in most of North Carolina were allowed to serve sit-down customers again, though with social distancing and restrictions on capacity.

But the pandemic is expected to continue taking a harsh toll on an industry that has become one of the state's largest. It's likely to do lasting economic damage, especially in the neighborhoods, towns, and cities that have built reputations as eating destinations in recent years as the restaurant industry boomed.

Tables sit vacant and pollen-covered at Kabab and Curry, a restaurant on Hillsborough Street during the coronavirus pandemic in Raleigh, N.C. on Sunday, March 22, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

With the state considering whether to allow dining in restaurants again as soon as this weekend, the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association has unveiled a new training program aimed at protecting diners and restaurant staff from the coronavirus.

Jay Price / WUNC

As the year began, news was emerging from China about something called a coronavirus. At the same time, nearly 3,000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team left Fort Bragg on a short-notice deployment.

bus stop sign
Chuck Liddy / For WUNC

As federal politicians argue about pandemic relief payments for state and local governments, more than 600 North Carolina cities, towns, and counties are trying to develop budgets for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Lighthouse
Courtesy of Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

The Outer Banks is opening up to at least some outsiders again after barring visitors for weeks.

Local officials are opening Dare County's part of the barrier islands to non-resident property owners in phases beginning May 4. This will let them prepare houses for the summer rental season.

Nags Head
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Like much of North Carolina’s economy, the $25-billion-a-year tourist industry has ground to a halt because of the coronavirus. And on the Outer Banks, where the economy depends almost entirely on visitors, the timing could scarcely be worse.

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A sunrise from Cape Hatteras beach
National Park Services / Facebook

Visitors aren’t allowed on the Outer Banks right now because of COVID-19. But there's a new way to absorb the tranquility of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

On the seashore's Facebook Page, the National Park Service has posted a 24 minute video of nothing but the sun rising and waves lapping on the beach.

Cape Hatteras
scott1346 / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/22gXbzu

Visitors aren’t allowed on the Outer Banks right now because of COVID-19. But there’s a new way to absorb the tranquility of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Lonon faces away from the cemetery while walking away.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

COVID-19 is changing all aspects of life — including the rituals we associate with death. All funerals have been upended, but veterans have now lost one particularly important ceremony: burial with military honors. 

Ivar Lonon holds two boxes containing the cremated remains of his mother and father at Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, N.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Among all the milestones, the key rituals of life being cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic — weddings, baby showers, birthdays — is that iconic last one for military veterans, burial with military honors.

UNC Health set up a medical triage tent in front of its main hospital in Chapel Hill specifically for coronavirus patients.
Jay Price / WUNC

Hospital systems across the state have begun to postpone many elective surgeries to get ready for an expected wave of COVID-19 cases. 

Emergency treatment and surgeries won't be affected.

UNC Hospital
Jay Price / WUNC

It's an odd moment for the people who work in North Carolina healthcare. They read the reports of what is happening in Italy, South Korea and China, where hospitals in the worst-hit areas have been swamped with patients and in some cases reportedly overwhelmed.

Credit Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAM / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak, North Carolina is now in a state of emergency. Gov. Roy Cooper issued the declaration Tuesday, as increased testing better accounts for the rising number of confirmed cases in the state.

Veteran salutes other veterans
flickr.com

VA medical systems across the state have begun basic screening for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus. 

Marines training at Camp Lejeune.
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tom Gagnier / U.S. Navy

The Marines are moving nearly 1,000 special operations troops and civilian employees to Camp Lejeune.

From its beginnings in 2006, Marine Special Operations, or MARSOC, has been split between the East and West coasts, with some of the troops at Lejeune, and the rest at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

That’s going to end. It has decided to pull all its forces together at Lejeune, where the unit’s headquarters anchors a high-security compound.

Allen G. Breed, File / AP Photo

For years, the Piedmont Triad’s cities have been chopped up and divvied between Republican-dominated congressional districts, diluting their heavy concentration of Democrats. But last year, after courtroom fights over partisan gerrymandering concluded, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point were united in a new 6th district that’s likely to go blue.

82nd Airborne paratroopers marching at Fort Bragg
Sgt. Kissta M. Feldner / U.S. Military

Iranian airstrikes on two U.S. military bases in Iraq yesterday marked a response to the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. In the past week, thousands of soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg rapidly deployed to the Middle East and Marines from Camp Lejeune are now also on their way to reinforce U.S. military presence.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie meets with veterans on a recent visit to North Carolina.
Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs

The number of veterans in North Carolina is quickly rising as more of them choose to settle here. That's led the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to shift more resources to the state. It's opened several small medical clinics and hospital-sized outpatient centers around North Carolina, and has more planned in coming years, including major projects in Raleigh and Jacksonville.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie traveled to North Carolina for the opening of a new VA healthcare site at a Walmart in Asheboro.
Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans in the Asheboro area have a new place to go for VA health care appointments: Walmart.

The VA is making telehealth — connecting patients with healthcare providers through technology like video — a central part of the way it cares for patients. The idea is mainly to expand access for veterans who might live far from a VA clinic or medical center.

an offshore drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico
Creative Commons / Flickr https://flic.kr/p/mU1Qdz

  

 

  A North Carolina environmental group has released a report detailing the potential risks of the Trump administration’s plans to open the nation’s coastlines to more oil and gas drilling. Environment North Carolina cites the dangers from spills during drilling, and also from pollution from the presence of additional infrastructure like ships, ports and pipelines.

Researcher release six young loggerhead turtles in the Atlantic Ocean.
Jay Price / WUNC

As scientists loaded up a dive boat on the Morehead City waterfront recently for a trip offshore to study artificial reefs, six plastic storage bins came aboard for an unrelated mission.

A scientist popped the lid off one to reveal a sea turtle not quite as large as a dinner plate, looking up with gentle, other-worldly eyes.

Each cooler contained a young loggerhead a bit more than a year old. Three had come from the state aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and the others were from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach.

drone
Jay Price / WUNC

Shipwrecks off the coast of North Carolina have long drawn divers and even treasure hunters. Now, species of tropical and subtropical fish are showing up, driven there by the impacts of climate change.

From left, Eureka VFW Post Commander Rick Weldon, Deborah Scher of the VA, and VFW National Commander William Schmitz cut a ribbon to welcome a VA telemedicine pod to the post.
Jay Price / American Homefront

The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun installing telehealth pods in remote locations. It's part of an ongoing VA push to shift more outpatient appointments to telehealth.

Nags Head Town Engineer David Ryan stands alongside a pump that can lower the water table in a coastal neighborhood. It's part of the town's efforts to better prepare for big storms.
Jay Price / WUNC

After hundreds of years of mainly focusing on the aftermath of hurricanes, this is the first hurricane season that North Carolina has a "chief resilience officer," tasked to think ahead in new ways to bolster the state against the effects of climate change.

Resilience officers, or officials who have such duties as part of their job, are fast becoming a typical part of local government in coastal areas. But just a handful of state governments have them.

Soldiers at Fort Benning, Ga. use immersion troughs filled with ice and water to cool off during training in this 2018 photo.
Patrick A. Albright / U.S. Army

The Pentagon says reported cases of heat exhaustion jumped nearly 50 percent between 2014 and 2018.

A home at fort Bragg getting major renovations under the new program.
U.S. Army Photo

The private-sector companies that manage housing on U.S. military bases have been under fire ever since media reports last winter about problems like mold and poor maintenance, and Congress is considering reforms.

Now one of the companies —  which operates the housing on Fort Bragg and a dozen other installations —has unveiled an unusual plan it says will help, and could be a model for the other companies.

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