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April 8, 2020
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April 8, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT



North Carolina leaders talk cooperation as deaths grow
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s elected officials are pledging cooperation and preparing for expanded distancing restrictions as COVID-19-related deaths jumped by a third statewide. The Department of Health and Human Services reported 46 deaths related to COVID-19 as of Tuesday and more than 3,200 cases. Gov. Roy Cooper told Council of State members meeting remotely that the state will get through the pandemic if everyone does their part. The council includes State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who tested positive and recently left the hospital. He participated in the meeting. Cooper expects another order this week that would seek to limit crowds at groceries and other retailers.



‘The Lost Colony’ canceled for summer due to COVID-19
MANTEO, N.C. (AP) – The group which runs the long-running play “The Lost Colony” has canceled the 83rd season scheduled to start at the end of May because of the coronavirus pandemic. The board of directors of the Roanoke Island Historical Association announced on the play’s Facebook page on Tuesday that the cancellation of Paul Green’s play is the first since World War II. The board said the association didn’t want to risk the safety of ticket buyers, cast crew, staff and volunteers and determined that canceling the season was the best decision for all involved.



North Carolina town cancels Fourth of July celebration
SOUTHPORT, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina city has canceled its 225th Fourth of July celebration over concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak. The city of Southport announced on its Facebook page on Tuesday that it decided to cancel the N.C. 4th of July Festival on the advice of Mayor Joseph P. Hatem, who is also a doctor who specializes in internal medicine. The city also announced that it is canceling all pubic events through Labor Day. Hatem called the decision difficult “but the most prudent one and will overall prevent disease and save lives.” 



Voting-rights disputes in virus era spark court battles
Both major political parties are preparing for a state-by-state legal battle over how Americans can vote during the coronavirus outbreak. The dynamic played out in Wisconsin this week when judges initially held up Tuesday’s election, changed its rules and then put it back on shortly before polls opened. Democrats argue that states need to make voting easier and provide more opportunities to vote by mail during the pandemic to prevent the virus from spreading. They say they’re ready to sue to force that. Republicans say Democrats just want to loosen rules to help them win elections.



Man accused of violating virus restrictions taunts police
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has turned himself in after being accused of violating the state’s coronavirus restrictions by leasing non-essential rentals. Police say 34-year-old Shawn Thomas Johnson surrendered Tuesday. The State reports an account apparently belonging to Johnson taunted police on the arrest warrant posted on Facebook. They report Johnson commented on the post asking if he can get a reward for telling police about his own whereabouts. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Johnson’s real estate license was revoked in 2019 for keeping property money that does not belong to him. Police say the renters in the property leased by Johnson complied with orders to leave.



Hackers’ new target during pandemic: video conference calls
WASHINGTON (AP) – As businesses, schools, churches and others turn to video conference platforms to stay connected amid the global coronavirus pandemic, many have reported being attacked by uninvited guests. The disruptions, dubbed “Zoom-bombing,” have included racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic messages and have drawn the scrutiny of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Experts say some of the Zoom-bombing incidents can be attributed to internet trolls who operate without malicious intent. However, extremists have already seized on the coronavirus pandemic as a vehicle to spread their hate and conspiracies.” In response to criticism, Zoom has clarified its privacy policy. But some say the company isn’t doing enough to protect users’ safety.



No serious injuries reported after explosion at fuel plant
LONG VIEW, N.C. (AP) – An explosion at a hydrogen fuel plant in North Carolina has damaged nearby homes but left workers without any serious injuries. News outlets report that the explosion occurred at the OneH2 Inc. hydrogen fuel facility in the town of Long View on Tuesday. The plant is about an hour northwest of Charlotte and provides hydrogen for fuel cells that power machines such as forklifts. Terri Byers, fire education coordinator for the Hickory Fire Department, told the Hickory Daily Record that there were no serious injuries. The plant’s building was damaged. So were some nearby houses that suffered broken windows and had doors blown out of their frames.



Black doctor jailed over $100 bill sues Charlotte, police
A North Carolina doctor is suing the city of Charlotte and three police officers over her arrest at a concert where she was accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $100 bill. Dr. Cordula Lutz says she was singled out for malicious prosecution and jailed overnight because she’s African American. She says the bill clearly was not counterfeit, and says she repeatedly humiliated before the case was dropped for lack of probable cause. Her lawyer says “the lawsuit is all about accountability and making sure that the presumption of guilt doesn’t become a pattern. The city, its police and Live Nation Entertainment didn’t respond to requests for comment.



AP-WF-04-08-20 1020GMT