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VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
More deaths spur new North Carolina nursing home directives
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina health officials are ordering new resident and employee protections in the state’s nursing homes after the new coronavirus has penetrated further such facilities. Gov. Roy Cooper said on Wednesday that more than 60 residents at an Orange County long-term care facility have tested positive and two of them have died. Moore County health officials also announced more than two dozen residents at a rehabilitation center as having COVID-19. The additional restrictions come as civil rights groups and prisoners asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to order the state prison system to release high-risk offenders and others already soon to be let out.
AP-NC-CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS-NORTH CAROLINA
Judge: Confederate group must return statue fund to UNC
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina judge has ruled that a $2.5 million fund that was set up to maintain a Confederate statue will have to be returned to the University of North Carolina. The judge’s order is the latest step in the dismantling of a controversial deal that struck between the university and a Confederate heritage group. The deal was made after the Silent Sam statue was toppled on campus in 2018. The Raleigh News & Observer reported Wednesday that the judge has orderedthe money returned. However, he did approve tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses and other costs that had already been spent.
Authorities search for child missing after mom’s stabbing
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina have issued an amber alert for a 2-year-old boy who investigators think was taken from his mother’s home after the woman was stabbed. Durham police said the woman suffered non-life threatening injuries when her son, Jeremy Rivas-Munoz, was abducted early Thursday. Police said they think Jeremy’s father, 22-year-old Emerson Melendez Rivas, attacked the woman and escaped with the child. The alert said the two are believed to be in a blue Toyota sedan. Police said they do not know where Melendez Rivas may have gone with the boy.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-PROPERTY ACCESS-LAWSUIT
Six people sue North Carolina county over beach access
MANTEO, N.C. (AP) – Six people have filed a federal lawsuit contending that a North Carolina county’s entry restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic are unconstitutional and beyond its authority. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports the lawsuit contends the plaintiffs should be able to prepare their rental properties in Dare County for the spring and summer season. Dare County closed its borders to visitors and non-resident property owners three weeks ago in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s intended to limit the number of people on a narrow barrier island. The plaintiffs come from Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-PUBLIC BEACHES-FINES
North Carolina beach increases fines for violators
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) – Officials at a North Carolina beach town are increasing fines for people who violate beach closures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials in Wrightsville Beach say if people are caught on the beach in violation of the public beach closures, they could face fines of up $650 and potential court costs. Before the change, offenders faced a misdemeanor that carried a $150 fine. Town leaders passed an ordinance allowing police to charge anyone caught on the beach with a $500 civil penalty up to the officer’s discretion. Last weekend, Wrightsville Beach police issued 18 citations to people violating the beach closure rule.
House fire claims mother and son in North Carolina
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say that two people have died in a house fire. WRAL reports that the Tuesday morning blaze in Wake Forest claimed the lives of Lawrence Williams and his mother, Ella Virginia Smith. Batallion Chief Edward Barrett said Wednesday that both were found unconscious in bedrooms. They were revived and treated for smoke inhalation but died hours later. He said the fire remains under investigation. Williams was living in the house and taking care of his mother. She would have turned 87 on Friday.
North Carolina man dies after deputies find him shot in car
HALLSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a man has died after sheriff’s deputies found him inside a car with gunshot wounds. The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office says in a news release that deputies responding to a call late Tuesday night found a car in a ditch in the town of Hallsboro. Deputies discovered 25-year-old Joshua Blake Tedder of Lake Waccamaw with multiple gunshot wounds. The sheriff’s office says Tedder was taken to a local hospital, where he died. Deputies have made no arrests in the case so far.
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.