Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
NC may ease COVID-19 restrictions if outbreak pace slows
North Carolina’s governor said Monday that he could ease some coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses after April if social-distancing practices continue to slow the virus outbreak over the next two weeks. Meanwhile, corrections officials said they are allowing some inmates out of state prisons early if they didn’t commit violent crimes and fit certain criteria. Gov. Roy Cooper stressed at a news briefing that relaxing restrictions meant to slow the virus outbreak would be gradual. He said he’s discussing with epidemiologists what steps could be taken after the end of April to help the economy. Current measures include only allowing restaurants to serve takeout and delivery and restricting many nonessential businesses.
North Carolina shipwreck has become a hazardous attraction
NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) – A 72-foot-long fishing vessel that ran aground on North Carolina’s Outer Banks has quickly become a tourist attraction. But the National Park Service is warning people to stay away from the shipwreck for their own safety. The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that the ship, named Ocean Pursuit, has been grounded at Cape Hatteras National Seashore since March 1. Its crew was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. The Park Service says the vessel is unstable and sits close enough to the ocean that it could be dragged out to sea. All hazardous materials and fuels have been removed, but it remains unclear when the ship’s owner will retrieve the vessel.
North Carolina police department offers reward in slaying
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police department is offering a $1,500 reward in connection with a fatal shooting. The Asheville Police Department says in a news release it’s looking for 21-year-old Dajour Johahaun McDay and 29-year-old Sherwayne Akeen Bascom, who is charged with first-degree murder, in connection with the shooting death of 29-year-old Adrian Terrell Smith. Police say a second person was shot at Pisgah View Apartments on April 3 and was taken to a local hospital with critical injuries. Police have already arrested Tyran Dewayne Burton and filed multiple charges against him. Burton is jailed on a $250,000 secured bond, and it’s not known if he has an attorney.
Applications open for Appalachian Leadership Institute
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Applications for the Appalachian Leadership Institute are being accepted for the program that begins this fall. The Appalachian Regional Commission developed the training program along with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; The Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy; Tuskegee University; and Collective Impact. The ARC says the institute is a nine-month program focusing on skill-building, seminars, best practice reviews, mentoring and networking. The institute’s second class will run from October to July 2021. It is for community leaders who live or work in Appalachia.
Storms tear through South amid pandemic; more than 30 dead
CHATSWORTH, Ga. (AP) – Storms that killed more than 30 people in the Southeast are spreading misery atop a pandemic as they move up the East Coast. The severe weather outbreak that began on Easter in the Deep South caused floods, mudslides and more than 1 million power outages by Monday. Officials say 11 died in Mississippi, and eight more died in Georgia. Other deaths were reported in Arkansas, Tennessee and the Carolinas. The severe weather outbreak came with much of the nation shut down because of the new coronavirus. In Alabama, people huddled into community storm shelters wearing protective masks to guard against the threat.
SEVERE WEATHER-NORTH CAROLINA
Storms kill North Carolina resident when tree falls on home
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A line of severe thunderstorms and most likely some tornadoes have swept across North Carolina, leaving one woman dead after a tree crashed into her bedroom. The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that the 61-year-old woman lived in Lexington, North Carolina. It is about half an hour south of Winston-Salem and northeast of Charlotte along Interstate 85. Jonathan Blaes, the meteorologist in charge for the National Weather Service in Raleigh, said surveys are underway to confirm that tornadoes had struck parts of the state. Those areas include Alamance County in the central part of the state and parts of the coast near Jacksonville. The western part of North Carolina also experienced extremely heavy rain.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-INMATE DEATH
Inmate dies, 80-plus others infected in his prison complex
BUTNER, N.C. (AP) – A 81-year-old inmate in North Carolina has died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The Federal Bureau of Prisons says Charles Richard Rootes died Saturday after receiving treatment for over two weeks. He was diagnosed with the virus on March 26 after being taken to a hospital for respiratory failure. The News & Observer reports more than 80 people, including 22 employees, have been diagnosed with the virus in the prison complex that housed Rootes. Butner Prison Complex’s medium-security facility, which houses 641 men, currently has more than 40 inmates who have tested positive for the virus. There are 10 other confirmed coronavirus cases among inmates at Butner’s low-security facility.
New island replaces old one off North Carolina coast
NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) – Two years after a newly formed North Carolina island was lost to storm surge, officials say a new one appears to be rising in its place on the Outer Banks. Cape Hatteras National Seashore says the nearly 100-foot long formation was discovered Sunday, about a quarter of a mile south of Cape Point. It’s in the same area where Shelly Island showed up on a NASA satellite in the fall of 2016. National Park Service officials say the sandbar could either continue growing in size or get washed away with the next storm swell.