Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
MONK SEAL VIDEO
Hawaii visitor pays fines, apologizes for slapping monk seal
HONOLULU (AP) – The attorney for a man who slapped a Hawaiian monk seal while visiting Oahu has issued an apology on behalf of his client, who has paid fines issued by federal and state agencies. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported an attorney in North Carolina says the man paid the fines following an investigation of a video shared on social media. The video shows a man approaching a monk seal from behind and slapping its hindquarters, which is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. The attorney did not disclose the amount paid and says he advised his client to remain anonymous.
COLLEGE SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
UNC Charlotte to hold online remembrance of fatal shooting
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The anniversary of the shooting deaths of two North Carolina university students will be observed with an online service because of the coronavirus mandate to stay at home. UNC Charlotte says on its webpage that it will mark the shooting last April 30 with “United: A Remembrance Program,” to pay tribute to Reed Parlier and Riley Howell, the two students who were killed when a gunman opened fire in a classroom. The event will also honor all the students who were in the classroom that day. Trystan Andrew Terrell pleaded guilty last September to charges stemming from the shooting.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Cooper sets route to ease restrictions, warns of new normal
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper has set in place the route that North Carolina must take before movement and commerce restrictions due to COVID-19 can ease. Cooper said on Wednesday that the state will need more widespread testing, extensive efforts to track down people in contact with the sick and slowed case and hospital rates. Cooper must decide soon what to do with a stay-at-home order that expires April 29. He also warned that improvements would be incremental and described a “new normal” in which restaurants must be partially-full and fans prohibited from concerts and sporting events.
North Carolina airports to get $283 million in COVID-19 aid
WASHINGTON (AP) – More than 70 North Carolina airports have received nearly $284 million in federal aid to help with their response to the COVID-19 outbreak. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced Tuesday the Federal Aviation Administration will award the money to 72 airports as part of the Trump administration’s newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Airport Grant Program. The program is aimed at providing relief to U.S. families, workers, and businesses. A news release from the FAA said the money will support continuing operations and replace lost revenue resulting from the sharp decline in passenger traffic and other airport business due to the pandemic.
Multitudes of uncollected seashells in N.C. amid tourist ban
HARKERS ISLAND, N.C. (AP) – The lack of tourists in North Carolina’s Outer Banks during the coronavirus pandemic has been creating large piles of uncollected seashells. A Facebook video posted Monday by the Cape Lookout National Seashore shows a multitude of colorful shells spread out across the beach as waves splash over them. The Charlotte Observer reports that while park facilities are closed, both Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras national seashores in the Outer Banks are open to residents. The shells remain uncollected since visitors tend to gather them during the springtime.
North Carolina police seek last of 3 suspects in shooting
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police department is searching for the last of three suspects wanted in a fatal shooting. The Asheville Police Department said in a news release that 21-year-old Dajour Johahaun McDay has turned himself in and is currently in custody. Police are still looking for 29-year-old Sherwayne Akeem Bascom. Both men are charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 29-year-old Adrian Terrell Smith. Police said officers received a report of a person suffering from a gunshot wound at Pisgah View Apartments on April 3. When officers arrived, they found two victims inside an apartment. Smith died at the scene, and a second person was hospitalized with critical injuries.
North Carolina 19-year-old charged with killing infant son
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have charged a 19-year-old with murder and child abuse in the death of his 7-month-old son. Winston-Salem police said Christion Vaughn Jones was arrested and booked into jail Wednesday without bond. News outlets report authorities responded to a Winston-Salem apartment in July 2019 and found family members performing CPR on the unresponsive boy. An arrest warrant said the child was later pronounced dead at a hospital and autopsy results showed he suffered a torn liver, broken ribs and a damaged intestine, among other injuries. It’s unclear whether Jones has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-VOTING MACHINES
N. Carolina lawsuit cites virus to stop touch-screen voting
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The threat of hand-to-hand contamination from the new coronavirus while voting entered arguments in a lawsuit seeking to stop the use of touch-screen ballot-marking machines in North Carolina. Lawyers for North Carolina voters and the state NAACP largely cited constitutional concerns Wednesday in their lawsuit demanding the machines from Election Systems & Software be barred from future elections. The plaintiffs also say the touch-screen machines are inherently hazardous to use during the COVID-19 crisis because screens are smudged with fingers and hands. The litigation comes as states figure how to conduct high-stakes elections this fall should the new coronavirus persist.