Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
CHARLOTTE ECONOMIC REPORT
Report: Charlotte area sheds 71,000 jobs in first quarter
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A new reports says the Charlotte region lost over 71,000 jobs in the first quarter of this year as businesses dealt with impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The report released Monday by the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance says that number represents about 4.8% of all the jobs in the area. That decline is still better than national figures that point to more than one in 10 Americans losing their jobs during the virus outbreak. The group’s vice president says the pandemic has put an abrupt stop to the 113 months of economic growth the area experienced through company expansions, corporate relocations and new investments.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
N. Carolina virus outbreak means prisoner, staffing shifts
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A large COVID-19 outbreak at an eastern North Carolina prison has led officials to shutter a nearby facility so its correctional officers can help relieve staff there. The Division of Prisons said Monday that more than 330 of the 700 offenders at Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro and a dozen of its employees have now tested positive. Nearly all of them are asymptomatic. Officers from the Johnston Correctional Institution should start working at the Neuse prison in a few days now that the Johnston prisoners have been moved elsewhere. There are now 6,750 positive COVID-19 cases statewide and about 180 deaths.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TOWN CHECKPOINT
North Carolina coastal town lifts visitor restrictions
BEAUFORT, N.C. (AP) – A coastal town in North Carolina is lifting restrictions it imposed on visitors because of the coronavirus outbreak. WITN-TV reports the town of Beaufort in Carteret County has ended its police checkpoint near U.S. Highway 70. Mayor Rett Newton says the move is the first step toward taking the waterfront town back to normal. The town declared a state of emergency on March 17 because of the threat posed by the coronavirus and enacted restrictions that were to remain in effect through April 29. On April 9, the city established checkpoints that limited access to full-time county residents, people sheltering in place and essential workers.
Cunningham outraises Tillis recently; senator ahead in cash
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Cal Cunningham outraised Republican incumbent Thom Tillis during the final days of their respective primary elections and in the weeks following. Finance reports due this month show Cunningham’s campaign collected $3 million from mid-February through the end of March, compared to almost $1.4 million raised by Tillis’ campaign. Cunningham also spent more during the period, likely due to the fact that Cunningham was in a more competitive primary. Tillis’ committee had $6.5 million in its coffers entering April, which is more than double what Cunningham had on hand. The two will be on the November ballot.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FOOD STAMPS
More food help coming to North Carolina families
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Low-income families in North Carolina with school-age children will soon get additional food benefits thanks to federal funds sought by state government due to the COVID-19 crisis. Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Monday that the state is among the first four states approved to provide help through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer. That’s $250 in benefits per child for families whose children are eligible for free and reduced school lunches. The benefits are funded by the federal government and will flow through electronic cards. Program families already are getting the maximum amount of monetary benefits for their household size through April.
Aide: Lt. Gov. Forest uses campaign money for COVID-19 help
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has given nearly $200,000 from his gubernatorial campaign fund to people and businesses needing assistance due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. That’s according to his campaign manager in a video released Monday that also criticized Democratic incumbent Roy Cooper for a recent campaign fundraising plea. The disclosure comes as Cooper has held a large campaign fundraising advantage over Forest. A Cooper campaign spokeswoman says Forest is just continuing to to inject politics into a public health crisis. Cooper has held the media spotlight for weeks while leading the state’s response to the new coronavirus.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH
Wrightsville Beach opens to visitors, but with restrictions
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) – Officials in a North Carolina coastal town have opened beach access to the public, but with a set of restrictions. Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens announced that ocean and soundside beach access points are open as of noon Monday, but they are subject to restrictions. According to the town, all access points and beaches will be opened for what’s described as individual, non-stationary exercise activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, and surfing and water sports. beaches have been opened to residents and property owners in Carteret County, but are still restricted to tourists. Surf City officials took down barriers to public beach access last Friday.
ELECTION 2020-BIDEN FUNDRAISING
Pandemic squeezes finances of Democratic grassroots donors
WASHINGTON (AP) – Wealthy Democratic donors have been an object of scorn for many progressive activists, who argue that the large contributions they give are part of a broken political system that favors the well-connected. But with many out of work and a recession likely on the horizon, there are signs that the army of grassroots givers who fueled the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren one $5 contribution at a time are being squeezed. Now, after a protracted primary debate over the propriety of relying on big-dollar donors, wealthy financiers may be the only ones with the ability to pour cash into the party’s effort to beat Donald Trump.