Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina extends stay-home order, develops reopen plan
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the state’s stay-at-home order from COVID-19 will remain in place for at least another two weeks because current data doesn’t support loosening restrictions that first began in mid-March. The Democratic governor said this and other prohibitions on dine-in restaurant services and mass assemblies has now been extended until May 8. The stay-at-home order was supposed to expired next week. Cooper also unveiled a three-phase plan for reopening based on expanded tracing and testing and declining case growth. Republican governors in Tennesse, South Carolina and Georgia this week announced they would ease restrictions so that some nonessential businesses could open.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-HEALTH SYSTEMS CUTS
Vidant Health announces furloughs, pay cuts due to COVID-19
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Vidant Health is announcing furloughs, reduced salaries and cuts to employee benefits at its hospitals because of the COVID-19 outbreak. News outlets report the health system says that while a growing number of patients rely on Medicare and Medicaid, it is experiencing what it calls “a significant decrease in volumes which is impacting revenue.” Effective Sunday, Vidant says it will reduce pay for executives and all employees. The system will be implementing furloughs, salary reductions, and schedule/shift adjustments. It also will be cutting employer contributions to retirement plans by 50%.
N.C. woman sentenced for impersonating FBI Agent on date
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for impersonating an FBI agent on an online dating site and on a date. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina said Thursday Riane Brownlee posed in a dating profile with a fake FBI badge and a stolen gun. The office says she told a date in February 2019 that she was working as an undercover agent in a drug case. She has had prior felony convictions, including for identity theft. Authorities say 39-year-old Brownlee was driving a stolen car when she got arrested.
NETFLIX SERIES-GEOGRAPHY GAFFE
Producer of Netflix’s ‘Outer Banks’ explains geography gaffe
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina-born producer of the Netflix series “Outer Banks” says it was an editing oversight which may have led some viewers to think Chapel Hill is a ferry ride away from the coast. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that Raeford native Jonas Pate said in the original script, characters took a ferry from an island to the coast, then took a ride-sharing service to Chapel Hill. Pate said the scene that involved getting into the ride-share and driving to Chapel Hill was never even shot, and no one realized cutting it would imply Chapel Hill was on the coast. Chapel Hill is approximately 250 miles west of the Outer Banks.
FOOTBALL PLAYER-FATAL SHOOTING
N. Carolina man arrested in football player’s shooting death
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have arrested a man in last month’s shooting death of a college football player. Durham police said in a news release that investigators arrested 20-year-old Denzel James Fitzgerald, who was indicted this week on a murder charge. News outlets say Fitzgerald turned himself in to police. According to police, officers found 20-year-old Trevor Malik VanDyke shot to death around 9:30 p.m. on March 3. Investigators said VanDyke, who played football at North Carolina Central University, was apparently shot in one location and drove to the spot where he was discovered.
Perks approved to move Carolina Panthers practice HQ to SC
ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) – A county in South Carolina has approved a deal loaded with tax breaks for the Carolina Panthers to move their headquarters and practice site. News outlets report the York County Council approved the deal in a 4-3 vote after listening to public comments during the virtual meeting Monday. It follows a series of moves the state has made to attract the team’s headquarters from Charlotte, North Carolina, where the Panthers will continue to play games. The council says the deal will give the team a break from property taxes for 20 to 25 years.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FOOD DISTRIBUTION
North Carolina beer, wine distributors aid food deliveries
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A number of beer and wine distributors in North Carolina are volunteering their tractor-trailers to help stock the state’s grocery stores and food pantries in the midst of the coronavirus. The Charlotte Observer reports the NC Beer & Wine Wholesalers and NC Retail Merchants associations have joined forces to provide its trucks and commercial drivers to get products to the stores. Since Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home order went into effect March 17, distributors lost about a quarter of their business that normally delivers to restaurants and bars.
‘Republicans are nervous’: Some in GOP eye protests warily
MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The latest demonstration by right-wing groups against measures to contain the coronavirus will be held áin Wisconsin. But as with some earlier events, one group will be noticeably absent Friday: the state’s most prominent Republicans. That includes Sen. Ron Johnson, a Trump ally, who says he’ll be sheltering in place at his home. Johnson’s distance and ambivalence is shared by many Republicans as they warily watch the protests. Six months from an election, the demonstrations are forcing some Republicans to reckon with a restless right flank advocating an unpopular opinion.