Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina business owners anxious in midst of pandemic
As North Carolina businesses sit idle in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the people running some of those businesses sit anxiously and wonder when – or if – they’ll get back to work. In Raleigh, an events planner is concerned that large gatherings may not resume until 2022, which would be an untimely setback as she and her husband try to move into a new house. To the west in Gastonia, a salon owner is concerned for herself and the 10 women who work for her because the state shut down hair salons and barber shops to prevent the spread of the virus.
TODDLER DEATH-HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION
North Carolina police rule toddler’s death was homicide
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police department says it is investigating the death of an 18-month-old boy as a homicide. News sources report that Greenville police said in a news release that Isiah Gillis was hospitalized at Vidant Medical Center with a serious head injury on April 2. Officers were dispatched to the hospital after the Pitt County Department of Social Services reported a potential case of child abuse. Gillis later died as a result of the injury, although the department did not say on what day. Police said the Pitt County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death as a homicide.
Final talks on virus aid package next after House OKs plan
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators are getting down to negotiating final details of their initial COVID-19 emergency package after the House approved a version more generous with federal funds than the Senate. The House voted almost unanimously Thursday for a measure that distributes over $1.7 billion of the state’s share of coronavirus relief approved by Congress. The Senate passed a package Wednesday that distributes over $1.3 billion. Budget-writers want to send a pair of bills backed by both chambers to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk by Friday. The legislature is operating under new rules to encourage social distancing, such as online committees and some proxy voting.
Ex-congregant charged with breaking into minister’s home
UNDATED (AP) – A secretive evangelical church in North Carolina says hysteria over the new coronavirus may have motivated an ex-member with a gun to break into the home of one of the sect’s top ministers. But the now-jailed suspect said he was on drugs and doesn’t know why he ended up Sunday in the communal house where he once lived. Authorities say 23-year-old Stephen Cordes is charged with breaking and entering to terrorize or injure and drug possession. Cordes said in a phone call from jail he did not intend any harm and that he carries a gun for his protection, usually leaving it in his car.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COURT OF APPEALS
North Carolina appeals court online arguments is a first
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The COVID-19 outbreak means North Carolina’s intermediate-level appeals court will make history by hearing oral arguments in a case using online video. Three judges from the state Court of Appeals plan to listen to lawyers remotely on Thursday through videoconferencing, which will be a first for the court. It’s an appeal of a verdict in a civil lawsuit in which the plaintiffs alleged battery and won a monetary award. Members of the public also can watch the arguments online, like they can in person under normal circumstances.
Suit challenges power of 4 N.C. towns to run charter schools
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A state law that allows four Charlotte-area municipalities to operate charter schools has been challenged in North Carolina court. The NAACP and two parents filed the lawsuit on Thursday, alleging the charter authority violates the state constitution and would exacerbate racial segregation if the schools open. The law granted the option to Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville and Cornelius. Elected leaders there said they wanted the option to address overcrowded public schools, and that it had nothing to do with race. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system was the subject of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling almost 50 years ago upholding busing to address segregation.
Police: Kids stole $1M in cars from N. Carolina dealerships
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have accused a group of teenagers and children as young as 9 of stealing more than $1.1 million in vehicles from car dealerships. Winston-Salem police told news outlets that the 19 suspects range in age from 9 to 16 and are accused of stealing nearly 50 cars from dealerships in Winston-Salem and Kernersville since mid-March. Police said the Forsyth County Department of Juvenile Justice has denied the department’s requests to detain the children, but the investigation remains ongoing. Police said they have charged one 19-year-old suspect with possession of a stolen motor vehicle in connection with the break-ins.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GASTON COUNTY
North Carolina public universities aim for fall 2020 restart
The leader of North Carolina’s public university system says he plans to reopen campuses in the fall with precautions against COVID-19. University of North Carolina System Interim President Dr. Bill Roper issued an announcement Wednesday that he expects to reopen classrooms across the system’s 17 public campuses for the fall semester, though with some limitations or modifications, as long as virus trends don’t deteriorate. áMeanwhile, a county near Charlotte issued a symbolic order urging the governor to ease statewide business restrictions, while acknowledging its residents are still subject to the governor’s stay-home order meant to fight the virus outbreak.