Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
OUTER BANKS BEAR
Bear paw print makes an impression on Outer Banks beach
CAPE LOOKOUT, N.C. (AP) – National Park Service rangers are telling beachgoers at Cape Lookout to be on the lookout for a black bear. In a Facebook post, Cape Lookout National Seashore said Saturday that a park biologist found a bear’s paw print in the sand on South Core Banks, part of the chain of Outer Banks barrier islands. The park says it’s rare for bears to make their way onto the barrier islands, but they’re excellent swimmers and can generally make their way across inlets to hop from island to island. Park officials don’t believe the bear is a threat to humans or horses on the island.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina COVID-19 data show 400 new cases, 3 deaths
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Health officials in North Carolina are reporting roughly 400 new coronavirus cases and only 3 new deaths in their latest count. The updated numbers released Sunday by the state health department show the total number of cases statewide grew by 404 from a day ago to 14,764. The death count increased from 544 to 547. The rate of positive tests for the virus remained under 10 percent. State officials are monitoring data as North Carolina began over the weekend to allow a phased-in reopening of businesses. One-day changes can sometimes be an anomaly, and officials say they are looking for trends that sustain themselves over 14 days or longer.
Visitors flock to Smoky Mountains park on reopening day
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – The reopening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a little too tempting of a draw as scores of nature lovers from dozens of states crowded trails and trekked into blocked-off areas. A park spokeswoman on Saturday said parking lots were packed and lines of cars snaked down tree-lined streets. Many people did not wear masks. Visitors also walked past heavy barricades on one of the park’s most trafficked trails, Laurel Falls, which was closed off to heed federal social distancing guidelines. On the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the Great Smoky Mountains is the county’s most visited national park. It was closed March 24.
BC-NC-VIRUS OUTBREAK-POULTRY PLANT
Virus outbreak prompts temporary closure at poultry plant
WILKESBORO, N.C. (AP) – A Tyson Foods poultry plant in North Carolina is closing temporarily for deep cleaning after a coronavirus outbreak there. News outlets report that one of two Tyson plants in Wilkesboro closed Saturday and will reopen on Tuesday. The plant is normally closed on Sundays anyway. Tyson employs about 3,000 people at its two Wilkesboro plants. A spokesman for the plant wouldn’t say how many employees had contracted COVID-19. But officials in Wilkes County said Friday that an outbreak at the plant is responsible for a majority of the county’s 194 coronavirus cases. Meat processing plants across the country have seen outbreaks of coronavirus.
NORTH CAROLINA-DEPUTY FIRED
Lawyer: Deputy led armed group to black teen’s home
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A sheriff’s deputy in North Carolina is facing criminal charges after authorities say he led a group of people to the wrong home in a search for a missing girl. New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said Friday that Jordan Kita will be charged with trespassing and breaking and entering. News outlets report Kita led an armed group of people to the home of Dameon Shepard, a senior at Laney High School in Wilmington. The all-white group tried unsuccessfully to force its way into the home of Shepard, who is black. Kita was looking for a 15-year-old girl but went to the wrong home. He has since been fired.
FATAL RESTAURANT SHOOTING
2 killed in shooting at Asheville restaurant parking lot
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police say two people have died after being shot inside a car at the parking lot of a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina. Police said they were called to the restaurant Friday around 9:15 p.m. and found a 23-year-old Asheville man in the parking lot suffering from gunshot wounds. He died at the scene. A second victim, age 19, was found later with a gunshot wound in a car that crashed near the scene. Asheville Police believe both were shot while inside the car at the Wendy’s parking lot. Police said Saturday they have identified and are looking for two persons of interest.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
N.C. governor: Virus threat remains as stay-home order eased
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper says COVID-19 remains a lethal threat to North Carolina residents, even as rules he issued to ease a statewide stay-at-home order take effect. Cooper offered sobering comments to citizens even while defending his decision this week to initiate the first part of his three-phase plan to jump-start the economy starting Friday afternoon. He said it’s still preferable to stay at home and urged social distancing and the wearing of face masks in public. But he called the new rules a “careful modest step.” More than 13,850 people have tested positive in the state with over 525 deaths.
Deadline delay, downturn mean big hit to N.C. revenues
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The keeper of North Carolina’s financial books says revenue collections fell dramatically in April, when tax filing deadlines were delayed and commercial transactions slowed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The State Controller’s Office reported this week that overall revenues for the month were one-third less than what was collected in April 2019. April is usually a big collection month. The April drop also turned what had been a revenue surplus through March into a $1 billion gap between projections and actual collections. These reductions compound challenges that legislative budget-writers and Gov. Roy Cooper face in operating state government during the outbreak.