Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Lawsuit filed to block N.C. governor orders on churches
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Conservative Christian leaders have sued North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper in hopes of getting thrown out his restrictions on indoor religious services during the COVID-19 pandemic. They argue the limits violate their right to worship freely. Two Baptist churches, a minister and a Christian revival group filed the federal lawsuit on Thursday to block enforcement of rules covering religious services. The latest order largely prevents most faith organizations from holding indoor services attended by more than 10 people. Cooper says his orders have recognized First Amendment protections and urged congregations to make good decisions about looking after the safety of their members.
Historically black colleges work to help students amid virus
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – President Barack Obama plans to delivers a commencement speech for the nation’s 104 historically black colleges and universities on Saturday. It comes at a perilous time for the schools. HBCUs have long struggled with less funding and smaller endowments than their predominantly white peers and are now dealing with the financial challenges of the coronavirus. And they have the added challenge of educating a large population of low-income and first-generation students who now need more help than ever from their schools. Alabama State University President Quinton Ross says HBCUs have always been “a shelter in a time of storm” for their students.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MEAT PROCESSORS
Poultry producer closes two plants for COVID-19 deep clean
WILKESBORO, N.C. (AP) – A poultry producer is temporarily closing two of its three plants at a complex in North Carolina for a deep cleaning amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Tyson Foods spokesman Derek Burleson said in an email that one of two plants dealing with fresh meat as well as a food processing plant at the Wilkesboro facility will close from Thursday to Tuesday. A third Wilkesboro plant, which also processes fresh poultry, will continue to operate on a limited basis. An accompanying statement said the company made the decision voluntarily to protect its workers amid a coronavirus outbreak.
Police: Stabbing suspect threw gas on officers, stabbed K9
BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say that a man stabbed another man multiple times before throwing gasoline on responding officers and charged them with a knife. Police also say the man stabbed a police dog. Burlington police said the incident occurred late Thursday night. Police said they responded to a report of a stabbing and found a man suffering from non-life-threatening stab wounds. They said suspect Ali Asghari Sandi threw gasoline on them and charged them with a knife. He was eventually arrested. But not before an officer suffered non-life threatening injuries. A police dog named Talon is also being treated for injuries that are considered non-life threatening.
FATAL FORKLIFT ACCIDENT
Authorities: North Carolina worker dies in forklift accident
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a worker died Thursday in an accident involving a forklift at a distribution center. BIC Corp. officials confirmed the employee was at the company’s center in Charlotte when the accident happened. The Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency said first responders pronounced the victim dead at the scene. Company officials didn’t identify the worker or comment further on the circumstances surrounding the death. In a statement obtained by news outlets, the company called it “a tragic accident.” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said they were investigating in coordination with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
N. Carolina legislative buildings reopen to public next week
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The public can return to North Carolina’s legislative complex to watch the General Assembly conduct business when it reconvenes its annual session after a two-week break, but health precautions will continue. The Legislative Building and nearby Legislative Office Building will be reopen to visitors on Monday, four weeks after they were closed. Lawmakers met for about a week during that time to approve a COVID-19 relief package. Building attendance will be capped at half of fire code capacity, and people who enter will be subject to temperature checks for now.
Burr steps aside as Senate intelligence chair amid FBI probe
WASHINGTON (AP) – A Republican senator with access to some of the nation’s top secrets has become further entangled in a deepening FBI investigation. Agents examining a well-timed sale of stocks by Sen. Richard Burr during the coronavirus outbreak showed up at his Washington-area home with a warrant to search his cellphone. Hours later, the North Carolina lawmaker stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The search warrant marks a dramatic escalation in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Burr exploited advance information when he unloaded as much as $1.7 million in stocks in the days before the coronavirus caused markets to plummet. Burr has denied wrongdoing.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CONGREGATE FACILITIES
Prison workers get free testing; gear going to nursing homes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina government is offering widespread testing or protective equipment to workers in two of the more vulnerable living settings for COVID-19 outbreaks. The Department of Public Safety unveiled on Thursday a plan to make free testing available starting next week to employees in state prisons and those who supervise offenders in the community. An earlier initiative failed to materialize. Gov. Roy Cooper also says packages of personal protective equipment are being sent to each of the state’s 3,800 long-term care facilities. More than half of North Carolina’s COVID-19-related deaths have involved nursing home residents.