Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
North Carolina governor: RNC hasn’t submitted safety plan
North Carolina’s governor said Thursday that his administration hasn’t received the written safety plan for the upcoming Republican National Convention requested by his health secretary in response to President Donald Trump’s demands for a full-scale event. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said during a media briefing that his administration has yet to see plans for how the RNC envisions safely holding the convention in Charlotte in August amid the COVID-19 pandemic. North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter Monday to the top RNC organizer asking for a written safety plan after Trump demanded in a tweet that North Carolina guarantee a full-scale, in-person convention.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
N.C. legislature OKs bill overturning Cooper order on bars
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have voted to essentially overturn Gov. Roy Cooper’s order keeping bars closed due to COVID-19, but the governor may be able to block it with his veto stamp. The legislation approved by the Republican-controlled Senate and House on Thursday would allow bars to reopen outdoors only. It also would allow additional seating outdoors for restaurants that the Democratic governor partially reopened for indoor dining last week. Republicans said the measure would bring a lifelife to businesses devastated by the economic downturn and Cooper’s previous orders. But Cooper says now isn’t the time to reopen bars when hospitalizations and deaths keep increasing.
AP-NC-CHEMICAL PLANT-INSPECTOR GENERAL’S REPORT
Report: Chemical plant releases went unchecked for years
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C (AP) – Environmental regulators did not inspect a North Carolina chemical facility for eight years even though it was under a federal agreement to prevent the release of potentially toxic substances known as PFAS. WRAL reports that the revelation was made in a report released Thursday by áthe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general. The report said that regulators didn’t inspect the plant because they didn’t know the agreement existed. The report focuses on a Chemours facility in Bladen County, which is near the Cape Fear River. PFAS are used in firefighting foams and other products. Some have been linked to cancer.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GRADUATION CEREMONY
N.C school board votes for in-person graduation amid virus
MONROE, N.C. (AP) – A school board in North Carolina has voted to hold an in-person graduation ceremony for all its high schools that would be a violation of the state’s coronavirus safety orders. News outlets report the Union County Public Schools Board decided in a 5-4 vote Thursday to hold the ceremonies in an outdoor stadium where students would maintain social distancing. But the ceremonies would still violate Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order limiting mass gatherings to 25 people in outdoor spaces. Specific arrangements for the ceremonies will be discussed when the school board meets again on Tuesday.
Officials: Escaped inmate captured while trying to steal car
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Department of Public Safety says an inmate who escaped from a prison was captured while trying to steal a car. Officials said Chapel Hill police took 32-year-old Gerrhon D. Mills into custody on Thursday afternoon, about 24 hours after he was reported missing from the Wake Correctional Center. Authorities said they arrested Mills as he was trying to take a car near a Chapel Hill shopping center, about 30 miles away from the prison in Raleigh. The department didn’t say how Mills got out of the detention center. News outlets report he was set to be charged with escape.
North Carolina city records fourth homicide in a week
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A woman found shot to death in Winston-Salem marks the city’s fourth homicide in six days. The Winston-Salem Journal reports police have identified the woman as 21-year-old Jericka Nasgah McGee. Officers found McGee’s body lying in the street, adding that she has been shot several times. As in the previous three cases during the week, there have been no arrests in the case. Winston-Salem police spokesman Lt. Gregory Dorn says investigators have leads in all four cases, but couldn’t account for the recent spate of slayings.
Reward grows for information in 2018 North Carolina slaying
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Anonymous donations have boosted the reward being offered for information in the 2018 slaying of a Greensboro couple. The News & Record of Greensboro reports Greensboro/Guilford Crime Stoppers said another $1,825 has raised the reward to $3,825 for information in the deaths of Shaquanna Hudson and Jermaine Wilson. The two were found on May 2, 2018, by one of Hudson’s friends, who had stopped by to check on Hudson after not being able to reach her by phone. The friend found Hudson bleeding from the head at the front of the rental home she shared with Wilson, who was found dead in a back bedroom.
N.C. ballot access rule changes for pandemic OK’d by House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Changes to mail-in absentee ballot rules in North Carolina and funds to improve safety at in-person voting sites during the COVID-19 pandemic have received overwhelmingly approval in the state House. The bipartisan measure approved Thursday by the chamber is designed to help those at higher risk for developing complications from the coronavirus be able to vote. The measure now heading to the Senate expands the options for registered voters to receive an absentee ballot request form and to turn it back in. The bill also distributes money for equipment and security upgrades and for personal protective equipment.