Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
As COVID cases hit new high, N.C. delays K-12 reopen plans
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina delayed announcing statewide plans for reopening K-12 public schools. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he expects to release updated guidance “in the coming weeks.” Schools were instructed in June to draft three plans for resuming fall classes, which include in-person and remote learning. Cooper on Wednesday said his top priority is to get kids back into classrooms. The decision to postpone a decision on how best to reopen classrooms comes as new coronavirus cases hit a single-day high at 1,843. Public health officials are still working on a plan to protect college students as campuses reopen across the state.
Forest files lawsuit challenging N.C. governor’s orders
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has filed his lawsuit challenging Gov. Roy Cooper’s decisions to shutter businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic without getting the backing of other elected officials. The Republican officially sued the Democratic governor in Wake Superior Court on Wednesday, nearly a week after Forest signaled he’d do so. Cooper and Forest are running for governor in November. Forest wants voided six of Cooper’s executive orders issued since March because Cooper didn’t obtain “concurrence” from the Council of State for his actions. Cooper says his administration has followed the law while making health and safety decisions.
11 more people arrested outside N.C. governor’s mansion
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina’s capital city have arrested 11 more people during demonstrations outside the Executive Mansion focused on urging Gov. Roy Cooper to veto a measure addressing death investigation records. The latest arrests happened Wednesday after officers demanded the protesters disperse. Many of them had blocked the street across from the mansion. Four other demonstrators were arrested Tuesday. The protesters don’t like a measure that would make clear the records held by law enforcement and deemed confidential retain that same confidentiality when handed to state medical examiner. Cooper said Wednesday he expected legislators would discuss finding a way to fix the issue.
Insurer Centene plans 3,200 jobs at new N.C. regional hub
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Government health insurance provider Centene Corp. says it will build an East Coast campus in Charlotte, North Carolina that will generate more than 3,200 jobs by 2032. The St. Louis-based company announced on Wednesday it will spend $1 billion for the new campus, which also will include a technology hub. The state Commerce Department document says Centene picked Charlotte over Tampa, Florida and York County, South Carolina for the campus, where average salaries for the jobs created will reach $100,000. Centene could receive $390 million in state cash grants if the company meets job and investment incentives.
N.C. Rep. Farmer-Butterfield is Cooper’s choice for board
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Longtime North Carolina state Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield has been nominated by Gov. Roy Cooper to join a state panel that reviews unemployment benefit appeals. Cooper this week formally named the Wilson County Democrat as his choice for a seat on the North Carolina Employment Security Board of Review. Farmer-Butterfield woudl have to resign from the legislature if she is confirmed by the House and Senate. Lawmakers are expected to reconvene briefly next week. Farmer-Butterfield joined the House in 2003 and has focused on health and social services issues during her time in office.
RACIAL INJUSTICE-SCHOOL OFFICIAL RESIGNS
North Carolina school official resigns over Facebook posts
MONROE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina school official says a school board member has resigned from his position after posting “insensitive” images on social media. Union County Public Schools’ Board Chairperson Melissa Merrell announced in a news conference Monday that Travis Kiker emailed her a resignation letter. The Charlotte Observer reports images posted by Kiker on Facebook include ones that mocked Black NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace. Merrell says school officials received calls about Kiker’s social media posts before board members saw them last week. Kiker’s term on the school board was scheduled to end in 2022.
Russian bounties further strain Trump’s bond with veterans
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The relationship between the nation’s veterans and President Donald Trump has been strained repeatedly over the last four years. But just four months before Election Day, new cracks with dangerous political ramifications are being exposed amid reports that Trump either ignored, or was unaware of, a Russian plot to kill U.S. troops. There was a significant outcry this week from retired service members, elected officials in both parties and families of fallen soldiers who have lost confidence in the president’s commitment to the troops. Any erosion in Trump support from the national security community could damage his reelection prospects, particularly in swing states with large military communities.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FORT BRAGG
Army quarantines 90 soldiers with coronavirus at Fort Bragg
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) – The U.S. Army has quarantined 90 soldiers and instructors who tested positive for the coronavirus during a survival course at Fort Bragg. Army spokeswoman Janice Burton told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the soldiers were participating in a special warfare course called Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. She said a total of 110 people were involved in the course, and 82 students and 8 instructors had tested positive for COVID-19. Burton said everyone who participated has now been quarantined, although the 20 people who did not test positive were separated from the others.