Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Lieutenant governor primary runner-up to leave Senate early
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina state Sen. Andy Wells is leaving his legislative seat before his term expires. The Catawba County Republican announced on Monday he’s resigning effective next week. Wells finished second in the nine-candidate GOP primary for lieutenant governor in March, losing to Mark Robinson. Wells was elected to the House in 2012 and won a Senate seat two years later. Local Republican activists can choose someone to fill out his current term. Two people already are running to succeed him in November. Wells was known for his legislative work on retirement and unemployment benefit systems, as well as regulatory reform.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-DRIVING TESTS
Driver license road tests waived for N.C. adult applicants
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Road tests still aren’t being performed by examiners from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles due to COVID-19, so now certain adults are exempt from passing one to obtain a regular license. The DMV announced that starting Wednesday it’ll waive the road test for drivers 18 or older in several specific situations. This follows the General Assembly approving a law last month allowing youths to defer the road test otherwise required to obtain a limited provisional license. The adults seeking a waiver still must make an appointment with the DMV and provide all required documents in person.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ALCOHOL SALES
Raleigh mayor bans late-night alcohol sales amid pandemic
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina mayor has banned alcohol sales after 11 p.m. in an effort to curb the coronavirus spread. Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin signed an executive order Monday announcing the sale ban in bars, restaurants and grocery stores. The curfew will be from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and will take effect Wednesday. According to the order, social distancing and face covering requirements weren’t being followed at restaurants and other businesses in the evening and early morning hours. Baldwin said the curfew could reduce the spread of COVID-19 and “reduce the number of people, especially young people, gathering without masks.”
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ABSENTEE BALLOTS
Judge weighs N.C. voting rule change demand with COVID-19
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A judge is listening to arguments this week about whether the COVID-19 pandemic demands changes to North Carolina’s voting systems this fall. U.S. District Judge William Osteen scheduled a hearing starting Monday involving a lawsuit by two voting advocacy groups and several citizens who fear current rules threaten their health if they want to vote. The plaintiffs want Osteen to block several voting restrictions now. A new state law already eases absentee ballot rules and directs that an online portal be created to file applications. Similar virus-related voting lawsuits have been filed in North Carolina and other states.
BC-NC-SEA CREATURES FLAG
New flag warns of jellyfish, stingrays on Outer Banks beach
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) – Lifeguards on a beach in North Carolina’s Outer Banks have posted a new purple flag that is adorned with images of a jelly fish and a stringray. The Virginian-Pilot reported Sunday that that the flag serves as a warning when the sea creatures are nearby. The purple flag expands warnings to swimmers beyond the red banner that’s already flown when rip currents are present. A yellow flag also warns of heavy shore break or dangerous currents. Purple flags are a common maritime warning. But David Elder, supervisor of Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue, said he asked a local business to add images of the creatures to be more specific.
Police: Body of 22-year-old man recovered in North Carolina
MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say they recovered the body of a 22-year-old man from a lake in North Carolina after they were called about a possible drowning. The Mount Holly Police Chief said in a news release witnesses told police the man and another person were swimming in Mountain Island Lake Sunday when the victim went under the water and never resurfaced. The victim was found after a search of the area and declared dead at the scene. Authorities have not released his identity.
ELDORADO RESORT-CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT
Eldorado finishes $17.3B buyout of Caesars Entertainment
LAS VEGAS (AP) – A Nevada company has completed a $17.3 billion buyout of Caesars Entertainment Corp. and will take the iconic company’s name going forward as the largest casino owner in the world. Eldorado Resorts said Monday it now owns more than 55 casino properties in 16 U.S. states. The buyout also affects Caesars properties in the United Kingdom, Egypt, Canada, Dubai and a golf course in Macau. The company plans to shed several properties in Indiana, New Jersey and elsewhere to satisfy antitrust concerns raised before the merger gained approval from federal and state regulators.