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ELECTION 2020-TRUMP CONVENTION
Republicans outline trimmed-back agenda for 2020 convention
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is set to be officially renominated in a shrunken Republican convention truncated to four hours in Charlotte, North Carolina, before the GOP show moves on to Florida. The Republican National Committee outlined the agenda for the Aug. 24-27 event. Its public components were shifted last month to Jacksonville, Florida, amid a tiff with North Carolina’s Democratic governor over the state’s reopening guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump’s plans for a packed arena in Florida have been thwarted by a resurgence in virus cases. The RNC announced last week that only delegates to the convention will be permitted to attend the first three nights of the event.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
N.C.’s largest district to begin year with online learning
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s largest public school district is sticking with only online student learning to start the academic year. The Wake County school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to become yet another system not ready to return to classrooms next month due to COVID-19. Board members had committed earlier to a rotating schedule for in-person instruction to begin the year, but district officials said things have changed since coronavirus hospitalizations and the percentage of positive cases have increased. Gov. Roy Cooper also last week gave school districts the option to conduct all instruction online. Positive COVID-19 cases have now exceeded 100,000 in North Carolina.
ELECTION 2020-BIDEN ENTHUSIASM
Democratic group looks to close Trump-Biden enthusiasm gap
NEW YORK (AP) – President Donald Trump may be losing, but one pro-Democrat super PAC is concerned that doesn’t mean Joe Biden is winning. The group PACRONYM is embracing a new strategy backed by $15 million in online ads to help close the nagging enthusiasm gap between Trump and Biden. One strategist warns that Biden is leading many polls “by default” and may lose his advantage unless Democrats give voters better reasons to get excited about their nominee. The group will target roughly 1.7 million “low-information” left-leaning voters across six battleground states who don’t know much about Biden and probably wouldn’t turn out to vote without a push.
MONK KILLED-NORTH CAROLINA
Police: Monk found fatally wounded at North Carolina temple
HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a Buddhist monk found suffering from a fatal wound while kneeling at an altar was likely struck by a bullet fired from outside the temple. High Point police said Tuesday they responded to the temple Saturday after another monk discovered Tam Dinh Tran in a praying position and bleeding. First responders determined Tran had a traumatic injury to his right side. Officials said detectives discovered a bullet lodged in an exterior wall and it appeared bullets were fired from the road by the temple, traveled through the wall and struck Tran. The department said it didn’t appear Tran was specifically targeted. The investigation remains ongoing.
VIRTUAL ACADEMY-WAKE COUNTY
Virtual academy draws nearly half of district’s students
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Nearly half of the students in North Carolina’s Wake County have signed up for the school district’s virtual academy to avoid in-person instruction this fall. The Wake Virtual Academy received 78,792 applications, far exceeding expectations. The Wake County school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to begin the school year with online learning for all of its students, with in-person instruction to follow when practical. Some parents and teachers want online classes only for safety reasons as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. But other families say the high demand for the virtual academy should make it easier to reopen schools for remaining students.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA-COOPER
August hearing set in lawsuit pitting Forest against Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A hearing has been scheduled in litigation from Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest challenging several COVID-19 restrictions issued by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. A judge set Aug. 4 as the date for arguments before him. Forest sued the governor three weeks ago, saying executive orders that Cooper’s issued during the pandemic should be voided because the Council of State didn’t agree to them. Cooper has said he followed the law while making health and safety decisions. The state Supreme Court also suspended on Tuesday a ruling by the same judge in separate litigation that otherwise would let some bowling alleys reopen.
Cluster of coronavirus cases found at North Carolina casino
CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP) – Health officials in North Carolina are investigating a cluster of coronavirus cases after five casino employees tested positive for the virus within two weeks. The Jackson County Department of Public Health said in a news release Monday the cases were identified among Harrah’s Cherokee Casino employees who work in the table games section. The regional manager of the casino said no other employees or customers have been identified as having close contacts with the employee who have tested positive. The casino had closed in March and reopened in late May with 30% capacity. The business said in May employees would be having daily health checks.
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.