Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
PRIVATE SCHOOL GRANTS
Suit again targets N.C. private school scholarship program
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Several North Carolina parents have sued to halt the state’s taxpayer-funded scholarship program for K-12 children to attend private schools. Monday’s filing in Wake County court comes five years after a closely divided state Supreme Court upheld the legality of the private-school grants through the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The plaintiffs in the new lawsuit say the program violates several portions of the state constitution, including those protecting religious freedom. They say their viewpoints on religion and sexuality bar them access to publicly funded educational opportunities because conservative private schools that receive the money demand adherence to their views on Christianity and LGBT rights.
Trump coming to North Carolina to see work on virus vaccine
MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) – President Donald Trump is coming to North Carolina to visit a biotech facility involved in work to create a COVID-19 vaccine. Trump’s trip on Monday to Morrisville is his first public event in the state since the eve of the March 3 presidential primary. Trump won North Carolina’s electoral votes in 2016 by nearly 4 percentage points. The state is also considered a presidential battleground this fall. The FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Innovation Center that he’ll tour is manufacturing key components of a vaccine candidate developed by another company.
ELECTION 2020-MAIL VOTING-GOP
Here’s how Trump’s opposition to mail voting hurts the GOP
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – President Donald Trump’s campaign against voting by mail is setting his party back in the race to sign its voters up for the easiest and safest way to cast a ballot during the pandemic. Republican strategists have worried privately for months that the president’s baseless claims of widespread mail voting fraud would put them at a disadvantage in November. Now that seems to be coming true. Republicans have traditionally dominated in mail voting in Florida. But now Democrats have leapt ahead in the race requesting mail ballots. The situation is similar is several other swing states.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-LIQUOR SALES
North Carolina liquor sales see 12% jump during fiscal year
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Liquor sales in North Carolina have seen a 12% increase during the fiscal year that ended on June 30. The Fayetteville Observer reports the jump largely came in March when Gov. Roy Cooper shut down bars and restaurants due to the coronavirus pandemic. Charles Hill owns multiple liquor stores in the state. He told the newspaper that customers said they were purchasing high amounts of alcohol because of fears Cooper would also shut down liquor stores. Liquor purchases by bars and restaurants has remained below normal levels as of June.
9-year-old North Carolina shot to death, mother wounded
EDENTON, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a 9-year-old girl was shot and killed and her mother wounded as they sat inside a car last weekend. The Chowan County Sheriff’s Office says in a news release on Monday that Makiia Slade was shot and killed on Friday night as they traveled on U.S. Highway 17. Makiia’s mother, Shatory Hunter Slade was hospitalized for a gunshot wound and is listed in fair condition. According to the sheriff’s office, a vehicle of interest was found, and the driver is cooperating with investigators.
FOREIGN FIGHTERS-DEADLY AMBUSH
Prosecutors to consider death penalty in soldiers’ case
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – Federal prosecutors have suggested that they will seek the death penalty against one of two men accused of the shooting deaths of a Florida couple so they could finance their trip to Venezuela to fight the socialist government. Attorneys for both sides held a video hearing on Monday for defendant Alex Zwiefelhofer, who along with fellow Army veteran Craig Lang are accused of arranging the deadly robbery of Serafin and Deana Lorenzo to finance the Venezuela trip. U.S. Attorney Josephine W. Thomas suggested a discussion with defense attorneys to determine how they would proceed with the case. Defense attorney D. Todd Doss said he didn’t feel prepared for such a discussion.
Ag officials warn of unsolicited seed shipments to states
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Agriculture officials in multiple states have issued warnings about unsolicited shipments of foreign seeds and advised people not to plant them. In Kentucky, the agriculture department says it was notified that several Kentucky residents received unsolicited seed packets sent by mail that appeared to have originated in China. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said Monday the types of seeds are unknown and could be harmful. He stressed that the seeds should not be planted. In North Carolina, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it was contacted by numerous people who received seed shipments they did not order.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE TESTING
Colleges plan for virus testing, but strategies vary widely
BOSTON (AP) – Dozens of U.S. colleges are announcing plans to test students for the coronavirus this fall, but their strategies vary widely. Colby College in Maine plans to test all students every other day for two weeks and then twice a week. Harvard University will test students on campus three times a week. But some plan to test students only if they show symptoms or come into contact with a positive case, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Federal health officials discourage widespread testing on college campuses, but some researchers say it’s necessary to prevent outbreaks. Cornell and Yale university researchers say that without widespread testing, COVID-19 could be spread by infected students who don’t show symptoms.