AP-NC Newswatch

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August 18, 2020
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August 18, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment 



Universities scramble to deal with virus outbreaks
North Carolina’s flagship university is switching all undergraduate classes to remote learning due to the spread of coronavirus during the first week of classes. Officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and schools around the U.S. are scrambling to deal with new cases amid the start of the fall semester. Cases were reported at Oklahoma State University after maskless students packed into a nightclub, and off-campus parties have been blamed for cases at Notre Dame. Schools in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama also were not immune, as officials were frustrated by the lack of social distancing and scenes of crowded entertainment districts and bars on the first weekend many students returned to school.



Portal access troubles mark 1st day of N.C. public schools
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s public schools have returned to class with most students still learning at home to start the year due to continued worries about COVID-19. Nearly all schools in K-12 districts began classes on Monday. Districts and charter schools that teach about two-thirds of the 1.5 million students chose full-time remote learning for now. The first day was marked initially by problems entering an online portal to access several digital applications for students and teachers. The Department of Public Instruction said it was back up later in the day. School buildings were shuttered in March amid the pandemic and never reopened this past year.



Politics slows flow of US virus funds to local public health
Congress has allocated trillions of dollars to ease the coronavirus crisis. A joint Kaiser Health News and AP investigation finds that many communities with big outbreaks have spent little of that federal money on local public health departments for work such as testing and contact tracing. Others, like Minnesota, were slow to do so. So little money has flowed to some local health departments for many reasons: Bureaucracy has bogged things down, politics have crept into the process, and understaffed departments have struggled to take time away from critical needs to navigate the red tape required to justify asking for extra dollars.



AP survey: States uncommitted to Trump’s unemployment boost
Most states have not committed to accepting President Donald Trump’s offer of a stripped-down boost in unemployment benefits for millions of Americans amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Associated Press surveyed state governments and found concerns about the details of Trump’s plan and whether states can afford to chip in. A federally funded $600 weekly unemployment bonus expired at the end of July. Trump’s plan would increase unemployment checks by $300 or $400. States are required to chip in $100 per claimant to be able to send out the higher amount, something few have agreed to do. In the meantime, unemployed Americans are trying to make do with thinner benefits.



Report: Mayor hired political donor to remove statues
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A report shows the mayor of Richmond, Virginia, agreed to pay $1.8 million to a firm linked to a political donor to take down Richmond’s Confederate statues last month. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that documents that Mayor Levar Stoney office provided under a Freedom of Information Act request showed the city contracted with NAH LLC to remove Richmond’s Confederate icons during recent unrest. The newspaper reports the entity was created 10 days before Stoney ordered the statues removed and is linked to a contracting firm owned by a Stoney donor. The mayor’s spokeswoman said the donations did not play a role in the mayor’s decision.



Crowd protests outside US Postmaster’s North Carolina home
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – More than 100 demonstrators descended on the North Carolina neighborhood of the U.S. Postmaster General to protest recent changes to the Postal Service that have created fears for mail-in voting ahead of the November presidential election. News outlets report that protesters gathered for about two hours Sunday along the streets below Louis DeJoy’s Greensboro mansion. DeJoy, a Republican fundraiser and major political donor, has sparked outcry over postal delays, new prices and cutbacks as millions prepare to vote by mail to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unclear whether DeJoy was at the home during the demonstration.



Over $700K raised for slain boy’s funeral in North Carolina
WILSON, N.C. (AP) – More than $700,000 has been raised for the funeral service of a slain 5-year-old boy in North Carolina whose death has captured national attention. The donations poured into a GoFundMe page organized by Gwen Hinnant, who identifies herself on the website as Cannon Hinnant’s grandmother. Cannon’s funeral was held Thursday, days after the boy was fatally shot in the family’s driveway as he rode his bike. A neighbor has been charged with first-degree murder in his death. Some have taken to social media to claim that race was a factor in Cannon’s death. Police warned Friday about false information circulating on social media about the case.



Man dies after being hit in head with stick; suspect charged
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has died after being struck in the head with a stick, and sheriff’s deputies have charged a suspect with voluntary manslaughter. News outlets report the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office says 42-year-old Jay Dustin Lear charged at 47-year-old Billy Joe Carpenter during an argument late Sunday night and hit him with the stick. As the two men reached a neighbor’s driveway, detectives say Carpenter fell face first and was bleeding from a gash on his forehead. He died at the scene. Lear was apprehended at his house. He was given a $25,000 secured bond and it’s not known if he has an attorney.



AP-WF-08-18-20 1020GMT