Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment
ELECTION 2020-GOVERNOR’S RACE
Roy Cooper, Dan Forest agree to Oct. 14 debate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is looking to fend off a challenge from Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in one of the few closely watched gubernatorial races in the country this election season. Both campaigns have confirmed they’ll participate in a debate on Oct. 14 organized by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters. Forest is pushing for Cooper to agree to two more debates. Cooper has no plans to do any in-person campaign, as he consistently leads Forest in public opinion polls by double digits. Forest is active on the campaign trail, often holding large, maskless gatherings.
Cooper’s budget proposal includes Medicaid expansion, bonds
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is recommending to legislators how to spend nearly $1 billion in COVID-19 federal relief dollars, mainly for public health, K-12 schools and local governments. But he asked separately on Wednesday that legislators reconvening in Raleigh next week spend more state tax dollars on disaster relief, at-risk students and teacher bonuses. The Democrat also tacked on other policy and spending prescriptions that will likely be idled by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. They include Medicaid expansion and more than $5 billion in debt for capital projects and infrastructure. Senate Republicans are wary of spending more state tax dollars during an uncertain economy.
Plea agreement of ex-NC state Rep. David Lewis accepted
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge has accepted the guilty plea of a longtime North Carolina state lawmaker who acknowledged conducting a scheme to funnel campaign dollars to his ailing farm. David Lewis was a chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee until he resigned last week. The Harnett County Republican appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer on Wednesday to carry out the plea he reached with federal prosecutors. Lewis pleaded guilty to making false statements to a bank and for failing to file a 2018 federal tax return. He’ll be sentenced later, but prosecutors have said they won’t seek active prison time.
Homeless essential workers face greater risk of COVID-19
Many homeless people work low-wage essential jobs on the front lines of the pandemic, putting them at higher risk of catching and possibly transmitting the virus. Many who work with these communities are reluctant to speak about this risk for fear of further stigmatizing homeless people, even though they do the front-line jobs others can avoid. Experts say between 25% to 50% of homeless people work. The Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found that in the era of COVID-19 that means many homeless employees are working low-wage essential jobs under conditions that put them at risk of catching the coronavirus.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA-UNIVERSITIES
NC State tells students staying on campus to go home
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina State University is telling students remaining in university housing to go home, acknowledging a rising number of COVID-19 clusters occurring in both on-campus and off-campus housing. Chancellor Randy Woodson said in an email Wednesday that, beginning on Thursday, students in university housing should schedule a time to move out of on-campus residences. To ensure physical distancing, the school is establishing an 11-day window for students to move out, beginning Thursday. N.C. State has reported 21 COVID-19 clusters since classes began Aug 10, for a total of 546 positive cases. Four of the clusters are in residence halls.
North Carolina sues over federal decision on seismic testing
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina has sued the federal government to block an attempt at seismic testing off the state’s Atlantic coast to measure for oil and gas deposits. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court by Attorney General Josh Stein’s office says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was wrong in overriding the state’s objections to the tests. The lawsuit says the bursts of sounds from airguns would adversely affect sea life, tourism and fishing. Stein and fellow Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper oppose offshore drilling. Many Republican state legislators support offshore exploration, citing jobs and energy independence.
More arrests, 2 injuries after pared-down RNC in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – At least seven people were arrested and two people were hospitalized during protests after North Carolina’s scaled-back share of the Republican National Convention. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said officers used pepper spray on demonstrators and made arrests after a crowd surrounded a burning object in the street after 10 p.m. Monday hours after about 300 delegates renominated President Donald Trump. A video posted to Twitter showed officers running their bikes over people and using pepper spray to disperse the crowd. Four more arrests were made after officers said someone cut down a flag outside police headquarters. Police said they again used pepper spray and two people were hospitalized.
Testing traps to control lovely but destructive lionfish
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The quest is on for a better way to kill beautiful but brutally destructive lionfish than shooting them one by one with spearguns. The voracious invaders with huge appetites, flashy stripes and a mane of poisonous spines are a problem in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast up into North Carolina. With few natural predators in the area, they eat native fish and compete with them for food. Scientists are looking at two kinds of traps – modified lobster traps and something wildly different: devices with a vertical sheet of lattice as a lure.