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October 1, 2020
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October 1, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment


N. Carolina moves to Phase 3 but COVID progress is ‘fragile’
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina will soon allow bars to partially reopen outdoors only and open up amusement parks and movie theaters as the state transitions to Phase 3 of reopening. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced the executive order will go into effect Friday and remain in place through Oct. 23. While students in K-5 schools will be able to move to daily, in-person classes as early as Monday, Cooper said no decision has been reached about reopening middle schools and high schools. Outdoor sports venues that can seat more than 10,000 people will be able to allow fans to attend at 7% capacity.



North Carolina man charged with fraud in virus aid scheme
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man accused of fraudulently applying for $6.1 million in coronavirus relief funds has been federally charged. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday that 38-year-old Tristan Bishop Pan submitted 14 Paycheck Protection Program loan applications and received more than $1.7 million for fake businesses. Prosecutors said some of the businesses were named for fictional characters from the television series Game of Thrones and included falsified tax filings and false statements about payroll expenses. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney who can comment for him. The Paycheck Protection Program was created to give small businesses forgivable emergency loans during the pandemic.



Federal judge questions North Carolina absentee rule change
A federal judge says a North Carolina elections board directive making it easier for voters to fix witness deficiencies in absentee ballots may violate a previous ruling he made. Federal Judge Joel Osteen, who presided over one of multiple lawsuits over absentee ballots, asked lawyers for the North Carolina State Board of Elections to schedule a status conference “at the earliest possible date and time” to explain to him recent changes to absentee ballot rules announced last week. The elections board’s new directive allows voters who cast mail-in ballots with incomplete witness information to fix the problem by returning an affidavit, rather than starting the ballot over from scratch.



Worker killed in lift collapse at North Carolina university
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A construction worker has died after a lift carrying the laborer collapsed on a North Carolina university’s campus. A state Labor Department spokeswoman said the lift was about 35 feet in the air when dirt on the wet ground caved in around a tire Saturday, killing Tiburcio Mendoza. The accident happened at the site of a new, 185,000-square-foot sciences building at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. DPR Construction said Mendoza was a subcontractor with the company. A spokesman said DPR was working with investigators to determine the details surrounding the accident. The university said campus police were called to the scene but aren’t investigating.



Nestle Purina to occupy old MillerCoors North Carolina plant
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The N.C. Department of Commerce said Wednesday that a pet food manufacturer is taking over the former MillerCoors plant in Eden and pledging to create 300 jobs. In exchange, Nestlé Purina Petcare will get $49 million in incentives from the state as well as from local governments. N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger announced the project in a news release, which said the average job would pay $42,000 a year. MillerCoors closed the Eden brewery in 2016, after saying it needed to streamline its operations amid a drop in demand for its products



COVID-19 cluster found at North Carolina sheriff’s office
FRANKLIN, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina county health department has identified a COVID-19 cluster at its sheriff’s office. The Macon County Health Department announced the cluster in a news release on Wednesday. But the department didn’t say exactly how many workers at the sheriff’s office tested positive for the coronavirus. The sheriff’s office would only say that “multiple employees” fell ill and were tested, and that some of the tests have come back positive. The health department also said it is working to identify anyone who has been in close contact with any of the workers in the sheriff’s office.



Appalachian State student dies following COVID complications
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An Appalachian State University student has died after suffering from coronavirus complications. Nineteen-year-old Chad Dorrill is the first reported COVID-related death within the University of North Carolina system since in-person classes resumed. Dorrill lived off campus in Boone and took all of his classes online. Nearly 550 students have tested positive for COVID-19 at Appalachian State. The university remains open for in-person classes. UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and East Carolina University halted physical learning in classrooms to undergraduate students last month due to clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks.



Unfriendly skies: Airline workers brace for mass layoffs
DETROIT (AP) – About 40,000 workers in the airline industry are facing layoffs on Thursday unless Congress comes up with another aid package. Many are worried about how they’ll pay for rents, mortgages and food, or for health insurance. A clause in the $25 billion aid package to airlines at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic prevented them from laying off workers. But that clause expires on Thursday. Some workers are holding out hope that another agreement can still be reached. Congress has been considering a second round of airline aid for weeks, but it’s hung up in the debate over a larger national relief package.