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October 5, 2020
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October 5, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment


Spokesman says Tillis is improving after COVID diagnosis
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina says that the senator is improving after experiencing mild symptoms following a positive COVID-19 test. Tillis spokesman Adam Webb issued a statement Sunday night saying that the senator is continuing to self-isolate at home but that he’s feeling better after experiencing mild symptoms the previous day. Tillis announced Friday night that he had tested positive. Tillis is among several people to be diagnosed with the virus after attending the Supreme Court nomination ceremony in the White House Rose Garden for Amy Coney Barrett. Tillis was wearing a mask at the ceremony and has supported mask use.



Many bars go slowly on re-opening, see struggles ahead
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Even though bars were allowed to reopen at limited capacity when North Carolina moved into the third phase of its reopening plan, some are taking it slow. In the Triangle area, many bar owners told The News & Observer they were planning to sit out this opening weekend, either to work on their reopening plan or because current restrictions make reopening infeasible. Phase 3 allows private bars to open at 30 percent of their outdoor capacity. Indoor bar areas must remain closed.



Seismic search for oil in Atlantic Ocean looks dead for now
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Seismic exploration for oil and gas off the south Atlantic coast is unlikely to proceed this year because permits expire Nov. 30. Federal officials and company representatives both told a federal judge in South Carolina last week that there’s little point in continuing a lawsuit because the permits can’t be renewed. The testing shoots blasts of air, using the vibrations to map where oil and gas might be present below the ocean floor. Environmentalists sued in federal court in Charleston seeking to block the exploration because the work has been shown to harm marine animals like the endangered North Atlantic right whale. President Donald Trump recently banned oil drilling off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, reversing previous support.



5-year-old critically hurt in North Carolina hit-and-run
UNION COUNTY, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a suspect has turned himself in after a hit-and-run critically injured a young girl who was playing at a soccer field. The incident happened Saturday afternoon in Union County, outside Charlotte. Deputies told local media the driver jumped a curb and hit three people, including a 5-year-old girl who was taken to a hospital in critical conditions. Authorities were initially searching for a vehicle, but Union County Chief Communications Officer Tony Underwood told TV station WSOC the suspect later turned himself in. The suspect was a juvenile and wasn’t immediately identified. He faces several charges.



N. Carolina Senate race upended by sexting, virus diagnosis
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s intensely competitive and expensive U.S. Senate race has been upended by personal and health disruptions that sent sharp tremors and uncertainty through the campaigns and an electorate already casting ballots. Democratic candidate Cal Cunningham has acknowledged sending sexually suggestive text messages to a California strategist who is not his wife. Cunningham apologized in a statement but said he would not drop out of the race. Cunningham’s acknowledgment came hours after Republican opponent Sen. Thom Tillis confirmed on Friday he tested positive for COVID-19. Tillis has halted in-person campaign events and several staff are headed into quarantine. He has said he has “mild symptoms.”



Judge halts new North Carolina absentee witness info rule
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge has blocked updated North Carolina absentee voting rules that gave voters more leeway to fix witness problems and extended the period when elections boards could accept mailed-in ballots. U.S. District Judge James Dever issued a temporary retraining order on Saturday that halted the updated rules that resulted from a legal settlement with voting rights advocates. The revised rules allowed voters who returned absentee ballots with incomplete witness information to fix the problems by returning an affidavit, rather than starting the ballot over from scratch and having it witnessed again. North Carolina law requires one witness for an absentee ballot.



Chapel Hill: No Franklin Street Halloween due to pandemic
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina college town’s popular Halloween celebration will not be permitted this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chapel Hill officials announced Friday afternoon that all town-sponsored public events and festivals through the end of the year have been canceled. The News & Observer reports that the annual Halloween-related closure of Franklin Street was also canceled. While not an organized event, thousands of costumed revelers typically pack the street. Police Chief Chris Blue said in a statement that given the pandemic, supporting a Halloween event would not be in the best interest of safety.



Virus spreads on panel handling Supreme Court nomination
WASHINGTON (AP) – Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have tested positive for the coronavirus. The positive tests raise questions about upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Utah Sen. Mike Lee both said Friday that they had tested positive for the virus. Both attended a ceremony for Barrett at the White House on Sept. 25 with President Donald Trump, who announced Friday that he had tested positive and was later hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared the confirmation process was going “full steam ahead.”



AP-WF-10-05-20 1020GMT