AP-NC Newswatch

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November 19, 2020
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November 19, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment



N.C. panel: Small amounts of pot should be decriminalized
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A task force created to address and eliminate racial disparities in North Carolina’s criminal justice and court systems will recommend that legislators decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The panel was created by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper following George Floyd’s death and subsequent demonstrations. Attorney General Josh Stein and Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls lead the panel. Data show a disproportionate percentage of non-white residents are convicted on these misdemeanors. The panel said Wednesday that lawmakers should make such small possessions a civil offense, like a traffic infraction. The panel’s report will be finalized next month.



Cooper warns N.C. counties of further virus restrictions
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is warning counties they may face extra coronavirus restrictions if they do not follow public health guidelines. Cooper and health officials unveiled Tuesday a new alert system to encourage counties with high levels of virus transmission to more aggressively enforce statewide health guidelines. Counties will be marked different colors based on cases, hospitalizations and the percentage of tests coming back positive. The state health department has labeled 10 largely rural counties “red” because of critical community spread. Several others are being asked to consider stricter enforcement of the statewide mask mandate and an earlier time for ending alcohol sales each night.



NC agency, HBCU to work in communities harmed by COVID-19
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina agency is joining a historically black college to help communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic address food insecurity needs. Gov, Roy Cooper’s office said in a news release that the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with Livingstone College in Salisbury to execute a community-based program to provide critical resources to vulnerable populations impacted by the pandemic. The news release said communities will have access to $5 million in grants as the state and the school execute a community-based program to provide critical resources to vulnerable populations.



NC elections official blocks mom’s ballot after her death
BOLIVIA, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina elections director had to ask members of her board to reject her mother’s absentee ballot because she died several weeks before the general election. Sara Knotts made the request last week because her mother, Anne Ashcraft, submitted her ballot in September, but then died of brain cancer on Oct. 11. Knotts is director of elections in Brunswick County. North Carolina election law requires voters to be alive on Election Day. This includes voters who cast their ballots by mail or during in-person early voting. Knotts said in a tweet last week that it was the hardest thing she’s ever done as an elections administrator.



Homes sales soar on North Carolina’s Outer Banks
NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) – Home sales on North Carolina’s Outer Banks are booming in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and low interest rates. The Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday that homes and lot sales from Corolla to Ocracoke reached $1.18 billion through October. That’s the most since the all-time record of $1.5 billion set in 2005. Dan Sutherland, director of multiple listing services for the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, said that sales will likely pass $1.6 billion and set a new record. Tourists have flocked to the Outer Banks for its lack of density and open spaces. More people are working from, while the slow economy has lowered interest rates and boosted homes sales.



Task force members support removing Confederate monument
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A majority of task force members appointed to consider the fate of a Confederate monument in a North Carolina city say they support removing it. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports nine Vance Monument Task Force members want to remove the 50-foot monument to Zebulon Baird Vance, who a Confederate military officer who served as North Carolina governor during the Civil War. The co-chair of the task force says it will serve as a symbol of white supremacy if it’s not removed or altered beyond recognition. The members made the comments ahead of Thursday’s official vote. That vote will serve as a recommendation to the Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. Two members support relocating the figure.



Great white shark tagged off Canada found along Outer Banks
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A 17-foot great white shark that made headlines last month after being tagged off Canada has moved south and is now lingering off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Charlotte Observer reports OCEARCH, which tagged the shark on Oct. 2, posted data showing the 3,541-pound apex predator had popped up Sunday off Wilmington, then turned around and headed north to Buxton on Hatteras Island. OCEARCH said the shark has spent the past two days off nearby Avon, with its latest satellite notification tracking at 5:55 a.m. Wednesday. Tagged sharks show up on satellite only after their dorsal fin breaches the water surface for more than a few seconds.



Sales surge at Lowe’s as the homebound take on more projects
Lowe’s sales surged in the third quarter as the home improvement retailer capitalized on people looking to spruce up their homes as they spend more time there during the pandemic. Revenue increased to $22.3 billion from $17.4 billion a year ago. That beat the $21.08 billion that analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were calling for. Online sales soared 106%, while sales at stores open at least a year climbed 30.1%. Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year rose 30.4%.