Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA
SC to prioritize elderly, food workers for COVID-19 vaccine
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Prisoners and poultry plant workers will follow shortly after frontline healthcare workers in South Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccine plan. Gov. Henry McMaster said Wednesday that nursing home residents and staff and people with certain underlying healthcare conditions will also be included in the first phase of the plan. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says it is expecting about 200,000 to 300,000 initial doses of the vaccine to arrive this month. The vaccine plan comes as virus cases are again rising sharply in South Carolina, straining hospitals and healthcare workers. Wednesday marked the sixth day in a row in which health officials reported more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases.
Court again nixes SC gov’s private school pandemic aid plan
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina’s Supreme Court has again rejected Gov. Henry McMaster’s plan to spend $32 million in federal coronavirus relief on tuition grants for private schools. The justices ruled unanimously that his decision to use money from the coronavirus rescue package in this way “constitutes the use of public funds for the direct benefit of private educational institutions,” in violation of the South Carolina Constitution. McMaster planned to take questions on the ruling later Wednesday. The federal relief bill flowed from Congress, with more than $48 million allocated to the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. McMaster decided that two-thirds of this money should support private schooling.
BIKER BEACH-RACISM LAWSUIT
Black bikers see racism in Myrtle Beach, SC, traffic plan
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina beach city is in the second week of a federal trial over whether it discriminates against thousands of Black tourists who visit each May to celebrate motorcycle culture. Myrtle Beach says it implemented a 23-mile-long traffic loop for public safety during Atlantic Beach Bikefest, commonly known as Black Bike Week. Civil rights groups accuse the city of trying to make the experience so unpleasant that Black visitors will eventually stop coming. The annual gathering takes place right after Harley Week, where most bikers are white. Lawyers say the city doesn’t impose the same restrictions on the white motorcyclists.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA
SC teachers want virtual school again after COVID-19 spike
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – With new COVID-19 cases reaching record levels in South Carolina, a teachers group is asking districts to go back to all-virtual teaching until this second spike in the virus can be flattened. The plea was given more emotional weight over the weekend after the death of 50-year-old third-grade teacher Staci Blakely. Her family asked Lexington School District 1 to publicly announce her death from COVID-19 to remind people how serious the disease can be. At least four school districts in South Carolina have returned to all-virtual learning, including 12,000 students in the Orangeburg County School District. Nearly a quarter of the state’s districts are teaching in person every day.
Nikki Haley says her sister-in-law died of COVID-19
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley says her sister-in-law has died after contracting the coronavirus. Haley tweeted Tuesday evening that Rhonda Lee Nelson, sister of her husband Michael, “passed the day before Thanksgiving of Covid.” An online obituary says Nelson was 53 years old, lived in West Milton, Ohio, and died November 25. She was remembered as a singer and piano musician who “ministered to many inside and outside of the church.” Haley provided no further details on Nelson’s death, which came as coronavirus numbers rise across the country and in states including Ohio.
WOODROW WILSON HOME-RENAMED
Woodrow Wilson’s teenage home in S. Carolina gets new name
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Caretakers of former President Woodrow Wilson’s teenage home in South Carolina have renamed the landmark site. The Post and Courier reports Columbia’s The Woodrow Wilson Family Home will now be called The Museum of Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Home. Official say the new name more accurately reflects the museum and the era that formed the segregationist views of the 28th president. A board member for the organization that maintains the home told the Richland County Council in October the title change “does not erase the site’s history.” Wilson lived at the property from 1871 to 1875 during Reconstruction.