AP-NC Newswatch

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February 25, 2021
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February 25, 2021
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina News:


Cooper lifts curfew, eases gathering and occupancy limits
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has announced bars can reopen with indoor service for the first time since in nearly a year. He also eased gathering indoor gathering limits and occupancy limits for many businesses starting Friday. His new executive order paves the way for large sports and entertainment venue to allow fans back. If health guidelines are followed, facilities with over 5,000 seats can operate at 15% capacity. Smaller sports facilities, bars and movie theaters can operate at 30% capacity up to 250 people. Restaurants, retailers and many other businesses can admit customers up to 50% of capacity. Cooper also lifted the state’s 10 p.m. curfew.



Summer school to counter COVID online learning OK’d by House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina legislative chamber has approved legislation requiring school districts to offer in-person summer school that targets children at risk of academic failure due to poor virtual learning during the pandemic. The bipartisan measure envisions roughly six weeks of instructional time. Children wouldn’t be required to attend, but program supporters say it could help them them get promoted to the next grade. House Speaker Tim Moore is a primary sponsor of the measure that now heads to the Senate. He says some students have received only virtual learning for close to a year while school buildings have been closed or restricted. 



States pass their own virus aid, not waiting on Washington
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – States are not willing to wait for more federal help and have been moving ahead with their own coronavirus relief packages. Maryland and California recently approved help for small businesses, the poor, the jobless and those needing child care. New Mexico and Pennsylvania are funneling grants directly to cash-starved businesses. The spending shows that many states have proved unexpectedly resilient during the pandemic. And it has provided fuel for critics who say they don’t need another massive infusion of cash from Congress. The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion relief plan would send hundreds of billions of dollars to state and local governments.



Release: NC woman went shopping with $150K virus relief loan
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina woman lied to get nearly $150,000 in coronavirus relief that she later spent on shopping sprees. A U.S. Attorney’s Office press release says 24-year-old Jasmine Johnnae Clifton appeared in court Monday after being indicted last week on two fraud charges relating to disaster benefits. The release says Clifton applied for a relief loan meant to help existing small businesses harmed by pandemic shutdowns. It says she falsified documents for an online clothing business that had been defunct since 2019. The release says she spent the money at diamond stores and luxury clothing retailers. Her defender declined to comment.



Judge approves Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan for Belk chain
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A judge has approved Chapter 11 bankruptcy plans for North Carolina-based department store chain Belk, creating a new infusion of capital and cutting its debt load. The Charlotte Observer reports the judge approved the plan Wednesday. The move provides the ailing department store chain financial breathing room as it grapples with the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Financial Officer William Langley said in a filing accompanying the bankruptcy that the pandemic directly resulted in drastic declines in sales, revenue and liquidity. Belk furloughed workers in March as the pandemic hit and cut senior staff pay up to 50% as stores temporarily closed.



Felony charge dropped in indecent liberties case
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Felony charges have been dropped against a North Carolina man who was beaten and threatened at gunpoint after a younger man found him in a bedroom with the younger man’s two small children. The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg reports 61-year-old Mark Anthony Stanley pleaded guilty in Spotsylvania Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Oct. 28 of two misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and received a suspended sentence. He had been charged with two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and assault. Stanley said he took the deal because he wanted to put the case behind him.



NC gun provisions in 2020 vetoed bill clear committees
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Two more portions of a 2020 concealed weapons bill that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed successfully last year have resurfaced this year in separate measures. A House judiciary committee recommended both of them on Wednesday. One bill would add emergency medical technicians to the list of people who could carry concealed permits when they’re providing medical assistance to officers. Another measure would make it easier for a concealed permit holder whose license has lapsed to avoid taking another comprehensive firearms safety and training course before a renewal. Cooper’s veto message last year focused on a provision related to being armed in some churches.



North Carolina women’s school to add health-oriented majors
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C (AP) – A North Carolina women’s college says it is adding health-oriented majors to its curriculum beginning in the fall. Salem College said in a news release Wednesday that it will be offering health sciences, health humanities and health advocacy and humanitarian systems. The Winston-Salem school also says it is offering women’s leadership development programming, a renewed core liberal arts curriculum and expanded internship and service-learning opportunities. All are centered on leadership and health. Salem College is the nation’s oldest educational institution for girls and women in the U.S. It was founded in 1772.