Latest North Carolina News:
VIRUS OUTBREAK-OUTDOOR ATTENDANCE
More bills seek to increase attendance at NC school events
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – More North Carolina state legislators are trying to get more spectators at school sporting events or college graduations that are beyond what Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 latest executive order allows. The House voted on Wednesday for two bills that attempt to raise the capacity of venues from Cooper’s 30% limit to as high as 50%. One measure would apply statewide and include K-12 schools, community colleges and University of North Carolina campuses. áAnother bill would apply to outdoor sporting events at public and private K-12 schools in roughly a dozen counties. The Senate has approved separate measures focused on outdoor high school sporting events.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-REOPENING SCHOOLS
NC education board wants schools reopened by end of March
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina education leaders have approved a resolution signaling their desire to get all of the state’s K-12 public school students back into the classroom for at least some days. Some members of the state Board of Education want public health officials to go further in their reopening guidance. Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt urged the state Department of Health and Human Services to better explain what it wants to see before recommending all districts offer daily, in-person instruction. Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services say they want to heed the advice the federal government has provided.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SATELLITE INTERNET
NC to participate in satellite internet pilot for students
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Public school students in some of North Carolina’s most isolated areas could benefit from a new initiative that offers high-speed internet through low-orbit satellites. Gov. Roy Cooper’s office says the pilot program will target young people in Hyde and Swain counties who lack reliable broadband service, or have none at all. The program was assembled by several state offices and paid for with federal COVID-19 relief funds. Cooper’s office says the funding will also be used to research and recommend how best satellite technology can help improve rural healthcare and rural economic development. The satellite internet company is connected to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Fauci, Corbett set for UNC-Chapel Hill virtual commencement
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The class of 2021 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will hear from Drs. Anthony Fauci and Kizzmekia Corbett for their spring commencement. A news release from the school says the spring commencement in May will feature virtual remarks from Fauci and Corbett as well as live ceremonies which will host a limited number of invited guests to Kenan Stadium. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNC will host smaller graduation ceremonies over three days during the weekend of May 14-16. Graduates will hear from the two speakers at each of the ceremonies. Corbett is an alum of the UNC School of Medicine.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina to offer reopened schools widespread testing
North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services says it will provide rapid COVID-19 tests upon request by schools. The tests can serve as weekly screening for teachers and staff, be made available to students, families and school personnel who have symptoms or got exposed to an infected person, or both. Thursday’s news comes as state health and education leaders work to get more kids back into physical classrooms. Teachers are currently eligible to receive a vaccine. The state’s top public health official also announced she will personally get vaccinated on Friday.
CONFEDERATE STATUES-IREDELL COUNTY
NC’s Iredell County votes to remove Confederate memorial
STATESVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina’s Iredell County have voted to move a Confederate memorial that has stood outside the court house for more than a century. The Statesville Record & Landmark reports that county commissioners voted 4 to 1 on Tuesday to relocate the memorial. It includes a granite base and a statue of a Confederate soldier. Statesville’s Fourth Creek Cemetery and Oakwood Cemetery have been chosen as possible relocation sites. The two cemeteries were chosen because many of Statesville’s soldiers who died in the Civil War were laid to rest there. Confederate monuments across the southern U.S. have long been viewed by many as symbols of white supremacy.
AP-NC-SORORITY THREATENED-MAN CHARGED
North Carolina man accused of threatening college sorority
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man is accused of threatening members of a sorority during an event last month. News outlets report Town of Holly Springs spokesperson Mark Andrews says 23-year-old Colin Daniel Nicolson threatened to shoot members of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority at at a Feb. 11 sorority event at Campbell University. According to Andrews, Nicolson is acquainted with some members of the sorority. He is accused by authorities has been charged with communicating a threat of mass violence on educational property. Nicolson was arrested at a country club where he is listed as the golf pro.
TROPICAL WEATHER-DISASTER DECLARATION
Biden issues NC disaster declaration for November floods
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina state government and local governments in nearly 20 counties can receive financial help from Washington following heavy rains and flooding in November now that President Joe Biden has issued a disaster declaration. The White House announced on Thursday the declaration for the damage caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Eta. The floods led to evacuations, power outages water rescues and 12 deaths, including six at an Alexander County campground. Gov. Roy Cooper signed a state disaster declaration in December for Alexander and four other counties. The U.S. Small Business Administration also has offered low- interest loans.