Latest North Carolina News:
SOUTHEASTERN SHARK ATTACKS
Sharks bite 3 on southeast beaches, but numbers aren’t up
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – Two separate shark attacks in a one-week span on beaches near Savannah, Georgia are somewhat unusual since the area sees relatively few bites each year, experts. But overall, the number of shark attacks in the U.S. is not on the increase. A lifeguard on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island suffered deep cuts to the chest area but is expected to survive after being bitten Aug. 3. At nearby Tybee Island, Georgia, a well-known surfing instructor was bitten July 27. South Carolina recorded just one unprovoked shark bite last year, and Georgia had none, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FACE COVERINGS
2 more North Carolina counties initiate face mask mandates
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – Two more county governments in North Carolina have announced face covering requirements in indoor spaces, citing the recent stark increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Guilford County and Orange County governments announced countywide indoor face mask mandates starting later this week for everyone, regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Asheville also initiated a face mask requirement in its government buildings only starting Wednesday. The orders come as state health officials said North Carolina reported the largest single-day jump in intensive care unit admissions at hospitals since the pandemic began. And the number of people with COVID-19 who are hospitalized neared 2,200 on Monday.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina’s $100 reward offer ignites vaccine interest
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Interest in COVID-19 vaccines has surged in the week since North Carolina’s governor announced that his administration would boost the financial incentive from $25 to $100 for unvaccinated residents who come in for their first shot this month. State health officials are hopeful that more people will choose to get vaccinated now that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has decided to heed President Joe Biden’s advice to give out $100 rewards. Drivers who take people in for their first shot remain eligible for one $25 prepaid credit card. More North Carolinians got the vaccine last week than in any given week since the week of May 24.
Court order splits House over N. Carolina education spending
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – House Republicans are trumpeting their North Carolina budget proposal for an education construction spree and for teacher raises. But Democratic colleagues on Tuesday said the GOP spending for education is not enough to meet requirements of the state constitution. They’re using a judge’s order in the “Leandro” school funding litigation to press their case at a time of massive surpluses. Democrats want Republicans to fully fund the first two years of a remedial plan the judge signed. Republican legislators said the judge can’t force them to spend money, and that public education funding continues to grow. The full House will vote on the budget bill Wednesday.
NC Senate reviews bill that would end sheriffs gun permits
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republicans are pressing ahead with legislation that would repeal the state’s century-old practice of requiring residents to obtain a permit from the local sheriff before buying a handgun. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Tuesday to recommend the measure, which passed the House three months ago. The bill has the backing of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, which for years opposed eliminating the permit requirement. The association considers the process duplicative now that licensed gun dealers require national background checks. Senate Democrats on the committee say the measure would take away a tool for sheriffs to prevent violence and deaths.
AP-NC-LT. GOV.’S COUNSEL-CHARGES
NC lt. governor’s counsel charged with resisting officers
FUQUAY-VARINA,, N.C. (AP) – The in-house attorney for North Carolina’s lieutenant governor was arrested and charged with resisting or obstructing state Alcohol Law Enforcement officers. News outlets report that Brian LiVecchi, general counsel for Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s office, was arrested Friday at The BrickHouse Bar & Grill in Fuquay-Varina. ALE spokeswoman Erin Bean says agents conducted a surprise inspection after complaints that “grossly intoxicated” people regularly left the restaurant and LiVecchi “interjected himself.” She says he was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer when he wouldn’t stop interfering. The restaurant’s owner says LiVecchi is her attorney and he was advising her not to answer questions. LeVecchi says the matter wasn’t related to any state government function.
ELECTION 2022-GOVERNOR-SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina gov gets anti-abortion org’s 1st 2022 backing
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A leading anti-abortion group has picked South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster as its first state-level endorsement in next year’s elections. The organization tells The Associated Press that it’s part of a broader strategy to seed top jobs with abortion opponents as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to give states more power over the issue. Officials from the Susan B. Anthony List will travel to Greenville on Wednesday to give their endorsement to McMaster, a Republican currently his second full term in office. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the organization’s president, told The Associated Press that McMaster’s key role in a case challenging Mississippi’s new abortion law makes him “a hero in defending life” and a good fit for their group.
Charlotte OKs LGBT protections after blocked expansion
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Five years after North Carolina blocked an expansion of Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance, the city council unanimously approved expansive protections for LGBT people and vulnerable residents. The ordinance approved Monday includes sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy and natural hairstyles as protected classes. And it applies to all employers, public and private, big and small. The ordinance exempts religious organizations, including those with paid employees where a condition of employment requires adherence to tenets of religion. There’s also an exemption for private clubs or membership-based groups. It does not cover protections for political affiliation and does not address public bathroom regulations.