N.C. health chief asks people to “hang in there” under order
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s chief health leader is asking residents to “hang in there” by continuing to comply with the state business restrictions mean to blunt the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Roy Cooper’s current stay-at-home order expires Friday. Cooper said this week he’s hopeful further easing of business restrictions could begin. State Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said Tuesday that testing, tracing and hospitalization trends used to make decisions on stay-home orders continue to be stable. Still, Cohen’s agency reported 675 new virus cases and 30 additional deaths in North Carolina on Tuesday, compared to a day earlier.
CHEMOURS POLLUTION-CASE CLOSED
Report: Chemical firm Chemours won’t face federal charges
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have declined to pursue criminal charges against a chemical company that for years discharged compounds with health risks that aren’t fully understood into a North Carolina river. Chemours Co. told shareholders in a quarterly report this month that prosecutors were closing the case without charges. News outlets report that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Environmental Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Justice Department were investigating potential violations of the federal Clean Water Act by the company, a spinoff of DuPont that has a plant near Fayetteville. In 2017, it was found that Chemours was releasing a little-researched compound called GenX into the air and water.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MANUFACTURER SHUTDOWN
North Carolina appliance manufacturer closes due to COVID-19
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appliance manufacturer says it is shutting down until further notice after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. WCTI reports Lore McKenna, director of corporate communications for BSH Home Appliances Corporation North America, says the company was informed of the test connected with its New Bern plant on Monday and immediately contacted local authorities. Out of an abundance of caution, McKenna says the plant will remain closed until further notice. The plant, which employs more than 1,400, had previously closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 in March.
N. Carolina transportation department furloughs employees
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation has told its employees to take unpaid time off until the end of June to help the department save money as part of cost-cutting measures during the coronavirus pandemic. Transportation Secretary J. Eric Boyette wrote in an email to employees on Monday that they will have until June 26 to take 20 hours of unpaid time off. News outlets report the furloughs will also affect the department’s executive and senior leadership teams. An official told the News & Observer the furloughs will save the department about $7 million.
N.C. court orders new trial, says confession was involuntary
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court has ordered a new trial in a robbery-related murder because it says a suspect’s confession was involuntary. A state Court of Appeals panel ruled on Tuesday that the confession by Justin Lavone Lynch in the 2016 robbery and shooting at a bar that was wrongly obtained by Lenoir County sheriff’s officers when they offered the hope of leniency to him. Lynch has been serving life in prison without parole. Judge Chris Dillon says a new trial is needed because the testimony was quite damning to his case and it’s possible the jury wouldn’t have convicted him without it.
Rubio steps in to lead Senate Intelligence Committee
WASHINGTON (AP) — The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Florida Republican Marco Rubio, will be overseeing a key vote as his first official act in the position. Rubio’s committee is scheduled to vote behind closed doors Tuesday on whether to approve the nomination of a Texas congressman, John Ratcliffe, as director of national intelligence. The committee’s previous chairman, North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, has stepped aside temporarily during a Justice Department investigation. Burr unloaded as much as $1.7 million in stocks days before the coronavirus pandemic caused markets to plummet.
Items intended for needy stolen from North Carolina ministry
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The leader of an outreach ministry in North Carolina says thieves broke into a warehouse and stole cleaning and hygiene items intended for the needy. News sources report the Churches Outreach Network in Greenville said someone pried open a metal door that had been dead-bolted shut overnight last Saturday and took cleaning supplies as well as toilet paper the ministry had purchased utilizing donations from the community. The Rev. Rodney Coles says the items were to be boxed along with other goods collected by the ministry and distributed to needy families at a local church next month. The items were valued in excess of $6,900.
Tropical Storm Arthur spins out to sea, will drench Bermuda
Tropical Storm Arthur moved further out to sea Tuesday and was expected to dissipate into a depression before dumping heavy rain on Bermuda later in the week. The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season sent rain over North Carolina Monday and forecasters warned to expect dangerous surf and rip currents for another day along parts of the U.S. East Coast. Arthur had top sustained winds of 60 mph Tuesday morning. It could hit Bermuda on Thursday. This is the sixth straight year that a named storm developed before the season’s traditional June 1 start.