UNC, NC State to resume in-person classes on Aug. 10
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — During a visit to the Charlotte area, federal Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the upcoming NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday in Concord is an important part of the country getting back to work and normal activities. He praised governors for moving to reopen their economies, with North Carolina set to enter a second phase of loosened restrictions Friday. He said economic downturns can lead to increased suicide rates and reductions in vaccinations and cancer screenings. Azar addressed reporters after touring a testing center at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and having a discussion with health leaders about reopening state economies.
Man gets 8 years for role in $2M North Carolina cocaine bust
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in a North Carolina cocaine bust that netted $2 million and 80 kilograms (176 pounds) of the illegal drug. The Raleigh-based federal prosecutor’s office announced that Andrew Richard Rodarte was sentenced Thursday after previously pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine. A news release from prosecutors said Rodarte was observed last July during a drug surveillance operation driving a semi-truck to a residence in Littleton where men were seen unloading duffel bags from the cab. Officers served a search warrant on the home and found four duffel bags full of cocaine inside a bedroom closet.
Charlotte, North Carolina, is now the 15th largest US city
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, is now the nation’s 15th most populous city, surpassing San Francisco. Citing new census data, the Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that the city’s population jumped two spots in the past decade. Charlotte’s population rose 19.9%. It was 731,400 in 2010 and 885,700 as of last July. People have arrived in Charlotte from the northeastern United States and the west. That boom has helped drive the city’s building frenzy. But it’s also been a factor in pushing up the cost of living. The city now suffers from a shortage of affordable homes.
Car wash worker returns stimulus check discovered in trash
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A car wash worker in North Carolina found treasure amid the business’s trash when he discovered a $1,200 IRS stimulus check mixed in with the garbage. WITN-TV reports that Antonio Hernandez was taking out the trash at the Greenville car wash when he spotted the payment in the can. His daughter said they were able to track down recipient Charles Thompson and return it to him. Thompson told the station he was behind on rent and needed the funds, but wasn’t expecting a check after recently moving to a new address. He thanked the family and added that the money helped get him back on his feet.
North Carolina 20-year-old killed as tree crashes into home
MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say a 20-year-old man was killed when a tree fell onto his mobile home following days of rain. Surry County medical examiner John Shelton said Nicholas Manuel Rodriguez was asleep when the “extremely large” tree crashed into his bedroom around 5 a.m. Thursday. News outlets report he was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities added that another person who was in the opposite end of the home survived. Shelton said it was raining and windy when crews arrived, and the tree was likely weakened from storms that recently swept through the area.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-PHASE 2-DURHAM COUNTY
Durham County holds off on business opening until June 1
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Officials in a North Carolina county say they won’t allow restaurants, hair salons and swimming pools to reopen until June 1. The Herald-Sun of Durham reports the decision by Durham County comes one day after Gov. Roy Cooper announced that restaurants, barbershops and salons could welcome customers indoors starting this weekend. Cooper said bars, gyms and other indoor entertainment will need to remain closed for another five weeks. Wendy Jacobs, chair of the Durham County Board of Commissioners, confirmedi to the newspaper in a text that those entities won’t be allowed to open until June 1.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH-REOPENING
North Carolina beach town scales back restrictions
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina beach town is scaling back its restrictions in advance of the Memorial Day weekend. News outlets report Wrightsville Beach allowed all beach activities to resume as of Wednesday afternoon, including sunbathing, fishing and games. Previously, it allowed access to its beach but only for exercise. The town is also allowing short-term rentals to resume and has opened six of its public parking lots to beachgoers, a total 329 available spaces. On Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced restaurants, barber shops and hair salons could welcome patrons inside starting this holiday weekend, citing state COVID-19 trends remaining largely stable.
Florida’s Grayton Beach No. 1 in top-10 US list
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida state park has been named as having the best beach in the country. Grayton Beach State Park earned the No. 1 spot on a list of top 10 U.S. beaches released Thursday by Florida International University professor Stephen Leatherman. Nicknamed “Dr. Beach,” Leatherman says he chose the Gulf coast park in part because of its sugar-white sand and its clear, emerald-green water. Leatherman has been releasing the list for 30 years. This year’s compendium also includes beaches in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York and South Carolina.