Shots in little arms: COVID-19 vaccine testing turns to kids
COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out to adults who are most at risk from the coronavirus, but ending the pandemic will require vaccinating children too. Researchers are beginning to test younger and younger kids to make sure the shots are safe and work for each age. Pfizer and Moderna expect to release results soon showing how their two-dose vaccines performed in people ages 12 and older. The companies recently launched studies involving younger ages. In Britain, AstraZeneca began a study among 6- to 17-year-olds. And Sinovac recently announced it has submitted preliminary data to Chinese regulators showing its vaccine is safe in children as young as 3.
Tornado outbreak rips across Deep South; at least 5 dead
A tornado outbreak has ripped across the Deep South, killing at least five people and leaving paths of destruction. Meteorologists say one large, dangerous tornado moved through western Georgia early Friday, downing trees and power lines. At least five people died Thursday in Alabama as the tornado outbreak rolled through the state. Thunderstorms and flooding were concerns in Tennessee, Kentucky and the Carolinas. Thousands lost power, including more than 100,000 in Ohio who were left in the dark. Some school districts in Alabama, Georgia and Ohio canceled or delayed classes Friday due to storm damage.
Police: Woman shot, killed in road-rage incident on I-95
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say a Pennsylvania woman has died after being shot in a road rage incident on Interstate 95. The Fayetteville Observer reports authorities were still searching for her killer after the Thursday shooting. The car she was in was heading south, north of Lumberton. The shooter was driving a silver or gray 2010 model Chevy Malibu or Impala with tinted windows. Authorities say the victim’s vehicle unknowingly came close to the shooter’s vehicle while merging into another lane. The woman who died was Julie Eberly of Manheim, Pennsylvania. Her husband, Ryan Eberly, was not injured. The couple was driving to the beach. Authorities said they had left their six children at home with grandparents.
New problems arise for crop storage as planet gets warmer
MECOSTA, Mich. (AP) — Climate change is posing new challenges for crop storage, a part of agriculture that’s often overlooked. Michigan produces more potatoes for chips than any other state because its outdoor air is usually cool enough to store them for months. But temperatures have edged upward in recent decades. Mecosta County grower Brian Sackett has bought several refrigeration units to supplement the ventilation fans on his operation. Scientists say there will be fewer days this century when potatoes and other crops such as apples and peanuts can be stored long-term without refrigeration. That may boost costs for consumers, as well as producers.
Smokies offering Storybook Trail for families this spring
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — A trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be lined with pages from children’s storybooks this spring. Beginning April 3, families can walk the Storybook Trail of the Smokies to see a story unfold. In the process, children will learn about things they are seeing around them in nature. The event will take place on the one-mile Cosby Nature Trail near Cosby Campground over an eight-week period. The trial will feature four books published by Great Smoky Mountains Association. They can be purchased at smokiesinformation.org. More information is available on the Storybook Trail of the Smokies Facebook page.
Senate Democrats pitch bills to expand voting access in NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Senate Democrats say they’ll soon offer bills to expand access to voting. The Democrats announced on Thursday plans to file legislation that would make voter registration of eligible citizens automatic when they turn 18 and permit same-day registration on Election Day. They also want to make permanent a nine-day window in which absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day could be received and still count. State law allowed a three-day grace period, but a legal settlement expanded it for 2020. Republicans in charge of the legislature opposed that settlement. Senate Republicans have since filed legislation to pull back the deadline to Election Day.
NC bill directs governments to release more personnel info
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina state agencies, local governments and school boards would be required to release reasons why employees got fired or demoted in legislation filed in the state Senate. The bill filed on Thursday by four Republicans would expand the information that government employers would have to disclose in public records requests. The measure is backed by the North Carolina Press Association. The measure would require agencies and boards to provide a “general description of the reasons” why someone was fired, dismissed or suspended. The measure also would apply to community colleges and regional mental health agencies.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina to open COVID vaccines to all adults April 7
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — All North Carolinians who are at least 16 years old will qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine April 7. Essential workers not yet vaccinated can get their shot starting March 31. Some counties have already began expanded eligibility to all adults due to lack of demand in their own communities. State health officials are shifting their distribution strategy over the next three weeks to give more doses to regions where a smaller share of residents have been vaccinated. Those who are 16 or 17 years old can get a Pfizer shot. Adults 18 or older can get a Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
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