North Carolina News – August 19

North Carolina News – August 19


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center closes to public

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center is closing to the public because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Mecklenburg County. The city issued a statement saying the center would be closed to the public beginning on Thursday. According to the statement, the closure applies to public meetings held by the Charlotte City Council, Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education. The public can participate in meetings virtually by signing up with the clerk’s office from each elected body. Public meetings will also be televised, shown online on the GOV Channel website and on social media.


UNC tradition comes under fire amid COVID-19 surge

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — A tradition at a North Carolina university has come under scrutiny after pictures the school posted on social media showed hundreds of students gathered at a campus landmark waiting to get a drink of water in the midst of a COVID-19 surge. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports pictures showed a line of students approaching the Old Well at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Wednesday waiting to get a drink and a picture. The tradition was canceled last year because of the pandemic. A statement from the school says public health officials said it was fine to proceed with the tradition.


Tropical Depression Fred threatens mudslides in New York

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Tropical Depression Fred has blown into the northeastern U.S. as a post-tropical cyclone, unleashing heavy rains and threatening mudslides and flash floods in upstate New York. Fred closed interstate highways in the lower Appalachians, and the National Weather Service says tornadoes are still possible as the storm moves northeast. As many as 14 possible tornadoes were reported across Georgia and the Carolinas. Thousands were without power, most of them in West Virginia and North Carolina, where steady downpours swelled waterways and washed rocks and mud onto highways. Meanwhile, Grace has become a hurricane near the Cayman Islands and is moving toward Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.


Cooper choice for environment job advances in confirmation

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest pick to run the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has received the formal bipartisan backing of a Senate committee who had questioned her the day before. Republicans leading the Senate environment panel praised Elizabeth Biser before advancing on Wednesday a confirmation resolution that would make her the permanent Cabinet secretary.  Biser is formerly a legislative lobbyist and environmental policy adviser who once worked for the department’s predecessor agency. The Senate rejected Cooper’s previous pick for the job, with Republicans saying they didn’t think Dionne Delli-Gatti was prepared to lead the department.


Criminal justice bill OK’d by NC House reworks body cam rule

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A wide-ranging criminal justice bill designed to push bad officers out of North Carolina law enforcement while giving others mental health assistance has passed the House. The measure also made another effort at altering the process by which the family members of someone who died can view privately the police body camera footage of what happened. Interest in adjusting the rules grew after the April shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. by Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies. The broader measure got nearly unanimous approval on Wednesday. The Senate approved a similar version in May.


Bill repealing NC pistol purchase permit heading to governor

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Republicans have completed a push to eliminate the state’s requirement that a handgun buyer obtain a permit from a sheriff. But the repeal is likely to get vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who supports more gun-access restrictions. The Senate voted along party lines on Wednesday to approve a House bill that would end the pistol purchase permitting system. The House approved it in May. The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association supported the measure, saying the background check a sheriff performs is redundant given now-robust federal background checks that gun dealers can perform. Opponents say the repeal would create a loophole for private sales.


House OKs raising minimum age for NC juvenile court to 8

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The minimum age in which a child could be prosecuted in North Carolina’s juvenile courts would rise from 6 to 8 in legislation approved by the House. The proposal would remove North Carolina as the state with the lowest age for juvenile adjudication set by law. There had been attempts this year to raise the minimum age to 10. But several lawmakers were concerned 8- or 9-year-olds accused of the most serious felonies could only receive counseling for their crimes. An advisory panel recommended the 10-year-old minimum. The threshold is in a broader juvenile justice bill that received overwhelming support and now returns to the Senate.


North Carolina man sentenced to prison for fatal wreck

BURGAW, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has received a two-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in connection with a 2018 crash that killed two passengers in his car. WECT reports the Pender County District Attorney’s office says David Emmanuel Claytor Jr. of Hampstead pleaded guilty to felony death by motor vehicle. In addition, Claytor was given two suspended sentences of 45 to 66 months, and three years of probation after his release. The N.C. State Highway Patrol says Claytor ran a stop sign at an intersection with N.C. Highway 50 and struck several trees. Investigators said speed and alcohol were factors in the wreck.

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