VIRUS OUTBREAK-TEACHER SENT HOME
North Carolina teacher sent home for refusing to wear mask
SMITHFIELD, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina high school teacher has been sent home for refusing to wear a mask as required by her school district. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Aurora Preston, who teaches at South Johnston High School, said she had worn a face mask in the previous school year, but now doesn’t think they work in slowing the transmission of COVID-19. The newspaper reported that Preston showed up maskless last week for a teacher workday to prepare for the new school year. She was told to stay alone in her classroom for several hours before being sent home.
Virus straining NC hospitals: ‘We don’t want your business’
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Several North Carolina hospitals on Wednesday said they are seeing shortages in available workers and intensive care unit beds and longer delays for those who visit the emergency department. Wake County Emergency Medical Services is also seeing more calls come in than ever before. The more contagious COVID-19 delta variant is raising alarms and reigniting calls for people to get vaccinated. Cases, hospitalizations, deaths and the share of tests coming back positive in North Carolina are at their worst levels in months. Health officials say people now being hospitalized for COVID-19 are increasingly younger.
Bill on NC school masks, CPR, teen driving goes to governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Adjustments to K-12 school policies on face masks and teen driving and CPR requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic has received final approval by the North Carolina legislature. The provisions are within a compromise bill worked out by the House and Senate and approved Wednesday. It now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. The bill says each public school unit must vote at least monthly on whether to modify its face mask policy. The bill also says the high school graduation requirement that students receive CPR instruction has been waived for the past school year if COVID-19 prevented such instruction.
Bill to increase riot penalties clears North Carolina Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Senate has approved a bill that would impose harsher penalties on those who engage in violent protests. The measure passed on Wednesday now returns to the House, which approved an earlier version months ago. The bill would go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk with one more affirmative House vote. Cooper has expressed concerns about the proposal pushed by Republicans. The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, NAACP and other civil rights groups oppose House Speaker Tim Moore’s bill and worry it could have a chilling effect on free speech.
Sentencing for North Carolina ballot probe figure delayed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A key subject in a North Carolina ballot fraud investigation was supposed to be sentenced on largely unrelated federal crimes, but that got delayed because he was hospitalized. An attorney for Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. told WRAL-TV he was flown from one southeastern North Carolina hospital to another on Wednesday, hours before his scheduled sentencing hearing in Raleigh. He pleaded guilty in June to counts for obtaining illegal Social Security benefits while concealing payments for political work he performed. Sentencing was rescheduled for next week. Dowless still faces state charges involving balloting during the 2016 and 2018 elections.
Man hit, killed by train in second such accident in two days
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has been hit and killed by a passenger train, the second such accident in two days. WGHP reports the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office says emergency personnel responded to a report on Wednesday of a person hit by an Amtrak train in the city of Lexington. The sheriff’s office identified the victim as 37-year-old Gary Dale Beck, adding that his body was found about a quarter-mile from where the northbound train hit him. On Monday, authorities said 43-year-old Mary Fowler of Thomasville was struck by an Amtrak train and pronounced dead at the scene.
NC Senate backs protections for incarcerated pregnant women
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Physical restraints like handcuffs and shackles on pregnant women and new mothers in North Carolina prisons and jails would be largely barred in a measure nearing final legislative approval. The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday for the regulations, which their authors say are designed to protect mother and newborns while minimizing security risks. The bipartisan measure is supported by groups across the political spectrum. One more House vote is needed before the bill could go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. Pregnant prisoners also would receive health and parenting education from prison workers.
Prohibitions on release of donor info heads to NC governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Republicans have finalized legislation placing prohibitions on the public disclosure of contributors to nonprofits, saying they’ll protect rights of free speech and free association. The Senate voted on Wednesday to accept House changes to the bill, which now heads to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The bill says the names of donors to North Carolina-based nonprofits can’t be disclosed publicly by the group without a donor’s permission. And a donor’s identifying information is not a public record when held by a government agency. Democrats worry the rules would make it harder to reveal donors of “dark money” to political groups.
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