Last Counties With No Cases in WNC, Wiseman Gets Early Release, UNC Sued

Two Mountain Counties Remain Without Coronavirus Cases

(Raleigh, NC) -- Two counties in the mountains are the only remaining areas with no COVID-19 cases in the state. Public health officials revealed yesterday positive results have popped up in 98 of 100 counties, with the exception of Yancey and Avery. There are just over 450 cases in western North Carolina. The News and Observer says total numbers for the state climbed over ten-thousand on Wednesday.

Sentence Reduced For Contractor In Buncombe Fraud Scheme

(Asheville, NC) -- A former contractor tied to a Buncombe County fraud scheme is being released from prison early. The attorney for Joe Wiseman says a judge agreed to reduce his sentence by about eleven months with a late July 2021 release, based on the fact he assisted in the investigation. Wiseman was involved in a kickback scheme with several former Buncombe administrators, including longtime county manager Wanda Greene. His attorney is additionally seeking Wiseman's immediate release from a North Carolina prison based on COVID-19 concerns.

Asheville Hotels Offering Stays For Healthcare Workers

(Asheville, NC) -- Some Asheville hotels are opening doors for healthcare workers and first responders. The Dogwood Health Trust announced yesterday it is helping pay half the cost of 30 local hotel rooms over the next two months, so that these frontline workers have a place to stay if they fear spreading COVID-19 to their families. Their employers are expected to pay the remaining cost. The initiative is in coordination with the group, Virtelle Hospitality, which operates several local hotels.

Henderson County Exploring Business Guidelines

(Henderson County, NC) -- Henderson County leaders are continuing to hammer out details on how to re-open the local economy. The Blue Ridge Times News says a county COVID-19 committee discussed the possibility yesterday of establishing guidelines, rather than rules, for businesses to follow in phases. Commissioners may make a final decision on the matter during Monday's meeting. Gaston County sent mixed messages yesterday when its commission chair said he would be signing an order to allow businesses to re-open. The mayors in all the county's municipalities later sent a join letter stating the county was still following the Governor's stay-at-home order.

UNC Asheville Student Sues School Over Tuition

(Asheville, NC) -- A UNC Asheville student is demanding tuition money back. The undergraduate filed a lawsuit against the school and the UNC System this week, claiming that remote lessons have diminished the quality of instruction and campus availabilities. The UNC System has already agreed to provide reimbursements on housing and dining fees, but has made no move on tuition. Students at three other North Carolina schools have filed similar complaints.

Breweries Help Raise Money For Restaurant Employees

(Asheville, NC) -- Asheville breweries are teaming up to help local restaurant and bar workers. WLOS-TV reports Bhramari Brewing Company and Archetype sold out of a limited edition beer last weekend. The sale raised 12-thousand-500-dollars for the Restaurant and Bar Relief Fund. New Belgium and Riverbend Malt House coordinated on developing the special brew. There may be another event coming up soon due to last weekend's success.

Some Businesses Can Re-Open In Mecklenburg County

(Mecklenburg County, NC) -- Some businesses in Charlotte have the option of re-opening today. Mecklenburg County's stay-at-home order officially falls back in line with the state's today, meaning some restrictions are now relaxed. Those businesses allowed to open include car dealerships, electronic retailers and insurance companies. All must still follow social distancing guidelines. Parking at county parks is also opening back up, although playgrounds will still be off-limits.

>>Gaston County Issues Confusing Stance On Stay-At-Home Orders

(Gaston County, NC) -- There appears to be confusion in Gaston County over local stay-at-home orders. Commission chair Tracy Philbeck said he was signing off on a measure yesterday that would allow businesses to re-open in Gaston. Governor Cooper criticized the order for causing confusion during a public health emergency. The county commission later clarified that Gaston County will still follow the governor's stay-at-home order, which is in effect through May 8th. Philbeck still said the county supports those who want to open their businesses in spite of the governor's order.

UNC Charlotte To Remember Shooting Victims In Virtual Program

(Charlotte, NC) -- Today marks one year since an on-campus shooting rocked UNC Charlotte. Two students were killed, while four others were injured. The university is holding a virtual event this afternoon at 5:10 called "United: A Remembrance Program." It will feature tributes to the victims and other students who were in the classroom during the shooting. An artistic video and musical performance are also planned.

UNC System Planning Campus Openings For Fall

(Charlotte, NC) -- Students of UNC Charlotte could be back in classrooms this fall. The UNC System's interim president said yesterday he is expecting to open campuses up in the fall, while keeping some precautions in mind. Some things suggested were implementing a shortened or staggered academic calendar. The system will continue to coordinate with health officials and follow restrictions put in place by Governor Cooper.

Strong Storms Hit Charlotte Area

(Charlotte, NC) -- The Queen City is waking up from a night of strong storms. Heavy rain and thunderstorms moved through the Piedmont, knocking out power to more than 20-thousand Mecklenburg County residents. The system will be gone my mid-morning, leaving behind partly cloudy conditions the rest of the day. Highs are expected to reach 70.

Charlotte's Developmental Hockey Team Losing Affiliation

(Charlotte, NC) -- The Carolina Hurricanes are cutting ties with Charlotte's developmental league hockey team. The Hurricanes are close to signing an affiliation agreement with the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves instead. The Charlotte Checkers have been affiliated with Carolina for a decade. Team officials say they'll be looking for more affiliate options and look forward to playing in the AHL when everything resumes.

Senate Approves Whopping Billion Dollar Emergency Funding Package For COVID-19 Response

(Raleigh, NC) -- Members of the North Carolina Senate have unanimously approved an over one-billion-dollar emergency funding bill to help with the response to the coronavirus crisis. The bipartisan legislation passed Wednesday on a 48-to-0 vote. The funds, which are part of the CARES Act, will be used to provide assistance to public health, small businesses, education and local governments. The bill now moves to the House, where a competing bill proposes spending 375-million dollars more than the Senate version.

Students Will Return To North Carolina College Campuses For Fall Semester Says Interim President

(Chapel Hill, NC) -- The head of the University of North Carolina System has announced that he expects the school's 17-public colleges and university campuses to reopen for the fall semester. In a statement released Wednesday, Interim President Dr. Bill Roper said the ultimate decision will be based on data and health officials success in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 over the next few months. Roper also said once students return, new social distancing protocols, such as reduced student density in classrooms and housing will likely be implemented.

Total Number of COVID-19 Cases Over 10-Thousand

(Raleigh, NC) -- The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that as of Wednesday, there were over ten-thousand-cases of the coronavirus in the state. That includes a one-day total of 380-new cases of the virus within a 24-hour period. The figures also showed there were over 550-patients in the hospital and around 380-people have died from the disease. Cases of the coronavirus have now been confirmed in 98-of the state's 100-counties.

Experimental Anti-Viral Drug Showing Promise In North Carolina Study

(Durham, NC) -- Doctors in North Carolina are reporting that an anti-viral medication they've been using in clinical testing, is showing promising results in shortening the recovery times of critically ill COVID-19 patients. The study of the experimental drug Remdesivir, is being run by the National Institutes of Health and involves hospitalized patients around the world, including UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. Researchers say Remdesivir directly attacks the virus by preventing it from reproducing.

North Carolina Meat Processing Plants Still Operating Despite Coronavirus Concerns

(Raleigh, NC) -- Responding to President Trump's recent signing of an executive order requiring the nation's meat processing plants to remain open, State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said all food processing plants in North Carolina remain open. Troxler said because meat processing plants in other parts of country have had to close due to coronavirus outbreaks, customers may see a shortage of selections of meat products in grocery stores in the coming weeks. Troxler said his department continues to monitor facilities where employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

HAECO Americas Employees Test Positive For COVID-19

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Two employees at HAECO Americas in Greensboro are recovering from coronavirus. The aircraft maintenance company tells NBC 12 the workers did not experience any symptoms at work and have not been back since their diagnosis. It says anyone who may have had contact with the employees has been put on paid leave.

GTA, SCAT Running Again After COVID-19 Diagnosis

(Greensboro, NC) -- The Greensboro Transportation Agency and SCAT bus routes are running again this morning after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. The agency shut-down suddenly yesterday morning because drivers did not show up for work. The drivers made the decision to stay home after hearing about the diagnosis. GTA announced late Wednesday afternoon that it reinstated the routes.

Suspect In Custody After Barricade Situation In Troy

(Troy, NC) -- At least one suspect is in custody after a barricade situation in Troy. Officers responded to a home-invasion on Dennis Street yesterday afternoon. They say the suspect barricaded himself inside. SWAT was called, and an armored vehicle was used to ram into the house. No one was hurt.

Homicide Under Investigation In Greensboro

(Greensboro, NC) -- Greensboro police have a homicide investigation on their hands. Officers responded to Elm Apartment Homes on Covey Lane just before noon yesterday. A man was found dead with a gunshot wound. Officers are looking for at least one suspect who ran from the scene.

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