Cooper: Bars Stay Closed, Duke Energy Drops Rates, New Cases Top 2K Tuesday

Governor Allows Gyms To Re-Open In New Phase

(Raleigh, NC) -- A few changes are coming in the state's next move towards re-opening. Governor Roy Cooper outlined details in what he calls phase two-point-five yesterday, which allows for gyms to open at 30-percent capacity and permits larger gathering numbers. Bars and entertainment venues are still not allowed to re-open. The changes go into effect this Friday afternoon.

COVID-19 Cluster ID'd At Western Carolina University

(Cullowhee, NC) -- Health officials are monitoring a COVID-19 cluster at Western Carolina University. The Jackson County health department reported 17 positive cases yesterday of students staying at Harrill Hall. They're now in isolation. WCU Chancellor Kelli Brown said cases were expected and extensive protocols are in place.

State Creates Website For Absentee Ballot Requests

(Buncombe County, NC) -- The state is making it easier to request absentee ballots. North Carolina's board of elections has launched an online portal where registered voters can submit their request for a mail-in ballot. There's been a large rise in requests already, mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Buncombe County election officials say 30-thousand people locally have made requests for the November 3rd election, up from seven-thousand from four years ago. Voters have until October 27th to make a request.

Data Breach Confirmed In Haywood Schools Ransomware Attack

(Haywood County, NC) -- Investigators are trying to find exactly what information was stolen from Haywood County Schools last week. The district confirmed yesterday there was a data breach as part of the ransomware attack that disabled the computer network. Classes were called off all week as tech crews began rebuilding the system completely. Students are back in remote learning, but some services are still unusable.

Duke Energy Announces Rate Drop

(Charlotte, NC) -- Electric rates are taking a slight drop for Duke Energy customers. The company is using fuel savings from this year's first quarter to lower costs, rather than waiting until next year. Residential customers can expect a drop of close to three percent, while commercial customers will see a two-and-a-half percent drop. Duke is offering extended payment arrangements for struggling customers.

Federal Grants Helps Asheville Airport Complete Runway Project

(Asheville, NC) -- Another federal grant is coming to Asheville Regional Airport. Just over four-million-dollars will be used to complete a runway expansion, which is expected to be complete by November. WLOS-TV reports the project in its entirety cost around 115-million-dollars. The airport's marketing director says the highly functioning runway will be able to serve the community for another 50 years.

Protesters Seek Break On Rent Payments

(Charlotte, NC) -- Some protesters are demanding a break on rent payments in Charlotte. WBTV reports a group gathered outside for a drive-thru demonstration at the Mecklenburg County courthouse on Tuesday. Evictions are down, however, during the coronavirus pandemic. Deputies were handing out an average of 12 eviction notices a day in late July and early August, when normally there are around 75 a day.

UNCC Confirms COVID-19 Cluster

(Charlotte, NC) -- UNC Charlotte is confirming its first COVID-19 cluster. The university announced eight students from two off-campus residences recently tested positive. They've already recovered after self-isolating. Classes at UNCC are scheduled to begin next week.

Suspect Spray Paints Graffiti On Union County School

(Union County, NC) -- Investigators are looking for a vandal who caused damage at a Union County school. The sheriff's office says security cameras outside Weddington High School caught someone in the act of spray-painting the phrase "Black Lives Matter" across the building early Monday morning. The suspect was wearing a ski mask. The cost to repair is considered to be around five-thousand-dollars.

Meal Plans Change For CMS

(Charlotte, NC) -- CMS is changing meal plans for its students. Food will now come at no cost for students after the USDA extended its free meals program through the end of the year. The district will start offering parents an option to pick up food once a week for five days' worth of breakfasts lunches. Orders must be placed ahead of time for the meals, which will be available at a pick-up site or at the child's bust stop.

Meck County Honors 116-Year-Old Charlotte Woman

(Charlotte, NC) -- Mecklenburg County is honoring a 116-year-old Charlotte woman. The board of commissioners named September 1st Mother Hester McCardell Ford Day. She's considered to be the oldest living American. The city of Charlotte also honored her on her birthday August 15th.

Crews To Resume Search For Boy And Girl Washed Away In A Flood Monday Night

(Johnston County, NC) -- The search for two children who were swept away by high flood waters in Johnston County Monday night, will resume this morning near the Smithfield Community. First responders were able to pull a mother and one child from a car caught in the flash flooding, but strong currents caused a rescue boat to capsize, throwing that child into the rushing creek. The missing boy and girl are ages 4-and-5.

Single-Day COVID-19 Increase Tops Two Thousand

(Raleigh, NC) -- There was a big spike in the number of new coronavirus cases in the state on Tuesday. Data released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showed there were two-thousand-111 infections yesterday, an increase of 925 over the day before. That brought the total number of people who have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic to over 169-thousand. Of that figure, 946-patients were in the hospital.

Lawmakers Return For Start Of Short Session On COVID-19 Spending

(Raleigh, NC) -- Members of the North Carolina General Assembly will return to Raleigh today to begin a limited session in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. House and Senate Republicans have already devised an economic relief package that calls for spending an estimated 1-billion dollars in left over CARES Act funding to assist parents with childcare and education needs. The measure must still be signed by Governor Roy Cooper.

Search Underway For Two Children Missing Amid Flooding

(Smithfield, NC) -- Crews are searching for two children who went missing amid flooding in Johnston County. The kids' mother was rescued Monday night, but they're still missing. Fire Chief John Blanton says crews found the car the four-and-five-year-olds were in when it was swept into a creek in Smithfield. The vehicle was empty, so they're continuing the search with helicopters.

Greensboro Woman Charged In Stabbing Death Of Boyfriend

(Greensboro, NC) -- A Greensboro woman is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of her boyfriend. Twenty-five-year-old Taylor Temple is being held without bail. She's accused of stabbing Aljerod Myers at a High Point hotel last week. Myers died Monday of his injuries.

North Carolina Launches New Online Absentee Ballot Portal

(Greensboro, NC) -- North Carolina is rolling out a new online portal that allows registered voters to request absentee ballots. Executive Director of the State Board of Elections Karen Brinson-Bell says the goal is to ensure all voters can cast a ballot. She says the new portal will streamline voting by mail for folks who choose that option. The Absentee Ballot Request Portal can be accessed on the election board's website, NCSBE-dot-gov. The deadline to request a ballot is October 27th.

Shooting Under Investigation In Greensboro

(Greensboro, NC) -- Greensboro police have a shooting investigation on their hands. Shots were fired around 2:40 yesterday afternoon in the 23-hundred block of Floyd Street. Officers arrived to the scene and found a man suffering a gunshot wound. The victim is hospitalized in critical condition. Two people are in custody in connection with the shooting.

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