Vaccines Begin to Flow, COVID Cases Drop, Macon Co. to Focus on Vaccines


Vaccines For Older Americans Begin

(Buncombe County, NC) -- COVID-19 vaccines for residents 75 and older are being administered in Buncombe County. The next phase of vaccination rollout started yesterday. Nearly three-thousand appointments have already been made for the rest of the month. Buncombe County's public health director says no one from out-of-town will be turned down.

Asheville Schools Virtual Until Mid-March

(Asheville, NC) -- Remote learning is being extended for Asheville City Schools. The system said Monday that virtual instruction will continue through March 16th before a gradual transition to classroom learning. Around 85-percent of staff members recently said in a survey that it wouldn't be safe for students to return at this time. The announcement cited the state was in a dangerous place with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Man With WNC Ties Arrested For Threats Against House Speaker

(Clay County, NC) -- A Clay County homeowner is being investigated by the FBI for alleged threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Cleveland Grover Meredith is accused of saying he would shoot Pelosi in the head while on TV. He wasn't at the protests in Washington, D.C. last Wednesday, but was arrested when he arrived a day later. The Citizen-Times says Meredith bought a home in Clay County last August after living in nearby Hiawassee, Georgia.

Macon County Focusing On Vaccines Rather Than Clusters

(Macon County, NC) -- A western North Carolina county is taking its focus off reporting COVID-19 clusters. The Macon County Health Department announced yesterday it doesn't have the capacity to concentrate on cluster numbers while also trying to roll out vaccines in an effective way. The health director said three nurses who worked on contact tracing have shifted to vaccinations. Older residents will be able to receive COVID-19 doses in Macon County starting tomorrow.

Airports Impact NC Economy In Billions

(Raleigh, NC) -- North Carolina's publicly owned airports have a large impact on the economy. Numbers released by the DOT yesterday show airports and related jobs supply two-and-a-half-billion-dollars in tax revenue every year, according to pre-pandemic numbers. The contribution to the state's economy totals over 60-billion-dollars and several hundred thousand jobs.

Asheville Business Adds Jobs In Expansion

(Buncombe County, NC) -- A manufacturing company is adding jobs at its Asheville location. System Logistics Corporation announced yesterday it will add nearly 50 jobs in a three-million-dollar expansion. The company specializes in creating automated storage. The average wage for the new jobs is expected to be over 32-dollars-per-hour.

Rowan County Runs Out Of Vaccines

(Rowan County, NC) -- Rowan County is out of COVID-19 vaccines just as a next rollout phase begins. The health department was forced to turn away dozens of cars at a drive-thru clinic yesterday after only a few hours because no doses were left. Just over 200 were given out as residents aged 75-and-over came out on their first day of eligibility. More doses may be on the way later this week.

Chester Police Chief, Two Officers Suspended

(Chester, SC) -- Chester's police chief and two officers are suspended amid a finance investigation. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division was reportedly called in by Chester city officials to conduct a probe over spending. The mayor is staying mum on the situation, saying the city won't discuss the suspensions since they're a personnel matter. An interim police chief has been appointed in the meantime.

Longtime Charlotte Council Member Resigns

(Charlotte, NC) -- A longtime Charlotte city council member is stepping down. At-large member James Mitchell announced his resignation yesterday as he begins a new job as president of the RJ Leeper Construction firm. There were initially questions on whether there may be potential conflicts, since RJ Leeper is contracted on some city work. Mitchell has served on the city council for more than two decades.

UNCC Starting Spring Semester Remote

(Charlotte, NC) -- UNC Charlotte is shifting its learning plans for the spring semester due to COVID-19. The chancellor said yesterday that all classes will be online or remote once the semester begins on January 20th. Any classes that are hybrid or scheduled to be face-to-face will start to meet on campus February 22nd. The semester break has also been moved from late March to mid-February.

Davidson Nail Salon Owner Found Guilty Of Forced Labor

(Davidson, NC) -- A former Davidson nail salon owner is guilty of forced labor. A federal jury brought down the decision against Tien Luong after a five-day trial last week. Investigators say Luong abused an employee for two years until her arrest for human trafficking in 2018. Luong allegedly pulled out the victim's hair and stabbed her with nail tools.

Rescue Mission Closes Over Outbreak

(Charlotte, NC) -- A COVID-19 outbreak is forcing the Charlotte Rescue Mission to close its men's campus. Affected individuals must stay in quarantine for two weeks. The location will re-open once everything is cleared through the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Cawthorn Calls Trumps Directive To March On Capitol A Mistake

(Raleigh, NC) -- North Carolina Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn is now calling President Trump's urging of supporters to march on the Capitol last week a mistake. Cawthorn, one of Trumps staunchest allies in the House, who also spoke at the January 6th rally before the assault, has expressed outrage and regret about the violent attack, but said Monday he doesn't favor impeachment.

Attorney General Stein Working To Track Down And Prosecute North Carolinians To Attacked Capitol

(Raleigh, NC) -- State Attorney General Josh Stein is vowing to track down and prosecute anyone from North Carolina who participated in the violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol last week. In a statement released Monday, Stein said he has already received dozens of tips that could lead to the arrest of many North Carolinians. Stein said those who participated in the violent acts broke the law and must be held accountable.

COVID-19 Forces More Than 30-Durham Firefighters Into Isolation

(Durham, NC) -- More than 30-Durham firefighters are either out sick or are under quarantine after possibly being exposed to COVID-19. According to the International Association of Firefighters local 668, since March, there have been 35-Durham Fire Department personnel who have tested positive for the virus. And at one point, 65-firefighters were out due to possible exposure. The 35-firefighters who are currently out are from three different shifts across five stations.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations On The Rise Again In North Carolina

(Raleigh, NC) -- State health officials are reporting COVID-19 hospitalizations were back up Monday for the first time within the past five days. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, three thousand-843 people were in the hospital, an increase of 69-over the day before. However, the Department also reported there was a 28-hundred-97 single-day drop in new coronavirus cases yesterday, which brought the total to five thousand-936. Eleven-additional deaths were reported on Monday.

Wegman's Now Hiring For New Store In Chapel Hill

(Chapel Hill, NC) -- Wegman's has announced it will hold a virtual job fair to fill 120-part time positions at its newest store in Chapel Hill. The store, located on Fordham Boulevard, is scheduled to open in February. The company says there are immediate openings for customer service team members including, cashiers and stock workers. The online hiring event will be held Thursday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

NC COVID-19 Cases Drop Dramatically

(Undated) -- North Carolina is reporting a significant drop in COVID-19 cases. State health officials reported just under six-thousand new coronavirus cases yesterday. That's down from recent five-digit records. The rate of positive tests is down to 13-point-nine-percent, which is still higher than the goal of five-percent. Three-thousand-80 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.

Alamance Co. Firefighter Dies Of COVID-19

(Alamance Co., NC) -- An Alamance County firefighter has died of COVID-19. Larry Lasley, with the Swepsonville Fire Department, died Saturday morning at UNC Hospital in Chapel hill. He had been with the department since the late 1970s.

Governor Cooper Orders Flags At Half-Staff To Honor Capitol Police Officers

(Undated) -- Governor Roy Cooper is ordering flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Capitol police officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood. Both men died after responding to the chaos at the U.S. Capitol last week. The order is in effect until January 13th.

Man Hit, Killed By Train ID'd

(High Point, NC) -- Police are identifying the man hit and killed by a train in High Point. They say the victim was a homeless man named Brian Johnson. The accident happened Sunday at West Point Avenue and West English Road. Norfolk Southern is investigating.

Army Investigating Fort Bragg Officer Who Led Group To Washington Rally

(Fort Bragg, NC) -- The Army is investigating a Fort Bragg officer who led a group of President Trump supporters to a rally in Washington, D.C. Captain Emily Rainey is said to have led 100 members of the Moore County Citizens for Freedom group to the march last week. Rainey said she is not aware of anyone from the group that entered the Capitol. She also said they left before the curfew took effect.