Testing Backlog Causes Case Count Jump, AVL Hotel Construction Ban Lifted

Asheville's Hotel Construction Ban Lifting

(Asheville, NC) -- A ban on hotel construction in Asheville is about to end. The city plans to lift the year-and-a-half-long moratorium at the end of this month, with a few changes in place. The planning and zoning commission revealed last night that new hotels must start meeting public benefit requirements, such as paying a living wage and utilizing green elements. The Asheville Mall and River Ridge shopping center will also be removed from the hotel overlay district.

DOT Forces Out Asheville Homeless Camp

(Asheville, NC) -- The city of Asheville is reviewing the removal of a homeless camp under the Lexington Bridge in downtown. Up to ten people were reportedly told to leave the area by the North Carolina Department of Transportation on Monday. The assistant city manager told WLOS-TV the proper city protocol wasn't followed since those affected weren't given seven-days to remove their belongings. The DOT asked the Asheville Police Department to respond to the scene, but the camp was cleared out before officers could even arrive.

Face Masks Required On Blue Ridge Parkway

(Asheville, NC) -- Face masks are now required on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This week, the National Park Service began following a Biden administration mandate which calls for masks to be worn on federal property. The requirement applies to both employees and visitors to the BRP, as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A parkway official said it's a good reminder there are health measures we can take to protect each other.

State Lawmakers Working To Raise Marriage Age

(Raleigh, NC) -- State lawmakers are working to raise the minimum age of marriage in North Carolina. A bipartisan effort is underway to require someone to be at least 18-years old to tie the knot. The current minimum age is 14. Buncombe County Representative Brian Turner says it will help end what sometimes results in human trafficking and reduce the amount of girls in dangerous relationships. The Tahirih Justice Center reports it will be the first change to the marriage law in two decades.

Suspect Stabs Two On CATS Bus

(Charlotte, NC) -- The CMPD is investigating a double stabbing that happened on a CATS bus yesterday. Officers say the suspect allegedly attacked two people with a machete while the bus was in the Elizabeth community. The victims' injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Investigators used the bus' surveillance system to catch a glimpse of the man, who was last seen on 7th Street.

Town Hall Tonight Over Vaccine Concerns

(Charlotte, NC) -- Atrium Health is hosting a town hall tonight to address concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials will be joined by a local minister and civil rights pioneer Dorothy Counts Scoggins to address the reluctance toward receiving the vaccine and to set the record straight on any myths. Interested viewers can head to the YouTube channel or Facebook page for the Harvey B. Gantt Center. It will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

NC Walgreen's Pharmacies To Administer COVID Vaccines

(Raleigh, NC) -- COVID-19 vaccines are coming to most Walgreen's pharmacies across the state. More than 31-thousand doses are being distributed to 300 locations thanks to a partnership with the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for vaccinations. Those interested and eligible can head to the Walgreen's website to make an appointment. The first doses are expected to be administered one week from tomorrow.

Meck Health Director Supports In-Person School

(Mecklenburg County, NC) -- Mecklenburg County's health director is in support of the plan to send students back to the classroom. CMS is currently set to welcome back Pre-K and elementary school students who choose in-person instruction on February 15th. Health director Gibbie Harris told NBC Charlotte she's okay with that decision, especially for younger students. She still has concerns about close-contact sports.

Lincoln County Restaurant Damaged In Fire

(Denver, NC) -- Firefighters are investigating a blaze that swept through a Lincoln County restaurant. A fire reportedly broke out in the back section of the Denver Smokehouse and Grill on North Highway 16 last night. WSOC-TV reports one person was injured. The restaurant was heavily damaged.

Healthcare Workers With Charlotte Ties Going To Super Bowl

(Charlotte, NC) -- It's the Super Bowl or bust for some healthcare workers with ties to Charlotte. NBC Charlotte says ten physicians who trained at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center are heading to Tampa Bay this weekend thanks to an NFL initiative. The league invited 75-hundred vaccinated healthcare workers to come watch the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers battle it out Sunday night. The group of ten usually gathers every Super Bowl, but they now have a chance to see it in person.

State Senate Approves Rules On How To Spend Latest Federal Stimulus Funds

(Raleigh, NC) -- Members of the North Carolina Senate on Wednesday approved a bill allowing some one-point-six-billion dollars the state received in federal stimulus funding to be distributed to schools. The funds were awarded in December. North Carolina education officials will use the money to help schools reopen for in-person classroom instruction, along with the purchasing of technical equipment needed for remote learning. Over 546-million will go toward emergency rental assistance. And 95-million will be used to assist with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan.

Single-Day Spike In NC COVID-19 Metrics Blamed On Backlog

(Raleigh, NC) -- A backlog of old cases from December is being blamed for the huge spike in COVID-19 key metrics reported in North Carolina on Wednesday. Health Department data showed there were 169 additional deaths recorded yesterday, the most since the start of the pandemic. The state also reported there were over 12-thousand new cases of the coronavirus, which represented a single-day increase of more than nine-thousand over the day before. North Carolina's test positive rate rose to an even 14-percent on Wednesday.

Durham Investigators Suspect Two Fatal Shootings Last Night May Have Been Connected

(Durham, NC) -- Authorities in Durham are investigating to try and determine if two separate fatal shootings last night were related. Officers first responded to a call around 5:50 p.m. of shots fired in the 200-block of Cushman Street. When they arrived, they found one man suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Minutes later, police were called to the scene of another shooting along the 500-block of Hardee Street. The victim, described as a 40-year old male, was also pronounced dead at the scene. There have been no arrests in either case.

Michael Regan Predicted To Win Easy Senate Confirmation As National EPA Administrator

(Raleigh, NC) -- It appears that President Biden's nominee for national EPA Administrator is getting broad bi-partisan support from members of the U.S. Senate. Michael Regan, who has led North Carolina's Department of Environmental Quality since 2017, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday. He told members that if confirmed, he would move quickly on climate change and other priorities of the President. Regan also vowed to follow the law and not to exceed his statutory authority.

Board Of Education To Vote On Social Study Standards Today

(Raleigh, NC) -- The North Carolina Board of Education is set to take a vote today on a controversial proposal that would change social study standards for students in grades K-12. At issue is the use of the word 'Systemic' in describing injustice with respect to race and gender. Republican Superintendent Catherine Truitt wants the terms removed and replaced with just the terms 'Racism and Injustice' to describe racial inequality. She is also proposing just 'Identity' instead of 'Gender Identity' when referring to discrimination based on a person's sex.

Winston-Salem Baby Survives Multiple Gunshot Wounds

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- An eight-month-old baby is recovering after she was shot four times in Winston-Salem. The child's family tells NBC News 12 she was sleeping in her playpen last Friday when someone shot through their home at Hunt Club Apartments. The child was shot in her arm, tricep, back and lung, but she's expected to be okay. Police believe the shooter targeted the wrong unit.

Woman Accused Of Running Down Man With SUV

(High Point, NC) -- A High Point woman is accused of running down a man with her SUV. Twenty-two-year-old Mia Davis was arrested Tuesday afternoon for assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse and resisting an officer. Police say she followed a man who was walking and then hit him several times with her SUV before abandoning the vehicle with three children inside and chasing the victim on foot. Davis was taken into custody near North Centennial Street and East Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The victim was not seriously hurt.

Two Wake Forest Baptist Health Workers To Attend Super Bowl 55 Sunday

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Two physicians with Wake Forest Baptist Health are headed to the Super Bowl. Dr. Jennifer Hannum and Dr. Manoh Pariyadath [[ PUH-ri-YAH-dith ]] were invited by the NFL to attend Super Bowl 55 in Tampa, Florida this Sunday. They're among 75-hundred vaccinated health care workers who will be at the game, free of charge.

Greensboro Police Launching New Program To Help Residents With Special Needs

(Greensboro, NC) -- Greensboro Police are launching a new program to help residents with special needs. The "Take Me Home" program will allow parents and legal guardians to share photos and information about family members in case they go missing. Officers will be able to search for emergency contact information when they find the person and return them home more quickly. It will also allow them to better handle their encounters with people who may have mental disabilities.

Reward Increases In Gibsonville Explosives Case

(Gibsonville, NC) -- Gibsonville police are offering a two-thousand-dollar reward for information leading to an arrest in connection to several incidents involving explosions or explosive devices in the town. Suspected homemade explosive devices have been turning up in the same neighborhood over the last few months. Police say they've been found at or near Wood Street and Burlington Avenue in the early morning hours. Anyone with information is urged to call Gibsonville P-D.

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