COVID Variant Detected in Buncombe, Virus Deaths Pass 10K in N.C.

COVID-19 Variant Appears In Buncombe County

(Buncombe County, NC) -- A more contagious strain of COVID-19 is showing up in Buncombe County. The health department revealed yesterday three cases of the U.K. strain have been identified through random sequencing testing by the CDC. There have been over 20 such cases in North Carolina. Health director Stacie Saunders said the news wasn't unexpected.

State Senate Passes Bill Requiring Schools To Open

(Raleigh, NC) -- A bill to require schools to reopen in North Carolina is heading to the state House. The Senate passed a proposal yesterday which instructs school systems to open under a choice of minimal or moderate social distancing for all grades. Governor Roy Cooper has already recommended that schools reopen their classrooms. Students are allowed to remain in remote learning if they wish, according to the bill.

NC Senators Stick With Party On Impeachment Constitutionality Vote

(Washington, DC) -- North Carolina's senators are staying along party lines so far in impeachment proceedings. Six GOP senators joined Democrats yesterday in deciding that former President Trump's impeachment trial is constitutional. North Carolina Republicans Thom Tillis and Richard Burr cast votes against the measure. The trial will now proceed over the next two days.

COVID Deaths Pass Ten-Thousand In NC

(Raleigh, NC) -- The number of COVID-19 deaths is over ten-thousand in the Tarheel State. The total crossed the five-figure mark when health officials added 55 deaths to the count yesterday. Residents are still awaiting word on when a new phase of vaccinations will begin. Governor Roy Cooper says a decision on timing for new eligibility will be made this week.

Henderson County Agribusiness Hiring

(Henderson County, NC) -- A new agribusiness in Henderson County is hiring. BrightFarms is holding a job fair on Friday at Blue Ridge Community College, in hopes of filling 55 positions at its 280-thousand-square-foot hydroponic greenhouse. WLOS-TV reports the facility is expected to produce two-million-pounds of leafy greens per year. The greenhouse opens in April.

Allegiant Adds Asheville Flight To Florida Panhandle

(Asheville, NC) -- Allegiant is adding a Florida destination to its routes out of Asheville this summer. The airline will start flying nonstop to Destin-Fort Walton Airport on May 27th. Asheville Regional's executive director said the panhandle is the corner of Florida they've been waiting for. Planes will head out to Destin twice a week.

Meck County Preparing For Next Vaccine Phase

(Charlotte, NC) -- Mecklenburg County health officials are preparing for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccines. Health director Gibbie Harris said yesterday that nearly 80-thousand people in Charlotte have been vaccinated so far. She anticipates the next group, which includes police and teachers, will be able to get their first doses within the next several weeks. Governor Roy Cooper says a decision on timing for new eligibility will be made this week.

Woman Dies After Gastonia Officer-Involved Shooting

(Gastonia, NC) -- One woman is dead in a Gastonia officer-involved shooting. Investigators say officers were responding to a report of an overdose when they opened fire on an armed woman at a home on Mountain Avenue early Monday morning. Her family has confirmed she died yesterday. The woman had reportedly just returned home from the hospital on Sunday after struggling with seizures.

CMS Students Returning To Classroom Next Week

(Charlotte, NC) -- Students are still slated to return to the classroom next week in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Kindergarten through fifth grade children, as well as those in K-through-eight schools, have the option to begin in-person instruction. CMS officials said yesterday face masks will be required and students must complete safety screeners. The state Senate passed a proposal yesterday which requires school systems to open their classrooms.

CMPD Investigates East Charlotte Homicide

(Charlotte, NC) -- The CMPD is investigating a homicide in east Charlotte. Officers found a man shot to death outside a home on Kelston Place Tuesday afternoon. A person of interest was detained and questioned at the scene. Investigators say they believe the shooting stemmed from an argument inside the home.

Charlotte Murder Suspect Charged Two Years Later

(Charlotte, NC) -- A suspect is facing charges in a 2019 homicide in north Charlotte. It's been nearly two years since Tyshawn Boyd was found shot near West Sugar Creek Road and I-85. A man already in jail on unrelated charges was served a murder warrant this week. Boyd's mother told WBTV she feels a bit relieved, but it won't bring her son back.

Harris Teeter Offers Employees Incentive To Get Vaccinated

(Matthews, NC) -- Harris Teeter is offering an incentive to those employees thinking about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The Matthews-based grocery store chain is paying associates 100-dollars if they receive the full manufacturer-recommended doses of the vaccine. Some Harris Teeter locations in Fort Mill are also expected to have vaccines available at their pharmacies next week.

Health Department To Expand Vaccination Rollout To Include Group 3 Essential Workers

(Raleigh, NC) -- With an estimated half of the people in Group 2 now having received their vaccines, North Carolina health officials are currently making preparations to expand the vaccination eligibility list to Group 3. Group 3 would include essential workers such as teachers, grocery store employees and agricultural workers. Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that the State will unveil later this week precise dates in which individuals in Group 3 will become eligible to receive vaccines.

Uber To Offer Free Rides To Walgreens For People Who Need To Get Vaccinated

(Raleigh, NC) -- Uber and Walgreen's have announced a partnership that would provide free rides for people who need transportation to the drug store to receive vaccines. The agreement covers some 300 Walgreen's stores in North Carolina, where more than 30-thousand doses of vaccines have been allocated. Walgreens is scheduled to start administering the shots on Friday.

Maker Of Remdesevir To Set Up Satellite Operations At RTP

(Raleigh, NC) -- Gilead Sciences, maker of remdesevir, has announced plans to invest around five-million dollars to launch a new business services and information technology hub in Research Triangle Park. In making the announcement Tuesday, a company spokesperson say Gilead's RTP location will focus on developing cybersecurity services, along with financial and human resources. The development will also create 275 jobs.

Senate Committee Approves EPA Nominee Regan

(Washington, DC) -- President Biden's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency is one step closer to confirmation. A Senate committee approved North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan to run the agency. The full Senate will decide whether Regan is ultimately confirmed. If that happens, Regan will be the first African American man to run the EPA.

COVID-19 Cluster ID'd At Three Alamance Co. Child Care Centers

(Burlington, NC) -- The Alamance County Health Department is identifying COVID-19 clusters at several area child care centers. They include Hawfields Presbyterian Child Care and Development Center in Mebane, Like My Own Daycare #2 in Burlington, and three Kidz N Progress Childcare centers in Mebane and Haw River. The cases include both children and staff members.

Winston-Salem Police Launch New Crime-Reporting Program For Dog Owners

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Winston-Salem police are calling on local dog owners to help them fight crime. The police department is launching a new program called "Pups Against Crime." It allows folks to report any suspicious activity they notice while they're out walking their dogs. Officers are hoping the majority of the city's 20-thousand registered dog owners will take part in the effort.

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