WNC Vax Rates Mixed , Reparations Project Manager Named, Arson Arrests Up

Buncombe Among Highest Vaccinated Counties

(Buncombe County, NC) -- Some of the state's highest and lowest vaccination rates are in western North Carolina. The state health department reports Buncombe County's vaccination rate is North Carolina's fifth-highest, with nearly 60-percent of the total population fully vaccinated against COVID. Around 70-percent of the adult population have been completely inoculated. On the other end of the spectrum, Rutherford County has the state's second-lowest rate, with just 32-percent fully vaccinated.

Haywood Church Helping In Flood Relief

(Haywood County, NC) -- A Haywood County church is leading efforts to help flood victims. WLOS-TV says Bethel Baptist Church has been taking supplies this week, including some that were hand-delivered from Louisiana. The American Red Cross is going door-to-door to find out who may need help. Rescue crews have found five people who died from flooding in the Cruso community last week.

New Reparations Project Manager Named In Asheville

(Asheville, NC) -- A consulting firm will head up reparations projects for the city of Asheville. African-American owned TEQuity [[ teh-quity ]] was named as project manager for reparations at last night's city council meeting. The firm will also help select around two-dozen people to serve on a reparations commission by November. Asheville's interim equity officer told the council that the firm has experience working with HBCUs, governmental agencies, minority-owned businesses and more.

Outbreaks Reported In Buncombe County Nursing Homes

(Buncombe County, NC) -- A handful of Buncombe County nursing homes are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. Health and Human Services has identified four long-term care facilities. One of those, Laurels of Summit Ridge, has reported nearly 30 cases alone, with four deaths. Buncombe health director Stacie Saunders says residents are at a higher risk because of the congregate living setting.

Arson Arrests Up In Buncombe County

(Buncombe County, NC) -- Arson arrests are up in Buncombe County. The sheriff's office revealed yesterday that arrests have gone up 33-percent since Detective William Small started his position as the county's new arson investigator last November. Small's dedication and technology investment were credited with helping in the increase.

Asheville Council Approves Hotel Project

(Asheville, NC) -- A hotel is set for expansion in Asheville. The city council narrowly approved the project for the existing Four Points by Sheraton hotel on Woodfin Street last night. An eleven-story building will be added. It's expected to contain hotel rooms and 100 residential units.

Classes Begin Today For CMS

(Charlotte, NC) -- Classes begin today in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Students and staff will begin the school year with a requirement to wear face masks due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant. District guidelines reveal that students who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for ten days. Close contacts must quarantine for ten days as well.

Gaston County Offers Vaccine Incentive To Employees

(Gaston County, NC) -- Gaston County is now offering a vaccine incentive for employees. Any county employee will have until October 15th to be fully vaccinated in order to receive an extra 250-dollars. Another 250 will go out if 75-percent of employees are vaccinated by that date. The plan was approved by Gaston County commissioners last night.

Future Of Epicentre In Question

(Charlotte, NC) -- Talks are ongoing to figure out the future of the Epicentre in uptown. WBTV reports the center recently defaulted on an 85-million-dollar loan, as around two-thirds of the businesses there have moved out. There are around 50 tenants remaining at the Epicentre, who will now help decide on what will happen at the development. A Texas-based real estate company was appointed last month to manage the property.

Man Accused Of Killing Girlfriend In Rowan County

(Rowan County, NC) -- Rowan County deputies are investigating what appears to be an attempted murder-suicide. A man allegedly shot his girlfriend to death on Saint Peter's Church Road Monday night before he turned a gun on himself. WSOC-TV reports the man was last said to be on life-support. The sheriff's office says an eight-year-old girl called 911 from a bathroom when the initial gunshots were fired.

Long Lines At Charlotte Emergency Rooms

(Charlotte, NC) -- Waiting lines at Charlotte-area emergency rooms are growing exponentially. One resident told WBTV that her husband was told to wait 20-hours at the Atrium Health Pineville E-R last month. That was before hospitalizations increased even more to include over 33-hundred COVID-19 patients, which was reported by the state earlier this week. Atrium Health says the best way for people to protect themselves and others is to get a COVID vaccination.

Gas Line Rupture Leads To SouthPark Fire

(Charlotte, NC) -- A gas leak is to blame for a fire in Charlotte's SouthPark. The Charlotte Fire Department reports a construction crew hit a gas line on Sharon Commons Lane early Tuesday evening. The leak erupted into a fire, which caused the evacuation of one home. There were no injuries reported.

UNC Professors Told They Must Keep Their Mask On, Even While Teaching

(Chapel Hill, NC) -- Officials at UNC Chapel Hill have revised an earlier mask policy for professors. In an email sent out Tuesday, UNC faculty were informed they must keep their mask on at all times while inside buildings, even during classroom lectures. The order comes in response to 229 new COVID-19 cases being reported since the beginning of August. On Monday, the University also ordered all unvaccinated students to undergo testing twice a week.

Bill Restricting How Race Is Taught In North Carolina Clears Senate Committee

(Raleigh, NC) -- A bill that would place new restrictions on how teachers would be allowed to discuss race in the classroom has passed a North Carolina Senate committee. It would bar teachers from promoting any concepts about race on a list of 13 beliefs. However, the bill does not specifically mention a ban on the teaching of "Critical Race Theory." Governor Roy Cooper has already indicated he plans to veto the legislation.

Child Must Now Be Eight To Be Charged In Juvenile Court With Felony Offense

(Raleigh, NC) -- Members of the North Carolina House have approved a bill that would raise the minimum age for which children can be charged with crimes in juvenile court from six to eight. The change takes North Carolina from having the lowest age in the country for juvenile prosecution to being one of three. Arizona, Washington state and Nevada also have age eight minimum requirements. Twenty-nine other states have no minimum age for prosecution of children. The bill now goes to Governor Roy Cooper for his signature.

NC Highway Patrol To Post Safety Checkpoints During Labor Day Weekend

(Raleigh, NC) -- The North Carolina Highway Patrol is promising to be out in force during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. The Agency's "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink and Drive" campaign will run from September 3rd through September 6th. Highway Patrol officers will set up safety checkpoints on roadways across the state. The initiative will be an attempt to reduce alcohol-related accidents on state highways, interstates and waterways. Officers will be on the lookout for drunk or distracted drivers, speeders and those not wearing their seat belts.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations In NC Over 3300

(Raleigh, NC) -- Over three-thousand-300 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in North Carolina. The state Department of Health is also reporting just over four-thousand-600 new COVID-19 cases. That's down from about 52-hundred on Monday. Health officials say about 59-percent of adults in the state are fully vaccinated.

Atrium Health Launches First COVID-19 Vaccine Drone Delivery

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist medical center is launching the first COVID-19 vaccine drone delivery program in the country. It expands the medical center's existing drone program that was launched in July 2020 through UPS Flight Forward. The vaccines will be stored in cold-chain packaging and delivered in accordance with CDC guidelines. Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist was one of the first medical centers in the country to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020.

Yadkin Co. Votes To Require Masks Indoors

(Yadkin Co., NC) -- The Yadkin County Board of Education will require masks in schools for at least 30 days. The board voted in favor of the mandate during an emergency meeting last night. As of Friday, there were about 170 students and staff who were quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure. The board also voted to reduce the quarantine time from 14 to ten days.

Silver Alert Issued For Winston-Salem Woman

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Winston-Salem Police are looking for a missing 21-year-old woman. A Silver Alert has been issued for Diamond Tierra Kimbrough. She was last seen driving a black Mazda 6 with N.C. license plate number BBJ-7656. Kimbrough has black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to call Winston-Salem P-D.

Free Admission To U.S. Parks Today

(Cape Hatteras, NC) -- Visiting a national park in the U.S. won't cost guests a dime today. The National Park Service is celebrating its birthday by offering free admission. That includes Cape Hatteras, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Guilford Courthouse. Admission fees are also waived on September 25th for National Public Lands Day and Veterans Day on November 11th. Activity fees for camping, boating, tours or transportation aren't included.

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