COVID Hits Mission Hard, NC Guard Heads to Louisiana, Apple Fest in H-ville

COVID Deaths Increase At Mission Health

(Asheville, NC) -- COVID-19 is taking a large toll on Mission Health this week. A hospital source told the Citizen-Times that ten patients died within a 48-hour period. Around 120 people were hospitalized with COVID at Mission Health on the first day of the month. A large majority of those patients are not vaccinated against COVID.

NC Volunteers Helping In Louisiana

(Asheville, NC) -- Some volunteers from North Carolina are helping provide relief in Louisiana. More than 800-thousand homes and businesses are still without power, several days after Hurricane Ida moved through the state. WLOS-TV says a team from Samaritan's Purse is helping clear damage and set up tarps in the city of Houma. The program manager says they're still looking for more volunteers.

Buncombe School Board Keeps Face Mask Requirement

(Buncombe County, NC) -- The face mask mandate for Buncombe County Schools is staying in place. The school board voted last night to keep the current requirement. WLOS-TV reports several dozen people who are against the mask mandate showed up to the meeting. The superintendent said the guidelines will be reviewed throughout the year.

Annual Apple Festival Begins Today In Hendersonville

(Henderson County, NC) -- A longtime western North Carolina festival gets underway today. Downtown Hendersonville is hosting the 75th annual Apple Festival through Monday. Vendors are set-up to sell apple-related items, while music is planned throughout the weekend. The COVID pandemic forced last year's festival to be called off.

McDowell's COVID Positivity Rate Reaches Above 30-Percent

(Marion, NC) -- The COVID-19 positivity rate is alarmingly high in one mountain county. The McDowell County Health Department reports the two-week rate has climbed to more than 30-percent as cases hit a month-long high in August. As a result of rising COVID case numbers, the annual Bigfoot Festival is canceled. Mayor Steve Little told WLOS-TV it's like a dirty bomb got dropped in downtown Marion.

Two WNC Teens Win National Championships

(Asheville, NC) -- A couple of western North Carolina teens are national champs in their sports. The Citizen-Times reports 17-year-old Sam Sharp of Asheville won the men's slalom kayak national championship in Oklahoma City late last month. Fellow 17-year-old Evy Leibfarth of Bryson City won gold in women's slalom kayak and slalom canoe. She also just competed in the Toyko Olympics.

Charlotte City Employee Vaccination Rate At 62-Percent

(Charlotte, NC) -- The number of Charlotte city employees at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 is around 62-percent. The results of a survey were released yesterday after 95-percent of employees responded. The only department with a rate under 60-percent is the Charlotte Fire Department, which shows 49-percent of its 12-hundred-24 employees have had a shot. Employees vaccinated by the end of the month receive an extra 250-dollars in pay.

Suspect Arrested For Toddler's Death In Concord

(Concord, NC) -- A man is accused of killing a toddler in Concord. Investigators say emergency responders found a three-year-old dead at a home on Central Drive Sunday morning. Alex Blount was arrested and taken to Cabarrus County jail for a count of murder. The cause of death hasn't been released.

Political Operative Sentenced For Social Security Fraud

(Greenville, NC) -- The political operative at the center of District Nine's election scandal is heading to prison. McCrae Dowless was sentenced to serve a six-month prison sentence yesterday for collecting disability benefits while also being paid for election consultant work. He didn't report any of the income. Dowless is also facing fraud charges connected to the fall 2018 election.

Five Iredell-Statesville Schools Going Remote

(Iredell County, NC) -- Students at five Iredell-Statesville Schools are learning remotely over the next week. The district decided to take students out of classrooms due to increased COVID cases and quarantines. Around 60-percent of kids at East Iredell Middle School are quarantined. The remote learning period is currently scheduled to last through next Friday.

Bank Of America Stadium Welcoming College Football Fans

(Charlotte, NC) -- College football fans are gathering in Charlotte. Appalachian State defeated East Carolina in the first game of the Duke's Mayo Classic at Bank of America Stadium last night. This year's classic features two games this year. Up next is a top-five matchup between Clemson and Georgia Saturday night.

Charlotte Labor Day Parade Canceled

(Charlotte, NC) -- Another event in the Queen City is being canceled over COVID-19. Organizers have decided to call off the annual Charlotte Labor Day Parade, which honors those who fought for workers' rights. They hope to return to normal in 2022.

Family Of Five Victims Who Drowned Near Dan River Dam Files Lawsuit Against Duke Energy

(Eden, NC) -- The family of five people who drowned in a tubing accident along the Dan River in Eden earlier this year has filed a federal lawsuit against Duke Energy. The suit blames Duke for failing to install adequate signage which could have warned the tubers that there was a dam up ahead on the river. Of the nine members of the Villino family from Illinois who went over the dam, five of them died.

Governor Cooper Signs Executive Order Expanding Access To Monoclonal Antibody Treatments

(Raleigh, NC) -- Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order Thursday designed to make it easier for COVID-19 patients to receive monoclonal antibody treatments. The order authorizes the State Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to the treatments, which have been found to reduce the severity of the disease, as well as prevent hospitalizations.

Cooper Signs Sweeping New Police Reform Bills Into Law

(Raleigh, NC) -- Governor Cooper has signed into to law a package of police reform bills aimed at making law enforcement officers more accountable. Included in the new legislation is the requirement for police officers to report instances of excessive force. In addition, Senate Bill 300-would allow family members to have quicker access to police body and dash cam videos when a relative is hurt or killed by police. Police officers will also have greater access to mental health treatment.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits To Stop Next Week

(Raleigh, NC) -- The North Carolina Division of Employment Security is estimating about 70-percent of people in the state who've been receiving federal pandemic unemployment benefits will be cut off after next week. Beginning September 7th, state unemployment benefits will be the only government subsidies available for jobless workers in North Carolina.

Two Students Arrested After One Found To Be In Possession Of Handguns

(Raleigh, NC) -- At least two students at Raleigh's Enloe High School are facing gun charges after one of them was found to be in possession of two firearms and others may have known about it. During the investigation Thursday, school administrators discovered the male teenager had two handguns on his person. Principal Jaqueline Jordan also found out that as many as two other students may have handled or seen the weapons. Records show the Raleigh Police Department has obtained juvenile petitions charging the 16-year-olds with carrying concealed weapons, possession of firearms on school grounds and possession of a firearm by a minor. Mount Tabor High School To Be Closed Until Tuesday

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem will reopen on Tuesday after a student was gunned down on campus. William Chavis Raynard Miller Junior was shot on school grounds on Wednesday. He later died at the hospital. The suspect, who's a student, was taken into custody. Counselors and crisis experts will be available at an offsite location for parents, students and staff to talk to. Vehicles and other belongings that were left behind during evacuations can be picked up today.

Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro To Mandate Masks

(Wilkesboro, NC) -- The towns of Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro are now enforcing masks. The decision was made after both mayors signed orders declaring states of emergency in their towns. Face coverings will be required inside public establishments, regardless of vaccine status. The mandates went into effect this week and will last through the month of September.

Man With Over 50 Outstanding Warrants Arrested In Burlington

(Burlington, NC) -- A man who had over 50 warrants out for his arrest is behind bars in Burlington. Jaren Hopkins-Benton was taken into custody on August 29th after leading officers on a high-speed chase and causing a fiery wreck. Officers say the suspect crashed into two homes on Maple Avenue before stopping. He was arrested on multiple charges. The warrants were from law enforcement agencies throughout the state, including Greensboro, Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Durham.

NC National Guard Deploys To Louisiana

(Raleigh, NC) -- North Carolina is deploying dozens of National Guard personnel to Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. Officials say 65 of the guard's men and women will provide support of the distribution of relief supplies to communities in need. The team headed to the gulf coast region is from the 113th Combat Support Battalion in Lenoir.

COVID-19 Testing Site Reopens At Hanes Mall

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Novant Heath's drive-through COVID-19 testing site near Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem is back open. It reopened this week due to an increase in demand. The testing site will operate from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Novant Health officials say they've seen a nearly 70-percent increase in tests since July 1st.

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