NC Vax Rate Hits 60 Percent, Gas Prices Drop in NC, Deputy Fired for DWI

Two WNC School Districts Extend Face Mask Mandates

(Henderson County, NC) -- Two western North Carolina school districts are keeping face mask mandates in place. The school boards in Henderson County and McDowell County both voted last night to extend their policies. Congressman Madison Cawthorn told the Henderson board that forcing children to wear masks makes no sense. COVID-19 clusters have been identified in both school districts.

Woman Guilty Of Extortion, No Prison Time

(Marion, NC) -- A Marion woman is being offered forgiveness in an extortion case involving a former judge. She was accused of extorting ex-Chief District Judge Randy Pool over a car insurance payment he refused to pay, while they were involved in a sexual relationship. Despite the woman's guilty plea yesterday, the Superior Court judge offered a condition of a Prayer for Judgment. The charge will remain on record for a decade, but she'll serve no time or probation.

Local Homeowners Seeking Property Tax Relief

(Asheville, NC) -- Around 12-hundred homeowners in Asheville and Buncombe County are seeking tax relief in a new program. A grant fund was set up earlier this year to help modest to low-income residents cover increases in their property taxes. The Citizen-Times reports only about 30 requests have been processed so far. Prospective property owners have until the middle of November to apply.

Fully-Vaccinated Rate Crosses 60-Percent In NC

(Raleigh, NC) -- COVID vaccinations in North Carolina have just crossed the 60-percent mark. Health and Human Services reported the update yesterday for all of those eligible to receive vaccines, which is 12-years-and-up. Vaccinations statewide had been increasing throughout August, as new COVID cases surged due to the delta variant. More than 35-hundred people in North Carolina remain hospitalized with COVID symptoms.

SBA Helping Haywood County Flood Victims

(Haywood County, NC) -- The Small Business Administration is helping Haywood County flood victims seek needed funds. Personnel will be at the Haywood Community College Regional High-Tech Center for the next two weeks in an effort to help people apply for federal assistance. The loans are specifically designed to help those with uninsured losses.

Health Officials Encourage Flu Shots

(Asheville, NC) -- Health officials are urging North Carolinians to prepare for the flu season. State health director Dr. Elizabeth Tilson says it remains important to get both your flu and COVID vaccines as we head into fall. The flu season in the state typically lasts from late fall to early spring. Flu vaccines are recommended for those six-months and older, according to the CDC.

Union County Schools Reduces Contact Tracing

(Union County, NC) -- Contact tracing guidelines are changing in Union County public schools. The school board voted yesterday to end contact tracing for students and staff who are not positive for COVID-19, and for those who are asymptomatic. More than 73-hundred students were in quarantine at the end of last week. The district is one of five in the state without a requirement for face masks.

Huntersville Police Release Sketch Of Murder Suspect

(Huntersville, NC) -- Huntersville Police are continuing to seek the public's help in a homicide investigation. It's been more than two weeks since one man was shot during an argument at a basketball game in North Mecklenburg Park. He died a week later. Investigators released a sketch of the suspect on social media yesterday.

County Investigating Allegation Of Vote From Outside Commission

(Charlotte, NC) -- Mecklenburg County commissioners are questioning whether a vote was cast from someone outside the board. The Charlotte Observer reports there's speculation that the daughter of commissioner Ella Scarborough cast a verbal vote during a virtual meeting last week. Chairman George Dunlap says no disciplinary action is expected, but he wants to speak with Scarborough's children about the implications.

Meck Deputy Fired After DWI Arrest

(Mecklenburg County, NC) -- A Mecklenburg County deputy is off the force after a weekend arrest. Deputy Gregory Hilliard was charged with a DWI while off-duty. Sheriff Garry McFadden said this type of conduct won't be tolerated in the agency. Hilliard was fired yesterday after spending seven-years with the sheriff's office.

Salisbury Teen Killed In Apparent Accidental Shooting

(Salisbury, NC) -- The death of a Salisbury teen is being blamed on an accidental shooting. Investigators told WSOC-TV a gun fired while a group of juveniles were passing the weapon around in the basement of a home on Maple Avenue Sunday afternoon. The shot killed a 14-year-old Salisbury High School student. Schools close by were placed on lockdown yesterday as a precautionary measure.

Duke Energy Warning About Phone Scams

(Charlotte, NC) -- Some Duke Energy customers are being scammed out of money. The company says around 10-thousand-500 customers have been targeted through phone calls in the first eight-months of the year, which is actually down from 2020. A Duke official tells WSOC-TV close to 100-thousand-dollars has been stolen from customers in 2021. When in doubt, customers are asked to hang up and call the number on your bill.

Two In Custody In Connection To Shooting Of Robeson County Girl

(Robeson County, NC) -- Two people, including a juvenile, have been arrested in connection with a weekend shooting in Robeson County that left a nine-year-old girl and her mother wounded. Authorities are still looking for two other suspects. It happened Saturday night just after 10 p.m. on Moss Neck Road in Pembroke. Investigators say the mother and child were riding down the street when their vehicle was struck by several bullets. The mother was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, but the little girl was shot in the back three times. At last report, the child was paralyzed and listed in critical condition.

Harnett County School Leaders Will Keep Masks Policy Optional For Now

(Harnett County, NC) -- There was impassioned and sometimes heated testimony from parents Monday night as the Harnett Count Board of Education held a public hearing. At issue was whether or not to impose a mandatory mask mandate in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 among students. Citizens packed the board room while others listened to the debate via loudspeaker outside the building. In the end, the Board voted to make masks optional beginning on October 5th. The action comes just weeks after Governor Roy Cooper signed into law a bill requiring school boards to re-evaluate its COVID policies once a month.

Democrats Backing New Legislation To Increase State Unemployment Benefits To $500 A Week

(Raleigh, NC) -- Democrats in the North Carolina General Assembly have launched a new push to extend and increase the amount of money paid out in unemployment benefits. They want the weekly payments raised from an average of around 235-dollars to 500-dollars a week. The increase in jobless benefits would be paid for with funds from the state's unemployment trust fund. Federal COVID-19 pandemic unemployment benefits expired earlier this month.

UNC Rex Now Using Tents To Treat Overflow Of Patients

(Raleigh, NC) -- As COVID-19-related hospitalizations continue to increase across North Carolina, UNC Rex set up the first of three planned Surge Tents on Monday. Hospital officials say the outdoor mobile medical units will create extra space for waiting and treatment of patients. Other hospitals within the UNC Health System are expected to follow suit.

New COVID-19 Infections Topped 53-Hundred On Monday

(Raleigh, NC) -- Figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services showed there were five-thousand-346 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday. The metrics followed a record breaking 11-thousand cases recorded on Saturday. There were also over 35-hundred patients being treated at North Carolina hospitals. North Carolina's test positive rate was at 11-point-eight-percent. And, there were 172 COVID-19-related deaths.

Two People Killed In Archdale Crash

(Archdale, NC) -- Two people are dead after a crash in Archdale. It happened around 9 p.m. yesterday in the 94-hundred-block of South Main Street and Trotter Country Road. Police say a motorcycle and car were involved. The victims have not yet been identified. The investigation is in its early stages.

Harris Teeter To Limit Store Hours Due To COVID-19

(Undated) -- Harris Teeter stores are limiting their hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grocery chain says it's reducing its hours to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. starting Wednesday. The fresh food, butcher and fish counters will close an hour earlier. Other amenities will close by 7 p.m.

Greensboro Man Charged With Murder

(Greensboro, NC) -- A Greensboro man is charged with murder after a woman was found unresponsive in a local hotel room. Thirty-seven-year-old Christopher Alexander was first charged with assault on a female, then attempted first-degree murder, and then murder. The scene unfolded on August 28th at the Relax Inn on McKnight Mill Road. The victim, 43-year-old Melissa Vassell, was rushed to a local hospital where she died several days later.

Winston-Salem Transit Authority Suspending Routes

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- The Winston-Salem Transit Authority doesn't have enough employees to keep some of its nighttime routes going. W-S-T-A says it's suspending more than a dozen routes due to an operator shortage. All of the routes are after 7 p.m. The temporary suspension takes effect this Sunday, September 19th.

Gas Prices Tick Down In Piedmont Triad, NC

(Greensboro, NC) -- A report says that gas prices are edging down slightly in the Piedmont Triad. Triple-A reports the price of regular gasoline has fallen two cents since last week to two-94 a gallon. That's about 89 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price is three-15 a gallon as of Monday.

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