Flash Flood Watch, Teacher Arrested for Sex Crimes, Trails to Re-Open

Buncombe County Increases Vaccination Efforts

(Asheville, NC) -- An outreach campaign for first-dose COVID vaccinations in Buncombe County is gearing up this month. The county's public health emergency preparedness director told commissioners this week that a 30-day push began on September 21st, which includes a focused media campaign and outreach events. The focus will shift to booster doses once the initiative wraps up.

Reading Proficiency Down Among Early Children

(Raleigh, NC) -- Reading numbers are down for North Carolina's public school students. The state board of education stated yesterday that just over 30-percent of third graders failed reading proficiency standards last school year. Nearly 35-thousand students were retained as a result. First and second-graders also performed lower than normal.

Flash Flood Watch In WNC

(Asheville, NC) -- Rain could cause problems today in western North Carolina. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for ten counties until eight tonight. Some areas may see anywhere between two-to-five-inches of rain. There is also an increased risk of landslides and rockslides.

Trails Around Folk Art Center

(Asheville, NC) -- Some closed trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway are expected to re-open, even if the search for a certain bear comes up empty. A couple picnicking at the Folk Art Center in Asheville last week was attacked by a bear, which wildlife officials say was provoked by their unleashed dog. Trails around the center have been shut down since then while a search for the bear is on-going. They'll re-open tomorrow.

COVID Outbreak Reported At Haywood Jail

(Haywood County, NC) -- A COVID cluster is being monitored at a jail in the mountain region. It's been around half-a-year since an outbreak was reported at the Haywood County Detention Center. Haywood health officials say seven inmates tested positive in the last week. All inmates are tested before entrance into the jail.

Commission Approves More Solar Panels In Buncombe County

(Buncombe County, NC) -- More solar panels are being installed around Buncombe County. WLOS-TV says commissioners approved projects for the UNC Asheville Reuter Center, Carver Community Center, East Asheville Library and the county firing range. It's part of Buncombe's efforts to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels.

Vaccines Required For New Charlotte City Employees

(Charlotte, NC) -- New city of Charlotte employees are now required to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The policy for new hires was announced yesterday. The city also fell a little short of a September 30th deadline for 75-percent of employees to be fully vaccinated. That number stands at around 70-percent.

Teacher Arrested For Sex Crimes

(Union County, NC) -- A Union County teacher is accused of having inappropriate contact with students on an app. The 28-year-old was arrested after allegedly sharing obscene material on Snapchat. He was suspended from his position at Weddington High School last week. Charges include disseminating obscenities to a minor.

Reading Proficiency Down Among Young Kids

(Raleigh, NC) -- Reading numbers are down for North Carolina's public school students. The state board of education stated yesterday that just over 30-percent of third graders failed reading proficiency standards last school year. Nearly 35-thousand students were retained as a result. First and second-graders also performed lower than normal.

All Clear After Suspicious Package Investigated In Gastonia

(Gastonia, NC) -- No threats are being reported from the scene of a suspicious package in Gastonia. The social services building was evacuated while officers secured a suitcase for testing yesterday. The courthouse across the street was emptied during the investigation as well. An FBI team responded and revealed there was nothing threatening inside.

Panthers' Owner Among Richest Americans

(Charlotte, NC) -- The owner of the Carolina Panthers is one of the richest people in the U.S. David Tepper came in at number-49 on the Forbes-400 list released earlier this week. His net worth jumped more than 20-percent year-to-year, up to nearly 16-billion-dollars. The Charlotte FC soccer team is also owned by Tepper.

Hornets Playing Home Opener For Preseason

(Charlotte, NC) -- It's time once again for pro basketball in the Queen City. The Charlotte Hornets play their preseason home opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies. Tipoff is at seven at the Spectrum Centre. The regular season begins on October 20th against Indiana.

North Carolina's Professional Women's Soccer Team Resumed Play One Week After Sex Scandal Reported

(Cary, NC) -- Members of the North Carolina Courage professional women's soccer team took to the field Wednesday night for the first time since a sex scandal rocked the team and league a week ago today. Head coach Paul Riley was fired after allegations of sexual harassment and coercion surfaced while he was with another team. The fallout also resulted in the league's commissioner, Lisa Baird, resigning. At Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary, players from both the Courage and Racing Louisville joined together in a show of solidarity against sexual harassment.

North Carolina Redistricting Meetings Officially Kicked Off Wednesday

(Raleigh, NC) -- The first in a series of scheduled redistricting meetings were held Wednesday at the North Carolina General Assembly. The meetings inside committee rooms were also streamed online. State lawmakers are tasked with redrawing new district lines for House and Senate members, as well as 14 Congressional seats to reflect the results of the 2020 census. The Republican-controlled General Assembly has also set a goal of having the new boundaries redrawn by the end of the month. But, depending on how the districts are drawn, legal challenges are expected to soon follow.

Bill To Reduce Carbon Emissions Unveiled In North Carolina Wednesday

(Raleigh, NC) -- A bill that would require North Carolina energy regulators to develop a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 70-percent by the year 2030 was approved by the state Senate on Wednesday. The bipartisan legislation also sets a goal of achieving zero-net CO2 emissions by the year 2050. The proposal, which also gives Duke Energy the option to seek rate increases, now moves to the House for further consideration.

Three More Monoclonal Antibody Treatment Centers Open In Triangle

(Central North Carolina, NC) -- Wake Med has announced the opening of three new monoclonal antibody infusion clinics in the Triangle area. In a statement released Wednesday, Wake Med said the new infusion clinics will be providing COVID-19 treatment at locations on Asheville Avenue behind Cary Hospital, another on New Bern Avenue in Raleigh and at the Wake Med Garner Healthplex on Highway 70 East. Hospital officials say by opening the new infusion clinics, they anticipate treating an additional 630 patients a week.

Man Charged With Kidnapping, Child Abuse In Randolph Co.

(Randolph Co., NC) -- A man is under arrest on suspicion of kidnapping and child abuse in Randolph County. Travis Parsons was arrested on October 4th. He's charged with first-degree kidnapping, misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon. Parsons was denied Bond due to the domestic nature of the crime.

Triad Man Charged In Connection To Identity Theft Ring

(Greensboro, NC) -- A Triad man is facing multiple charges in connection to a large identity theft scheme. Thirty-four-year-old David Fields is accused of taking thousands of dollars from victims. According to court documents, he stole checks and used a different name to cash them. He reportedly withdrew between 25-hundred and 85-hundred dollars a day. The body of a woman, believed to be his accomplice, was found in a field in Winston-Salem last week. Police have not identified Fields as a person of interest.

Dozens Of Potential Laundrie Sightings In NC

(Undated) -- Dozens of possible Brian Laundrie sightings have been reported in North Carolina. More than a dozen people have called police since last week saying they saw the suspect in Gabby Petito's homicide in the western part of the state near the Tennessee border. One caller said he talked to a guy that looked like Laundrie on the Appalachian Trail, who told him that his girlfriend left him and he had to go to California to see her. Police have followed up all of the leads with no luck.

North Carolina State Fair Returns To Raleigh

(Raleigh, NC) -- The North Carolina State Fair is back for 2021. The fun begins October 14th and runs through the 24th at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. COVID-19 vaccinations will not be required. Other protocols will be announced soon. Officials say that a clear bag policy will be implemented. Park and Ride options will also be offered.

Spirit Halloween Opens In Thomasville

(Thomasville, NC) -- A new Spirit Halloween store is open in Thomasville It went up inside the old Peebles Department Store. The facility had been vacant for almost two years. Spirit Halloween is seasonal and will only be open through the beginning of November.

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