Masks Order Extended, Edwards Eyes Dist. 14 Seat, Second Wildfire Ignites

Fire Spreads On Two NC Mountains

(Marion, NC) -- Crews are battling another mountain fire in North Carolina. A wildfire broke out on Pogue Mountain outside Marion yesterday. Emergency officials say the area that is burning is difficult to access due to the terrain. Meanwhile, a fire at Pilot Mountain State Park near Winston-Salem has reached over one-thousand acres.

Buncombe County Extends Indoor Mask Mandate

(Buncombe County, NC) -- Buncombe County's indoor mask mandate is being extended. Commissioners voted yesterday to lengthen the requirement through January 5th. It includes Asheville and other cities in Buncombe. Public health director Stacie Saunders said Tuesday that COVID cases are increasing again after plateauing at a high level.

Edwards Eyes WNC Congressional Seat

(Henderson County, NC) -- State Senator Chuck Edwards is making a run for Congress. The Henderson County Republican announced yesterday he's seeking North Carolina's newly-drawn 14th district, which covers a majority of western North Carolina. Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn is planning a run in the 13th district.

Top State Health Official Leaving Position

(Raleigh, NC) -- North Carolina's top health official is stepping down. Dr. Mandy Cohen announced Tuesday she's leaving the position at the end of year, after serving since 2017. She called it an honor of a lifetime and said she's proud of the improvement of health and well-being in the state. Stepping in as Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services is current Chief Deputy Secretary Kody Kinsley.

One Buncombe Fund Helping Local Workers Again

(Buncombe County, NC) -- Another round of local relief funding is going out to businesses. WLOS-TV reports a third distribution from the One Buncombe Fund totals nearly two-million-dollars collected from the federal government and local donations. More than 140 people are receiving funds from the round. The money is reportedly helping over one-thousand people keep their jobs.

Snow Chance Lessened In WNC

(Asheville, NC) -- The chance of snow in western North Carolina is a bit lower than normal this month. That outlook comes from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's predictions for December, which came out Tuesday. Forecasters also say the region's temperatures should be warmer than average.

Boyfriend Accused Of Killing Woman In Charlotte

(Charlotte, NC) -- A Charlotte man is accused of killing his girlfriend. Family first reported 21-year-old Denee Rawls missing on November 24th. Police found her body near Harrisburg Road in east Charlotte Monday. Arrested for murder yesterday was her boyfriend, Nicholas Davis.

UNC Charlotte Lab Working To Identify Omicron Variant

(Charlotte, NC) -- A lab at UNC Charlotte is doing work to identify a new variant of COVID. A professor told NBC Charlotte that the lab performs genomic sequencing in positive COVID tests, which can usually take a few days to provide results. No cases of the Omicron [[ AHM-ih-cron ]] strain have been identified yet. Governor Roy Cooper stressed the importance of getting vaccinated again yesterday.

Fire Spreads On Pilot Mountain

(Surry County, NC) -- Fire is still rapidly burning at a state park around 100 miles north of Charlotte. Dozens of firefighters are helping battle a blaze at Pilot Mountain State Park that has now spread to over one-thousand acres. Forestry service officials say they're hoping to contain the fire within a few days. Meanwhile, the state has issued a burn ban.

Chester Mother Accused Of Son's Murder

(Charlotte, NC) -- A Chester County mother is accused of killing her young son. Investigators say the woman used a deer rifle to shoot the six-year-old boy on Thanksgiving Day at a home in Fairfield County, just south of Chester. She was allegedly stopped while trying to reload the gun. A judge denied bond for the mother over the weekend.

CMPD Sued Over Allegedly Giving Out Driver Info

(Charlotte, NC) -- The CMPD is facing more accusations that officers are giving out driver information. WSOC-TV reports a class action lawsuit is being filed that claims info is being handed over to lawyers and body shops after car wrecks. A similar, separate lawsuit was filed last year.

Mini-Soccer Pitch Opens

(Charlotte, NC) -- The Queen City's Hidden Valley neighborhood is home to a new soccer pitch. Charlotte FC is in the process of helping develop more than 20 fields in communities across North and South Carolina. WSOC-TV reports the mini-field was unveiled yesterday in an event that featured free food and soccer apparel. The city's first community field was previously built outside an east Charlotte apartment complex.

North Carolina Secretary Of DHHS Dr. Mandy Cohen Stepping Down

(Raleigh, NC) -- The Secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services is stepping down from her role. Dr. Mandy Cohen says she is taking a break to spend more time with family. She has been leading North Carolina through the COVID-19 pandemic after being appointed for the role by Governor Cooper in 2017. Chief deputy secretary for Health Kody Kinsley will take over Cohen's position at the start of 2022.

Wake County Schools Makes Weekly COVID-19 Tests Available To Students

(Wake County, NC) -- Eleven Wake County public schools are conducting weekly COVID-19 testing on students. The tests are available for free ahead of a planned expansion of the testing program in the district's schools by next year. Students will not be tested without their parents' permission. The tests are being handled by Mako Medical, which is based in Raleigh.

Raleigh Considering Regulations On Owning Dangerous Animals As Pets

(Raleigh, NC) -- Raleigh could have new regulations in 2022 that would determine if residents can own dangerous animals as pets. The city is considering four options that would regulate the ownership of animals that are not usually domesticated, like wolves, non-human primates, lions, tigers, and venomous snakes. The potential ordinance was proposed after a venomous zebra cobra got loose in a northwest Raleigh neighborhood over the summer. A committee will vote on an ordinance in January.

Alumni Donates To Create Civil Rights Endowment Fund At UNC School Of Law

(Chapel Hill, NC) -- The UNC School of Law will soon include the Kerr Family Civil Rights Endowment Fund. Alumni James Yancey Kerr II and his wife have committed two-million dollars for the creation of the endowment fund. Once established, it will provide a source of funding to support research and education on civil rights at Carolina Law. UNC says the focus of the fund will be "pervasive discrimination, inequality, and marginalization based on race, color, disability, gender, sex, or national origin."

Nine-Year-Old Found Safe After Briefly Going Missing

(Raleigh, NC) -- A nine-year-old girl is safe after going missing. Police announced just before 7:30 Tuesday night that Jadya Gaddy was missing. She had last been seen around 4:45. By eight p.m., Gaddy was reportedly found and was OK.

Forsyth County Schools Says Mask Mandate Will Continue

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Students and staff members must continue to wear masks indoors at all Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools for a few more weeks. The Board of Education approved that idea six to three at a special called meeting on Tuesday. Superintendent Tricia McManus' recommendation to continue with face coverings has been in place since the start of the school year. The school board will vote again on the mandate on December 14th.

Greensboro Police Investigating Death of 54-Year-Old Man

(Greensboro, NC) -- Authorities are asking for the public's help with a homicide investigation in which a 54-year-old man was shot to death. Taha Abdalla Babeker of Greensboro was found shot by Greensboro police who responded to the 600 block of College Road early Monday morning. A news release says they tried do CPR on him but weren't successful and Babeker was pronounced dead at the scene. There is no suspect information. Police ask anyone with information to contact Greensboro/ Guilford Crime Stoppers.

State Forestry Officials say Pilot Mountain Wildfire Most Likely Caused by Humans

(Surry County, NC) -- North Carolina Forestry Service officials said they are confident the wildfire that has enveloped at least one-thousand acres on Pilot Mountain has been "human-caused." More than one-thousand-and-50 acres have burned on Pilot Mountain as of Tuesday afternoon. At a news conference, officials stated that the blaze is just 20-percent contained, but progress is being made as the fire's being moved more downhill where it's easier to manage. Smoke has also been drastically reduced, and the mountaintop's iconic knob can now be seen again. The law enforcement division within the NC Forest Service is investigating how the fire originally started.

County to Help Those in Trouble With Their Water Bills

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- Forsyth County residents who are having trouble with covering their water bills can now get help from a new program for both low-income and other households. The resource, which starts Wednesday, is the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, or LIHWAP for short. Homes that currently receive Food and Nutrition Services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Work First services, or those that received Low-Income Energy Assistance are automatically eligible. Other residents can apply at the Department of Social Services in Winston-Salem.

Clarence Gaines, Earl 'The Pearl' Monroe Lead Nominees for HBCU Black College Basketball HOF

(Detroit, MI) -- When plans for a Basketball Hall of Fame for Historically Black Colleges and Universities are finalized next year, North Carolina will already be represented with eight candidates who are eligible for induction. HBCU Basketball Hall of Fame founder LaMont Robinson says out of the 42 candidates that could be inducted in the inaugural class of 2022, eight of those hail from historically black colleges in North Carolina. Three are from Winston-Salem State University and include Clarence "Big House" Gaines, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe and Cleo Hill. Coach Don Corbett from North Carolina A&T in Greensboro is also being considered. Three potential inductees are from North Carolina Central in Durham and two are from the school when it was known as North Carolina College.

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