Protesters Arrested in AVL, Mission Delays Surgeries, BRP Numbers Jump

Visitors Increase At BRP

(Asheville, NC) -- The Blue Ridge Parkway is showing an increase in visitors. Park officials report just under 16-million people visited the park area last year, which marks an increase of around two-million over 2020. The North Carolina state park system as a whole saw a record number of visitors in 2021 with 22-point-eight-million. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park also reported record visitor numbers as well.

COVID Hospitalizations Statewide Hit Record

(Raleigh, NC) -- COVID hospitalization numbers statewide are not showing signs of slowing down. The Department of Health and Human Services reported the number of patients crossed over five-thousand for the first time during the pandemic yesterday. Total case numbers came in just above 13-thousand, which was actually down for the first time in several weeks. The positivity rate was above 36-percent.

Protesters Arrested In Litter Dump

(Asheville, NC) -- More arrests are being reported from a protest in Asheville's Aston Park. Police Chief Mike Yelton told city officials this week that more than one-thousand pounds of trash was dumped in the park during a family art event in late December. Half-a-dozen people were arrested in connection to the event. Two suspects reportedly claimed they were members of the press.

NC Unemployment Rate Drops

(Asheville, NC) -- The unemployment rate for North Carolina is down. The Labor Department reports December's numbers dropped to three-point-seven-percent, which signified a small decrease from November. It's also under the nationwide jobless rate of three-point-nine percent. Leisure services and business represented the state's largest increase in job numbers.

Mission Health Delaying Some Surgeries

(Asheville, NC) -- The recent surge in COVID cases is causing some changes at Mission Health. The hospital system is currently putting off surgeries that can be safely delayed. All emergencies are still being cared for. Hospital officials say a vast majority of the staff has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Asheville Chef Competing On TV Show

(Asheville, NC) -- An Asheville chef is taking part in a competition on a television show. The Citizen-Times reports Ashleigh Shanti is one of 15 contestants on the 19th season of Bravo's "Top Chef," which will premiere in early March. Shanti was named a rising star chef of the year for a James Beard award two-years ago. She currently serves as chef for a fish fry pop-up called Good Hot Fish.

CMS COVID Absences Drop

(Charlotte, NC) -- COVID absences are down in CMS. Superintendent Earnest Winston told school board members last night that close to 350 teacher absences were expected today, but that's a drastic drop from recent numbers. The district had been averaging over one-thousand COVID absences a day with the recent surge in COVID cases. More than 14-hundred positive cases were reported system-wide last week.

Decision Expected Today In Fate Of Former Police Officer

(Rock Hill, SC) -- A decision is expected today in the trial of a former Rock Hill police officer. Jonathan Moreno is accused of assaulting a man during a 2021 arrest. The officer was fired after what was deemed an unlawful arrest last summer. Testimony in the criminal case wrapped up yesterday.

COVID Hospitalizations Reach High Statewide

(Raleigh, NC) -- COVID hospitalization numbers statewide are not showing signs of slowing down. The Department of Health and Human Services reported the number of patients surpassed five-thousand for the first time during the pandemic yesterday. Total case numbers came in just above 13-thousand, which was actually down for the first time in several weeks. The positivity rate was above 36-percent.

New School Safety App Launched

(Charlotte, NC) -- CMS has launched a new safety app. School leaders and students are being encouraged to download the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, which was developed by the mother of a Sandy Hook shooting victim nearly a decade ago. Users of the app can anonymously report warning signs or threats in the system.

Driver Charged After Iredell Deputy Injured

(Iredell County, NC) -- A driver is facing charges in a wreck with an Iredell County deputy. Investigators say a car slammed into a deputy's patrol car on I-77 after losing control while speeding on Monday night. A deputy was injured, but has since been released from the hospital. The suspect is accused of driving while impaired, among other charges.

Dogs Rescued From Gaston County Home

(Gaston County, NC) -- Dozens of dogs at the center of a neglect case in Gaston County are being rescued. More than 50 dogs were taken last week from the home of an elderly person, who is not expected to face any charges. Tri-County Animal Rescue jumped into action to help rescue the animals in hopes that they'll soon be ready for adoption.

Vehicle Crash At Playground Near Elementary School Injures Two Children And Driver

(Chapel Hill, NC) -- Three people are recovering from injuries sustained when a car crashed into a playground near a school in Chapel Hill. Two of the victims were children, one was the driver. It happened around 4:pm Tuesday outside the Northside Elementary School on Caldwell Street. A preliminary report says the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle and crashed through a fence, slamming into some playground equipment. About 20-children were on the playground at the time of the accident. Neither the children or the driver's injuries were considered to be life-threatening.

Person Struck And Killed While Crossing The Street In Garner Last Night

(Garner, NC) -- Police in Garner are investigating the death of a pedestrian who was struck and killed by a vehicle Tuesday night. It happened around 7 p.m. near Purser Drive and Highway 401. Authorities say the driver remained on the scene with the victim until first responders arrived. No word on if any charges will be filed. The identity of the pedestrian was not released.

RDU Orders Emergency Shipment Of Winter Weather And De-Icing Materials

(Wake County, NC) -- Concerns about a third winter storm possibly coming to the Triangle area in as many weeks, officials at RDU held an emergency meeting Tuesday night. Airport officials discussed having an adequate amount of winter weather and de-icing supplies to keep the runways safe. This, after a Delta Airlines flight with 19-passengers on board, slid off the taxi way last Friday at the height of heavy snowfall. There were no injuries. At last night's meeting, the Airport Authority's Board voted to spend over 200-thousand dollars for an emergency shipment of de-icing materials, with hopes that they will arrive by this weekend.

Number Of New COVID-19 Infections In North Carolina Starting To Trend Downward

(Raleigh, NC) -- Data released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showed there were 13-thousand-and-17 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, representing a nearly 60-percent decrease over the past week. However, the number of people hospitalized across the state topped 5-thousand for the first time since the start of the pandemic yesterday. North Carolina's test positive rate remained at 36-point-four-percent. And, there were 46-additional deaths.

North Carolina AG Files Federal Lawsuit Against Telemarketing Company

(Raleigh, NC) -- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has filed a lawsuit against a telemarketing company he claims has been used by scammers to facilitate millions of illegal robocalls in North Carolina. The suit, filed Tuesday in federal court against Texas based 'Articul8', said it provided a gateway for more than 65-million robocalls to be made to North Carolina residents within the past few months. The suit also claims 'Articul8' routed calls to numbers that were on the Do Not Call Registry. Many of them posing as being from the Social Security Administration, the FBI and state and local police departments.

Denver-Based Boom Announcement Imminent for Greensboro Supersonic Airliner Plant

( Greensboro, NC) -- A Denver-based company called Boom that will develop what could be the first supersonic airliner since the Concorde, will reportedly soon be building a factory in the Triad area. WTVD-TV reports an announcement will be made Wednesday that Boom will set up a facility at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro. An official announcement is expected to be made by Governor Roy Cooper at two in the afternoon. It's listed on his schedule as an "economic development announcement."

Despite Surge in COVID Cases for Children, Vaccination Rates Still Low

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- State health officials say COVID-19 vaccination rates for children in North Carolina are still low, despite the surge in cases driven by the omicron variant. Statewide, 24-percent of children ages five to eleven have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In Forsyth County, that number is slightly higher at 25-percent. The officials say many parents believe younger children are less susceptible to severe illnesses and hold off on vaccinations because of that. But they say younger kids can get extremely sick and even become critical due to the virus. In Forsyth county, just 18 percent of children ages five to eleven have been vaccinated.

Guilford Co. Courthouse in High Point Closed due to Water Main Break

(High Point, NC) -- The Guilford County Courthouse in High Point will be closed for the rest of the week due to a water main break. The break caused damage to all floors on the east side of the courthouse and officials say it could take a week to make repairs. Some court cases will be moved to Greensboro, others may be handled virtually. The High Point magistrate's office will be working out of the police department on Westchester Drive. Also, criminal superior court sessions planned for this week have been canceled and will be rescheduled.

Applications Now Being Accepted For New Guilford County EMS Training

(Greensboro, NC) -- Guilford County Emergency officials say their new in-house training academy for emergency medical technicians is now accepting applicants to be trained in EMS procedures. New employees in the EMT Launchpad class will be in full-time, benefited positions while they train. Guilford County EMS also will cover certification costs and fees, uniforms, equipment, and course materials. The starting salary is just over 31-thousand-dollars. Applications are being accepted through March 20th, with classes expected to begin at the end of April.

More Original Artwork to be Painted Around Town

(Winston-Salem, NC) -- The second round of new artwork on bus shelters will be popping up all over the city soon. The idea behind the Artistic Bus Shelter Program began nearly three years ago to enhance riders' experiences. Project planner Kelly Bennett says the 10 newest works will relate to the history of each location. Bennett says there also are plans for another round of installations and future calls for artists may include outdoor sculptures as well.

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