VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Cooper vetoes string of North Carolina reopening bills
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has rejected five proposals from the Republican-controlled legislature that would reopen businesses and prevent cancellations of July 4 celebrations. The string of vetoes on Thursday comes one day after the state hit a high of new single-day coronavirus cases. Cooper has already extended Phase 2 of North Carolina’s reopening plans through July 17. Republican lawmakers want Cooper to ease restrictions on businesses to help reignite the state’s economy. Skating rinks, bowling alleys, bars, gyms, amusement parks, arcades and entertainment venues will likely remain closed because state GOP lawmakers won’t have the votes needed to override Cooper’s decision.
Churches with schools can’t OK concealed carry, Cooper says
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina churches with schools on their property may not be able to allow attendees with concealed carry permits to be armed outside of school hours. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the bill on Thursday to prevent the increased access to handguns. The proposal can still become law if it receives the supported needed from moderate Democrats to override the governor’s veto. The National Rifle Association accused Cooper of not reading the bill and not allowing residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
CATHOLIC PRIEST-ABUSE ALLEGATIONS
Bishop: North Carolina priest kept on leave on abuse claims
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte diocese’s bishop says a priest in North Carolina will continue to be placed on administrative leave after allegations of sexual abuse against him were revealed last year. The Charlotte Observer reports Bishop Peter Jugis made the announcement about St. Matthew Catholic Church pastor Patrick Hoare to parishioners at the church in a letter Wednesday. Jugis says in the letter Hoare was originally put on administrative leave in December after the allegations from Pennsylvania surfaced. The letter quoted by the newspaper says police in Pennsylvania investigated the allegations but could not bring charges against Hoare due to the statute of limitations.
COLLEGE PROFESSOR-SOCIAL MEDIA POST
UNC Wilmington professor gets $504K settlement with school
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — The chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington says the school has reached a half-million-dollar settlement with a professor who announced his retirement amid backlash over his comments on social media. In an email sent to faculty, staff and students, Jose Sartarelli said Mike Adams, a sociology and criminology professor at UNCW, would receive nearly $505,000 for lost salary and lost retirement benefits. In his latest controversy, the white professor referred to Gov. Roy Cooper as “Massa Cooper” while describing a dinner outing which he said made him feel like a free man “not living in the slave state of North Carolina.”
CONFEDERATE MONUMENT-TIME CAPSULE
Lee button found in time capsule under Confederate monument
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A button that experts believe was from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s dress coat and a strand of hair from his horse are among the items found inside a time capsule discovered when workers removed the base of a Confederate statue from the grounds of the North Carolina state Capitol. Workers found the time capsule while dismantling a 75-foot Confederate statue that stood on the state Capitol grounds for 125 years. Also among the discoveries reported by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources were Confederate money, song books and flags and a stone believed to be from Gettysburg.
Pandemic prompts layoffs at Belk department store chain
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has prompted layoffs at the Belk department store chain, including at its North Carolina-based corporate headquarters. The Charlotte Observer reports that the Charlotte-based company declined to disclose the total number of job losses. The company has about 1,300 employees at its corporate office and about 20,000 employees total. Belk said in a statement that it “had to make some of the most difficult decisions of its 130-year history.” The company said it is providing severance packages to those affected. The company had closed 291 stores in 16 Southern states because of COVID-19. Stores began to reopen in May.
Police response to Raleigh protests has cost at least $2.2M
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Law enforcement agencies have spent at least $2.2 million responding to protests that occurred in Raleigh, North Carolina, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. WRAL reported Wednesday that it obtained cost figures from agencies that include the Raleigh Police Department, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and the State Highway Patrol. The figure does not include costs after the first week of June. George Floyd, a Black man, died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. People came together across the country to protest racism and police brutality. Some people turned to riots and looting in Raleigh. Protesters also pulled down pieces of a Confederate monument near the Statehouse.
Money for N.C. “Freedom Park” signed into law by Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two dozen more bills have been signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper. One measure signed on Wednesday locates money to help build a long-planned park to honor the contributions of African Americans in North Carolina. The “North Carolina Freedom Park” will go up in downtown Raleigh. Another signed measure distributes hundreds of millions of dollars more from North Carolina’s $3.5 billion share of federal coronavirus relief funds. And universities and colleges are getting relief from some COVID-19 litigation. Cooper has 15 bills left on his desk that were generated by the General Assembly before they went home last week.
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