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NCDPS

North Carolinians will no longer need to get an order from their doctor to receive a coronavirus test. The state announced the change on Tuesday in a move to boost testing in minority communities that are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The state's top health official, Mandy Cohen, warned that North Carolina lacks the chemical reagents it needs to conduct tests faster. This has caused the state to see delays of up to a week for residents to get back their COVID test results.

Lake Mattamuskeet Finalizes Restoration Plan

22 hours ago
Allie Stewart, USFWS

Since 2017, the North Carolina Coastal Federation has worked on developing a plan to manage flooding and water quality around Lake Mattamuskeet - a migratory waterfowl refuge. Their plan to address ongoing flooding and water quality issues has entered a new phase of development. PRE’s Jamie Rodriguez has more.

Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a broad health measure because of a provision within that addresses the confidentiality of death investigation records. Opposition to the item has served as a rallying cry for demonstrators for racial justice outside the Executive Mansion. The Monday veto by the Democratic governor came even as it appeared his administration was OK to let the full bill become law, then work with the Republican-controlled General Assembly to repeal the section at issue. Cooper said the provision could limit transparency in death investigations.

Dominion

The developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline have announced they are canceling the multi-state natural gas project due to delays and “increasing cost uncertainty.” Despite a recent victory before the U.S. Supreme Court over a critical permit, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy said in a statement Sunday that “recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty" for the $8 billion, 600-mile project designed to cross parts of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.

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President Donald Trump has endorsed Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest for governor in an effort to unseat North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in November. The president wrote on Twitter on Thursday that Cooper had made it “impossible” for the Republican Party to have its nominating convention in Charlotte. Cooper had refused to offer Trump the reassurances he sought to deliver his nomination acceptance speech to a full capacity crowd in August. Trump then decided to move the key convention functions to Jacksonville, Florida.

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.

Mattie Holloway

Across Eastern North Carolina, efforts are being made to remove Confederate Monuments. PRE’s Mattie Holloway has more on these efforts and the individuals who believe the statues should stay.

NCDPS

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.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has filed his lawsuit challenging Gov. Roy Cooper’s decisions to shutter businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic without getting the backing of other elected officials. The Republican officially sued the Democratic governor in Wake Superior Court on Wednesday, nearly a week after Forest signaled he’d do so. Cooper and Forest are running for governor in November. Forest wants voided six of Cooper’s executive orders issued since March because Cooper didn’t obtain “concurrence” from the Council of State for his actions.

NC DPS

North Carolina delayed announcing statewide plans for reopening K-12 public schools. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he expects to release updated guidance “in the coming weeks." Schools were instructed in June to draft three plans for resuming fall classes, which include in-person and remote learning. Cooper on Wednesday said his top priority is to get kids back into classrooms. The decision to postpone a decision on how best to reopen classrooms comes as new coronavirus cases hit a single-day high at 1,843.

A number of fees levied by the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles is going up. As mandated by state law, the DMV is required to adjust fees and rates every four years, based on the percentage change in the annual Consumer Price Index during the past four years. The increase will be 7.86% for about 90 license and registration-related fees and takes effect on Wednesday. More than 30 new laws also are taking effect as state government’s fiscal year begins. They include 2.5% salary increases for most state employees and state law enforcement officers.

A top North Carolina legislator says lawmakers will soon will take another look at a bill that keeps certain police investigative records secret when forwarded to the state medical examiner. House Majority Leader John Bell cited on Tuesday a health measure currently on Gov. Roy Cooper's desk. The measure sought by Cooper's administration contains a provision that says certain death investigation records deemed confidential remain that way when handed to the medical examiner.

NCDPS

North Carolina has announced plans to test all nursing home workers and residents for the coronavirus over the next two months. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen says the partnership with CVS Omnicare will provide one-time COVID-19 tests to about 36,000 residents and 25,000 staff in more than 400 nursing homes across the state. A cost estimate was not immediately provided on Tuesday. Nearly half of all COVID-related deaths in North Carolina to date have come from nursing homes.

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North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest says his impeding lawsuit against Gov. Roy Cooper for unilaterally closing businesses and mandating face masks due to COVID-19 isn’t politically motivated. Forest said Monday the Democratic incumbent has failed to seek or receive support for six executive orders from other elected officials that make up the Council of State. Forest is trying to unseat Cooper in November. Cooper's administration has said the governor has other authority to act on his own to protect health and safety.

The Lenoir County Health Department said Monday that another person who tested positive from COVID-19 has died.  It’s the 11th coronavirus fatality in Lenoir County.  The patient was older than 65 and had underlying medical conditions.  Lenoir County has nearly 370 confirmed coronavirus cases.

NC Ferry Division

North Carolina’s General Assembly has passed a bill that would restart an Outer Banks passenger ferry that had been scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to The News & Observer, the N.C. Department of Transportation said two months ago that it wouldn't run the ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands this summer. It said hauling people between the islands could spread the virus. But lawmakers recently passed a measure directing the agency to run it.

North Carolina lawmakers have concluded most of their work for the year. House and Senate members wrapped up around 3 a.m. Friday following an 18-hour marathon of negotiating and voting on bills. Before leaving they passed legislation setting another Medicaid overhaul date, funding a monument to honor African Americans and trying again to reopen businesses shuttered by Gov. Roy Cooper due to COVID-19. They'll likely return briefly in early July to address any Cooper vetoes and outstanding issues before leaving for the summer.

The Carteret County Health Department said Friday they are seeing an increase in new coronavirus cases.  According to a news release, there have been 34 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported since June 1st.  For comparison, Carteret County had 37 confirmed cases from March 20 (date of first positive case) to May 31.  The health department said several contributing factors are likely leading to the uptick in cases, such as increased testing, reduced use of face coverings and physical distancing, large gatherings and increased exposure at the workplace.

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North Carolina’s Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest informed Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper Thursday he intends to sue over the way Cooper has imposed business restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forest wrote a letter arguing the governor has violated state law by issuing executive orders curtailing business without seeking concurrence from a group of elected officials known as the Council of State.

North Carolina legislators are working toward completing their annual session, one dominated by COVID-19 and efforts to overturn Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders keeping businesses closed during the pandemic. The state House and Senate negotiated and voted on bills throughout Thursday, with a goal of finishing later in the day. It wasn’t settled whether Republicans leading the General Assembly want to return later in the year. Most of the session’s headlines centered around partisan fights over the Democratic governor’s directives keeping gyms, bars and entertainment venues closed.

A North Carolina city along the coast has removed two Confederate statues located in public spaces near downtown. Wilmington officials said on Twitter early Thursday that they removed a statue of former Confederate politician George Davis and a statue at another Confederate memorial that didn’t depict a particular historical figure. News outlets reported that the bases of the monuments remained in place. City officials characterized the moves as temporary moves to protect public safety in accordance with a state law that generally prohibits permanent removals of Confederate monuments.

NCDPS

North Carolina’s governor has ordered people across the state to wear masks or other face coverings in public to fight the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Wednesday that people must wear face coverings in public when it’s not possible to maintain physical distance. The order also mandates masks or other face coverings for employees of businesses including retailers and restaurants, as well as state employees in the executive branch. Violations of Cooper’s executive orders are punishable by misdemeanor.

NCDPS

The North Carolina General Assembly has finalized yet another Republican attempt to let more businesses reopen despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 restrictions on commerce. Lawmakers also sent the Democratic governor a measure approved Tuesday that would prevent his executive order limiting outdoor gatherings from blocking July 4 parades or fireworks. Cooper already has vetoed two bills pushed by the GOP-controlled legislature designed to overturn his executive orders that have kept bars and gyms shuttered since March.

Pitt County Public Information Office

The removal of a 27-foot tall Confederate monument in Greenville was completed Tuesday. The bronze statue atop the monument was removed on Monday; the pedestal and base were removed from the site in front of the Pitt County Courthouse early Tuesday morning. According to a news release, part of the original foundation remains and will be cleaned within the coming days. The statue will be stored and preserved until a relocation committee determines a permanent location. The removal of the monument comes about one week following a vote from Pitt County Commissioners.

The former chancellor of East Carolina University has sued the University of North Carolina system over his departure. The News & Observer reports a lawsuit filed by former Chancellor Cecil Staton says his exit from his job last year was the result of a vendetta by a school official. Staton says the issue between him and Harry Smith, university system’s former board of governors chairman, resulted from his refusal to accept Smith's business proposal about off-campus student housing.

Juneteenth Celebration In Greenville

Jun 22, 2020
Mattie Holloway

Dozens of people, all of them wearing face coverings, gathered in Greenville on Friday afternoon to attend the “Walk to Freedom.” PRE’s Mattie Holloway was there and has this audio postcard.

East Carolina University

East Carolina University in Greenville will require students to wear face coverings when they return in August.  The university announced their plan on Monday on how to safely reopen while following federal guidance and state laws. Beginning July 1, faculty, staff, students and visitors are expected to wear face masks in public spaces and in face-to-face meetings.

Pitt County Public Information Office

The anonymous Confederate statue topping a 27-foot monument outside a courthouse in eastern North Carolina was removed Monday after local officials gave their approval last week. Crews removed the bronze statue that tops the monument outside the Pitt County Courthouse in Greenville, according to a news release from Pitt County. Crews began shortly after midnight and worked more than five hours early Monday morning to lift the statue off its pedestal with a crane. The county release said the pedestal and base will be taken down later because a contracted crane had a mechanical issue.

NC DPS

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed another attempt by Republican legislators to accelerate the speed in which North Carolina commerce is being restored through his COVID-19 executive order. The vetoed measure would have allowed gyms and bars shuttered since March to receive patrons again. Cooper said Friday the bill could restrict a quick response to virus outbreaks. He vetoed a similar bill earlier this month emphasizing bars.

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