ACE SPEEDWAY CREW MEMBER TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID 19: A crew member for one of the racing teams that participated in last week’s event at Ace Speedway has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Short Track Scene’s Matt Weaver. Weaver, the website’s founder, said CARS Tour series operator Jack McNelly gave competitors the news Saturday afternoon before this week’s series event at Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton. According to Weaver, McNelly said the CARS Tour was notified of the positive coronavirus test in the days after the June 6 event in Alamance County. McNelly did not give the name of the person who tested positive, but Weaver said CARS series officials told him it was one of the racing team’s crew members. On each of the past three Saturdays (May 23rd and 30th and June 6th) Ace Speedway had racing, with the stands nearly full of spectators, few of them wearing masks. A reporter at last week’s event estimated there were at least 2,000 fans in attendance.
RACIAL EQUITY TASK FORCE LOOKS FOR TRANSPARENCY IN POLICE DISCIPLINE: Attorney General Josh Stein and state Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls are leading a task force announced this week by Gov. Roy Cooper to address racial inequity in the state’s criminal justice system. “We want to look at how we recruit officers, how we train them, the practices they use,” Stein said. Cooper said the task for will study police transparency and whether officers’ disciplinary records should be available for public review. Wellington Scott, who retired after 28 years with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, said the practice of officers getting fired or resigning from one agency for misconduct only to sign on with another agency needs to be addressed. “You can’t afford to move somebody who has shown that they cannot ethically do the job to another agency,” said Scott, who now trains officers around the country.
SUNSHINE AMENDMENT IS BACK, WOULD BLOCK NEW EXEMPTIONS FROM OPEN GOVERNMENT LAW: The Sunshine Amendment, or House Bill 1111, would put a measure on November’s ballot allowing voters to decide whether access to government records and meetings should be protected in the North Carolina Constitution rather than just in state statutes. Practically speaking, the amendment would make it much harder to make exceptions to open meetings and open records requirements. Right now it just takes a simple majority of legislators to make it harder to see government information. The proposed amendment would require a two-thirds majority of both the State House and the Senate. New exemptions to current open-government laws are introduced every year, said John Bussian, a lawyer representing publications, including the Times-News, in several states and the N.C. Press Association. There are good arguments for some of those exceptions, Bussian said, like withholding floor plans of school buildings in the age of mass shootings. Others seem more directed at special interests, like rules requiring a probable-cause hearing to see complaints against some state-licensed professionals.
TRUMP'S JITTERY RAMP WALK AT WEST POINT DRAWS SCRUTINY: President Trump late Saturday tried to explain his slow and unsteady walk down a ramp at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, which had generated concern and mockery on social media, by claiming the walkway was "very slippery" and that he was worried about falling. The walk in question came at the conclusion of Saturday’s commencement exercises at West Point, where Trump was the guest speaker. As he exited the raised platform by descending a ramp alongside Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, the academy’s superintendent, Trump was visibly tentative and took short, careful steps. Video of the moment was widely shared on social media, with critics of the president — including Republican operatives working on the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group whose ads have provoked the president’s ire — using the hashtag #TrumpIsNotWell in their tweets. The ramp video was not the only clip from Trump’s speech to generate considerable attention on social media. Another was when he briefly took a sip of water while standing behind the presidential lectern. As Trump raised a small glass of water toward his mouth with his right hand, he used his left hand to steady the bottom of the glass so he could take a sip. Trump is exceptionally attuned to — some advisers say obsessed with — the image he presents to the public and strives to be seen as strong and vigorous.
STATES MAY BE FORCED TO LOCK BACK DOWN, PARTLY DUE TO IRRESPONSIBLE PUBLIC: On Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that the state had been deluged with some 25,000 complaints about businesses that “are in violation of the reopening plan.” Specifically, Mr. Cuomo said that bar patrons in Manhattan and the Hamptons on Long Island had been flouting the rules, and warned that if local officials did not crack down on such behavior the state could be forced to suspend reopening plans. In Houston, officials warned last week that a lockdown might be reimposed as cases continued to tick upward, CBS News reported. The region is now at what officials call “Code Orange,” meaning that there is a significant and uncontrolled level of coronavirus spread in the community. On Friday, Jay Butler, the C.D.C.’s deputy director for infectious diseases, told reporters that “if cases begin to go up again, particularly if they go up dramatically, it’s important to recognize that more mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again,” according to CNBC. The new rise in cases in some states comes as the Trump administration announced that it did not plan to back the extension of expanded unemployment insurance benefits beyond the end of July, citing concerns that workers are opting to take the generous benefits instead of going back to their jobs.