Monday News: Eighteen thousand fifty


COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS IN NC CONTINUE DOWNWARD TREND: At least 1,477,514 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 18,050 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. At least 1,335 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday, including 394 adults who are patients in intensive care units, health officials said. On Wednesday, the latest date with available information, 4.4% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. North Carolina health care providers discarded 703,000 COVID vaccine doses since December, representing a $12 million loss to the U.S. government, WTVD reported. That’s nearly 7% of the 10 million doses sent to the state, the Raleigh station reported Friday, citing N.C. Department of Health and Human Service data. Of course the anti-vaxxers won't admit to wasting taxpayer monies with their stubborn refusal.

THIS ELECTION MAY SEE THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN AS MAYOR OF DURHAM: As a judge, Elaine O’Neal did much of the talking. But as she’s campaigned to become Durham’s first Black female mayor, she said, she’s been doing a lot more listening. The youngest of five children, she has been surrounded by family and community on Durham’s West End all her life. She attended Lyon Park, Morehead Elementary, Rogers-Herr Middle School and in 1980, graduated from Hillside High School with honors. O’Neal earned a B.S. in mathematics from N.C Central University in 1984 planning to become an electrical engineer. She went on to earn her J.D. from the NCCU Law School. Her upbringing, around the time Durham had just desegregated its school system, eventually led to politics, when Billy Marsh asked her to volunteer for the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. The civil rights attorney represented the “Royal Ice Cream Seven” and was a former District Court judge in Durham.

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY: State election officials are reminding voters to cast their ballots in the upcoming municipal elections next Tuesday. Not every municipality has an election this fall. Due to the lateness of the census data this year, cities with district-based contests have been required to delay them until next year to allow time to redraw the districts. For those that do have elections, early voting is still available Friday and Saturday. Polls are open on Election Day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. As long as you're in line by 7:30 p.m. you will be allowed to vote. You can't use same-day registration on Election Day, so if you're not already registered and don't take advantage of one-stop early voting, you won't be allowed to vote. However, if you are registered but your name isn't on the voter list, you can request a provisional ballot. If you completed a mail-in ballot but haven't sent it back yet, don't take it to a polling site on Election Day. They cannot accept it. You'll need to either mail it in time to be postmarked by Tuesday or deliver it to your county board of elections by 5 p.m. Election Day.

NC ALCOHOL OFFICERS ARREST NEARLY 300 IN MASSIVE OPERATION: North Carolina's Alcohol Law Enforcement says it arrested nearly 300 people during operations at alcoholic beverage-licensed businesses and other locations as part of a Halloween crackdown. A news release from the Department of Public Safety said that state alcohol agents working with local law enforcement officials arrested 286 people on 700 charges around the state. The agents executed 13 search warrants, seized guns and drugs and made arrests on a mixture of felony, alcoholic beverage and drug charges. Twenty-five licensed businesses were found in violation of state laws and regulations. A Lenoir business lost its alcohol permit after agents determined employees were distributing drugs to patrons, according to the release. The agency has 108 agents across the state. “Over the past week, ALE special agents have joined with local, state, and federal agencies to address crime at North Carolina businesses that sell alcoholic beverages both legally and illegally,” said Bryan House, director of Alcohol Law Enforcement. “It is our hope this operation, along with ongoing efforts to educate business owners on the responsible sale of alcoholic beverages and crime prevention, will positively impact the lives of all residents.”

AMERICAN AIRLINES IS HAVING BIG TROUBLES: American Airlines canceled more than 1,300 flights this weekend, citing bad weather and staffing issues, the latest service disruption to hit the skies as travel ramps back up. More than 800 flights were canceled Sunday, according to flight tracking website FlightAware, nearly 30 percent of the airline’s total scheduled departures. A day earlier, more than 540 flights were canceled. In a Saturday letter to employees, American Airlines Chief Operating Officer David Seymour said that “these few days to close out October will be challenging.” Two days of severe winds at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport last week reduced arrival capacity by more than half, driving a large number of cancellations at DFW, Seymour wrote. “With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,” he wrote in the letter. “To make sure we are taking care of our customers and providing scheduling certainty for our crews, we have adjusted our operation for the last few days this month by proactively canceling some flights.” Glad I'm not planning on flying anytime soon.