NC COVID 19 CASES ARE STILL ON THE RISE: At least 87,528 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,510 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday reported an additional 1,827 cases of the virus, down from 1,908 on Sunday and the record-high 2,462 on Saturday. Daily cases have been on an upward trend. The number of cases reported from July 7 to July 13 was about 17% higher than the number reported during the previous week. Officials also reported seven additional deaths Monday. On Monday, health officials reported completing 20,899 new coronavirus tests, for a total of more than 1.2 million. On Sunday, 10% of tests were positive. That number should be closer to 5%, health officials have said. State health officials say 67,124 people in North Carolina are presumed recovered from the virus, based on when they tested positive and if they were in the hospital. Data on recoveries is released once a week, on Monday.
RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL WILL CHOOSE SAIGE MARTIN'S REPLACEMENT TODAY: The Raleigh City Council will meet Tuesday afternoon to choose a replacement representative for District D, an area southwest of downtown. The elected councilman, Saige Martin, resigned last month amid allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Although four current or former North Carolina State University students accused Martin of sexual assault, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Monday that Martin's accusers "have not provided sufficient information to proceed." Juni Cuevas, the only accuser who agreed to be publicly identified, maintained he didn't want to pursue a criminal case. Meanwhile, the City Council is expected to name someone to fill the remainder of Martin's two-year term on Tuesday. More than 50 people applied for the position, and the City Council picked five to take part in an online forum on Sunday, where they answered questions on issues including how Raleigh can best battle the coronavirus pandemic.
STATUE OF THOMAS RUFFIN REMOVED FROM NC COURT OF APPEALS: The statue of a 19th-century North Carolina Supreme Court justice was removed on Monday from the entrance of the state Court of Appeals building. Chief Justice Thomas Ruffin is known in part for a ruling in which he concluded the slave owner’s power over his slave was absolute. A flatbed pulled by a truck took away the full-body statue of Ruffin, which had sat under an overhang near the front door of the building, situated across the street from the old state Capitol and that once housed the Supreme Court. The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will store the statue temporarily until its new location is determined. The statue was removed following recent topplings and damage to Confederate monuments in North Carolina and in other states. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered three such monuments be removed from the old Capitol grounds last month for public safety after one of them was damaged by protesters. The State Capitol Police recently told the Court of Appeals about safety concerns in leaving the Ruffin statue in place, state courts spokesperson Sharon Gladwell said. The appeals court asked Cooper’s office for the statue to be removed.
TRUMP ATTACKS JEFF SESSIONS IN ALABAMA GOP U.S. SENATE PRIMARY: Republicans in Alabama will cast their votes today in the Senate runoff election between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville, delivering the final word on a contest between a candidate who is loathed by President Trump but devoted to his agenda, and one who has been endorsed by Mr. Trump but only tepidly supports Trumpism. For years, Mr. Sessions has battled the antipathy of the president, who detests his former attorney general for recusing himself from the investigation into Russia’s influence in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Tuberville’s case a final time in a conference call with Alabama voters on Monday evening, arguing that the candidate “is going to do a job like you haven’t seen,” and reiterating that he had “made a mistake” by appointing Mr. Sessions as attorney general. Tuesday will determine just how much that antipathy has come to shape the attitudes of voters toward Mr. Sessions, who for a time was perhaps the most popular politician in Alabama. Throughout the runoff campaign, polls have shown him trailing Mr. Tuberville, a former Auburn University football coach, by as many as 20 percentage points. The winner will face off against Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, who is widely seen as facing an uphill battle to hold onto his seat.
TULSA IS FINALLY EXCAVATING MASS GRAVES FROM 1921 RACE MASSACRE: Nearly a century after a brutal race massacre left as many as 300 black people dead, this city began to dig Monday for suspected mass graves from the violence. A team of scientists, archaeologists and forensic anthropologists watched as a backhoe moved dirt from an 8-by-10-foot hole at the city-owned Oaklawn Cemetery, where ground-penetrating radar last year detected anomalies consistent with mass graves. Several descendants of massacre survivors bore witness to the moment outside the graveyard’s wrought-iron fence, standing in a light rain after the work was briefly delayed by booming thunder and lightning. J. Kavin Ross, whose great-grandfather owned a business that was destroyed in the massacre, said he had waited a long time for this day. “I’ve waited for this day for over two decades to find out the truth of Tulsa’s public secrets,” said Ross, a photojournalist and teacher in Tulsa who spent years of his own time interviewing survivors of the massacre. “A lot of people knew about it but wouldn’t tell about it.”