Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT


North Carolina surpasses 3,900 coronavirus cases

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Health officials in North Carolina report another 257 cases of COVID-19, pushing the total number cases in the state above 3,900. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported on Friday that the state now has 3,908 cases with 74 deaths since the initial case was discovered on March 3. The agency says there are 423 people hospitalized with coronavirus. Jones County health officials reported their first death Friday. A news release from the agency identified the victim as a person in their 70s with underlying medical conditions.


Schools struggle to safely get free meals to needy students

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Schools that feed millions of children from low-income families across the U.S. promised to keep providing meals during the coronavirus pandemic. But cities big and small quickly ran into problems when food workers, teachers and volunteers became infected or were too scared to report for duty. Some districts have been forced to suspend their programs altogether. That's left families who are already struggling more desperate. After a more than weeklong shutdown in Houston, schools in the nation's fourth-largest city made changes to reduce risks. The district started giving out enough food to last for several days in fewer locations.


Industry scrambles to stop fatal bird flu in South Carolina

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An infectious and fatal strain of bird flu has been confirmed in a commercial turkey flock in northeast South Carolina, the first case of the more serious strain of the disease in the United States since it was reported in a Tennessee chicken flock in 2017. A less severe strain of bird flu had been detected along the North Carolina and South Carolina state recently but the case in Chesterfield County, South Carolina discovered on Monday was found to be a more fatal and easily spread strain. More than 32,000 turkeys in the flock were euthanized. The USDA confirmed it Thursday.


Drums, dancers livestream as virus moves powwows online

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The largest powwows in the country have been canceled and postponed amid the spread of the coronavirus. Tribal members have found a new outlet online with the Social Distance Powwow. They're sharing videos of colorful displays of culture and tradition that are at their essence meant to uplift people during difficult times. The posts have become a nearly daily dose of medicine, songs, dances, well wishes, humor and happy birthdays. The site also hosts a live powwow on the weekend where an emcee patches in drum groups, singers and dancers from across the country.


Coyote Ugly: Coyote sightings increase possibly due to virus

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Officials said coyote sighting were on the rise in North Carolina but that may be because more residents are at home. A Wildlife Resources Commission press release said increase sighting were due to changes in residents behavior because of the new coronavirus. The release said since people were home, the opportunity to see the animals has increased. The release also said coyotes may be venturing out because people weren’t outside. Coyotes naturally stay away from people if possible but sightings typically peak in May while coyotes raise their young. The release said residents should “deter” coyotes from coming too close by making the animal uncomfortable.


Study: 1 in 4 Charlotte tenants missed rent in pandemic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A study by a housing nonprofit has found nearly 1 in 4 Charlotte-area tenants have missed rent payments that were due in the first week of April. The Washington, D.C.-based National Multifamily Housing Council says the figures represent an 8% rise in missed payments from the same time last year. The Charlotte Observer reports close to 1 in 5 tenants in the Raleigh-Cary area also missed rent payments in early April. A Mecklenburg county commissioner says the stats should keep every elected official awake at night. The rise in missed payments comes as the state is projected to reach nearly 500,000 unemployment claims this week.


Legislative candidate Alston moving now to N. Carolina House

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A Durham City Council member will join the North Carolina House now after the death of the legislator she had been likely expected to succeed early next year. Durham County Democratic activists meeting on Thursday chose Vernetta Alston unanimously to fill the seat left vacant when Rep. MaryAnn Black died two weeks ago. Gov. Roy Cooper is obligated by state law to appoint Alston to the seat, to serve through December. Alston has already been running for this seat in the 2020 election, as Black had announced months ago she wouldn't seek reelection. This year's General Assembly session begins April 28.


Federal utility board backs CEO under Trump's fire for pay

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The board of a federal utility is criticizing “ill-informed opinions” about how much their organization’s top executive gets paid after President Donald Trump blasted the salary level as “ridiculous.” According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tennessee Valley Authority board chairman Skip Thompson sent a memo to the utility’s more than 10,000 employees and contractors Thursday defending the board’s decision to pay CEO Jeff Lyash an $8.1 million compensation package. Trump appoints the TVA board. He suggested he could reduce the CEO’s salary in a coronavirus-related infrastructure bill. TVA does not receive federal taxpayer funding and serves 10 million ratepayers in seven southeastern states.