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    Q - I am going to finish out my basement this summer. Probably. I am not too thrilled about installing a drop ceiling, but want to do something. What do you recommend? Randy in Jonesboro A - I have a great idea for you. It's easy to apply and it's cost effective. Spray paint the ceiling black. By spraying the ceiling black you will help make the ceiling and all the stuff up there kind of disappear, which is a good thing. One small tip – it is best to do this before you finish the rest of the basement and not at the end of the project. While you are spraying the ceiling black you could easily make a mess with either over-sprayed paint or paint dripping on the floor.  While you might not think that this is a big deal, it could represent enough of a problem to have the wife yell at you for, oh I don't know, say the better part of an entire three-day Memorial Day weekend up to and including the car ride to the neighbors bar-b-que on Sunday night even though you didn't say anything to her about how bad her wallpaper job in the spare bedroom looks. I'm just saying….
  • You do know you are supposed to change your furnace filter don't you? Let me back up a step. You do know your furnace has a filter that needs regular maintenance, right? Sigh… Never fear - you are not alone. That's why 5 Things presents the 5 levels of furnace filters from worst to best… 1 – Disposable fiberglass filters. The cheapest are the least effective – shocker! These are designed to protect your furnace, and that’s about it. These are the $1 jobs available in all hardware stores and now even in some supermarkets. You may laugh, but these are better than nothing. 2 – Washable ‘electrostatic’ filters. These have a static charge that attracts dust and other matter. Slightly more effective than fiberglass filters, they still only get 15 to 20 percent of airborne yuck. 3 – Pleated ‘allergy’ filters. The pleats increase the surface area which helps catch most large allergens like pollen and mold. Can also go by the moniker of a ‘media filter’. Most catch 35-50 percent of yuck. 4 – Electronic air cleaners. These use electrodes to create an ionized electrical field that, to make a long story full of scientific words short, trap up to 94% of smaller particles and even up to 80 percent of airborne viruses. This is the best you are going to do for your house. 5 – HEPA furnace filters. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. These are the mac-daddies and not only block air particles, but also air flow and that’s why they really aren’t recommended for residential use. Hospitals, research facilities, and some manufacturing plants where clean air is vital is where you find the HEPA’s.
  • Q - I was out looking at our home and noticed how dirty the siding is. What would you recommend I use to clean it?   Ruth in Decatur A – Ruth – you are scaring every man in Decatur right now who has a wife named Ruth. Depending on your siding here is what I would use: For vinyl you can go with a pressure washer or a hose, brush, and bucket. With a pressure washer you get the job done faster, but you need to be very careful about the water pressure. Too much, or come in at the wrong angle and you could possibly get water under the vinyl which could lead to the rotting of the wood behind the vinyl. If you go the hose, brush, and bucket route use Murphy’s oil soap in a bucket of water and go at it. It is more labor intensive, but it is somewhat safer and your risks are small. For brick simply spray your brick with a hose and a spray nozzle. If you have spots of moss or mildew, use a stiff natural fiber brush with a bleach solution (although I've heard tell that oven cleaner will work on a tough spot). Don’t use a wire brush and be sure to wet the brick first. For Hardie plank, again, you can go with a light power washing or the hose, brush, and bucket route. Either way you want to use a mild, non-abrasive soap and be very careful with the power setting on the washer. If your house is stucco it is ok to power wash (again – beware of the pressure). You may need to spot spray tougher stains with a soap/bleach concoction. Light colored stucco needs to cleaned more frequently than darker shades. For other board siding use the same soap solution that you use for the vinyl siding. If you have spots of mildew use a vinegar solution (3 parts water to one part vinegar) to clean.  You may have noticed the power washer theme that appears here and there in this tip. Seriously, don’t run a pressure washer on your house unless you have a calm hand and a cool head. Never aim a pressure washer to shoot up-under your siding. Never try to blast old paint from your siding. Is it fun to write your name on your driveway with a power washer? Yes it is. But it can be painfully dangerous when used incorrectly on your largest investment. So try to stay away from the power washer, as the chance for damage and marking the siding is much higher. Remember: - Watch the pressure on the power washing (think if I say it enough it will soak in?) - Be careful using bleach around plants - Rinse any solutions that you put on the siding off thoroughly
  • This is the time of year when termite infestation is foremost on our 'What can go wrong at my house' list. To be truthful, here in Georgia fighting termites is a 12 month round-the-clock battle, but thoughts of the little home wreckers are on everyone's mind now, so let's see what you have working at your home. First, know this: termites are everywhere. Even around a freshly treated house there could easily be termites living in the yard. The key is to not allow them to cross the threshold into your house. So let's say you had a treatment done in the past. Is that good enough? Generally a house needs re-treatment every 5 years or so. I would guess that a majority of houses in the metro area are not covered with a current, up-to-date termite treatment. There are two kinds of treatments which can be used to have your house considered as treated – a liquid version (Termidor) and a bait station treatment. I am a fan of the liquid termite treatment for a couple of reasons.   One - I am not totally sold on the bait systems which require a regular inspection from your pest control company (inspection should be done Quarterly). When you get the liquid treatment you know you have the termite poison around your house whether the pest control man shows up or not. The bait stations on the other hand, are installed into your ground about every 20 feet or so. They are generally filled with wood. If during a regular inspection your pest control company finds termites in the bait station, then your house is treated with a liquid poison to kill the termites. (Ironic insert here – the poison that pest control companies use at this point is, ta da – Termidor – the same stuff you could have had put down to begin with) Also - you don't own the bait system if that is the route you take. Often times the pest control company owns the system so if you fall behind in your payments, they can come and take it out. This is perhaps the most important thing to know about the bait systems: if you are going with a bait system, you are buying the company that installs it as much as you are buying the system.   You need to invest your money with a company that has the where-with-all and the personnel to do regular inspections and are able to act if there is a problem.  Pest control companies also offer different kinds of repair warranties. Some companies even have their own construction divisions to do the work, which is nice. Know this though - if your house has an up-to-date termite treatment on it, with regular inspections and termite damage shows up, the odds of your home having major damage are slim. Unlike in cartoons, termites don't blaze through a house in minutes. Keep that in mind when you consider warranties. One more thing – liquid treatments and bait treatments should run at about the same cost. Find a company that offers both, and then make your decision. Happy hunting. Termite hunting that is…
  • Q - I am in the market for a new air conditioning unit and I was thinking that with summer’s heat coming up should I spend extra money to get a larger sized unit which would cool my house off faster, thus saving money on my energy bill. How does that sound to you? Jack in Kennesaw A - This is one of those things that sound great and look great on paper, but in reality is not really going to be great. True, a larger unit will cool your house faster. But in this instance, faster is not better. First of all, it’s your air conditioner’s job to cool your air, but its other job is to keep the moisture (humidity) out of your house. Think of your a/c as a whole house dehumidifier. We all know that too much (over 50%) humidity in a house can and will lead to problems such as mold and mildew. Your air conditioner running on a normal setting of, say, 76 degrees will run long enough to keep your humidity in check. But by using a larger unit, it will not run long enough to keep the humidity in your house at a good level. Its run time will simply be too short to be an effective humidity controller. Your house, instead of feeling cool and comfortable, will have that cold and clammy feel.   Plus, unless you plan on insulating your house like a meat locker, you will lose a lot of that cool air in a hurry, which will make your system run more frequently, which defeats your whole purpose. So make sure you purchase a high efficiency system that is correctly fit for your home, and then spend the rest of your dough on better insulation.
  • While we – or most of us – are working from home and hopefully sheltering in place I’m sure the thought runs through our heads “Gee, is my house as clean as I can make it”? If you are like me, every sniffle, every itch, every cough arouses suspicion about the virus. Is our home clean enough? How many times do I need to wash my hands? Is there more that I could be doing? It’s enough to drive one crazy. So here are a few things that maybe you haven’t thought about with some of the systems around your home, kind of a do this don’t do that list just to help your mind at ease. Plumbing. The absolute biggest no-no here deals with what you are flushing down the toilet that didn’t come out of your body. Here is the approved list of things to be flushed: 1 – Toilet paper. That is the end of the list. No tissue paper, no paper towels, no baby wipes, no adult wipes, no man wipes, no newspaper, and depending on how desperate times are no pages from a magazine. How about wipes that claim to be ‘flushable’?   No. Trust me, they aren’t.   In case you missed it, go back about 3 paragraphs and read it again. That is it. The entire list. The whole enchilada as it were. Don’t even try. Only toilet paper is thin enough to be safely used. The heavier the material the more likely it will either clog or start a clog in the commode itself or the drain. It just takes one little snag in the line for a blockage to begin to build up. So while you may have to get creative, please only flush the Charmin. HVAC. I’ve had a lot of questions about how to make your indoor air quality be as good as possible. Ideally and especially for those of us who have crawlspaces, this process would begin with encapsulating that crawlspace to help get yucky humid air out of our house. But I get it, you want your indoor air to be as well filtered as possible.   That would include the following in order of least best to best best. A – Change your filter. Doesn’t matter which filter you have, change it on a regular basis – regular being a code word for monthly or quarterly. 2 – Upgrade your filter system. Media filters (they are the folded ones) are at the top of this category. The better ones need a professional to install. HEPA filters are the best. Worth it. D – UV light. UV light sanitizers will kill germs and mold (no, they won’t kill the Covid-19 virus) and when added to a proper filter is the best thing to the air in your house. That is as good as it gets, without being hermetically sealed and kept in a mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall’s porch since noon today… Carpet. The CDC recommends the cleaning of all the hard and soft surfaces in your home. Hard surfaces range from counter tops and appliances to door knobs and furniture. But soft surfaces include your carpet. Getting your carpet professionally cleaned should be at or near the top of your list. Every sneeze and cough settles down onto your floor. Clean it. Now. You can find some carpet cleaning companies will also clean the hard surfaces in your home as well. Win, win. Pest Control. I am throwing this in for one reason – mosquitoes. Yes it is warming up outside which makes us want to go outside and enjoy it. Yes, being outside in the fresh air and sunshine is supposed to be better for us than sitting around inside the house day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day after day. After day after day after day after day after day – you get the picture. You will enjoy your yard more if you get it treated for mosquitoes. Check out the 5Things section of this newsletter to learn more about getting your yard to be a mosquito free zone. Stay safe. Stay home. Work hard. Wash your hands. Oh yeah – and relax a little…
  •  Cleanliness is next to... Q - Our roof has dark streaks in various places even though there are no trees directly around our home; our neighbor says it needs to be cleaned. How would we clean the roof? Sandra in John’s Creek A – Your neighbor says it needs to be cleaned? Your neighbor?   The guy with his Christmas lights still out on the house. The guy whose trash can sits at the curb for two days after the trash is collected. The guy whose house hasn't seen the business end of a paint brush since the Clinton administration. That neighbor says you should clean your roof? Do you always do everything your neighbor says?  Tell your neighbor to mind his own business. Now then, if you want to clean your shingles because you are suspecting that it may be time, know this – never use high pressure water on an asphalt shingle roof as doing so will blow granules off the shingles and lessen the longevity of your roof. The best way to clean them is by getting on the roof (be careful, roof walking is a recipe for disaster – especially when it gets wet) with a garden spritzer filled with a 3 to 1 bleach to water mixture. Spritz the mixture on the roof and allow it to sit for, well, for a while. Then rinse it off with your garden hose. You may notice the mixture changing color – that is a good thing, as it cleans off the mold and mildew. When you rinse it off, the bleach will go down the gutter and the downspout, so if you have tender vittles at the end of the spout you will need to protect them from the bleach. Enjoy your clean roof. If you really want the last laugh on your neighbor, hook your hose up to their outdoor spigot for the rinse job. It’s the least they can do.
  • Q – It’s spring and it seems like we have a bumper crop of carpenter bees. What is the best way to get rid of them? Hal in Douglasville A – Hal, this is one of the best and funnest home pest control things that there is. It’s even more fun that pulling the wings off house flies. The recommended instrument of destruction for these bees is a badminton racquet.   No, really. Get a badminton racquet or a whiffle ball bat (if you have mad skills) and start pinging the little sons of bees into oblivion. Do not try to squirt them with bee/wasp poison as you will quickly run out of the highly charged spray without much success. Unless you totally suck at badminton, your badminton racquet swing to kill ratio will be approximately 1 to 1. Also note that there is really nothing that the EPA will approve that you can put into your paint to fend them off – however – note that carpenter bees are not as quick to bore into houses that are freshly painted or stained. The only thing you really must do is to kill the eggs the female has laid and repair the holes. You can repair the perfectly round holes the bees make in your siding or your decking by squirting some poison in the hole then filling it with a wood filler or putty (make sure you use a paintable kind if you plan on painting). Contrary to popular belief there is nothing that you can put into your paint to ward the bees off. Your only real defense to keep them away is two remove the wood that they are enjoying which would mean re-siding your home. One more note. Not all carpenter bees, Xylocopa virginica, sting – only the females (insert joke here). In fact, male carpenter bees can be captured by hand (if you really want to impress your friends) without fear of stinging (they have no stinger). To be fair, the female carpenter bee is not really interested in stinging you either. They just want to drill their holes and lay their eggs.
  • I swear I have already swatted a dozen skeeters this spring. While it feels like it should be way too early to be telling you this, here are  5 Things to help you be skeeter free… 1 – Get rid of standing water on your property. That includes in gutters and children’s play toys, as well as anywhere else water may collect. 2 – Use plenty of N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide when outside. Ok, so I was big-leaguing you on the name. You probably know it as DEET and it is an effective repellent. 3 – Have your home pest control company perform a mosquito service on your lawn. They will be able to treat areas that are susceptible to skeeters. 4 – Get proper lighting for your yard and/or deck area. You can even find some brands that are, while not mosquito proof, they do not attract mosquitoes like other incandescent lights do. 5 – Place a fan on your deck. Mosquitoes are very weak fliers, so a steady stream of moving air can keep them away. Citronella candles also will provide mild relief, but they offer no more relief than any other type of candle producing smoke.
  • Q – Now that I’m working from home I have noticed something - my house smells like a sour locker room.   It didn't smell like that last month and I don't have any piles of laundry lying about. Yuck. Help. Anne in Marrietta A - Ahhhhh, welcome to summer. OK, maybe not summer, but warmer weather in any case. You remember in the fall when your furnace kicked on for the first time and you knew it because you could smell the faint aroma of the dust being burnt from your system? Well, this is your air conditioners equivalent. It even has a name. Dirty Sock Syndrome - and it no doubt occurred when warmer temps earlier in the week kicked you’re a/c unit on. D.S.S. occurs when bacteria forms on your coils (ok - not your coils but you’re a/c's coils). When the a/c kicks on the air blown across those dirty coils picks up the odor and carries it all over your home.. Unlike your furnace smell, which goes away after its first use of the season, your Dirty Sock Syndrome will not disappear over time. You will need to call an hvac technician out to your home for a thorough cleaning and perhaps a coating for your coils. This requires more than a spritzing and wipe down, which is why I recommend a pro come to your house for service. Every hvac pro in the Metro area will understand what your issues are when you say the words 'Dirty Sock Syndrome' so feel free to speak the lingo, as it were. While they are there for your D.S.S. have them run a check-up on your a/c system for the upcoming season. Then all will be well for your new home office, at least as far as you’re a/c goes.   For now….

News

  • Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday after a 10-minute viral video surfaced of one of the officers holding his knee to a man’s neck as the man struggled to breathe one day earlier. The man, identified by attorney Benjamin Crump as George Floyd, was pronounced dead after the incident. Authorities, including the FBI, are investigating the incident, which sparked protests across the city. Here's what we know so far about Floyd: 1. The 46-year-old St. Louis Park resident was a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis. According to the Star Tribune, Floyd had worked at the restaurant for five years and rented a home from the restaurant’s owner, Jovanni Thunstrom. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Thunstrom described Floyd, who grew up in Houston, as not only his employee but also 'a very good friend.' 'Watching this video makes tears come out,' Thunstrom wrote. 'My body is full of emotions, of questions without answer.' He also told the Star Tribune that Floyd 'was family.' 'His co-workers and friends loved him,' Thunstrom said. 2. One restaurant patron described Floyd, who was known as 'Big Floyd,' as a 'gentle giant.' Conga customer Jessi Zendejas said in a Facebook post that the security guard 'loved his hugs from his regulars,' according to the Star Tribune. '[He] would be mad if you didn't stop to greet him because he honestly loved seeing everyone and watching everyone have fun,' Zendejas wrote on social media. Thunstrom echoed the sentiment in an interview with KSTP. 'He wanted me to teach him how to Bachata dance, and I gave up because I couldn't turn him because he was 6-foot-6,' Thunstrom told the news outlet, adding that Floyd 'wasn't the bad guy.' 'He had other problems, but we all have problems,' Thunstrom told KSTP. 'He wasn't the type that was aggressive, disrespectful. He was a very calm, nice guy. I want people to remember him that way.' 3. Floyd's former partner, Christina Dawson, paid tribute to him in a Facebook post. 'They really killed my baby!!' wrote Dawson, who told the Star Tribune that the pair had stayed friends after their split. 'I don't even know what to do, y'all,' she continued. 'This is not real!' 4. Minneapolis police said Floyd resisted arrest after officers responded to a forgery call Monday involving a suspect who 'appeared to be under the influence.' In a statement, the department said officers arrived to find Floyd in his car and asked him to step out. 'After he got out, he physically resisted officers,' the statement continued. 'Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance, where he died a short time later. At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident.' Read the full statement here. 5. The officer captured on video holding his knee to Floyd’s neck has been identified as Derek Chauvin. Attorney Tom Kelly told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Chauvin is his client but did not release any additional details. Earlier Tuesday, Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the incident were fired from the Police Department, officials said. “This is the right call,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted. State and federal authorities are now investigating the incident, and Minneapolis police are conducting their own internal investigation, the AP reported.
  • More than 5.6 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Wednesday, May 27, continue below:  Worldwide coronavirus deaths top 350K Update 4:46 a.m. EDT May 27: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 350,752 early Wednesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. The United States – with nearly 1.7 million cases, resulting in 98,929 deaths to date – remains the nation with the highest number of infections and virus-related deaths. Brazil now reports the second-highest number of cases worldwide with 391,222, while the United Kingdom’s 37,130 virus-related deaths rank as second highest globally. Trump gives NC governor 1 week to decide if RNC stays in Charlotte amid coronavirus concerns Update 3:27 a.m. EDT May 27: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday dismissed President Donald Trump’s tweets threatening to move the Republican National Convention from Charlotte. “I’m not surprised by anything I see on Twitter,” Cooper said. “It’s OK for political conventions to be political, but pandemic response cannot be.” According to WSOC-TV, the governor said state health officials will continue to work with convention organizers to draft guidelines that will ensure the event can be conducted safely during the coronavirus pandemic. In a series of tweets Monday morning, the president threatened to pull the event out of North Carolina if Cooper doesn’t immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus has infected more than 62K US health care workers, CDC reports Update 2:10 a.m. EDT May 27: An estimated 62,344 health care professionals in the United States have contracted the novel coronavirus to date, resulting in at least 291 deaths, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed. The latest figures represent a nearly seven-fold increase in less than six weeks. According to CNN, the CDC last highlighted the number of cases among health care workers April 15, revealing a total of 9,282 cases at that time. US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths near 99K Published 12:40 a.m. EDT May 27: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Wednesday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,681,212 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 98,916 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 363,836 cases and 29,302 deaths and New Jersey with 155,764 cases and 11,194 deaths. Massachusetts, with 93,693 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,473, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 113,195. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 52,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 99,684 cases, resulting in 3,823 deaths • Pennsylvania: 72,778 cases, resulting in 5,163 deaths • Texas: 57,230 cases, resulting in 1,546 deaths • Michigan: 55,104 cases, resulting in 5,266 deaths • Florida: 52,255 cases, resulting in 2,259 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Virginia, Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 17,703 and Arizona with 16,864; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases, followed by Rhode Island with 14,210 and Mississippi with 13,731; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,416; Kansas and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Kentucky, Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,130; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday dismissed President Donald Trump’s tweets threatening to move the Republican National Convention from Charlotte. “I’m not surprised by anything I see on Twitter,” Cooper said. “It’s OK for political conventions to be political, but pandemic response cannot be.” According to WSOC-TV, the governor said state health officials will continue to work with convention organizers to draft guidelines that will ensure the event can be conducted safely during the coronavirus pandemic. “I supported having the convention in North Carolina. But we have to put the health and safety of North Carolinians as the guiding star in this process, and we hope to continue the discussions and look forward to those discussions with the RNC later on this weekend and into next week,” he later added. For months, Republican leaders’ public posture has been that the party’s national convention, where Trump will be formally nominated in August, is “full steam ahead.” But on Memorial Day, the president appeared to hamstring convention planning by threatening to pull the event from Charlotte because of the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions. In a series of tweets Monday morning, the president threatened to pull the event out of North Carolina if Cooper doesn’t immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Trump’s tweets Monday came just two days after the state recorded its largest daily increase in positive cases yet. Currently, mass gatherings at venues like arenas are prohibited as part of Cooper’s executive order because of the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. The RNC is set for Aug. 24 through Aug. 27 at the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Convention Center. Trump expressed his concern about spending millions of dollars without knowing if the state would allow them to fully occupy the space. “Plans are being made by thousands of enthusiastic Republicans and others to head to beautiful North Carolina in August,” Trump said. “They must be immediately given an answer by the governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied.” Trump said if he is not given an answer, he will find another location for the convention. “This is not something I want to do,” Trump said. “Thank you, and I love the people of North Carolina.” Cooper allowed the state to enter a second phase of gradual reopening Friday with some further loosening of restrictions on hair salons, barbers and restaurants. But he said the state must continue to closely watch virus trends and has ordered entertainment venues, gyms and bars to remain closed. On Monday, Cooper responded to Trump’s tweet, saying, “State health officials are working with the RNC and will review its plan as they make decisions about how to hold the convention in Charlotte. North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety.” Cooper warned on Tuesday that it is still too early to give the president the assurances he demanded about “whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied.” “Already, we’ve been in talks with the RNC about the kind of convention that they would need to run, and the kind of options that we need on the table. We’re talking about something that’s going to happen three months from now, and we don’t know what our situation is going to be regarding COVID-19 in North Carolina,” he said. On Monday, Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte released a joint statement, saying, “We are in constant communication with our local and federal counterparts to plan and prepare for a safe Republican National Convention (RNC). The City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and other local stakeholders will continue to plan for the RNC while respecting national and state guidance regarding the pandemic. We are working with stakeholders to develop guidelines for several large events planned for Charlotte in the coming months including the RNC and anticipate providing that guidance in June.” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted: “With the health and safety of our residents and visitors being the top priority, the city of Charlotte will continue to follow guidance from Governor Cooper and public health professionals in determining the best and safest way to host the Republican National Convention. While I’ve remained consistent in my statements regarding the RNC being held in Charlotte, the science and data will ultimately determine what we will collectively do for our city.” Meanwhile, two GOP governors on Tuesday offered up their states to host the Republican National Convention. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sent an open plea to Trump on Tuesday to consider his state as an alternate site. Kemp’s offer was followed by one from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The convention is expected to bring tens of thousands of visitors to the Charlotte area and millions of dollars to the local economy. In a letter that North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen sent to the RNC, she requested a written plan for how the convention plans to address COVID-19 safety protocols. The letter came in response to the president’s tweet Monday and confirmed that the RNC and state officials in North Carolina were in talks about convention planning as recent as Friday. “Jordan Whichard from Governor Cooper’s team shared with you the written protocols that NASCAR developed and then refined after discussions with our public health teams which allowed that event to occur in the Charlotte area this past weekend,” she wrote. “While the RNC convention is obviously a very different event with its unique challenges for COVID-19, we hoped it would help illustrate the type of plan that would facilitate further conversations. The status of COVID-19 infections in our state and in the Charlotte area continues to rapidly evolve, thus, it will be important to have several scenarios planned that can be deployed depending on the public health situation.' Cohen urged the RNC to consider “several scenarios” as they continue to move forward with planning, since the abrupt threat from Trump comes just after North Carolina saw its highest one-day spike in cases over the weekend since the onset of the pandemic. Cooper referenced the letter during Tuesday’s briefing, saying he aims to reach a resolution with the RNC about how to move forward with the event. “We’re going to have to take steps to protect people. We have asked the RNC to present to us in writing their proposals. We’ve had discussions with them about a very limited convention all the way up, and we want to see in writing what their plans are,” Cooper said. “We asked NASCAR to do the very same thing, and NASCAR did a good job this weekend of executing their plan,” he added. “We want to see from the RNC what their plans are, and we have asked them to submit those plans to our public health officials. They have someone hired to advise them as well. And we look forward to the back and forth on that. We’d like to reach a resolution that everybody can be reasonable about that puts public health, safety, the science and the facts as the number one thing we’re trying to do here. So we look forward to those continue conversations. Everyone wants to get back into action soon, but I think everyone knows that we have to take certain steps to make sure we’re protected.' After Cooper’s news conference, Trump said the governor needs to confirm within a week whether the GOP convention in Charlotte can go forward. “If he can’t do it, if he feels he can’t do it, all he has to do is tell us, and then we’ll have to pick another location,” Trump said of Cooper. “I don’t want to have it where we get there and they announce ... ‘Guess what? You can’t put anybody in the arena,’ or you can put a tiny number of people in.” Read more here. –Visit WSOCTV.com for the latest on this developing story.
  • The body of a missing 5-year-old boy has been recovered in Ohio, Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers confirmed Tuesday. According to WHIO-TV, Cameron Walters, who was reported missing from Mineral Springs Lake Resort in Peebles on Monday, was found dead in the water Tuesday, but authorities have not specified where. The boy went missing about 5:15 p.m. Monday, officials said. Groups of volunteers and water rescue crews returned to the campground Tuesday to continue the search for the missing boy, according to WCPO-TV. An Endangered Missing Child Advisory was issued for Walters late Tuesday morning, saying he was believed to be in danger. The Adams County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about the case to call their department at 937-544-2314. No further information was immediately available. – Visit WHIO.com for the latest on this developing story.
  • A hair salon in North Carolina is denying service to employees at a Tyson plant due to a coronavirus outbreak. SmartCuts posted a sign at their Wilkesboro location that read, in part, “Due to the number of Tyson employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, we are unable to serve Tyson employees.' The note was widely circulated on social media. Last week, 570 workers at that Tyson plant tested positive for the coronavirus. Some of the Tyson workers WSOC-TV spoke with were upset by the sign placed outside the SmartCuts, but others said they understand the owners’ decision. David Gentry, who has worked at Tyson for years, doesn’t agree with the ban. “Knock on the door, shoot them a bird and cuss them out,” he said. “That’s me.” The business is about two miles from the Tyson plant. The sign said the business would be “unable to serve Tyson employees until approximately June 8, once the recent COVID outbreak has been controlled.” The business has enacted several precautions to keep workers and customers safe, including mask-wearing, temperature checks and social distancing measures. “I think it’s a good thing because too many people are passing who’ve had this virus,” said one customer, Frances McManus. “That there is something this place has to deal with,” said another customer, James Spears. “Because if they come in with the disease, that’s bringing it into their business.” SmartCuts said it will give Tyson employees a $3 discount once they return to providing services to them. Bob Hartley owns SmartCuts and said he’s not only trying to protect his employees but his customers and the community. “If it is unethical in some way that’s still legal but unethical, we will stop it,” he said. “It’s just an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 on the Wilkesboro community and among our employee group.”
  • The line to get into That One Place stretched down the walkway outside the restaurant. There was no social distancing and virtually no one wore a facemask as they waited for their party to be called to an open table inside. “I’m excited, I’m looking forward to it,” said John Weiman. “It’s about time. It’s time to make a change.” His wife Michelle Weiman added, “I’m looking forward to it, very hungry. Glad he’s doing it.” The Port Orchard restaurant has been open for takeout service during the statewide coronavirus shutdown. But restaurant owner Craig Kenady said he was encouraged by his employees to open his business on Memorial Day to customers seated inside as a way of protesting, saying smaller counties such as Kitsap have fewer cases of COVID-19 and should be treated differently than larger counties such as King, Pierce and Snohomish. “I do think if we’re going to take it on a case-to-case basis then we need to actually look at our county based off of our numbers,' said Kenady. “We’re not in it to break laws, not in it to cause problems. We’re not doing this for politics. We’re doing this for freedom.” Staff in the restaurant wore masks and gloves as they serve patrons. Some tables were kept empty to keep customers further apart from each other. Kenady said his protest would last just one day, on Memorial Day before he goes back to takeout only. “We don’t discount the virus at all. We believe in it and we believe in the severity of it. But we also feel at the same time we can safely operate,” Kenady said.