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Published May 12, 2023 at 9:35 AM EDT

Lincolnton lands major manufacturing plant expansion

Posted June 1, 2023 at 2:07 PM EDT

Four hundred new jobs are headed to Lincolnton as a manufacturer expands there, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday. Bosch is investing $130 million to expand its power tools manufacturing facility, which makes saws, drills, routers and more.

The jobs will pay an average of $53,000 dollars, Cooper’s office said. Bosch will receive $2.7 million worth of incentives from the state, if it hits hiring targets.

“When pioneers like Bosch expand in North Carolina, it validates our position as the best place for business,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, in a statement. “As more companies invest in our state, it confirms the importance of the First in Talent Plan which prioritizes North Carolinians and their preparation for the highly skilled career opportunities made available by such innovative manufacturers.”

Former US education secretary will chair the board of North Carolina's Hunt Institute

Posted June 1, 2023 at 1:05 PM EDT

Former United States Education Secretary Arne Duncan will chair the board of the Triangle-based Hunt Institute, an education policy organization that’s affiliated with Duke University. Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt, the institute’s namesake, chaired the board for 20 years.

Duncan was President Obama’s education secretary from 2009 to 2015, the longest anyone has held that post.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez will serve as vice chair of the Hunt Institute, which announced its new officers Thursday.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board approves major shakeup for new superintendent's staff

Posted June 1, 2023 at 12:06 PM EDT

The Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board approved several new hires for Superintendent Crystal Hill’s executive staff yesterday.

  • Melissa Balknight is the new Deputy Superintendent. She’s been Associate Superintendent for Gaston County Schools.
  • Kecia Coln also comes from Gaston County to become the new Chief Human Resources Officer.
  • Kelly Kluttz is the new Chief Financial Officer after holding the same job with Rowan Cabarrus Community College.
  • The new chief of staff is Ingrid Medlock who comes from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
  • And Angela Wood joins CMS from Stanly County Schools as Associate Superintendent for Human Resources.

14-year-old charged in Charlotte homicide

Posted May 31, 2023 at 1:35 PM EDT

A 14-year-old has been charged in the November 2022 shooting death of Quantarrius Sturdivant, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police announced.

Sturdivant, 21, was found shot on Rachel Street on Nov. 29. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital, where he died.

The teen charged in Sturdivant's death faces a murder charge, as well as a charge of robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The teen's name was not released by police because he is a minor.

Charlotte housing authority gets grant to expand low-income internet access

Posted May 31, 2023 at 1:31 PM EDT

Charlotte’s housing authority, Inlivian, has been awarded an Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program pilot grant from the Federal Communications Commission.

The grant is over $300,000 and will go toward providing broadband connectivity for low-income households. The grant is part of the “Your Home Your Internet” program, which was created to raise awareness for those receiving federal housing assistance.

The agency will partner with the Center for Digital Equity at Queens University of Charlotte and EducationSuperHighway to provide internet service.

"Closing the digital divide for low-income families is of utmost importance. In today's increasingly digital world, access to reliable internet connection and technology is crucial for education, job opportunities, information access, and social inclusion,” said Inlivian CEO Fulton Meachem. “It is virtually impossible to achieve any level of success without access to the internet. ... This grant will allow us, with our partners, to unlock countless opportunities and break the devastating cycle of poverty.”

CMPD investigating four fatal crashes during Memorial Day weekend

Posted May 30, 2023 at 12:43 PM EDT

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating four fatal crashes during the rainy, extended Memorial Day weekend.

  • On Friday, officers responded to a call at around 9:38 pm at the 8500 block of East Independence Boulevard. When officers arrived, they found 43-year old Kristine Ann Sikorski lying in the road. She was pronounced dead by Medic. She was struck by a 2017 Dodge Caravan that police said was driven by James Lamar Yarbrough. According to the initial investigation, Sikorski was walking westbound in the eastbound lanes of East Independence Boulevard wearing dark colored clothing. There are no crosswalks in the area where she was hit. Yarbrough was not impaired according to officers, and the investigation continues.
  • Sunday, officers responded at around 2:43 a.m. to the 6800 block of Carmel Road and found a 2011 Honda Accord that ran off the roadway. The car struck a light pole and a tree. When paramedics arrived, they pronounced the driver 21-year old Kevin Asael Mendoza dead.  Officers determined in the investigation that the Honda was driving southwest on Carmel Road, and the driver lost control and drove off the side of the road.
  • On Monday around 9:33 pm, officers responded to the 3900 block of Sunset Road for a vehicle crash. When officers arrived they found a Honda Accord and a Dodge Ram in the road both with front end damage. The Charlotte Fire Department and paramedics also responded to the scene. Medic pronounced the driver of the Honda, 33-year old Kiera Johnson dead at the scene. The driver and passenger were taken to Atrium Health Main with non-life threatening injuries. According to the investigation, the Honda was driving southeast on Sunset Road, crossed the center lines and collided head on with the Dodge. The driver of the Dodge, 28-year old Donta Antonio McNeal, was found not to be impaired. Detectives said impairment is suspected for Johnson.
  • On Tuesday at around 12 am, CMPD officers responded to a call about a fatal vehicle crash at the 1700 block of Tyvola Road near the Closeburn-Glenkirk neighborhood. CMPD closed the road between Londonberry Road and Flagstaff Drive. CMPD has not released any information about the crash as of midday Tuesday.

Atrium breaking ground on Lake Norman hospital

Posted May 30, 2023 at 12:21 PM EDT

Atrium Health plans to break ground Wednesday on a new hospital in the Lake Norman area.

Located on Statesville Road in Cornelius, the 170,000-square-foot hospital will include 30 beds, maternity suites, an Intensive Care Unit with four beds, a 24/7 emergency department and a helipad for air ambulances.

The hospital will open in 2025.

Prominent Democratic political strategist dies in boating accident

Posted May 30, 2023 at 11:55 AM EDT

Conen Morgan, a political strategist and former president of the Young Democrats of North Carolina, was killed Sunday in a boating accident.

The incident happened off the North Carolina coast. Authorities did not officially name Morgan, but he was reportedly thrown into the ocean after the boat he was on hit a wave. Two other people thrown overboard survived.

Democratic State Rep. Zack Hawkins of Durham told the (Raleigh) News and Observer that Morgan's death was "a complete loss for the state of North Carolina."

Fellow Democrats Gov. Roy Cooper, Rep. Robert Reives and Attorney General Josh Stein also paid tribute to Morgan on social media.

Morgan was 42.

Shots fired at CMPD detectives serving arrest warrant in Gastonia

Posted May 28, 2023 at 12:05 PM EDT

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested a suspect accused of shooting at detectives who were serving an arrest warrant in Gastonia on Sunday, then leading detectives on a car chase.

In a news release, police said detectives with CMPD's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team were serving an arrest warrant around 7 a.m. Sunday for a homicide suspect in the 500 block of North Falls Street in Gastonia.

When detectives arrived, police said someone in a nearby vehicle began shooting at the CMPD vehicle, as well as at a nearby home as a CMPD detective ran for cover.

Police said the vehicle with the shooter sped off, and led detectives on a car chase. Officers were ultimately able to arrest the suspected shooter.

The news release said officers fired their service weapons during the encounter, but did not provide additional details. Police also did not immediately identify the suspect, or provide additional details about the car chase and how detectives made the arrest.

Police said no injuries were reported, and that the Gastonia Police Department would lead the investigation into the incident.

NASCAR postpones Xfinity race, cancels Coca-Cola 600 qualifying due to rain

Posted May 28, 2023 at 11:36 AM EDT

NASCAR officials postponed Saturday's Xfinity race, as well as practice and qualifying for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 race amid persistent rain in the area surrounding Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.

The Xfinity race had already been moved up from 1 p.m. to noon in an effort to beat the rain, but said in a news release that heavy rain forced the postponement.

NASCAR officials said the Xfinity race would instead be held on Monday, Memorial Day, at 12 p.m.

With qualifying canceled for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, the starting lineup will be set per the rule book, the news release said.

Meantime, heavy rain was also forecast throughout the day Sunday, raising the possibility of another delay or postponement of the Coca-Cola 600 race, which NASCAR officials had said was sellout.

Large fight causes Carolina Place Mall to briefly go on lockdown

Posted May 28, 2023 at 9:16 AM EDT

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say a large fight broke out Saturday at Carolina Place Mall, causing the mall to briefly go on lockdown.

Police said they were called to the mall around 6 p.m. on what later turned out to be a false report of someone firing a weapon. Police said a preliminary report found no evidence of a shooting and no weapon was recovered.

The lockdown was lifted by 7 p.m. Police did not report any injuries.

Gunfire at police outside east Charlotte house party

Posted May 27, 2023 at 11:40 AM EDT

Police in Charlotte are searching for a person who fired a gun at officers early Saturday morning near a home in Eastway. No officers were injured.

In a series of tweets, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said officers were called to a home on Arnold Drive off Eastway Drive at 2:10 a.m. Saturday on a report of an assault with a deadly weapon. The caller told police there was a large party underway and that several people had weapons.

When officers arrived, police said someone in a stopped vehicle began shooting at them. Officers returned fire, and the driver sped away.

Police are searching for a four-door, silver sedan with a sun roof. It's unclear if anyone in the car was injured. Police said no injuries were reported.

Sweepy McSweepface wins online poll to name Charlotte's new bike lane sweeper

Posted May 27, 2023 at 11:29 AM EDT

Charlotte voters have selected a name for the city’s new bike lane sweeper.

By an online vote, residents chose Sweepy McSweepface as their favorite moniker for the bike lane sweeper. Other finalists included Clearopathra and Sweep Caroline.

The online poll seemed to get a boost from Reddit users, who shared the poll online. The bike lane sweeper will clear debris out of Charlotte’s bike lanes, which are too narrow for the regular street sweepers to clean.

The new name was announced on Thursday at a Bike Charlotte Event at the Innovation Barn on Seigle Avenue, according to the Charlotte Department of Transportation. City staff said they received more than 450 name suggestions total for the sweeper.

Home sales slowed in Charlotte last month

Posted May 26, 2023 at 2:54 PM EDT

The number of home sold plunged in Charlotte last month, as buyers continued to wrestle with high prices, higher interest rates and limited supply. Canopy, the Charlotte regional Realtor association, said the number of homes sold in April fell almost 22% compared to the same month last year.

Prices also fell for the third straight month, dropping 1.1% from last year. But prices still remain much higher than they were pre-pandemic. The median home in the Charlotte region sold for $375,900 in April. And the average price — which disproportionately reflects higher-priced homes — rose 2.6% compared to the prior year, to $460,498.

And the average length of time homes stay on the market before selling also rose, from just over two months (69 days) to almost three months (89 days).

Tiffany Johannes, president of the Realtor association, cautioned that it’s still a seller’s market. But the trend of slowing sales and rising supply should help buyers find a place they can afford — eventually.

"National economic trends along with tight supply and fluctuating mortgage rates have frustrated both buyers and sellers this spring,” said Johnannes. "Our housing market, however, is still experiencing steady activity, just not at the pace of previous years. Fortunately, home prices continue to moderate and inventory is slowly increasing, which will be beneficial to buyers long-term."

The number of homes for sale is slowly increasing from the historic lows of the past few years. The number of homes for sale increased 27.7% in April compared to the same month a year ago. Still, Johannes cautioned that the increase in supply appears to be stalling, with the number of new listings down and inventory stuck at the same level month-over-month.

Another key metric shows the housing market is easing for buyers — slightly. On average, sellers received 102.8% of their asking price in April 2022, meaning buyers were paying more than the list price. That's an indication of buyers competing to outbid one another. That fell to 97.5% of asking price last month, meaning buyers were on average getting a slight discount.

Judge blocks SC's new 'fetal heartbeat' abortion law

Posted May 26, 2023 at 12:20 PM EDT

A judge has put a temporary halt to South Carolina’s new law banning most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy until the state Supreme Court can review the measure. The ruling Friday by Judge Clifton Newman came just about 24 hours after Gov. Henry McMaster signed the bill. The decision means South Carolina reverts back to a ban around 20 weeks. The new law is similar to a ban on abortion once cardiac activity can be detected that lawmakers passed in 2021. Legislative leaders say the new law makes technical tweaks that should sway at least one justice to change his mind. Planned Parenthood says the differences shouldn't change the original ruling.

Gastonia Police Department investigates shooting that left Charlotte man dead

Posted May 26, 2023 at 11:46 AM EDT

The Gastonia Police Department is investigating a shooting in the Erskine Woods neighborhood that left a Charlotte man dead.

Around 10:45 pm on Thursday, officers responded to a call for a report of a shooting at the 2900 block of Crescent Lane in Gastonia. The caller told the dispatcher a man was attempting to break into a home and another person fired shots. When officers arrived, they found 50-year old Frankie Carl Jones near the front door of the house with a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

According to investigators, Jones arrived at the house with a handgun and confronted the male that lived in the home. The man then shot Jones. His name was not released. No charges have been filed, but the incident is still under investigation.

Monroe Police have identified suspects in a bomb threat at Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport

Posted May 25, 2023 at 2:37 PM EDT

Monroe Police have identified suspects they say were responsible for calling in a bomb threat at Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport on Wednesday afternoon. Officers received a call saying that explosives were located at the airport, resulting in the closure of the airport and suspension of flights.

Two juveniles in Harnett County are suspected. Officers have not released the names of the two suspects due to their ages.

Former NC Governor Pat McCory doesn't plan to run for office again

Posted May 25, 2023 at 12:17 PM EDT

Former Charlotte mayor and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory says he doesn’t plan to seek office again. But he’s not out of politics: McCrory is working with No Labels, a group that’s pushing for a third-party, unity candidate. McCrory spoke about the group’s goals, and concerns they could act as a spoiler, today on Charlotte Talks.

"Although I never plan to run for office again. You know, I'm getting people who are saying, oh, you're gonna guarantee you're putting Biden in office by doing this," said McCrory.

"You're gonna hurt Trump and put Biden in and he and Doctor Chavis is doing the same thing.  So we're taking the, we're, we're willing to take the political hits to change the status quo or at least put pressure on the two parties to solve the problems that they're not wanting to solve."

You can listen to the entire interview on the Charlotte Talks page.

S.C. governor signs fetal heartbeat abortion law; challenge comes immediately

Posted May 25, 2023 at 11:37 AM EDT

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed a new law this morning that restricts abortions after fetal heart activity is detected, generally around six weeks of pregnancy. The law allows "exceptions for the life or health of the mother, medical emergencies, fatal fetal anomalies, and, up to twelve weeks of pregnancy, in cases of rape or incest." The law goes into effect immediately.

South Carolina is the latest state to pass tighter abortion rules, though abortion rights groups swiftly filed a lawsuit to challenge the measure. A hearing is set for Friday morning in the case.

South Carolina’s previous attempt to pass a six-week abortion ban was struck down by the state’s Supreme Court, which said it violated the state constitution’s right to privacy.

In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled legislature last week overturned Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill restricting abortions after 12 weeks. That law comes into effect July 1.

Two NC Republican reps resign from leadership posts after controversial comments

Posted May 25, 2023 at 11:09 AM EDT

Two Republican lawmakers have resigned from their leadership positions in the state House of Representatives days after each made controversial statements targeting Democratic lawmakers during floor debates.

WRAL reports that during a brief announcement on the House floor this morning, Rep. John Bell, the GOP majority leader, said Reps. Jeffrey McNeely of Iredell County and Keith Kidwell from eastern North Carolina resigned from their positions within GOP leadership. They have not resigned from the legislature.

During debate over the state's new abortion restrictions last week, Kidwell had remarked that Rep. Diamond Staton-Williams of Cabarrus County. who spoke about getting an abortion, had perhaps been raised in the Church of Satan.

In a separate debate over school vouchers, McNeely had questioned whether a Black lawmaker would have gotten into Harvard had he not been a minority and an athlete.

Student 'prank' causes thousands of dollars in damage at Mallard Creek High School: police

Posted May 24, 2023 at 11:38 AM EDT

Dozens of students are facing serious consequences, including criminal charges, after a "senior prank" at Mallard Creek High School, police said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers went to the high school Monday night at about 9 p.m. after custodial staff said they saw a large number of students in the hallways, throwing balloons and marking walls.

The initial investigation found there were over 50 students in the school.

According to Sgt. J.D Williams, students entered an empty classroom during school hours and unlocked the first-floor window. Students then returned after 7 p.m. and entered through the unlocked window, where they remained until about 9 p.m.

Williams said the students threw bleach and cleaning materials in the building, causing discoloration, and caused thousands of dollars in damage overall.

Over 30 students have been identified and could face consequences from both CMS and law enforcement.

Williams.said the charges students face range from misdemeanor breaking and entering, damage to property and vandalism.

Some of the students are seniors and could potentially be banned from participating in graduation ceremonies.

“This foolish prank could not only result in some of these kids not being allowed to participate in a milestone moment in graduating with their peers, but colleges and employers can pull these records and it could end up preventing them from future opportunities,” Williams said.

Some are under 18, which would classify them for a juvenile arrest. They would be charged and released to their parents.

Students 18 and up could be charged as adults.

Belmont Police looking for missing 12-year-old girl from Belmont

Posted May 23, 2023 at 4:31 PM EDT

The Belmont Police Department is looking for help to find a missing girl who detectives believe may be in Charlotte.

Investigators are looking for 12-year-old Leydi Cardona, who was last seen at her home in Belmont on Apr. 22. She’s 5’6", 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

If anyone has seen her or has any information, contact the Belmont Police Department at 704-866-3300.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Charlotte business owner found guilty for international transportation of stolen electronics

Posted May 23, 2023 at 3:33 PM EDT

A Charlotte business owner has been found guilty of conspiracy, international transportation of stolen goods and money laundering for selling stolen iPhones and other electronic devices to overseas buyers, federal prosecutors say.

Rami Mahmod Mhana, 46, is the owner of Wireless City Fashions and Protocol Business Group in the Thomasboro-Hoskins neighborhood and multiple Boost mobile stores throughout Charlotte.

According to prosecutors, from May 2017 to October 2019 Mahan bought thousands of stole iPhones. The phones were then shipped to the United Arab Emirates and to Hong Kong.

Mhana then acquired devices from local “boosters” who would steal the products and then sell them for a profit. The location on Bradford drive was the main location where boosters would sell the devices for cash.

Prosecutors also found Mhana gave his employees a list of prices to show how much they would pay for specific iPhone models and various electronic devices. During the time, he made more than $4.5 million through international wire transfers from buyers in Dubai and Hong Kong.

After pleading guilty in federal court, he was released with electronic monitoring. Mhana could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy charges and up to 10 years in prison, plus an additional $250,000 fine for each count of international possession of stolen goods. He could also face a maximum of 20 years in prison for his money laundering conviction, according to prosecutors.

Buckle up: More than 3 hours of public comments expected on CMS boundary plan

Posted May 23, 2023 at 11:12 AM EDT

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board is expecting more than 100 people to turn out for a public hearing Tuesday night on changing school boundaries in the southern part of the county. At two minutes for each speaker, that would be about 3 1/2 hours, or longer than the runtime of the movie "Titanic." Superintendent Crystal Hill’s plan would adjust boundaries and feeder patterns at a total of 27 elementary, middle and high schools.

The changes take effect when a new high school opens in 2024 and a new middle school the following year.

Many of the speakers plan to protest recent changes to the plan, which has been going through revisions for more than a year. In a news conference Friday after she was named superintendent, Hill said the concern is not necessarily a bad thing.

"My message would be that any  time that parents are upset that their children are going to be moved to a different school, that signals to me a great sign of support for their school and support for their school community," said Hill.

Hill said she has made her decision, but the school board will continue to take comments before voting on June 6.

"The board, myself, we will all continue to collect feedback and at that point the board will make a decision on if they will keep that recommendation or if they will make adjustments to it," said Hill.

Sign-ups remain open through 5:45 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting starts at 6 pm.

Charlotte City Council hears they need to move fast to snag tennis tournament

Posted May 23, 2023 at 9:31 AM EDT

Charlotte City Council heard Monday night that it needs to move quickly to land a prestigious tournament and a $400 million tennis complex in the new River District west of the airport — and that it could cost the city $60 to $70 million.

Economic Development Director Tracy Dodson said that money would come from the city’s tourism and hospitality funds, paid for by taxes on local hotel rooms and prepared food and drinks. She said Beemok Capital, based in Charleston, is trying to decide now on whether to relocate the Western and Southern tennis tournament from Cincinnati. If Charlotte doesn't show that it's willing to pay up soon, Dodson warned the tournament will move on to other locations, or focus on staying put.

"If they don’t get that indication that there’s support, soon, then they need to focus on Cincinnati," said Dodson.

A Beemok official said the group is also considering other cities, but didn’t say which. Beemok has estimated moving the tournament to Charlotte would generate $275 million in economic impact.

The tournament is considered one of professional tennis’ most prestigious — in a tier below the Grand Slam tournaments that include Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Beemok wants public money for one third of the total cost. That would be roughly $130 million, including money from the city, county and state. The complex would have as many as 40 courts that could be used for tennis and pickleball. There would be some stadium-sized courts for the tournament.

12-year-old charged with armed robbery in Steele Creek area

Posted May 22, 2023 at 3:18 PM EDT

A 12-year-old has been charged with armed robbery after using a BB gun to steal a cellphone in southwest Charlotte this weekend, police say. The boy’s sibling, 6, was also with him.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Jason Helton, who oversees the Steele Creek division, said a woman was outside an apartment building near South Tryon Street and Interstate 485 about 8 a.m. Sunday when the two children asked her to use her phone to call their mother. When they ran off with the phone and she chased them, the older boy turned and pointed the BB gun at her, he said.

Helton said it’s fortunate that no one was hurt, and that the 6-year-old will not be charged with a crime.

"We have to look at that 6-year-old as a victim. He's a victim of his circumstances and environment ... We can't charge a 6-year-old in the state of North Carolina," Helton said. "They have to be 9. We can't because there's no way we could prove an intent that a 6-year-old — their brains are just so, so naive."

Helton called on parents to keep track of what their kids are doing, especially on social media, where he said the 12-year-old had previously posed with the BB gun.

Gov. Cooper declares 'state of emergency' to up pressure for public education funds

Posted May 22, 2023 at 11:28 AM EDT

Gov. Roy Cooper says North Carolina's public education system is in a state of emergency. On Monday, he announced a campaign to increase funding for public schools. During a special address, he called on the General Assembly to stop cutting taxes and instead invest more in public schools.

"It's clear that the Republican legislature is aiming to choke the life out of public education. It's time to take immediate action, and tell them to stop the damage that will set back our schools for a generation," he said.

The General Assembly has proposed an increase in funding for private school vouchers. These would allow families to use tax funds for private schools. Cooper says this would put public schools on a ruinous path. The state also faces a shortage of 5,000 teachers.

A voucher bill that would let all North Carolina families get public money to cover private school tuition moved a step closer to reality Wednesday.

CMPD investigating a death in Montclaire South

Posted May 22, 2023 at 10:51 AM EDT

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police department is investigating a death in the Montclaire South neighborhood.

On Saturday, officers went around 1 pm for a call to check on someone found at the 6660 block of Dupont Drive. When officers arrived they found the remains of a man near the woods at a home. According to the initial investigation, he had been there for an extended amount of time. CMPD did not name the person.

Anyone with information is asked to call crime stoppers at 704-334-1600

Charlotte City Council will vote on affordable housing, light rail study this week

Posted May 21, 2023 at 12:30 PM EDT

The Charlotte City Council will take a vote Monday night on giving $1.7 million to an affordable housing development in east Charlotte.

Developers of the Sycamore Station Apartments have already received low-income housing tax credits and funding from the city and the state to help build 168 apartments off Milton Road near the Oak Forest neighborhood.

Developers say the apartments are nearly complete and half are already rented. They say the additional money will allow them to rent 35 units to very low-income renters making less than 30% of the area’s median income — or about $19,800 a year for an individual, or $22,600 a year for a couple.

The rest of the units are set aside for renters making less than 60% of the area’s median income — or about $39,600 for an individual or $45,240 for a couple.

The city council on Monday will also vote on funding a study that would look at how to keep residents and businesses from getting displaced if the city were to build a new light rail line from Matthews to uptown and the airport.

The city would pay the Community Building Initiative group $506,000 to perform the study.

The city has been drawing up plans for the new light rail line for years, and has included it in its proposed $13.5 billion transit plan. The city could ask residents to approve a one-cent sales tax increase to pay for the plan, though the city would first need permission from state lawmakers to put the tax increase on the ballot.

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker joins GOP race for NC governor

Posted May 21, 2023 at 12:12 PM EDT

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker has formally entered the race for North Carolina governor.

The Republican made his campaign announcement in Kernersville on Saturday saying he plans to form a diverse coalition to win the governor’s seat. Walker is a former Baptist pastor who rode the tea party wave to three terms in Congress.

Also running for governor on the Republican side are Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell. Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, is also running.

Walker previously ran for U.S. Senate in 2022 but was defeated in the Republican primary, finishing a distant third to the eventual winner in the general election, Sen. Ted Budd.

Primary elections for the N.C. governor's race will be held in March 2024. Current Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is barred by the state constitution from seeking a third term.

CMPD is investigating two homicides in Charlotte

Posted May 19, 2023 at 11:41 AM EDT

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police department is investigating two homicides over the past two days.

  • On Thursday, at around 5:45 pm officers responded to a call about an assault with a deadly weapon with injuries at the 7300 block of Larwill Lane. When officers arrived, they found 17-year old Raynard Milton Mahoney Jr suffering with a gunshot wound. He was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. CMPD has arrested and charged a suspect on weapons charges. CMPD did not name the suspect.
  • Friday morning, CMPD’s homicide unit is conducting an investigation in the JT Williams neighborhood. CMPD officers responded after 9:30 am to a call for a person down at the 2400 block of Julia Avenue. Officers found a victim with multiple gunshot wounds. Medic pronounced the person dead at the scene. CMPD has not released the name of the victim.

Both investigations are ongoing and anyone with information are asked to call crime stoppers at 704-334-1600

CATS bus driver, passenger, shoot each other

Posted May 18, 2023 at 7:18 PM EDT

A Charlotte Area Transit System bus driver and a passenger shot one another this morning on board a CATS bus after getting into an argument. Both were taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The shooting happened on the route 56 bus near the Charlotte Premium Outlet mall in Steele Creek.

CATS said it does not allow any employee to have a weapon on CATS property or while on duty. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they arrested a suspect, but didn't say if it was the driver or the passenger.

In recent months, CATS drivers have said they are worried about their safety and that the transit system hasn’t provided enough security.

Last year, a CATS bus driver was shot and killed by another driver during a road rage episode in uptown. Former CATS chief executive John Lewis said the driver, Ethan Rivera, had not followed policy and should have de-escalated the situation.

"CATS regrets this tragic accident. All employees' and riders' safety and well-being are a top priority and concern," the transit system said in a statement. "The passenger pulled a firearm on the operator, and the operator also pulled out a firearm. Both individuals shot at each other."

Concord Police officer who passed stop school bus suspended

Posted May 18, 2023 at 3:08 PM EDT

A Concord Police Department officer who drove around a stopped school bus while a student exited has been suspended without pay for five days, the department says.

Sergeant Matthew Willet was driving a marked Concord police car when he passed the bus — on the right, the side the student exited from — officials said. The bus had its stop sign out, officials say.

In a statement, Concord Police Chief Gary Gacek said Willett's actions were serious but didn't merit his termination.

"Matt accepted full responsibility for his mistake and deeply regrets what happened. The investigation showed that he was behind another car in traffic when he pulled into a turn lane to turn right into a neighborhood. He failed to see the flashing lights and was unaware the bus was stopped to let a child off. While we all make mistakes, police officers carry an extra responsibility to do everything they can to avoid them," Gacek said. "Some on social media have called for me to fire Matt over his mistake. This was a serious error and he is being held accountable for it, but I want to be clear: this simply doesn’t rise to the level of firing him."

Concord Police turned over evidence to the NC State Highway Patrol. Troopers cited Willett for passing a stopped school bus, a misdemeanor.

CMS board to meet Friday to approve contract with new superintendent

Posted May 17, 2023 at 11:01 PM EDT

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board is set to meet Friday at noon to approve a contract with the system's new superintendent, according to a meeting notice posted late Wednesday.

The board has been interviewing candidates and narrowed down the search to four finalists, and then to a final choice. On Monday, they met to review "opposition research" and see if that prospective new superintendent had any skeletons in their closet.

After that meeting, Summer Nunn, the chair of the search committee said Tuesday that they still were not ready to make a final decision.

But they seem to be ready now. At Friday's meeting, the board will go into closed session and then "Recommend Approval of Superintendent Contract," according to the agenda. The names of the finalists have been closely guarded, and the board will not release the names of those candidates who aren't chosen.

Unlike in some previous searches, finalists haven't met with the community or spoken publicly. The search firm hired by CMS said that confidentiality would ensure the best talent pool.

CMS leaders are hoping the new superintendent will bring stable leadership to a district that has had four superintendents and two interims in the past decade.

Charlotte Hornets get second pick in NBA Draft

Posted May 17, 2023 at 6:58 AM EDT

The Charlotte Hornets will have the second overall pick in next month’s NBA Draft.

In Tuesday night’s draft lottery among the teams with the worst records from last season, the Hornets narrowly missed a chance to get the top pick. The San Antonio Spurs got it and are expected to take 7-foot, 2-inch French phenom Victor Wembanyama, who is 19.

Most draft analysts believe Charlotte will decide between G-league guard Scoot Henderson or Alabama freshman forward Brandon Miller.

The draft is scheduled for June 22.

Storms knock out power, close four schools in Gaston County

Posted May 17, 2023 at 6:14 AM EDT

Duke Energy shows about 10,000 customers without power in the western part of the state Wednesday morning after storms last night downed power lines and caused other damage in the region, particularly west of Charlotte.

About 1,000 customers are without power in Cherryville, and four Gaston County Schools — Cherryville Elementary, Beam Intermediate, Chavis Middle and Cherryville High School — are closed Wednesday after losing power, according to the district.

Gaston County Schools also said that all after-school activities are canceled.

In Mecklenburg County, Duke Energy shows about 3,000 customers without power this morning. About a third of those are in north Charlotte, in an area bounded by Harris Boulevard, Mallard Creek Road and West Sugar Creek Road.

Ridge Road Middle School in University City currently on lockdown

Posted May 16, 2023 at 2:29 PM EDT

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police says Ridge Road Middle School is currently on lockdown in University City.

According to CMPD, school resource officers found two vehicles driving in a reckless manner in the school’s parking lot. Both later crashed into a tree and the suspects got out of their cars and left the area. One juvenile was taken into custody.

CMPD officers are in the area looking for the second suspect. This is a developing story and we’ll have more later.

Mecklenburg County plans for $73 million in opioid settlement money

Posted May 16, 2023 at 12:07 PM EDT

Mecklenburg County will receive almost $73 million over the next 18 years to help with the opioid crisis, part of a nationwide settlement with opioid distributors. County manager Dena Diorio plans to present plans for that money at Tuesday night's commission meeting.

Plans for the initial allocation include:

  • $2.25 million for early intervention with opioid users
  • $2.25 million for medication-assisted treatment programs
  • $3 million for recovery housing
  • $210,000 for clean needle distribution
  • $330,000 to distribute Narcan, the drug that can reverse overdoses and save lives
  • $2 million for addiction treatment and recovery management programs

Overdose deaths have exploded in Mecklenburg over the past two decades. In 2021, 237 people in the county died of drug overdoses. That’s compared to 31 deaths in 2001.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board isn't ready to hire a new superintendent yet

Posted May 16, 2023 at 11:36 AM EDT

After the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board spent last night reviewing “opposition research” on one finalist for superintendent, the chair of the search committee said Tuesday that they’re still not ready to make a final decision.

Board member Summer Nunn said the board “continues to work through their due diligence in all aspects of selecting and hiring the superintendent.”

The plan calls for having a new superintendent in place this summer.

CMPD Officer arrested in Wrightsville Beach for domestic violence

Posted May 16, 2023 at 10:43 AM EDT

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer was arrested and charged with domestic violence.

The incident happened between Officer Nakeya Nelson and another individual CMPD did not name. Nelson was arrested on Sunday by the Wrightsville Beach Police Department and was charged with assault and battery.

“Yesterday, one of our officers was arrested during a domestic violence situation in New Hanover County. The CMPD will continue to gather all the facts about this incident, and we will allow Internal Affairs to conduct a full investigation,” CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said in a statement.

Nelson has been with CMPD since 2014 will be placed on administrative leave until the internal investigation is completed.

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $1 billion to settle latest lawsuit

Posted May 16, 2023 at 10:21 AM EDT

Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $1 billion to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the bank of overstating how much progress it had made in fixing the unlawful practices that regulators said had hurt millions of customers.

The New York Times reports the agreement, detailed in court filings yesterday, is the latest in a succession of settlements and penalties the bank has paid stemming from a fraud scandal that came to light nearly a decade ago. From 2002 to 2016, bank employees, facing unrealistic sales goals imposed by their bosses, opened millions of accounts in customers’ names without their knowledge.

Cabarrus County proposes new budget with $60 million human services facility

Posted May 16, 2023 at 10:20 AM EDT

The newly proposed $340 million budget from Cabarrus County Manager Mike Downs maintains a property tax rate of 74 cents per $100 of valuation while adding a Detective Sergeant and two detectives for the town of Harrisburg, which the town will pay for. It also includes up to $60 million for a new human services facility in Concord. Cabarrus Commissioners have a public hearing on the plan set for June 5th.

You can find the manager's proposed budget here.

NC abortion bill veto override votes expected Tuesday

Posted May 15, 2023 at 4:21 PM EDT

A vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of North Carolina’s abortion bill is expected in the state Senate Tuesday afternoon.

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger says his chamber will take up the override in their 4 p.m. session.

Senate Bill 20 would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy and impose further requirements on women seeking the procedure. If the Senate overrides Cooper's veto, the bill will go to the House for a second and final vote. That could happen as soon as Tuesday night.

Republicans have the necessary supermajority to override Cooper's veto, but only if they all vote together. Cooper has been traveling the state to pressure at least one member into breaking ranks and upholding his veto.

Coming this evening: New plans for CMS south school boundaries

Posted May 15, 2023 at 2:42 PM EDT

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools plans to post the latest plans for southern school boundaries sometime after 5 p.m. today (find the information here) . The changes will accommodate a new high school opening in 2024 and a new middle school opening in 2025. The draft presented last month would bring changes to the attendance zones for four high schools, 10 middle schools and 14 elementary schools The newest version represents Interim Superintendent Crystal Hill’s recommendation to the board, which plans to vote on June 6.

This will be the 15th version of boundary plans since work began more than a year ago. Recent discussions have sparked tension between people who want an emphasis on socioeconomic diversity and those focusing on schools closest to home.

Rookie leads Charlotte FC to fourth straight win

Posted May 15, 2023 at 1:48 PM EDT

Rookie Brandon Cambridge subbed in and scored the first two goals of his Major League Soccer career to rally Charlotte FC to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire Wednesday night.

"You dream of that as of that moment as a kid and when it finally happened, you know, you're always practicing celebrations in your bathroom or your room," Cambridge said after the match. "But you know, when it happens, it all goes out the window. So, I just took it and it was amazing. But, you know, it's important to just keep going now."

Charlotte extended club records with its fourth straight win and its fifth victory in a row at home in all competitions.

"I think now that we're picking up wins, it's good for us to just keep our heads and like I said, just keep going forward," Cambridge said. "But, the biggest thing that boss preaches to us is just to have grit and that's what we do. You know, when things aren't going well, or not going our way, we just put our heads down and keep working and the results will come and right now they are coming. So hopefully we go Saturday and do that again."

Charlotte hosts Nashville SC Saturday night at 7:30.

Gov. Cooper launches new childcare apprenticeship program

Posted May 15, 2023 at 12:12 PM EDT

North Carolina has taken steps to expand opportunities for those entering the early childhood education workforce. Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday announced the Building Bright Futures (BBF) program, which is designed to support new pathways to a career in early childhood education and care.

The apprenticeship program is a result of a collaboration between the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and the state Division of Child Development and Early Education.

BBF allows high school and postsecondary students to earn credentials while getting hands-on experience in the early childhood education field.

One official praised the initiative for encouraging students to enter the early care field, giving parents the freedom to go back to work, and securing a productive future workforce. The announcement was made on Friday to coincide with Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.

Shooting in east Charlotte kills one

Posted May 15, 2023 at 12:01 PM EDT

Police are looking for a suspect after an overnight shooting in the North Tryon Division that left one person dead. CMPD says they investigated reports of shots being fired at about 1 a.m. Monday in the 2100 block of Milton Road. They found a man with gunshot wounds who was pronounced dead at Atrium Health Main.

The victim’s identity has not yet been released. Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a Homicide Unit detective.

Environmental group drops Outer Banks bridge fight

Posted May 15, 2023 at 11:59 AM EDT

An environmental group says it will not appeal a court ruling over plans to build a toll bridge on the Outer Banks.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge would connect US 158 with the town of Corolla. The NC Department of Transportation says it would alleviate summertime congestion, improve hurricane evacuations, and make it easier for visitors from northern states to reach the Outer Banks.

The Southern Environmental Law Center sued to stop the project. It argued the bridge would damage wildlife habitats and lead to increased development in a area that's vulnerable to rising seas. A federal appeals court ruled in favor of the state in February.

The SELC could ask the Supreme Court to review the decision. But a spokesperson for the group says it will not do so. NCDOT still needs to find funding for the $500 million project.

CMS board calls emergency meeting in superintendent search

Posted May 15, 2023 at 7:36 AM EDT

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Board has called an emergency meeting Monday night as it continues its search for a new superintendent. The board plans to go into closed session immediately after the meeting begins at 8:15 pm. CMS has tentatively planned to name a new superintendent at a public meeting this week.

Mecklenburg County paramedic dies from on duty medical emergency

Posted May 14, 2023 at 2:05 PM EDT

A Mecklenburg County paramedic has died from a medical emergency that officials say happened while the paramedic was working.

In a statement, the Mecklenburg EMS agency said Mark Hayes died on Saturday. He had been an employee at the agency since 1997.

"This tragic development has had a profound impact on Medic and its employees," said the agency's executive director, John Peterson, in the statement. "On behalf of Mark's co-workers, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this time of solace."

The agency did not disclose the nature of the medical emergency, but said fellow paramedics and members of the Charlotte Fire Department responded.

"It has been an honor to serve beside Mark and we stand with his family and friends in grief. Please keep everyone in your thoughts during this devastating time as we hope for peace and healing in the coming days. Our hearts also go out to those who, both with Medic and CFD, were called to respond to one of their own." the agency's statement said.

SC lawmakers return this week to revisit abortion, bond reform and gun penalties

Posted May 14, 2023 at 1:57 PM EDT

South Carolina lawmakers will reconvene in Columbia on Tuesday at the calling of South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.

In a statement, McMaster says lawmakers still have a host of issues that need to be addressed, including abortion, bond reform and stronger penalties for illegal gun possession. He also said lawmakers need to complete the state budget.

"The General Assembly has made progress on a few items this year, such as expanding school choice, repealing certificate of need, restructuring of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, passing a shield law, and approving a large incentive package for Scout Motors," McMaster's statement read, "but they have not finished their business."

South Carolina Republicans had been discussing a modified version of a six-week abortion ban titled the "Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act," but have so far been unable to reach an agreement. For now, the state’s 20-week ban remains in effect.

The governor's office says McMaster is the first governor since Jim Hodges to reconvene the General Assembly for a special session.

Councilman Winston urges more funding for public transit at town hall meeting

Posted May 14, 2023 at 1:55 PM EDT

Charlotte city councilman Braxton Winston says Charlotte needs to double down on getting more funding for public transit.

Winston made the comments to reporters after a town hall focused on mobility and transportation at the ImaginOn children's library in uptown Charlotte on Saturday.

"That is one of the preeminent needs I think in this community, and we haven’t figured out a way to fund those," Winston said. "I would really love to figure out a way to get up to Raleigh to get the needed revenue in order to keep people and things moving throughout our city."

The city of Charlotte is trying to build support for its $13.5 billion transit plan which would include a new light rail from Matthews to uptown and the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

The city council could ask state lawmakers in Raleigh for the authority to put a one-cent sales tax on the ballot to help fund the plan, though the city hasn’t yet formally proposed the idea to Raleigh, and Republican legislative leaders have said they’re skeptical.

Winston is planning to step down from city council when he term ends in December as he prepares to run for North Carolina Secretary of Labor in 2024.

Winston was also asked for his reaction to reports that the city council had been discussing in closed session whether to help pay for a major renovation to Bank of America Stadium. Winston said he believes it's important for the city to invest in major tourism draws.

"Part of our responsibility as city is to make this a place that people want to come live, work and play. I think we as a community want Charlotte to be a destination," Winston said. "I think our community, our city council, and our city government and our partners are committed to finding ways to invest in this city to grow our revenue, and to make this a destination."

Winston add that he believed there were other projects that could boost tourism as well, such as a $400 million proposed tennis complex near the Catawba River, which could include $130 million in public funding, as well as investments in the Charlotte-Douglas Airport.

Minor earthquake rumbles under Pineville

Updated May 12, 2023 at 9:52 AM EDT
Posted May 12, 2023 at 11:31 AM EDT

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported an early morning earthquake near Pineville.

According to the USGS, the 2.1 magnitude quake hit just before 6 a.m. seven-tenths of a mile north northwest of Pineville and 6.4 miles north northeast of Fort Mill. Typically, earthquakes below magnitude 2.5 aren’t felt at the surface and cause no damage.

Medic employee and two others face life-threatening injuries after overnight crash

Posted May 12, 2023 at 9:37 AM EDT

A serious overnight crash has North Tryon Street shut down at Mallard Creek Church Road and one Medic employee facing life-threatening injuries this morning.

Medic says it happened at about 12:30 am when an ambulance that was parked on the scene treating a patient involved in an unrelated incident was hit by another vehicle. One Medic employee was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Two other employees were also transported with injuries, one of them serious. All are currently in stable condition.

The initial patient that was being treated was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and another person in the vehicle that hit the ambulance was also transported with life-threatening injuries.

Longtime JCSU athletics director stepping down — but he's not leaving the school

Posted May 11, 2023 at 10:48 AM EDT

Johnson C. Smith athletics director Steve Joyner is stepping down to concentrate on his duties as men’s basketball coach.

JCSU says the 72-year-old Joyner will give up the position after 18 years as well as two previous stints in the job when his successor is announced. He will remain with the basketball program, where he has a 586-410 record.

He played as a point guard for the Golden Bulls from 1969-1973.

"The timing is right," Joyner said in a statement. "It will be good for the new president to hire new Athletics department leadership as the University's transformation initiatives accelerate with the new president's vision for JCSU."

UNC Charlotte selected for Mebane Foundation grant

Posted May 11, 2023 at 10:14 AM EDT

UNC Charlotte’s Cato College of Education has been chosen by the Mebane Foundation for a major grant to support innovative literacy education.

The school will receive $23 million over the next five years.

“The Mebane name will continue as a gold standard for teacher readiness, assuring Mr. Mebane’s vision is realized. Together, we will create a better future for North Carolina,” Chancellor Sharon Gaber said.

The grant will also help with funding to Cato College to supports teacher development, community partnerships and research.

The Mebane Foundation’s gift is one of the largest gifts received in school history and UNC Charlotte is the only public university in the state to receive the gift.

The College of Education building will be renamed to Mebane Hall later this yea

Lynx vehicle derails inside rail yard

Posted May 10, 2023 at 9:18 PM EDT

The Charlotte Area Transit System said a Lynx Blue Line train derailed Wednesday inside the rail yard off South Boulevard. No one was on board the train, and the driver wasn’t hurt.

CATS has been under scrutiny since a May 2022 Lynx derailment that highlighted the transit system’s lack of maintenance on its fleet. There were passengers aboard at the time but no one was hurt. The state criticized the transit system’s response to the accident, saying it was insufficient and not acceptable. It implemented a 35-mph speed limit on all trains for safety reasons.

In a notice to elected officials sent Wednesday afternoon, CATS did not use the word derailment. It instead said the train "left its natural position on the track."

Brent Cagle, CATS interim chief executive, said he was alerting them to the incident to be transparent. He said an investigation is underway.