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Published January 1, 2024 at 3:45 PM EST

Latest news headlines updated throughout the day by WFAE journalists.

Charlotte Hornets trade Gordon Hayward

Posted February 8, 2024 at 11:16 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets have traded veteran forward Gordon Hayward to the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to ESPN the Hornets will receive forward David Bertans and guard Tre Mann.

Hayward joined the Hornets with a sign and trade with the Boston Celtics in 2020. In his four years with the Hornets, Hayward played in 168 games and averaged 16.3 points per game.

The Hornets take on the the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at 8pm

Gastonia Honey Hunters to be replaced with a new baseball team

Posted February 7, 2024 at 3:33 PM EST

Today city leaders in Gastonia named their replacement baseball team that will play at Caromont Health Park this year. The new team will have the temporary name: the Gastonia Baseball Club. It will be owned by Zwayer Sports and Entertainment.

CEO Andy Kaufmann spoke at a press conference Wednesday and said the name will change after some input from locals.

"The reason we're just the Gastonia baseball club at the moment is because we want to get it right," he said. "At the end of the day we are not the ownership group of the Gastonia baseball team. It's you, it's Gastonia, it's the city, it's the community, it's your team. We're here to not mess it up. Right. And to make sure it's amazing."

Gastoinia continues legal battles with the Gastonia Honey Hunters, the team the city evicted from its stadium after unpaid debts.

Gaston County seeks help identifying body

Posted February 7, 2024 at 9:39 AM EST

Gaston County Police are asking for help in identifying the body of a man found along Highway 321 just north of Dallas on Tuesday. In a press release, police say the man was found on the northbound side of the highway near Ratchford Drive just after 4 pm. He’s estimated to be in his mid-50s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall with graying hair and a small mustache and goatee with a pre-existing injury to his lower left leg. Anyone with information is asked to call Gaston County Crime Stoppers at 704-861-8000.

Mecklenburg County gets the go-ahead to issue $2.5 billion in CMS bonds

Posted February 6, 2024 at 6:54 PM EST

The N.C. Local Government Commission voted Tuesday afternoon to approve Mecklenburg County issuing $2.5 billion worth of bonds for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools projects.

The Commission gives the final go-ahead for local governments to sell bonds. Mecklenburg voters approved the school bonds last year. It's the largest bond issue in state history.

CMS plans to use the bonds to fund 30 school facility renovation, expansion, and replacement projects.

In order to repay the bonds, Mecklenburg County will have to increase property taxes in the coming years.

Charlotte Hornets' losing streak rolls on

Posted February 6, 2024 at 7:46 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets losing streak moved to eight games Monday night after a 124-118 loss to the L.A. Lakers. Charlotte battled back from 21 points down in the second half but came up short despite a career-high 41 points from Miles Bridges, who’s been the subject of trade rumors for weeks. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday.

"Just worry about our next game," Bridges said after the game. "If you’re worried about outside noise, it’s going cloud our game, you know, and we're doing our best to, to, to get a win, you know, we're trying to be competitive and everybody's locked in, man. It's just like coach said, we're just kind of underhanded right now, but that's no excuse, you know, everybody's coming in, coming in ready to play. We're all NBA players so we've got to come and compete every night."

The Hornets will wrap up their homestand Wednesday night against Toronto. The team is 10-39.

Union County moves to ban fluoride in water

Posted February 6, 2024 at 7:41 AM EST

Union County commissioners are set to prohibit fluoride in the county’s water system.

WSOC-TV reports the move would only apply to water treatment plants and systems that Union County owns and operates, like the Yadkin River Water Treatment plant, which is expected to come online in the next few months. It would not apply to systems Union County doesn’t have complete control over, including the Catawba River Water Supply Project, which is used by two-thirds of county residents.

Despite the testimony of medical professionals, a group of concerned residents asked county commissioners to go against the science.

Since Monday night’s vote wasn’t unanimous, commissioners will have to vote again at the next meeting in two weeks.

CMS makes March 5 a teacher work day

Posted February 5, 2024 at 4:31 PM EST

Parents, get ready to find some child care next month: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board voted 8-1 Monday afternoon to make Tuesday, Mar. 5, a teacher work day so that students will not be in school while parents vote during the "Super Tuesday" primary election.

Charlotte City Council still tweaking new development rules about duplexes, triplexes

Posted February 5, 2024 at 1:34 PM EST

More than a year after Charlotte City Council approved development rules to allow duplexes and triplexes in single-family neighborhoods, some members continue to push for changes that would restrict where denser housing is built.

At a committee meeting Monday, council member Ed Driggs pointed out that the new rules were approved by only a one-vote majority in late 2022. But council member Malcolm Graham pushed back and said a close vote isn’t a reason to revisit an issue.

"[A vote of] 6-5 is 6-5. Whether you win by eight touchdowns or one, the game is won," he said.

Council member Renee Johnson said that’s a bad analogy for neighborhoods that are impacted. Along with several other council members, she has raised concerns about denser development speeding up gentrification and pushing people out of lower-income areas so developers can replace existing houses with duplexes and triplexes.

"This is not a football game. This impacts, you know, people’s lives, their biggest investment," she said.

Planning staff are expected to present revised rules about duplexes and triplexes in Charlotte in the coming months. Those rules would limit the size of new communities that can be constructed entirely of duplexes and triplexes.

Stein, DOJ reach settlement with bank over redlining allegations

Posted February 5, 2024 at 1:28 PM EST

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that they have reached a $13.5 million settlement with First National Bank of Pennsylvania for lending discrimination.

A lawsuit alleges the bank violated the Fair Housing and Equal Credit Opportunity Act, redlining Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in Charlotte and Winston-Salem.

During a press conference, Stein said the bank's action perpetuated inequality.

"When lenders discriminate, it means hard-working people can't buy a house, start a business or invest in their futures. People who are part of the fabric of the community are then unable to put down their roots. The playing field isn't level, and that is not what we want for the people of North Carolina," he said.

Stein also said FNB — which has an officer tower in uptown Charlotte — will provide $11.75 million in financial assistance of mortgage loans to Black and Hispanic residents in both Charlotte and Winston-Salem.

In a statement, FNB said the allegations stemmed from lending activity by Yadkin Bank, with which FNB merged in 2017. Company officials said the bank settled the allegations to avoid a drawn-out trial.

“We firmly assert First National Bank’s compliance with fair lending laws and strongly disagree with the DOJ’s allegations. We cooperated fully to reach an agreement in this inherited matter as a good faith effort to avoid prolonged litigation and to maintain our focus on promoting equity and economic prosperity,” said Jennifer Reel, chief communications officer for First National Bank.

Robinson, Stein hold leads in governor primary races

Posted February 5, 2024 at 12:21 PM EST

Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein hold large leads one month before the party primaries for North Carolina governor. That’s according to a new Meredith College poll. But neither has majority support yet.

More than third, 34%, of likely Republican primary voters say they will support Robinson, with 9% backing Salisbury attorney Bill Graham and 4% backing state treasurer Dale Folwell. More than half of those polled say they are undecided or want someone else.

On the Democratic side, Stein has a similar lead: 31% of likely voters support him, with only 4% backing former state Supreme Court justice Michael Morgan.

The North Carolina primary is March 5, on Super Tuesday.

Election officials start training for 2024 contests

Posted February 5, 2024 at 8:14 AM EST

The State Board of Elections is hosting a statewide training conference on Monday in Concord. County election officials will start a two-day session at 8:30 a.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel on Bruton Smith Boulevard.

Election officials are preparing for upcoming primary and general elections in North Carolina in the wake of changing district lines and new rules for polling places, including requiring photo ID.

Hornets lose 7th straight game

Posted February 5, 2024 at 8:13 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets losing streak now stands at seven games after falling at home Sunday, 115-99, to the Indiana Pacers.

Rookie Brandon Miller led Charlotte with 35 points. Coach Steve Clifford said after the game that he’s trying to get the players to stick to their principles for the last couple of months of the season.

"I've told them this — in life, it can't be about you. You know, this is a team sport and what I have to think about more right now, although you should do this as a coach all the time, is them because you guys don't see how disappointed a Miles Bridges is a Brandon Miller is how upset Cody Miller, a Cody Martin when they lose.

"You guys don't see that. But I do and you know, the guys that it really hurts and some guys not as much," Clifford said.

The Hornets are back home Monday hosting the L.A. Lakers. Tip off is at 7 p.m.

LeBron James is questionable for the game with an injury.

Man killed in northwest Charlotte

Posted February 5, 2024 at 8:11 AM EST

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police are investigating a deadly overnight shooting late Sunday in northwest Charlotte. Police say they were called to Odum Avenue – that’s between the Brookshire Freeway and I-85 – for assault with a deadly weapon. They found one man on the scene dead with a gunshot wound, CMPD didn’t say they have made an arrest but in a press release they say they’re not looking for additional suspects. The victim’s identity has not been released as of Monday morning.

SC Senate passes open-carry bill

Posted February 2, 2024 at 7:22 AM EST

The South Carolina State Senate passed a bill yesterday to allow adults to carry loaded guns without training or a permit yesterday in a 28-15 vote with support from only one Democrat. The bill, known as constitutional carry, passed despite opposition from police chiefs in the state.

WIS-TV reports that under an existing state law enacted in 2021, people who want to openly carry handguns in South Carolina have to complete training and obtain a concealed weapons permit. The new bill would do away with those requirements.

The bill now goes back to the South Carolina House of Representatives and may require a conference committee before it goes to the governor, who has said he would sign it.

Suspect arrested in Charlotte triple shooting

Posted February 1, 2024 at 8:06 PM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police made an arrest in a recent triple shooting. Yesterday, CMPD’s Violent Crime Apprehension Team arrested 20-year old German Pacheco. He’s charged with murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to kill or inflict serious injury.

On Jan. 26, CMPD responded to Lake Mist drive and found three people suffering from gunshot wounds. On Monday, 21-year old Yara Velasquez-Escobar was pronounced dead at the hospital.

UNC-Greensboro program cuts finalized

Posted February 1, 2024 at 8:05 PM EST

University of North Carolina at Greensboro Chancellor Franklin Gilliam has announced his final decision regarding program cuts at the school. The move comes following a roughly year-long academic portfolio review.

Although UNCG is on solid financial footing with strong ratings from S&P and Moody’s, administrators there cited declining enrollment numbers as one reason for the review process which began in 2022. In his email to Spartan faculty, students and staff, Gilliam thanked them for their commitment to the school before laying out the list of programs to be discontinued.

In all, 20 undergraduate majors, minors, and graduate programs will no longer be accepting new students as they enter what is expected to be a lengthy wind-down period to allow current students in the affected programs to complete their chosen studies. Majors to be cut include Anthropology, Physics and Religious Studies, and staff impacted includes both non-tenured and tenured faculty.

False active shooter threat at UNC Charlotte

Posted February 1, 2024 at 1:38 PM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said there was a false active shooter threat on the UNC Charlotte campus Thursday morning. There was a building evacuation and students and staff are safe. The UNC Charlotte Emergency management system has given the all clear but additional police will remain in the area.

Jeff Jackson holds slight fundraising edge over Dan Bishop, but has a primary

Posted February 1, 2024 at 7:54 AM EST

In the race for North Carolina Attorney General, Charlotte Democratic Congressman Jeff Jackson raised a little more than $2 million after entering the race in October. He started the year with $1.8 million to spend.

On the Republican side, Congressman Dan Bishop raised $1.4 million since launching his campaign in August and has $1.3 million cash on hand.

Bishop doesn’t have a primary opponent. Jackson has two.

Charlotte Hornets lose fifth straight game

Posted February 1, 2024 at 7:32 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets lost for the fifth straight time Wednesday night, falling 117-110 to the Chicago Bulls. Miles Bridges led Charlotte with 30 points and 15 rebounds but said former North Carolina guard Coby White, who scored 35 points was a huge factor along with Chicago center Nikol Vucevic.

"Yeah, I mean we couldn't stop Coby White. Coby White and Voosh had a good two-man connection going, couldn't stop Coby in the clutch. We get like three stops on Coby, we win the game," Bridges said after the game.

PJ Washington added 26 points for the Hornets. Charlotte visits the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

Crime and violence in NC schools hit a 10-year high last year, report shows

Posted January 31, 2024 at 2:07 PM EST

The number of criminal and violent acts in North Carolina’s public schools hit a 10-year high in the school year that ended in June, according to a report presented to the state Board of Education Wednesday.

More than 13,000 incidents were reported statewide last school year, about 2,000 more than the year before that. Karen Fairley, director of North Carolina’s Center for Safer Schools, told the board the increase is not just because there were more students. The rate per 1,000 students rose from 7.51 in 2022 to 8.77 in 2023.

"We recognize that what goes on in our communities comes into our schools, and vice versa," she said.

The state tracks incidents such as possession of drugs, alcohol and weapons and assaults on staff and students on school grounds. Numbers plunged when students learned from home during the pandemic. The report shows that the latest numbers and rates are higher than pre–pandemic levels going back to 2013.

Fairley said potential solutions include building better connections with families, hiring more social workers and encouraging school resource officers to build bonds with students.

The state overview, which also includes data on disciplinary action and dropouts, was presented Wednesday morning. As of mid-afternoon numbers for schools and districts had not been posted. Everything will eventually be available here.

NC starts collecting absentee ballots for 2024 primaries

Posted January 31, 2024 at 9:51 AM EST

County elections boards across North Carolina have begun holding meetings to validate returned ballots for this year's primaries.

Requested absentee ballots started getting sent out on January 19th. In Wayne County on Tuesday, the local board had five returned ballots to review, according to county elections director Anne Risku: "We're checking that you have your two witnesses or one notary and that you have your signature on the packet as well."

The voter information that gets verified is on the outside of the absentee packet, but the voter's choices remain sealed.

Photo identification is now required for in-person and mail-in voting — and absentee ballots must be returned by the close of polls on Election Day. Under federal law, military and overseas voters do not have to provide photo ID.

NC Highway Patrol gains ability to track GPS signals

Posted January 31, 2024 at 7:57 AM EST

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol can now immediately track your call with GPS and pinpoint the nearest trooper, after an upgrade to the agency’s statewide computer-aided dispatch system.

The $11 million project began during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is nearly complete, with funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and state legislation previously signed by Gov. Roy Cooper.

The Highway Patrol’s previous system had components dating back to the 1970s and was in the process of being discontinued.

In addition to tracking a 911 caller’s location, the new system also tracks state patrol units. Telecommunicators can identify the nearest available trooper on a map, then using the same software, share details about the call for the trooper to view in real-time on their laptop in the field.

Charlotte Hornets lose, again, falling to 10-35 record

Posted January 30, 2024 at 9:55 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets lost for the fourth straight game on Monday night, falling 113-92 to the New York Knicks. Rookie Brandon Miller led Charlotte with 29 points. Miles Bridges added 21 points and 10 rebounds In the losing effort.

The Hornets wrap up a four-game homestand Wednesday night when they host the Chicago Bulls.

South Carolina considers legalizing open-carry for handguns

Posted January 30, 2024 at 9:54 AM EST

The South Carolina State Senate is continuing its second week of debate on a bill that would allow handguns to be carried openly in the state.

South Carolina Public Radio reports, House bill 3594, known as “Constitutional Carry,” is supported by most Republicans in the General Assembly and Republican Gov. Henry McMaster. It has already won passage in the House of Representatives.

Under current state law, a handgun may be openly carried if the owner has been issued a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) after completing a gun safety course.

Democrats oppose “Constitutional Carry” citing opposition by law enforcement that open carry without training could pose a danger to the public. The debate is expected to continue most of the week.

North Carolina requires people to have a CWP in order to carry a concealed gun, but allows open carry without a permit.

Eight students hurt in CMS bus crash

Posted January 30, 2024 at 9:52 AM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said that a bus headed to West Mecklenburg High School was involved in a crash Tuesday morning. The district says eight students were transported to a hospital with minor injuries. The remaining students were taken to school on the same bus.

Three killed, 1 wounded in south Charlotte shootout

Posted January 28, 2024 at 2:49 PM EST

Three men were killed and a fourth seriously injured early Saturday at a south Charlotte apartment complex.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they heard gunshots at 3 a.m. from apartments at Lodge South Circle, off Arrowood Road near South Boulevard.

When officers arrived, they found four men shot. One died at the scene, and two others died later at a hospital. A fourth man is recovering.

The fatalities were identified as:

  • Daron Markell Polk, 32.
  • Walter Humberto Ramos Murillo, 26.
  • Nighstarr Trevon Luper, 25.

The fourth man was not identified.
Police said they're not looking for any suspects in the case. WSOC reported that police officers said the shooting started as a confrontation in the parking lot that led to a shootout between two groups, but police didn't say what might have led to the dispute.

The deadly shooting came one day after three other people — an adult and two juveniles — were shot and seriously injured a little over a mile away, at an apartment building off Old Pineville Road just south of Archdale Road.

Charlotte Hornets lose to the Utah Jazz

Posted January 28, 2024 at 2:40 PM EST

The Charlotte Hornets lost again at home Saturday night. They fell, 134-122, to the Utah Jazz.

One bright spot was Hornets' forward P.J. Washington, who came off the bench to score 43 points. But his explosive performance wasn't enough to overcome Utah, who poured on 47 points in the first quarter alone.

The Hornets are now 10-34 on the season, the third-worst record in the NBA.

They play the New York Knicks Monday night in Charlotte. That game starts at 7 p.m.

FTC sues to block Novant Hospital acquisition

Posted January 26, 2024 at 9:06 AM EST

The Federal Trade Commission is suing to block Novant Health’s acquisition of a hospital in Mooresville and another in Statesville. The FTC alleges if the $320 million deal went through it would eliminate competition and increase health care costs in the Lake Norman area. Novant is trying to purchase the Lake Norman Regional Medical Center and the David Regional Medical Center from the Community Health Center. The FTC says if the deal was completed it would allow Novant to have control of nearly 65% of the market.

CMPD to step up enforcement in uptown around parks

Posted January 26, 2024 at 8:50 AM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say the department is expanding an initiative to reduce crime in uptown. CMPD launched the operation last year. On New Year’s Eve, five people were shot and injured at Romare Bearden Park. In a social media video posted this week, Captain Stephen Fischback detailed the operation.

"As part of Operation TRIO, we're gonna have increased visibility of marked units and uniformed police officers at these locations. And we're also going to be conducting targeted, very intentional investigations of people committing crimes in our parks and other locations in uptown," he said.

CMPD says the operation led to a 36% reduction of violent crime in the areas of the Transit Center and the Spectrum Center.

County commission worries about criminalizing homelessness with new penalties

Posted January 26, 2024 at 8:45 AM EST

The city of Charlotte is considering bringing back criminal penalties for some offenses like public urination, defecation and drinking. Mecklenburg County commissioners say they’re worried about criminalizing homelessness. Speaking at the county’s annual strategic planning retreat Thursday, commissioner Laura Meier said making those offenses criminal won’t solve the problem.

"Addiction is going to be criminalized and we're going to have jails full of people who are addicted, which is not a crime. And that, I mean, that's what I feel like the city is heading toward," she said.

Commission chairman George Dunlap echoed her concerns.

"They're going to recriminalize some of the things that have been decriminalized. We don't know what impact that's going to have on homelessness and all of these other issues," he said.

Some uptown residents have complained about more disorder and quality of life issues in recent months. Charlotte City Council is expected to vote on the expanded criminal ordinance at an upcoming meeting.

Auto parts supplier opening Gaston Co. facility

Posted January 25, 2024 at 3:15 PM EST

German auto Plastic manufacturer HEYCO-Werk plans to invest more than $12 million into a new production facility in Gaston County.

Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Thursday that the new facility will create 34 new jobs. The new jobs will have an average salary of $63,000, which is above the county average of $46,000.

HEYCO will receive $75,000 from the One North Carolina Fund to help fund the new production site.

95-year-old man dies in south Charlotte crash

Posted January 25, 2024 at 10:51 AM EST

A 95-year-old man died in a crash Tuesday morning. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say the accident happened on Southbrook Drive at Rea Road, in south Charlotte.

When officers arrived, they found a Toyota Camry with driver’s side damage and an Audi Q5 with front-end damage. Paramedics pronounced the driver of the Camry, Robert Freedman, dead. The driver of the Audi, Tina Malcheksy, 55, was taken to a hospital and treated for injuries.

According to CMPD, Freedman was driving west on Southbrook Drive, failed to stop at a stop sign and was struck by the Audi.

Charlotte Hornets lose to the NBA's worst team

Posted January 25, 2024 at 8:23 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets led the Detroit Pistons at the end of the third quarter Wednesday but only managed 14 points in the fourth quarter and lost 113-106 to the team with the NBA’s worst record. After the game coach Steve Clifford said defense wasn’t the issue.

"In the fourth quarter, we stopped moving the ball and for three quarters, our ball move is good. We do not have an iso team. I just told them that. We are a pick and roll ball movement team when that's happening, we're good. If we want to stand up there and pound the ball, it's gonna be hard against anybody," he said.

Rookie Brandon Miller led Charlotte with 23 points. The Hornets will be back home Friday night to take on the Houston Rockets.

Two Charlotte restaurants named James Beard finalists

Posted January 25, 2024 at 8:21 AM EST

Two Charlotte chefs have been nominated for best chef in the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation: Daryl Cooper and Oscar Johnson of Jimmy Pearls.

They’ve been serving seafood from a food truck and at the Market at 7th Street, but The Charlotte Observer reports the duo is transitioning to a brick-and-mortar location this year.

Winners will be announced June 10 at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony in Chicago.

Man accused of breaking into Ballantyne house, raping woman with child at home

Posted January 24, 2024 at 7:58 PM EST

A man Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say broke into a home and raped a woman is in custody thanks to the quick thinking of a teenager.

Santerius Allen, 32, was arrested Wednesday morning at a home in Ballantyne while he was attacking the woman, police said.

Major Jonathan Thomas said the woman's teenage child hid upstairs and called 911 and police arrived a few minutes later.

"We would not have been able to make this arrest if that did not happen. We would be out probably looking for the suspect with much less degree of being able to solve this crime. We made this arrest due to the bravery of that child and the bravery of the victim," he said.

Police said it’s unclear why he targeted the house.

Allen is charged with felony breaking and entering and second degree rape.

Home sales in the Charlotte region fell last year, data show

Posted January 24, 2024 at 4:22 PM EST

Home sales in the Charlotte region fell 17% in 2023 compared to the prior year. Nearly 42,000 homes were sold last year in the 16-county region. Data from Canopy, the Charlotte area Realtor association, show the median home price remained relatively constant, falling less than 1%, to $377,000.

The Realtor association said the recent slight decline in mortgage rates should result in more listings in 2024.

Mecklenburg cost of living has increased dramatically, county commission hears

Posted January 24, 2024 at 4:02 PM EST

Mecklenburg County commissioners got an eye-opening report on how much the cost of living has increased since 2019 to kick off their retreat on Wednesday. Monica Allen, the county’s director of strategic planning, told commissioners that inflation in Charlotte and Mecklenburg has far outpaced the nation as a whole.

"Mecklenburg County residents have to pay a combined average of 36% more for basic needs than they did in 2019," she said.

The biggest drivers of higher costs are housing and childcare. People with young children have seen their cost of living rise even more. Allen said the living wage for a single parent with two children has jumped from about $60,000 in 2019 to almost $96,000 dollars today.

Legalized gambling coming to North Carolina in March

Posted January 24, 2024 at 4:00 PM EST

Legalized gambling on the ACC and NCAA basketball tournaments will be possible statewide in North Carolina for the first time this March. Multiple news outlets report that the N.C. Lottery Commission, the governmental body that oversees legal sports betting in the state, voted unanimously Wednesday morning to allow mobile and in-person sports wagering to begin at noon on March 11. That’s one day before the ACC tournament begins in Washington, D.C.

Mecklenburg County commission kicks off retreat Wednesday

Posted January 24, 2024 at 7:46 AM EST

On Wednesday, Mecklenburg County Commissioners begin their annual budget retreat. Commissioners and staff will gather at Central Piedmont Community College to receive an update on the county’s financial status, address fiscal policies, and review priorities as the County Manager Dena Diorio prepares to develop a recommended budget for presentation on May 16th.

Another public hearing is scheduled for May 23, with the Board set to adopt its new budget on June 4.

UNC Charlotte back atop men's basketball standings

Posted January 24, 2024 at 7:45 AM EST

The Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team got off to a slow start Tuesday night at Halton Arena but rallied after being down by 20 points in the first half and beat Alabama Birmingham 76-70 to take over sole possession of first place in the America Athletic Conference. Charlotte visits Tulane Saturday afternoon.

CMS property deals will yield affordable housing, a community center and offices

Posted January 23, 2024 at 8:58 PM EST

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board Tuesday approved a property swap that will provide affordable housing and new administrative offices. CMS will sell the old Graham School, just north of uptown Charlotte, to Mecklenburg County for almost $6.4 million. The county will use the money to buy the Mecklenburg County Bar building in northwest Charlotte for CMS. CMS plans to use the Bar building on Yellowstone Drive as administrative offices. The county plans to develop the Graham property as affordable housing.

The board also approved selling the old Bain School to the town of Mint Hill for $998,000. The town will get almost 4.5 acres and a 52,000-square-foot building, which it plans to convert to a community center.

CMS board approves Narcan to counteract overdoses in all schools

Posted January 23, 2024 at 7:56 PM EST

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board unanimously approved a policy Tuesday that clears the way to have trained staff ready to administer Narcan in all schools. The nasal spray, also known as naloxone, can reverse opioid overdoses.

Deputy Superintendent Melissa Balknight said at least two CMS employees at each school will be designated as first responders and trained to administer Narcan. They may be joined by school nurses and school resource officers. Balknight said school nurses will soon distribute supplies from the Mecklenburg County Health Department. Teams will be trained to call 911 if there appears to be an overdose, then call a student's parents or guardian. One person will administer Narcan while another makes the calls.

The policy change comes as fatal overdoses are on the rise across the country, driven largely by the presence of fentanyl in many street drugs.

State flood damage reduction plan updated

Posted January 23, 2024 at 4:46 PM EST

State lawmakers got an update Tuesday morning on a new program aimed at reducing flood damage. The $20 million Flood Resiliency Blueprint will provide data to guide future infrastructure projects. Secretary of Environmental Quality Elizabeth Biser is overseeing the project.

"By confidently investing in projects that will increase resiliency in our state, we will be able to help communities bounce back more quickly and avoid the worst of the damage when flood events do occur," she said.

Biser says a draft report was finished last month, and the program will roll out later this year. Mapping flood-prone areas will begin with the Neuse River Basin. Biser says the data is needed as North Carolina confronts more frequent flooding disasters.

North Carolina's unemployment rate holds steady

Posted January 23, 2024 at 1:57 PM EST

North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted December 2023 unemployment rate was 3.5%, unchanged from November’s revised rate, according to the state Department of Commerce. The national rate remained unchanged at 3.7%.

North Carolina saw a 0.3% decrease in unemployment from a year ago. Education and health services, and professional and business services had the largest employment increases for the month.

Charlotte Hornets trade point guard Terry Rozier

Posted January 23, 2024 at 10:42 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets have traded veteran point guard Terry Rozier to the Miami Heat in exchange for a 2027 first-round pick and point guard Kyle Lowry.

According to ESPN, the first-round pick is lottery-protected in 2027 and unprotected if it is taken in 2028.

Rozier joined the Hornets in a sign-trade deal in the summer of 2019, that involved a move with former guard Kemba Walker. Rozier played 298 games for the Hornets over the span of five seasons.

Lowry, a former NBA champion, isn’t expected to stay put in Charlotte. The team plans to trade Lowry before this year’s trade deadline on Feb. 8.

Frontier Airlines adds more nonstop flights to Charlotte Douglas

Posted January 23, 2024 at 10:29 AM EST

Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines will add seven more nonstop destinations to Charlotte Douglas International starting this spring.

"We are introducing a wide range of exciting new destinations from CLT as part of our new focus on underserved and overpriced routes,” Josh Flyr, a vice president with Frontier Airlines, said in a statement.

Beginning in April, passengers will be able to travel to New York, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Baltimore. In May, the airline will begin service to Buffalo, New York, and in June passengers will be able to travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Fares start at $69 for San Juan and $19 for the rest.

Frontier now has a total of 13 destinations flying from Charlotte Douglas.

Hornets shock Timberwolves to notch 10th win

Posted January 23, 2024 at 7:32 AM EST

In a season full of frustration, the Charlotte Hornets beat the best team in the NBA’s Western Conference on Monday night, downing the Minnesota Timberwolves 128-125 despite 62 points from T-Wolves center Karl Anthony Towns. Charlotte was down 15 points starting the fourth quarter, but coach Steve Clifford said that was a key stretch of the game.

"That's doable versus, you know, if it's 24 or something like that, it's not. So, I mean, that at least gave us a chance and you, listen, in this league, 15 points is not a lot, just not the way guys score now. So, you know, but our defense was a lot better in the fourth quarter and we scored a lot," he said.

Miles Bridges led Charlotte with 28 points. Brandon Miller added 27.

The Hornets visit the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

Charlotte City Council retreat kicks off Monday in Winston-Salem

Posted January 21, 2024 at 9:34 AM EST

Charlotte City Council is in Winston-Salem this week at the Graylyn Estate and Conference Center to hash out their strategy on big issues like crime, transit and housing.

City Council’s annual retreat kicks off Monday morning with reflections and team-building exercises before turning to meatier issues like Charlotte’s budget outlook.

On Tuesday, City Council will discuss public safety and plans for transit. They’ll wrap up and head back to Charlotte on Wednesday.

You can find the full agenda for all three days online, and the city will stream each day's meetings on its YouTube channel.

Charlotte Hornets fall to 76ers

Posted January 21, 2024 at 9:28 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets lost at home on Saturday to the Philadelphia 76ers, falling 97-89.

Miles Bridges led the Hornets with 25 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Brandon Miller with 23 points. The Hornets' scoring was anemic, with the team putting up just 16 points in the fourth quarter.

The Hornets are now 9-31 on the season.

American Airlines flight attendant accused of recording girls in plane bathroom

Posted January 19, 2024 at 8:10 AM EST

An American Airlines flight attendant from Charlotte was arrested for allegedly recording or trying to record a 14-year-old girl in September 2023 who was using a bathroom on a plane from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to Boston Logan Airport. He allegedly hid his cell phone under the toilet lid, covering it with inoperative equipment stickers.

WSOC-TV reports 36-year-old Estes Carter Thompson III is also accused of having recordings of four other young girls who were passengers using bathrooms aboard the aircraft he had worked previously.

In a statement, American Airlines said Thompson was immediately withheld from service after the incident in September and hasn’t worked since.

The company said: “We take these allegations very seriously. They don’t reflect our airline or our core mission of caring for people. We have been fully cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation as there is nothing more important than the safety and security of our customers and team.”

NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees include Jimmie Johnson

Posted January 19, 2024 at 8:09 AM EST

The 2023 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be formally inducted during a ceremony in uptown Charlotte on Friday night. Among them is seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who’s now a team co-owner with Statesville-based Legacy Motor Club. On NBC’s Today Show this week Johnson said he didn’t do it alone.

"I'm very grateful for the success I've had in the car, but it's been so fun to lean into this experience and to share this moment with so many that helped me get here. As a race car driver I often get looked at as just the one that gets it done and people don't realize how big of a team sport it really is. So, after 19 years of full-time cup racing, I get to go into the Hall and there's a lot of people to share that with," he said.

Johnson’s crew chief for 17 years, Chad Knaus, and Donnie Allison of the sport’s famed Alabama Gang will also be inducted.

Johnson will drive eight races this season with his own team starting with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18. He’s also scheduled to race in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 26.

Mecklenburg County to claw back unspent COVID relief funds

Posted January 19, 2024 at 8:07 AM EST

Mecklenburg County plans to claw back $3.7 million worth of unspent COVID-19 relief funds from the American Rescue Plan. The money was allocated to groups such as the YMCA, Johnson C. Smith University and the town of Davidson. County commission chairman George Dunlap said he expected the groups to spend their allotments.

"And I'm disappointed because eight or nine of the 11 are long-standing nonprofit organizations who've already been doing the work and ask for more money and didn't spend it," he said.

County staff said that the most common reason the groups said they haven’t spent all of their money was difficulty hiring staff for new programs. The total amount to be clawed back represents about 3% of the latest round of relief money allocations.

No Labels alleges 'Tony Soprano' tactics trying to keep them off ballot

Posted January 18, 2024 at 12:02 PM EST

The No Labels group has filed a complaint with the Justice Department accusing other groups of conspiring to scare potential candidates, donors and operatives away from working with the group. No Labels is readying for a potential third-party run, but hasn’t named presidential candidates yet. Former Governor Pat McCrory, one of the group’s co-chairs, said Tuesday in Washington, DC that No Labels is facing more than a typical political fight.

"You know, I've run for city council, mayor, governor and the US Senate and I've been called every name in the book by the left and the right. But that was protected speech. And sadly, politics often goes into tough speech but this is different. You know, I didn't like the speech directed toward me but it wasn't illegal," he said.

McCrory says groups like the Lincoln Project and Third Way have told people they’ll face ruin if they work with No Labels. In their complaint, No Labels alleges other groups are violating federal law that guarantees constitutional access to ballot and voting rights.

"I mean, who do they think they are, Tony Soprano? I hope not," he said.

No Labels has secured ballot access in 14 states, including North Carolina.

Man scowling in front of flag
No Labels
Pat McCrory speaking in Washington, D.C., at a No Labels press conference.

Charlotte Hornets lose, again

Posted January 18, 2024 at 8:38 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets lost again Wednesday night, falling to the New Orleans Pelicans 132-112. The Hornets have lost six straight games and 17 of their last 18. Center Nick Richards was dejected after the game.

"We just got to go next game, next game mentality. I mean, it's something that we don't want to think about. You know, we wanna, we gotta learn from this game, we gotta keep getting better from each game, each loss. But, we just gotta keep going. I don't know what to say," he said.

Lamelo Ball led Charlotte with 29 points. The Hornets open a two-game home stand Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs.

Mecklenburg County considers budget for 2024-5

Posted January 18, 2024 at 8:35 AM EST

Mecklenburg County Commissioners officially began their 2024-25 budget process last night with a public hearing. Residents had a range of requests including many like Liz Lewis, who wants more green space.

"I, as well as all the other people are really asking you to support big for parks and rec in this budget cycle. It impacts every person in our county all the funding toward the county's focus of closing the racial and ethnic gaps as well as meeting one of your budget priorities this year," she said.  

Others asked for more food and nutrition funding. Danielle Moore is Chief Operations Officer for Nourish Up, formerly known as Loaves and Fishes.

"Last year was a record breaking year for us and not in a good way, we served almost 138,000 individuals, which was the highest that we have ever served in our almost 50 year history. And that was up from 106,000 that we served in 2022," she said.

The Board will discuss fiscal policies and priorities during its three-day budget retreat next week at Central Piedmont Community College. It will include updates from senior staff as they prepare the recommended budget. County Manager Dena Diorio is scheduled to present her recommendation on May 16, with the Board adopting the new budget on June 4.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools decry gun violence as second student dies

Posted January 17, 2024 at 3:08 PM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said today they are concerned about gun violence and its impact on students. This comes after two Garinger High School students were shot Tuesday afternoon. Seventeen-year old Daikwan Deese died and a second student, 15, was injured. CMS said it would like to partner with local leaders and law enforcement to reduce gun violence in Mecklenburg County.

The shooting comes 10 days after 17-year-old Avyon Titus Thomas, a Myers Park High School student, was shot and killed in northwest Charlotte.

The full CMS statement is below

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of numerous young lives in our community due to gun violence. Just recently, we learned about the unfortunate loss of another CMS student, and a student sustaining injuries. 

The district has successfully implemented numerous safety measures within our schools. These measures include: installing cameras, weapon detection systems, anonymous reporting systems, employing School Resource Officers (SROs), and staff training. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools remains committed to safe school campuses.

We would like to partner with parents, families, school leaders, community leaders, religious leaders, and law enforcement to collaborate in eradicating gun violence in Mecklenburg County. The future of our entire community is being jeopardized as young lives are lost to gun violence.

It is crucial that we collectively take action. Our children deserve the opportunity to lead long, healthy, and joyful lives, and parents should not endure the heartbreak of losing a child. Let us join forces to make a tangible difference in ensuring the safety and well-being of our youth.

Hickory business owner charged $1 million to customer credit cards, feds say

Posted January 17, 2024 at 2:51 PM EST

A Hickory business owner has pleaded guilty in federal court to tax and credit card fraud. According to prosecutors, 51-year old James Robinson made close to $1 million in unauthorized credit card charges and failed to pay employment taxes. Robinson owned multiple businesses in the Hickory area. Today he admitted that between March 2020 and April 2023 that he used customer cards for 294 unauthorized purchases.

Court documents also showed that between 2017 to 2020, Robinson lost two of his companies after failing over $3 million in employment taxes. Robinson spent the money at casinos. Robinson was released on bond pending sentencing.

Charlotte's skyline could get another big sign

Posted January 17, 2024 at 9:24 AM EST

Wells Fargo is one step closer to changing Charlotte’s skyline after the City Council held a public hearing on a rezoning request Tuesday night to allow signs atop the former Duke Energy building on South Tryon Street. Each would be nearly 1,900 square feet. No one spoke in opposition to the plan, but council member Renee Johnson said she’s concerned about the future.

"The skyline is going to look like a CVS aisle. So my question is for the city staff, is there any requirements or consistency or policies for consistency or guidelines of what's going to be allowed?" she said.

City staff said they'll work to ensure signage, lights and other additions to buildings fit in to the existing skyline. The Council is expected to vote on the proposal next month.

Wells Fargo has filed a petition to place signage at the top of its iconic tower on South Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte. The director of UNC Charlotte's School of Architecture weighs in on how this fits in to a relatively new trend.

Man killed in east Charlotte

Posted January 16, 2024 at 7:49 PM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating a homicide that occurred Tuesday afternoon. Around 2:30 pm, CMPD officers responded to a call for an assault with a deadly weapon on Audrey Street just off Eastway Drive. When officers arrived, they found two male victims suffering from gunshot wounds. Paramedics pronounced one man dead and the second victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Their identities weren't released. No one was arrested as of Tuesday evening.

Stein says blocking JetBlue-Spirit merger was the right move

Posted January 16, 2024 at 7:47 PM EST

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein applauded a federal judge’s ruling Tuesday to block JetBlue Airways’ $3.8 billion purchase of Spirit Airlines.

Stein had joined attorneys general from five other states and the District of Columbia in supporting the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the merger.

DOJ argued and the federal judge agreed that the acquisition would stifle competition.

Stein said in a statement that air travel is already expensive and competition and lower ticket costs need to be protected.

JetBlue officials maintained the merger would help the smaller airlines compete against larger carriers. JetBlue and Spirit fly out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

A new library is coming to University City in north Charlotte

Posted January 16, 2024 at 4:38 PM EST

Students, bibliophiles, and other people who spend time inside libraries will soon have a new location to visit in Charlotte.

Mecklenburg County has kicked off plans to place a new library in University City off JW Clay Boulevard. A groundbreaking planned for Tuesday was canceled due to weather, but the county says construction will begin soon.

The new library will be part of a planned community called “Waters Edge” on Waters Edge Village Drive with apartments, retail, a park and a lake. The new library is scheduled to open in 2025 at a cost of $39.6 million. It will replace the current University City Regional Library on East W.T. Harris Boulevard.

“This new facility has the customer in mind with generous spaces for dedicated program areas, a large community room, new and ample technology, and flexible meeting spaces, along with comfortable individual and group-size reading and study spaces,” Library CEO Marcellus Turner said in a statement.

18-year-old killed in high-speed pursuit on I-77

Posted January 16, 2024 at 4:04 PM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating a fatal crash after a high-speed pursuit. On Sunday, CMPD officers received a call about an armed robbery. The victim told CMPD that her 2020 Dodge Challenger was stolen at gunpoint. Shortly after, officers found the Challenger and attempted to stop it. The driver, 18 year old Ramon Miller drove off and CMPD officers pursued the car onto I-77 northbound. Miller lost control near the Tyvola Road exit and crashed the car. CMPD said the Challenger flipped multiple times and Miller was thrown from the car. Paramedics pronounced Miller dead.

North Carolina releases AI guide for schools

Posted January 16, 2024 at 10:27 AM EST

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Tuesday released a guide for schools on using artificial intelligence programs that can create text, images and code. The 34-page document notes that many schools initially blocked the use of such programs, but it says educators and students need to learn to use AI tools responsibly. For instance, it says AI could help teachers move through routine administrative tasks quickly and do translation for students who don’t speak English well. But the guide says AI should not be used to grade student work because of the potential for errors.

DPI says it’s the fourth state education agency to create guidelines for AI. The guide says the ability to use AI is becoming an essential job skill.

SC considers Sunday liquor sales, home delivery

Posted January 16, 2024 at 10:15 AM EST

South Carolinians could soon enjoy Sunday liquor sales along with curbside and home delivery of alcohol after several renewed proposals in the legislature.

The State newspaper reports the South Carolina House has offered three bills that would expand consumers' access to spirits, beer and wine.

One would allow customers to pick up alcoholic beverages at the curbside of a retailer, or have it delivered directly to their home. Another would permit microdistilleries to sell alcohol on premises on Sundays. A third, would allow general liquor sales on Sunday by local referendums.

Charlotte Hornets lose, again

Posted January 15, 2024 at 10:45 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets lost for the fifth straight time Sunday night, falling to the Miami Heat 104-87. The Hornets scored just 31 points in the first half, but coach Steve Clifford said after the game that poor offense led to poor defense.

"I thought early on, we really got a lot of good shots that we've been making. They didn't go in. That's gonna happen. I think the bigger part of tonight is when the ball is not going in, we've gotta keep defending...I mean, right now we're just so reliant on, you know, those three guys to score. We need Brandon, we need Gordon, you know, we've gotta have more guys out there that can put pressure on the defense and score consistently," he said after the game.

Lamelo Ball, PJ Washington and Cody Martin returned to the lineup over the weekend but top draft pick Brandon Miller and center Mark Williams are among the players still injured. Terry Rozier led the team in scoring last night with 26 points. The Hornets visit the New Orleans Pelicans Wednesday night.

The team is now 8-29.

Stolen car chase leads to fatal crash; suspect killed

Posted January 15, 2024 at 10:41 AM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating after a fatal crash following a chase Sunday night in south Charlotte. Police say it started on South Tryon Street near Carowinds Boulevard at about 9 pm. A woman told police her car was stolen at gunpoint. Soon after, a car matching the stolen car’s description was spotted nearby on I-77 South. After a brief pursuit, police say the car crashed while trying to exit the highway at Tyvola Road. The suspect died at the scene. That person’s identity had not yet been released as of Monday morning.

StoryCorps is coming to Charlotte

Posted January 12, 2024 at 1:56 PM EST

The StoryCorps mobile recording booth will return to Charlotte this April for the first time in almost 15 years.

The nonprofit organization aims to record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs. StoryCorps will partner with WFAE to capture family stories from area residents.

Since StoryCorps' founding in 2003, nearly 700,000 people across the country have stepped inside the converted Airstream trailer to record meaningful conversations about their lives. These recordings are collected in the U.S. Library of Congress, and stored in an archive which is now the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered.

StoryCorps stories are broadcast nationally to over 12 million listeners. You hear them Fridays during Morning Edition on WFAE.

The Charlotte stop is scheduled for late April. Information on the trailer location and how to register for a free interview opportunity will be available in March at WFAE.org.

Charlotte 49ers lead women's basketball standings

Posted January 12, 2024 at 8:15 AM EST

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team got a big win on the road Thursday over Rice 61-54 and now stand alone atop the American Athletic Conference standings — but coach Cara Consuegra said it wasn’t easy.

"They took, I think, 73 field goals to our 47 — like, that's not a game you're supposed to win," she said. "But if you're giving up that many field goals, the issue is they're not making them and that's because of our defense. And I've said this all year, our defense is elite, when we're locked in."

Dazia Lawrence led the Niners with 24 points. Charlotte visits Texas-San Antonio Sunday afternoon.

Concord man convicted of hate crimes for Confederate flag-covered truck rants, threats

Posted January 12, 2024 at 8:13 AM EST

A Concord man was convicted of hate crimes yesterday by a federal jury in Greensboro after he was accused of terrorizing people while driving around in a truck covered in Confederate flags.

WSOC-TV reports 52-year-old Marian Hudak now faces up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors said Hudak broadcast racial slurs over a loudspeaker in a Sam’s Club parking lot in Kannapolis in July of 2022. In December of 2022, he was accused of yelling racial slurs at Black people in downtown Concord.

The FBI also accused Hudak in another instance when he allegedly followed a Black man home after trying to drive him off the road. Agents say Hudak threatened the man and his girlfriend with a gun in their apartment parking lot. He also told a Hispanic neighbor to “go back to your country.”

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 1.

Charlotte Hornets fall to 8-27 record

Posted January 11, 2024 at 12:49 PM EST

The Charlotte Hornets lost again Wednesday night at home, falling to the Sacramento Kings 123-98 – a team they beat on the road last week. Injuries have piled up for the team and now illness as well. Top draft pick Brandon Miller scored 15 points but said after the game that health was the big factor in a lackluster performance for the team.

"I mean, still a little sick. I feel like, you know, like you said, we just didn't have the energy tonight of course, but I think we just, like I said, bounce back to the next game and have, you know, short term memory, come to the next game with a different mentality and go out there against great team, just not our home crowd and just try to pull out a win," he said.

The Hornets are now 8-and-27 on the season. Charlotte starts a three-game road trip Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs.

Guns at airport checkpoints down statewide, but up at CLT

Posted January 11, 2024 at 11:44 AM EST

The Transportation Security Administration says officers at North Carolina airports discovered a total of 236 firearms in travelers’ carry-on luggage in 2023, down from the total of 250 found in 2022.

Despite the overall statewide decrease in firearms, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport recorded an all-time high of 124 firearms detected at security checkpoints last year. Raleigh-Durham was next with 76. Piedmont Triad in Greensboro had 15 guns discovered last year. Concord-Padgett Regional Airport had none, down from three last year.

Carolina Panthers to take football across the Atlantic with game in Germany

Posted January 11, 2024 at 8:08 AM EST

The NFL announced Thursday morning that the Carolina Panthers have been designated to play in Munich, Germany next season. The date, opponent, and ticket information for the Munich game will be determined at a later date.

With the expansion of the NFL schedule in 2021 to 17 games, up to four of the teams eligible for a ninth regular-season home game are now designated to play a neutral-site international game each year.

Danish telecom company coming to Gaston Co.

Posted January 10, 2024 at 8:16 PM EST

A Danish telecommunications company has selected Gaston County for its North American hub. Lynddahl Telecom America plans to set up a production site in Belmont that will employ 54 people, with the average wage around $60,000. Gov. Roy Cooper said having companies that are well-equipped to extend broadband through rural regions puts the state closer to high quality internet for everyone.

Johnson & Wales converts hotel to student housing

Posted January 10, 2024 at 8:15 PM EST

The DoubleTree hotel in uptown Charlotte will soon become a new dorm for Johnson & Wales University students as the school seeks to increase enrollment. The university originally purchased the hotel 20 years ago from Bank of America. Johnson & Wales says converting the hotel into dorms will also allow the school to expand the footprint of its campus and create a focal point for the campus beside the dorm.

The DoubleTree will operate as a hotel until the end of June and be ready for students this fall.

Tornado confirmed in fatal Catawba Co. storm

Posted January 10, 2024 at 8:13 PM EST

The National Weather Service says an EF-1 tornado appears to have touched down in Catawba County’s Claremont community during yesterday’s storms. Catawba County officials identified the person who died there as 39-year old Dustin Weaver. Four other people in the neighborhood were taken to the hospital yesterday. Three of the four have been discharged with minor injuries.

Ahead of VP visit, some CMS board members call for gun violence action

Posted January 10, 2024 at 8:15 AM EST

Several members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board used Tuesday’s meeting to voice concern about the shooting death of a Myers Park High School student early Sunday morning and frustration with gun violence in the community. Board Chair Stephanie Sneed said in just one year on the school board she’s been to too many memorials for students who have been killed.

"It’s enough. It’s enough. So I’m calling on our city, our county partners, our faith community partners, grassroots organizations and parents — and parents! This has to end," she said.

Other local officials also have called for new efforts to counteract violent crime, after five people were shot in uptown Charlotte on New Year’s Eve. A 19-year-old has been charged in that case.

And on Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will come to Charlotte to talk about national efforts to reduce gun violence and about bipartisan plans to provide more money for mental health services to students.

1 dead, 2 critically injured in Catawba County as powerful storm sweeps through the region

Posted January 9, 2024 at 4:09 PM EST

One person was killed and two others critically injured in a Catawba County mobile home park Tuesday as powerful storms swept through the region.

Catawba County Spokesperson Amy McCauley confirmed the death shortly after 4 p.m. She said the storm damaged several buildings, with some collapsing, in the mobile home park in the Claremont neighborhood.

The National Weather Service is investigating the possibility of a tornado touching down in the area.

South Carolina Legislature is back in session

Posted January 9, 2024 at 1:54 PM EST

In South Carolina, state lawmakers returned to Columbia on Tuesday to start the second year of the two-year legislative session.

The State newspaper reported that Gov. Henry McMaster wants to spend $500 million from a property tax relief account to improve crumbling bridges in the state. It would be an influx into the South Carolina Department of Transportation road and bridge program.

The governor’s office estimates the money could fix 150 to 200 bridges. A medical marijuana bill and judicial reform around how to select judges are also likely issues for the session.

Meanwhile, state agencies have requested about $2.9 billion in capital and other one-time costs, but state economists project less than $900 million would be available.

Charlotte Hornets fall again, this time in overtime

Posted January 9, 2024 at 1:48 PM EST

The Charlotte Hornets rallied in the fourth quarter but came up short in overtime Monday night at the Spectrum Center, falling to the Chicago Bulls 119-112. Terry Rozier led Charlotte with 39 points.

"It's tough. It's tough. I ain't even gonna act like it's not, you know, so, you know, we are brothers and we got a great locker room and, you know, we haven't been at our full strength all season and then especially when you wanna turn things around. You know, we owe it to the city and the fans and, you know, it's just unfortunate the situation we've been in. But like I said, nobody cares, you know, we can bring it up as all we all we want, but we still gotta play," he said after the game.

The Hornets are 8-26. They're back in action Wednesday when they host the Sacramento Kings at 7 pm.

Charlotte City Council to consider reinstating criminal penalties for public urination, defecation

Posted January 9, 2024 at 8:38 AM EST

Charlotte City Council will soon decide whether to reinstate criminal penalties for behavior including public defecation and alcohol consumption. A council committee voted 3-2 Monday to back CMPD’s recommendation. The committee’s chair Victoria Watlington said the plan is a holistic approach that includes more outreach to homeless people and looking at possibilities for more public restrooms.

"Not only do we want to address some of these broader issues, we also want to make sure that we are protecting the broader public interest as well not only for visitors, but for residents, for businesses for employees as well," she said.

Many uptown residents have complained that their quality of life has deteriorated since 2022 when council allowed public defecation, drinking, and loitering to become non-criminal offenses. Council members Renee Johnson and Tiawana Brown voted against the recommendation, saying it would criminalize poverty and mental illness.

City Council committee recommends criminal penalties for public defecation, drinking

Posted January 9, 2024 at 7:08 AM EST

Charlotte City Council will soon decide whether to reinstate criminal penalties for behavior including public defecation and alcohol consumption. A council committee voted 3-2 Monday to back CMPD’s recommendation. The committee’s chair Victoria Watlington said the plan is a holistic approach that includes more outreach to homeless people and looking at possibilities for more public restrooms.

"Not only do we want to address some of these broader issues, we also want to make sure that we are protecting the broader public interest as well not only for visitors, but for residents, for businesses, for employees as well," said Watlington.

Many uptown residents have complained that their quality of life has deteriorated since 2022 when council allowed public defecation, drinking, and loitering to become non-criminal offenses.

Council members Renee Johnson and Tiawana Brown voted against the recommendation, saying it would criminalize poverty and mental illness.

Local schools will close Tuesday due to severe weather

Posted January 8, 2024 at 4:48 PM EST

Multiple schools will be closed tomorrow due to the potential severe weather. According to the National Weather Service’s latest forecast, nearly four inches of rain are expected to fall in the Charlotte metro area and gusty winds are expected.


  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Cabarrus County Schools

Remote Learning Day:

  • Catawba County Schools (QUEST Childcare will not operate)
  • Rowan-Salisbury Schools
  • York School District 1 (After school activities canceled)

Charlotte's office market looks increasingly dire

Posted January 8, 2024 at 4:18 PM EST

Charlotte City Council’s economic development committee heard a dire report on the state of the local office market on Monday.

Ned Curran, the former longtime leader of Ballantyne Corporate Park, said the citywide office vacancy rate of 25% is unprecedented. And it’s worse in many submarkets, such as 31% in Ballantyne.

"North End, 48% vacancy ... the University (area), almost 40%. SouthPark, 21%. uptown, 21%. These are never-before-seen types of vacancies," he said.

Work-from-home and hybrid work changes that continue post-pandemic are behind the shift.

A cluster of a dozen largely unoccupied buildings uptown are particularly concerning.

"A lot of these buildings just need to go away. There's more inventory than there is demand, and as demand continues, it's going to newer product, it's going to the South End area. It may push back out to the suburbs, closer to people to reduce commute times. We don't know, we just know that we have a heck of an issue here," he said.

City leaders agreed to study ways to help struggling uptown office buildings. But Curran warned: "The vacancy numbers I gave you are only going to get worse, and they're going to get worse in a material way."

Carolina Panthers fire General Manager Scott Fitterer

Posted January 8, 2024 at 9:28 AM EST

The Carolina Panthers have fired General Manager Scott Fitterer, according to the team’s website. The news was posted Monday morning, after the team's second-straight shutout and a disastrous 2-15 season.

Fitterer had been with the team since 2021.

The Panthers will begin the search for his replacement immediately, and will be able to interview coaching candidates in person beginning Jan. 22.

VP Kamala Harris to talk about gun violence in Charlotte speech

Posted January 8, 2024 at 7:13 AM EST

Less than two weeks after five people were shot in uptown Charlotte on New Year’s Eve, Vice President Kamala Harris is set to visit Charlotte to discuss the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence.

Harris will be in Charlotte Thursday.

More details will be released closer to the event.

Man killed in shooting north of uptown

Posted January 8, 2024 at 7:13 AM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating a deadly overnight shooting on North Tryon Street near 27th street just outside the center of town. Few details are available but police say it happened at about 2 a.m. Monday when they responded to a call and found a victim with gunshot wounds, who was taken to a hospital where he died.

Carolina Panthers close season with second-straight shutout

Posted January 7, 2024 at 8:32 PM EST

The Carolina Panthers ended their season of futility with a second straight shutout, losing 9-0 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. The Panthers finished with a league-worst 2-15 record. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young said it was tough to reflect on the season right after Sunday’s loss.

Interim Head Coach Chris Tabor was on the Cleveland Browns staff when they went winless in the 2017 season. He said this season feels just about as bad.

"Oh-and-16 is horrible. This, this isn't much better. And what, you know, how you go from here isobviously it's gonna talk a lot about how you are as a person," he said.

Rookie quarterback Bryce Young said it was tough to reflect on his season right after the loss Sunday.

"You know, it's hard when you're in the moment," he said. "We all put our, our, our everything in, you know, day in and day out. And, you know, we kind of live in those moments."

He said if the season taught him anything, it’s that:

"You're not entitled to anything, you're not entitled to any, you know, to, any sort of success...You know, you can't lean on, you know, success to, you know, be your motivator. You have to be internally motivated, and that's something that obviously got put to the test throughout the year," he said.

Tabor said he told Young that he’d look back on his horrible rookie season one day and realize it helped shape him.

"I think that when he's in year 12 winning a lot of games and, and slicing people up a little bit, dicing it around, throwing it around, I said, 'You'll remember this first year and you'll probably look back and say, you know what it stunk at the time. But this really helped me get to where I'm at.' Because he has a really bright future."

Teenager killed in northwest Charlotte

Posted January 7, 2024 at 8:25 PM EST

A 17-year-old was shot and killed early Sunday northwest of uptown, police said, and an 18-year-old was charged in the killing.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police were called to the 2700 block of West Trade Street, near Rozelles Ferry Road, just before 5 a.m. Sunday. They found Avyon Titus Thomas with a gunshot wound, and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Police said Jamir Easter was suspected of the shooting, though they didn't say what evidence led them to him. Easter turned himself in Sunday, and he was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Latest poll shows Trump with big lead in SC primary

Posted January 5, 2024 at 11:04 AM EST

A new Emerson College Polling survey of South Carolina voters finds former President Donald Trump with a 29-point lead in the Republican Primary over former Gov. Nikki Haley, leading 54% to 25%.

Seven percent of Republican Primary voters support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 5% support former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and 3% support Vivek Ramaswamy. Six percent are still undecided.

The South Carolina Republican primary is Feb. 24.

Man killed in northwest Charlotte shooting

Posted January 5, 2024 at 8:11 AM EST

One person is dead and a juvenile is in custody after an overnight shooting in northwest Charlotte. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say it happened at a home on Swearngan Road off Brookshire Boulevard at about 7 pm Thursday. WCNC is reporting the incident began with a fight at a group home.

CMPD says officers found one victim dead on the scene and a suspect was arrested at the home. Police are not looking for additional suspects.

Winter storm warnings, watches issued, but little Charlotte impact expected

Posted January 5, 2024 at 8:09 AM EST

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning and Winter Weather Advisory for portions of western North Carolina and the South Carolina mountains. After midnight Friday through mid-morning Saturday, light freezing rain is expected before daybreak, then changing to rain by late morning. The immediate Charlotte area is not expected to see much ice, but crews have been treating roads in northern Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties ahead of the system. Duke Energy also asked customers to help conserve power ahead of an expected surge in demand with the colder temperatures.

Inclement weather expected, but not a major ice event in Charltote

Posted January 4, 2024 at 6:11 PM EST

Much of North Carolina will be impacted by a winter weather system tomorrow night through early Saturday morning. Freezing rain and ice are expected north and west of Charlotte. But Trisha Palmer, a Meteorologist for the National Weather Service said the Charlotte area won’t see much ice.

"It shouldn't be at this point in time, particularly impactful," Palmer said.

"Right now we're looking at mostly elevated surfaces right now and then it would warm up and change over to mostly rain,, early Saturday morning by daybreak, for sure and like I said, what we've got, is between, oh, you know, a trace to, you know, certainly less than 1/10 of an inch of ice across the Charlotte metro area."

Palmer recommends residents keep an emergency kit in case of power outages during the storm.

Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club names new leader

Posted January 4, 2024 at 2:10 PM EST

The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte has named a long-time healthcare executive as its new leader.

Mike Tanner will direct eight Clubs in Mecklenburg and Union counties and grow community partnerships. The Salvation Army says Tanner also brings significant non-profit operations experience to the position.

He follows Amy Hudson-Barham, who died after a battle with cancer.

Unemployment falls in North Carolina

Posted January 4, 2024 at 11:55 AM EST

The North Carolina Commerce Department says unemployment rates increased in 39 of North Carolina’s counties in Nov. 2023 compared to the prior month, decreased in 17, and remained unchanged in 44.

But when compared to the same month last year, unemployment rates decreased in 89 counties, increased in five, and remained unchanged in six. All fifteen of the state’s metro areas experienced rate decreases over the year.

Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 5.9% while Buncombe and Swain Counties each had the lowest at 2.6%. Among the metro areas, Fayetteville and Rocky Mount each had the highest rate at 4.6% while Asheville had the lowest at 2.8%. The not-seasonally-adjusted statewide rate was 3.4%.

American Airlines adds four summer routes from Charlotte

Posted January 4, 2024 at 7:56 AM EST

American Airlines is adding four new summer destination flights from Charlotte. According to a press release from the airline American will add direct routes to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Bozeman, Montana; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and Spokane, Washington, beginning June 5. It’s the first time American has offered nonstop flights from Charlotte to Spokane and Calgary.

Man arrested in connection with 2020 Charlotte killing

Posted January 4, 2024 at 7:55 AM EST

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have made an arrest in a 2020 murder in the University City area. Calvin Washington went to Atrium Health University in September of 2020 with a gunshot wound and died the next day. On Wednesday, CMPD’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team arrested 23-year-old James Ashley Mason III, who is charged with murder in the case. He’s now in the Mecklenburg County Jail. Police say the investigation is continuing.

Panthers' coach, QB decline to address Tepper drink-throwing incident

Posted January 3, 2024 at 3:06 PM EST

Carolina Panthers interim head coach Chris Tabor declined to answer questions Wednesday about team owner David Tepper’s $300,000 fine for throwing a drink on fans at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ stadium on Sunday.

"I have no impression," he said. "I'm responsible for, for the guys in the locker room at this time. And that's what I'm doing and I'm gonna stick to that, and I'll answer any questions on Tampa if you'd like."

The Panthers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at 1 pm in their final game of the season. It’s been a disaster, and the team is last in the league with a 2-14 record.

Tabor said he isn’t planning to sit any starters, despite the game’s statistical meaninglessness.

"There's still a lot to play for. I understand about the record and I can understand that you might view it as a throwaway game. It's not a throwaway game," he said. "My name and their name is associated with this game. So that, to me, that's very important, because at the end of the day, that's all you have is the name on your back."

Rookie quarterback Bryce Young also said he didn’t have anything to say about Tepper. He said that he’s disappointed in his own performance this year.

"There's stuff to learn from and to grow from. But ultimately, you know, the, the reason we're all here, you know what the league is all about, is winning games. And I didn't do a good enough job with that at all."

Rowan County to be part of voter signature-matching program

Posted January 3, 2024 at 7:21 AM EST

Rowan County is one of 10 North Carolina Counties selected to participate in a pilot program to match voter's signatures with new software following the March 5 primary election. The program is required by a law passed by the General Assembly in 2023. The counties were determined using a system of random selection, based on rankings for population size, racial diversity, and regional location.

The 10 counties will use signature verification software to compare the signatures on mail-in absentee ballot applications and envelopes against voters’ signatures on file with the elections offices. This is for experimental purposes only and will not affect the counting of any voter’s ballot in the primary election.

Charlotte Hornets snap losing streak

Posted January 3, 2024 at 7:07 AM EST

The Charlotte Hornets finally snapped their losing streak Tuesday night, downing the Sacramento Kings 111-104. Terry Rozier returned to the lineup and led Charlotte with 34 points. The Hornets had lost 11 straight going into the game and will try for a second straight win Friday night in Chicago.

NC elections board says no to Democrats requesting presidential primary ballot spots

Posted January 2, 2024 at 4:56 PM EST

The North Carolina State Board of Elections voted unanimously Tuesday to turn down requests from four Democrats to appear on the March 5 primary ballot challenging President Joe Biden. Author and spiritualist Marrianne Williamson and Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips, along with two others, had asked the board for a spot on the ballot, despite not gathering enough petition signatures from voters or being submitted by the state party.

Board member Kevin Lewis said the parties should get to say who goes on their primary ballots.

"These are party primaries and the party should have the right, I think to, nominate the candidates of its choosing," he said.

Seven Republicans will appear on the presidential primary ballot, including Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie and Ron DeSantis.

Toll rates increase around Charlotte

Posted January 2, 2024 at 3:01 PM EST

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said the Monroe and Triangle expressways toll rate will increase starting with the new year. For NC Quick Pass customers, traveling the entirety of the Monroe Expressway will now cost $2.85, roughly a 3% increase from last year’s price. The Triangle Expressway will see a nearly 4% increase costing commuters $3.94. The toll increase will assist with the payment of bonds for construction and maintenance of the roads.

Charlotte Hornets push losing streak to 11 games

Posted January 2, 2024 at 7:05 AM EST

The longest current losing streak in the NBA belongs to the injury-ravaged Charlotte Hornets who lost again Monday night to push that streak to 11 games. A disastrous third quarter sank Charlotte in Denver where they lost to the Nuggets. Denver outscored the Hornets 40-17 in that quarter and never looked back. After the game, coach Steve Clifford said his team simply gave the ball to Denver too many times.

"The one thing that stood out to me being there was...the turnovers. Pretty quickly, they made us pay. And, you know, with where we're at right now with the guys we have available, we can't be turning the ball over," he said.

The Hornets continue their road trip Monday when they visit the Sacramento Kings. Tipoff is at 10 pm. Charlotte wraps up its six-game road trip Friday night in Chicago.

DNA evidence sheds new light on 1990 Charlotte killing

Posted January 2, 2024 at 7:03 AM EST

DNA results that Charlotte Mecklenburg Police released just before Sunday’s deadline from a 1990 crime scene shed some light on one of Charlotte’s most confounding unsolved murders.

DNA consistent with Marion Gales, 61, was found where Kim Thomas was killed.

Defense attorney David Rudolf told The Charlotte Observer that the information released Sunday exonerates his client, Thomas' husband, Ed Friedland.

Friedland was charged with his wife’s death, but those charges were dropped. Still, Rudolf told the newspaper Friedland had been living under a cloud of suspicion since then.

Gales did jobs around the house for Thomas. He was never charged in Thomas' death, but is in prison after being convicted of manslaughter in another case.

Small plane crashes in Mooresville neighborhood; pilot dies

Posted January 1, 2024 at 3:48 PM EST

A pilot died Sunday after his small plane crashed in a Mooresville neighborhood.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol identified the pilot as Randy Mysliviec, of Mooresville. The agency said he was attempting to land at Lake Norman Airport when the crash occurred.

The plane went down shortly after noon Sunday near Adrian Lane, WBTV reported.