NEWS UPDATES FOR NOVEMBER 2023
Mecklenburg Democrat Kelly Alexander is leaving the state House
Mecklenburg Democratic state House member Kelly Alexander is retiring and won’t run for re-election.
Alexander is one of the longest serving members from Mecklenburg. He’s been in the General Assembly since 2008.
At 75, he said health issues would make it hard to run for reelection next year in his northwest Charlotte district.
Alexander said one of his biggest accomplishments has been to push for more liberal drug laws. The Republican-controlled General Assembly has been inching toward legalizing medical marijuana, though it hasn’t happened yet.
“I have been able to get the discussion about changing our drug laws to move from being a sideshow to being something that’s seriously being considered by both parties,” he said.
Mecklenburg Democratic House member John Autry is also retiring, while Wesley Harris is running for State Treasurer. Rachel Hunt is leaving the Senate to run for lieutenant governor.
Five N.C. House Democrats support controversial antisemitism resolution
Most North Carolina Congressional Democrats voted yesterday in favor of a Republican-drafted House resolution declaring that that “anti-Zionism is antisemitism.”
The resolution divided House Democrats nationally, showing a split in the party over Israel.
Ninety-five House Democrats voted for the resolution, which some critics said would stifle any criticism of Israel and how it’s conducting it’s war against Hamas. Ninety-two Democrats voted present, which meant they didn’t take a formal position on the resolution.
In North Carolina, Democrats Alma Adams and Jeff Jackson of Charlotte supported the resolution. Democrats Wiley Nickel, Don Davis and Kathy Manning also voted yes.
Deborah Ross voted present. Valerie Foushee did not vote.
All North Carolina Republicans voted yes.
In surprise vote, Charlotte City Council picks Dante Anderson over Victoria Watlington as mayor pro tem
The Charlotte City Council started its new term Monday night, swearing in a new council member, Tiawana Brown, who represents District 3 in the southwest part of the city. And in a surprise decision, council members elected Dante Anderson as mayor pro tem.
There has been a tradition that the City Council member who received the most votes in the last election becomes mayor pro tem. That’s a mostly ceremonial job, like being vice mayor.
Last year, Dimple Ajmera won the most votes, but didn’t get the job. And this year it happened again.
Victoria Watlington finished first in the race for four citywide seats.
But in a 7-4 vote, council members elected Dante Anderson, who represents District 1, which includes neighborhoods in and around uptown. She was first elected last year.
The vote was contentious. Ajmera said there needs to be a process for how the mayor pro tem is backed. She then voted for Anderson.
Lawana Mayfield said she would never vote for someone who doesn’t represent the entire city - and for someone who has been on the job for a year. She backed Watlington, along with Renee Johnson and James Mitchell.
In the end, the council’s two Republicans, Ed Driggs and Tariq Bokhari, backed Anderson, giving her enough support to win.
Gov. Cooper visits Charlotte enrollment fair to mark Medicaid expansion
Hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina who were without health insurance now have coverage, after a decade of political fights. Overnight 300,000 people received full Medicaid coverage. A similar number who made too much money to qualify before, are expected to enroll in the coming weeks.
Governor Roy Cooper visited a center in Charlotte enrolling people to mark Medicaid expansion taking effect today.
“Today, a dream, a decade in the making, finally becomes a reality,” said Cooper. “Today, we make real the promise of affordable, quality health care for so many. Today, North Carolina officially expands Medicaid to help close the health care coverage gap.”
In the room next door, Kyle Bridges received health coverage for the first time in ten years. He made sure to enroll as soon as possible.
“I dealt with it as it came. Of course, emergencies come. You go to the emergency room. I'm getting older now. I needed it now. Desperately,” said Bridges.
You can apply online and find assistance at Medicaid.nc.gov.
McHenry and Bishop vote against expelling George Santos
North Carolina Republican Congressmen Patrick McHenry and Dan Bishop voted Friday against expelling George Santos from the House. The state’s other five GOP members of Congress — and all seven Democrats — voted to remove the New York representative.
The resolution to expel Santos passed 311 to 114.
The House has only expelled a member five other times in history. Santos the first member of Congress to be expelled without first being convicted of a federal crime or supporting the Confederacy.
The vote came two weeks after an ethics committee report accused Santos of misconduct, such as stealing from donors and using campaign funds for high-end shopping, casinos, adult website subscriptions and other personal benefits.
On social media, Bishop, of Waxhaw, questioned why Congress departed from “234 years of precedent” in expelling Santos before being convicted.
Democratic Congressman Jeff Jackson of Charlotte, who, like Bishop is running for North Carolina attorney general, said Bishop’s vote was “caving to political corruption” and that Bishop got an easy call wrong.
A year after Moore County attack, investigators seek silver or light blue minivan
The FBI and Moore County Sheriff's Office are asking for assistance finding a minivan seen in the area of two electrical substation shootings last December. According to officials, the van is either a silver or light blue Honda Odyssey between the model years 2011 to 2017. The van was seen near the shootings between 6 and 10 pm.
The North Carolina Governor’s office, Duke Energy, the county and the FBI are offering a reward totaling up to $100,000. The Dec. 3 attacks on the electric grid left 45,000 people in the dark for days.
Authorities haven't named any suspects or motive for the attack. One woman who relied on an oxygen concentrator died as a result. The FBI said no further information about the case would be disclosed.
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI (225-5324), the Moore County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 910-947-4444, or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.
New anti-street takeover law goes into effect Friday in NC
A new law goes into effect Friday in North Carolina to help end so-called street takeovers. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lieutenant Chris Rorie explained the problem.
"Street takeovers is an organized event where individuals block roads, streets, highways, parking lots and perform stunts and exhibitions. Since February of 2023 we've seen this trend arise across the nation and we've taken enforcement actions through this. We've towed vehicles, written citations and even arrests," he said.
Starting Friday, violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and pay a fine of no less than $1,000. A second violation within two years, gets charges upgraded to a felony and includes a minimum fine equal to twice the value of the vehicle involved. Law enforcement could also seize the cars involved.
Gastonia Mayor Walker Reid dies
Gastonia’s mayor has died, the city said late Thursday. Walker Reid III had been mayor since 2017 and had three decades of public service, including being a retired Mecklenburg County Assistant Fire Marshall and a Gastonia city councilmember for 22 years. He was Gastonia’s first elected Black mayor. He lost his reelection campaign to Richard Franks. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Walker Reid III was 66 years old.
We are saddened to announce that our beloved Mayor Walker E. Reid, III passed away Thursday, 11/30/23. The family is asking for privacy and your prayers during this time of bereavement. Funeral arrangement details will be communicated through the City’s social media platforms. pic.twitter.com/tfOqmIkMyP— City of Gastonia (@CityofGastonia) December 1, 2023
McAdenville's Christmas lights turn on Friday
One of the area’s best-known holiday traditions kicks off Friday night in McAdenville in Gaston County where the annual Christmas Town lights display begins its 68th year. The event starts with a ceremony at 5:30 this evening. The display is open from 5:30 until 10 pm each night through Dec. 26.
Cooper says Duke Energy needs to speed clean energy transition
Governor Roy Cooper said Thursday that Duke Energy needs to speed up its transition to clean energy to help meet North Carolina's climate goals.
"We need to meet this goal of getting a 70% reduction by 2030 in carbon emissions, and by 2050 to get to carbon zero. And they need to do more investment in renewable energy, like solar and wind. They're making progress, but it needs to go faster," he said.
Cooper spoke to reporters in Gaston County where he joined U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for a tour of Livent's lithium processing plant, which has more than 200 employees. The governor talked up the Biden Administration's climate policies and his own, including North Carolina's 2021 energy reform law that requires the state's main electricity supplier to slash carbon emissions from electricity generation.
Mint Hill man charged in connection with Jan. 6 insurrection attempt
A Mint Hill man was arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges for assaulting law enforcement during the breach of the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2020, as part of the attempted insurrection to overturn the election results and keep outgoing President Donald Trump in power. David Daniel, 36, has been charged in Washington, DC, with assault, resisting or impeding certain officers and civil disorder. According to court documents, Daniel was with another rioter who pushed against a barricade of the Senate Wing door. Daniel was arrested by the FBI in Mint Hill on Thursday.
Body cam footage of CMPD arresting, punching woman over alleged marijuana to be released
A judge will allow the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to release body camera footage of the arrest that led to Christina Pierre being punched in the face. According to WSOC, the Charlotte City Council has until Dec. 11th to view the footage in a closed session. The video is expected to be released to the public on Dec. 12th. Police thought Pierre had been smoking marijuana, but she said it was a legal, hemp-based cigarette.
Discovery Place Kids in Rockingham to close temporarily
The Discovery Place Kids museum in Rockingham will close for renovations starting on Jan. 2nd. There will be a new quarry and physics exhibits, a climbing structure for adults and a spotlight for local landmarks like Hinson Lake. The renovations are expected to be completed in early 2024, with a reopening planned in the spring.
South Mecklenburg High teacher arrested, accused of sex with student
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have arrested a South Mecklenburg High School teacher and charged her with felony sexual activity with a student by teacher.
In a press release, CMPD says 26-year-old Gabriela Neufeld engaged in sexual activity with an 18-year-old male student. Neufeld was charged after an interview with detectives. The investigation is continuing.
Kannapolis man dead after underage sex sting
A man is dead after a shooting involving Kannapolis Police and the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Department during a sting operation. A statement from the city of Kannapolis says officers and deputies were working on a joint operation targeting child sex predators and internet crimes against children.
While attempting to arrest a suspect at a home on Bellwood Place off Dale Earnhardt Boulevard at about 1:45 pm Wednesday, police say the suspect drew a gun and fired at officers. They returned fire, killing the suspect. Investigators say the 33-year-old man, whose identity has not been released, had gone to the home after chatting with who he believed to be a 15-year-old girl, and that he went to meet her for sex. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the case.
NASCAR inks multibillion-dollar media rights deal
NASCAR announced a new $7 billion media rights deal Wednesday during the sport’s annual Champion’s Week in Nashville – starting with the 2025 season that will include both existing NASCAR television networks, FOX Sports and NBC Sports, as well as first-time broadcast rights for Amazon and TNT Sports.
"We are super excited about what 2025 is gonna bring to us because of where the distribution that we now have across here, which is a combination of obviously broadcast cable and streaming. We want to meet race fans where they are or potential race fans where they are. We think this group does exactly that for us," said NASCAR President Steve Phelps.
The new media rights agreement will extend through the 2031 season.
Double roundabouts coming to traffic-clogged roads in Cornelius
The North Carolina Department of Transportation said dual roundabouts will be built in Cornelius after a $14.6 million contract was approved.
NCDOT will build one roundabout on US 21 north of the Catawba Avenue intersection, and one to the south which will eliminate the need for left turns.
Crews could begin work in March and the project is expected to be completed by 2027.
NC Senate leader Phil Berger endorses Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson for governor
State Senate leader Phil Berger is endorsing Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson for governor in 2024. Berger attended Robinson's campaign kickoff earlier this year but declined to make a formal endorsement at the time.
He said Wednesday that he's backing Robinson over three other Republican candidates, including State Treasurer Dale Folwell and former state Sen. Andy Wells.
"I think he is the right person at the right time. I just think he's got a good head on his shoulders. I think philosophically, he's generally in the right place. I think he has been supportive of many of the things that we've done here at the General Assembly," Berger said.
Asked by reporters about Robinson's past comments attacking the LGBTQ community and other groups, Berger says he wouldn't have made similar comments. But Berger doesn't think the remarks should disqualify Robinson from becoming governor.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police starting new community accountability group
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said Tuesday that he’s been working with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations to organize a Community and Police Collaboration Group that will collectively review certain CMPD policies and provide the organization with recommendations for consideration.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations will hold a series of meetings to foster collaboration and open dialogue among a diverse group of stakeholders.
In a press release, CMPD says starting next month, these meetings will include faith-based leaders, community leaders and organizers representing various entities including the Citizens Review Board, the NAACP, Action NC, and the Latin American Coalition.
The gatherings are set to culminate in June with the presentation of policy recommendations to CMPD.
Unmarked graves of enslaved people found in Lexington
A survey of the Lexington City Cemetery has identified more than 30 possible sites where enslaved people were buried in unmarked graves.
The survey was done in July using ground-penetrating radar on a roughly tenth-of-an-acre portion of the cemetery. The only physical tribute is a stacked stone-and-masonry memorial letting visitors know that enslaved people were buried here before the Civil War.
There is no known record of who erected the memorial or when. The survey found 18 probable unmarked burials and 14 more that researchers believe are possible sites.
Mayor Jason Hayes says the project is important as the city works to properly memorialize the people anonymously interred. HAYES: “I'm really grateful to the community stakeholders that for, at least a few years now have been raising awareness, and educating and advocating for those individuals that were buried there” The cemetery is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and Hayes says information from the survey will be added to the entry.
Bank of America trimming branches
Bank of America is planning to close more than 100 branches across the country by the end of this year, including locations it already cut in the Carolinas.
The Charlotte Business Journal reports the Charlotte-based bank has already closed 95 financial centers this year, with 15 more closures expected by the end of the year, according to data from the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. Bank of America expects to reach up to 138 branch closures next year, as it adjusts its physical footprint.
Mecklenburg County jail officer arrested for allegedly smuggling phone, tobacco
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday that detention officer Tiffany Blanks was arrested for providing a phone and tobacco products to an inmate in the Mecklenburg County Detention Center. MCSO started an investigation after they received multiple reports alleging that Blanks was smuggling items. Based on surveillance footage, MCSO found vape devices and a phone.
Alex Murdaugh sentenced for financial crimes
Disgraced former attorney Alex Murdaugh was sentenced Tuesday afternoon to 27 years in South Carolina prison for financial crimes in connection with money taken from clients, partners and other victims. Murdaugh is already serving two life sentences for killing his wife and son.
North Carolina ski slopes open later amidst dry, warm weather
North Carolina ski resorts are gearing up for opening day a few weeks later this year than last. Warmer and drier weather this month meant ski slopes that opened in mid-November last year have had to delay.
Appalachian Ski Mountain opens Thursday, Nov. 30, Beech Mountain opens Saturday, Dec. 2, as does Tube World, part of Cataloochee Mountain.
Hatley Point, formerly Wolf Ridge, opens Dec. 16, as does Sapphire Valley.
Some ski runs are open now at Sugar Mountain.
Moore County investigation continues with no suspects one year after power grid attack
It’s been nearly a year since someone in Moore County shot up two electrical substations, causing a days-long power outage for tens of thousands of residents.
No arrests have been made, and authorities have not named any suspects or a possible motive in the Dec. 3 attack.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said in a statement that his office and the FBI have pursued hundreds of leads and the investigation remains ongoing.
Authorities continue to offer a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Since the 2022 attack, state lawmakers have passed Senate Bill 58, which increases penalties for committing property crimes against utility companies.
Fields also said his office has worked with state Sen. Tom McInnis and others on measures to improve infrastructure security, and met with U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson and other members of Congress to discuss infrastructure security on a national level.
Lawsuit challenging NC Senate gerrymandering won't get expedited hearing
A federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina's new state senate district map will not get an expedited hearing. That means candidate filing for 2024 will start as scheduled next Monday.
Two Black voters from the northeastern part of the state sued to block the senate map passed by North Carolina's Republican-majority legislature last month. They claim GOP legislators violated minority protections under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by gerrymandering northeastern districts in the area known as North Carolina's "Black Belt." The suit argues Republicans purposely sought to dilute the power of Black voters.
But Judge James Dever ruled the plaintiffs should have filed their complaint sooner since the disputed map was enacted at the end of October. Dever denied their request for an emergency preliminary injunction by this Friday. He said the case will have to wait its turn on the court's crowded docket.
City Council approves an additional $950K for Independence busway
The Charlotte City Council on Monday voted to spend an additional $950,000 to convert empty lanes on Independence Boulevard into a busway.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation plans to convert those lanes into express toll lanes for all motorists, but that’s been delayed indefinitely because of a lack of money.
But rather than keep the lanes unused, the city agreed to pay the DOT $950,000 to let buses use the lanes and avoid traffic. The money will help build a new entrance to the lanes near the Hawthorne Lane bridge, which had to be rebuilt for the Gold Line streetcar.
The lanes have been closed, and mostly empty, since the second phase of streetcar construction started about six years ago.
The total cost of the project is $1.7 million. The city had previously allocated $750,000 for the bus lanes, which could be ready by mid-2024.
Charlotte Hornets lose game, LaMelo Ball
The Charlotte Hornets lost more than just the game Sunday night to the Orlando Magic.
Point guard LaMelo Ball left the game in the first half to an ankle injury – the same one he had off-season surgery to repair. The Hornets fell, 130-117.
They take on the New York Knicks Tuesday night.
Central Avenue lane closures to last for at least three months
Central Avenue will be reduced to one lane in each direction starting Monday between Prospect Street and Louise Avenue. That’s because overhead power lines are being moved underground. The closure is expected to last until the end of February.
Carolina Panthers drop to 1-10 with loss to Tennessee Titans
The Carolina Panthers' season of futility continued Sunday, as the team dropped another game and fell into double-digit loss territory and a 1-10 overall record.
Playing in Tennessee, the Panthers had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter with a final drive. But they missed the opportunity, and lost with a final score of 17-10.
The Panthers' lone touchdown came on a 5-yard run by Chuba Hubbard. Quarterback Bryce Young finished with 18 completions on 31 attempts, 194 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. He was sacked four times, including one strip-sack that resulted in a lost fumble.
Young has been sacked 36 times this season, third-most in the NFL.
The Panthers play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.
Wife of NC native held hostage among those released by Hamas
U.S. Sen. Ted Budd's office said Sunday that the wife of a North Carolina native held hostage by Hamas in Gaza was among those freed this past weekend.
Budd's office said Aviva Siegel was released Sunday, one of 17 people in the latest batch of people freed in a swap with Israel. She's married to Keith Siegel, who grew up in Chapel Hill and lives in Israel. Both were taken hostage during the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas and have been held since.
Keigh Siegel is still being held by Hamas, Budd said.
"We are pleased that some hostages have been released and are now home with their loved ones. We remain steadfast in our commitment to secure that freedom for North Carolina native Keith Siegel, Omer Neutra, and all hostages illegally held by Hamas terrorists. While we are encouraged by the government of Qatar’s efforts to mediate the release of some of the hostages, we renew our call to their government to exert pressure on Hamas leadership to release each and every hostage immediately and unconditionally," he said in a statement.
MeckMin cancels interfaith Thanksgiving service over concerns about planned protest
Mecklenburg Metropolitan Interfaith Network canceled its Thanksgiving service this week after being notified about a planned protest at the event, according to the organization.
In a statement, the organization said they had anticipated the possibility of the protest, expected it to be peaceful, and had measures in place. But after conversations with the host church, who felt the measures in place might not be sufficient, they decided to cancel. The interfaith organization considered moving the service online, but that option was viewed as unrealistic as the event was about to start in two hours. Currently, the organization does not plan to offer an alternative service.
Known as MeckMin for short, the group has held an interfaith service for Thanksgiving since 1975, drawing hundreds of attendees. This year’s service had been planned at Trinity Presbyterian Church, with the theme of “Radical Inclusion.” MeckMin leaders couldn’t be reached Friday for more information about the planned protest.
Man dies in apartment fire near Eastway Drive
The Charlotte Fire Department said a man died in an apartment fire near Eastway Drive this morning.
Firefighters responded to a call for smoke inside a building located on Frontenac Avenue around 5:30 am.
When firefighters arrived, they found one apartment with an extinguished fire. Firefighters rescued a man who had serious injuries. He was pronounced dead. CFD investigators said the fire was caused by careless smoking.
The fire appeared to self-extinguish, and no one else was hurt. There were smoke detectors, but it's not clear if they were working, CFD said.
Charlotte to spend almost $1 million more to speed Independence Boulevard express lane reopening
Charlotte City Council gets back to work Monday with an agenda that includes approving funds to speed up the reopening of express bus lanes in the middle of Independence Boulevard. The lanes have been closed for about six years, since the start of construction for the second phase of the Gold Line streetcar. They were supposed to reopen last year for buses, but an NC Department of Transportation funding shortfall delayed the project.
The city of Charlotte already agreed to spend $750,000 to speed up the project last year. Now, they’re set to put in another $950,000, as the cost of the project increases because of higher material costs and wages. The bus lanes are set to reopen in mid-2024. Eventually, the NC DOT plans to construct toll lanes along Independence to Interstate 485.
City Council is also expected to approve a contract with a new private company, National Express Transit, to manage Charlotte’s troubled bus system.
The meeting begins Monday at 5 pm.
Sauratown Mountain fire largely contained, forest service says
The N.C. Forest Service said the Sauratown Mountain wildfire in Stokes County, northwest of Charlotte, is mostly contained, after burning an estimated 833 acres.
Rain helped corral the fire in the rugged, hilly country, as did more than 75 firefighters. Recent heavy storms that killed and damaged trees left plentiful fuel for the fire, officials said, and dry conditions left it ready to burn. Fire crews remained to battle hotspots and create more firebreaks to ensure the fire's spread is contained, but out-of-state crews were returning to their home bases as of late Wednesday.
"There have been no injuries. Crews have determined that one primary structure and one outbuilding sustained minor fire-related damage. The cause of the fire is undetermined and remains under investigation," the Forest Service said, in a statement.
Burn bans lifted across western North Carolina
Thanks to recent rainfall, the N.C. Forest Service has lifted a ban on all open burning in 30 counties, including Mecklenburg and those surrounding.
“While recent rainfall has decreased fire danger and provided some relief from persistent dry conditions, I can’t stress enough how important it is for the public to be careful, ready and responsible when burning outdoors,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, in a statement. “Almost all wildfires in this state are human-caused, which means most wildfires in this state are preventable. Do your part. Check for restrictions before burning. Get a valid permit. Check the weather, and never leave any outdoor fire unattended.”
Local burn bans may remain in effect in some municipalities.
Rain helps, but doesn't end, drought across North Carolina
The Charlotte area got about 2.3 inches of rain Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing some relief amid the region's ongoing drought. That was the most rain since August. But forecasters say the region needs another 5 inches of rain or so before Christmas to completely ease the drought. A new North Carolina drought map out Tuesday shows 13 counties in southwestern North Carolina in extreme drought. Another 40 counties, including Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, are in severe drought.
Rain, leaky roof postpone high school basketball championship rematch game
Rain and a leaky roof at Myers Park High School’s gymnasium forced the midgame postponement of Tuesday night’s boys basketball championship game rematch with Richmond Senior High School. The Charlotte Observer reports the game was stopped a few minutes before halftime. Myers Park was leading 27-21. Myers Park defeated Richmond Senior in the state finals last year.
People gather to remember Madalina Cojocari, now missing for one year
Residents gathered and prayed at Cornelius Town Hall on Tuesday night to remember Madalina Cojocari, who was last seen a year ago yesterday when she was 11 years old.
Cornelius resident Sara Stauner told WBTV that she felt compelled to attend last night’s gathering because she has kids of similar age.
"It just hits right in my heart cause it could be my kids you know? And if it was mine I would want the community to come out and support and keep the name alive so that she can be found," she said.
Cojocari’s mother and stepfather didn’t report her missing until Dec. 15, a few days after a school resource officer and counselor at Bailey Middle School tried to make a home visit because she hadn’t been at school. Both her mother and stepfather face charges of failure to report a missing child.
Home sales fall again in Charlotte as prices remain high
Home sales in Charlotte fell almost 14% in October compared to the same month a year before, as prices and mortgage rates stayed high — but buyer demand jumped for the first time this year,.
Data from Canopy, the Charlotte-area Realtor association, shows pending contract activity rose by 3% compared to last year. Pending contracts are a forward-looking indicator, giving real estate agents and home sellers some reason for optimism.
The median home price remained unchanged last month at $380,000. However, the average sale price of a home increased by 2.5%, to $467,000.
CMS board committee votes to put Narcan in all schools
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School board policy committee voted unanimously Tuesday morning to change its First Aid and Emergency Medical Care policy and bring Narcan to all CMS schools by 2024. Narcan is a nasal spray that can reverse opioid overdoses. The current policy doesn't say anything about treating overdoses. The policy reversal will authorize CMS employees or school nurses to use Narcan. The full board will vote on the policy on Dec. 12th.
Marking one year since 11-year-old Madalina Cojocari disappeared
Tuesday marked one year since Madalina Cojocari went missing, with no reported sightings since.
The 11-year-old Cornelius girl was last seen returning home from school on the bus and was reported missing in December.
Her parents have been charged for failing to report her disappearance, but no one has been charged yet in the disappearance itself, and her fate is unknown.
The FBI's Charlotte office will post new billboards across North Carolina that were donated by Adam’s Outdoor and the North Carolina Outdoor Advertising Association.
One year today....... It has been one year since Madalina Cojocari was seen on surveillance video getting off her school bus in Cornelius. This video is from November 21, 2022. Madalina was not reported missing until December 15, 2022. https://t.co/sND4V8G8Mu #FindMadalina pic.twitter.com/RXV0IU7y6b— FBI Charlotte (@FBICharlotte) November 21, 2023
Construction companies fined in deadly SouthPark fire
Three companies that were involved in building a SouthPark apartment complex that went up in flames in May have been fined for safety violations. Two construction workers were killed when they were trapped inside the burning building.
Fines for MCRT Carolinas Construction and two insulation companies totaled more than $56,000, according to several media outlets. Most of that was levied against MCRT, the general contractor, which was fined for failing to provide a quick way out for workers.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board moving to put Narcan in all schools
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board is clearing the way to have Narcan in all schools by early 2024, starting with a policy committee meeting Tuesday. Also known as naloxone, Narcan is a nasal spray that can reverse opioid overdoses.
Charles Jeter, the CMS staff person who works on policy with the board, says he only recently learned that some schools already have Narcan on hand, but it’s carried by police officers stationed at the schools, not CMS employees.
"We have Narcan in every high school today. Every SRO from the city of Charlotte, Huntersville and Pineville carries Narcan in our schools today. Now, we only have SROs at high schools, some K-8s and a smattering of other schools, so it’s not widespread," he said.
The current CMS board policy on first aid and emergency medical care says nothing about treating overdoses, but concerns have risen as fentanyl is spreading across the country. The policy committee will look at revising the policy to authorize use of Narcan by CMS employees or school nurses, who work for the county health department.
Jeter says the full board will vote on the policy Dec. 12, and then staff will be trained on how and when to use the nasal spray. Jeter said Narcan should be available in all schools during the first quarter of 2024.
Charlotte City Council approves new developments with thousands of houses
Charlotte City Council approved several large developments at their monthly rezoning meeting Monday night.
A plan to build 123 townhouses at Alleghany Street and Ashley Road in west Charlotte got the green light, as did a proposal for up to 300 apartments, plus shops, restaurants, offices and hotel rooms at Fairview Road and Liberty Row Drive in SouthPark.
But the biggest by far is a new plan to build 1,950 new houses on vacant, wooded land between I-85, I-485 and Mallard Creek Church Road in northeast Charlotte. That plan, by Tribute Companies, would also include an elementary school and a park.
All three plans were approved unanimously.
NC attorney general sues flooring company accused of ripping off customers
A local flooring company in Cornelius is being sued by the state’s Attorney General’s Office for allegedly defrauding customers to the tune of more than $400,000.
In a press release, Attorney General Josh Stein accused Flowers Flooring of requiring large deposits from customers for flooring materials and installation services that were never delivered or performed.
More than 80 complaints have been filed against the company, including from a museum and a nonprofit, low-income housing provider.
According to Stein’s office, the Davidson Housing Coalition paid Flowers Flooring, a deposit of nearly $2,800 to install flooring for a 97-year-old client, who needed the existing flooring replaced quickly due to safety and health hazards.
Coalition officials say the project was never done and a requested refund was not provided.
Stein’s office is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction against Flowers Flooring. restitution for customers and other monetary penalties.
Consumers who believe they were defrauded by Flowers Flooring are advised to file a consumer complaint with the state Attorney General’s Office at www.ncdoj.gov/complaint.
Longtime Gantt Center president to retire
David Taylor, president and CEO of The Harvey B. Gantt Center for the last 14 years, announced on Monday his plans to retire.
During Taylor’s tenure, he increased the organization's budget from $790,000 to $4 million.
When Taylor initially took the job, he expected it to be a short-term role.
“When I joined the Gantt in 2009, I was so proud to see that the vision of the Uptown Charlotte location had become a reality. My plan was to lead the organization for three years, however, the many amazing opportunities opening up for the Gantt through the years kept me here," Taylor said in a statement. "I realized that there would never be ‘a right time’ to retire, but with plans firmly in place for the Gantt’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration, and beyond, I am confident that the institution will thrive and I can embark on my next chapter. The Gantt will always hold a warm place in my heart.”
The Gantt’s Board of Directors will conduct a search for their next leader.
Arts and Science Council names interim president
Charlotte's Arts and Science Council will have a new leader next month.
The ASC said Monifa Drayton will become the organization's interim president and will remain in this role until a national search is completed.
Drayton currently serves as the chair of the Mecklenburg Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. She was among those selected for the James E. Clyburn Leadership Institute's 2023/2024 inaugural cohort.
Current ASC president Krista Terrell will leave the organization next month.
NC Governor, Chamber feud over accusations of not supporting Black nominees
North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and the state’s Chamber of Commerce are feuding over Cooper’s accusation that the chamber isn’t doing enough to support his Black judicial nominees.
In a two-page letter to the chamber, Cooper acknowledged that they have no statutory authority to approve nominees, but he said legislators often seek the group’s guidance. Cooper said significantly more of his white nominees are being approved to the state’s Business Court, the Industrial Commission and the Board of Review than the Black candidates he has put forward.
The chamber’ "substantial influence on the Republican-controlled General Assembly can not be ignored when considering" what Cooper said was a “pathetic” record in approving his Black nominees.
The chamber responded with a seven-page letter, saying that "being wrongly and arrogantly lectured to by the state’s chief executive with outrageous claims of racism is enormously hurtful and dispiriting."
It also pointed out that Cooper had recently endorsed Attorney General Josh Stein — who is white — in the governor’s race over Michael Morgan, a former state supreme court justice, who is Black.
Man killed in early morning shooting
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police are investigating a homicide on West Arrowood Road that happened Monday around 4 am. CMPD said the shooting was reported in the road's 1500 block, near I-77. No other information was released early Monday.
WSOC-TV reports the man was found shot to death in the parking lot of a hotel.
Carolina Panthers drop to 1-9 after game dominated by Dallas Cowboys
The Carolina Panthers played a home game that felt like it was on the road Sunday, losing 33-10 to the Dallas Cowboys in a Bank of America Stadium filled with blue-and-white jersey-wearing Cowboy fans.
The Panthers' rookie quarterback Bryce Young continued to struggle behind a porous offensive line that allowed seven sacks. Young lost a fumble and threw and interception that was returned for a touchdown.
The Panthers scored a field goal and a single touchdown on a throw to tight end Tommy Tremble.
Panthers coach Frank Reich said the game was closer than the final score.
"Difficult loss. Give the Cowboys credit. They played well. They are a good football team. I do think for three quarters we hung in there. We went down and had that long drive, scored and got it to a one-score game. And I felt like in spite of the fact that we had a few mistakes along the road the game was well within our grasp when we got it to 17-10," he said.
The Panthers are now guaranteed to have their sixth consecutive losing season, all under owner David Tepper.
The flailing Panthers next play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Charlotte marks World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
Charlotte leaders gathered Sunday morning at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Freedom Division building to recognize and remember the 334 people killed in traffic wrecks in the city from 2019 through 2023, as part of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
The city has set a goal of completely eliminating traffic-related deaths by 2030, though it's not on track to reach that.
“The loss of any life on Charlotte’s streets is a tragedy we must work together to prevent, and I mourn those who have lost loved ones or have been seriously injured in road crashes on our streets,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “We have made progress in reducing traffic fatalities through Vision Zero policies and engineering improvements to our roads, but more work remains to eliminate these preventable deaths.”
Ending deaths from wrecks is known as Vision Zero, part of a global goal to do so largely by redesigning roads in major cities.
“Ending traffic fatalities requires a comprehensive approach that includes education, personal responsibility, fair and consistent enforcement of traffic laws, and, most importantly, streets designed for safety,” said Sustain Charlotte’s Eric Zaverl in a statement.
The Magnificent Ramshorn snail returns to the wild
After two decades of only surviving in captivity, the federally endangered Magnificent Ramshorn snail has been returned to the wild. This week, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission placed 2,000 of the aquatic snails into a pond in Brunswick County.
“They are a unique part of North Carolina’s natural history heritage. The original wild populations died out from degradation of natural habitats and poor water quality,” said NCWRC’s Inland Fisheries Chief Christian Waters. “It has been a labor of dedication, thoughtful planning, partnerships and support from our Commissioners to make this extremely significant conservation win occur.”
After 20 years of living only in captivity, the federally endangered Magnificent Ramshorn has been returned to the wild. On Nov. 16, the NCWRC reintroduced 2,000 of these aquatic snails into a pond on NCWRC Game Lands in Brunswick County.— N.C. Wildlife (@NCWildlife) November 17, 2023
Read more: https://t.co/DKdLBhLit8 pic.twitter.com/RJ75btKSnW
CMPD says officer did punch woman in face during arrest
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police now say an officer struck Christina Pierre in the face after she hit him multiple times in the face during an arrest Monday. Police say the unnamed officer was attempting to arrest her and Anthony Lee for allegedly smoking marijuana at a bus stop near South Tryon and Arrowood Road. CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings previously said it didn't appear the officer hit the woman in the face.
CMPD has asked a court to allow the release of officer-worn body cam video from the incident. A hearing is set for Nov. 30.
Man killed overnight in southeast Charlotte
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating a deadly overnight shooting. Police say they were called to Villa Court near Wendover Road in southeast Charlotte just after 11:30 pm for an assault with a deadly weapon incident. They found one man with a gunshot wound who was pronounced dead at the scene. No information about a suspect or what led to the incident has been released.
Report: Tricia Cotham running for General Assembly again
Mecklenburg Republican State House member Tricia Cotham has told GOP legislative leaders that she will run for re-election in her newly drawn district. That’s according to Raleigh journalist Bryan Anderson.
Cotham made national news in April when she switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. That gave the GOP a super-majority in the General Assembly, allowing Republicans to override numerous vetoes by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.
Cotham’s current district includes Mint Hill and east Charlotte. It’s heavily Democratic. The legislature, however, recently re-drew the district to include some of the most Republican precincts in the country. It includes Matthews, Mint Hill and parts of south Charlotte.
UNC Charlotte men's soccer wins first round NCAA tournament game
The Charlotte 49ers men’s soccer team won their opening round game in the NCAA tournament last night, downing High Point University 1-0. Filip Jauk scored on a header in the 37th minute for Charlotte. The Niners will go on the road to face Clemson Sunday night at 6:30.
CLT officials predict the busiest Thanksgiving on record
Charlotte Douglas International Airport officials say this year’s Thanksgiving travel season is expected to be the busiest on record. Travel will peak between today through the Monday after Thanksgiving with nearly 900,000 local and connecting passengers.
Compared to the same days last year, the airport is expecting 14% percent more travelers. The total is projected to exceed 2019 — the last pre-COVID year — by 9%.
Officials are advising passengers to pre-book parking at parkclt.com.
NC Wildlife Commission adding officers for first time in nearly half a century
For the first time in 46 years, the North Carolina Wildlife Commision said it will add 16 more wildlife officer positions. The General Assembly approved funding for the increase, and the Wildlife Law Enforcement Division will go from 208 officers to 224. Applications open next year.
Panthers OC Thomas Brown says he's focused on leading, even as he loses play calling duties
Today Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown addressed the media Thursday after being removed from play calling. That duty will return to head coach Frank Reich. Brown said besides play calling nothing else has changed for him.
"I'm still game planning every day. I'm still running, install meetings. I still have a big role in responsibility and practice. , and as far as falling back on stuff, I mean, I've been, I was raised by the best leader. I know. And so I'm gonna continue to try to find the best way to lead that I know," he said.
The 1-8 Panthers take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
Cyberattack shuts down NC Central University online classes
Online classes were suspended this week at North Carolina Central University in Durham following what university officials are calling a “cyberintrusion.” In a press statement, campus officials say they were alerted Sunday of the incident, that disrupted the university’s campus wi-fi network and the system used by faculty, staff and students to access NCCU resources.
In addition to suspending online classes, university officials say all systems that require logins using NCCU credentials were temporarily shut down. They do not believe students’ personal or other sensitive data was compromised, but information was provided to students on how to avoid identity theft as a precaution. In-person classes are taking place as the cyber incident is being investigated. The U.S Secret Service and FBI are assisting NCCU technology officials in the investigation.
University officials could not be reached to determine when online classes will restart. The school’s telephone system was not working Thursday, and some online sites were not responding.
UNC Chancellor the sole finalist for MSU job
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz is the lone finalist for the presidency at Michigan State University, according to Michigan State’s student newspaper. The Michigan State Board of Trustees had two finalists: Guskiewicz and Taylor Eighmy, president of the University of Texas at San Antonio, but Eighmy has dropped out of consideration.
Carolina Panthers' coach Frank Reich takes back play-calling
Carolina Panthers Head Coach Frank Reich said during his weekly press conference Wednesday that offensive coordinator Thomas Brown will no longer be the play caller on Sunday. Reich will take those duties back, and quarterback Bryce Young said he’s fine with the move.
"It was what he felt like was best, what we felt like was right for the time being and, you know, I think it's just result of, you know, result of a lot of things. But ultimately, it's, again, it's just what was best for the team. It's, there's no one that's at fault. It's no one. It's just, again, it was, it was the call that coach made and, you know, we have his back with it," said Young.
The 1-and-8 Panthers take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
Reich said the move doesn't reflect on Brown's performance.
"This is not about Thomas, this is about me, it's about the team. I'm in the position I'm in because of years of offense being a successful offensive coordinator and play caller. We have eight games left and I just want to give my attention and everything I can do, and everything I can bring to bear to help the offense, you know, take a next step," he said.
YMCA Charlotte selling two locations
The YMCA of Greater Charlotte says they’re selling two Lincoln County locations to the YMCA of Catawba Valley.
WJZY reports the two locations, Lincoln County YMCA in Lincolnton and Sally’s YMCA in Denver, are in the deal. Officials say they anticipate closing in the spring of next year, but it’s contingent upon final approval by the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s association board of directors, the YMCA of Catawba Valley’s association board of directors and the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners.
Trump still has a solid lead in South Carolina primary, poll shows
Donald Trump remains the top choice of South Carolina Republican registered voters for the Republican Party presidential nomination among the narrowing field of contenders, according to the latest Winthrop University Poll.
With just over three months remaining until the GOP Presidential Primary, the former president still has the majority of Republican support at 52%. Consistent with last month’s Winthrop Poll findings, 17% of Republican voters in the state support Nikki Haley’s nomination, while 12% support Ron DeSantis.
Charlotte Hornets drop in-season tournament game
The Charlotte Hornets lost a game in the NBA’s in-season tournament Tuesday night, falling to the Miami Heat 111-105. The team was without Terry Rozier, Brandon Miller and Gordon Hayward. After the game, Hornets coach Steve Clifford was frustrated with mental mistakes from his younger players.
"Bottom line tonight is if we could have stayed organized for longer, you know, we would or would have given up ourselves, we gave ourselves a chance to win, but that was a winnable game right there. And you just, again, especially against them, you can't give possessions away with guys don't know what the sets are, guys don't know what the coverages are and it doesn't matter how old they are. Ok? If they're gonna be out there, they gotta know what's going on," he said.
PJ Washington led the Hornets with 32 points. Lamelo Ball had 28 points and 11 assists. The Hornets host the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night.
New CMS south high school has a name: Ballantyne Ridge High
The new CMS high school that will open in south Charlotte in August now has a name: Ballantyne Ridge High.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board approved that name Tuesday, based on the recommendation of a community naming committee.
The committee considered naming the school for local civil rights activist Reginald Hawkins, who was the first African American to run for North Carolina governor. But the committee and the school board opted for a name that reflects the geographic area, which the committee described as “a welcoming, vibrant place to live.”
The board approved boundaries for the new high school in June, after a process that dragged on for more than a year and drew huge crowds to board meetings and public forums.
Ballantyne Ridge High will pull students from the crowded Ardrey Kell, Myers Park and South Mecklenburg high schools.
Ready for the Famous Toastery Bowl? It's coming to Charlotte next month
Charlotte’s second bowl game has gained a title sponsor: The Famous Toastery Bowl will be played at Jerry Richardson Stadium at UNC Charlotte on Dec. 18. The game will feature teams from the Mid-American Conference and Conference USA. The game was originally named the Bahamas Bowl and was played at Thomas A Robinson Stadium in Nassau. It was moved due to construction at the original stadium.
Charlotte increases fines for some illegal parking
Charlotte City Council voted Monday night to increase the fines for drivers who park on a sidewalk, in a bike lane or park in front of the Gold Line streetcar tracks uptown.
The current fine is $25. It will now increase to $100.
The higher fines also will apply to trucks that park illegally on the side of the road.
The city’s Quality of Life team made the recommendations to increase the fines.
Two shot, one killed near West Sugar Creek
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating a shooting that left one person dead Monday evening in north Charlotte.
The shooting was reported just before 5 pm near 1100 West Sugar Creek Road, police said. Two people were shot. One soon died at the hospital, while the other has life-threatening injuries.
WSOC-TV reported the shooting was on Reagan Drive, an access road off West Sugar Creek. That's near a cluster of high-crime motels the city has been trying to buy and shut down.
Police released no other information about the shooting as of Tuesday morning.
CATS picks new company to manage its bus system
The Charlotte Area Transit System has picked a new private company, National Express Transit, to manage its troubled bus system.
Headquartered in suburban Chicago, the company also manages buses in Boston and Washington, D.C., along with Durham and Greensboro.
The current management company, RATP-DEV, ran Charlotte’s buses for two decades.
But CATS has suffered large ridership declines on its buses in the last decade. And in recent years the transit system has struggled with buses not showing up on time or at all.
Brent Cagle, CATS' interim chief executive, said the proposed contract with National Express should produce better service.
“We have also identified ways that we can enhance the performance metrics both in the form of penalties for failure to perform and incentives when they over-perform or exceed expectations,” Cagle said.
CATS hires a private company to manage its buses, in part, so its drivers can belong to a union and engage in collective bargaining.
City Council will vote on the contract in two weeks.
New poll shows Robinson, Stein leading in race for governor
A new Meredith College poll shows Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein with large leads in their respective primaries in the governor’s race, but many voters still haven’t made up their minds.
On the Republican side, 41% of likely voters said they prefer Robinson ahead of the March primary.
State treasurer Dale Folwell has only 3% support. Salisbury attorney Bill Graham is at 5% percent, and former state senator Andy Wells is at 1%.
Mark Walker recently dropped out of the race to run for Congress.
But 42% of GOP voters said they don’t know.
On the Democratic side, Stein leads former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan with 38% to Morgan’s 11%. The rest are undecided.
Charlotte Hornets drop to 3-6, lose Miller
The Charlotte Hornets lost the game and another player on Sunday. The New York Knicks downed the Hornets 129-107 and rookie Brandon Miller left the game with an ankle injury. That's despite 32 points from Lamelo Ball. The team was already without guard Terry Rozier, who’s recovering from a groin injury.
Coach Steve Clifford told Bally Sports after the game he hoped the injury wouldn’t cause Miller to miss much time.
"You know, I mean, he tried to come back in and it'll be, I think more day-to-day see how he feels tomorrow. He'll get treatment and stuff and hopefully be good by Tuesday," he said.
Charlotte stands at 3-and-6 on the season and starts a five-game homestand tomorrow night against the Miami Heat. Forward Miles Bridges finishes his suspension from the NBA after domestic violence charges, but he has a court appearance set for today for allegedly violating a protection order.
Three shot, one killed just outside uptown Charlotte
Police are investigating an early Sunday morning shooting that left one man dead and two other people injured.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police were called just after 2 a.m. to the 800 block of Seigle Avenue, just east of uptown off 10th Street. They found multiple victims, and paramedics rushed them to the hospital, where a man was pronounced dead.
Police released no other information about the shooting, the circumstances or any suspects.
Two juveniles shot, third arrested in uptown Charlotte
Two juveniles were shot and seriously injured Saturday night in uptown Charlotte, police said.
The incident happened shortly after 11 pm. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police were called to the 400 block of South Church Street, near Romare Bearden Park. They found the two juveniles who had been shot, as well as a gun, and arrested a third juvenile.
Police said they're still seeking a second suspect, but didn't offer any information or a description. Police didn't say what led to the shooting or release any other information, including the identities of the juveniles involved.
Earlier this year, two people were shot and seriously injured in Romare Bearden Park. CMPD arrested a man nearby and said that shooting stemmed from a verbal altercation.
Charlotte breaks dry streak — but just barely
Charlotte broke a nearly four-week streak with no measurable rainfall on Friday, as a light drizzle fell briefly across much of the region.
But it won't be nearly enough to impact a severe drought affecting much of the state, especially western North Carolina. Counties classified in severe drought include Mecklenburg, Iredell, Gaston, Lincoln, Catawba and parts of Union, Rowan and Cabarrus.
No plan to change Carolina Panthers coaching staff
During a press conference Friday, Carolina Panthers Head Coach Frank Reich said there’s no plan to change staff right now, even though the team is 1-and-8 after losing Thursday night to the Chicago Bears.
"Not looking at any staff changes at this point. I can tell you that we are always look for what can we do to get better. It's never just one factor. It's,, many factors or several factors usually. So the way to go about that is, you know, each person own up to their responsibility. And so, well, that's the way we'll approach it kind of position by position, coach by coach one on one and as group dynamics as necessary and keep fighting," he said.
The Panthers recently assigned play calling to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, and Reich said there’s no plan to change that either. The Panthers offense struggled against the Bears defense and the team had a season low of 213 yards.
The Panthers host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday, Nov. 19.
Gastonia to temporarily cut bus schedules due to driver shortage
The City of Gastonia’s Transit Division will make temporary bus schedule cuts due to a driver shortage starting Monday, Nov. 13.
Afternoon bus routes will run on a Saturday schedule through Dec. 4, and buses will run from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. This will affect all bus lines.
Director of Public Works Dale Denton said he believes the adjustment will be short term. He said driver applicants are in the pipeline.
Western NC under state of emergency for drought, wildfires
Most of Western North Carolina is under a state of emergency because of wildfires and the ongoing drought. The order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday makes it easier to coordinate emergency response efforts. Several fires are still active in the west, including the Collett Ridge fire in Cherokee county, which now covers close to 4,000 acres in the Nantahala National Forest and is just 5% contained. Crews tackled two fires in Jackson County this week: the East Fork Fire has burned 300 acres and is about 80% contained; a smaller fire at the other end of the county is out, but still smoldering. Sarah Rehmann and her husband run a home business in the Tuckasegee community. She says flames got within 50 yards of their house.
“We ended up just thinking about, okay, if we do have to get outta here, what do you grab? You know, so we definitely would have grabbed bags of like sentimental stuff and some clothes. Luckily we didn't have to evacuate," she said.
Some residents in Henderson County weren't as fortunate. No one was injured, but two homes were destroyed along with several structures by a brush fire still burning in the Edneyville community where more than 400 acres have been scorched.
Yesterday, state Attorney General Josh Stein announced that North Carolina’s price gouging law has been extended to 33 western North Carolina counties after Governor Roy Cooper declared the State of Emergency. Those include Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Gaston, Cleveland, Lincoln and Iredell Counties.
Carolina Panthers reeling after loss to Chicago Bears
The Carolina Panthers lost again Thursday night and now stand at 1-and-8 on the season. The team only managed 213 yards of offense – a season low. Coach Frank Reich said he still believes in quarterback Bryce Young, who was sacked three more times last night.
"I'm not worried about Bryce's confidence. I think he's mentally tougher than, a lot of rookie quarterbacks. I mean, for, as a rookie quarterback, considering the start we've had, I don't think I see any retreat in him. That's not the right word. I see aggressiveness. I see resolve. I see determination and, and I feel like he's taking ownership of it," said Reich.
Eddie Pinero was short on a 59-yard field goal attempt with less than 2 minutes left in the game. Young said he's frustrated.
"We have to be better. You know, our defense had a great game start to finish. We have to be better. I have to be better. First and foremost, I have to be, I have to be a lot better. So, you know, we have to be better. It’s frustrating, it's very frustrating and that's not me, that's not just me that, that's everyone, you know, we're competitors," he said after the loss to the Chicago Bears.
The Panthers host the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday, Nov. 19.
Monday is deadline to register new students for CMS 2024 magnet lottery
Monday is the deadline for families to register their kids for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools if they want to enter the 2024 lottery for magnet seats. That includes families who want to enroll their children in Montessori pre-K programs, those whose children will start kindergarten in August and any others who expect their kids to start in CMS next year.
CMS will start taking 2024 magnet applications on Nov. 27. Find more about new student registration, the lottery and the available programs at CMSchoice.org.
NC Forest Service issues burn ban for western swath of the state
The North Carolina Forest Service on Wednesday enacted a burn ban for 16 counties in the western part of the state.
The ban extends from the Tennessee border into Mecklenburg and Iredell counties.
The Forest Service said dry conditions and recent lack of rain have created a heightened risk of forest fires.
Already, a wildfire in Henderson County has burned hundreds of acres and threatened dozens of homes.
Another blaze in Cherokee County has grown to more than 2,000 acres.
Violating the burn ban could result in a $100 fine plus $183 court costs.
Mooresville officer fatally shoots man in hospital parking lot
Police in Mooresville say an officer shot and killed a man early Wednesday morning in a hospital parking lot.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Mooresville police said 56-year-old Robert William Berry told staff at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center he was planning to harm himself in his vehicle in the hospital's parking lot.
When police arrived around 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, they said Berry was outside of his vehicle armed with a gun.
After initially following officer commands to placed his gun on the ground, police said Berry picked the gun back up and posed a threat to the officers.
Police said one officer, who was not identified, shot Berry five times. Police attempted to administer aid, before Berry died while receiving care inside the hospital.
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting, and the officer who shot Berry was placed on an administrative leave, pending further investigation.
Brooks Sandwich House location for sale
Almost four years after the shooting death of its co-owner, the popular Brooks Sandwich House is on the market.
Charlotte Magazine reported the listing. The 1-acre property is at 2710 N. Brevard Street, next to the Blue Line.
From the Charlotte Magazine story: "Brooks’ is a beloved mainstay in NoDa, serving its signature chili cheeseburgers from a small red hut near the Matheson Avenue overpass since twin brothers Scott and David Brooks opened it in 1973. The cash-only business celebrated its 50th anniversary in June.
But Brooks’ has operated under reduced hours since Scott Brooks was shot and killed the morning of Dec. 9, 2019, as he was opening for the day. Two men await trial for his murder."
Some local elections around Charlotte remain too close to call
Some local races were still too close to call on Wednesday.
In Cornelius, incumbent Mayor Woody Washam led challenger Denis Bilodeau by just 13 votes.
In Pineville, David Phillips was up by just 28 votes over Ed Samaha in that town’s mayor’s race.
And in Union County, Bob Yanacsek, was leading his opponent Robert Burns in the Monroe’s mayor race by a single vote.
In all three races, all precincts have reported results, but provisional ballots haven’t been counted yet.
NC auditor Beth Wood charged with improper use of a state vehicle
A Wake County grand jury has indicted State Auditor Beth Wood on allegations of misusing a state vehicle.
WRAL reports that the indictment follows an eight-month investigation that found Wood had been improperly driving her state-assigned vehicles before and after she crashed her vehicle last December.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman says Wood used official vehicles for hair appointments, spa visits and other personal trips not allowed under state policy.
Wood’s first court date is Dec. 4.
Key Panthers player to miss Thursday night game after concussion
The injury bug continues to challenge the Carolina Panthers. On Monday, the team revealed that Linebacker Brian Burns is in the concussion protocol after Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis. Coach Frank Reich said it’s not likely he’ll play in Thursday night’s game in Chicago.
"You know, he's our best player. He's a, he's a beast, you know, we'll miss him. But, you know, it's next man up, you know, and like you said, I mean, I'm not even thinking there's any chance of getting him, honestly. I mean, I don't even if he were, there's a part of me like I can't imagine you know, letting him out there even if he wanted to go out there. So yeah, it'll be next man up. I mean, this is, again, this has happened many times. We move on," he said.
Reich also said pass rusher Marquis Haynes has been taken off the injured list and now has a 21-day window to practice. The team can activate him at any time during that period. The Panthers visit the Bears Thursday at 8 pm.
Gastonia asks residents to limit lawn watering, car washing
The City of Gastonia is urging residents to conserve water as the Catawba-Wateree River Basin has moved into Stage 1 drought conditions.
The city is asking residents to limit lawn watering to no more than two days per week and limit car washing to no more than once a week.
Gaston County is also one of 14 counties in the eastern part of the state under a burn ban due to the dry conditions, along with Cleveland and Burke Counties.
Mecklenburg's early voting turnout hits about 5%
Election Day is Tuesday for municipal races across Mecklenburg County, as well as three school board seats plus a $2.5 billion bond referendum for new school construction and renovation.
Turnout for November odd-year elections in Mecklenburg County is usually between 15 and 20%, but this year’s election may be lower.
After early voting ended Saturday, a little more than 5% of the county’s 771,000 eligible voters had already cast ballots.
One reason for the light turnout is that the city of Charlotte has only one competitive race, in District 6 in south Charlotte.
Polls open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. They close at 7:30 p.m. Poll workers will ask you to show a Photo ID, but you can still vote without one, so long as you fill out a photo ID exception form.
CMPD investigating homicide in North Charlotte
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are investigating a homicide in North Charlotte.
On Sunday around 2:44 am, CMPD officers responded to an assault with a deadly weapon at 100 Eastway Drive. When officers arrived they found two men with gunshot wounds. Paramedics took both men to the hospital, where one died today.
CMPD did not release the name of the victim.
Charlotte Hornets drop to 2-4 after Sunday loss
The Charlotte Hornets lost 124-118 to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday despite a triple-double from point guard Lamelo Ball. He finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Terry Rozier did not play after suffering a groin injury in Saturday night’s win over the Indiana Pacers. The Hornets are back in action Wednesday night when they host the Washington Wizards. They stand at 2 and 4 on the season.
Carolina Panthers play again Thursday after tough loss Sunday
The Carolina Panthers lost 27-13 Sunday to the Indianapolis Colts behind three interceptions from quarterback Bryce Young, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
"I can't do that. I have to be better. Our defense, I thought, played great. You know, people were in positions, turn the ball over, turn the ball over three times, two of them turned into 14 points. So, you know, it's how you lose a game. Everyone else around did a great job and, and it’s on me," Young said after the game.
Head Coach Frank Reich said it doesn’t shake his faith in Young.
"It's a long road and, so I slash we believed very strongly in Bryce coming into this game. I felt like he was hitting a rhythm in a stride. This is, this is a step backwards for us as an offense. You know, we were starting, thought we had several games in a row where we're making good strides and then when we went out and laid an egg today offensively," he said.
The Panthers won’t have much time to dwell on the loss. They’ll play again Thursday night on the road against the Chicago Bears.
Drought prompts burn ban in western NC, Charlotte-area counties
A burn ban is in effect for 14 counties in western North Carolina, including Cleveland and Gaston Counties, until further notice. The continuing lack of rain has prompted the US Forest Service to issue the ban on open burning and to cancel all burn permits
Under state law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was previously issued. No new permits will be issued until the ban is lifted. Anyone violating the burn ban faces a $100 fine plus $183 court costs.
Any person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire. Local fire departments and law enforcement officers are assisting the N.C. Forest Service in enforcing the burn ban.
Charlotte firefighter hurt in blaze near SouthPark
A Charlotte Fire Department firefighter sustained minor injuries in a fire Sunday afternoon that left several apartments charred.
It took 50 firefighters about an hour to control the fire at an apartment building near 4500 Hedley Way, off Quail Hollow Road. No one else was injured, and the firefighter is expected to recover. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Charlotte Marathon draws almost 7,300 runners
Saturday's Charlotte Marathon drew almost 7,300 runners, organizers said after the event. It was the 19th running of the Novant Health Charlotte Marathon.
Here are some highlights:
- The men’s marathon winner was Sean Rager, of Alpharetta, Ga., with a time of 2:31:17. “It was a great course, first time running it…great spectators, great competition, great pacers, great everything across the board," he said.
- The women’s marathon winner was Lauren Fulcher, with a time of 3:09:00. “I moved to Charlotte about four months ago… I ran the full marathon, and ended up getting first, somehow. I feel absolutely exhausted, but so thankful to be able to run," she said.
Dave Behrens, from Raleigh, continued his streak of finishing every the Novant Health Charlotte Marathons. For his 19th, he finished in 5:48:43.
Carolina Panthers drop to 1-7
The Carolina Panthers were unable to follow up last week's first victory of the season with their second, instead falling 27-13 to the Indianapolis Colts at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday.
It was a particularly dismal outing for rookie quarterback Bryce Young. He was intercepted three times, including two picks that were returned for touchdowns.
The Panthers are now 1-7 on the season. They play again in just four days, taking on the Chicago Bears Thursday night. Kickoff is set for 8:15 pm.
Person struck and killed by train in northeast Charlotte
This afternoon a person was struck and killed by a train in Northeast Charlotte.
According to Charlotte Mecklenburg EMS, they were struck near Cobblestone Glen Drive and Old Concord road. Medic released no other information.
Gastonia opening new recreational area near Crowders Mountain
Gastonia will hold a groundbreaking ceremony this afternoon at Linwood Springs Park, a new park on more than 140 acres of land that was a former golf course near Crowders Mountain State Park. The 4 pm event is open to the public at 2900 Linwood Road.
“This important project is moving forward and we are excited to offer more outdoor amenities for our residents to enjoy,” said Mayor Walker Reid. “When completed, Linwood Springs Park will be a regional Parks and Recreation destination that will complement all of the great things at Crowders Mountain State Park and highlight the diversity of our city.”
Carolina Panthers hoping to notch second win this weekend
The Carolina Panthers face head coach Frank Reich’s old team, the Indianapolis Colts, on Sunday looking to build on last week’s win. One bright spot for a team that has lost six of its first seven games is linebacker Frankie Luvu, who was named the NFC’s defensive player of the week after a stellar game in the win over Houston. Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero says the undrafted free agent brings special qualities to the team.
"You know, I can't say enough good things about this player. He's, he epitomizes everything you want in a football player. He's tough. He's smart. He plays with great effort. He plays with great physicality, he's a great teammate and, you know, he's had a number of games this year where you could say, wow. And, it's great to see him get rewarded for it," he said.
Kick off against the Colts is set for 4 pm Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
NC Speaker Tim Moore to run for Congress
North Carolina's longest-serving state House speaker will be running for Congress next year, but Tim Moore's bid for a congressional seat is not a surprise.
Moore had already confirmed this summer that he would not seek another term as speaker next year. And when the Republican-led legislature approved a new congressional map last week it featured a redrawn 14th district with Moore's home of Cleveland County at its core.
The question then became not if, but when, would he announce his candidacy. According to longtime GOP political consultant and Moore adviser Paul Shumaker, Moore has started calling supporters and plans to formally announce his congressional run next week.
The new congressional map is expected to tilt the current 7-7 split between Democrats and Republicans to at least a 10-4 advantage for the GOP.
Early voting ends Saturday; turnout remains light
Early voting for next week’s municipal elections ends tomorrow. In Mecklenburg County, just over 26,000 early ballots have been cast so far, according to the county's board of elections. That’s out of about 776,000 registered voters. Races for school board, county commission, city council and mayor are on the local ballot along with $2.5 billion in school bonds. Voters can cast early ballots at many libraries and some county rec centers through Saturday. Find your location here.
Drought deepens around the Charlotte region; voluntary conservation urged
The Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Board says drought conditions have placed the river basin in a Stage 1 condition. That means residents are encouraged to conserve water and Duke Energy will make operational adjustments at its hydroelectric facilities and monitor lake levels at boat ramps and close them when necessary. Downstream flow releases and recreational flow releases will be curtailed.
"While some areas of the basin have received scattered rainfall, the lack of widespread and consistent precipitation along with warm temperatures have resulted in increased drought conditions,” said Ed Bruce, Duke Energy's coordinator for the water management group. “We will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates as needed to best protect the shared water supply available to our communities.”
Federal scientists say wetter winter will improve drought conditions across much of the Southeast, including the western Carolinas.
Rock Hill man settles lawsuit against police for $500,000
A Rock Hill man who claimed he was falsely arrested and then defamed by the city in 2021 has settled his lawsuit with Rock Hill for $500,000. Travis Price’s attorney, Justin Bamberg, says the settlement will allow him to move forward and that the suit was filed to ensure that no other innocent person faces a similar situation.
Price had been charged with hindering police and spent 36 hours in jail when he gathered the belongings of his brother, Ricky, who was being arrested. The police officer involved, Jonathan Moreno, was fired and charged with third-degree assault.
"Travis Price is pleased to have resolved this incredibly unfortunate situation with the city of Rock Hill. Mr. Price is a father of three and a family man whose reputation was unduly impacted following the incident by statements put out by the city of Rock Hill. He was innocent and this settlement will allow him to move forward and continue to work hard to provide for his family. Mr. Price's motivation for filing a lawsuit was to ensure that no other innocent person has their reputation smeared by a city or police department. We are confident that that message will be delivered loud and clear today," his attorney, Justin Bamberg, said in a statement.
Man seriously wounded in CATS bus stabbing
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are looking for a suspect after a stabbing on a Charlotte Area Transit System Bus on Wednesday. It happened at about 2:30 pm when two passengers apparently got into an argument that turned violent on a bus on Sugar Creek Road near North Tryon. CMPD says a male victim was taken to a hospital with multiple stab wounds and serious injuries. The victim’s identity was not released.
A CATS spokesman said the incident started as an altercation between two passengers, and no one else was hurt. Police released a photo of the alleged attacker, and asked for tips.
CMPD needs help identifying this suspect who was involved in a stabbing on the CATS bus on November 1, 2023 at about 2:20pm. The incident occurred at 215 E Sugar Creek Rd. ☎ Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 with your anonymous tip for💰 leading to an arrest. pic.twitter.com/SK2i5Oe2tE— Charlotte Crime Stoppers (@CLTCrimeStopper) November 2, 2023
NC Democrats name new executive director of the party
The North Carolina Democrats have named Kian Sadjadi the new executive director of the party.
The 36-year-old most recently worked as a state program director for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.
Mecklenburg County extends deadline for tax relief program
Mecklenburg County said Wednesday that the application deadline for the HOMES Program has been extended to Dec. 15.
The program provides property tax assistance grants of up to $660 for qualified, low-income homeowners. The program was introduced to offset costs for this year’s property tax increase.
Applications are on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted. For more information, go to mecknc.gov.
State insurance commissioner fires top officials
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey fired his top fire official yesterday, along with two other high-ranking employees in an apparent power struggle with the General Assembly.
WRAL reports that in an email to Department of Insurance employees, Causey confirmed the firings of Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor and Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mike Williams.
Causey then appointed Deputy Fire Marshal Tony Bailey the new chief state fire marshal. Special Agent Craig Jarman will become the new deputy state fire marshal. Bailey and Jarman assume their new roles today.
The moves appear related to a new law targeting Causey’s duties.
For over 80 years the state’s elected insurance commissioner has also carried the title of state fire marshal, but a separate person — the chief state fire marshal — handled day-to-day duties. That changed this month, when the General Assembly’s Republican majority stripped Causey of the fire marshal title and created an independent Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Causey, who is also a Republican, publicly complained, saying the change was made without his input.