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Local News

Feb. 6-13, 2021: The Week In Review From WFAE

Trump Gage Skidmore Flickr 022318 CPAC file
Gage Skidmore
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Flickr
Then-President Donald Trump speaks at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. He was acquitted by the Senate on Saturday in his second impeachment trial.

Impeachment, Vaccine Allocation And Fairness

The biggest news of the week, of course, was that after just a five-day trial, the Senate voted Saturday to acquit former President Trump in his impeachment. It was what most people expected, but was it right? One of the biggest surprises was that Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina was one of seven Republicans to submit a "guilty" vote. Was it fair for him to vote Trump was guilty of inciting an insurrection after voting that it wasn't constitutional to impeach the former president in the first place?

Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said he felt Trump wasn't "constitutionally eligible" for conviction but, following his vote to acquit, excoriated the former president for a "disgraceful dereliction of duty" and said he was "practically and morally responsible" for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol that left five people dead.

When it comes to COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week that teachers and school employees would be eligible for their shots later this month -- moved to the front of Group 3. Is that fair that they have been deemed more "essential" than some other essential workers?

There's no question that teachers and school workers are on the front line locally after the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board said students will return for in-person classes Feb. 15.

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Steve Harrison
Mecklenburg County last week held a vaccination clinic at the Hindu Center in east Charlotte.

Mecklenburg County quietly has been trying to make access to the COVID-19 vaccine more equitable by holding word-of-mouth clinics for minority and ethnic groups around the city. In an attempt to even the playing field for students who have been learning remotely for nearly a year, CMS also has issued some new standards -- namely that there will be no zero grades and students can have more time to finish work.

All those decisions come as coronavirus numbers continue to decline in North Carolina. But there also were a couple concerning markers this week: The state recorded its 10,000th death attributed to the virus and also discovered the more contagious South African variant in a test sample.

And as the numbers continue to add up and access to the COVID-19 vaccine is slowly opening, Charlotte is already starting the process of rebuilding after a most trying 2020. Our series Rebuilding Charlotte began this week, and it will examine the big and small ways the city is working to recover.

One thing is certain in all of this: WFAE will try its best to provide the most accurate insightful news, fairly. Thanks, as always, for your trusting us to do so.

THE HIGH COST OF COVID-19

The West End Fresh Seafood Market has been a staple in the West End neighborhood for more than 22 years. But the coronavirus pandemic brought hard times to the restaurant, and almost forced owner Bernetta Powell to close its doors. With help through from the city, Powell made it through. WFAE’s Gracyn Doctor has the story on how she survived.

Meanwhile, weddings look a lot different amid the coronavirus. One estimate says $47 billion in sales will be lost over the course of two years. How do wedding planners, florist and others involved in the industry survive? Gracyn Doctor and Maria Ramirez Uribe have the story of how a few are coping.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seating and catering for 200 at the Alexanders’ wedding quickly became sparse seating for 20 — with no food.

ICYMI: MORE LOCAL NEWS

CMS Board Member Seeks Countywide Report On Student COVID-19 Cases

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board member wants the county's health department to create more detailed reports on where children who test positive for COVID-19 go to school.

CMS To Ask Legislators For The Ability To Delay Election To 2022

Because of the delays with the census, the city of Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are unsure if their elections can be held in the fall as scheduled.

Bills Would Raise Minimum NC Marrying Age To 18

North Carolina is one of only two states that allows kids as young as 14 to get married. A pair of bills in the General Assembly would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to get married in North Carolina.

Iconic South End Restaurant For Sale

Mr. K’s on South Boulevard is up for sale. The restaurant known for its burgers and ice cream opened more than 50 years ago. Also in this week's BizWorthy: Atrium Health unveiled renderings for the new Wake Forest medical school.

COVID-19 Relief Bill Will Make Health Insurance More Affordable

The bill will reduce health care costs and incentivize states to expand Medicaid coverage. It would increase the federal share of North Carolina’s non-expansion Medicaid spending. A think tank estimates this would result in an additional $2.4 billion for the state.

Council OKs Recommendation To Rename Streets With Ties To Racism

The Charlotte City Council on Monday night unanimously approved a recommendation to rename streets that honor Confederate soldiers, segregationists or people who played a prominent role in advancing white supremacy.

New Camp North End Phase Features Contest-Winning Designs

Part of Camp North End's next expansion, which includes the redevelopment of a 35,000-square-foot office building, will feature contest-winning designs from four local Black architects. It's possibly the highest-profile redevelopment effort in Charlotte.

COMMENTARY

Winter officially started on Dec. 21, but our symbolic winter feels like it’s been going on a lot longer. WFAE’s Tommy Tomlinson, in his On My Mind commentary, recently found a little hope for brighter days.

BEST OF CHARLOTTE TALKS

In-person classes have been limited in various ways for nearly a year during the pandemic. Some children are falling behind educationally, and a toll has been taken on their mental health, too. But physical health considerations are paramount, especially for those in schools likely to be most impacted by COVID-19: the teachers.

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Sanya N’Kanta is a genre-defying singer-songwriter based in Charlotte.

HAVE YOU HEARD?

The past year has been a busy one for Jamaican-born Charlotte-based singer-songwriter Sanya N’Kanta. In March 2020, he released an electrified debut record that in unambiguous terms reconciles past experiences with the present-day reality of racial inequality. Hear all about it on the latest episode of WFAE's Amplifer podcast.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

The name "the Queen City," the crowns on everything from street signs to trash cans — there are just some common things associated with Charlotte. In the latest episode of the FAQ City podcast, we look into why these things represent Charlotte and answer questions about the city’s origins.