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A Mass Shooting Hits Close To Home: The Week In Review From WFAE

Rock Hill vigil mass shooting CD
Claire Donnelly
Signs, flowers and stuffed animals left as tributes to Dr. Robert Lesslie are seen Friday at Riverview Family Medicine and Urgent Care in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Lesslie was one of six people -- including his wife and two juvenile grandchildren -- shot to death at his home Wednesday in York County. The person authorities suspect in the slayings died after apparently reportedly shooting himself.

In the past few weeks, there have been mass shootings in metro Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado. And now another one hit especially close to home in Charlotte this week when six people were shot and killed in nearby Rock Hill, South Carolina. Prominent doctor Robert Lesslie, his wife, Barbara, their two grandchildren and two workers at their house all were killed Wednesday evening. Authorities say former NFL player Phillip Adams shot them all before taking his own life early Thursday morning.

Everyone is still asking "why?"

“We have probably more questions than you do about this case right now,” York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson told reporters Thursday. “There’s nothing right now that makes any sense to any of us.”

The York County coroner told news outlets that Adams' brain will be tested for CTE, the degenerative brain disease that is common among football players who suffer repeated concussions and has been known to cause behavior and personality changes. That testing could take months.

In the meantime, a prayer vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday night in Rock Hill to remember the victims.

Rock Hill will try to rebuild from the devastation. Just like Charlotte and other neighboring cities and towns are working to rebuild from the pandemic, even as anyone in the state older than 16 became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine this week. In our Rebuilding Charlotte series, WFAE reporter David Boraks says that municipal budgets took a hit in the last year, but it's not as bad as it might have been.

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David Boraks
A sign welcomes visitors for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte last August. In the end, only 336 delegates came for a day, because of the pandemic and politics. It was among the big losses of tourism tax revenue that hit the city budget last year.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is moving toward some more normalcy, too, as the majority of students will return for in-person instruction this week following spring break. It's the latest adjustment in a year full of them for school-age kids. WFAE's Ann Doss Helms reported on how teens who needed jobs as part of their graduation requirement found creative employment -- even though the requirement ended up being waived.

Another thing waived this year for North Carolina public school students: letter grades. What's not going to be waived, though? Year-end state exams, which must be taken in person.

UNC men's basketball will look at rebuilding without coach Roy Williams — but with newly hired head coach Hubert Davis.

One final story on returning to normal and rebuilding occurred this week: Ronnie Long, who served 44 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, was awarded the state-maximum $750,000 in restitution.

His attorney, though, calls it "wholly inadequate" and says that he deserves more and will fight for it.

Ronnie Long (left) walks out of prison in August 2020.


CDC Finds No Safety Issues After NC J&J Vaccinations Paused

After 14 people in Wake County suffered adverse reactions, North Carolina health officials said the CDC "did not find any safety issues or reason for concern; and the CDC recommends continuing to administer the vaccine."

NC Health Officials: Rapid COVID-19 Testing Should Be Part Of School Safety

North Carolina health officials said Thursday they want to make rapid testing for COVID-19 a part of the safety plan for public and private schools, and they say they’ve got money to make it happen.

Eastern Band Of Cherokee Chief: 'Finally We Have One Of Our Own In There'

Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, says Deb Haaland’s appointment as Interior Secretary is a major victory for Native Americans because she understands firsthand the issues they face.

29 NC Sheriffs Sign Letter Urging Biden To Stop Influx Of Migrants At Border

Sheriffs from across the country, including 29 in North Carolina, have signed a letter urging President Biden to address the influx of migrants at the United States' southern border. Mecklenburg County's sheriff is not among them.

CMS Policy On Contracts Raises Questions Of Racial Equity, Teacher Quality

A proposed change to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ policy on teacher contracts is raising questions about teacher quality and racial equity. Hundreds of teachers — a disproportionate number of them Black — could be denied four-year contracts next year.

Davidson Free Clinic Closes, Refers Patients To Huntersville

The Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson is shutting down its 18-year-old weekly free medical clinic and is now referring patients to a free clinic in Huntersville that operates five days a week.

Charlotte Plans Grant To Move Former Tent City Residents Out Of Hotels

Seventy-five people who used to live in what became known as Tent City near uptown Charlotte may get longer-term housing and support thanks to a federal CARES Act grant, according to plans announced by the city this week.

North Mecklenburg Group Back At Work On Economic Mobility Issues

An organization formed last year to promote regional cooperation on economic mobility in northern Mecklenburg County is rebuilding after the pandemic slowed its work. The collaborative was slowed by the pandemic but not quiet.

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Courtesy of Tech Elevator
The city of Charlotte spent around $170,000 in CARES Act funding to provide 11 students with full scholarships to attend Tech Elevator’s 14-week coding bootcamp.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects up to 126,000 additional jobs will be needed in computer systems design over the next decade. That’s why the city of Charlotte spent about $170,000 in CARES Act funding to give 11 people financially impacted by COVID-19 a scholarship to enroll in a coding program.


North Carolina’s Roy Williams retired as the third-winningest coach in college basketball history. But WFAE’s Tommy Tomlinson, in his On My Mind commentary, says it wasn’t the wins that Williams was thinking about when Williams decided to leave the job.


The pandemic has resulted in a rise in anxiety and other mental health issues. Sometimes we don’t recognize those underlying causes, we just notice the effects -- like stress-eating, procrastination, drinking more or endless doom scrolling on social media. We talk to a neuroscientist and psychiatrist about breaking the cycle of anxiety.


FAQ City listener Jeremy Whitner noticed 1910 coming up a lot as he traveled around Charlotte. “A lot of churches were founded in that time and a couple of big civic buildings were built," Whitner said. "And then a lot of stuff in the area ... was built around 1910 to 1915, too.” On the latest FAQ City, we find out what was happening in Charlotte in 1910.


Some may recognize jazz as being the lifeblood of New Orleans, but what of Charlotte? President and CEO of JazzArts Charlotte Lonnie Davis shares what it takes to sustain (and evolve) "America's Classical Music" in the Queen City. Celebrate the joyful noise of Jazz Appreciation Month with this 2018 encore edition of Amplifier.

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