March 2, 2024
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Plaza Midwood social district launches this weekend

The district allows customers to carry open containers of alcohol from participating businesses along Central Avenue.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte’s first social district is now open. 

While the gloom is preventing some people from getting buzzed, others are ready to go. “It’s not really buzz-worthy at the moment it’s so dreary out,” one patron said. 

Many people are taking advantage of Charlotte’s first social district in Plaza Midwood. Dish had their first customer with an open container at 10 a.m. 

“I was definitely shocked to hear about that it’s exciting though hopeful we will start driving business with drinking district,” Sarah Longhurst, with Dish, said.

Plaza Midwood’s social district allows customers to carry open containers of alcohol along Central Avenue, running from Two Scoops Creamery past Workman’s Friend and continuing all the way to Morningside Drive. The social district expands toward Independence Boulevard to include Pecan Avenue, Thomas Avenue and The Plaza. It also contains some land in Chantilly.

Stickers will be posted at businesses across the social district to inform patrons of the establishment’s participation in the social district. A purple sticker denotes a business where the specialized social district cup and to-go alcoholic beverages can be purchased. A green sticker marks an establishment where a social district cup is welcome with an outside beverage. Businesses not participating in the social district will be denoted with a red sticker. 

Many customers said they were excited to fill up and go with their open containers, but the process to do so has been confusing, and not all restaurants are choosing to participate.

“There are some businesses that attended social district meetings and entertained the ideas but they want to hold off and see how things develop,” Mary Saric, with Legion Brewery, said. Mary said you can identify which businesses are participating by stickers. The purple sticker means an establishment has cups and to-go drinks. “We are going to put a sticker on it that’s going to say Legion with the date they got the beverage on the cup.”

RELATED: Social district in Plaza Midwood launching next month

Mary said all cups should be empty before entering a new bar or restaurant. “Legion for instance only has a beer and wine permit so we don’t have the license to have liquor on our premises, it is an actual legal issue,” said Mary. “You can’t really control how much you’re serving people when you don’t know what’s in their cup,” said Mary. You can click here for more details

The stainless steel cups will be $8, reusable, and must have a bar’s sticker on them to be valid. When a customer goes from one participating place to the next, they’ll exchange their cup for a new one if getting a second to-go drink.

An all-day kickoff event for the new social district will take place on Saturday, March 9. 

The hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app for the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts.

Jason Phillip Michel, the executive director of the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association, told WCNC Charlotte in February that “as long as an ABC (NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission) permittee is following the responsible safe serving training, there should not be an issue at all.”

Michel said participating places are trained by police and ABC. Plus, they’re going to slowly roll out the cups so bars have time to adjust. 

RELATED: As NC bar named one of 32 remaining lesbian bars in the US, a Charlotte organizer is working to increase LGBTQ+ spaces

Charlotte leaders approved the creation of social districts in August 2022. Several Queen City neighborhoods like South End, Uptown, NoDa and LoSo have shown interest, but Plaza Midwood was the first neighborhood to receive approval for a social district. That 8-2 vote was in October 2023.  

To let us know how WCNC Charlotte can help you get ahead in 2024, email us at newstips@wcnc.com.

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get-ahead

Community Link helping families get ahead this tax season

The non-profit offers free tax help for those who qualify.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — To let us know how WCNC Charlotte can help you get ahead in 2024, email us at newstips@wcnc.com.

Community Link is helping several families and community members in the Charlotte area get ahead this tax season. As challenging as filing taxes can be, the non-profit is helping people get the most out of their tax returns. 

Filing your taxes can be a stressful process. For some, even asking the right questions can be difficult.  Eric Platts said every time it’s tax season, he finds himself asking difficult questions, ranging from how much he may owe to where to get his taxes filed.

Community Link aims to help those in need of assistance realize there’s money they can get back. Platts went through the service for the first time this tax season and he’s thankful he did.

⏯ Subscribe to WCNC Charlotte on YouTube to be notified of new videos

“Times is challenging for everyone,” he told WCNC Charlotte.

Tameka Gunn with Community Link shares that this tax season the organization is offering free tax help to those that have an annual household income of $64,000 or less.

“With a tax refund, it could help so many of the families that we serve to get the essentials that they may need,” she said. 

Last year, the non-profit prepared over 1,600 tax returns where the average refund was about $990. 

For the latest news about how to get ahead, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app and enable push notifications.

“That could help them get into a new home a lot of times for those that are looking for rental property,” she said. “They need that upfront cost and a security deposit of $1,200, on top of utility deposits — that refund could be used to get them in that home.”  

From now until April, they’re looking forward to maintaining their mission of helping tax filers get the most out of their returns. Platts said the service has been so helpful he’s referring it to his coworkers and close friends. 

“This is great, great service that they’re providing. And I’m very thankful,” he said.

You have until April 15, 2024 to file your taxes. 

Contact Myles Harris at mharris5@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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crime

7 suspects, most of them teens, charged with slew of crimes, Union County deputies say

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — The Union County Sheriff’s Office says investigations that began in late 2023 have led them to make several arrests for a slew of car thefts and drive-by shootings. Most of the suspects arrested, however, are teenagers.

In a news release this week, the office shared that it began these investigations along with the Monroe Police Department in October 2023. The office said the two agencies started looking into crimes tied to a local street gang, which included four shootings that month. The suspects, who were typically teens, would reportedly steal a car from a home and use it for drive-by-style shootings. Four cars were stolen in total, while five homes and one vehicle were shot into during the four incidents.

Download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app for the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts.

Nobody was hurt, although the office notes homes were occupied when the shootings happened. The incidents mainly happened in Monroe and Wingate.

After a months-long investigation, Union County deputies and Monroe Police officers said they had identified and charged seven suspects in connection to the shootings and other crimes tied to them. Of those seven, five suspects range in age from 15 to 17. The other two were identified as 22-year-old Jhony Verara-Torres and 18-year-old Tahaj Moser.

Both Verara-Torres and Moser are in jail, and four of the teen suspects are in custody at a detention center after law enforcement obtained secured custody orders from the state Department of Juvenile Justice. The fifth juvenile is not yet in custody but faces several criminal charges obtained by investigators via juvenile petitions.

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, just download the free app.

The crimes all seven suspects are charged with include multiple counts of the following charges:

Attempted murderShooting into an occupied dwellingMotor vehicle theftPossession of a firearm by a convicted felonEvidence tamperingBreaking and entering a motor vehicle

Additional charges are likely as the investigation continues.

Anyone who can provide further information on the case is asked to call either the Union County Sheriff’s Office at (704) 283-5600 or the Monroe Police Department at (704) 282-4700. Both agencies also accept tips through their respective mobile apps, available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Note: WCNC instituted a policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.  

WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings. 

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crime

Person wounded after shooting in east Charlotte, Medic says

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Medic reports a person is in the hospital after a shooting in east Charlotte unfolded Saturday afternoon.
The agency said around 3:30 p.m. one patient was transported from Wilora Lake Road near North Sharon Amity Road for treatment of life-threatening injuries from a gunshot wound. Further details about the person’s condition were not immediately available.
WCNC Charlotte will update this article with any new information once it has been provided.
WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the many issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.
All of WCNC Charlotte’s podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere. […]

home

Man killed I-85 crash near Belmont

Lanes of I-85 closed for several hours, Saturday, as detectives investigated the deadly crash.

BELMONT, N.C. — Southbound lanes of Interstate 85 closed to traffic for about seven hours on Saturday morning as detectives investigated a deadly crash near Belmont.

At around 1:45 a.m. officers with the Belmont Police Department responded to a crash on I-85 South at the Belmont Mt. Holly Rd. Bridge.

When officers arrived, they said they found a man in the road who had died at the scene.

Download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app for the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts.

Belmont Police said officers spoke with a 25-year-old man who stated he was traveling in the far-left lane of I-85 South when he suddenly saw a disabled vehicle in his lane with no lights on.

The man told police he was unable to avoid the car and struck it in the rear.

The driver of the car, who died from his injuries, was identified as 65-year-old Jackson Munsey.

His family has been notified of his death.

Belmont Police asks anyone with information to call Traffic Officer Fussell at 704-825-3792. 

WCNC Charlotte wants to hear about your loved one

If your loved one was impacted by this incident, WCNC Charlotte hopes to make this process less painful with our More Than A Number initiative. With your help, we want to share who your loved one was with our viewers in North Carolina and South Carolina. When you’re ready, fill out the form below or send us photos, memories and other details about them to desk@wcnc.com. 

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, just download the free app.

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WCNC Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at WCNC Charlotte.   SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Pandora || TuneIn || Google Podcasts || iHeart 

All of WCNC Charlotte’s podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere. […]

crime

Police investigate homicide in northeast Charlotte

In an alert shared Friday around 7 p.m., CMPD said the scene was located along Old Mallard Creek Road, near the Keith Family YMCA and West W.T. Harris Boulevard. While more specific details weren’t immediately available, officers said one victim had been pronounced dead.
CMPD identified the victim as 17-year-old Jorden Anthony Wood. Wood’s next of kin has been notified of his death.
 The investigation into this case is active and ongoing. 
CMPD promised further updates once more information was available to be released.
WCNC Charlotte will update this article once officials have provided more details. 
If your loved one was impacted by this incident, WCNC Charlotte hopes to make this process less painful with our More Than A Number initiative. With your help, we want to share who your loved one was with our viewers in North Carolina and South Carolina. When you’re ready, fill out the form below or send us photos, memories and other details about them to desk@wcnc.com. 
All of WCNC Charlotte’s podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere. […]

crime

Man suspected of killing another man in Albemarle now in custody

Police say the man turned himself into authorities on Saturday.

ALBEMARLE, N.C. — WCNC Charlotte has chosen to use this mugshot because the suspect has active arrest warrants, and because police have urged caution to the public.

A man was found shot to death in Albemarle early Friday morning, police said. Later in the day, they identified both the victim and the suspect accused of killing him.

Albemarle Police were called to a welfare check on Elizabeth Avenue around 1 a.m. on Friday. When officers arrived, they found the victim dead from apparent gunshot wounds. 

The department identified the victim as 47-year-old Duane Lamont Perry, who lived in Albemarle. Police said he was a visitor at the residence he was found in.

Click here to sign up for the daily WCNC Charlotte newsletter

Police also said they were looking for a suspect: 49-year-old Otis Eugene Burns. He had active warrants out for first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, and discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.

Albemarle Police said Burns turned himself into law enforcement Saturday morning. 

This is the first homicide to occur in the City of Albemarle since September 2023, according to Albemarle Police.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Albemarle police at 704-984-9500. Anonymous witnesses may also call 704-984-9511.

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV devices, just download the WCNC+ app.

Note: WCNC instituted a policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.  

WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings. 

WCNC Charlotte wants to hear about your loved one

 If your loved one was impacted by this incident, WCNC Charlotte hopes to make this process less painful with our More Than A Number initiative. With your help, we want to share who your loved one was with our viewers in North Carolina and South Carolina. When you’re ready, fill out the form below or send us photos, memories and other details about them to desk@wcnc.com. 

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WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the many issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

WCNC Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at WCNC Charlotte.   SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Pandora || TuneIn || Google Podcasts || iHeart 

All of WCNC Charlotte’s podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.  […]

consumer

Dominion Energy requests base rate increase for customers in South Carolina

Dominion said a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month would see an average monthly increase of about $5 on their bill.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dominion Energy is requesting a rate change for customers in South Carolina.

On Friday afternoon, the utility that provides electricity and gas service across a large portion of South Carolina announced plans to request a rate change to the base rate of thousands of customers in the state.

If approved, Dominion said a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month would see an average monthly increase of about $5 on their bill.

According to Dominion, a base rate determined by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina is a price that includes the costs involved with providing service to customers and the opportunity to earn a fair and reasonable profit.

The company said that since 2019, it has added over 40,000 new customers and spent nearly $2 billion on system improvements.

Dominion added that this is their first base rate increase in nearly four years.

Some customers said they were not thrilled by the news. 

Ethan Cestaro moved to Columbia a few months ago and is worried another increase in his bill could make things difficult for his finances, especially since he has no other electric options.

“I can’t say I’d be on board for it, mainly since I’m just out of school; I’ve got car payments, student loans, struggling to even pay rent in general,” Cestaro said. “I can understand everything is getting more expensive everywhere you look, but I was a little bit hoping that getting into the summer and just putting on AC that I wouldn’t be bottoming out my budget. But if it makes the system better and hopefully helps somebody, then I guess that’ll be the goal as long as it’s safer, I guess, and better for the environment.”

As a Richland County homeowner, Doug Breland hopes a rate increase will mean better service.

“Sometimes I think some of these small things that nickel and dime us truly do nickel and dime, so it becomes a bit of an issue,” Breland said, “Me being a homeowner myself, when it comes to electricity, things like water, I just think it’s a bit of an ankle grab, so to speak.”

News19 will provide updates when the Public Service Commission hears the request.

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at-the-border

Texas' new illegal immigration law, SB 4, blocked by federal judge

The preliminary injunction granted pause to a law that was set to take effect on March 5. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he has appealed the ruling.

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge on Thursday blocked a new Texas law that gives police broad powers to arrest migrants suspected of illegally entering the U.S., dealing a victory to the Biden administration in its feud with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott over immigration enforcement.

The preliminary injunction granted by U.S. District Judge David Ezra pauses a law that was set to take effect March 5. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he has filed an appeal.

Read this story in Spanish here

Opponents have called the Texas measure the most dramatic attempt by a state to police immigration since a 2010 Arizona law that opponents rebuked as a “Show Me Your Papers” bill. The U.S. Supreme Court partially struck down the Arizona law, but some Texas Republican leaders want that ruling to get a second look.

The lawsuit is among several legal battles between Texas and President Joe Biden’s administration over how far the state can go to try to prevent migrants from crossing the border.

The measure would allow state law enforcement officers to arrest people suspected of entering the country illegally. Once in custody, they could agree to a Texas judge’s order to leave the country or face a misdemeanor charge for entering the U.S. illegally. Migrants who don’t leave after being ordered to do so could be arrested again and charged with a more serious felony.

At a Feb. 15 hearing, Ezra expressed skepticism as the state pleaded its case for what is known as Senate Bill 4. He also said he was somewhat sympathetic to the concerns expressed by Abbott and other state officials about the large number of illegal crossings.

Ezra, who was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, said he feared the United States could become a confederation of states enforcing their own immigration laws. “That is the same thing the Civil War said you can’t do,” Ezra told the attorneys.

Civil rights groups, who also sued the state, have argued the law could lead to civil rights violations and racial profiling.

Republicans who back the law have said it would not target immigrants already living in the U.S. because of the two-year statute of limitations on the illegal entry charge and would be enforced only along the state’s border with Mexico.

Tensions have remained high between Texas and the Biden administration this year over who can patrol the border and how. Other GOP governors have expressed support for Abbott, who has said the federal government is not doing enough to enforce immigration laws.

Among other things, Texas placed a floating barrier in the Rio Grande, put razor wire along the U.S.-Mexico border and stopped Border Patrol agents from accessing a riverfront park in Eagle Pass that they previously used to process migrants.

After the ruling, Gov. Abbott released a statement, which is in full below.

“Texas will immediately appeal this decision, and we will not back down in our fight to protect our state—and our nation—from President Biden’s border crisis. The President of the United States has a constitutional duty to enforce federal laws protecting States, including laws already on the books that mandate the detention of illegal immigrants. Texas has the right to defend itself because of President Biden’s ongoing failure to fulfill his duty to protect our state from the invasion at our southern border. Even from the bench, this District Judge acknowledged that this case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Immigrant civil rights group FIEL Houston also released a statement, but recognized it’s not over. The following is from FIEL Executive DIrector Cesar Espinosa

“We are happy that a federal judge has given a stay in the implementation of this anti-immigrant law but also understand that this is the first hurdle in a series of legal hurdles these challenges face. We want to caution the community from thinking that all has been won and it is safe to say that the state of texas will appeal this decision wasting more resources and taxpayer money. It is important that we remain steadfast in our effort to educate the community and get them ready for whatever may come. We also remind people that elections matter and if we want to see real change we have to support those who support us, not those who seek to harm us.”  

KHOU 11 on social media: Facebook | X | Instagram | YouTube […]

home

Plaza Midwood social district launches this weekend

The district allows customers to carry open containers of alcohol from participating businesses along Central Avenue.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte’s first social district is now open. 

While the gloom is preventing some people from getting buzzed, others are ready to go. “It’s not really buzz-worthy at the moment it’s so dreary out,” one patron said. 

Many people are taking advantage of Charlotte’s first social district in Plaza Midwood. Dish had their first customer with an open container at 10 a.m. 

“I was definitely shocked to hear about that it’s exciting though hopeful we will start driving business with drinking district,” Sarah Longhurst, with Dish, said.

Plaza Midwood’s social district allows customers to carry open containers of alcohol along Central Avenue, running from Two Scoops Creamery past Workman’s Friend and continuing all the way to Morningside Drive. The social district expands toward Independence Boulevard to include Pecan Avenue, Thomas Avenue and The Plaza. It also contains some land in Chantilly.

Stickers will be posted at businesses across the social district to inform patrons of the establishment’s participation in the social district. A purple sticker denotes a business where the specialized social district cup and to-go alcoholic beverages can be purchased. A green sticker marks an establishment where a social district cup is welcome with an outside beverage. Businesses not participating in the social district will be denoted with a red sticker. 

Many customers said they were excited to fill up and go with their open containers, but the process to do so has been confusing, and not all restaurants are choosing to participate.

“There are some businesses that attended social district meetings and entertained the ideas but they want to hold off and see how things develop,” Mary Saric, with Legion Brewery, said. Mary said you can identify which businesses are participating by stickers. The purple sticker means an establishment has cups and to-go drinks. “We are going to put a sticker on it that’s going to say Legion with the date they got the beverage on the cup.”

RELATED: Social district in Plaza Midwood launching next month

Mary said all cups should be empty before entering a new bar or restaurant. “Legion for instance only has a beer and wine permit so we don’t have the license to have liquor on our premises, it is an actual legal issue,” said Mary. “You can’t really control how much you’re serving people when you don’t know what’s in their cup,” said Mary. You can click here for more details

The stainless steel cups will be $8, reusable, and must have a bar’s sticker on them to be valid. When a customer goes from one participating place to the next, they’ll exchange their cup for a new one if getting a second to-go drink.

An all-day kickoff event for the new social district will take place on Saturday, March 9. 

The hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

Download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app for the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts.

Jason Phillip Michel, the executive director of the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association, told WCNC Charlotte in February that “as long as an ABC (NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission) permittee is following the responsible safe serving training, there should not be an issue at all.”

Michel said participating places are trained by police and ABC. Plus, they’re going to slowly roll out the cups so bars have time to adjust. 

RELATED: As NC bar named one of 32 remaining lesbian bars in the US, a Charlotte organizer is working to increase LGBTQ+ spaces

Charlotte leaders approved the creation of social districts in August 2022. Several Queen City neighborhoods like South End, Uptown, NoDa and LoSo have shown interest, but Plaza Midwood was the first neighborhood to receive approval for a social district. That 8-2 vote was in October 2023.  

To let us know how WCNC Charlotte can help you get ahead in 2024, email us at newstips@wcnc.com.

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crime

Man shot, killed during fight with daughter's boyfriend, Gastonia police say

The case is being reviewed by the district attorney, police said.

GASTONIA, N.C. — A Gastonia man was shot and killed during an argument with his daughter’s boyfriend Thursday night, police said. 

Gastonia Police responded to a reported shooting at a home on South Weldon Street a little before 9 p.m. on Feb. 29. When officers got to the house, they found 53-year-old  Gerald Lee Humphries dead from a gunshot wound. 

Click here to sign up for the daily WCNC Charlotte newsletter

Officers determined that Humphries got into some type of dispute with Darnell Shanquavius Fowler. At some point, Humphries was shot during the encounter, according to police, who said both men were armed during the fight. Police said that Humphries and Fowler both lived at the home where the shooting happened. 

Fowler was arrested at the scene by Gastonia police officers. The case is being reviewed by the Gaston County district attorney and remains under investigation. 

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV devices, just download the WCNC+ app.

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Note: WCNC instituted a policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.  

WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings.  […]

elections

Nikki Haley holds rally in Charlotte ahead of Super Tuesday

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley held a rally in South End on Friday evening. WCNC Charlotte’s Austin Walker spoke to the Republican candidate.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley held a campaign rally in Charlotte on Friday, ahead of the North Carolina primary election on Super Tuesday. 

The event was held at Suffolk Punch in South End on Friday.

For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app and enable push notifications.

The former South Carolina governor is facing an increasingly unsurmountable battle, after losing recent primary elections in South Carolina and Michigan. 

RELATED: Everything you need to know to vote in the Carolinas

But, as WCNC previously reported, Nikki Haley is committed to staying in the race. 

Hundreds of people packed into the brewery to hear Haley speak. Many people told WCNC Charlotte’s Austin Walker they drove hours to see her in person. While supporters were present, so were protestors. But those who agreed with Haley did not care, they were just excited to hear her speak. 

“I’ve seen a lot of video of her from different rallies and interviews and I hear that consistent theme of her vision and I’m hoping to hear that same consistency tonight,” Glenn Selby said.

WCNC Charlotte’s Austin Walker spoke one-on-one with Haley at Friday’s event

QUESTION: “We are experiencing a surge in youth crime and gun violence in Charlotte and across the area,” Walker said to Haley. “Under your administration, what would you do and how would you work with our local leaders on fixing this?

ANSWER: “The first thing is we need prosecutors to prosecute, and judges to uphold those prosecutions, so it happens,” Haley said. “Law enforcement is demoralized because they go in and arrest someone for a crime, and they are let out the next day. The second thing, defund sanctuary cities. We need to get the lawlessness out of our cities, or else it’s going to keep on happening. We need to also take on the cancer of mental health. One in three people have a mental health issue, if treated they can live a perfectly normal life. We have to start tackling that and understanding that. If we don’t treat it, this is going to continue to happen.”

WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE:

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WCNC CHARLOTTE PODCASTS

Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly. SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Pandora  || Google Podcasts || iHeart

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WCNC Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at WCNC Charlotte.   SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Pandora || TuneIn || Google Podcasts || iHeart 

All of WCNC Charlotte’s podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.  […]

home

6 Charlotte ordinances take effect Friday

Critics say the new ordinances unfairly target homeless people, calling the laws immoral and unethical.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Six Charlotte city ordinances took effect Wednesday that recriminalize behaviors that some people say will disproportionately harm homeless people. 

City laws regarding sleeping on benches, public defecation, panhandling, public drinking, public masturbation and trespassing on a motor vehicle are once again arrestable offenses starting March 1. They were previously only punishable by citation. 

“Most of these we feel will be in response to calls for service and we certainly are not going out there with the intent or purpose of arrest but rather to gain compliance, to educate, hopefully to provide resources,” explained CMPD Lieutenant, Kevin Pietrus.

Click here to sign up for the daily WCNC Charlotte newsletter

Charlotte City Council voted 7-3 to recriminalize those behaviors in February. The vote came after several people said it is immoral and unethical to arrest people for relieving themselves outside or sleeping outside when the city isn’t providing adequate alternatives. The debate lasted for hours with many people worrying the laws will unfairly target homeless residents. 

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“I used to hold myself overnight because I had nowhere to go,” James Lee, who used to be homeless, said. “I did put myself in the situation, OK, but still, as a citizen I should be respected enough to have a place to go.”

People on the other side of the issue say it’s a matter of basic decency. 

“We moved here because it was safe, clean, and had an opportunity,” one man added. “But, today, it’s far less safe and far less clean.”

The city installed two public port-a-potties in Uptown. City leaders also chose to invest in a mobile shower and bathroom unit they hope to deploy in the next couple of months. 

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV devices, just download the WCNC+ app.

Contact Anna King at aking2@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the many issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com. […]

basketball

Davidson women's basketball team forfeits remainder of season because of injuries

The Wildcats had one game left in the regular season, against Saint Louis on Saturday, which they forfeited.

DAVIDSON, N.C. — Davidson canceled the remainder of its women’s basketball season on Friday because of a “significant number of injuries” that reduced its roster to just a few available players.

The Wildcats (18-8) had one game left in the regular season, against Saint Louis on Saturday, which they forfeited. The Atlantic 10 school in Davidson, North Carolina, won’t play in any postseason tournaments.

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“We are incredibly saddened that we cannot finish out the season strong but feel this is the best decision for our scholar-athletes,” athletic director Chris Clunie said in a statement.

Davidson said it made the decision because of the “physical, mental and emotional toll” of what has been an “unfortunate and injury-riddled season.”

The forfeited games don’t count toward the Wildcats’ record. They finished with a .692 winning percentage, their best since 2006-07.

“This decision is not one that we are taking lightly, as no one wanted it to end this way,” coach Gayle Fulks said. “Our team of young women is the strongest, most caring, and most competitive team I have ever been a part of. They have been an absolute joy to coach, every single day.”

Davidson forfeited games against Dayton and Fordham before hosting George Washington on Wednesday for senior night. The Wildcats lost 45-40 and had only seven players available.

They aren’t the only team to have injury issues this year. TCU and Arizona ran into similar situations in January and held open tryouts to fill out their rosters.

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The Horned Frogs canceled games against Kansas State and Iowa State before adding players.

Davidson won 12 of its first 13 games, including a victory at Duke.

“Despite the challenging nature of the way this season has unfolded, our team never wavered and competed to the very end,” Fulks said. “I am confident there is no team in the country that would have handled the hardship we faced with as much grace, strength and adaptability as our young women did. I am so proud of them.”

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home

USA Football holds flag football team trials in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s one of the fastest-growing sports and will soon be part of the Olympics, then the United States squad trains right here in Charlotte.

On Friday, 60 men and 60 women vied for spots on USA Football’s Flag National Teams, as the organization held trials at UNC Charlotte.

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The athletic testing and practice sessions run through the weekend on campus. 

Only 18 men and 18 women will advance from Trials to Training Camp, and then just 12 will make each national team roster.

The men and women each won gold at UNCC, which hosted the Continental Championships this summer. Next up will be the IFAF World Championship in Finland this August.

And in 2028, flag football will join the Olympics in Los Angeles.

“It’s been amazing,” assistant coach Mary Kate Bula, a Charlotte resident and former player, said. “I get chills get thinking about where it’s come from when I first tried out for the U.S. team. Twenty-four people were invited, and now it’s 60. And now we’re heading to the Olympics in 2028.”

One hopeful for the women’s team is Haley Van Voorhis. In 2023 she became the first female non-kicker to play in an NCAA football game when she suited up for Shenandoah University in Virginia, playing safety.

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“It was big, less for me, but the impact it has on the football community and inspiring female football players,” Van Voorhis said. “The drive for the 2028 Olympics, makes you want to get better. You want to represent your country. We’re here today because we want to bring home the gold.”

According to a 2022 study done by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), about 7.1 million people in the United States played flag football, including 2.5 million people who “routinely engaged in the sport.”

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crime

NYE Uptown shooting suspect files motion for bond reduction

Daevion Crawford is currently being held on a $1.5 million bond.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Daevion Crawford, the 19-year-old suspect who is charged with the shooting that happened on New Year’s Eve in Uptown near Romare Bearden Park, filed a motion on Thursday to have his $1.5 million bond reduced. 

At this time, a bond modification hearing has not been set and Crawford’s next court date is May 14.

Download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app for the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts. 

Crawford is facing five counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one county of “go armed to terror of people.” 

At Crawford’s first court appearance in early January, the judge raised his bond from $750,000 to $1.5 million, stating he was surprised it wasn’t higher to begin with.                                

The judge also shed light on the seriousness of the charges, saying it could’ve been worse, with lives lost.

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The shooting happened around Romare Bearden Park at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Investigators said a person shot into a crowd, striking five people. Crawford was arrested and charged with shooting into the park the following Monday. 

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Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly. SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Pandora  || Google Podcasts || iHeart 

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get-ahead

United Way of Gaston County helping aging population get ahead for spring through generosity

In December, hundreds of people in the area, ages 60 and up, stopped by the United Way’s office to pick up bags and boxes filled with essentials and non-perishables.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — The conference room inside the United Way of Gaston County office in downtown Gastonia is empty, but Cynthia Stitt’s cup isn’t.

“It fills my cup,” Stitt said with a smile.

Stitt is the Community Engagement Coordinator for the nonprofit.

“It’s pretty amazing to see an empty room today that will likely be full in about 30 days from now,” Andrea Stephens mentioned.

To let us know how WCNC Charlotte can help you get ahead in 2024, email us at newstips@wcnc.com.

Stephens, President of the United Way of Gaston County, and her team are gearing up to give back.

“We had some internal conversations because we know that our aging population is increasing and the needs are increasing as people live longer,” Stephens explained.

A few months ago, hundreds of people in the area, ages 60 and up, stopped by the United Way’s office to pick up bags and boxes filled with essentials and non-perishable food.

It was part of the organization’s 3rd annual Senior Christmas Wishes program.

“We applied for a grant (and) we received a grant through Food Lion Feeds for $1,200 to support seniors in the spring,” Stephens said.

Now, the nonprofit is launching its first-ever Senior Spring Clean program.

They are working with area faith leaders and companies to collect self-care items and cleaning products to give to seniors for free.

“Some of the organizations actually come out and pick up for those seniors who are not able to get out.  so, we got it covered,” Stitt shared.

For the latest news about how to get ahead, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app and enable push notifications.

The United Way is working to fill a gap by extending generosity.

“If we can do something to help them pay their rent or even purchase groceries, they can live this sustainable life the best they can,” Stephens said.

If you are in need or know someone in need, you have until Friday, March 29 to apply for this program.

You contact the United Way office at 704-864-4554 ext. 106 or 704-864-4554 ext. 108.  You can also find the application and information on how to donate on their website.

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Contact Nick Sturdivant at nsturdiva1@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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Education

State money for North Carolina public schools at risk with latest Leandro Case hearing

Republican lawmakers are challenging the Leandro Case, arguing state courts do not have jurisdiction to order funding for school districts statewide.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Billions of dollars for North Carolina public schools are on the line with the latest rehearing of the Leandro Case.

The case was first filed nearly 30 years ago and found the state needs to dramatically increase funding for public schools to ensure all children have access to a basic education. According to court documents, the State Supreme Court has taken the case up four times since it was first filed.

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The decision to increase school funding statewide was most recently reaffirmed in 2022 with a comprehensive plan to transfer $5 billion to school districts through 2028.  

However, that money is on hold. The case is being reconsidered again at the request of the Republican leaders of the state legislature.  

An attorney representing Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore argued in a February hearing that the courts do not have jurisdiction to order the state to give money to every school district in the state when the original Leandro Case only included five districts in the lawsuit.

In other words, they argue the only school districts that should get money from the case are the ones listed in the lawsuit. 

“The trial court had no jurisdiction to issue those orders and thus all of those orders should be overturned,” Matthew Tilley argued to the Supreme Court justices.

RELATED: Leandro lawsuit lands a new NC Supreme Court date over multimillion-dollar education plan

The reconsideration of the case is disappointing to education advocates like former CMS school board member Jennifer De La Jara. 

“North Carolina is currently ranked 49th in the nation for public school investment,” De La Jara told WCNC Charlotte. 

De La Jara is worried lawmakers are trying to prevent public schools from being funded as a political move to bolster private schools.  

“It’s a move towards privatization,” De La Jara claimed. “You create legislation that cripples an institution, you get everyone upset with it, where they’re not receiving the services that our community deserves, and then you call to privatize it.” 

Matthew Ellinwood with the North Carolina Justice Center said the Supreme Court’s decision to reconsider the case is unusual.   

“Usually, there’s a degree of finality you get when you go to a state Supreme Court, and certainly they value their own precedents and tend to not overrule them,” Ellinwood explained. 

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Berger and Moore challenged the Leandro Case ruling after the Supreme Court secured a Republican majority.  

“Is it just politics by another name, or is it actually an institution that’s designed to uphold your rights regardless of who sits in those seats,” Ellinwood questioned.

Plus, Berger’s son, Phil Berger Junior, is a Supreme Court justice. “I think there’s a direct conflict of interest,” De La Jara added. 

Justice Berger asked his colleagues on the Supreme Court to decide whether he should recuse himself from the case. They voted no, saying the lawsuit involves Berger’s father as a government official and not an individual. The opinion cited a 2022 case that asked Justice Berger to recuse himself but the justices voted no then as well. 

The Supreme Court’s decision on whether money can be released to all school districts could come as early as March 22. However, Ellinwood predicts it could take longer. 

Contact Julia Kauffman at jkauffman@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, X and Instagram. 

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affordable-housing-crisis

New report highlights Mecklenburg County housing instability

In 2023, there were nearly 3,000 people in Mecklenburg County experiencing homelessness, an 11% increase from 2022.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — A new report is putting the spotlight on housing and homelessness in Mecklenburg County. 

The 2023 Charlotte-Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability and Homelessness Report paints a picture of the current trends to help city and county leaders make informed policy and practice decisions. 

The report shows rent, evictions, and the number of people who are homeless all increased in 2023 compared to the previous year. 

Mecklenburg County leaders are trying to address the problem, stating that they continue to invest in homeless prevention to help people stay off the streets.

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“It is disheartening on some level to know even with how hard we’re working and how deep our investments are, people are still entering our system,” Karen Pelletier, Director of Community Support Services’ Housing Innovation and Stabilization Services division for Mecklenburg County, said. 

In 2023, evictions increased to more than 20,000 resulting in nearly 7,000 additional Mecklenburg households losing their homes, compared to 2022, when more than 13,000 evictions were granted.

Pelletier says the driving factor continues to be rising rent. 

“As rents continue to increase and outpace wages, we know the number of people entering our homeless system is only going to rise,” Pelletier said. 

RELATED: App launches in Charlotte to offer food discounts and curb food waste

In 2023, there were nearly 3,000 people in Mecklenburg County experiencing homelessness, an 11% increase from 2022.

The average length of people staying in shelters is also up to 135 days, which is 9 days longer than before. 

But there are some positive takeaways from the report. 

The number of available long-term subsidies has increased, like emergency housing vouchers. The total percentage of people who returned to homelessness decreased in 2023. Also, there’s more affordable housing available for low-income renters. 

Still, Pelletier said people are struggling to afford their homes. 

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, just download the free app.

She said to solve these problems the county believes rental subsidies and creating more affordable housing are solutions. 

Mecklenburg County efforts include turning hotels into housing, preserving affordable units, and creating housing opportunities for veterans and those transitioning from foster care. 

“We really think about making a system change and housing is the start of that system change,” Pelletier said. 

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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home

Job scams are getting more complex, BBB says

Don’t fall for these complex job posting scams.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s not a new concept, scammers targeting people desperate for work, but experts say “bad guys” are now finding new ways to create fake job postings.

In a time where people are asking where’s the money, the Better Business Bureau is warning people to double and even triple-check the sites they are applying to so they don’t become the next victim.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking “where’s the money?” If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.

“Jobs scams actually tend to be our most experienced scams every year top 10 scams, we see them every year consistently in there and they are getting more complex,” Julianna O’Rork with the Better Business Bureau said. 

O’Rork said before applying for any job online, do your homework.

“So first and foremost, look up the company, look up the individual that may be posted the job, or if there’s somebody specific that reached out to you,” O’Rork said. 

O’Rork said there’s actually one simple trick potential job seekers can use to quickly sniff out a scam.

“When you’re looking at that company, or that person’s name, at scam to the end of that search that you’re going to go ahead and put in. and that way you can see if there have been any scams tied to that company, maybe tied to that person,” O’Rork said. 

And with more people searching for work-from-home jobs? O’Rork said you’re a prime target for scammers. 

“Work-from-home job scams are definitely very prevalent. and, of course, you know, the way that our society and our world has changed working from home as much more accepted than it ever has been in the past,” O’Rork said. 

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And as more people become familiar with AI, O’Rork said people need to closely inspect any photo or video they come across online. 

“If you notice any weird sounds or glitches in the videos or the audio recording, if some of the imagery and the videos don’t look quite right. they could be representative of stuff that’s been created by AI,” O’Rork explained. 

In the end? O’Rork said follow your instincts.

“Trust your gut, it’s probably too good to be true, if they, you know, aren’t requiring a lot of history and a job, but they’re paying an excessive amount, again, red flag,” she said. 

Click here for more information on these scams from the BBB.

For the latest Where’s The Money news, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app and enable push notifications.

WCNC Charlotte’s Where’s The Money series is all about leveling the playing field in the Carolinas by helping others and breaking down barriers. WCNC Charlotte doesn’t want our viewers to be taken advantage of, so we’re here to help. Watch previous stories where we ask the question “Where’s the Money” in the YouTube playlist below and subscribe to get updated when new videos are uploaded.

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features

Dragon helps put out fire: Charlotte Knights mascot seen helping put out uptown Charlotte fire

This time, the dragon helped extinguish a fire.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Knights mascot Homer the Dragon flipped the script Tuesday: he helped put out a fire. 

When a small brush fire broke out in a flower bed near Truist Field and Romare Bearden Park, the Charlotte Fire Department said, “Homer was in the neighborhood and assisted Charlotte Fire Engine 4 with putting the fire out.”

Walter Hawkins, who shared photos of the event with WCNC Charlotte, said he was at Romare Bearden park Tuesday around noon when he noticed the fire. Hawkins said while waiting for a fire engine to arrive, multiple people stopped to help — among them, Charlotte’s favorite dragon. 

Homer the Dragon told WCNC Charlotte he was shooting a video in the team store when the team store manager noticed a fire across the street. Homer ran over, and when he noticed an extinguisher in use had emptied, he said he knew it was time to step up.

At that point, Homer said they pulled the pin on their extinguisher, working to get the fire out. When Engine 4 pulled up, Homer said the firefighters had big smiles and let Homer use the fire hose to cover the fire in water. 

“I’m so thankful for the brave citizen that started putting the fire out, those that called 911, and the Engine 4 crew!” Homer said in a statement. “It was an honor to protect and serve the neighborhood and city that I love.” 

RELATED: Charlotte Knights announce season delayed until May 4

RELATED: Long lines at Spectrum Center COVID-19 vaccine clinic […]