June 16, 2021
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Rental assistance in Union County available

If you need help paying your rent or if you are a landlord and need payments, please investigate this program.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Editor’s Note: The video attached is from a previous story.

If you live in Union County and are struggling to pay rent, or to collect rent as a landlord, there’s an option for getting help through the county. 

A new program is open to families and individuals who are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To receive rental assistance, you must qualify. Here are some of the highlights. 

Union County has received $7.2 million in federal relief funding, which is being directed into the emergency rental assistance program. 

“We hope this program will empower people to pay their rent, and it’s not just for renters, it’s for landlords too, because they have lost income because of people not being able to pay,” said Stephanie Starr, director of community support and outreach.

It’s not just rent, the program also helps with utility bills. You can click here to apply for assistance. The link will take you to the Union County website. When you get there, scroll down to a gray box where it says “Click Here to Apply.” It’s as simple as that. 

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

RELATED: Resource Guide: Need help paying bills? These resources offer assistance in the Charlotte area

You can use this money for utility assistance, even beyond the standard electric bill. It can go toward propane, internet, and other monthly staples.

Common questions being asked include:

Q: Who receives the payment?

A: Payments will be made to the landlord/property management company and/or utility company directly, except if there are extenuating circumstances.

RELATED: Child Tax Credit monthly payments will be made on these dates

Q: If I received help through HOPE, can I still apply?

A: Yes, but you cannot duplicate payments for the same month. For example, if you owed rent for October 2020 and it was fully paid by HOPE, you cannot request that amount through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

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crime

Man linked to killing of transgender women charged in 3rd homicide

According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, Joel Isaiah Brewer, 34, is charged with first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and concealment of death by disposing of a human body in connection with the killing of Joshua Tramaine Allen. 
Brewer was already in the Mecklenburg County Jail on multiple charges stemming from the killings of Jaida Peterson and Remy Fennell. Those charges include two counts of murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and robbery with a dangerous weapon. Peterson was found dead in a west Charlotte hotel in early April. Less than two weeks later, Fennell was found dead at the Sleep Inn on North Tryon Street in University City.
Deputies said Allen was last seen alive in Marshville, North Carolina, on Jan. 23. A missing person report was filed with the Union County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 25. His body was found in a wooded area near Wingate on Feb. 9c. The Medical Examiner determined Allen died from multiple gunshots. 
Investigators were able to link Allen and Brewer together on the night of his disappearance and there’s no evidence he was alive after an encounter with Brewer, according to deputies. 
Brewer has a previous conviction for his role in a 2011 robbery that led to the death of an accomplice. Police said Brewer and three other suspects planned to rob a suspected drug dealer when one of his accomplices was shot by a man during the attack. The accomplice’s body was dumped on the shoulder of a Monroe road after the shooting.  […]

crime

Teens shot, wounded each other because of social media feud, CMPD says

The 14-year-old and 17-year-old now face firearms charges, and a 19-year-old is facing a felony charge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Mecklenburg police say three teens are facing charges after a feud on social media resulted in gunfire erupting.

CMPD says shots rang out around 3:15 on Monday, June 14 along Fairwood Avenue near South Tryon Street. Officers say they found multiple crime scenes and determined two suspect had fled the area in two different directions. They eventually found a 14-year-old who was shot in the chest and a 17-year-old who was shot in both legs. Both were taken to a hospital for treatment for their serious injuries.

Police then said they learned of a third suspect who fled in a vehicle, crashing into other cars in the process. Officers credited an alert community member who led officers to a vacant apartment on Brookhill Road where that third suspect, identified as 19-year-old Keith Grier, was hiding with the other two teens. Grier was taken into custody, and eventually, the other two teens were in custody as well.

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

CMPD says the other two teens were taken into custody because their investigation determined the shooting happened because of an ongoing online feud among all three parties involved, which included disrespectful social media posts and previous criminal activity. All three suspects were charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and felony conspiracy. The 14-year-old was also charged for possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a minor. Meanwhile, the 17-year-old suspect was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and hit and run. Grier was additionally charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The investigation into this case remains ongoing. CMPD is asking anyone with information to call 911, or call in anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Crime Stoppers tips can also be made online. 

Note: WCNC instituted a new 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.

While all three suspects are in custody, two of them are still minors. The third suspect’s mugshot is not being shown as police have not indicated he presents an active threat to the community.

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

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community

Make a difference by donating to help underserved youth play baseball

Baseball is a national pastime, a team sport that millions of youth have enjoyed and benefitted from. However, baseball is out of reach for many in Charlotte.

Carolinas Metro Reds

Carolinas Metro Reds is a nonprofit in Charlotte that helps underserved youth play baseball.  The Carolinas Metro Reds provides a diverse, family environment for underserved youth to develop their baseball, academic and life skills by way of high-level coaching, teaching and mentorship.

Baseball is a national pastime, a team sport that millions of youth have enjoyed and benefitted from for over a century.  However,  baseball is out of reach for many families in Charlotte as it is no longer affordable.  Many families can’t pay the team fees that provide access to baseball fields, equipment, and coaching.  But through Carolinas Metro Reds, hundreds of youth are able to take the field.

A donation of $50 supports one player for a season with Carolinas Metro Reds.

WCNC Charlotte will match up to the first $2,000 donated to Carolinas Metro Reds.

DONATE to Carolinas Metro Reds

Morris Madden, a former MLB left-handed pitcher, is the founder and President of the Carolinas Metro Reds.  For years, Morris noticed a concerning lack of growth among young African-American players in baseball. Not nearly enough kids under the age of eighteen had the awareness or access to the game of baseball and he knew that he had to help. Shortly after his MLB playing career, he decided it was time to take an active role in being a part of the solution.  

There are currently almost 200 players in the organization and additional funding will help additional undeserved players and families to participate in baseball, and also benefit from the life skills and education support provided.

In 2020, WCNC Charlotte and the TEGNA Foundation awarded Carolina Metro Reds a grant, which supported two entire teams for a season of baseball.

SEE OUR COVERAGE: Carolinas Metro Reds tees up west Charlotte kids for success

=== Our May Spotlight ===

Esther’s Heart

Help feed hungry children in the community. Esther’s Heart Backpacks of Hope Program is in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Cabarrus County School Systems. 

DONATE to Esther’s Heart

Esther’s Heart receives applications ongoing throughout the school year and needs support from the community to make this happen continually. Backpacks of Hope provides the meals for the entire weekend for the youth.

SEE OUR COVERAGE: Esther’s Heart helps feed children across the Charlotte area

=== Our April Spotlight ===

For The Struggle, Inc.

Help seniors stay in their homes by donating to For The Struggle, Inc, a nonprofit that focuses on advocating for homeowners at risk of losing their property to gentrification.  

DONATE to For the Struggle, Inc.

The Elder Response Initiative provides free services to seniors in historically and predominately black neighborhoods, primarily Charlotte’s Beatties Ford Road corridor.  

The initiative was created by For The Struggle, Inc. because Charlotte has experienced rapid gentrification that has heightened the risk of displacement, particularly on the corridor. The corridor has a large senior population at risk of displacement. As such, the initiative provides seniors with assistance obtaining critical home repairs; future planning (e.g. wills, powers of attorney); and property tax relief.   

SEE OUR COVERAGE: Charity battling gentrification in Charlotte’s historic Black neighborhoods

=== Our March Spotlight ===

Turning Point

One in four families we know is impacted by domestic violence. It’s a startling statistic. And because of the pandemic, victims are in isolation from their abusers. 

Turning Point is a nonprofit in Monroe that is a safe shelter for women and children who have experienced domestic violence. They’re in need of financial donations. 

SEE OUR COVERAGE: Monroe domestic violence shelter needs your donations

Make a difference and help those trapped in domestic violence. Donate now by texting the word MONROE to 50155 or you go online to donate.

=== Our February spotlight ===

Bountiful Blessings Food Pantry

WCNC Charlotte is teaming up with the United Way of Gaston County to make a difference for an organization in need.

Bountiful Blessings Food Pantry served about 300 people per week before COVID-19 hit. Now, volunteers are serving nearly 4,000 a week and need upgraded equipment to keep feeding the community. 

SEE OUR COVERAGE: Make A Difference: Bountiful Blessings receives $10,000 donation from Junior League

Donations can be made online or you can text BOUNTIFUL to 71777.

Making a difference

With millions of people turning to charitable nonprofits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WCNC Charlotte is raising awareness of nonprofits in the Carolinas that are in desperate need of help.  Additional funds are needed in an effort to continue to serve those who need it most. 

Each month, WCNC Charlotte will share information about a nonprofit making a difference in the community. These nonprofits are all 501c3 verified through the IRS. If you are in a position to give, any donation amount can make an impact.

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home

Appeals court refuses to reinstate North Carolina abortion ban

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal appeals court has ruled North Carolina’s ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy must remain unenforceable.
 The Republican-dominated legislature in 2015 narrowed the scope of medical emergencies under which a woman would be exempt from the 20-week limit.
The appeals judges dismissed arguments by state attorneys that the prohibition isn’t enforced and thus fails to be an issue.
The judges said recent laws in North Carolina and elsewhere signal lawmakers want their restrictions carried out.
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

Rental assistance in Union County available

If you need help paying your rent or if you are a landlord and need payments, please investigate this program.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Editor’s Note: The video attached is from a previous story.

If you live in Union County and are struggling to pay rent, or to collect rent as a landlord, there’s an option for getting help through the county. 

A new program is open to families and individuals who are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To receive rental assistance, you must qualify. Here are some of the highlights. 

Union County has received $7.2 million in federal relief funding, which is being directed into the emergency rental assistance program. 

“We hope this program will empower people to pay their rent, and it’s not just for renters, it’s for landlords too, because they have lost income because of people not being able to pay,” said Stephanie Starr, director of community support and outreach.

It’s not just rent, the program also helps with utility bills. You can click here to apply for assistance. The link will take you to the Union County website. When you get there, scroll down to a gray box where it says “Click Here to Apply.” It’s as simple as that. 

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

RELATED: Resource Guide: Need help paying bills? These resources offer assistance in the Charlotte area

You can use this money for utility assistance, even beyond the standard electric bill. It can go toward propane, internet, and other monthly staples.

Common questions being asked include:

Q: Who receives the payment?

A: Payments will be made to the landlord/property management company and/or utility company directly, except if there are extenuating circumstances.

RELATED: Child Tax Credit monthly payments will be made on these dates

Q: If I received help through HOPE, can I still apply?

A: Yes, but you cannot duplicate payments for the same month. For example, if you owed rent for October 2020 and it was fully paid by HOPE, you cannot request that amount through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

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home

'It caught me totally off guard': Matthews man wins $100K lottery

Burrell Cleveland Jr. was checking his email when he got a notification he’d won. He initially thought it was a mistake.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — How would you like to get paid to check your email? A Matthews man did just that, collecting a $100,000 prize while checking his phone. 

Burrell Cleveland Jr. said he initially thought he was entered in another drawing when he realized he’d actually won. 

“I’m still surprised that I’m sitting here,” Cleveland told the North Carolina Education Lottery. “I looked down at my phone to check emails and was like, what? It caught me totally off guard.”

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

Cleveland’s entry was chosen from 18,779,037 entries in last Wednesday’s Multiply The Cash second-chance drawing. 

Cleveland said he and his late wife used to regularly play the lottery and he always told her one day they’d drive to Raleigh and collect their winnings. He did just that, bringing home just over $70,000 after federal and state taxes. 

“It was nice driving in today because I could see her there sitting next to me in the car in spirit,” he said. “Here we did it. We’re here.”

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

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Cleveland said he plans to set the money into savings for retirement. Of course, he’s going to celebrate the big win and his birthday with a dinner at his favorite steakhouse. 

TRENDING ON WCNC.COM […]

coronavirus

'It was a shock to me': Woman gets $14K after the federal government mistakenly said she was dead

The Small Business Administration has mistakenly denied small business owners grants, claiming they are dead, owe taxes and child support, or aren’t Americans.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — The federal government invited small business owners to apply for COVID-19 pandemic grants, but then incorrectly denied some applications claiming the applicants owed child support, weren’t citizens and were dead.

Despite WCNC Charlotte’s repeated attempts to understand the reason behind the wrong Small Business Administration denials, the federal agency has yet to provide an explanation. However, a government watchdog group calls it an overcorrection following widespread fraud at the beginning of the pandemic.

“Not a ghost. I’m here”

Jennifer Thein isn’t dead, but for weeks, the SBA was convinced otherwise.

“It was a shock to me. I could not believe it,” Thein said. “I laughed at first. I cried. I had so many emotions going through me.”

The Gaston County nursing home cosmetologist appealed her Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance case after the SBA denied her application on May 5.

“It said I was on the American InfoSource Death Data, so that was scary,” Thein said. “It was confusing. I didn’t know if my identity had been stolen.”

Thein needed that $9,000 business grant after the pandemic prevented her from cutting hair inside the nursing home for 393 days.

“I’m going to be financially destroyed when it comes to my credit, my life,” she worried in May. “It’s been a goose chase trying to get myself alive to prove to them that I’m not dead.”

So far, the SBA has refused to share data of how many others the federal agency denied for a variety of reasons, but Thein’s incorrect denials are not isolated.

“I was told I was not the first case,” she said.

In a Twitter poll posted Monday, more than 80% of participants told WCNC Charlotte’s Nate Morabito the SBA mistakenly denied them too.

Just helped a hairdresser secure a $9,000 Targeted EIDL Advance after @SBAgov initially denied her for being dead. She’s not. Helped a coffee shop owner after SBA first denied her for not paying taxes. She did. Were you mistakenly denied? @DunhamWriting @TrySmallBiz #SmallBiz— Nate Morabito (@NateMorabito) June 14, 2021

“I don’t know if it would ever get resolved”

The SBA eventually worked with Thein after WCNC Charlotte alerted the federal agency of its mistake. Not only did the agency approve her $9,000 grant just days ago, but Thein said the SBA also approved an additional supplemental grant of $5,000.

“It just feels really good to know that it’s over, I’m going to get things paid,” she said.

Not only is Thein now back in the salon doing what she loves for the people she adores, but the grant money will also breathe new life into her business that cares for people at the end of their lives.

“I feel so good,” she said. “I feel like a weight has lifted off of me.”

Thein is not an isolated case. 

“Boy oh boy oh boy, I tell you”

The SBA cited multiple reasons for denying Bobby McKnight-Harrison’s $9,000 Targeted EIDL Advance application on April 22, including claiming he isn’t an American. The Charlotte property manager and consultant said he previously served as a federal student worker and longtime government contractor.

“That money can help me pay down some of the bills on the business itself, the utilities, the rent,” he said.

Through the appeals process, McKnight-Harrison has tried to clear up the confusion on his application, including a minor error he made about his address.

“No contact back whatsoever,” he said. “To me, it’s frustrating to the point that you don’t want to reach back out to them.”

Another business owner told WCNC Charlotte the SBA initially denied her for owing child support even though she doesn’t have kids.

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Meanwhile, the SBA initially denied Emily Cordero in early April after the federal agency thought the Concord coffee shop owner didn’t pay her taxes.

Thankfully, the federal government quickly changed its mind after WCNC Charlotte advocated on her behalf.

“I honestly feel like this wouldn’t have happened without your help,” Cordero said.

RELATED: ‘We just can’t explain how grateful and thankful we are’ | Concord small business relieved after getting $7K SBA loan

Why is the SBA denying applications?

Project on Government Oversight Policy Analyst Tim Stretton said you can trace the recent denial problems back to the beginning of the pandemic. POGO, a non-profit watchdog group, believes the SBA errors are the result of an effort by the agency to clamp down on fraud.

“It’s an unfortunate consequence,” Stretton said. “Some of the safeguards they had situated in the middle of the program have made it so legitimate businesses are getting denied access to these funds.”

Those safeguards, which Stretton said “were long overdue,” resulted in more bureaucracy.

“The administration had to do something because there were so many fraudulent applications that had been submitted,” he said.

However, Stretton said this situation should serve as a lesson for the government to get it right from the start rather than change course mid-stream.

“We really want to make sure that everybody that is entitled to these funds, that need these funds, get it and I think SBA should be working with them more,” Stretton said.

Unanswered questions

Since the SBA has refused to release details about how many others the agency has denied for similar reasons and how many have filed appeals, WCNC Charlotte filed Freedom of Information Act requests and is awaiting the SBA’s response.

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community

'I want to inspire people to grow' | Charlotte-based author takes a unique approach to diversity education

“With George Floyd and a lot of the recent incidents and things that occurred, I wanted to provide a way for people to get better.”

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte-based author who does diversity training for everyone from Fortune 500 companies, to fourth graders, has taken a unique approach to diversity education. And one that’s getting him recognized in the national spotlight.

Justin Jones-Fosu has been doing diversity work for decades, but last year he felt called to write about it.

“With George Floyd and a lot of the recent incidents and things that occurred, I wanted to provide a way for people to get better,” Jones-Fosu said.

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

The sought after diversity and inclusion consultant typically workswith big businesses but wanted to bring his approach to the masses.

Jones-Fosu wrote The Inclusive Mindset as a guide that he said everyone can use in their daily lives.

“It’s being curious, a sense of wonderment about other people, learning how to respectfully disagree again,”Jones-Fosu said. “I don’t have to agree with your ideology to still value your humanity and the third is a growth minded approach it looks at where we are now and how do we get better.” 

“I met a lot of people they just didn’t know where to start. A lot of my friends were reaching out asking, how do we have this conversation,” he added. 

He said the book is written with a very specific approach, one he believes is different from most diversity work.

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

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“It’s less of a shame based approach and more of where do we go from here,” he said. “Sometimes the conversation focuses on where we should be and should focus on where we can be.”His dad is from Ghana and his mom is American, so Jones-Fosu said he “never really fit in with Blacks or Whites growing up” and that laid the groundwork for the work he does now.

 “So I’ve always been in this place of tension. So part of my story and what I went through as a young person has helped get me to where I am today,” Jones-Fosu said. “I want to inspire people to grow so we can create more inclusive environment. I want to create an environment where people can respectfully disagree where we can see people’s humanity.” 

For more information on The Inclusive Mindset or the rest of Justin’s work, check out his website. 

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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

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. […]

Education

CMS bus drivers to receive starting pay of $15.75 an hour

The district is looking for full-time and part-time drivers with a starting pay of $15.75 an hour. All drivers, including part-time employees, are eligible to receive benefits. 
Wednesday’s event will run from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at the Northpointe Bus Lot on Northpointe Industrial Boulevard in north Charlotte.
CMS Transportation is the largest transportation district in North Carolina and is one of the 10 largest transportation departments in the nation. 
WCNC Charlotte is always asking “where’s the money?” If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.
CMS is offering teachers a $1,200 bonus for three weeks or a $2,500 bonus for six weeks, in addition to a teacher’s regular state rate of pay.
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. […]

health

New hangout space for people struggling with mental health ready to open its doors

The drop-in center will fully open in Rock Hill when it’s safe to gather in groups. It’s where people living with mental health challenges can be themselves.

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Mental health advocates say the pandemic has been difficult for people living with mental health challenges. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Piedmont Tri-County in South Carolina has been helping people struggling with mental illness for decades.

Their newest venture is a direct result of people suffering in isolation. 

“Our numbers have definitely gone up. More people are reporting mental illness,” shared Kati Durkee, who works for NAMI Piedmont Tri-County. “There’s a spike in anxiety, a spike in depression.” 

RELATED: There’s a growing mental health crisis in young people during the pandemic

This is why Durkee and the team at NAMI Piedmont Tri-County are launching a drop-in center. The center is a place people struggling with mental challenges can come to rest, participate in classes or, on occasion, join a party — a place where they can spend time and be themselves. 

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

NEWS: There’s a new drop-in/hang-out spot coming to Rock Hill for people living with mental health challenges. It’s a place they can seek help or just hang out without feeling pressured. My story airs at 5:30 PM on @wcnc pic.twitter.com/9MGdRiBr7Z— Indira Eskieva WCNC (@IndiraEskieva) June 15, 2021

“The pandemic has been, in some ways really difficult, because what we lost was our ability to have a place to do our support groups, to do our meetings to do our classes,” CJ O’Lenick, a NAMI board member who also lives with mental challenges, said. 

O’Lenick says he understands the struggles of isolation and shares his story so that it would others who are struggling.

“Having a space where you can be yourself and communicate with people who are feeling the same way,” he said. “It makes you feel like you’re not alone.” 

RELATED: Boost your health and wellness routine

The project was born during the pandemic, and though it’s ready to open, it’s now having to wait until it’s completely safe to gather in groups before it launches. NAMI is also looking for volunteers to help out in the center. 

For more information on joining the drop-in center or on volunteering, visit www.namipiedmont.org.

Contact Indira Eskieva at ieskieva@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

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home

Are we seeing a surge in people buying high heels?

With more people returning to work and traveling, heels are once again flying off the shelves.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — During the height of the pandemic, most of us put minimal effort into our appearances as we were stuck at home.

But fashion is coming back in full force, particularly high heels.

Fashion experts are noticing an interesting trend, the return of high heels. 

Let’s connect the dots.

When the world went into quarantine, dressy shoes got shoved into the back of the closet. Crocks and Birkenstocks made a comeback as many of us chose comfort over looks.

But with more people returning to work and traveling, heels are once again flying off the shelves.

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

Experts say they are seeing a noticeable increase in the sale of dress shoes. And now there’s real concern if there will be enough supply for all that demand. 

Google searches for heels are skyrocketing. And it’s not just any old heel.

Designer footwear is in high demand.

Popular fashion designer Manolo Blahnik announced he is bringing back five inch heels. Something he hasn’t sold in years. 

A sign that as we return to normal, we are once again sacrificing comfort for style.

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

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. […]

community

Charlotte City Council to vote on 2040 plan on June 21

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Tuesday evening the Planning Committee of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend Charlotte’s city council to approve its 2040 plan.
“The 2040 plan addresses critical issues from housing affordability and economic mobility to environmental sustainability and transportation,” @choosesam, chair of the Planning Commission, said in part in a statement. #CLTCC votes on this on Monday, June 21. @wcnc https://t.co/OJHooop8Pf— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) June 15, 2021

The 2040 plan incorporates input from thousands of Charlotte residents collected during the past three years at events and forums held throughout the city. 
The events, including several town halls hosted by city council members, covered key topics such as single-family zoning and 10-minute neighborhoods as well as the fiscal impacts of the plan.
**The attached video aired at an earlier date, prior to the publication of this article.**
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

$4,000 reward offered for man wanted for murder in Statesville shooting

Tyrell Dantaye Daniels has a lengthy criminal record, including convictions for assault attempted robbery and burglary.

STATESVILLE, N.C. — Deputies in Iredell County, North Carolina, are looking for a man wanted in connection with a deadly shooting in Statesville Tuesday morning. 

According to the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to a reported shooting on Williams Road, near west Statesville around 3 a.m. A short while later, investigators were called to Iredell Memorial Hospital, where the victim was pronounced dead. 

The sheriff’s office announced Tuesday, June 15, a $3,000 reward is being offered by the U.S. Marshals. An additional $1,000 is being offered by the local Crime Stoppers fund. 

During the investigation, detectives identified Tyrell Dantaye Daniels, AKA “Lil Buckey” as a suspect in the shooting and obtained a warrant for his arrest for murder. 

Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter

Investigators said Daniels has a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree burglary, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a stolen firearm and communicating threats. Deputies said Daniels has made threats against police officers in the past. 

Any person with information about Daniels’ whereabouts is asked to call the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office at 704-878-3100. He is considered armed and dangerous. 

RELATED: Man accused of shooting at Domino’s employees who wouldn’t make pizza after closing, police say

RELATED: Amazon is sharing part of your home internet starting Tuesday

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Note: WCNC instituted a new 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 is choosing to show the mugshots of the suspect in this case because they are on the loose and a threat to the public. […]

Education

'Spelling Success' | Union County student representing NC in Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinals

Sreethan Gajula attends Marvin Ridge Middle School and is sponsored for the event by the Carolina Panthers.

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — S-E-M-I-F-I-N-A-L-S 

One eighth grader from Union County is spelling his way to success on a national stage.  

Sreethan Gajula, 14, punched his ticket to the semifinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Tuesday, June 15, and is now lone representative from North Carolina in the competition. 

Gajula is among 30 students nationwide that made it to the next leg of the spelling bee. 

#Speller61 Sreethan Gajula from North Carolina has spelled the word hornito correctly, and will advance to the semifinals! https://t.co/gYiqHi4Ds1 #spellingbee— Scripps National Spelling Bee (@ScrippsBee) June 15, 2021

Gajula attends Marvin Ridge Middle School and is sponsored by the Carolina Panthers.  

“It was really a surreal experience,” Gajula said about making it to the semifinals. “Soon as she said, ‘that is correct,’ a lot of emotions were rushing through my mind. I was kind of in a state of shock… it was a really fruitful day today.” 

The level of support has been a sight to see for Gajula and his family. Union County Public Schools is just one of the groups posting online and showing they’re behind the speller.  

Go Sreethan, go! Our on Sreethan Gajula has made it through the first 3 rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and will continue competition this Tuesday at noon on ESPN! @ucpsnc @aghoulihan pic.twitter.com/NP8SgmWyGr— Marvin Ridge Middle (@MarvinRidgeMSNC) June 13, 2021

“My school supported me so much,” he said. “They’ve given me so much support and given so much confidence in me.” 

Gajula also thanked the Carolina Panthers for sponsoring him in the competition and the support they’ve given him. 

Gajula said he’s wanting to put Charlotte on the map during this year’s spelling bee, and wants to represents past and current spellers that competed in the event. 

“This is a really humbling and honorable experience,” he added. 

Several North Carolina and South Carolina representatives qualified for this year’s event, along with Gajula. The North Carolina students include Brianna Jimison (Charlotte), Rishidharan Jayakumar (Charlotte), Logan Edwards (Charlotte), Cana Gerald (Durham), Abigail Lollis (Lillington), Kristen Carrington (Smithfield), Zachary Thurnher (Fayetteville), James Dover (Gastonia), London Cornwell (Shelby) and Riley Crysell (Wilson). 

Students from South Carolina that made it to the event include Lukas Chavis (Florence), Keerthana Samuel (Charleston) and Na’amah Morbeth (Spartanburg).

There’s never a dull moment for Gajula, either.  

According to his biography on the Scripps’ spelling bee website, he and his friends are working on a research project about plastic decomposition and “altering the process of decomposition to make it faster and more effective.”  

Gajula also competes in different spelling bees and enjoys playing tennis and video games with his friends. 

As far as what’s ahead, the Marvin Ridge student said he’s preparing for the next leg of the spelling bee, and offered some words of advice for others looking to get into event. 

“Working hard will always pay off,” Gajula said. “Dedication, passion… those are keys for success.”

The semifinals for the Scripps National Spelling Bee will air live on ESPN2 and ESPNU on Sunday, June 27, at 7 p.m.  The finals are also set for July 8. 

You can learn more about the event by clicking here. 

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Mecklenburg County not renewing contract with Latta Plantation following controversy over June 19 event

A June 19 event at Latta Plantation was canceled after social media backlash; some community members referred to the event as a poor rewrite of history.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Tuesday night, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners addressed and reviewed controlling documents between Historic Latta Place and the county following an event at Latta Plantation that was canceled after social media backlash. 

According to the event page, which has since been deleted, organizers were planning to host an event on June 19 called “Kingdom Come.” The event page stated guests would “hear stories from the massa himself who is now living in the woods.” 

The event was not explicitly listed as a Juneteenth event, but was planned to be held on June 19 — Juneteenth is a holiday to remember and celebrate June 19, 1865, when slavery officially ended in America. 

RELATED: ‘Rooted in pain’ | June 19 event at Latta Plantation canceled after social media backlash

According to the county, Historic Latta Plantation is considered a “living history museum and farm” from circa 1800 and is located in Latta Nature Preserve. The plantation and surrounding area were intended to give visitors a sense of what 19th-century life was like in the Carolinas. 

Historic Latta Place, Inc — which manages daily operations of Latta Plantation and offers educational programs — is a contractor to Mecklenburg County. For this reason, following backlash on social media following the event announcement and its subsequent cancelation, Mecklenburg County leaders resolved to review its relationship with the vendor.

pic.twitter.com/Sp0xK0h6bX— Mecklenburg County (@MeckCounty) June 11, 2021

At the county commissioner’s meeting Tuesday, Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation director Lee Jones said he sent a letter to Historic Latta Plantation, Inc., telling them they would not be renewing their annual contract when it expires on June 30. The contract has been renewed each year since the 1970s.

Jones told the board of county commissioners that Latta Plantation was supposed to tell Parks and Recreation about programs at least six weeks ahead of time by contract, but had not in this instance. 

“This is why we need to do a racial equity audit across the report,” Commissioner Susan Rodriguez-McDowell said. “We should be doing a deep, deep dive in all of our departments.” 

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The contract had continued to be renewed year after year since the 70s, Jones says. It will not be renewed, he reiterates. #MeckBOCC @wcnc— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) June 16, 2021

RELATED: ‘It represents slavery’ | Senior-living community removes ‘plantation’ from every street name on its property

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coronavirus

VERIFY: Yes, Moderna's vaccine contains SM-102, no, it isn't dangerous

An online claim states that the COVID-19 vaccines contain a substance not suitable for humans, but experts say that’s not true.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some people still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, including questions about what is in them.

WCNC Charlotte viewer Elaine C. recently reached out about a claim she saw, which stated the vaccines have an ingredient considered to be poisonous.

The Question

Do any of the COVID-19 vaccine contain SM-102? Is SM-102 a poison?

Sources

Dr. Jane Kelly, Assistant State Epidemiologist, South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental ControlModerna’s COVID-19 vaccine ingredient listCayman Chemical, which makes SM-102

The Answer

Yes, Moderna’s vaccine contains SM-102, but SM-102 is not considered dangerous.

“The Moderna vaccine does contain SM-102, which is a lipid, a fat, an oil,” said Kelly. “SM-102 is safe for humans in vaccines.”

So from where might the misinformation have emerged?

On Cayman Chemical’s site, the company describes SM-102’s chemistry, including a warning that says, “Product not for human or veterinary use.” However, there’s a link to click for an accompanying statement, which explains the company’s safety warning has to do with chloroform, which is mixed with SM-102 for shipping.

The company goes on to write that several safety agencies do not list any hazards associated with SM-102 itself.

Kelly states the version of the lipid in the vaccines is safe, and a check of the Moderna ingredient list shows no chloroform, just SM-102, along with other safe ingredients.

Moderna lists its coronavirus vaccine ingredients as “messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate trihydrate, and sucrose.”

“There were three other oils, four salts, and a sugar, and that’s it. Nothing that would be dangerous,” Kelly said.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

Contact Vanessa Ruffes at vruffes@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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coronavirus

Tracking coronavirus data: Carolinas outbreak map

Use the maps below to see where all of the cases of the coronavirus in North and South Carolina have been reported so far.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At WCNC Charlotte, we are focusing our coronavirus coverage on facts, not fear. We aim to give our viewers the information they need from officials to best protect themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Key Facts:

Cases in North Carolina: 1,009,198 lab-confirmed cases with 13,296 deaths. DHHS reported 272 new cases Tuesday. The percentage of positive test results is averaging 2.7% over the last two weeks. NCDHHS is reporting 510 people hospitalized statewide due to COVID-19. Currently, 54% of the adult population is at least partially vaccinated and 51% of the adult population is fully vaccinated. Cases in South Carolina: 492,985 total cases of COVID-19 with 8,623 deaths. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced 53 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday. DHEC is reporting 0 new confirmed deaths. The percentage of positive tests is 2.1%. SCDHEC is reporting that 163 people are hospitalized statewide due to COVID-19. Cases in Mecklenburg County: 113,647 Mecklenburg County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus and 977 related deaths have been reported since the pandemic began. On Tuesday, 46 additional COVID-19 cases were reported with 0 additional deaths. 1.9% of individuals tested were positive for COVID-19 over the past week. An average of 67 individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infections were hospitalized in the past week.

North Carolina cases of COVID-19

South Carolina cases of COVID-19

To view a list of cases reported so far in South Carolina, The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control released the following chart.

WCNC Charlotte’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit wcnc.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Carolinas specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 704-329-3600. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning by subscribing to the Wake Up Charlotte newsletter here.

The state of North Carolina has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 866-462-3821 or read the frequently asked questions.  In South Carolina, for general questions about the coronavirus, call the DHEC Care Line 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls 8 a.m.-6 p.m. every day.102,861 lab-confirmed cases with 1,668 deaths. […]

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VERIFY: Yes, Charlotte does have one of the best tree canopies compared to other cities

American Forests conducted a list of the 10 best cities for urban forests. Charlotte was among the 10, including Austin, Denver, New York, and Portland.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — QUESTION: Does Charlotte have one of the best tree canopies compared to other cities?

ANSWER: Yes, currently, Charlotte’s tree canopy is at 45%, higher than other cities. 

SOURCES: 

WHAT WE FOUND: 

In 2013 American Forests conducted a list of the 10 best cities for urban forests. Charlotte was among the 10, including Austin, Denver, New York, and Portland. 

 A recent analysis looked at Charlottes tree canopy change from 2021 to 2018 and found Charlotte’s tree canopy is at 45%. 

“Traditionally, the upper 40s is the cream of the crop. It’s the gold star for a major American city,” said Porter. 

However, there has been some decline in the last 15 years, from 49% to 45%. 

“What we found is that development is playing a large role the types of development impacting,  the greatest area of canopy decline was in single-family areas but not subdivision related,” said Porter. 

However, Treepedia New York has 14% tree canopy, Tampa 36%, and Boston 18%. 

The tree canopy action plan part of the 2040 comprehensive plan hopes to revise Charlotte’s tree ordinance and implement preservation and planting requirements.

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VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. […]

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'It represents slavery' | Senior-living community removes 'plantation' from every street name on its property

The community once known as “Plantation Estates” changed its name in late 2020 to “Matthews Glen.”

MATTHEWS, N.C. — The word “plantation” was removed from every street name in a Matthews senior-living community Tuesday, months after the community itself changed its name to remove any ties to slavery.

The community once known as “Plantation Estates” changed its name in late 2020 to “Matthews Glen.” At the time, the community just Southeast of Charlotte released a statement saying it was making the change to be more inclusive.

RELATED: Retirement community renamed to remove ‘plantation’ from title

“We have long recognized the controversy that surrounds the word “plantation” and are sensitive to how it is commonly understood,” Matthews Glen executive director Steve Messer said. “The decision to rename the community is representative of the values we have always stood for and our larger commitment to be recognized as an open, inclusive and diverse community.”

But in the months since the name change, three streets within the community continued to bear the name “plantation.”

The community recently petitioned the town of Matthews and Mecklenburg County to change its street names, Maureen Keith, a communications specialist for the town of Matthews, said.

Both municipalities agreed to the change. The street name changes became effective June 15.

Crews began changing the street signs immediately.

Sometimes change happens right before your eyes. We watched as a senior-living community covered up all of the streets bearing the name “Plantation” Tuesday. The latest move by the community to be more inclusive and leave the word “plantation” in the past. pic.twitter.com/rDZRPJQogQ— Tanya Mendis (@tanyamendis) June 15, 2021

“Plantation Estates Drive” became “Pavilion View Drive;” “Plantation Clubhouse Drive” became “Clubhouse Vista Drive;” “Plantation Crossing Drive” became “Deer Crossing Drive.”

More and more communities in the country are having a reckoning around names with ties to the Antebellum South.

“The history remains, but at what point are you validating it?” Aman Nadhiri, an associate professor at Johnson C. Smith Unversity, pondered. “Do you want your children and your children’s children to see it and think this is normal? Because this is normalizing as well… I think there is a social cost that’s being felt by people who live in some of these areas that have these names.”

That social cost has turned into social justice in communities across the Southeast.

Demonstrators gathered at the Wakefield Plantation neighborhood in Raleigh earlier this month to lobby for the community to change its name. Meanwhile, petitions for name changes in two plantation-named communities in Charleston, S.C., have received hundreds of signatures.

Nadhiri said he believes terms and symbols that were once more socially acceptable are now becoming more taboo.

“We’re seeing a shift from the line between soft racism and hard racism,” Nadhiri said. “The line has shifted dramatically and I think people are struggling to catch up.”

But while the social acceptance of the word “plantation” may be changing, Nadhiri pointed out that the symbolism behind the word has always been one that conjures deep feelings of pain and trauma.

“Plantation has always been a word that’s been associated with some kind of dispossession and oppression,” Nadhiri said. “In this country, it represents slavery.”

Matthews Glen is home to more than 700 residents. It has been open since 1988.

Contact Tanya Mendis at tmendis@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

RELATED: ‘Rooted in pain’ | June 19 event at Latta Plantation canceled after social media backlash

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