Local News Roundup: School Districts Buck CDC Mask Guidance; Charlotte Unveils Nondiscrimination Ordinance

It was only a few weeks ago that North Carolina’s rate for positive COVID-19 tests was below 2%. But the spread of the delta variant sent the positivity rate above 10% this week — the first time since February it crossed that threshold.

Gov. Roy Cooper and others said the worsening metrics were the result of COVID-19 spreading among those who have not been vaccinated.

“This virus is now much more contagious and spreading fast, and it’ll find you if you’re unvaccinated,” Cooper said Thursday.

Join our roundtable of reporters for more on those and other stories from the week’s news.

GUESTS

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call columnist and host of the Equal Time podcast (@mcurtisnc3)

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health care reporter (@donnellyclairee)

Hunter Saenz, WCNC local government reporter (@Hunt_Saenz)

Erik Spanberg, Charlotte Business Journal managing editor (@CBJspanberg)

Local News Roundup: Budget Spat Between CMS, County Resolved; Hannah-Jones Turns Down UNC, Delta Variant Becomes Dominant

On the Local News Roundup: the budget impasse between Mecklenburg County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has been resolved. CMS will get the $56 million in retained funds — and more.

Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones rejects UNC Chapel Hill’s delayed offer of tenure after a weekslong debate. The Chapel Hill alum opts to teach at Howard University, instead.

Just when we start reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, the highly contagious delta variant emerges as the dominant strain in the nation. Meanwhile, COVID-related hospitalization in Mecklenburg County are at all-time lows.

And Mecklenburg County health director Gibbie Harris announces she’s retiring at the end of the year.

Our roundtable of reporters fills us in on those stories and more.

Guests

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health reporter

Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s executive producer for investigations & chief investigative reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for CQ Roll Call and host of its podcast “Equal Time with Mary C. Curtis,” and a senior leader with The OpEd Project.

Hunter Saenz, WCNC reporter

Mary C. Curtis: CMS Pushes Back on County Budget Allocation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County Commissioners, on Tuesday, adopted a $2 billion budget that includes a controversial $56 million cut to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. CMS promises to fight back by initiating the “dispute resolution process,” which calls for the two boards to meet within seven days.

In dispute is the plan to cut the CMS budget until it comes up with a plan to close the racial achievement gap. CMS says it already has a strategic plan, that the cut will harm students and that the commissioners are overstepping their legal authority. County Commissioners say it’s about accountability, and that the trim won’t affect student services.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis is breaking down the funding feud and other key issues in the county’s budget that you should know about.

Mary C. Curtis: School Funding Fight

CHARLOTTE, NC — It is a dispute that does not fall along party, neighborhood or racial lines.

In the latest county budget proposal, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio has proposed a recommendation that calls for putting $56 million of the money for CMS in the next fiscal year aside, intended to close those gaps and strengthen college readiness for Black and brown students.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis discusses the ongoing battle.

You can catch Mary C. Curtis on Sunday nights at 6:30 PM on WCCB Charlotte’s CW discussing the biggest issues in local and national politics and also giving us a look at what’s ahead for the week.

You can also check out Mary’s podcast ‘Equal Time.’

Mary C. Curtis: The Challenges of Reopening Schools Safely

CHARLOTTE, NC — President Joe Biden says his goal is to open the majority of K-8 schools five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office.

It comes as schools in North Carolina are slowly reopening with rotated schedules while teachers are next in line to get the vaccine.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis has more on the debate to reopen schools.

You can catch Mary C. Curtis on Sunday nights at 6:30 PM on WCCB Charlotte’s CW discussing the biggest issues in local and national politics and also giving us a look at what’s ahead for the week.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Phase 3 Reopening, CMS Adjusts Return Plan, CMPD Officers Resign

On the local news roundup, North Carolina moves into Phase 3 of reopening. With the state’s coronavirus metrics stable, Gov. Roy Cooper is easing restrictions to allow bars and other entertainment venues to open with reduced capacity. We find out what that means and check in our COVID-19 numbers.

The first CMS students began returning to the classroom this week, with more on the way. And the school board holds an emergency meeting to adjust their return to school plan for elementary students.

Five CMPD officers connected to the in-custody death of Harold Easter resign ahead of video release.

And county elections boards across the state have begun to process tens of thousands of absentee ballots.

Our roundtable of reporters fills us in on those stories and more.

Guests

Steve Harrison, WFAE’s Political Reporter

Claire Donnelly, WFAE’s health reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB-TV

Nick Ochsner, Chief Investigative Reporter at WBTV

Ann Doss Helms, WFAE’s education reporter

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Cooper’s ‘Last Call’ Rule; Has Charlotte Reached COVID Peak?G

On this week’s Charlotte Talks local news roundup …

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that there would be a “last call” order throughout North Carolina beginning on Friday, banning alcohol sales in restaurants after 11 p.m. Charlotte has a similar order already in place, but it’s more restrictive. We’ll give details on that, as well as a general update on Coronavirus — has Charlotte reached its peak?

President Trump announced this week that he will accept the GOP nomination for president in North Carolina, leaving many wondering if he means Charlotte, or somewhere else in the state. We’ll hear reaction from Charlotte officials.

There were talks of a conflict of interest — or the appearance of one — at city council this week. We’ll talk about what transpired regarding COVID-19 Relief Funds, council member Tariq Bokhari and his company Carolina Fintech Hub.

For the first time since World War II, the North Carolina State Fair (which was scheduled for Oct. 15-25 in Raleigh) has been canceled.

We’ll have those stories and much more with our roundtable of local reporters on the local news roundup.

Guests:

Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB 

David Boraks, reporter for WFAE

Joe BrunoWSOC-TV Reporter

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Schools Draw Up COVID Plans; Business Reopenings Delayed Again

Parents, students and teachers got the word they had been waiting on for weeks: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will begin the upcoming school year in the classroom then switch to all-remote learning.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the state’s public school systems can reopen with a hybrid of in-person and remote teaching, while South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and the state’s public school teachers are at odds over McMaster’s reopening plan for schools.

The reopening of North Carolina’s economy will stay in Phase 2 for the time being as coronavirus hospitalizations continue to set records. The head of the CDC, Robert Redfield, came to Charlotte to make the case for mask-wearing, saying that masks could “drive this epidemic to the ground” within two months.

For the first time since the financial crisis, Wells Fargo ended a quarter in the red, and said deep cuts – including layoffs – were on the table as a result.

The Local News Roundup has more on those and other stories.

GUEST HOST

Erik Spanberg, Charlotte Business Journal managing editor (@CBJSpanberg)

GUESTS

David Boraks, WFAE reporter (@davidboraks)

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call columnist, WCCB News analyst (@mcurtisnc3)

Jonathan Lowe, Spectrum News 1 anchor and reporter (@JonathanUpdates)

Annie Ma, Charlotte Observer education reporter (@anniema15)

Mary C. Curtis: NC Schools Will Reopen in August

CHARLOTTE, NC – Governor Roy Cooper announced North Carolina schools will reopen in August. Political contributor Mary C. Curtis has a breakdown of the governor’s plan.

Takeaways From Election Night 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC  —Voters in Mecklenburg county reject one of the biggest items on Tuesday’s ballot, a quarter-cent sales tax increase.

The sales tax would have generated an estimated $50 million a year for the arts, parks and schools.

As for the mayor’s race incumbent Democrat Vi Lyles has been re-elected for a second term.

She easily beat republican challenger David Rice.

Political contributor Mary C. Curtis discusses some of the biggest takeaways from the election.