Local News Roundup: COVID-19 Cases Rise In Schools, 3-Year-Old Killed By Gun Violence, Redistricting Begins In Charlotte

On the Local News Roundup: COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the community and area schools. Where this is happening and what are officials doing about it?

In Union County, not much. Their school board votes to keep mask-wearing optional for students and teachers — one of only three systems in the state to reach that decision.

Mecklenburg County releases data on its employees’ vaccination rates as organizations representing police and fire prepare to push back on possible vaccine mandates.

And a Charlotte City Council committee starts drawing new election maps based on 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data.

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

Guests

Ann Doss Helms, WFAE Education Reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”

Hunter Saenz, WCNC Reporter

Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s Executive Producer for Investigations & Chief Investigative Reporter

Local News Roundup: Census Data; City Council Approves NDO; CMS Discusses Title IX; Mask Mandates In Charlotte-Mecklenburg?

Title IX training and discussions of how students should report sexual assaults and harassment at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were part of a latenight board meeting for the district this week. And as the new school year begins later this month, school leaders are hoping to meet the academic and health challenges caused by the pandemic.

Charlotte City Council approved a new nondiscrimination ordinance that leaders call “historic” and “the right thing to do.”

Mayor Vi Lyles made waves this week during her weekly press conference about mask mandates and who has the power to make them.

We provide an update on COVID-19, as numbers of cases and hospitalizations in our region return to high levels, and as some schools who are already in session reverse masking policies after having outbreaks of the illness. We’ll also discuss how Gov. Roy Cooper’s $100 incentive to get the vaccine has sparked a new surge of vaccinations.

Guest host Erik Spanberg from the Charlotte Business Journal and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top news on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

GUESTS:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time” and contributor at WCCB-TV

Katie Peralta Soloff, reporter for Axios Charlotte

Claire DonnellyWFAE health reporter

Joe BrunoWSOC-TV reporter

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)

‘The flag would still be flying today’

Six years ago, Malcolm Graham lost his big sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, in the Charleston shooting that took nine Black churchgoers’ lives. Now a city councilman in Charlotte, N.C., Graham reflects on the work he did to remove the Confederate flag from its prominent place on the South Carolina statehouse grounds, the future of racial matters in our country and his sister’s legacy.

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: Charlotte City Council Approves $2.7 Billion Budget

At its Monday meeting, Charlotte leaders approved next year’s $2.7 billion budget. Included are efforts to cut down on crime and funding for the arts as the city tries to come back after a year of COVID lockdown. Also, pay raises bring up salaries that had ranked low among comparable cities in the country.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis is breaking down the budget for 2022 fiscal year and why you should care.

The racial history of housing in Charlotte. Has much changed?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In the last several months city leaders have been discussing a big policy document. It’s their 2040 comprehensive plan, which could impact housing density and what neighborhoods look like. It also talks about the racial inequities that have happened in Charlotte’s housing history.

Well-known Writer Mary Curtis hosts her own podcast. She says it looks at policy and politics through the lens of social justice. It is a topic she has covered extensively in her 30-year career. She has held jobs with the Washington Post, New York Times and others.

“In order to understand what is going on today we have to understand our history,” Curtis said.

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: Relaxing the Mask Mandate

CHARLOTTE, NC — With the summer ahead, and more than a year into the COVID pandemic, many are celebrating the CDC announcement relaxing mask mandates.

People want to travel and socialize and businesses want to fully open.

But since the new rules apply to the vaccinated, there are still questions about who is and is not safe and if relying on an honor system is dependable.

WCCB Charlotte Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis is weighing in on the new rules.

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.

POLITICAL WRAP: COVID Restrictions Scaled Back

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The CDC says vaccinated people can go out and about and leave their mask at home.

But health officials strongly recommend unvaccinated people keep wearing their masks.

Our political contributor, Mary C. Curtis, gives us her take in the video above.