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)

Black Businesses & COVID

U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. President/CEO Ron Busby discusses what’s needed to support black-owned businesses as the COVID delta variant raises concerns anew. Panelists Mary C. Curtis, Leonardo Williams, and Dr. DeLon Canterbury explore the potential economic repercussions of the COVID delta variant’s spread and effect of messaging on vaccination rate and hesitancy.

The education gap

Slavery, Jim Crow laws and COVID-19 all have contributed to a yawning gap between white public school students and students of color. While the 1950s Supreme Court decision known as Brown v. Board of Education was supposed to correct “separate but equal,” there is still a long way to go before public schools can talk about equity. Mary C. Curtis talks with Terra Wallin of the Education Trust to understand how we arrived at this moment and how the nation’s public schools can do better.

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

COPING WITH COVID19: A HELPFUL, HOPEFUL CALL-IN SHOW

So happy to have guested with journalist Bob Anthony on Sree Sreenivasan’s final “Coping w/Covid: A Helpful, Hopeful Call-in Show” show, Saturday. We talked Juneteenth, the pandemic and more … on WBAI Radio NYC:

Why do Black American women die having babies?

The United States has the highest — yes the highest — maternal mortality rates in the developed world. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. That is in keeping with other sobering statistics of racial health inequities revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary C. Curtis sits down with Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, President Biden’s pick to lead the task force on health equity. They discuss why Black people suffer disproportionately and what is being done to change the equation.

USDA and Black farmers

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sits down with Mary C. Curtis to discuss Black farmers and the USDA plan to provide debt relief to socially disadvantaged borrowers through the March COVID-19 relief law.

That means Black farmers who have lost 90 percent of their land in the last century, in large part because of USDA policies, may receive compensation. The administration says equity is overdue and this is just the beginning. But many white farmers and banks have objections.

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.

Reporters’ Roundtable

We’re at the Reporters’ Roundtable examining the top stories of the week.  Big changes in CDC recommendations for wearing masks and more shooting of unarmed black men by authorities. WHUR’s ‘Daily Drum’ with host Harold Fisher and guests Mary C. Curtis and political analyst Charles Ellison.

 

Local News Roundup: Pat McCrory Runs For Senate; Barringer Gets A New Name; Update On COVID-19 Vaccinations

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup:

The list of candidates for Richard Burr’s U.S. Senate seat is growing, now including former mayor and local radio talk show host Pat McCrory. We’ll talk about the field of candidates that has assembled.

This week, City Council provided details about how it plans to fund the arts in Charlotte after it announced earlier this year that it would no longer send money to the Arts & Science Council.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is spending nearly $900,0000 on air quality improvements for several schools in the district. That news came in the same week that it was announced that commencement ceremonies would be in person this year. Also, a new name for Barringer Academic Center, and no more taking temperatures upon entry at CMS schools.

And we’ll have an update on COVID-19 vaccinations in Mecklenburg County.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into 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

Jonathan Lowe, anchor/ reporter for Spectrum News

Steve Harrison, WFAE’s political reporter

Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter