Charlotte Prepares for Winter Storm Izzy
Bread and milk are vacating the shelves as Charlotte is preparing for Winter Storm Izzy, its first such storm of 2022. A mix of sleet, snow and frozen rain is expected to arrive late Saturday night and continue into Sunday morning, making road conditions hazardous and bringing potential for power outages.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office released an info sheet designed to help Mecklenburg County residents prepare for the impacts of Winter Storm Izzy that includes what to do before the storm and how to stay safe in your home and on the road once it hits. The sheet also provides a number of resources to help you stay updated on any changing conditions. The sheet was published in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese, and French.
Among the home safety tips during the storm or in case of a power outage, CMEMO reminds residents not to use a power generator inside the home and not to leave a space heater in an unattended room or use it while sleeping. On Tuesday, a space heater sparked what became the deadliest fire in New York City in more than 30 years.
CMEMO also announced Friday it is partnering with Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte, Roof Above and the Salvation Army Center of Hope to support the needs of people experiencing homelessness during Winter Storm Izzy.
Beginning today and lasting through at least Monday, local shelters will expand capacity, while homeless outreach teams began deploying to area encampments on Friday morning to encourage anyone living unsheltered to visit a shelter or provide blankets and/or coats if they refuse to visit a shelter.
Roof Above will expand capacity by adding cots at the Lucille Giles Men’s Shelter located at 3410 Statesville Ave. To access this shelter, men may go to the site starting at 4:30 pm. Roof Above will operate its Day Services Center from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., with limited indoor seating as well as access to restrooms. There will also be outdoor seating with radiated heaters set up to meet Mecklenburg County Public Health guidelines.
Salvation Army Center of Hope, which provides shelter for single women and families, will expand capacity by 50 beds at its Center of Hope shelter located at 534 Spratt St. Women and families may access this shelter by calling 2-1-1 or by going to the shelter between 9 a.m.–8:30 p.m. CATS buses will transport individuals to either shelter location free of charge today and tomorrow during the day.
COVID-19 Testing Site Changes Announced
Due to inclement weather forecasted as part of Winter Storm Izzy, StarMed Healthcare announced Friday that it will close all of its outdoor sites on Sunday except for the location at 4001 Tuckaseegee Road, which is scheduled to operate 9 a.m.-4 p.m. According to a release sent out Friday, StarMed officials will monitor weather conditions early Sunday morning and make adjustments accordingly, which could mean a delayed opening time or early closure.
Due to anticipated staffing shortages and limited testing capacity across the area, StarMed officials are asking that only high-risk or immunocompromised patients visit the Tuckaseegee Road testing location on Sunday. StarMed will determine whether to close its indoor sites based on the road conditions caused by Winter Storm Izzy early Sunday morning.
With COVID-19 cases at an all-time high in the area, Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) and Cabarrus Health Alliance announced Friday that they are collaborating with testing providers StarMed and MAKO to open two new COVID–19 testing sites Monday at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Carowinds.
StarMed PCR and rapid testing at zMAX Dragway, located at 6570 Bruton Smith Blvd. in Concord, will operate from noon–4 p.m. on the following dates: Jan. 17, Jan. 19-20, Jan. 22, Jan. 24-25, Jan. 29, Jan. 31, and Feb. 1-3.
MAKO PCR testing at Carowinds, located at 14523 Carowinds Blvd. in Charlotte, will operate from 8 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday through Saturday beginning Jan. 17. Find a free testing site near you by visiting the NC DHHS Find My Testing Place page or using the MCPH COVID–19 Testing and Vaccination Sites map.
CMPD Presents End-of-Year Crime Stats
CMPD released its 2021 end-of-year crime report this week. It shows that, overall, crime dropped 5% in 2021 as compared to 2020, though it should be noted that single year-to-year comparisons are not necessarily indicative of any trend.
CMPD reported declines across categories such as violent crime (down 7%), homicides (down 18%) and property crime (down 4%). The department made 4% fewer arrests than in 2020.
The total aggregate numbers for these percentage changes are below:
- Overall index offenses reported in 2021 were 37,739 compared to 39,675 in 2020.
- Violent crimes reported in 2021 were 7,554 compared to 8,090 in 2020.
- Homicides reported in 2021 were 98 compared to 118 in 2020.
- Property crimes reported in 2021 were 30,185 compared to 31,585 in 2020.
- Arrests made in 2021 were 13,792 compared to 14,402 in 2020.
The report shows increases in a few categories including rape (up 19%), vehicle thefts (up 5%), and vehicle break-ins (up 4%). The majority of the sex assault increase was due to cases involving a non-stranger (up 22%), according to CMPD.
The total aggregate numbers for these percentage changes are below:
- Rapes reported in 2021 were 313 compared to 264 in 2020.
- Vehicle thefts reported in 2021 were 2,983 compared to 2,852 in 2020.
- Vehicle break-ins reported in 2021 were 10,439 compared to 10,044 in 2020.
- Sexual assault cases involving a non-stranger reported in 2021 were 239 compared to 195 in 2020.
UDO Feedback Period Extended
The city of Charlotte’s Planning, Design & Development staff announced Wednesday they are extending the current public comment period for the first draft of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to Friday, March 18. Public comments for the first draft were originally due to be received by Friday, Jan. 14.
The additional time will allow for continued dialogue and engagement about the first draft, according to a release sent out by city staff. A series of UDO educational videos are also now available as a resource in addition to the highlight summary and reference guide.
Planning staff will continue to engage with residents through virtual conversations and responses to all public comments will be available online prior to the release of a second draft of the UDO, according to the release. Public comments and responses are being released periodically as they become available.
The city released the first draft of the UDO in October, and is now scheduled to release a second draft in May. The new schedule maintains the proposal for UDO adoption by City Council in July 2022.
CMPD AC&C Asks for Help with Sheltering Dogs
CMPD Animal Care & Control sent out an alert Friday in the lead-up to Winter Storm Izzy asking for volunteers to take some of the dogs they have at their shelter on “a staycation” for the weekend, sheltering them during the storm to make room for others.
According to a press release, as of 4 p.m. on Friday the shelter located on 8315 Byrum Drive had room for just eight more dogs. Staff asked that anyone who is willing and able come by the shelter today, no appointment necessary, and choose a dog to take home. At the time the release was sent out, the shelter was housing 41 cats, 6 kittens and 153 dogs.
“A Staycation is literally saving two lives: the life of the dog on the Staycation and the one it makes room for,” the release read.