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5 Things to Know: CMS Addresses Gun Violence Against Students

...and four more stories from Jan. 14-20, 2024

gun violence
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools responded to the news that yet another student had fallen to gun violence this week. (AdobeStock)

CMS Addresses Impact of Gun Violence Against Students

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools put out a press release Wednesday responding to the news that yet another student had fallen to gun violence this week.

Daikwan Jedarren Deese, a 17-year-old Garinger High School student, was pronounced dead at the scene of a shooting off of Eastway Drive near the school at around 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Another unnamed student was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries following the shooting.

“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of numerous young lives in our community due to gun violence,” the district wrote in a statement. “We would like to partner with parents, families, school leaders, community leaders, religious leaders, and law enforcement to collaborate in eradicating gun violence in Mecklenburg County. The future of our entire community is being jeopardized as young lives are lost to gun violence.”

On Jan. 7, 17-year-old Myers Park High School student Avyon Titus Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene of an apparent accidental shooting during a party on West Trade Street. The 18-year-old suspect in that incident was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter. No arrest has yet been made in Deese’s killing at the time of this writing.

A Dec. 27 shooting in the North Tryon Division claimed the lives of 16-year-old West Charlotte High School student Tzion Dae and 15-year-old Amir Kidd, while Dec. 4 saw the fatal shooting death of 14-year-old Garinger High student Johnie McClendon.

Deese’s death occurred days after Vice President Kamala Harris visited Eastway Middle School, 2.5 miles from the scene of the shooting, to address ways to reduce gun violence and the ensuing mental health issues survivors face.

“[We have a duty] to ensure that [students] are safe in every way,” Harris said during a press conference at the school. “Yes, physically safe, that they are safe to dream … to learn, that they are just safe to be.”

Harris announced $12 million of the $285 million in federal funding from the Safer Communities Act will go to North Carolina to hire more counselors to support students affected by gun violence.

Tyber Creek Pub Announces Closing Date

Regulars at longtime South End staple Tyber Creek Pub have been awaiting the closure of the original location, which opened in 1995, since the property was slated for redevelopment in 2021. The beloved pub announced on its Instagram account on Friday that they will host one last celebration for St. Patrick’s Day before closing their doors in March.

Waiting at the window at Tyber Creek Pub with the Boozin’ on a Budget crew in 2021. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

Tyber Creek is expected to return as part of the new mixed-used development planned for the property, which will include 300 apartment units and a 4,500-square-foot space for the pub, but the construction could take up to three years to be completed.

Tyber Creek has become home to a number of local organizations, from the monthly Irish jam sessions hosted by ClannDarragh to the watch parties hosted by the local Kansas City Chiefs fan club.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of the community throughout this whole process and are excited about celebrating together,” the post stated of the final celebration on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Construction Starts on New University City Library

Despite having to cancel a groundbreaking event due to weather on Tuesday, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (CML) has begun construction on its new University City branch and is anticipated to have it completed in 2025. The facility will be located in the new Waters Edge development along JW Clay Boulevard, less than a mile from the current University City library.

That branch is already the most visited in the CML system, circulating nearly 300,000 materials and hosting more than 15,000 customers within the last fiscal year, according to a press release on Tuesday.

A rendering of the new University City library. (Courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library)

“This new facility has the customer in mind with generous spaces for dedicated program areas, a large community room, new and ample technology, and flexible meeting spaces along with comfortable individual and group-size reading and study spaces,” CML CEO Marcellus Turner said.

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved $39.6 million to be allocated toward the branch’s land, construction and other needs.

County Commission Approves Affordable Housing Project in Pineville

Thanks to the efforts of the Housing Impact Fund and Ascent Housing, 240 affordable rental units will remain available for those making 30% of the area median income.

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday night approved a $5.6 million loan to buy the Ascent Pineville property, which will be rehabbed and operated by Ascent Housing as part of its mission to support housing insecurity and upward mobility. The Housing Impact Fund will work with Ascent Housing to implement a 20-year affordability deed restriction on the property, allowing 36 units to be set aside for households making 30% AMI or lower.

The Board also approved a $3-million loan in the form of a mortgage on the property.

GOP Gubernatorial Frontrunner Mark Robinson Downs MLK Jr.

Mark Robinson, the leading Republican candidate for North Carolina governor, was outed yet again on Monday for having in the past posted a series of Facebook posts with extremist views, this time calling Martin Luther King Jr. an “ersatz pastor,” “communist” and the civil rights movement that he led “crap.”

Robinson’s posts, in which he “regularly criticized King and the civil rights movement for years on Facebook — specifically on MLK day,” were highlighted in a Huffington Post article on Monday. Robinson also used MLK Day to dismiss racism as fake, stating, “The state of race relations’ exist chiefly within your own mind.”

NC Democratic Party Chair Anderson Clayton released a statement responding to the article: “Mark Robinson has shown North Carolinians who he really is and that is someone who is on the wrong side of history, with a warped perception of reality.”

Robinson is the Republican front-runner for governor, likely to run against current NC Attorney General Josh Stein or former NC Supreme Court Justice Michael Morgan in this year’s general election.

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