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5 Things To Know: Cleanup Begins at Tent City as Deadline Passes

...and four more stories from Feb. 14-20, 2021

tent city deadline
Cleanup will begin this morning at Tent City after Friday night’s deadline for abatement passed. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

Cleanup Begins at Tent City as Deadline Passes

More than 200 people have been moved from the 12th Street encampment known as Tent City to nearby hotels and other shelters as Friday night saw the passing of a deadline set by the county on Tuesday. The county’s imminent hazard abatement order was meant to clear everyone off of seven parcels of land that had become infested with rats. 

As the 5 p.m. deadline came and went on Friday, officials with Roof Above and the city of Charlotte met with owners of the properties named in Tuesday’s order. Those owners include the city itself, Roof Above, the NC Department of Transportation, American Towers and Morningstar Storage. Crews did site assessments on Friday night, as cleanup efforts were expected to begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday. 

tent city deadline
Property owners and city officials carried out site assessments at Tent City on Friday following the abatement deadline. (Photo by Grant Baldwin)

A couple dozen residents remained at the site as night fell on Friday, some of which gathering belongings to take elsewhere and some attempting to stick it out longer. Multiple residents Queen City Nerve spoke with at the site on Friday evening said they had other plans for where they would go in the coming days rather than go to the hotel shelter offered by the county and Roof Above. Two people told us they would assess the actions of officials at the site before deciding whether or not they would sleep there one more night. 

In a virtual press conference on Friday afternoon, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said it was up to the respective property owners to decide how to engage with residents who refused to leave their lots, though a full cleanup was expected to be complete by 5 p.m. on Monday so the rodent eradication process could begin. 

Stay tuned to Queen City Nerve for more reporting on this developing situation in the coming days, including accounts from people who have taken rooms at the hotel shelter and those who are exploring other options. 


COVID Cases Decreasing but Testing Rates Still Above State Average

According to the latest data from Mecklenburg County Public Health, released Friday afternoon, there had been 93,750 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 843 deaths due to the coronavirus at that time. That’s an increase of 2,443 cases and 25 deaths since the same time last week. According to more in-depth data for cases that had occurred through Wednesday, the average test-positivity rate was at 7.8% for the week, while the average number of people hospitalized on any given day was at 241, both decreasing trends. The average statewide test-positivity rate was at 5.7% as of Friday night. 

(Graph courtesy of Mecklenburg County Public Health)

According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, as of Thursday at midnight, the state had administered 1,805,464 total vaccination doses to residents, about 96% of the number it had received from the federal government at that point. That number included 1,196,904 first doses and and 608,560 second doses. In Mecklenburg County, there have been 92,720 first doses and 47,442 second doses administered to residents. That’s an increase of 9,816 first doses and 15,610 second doses compared to the same time last week. 


Save Siloam School Campaign Hits Fundraising Milestone

At a virtual Inside Siloam School event on Thursday night, the Charlotte Museum of History (CMoH) announced it has raised $500,000 in its campaign to move and restore the Rosenwald-style schoolhouse, built by an African-American community in rural northeast Charlotte in the early 1920s as a way to give their children a quality education despite segregation.

The museum hopes to move the school to its east Charlotte property, where it can be restored to host exhibits and other educational events. 

It’s believed the Siloam School was built in the early 1920s. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

“When this project is complete, the restored Siloam School will become an important tool in teaching future generations about the history of discrimination, injustice and inequity that still impacts us today. It is only by understanding this history that we can change our future,” said Fannie Flono, chair of the Save Siloam School Project and trustee of CMoH. “Equally important, the school will serve as a tangible testament to the African Americans who built it and whose children thrived there despite the scourge of segregation. It is heartening to see the Charlotte community meet this fundraising milestone and stand up together to save this history.”

Recent contributions to the campaign include a $75,000 donation from Sandra Conway, former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Foundation head and now a philanthropist focused on educational equity; and an in-kind donation valued at $50,000 from Mark Maynard, president of Tribute Properties, to provide services related to moving the historic building. You can donate that exact amount or even a little less at the museum’s website

Want to donate and get something cool in return? For $25 per ticket, the Inside Siloam School virtual event runs through Sunday, Feb. 28, and includes a 360-degree virtual tour of the historic Siloam School and a digital guidebook describing the key architectural features and historical importance of the school.


Former N.C. Police Officer Charged in Jan. 6 Insurrection

Court documents released on Friday identified 52-year-old Laura Steele of Thomasville and  35-year-old Lewis Cantwell of Sylva for their involvement in the Jan. 6 raid on the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., making five total North Carolinians who have been charged in connection with the events thus far. 

A police officer was killed and about 140 other officers injured during the events that day, which began with a rally at which President Donald Trump addressed the crowd and told them to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” 

Laura Steele (left) was caught on Washington Metro Area Transit Authority surveillance video on Jan. 6. (Courtesy of U.S. District Court.)

Steele was one of six members of a right-wing extremist group called The Oath Keepers, made up mostly of U.S. military veterans, indicted as part of a multi-state conspiracy on Friday. Steele is a former High Point police officer who served as a school resource officer and was investigated twice for pepper-spraying students, as reported by the Winston-Salem Journal. According to court documents, Steele joined The Oath Keepers just days before the Jan. 6 riots. She was arrested in Greensboro on Wednesday. 


Three Murders in Charlotte This Week

Three people have been killed in Charlotte so far this week, bringing the total number of illegal killings in the city so far this year to 13. 

 

At 10:49 p.m. on Wednesday, police responded to a shooting call at the Sharon Crossing Apartments in southwest Charlotte and found Joshua Fleming dead of a gunshot wound. Fleming would have turned 23 on Thursday. Police believe Fleming knew his killer and said they were not searching for any suspects, though no arrest has yet been announced. 

At around 3 a.m. on Friday, police responded to reports of shots fired on Berryhill Road in the Ashley Park area of west Charlotte and found 23-year-old Noah Feaster dead of a gunshot wound. No other information is known about his death at this time. 

Just before 8 p.m. on Friday, police responded to an assist medic call for service at the Waterford Creek Apartments in southeast Charlotte and found an unresponsive victim who was later found to have an apparent gunshot wound. The victim was pronounced dead on the scene. Their name has not yet been released. 


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