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5 Things to Know: Deer Culling Begins in Tega Cay

...and four more stories from Jan. 21-27, 2024

A group of deer stands in a field, hopefully not about to fall victim to culling
Deer culling has already begun in Tega Cay, which is facing an issue of overpopulation. (AdobeStock)

Deer Culling Begins in Tega Cay

Tega Cay City Council on Monday doubled the number of deer that government sharpshooters will be allowed to kill as a way of reducing the risk to human health and safety and property damage caused by white-tailed deer. 

In October 2023, SC Department of Natural Resources approved city council’s decision to cull 80 deer annually to deal with overpopulation in the small town on the shores of Lake Wylie, though council doubled that number in a 4-1 vote at Monday’s meeting. There are estimated to be about 1,100 deer living within about 3.5 square miles in Tega Cay. 

Culling is the process of reducing the population of wild animals through selective slaughtering. Council approved the use of still hunting at night with artificial light, known as spotlighting, and/or forward-looking infrared devices at a previous meeting. 

“Public safety is going to be the number one factor,” insisted Tega Cay councilmember Scott Shirley. “No one is walking around someone’s backyard with an AR-15 shooting deer.” 

The Tega Cay Wildlife Conservation Society (TCWCS), a nonprofit organization based in Fort Mill, has proposed the use of PZP, a birth control for deer, as a cheaper and more ethical alternative to culling. 

“When there are suddenly fewer deer in an area, the remaining deer will maximize their reproduction by having twins and triplets in the spring instead of a single fawn,” reads the TCWCS website. “This causes the number of deer to rebound quickly after a cull.” 

Councilman Brian Carter, the sole No vote at January’s meeting, voiced his concern for the impact on taxpayers, pointing out that the allotted budget for culling 80 deer was $47,000 but will now jump to $94,000 with the recent doubling of deer on the kill list.

The city hired sharpshooters to carry out the culling process, which began at Tega Cay Golf Club this week, and placed signs around the course warning about the culling and urging residents to stay off the course at night. The city posted on its official Facebook page on Friday stating that all activities had been wrapped up for the week and will resume on Feb. 5.

Commission Names a Date for Sports Betting in NC

The NC State Lottery Commission announced Wednesday morning that legalized sports betting will begin statewide on March 11. North Carolinians will be able to start registering for sportsbooks on March 1 in preparation for the launch. 

While not implemented in time for the Super Bowl, the date will allow sports betting operators to take bets in time for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which begins March 19. 

Lawmakers passed bills to legalize sports betting in NC in June 2023. The lottery commission determined anyone over 21 will be allowed to legally wager on sports if they have an account with an officially licensed operator in the state. Bets can be made in person at designated areas, over the phone or via electronic devices. 

Sports betting will be legal in North Carolina beginning March 11. (AdobeStock)

At this time, the lottery commission has not approved any sports betting licenses, which govern who can provide gambling services and make sure it is done in a safe and secure manner, though the commission is reviewing nine license applications for interactive sports wagering operators. 

“It gets the state involved from the perspective of making sure the sports books that are running in the state are protecting customers — that they pay you out when you win,” said Tyler Andrews, managing editor for NC Sharp. “That is always better than unregulated.” 

The lottery commission will maintain a list of licensed interactive sports betting operators on its website. 

Man Arrested at Scene of Alleged Rape in South Charlotte

Detectives with CMPD’s Sexual Assault Unit quickly arrested a suspect following a sexual assault call in south Charlotte on Wednesday, they announced in a press conference that afternoon. 

Just after 10:30 a.m., officers responded to a breaking-and-entering call on Chivalry Drive in the Cady Lake neighborhood, where they heard screaming from inside the house. Upon entry, they encountered a 32-year-old suspect and immediately took him into custody. 

Investigators determined that the suspect allegedly broke into the victim’s home through a window and began sexually assaulting her. The victim’s child was in the residence at the time and called 911. The child was not physically victimized by the suspect, who was charged with felony breaking and entering, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree rape, second-degree sex offense, sexual battery and assualt on a female. 

“The suspect has a history of break-ins,” said James Ivie of CMPD’s Special Victims Division. “This is a very violent crime, and we are hoping that with his history and the charges we have today that he will remain in custody.”

The suspect appeared in court Thursday, where he was denied bond.

County Health Department Warns Residents of Mpox Return

Mecklenburg County health officials have seen a spike in cases of mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, for the first time since the 2022 outbreak. Since late 2023, there have been six cases reported in Mecklenburg County, according to a press release on Thursday.

Mpox, a viral illness, is mostly spread through infected bodily fluids, items that have been in contact with infected fluids, and respiratory droplets. Symptoms include rashes with lesions, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, backaches, headaches, and respiratory issues. People experiencing these symptoms are urged to get tested immediately.

According to the press release, 721 cases have been reported across NC since 2022. The increase in cases is being addressed by increasing the availability of the JYNNEOS vaccine. JYNNEOS is a two-dose vaccine developed to reduce the chances of infection or symptom severity if given prior to or within seven days of mpox exposure.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is providing additional vaccines to local healthcare providers and Mecklenburg County Public Health.

Local Chefs Recognized by James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation, a nonprofit organization celebrating chefs across America, announced the semifinalists for the 2024 Restaurant and Chef Awards on Wednesday. The only two Charlotte chefs to make the list are Darryl Cooper and Oscar Johnson of Jimmy Pearls, a fast-casual, coastal-inspired restaurant located in the Market at 7th Street. 

Oscar Johnson (left) and Daryl Cooper (Photo courtesy of Jimmy Pearls)

Chefs and co-owners Cooper and Johnson were nominated for Best Chef in the Southeast region. 

Jimmy Pearls’ menu is Afro-Southern cuisine. Though they had planned to leave their current location to begin the process of opening a standalone restaurant, Cooper and Johnson announced Sunday that they had extended their lease for one more month at The Market at 7th Street Market. 

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