News & OpinionWeekly News Roundup

5 Things To Know: N.C. Nondiscrimination Ordinances Back on the Table

...and four more stories from Jan. 3-9, 2021

nondiscrimination ordinance
Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly passage of HB2 known as “the bathroom bill” during a special session in 2016. (Photo by James Willamor)

Municipalities To Begin Discussions Around Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Next week, local elected leaders in Hillsborough, Carrboro, and Chapel Hill will discuss nondiscrimination ordinances that would extend protections to LGBTQ people in key areas including employment, housing and public spaces. Since 2016, municipalities have been blocked from adopting LGBTQ protections due to HB 142, the so-called compromise that ended the infamous HB2, but that part of the law expired on Dec. 1, 2020, leaving cities and towns open to begin drafting new nondiscrimination ordinances this year. 

As Nick Ochsner with WBTV reported in October, the city of Charlotte was at that time working with Equality NC, the North Carolina Metro Mayors Coalition and leaders from other municipalities across the state to draft a one-size-fits-all nondiscrimination ordinance that could be implemented in participating towns and cities beginning in January and February of this year. The NCMMA has since denied coordinating this effort, and it’s unclear if there any plans to approach a new ordinance in Charlotte. 

Elected leaders in Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill will become the first three towns to kick off discussions around LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections during meetings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. 

Equality North Carolina and the Campaign for Southern Equality have been urging elected officials to pass LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances through a new joint effort, NC is Ready for LGBTQ Protections, citing polling that says more than 67% of North Carolinians support nondiscrimination measures. 

“North Carolinians have been ready for nondiscrimination protections for a long time,” Kendra Johnson, executive director of Equality North Carolina stated in a release on Friday. “Without them, LGBTQ North Carolinians, particularly Black, Brown, trans and gender-nonconforming folks, face harassment and violence on a daily basis. Equality NC celebrates those elected officials working to end discrimination and encourage other elected leaders, including state and federal lawmakers, to recognize this as a life or death issue for our communities.”

North Carolina Sees Record Amount of COVID-19 Cases in a Day

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 10,398 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on Thursday, setting a record for daily cases. While the number was down slightly on Friday, the total of new confirmed cases that day still surpassed 10,000. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 were at 3,960 for both days, nearly double the 2,033 reported hospitalizations reported on Dec. 1. 

On Tuesday, Gov. Cooper extended the existing modified stay-at-home order through Jan. 29, though no new restrictions were added. 

Hospitalizations in Mecklenburg County. (Graph courtesy of Mecklenburg County Public Health)

According to the latest data from Mecklenburg County Public Health, released Friday afternoon, the 537 Mecklenburg County residents hospitalized due to COVID-19 on Wednesday was the most at any time locally during the pandemic. The average amount of people hospitalized on any given day due to COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County over the past week was 508, more than three times the weekly average of 150 reported by MCPH on Nov. 13. 

Four Charlotte-area Residents Arrested During Capitol Riot

Seven North Carolinians were among the list of 69 arrests released by Metropolitan Police on Thursday following a riot in which thousands of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building in Washington D.C. and mobbed the building, putting a halt to the Congressional process that would confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Five people were killed in the resulting shitshow, including a police officer who was struck over the head with a fire extinguisher by a rioting Trump supporter. 

The list of arrests included four residents of Charlotte-area towns, including Earl Glosser, 40, of Matthews; Tim Scarboro, 33, of Monroe; James Smawley, 27, of Charlotte; and Jay Thaxton, 46, of Concord. All were charged with curfew violation, while Glosser was hit with an additional charge of unlawful entry. 

Homeless Organizations Prepare for Cold Weather

In response to the extreme weather forecasted overnight on Thursday and through the weekend, Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office, Roof Above and the Salvation Army Center of Hope announced changes to operations to help support the needs of people experiencing homelessness during the extreme weather. 

Roof Above extended its Day Services Center hours to go from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on the weekend. These extended hours include access to restrooms, hand-washing stations, and outside radiated heaters in a manner that meets Mecklenburg County Public Health guidelines.

homelessness in Charlotte
Homeless service organizations are expanding efforts to house our neighbors during the cold weekend. (Photo courtesy of Roof Above)

Mecklenburg County extended leases on nearly 160 hotel rooms for Salvation Army Center of Hope and Safe Alliance during the winter season, to help with social distancing and ensure a safe space for people 60 years old and older with underlying medical conditions. These rooms are accessed through the community’s shelter system.

Roof Above reopened their Statesville Avenue shelter as a nightly winter shelter, expanding their capacity by 116 beds to a total capacity of over 600. To access this overflow shelter, men can show up in-person any night to 3410 Statesville Ave. starting at 7:30 p.m.

Salvation Army Center of Hope added a hotel-based winter shelter for women and children. In order to access this shelter, Salvation Army asks that interested parties call 211. 

First Homicides of 2021 Include a Pedestrian Struck by a Car

A vehicular homicide marked the first murder of the new year, as a man was arrested for purposefully striking a woman and killing her with his car in Plaza Midwood on Monday. Just before 1:50 p.m. that afternoon, police responded to a car crash on The Plaza between Belle Terre and Belvedere avenues and found two people who had been struck by a 2015 Kia Soul. Both were transported to the hospital by MEDIC with life-threatening injuries. One of the victims, 26-year-old Kendra Bagwell, was later pronounced dead. Further investigation found that the driver of the car, 32-year-old Jason Mosley, who was uninjured and remained on the scene, purposefully struck the victims. He was arrested and charged with murder, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injuries and driving while impaired. 

Kendra Bagwell

Just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, police responded to a shooting call on West Boulevard between Kimberly and Remount roads and found 34-year-old Eric Moore dead of a gunshot wound. No arrests have yet been made in Moore’s murder. He would have turned 35 on Jan. 27. 

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