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5 Things to Know: The Umbrella Center Receives $2.5M Grant

...and four more stories from May 5-11, 2024

A rendering of The Umbrella Center
The Umbrella Center will be located in the renovated Albemarle Center on Albemarle Road in east Charlotte.

The Umbrella Center Receives $2.5M Grant

US Reps. Alma Adams and Jeff Jackson joined leadership from Safe Alliance, Pat’s Place Advocacy Center and CMPD on Friday morning to announce a $2.5-million Community Project Funding grant to aid in the construction of The Umbrella Center, Mecklenburg County’s first family justice center.

Like other family justice centers across the country, The Umbrella Center is a public-private collaboration that will provide holistic services at a single location for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, human trafficking and child abuse, offering services related to police response, medical care, advocacy, counseling, legal help, court procedures and more.

When opened, The Umbrella Center will co-locate 15 partners to streamline case investigations, mitigate access barriers to effective care and support survivors’ healing after experiencing abuse.

Safe Alliance and Pat’s Place are leading a capital campaign to raise private dollars along with the public investments from both Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte. To date, more than $35.5 million has been committed to the project.

“The Umbrella Center will transform the way families and individuals experiencing abuse access resources in our community and it will change lives,” said Andrew Oliver, CEO of Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center, on Friday.

The Umbrella Center will open inside the Albemarle Center at 4822 Albemarle Road after an addition and remodeling is complete. The center is expected to help some more than 10,000 people annually “to transform their darkest hours into brighter tomorrows,” according to a release.

Read more: Pat’s Place Rings Alarm After Record-Breaking Year for Child Abuse (2023)

Six Garinger Seniors Receive Esports Scholarships

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Wednesday held a Senior Signing Day event at Garinger High School for six Garinger High School Esports seniors who will receive full scholarships to the colleges or universities of their choice.

“In an era where traditional sports scholarships have long been the norm, the emergence of esports scholarships represents a new wave of recognition for the skills and dedication required to excel in competitive gaming,” read a CMS release on Tuesday. “The six scholarship recipients have not only demonstrated remarkable proficiency in their chosen games but have also exhibited teamwork, strategic thinking, and leadership qualities that are invaluable both on and off the virtual battlefield.”

The CMS Varsity Esports & STEM League, the first such league in the district’s history, launched in fall 2022. Participating high schools include Providence, Palisades, Hough, South Mecklenburg, East Mecklenburg, Charlotte Engineering, Ardrey Kell, Williams Montessori, Olympic, Garinger, Hopewell, and Phillip O. Berry.

Along with esports competitions, high schools compete in challenges designed to further the students’ skills in high-value STEM categories. Like the esports matches, STEM challenges are broadcast on Twitch and judged by industry experts on a head-to-head basis.

Hornets Hire New Head Coach

The Charlotte Hornets’ Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jeff Peterson announced Thursday that the team has signed current Boston Celtics lead assistant Charles Lee to the Hornets’ vacant head coach position.

Charles Lee, the new Hornets head coach, will join the team when the Boston Celtics’ current playoff run is over. (Photo courtesy of NBA)

Lee, who brings 10 years of experience as an NBA assistant coach, will join the Hornets after he concludes the NBA playoffs with the Celtics. Over 10 seasons as an assistant with the Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, Lee’s respective teams accumulated a 510-291 (.637) regular-season record, reached the playoffs nine times, captured seven division titles and earned five Eastern Conference No. 1 seeds. In four of the last six seasons, his teams have finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA.

“[Lee’s] high character and his ability to connect with players while also instilling a culture of accountability will serve us well as we construct a competitive team built for long-term success,” said Peterson. “Charles possesses a championship pedigree with a wide range of basketball knowledge and NBA experience, has a tremendous work ethic and is a great communicator. He shares our vision for this organization, and I look forward to partnering with him in building something special here in the Carolinas.”

HopeWay Expands Services at New Center

HopeWay announced Wednesday that its new programs serving teens and young adults with mental health and eating disorders are now open and accepting admissions. The programming will be hosted at a new facility in east Charlotte’s Oakhurst Commons.

Located in an 18,716-square-foot space at 4014 Monroe Road, HopeWay’s Teen Mental Health Program and Teen & Young Adult Eating Disorder Programs will feature physician-led, evidence-based partial hospitalization programs that include psychotherapy, medication management, integrative therapies, on-site educational support and more.

Inside the group therapy room at the new HopeWay facility in east Charlotte. (Photo courtesy of HopeWay)

The HopeWay team treats mental health diagnoses in teens and eating disorders in teens and young adults who attend treatment during the day and return home after programming.

“The need for care and programming for adolescents and young adults is severe and immediate, so we are thrilled about opening these new programs,” said Dr. Alyson R. Kuroski-Mazzei, a triple-boarded psychiatrist and HopeWay’s CEO and chief medical officer. “We know our model of care works, and we are excited and confident to expand HOPE and bring additional mental health resources to this younger age group.”

Hear more: Nooze Hounds: HopeWay and Mental Health in Charlotte

Three Traffic-Related Fatalities Recorded in Charlotte This Week

Queen City Nerve tracked three more traffic-related fatalities on Charlotte streets this week, bringing the total number this year to 24.

It started shortly after 10 p.m. on Sunday, when first responders were called to a crash involving a parked vehicle and a 2013 Chevrolet Impala on Wilkinson Boulevard just east of the Catawba River. There they located 37-year-old Reginald Singleton in the driver side of the Impala. Medic pronounced Singleton dead at the scene. Speed and impairment are suspected as contributing factors for this crash.

At approximately 11:53 a.m. on Wednesday, first responders were called to a motor vehicle crash with injury on Brookshire Boulevard near the I-85 interchange, where they located a Harley Davidson motorcycle with front-end damage and a Cadillac DTS with damage to the front left corner. The motorcyclist, 50-year-old Kendrick Andre Neely, was located in the roadway with serious injuries. Medic transported Neely to Atrium Health Main, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

In the above map of vehicle-related deaths in Charlotte in 2024, red markers signify a person killed in their car, black markers signify pedestrian deaths, purple markers signify motorcycle deaths, and green markers signify deaths involving micro-mobility vehicles such as bicycles, scooters, skateboards and wheelchairs.

A preliminary investigation indicated that Neely was traveling north on Brookshire Boulevard when the driver of the Cadillac turned into his path. The impact of the collision ejected Neely from his motorcycle. Police arrested the driver of the Cadillac and charged him with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle while also issuing citations for driving while license revoked and failure to yield right-of-way.

Later that afternoon, at approximately 5:43 p.m., first responders were called to a motor vehicle crash into a residential structure on The Plaza in east Charlotte, where they discovered 58-year-old Mark Carden unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a Chevrolet Silverado. Medic transported Carden to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

A preliminary investigation indicated that Carden was traveling east on The Plaza when his truck veered off the right side of the roadway, struck a guide wire, sideswiped a tree and continued on, striking the front of a residence. Cardan was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Speed and impairment are not suspected to be contributing factors for this crash.

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