USWNT Comes to Charlotte, Tepper Floats MLS/NFL Hybrid Stadium Idea
Perhaps convinced by superstar Megan Rapinoe following her July trip to the Queen City, the U.S. Women’s National Team announced this week that the team will make Charlotte one of five stops during an upcoming victory tour to celebrate this summer’s World Cup title. The women will play against South Korea at Bank of America Stadium on Oct. 3. The game will be the fourth of five during the team’s tour.
The game will mark the first time a national team has played in Charlotte since the women played against Iceland in an Olympic warmup in April 2000. Tickets for October’s game will go on sale on Aug. 8.
“We’re excited to welcome the U.S. National Women’s Team to Charlotte,” said Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper in a statement. “This summer, fans across the country united in support of this great team and we worked hard to deliver this match for soccer fans and for our partners. Bringing this game to our stadium is further proof that Carolina is soccer country.”
Rapinoe was in Charlotte on July 20 as part of the House of Soccer Fan Fest that preceded the International Champions Cup game between Arsenal and Fiorentina. Though the game saw the smallest attendance of recent ICC games in Charlotte, the buzz around soccer in Charlotte has been steadily building since Tepper has stepped up efforts to bring a Major League Soccer team to the city.
The Sports Business Journal reported this week that Tepper, fresh off an agreement with South Carolina leaders that will allow him to build a multi-million-dollar practice facility for the Panthers just south of the state border, would like to help build a new retractable roof stadium in Charlotte. Though Tepper, who with a net worth of $11 billion is worth more than any other NFL owner, said he would “make a big investment,” he would likely need taxpayer assistance and plenty of help from the state and local governments for the project.
“People here in Charlotte have to realize: This is a really major, growing, important city, and it needs that sort of presence,” Tepper told Ben Fischer with SBJ. “Charlotte, in my mind, for these two states, should be the sports and entertainment capital. That’s what it’s meant to be.”
Dubois to Retire as UNC Charlotte Chancellor
UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phil Dubois announced on Tuesday that he intends to retire from his position next summer. Upon his retirement next June, Dubois will have served as chancellor at UNC Charlotte for 15 years.
“Let me say that it has been my honor and privilege to serve as your Chancellor,” Dubois wrote in an email to the UNC Charlotte community. “It is now time for Lisa and me to move on to our next adventure! This was not an easy decision for us. UNC Charlotte is a special place, with wonderful faculty and staff colleagues, and talented students. And the same can be said for this wonderful city, which we have watched grow and develop in size and statue. But the time is right for us to make this transition.”
During his tenure, UNC Charlotte became the fastest-growing school in the UNC system and the third-largest by student population. Dubois’ announcement comes in a time of recovery for the UNC Charlotte family, just three months after a gunman shot and killed two students and injured three others in a classroom on campus on April 30, which Dubois called “the saddest day in UNC Charlotte history.”
Dubois said that announcing now will give UNC Charlotte’s Board of Trustees, interim UNC System President Bill Roper and the UNC System Board of Governors ample time to conduct a national search for the next chancellor.
“Under Chancellor Dubois’ visionary leadership, the University has seen unprecedented growth in student enrollment, academic programs, research funding and expansion of the physical campus,” said Board of Trustees Chair Mike Wilson in a statement. “Phil will have served this University and Niner Nation with distinction for nearly 21 years and for 15 of those years as our chancellor upon his retirement next July. He and his wife Lisa have selflessly provided unwavering dedication and support to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and families. As Phil and Lisa look forward to the next chapter in their journey together, we wish them well and thank them for all they have done for UNC Charlotte.”
Lyft Pilots Food Security Initiative in Mecklenburg County
Mecklenburg County announced on Monday a new six-month pilot program in partnership with Lyft that aims to address food security gaps in the county.
For six months beginning in August, Lyft will pilot a discounted ride program to and from grocery stores, farmers markets and food pantries for families and individuals living in the 28208 and 28216 ZIP codes who are enrolled in the program.
“We believe it’s our civic responsibility to address key problems our communities are facing through better access to transportation, with the goal of improving city life,” stated a Lyft spokesperson in a press release. “One of the key ways we’re focused on achieving this vision is by improving access to healthy food through the Lyft Grocery Access Program. The program started with a successful pilot in Washington D.C. last year, providing thousands of affordable rides to grocery stores for local families, and has since expanded. Realizing the positive impact we can have in just one community, we’re launching the program in more than a dozen cities across the country, including Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.”
Eligible residents will receive $2 flat-rate fares on eight rides per month — or one round-trip ride per week — to and from designated grocery stores and food pantries during the pilot period, which runs through January 2020. Should a ride be valued at more than $10, the rider will be responsible for the difference beyond that amount.
CMPD Officer Kills Man Expected of Shooting Sister-in-Law
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer shot and killed a man who had allegedly been holding family members hostage in a home near Mallard Creek Regional Park in north Charlotte early Friday morning. Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office representatives later said the suspect, 55-year-old Delano Williams, was supposed to have been served with a domestic violence protective order that same day.
The first 911 call related to the incident came in at 8:08 p.m. on Thursday night from Ernest Russel Court. Officers responded to the scene only to find that Williams had left the scene. Four hours later, at 12:12 a.m. on Friday, a female called 911 stating that her father was back at the home with a gun. According to CMPD, the 911 operator heard gunshots in the background during the call. The caller told the operator that her mother and aunt were inside the home and that her father kept pointing the gun at her aunt.
Upon officers’ arrival, they heard gunshots and saw a woman run from the home. The woman was shot in the leg and told officers that Williams, her brother-in-law, had shot her. She told police that her sister, Williams’ wife, was still in the home and she believed Williams was going to kill her, according to CMPD.
After that, CMPD said an officer encountered Williams at the rear of the home and perceived an imminent threat, then shot Williams. Williams was transported to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
The female victim’s gunshot wound was not life-threatening, according to CMPD. Officers later found that three teenaged children were in the home when the incident began, but all three had left the house by the time officers arrived.
John Juhasz was later identified as the CMPD officer who shot Williams. Juhasz has been on the force since February 2017 and was assigned to the University City division. As is policy in the case of an officer-involved shooting, the Internal Affairs Bureau will conduct a separate-but-parallel investigation to determine whether CMPD policies and procedures were adhered to during the course of the incident.
Infant Added to List of 2019 Homicide Victims
Beside Delano Williams, who will not be counted among the CMPD homicide stats because his shooting was seen as justified (pending further investigation), there was one other homicide in Charlotte, that of a 1-year-old child.
At 10:43 a.m. on Tuesday morning, officers responded to a Best Western on East Woodlawn Road and located the child in need of medical attention. The child was transported to a nearby hospital by MEDIC but was later pronounced deceased.
Later that day, detectives charged the child’s mother, 24-year-old Yasmine Richardson, with felony child abuse inflicting serious injury; and Yasmine’s live-in boyfriend, 23-year-old Daquan McFadden, with murder and felony child abuse inflicting serious injury.