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http://www.theciaa.com/information/staff/bio/Jacqie_McWilliams?view=bio

The CIAA basketball tournament is underway this week in Charlotte. It's a major economic event - city officials say last year's tournament generated more than $57 million.

Of course, a lot has changed since last year’s tournament. Now, there’s House Bill 2. The NCAA, ACC, and the NBA have all pulled events from North Carolina in protest of the law.

The CIAA did move some of its championship events out of the state, but decided to keep its signature basketball tournament in Charlotte. We met up with conference commissioner Jacqie McWilliams in uptown to discuss the decision to keep the tournament in Charlotte, which has also served as the CIAA’s headquarters since 2015.

WFAE

Since 2002 all judicial elections in North Carolina have been considered non-partisan races. Which means the candidates party affiliation does not appear on the ballot.

Over the last few months the General Assembly has been changing that. And Monday, a bill which would finalize the process was passed by a committee in the State House.

Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

Gov. Roy Cooper proposed average pay raises of 5 percent for teachers this year and next year in his upcoming budget. He made the announcement Monday at Collinswood Language Academy in Charlotte, surrounded by teachers.

Gov. Cooper says the two-year teacher pay raise will cost the state $813 million and he says taxes would not be raised to make it happen.

Bad Theology

Cab drivers pick up all sorts of people going to various destinations: a party, the airport, or to meet up with friends. Those brief interactions are usually just that—short moments of time shared by the passenger and driver making small talk or staring out the window. Nothing too memorable.

But in the movie FARE, written and directed by local filmmaker Thomas Torrey, the protagonist Eric, a cab driver, finds himself transporting a passenger that takes up his entire evening—and changes the course of his life.

Corning will expand its optical fiber plant in Midland, in Cabarrus County.
Corning Inc.

Corning Inc. says strong demand for optical fiber and cable is bringing another expansion in North Carolina. The company said Monday it will spend $176 million in Catawba and Cabarrus counties and create 410 jobs over the next two years.   

323771Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images / NASCARmedia.com

NASCAR's efforts to increase diversity are starting to pay dividends behind the wheel. Last year, Daniel Suarez became the first foreign-born driver to win a national title in what's essentially a NASCAR minor league. This year, the 25-year-old from Mexico will race full-time in the sport's top circuit. He's a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, and he's one reason the sport is becoming more popular among Latinos.

Duke Energy is removing coal ash from basins near the retired Riverbend Plant, near Mountain Island Lake.
David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy this summer will ask North Carolina regulators to raise the rates consumers pay on their electricity bills for the first time in four years. The rate hikes – at Duke’s two electricity subsidiaries in the state - would help pay for new plants, Hurricane Matthew recovery costs and coal ash cleanups.

Still from Twitter Video by @ajcookcsa

Students at four CMS schools walked out of class Friday in support of area immigrants. South Mecklenburg High School dismissed classes early after several students say peaceful demonstrations got out of hand.  

Videos of South Meck's walkout posted on Twitter show hundreds of students outside. 

Junior Gletzy Alas helped organize South Meck's walkout. Her parents are immigrants from Honduras.

Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

In a visit to Charlotte Friday, the state’s new School Superintendent Mark Johnson says he looks forward to revamping student testing, which is one of his top priorities. He says a big flaw in testing is that results are not available in a timely manner where teachers can use them to improve student instruction. Johnson says the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind and gives states more leeway in education policy, offers the state the opportunity to implement better testing requirements.

Tom Bullock / WFAE

By noon, the crowds began to pour into uptown's Marshall Park. The local Spanish-language radio station, La Raza 106.1FM, supplied music as a line of volunteers hauled cases of water bottles into the park and procrastinators hastily scrawled last-minute messages onto sheets of poster board.  

Hundreds of families arrived with school-age children in tow, ignoring CMS officials who urged parents against doing so earlier in the week. One 15-year-old high school student, Ciera Medina, said she should have been at J.M. Robinson High School, but skipped with her four younger siblings.

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