Charlotte Observer

Charlie Sifford, a Charlotte native who would become the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour, died Tuesday in Cleveland. He was 92.

Sifford had suffered a minor stroke three weeks ago, his son, Charlie Jr., said.

Born in 1922, Sifford grew up caddying on Charlotte’s whites-only golf courses for 60 cents a day. He often said he would give 50 cents to his mother and keep the remaining 10 cents to buy a cigar, which became his trademark look in later years.

A Charlotte charter school has removed its founder and principal as the school struggles with low enrollment and significant financial shortfalls.

The board at Entrepreneur High School removed Hans Plotseneder as the school’s leader on Christmas Eve, according to documents from the state Department of Public Instruction.

Entrepreneur High opened in August and has been on probation with the state charter school office since September.

United Way of Central Carolinas

Charlotte’s United Way has hired a new executive director who’s young, has worked for United Ways his entire career and will bring top-tier fundraising experience to an agency still rebuilding after an executive pay scandal rocked the community in 2008.

Sean Garrett, 32 and currently vice president of development for United Way Worldwide in New York City, will begin the job in Charlotte on March 1 – just after the end of the United Way’s 2014-15 fundraising campaign.

A social worker with the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to charges that she sold the identities of Medicaid patients in a fraudulent claims scheme, prosecutors said.

Ieshia Hicks Watkins, 33, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud conspiracy and one count of receiving illegal kickbacks.

Watkins faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the health care fraud charge and five years for the kickback plea. She also faces a maximum fine of $500,000 for the two charges.

The FBI is now investigating embezzlement claims at a Huntersville private school, the agency’s Charlotte office said Wednesday.

The investigation follows news that the chief financial officer of SouthLake Christian Academy and the pastor who helped found the school 20 years ago had resigned amid a probe into financial mismanagement. The FBI will be joined by the Huntersville Police Department.

Harris Corp.

Three Charlotte City Council members said Monday they want to know how CMPD uses a secret surveillance technology that gathers data from cellphones and other wireless devices belonging to crime suspects and innocent residents alike.

Two officials – council members Claire Fallon and John Autry – said they question whether it is legal for officers to collect information from citizens who are not suspected of committing crimes.

“You can’t make a move without someone watching you,” Fallon said. “It’s not American.”

The Mooresville Planning Board on Thursday night recommended that town commissioners reject a development on Alcove Road that would include a four-story, 108-room hotel.

NC Half Brothers Freed After Three Decades In Prison

Sep 3, 2014
Chuck Liddy / Charlotte Observer

North Carolina's longest-serving death row inmate and his younger half brother walked out as free men Wednesday, three decades after they were convicted of raping and murdering an 11-year-old girl who DNA evidence shows may have been killed by another man.

Tasnim Shamma / WFAE

Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon could be sentenced on a public corruption charge as early as next week, according to new documents in his case.

Federal probation officials filed their final presentencing report Tuesday afternoon. That document remains sealed, but its title reveals that U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney will sentence the longtime Democratic officeholder “on or after” next Wednesday.

Charlotte: Spend $33.5 Million On Arena For Hornets

Aug 26, 2014
Davie Hinshaw / Charlotte Observer

The city of Charlotte is prepared to spend $27.5 

million in capital improvements for Time Warner Cable Arena, as well as 10 years’ worth of annual payments of $600,000 for ongoing maintenance.

The Charlotte Hornets and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority asked the city earlier this year for nearly $48 

million in arena improvements, many of which the city and the team said are part of a 2003 operating agreement that requires the 9-year-old building to be among the National Basketball Association’s most modern.

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