Charlotte Observer

Columbia Museum Leader To Head Discovery Place

Dec 11, 2013

Catherine Wilson Horne, who leads the Columbia children’s museum EdVenture, was named the new president of Discovery Place on Tuesday.

Horne succeeds John Mackay, who is retiring at the end of December after 13 years of running the organization, which includes the flagship science center on Tryon Street, Charlotte Nature Museum, and Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville and Rockingham. Horne will begin in late January.

Bank of America remains in last place among big banks in a widely watched measure of customer satisfaction, and is the only one that has yet to return to the higher scores it earned before the financial crisis.

The results mark the third year in a row Bank of America has held the dubious distrinction of being at the bottom of the American Customer Satisfaction Index rankings of the four largest commercial banks.

The 11-year-old boy found handcuffed to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck Friday appears to have been routinely handcuffed to a piece of steel inside the Union County home, the county Sheriff’s Office said Sunday.

Capt. Cody Luke confirmed Sunday night that Sheriff Eddie Cathey also said feces were found on the floor of the Austin Road house: “The smell would take your breath,” Cathey said, calling it “terrible.”

Two neighbors on Sunday also described interactions with a boy they believed to be from that home, who approached their houses and begged for food.

Diedra Laird / Charlotte Observer

  Thirty-four years later, Mindy Sypher can speak calmly about the worst day of her life.

That’s in part because so much time has passed, but mostly because the man who raped her is finally behind bars.

“It’s come full circle, with an end date,” said Sypher, who was 20 when she was attacked inside her home off Carmel Road. “I know that this person is going to pay for his crimes. I’m just glad he’s going away.”

Jeff Willhelm / Charlotte Observer

DAVIDSON Bob McKillop will begin his 25th season as basketball coach at Davidson on Friday night when his Wildcats play at Duke.

Most of those seasons McKillop, 63, works outside the spotlight, which is unfortunate because he loves the spotlight and looks good in it. If a white hair on his head is out of place, he probably makes it run a lap. One of the biggest surprises at a Davidson practice in Belk Arena last week was that McKillop didn’t wear a suit.

Robert Willett / News and Observer

CHAPEL HILL North Carolina will start the season without P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald, the school announced on Thursday before coach Roy Williams’ first regularly-scheduled press conference of the season.

It’s not a surprise that Hairston and McDonald, a pair of guards, will miss the season-opener on Friday night against Oakland. The NCAA is investigating both players in separate cases that likely involve impermissible benefits.

Forum Draws Differences Among At-Large Candidates

Oct 30, 2013
T. Ortega Gaines / Charlotte Observer

  A forum featuring eight Charlotte City Council candidates Tuesday found little support for a streetcar, grudging support for business incentives and lingering resentment over the state’s effort to transfer control of the airport.

Eight contenders for four at-large seats met for a forum at WTVI sponsored by the League of Women Voters. Taking part were four Democrats, a Libertarian and three of four Republicans. Republican Vanessa Faura did not attend.

Candidates divided over the streetcar, which advocates see as an east-west connector.

Elevation Church Pastor Responds To His Critics

Oct 28, 2013

Elevation Church Pastor Steven Furtick told his congregation Sunday that he was sorry for any uncomfortable conversations they may have been forced to have about his controversial new Waxhaw home.

But Furtick didn’t apologize for the 16,000-square-foot home, which drew national media attention last week because of its size and cost. Instead, he described it as a gift from God.

Furtick also emphasized Sunday that he is committed to making worshipers proud of their church. And he added that the media should not be viewed as the enemy.

Belmont Standoff Ends Without Injury, SWAT Team Takes Gunman Into Custody

Oct 25, 2013
T. Ortega Gaines / Charlotte Observer

BELMONT The standoff between law enforcement and a gunman at a Belmont CVS has ended without injury and all lanes of Wilkinson Boulevard have been reopened.

Edward Scott Russ, 46, of the Gastonia area, was taken into custody without incident shortly after 7 a.m., according to Police Chief Charlie Franklin.

Specific charges are still pending, but Franklin said Russ does have a prior criminal record.

Law enforcement agencies from Gaston and Charlotte-Mecklenburg were on the scene in Belmont Friday morning “and came together as one,” Franklin said.

Elevation Pastor Building Big Home In Waxhaw

Oct 23, 2013
Davie Hinshaw / Charlotte Observer

Pastor Steven Furtick, who has propelled Elevation Church into one of the fastest growing congregations in America, is building a 16,000 square foot gated estate on a large wooded lot in Waxhaw.

Tax value on the 19-acre property is $1.6 million, though Chunks Corbett, Elevation’s chief financial officer, pointed out that Furtick paid $325,000 for it – a figure confirmed by Union County tax records.

Corbett also said the 16,000 square foot figure was misleading – 8,400 square feet of the house will be heated; the rest will be basement, attic, garage and porch space.