Charlotte Observer

Homicide Rate Remains Low, But Some Neighborhoods Struggle

Jan 2, 2014
Todd Sumlin / Charlotte Observer

Despite an uptick in 2013, the number of homicides in Charlotte-Mecklenburg remained near historic lows. But some neighborhoods continued to struggle with the violence that has plagued them for decades.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police investigated 58 homicides in 2013, six more than in 2012. Taken together, however, the last five years reflect a sustained decrease in killings.

Four homicides occurred within a block of each other along West Boulevard, near a former housing project notorious for crime.

Billy Graham is still weaker than he was at his 95th birthday party last month, but his vital signs – including heart rate and blood pressure – remain strong and he’s in no imminent danger.

That was the report Monday from Graham spokesman Mark DeMoss, who is in contact every day with David Bruce, Graham’s personal assistant, and “the closest daily source to Mr. Graham’s condition,” as DeMoss put it.

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.

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