Charlotte Observer

Duke Energy Defends Rate Charges, Settlement

Jul 11, 2013

RALEIGH Duke Energy Carolinas defended its handling of disputed charges in its North Carolina rate case Thursday, saying most of them were justified.

Two Duke officials took the witness stand before the North Carolina Utilities Commission on the rate case’s fourth day. While acknowledging some errors, they said the $200 million of revenue Duke gave up in reaching a proposed settlement of the case more than made up for them.

Duke has agreed to an overall 5.1 percent rate hike, its third since 2009, if the commission approves.

Charlotte Rejects Airport Compromise

Jul 9, 2013
Todd Sumlin / Charlotte Observer aboard NBC Charlotte's AirStar

RALEIGH A leading House Republican said Monday night that lawmakers will introduce a new proposal for the Charlotte airport this week after city leaders essentially rejected their proposal for a joint study commission.

The new proposal could make creation of a new airport authority more likely.

“I’m astounded,” Rep. Ruth Samuelson said of the city’s reaction. “I’m deeply, deeply disappointed. We made a good faith, unprecedented (offer). We’re done offering a study.”

Former Cherryville Police Chief Charged In Federal Court With Embezzlement

Jun 24, 2013

Former Cherryville Police Chief Woodrow Paul Burgess, who retired last year, has been charged in federal court with embezzlement, according to court documents filed Monday.

The United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina says that Burgess, 60, obtained by false pretense more than $11,000 from the city of Cherryville.

According to court documents, Burgess instructed then Finance Director Bonny Alexander to make several checks payable to the Great Outdoors so that Burgess could purchase firearms for his personal use.

Mecklenburg Commissioners Approve 2.35-Cent Tax Increase

Jun 19, 2013

Mecklenburg commissioners formally approved a $1.7 billion budget with a 2.35-cent tax rate increase Tuesday night, but not without great theater – and rhetoric.

During the pre-vote debate, commissioners evoked the names of Caesar, Jesus and LBJ. Democrats chided Republicans for their inclination to “cut, cut, cut” to avoid tax hikes.

Republicans sniped at Democrats for going on a spending spree to fund their favorite programs.

DNC: Nearly $500,000 Of Equipment Was Lost Or Stolen In Charlotte

Jun 19, 2013

To stage last year’s Democratic National Convention, the local host committee raised millions of dollars, much of it for computers, phones and other communication devices.

Now it appears a sizable amount of that equipment was lost, stolen – or perhaps kept by the staffers it had been assigned to.

The Democratic National Committee said it recently sent the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department a spreadsheet detailing $496,000 worth of missing equipment. CMPD created an incident report in May.

Bold Visions Compete For Eastland Mall Redevelopment

Jun 4, 2013
City of Charlotte

Two developers have offered bold visions for what the closed Eastland Mall could become.

One proposal focuses on building movie studios while another would create an entertainment complex with a ski slope, ice skating rink and skateboard park.

Both developers, who submitted formal proposals to the city of Charlotte on Friday, also envision residential and retail construction in later phases.

Where Is Queen Charlotte? Holding Court In Yard Between Parking Decks

Jun 3, 2013
Diedra Laird / Charlotte Observer

Queen Charlotte isn’t greeting visitors to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport terminal these days. But she’s not hiding – she’s just keeping watch from a new location.

The airport’s iconic statue of the city’s royal namesake has been temporarily relocated. It has been moved from its home of more than 20 years in front of the terminal while the airport undertakes several long-term construction projects.

NC Files Second Ash Suit Against Duke Energy

May 29, 2013
Jeff Willhelm / 2008 Observer File Photo

North Carolina has filed a second lawsuit against Duke Energy in a move that puts the state’s claim that coal ash poses a threat to Charlotte’s water supply before a Mecklenburg County court.

Last week the N.C. Division of Water Quality amended an existing complaint, about ash stored at Duke Energy Progress’ Asheville power plant, to include the Riverbend plant near Charlotte.

On Friday, the division filed a separate lawsuit in Mecklenburg County Superior Court solely about Riverbend, which is operated by Duke Energy Carolinas.

CPCC Grad's Journey Was Arduous

May 16, 2013
Diedra Laird / Charlotte Observer

Students attend Central Piedmont Community College for many reasons, but the story of 20-year-old Riyam Al Ghrary’s journey to CPCC surely ranks among the most harrowing.

It began in Iraq, about six years ago, on the day she was kidnapped. It will culminate Thursday evening, as she accepts her diploma at Bojangles’ Coliseum, one of about 1,900 graduates, the largest number in CPCC’s 50-year history. She was student body vice president and a scholarship winner. She’s graduating with a 4.0 average.

State Bar Claims Former Judge Bill Belk Lied About Health Insurance

May 14, 2013

  Former Mecklenburg County District Judge Bill Belk, already banned from holding judicial office, now faces possible punishment from the North Carolina State Bar.

On Aug. 23, Belk will appear before the bar’s Disciplinary Hearing Commission on charges he lied during a 2009 investigation into his possible misconduct while he sat on the bench.

Margaret Cloutier, the bar’s deputy counsel, said Monday that Belk faces disciplinary action ranging from warnings, reprimands and censure, to suspension of his law license and disbarment.

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