Mecklenburg County

Tasnim Shamma

The Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds issued its first marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday morning. About a dozen couples lined up before the office opened at 8 o'clock. This comes after a federal judge in Asheville ruled on Friday the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Residents Express Approval For County Smoking Ban

Aug 12, 2014
Tasnim Shamma

About two dozen residents gathered at the Mecklenburg County Government Center on Monday night for a public forum on two regulations the county is considering. The first is a ban on smoking near government buildings. The second ordinance is a ban on all tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – on county parks and greenways.

For the most part, audience members were supportive. Dr. Sandra Burke is on the board of directors of the Charlotte chapter of the American Heart Association.

Robert Lahser / Charlotte Observer

Several American missionaries serving in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak are now in Charlotte. They're healthy, but they'll remain in quarantine as a precaution.

A chartered flight from Liberia touched down at Charlotte-Douglas airport late Sunday night. Three missionaries were on board who are part of SIM, a Christian organization based here in Charlotte.

On Wednesday, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill capping county sales tax rates at 2.5 percent.

The vote was 33 to 16.   

The final tally came after more than an hour of contentious debate.

North Carolina’s urban vs. rural divide was front and center throughout the debate.  

Jerry McJunkins: Charlotte's Courtroom Sketch Artist

Jul 23, 2014
Tasnim Shamma

For nearly three decades, Jerry McJunkins has been sitting inside courtrooms in Charlotte, moving his hands quickly over a large white posterboard with his colored pencils and pastels.

He's a professional courtroom sketch artist – perhaps the only one in Charlotte.

If there was a word of the night at yesterday’s Mecklenburg County Commissioners meeting, it would have been “teachers.” Not surprising since the board was set to approve its $1.3 billion budget, which includes more money for schools and a referendum for this November that would add money for teacher pay. The meeting turned terse and politically divisive and even had a bit of a budgetary surprise.

For years Charlotte’s cultural institutions have faced a stark problem.

Admissions and ticket sales aren’t paying the bills. And donations, big and small, often don’t make up the difference.

So city and county officials put together a task force to come up with suggestions on how to keep the arts afloat in our area.

After more than a year of work, the Cultural Life Task Force has released its recommendations.

Mecklenburg County Commissioners quickly agreed on a budget Thursday that does not include a property tax increase. It’s exactly the same as the one the county manager proposed. Most of the commissioners' discussion was about how there wasn’t more discussion. 

Michael Tomsic

Mecklenburg County will not make a final $1 million payment to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. County officials have decided the facility is making enough money that it no longer needs taxpayer help.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio presented her budget to County Commissioners Thursday. Here's a look at what is, and is not in her $1.5 billion proposed budget.