Local News Roundup: COVID-19 Cases Rise In Schools, 3-Year-Old Killed By Gun Violence, Redistricting Begins In Charlotte

On the Local News Roundup: COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the community and area schools. Where this is happening and what are officials doing about it?

In Union County, not much. Their school board votes to keep mask-wearing optional for students and teachers — one of only three systems in the state to reach that decision.

Mecklenburg County releases data on its employees’ vaccination rates as organizations representing police and fire prepare to push back on possible vaccine mandates.

And a Charlotte City Council committee starts drawing new election maps based on 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data.

Our roundtable of reporters fills us in on those stories and more.

Guests

Ann Doss Helms, WFAE Education Reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”

Hunter Saenz, WCNC Reporter

Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s Executive Producer for Investigations & Chief Investigative Reporter

Reporters’ Roundtable

We’re at the Reporters’ Roundtable with a look at the top stories of the week.  As always… there’s a lot to talk about.  Hurricane Ida, back to school in the DMV, recapping the March On Washington, and gun violence in our communities.  We start with the end of the war in Afghanistan.

Local News Roundup: Census Data; City Council Approves NDO; CMS Discusses Title IX; Mask Mandates In Charlotte-Mecklenburg?

Title IX training and discussions of how students should report sexual assaults and harassment at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were part of a latenight board meeting for the district this week. And as the new school year begins later this month, school leaders are hoping to meet the academic and health challenges caused by the pandemic.

Charlotte City Council approved a new nondiscrimination ordinance that leaders call “historic” and “the right thing to do.”

Mayor Vi Lyles made waves this week during her weekly press conference about mask mandates and who has the power to make them.

We provide an update on COVID-19, as numbers of cases and hospitalizations in our region return to high levels, and as some schools who are already in session reverse masking policies after having outbreaks of the illness. We’ll also discuss how Gov. Roy Cooper’s $100 incentive to get the vaccine has sparked a new surge of vaccinations.

Guest host Erik Spanberg from the Charlotte Business Journal and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top news on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

GUESTS:

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time” and contributor at WCCB-TV

Katie Peralta Soloff, reporter for Axios Charlotte

Claire DonnellyWFAE health reporter

Joe BrunoWSOC-TV reporter

Local News Roundup: School Districts Buck CDC Mask Guidance; Charlotte Unveils Nondiscrimination Ordinance

It was only a few weeks ago that North Carolina’s rate for positive COVID-19 tests was below 2%. But the spread of the delta variant sent the positivity rate above 10% this week — the first time since February it crossed that threshold.

Gov. Roy Cooper and others said the worsening metrics were the result of COVID-19 spreading among those who have not been vaccinated.

“This virus is now much more contagious and spreading fast, and it’ll find you if you’re unvaccinated,” Cooper said Thursday.

Join our roundtable of reporters for more on those and other stories from the week’s news.

GUESTS

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call columnist and host of the Equal Time podcast (@mcurtisnc3)

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health care reporter (@donnellyclairee)

Hunter Saenz, WCNC local government reporter (@Hunt_Saenz)

Erik Spanberg, Charlotte Business Journal managing editor (@CBJspanberg)

Black Businesses & COVID

U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. President/CEO Ron Busby discusses what’s needed to support black-owned businesses as the COVID delta variant raises concerns anew. Panelists Mary C. Curtis, Leonardo Williams, and Dr. DeLon Canterbury explore the potential economic repercussions of the COVID delta variant’s spread and effect of messaging on vaccination rate and hesitancy.

The education gap

Slavery, Jim Crow laws and COVID-19 all have contributed to a yawning gap between white public school students and students of color. While the 1950s Supreme Court decision known as Brown v. Board of Education was supposed to correct “separate but equal,” there is still a long way to go before public schools can talk about equity. Mary C. Curtis talks with Terra Wallin of the Education Trust to understand how we arrived at this moment and how the nation’s public schools can do better.

Local News Roundup: Budget Spat Between CMS, County Resolved; Hannah-Jones Turns Down UNC, Delta Variant Becomes Dominant

On the Local News Roundup: the budget impasse between Mecklenburg County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has been resolved. CMS will get the $56 million in retained funds — and more.

Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones rejects UNC Chapel Hill’s delayed offer of tenure after a weekslong debate. The Chapel Hill alum opts to teach at Howard University, instead.

Just when we start reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, the highly contagious delta variant emerges as the dominant strain in the nation. Meanwhile, COVID-related hospitalization in Mecklenburg County are at all-time lows.

And Mecklenburg County health director Gibbie Harris announces she’s retiring at the end of the year.

Our roundtable of reporters fills us in on those stories and more.

Guests

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health reporter

Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s executive producer for investigations & chief investigative reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for CQ Roll Call and host of its podcast “Equal Time with Mary C. Curtis,” and a senior leader with The OpEd Project.

Hunter Saenz, WCNC reporter

COPING WITH COVID19: A HELPFUL, HOPEFUL CALL-IN SHOW

So happy to have guested with journalist Bob Anthony on Sree Sreenivasan’s final “Coping w/Covid: A Helpful, Hopeful Call-in Show” show, Saturday. We talked Juneteenth, the pandemic and more … on WBAI Radio NYC:

Why do Black American women die having babies?

The United States has the highest — yes the highest — maternal mortality rates in the developed world. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. That is in keeping with other sobering statistics of racial health inequities revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary C. Curtis sits down with Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, President Biden’s pick to lead the task force on health equity. They discuss why Black people suffer disproportionately and what is being done to change the equation.

USDA and Black farmers

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sits down with Mary C. Curtis to discuss Black farmers and the USDA plan to provide debt relief to socially disadvantaged borrowers through the March COVID-19 relief law.

That means Black farmers who have lost 90 percent of their land in the last century, in large part because of USDA policies, may receive compensation. The administration says equity is overdue and this is just the beginning. But many white farmers and banks have objections.