Charlotte, NC

Queen City Roundup 11/2: Charlotteans hit polls, $250M racial equity investment, tainted Halloween candy in Rock Hill

Collin Cunningham
The Carolina Panthers encouraged fans on the sidelines to vote with painted turf during their game on Sunday.(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

By Collin Cunningham

(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Good morning, Charlotte! Today is Tuesday, November 2, and it's also election day.

Mecklenburg County residents might not be choosing a new mayor, city council or school board until next year, but there are still municipal elections planned for Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville and Stallings for today. We've got information on polling locations and times below, along with stories about a $250 million injection from a public-private partnership in Charlotte that aims to make life easier for minorities in Charlotte.

Over in Rock Hill, parents are angry after finding brass pins in their trick-or-treaters' candy and a new statue pays homage to a civil rights lawyer within an informative Queen City attraction.

1. North Carolina polls open at 6:30 a.m., close at 7:30 p.m.

What's happening: Municipal elections are taking place throughout the country today, with polls open in North Carolina between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m, but as long as registered voters have a spot in line before they close.

Mecklenburg County has over 200 polling sites at local community centers, public schools and churches. Residents can enter their address at this page to learn which district they belong to and what candidates they can choose and check if they're registered here.

Why it matters: Even without big names like the Charlotte mayor or school board members, the Huntersville mayoral race may put a new face in that chair for the first time in six years. Mayor John Anarella won't be seeking re-election, and will instead turn the town over to either Jill Swain, the town's former mayor, or Melinda Bales, who currently serves on the Huntersville Town Board and as Anarella's second in command. Six of the 13 chairs on the Huntersville Board of Commissioners will also change hands.

Mayors are also up for election in Cornelius, Matthews, Davidson, Mint Hill and Pineville.

North Carolina voters do not need to carry IDs to the polls due to a decision made by a federal judge in 2019, but a state appeals court sent that verdict to the Supreme Court for reconsideration in 2020.
Elections for the Charlotte mayor, city council and seats on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education will occur Nov. 8, 2022.(Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

2. Racial equity pledge: Charlotte, corporations to spend $250M on housing, education, jobs

What happened: Corporate and government leaders from Charlotte unveiled a $250 million investment on Monday that hopes to make it easier for Black residents to live, learn and work in the Queen City. Mayor Vi Lyles announced the Mayor's Racial Equity Initiative at Johnson C. Smith University, a historically Black college in Charlotte that will get $40 million from the endowment. It will target issues like the digital divide and employer commitment to Black and Brown leaders, focusing on impoverished opportunity corridors like the nearby Beatties Ford Road over the next five years.

Why it matters: This is a massive investment, resulting from a request from Mayor Vi Lyles to the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council to examine issues faced by Black and brown individuals in Charlotte after the killing of George Floyd in 2020. It pools money from both public and private sources and AP reports $97 million is already accounted for through private means, while another $80 million comes from the city of Charlotte and its libraries. The donation to the college came from The Duke Endowment, a private fund that gives dollars to Carolinas initiatives.

3. Parents upset after trick-or-treaters return with brass fasteners

What happened: Snickers bars may contain 10 separate ingredients, but brass fasteners are not one of them. That's why parents in Rock Hill, South Carolina — a half-hour south of Charlotte — were upset to find pointed brass pins when combing through their kids' stashes of Halloween candy. Residents have filed a police report but no suspects are mentioned by name.

Why it matters: The pins are sharp and could harm a child who places one in their mouth. Reports of tainted Halloween candy are rare and don't typically result in injury or death, but the crime is listed as a misdemeanor and there is no active database of candy-tampering crimes. The Rock Hill neighborhood where the pins were discovered is also a busy destination for trick-or-treating, with parents driving kids in to collect candy and view neighbors' seasonal decorations.

“I think it’s just disgusting that someone would think a trick like that is appropriate," a resident named Diane Brown told WSOC-TV.

4. 'A giant in the Civil Rights Era': new Charlotte statue honors NC lawyer Julius Chambers

What happened: A Charlotte-area lawyer who championed for equitable education and other civil rights has been immortalized in bronze as the latest addition to city's Trail of History. Julius Chambers is depicted in midstep and carrying a large briefcase near the large water fountain on South Kings Drive. Chambers' name has been making the rounds in Charlotte this year, with the Derita Station Post Office and Zebulon B. Vance High School being retitled in his honor throughout 2021.

"It's been an awesome few years… the honors that have come through for my father,” the lawyer's son, Derrick Chambers, added. "It’s well deserved. We’re all so honored to be related to him.”

Why it matters: Charlotte's Trail of History covers a section of the city's Little Sugar Creek greenway, right in the middle of downtown. Pedestrians will be able to stop off along the pathway to familiarize themselves with Chambers' legacy.

The lawyer was selected to join fellow local civil rights advocate Thaddeus Lincon Tate as the second Black man to appear on the informative route for his role in integrating students of different races. His biggest claim to fame was Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, one of the first major cases to challenge educational segregation after Brown v. Board of Education. In addition to starting and operating North Carolina's first integrated law office, Chambers served as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund's third director-counsel from 1984 to 1993. He died in 2013 at the age of 77.

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

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