By Collin Cunningham
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Good morning, Charlotte! Yesterday's election resulted in new names filling old positions in local communities. We have the who's who of candidates that took home the win and also the where's where of children's vaccination sites now that Mecklenburg County has received 13,000 child-sized doses of the COVID-19 shot.
We also have the story of North Carolina's latest representative, whose swearing-in was interrupted by a mass walkout at the State House on Monday, and rounding off the roundup are a few tips to help you entertain guests in the Queen City over the holidays.
Today is Wednesday, Nov. 3, and here's what you need to know.
What happened: Votes from yesterday's municipal election have been tallied, and Huntersville Mayor Pro Tem Melinda Bales will succeed incumbent John Anarella. The Huntersville Town Board also has three new members: Stacy Phillips, Derek Partee and Dan Boone. Cornelius has a new mayor in the form of Woody Washam, Jr., Russell B. Knox, Jr., won in Davidson, John Higdon will be mayor in Matthews and Brad Simmons will be the next mayor of Mint Hill.
North Carolina legislators delayed votes for mayor and council in Charlotte and other major cities in the state to spring of 2022 due to delayed results from the 2020 U.S. Census.
Why it matters: The Huntersville race was close, with Bales defeating the mayor by 144 votes. And Twanna Henderson's victory on the Mint Hill Board of Commissioners is historic because she is the first African American to serve on the board in the history of the town.
2. Novant, Atrium, StarMed and other local health providers to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to children
What happened: Several medical organizations in Charlotte have announced their plans to deliver vaccinations to children between the ages of 5 and 11. Mecklenburg County has received 13,000 doses of the kid vaccine, which contain one-third of the amount of the vaccine found in shots given to people aged 12 or older.
Novant Health said it will start doling out shots on Thursday when appointments will open for registration at 8 a.m. The VaxClinic in Charlotte is distributing them starting today, Atrium Health is scheduling drive-thru vaccine clinics in Cabarrus County and Ballantyne and StarMed has been allowing parents to pre-register their child for an appointment since Monday.
Why it matters: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fully approved the vaccine for the new age group on Tuesday, saying the shot is 90% effective at preventing the virus in children. Health providers have been teasing children's vaccine rollouts since October.
What happened: North Carolina Democrats left the State House in droves on Monday while the state's newest representative, a Gaston County Republican named Donnie Loftis, was taking his oath to fill the District 109 seat left open by the death of Rep. Dana Bumgardner. The representatives did not comment on Loftis but departed because he admitted last month to participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Why it matters: Loftis is a former commissioner of Gaston County, and his presence at the riot earlier this year signifies that he may be opposed to democratic practices. Rioters broke open windows, smashed lawmakers' desks and threatened to hang former Vice President Michael Pence in the hopes of overturning the results of the 2020 United States presidential election, despite the fact that President Joe Biden received more votes. Loftis will save the remaining two years of the late Bumgardner's term.
“I spoke to many service members, and we all agreed that we didn’t want to be there, but we had no other choice," Loftis wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post on the day of the attack. "They don’t get it that they work for us. And I mean that in a respectful way.” The post also stated that Loftis had been "gassed three times" during the riot.
4. Way-too-early Queen City holiday preview: Elf on the Shelf Musical at Ovens Auditorium
We get it, we get it. Hannukah doesn't start for another three weeks, Christmas is still nearly eight away, and Kwanzaa is the day after that. It's early to start listing off holiday-themed events in Charlotte, but it's never too early to plan. Keep your eyes peeled for the end of the roundup over the next several weeks as we share upcoming local events that are perfect for entertaining guests, family members or friends during the holiday season.
Today we'll start it off with a one-night performance of The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical at Ovens Auditorium inside Bojangles Coliseum at 6 p.m on Dec. 3. The story follows one of Santa's Scout Elves who partners with a family that has forgotten the meaning of Christmas. It's adapted from the popular interactive toy of the same name that allows parents and kids to take turns hiding small elves around their house, and tickets are available now for as low as $34.75.