By Collin Cunningham
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Hello there, Charlotteans, and welcome to another edition of Queen City Roundup! Today is Wednesday, Nov. 10, and let's all try and make today an 11 out of 10! See what I did there, with the date?
In less punny news, Charlotte's own Bank of America announced it will be closing three locations around the Queen City. We'll tell you exactly where those are, and we'll explain the benefits of a new lane that's been added to Interstate 485. We also have the latest news on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools principals, two of whom have been suspended as police continue their investigation into a sexual assault case that occurred on a local campus, and a third who's been replaced.
What happened: North Carolina will be seven Bank of America locations shorter after the Charlotte-based company announced efforts to scale back. Three of those locations are in the same region as the Queen City, at 3021 Prosperity Church Drive in Charlotte, 368 W. Plaza Drive in Mooresville and 113 W. Broad St. in Statesville.
Why it matters: While those three locations and four others (two in Raleigh, one in Winston-Salem and another in High Point) will continue to offer ATM services, customers will be unable to withdraw or deposit large amounts of money or perform other actions that require tellers. BofA announced in October that it was making efforts to increase tellers' hourly pay rate to $25 by 2025, so these closures could help the company further that goal. Or they could just be pandemic-related closures as the company continues to digitize banking locations.
What happened: Drivers who frequent Interstate 485 near Charlotte may see less congestion now that road crews have opened a new express lane between Rea and Providence roads.
Why it matters: The new lane is part of the North Carolina Department of Transportation's $346 million project to build more express lanes. Road work began in 2019, but transportation officials announced in August that the new lanes would not be completed by the end of 2022, as initially intended. Developers have yet to offer a new timeline for completion, though the project's ultimate goal is to connect Independence Boulevard (also known as U.S. Route 74) with Interstate 77. Both of those roads will eventually be equipped with express toll lanes as well.
3. Suspended.... with pay: CMS leaders suspended as police continue sexual assault investigation
What happened: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools suspended the principal and assistant principal of Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences with pay. The decision comes as local law enforcement looks into the report of a 15-year-old student who said she was suspended from the school after telling administrators she had been sexually assaulted there last month. A recent Hawthorne graduate came forward with a new report of a sexual assault cover-up on Monday, saying she signed a non-disclosure agreement with suspended Principal Diane Weston in 2019.
CMS Superintendent Earnest Wilson has refused to answer questions about the matter, saying he's "bound by law" to not discuss individual student discipline.
Why it matters: More than 100 Hawthorne students staged a walkout on Nov. 3 to protest the school's handling of the case. The largest Charlotte-area public school district is also facing criticism for sexual violence being investigated at Myers Park High School.
“CMS had plenty of opportunities to avoid yet another campus sexual assault scandal, but rather than taking meaningful action when issues arose... it has waited for another disaster to strike at Hawthorne Academy," Attorney Laura Dunn, who is representing one of the student victims, elaborated in a statement released Tuesday.
In other news relating to the investigation at Myers Park, the CMS Board of Education voted to have Alexander Graham Middle School Principal Robert Folk replace former Myers Park Principal Mark Bosco. Bosco has been working at CMS' central offices since last month after parents called on him to resign in July for his handling of sexual assault cases during his eight-year tenure at the high school. Folk has worked with the district since 1990 and headed up the middle school since 2010.