In my mind I'm gone to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
— James Taylor, "Carolina in My Mind"
By Collin Cunningham
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Good morning Charlotte, and welcome to the start of the third week of November! This morning's Queen City Roundup has all of the pep you need to begin the new week, starting with lyrics from James Taylor's acoustic-heaped bluegrass track "Carolina in My Mind." In today's news, we go over Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston's Friday announcement, in which he told parents that the district would be hiring external investigators to look into recent sexual assault reports.
Charlotte City Council is set to discuss a proposed "Innovation District" that will bring funding and other development to the Queen City, and we recap the Panthers' loss to the Washington Football Team on Sunday, when quarterback Cam Newton was welcomed back to a starting role on the team. And the now-timely holiday preview at the end of the story will clue readers in to what Charlotte restaurants they can peruse for Thanksgiving takeout.
Today is Monday, Nov. 22, and here's what every Queen City resident needs to know.
What happened: Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Superintendent Earnest Winston told district parents and students on Friday that CMS is planning to hire Title IX investigators to help schools look into reports of student sexual assaults on campus. As we reported last week, students at Myers Park, Olympic and Hawthorne Academy high schools have come forward with reports that other students had sexually assaulted them on campus, including one 15-year-old Hawthorne student who said she was suspended after issuing her report.
Per the U.S. Department of Education, "Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance."
Why it matters: CMS students have held several protests at district buildings to get to this point, and they're not done yet. Another demonstration took place on Saturday at Park Road Park in Charlotte, in which students questioned how many inspectors the district would hire and when they would start, information that Winston was unable to provide on Friday.
"It's an important first step, but it won't really be a first step until something actually happens, not just words," one Myers Park student told WFAE at the protest.
What's happening: Charlotte City Council meets tonight at 5 p.m., and they're expected to discuss how they will use $60 million of the city's American Rescue Plan Act money and will likely vote on a proposed Atrium Health Innovation District. The COVID-19 dollars discussion comes after North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican, sent a letter to Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles asking how she planned to use the tranche, which represents the majority of the $71 million Charlotte is expected to receive through ARPA. The Queen City also got $154 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
The Innovation District, meanwhile, would result in the creation of Charlotte's first medical school if it's approved. In September, Atrium Health requested $75 million from Charlotte and Mecklenburg County to build the new school as well as housing and infrastructure to surround it.
Why it matters: Budd's letter expressed concern that Charlotte leaders may have violated congressional guidelines in setting aside the $60 million, which they approved for use in areas like housing and workforce development in October.
And, if it can get off the ground, the proposed district would create 11,500 new jobs in the Hornet's Nest over the next 15 years, per an independent study conducted by Atrium. Upon its announcement, Mecklenburg County Office of Economic Development Director Peter Zeiler said the project was "the most exciting thing" to happen in the county since the Charlotte airport expanded its lobby.
A link to watch the meeting live should be available on this page prior to 5 p.m.
What happened: The Panthers lost in Charlotte on Sunday, scoring in three out of four quarters. But Panthers starting quarterback Cam Newton learned in his first game back starting for the team that, sometimes, 21 points, a 24-yard running touchdown and 189 throwing yards just aren't enough. WFT managed to score twice in the second quarter before inking their win with touchdowns in the third and fourth. Newton could have brought the team a win but was sacked by Washington with only 1:11 on the clock.
Why it matters: Sunday's loss brings the Cardiac Cats to a 5-6 record this season. They're still ranked third in the NCF South, just a hair above the 4-6 Falcons. Carolinas quarterback Sam Darnold remains on injured reserve but running back Christian McCaffrey scored once and ran for 119 yards.
And, even though the team lost at home, at least some new people got to watch them do it. During a celebratory homecoming press conference on Thursday, Newton announced he would be handing out 50 free tickets for the Washington matchup to Panthers fans who had never visited Bank of America Stadium.
4. A Tar Heel Thanksgiving: The best Charlotte spots for Turkey Day takeout
With Thanksgiving, Native American Heritage Day, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday all slated for this week, we're going to populate the end of each roundup with a different events guide. Today: takeout Thanksgiving, where we'll tell you where to find the best meals in Charlotte without having to cook. So come on, unlace that apron and step into a pair of slippers. No need to hit the kitchen this holiday.
- Babe & Butcher in Camp North End
A cocktail bar and eatery might not be the first place you'd expect to look for Thanksgiving takeout, but this Camp North End restaurant will help hosts bring the wow factor with its lineup of colorful charcuterie boards. Some say that appetizers are the most important part of the meal, and if you bring a fruit or cheese board directly from Babe & Butcher your guests will know you feel the same.
- The Culture Shop in Belmont
This upscale retailer, known again for its wine and cheese, is laying out festive boards for Thursday's big meal with different price points available between $17 and $150, depending on how many guests you expect.
- Blue Smokehouse Bar & Grill in Fort Mill
Anyone looking to serve a more traditional meal can pick up their centerpiece bird at Blue Smokehouse, which has turkeys between 10 and 14 pounds for $65 or between 22 and 24 pounds for $115. Sides like mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, baked mac and cheese and squash are available in pints for $6, quarts for $11 and half-pans for $30. And don’t forget dessert! A half-pan of banana pudding or Mississippi mud cake will set lazy bakers back $34.