By Collin Cunningham
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Happy Monday, Charlotteans! We're starting off the last week of November and heading into the first few days of December after a football-filled weekend. The Miami Dolphins beat the Carolina Panthers, 33-10, after the Charlotte team benched recently returned quarterback Cam Newton in the fourth quarter. We'll recap Sunday's game, as well as the North Carolina State Wolfpack football team's 34-30 victory over ACC rivals the University of North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday. The victory brought the Wolfpack one step closer to the ACC Championship Game, but a win by another team pushed them out of the running.
Before that, in local political and health news, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles announced last week that she will be running for reelection in 2022 and local doctors talk about the possibility of the omicron variant of COVID-19 reaching Charlotte, given the city's international airport.
Today is Monday, Nov. 29, and here's what every Queen City resident needs to know.
1. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles to run again in 2022
What happened: Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles took to Twitter on Thursday to post a video to wish residents and happy Thanksgiving and announce she will seek a third term in the 2022 election. A primary for Charlotte's next mayoral election is scheduled for March 8, with the deciding vote slated for April 26.
The Charlotte mayoral election was initially scheduled to take place this year but, in June, 30 North Carolina towns and cities announced they would push their municipal elections back to 2022 due to delayed results from the 2020 U.S. Census.
"I want you to know I'm so proud of our community and for all of the good work that we are doing," Lyles addressed viewers. "Jobs and housing and so much more. And I also want to let you know, and I ask for your support, I'm going to run for reelection in 2022. Thank you for what you've done and, again, happy holidays."
Why it matters: Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, so whoever's mayor has a lot of cut out for them. Lyles was first elected by winning 59% of the vote in 2017, per Q City Metro, and later followed that up with a landslide victory in which she secured 77% of the vote in 2019.
The reelection announcement comes just over 3 weeks after the Charlotte Mayor announced a $250 million advocacy initiative to improve racial equity in the Queen City. Various private foundations, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the city joined Lyles in her pledge to address social and economic issues, but she has since said she regrets her rollout of the plan, saying it "wasn't sufficient," according to WBTV.
2. With Charlotte hosting an international airport, when might the omicron variant arrive?
What happened: There's a new variant of COVID-19 going around, and Charlotte is home to an international airport that could bring carriers of the omicron variant to the Queen City. Pittsburgh-based infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh Adalja told WBTV the variant is "likely something that's here at a low level."
Instances of the variant, which is more contagious than the standard coronavirus, have been detected in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Belgium, the UK, Germany and Italy.
Why it matters: The Thanksgiving holiday saw over 50,000 passengers make their way through Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and large crowds will again be in and out of the travel facility as they return home this week. While it hasn't been detected in the United States, the Washington Post reports Canadian health officials reported two cases of the omicron variant in North America on Sunday after a pair of people flew to Ontario from South Africa, where the variant was first detected.
3. Dolphins drown Panthers after Cam Newton benched
What happened: The Miami Dolphins walked away from their game against the Carolina Panthers with a new notch in their belt after beating the Cardiac Cats 33-10 in what Cat Scratch Reader writer Bradley Smith called an "ugly loss" for the Charlotte team. Cam Newton played poorly in Florida, meeting with the bench in the fourth quarter after throwing two interceptions and completing only 5 of 21 passes for 92 yards.
But the Panthers only scored twice, in the first and second quarters, with backup QB P.J. Walker failing to put any points on the board during his playtime, instead tossing an interception and getting sacked twice after taking the field. After scoring at least once in each quarter (twice in the second), the Dolphins found themselves up 23 points with just over three minutes remaining.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey may have to miss a few games after hurting his ankle sometime during the game's first half.
Why it matters: The Panthers are now 5-7, and any hopes the team had of reaching the playoffs seem to be growing dimmer as they collect dust at the bottom of the NFC South standings list. The team has time to re-think their playbook during their bye week before hitting the turf for a Dec. 12 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
4. Wolfpack tars and feathers Tar Heels 34-30, but won't advance to ACC Championships
What happened: The North Carolina State Wolfpack football team beat the University of North Carolina Tar Heels 34-30 on Friday. It was a back-and-forth affair, with NC State QB Devin Leary bringing things to fruition with a pair of touchdowns in the span of 26 seconds during the game's last quarter. NC State started the game with another two scores for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
"That's why you play until the last second's off the clock," Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said after the win.
Why it matters: This is the first time since 2018 that NC State was championship-eligible, but the Wolfpack will not be playing in the ACC title game at Bank of America Stadium on Dec. 4 because Wake Forest University beat Boston College on Saturday. The game, which would have been NC State's first ACC championships, will instead see the Wake Forest Demon Deacons battle the University of Pittsburgh Panthers.
As for the Tar Heels, hopefully UNC has better luck next year. The Clemson University Tigers, who have won six consecutive titles, are also out of the running.
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