By Collin Cunningham
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Happy Friday, QCR readers! It is Feb. 4, and there will be no snow in Charlotte this weekend. That's according to Weather.com, which lists a high of 65 and early showers on Friday before a sunny Saturday capping out in the mid-40s. Find the six-day forecast below.
Before that, we have the story of a $10 million gift from Panthers' owner David Tepper's philanthropic foundations that will help Charlotte's regional library construct an amenity-rich building. Speaking of libraries, Mecklenburg County has more at-home COVID-19 test kits and will begin distributing them at area buildings on Monday.
With Valentine's Day approaching at the rate of Cupid's arrow, today's edition offers a few Charlotte restaurants that will set romantic tables on Feb. 14. Lastly, the weekend reading list clues Charlotteans in to some of the stories that weren't in the Roundup this week.
What happened: As part of an effort to construct a new, $154.5 million Charlotte Mecklenburg Main Library, a pair of foundations managed by Panthers owner David Tepper donated $10 million to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation on Thursday.
With the hedge fund manager's donation, the new library has amassed $115 million out of a current fundraising goal of $143 million, per a Panthers press release calling the new facility "a hub of dynamic programming."
Why it matters: According to the library system's "Vision for New Main Libary" page, the new library will consist of five floors allowing public access, a Duke Energy-sponsored theater, a food and drink counter and a sunroom.
Charlotte's previous main library, which stood at 310 N. Tryon St. for over 100 years, closed its doors to the public in October 2021, per WFAE. On Saturday, the CML held an unveiling ceremony for "MoLi," a mobile library that offers roving access to materials and other member services.
Mecklenburg County got its hands on additional at-home COVID-19 testing kits and plans to give them out to residents at eight county buildings and libraries starting on Monday. Kits will be available at the following locations at the days times listed:
Monday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at 4429 South Blvd in Charlotte
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at 16500 Holly Crest Ln. in Huntersville
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at 13620 Steele Creek Rd. in Charlotte
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at 6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd. in Mint Hill
Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday/Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.:
- Charlotte Mecklenburg LIbrary at 2157 West Blvd in Charlotte
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at 5935 Hickory Grove Rd. in Charlotte
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Library at 4045 North Tryon St., Suite A in Charlotte
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
- Mecklenburg County Public health at 249 Billingsley Rd. in Charlotte
Other testing and vaccine opportunities: Mecklenburg County maintains a map of local providers offering coronavirus testing and vaccination services here.
The numbers: Mecklenburg County's 14-day average of new infections per 100,000 residents continues to decline, with North Carolina's health department putting the figure at 2,018 on Thursday, down from 3,162 on Jan. 28.
3. Valentine's Day dinners: Where to treat your significant other like a queen in the Queen City
Valentine's Day is ten days away, but there's no need to panic. Charlotte is stocked to the gills with fancy places to grab a meal, so it will be easy for romantically inclined readers to secure a spot at one of the Queen City's premiere dining establishments. Here are four Charlotte restaurants to make your boos blush and sweethearts smile on Feb. 14.
- The Fig Tree Restaurant — Anyone who wants to be able to brag "Hey baby, this place has been open since 2005," can find their perfect venue at the Fig Tree. Impress your date by pronouncing "foie gras" properly, show some love with a veal shank or enamor your enchanted with an elk chop by booking reservations here.
- Steak 48 — Valentine's Day is all about the red, with hearts, candy and gifts all coming up crimson. So why not make red meat part of the repertoire? OpenTable included Steak 48 on its list of "100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America in 2022" which somehow used data to determine the best dating destinations.
- Bill Sunday — For $150, Charlotteans can sign themselves and a lover up for a four-course prix fare dinner at Billy Sunday. The cocktail bar doesn't typically offer food, but couples will be able to latch onto steaks, horse d'ouvres and bourbon pairings on Valentine's Day. Reservations can be made here.
- La Belle Helene — Like any good French food seller, La Belle Helene offers a feast for diners' eyes in addition to their stomachs, serving up a citrus-infused duck a l'orange and liqueur-lathered escargot. Charlotteans can keep their peepers focused on their significant other with private dining options. Interested diners can book tables here.
4. Six-day weather forecast, Feb. 4 to 10
For the first time in four weekends, Charlotte won't be seeing any snow, but that doesn't mean it won't get cold. Saturday and Sunday's sunny skies beguile low temperatures below freezing, but it should not be enough to turn Monday's predicted rainfall into snow.
There is a 50% chance of rain in Charlotte for that day, decreasing to 24% overnight, but otherwise, no moisture is predicted in the Queen City.
5. Weekend reading list
It was a busy week in Charlotte. and the Roundup can only be so long. Here are a few stories that weren't touched upon this week but are still deserving of readers' attention.
- The Roundup reported on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's accidental handcuffing of a Charlote-Mecklenburg Schools teacher in January. This week, WFAE dug deep into footage of the June 2021 incident, speaking to local educator Jasmine Horne about the day officer searched her due to a case of mistaken identity.
- For the first time since the announcement of Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles' $250 million racial equity initiative in November, the Mayor's Racial Equity Initiative has a top dog. Qcitymetro reports that Kimberly Henderson will bring over 20 years of experience as a public defender and time spent with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to the role.
- In other news related to Charlotte politics, WFAE reports City Council could have a new voting district near the city's Hidden Valley area following a lawsuit alleging a change to the district could push Black voters out of the picture. The Charlotte Observer has a story on Mayor Lyles' proposal to upgrade Charlotte's pubic transit systems through a 1-cent sale tax bump.
- Two former Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office deputies want to take Sheriff Gary McFadden's spot. Queen City News lays out how Aujiena “Gina” Hicks and Marquis Robinson said they would improve the department.