By Collin Cunningham
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) Good morning, Charlotteans! It is Thursday, March 31, and for the last day of Music Month we'll be previewing J. Cole's Dreamville Festival, which comes to Raleigh courtesy of the Fayetteville-raised rapper this weekend. Before that, we recount a series of crashes that caused fatal injuries and backups on Interstate 85 near the Queen City this week.
Also backing up is Charlotte-Mecklnenburg Schools' Myers Park High School, which self-forfeited the nine football games it won during the 2021-22 season over player ineligibility. Moving forward, however, is a proposed South Park tax district after Charlotte City Council OK'd it, and we'll tell you how how much neighborhood residents will have to pay on property.
1. I-85 crashes cause death, injuries, traffic backups
Since last week, three crashes on Interstate 85 have caused one death and at least four injuries in the vicinity of Charlotte. The first occured March 24, when a car struck a malfunctioning flatbed truck on the northbound off-ramp leading to Gastonia around 4 a.m., sending the driver of the passenger vehicle to the hospital with serious injuries. Lanes reopened about four hours later, WCNC reported.
At around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, the second crash also involved a broken-down vehicle being hit by another, this time near the corner of Concord Mills and Bruton Smith boulevards off I-85 North in Concord, per WBTV. EMTs pronounced one of the passengers in the stricken car dead at the scene while the other was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The driver of the SUV that struck the disabled car also went to the hospital, though the severity of their wounds is unknown.
The most recent crash involved five vehicles and one serious injury around 6 a.m. on Thursday near Exit 32 in west Charlotte, but few details were available this morning, according to WBTV. Other recent I-85 incidents include a shooting that caused the death of 19-year-old Uriah McCree in Gaston County near Bessemer City on March 23, The Gaston Gazette reported.
2. Full-seaon forfeit: CMS HS throws entire 2021-22 football season over player eligibility
What happened: Saying it was the "right thing to do," Myers Park High School Principal Robert Folk admitted to the North Carolina HIgh School Athletic Association that some of the players on the school's varsity football team had enrolled via falsified documents. The move follows an NCHSAA investigation into the Charlotte-Meckelnburg Schools building's athletic program and will effectively strip the team of the three wins they acquired during the 2021-22 season.
The school will also pay $6,700 in playoff game earnings to the NCHSAA as well as a $250 fine.
Why it matters: Folk's admission, communicated to district families in a letter on Tuesday, comes just over three months after he accepted the Myers Park gig in December. The principal likely wants to avoid any sort of controversy as CMS continues to hear from students upset about reports of sexual assaults at the south Charlotte facility.
"It is my intention to lead with integrity and not deception," Folk wrote in his letter, per WCNC.
Residents of Charlotte's SouthPark neigbhrohood could find themselves owing an additional four cents for every $100 of property they own after City Council preliminarily approved a new tax, or municipal service, district in the south Charlotte neighborhood on Monday. A second and final vote on the designation will come next month. If approved, WCCB reports the new area would accrue $1.3 million in its first year of operation, to be used on public events, marketing, signage and other regional facelifts.
The service district would be comparable community development initiatives like Uptown's Charlotte Center City Partners and University CIty Partners, accoridng to Council member Tariq Bokhari, who added that most of the sites that would be affected belong to commercial owners. The Charlotte Observer reported that some area residnts are on board while others question how the tax will affect them.
4. Music Month: Head down to Raleigh for J. Cole's Dreamville Festival this weekend
Who's up: A whole bunch of artists! In the spirti of April Fools' Day tomorrow, our last Music Month pick cranks its neck to the east of Charlotte to highlight J. Cole's sophomore Dreamville Festival. Born in Frankfurt, Germany but raised in Fayetteville, J. Cole held his first music event in North Carolina's capital in 2019 but "Apparently" had to cancel the shows in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What to stream: On the J. Cole front, the rapper's latest 2021 release, "The Off-Season," is likely to provide most of the flavor for his set on Saturday, with standouts including the minimalistic college rap track "9 5 . s o u t h" above and the Lil Baby-featuring "p r i d e . i s . t h e . d e v i l" with Lil Baby. Rico Nasty will invite listeners to "Check Me Out" with a few tracks from Nightmare Vacation, her 2020 album "Nightmare Vacation." Lil Wayne will treat attendees to his "Funeral" with songs form his own 2020 album, including "Mahogany"
Where to see them perform: Raleigh, baby! Day passes for the festival at the 300-acre Doretheast Dix Park start at $249.99 for both days, with "JV," "Varsity" and "MVP" packages reaching up to $1,299.99 on this page.