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CHARLOTTE — Concrete Rose STEM Academy just opened a few weeks ago but was forced to shut its doors due to a lack of enrollment.
On Friday, school leaders brought in representatives from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and other Charlotte charter schools to explain the options to parents and to help students get enrolled elsewhere.
“It was like my world went down,” said 6th grader Kamaria Brown on the news of the shutdown. “When I came to school, everyone was crying. It was a sad morning.”
After an emergency meeting Wednesday night, Concrete Roses STEM Academy administrators announced the school would shut down on Friday, leaving about 120 students to find a new school.
The K-9 school had just opened on Aug. 25.
“It is a hassle, especially being a single parent,” said Whitney Douglas, whose two kids attended Concrete Roses. “It’s a lot of running around and trying to get everything done.”
Douglas, and many other parents, said they felt blindsided by the sudden closing.
The school’s board of directors said based on enrollment numbers, they realized there wouldn’t be enough funding to sustain Concrete Roses STEM Academy through the end of the year.
According to state documents, the school was funded for 300 students, which gave it close to $480,000 from the state. The school has already used $285,000 of that amount, but had only reached an enrollment of 126.
That financial weakness, combined with the school’s failure to report numbers for July and August landed Concrete Roses on financial disciplinary status.
The State Office of Charter Schools sent the board a letter Wednesday informing them that access to the school’s cash had been revoked.
“It’s unfortunate, but I think we still have a chance to make a difference,” said Dr. Marvin Bradley, the principal at Concrete Roses. “And I’m just trying to keep my faculty encouraged about that.”
Bradley is also trying to help his staff – 10 teachers and five other positions – get new jobs. CMS interviewed Concrete Roses teachers Friday for open positions.
For faculty and students, the focus now is on moving forward.
School administrators said Thursday the board plans to relinquish its charter to the State Office of Charter Schools.
The NC Department of Public Instruction said it had staff at Concrete Roses on Friday to review the schools’ expenditures and assets.
Once that information has been gathered, staff will be able to determine the next steps, including potentially paying back some state funds.
CARY, N.C. — The Cary High School football team is doing its part to raise money for cancer research.
On Friday members of the team and their coach gathered for a unique team activity.
“It was kind of weird to think we were all going to shave our heads because last year was a big turnout. But now [there’s] an even bigger turnout,” said David Bunting, Cary High School football player.
On the sidelines before Friday’s powder puff football game, players and coaches joined a bald brotherhood by shaving their heads to raise awareness about cancer research.
“We don’t want them to forget about how healthy they are and how fortunate they are and to try and raise awareness and raise some money for our area,” said Kurt Glendenning, Cary High School football coach.
It is a unique team activity players feel is important to participate in, especially those who have dealt with cancer in their family.
“My grandmother had it so it kind of hits home for me,” said Bunting.
The game and the baldness drew a crowd to the stadium Friday.
Partnering with the Versus Cancer Foundation, the team is hoping the attention will help spread another message as well.
“It does help and it means a lot to the families,” said Glendenning.
To donate to the cause, visit: http://team.vs-cancer.org/caryfootball.
CHARLOTTE — About 150,000 people are expected to hit Freedom Park this weekend for the annual Festival in the Park.
The festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
“It’s been welcoming fall to Charlotte,” the organization’s Frank Whitney said. His dad was one of its founders in 1964.
“At the time there weren’t many outdoor festivals in the country. It was a lot harder than it is today,” he said.
Festival in the Park began with just 10 tents housing mostly local artists. Today, that number is approaching 200.
“It’s just the perfect backdrop,” said Wilmington Kevin Duval who hauled his sculptures to the festival for the first time this year, hoping someone has the right eye for his fine art.
“I’m trying to make a living from it,” he said.
Although much has changed in the last 50 years including the addition of camel rides this year, a lot has stayed the same.
“The clowns have always been here, and we used to have a lot of fun getting signatures of the clowns,” said visitor Julie Hatch.
Now she’s sharing those same experiences with her daughter — something the festival’s founders never dreamed they’d see.
“Their hope was to get it off the ground. I don’t think they ever thought it would have fifty years of life,” Whitney said.
Festival in the Park is open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.
GREENSBORO—A Triad brewery is celebrating its 10th birthday this weekend and in honor of that Natty Greene’s will be releasing a new beer on Friday.
The brewery is also looking to expand operations, by churning out more beer. It currently brews 17,000 barrels of beer a year, but hopes to crank out 100,000 in the next five years. The brewery is gearing up for its 10-year Revolution Party this weekend.
“In 1988, my business partner, or I should say, my future business partner, Chris Lester and I were in a dorm room in college at UNCG. Like a lot of college kids, we had a dream to do a bar,” said Kayne Fisher, Natty Green’s Co-Founder.
Over the span of six years, the two opened and operated three businesses before starting Natty Greene’s in 2004.
“Not only did the craft industry grow, but so did the awareness for it in North Carolina. We just kind of caught the wave here at the right time and decided to expand into production in 2007,” said Fisher.
It’s kicking off celebrating with the release of its 2014 American Sour Beer.
“A sour beer is fermented with yeast and bacteria. It gives it a sour flavor. It also has a flavor similar to wine. It’s aged in an oak barrel for two years, and then we bottle it,” said Carlee Dempsey, Natty Greene’s Brewing Company.
The release party starts at 4 p.m. Friday with music and food trucks at the Bunker location on West Lee St. in Greensboro. The release will be at 5 p.m.
RALEIGH—The state’s unemployment rate is climbing.
The Department of Commerce released new numbers on Friday, showing the August unemployment rate in North Carolina was 6.8 percent, up 0.3 percent from July.
The number of people working dropped nearly 29,000 in the past month, but it is still higher than last year.
The national unemployment rate for August stands at 6.1 percent.
On Capital Tonight: Scottish voters took to the polls in droves during the independence referendum. The Bow Tie Caucus convenes to take a look at the lessons America could learn about voting turnout. James Kotecki and Jenifer Daniels join Tim Boyum.
RALEIGH—Wake County’s interim district attorney, Ned Mangum, said he will dismiss charges against hundreds of Moral Monday protesters.
The dismissals only impact cases still pending, not cases that have already been resolved.
Officers arrested nearly 1,000 people as they protested at the General Assembly in 2013. Mangum said recent court rulings make it pointless to proceed with the cases.
“It would be waste of resources now for us to go forward with cases which three separate judges have given us a clear indication we won’t prevail,” said Mangum.
It’s a long awaited relief to Scott Holmes, one of the attorneys who volunteered, week after week, to represent the hundreds of moral monday protesters free of charge.
“We’ve been arguing that the people have the right to be in the people’s house and it feels really exciting to believe that people can gather in the heart of our state government and participate in the political process and that is protected by our state government,” said Holmes.
But Mangum is quick to point out, dismissing these cases doesn’t mean protesters can do whatever they want at the General Assembly.
“It’s not a free for all at the General Assembly. There are limits to what individuals can do at the general assembly. There’s nothing about these decisions here today that changes any of that,” he said.
Mangum also pointed out the nearly 1,000 cases have been a huge burden on the legal system.
Authorities aren’t dismissing all of the Moral Monday cases because there are still some pending cases from this year.
Mangum said he’s still working to resolve about 50 cases from last year, which he said were unique circumstances, like protesters refusing to leave a lawmaker’s office.
CHARLOTTE — Half a dozen Queen City parking spaces in uptown transformed into parks Friday. The event is part of international PARKing day.
“Cities all over the world take parking spaces on their streets in downtowns and turn them into little mini parklets for the day,” said Charlotte Center City Partner’s Klint Mullis.
Spectators walking by chimed in.
“I think its a wonderful thing.”
Six metered spaces were taken over from Levine Avenue to Seventh Street.
“There’s a lot of cars going by!”, said Nicole Rivera who interns at Perkins+Will, one of the organizations which took part in the event. “We are on South Tryon Street in between Third and Martin Luther King.”
In previous years this event has taken place in Southend and NoDa, but Charlotte Center City Partners said they wanted this year’s event to make a bigger impact.
“It really is an opportunity to kind of instigate a conversation with people about how we used our public space,” said Mullis.
“Our theme is Alternative Transportation…we have the bikes and hula hoops…” said Rivera.
Nine to fivers even took a quick break to read at one of these free mini-libraries.
“The more publicity we have, the more awareness we’ll raise and the more people will be inclined to think this is a good idea and push for a more walkable city,” said Rivera.
“If this was here regularly I would come up here a lot more often. [It] just gives us something to see and do along the way a nice place to stop than just the regular park benches,” said one mom.
Charlotte Center City Partners said the parklets might be back in the future.
The free libraries will be donated Saturday to Center City neighborhoods in need of books.
WILMINGTON — It’s been 50 years since the release of the first Surgeon General’s smoking report and on Friday, the U.S. acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris D. Lushniak spoke to N.C. health leaders at the North Carolina Public Health Association fall conference.
The conference focused on youth tobacco use trends, and the latest report shows teen smoking is on the decline.
Surgeon General Lushniak says the amount of smokers has decreased since 1964, but smoking is still a deadly addiction.
“Each and every year we have 480,000 people in the United States, 14,000 of those in the state of North Carolina dying prematurely each and every year from smoking-related diseases,” he said.
The latest report shows the lowest rate ever recorded of teen cigarette smoking. However, teens are depending on other products besides cigarettes. The report shows that more teens are depending on electronic cigarettes and hookahs.
Health leaders are concerned about the increased use of E-cigarettes.
“When I look at E-cigarettes, I look at it as something that I’m concerned about, something that I’m waiting on the right information…the right scientific data, so that we can provide more information to the American public. But, for now, it doesn’t look good,” said Surgeon General Lushniak.
E-cigarette usage among North Carolina high schoolers has jumped 352 percent since 2011, and 10 percent of students said they are considering it in the next year.
The state health department is hoping this trend will filter out, similar to how cigarette smoking has.
“A lot of the media campaigns out there have made cigarette smoking a lot less cool, and I think that’s the kind of social norm change that it’s really hard to get going. But once it’s started, it’s really hard to stop,” said Ann Staples, director of public education and communication with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
While the struggle to stop smoking is still difficult 50 years later, Surgeon General Lushniak hopes to put an end to this deadly trend.
“We have to push forward, we really have to shoot for a tobacco-free generation,” he said.
Each day, more than 3,200 youth under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette in the U.S.
RALEIGH—A new dinosaur will be unveiled Friday in Raleigh.
The Museum of Natural Sciences will host the presentation in its Daily Planet Theater. Terry Gates, a research associate with the museum and scientist at N.C. State University, will introduce the new dinosaur: called Rhinorex.