Good Hunting Tips When Looking For An Affordable Apartment

Good Hunting Tips When Looking For An Affordable Apartment

It may be a daunting task to find an affordable apartment in Charlotte. Today’s real-estate market is really a tight one and the apartment finders looking for affordable units are often outbid by the prospective tenants having the check in their hands. One can also get to know about the unbelievable deals just through word-of-mouth pertaining to the apartments that are centrally-placed. So, how to go about your search exactly? Here are some of the tips for you to try out and get the apartment you are long looking for.

Here is how to find a good apartment in Charlotte that is affordable, yes the classified ads. It is another commonly used method that is often utilized by the recent movers. Look for the most popular newspaper as they are more likely feature such advertisements.

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Carolina Theatre/Hotel Project To Break Ground In May

Carolina Theatre/Hotel Project To Break Ground In May

The long-awaited renovation of the Carolina Theatre in uptown Charlotte is scheduled to begin in May. That’s according to the Foundation for the Carolinas, which owns the property. The foundation also announced Tuesday it has investors lined up for a luxury hotel to be built above the theater.

The old theater at North Tryon and Sixth streets opened in 1927, hosting Vaudeville shows, films and Elvis Pressley before falling into disrepair and shutting down in the 1970s.

“In two short months, this ugly duckling of today will begin its transformation to this swan of tomorrow,” foundation CEO Michael Marsicano said at Tuesday’s annual meeting at Charlotte Convention Center.

Marsicano compared the $44 million restoration to those at other historic theaters around the country, like The Palace in Cleveland and the Altria Theater in Richmond.

The foundation is leading redevelopment after buying the property from the City of Charlotte for $1 in 2013. Marsicano said they’ve already raised about $42 million toward the project.  The theater is next door to the foundation’s North Tryon Street headquarters. 

The theater is only part of the project. Marsicano says the foundation is close to a deal with a lead investor to help pay for a 252-room luxury hotel on top of the theater.

Marsicano says an Australian company called SB&G will own the hotel, to be called the InterContinental. Another partner, Valor Hospitality Partners, will operate it.

The hotel could cost about $60 million, putting the whole project at more than $100 million, according to the foundation’s Laura Smith. She said the 950-seat theater and hotel are expected to open in 2019.

It would be among many new developments in the North Tryon Street corridor in the coming years, as part of the North Tryon Vision Plan. The foundation has helped lead a community effort to plot the future of the corridor.  

The foundation also announced a financial milestone: topping $2 billion of assets. That’s doubled since 2012, thanks to growth in the foundation’s investments and new contributions to the charitable funds it manages.

“It took the foundation 18 years to grow from $3,000 in assets in 1958 to $1 million by 1976, and then another 36 years to hit the $1 billion mark in 2012,” Marsicano said. “We quickly set our sights on the next billion, never expecting it would happen overnight.”

But it happened in only four years, he said.

Meanwhile, Marsicano also reported on the main mission of the foundation – grantmaking.

In 2016, the foundation handed out more than 1,700 grants totaling $312 million. Those went to a range of causes, including disaster relief, education and human services.

He also said that during the past year, the foundation reduced fees for clients and expanded investment options.

RELATED LINKS

March 28, 2017, FFTC.org, Foundation announcement of 2016 financial results

Borum's Attorney Calls Shooting Death Of Justin Carr An Accident

Borum's Attorney Calls Shooting Death Of Justin Carr An Accident

The attorney for Raquan Borum and prosecutors agree on one thing: Borum shot and killed Justin Carr last September during protests in uptown. But they disagree on why. Borum’s attorney says it was an accident.

WFAE’s Lisa Worf reported on Borum’s bond hearing Thursday with Mark Rumsey during All Things Considered. Here’s a transcript of that segment:

MR: Lisa, why do both sides agree Borum shot Carr?

LW: Well, prosecutors have said before that Borum confessed to police right after the shooting, but today was the first time we heard his attorney say that. Borum’s attorney Terry Sherrill says it appears there was only one shot fired and Borum’s gun was, in fact, discharged. Prosecutors also point to videos from traffic cameras, businesses, and media that they say indicate Borum was the one who shot Carr.

MR: Is there any evidence that indicates this could be an accident?  

LW: This came out in a bond hearing today, so it wasn’t a trial situation. Sherrill’s argument was that Borum was overwhelmed by the moment, drew his gun….and, yes, shot. He said maybe it was negligence, an accident, but he didn’t intend to kill anyone. Here’s Sherrill speaking after the bond hearing:

“We have someone that says he noticed that after he heard the shot and he looked and he saw Borum,that he had an appearance of shock on his face, as if he hadn’t intended it to go off.”

LW: He said Borum should be charged with manslaughter, not first degree murder.  

MR:  Now, there have been lots of co­nspiracy theories voiced that police shot Justin Carr. Will this do anything to put those to rest?

LW: People with a group called Charlotte Uprising have made those claims. I checked in with Ashley Williams from there and she says she still doesn’t believe that Borum shot Carr, that it was police.

MR: So what happens now?

LW: The court has set a date for what’s called a plea conference. That’s May 18. The DA could decide by then what they want Borum to plead guilty to and then he and his attorney will have to decide whether to take it or not.

Charlotte High Schooler Facing Deportation Enters Plea Deal For Criminal Charges

Charlotte High Schooler Facing Deportation Enters Plea Deal For Criminal Charges

It’s not often that we cover stories involving the theft of less than $3,000, but the case of 18-year-old Gus Zamudio is different because it involves immigration.

Zambudio had been living in Charlotte under the DACA program, which is for immigrants who arrived in the country as children. His arrest on a felony charge last month prompted immigration officials to initiate deportation proceedings to Mexico as part of a new Trump administration policy. The previous policy had been to wait until conviction.

Zamudio pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor. His lawyers hope the plea-bargain aides his deportation case. 

Gus Zamudio wasn’t in court on Tuesday, but he had a pretty good excuse. He’s currently being held in a detention center in Lumpkin, Georgia. He’s been there for about a month.

Both sides recognized there was evidence that showed Zamudio took money from Harris Teeter from a self-checkout register. Prosecutors referred to video footage that was not shown in court.

Zamudio’s mother listened intently. She later spoke through an interpreter and said she still couldn’t believe her son took the money.

Zamudio’s lawyers presented the judge with several letters from friends and family speaking to his character.  They also pointed out that restitution to Harris Teeter has been paid.

Judge Alicia Brooks granted Zamudio a Prayer for Judgment. In legalese this basically means although Zamudio entered a guilty plea, the judge won’t issue a punishment.

Following the hearing, Rob Heroy, an attorney for Zamudio, told reporters he believed the lesser misdemeanor charge might give Zamudio a chance to make bond in Georgia.

“It’s no longer a felony, it’s a misdemeanor and a

Prayer for Judgment,” Heroy said, “I think that’s different than someone who has a felony charge against them. Ultimately, that’s a question for the judges down in Georgia.”

The next step is for this new information to be passed along to his immigration attorneys so they can use it for his next immigration hearing, although it’s not clear when that will be. 

The Best Time Of Year To Visit Charlotte, NC

The Best Time Of Year To Visit Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, North Carolina is a charming city with a lot of interesting things to do. If you are thinking of taking a trip to this part of the country, it is best to research the climate a little bit so that you know what time of year to visit.

Typically, spring is considered the best time of year to visit this part of North Carolina. Springtime temperatures are usually quite comfortable, hovering in the 60 to 70° range. Additionally, many of the trees are in bloom, creating a beautiful setting for your trip.

Summer is also nice, although it can get quite hot. Keep in mind, North Carolina has relatively high humidity levels. Because of that, summer days can be quite uncomfortable if the temperatures rise too much. If you are planning on visiting during the summer, you should bring shorts, tank tops, and other lightweight clothing. Don’t forget to throw in a bathing suit as well so that you can cool off with a swim anytime you get overheated.

Hurricane season runs from June through November, typically peaking during August and September. Unless you want to take a chance of having your travel plans canceled, you should generally avoid planning your trip during the worst of these months.

Compared to other parts of the country, winter temperatures in Charlotte are relatively mild. However, they still can be quite chilly, often hovering around the 40° mark. Unless you enjoy cool weather, you would be far better off visiting during the spring.

Springtime is generally considered the best time of year to visit Charlotte, North Carolina. During the spring, temperatures are warm and comfortable, meaning that you don’t have to worry about getting overheated or getting too cold. Because the trees and flowers are in bloom during the spring, it is also an incredibly beautiful time to visit.

CMPD Has a Good Track Record In Recapturing Electronic Monitor Cutters

CMPD Has a Good Track Record In Recapturing Electronic Monitor Cutters

In any given month, CMPD tracks about 350 people with ankle monitors around the clock. They’re actually not that hard to remove. But the consequences of tampering with the electronic monitors are made clear: If you even try to remove any part of one, police are immediately alerted, and you will be arrested. And, this happens a lot – roughly 80 times a year.

The black monitors are easy to put on and can adjust to fit any size ankle. They have a wide-band and a small black box attached to them. They are bulky but light and it’s easy to see how offenders can cut off the hard rubber band.

“It’s not that we can’t make it where people can’t take it off, but OSHA requires that if someone is wearing it and gets into an accident or have a medical emergency, the paramedic can use regular scissors to cut it off,” says CMPD Officer Bruce Edwards.

He says police monitor the devices 24/7 and are alerted immediately if any of the parts are removed.

“It has fiber optic lines in here, so you can’t cut it off and put it back together without us knowing. It has pressure sensors if you try to tamper with it,” he said.

Even with all of that, last year, 80 offenders cut off their monitors. One young lady took hers off and put it in her purse.

“She wanted to get high and thought if she took it apart it wouldn’t work right,” he said.

It worked.

“We even have people put foil around the device attempting to circumvent the GPS and it doesn’t work. We had a bunch of juveniles breaking into businesses along WT Harris on a spree and thought ‘they won’t know because I’ve put aluminum foil and done some other things’ but we tracked them,” Edwards said.

The juveniles were so confident that the devices were deactivated that when Edwards and his partner found them they were all asleep in a parked car.

CMPD started its monitoring program in 2007 to focus on juvenile offenders. They expanded it to adult offenders three years ago and the number of removals doubled.

“We monitor folks for robbery, we have several murderers out here in the community, we have people who break into cars and homes, we have serious domestic violence offenders that we monitor, people who shoot each other,” he said.

Most wearing the devices are out on bond. Edwards says they typically remove the monitors when there’s about to be a change in their case.

“A lot of times they’ve just met with their attorney and were told they will have to do active time, or their case is about to go to trial or they just committed a crime and forgot the monitor’s on their ankle,” Edwards said.

By the way, according to Edwards, most are recaptured within hours or a day or two but some take longer.

“Some fled the country and we got them back. We’ve caught them in New York, Mexico, California, Florida, some stay local. Everyone that’s cut if off ends up back in jail. We will catch you,” he said.

With additional charges for tampering with the monitor tacked on. Cutting off the monitor is a misdemeanor but destroying its electronic box is a felony.

CMPD Has a Good Track Record In Recapturing Electronic Monitor Cutters

CMPD Has a Good Track Record In Recapturing Electronic Monitor Cutters

In any given month, CMPD tracks about 350 people with ankle monitors around the clock. They’re actually not that hard to remove. But the consequences of tampering with the electronic monitors are made clear: If you even try to remove any part of one, police are immediately alerted, and you will be arrested. And, this happens a lot – roughly 80 times a year.

The black monitors are easy to put on and can adjust to fit any size ankle. They have a wide-band and a small black box attached to them. They are bulky but light and it’s easy to see how offenders can cut off the hard rubber band.

“It’s not that we can’t make it where people can’t take it off, but OSHA requires that if someone is wearing it and gets into an accident or have a medical emergency, the paramedic can use regular scissors to cut it off,” says CMPD Officer Bruce Edwards.

He says police monitor the devices 24/7 and are alerted immediately if any of the parts are removed.

“It has fiber optic lines in here, so you can’t cut it off and put it back together without us knowing. It has pressure sensors if you try to tamper with it,” he said.

Even with all of that, last year, 80 offenders cut off their monitors. One young lady took hers off and put it in her purse.

“She wanted to get high and thought if she took it apart it wouldn’t work right,” he said.

It worked.

“We even have people put foil around the device attempting to circumvent the GPS and it doesn’t work. We had a bunch of juveniles breaking into businesses along WT Harris on a spree and thought ‘they won’t know because I’ve put aluminum foil and done some other things’ but we tracked them,” Edwards said.

The juveniles were so confident that the devices were deactivated that when Edwards and his partner found them they were all asleep in a parked car.

CMPD started its monitoring program in 2007 to focus on juvenile offenders. They expanded it to adult offenders three years ago and the number of removals doubled.

“We monitor folks for robbery, we have several murderers out here in the community, we have people who break into cars and homes, we have serious domestic violence offenders that we monitor, people who shoot each other,” he said.

Most wearing the devices are out on bond. Edwards says they typically remove the monitors when there’s about to be a change in their case.

“A lot of times they’ve just met with their attorney and were told they will have to do active time, or their case is about to go to trial or they just committed a crime and forgot the monitor’s on their ankle,” Edwards said.

By the way, according to Edwards, most are recaptured within a day or two but some take longer.

“Some fled the country and we got them back. We’ve caught them in New York, Mexico, California, Florida, some stay local. Everyone that’s cut if off ends up back in jail. We will catch you,” he said.

With additional charges for tampering with the monitor tacked on. Cutting off the monitor is a misdemeanor but destroying its electronic box is a felony.

WFAE's Lisa Worf Wins Sunshine Award

WFAE's Lisa Worf Wins Sunshine Award

WFAE Assistant News Director Lisa Worf is the winner of this year’s Sunshine Award for Journalism. The award is given by the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, which is based at Elon University.

Worf was nominated for her reporting on a new law that requires court approval to get access to police dashcam and body camera video.

In October, just before this law took effect, Charlotte was the scene of protests involving the officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. There were calls for CMPD to release the video. The department initially refused, but eventually relented to public pressure. But because of the new law, CMPD officials cannot release police video shot after Sept. 30th unless ordered to do so by a judge.

Worf wanted to find out what it would be like for the average person to petition the court for police video. Her stories were revealing. While the law provides a mechanism for the public to be granted access to police video, just attempting to access the video is difficult. It takes time, and it takes money.

“But Lisa had one advantage,” notes news director Greg Collard. “She had the time because going to court was a job assignment. Just about anyone else would have to take vacation days to go through this process.

Worf’s stories took listeners through the ups and downs of going through the court system, and gave her audience insight into the pain and confusion of family members of the deceased.

“Lisa’s persistence is a great example of WFAE journalists advocating for the listener by getting answers. We’re very proud of her,” Collard said.

The Sunshine Awards honor people and organizations whose work keeps the public informed about what governments are doing. The Open Government Coalition honors a journalist, government employee or organization, and an advocate for transparency each year.

Catawba Prosecutors No Longer On The Job

Catawba Prosecutors No Longer On The Job

Two prosecutors are gone from the Catawba County District Attorney’s office following allegations that they derailed criminal investigations into abuse by leaders of a church they attend.

In announcing the shakeup, District Attorney David Learner says he “cannot allow the integrity of the office to be called into question.”

The move comes after the Associated Press reported that nine former members of a church in Spindale called “Word of Faith Fellowship” said that assistant prosecutors Frank Webster and Chris Back helped derail a social services investigation into child abuse in 2015. They also said Whaley warned congregants to lie to investigators about abuse incidents.

In addition, the ex-members said that Webster and Back provided legal advice and participated in a mock trial of four church members charged with harassing a former church member. Webster is the son-in-law of Word of Faith’s leader, Jane Whaley.

Learner has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into the allegations.

The AP’s reporting has revealed physical and emotional abuse inside the church. Former member have said congregants were punched, choked, and thrown through walls. They said purpose of the violence was to purify sinners.

Word of Faith has 750 members in North Carolina, and 2000 members at churches in Brazil and Ghana.

Commissioner Calls On ICE To Attend County Meeting, Says Immigrant Group Might Attend

Commissioner Calls On ICE To Attend County Meeting, Says Immigrant Group Might Attend

County Commissioner Jim Puckett is calling for additional security at Tuesday night’s county commission meeting, including for the presence of sheriff’s deputies and ICE agents, in the event that immigrant activists show up and cause disruptions, as they did during last week’s city council meeting.

In an email to fellow commissioners, Puckett said he’s heard “rumors” that activists were planning to mob Tuesday night’s meeting and suggested the commission have sheriff’s deputies and ICE agents on hand to help “maintain a proper level of civil discourse.”

In an email, fellow County Commissioner Bill James agreed with Puckett.

“Clearly, those that showed up at the City Council were unruly and out of line,” James wrote, “If we allow this group to do what they did to the City Council, we will be setting an inappropriate standard for other groups who will want the same lenience and ability to disrupt.”

Reached by phone, Puckett said he wouldn’t want ICE agents to arrest anyone, unless they became unruly.

“I have no problem with anyone coming and talking and telling us their concerns,” Puckett said, “but when it gets threatening, then I at least want to have as much recourse against them as possible, and the presence of ICE may or may not do that for some.”

Puckett also said ICE agents who attended would also be able directly respond to activists and speak to their concerns after the meeting.

Bryan Cox, a spokesman for ICE in the region, told the Charlotte Observer it’s up to local officials to police their own meetings. He declined to comment on the possibility of having agents on site.

Amid Questions, Meck Sheriff Puts Controversial 287g Program On Display

Amid Questions, Meck Sheriff Puts Controversial 287g Program On Display

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department is one of just 37 agencies to participate in a federal program known as 287(g). It allows deputies to take part in enforcing federal immigration laws.

Participation in the program is voluntary and controversial.

On Thursday the Sheriff’s Department hoped to answer questions about 287-G by allowing reporters to walk through the process.

The main job of the Sheriff’s Department is simple, it runs the jails in Mecklenburg County.

This walk through was held at the main jail in uptown, but it began in a conference room one floor above central booking. That’s where Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael stepped to the podium. “I am here today to clarify our role and hopefully dispel the rumors about what we do,” in terms of the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The 287(g) program was launched in 1996 as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Originally there were two parts to the program. One allowed officers trained by federal agents to take part in on the street task forces to identify and round up illegal immigrants. That lead to allegations of racial profiling and other complaints and the task forces were disbanded in 2012.

But the other part of 287(g) remains in place. And since 2006 the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department has been an active participant. “The 287(g) program operation strictly is within the Mecklenburg County jail,” said Carmichael. “In other words no one encounters 287(g) deputies unless they are arrested, charged with a crime and brought to the Mecklenburg County Jail.” Where specially trained deputies screen all suspects, he said, to determine their immigration status. What happens next, Carmichael stated, is up to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents, or ICE for short. “At no time does the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department make a decision as to whether an individual is removed from the United States,” the sheriff added, “We do not make decisions on who gets deported.”

We’ll have more on this screening process in a moment.

Carmichael took time to state why his department is involved in 287(g). It’s all about the safety he said.

“Since I’ve been sheriff, we’ve been able to identify an individual who was arrested for four murders. Because of the 287(g) program we were able to identify he was in this country unlawfully. A man here illegally, a citizen, national of Mexico was arrested for 15 counts of felony child abuse and inflicting serious, physical injury and 15 counts of false imprisonment. Another person here illegally, a citizen and national of Honduras was arrested for felony possession of a weapon of mass destruction. It’s about safety and security of our facility and the one million plus citizens of Mecklenburg County.”

Carmichael left this press conference without taking questions. Leaving unanswered how knowing the immigration status of these incarcerated individuals made anyone safer.

The actual tour of how the 287(g) program works started with a walk through a secure, underground parking lot which leads to a large metal door. “This is the door of no return,” said Captain Daniel Stitt, our tour guide. He runs the 287(g) program in Mecklenburg County. “The arrestees are brought here and the process starts.”

First, they go through that metal door and they’re walked up to a counter where every suspect, Stitt says is asked a series of questions. Two of which are: what country are you a citizen or natural of and where were you born. “Anything other than U.S. to either of those two questions will trigger that 287(g) interview. Now that interview could last for 30 seconds or it could last for a couple of hours.”

Carried out, Stitt continued, by one of eight deputies seated at a row of partitioned desks. “Those officers are trained by ICE, they attend a school that is put on by ICE and paid for by ICE. I’m not going to get into those details, that is for them and through their training.”

But Stitt did add some of the questions go into how an individual entered the country.  

And it’s important to note all this takes place when an individual is simply charged of a crime. That can range from serious felonies to something like a DUI.

If an individual is deemed to be in the country illegally, the deputies then alert ICE who can, in turn, ask for that person to be held. Stitt would not detail how long those holds usually take. “They are all case by case.”

But he did say the Sheriff’s Department will hold the individual until ICE arrives. It costs money to keep someone in jail and ICE pays for the extra time in detention.

There has been a lot of news lately about immigration crackdowns. The Department of Homeland Security has issued guidelines vastly expanding the number of people considered deportation priorities. And President Donald Trump has called the effort a “military operation.” The president also said, “We’re getting really bad dudes out of this country at a rate that nobody’s ever seen before.”

The Sheriff’s Department no longer appears to publish the number of people deported under 287(g). But thousands have been turned over to ICE.

Asked if there’s been an increase in 287(g) activity here in Mecklenburg, Captain Stitt simply said, “my answer is no.”

That does not mean there has not been more immigration arrests however.

“I think we can see there’s a clear difference in the way ICE is behaving and the way ICE has behaved,” said Atenas  Burrola, an immigration lawyer and director of the  Immigrant Integration Center with the Latin American Coalition. “We do have confirmed reports of people being picked up between home and work, between home and school, outside their work.”

All this, she says, breeds fear in the immigrant community. And a growing distrust in law enforcement officers regardless of their uniform.