Afternoon Observer | What’s NASA doing at CLT? + Least vaccinated areas wary of shot

·3 min read

Congratulations! You’ve advanced to the finals of this workweek and I’m so happy to reward you with the most useful gift there is: information.

Here’s the news, because you deserve it.

1. What’s NASA doing at CLT airport? The work was singled out by space agency leader

NASA testing at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport has saved over 1 million gallons of jet fuel.
NASA testing at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport has saved over 1 million gallons of jet fuel.

NASA’s top official, Administrator Bill Nelson, touted the space agency’s work at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in an appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.

The space agency’s demonstrations at CLT have saved more than 1 million gallons of jet fuel, according to NASA.

Hannah Smoot has more on the air traffic scheduling technology at CLT and plans to expand the program nationally.

2. Charlotte planning director ‘not one bit concerned’ after councilman demands his firing

Days before fiercely divided City Council is expected to vote on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, council member Tariq Bokhari said he wants to see Charlotte’s planning director fired in the wake of his handling of the plan.

Planning director Taiwo Jaiyeoba, in turn, scoffed at that possibility during an exclusive interview with Alison Kuznitz today. “My reputation is intact and my colleagues in the industry respect me very well... I don’t need to have any second doubt or second-guess myself with what I am doing,” Jaiyeoba said.

Read more on the controversy before the big vote, exclusively for subscribers.

3. ‘We’re not sheep.’ Some in Charlotte’s least vaccinated areas remain wary of COVID shot

Freddy Martinez is vaccinated at Novant Health’s mobile unit for COVID-19 vaccinations at Lowe’s at Northlake in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
Freddy Martinez is vaccinated at Novant Health’s mobile unit for COVID-19 vaccinations at Lowe’s at Northlake in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

Some neighborhoods in Mecklenburg County are nearly fully vaccinated, while others lag far behind, with most residents still unvaccinated, an Observer analysis of state data shows.

Hannah Smoot and Devna Bose explored how the gap in vaccination rates across the county persists despite widespread efforts from doctors, county officials and hospital systems to encourage vaccinations. The disparity is especially apparent between predominantly white neighborhoods and predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods.

4. ‘This is just the beginning.’ Get an early look inside NC’s upcoming Catawba casino

July 1 is the target date to open the Catawba Indian Nation’s North Carolina casino project. Open 24/7, the facility will feature 500 slot machines by seven manufacturers, a snack bar and a service bar.

The 250 full-time workers needed to operate the pre-launch facility have been hired, except for a few cocktail servers, officials said. The employees include about 50 Catawbas, according to Delaware North.

Joe Marusak got to look inside the single-story facility, off Interstate 85, about 35 miles west of Charlotte.

5. Celebrating Juneteenth in Charlotte? Consider Durag Fest, poetry open mic, winery tours

The 2018 Durag Fest.
The 2018 Durag Fest.

CharlotteFive has your guide to Juneteenth events around the city.

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