Omicron found in U.S. + What to know about new sex abuse lawsuit against UNCSA

·3 min read

Hi, Charlotteans! This is Kristen. Today at the Observer, we’re honoring the iconic composer and lyricist of Broadway musicals, Stephen Sondheim, after his November death. Here are 10 ways arts editor Adam Bell remembers the man and his music. Rest in peace, Stephen.

Now for today’s news:

1. California confirms first US case of omicron COVID-19 variant

The first U.S. case of the omicron COVID-19 variant was found in California. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, public health officials in California and San Francisco confirmed it.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Who had the case? A fully vaccinated traveler who returned from South Africa on Nov. 22.

  • Where was it found? Officials did not confirm the city or region.

  • How is the person doing? They have mild symptoms that are improving, a CDC release said.

The U.S. restricted travel from South Africa and eight other nations on Monday as details about the variant emerged. Not much is known about omicron yet, but officials urge people to continue taking preventative measures, like wearing masks, washing hands and practicing social distancing, and getting vaccinated.

2. What to know about new sex abuse lawsuit against UNC School of the Arts

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., pictured here on July 19, 2021, is a creative and performing arts conservatory for high school and college students.
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., pictured here on July 19, 2021, is a creative and performing arts conservatory for high school and college students.

Months after North Carolina’s arts university faced new claims that it mishandled sex abuse in the 1980s, dozens of alumni have contributed to a lawsuit calling for accountability.

A new complaint was filed Monday. Nearly 40 former students say they were sexually abused while enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

With the Observer’s Sara Coello, find out what the new filing reveals, who’s involved and what’s next.

3. Today’s business news

About 2,000 employees will be hired to work at Lowe’s tech center hub office at Design Center Tower at 100 W. Worthington Ave. in South End.
About 2,000 employees will be hired to work at Lowe’s tech center hub office at Design Center Tower at 100 W. Worthington Ave. in South End.

$318 million sale of Lowe’s office tower in South End sets a record in Charlotte by Gordon Rago

  • At 357,526 square feet, the tower at 100 W. Worthington Ave. went for $889 per square foot, county property records show.

Moving Honeywell to Charlotte is ‘one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,’ CEO says by Hannah Lang

  • Electronics manufacturer Honeywell celebrated the grand opening of its uptown headquarters Wednesday.

4. Unpacking ‘moonshot’ CMS goals after a lackluster year in student test scores

This fall, only 4.5% of CMS high school students scored high enough on exams to be considered performing at the college or career level in math skills compared to the statewide average of 6.5%.

To combat this, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ district leaders approved updates to a plan to close achievement gaps and significantly increase the percent of students who pass mandatory North Carolina K-12 exams each year. They have goals to make improvements in key subjects — particularly in test results among students who are Black or Latino.

The plan comes after months of discussion by district administrators and board leaders.

Learn more about the effort with the Observer’s Anna Maria Della Costa.

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