Around Town

Charlotte Smart, Fast: July 30, 2015

An empty juror's box in a sixth-floor courtroom at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Photo made Friday 7/25/2014.
An empty juror's box in a sixth-floor courtroom at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Photo made Friday 7/25/2014. bfox@charlotteobserver.com

Here’s what you need to know to be Charlotte smart this morning in less than 3 minutes.

THE BIG STORY: The voluntary manslaughter trial against Char-Meck police officer Randall Kerrick will begin Monday morning now that a full slate of jurors has been selected.

The central issue of the trial is whether Kerrick used appropriate or excessive force when he shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in 2013.

The four alternate jurors were chosen yesterday, with the last coming just after 4 p.m. Of the 12 seated jurors, seven are white, three are black and two are Latino. Like in most trials, the jury doesn’t necessarily represent the county’s diversity. But it’s close.

African-Americans make up nearly a third of the county’s population, which would mean the jury would need four to mirror Mecklenburg’s demographics.

WE CLEARED THE AIR: The EPA said Tuesday that metro Charlotte has finally met federal limits for ozone. Charlotte was the last metro area to meet the standard. Better late than never? The big takeaway: Gas should be cheaper now. When Greensboro and Raleigh met the standard last year gas prices dropped about 7 cents a gallon.

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JOHN D. SIMMONS

OOPS: Matthews Mayor Pro Tem Joe Pata resigned from the board of commissioners on Wednesday after being arrested on a domestic violence charge a few days ago, WCNC reported. Then on Tuesday Carolina Panthers wide receiver Stephen Hill was cited by Concord police for possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to wear a seat belt. Apparently he was “very cooperative,” though. That counts for something, right?

UNEMPLOYMENT JUMP: The Charlotte-area’s unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent in june from 5.6 percent in May, the state’s commerce department reported Wednesday. That’s still better than last June, when the rate was 6.3 percent.

AWARD-WINNING BEER: Sugar Creek Brewing Co. won a silver medal at the 2015 U.S. Open Beer Championship for its Belgian Dubbel, the Charlotte Business Journal reported. The brewery just opened last fall and it was the only Charlotte-area brewery recognized.

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