News from Across the Region

Trolley ridership

is picking up

After a slow start to the year, the Charlotte Trolley is starting to gain back some of the scores of riders who packed the cars in past years.

Put back in service in late April, the trolley's ridership has increased from 875 in May to 1,556 in July. August's numbers aren't yet available.

“We're very pleased with what we're seeing now,” said Ron Tober, Charlotte Trolley's executive director and former head of the Charlotte Area Transit System.

The trolley, which runs hourly on Saturdays and Sundays, averaged about 195 riders per day in July, while the light rail has averaged more than 16,000 riders per weekday on average since starting in November. The light rail runs seven days a week – every 7.5 minutes during rush hour.

Both forms of transportation share the same tracks.

Tober still says the trolley offers a unique glimpse of Charlotte's past and gives riders another option when the light rail gets crowded.

Dan Tierney

Meck briefs


A maintenance gaffe at McMullen Creek Greenway involving a backhoe on the boardwalk will cost around $20,000 to fix, according to Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation.

A park employee's bad day at the office, on or around Aug. 27, happened near the Rock Canyon access of the popular greenway, which has a main entrance on Pineville-Matthews Road. An employee headed out in a small utility vehicle to tend to a tree that had fallen on or near the boardwalk, according to Jeff Robinson, division director of specialized park services.

When the vehicle got stuck in the muck, the employee followed up with a backhoe. “It's common to have a backhoe involved when you're working on a greenway project, because of all the heavy material you're moving around,” Robinson said. The regular public can't bring vehicles on greenways.

As the employee took the backhoe over the wooden boardwalk that spans the wetlands, the deck collapsed. Workers later brought a tow truck to wrench everything out. No one was injured.

Celeste Smith


A vote on whether to rezone almost 60 acres near Davidson-Concord Road won't happen for at least a month as Huntersville town board officials consider the viability of the project.

Glenwood Development Co. wants to build a 162,000-square-foot mixed-use complex that would include a grocery store, retail shops and 118 townhomes, with the potential for further development.

But dozens of residents came out in protest of the complex at Tuesday's town board meeting.

Kevin Cary

Regional briefs

Cabarrus County Concord

Kannapolis City Council members will consider this week whether to change the number of signs allowed at shopping centers in the city.

Under current rules, only one sign is allowed per center, although the single board may contain various logos. But plenty of centers are not in compliance with those rules.

“There's a conflict between keeping the city visually attractive and helping new businesses,” City Manager Mike Legg said.

Last week, the city's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended changing the city's unified development ordinance to allow the Board of Adjustment to make sign decisions on a case-by-case basis.

The planning board also recommended that after two years, the ordinance should revert to the current one sign per center, and all businesses would have to comply with that standard, said Kannapolis Assistant Planning Director Ben Warren.

Adam Bell

Davidson County Thomasville

It was Friday night, but there were no lights thanks to a copper thief.

School officials had to postpone the game between Thomasville and Davie County on Friday after crews trying to turn on lights at Thomasville's Cushwa Stadium discovered as many as 30 copper wires missing from a breaker box.

Thefts of copper wire have been reported around the world as prices have skyrocketed in recent years. Thieves typically try to sell the stolen goods to scrap yards that recycle metals.

Associated Press

Union County Stallings

Police Chief Larke Plyler hopes that issuing Tasers to officers will defuse potentially dangerous situations – without the weapons ever being discharged.

On Monday the Stallings Town Council will vote on a proposed Taser use policy. If approved, all on-duty Stallings police officers could be carrying Tasers by mid-October.

Tasers, weapons that use electroshocks to temporarily disable a person, have become increasingly popular with law enforcement agencies. They can serve as “less-than-lethal” weapons that temporarily incapacitate aggressive subjects. Their use also has been controversial, as people have died or been severely injured following Taser shocks.

According to the North Carolina Taser Safety Project, 10 people have died in North Carolina from Taser shocks since 2006. A 17-year-old Charlotte teenager died in March of a heart attack after police used a Taser on him.

Marty Minchin