Thursday, May 26, 2016

Old Issue At CDIA Returns To The Spotlight - Fence Jumpers Common At Airports

For years Cedar Posts has been saying the airport perimeter fence at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CDIA) was worthless.
Now according to the Associated Press - Two people jumped the fences that protect the runways and planes at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in 2015.
Airport officials revealed the incidents during an Associated Press investigation which documented at least 345 perimeter security breaches at 31 of the nation's busiest airports between 2004 and mid-February of this year. In that span, Charlotte had eight. At least that is eight that were actually discovered and reported. 
Despite some investments nationally to fortify the nation's airfields, breaches remain as frequent as ever. In recent years, they're happening about every 10 days at one of the airports AP studied.
Airport officials say outer defenses are strong and note no breach involved a known terrorist plot.
In Charlotte, a pilot saw a man walking on a taxiway in July after he had scaled a fence topped with razor wire. The other intruder jumped a fence in December.
In 2014 CP recapped the Delvonte Tisdale case in which then airport manager Jerry Orr and former CMPD Police chief Rodney Monroe stated that they could not determine how Tisdale entered the property. But based on the clear evidence it was obvious that Tisdale jumped the fence due to lax security policies and procedures.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

BB&T Ballpark and Charlotte Knights Already At The Crossroads

Interesting pricing dynamics are at work inside the BB&T Ballpark, the same model that is effect at ballparks across the county, and one that should be a recipe for failure. The idea that patrons will pay absurdly high concession prices but will keep coming back is clearly a myth.

The Charlotte Knights are into year three at their new home, and a good amount of the wow factor has faded. As the season closes in on the half way mark it is important to note that this past Sunday's attendance for the 11 inning nail biter was relatively low despite the perfect weather.

Now that the "new car smell" is gone the Knights are returning the Minor League playbook for attendance gimmicks. Star Wars jersey night, fireworks and kids run the bases Sunday all come into the picture.  

But baseball has always been more about the total experience than the game itself, a process that is diametrically opposed to the NFL an enterprise that sucks millions from fan's pockets mainly on Sundays. 

Minor League Baseball Fan demographics - inside the ballpark, one thing is for certain the fans are shockingly white, as are the staff. In a region that is 34 percent African American inside the ballpark it's less than 15 percent. 

Of course $7.00 for a bottle of Miller Lite is nutty, and while $3.00 a bottle for water is reasonable $1.00 for a plastic cup full of tap water is out of line.

Is Knights Baseball a good family bargain? On ticket price alone and based on the fun per hour ratio Sunday's 11 inning fame was a steal if compared to a trip to the movies or even an all day Carowinds adventure. But fueling a family of four at the concession stand was a deal breaker. 

BB&T Ballpark concession prices are nearly 30 percent higher than Regal Cinimas are almost ouble Carolwinds on many of the standard fare. Speciality items were even higher. Even prices at the team store are nearly 20 percent higher for ball caps than at Dicks SouthPark. 

Cedars Take: It's not sustainable, the food is middle of the road and the prices are compareable only to MLB ballparks in the Northeast. 

Love Thy Neighbor - If That Fails Call The Cops

If that doesn't work well, Cedar is pretty sure a civil action filed against the City, CMPD, the Sheriff, the County, Mental Health Authorities and the neighbor should end the madness. Of course the lingering question is what in the world besides being white did you do this guy?

WARNING: The old coot has a limited vocabulary

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Wrap Up - Ruben Studdard Edition

Ruben Studdard - I'm blessed that I live a varied life of ever changing events and venues. Because of this, over the years I've meet a long list of celebrities. While I've never sought an autograph or a selfie, I have made some mental notes.

Some I've been impressed with, Stevie Nicks her ability to sing while being stoned to the bejesus, John "Cougar" Mellencamp for his ability to throw a football on a beach in Hilton Head years ago, Jimmy Buffett being just another guy on the docks. 

Some I've not been impressed with, Sylvester Stallone pushing his way to the head of a lift line that was with five year olds and a couple of ski instructors in Beaver Creek. Mariah Cary, over medicated diva stomping her feet on deck because Charleston's 4h of July fireworks didn't start when she wanted them to. Pierce Brosnan dumping a plate of food on the floor because the food was cold. 

And along comes Ruben Studdard, who gave 22 minutes performance last week in the tented parking lot of the Mayo Bird - Summit Room on East Blvd.

During the charity event the former American Idol winner belted out a few covers and a couple of gospel classics. The man has an amazing voice, but decided to cut the event short when the mostly white crowd gave him little more notice than a night club singer. 

Ten minutes later, the beast of a man lumbered through the parking lot, sweating profusely even though the temps were in the mid 70's, with his small posse trailing along. Ruben apparently wasn't one for selfies with the two young fans standing nearby nor up for idle chat only grunting in acknowledgement after an expression of gratitude was offered. 

Perhaps the half dozen people standing curbside echoed the state of race relations in this country. I'm white waiting for the young black valet to bring my Lexus SUV around the corner the lines clearly defined. The parking and valet service was free so I expect my $10 tip didn't not make up for the masses who won't tip as the night goes on.

I don't blame Studdard for being annoyed since he received little respect, no standing ovation and clearly more than half the crowd wasn't even listening. It was an embarrassing moment in an otherwise fun evening.

Just Shoot Me - Piper Glen Women's Club Flyer promoting an upcoming social event - Bill Cummings Trio - "Swing into Summer Concert" there will be dancing in the aisles, a raffle and sing a long. Tickets $40 per person 6:30-10:00.

Please someone take my gun and just shoot me if I ever get so old that I think a senior sing-a-long on a Friday night would make for an epic night.

CMPD Life In The Fast Lane - I guess police cars are exempt from the rule that requires 2+ to use the I-77 HOV lanes? 

This no doubt "take home" car, entered I-77 south bound at Huntersville promptly hit the HOV lane and never looked back. He traveled the entire length of the HOV lane before getting off at I-277 Brookshire Blvd and heading on to the Law Enforcement Center.

Funny thing traffic wasn't heavy but he did keep it under 80.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Charlotte Observer Goes Silent On A Headlining Story

An odd thing happened over the weekend, a major metropolitan newspaper went silent and nobody noticed. 

In what would have been unheard of less than five years ago, the Charlotte Observer failed to tell the community about a local strip mall style shopping center fire that killed a firefighter. 

A 3 alarm fill the box twice fire, with 3 fire departments, a dozen pieces of equipment, nearly 100 firefighters, with 3 injured firefighters and one who was killed.

Even 12 hours after the news broke, the paper remained silent.

Nothing even on their Twitter Feed.

When the paper finally reported the story online at 10:13 Sunday morning, it was just a rehashing on their "news partner" WBTV's story posted hours before.

There were no staff photographer photos, no graphics created in house, no historical reflections on fires with LODD's in a follow through. Nothing but crickets!

This is unheard of, disturbing and more than anything else it simply reflects a major change in what the Observer does at its core. They've suddenly raised the white flag of surrender, yielding to the electronic media, relegating themselves to posting time lapse vines and Instagram posts of the sun setting over Charlotte from their new office windows. How totally ironic.  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Wrap Up NBA Playoff Edition

Hornets - You wouldn't know it walking around Uptown but the Charlotte Hornets are on the verge of making history when they take on The Miami Heat tonight. A win will advance the Hornets toward the NBA Championship. But Charlotte's reaction is yawnnnnnn.... and I can't really figure out why.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation - Held their Spring Luncheon yesterday bringing most of Charlotte's "Top Cops" to lunch at the Charlotte Civic Center. Media coverage of former General Martin Dempsey's speech was non-existent. WCCB was on hand for 40 minutes. But lost on local media types was North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper working the crowd of top local law enforcement officers.

Cedar's Take: Always interesting standing in the den of thieves, shaking hands talking with several friends and acquaintances who wear the hornets nest badge, mere feet from some of Charlotte's most misguided civil servants. 

Outside; no one seemed to care that a number of the CMPD Officers in attendance felt entitled to VIP parking. 

More than a dozen marked and unmarked CMPD cars lined the streets despite the numerous no parking signs. But CMPD wasn't alone with parking scofflaws, the Charlotte Fire Department showed their hubris as well.

Of course Charlotte's Fire Department would reply saying their chiefs need to park there because they might need to respond a call. If that's the case maybe they shouldn't be attending a 3 hour political luncheon? 

There's a reason the curb side spaces are marked "no parking" the parked SUV in the above photo creates a pedestrian blind spot at that intersection.  A number of spaces were removed after multiple pedestrian fatalities in recent years, a reason lost on some CFD and CMPD officers.

Inside the Charlotte Civic Center the conversation ranged from HB2 to homeless to Herion. Then guest speaker General Martin Dempsey took the stage to a standing ovation. The former Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff was not surprisingly warmly recived. 

But CP was pressed for time and didn't stay around to see if the chicken and rice lunch lived up to its horrid reputation. 

Shout out to CMPD Major Bruce Bellamey: I would have stayed to shake your hand but you were glued to your cellphone for better than 30 minutes. Come'on man tell your bookie you got a community to reach out to!

Wells Fargo Championship - Kicks off next Monday and once again CP will be tweeting and posting from inside the ropes. The course looks in great shape and while the field may lack many of the marquee players from year's past (notably Mickleson and Woods), it should be a great week for golf in the Queen City. 

But on the Monday after tournament week the back hoes, and earth moving equipment take over the course. The change should be amazing. 

From the local paper's former staff sports writer Ron Green , Jr. there is this unreadable and  unfollowable description of the changes.  Not that Ron's a terrible writer, just that Johnny Harris continues to use the Augusta National playbook, never saying much. 

When the 2017 PGA Championship is played at Quail Hollow Club, the golf course will look significantly different than it will when the Wells Fargo Championship is played there in May.
Major changes are coming to the front nine at Quail Hollow as part of a master plan created a few years ago by course designer Tom Fazio. Club president Johnny Harris confirmed the changes but declined comment on the specifics. 
The changes will not affect the Wells Fargo Championship, scheduled for May 5-8, where Rory McIlroy will be the defending champion.
The front nine will get three new holes starting at No. 1, which will be converted from a relatively short par-4 into a longer par-4 for professionals (par-5 for members).
The change will eliminate the par-3 second hole to allow for the new first green which will be located near the current second green.
The par-5 fifth hole will also go away and in its place will be a par-3 and a par-4 hole.
The sixth through ninth holes will remain the same.
The par-4 11th hole may also be redesigned, moving the green to add length to the hole. A fairway bunker will likely be moved approximately 80 yards farther from the tee to bring it back into play.
The design changes are part of a plan that began with the creation of a new 16th hole in 2013.
The work is scheduled to be done this summer when the putting surfaces are being switched from Mini Verde bermuda to Champion due to issues with the current grass.
With the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in 2017, the Wells Fargo Championship will be played at Eagle Point in Wilmington next year before returning to Quail Hollow in 2018 and 2019. The club will also host the 2021 Presidents Cup.
Cedar's Note: Look for the CP folo after the tournament, when I'll post scans of Fazio's plans and the course changes. While I hear they are not the final approved plans they apparently are pretty much true to form. Yet Fazio is know to make crazy on site changes so it should be an interesting summer.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Are U-U Bathrooms The Answer To Charlotte's Tranny Potty Dust Up?

I'm thankful that I have a lot of common sense friends. Most believe that the best way to fix the Tranny 
Potty dust up is to have a law that requires public and municipal buildings to provide and make available unisex bathrooms to the transgendered crowd. 

These so called U-U (unisex and undecided) bathrooms will fix the problem they believe, and end the discrimination and bigotry concerns once and for all.

Sadly they are wrong!

You see the LGBT activists who claim transgendered and who identify as women, say they feel threatened if forced to use their gender assigned restroom, but violently object to using a single stall unisex with locking door bathroom.  

The reason is they "identify" as women and want to associate and act like women, denying them access to women's bathrooms is really what this is about. 

Let's face it is there anything more girly, more sisterhood bonding than piling into a public bathroom "together" ??? Honestly I'd don't see the attraction but hear me out.

The tranny potty dust up is about these poor freaks being able to act out their fantasy lives and have their twisted sense of reality validated by Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, the state, and the liberal politically correct crowd.

I know I'm being too harsh, so in a more compassionate tone, these individuals believe they are women and want the very real majority of the planet to accept them as women despite their size 12 shoes. 

The trouble is most sober men know they are not women, most women know they are not women and  while we can all have varying amounts of empathy for these indivials society needs to draw the line at sanctioning overtly freakish behavior. 

The amount of energy wasted on this issue is disturbing. Forget the canceled concerts and lost pay pal jobs. Jennifer Roberts decision to grab the new 3 rail of North Carolina politics will cost North Carolina countless hours in lost productivity and earned Charlotte a permanent spot on Raleigh's shit list for the next decade, pretty much guaranteeing that Roberts is a one term mayor. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Trouble With Golf Today? Apparently The Rules

Its not really news that the sport of golf is in decline. A couple of bench marks are the annual number of rounds played, net growth in number of courses and the number of American's who identify as golfers. The reasons for the decline are varied and differ regionally as well as internationally.

Photo Credit: First Tee Charlotte

But the facts are clear, "In 2006 some 30 million Americans were golfers. In 2013, 160 of the country’s 14,600 golf facilities closed, the 8th consecutive year of net closures. The number of players has fallen to around 25 million." (Source The Economist )

Often cited are cost, time, the effort it takes to be reasonably effective at the sport; oh and the rules. Again from The Economist sourced above: Golf's "200-page rulebook make(s) it a tough sell to new players". More about the rules shortly.

I'm very fortunate to live on a golf course, in fact I grew up on a golf course, worked weekends and summers in High School on a golf course. I've played some of the greatest courses in the world and some not so great dog tracks. But the truth is I am really bad at playing golf. A life time double digit handicapper who has great rounds with a game that's in sync and embarrassing rounds that make my partners cringe when its not.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Charlotte City Council Ready To Raise Property Taxes Again

From WSOC News:

A $30 million request for more firefighters and police officers in Charlotte is forcing city leaders to look at several ways to pay for it, including higher property taxes.
The request is for $11.8 million for fire to add 82 positions, including firefighters for another engine in east Charlotte, and $19 million for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to hire 125 more officers and 80 staff positions.
On Monday, a council budget committee looked over four options: cutting about 6 percent from department budgets, a freeze on pay raises for city employees, moving money set aside for capital projects and a 2.7 percent property tax increase, which translates to the owner of a median-price home worth $141,100 paying $18.62 more a year.
“We're trying to do it without raising taxes. That's another priority for us, but we want to see what it would look like," said Councilman Greg Phipps, who chairs City Council's budget committee.
City Council has not settled on which avenue it will take as the budget process continues. A budget is expected to be approved in June.

Cedar's Take: living n a "blue" city in a "red" state has its draw backs, like having a tax and spend meantality in a state that sees things from a consertitive perspective, Which means we're on our own when it comes to most revenue. 

The red state way of thinking is counter to Charlotte's budget process. Charlotte has become a bug light for low income, limited education minorities. The cycle is pretty simple social programs attract less fortunate, which brings crime which brings higher public safety costs. 

Charlotte City Council "Potted Plants" always geared up to give away tax dollars to attract outside business, but can't keep the ones that are already here.

Those elected to guide the city have such a lack of vision it is startling. Just drive along South Blvd and witness the explosion of high end apartments and condos. The over supply is stunning and the cycle of ever lower rents followed by lower quality tenants will be dramatic. The by product is crime and more requests for department funding and more boots on the ground. 

Doubt it? 20 years ago Steel Creek was the up and coming growth area of Chalotte. Grand plans that focused on higher density and apartment living. Now Steel Creek is gaining on East Charlotte in crime stats, a cluster of crime notably property crimes and murders. As the demographic quality declines, crime increases dramatically. Followed by apartment over supply and lower still rents and more economically challenged citizens.

Monday, April 11, 2016

American Airlines Tail Strike At CDIA You Didn't Know Happened

Cedar Posts recently stumbled upon this little gem from the NBST data base:

On August 15, 2015, about 1837 eastern daylight time, American Airlines flight 1851, an Airbus A321, N564UW, reportedly encountered wind shear while on final approach to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Charlotte, North Carolina. The airplane touched down short of the runway in the paved overrun area and performed a go-around before circling back and successfully landing. 

There were no injuries to the 6 crew members and 153 passengers onboard. The airplane was substantially damaged when it struck several runway end lights and experienced a tail strike during the go around. 

The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121, as a scheduled domestic passenger flight and originated from Hartsfield - Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Atlanta, Georgia.

Tail strikes in Airbus 321 models are common, so much so that Airbus and retrofitted skid plates on the tail of their 321 models. All of this is no big deal except there was very little media coverage about this accident.

But the tail strike due to wind shear is notable because of the fatal July 2,1994 USAir Flight 1016 wind shear related accident at CDIA that killed 37 of 52 passengers. The flight crew encountered wind shear just prior to crossing the airport fence and tried to aboard the landing.

The accident was the high water mark in a series of wind shear accidents during the 1990's that prompted measures to eliminate the risk via technology and pilot training. 

But apparently Charlotte and American aren't doing enough to avoid accidents attributed to wind shear. 

More about the 1994 USAir accident here

Cedar's Take:

Every pilot knows the best aviation weather is often early in the day. This has been a fact since the Wright Brothers flew at Kill Devil Hills more than 100 years ago. In the real world people who take that first flight out in the morning are considerably less likely to be delayed by bad weather even more so in the summer.

Its tough being the passenger sitting behind the closed door. I am not a nervous passenger but based on some recent data, chances are I've got far more flight time than the guy or girl sitting in the right seat. I always feel better when the left seat has a lot of gray on his head.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Boss Gives The Finger to Greensboro Fans and Venue Employees

Whenever a celebrity decides to take a stand, they run the risk of a major miscalculation.

Take Mylie Cyrus saying she'll move to Canada if Donald Trump is elected. Mylie who spends much of her time in the California sun nearly naked, didn't take into account that Canada's average annual temperature is only 48 degrees. 

On Friday Bruce Springsteen canceled a Greensboro concert citing North Carolina's law known as HB2, but he apparently didn't think it through either.

"As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the “bathroom” law.
HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace. No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden.
To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments.
Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards."
Cedar Posts isn't sure what all he took into account, had he given it some real thought he'd seen that canceling a concert was not a step in the right direction.

It's not like he decided to skip a tour stop four months out, no he canceled a concert 48 hours before he was to take the stage in Greensboro, North Carolina.

After posting the above he later added that fans won't be hurt because they can get a refund.

Well, that's little comfort to folks who planned an entire weekend around the Sunday event. Those who paid $115 dollars a seat and invited friends from across the state to come for the weekend, might just need to rethink their fan loyalty. 

Lost on the one time patron saint of the working class, is the fact that many special event staff gave up part of their "real paychecks" to work the concert. Vendors, catering cooks and servers, counter clerks, parking lot attendants and staff, Cops who pulled a double shift last night so they could work the concert as secondary employment on Sunday, all now have nothing to do. 

Someone should tell Springsteen is that beyond the 15 thousand fans and the estimated $100,000.00 the Greensboro Coliseum will forgo, are the estimated 213 contract employees who counted on this concert to help put a roof over their families heads.

Sure a refund is nice, so maybe "The Boss" will step "forward" and cover the rest of the real cost to fans, and the working class?

Fans who booked hotel reservations in town where not offered refunds, as are those who bought advance purchase airline tickets to get to Greensboro. 

Even getting a refund from Ticket Master is a hassle, something "The Boss" has apparently never had to deal with.

Then there are Limo drivers and Uber drivers who rearranged their weekend to work the concert that are now without. Dads, who gave up their every other weekend visitation so they could take in the concert, spent Sunday night pondering the prospect of the next 2 weeks without seeing their kids. Local babysitters who counted on that little extra income on Sunday night, to help get by until payday with also be hurt by "The Boss".

If Springsteen wanted to hurt North Carolina politicians he certainly missed the mark.

Flipping off your fans is one thing, but kicking America's working class in the teeth is just not what you'd expect from a one time working man's folk hero who at 66 is sadly out of touch and apparently desperate to remain relevant.

Sure hope he enjoys his ride on the politically correct band wagon. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Charlotte Observer Turns Out The Lights On 600 South Tryon

Observer Staff (including Editor Rick Thames seated front) pose for a symbolic photo and wave so long to their offices at 600 South Tryon on Friday April 8, 2016.

Photo Credit Todd Summerlin

Read Theoden James' story on the last day here.

Watching the long slow death of the Charlotte Observer over the last few years has been pretty painful.  The presses left 600 South Tryon some time ago, the newsroom had been partitioned off more than once, as the staff was reduced and then reduced again and even again. Yet the final chapter in the near fifty year history of the observer Building brings back a lot of memories.

I'll never forget the first night I stepped onto the newsroom floor with a roll of "pushed" Kodak Tri-X. (Through the glass doors, photo to the right) I had 36 photos of a massive fire at the Lake Apartments on Albemarle Road that destroyed the clubhouse and offices but earned CP a paycheck of $100.00. My first check as a stringer for the Charlotte News and Observer. I still have the contact sheet with circles and X's in red grease pencil.

Technical note: Pushing the Tri-X allowed me to shoot in seriously low light without a flash. But wasn't to the liking of Observer veteran lens men. I was told use a flash and never to push beyond 1x because the shadows dropped out and the photos lacked depth because of the push. 

I would never get full time status with the Observer instead ended up doing a short stint with John Kilgo at the Weekly Newspapers and eventually WAYS/WROQ working directly with Stan Kaplan. (I still remember the cigar, turtle neck sweaters and the ashes from the cigar that fell like snow across his ever expanding gut.) Working for Kilgo was a challenge but working for Kaplan was a nightmare.  He wasn't a bad guy, just ADHD to an extreme.

So even at WAYS, 600 South Tryon was at least for a short time, where I wanted to be. Though I'd later figure out the money was better in sales than being a shooter and still better if you sold air time vs column inches.

But for a while because my photos were always big stories, car cashes with at least one fatality, or better yet an arrest or homicide, I was always treated like a rock star.

Nothing I enjoyed more than greeting a "staff photog" rushing out the door at 600 South Tryon with a smile on my face and a roll of 35mm in my fist, saying "I got it all right here"!

In those days no "real" photographer ever left the house without a camera. I carried two, a Cannon F-1 with auto drive, and zoom lens, it was big, heavy, with a full metal body, it was noisy but super bad, and a very small wallet sized Lecia.

I chose the Cannon over Nikon because it was more durable, even so the purists at the time would say the Nikon lens was better. I had the Lecia because I could palm it and make it disappear when I needed it to. The Leica had a huge field of view and it was nearly silent. I could shoot from the hip or car window without raising the camera to eye level. Oh the joy of view finder cameras.

Yep, those were the days. 

Today everyone has a camera so the print doesn't need pay for photos.

And so it goes that newspaper journalists and "shooters" are a dying breed, yet many of those left behind still cling to an increasingly anachronistic vocabulary, including:

Spike | To reject a story. The term derives from the metal spindles which pierced unwanted submissions.

Wires | News agency reports.

Leg | A column of text.

Screamer | A sensational banner headline.

Bulldog edition | An early printing.

Jump | When a story continues on a different page.

Above the fold | A story placed at the top of a broadsheet which can, therefore, be seen even when the paper is folded.

Lede | The paper’s main story, or an article’s opening salvo. To bury the lede is to hide a story’s most interesting facts in the body of the article.

I miss the roll of the old presses, slow and purposeful at first then faster and faster til the sound was deafening. It was if they were printing money on newsprint.

So I raise a pint to those who read this, those who at one time or another knew what the word deadline meant, and those who felt the floor of 600 South Tryon vibrate, those to who the sound of presses running balls to the walls was amazing. And "Cheers" to anyone who ever felt the joy of seeing their work above the fold in color without any bleed.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

On First Glance This Looks Like A Case For Nancy Grace

The hede screams pervy old man. But do the math, the perp was 17 when he hooked up with college student online and it went to dirt really fast. But seriously what is wrong with kids? Why is a 22 year old college woman having video sex with someone she didn't really know?

Maybe the bigger question why is the FBI and Justice Department "Major Crimes" Unit even spending tax dollars chasing these types of crime?

Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Cyberstalking and “Sextorting” Massachusetts College Student

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston for engaging in a “sextortion” campaign against a Boston-area college student.

James F. Connor V, 20, of West Chester, Penn., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to time served, three years of supervised release, the first 10 months to be served in home confinement, a $5,000 fine and 500 hours of community served.  In January 2016, Connor pleaded guilty to one count of cyberstalking and one count of extortion.

In 2012, Connor and the victim met through social media and developed an online relationship.  In the course of that relationship, the victim sent Connor naked pictures of herself through Snapchat and engaged in sexually explicit video chats with him using FaceTime.  Connor preserved many of these images without her consent.  After the relationship ended, Connor attempted to continue communications with the victim and initiated a campaign of harassment and intimidation.  He threatened to harm her physically and harm her reputation by publicly disseminating the sexually explicit images.  Connor also repeatedly threatened to commit suicide if the victim did not take his calls, and sent her pictures of himself holding a knife to his throat with blood, which was later determined to be fake, dripping down his neck.

In September 2015, Connor escalated his campaign of harassment when he began blackmailing the victim and threatening to send the sexually explicit images to her parents and Twitter followers if she did not send additional naked pictures and engage in sexually explicit video chats with him.  As part of Connor’s cyberstalking and sextortion campaign, he sent the victim a detailed list of sexual demands, which included, among other things, that she send him five sexually explicit pictures and have five sexually explicit video chat sessions per week over a five week period.  Connor also insisted that she break up with her current boyfriend.

Connor frequently employed a telephone and text message spoofing, or anonymizing, application that allows users to easily change telephone numbers to conceal their identity.  In October 2015, Connor was arrested and charged via criminal complaint after the victim reported the threats and prior pattern of harassment to law enforcement authorities.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday's Odds and Ends Tarheel Edition

On this day April 4, 1968 the world's attention turned to Memphis. So much has changed, so much has not. It is almost as if we are in a crazy cycle of madness. Repeating the same issues again and again. Never really learning from the past.

Race relations have regressed to a point that 2016 looks a lot like 1968. Protests have become a way of life for so many. The Democratic and Republican conventions will no doubt become a hot bed of demonstrations and violence.

Yet, somethings do change. At yesterday's Drive/Chip/Putt competition final 8 kids, boys and girls 7-15 years old where declared champions at Augusta National, the home to golf's famed Masters Golf Tournament. Greenside was Condi Rice sporting her member's green jacket.

A black woman in 1968 at August National would have been known as "the help" using back entrances and doorways.

Still others remain the same, like UNC's Tarheels and March Madness. Tobacco road still dominates basketball in March.

As does the Duke-UNC never ending rivalry.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

14 Year Old Dies When Car Filled With Teens Hits Tree

Somethings are just wrong. Accidents happen, and unfortunately when it involves automobiles sometimes people are killed. It's the blunt force trauma that gets you, normally a head or chest injury.

But when it happens to young people it is always troubling. 

Early Saturday morning a Honda Accord moving at a high rate of speed left the mist covered and slick McKee Road road in South Charlotte. The small car slid sideways across the lush grass shoulder and hit a fairly small tree splitting the car in half.

The 17 year old driver was severely injured the 14 year old passenger riding next to him would die at the scene within a few minutes. The three girls in the back seat who were not wearing seat belts escaped serious injury, with only one remaining hospitalized Saturday afternoon.

CMPD stated that neither drugs or alcohol appear to be factors. 

Speed, the slick well traveled road and darkness at 4 am combined with an inexperienced driver however seem to be the logical cause.

The question, do these kids even have parents? In a world on instant communication why did their parents not know where their children were at 4 in the morning?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan's Slow Walk To The Gallows?

From the Local Paper:

Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan told the city manager last week that he was responsible for a personnel document being released to the media in apparent violation of state law, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation.

The March 4 document was written by Ron Carlee, the city manager, and was about Marty Puckett, the vice president of the Charlotte Firefighters Association Local 660. Carlee warned Puckett that he no longer could work as an unpaid intern for City Council member Claire Fallon and he risked being fired if he continued.

Puckett and Fallon have been harsh critics of the chief, and Fallon previously had called for him to be fired.

The letter is part of Puckett’s personnel file, and isn’t open for public review. Releasing such a document is a misdemeanor under N.C. law. The maximum fine is $500.

Hannan was one of four people who received copies of the Carlee letter to Puckett.

Read more here:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Steele Creek Shooter Joshulae Carter May Survive

Which will disappoint the Black Lives Matter Crowd. So far nothing but crickets over the shooting of 25-year-old Joshulae Matthews-Vincent Carter 

Perhaps this is why?

Assult with a deadly weapon, assult on a female, DUI, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the prior arrests have rolled off the MCSO on line data. These are only the adult charges.

Charges for tonight's adventure will include charges, three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm, two counts of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious, assault inflicting serious bodily injury on a law enforcement officer, second-degree kidnapping, assault on a female and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

That is if he survives. The cost to taxpayers will be staggering. We are already well into six figures, Should his injuries prove not fatal society is on the hook for years of physical therapy special needs medical care for life, special prison care should he not ever walk again. 

The above photo should have looked like this:

Such is what happens at 4 a.m. with an iPad. And NO the error was not deliberate.

Cedar Sidebar:

Twitter was a buzz last night with breaking detail and messages of support for CMPD Officer Andy Harris. Anyone who has been around CMPD knows Andy he's a somewhat Omni Present Force in the department. 

So it seems interesting that while most of Charlotte was tweeting support for CMPD one city council member remainded silent. LaWana Mayfield's tweeter account at 2:00 am.

Couldn't help calling out Council member Mayfield. Her response speaks volumes. Even 12 hours later nothing about Officer Andy Harris. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Charlotte City Council To Hold Special Closed Door Session Monday

After months of behind the scenes rumors and water cooler conversations it seems as if Charlotte Fire Department Chief is about to get the hook, or at least a serious poke with a pike pole.

WSOC ís reporting that Charlotte's council of potted plants will hold a special closed door session on Monday.   

From WSOC: 

The Charlotte City Council will meet for a closed session Monday, March 28th, regarding a personnel matter, a city council source confirmed to Channel 9.

That source told us the matter involves Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan and his future with the fire department, but couldn't go into further detail.

This comes after some council members have raised questions and requested an investigation into who leaked a confidential city memo.  

As Channel 9 has investigated over the past few weeks, the memo was from City Manager Ron Carlee and was written to the vice president of the Firefighters' Union, Marty Puckett, telling Puckett he could no longer work for Councilwoman Claire Fallon as an intern. In the memo, Carlee said the arrangement was inappropriate and a conflict of interest.

We don't know if Monday's closed session is related to this leaked memo.We also do not know what time this meeting will be held. The only meeting posted on city council's website is its regular Monday meeting, starting at 5 p.m. and a council committee meeting at noon.  

There is no mention of a closed session, or anything related to the fire department, in the agenda.

We have reached out to the Charlotte city fire chief, mayor, city manager, deputy city manager, and members of the city council for more information on this special session.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Who Was 485 Wrong Way Driver Luis Carlos Menacho?

The local press is often wrong about the details and then there is always a vacuum of information after the initial buzz of breaking news fades.
From WBTV: Two people died in a head-on collision in south Charlotte early Sunday caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction on Interstate 485.
The crash happened just after 2 a.m. on the outer loop near Providence Road, according to N.C. Highway Patrol.
The driver was traveling the wrong way for miles when he eventually hit another vehicle. Both drivers were killed. 
A third vehicle sideswiped the wrong-way vehicle after the fatal collision, but that driver was not seriously hurt, according to WBTV, the Observer’s news partner.
Troopers were not able to say if speed or alcohol was a factor.
All I-485 outer loop lanes were closed as troopers investigated the crash.
But according to CP sources Luis Carlos Menacho, 29 was traveling east on 485 in the west bound lanes when his car struck a west bound vehicle driven by 25-year-old Victor Castillo.

Westbound would be considered the 485 "Inner" loop. Calls to 911 suggest the Menacho may entered 485 at Rea Road via the inner exit ramp to Rea Road. But it is possible that he entered 485 in the wrong direction as far away as South Blvd.

North Carolina State Troopers and CMPD expect that intersection video cameras captured Menacho at some point and will shed light on how it is that he ended up traveling in the wrong direction.

It is nearly impossible to enter 485 at Johnston Road going in the wrong direction, but at South Blvd and Rea Road its entirely plausible that someone highly intoxicated would turn left on to the off ramp a mistake that happens enough in broad daylight. 
A check of Luis Carlos Mencho yields very little in the way of solid information. Records for Carlos Menacho turn up a Charlotte resident age 45 with 2 addresses and no known family in the area. A younger Menacho has 2 federal cases in the Western District of North Carolina which would include Charlotte.
To the local main stream media Luis Carlos Mencho is a ghost, but to people who live in South Charlotte Mencho is the worst sort of nightmare parents fear.

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

In Case You Missed It: Denver Police Officers Get Little or No Punishment For Using NCIC To Stalk Women

In shockingly similar fashion, an independant report out of Denver, highlights a problem that recently came to the attention of Cedar Posts. Apparently a new CMPD hire found the National Crime Imformation Center (NCIC) as well as the North Carolina version useful in stalking one or more female victims.

Efforts to learn the name of the CMPD Officer involved and the circumstance of the rumored stalking, as well as charges and or punishment by CP and a couple members of Charlotte's mainstream media, have met the same stonewalling common with former CMPD Chief Monroe's regime. 
The bottom line is it happened, IA dealt with it and everyone is moving on. Expect the city to settle quietly with the victim shortly.
But the problem is not isolated in Charlotte or to just one rouge officer.
From Denver's ABC Affiliate and the Associate Press:
Denver police officers caught using confidential criminal databases for personal reasons get only light punishments, allowing the potentially dangerous abuse to continue, the city's independent police monitor wrote in a report released Tuesday.
The problem involves the National Crime Information Center, a database used by tens of thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country to catch criminals, recover stolen property and identify terrorism suspects. Its users seek information on stolen guns and cars, fugitives, sex offenders and other subjects.
Denver Police Department policy warns officers that they can be criminally prosecuted for using the database and its Colorado equivalent for personal reasons. But such abuses continue, in part because the light sanctions aren't enough to deter future misconduct, Independent Monitor Nicholas Mitchell wrote.
Mitchell said 25 officers have been punished for inappropriate use of the databases since 2006. But most of them received reprimands, rather than the harsher penalties some police agencies impose for the same offense. None of the 25 was charged with a crime.
The Denver cases include an officer who looked up the phone number of a female hospital employee with whom he chatted during a sex assault investigation and called her at home against her wishes. Another officer ran a man's license plate seeking information for a friend, who then began driving by the man's house and threatening him, according to the monitor's report.
A third officer who ran a man's license plate number on behalf of a tow truck driver who wanted information for personal reasons received no punishment at all after he told investigators the tow truck driver needed the information as part of her official duties.
It's unclear how widespread the problem is, but the cases show a need for stronger punishment, Mitchell said.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Monday Morning Odd and Ends - Feels Like Spring Edition

Spring in the Carolinas at last. Winter, (what there was of it) is now in the rear window, and so the long and grinding thaw and transition to Spring has begun. OK, that took about 3 days.

To all Yankee transplants please have pity on your friends and family left behind up north as they slog through another early spring snow storm, because winter down South is over. Hint you don't need that Canada Parka anymore and wearing gloves when the temps are above 55 make you look like a B&E suspect.

The Great Smoke Out - To commuters heading down Providence Road a familiar rite of Spring will occur this Thursday when Providence United Methodist Church, Troop 11 once again fires up the cookers, holding their annual "smoke out" on Providence Road.

There is just something crazy fun about 11 smokers lined up along Providence Road impairing visibility that says Spring.

Friday and Saturday are pick-up days to stop by and pick great tasting Que. They will be open 11 am - 8 pm on Friday, and 8 am - Noon on Saturday.

They do sell curbside on Friday and Saturday but if you don't want to be turned away empty handed, its best to order on line. You can order ahead and reserve your supply of BBQ on their web site which is here.

The deadline to order on line is Today at Noon.

Cedar's Take: I forgot to order by noon but the online system let me order at 12:15 yesterday so you might just give it a try.

Where there is Smoke there's Marty Puckett - Last Thursday Charlotte Fire Captain Marty Puckett was called to a disciplinary hearing regarding his off duty working relationship with outspoken Charlotte City Council member Claire Fallon. At issue is Puckett's volunteerism helping the department's most vocal critic. Let's be very clear, this is a overtly and in your face attack against Claire Fallon.

City Manager and resident DB Ron Carlee, claims it is against city policy and he cites a number of wacky reasons as to why. But look around, we have CMPD Officers doing off duty work for elected officials all the time. CMPD command staff who moonlight as real estate agents selling homes and leasing rental properties to the former chief and current officers. Fire Department Information Officers who are married to a former city attorney and the list goes on and on.

The renewed threat of being fired is of course a direct result of a letter sent by Puckett on behalf of Fallon that in part called for the firing of Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan.

Hannan has be plagued by issues including his passion for antique apparatus, cost over runs and safety issues at the new department headquarters and of course the Crystal Eschert firing. The last item may be the Chief's undoing since the North Carolina Department of Labor has found merit in Eschert's claim that she was fired as retaliation for being a whistle blower.

No word on the outcome of Puckett's hearing that took place on Thursday. The hearing was closed to the public. But Puckett posted a photo to his Facebook account dressed smartly in a business suit.

Which started a rumor of a possible political career move.

March Madness - UNC is a number one seed, USC and Davidson didn't make the cut. There was hope for the Gamecocks but sloppy play got the best of them. The ACC again dominates the brackets.

The Masters - Master's week in just around the Amen Corner. Note the aforementioned Yankees. It closer than you think and yes you can just show up and buy a practice round ticket with ease on Monday or Tuesday. And yes it is a religious experience.

Palm Sunday - Not a Church kinda person? That's ok suck it up anyways Palm Sunday is for the kids, grab the family and go.

Easter - Nothing better than a sunrise service on Easter Sunday GO! CP will have a list later in the week.

Carolina Cup - This is old school Carolina rite of Spring Sun Dresses and Rain often make this event just as much fun as wonderful sunny days. Forget the Queens Cup, Camden is 1/2 and twice the crowd. Confederate flags wave and beer flows and oh yes there are a couple of horse races.