Revamped Charlotte Bojangles is offering up fast Wi-fi, biscuit theater

The Bojangles at 1401 W. Trade St., which has been closed for half a year as renovations were underway, reopens June 1. The grand opening will have freebies and gift card giveaways for the first 100 people.

The store will now have wall chargers, wi-fi and a “biscuit theater,” where customers can watch biscuits being made. The renovation is part of Bojangles’ plan to accommodate a younger crowd and make the whole experience more inviting.
“The restaurant business is more competitive than ever, and smart brands like Bojangles are using design strategically to make current customers feel more welcome while appealing to an even broader range of consumers,” Tré Musco, CEO of Bojangles, said in a press release.

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Mint Museum Uptown receives grant for interactive stairs

The stairs at Mint Museum Uptown are about to get a lot cooler thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.

The huge concrete stairs lead to the front entrance, and some visitors have said they are intimidating, according to The Mint Museum website. The new stairs will be equipped with LEDs that are interactive to the touch, just like the Seventh Street Station, which is where the inspiration came from.

“In the years since our opening, we have heard that some visitors consider our façade intimidating, and we wanted to find new ways to make our building more welcoming,” said Hillary Cooper, the Mint’s director of advancement and communications.

The city of Charlotte, a curator-led committee and other Charlotte arts groups will begin working on the details of the staircase. The staircase also will include components that count the number of visitors who interact with it.

The Knight Foundation awarded 12 different ideas that revolved around using technology to immerse visitors in art that totaled $1.87 million.

Meck Dec Day, All-Star racing: 5 Weekend events you won’t want to miss

The Mecklenburg Declaration is this weekend, which is followed by quite a few events. For anyone who might not know, leaders of Mecklenburg declared independence in 1775, as the story goes. Here’s what’s happening:

Meck Dec Day at Trade and Tryon

People gather each year around noon on May 20 to read the Meck Dec where the original courthouse was. There will be re-enactments, too.  More info here.

Meck Dec day and family fun day at Museum of History

Join the Charlotte Museum of History for an afternoon of learning and family fun from 1 to 4 p.m. You can find out all the details here.

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewing is celebrating Saturday, too. Details here.

Bechtler By Night: Gear Up

There’s free admission to the Bechtler Museum from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday to view their extensive gallery while enjoying entertainment hosted by the museum.

All-Star race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway 

Want to watch high-speed racing without having to sit through 600 miles of it? The Monster Energy All-Star race is a perfect blend of NASCAR racing for anyone with a short attention span. Seriously though, it makes for a fun night. Tickets and info here.

Celebrate a centennial of Cheerwine in Salisbury

BBQ competition, local eats and live music at this free event. Check it out here.

Sycamore Brewing hosting second annual Bacon Fest

Lots of food trucks, bacon themed. Info here.

Four fun events happening this weekend in Charlotte

Holidays at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden starts Friday and runs through Jan. 1. The gardens are completely transformed for Christmas with over 600,000 dazzling lights. You can find out more info here.

If you’re closer to Concord, the Speedway Christmas special opens Saturday with over 3 million lights that you can view as you drive along the 3.5-mile course. The special is open every Thursday through Sunday starting this week. Friday and Saturday are $30 per car, $45 per van. Thursday and Sunday are $25 per car, $30 per van. You can find out more details here.

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Reflections of ice skaters streatch across the windows at the Nascar Hall of Fame. Holiday on Ice is an annual event held around Christmas. (Joshua Komer for the Free Press)
Reflections of ice skaters streatch across the windows at the Nascar Hall of Fame. Holiday on Ice is an annual event held around Christmas. (Joshua Komer for the Free Press)

Break out your ice skates and head uptown for the 13th annual WBT Holiday on Ice. The outdoor ice skating rink is located at the front of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and skates can be rented there. Find more info here.

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The Charlotte International Auto Show will be held this weekend. With hundreds of new cars featured from all over the world, this auto show brings a little bit of Detroit to Charlotte.  The show is Friday from noon until 9 p.m., and tickets are $10 or $8 if you buy them here.

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The Southern Christmas Show is still going on through this weekend. Everything from tasty treats to holiday-themed clothing will be available through Sunday. This massive show will fill any gaps in your decorating needs.

It’s $7 per car to park, then an additional $12 admission for adults and $3 for kids ages 6 to 12. The expo will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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Charlotte air quality deemed unhealthy as result of western NC wildfires

The winds have changed direction, sending dangerous amounts of wildfire smoke into the Charlotte area.

Experts have warned against being outside for prolonged periods of time. This is especially important for elderly and very young.

charlotte-air-quality
Courtesy of AirNow.Gov

The plumes of smoke are a result of wildfires making their way through the Appalachian Mountains. Fifteen blazes cover 45,000 acres in three states.

Many of them are not close to being contained because of the rough terrain and varying winds.

Arson has been suspected of one of the wildfires that burns south of the Carolina Border in Rock Mountain, Georgia. Currently, it is 10 percent contained and has claimed 6,500 acres of forest.

Screenshot as of 1 PM Wednesday Nov 16
Screenshot as of 1 PM Wednesday Nov 16

More than 1,000 firefighters and emergency crews are working to combat the flames.

Check back with the Free Press for updates on the western NC wildfires.

40 million Americans went to vote early – here are the results

After 40 million people mailed in their ballots or cast their votes early, it goes to show that no result is ruled out of this election.

Elect Project compiled early voting results from multiple sources, and these are the results they got:

North Carolina’s Democrats got out early, with 41.7 percent against the Republicans’ 31.9 percent, leaving Independent voters at 26.1 percent.

Florida is one of the tightest races, with 39.6 percent Democrats voting against 39.1 percent Republican, leaving the Independent vote at 18.9 percent.

Donald Trump plans to hold one final rally at 11 a.m. today in Sarasota, Florida. Hillary Clinton plans to have boots on the ground with Vice President Joe Biden, stopping in Tallahassee and St. Petersburg, Florida.

The other closest state is Arizona. Not only is the state currently a toss-up on who will win the electoral votes, but Democrats have seen a massive surge during voting. Arizona has voted Republican since 1952, with the exception of voting for Bill Clinton in 1996 by a margin of 2.2 percent. In the years since 1996, there was always a margin of 7 to 10 percent, which made it somewhat close, but still predictable.

Stay tuned for results from the general election and state races late Tuesday night.

Six days after explosion, Alabama pipeline set to resume operations; no sign of gas shortage in Charlotte

The Alabama pipeline that burst into flames last week is expected to come back online Sunday, according to a statement by Helena Colonial Pipeline.

The pipeline exploded Oct. 31, leaving one dead after a worker reversed into the pipeline with a backhoe. Seven other workers were injured.

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It took almost four days to extinguish the flames and remove debris from the site, according to the release.

If the pipeline does become operational Sunday, it will have been six days since operations had been interrupted, only half as long as an earlier leak that created a fuel shortage in the Southeast, including Charlotte.

The previous leak dumped 200,000 to 300,000 gallons of fuel, leading to the shortage in September.  

Fuel prices in Charlotte have remained steady throughout this week.

In a quick response, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed an executive order bypassing some state requirements for fuel trucks and bringing in more fuel from other states.

“This waiver will allow for an increase in our gas supply that should not affect the quality or safety of fuel,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said.

Both governors of Alabama and Georgia made similar moves.

Helena Colonial Pipeline was not available for comment at the posting of the article.