Lunch Break (2/2/16): Residents gather to discuss nondiscrimination ordinance

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Attendees at last night's public forum broke into groups to discuss their feelings on a nondiscrimination ordinance. - PHOTO BY RYAN PITKIN
  • Photo by Ryan Pitkin
  • Attendees at last night's public forum broke into groups to discuss their feelings on a nondiscrimination ordinance.
About 250 people were in attendance at The Palmer Building in east Charlotte for a forum on a proposed addendum to the existing nondiscrimination ordinance that would add protections for people based on sexual orientation, gender identity and other aspects. Charlotte City Council is expected to resume discussions about adding to the ordinance before its next meeting on February 8. The forum began with city attorney Robert Hagemann speaking about what the ordinance would consist of, and that was followed by local performance group XOXO performing vignettes in which actors represented real people on both sides of the debate about the controversial topic. In this week's Creative Loafing, which will begin hitting racks tomorrow, columnist Matt Comer tackles some of the myths and misconceptions that have surrounded the debate. Following last night's performance, everyone in attendance broke up into small groups of around 10 people to discuss their views on the issue. The night was relatively peaceful, although some of the same trouble that was reported during last year's debate continued at the forum. One attendee, O'Neale Atkinson, said he was called a pedophile by David Benham, the son of Concord-based evangelical preacher Flip Benham, while trying to walk into the bathroom during the group discussion phase. (Ryan Pitkin) 

Ted Cruz was the only clear winner in last night's Iowa caucuses, the first presidential contest of 2016, as he took first place in Republican voting there and the Democratic race was too close to call. Regardless of the results of the Democratic battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both will head to the next caucus in new Hampshire with a similar or equal amount of delegates, according to Associated Press. (Thomas Beaumont and Calvin Woodward, AP via Fox46) 

Officials have now identified the young child found dead in a pond in Iredell County late last night as 4-year-old Cullen Anthony Lintzenich, who had been reported missing by his family earlier in the evening. Crews searching the area found the boy's drive-able toy jeep overturned in the water and later found his body using underwater sonar. A firefighter was also injured during the search. He was transported to Lake Norman Regional Medical Center but is expected to recover. (WBTV Web Staff) 

Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos players met with swarms of media last night for "Opening Night," a rebranding of what used to be called Media Day, during which players from the teams participating in the Super Bowl meet with media for the first time in the lead-up to the big game. The entire night – as Media Day had become in recent years – was a circus of silliness, with Panthers star quarterback Cam Newton fielding questions from "reporters" that included "Will you kiss my wife?" and a Spanish-language reporter unsuccessfully begging him to dance to music he brought himself. (Phil Orban and Lawrence Gilligan, WSOC) 

A federal indictment unsealed yesterday connects a 19-year-old Morganton man accused of trying to send material support to ISIS and plan terrorist attacks in the United States with the murder of his elderly neighbor in 2014. Police said Justin Sullivan stole a gun from his father and broke into the home of his family's 74-year-old neighbor John Bailey Clark and shot him three times in the head. Clark was later found in a shallow grave and his murder had gone unsolved until these charges were filed. Sullivan was arrested last June on terror charges. Yesterday's indictment also describes how he communicated with an undercover agent about planning to kill 1,000 people in an attack in American soil. (Michael Gordon and Cleve Wootson, Charlotte Observer) 

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