Ben Bradford

Reporter

Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.

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Business
11:49 pm
Sun March 10, 2013

Lots Of Unknowns On Fracking's Future In North Carolina

Hardly a factor a decade ago, shale gas is projected to account for half of total natural gas production in the U.S. by 2040.
Credit U.S. Energy Information Administration

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—for natural gas in shale rock has radically changed the nation’s energy mix. Since the fracking boom began in 2008, the cost of natural gas has plummeted and supply has surged. The technique is banned in North Carolina, but a bill that passed last year and another currently making its way through the legislature would open the door.

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Local News
4:35 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Concealed Carry In Meck Parks Set For Commission Vote

The Mecklenburg County Commission will vote to allow concealed carrying of handguns at local parks, including Freedom Park. The playground and athletic fields will be exempted.
Credit cheriejoyful / Flickr

Concealed handguns could soon be allowed in Mecklenburg county parks and recreational areas.

The county doesn’t really have a choice.  A state law last year allowed concealed carry in parks, and the county commission will vote Tuesday night to put Mecklenburg in compliance.

Parks Operations Director Jeff Robinson explains the gist of the law: “It’s okay to carry a handgun as long as you have a permit, unless you’re at a playground, an athletic field, a swimming pool, or an athletic facility.”

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Local News
1:53 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Inexperienced Teachers A Booming Trend

NaToya Dingle talks to a group of her 8th-grade biology students at Coulwood Middle School.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

The push for high-performing college graduates and non-teachers from other professions to enter the classroom has reached an all-time high in the past few years. Proponents of “alternative entry” see it as a fast way to send motivated, knowledgeable instructors into schools—particularly high needs schools and subjects like math and science—but their inexperience and high turnover rate has drawn fire from critics.

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Developing
1:13 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Vote Set For City Manager; Observer Reports Ron Carlee Offered Job

Charlotte city manager candidate Ron Carlee meets and mingles at a reception Wednesday night.
Credit Jeff Willhelm / Charlotte Observer

It appears that Charlotte City Council has chosen its next city manager, at least informally.

The Charlotte Observer reports that council has offered the job to Ron Carlee, a former county manager in Arlington, Virginia. And city spokeswoman Kim McMillan says council plans a vote during Monday’s meeting.

Here’s Carlee speaking at reception earlier Wednesday:

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Local News
9:18 am
Thu February 21, 2013

No Decision On City Manager As Council Stays Up Late Discussing Candidates

Ron Carlee

The Charlotte City Council stalled Wednesday night in the final stage of its search for a new city manager. 

The Council stayed in a closed session until past midnight, deliberating on which of three remaining candidates will take over what’s arguably the city’s most powerful job.

After four hours of debate, the council had no decision to report.

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Local News
12:00 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Customs Desk Could Bring More Corporate Jets To Monroe

Officials at the Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport expect more corporate air fleets will land on the tarmac, once the airport can accept international flights.
Credit Kenneth Lu/Flickr

Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport will begin constructing a customs building, and that could be a business boon for Union County.

No place in the Carolinas has more aerospace companies than Monroe.

“Those companies do a lot of international work,” says North Carolina Aviation Director Richard Walls. “So, being able to bring flights and cargo directly into Monroe allows all of that cargo to get into those factories and into those aerospace companies much more quickly and much more efficiently.”

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Local News
9:44 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Charlotte In 2053: Long Island, New York?

What will Charlotte look like in 40 years? A couple of pages found tucked in the middle of a routine City Council report reveal some interesting things about the city’s future.

Staff prepared the report to answer questions from City Council transportation committee members about employment and population in the Charlotte area.

Here are the highlights:

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Developing
10:53 am
Thu February 14, 2013

How The US Airways Merger Will Affect Charlotte

Early indications are that Charlotte will remain a hub for air travel, with the merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways.
Credit USAirways.com

  The early indication is that Charlotte’s airport is safe in the just-announced merger of US Airways and American Airlines. The new American Airlines will be the world's largest, with a value of 11 billion dollars and an extensive network of destinations.

When merging, airlines combine operations, which means reducing duplicative routes and changing presences in airports. US Airways operates about 90 percent of flights in and out of Charlotte-Douglas every day—it is the airline’s largest hub.

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Local News
8:11 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Panthers Running Backs Contribute To Salary Cap Woes

Carolina Panthers on the field.
Credit Jas&Suz / Flickr

  While the Carolina Panthers are in talks to upgrade their stadium, they also need to figure out who will play in it next season. The team is more than $10 million over next year’s league-wide salary cap. That means dropping expensive players and reworking contracts to get below the cap by March 12.

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Local News
5:15 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Should Teachers Train To Fight Shooters?

Another instructor strips Ken Glenn of a rubber pistol, in a demonstration of how to disarm a gunman.
Credit Ben Bradford/WFAE

A Gaston County martial arts instructor held a seminar a week ago for teachers about how to respond in a school shooting. First grade teachers, school nurses, and administrators practiced how to defend a classroom should a shooter try to enter, and how to fight back. Similar events have been popping up across the country, run by martial arts gyms, firearms training centers, and even schools, in the wake of Sandy Hook.

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