Lisa Miller

Reporter

Lisa Miller traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE.  She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio.  Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.  She covers several different areas with a focus on education. 

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Local News
9:39 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Coal Ash Produces High Arsenic Levels In Mountain Island Lake, Study Finds

A Duke University study has found high levels of coal ash contaminants in rivers and lakes downstream from coal-fired power plants. Mountain Island Lake, which provides drinking water to the Charlotte area, is one of the lakes tested that show the highest amounts of arsenic.  

The study tested 11 North Carolina lakes and rivers, and it found smaller ones like Mountain Island had the highest levels of coal ash toxins. 

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Education
4:38 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Morrison Delays Decision On First Ward Elementary

Two CMS creative art magnets could combine next year and become a school open to students year-round.  The board was expected to launch that effort Tuesday night.  But Superintendent Heath Morrison decided the district needed more time to study it and get input from parents. 

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Arts
10:59 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Actor's Theater Goes Equity; Local Theaters Applaud Move

Actor's Theatre of Charlotte is the first theater in the city in almost eight years that will pay its actors a professional fee.  The theater company has signed a contract with the actors' union called Actors' Equity Association. The move is good news for other local theater companies.

Actor's Theatre has long wanted to be what's called an equity theatre.  The theater's executive director Dan Shoemaker says this year the company finally has enough money in the budget to do that. 

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Education
3:35 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Dalton Pushes Education Plan That Restores Recent Cuts

Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton campaigned in Charlotte Friday to pitch his education plan for the state.  If elected governor, he says he'd push to restore education funding lawmakers cut in recent years.  That includes pre-kindergarten programs that prepare needy children for school.  It also includes raising teacher salaries over four years to the national average of $56,000.   

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Local News
5:47 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Project LIFT Asks Parents About Year-Round School

Leaders of nine CMS schools on Charlotte's west side are considering going to a year-round school calendar, but they want to get the go ahead from parents and teachers.  The schools are part of Project LIFT, a public-private partnership to improve student learning at these schools.  Project LIFT is holding three community meetings over the next two weeks to gauge whether parents support the idea.  If the answer is an overwhelming no, Project LIFT's community engagement coordinator Brandi Williams says they'll drop it. 

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Local News
12:36 am
Tue October 2, 2012

1930s Building Goes Down Today To Make Way For Uptown Baseball

Virginia Paper Company Building back in the day
Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission

Construction is underway on the Charlotte Knights' stadium uptown.  To make room for that, another building must tumble.  That's the Virginia Paper Company warehouse built in 1937.  We didn't know much about the building, so WFAE decided to check into its history.

The Virginia Paper Company building looks unremarkable.  It's a two-story brick building on West 3rd Street, just north of Bank of America Stadium.  But it offers a window into the city's commerce during the first half of the 20th century. 

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Education
10:58 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

CMS Goes Door-To-Door To Get Dropouts Back In School

Berger and Morrison on a house call

About 15,000 kids a year drop out of North Carolina schools.  In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the number is about 1,500.  School social workers have long made house calls to many kids who simply stop showing up at school.  They try to figure out why the child left, get them help, and show them ways they can catch up. 

This is a sensitive situation.  Imagine you're a kid who has given up on school and then a social worker shows up on your doorstep. 

"I've had families look through the blinds and not come to the door," says Heidi Berger, a CMS social worker.  

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Education
5:41 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

A Look At Charter Schools In NC

This week on Morning Edition, WFAE’s Lisa Miller took a look at the charter school movement. We will be seeing a lot more of those because the legislature has lifted a cap that had limited the state to 100 charter schools. Now, 25 are getting ready to open next year. Seven of them are in the Charlotte area.

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Education
11:11 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Why One Charter School Failed

Office of Charter Schools letter to Highland Charter

This is the second in a two-part series that takes a closer look at the charter school movement.

North Carolina will soon see a rush of charter schools opening.  Last year, state lawmakers lifted the cap that only allowed 100 schools.  Twenty-five more charter schools are scheduled to open next year.  But this year, for the first time, the state closed a charter school for academic reasons.  

That school was Highland Charter, an elementary school in Gastonia.  Kids there failed to make the grade on end-of-year tests two years in a row. 

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Education
9:33 am
Wed September 26, 2012

CMS Closings Good For Savings, Unclear For Academics

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools offered the first round of data last night on the impact of closing 10 schools last year.  The closures will save the district money, but it's unclear how they've affected academics. 

Two years ago, the CMS board voted to close the schools, saying it would save money and create better learning environments.  Last night, the district provided a whole slew of information to begin to see if that was the case.  Superintendent Heath Morrison pointed out the academic data isn't straight-forward. 

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