Mark Rumsey

Community Engagement Coordinator/All Things Considered Host

Mark Rumsey grew up in Kansas and got his first radio job at age 17 in the town of Abilene, where he announced easy-listening music played from vinyl record albums.   

Later stops in his radio career found him reporting and anchoring local news at stations in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Charlotte.

Mark joined the world of public radio in 1997 as News Director at WFAE.  Today, he continues to serve as local host for All Things Considered and produces WFAE’s Public Conversations, an ongoing series of community forums.  

If Mark turns up missing on a nice autumn day, you might find him on the hiking trails at North Carolina’s Stone Mountain State Park.   If he disappears for a week or two – check  the Tel Aviv airport.  Perhaps he’s found a way to again pursue his passion for traveling to the Holy Land.

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Current discussions about the place of the Confederate flag on the American landscape raise questions about its presence in North Carolina. The flag most people recognize as the Confederate flag does not fly at the state capitol in Raleigh. But as often as twice a year, another flag that represents the Confederacy is briefly raised over the building. 

What’s called the First Confederate national flag flies in place of the state flag on Robert E. Lee’s birthday and on Confederate Memorial Day. North Carolina Historic Sites director Keith Hardison says the temporary displays are based upon public requests by groups such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans, an arrangement authorized by the state legislature in 1961.

In the 1980s, the state switched from the better known battle flag to the national flag. It has horizontal red and white stripes and a blue square on one corner and resembles the current state flag.   

For more on the history of Confederate flags in North Carolina, we turned to Dr. David Goldfield, a professor of history at UNC Charlotte.


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Police in Shelby Thursday arrested the man wanted for killing nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, had fled almost 250 miles when he was caught.  

You may not know the names of Thomas and Carol Ann Person. But in the late 1970s, they had a significant case in North Carolina. Attorney Ervin Brown remembers when they came to his office at the Legal Aid Society in Winston-Salem.

"They had been to the magistrate’s office to get married, and they had been turned down for a license," he says.

The magistrate made clear why he denied them.

It's not unusual for public school superintendents to quit or get fired, often following a relatively-short time on the job. Last fall, CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison resigned under pressure after less than three years in Charlotte.

David Boraks / CorneliusNews.net

As the debate over toll lanes on I-77 has increased in the last year, the company that will build and operate those tolls had refused to answer WFAE questions about the project until financing was completed. The state announced May 20 that it had closed on those financing agreements with I-77 Mobility Partners.   Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

With financing complete, the CEO of I-77 Mobility Partners,  Javier Tamargo, agreed to an interview with WFAE’s Mark Rumsey. I-77 Mobility Partners is a subsidiary of the Spanish company Cintra Infrastructures, and has a 50-year contract with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to build, maintain and collect tolls on the expanded lanes from exit 36 in Mooresville to exit 10 near Uptown Charlotte.

The interview lasted roughly 25 minutes. What follows is the interview in its entirety, minus minor edits. Below that is the edited interview that aired during All Things Considered. We’ve also separated the audio for different topics that were discussed.


Jennifer Lang / WFAE

The pending merger of Family Dollar Stores and Dollar Tree now appears to be headed toward completion in early July.  


North Carolina Dept. of Transportation

Mecklenburg County commissioners joined several local town boards Tuesday night  in asking the North Carolina Department of Transportation to delay its deal with a private company to build and operate toll lanes in northern Mecklenburg and southern Iredell counties. On Wednesday, the state gave its answer: No. The state announced it has closed on the financing contract with a subsidiary of Cintra U.S.

Tasnim Shamma

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe will retire on July 1 after seven years on the job. WFAE’s Duncan McFadyen reports Monroe became  known for his hands-on approach.


Carolinas Healthcare System and UnitedHealthcare have come to terms on a new contract. The agreement means that most UnitedHealthcare customers in the Charlotte metro area will continue to receive “in-network” coverage for services provided at CHS facilities.

If you’ve been to Gettysburg, you may have seen the Cyclorama – a massive painting that colorfully and dramatically depicts battlefield scenes including the decisive event known as Pickett’s Charge. The work on display at Gettysburg is one of four similar pieces produced in the late 1800s under the direction of French painter Paul Philippoteaux. Two of those versions have been lost – but a surviving cyclorama is in North Carolina. And, it’s for sale – all 6 tons of it.   

The sprawling painting, when assembled, is 386 feet long by 22 feet high. The cyclorama’s three current owners showed the piece to potential buyers this week. The painting was rolled out on a floor at a warehouse in Wake County. One of the owners, Billy Ray Powell, spoke this week with WFAE's Mark Rumsey.


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