Tasnim Shamma

Reporter

Tasnim Shamma joined WFAE as a reporter in August 2012. Before that, she spent a year as a Kroc fellow reporting, writing, editing, blogging and producing for NPR’s Digital News Desk, Weekends on All Things Considered and the National Desk in Washington, D.C. She also spent three months at NPR member station WLRN, based in The Miami Herald newsroom. She graduated from Princeton's Class of 2011, where she was executive editor for multimedia for The Daily Princetonian. She worked as a video intern, copy editor and reporter at The Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek in New York City and The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. She grew up in Queens, New York and looks forward to new adventures in Charlotte.

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Crime
4:49 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Guns For Gift Cards At Charlotte Church

This year, the New Life Fellowship Center received 93 guns which it turned over to CMPD
Courtesy of John Kee

A Charlotte church invited folks to exchange their guns for gifts over the weekend. The New Life Fellowship Center has been doing that around the holidays for the past six years. This year, the pastor says some of the people turning in their guns had the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut on their minds.

John Kee has been the pastor at New Life Fellowship Center for more than 17 years. He says during his time as pastor of the Double Oaks community, he's learned a lot. Especially about violence in his community.

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Local Politics
7:01 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Cabarrus Co. Register Of Deeds Controversy Appears Near Resolution

Ben Small was elected Register of Deeds but has been unable to hold the position because he has not been able to obtain a $50,000 bond required by state law to hold the position.
Credit Courtesy of Independent Tribune

After more than a month of controversy, Cabarrus County will finally have a new Register of Deeds. The county's Republican Party announced a new nominee for Register of Deeds on Friday. 

The Register of Deeds keeps the records of births, deaths, marriages -- all kinds of important public records. The man who was elected to that office in Cabarrus County, Ben Small, had a shortcoming.

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State Politics
4:30 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

High Voter Turnout For Republicans And African-Americans

Voter turnout data analyzed by Democracy North Carolina for the 2012 election shows the state had a 68.3% turnout rate compared to 69.6% in 2008.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

Republicans increased their numbers at the poll by more than 60,000 this year, while the number of Democrats decreased by 53,000. And the four groups with the highest voter turnout in the state were Republicans, African Americans, women and senior citizens. That's according to Democracy North Carolina, a voting rights group that analyzed the voter turnout data released by the State Board of Elections last week. 

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Education
4:10 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Mountain State Closes Hickory, Mooresville Campuses

Mountain State University will be closing its doors at the end of the year, including its Hickory and Mooresville campuses in North Carolina.
Credit Courtesy of Mountain State University

A university based in West Virginia with branches in Hickory and Mooresville is closing. Mountain State University will have its final graduation ceremony of its almost-80-year history on Wednesday evening at the school's main campus in Beckley, West Virginia. The school has been fighting to keep its accreditation since June. That’s when the Higher Learning Commission found the school was focused on increasing enrollment rather than providing students with academic support. Andrew Wessels is the public relations manager for the school.

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Higher Education
11:28 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Is It Win-GATE Or Win-Get? Wingate University Settles On...

Courtesy of Wingate University

Back in the mid-1800s, settlers arrived in an area of what was then called Ames Turnout to build a church. Eventually, a school was established. A community grew and Ames Turnout became a town. That town was named after a Baptist minister Washington Manley Wingate. Or maybe it was Wingate, we'll get to that shortly.

Here's how Mayor Bill Braswell describes his town, population 3,500:

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Music
1:08 am
Tue December 11, 2012

The Holidays Keep Children's Choir Busy

The Charlotte Children's Choir rehearses at Myer's Park Baptist Church
Tasnim Shamma

For children's choirs across the country, the holiday season is a busy time. Choirs are in high demand, so that means choristers and their parents are spending long nights at rehearsals and concerts after school. 

The children at Myer's Park Baptist Church are in the middle of their evening rehearsal. They're standing under 120-foot-high ceilings and intricate stained-glass windows.

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Arts & Life
5:05 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

A Prima Ballerina Bestows Lessons To First Ward Kids

In 2004, Ayisha McMillan Cravotta became the first African-American dancer to play a lead role in The Nutcracker for the North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

Ayisha McMillan Cravotta has devoted her life to keeping her back straight and keeping her toes in the right direction since the age of two. In 2004, she made history when she became the North Carolina Dance Theatre’s first African-American ballerina to play a lead role, of Clara, in The Nutcracker

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State Borders
9:22 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Carolinas Will Continue To Wait For Official State Lines

The last remaining points on the map left to be determined is along the border where Dillon County, North Carolina connects with Robeson County, North Carolina.
Credit Courtesy of the State of North Carolina

Surveyors have been working for nearly 20 years to determine the exact path of the North Carolina and South Carolina border. And it will still be another few months before we know the official state lines. 

Alex Rankin has been walking and hiking much of the state line with his team for the last 12 years. He's president of the Concord engineering and surveying firm commissioned to rediscover the state boundary that was first drawn in the 1700s.       

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Education
10:55 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Belmont Abbey Cuts Sticker Price By $10,000

Credit Courtesy of Belmont Abbey College

Tuition at the private Catholic college Belmont Abbey was set to rise by about 5 percent next year to $29,000. Instead, the school announced Wednesday that it's actually going to lower tuition for incoming and transfer students by $10,000.  

It's what some colleges have begun to call a "tuition reset." A few colleges and universities have announced drastic tuition cuts.

While some want to boost enrollment numbers, Belmont Abbey's president Bill Thierfelder wants to match tuition the actual cost of a student attending the college.  

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Crime
9:19 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Former Mint Hill Fire Chief Pleads Guilty To Embezzling

Jeremy Russell first joined the Mint Hill volunteer fire department in 1994.
Credit Mint Hill Times

Federal prosecutors say the former fire chief of the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department will plead guilty to embezzling $225,000 from the town of Mint Hill and its fire department. 

The Justice Department says Jeremy Russell created a fake company called Regional Medic & First Responder Supply Connection. He then invoiced the fire department for services and equipment that the fire department never received.

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