Public Conversations

Public Conversations is an ongoing series of community forums designed to convene Charlotte-area residents for discussion of timely and relevant topics.  Our goal is to create comfortable settings that encourage a stimulating and enlightening exchange of ideas.  By organizing these Public Conversations, WFAE intends to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue.  Participants are encouraged to engage in conversation with a cross-section of community representatives, expert panelists, and with each other.

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Authentic South
11:28 am
Fri March 7, 2014

The Newest New South

Tom Hanchett
Credit Tanner Latham

“Folks started talking about the New South after the Civil War," says Tom Hanchett, staff historian at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte. "Where we are now is the newest of the New Souths, the Newcomer South.” Tom speaks about the ever-evolving South, especially as it relates to food, from a booth in El Pulgarcito, a Honduran-Salvadoran-Mexican restaurant on the east side of the city.

Special music in this episode courtesy of Charlotte-based band UltimaNota.   

Crime
2:35 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

City Manager Ron Carlee Decides To "Ban The Box"

More than 200 people attended an expungement seminar last year to learn how to remove convictions from their criminal record to improve access to jobs and housing. Before the seminar, students from the Charlotte School of Law tried to recruit people to join the "Ban The Box" campaign.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee officially "banned the box" on Friday. Applicants for city jobs will now no longer see a question about prior convictions on the initial application. The exception will be for public safety jobs – like police officers or airport employees.

Applicants will be asked about criminal history much later in the process -- in some departments after several rounds of interviews.

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Local News
9:11 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Snow Plows Charging Through Charlotte

Snow plow drivers are working to clear parking lots and roadways in Charlotte.


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Public Conversations
4:01 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Your HOA & You: Who Rules The Neighborhood?

Credit thisisbossi / Flickr

Listen to the discussion.

Thousands of Charlotte-area residents live in neighborhoods that have a local Homeowner Association.  HOAs are often praised for keeping communities cleaner, safer and more livable.  But some homeowners complain that HOA boards can be too rigid and arbitrary in enforcing covenants and restrictions, infringing on homeowners’ rights.     

This WFAE Public Conversation explored the pros and cons of living in an HOA community, along with the rights and responsibilities of HOA residents and boards.  Panelists discussed current state laws that govern Homeowner Associations in North Carolina, and proposed changes to those laws.

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Environment
6:13 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Charlotte's Tree Canopy Cover Increases To 47 Percent

Charlotte's tree canopy cover increased by one percent from 2008. City council set a goal of having a tree canopy cover of 50 percent by the year 2050.
Credit Flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen

  A new report on tree canopy cover shows that Charlotte and Mecklenburg County both saw an increase in the percentage of land shaded by trees between 2008 and 2012.

Engineers will present the full results of the latest study before city council Monday night.


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Local News
11:36 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Toxic Chemicals Illegally Dumped Into Charlotte Sewer

Credit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities

Charlotte police are trying to identify who pumped toxic chemicals into a city sewer line.  The incident caused authorities to shut down the Mallard Creek water treatment plant for some 17 hours.

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Local News
6:57 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Sharks, Rays Arrive At SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium

Kids in the aquarium watched as black nose sharks, cow nose rays, jewel damselfish, French angelfish, upside down jellyfish and venomous lion fish were unloaded and brought inside the aquarium.
Credit Courtesy of SEA LIFE

  A truckload of sharks just got to the Charlotte area. The delivery from the Florida Keys pulled up to a soon-to-be open aquarium at Concord Mills Thursday morning.

The creature transport truck had three black nose sharks, cow nose rays, jewel damselfish, French angelfish, upside down jellyfish and venomous lion fish. They were among more than 30 species of fish and invertebrates on this trip.

SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium's marketing director, Jack Stevenson, says the animals are very happy. 

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HOAs & You: Who Rules The Neighborhood?
5:23 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

HOAs And You: A Public Conversations Preview

We’ve all heard the horror stories about an authority that tells you what’s allowed, what’s required, and what you can’t do regarding your property.

No, it's not the government, or even Charlotte's tree police.

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Politics
9:05 am
Tue January 14, 2014

McCrory: Not Many Options For Special Election For Mel Watt's Seat

Governor Pat McCrory announced the special election for Congressman Mel Watt's seat will coincide with the general election schedule.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

Governor Pat McCrory says he didn't have many options for when to hold a special election for the 12th congressional district.  Mel Watt resigned from his seat on January 6 after he was sworn in as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

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Charlotte Observer
9:43 am
Fri December 20, 2013

School Staff Had Concerns About Children Whose Mother Was DSS Manager

Credit Charlotte Observer

The welfare of five children now at the center of a high-profile abuse case worried staffers at Union Academy charter school last year, a school supervisor said.

The supervisor said she decided to bypass the local Department of Social Services because she knew the children’s mother worked there as a manager. Instead, the supervisor tried to contact the state DSS directly, but she says her calls were not returned.

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