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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Local News
10:08 am
Thu June 27, 2013

CDOT Removing One-Way Streets Uptown

The Center City Transportation plan calls for Charlotte to have a lot less of these.
Credit Counse / Flickr

Uptown Charlotte could look a lot different in five years—not the skyline, the streets. Several one-way streets will become two-way streets under the city’s Center City Transportation Plan, which is scheduled for completion around 2020. The plan will also affect Uptown this summer, when the Charlotte Department of Transportation starts converting a section of Poplar Street to a two-way road.

Ben Bradford spoke with Ashton Watson, project manager at CDOT. Watson says one of the goals is to slow down traffic. First, they discussed the upcoming changes.


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Education
4:36 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Northeastern-Charlotte Adds Doctor Of Education

Northeastern-Charlotte is now accepting applications for a doctor of education.
Credit Northeastern University

Boston-based Northeastern University is now offering a third doctoral degree program through its Charlotte campus. The UNC Board of Governors approved a doctoral degree in education last week, making it the school's third doctoral degree. The first two -- in nursing and physical therapy -- were approved in May. They were the first to be approved for a university not based in North Carolina. Cheryl Richards is the CEO and dean of the Charlotte campus. She says a doctor of education or EdD is different from a PhD because it's not focused on research. 

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Solar Energy
9:21 am
Thu June 6, 2013

IKEA-Charlotte Now Operates (Partly) On Sunshine

There are 4,228 solar panels on top of the IKEA store in Charlotte. It's expected to produce about 25 percent of the store's electricity, on average.
Tasnim Shamma

Furniture giant IKEA has just installed 4,228 solar panels on the roof of its store in Charlotte. The panels are expected to generate up to half of the store's electricity. 


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Extreme Sports
9:33 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Wow-ing ESPN Executives In X-Games Bid With Racing

Travis Pastrana stands in front of the main race track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway to promote Charlotte's bid to host the X Games.
Tasnim Shamma

ESPN executives toured the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday to see if it would make a good site to host the summer X Games. The X Games is a four-day event of extreme sports such as BMX freestyle, skateboarding and motorbike competitions. Charlotte is one of four cities ESPN is considering to host the games for three years, starting next summer. 


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A Trifling Place
4:20 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

A Trifling Place, Episode 9: And The Charlotte Accent Is ...

More than 50 people participated in WFAE's Charlotte Accent Project. Listen to the podcast episode about the project below.
Credit Tasnim Shamma

  Welcome to “A Trifling Place,” a podcast dedicated to exploring the ins-and-outs of Charlotte.

So about a month ago, reporter Lisa Miller handed me a book called How To Speak Southern. It has some funny tips on how to exaggerate a Southern drawl – but it wasn't too surprising – I mean, it's pretty easy to identify a Southern accent.  But it got me thinking – I have no idea what a Charlottean sounds like. In New York, I can easily tell what part of the city you're from by your accent. In Charlotte, I still can't tell the tourists apart from the people who live here. So that's one reason we launched The Charlotte Accent Project … on a quest to find the one true Charlotte accent. 

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A Trifling Place
5:14 am
Fri April 26, 2013

What's The Charlotte Accent?

Credit Tasnim Shamma

When you "talk,"  do you say "tawk" or "tock?" What does it mean to have a Charlotte accent? If you were born in the Charlotte region (or even if you’re a newcomer like me), we want to know what you sound like. 

So we've started a new project to collect your voices called The Charlotte Accent Project. We'll publish your recordings and photos on the radio as well as our web site, Tumblr blog, Facebook and Twitter

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Public Conversations
2:25 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

One Charlotte or Many? A Neighborhood Perspective

Charlotte needs to find new ways to increase its tax base. In the past, annexation provided low-hanging fruit. But there's almost no more space to annex. Today, south Charlotte property taxes provide half the city’s revenue. Policymakers have presented initiatives and projects, such as affordable housing and the street car, but what do neighborhood residents want?

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Local News
5:42 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Foxx Won't Seek A 3rd Term

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is not running for a third term.

Foxx announced his decision during this interview with WSOC-TV. Foxx says reports that President Obama is considering him as the next Secretary of Transportation has nothing to do with his decision. He said he's been discussing it with his wife for a few months. Foxx said the big reason he’s leaving because he feels he’s accomplished much of what he came into office to do.

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A Trifling Place
3:27 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

A Trifling Place, Episode 7: Turn Green Already!

Nine TV displays and several computers are used to monitor the traffic in control room in the old city hall.
Tasnim Shamma

Welcome to “A Trifling Place,” a podcast dedicated to exploring the ins-and-outs of Charlotte.

Find out how Charlotte's traffic signals work

Every city has its share of traffic issues. In Charlotte, for example, there are a lot of complaints about rush hour near Ballantyne on I-485. (Relief is coming. That section of the road is scheduled to be expanded to three lanes by December 2014.)

But today we're not talking about the quality of the Charlotte region’s roads. We’ll focus on an issue the Charlotte Department of Transportation has a little more control over: traffic lights.

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Courts
5:00 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Citizen's Court: Talking It Out With Your Neighbor

Assistant District Attorney Bruce Lillie, center, discusses a case with others on the misdemenaor team in citizen's court on December 10.
Tasnim Shamma

The Mecklenburg County Courthouse processes up to 1,600 misdemeanor cases a day. And administrators are always looking for ways to bring that number down so that judges have more manageable caseloads. One of the newest initiatives is mediation. Also known as Citizen's Court.

WFAE's Tasnim Shamma spent a day at Citizen's Court to see how well mediation was working … or not.

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