A Trifling Place

President George Washington called Charlotte, a "trifling place" during his visit to the city in 1791. But it's certainly changed since then. 

WFAE's Tasnim Shamma explores the ins-and-outs of Charlotte in this podcast.

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Episode 10: The Charlotte Ninety-Niners

Jun 14, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

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

When I first moved here, there was one billboard that I found really confusing. It was for the new '49ers football team at UNC Charlotte. 

The only 49ers I know of are 3,000 miles away … in San Francisco.

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. 

What's The Charlotte Accent?

Apr 26, 2013
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

Tasnim Shamma / flickr/lumierefl

OK, lots of cities have a Square. There’s Red Square, Times Square, St. Peter’s Square to name a few.

And then … there’s Independence Square. Where’s that, you ask? Charlotte – at the intersection of Trade and Tryon.

In case you didn’t know, this intersection is where a Native American trading path - Trade Street – crossed what used to be called the Great Wagon Road, which we now know as Tryon.  

Today, the intersection is named Independence Square to recognize the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. County leaders signed the document on May 20, 1775, declaring freedom from tyranny … I mean England … more than a year before the Continental Congress did it in Philly.

Four statues at each corner of the intersection further distinguish the square. These statues are the subject of this edition of A Trifling Place

A Trifling Place, Episode 7: Turn Green Already!

Mar 20, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

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

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.

Charlotte 2024? A Checklist For The Olympics

Feb 28, 2013
flickr/Atos International

Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee sent a letter to the mayors of the 25 largest cities (Charlotte ranks 19th) and ten other cities that expressed interest in hosting in the past. But as The New York Times notes, many of the cities on the list don't even meet the requirements the USOC demands.

Let's take a look at Charlotte:

A Trifling Place, Episode 6: When Cankerworms Attack

Feb 18, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

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

In our last episode (Charlotte's Tree Obsession), we ended with this sound bite: "Die, cankerworm, die!" 

That's city arborist Donald McSween back in 2008 when WFAE's Lisa Miller followed him on his war against the cankerworms.

He also had some help: citizen soldiers like Sophia Hollingsworth. 

"We picked them off and didn’t feel bad at all about mooshing them because we felt it was one less cankerworm," Hollingsworth says. "And I don’t feel bad about any of them dying. It’s the canopy that Charlotte is known for and the trees are more important than the caterpillars. Hate the green monster."

Five years later, the fight against the inch-long creatures continues.

Library of Congress

WFAE listeners have e-mailed me about how we should probably change the title of this podcast. They find it offensive. One listener says it reminds him of  "small, off-the-beaten path, lonely, dismal, dark places" and surely, surely, it's not Charlotte that President George Washington was talking about. 

By The Numbers: Charlotte's Trees

Feb 5, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

  • 49: Percent of tree canopy lost between 1995 and 2008
  • One: Public tree for every seven residents
  • $11.83: Amount spent per person on its street trees
  • 215: Tree species in the city's inventory. Predominant tree species are willow oak and crapemyrtle
  • $166: Total benefits of an average street tree
  • 28: Million cubic feet of stormwater intercepted annually 
  • $2.1: Million dollars in stormwater management savings

Episode 5: Charlotte's Tree Obsession

Feb 5, 2013
Flickr/Erik Cleves Kristensen

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

Of the seven cities I've lived and worked in, Charlotte has got to be most green. When you're getting ready for an airplane landing, it's like you're descending into a forest. Once you're on the ground, you quickly learn trees are a big part of the city's identity.

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