Read about important Crossroads Charlotte events, information and activities.
Some stories worth sharing this week:
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, having faced a torrent of protests last year over proposed “pay-for-performance” incentives for teachers, is rolling out a new evaluation system model they hope will provide a fairer and more accurate picture of teacher performance.
- Two months ago, after a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer used a Taser to stun a suspect to death, Police Chief Rodney Monroe suspended the use of the devices. On Monday, the City Council voted to spend $1.83 million on 1,600 new Tasers the manufacturer, Taser International, says comes equipped with safety features that help users avoid lethal doses of electricity. Numerous deaths have marred the reputation of the devices, which are meant to subdue dangerous suspects with non-lethal force.
- On a slightly more encouraging note, Monroe has assigned three officers, including Deputy Chief Harold Medlock, to devote all their work time to preparations for next year’s Democratic National Convention.
- A reminder of how what’s considered horrific and inhuman now was, less then a century ago, thought of as a pretty good, even merciful, idea: North Carolina’s eugenics program.
- The library at Shamrock Gardens Elementary School got a major upgrade thanks to the national School Library Makeover program, through which Target and the Heart of America Foundation pay to refurbish school libraries to encourage young students to read more.
Retired Boeing engineer Shao Lin Xia and his wife, Sompit Xia, meticulously crafted tiny airplanes, tanks and snappy little roadsters from old aluminum cans Saturday under a small white tent at Festival in the Park.
The sun was finally out, and hay on the ground helped keep the walk in front of their stall from becoming a mud pit. Shao Lin, a native of China, snipped the raw materials with a pair of sewing shears as Sompit sculpted a super-miniature P-51 Mustang that would sell for $15. The propellers actually spin.
Sompit is originally from Thailand. She and Shao Lin lived for years in California, but now call Granite Falls home. The couple travels the country with their “Can Do Planes” art creations for fun. Shao Lin, Sompit and The Cloers were among dozens of art exhibitors, vendors and musicians who decided to brave the initial rain and foreboding skies. Even though the rain battered down again in the afternoon, thousands flocked to Freedom Park on East Boulevard.
The weather was hardly an issue midday Saturday as Iroquois storyteller Ramona Big Eagle spun a tale passed down through her family for generations. It’s a story about listening to your elders; if you don't, you might turn into a lizard. A guest of the Charlotte Folk Society, Ramona Big Eagle travels the globe sharing her Native American oral history and wisdom.
For nearly a year, Queens University of Charlotte’s Center for Active Citizenship (CAC) has assembled the pieces of an aggressive program of community service--one organizers say puts weight behind Queens’ motto, “Not to be served, but to serve.”
On Tuesday, Queens kicked off the program with an on-campus celebration that included faculty, staff, students, hundreds of kids from Sedgefield Elementary, confetti and a Sedgefield graduate who happens to play for the Carolina Panthers. And Sir Purr.
In the Panthers/Queens Community Service Challenge, the NFL team is challenging the Queens community to perform 75,000 hours of community service during the 2011-12 academic year. If Queens reaches the goal, the team will award a grant to Sedgefield, Queens’ main service partner this year and a school where 93 percent of the student body is economically disadvantaged.
“We feel like it’s just an opportunity to make a huge difference,” said CAC Coordinator Pat Taft. CAC is Queens’ Crossroads Charlotte initiative, founded with the help of a Crossroads grant. “It’s all about being an active citizen.”
Some stories worth sharing this week:
- For all that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ teachers, students and administrators have been through these last few years--the closings-and-consolidations mess, the contention over teacher effectiveness ratings, the burnout of Superintendent Peter Gorman--it was gratifying to see the district win national recognition for its efforts to help poor and minority students succeed and graduate.
- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Charlotte on Monday to formally award $25 million to the city for its starter streetcar line, the first stage in what Mayor Anthony Foxx and other city officials hope will be a catalyst for economic development along its 10-mile route.
- For a quarter-century, Hospitality House of Charlotte housed families forced to stay in Charlotte because of the hospitalization of a loved one, and did so for free. But last year, a drop in donations forced the charity to charge a $40-per-night fee. Recently, the Leon Levine Foundation came forward with a $25,000 grant as a community challenge, seeking a dollar-for-dollar match from donors. Want to help? Click the Hospitality House link above.
- Dozens of residents packed an N.C. Utilities Commission public hearing Tuesday on the proposed merger of Charlotte’s Duke Energy and Raleigh’s Progress Energy into the nation’s largest electric utility. People from all over the state traveled to Raleigh for their only opportunity to speak on the merger, which several residents said would create a monopoly.
- Finally, is Charlotte about to be known for banking--and bananas? Chiquita Brands International Inc. is considering a relocation of its corporate offices from one Queen City, Cincinnati, to another--Charlotte. Sources tell the Charlotte Business Journal that the city, Mecklenburg County and state are preparing an incentives package worth between $5 million and $6 million.
Featured Postsview all
Crossroads Charlotte presents four stories based on real data about Charlotte's future and asks the community to Imagine Our Tomorrow and respond to the stories.Imagine
Crossroads Charlotte offers numerous ways for citizens to get involved in our community and help shape Charlotte's future. Act Today and make a difference.Act