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McCrorey YMCA senior dance and drum troupe at Levine Museum of the New South Enlarge McCrorey YMCA senior dance and drum troupe at Levine Museum of the New South
James Willamor Posted: December 30th, 2010 James Willamor

In 2010, Charlotte celebrated its diversity through food, dance, music, and art. Here are some of the faces and events of Charlotte over the past year.

Greg Lacour Posted: December 29th, 2010 Greg Lacour
Ed Sanders helped keep the peace at Central High in the mid-1950s. (The Charlotte Observer)

Some stories worth sharing this week:


  • When Christmas comes, you can count on one of the best things about the Queen City: its volunteering spirit. Here’s a good roundup of Yuletide volunteering at the Shelter For Battered Women, Men’s Shelter of Charlotte and other nonprofit agencies that serve the poor and hungry. In the words of one volunteer, “This is a town with a big heart.” Yes, it is.
  • One more indicator, as if we needed one, of the lousy economy: The area’s home price index hits its lowest point since late 2004. How might falling home prices effect the city’s (and others’) efforts to revamp affordable housing policy?
  • WBTV takes an interesting (if silly) look at a subject that keeps popping up in lean economic times – local government consolidation. Mayor Anthony Foxx and Mecklenburg County commission chair Jennifer Roberts say they generally support the idea; Roberts says it’s inevitable. But no one knows exactly how it’d work or what services would be consolidated. What do you think? Would consolidation make local government run more smoothly?
  • The city lost a quiet hero over the weekend. When he was principal at Central High in 1955, Ed Sanders enforced peace on campus when the school’s first black student enrolled. Sanders was raised in a working-class white family in a small, segregated South Carolina town, but he believed everyone deserved respect and a good education. Next time you think one person can’t make a difference, think about Ed Sanders.
  • Charlotte's First Night celebration is coming up on Friday, and thousands will pack Uptown not only for that but also for the Meineke Car Care Bowl at noon and a Bobcats game at 3 p.m. Here's hoping everyone stays safe, and that folks can make some new connections in what's ordinarily a pretty diverse crowd. Have a happy start to 2011, and let's see what we can do to make it better than 2010.

Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman Posted: December 23rd, 2010 Rhiannon Fionn-Bowman
Caliy Stills, shelter resident and kitchen volunteer.

VIDEO BY DESIREE KANE

On Dec. 5, The Charlotte Observer published an article about the Men's Shelter of Charlotte. The headline read: "Shelter seeks 2,000 pounds of oatmeal."

The community responded immediately, filling the center's request and then some, allowing it to share its new abundance with other shelters. Today, 50-pound bags and cardboard canisters of oatmeal fill several corners of the shelter's kitchen, located one mile from the intersection of Trade and Tryon. 

Caliy Stills, a resident at the shelter and a volunteer in the kitchen, was touched by the community's response. "Having a nice, hot, warm breakfast is a blessing," he said, adding that it reminds him of his childhood when his mother would make oatmeal for his family.

Stills, who has a culinary degree, returned to Charlotte from Seattle in September -- he last lived here in the late 1980s. He brought with him a drug addiction that dimmed his outlook and his prospects. However, thanks to the shelter's help, he's proud to say he's been clean and sober for over 90 days.

Now Stills volunteers in the shelter's kitchen, where three meals are prepared and served seven days a week. The kitchen staff also prepares breakfast and dinner for the organization's Statesville Avenue location.

The shelter serves 200-250 men each morning at North Tryon Street and another 100-200 at Statesville Avenue. On average, roughly 450 men slept at the shelter each night during the months of November and December last year.

This year, that average has risen to roughly 570. Though, says Trish Hobson, who works at the center, "We've had several nights over 600. Our highest night ever was on Nov. 27, 2010, when 639 men stayed here."

Keep Reading

Greg Lacour Posted: December 22nd, 2010 Greg Lacour
The Bushes and Grahams at the Billy Graham Library. (The Charlotte Observer)

Some stories worth sharing this week:


  • As Charlotte continued to lobby for the Democratic National Convention in 2012, the city received a visitor from the other side of the aisle – former President George W. Bush, who visited the Rev. Billy Graham at his namesake library Monday. Bush and his wife Laura signed copies of their books and met with the 92-year-old evangelist, whom Bush credits with inspiring his midlife spiritual rebirth.

  • What do you think: Is Mayor Anthony Foxx a hypocrite for urging Charlotteans to support Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools while sending his oldest child to private Charlotte Country Day? Are public officials’ parental decisions the public’s business? Is anyone surprised that Peter St. Onge’s blog post touched off some pungent discussion – and that most of the participants identified themselves as “anonymous”?

  • More from CMS: Last week, we related the story about federal civil-rights complaints related to the school system’s decision to close eight schools. Details have emerged.

  • The U.S. Senate vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell has received some rapid reaction from Charlotte-area veterans.

  • Nice post and photos by our own James Willamor on CLT Blog about Area 15’s unique Christmas party – with art, music, the homeless and a samurai sword-wielding giant gorilla. Large ape or no, have a marvelous holiday.

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