Charlotte Mecklenburg schools are facing severe cuts and they’ve introduced a range of options to meet budgetary constraints. Perhaps the most controversial proposal has been a decision to close several schools. The list of schools under the budget ax has not only met with vocal pushback by area parents and teachers but it’s also changed over time. The CMS school board will conduct a vote on school closings Tuesday, November 9th. In advance of that important vote we talk with two reporters keeping a close eye on this topic and find out how which schools are likely to close, who will be affected and what the future may hold for our school system.
Lisa Miller – Staff Reporter, WFAE
Ann Doss Helms – Staff Writer, Charlotte Observer
- Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools website
- ‘Your Schools’ blog by The Charlotte Observer’s Ann Doss Helms
- WFAE | Gorman: Budget Cuts Could Jeopardize Academic Gains
Sustainable power is a hot topic right now and wind power is among the most talked about sources of renewable energy. Recently, Google paired with another corporation to announce a 5 billion dollar investment in building wind power infrastructure along the Atlantic Seaboard. One of our guests says that North Carolina could be a major player in the future of wind generated power. Duke Energy is already making strides in generating wind producer power but North Carolina is not one of their target areas. We?ll learn about our future as a leader in renewable energy.
Jackie Savitz – Senior Scientist, Director of Climate and Pollution Campaigns atOceana North America
Greg Efthimiou – Corporate Communications, Duke Energy
Two local botanical experts have paired up to co-author a book about unusual and outrageous plants, called Bizarre Botanicals. They join us on the next Charlotte Talks to introduce us to what they call the “circus clowns, magicians and tattooed ladies of the plant world” and to educate us about our important relationship with plants.
Larry Mellichamp – Professor of Botany & Horticulture at UNC Charlotte and Co-Author of Bizarre Botanicals
Paula Gross – Asst. Director of UNC Charlotte’s Botanical Gardens and Co-Author ofBizarre Botanicals
- UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
- Amazon | Bizarre Botanicals by Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross
- Photos | See a few “bizarre botanicals”
- Video | Paula Gross demonstrates the Venus Flytrap’s carnivorous nature
He’s done an Off-Broadway show with Nathan Lane… he’s been on Letterman, Conan, Jimmy and with Ira Glass on This American Life. Standup comedian Mike Birbiglia has made a name for himself using painful real-life stories for comic fodder. He’s now written a book chronicling some of them, Sleepwalk with Me and Other Painfully True Stories. We’ll talk to him about his life and how he turns it into comedy, on the next Charlotte Talks.
Mike Birbiglia – Stand-up Comedian and Author of Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories
- Amazon | Sleepwalk With Me by Mike Birbiglia
- Mike Birbiglia performs at the Knight Theatre Friday Nov. 5th
Part One: Sustainable Charlotte
Monday marks the day that government and community leaders will gather together to begin an initiative to make Charlotte a “sustainable city”. So, what IS a sustainable city? On this edition of Charlotte Talks, we’ll be joined by the founder of a new organization whose sole purpose is to help make Charlotte into one of the nation’s leaders in terms of sustainability. We’ll talk about what factors makes a city sustainable, and how much work Charlotte has to become a leader in sustainability.
Shannon Binns – Executive Director, Sustain Charlotte
Ernie McLaney – Executive Director, CPCC’s Center for Sustainability and Board Member, Sustain Charlotte
Part Two: Incorruptible
The dark ages are known for being a difficult time to be alive but playwright Michael Hollinger found a way to make the Dark Ages darkly comic in his play, Incorruptible. Collaborative Arts is presenting Mr. Hollinger’s work after a successful staging of another of his plays. Mr. Hollinger and director Peter Smeal join us to talk about the most recent offering from Collaborative Arts, a company whose reputation continues to rise.
Michael Hollinger – Playwright, Incorruptible
Peter Smeal – Director, Incorruptible
For generations people have reported seeing, hearing or encountering large, apelike creatures with human qualities. The creature goes by many names, perhaps the most famous being Bigfoot and Sasquatch. Around Halloween each year, monsters become more popular, but Bigfoot has always captured the imagination of searchers around the world. Is the creature just a cultural phenomena an unknown species? New animal species are discovered all the time and very serious researchers believe that Bigfoot is real. We meet two Bigfoot hunters, one with a background in behavioral psychology and the other a biologist whose work is endorsed by Jane Goodall.
Michael Greene – Bigfoot Researcher
Dr. John Bindernagel – Professional Wildlife Biologist and Author, North America’s Great Ape: The Sasquath and the upcoming The Discovery of Sasquatch
- The Michael Greene Sasquatch Research Site
- Bigfoot Biologist (Dr. John Bindernagel)
- The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
You know actor Jeff Daniels from his roles in films like Dumb and Dumber, The Purple Rose of Cairo andThe Squid and the Whale, but Daniels has also been writing songs for thirty years. Daniels got his start onstage, founded the Purple Rose Theatre in Michigan then found a way to use his songs as a fundraising tool to promote theatre Arts. Daniels now tours the country singing his songs and talking about his work as an actor, playwright and musician. His next tour stop is Charlotte and we sit down with the consummate performer to talk about his music and his career.
Jeff Daniels – Actor, Playwright, Musician
Part One: Ken Harmon and The Fat Man
Charlottean Ken Harmon has always been a fan of hard-boiled detective novels, and when he had the idea to write a detective novel about one of Santa’s elves, he knew he’d found the right combination for his first book. Mr. Harmon joins us to talk about finally writing that first book, and his view on the holidays on the next Charlotte Talks.
Ken Harmon – Local copywriter, occasional community theater actor and author of his first novel, The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir
- Amazon | The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir by Ken Harmon
- Harmon has a book signing Thursday Oct. 27 at 7pm at Park Road Books
Part Two: UNC Charlotte Haiti Trip
Earlier this summer we interviewed the head of a team of UNC-Charlotte students bound for Haiti. They traveled there as part of their model U.N. group to study the conditions in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and to work among the people of Haiti. They returned a few weeks ago and now Professor Cindy Combs and one of her students revisits Charlotte Talks to tell us about their experiences.
Dr. Cindy Combs – Professor Of Political Science at UNC Charlotte and Model UN Advisor
Matt Smither – President, Model U.N.
The “Dean of Harry Potter Scholars” joins us in the studio during the next Charlotte Talks. John Granger is a Harry Potter pundit who has written several books about the popular JK Rowling series. He dissects the series and educates his readers on his views of the series as a work of literal alchemy, using symbolism and multiple genres as inspiration for the books and most recently has said that the books as a whole are a result of careful planning and something he calls “Ring Composition.”
John Granger – Described by TIME as “the Dean of Harry Potter Scholars”. He’s the author of several books about the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
- Hogwarts Professor: Thoughts for the Serious Reader of Harry Potter
- Amazon | Various Books by John Granger
- Event | Granger speaks at Lenoir Rhyne University Thursday Oct. 28th
You’ve probably seen Michael O’Hanlon from the Brookings Institution speak about Afghanistan during Sunday morning news shows on television or in his occasional articles in major newspapers. He aims to explain the current strategy in Afghanistan and debunk common myths about the country and its people. Most recently, he’s written a book that looks at the current situation there called “Toughing It Out In Afghanistan”, which he wrote with an Afghan-American. He’s coming to Charlotte to speak about Afghanistan and his thoughts on whether the US will be successful with its mission there, but before that, he talks to us, on the next Charlotte Talks.
Michael O’Hanlon – Director of Research and Senior Fellow of Foreign Policy, Director of Research for the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institute. He’s also the co-author of “Toughing it out in Afghanistan”
- O’Hanlon will speak as part of World Affairs Council Charlotte’s speaker series, Thursday, October 28th