Thursday, June 15, 2006

Welcome to the new blog

The Charlotte region is filled with newcomers – and sometimes folks who have lived here for awhile can’t keep up with all the new things going on.

I hope to help in my new job as the Observer’s newcomers reporter. I’ll be giving regular tips, facts and inside information about the Charlotte region, helping you learn about where we live. Also, I’ll be meeting with, blogging about and writing stories about the area’s recent arrivals throughout the paper and on

I’ll share with you my perspective as a near-lifelong resident of the Charlotte region. I grew up in the southeast Charlotte neighborhood of Stonehaven. I returned after graduating from Duke University and working for a few years in Winston-Salem. Since then, I’ve somehow managed to live in Concord, Denver (the one near Lake Norman), uptown Charlotte’s Fourth Ward, Birkdale Village in Huntersville, and my current haunt, Elizabeth. (I guess I’m just addicted to packing boxes).

The areas I’ve covered in my 10 years at the Observer have been just as varied – they range from Cabarrus County government to public safety, entertainment, general assignment news and retail business.
I hope it adds up to meaning that I’ve acquired some useful information that I can share. But I’ll need your help. So, here’s what to keep an eye out for:

--I'll run useful information in the paper and on this blog that helps you navigate this region. In the paper, it'll be every Saturday in New Home, Sunday in Arts and Living, and Monday in Your Week.

--I’ll be convening periodic focus groups of newcomers, as well as attending functions where newcomers gather, to meet you and hear your feedback. If you want to participate or give a headsup about an event, let me know at

--I’m also the editor of our annual Living Here magazine for newcomers. The 2006 issue hits the streets Sept. 24 and will be included free in most copies of the Observer that day. Our 2005 content is available at if you click on "Newcomer’s Guide."
An event called "New South for the New Southerner" sounded like a good place to meet newcomers. So I went to the Levine Museum of the New South on a recent evening as my first official duty as the Observer’s newcomer reporter. The museum holds these events about three times a year.

With about 100 people in the room, historian Tom Hanchett asked for a show of hands: How many people here are from Charlotte? A handful, maybe five or six (including my own), went up.

How many are from North or South Carolina? A few more went up.

How many are from the South? Another 10 or so.

How many are from the U.S., outside the South? The remaining 75 percent of the room raised their hands. (And three hailed from outside the U.S.: India, Wales and Jamaica).

Boy, I thought, meeting newcomers for this job is going to be easy.

How do we define newcomer? Officially, if you’ve been here two years or less, you qualify. However, I understand many people consider themselves newcomers for longer than that. If you feel that way, I’m interested in hearing from you too.

Said the museum's Hanchett: "I came here 25 years ago, but I’m still a newcomer because I get lost on Queens Road."

Got a question? E-mail me at and I'll try to get the answer for you.

Need to beat the heat? Try Ray’s Splash Planet, which offers indoor water slides, tubes, squirters and more. It’s at 215 N. Sycamore St. in uptown. Entrance fees range from $6 to $11 depending on your age and whether you’re a Mecklenburg resident. or (704) 432-4729.
If that doesn’t float your boat, here's a list of water parks, public pools, lakes and other wet spots around the region: Click here


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home