Archives for February 2022

Local News Roundup: New voter maps; CMS to drop mask mandate; CATS bus shooting brings to light fear among drivers

On the next Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup:

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board voted this week to end its indoor mask mandate effective March 7We’ll talk about what school board members and superintendent Earnest Winston had to say.

Redistricting is once again in the news as a three-judge panel decided the fate of the newly proposed political maps this week. We’ll discuss what the changes will mean for Charlotte and beyond.

Charlotte City council okays a pair of rezoning petitions that were the subject of debate earlier in the year.

Authorities have identified a suspect in the shooting death of Charlotte Area Transit System bus driver Ethan Rivera on Feb. 11. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said the incident involved road rage and has sparked conversation about safety for bus drivers. We’ll give an update.

And three Charlotte area-athletes make a splash at the NBA All-Star Game and in the Daytona 500.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top local and regional news on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.


  • Ann Doss Helms, WFAE Education Reporter
  • Erik Spanberg, managing editor for the Charlotte Business Journal
  • Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s Executive Producer for Investigations & Chief Investigative Reporter
  • Mary C. Curtis, columnist for, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”

Catching up with podcast host and award-winning columnist Mary C. Curtis

As a very young woman from Baltimore, Mary C. Curtis’ journalism inspiration came from her lived experience.  Her family’s involvement in the civil rights movement coupled with strong work ethic catapulted her into a widely successful career.  Today Mary is the host of CQ Roll Call’s Equal Time podcast, an award-winning columnist, an NPR contributor and a senior facilitator for The OpEd Project — among many, many other interests.

She shares her inspiration for content creation through the use of historical perspective, a love of the arts and the need for self-care in today’s episode.  When asked who influences her, Mary highlights her strong network of colleagues, family and her book club during the conversation. She splits her time between Charlotte, N.C. and Washington, D.C. and offers some great perspective for FR listeners.

Be sure to listen to this terrific episode!

“Passing the Baton” to the Next Generation: Interview with Mary C. Curtis

What an insightful interview by Joy-Nicole Smith, founder of ‘The Joy of Learning.’ Thank you for the opportunity; truly enjoyed our conversation:

Seeing double: Part exasperation, part inspiration

I lead a double life. That’s not as sinister as it sounds.

I cover the news of the day and write opinion columns on the intersection of politics, culture and race. And, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that it’s rough out there.

In my other, not-so-secret life, I spend time with thought leaders from around the country and the globe, leading a workshop called “Write to Change the World.” Through our hours together, I have the privilege of watching people of all ages, races, faiths and nationalities do just that, on issues from health equity to climate change to racial justice.

That’s inspiring!

But there is bound to be a disconnect between the real and the aspirational, between the world as it is and the world as anyone anxious to see progress would like it to be.

Local news Roundup: Controversy over Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative hire; Scarborough medical leave; mask rule changes possible; CMPD plans to reduce crime

A controversy continues this week in the hire of the new Racial Equity Initiative Executive Director. The person chosen to take the role is the target of a fraud investigation in her previous organization. There’s plenty of finger pointing about who is responsible for making the decision — we’ll discuss that and comments the mayor made about whether or not public funding is involved in the initiative.

Mecklenburg County cCommissioners voted to place Commissioner Ella Scarborough, who has been absent from commission meetings for several months, on medical leave. She’ll continue to receive pay, and someone will be named to take her place. We’ll talk about what led to the action by the commission.

Mask rules are beginning to change around the country, and those changes may be coming soon to Mecklenburg County. Our mask mandate could end as soon as next week. We’ll discuss what might be on the way for the lifting of restrictions.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police laid out its plan to reduce crime in 2022 this week. We’ll talk about its priorities.

And, LaMelo Ball is an All Star. We congratulate the 20 year old Hornet player on being the fourth youngest ever to be selected for the NBA All-Star Game.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top local and regional news on the Charlotte Talks local news roundup.


Hunter Saenz, WCNC Reporter
Mary C. Curtis, columnist for, host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
Katie Peralta Soloff, reporter for Axios Charlotte
Steve Harrison, WFAE’s Political Reporte

GOP Support of Canadian Truckers Highlights Hypocrisy of BLM Criticism

Appeared on Black News Channel #Prime with Charles Blow to discuss the endorsement of Canadian truckers’ protest by many Republicans, including Sen. Rand Paul, who called hecklers a ‘crazed mob,’ the same folks who condemned BLM, whose states have been passing laws allowing motorists to run over protesters.

It couldn’t happen here, unless it already is

Censoring what you say and do? Trembling in fear that you are being surveilled, with your words and actions reported to “the state”? Looking over your shoulder in case a government-sponsored militia decides to swoop into your precinct as you attempt to cast a ballot, just to guarantee you’re not trying anything “funny”?

If that sounds exactly like the scary scenarios U.S. Olympic athletes were warned not to comment on as they ventured into unfriendly Chinese territory, you would be right.

Unfortunately, though, America’s best can expect some of the same conditions when they return to the good, old USA, no translation needed.

It is true that China, with its control of social media and intrusion into the lives of its citizens, presented a dilemma for countries, including the United States, that wanted to compete on a world stage and also appear concerned about human rights abuses. You can’t expect athletes who’ve maneuvered down icy slopes all their lives to bear the brunt of political maneuvering, so no judgment is coming their way.

But you can chide an America that would rightly stand firm calling out the sins of other countries, while ignoring the changes that are transforming what touts itself as a model into something unrecognizable to those for whom justice is the goal.

In doing so, the country is following the examples of the restrictive societies our leaders once condemned and disrespecting the lives and work of brave citizens who believed in the ideals the country can’t help bragging about.

Local News Roundup: Mask mandate stays; airport parking changes; remembering Cheslie Kryst

Although COVID-19 numbers are beginning to decrease and officials in Charlotte say we are “turning a corner,” Mecklenburg County’s mask mandate will stay in place — at least for the next few weeks. We’ll hear what County Health Director Raynard Washington had to say about it earlier this week.

The North Carolina Commission for Public Health voted to deny a petition seeking a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for kids 17 and up. It’s a move that the governor and the Department of Health and Human Services also opposed.

The Union County Public Schools board approved a resolution to end contact tracing and quarantine requirements. Are more decisions to end COVID-19 protocols ahead for other schools?

The free hour of parking at Charlotte Douglas International Airport is no more. We discuss the changes and the reasons behind them.

And the death by suicide of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, who grew up in the Charlotte area, sparks a conversation about mental health.

Mike Collins and our roundtable of reporters delve into those stories and all the week’s top local and regional news.


Joe Bruno, WSOC-TV reporter
Mary C. Curtis, columnist for and host of the Rollcall podcast “Equal Time”
Claire Donnelly, WFAE health reporter
Jonathan Lowe, anchor and reporter for Spectrum News

Meeting between Biden and NYC Mayor Eric Adams could impact policing and politics

President Biden will travel to New York City to meet with Mayor Eric Adams to discuss what the White House is calling the “administration’s comprehensive strategy to combat gun crime.” Adams, who has called himself the face of the new Democratic Party, released a controversial “Blueprint To End Gun Violence” last week.
It includes bringing back an NYPD plainclothes unit disbanded in 2020, controversial changes to bail reform and federal gun laws and increasing policing.
CQ Roll Call columnist and Equal Time podcast host Mary C. Curtis and BNC contributor Brittney Cooper join Charles Blow on “Prime” to discuss.

Should there be a Black History Month?

Black history is often celebrated as though it were not American history. So many presidents have held up proclamations on behalf of Black History Month while their policies betray Black Americans. Mary C. Curtis talks with Boston Globe opinion writer Renee Graham about the need to expose hypocrisy and view Black history in a way that honors Black Americans as equals.