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The return of the chimney swift (the bird), and 7 other stories to watch this fall

Fall arrives each year in Charlotte inside the chimneys of old buildings, stuck to the wall. And in this year of no-good news, it gives me great pleasure to...

The pandemic is making my anxiety soar, and I know I’m not alone

As a person with anxiety, I’m used to being the token worrier in any situation. It’s part of my charm, plus you know I’ll always come prepared with...

‘Black at ___’: Behind the movement to expose racism facing Black students in mostly white schools

I’ll never forget the incident that inspired the first real conversation about race between me and my mom. I was five. She’d just picked me up from...

‘It could’ve been me’: Waking up after a mass shooting on Beatties Ford

Note: This story was updated Wednesday, June 24, at 11:30 a.m. The people came back Monday morning for their shoes. They were everywhere, the shoes. Flip-flops...

Two days, two cities, one Charlotte: My hope for my hometown in the wake of another police killing

Saturday night in Charlotte looked something like a double feature, playing out at the same time, on two different screens, just two miles apart. The first,...

Why Minneapolis matters everywhere — yes, even Charlotte

A few thoughts about things that seem far away … — A long time before this very long week, on August 11, 1897, a white woman stepped in front of a...

The summer of 2020 will be a defining season for Charlotte

My brother and I had some pork over the charcoal the other day when we heard a noise in the oak tree in my backyard. At first it sounded like a squirrel...

Charlotte’s music scene is “in the emergency room”

The last time Laura and I went out — as in out-out, as in past 9 p.m. — we spent the night standing on the slanted floor at the Neighborhood Theatre. This...

Reopen NC? Not yet, but people are getting restless

Each morning between 2 and 4 a.m. or so, our six-week-old grunts and groans under the tyranny of his swaddle. Usually a few moments pass when Laura and I are...

The coronavirus generation: We became parents of a baby boy in the cradle of a pandemic

The afternoon before all this, I got sidetracked in aisle 5 by some cheddar kangaroo crackers. They’re on a bottom shelf, a long way from the eye-level...

Remembering civil rights leader Charles Jones and his mission to make Charlotte a ‘Beloved Community’

Note: Top photo courtesy of the Charlotte Observer Photograph Collection – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library On a summer day in 2013, my spouse, Helms, stood...

Boomer vs. millennial, practical vs. progressive: How Charlotte’s mayor and her daughter build bridges over their differences

When I told my mother I would be talking to the mayor, she said, “I know she goes by Vi, but make sure you address her as Mayor Lyles. Be...