People

Blowhard
Sheriff Jim Pendergraph

First, the tough-talking Pendergraph spouts off to the newspaper that he’s the only one doing anything about illegal immigration, then he refuses to talk again to the print media (including this magazine, not that we’re bitter) about the issue. One, a public official ought to find time in his schedule for the media. Two, his claim is false. Plenty of people are working on the issue. They just aren’t handling things the way he apparently would like (i.e., round ’em up and ship ’em home).

Media crusader
Tara Servatius

For more than two years, Creative Loafing columnist/reporter Tara Servatius has been relentlessly covering the issue of violent offenders in our local public schoolhouses. In column after article after column, she has shown with statistics and examples that kids are committing crimes ranging from sexual assault to possession of a weapon—sometimes on campus!—yet are not expelled from the system. Despite how this practice puts teachers and other students at risk, CMS appears to be unwilling or unable to directly address the issue with Servatius. But don’t expect her to stop.

Community-minded corporate executive
Rai Glover

Glover is a senior vice president and market development manager for Bank of America. But that impressive title for the country’s largest bank isn’t what’s most impressive about her. Promoting equality and education are Glover’s passions, which is why she served as a Guardian Ad Litem to neglected children. She’s also on the board for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools Foundation, which seeks contributions from the private sector for programs at CMS, and the board of the United Way of Central Carolinas, just to name a few of her numerous community involvements.

Urban architect
David Furman

No single architect has had a greater hand in the look of downtown’s residential offerings than architect and developer Furman. From the high-rise Trademark tower in Third Ward to myriad low-rise outcroppings in First Ward, he and his Boulevard Centro development firm have showed stodgy Charlotte what modern style is supposed to look like. And we’ve embraced it.

Green builder
Eric Johnson

At last year’s Homearama—a custom homebuilders event known for its displays of excess—Johnson and his ES Johnson Builders stood out with an offering that was both luxurious and conservation-minded at the same time. Though admittedly a sprawling 7,242 square feet, Johnson’s rustic Lake Wylie abode included recycled materials and was built using eco-friendly landscaping practices. He was the only builder there to earn Audubon International’s highest rating.

Amazing kid
Parker Garrison

Jumpin’ jellybeans! This kid is a genius. Eight-year-old Parker was the first to notice a math error in a Discovery Place exhibit that challenged visitors to calculate the number of beans that would fit in a pyramid. The glitch—part of the traveling Candy Unwrapped show on display through April—had been undetected for four years and through a tour of eight U.S. cities.

Charity
Charlotte Rescue Mission

Too often, families pass a cycle of destructive behavior from generation to generation, creating a never-ending line of people trapped by addiction who often eventually find themselves homeless and hopeless. Charlotte Rescue Mission strives to renew hope by offering the support needed to break the cycle. www.charlotterescuemission.org

Volunteer Op
Hands on Charlotte

One of the most common laments volunteer coordinators hear is “I don’t have the time.” Hands on Charlotte pairs volunteers with opportunities that suit their interests—and schedules. Volunteer for an hour or a day. And it’s new CharlotTEEN program helps teenagers get involved, too. www.handsoncharlotte.org

Women’s organization
Women’s Intercultural Exchange

WIE brings women together to discuss opportunities and share the challenges they face. Although the original intent of the group was to support women of color, women of all backgrounds have joined. Through a series of events, WIE fulfills its mission to “bridge social capital among women of diverse cultures.” www.wi-ce.org

Social group
Charlotte Outdoor Adventures

This event-oriented social organization offers everything from backpacking through the Smoky Mountains to group trips to the movies. It also organizes adult sport leagues. Although it’s not a dating club, you never know who you might tag at its next coed flag football game. www.choa.com

Up-and-comer
Brooklyn Decker

In a span of twelve months, Decker appeared in the 2006 and 2007 Sports Illustrated swimsuit editions and Victoria’s Secret fall catalog, not to mention print ad campaigns for GAP. The camera loves Decker, and she the camera. The recently turned twenty-year-old is a natural. Though raised in Matthews, she represents Charlotte proudly (nobody in New York or Los Angeles has heard of Matthews…sorry, M-town), coming home every chance she gets. We give it three years—max—and you’ll be seeing Decker on the cover of magazines everywhere. And we’ll be able to say that we were one of her first.

READERS’ CHOICE
Radio personality

Jeff Katz

Television personality
Larry Sprinkle

Columnist/critic
Tommy Tomlinson

Newcomer
Peter Gorman

Blowhard
Bill James

Hero
Melissa Greer

Philanthropist
Hugh McColl

Architect
Harvey Gantt

Ballot Bloopers
Public servant

CMS teachers
Actually, this one is true.

Up-and-comer
Jennifer Hudson
If only she was from Charlotte...

Categories: Feature, The Buzz