Whole Lotta Love

The cover package for this issue represents the kind of story we don't usually do. For the past fourteen years of this iteration of forty-year-old Charlotte magazine, we have intentionally shied away from straight-up boosterish stories. This city has enough of that, we reckon. We best serve readers when we offer a clear-eyed view of Charlotte, dishing out praise when warranted, balancing with criticism when needed, and always keeping an eye toward what makes this city tick and how it could possibly be a better place.

But Charlotte needs a little love right now. It was a tough year, for reasons we all know too well. The national media, which for so long ignored Charlotte before deciding we were a New South upstart worth admiring, took palpable glee in chronicling our banks' rocky times and, according to them, this city's inevitable decline (I'm looking at you, New York Times).

Everywhere I go, people keep asking, "How bad do you think it will get?" I hear words like "catastrophic" and "devastating." Time will tell, but history shows that the lows are never as bad as people predict, and the highs are never as great as people remember. The fact is, there's a whole lot to love about this town.

Our team, led by Senior Editor Blake Miller, picked fifty-one reasons why this place is so great. A few you might expect, some you never would have guessed. But as we turn the calendar on a new year, it's worth remembering why almost everyone in Charlotte chose to live in this city. The package starts on page 62. And feel free to add your own reasons for lovin' in the comments section for this story at www.charlottemagazine.com. Look for it on the home page throughout January.

Still, there's no denying we've hit a bit of a rough patch. Three other stories in this issue take aim at that. Mike Giglio, who wrote in our July issue about the mercurial world of Charlotte's iconic young investment bankers just before he dashed off to Europe for a journalism fellowship, has been following Charlotte's roller coaster ride via the news from his laptop. He describes the surreal ride in "The Long View," which is the first of our three-parter that begins on page 47. Next up, Tamela Rich -- who rode the initial crest of the stock market at then First Union, survived the dot-com boom/bust at LendingTree, then had to liquidate her company last year when customers moved overseas -- offers a Zen-like perspective. Finally, Ken Allen, who edited this magazine before I did, offers interesting ideas on how Charlotte can get its mojo back. Again, feel free to add your own suggestions online.

There are at least two other stories in this issue that are must-reads. Writer Preston Davis profiles Alana Hadley, who turns twelve this month and is clocking some of the fastest cross-country times in the nation for her age. She also trains forty miles a week, running alongside her father/coach. The local running community is spellbound by her story ("Racing Ahead," page 55). And Jeremy Markovich tells the remarkable tale of Trevor Thomas, a Charlotte man who hiked the grueling Appalachian Trail. That alone is a feat; since 1937, only 9,000 hikers have reported finishing the 2,175 miles. But Thomas is blind. The story, "Blind Faith," begins on page 82. You'll be glad you read it.

Coming next month: The Ultimate Comfort Guide • An Eco-Terrorist Goes Green • Mr. Moms

Categories: Editor’s Note, Opinion, The Buzz