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Friday, August 30, 2013


The Romare Bearden Park will be opening with a Grand Opening ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday, August 30th, 2013 at the park at 300 S. Church Street, Charlotte, NC  282802. 

Photo Credit from

Click HERE FOR A MAP showing the downtown park location and parking locations.

Click HERE FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF EVENTS beginning Friday at 4 p.m. and continuing through the weekend.  

It includes opening ceremonies, live music, fitness instruction, free admission and Romare Bearden-focused tours at the Mint Museum Uptown (shown as “Bechtler/Knight/Mint/Duke Center” on the map, across from the Gantt Center.  Each are two blocks south of the new park) at special times, puppet shows and other events.

HERE IS AN EXCELLENT BLOG POST already written with collected history and images of Romare Bearden, artist born in Charlotte, who studied abroad and lived much of his life in Harlem, NY.  His work is widely celebrated and he is known in our city as Charlotte’s native son.

Monday, August 19, 2013

CHANGES TO CHARLOTTE'S CRIME MAPPING SYSTEM is a company that sends out free crime alerts, customized to whatever area is requested.  They sent out an email today to Charlotte area residents about the decision to convert Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s crime data from the difficult-to-use public data system to a private system the city (we) will pay for.  Citynewswatch will be on the lookout for information about any purported cost savings and welcomes input from the CMPD, as always. 

For years, citizens have noted and complained about the disappearing data from the CMPD site.  This is separate from the concern than not being user-friendly.  So a newer, easier-to-use system won’t help the missing and possibly inaccurate data problem.  In fact, contends it will cause a bigger transparency problem.  Here is the content of the email they sent (with emphasis added): (
Earlier this month, the Charlotte Mecklenburg PD decided to privatize your crime data.

What this means is the information about crime which occurs in your community is now regulated by an outside vendor called Crime Mapping, a company based in California, now has control over of how, when, and if you will have access to crime affecting your neighborhood. 

And the irony is, you're paying them to control it and limit your access.

I wish there was a less painful way to describe it, but the truth is you pay to fund a police department, they collect information, they pay the vendor crimemapping to take it, and the community is left holding the bag.

Six years ago, Charlotte was on the forefront of being transparent with its data. But, as technology has gotten much less expensive and the demand for transparency increased, the Charlotte Mecklenburg PD has elected to move backwards. 

The paid vendor has specifically objected to SpotCrime providing you crime data in alert format. And,  the Charlotte Mecklenburg PD has expressed the need to "control" the data to the public by using a proprietary vendor. This type of control may be an effective way of limiting crime information and the perception of crime, but it is by no means in the spirit of this democracy. 

In the six years that SpotCrime has been mapping crime data in Charlotte, we have sent over 3 million SpotCrime alerts to Charlotte area residents at no cost to the department or the public. In that time, we have never received any criticism from Charlotte Mecklenburg PD. 

Thankfully, most cities in the US are moving to an open source unrestricted method of delivering crime data to the public. I implore you to reach out to Chief Monroe, your elected officials, and your governor. Ask them to make the crime data available for anyone to use.

Chief Monroe
Phone: 704-336-2337
Feedback form:

City Manager Ron Carlee
Phone: 704-336-2241

Governor Pat McCrory
Phone: 919-814-2000

We are all in this fight together, and there is no reason why everyone should not have equal access to this crime data. Why would any police agency take steps to limit how the public shares information and how the press reports on crime data?


Colin Drane
ReportSee Inc., 300 E Lombard St., Suite 840, Baltimore, MD 21202

Any questions about the process of, signing up for free crime alert subscriptions, what changes will affect their reporting, etc… can be directed to Spotcrime at the contacts they provide freely. 

All feedback is welcome.  Many Charlotte residents are still looking for the Significant Event Logs and other public information Chief Rodney Monroe removed from with promises in August, 2010 to have it back up in the near future.
See these other related prior blog posts, too:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Missing Girls from Our Area

UPDATE:  Thanks to WCNC's Dianne Gallagher for pointing out that Tayviona Vandiver was located after two weeks.  Her name didn't come up in a search before posting this story except for the Charlotte Observer/WCNC partner link posted August 5 which shows her as "still missing" as of August 14.  It seems WCNC didn't tell the Observer, either.   Apologies for the error but so happy to know she is safe.  See the story at direct story here:

The Charlotte Observer is reporting about Rowan County only recently reported missing by her brother, even though authorities now say she’s been gone since 2011.  The full story can be found here, with excerpts shown below:

Police: Missing girl’s parents are being uncooperative

Investigators searching for a missing Rowan County teenager say nothing the girl’s adoptive parents told them during two days’ worth of questioning was true, and the family is not being cooperative.

Erica Parsons’ older brother reported her missing last week. It appears the last time people at the family home on Miller Chapel Road in Salisbury saw her was November 2011.

No one knows where Erica Lynn Parsons is, or who she left with in 2011

What isn’t in the Observer story but has been reported in other media is that both the maternal grandmothers have been dead since years prior to the time frame the adoptive parents claim Erica went to live with her grandmother, driven away with some unknown person.

WBTV reported tonight on the one week delay between the missing persons report and posting Erica’s information on the Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s site (  What they didn’t report and what is notable is that another young girl from our area is also missing, but not on the site either: 
The full story from the Charlotte Observer on Monday, Aug. 05, 2013 is here:

A 12-year-old Charlotte girl is still missing.

Tayviona Vandiver was last seen at her house on Cold Water Lane on July 23.
She is 5-foot-5 and 110 pounds. She is black and has black hair, and police say she may need medical attention.

Officers say Vandiver has run away before, but never for this length of time. She is known to frequent the Redman Road area near the Forest Ridge and East Walk apartment complexes.

Anyone with information should call 911.

Tayviona is not listed on the Missing Kids site.  She hasn’t been reported as found.  She is likely not the only child from our area who isn’t safely at home.  Please watch for her as well. 
Please talk to your children about their own safety and about how to help their friends—that they should “tell on” their friends to keep them safe.  If there are secrets too big for kids to handle, go get the right adult to help.  And keep trying until everyone is somewhere safe. 

Meanwhile, look for these two girls to bring them home, and make sure if you see them you tell them they are loved and people are only interested in having them home safe:

Photo Credit:  Charlotte Observer
TAYVIONA VANDIVER, Age 12, current picture, 5' 5"
Missing from CHARLOTTE

Photo Credit: Charlotte Observer
Photo from 2011
Missing from ROWAN COUNTY

There are a number of sites with good resources for having conversations with your kids.  One specific list comes from the site (see ) and could make a big difference.  Remember, it’s not just one conversation.  Of course, nobody wants to scare kids, but we do want to prepare kids:

Child safety is a serious subject, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an enjoyable time talking about it with children. Sing songs, tell stories, play games, and interact with kids in a way that makes them feel safer. Consider the following topics as you begin the conversation.
  • Teach children their full names, address, and home telephone number
  • Make sure they know your full name
  • Make sure children know how to reach you at work or on your cell phone
  • Teach children how and when to use 911 and make sure children have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency
  • Instruct children to keep the door locked and not to open the door to talk to anyone when they are home alone 
  • Set rules with children about having visitors over when you’re not home and how to answer the telephone
See the same site to click on links for:
  • ·       Conversation Starters
  • ·       Safety Tips
  • ·       Child ID kit
  • ·       Emergency Contact for Parents
  • ·       Bookmark (Nat’l. Center’s rules of safety)
  • ·       Series of Mini Lessons
  • ·       Activity Lessons
  • ·       Parent Presentation

With the excitement of a new school season starting and everyday pressures, it’s a good time to review and teach your kids.

Monday, August 5, 2013 Could Use Some Updates

It’s unclear who was responsible to update the bio page for new District 1 City Council Representative Billy Dal Maddalon, but when Citynewswatch went to check it out and update Council Contact Information for this site, something stood out.  It was on the page as of 8/5/2013.  See if you spot the error, shown in bright red.  Someone’s face in the government center may also be bright red.  Here is the full link:

Charlotte > City Council > Meet the Council > District 1 Billy Maddalon

Billy Dal Maddalon, District 1 Representative
Billy Dal Maddalon, a Democrat, represents District 1 on Charlotte City Council. He was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Patsy Kinsey after she was selected to replace Mayor Patrick McCrory following his election as Governor. 

Maddalon has been active in community organizations, serving on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1999 to 2004 and the Board of Directors of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and Chair of its Strategic Planning Committee from 2004 to 2005. He was the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce 1998 Entrepreneur of the Year, one of the Charlotte Business Journal’s “40 under 40” most influential persons in Charlotte, and the Impact Fund, Class of 2000, of the Foundation For The Carolinas. He has also served on the Central Carolinas Voices and Choices Environmental Coalition’s land use action team and the Board of Visitors and the Board of Directors of the Alexander Youth Network. He was a member of the North Carolina State University Foundation Board from 2006 to 2008, served on the Board of Advisors of the North Carolina State University College of Humanities from 1998 to 2004 and as its president from 2004 to 2005. He was President of the North Carolina State Alumni Association from 2006 to 2008.

He received bachelors’ degrees in political science and public relations from North Carolina State University.

Maddalon is founder and managing owner of Unique Southern Estates, a boutique hospitality company that operates The Morehead Inn/Van Landingham Estate/Good Gracious Events.  

Maddalon lives in Charlotte.

Editorial Note:  While Governor McCrory did move on from Mayor of Charlotte, that was several years ago and is unrelated to the appointment of Kinsey.  The bio should reflect that Mayor Anthony Foxx left his position to be appointed Secretary of Transportation.  After that vacancy developed, now-Mayor Kinsey was appointed to her current position. 
No contact information is given yet for Maddalon, but Citynewswatch will continue to look for an update.


City Council Minutes are still not up to date.  They are just over two months delayed with random missing meetings prior to those two months.  This is an improvement to the four or more months’ consistent backlog which stood a long time, but still not acceptable.