Two new members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board will get a quick introduction to the complexity of their new job Wednesday.
The board will convene at 5 p.m. to salute departing members Richard McElrath and Amelia Stinson-Wesley, then swear in Thelma Byers-Bailey and Paul Bailey.
The new members will have the rest of the hour to enjoy a reception, then plunge into a 6 p.m. meeting that includes votes on student assignment policy, community boundary requests and several new magnets and programs for 2014-15. They’ll also hear a report on how the superintendent proposes to select the limited number of teachers who will be offered four-year contracts and $500-a-year raises, as required by state law. Ann Doss Helms
Early risers get Palin’s signature
The lines stretched nearly to the guardhouse gate of the Billy Graham Library on Friday, as hundreds of Sarah Palin fans waited to snap photos of the former Republican vice presidential candidate and have her sign copies of her new book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.”
Palin was all smiles as she shook hands with each person, asked where they were from and, if they appeared dressed for work, what they did for a living.
Cars began lining up at the guardhouse gate well before dawn. They were let in at 7 a.m., then everyone lined up outside the library entrance for Palin’s 10 a.m. appearance. People had to buy a copy of Palin’s book in advance at the library, so the lines were controlled.
On Friday, library staff handed out buttons with the image of a Christmas wreath with red Christmas balls on it. “Good Tidings and Great Joy,” the buttons said. “It’s OK to Wish Me a Merry Christmas! Sarah Palin.”
One big difference from December 2010, when former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, signed copies of their books at the library: It was a whole lot warmer on Friday, with many people not even wearing sweaters or coats. Joe Marusak
Charlotte sees dip in commuters by car
A slightly smaller proportion of metro Charlotteans is commuting by car as working from home, public transit use and biking increase, says a new study based on federal transportation and census data.
The study was commissioned by the NCPIRG Education Fund ( www.ncpirgedfund.org), a Raleigh-based consumer group. The group declared the results, which showed an overall drop in miles traveled by vehicles, to mean “the driving boom is over.” It urged policymakers to invest more heavily in public transit and biking.
The proportion of commuters using cars dropped in 99 of the 100 largest U.S. cities in recent years, the report says. That included a 3.4 percent drop in metro Charlotte between 2000 and the period of 2007-11, the ninth-largest decrease nationwide.
Public transit passenger miles increased in a majority of cities, including Charlotte. So did biking, although Charlotte showed little recent change. Every metro area showed an increase in employees working from home. Bruce Henderson
• Former Mecklenburg County Republican Chairman Lee Teague is moving to Raleigh to become a communications specialist in the state budget office, which is run by Art Pope.
Teague will work with the N.C. GEAR program. That’s an acronym for Government Efficiency and Reform. He starts his job Dec. 16.
• U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger has named Hank Battle director of the Pittenger Victory Fund, a new joint fundraising committee created to re-elect the Charlotte businessman and other GOP candidates.
Battle has been a headmaster at three independent schools and is a former assistant headmaster at Charlotte Latin School. Jim Morrill
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