‘60 Minutes' of fame for Charlotte

Tick, tick, tick, tick … that's the sound of the most famous stopwatch in history, as “60 Minutes” apparently is working on a story about Charlotte.

Word was that the bigtime program already was looking at Duke Energy, after “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley attended a luncheon speech by Duke CEO Jim Rogers. Now, Bank of America's power play for Merrill Lynch has the program talking to other folks in the QC. UNC Charlotte finance prof Tony Plath said he got a call the other day. Anyone else dialed in?

More national spotlight

Mayor Pat fielded calls Monday from national media about Bank of America's heavyweight deal making and what it means for banktown. The two biggie banks have done a lot to put Charlotte on the map.

“The commentators now know our name, know where our city is,” Hizzoner said shortly after appearing on Fox biz news about the bank's $50 billion Merrill Lynch deal.

Longtime lawyer and civic guy Russell Robinson wants to know if BofA buying a hunk of Wall Street means national news outlets will finally drop the “N.C.” when referring to Charlotte. That just drives natives like Robinson nuts.

UNCC economist's stock is up

Before presenting his quarterly economic forecast to local business leaders Tuesday, UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton joked about his newfound popularity. About 40 people, plus four television crews, attended the meeting – a third more than normal, he said. Attendees included commercial Realtor and former county commissioner Edna Chirico and Louis Moore, president of the Charlotte metro region for BB&T.

“My job is cyclical,” Connaughton said. “When the economy's clicking along positively, no one wants to hear what the economist has to say.”

Beautiful idea takes root

What's that we see sprouting in our own backyard? Why, it's Beautorium, a Charlotte-based Web site offering a carefully chosen range of natural and organic beauty products, including hard-to-find brands popular abroad.

Husband-and-wife team Barry King and Ann Francke moved from London to the QC to start the business and launched the site in April. It's recently garnered mentions in national magazines and also sponsored the VIP gift bags at last week's Dave Matthews Band cancer benefit concert in New York, hosted by Julia Roberts. So far, Francke said, the response has been positive, and they're hoping to eventually open retail stores.

Odds and ends

Fastest items in town™: Charlotte Chamber members can rub shoulders with the elusive Michael Jordan when he accepts the Citizen of the Carolinas Award Nov. 6 at Time Warner Cable Arena. Individual tickets cost $95. Unlike Bobcats games, hors d'oeuvres and cocktails are included in the price. … While UNC Charlotte students were marching across campus in support of football, the university's corporate friends gathered at the chancellor's home to welcome Joe Mazzola, the new dean of the Belk College of Business, UNCC spokeswoman Sasha Trosch reports. VIP attendees included real estate honcho Fred Klein, state Sen. Bob Rucho, and UNC Charlotte trustees Ruth Shaw, Mac Everett and Wachovia Corp. marketing bigwig Ranjana Clark, a former student of Mazzola's from his days at Duke.

Coming Sunday in On The Boss's Mind: Fred Eshelman, head of the big Wilmington pharma research outfit PPD, couldn't care less about iPods, but he's a stickler for fact checking.