Billy Graham, evangelist who reached millions throughout the world, dies at 99

The Rev. Billy Graham died Wednesday morning at the age of 99, according to a spokesperson for the family.

Graham died of natural causes in his home in Montreat, North Carolina, according to the spokesperson.

Graham’s legacy included reaching millions of people through a traveling evangelical message.

He met and shared the message with everyone from Steve McQueen to each president since Harry Truman to millions of Americans.

He harnessed the influence of television with his simple but powerful message of salvation, reaching millions in a way no one had before. Experts estimate that through rallies, more than 200 million people had heard his message in person, and many more through radio and television.

Graham was born in 1918 on a dairy farm in Charlotte.


“Dockless” bike sharing arrives in Charlotte for carefree rides

Two bike share companies have launched in the Queen City for Charlotteans to enjoy a bike ride or commute without worrying about where to park at the end of a trip.

Spin and Lime Bike are two startup companies that aim to cut costs of bike sharing by removing docking stations that are traditionally set up for parking and renting bicycles.

To ride a bike, one would simply download the company’s app and park the bike at his or her final destination. No searching of a dock or designated parking area needed. The bikes are equipped with GPS and self locks that wait for the next rider.

Lime Bike wrote in a press release that this type of bike sharing will help solve “the last mile” problem in mass transportation where cabs and buses are inefficient.

Spin and Lime Bike intend to bring 500 bikes each to the Charlotte area. Charlotte is now part of a growing list of cities that have dockless bike share programs, including Washington, D.C.; Dallas; Durham; Seattle; Silicon Valley and South San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Spin

What would Charlotte look like with Amazon’s second headquarters?

Amazon has made a huge proposal, and cities like Charlotte and Raleigh plan to weigh in.

Amazon announced it will open a second headquarters in North America that will be the same size as its current Seattle location. The company sent out the press release last week to find the most enticing deal, along with the best location.

What would Charlotte look like if Amazon invested $5 billion into the city and promised tens of thousands of jobs with a median pay of $100,000 over the next decade?

For perspective, here are the largest employers in Charlotte:

  • Carolinas HealthCare system (35,000 employees)
  • Wells Fargo (23,000 employees)
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (18,000 employees)
  • Walmart (17,000 employees)
  • Bank of America (15,000 employees)
  • Novant Health (11,000 employees)

Amazon’s Seattle headquarters currently has 40,000 employees, and the company is looking to have up to 50,000 employees to the new location. It plans to start with at least 500,000 square feet of office space and expand to 8.1 million square feet by 2030.

For comparison, the Bank of America Corporate Center has 1.1 million square feet of Class A office space. Accommodating the tech giant would be like adding just over seven of the Bank of America buildings to the Charlotte skyline.

Free Press Graphic

The potential for revenue

According to data taken from its Seattle headquarters, Amazon has spent $3.7 billion on construction and infrastructure, payed its employees $25.7 billion and payed out $43 million in public transportation for employees over the past seven years. The data was taken from 2010 until this year when Amazon moved their headquarters to Seattle.

Although the numbers are specific to Seattle, it can give potential cities like Charlotte an idea of the impact a tech giant has when it moves in.

The impact of Amazon coming to Charlotte would change the face of the city and give a guaranteed boost to the economy. Charlotte may not be No. 1 on Amazon’s list, but the Queen City has all the minimum requirements needed to make a base for a new headquarters.

The New York Times ranked each potential city in an article worth checking out. Charlotte made its top 15, while Raleigh made top 10 out of 50 potential cities.

You can read Amazon’s full proposal here.

Gov. Roy Cooper says no way to offshore drilling in North Carolina

Oil rig offshore

In an expected move, Gov. Roy Cooper said he opposed the possibility of oil exploration and drilling off the coast of North Carolina.

According to a press release, at least 30 coastal communities have passed resolutions opposing drilling, joining hundreds of businesses and a bipartisan group of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation.

“It’s clear that opening North Carolina’s coast to oil and gas exploration and drilling would bring unacceptable risks to our economy, our environment, and our coastal communities—and for little potential gain,” Cooper said.

This statement comes at a time in which one of President Donald Trump’s executive orders may make progress. The order instructs the department of the Interior to open up hundreds of miles of the Atlantic Ocean, just one year after former President Barack Obama made the area off limits. The order calls for seismic testing and the possibility of drilling in an untapped region.

The executive order was signed in April of this year, but as Trump’s presidency continues to hit roadblocks, drilling off the east coast may be his next chance at showing a successful tenure.



5 things to keep you busy this weekend in Charlotte

1. Latest Amelie’s Bakery to open Saturday

The newest addition to the Amelie’s franchise is opening this weekend on Park Road. It’ll be in the backlot at Park Road Shopping Center, and returning customers can expect all the same quirks in decorations and delicious, rich treats. If you haven’t heard of this fantastic bakery, here’s the menu.

2. Outdoor movie series at the Promenade On Providence

Head over to the Promenade on Providence to enjoy a family-friendly movie night starting at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The movie “Sing” will be shown. Details here.

3. Watch Charlotte’s firefighters go head to head with CMPD on Sunday

The Seventh Annual Chief’s Cup Baseball Game will be held Sunday at BB&T Ball Park. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit Levine Children’s Hospital. Tickets are $5. For more info, click here.

4. Phantogram and Tycho live at the Fillmore

If you like electronica or chillwave music, Phantogram and Tycho are coming to the Fillmore on Saturday. Tickets are around $50, and doors open at 7 p.m.

5. Final day of Gendered: An Inclusive Art Show at the Mint Museum Uptown

This collection of art displays the progression of LGBTQ and feminism while addressing the challenges ahead. The last day of the show is Friday. More info here.

Charlotte asks for help in deciding welcoming bridge design

The city of Charlotte is planning on putting a more attractive design on a bridge to welcome visitors as they drive into Charlotte.

Travelers would see the new project as they drive through I-85, connecting Research Drive to J.W. Clay Boulevard.

The Charlotte development website calls this new project a “signature bridge (that) will serve as a monument entrance into Charlotte.”

City leaders have four different designs they are asking the public to help decide on until June 30.

After the design is decided, the city will begin obtaining the real estate needed, along with sending out bids for contractors to complete the structure.

Check out the video below to see the different designs, and click here to vote on your favorite one!

Weekend Roundup: Heavy rains in Charlotte; Canadian set on mowing even as tornado looms behind


Heavy rain injures one, leaves thousands without power north of Charlotte

Heavy rain in north Charlotte left thousands without power and injured one after a tree fell on a car as severe thunderstorms swept across the city. Some outages left people in the dark for hours.


14 arrested as tempers flare in Portland protests

Tempers ignited in Portland on Sunday afternoon after 14 were arrested when a “Trump Free Speech” rally ran into a makeshift protest in opposition to the rally. The opposing rally considered the Trump demonstrators to be racially motivated after a man stabbed and killed two people after he was confronted for shouting racial slurs at two women last month. Full story here.

Like Obama’s first term, Trump must decide on a war in Afghanistan

The New York Times published an article on how President Donald Trump’s top advisers are split on adding troops to Afghanistan or slowly pulling away from conflict in that part of the world. Full story here.

Trump is nearing a final infrastructure overhaul

President Donald Trump is working toward a final draft of how he will rebuild the foundation of America. The main catch is putting the burden on local governments whereas in the past, the federal government would normally take the financial hit. Full story here.


London attack executed by 3 assailants

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the latest attack was enough after three assailants used a van to plow through a crowd in London and began an assault using hunting knives that killed seven and left dozens injured. A full timeline, along with preventative action the country plans to take, is available here.


Golden State Warriors continue hot streak

The Golden State Warriors are now 14-0 in the playoffs after beating the Cavaliers 132-113 on Sunday night. Cleveland’s LeBron James continues to have outstanding games in an attempt to overthrow the Warriors’ undefeated post-season streak. Full coverage of Game 2 here.

NHL finals

The Nashville Predators answered back with a 5-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday. The Predators trailed 0-2 in the series but regained momentum in front of a wild Nashville crowd. Full game recap here.

Bonus Story

Fearless Canadian mows lawn as tornado looms behind him


An Alberta resident had no worries as he was mowing his lawn over the weekend with a large funnel cloud looming behind him. “I was keeping an eye on it,” Theunis Wessels said after his wife snapped a quick photo of it to share with her friends on Facebook. Little did she know that mowing a lawn in front of a tornado is viral material. You can read the full interview here.