It's official: 2007 has come to a close. And the end of 2007 marks the time when folks think back and try to figure out what the hell happened last year. But look, don't strain your brain cells trying to remember the best and worst crap that went down during the last 365 days -- we did it for you! Not only that but we also ranked last year's most significant moments, too.
So check it out: over the next few pages you'll find a compilation of our favorite lists of 2007 writen by our fleet of top-notch reporters. And elsewhere in this issue, you'll see tons of other year-end lists:
• Arts -- Best books, comics of 2007
• Fallout -- Top 10 news stories of 2007
• Flicks -- Last year's best DVDs
• Vibes -- The top 10 albums of 2007
• And Food & Drink -- A look forward at next year's big food trends
Read, enjoy and then tell us we're idiots. Happy New Year!
'CORRIDORS OF CRAP'
You have to admit, Mayor Pat McCrory's description of decades-old lousy zoning decisions and ill-thought commercial development -- "corridors of crap" -- has a certain ring to it. It's also a lot more honest and real than the jargon of developers and urban planners. When was the last time you said, "Hey, let's go to the live-work-shop-play center?"
But he could take a lesson from this gem of sloganeering from the Urban Land Institute's report to the city, in which they envision Eastland Mall reborn as the Ballantyne of Central Avenue: "When the mall falters, the question that needs to be asked is not 'How can we save the mall' but 'How can we use this opportunity to create a higher-value, more sustainable real estate development that helps build a more livable community?'" It just rolls off the tongue.
In the spirit of the proposed rename of Piedmont Courts to Siegel Point, here are a few names (the planners say the "Eastland Mall" moniker has got to go) for the redeveloped mixed-use live-work-shop-play space:
1. Ballantyne East
2. Park and Battery
3. Transit Pointe
4. Central Crest
5. The Shoppes at Doggleboon
— Karen Shugart
WHAT KILLS US
What kills people in Mecklenburg County?
The following list was compiled by the Mecklenburg County Health Department,
which tracks the top 10 things that kill us and
how that stacks up to the rest of the nation.
Cancer -- Meck: 1, N.C.: 2, USA: 2
Heart Disease -- Meck: 2, N.C.: 1, USA: 1
Stroke: Meck -- 3, N.C.: 3, USA: 3
Alzheimer's -- Meck: 4, N.C.: 7, USA: 7
Accidents -- Meck: 5, N.C.: 4, USA: 5
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary -- Meck: 6, N.C.: 5, USA: 4
Kidney Disease -- Meck: 7, N.C.: 9, USA: 9
Diabetes -- Meck: 8, N.C.: 6, USA: 6
HIV/AIDS -- Meck: 9, N.C.: *, USA: *
Septicemia -- Meck: 10, N.C.: 10, USA: 10
* not in Top Ten for N.C. or USA
— Tara Servatius
A MESSAGE TO SUDAN
In August, North Carolina legislators unanimously approved a bill ordering the state's pension fund to divest from Sudan. The bill put North Carolina with 19 other states that have pledged to sell investments in companies linked to the Sudanese government or to groups that support bloodshed in the country's Darfur region. Here's a few facts about the bill and the conflict that spawned it:
• N.C. Treasurer Richard Moore in November said the state's retirement fund had divested from nine companies that provide money or military support to Sudan's government.
• The approved bill requires Moore's office to continue to examine state holdings for offending businesses.
• As many as 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur and 2 million more displaced since 2003, according to the United Nations.
• In 2004, then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was the first high-ranking federal official to label the killings "genocide."
• Five companies (ABB, CHC Helicopter, ABB, Rolls Royce, Schlumberger and Siemens) have either ceased operations in Sudan or significantly changed their behavior in the country since the start of the divestment movement.
Sources: Save Darfur, Sudan Divestment Task Force, N.C. Department of State Treasurer
Charlotte isn't the healthiest place on earth. But if these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are any indicator, we don't quite deserve the biscuits-and-gravy, clogged-artery reputation so frequently associated with the American South.
81.7 percent of adults in the Charlotte region have health insurance.
U.S. Median: 85.9
23.2 percent of adults in Charlotte region reported no leisure-time physical activity in past month.
U.S. Median: Same
23.9 percent of Charlotte-area adults exercised vigorously for at least 20 minutes three times a week.
U.S. Median: 28.0
21.3 percent of Charlotte-area adults smoked 100-plus cigarettes and currently smoke.