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Issue 5 Dec. 2011

Charlotte’s Traditional Family Today’s Family

Community Leader

Wadsworth Estate

Jerry Adams

Traditional & Non-Traditional

Senator Malcolm Graham

Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

Country Singer & Single Dad How he makes it work.

Holiday Issue

It’s All About Family and The Holidays


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Our approach is to engage and partner with clients ensuring alignment and creating solutions tailored to the client’s organizational strengths. This enables effective execution, which is the critical link between great ideas and excellent results. Our team’s experience, overlaid with a factbased assessment process, enable us to quickly clarify issues and identify root causes to known client issues. Through this process, we offer objective views to help discover untapped opportunities.

We serve our clients with solutions in:

• Strategic Marketing and Customer Engagement • Information Technology Cost Efficiency • Corporate Real Estate & Workforce Productivity • Supply Chain & Operations Management • Organization Transformation • Product Quality & Service Management

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• Results are central to our purpose • Get the truth as we know it • Trust is earned by delivering on our promise

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11204 Waightstill Way Charlotte, NC 28277 Main: (888) 850-3432 Fax: (888) 830-0743 www.thethrowergroupllc.com 02


table

Issue 5 Dec. 2011

feature articles one on one

cover story Page 19

J. Montrece Boutique Pg. 11

new face Amanda Bodenarain Pg. 13

entertainment Jerry Adams-Family Before Fame Pg. 21

one on one Chris Jenkins-Entrepreneur/Father Pg. 23

shopping Gift Ideas for the Holidays Pg. 37

13

Bonded In More Ways Than One

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of contents departments editorial

What Do Family & the Holidays Mean? Pg. 05

25

commentary Family, Yesterday and Today

Pg. 07

beauty Pride Make-Up Presents Beauty Tips & Myths Pg. 09

health Managing Holiday Stress

Pg. 10

financial A Wifey Fund, Should You Have One? Pg. 15

home Winter Is For Home Buying

17

23

Pg. 16

history Celebrating 100 Years of The Wadsworth Estate

Pg. 17

21

community leaders JCSU/Senator Malcolm Graham

Pg. 25

politics Consolidation. A New Agenda Pg. 27 for Charlotte?

community Strive: Charlotte Pg. 29

food & wine Wine Pairings

Pg. 31

gospel truth God’s Family

Pg. 37

contact us SCM Magazine values our readers’ input and solicits your opinions. Let us know your thoughts! Send your comments via email @ syoung@sophisticatedcharlottemag.com We reserve the right to edit all letters and posts. All published letters become the property of SCM Magazine.

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editorial

SOPHISTICATED CHARLOTTE MAGAZINE CEO/Editor In Chief Sharon Young

What do Family and the Holidays Really Mean?

Chief Operations Officer Lakertisha Slade-McIver Spiritual Advisor Bishop Walter Gwin Creative Art Director/Graphics Production Director Wayne Rose, Work of Art Design Senior Editor Vanessa Burke

This holiday season, SCM is going to focus

on families. Allow me to start off by sharing a little about my family first. Growing up in a very religious family, the holidays were about the birth of Christ first and foremost. But, it also meant coming together as a family. We would have big dinners with the whole family sitting at the big table with so much food we could not eat it all. At the end of the meal we would all be full but still found ourselves eyeing what was left of the cake or sweet potato pie. The holidays also meant giving thanks for our blessings. We were not as fortunate as many. Our mother died early in our lives, so our grandparents tried to make sure we realized how important family was. It was about staying together and being there for each other. They were trying to raise five small grandchildren while they were well into their 60s. We lost my grandfather when I was a teenager. He had been the main focus of our lives. He was the one who kept us together. After his passing we grew apart, as families sometimes do. At the tender age of 28 my sister passed away, then my grandmother years later. The holidays became a sad time for me for many years. As I grew older, it became a time to thank God for blessing me with my children, my brothers and another sister that I later found out that I had. I started celebrating the holidays in a big way, much like we had done when I was a child. I was reminded that no matter where your family is, they are still your family. And even if you couldn’t be with your biological family during the holidays, whoever you were with, they were considered your family at the moment. The holiday season is not just a time to exchange gifts but to remind us of how blessed we are to have each other. For many it is a very difficult time of the year. Sometimes you can’t help but miss those who are no longer here. 05 SCM

Senior Copy Editor/Interview Writer Nicole Carter Cover Photographer Kevin Douglas, Captured By Kevin

You remember previous holidays sitting together at the dinner table, opening presents or just watching the football games. The holidays are about remembering, but they are also about sharing. Sharing your time, sharing through giving to each other, but most importantly, sharing your love for one another. Giving of oneself is the best gift we can give to our families and to those who really need us at this time. There are so many people who are having a hard time, whether it is financial or emotional. We have military men and women who cannot be home with their families; we have college students who cannot afford to make it home; and we have families living in shelters, whose only holiday wish is to have a place to call home. Yes we give to many charities during this time of year, but have we ever thought to invite someone who could not be with their family into our homes, someone who finds the holidays to be a very lonely time and misses the ones who are no longer here with them? What is the holiday season all about? That is easy to say. It is about families caring and sharing together. So this holiday season when you are celebrating with your family, take the time to share your family with someone else. It could be the best family holiday ever.

Sharon Young Editor In Chief

Photograper Todd Youngblood Website Manager Tenessa Moore, Creative Ink Contributing Writers Jared Chatman Jason Brown Shenna Simpson Shella Sylla Elisa Gaines Sadruddin Abdullah Website www.sophisticatedcharlottemag.com Email admin@sophisticatedcharlottemag.com Phone 704-910-5166 Office 980-322-9460 Other Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteSCM Twitter sharonscm Distribution Distbu Tec www.sophisticatedcharlottemag.com Story submissions: SCM is not responsible for unsolicited artwork or manuscripts. Copyright 2011 by SCM, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. SCM is a trademark in the USA. Printed in the USA


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commentary

Family, Yesterday and Today That was then. This is now … Mom and Dad both work. It is all 50/50. Dad’s money is dad’s money and Mom’s money is mom’s money. They each pay their half of the bills, in most cases. More and more women are beginning to make more money than their partners. So what happens then? Well, she pays more than half, and her husband or partner gets to hear her nag: “I pay the bills around here.” The man no longer is the man of the house, and the woman makes all the decisions. They both contribute to the children, again half and half in most cases.

I have discovered that as the definition of family has changed, so have people’s ways of thinking. It seems like our elders are being placed in nursing homes at an alarming rate. Our young have no respect for their parents or any other adults, and the number one topic of conversation is money. We are losing our families. Let’s talk about why, starting with our women. Women, we are the backbone of the family. Take a look at your mothers and grandmothers. They were the ones who kept the families together. They worked on their jobs, and then came home to be there when the children got out of school. They helped out with homework and asked the children about their day. They were just being MOM. Dinner was at the same time every night with the entire family at the table. That is where you discussed issues, answered questions and generally had your family time. That was then. This is now … Children let themselves in the house because mom is still at work. She has a corporate job that requires all of her time. When she does come home, the microwave is her best friend to provide a quick dinner. Kids are either on the computer, playing a game or texting on their cell phone while mom is preparing for the next day at work. A quick kiss and it’s off to bed for everyone. Then you have the Super Mom who works, takes the kids to their practices, does dinner, helps with homework, cleans the house, washes the dishes and then falls into bed. Dads, your role a long, long time ago was to bring home the bacon. Dads took care of the family essentials like the mortgage, electricity and food. Whatever was left, mom put it away for hard times. That’s right, I said MOM. Back in the day, mom got dad’s paycheck. She had to make it work. She would pay all the bills, buy for the children and keep the house together. Dad received an allowance to maybe go have a beer with the boys, or for what back in the day was called “walking around money.” Dad took care of HOME. He took care of his family. Mom was his backup. Since Mom saved the money and even sometimes worked, it was her job to support him. 07 SCM

Let’s not forget grandparents. Looking back, every neighborhood had a matriarch of the community. They respected her, looked out for her and even did chores for her. She was grandma to everyone. Grandmothers and grandfathers taught respect for the elders. Children had to leave the room when grown folks were talking. You were taught to call all grown folks Miss and Mister. They taught you not to talk back, roll your eyes or suck your teeth. You better not act up in school, and the word “no” was not in your vocabulary. Grandmas cooked the best meals and handed out all kinds of goodies. Today, we have grandmothers at 30, and they are not teaching our children respect. She is called by her first name because she feels too young to be called grandma. Grandma does not teach because she is still learning, herself. Today’s grandmothers don’t even bake. They are a part of the microwave generation. With all that being said, where do the children stand? Alone, in most cases. They are home alone glued to a computer, cell phone or some type of gaming device. When was the last time you saw children outside playing? They have no imagination. Ask a child to make up a game and see what they come up with. Yet you have children who know every word to Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” at the tender age of four. How much time are they spending watching videos or listening to these songs? So there you have the new age family. When I think about it, it makes me sad. Making money has replaced spending time with your family. I remember back in my childhood, my grandfather and grandmother, who were well into their 60s, told us that they could not afford name brand clothes. As long as we were clean and neat, no one knew the difference. They bought us what they could afford. But the most important thing they gave us was LOVE. We sat down together for dinner. It was not an option. We talked. Grandma was at home with a snack waiting for us when we got out of school. If she could not be there, there was a neighbor who was. And the rules still applied. There was always an adult there. And going to church on Sunday was a part of our lives. Today, we give our children things. We buy sneakers that cost $125, jeans for $50, games, computers and cell phones for 10 year olds, even if we cannot afford it. This is what the family has become. My question is, will it ever go back? They say life comes full circle. I can’t wait until the day when we once again marry for love and stay married; the man becomes the man in the family and the woman, mom. That will be the day when children are respectful, and life is all about family. I hope I live to see that day.


beauty

Pride Make-Up Presents Beauty Tips & Myths

Singers, celebrities and models. Sure they may be born with natural beauty, but they all have tips and tricks that keep them looking their very best. In this installment of Pride Make-Up Presents, you will see a number of the best-kept Hollywood secrets for healthy, beautiful looks.

Tips • To lighten dark circles around your eyes, grate a small peeled cucumber or potato. Apply the pulp to small gauze squares. Place the squares on the dark area and lie down for 20 to 30 minutes. Sponge off the residue. • Smooth eyelids and erase wrinkles by applying whole milk to the area. Apply using a makeup sponge and let it sit for five minutes. Wash milk off with lukewarm water. Repeat frequently. The butterfat in the milk will nourish the skin and clear away unwanted lines. • You can reshape your brows this way: Cover the brows with an opaque make-up base. Draw in a new brow line with an eyebrow pencil. Try one shape after another until you find one that makes you look bright and youthful. Use the penciled line as your guide to tweezing. Note: Pluck eyebrows before bedtime so any redness will disappear overnight, and never remove the hairs from above your eyebrows. • When using a pencil, apply in small feathered strokes. Start at the inner corner and work outward. Blend the color using a brush.

Myths Now for some myths. These are things we’ve been told for years that are unfounded and just not true about your skin. • Soap is bad for your skin. Older formulas contained animal fats and vegetable oils, which left skin dry and irritated. Newer soaps are formulated so that they are much milder, and some contain moisturizers that won’t dry out your skin. Try using a beauty bar or body wash to help skin stay healthy. Dove is the #1 cleansing bar brand recommended by dermatologists. • Dry skin causes wrinkles. Most wrinkles are actually caused from exposure to the sun. 09 SCM

• You can wash acne and pimples away. Scrubbing too vigorously will increase oil production and only aggravate the condition. Instead, wash your face gently with a moisturizing soap like Dove and apply 5% Benzoyl Peroxide. • You can shrink the pores on your face. Your pore size is genetically determined. Pores may appear larger by bacteria and dead skin cells. Retin-A and alpha hydroxys, found in most acne products, are designed to break up these materials and bring the pores back to their original appearance. Have a beauty question? Email me at bookmuajmz@gmail.com


health

Managing Holiday Stress

By Sheena Maria Simpson

Hol-i-day (noun): 1) Holy Day; 2) a day on which one is exempt from work; specifically, a day marked by a general suspension of work in commemoration of an event; 3) vacation; 4) a period of exemption or relief (Merriam Webster, 2011). Although the denotation of the word “holiday” clearly translates to rest, relaxation and sighs of relief, for most Americans the word assumes an entirely different meaning. As the holiday season approaches, our thoughts quickly begin to shift to travel, food, social activities, shopping and the like. Engaging in such activities could lead to stress, or—in some cases—amplify existing stressors. The holiday season should bring a sense of joy and peace into our lives. To ensure our stressors don’t highjack these feelings, here are 10 tips to help manage and prevent holiday hysteria: 1. Be realistic. Have realistic expectations for yourself and others. Know your limits. Don’t push yourself to attend every social affair and family gathering during the holiday season. Be selective based on what is best and most reasonable for you. 2. Have a budget. Finances, in general, can be a stressor. This is even more amplified during the holidays. Create a list of names of the family and friends that you’re purchasing gifts for. Define your budget and stick to it! If you’re creative, design your own gifts instead of purchasing them. Remember, holiday giving is about giving from the heart—not the purse!

7. Acknowledge feelings. The holidays can also be a time of anxiety and depression for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Acknowledge those feelings, as they are valid and should not be suppressed. Surround yourself with family members and friends to help you manage these feelings through the season. Seek professional counseling if necessary.

3. Plan ahead. Whether grocery shopping or gift shopping, plan your trips in advance. Make sequential stops along the way to avoid backtracking later. This will ultimately save you time as well as gas mileage. Create lists for each trip. In doing so, you minimize how much time you spend wandering aimlessly through busy stores trying to figure out what you need.

8. Laugh often. Don’t take the holidays so seriously. Yes, there is much to be done; however, remember to enjoy the festivities that are occurring around you. Studies show that laughter improves heart health and the immune system, and it exercises muscles throughout the entire body. Laughter is contagious. Smile, laugh and spread the holiday cheer!

4. Enjoy the food—don’t over eat! In most cultures, the holidays also translate to a surplus of food! Again, know your limits. Monitor your eating habits. Over-eating can lead to more stress and weight gain that may have even longer negative effects. On the contrary, don’t starve yourself waiting for the next dinner party! Continue to eat small, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. This allows your metabolism to work at a consistent pace throughout the day.

9. Manage your relationships wisely. Families and friends are eager to gather together during the holidays. Unfortunately, such gatherings may also lead to conflict and disputes. Avoid placing yourself in the middle of family quarrels. Focus on the most important things during this time. Be the bridge that brings others together by focusing on the positive aspects of your relationships.

5. Say NO! Saying “yes” to every invitation and every gift request can also lead to stress. Be strong enough to say “no.” This tip emphasizes the importance of maintaining those realistic expectations for yourself. Saying “yes” to everything may result in feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. 6. Exercise. If you had an exercise regimen before the holidays, stick to it! Don’t forsake the gym or the treadmill simply because the holidays roll around. Exercise is a proven stress reliever. Keep your body and mind in shape, so you don’t have to play “catch up” afterward.

10. Remember you. Reserve time in your schedule to love and pamper YOU! Treat yourself to a gift or two. Build yourself up during the holidays. Remember to think positive thoughts. Read affirmations daily. Surround yourself with others who are energizing and share similar holiday interests. Relax, relate, release! The holidays can be stressful, but you can effectively manage it. Maintain your physical, mental and emotional health during the holiday season. After all, the true definition of holiday intends for us to find relief. This year, let’s be more intentional about managing that relief! 10


One on One J Montrece Boutique Fashion Business

Daphine Nichols - Owner

By Author’s Name

Originally from Morganton, N.C., Daphine Nichols relocated to Charlotte in 1980 with the desire and motivation to create her own success. Fascinated by fashion and creating a unique style, she was inspired to pursue her dream of being an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. Motivated by her love of shopping, her desire to find perfect pieces of clothing, and her frustration of not being able to fit the clothes in a traditional boutique, Daphine opened a shop of her own. J. Montrece is a boutique exclusively for plus-size women that offers a wide range of styles often lacking in most department stores. The name of the boutique, J. Montrece, is in memory of Nichols’ late nephew Javon Montrece, who passed away in 1995. The company’s logo incorporates butterflies and a woman with butterfly wings. The butterfly is a unique creation from God. They are all beautiful by design. Once they’ve been transformed from a caterpillar, out of the cocoon emerges a stunning creature. Nichols believes the butterfly represents the beauty that is inside every woman. Nichols is a wife and the mother of four beautiful children. She has high expectations, a gift of creativity, and over 20 years of work experience directly related to managing and operating a successful clothing boutique. The first eight years of her professional experience were spent in retail sales and modeling. The last 15 years have been dedicated to a career as a beauty consultant and mortgage financier. These experiences provided Nichols with the key disciplines required for running a successful business: sales, finance, marketing and management. Her work in retail and finance helped her understand different personalities, meet individual’s needs through listening, and to develop creative problem-solving skills while working with customers. The vision behind J. Montrece is to provide classy, trendy and elegant clothing for the plus-size woman. Daphine understands the full-figured silhouette and can tell her clients what fits and what does not fit before they ever enter the dressing room. By building relationships with her clients, she learns what their needs are and knows how to make their shopping experience both fun and exciting.

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The butterfly is a unique creation from God... Once they’ve been transformed from a caterpillar, out of the cocoon emerges a stunning creature.

In five years, Nichols plans to open J. Montrece II where she will sell handbags and shoes only. She believes that the gifts and talents God gives us are not meant for us to be selfish with them. Therefore, she plans to use J. Montrece as a ministry to motivate and encourage all women to have confidence in themselves. The boutique will participate in charity events to connect the company with other organizations that focus on the specific needs of women. Now open in South Charlotte, J. Montrece is designed to cater to the needs of full-figured women who love to wear beautiful, unique clothing. Shopping at department stores for discounts is one option for these women, but when they don’t want to buy clothes off the rack, they will shop at J. Montrece Boutique. From special occasion clothing to everyday attire, J. Montrece is the place for the classy and trendy woman. Nichols believes that women should dress to accentuate their bodies, as well as to look and feel their best. Looking good is not only about following the latest trends, but also about how the outfit complements the body. At J. Montrece, Daphine Nichols helps you find both.

J. Montrece is a women’s ready to wear Ladies Fashion and Accessory Boutique. Specializing in size 12 to 26. J. Montrece is owned and operated by Daphine Nichols. Daphine has fulfilled a lifelong dream of creating a classy and elegant trendy boutique for curvaceous women of all ages. With Daphine’s discerning taste and style she has managed to bring elegance, simplicity and sophistication to women’s clothing in Charlotte, N.C. and surrounding areas. The Boutique is located in the SouthPointe Village Shopping Center on the south side of Charlotte.

Daphine Nichols - Owner

10823 John Prince Rd. Charlotte, N.C. 28273 704 • 900 • 5214 www.jmontreceboutique.com


Amanda Bodenarain recently graduated with honors from Elon University, earning degrees in Political Science, Biology and Neuroscience. Next fall she will attend medical school to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a pediatric neurologist. Post medical school, Amanda will begin working toward her long-term goal of opening several neuro-pediatric clinics in the rural parts of North Carolina. She has a passion for humanity—children in particular—and wants to address the needs of children suffering from neurological disorders. Currently she volunteers at the Academic Advantage Tutoring Center in South Charlotte, where she works with students experiencing difficulties in math and science. Although Amanda is academically focused and driven, she also enjoys fashion and modeling in her free time. She has been strutting on the runway and participating in fashion shows since she was about three years old. She has been featured in Charlotte NC Fashion Week, and this past year, Amanda was chosen to represent the Charlotte area and compete in the Miss North Carolina USA Pageant. Amanda’s mother has always told her that it is important for her to leave this world a better place than she found it. The diverse opportunities she has taken advantage of have provided her with many future plans to do just that.

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f inancial By Shella Sylla

A Wifey Fund:

Should You Have One? When I was a young girl, about age 13, an older woman in my church gave me some words of advice. She said, “When you get married, make sure that you have your own separate account with money saved that your husband knows nothing about.” She further went on to tell me about how her husband had become very ill, and his medical bills depleted all of their joint savings and retirement accounts. She pointed out that the only reason she was able to avoid being completely wiped out was because she had kept a separate savings account in her name only. Granted, I didn’t know what to make of that information at age 13, but what I later discovered as I got older was that she was referring to what is commonly called a “Wifey Fund.” Interestingly enough, whenever this topic is brought up, it is often met with a lot of controversy. Some people view it as being dishonest with your mate and the equivalent of financial infidelity, while others see it as a necessary part of keeping the marriage together. Going back to the advice that I was given, and based on what I have seen firsthand, I think every wife should have a Wifey Fund. I am fortunate to come from a family whose parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and for as long as I can remember, my mother has always had a Wifey Fund. Throughout those years there have been more than a few occasions where a financial crisis had been avoided as a result of my mother’s secret savings.

Money in and of itself is not the root of the problem. It is the ‘money personality’ of each individual in the relationship.

Statistics have shown time and time again that money disputes rank high among the top 5 reasons for divorce. A study done by Utah State University found that a couple with $10,000 in debt and no savings is twice as likely to divorce as a couple with no debt and $10,000 in savings. However, money in and of itself is not the root of the problem. It is the “money personality” of each individual in the relationship. If the husband is a spender and the wife is a saver, or vice versa, disagreements will arise over how the household funds should be allocated. When the disagreements become frequent and rise in intensity, this creates an environment that tears the relationship apart and causes it to ultimately end in divorce. In an effort to prevent the deterioration of the marriage solely as a result of differences over how money should be handled, the Wifey Fund, or to be fair, “Hubby Fund” almost becomes a necessity. Most marriages start off with two people hopelessly in love and ecstatically looking forward to a lifetime of happiness together. However, before rushing off into the sunset with Mr. or Mrs. Right, it is important that you take the time to have a “financial date” where you discuss each other’s views toward money. This date should include views on credit, debt, savings and retirement, and it should have a specific emphasis on how the household finances will be handled. If this is something that you are uncomfortable with or may need help with, consider inviting an independent financial professional to help you get the ball rolling. Other resources you may want to consider are attending a financial workshop together or researching the topic of marriage and finances online. Addressing the issue of finances prior to tying the knot won’t necessarily guarantee marital bliss, but it may very well set you on a path that aligns your financial perspectives to the point where you don’t need a Wifey Fund. Shella Sylla is a Financial Advisor and can be reached for comment at shella@thehfginc.com

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home By Jason Brown

While everyone is getting out their sweaters and gloves to go Christmas shopping and to play in the snow that seems to increase each year, take this winter season to shop for a different gift for your family—a new house. Consumers expect to find lots of bargains on Black Friday and throughout the holidays, yet the greatest deals of the season are the homes left waiting on the market. For those buyers willing to bear the cold winds and sometimes rainy days, they will return the victors of the largest spoils, and here are reasons why. The winter months have fewer buyers, meaning there is automatically less competition. Most sellers have signed at least a six-month contract and do not want to lose showing activity on their home. Your interest gets you into the driver’s seat for negotiating the terms that your competition could have beaten you on. Motivated sellers eagerly want

Winter is for

Home Buying

to get their home sold as soon as possible because with winter comes reductions in home prices. Better pricing and less competition adds up to savings for you. With fewer transactions lenders have less paperwork (given that rate fluctuations don’t reverse this). Focusing more on getting your loan packaged and to the closing table generally makes for smoother transactions. Exceptions to this rule are those states like Florida and southern Texas where the winter months don’t have much of a shift in temperature. Yet for places like North Carolina, Georgia or even Virginia, the door is wide open. For most, winter months have a psychological effect with its darker skies and dreary conditions taking away from a home’s appeal. Temperatures in a home may fluctuate, leaving one room cold and another hot. Fresh scents of spring are gone and homes may not be as tidy. This is all good news to you as a buyer. Remember, your objective is to get the best deal on the best home for your budget. These factors mean nothing in terms of the structure of the home or its market value. If you are not in the market for a home this winter, no worries. Use this time to research the market and to work on improving your credit. Credit card companies do not want your cards to go idle during this time; settling with them so you can purchase more (or at least that’s how they may see it) is to your advantage.

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history he history of the Wadsworth Estate is a long one. From the start of its construction back in 1901 until now, it has always been a symbol of something great. The estate provides elegant and intimate space for social and business meetings, entertaining and conferences. On Oct. 10 the estate celebrated its 100th birthday. It was an evening that honored some of Charlotte’s matriarchs and recognized some of the city’s most influential people. These men and women were the trailblazers who fought diligently and broke barriers to make it possible for us to keep knocking down doors today. The celebration was attended by some of Charlotte’s own award recipients from previous years; however, the woman of the evening was the Honorable Judge Shirley Fulton. Judge Fulton was honored for her tireless efforts both on and off the bench. Along with Sarah Armstrong Coleman, Judge Fulton received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, one of the highest honors the governor can bestow upon a North Carolina citizen. Past recipients of the award include other notable Tar Heels, including Dr. Maya Angelou, Evangelist Billy Graham, Michael Jordan, Bob Timberlake and Rick Hendrick.

Judge Fulton & Budd Berro-Dir. Piedmont Off.

Judge Fulton next to portrait

Mr. Evans, Judge Fulton & Judge Evans

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Judge Fulton & Honorable T. Michael Todd

Judge Fulton served over 20 years in various courts throughout North Carolina. She served on the Court of Appeals, as well as District and Superior Courts. She was also asked to serve on the Supreme Court bench but declined. This soft-spoken woman is a beacon of inspiration and has achieved a level of success against all odds. Born in South Carolina to a sharecropper, Fulton went to a segregated school during a time in our history when things were separate but far from equal. As a result of the infamous Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, Fulton was given the opportunity to attend an integrated school, but she declined. She graduated with degrees from both North Carolina A&T University and Duke University Law School. She became one of the first black women to sit on one of Carolina’s highest courts. In her honor, the Charlotte School of Law created the Shirley L. Fulton/Wadsworth Estate Law Scholarship.

Judge Fulton & Mrs. Helen Kirk


Steve Crump, General Gregory, Willie Waddell

Judge Fulton & Sarah Bryant

Judge Fulton & son Kevin Goode

At the celebration, Fulton also acknowledged special women, the matriarchs of the community who were there for her and others in the neighborhood. Some of the women she recognized included Margaret Alexander, Sarah Coleman, Theresea Elder, Anna Hood, Sarah Stevenson and Helen Kirk. Fulton’s relationship with the Wadsworth Estate began in 2001 when she purchased the estate. Her vision to restore the property has been a labor of love. This historic building serves as a continuous reminder of Charlotte’s history.

Judge Fulton & Mr. & Mrs. Lewis Asbury

The celebration was the type of event that reminds us that we would not have some of the opportunities we have today if it were not for the men and women of Charlotte and others across the country who paved the ways for us. To them we say “thank you” for your contributions toward making the Charlotte community and our country a better place.

Judge Fulton & Mrs. Theresa Elder

Kevin Goode, Judge Fulton, Carlton Miles and son

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cover story

The Mackins Family

Bonded in More Ways than One By Jason Brown

If you are looking for a traditional family with as much business sense as they have incredible family values, look no further than the Mackins. Over the last five decades they have been able to weather the economy, competition, changing dynamics of bail bonding, death and the birth of two children, all while making it look easy. “Bail bonding started back in the late 1800s,” said Larry Mackins, son of the late Alonzo Mackins, Sr. “It has been around for a long time.” Alonzo Mackins started his bail bond business in 1952, but 19 SCM

it wasn’t his first attempt at entrepreneurship. He had previously owned a pushcart selling hotdogs, pickles and chips, candy and other small eats. He’d been in the restaurant business and owner of a club on the corner of LaSalle and Statesville. But bail bonding would be one of his most successful businesses, and the beginning of a legacy that would remain in his family for three generations. Alonzo Sr. worked hard and remained determined to support his family. The business was successful and sustained his wife Myrtle and their five children, Alonzo Jr., Willie, Larry, Alonzenia and Laura.


The family never really struggled. Life was going well for this 6 foot, 200 pound man who started out selling bottles with only a third grade education. “People gave him much respect,” Larry admitted, although he didn’t fully understand what his father had built for his family. It didn’t hit him until he was in the ninth grade, and one of his classmates said, “You live in a middle-class house, but you are upper class.” They owned horses, donkeys and a miniature golf course that was landscaped and designed by other African Americans. At the time, most black people were working for white companies while building their own set of skills and trades on the side. So when Alonzo Sr. needed something built or created, he would bring their talents in to make him what he wanted. Once he became sick, he started taking his son Larry and his brother, Alonzo Jr., with him on business runs. “I remember him telling me one hot summer day, ‘Either you’re gonna work your mind or work your body … so get your education so you don’t have to work your body.’” Moments like those strengthened the family bond. The father taught his sons, and the sons built a work ethic similar to their father’s. After Alonzo Sr. died, the business went dormant. His wife Myrtle used $5,000 to resubmit the paperwork to keep the name Mackins Bonding. During this time Larry courted Gwendolyn Blackman, and they married in 1978. At the time she was working as a secretary at Pharr Yarns, but when their oldest child Tracie was born they decided that Gwendolyn would stay home to raise the baby. “It was hard at first because Larry really didn’t know how to balance his time. But I had a strong mother, so she would be the one I would complain to, and she would give me good advice,” said Gwendolyn. As they learned to balance their time, they grew as a family. Four and a half years later Jennifer was born. “We would always find time to be together. When he would be at the office I would gather up the girls and go out there with him.” This proved to be the best thing for the girls, as they were able to learn the business by watching their parents. The family was in for their most challenging test when they learned of the failing health of Myrtle Mackins. Already having experienced unexpected deaths in the past, this was not a welcome feeling. It was a hard time for the family because Jennifer, the youngest girl, remembers seeing her grandmother taking shots for her diabetes. After the Mackins traditional Monday night dinner of chicken and dumplings,

Myrtle had a stroke and passed away that very next day. The family had a very difficult time with such an unexpected death. It put a strain on the relationship between the brothers, and it eventually lead to Alonzo Jr.’s exit from the company and the creation of G-L Mackins Bail Bonding in 1995. Today the business still stands, and so does the family. Throughout the years the holidays have always been a special time for the Mackins family. They continue to recognize traditions that were established when Larry’s parents were still alive. On Christmas Eve, Gwendolyn prepared dinner for both sides of the family. On Christmas morning, breakfast would be at Gwendolyn’s parent’s home, then Christmas dinner would be at Larry’s parent’s home. Once both of their parents passed away, the traditions remained; they just moved a little. Christmas Eve dinner is still prepared by Gwendolyn, but Christmas dinner is now prepared by Larry’s niece. Because theirs is a 24-hour business, it isn’t uncommon for their quality time together to be interrupted by someone needing a bondsman, yet it has never driven a wedge. If one needed to go the office, the other would soon follow with the kids. Larry would always have a way of setting aside special time anyway. This has proven to work. Tracie, the eldest of Larry and Gwendolyn’s two girls, was fortunate to study at American InterContinental University in London, England, where she would meet her husband Thomas Louis Jones III, a local lyricist and rap artist. Tracie and Jennifer worked for the family business during their summers. Tracie received her bonding license in 2004. Jennifer considered pursuing law, but found the bond business to be a better fit for her “always on the go” pace—no doubt a result having been on the go with her father for so many years. She came on board full time and received her license in 2007. The sisters have always been very close and still are. The girls expect to take over the business when the time comes. Tracie believes, “Even though your parents have a business, you should get to know the business as well. You never know what the future will hold, so you should keep on going. They have already forged a path for you; you have to continue to forge that path. As African Americans, we must think about starting and keeping a legacy. It is easy to walk away. We must keep it going.”

20


entertainment

Jerry Adams: Family

Before Fame

The road to stardom is an uneasy one for many artists seeking their moment in the spotlight. Add raising a family as a single parent to the mix, and it is sure to make the journey even more difficult. Hidden in the small town of Shelby, N.C., Jerry Adams proves that it is possible to live your passion without compromising the family bond. For more than 20 years, he has weathered many storms and still kept his dream kindling in the background, waiting for the opportunity for his talent to be the shining light. Growing up, Adams was part of a large family. He was one of eight children born to the late Odell Adams from Kings Mountain, N.C., and Ruby Virginia Guyton Adams of Gaffney, S.C. His family lived in the country where they farmed and picked cotton for a living—something he did not like. As a child, he promised himself two things. First, that he would never go hungry again. Second, that he would use his brains to make money so he would never again have to pick cotton for a living. 21 SCM

Adams is an actor, musician, and most importantly, a father. He is divorced with a total of eight children from previous marriages and is currently raising his two youngest children on his own. His daughter Ruby is 7, and his son Elvis is 5. Ruby, who was named after her grandmother, is affectionately called “Miss Ruby.” As for Elvis, Adams always liked the entertainer and thought it would be a unique name for a little black boy. They are his inspiration. They love their “daddy” and enjoy being a part of everything he does, even acting. The two have been on set with small roles of their own, alongside their father. Adams believes many people waste their lives on activities and other people that add no value to their lives. By including his children in his career, he is able to remain grounded and focused. “They depend on me. I cannot let them down, and giving up is not an option,” he said.


Prior to stepping out on faith and living his passion, Adams was an accountant who earned six figures. He felt like he was in a prison, laboring to create riches for someone else. Although he was able to provide financially for his family, he wanted to give them more of his time and availability—something money could not buy. There were sacrifices he had to make during the transition, like juggling payments and borrowing time. Through all of the sacrifices, Adams has had more time to spend with his younger children than he had with the older ones. He is able to watch them grow up right in front of his eyes. He admits that he missed out on a lot while his older children were growing up. “There is more to being a daddy than just throwing money at kids and whipping their butts when they need it,” he said. Once he realized the importance of being the pillar for his family, he made that his priority. He never allowed the pursuit of his dream to interrupt cultivating a rich family life for his children. People have difficulty finding balance in their lives, but Adams was determined to ensure that his time with his family was not interrupted. Scheduling auditions and studio time always takes a back seat to spending time with his family. As an active parent in his kids’ school, he can sometimes be found wearing a sticker as proof that he participated in a book fair or as a reading buddy. He once had a sticker that read, “Take me to your reader.” Whenever he is with his children they are climbing all over him and loving on him to the fullest. He wrestles with Elvis and dances with Miss Ruby. Dinnertime is spent sitting around the table and talking (I personally did not believe it until I was made to sit at the table by Miss Ruby). Their time together is so important that he will shut off his phone and disappear with them only to emerge later with pictures of what they did. He even shares some of his family’s activities on his YouTube channel, jadams0044.

Adams enjoys living in the country. The wide-open space allows him and the children to explore their dreams without disturbing the neighbors. He encourages them to live their dreams and allows them freedom to express themselves. He also teaches them the importance of doing things together as a family. Though they have times when they want to be apart, they are never too far away from one another. For Adams, family should always come first. He realizes that people come and go in and out of your lives, but your family is always there until God comes and takes them away. When he’s writing music, Adams considers his children to be the two most influential judges of his material. He describes his sound as a combination of genres. “It’s a little bit of rhythm and blues, with a touch of brown-eyed soul,” he says. Music has always been a part of his life. His mother was a member of their church choir, while his father sang “wherever he laid his hat,” he shared. His mother was his biggest supporter. She bought him his first guitar when he was in the ninth grade. It was a gift that required sacrifice both to purchase and maintain. “Since there were five children living in the house, when the guitar strings broke, we could not afford to replace the missing strings. Even though guitar strings were only about 20 or 35 cents back then, Mama just could not afford that.” Adams had to learn how to tune and play his guitar with just three strings. “To date I am not able to play a six-string guitar.” Adams has several projects in the works, all of which are family-oriented. He will be in an upcoming episode of the Showtime Series “Homeland,” along with Ruby and Elvis. The episode was filmed in Charlotte. He also filmed the video for his current single, “Send a Letter” from his debut album, “Midnight Seduction” at Upscale Lounge this fall.

There is more to being a daddy than just throwing money at kids and whipping their butts when they need it.

22


One on One Chris Jenkins Business

Entrepreneur/Father

By Nicole C. Carter

If there’s one thing that’s true about entrepreneurs, it’s that they have to manage their time wisely. Just ask Chris Jenkins. The 35-year-old businessman is the founder/owner of CharlotteVibe.com and Charlotte Vibe Photography. While he operates his businesses with pride and professionalism, he also realizes that there is life outside of them; a life that is depending on him—his son. Jenkins is a father who is raising his son Chandler on his own. It is a choice that has given him the opportunity to get to know his son while learning more about himself. From the moment Chandler Meeks-Jenkins was born, Chris knew he was given a responsibility. He wanted to make sure that he was actively involved in his son’s life. While the relationship with Chandler’s mother did not last, he remained an active part of his child’s life, something that he found difficult to do at times. “For me, it’s always been that I wanted to be very involved. If you’re separated from the other parent, sometimes that can be difficult,” he said. What he found to be most difficult was maintaining a longdistance relationship with his son. When Chandler was three, his mother moved him to Columbia, S.C. Jenkins was living in Atlanta at the time. He would drive four hours to pick up his son, then drive another four hours straight back home to spend an eight hour day with him. Then, of course, he’d have to drive him back home. Eventually Jenkins moved to Charlotte for business, which brought him closer to his son. After several more years of traveling up and down the road for visitation, he decided to pursue the legal process to get custody of Chandler. It took about a year and a half, but they eventually settled out of court, giving custody of Chandler over to Jenkins. Now 11 years old, Chandler is an active boy who loves to play sports. “Chandler is extremely active, extremely talkative when you get to know him, and he’s extremely loving. He’s extreme in all aspects of what he is, or he’s sleep,” Jenkins says laughingly. Initially, Jenkins had to make major adjustments to accommodate living with his son. “There’s been a million challenges, from breaking my habits to learning to share his needs first,” he admitted. As a person who never liked to cook, he went from eating out most of the time to having to buy more than $50 worth of groceries on a weekly basis. He also had to make adjustments to how he spends his time.

For me, it’s always been that I wanted to be very involved. 23 SCM

Because he understands the value of his time, Jenkins is constantly fine-tuning his schedule. Between schoolwork, extra-curricular activities and two businesses, he puts himself and Chandler on a strict schedule. “I have to schedule everything. Whether it’s cooking, football practice or quality time, I have to plan it. If I don’t, I will allow the business to take that time.” As a parent who wants to be involved in his child’s life, Jenkins sometimes struggles to find the perfect balance. Since he is the sole provider for the family, he sometimes has to tell his son, “No.” He is learning how to find the delicate balance between being a parent and a businessman. “Sometimes


Do what you can do all the time to have that relationship with your child, and it will work out. But don’t give up on that relationship because of some challenges.

I have to suck it up and say that I’m just going to be really tired.” With no family in the area, it has often been a challenge to find the support system he needs to spend time with his son and operate his businesses. That is why he is grateful for Yvonne Parker. Parker, a single parent herself, has been instrumental to Jenkins being able to take care of business. Their sons are best friends and play football together, which made it easy to work out a schedule for attending games and other activities. Jenkins admits that before meeting Parker, he would pass up business opportunities. He made the choice to make his son his primary responsibility, and as a result, many of his associates felt like he had disappeared from the scene. Thanks to Parker, he is now able to take advantage of some of the opportunities that come his way. “I thank her as often as I get a chance,” he said.

CharlotteVibe.com is an affordable way for people to promote their business. Jenkins considers himself a trailblazer. He is doing the hard work of building and maintaining businesses, whereby his son and future generations can benefit. Even if he chooses not to follow in his father’s footsteps, Chandler gets to see what it takes to be a successful businessman. Even at his young age, he is learning about expenses that need to be paid and employees to be managed. He gets to see, firsthand, that being wealthy is not about being happy and sitting on money all the time, but about doing the hard work to both acquire and retain that wealth. One of the biggest problems in the black community, Jenkins feels, is the lack of knowledge in finances and money management. This knowledge is one of the greatest gifts he is giving his son.

For Jenkins, spending time with Chandler and making time for business means no time for dating. When he first gained custody, he had a false sense of hope of what his social calendar would look like. He anticipated a great dating life because women would appreciate the fact that he was raising a child on his own. He soon found that this was not the case. A major hurdle has been finding a woman who understands his busy schedule. “Women aren’t conditioned to fit into a man’s life [when] he’s a single parent,” he says. “At first they may hear about it and say, ‘I admire you.’ But when it comes to hearing your schedule … they think you’re using it as a front.” While he welcomes the idea of finding love and one day getting married, Jenkins has accepted the idea that he’s not likely to date much until Chandler is a little older.

When it comes to Chandler’s relationship with his mother, Jenkins says he understands that she misses her child. He also realizes it is still a big transition for Chandler going from living with one parent to the other. That is why he tries to be liberal with extra opportunities for visitation. While the two have guidelines and a schedule in place for holidays and birthdays, he also makes it a point to give her additional opportunities to see her son. He advises fathers who want a relationship with their children but have experienced similar challenges to be persistent. “Do what you can do all the time to have that relationship with your child, and it will work out. But don’t give up on that relationship because of some challenges.”

In the meantime, Jenkins focuses his energy on building his businesses. CharlotteVibe.com is a media company that covers entertainment and social events in Charlotte. It is a resource that not only helps people connect with what is going on in the city, but it is also a means of connecting with other people. “A while back I learned that one of the keys to being successful is that networking is crucial. I wanted to provide an opportunity for other people to connect with people and know what [is] going on.” Jenkins’ vision for the website is for it to become a media outlet that will cover the positive events in Charlotte’s black community that the mainstream does not typically cover. He wants the site to become a resource for people to use to help improve their lives.

The road ahead is an uncertain one for Jenkins. After all, Chandler will be a teenager soon, and an entirely different set of issues will arise. When asked how he handles living with a growing boy, he responded, “One thing that I will definitely confess is that I don’t know what to do with a lot of stuff that happens … I just make sure I take a time out, and I really think about what I’m going to do before I speak and then I act. Am I prepared? No, but I’m prepared to call a time out and figure it out.” Meanwhile, Jenkins is giving his son a living example of what real manhood and extraordinary fatherhood look like. Does he have any regrets? “You never have any regrets,” he said. “A lot of times you will see that hug as soon as you come home, and you’ll see some of your hard work paying off. 24


community leader Johnson C. Smith

University and Senator Malcolm Graham: A Re-Build for the City Charlotte is continually growing. You just have to look uptown to see that. But that is not the only building that is going on. Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) and Senator Malcolm Graham have taken on the re-building of the Beatties Ford corridor near the university. Senator Malcolm Graham is Special Assistant to the President for Community Engagement and Special Affairs at JCSU. Originally from Charleston, S.C., Senator Graham came to Charlotte in 1981 to attend JCSU. After graduating in 1985 with a degree in political science, he decided to make Charlotte his home. He did not go directly into politics, as his first job was with Fulton Family Services. He was then made Executive Director for the Carolina Minority Supplier Development Counsel, a non-profit organization that matched minority businesses with major corporations. Graham remained with them for 10 years. During that time he was introduced to local business leaders, as well as the movers and shakers in the community. His political career began in 1995 when he ran for city council and lost. That did not stop Graham. He ran again in 1999 for city council, and this time he won. He served the city of Charlotte until 2005 when he ran for the state Senate and won. He has been serving in that capacity ever since. In 2012, Graham plans to run again for a fifth term. With his eyes on the future he hopes to one day run for congress. When Dr. Ronald Carter was appointed president at JCSU, Senator Graham called to congratulate him and invited the president to his home where they talked about his alma mater. At that time they realized that they had the same goals and aspirations for the university. Both were concerned about the look of the West Trade Street and Beatties Ford corridor. As a result of their conversation, Dr. Carter asked Senator Graham to join his administration as they focused on the revitalization of the area. He was appointed Chairman of the West Trade Street and Beatties Ford Road Task Force. To make this vision come to life, Graham first went to property owners, stakeholders, community leaders and others from the city and county with the same interest in revitalizing the corridor. 25 SCM


JCSU is one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges in the country. With all of the changes going on around campus, the student body raised some questions about what is going to change for them. Senator Graham responded to their questions by saying, “The Board of Trustees has made a commitment to renovate every dormitory on campus within the next four years to suite-style apartments.”

The corridor had not changed much since 1981 when Graham was a freshman, except the closing of several businesses. The first goal of the task force was to make sure it was safe and clean. Next was the planning process, for which they engaged an Urban Land Institute (ULI) study. They started working with Carolina Partners on its 2020 plan to ensure that these corridors were included. The plans mapped out everything from what it should be like to how it should feel. The first project was to change JCSU from being known as “the college behind the gates.” To do this, they had to get out in the community. The old Griffin Brothers Tire Company on Trade Street was turned into a performing arts center. They also contracted with the Gold Rush Circulator Service to provide free transportation on and off the campus. Prior to the contract, the nearest stop was Johnson and Wales. Now it shuttles JCSU students from uptown to the campus, giving them more mobility. Currently there are two major projects in the works. The first is Mosaic Village, a four-story parking deck with 7500 square feet of retail space and a student apartment complex with 80 suites that will accommodate 300 students. It is a $22 million work in progress that is due to be completed in September 2012. They are also working with the Arts and Science Council and the Department of Transportation on a $200,000 neon light project underneath the I-77 bridge on West Trade Street. Right now that bridge serves as an artificial barrier between uptown and Beatties Ford Road. Senator Graham states, “We want to erase the barrier.” The project is set to be completed in December 2011. It will illuminate the bridge at night. According to Senator Graham, they will break ground in Jan. 2012 to erect a new 15,000 square foot book store and print shop. Currently they are communicating with Barnes and Nobles, FedEx Offices and others about occupying the space. He said, “We are very excited about this project. Once again it will bring retail stores back to the corridor.” Lastly, they are renovating the old Davis House, which was named after Dr. George E. Davis, one of the first African-American Professors who taught at the University. The groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation was on Oct. 13, 2011.

In addition to giving the area a face-lift, the school is also committed to working on its reputation in the community. There has been some talk that the students were not getting a high level of education at JCSU. Many were leaving the school with a degree but not really ready for the job market or the “real world.” According to Senator Graham, “We are committed to [giving] our students a quality education … Students that enter as freshmen and leave as seniors will be ready to work and serve in the community, whether going on to graduate school or professional school or entering the job market, our goal is to prepare the whole student for their exit.” He believes Johnson C. Smith University is one of the premier Historical Black Colleges and Universities in the country, similar to Hampton, Spelman and Morehouse. JCSU contributes to the economics of Charlotte to the tune of $100 million a year. Senator Graham is reaching out to young, urban professionals, accountants, lawyers, doctors and dentists to re-locate to the area. The general population can also help by attending events at the school, including lectures, football and basketball games, and by using the university as a beacon of resources. “We are not just building a corridor for the sake of JCSU, but we are building a corridor within a community that has deep history and tradition, deeply rooted in the African-American experience. We want the African-American community to be a visible and vital part of what it is that we are doing,” said Senator Graham. The university is also preparing to be a big part of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The campus will be used as a staging area for a wide variety of activities. The Congressional Black Caucus will host their Town Hall meeting on campus, and the faculty will be preparing lectures on the presidential election for the students. Students will be making themselves available for internships and volunteer opportunities. Johnson C. Smith University is a major part of the community. Senator Graham and Dr. Carter are committed to breathing life into that area, as well as the city as a whole. To learn more about the initiatives, or to partner with them in some of these projects, contact the office of Senator Malcolm Graham.

26


politics

By Nellie A. Wosu-Johnson

Consolidation:

A New Agenda for Charlotte?

What exactly is consolidation? Quite frankly, it is a merging of something into something else in the belief that both will operate better and more efficiently. In the case of Charlotte, I believe this very well may be what Mayor Anthony Foxx is seeking to achieve for Charlotteans with his agenda to consolidate four areas that currently operate independently. They are: human resources, fire/medic services, permitting and government television. At present, this endeavor has yet to become a pivotal focal point, due in part to the city’s focus of the arrival of the 2012 Democratic National Convention to the QC. Mayor Foxx acknowledges that there hasn’t been a great deal of activity of late on this endeavor. However, it has not yet been placed on the back burner either, at least not completely so. When the next election surfaces, which is quickly approaching, the consolidation effort more than likely will be an issue you will hear more about. This initiative perhaps will garner a great deal of interest from the media as those who seek re-election may utilize the benefits of consolidation as a platform to stand upon, and there may even be those who will use this initiative to denounce the effort as well. Certainly constituents in each council person’s district should become more versed in what this means to their day-to-day existence in the QC.

Consolidation has been effective in certain other states and municipalities. Charlotte’s growth spurt is unquestionable. The opportunities for diverse and promising interaction of both living and doing business here are enormous. It could be that the consolidation of these four entities will bolster the budget, thereby enabling the city to be less strained to do more with less. Greater efficiency may be the result with a streamlined approach. Of course, in print, it all seems so easily achieved. However, in actuality there are many major issues and concerns, as would be expected, that will need to be addressed. It goes without saying that a tightening of the belt and becoming smarter in managing the debt and budget of municipalities in challenging economic times are essential to the overall effective management and operations of any governing body for the residents and those who provide the services alike. Obviously, should this consolidation effort come about, job losses will occur. How does this truth impact our current unemployment levels? Could it lead to greater personal satisfaction in the workplace to assist employees in achieving greater worklife balance opportunities based upon job sharing and flex hours? Would salaries and bonuses be reduced or eliminated altogether in the case of bonuses? More importantly, would the consolidation of such essential services like fire and medical emergencies impact you, your families and businesses in a negative manner if staffing were to be reduced to a degree that does not provide you with the level of service you’ve become accustomed to? The consolidation of the fire and medical services are two essential functions in Charlotte. The services they provide are invaluable to the city and its residents. At any given moment we could be in immediate need for their intervention. Will consolidation of these entities be feasible in the long run? 27 SCM

What type of impact will this consolidation hold for Charlotte residents and those who seek to make this their new home and even home for their new business operations? It’s hard to say. We as citizens oftentimes lack the essential “need to know” elements of key initiatives before they become widespread in the community and ultimately face us at the ballot box. In order to be fully aware of what’s at stake for consolidation, we should do a bit of seeking of our own to determine how this consolidation endeavor will actually impact us, the everyday citizen and business partner of Charlotte. Ask the tough questions before you get to the ballot box to make a decision that could have far-reaching ramifications for years to come. Engage the mayor, city manager and your own councilperson to see what consolidation means for you and yours. Are your personal matters being considered? What can we expect if and when the consolidation effort comes to the head of the agenda calendar and perhaps the ballot box as well? You, the citizens of Charlotte, will voice your approval or disapproval of this initiative. Will you agree that, “Yes, this is something we want for Charlotte; something that is good for all of us in the long run”? Or, will you shout, “Absolutely not”? One thing is certain, Mayor Foxx’s agenda is to ensure that the operation of the services provided to the residents and business partners of the QC within the city and county become one. Consequently, there would be better allocation of existing funding, greater accountability for current resources, and perhaps even the most greatly desired outcome of all would be the strengthening of the overall infrastructure of Charlotte—a very good thing for everyone at any time.


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community STRIVE: Charlotte

Most of us are told that if we work real hard at something and put our minds to it, we can achieve it. We’re encouraged that with the right education and contacts, we can get a good job and make a good living for ourselves. But what about those with less than perfect pasts? Individuals who at one point in their lives committed a crime or was homeless. Try and tell them that they can have a chance at a decent job, and they’ll probably turn away from you in disbelief. But that’s just what Cerita Lindo and the partners of STRIVE: Charlotte are telling men and women every day. STRIVE: Charlotte, which stands for Support and Training Results in Valuable Employees, was started in the summer of 2009 when founder Cerita Lindo was laid off from her volunteer coordinator position at The Dove’s Nest. Although most of her career had been in banking, Cerita says she “kept being led to wanting to serve and wanting to help.” After meeting with a friend in Greenville, N.C. and hearing about STRIVE, Cerita knew that she wanted to implement the program in Charlotte. STRIVE is a job readiness program that originated in New York in 1985. The program is aimed at helping the chronically unemployed find jobs. The STRIVE model had already been working in 18 different states and in three countries. “I said I want to do that in Charlotte. I got to do that in Charlotte because the program was working,” Cerita said. Cerita visited her hometown of New York City and set up an appointment at the STRIVE national office to get information on how to start an affiliate here in Charlotte. She came back and shared the information with a co-worker and a church member, and the three put plans in motion. Since officially becoming an affiliate in 2009, STRIVE: Charlotte has equipped men and women of the Queen City with the tools they need to get and keep a job. Getting the program off the ground was not an easy task, as Cerita will tell you. “We became an official affiliate, but then was the hard work,” she says. One of the most difficult parts of the process was finding support. According to Cerita, the City of Charlotte already had several agencies that were similar to STRIVE that it was giving money to. It took a lot of due diligence to connect with people and become recognized in the community. 29 SCM

Finding a place to operate the non-profit was also a struggle. Several places that the organization sought out did not work for one reason or another. After months of going back and forth on different properties, the group was finally able to find a home in its current location in the Carole Hoefner Center on East 7th Street. Currently in its third cycle, STRIVE: Charlotte is empowering men and women who had little to no hope of finding a good job. The four week program is a high-impact training workshop that puts attendees in a simulated work environment. The first major lesson is about attitude. The organization’s motto is, “Change your attitude, change your life.” By starting with training exercises on personal responsibility and conflict resolution, instructors instill not only confidence in the men and women, but also a positive perspective on employment. After laying the foundation about the importance of having a good attitude, they get down to the basics of job attainment. By the time each gentleman or woman leaves the class, they will have a completed resume, know how to walk into a room, how to conduct themselves during an interview, and even how to make connections through networking.


While the program lasts only four weeks, the staff at STRIVE: Charlotte makes sure that they keep in contact with their attendees for 120 days. “The goal is to get them hired. It’s too often with job readiness programs that you go through the program and then you go through another program and then you don’t work. They want to work,” Cerita said. So the organization doesn’t just give participants an application and tell them to find a job. Instead they help them build relationships with employers. They even go so far as to tell employers about different grants and tax breaks that are available for companies that hire workers who are hard to employ. The individuals that come through STRIVE: Charlotte are all transitioning and are considered the hardest to employ. Some are coming out of drug addiction, some out of the prison system, and others are emancipated youth that are coming out of the foster care system. Then there are those who are re-entering the job market. They committed a crime when they were young, but someone gave them a break and they were employed with the same company for years and years. Due to the unstable economy they were released from their jobs. These workers are now re-entering the job market, and a recent background check shows criminal history. They find themselves in a position where individuals don’t want to hire them because of their less than perfect past. Adam Gerard Morrison serves as a shining example and testimony of STRIVE: Charlotte’s support services. After hearing about the program through his wife’s caseworker, he decided to look into it for himself because he had not been very successful at finding a job on his own. Prior to starting the program he had been unemployed for three years. His past felonies made it difficult to find a stable job, which ended up in him constantly being rejected for positions he applied for. “STRIVE: Charlotte has had a big impact on my life,” Morrison said. Adam currently works for Abram Construction. “STRIVE: Charlotte is a program that helps guys like me with getting back into the working environment,” Morrison said. During the program he was inspired by other people who experienced similar difficulties. For many of the individuals involved in the program, it was the first time they had been a part of something like that. During the sessions they shared touching, heart-felt moments, and even shed a few tears at times. They were also exposed to guest speakers who played a key role in the program’s success. The most memorable experience Morrison had during the STRIVE program was getting up in a room full of strangers and sharing his life story with them. STRIVE: Charlotte is something that will always resonate with Adam Morrison because it was the initial step in helping him get to where he is now. Knowing the importance of a professional appearance during interviews, STRIVE: Charlotte has since started a program to make professional attire available to all of its attendees. It is called Suit Up Charlotte. During a previous session, staff members were running all over town to different clothing stores to try and find suits to fit the range of sizes of their participants. The goal of Suit Up Charlotte is to serve the men in the area by providing suits, shoes, ties and belts. In order to qualify for a new suit, men have to have gone through a job readiness program, either at STRIVE or at one of its partners. The staff at STRIVE has noticed a significant difference in the attitude of men who receive a new suit. “The men stood proud, and we were smiling from ear to ear. It’s just phenomenal to see a brother suit up and looking good,” Cerita said.

While STRIVE: Charlotte is an affiliate of the program that was started in New York, it operates as its own separate entity. They do not benefit from the federal dollars that are given to the national organization and have to raise their own funding. Cerita and her team gladly accept donations from individuals and organizations to help STRIVE carry out its mission. One of the biggest ways to help is by donating clean, gently-used business and professional attire. They are looking for suits, shoes and socks. Monetary donations are also accepted. Those who cannot give tangible items can also support the organization by donating their time. Men who can lead workshops in professional and personal development or fatherhood are extremely valuable. With the support of local agencies and individuals, STRIVE: Charlotte can continue to empower, educate and provide skills for those seeking employment. Using their model, expertise, commitment and passion, the organization will continue to change lives in Charlotte and the surrounding areas one person at a time.

30


food & wine

Wine Pairings

By Sadraddin Abdullah, Dessert Specialists

Recently Americans surpassed the French in consumption of wine. With the holiday season upon us, wine is certain to play a much larger role in our meals, bringing life to the saying, “Eat, Drink and Be Merry.” The obvious question is, “What wines do I pair with traditional mainstays like turkey, stuffing and holiday desserts? The answer to the question is just as obvious. There are rules, and then there are no rules. As always, the most important rule is to be guided by what you like. If Riesling or Moscato is your wine of choice, then it will always be a great pairing because that’s what you like. If you are a die-hard red wine lover, there is a red wine for every holiday course. The bottom line here is this, “What tastes good to you is the best pairing for you.” On the other hand, if you want to add a little sophistication to your holiday dining experience, a few simple rules should guide you. The key is to understand the components of wine and the components of taste. The components of wine are alcohol, sweetness (or lack of it), acidity and tannins. The components of taste are sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Your goal is to use your understanding of the components of wine to enhance the components of taste. Now let’s jump into it because, “Tis the Season to be Jolly.” Poultry Turkey, chicken and game offer a wide range of pairing possibilities. Think about the preparation. Is your bird prepared with a sweet fruit or spice base? A buttery chardonnay works well with a turkey roasted in its own juice. For white meat, or a bird with a sweet or spicy sauce, try a light white such as a Gewürztraminer or Riesling. Fruitier, fuller bodied reds pair well with fatty, spicy dark meat. Try working your way up from the fruity Pinot to the fuller bodied, spicy reds like Syrah/Shiraz, Zins and big, bold Cabs. The sure bet is the Pinot Noir. It is versatile enough to go with just about any poultry. Fish Sparkling wines will add effervescence to your holiday fish course. Explore the range from Brut to Rose. This group of wines present exciting pairing options with everything from cod to tuna and salmon. Heavy fish such as tuna, swordfish and shark are great with Merlot and Pinot. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Mashed Potatoes are creamy, and gravy is both fatty and salty. Pick a wine with enough acidity to cut through the fat and enough sweetness to balance out the salt. In this pairing a Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or Moscato could be the ticket. Cranberry Sauce The fruity, acidic flavor of cranberry sauce is a great opportunity to bring some of the many red wines into the flavor matrix. There are some very nice Pinots and Merlots that would work nicely. When combined with the more herbaceous or spicy preparations, the bolder Cabs or spicy Zins and Shiraz could be magical. Corn Bread Stuffing The residual sugar of Chardonnay always goes well with corn. Lighter stuffing goes well with lighter, white wines. Heavier and spicier stuffing would pair well with the bigger reds. 31 SCM

Dessert The holidays offer a great opportunity to play with a variety of dessert and wine pairings. The general rule here is the wine should always be sweeter than the dessert. Have fun with Moscato and some of the sweeter Rieslings. The French Sauternes or Ports are a perfect choice for the classic pecan pie. Conclusion Some of the lighter, herbaceous preparations work well with the lighter wines like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. These wines also have high acidity, which helps balance out your meal by cutting through the fat. Many of these whites can be very citrusy. Consider the flavor of the wine as you contemplate your pairing. Your red wines are going to have more red and black fruit with layers of brown spice, especially clove, making them perfect pairings with holiday meals. Think about preparing your food to match a wine that you like. While this approach is more wine driven, it is a great way to create that magical synergy in your pairing. Pinots and Merlots go well with a meaty fish, such as tuna and salmon. Holiday desserts run the gamut, from southern regional favorites like banana pudding, sweet potato pie and chocolate cake to the exotic, like crème brûlée and tiramisu. Try Moscato with banana pudding or a big Cab with Grandma’s Chocolate Cake. Your experience in “The World of Food” is only limited by your willingness to try new things. This is especially true during the holidays. Be warned. You may find yourself enjoying some of these pairings throughout the year. “Eat, Drink and Be Merry.”


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36


gospel truth By Nicole C. Carter

Throughout this issue we’ve highlighted different types of families. No matter what yours looks like, we can agree that it is important to stay connected to the ones you love this holiday season and throughout the year. Of course we would be remiss if we did not talk about the most important family you could ever belong to—God’s family. Romans 8:15 says, “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father.” (NLT) Those who have gone through the adoption process can understand the beauty of this passage. Most of us, however, cannot relate to it. To fully grasp what this scripture is saying, imagine for a moment that you are an orphan. Think about how hard it must be to live every day of your life feeling like no one wants you. It’s a lonely and scary place to be. To ease your pain, and to keep an ounce of hope, you begin to dream. You daydream about what it would be like to be adopted. You have all these ideas about what your new family will be like; the sound of your father’s voice, the scent of your mother’s perfume. Ultimately, you don’t know what’s in store for your life, but you still have hope. You watch daily as other kids around you are adopted, and you wonder to yourself, “When is it going to be my turn?” Month after month passes by and you begin to lose hope. You desperately want to know the love of a mother and father, but your reality tells you that you never will. You read letters and hear stories about other kids that have been adopted, but until you experience it for yourself, you can’t share their joy. One day, a man walks in. He watches how you interact with the others. He listens to the way you talk so negatively about yourself. He sees your flaws, your imperfections and your failures. While you look at yourself with disgust, he looks at you with a smile. He chooses you and accepts you into his family. He loves you, and you grow to love him. He is your father, and you are his child. This is what it’s like when we are adopted by God. He looks at our painful pasts, mistakes that we’ve made and our poor attitudes, and yet He loves us. He knows all about us. After all, He created us. But He doesn’t want a creator/ creation or master/slave relationship with us. That’s so impersonal. Instead, He desires a father/child relationship. He wants to show us true love that can only come from the Father. This adoption process didn’t just come out of nowhere. It began over 2,000 years ago when He sent His son Jesus to die for us. The Gospel Truth is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth in human form. 45 SCM 37

Encouraging Word Ministries, website: encouragingwordministries.net 704-795-0277 Nellie Wous He touched many lives through His teachings, signs and miracles. He was murdered—hung on a cross. Along with our sins (the things we do that displease God and cause us to separate from Him), Jesus died. But most importantly, Jesus rose from the dead, and He is alive today. As a result, we can now become a part of His family. In fact, He invites us to become a part of His family. We have been chosen— hand selected by God himself. But until you get to know the Father, and live daily with him, you will never know the benefits of His love or what this adoption really means.The good thing about this adoption is that there are not a bunch of papers to sign or things required to prove that the adoption has occurred. It starts with a simple, “Yes.” It happens when you accept Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. That means you acknowledge the fact that He died for you; that He gave His body as a sacrifice for our sins. It also means that you want Him to guide you through life. You surrender your will so that you can do the will of your father. Finally, it means you realize that you don’t deserve to be adopted. There is nothing that you have ever done or ever will do to make you earn God’s love. There is also nothing you’ve ever done or ever will do to make you lose it. God gives it to you freely. That is what real love is all about. Once you’ve accepted and acknowledged these things, God welcomes you with open arms into His family. You have a new father and a new fate. You take on His name. You get to speak to Him as your father. And when He looks at you, He sees one of His own. Now you have a chance to get to know your father. Reading the Bible and going to a Bible-based church are the best ways to do that. Start slow. Don’t expect to learn everything about Him at once. Your relationship with God is one that develops day by day. When you love God, you will want to learn what pleases Him so you can start to do those things more and more. At the same time, you will learn what displeases Him and start to do those things less and less. Just like a newly adopted child, you will want to show that you love your father by doing what He says. Not out of fear of being punished, but just because you love Him. Please understand, being adopted does not mean that all of your problems will magically disappear. You will still have bills to pay. You might still be out of a job. You will probably still have old habits that don’t go away so quickly. The difference is that now you have a father who knows exactly what you’re going through. You can talk to Him about your issues and ask for help. He cares so much about you and wants to help you win in life. If you continue reading the eighth chapter of Romans, you will discover that not only are you a child of God, but also an heir. You have all of the rights and privileges of all of God’s children. There is so much hope that is promised to us in the remaining verses. And it is all available to you today. God has set His eyes on you. His outstretched hands are pointed towards you. Will you reach back? Will you allow yourself to be adopted? Will you accept the gift of His love this holiday season? It is the best gift you could ever receive.


Profile for Sophiticated Charlotte Magazine

Sophisticated Charlotte Magazine Holiday Issue  

The New Direction for the People of Charlotte

Sophisticated Charlotte Magazine Holiday Issue  

The New Direction for the People of Charlotte

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