This is part of an ongoing series titled Mailbag, items readers submit via email or our feedback form (not social media, everybody already sees that). We get a ton of feedback, this is not close to everything (it’s about 4%), but it’s a good sample.
“I gotta say, Agenda folks, your newsletter is my favorite thing to read. Even more than Buzzfeed. As I worked my desk job over the Christmas holiday, I have no shame in admitting that I definitely binged on Agenda articles, some even dating back to October. Yes, I realize it is now the end of December. I enjoyed every single part of it. From Katie’s heart-wrenching piece on the Paris massacre to Jon’s infamous story-telling pieces that made me laugh out loud.” – R
“I’m sure you all get a lot of compliments and praise regarding Axios Charlotte.. and you’re about to get some more! There are not many sources of info that I rely on, enjoy reading and eagerly await updates from… but Axios Charlotte has made my list of daily “must reads”. Your writers and editors are all top notch, are providing useful information for natives and newcomers to Charlotte and engage this reader to learn & do more in his adopted home town. So, THANK YOU, and keep the great articles coming!” – A
“We have a random piano at KYCK.com HQ off Cedar. It showed up on Saturday at some point. Do you guys know anything about rando piano drop offs?” – C
Ted: If there’s one thing we specialize in, it’s rando piano drop offs.
“We have filled the position for our Internet Marketing Strategist job posting. Could you remove it? This was easily the best $200 we’ve ever spent on a job posting. The quality of the resumes that came through or were referred to us by Axios Charlotte readers was top notch. The even better news is the person I hired is an Agenda reader. Thanks so much for making this a thing.” – R
Ted: Made my day. View our job board here. And, if you work in HR – we’d love to have you post with us.
“I love y’all: seriously fun, relevant, original content — and nicely curated links. Well organized, too!” – E
“New to Axios Charlotte and love it. Just an idea, what if you had a tab or subject focused just on volunteer work? Any group that needed volunteers could post details of events and get folks to support it. May already be here, just a thought. Thank you to everyone that contributes.” -K
Ted: Good idea. We’ve been playing around with some ideas here and will likely launch a series in 2016.
“Dear Agenda, Do y’all play matchmaker for neighborhoods seeking fantastic local businesses? No? … Pretty please? See, there is this building for sale in my neighborhood that is 1.5 miles from the beating heart of Plaza Midwood and it is $170,000. It is in this little strip of retail that is just begging to be renewed so that we can use it, and we would welcome the small businesses being priced out of Midwood/Southend/Park Road Shopping Center with open arms. It’s at Commonwealth and Woodland. Here’s the real estate company’s flyer. Drive down our street sometime and I bet you could imagine that place as a patio. I know I do. While we’re at it, we’d LOVE to know what’s going on with the end parcel that has been under construction for what seems like years. Once upon a time we were told we’d be getting an “upmarket neighborhood grocery” and ever since I’ve had visions of Rhino Market dancing in my head, but nothing has ever come of it. The whole strip is just oozing potential and some days I feel like I’m the only one who can see it. Y’all are with me, right? Thanks for all you do. Much love.” – L
“Employees at Belk Northlake have been telling customers the department store chain will no longer offer complimentary gift-wrap after the first of the year. Belk has traditionally offered a basic free gift wrap for all purchases and a wider-variety of deluxe gift wrap for “Elite” credit card customers. What is a guy supposed to do?? I was told the reasoning is that the other stores do not do it. I would counter that’s the very reason why I buy my gifts at Belk. Belk, Dillard’s and Macy’s often sell the exact same merchandise at basically the same price, so why should I choose Belk now? If Belk were smart, they would use customer service to set themselves apart and tout free gift wrap and point out that others stores do not offer it. Why would a business want to be the same as their competitors?” – S
In response to the newsletter intro on Friday, December 18
“City Art Works on Park Rd and Woodlawn has great coloring books! Susan will help you.” – A
Ted: My wife loves her adult coloring book. Honestly, she was a little outside the lines. When I told her this, she responded “I don’t have a pencil sharpener.” Excuses.
In response to: 8 worthy food stops on Independence Boulevard
“No, these are the best: Wendy’s, Bojangles’, K&W Cafeteria, Fortune Cookie, Jersey Mike’s, Hooligan’s, Ruby Tuesday.” – A
Ted: Mike’s Way.
“How is Pieology any different/better than Uncle Maddio’s, and who the heck eats at these wretched chain places anyway? SUPPORT LOCAL!” – A
In response to: An open apology to a family in Huntersville
“This message is for Jon Show: I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard while in the office reading your article ‘An open apology to a family in Huntersville.’ Eric, the homeowner of Huntersville Christmas Lights, posted to our light group last year about the puke pile in his street. Since he saw the article detailing the unfortunate event, he shared the answer with our group this morning. Thank you so much for the truly entertaining recap of that night’s events! Even more, thank you Axios Charlotte for sharing a list of our light shows to your readers! You all rock!!” – T
In response to: 5 reasons breweries are the new church
“I read Axios Charlotte every weekday and really look forward to hearing about all of the new developments and interesting happenings in our city that Axios Charlotte covers so well. I hate to say that after reading this morning’s email, I am so upset at the audacity y’all have to publish a post entitled “5 reasons breweries are the new church.” I clicked on the link in the email thinking to myself that it couldn’t possibly be what it sounds like it would be, but it was. Don’t get me wrong, I love breweries as much as the next Charlottean, and I don’t go to church regularly anymore, but I did grow up in a very religious family and feel so unbelievably disrespected by this article. I think my grandmother would actually cry if she could pull this up on her computer. The two points that are really upsetting to me are “fellowship” and “sacrament, anyone?” Comparing the standing-room-only Sycamore one-year anniversary party, where people drink beer after beer with their friends while listening to Of Good Nature play so loudly that you can’t even think is not at all comparable to the tens of thousands of worshipers who to go to church to connect with God. The fact that you also compare drinking beer at a brewery to receiving communion is so ludicrous that it’s almost comical. I can assure you that no one is considering that little sip of wine we have every Sunday to be “wine worship.” Thanks for being a great place to read about Charlotte thus far, but this morning was my last time. I understand that it was not meant to be disrespectful or in bad taste, but it was both. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that the article should never have been published.” – A
“5 reasons breweries are the new church” is the most ignorant, disrespectful, and contrived post I have ever read on Axios Charlotte. I love breweries as much as the next Charlottean, but it is so beyond disrespectful to compare drinking beer with your friends to receiving communion. No bar fights? Child care? If numbers 1, 2, and 5 on your list weren’t enough of a stretch, you’re grasping at threads with those two. How you can publish this and call it journalism is both an embarrassment to your staff and saddening to all who attend church, no matter what denomination. I will honestly never read Axios Charlotte again.” – A
In response to: It took me 4 years to stop hating Charlotte (and you can too)
“Hey Katie! I keep meaning to send you a note. I just found your article ‘It took me 4 years to stop hating Charlotte and you can too’ and posted it on my Facebook because, OMG, this resonated so much with me. Although, I now call Charlotte home after just 18 months. But you are so right about running away from yourself and blaming it on hating where you are in life. I finally figured out Charlotte has different things to love than say, Atlanta or some other ‘sexier’ city. But I can love them just the same. Thought you’d appreciate a note about how your personal experience and sharing it on the Axios Charlotte was so appreciated. In fact, my coworker just came by and told me how SHE shared this same article with her friend who HATES it here. Great job! Thanks for sharing! :)’Also, I know I’ve seen your face around…maybe at Stax or yoga? Definitely on my list of things I love about Charlotte…IT IS SO SMALL. I feel like I am on a sitcom sometimes.” – S
Ted: Katie is recognizable, she has large hair.
“Not that this list isn’t good. But you missed the 2014 CBS pizza war winners. Bisonte Pizza Company. The best pizza I tasted in Charlotte.” – R
Ted: Dude, did you really pulling out 2014 CBS Radio Trophies? Love it.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for telling me about Lap of Love!! I have a 17 year old, diabetic cat and even though I love my vet I hate the thought of going there when the dreaded time comes. Knowing this service is available is a huge relief! I’m spreading the word to all my animal loving friends, too.” – L
“In regards to Ms. Moore’s article about Lap of Love let me start by saying that I’m glad to see the business getting exposure. The veterinarians of Lap of Love are a tremendous value to our profession and offer an incredible service to families. However, as an emergency veterinarian myself, I take quite a bit of issue with Ms. Moore’s generalization that in hospital euthanasias are just “transactions” to the doctors and staff there. While I think it would be great if all pet owners could forsee the end for their pet, often a sudden decline in health or severe accident leaves families with no choice but to go to the veterinary hospital. When the decision is made to euthanize, we recognize that it is not made lightly, and try to give owners the time they need to say their goodbyes. We are all pet owners as well and sympathize with any family in that situation. Checking in, and finalizing payment before the patient is passed allows the owner to leave without having to stand at the front desk, crying over the loss of their pet, afterwards. Checking in allows us to make sure you are comfortable and answer any questions. My heart is with Ms. Moore over the loss of two of her pets so close together, and I am glad her experience with Lap of Love was so moving. To be coarse I could generalize that all euthanasias are just transactions, as it is a veterinarian providing a service to a pet owner, even at home. I think it is important to know that no veterinarian looks at it that way, though, and we strive to handle each family’s last moments with their pets as compassionately as possible.” – L
In response to: Why Charlotte politicians are so scared of toll roads
“So, in your Toll Lane piece. You fail to mention: (1) the 100s of million dollar estimate for penalties are being used by McCrory and his DOT head as ‘up to 100mm.’ No one has seen in the contract to confirm this figure or anything. Being scared of this is like you all being scared of me threatening to sue Axios Charlotte for 50 million dollars for a shitty article I read and printing, “CA could face penalties of 10s of millions of dollars.” It’s a scare tactic. (2) WHERE are the 50 year non compete agreements? This is NOT about tolls, it’s about the fact that we can’t build another toll lane on I-77 without compensating this company for lost profits, meaning we will never get funding for it.” – A
In response to: Is this the best sandwich place in Charlotte?
“Sandwich Max was a Sub Station II until just a few years ago when it became Sandwich Max. So don’t feel too bad you haven’t noticed it for the last 27 years.” – R
“Thanks for the great press on my brothers place! You portrayed him BEAUTIFULLY–and I might add, he is an incredible brother and friend! I like your work and shall subscribe as soon as I return home from my 50th birthday din-din!! I get my birthday Maxed Out Sammy when I am up in NC this weekend! Keep up the great work! Fondly, Sarah Wilson, Lake Charles, LA….not by choice!!!” – A
“Try the ham and cappicola. It’s my favorite. And ride your bike there for your Bike Benefits.”
In response to: The best spots for free WiFi in Uptown. Should there be more?
“A dozen years ago, free municipal wifi used to be a happening thing. I even worked for a company that built networks for small towns so their citizenry could be part of the 21st century. And then the concept died. You should interview Time-Warner and their ilk about where their lobby buried the body. Maybe the hippies at Google Fiber will bring back that ol’ time socialist feeling.” – A
In response to: Women in Charlotte are killing it right now
“I’m sending this to you since the Agenda mission includes making Charlotte smarter. Let me be clear that I support equal pay for men and women doing the same job. And that I support women being treated the same as men when they take time to focus on family (men are lauded for such efforts while women are often only begrudgingly allowed to sometimes focus on family while in the workforce). And that I’m against anything that does not reward women and men the same for hard work. That said, the below quote stood out to me in Kylie’s article – “I’ll just be the one that says no to being paid 33 cents less than a man for doing the same job and the one that won’t let anybody else tell me what I need to be and do and when.” She should read this article (written by a woman for the Harvard Business Review), as it shows that her above statement regarding the gap for pay for the same job is absurdly wrong. After controlling for job, location, experience, education and other factors, women make 97 cents for ever dollar a man makes. Again, let me be clear, this 3% discrepancy is wrong and needs to be addressed. But that paints a very different picture than 33% less for the same job. We have plenty of issues that we need to focus on as a culture and society. We don’t need to use bad statistics to create oversized demons. The statistic that women make 78 cents on the dollar as compared to men is for median income of women vs. men without taking anything else into account. Just FYI. End rant.” – J
“CANDY GIRL CONFECTIONS IS AMAZING! I’m so happy you took the time to write about this gem & the wonderful woman who owns it! I stumbled in there one afternoon on a whim and because it always caught my eye. Like you said: how can it not!? HAHA! I mostly did so because my boyfriend is obsessed with all things gummy and sour. He is forever looking for candy he can “only find in his hometown,” so one afternoon when I got out of work early, I stopped by on my way home. Adria & the store are such a light in Selwyn & in Charlotte, for that matter. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit this local secret & hopefully make it not-so-secret so that it stays around for many more years!!!!” – S
In response to: Does Tinder really work as well as paid dating sites?
“Hello, I recently read Emily Grom’s article on online dating with some interest. I’ve been trying the various dating sites over the years and recently, to prove how much difficulty I have to a friend, rejoined Match.com – again. And the same results happen over and over. I send thoughtful, unique emails to various prospects and never do I get a reply. And the only “people” checking my profile out are spammers. Said friend reviewed my profile with several of her friends and they all gave thumbs up on my content. It would be interesting to see if Erin had any data for successful actual dating connections made on the various sites. It’d be more interesting to learn what the secret sauce is for actually making that happen and successfully reaching potential people….Any ideas are welcome in my inbox” – T
“Article on poverty/income gaps: I just wanted to say that I really appreciate that the Axios Charlotte makes it a priority to discuss socioeconomic issues that impact our community. I enjoy reading informational and opinion articles on these topics because these are issues that I (and I’m sure many others) care about. A lot. I do believe that we can make a difference, and it starts with educating people about the issues. Thank you for helping with this with your readership.” – K
In response to: Everything people miss about New Jersey, Charlotte does better
“Enjoyed the NJ article by Kylie today! She nails it almost every time and she is usually my first read of the day for CLT Agenda. Born and raised in this area, but like her, was transplanted to and lived in NJ for a number of years. GREAT state, but moving back here in ’09 was enough to make me realize that there is TRULY no place like home. Everything she called out is spot-on, though I do miss the Heirloom Tomatoes. We cannot quite get that right here with our soil, but sandy-soiled “Better Boys” are a good alternative!” – A
In response to: Workout Wednesday: YMCA Athletic Conditioning
“Dear Ms. Levans, A friend sent me your article on the YMCA’s Athletic Conditioning Class – as someone who has taken so many YMCA Athletic Conditioning classes that I may have PTSD, I commend you on how well you concisely and completely captured the class, its pros and cons (good for some, not all) and the intangible pieces of the class experience (member impact, for example). What a well-written and informative article. If you enjoyed the Y’s Athletic Conditioning class, you should check out a new fitness studio in Matthews – it was recently opened by a former YMCA instructor (and Group Exercise Director) and all her classes take amazing parts of the YMCA Group Exercise class experience to the next level… classes routinely mix elements of kickboxing, plyometrics, running, stations, actual boxing (with a bag and gloves), cardio, weights and occasionally tug of war. The environment is smaller than the Y and there are NO outsiders – new people are pulled right into the fold. Most of all, it’s fun – a lot of fun. If you’re interested, the studio website is stephaniemccallfitness.com and the owner is named Stephanie McCall (shocker, right?). She’s very nice and I’m sure would be open to having you preview her facility and a class. Thanks for spreading the word about Charlotte workout options. And thanks for writing this article so someone could send it to me and I could discover Axios Charlotte – it’s so cool and full of useful information.” – D
“A beautiful story about your mom and mother-in-law. Thanks for sharing with all of us. It’s a reminder of what truly matters in life. I’m so glad all are well.” – K
“What an incredible gift to be able to give life to someone else who is in need. With everything that is going on around the world, it just confirms my belief that there are good and generous people in this world. I know both of your families will have a joyous and meaningful Christmas..!! Much Love.” – J
“My son was born with kidney failure, and at 17 months old he had a kidney transplant. My husband was not eligible to donate, and I wasn’t a match. My older sister was the only match in my family, and she selflessly, and so graciously, donated her kidney to my son. So, I know how you feel about not knowing what to say to your mother-in-law. It’s an incredibly moving experience, and I don’t think that there is a way to adequately express gratitude for the gift of life that she’s given to my son (though I continue to try!). One year after his transplant, I read a Wall Street Journal article about creating a market for organ donation. One of the comments on the article still sticks with me today. I shared it on my blog in August 2013, and thought it was worth sharing again with you. I wrote: The last thing I wanted to share was a comment that has stuck with me since I read it earlier this year. It was one of many comments on a Wall Street Journal editorial that suggested that a market be created for organ transplants. (For the record, I still don’t know where I stand on the issue.) This comment to me embodies what Whitney’s act of donating her kidney means to me and our family. The author, a medical student at the time, writes: “When I assisted in my first kidney transplant as a student, many moons ago, the surgeons were testing my knowledge of anatomy. The fellow quizzed me on this or that blood vessel, nerve and muscle. Finally, the kidney donated by a loving sister was brought into the room. The attending surgeon, a pioneer in renal transplant, held up the kidney for me and asked “what is this?” I hesitated because the answer was so obvious. Finally I said “It is a kidney, sir.” He said “No, it is love. Never forget that.”I never did and never will.” And neither will we.” – N
“Wow. I’m bawling. What a great story about your mother and mother-in-law. What a selfless woman! Glad they are both doing well and the surgery was a success. My mother a couple years ago had kidney cancer and we didn’t get to the point of needing to test since it appeared the cancer was isolated to one kidney so they removed it. 7 years later she’s still doing well.” – S
“I’m not usually the kind of guy that leaves comments on message boards or even responds to writers directly. I guess today I might be that kind of guy. I really just wanted to tell you “thanks” for sharing your story this morning about your mom and mother in law. Sadly, in the last two years my three children have lost both of their grandmothers to ALS and cancer. Needless to say it’s been (and still is) a difficult season for my wife and myself. Both moms were the type that would have given sacrificially and said something in the genre of “I want Watt to grow up with both of his grandmothers.” In spite of how our moms’ story was written, your story reminded me of things I loved about both our moms. Yours is great story of hope and I am grateful. Thank you. While your outcome is very different than mine I would imagine that this quote from philosopher Simone Weil might hold some weight for you. As we have walked this journey (really over the past five years) this thought has continued to surface for me. I thought I would share: “There are only two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction.” -Simone Weil. Thanks for sharing some of your beauty and affliction with Charlotte.” – A
“Your story about your Mom-In-Law giving a kidney to your Mom made this grown man cry. What a blessing to read. Thanks for sharing that. And so glad that both Moms/Grandmas are doing well.” – M
“Just read the article about your mom – I don’t have any words except for “Ugly Cry” and “I’m glad everyone is doing okay.” Lovely article – thanks for sharing it!” – C