Early returns indicate that Citizen's choice of Davidson Mayor John Woods as "Citizen of the Year" has riled more than a few feathers in the region. If how this choice is made wasn't clearly explained clearly, then that's our shortcoming.
The Citizen of the Year is often the embodiment of the most significant story of the year. Our first Citizen of the Year, which was actually for a half-year since we were only around for the last six months of 2009, was Carroll Gray, then face of the then-burgeoning Lake Norman Transportation Commission. Whether you are a fan of cooperative regional transportation improvement advocacy or not, the LNTC, under Gray's leadership, quickly gained notice in Raleigh, and its efforts help focus some discussion on the needs of the Lake Norman region which had been largely neglected for years were clearly successful.
The second Citizen of the Year was the late William A. Hough, for whom Hough High School was named. Lost in the swirl of controversy over fears the name would be intentionally mispronounced (Ho), which would somehow stigmatize and scar for life the students who attended there, were the accomplishments of this community leader and principal of North Meck High School during the desegregation era. That selection, however, was rooted in the fact that there was controversy.
Just as there is for the selection of John Woods this year. There is no question the resurrection of planning for the Red Line, regardless of which side of the issue you are on, was the most significant regional story of the year. As chairman of the Red Line Task Force of the Metropolitan Planning Commission, Woods is the local face behind that process. The fate of the Red Line will be played out over the next six months, and there are plenty of valid points on both sides of the argument that will be made. The selection of Citizen of the Year should in no way be construed as an endorsement of the Red Line. The Citizen has not and will not take a position on this issue.
The Citizen's coverage of this story has, to date, been about the process of bringing a plan before elected officials, and we believe it is incumbent upon us as local media to have laid out, concisely as possible, all the details that will be presented. It is our mission to inform our readers so those who are engaged will understand what their leaders are being asked to consider. In the first six months of 2012, the debate over the merits of this proposal will be the dominant local story. All viewpoints will be welcome in our pages.
The Quiet Conductor
His style is low profile, but John Woods is driving the region's commuter rail efforts.
by John Deem
In the summer of 1914, as trenches became the true borders in a newly embattled Europe, 16-year-old James Woods Jr. set off for his first year of college.
It would be no ordinary trip. But, then, Woods had led no ordinary life.
Although the intense work on a plan for financing and building the Red Line Regional Rail project has been front and center in the region's news for the better part of 2011, there have been plenty of other news stories during the year that was.
Toys and bikes of every shape and size were donated by McGuire Nuclear Station employees to Toys for Tots, a program led by the U.S. Marine Corp. McGuire employees reached into their pockets this holiday season to provide more than 1,000 toys, 220 bikes and a vast assortment of children's winter clothes to local families in the Charlotte area.
The Citizen's editorial staff is fortunate to benefit from the eyes, ears and experience of a select group of Lake Norman-area business professionals who have agreed to volunteer as members of our PULSE on Lake Norman Business Advisory Board.