Life Below the Poverty Line in Banktown, USA

A searing, nuanced portrait of a single mother living in poverty in Charlotte, N.C.

Author: Lisa Rab
Published: Feb 1, 2016
Length: 15 minutes (3,769 words)


“‘I’ve always been interested in how people deal with loss,’ he says.” A profile of an obituary writer.

Published: Aug 2, 2014
Length: 10 minutes (2,556 words)

Shadows by the Sea

Fifteen years ago, a Charlotte woman was found shot to death on Bald Head Island. Her case has been reopened, but the mystery remains: Did Davina Buff Jones kill herself, or did someone else kill Davina Buff Jones?

The .40 caliber slug tears through the officer’s skull at nearly 700 miles per hour, shattering bone and ripping gullies into tissue.

It’s minutes before midnight, nine days before Halloween, 1999. Here, beneath the turret of North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse, 218 miles from her hometown of Charlotte, the officer takes her final breath.

When someone pulls the trigger on a handgun, it causes a small explosion inside the weapon. The explosion moves a piston that slams a tiny piece of metal, the firing pin, into a bullet. The force of the combustion creates pressure, sending a round hurtling through the barrel of the gun. The entire process takes just a fraction of a second.

How a pistol works is a matter of science and mechanics. It is established fact.

And it is one of the few details of Davina Buff Jones’s death that isn’t still a mystery.

Author: Adam Rhew
Published: Apr 1, 2014
Length: 35 minutes (8,857 words)

Heroin in Charlotte

Alex Uhler was a straight-A student, an Eagle Scout, and earned a black belt in Taekwondo. And he was a heroin addict. Why are kids like him, from Charlotte’s wealthy neighborhoods and good schools, turning to the deadliest drugs?

Buying heroin in Charlotte is similar to ordering a pizza. Phone numbers of dispatchers float around the city. For an eager customer, dealers are easy to find. Call the number, place an order, and the dispatcher will instruct you to drive to a safe, public place—a mall parking lot, a suburban cul-de-sac. The park behind the Arboretum was once a popular place to buy. A runner—not the person who took the order—meets the buyer, and they can complete the deal window to window, without ever leaving their cars.

Author: Lisa Rab
Published: Mar 1, 2014
Length: 18 minutes (4,693 words)