David Boraks

Reporter

David Boraks is a reporter and host at WFAE, covering energy & the environment, politics & government, affordable housing, transportation and other topics for WFAE.  He's a veteran Charlotte-area journalist who also has worked at the Charlotte Observer (1993-2000) and published the online community news network DavidsonNews.net and CorneliusNews.net (2006-2015).

He also has reported for American Banker (2000-2005), and worked as an editor at The China News in Taipei (1991), The Cambridge (Mass.) Chronicle (1989-1991) and The Hartford Courant (1986-1989).  He was been a Knight Center for Specialized Journalism fellow (telecommunications, 1997), won the North Carolina Information Technology Association Media Award (1998), won the Davidson College Sullivan Community Service Award (2009), and was an Annenberg/Knight Block-by-Block News Entrepreneur fellow (2011). 

David has a bachelor's  degree in history from Cornell University and a master's degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

An architect's drawing of the proposed 324-unit New Brookhill complex. About half the units would be for people with lower-incomes.
New Brookhill

Developers planning to redevelop Brookhill Village off South Tryon Street are seeking nearly $20 million in public and private support for the project, which would include both affordable and market-rate apartments. The Charlotte City Council will get a briefing Monday and could vote later this month on the request, which would end years of uncertainty about the future of the community.

Jarrett Free is delivering meals to seniors in Alexander County these days in his Greenway Transit van.
Aaron Kohrs / Greenway Transit

In normal times, special bus services are a lifeline for seniors and people with disabilities who need to get to work, the grocery store or medical appointments — even more so now in the time of COVID-19. So many systems are adapting.

The Westin Hotel in uptown Charlotte has been empty in recent weeks.
David Boraks / WFAE

The Westin Hotel in uptown Charlotte is usually busy at this time of year with spring travelers and conventions, including those at Charlotte Convention Center across the street. But the coronavirus has changed everything. 

Many homeless people have moved their tents this week to East 13th St., near the Urban Ministry Center.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated Thursday, April 9, 2020
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to help North Carolina pay for 16,500 temporary housing units for people experiencing homelessness amid the coronavirus crisis. State Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry said Wednesday the housing would be for people who need to be housed separately because of COVID-19. 

@DaleJr / Twitter

Retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads a list of 15 nominees to the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2021. The list announced Tuesday includes 10 nominees from the sports modern era, and five who were in the sport more than 60 years ago.

Toll lanes on I-77 in Cornelius were empty Tuesday morning.
David Boraks / WFAE

If you're one of the few people still commuting on the highways right now, the COVID-19 crisis has a silver lining: No traffic. But that's a concern for operators of the state's toll roads and toll lanes. 

Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown
Novant Health

Black people account for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases across North Carolina. The question is why.  

Some riders on Lynx Blue Line trains are wearing masks these days.
David Boraks / WFAE

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles says the city could shut down public transit if there's a surge of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.  The mayor raised that possibility during a virtual Q&A session Friday morning, but stopped short of saying anything definitive.

Shoulder lanes are used in Europe and some U.S. states, including I-66 in Virginia.
FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION

State transportation officials say they need more time to plan how to convert highway shoulders into extra lanes at rush-hour on I-77 in north Mecklenburg and south Iredell counties. 

Housing advocates are calling on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to guarantee safe housing for the state's homeless population to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In a virtual press conference Friday, they launched a campaign with the hashtag #HaveAHome2StayAtHome.

N.C. prisons chief Todd Ishee
N.C. Department of Public Safety

North Carolina's prison system has begun health screenings of all staff and visitors, and new prisoners are being tested and quarantined for 14 days. Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee says the moves are aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, which has now sickened four prisoners and four employees.

chart of unemployment claims
N.C. Department of Commerce

State officials are scrambling to catch up with more than 355,000 new claims for unemployment benefits filed over the past two weeks. But even agency officials admit it can't happen fast enough. 

Duke has offered $62 milllion in rebates over five years to help pay for solar panels on a home, business or nonprofit rooftops.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy is asking North Carolina regulators for permission to take solar rebate applications twice a year, instead of once. That's after a surge of applications on Jan. 2 overwhelmed the company's servers and led to confusion over who should get the first-come, first-served rebates.

peron holding phone
Adrianna Calvo / Pexels

Charlotte's Latin American Coalition has started a Spanish-language phone line for people dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.  

CMPD Deputy Chief Gerald Smith delivered an update on crime over the past month.
CMPD video

Domestic violence reports are on the rise in Charlotte, as stay-at-home orders and other stresses related to the COVID-19 outbreak bring turmoil to people's lives. 

A man gets off the 77X Express bus from Davidson Monday morning uptown.
David Boraks / WFAE

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's statewide stay-at-home order is now in effect. But for people deemed "essential workers" during the coronavirus outbreak, the daily commute goes on. They work at technology companies and banks, takeout restaurants and construction sites, and most say they're comfortable with the situation. 

Many homeless people have moved their tents this week to East 13th St., near the Urban Ministry Center.
David Boraks / WFAE

CMPD officers are helping to clear homeless residents from camps near uptown, leaving many looking for new places to live. That's raising concern among advocates for the homeless, who say the action flies in the face of guidance from federal health officials about preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Crisis Assistance Ministry got $600,000 to help people in motels who have lost jobs or income.
Crisis Assistance Ministry

Charlotte's COVID-19 Response Fund has handed out its first $3 million in grants, to help Mecklenburg County residents affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

DownDetector's map showed lots of reports of problems Thursday on the video conferencing site Zoom. Maps for major internet providers including AT&T and Spectrum look similar.
DownDetector.com

With many North Carolinians now under stay-at-home orders to keep the coronavirus from spreading, we're all relying on the internet for remote work and schooling. Dropped connections during meetings or classes are becoming more common, a sign that the internet is straining under the demand.

A Blue Line train pulls away from J.W. Clay Station on North Tryon Street near UNC Charlotte in this 2018 file photo.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated 1:19 p.m.
Charlotte Area Transit System is making buses and trains free, but plans to reduce service by about one-half beginning Wednesday until further notice, as commuting slows because of the coronavirus. CATS says ridership is down 41 percent since early March on buses and the Lynx Blue Line light rail.

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