Cover Story: Looking ahead - big stories in 2010

By Jeff Atkinson - bio | email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's been a wild ride in 2009 for the Carolinas.  SC Governor Mark Sanford admits cheating.  On a Charlotte-bound flight, Captain Sully makes his miracle landing on the Hudson.  And we saw Charlotte banking change big time.

On this New Year's Eve, PrimeTime's Jeff Atkinson looks ahead to the big stories to watch out for in 20-10.

When the Charlotte crown goes up at midnight beginning a new year 2010 will be a year of big stories locally in politics, transportation, economy, crime and sports.

In the new year Charlotte City Council will consider offering health benefits to same sex couples.. taking up a controversy that Mecklenburg county commissioners signed off on two weeks ago.

South Carolina voters elect a new governor.. replacing Mark Sanford who can't run for a third term and considering this summer's scandal would have a hard time getting re-elected.

Every seat in the North Carolina General Assembly will be up for grabs.. big name Democrats are retiring in the Senate.. can the Dems hold on to power in both chambers?

North Carolina Congressman Larry Kissell and South Carolina Representative John Spratt face stiff opposition in their respective districts in Congress.

And who will the Democrats nominate to run against incumbent U.S. Senator Richard Burr?

I-485, Charlotte's outerbelt dominated the news in 2009 will Gov. Perdue's controversial plan to get a contractor to loan the state the money to get it finished actually work?

Flights in and out of Charlotte will get faster when the Airport's new third parallel runway opens this year.

And we should know by February whether Uncle Sam will come through with the millions for a new I-85 bridge over the Yadkin River.

The economy showing signs of improvement as 2010 begins unemployment lines are getting shorter.

The question of Bank of America's headquarters decided, now will the Big Red bank's stock rebound after sinking to an all-time low this March?

And expect to see the Wachovia name replaced on ATMs with its new suitor Wells Fargo.

Charlotte's crime rate continues to fall.  Are police chief Rodney Monroe's tactics of making cops more visible in the community working?

Demeatrius Montgomery accused of gunning down two CMPD officers more than two and a half years ago will go on trial this summer.

In sports, the Carolina Panthers head coaching job settled for the time being but with the NFL talking about a lockout in 2011 how will that play out next year?

Bob Johnson still shopping the Bobcats will Michael Jordan buy the team or will the billionaire owner sell to someone else?

And the famed Quail Hollow Championship expected to end its run in four years.  In 2010 will the club change its mind and keep the PGA Tour in Charlotte?

Big stories we'll be covering in the new year.  What story will come out of nowhere?

Who could have predicted Tiger Woods' fall from grace?  Or Mark Sanford's?  Or Michael Jackson's death?

Stories that didn't make the cut:  Health care reform.. will it pass? and how will it affect us locally?  Charlotte's Eastland Mall closing for good.  And Project Cardinal that big development project supposed to be coming here is still as mysterious as ever.