Friday, June 25, 2010

First Friday coming up again

On July 2nd.

The movie is "Independence Day."

No word on the theme, if they're even doing themes any more.

That is all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

July 1st is coming on fast

The day of reckoning for area smokers soon approaches.
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – On July 1, South Carolina's cigarette tax will increase 50 cents, lifting the state from the lowest rate in the nation to 42nd. The tax may make it tough for some smokers to continue their habit.

"There are many people who smoke who are on a fixed income and can't afford the increase," said Andy Miller, owner of Low Country Tobacco.

Whether customers like it or not, the cigarette tax increase is on its way and some smokers are stocking up now.

Less than a week until South Carolina's 700% tax increase kicks in.

Full article here. My previous post on the subject can be found here.

OT: Hayes Carll to perform on Austin City Limits

I've been listening to his albums quite a bit lately, so I figured the fact he'll be be performing on Austin City Limits was worth mentioning. And besides, Waxhaw listening to more Hayes Carll can only be a good thing.

From Hayes Carll's own website:
Austin City Limits will tape sets with Robert Earl Keen and Hayes Carll on Wednesday, August 4th. Keen has appeared on ACL multiple times, but this will be the first appearance by Hayes Carll.

Both shows will appear as part of ACL’s 36th season on PBS, premiering this fall; airdates are TBD. Announcements concerning ticket availability and giveaways will be posted approximately one week before the tapings.

For a complete season schedule & more, visit
I then wandered over the Austin City Limits website & saw you can view whole shows and/or performances online, which is a nice feature (most likely subsidized by tax dollars, but a nice feature nonetheless).

But I was shocked to see that Ryan Bingham has already performed on this show, while Hayes' upcoming performance will be his first. A travesty of an outrage this is. While I appreciate Bingham's work (and have his CDs), his songs just don't have the staying power of Hayes' in my opinion.

In other news, I still don't have a recording of Hayes' 2010-05-21 show with Dierks Bentley; I'd love to get both sets. If you've got one or the other and can share, please let me know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Working through the backlog

I'm trying to work through the backlog of articles I hoped to comment upon. Today I reached into the grab bag and pulled out an article on...

...a potential new Waxhaw library!

Jason DeBruyn of The Enquirer-Journal had an article (far more timely back when it was originally published on May 25th) on the potential new library for Waxhaw.
MONROE -- If Waxhaw puts up some cash, it might get a new, much larger, library.

County commissioners discussed the possibility of replacing the existing Waxhaw branch with one about seven times larger, but challenged the Waxhaw commissioners to front some town money to help pay for it.

“The communities that are benefitting, should pay a little more,” Commissioner Lanny Openshaw said. “We want to help them with a library if they are willing to help themselves.”
And Mayor Gardner & town commissioner Erin Kirkpatrick picked up the baton and ran with it.
Two Waxhaw board members, Erin Kirkpatrick and Mayor Daune Gardner, attended the commissioner meeting; they agreed to supplementing a new library with town funds.

Waxhaw absolutely recognizes the value of a library,” Kirkpatrick said. “It can be an extremely valuable asset to our community.”
I'm not sure if this was an official pledge of town monies or not; I suspect the latter as the article later specifies the town board will get an offer to the county board within 60 days. I've got an email out to both Mayor Gardner and Commissioner Kirkpatrick to see if they can clarify and answer some other questions.

As for the library, Waxhaw's library is very small and could use an upgrade to accommodate our growing town. However, given the financial times, I would like to learn a little more about the costs to Waxhaw (and the county for that matter) for this project beforehand. Especially considering other counties are struggling to keep their libraries alive.

With both state and federal taxes destined to rise given the out-of-control spending at those levels of government, it would be nice if local spending remains in check so as not to add additional tax burdens down the road.

In other library news, the Library Association of Waxhaw recently picked the winners of their art and poetry contests, in which the winners will be featured in a 2011 calendar to raise money for the new library. Congratulations to the winners! If you in any way want to support a new library, please support their bookstore downtown or buy a 2011 calendar. The more private support the library gets, the better.

I looked into entering one of my son's paintings into the running, but conflicting answers as to whether scanned art was allowed (I wasn't going to part with the original) and my wondering whether the masterpiece in question truly jived with the theme of "Passport to Adventure" was enough to subsequently push it onto the back burner and ultimately forgotten. You be the judge -- adventurous enough?

As of yet, it's still untitled.

UPDATE 7/17: I stumbled across this page today & it appeared to be all screwed up in Firefox; more than half the text was missing. I've had these strange problems with Blogspot from time to time. I think it's fixed now, but it's a testament to the number of visitors that this went a month without anyone letting me know.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day weekend

I enjoyed a weekend without any activities to attend. I scored a larger tent for me & the lads on Father's Day morning, which will come in hand next time we go camping.

The only downside of the weekend was when I made that quick trip to Lowe's Friday evening to pick up a few things. Everything was going smoothly until it was time to return home -- the car wouldn't start.

Thanks to all those who tried to help me get it started, but the last good Samaritan had it right -- fuel wasn't getting to the engine. A relatively quick tow to Summerfield and a four-figure bill (much to my chagrin) that involved replacing my fuel pump fixed the problem.

In other news, I noticed some flyers advertising a pre-fireworks blues festival. Looks like a good way to wile away the hours before the fireworks display, but hopefully the heat cooperates. Hanging outside all day (parade -> blues festival -> fireworks) could be pretty brutal if it's as hot as it's been for the last week or so.

Is this Waxhaw's first ever blues festival? Probably not,

Monday, June 14, 2010

Former Marvin Ridge LB commits to Alabama

Former Marvin Ridge LB Vinnie Sunseri chooses Alabama over Pitt. Per The Enquirer-Journal:
MONROE — Vinnie Sunseri, a three-year starter at Marvin Ridge High, committed to the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide over the weekend.

A linebacker who was voted county and conference defensive player of the year as a junior in 2009, Sunseri gave his word to Alabama head coach Nick Saban after taking a visit to the University of Pittsburgh.

Sunseri said his final decision came down to Alabama and Pittsburgh,

Sunseri admitted Monday he was torn between the two schools, and the emotion ran deep.

His older brother, Tino, is a sophomore at Pittsburgh, battling to start at quarterback this season.

Alabama’s linebackers coach is Sal Sunseri, their dad.
Congratulations to him! Alabama is expected to play for national championships, but not so much for Pitt, so I don't find it particularly surprising that he ultimately decided on Alabama despite having family ties to both schools.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

More noteworthy Waxhaw-related crime

A couple of recent incidents involving Waxhaw residents.

This story has been bouncing around for a while, but here it is. A Waxhaw resident is alleged to have broken into the house of a man who committed suicide. More details here:

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - York County investigators say a Waxhaw man broke into a house and discovered the owner had committed suicide. But rather than tell anyone, police say he robbed the man and tried to use his credit cards.

Anthony Paul Zanghi was found dead on May 27 in his home on Riverview Terrace in Lake Wylie. Sheriff's deputies went to his home that day because they were investigating a case of credit card fraud.

The coroner's office said Zanghi's death appeared consistent with a suicide, and that he died of an apparent gunshot wound sometime in early 2010.

The sheriff's office said Daniel Edwin Wood, 33, burglarized Zanghi's home during late April 2010 and early May. The sheriff's office said Wood knew that Zanghi's body was in the home during the burglary.

In other news, another Waxhaw resident apparently pointed a BB gun at police officers in Indian Trail and was shot and killed for her trouble. She had been suspected of robbing the Walgreens in Wesley Chapel.
Deputies said 28-year-old Christina Yoryea Michailidis, of Waxhaw, robbed the Walgreens on Weddington Road in Wesley Chapel on Tuesday evening.

At about 8 p.m. Tuesday, deputies said Michailidis pointed a weapon at them in the parking lot of the Sun Valley Commons shopping center in Indian Trail.

Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said deputies confronted Michailidis after spotting her in a car matching the description of the getaway vehicle in the pharmacy robbery. When they approached Michailidis, they said she got out of the car and pointed a weapon at one of the officers.

When deputies ordered her to put down the weapon, they said she did not drop it or respond in any way.

Deputies then fired several shots at Michailidis, one of which struck her in the head. She was taken to Carolinas Medical Center Main with serious injuries and died Wednesday.
Read the whole thing here, compliments of WSOC-TV.

An Enquirer-Journal article strongly suggests this might have been a case of suicide by policeman. Full article here (including downloadable 911 calls), but the most interesting part:
Christina Yoryea Michailidis called her mother to say “good-bye” after robbing a drug store Tuesday night.

Less than an hour later, she pointed a gun at deputies who shot her in the parking lot of Sun Valley Commons shopping center Tuesday night, a sheriff’s office release stated.

She died of gunshot wounds at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday.

“I know she has a gun. It’s a BB gun, but it looks like a real handgun. Please tell them not to kill her,” an unidentified caller told 911 at 7:46 p.m.

Michailidis, 28, of 409 Springwood Drive in Waxhaw also told her mother she robbed the Walgreens at 5975 Weddington Road in Wesley Chapel and would take the Oxycontin pills she took from the store, the release stated.

“She took some Oxycontin, 80 milligrams, I gave her a bottle and a half,” an unidentified caller told 911 at 7:17 p.m.

Friday, June 11, 2010

May's Crime Report

I just today realized I neglected to provide May's illustrated Crime Report, so here's a belated image of Waxhaw's May crimes. I apologize to my legion of devoted readers who've come to expect timely (as timely as monthly overviews can be) reporting on Waxhaw's criminal matters.

crimereports may 2010

It's even better if you sign up for the email crime notices at the website.

OT: Nikki Haley's performance in the SC primary

Leading up to the South Carolina gubernatorial primary, I was curious how Nikki Haley would perform. My commute takes me through parts of York and Lancaster County and I cannot recall seeing a single sign for her; her competitors' (McMaster, Bauer, and Barrett) seemed to be everywhere.

I checked the results and she got nearly half the votes in the county regardless of her sign presence, dwarfing the votes obtained by her competitors.

nikki haley primary lancaster york

Obviously, my commute involves only an extremely small sample of those two counties, but I did find it interesting.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Historic guidelines meeting tomorrow

For those who can attend, there is a public information meeting (PDF) tomorrow at 6.30pm at the Museum of the Waxhaws to discuss the guidelines for the proposed Waxhaw historic district mentioned in an earlier post.

If you want to provide some input or have some advance notice of what restrictions you might be subject to, you should attend. And if you take notes or make a recording of the discussion, feel free to pass it along as I could always use more secret sources of insider information.

As for me, I expect to be attending the Boys & Girls Club Family Fun Fest fundraiser in Blakeney, which looks like it'll not only benefit a worthy cause, but be loads of fun for the kids. Can you think of a better way for them to celebrate the end of the school year?

And if you can't attend either of those two events, perhaps you should go to town hall & get some paper shredded so as to better prevent identity theft. There's definitely no excuse to stay at home on Thursday evening.

Apparently OT: Rival Chains Secretly Fund Opposition to Wal-Mart

My first thought after reading this Wall Street Journal article was wondering if local chains such as Food Lion or Harris Teeter have ever hired Saint Consulting Group, oh say, in an effort to keep Wal-Mart out of Waxhaw.
A grocery chain with nine stores in the area had hired Saint Consulting Group to secretly run the antidevelopment campaign. Saint is a specialist at fighting proposed Wal-Marts, and it uses tactics it describes as "black arts."

As Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has grown into the largest grocery seller in the U.S., similar battles have played out in hundreds of towns like Mundelein. Local activists and union groups have been the public face of much of the resistance. But in scores of cases, large supermarket chains including Supervalu Inc., Safeway Inc. and Ahold NV have retained Saint Consulting to block Wal-Mart, according to hundreds of pages of Saint documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and interviews with former employees.

There's no evidence to support local ties to the Saint Consulting Group, but it was my first thought given the successful defeat of a Waxhaw Wal-mart some years ago much to my disappointment. Either way, it is an interesting article about the astroturfing of this issue by Wal-Mart's competitors in other parts of the country, so it's worth a read regardless.

Waxhaw's schools to be federalized

But not until 2012 so I gues there's still time to turn this around. The article:
The state Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved new universal standards for reading and math classes in public schools, becoming the fifth state in the nation to do so.

North Carolina is part of a 48-state consortium that is working toward developing and adopting the "Common Core" standards for grades K-12 to help improve analytical thinking.

The nationwide goal is to build a stronger education system, where students, regardless of where they live, receive the same quality of education.

I can't for the life of me cannot see how this is good for the students of North Carolina. If the worry is that NC education standards are not high enough to meet whatever national standards are developed by the educational bureaucrats of the consortium, then North Carolina should just make their own standards better than the national standards.

Heck, they can even use very same standards without binding themselves to this program. In the latter case, of course, they wouldn't get the federal funding involved, and therein lies the rub. The powers that be in NC want the federal funds.

And while the current standards only apply to mathematics and English, the State Board of Education Chairman conveniently informs us they plan to adopt even more national standards. Hooray! How soon until health, history, and social studies are added to the mix?

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said that the state plans to adopt more national standards within the next two years.

Under the changes, which will take effect in 2012, he said parents and students would see more "rigorous" testing standards, as well as an "authentic" way of learning, with a curriculum that deals with real-world problems.

Too bad he didn't clarify the more "authentic" way of learning Waxhaw's children will get to participate in because it sounds curiously like meaningless fluff to me.

Given the state government's inability to control their spending, this clearly is one way Bev Perdue and the state government are able to get additional federal funding. I've been unable to find any information on exactly how much federal funding is involved, but if I can ever get my hands on that info, I'll share.

For more information, here's the Common Core website. Given their investment in these standards being adopted by more than just the five states who've currently opted in, I'd recommend taking what you read here with a grain of salt.

For example, I learned here that the federal government has nothing to do with the implementation of this program. A couple lines below, they include the following, which I would argue directly contradicts that claim.
However, the federal government will have the opportunity to support states as they begin adopting the standards. For example, the federal government can
  • Support this effort through a range of tiered incentives, such as providing states with greater flexibility in the use of existing federal funds, supporting a revised state accountability structure, and offering financial support for states to implement the standards.
  • Provide long-term financial support for the development and implementation of common assessments, teacher and principal professional development, and research to help continually improve the common core state standards over time.
What are the odds that this program would've been implemented here if we weren't going to be on the receiving end of additional federal dollars? Slim to none methinks.

The federal government is essentially bribing cash-strapped states into joining a program that I suspect will be very difficult to extricate ourselves from once we've spent the money. And unfortunately, I imagine the money's already been spent.

Link to Waxhaw Gazette disappeared?

I could've swore that the town's website had a direct link to The Waxhaw Gazette a few weeks back. If it was ever there, it is gone now for what it's worth.

They still have a helpful link to it, so that's something I guess.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Waxhaw Gazette editorial

Well, I'm back home again and in case you were wondering, the North Carolina Zoo up in Asheboro is as grueling to walk as it's always been in 90+ degree heat with a youngin' on your shoulders. I was told the whole trek across two continents was 4-5 miles and that felt pretty accurate with the sun beating down on you.

In other news, I missed last Friday's First Friday, but I had forgotten all about it. But that's probably not all that surprising given how no one from the mysterious STMSPCC contacted me with a heads up (not like the old days, that's for sure). I think the town's website had advance notice of a day or two, so that's pretty good by their standards.

Upon returning, I headed over to The Waxhaw Gazette, where John brings up a topic near & dear to my heart (and referenced in the last paragraph no less). I'm intersperse comments throughout, so hopefully John doesn't mind.
A few issues back reference was made to not getting information about happenings around town. I was commiserating with fellow writers of in the Waxhaw area.
I imagine he's referring to yours truly, as referenced by my earlier post. I'm still looking for that elusive link.
It has recently come to my attention that some people have found that I was not accurate in their timely dissemination of information.
This is the most provocative sentence of the whole piece, but unfortunately, there's no follow-up illustration. Obviously some of John's sources feel they've been giving him tips as to local goings-on. Given the tenor of the rest of the article, I would surmise John disagrees.

Well to set the record straight I want to make sure that no offense was intended but rather a sense of frustration on my part that things were happening around town and after spending the last two and a half years studiously attempting to establish contacts that few if any were following through with keeping me informed. People such as the Mayor, the Town Manager, the Police Chief, the Fire Chief,...etc. and yet things happen and I never get a heads up from any of them. Whether it is crime, or a developer bulldozing or a bridge out... and oh yes, I understand there is a new Fire Chief? ...all things you, my many readers would like to know about but I cant pass it along if I don't know about. ...average readership is consistently between 2,000 to 3,000 per issue... and for a pub that only comes out twice a month and is available only on line, that's a lot of you people reading it.
Besides calling out some town notables for their lack of support, I think he gets an impressive number of people viewing The Waxhaw Gazette. 2000-3000 is far, far beyond anything I pull in, especially considering he oftentimes features some general interest stories with little ties to Waxhaw in my opinion. I wonder how said town notables will take to this more public airing of grievances (Festivus anyone?) when at least some apparently chafed at his earlier rather harmless criticism of the town not providing much notice for upcoming events.
When I first started the Gazette, I have consistently asked for help from the towns people to let me know what's on their minds, what's happening around town and what they want to happen. And quite frankly only a very select few have been supportive, something I find rather disappointing. Waxhaw isn't just my stomping grounds and I would have thought more people would have shown interest in participating. Although I can't do much about the citizens of Waxhaw, I am disappointed that the town itself has shown so little support ....after all I would have thought that a local paper would be considered quite an asset for both business and government. The Edge is gone, the Observer is gone and the Enquirer, well they are what they are...
I only have this to add: if John Tiley at The Waxhaw Gazette is having trouble getting local support, then I imagine that doesn't bode well for my grand aspirations turning this blog into some kind of cash cow. By the way, what "Observer" is he referring to? Charlotte Observer? Some long gone Waxhaw local entitled the "Waxhaw Observer"? On a side note, given their lack of local support, you'd think The Waxhaw Gazette would be well-positioned to recognize my predicament and throw me a bone on occasion and give those 2000-3000 readers a convenient link to my site. But I digress...
Perhaps I'm wrong because as you can plainly see by the lack of advertising support, the business community of Waxhaw have studiously avoided the Gazette. Although I must say I get an awful lot of requests from people wanting free promotions... Over these past two years I have written many articles on South Siders, Rippingtons, Main Street, the Barber Shop, covered Rotary Races etc, etc... yet not one has ever taken an ad. No matter how low the overhead is to run an on line paper, I cannot continue to exist without community support. Both from an input and a financial aspect, sadly things need to change if the Gazette is going to still be publishing come the end of summer.
Sounds like The Waxhaw Gazette is threatening to close its doors without a noticeable increase of financial support from area businesses. Now, I haven't been tied into the local scene for as long as some (and many of you migjht argue that if I'm tied in now it's with the loosest of knots. I've yet to come up with a retort to that), but given the fact he calls out specific businesses for their lack of advertising dollars, I would surmise the threat is valid. It'd be shame to lose it.
Ok, I know things are tough all over... I am publishing this in this edition out of frustration and because quite frankly if things don't start changing... At least I know I'll be in the good company of many who have gone before me trying to bring a voice to the Waxhaw Community.
We'll have to stay tuned to see what happens. I think the frustration is evident based on the number of individuals and businesses taken to task in the editorial.

As for me, I unfortunately but perhaps accordingly get paid zilch & I imagine I receive far less local informational support than John given his apparent readership figures. The main reason I started this blog was to help fill a void because I had no idea what was going on in my town & there didn't really seem to be a good resource to keep up with things. I'm having a hard time keeping up given my other responsibilities, but I do what I can. I've got a stack of Waxhaw Exchange's cluttering my bag as they all contain at least one article I wanted to comment on or dig into a little farther. Maybe when I get some vacation time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Busy, but not so busy...

...that I can't comment a little on the town's efforts to protect its historic structures. Otherwise, posting has been light since I have begun auditing a biostatistics class for all intents & purposes & will continue to be light for some time. Statistics is a harsh mistress.

The mayor via Facebook was kind enough to share this article from Preservation Magazine, published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Make a donation & you too can be a subscriber.

The mayor is quoted extensively throughout the article, discussing the town's efforts to create a local historic district to protect some of the historic structures.
This month the group, with the help of outside consultants hired for $40,000, will determine the boundaries for the district as well as design guidelines historic homes must meet. The group hopes to secure approval by the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office by the end of July.
It will be interesting to see what design guidelines historic homes must meet, as any guidelines that are devised will undoubtably trample on the property rights of the owners.

Butch Kelly, a Waxhaw resident and owner of a historic property, states as much:
But not all historic homeowners are thrilled with the prospect of more protection. Butch Kelly, a Waxhaw resident for 22 years, says the local district would infringe on property rights. "We do not want any more government control of our property," Kelly says. "We don't want them to tell us what color they can paint our house, or 'You can't do this,' or 'You can't do that.'" Kelly's own house was built in 1855, he says. "They were going to bulldoze it 22 years ago, and I saved it," he says. "That's my particular license, rights, and beliefs, but I don't think [that] should be forced on my neighbor."
Mayor Gardner & Denise Kuntz, chairperson of the Waxhaw Historic Commission, provide their opinion on potential paint regulations for what it's worth.

Kuntz and Gardner maintain that Waxhaw's historic guidelines will be flexible. Possible guidelines might include regulating the pitch on certain roofs so as not to damage structures, for example, Kuntz says, but the commission has no plans to enforce personal decorative choices like paint color.

"It looks like where Waxhaw's going to end up is pretty much down the middle," Gardner says. "We don't want to tell people what color to paint their front door, but at the same time we don't want to allow for the loss of or complete distortion of the historic structures."

It would have been far more informative to hear what kind of guidelines they prefer or expect to be put in place than disputing one relatively minor one offered up by a concerned citizen. Could a porch be screened in? Columns removed? Answers to those questions would be far more beneficial in my opinion than roof pitches, but I suppose we'll have to wait until the end of July to see what kind of guidelines are proposed.

Read the whole thing.

Exit question: what three historic properties have been torn down in the last three months? I recall the hubbub when the house behind Waxhaw UMC was demolished, but do not recall hearing much about the destruction of any other historic properties.