Monday, November 29, 2010

No Waxhaw Exchange again?!

Once again, I did not receive my copy of the Waxhaw Exchange. I find it baffling that access to a free paper has become so difficult. You would think the more eyes that read it the better for them.

I know the Main Street Grill had copies at one point, but I rarely can get there before it closes up shop since their hours changed.

Does anyone know where else a copy can be picked up in Waxhaw?

Big Dog to become Stack's Kitchen

I'm probably late to the game on this one as I noticed it days ago. But by my decree, the Big Dog Cafe will henceforth be known as Stack's Kitchen.

Well, not by my decree, per se, but per the sign overtop the restaurant as it undergoes renovations. The subtitle on the sign is: "Good food ... and lots of it" or something to that effect.

Anyone know if ownership has changed or if the Big Dog is just overhauling?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Waxhaw's light-up night

My oldest began recovering just soon enough so we could walk over to the Holiday Festival of Lights (ie. Waxhaw's light-up night) this evening. A decent crowd was present that seemed larger than last year's crowd, although I wasn't around last year since dinner beckoned. Mayor Gardner couldn't attend this year for reasons unknown. Parishioners from Waxhaw Baptist sang carols, but unfortunately it couldn't really be heard by those of us near Church Street, but we got to hear them (or other groups of carolers) as they walked through town singing carols.

Like last year, the kids scored a lollipop and some glow sticks while we waited, but their impatience was only slightly abated. We therefore decided to participate in the treasure hunt of twelve local businesses while we waited for the lights to be lit. Stopping in places such as the Bike Depot, Waxhaw Art & Chocolate, and Fuzion Hair Design to spy one of the gifts of the Twelve Days of Christmas kept the boys engaged.

Only after coming out of Southsiders did we discover that we missed the official light-up, but we were on an important mission at that point. At the end, they traded in their card for a Matchbox car as their treasure after completing their taskbefore we headed home. The rain held off just enough although we walked home in a drizzle.

All in all, a fun hour and a half. It would've been much longer had we joined the line for the free carriage rides, but perhaps another day.

Observer absent on Thanksgiving

The Charlotte Observer failed us this Thanksgiving. We're weekend subscribers and have always received a Thanksgiving Day paper, but not this year.

My wife is one of those crazy Black Friday shoppers who stays out all night, so we ended up going out and buying a newspaper from Food Lion just so she could know more about the Black Friday sales.

I called customer service to get a replacement paper, but it never arrived for what it's worth. I'm not sure if this is just a delivery error or a policy change in that weekend subscribers no longer receive this paper. I wouldn't be surprised with either explanation.

The only reason we still maintain the subscription is for the Sunday coupons. If there was someway to get Smartsource or Red Plum to mail us those coupons, there's be no need to even bother with a subscription in my opinion. It's a rare occasion when I read one of the articles.

UPDATE: For what it's worth, they did ultimately deliver a copy of our Thanksgiving paper with Friday's. It was too late, but I figured it was worth mentioning.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone in Waxhaw had a nice Thanksgiving. My family had a good day except for my oldest, like clockwork, becoming sick Wednesday and spending the day miserably on the couch. Sick last year on Halloween and the year prior on Easter. Following this pattern to its brutal conclusion, he apparently will be sick next year for Christmas.

We saved some of the Thanksgiving feast for him so hopefully tomorrow he'll be able to reheat and enjoy.

While the turkey was cooking, we got most (likely all) of the Christmas lights up and plan to get the tree and rest of the inside decorations up tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In other belated news...

...the most recent Waxhaw Gazette was released to little fanfare here at Broome Street Blues. Mainly because I hadn't realized two weeks had already passed.

I think this detail puts the kibosh on my on-again off-again thoughts of critiquing elements of his post-election/economy article from the prior issue, which apparently is only available in the archive (PDF) now.

But I will quote and concur with the following from his 'Around Town' column.
By all accounts things here in Waxhaw have been a bit on the quiet side this last few weeks.

Direct a $5 donation to Waxhaw Elementary

If you make Bing your home page (temporarily if you want), you can get a $5.00 donation code to use at to benefit schools. Click on the orange “Help Now” to get started.

I searched the archives and there is a project to get a Flip camera for Mrs. M at Waxhaw Elementary. I just got done donating $5 to this project and it only took a couple minutes of my time, so if you've got a few minutes, it'd be nice if more of this money can be directed to a local school.

Alternatively, there are tons of other projects around the country you can contribute to if you'd rather assist one of them, all compliments of Bing. They're trying to donate $2 million in total by mid-January, so if you've got a couple minutes, take a few moments and earn a small slice of this money for Waxhaw Elementary.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Third suspect in DMV shooting arrested

A third suspect has been arrested in the Monroe DMV shooting. Per WSOC:
MONROE, N.C. -- Monroe police have charged a third suspect in a robbery and shooting outside of the NC License Plate Agency at the Bundy Square Mall on Roosevelt Boulevard.

Freda Brown, 37, was arrested Friday and charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
No word on what her role was at this time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

E-J update on Crystal Jordan

In an article on added charges and increased bond (yay!) for the DMV suspects (mentioned here, here, and here), a blurb indicating that Crystal Jordan's status is thankfully improving:
Robbie Jordan was treated at Carolinas Medical Center and later released. Crystal Jordan remains at CMC. Her condition was upgraded yesterday from critical to serious.

A Christmas Carol coming soon to a museum near you

I meant to post this a week ago, but got sidetracked. Possible evidence I've got a life outside this blog or just further evidence I'm slacking? You'll have to make that call.

The Storefront Theatre is performing "A Christmas Carol" this weekend at the Museum of the Waxhaws on November 20 at 7:30p and November 21 at 2:30p. For more info or to buy tickets, visit The Storefront Theatre.

For those unaware (because I was at first and may still be for all I know), The Storefront Theater performs reader's theater. A good description of reader's theater from an old Sherri Phengchard article in the Enquirer-Journal:
Judy Simpson Cook, a playwright and the theatre’s founder, moved to Waxhaw a few years ago from Charlotte. She wanted to bring an inexpensive, artistic performance to the town.

“Staged readings don’t take a lot of room, or cost a lot of money ... It is a concert reading, where the actors are seated. There is a very theatrical feel to it, and afterwards we have a talk back with the playwright,” Cook said.
I'm not sure my kids are of adequate age to take to reader's theater and expect them to enjoy it, so I don't think I'll be bringing them just yet.

But this is probably the most kid-friendly performance of the season based on this season's schedule.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Johnny's Pub & Grub

I noticed last week that Johnny's Pub & Grub opened in Indian Land, SC (at the old location of The Pour House).

Anyone been there yet? Thoughts?

I did notice the Steelers emblem in the window while driving past, which would be an interesting development if I bothered to travel to watch my team play nowadays.

I find myself inexplicably becoming less interested in the NFL these days.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Big Dog Cafe closed for now

I was on my way back from Family Dollar and noticed that the Big Dog Cafe was closed. The sign on the window said something to the effect that ot was closed and that the grand opening coming soon.

Are they just renovating in there? Changed owners? New restaurant coming?

Anyone have the scoop?

Friday, November 12, 2010

No Waxhaw Exchange last week

I know something just didn't feel right this week and it took me until Thursday evening to figure out why. And then it took me another couple days to put this extensive post together.

My copy of the Waxhaw Exchange never arrived last weekend. This is the not the first time this has happened.

The Enquirer-Journal is no longer using the issuu service, so unfortunately the Waxhaw Exchange is no longer available online to non-subscribers like me.

Hopefully this week I'll have better luck because my imagination is running wild with all the juicy Waxhaw stories I missed last week.

UPDATE: Fixed typo in header. Sorry, John!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Goodbye, Sherri!

Alan Jenkins, editor of the Waxhaw Exchange, informs me that the trilogy of spice articles (referenced here) by Sherri Phengchard are her "swan song." She will no longer be freelancing for the Enquirer-Journal/Waxhaw Exchange.

First Elisabeth and now Sherri; Waxhaw is chewing up and spitting out those on its beat. No word on how John at the Waxhaw Gazette has survived for so long, but I suspect it's the bi-weekly publishing.

I've also been told that the E-J is looking for a freelancer to replace her; writing experience a plus. Contact Alan if you think you fit the bill.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spice epidemic has locals up in arms

Sherri Phengchard and the Enquirer-Journal have a three-part story on the availability of spice in dear old Waxhaw. Spice (and other products sold under different names) are sold as incense, but are laced with JWH-018 (or another variant), a synthetic cannabinoid that was originally developed for medical research. I'd describe it as a "chemical variant of marijuana."

Links to the articles, if they're still accessible, are here:

Part 1: The SPICE High: NC, Waxhaw battle new legal drug

Part 2: Local leaders' hands tied in fight against 'Spice'

Part 3: Legislators plan best approach to battle ‘Spice’

They're all worth reading.

The short and sweet of it if you're too lazy to read the articles: Southport Gift Shop, among other businesses in the state, is legally selling the incense. Certain people are suspected of not staying beholden to the package warnings and smoking the stuff à la marijuana.

Other certain people, including Patte Kennedy of Southsiders fame, are up in arms about the impending disaster because of what's going on and what this predicament might do to our fair town.

But after reading the articles, there appears to be no evidence of a spice epidemic destroying the town's youths. The series makes clear that some of the state's pols are hard at work to make these chemical variants of marijuana illegal, so I suspect those concerned with this matter will find acceptable closure in the near future. Until there's evidence to suggest that a significant ongoing problem is underway, this seems like much ado about nothing, and as such I see no need for town officials to get involved despite the entreaties of certain people.

I would be curious to know if any local high schoolers are actually smoking this stuff or have heard of peers who are. My suspicion: weed is far more prevalent than spice. If anyone wants to comment and provide some insight into what young folks think of the stuff or its use, feel free to add a comment.

Also, if anyone can offer a educated opinion on the price of spice compared to the price of modern-day marijuana, I would be very curious about that as well. It seems rather expensive based on the prices I could dig up, so I'd be a little surprised to find it could attract high schoolers by undercutting marijuana prices.

Two men arrested in DMV shooting

Per the Observer, two men have been arrested for the DMV shooting in Monroe that still has Crystal Jordan in critical condition.
Police arrested two men in Charlotte this morning in the Nov. 1 shooting and robbery of a Waxhaw couple outside the N.C. License Plate Agency at Bundy Square Mall on Roosevelt Boulevard in Monroe, Monroe Police Chief Debra Duncan said.

Officers charged Melvin Lee Luckey, 33, and Otis Redding Howie Jr., 25, both of Charlotte with two counts each of attempted first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon, and one count of larceny of a firearm.
UPDATE: I should've checked out the Enquirer-Journal before posting because they have a better story including additional pictures of the suspects. Check it out here.

GingerSnap 5K coming soon

The GingerSnap 5K, to benefit Girls on the Run, is set to take place in Waxhaw on Dec 4th. Long-sleeved race shirts (only guaranteed who signed up a week ago) and gingersnaps will be available for participants.

For more info or to register to run, go here.

I imagine my wife will be running in this one too and hopefully once again she'll beat the mayor.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

October Crime Report

Here's October's belated crime report, compliments of

Waxhaw Crimereports October 2010

CrimeReports has recently begun tracking different types of violations, including traffic violations. When you add those in, it appears a veritable crime wave has struck last month.

Waxhaw Crimereports October 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reminder: Access to E-J to be reduced tomorrow

I mentioned this once already, but the Enquirer-Journal is removing access to their content for non-subscribers starting tomorrow.

I'm not exactly sure what this is going to mean going forward as far to their Waxhaw-related content. But if I or those perusing this humble blog can't access any of the articles, I imagine I'll be linking to their content much less frequently.

We'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

New Waxhaw Gazette out

Another new issue of the Waxhaw Gazette arrived last Friday.

Highlights include:

* The most thorough piece on Maxwell's Tavern that exists. Given the number of hits I get on Maxwell's Tavern posts, I imagine this will be well-visited by the restaurant curious.

* John heads to the Main Street Grill to get the lowdown on their new hours of operation and basically verifies the lunchtime hours that my valuable source Toula shared with us.

* Christmas Creep hits the Waxhaw Gazette as John provides info on the upcoming Christmas parade and Waxhaw light-up night. There's supposedly more info available at the town's website, but I couldn't find it. So the Waxhaw Gazette seems to be your place this info for now.

Veteran's Day Remembrance Ceremony Thursday

UPDATE x2: Even worse, I just realized I was a week off. I made the corrections below and re-dated the post. A pretty major faux pas on my part.

A Veteran's Day Remembrance Ceremony was supposedly will be held today Thursday at noon. Per the town site:
Please join us for an afternoon of remembrance as the Town of Waxhaw honors those past and presently serving our country with a Veterans Day Remembrance Ceremony on Thursday, November 11 at noon. The ceremony will take place at the Military Wall of Honor in historic downtown Waxhaw. Call 704-843-2195 ex. 26 or for more information.
I'm not sure if it was held or not due to the rain. Last year's was postponed due to inclement weather.

UPDATE: Fixed embarrassing typo in title.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Business Insider has NC in the top 10...

...the top 10 worst states to do business in, that is.

Business Insider has the ranks and if it makes you feel any better, North Carolina is the best of the worst, coming in at #10. (That's my best Casey Kasem impression.)

Here's a handy dandy graphic showing North Carolina with its business-unfriendly peers.

2011 state business tax climate

Notice that North Carolina is the sole state representing the south, which could only hinder us as we compete with our southern brethren for business.

Business Insider's article is compliments of the Tax Foundation's report, which can be downloaded for those interested.

Priscilla's record deal

I stumbled across this story and figured it was worth sharing.

Waxhaw resident and UNC freshman Priscilla Townsend stopped by a summer fair, ended up entering a karaoke contest and winning the contest with her performance of the self-composed "How Did I Know." The Daily Tarheel has the story:
Priscilla Townsend, a freshman pursuing dental hygiene, stopped by the Waxhaw, N.C., fair this summer to see some rescue puppies.

Townsend left the fair with a three-year record contract.


Townsend sang her self-authored song “How Did I Know” in a karaoke contest at the fair.

The song — now her first single on iTunes — brought her victory and the attention of Charlotte-based The Bench Studios producer Rick Lapinsky, who then asked Townsend to sign with the company.
Read the whole thing. For those interested in checking out her song, it can be purchased on iTunes for a mere buck. She's got a website too.

For the life of me, I can't think of the "summer fair" in Waxhaw with the karaoke contest where this all began. Can someone refresh my memory?

DMV gunman's description changed?

WCNC has an article that attempts to tie together an early DMV robbery with the robbery at the Jordans' license plate agency in Monroe that has Crystal Jordan in critical condition.

Both the Char-Meck and Monroe police say the description of the suspect in both incidents is similar. But based on the description I highlighted in my earlier post, the suspect has grown in leaps and bounds. Earlier reports had the suspect quite short, around 5’2" - 5’3", but the gunman is now significantly taller according to the WCNC article.
According to police, the suspect is described as a black male, with a medium complexion, he appeared to be in his 20’s and between 5-foot-10 and 6-feet tall. He has short black hair.
Seems like a pretty large discrepancy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Traffic light question answered

A long time ago, I asked my first in a small series of vexing questions about Waxhaw.
I've always considered this a vexing Waxhaw question if there ever was one, but can anyone explain why there's no left turning light to turn onto Broome Street from 75?
Well, I finally got an answer and it's simply this: because NC DOT says we don't need one.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, NC DOT recently did a count to determine if the need for a dedicated left turn light for eastbound traffic was needed. I ended my post with what essentially was a gloomy predictions of the results, which turned out to pretty accurate.

Sean Epperson of NC DOT emailed to say that after performing the traffic count on September 22, they have concluded that a dedicated left turning light for eastbound traffic into the 16/75 intersection is not warranted. Per their calculations, the time that the eastbound traffic would save would get shoved onto north and southbound traffic, thus making the point moot as far as NC DOT is concerned.

One positive change for eastbound traffic is that the 6' x 6' inductive loop will be replaced with a 6' x 25' loop. (For more information on how this works, see here.) During the count, some instances of eastbound traffic through the intersection were not detected by the already existing smaller 6' x 6' loop, so installing a larger 6' x 25' loop should resolve that issue. This work has not yet been scheduled.

While monitoring traffic that day, Sean also made some changes to the timing of the traffic light in an effort to further improve the efficiency of the signal. So hopefully the combination of these changes will minimize delays for eastbound traffic through the intersection. We'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Friday is here again

First Friday will soon be upon us. Here is the flyer I got from the STMSPPC that gives all the details.

Waxhaw First Friday November 2010

Note the special on Corona and chips and salsa at Maxwell's Tavern. I cannot believe that it's taken this long to get a beer special during First Friday. No word on what Southsiders has been doing this whole time.

What is their logical response to this wonderful escalation by Maxwell's Tavern? $2 Coronas? $2 Guinness? Half price liquor drinks? We'll all just have to wait and see how this plays out.

Also going on from 5-7pm, although not associated with First Friday as far as I can tell, is a gathering at the Military Wall of Honor across from Southsiders. You'll be able to check out the renovations and expansion, as well as learn how to get a loved one's name added to the wall. More info at the town's site here. (PDF)

Railroad or Native Americans?

Can't you see this design charrette is tearing us all apart?

Or perhaps a little more trouble than it was worth. The Enquirer-Journal has the story (also featured earlier in last week's Waxhaw Exchange). From the article:
The two most popular images were a profile of a Waxhaw Native American, and the other was of the railroad tracks with a train, each with “Waxhaw” in a railroad track inspired font.

Lew Holloway, Waxhaw Small Town Main Street designer, who led the charrette, summarized the event’s results. Then he invited residents to the front of the room to look at the posted design variations, and to write their comments.
Apparently sides began forming shortly afterward. Read the entire article to see the differing opinions from various sides that essentially can be summed up as pro-railroad, anti-railroad, pro-Native American, and anti-Native American. The mysterious Sherri Phengchard did a good job on this article in my opinion.

To download the nearly 50-page design charrette follow-up, visit the town's page to get the PDF file. (If I had to guess, the images being referred to in the article are those on pages 34-36 of this document.) Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

As for my opinion, of the two generic ideas (railroad or Native Americans) and not based on any designs, I would choose the former over the latter. Railroads (see this year's derailment) are much more a part of current Waxhaw than Native Americans for better or worse. Besides what the museum is doing, off the top of my head I cannot think of any other significant aspect of modern day Waxhaw that has embraced the town's Native American heritage, so it would be an unlikely top selling point if I were running things. But I'm just a simple blogger.

Copper Amber Ale at Maxwell's

I forgot to add in my earlier review that Maxwell's Tavern also offers Olde Mecklenburg Brewery's Copper Amber Ale (on tap, I imagine) for $4. That's a worthy beer if you're considering it.

And for the money-conscious, you cannot beat the price of a growler at Southern Spirits if you choose to go that route -- 4.5 pints for the price of 2.5 pints. That's the equivalent of two free pints for local beer-drinking penny-pinchers!

More on North Carolina v. Amazon

Time has an article about North Carolina's attempts to extract more taxes from its citizens that just so happens to violate the First Amendment.
The court case stems from a war over sales taxes between North Carolina and Amazon. The North Carolina tax department says Amazon failed to collect sales taxes on about 50 million transactions with North Carolinians between 2003 and early 2010. As part of a tax audit, North Carolina asked the e-commerce giant to provide, for that time period, "all information for all sales to customers with a North Carolina shipping address."

Amazon partially complied, turning over a lot of records, but it held back data that would allow the state to connect individual customers with the specific items they purchased. North Carolina came back with a demand for more and different data, and Amazon sued in federal court in Washington State, arguing that the state's demands violate the First Amendment and privacy laws. The federal district court rightly ruled that North Carolina's actions violated the First Amendment as well as certain provisions of the Video Privacy Protection Act, the 1988 law that prevents unauthorized disclosure of video-sale records. The court warned that if North Carolina were able to get individualized information about Amazon customers, it would have a chilling effect on their decisions about what to buy.
The ACLU (an organization that frequently irritates me with the cases it chooses to associate itself with) sided with Amazon; this article deals heavily with the first amendment-violations that prompted the organization to enter the fray.

Given that ACLU's defense ultimately revolved around identifying an individual's purchases, what is stopping the state of North Carolina from just requesting a list of North Carolinians and the total dollar amount of their purchases for tax purposes? In my layman's opinion, a pared-down request from the state seems like it'd be far more difficult to defend as a First Amendment violation. But surely Amazon (and perhaps the ACLU) have other defenses against future requests of this nature.

Anyone know?

Another question: does the fact that Republicans have control of the state legislature for the first time since the 19th century have any effect on the state's course in this matter?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waxhaw couple shot in Monroe, wife in critical condition

I stumbled across this earlier today. The Charlotte Observer has some of the details of this unfortunate story.
Monroe police continue to look Tuesday for the man suspected of shooting a couple outside a Monroe license plate office during an apparent robbery Monday evening.

The victims included the woman who managed the agency, in the Bundy Square shopping center on West Roosevelt Boulevard.

Police identified the victims as Crystal and Robbie Jordan, of Waxhaw. Investigators told reporters they suspect the gunman might have been waiting for Crystal Jordan to leave the office after it closed.
This Enquirer-Journal piece is more detailed, painting a more accurate picture of the crime. Read the whole thing.
Mandy Strickland witnessed the attack in the parking lot from her store next door.

“He was trying to grab her purse from her and she was trying to hold it and when he started shooting her, she let go of it,” Strickland told news partner WSOC 9 TV. “She was not moving at all. There was blood everywhere and by the time the ambulance got here, it looked like she was going into shock.”

She said the gunman then shot Robbie Jordan.

“He was shot in the face and he also got shot in the back,” she said. “When he grabbed his face the first time is when the guy shot him in the back.”
Crystal Jordan has since been transported to Carolinas Medical Center and was listed in critical condition as of last night. The suspect is still at large. The two descriptions of the gunman from the Observer and the Enquirer-Journal are:
Police said the suspect is described as a black male in his early 20s, short, with a dark complexion, possible corn-row hairstyle, wearing a white t-shirt with a blue design, jeans and ankle-high white tennis shoes. Anyone with information is asked to call Union County Crime Stoppers at 704-283-5600.

Police are looking for a suspect described as a black man in his early 20s between 5’2 to 5’3, with a dark complexion and either cornrows or dreadlocks. He fled north on foot after the incident and was said to be wearing a white T-shirt with a blue design or logo on the front, loose fit blue jeans and white tennis shoes that were ankle height.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Crystal, Robbie, and the police who need to catch the armed gunman.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Visited Maxwell's Tavern for the first time

Because the Main Street Grill was closed last Thursday, I headed home, grabbed the family, and we headed out to Maxwell's Tavern for the first time.

My first impression (and it's the same impression I'd gotten when peaking in as I drove by) is that it was pretty busy. Most tables were occupied, so they were doing brisk business as it appears they have been since opening.

We were seated in the one available booth, a smaller one at the end. I ordered the cheeseburger I wasn't able to get at the Main Street Grill. The server appeared to have her head in the clouds a little as we received only two sets of silverware/napkins for four people. And it also took a little while to get our straws. But she was exceedingly nice and kept my sweet tea I chalk this up to start-up hiccups and suspect this will improve accordingly over time.

The food arrived and the kids appeared to enjoy the chicken tenders. The french fries and ranch were pretty good. My wife liked her Black and Bleu burger and my cheeseburger was pretty good, though I think I prefer the Main Street Grill's. I will say the burgers were quite substantial though. Finishing the meal was a challenge.

All in all, a nice visit, so I'm sure we'll be back at some point.

Voted today

I headed over to the Waxhaw VFD and it was slightly crowded in there around lunchtime. But maybe that was par for the course since I rarely vote around lunchtime.

The line was moving pretty slow, so it took us roughly 30min to get in and out.

I voted to keep the county commission at five commissioners and not increase it to seven; I see no need to add to that dysfunctionality at taxpayer expense.