Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Friday is now official

Because there's a flyer out. And here it is:

April First Friday flyer

Shuttle for SpringFest

CMC-Union is sponsoring a shuttle for this year's SpringFest, which is an excellent idea. Parking is at such a premium that you would think this would attract more people. John Tiley of Waxhaw Gazette fame has no excuse for missing this one.

Here's the text of press release pulled straight from this PDF file:
Carolinas Medical Center has generously agreed to sponsor a shuttle service on May 14 &15, 2011 for SpringFest and our first Food and Drink Weekend in Waxhaw. The shuttle will run from 10am-6pm on Saturday and 12pm-6pm on Sunday. The shuttle will make a 10-15 minute loop to downtown Waxhaw departing from 2 locations:

The CMC Waxhaw parking lot at the corner of Providence Road and Gray Byrum Rd.

Cuthbertson High School parking lot - 1400 Cuthbertson Road, Waxhaw, N.C.

So park your car and leave your worries behind, avoid the frustration of parking in downtown and come enjoy yourself in Waxhaw.

The drop off location in Waxhaw will be announced as we get closer to the event.

If successful, we’ll add additional locations next year. For more info please call 704-843-2195 ext 226.
Now I want to know what CMC-Union is gonna do for the rest of us who don't need said shuttle service. In the words of Sally Brown:
All I want is what I... I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.

Tara to talk about Bonnie & Clyde case again today

My little birdie is telling me that Tara will be discussing the Bonnie & Clyde case again today on her show.

Apparently she'll be speaking with the owner of the Concord home in which Justin Aldrich and Anna Hoard were arrested, detailed in this article by the Herald Weekly.

UPDATE: And apparently Caleb Allen spoke to Tara. I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but I'll have to download the podcast later.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waxhaw Food & Drink weekend

The town has released more details about the Waxhaw Food & Drink Weekend for the weekend of May 13-15th coinciding with SpringFest Weekend.

The headline event appears to be a five course Farm to Table dinner at the Waxhaw Women's Club featuring a number of local guest chefs. It's $100/plate so it's a little beyond my price range, but it looks pretty neat. From the blurb:
The multi-course dinner will be prepared by several of the finest chefs in the area including: Joseph Bonaparte & Michael Edrington from The Art Institute of Charlotte, Mark Jacksina from Halcyon, Gene Briggs from Blue, Joe Kindred from Rooster’s, Paul Verica from the Club at Longview and Ben Miles from BLT Steak. They will be utilizing the freshest product available from local farms such as New Town Farms, Poplar Ridge Farm, The Specialty Farmer, Bosky Acres and more. Wine pairings will be offered by Anita Skogland; Art Institute Instructor and wine expert. Entertainment will be provided by the UC Youth Symphony Vivace String Ensemble. The dinner, raffle and auction will benefit Union County Loaves and Fishes.
Tickets can be ordered here (PDF).

A number of events will be going on throughout the weekend as well.

* The town is currently collecting applications for twenty restaurants to take part in a tasting event in which the selected restaurants will provide samples of 1-2 signature foods in a booth on Saturday May 14th from 11.30am-3.30pm. It appears that this event, something along the lines of a Taste of Charlotte, will cost $15/person. The restaurant application form (PDF) is where I got a lot of these details.

I'm curious where the twenty booths will be located. I suspect they'll be located on some side street and won't be integrated into the main portion of the Spring festival.

* It appears there is plenty more food and drink-related events planned for that weekend. While details appear to be lacking on these, here's what's been released thus far:
- Restaurant tastings and live demos-Saturday-$15pp
- Wine 101-Saturday and Sunday-$20pp
- Sparkling to sweet with food pairings-Saturday-$40pp
- Wine traveling thru Austria-Saturday-$30pp
- Beer tasting from olde hickory brewery-Saturday-$20pp
- Treehouse vineyards-local wine tasting-Saturday-$20pp
- Grapes you should know but probably don’t-Saturday-$25pp
- Rhone & provence walk about-Sunday-$25pp
I imagine details on all these other events will be forthcoming. But given the sheer number of them, it seems unlikely you can participate in all based on time constraints alone. But assuming you could get around this obstacle, you'd then likely need to become creative with your finances.

May I suggest purchasing a vast number of Fox's Pizza certificates from

Main Street Grill open Friday evening again

The Main Street Grill has announced on their Facebook page that they'll be open Friday evening starting at 5.30pm for the First Friday event.
Don't forget Waxhaw First Friday This Friday Night April 1st!
We Will Be Open And serving Dinner at 5:30 And Music Starts At 6pm.
This happens very rarely, so for those of you hoping to score some grub from the Main Street Grill for dinner, Friday will be your lucky day.

Unfortunately, I still won't be able to get my cheeseburger. Some day...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tara does Bonnie & Clyde

I downloaded the podcast of the Tara Servatius Show on WBT from March 29th. She talks first with Diana Allen, mother of Carl, who shares some of the fascinating details of the case. If you followed the links in this post, most of this would be a rehash for you.

At the beginning of the second hour, Tara speaks with Frank Deloache and Josh Lanier of the Carolina Weekly newspaper group, who wrote the articles I link to in my original post on the topic. She also replayed this portion of the interview at the beginning of the third hour of her show.

All in all, it was very favorable coverage for Carl Caleb Allen and not so much for how the police have handled the case thus far. Hopefully this interview leads to other Charlotte area media starting to ask questions about this case instead of ignoring it entirely.

As questions grow as to how this all came to be, I personally think it's only a matter of time before the charges against Carl are dropped entirely. I'm no prognosticator, but given the fact there appears to be nothing more than a red Jeep Cherokee tying Carl to these crimes, it seems like a safe bet, especially when considering all the circumstantial evidence suggesting Justin Aldrich and Anna Hoard may be the actual Bonnie & Clyde suspects.

If the story interests you at all, you should download the podcasts and listen to the conversations.

Bonnie & Clyde update

For all those keeping tabs on the (growing?) Bonnie & Clyde kerfuffle, some of which I described here, I just heard that Diana Allen, mother of Carl Allen, will appear on the Tara Servatius Show on WBT this afternoon at 3pm to discuss the case.

I've been a big fan of Tara Servatius from way back, so I'm curious to see how she covers it. You can listen live at the website and can also download podcasts of the show after the fact.

Interestingly, I emailed Tara about this just last night to make her aware of the story and in the hopes she'd use some of her investigative prowess to look into the matter.

The big question none of the media is asking: is this an example of a little Waxhaw blog getting results or pure coincidence? Probably the latter, but please don't let that stop you from thinking the former.

Monday, March 28, 2011

White van makes Charlotte news

The white van that was reportedly involved in a kidnapping attempt in one Waxhaw subdivision while apparently spotted in others has made Charlotte news; similar articles by WBTV and WSOC are now available online. Follow the WSOC link to view their unembeddable news report.

As they mention in the clip, I think it will be very difficult to catch the suspect at this point, since the incident was not publicized until about 10 days after it originally occurred.

My wife can testify to an increased police presence; she told me a police officer was in our neighborhood this morning around the time kids are picked up for school and it was more than a quick drive-through.

Continue to keep your eyes peeled.

Waxhaw walking survey

Do you walk in Waxhaw? Then perhaps you might be interested in taking this survey for the town of Waxhaw.

The goal of the survey seems to be to determine Waxhaw's walking habits and if there's support for upgrading walking 'facilities.'

But question #6 is probably the one that those with the power of the pocketbook are most interested in:
Would you support public funding for pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks, safer crosswalks, or greenway paths?

First Friday

Per the Union County Weekly, First Friday is on for this Friday. You now need to carefully consider if this is just a big April Fool's prank or not.

Sadly I won't be around to partake, but the rest of you fine folks can take in the festivities.

The notice:
The first day of April will be a time for music and food, as well as practical jokes, as Waxhaw celebrates its’ monthly ‘First Friday’ event. The beginning of every month, the town holds a ‘First Friday’ event, based around a theme, where businesses stay open later. This month, there will be musi on the patio at Main Street Grill, a demonstration on how to make beads at the Bead Merchant and there will be free carriage rides around the downtown area. First Friday runs from 5-9:30pm.
There's been no notice from the usual sources (Town of Waxhaw, STMSPC), but there wasn't much notice for last month's either.

No Waxhaw Exchange again

I didn't get my copy of the Waxhaw Exchange this week, but that's not surprising . Delivery of that weekly is not quite reliable in my neighborhood.

Not sure if there's anything to this, but it seems to not come when the weather is worse. Rarely does it get delivered when it rains. I chalked up the no-delivery on Sunday due to the chilly weather.

It's too bad because I was curious if there was an additional commentary on the historic district public hearing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pint nights and rumors of pint nights

Per a Facebook update, Maxwell's Tavern is teasing about another upcoming pint night, apparently with glasses to be given out like the last time.
Oh, by the way, there are rumblings of ANOTHER PINT NIGHT coming VERY SOON, with some VERY COOL glasses that will be given out.

Stay Tuned....
Interesting development for fans of free pint glasses.

Museum fundraiser tonight

In another last minute post, there's a pretty interesting fundraiser occurring tonight at Rippington's for the Musuem of the Waxhaws.

Museum March Money Mixer flyer

For auction is a six-person gourmet meal prepared by none other than Mayor Daune Gardner. I can also only assume that Mayor Gardner will be serving.

So if you've always dreamed of the day you could clap your hands twice for your glass to be refilled by the mayor herself while you dine on Grand Marnier soufflés with bay leaf crème anglaise, hopefully you bought a ticket to tonight's event and have your checkbook handy. There's no telling how high the bidding might get.

UPDATE 3/28: The mayor-prepared dinner apparently went for a cool $550. Way more than anyone would pay to have a dinner prepared by me for what it's worth.

Maw Maw's last day

I realize this is terribly late, but the last performance of Maw Maw's House of Talent by The Storefront Theatre occurs this afternoon at 2.30pm.

This is their last show of the season.

John Anderson, the freelance writer who often highlights Waxhaw in his nearly weekly column, covered the play last week in the Charlotte Observer. I'm not sure why the piece runs with a giant picture of his head.

The Waxhaw Show

The mayor hinted about meeting some tv execs not too long ago on Facebook. While the rest of us wondered what kind of bawdy reality show might be heading our way, the Union County Weekly breaks the story.
The town of Waxhaw could be the focus of a television show, depending on how much commissioners are willing to pay. The program Life in the Carolinas reached out to Waxhaw Mayor Daune Gardner, expressing their interest in featuring the town in a future show. The catch is that Waxhaw would have to foot part of the bill, which could range from $7,950 to almost $35,000.

Town commissioners voted to open negotiations with the program during their Tuesday, March 22 meeting, after going through the different options. “Life in the Carolinas” is a program that runs on various stations across North and South Carolina. Here in the Charlotte market, it airs on Time Warner Cable Channel 12 Saturdays at 5:30pm, with additional shows on Direct TV and other venues as well.
There are three options available, costing the town from 31% to 139% of the town's yearly economic development budget of $25000.

All commissioners with the exception of Martin Lane voted to open negotiations with "Life in the Carolinas." I think I agree with Martin. He is quoted:
That’s a lot of money,” Waxhaw Mayor Pro Tem Martin Lane said, adding that he thought shows normally sold commercials to handle costs, rather than charge the towns featured in the program. “I don’t think it’s our role to pick up something like this.”
While I'm sure it'd be great to have this show spotlight Waxhaw, it'd be ideal to see some tangible evidence that it would benefit the town. I personally have never heard of this program, so I'm wondering how many others statewide are in the same boat.

And the whole operation reminds me a little of those "Who's Who?" books my wife and I use to get invited to buy that just so happen to feature one of us. They just smelled like a scam.

Read the whole thing.

How'd the public hearing go?

I of course missed last Saturday's public hearing about the proposed historic district. There's been little word how it went thus far.

* I was unable to attend due to multiple baseball practices in multiple locations. My duties of assistant coach and dad come before my duties as Waxhaw blogger. The second practice began at 12pm at Waxhaw Elementary (location of the public hearing) and the parking lot was still full when we arrived and that was approximately 3 hours after the hearing began.

When we left two hours later (me with a new sunburn), it looked like the last of of the Waxhaw town employees were clearing out.

* The mayor was proud of Waxhaw per a Facebook update.
[Daune Gardner] is proud of Waxhaw today! Today's public hearing on the proposed historic district boundaries was well-attended, the speakers were numerous and respectful, the staff handled themselves with great aplomb and the board was attentive and thoughtful. This is how governance is supposed to happen!
* A week later, there have been very few articles on the hearing. In fact, from what I can tell, there was nothing whatsoever in the Union County Weekly or the Enquirer-Journal, at least according to the search utility on their respective websites. There was an article in the Waxhaw Exchange last Sunday, but I was unable to turn it up online.

Being the enterprising town blogger with scanner who occasionally receives his copy of the Waxhaw Exchange, I scanned it up for those unlucky folks who might not have received this issue. Here's a snippet:
Waxhaw residents and landowners voiced their opinions either for or against the town's proposed historic district overlay Saturday at Waxhaw Elementary School.

Beginning at 9 a.m., town staff gave a presentation addressing the purpose of the meeting, aspects of the proposed historic district overlay and concerns some had about it.

"Waxhaw historic preservation has been going on in some fashion since the 1980s," Katie Ross, a planner for the town, said during a PowerPoint presentation.

After the presentation, a number of people took turns discussing why they were either for or against the proposed overlay. Those who wanted to speak, signed up before and during the public hearing on separate signup sheets depending on if they were for or against the proposal. About 44 people were signed up to speak at the start of the meeting. Twelve of the 44 were in favor of the overlay while 32 were against it.
I can't complain much since at least the Waxhaw Exchange covered the hearing, a relatively big Waxhaw event, but I am real curious to know what percentage of those twelve in favor of the historic district actually reside within it.

* After emailing the commissioners and Mayor Gardner, I got a response from the latter regarding when the likely vote by the town commissioners would occur. Per Mayor Gardner, the board may have a discussion regarding the historic district on April 26th, but no vote. The issue will be on the agenda at the May 10th meeting for a possible vote on that date. So if you're looking to browbeat any of the commissioners to see things your way, you've got some time.

Once again, if anyone has some thoughts to share regarding the public hearing, drop me an email or leave a comment. It may be the only way to let the people of Waxhaw know how the hearing went since it doesn't appear to be a high priority for those media organizations covering Waxhaw.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

More Fox's Pizza news

I got an email announcing Fox's Pizza of Waxhaw has joined the network. For those not familiar with, you can generally purchase gift certificates at reduced price.

In the case of Fox's Pizza, you can purchase a $10 gift certificate for $5 and a $25 gift certificate $10. But in reality, you can almost always find 80% off coupon codes for doing simple Google searches so a $25 gift certificate costs you a mere $2.

The limitations of these gift certificates: there's a minimum purchase of $35, so plan on spending at least an additional $10 besides the $2 you shell out for the gift certificate. But approximately $12 for $35 of food is a pretty good deal in my opinion. It might make your kid's pizza parties a lot cheaper, no?

I picked up a few already, since this is a money-saving no-brainer if you like Fox's Pizza.

Chimney Rock Groupon deal

I highlight Groupon deals from time to time (and miss them from time-to-time as well), so here's another. Not Waxhaw-related, but it's definitely worthy of a day trip.

Chimney Rock @ Chimney Rock State Park

It expires tonight at midnight, but enables you to purchase half price tickets to Chimney Rock State Park. Tickets aren't required for children under age 6. The groupon expires in one year, so you can wait until repairs are completed to the park before taking your trip.

My family's never been to Chimney Rock State Park and I really want to go, so it seemed like a no-brainer to me.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dog ordinance proposal

The town has released the draft animal control document (PDF) in response to the tragic death of Makayla Woodard.

I haven't had a chance to read through the entire document, but Lori Bee, Waxhaw gadabout and realtor extraordinaire, has already looked through it and posted some thoughts here. There's also a healthy discussion about this on the town's Facebook page as well.

Her initial impression is not positive. A few aspects she finds particular egregious is the current limit of two dogs, the new Waxhaw fees associated with this endeavor, which would apparently be on top of the county fees; and the vague nuisance proposals.

Read the whole thing.

I'm going to try to read the whole thing and comment further, but no promises since I'm still trying to find the time to read the approved guidelines (PDF) for the proposed historic district.

Neighborhood crime alert

I just received an email from WAA President Rick Giarla with information about a suspicious white van that's been hanging around Waxhaw neighborhoods, including Camberley. Rick verified this information with the Waxhaw Police.
Neighborhood Crime Report - Camberley Subdivision

According to Waxhaw Police, last Tuesday, March 15th, a child in the Camberley subdivision was approached by a suspicious person in a white van offering them a ride to school saying their mother asked them to do so. Fortunately, the child refused and reported the incident to the Police. This incident occurred early Tuesday morning around the time the school buses starting picking up. Recently, a similar van has been reported acting suspicious in several other subdivisions in the Waxhaw area. Police have provided the following details:

The vehicle is a 2000 model or newer white work van, with no side windows except for the driver/passenger windows which are tinted. The driver is a white male, approximately 30-35 years old wearing glasses and balding. He has been previously reported to be parked in the various neighborhoods and taking notes.

Waxhaw police are conducting daily patrols of the Camberley subdivision. They are asking residents to report anything matching this description by calling 911. Please pass this information along to your neighbors.
Keep your eyes peeled and your kids safe.

UPDATE 3/26: I figured it was worth highlighting up here Jennifer's comment from below:
A van matching that description was spotted on Saturday, March 19 with a driver staring at children in the Magnolia Ridge subdivision.

Missed out on a Waxhaw Groupon yesterday

Yesterday, Fox's Pizza in Waxhaw and Lancaster offered a Groupon deal - $10 for $20 worth of food. I noticed this on my phone on the way into the office, made a mental note to check it out further later in the day, but was so busy the rest of the day I forgot all about it.

We like Fox's Pizza, so I'm a little bummed out I missed it and even more bummed out not one of my Waxhaw Facebook friends mentioned it yesterday. If they're not good for keeping me on top of local Groupon deals, what are they good for?

Maybe Fox's will offer another deal one of these days since I was surprised to see only 189 people took advantage of this.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Waxhaw Women's Club book

The Waxhaw Women's Club has been in existence for the last 100 years, so they've likely been celebrating and whatnot.

The Union County Weekly has the story.
One interesting note is that the Women's Club has put together a book celebrating the 100 years of its service to the community. From the article:

As the current chair of the club’s Historical Committee and given her knowledge of the town and the club, it seems fitting the group chose [Gladys] Kerr to pen a book honoring its upcoming 100th anniversary on Friday, March 11.

Rather than just collect records, “I wanted to write a story that was exciting to read even if you’d never set foot in Waxhaw,” Kerr recalled recently. The Historical Committee agreed, and she spent the past year interviewing past and current club members and even her former fifth-grade teacher, Lois Collins Sims. Sims’ father, was a former Waxhaw mayor, and the teacher wrote her own historical account years ago.

The title for the 100th anniversary book, “Crossing the Street,” came to Kerr in the middle of the night and aptly describes the club’s 2007 move from its former building to its current location directly across the street at the former Belk Building in downtown Waxhaw.
The book is available at the Waxhaw Antique Mart for $25 and I hope to stop by and check it out one of these days.

Bonnie & Clyde mess

This has absolutely nothing to do with Waxhaw, but I'd like to comment on it since it's an intriguing story.

A couple months ago, Carl Caleb Allen was arrested as the male half of the Bonnie & Clyde duo that was robbing houses in South Charlotte. Carl was arrested because he has a red Jeep Cherokee and there was gas station footage of the suspected Bonnie & Clyde, who also were using a red Jeep Cherokee. As a former heroin addict, he seemed like a likely suspect at the time. (NOTE: Some of this footage is included in the Fox Charlotte clip down below.)

Here's an early article from WBTV about the arrest.

Now it just so happens I work with one of his cousins, so have gotten some details about the case and have followed it with some interest since it began.

Carl's parents adamantly believed their son was not responsible. They received a tip that the actual perpetrators parked their car at the Intown Suites parking lot off Independence and staked it out for a couple days until the owners of the car returned. On February 24th, they were even briefly involved in a high speed chase with the suspects, with both cars even pulling over at one point and Carl's uncle confronting the male suspect.

Bonnie & Clyde stakeout
Photo of the suspected 'Clyde'

The Allens shared all of this information with the police and it was this tip from them that led police to 2024 Hayden Way, the rented home of Justin Aldrich and Anna Hoard. Inside they found thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise (valued at approximately $14000) tied to break-ins of South Charlotte homes.

In even more damning circumstantial evidence, Justin Aldrich and Anna Hoard were shortly thereafter captured breaking into a home with a third suspect. Mike Parks and Frank DeLoache of the Herald Weekly (part of the same family that includes our beloved Union County Weekly) has the story of their arrest. With Josh Lanier, the three also have the definitive story of the chain of events that is very much worth reading if I've piqued your curiosity at this point. It provides much more detail than the Cliff's Notes version I provide in this post.

As far as I can tell, the Herald Weekly is the only paper that has bothered covering this story since they broke it in the media on March 17th. No other news outlet in Charlotte appears to have picked up the story since then.

Bonnie & Clyde confrontation
Confrontation between Carl's uncle and suspected 'Clyde'

And the only reason the Herald Weekly was able to run these articles is because the Allen family stumbled across this article from March 10th (from the Herald Weekly no less) that details the stolen merchandise found at the rented house of the suspected Bonnie & Clyde suspects, a culmination of the tip provided to the police by Mrs. Allen herself. Had the Allens not seen this article, the entire chain of events might not have occurred and the story would still be unknown.

With the arrest of Justin Aldrich and Anna Hoard and the discovery of loot in their former residence, it seems like the obvious thing to do would be to drop the charges against Carl Caleb Allen. There's apparently been no movement in this direction and in fact, yesterday Fox Charlotte finally reported the arrest of the female portion of the Bonnie & Clyde duo, Anna Hoard. Surprisingly to me, and no doubt the Allen family, they still highlight Carl as her partner in crime. Watch for yourself if interested.

It's almost like Fox Charlotte reporter Suzette Rhee is not familiar with the string of articles at the Herald Weekly. I've got an email out to their news desk; if they respond, I will update accordingly.

Despite this, I suspect it's only a matter of time before the police drop the charges against Carl Allen, but time will tell I suppose. Unfortunately, it probably feels like it's taking too long to the Allen family.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Indicted for manslaughter

Just a quick note for that rare individual who hasn't heard: Michael Gordon has been charged with manslaughter for the mauling death of Makayla Woodard. The Enquirer-Journal has the story.
The owner of two pit bulls that mauled a Waxhaw child in January was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

Michael Gordon, 23, of 316 Rehobeth Road, was indicted by a grand jury March 7, according to court documents.

On Jan. 12, Gordon’s pit bulls attacked 5-year-old Makayla Woodard of 324 Rehobeth Road. The dogs also attacked the girl’s 67-year-old grandmother, Nancy Presson, who tried to rescue the child.

New Gazette out

I've been tremendously busy, so this is belated, but the Waxhaw Gazette put out a new issue last Friday.

A couple items of note:

* Apparently the Main Street Grill was featured on a radio show last week. Either way, that's good to hear. My only question: did they break the date in which the Main Street Grill will be open for evenings in weekends?

* Kohl's coming to Waxhaw area? I'm sure a lot of people will save on gas if that's the case.

Among other things of course.

ASCAP goes after Waxhaw

Live music at Southsiders has apparently gone the way of the dodo. Southsiders posted the following update on Monday:
We got a visit from the American Society of Composers Authors & Publishers ASCAP. as a result of their insistance on outrageous fees, SouthSiders will no longer be able to provide live music. We're sorry as we now have to withdraw what little support we were able to provide our local musicians. To voice your concerns over this you may call Tara Isley @ ASCAP - 1-888-852-4105. Again we're sorry to our local talent.
I'm not sure how much the licenses cost, but if local establishments are bailing on live music because of it, it's too much.

Of course, it seems like there should be a way around this for local hotspots such as Southsiders and Maxwell's Tavern. Surely not every song is licensed by ASCAP. For example, back in the day, I was a huge Bob Dylan fan and still am to a lesser extent. Searching through ASCAP's Title Search, hardly any of Bob Dylan's songs are listed there. Assuming this isn't the result of a shoddy search engine and assuming the rest of the songs aren't covered by an ASCAP-like enterprise, there must be thousands of songs available for performance.

And of course, they should always be able to feature original compositions.

Government spending in action

Only off-topic as much as a train line connecting Raleigh to Charlotte is.

WBTV has the article; read through the whole thing.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WBTV) - North Carolina transportation officials say they've reached an agreement that will allow them to obtain $461 million in federal grants to improve train service.

The agreement will allow faster and more frequent passenger service between Charlotte and Raleigh. State transportation secretary Gene Conti says the agency will seek bids for contracts for tracks, bridges and trains.

Officials say the new service would cut travel time from Charlotte to Raleigh to less than three hours, even with seven stops along the way. However, the ride will only be 13 minutes faster.
The main question this of course raises is whether it's worth nearly half a billion dollars to shave 13 minutes off the route between Charlotte and Raleigh. The other question might be if now is the time to be spending the money on such a task.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19th snuck up on me

There's less than an hour until the big historic district meeting at the Waxhaw Elementary gym I mentioned here, here, and here.

I'll be unable to attend since I'll be helping coach some tee ball this morning. If anyone makes it and has any thoughts about the process or tone of the meeting (or anything else for that matter), pass them along so I can share them here. I'm always looking for good anonymous (or not) sources for these town meetings.

I still haven't heard back from Mike McLaurin as to when the commissioners will vote on whether to impose a historic district on some of us. If they want to, it can be as earlier as March 22nd. I sent out another email this morning to all of the commissioners to see if one of them can let me know when that vote will occur.

Friday, March 18, 2011

How Washington ruined your washing machine

I stole that headline -- from this interesting piece about how the federal government ruined washing machines in its bid for energy efficiency.

I was already dreading the day my top-loading machine, bought from Sears in the year 2000 no less, finally gives out and I have to buy one of those newfangled ones. And the information in that article isn't going to make me any happier when that day comes.

So please federal government -- stay away from my internet!

Of course, I'm apt to believe Ringo is right about these sort of things.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kick 'n' Stitch no more

Per a Scott Farb (of Museum of the Waxhaws fame) update on Facebook, the Kick 'n Stitch Broom Shop is closing its doors. I imagine the website won't be around much longer as well.

It was a great place to stop by and see him in action on First Fridays. I imagine for those out-of-town visitors coming in on the weekend, it was a popular place to hang out a little while to see the antique broom-making machine in action.

I guess he wasn't doing enough business to cover the rent on the place. For those of us who hadn't purchased a broom (unfortunately I am one), it makes me wish I had. Although in this environment, it would've probably only been a stopgap solution. I suspect it's hard to convince people to purchase a $30 broom when they might not really need one during a time of serious penny-pinching.

I hope Mark keeps on making and selling his brooms. If he already isn't doing so, getting a booth and demonstrating his craft at Waxhaw's festivals seems like a no-brainer now.

Don't forget the St. Patty's Day parade

Just a reminder about today's St. Patrick's Day parade. It starts in front of Southsiders at 5pm. Look for the mayor and the ragtag elements of the Waxhaw Fiesta Band among the sea of green.

I picked up my tee shirt on Monday when I stopped in to get a couple Carolina Dogs and it's a pretty sharp tee shirt for $5. I intended to take a picture to show you here, but still have not done so. This will not likely be the last time I let you down.

Not sure I'll make it home in time for the parade, but I suspect some pictures will make it onto Facebook to gauge turnout

What's the over/under number on "Kiss me, I'm Irish" shirts in the crowd?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Town & Country 5K coming up

The sixth annual Waxhaw Town & Country run is scheduled for Friday, April 29th. Those seeking to run 5K can sign up at the official site.

My wife plans to run again and I'm undecided if I'm going to dip my toe in and run my first race.

UPDATE 3/14: I typed the wrong date on this for whatever reason and have fixed it.

Stone wall minus steel bars

I actually received my weekly Waxhaw Exchange this week and I wanted to highlight a portion of Dorothy Moloney's column regarding the nice new stone sign for the Museum of the Waxhaws.

Since it's not available online, I scanned and OCR'd the relevant part:
Have you noticed the very attractive stone wall with sign at the Museum of the Waxhaws? It is lovely.

Jack Steele, son of Howard and Robin Steele of Waxhaw, is a scout in Boy Scout Troop 53, and worked very diligently to become an Eagle Scout.

Because Jack and his family live directly behind the museum, he hoped to build a sign right on the side of the road in order for it to be seen by everyone passing by.

After drawing up plans for this project, Jack spoke to Scott Farb, director of the Museum, to ask who would be able to help him carry through with this very grand project.

Scott suggested Jack look up Paul Moloney, which he did, and together, along with Paul's dad, Bill, and the help of fellow scouts, another asset to the Town of Waxhaw was created.

When Vivian Riegelman was questioned about the new addition to the grounds of the museum, she replied, "absolutely beautiful!" Jack is also active in the Order of the Arrow OA, a National Honor Society of Scouting, and serves as treasurer of the Central North Carolina Lodge.

Only five percent of Scouts attain the rank of Eagle Scout. Good goin', Jack.

Jack also makes a delicious lasagna, as he made it twice for us to reward Paul and Bill for helping him. Thank you, Jack, you not only helped make Waxhaw more attractive, but you proved how responsible a person you are. Keep at it.
I met Jack last year when he was a Den Chief for Cub Scout Pack 53 and he had a way with the young scouts; they boys all took a shine to him. So not only is it nice to see he is now an Eagle Scout, but also to witness the fruits of his labor at the entrance to the Museum of the Waxhaws.

I didn't scan the photo because he won't look like the real deal, but I can do so if anyone wants to see it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan photos: Before & After

The New York Times has some amazing photos of Japan before and after the recent earthquake.

It's interactive, allowing you drag 2010 satellite imagery on top of the more recent 2011 imagery or vice versa.

Whatever you think of the New York Times, this is worth checking out. The devastation is remarkable.

If you're interested in donating, ABC News has a few suggestions.

Car working again

I hadn't blogged about this yet, but since it may be my greatest automotive success, I cannot help myself.

My Saturn L300 was having an intermittent starting problem that was vexing me for a couple weeks starting on Valentine's Day no less. This led to a Wendy's takeout Valentine's meal which my marriage has apparently survived.

After doing a little research online (and specifically at, one likely explanation was a faulty crankshaft position sensor (CPS). I ordered one online (since it was less than half the price than what was available locally at Autozone or Advance) and waited, hoping for the best.

Unfortunately, the original CPS's last hoorah was to get me to work on a Friday morning, a couple days after I received the part but before I had the time to replace it. So I drove back over the weekend with the spare part and replaced in in the parking lot. Needless to say, it's been working like a charm ever since.

Knock on wood.

Had you asked me an automotive question the following

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Re: Andrew Jackson

The Museum of the Waxhaws had their Andrew Jackson birthday celebration today. Next weekend, Andrew Jackson State Park in Lancaster County will be having their birthday celebration.

Both locales claim to be the birthplace of the seventh president of the US as I touched upon last year.

Here's a more recent WBTV article on the debate.

Harris Teeter's new coupon policy

My wife went to Harris Teeter to shop for some groceries. While they allowed her to use them this time, she was told by the cashier that Harris Teeter's coupon policy had recently changed -- they will no longer be accepting any free product internet coupons. Which means any awesome buy-1-get-1 free coupons you print online can no longer be used at Harris Teeter.

Here's Harris Teeter's complete coupon policy, but here's the internet coupon policy for your convenience:
Internet Coupons

* We gladly accept internet manufacturer’s coupons for product; however no “free” product internet coupons are accepted.
* With the purchase of two like manufacturer’s products, we accept two internet coupons, per store, per day.
* We do not accept internet coupons that do not appear to be originals or that won’t scan.
Not many people know this since it shatters the tough guy image I've worked so hard to maintain, but I'm a big "mom blog" junkie. I keep a pretty close eye on them specifically looking for good deals or coupons to print. Unfortunately a lot of the best ones are buy-1-get-1 free coupons, which means they'll no longer be eligible at Harris Teeter.

Curious, I dug up Food Lion's coupon policy (PDF) and found they subscribe to the same anti-free internet coupon policy. The nitty gritty:
* We will accept Manufacturer, Store, Internet and Catalina Checkout Coupons.

* We will not accept FREE internet coupons.
You might have some luck cashing in free product coupons at either Food Lion or Harris Teeter for a little while if you're polite to the cashier, feign ignorance like a champ, and wear various disguises so they don't recognize you.

Otherwise, a lot of the best internet coupons won't have much value in Waxhaw.

Still curious, I examine Walmart's coupon policy and it appears they do still accept buy-1-get-1 free internet coupons. The important parts:
Walmart accepts the following types of coupons (see guidelines below):

* Print-at-home internet coupons

* Must be legible, have "Manufacturer Coupon" printed on them, have a valid remit address for the manufacturer, valid expiration date, and have a scannable bar code.

Walmart does not accept the following coupons:

* Print-at-home Internet coupons that require no purchase
So as long as it requires a purchase, it appears Walmart still accepts internet buy-1-get-1 free coupons.

Yet another reason to transit the 521 corridor.

Sherwin Williams grand opening today

Sherwin Williams is having their grand opening today; I think at the old Movie Gallery location if I'm not mistaken. A little birdie on Facebook claimed Butch Kelly and his BBQ will be there as well.

Speaking of BBQ, today is pickup day for the Waxhaw Elementary PTA BBQ fundraiser. It runs from 10am - 4pm; don't forget to being your tickets. If you haven't already purchased some, I'm not sure you can just show up and buy some.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Diary of John Osborne

Scott Farb had a short piece in a late January issue of the Union County Weekly. He apparently came into possession of a copy of a young man's diary from the early 1800's, compliments of Mark Hernig of Kick n' Stitch Broom Shop fame. Scott's description:
The Diary of John Osborne is a record of daily life in the Waxhaws from 1800 to 1803. Osborne was a young man who recorded many daily events, some of them quite mundane and others quite amazing. Yet there are four things young John seems to engage in on a regular basis: distilling whiskey for his uncle, traveling to Lancaster and Charleston to buy stills and distilling equipment, visiting with many young women, and listening to sermons. This was quite an adventurous life for a young man on the outskirts of Charlotte, and one where his activities are probably not what would normally come to mind when we think of the post-Revolutionary South.
Read the whole thing as it's rather interesting. Apparently there was lots of whiskey distilling going on, making a small part of me yearn for those simpler times.

And Scott will be sharing more tidbits from the journal in his monthly column in the Union County Weekly, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

His next article was rather interesting as well regarding a notice for the sale of dental equipment in the old Charlotte Journal. Scott garnered quite a bit of information from a little sales notice. Definitely worth reading.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Questions on the historic district?

Maybe I can help, maybe not. I emailed Katie Ross with a few questions on what could happen after the public hearing that's coming up on March 19th. Since there may be others with these same questions, I figured I'd share a couple things with the good folks of Waxhaw that I learned from the good folks of Waxhaw.

* After the public hearing, the town commissioners can essentially approve any possible iteration of a historic district as long as it does not extend outside the original historic district proposal. In other words, they can approve the original proposal, they can approve the significantly scaled down Planning Board-recommended plan, anything in between or as long as it stays within the original proposal. As long as the board approves something that doesn't breach the boundaries of the original proposal, they can approve it; the Planning Board's role is purely advisory.

* The mayor and all town commissioners (read Daune Gardner, Joyce Blythe, Martin Lane, Brett Diller, Erin Kirkpatrick, and Phillip Gregory) are scheduled to attend the public hearing.

* The decision makers (read the aforementioned commissioners) will likely wait to make their decision at the regular board meeting on April 12th. But here's Katie's full response on this question since it's quite informative:
"The Board of Commissioners have a policy to vote on small zoning matters the same day/night as the public hearing and vote on large zoning matters at their next regular meeting. Since the Board meets twice a month, that typically means 2 weeks. However, because the public hearing is on Saturday, March 19 their next regular meeting is 3 days later on Tuesday, March 22. While I do not wish to speak for the Board, I am fairly confident that they will not vote on the boundary until their April 12 regular meeting."
I'm waiting for confirmation that this is in fact the case. It ultimately in the board's hands as to when they plan to vote. If you have any interest in influencing this date, I recommend emailing those responsible:

Historic district information

I mentioned the upcoming public hearing for the proposed Historic District in this post.

However, to truly prepare yourself for the hearing, you need to download the agenda packet (11MB PDF file) prepared by the town and made available by Katie Ross. This document runs about 130 pages long; approximately half is comprised of residents wanting to opt out.

Also, Katie Ross mailed out a link to the approved Waxhaw design guidelines. Please note this is nearly a 17MB PDF file. This 63-page document looks like the final draft to be used if the town commissioners give a green light to a historic district.

I haven't had time to look through this entire document yet, but I examined an earlier draft of this back in July.

Given the number of those interested in opting out of the historic district, I expect a big gathering at the public hearing. While I don't normally attend government meetings in my capacity of muckraking Waxhaw blogger, I was interested in attending this one. Unfortunately, I've got a baseball practice at 10am and another two hours later making it highly unlikely I'll be there.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Waxhaw Gazette

John Tiley has released another new issue of the Waxhaw Gazette, but there's not a whole lot of Waxhaw related stuff in there.

He's got a piece on what he describes as a decade long degradation of America. There's plenty in there to disagree with in my opinion, so read the whole thing if you're interested.

He's also got a piece on governors going after public service unions. Once again, there's a plethora of stuff to agree or disagree with here depending on your political inclinations I suppose.

One of the main points John makes repeatedly is that since cutting back on the excess amount of money and benefits bestowed upon public unions years ago would not resolve all of a state's budgetary issues, then why bother? This does not compute for me. There is a time to start cutting back from our freewheeling spending days and that time would seem to be now, whether or not it magically resolves all of our serious budget issues.

Is it really necessary for politicians of today to be beholden to sweetheart deals given out by past politicians? And even if those sweetheart deals were oftentimes doled out by politicians of a certain party that just so happens to collect an inordinate amount of money from unions? Seems like a quid pro quo, no?

Per this website, the average teacher salary in North Carolina is $43992. For approximately 9 months of work. That doesn't seem all that bad to me, ; I suspect it beats a whole lot of private sector employees.

And if you care to watch this video from Reason TV (and to also read the corresponding article), there are a number of reasons to make you think twice about whether public unions are worth the money. Be forewarned the video is NSFW as it is interspersed with footage from the Wisconsin protests which is not always family friendly.

January and February Crime Reports

Well, this is by far my latest Crime Report yet since I entirely skipped the month of January. I felt a little busier recently but had no idea it'd gotten this bad.

I feel bad for the multitudes of Broome Street Blues groupies who've been waiting glued to their computer screens to see January's crime report. To you fine people, I apologize. Without further adieu:

January's Crime Report

Waxhaw Crime Report January 2011

And to kill two birds with one stone, here's February's report as well.

Waxhaw Crime Report February 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Old Mecklenburg Brewery at Maxwell's

I had grand designs to attend both Pint Night at Maxwell's Tavern and to also stop by the Main Street Grill for a cheeseburger since I haven't had the opportunity to do so for quite some time. My wife had grand designs that we spend the evening with the neighbors.

So I only fulfilled one of two - stopping in at Maxwell's Tavern drawn by the promise of being able to try Früh Bock, their new spring seasonal brew. The lure of free samples may have played a significant role in my decision-making process, but I supposed that depends on who you talk to.

It was pretty hopping in there, but I didn't mind hovering close to the bar. Ryan Self of OMB fame quickly got me a sample of Früh Bock. It definitely seemed like a spring brew, but it was a little too fruity for my tastes. So I decided to get a pint of my old OMB standby, Copper Amber Ale, which I usually drink via growler.

It arrived with two glasses - one full and one empty. To my surprise, each pint of OMB purchased during the event got you an OMB-branded pint glass.

With free pint glasses limited to two, I quickly made the command decision to have two pints before attending my family obligations. Ryan himself made a good decision setting the two-glass limit as who knows how long I would've stayed collecting free glassware.

I wanted to give Früh Bock a chance, so my second pint was of it. I stand by my original assessment although I'm sure it'll have a healthy following. In fact, per a Maxwell's Tavern Facebook update, the Früh Bock ran out within two hours.

I always thought a micro-brewery would fit right in in Waxhaw at the old Rodman-Heath cotton mill, formerly referred by me as the old smokestack building. Maybe someday one will and Maxwell's (or Southsiders) will be holding another Pint Night with free pint glasses.

And for those wondering, I will get my cheeseburger from the Main Street Grill; I may just have to wait for the next First Friday to do so.

Entertainment Coupon book & Waxhaw

My wife ordered the Entertainment 2011 coupon book for the Charlotte area. The cost at the time was $20 with free shipping. I put a lot of effort into saving money at home (for obvious reasons), but figured I would share what I found regarding the money-saving potential in the Waxhaw area of this coupon book.

After looking in the index, the Waxhaw businesses represented seemed a little sparse. They included the following coupons:
* Carriage Fine Dry Cleaning - 25% off certain services; $10 off $40; $5 off $25

* Domino's Pizza - B1G1 large pizza; B1 large pizza, get free oven sandwich; B1 large pizza, free BreadBowl pasta; free dessert (online orders only)

* Donato's - B1G1 large pizza

* El Vallarta - B1G1 combo dinner

* Fox's Pizza Den - $5 off $20 order; free breadsticks

* Ming Fu - B1G1 lunch or dinner entree

* Museum of the Waxhaws - 50% off up to 4 admissions
But after reading a little more, I discovered there's a bevy of additional coupons on their website that you can print, for places such as The Stuffed Olive, 521 BBQ, Di Dee's, etc.

Some of the more notable printable coupons include:
* 521 BBQ - 2-for-1 lunch or dinner with a $6 max value.

* The Stuffed Olive - There's a 2-for-1 lunch coupon with an $8 max value. Plus monthly 10% off coupons that unfortunately excludes alcohol purchases. Boo!

* Just Wing It - Three 2-for-1 coupons. One for 3-piece chicken finger order, one for a 7-piece wing order, and one for a 10-piece nugget order. Valued between $5-6 each. Also, there's a printable 10% off coupon for each month.

* El Vallarta - There's one 2-for-1 discount with $5 max value. There's also monthly 10% coupons that unfortunately excludes alcohol purchases. Boo!

* La Strada - $5 off $25 purchase, plus monthly 10% off coupons.

* Java's Brewing Bakery & Cafe - If you get up there frequently, there's a 2-for-1 ice cream, plus monthly 10% off coupons.

* Di Dee's Diner - There's a 2-for-1 entree with a$8 max value. Plus monthly 20% off coupons.
Other printable coupons from Reed's Karate, Carriage Fine Dry Cleaning and nearby Rack Room Shoes, plus plenty more the farther out you go.

All in all, I think buying one of these books is well worth the current price (under $20) assuming your eat-out habits are similar to ours. And of course, it helps if you're able to remember that you have the coupons. That's our biggest problem when it comes to taking full advantage of these coupon books.

But if you're thinking about getting one, just be aware that the current Entertainment coupon book expires in November, so at this point, you're essentially getting it for half a year.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

St Patrick's Day around the bend

With St. Patrick's Day coming up fast, don't forget about the 3rd Annual SouthSide Irish Parade being organized by Southsiders. I've never been able to attend since I believe these have traditionally (as traditional as a 3-year old parade can be, I suppose) been held around lunchtime.

In fact, the details here state it kicks off at 11am on March 17th in front of Southsiders.

But a later Facebook post on February 26th by Southsiders states the parade starts at 5pm that day, so I suspect that's the more accurate of the two times. The post:
Next week we begin selling the 3rd annual SouthSide Irish Parade T-Shirt. A bargain @ 5 bucks and a pretty cool T as well. Now don't forget that the Parade starts @ 5:00 on St. Patricks Day March 17th. Live music and the best Corned Beef in the city Come on and join the fun!
Now I got to get in there and get one of those tee shirts.

Pint night at Maxwell's

Tomorrow night is Pint Night at Maxwell's Tavern, featuring some of the brews from the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, including Copper Amber Ale, one of my favorites as I've noted before, and OMB's new spring seasonal, Fruhbock.

This apparently will be the first place locally that Fruhbock will be available, so if you're interested in being one of the first to try it, Maxwell's is the place to be.

The action begins at 5pm and OMB leaves at 9pm.

Is it too much to ask the OMB rep to fill up my empty growler?

First Friday is apparantly on

Despite a lack of advance notice, it appears First Friday is still on per the Main Street Grill post I mentioned yesterday.

There's no mention on the town's website and a noticeable lack of details on the STMSPC's own Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Main Street Grill open this Friday evening

Well, sorta. Per a Facebook update, they will be open serving a limited menu of food vendor style during the First Friday event. The full notice:
March 4th, Waxhaw's First Friday SPECIAL MENU! Yes, Friday Night WE WILL BE OPEN!!!
We will be serving BURGERS, GYROS, and CHICKEN SOUVLAKI (marinated chicken skewers) and it will all be served vender style.

We will also have LIVE MUSIC on the patio and homemade treats. So come down and join us for a great night in Waxhaw. Most Main Street shops are open late, so get some food and walk around.
So if you've been pining for some gyros or chicken souvlaki (or like me have been hankering to get one of their burgers at dinner time), then Friday would be the night.

WAA cheerleaders find a place to call their own

My wife told me about WAA's new "office" on the same walk from which this tip originated. But thanks to Lacey's article in the Enquirer-Journal, the mystery is solved.

The cheerleaders have found a new home. Read the whole thing for all the details.

New Waxhaw Groupon

Mamma Lena's has a Groupon available today only - $15 for $30 Worth of Italian Fare at Mamma Lena's Restaurant in Waxhaw. It must be used by September 3rd.

I love it when places in Waxhaw do a Groupon and it's a double bonus when it's a business we would've gone to anyway.

You can only buy 1, but you can buy 2 as gifts.

Check it out.

There's 15 hours and counting.