Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bureaucrats run amuk

Can you think of a better title for this?

Can SC save the incandescent light bulb?

South Carolina lawmakers are taking steps to save the incandescent light bulb. The odds of their plan working may be slim, but for lovers of good old-fashioned light bulbs (especially for those in nearby Waxhaw), this is good news. From a Heritage article:
Fed up with the federal government’s ban of the traditional incandescent light bulb, state representatives in South Carolina are pushing for the state to produce and use incandescents solely for its state.

The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, which unanimously passed South Carolina’s Senate panel, would allow South Carolina manufacturers to continue to sell incandescent bulbs so long as they have “Made in South Carolina” on them and are sold only within the state.
Besides the light being not so inviting, the longevity of the new-fangled CFLs hasn't quite lived up to claims. I've had a couple of them fail fairly quickly.

Which leads us to the second problem - disposal of old bulbs. The mercury inside these bulbs makes for a tedious disposal process -- that is, if you choose to follow the EPA recommendations. For a detailed list of steps in properly disposing of CFL bulbs, go here.

But to give you just a taste, here's the pre-cleanup steps:
Before Cleanup

* Have people and pets leave the room, and avoid the breakage area on the way out.
* Open a window or door to the outdoors and leave the room for 5-10 minutes.
* Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning (H&AC) system, if you have one.
* Collect materials you will need to clean up the broken bulb:
- Stiff paper or cardboard
- Sticky tape (e.g., duct tape)
- Damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes (for hard surfaces)
- Glass jar with a metal lid (such as a canning jar) or a sealable plastic bag(s)
And God forbid the bulb broke in a carpeted room. If so, here's what the EPA recommends:
Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rugs: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming

* The next several times you vacuum the rug or carpet, shut off the H&AC system if you have one, close the doors to other rooms, and open a window or door to the outside before vacuuming. Change the vacuum bag after each use in this area.
* After vacuuming is completed, keep the H&AC system shut off and the window or door to the outside open, as practical, for several hours.
I'm not sure if these speaks more to the dangers CFLs pose or sheer ludicrousness of government agency proposals. Seriously, who would follow all these steps? And if they're essential for safety reasons, why would anyone buy these CFL bulbs? Other than the fact that the federal government will soon be forcing us to.

By the way, in other news, German scientists did some research recently and here's what they found:
Their report advises that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.

Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”

The bulbs are already widely used in the UK following EU direction to phase out traditional incandescent lighting by the end of this year.

But the German scientists claimed that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when the environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were switched on, including phenol, naphthalene and styrene.

Andreas Kirchner, of the Federation of German Engineers, said: “Electrical smog develops around these lamps.

“I, therefore, use them only very economically. They should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head.”
Who wouldn't want to fill their houses with these glorious light bulbs? Mental note: remove bulbs from kids' room and bedside reading lamps.

I'm rooting for South Carolina in this case.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Waxhaw Gazette out

John's put out a new issue of the Waxhaw Gazette.

Check it out to see early details on the upcoming 4th of July festivities, more tales of animals running amuk to go along with my peacock sighting, in this case a grey fox; and shameful copper thieves hitting a Habitat for Humanity house among other things.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dinner hours @ Main Street Grill

I was lucky enough to be in town for lunch the other day, so I took the opportunity to coerce my youngest to eat at the Main Street Grill so I could grab a burger.

The lure of McDonalds is a strong one. But my powers of persuasion (enhanced greatly by the ability to make the MSG or home argument) were successful and we ate an early lunch at the MSG before heading into the office.

On another note, they will be open once again next Friday evening (for June's First Friday event), so if you're looking to sample from a limited dinner menu (including burgers) then you best find your way to First Friday.

I briefly spoke with Josh at SpringFest asking about the potential for dinner hours. And while on Facebook they suggested they'd begin dinner hours on the weekends sometime thisspring, it didn't sound like they were anywhere close to happening with summer around the corner.

It sounds like they would need to hire a new cook before it happens. I got the impression there was nothing brewing on this front. My fingers are crossed of course.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Driving home from a baseball game tonight, we spotted a peacock between Helms Road and the kennel on Waxhaw-Marvin Road.

A real live peacock was walking down the sidewalk with no one around.

Is the only logical explanation that someone around here has one as a pet?

My wife didn't seem to believe my oldest as he relayed our amazing tale, but she was convinced enough that she called Waxhaw police (read animal control) minutes later in case they wanted to check it out.

Not because peacocks are dangerous, but you never know what a cornered peacock might do if there's no other options.

Historic district guidelines reviewed

I mentioned in March that I planned to review the approved historic district guidelines. Well, I finally got a few minutes of free time to do so, buttwo weeks later, still had not found the time to transcribe my notes to this blog.

But since I never got around to posting them and since the historic district overlay failed to pass, I plan to take a pass on writing them up. Thanks to Commissioners Blythe, Gregory, and Lane for saving me some valuable time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Belated March & April 2011 Crime Reports

I've put up late crime reports before, but not this late -- my last one was in February. At this point, I've decided it's best to just include March and April in the same post and be done with it.

And with a little luck, I'll post May's next week.

In the meantime, here's March's.

And here's April's.

OT: Marine gunned down by police

This has nothing to do with Waxhaw, but these kinds of stories really get to me. There's been too many instances of militarized police killing innocent people.

And this time an overzealous SWAT team in Arizona gunned down a Marine who did two tours in Iraq.

Read this article if you want to get really worked up.

The day after

Here' s a couple articles on the day after the Mineral Springs train wreck that claimed the lives of two CSX employees.

WCNC's article. Video report below.

Fox Charlotte article. Video report below.

Historic district vote fails 3-2

The Enquirer-Journal is the first to have the story. A snippet:
Waxhaw commissioners voted 3-2 to reject the proposed historic district overlay.

Though Waxhaw already has national historical recognition, the overlay was being looked at to provide more protection for the town’s historic buildings and character.

Commissioners made their decision Tuesday night after several comments from the public and a long discussion among board members.
Based on the information in the article, it appears Joyce Blythe and Phillip Gregory seem to have two of the three voting against the historic district, while Erin Kirkpatrick likely voted for it.

Anyone know which way Brett Diller and Martin Lane voted?

UPDATE: I heard back from the always helpful Mike McLaurin with the answer to my question: Brett Diller voted for the historic district and Martin Lane voted against it.

Highway 75 reopened

At least according to my two neighbors who were yelling to each other this morning.

This should help the commute of those of you traveling this route.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Potential vote on historic district tonight

As busy as I am, I forgot all about this. The Enquirer-Journal has the brief write-up on this.

And I had taken the time to go and read through the 50+ pages of regulations and recommendations the town put together if the plan gets passed by the board.

And even though I am not in the affected area (which can be modified by the board as they see fit as long as it does not expand upon the initial boundaries), I am still against it.

See my earlier post of the draft proposal if you're interested. I'll try to put together a post with my thoughts on the new draft, which contained a lot more new material. But I'm not sure I'll be able to get that up tonight. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I just heard back from town manager extraordinaire Mike McLaurin and he thinks the board is prepared to vote. So if you're looking to get in a last minute word, here's who you should contact:
If anyone attends the meeting, drop me a line as I'm already spoken for this evening.

It'll be interesting to see what they choose to do a significant majority of those in the proposed area are against the proposal. I've seen little hint of people clamoring for this district to be imposed. We'll see.

UPDATE: two crew members killed in train derailment

Following up on my earlier post, I just got a WBT email update that two crew members of the CSX trains that collided in Mineral Springs have indeed died.

The whole update:
Officials said a second person has died following an overnight train derailment in Union County.

The fatalities were on a CSX freight train that rear-ended another train in Mineral Springs.

One CSX employee was declared dead at the scene, while the other was pronounced dead at Carolinas Medical Center.
Full WBTV article, including video and photos, here.

Train derailment in Mineral Springs

I woke up this morning to news of a train wreck/derailment in Mineral Springs.

I have few details, but it sounds like there were about 9 cars derailed when one northbound train hit either a stopped or slowly moving northbound train.

Initial reports claimed there was one fatality, but they appear to have been withdrawn as the latest reports claimed four were injured, one being airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center. Photos show lots of smoke and flames as does this one, from WSOC's slideshow.

Highway 75 was apparently closed from Western Union School Road to Potter Road, in booming downtown Mineral Springs. I imagine this will be closed for quite some based on the proximity of the wreck to Highway 75. Per my elementary sleuthing, it occurred at the following location. The barely legible red X marks the spot.

No hazardous materials were on board, so our area is getting lucky once again.

WSOC's story has some details as well.

UPDATE 10.35am: Local media is now reporting that two CSX crew members were indeed killed in the wreck. Updated blog post here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quilting Nook closing its doors

The good news is there's a 50% off sale going on right now per the sign in the window. The bad news is that it means another store in Waxhaw is closing its doors.

I always here the rent in historic downtown Waxhaw is quite astronomical and given the frequency where businesses come and go, that seems to be the case,

Friday, May 20, 2011

Carolina Chocolate Drops @ Daytrotter

This Durham-based group is pretty impressive. A modern throwback group, they showed up at Daytrotter, which means there's a free short performance available for you to download.

Count your lucky stars.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I expected to have this post up days ago. But since it's the busy season at my office (which mean my office travels home with me at night), it took nearly a week to get this simple post up.

SpringFest was bigger than ever this year or at least it seemed that way because of the Food & Drink events that took place. The Kids Zone, where we typically spend the majority of our time when not eating ice cream, seems to be growing at hte same rate, taking up much of the space available at Waxhaw UMC's yard.

We walked to the festival on Saturday; while the rain held off most of the day, we got rained out mid-afternoon. But at least it gave us a reason to use the two umbrellas I'd been lugging around all afternoon.

The kids headed back on Sunday with the neighbors, but I unfortunately had to mow the yard. By the time I was ready to head to the festival, they were on their way home.

Here's a short video of the events for those interested.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Historic walk on Saturday

Commissioner Blythe is doing another historic walk on Saturday at 10am. I imagine it kicks off at Waxhaw UMC as usual.

Of course, I've got a couple baseball games to attend so we'll miss as usual.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Apparently Hayes Carll played Charlotte last month

Who knew?

I'm a bit of a Hayes Carll fan as past posts suggest. But per Creative Loafing, he played the Stage Door Theater in Charlotte last month and I had no idea.

You'd think with all these Hayes Carll blog posts that someone out there would give me a heads up, but it was obviously not to be. And looking back at that date, the cards were perfectly aligned to let me and my wife attend had I been aware. Curses!

I try to check his tour site from time to time, but it seems like he's always touring in Texas, so I sort of quit looking after a while.

Oh well.

How was the Farm-to-Table dinner?

The Farm-to-Table dinner, the $100/plate charity event for Habitat for Humanity, took place Friday evening at the Waxhaw Women's Club.

How'd it go? While the lucky few were dining on freshly made delicacies made with locally grown food prepared by chefs from establishments I've never even heard of, I was scarfing down my chicken/bacon/ranch Subway footlong sub.

I imagine a tasty good time was had by all, so hopefully they filled every seat. Last I saw, there were 15 available slots a day or two before the event. For Habitat for Humanity's sake, hopefully they were scarfed up by last-minute buyers.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Marathon #4 follow-up

I had heard Tim had run marathon #4, but here's the after-action report to prove it. A snippet:
This is where the fireman positioned on that marker decided to “support me” by saying “this is where you find out if you’re a man or not”! I just ran 4 killer hills and 16 miles, and I’m still not a MAN?!?! Well…up I went. Two 174ft climbs on both mile 16 and 17 at a sometimes 16.1 % grade!!
The course seems a little too three-dimensional for my tastes.

Operation Main Street Grill completed

NOTE: This was originally posted three or four days ago. Blogger problems caused it to be disappeared along with a rare comment. It's one thing to lose a post, but an entirely different thing to lose a post with a comment. Thus, this is my attempt to recreate the original post since I suspect it is never coming back. Without further ado:

Despite forgetting to stop back until too late last Friday, we walked into town the next day with the with the sole intention of eating lunch at the Main Street Grill.

I finally got my cheeseburger and it tasted great.

Although the options are limited, Main Street Grill has got to have the best burgers in Waxhaw. Are we all in agreement on this?

Jason (first time commenter, longtime reader?) commented with the following:
I have to agree on the burger thing. My wife and I get takeout lunch almost every Saturday from the MSG. I used to get the gyro, but it just became too much meat for me (trying to cut back on meat intake and up the veggie intake). So one day I got a cheeseburger instead, and have been craving them ever since.

Friday, May 13, 2011

OIS moratorium doesn't pass

Per Lori of Waxhaw realty & blogging fame, the moratorium proposed by the mayor (briefly touched upon here) did not pass, compliments of town commissioners Blythe, Lane, and Gregory.

It was somewhat strange that the special meeting was announced and scheduled so quickly (two days notice if I'm not mistaken). It almost begs the question as to why a vote on a potential moratorium in the OIS zoning district was desired so quickly.

By the way, anyone have a map of the OIS zoning district?

UPDATE 5/14: Here's Lacey Hampton's article on the meeting in the Enquirer-Journal.

Waxhaw Restaurant Weekend

While the official Waxhaw Food & Drink weekend doesn't start until tomorrow during SpringFest, our family's appears to have been last weekend.

Ice cream at Pizza Works on Friday, Main Street Grill for lunch on Saturday, dinner Saturday for the missus at Maxwell's Tavern, and Sunday breakfast at Stack's Kitchen.

The rest of you interested in keeping up with the Jones' will have your work cut out for you this weekend.

Blog in the dark

Google's Blogger was down last night up through lunchtime today.

I planned to have something about the pressing meeting proposed by the mayor to impose a moratorium in the OIS zoning (PDF here), but Blogger put a stop to that.

Maybe later today.

UPDATE 11pm: Haven't got around to posting on the proposed moratorium, but I just realized that I've lost at least one post on the Main Street Grill due to the Blogger problems. Hopefully it gets restored eventually.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Southsiders affected by power outage

I hope you didn't head out to Southsiders today for a Carolina dog since they were closed due to the power outage.

Patte explains in a Facebook post:
I'm sorry to say that we took Duke Power at their word as they reported that power would not be restored until 11:00 PM....when we had no power by 10:30 AM... I had to tell our staff that we would be closed for the day. We'll be open for business tomorrow - Hope everyone weathered this latest storm.
Thank you
In other news, Stormtrooper Chris of Fiesta Band fame got some footage of the lightning that was on display last night. For those interested, link is here, although I'm not sure if you have to be on Facebook to view this or not. I must say that it's not too shabby for a non-HD camera.

Waxhaw in the dark

Power went out approximately around 1.30am this morning as the big storm hit. Certain areas of Waxhaw are still without power 9+ hours later. My wife suspects it's the same section of the grid hit by this power outage.

No updates on the mayor's Facebook page, the town's Twitter feed, or the town web page.

If anyone hears any relevant updates about an ETA for the return of power, drop a comment here if you can. Inquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE: Not anymore. About a half hour after this post, glorious power has been returned. Sometimes this lowly blog can get results, other times not so much.

UPDATE x2: It turns out Waxhaw Elementary was without power until 11am as well, or so my oldest informed me when I got home from work today. From what I can gather, the only significant change is this meant their lunches were delivered to their classrooms. So you can understand the hubbub this surely caused.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sephora Nails

The missus and a friend hit Sephora Nail Salon Saturday night for a little pre-Mother's Day pampering. Per my wife, it appears both were very pleased with the results; my wife apparently has now got Katy Perry-branded sparkly toes, for those wondering.

Wine was also served during the pampering, which seems like a nice touch.

They then made their way over Maxwell's Tavern for a late evening dinner. Sounds like it was as crowded as always there.

For those curious, I pulled some chicken patties and tater tots out of the freezer and heated them up for dinner that night.

First Friday has come & gone

After participating in another exciting teeball practice, the kids and I headed to downtown Waxhaw for First Friday with the neighbors.

We passed by the Main Street Grill and nearby businesses. There looked to be a bunch of stuff set up there in hte parking lot, but we didn't stop for whatever reasons. It could've been the siren song of the Fiesta Band or perhaps some other indescribable pull. Or it could be that on quick glance, it was a little hard to tell what was going on there.

I made a mental note to stop by the Main Street Grill for a long-awaited cheeseburger since I had a light dinner and they were actually open during evening hours, a rare celestial alignment by my calculations.

After the kids got a glass of lemonade compliments of Waxhaw UMC, we spent a bunch of time hanging out near the Fiesta Band. A Fiester brought a laser-projecting thingamabob that continuously shot ever-changing laser designs against the wall, giving the kids something to burn off some energy.

Bypassing the book store (can seven kids be safely crammed into the children's section? Has anyone attempted this?), we crossed the bridge and made our way to Pizza Works for some ice cream and eventually headed back home.

On the way home after we passed the then closed Main Street Grill, I realized I missed my opportunity to get a burger, about the only damper on the evening I can recall.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Chick-Fil-A coming to 521

I've mentioned before that 521 is shaping up to be a pretty good shopping destination, if not for everyday Waxhaw denizens, for those of us who drive this route daily.

And it seems almost like unsportsmanlike conduct now that they're adding a Chick-Fil-A near the Walmart.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Marathon #4 already?

Word is that Tim of Get Fit Carolinas ran his fourth marathon, only a week after the third. In other news, I shagged a couple base hits, running all the way from second base to left field earlier today and was ready to take a breather.

No update from his blog as of yet though.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Don't forget First Friday

I mentioned this earlier, but tomorrow is First Friday. I'm thinking I'll be bringing the kids into town for some ice cream, but the questions is where - Ice Cream & Pizza Works or the Dairy Barn.

So little time to decide.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Be wary of Panasonic HD TVs

A word of warning: if you're looking to invest in a HDTV, I'd stay away from Panasonics. In early 2009, I purchased a Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ85U, a 50" beauty as my entry into the wonderful world of high definition television.

I did a fair amount of research considering it was a major purchase before ultimately deciding on this one, which touted its longevity. Shortly after the warranty expired (and I declined to renew it), I discovered some other unfortunate souls out in the wilds of the internet who were having problems with, not only this particular model, but a number of other Panasonic models, these TVs crapping out. But I was only slightly worried at that time.

Then my tv started having it's own problems before crapping out about a month ago.

If you're interested in reading a bit more about the numerous problems, I suggest reading this blog and all its comments to get a feel for the sheer number of people affected by these lemon Panasonic HDTVs. Needless to say, I will be avoiding Panasonic products in the future. I was somewhat of a fan before having owned two different Panasonic camera, but no more.

It's too bad I didn't post this earlier because the Charlotte Motor Speedway has teamed up with Panasonic to build the world's largest HDTV, clocking in at 200ft x 80ft.

I just hope they purchased the extended warranty; it'd be a shame for that baby to crap out after a couple years. Hopefully the speedway has better luck than me.

Waxhaw Yoga & Massage was a hit

I'd bought a gift certificate to Waxhaw Yoga & Massage for my wife for Christmas. Last weekend while I camped with the boys, she took the opportunity to use it.

I'm happy to report she loved the massage by Michelle and that it was on par with the ones she receives at Belle Vive Spa in Fort Mill.

And at $45/hr, they have a very competitive rate in comparison to the price charged by other places, including the aforementioned Belle Vive Spa and Massage Envy to name a couple.

One thing she noted is that since it is so close to Spas 4 Paws, she could hear barking. It didn't bother her, but maybe others might be more annoyed by something like this.

Marathon #3 completed

Numerous sources had informed me that Tim of GetFitCarolinas fame had completed his third of twelve marathons. As I mentioned here, Tim has plans to run twelve marathons in one year.

And based on his recent blog post, my sources appear to be vindicated, so they will maintain their desirable status on my speed dial.

This one took place in Nashville and featured bands playing throughout the route. And apparently beer.
I was able to have my first beer during a marathon on mile 23! I have to say that it was one of the best beers I have ever had!
I think if more people knew beer was available en route, marathons might be more popular than 5K's.

Town & Country 5K in the books

I scrambled back to downtown Waxhaw Friday evening to catch the tail-end of the Town & Country 5K, minutes before my wife crossed the finish line. I'm proud to say she shaved 5 minutes off last year's time.

Searchable results are available here.

For curious readers, last year's results are still available.