Monday, January 24, 2011

Peacock Statement on City/County Consolidation-Composition of Governing Body

Charlotte City Councilmember Edwin Peacock has released the following
statement concerning possible City-County consolidation:
"Recently, Mayor Foxx & Chairman Roberts have suggested that the City
of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County should reconsider consolidating
our governments.

I will be making a motion at this evening's meeting regarding the
subject of the composition of the governing body of a consolidated
government be placed on our February 14, 2011 business meeting agenda.

The City of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's previous efforts to
address the subject of City & County consolidation have ultimately
resulted in a number of combined functions such as police, planning,
purchasing, parks, public utilities etc. None of these recent efforts,
however, have addressed a core issue: the composition of the
governing body.

Article 20, Chapter 153A of the N.C. State General Statutes
establishes a process for the subject of consolidation and the
creation of a governmental study commission. However, it does not
address the composition of the governing body.

It seems to me that our body as a whole should address the questions
I'm listing below. I do not think it can be outsourced to one of our
Council committees, a study commission, or to an outside consultant.
It must be first dealt with directly by the bodies themselves.

For our meeting on the 14th, I propose we have an open discussion on
the following questions:

Name of the Body and the Leader's Title?

What would be the name of the body? For example, it could be called
the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Council.

What would the title of the leader of the city/county be? Would it be
Mayor of Charlotte / Mecklenburg or would it be Chairman of the
Charlotte / Mecklenburg County Council?

Would the leader be elected by all of the residents of Mecklenburg?
Alternatively, would the leader determined by a vote of the members of
the Charlotte Mecklenburg County Council?

Would the leader's term be two years, four years or longer?

Would the office be partisan or non-partisan?

Would the leader be full-time or part-time? If full-time, would we
have a strong mayor form of government or a city / county manager form
of government?

Office of Council / Commissioners?

How many members would be elected to the body? Currently we have 11
members of the City Council plus a mayor and 9 members of the Board of
County Commissioners.

Will Council/Commissioners positions be part time or full-time?

Will Council/Commissioners terms of office be two years, four years,
or longer?

Will the members run on a partisan or non-partisan basis?

Will members hold staggered terms of office or concurrent terms of

Will the body be comprised of a combination of district and at-large
representatives or would the body be comprised of exclusively district
or exclusively at-large representatives?

How many members would serve at-large?

How many would serve as district representatives?

Would district representatives be voted upon only by voters in their
district or voted upon by all the voters in the county?

While this is not related to the composition of the governing body, it
could be an important question. What would be the role of the other
six towns in Mecklenburg County in a consolidated government?

Again, I'll be asking for your support for this motion to be placed on
our February 14, 2011 business agenda. Thank you for your

Foundation awards grants totaling $22,500 to area Habitats for Humanity

The Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association Housing Opportunity
Foundation has awarded nine local Habitat for Humanity organizations a
total of $22,500 through its Habitat Support Program. The foundation
is dedicated to making a difference in the regional community by
creating housing opportunities, promoting homeownership, and
positioning and educating Realtors® as leaders.

The Habitat Support Program provides monetary support to area Habitat
for Humanity organizations in areas served by the Carolina Multiple
Listing Services, Inc. (CMLS).

Association/Carolina Multiple Listings Services, Inc. (CMLS) President
Laurie Knudsen said,
"We recognize the role that Habitat for Humanity plays in meeting
crucial housing needs at a very basic level for many in the area. We
are happy that we are able to continue to assist these organizations,
which are committed to building a better quality of life for low- to
moderate-income families living in our communities."

The foundation increased the number of grants awarded this year to
benefit nine Habitat programs for a total of $22,500 to support the
following initiatives:

• Habitat for Humanity of Cabarrus County ($2,500) to support the
Cabarrus County Habitat's operating budget for the 2011 calendar year,
specifically in the area of Neighborhood Revitalization.
• Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte ($2,500) to help cover rehab and
repair costs for one vacant foreclosed home purchased by Habitat
• Habitat for Humanity of Gaston County ($2,500) to be applied to an
unsponsored renovation project on Parkdale Avenue in Gastonia, N.C.
Funds will cover the cost of electrical wiring in this home, which was
previously a millhouse.
• Habitat for Humanity of Iredell County ($2,500) to fund A Brush
with Kindness, a program that offers home-improvement services to
qualifying non-Habitat families
• Habitat for Humanity of Union County ($2,500) to purchase building
materials (specifically windows, doors and roofing materials) for a
family in Marshville, N.C.
• Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County ($2,500) to purchase tools
for volunteers rehabbing homes as well as for the new program, A Brush
with Kindness. The tools will allow more volunteers to help with the
mission of decent, affordable housing for low- to moderate-income
• Habitat for Humanity of Matthews ($2,500) to purchase
weatherization kits which will improve the energy efficiency of over
55 Habitat homes.
• Our Towns Habitat ($2,500) to cover the cost of exterior doors of
three townhome units.
• Stanly County Habitat for Humanity ($2,500) to start a build in
March for a single mother of two children. For the first time, the
son will have a room within the home, as he currently sleeps in an
enclosed back porch with very little heat.

The foundation awarded the grants at the close of 2010 for use during
2011. For more information about the association's Housing
Opportunity Foundation and its initiatives, visit
and search keyword "foundation."

The Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association is a trade association
that provides its more than 7,600 Realtor® members with the resources
and services they need to conduct ethical, professional, successful
and profitable businesses. The association is dedicated to being the
region's primary resource for residential real estate information. The
association operates the Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc.
(CMLS), which has approximately 7,100 Subscribers and is the private
cooperative Realtors® use for access to tens of thousands of
residential listings in a 10-county service area, including the high-
growth Charlotte area and outside this service area.

The Housing Opportunity Foundation is the charitable arm of the
Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association and is dedicated to funding,
education, advocacy and leadership programs that are focused on fair
and affordable housing and workforce-housing initiatives. The
foundation serves to position and educate Realtors® as leaders,
promote homeownership and provide funding to create housing

When Your Valentine Has Alzheimer's: A Free Workshop on Communicating with Your Parent or Spouse

Not only do people with Alzheimer's disease have more difficulty
expressing thoughts and emotions, they also have more trouble
understanding others. Yet the ability to exchange our ideas, wishes
and feelings is a basic need.
How can you best communicate with a spouse, parent, or loved one who
has dementia? Learn strategies at a free workshop from the Alzheimer's
Association Western Carolina Chapter and The Ivey, the adult day care
center in the SouthPark area of Charlotte. The two non-profits will
host "When Your Valentine Has Alzheimer's: Enhancing Communication
"on Tuesday, February 8 from 2 to 4 pm, repeated from 6 to 8 pm, at
The Ivey, 6030 Park South Drive. Admission is free but pre-
registration is requested. To pre-register, call The Alzheimer's
Association at 704/532-7390.

You'll leave with specific ideas and techniques for helping your loved
one communicate, such as how to limit distractions, show patience and
interest, and offer comfort and reassurance. You'll also discover the
best ways to communicate, including when to repeat information or
questions, what key words to emphasize, and how to give visual cues.
The presenter is Margaret Moody, program associate for the Alzheimer's

Free adult day care services are available during the presentation for
caregivers who need assistance for their loved ones. Arrange in
advance by calling The Ivey at 704/909-2070.

The Ivey
The Ivey® is a not-for-profit adult day care center that provides
daytime services for people affected by Alzheimer's and other types of
memory loss, social isolation, or physical frailty due to stroke,
Parkinson's, and similar illnesses. The Ivey offers socialization,
engaging activities, meals from a Johnson & Wales-trained chef, and
healthcare monitoring from an on-site registered nurse. The Ivey's
services allow caregivers to hold jobs, continue friendships, and
refresh from the responsibilities of providing constant care. For
more, see

The Alzheimer's Association
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health
organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is
to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research;
to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to
reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our
vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information visit
. The Alzheimer's Association provides a 24-hour Helpline at
1-800-272-3900 for those in need of support and guidance in facing
challenges by memory loss and dementia.

Jewelry Designer Judith Ripka First-Ever Charlotte Sample Sale Announced

Judith Ripka, known for her 18K gold and sterling silver luxury
jewelry, is offering 50 to 70% off and sample sale prices in
Charlotte, for the first time ever outside of New York City.

WHEN: The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte:
• Thursday, January 27, 2011 from 10am – 6pm
• Friday, January 28, 2011 from 10am – 5pm

Doubletree Guest Suites Charlotte Southpark:
• Saturday, January 29, 2011 from 10am – 6pm
• Sunday, January 30, 2011 from 10am – 6pm

WHERE: The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte
201 East Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202


Doubletree Guest Suites Charlotte Southpark
6300 Morrison Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 29211

Angels of Faith Calendar Sales Benefit Easter Seals UCP

Fine art portraiture artists, Crider's Photography, has partnered with
Easter Seals UCP to create a 2011 Angels of Faith calendar featuring
local children photographed as angels. The motivation behind this
calendar is Ethan DeJarnette, who is ten years old and has cerebral
palsy. He is the nephew of a Crider's Photography employee. The
calendar fundraiser has so far raised more than $9,000 for Easter
Seals UCP, a nonprofit that serves children and adults with
disabilities and mental health challenges.

The fundraiser began in July when Crider's photographed area children
as angels and donated $50 from each portrait session to Easter Seals
UCP. During the month of September, the public was asked to vote on
the angels that would be placed in the calendar. Each vote cast was a
$1.00 donation to the nonprofit. The Angels of Faith calendar has
been a great seller with 100% of the proceeds benefitting Easter Seals

"Some children are born to serve an extraordinary purpose in life,
while dealing with hardships," said Pat Crider. "We love Ethan and
have had the privilege of meeting and photographing several children
that also live with cerebral palsy. We have learned and have been
inspired by these children. They each have a huge heart, big smile
and such sweet spirits. We are so proud of the Angels of Faith

Crider's Photography will be presenting a check to Easter Seals UCP
from the Angels of Faith calendar promotion on Monday, January 31st at
10:00 a.m. at the Easter Seals UCP Charlotte Children's Center (716
Marsh Road, Charlotte, NC 28209). Their inspiration for the
campaign, Ethan DeJarnette, will help present the check with his aunt
and Crider's employee Krissy Sloan.

The Angels of Faith calendar features Ethan and 11 other children with
and without disabilities and can be purchased for $12.99 by calling
(800) 736-9901 or by visiting

About Crowder's Photography
Crider's Photography, specializes in fine art portraiture of children,
family and senior photography. They are located at 2294 Wilkesboro
Highway in Statesville and recently voted the best photographer in the
Lake Norman area. For ore information on Crider's Photography,

About Easter Seals UCP North Carolina & Virginia
Headquartered in Raleigh, NC with programs and services throughout
North Carolina and Virginia, Easter Seals UCP is a lifelong partner to
families managing disabilities and mental health challenges. The
nonprofit serves more than 20,000 individuals and their families
annually through an array of services. Easter Seals UCP enhances the
quality of life for individuals and maximizes their potential for
engaging in their communities. For more information on Easter Seals
UCP North Carolina & Virginia, please visit

New Shops and Stores Added At Local Retail Centers Managed by Crosland

Crosland, one of the Southeast's leading diversified real estate
firms, announces several new openings and tenant signings at various
third-party managed and leased retail centers throughout the Charlotte

Colony Shops
Ruby's Gift (1,323 sf) opened its doors at Colony Shops
in early December. As the retailer's third Charlotte location, Ruby's
Gift delivers to Charlotte customers one-of-a-kind creative gift
options to meet everyone's budget. Offering exquisite and unique
jewelry and accessories, Ruby's Gift is the perfect place to find a
distinctive gift to celebrate a birthday, Christmas or special occasion.

The Villa
Om Spa Chiropractic & Wellness (3,048 sf) will relocate their business
from The Arlington to the newly renovated shopping center, The Villa
and plans to open mid January.
Om Spa Chiropractic & Wellness is dedicated to helping patients
achieve their wellness objectives – combining skill and natural
therapies that span the wellness spectrum including chiropractic,
massage therapy, energy work and more. Dr. Bryan Edmiston and staff
are committed to bringing each patient better health and a better way
of life by teaching and practicing the true principles of wellness care.
Patients seeking treatment at Om Spa Chiropractic & Wellness are
assured of receiving only the finest quality care through the use of
modern chiropractic equipment and technology.

Monroe Shops
Trimmer's Barbershop (1,100 sf) has called Charlotte home
since 2003. Owner, Timothy Miller opened a new location at Monroe
Shops on October 1. Trimmers is a traditional barbershop which offers
basic grooming services such haircuts for men, women and children, as
well as coloring services, facials, shaves with hot towels and eyebrow

Hunter's Crossing
Papa John's, a recognized leader in the pizza industry,
is joining Hunter's Crossing, a Lowe's Foods anchored neighborhood
shopping center, located just south of the affluent Ballantyne area in
southern Mecklenburg County at the busy intersection of Hwy 521 and
Old Hwy 521. This new location is expected to open late Spring.
What began in 1983 as a delivery service from the back of founder,
John Schnatter's, father's tavern has grown into a franchise with more
than 3,100 restaurants across the United States and in 29 other
countries. Papa John's is committed to their slogan, "Better
Ingredients. Better Pizza." The company uses only the freshest dough,
quality vegetables and spices as well as 100 percent real meats and
"Making a quality pizza using Better Ingredients has been the
foundation of Papa John's for more than 25 years," said Schnatter.
"You have my commitment that Papa John's will not stray from the
foundation of quality & superiority upon which the company was built.
We will always strive to be your 'Better' Pizza Company."

About Colony Shops
Originally developed by Crosland, Colony Shops has had a permanent
address in Charlotte for over fifty years. Situated at the junction of
Colony Road and Selwyn Avenue, the project is the gateway to Myers
Park. Adjacent to the new mixed use project Tranquil Court on Selwyn,
this center boasts a unique offering of goods and services such as
Bicycle Sport, Edible Art of Charlotte and New York Butcher Shop.

About The Villa
The Villa, located at Providence Road adjacent to the Manor Shops, was
once the home to one of the region's most prominent families, but has
since been converted to a quaint retail center which just recently
underwent cosmetic renovations. With ample parking, an outdoor
courtyard and unique interior designs, this center is a distinctive
alternative to traditional retail buildings.

About Monroe Shops
Although only 8,800 square feet in total, this retail building is well-
positioned at the intersection of Monroe Road and Sardis Road North.
The site is easily accessible to the strong daytime population along
this corridor as well as a very solid residential population
surrounding the center. This is an ideal opportunity for a retail/
restaurant user to take advantage of the foot traffic generated by
Crown Point Theater.

About Hunter's Crossing
This grocery-anchored neighborhood center is located just south of the
affluent Ballantyne area in southern Mecklenburg County and enjoys
excellent visibility and access at the busy intersection of Hwy 521
and Old Hwy 521. Located next to The Offices at Hunter's Crossing,
this center is convenient to everyone in northern Lancaster County as
well as southern Mecklenburg. Anchored by Lowe's Foods, the center
includes 17,350 square feet of small shops a CVS Pharmacy and Wendy's.
A strong tenant mix provides customers with good restaurants, service
providers and retail shops.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Leisure and Learn Now Offered Twice Each Month

Beginning in February, Leisure and Learn will be offered on the first
and third Thursday of each month at Mallard Creek Recreation Center
and William R. Davie Park. Each session cost $5.

The series, which is offered for adults ages 50 - up, provides
opportunities for participants to gain new experiences while spending
time with others. Each session includes dynamic guest speakers, new
and exciting workshops, and fantastic food.

The first course is Thursday, Feb. 3 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Mallard
Creek. The event will include a presentation from the Mecklenburg
County Tax Office on property revaluation.

The session will also include the following workshops:

· Gardening and Composting
· Fitness with Action Jackson
· Estate Planning
· New York Life Presents: Choosing Your Retirement Path

To register for visit, click E-Parks and enter
Course Code #22323.

Davidson physics professor will sing in upcoming Opera Carolina production

For most of his adult life, Davidson physics professor Dan Boye has
struck a perfect chord that harmonizes his dual passions of singing
and science, bringing ovationsfrom opera lovers and physics students

Boye's upcoming performance as Baron Douphol in Opera Carolina's
February production of La Traviata marks his 20-year anniversary and
27th mainstage role with the largest professional opera company in the
Carolinas. The three performances at the Belk Theater, North Carolina
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center are: Thurs., Feb. 3 - 7:30 p.m. /
Sat., Feb. 5 – 8 p.m. / Sun., Feb. 6 - 2 p.m. For tickets, call
704.372.1000 or purchaseonline at Single ticket
prices begin at $16.

The singing scientist, with a powerfully rich baritone voice, has also
contributed greatly to Opera Carolina's educational arts programming,
logging some 10,000-plus miles taking his "The Science of Singing"
curriculum and other programs to schools across the Carolinas. "Dr.
Boye embodies a core facet of the Opera Carolina mission, which seeks
to ensure that young people across our region learn about and have
access to opera and the talented artists who are in our midst," said
James Meena, general director and principal conductor of Opera
Carolina. "We're fortunate that Dr. Boye is such a devoted member of
our Opera family."

While Boye had no formal musical training as a child other than piano
lessons, his parents inspired an appreciation for music and the arts
along with a thirst for scientific endeavors. In college, he got
swept up in the performing arts as a choir member at Emory and Henry,
and was permanently hooked following three summers at the esteemed
Brevard Music Center. Music and singing continued to shape his life
even as he pursued his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Georgia.

Since then, he's worked tenaciously to weave together life as a
respected professor, ardent performing artist and arts education
proponent. At Davidson since 1989, his teaching career has been
punctuated by nationally recognized scientific accomplishments along
with praise for his popular musical technology class that teaches
music appreciation from a scientific perspective to non-science
majors. His performances in treasured and contemporary operas from La
Boheme to Cold Sassy Tree earn kudos from opera- goers, while he
remains very much in demand for regional concerts, fundraisers and
other artistic productions.

Boye acknowledges that his combo music and science trek makes for a
rigorous schedule but also notes that the two disciplines are quite
complementary. "From what we know now about the brain, artists and
scientists aren't really that different. We both strive toward the
goal of discovering new uniformities or lawful regularities," he said
in paraphrase of Hermann von Helmholtz (1878). "Each pursuit demands
a practiced discipline and concentrated focus to achieve success."

Boye credits his family and Davidson College for supporting his
complex career as scientist and artist. "As a liberal arts school,
Davidson values my artistic pursuits, and quite serendipitously, the
music building is situated next door to the physics building! Most
importantly, my wife Ann, and my children Ellie and Charlie, are my
built-in fan base, encouraging me and attending as many performances
as possible."

So, whether the professor takes a bow from the stage or a lectern, his
audiencewill have experienced an act of enduring passion.

About La Traviata and Opera Carolina
La Traviata, the timeless tale of a Parisian courtesan who is redeemed
by true love and sacrifice, is one of the world's most beloved
operas. Giuseppe Verdi's masterpiece remains a classic, retold and
popularized through time – adapted for the silver screen in the
classic Camille starring Greta Garbo, plus contemporary films like
Pretty Woman and Moulin Rouge.

Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of
volunteers, today Opera Carolina is the largest professional opera
company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $2.5 million
for the fiscal year 2011. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire
the region's diverse community through the presentation of Opera,
Operetta, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the quality
of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina is a community resource with
a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.

Opera Carolina is supported by individuals and corporations throughout
the region. Opera Carolina is also supported, in part, with operating
support from the Arts & Science Council. Additional support is
provided by the North CarolinaArts Council, a division of the
Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the
Arts. Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.
About Davidson College
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for
1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C.
Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has
graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of
the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson
Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the
nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages,
giving all students the opportunity to graduatedebt-free. Davidson
competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding
Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

Sled Hockey Champs Coming To Town

The Therapeutic Recreation Section invites the public to watch the
gold medal winning US National Men's Sled Hockey Team practice at the
Extreme Ice Center, 4705 Indian Trail-Fairview Road, Indian Trail, NC
on Saturday, January 29, 2011. The practice is at 4 p.m. followed by
a "meet and greet" session at 5 p.m. The event is free to attend.

Sled hockey was designed to allow participants who have a physical
disability the chance to play ice hockey. The game adapts hockey using
a sled with skates mounted under the seat and two modified sticks. The
sport incorporates the same rules that are used in regular hockey.

Sled hockey originated in Sweden in the early 1960s and is currently
one of the most popular sports in the Paralympic Games.

The US National Hockey Team won the gold medal in the 2010 Winter
Paralympics, defeating Japan 2-0.

Wanted: Charlotte-Area Families Ready to Make a Change - Virtual Casting Call for New Reality Program

Professional Communications, a Matthews, N.C.-based video production
agency, announced that it is holding a virtual casting call for a
reality-style program titled "Health Crisis in Carolina: Real
Families, Real Struggles, Real Solutions." The agency is looking for
interested families in the Charlotte metro region who are motivated to
improve their health to participate in the project. Details about the
virtual casting call are online at
and the deadline for submissions is Monday, Feb. 7, 2011.

Professional Communications has been awarded a contract to produce
"Health Crisis in Carolina: Real Families, Real Struggles, Real
Solutions" on behalf of the Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN)
Branch of the N.C. Division of Public Health. The PAN Branch is
addressing the growing obesity rate in North Carolina with a statewide
social marketing campaign.

"North Carolina continues to see a rise in the prevalence of obesity
and chronic disease," said Ruth Petersen, MD, MPH, section chief,
Chronic Disease and Injury Section, North Carolina Division of Public
Health. "One of the best ways to reverse this trend is for people to
see how the choices they make and the environments in which they live
can be changed. Empowering and enabling real families in everyday
situations to ask their schools, worksites and communities to make the
healthy choice the easy choice will serve as an example for others to
take control of their health."

"Health Crisis in Carolina" will be a reality-style program in which
families from Charlotte, Fayetteville and Wilmington, N.C. will learn
to make healthier choices and learn how their environments impact
their choices. Cameras will follow each of the three families over the
course of one weekend in April. The families will be guided by a
health expert as they learn to make healthier choices and to influence
the environments where they live, learn, earn, play and pray. The show
is expected to be completed and ready for distribution in August 2011.

"We're excited about the idea of documenting real North Carolinians
who want to live healthier lives, but need some practical advice on
how to take those first important steps. We'll be giving these
families and our viewers easy-to-follow suggestions from health
experts across the state," said
Wendy H. Gill, producer of "Health Crisis in Carolina: Real Families,
Real Struggles, Real Solutions" and co-owner of Professional

Interested families are asked to create and post a short audition
video of themselves on YouTube, explaining why they would like to
improve their eating habits and become more physically active. To
complete an Audition Questionnaire and submit an audition video, and go to "Documentary and TV
Programs/Auditioning Now." Information is also available on Facebook.

In addition to Charlotte, Professional Communications is holding
virtual casting calls in Fayetteville and Wilmington, N.C.

About PAN
The Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN) Branch is housed within the
N.C. Division of Public Health, N.C. Department of Health and Human
Services. The PAN Branch works to promote increased opportunities for
physical activity and healthy eating through policy and environmental
change. The vision of the PAN Branch is a healthy North Carolina where
people eat smart and move more, reducing disease and improving their
daily quality of living. Each day in an individual's life is filled
with physical activity and healthy eating at school, work, faith
centers and in the community. More information is available at

About Professional Communications
Based in Matthews, N.C., Professional Communications specializes in
creative video production and video marketing. More information is
available at or by emailing

Jacob's Ladder West Relocates to new CHA Facility in West Charlotte

Jacob's Ladder Job Center, Inc. (Jacob's Ladder) - a Charlotte non-
profit organization that specializes in breaking the cycle of chronic
unemployment through job readiness and related services - has
announced that Jacob's Ladder West has expanded to a new facility
located at 2201 Caronia Street in West Charlotte.

Jacob's Ladder West is now the anchor tenant of the new Center for
Employment Services (the Center) located in the Charlotte Housing
Authority's Arbor Glen community. The fully renovated facility
includes classrooms, a clothing closet, administrative offices,
meeting space and a state-of-the-art computer lab.

"Expanding our agency has been an exciting opportunity," says Susan
Pierson, project manager at Jacob's Ladder West. "The word is out that
we can help you get a job, and we need more space to accommodate the
growing numbers of clients we serve. I look forward to better serving
West Boulevard-area residents with the Center for Employment Services."

The new facility enables Jacob's Ladder West to expand its services
after being launched in December 2009 at the invitation of the City of
Charlotte/Vision Charlotte and Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina
Foundation. Supported by a partnership between Jacob's Ladder, the
City of Charlotte, Charlotte Housing Authority, Charlotte Mecklenburg
Workforce Development Board, and City Dive, Inc./New Birth Charlotte
Church, the Center hopes to address chronic unemployment with
"wraparound" services for residents of the West Boulevard corridor.

The project is part of the Charlotte Housing Authority's "Moving
Forward" initiative that seeks to build self reliance among public
housing residents. In addition to Jacob's Ladder's job readiness
curriculum, clients will benefit from Charlotte's first-ever SHARE
Network Access Point (SNAP) – a computer resource supplied by the
Charlotte Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board, that connects
directly to JobLink Center databases. Once a participant secures
employment, Jacob's Ladder and other partners will offer personal
mentoring for at least six months to support job retention.

Jacob's Ladder Executive Director Steffi Travis estimates a minimum of
300 residents will receive services from Jacob's Ladder West and at
least 120 of those will graduate from the core job readiness program.
To learn more about Jacob's Ladder West, become a volunteer or sign up
for classes, visit, or contact
Susan directly at or 980-428-1822.

About The Center for Employment Services
The Center for Employment Services (CES) provides space to local
service providers to bring career development opportunities to the
West Corridor of Charlotte. Through these partnerships, CES will be
able to empower citizens to become employable and secure employment.
CES is a Moving Forward initiative of the Charlotte Housing Authority
to promote employment and self-reliance. For more information, please
contact Chris Campbell, CHA Employment Services Coordinator at
or 704-336-8555.

About Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder Job Center, Inc. is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit,
which helps unemployed and underemployed people find and keep living
wage jobs. A member of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, Jacob's Ladder
was founded in 1998 as a compassionate response to the Welfare-to-Work
movement and to chronic unemployment Charlotte's urban communities.
For more information, or call

Runway for the Ballet Sat. Feb. 5 - A Fashion and Dance Event Benefiting NC Dance Theatre

Dance from North Carolina Dance Theatre and fashion from Neiman Marcus
unite for the fourth annual Runway for the Ballet on Saturday,
February 5, 2011. Runway for the Ballet is presented by Carolinas
Medical Center, the exclusive healthcare sponsor.

Runway for the Ballet moves from its previous location in the Booth
Playhouse to North Carolina Dance Theatre's new facility, the Patricia
McBride & Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance on North Tryon Street
in uptown Charlotte. The Center for Dance features a performance
venue, providing an intimate space for Runway for the Ballet.

The shows "Mid-Winter Night's Dream" theme gives attendees a glimpse
of spring fashions from sponsor Neiman Marcus, interspersed with
vignettes from Dance Theatre's popular Innovative Works. Dancers from
Dance Theatre will also serve as the models for the fashion show.

CJ from 96.1 the Beat will emcee this event.

Runway for the Ballet is presented in two shows. The family-friendly
matinee at 3 p.m. treats guests to a warm and inviting pre-show
reception full of traditional refreshments with a twist. The evening
show at 7:30 p.m. features a "night on the town" atmosphere complete
with pre-show cocktails and a post-show reception including gourmet
fare from Dean & Deluca.

"Runway for the Ballet continues to be one of Charlotte's premier
fashion events. It is an opportunity for the community to experience
dance in a fun and exciting setting while enjoying a high-fashion
event and giving back to NC Dance Theatre," said fashion show co-chair
Jennifer Matz.

NC Dance Theatre's young professionals group, Opening Night Insiders,
is organizing the event and all proceeds will benefit NC Dance
Theatre. Tickets include show admission and a reception. VIP tickets
are also available for both performances and include exclusive VIP
seating and a walk along the red carpet.

Runway for the Ballet Details:

Date: Saturday, February 5, 2011

Early Show: 3:00 PM Reception/4:00 PM Show

VIP - $45, General - $30

Late Show: 7:30 PM Cocktails/8:00 PM Show/9:00 PM Reception

VIP - $55, General - $40

Location: Patricia McBride & Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance,
701 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte, N.C.

Tickets: $30-$55; Order tickets from
runwayfortheballet or call 704.372.0101

North Carolina Dance Theatre is a Charlotte-based ballet company
focused on performing, inspiring and educating through artistically
excellent programming. Led by internationally acclaimed President and
Artistic Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, NC Dance Theatre is known for
its strong dancers and versatile repertoire, ranging from classical
ballet to bold, contemporary works. In June 2010 NC Dance Theatre
moved to the Patricia McBride & Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux Center for Dance
in Uptown Charlotte. The Center houses the Company's administrative
offices, rehearsal space and School of Dance. For more information

North Carolina Dance Theatre is supported, in part, with operating
support by the Arts & Science Council. Dance Theatre is also supported
by individuals, corporations, and local and national foundations, the
North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

More Property Revaluation Meetings Set and Rescheduled

More public meetings concerning Mecklenburg County property
revaluation have been announced, and a meeting postponed by icy
weather has been rescheduled.

Revaluation is the process of reappraisal of all properties within the
County for tax assessment purposes, and is required once at least
every eight years by North Carolina law. The last reappraisal in
Mecklenburg County was in 2003.

Over time, the real estate market changes, and market prices deviate
from the assessed values estimated during the previous reappraisal. A
revaluation does two important things:

1) Brings assessed value estimates back to current market price
levels, and
2) Clears up inequities that occur because of relative changes
between different neighborhoods. For example, some neighborhoods
appreciate faster than others; and some even depreciate. The
reappraisal helps to equalize the tax burden by ensuring that values
are fair.

The actual tax on a property – and how it changes from year to year –
is the decision of elected officials when they adopt a budget and set
tax rates in June of each year. These officials comprise the Board of
County Commissioners, and the council members of the respective
municipality in which a property may be located.

The newest scheduled meeting dates include:

· District 1 (rescheduled from Jan. 10 because of bad
weather): Jan. 18, 2011, 6:30 p.m. at Cornelius Town Hall, 21445
Catawba Ave, Cornelius, NC 28031
· District 2: Jan. 20, 2011, 6:30 p.m. at Winget Park
Elementary, 12235 Winget Park Rd., Charlotte, NC 28278
· Ballantyne area: Jan. 27, 2011, 7 p.m. at Ballantyne Hotel &
Lodge (Fairway Ballroom), 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Charlotte,
NC 28277

Representatives from the Mecklenburg County Assessor's Office will
make a presentation on the revaluation process and how it works, and
will be available for questions. More meetings will be announced as
they are scheduled. For a comprehensive revaluation overview, visit
the Assessor's Office Revaluation website.

Mecklenburg County Announces Closings for MLK Day

Mecklenburg County government offices and agencies will be closed on
Monday, Jan. 17, in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This includes all units of the Department of Social Services, the Tax
Office, Elections Office, the Register of Deeds Office and Land Use
and Environmental Services.

Mecklenburg County Substance Abuse Center (Detox) is open 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week.

The Department of Social Services Care Line (704-336-CARE or
704-336-2273) operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to receive
reports of suspected abuse or neglect of children, the elderly or
disabled adults.

The Health Department will be closed on Monday, Jan. 17, 2011.

The Main Library and all library branches will be closed on Monday,
Jan. 17, 2011.

Park and Recreation administrative offices, nature centers, the
Aquatic Center and Marion Diehl Pool will be closed on Monday, Jan.17,
2011. Recreation Centers will be open regular hours. Ray's Splash
Planet will open from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

All County Solid Waste administrative offices and operational
facilities, except Compost Central, will be closed on Monday, Jan. 17,
2011. Compost Central will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

As a reminder, CharMeck 311 remains open and available to the public
on weekends and holidays.

Get a Jump on Spring at Native Tree and Shrub Sale

Though the notion of springtime might be only a distant hope right
now, it's the perfect time to start thinking ahead about getting some
new trees and shrubs in the ground. Early spring is an ideal time to
plant dormant seedlings.

The Mecklenburg Soil and Water Conservation District will be holding
its 40th annual Tree Seedling Sale on Saturday, Jan. 22, from 9 a.m. –
noon at the Hal Marshall County Services Center, 700 N. Tryon St. in
Charlotte. A special "early bird" presale will be held on Friday, Jan.
21 in the same location from noon-2 p.m., with a limited number of
plants available. Most native tree and shrub seedlings will be
available for $2.00 each on a first come, first-served basis.

Trees and shrubs available include:

Small Hardwoods - $2.00 each
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Persimmon (Diospryos virginiana)

Large Hardwoods - $2.00 each
River Birch (Betula nigra)
Water Oak (Quercus nigra)
American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

Shrubs - $2.00 each
American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus)
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

Evergreens - Prices vary
Shortleaf Pine (Pinus echinata)
Sweet Bay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)
Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Mecklenburg County Soil and Water Conservation is a local organization
working with residents, agencies and business owners to plan and
direct programs for the conservation and development of natural
resources. Conservation of our natural resources is a continuous
responsibility. Our goal, with the public's help, is to assure that
our County's natural resources are managed wisely to ensure a quality
environment now and for the future.

Community helps commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday, Jan. 17, Rabbi Murray Ezring of Temple Israel, Rev. Robert
Henderson of Covenant Presbyterian Church and Dr. Clifford Jones of
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church will be leading members of their
houses of worship to Turning Point Academy (2300 W. Sugar Creek Road
Charlotte, NC 28262) for a day of service to honor the memory of Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students shared their
input about what they wanted from this project and members of these
religious institutions will gather to turn an unused green space into
an outdoor garden, basketball court and art wall.

Turning Point Academy was established to provide an alternative
education for children who are unable to succeed in a traditional
classroom environment. The school provides an alternative type of
curriculum to re-engage students, creating the "turning point" that
allows them to matriculate back into a traditional. This natural
environment will activate all senses of each student and give them the
chance to explore, dream and discover in an innovative way.

"This setting is the first time that three diverse houses of worship
have come together to share a common goal… to deliver back to the
community as one group," said Ken Jackowitz, Temple Israel co-
chairperson of the event. "An event of this magnitude could not occur
without the help of many organizations."

The Home Depot Foundation partnered with CMS and provided a grant for
project materials and volunteers. REA Contracting is providing the
labor and materials to install a new asphalt basketball court. The
Charlotte Community ToolBank is lending out tools for the project.
AmeriCorps members from Habitat Charlotte provided design, planning,
and construction leadership throughout the project. Hands on Charlotte
is providing project management and leadership sessions. Wallace Farm
is providing soil for the garden planters. The city of Charlotte is
providing wood chips for use in the garden. Don Rosenberg from Instant
Organic Garden served as a garden consultant and will work with the
teachers and parents in planting the garden.

"Dr. King taught us "intelligence plus character - that is the goal of
true education," said Turning Point Academy Principal Valoria Burch.
"During this MLK Day project, our students can observe so many valued
partners demonstrating the power of character – their willingness to
help others."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'The Barker Lounge' Coming to Montford Drive - for Dogs

Colony Development Partners, LLC, recently represented The Barker
Lounge in a five year lease transaction at 1719 Montford Drive in the
Madison Park Neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina. Marshall
Williamson and Kara Schroer of Colony Development Partners Office
Division represented tenant owners Mindy and Chris Evans. Adam
Williams and David Tschirhart with Legacy Real Estate Advisors
represented the Landlord, SIMMCO, LLC.

"As first time business owners, working with such accommodating and
experienced professionals as Colony Development Partners has made this
such a positive experience and we're thrilled to be able to bring our
dream to fruition," said tenant owner Mindy Evans.

The Barker Lounge, originally based in New Jersey, and with franchises
in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tennessee, and now Charlotte, provides
premium dog daycare services with indoor and outdoor 'cageless play'
areas, overnight boarding, grooming, and training. The Barker Lounge
will occupy the former Space Savers store onMontford Drive in the
Madison Park area of Charlotte. Montford Drive is located near the
intersection of Woodlawn Avenue and Park Road, and the street is home
to many popular restaurants. The facility will include four indoor
play areas, four outdoor play areas, a grooming shop, and overnight
boarding accommodations. The upfit construction is currently underway
and The Barker Lounge is scheduled to open in March of 2011.

"We're always pleased when we're able to help a business owner find
just the right facility and location that best serves their needs. The
Barker Lounge is a great addition to this area of Charlotte.
Undoubtedly they will draw numerous clients from the nearby Madison
Park neighborhood as well as business commuters working in Uptown,
Midtown and SouthPark, "said Kara Schroer of Colony Development

Colony Development Partners' Office Division provides tenant and buyer
representation as well as landlord and seller representation, and
currently leases and manages over 700,000 square feet in the Charlotte
marketplace. Colony Development Partners also provides full-service in-
house staffed property management and maintenance services custom
tailored to meet the individual needs of each client. The company
provides an extensive array of management services, including market
analysis, demographic studies, site evaluations and acquisitions,
financial evaluation, ownership structuring, architecture and
construction management, project financing, and program management.

To learn more about Colony Development Partners and their divisions,
please visit their web site at

CMS makes budget recommendations to cut $100 million

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Peter C. Gorman unveiled
recommendations to cut $100 million from the district's 2011-2012
operating budget at the Jan. 11 meeting of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg
Board of Education.

The cuts include reducing by more than half the number of Bright
Beginnings pre-kindergarten classes, eliminating teacher assistants in
first and second grades, and increasing class sizes by two students in
grades four through 12. The proposed cuts include transportation
changes that could also affect some schools' start times.

The changes would shrink the district's work force by 1,516 positions.
Together, the proposed cuts add up to just over $100 million.

Addressing the Board Jan. 11, Gorman said that it had been difficult
to make the recommendation because it could affect student achievement
in CMS. "None of us wants to make these cuts," Gorman said. "But we
have to. So we've approached this challenge by asking ourselves: What
will do the least harm? We can't have larger classes, fewer teachers,
fewer electives and less pre-kindergarten preparation without
affecting student achievement." The cuts come after the district has
reduced or redirected $185 million since the 2007-2008 budget year.
The cuts are necessary because of anticipated declines in state and
local funding – the two primary sources for the CMS operating budget.

In addition, federal funding from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act, which has sent the states nearly $38 billion since
2008, is ending. Thirty-five states are projecting budget gaps, with
21 – including North Carolina -- anticipating gaps of 10 percent or
more. North Carolina's preliminary budget estimate shows a gap of $3.7

The state has asked all areas, including education, to plan for a
budget reduction ranging from five to 15 percent. For CMS, a five
percent cut in state funding would be $52 million; 10 percent is $93
million and 15 percent is $125 million. If Mecklenburg County offers a
similar reduction, those amounts could increase.

The district's operating budget for 2010-2011 was $1.1 billion.

CMS is making the budget recommendation earlier than usual because
some of the changes will affect students and CMS employees. Gorman
asked the Board to make decisions on those changes by Jan. 25.

Among the cuts requiring an early decision is the district's
recommendation to change the weighted-student staffing formula from
1.3 to 1.25, which would reduce the number of teachers. Weighted-
student staffing assigns a larger weight to students in poverty,
because they require more resources to keep up with other students.
Weighted-student staffing allows the funding to follow the students,
which can mean more resources and more teachers for high-poverty

A second recommendation requiring an early decision is proposed
changes in bell schedules, which would allow the district to use its
buses more effectively. Gorman told the Board that these changes
should be made early so families can make adjustments and the
transportation department can design new bus routes.

A third recommendation would reduce the number of Bright Beginnings
classes to 70 from 175. An early decision would allow affected
families to plan, and would also give other preschool providers time
to expand their programs to address the increased need.

Gorman also told the Board that he and executive staff are looking at
possibly eliminating all transportation for students at magnet
schools. This change would need an early decision, he said, because
more than 12,000 families with students in magnet programs would be

The Board is expected to vote on the proposals at its next meeting,
which is Jan. 25.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kids Heart Felt Health Launches In Charlotte To Teach Kids Healthy Eating Habits

Kids Heart Felt Health is a new non-profit organization being launched
in Charlotte to teach children how to prepare their own favorite meals
and snacks in a healthy manner. Organizers have already attracted
interest from other cities.
"Our program is called HEART Felt Health because we not only give kids
hands-on activities to help protect their physical hearts – curbing
obesity and malnutrition – but also the word 'HEART' stands for
character traits we intend to instill through our program," said
founding president Claudine Lovitt. "Those character traits are
Humility, Empathy, Appreciation, Respect and Tenacity. We share
inspirational stories of people who represent these character traits
and who overcame personal struggles to better themselves and society
in the process."
Another unique aspect of the program is that it is taught by trained
high school Honor Society students, with adult supervision. "These
students also serve as role models, learn about healthy nutrition
themselves, and are really able to connect well with the younger
kids," Lovitt said. Currently the program involves Honor Society
students from Charlotte Latin, Providence Day, Country Day, Myers
Park, Providence High, South Mecklenburg, Grace Academy, Ardrey Kell
and Marvin.
The first set of weekly classes begins Sunday, Jan. 9, in a meeting
room at Earth Fare in Ballantyne and continues through Feb. 13.
Enrollment is now open via the website
for a second series of classes beginning in February.
"I conceived of Kids Heart Felt Health after my daughter was diagnosed
a year ago at age 7 with Type 1 diabetes," Lovitt said. "While living
with diabetes is difficult, my daughter has taught me that it is
possible for a child to make healthy food substitutions and to take
control of their own health at an early age. It's very important for
kids to understand how to manage the food they eat and prepare healthy
versions of it when possible."
Lovitt said she "linked up with some nutritionists and sought advice
from chefs to help me address obesity and make learning about
nutrition fun for kids. I've also learned some things about teaching
kids as a volunteer with the Greater Enrichment Program, which
provides extra-curricular activities for underprivileged children in
the area. I teach them tennis using high school volunteers, as we will
do in Kids Heart Felt Health."
Currently the program focuses on children in two age groups - second
through fifth grades and sixth through eighth. "Importantly this is
not a 'dieters' program – rather it is designed to help all parents
interested in instilling healthy lifestyle habits in their children.
The program would never exclude a child with dietary restrictions, but
is flexible to accommodate all children, including those with
diabetes, celiac disease and food allergies. By age 7 most can
understand counting carbs," Lovitt said. "We've already gotten
inquiries from other cities like Asheville, so we expect this to
spread – perhaps nationally.
"Michelle Obama, the American Heart Association, and the Center for
Disease Control have all issued warnings that unless the current
trends in childhood obesity and poor nutrition are reversed, the
country will be faced with a health and economic crisis within the
next 25 years. The American Heart Association warns that if current
trends continue, for the first time in history this generation of
children will have shorter life expectancies than their parents. This
is the bad news. But as we have told our high-school volunteers – the
generation who will inherit this crisis – the good news is that
positive change is possible and our program gives children the tools
and positive reinforcement they need to begin to reverse these trends."
The current program is offered in six-week segments that cover
breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods, as well as specified nutrients.
Each week, the children are taught a nutrition lesson through a food
demonstration. After the nutrition lesson is given, the children are
divided into "teams" so that they may make that week's food in a
creative, nutritious way, Lovitt explained. The children then compete
in a food contest in which their food creations are judged for taste,
presentation, and nutritional value.
"The children are taught how to determine a food's nutritional value
based on a specific formula provided to them," she said. "The goal is
for the children to create foods using this specific nutritional
formula. The challenge is to create foods that are both nutritious
and that taste good, so that the children will want to eat these foods
once they complete the program."
Incentives are built into the program. The children are not only
awarded for winning the food contests each week, but are also given
awards if specific weekly goals (small dietary changes) are met. In
addition, at the beginning of each six-week session, the children are
introduced to the "Food Rainbow", which represents the various colors
of fruits and vegetables. Children who complete their "Food Rainbow"
by the end of the six-week session (i.e., eat all of the colors of the
rainbow) are given an award at the conclusion of the session.
Nutritional goals will also be met through a kids-helping-kids
mentoring process. As high school volunteers run the program each
week, a "Nutrition Buddy System" will be set up so that the children
remain motivated to make heart healthy lifestyle changes.
At each weekly session, the children will learn something from the
healthy eating habits of other countries. For example, during a
session called "Calcium Can Be Cool," the children will learn about
the difference between Greek yogurt and American yogurt. "Greece is
one of the healthiest countries in the world and Greeks typically eat
yogurt for breakfast," Lovitt said. "Greek yogurt is healthier than
American yogurt because it contains fewer carbohydrates and more
protein. It also has a thicker consistency and can be used as a
healthy substitute in frosting on baked goods, such as cupcakes. As
many of the program's volunteers are International Baccalaureate or
Global Studies students, these lessons allow the volunteers to apply
what they are learning in the classroom to real life."
Kids Heart Felt Health Inc. has filed its application for 501(c)3
status, which means donations to it would be tax deductible. A portion
of the proceeds of the program will be donated to fund research for
the cure for Type 1 diabetes, Lovitt said.
Claudine Lovitt is an attorney who is admitted to practice law in the
states of New York, Connecticut, and Ohio. She last practiced
corporate and securities law with Baker Hostetler, a leading multi-
practice law firm headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. After moving to
Charlotte in 2001, she suspended her practice of law in order to
devote all of her time to raising her three children.
She is also the founder of Charlotte Junior Tennis Inc., which has
been running innovative junior tennis programs, including community
outreach tennis camps and clinics, since 2008.
Other leaders of the program include:
· Angela Gallo, president and founder of Total Nutrition
Technology, Inc. (TNT), which owns and operates 10 wellness centers
throughout the Charlotte area, as well as one in Asheville. She also
licenses her proprietary program to health professionals throughout
the country. Her company was selected to participate in CNN's health
makeover program called "Mission Motivate." She is also a spokesperson
for the "Got Milk?" campaign. Since she founded her company, Angela
has helped thousands of people achieve their personal goals, from
professional athletes wanting to improve their sports performance, to
individuals desiring to manage their weight.
· Pam Moody, a nutritional and wellness coach who owns and
operates ProActive Wellness. She is also a Director and Independent
Affiliate Member of Trivita Inc. She has been studying nutrition,
including the impact of nutrition on controlling and preventing
medical conditions, for over 25 years. Moody first became interested
in nutrition when her husband was unexpectedly diagnosed with adult-
onset Type 1 diabetes over two decades ago, in her personal quest to
try to "cure" him through exploring the effects of nutrients on human
health. Moody advocates that "Optimum nutrition is the revolutionary
approach to your health."
For more information or to register for future programs, visit the
organization's website at

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mecklenburg County Buys Half of the Doral Apartments After Decades of Flooding

Notorious for experiencing devastating floods, a portion of the Doral
Apartments has now been purchased by Mecklenburg County and will be
torn down. The Doral complex has 260 apartment units on 19 acres. The
County purchased 128 of those apartments on eight acres of land for
$3.1 million.

The Doral Apartments, between Briar Creek and Monroe Road, has
flooded six times since 1995 with damage topping $8 million. Eighty
ground-floor apartment units flooded so badly during August 2008 that
they were not repaired. Engineering studies in 2005 concluded there
were no feasible options to prevent the apartment complex from
repeatedly flooding. The study determined that the most cost-effective
way to permanently reduce flood losses at Doral was to buy the highest-
risk buildings and tear them down.

The complicated purchase process took several years. In 2008,
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services applied for a federal grant
to pay about 75% of the cost of buying part of the property and
tearing down affected buildings. The Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) approved the $3.5 million grant in 2009. In July 2010,
the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners approved the formal
purchase agreement which involves more than a million dollars in local
Storm Water revenue.

"This buyout has taken a long time, but it's definitely worth it,"
says Tim Trautman of Storm Water Services. "If you add up flood losses
over time, the Doral Apartments have the highest dollar amount of
damage in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. It's actually cheaper for the
government to get people and buildings out of harm's way than it is to
repeatedly issue disaster checks and flood insurance checks after
severe floods."

Trautman notes that floodplain buyouts also make the community safer.
"This project helps reduce our community's flood risk. That could mean
saving residents' lives and property. And it reduces the risk faced by
emergency responders during a flood." Trautman also points out
benefits to the community from additional open space for recreation,
temporary flood storage and water quality improvements.

The County is donating various items from the 128 apartments to
Habitat for Humanity, including appliances, sinks, windows, doors,
cabinets and light fixtures. Demolition of the County-owned section is
expected to begin in the spring of 2011. Asphalt, brick, concrete and
carpet removed during demolition will be recycled.

About half of the Doral complex closest to Monroe Road was not
purchased by the County. That section of the apartment complex is also
in the floodplain, but has a significantly lower flood risk. The
current owner of Doral will decide what to do with the 132 units and
more than ten acres of land that remain under private ownership.

Total cost: $4.7 million
· $3.1 million to purchase the buildings and land
· $1.6 million for demolition and tenant relocation

Sources of funding:
· Department of Homeland Security/FEMA grant: $3.54 million
(75% of total project cost)
· Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water fees: $1.18 million (25%
of total project cost)

Eligible Doral residents were given relocation assistance to help with
moving expenses and finding a new place to live. All apartment units
purchased by the County were vacant by October 2010.

Benefits of the Doral buyout:
· permanently reduce the threat of loss of life or personal
property due to flooding
· save money on flood insurance claims and emergency response
· provide 8.4 acres of open space for the community

Doral Apartments buyout facts:
· Located at 524 Bramlet Road
· Built in 1966 before restrictions that limit construction in
· Significant floods in 1995, 1997, 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2010
· Of 260 apartment units, 128 were purchased by the County
· The 128 units purchased by the County are in 19 buildings on
eight acres of land

In 2008, Mecklenburg County used a similar FEMA grant to buy the
Cavalier Apartments across Briar Creek from Doral. The Cavalier
Apartments were torn down and the 13-acre site is now open space. With
the Cavalier site, neighboring Chantilly Park and newly acquired
portion of Doral, the County now owns a 28-acre section of land along
Briar Creek. Possible uses might include floodplain features such as
wetlands to improve water quality in the creek, a greenway trail or
recreational opportunities. Many of the options depend on available

Since 2000, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services has purchased
nearly 250 flood-prone buildings. As a result, more than 500 families
have been moved out of areas at highest risk of flooding. Buildings
acquired through the Floodplain Buyout Program have been torn down and
the floodplain has been returned to a more natural and beneficial

Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte To Open Ben Owen Pottery Gallery

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte will unveil its exclusive new Ben Owen
Pottery Gallery on January 12, 2011, presenting custom pottery pieces
from renowned North Carolina artist Ben Owen. The new retail setting
will be open to the public daily and has been created to feature the
work of an acclaimed contemporary potter whose pieces already
highlight the hotel's extensive contemporary art collection.

Seventy of Ben Owen's original pieces are currently on display
throughout The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, and the opening of his first
gallery in the city will open up new access to hotel guests and local
residents wishing to purchase his work.

The Ben Owen Pottery Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte will offer
75-100 one-of-a-kind pieces of Ben Owen pottery art, with prices
beginning at $45. Works will range from pots, vases, jars, bowls and
platters to major showpieces and spectacular larger works of art. All
items are hand-created by Ben Owen, who also will make special
appearances at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte for 2011 art weekends and
art demonstrations.

"We are honored to be working with an artist of Ben Owen's stature,"
said David Rothwell, General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte.
"Many of our guests have commented on his work in our hotel public
areas, and we are delighted to now make it available on a retail
basis. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Owen to special art events at
the hotel as well."

Born and raised in the legendary Seagrove, NC pottery tradition, Ben
Owen III learned his art from his grandfather, Ben Owen, Sr., the long-
time master potter at North Carolina's Jugtown Pottery. Like his
grandfather and other Seagrove potters, young Ben Owen has made a
special study of Asian ceramics, finding that the Seagrove tradition
has a special affinity for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean forms and
glazing techniques. Owen incorporates these influences into vibrant
glazed pieces which offer simplicity, strikingly smooth shapes and
brilliant colors yielding to earth tones. Owen's works are owned by
some of the world's most high-profile collectors, with his large
installations also seen in Ritz-Carlton hotels and select private
residences worldwide.

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte is home to several hundred pieces of fine
art presented in striking locations throughout the hotel, from the
first-floor Lobby and second-floor meeting spaces to guest rooms,
corridors and the penthouse Spa & Wellness Center. The hotel's
commitment to supporting local art and artists is visible as pieces
and artists from the Carolinas are given special prominence in this
curated collection.

City To Sell Historic Mills Properties

The City of Charlotte has announced that the historic Johnston and
Mecklenburg Mills properties are for sale. The City is seeking a
purchaser to redevelop the mill buildings on the site and provide a
specified level of affordable housing as outlined in the Purchase and
Sale Agreement.

The City purchased the properties in January 2006 after a long history
of development investments and rehabilitation efforts. A previous
agreement to purchase the properties fell through in December 2008,
when the contract obligations were not met.

The properties will be sold as one parcel and are located at 3315-3327
North Davidson Street. The sale will be accomplished through an upset
bid process, during which qualified bidders will be given
opportunities to increase their bid amounts until a final, highest bid
is announced. The property will be sold to the highest qualified
bidder once City Council has approved the transaction.

To be considered a qualified bidder, all bidders must attend a
mandatory pre-bid meeting and building walkthrough on January 12,
2011 at 9:00 AM at the Johnston YMCA located at 3025 North Davidson
Street, Charlotte, NC. Sealed bids will be due to the City on January
28, 2011.

All bid documents and bid procedure details are available for viewing
and downloading through the City's website at
. Upon request, hard copies of the documents will be made available
for pick up at the Neighborhood & Business Services offices at 600 E.
Trade Street, Charlotte NC, 28209.

For further information, please contact Peter Zeiler at 704-432-2989

You're Invited to King Day Celebration at Davidson College

Davidson College invites the public to celebrate Martin Luther King
Day 2010 by attending a number of educational, musical and
inspirational events at the college on Monday, January 17, and
Tuesday, January 18.

Monday's events include a 9:30 a.m. "Walk for Change," activities for
youngsters, a free word poetry presentation, seminars on racial
relations and matters of justice, and an evening gospel concert.

Just one event will be held on Tuesday. Poet and social activist Nikki
Giovanni will speak at 11 a.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall.

There is no admission charge to attend any of the events. For more
information, call 704-894-2225. The complete schedule is below.

Monday January 17, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walk for Change
9:30 a.m. beginning in Richardson Stadium
Sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi
Fraternity Inc., and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
The walk will proceed about 1.5 miles around campus, and conclude on
the front steps of Chambers Building with the reading of Dr. Martin
Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

King Day for Kids
9:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m.
Alvarez College Union
C. Shaw Smith 900 Room
King Day for Kids focuses childen on literacy, social justice, and
community involvement. Youth (kindergarten through 5th grades) will
take part in a "read –in," storytelling, and bookmaking. At the end of
the session, children will receive literacy-based goody bags. Please
RSVP by calling 704-894-2872.

"Poetic Reflections of Social Justice"
11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Alvarez College Union
C. Shaw Smith 900 Room
Davidson student members of the Free Word Spoken Word Club will bring
to life the historic voices of social justice through poetic expression.

MLK Seminar Series

1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Women of Color and Visions for a Just Future
Alvarez College Union Room 302

Presenter: LaKisha Michelle Simmons, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept.
of History
In 1970, Toni Cade Bambara published the anthology The Black Woman,
one of the foundational texts of the black feminist movement. Bambara
collected essays, poems and stories by Alice Walker, Nikki Giovanni,
Audre Lorde, singer Abbey Lincoln and Chinese American activist Grace
Lee Boggs. This session will look back at The Black Woman to consider
what that text can teach us about envisioning a racially just future.

The King Legacy and Responses to Environmental (In)Justice
Alvarez College Union Room 313
Presenters: Matt Samson, Visiting Asst. Professor of Anthropology and
Annie Ingram, Thomson Prof, of Environmental Studies and Professor of
The presenters will examine Dr. King's language on social justice and
community and its relationship to environmental and sustainability
movements today. Participants will be invited to consider how the
social ethic underlying the Civil Rights movement is alive and well in
the contemporary efforts to foster environmental justice, particularly
in the post-Katrina world in which we live.

Film: "Citizen King the Documentary"
C. Shaw Smith 900 Room
This film explores the last few years of the life of Dr. King. It
traces his efforts to recast himself by embracing causes beyond the
civil rights movement, becoming a champion of the poor and an
outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam.

3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Isn't Stepping For Everybody? Racial Divisions as a Communicative
Barrier to Building Community.
C. Shaw Smith 900 Room
Presenter: Dr. Damion Waymer, Visiting Professor, Communications

Normative communication theories suggest that organizations, via
communication, have a social responsibility to help build community
and to help make society more fully functioning. However, divisive
social constructs (such as race) must be considered carefully so that
such a vision of society (very similar to King's Dream) can be
realized. This presentation explores contemporary racial challenges.
It demonstrates that organizations must understand the history and
challenges of race if they are to demonstrate their commitment to
diversity via actions—and not just through their Web sites or mission

Lessons with a Leader: A Conversation with King
Alvarez College Union Room 313
Presenter: Julia Jones, Director of the Chidsey Center for Leadership

This session will use the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a
starting point to focus on leadership. King spoke of concepts like
molding consensus, creative altruism, unconditional love, and power.
What do his words mean for our leadership today?

MLK Community Celebration Gospel Extravaganza
7 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall
This gospel concert will include music by the Davidson College Gospel
Choir, K.J. Sciven of Fayetteville, Shameka Dwight of Columbia, S.C.,
The New Glory Bounds Singers of Milwaukee, Wisc., and Ronica & The
Mighty Blazing Stars of Mooresville.

Tuesday January 18

MLK Community Convocation
11 12 p.m. in Duke Family Performance Hall

Keynote speaker Nikki Giovanni (in photo above) is a world-renowned
poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator who has taught at
Virginia Tech University since 1987. She hasattracted attention over
the past 30 years through outspokenness in writing and in lectures.
One of the most widely-read American poets, she prides herself on
being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English."

The civil rights<
> and black power<> movements
inspired her early poetry that was collected in Black Feeling, Black
Talk (1967), Black Judgment (1968), and Re: Creation (1970). She has
since written more than two dozen books including volumes of poetry,
illustrated children's books, and three collections of essays.
Her most recent work, Bicycles: Love Poems (2009), expresses notions
of love in unexpected ways, touching on the deaths of both her mother
and her sister, as well as the massacre on the Virginia Tech campus.
She has received about 25 honorary degrees, and was named "Woman of
the Year" by Mademoiselle magazine, The Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony
magazine. She was tapped for the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame and
received Governor's Awards from both Tennessee and Virginia. She was
the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks "Woman of Courage" award, and
has also been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry. Her
autobiography, Gemini, was a finalist for the National Book Award.