Archive for October, 2007

Be Careful Out There !

A tearful older citizen and frequent belmontfrontporch visitor stopped by a couple of days ago on her morning walk. What happened we inquired?


She had received an email notice from whom she thought was the IRS. The email suggested that she had a refund due, and to “click here”. Well she did, because there was a notice at the bottom that threatened audits of her future filings. Lo, and Behold, her email was soon flooded with spam selling everything from apple pies to porn — mostly porn.

The Belmont Front Porch’s crack investigative team jumped into action ! private-eye.jpg

We tracked down an official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) site, called to inquire, and found out some good information.

It took some doing, we all know how government “services” work and the time waiting, but it was worth the effort. We started with the IRS website at, looked all over and found 1-800-829-1040. We then found 1-800-829-1954 and spoke with a representative of the service.

As we explained the issue, the customer service rep assured us that the IRS does not send emails, especially about refunds due. We were referred to another number, which is a tech center to discuss the spam attack. That number is 1-800-366-4484. There, they will give you instructions about how to report the phishing scam and ways to protect future issues.  


As always, be careful online, in the neighborhood, and in your car. Being aware of your surroundings will help you be safer.


October 31, 2007 at 11:40 am Leave a comment


This is a BIG sports week in Belmont.

We have already had a showdown with North Gaston for the HS boys, a MS title match for softball, State meets for golf and X-country, and tonight the first round matchup for the HS boys soccer team.

Friday night football will be for the outright conference title for the football team as they play Crest at home.

So, yeah, BIG week in sports.

Great crowds turned out in Dallas for the football team. A great crowd for the softball team. Let’s shoot for 3-in-a-row with a great turnout for tonight’s match with the soccer team !

South Point plays Clyde Erwin, a 13-5-0 team out of the Mountain Athletic Conference. If they are successful, they will play Saturday night, either home or away.

The match begins at 7:00 PM in Lineberger Stadium. Dress warm, Yell Loud !



October 31, 2007 at 10:36 am 1 comment

Belmont MS downed in County Title Quest


The Belmont Wildcats softball played 5 and-a-half innings of very good softball, then the wheels fell off, losing to Chavis 9-3 in the County Championship game yesterday.

 A great crowd was on hand to view the MS championship game at Dwight Frady Field in East Belmont. Special thanks to the fans, who lined the field and outfield fence, for their support for this game and the season.

Chavis, a perennial softball power, came loaded for bear in this game. After losing in the regular season to Belmont 9-7, they planned to play aggressively and with extra focus.

The game was also a battle between Leah Sturgill of Chavis and Emily Tucker of Belmont. 

Sturgill won the pitching battle, striking out 7 seven players and holding Belmont scoreless for 3 consecutive innings at one stretch. 

Tucker pitched well overall, and contributed offensively recording two runs, one on an inside-the-park dinger.

The game was fun to watch. South Point will have a good group of girls when this squad ages into the high school program. The Gazette had a short video and article in today’s paper.

Congratulations Wildcats on another fine season ! 


(file photo – Emily Tucker)

October 31, 2007 at 9:02 am 1 comment

Why is It ?

Gaston County is a very interesting county. We DO love it for all of its quirks, foibles, and life. That is why we chose to live here. Some have returned, some have never left, and some discovered this little jewel of a region-within-a-region.

 Why is then, that each of the 13 organized and incorporated towns have to:

a) copy each other and duplicate a service, project, or program?

b) have competition, spurred on by local media, to be the “best of…” whatever?

 the-clock.jpg   fallfest.jpg

The Belmont Front Porch commented on a Gazette article about Belmont being the most walkable community in the county.

Yet, the picture on the front page of the Gastonia Gazette didn’t even feature local people. One was visiting from California, one had just recently (we’re talking a couple of months) relocated here (so, yeah she is local – give ya’ that one), and one was visiting from somewhere else. Anyway,

Each town has its own police department, parade, festivals, sports leagues, even things like fund-raising walks/runs. Recent (albeit, good) stuff has included the trendy things like street “dances/concerts” in the summer.

These copycat ideas go back to the mill village days, where every village had its own everything.  

So, what makes Belmont special in its own way?

Can’t be the revival of the miniature train – Gastonia’s already done that.

Could it be our “central park”? Stowe Park, is definitely unique to the towns and bergs of Gaston County.

Could it be our sports teams? Not really, each town had its own high school(s) back in the day (before 1969). Those allegiances carry over today as evidenced by last night’s football contest in Dallas (North Gaston HS).

Mt. Holly has a historical society, so does Belmont now. Belmont has a thriving downtown, Mt. Holly is moving in that direction somewhat painfully. Gastonia tries, but Gas-town has its own issues — like a major federal road through the downtown area and a recently constructed “ditch” for the railroad in town.  


Every town has fireworks in the summer. Every town is striving to revive its swimming pool. McAdenville, Cramerton, Bessemer City, Cherryville, and Gastonia have all renovated the outdoor facilities in the past 5 years.

So, rather than feeling like we gotta keep up with the Joneses (or in Gaston County – the Stowes, Linebergers, Beams, and Rhynes), why don’t we cooperate on some of these things?

Every new idea is rife with in-fighting. Some of the recent examples are the horse ring, the senior center, the visitor’s center — still have a hard time figuring that one out –, and restaurants and hotels. Not much that some towns can do about certain business decisions though.

Even our current city council elections are offering more of the same – wistful rememberances of days growing up in town, and the standard fare of roads, taxes, schools, and growth. The other towns are doing the same thing. 


Why is that?


October 30, 2007 at 11:35 am 5 comments

Sports Commentators

Several of us over here in Belmont participate in and watch a lot of sports. We mean A LOT.


Not really experts in any of them, several favorites, though. A couple are huge football fans — peewee, high school, college, and pro. Panther ticket holders, State ticket holders, and (eeewww), Carolina ticket holders. The baseball fans range from the AL East to the NL West… the teams we like go on and on.

HD television has really made an impact on all the viewing entertainment over the past few years. However the announcing and commentary has really declined as the visual images have improved.

Frank DeFord, a noted sports columnist with Sports Illustrated, recently submitted a report on NPR’s “Morning Edition” (Wednesday, October 3) where he talks about too many voices in the booth.

We agree, sometimes the game/competition speaks for itself.

To continue on with the too many voices theme, WCGC, 1270 AM bills itself as the “Flagship Station for Red Raider Football”, uh, “yeap”.

We think it is a great service for the community and all, but, come on. Guys do you ever listen to yourselves?

Charlie Martin and “the other guy” are the local commentators.

Excerpts from a couple of recent games —

Charlie: Looks like the Red Raiders have a first down.

Other guy: yeap

Charlie: Lowery needs to throw the ball, it looks like Devine is sending in a pass play

other guy: yeap

Charlie: Lowery under center, he drops back, and runs up the middle. Guess it wasn’t a pass play

Other guy: yeap

other guy: first and…

Charlie: first and ten on the Red Raider 20

other guy: yeap

Two hours of this stuff  can get old. Maybe that’s why there are so many people in the stands at SP football games.  

“uh, yeap”.

Guys, do an air-check tape, and at least listen to each other from time to time. We really appreciate the broadcasts, but the personalities don’t mesh when hollerin’ in the microphone.


October 30, 2007 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

Coffee Break


Ahh, yes, about half of the editiorial board are not that all knowledgeable about coffee. We all know that we like it.

In Belmont, Nichols, Caravan, White’s, Jerry’s, Shirley’s, McDonald’s, and Hardees are good places for a cup or two, and conversation.

The Belmont Police hang out at Nichols. A lot of business people catch up and read papers early in the AM at McDonald’s, moms and preschool-age kids seem to have playdates there as well. People on the go, and those who have a bit less to do in the AM wander into Caravan. The high school students cruise through Jerry’s; and White’s, Hardees, and Shirley’s seem to have the senior crowd pretty much wrapped up.

You have seen us hanging out at Caravan, McDonald’s, and White’s just in the past few days.

We sure do like our coffee – even the plain old “large cup” kind…


October 30, 2007 at 10:26 am 2 comments

Belmont City Council | Candidate bios


This is an update from a previously posted article from October 18.

It was posted in the Gaston/Lincoln Neighbors Section of the Observer.

Note: Candidate Dennis Boyce did not return a questionnaire.         dennis-boyce.jpg

His bio and statement are linked here.

Becky Burch     becky-burch.jpg     Age: 77  Birthplace: Shelby.

Home address: 500 Hawley Ave.

Office running for: Belmont City Council.

Education: GED from Cornerstone Christian School in 2002; interior decorating and design certificate from Gaston College.

Family: Husband, Harold; two adult sons.

Occupation: Retired.

Elected offices: Belmont City Council, 2003-present.

Religious/civic organizations: Attend Alexander Memorial Baptist Church.

How can voters contact you? 704-825-3028.

Last book read: “Refuge” by Dot Jackson.

Favorite movie: “The Sound of Music.”

Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Billy Graham: “Because he had a positive impact on so many people.”

Why are you running? “Encourage and promote economic growth through development that provides jobs, lower taxes and water rates; want to see a closed textile plant remodeled for a nursing home; unfinished work like in east Belmont, north Belmont and Reid Community; I am proud of the jobs I have helped create in the past four years and I have unfinished work, like the Montcross Development.”

The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:

• Growth; we need more city employees like police and firemen.

• Roads.

• Schools.

Irl Dixon   irl-dixon.jpg    Age: 57. Birthplace: Belmont.
Home address: 1008 Damon Point Drive.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in English, radio, television and motion pictures from UNC Chapel Hill.
Family: Wife, Trudy; one adult son.

Occupation: Broker-in-charge at Coldwell Banker-Black and Whisnant Properties in Belmont .

Elected offices: Belmont City Council, 1999-present.

Religious/civic organizations: Member of First Presbyterian Church; past deacon and Sunday school superintendent.
How can voters contact you? Work, 704-829-7556; home, 704-825-2148; book read: “The Kite Runner.”Favorite movies: “Ben-Hur” and “Citizen Kane.”Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Theodore Roosevelt: “The man was amazing. He was a sickly boy who decided at an early age to challenge his mind and his body. He founded our National Park System, was shot giving a campaign speech but finished his address anyway, and after his presidency he almost died exploring an uncharted river in South America. I would like to know where he got his boundless energy.”Why are you running? “My family has lived in the Belmont area for 100 years. I want to make sure that during our current growth period the city evolves into a place my son would be happy to stay and raise his family. I don’t want to just maintain, but improve the quality of life for all our citizens.”The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:• Growth: “We just developed a land use and transportation plan. It must be given teeth and used..”• Expansion of extraterritorial jurisdiction: “Our zoning control needs to be expanded to the boundaries used in the land use plan to give us more control over the sprawling growth the county allows.”

• Buy land and build more parks and fields for our kids to use.

Charles Flowers     charlie-flowers.jpg  Age: 64. Birthplace: Belmont.
Home address: 307 Ferrell Ave.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.
Education: Graduate of Belmont High School; associate’s degree in criminal justice from Gaston College; associate’s degree from Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute; bachelor’s degree in religion from Mid-Atlantic Bible College Seminary; master’s degrees in ministry and theology from Rock Hill Bible College.

Family: Wife Arlene; one adult son.

Occupation: Retired chief of police of Belmont Police Department .

Elected offices: Belmont City Council, 1999-present.

Religious/civic organizations: Deacon and trustee at Unity Baptist Church; past president of Kiwanis International; Gaston County Law Enforcement Association; North Carolina Police Officers Association.

How can voters contact you? 704-363-6484; 704-825-9146.

Last book read: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”

Favorite movie: “Dances with Wolves.”
Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Sitting Bull, leader for the Sioux Nation.Why are you running? “I love the people of Belmont. I have lived here all my life and know what Belmont means to the people. I feel that I have and can continue to represent the people of Belmont well.”The three main issues facing the office you are seeking: • Growth.• Schools.• Taxes.

Ron Foulk  ron-foulk.jpg      Age: 61. Birthplace: Mount Holly, N.J.
Home address: 101 James Drive.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.

Bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University; master’s degree in education from UNC Charlotte.
Family: Wife, Frankie; two adult sons.

Occupation: Principal of Rankin Elementary School with Gaston County Schools.

Elected offices: None.

Religious/civic organizations: Member of Belmont United Methodist Church; member of N.C. Association of Educators; member of National Educators Association; member of National Association of Elementary School Principals.

How can voters contact you? 704-825-2798.

Last book read: “The World is Flat.”

Favorite movie: No response.
Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Harry Truman: “I liked his idea of `the buck stops here.’ He had a sense of responsibility and could make the tough decision.”Why are you running? “There are many challenges facing our town: rising water and sewer rates, increased taxes, loss of jobs, increased traffic and over-crowded schools, to name a few. I would like to be a part of guiding the community through the period of rapid change. I want Belmont to be a quality community.”The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:• To be able to promote growth that enhances the community and has a positive impact on the tax base.• Budget responsibility — holding all departments accountable for being good stewards of taxpayer money.• Evaluating, maintaining and upgrading infrastructure to meet the demands of a rapidly growing community and work with community and other elected officials to address school and traffic needs.

Curtis Gaston     curtis-gaston.jpg     Age: 43. Birthplace: Charlotte.
Home address: 123 McLeod Ave.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in fine arts from UNC Greensboro.

Family: Single.

Occupation: Filmmaker, visual artist.

Elected offices: None.

Religious/civic organizations: Member of Belmont Abbey; Belmont Historical Society.

How can voters contact you? 704-968-4772;;
Last book read: “Last Night of the Earth Poems” by Charles Bukowski.

Favorite movie: “Point Break.”

Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Charlie Chaplin. “He’s just been my all-time favorite filmmaker. I just think he’s a very interesting person.”

Why are you running? “Each resident in a community should participate with their local government in shaping public policy. I grew up in Belmont and want to preserve its small-town charm. At the same time, I believe in the overall vision our current city leaders have and will help reach their goals. I support a smart and workable moratorium on housing developments.”

The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:
• Sustainability, ensuring that Belmont maintains its high quality of life and high level of service by creating long-term, resilient and flexible strategies regarding a new economic direction and strong protection from over-development.• The need to create a new city identity.• Formulating a workable plan to make Stowe Botanical Garden and Belmont Abbey College more visible and important in everyday Belmont life.

Martha Stowe  martha-stowe.jpg  Age: 55.  Birthplace: Lincolnton.
Home address: 3132 Channelview Landing.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in math and German from Wake Forest University.

Husband, Sam; three adult children.

Math teacher at South Point High School in Belmont.

Elected offices: None.

Religious/civic organizations: Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Belmont; education committee; Connect Gaston greenway; Keep Belmont Beautiful, Botanical Garden Board of Visitors; Belmont Housing Authority.

How can voters contact you? 704-825-2683;
Last book read: “Building the Bridge as you Walk on It” by Robert Quinn.

Favorite movie: “The Devil Wore Prada.”

Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: George Washington: “I would enjoy discussing `then and now’ with regard to life and politics with him.

Why are you running? “Many residents have encouraged me to run because I received strong support from voters in the previous election. I have good people skills, negotiating skills, and have no fear to speak out for principles. My interest in managing growth in Belmont began in 1994 as a result of my participation in the forum used to design a new zoning ordinance framework.”

The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:
• I will work with the county and state to ensure that local schools and roads keep up with local growth.• I will work to control and manage new growth on the Belmont peninsula.• I will work to protect and preserve our quality of life (parks, greenways, tree canopy, public recreation facilities for all ages, fire and police protection and diversify the tax base).

Richard Turner  richard-turner.jpg   Age: 45. Birthplace: Charlotte.
Home address: 315 Dogwood Lane.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.

Education: Graduate of Charlotte Catholic High School, East Mecklenburg.

Family: Wife, Marie; three children.

Occupation: Import-export broker.

Elected offices: None.

Religious/civic organizations: PTO board member, legislative representative, for Belmont Central Elementary.

How can voters contact you? 704-825-3302; 704-685-3139, home; fax: 704-825-3302; e-mail:
Last book read: “In Dubious Battle.”

Favorite movie: “The Homecoming.”

Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Did not respond

Why are you running? “I would like to see Belmont’s growth managed better. An adequate public facilities ordinance will do this. Essentially it stipulates that a community cannot grow beyond its ability to provide services at the city (water, sewer etc.) and county level (primarily school capacity). Seek new revenue streams which do not burden the citizens of Belmont who now shoulder an excessive amount in property taxes.”

The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:

• Managing growth to conform to a vision of what Belmont’s citizens want in their community. I intend, if elected, to pursue mechanisms to maintain Belmont’s identity and quality of life.

• Taxes: I would pursue reviews of franchise fees and the implementation of specific revenue stream such as hotel and entertainment taxes to reduce the present property tax rate.

• Developing recreation facilities for adults and youth.

October 30, 2007 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

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