Posts filed under ‘News’

Belmont Goal: “Tree City USA”

 

Adrian Miller, a planner with the City of Belmont, forwarded names to city council for a newly formed “Tree Board”. Three community members, Carolyn Sly, Chad Hutcheson, and Renee Shook, were appointed by council to serve as a committee to oversee city planning ordinances regarding plantings and the overall look of Belmont.

We applaude the appointment of these community-minded folks to the board. As mayor Richard Boyce noted, “…We have these rules in place, but no effective way of monitoring or enforcing the regulations…”. He continued, “…this board will be a good step in the right direction…”.

It is hoped that the City will gain opportunities for grant funding and achieve a Tree City USA designation over time. This board is one of the first steps to achieve this goal.

Thumbs up for a proactive council and visionary planning!

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July 8, 2008 at 9:18 pm 2 comments

Friday Night Live Gets Expanded “Beer Garden”

The Belmont City Council last night approved the request from the Downtown Merchants Association to expand the “beer garden” for Friday Night Live. The new area extends from the Caravan parking lot and Airline Avenue to include all of the street and sidewalk in front of Stowe Park.

As a result, the merchants association also approved a new cup size that will be available on July 11:

Friday Night Live organizer and Belmont Man About Town(BMAT), Vince Hill, explained to council that the real purpose of Friday Night Live is to provide five $500 scholarships for South Point HS students. After all the expenses of each event, the group clears about $200. The merchants association also sells t-shirts and accepts donations as a 501(c)3 organization.

Council members engaged Mr. Hill with ideas to help make more money. Former police chief Flowers suggested using a gambling scheme commonly known as a 50/50 to help. Mr. Hill countered with a request to have the city police donate their time to reduce the $375/event cost. Ron Foulk suggested that Mr. Hill and Chief David James, “get together and work out a plan”. After it was all said and done, the beer garden gets expanded to Mill Street and the sidewalk fronting Stowe Park. The merchants also decided later to increase the cup size – as noted in the photo above.

While this is all well and good – certainly should increase the crowd size and lower the age demographic for attendance – the police will have much more to patrol. We hope the discussion in the “work things out” plan notices that once on the sidewalk, the city ordinance against alcohol in the park will be severely tested. Even though no police-related incidents have occurred through eight previous Friday Night Live events, the group is inviting something to happen.

Funny how an event planned outside of government supervision now needs/wants taxpayer money to make money – for scholarships no less. City Council is quite proud that they could help – already covering the overtime for the public works personnel who provide cleanup after the event, and providing 5 off-duty policeman ($25/hr paid to the officers).

After all the brouhaha of last summer when the project was first proposed – “state road, can’t have alcohol in the street” and “program to increase downtown awareness and traffic outside of government sponsorship”, we now have a fun product offered by merchants who aren’t seeing the (rubbing fingers together motion) the dollar for dollar return.

How sad.

It’s a great event series. We hope it doesn’t get out of hand and hope that the purposes are clearly defined. Charlie Flowers even has a line item for the newly created Belmont Tourism Authority, $3000 allocation to the downtown merchants – talk about tax and spend.

July 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

HOT-HOT-HOT

Well, graduation weekend has come and gone in the little berg of Belmont, NC.

Many ‘lil darlin’s are down at the beach – well pretty much strung out from Carolina Beach to Kiawa Island, but they are mostly there.

From student reports: The Friday afternoon picnic at Stowe Park went over well with the approximately 160 students who gathered to hug, complain about the heat, eat hotdogs and hamburgers, and participate in the slip’nslide down the hill in front of the gazebo. Several students promised to submit photos, so we waited until today to write about it… guess the photos have to be found on one of the many facebook pages of SPHS students.

The graduation was done very well this year. While the weather was VERY HOT (93 degrees at the beginning of “Pomp and Circumstance”), the packed home side of Lineberger Stadium seemed to hold up well. Only 3 or 4 reports of heat-related fainting occurred.

This year, the students were seated on the football field facing the vistors side with the podium facing toward the home section (and the seated graduating class). Large coolers of water were spaced at the end of every third row of chairs. As the students processed in, most of them got a cold bottle of water, and after they were announced they got another bottle of water. Seems to have been pretty well orchestrated.

The concession stand was open as well and – yes, you guessed it, water was for sale.

Six student speeches, welcoming from Lindsay Hawkins and Christine Ellington, representing the student council, and salutatorian speeches by Katie Dare Payseur and Phillip Rinehart. Payseur and Rinehart talked about the 4 years at South Point and the things the graduates would remember. Co-valedictorians, Amy Cordell and Andrew Pierce talked about their futures and the limitless possibilities.

Mrs. Little thanked the South Point community for her years of work as principal at the high school. The students and parents gave her a standing ovation for her leadership and guidance over the years.

Several interesting points to this graduating class: over $6.5 million of scholarship money was awarded, more than 160 students graduated “cum laude” or better, with just over 60 with highest honors, “summa cum laude”. This was the largest  SPHS class with 304 graduates – only seven droputs, and 20 transfers out in the 4 year class of 2008.

Congratulations Class of 2008 – always remember your roots, and know that you are welcome home any time!

 

June 9, 2008 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment

Discovery Place eyeing Belmont for children’s museum

Even though the concept is old news ’round here, when the Gazette picks it up, it must be important.

We think this is a great reuse of the inactive mills, it helps from a destination place viewpoint, and it keeps the Discovery Place program in the forefront of children’s programming.

Our wholehearted endorsement of this program is just a few small voices applauding the formation and planning process.

With homes in the former Chronicle Mill village converted to private ownership, and the lack of significant parking, what are the plans to move cars, and the many school busses and day care busses through the neighborhood?

This will certainly be a challenge to Mayor Richard Boyce’s vision of “Neighborhood Preservation’ as expressed in the recently passed Comprehensive Land Use Plan.

We would assume the RL Stowe Fiber Lab will be eliminated for the parking needs, but that begs the question about the Belmont Parks and Rec department onetime eye on the land next to the new police station. Members of council had shared an interest several years ago in this land for a Recreation Center when the police station was under construction. Now that the Parks Bond has passed, maybe they have backed off on that idea?

The program of regionalizing the Discovery Place for children in the lower elementary grades is a workable concept. Already in the design phase, a similar regional Discovery Place Kids will be located in Huntersville. As many as five regional prgrams could be established. Kinda wonder what would happen to the Schiele Museum over in Gastonia. The city’s museum is struggling financially and the current city manager has put pressure on all the department heads to lower city-funded operating losses.

Could Discovery Place Kids be the Wal-mart of children’s museum programming?

Good Luck with this project, we hope it works out for the best for everyone.

 

June 2, 2008 at 11:04 pm Leave a comment

Rough Draft Band Rocks Downtown Belmont

The Rough Draft band from Charlotte rocked downtown Belmont last night during the second installment of the 2008 Friday Night Live! series.

Disco hits of the late 70’s and early 80’s were mixed in with pop tune covers throughout both sets. Of course the obligatory, “Electric Slide” was played for the female (and the few male) dancers. Seems liked every band that comes to Belmont has to play “Electric Slide”. Ok, just kinda confirms for us the level of “sophistication” the bands have when they pander to crowds.

The interesting part of the Friday Night Live! is becoming the intermission between sets. The Downtown Belmont Merchants Association takes the opportunity to thank the sponsors of the event, make announcements, and let the evening’s sponsor do their song and dance.

Last night the sponsor was Neil Brock and Associates (Nationwide Insurance). Neil was able to get Nationwide to bring in their showcar from the newly sponsored under-card of NASCAR (formerly the Busch Series), now called the Nationwide Series. They also had a racing simulator on hand that was free. Neil did a good job, even handing out a lot of “freebies”.

Belmont is certainly getting spoiled by all the largess that is being lavished on the crowds at Friday Night Live! Our little crowd certainly enjoyed ourselves last night. The “expanded” beer garden now extends from the tracks to the Day Spa and occasionally pushes onto the state road commonly known as Main Street (gasp).

The dude from the hardwood flooring store with the annoyingly high pitched voice needs to find someone else to lead the announcements. While his statements are needed – he just is not the person needing to make them. Certainly someone with a better microphone voice can be found to rally the crowd at intermission.

One important point that was stressed at the last event and again last night was that the downtown businesses were the overall sponsors of this entertainment – not the Chamber of Commerce. Although, there was a lot of cooperative work being done between the two groups. That collaboration is key to the success of this event.

We really enjoyed the fact that the evening’s lead sponsor gets to do a bit of promotion. Will a bridal show be on tap in the future? Or, maybe a beer-chugging contest sponsored by one of the downtown “pubs”? just random thoughts to ponder…

 One highlight of the dancing action was a certain Jaquie Allen of Charlotte, who was able to dance (disco-style actually), and hula-hoop at the same time. She provided quite a bit of entertainment for the crowd and did some instructional work with the kids at the same time. We love it Belmont!

The food vendors are constantly improving. The po-po are lightening up a bit, and the city’s street maintenance crews seem to be enjoying themselves so much more. Maybe that overtime agreement helped out a lot…

The downtown merchants hawked the Friday Night Live! t-shirts for $10, and explained that the funds raised would be going to a scholarship program for South Point students. They brought up some of the applicant/volunteers of the scholarship program during the intermission. Pretty neat idea there folks.

Overall, another enjoyable night in the lively downtown area. We think it would be cool if the merchants association could give out some economic impact numbers by week or by season. It helps when you are attempting to draw interest to the community at several levels.

The next Friday Night Live! is June 13 with Jimmy Quick & the Coastline band.

Don’t forget the Parks and Recreation concerts in the park, next Saturday night with the Center City Groove Band.

May 31, 2008 at 11:05 am 5 comments

Blowing (in) with the Wind: Myrick legislative works

US Representative, Sue Myrick, has introduced legislation to open drilling activities off the North Carolina Outer Banks region. “Some may say my legislation is controversial. So be it.”

Duh.

Representative Myrick points to a recent Gallup poll that says 57% of Americans support drilling for offshore oil. Does she represent the 9th district of North Carolina or the oil barons of Texas?

Oil rigs visible from the shoreline of Hatteras, more – barely secured facilities off the US coastline, and destruction of active fishing grounds – both sport and commercial. Just a few of the results of trying to save her seat in Congress.

Pandering to the whims of an administration bent on “doing nothing”? Yet, attempting to show “independence of thought” by doing “what is right” to loosen our dependence on foreign energy supplies?

Ms. Myrick continues to Blow with the Wind – too bad she couldn’t see past her next round of election campaigns.    

May 30, 2008 at 11:01 am 2 comments

WOW – SP Baseball Team Makes it Exciting!

 

South Point made an exciting statement last night in the first game of a 3 game series to determine a state finalist in 3A baseball.

A 1-0 victory over a previously undefeated West Rowan pitcher and a No-Hitter by local standout Zach Horne, put SP in the driver’s seat to advance in this tournament.

(Gazette Photo)

The Gazette account of the game is pretty accurate.

Sophomore Wes Lawing, the hero of the R.S. Central game the other day, provided the scoring heroics again last night. His eighth-inning bloop single scored Jordan Edgerton who sprinted in from third base. But the real hero was Horne’s pitching performance.

Horne struck out 10 batters, and allowed only one runner to progress, and that was on a fielding error in the top of the 8th inning. For the most part, SP had come to play, they just couldn’t score off the 6 or 7 hits that they made through the game.

The next game is tonight at West Rowan, where the opposition has several tough undefeated pitchers waiting to face the Raider bats. Depending on that outcome, a third game will be played on Saturday night at South Point or the Raiders advance with a win tonight.

Go Red Raiders!

May 23, 2008 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

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