Becoming a certified Community Wildlife Habitat

The Town of Matthews is working with Habitat and Wildlife Keepers to become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat.  Matthews will become the fourth community in N.C. to become certified.  Weaverville, Montreat, and Lake Norman are already certified.

HAWK is a chapter of National Wildlife Federation.  This chapter, founded by Carol Buie-Jackson, now the N.C. Wildlife Federation vice president, was the first of its kind in the country, and North Carolina is the only state supported by a chapter system.

The Matthews initiative includes the zip codes 28104, 28105, and 28106.  Communities have five years after registering, and Matthews has one year left.  Certification works on a point system, and Matthews has only 56 points left.  Homes add one point, schools five points, and businesses and parks are three points.

Butler High School, Crestdale Middle School, and Matthews Elementary School are certified.  HAWK is now asking daycare centers and places of worship if they will participate.  The Four Mile Creek Greenway in Matthews is certified, as well as Squirrel Lake Park.

Residents can certify their homes by filling out a NWF application at gardenforwildlife.org.  Property must provide food, water, shelter, and a place to raise young for wildlife.  It is best to provide native plants and trees, as they are better sources for native wildlife.  Water can be as simple as a birdbath.  Birdhouses, shrubs, brush piles, and snags can be places for wildlife to raise young.  Certification costs $20, and a certification sign can be purchased for $30.

Jill Palmer, HAWK president, said Matthews town representatives have been supportive of this effort.  Having the town certified will “recognize the community as a place that cares about wildlife.”

“We’re pretty nature- and eco-friendly in Matthews,” said Palmer.  “This just gives us that right to say this is a community that cares about wildlife.”  She said certification will be attractive to residents and businesses looking for a place to settle down.

Palmer expects HAWK to eventually branch out beyond Matthews into surrounding areas like Mint Hill.  If Mint Hill residents or businesses have questions about certification or general wildlife concerns, HAWK will gladly answer them.

“We do it because we love nature, we love animals.  We care about the environment,” said Palmer.

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MHVFD presents flag for Vietnam Memorial

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The Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department presented the American flag on the Hwy. 218 bridge as the Moving Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica, traveled along I-485.

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SonFest success

St. John Neumann Catholic Church held its annual SonFest event last weekend.  Thousands of people attended the two-day festival.  Games, food, crafts, rides, and performances entertained church members and non-church members alike.  The silent auction had hundreds of items on which to bid, and the various cultures found in the community and in the church provided food and entertainment from their home countries.  The ferris wheel was a major attraction for kids of all ages, and it was beautifully lit at night.

“The idea was community building and I think it has done that,” said church member Carol Allan.

“Father Pat came into this church three years ago, and we needed a shot in the arm.  He’s a terrific young guy who’s really put a lot of enthusiasm back into the parish.  And the other thing is we are a different demographic than we were; we are a diverse population,” said Al Tinson, long-time church member.  “We want to invite the community in because we feel like we’re part of the community, but we also wanted within our community to get people to know each other.”

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Juried art show winners announced

The Binders juried art show at Mint Hill Arts held its reception last Friday.  The gallery packed in a large number of guests for snacks, wine, and the announcement of winners.

“Binder’s is appreciative of the opportunity to be involved with the art show and being able to contribute as well as to participate in the judging of the art show,” said a Binders representative.  “A lot of work was beautiful, technically sound, really compelling artwork.”

Of the 95 entries, eight won prizes.  The judges said numerous pieces came just one or two points away from placing, and the original scoring had tied winners.

Honorable Mention Winners:

Chris Shanahan, “Sorrento, View of Vesuvius”

Susan Verville, “She Crab”

Tim Rinehart, “Red Vase”

James Fales, “Je Suis Desole”

Linda Sacra, “Silver Raku”

Winners:

3rd place – Laura Sussman-Randall, “Fly Away Home”

2nd place – Chris Pariano, “Carlyn”

1st place – Tony Billotto, “Strings Attached”

Best – James Fales “Le Printemp Est Arrive”

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Charlotte Flute Choir at June Tunes

June Tunes welcomed the airy notes of the Charlotte Flute Choir last Saturday.  The Town Hall lawn hosted eleven members of the choir and numerous Mint Hill residents in perfect weather as the sun set.  As usual, this June Tunes performance was a perfect time to wind down and enjoy the moment.

Irene Maddox and Joe Little founded the Charlotte Flute Choir in 1964.  The two were the flute section of the Charlotte Symphony at that time, and the original trustees of the Charlotte Flute Association.  Since then the choir has worked locally and internationally.  In 1985 they flew to Belfast, Ireland for a competition in which they placed first for best conductor under Maddox.  They represented North Carolina at the World’s Fair in Tenn. in 1982, and have presented concerts in Columbia and Florence, S.C.

Local performances have included the Festival in the Park, Springfest, the Charlotte Symphony ASID House, the Mint Museum, a prelude for the Summer Pops concerts, and now June Tunes.  The group also performs weddings and receptions, and volunteers time at retirement homes and other non-profit venues.  You can catch the choir every year at the Southern Christmas Show.

The Charlotte Flute Choir does all of their work extracurricularly.  The group is comprised of teachers, nurses, a professor, a dentist, a pilot, an engineer, and others.

Members come from around the Charlotte area, including Fort Mill, Clover, Belmont, Concord, Matthews, and Mint Hill.  They rehearse every Tuesday at the Southern Park Music School on Park Road.  JoeAnn Evans is the choir director, Jeanne Jamison is associate conductor, Janice Mangum is the treasurer, and Mint Hill resident Claire Goodman is the librarian.

Watching the flute choir at June Tunes was a unique experience.  Be sure to catch next week’s performance by the Queen Charlotte Chorus, an all-lady, four-part harmony barbershop-style group chartered in 1965.

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Gift of Adoption helps local family

Last week’s paper reported on the new Gift of Adoption headquarters in Charlotte.

Matthews residents Todd and Cindy Garner know the difference that non-profit groups like Gift of Adoption can make in people’s lives.  The Garner family is comprised of two parents dedicated to creating a family, and their two adopted children, Caleb, 11, and Claire, 9.

The Garner’s adoptions were very different.  They knew Caleb’s birthmother here in N.C., and they adopted him as a baby. Claire was adopted as a six-year-old in the Philippines.  Her adoption cost between $20-25,000 and required months of paperwork and waiting.

They tried to turn in paperwork at the Homeland Security building, but they found out they were not allowed in.  It was due in one week, and they had to mail it.  The paperwork made it on the last day, but was processed a day late.  The Garners contacted their Congressperson, who in turn forced the application through.  The red tape almost delayed them by multiple months and nearly cost them an additional $800.

“Adoption has its own pregnancy, labor, and delivery,” said Cindy.

Claire was born with a cleft palette, and the surgery had some affect on how she forms certain sounds.  She is also learning to speak English, as her native language is Tegalog.  Claire spent the first two years of her life living in a hospital, and the next two years in an orphanage.  The last year she was in the Philippines she lived in a foster home with six other children.  She was six when she joined the Garner family.

“The agency we used for our international adoption was really exceptional.  It was Christian Adoption Services here in Matthews,” said Todd.

“Periodically they have orientation classes for the public and we went to one of those,” said Cindy.  “The adoption agency gave us several website and references to go to if we needed to solicit some help,” and that’s how they found Gift of Adoption, which awarded them $1,500.

“By the time we came down to the end of this adoption – and it was a 13-month long process – you get really weary of the waiting…and dealing with international politics of adoption.  And by this time you’ve already put forth a lot of money.  When Gift of Adoption gave us their check it was a relief because it helped pay for our expenses when our funds were really depleted, and we needed to get to the Philippines to pick her up,” said Cindy.  “We’re just regular people – we’re not wealthy people.”

“For a lot of families I think the hardest part is the money.  Even for people that aren’t looking to adopt themselves they can help other people.  If they think adoption is something they feel strongly about, they can help other people by giving to these organizations like Gift of Adoption,” said Todd.

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