Mustangs invade Independence High School

The Charlotte Regional Mustang Club held its annual Mustang and all-Ford show this past Saturday at Independence High School.

The Club has been around for 34 years and is affiliated with the Carolina Regional Mustang Club. This was the 32nd year the club has had a showcase for Mustang enthusiasts and any other Ford-powered vehicles. Currently, there are approximately 400 members from North and South Carolina.

The group meets once a month at the Captain’s Galley in Matthews the first Tuesday of every month from 7:30-9 pm. Members can come early for dinner. The club offers several activities including a driving school in Kershaw, S.C., and a chance for members to get together and restore their vintage or new Ford models.

“We get together, keep Mustangs in good order and have fun,” said Karen Demers of the club’s mission and purpose. Demers is serving as the current president of the Carolina Regional Mustang Club. For more information, attend one of the CRMC’s monthly meetings or go to its website ponytales.org.

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Rocky River blasts South Meck 42-0 in homecoming win

The Rocky River Ravens celebrated Spirit Week and Homecoming with a solid 42-0 win over South Meck Sabre squad last Friday night. This was the third conference game for both teams.

The game was controlled by both defenses in the first quarter. The Sabres had a bad handoff exchange and Safety Lamar Hood tackled the runner in the end zone which resulted in a safety for the Ravens. The Ravens had given up safeties in the previous two games, so being on the receiving end was a welcome change. Neither team could get any traction on offense, and the quarter ended with Rocky River leading, but by the slimmest of margins, 2-0.

“South really came out ready to play tonight. They punched us in the mouth and were the more physical team in the first quarter,” said Head Coach Jason Fowler.

The teams continued to trade punts when the Ravens got a break. A punt was mishandled by South Meck and recovered by Rocky River at the Sabres’ three yard line.

Before the next play could be run, lightening was seen in the area and the officials sent the teams to the locker rooms for a mandatory postponement of 30 minutes. Coach Fowler thinks the stoppage of play may have helped his team.

“We were able to make some adjustments when that happened, and it had a positive effect,” says Fowler.

Once play resumed quarterback Andre Rice ran in from the three yard line and just like that, with three and a half minutes left in the half, the Ravens led 9-0. The point after touchdown was converted by kicker Aaron Roman who was injured two games ago against Providence.

“It’s good to have Aaron back,” coach Jason Fowler said. It helps tremendously to have a consistent kicker.”

The second quarter ended with Rocky River leading 9-0. The defense was solid in the half, al- lowing only four first downs. They gave up one long run of 66 yards, but otherwise kept the Sabres in check.

Newly crowned Homecoming Queen Vanessa Perez saw the Ravens explode in the second half. The Ravens’ first drive of the half ended in a touchdown. Offensive Coordinator Mark Harmon called a wide receiver pass and it worked to perfection. Rice pitched to wide receiver Aaron Cole who started to run a sweep to the right side, stopped and threw to a wide open Brandon Harris behind the defense for a 26-yard score. This is the second consecutive week that exact play resulted in a touchdown, having worked against Butler last week. The score was now 15-0. Rocky River forced another South Meck punt and thus began the Naquan Evans show. He took the punt on a hop at the 28-yard line and slalomed his way through the Sabres’ punt team for a 72-yard score. With the extra point the score was suddenly 22-0. After another South Meck punt the Ravens began to impose their will offensively. The drive methodically moved the ball down the field, mixing the run and the pass. This was easily their best drive of the night, taking six minutes off the clock and spanning the third and fourth quarters. The drive started at their own 24-yard line and ended in another Rice run for a touchdown.

“We were trying to run a little more in the second half,” coach Fowler explained. We were using our short passing game in the first half basically as our running game. In the second half, their defense loosened up some and we were able to run more.” The score was now 29-0 and the game appeared out of reach for South Meck, but Rocky River was not done yet.

South Meck was forced to punt yet again. They made the mistake of kicking it to senior Naquan Evans, again, who promptly took it to the house. This time the touchdown was only 65 yards. Special teams were important according to Coach Fowler, “The Special Teams were big tonight. We definitely won the Special Teams battle tonight and that really helped out.”

With the score now 35- 0, many of the Ravens’ reserves got a chance to show what they could do. Sophomore quarterback Christian Allen-Brown took control of the offense on the Ravens’ last scoring drive. Freshman running back Rashaad Brannon showed he could have an impact on the team in coming years as he capped off the scoring with a 12- yard run. The point after touchdown ended the scoring for the night at 42-0.

 

Team Notes

The Ravens’ offense looked spotty for most of the first half.

“We didn’t match their intensity in the first half,” Offensive Coordinator Harmon said. “I’m proud of our guys; they played their game in the second half.”

Senior Naquan Evans put on a show. Two punt returns for touchdowns, and he also added an interception, all in the second half. “I’ve been preparing for a game like this, he said. I scored a couple of touchdowns last year, but this was the best game of my career so far. The defense was keeping us in the game early while the offense struggled. We just needed a spark and I’m glad I was able to help the team win.”

The Ravens’ defense had their third shutout of the season. Average opponents scoring in the Ravens’ five wins: just over seven points per game.

Penalties, a problem for Rocky River all season, were not a factor in this game.

The Ravens had no turnovers while forcing two from S. Mecklenburg.

Continuing a theme for this season, this was Rocky River’s first victory over S. Mecklenburg in football, having lost the previous two years.

 

Coming up

Rocky River (5-2, 2-1) at East Meck (0-7, 0-3) Friday, 7 pm

Rocky River played E. Mecklenburg last year, winning 35-0.

Many may know Head Coach Fowler came to Rocky River from E. Mecklenburg, where he was the Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator.

“I spent six years at E. Mecklenburg before coming to Rocky River. They gave me my first big break in coaching. I still have a lot of good friends over there, and I know some of their players. It’s gonna be good to go there and see some familiar faces, but we’re going there to win a ball game.”

About the Eagles team, “They’re a physical team and we’ll get their best game,” Coach Fowler said. “We need to continue to win to get where we want to go.”

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Hospital sets 2016 as date of completion

The site of the new Presbyterian Hospital, at the corner of I485 and Albemarle Road. Photo by Derek Lacey

At Thursday night’s commissioner meeting, Presbyterian Hospital Matthews president Roland Bibeau gave an overview of what the hospital currently offers the residents of Mint Hill and the status of the Presbyterian Hospital to be built at I485 and Albemarle Road.

Bibeau presented the updated timeline of the construction of the planned Presbyterian Hospital in Mint Hill. The new timeline has moved the date of completion from 2018 to 2016, with construction beginning in 2014. At 165,000 square feet and $90 million, the hospital will include 50 inpatient beds, a 16-bay emergency department, four operating rooms, maternity services, rehabilitation, cardiovascular services, laboratory service, and pharmacy services.

“I’m pretty proud to share this timeline with you,” said Bibeau, adding “We owe it to the community of Mint Hill to deliver the healthcare that they’ve been expecting.”

The services that will be provided at the new location will include a medical office building that will house pediatrics, cardiology, OBGYN, general surgery, cardiology, and gastrointerology.

Construction will begin as soon as water and sewer reach the building site, and according to Bibeau, the 2014 start date is a result of the lack of water and sewer services at the location.

“I’m pretty excited about this,” Bibeau said. “Delivering healthcare closer to your community and your needs.”

 

 

 

In other matters

  • A public hearing was held on petition #ZC12-8, for a text amendment to Downtown Overlay Code authorizing administrative variation of sidewalk width.
  • Theresa Deeton, president of the homeowners association of Mint Lake Village, spoke at the meeting to oppose the construction of a 7/11 and car wash adjacent to their property.
  • Russel Bagley, of Pine Lake Lane, spoke in opposition to any revision of the current noise ordinance, saying that any new restrictions would be over-burdensome to the community.
  • Troy Pollard spoke, personally thanking Beth Hamrick for her service to the Mint Hill community, and wished her success in her retirement.
  • Jerry Mullis, of the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department, spoke to report that MHVFD purchased property in order to build a station in the Cabarrus Road area.
  • Connie Green Johnson, candidate for county commissioner in district six, spoke to introduce herself to the community and present her platform as a conservative democrat.
  • Steven Smith, president of Mint Hill Lions Club, spoke about the progress of the Lions Club’s 5k, that has grown from 35 runners in 2008 to more than 300 runners in 2012, and presented the commissioners with T-shirts, thanking them for their support.
  • The commissioners voted to approve a contract with the Idlewild Fire Department, which deals with service district tax proceeds for non-incorporated areas. The contract distributes $180,000 to Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department, $130,000 to Idlewild Fire Department, and $5,000 to Midland.
  • The commissioners revised their meeting schedule, because of the holiday season, to meet on November 15 and December 13.
  • Chief of Police Tim Ledford spoke about the Police Department’s annual golf tournament October 6 at Lark Haven Golf Course, to support new programs and volunteer police service, with registration online at minthill.com.
  • The commissioners also discussed the change of voting precinct 219, which will go to the new town hall, and residents of the precinct should be receiving letters detailing the change within the next couple of weeks.
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Raven seniors stand tall

Think about it. You are beginning a new high school. What do you do? Sports are important to a school, but where do the athletes come from? Will they be any good? Will they want to play for your school? These are questions with no answers, not at first.

So this is the grand experiment in 2010, and the Rocky River Ravens football team was the biggest petri dish at Rocky River High School.

 

A little history

At the start of the 2010 school year, some things were obvious for the football team. For example, all of the players trying out for the team were from another high school. The current seniors were sophomores then. Christian Irias and B-y Sandiemanie came from Butler High School, and Brandon Harris and Sidney Lawson were from Independence High School. Initially, was anybody on the team happy to change schools? “No,” was the unanimous response.

“It wasn’t easy at first,” Lawson said, “I played as a freshman at Independence then had to come here and start all over.”

 

The first year

Of course there were going to be growing pains. Beginning anything from scratch is difficult. Imagine starting a football team. The logistics of obtaining equipment, fields, and schedules was daunting at times.

“The field wasn’t ready when we started practice in June. We practiced at an elementary school,” says Sandiemanie.

“We couldn’t lift weights that first year either,” says Harris. “The weight room wasn’t ready until the second year, so we tried to work out when we could, either individually or in groups. I think that probably put us at a competitive disadvantage.”

Most of the players came from successful programs. They were used to winning. Now they were looking at enemy faces in the huddle. Trust was an issue the first year.

“These were guys we knew, but we knew them from the other teams they played on,” Irias said. “It was hard, mentally, to feel comfortable, because we didn’t really know each other yet. At least not well enough to gel as a team. Looking back I don’t think it was anybody’s fault, it just took time. Predictably perhaps, that first year ended with a team record of 0-11.”

 

Year two

By the beginning of the 2011 season, the team began to feel more comfortable with each other.

“The first year you would see T-shirts and stuff with the logos from the other schools, the second year not as much,” says Sandiemanie.

This was the year the team was able to lift weights together in their own weight room. Head Coach Jason Fowler feels this has been important to team building.

In 2010, the players came from different schools, and were accustomed to different offensive and defensive plays and schemes. But by 2011, the team had shaken off the newness and began to embrace the Ravens’ way of playing football as taught by Coach Fowler and his staff.

“At our other schools, they were more established and it was hard to get no- ticed,” says Harris. “But being here we had a chance to show what we could do. That was one advantage.” In year two, the record improved to 2- 9.

 

Year three

Those young pups who were sophomores in 2010 are now seniors. They’ve been through a lot, as football players and as young men. They’ve been through things their friends at their former schools have not had to endure.

“It was humbling to see those other schools have success while we struggled,” says Lawson. “But we tried to see the bigger picture.”

Now the younger players on the team look up to the seniors.

“We want to show them how it goes,” Irias added. “We want to leave a legacy as a successful team. Our goal has always been to get to the playoffs and then see what happens. That goal is within our reach this year if we keep improving and playing like we’re capable of playing.”

What about the school as a whole?

“The school is behind us now,” says Lawson. “We don’t see other school’s T-shirts anymore, just ours.”

More than halfway through the season, the team has already more than doubled its previous win total. The overall record this year is 5-2. The team has been competitive, even in its two losses. All of its remaining games are winnable. That is a far cry from where the team was about 30 months ago.

The last sentence on this season has yet to be written, but this much can be said—this is not a collection of players from other teams. This team is now the Rocky River Ravens.

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Madness brings out crowd

The parade, concerts, food, and rides are packed away, and downtown Mint Hill is back to normal, but last weekend, Madness was in full swing, flooding the streets with parade floats, vendors, food, and patrons.

This year’s Madness saw a notable increase in attendance, with record numbers for the Lions Club 5k run and an especially long parade.

“We had a real good event this year, it seemed like there was more thorough planning,” said Bob Lucas, member of the Camber of Commerce Board of Directors. “Certainly the people that visited expressed their appreciation for everything that went on, our vendors developed a lot of contacts in the community, and fireworks came off without a hitch.”

The chamber won’t know their monetary return on the event for a few weeks, when invoices are reported and the Chamber can evaluate the money generated, but so far, reviews from people involved have been positive.

“I was talking to some of my partners in the chamber and we have heard nothing but good reviews—our ride partner had a terrific event, our food vendors had a terrific event,” Lucas said.

Saturday morning, the parade made it all the way through the mile-long route rain-free and with more marchers than usual.

“It’s the first time that anybody can remember there were that many people lined on the street on either side of 51,” Ferretti said. “I think it’s the most we’ve had out there.”

Lucas also noted this year’s larger parade.

“It was really interesting to stand out on Hwy. 51 and look from the intersection of Lawyers Road and look both ways and see the parade lined up as far as you can see,” said Lucas.

Prior to the parade, the Lions Club 5k race drew plenty of attention on its own, with record number of runners.

“The Lions’ 5k race, they were over the top,” Ferretti said. “There was something like 369 registered runners for the race, the most that we’ve ever had.”

The only problem this year was a short rain shower that lasted about an hour, which hardly put a dent in the festivities.

“The only thing is we had that little shower in the middle of the afternoon, but that was out of our control,” Lucas said, “But seemed like everyone hung in there with us and once we looked off to the west, we were able to see some blue sky and wound up, we had a terrific evening.”

Looking to 2013, the Chamber has to rethink the general layout of the event, because the old town hall will be converted to the police station, presenting a

new set of logistical challenges.

“The Chamber’s going to sit down with the mayor and the chief of police and the fire department and everybody that was involved,” Ferretti said.

That conversation should happen by February or March of 2013, with the main concerns being where to put the events and rides that, next year, won’t be able to be located in the same area.

Overall, the event was considered a huge success by the Chamber, Ferretti and Lucas saying that everyone they spoke to gave positive feedback and showed intentions to be back for 2013.

“I think it was fantastic, actually,” Ferretti said. “I’m getting tons of positive feedback, whether it be email, text, or phone calls, I think that it was great this year.”

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Grassroots meteorologist provides Mint Hill forecast

The brain of the Mint Hill weather station: the solar-powered black and white cylinders stand five feet from the ground, measuring temperature, humidity, air pressure, and rain, transmitting data every three seconds, 24 hours a day. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS MULLIS

Mint Hill is home to a weather station that provides a large amount of weather data at the local level. A 34-foot pole stands just a few miles from downtown, measuring temperature, humidity, air pressure, rain, and light, while transmitting data every three seconds to be uploaded to MintHillWeather.com.

The weather station is the solo project of Mint Hill resident Chris Mullis, who grew up in Charlotte, being introduced to the world of science through the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club. His passion for astronomy led him to a doctorate degree at the University of Hawaii.

Astronomers develop a relationship with the weather, as they depend on clear skies for observations. They also share with meteorologists the fundamentals of data collecting as scientists. So it was easy for Mullis to cross over to the meteorological world a couple months ago when he constructed his weather station and built his website.

Alongside dozens of charts, graphs, and columns of information are visual aides. The live sky camera, daily videos, and blog illustrating phenomena of the sky provide fascinating visuals from a local perspective. Visitors can see a full-screen lightning flash from last Saturday morning, a meteor from the August 12 Perseid shower, or simply watch the sky grow brighter from the rising sun any given day.

“Visual information is the most powerful type of information,” explained Mullis. “Science begins with observation, and what better way to question the natural world than by looking at it.”

His inspiration for this latest scientific endeavor was in large part his children. As they progress through their education, Mullis wants to keep their curiosities alive. He talks to classrooms of young children about astronomy and meteorology, hoping to instill the importance of questions.

“I’m a grassroots agitator for science education and asking why and questioning the simple stuff; pausing to look and think, ‘why is that?’ I’m taking this weather science and using it as a reason to have a conversation about science and technology. I’m not trying to generate new meteorologists or new astronomers, I’m trying to get kids and citizens to think about science and technology.”

For that reason, he regularly takes out the telescope at home for his children. For special astronomical occasions, the neighborhood kids visit for observations.

MintHillWeather.com was not created just as a tool for teaching science. It’s a useful site for anyone wanting the local weather forecast. Radar images come from Weather Underground in exchange for the high quality data Mullis collects. Current conditions and forecasts provide the casual weather-watcher with the information they need to make the day’s or week’s plans. Scrolling down the home page, more detailed information can be found like precipitation and the UV index, useful for gardeners.

Visitors can also find advisories and astronomical observation charts. The current solar image is always available, illustrating the mind-blowing size of the sun (look for the Earth and Jupiter scale markers). Mint Hill residents can obtain information from the website in a variety of convenient ways. The website is easy to remember and navigate. Following the forecast on Twitter (twitter.com/MintHillWeather) provides live weather conditions on the hour every hour. The Facebook (facebook.com/MintHillWeather) page posts current conditions and the forecast every morning and afternoon. The site also has a mobile version for smart phone use.

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