2012 Shriner Bowl stars local players

The 2012 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas was played last Saturday, December 15, and featured some local football players on the North Carolina team.

This year’s game was the 76th anniversary, and after each player touched “The Rock” of the Shrine Bowl as they took the field, South Carolina came out on top, with a score of 23-19.

Local Mint Hill players at the game were Matthew Wogan, a kicker from Porter Ridge, Jack Tocho, a defensive back from Independence, and Sean Wiggins, a linebacker from Butler.


Christmas cheer for all to hear

For the fourth year in a row, one neighborhood in Mint Hill is again bringing Christmas cheer to its residents in a free event called Neighborhood Noel.
JAMin. (Jeff Andler Ministries) Christmas Singers, a group of 10 voices, will  present a wide variety of secular and sacred music to the Apple Creek Farmwood neighborhood December 22. The singers will perform a tune from Home Alone 2, The Charlie Brown Christmas Special, a salsa setting of the carol, Pat-a-Pan, and the hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Hot chocolate will be free for all who attend and candy will be given to children. Last year, the group gave away more than 500 cups of hot chocolate to attendees, and they hope to have more this year.
Attendees can also help those in need while watching the performance. The group will be collecting new small toys and canned goods to be distributed to the needy.
“It is a great atmosphere of Christmas cheer for family and community,” said Jeff Andler, leader and coordinator of JAMin. singers and the neighborhood event.
Andler and his neighbor, Whitley Stevens decorate their homes extensively every year for the Christmas season and decided in 2009 to add a musical aspect to their light displays. JAMin. singers are already well prepared each year for musical performances, and the musical Neighborhood Noel was a welcome addition to the schedule.
“It has become our favorite and probably most popular Christmas event,” said Andler.
The event is December 22 from 6-9 pm at 10204 Old Roam Court in the Apple Creek Farmwood Subdivision. Parking for the event is street side and JAMin. asks all attendees to not block the flow of traffic.


Independence Students land summer internships

This year, 26 Independence High School students will get a head start in the working world. 
They have been chosen to participate in the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program, an initiative by the Charlotte mayor’s office to provide local high school students with job training and  a paid summer internship at a local business. The program involves more than 60 area businesses, including the Office of the Governor, Microsoft, Duke Energy, and Bank of America, and will also count toward class credit for Independence students.
Originally, about 60 students recieved the initial recommendation for the program, and about 50 were interested and able to participate, 30 turned in applications, and of those came the 26 that were accepted into the program.
To be selected for the program, students first had to be recommended by a member of the faculty and fill out an application form. After an initial interview, the students participated in a two-day training in employability skills, including how to be successful at a job and job searching skills.
From January to May, before starting the internship, students will schedule times to visit local businesses to see how area companies operate. Over the summer, interns will work approximately 20 hours per week over an eight week period. 

Two Patriot wrestlers are champions at county tourney

By Frank Smithwick

Sports Writer

Eighteen schools participated in the two-day Al Kessie Mecklenburg County Wrestling Tournament held at Olympic High School this past weekend. 
The tournament is named after a former coach and athletic director in CMS who started the tournament many years ago. 
From Mint Hill, Independence, Rocky River, and first time participant Queens Grant wrestled. 
Queens Grant came away with one place winner, Connor Day, who took fourth place at 145 lbs. Rocky River had one place winner as well, Seth Johnson, who came in fourth place in the 195 lbs. weight class.
The Independence wrestling team came in third in team points without a full lineup.
Independence entered the tournament with a chance to be in contention for a top two finish. This goal was hindered when Indy began the tournament without three of its regular starters: Robert Merli (126 lbs.), Devin Taylor (138  lbs.) and Charlie Kurtz (220  lbs.). These three wrestlers have combined for 34 wins this year for the Patriots. Missing these wrestlers meant that other Indy wrestlers had to do well over the two-day tournament to make up points lost by not entering a full team. At the end of the second day, Indy had four wrestlers place in the top four. Tashon Risher came in fourth place at 170 lbs. and  Josh Matos came in second place at 182 lbs. Indy did crown two champions: Junior Brian Tiderman(195 lbs.) and senior Demetree Hardison (285 lbs.). This was the third county championship for Tiderman and the second for Hardison. 

A player, a teacher, and a flyer: Bill Hanna

Bill Hanna plays the trombone at his home in Mint Hill. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

He was born in Louisville, Ky., the only place his father could find textile work during the Great Depression. After living there for only one year, the family made their way back to North Carolina, living in 36 different addresses in cities across the state: Burlinton, Shelby, Rutherfordton, Mooresville, Rockingham, and others. 

In those days, Hanna had no intention of becoming a musician. He had started playing the piano in first and second grade, but did not start playing again until he was 25. He picked up the trombone in the sixth grade, but after three different schools in three years, all without a band, he fell out of practice.
Back in Mooresville in the tenth grade, he joined the band, having to play catch-up with his friends, who had been playing since the sixth grade.
After high school, Hanna wasn’t sure on a career, and was accepted at Davidson College, where he began business school.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to study,” Hanna said. “I didn’t want to be a preacher, and I didn’t want to be a doctor, so the only thing left was to be a businessman.” 
By the end of his junior year, Hanna’s grades weren’t up to snuff, and in 1954, he was drafted into the army.
At Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C., Hanna got started in the army band, avoiding heavy weapons or infantry duty. And one night, he heard some music.
“I got inspired one night, because I heard some fellows playing in the barracks, they were jamming you know, playing jazz,” Hanna said.