Breakfast Champions take care of business

By Michele Dotson:Staff Writer
Business Networking International’s (BNI) Mint Hill Breakfast Champions is a group of business professionals who gathers once a week to network, pass referrals, and share business ideas and marketing strategies. The club is open to all professions, but BNI allows only one person per profession to join a chapter. The overall goal is for members to help each other grow their businesses.

The international organization as over 150,000 members worldwide, and is considered the largest business networking organization in the world. According to its website, www.bni.com, the organization helped to generate 7.1 million referrals resulting in 3.3 billion dollars in business for its members.  Continue reading

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Blair Road United Methodist welcomes new associate pastor

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 7.21.24 PMBy Michele Dotson-Staff Writer

Pastor Innocent Justice is settling into his new role at Blair Road United Methodist Church. Justice comes to Mint Hill from Durham where he has just completed his Master’s in Divinity from Duke University.

Originally from Rwanda, Justice thinks his mother had high hopes of his future in the ministry by picking such a fitting name.

“My mother, who was a good Catholic, looked in the books of the Saints and she chose Innocent. Maybe she thought I was going to serve the Lord,” he says.

If there was any doubt that his first name might allude to his future calling, there is no question about his last name.

“In African culture, there are no such things as a family last name,” he explains. “So when I was born, I was given the last name Ndagijimana, which means ‘God is my Shepherd.’”

Justice fled the genocide in Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1994, only to be chased back into the country when the atrocities began in the refugee camps there. In 2001 he fled to South Africa with his wife and daughter and remained there until 2005.

“I came to the US with my wife and daughter to Kentucky,” says Justice. “We were sponsored there by Wesley United Methodist Church and I knew then that God had called me to the ministry.”

Justice completed his BA in Pastoral Ministry at John Wesley College, which is now Laurel University. In 2010 he applied and was admitted to Duke Divinity School. He served as Associate Student Pastor at Duke’s Chapel in Durham from July, 2010 to June 9, 2013.

2010 also marked another milestone for Justice and his family. They became US citizens.

“In Africa, wives don’t take the last name of their husbands. So when we came here, I would go to the school to pick up the children, they would ask if they were adopted since my wife, children, and I had different last names; it caused such confusion,” explained Justice.

So when they became citizens in 2010, they decided to choose a last name that was appropriate for them.

“Because of my passion for justice and reconciliation, I chose the last name “Justice.”

“We are happy in this country, but it was important to remember where we came from, so I did not lose my last name, Ndagijimana became my middle name.”

Upon completion of his degree at Duke, Justice began to look into positions at specific churches and started interviewing. Churches in need then submit their top two candidates to the Conference for approval. Even though he was from Durham, Justice is a member of the Western Conference.

“The Bishop and the Cabinet will sit together to pray and discern and decide which church needs who, with the gifts and Grace, as we call them, and they decide the appointments,” explains Justice.

“God wanted me to be here, and here I am,” he adds.

As associate pastor, Justice will assist Senior Pastor Lynn Upchurch in many ways.

“My responsibilities will involve teaching, preaching and pastoral care, and all the life of the church,” he says. He’s very excited about the possibilities at the church and is working now to get to know the congregation as well as prepare for his first sermon which will be July 21.

The family has grown since leaving Africa and now includes two more daughters.

“My wife Vicky, and daughters Divine, Deborah, and Dianna are really loving Mint Hill,” he says. “It is a wonderful place. I love Mint Hill because it’s a small town. It’s very calm. You can access everything and it’s not far from Charlotte. I can drive 20 minutes and I am in the big city, and then come back here to this safe sanctuary, so I love Mint Hill.”

 

 

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Principal readies Bain for transition

Bain School-new

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Michele Dotson - Staff Writer

Finishing touches are being completed at the newly constructed Bain Elementary School in preparation for the start of school in August. The project, which cost more than $15 million and took about 18 months to complete was paid for with 2007 bond money.

The school was first slated only for upgrades, but approval for a new structure came once it was determined to be more cost effective to build from scratch.  Construction began in early spring of 2012. nths to complete was paid for with 2007 bond money.

Principal John LeGrand has spent the summer organizing the move from the adjacent building and readying the school for the return of teachers on August 19.

“I have been addressing our instructional focus, of course, but I’ve been surprised how I’ve been pulled into dealing with lots of logistics this summer.” Continue reading

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It’s Your Business: Nova’s Bakery

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Nova’s Bakery, based in Charlotte, recently purchased the Dilworth Coffee House location at the Hoods Crossroads Shopping Center in Mint Hill.

Bringing their specialty breads, pastries and other baked goods to Mint Hill, this move marks only the most recent expansion for Nova’s, who opened a new location in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood last August.

Sladjana and Vlado Novakovic started Nova’s Bakery on South Boulevard in Charlotte in 1996, and after needing a larger production facility, moved to Central Avenue a few years later, where their headquarters are located today.

Just a few weeks ago, Nova’s purchased the location at Hoods Crossroads, after realizing that much of their weekend patronage consisted of customers commuting 20 to 30 minutes from the Matthews/ Mint Hill area, to get bread and other baked goods from Nova’s.

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Mint Hill Chiropractor joins patriotic cause

By Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

An area chiropractor has been giving away free treatments. It’s not a gimmick, a promotion, or an accident, it’s the Patriot Project.

Dr. Mark Pustaver, of Pustaver Chiropractic in Matthews, has signed joined the Patriot Project, an initiative among chiropractors to give free treatment to veterans and active service personell free of charge, and to advocate for more access to and coverage of chiropractic care for military personnel.

Pustaver is currently the only North Carolina chiropractor involved in the project, which was started by Dr. Tim Novelli, a chiropractor in North Canton, Ohio.

The first goal of the project is to get chiropractic care covered by Tricare, the Department of Defense’s health care program, as well as to provide that care, get chiropractors at Forward Operating Bases overseas, and advocate for the acceptance of chiropractic care as necessary to veterans and active duty men and women.

The project began in early 2012, when a patient of Novelli’s called and told him of an “American hero” that needed his help. The hero was Staff Sergeant Dana Bowman, a U.S. Army Golden Knight, who came to Canton to visit family and friends, and had never had chiropractic care before visiting Novelli during that trip.

“To make a long story short, he had great results,” Novelli said.

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Chamber hears important message at June luncheon

By Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

Guillermo Villar, Mental Health Association Ambassador, speaks to Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce members at the June luncheon.

Guillermo Villar, Mental Health Association Ambassador, speaks to Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce members at the June luncheon.

The Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce welcomed new members and heard a touching message at their June member luncheon.

New members Southern Charm Cleaning and Family-First Chiropractic joined the ranks at the chamber in June.

Southern Charm Cleaning is a commercial and residential cleaning service that uses a five-step cleaning process that includes on-site visits, personalized checklists and regular follow-ups.

Family-First Chiropractic has served Mint Hill for 16 years, and Doctors Doug and Vicki Jordan specialize in chiropractic care, acupuncture, nutrition, massage therapy and weight loss.

The featured guest at the meeting was the Mental Health Association, who spoke to the chamber about the importance of mental health, and the organization’s new campaign to fight the stigma associated with mental disorders.

The Mental Health Association of Central Carolinas “has been the voice of hope for persons affected by mental illness” since its founding in 1933.

MHA serves all of Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties, providing resources, advocacy and education about mental health.

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