Students gearing up for annual tax-free weekend

The Sales and Use Tax Division of the N.C. Department of Revenue has announced the dates and regulations for this year’s back-to-school tax-free weekend.  The tax holiday is Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5.  The Department of Revenue first held this tax-free weekend in August 2002.

Parents and students from pre-school to college will be filling retail stores for their school needs.  Young children rely on crayons, almost everyone needs number two pencils, and college students will spend as little as they can get away with on textbooks.

Retailers are required to comply with the non-taxation.  They are not permitted to charge tax and tell customers to request a tax refund through the state.  If tax is charged during the tax-free weekend, customers should obtain a refund through the retailer.  Retailer coupons apply discounts before determining the price eligibility of items, whereas manufactures’ coupons will not deduct savings from the original price to make an item tax-free.

To qualify, clothing items must be priced at $100 or less per item; sports and recreational equipment must be $50 or less per item; computers must be $3,500 or less per item; computer supplies must be $250 or less per item; school supplies must be $100 or less per item; school instructional materials must be $300 or less per item.

Computers include a central processing unit, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers. Purchases of a single monitor, keyboard, mouse, or speakers without the CPU will be taxed.  Tablets are considered computers but eReaders are not, and are therefore taxed.  Rented items, like textbooks, will also be taxed.

The University Area’s local textbook store, Gray’s College Bookstore, prepares for this weekend each year with advertising and additional sales.

“It’s a great opportunity to save that extra eight percent.  Pretty much everything in the store is tax-free,” said Jeremy Slone, Gray’s retail manager.  “We actively tell people about it.  We couple a sale with it to increase the savings to the students.”

Below is a complete list of non-taxable items provided by the Sales and Use Tax Division:


  • Aprons, household and shop
  • Athletic supporters
  • Baby receiving blankets
  • Bandannas
  • Bathing suits and caps; beach capes and coats
  • Belts and suspenders
  • Boots; overshoes
  • Coats, jackets, capes, and wraps
  • Costumes (does not include costume masks sold separately)
  • Diapers (children and adults, including disposables)
  • Earmuffs
  • Gloves and mittens for general use
  • Hats and caps
  • Hosiery
  • Scarves
  • Formal wear (does not include rentals)
  • Garters and garter belts; girdles; leotards and tights; panty hose; socks; stockings and footlets; underwear
  • Insoles for shoes
  • Jogging suits
  • Lab coats
  • Neckties
  • Rainwear
  • Rubber pants
  • Sandals; shoes and shoelaces; slippers; sneakers; steel-toed shoes
  • Uniforms (athletic and nonathletic uniforms when purchased for nonbusiness use)
  • Wedding apparel (does not include rentals)

Sport or recreational equipment:

  • Ballet and tap shoes
  • Cleated or spiked athletic shoes Gloves (baseball, bowling, boxing, hockey, golf, and other sports)
  • Goggles
  • Hand and elbow guards
  • Helmets (bicycle, skating, baseball, and other sports)
  • Life preservers and vests
  • Mouth guards
  • Roller and ice skates
  • Shin guards
  • Shoulder pads
  • Ski boots
  • Waders, wetsuits, and fins

Computers and computer supplies:

  • Computer storage media, including diskettes and compact disks
  • Handheld electronic schedulers, except devices that are cellular phones
  • Personal digital assistants, except devices that are cellular phones
  • Computer printers
  • Printer supplies for computers, including printer paper and printer ink

School supplies:

  • Binders
  • Blackboard chalk
  • Book bags
  • Calculators
  • Cellophane tape
  • Clay and glazes
  • Compasses
  • Composition books
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila)
  • Glue, paste, and paste sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Index card boxes
  • Index cards
  • Legal pads
  • Lunch boxes
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Paintbrushes for artwork
  • Paints (acrylic, tempora, and oil)
  • Paper (loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper)
  • Pencil boxes and other school supply boxes
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Pencils (includes pencil leads)
  • Pens (includes pen refills)
  • Protractors
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Sketch and drawing pads
  • Watercolors
  • Writing tablets

School instructional materials:

  • Reference books
  • Reference maps and globes
  • Textbooks
  • Workbooks

Korean Children’s Choir performs at KWVM

The Korean Children’s Choir traveled from South Korea to tour North America, and stopped in Mint Hill to honor the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the anniversary of the Korean War armistice. Photo by Amanda Waters

The Korean Children’s Choir performed at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on Fairview Road last Friday.  The choir is touring the United States and Canada, and stopped in Mint Hill July 27, the anniversary of the 1953 armistice.

“As you know the armistice was signed 59 years ago, and I trust there would be no more war in my country or your country – that there may be a sustaining peace…I pray that this nation and the state of North Carolina will continue to enjoy the peace,” said a South Korean representative introducing the choir.

The children sang the National Anthem, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and God Bless America.

Numerous people attended the event, including veterans and their families, as well as members of the South Korean military.  Many toured the memorial after the performance.

The memorial broke ground June 2010, and is built to “ensure that the soldier’s sacrifice will always be remembered,” and to commemorate what is called the “forgotten war.”

Adjacent to the KWVM will be the Armed Forces Museum and Archives of the Carolinas.  It will showcase the five branches of the United States military.  The museum is expected to break ground in 2014.


MHPD announces plans for National Night Out

The Mint Hill Police Department announced its annual National Night Out to take place Tuesday, August 7.  The event “will involve over 14,625 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world” to raise awareness about crime and drug prevention.  The event also intends to get the community involved in the fight against crime.

Residents are invited to join the police department at the Mint Hill Park on Fairview Road from 5-7 pm.

The press release reads, “There will be police demonstrations, crime prevention information, safety tips, a representative from the District Attorney’s Office, and officers on hand to listen to any concerns that you may have.”

Fun activities are planned, too, including a dunking booth and kids games.  Chick-fil-A, Big Guy’s Pizza, Edy’s Ice Cream, and Sam’s Club of Matthews will provide free hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, snow cones, and ice cream.

“Once the event has concluded, residents will be asked to return to their neighborhoods and get out and meet your neighbors. Additional officers will be patrolling the neighborhoods this evening in an attempt to meet neighborhood leaders and gather any information that can be useful in responding to specific neighborhood concerns.”

For more information about National Night Out, contact the Mint Hill Police Department at 704-545-1085.


Madness Beauty Pageant looking for applicants

Heather Helmendach was crowned Miss Mint Hill Madness last year. After a year of service she will hand off her crown to the next winner at the September 22 pageant. Photo courtesy of Lenn Long/

The Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant is calling for applications.  The pageant will take place at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church September 22, a week before Mint Hill Madness.  Applications, found online at, and the $50 entry fee are due September 1 and can be turned in at the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce, Todd Younker State Farm Insurance, Abbey Rose Florist, Big Guy’s Pizza, First Citizens Bank, or Bob Lucas Allstate Insurance.

This year prizes include a $500 scholarship for Miss Mint Hill, a trophy, crown, sash, bouquet courtesy of Abbey Rose, and a cash prize for queens in each group, a trophy for Robinson Orthodontics’ Smile Winners in each group, a trophy and $50 off a portrait session with for the photogenic winners in each group, a free portrait session for the overall photogenic winner, and a trophy for each runner up in each age group.  Queens from the eight age groups will also ride in the Mint Hill Madness Parade September 29.

Age groups are divided into Baby Miss for three to 12 months, Toddler Miss for 13-24 months, Tiny Miss for two to three years, Little Miss for four to six years, Young Miss for seven to nine years, Junior Miss for 10-12, Teen Miss for 13-15, and Miss Mint Hill for 16-18.  Contestants six years of age and younger will compete in the 10 am pageant, and the older contestants will compete at 4 pm.

Competitions include Smile Wear, requiring a Robinson Orthodontics/Mint Hill Madness t-shirt and denim bottoms of choice; Beauty Attire, requiring Sunday dress for ages 12 and younger and pageant or prom style dress for ages 13-18; Photogenic, requiring an 8×10 photo at registration; and the Miss Private Interview for the Miss Mint Hill group, requiring a five minute interview starting at 1 pm September 22.

This is the first year the Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant is providing a scholarship, sponsored by Robinson Orthodontics.  Scholarship money is awarded after one year of completed service as Miss Mint Hill.  Community service includes attending Mint Hill’s tree lighting ceremony, helping with the senior lunch at Christmastime, and assisting with the Lions Club pancake breakfast.

Last year’s winner, Heather Helmendach, will attend the pageant.  She is throwing the first pitch at the August 12 Knights game in Fort Mill.

For more information visit the Mint Hill Madness Beauty Pageant Facebook page, or contact pageant director Julie Shillingburg at


American Legion baseball teams held banquet

American Legion athletic director, Steve Baucom, thanked the players, coaches, parents, and VFW Post 4059 for a great season. Photo by Amanda Waters

The Mint Hill American junior and senoir baseball teams met at the VFW Post 4059 on Bain School Road last Saturday for their end-of-year banquet.  All three teams made it to the playoffs this year.  The Army Seniors’ record was 19-20, the Army Juniors were 13-4, and the Marine Juniors were 12-7.

Of the 18 young men on the senior team, ten will go on to play baseball in college at Mars Hill, Cedarville in Ohio, Wingate, Carson-Newman, Bridgewater in V.A., Brunswick Community College, Surry Community College, Lenoir Rhyne, and Gardner Webb.

“I would like to than the legion guys for letting us use this facility to have our meetings every year…If you take a look around, there’s a lot of history in this building…The people who were involved in this building fought in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm.  They actually have some members in this legion now who have fought in Iraq…Legion baseball is created, supported, and carried on by guys who fought in the military – fought for our country.  So we’re not out here for Steve or Mint Hill or for the recognition of your kid.  We actually are playing for this particular legion and everyone who fought in the United States military in this post,” said Steve Baucom, athletic director.  “And they’re gracious enough to give us a little bit of money to play baseball.”


Fit You Studios

Brittany Kjos and Meghan Reyes (left to right) lead a Zumba class at their new studio. Photo by Amanda Waters

Two ladies in their early twenties recently opened a fitness studio off of Fairview Road, proving that entrepreneurship is alive among Mint Hill’s young adults.  Brittany Kjos and Meghan Reyes handle every level of operation for the studio, including instructing Zumba classes.

Fit You Studios opened March 3.  Kjos and Reyes acquired the studio space February 2, and in 28 days they were able to organize and transform their space.  Reyes worked to finance the project while Kjos dedicated her time to ripping out tile and painting.

Kjos is certified to instruct and has two and a half years of Zumba experience through Queen City Dance Out.  Reyes is in the process of instructor certification.  The two partner on workouts, providing instruction with face-to-face and in-the-crowd examples.

Fit You Studios provides 20 classes a week, including Zumba and yoga.  Classes are five dollars and last from 30 minutes to one hour.  There are no contracts and no commitments.  For customers who know they will work out often, Fit You provides special deals including five classes for $20 and a month of unlimited classes for $45.

Fit You Studios provides fitness to men and women, and customers range from eight years old to 74.  Kjos and Reyes say there is a niche here for Zumba.

“A lot of people that I know in Mint Hill have traveled as far as Concord to do Zumba,” said Kjos.  She believes the interest and low prices will draw people to the studio.

Kjos and Reyes created a kid corner in the studio.  Customers can work out while their kids are in the same room playing with toys and keeping an eye on Mom and Dad.

Zumba originated from South America, and combines aerobics with hip-hop, salsa, and merengue dance moves.  Classes include a two-step warm up, Zumba-focused songs, and abs-focused moves.

Fit You Studio also provides alkaline water machines and a try-before-you-buy program for water.

For more information about Fit You Studios, visit