Amendment will allow for background checks

An amendment to the Code of Ordinances relating to peddling was unanimously approved at the September 12 Mint Hill Board of Commissioners meeting, paving the way for a more streamlined process for requiring background checks for those seeking a license to sell products door-to-door or on the street.╩
“Right now, I can only request a background check on someone involved in an active criminal investigation, or someone applying for a position wi
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School Board District 6 candidate Paul Bailey addresses the Board and citizens at the September 12 Board of Commissioners meeting at the Mint Hill Town Hall.

thin the department,” said Mint Hill Police Chief Tim Ledford.
The minor changes in the wording of the ordinance allows the department to comply with the State Bureau of Investigation’s (SBI) regulations on having a specific purpose for conducting a criminal background check.
Once the background check is complete, the applicant will receive an ID badge from the Mint Hill Police Department. This effort is intended to keep citizens safe while allowing individuals to conduct business in the town.
The background checks do not apply to solicitation for charitable, civic, religious, patriotic or governmental purposes by persons who serve without compensation or remuneration.
 
•Mayor Biggers introduced, and announced his support for Paul Bailey who is running for School Board-District 6. Mr. Bailey addressed the Board and the visitors to introduce himself and tell about his vision for CMS. “I am personally going to support the bond initiative,” says Bailey, “they are not asking for anything excessive.
Whatever they’re asking for is needed and we have not had a Bond referendum since 2007.”
• A Proclamation for Constitution Week was presented by Commissioner Tina Ross. “Whereas September 17, 2013 marks the 226th Anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention; and whereas it is fitting and proper to officially recognize this magnificent document, and the anniversary of its creation; and whereas it is fitting and proper to officially recognize the patriotic celebrations which will commemorate the occasion; and whereas, Public Law 915 guarantees the issuance of the proclamation each year by the president of the United States of America, designating September 17-23 as Constitution Week.╩ Now, therefore I, Ted H. Biggers, Jr., Mayor of the Town of Mint Hill, NC, on behalf of the board of Commissioners, do hereby proclaim that September 17-23 as Constitution Week in the Town of Mint Hill and ask our citizens to reaffirm the ideals the framers of the Constitution had in 1787.”
• Commissioner Lloyd Austin provided an update on the Coffee with a Cop event he attended on September 9, 2013, with several Mint Hill residents. Austin indicated citizens seem to appreciate the opportunity to spend time asking questions and getting to know the officers.
• Commissioner Tina Ross reminded the Board of the next Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department meeting scheduled for September 23 at 7:00 pm at the fire station on Fairview Road. She also reminded everyone of Bain Days scheduled for September 21 from 10 am to 7 pm at the Mint Hill Park on Fairview Road.
• Town Manager Brian Welch gave an update to the Board on the Korean War Memorial which is nearing completion. According to Welch, the granite work will require another day’s labor, and then clean-up can begin. Welch also indicated that the sidewalk plan is on schedule, with more sidewalks going in front of Hawthorne’s Pizza, as well as paving of Mint Hill Village Lane, including the round-about in front of the Mint Hill Town Hall.
• Beatification is underway on Lawyer’s Road near Bain School Road to prepare for Homearama.
• Commissioner Mickey Ellington attended the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce meeting and reminded everyone of the upcoming golf tournament fund raising event sponsored by the Chamber.
•Moving day for Mint Hill Police will be September 21, 2013, will business resuming in the new location on Monday, September 23. The project will be completed on time and on budget.
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Event spotlights Mint Hill Arts and Pottery 51

The first gallery crawl of the season saw a steady flow of visitors to the Mint Hill Arts gallery as well as Pottery 51.

The Friday night event was held in conjunction with the opening of the “People’s Choice” show and the Mint Hill Arts Gallery was buzzing with visitors comparing notes and sharing opinions on pieces submitted by local residents. 

The winners of this show are selected by popular public vote. Categories include Best in Show, Most Beautiful, Funniest, Most Creative, and Best “Junk” Art, which will be awarded for the best use of recycled materials.
Judging continues throughout the month. Visit the gallery, located at 11205 Lawyers Road, Mint Hill, to view the pieces, then, cast your vote for your favorites by filling out the ballot and dropping it in the official ballot box.
David McGee was named Volunteer of the Month at the opening reception, and Ann Litaker from the Mint Hill Women’s Club presented a check for $250 to the Mint Hill Arts.
At Pottery 51, visitors had the opportunity to enjoy the newly completed covered patio. Potters had their pieces on display and for sale.
Visitors enjoyed tours of the studio, music, refreshments, and an opportunity to talk with the local potters.
Pottery 51 is located at 7714 Matthews-Mint Hill Road.
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Mint Hill Police hosts Coffee with a Cop

Coffee with a CopThe Mint Hill Police Department and community members will come together September 9 in an informal, neutral space to discuss community is-sues, build relationships, and drink coffee.All community members are invited to attend. The event begins at 7 am at Nova Bakery and Coffee, 3665 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Mint Hill.Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department’s work in Mint Hill’s neighborhoods.

The majority of contacts law enforcement has with the public happen during emergencies, or emotional situations. Those situa- tions are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community, and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street. Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction. Continue reading

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Young blacksmith apprentice keeps hope alive for craft

By Michele Dotson: Staff Writer

In medieval times, blacksmithing was considered part of the set of seven mechanical arts.  Today it is often referred to as the king of crafts.  The job of a blacksmith is not an easy one.  It’s hot, dirty, smoky, and physically demanding.

The most serious injury many teens today might encounter is carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitively texting with their thumbs.  That’s why it is so impressive to walk into the blacksmith shop at the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village and see 15-year old Cuinn McDermott hammering and sweating over a glowing hot piece of steel.

“I was part of History’s Kids and we spent some time at the Schiele Museum where I watched a blacksmith at work,” says McDermott.  “I took an interest and started helping the blacksmith there.”

McDermott worked there for a couple of years and now works under the supervision of Mike McRae at the Mint Hill Historic Village.

McRae spends time at the blacksmith shop doing demonstrations for school children and works with Cuinn whenever he can.

“There are not too many kids his age that show an interest in this kind of thing,” he says.  “Cuinn has a natural ability and a dedication to blacksmithing I’ve hardly ever seen.”

For centuries the apprenticeship program has stayed pretty much the same.  It takes dedication and education.  Today, apprentices can get some of their training, especially in working with fire to cut steel, and learn the properties of flame building and heat by attending a community college.  But every committed blacksmith eventually joins a journeyman program and trains in a professional blacksmith shop.

McDermott says he’ll probably head in that direction in the future.

“It’s fun,” he says. “It takes a while to learn the different techniques, so I learn a little more each time I come out here.”

McDermott is a student at Trinity Christian School.

 

blacksmith 1:  15-year old blacksmith apprentice Cuinn McDermott stokes the fire at the blacksmith shop on Saturday, July 27 at the Carl J McEwen Historic Village in Mint Hill.

 

blacksmith 2:  Cuinn McDermott (right) watches as blacksmith Mike McRae of Mint Hill demonstrates proper technique for stoking the fire for maximum effectiveness.  McRae readies a piece of steel for work on the anvil.

 

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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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