Mint Hill commissioners work through power outage at meeting

The Mint Hill Board of Commissioner worked through stormy conditions and a long power outage to hold a public hearing for the 2014 budget, hear an update on a proposed development and appoint new members to town boards, among other business.

The Board of Commissioners adopted the 2014 budget, as recommended by the town manager, Brian Welch, at the last budget workshop meeting. The finished budget came out balanced, and tax rates and vehicle tag fees will remain the same.

During the public hearing for the budget, Dale Dalton was the only speaker from the public, saying, “I just want to thank Brian and the Board for coming up with out budget and not raising taxes or anything, I think you ought to be commended for what you’ve done.”

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2012: The Year in Review

JANUARY

 

Stinson-Wesley takes District 6 school board seat

 

At the beginning of 2012, Rev. Amelia Stinson-Wesley filled the District 6 seat left open by Tim Morgan. Stinson-Wesley was one of 12 candidates vying for the position, and was sworn in on January 10. She serves as director of World Connections for Women, a foundation she established in 1998.

 

New year, new laws

 

The beginning of 2012 saw changes to laws concerning everything from healthcare systems to gun laws. New laws provide incentives for physicians to organize Accountable Care organizations, North Carolina adopted standard deductions and personal exemptions, new energy conservation codes, new gun laws, and laws requiring employers to report new hires.

 

Independence senior wins writing prize

 

Erin Mullins, then a senior at Independence, won first prize in the eighteenth Martin Luther King Jr. Writing and Art Awards, part of a number of awards presented by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the MLK Jr. Citywide Committee. The theme was “Defending the Dream,” and students competed first at the school level, then district level.

 

New CMS starting times

 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools estimated that they will save more than $600,000 for the 2012-2013 school year by changing their bell schedule, at 10 schools. The effort was to use a tiered method of scheduling, in order to offer the same transportation services, but with 15 fewer buses.

 

Mint Hill resident named recruiter of the year

 

Aviation Structural Mechanic First Class Robert Orzescu, who lives in Mint Hill, was named the Raleigh Navy ROTC Enlisted Recruiter of the Year. Orzescu became a recruiter in 2009, and since has won the NRD Raleigh NROTC Enlisted Recruiter of the Year two years in a row, and also claimed the 2011 Warrior Challenge Recruiter of the Year.

 

Judges rule on redistricting

 

A three-judge panel decided that the May 8, 2012 primary votes stood as scheduled, despite a lawsuit challenging new legislative and congressional voting districts. Challengers were hoping that primaries be moved to July 9, in order to further discuss the new districts, which support Republicans. The districts were upheld, and served through primaries and the general election.

 

FEBRUARY

 

Local author signs books

 

Mint Hill author Ed Galloway, writer of Incident in Mint Hill, sold and signed the book at The Hill Restaurant in Mint Hill, February 8. The audiobook, which Galloway produced himself, is a story about “a strange object that falls from the sky and causes an entire golfing community to go into a 24-hour blackout. No cable TV. No phone coverage. And all while being surrounded by military and government personnel,” said Galloway.

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Economic development center of discussion at commission meeting

Dale Stewart, of Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railroad addresses the commission. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Two agenda items, focused on economic development in Mint Hill, took center stage at the town commission’s meeting November 15.

A public hearing was held on a petition filed by Albemarle Road Associates for a change of conditions. ARA filed the petition to create a list of by-right uses for industrial rail development for a 65-acre section of the Clear Creek Business Park.

“This is about industrial development from the standpoint of bringing jobs and tax base to the Mint Hill area,” said Dale Stewart, of Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railroad.

The petition would be a step toward streamlining the process for new industry to come to the business park, separating an area for rail use only, and preparing that area for rail-based industries.

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Town clerk Beth Hamrick retiring after 32 years

Beth Hamrick readies her office for her retirement, organizing information for Michelle Farrar to take over her position as Mint Hill’s town clerk. PHOTO BY AMANDA WATERS

November 30 will mark the end of Beth Hamrick’s 32-year career with the Town of Mint Hill. Hired in 1980 as a receptionist, Hamrick’s role has changed over the years. She has served as the secretary to the town administrator, the Planning Board coordinator, secretary to the Board of Adjustment, and the deputy clerk. In 1985 she became the town clerk, the position from which she is retiring.

Throughout the years, Hamrick has seen Mint Hill grow, tripling in population. She has served with numerous commissioners and four mayors. She has served in the town’s last three town hall locations: the McEwen Shopping Center, the building on Matthews-Mint Hill Road, and the newest building on Mint Hill Village Lane. Hamrick took classes for various certifications, including the certificate of municipal clerk and master municipal clerk.

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Town Commission holds first meeting in new town hall

Raymond Hait, of the Military Order of the Purple Heart presents the organization’s plan to place a Purple Heart memorial at the Park on Fairview. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

 

Thursday, October 26 marked the first meeting of the Mint Hill Town Commission in the new town hall.

The commission heard presentations from either side of the “CONNECT Our Future: Vibrant Communities—Robust Region” program, which is a process for local government, businesses, and other organizations to create a regional plan for development.

The program is support- ed by a $4.9 million dollar HUD grant and a $3 million of local public and private matching funds, and affects a 14-county area, including Mecklenburg, Gaston, Stanly, Union, and Cabarrus counties. Lynette Rinker, mayor pro tem and commissioner of the town of Cornelius, gave a presentation on why Cornelius denied joining the program, citing federal control of local issues.

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Board presented with public arts ideas

The Board of Commissioners was approached by two organizations last Thursday about displaying public art in and around the new town hall building.  On the agenda at the last board meeting, Nicole Bartlett of the Arts and Science Council and Tony Billotto, Laura Sussman-Randall, Marta Brown, and Romie Mizell of Mint Hill Arts asked the board to consider representing Mint Hill through art.

Bartlett explained that many cities and towns install permanent pieces of public art for their communities.  Charlotte has numerous pieces, including the typewriter keys at Imaginon.  The Writer’s Desk, as it is called, is a monument to local writer Rolfe Neill.  She also offered examples from Rock Hill, Davidson, and other Charlotte locations, as well as types of art, including statues, plazas, photography, and tapestries.

Bartlett said one of the most important aspects of public art is the connection to the community; it is very local.

She outlined a basic plan for the creation of public art for Mint Hill.  Funding would come from the county, the Arts and Science Council would manage the project, and the design would come from a volunteer board of citizens from the town.

Mint Hill Arts representatives asked the board to consider letting them display art in the two gallery hallways in the new town hall building.  They offered some details as to how the town could partner with the organization for professional displaying and no extra work for the town.  The arts group currently displays work in the old town hall building.  Mizell presented professional hanging devices that would eliminate the need to put nails in the walls.  Billotto explained the intake process for their monthly art shows, demonstrating the professionalism and detail-oriented organization of Mint Hill Arts.  The all-volunteer group is made of dedicated artists who would jump at the opportunity to display local work in the new space.

“I got an the opportunity to go into the new town hall, and wow, was I blown away.  We have been looking for a new facility that was larger where we could really exhibit art the way it needed to be exhibited, where people could come in from the community and see it.  And here it was, two beautiful galleries built one above the other that had great lighting, a beautiful place to hang it,” said Mizell.  “That’s why we are requesting the opportunity to do this for you and for the community in this facility.”

They also presented the board with the idea of a permanent piece of artwork with the working title theme of Life in Mint Hill.  Mint Hill Arts and the town would ask artists to come forward in a juried show where the board was the panel.  The winner would receive the prestigious award of having artwork forever displayed in the town hall.  Billotto suggested the area around the grand stairway as a good location for such a display.

“Public art is the expression of the spirit of the community in which it takes place,” said Sussman-Randall.

The mayor thanked the arts representatives for their presentations and ideas, and said they will continue the conversation in the future.

The public is invited to get involved with this month’s Mint Hill Arts show during Mint Hill Madness.  Last Friday was the opening reception of the new show, but winners were not announced.  That’s because the public has not yet voted.  It’s a people’s choice show, and everyone is invited to cast a vote.  Visitors can see the gallery, located at 11205 Lawyers Road, Suite A, to gain an understanding of what Mint Hill Arts is, what local artists are doing, and how they can get involved.

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