Angry Aqua customers join forces for action

Photo courtesy of Dale Kast.

Residents of Ashe Plantation are happy to hear that after years of communication with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Town of Mint Hill their roads will finally be repaired.  The town and state will repair the parts of the neighborhood, located off Hwy. 218, and when the work is completed, the town will maintain the roads.  This does not mark the end of Ashe Plantation’s utility problems, though.

Ashe Plantation’s homeowner association president, Sharon Decker, says residents are being overcharged and disregarded by their water company, Aqua North Carolina.  Her neighborhood isn’t alone.  Aqua services a number of communities in Mecklenburg County, including Farmwood East, Glencroft, Oxford Glen, Rocky Ridge, Belle Meade, Timberlands, and Wyndham.

Decker met with Stan Coleman from Park South Station in Charlotte about the issue.  As an Aqua customer, Coleman has been working toward finding a solution to the problems he has with the company.  He filed a formal complaint two years ago.

Coleman directed answers about Aqua’s ethical practices to Clean Water for North Carolina, a non-profit organization whose mission is “to promote clean, safe water and environments and empowered, just communities for all North Carolinians through community organizing, education, advocacy and technical assistance.”
The organization published a 2011 report called “Privatizing North Carolina’s Water, Undermining Justice.”  The report acknowledges the Park Foundation and the Duke University Stanback Internship Program for supporting the research, investigations, and preparation of the report. Continue reading

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Watershed changes

Mecklenburg County Water Quality program manager, Rusty Rozzelle, spoke to the Mint Hill Planning Board June 18 about watershed districts.

“We removed some area from the Goose Creek watershed that did not belong there,” said Rozzelle.  “Really, it’s a minimal change.”

Goose Creek is its own district. Clear Creek and Crooked Creek were combined and are now called the Yadkin district.  The other district in the area is the Catawba.  Watershed maps can be found on the Mecklenburg County website.

“It’s for the betterment of the town and the land development of the town,” said Rozzelle.

He said they did not make the changes to allow someone to develop the land.

The Planning Board will send a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on the change.

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Class of 2012 – High school seniors in Mint Hill

High school seniors in Mint Hill are finishing their last week of school and preparing for graduation.  In the coming week Queen’s Grant, Rocky River, and Independence High Schools will turn their tassels and celebrate their accomplishments.
Queen’s Grant High School has a graduating class of 88 students, and 95 percent of them plan to further their academic careers.  As a whole, the students have applied to over 90 colleges, and have been accepted to over 50, including Notre Dame, William and Mary, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, Cornell, Columbia, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Baylor.  Three percent of the seniors intend to enlist in the military in the next year. Continue reading

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Former Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Dept. Chief under investigation

By Amanda Waters
amandawaters@minthilltimes.com

The Town of Mint Hill received a federal subpoena May 24 and is cooperating with federal agencies in an investigation of recently resigned Fire Operations Director, Jeremy Russell.  “We are absolutely not under investigation as a town,” said Town Manager Brian Welch.  “The town is actively cooperating with them in their review.”
The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution May 24 authorizing the town staff, town attorney and members of the board “to meet with investigating agents and attorneys for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Attorneys Office.” According to the resolution they could inform investigating agents and attorneys of  “(1) the suspension, disciplinary action and later resignation of Mint Hill Fire Operations Director Jeremy Russell, (2) the reasons for and circumstances surrounding such personnel action and events, (3) the Town’s findings regarding Mr. Russell’s activities engaged in during his prior employment with the Town and as a volunteer with the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department, and (4) any additional information requested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and/or the United States Attorneys Office in connection with their investigation of Mr. Russell and/or any related individuals and entities.”
Russell was hired as a paramedic June 13, 1994.  The town promoted him to Fire/EMS Operations Director April 1998.  He received a disciplinary suspension April 13, 2012, and resigned the same day. The Board of Commissioners held several closed sessions last month regarding an unspecified personnel matter.
The board passed a resolution April 12 “to inform the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department Board Chair and other members of the Board of Directors of the suspension and other disciplinary action involving Mint Hill Fire Chief Jeremy Russell and the reasons for such personnel action.”
The board also passed a resolution May 2 to make the MHVFD Board of Directors and counsel for the MHVFD aware of “the Town’s findings regarding Mr. Russell’s activities engaged in during his prior employment with the Town and as a volunteer with the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department.”
The FBI declined comment on its involvement with the investigation of Russell.
When asked what Russell is being investigated for, Welch said he was unable to comment and directed questions to the U.S. Attorneys Office, which also declined to comment.
Chairman of the MHVFD Board of Directors, Jerry Mullis, said “Our mission here at the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department is to be responsive to the investigation, assist in any way we can, and go on in our mission of providing fire protection and emergency medical and transport to the people in our fire district.”
The fire department held a board meeting June 4, ending with a two-hour closed session where they discussed personnel and insurance matters and the investigation.
The fire department has experienced several personnel changes since Russell resigned.  John Phillips is the new fire chief, Tommy Moore is the assistant chief in charge of fire operations, David Leath is the assistant chief in charge of EMS operations, and the chief introduced three newly-hired firemen at last night’s meeting.  There were changes in the board, too, as Henry Allison stepped down as the vice chair and member of the board.

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Supt. Morrison unveils entry plan

Incoming CMS Supt. Heath Morrison held a media briefing May 25 at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center. Dr. Morrison unveiled his entry plan, which establishes a framework for his few months on the job. He officially begins his new duties on July 2, but has been visiting Mecklenburg County regularly since being appointed in April.

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Unofficial Mecklenburg County election results

For a complete list of results click here.

PRESIDENTIAL (DEM) Barack Obama

NC GOVERNOR (DEM): Walter H. Dalton

PRESIDENTIAL (REP) Mitt Romney

US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 8 (REP): Richard Hudson

NC GOVERNOR (REP): Pat McCrory

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS DISTRICT 6 (REP) Bill James

NC STATE SENATE DISTRICT 41 (REP) Jeff Tarte

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT: Against (Statewide the Amendment was FOR)

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