MH Women’s Club to hold meet the candidates forum

By Michele Dotson

  The campaign signs are out all over Mint Hill as candidates vie for positions as commissioners and School Board members. The election will be held on November 5. PHOTO BY MICHELE DOTSON


The campaign signs are out all over Mint Hill as candidates vie for positions as commissioners and School Board members. The election will be held on November 5. PHOTO BY MICHELE DOTSON

The Mint Hill Women’s Club will hold a candidates forum and question and answer session for residents on Monday, October 14 at the Mint Hill Town Hall. The event will run from 7-8 pm. Citizens will get the chance to learn more about candidates for Mint Hill Mayor, Board of Commissioners and District 6 School Board.  

Most of the 13 candidates have committed to be present for the forum, which will be followed up by a question and answer session. Audience members will be given index cards for their questions and candidates will answer as many questions as possible in the time permitted.
Moderation will be provided by The League of Women Voters.  
At 7 pm the meeting will open with comments from Bettie Ann Haynes from Charlotte-Mecklenburg League of Women Voters. Candidates will have the opportunity to speak for up to two minutes each.
Then a Question and answer session will be facilitated by Haynes and questions will continue until 8 pm.
Mayor Ted Biggers, running unopposed, has committed to attending the event.
Candidates for the Board of Commissioners that have positively responded to the invitation include Lloyd Austin, Dale Dalton, Carl “Mickey” Ellington, Rich Ferretti, Harry Marsh, Brenda McRae, Richard “Fig” Newton, and Katrina “Tina” Ross. At press time, there had been no response from Eric Random.
Responding candidates for School Board District 6 are Paul Bailey and Bolyn McClung. 
At press time, there had not been a response from Doug Wrona.
Mint Hill Town Hall is located at 4430 Mint Hill Village Lane. 
The meeting will be in the Assembly Room.
Share

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.”

 

 

Share

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

Share

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.

Continue reading

Share

2012 North Carolina Election Results

President

Barack Obama (D)

President Obama won reelection in a convincing victory, clinching 336 electoral votes and 50 percent of the popular vote, wining all swing states except North Carolina, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney secured only 206 electoral votes and 48 percent of the popular vote. In North Carolina, the percentages were reversed, with Romney winning 50.4 percent of the popular vote, while Obama secured 48.3 percent.

US House of Representatives

Robert Pittenger (R)

Republican Robert Pittenger narrowly secured election, replacing the retiring incumbent Sue Myrick, and taking 51.8 percent of the vote in the three-county area that includes Mecklenburg, Union, and Gaston counties. Democrat Jennifer Roberts won 45.7 percent of the vote, and Independent Curtis Campbell won 2.6.

Governor

Pat McCrory (R)

Former Charlotte mayor Republican Pat McCrory secured the North Carolina governor’s race, defeating Democratic challenger Walter Dalton by 11.5 percentage points. McCrory won the race with 54.7 percent, and Dalton won 43.2. Libertarian candidate Barbara Howe took 2.1 percent of the vote.

Continue reading

Share

Analyzing charitable giving

National Public Radio’s Morning Edition recently aired a story about a report published by the Chronicle of Philanthropy regarding the geography of charitable donations.  Morning Edition looked at the data on a national level and found that lower-income Americans donate a larger percentage of their money than do the wealthy.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy explained that it obtained tax records from the IRS for 2008 and looked at charitable claims.  They only looked at data from households making $50,000 or more that year.  This study does not give the most accurate picture of charitable giving, but it can show general patterns of giving, both economically and geographically.

The top three most charitable states are Utah, D.C., and Mississippi, and the three lowest are Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  The study provides data by nation, state, and zip code.  So where does Mint Hill stand?

The zip code 28227 shows a total contribution of $23.6 million in 2008.  The median income was $49,888, and the median contribution was $3,144, meaning the percentage of giving per household was 6.3.  Mecklenburg County was at 6.7 percent, North Carolina was 5.9 percent (ranked ninth nationally), and the nation was 4.7 percent.

The study provides data for 28227 by income level as well, and the numbers support Morning Edition’s story about lower-income households donating a larger percentage.  Mint Hill households making $50,000-99,999 a year donated 7.6 percent of their income; those in the $100,000-199,999 range donated 5.7 percent; and those making $200,000 or more donated 5.8 percent.

Mint Hill’s neighbors in Matthews (zip code 28105) gave six percent of their income and a total 2008 contribution of $31.8 million.  Indian Trail (28079) gave 5.1 percent.

Share