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Camp SOAR hits new heights in thirteenth year

By Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

Bob Bowler has been a volunteer with Special Olympics for 29 years. In that time, he noticed that everything shut down in the summer, and saw the need for a camp for Special Olympics athletes. Camp SOAR was born.

Camp SOAR, or Special Olympics Athlete Retreat, began in 2000, with no small effort from Bowler, who after seeing the need, started to look around for locations. He decided to try for the Levine Jewish Community Center in Charlotte and called Barry Schumer, the assistant executive director of the center, to make a lunch meeting and discuss his plans.

“They show up, we shake hands, and they said ‘What do you want to talk about?’,” said Bowler. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t have any money, but I’ve got a lot of visions, dreams, and hopes that you can help me. I want to start a day camp for the special needs community.”

Bowler’s timing was impeccable, since the JCC was then trying to do more community outreach, and the rest is history.

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By |June 13th, 2013|Around Town|1 Comment

Walking by Faith Church purchases land for new church

by Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

Walking by Faith Ministry Church has purchased property for a new church, and work is beginning to build a church of their own.

The congregation presently meets for Sunday services in the chapel of Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church, but at the end of April, will move to Crown Point Elementary School in Matthews, holding their first service there on May 5. The move is an effort to be closer to the community they serve, and the community where their new church building will be.

Church members will be canvassing the neighborhood and sending out postcards prior to that first Sunday service at Crown Point.

The church was established in 2004, and today consists of around 80 members, led by Pastor Alvin Denson, retired Army and director of ROTC at Mallard Creek.

The 5.5-acre lot purchased by the church is at the corner of Sam Newell and Rice roads in Mint Hill, and was bought at foreclosure for $42,000, while market price estimates closer to $300,000, according to Larry Miller, vice president and business manager, as well as deacon for the church.

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By |April 11th, 2013|Around Town|0 Comments

Spring (gardening) is in the air

It’s official. As of Wednesday, March 20, spring has arrived. That means enjoying the warm weather by getting outside and starting a new garden or changing up the landscape around the house.

And if you’re a beginner, a veteran, or just trying to supplement your grocery bill by growing your tomatoes and squash in your backyard, here are some tips and ideas to keep in mind when shrugging off that winter dreariness.

Bob Prophit, general manager at King’s Greenhouse in Stallings, offers up his expertise for people wanting to get growing this spring.

Getting a garden going has no shortage of benefits, and these days people get started for a number of reasons.

Sustainability, fresh produce, and stress release are all on that list, and even general health is a consideration.

“Gardening is good for you,” said Prophit. “Just in general, especially if you work in an office all the time. I mean, that’s a release, you get to go out and work. It’s healthy, you’re not sitting around, most gardeners are just happy; they’re doing something.”

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By |March 20th, 2013|Around Town|0 Comments

New laws that can affect you

In the wee hours of the first of January, 16 new laws came into effect that can and will effect our community. Many of the new laws are just technical changes to previous laws, but some deal with employee verification, protecting children in day cares, and stealing kitchen grease from restaurants.

Employers and local governments must now use E-Verify to verify the work authorization of newly hired employees. This law is a part of a phasing process that currently affects large companies and will soon impact smaller companies in July.

Harsher penalties have been enacted for those who steal cooking oil. If you steal more than $1,000 worth of grease, expect to be charged with a felony. Less than $1,000 in grease will result in a misdemeanor.

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By |January 9th, 2013|Around Town|0 Comments