The annual Mint Hill Town Hall Christmas tree lighting was held last Thursday. Following the official lighting of the tree, Town Hall was open to the public for cookies, music, drinks, and visits with Santa.
By Michele Dotson dotson.michele@minthilltimescom
In just under two hours, 600 gift bags were prepared, 600 places were set for lunch, tables were decorated, food brought in, drinks prepared and prizes displayed.
Just before the opening remarks by emcee meteorologist Larry Sprinkle, organizer Mike Cochrane pulled some young volunteers aside for a little pep talk.
“Thank you all for coming out today,” says Cochrane. “There’s nothing better than giving of yourselves, your time and effort.” Continue reading
By Michele Dotson
On December 20, Rocky River High School will sponsor its 3rd Annual Festapallooza.
What started three years ago as a collaborative project between the special education class and the drama teacher has turned into a school-wide, two community agency, and 10 visiting high schools event, featuring a play, a lunch, and a Special Olympics basketball exhibition.
“The first year Rocky River opened, I was teaching an adapted version of Hamlet,” says special education teacher Ann Lake. “I approached the drama teacher, Mr. Webster as a possible collaborative effort. My students were reading the story and acting it out in class. The first year, we took five scenes and invited the parents, the administration, and a few CMS support staff.” Continue reading
By Michele Dotson email@example.com
Tuesday, November 26 was cold, rainy, and absolutely miserable outside. Inside the club house at Alpine Village, though, things were warm and cozy. A faithful group of 13 showed up on this dreary day to cut and sort coupons to send to US troops to help soldiers and their families make ends meet on a military families’ budget.
“All the helpers are residents,” says Ed Henderson, organizer for the Troopon program. “I believe our Village is the best kept secret in Charlotte, blessed with people who have formed a caring community.”
Most of the workers come every week, rain or shine. Others are less mobile but still want to stay involved.
“We usually have 14 to 18 members that come here (to the clubhouse), ages 60 to 90,” he says, “and some residents do their share at their own homes.”
The project is now an every Tuesday event. There’s coffee, refreshments, and lots of friendly chatter as the coupons are prepared for shipping. On average, they are sending 10 to 12 pounds of coupons every two weeks. Henderson pays for the shipping cost as part of his contribution.
Residents save Wednesday flyers with store coupons and Sunday coupon booklets for the group to use. The US commissaries accept coupons that are up to 6 months outdated, and that helps add to the growing stacks that will be boxed and sent to the Support Our Troops organization that gets the coupons directly into the hands of the veterans and their families.
The Alpine Village group is so successful, they recently received a monogramed patch and a letter of commendation from the sponsoring organization along with some staggering statistics.
“The effort and time you graciously provide to reduce the pinch on troops’ budgets has made a significant difference,” the letter states.
The letter also outlined the results of the research that was conducted this year, which summarized how much troops were able to save on their grocery bills each month, as well as what the savings allowed the troops to accomplish for their families.
According to the data collected, over a third of the families reported saving between $26 and $50 per month. 20 percent reported savings between $51 and $150 per month, and nearly 10 percent reported savings over $150 per month using the coupons.
The savings allowed 60 percent to pay other bills, while 25 percent reported being able to save toward their children’s education.
Henderson says the Alpine Village group has kept some tallies of their own and is proud to announce that in the past year they have sent over $500,000 in grocery coupons for distribution to overseas locations that aid US military families.
The group has recently expanded their outreach to include sending Christmas cards to wounded heroes currently in the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC.
“We want them to know that we care, love, and truly appreciate the sacrifices they have made and wish them every blessing this wonderful season,” says Henderson.
Henderson hopes other groups will have the opportunity to set some time aside for the coupon program, or send a soldier a Christmas card this holiday season. He’s sure there are others in the Mint Hill area that feel the way his group does about our men and women in the military.
“We are all patriotic senior citizens, giving only of our time to show the families of our troops our appreciation of their service to America,” says Henderson on behalf of the Alpine Village group. “We hope, by others seeing what we have started and accomplished, they will take this information and become members of the Troopon program.”
For more information on the Troopon program, contact supportourtroops.org or call 386-767-8882.
Letters and cards to the military in Walter Reed Hospital should be sent to:
A recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001
By Michele Dotson firstname.lastname@example.org
The Home Builders Association of Charlotte has selected Mint Hill’s Cheval as the site for this year’s HomeArama event, currently in its 25th year. The show opened November 9 and will continue through the 24. Ticket holders enjoy a self-paced tour of six luxury homes which are open and superbly adorned with the latest innovations in home design and décor. Anthony and Tina McNeill from Charlotte spent time at Cheval doing some shopping and idea gathering. “We are in the market, but we’re looking for decorating ideas, too,” says Tina. “We’re doing a little of both.” Barbara Fox and Fay Tran from Huntersville were looking for ideas for their homes, but also wanted a chance to see what Mint Hill had to offer. “I love HomeArama,” says Huntersville resident Barbara Fox. “We have the best time and get to see a new area and get lots of ideas.” Sunday totals were a bit lower than expected because of the rain, but official totals for November 18 were at 907. According to Yvonne Case, accounting manager for the Homebuilders Association, the crowds have been very encouraging and they are very pleased with what they’re seeing. “So far we’ve had a total of 4,581 people come through,” says Case. “That’s really great.” HomeArama continues through November 24, but is closed on Monday. Advance Tickets are $12 each. Children 12 years and under are free. To purchase advanced tickets, go to http://charlottehomearama.com/homearama-tickets/ Tickets may be purchased at the gate for $15.
The Christmas wreaths are up in Mint Hill, a sure sign that Christmas is on its way. The lighted wreaths can be found on both sides of the street all the way down High 51 through downtown Mint Hill, as well as at the intersection of Lawyers Road and Margaret Wallace Road. The wreaths, coupled with a brief period of snow that fell last week, usher in the holiday season.