The Week Ahead
Written by Greg Hankins   
Sunday, 07 April 2013 09:05

Sunday, January 25

• Rosary at Our Lady of the Americas Church – 8:00 am, 298 Market Rd. Biscoe, 974-3051.

• Chapel in the Pines – 9 am, 581 Seven Lakes Drive, Seven Lakes.

• St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church – 9:30 am, Holy Communion. 1145 Seven Lakes Drive. 673-3838.

• West End Presbyterian Church – 11 am service. 275 Knox Lane, West End, 673-4341.

• West End United Methodist Church Explorers – 5 pm – 6:30 pm, for children grades K-5. A time of learning, crafts and activities before eating dinner with the youth from 6 – 6:30 pm. Children’s ministry, explore God’s Word through scripture, crafts, games. West End United Methodist Church, 4015 NC Highway 73, West End, 673-1371.

• West End Presbyterian Church Youth Group – (6th grade – 12th grade) from 6 pm to 8 pm.

• West End United Methodist Church Youth Group – 6 – 7:30 pm in the Youth Room at the church. Youth Ministry led by Mandy Allen, open to all youth in 6th – 12th grades. Enjoy fellowship, study and a meal. West End United Methodist Church, 4015 NC Highway 73, West End, 673-1371.

• The Rooster’s Wife – 6:45 pm, doors open at 6 pm, in the gallery of Poplar Knight Spot. Muscial guest: Lindsey Lou and the Flatbellys, John Cowan. Rooster's Wife. 114 Knight St., Aberdeen, (910)944-7502.

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 7:30 pm, Big Eyes, stars Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, directed by Tim Burton. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

Monday, January 26

• Weight Watchers Meeting – 5 pm to 6 pm, at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, 1145 Seven Lakes Drive, Seven Lakes. Group leader Armecia Medlock.

• “The Art of Falconry” – 7 pm, Sandhills Natural History Society meeting, Weymouth Woods Auditorium, 1024 Ft. Bragg Rd., Southern Pines. Guest speaker will be local Southern Pines falconer, Hank Minor. After a brief history of the sport and the types of raptors, equipment, and facilities employed, he will bring out the stars of the show – his two female Harris hawks – to share stories of hunting with the birds. Ample time will be allowed for questions from the audience, and photos are encouraged. Visitors welcome. Call 910-692-2167 for more information or visit online at

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 7:30 pm, Big Eyes, stars Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, directed by Tim Burton. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

January 23 Times Ready to Download
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 17:00

The January 23 edition of The Seven Lakes Times is now available for download in pdf format. You can download a high-quality PDF here, or, if you have a slower internet connection, download a smaller PDF here.

Highlights of this 32-page edition include:

- Foxfire Village honored retiring Police Chief Mike Campbell and new Police Chief Chad Shue.

- As the Village's part time officer Scott Patterson moves up to full time, Council members and members of the public debated the wisdom of filling the vacant part time position.

- Landowners in Seven Lakes North and South may be asked to approve a $25 dues increase at the annual meeting in March.

- The SLLA Nominating Committee has recommended five candidates for the annual meeting ballot, and a sixth petition candidate is possible. A Candidates Night is set for February 4.

- Seven Lakes West has its sixth candidate. Bernadette York has won a spot on the ballot through the petition process. The West Side's Candidates Night will be held on February 3.

- The West Side's FY2015 budget also includes a dues increase for next year. Westsiders will vote on approval of the budget, as opposed to specifically voting on the dues increase, at the annual meeting in March.

- There's a new sheriff in town! Deputy Forrest Kirk is replacing Mike Kantorowski in the community policing slot for the West End and Seven Lakes Area. Initially working part time, Kirk is expected to be working the area full-time once the new county budget is in place in July.

- Moore County's Board of Commissioners appeared impressed by the out-of-poverty success stories presented by Nancy Ray-Thomas of Sandhills Community Action Program during the Tuesday Board meeting. SCAP works to give low-income folks a hand up rather than a hand out.

- The County ended the year with nearly $21 million in unassigned fund balance, which could mean another $7 million or so socked away for debt service and future construction needs, including new and expanded schools.

- The Commissioners put the finishing touches on the new Fire Commission, appointing a chair and vice chair and giving the panel a hefty to-do list.

- The Board pulled the County out of a joint planning committee that was looking at the NC Highway 211 Corridor. Chairman Picerno said the County's existing zoning regulations for the area are sufficient.

- January is School Board Appreciation Month, and staff and students pulled out the stops to thank board members for their work.

- School board members also got a look at an innovative "makerspace" program at Pinehurst Elementary designed to unleash student creativity in problem solving.

- We have an interview with School Board Vice Chair Kathy Farren, the second in a planned series of profiles with county leaders.

- The Gorenflo & Campbell law firm has gotten quite a bit bigger, merging with two other firms to offer legal service countywide through offices in four towns.

- The Congregational Church of Pinehurst hosted a session on poverty in Moore County, and what some folks are doing to fight it. Janna has the story.

- Ellen discovered Jubilee Screen Print, a stalwart of the Seven Lakes Business Community, tucked into the far corner of the Village. It's a hands-on business that is now producing all American T-Shirts for a Southern Pines coffee shop.

- Chris has some thoughts about law, principles, and freedom, and letter writers are excited about the candidacy of Bernadette York.

Download the high-quality PDF edition (or, if you have a slower internet connection download a lower-quality pdf edition) and read it all this morning, pick up a copy at locations all over Seven Lakes this afternoon, or check your mailbox tomorrow.

SLLA Proposes $25 Dues Increase
Written by Greg Hankins, Times Editor   
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 10:08

SLLA LogoLandowners in Seven Lakes North and South could see a $25 increase in annual dues, if the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors approve a draft budget presented during their Monday, January 12 Work Session.

With little comment, the Directors voted unanimously to move the draft budget and dues increase, which were recommended by the Finance Committee, to the January 28 Open Meeting for a vote. The recommended dues hike must be approved by a majority of the members voting at the Annual Meeting in March.

The $25 increase would apply to all landowners, lifting total annual dues for improved lots to $1,050; and to $720 for unimproved lots. Dues on an additional lots owned by a member would increase to $547 per year.

Without the increase, the Association's FY 2016 revenues are projected to be $1,462,141; with the increase, revenues will total $1,499,716, a difference of $37,575. The SLLA currently includes 1,503 billable lots.

Community Manager Ray Sohl said the dues increase will help fund a two percent increase in operating expenditures, as well as helping the Association build its reserves for capital projects.

Treasurer Sandy Sackmann said the Finance Committee recommends seeking smaller dues increases each year, rather than a more substantial rate hike every few years.

The $25 increase represents a 2.4 percent increase for homeowners, a 3.6 percent increase on undeveloped lots, and a 4.8 percent increase for the owners of multiple lots.

Seven Lakes Will Host US Kids Golf Tourney
Written by Greg Hankins   
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 09:57

US Kids Golf LogoU.S. Kids Golf announced that it has added Seven Lakes Country Club to its list of championship courses in the Pinehurst area to serve as a host club for the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in 2015.

The 16th annual U.S. Kids Golf World Championship is scheduled for July 30-August 1, and this will be the 10th consecutive year that the Championship will be played in the area.

“Seven Lakes Country Club is very excited and proud to have been selected to be part of the 2015 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship. We look forward to hosting the 10-year-old girls division on our award- winning golf course next year,” stated Mike Floyd, General Manager for Seven Lakes Country Club. “Our highly acclaimed course is currently ranked for the 6th year in a row as one of the top 100 courses in North Carolina, and is consistently awarded 4 stars by Golf Digest.”

Commissioners See No Need for Tax Increase
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 20:00

Moore County’s newly-constituted Board of Commissioner seem no more inclined than the previous board to raise property tax rates.

When the Commissioners opened their annual planning retreat on Monday, January 5 with a discussion of their personal goals for the year, the common thread was keeping property taxes at current levels.

All Moore County property will be revalued for tax purposes this year, and a key question is whether the total value of real estate in the county — the tax base — will rise, fall, or stay the same.

Whatever happens to the overall tax base, the commissioners appear determined to minimize the impact on individual taxpayers.

“My number one goal is, in our tax revaluation, that Moore County taxpayers will not see any increase whatsoever in what they are going to pay,” Chairman Nick Picerno said.

County Manager Wayne Vest “and the staff have done an excellent job in controlling costs while providing service to our citizens and getting good value for our tax dollars,” he added.

“These folks out here in the audience hired me,” Commissioner Otis Ritter said, “and I am going to try to work with them to keep their taxes at that current level.”

“Like the rest of our board members, I also want to keep our taxes at the current rate,” Commissioner Catherine Graham said. “Bottom line — no increase. If you’re paying $100 a year now, then I hope you will pay $100 a year next year.”

“With Wayne’s leadership, the staff has done a great job of keeping spending under wraps, Commissioner Randy Saunders said.

“I can’t imagine that we won’t be able to stay revenue neutral” — in other words, based on the new overall valuation, set a tax rate that will produce the same amount of revenue for the county.”

What's the Goal of the Concept High School?
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 21:15

MCS LogoWhile supporting the idea of a "concept" high school designed to provide graduating high school seniors with marketable career skills, some members of the Board of Education appear anxious to nail down exactly what skills should be included in the new school's course offerings — and to make sure the course offerings reflect the needs of Moore County employers.

Members of the MCS administrative staff presented the results of a web-based survey that solicited public opinion about the new school during the January 5 meeting. Over ten days, the poll attracted responses from 1,069 citizens, including 518 students and 350 parents.

Associate Superintendent Kathy Kennedy said 59 percent of the responses came from the area served by Pinecrest High School, 30 percent from the Union Pines area, and 11 percent from North Moore.

Board member Charles Lambert urged that staff make an extra effort to alert North Moore residents to opportunities for input, since many residents in that area do not regularly peruse media based in Southern Moore County.

Survey respondents were presented with a list of potential course offerings, grouped within four "academies," which included Life & Health Sciences, Agriculture, Design & Production, and Hospitality & Culinary Arts.

Most proposed course offerings received at least some votes. Among the most popular were Animal Science (including Veterinary Assisting), Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Horticulture (including Golf Course & Turf Management), and Life & Health Science (including Physical Therapy, Anesthesiologist, & Nursing).

There results "tell us we were on the right track as far as the pathways were concerned," Kennedy said.

Associate Superintendent Eric Porter told the Board that community forums aimed at gathering additional information are planned for February 12 at North Moore, February 16 at Union Pines, and February 23 at Pinecrest. They will be held from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

New Owner for Seven Lakes Country Club
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Saturday, 15 November 2014 08:23

Seven Lakes Country Club has a new owner -- almost.

The club informed members on Wednesday, November 12, via email that the Board of Directors has identified a new owner for the club. But negotiations are apparently still underway, so details are scarce.

An email sent to members Wednesday morning, November 12, broke the news, but provided few details.

Here's the text of the notice to members:

"The BOD wishes to inform the membership that a decision has been made on who will be the new owner of SLCC. Due to the sensitive nature of negotiations we cannot reveal their name at this time. We will inform you once the negotiations are complete. The BOD is very excited for the future of Seven Lakes Country Club under the new owner."

"Member dues and annual payment options will remain the same. Information regarding this will be available within the week."

The Board had listed the award-winning course, designed by Peter Tufts, with Hilda Allen Real Estate Inc. in Adel, Georgia.

The broker then conducted a sealed bid auction with a November 6 deadline.

Committees Present Competing Proposals on Pasture Fence
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Saturday, 08 November 2014 22:00

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.

In the case of the pasture fence in Seven Lakes North, the factor that separates the Architectural Review Board [ARB] from the Recreation Committee is beauty — beauty, and its constant companion, money.

Members of both those Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] committees, along with representatives of the Security and the Facilities Committees, as well as a smattering of interested residents, met on Friday afternoon, November 7, to review options for replacing the existing pasture fence. SLLA President Bob Racine called the special meeting after discussion of the matter was postponed at the October 29 Open Meeting.

Jane Leach presented the ARB committee's recommendations; George Temple spoke for the Recreation Committee.

They key issue that separates those proposals is a wood fence along Seven Lakes Drive: ARB wants wood; Recreation can live without it.

No one apparently sees much value in retaining the existing split rail fence. Community Manager Ray Sohl said many of the fence posts are loose and moving, causing rails to fall.

"I don't see a reason to keep it, because it will constantly require maintenance," Sohl said. 

Hirsch Resigns from SLLA Board a Second Time
Written by Ellen Marcus, Times Reporter   
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 15:22

For the second time this year, Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Director Bill Hirsch has resigned.

Responding to comments made by former SLLA President Bob Darr during the public forum period of the Wednesday, October 29 Open Meeting, a visibly angry Hirsch raised his voice, insulted Darr, and then stormed out of the room.

Darr’s remarks focused on proposed upgrades to the fence that surrounds the Association’s horse pasture.

But Hirsch's anger apparently had less to do with Darr's comments regarding the fence and more to do with a series of emails and conversations regarding an October 23 Architectural Review Board [ARB] meeting that dealt, in part, with the stables, and from which Darr believed he had been excluded.

The background

Earlier in the month, during the Monday, October 13 SLLA Board Work Session, the Recreation Committee and the Stable Manager proposed fence improvements that aimed to make the pasture more secure. Horses have escaped through the fence on at least two occasions in the past sixty days.

Stable Manager Amanda Dugan reported, during the Work Session, that the current split rail fence and electric wire were old and in a constant state of disrepair. She recommended the construction of a new electric fence inside the existing split rail fence.

After Duggan's presentation, Hirsch recommended that any fence rehabilitation first be approved by ARB, suggesting that there would be enough time to finalize the fence proposal between the Work Session and the October Open Meeting.

During their October 23 meeting, ARB voted against the concept of a secondary fence around the perimeter of the stable, effectively ruling out the stable manager's recommendation.

Where to put the concept high school?
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Sunday, 19 October 2014 20:45

Moore County Schools LogoThere are two key questions that need to be answered about the proposed 800-student "concept" high school on Moore County Schools' Master Facilities Plan.

The first question is what to teach there. You can read about that discussion on Page 7 of the October 17 Seven Lakes Times or here.

The second question is where to put the school.

Ever since the idea of a concept high school first saw the light of day in Moore County, the assumption among many, if not most, of its advocates has been that the new school would be conveniently located next to the campus of Sandhills Community College — quite likely built on land currently owned by the college.

But that idea has some folks wondering why the new school — which is supposed to be a driving force for economic development — would be built on the opposite end of the county from Robbins and North Moore — the part of the county that most desperately needs economic development.

Why place the school that houses the district's technical career training facility so far away from those students most likely to seek vocational training rather than college admission?

Putting the ‘concept’ in new concept high school
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Sunday, 19 October 2014 20:51

Moore County Schools LogoThe “concept” high school on Moore County Schools’ [MCS] Master Facilities Plan has caught the im-agination of the local business community.

“If we can pull this off, we open up a new day for our kids, in terms of their competence and competitiveness — and our ability to attract companies because we have the talent here,” Partners in Progress CEO Pat Corso told the Moore County Board of Commissioner in a recent meeting.

But the concept high school is also the least well-defined project on the Board of Education’s ten-year facilities wish list.

Increasing capacity at a high school, or building a new elementary school, are ideas easy to grasp. But what’s a “concept high school?”

During the school board’s, Monday, October 6 work session, MCS administrators began to flesh out the “concept.”

Associate Superintendents Dr. Kathy Kennedy and Dr. Eric Porter, along with Career and Technical Educational Specialist Amy Garner, presented the rough draft of a proposal for the school that would divide it into four separate, career-focused academies: life and health sciences; agriculture; design and production; and hospitality and culinary arts.

Introducing the presentation, Superintendent Robert Grimesey told the Board that it was “a fluid design that is still a work in progress.”

The design aims to give students the training they need to graduate from high school with marketable skills — or credits that can be transferred to a community college or four-year university. A close partnership with Sandhills Community College — and community colleges in surrounding counties — is an integral part of the plan.

Providing high school graduates with marketable skills was a key objective that surfaced in conversations with local business leaders, as well as conversations with parents led by former superintendent, Dr. Aaron Spence, Kennedy said.

Though no location has been chosen for the new school, the idea of placing it on the SCC campus has been much talked about in public discussions of the idea.

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