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

Sunday, March 1

• 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.

• “The Pirates of Penzance” – Sandhills Community College, Owens Auditorium Your chance to see Gilbert & Sullivan's timeless classic. Show is funny, fast-paced and filled with wonderful music. A full orchestra, superb lighting and sound. Tickets $18, available at Boyd Library, Sandhills Community College main campus during regular business hours and online at

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 2:30 and 7:30 pm, Still Alice. Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested. Stars: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

• 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 show, doors open at 6 pm, in the gallery of Poplar Knight Spot. Musical guest: Annie Selick and the Hot Club of Nashville. Rooster's Wife. 114 Knight St., Aberdeen, (910)944-7502.

Monday, March 2

• Moore County Board of Education Work Session – 4 pm, Central Office.

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

• Seven Lakes Landowners Association – 7 pm, General meeting. Seven Lakes North Clubhouse. Review agenda.

Tuesday, March 3

• 2nd installment of The Game of Life’s Journey – 9 am-12 pm, program will continue every 3 weeks through May 19. Moore County Department of Aging, 8040 US Hwy 15-501, West End. Call to reserve (910) 215-0900.

• Zumba Class – 10:30 to 11:30 am, free class at Seven Lakes Baptist Church, Hankins Family Life Center, 1015 Seven Lakes Drive, 673-4656.

• Healing Service – 11 am, St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church. 1145 Seven Lakes Dr., Seven Lakes. Intercessory prayers for the sick & troubled, those in harms way, traveling, bereaved or deceased. Reverend Carol Burgess. All are welcome.

• Seven Lakes Kiwanis Club – lunch at 11:30, meeting begins at 12:05, Seven Lakes Country Club Restaurant. Visitors always welcome.

• Moore County Board of Commissioners – 5:30 pm, at the Historic Courthouse, Carthage. Review agenda or full meeting packet.

• Trivia Tuesday at Sandhills Winery – 6 pm to 8 pm. 1057 Seven Lakes Drive. 673-2949.

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 7:30 pm, Still Alice. Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested. Stars: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

Seven Lakes West Candidates' Night
Written by Ellen Marcus, Times Reporter   
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 21:15

[An abridged version of this article appears in the February 20 edition of The Times. Jump to the section not included in the print edition.]

It was standing room only at the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] Candidates’ Night on Tuesday, February 3.

Candidates Jim Beaty, Jim Greaves, John Hildebrand, Jack Lattin, John Shaughnessy, and Bernadette York sat facing the audience. Community Manager Jeanette Mendence, who moderated the session, explained that each candidate would be allowed up to a three minute introduction. They would then be asked six questions, suggested by Association members, with two minutes to respond to each.

SLLA Candidates' Night
Written by Greg Hankins, Times Editor   
Wednesday, 18 February 2015 21:25

[An abridged version of this article appeared in the February 20 edition of The Times. Jump to the questions and answers that weren't included in the print edition.]

Members of the Seven Lakes Land-owners Association [SLLA] gathered on Wednesday, February 4 to meet the six candidates for their Board of Directors.

The candidates were given up to six minutes for introductory remarks on their background and experience, challenges and opportunities facing the Association, and how their talents and skills might help the organization meet those challenges and take advantage of those opportunities.

Afterwards, Seven Lakes Times Editor Greg Hankins, who moderated the event, asked the candidates questions that had been submitted in writing by audience members.

The six candidates, who are vying for four open seats on the Board, include Joy Smith, Bob Racine, Greg Lishawa, Mark Gyure, Dave Hill, and Lawton Baker. Racine and Hill are both current members of the Board.

Moore County Schools Get Letter Grades. Do They Mean Anything?
Written by Greg Hankins, Times Editor   
Sunday, 08 February 2015 09:56

Six Bs, nine Cs, and five Ds. No As, and no Fs.

Moore County's public schools, along with all of the public schools in the state, were given letter grades on Thursday, February 5. It's something new for North Carolina, mandated by the General Assembly.

Union Pines High School received a B; Pinecrest and North Moore both had Cs.

Among the middle schools, only West Pine received a B. New Century and Elise both received Cs, and Southern Pines and Crain's Creek Middle received Ds.

Among the elementary schools, there were four Bs: West Pine, Pinehurst, Sandhills Farm Life, and Southern Pines.

West End Elementary, Vass-Lakeview, Highfalls, Carthage, and Cameron received Cs. Westmoore, Aberdeen, and Robbins received Ds.

Two Moore County charter schools also received letter grades. The Academy of Moore received a B; STARS scored a D.

Parents of students at D-graded schools will be getting a letter noting the low score.

Deal Closed on Seven Lakes Country Club
Written by Greg Hankins, Times Editor   
Friday, 30 January 2015 20:50

Seven Lakes Country Club officially has new owners. Golf Seven Lakes LLC, headed up by industry veterans Larry Galloway and Jon Whittemore, closed the transaction on Tuesday, January 27.

"The members have been phenomenal," Galloway told The Times. "I can't remember the last time I felt so welcomed by a group of people."

The membership met on Sunday, December 14 and voted to dissolve Seven Lakes Country Club, Inc., to facilitate the sale of its assets.

As The Times reported in December, Galloway and Whittemore are both alumni of ClubCorp, the largest owner of private golf and country clubs in the US. ClubCorp owned Pinehurst Resort and Country Club from the mid-1980s until 2006.

The two men also worked together at Century Golf Partners, a golf management and consulting firm that has rights to the Arnold Palmer Golf Management brand.

The pair have acquired acquired three other courses in the past couple of years: Serenoa Golf Club and Rolling Green Golf Club in Sarasota, FL, and West Ridge Golf Club in McKinney, TX, which is part of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Whittemore resides in Florida; Galloway, in Texas.

Commissioners nix traffic enforcement team - at least for this year
Written by Greg Hankins, Times Editor   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 20:39

Moore County's Board of Commissioners have turned down a bid by Sheriff Neil Godfrey to create a four-officer traffic enforcement team with a potential yearly price tag of nearly $250,000.

The vote came in a Tuesday, January 27 Special Meeting of the Board called to consider the Sheriff's request to apply for two state grants. The first grant would have partially funded the traffic enforcement team for three years.

A second grant application, which was approved by the Commissioners, will allow the Sheriff's Office to add a drug diversion investigator, focused on prescription drug abuse, to the existing narcotics division.

Maybe next year

Though they declined to support the Sheriff's application for a $477,523 grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Program this year, the Commissioners did not close the door permanently.

Chairman Nick Picerno explained that the county is in the midst of a revaluation of all real estate for tax purposes — and early indications are that the overall assessed value of property in the county will decline. That will lower the tax base — and also lower county property tax revenues, unless the Commissioners agree to raise the tax rate, something they have pledged not to do.

Picerno said he was also aware, based on preliminary budget conversations with Sheriff Godfrey, that the Sheriff's Office will need to add personnel at the detention center and replace some aging vehicles in the next budget cycle.

"If you're adding cost, you're going to have to pay for it," Picerno told his fellow Commissioners. "And we already know that, if we keep our commitment to keep the tax rate where it is, we are going to have less revenue — and the cost of health care, our employees, is all going to go up."

Picerno suggested that the proposed grant application be brought back to the Commissioners next year — and also suggested that the Sheriff and Commissioners look at any additional staffing needs during the upcoming FY2016 budget process.

Picerno ultimately put that suggestion in the form of a motion that was unanimously approved by the Board.

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.

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