Due to an unavoidable family medical emergency, the Friday, April 17 edition of the Seven Lakes Times will not be printed.

News stories that would have appeared in the April 17 edition will appear on our website over the next few days. Photos of events such as the Seven Lakes Landowners Association Easter Egg Hunt will be posted on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/sevenlakestimes. Feature stories scheduled for the April 17 edition will appear in one of our May editions. 
We take seriously our mission to be the top source for news about Seven Lakes and the surrounding area. This is only the second issue of The Times that has failed to publish in thirty years of serving the community.
We apologize to our advertisers and readers. And, on a personal note, we expect to have the health issues resolved soon. We look forward to providing you with an exciting May 1 issue. Thank you for your expressions of concern.
Greg & Marcy

Sunday, April 5

• Easter Sunday

• West End United Methodist Church – 6:45 am, Easter Sunrise Service at West End Cemetery. Easter Breakfast held at West End Baptist on Hwy. 211 at 7:30 am. Easter Services begin at 8:30 am and 11 am at West End United Methodist Church.

• McDonalds Chapel – 7 am, Easter Sunrise Service participate in the church’s annual “Flowering of the Cross” tradition. Immediately afterwards, the congregation will gather in the fellowship hall for a covered dish breakfast. Easter service at 11 am worship service. McDonalds Chapel, 1374 Foxfire Road, Aberdeen (off Linden Road from Pinehurst). Jill McCloy (910) 692-5094. 

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

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

• Amazing Love - 10:30 am, Easter drama at Seven Lakes Baptist Church. 1015 Seven Lakes Drive. 910-673-4656. Nursery provided.

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

• SunFlix Movies at the Sunrise – 2:30 & 7:30 pm, Effie Gray, A look at the mysterious relationship between Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride Effie Gray. Stars: Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson, Russell Tovey. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.


Monday, April 6

• Easter Monday

• Flag Ceremony at SLW Front Entrance – 4 pm, the installation of a new flag pole will be completed at the front entrance to Seven Lakes West. Public is invited to attend. This ceremony will be conducted by the Moore County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 966 and will include their color guard and bugler. The flag ceremony honors the American flag as a symbol of the country and all the hopes and dreams of its people, including the community.

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

• SunFlix Movies at the Sunrise – 7:30 pm, Effie Gray, A look at the mysterious relationship between Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride Effie Gray. Stars: Dakota Fanning, Emma Thompson, Russell Tovey. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611. 

Read more: The Week Ahead

[Moore County Public Safety has compiled a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the proposal to consolidate the sixteen existing fire districts into a single district with a single tax rate. The text of that FAQ appears below.]

Moore County Governmental staff has received calls with questions concerning the public hearing scheduled for April 21, 2015 to discuss a single/unified service district.  In an effort to help answer the common questions we have compiled the following Frequently Asked Questions.


Question: Is the county abolishing the local fire departments?

No, the county is not abolishing the local fire departments, or establishing a county-wide fire department.


Question: Does the new fire service district affect the insurance districts?

No, we are not moving the 5 mile or 6 mile insurance district lines.  We are establishing a single service district for the collecting of taxes at a single rate.

Read more: County Answers Question on Single Fire District

The April 3 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:

- SLLA members elected three new members to the Board, and re-elected incumbent Bob Racine. Mark Gyure, Greg Lishawa, and Joy Smith are the newcomers.

- Chuck Leach was elected SLLA President.

- The SLLA Board of Directors has approved a hotly-debated engineering study of Ramapo Dam, which has a recently replaced spillway and is considered low risk by the state of North Carolina.

- The County's revaluation of real estate for property tax purposes is expected to kick a $10,000 to $12,000 hole in Foxfire Village's budget — largely because of substantial decreases in the assessed value of Foxfire Golf and Resort and the Stonehill Pines development.

- Seven Lakes West has purchased a 100 foot wide, six acre buffer strip to shield Longleaf Drive from a recently clearcut area.

- At least a couple of Westsiders are concerned that the new double yellow lines on Longleaf Drive make it illegal, under state law, to cross the centerline to pass slow-moving bicycles and golf carts. 

- The Seven Lakes West Landowners Association has approved a full complement of committee members for the coming year.

- A sophisticated analysis of Moore County's projected traffic patterns over the next 25 years tells NCDOT that constructing a Pinehurst bypass by routing traffic down Hoffman Road through Foxfire is not worth the effort.

- NCDOT presented five options for relieving congestion on US 1 as it passes through the congested shopping area in Southern Pines and Aberdeen.

- The traffic study demonstrated that an NC 24/27 bypass of Carthage will be sorely needed by 2040.

- The Moore County School Board is considering new policies for grading, for diplomas offered at graduation, for assigning students to schools, and for deciding when students can transfer to another school (and is looking for input.)

- It's time to register your five year old for Kindergarten.

- The West End Elementary PTA is raising funds to fix up the gravel parking lot between the school and Cedar Grove Baptist Church. You can help.

- Elizabeth Batchelor has gone from teaching school children to teaching folks of all ages how to paint for fun. Janna has the story.

- Former SLLA Lakes & Dams Director Don Fentzlaff explains why he believes the Ramapo Dam study is pointless — and why SLLA volunteers are essential.

- The Village Beautification Committee needs your support — and Alan Shaw points out that the same can be said of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association.

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.

The speaker identified as Ed Nuti in the story below was , in fact, not Ed Nuti, who is not a member of the Lakes & Dams Committee. The Times regrets the error.

After much discussion about the need for the expense, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board, during the March 18 Open Meeting, voted in favor of an engineering study of Ramapo Dam that is expected to cost at least $7,000, as well as a survey that will add an estimated $1,000 to $1,500 to the project cost.

“I would like to add that the motion should include funds for a survey," Community Manager Ray Sohl said. "This has been discussed in the past. We don’t have a fixed number for the survey. We are estimating $1,000 to 1,500 for a survey. We cannot nail down the cost until the engineer provides us with requirements after the assessment.”

“Then we are looking at a total of $8,000 or $9,000,” Member Les Sommers noted.

Read more: Board approves study of Ramapo Dam

Seven Lakes West has acquired a nearly six acre buffer bordering the outside of Longleaf Drive, stretching from near Douglas Drive to near Callis Circle.

Treasurer Mercedes Herdrich told The Times that the acquisition is part of an ongoing effort, lead by the CSI Team,  to secure and beautify the community's borders. That committee recently negotiated the donation of a one acre parcel that includes one of the Longleaf Pond dams.

The newly acquired Longleaf buffer totals 5.896 acres, according to a deed filed with the Moore County Register of Deeds on Thursday, March 26. The purchase price was $45,500. 

The 100-foot wide strip was carved out of a larger, 96 acre parcel that was clear-cut for timber harvesting last year, leaving an open and not particularly attractive vista from Longleaf Drive to the West End Presbyterian Church and Cemetery.

Read more: Westside Purchases Buffer Strip on Longleaf Drive

[This story originally appeared in the March 6, 2015 edition of the Seven Lakes Times.]

Seven Lakers could see a significant increase in their fire tax rate, if a plan to unify Moore County’s sixteen separate fire tax districts is approved by the county’s Board of Commissioners.

The Commissioners set the process in motion during their regular Tuesday, March 3 meeting, calling for a public hearing to be held on Tuesday, April 21 on the proposal to create a countywide fire service district. If the district is created, the Commissioners would then create a single fire tax rate that would apply to all unincorporated areas of the County. 

Incorporated towns and villages handle their own fire protection, sometimes by creating a municipal fire department, as is the case for Pinehurst, and sometimes contracting with a neighboring fire district, as is the case with the Village of Foxfire and West End Fire and Rescue.

If the plan moves forward, Commissioner Nick Picerno told The Times, a unified fire tax rate would likely be in the range of 7.2 or 7.3 cents per hundred dollars of valuation. Currently, those who live in the Seven Lakes Fire District — which includes all of Seven Lakes North and South and half of Seven Lakes West — pay the lowest fire tax rate in the county, at 4.0 cents per hundred.

In other words, someone who owns a $200,000 home in Seven Lakes would now pay $80 per year in fire taxes. If that rate were raised to 7.2 cents, the homeowners would pay $144 — an increase of 80 percent.

Read more: Fire District Plan Could Raise Seven Lakes Fire Taxes

 Members of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] elected three new directors and returned one incumbent to the Board in balloting that concluded at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 22.

Bob Racine was elected to a third two-year term. New members include Joy Smith, Mark Gyure, and Greg Lishawa. David Hill, who was appointed in September to fill a vacant seat, did not secure enough votes to remain on the Board, and petition candidate Lawton Baker failed in his bid to secure a seat.

Smith led the vote count, with 292, followed by Gyure, at 290. Racine collected 276 votes; and Lishawa, 269. Baker garnered 193; Hill, 171.

The membership turned down a $25 dues increase recommended by the Board, with 234 voting against the increase and 201 in favor. Board members then approved the proposed FY2016 budget, without the additional revenue the dues increase would have provided.

Assuming that every landowner who cast a ballot voted yes or no on the dues increase, turnout for the election was less than thirty percent of those eligible to vote.

Read more: Smith, Gyure, Lishawa, & Racine Elected to SLLA Board

From swimming pool pumps to dams and sidewalks, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors reviewed a number of maintenance projects during their Monday, March 9 Work Session.


Ramapo Dam Study

On the unanimous recommendation of the Lakes & Dams Committee, the Board moved forward to the Open Meeting a proposal to commission Jewell Engineering — the SLLA's dam engineer — to assess the capacity of the Ramapo Dam spillways, make recommendations for any design changes needed, and provide an assessment of the dam's ability to handle a fifty-year storm. The study is expected to cost $7,000.

The proposed study had generated significant debate during the Board's February 9 Work Session. Former Director and Lakes & Dams Committee member Don Fentzlaff argued that the dam experienced a 100-year rain event in 2013, when more than six inches of rain fell in less than five hours. Despite the fact that the primary spillway was not functioning at the time, the existing emergency spillways handled the overflow with no problems.

When President Bob Racine raised that point during the March 9 Work Session, Community Manager Ray Sohl argued that thunderstorms are highly localized, so it is not clear what volume of rain actually fell in the Lake Ramapo drainage area during that particular storm.

The NC Dam Safety Office, which is charged with inspecting dams throughout the state, classifies Ramapo as a low-hazard dam — one which, if it failed, would cause no more than $30,000 in property damage or interrupt the travel of no more than 25 vehicles per day.

That means repairs and modifications to the dam do not require state approval — and state approval was not obtained for repairs to the primary Ramapo spillway undertaken in late 2013, when the Association spent approximately $10,000 to install a siphon system to replace the collapsed metal pipe that had previously served as the dam's primary outlet.

"Though state approval is not required," Sohl said, "the Assocaition still has the responsibility to ensure that the dam is maintained according to engineering standards."

"We as board members are elected to act in the welfare of the people on this community," Director Chuck Leach said, supporting Sohl's point.

"There are thirty houses around that dam. We have two engineering firms recommending this study. Should that dam fail, there is a chance of a loss of property values. We recommended spending $4,000 to repair a lighthouse that does nothing. I totally support this proposal."

Ultimately, the Board voted unanimously to send the proposal to the Open Meeting for a vote. Racine noted that he felt is should be moved to the Open Meeting, but was not sure whether he would ultimately vote in favor of the proposal.

Read more: Plenty of SLLA Projects Pending

Bernadette York, John Shaughnessy, and Jack Lattin were elected to the Board of Directors of the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] during the Sunday, March 15 Annual Meeting. They replace Dan Blue, Bruce Keyser, and Jim Pierman on the Board.

Vote tallies were not announced during the meeting, based on a 2012 consensus decision of the Board to change the Annual Meeting procedure. Nor will those tallies be released to The Times by the Board or office staff, though they are available to members by contacting the office.

York's election is unusual in that she gained a spot on the ballot through the petition process, after being interviewed and then rejected by the Nominations Committee.

The proposed FY2016 Budget won the support of 389 members, while 186 voted to reject it, suggesting that a bit more than one third of the membership participated in the election. The budget includes a 3.6 percent dues increase for improved lots and a 7.3 percent increase for undeveloped lots.

Read more: York, Lattin, & Shaughnessy Join Westside Board

In Memory Of

  • Philip C. Castaldi

    of Seven Lakes West, died on Friday, March 27. He was 76 years of age. There will be no public...

  • Alan A. McLeod

    93, of Palm Harbor, FL, formerly of Seven Lakes, died Sunday, March 8. Services will be private.

  • Margaret H. Wallace (Peg)

    Margaret H. Wallace (Peg), 68, of Whispering Pines, NC, and formerly of Seven Lakes died on...

  • Melvin Franklin “Mel” Berngartt

    Melvin Franklin “Mel” Berngartt, age 90, formerly of Seven Lakes, a resident of the Village of...

  • Nellie McRae Dunn

    Nellie McRae Dunn, 92 of West End died Saturday March 7, at Manor Care Nursing facility,...

  • Anna Caiati Pena

    Anna Caiati Pena, 79, of Seven Lakes, died Saturday, March 7, at FirstHealth Hospice and...

  • Judith Carol Pendleton

    Judith Carol Pendleton, 73, of Seven Lakes West, died Wednesday, March 4, at First Health Hospice...

  • Violet Lillian Everhart

    Violet Lillian Everhart, 90, of Seven Lakes, died Sunday, March 1, at Elmcroft Assisted Living,...

  • Elizabeth (Beth) Schettler

    Elizabeth (Beth) Schettler, 91, of Foxfire Village died at FirstHealth Hospice House, Tuesday,...

  • Melinda (Mindi) Lea Zumwalt

    Melinda (Mindi) Lea Zumwalt, 58, of West End died peacefully at her home Saturday, February 7,...

  • Mildred Elizabeth Thompson Luck

    Mildred Elizabeth Thompson Luck, 85, died Wednesday, January 21, at her home in West End...

  • Thomas F. Ryder Jr.

    Thomas F. Ryder Jr., of Foxfire Village, formerly of Haverstraw/Stony Point, NY, died Friday,...

  • Marshall A. Nall

    Marshall A. Nall, 67, of Eagle Springs died Tuesday, January 6. Graveside services will be held on...

  • Jacqueline Gayle Hanley

    Jacqueline Gayle Hanley, 54, of West End, died January 5, at FirstHealth Hospice House in...

  • Vi Riddell

    Vi Riddell, 94, passed away on Wednesday, December 17, at Quail Haven Village, Pinehurst. Memorial services...