Parents for Moore plans to welcome the more than one hundred new teachers who will join Moore County Public Schools this Fall with welcome baskets stocked with gift cards and discount coupons for local businesses, small gifts, and even school supplies.

The group — formed to lobby for increased funding for public education — is also developing ways to show community support for classroom teachers.

Gift baskets will be distributed to new teachers at a welcoming celebration in mid-August. The program will be extended to returning teachers in September.

Jennifer Theis Hafer, who is heading up the project, told The Times that there are several ways that local businesses, non-profits, and individuals can participate:

Mondays for Moore - Businesses are encouraged to dedicate a percentage of receipts from the first Monday of each month to supporting public schools. For example, a restaurant might pledge that ten percent of its First Monday sales would go toward the effort. 

The funds collected will be divided evenly among the County's public schools and routed through the PTA or Principals office at each school. Businesses participating will be recognized in a Parents for Moore directory that will be included in teacher gift baskets. Hafer even hopes to have the directory translated into a smartphone app that teachers and others can use to locate "teacher-friendly businesses."

Chili's in Southern Pines has already signed on, and will host a Mondays for Moore event on Monday, August 3.

Teacher Discounts - Businesses offering an ongoing discount for teachers will also be listed in the directory.

Gift Cards & Coupons - Businesses can donate a supply of gift cards, coupons, or special offers for teachers for use in the gift baskets. Hafer said the group will need 155 of each in order to place one in each new teacher gift basket. Those donations will be recognized in the Parents for Moore directory.

Welcome Baskets - Finally, businesses, organizations, or individuals can build their own welcome basket filled with gift cards, gifts, school supplies, and-or various other goodies. Those baskets will be included among those given out to new teachers in mid August.

In addition to being listed in the Parents for Moore directory, Hafer said, participating businesses will receive a decal or sticker that can be placed near their cash register, identifying them as a "teacher-friendly" business.

Gift cards, coupons, and other smaller items may be mailed to Parents for Moore, PO Box 4764, Pinehurst, NC 28374. Those with larger items or gift baskets can email Hafer to have them picked up.

In order to be included in the gift baskets for new teachers, donated items must be received by Thursday, August 6.

For more information on the program, email Jennifer Theis Hafer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sunday, July 26

• 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.

• West End Presbyterian Church – 10 am service.  275 Knox Lane, West End.

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 2:30 & 7:30 pm, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,  Stars:Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

• Squirrels of the Sandhills – 3 pm, Flying, Fox, and Gray Squirrels are all found in the Sandhills. However, they all have distinctly different lifestyles. Program will focus on the adaptations and life histories of these amazing rodents. Weymouth Woods, 1024 Fort Bragg Rd., Southern Pines, 910-692-2167. Free and open to the public.

• The Rooster’s Wife – doors open at 6 pm, show at 6:45 pm, in the gallery of Poplar Knight Spot. Music guest tonight: Choro Das 3. Rooster's Wife. 114 Knight St., Aberdeen, (910) 944-7502

• The Tempest – 7 pm, Shakespeare’s play about the Duke of Milan using illusion and skillful manipulation to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place on the throne. Poe House,  Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex, 206 Bradford Avenue, Fayetteville. 910-916-0281 or Bring your own seating or  blankets. Tickets: $12 General Admission, $10; Senior Citizens/Military; $6 Students and Children 6-12 years; Free under 5 years. Tickets may be reserved at; purchased onsite via cash, credit, or debit card.


Monday, July 27

• July Lunch and Learn in the Gardens – noon to 1 pm, at the Sandhills Community College Horticultural Gardens-Ball Visitors Center. Program is Free. Speakers will be Adele Kushe and Peggy Hudson of Big Bloomers. Bring your lunch and the Gardens will provide drinks. Register by mail at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

• Sandhills Natural History Society – 7 pm at Weymouth Woods Auditorium,  1024 Ft. Bragg Rd., Southern Pines. The society will gather to share food and natural history favorites. Bring a dish or snack to contribute while the group looks through a collection of nature photography taken by members throughout the past year. Visitors are welcome. Weymouth Woods Auditorium, 1024 Ft. Bragg Rd, Southern Pines. Call 910-692-2167 or

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 7:30 pm, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, High schooler Greg, who spends most of his time making parodies of classic movies with his co-worker Earl, finds his outlook forever altered after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer. Stars:Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

Read more: The Week Ahead

Ray Sohl has resigned as Community Manager of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] to pursue a career opportunity in California.

Sohl announced his resignation during the Thursday, July 23 Work Session of the SLLA Board of Directors. He said he had given notice of his resignation to President Chuck Leach four weeks earlier.

Sohl's final day on the job was Friday, July 24. He told The Times that his family would be relocating to the San Francisco area.

CAS, Inc., SLLA's management company, will provide an interim manager while the search proceeds for a permanent replacement for Sohl. A notice of the opening is posted on the website of the Community Associations Institute, a national trade group for landowners associations.

"I think you will have an easy time filling it," Sohl said of his position. "This is a beautiful community. I have really learned to love it. The lakes and the amenities really make you unique in the state of North Carolina. I'm just really sorry that I can't take this community with me."

"I have appreciated my time serving the Board and this community," Sohl said. "I think you have an excellent Board. I think they are representative of the community. It's a tough job, and I want to say how much I appreciate them, and how difficult this decision has been for me."

"He has been a dedicated, honest, and loyal Community Manager," President Chuck Leach said of Sohl, "with very few people knowing how much he truly cared for Seven Lakes."

"His primary focus has always been on doing what is right, and doing what is in the best interest of this community," Leach said.

"Ray can leave Seven Lakes with pride in his accomplishments and the satisfaction of a job well done. As he looks forward to new challenges in California, he has our respect, appreciation, and our very best wishes."

Read more: Sohl Resigns as SLLA Community Manager

The July 24 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:

- Moore County's Commissioners backed away from supporting legislation that could facilitate the recall of Moore County School Board members, but that story may not be over yet.

- State officials have finally responded to a Moore County resolution, approved three times by the Commissioners, that seeks a change in the way the state allocates funding for teachers in local school districts. 

- The Board of Education now has its full complement of eight members, with the appointment of Stacey Caldwell and Libby Carter.

- The Moore County Animal Center has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of animals euthanized. Members of the Animal Operations Advisory Committee offered a progress report.

- The Foxfire Council is wrestling with how best to help residents who are not capable of using the Village yard waste disposal site, while maintaining a ban on commercial use of the facility.

- The Board of Education has signed a deal with Pinehurst Surgical that will provide professional athletic trainers for all four high schools this coming school year.

– The School Board continues to struggle with the failure of state funding to keep up with the growth in the number of students that must be served.

- Orientation sessions have been scheduled for high school students who will be taking classes at Sandhills Community College in the Fall.

- Northsider Michael "Boss" Bell has created what he says is the perfect BBQ sauce. Janna has the story.

- The Dog Tags program brings wounded warriors from Ft Bragg to help socialize hard-to-adopt dogs at the Moore County Animal Shelter.

- Parents for Moore and Caring Hearts for Kids of Moore have teamed up to create a Teacher's Closet full of school supplies, available to Moore County public school teachers at no charge. You can help stock the closet.

– Harry's found proof of evolution, Cathy Menedian thanks the community for supporting her drive to help local animal shelters, and Lawton Baker thinks folks ought to roll up their car windows and quit throwing trash out on Seven Lakes streets.

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.

Moore County has finally received a response from state lawmakers to its resolution on school funding.

The resolution points out that the way the state calculates how many teachers to fund in each district shortchanges every district in the state, because it doesn’t take into account the number of teachers actually needed to serve the students in each school.

The Board of Commissioners have passed the resolution in three consecutive meetings, and the Parents for Moore advocacy group mailed a copy to every county and school district in the state.

During the Commissioners’ Tuesday, July 21 regular meeting, Chairman Nick Picerno reported that the county has now received responses to the resolution from Governor Pat McCrory, Senator Jerry Tillman, Representative Allen McNeill, and Philip Price of the NC Department of Public Instruction, “all acknowledging that the hole we have identified certainly does exist.”

“Now that we have people in our state government acknowledging the problem, we’ll have to continue to work on a way to fix that,” Picerno said.

He added that the Board of Commissioners will hold a critical Issues Summit on September 10 and 11 that will include a session with the Board of Education on funding issues. State lawmakers will also be invited to that session.

For that meeting, Picerno said he had asked Moore County Schools [MCS] for “a real detailed, non-political, no spin” presentation on where its fund are being spent — “Where we are actually spending our money, from the state, and from the county taxpayers.”

Read more: Lawmakers respond to teacher funding resolution

The drive for a recall election that would remove Laura Lang from the Moore County’s Board of Education ran aground during the Tuesday, July 21 regular meeting of the Moore County Board of Commissioners.

But we may not have heard their last word on the subject.

The Commissioners unanimously rejected a resolution that would have added Moore County’s name to a recall bill for the Stanly County Board of Education. 

A few hours later, Chairman Nick Picerno pledged to put the resolution again before the Board during their August 4 meeting, and to support it at that time.

Picerno made that pledge on the Parents for Moore Facebook page, in response to protests from the group’s members.

The bill in question, House Bill 111, was filed by Representative Justin Burr of Albemarle, and currently pertains only to the recall of members of the Stanly County School Board. 

It was approved by the House in a 71-43 vote in March, passed its first reading in the Senate on April 1, and has been shuffled between the Senate Rules Committee and the State and Local Government Committee since.

Read more: Commissioners back away from recall election

Steven Charles Behre, a 52-year-old resident of Middlesex, NJ, died of apparent drowning at Lake Sequoia Tuesday evening, July 7.

Moore County Sheriff's Detective Kathy Williams told The Times that Behre was found in the water near the dock at 122 Overlook Drive by family members, who began CPR. 

The home is owned by Roger Behre. Mr. Behre and his late wife, Claire, retired to Seven Lakes in 1993.

Williams said the emergency call came into the 9-1-1 center at 6:17 pm. Seven Lakes EMS, Seven Lakes Volunteer Fire and Rescue, and West End Fire and Rescue all responded to the scene, taking over efforts to revive Behre.

Williams said the incident "looks like a bad accident" but could not speculate on whether the cause of death was drowning or some other medical event. 

Behre was transported to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital. The cause of death will be determined by an autopsy conducted by the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Raleigh.

Moore County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bob Grimesey says the district will be undergoing some "organizational renovations," aimed at creating "a new culture of collaboration, trust, and respect." 

"The work of the Board of Education and Moore County Schools [MCS] will never return to its status quo, but will foster and cultivate a new normal," he said in a video released on Monday afternoon, June 29.

The carefully-worded statement honored the unprecedented level of public outcry that was sparked by his recent termination — and that succeeded in having him reinstated. But it also expressed a determination that any changes the district makes "follows appropriate due process."

Dr. Bob Grimesey from Moore County Schools on Vimeo.

"After all, are we not the same Moore County community who spoke with a single voice so loud that it gained the attention of the entire state?" Grimesey asked.

The public attention that was focused on MCS as a result of the dismissal of the Superintendent included substantial criticism of the role the Central Office staff plays in determining what is taught and how it is taught in the classroom. 

Read more: Grimesey Promises "Renovations" for School District

Recreation Director Mary Farley and Lakes & Dams Director Joy Smith have resigned from the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board of Directors, President Chuck Leach announced during the Board's Thursday, June 11 Work Session. Farley was in the second year of her two-year term; Smith was elected to the Board in March.

Leach encouraged anyone interested in serving on the Board to contact the Landowners Office.


Non-members on Committees

Continuing a debate on whether and how non-members should serve on SLLA Committees, Leach offered a compromise that he said would leave everyone unhappy.

"I believe Seven Lakes has benefitted immensely from the advice, knowledge, and expertise of some of our long term renters," he said. "I also believe it is inherently wrong for a renter to sit on the Finance Committee and vote for a dues increase, that's not paying one penny in dues." Leach said he also felt it is "inherently wrong" for nonmembers to sit on the Judicial, Community Standards, or Architectural Review [ARB] Committees.

He suggested the following policy: "Tenants and others who reside within the Seven Lakes community who are not landowners may participate in an advisory, non-voting on all the Board committees."

Director Bob Racine pointed out that state law makes no restrictions other than allowing only Association members to serve on the Judicial Committee.

"On all these other committees, they are advisory only," Racine said. "They advise the Board. We set them up. They report to the Board. I don't think we have to touch our rules and regulations or bylaws. They have worked in the past."

"I think we are operating under the misapprehension that committees actually vote," said resident Mary Meyer. "Committees tend to get consensus."

"I think saying 'non-voting members' creates a separation that we don't need in this community," she added. "We don't need to be exclusive, or exclusionary. We need to include people. There are committees that would suffer greatly, Recreation being one of them."

Resident George Temple said the Finance Committee members did tend to vote on whether to forward recommendations to the Board.

Leach argued that the Board tends "to go along with the recommendations of its committees."

Jane Leach noted that the ARB does make decisions that impact a homeowner's use of their property, without first going through the Board of Directors.

"The Board is the only group that has the right to make a decision," Resident Jim Allen said, "so a lot of the rest of this stuff is a red herring. You just had two people resign. You are having difficulty getting people to serve on committees."

"How can a committee be representative when you exclude somebody just because they are not a member?" Allen asked. "I don't get it. It doesn't have anything to do with their competence."

"You are missing a talent pool that is out there that is willing to serve and be excluding them I think you are doing something that is self-destructive."

In the end, Leach's motion, that renters and other non-member residents of Seven Lakes North and South can serve in a non-voting advisory role on all committees except Judicial, was moved to the Open Meeting in a four-to-one vote, with Director Racine opposed.

Read more: SLLA Board Looking for Two Members

From SLLA Community Manager Ray Sohl:

Late Friday night /early Saturday morning vandals broke bottles on the pool deck and defecated on the lifeguard stand.  This required closing the pool.  The pool will re-open at 3:00 pm on Sunday. The Association has zero tolerance for malicious damage to community property and facilities.  

A reward will be offered for information leading to the arrest & conviction of persons responsible for vandalism.  It's important to report vandalism to correct the situation and prevent this from happening again. If you catch someone in the act of spray painting a building, stealing a sign, or otherwise destroying or vandalizing property, immediately call 911 and the North Gate @ 910-673-4938.

Vandalism Costs… Ultimately, every owner pays the bills for damaged equipment, stolen signs, and vandalized parks. The Association maintenance staff has spent hours cleaning up graffiti, repairing buildings, and replacing equipment.

Action being taken:

1.   Surveillance cameras will be installed

2.   Moore County Sheriff will increase coverage

3.   SLLA Security will increase patrols

4.   Reward will be posted

In Memory Of

  • Raymond Perlman

    92, of Seven Lakes North died on Wednesday, July 15. A Memorial service will be held on Saturday...

  • Richard “Dick” Olson

    age 87, of Seven Lakes died on Thursday May 14,  at Hospice House in Pinehurst, with his family...

  • June J. Brown

    82, of Seven Lakes died on Friday, May 29. Services will be managed by Spear-Mulqueeny Funeral...

  • Howard Charles Koenig

    84, of Seven Lakes died on Thursday, May 28. A memorial service will be held at 12:00pm on...

  • Ronald Gifford Birks Erskine

    age 89, of Seven Lakes North died peacefully on May 26 at First Health Hospice in Pinehurst. Inurnment...

  • Ralph Patrick McCormack

     74, of Seven Lakes West passed away on April 29 after a lengthy battle with pulmonary fibrosis....

  • Tony Nick York

     73, of Seven Lakes West passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 28. The family will hold a...

  • 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...