December 12 Times Ready to Download
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 17:00

The December 12 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:

- Nick Picerno has been elected Chairman of the Moore County Board of Commissioners — his fourth time in that post. Otis Ritter will serve as Vice Chair.

- Katherine Graham and Jerry Daeke joined the Board of Commissioners as new members.

- After seventy-eight ballots in a three-hour Board of Education meeting, Bruce Cunningham was elected Chairman. Immediate past Chair Kathy Farren was elected Vice Chair for the coming year.

- Monday's SLLA Work Session was packed with big projects and big ticket items, including pool repairs, the pasture fence, the lake management contract, new bocce courts, and renewal of the security contract.

- A minor Saturday morning flood across Edgewater Drive was cured when Bob Darr and the SLLA Maintenance crew traced the problem to a plugged catch basin near the Ramapo outflow.

- The Foxfire Council has approved a conditional use permit for a solar farm on David Wilson's property near the intersection of Hoffman Road and NC Highway 211.

- During their November Work Session, Council members discussed disbanding the Village's Appearance Commission.

- The Council also decided to end their multi-month discussion of how to reduce non-resident use of the Village Pool, and will apparently continue to allow individuals to pay $5 per day to swim.

- Kids in Seven Lakes West enjoyed making waffle-cone Christmas trees and visiting with Santa during the SLWLA Children's Christmas Party. Leah has the story and photos.

- There's a new salon in Seven Lakes: Polished Nails & Facial.

- Seven Lakes Business Guild's Annual Tree Lighting was a star-studded event this year, with pageant princesses and beauty queens galore, plus great entertainment provided by students from Seven Lakes Dance and L Mace Studios, as well as holiday songs performed by the Zoopendous Show Chorus.

- St. Joseph of the Pines has a 53-foot tractor trailer truck, outfitted as a clinic, that they use to offer medical and dental care to those who can't afford regular visits to the doctor or dentist. Janna has the story.

- Chris describes the world of thought and politics in first century Palestine, and how it was not that dissimilar to the world in which we find ourselves today.

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.

 
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.

 
Boards meet on funding for school facilities plan
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Sunday, 19 October 2014 20:39

Moore County Schools LogoNo high-stepping marching band or cheering crowd of onlookers celebrated the event, but it would not be an exaggeration to call the Tuesday, October 14 joint meeting of the Moore County Board of Education and Moore County Commissioners “historic.”

It was little more than a decade ago that the two boards found themselves in a funding dispute so acrimonious that the school board sued the commissioners. It has taken many years for that chill to thaw.

What brought the two boards together on October 14 was the need to build and expand school facilities — to relieve overcrowding in high schools and elementary schools, to replace aging buildings, and to develop a new magnet high school that would offer students job training or a head start on their college career.

The standard playbook for building new schools has the school board developing a master facilities plan encompassing ten years and $50 $75, or $100 million in projects; voters approving the sale of school bonds; and commissioners figuring out how to pay back the principal and interest on all that borrowed money.

“We had always just pretty much been told that a bond was our only option,” school board member Laura Lang said during the joint meeting. “No one had ever said that we can borrow cheaper than we can do a bond . . . . Nobody had ever said that before.”

 
Jon Sedlak Appointed to Foxfire Council
Written by Ellen Marcus, Times Reporter   
Saturday, 05 July 2014 10:54

Foxfire Logo

The Foxfire Village Council has appointed Jon Sedlak to serve out the unexpired term of Councilman George Erickson. Erickson, who served as mayor for the past nine years, resigned effective July 1, because he is moving to Florida, for at least part of the year.

Sedlak will replace Erickson as a member of the council, but not, necessarily, as mayor. The council will need to elect a mayor from among its members at a future meeting.

Sedlak served as the village's Water Superintendent for six years. His appointment came at the conclusion of a Thursday, July 3 special meeting, during which council members interviewed both Sedlak and Helen Kirk, the only other applicant for Erickson's seat.

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Durham presided over the meeting, with council members Mick McCue, Leslie Frusco, and Vic Koos present.

Helen Kirk and John Sedlak 

If at First You Don’t Succeed

The two candidates were interviewed individually, and each candidate sat in on the other’s interview. They were also invited to stay afterward and observe the council's deliberations.

“You are welcome to stay,” Durham said. “It goes without saying, thanks to the both of you for applying and your interest. Getting volunteers these days is difficult, and we appreciate both of you. In a year and a half, there are likely to be a couple of openings, so you can reapply.”

The next regular municipal elections will be held in November 2015, when the terms of seat occupied by Durham and, now, Sedlak, will expire.

“It’s an open meeting,” McCue added, but neither Sedlak nor Kirk chose to stay.

“We don’t have any closed meetings around here,” Frusco noted.

 
Shelter searching for dog from Seven Lakes West
Written by Greg Hankins   
Monday, 23 June 2014 21:08

AlmaThe Moore County Animal Shelter is asking for help locating a dog that scaled the shelter fence to escape — and may be headed home to Seven Lakes West.

On Sunday morning, Alma, a six to seven year old Australian Shepherd Mix, climbed over a fence topped with barbed wire, and then climbed over the gate at entrance to the shelter parking lot. Volunteers and staff ran after her down the driveway to NC Highway 15/501, and then searched for her, to no avail.

Alma was turned over to the shelter when her owner, a resident of Seven Lakes West, died.

The shelter staff report that she was despondent and clearly grieving for the loss of her owner.

Because her home was in Seven Lakes West, Animal Center staff believe she could be headed back in the direction of Seven Lakes.

If you find a dog fitting Alma's description, contact The Animal Center at 910-947-2858. They were hoping to place her with a foster family.

 
Citizens Ask Commissioners to Make Education Top Priority
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Thursday, 05 June 2014 08:04

Moore County LogoThe annual public hearing on Moore County's budget is seldom a pleasant experience, for either the folks speaking or the commissioners listening.

Funding for public schools is generally the focus — which is not surprising, given that funding for education makes up forty-two percent of the county's general fund budget.

It's not uncommon for speakers to insinuate — when they don't come right out and say it — that the Moore County Board of Commissioners are underfunding education and playing fast and loose with the future of Moore County's children.

But, this year, it was different.

The dozen speakers who took turns at the microphone during the Tuesday, June 3 hearing on County Manager Wayne Vest's proposed FY2015 budget spent as much time thanking the commissioners for their continued support of the schools — and their recent advocacy for school funding in Raleigh — as they did pressing the case for additional school funding.

 
NC Senate Budget Would Cost Moore County Schools $2.7 Million
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 10:52

MCS LogoUnder pressure from their constituents to increase the salaries of North Carolina's school teachers, which currently rank near the bottom nationally, the Republican leadership in Raleigh has pledged to come up with raises for teachers in FY2015. Both Governor Pat McCrory and the NC Senate have produced budgets that do just that.

But the devil is always in the details, as Mike Griffin, Moore County Schools Director of Budget, explained to the Board of Education during their Monday, June 2 meeting.

"Any time there are initiatives funded in a budget, you always want to know where they are getting the funding to do that," Griffin told the Board.


Senate budget cuts MCS by $2.7 million

The budget approved by the NC Senate just after midnight on Saturday, May 31, could cost Moore County $2.7 million, Griffin said. That's more than the increase in local funding the school district sought from the county for FY2015. The district's total budget for FY2015 is $106 million; that includes anticipated state funding of $64 million, a total that does not include the Senate's newly-proposed cuts.

The Senate budget would save money primarily by doing away with teaching assistants in second and third grade classrooms. That would eliminate 65 teacher assistants in Moore County and cost the district $1.9 million in funding, Griffin said. In addition, 6.5 classroom teaching positions would be lost, increasing class sizes in grades two and three.

The Senate budget would completely defund MCS' drivers education program, a $230,000 cut that would likely shift the cost of driver training onto individual families.

Griffin pointed out that state funding for drivers ed had been cut from $280,000 to $230,000 in this year's budget, resulting in a $55 charge for each family taking advantage of the program. The elimination of state funding would raise the cost to $250 per student, Griffin said, or drivers ed "would become totally privatized."

Additional cuts in the Senate budget include $257,000 from the transportation budget and $45,000 to the central office.

"This is a dramatic, dramatic impact on our budget, if this goes forward," Griffin said.

The Senate's budget uses those cuts to provide an average eleven percent increase in teacher's pay, though that raise is contingent upon teachers agreeing to give up tenure.


 
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