County Declares State of Emergency
Written by Greg Hankins, Times Editor   
Monday, 16 February 2015 20:56

In anticipation of worsening weather conditions overnight, Moore County Commissioners Chairman Nick Picerno has declared a State of Emergency.

A nasty and potentially treacherous mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow are expected overnight.

Moore County Schools and Sandhills Community College are closed tomorrow, and County Offices expect to open on delayed schedule at 10:00 am.

Declaring a state of emergency puts in place a chain of command and spending authority that allow county staff to respond.

It also triggers several restrictions:

"County personnel are authorized to open shelters as necessary to provide for the safety of citizens who are without heat or power."

"Citizens are encouraged to stay home and off primary and secondary roads if reasonably possible and to limit necessary travel to daylight hours so as not to interfere with efforts of emergency and repair crews."

"Municipalities are encouraged to coordinate response efforts with the Moore County Emergency Management Agency."

"Citizens are encouraged to conserve food, water, etc."

"Citizens are encouraged to conserve fuel.

"The County Manager/designee, in conjunction with the Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners, is authorized to make emergency purchases and contracts as necessary to deal with this incident."

The State of Emergency declaration automatically expires in 72 hours.

SLLA Board Meeting Postponed Due to Weather
Written by Greg Hankins   
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 09:55

From SLLA Management — Tonight’s Seven Lakes Landowners Association Board meeting has been cancelled due to bad weather conditions. The alternate date will be announced - Monday or Tuesday of next week. The snow accumulation is expected to be 3" to 6". This storm will possibly bring some of the heaviest snow fall in more than a decade in some regions of the state.

On Wednesday SLLA maintenance and Davenport Landscaping will pre-treat dam roadways and the front gates. Every effort will be we will made to maintain primary roads late into the evening and through Thursday until all roads are cleared. This is expected to be a long process.

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

Monday, February 23

• Orthodox Lent Begins

• Seven Lakes Landowners Association Special Board Meeting - 9am, Game Room. The purpose of the meeting is to review the S&ME engineering construction support proposal, which is a 2/25 Open Meeting action item. If approved by the Board, S&ME will provide both engineering and construction services to include: bid submittal review, contract requirements, pre-construction meeting, and an on-site technician to observe asphalt placement.

• Memory Monday – 4 pm to 5pm, Guest speaker will be Dr. Karen Sullivan. Moore County Department of Aging, 8040 US Hwy 15-501, West End.

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

• Moore County Schools Concept High School Community Forum – 6 - 7:30 pm at Pinecrest Pines High School. MCS staff will provide a brief overview of the current draft of the academic plan and seek feedback from the audience. Audience participants are encouraged to ask questions and offer suggestions

• Sandhills Natural History Society – meeting 7 pm, guest speaker Susan Miller, Fish and Wildlife biologist will discuss the recovery efforts of the red-cockaded woodpecker population in the Sandhills. Weymouth Woods Auditorium, 1024 Ft. Bragg Rd., Southern Pines. Visitors welcome. Call 910-692-2167 for more information or visit online at

Tuesday, February 24

• 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. Guest speaker is Sandy Berger, “What’s New in Electronic Gadgets.” Visitors are always welcome.

• League of Women Voters – 11:30 am, luncheon meeting. Guest speakers will be representatives from Moore County Schools: Anna Stevens, Specialist for English as a Second Language Support, and Marisol Rivera, social worker. The topic will be the challenges and services for non-English speaking students in Moore County. Table on the Green Restaurant, 2205 Midland Drive. Reservations required, call Charlotte at 944-9611. Cost $13, payable by check to LWVMC. Public welcome.

• St. Joseph of the Pines Memory Screening Day – 3 pm, at the Bell Mead Clubhouse. Guest speaker Scott Herrick, Director of Public Policy, of the Alzheimer’s Association and Western Carolina Chapter. 100 Gossman Drive, Southern Pines.

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

• Seven Lakes West Landowners Association – 7 pm, meeting. West Side Park Community Center. Review agenda.

February 20 Times Ready to Download
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 17:00

The February 20 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:

- It's revaluation time for Moore County landowners. Your home, lot, or tract of land will be assigned a new value by the county tax assessor and that value will determine how much you pay in property taxes. Watch your mailbox for the notice. If you're not keen on the new value, you have some options to appeal.

- Schools all across North Carolina, for the first time, received overall letter grades a couple of weeks ago. But do those grades mean anything? We asked a couple of folks who should know.

- A Fourth without fireworks? Some members of the SLLA Recreation Committee have doubts that the patriotic explosions are worth the $7,000-plus cost.

- A proposed engineering study of Lake Ramapo generated some heated debate at the SLLA Board Work Session, before being kicked back to committee for review.

- A proposal to spend $30,000 on a supervisory engineer for an upcoming repaving project was also sent back to committee.

- The Foxfire Village Police have new uniforms that are less expensive and easier to maintain. Newly-installed Chief Chad Shue has wasted little time finding some ways to save money in the department.

- Ruptured water pipes in a vacant Foxfire home caused significant damage and drained more than 200,000 gallons from the Village's water system before the leak was discovered. The Water Department is ready and willing to turn off water service when folks are out of town for an extended period.

- The School Board got an little lesson in robotics during a recent meeting.

- Seven Lakes West resident George Reynolds has received a statewide award for his service to the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

- The annual Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast brought together hundreds of folks from all over Seven Lakes and the surrounding area — all to benefit West End Elementary.

- We have reports on both the SLLA and SLWLA Candidates' Nights. Both sides of Seven Lakes have six candidates in the running for seats on their respective Boards.

- Chris mourns the loss of innocents in the recent Chapel Hill shootings and the loss of caution that sometimes characterizes our immediate reactions to high profile events.

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.

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.

County Offices Closed Tuesday, Commissioners Meeting Cancelled
Written by Greg Hankins   
Tuesday, 17 February 2015 08:33

From Moore County Public Safety –

"Moore County Governmental Offices will be closed Tuesday February 17, 2015 due to inclement weather and hazardous driving conditions.  Additionally, the regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners’ meeting scheduled for 5:30 PM has been cancelled; the agenda items will be carried forward to the next regularly scheduled meeting on March 3, 2015.  A decision regarding Moore County Governmental Office schedules for Wednesday February 18, 2015 will be made later today."

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.

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