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

Sunday, August 24

• 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.

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 2:30 & 7:30 pm, Magic in the Moonlight, a Woody Allen film. A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

• Moth Mimicry – 3 pm, From owl eyes to bird droppings, moths (and their caterpillars) display some amazing mimicry and camouflage tactics that help them survive. Enjoy some impressive pictures in this presentation on deception. Weymouth Woods, 1024 Fort Bragg Rd., Southern Pines 910-692-2167. Free and open to the public.

• West End United Methodist Church Youth Back to School Night – 6 pm, The West End United Methodist Church Youth Group invites everyone to join them as they meet each Sunday evening from 6:00 – 7:30 pm in the Youth Room at the church. The Youth Ministry is led by Mandy Allen, Youth Coordinator and is open to all Youth in 6th – 12th grades. Come enjoy fellowship, study and a meal with the youth each Sunday.

Monday, August 25

• Sandhills Horticultural Society Lunch & Learn Fall Perennials – noon to 1 pm, the Society will feature Matt Whittaker of Green Haven Plant Farm who will speak on Fall Perennials and their care. Held at Sandhills Community College Horticultural Gardens, Ball Visitors Center. The lecture is free. Bring your lunch, drinks provided. Space is limited, register by email at: This e-mail 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. Group leader Armecia Medlock.

• Sandhills Natural History Society – 7 pm at Weymouth Woods Auditorium, 1024 Ft. Bragg Rd., Southern Pines. Jennifer Archambault, Research Associate in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University, will give a presentation introducing native freshwater mussels and their ecology, followed by some highlights of her mussel research, including thermal ecology and toxicology. Visitors always welcome. Call 910-692-2167 for more information or visit

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 7:30 pm, Magic in the Moonlight, a Woody Allen film. A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

Tuesday, August 26

• 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 West Landowners Association – 7 pm, work session. West Side Park Community Center. Review agenda.

• SunFlix at the Sunrise – 7:30 pm, Magic in the Moonlight, a Woody Allen film. A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to help unmask a possible swindle. Sunrise Theater, 250 NW Broad Street, Southern Pines (910) 692-3611.

August 22 Times Ready to Download
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 17:00

The August 22 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:

- Steve Durham has been elected mayor of Foxfire Village; Leslie Frusco will serve as Mayor Pro-Tem.

- Dr. Robert Grimesey, Jr., the new superintendent of Moore County Schools, recently briefed the Seven Lakes Kiwanis on the key challenges the district faces.

- The Seven Lakes Landowners Association Board intends to get a more substantial packet of information out to members prior to both Work Sessions and Open Meetings.

- A backlog of Community Standards complaints and Architectural Review applications has the SLLA Board temporarily increasing staff hours in the Landowners Office.

- The SLLA Board reviewed recommended standards for both fences and docks -- and asked the Architectural Review Board to take another look at both.

- Moore County's Commissioners support the concept of an industrial "megapark" that sits astride the Moore-Montgomery border, but they don't want to invest taxpayer dollars in building the park's infrastructure.

- The Commissioners passed a resolution hanging out the "no vacancy" sign for undocumented immigrants, including children who crossed the border alone.

- The developer of the proposed Pine Forest subdivision was granted a one-year extension on his zoning permit, once he repaid $180,000 of a NC Rural Center grant, due because a sister development, the Dormie Club, failed to meet employment goals.

- The fate of the former Academy Heights School, in Taylortown, remains a bit of a puzzle. Taylortown wants it, but the School Board can't give it away.

- It was a very soggy Saturday in Foxfire when the annual Rick Rhyne Fishing Tournament came to town, but that couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of the young fisherfolk.

- The catfish gets a bad rap, but the fish is both interesting and tasty — and there are some big ones in Lake Auman.

- The Moore County Library's Bookmobile starts a new schedule next month, with less frequent visits to Seven Lakes.

- Chris is praying for Jerusalem, and Greg thinks the County Board of Commissioners do good work — when they stick to their knitting and keep clear of the political soapbox.

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.

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.

No County Tax Increase Planned
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Saturday, 24 May 2014 06:10

Moore County LogoThere’s no tax increase in the FY2015 budget that Moore County Manager Wayne Vest proposed to the Board of Commissioners during their Tuesday, May 20 regular meeting.

If ultimately approved, the budget would hold the property tax rate at 46.5 cents per hundred dollars of valuation, where it has been since FY2010. On top of that, County property owners would continue to pay two cents per hundred for the county's Advanced Life Support levy, which funds Moore County EMS.

Fire district tax rates, which range from a low of four cents in Seven Lakes to a high of eleven cents in the Cranes Creek district, will also remain unchanged, with one exception. West End Fire and Rescue is seeking a one cent increase, from 5.9 cents to 6.9 cents, to pay for new equipment.

The total proposed budget, net of internal transfers between the various county funds, is $120.8 million, up $943,315 from last year's initial budget.

The county budget is made up of a number of funds, some of which do not depend on tax dollars to operate — for example, public utilities, which derives its revenue from the rates customers pay for water and sewer service.

Taxes go primarily to support the general fund, budgeted at $89.9 million, a $1.9 million increase over last year's budget. General fund expenditures include core government services like schools and law enforcement.

Commissioners praise manager, budget team

The commissioners were generous in their praise of Vest and the budget team.

"In the last six budgets," Commissioner Picerno said, "the property taxes in our county, paid buy our taxpayers, has either been reduced or maintained. This was no small feat. Many in America still say that this was one of the most difficult, and economic terms, that our country has ever faced."

Commissioner Jimmy Melton said that Vest's budget was "the best budget that I have seen in my time on the board."

Commissioners Move Toward Creating Fire Commission
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Saturday, 24 May 2014 06:01

Moore County LogoMoore County Commissioners Nick Picerno and Otis Ritter have been assigned the task of further refining a proposal for a new Fire Commission to oversee the county's fire, rescue and EMS organizations.

Public Safety Director Bryan Phillips presented the proposal, developed by the Public Safety Department in consultation with the Fire Chiefs Association, during the Board of Commissioners Tuesday, May 20 regular meeting. If enacted, it would create a commissioner-appointed board to replace the Emergency Services Advisory Committee [ESAC], which was disbanded earlier this year.

A recent comprehensive study conducted by the consulting firm VFIS recommended the creation of a fire commission as a step toward standardizing and unifying the county's fire and EMS services.

The role of the panel, as Phillips detailed it, is primarily to review and make recommendations to the commissioners in areas affecting fire, rescue, and EMS, including operating and capital budgets, volunteer retention and recruitment, fire protection system improvements, operational regulations and guidelines, and training standards.

Phillips proposed a commission with nine voting members, one alternate, and four non-voting members drawn from the Public Safety staff.

Five citizen members would be drawn from each of the county's commissioner districts, while four fire service members would be drawn from each of four fire service regions. The President of the Moore County Firefighter's Association would serve as an ex officio member, but also as an alternate if one of the fire service representatives is unable to attend a meeting.

The Public Safety Director, Fire Marshal, and E-911 manager would serve as non-voting members.

Phillips said the commission would help achieve some of the recommendations from the VFIS study, including:

• Standardization across districts, which helps improve interoperability and efficiency;

• Long range planning for equipment, apparatus and personnel; and

• A simplified budgeting process.

Time Running Out for Pine Forest Development
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Saturday, 24 May 2014 05:55

Moore County LogoTime is short for the developer of of a 1652-acre Planned Unit Development that, if built, would stretch from West End to Pinewild and from NC Highway 211 to NC Highway 73.

The zoning permit for Pine Forest — a proposed development that was to include 700 homes, 300 hotel rooms, two-golf courses, and a shopping village — is set to expire on September 6, thirty-six months after it was approved by the Moore County Board of Commissioners.

Planning Director Debra Ensminger provide the commissioners with an update on the project during their May 20 meeting.

"Along with the rezoning," Ensminger said, "a board order was executed that listed ordinance standards and additional conditions that must be followed during the development process. And I stand before you tonight to share that nothing of that order has been completed. We are just where we were on September 6, 2011, today, May 20, 2014.

"Some requirements have to be executed by September 6, 2014, or that permit goes away," Chairman Larry Caddell reiterated.

"There are a number of things that are in front of the developer between now and September," County Manager Vest explained.

Top Swimmers Take A Spin 'Round Lake Echo Saturday
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Thursday, 22 May 2014 06:46

Swimmer in Echo

Members of the Sandhill Sandsharks Swim Team will be swimming in Seven Lakes North's Lake Echo on Saturday, May 24 from 7:30 am to 10:00 am.

Among the swimmers expected at Saturday's swim are Olympian Alex Meyer and world champions Ashley Twichell and Chloe Sutton.

It's the second day of the team's annual Shark-A-Thon, which raises money for training equipment, awards, a banquet, and pool rental. The team will be swimming at the O'Neal Pool on Friday, May 23 from 4:15 pm to 7:30 pm.

Saturday's swim at Echo also serves as practice for the NC Open Water Swim Championships, which will be held at Lake Echo on June 6 & 7.

Folks who would like to support the team can make a flat donation or donate based on the distance covered by a particular swimmer.

For more information, visit the Sandsharks website.

'Welcome Center' Getting a Facelift
Written by Greg Hankins, Editor   
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 13:31

Welcome Center

The 30-year-old Seven Lakes Welcome Center is getting a facelift.

A crew was at work on Tuesday using a crane to remove the high steep-pitched roof from the building on Lakeway Drive at the entrance to Seven Lakes West, with trusses standing by for a new, lower-pitched top covering.

Building owner James Kirkpatrick told The Times that he plans to brick the exterior, updating the building's appearance.

MOR Group, one of the successor companies to original Seven Lakes developer Longleaf Inc., had the structure built as a sales office in 1984. It has been used by a succession of developers and Realtors in the years since.

Kirkpatrick has plans for a two-story professional office building on the cleared lot beside the former Welcome Center. That project has received a special non-residential intensity allowance from the county and a sedimentation and erosion control permit from the state, which allowed for the clearing of the tract.

But, according to the county Planning Department, the project awaits approvals of a septic or wastewater plan before it can move forward. An initial plan to use two residential lots on the opposite side of Lakeway Drive for septic fields ran afoul of Seven Lakes West Landowners Association rules and Westside covenants.

Kirkpatrick's company owns Seven Lakes Plaza Shopping Center, as well as a large inventory of lots within Seven Lakes West.

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