Month: September 2007

Where NOT to Drive

Gaston’s wreck hotspots

The Gazette has a good article about problem areas and driving in Gaston County. Near the end of the article is a list of deaths in the county and statewide.

This is a concern, most of the deaths were attributed to alcohol as a factor. Speed was another.

A great community is made up of a lot of things. Please drink responsibly, and slow down.

A listing of local hot spots:

Park Street and Wilkinson Blvd;

Hawley Avenue and Wilkinson Blvd;

Nixon Road and South Point Road (HS intersection);

Central Avenue and North Main Street (the “point”);

Woodlawn and Belmont-Mt Holly Road (Belmont Abbey stoplight);  

North Main Street and McAdenville Road (by Hawthorne Ford).

1191127001-28pcolorwreck.jpg

(Mike Hendsill – Gazette Photo)

Taking stand for the band

Good article in the neighbors section of the Charlotte Observer today about the plight of Marching Bands in the Gaston County Schools.

marching-band-uniforms.jpg

Have you ever seen a ruff, tuff football player making the rounds, hat in hand, to sell fruit during the holidays? At the local churches for the “pre-game” meal served to South Point football players, do most of them thank the preparers/servers with a handshake or a word of praise? It must be a God-given right for football players to have a trainer, doctor, and multiple coaches along the sideline to “guide these young men and leaders” through the intracacies of  high school life. The message is, “someone else will take care of you”. What are they teaching their charges about life?

Not so, for the so-called “non-revenue sports and extracurricular activities”. Scraping by every year to teach fine arts at the high school level, teachers employed by the school system, resort to what amounts to begging for leftovers through piddly-fundraisers. Nickels and dimes are raised to offset the thousands of dollars necessary to operate a band or theater program.

At South Point for example, the band instructor, Tim Hamilton, has as many as 80-100 students in the marching/concert band class in fourth period. John Devine, PE teacher, has as many as 6-10 coaches, some of those are volunteer-daddies, for 60 players.  Players from South Point are also fed, visiting teams as well, after each home game — granted, a couple of hotdogs/hamburgers — but still fed, while the band has to run out to the local McDonald’s to get hamburgers at a reduced rate. According to SPHS Booster Club (re: FOOTBALL), this is because, “If we fed the band, we wouldn’t have enough to sell”.

mcd-arches.jpg

Football, and all sports for that matter, are extracurricular activities, just like Band, cheerleading, French Club, and Moot Court. We would expect as taxpayers, that the various school sports booster clubs respect the students and families that PAY to see the football darlins’ — in the case of the Red Raiders — HOME and AWAY.

ray-mckenney-jr.jpg

The 70 or so banner sponsors(at $300 a pop), Ray McKenney, and the Football Boosters should also support the Marching Band, which is an important part of the Friday Night High School Tradition.

We are calling on our Belmont friends and neighbors to help support the bands and fine arts programs at South Point. Participate in their fundraising activities and consider “adding” some dollars to your contribution for their effort.

You can call the school, 704-825-3351 to get band contacts, and contacts for the other programs as well.

Law enforcement hope Habitat house will help improve neighborhood

Habitat for Humanity of Gaston County continues to build homes and hopes for families throughout Gaston County.

Their most recent home is now under construction in the Highland community on Pryor Street in Gastonia.

If you would be interested in volunteering on a Habitat project, you should call 704-864-6536

Congratulations to Habitat for keeping housing affordable so that all people can participate in “The American Dream”. 

County approves $200,000 for college driving track

Ok, so the county doesn’t have money to spend on a Senior Citizen’s Center, and has to charge for parking at the Courthouse, but can unamimously approve a driving track for county police?

The commissioners make the Parks and Recreation Department run through all kinds of hoops to get funding for a project that would affect thousands of people, and yet, has little comment on projects that affect a few.

Gaston County may eventually try to recoup some of its investment by approaching other area police departments that will benefit from the track.” — a quote from the Gazette article.

gastonia-pd-photo.jpg

We believe that’s wishful thinking on the part of the county commissioners. Their track record on “investments in the community” is not so good. It seems that it would have been more prudent to secure the collaborations and commitments to use the facility BEFORE approaching the taxpayers for money.

But again, people like Tom Keigher and Mickey Price like to spend OPM (“Other People’s Money”).

cc-mickey-price.jpg     cc-tom-keigher.jpg

 

Baby Grows In Watermelon

1190928642-1b2melon42pcolor.jpg

(photo by Daniel Jackson – Gaston Gazette)

Just Kidding !   We knew our soil was fertile, but this is ridiculous !

Friend and neighbor, Benny Brown, has grown a whopper of a melon and his garden made headlines in today’s Gazette.

 

Home-Based Recession Preparedness

printed here by permission from www.realtytimes.com  

by Brodrick Perkins       broderickperkins.jpg

Consumer Reports is advising consumers to recession-proof their financial future by taking steps to shield four areas of financial life that are vulnerable to a shrinking economy.

Housing is one of those areas.

Even though economic growth is chugging along just ahead of the traditional definition of a recession — two consecutive quarters of decline in the Gross Domestic Product — some economists say the nation is skirting precariously close to the edge of economic rupture.

UCLA Anderson Forecast economists recently reported the economy is “certainly close” to a recession even as it conceded an economic about face is not imminent.

Consumer Reports says because a recession is declared in hindsight, consumers who wait for the announcement will put their finances in peril.

Along with the three areas of financial life that need attention now — investments, borrowing and employment — a fourth area, housing, is already taking a beating in a growing number of markets. Housing woes are symptomatic of recessionary conditions.

Here’s how Consumer Reports suggests homeowners prepare to get through hard times that could be ahead.

  • Sit tight. If you don’t have to sell your home don’t. As some markets already reveal, flat and falling housing markets can make a sale elusive for even the most attractive property. If you can wait, wait until the market gathers steam and becomes a better environment for home sales, says Consumer Reports.
  • Be flexible. If you are “motivated” to sell, because you have to move, say, because you want to take on a new job, avoid foreclosure, move up or move down, let your motivation show. You may or may not have to lower your price, but you’ll have to consider that possibility. Concessions could also include paying costs typically paid by the buyer, paying closing costs, paying the first six month to a year of homeowners association dues, and offering incentives, say a kitchen full of new appliances.
  • Make your listing appealing. Consumer Reports is big on curb appeal because it gets them in the door. Curb appeal is the first impression your home conveys to prospective buyers, it should create an emotional desire to own the home and enjoy the lifestyle and status it represents. Putting the best face on your home motivates buyers to cross the threshold and take that first step toward closing the deal.
  • Buyers, be aggressive. Strong buyers’ markets have emerged from the downturn and that can mean lower prices and more haggling room, conditions that edge homes into a realm of affordability you may not have seen in recent years. Just don’t buy more than you can afford. Buy what you need and buy what you’ll keep long enough to weather the soft market, Consumer Reports advises.
  • Lock down interest rates. Recessionary conditions typically come with lower interest rates and Fannie Mae last week said the average fixed interest rate on a 30-year conforming mortgage was 6.34 percent plus only half a point. That’s less than it was a year ago at 6.4 percent.Lower rates are designed to stimulate economic growth but they also give you an opportunity to put the reigns on adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) rate resets. Even if the current rate gives you a slightly higher payment, in uncertain economic times it’s key to go with fixed payment amounts that are much easier to budget. Ditto for your home equity line of credit. Switch to fixed rate.
  • Nip, tuck consumer debt. Don’t let low rates lure you into more indebtedness. To the contrary, it’s time to pay off and pay down debt before rates climb, especially if you worry about job security. Consolidate debt — provided you have the will not to become a serial refinancer — to make monthly payment more manageable. Use a refinanced first or an equity second as your consolidation tool to reap tax benefits, Consumer Reports says.
  • Copyright © 2007 Realty Times. All Rights Reserved.

    Troopers hitching rides to catch aggressive drivers

    i-085_nb_exit_026_011.jpg

    BETTER BE CAREFUL OUT THERE !

     i-085_nb_exit_027_01.jpg