Month: October 2007

Be Careful Out There !

A tearful older citizen and frequent belmontfrontporch visitor stopped by a couple of days ago on her morning walk. What happened we inquired?

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She had received an email notice from whom she thought was the IRS. The email suggested that she had a refund due, and to “click here”. Well she did, because there was a notice at the bottom that threatened audits of her future filings. Lo, and Behold, her email was soon flooded with spam selling everything from apple pies to porn — mostly porn.

The Belmont Front Porch’s crack investigative team jumped into action ! private-eye.jpg

We tracked down an official Internal Revenue Service (IRS) site, called to inquire, and found out some good information.

It took some doing, we all know how government “services” work and the time waiting, but it was worth the effort. We started with the IRS website at www.irs.gov, looked all over and found 1-800-829-1040. We then found 1-800-829-1954 and spoke with a representative of the service.

As we explained the issue, the customer service rep assured us that the IRS does not send emails, especially about refunds due. We were referred to another number, which is a tech center to discuss the spam attack. That number is 1-800-366-4484. There, they will give you instructions about how to report the phishing scam and ways to protect future issues.  

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As always, be careful online, in the neighborhood, and in your car. Being aware of your surroundings will help you be safer.

Why is It ?

Gaston County is a very interesting county. We DO love it for all of its quirks, foibles, and life. That is why we chose to live here. Some have returned, some have never left, and some discovered this little jewel of a region-within-a-region.

 Why is then, that each of the 13 organized and incorporated towns have to:

a) copy each other and duplicate a service, project, or program?

b) have competition, spurred on by local media, to be the “best of…” whatever?

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The Belmont Front Porch commented on a Gazette article about Belmont being the most walkable community in the county.

Yet, the picture on the front page of the Gastonia Gazette didn’t even feature local people. One was visiting from California, one had just recently (we’re talking a couple of months) relocated here (so, yeah she is local – give ya’ that one), and one was visiting from somewhere else. Anyway,

Each town has its own police department, parade, festivals, sports leagues, even things like fund-raising walks/runs. Recent (albeit, good) stuff has included the trendy things like street “dances/concerts” in the summer.

These copycat ideas go back to the mill village days, where every village had its own everything.  

So, what makes Belmont special in its own way?

Can’t be the revival of the miniature train – Gastonia’s already done that.

Could it be our “central park”? Stowe Park, is definitely unique to the towns and bergs of Gaston County.

Could it be our sports teams? Not really, each town had its own high school(s) back in the day (before 1969). Those allegiances carry over today as evidenced by last night’s football contest in Dallas (North Gaston HS).

Mt. Holly has a historical society, so does Belmont now. Belmont has a thriving downtown, Mt. Holly is moving in that direction somewhat painfully. Gastonia tries, but Gas-town has its own issues — like a major federal road through the downtown area and a recently constructed “ditch” for the railroad in town.  

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Every town has fireworks in the summer. Every town is striving to revive its swimming pool. McAdenville, Cramerton, Bessemer City, Cherryville, and Gastonia have all renovated the outdoor facilities in the past 5 years.

So, rather than feeling like we gotta keep up with the Joneses (or in Gaston County – the Stowes, Linebergers, Beams, and Rhynes), why don’t we cooperate on some of these things?

Every new idea is rife with in-fighting. Some of the recent examples are the horse ring, the senior center, the visitor’s center — still have a hard time figuring that one out –, and restaurants and hotels. Not much that some towns can do about certain business decisions though.

Even our current city council elections are offering more of the same – wistful rememberances of days growing up in town, and the standard fare of roads, taxes, schools, and growth. The other towns are doing the same thing. 

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Why is that?

  

Coffee Break

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Ahh, yes, about half of the editiorial board are not that all knowledgeable about coffee. We all know that we like it.

In Belmont, Nichols, Caravan, White’s, Jerry’s, Shirley’s, McDonald’s, and Hardees are good places for a cup or two, and conversation.

The Belmont Police hang out at Nichols. A lot of business people catch up and read papers early in the AM at McDonald’s, moms and preschool-age kids seem to have playdates there as well. People on the go, and those who have a bit less to do in the AM wander into Caravan. The high school students cruise through Jerry’s; and White’s, Hardees, and Shirley’s seem to have the senior crowd pretty much wrapped up.

You have seen us hanging out at Caravan, McDonald’s, and White’s just in the past few days.

We sure do like our coffee – even the plain old “large cup” kind…

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Belmont City Council | Candidate bios

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This is an update from a previously posted article from October 18.

It was posted in the Gaston/Lincoln Neighbors Section of the Observer.

Note: Candidate Dennis Boyce did not return a questionnaire.         dennis-boyce.jpg

His bio and statement are linked here.

Becky Burch     becky-burch.jpg     Age: 77  Birthplace: Shelby.

Home address: 500 Hawley Ave.

Office running for: Belmont City Council.

Education: GED from Cornerstone Christian School in 2002; interior decorating and design certificate from Gaston College.

Family: Husband, Harold; two adult sons.

Occupation: Retired.

Elected offices: Belmont City Council, 2003-present.

Religious/civic organizations: Attend Alexander Memorial Baptist Church.

How can voters contact you? 704-825-3028.

Last book read: “Refuge” by Dot Jackson.

Favorite movie: “The Sound of Music.”

Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Billy Graham: “Because he had a positive impact on so many people.”

Why are you running? “Encourage and promote economic growth through development that provides jobs, lower taxes and water rates; want to see a closed textile plant remodeled for a nursing home; unfinished work like in east Belmont, north Belmont and Reid Community; I am proud of the jobs I have helped create in the past four years and I have unfinished work, like the Montcross Development.”

The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:

• Growth; we need more city employees like police and firemen.

• Roads.

• Schools.









Irl Dixon   irl-dixon.jpg    Age: 57. Birthplace: Belmont.
Home address: 1008 Damon Point Drive.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in English, radio, television and motion pictures from UNC Chapel Hill.
Family: Wife, Trudy; one adult son.

Occupation: Broker-in-charge at Coldwell Banker-Black and Whisnant Properties in Belmont .

Elected offices: Belmont City Council, 1999-present.

Religious/civic organizations: Member of First Presbyterian Church; past deacon and Sunday school superintendent.
How can voters contact you? Work, 704-829-7556; home, 704-825-2148; irl@carolina.rr.com.Last book read: “The Kite Runner.”Favorite movies: “Ben-Hur” and “Citizen Kane.”Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Theodore Roosevelt: “The man was amazing. He was a sickly boy who decided at an early age to challenge his mind and his body. He founded our National Park System, was shot giving a campaign speech but finished his address anyway, and after his presidency he almost died exploring an uncharted river in South America. I would like to know where he got his boundless energy.”Why are you running? “My family has lived in the Belmont area for 100 years. I want to make sure that during our current growth period the city evolves into a place my son would be happy to stay and raise his family. I don’t want to just maintain, but improve the quality of life for all our citizens.”The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:• Growth: “We just developed a land use and transportation plan. It must be given teeth and used..”• Expansion of extraterritorial jurisdiction: “Our zoning control needs to be expanded to the boundaries used in the land use plan to give us more control over the sprawling growth the county allows.”

• Buy land and build more parks and fields for our kids to use.








Charles Flowers     charlie-flowers.jpg  Age: 64. Birthplace: Belmont.
Home address: 307 Ferrell Ave.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.
Education: Graduate of Belmont High School; associate’s degree in criminal justice from Gaston College; associate’s degree from Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute; bachelor’s degree in religion from Mid-Atlantic Bible College Seminary; master’s degrees in ministry and theology from Rock Hill Bible College.

Family: Wife Arlene; one adult son.

Occupation: Retired chief of police of Belmont Police Department .

Elected offices: Belmont City Council, 1999-present.

Religious/civic organizations: Deacon and trustee at Unity Baptist Church; past president of Kiwanis International; Gaston County Law Enforcement Association; North Carolina Police Officers Association.

How can voters contact you? 704-363-6484; 704-825-9146.

Last book read: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”

Favorite movie: “Dances with Wolves.”
Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Sitting Bull, leader for the Sioux Nation.Why are you running? “I love the people of Belmont. I have lived here all my life and know what Belmont means to the people. I feel that I have and can continue to represent the people of Belmont well.”The three main issues facing the office you are seeking: • Growth.• Schools.• Taxes.







Ron Foulk  ron-foulk.jpg      Age: 61. Birthplace: Mount Holly, N.J.
Home address: 101 James Drive.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.

Education: 
Bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University; master’s degree in education from UNC Charlotte.
Family: Wife, Frankie; two adult sons.

Occupation: Principal of Rankin Elementary School with Gaston County Schools.

Elected offices: None.

Religious/civic organizations: Member of Belmont United Methodist Church; member of N.C. Association of Educators; member of National Educators Association; member of National Association of Elementary School Principals.

How can voters contact you? 704-825-2798.

Last book read: “The World is Flat.”


Favorite movie: No response.
Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Harry Truman: “I liked his idea of `the buck stops here.’ He had a sense of responsibility and could make the tough decision.”Why are you running? “There are many challenges facing our town: rising water and sewer rates, increased taxes, loss of jobs, increased traffic and over-crowded schools, to name a few. I would like to be a part of guiding the community through the period of rapid change. I want Belmont to be a quality community.”The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:• To be able to promote growth that enhances the community and has a positive impact on the tax base.• Budget responsibility — holding all departments accountable for being good stewards of taxpayer money.• Evaluating, maintaining and upgrading infrastructure to meet the demands of a rapidly growing community and work with community and other elected officials to address school and traffic needs.








Curtis Gaston     curtis-gaston.jpg     Age: 43. Birthplace: Charlotte.
Home address: 123 McLeod Ave.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in speech communication and master’s degree in fine arts from UNC Greensboro.

Family: Single.

Occupation: Filmmaker, visual artist.

Elected offices: None.

Religious/civic organizations: Member of Belmont Abbey; Belmont Historical Society.

How can voters contact you? 704-968-4772;
curtisgaston@gmail.com; www.curtisgaston.com.
Last book read: “Last Night of the Earth Poems” by Charles Bukowski.

Favorite movie: “Point Break.”

Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Charlie Chaplin. “He’s just been my all-time favorite filmmaker. I just think he’s a very interesting person.”

Why are you running? “Each resident in a community should participate with their local government in shaping public policy. I grew up in Belmont and want to preserve its small-town charm. At the same time, I believe in the overall vision our current city leaders have and will help reach their goals. I support a smart and workable moratorium on housing developments.”

The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:
• Sustainability, ensuring that Belmont maintains its high quality of life and high level of service by creating long-term, resilient and flexible strategies regarding a new economic direction and strong protection from over-development.• The need to create a new city identity.• Formulating a workable plan to make Stowe Botanical Garden and Belmont Abbey College more visible and important in everyday Belmont life.


Martha Stowe  martha-stowe.jpg  Age: 55.  Birthplace: Lincolnton.
Home address: 3132 Channelview Landing.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in math and German from Wake Forest University.


Family:
Husband, Sam; three adult children.
Occupation:

Math teacher at South Point High School in Belmont.

Elected offices: None.


Religious/civic organizations: Elder at First Presbyterian Church in Belmont; education committee; Connect Gaston greenway; Keep Belmont Beautiful, Botanical Garden Board of Visitors; Belmont Housing Authority.


How can voters contact you? 704-825-2683;
marthastowe@hotmail.com.
Last book read: “Building the Bridge as you Walk on It” by Robert Quinn.

Favorite movie: “The Devil Wore Prada.”

Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: George Washington: “I would enjoy discussing `then and now’ with regard to life and politics with him.

Why are you running? “Many residents have encouraged me to run because I received strong support from voters in the previous election. I have good people skills, negotiating skills, and have no fear to speak out for principles. My interest in managing growth in Belmont began in 1994 as a result of my participation in the forum used to design a new zoning ordinance framework.”

The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:
• I will work with the county and state to ensure that local schools and roads keep up with local growth.• I will work to control and manage new growth on the Belmont peninsula.• I will work to protect and preserve our quality of life (parks, greenways, tree canopy, public recreation facilities for all ages, fire and police protection and diversify the tax base).










Richard Turner  richard-turner.jpg   Age: 45. Birthplace: Charlotte.
Home address: 315 Dogwood Lane.
Office running for: Belmont City Council.

Education: Graduate of Charlotte Catholic High School, East Mecklenburg.

Family: Wife, Marie; three children.

Occupation: Import-export broker.

Elected offices: None.

Religious/civic organizations: PTO board member, legislative representative, for Belmont Central Elementary.

How can voters contact you? 704-825-3302; 704-685-3139, home; fax: 704-825-3302; e-mail:
richardturner@carolina.rr.com.
Last book read: “In Dubious Battle.”

Favorite movie: “The Homecoming.”

Fictional or historical figure you’d like to meet and why: Did not respond

Why are you running? “I would like to see Belmont’s growth managed better. An adequate public facilities ordinance will do this. Essentially it stipulates that a community cannot grow beyond its ability to provide services at the city (water, sewer etc.) and county level (primarily school capacity). Seek new revenue streams which do not burden the citizens of Belmont who now shoulder an excessive amount in property taxes.”


The three main issues facing the office you are seeking:

• Managing growth to conform to a vision of what Belmont’s citizens want in their community. I intend, if elected, to pursue mechanisms to maintain Belmont’s identity and quality of life.

• Taxes: I would pursue reviews of franchise fees and the implementation of specific revenue stream such as hotel and entertainment taxes to reduce the present property tax rate.

• Developing recreation facilities for adults and youth.

FW:FW:FW:FW:FW Emails

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Don’t you just love it when your email in-box is flooded with forwarded emails that people think are funny?

 

Here are a few from the last couple of days: 

 

In the 1400’s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have “the rule of thumb”

Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled “Gentlemen Only…Ladies Forbidden”…and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.

Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

Coca-Cola was originally green.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this…)

The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400

The average number of people airborne over the U.S . in any given hour: 61,000

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer. 

The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments. 

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:Spades – King David; Hearts – Charlemagne; Clubs – Alexander, the Great; Diamonds – Julius Caesar

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn’t added until 5 years later.

Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?  A. Their birthplace

Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?      A. Obsession

Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter “A”? A. One thousand 

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?   A. All were invented by women.

Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?A. Father’s Day

In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase……… “goodnight, sleep tight.”

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts… So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them “Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.”It’s where we get the phrase “mind your P’s and Q’s”

Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. “Wet your whistle” is the phrase inspired by this practice.

AND FINALLY

At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!

YOU KNOW YOU ARE LIVING IN 2007 when…

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don’t have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn’t even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

12. You’re reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn’t a #9 on this list.

AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

Pam Stowe selected as Teacher of the Year at BMS

Friend and neighbor, Pam Stowe, was recently selected as Teacher of the Year at Belmont Middle School.

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Congratulations Ms. Stowe !

Leigh Pressley, a Neighbors columnist with the Charlotte Observer wrote a great article in the Sunday paper. Read it here.

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Did You Know –

Enterprise, the car rental place, has an office in Main Street Crossing?

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They’ll even Pick You Up !