Gaston County

Chamber changes town’s name to “Montcross”

Yes, that is the word around town the past couple of weeks – for real. We are not making this up.

And people are furious.

So much for the gossip gabbies, the name change of the Chamber is NOT the name change of the town — so settle down. It is just the Chamber name not the town name.

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At the very end of the Chamber’s annual dinner on January 24, an announcement was made that the Belmont Chamber would hence be known as the the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce, signifying the regional aspect and vision of the Belmont community.

Several members were “aghast” (our words) over the development. Some were downright angry that a small group of people could change the focus of a community chamber that quickly and without much external debate.

However, most of the Belmont Chamber’s membership are not truly Belmont businesses, but branch representatives, and businesses with market groups in the Belmont area. When speaking with several different board members about the proposal, it seems that many of the 2007 board were not present at the meetings where this name change was discussed — or so they say. This discussion had been taking place over the course of several board retreats, but never was really discussed publically. 

So, it begs the question, who voted for the name change? Do people serve on boards of directors to build resumes and networked inside tracks, or are just a minority driving the agenda?

Upset small business owners who are members of the chamber for 2008 have one way to drive their point home. Vote by withholding your membership dues upon renewal — of course, for many that isn’t until next November or December. Not really a wise idea though…big things are ahappinin’…

We hope that the the Abbey/Parkdale/Stowe Mill consortium known as Montcross paid big money to rebrand a community name, along with the regional focus.

With an expected $2 billion investment and 14,000 jobs over the 20-year+ master plan for the development, it seems logical to “help” Bill Monroe, and the Abbey with a more visible name than Belmont.

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Bankruptcy Lists – Fair or Foul?

Well, our beloved editors over at the Gastonia Gazette must have really run out of news to publish.

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On Friday, the Gazette began publishing bankruptcy filings as listed by the court system. What once was a required public notice posting through classified ad listing of the legal filing, now has been distilled to the basics: name, address, type of filing, and case number.

In the interest of public service, the Gazette allocated in-house resources to distill the information to the “gentle” reading public. In the Gazette’s eyes, why subject readers to the mind-numbing review of legalese that accompany the court documents? Let’s get down to the chase – just the facts: name, address, type of filing, and case number.

The outlash was immediate and very negative from the readers, a sample:

“I have been fortunate that I have not had to file bankruptcy, but I very much resent the fact that any person or family that has fallen on hard times must be exposed to further embarrassment. Does the Gazette not realize that a lot of these folks may have worked hard all their lives, lost their job due to textiles closing or possibly a family member taking ill? As a paralegal I can tell you that everyone has problems, but for the Gazette to zero in on this is sickening. Surely the paper can find a more note worthy way to fill up its extra space. I for one did not read those names listed and I encourage others not too. Shame on the Gazette for their lack of compassion” – Maryann

“I realize that this information IS public record, but how about using a little bit of good judgement here?” – Disappointed

“At best this is dumb, at worst it is a horrific attempt by the Gazette to embarrass folks already hit by heartache. You telling me news is so slow in Gastonia today that we need to publicly humiliate these folks? Really, this is in poor taste guys.” – Gouranga

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We agree with the majority on this one – keep the listing where it is required. There is no need to distill the public record further in this type of circumstance. if they wish to pursue these types of records, why not fully investigate the failure of certain businesses or even industries? Usually, the well-connected Gazette/Chamber link glosses over business closings, and then only if they impact 50 or more people. There are hundreds of small businesses established every year, and there are hundreds of failures. 

The Chamber makes a big deal out of groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings, and position announcements. How about mentoring, monitoring, and rewarding the small privately owned businesses, rather than focusing on a family’s failure or circumstances which are sometimes beyond their own control.

The Consumer Credit Counseling program of Family Service, Inc, has a tremendous process to help families overcome mounting debt-related issues. One or twice a year the Gazette does an article about this critical community nonprofit. The bully pulpit opportunity that the Gazette wields in this case could be used for much more good than to embarass people in this manner.

Gazette, instead of the full-page ads touting your “community service” and “sponsorships”, why not do more to encourage the financial education and mentoring that is needed to gain true freedom. The very freedom that is expressed as your mission.

   

Downtown stakeholders get the skinny on Gastonia’s big plan

At this morning’s First Friday Focus, a Gaston Regional Chamber, regular event, “Big Plan” Palenick, Gastonia’s city manager/chief litigator, presented HIS big plan for Gastonia.

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Speaking before a good sized crowd of chamber members and interested others, “BP” noted that many downtown business owners supported the plan “enthusiastically”.

We already know that the city council has swallowed the kool-aid in its desperate attempt to revive a city that lost its relevance when I-85 was completed, and then again when Wal-Mart took over at both ends of town.

It now appears that the libertarian mouthpiece, the Gaston Gazette, is certainly looking more favorably on these plans as well. Their tone and style of writing is disappointing considering their distain for the TIF laws as passed in 2004.

Good luck Gastonia.

Really, we mean it…

  

Belmont Citizens of the Year

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(Gazette photo)

The Belmont, oops, Montcross, Chamber of Commerce bestowed its highest community award to Jack and Gearl Dean Page at its January 24 annual dinner.

We also congratulate the Pages for this award. As friends and neighbors at church and in the community, Jack and Gearl Dean have always been active and engaged in community projects.

Both the Gazette and Gaston/Lincoln section of the Observer wrote very nice stories about the Page’s involvement in a host of community activities.

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Caravan Coffee owner, Vince Hill, was recognized as Business person of the year.

Now about changing Belmont to Montcross… 

Parking fees not as big a windfall as Gaston commissioners thought

Are we surprised by this?

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It’s ok to be optimistic — keep spinning away. We are all for user fees, parking at a distance lot helps the Gaston Healthcare Commission and contributes to a healthier community.

Maybe the rate is too low?

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Orchid Conservatory at DSBG opens Saturday

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Observer Article

Charlotte Trip Magazine Article

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens (DSBG) are by far the coolest piece of the Gaston County sites to visit. Over time, the Gardens will be larger and more complete — there is a 40-year Master Plan for the site — world class by anyone’s standards. This was a privately funded project without government “partnership”. The late Daniel Stowe kick started and endowed the development of the Gardens with a donation of land and $14 million in the early 1990’s. All other development has been through private contributions and sponsorship.  

The unique destination sites that now border the City of Belmont are the US National Whitewater Center to the east (just over the river north of the I-85 weigh station) and the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. Along with historical sites located throughout the county, Gaston is blessed with tourism resources that can rival many pleaces.

Good luck to the folks of the community who develop and market these facilities. Belmont certainly has taken a lead when it comes to developing intriquing places to visit.

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(Red Imperial Bromliad – one of 2,000 rare and exotic plant at DSBG)

Orchid links

 

Feds have an interest in locating immigrant detention facility here

Well, ok, so it is official now. The Sheriff of Gaston County likes the idea.

Let’s see:

Paysour Mountain ? Lots of land available – Dallas and Cherryville have big time support at the Federal and State levels ( ie, Patrick McHenry, US-NC 10th; state senator David Hoyle), definitely non-partisan.  Cherryville is such an open and welcoming community to begin with…

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The Equestrian Center property? Isn’t it under contract already?

Across the street from the proposed relocation of the Salvation Army Shelter and Old Boys Club?  palenick-project-downtown-gastonia.pdf

Yeah, that would rejuvenate Highland and the North side of Gastonia and certainly help out the Big League Dreams for Sims Park. It would really help the congestion at the 321/85 interchange.

Next to or near the Dole Plant? Bessemer City deserves job growth … hey, anything is better than nothing – there are a lot of vacant textile plants that could be torn down and the land reused.

On the old Firestone property site or In the old Firestone? Hmm, we just wonder…

Yeah, and it will be built with FEDERAL dollars, not local dollars !

And, it will benefit the community by CREATING more jobs – is that why the public safety services in the Gaston area have a hard time filling the current positions?

On JOB CREATION, it will demand more Sheriff’s deputies, more County Police, more Gastonia PD vehicles, and more Assistant DA’s. Is that what they mean by MORE JOB CREATION?

The above positions ARE locally funded – and given the Homeland Security disarray, no federal funds would be “found” to support the “support services” of such a facility.

So, a FEW local contractors will benefit during construction. Local government will have to be EXPANDED, and property owners who have investments (RE: Rental Units Available) will also benefit. Did we list all the special interests yet? 

The Gaston Chamber must be licking their lips. The Feds would HAVE to watch Gaston County NOW – 1,500 beds is larger than the LA facility (which is closer to the border than Gastonia).

Families who have a federal detainee (yes, that is what they are called – no different than a detainee at Gitmo) would move to Gaston to be near their loved ones. We are sure the local hospital will be thrilled about the needed extra services — oh, yeah, that is county funding too. Not to mention the need for more desks in the schools.

Yes, there is a deep and lasting impact…