Textile workers

Dole and Myrick distancing themselves from Lame Duck President

Senator Elizabeth Dole and US Representative Sue Myrick both appear to be distancing themselves from President Bush and his hum-hum final year agenda for the nation.

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Ms. Myrick decided to “…stay home and watch the president’s address on television…” on Monday evening, while Mrs. Dole had a previous engagement to speak in front of a constituent group in NC.

On Thursday morning, both skipped out on Vice President Dick Cheney’s address to a select crowd at the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Myrick begging off due the the impending birth of a grandchild, and VP Cheney acknowledging her “priorities”.  Kinda gives new meaning to, “I think I have to wash my hair”.

Still trying to curry favor with the administration, boy-politician, Patrick McHenry of the 10th district in NC, commented to the Observer, “the president missed the opportunity to push to make the middle-class tax cuts permanent. It was a good speech — but not bold enough”.

Mr. McHenry surely must realize that the tax cuts were not for the so-called middle class but the top 10% of incomes.

Creating permanence of these cuts, which are not set to expire until the fiscal year of 2010, would further drive a stake into the heart of the true middle class. The rich will not invest in new plants in Cherryville, Hickory, or Shelby. They will continue to buy their carsremodel their kitchens, and go out to dinner — but not build factories, invest in their stateside employees, or contribute money to the United Way.

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Richness of Life

In Belmont, we are often faced with the challenges and joys of accepting and tolerating people of many backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, and faith.

Belmont Abbey College is a rich dynamic of teen angst, higher education, self discovery, religious growth, and a source for leadership development.

Thank you  to Abbott Placid Solari, the priests and brothers of the Southern Benedictine Society, and the faculty and staff of the college.

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One student, Elizabeth Suaso, a student at the Abbey from South Carolina, has written a particularly interesting account of life. It is good reading. Scroll to the bottom of the linked page to look over a 440 page body of work.

Recently, the American Legion honored two people who had given formative leadership to the the development of the Belmont Historical Society, Bob Brown and Jack Page. We know both of these men as neighbors, colleagues, and friends. This year’s Community Service Award by the Legion was well-timed and well-deserved.

Belmont is also blessed by the long-term commitment that Vince and Brenda Hill had made to downtown Belmont. It took a very long time for Caravan Coffee to appear as an anchor of the downtown revitalization. The building renovation seem to take for-EV-ver, first the hole in the wall, then no roof, then the interior. The result has been fanTAStic. They got Brenda’s cake-making storefront up first, and carefully laid out the coffee shop.

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Now, the Hill’s have  taken on leadership with the downtown merchant’s association and last summer led the development of the street concerts, called Friday Night Live, on alternating Friday evenings. Vince, you and Brenda got our votes for “Citizen of the Year” for 2007.

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The former students of the East Belmont elementary school have been doing fundraising to build a memorial for the old school which had been torn down some years ago. The last remnant of the school being the “scout hut” at Park Street Methodist Church and some fencing along Church street.  

As Belmont grows, multiple elements of traffic, business, housing, schools, roads, and newcomers pressure us all to deal with the change in our various ways.

This summer, while picnicking on the hill at Stowe Park during one of the many events, the reflection of how much Belmont has changed over the past 20 years was impacted by all the new faces at each event. New accents, different clothing styles, vastly different types of cars parked on Main Street and along Myrtle all contributed to the noticeable change that has taken place.

The Montcross presentation at the Haid last week had the old and the new in the same room. Curiousity, opportunity, and leadership meeting over wine and cheese.

Interestingly, Clyde Dietz was present at the Abbey that evening. Clyde has to be almost 100 years old by now. He has served this community very well in many capacities. His presence was one more element of statesmanship that we really appreciated.

For many of us, his presence at the event put an exclamation point on the “richness of life” that is Belmont.

Related Link: Order of St. Benedict

One more reason to hate Walmart

Night Shift Work May Cause Cancer

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Seems that a study has determined that 3rd shifters are at higher risk for cancer development than those people who working during daylight hours.

Media reporting has noted that melatonin, a chemical that helps regulate the circadian rhythm, is suppressed during nighttime work by lighting in the workplace. The result of the limited testing is that this process is “carcinogenic” to humans.        Ok…

However,there are conflicting reports within the scientific community that seem to debunk that theory.

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Here in Gaston County, we have known this for over 100 years with the shift demands of the textile industry. Working the night shift isn’t too good for your health.

Financial “wants” however had outweighed the negative health benefits. So, we worked in the mills instead of the farms, where we worked from sunup to sundown — for more money…

Now, with the mills disappearing — and a lot of manufacturing in general — the service industry replaces the factory work. That means still more 3rd shifters.

Walmart’s business model of providing jobs for the masses in brightly lit, highbay boxes, just means another generation of area folks feeling they need to risk health to improve an already distressed lifestyle.

Let’s see just in the Belmont community right now, we have McDonald’s serving 24 hours, Bi-Lo open 24/7, Holy Angels operates 24/7 (critical care need), Waffle House, and Walmart. Public safety such as police and fire operate on rotating shifts so that people aren’t always working the graveyard hours. A very few mills still operate in three shifts. They are working 2-twelves, if they are working at all.

Take care out there…

 

 

 

8 candidates seek 3 open Belmont seats (Updated)

That’s It ? , that’s all the Observer could write?            vote.jpg 

They are not “open”, they are contested.

Is this all that we are going to get from the City Council candidates this year?

You have to buy a copy of the Thursday (10/18)Observer to get more information. To be fair, there is a bit more information from the generic questionaire that was sent to all the candidates.

becky-burch.jpg Becky Burch: “…she would encourage the development of one shuttered textile mill to be converted into a nursing home…”  and this helps the tax rate how?

“Burch said council members have the authority to ask developers to leave room for these areas, she said. They haven’t made that request yet though, she said.”  WHY haven’t the council members made those requests – YET ?

We are not making this up – these are quotes from the Charlotte Observer.

irl-dixon.jpg  Irl Dixon: “While some candidates say they are concerned about high property taxes, Dixon said the tax rate dropped last year and he expects it to do the same in the future because of the development of high-end, waterfront homes”.

Does this give credence to the term “economic-genocide” that East-enders and South Point residents are concerned about? Push out the existing homes to build McMansions along the lake, reducing visibility and accessibility. This is a concern here in this community.

charlie-flowers.jpg  Charlie Flowers:  “If re-elected, Flowers said he will push for businesses to fill the now empty textile mills”.

Too Late Charlie !  Most of the mills have been torn down or are in the planning stages to be torn down. We cite the examples of the Belmont Hosiery plant – now, called Belmont Reserve. We cite the Imperial Mill – now vacant, and its mill village called Hawthorne. We cite the Acme – now the space for development. This site even had a viable park area that the city acutally refused to use (Woodlawn) in the late 1990’s. How about what once was the Belmont Dyers, now torn down with development plans for high-end housing. Even the cotton warehouse that Stowe Mills used over on Eagle Road (a perfectly good pre-cast concrete structure) was torn down to make way for the clear-cutting that is now known as Eagle Village. Not even going to discuss in any detail the tearing down of the Eagle Mill for $500,000 unsold homes across from Belmont Central.

rfoulk.jpg  Ron Foulk: “…61-year-old political newcomer said council members have budget responsibility…”.

He’s not a newcomer — he has run for City council in at least 2 other elections. He also opposed the Amity Acres annexation into the city in the 1990’s. How can you trust someone who will be opposed to future annexations.

curtis-gaston.jpg  Curtis Gaston: “He would favor a building moratorium, especially on large subdivisions.”

Once again, the Pittenger/Duke(Crescent) property is already under design – that’s over 1,000 acres of voluntarily annexed land. The city has had jurisdictional control for over ten years on this property and until it was sold to State Senator Pittenger, nothing was done to guide its development direction.  Young Mr. Gaston needs to be more involved. He has promise but will he be committed in the long run?

stowemanorlogo.gif Martha Stowe: “…It [the land use plan] doesn’t prohibit developers, it just makes sure you’re working in tandem with developers,” she said. “As much development as we’re seeing in Belmont we’re going to have to do something other than what we have done…”

So, what are your plans and ideas?

Richard Turner:  “…The recent land-use plan lacks teeth, Turner said, and developers have been able to build as they wanted using conditional zoning. He said the city needs a public facilities ordinance that wouldn’t allow growth beyond the city’s ability to service it…”

Dennis Boyce: “Did not respond”

We hope the BannerNews and the Gazette will expand these questions.

We find it amazing that wherever you see a Burch sign in a yard, there is a Flowers sign right next to it. If it looks like a ticket (signs), sounds like a ticket (identical votes on all issues before council), it’s probably a ticket. Vote for one, get 2.  And we thought that the politics in Belmont was “non-partisan”.

Carter hasn’t lost charm on Gaston County

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(Gazette Photo)

Former President, Jimmy Carter, made a stop in Gastonia on Friday to promote his newest book, “Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Diseases, Building Hope“.

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He was a bit late, or so the “waiters-in-line” were told. But it was worth the experience to see a living former US president. He looked old and tired and still had the charm that the textile workers from the mid-70’s remember. Mr. Carter may not have had the “greatest presidency” or been the “most beloved” president, but he has done the most with his post-presidential life.

Nobel laureate, statesman, philanthropist, author, and world-traveler just to name a few expressions that follow his name.

Thank you Mr. President,  for remembering Gaston County and your ties to our area.