Tuesday, 03 May 2016 17:15

Top CAT: BRT in HOT lanes PDQ

CORNELIUS, N C. -- As dueling bills to cancel the managed lanes contract matriculate through the North Carolina General Assembly and anti-toll protesters gather on bridges and vow to appeal a second loss in court, contractors overseen by I-77 Mobility Partners continue to clear the median between Huntersville and Mooresville to make way for new lane construction.

Meanwhile, officials with Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) have been quietly planning to offer a different kind of transit option if and once the new express lanes open sometime in late 2018 — bus rapid transit (BRT).

Different from the current buses utilized by commuters in the Lake Norman area — 77X and 48X — BRT typically takes the form of sleek-looking, higher-capacity articulated buses or motor coaches and provide more flexibility than rail transit because they are not bound to tracks. CATS Chief Operating Officer John Lewis told the Cornelius Town Board of Commissioners during their Monday night meeting that an agreement with NCDOT will allow for BRT vehicles to utilize the toll lanes.

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- New events, more sponsors and growing participation from throughout the Lake Norman region are among the indications that the Young Elites movement continues to grow and is building momentum toward this year’s annual Leadership Summit.

Earlier this month, Young Elite ambassadors, partnering with the Davidson College Young Elites Club with support from Brooklyn South and Clean Juice, raised more than $7,100 in a “Push Ups for Purpose” project to support Young Elite (YE) programs. And this week in Cornelius, Kadi Fit representatives led YE members in an outdoor physical challenge at Robbins Park to emphasize the organization’s commitment to fitness while also promoting the YE goal of enhancing every aspect of a participant’s life.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 18:23

Farm to Table dinner for 9/11 monument

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- In its ongoing efforts to raise $100,000 to fund the Cornelius 9/11 Monument at Cornelius-Lemley Fire and Rescue Station No. 1, the Town of Cornelius will host a farm-to-table dinner on the lawn at Cornelius Town Hall Sunday, May 22, at 5 p.m. Tim Groody, owner of Fork!, will serve as the evening’s chef and is working with local farmers to get most of the food donated, as well as wine.

Tickets are now on sale for $100 per person and may be purchased at Cornelius Town Hall at 21445 Catawba Ave. The town is working to raise the $100,000 cost of the monument installation. For more information about the event or to contribute to the 9/11 monument fund, contact Jody Clark at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 704-909-8398, or visit

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a show of bipartisan support, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) of Huntersville and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a bipartisan bill on April 13 to fix a federal oversight that’s prevented thousands of American veterans — who four decades ago cleaned up nuclear testing sites in the Marshall Islands while often working without protective gear — from getting access to the care they need.

Many of these veterans suffer from cancer, respiratory diseases and heart problems, but are not adequately compensated for their medical costs. The Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act would tackle this issue by extending key Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits to service members who helped clean up the Marshall Islands between 1977 and 1980, an area that played host to more than 40 nuclear tests and remains partly uninhabitable because of high levels of radiation.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 18:19

No more free trash service in downtown

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- A municipal service that has just “always been there” for downtown Huntersville businesses is going away after a decision last Monday by the town’s commissioners.

In a 4-0 vote, with Commissioner Mark Gibbons absent and Commissioner Charles Guignard recused because of his direct business interests in the matter, the Huntersville Town Board voted to end a “grandfathered” free garbage collection arrangement that has been provided to commercial interests within a vaguely defined section along the N.C.115/Gilead Road corridor.

That decision, combined with a separate unanimous board ruling to remove provisions requiring all new containers in the town’s recently approved service contract with Advanced Disposal, came about through efforts to reduce the town’s expenditures for waste collection services.

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- In recent years, the department responsible for providing water and sewer services in Mecklenburg County has been working to polish up its image. Originally known as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department, it dropped the last word of its name to shed the last letter of an unattractive acronym (CMUD became CMU) before more recently changing its name entirely to Charlotte Water.

Barry Gullet has overseen the makeover, and in recent weeks the director of Charlotte Water has visited town halls around the county to deliver the message that the product provided by Charlotte Water is clean and pure — a reassurance he felt was necessary in light of high levels of lead in tap water in Flint, Mich. — and to ask the towns’ elected officials what Charlotte Water can do to improve its service.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 18:14

Jeter files bill to kill toll lanes

RALEIGH, N.C. -- On the first day of the North Carolina General Assembly’s short session on Monday, North Carolina Rep. Charles Jeter (R-D92) of Huntersville introduced House Bill 954, calling for the termination of the contract between the North Carolina Department of Transportation and I-77 Mobility Partners to widen I-77 from downtown Charlotte to Mooresville by building new managed lanes.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- On a typical weekday, the total number of vehicles that pass through Gilead Road intersections at U.S. 21 and N.C. 115 in Huntersville during peak morning and afternoon commute times is almost equal to the combined total number of people who live, not just drive, in the neighboring towns of Davidson and Mount Holly.

Separate traffic counts conducted during the 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. time slots on Thursday, April 30, and Tuesday, Sept. 1, last year — by all indications normal days for traffic flow — show 14,273 vehicles approaching the four-way U.S. 21/Gilead intersection near Interstate 77’s Exit 23, and 8,526 approaching the four-way Gilead/N.C. 115 intersection roughly one mile east of I-77 in downtown Huntersville.

For motorists who pass through either (or both) intersection(s) on their daily trek, and regularly grind to a halt wondering what, if anything, is happening at the traffic light barely visible on the horizon, those numbers aren’t surprising. But they do provide a statistical glimpse into why major projects involving both intersections, each designed to ease congestion and move traffic better, are in the works.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 18:03

Cornelius budget heats up

Talk of possible tax hike dates back to retreat.

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- Year after year, the budget season at Cornelius Town Hall could best be described as pedestrian. Even as commissioners wrestled with the mathematical algorithms in the aftermath of 2011’s troubled countywide revaluation, by the time the budget was discussed in the meeting chamber there were no more than one or two citizens signed up to comment on the town’s taxing and spending plan.

This year’s budget season, though, figures to be more contentious than normal as commissioners wrestle with growing operational and new capital needs within the town’s current property tax revenue stream.

During the town board’s planning and zoning retreat in Winston-Salem in March, Mayor Chuck Travis likened the town’s recent budgeting history of holding the line on taxes in the face of growing expenses to “kicking the can down the road.” But the road this year and five years into the future appears to extend beyond the kicked can coverage, setting up a budget battle that began to play out in e-mail last week.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 17:55

HLC has eyes on Huntersville barber shop

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Another enduring piece of Huntersville’s past could be destined for protection by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC).

During last week’s Huntersville Town Board meeting, a public hearing cleared the way for an April decision concerning historic landmark designation for a nearly 100-year-old-building on Main Street. At the hearing, Stewart Gray, preservation planner with the HLC, addressed the board and outlined the reasons for seeking the designation for the old Walters Barber Shop building at 112 and 114 S. Main St. The HLC wants to purchase the building, built in 1920, and place covenants on the structure to prevent its demolition.

Gray said the request for town cooperation was linked to HLC policies that prevent it from purchasing a structure that doesn’t have historic designation. He added that, once it acquired the building, the HLC would make basic repairs and then market the building to potential developers.