Wednesday, 09 August 2017 08:09

Horse's Mouth for August 9, 2017

“This is ugly as sin.”
— Cornelius Commissioner Dave Gilroy referring to the parking lot shown on the proposed site plan for an expanded Mama’s Pizza Express.

Wednesday, 02 August 2017 07:24

Horse's Mouth for August 2, 2017

“I don’t know who is going to serve, but I hope it is a productive campaign about issues, without all the stress and divisiveness that has emerged in recent campaigns.”

— Washam, referencing the 11-candidate field (including four incumbents) in the race for five Cornelius Town Board seats and his hope that the election is about issues, not intrigue.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 07:06

Horse's Mouth for July 26, 2017

“I love being able to tell people he was my brother. That will never get old I don’t guess.”

— Huntersville’s Viki Wilhelm Hager, younger sister of Hall of Fame pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm.

“We took a ball that he gave us, signed by everybody from the Atlanta Braves and played with it in the yard and lost it.”

— Rodney Wilhelm on what happened to a baseball his famous uncle gave him as a kid.  

“Wait until it stopped rolling and then just pick it up.”

— Hall of Fame baseball announcer and forgettable catcher Bob Uecker on the best strategy for catching a knuckleball like Wilhelm’s.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 18:14

Horse's Mouth for July 19, 2017

“I interpret (the value) to mean that we should act to protect the small-town atmosphere and values of Davidson, and in my judgment, although this is a good plan by good people, it doesn’t do that.”

— Davidson Commissioner Jim Fuller referencing the town’s fifth core value of small town character and village-centered growth, explaining why he was opposed to a development on town-owned land along Beaty Street.

“This is a plan that will realistically result in a park. We have a number of core values … and I think this plan addresses not all of them, but a balance of them.”

— Davidson Commissioner Rodney Graham explaining why he intended to vote in favor of the planned development.

“It’s a team effort. I have trouble wrapping my head around it. I am just so thankful that it’s built into something that people want to be a part of.”

— Miles Brown, co-founder of Barnstock with brother, Daniel, and sister, Julia, which they originally created as a high school community service project.

“There’s something going on — a growth element to it, which is crazy to step back and see how it’s grown. There were just a couple hundred high school kids, now there are 1,000 people.”

— Brown on the steady growth of Barnstock over its first eight years.

“For six and a half months now, he’s handled himself in a great professional manner and there is a good atmosphere at Town Hall — and it’s not just because he’s sitting next to me.”

— Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla listing some of the achievements of new Town Manager Gerry Vincent after the Town Board voted to remove the “interim” label from Vincent’s title.

“You took the heat, and you took the lead, and now other communities are riding your coattails.”

— Dr. Michael Brennan, saluting the Huntersville Town Board for authorizing the use of state grant money to finance ongoing multi-faceted research into local ocular melanoma cases.

“This is as bad as fluoride.”

— Huntersville Commissioner Charles Guignard — a long-time vocal opponent of fluoride in drinking water — comparing that practice to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools recently questioning the school attendance impact of a proposed expansion of a Huntersville residential development.

“It’s a deadly toxic waste, and so are they to the northern end of the county.”

— Guignard, elevating the level of his criticism of CMS practices.

“We are trying very hard not to be the entity that meets and passes business cards around, but to get to know each other.”

— Huntersville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jill Swain describing the difference between her group’s approach to supporting businesses as opposed to a more traditional chamber model.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017 17:25

Horse's Mouth for July 12, 2017

 “I have been involved in our town for more than 11 years, serving three years on the Planning Commission as a member, chairman and creator of the Architectural Review Board, four years as a town commissioner and the last four years as your mayor. Eleven years of giving back has been an extremely rewarding and impactful part of my life, and I am thankful for the opportunity and the faith that you have placed in me.”

— Cornelius Mayor Chuck Travis in an open letter to his town’s citizens.

“The people have always been the best part of The Pearl. Supporting events and causes dear to us and making people happy along the way, including making dreams come true for so many happy couples, was certainly the highlight of our time at The Pearl.”

— Armin Desch, owner of Armin’s Catering and the now-defunct The Pearl Wedding and Event Center, which recently closed, he says, because of mounting maintenance costs that should have been the responsibility of the property owner.

“This restaurant is going to be an absolutely beautiful part of the community.”

— Chris Boukedes, whose company will manage the new On the Nines Neighborhood Bistro at the recently renovated Mooresville Golf Club.

“We’ve partnered with a great town that has a great vision, and I think the community will be very happy with it.”

— Boukedes on his relationship with the Town of Mooresville, owner of Mooresville Golf Club and the Charles Mack Citizen Center, in which Boukedes will also offer catering services.

 “I thought about it, was pretty close to having surgery, but I cared about these guys too much at the end of the day. I was going to fight with everything I could to make sure I could play the season with them.”

— Former Davidson Wildcat basketball player Jack Gibbs, reflecting on his injury-filled senior season and why he decided to play and risk career-ending shoulder injury rather than undergo surgery and redshirt his senior year.

 “Towards the end of the year, I was pretty banged up. (I was) playing through a lot, but you expect that through a whole season. It’s pretty grueling.”

— Gibbs, whose senior year included a broken nose as well as knee, ankle, quad and calf injuries.

 “You could tell she was in pain, but the fact she wanted to be there no matter what shows what she did her whole life, just trying to make people happy. The smile that I have on the court I get from her. That’s something that I’ll always have and remember her for.”

— Gibbs on his late mother, Aloma, who came from Ohio to see her son play home games at Davidson and attended his final collegiate game in the Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinals. Aloma Gibbs died one month after that final game.

 “In 20 years, these kids will look back and see how special this championship was and cherish these memories with their teammates.”

— John Whittington, coach of Lake Norman Little League’s 6-7-year-old state championship baseball team.

Monday, 03 July 2017 15:38

Horse's Mouth for July 5, 2017

“The arts need to be connected to their communities, and through all of my different experiences, I’ve participated in and come to understand the idea of community.”

— Justin Dionne, who was recently named executive director of the Cornelius Arts Center.

“I’m passionate about how we connect through the arts and how they tell our stories. That’s how I get others excited about them.”

— Dionne, on the task he faces to garner community and financial support for the construction of the proposed arts center in downtown Cornelius.

“I was amazed at how quickly we heard from private investors. On the private side, we’re seeing interest from businesses that would go along well with art programming, like restaurants and microbreweries. On the public side, our appointed boards have gotten very excited about the possibilities the center brings, and they’re working to get ahead of the private investment to ensure that it’s done the Cornelius way, not only in architectural style but also with infrastructure needs in mind.”

— Cornelius Planning Director Wayne Herron on the anticipated catalyst affect of the new arts center.

“He’s got a good understanding of the need for engagement, not just with people here but also with Mooresville, Huntersville and the region, and he has a lot of positive energy. For an effort like this, you’ve got to have that energy.”

— Herron on Dionne’s diverse skill set.

“It has to be built by everybody together. This community, this region, we have a big job ahead of us.”

— Dionne on the task at hand.

"We’ve been meeting with Charlotte and the CMPD about the dispatch situation and reached an agreement for the current fiscal year. And we’re still in talks with CMPD, Iredell County and Cornelius to examine our options after that.”

— Huntersville Interim Town Manager Gerry Vincent announcing that the town will pay the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department $289,000 for annual police dispatch services while it continues to pursue future dispatch arrangements.

“Andrew has done an incredible job of leading the great mission of this foundation and has enlisted the support of so many of his teammates and so many in the Davidson community. I’m just part of that team, and I’m honored to be part of it.”

— Davidson College basketball coach Bob McKillop on former player Andrew Lovedale’s Access to Success Foundation, which serves to improve the lives of youngsters in his native Nigeria.

“If you’re going to fly somewhere, those are good things to fly to.”

— Huntersville resident and former UNC Tar Heel quarterback Mark Maye, whose recent travels include seeing one son, Luke, win the NCAA men’s basketball championship with the Tar Heels and another son, Cole, win the College World Series in his freshman season as a pitcher with the University of Florida Gators.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 16:23

Horse's Mouth for June 21, 2017

“I had the belief in myself that I could be a good player. I don’t know that I foresaw everything that happened this year, but I knew that I could

contribute to the team.”

— Davidson College left fielder Will Robertson on the struggles he experienced prior to his breakout senior season, which earned him a Major League Baseball draft selection by the Baltimore Orioles.

“I didn’t really believe it at first. Definitely a surreal experience. I was relieved, excited. I still don’t think it’s really set in.”

— Robertson, shortly after learning he was selected by the Orioles in the 30th round of the draft.

“If we don’t play in that game, who knows what happens? I give a lot of credit to the post-season run in terms of the national exposure and just getting to play in front of that guy that particular day.”

— Robertson, on his team’s surprising post-season performance and his solid performance in front of an Orioles’ scout against the UNC Tar Heels’ J.B. Bukauskas, who was drafted 15th overall by the Houston Astros.

“I have a little bit of Orioles gear right off the bat.”

— Robertson, who played for a teamed named after the Orioles in an 8-year-old coach pitch league in Greenville, S.C.

“One of the coolest things I’ll ever do as mayor.”

— Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla preparing to issue recognition certificates to recent high school graduates who enlisted for service in the Army.

“You’re going to get used to standing in line.”

— Aneralla joking with the new cadets while directing them to the front of the meeting chamber to receive their certificates.

“This would put a minor Band-Aid on the situation.”

— Huntersville Planning Director Jack Simoneau telling commissioners that a plan to address broken windows and security concerns at a vacant building on Main Street was considered a temporary step to address the problem.

“I’d be happy to answer your question, but would rather defer to the attorney.”

— Simoneau redirecting a question about the town’s potential liability related to work on the building to Town Attorney Bob Blythe.

“You would.”

— Blythe, in a side comment to Simoneau as he prepared to respond to Huntersville Commissioner Mark Gibbons’ inquiry.

“You may ask yourself, ‘Why are we touring Belmont?’”

— Cornelius Mayor Chuck Travis during Monday night’s Town Board meeting, describing a fact-finding trip he and some town staff took to the nearby Gaston County town to inspect its downtown revitalization efforts.

“I wanted to take the opportunity to go see what’s happening at a small town, smaller than what we have now, and making it unique. It’s amazing how dynamic their downtown is during the week.”

— Travis on Belmont.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 16:55

Horse's Mouth for June 14, 2017

“In general, the amount of interest from developers has increased three-fold. The interest is in all areas around the proposed arts center. The interest is exciting in that uses being proposed are varied and unique from boutique hotels to restaurants and bars with some upper level housing.”

— Cornelius Town Planner Wayne Herron on the value of the proposed Cornelius Arts Center as a development catalyst in the downtown area.

“The work going on in Huntersville is having an impact by illustrating the importance of having a better overall collection of information about all patients.”

— Huntersville ocular melanoma cluster research coordinator Dr. Michael Brennan about the importance of expanded registry efforts not only for the local cases, but for all cancer patients.

“Our review has not identified particular violations of campaign finance law.”

— Statement sent to Huntersville Town Attorney Bob Blythe from the North Carolina Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement regarding allegations former Mayor Jill Swain benefitted illicitly from privileges extended to the mayor’s office by NorthStone Country Club.

“That’s probably not going to fly right now. It’s never been an issue before.”

— Davidson College relief pitcher Cody White, a Texas native, upon removing his Texas A&M ballcap from his locker prior to practice last week before traveling to College Station for the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals. He occasionally wore the cap to practice.

“The Aggies are pretty big-time in Texas and especially in recent years, they’ve kind of eclipsed UT as the team to beat in Texas. Being from there and knowing the power they are and getting to go up and play them on this big of a stage is not something we expected to do, but it’s also incredible for someone from Texas.”

— White, on the prospect of his Wildcats playing the Aggies in the Super Regionals.

“He’s always been quiet so we’ve always joked that he was just some assassin. We don’t want to ever make fun of him behind his back because someone’s going to get a blowdart in the back of the neck. He has this aura to him, this mystery.”

— White on teammate and fellow Texan and closer Westin Whitmire. The two grew up together in Texas before both committing to Davidson.

“He’s just having the time of his life out here. He’s just the kind of guy you can always count on, and that’s something I’ve had since the third grade.”

— Whitmire on friend, teammate and roommate White.

“It’s beyond what we dreamed of.”

— White on his senior year as a Davidson Wildcat.

“A lot of people were paying attention.”

— Davidson baseball coach Dick Cooke on the e-mails from across the country he received as a result of his team’s post-season run.

“Right now I still have some of the sting of just being so close. A few breaks here, a few breaks there and we’re going to Omaha. But I think I’ll remember the feeling of being around my teammates, how many people reached out.”

— Davidson senior right fielder Will Robertson.

“He’s a legend in all of our eyes. To see him run out there so many times inspired us.”

— Robertson on senior pitcher Durin O’Linger, who gained legendary status this post-season by throwing 502 pitches in 28.2 innings, earning three wins and one save in a 16-day span.

Tuesday, 06 June 2017 17:08

Horse's Mouth for June 7, 2017

“Congratulations, Mr. Bowman. It’s been 20 years.”

— Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla immediately after the Town Board gave final approval to the zoning changes and sketch plan proposals developer Nate Bowman submitted for the long-vacant Anchor Mill property in downtown Huntersville.


— Bowman deadpanned, reluctantly acknowledging that he made his first attempt to partner with the town on the development of the property in the late 1990s, but not quite two decades ago.

“Like I’ve said before, if you see me running, you better be running, too.”

— Huntersville Commissioner Danny Phillips emphasizing in his Visit Lake Norman update that he only reported about the Warrior Dash race held at Historic Rural Hill, not participated.

“I really want to add R2D2 to that.”

— Huntersville Commissioner Rob Kidwell suggesting the name of a Star Wars character would be a fitting addition to a rezoning approval that referenced 10 lettered and numbered goals (items such as H1, E5, CD-3, PF-2 and DT6) pulled from the town’s 2030 Community Plan.

“My wife and I bought a lot and built a house basically to get away from traffic, if you can believe that.”

— Twenty-nine-year Cornelius resident and retired Charlotte Chamber of Commerce President Carroll Gray, who was addressing the Cornelius Town Board of Commissioners about the proposed fiscal year 2018 budget.

“A lot of people back-slapping, I don’t know. I’m opposed to the budget. I don’t think the pencil was sharpened enough.”

— Cornelius Commissioner Dave Gilroy, expressing his dissatisfaction with the town’s budget before casting the lone dissenting vote.

“I think we had a great process this year. No budget is perfect. There are a lot of things I wish we could have done. Dave does a good thing on our board to force us to think about things. He’s not always right, and neither are we.”

— Cornelius Commissioner Woody Washam on the budget.

“We’ve always joked about we’re going to have a big moment, a big play at the plate one of these days, and it never happened until last night.”

— Davidson College catcher Jake Sidwell said Monday morning following a game-saving play against North Carolina with right fielder and four-year roommate Will Robertson. It was the first time the two hooked up for a putout.

“I’ve said all year I’ve got one bullet left because I’m getting old now and my arm isn’t what it used to be.”

— An “aging” Robertson, who does suffer from shoulder problems in his throwing arm.

“That was a good time for it. I’m just glad to not be officially unemployed for another week.”

— Sidwell, who has already graduated.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017 17:29

Horse's Mouth for May 31, 2017

“Well it does seem inevitable that some type of change will need to be made shortly.”

— 82-year-old Huntersville Town Attorney Bob Blythe, the town’s legal counsel since 1963, pointing out that his retirement is probably not too far in the future.

“We’re not really talking about any more five-year plans ... probably more like six-month plans we can keep renewing.”

— Blythe, joking about his and the town’s approach to his continued service.

“We don’t track that information directly, but the trend seems to be that larger municipalities, and growing municipalities, usually have an in-house legal department.”

— Scott Mooneyham, an advocacy communications strategist with the North Carolina League of Municipalities, relaying information concerning cities and towns in the state.

“Having a full-time person on staff would be better.”

— Huntersville Commissioner Rob Kidwell sharing his opinion about the town’s future plans for coping with legal matters.

“It’s also important to know that no matter which choice the town makes, some legal work will still be contracted out.”

— Huntersville Finance Director Jackie Huffman pointing out that some areas of the town’s administration responsibilities, with or without a town attorney on staff, will require outside legal advice and services.

“We had them on the ropes for a little bit, so we know we can hang with them, and I think that’s good going into this. We haven’t faced a lot of the national powers, but to know we can hang with them is definitely a confidence boost. We know they’re a good team, but we also know that we’re playing well right now.”

— Davidson College senior right fielder Will Robertson, who leads the NCAA Tournament-bound Wildcats with a .335 average and 18 home runs, on their first opponent in Chapel Hill Regional, the UNC Tar Heels.

“We had a great ball game against them, one that in theory we let leak away.”

— Davidson College baseball coach Dick Cooke, on his team’s prior meeting with the Tar Heels this season, when the Wildcats led Carolina 6-3 into the bottom of the ninth inning before losing 7-6 in 10

“Being a fifth-year senior and not having much left after this, I just didn’t want this to end.”

— Davidson senior pitcher Durin O’Linger, who threw 14.1 innings and earned two victories during last week’s Atlantic 10 conference tournament.

“That alone made it worthwhile for me. Will’s been here doing the same things for 33 years with a smile on his face. He dies with us when we lose, smiles when we win and dials it up the next day.”

— Cooke on the reaction to the A10 championship by long-time assistant equipment manager Will Dubose.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 16:25

Horse's Mouth for May 24, 2017

“This is an issue we wish people wouldn’t call and complain about. It’s illegal and when we get called on it we have to enforce it to a degree because there is liability for us. We are kind of caught in the middle of it. I’m not opposed to a golf cart ordinance, but my concern is we have to be very careful not to implement something that works in one place but not in another.”

— Cornelius Police Chief Bence Hoyle to town commissioners following comments from residents of the Bahia Bay neighborhood asking for an ordinance making it legal to ride golf carts on their neighborhood streets.

“I think it’s the wave of the future and it’s something we’ll have to address sooner or later.”

— Cornelius Commissioner Woody Washam on the growing popularity of golf cart communities.

“One thing I have learned is people will be people.”

— Hoyle on his concerns that an ordinance that restricts golf carts to certain streets would be abused.

“We don’t want them running up and down West Catawba. That’s a suicide mission.”

— Hoyle on kamikaze golf cart drivers.

“Gators run forever.”

— Huntersville Commissioner Danny Phillips suggesting a John Deere Gator utility vehicle that is currently surplus equipment in the public works department could be transformed into a useful item for the parks and recreation department.

“They run until they get hit on the highway.”

— Commissioner Charles Guignard quickly referencing an accident last year in which Phillips, riding a Gator and attempting to cross the road near his home, was seriously injured in a collision with a passing vehicle.

“It’s still running. It’s just warped.”

— Phillips, quickly defending the Gator brand.

“I have a 21-inch mower, so I’ll leave the decisions about tractors to those who know more about it.”

— Huntersville Commissioner Rob Kidwell after a lengthy back-and-forth budget review session discussion about Parks and Recreation Department plans to purchase a tractor.

“It’s an automatic renewal, but not at the same price. The deal says they can raise the price, but it also defines the formula they are supposed to use to determine the increase.”

— Huntersville Police Chief Cleveland Spruill explaining that he doesn’t think the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department used the correct call volume numbers to determine Huntersville’s annual cost for police dispatch services should increase from $275,000 to $689,000.

“Don’t pay them a damn thing.”

— Phillips, offering a sure-to-get-their attention approach to express the town’s dissatisfaction with the CMPD implementation of the automatic renewal clause that resulted in the $400,000-plus increase.

“I am grateful to so many SwimMAC athletes, parents, staff, and supporters for the opportunity to have led this club. I am also extremely proud of the program that, working together as a team, we have been able to develop over the past 10 years.”

— Outgoing SwimMAC CEO David Marsh.