Wednesday, 16 August 2017 08:27

New anonymous messaging app spreads negativity

A new smartphone application called Sarahah is making the rounds, and it’s Russian roulette for your emotions if you choose to download it.

My passion for writing started when I was 8 years old. My east Texas teacher issued a challenge shortly before 10 a.m., the magic time when recess began. Mrs. Jenkins told us that whoever could write the best one-page essay would get an additional ten minutes on the recess field. She would give us writing prompts, and that day’s prompt was “falling from the sky.” I wrote about money falling from the sky, and what everyone who caught it would want to buy.

In last week’s Citizen, we had some fun in the Talk of the Towns section at the expense of those who embrace the concept (or at least some aspects of it) that Earth is not a sphere orbiting the sun as part of a network of moons, planets and stars hurtling through an infinite environment called space. These folks, many of them card-carrying members of an organization called the Flat Earth Society, back a different theory that envisions Earth as a massive frisbee-like disc with continents, oceans, mountains and more positioned along a fairly flat plane surrounded by a patrolled and protected 150-foot-high wall of ice.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017 07:25

The start of something new

Before you start here, read Andy Warfield’s column (go here).

It’s about endings, and new beginnings, and what Andy says about them having a different meaning to every person couldn’t be more accurate, or more appropriate.

It’s funny sometimes how the same string of words can mean so many different things to different people. That’s the beauty of language, and the mystique of interpretation.

In the iconic song “Closing Time” by the band Semisonic is a lyric so personal it can mean something different to everyone who hears it, either set against the context of the remainder of the song or completely separated from it. The line goes: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Not so long ago, this line held two meanings for me: one was the conclusion of a long relationship tempered by the promise of what tomorrow might bring and, just more than a year earlier than that, the closing of one career chapter and the opening of the one you now hold in your hands.

And now, for me, it’s time for that beginning to end, and for another new beginning.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 21:33

Corrections never reverse damage done

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- First do no harm. What a simple and great philosophy.

In the medical field, it’s not only a vital guiding principle, but also a clear reminder of the damage a wrong procedure could produce. There are other versions for other professions — for carpenters, it’s measure twice, cut once — but the bottomline advice remains the same: if you aren’t going to make things better, usually it’s best not to do anything.

The adage also applies in the newspaper business, especially for us older folks. The terror of getting something wrong always outweighs the potential thrill of reporting something first. And the possibility of misleading readers is always considered a more harmful sin than leaving them uninformed. And with a weekly community newspaper, the threat seems greater because, despite the presence of the Internet, webpages and social media platforms, there are still seven full days between a mistake and the appropriate, similarly-positioned publication of a correction.

Editor’s note: Chuck Travis is a two-term Cornelius town commissioner and two-term mayor. Following is an open letter to the town’s residents to address the state of the town and to formally announce he is not seeking re-election.

As fellow architect Daniel Burnham once said, “make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” During my time as mayor of Cornelius, I have focused on elevating the “vision” of what our town can become, not just for today, but what we have the ability to become in the years ahead. My other priority has been to build cooperative relationships throughout our region and state. Cornelius should have impact beyond our town limits with a “seat at the table” when policy decisions that will affect us are being made. I joined the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition of North Carolina, where I was elected vice chairman, to lead conversations regarding the urban areas with other mayors of the largest cities from around our state. Building strong friendships with state legislators and leaders in the nation’s capital has been important as we build partnerships for enabling us to move forward as a town.

Monday, 10 July 2017 12:35

Proud to be an Indian-American

 Stars and stripes, red and blue! These colors and patterns have come to represent not only the American flag but also summer, barbecues and holidays. Recently, I came across an article in Time magazine that noted how the popularity of the American Flag is not limited to Flag Day or Independence Day but, lasts all year. 

I guess we will continue to see the flag on a wide range of merchandise ranging from swimsuits to paper plates, but do we stop to think about the flag’s significance and what it stands for? Personally, I think it means so much more than a static symbol of a nation. It reflects the love and respect you have for your country. For that reason, images of the flag do not, in my opinion, belong on flip-flops or disposable plates. Similarly, I would not appreciate pictures of Ganesh, the Hindu God, on shower curtains or candy wrappers as it has religious significance. 

Monday, 03 July 2017 16:04

My week alone with Doodle and Ziggy

I survived the test. In an annual battle of wits between me and two gray cats — a quiet but relentless war of patience, perseverance and paw-pressure designed to shatter my sense of worth and show me, once again, that in terms of stubbornness, steadfastness and snub-ability, in the eyes of these two, I’m merely and weakly only human — I emerged, beaten and bloodied, but nevertheless, intact.

Most of the time, I am the expendable but tolerated evil in a daily family routine that involves the cats — a bulky boy named Ziggy and his muscular but shy sister Doodle who have been part of our household for a decade — orbiting around my daughter. She is regularly greeted with purrs, curling tails and shin rubs while I usually encounter disinterested stares sometimes — but not all that often — accompanied by “well, did you bring me anything?” glances of disgust preceding a dismissive flick of the tail and abandonment.

But last week, things were a little different.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 06:05

Celebrate, not hate all our differences

A few months ago, I stood on the steps leading up to the sanctuary entrance at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. There was a small collection of colorful bouquets placed in front of the bright, stonewashed wall near the archway beneath the stairs, a lone but stark reminder of the nine murders at the church in June 2015.

Last Saturday, I stood with my daughter as we watched the raucous and ridiculously fun and gaudy New Orleans Pride Parade enter the French Quarter, dance by our balcony overlooking Toulouse Street and slowly proceed toward a lavish reception and extended celebration on Bourbon Street. Music blared, people laughed, strings of colorful beads soared through the air and cheers welcomed the waving passengers on each colorful float. The official part of the parade ended an hour later, but I’m sure the party — as it always does in New Orleans — kept going until at least 2 a.m., just 24 hours before services across the nation began to commemorate the one-year anniversary of 49 murders at the Pulse gay bar, dance club and nightclub in Orlando.

“Volume 9, No. 1.”

There are few words on the cover of this newspaper, but to some of us, those are the most important.

Those words mean that this week’s edition of the Lake Norman Citizen is the first of our ninth year; eight full years in the books since a handful of enterprising folks created from scratch a community newspaper with the intention of becoming the de facto paper of record.

In 2009.