News Briefs for July

Mount Holly approves 2012-13 budget

MOUNT HOLLY – Mount Holly City Council unanimously approved the city’s 2012-13 budget at its June 11 meeting. The vote followed three budget work sessions and a public hearing.

The $15.6 million budget keeps the current tax rate of 53 cents per $100 of taxable property within the city limits. An owner of a $100,000 Mount Holly home would receive a $530 property tax bill.

Utility rates also remain the same. Residents who use less than 2,000 gallons of water a month should receive a basic monthly water bill for $3.35 and sewer service bill of $3.07.

City workers will also receive a 3 percent cost-of-living pay raise.

City officials credited robust sales tax revenues for keeping budget negotiations relatively stress-free. Sales tax revenues in Mount Holly topped $2 million last year and accounted for nearly one-fourth of all general fund revenues.

Early voting for second primary under way

Early voting for the second state primary began Thursday, June 28. Election Day is July 17. For more information and voting locations, visit or

Mecklenburg hires revaluation manager

CHARLOTTE -– Mecklenburg County hired Kimberly Horton as the new Revaluation Manager. Horton is the former tax administrator for Chatham and Alamance counties and has 18 years’ experience in mass appraisal of real property. She has a business management degree from Central Carolina Community College.

Residents in northern Mecklenburg County frustrated with property tax revaluations earlier this year have been asking for reform in the process.

Gaston County celebrates Parks and Rec Month with free events

GASTONIA – Gaston County Parks and Recreation will celebrate Parks and Recreation Month throughout July.

The month-long celebration kicks off with a Wild-cat Fish Kids Fishing Tournament at Dallas Park on July 7 at 9 a.m.

A Senior Watermelon Jubilee follows on July 13 at 11 a.m. at Dallas park. The event will feature free hotdogs and watermelon. The Parks and Recreation Department will also show the film “Soul Surfer “at the Dallas Park Amphitheatre at 8 a.m. on July 20.

The celebration ends with Bark in the Park on July 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at George Poston Dog Park. Organizers will give out free treats to dogs.

Details: 704-922-2160 or

Jubilee to benefit Freedom Schools

CHARLOTTE – The Freedom School Partners’ annual fundraising event “I am Freedom School” has broken records with $125,000 in sponsorships, led by presenting sponsors Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

The jubilee will be held July 19 noon-1:30 p.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. Tryon St. The jubilee focuses on the importance of summer-time educational enrichment for kindergarteners through eighth-graders.

The luncheon will include 1,600 Freedom Schools students and 550 community guests celebrating summer learning with musical entertainment and story reading.

Davidson College will host the local Freedom School from June 22 to July 28.

For more information, contact Ian Hartner at or 704-371-4922.

Blood Center holds Gaston blood drives in July

The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas holds the following Gaston County Blood Drives throughout July.

• July 7, Regal Cinema-Franklin Square, 3778 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, 4-8 p.m. All donors receive a free movie ticket.

• July 9, Gaston County Family YMCA Central Branch, 615 W. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, 5-7 p.m.

• July 13, Courtney Dalamangas Student Summer Drive, 608 E. 2nd Ave., Gastonia. 3-7 p.m.

• July 16, Ashley Bradley Student Scholarship Drive, Ebenezer United Methodist Church, 120 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road, Belmont. 4-7 p.m.

• July 24, Gastonia Conference Center, 145 S. Marietta St., Gastonia. 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

• July 29, Forest Pointe Church, 196 YMCA Drive, Belmont. Noon-4 p.m.

The blood center is participating in the Pints for Patriots program through July 31. For every pint of blood collected, Community Blood Center of the Carolinas will make a financial contribution to support military families and to thank hospitalized veterans in the Carolinas with a Freedom Coin. Each coin will include a thank-you note listing the donor’s name.

Blood donors must weigh at least 120 pounds.

For more information, go to or call Jennifer Clendenin at 704-972-4700.

Gaston County Police look into death of Stanley logger

GASTONIA – The Gaston County Police Department is investigating the death of a Dustin Ellis Logging Company Employee who was allegedly crushed by a falling tree.

County police and emergency rescue staff responded to call on Blacksnake Road, just outside the city limits of Stanley. Responders arrived and found Michael Scott Wyatt, 35, of Gastonia, dead. Police say Wyatt had been cutting down a large tree when the base landed on top of him as he fell. Workers at the site had tried to free Wyatt, but he had already died from injuries.

Summer travelers: parking will be crowded

CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is expecting a busy summer travel season, meaning parking at the airport will be at a premium. Airport construction will eliminate some available parking and create  high demand for spaces6. The airport’s real-time parking map is available online at Passengers can check the map or call 704-359-5555 before heading to the airport to check parking availability. The new SmartPark Express system and credit card lanes help passengers get out of long-term lots quickly.

To alleviate parking issues, the airport suggests:

• Get dropped off, carpool or ride the CATS Airport Sprinter

• When picking up fliers, use the airport’s free cell phone lot.

• Take a lot locator card from the SmartPark maps in parking lot bus shelters to help find your car when you return.

• The first 30 minutes in the hourly decks are free.

For more information and current parking rates, visit

Coast Guard Auxiliary offers safety checks

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering free vessel safety checks to keep boats safe on the lake this summer.

A trained and certified U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Examiner will check recreational boats for current safety standards including number, type and condition of life jackets and fire extinguishers, emergency distress signals, navigation lights, ventilation, registration and numbering.

The organization also recommends having a maring VHF-FM radio, dewatering device, anchor and first aid kit on board.

To find a convenient examiner, visit

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