Protesters, supporters turn out for town hall meeting on health care 5A
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Also serving LAKE PARK and STALLINGS
Union fugitive caught in Bulgaria Extradited woman is accused of enslaving, abusing three girls in 2005 BY JASON deBRUYN
Police say Mercedes Farquharson fled to Spain and Bulgaria to avoid prosecution.
email@example.com MONROE A woman who is accused of forcing three girls into servitude by beating them and claiming she was Jesus Christ has been extradited to the United States after almost four years in Europe. In 2005, police say, Mercedes Farquharson held
three young women, ages 15, 18 and 22 at the time, and forced them to do manual labor that includ-
ed taking care of farm animals and yard work in conditions Sheriff ’s Office Detective John Young described at the time as “nasty.” The girls and Farquharson lived at 3018 Hampton Meadows Drive after the girls’ parents agreed to give the girls into Farquharson’s care. “It’s been a long time coming,” Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey
said. “We’re certainly glad to have her back here in the country.” Sheriff ’s deputies and officials from the Department of Social Services went to the house after a tip from a neighbor on Dec. 21, 2005. When they arrived, the girls were alone. Farquharson had not been not seen again until she was brought back to North Carolina
on Friday. In the spring of 2006, the girls, Holly and Jasmine Lloyd and the 15-year-old whose name was withheld because of her age, told their story to The Enquirer-Journal. “She was cutting my hair as a punishment and the razor stopped working, and she was so angry she started hitting me with the razor and made
a huge gash on my head,” The 15-year-old said. “The blood soaked my shirt and was all over the floor. I thought I was going to bleed to death. “Then another time she bashed my head against the wall and it started bleeding badly again,” she said. “That time it hurt even more, I guess be-
See FUGITIVE / 5A
A Saturday of Caring
930 volunteers tackle 84 projects in eight-hour sweep
How to build a school in Nepal
BY JASON deBRUYN
firstname.lastname@example.org MONROE Doris Love stood with both hands resting on the porch rail. Her cane hung to her right and a dog lay to her left. Love, who buried her husband of 57 years less than a week ago, said she thought she was not going Inside to have a The United good day Way faces when she $1 million woke up challenge S at u rd ay See 9A mor ning. “Today was going to be a sad day,” she said. That changed, however, when a group of United Way volunteers showed up at her house off Goldmine Road in Monroe. The volunteers weeded flower beds, raked the yard and spread new mulch around the porch; and did so with smiles seemingly tattooed on their faces. “They just showed an outpouring of love,” said Love, or Miss Love as the group called her. “You hear about so many bad things in the world, but these people make you forget all that.” Index Churches Classifieds Editorial Local Obituaries Schools Sports
Page 8A Page 3B Page 6A Page 4A Page 10A Page 2A Page 1B
The Indian Trail Trader is a free, weekly paper published by The Enquirer-Journal P.O. Box 5040 Monroe, NC 28110 enquirerjournal.com Delivery: 704-261-2215 Ad sales: 704-261-2205 Editorial: 704-261-2223
BY TIFFANY LANE
Staff photo by Rick Crider
Jake Plue and other adults with developmental disabilities will move into a new group home that Goodrich Corp. volunteers helped repair and renovate during the United Way Day of Caring on Saturday. The group of volunteers from Citizens South Bank joined more than 930 volunteers from 45 local businesses, civic
groups, churches and other groups for the 17th annual Day of Caring, a day dedicated to making a positive impact on Union
County. There were 84 projects similar to Love’s countywide. As with most service projects, those doing the
Local SAT scores rise By Tiffany Lane
email@example.com Monroe Union County Public Schools’ SAT scores outrank the state and nation for the fourth year in a row. School officials said higher student participation in Advanced Placement and honors courses have a lot to do with it. “It’s the level of intensity” coupled with a focus on critical thinking, Forest Hills High School principal Wanda Little said. Forest
Hills’ average SAT score went up nine points from last year — the same time that three new AP classes were introduced. This year’s curriculum includes three more AP options, including AP world history, psychology and art. Countywide SAT scores released Tuesday show an average combined math and critical reading, or verbal, score of 1,029, up five points from last year. The average state score was 1,006; it was 1,016 nationwide.
Monroe High School had the biggest jump from last year, up 38 points to an average score of 936. “We have a very strong faculty,” Monroe principal Doreen Dotalo said; teachers hold students to high standards and know how to reach a certain “profile.” Among last year’s 131 seniors, Dotalo said there was exceptional talent in both academics and the arts. The senior class racked
See SAT / 3A
work are often as fulfilled as those they are serving. “This always makes
See CARING / 9A
The following are average combined math and critical reading scores for each high school. The highest combined score is a 1600. ‘07-08 CATA n/a Forest Hills 959 Marvin Ridge n/a Monroe 898 Parkwood 1030 Piedmont 1008 Porter Ridge 1018 Sun Valley 1014 Weddington 1071
‘08-09 993 968 1091 936 1020 1009 1001 1006 1074
Source: Union County Public Schools
MONROE Jeff Gaura has led in the building of two Nepali boarding schools, one mango tree and donkey load of cement at a time. He has a third on the way. A New York native, Gaura lives in New Salem and heads an 18-person network consulting c o m p a n y. He and his Jeff Gaura wife have divides his two sons, ages 8 and time between 18. B e f o r e New Salem the wife and and Nepal, kids, Gaura where he was a Peace works to Corps vol- build schools. unteer in Dang Valley, Nepal, from 1987 to 1989, working as a math and science teacher, and later, a community developer. Now fluent in Nepali, he keeps in contact with people there and said the No. 1 need is schools. More than half of the students there drop out by seventh grade, he said, contributing to making Nepal one of poorest, least literate countries in the world. The first two schools, Saudiyar Middle and Sucrawar Elementary, were built in less than a year. The elementary school was completed this spring.
See Q&A / 8A
2A / Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Indian Trail Trader
UCPS menus Elementary
Today: Cheese stix dippers, turkey tetrazzini, quick baked potatoes, green beans, salad, watermelon, fruit, yeast roll Thursday: Taco salad, pork chopper on whole wheat bun, potato smiles, steamed broccoli, tropical fruit, fruit Friday: Cheese pizza, turkey deluxe on hearty roll, potato bites, fruited spinach, salad, pear halves, fruit Monday: Labor Day holiday Tuesday: pepperoni pizza, chef salad, baked potato, green beans, spiced apples, fruit, saltine crackers Wednesday: chicken and pasta, toasted cheese sandwich, whole kernel corn, spinach salad, fruit cup, fruit, biscuit Thursday: chicken patty
sandwich, country-style steak with rice and gravy, sweet potato souffle, tossed salad, blueberry cup Friday: cheese pizza, fish sticks with tarter sauce, baked french fries, creamy coleslaw, peaches, fruit, cornbread
Today: Cheese stix dippers, turkey tetrazzini, quick baked potatoes, green beans, salad, watermelon, fruit, yeast roll Thursday: Taco salad, pork chopper on whole wheat bun, potato smiles, steamed broccoli, pasta salad, tropical fruit, fruit Friday: Cheese pizza, turkey deluxe on hearty roll, potato bites, capri blend, fruited spinach, salad, pear halves, fruit Monday: Labor Day holiday
Tuesday: pepperoni pizza, chef salad, baked potato, green beans, pear salad, spiced apples, fruit, saltine crackers Wednesday: chicken and pasta, toasted cheese sandwich, whole kernel corn, green peas, spinach salad, fruit cup, fruit, biscuit Thursday: chicken patty sandwich, country-style steak with rice and gravy, sweet potato souffle, lima beans, tossed salad, blueberry cup, fruit, sesame seed roll Friday: cheese pizza, fish sticks with tarter sauce, baked french fries, carrot coins, creamy coleslaw, peaches, fruit, cornbread
Today: Spaghetti and meat sauce, yogurt cup, turkey on
whole wheat bread, oven roasted potatoes, California blend, caesar salad, watermelon, fruit, french bread Thursday: Oven fried chicken, veggie sub on a hearty bun, mashed potatoes with gravy, steamed cabbage, cucumber/ tomato salad, pear halves, fruit, cornbread Friday: Taco salad, hot dog on a bun, potato smiles, green beans, coleslaw, peach cup, fruit Monday: Labor Day holiday Tuesday: lasagna, barbecue on roll, potato bites, steamed broccoli, tossed salad, cantaloupe chunks, fruit, garlic bread Wednesday: soft taco, cheese stix dippers, refried beans, Capri blend, Mexican garden salad, pear halves, fruit Thursday: chicken dinner, ham and cheese on a bun, corn on the cob, green beans, spinach
salad, strawberry cup, fruit, poppy seed roll Friday: pepperoni pizza, fish sandwich, parsley potatoes, carrot coins, pepper slaw, pineapple and applesauce, fruit
Today: Cheetos/baked, juice Thursday: Assorted breakfast, cereals, milk Friday: Pretzels, juice Monday: Labor Day holiday Tuesday: multi grain chips, juice Wednesday: bug bites, milk Thursday: goldfish cheddar, crackers, juice Friday: fruit pastry, juice — UCPS menus are available online at http://nutrition.ucps. k12.nc.us/php/menus.php
Massage therapists seek clients MONROE South Piedmont Community College’s massage therapy program is looking for people who want to participate in massage clinics Thursdays until Nov. 19. All clinics are at SPCC’s Monroe campus at 4209 Old Charlotte Highway. First-year massage therapy students focus on entry-level techniques like Swedish massages. The cost is $20 per hour. Sessions with second-year students are $35 per hour. One-hour massage times are 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m. Appointments are required. Contact Mary Berger at 704-290-5865.
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SATs: What do they measure? Director of student testing Carolyn White said the SAT is more popular in this part of the country, but some students might decide to take the ACT. The SAT covers math, critical thinking/verbal and writing. The ACT covers math, reading, English and science, and includes an optional writing portion. Monroe High School principal Doreen Dotalo said students looking for alternatives to a four-year college might favor the ACT, although neither test is “better” than the other. Forty Monroe students opted for the ACT last year. Some take both the ACT and SAT. White said colleges and most scholarships accept either one. — Tiffany Lane
SAT Contributed from 1A up 601 college applications — almost five apiece — and earned more than $3 million in scholarship money. How will they top it? “We’re going to work even harder,” Dotalo said, adding that the school constantly promotes online SAT preparation and after-school practice sessions. This “takes away the fear of testing,” she said, and the more students practice that kind of test, the better they will get. Of nine county high schools, four went up in SAT scores, three went down and two had SAT scores for the first time. Superintendent Ed Davis said comparing them wouldn’t be “apples to apples” because all vary in student population and demographics. Carolyn White, UCPS director of student testing, said students from all schools are encouraged to take advanced courses
if their teachers or guidance counselors think they are cut out for it. Sometimes students are “GPA driven,” Davis said, and don’t want to take harder classes, but they also need to challenge themselves. Their GPA might not be as high with a “B” as an “A,” but they will get a more in-depth education with advanced courses. Early preparation for the SAT could also yield higher scores, he said, opening doors for students to attend the college of choice. Having that practice also bumps up their confidence for the SAT, he said, making the test “less daunting.” Students generally take a preliminary SAT their junior year of high school. Those who do exceptionally well have a chance at National Merit scholarships — another incentive to practice in and out of class, White said. Taking AP and honors classes could also cut down on college expenses, she added. Many ad-
www.tbsgllc.com/survey.aspx The purpose of this survey is to see if the citizens of Union County, North Carolina would be interested in purchasing craft (specialty) regular beers & wines for off premise or on premise consumption. Craft (specialty) regular beers & wines are beverage products that are growing at a significant market rate that are made by domestic and foreign micro-breweries and wineries. Please visit our website, to take the survey go to
Wednesday, September 2, 2009 / vanced classes transfer to college credit, requiring less money for tuition. Of 2,170 UCPS seniors last year, nearly 64 percent of them took the SAT. That number is slightly above state figures and almost 18 percent higher than national figures. Many of these students are enrolled in advanced classes. “Over time, more North Carolina students have decided to take the SAT and AP courses,” state
Superintendent June Atkinson said in a press release. “This increase offers proof that more young people see education as the key to their future success.” The SAT also includes a writing portion introduced in 2006. The average writing score statewide was 480 and has remained about the same since the portion was added. “The College Board obviously feels writing is important, and so do
we,” White said. Still, she said the writing portion doesn’t count toward SAT scores and many colleges ignore it when shuffling through applications. Writing included, the average UCPS SAT score is 1,523; it’s 1,486 statewide and 1,509 nationwide. “Although we feel good about the scores,” Davis said, “there’s still room for improvement.” He hopes to see each school with a higher score next year.
4A / Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Indian Trail Trader
City, county at impasse over 6 acres
Monroe renews request for land donation; commissioners reject deal on 3-2 vote BY JASON deBRUYN
firstname.lastname@example.org MONROE County and city leaders seem to be at an impasse. The Union County Board of Commissioners again voted 3-2 to reject Monroeâ€™s request for park property. The city had been operating Belk-Tonawanda Park for nearly 20 years when it realized this spring that about onethird of the park, just more than 6 acres, belongs to the county. The Monroe City Council requested that the
Government Center even though the parking lot belongs to the city. Kuehler said that she just wanted to have that agreement in writing so future boards or councils would continue to honor that agreement. The City Council flat out rejected that offer last week, again requesting that the park property be donated with no strings. â€œWe agreed to negotiate, and I fail to see where the negotiation is,â€? Kuehler said during the commissionersâ€™ meeting Monday, where the rejected offer was of-
county simply give the property to the city. The board majority balked at that request, first offering to sell it for itâ€™s tax value of about $85,000. That offer rejected, the board then tried to negotiate a trade involving no money. Commissioners Allan Baucom and Parker Mills have always favored giving the property to the city free and clear. Commissioner Tracy Kuehler came back to the City Council with an offer for parking. County employees park in the lot across Church Street from the Union County
ficially discussed. Baucom again made a motion to simply donate the property. â€œThe city has maintained it,â€? he said, adding that county now has the additional cost on its books for that upkeep, which runs about $7,500 annually. â€œWe need to look at the big picture,â€? added Mills, who referenced a potential plan to partner with Monroe for water and sewer capacity, a major need in Union County. In Millsâ€™ opinion, rocking the boat on this issue could have bad repercussions. â€œI think in the end, we
will end up way aheadâ€? if the property is donated, he said. Commissioners Kuehler, Kim Rogers and Lanny Openshaw agreed that they trusted the current City Council to honor the parking agreement, but still wanted a deal for the park to be a negotiation. â€œI donâ€™t respond to a flat-out no,â€? Rogers said. City Council candidate Rick Alexander, who was at the meeting, sided with the city and turned Kuehlerâ€™s distrust of future councils around. What if the city wanted to use the lot for a future building, he said after the meeting.
County: Tax collections are down BY JASON deBRUYN
email@example.com MONROE Union County coffers took another hit this year as more county residents defaulted on their taxes.
The county collected only 96.83 percent of all taxes owed for the budget year ending June 2008 but budgeted for a collection rate of about 97 percent. As all governments do, the county has a contin-
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gency fund in the budget to cover unexpected costs or shortfalls, but that account has been taking hits for years as county debts piled up. While the shortfall accounts for only 0.17 percent of anticipated funds, county commissioners are concerned. â€œUnion County is running so close to the line that anything is a significant number,â€? Board of CommissionersChairman Lanny Openshaw said. Openshaw has already requested that figures for the first quarter, due in October, be presented to the board. Last year, the board did not review actual figures until after the second quarter in January. If any adjustments need to be made, commissioners should spread them over nine months instead of six months, Openshaw said. Commissioner Allan Baucom said he anticipates the current budget year to run just as lean as last year. He predicted a 7-cent tax increase in order to keep the same level
Tax score card 2008 taxes collected: $149,918,921 Total property valuation: $22,292,233,714 Percent collected: 96.83
Source: Union County public information office
of service going forward. Commissioners did not raise taxes this past year, even though some people requested their taxes be raised in order to maintain school funding. County policy requires tax increases or spending reallocation that accounts for bonds passed by voters. Openshaw added that more money might still be collected. There is $1 million in state lottery money scheduled to come to the county and residents could still pay their taxes late. â€œThey owe, so they canâ€™t sell their house, for instance, and not pay those taxes,â€? Openshaw said. â€œTaxes are pretty high up there on the food chain as far as what needs to be paid.â€? The 2009 tax bills are
about to hit mailboxes, although homeowners have months before the next wave of taxes come due. The Union County Tax Office has mailed approximately 105,000 tax bills. The tax bills were mailed directly to individuals who pay the bill â€” either property owners or mortgage companies with which taxes are escrowed. The approximately 35,000 property owners who escrow their property taxes with their mortgage companies will not receive a tax bill. Property tax bills for the residents of Wingate, Wesley Chapel and Hemby Bridge will receive one tax bill that will include both county and municipal taxes. Property tax payments must be paid on or before Jan. 5 to avoid interest charges. If mailed, the payment must be postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before that date. Property owners whose payments are postmarked on or after Jan. 6 will be charged a 2 percent interest penalty for January and an additional 3/4 percent every month thereafter until the bill is paid.
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