Lake Norman Currents Magazine

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from Where I Sit

The magazine by and for the people who call Lake Norman home


A Note to My Teenage Self




or as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with healthy eating and working out. I’m not afraid to admit I was a pretty sedentary child. I was perfectly happy to have my nose buried in a book while munching on a bag of Cheetos and sipping a can of soda. I was a child of the 80s and 90s, and convenience foods were all the rage. While my mother cooked dinner a lot, she was a big fan of the casseroles with instant rice and cans of condensed soup, and in the afternoons, I enjoyed snacking on pizza rolls and microwave burritos. I didn’t really start exercising until some friends convinced me to join my high school’s track team my junior year. Up until that point, I’d had many years of not exercising while still managing to maintain an appropriate weight for my age and build (ah, the teenage years). When I first started running, it was hard. No, scratch that. It was SO hard. My legs hurt all the time and I felt like the slowest person out there on the asphalt. But as I kept showing up to practice and running, I discovered something. While I may not have been the fastest runner, I could run for

long periods of time without stopping. This resulted in me competing in the mile and two-mile run events, and I was pretty surprised by the end of the season with my progress. Those same friends talked me into running on the cross country team my senior year, where I once again surprised myself with my stamina. I have serious regrets about not joining the team earlier in my high school career, because during the one year I competed, I qualified for the state finals with my team. Now that I’m in my 40s, I have to work four times harder to maintain my goal weight. I’ve done everything from yo-yo dieting to working with a personal trainer to fitness classes to completing one half-marathon, two 10Ks and several 5Ks. I’ve finally realized which foods best complement my body and that I have to

MacAdam Smith

Advertising Director work out regularly for both my mental and my physical health. But there are things I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self. I wish I could tell her how much better she’d feel physically and mentally if she just got up off the couch and took a long walk or jog outside. I wish she knew that if she limited the cheeseburgers and soda her body would have been capable of so much more than she realized when she was competing in those high school sports. I can only imagine how much faster I could have run at age 17 if I had been fueling my body with things like brown rice and sautéed vegetables and oatmeal with blueberries. I also probably wouldn’t have had so many aches and pains and shortness of breath. The only thing I can do is try to pass on this wisdom to my own kids, and although they aren’t the biggest fans of all those vegetables I make, they know the reasoning behind it. I intend to demonstrate to them that life is much like a marathon, and not a sprint.

Sharon Simpson

Advertising Sales Executives

Carole Lambert

Cindy Gleason

Beth Packard

Trisha Robinson

Event Coordinator Alison Smith

Social Media Specialist Lauren Platts

Design & Production idesign2, inc

Contributing Writers


Holly Becker Trevor Burton Elizabeth Watson Chaney Jill Dahan Aaron Garcia Michele Huggins Grace Kennedy Mike Savicki Lara Tumer

Contributing Photographers Mission Statement: Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine will embody the character, the voice and the spirit of its readers, its leaders and its advertisers. It will connect the people of Lake Norman through inspiring, entertaining and informative content, photography and design; all of which capture the elements of a well-lived life on and around the community known as Lake Norman.

Trevor Burton Jamie Cowles Lisa Crates Ken Noblezada Gayle Shomer

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Contents February vol. 14 No. 2

23 Your Best Life Follow these eating strategies for optimal cardiovascular health

24 Thoughts from the Man Cave

Make time to take time

26 Picture Perfect Readers submit photos exploring the theme of love

63 On the Circuit What’s happening at Lake Norman this month

64 Renee Wants FEBRUARY 2020


to Know

What’s trending in family vacations?



About the Cover: Get inspired for health and fitness in 2020.

Channel Markers

Movers, shakers and more at the lake

17 Cornelius artist lights up the U.S. National Whitewater Center

18 For the Long Run —How a Denver

native built a worldwide company while keeping roots

19 Kelley Gardner coaches clients through the science of life

20 Live Like a Native —Challenge

yourself in 2020 with these area races

22 Teens teach teens about healthy relationships

40 N avigators

Cindy Utzinger helps puzzled parents

Lake Spaces

How we live at the lake

48 Dwellings

Barry and Sara Rubens settle into their third custom house by their favorite builder

Dine + Wine

Eating, drinking, cooking and fun

58 Wine Time

Visit The Prickly Pear for authentic fare and robust wines

59 On Tap

42 G ame On

Visually-impaired athlete soars with help from local organization

Husband and wife team craft their next big thing in Denver

60 Nibbles + Bites

Lotus Soul Café offers nourishment for body, mind and soul

62 In the Kitchen with Jill Dahan Give the gift of love with Chocolate Molten Caramel Cakes

Special Feature 31 Profiles in Medicine

Get your information straight from the source

48 D wellings

Good things come in threes for the Rubens family

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Lake Norman CURRENTS is a monthly publication available through direct-mail home delivery to the most affluent Lake Norman residents. It also is available at area Harris Teeter supermarkets, as well as various Chambers of Commerce, real estate offices and specialty businesses. The entire contents of this publication are protected under copyright. Unauthorized use of any editorial or advertising content in any form is strictly prohibited. Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine is wholly owned by Oasis Magazines, Inc.







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Cornelius artist lights up the U.S. National Whitewater Center


photo courtesy of the USNWC

Blazing New Trails into the Woods



ome people light up a room, but Meredith Connelly knows how to light up a trail. The Cornelius artist is the mastermind behind the LIGHTS installation at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. More than 80,000 people have visited the half-mile illuminated walking trail since it opened to the public in November. The tree-lined path features 15 light scenes with nearly 200 sculptures creating a truly immersive experience. Some viewers have described the trail as like walking through a magical forest. The LIGHTS installation started with a simple

conversation over coffee. Jesse Hyde, director of marketing and strategy at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, wanted to explore ideas for winter programming possibilities. Connelly was encouraged to “think big and differently” and present her concept. “I went on the trail with a sketchpad, GPS tracker on my cell phone and just walked in the woods. I spent about a week on the trail,” says Connelly. Many sights she observed on the trail, such as a hornet’s nest, cocoons, spider webs and vines were incorporated into sculptures. Inspired by science, nature and

technology, Connelly uses industrial materials, such as cast resin, fiberglass, thermoplastic and fabrics. Light, however, is her main material. “I find light intriguing. Humans are drawn to it. It’s expansive and reaches beyond the stationary form,” says Connelly. She says the LIGHTS installation, her first public art project and outdoor installation, involved heavy research. “I started with a concept and how I wanted the light to diffuse and researched materials trying to pair aesthetics with materials that would withstand the elements and diffuse the light correctly,”

she says. Connelly, who earned a degree in studio art from UNC-Wilmington, says LIGHTS makes art accessible in a different way than a museum with the opportunity to touch and feel the artwork. “People who wouldn’t necessarily seek out art are seeing it in a different way, and we’re getting people outside,” she said. — By Holly Becker, photos by Ken Noblezada

The LIGHTS installation is open daily 6-10 p.m. through Feb. 16. Admission is free, but there is a $6 parking fee. Visit https:// for more details.


Sights found in science, nature and technology inspired Meredith Connelly’s use of materials in LIGHTS.


For the Long Run

Bringing High Tech to Huntersville How a Denver native built a worldwide company while keeping local roots



Andy Whiteside, president and CEO of Huntersville-based XenTegra, which employs almost 40 people and has won multi-national wards in the tech industry.


here might not be a better illustration of what XenTegra does than the fact that founder Andy Whiteside was able to build his award-winning tech company in Huntersville. After all, there are several more obvious homes for a business specializing in that space, starting with nearby Charlotte and its burgeoning financial technology community. For Whiteside, relying on proximity, however, would be a little like Edison writing by candlelight. “What we sell and service, as a solution, allows you to work wherever you want,” says Whiteside, a Denver native and current Huntersville resident. Started seven years ago, XenTegra specializes in working with Citrix, which, as Whiteside

explains, “takes Microsoft technologies and makes them accessible from anywhere— from any device—(and ensures they’re) secure and delivered.” It’s the software that lets us work from home and watch movies at work. In other words; it’s the worldwide web’s webbing. XenTegra, Whiteside says, takes that software and tailors it to fit individual businesses’ needs. According to its website, that can include everything one would expect from a fully staffed IT department, from updates, security and implementing firewalls, all the way to educating end users and staffing. Whiteside began his career with Microsoft before eventually landing at Citrix as a sales engineer. Though he enjoyed his

job, he couldn’t shake the idea that he could accomplish even more on his own. While that idea marinated his reputation at Citrix blossomed, and he even earned an award as the company’s top engineer worldwide. “That was one of the encouraging things I needed to go out and say, ‘OK, maybe I really am the right person to go out and start my own business,’” says Whiteside. One year later, XenTegra was born with a $5,000 credit card advance. Now, the company has emerged as one of Citrix’s top reselling partners with offices in Canada and Latin America. Even better, the awards are still coming in. Last year, Whiteside and his team of nearly 40 employees were named Citrix’s

2019 Worldwide Partner of the Year for the Americas and the North American Integrator of the Year. XenTegra added to its haul this January with the IGEL Worldwide Partner of the Year award, as well as claiming Citrix U.S. Partner of the Year honors. And while the firm is picking up worldwide acclaim, Whiteside says XenTegra’s best selling point might be that it’s based right here in the Lake Norman area. “We expect people from all over the country, they want to come live here where they’ve got access to great city, great activities, the lake, mountains, beach,” says Whiteside. “Why can’t you live here and be in technology?” — By Aaron Garcia, Photography courtesy of XenTegra


Deciphering Digestion Kelley Gardner coaches clients through the science of life


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and therefore weaker digestion. Pitta constitution is governed by fire/water and generally has strong digestion but can have too much acid as a result. Kapha constitution is controlled by water/earth elements, and this type’s digestion, both mental and physical, is often slow and heavy. Gardner says each of us had a unique balance of the three, but two of them are typically stronger in each individual. Those two fall out of balance more quickly, and they can be affected by many things, including our diet, medications, the seasons, and our daily routines. She meets with clients in person or by phone/skype and introduces them to the online food/symptoms/routine journal she created to help identify problematic patterns. Two people may have the same overall constitution, says Gardner, but each person has unique physical and emotional issues and therefore requires an individualized plan for optimal health. “Ayurveda is not a substitute for western medicine,” she says, “but works easily and respectfully alongside it.” — By Elizabeth Watson Chaney, Photography by Lisa Crates


Kelly Gardner

elley Gardner of Cornelius has been offering yoga therapeutics and energy work to her clients for 30 years. Five years ago, she enrolled in the John Immel Institute of Digestive Health to pursue an additional certification in digestion and nutrition. The experience, she says, “was life changing.” Gardner, who has been studying Ayurveda for many years, maintains that 70 percent of our immune system resides in our gut. The Sanskrit word “Ayurveda,” means “the science of life” and teaches people to tune in to how they respond to what they take into their bodies. The focus is on building strong digestion and eliminating toxins, which in Ayurveda are considered the root of all disease. In the Ayurvedic approach, every person has a unique body/ mind combination of the basic elements: earth, fire, water, air, and space/ether. How those elements combine determines a person’s primary constitution, and there are three: vata, pitta, and kapha. Each constitution digests food, thoughts, and emotions differently based on how much fire element is present. Fire is the element associated with digestion, metabolism, and mental clarity. Vata constitution is ruled by air/ ether and has less fire element,


Live Like a Native On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Healthy Kids Running Series Spring 2020 (March 29-May 3)

On Tap St. Patrick’s Day Dash (March 7) This timed 5k race promises finishers some jolly good green beer in their hand. Participants and spectators are invited to wear costumes and enjoy the festivities of the day. The race will start at 9:30 a.m. and finish at On Tap Crafty Brews, 188 N. Main Street, Mooresville, https://www.

Sprint into Spring (March 7)



Challenge yourself in 2020 with these area races

This race sponsored by the Troutman Parks & Recreation will feature a 10K, 5K and 1-mile fun run. 9 a.m., Troutman ESC Park, 338 North Avenue, Troutman,

First Responders 1st Challenge (March 21) This 5K run features an assortment of obstacles to tackle and will benefit First Responders 1st. Their mission is to provide a minstry of emotional support to First Responders and strengthen their personal well-being for work and life. 9 a.m. start time. Jet Fitness 24/7, 370 Morrison Plantation Parkway, Mooresville, Race/NC/Mooresville/ FirstResponders ChallengeFueledByJet

Healthy Kids Running Series is a fiveweek running program for kids Pre-K to 8th grade. Each HKRS Series takes place once a week and offers age-appropriate running events including the 50 and 75-yard dashes, the 1/4 mile, the 1/2 mile and the one-mile run. Kids compete each week for a chance to earn points. At the end of the series the boys and girls who accumulate the most points in their respective distances are awarded trophies. All participants receive a medal on the final week. JM Alexander Middle School Football Field, 12010 Hambright Road, Huntersville, Race/NC/Huntersville/


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Big Hearts at Hough Teens teach teens about healthy relationships



he most difficult topics to talk about are often the most important topics to talk about—especially when it comes to teens. It takes courage to bring hidden subjects into the open, which is why Hough Students for Courage has the perfect name. The 30-member club is on a mission to spread awareness about teen dating violence, a topic that may not be on parents’ radars, but should be. Approximately 1.5 million teens nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner, yet three out of four parents never discuss the warning signs with their children. “It’s really important to get the warning signs out there,”

says club faculty leader Katie Osteen, a marketing teacher at Hough with 16 years of teaching experience. Osteen is open with her students about being a survivor of domestic violence, so when the group asked her to be their faculty leader, she was immediately on board. Willingness to be open about intimate partner violence is crucial if we want to tackle the issue, says Osteen. “Courage Clubs” are forming at high schools across the region, thanks to the Jamie Kimble Foundation For Courage, a Charlotte-based nonprofit seeking to create a future without intimate partner violence. To observe Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, the


Members of the club Hough Students for Courage

foundation hosted its first annual Teens for Courage Summit on Feb. 1 at Carowinds. “Our goal is to empower teens to lead healthy lives and create healthy relationships while advocating for other teens,” says executive director Sherill Carrington. “Our club teaches self-worth, so more teens feel strong enough to stand up for themselves when in a negative relationship,” says founding Hough member Kailey Hoppe, who inspired her sister, Aubrey, to join the club. “I believe that teen dating violence is not talked about enough in high school, and not many teenagers know the signs,” says Aubrey.

Whether it’s a Trunk or Treat for children at a women’s shelter, a fundraiser to provide Christmas gifts to teens affected by domestic violence, or a peer education workshop, the Hough Students for Courage are setting an example for the entire community—adults included. “I’ve come to see that I needed them as much as they needed me,” says Osteen. “They have been a rock for me.” — By Grace Kennedy, Photography courtesy of Katie Osteen

Download a list of dating violence warning signs at jkffc. org. Call 980.237.0451 to learn more about Courage Clubs.


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Have a Heart

by Renee Roberson

Follow these eating strategies for optimal cardiovascular health


ith all the talk about hearts and love during the month of February, it’s the perfect time to get people talking about heart health with American Heart Month. But while American Heart Month is a federally designated month in the United States, it’s important to realize that cardiovascular disease knows no borders. After all, a healthy diet plays an important role in maintaining a healthy heart and blood vessels year round. Because one of the best ways to show our heart some love is with the food we put into our bodies, we reached out to Sondra Tackett, a licensed and registered dietitian with Nutrition Health Works (nutritionhealthworks. com) in Mooresville. Tackett is passionate about empowering her clients by layering simple adjustments to form healthy and sustainable habits.

Guard your heart

Rather than recommend full-fledged diets, Sondra advised that we take more of a Mediterranean approach to eating by making the bulk of our meals revolve around fresh fruits and vegetables and high-fiber grains. Limit the red meat, and when you eat it, focus on purchasing loins or rounds, which indicate leaner cuts of meat. Seafood such as salmon,

tuna and mackerel are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Tackett also suggests planning meals one or two days a week that include a plantbased source of protein rather than a meat. Examples include chickpeas, quinoa, tofu, edamame, lentils and other beans.

Avoid animal fats

While Tackett is a proponent of eating fun foods like pizza in moderation, for the most part, avoiding meals with a lot of animal fats are a smart way to keep our hearts healthy. Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that for every 5 percent increase in calories from ultra-processed foods a person ate, there was a corresponding decrease in overall cardiovascular health. Foods with trans fats (a form of artificial fat that comes in both natural and artificial forms) have been known to raise your bad cholesterol while lowering your good cholesterol. Be vigilant about checking out the nutrition labels on foods you purchase. If you see the description “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” then there’s trans fat present in the food.

Advice for the aisles

Grocery shopping when you’re trying to

practice mindful eating and meal planning can be overwhelming. Whether you’re shopping in the produce aisles, frozen food section or in the center of the grocery store with the canned items, reading ingredient labels will help you stay on track. Tackett says to look for limited ingredients. Marinades and condiments can be loaded with salt and sugar and preservatives.

Sauce on the side

In today’s busy world, eating out can provide a welcome break or a way to eat quickly in between activities, but there are strategies you can use that will better serve your health. Tackett recommends splitting meals with someone else (as portions are normally enough for two or more people), ordering appetizers as a meal item (think a shrimp cocktail paired with a side salad or baked potato), and choose broth-based soups and vinaigrette dressings. When reading a menu, look for items with descriptions like “grilled, steamed or poached.” Also, don’t be afraid to swap items. If you have a sandwich or burger with a bun, order a side of steamed vegetables or fruit instead of fries. By looking at a menu ahead of time before choosing a restaurant, you can prepare a plan to stay on track.

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thoughts from the Man Cave

Make Time to Take Time May your watch, or whatever device you use to keep time, also serve as a tool to help you manage stress and pressure...





ruth be told, this column was supposed to be about men’s watches. In all the years that I have written for CURRENTS, I have touched on and covered a host of topics from knitting and NASCAR to beer, brats, boats, and bar-b-que, but I have never written about men’s watches. Since this issue is about health and wellness, I figured now would be the perfect time and place to tell readers about what makes a good watch and, as a follow up, how to use said high quality timepiece as a wrist reminder that not only keeps you punctual but also gives you confidence. I guess I should start by saying I am one of the few who still wears a traditional watch. When I graduated from high school, my parents gave me a good, high-quality timepiece that I still cherish and use fairly regularly. I haven’t migrated to a smart watch or a GPS monitoring wrist rocket that track every move, breath, step,

text, email, and movement and I don’t plan to either. So when I reached out to Bill Thunberg at Alexander Zachary Jewelers in Mooresville, my idea was to learn about what makes a good watch and share the information with you. I’d hoped to learn about the difference between mechanical, quartz, 17 jewel, and double Tourbillion. We’d discuss fine engineering and quality metal not to mention chronometers and chronometry. Forget Rolex, we’d talk Patek Philippe right out of Geneva. But Thunberg began our conversation in a different tone entirely. “People in general don’t go out and look for high quality timepieces like they used to,” he says. “There are still some who care for the engineering and the quality of the metal, for instance, but it is not as ubiquitous as it once was.” Instead of Swiss precision, Thunberg talked about the behavioral changes in how we,

as men, buy watches, and how we generally now tend to look for the larger, feature rich, funky, oversized fashion watches that we see available on certain television channels or through Internet flash sales and pop-up ads. He then told me time is not all about just a watch anymore either. “What has happened now, too,” he says, “is that with the rise in technology, more of us are keeping time on ‘electronic alternatives’ like telephones and smart watches. A watch used to serve one job, to tell time, but now it’s as if the more gadgets, functions, and bells and whistles the watch has, the more enticing it seems.” The end result may have led to unexpected consequences, and stress begins the major culprit. Thunberg says, “And because of that shift, we are more plugged in and stressed than ever before. Time keeping has become more important in some ways and the preciseness of it all has changed, too. Things

by Mike Savicki

are more scheduled right down to the minute now because now, thanks to technology, everyone’s devices are synced. People know if they, or you, are even one minute late for something and they let you know it, too.” Listening to him made me realize so many of us aren’t aware of how things push us. When we are getting notification upon notification on our wrist, for example, we feel a constant time crunch. Messages and alarms remind us not to forget, texts interrupt our trains of thought, and if our watch, or device, rings or vibrates, we drop everything and shift our focus. Yes, keeping time is still there but it has changed. I learned from Thunberg that while a good quality watch may make us feel more self-confident and poised, and a high quality watch will still certainly stand the test of time, it is really our attitude towards time that matters most no matter what we wear on our wrist or carry in our hands.



For the love of grandchildren . . . Annsley Kate (3 years) and Addison Grace Burris (1 year). Submitted by Kim Donaldson



For the love of animals . . . Submitted by Carol Robinson

For the love of home spaces . . . Submitted by Whitney Small

We want to see your photos! For the love of friends . . . Submitted by Barbara Bulen

Our March issue is all about weddings! Do you have a snapshot from your wedding or a wedding you attended you’d like to share? We’re looking for brides, grooms, the littlest members of the wedding party, treats, and good old candid snapshots! Send to and you may see your photo here next month!


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Profiles in MEDICINE FEBRUARY 2020


Are you in need of a medical expert? The Lake Norman area is filled with world-class doctors, veterinarians and medical specialists of all types. The following pages will introduce you to some of the area’s top-notch professionals.

Profile in Medicine





Sarah Koch, MD - Board-Certified Dermatologist | William “Trey” Hoover, III, MD - Board-Certified Dermatologist Lacey Walls, DO - Board-Certified Dermatologist Elliot Love, DO - Board-Certified Dermatologist, Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery

hat are the odds you’ll see a board-certified dermatologist at every one of your dermatology appointments? When you choose Dermatology Group of the Carolinas in Huntersville, your odds are a perfect 100 percent. That’s because every provider at this practice is a medical doctor, board-certified in dermatology. What difference does that designation make to patients? “It means that each of our dermatologists has gone through a minimum of four years of medical school, a one-year internal medicine residency, and a three-year dermatology residency,” explains Huntersville resident Dr. Lacey Walls. “We build

on that knowledge base continually. Our practice brings in experts from leading medical institutions every month to update us on the latest research and best practices.” Given that dedication to patients, it’s not surprising that DGOC has a long history in the area. As Huntersville resident, Dr. William “Trey” Hoover, III, explains: “Our practice was founded in 1991 in Concord, and my father, Dr. William “Chip” Hoover, Jr., was one of its founding dermatologists. DGOC expanded into Salisbury in 2015, and we were fortunate enough to recently open a Huntersville location in response to requests from our Lake Norman patients.” “DGOC’s Huntersville patients truly benefit from the

best of both worlds,” notes Dr. Sarah Koch. “They have the advantage of working with an intimate practice that is connected to a broader network of 16 dermatologists.” With such diverse expertise, what are the odds that whatever your skin issue, DGOC can handle it? 100 percent! Dr. Elliot Love, for example, is one of the only fellowship-trained Mohs Surgeons in the Lake Norman area. This micrographic surgery is the most advanced and effective skin cancer procedure available. With sub-specialties like pediatric- and cosmetic dermatology, DGOC can handle everything from skin cancer diagnoses and treatments to everyday concerns like rashes and acne. 704-784-5901

“Of course, we offer cosmetic dermatology, too,” reiterates Love, “but we use our extensive medical experience to ensure that each procedure is the proper fit.” DGOC is the only area practice where patients are guaranteed to see a board-certified dermatologist for all cosmetic procedures. Still not certain about the odds that DGOC is the right practice for you? Visit their Facebook reviews and Google reviews for honest feedback from actual patients like this: “This is the best dermatology group that exists. They are kind, on time, friendly, care about your needs, treat you like they want you to come back. Their care is excellent.” Odds are, you’ll agree!

9735 Kincey Avenue, Suite 102, Huntersville, NC 28078


Profile in Medicine

Tiedre Palmer, FNP-C, Vivek Trivedi, MD, Amy Arnold, FNP-C, Nikhiel Rau, MD. Not pictured: Mary Ann Gutridge, Practice Manager. Piedmont Healthcare Comprehensive Digestive Care Center

340 Signal Hill Drive, Suite A, Statesville

ongoing goals. “My goal is focused on preventing, diagnosing and treating digestive diseases using the latest medical knowledge and state-of-the-art techniques,” says Dr. Trivedi. “The patients coming to our practice will achieve the highest quality and cost-effective care with compassion and a warm, friendly, and professional environment.” The practice offers services such as on-site blood tests and lab draw service, breath tests that help diagnose small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and a lactose intolerance breath test, wireless small bowel video capsule endoscopy, treatment for chronic viral Hepatitis B & C and an in-office Hemorrhoidal banding procedure. Some of the latest advancements in the field include


new Fibroscan with a CAP score that allows the physicians to assess and diagnose the early progression of fatty liver disease to fibrosis (scarring) and liver cirrhosis, small bowel wireless video capsule endoscopies that allow specialists to visualize and examine the entire length of the small bowel and esophageal, biliary and colonic stent placement that allows providers to manage obstructive malignant disorders and much more. The staff at Piedmont HealthCare Comprehensive Digestive Care Center is also passionate about being involved in the community. They volunteer once a quarter for a program called Celebrate Recovery at Christ Church, where they cook and serve a meal to approximately 75-120 people.


colorectal disorders and anorectal disorders. The shared vision and mission of the providers and staff of Piedmont HealthCare Comprehensive Digestive Care is to provide evidence-based, professional and compassionate care with uncompromising excellence. While striving for continuous improvement in their services, they seek to provide exceptional care with a positive attitude in a comfortable environment. They focus on the highest standards of patient-satisfaction and care in the field of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. The practice has a well-deserved reputation for excellence and are committed to putting the needs of our patients first at all times. Identifying community needs and expanding their services to meet those needs are their


he field of gastroenterology involves a detailed understanding of the normal action of the gastrointestinal organs. This can include digestion, absorption, removal of waste from the system, the function of the liver and the pancreas, as well as digestive organs. Physicians at Piedmont HealthCare Comprehensive Digestive Care Center treat a full spectrum of digestive health conditions, including but not limited to: colorectal cancer/adenoma screening and surveillance, gastric, esophageal and small bowel disorders, peptic ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, biliary disorders, liver disorders, pancreatic disorders,

Profile in Medicine




Meet our extensive team of doctors who provide you with advanced eye care. | Graystone Eye


raystone was originally established as Harris, Foster and Lefler, PA in 1969 by Dr. William Harris, Dr. Thomas Foster and Dr. Hampton Lefler. In 1973, a new office was constructed near Catawba Hospital, which they shared with ENT physicians, subsequently becoming known as Graystone Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat. In 1977, the practice became Graystone Ophthalmology Associates with the joining of Dr. Randal Williams; and, in 1993 Graystone inherited their Lenoir office with the acquisition of Lenoir Eye Care Clinic. During that 16-year span, the founding physicians of Graystone also opened the original Lincolnton office. Years later in 2000, the

current CEO, Sheree Watson, joined the group and helped transform the practice into a highly-functioning organization. In 2008, the physicians of Graystone determined it was in the best interest of their patients to merge their two Hickory offices and ambulatory surgery center into one combined location. The current Hickory campus was established as the central headquarters, a full-service eye care practice, and a fully accredited surgery center. From 2009 to 2012 the Lenoir office was fully renovated, the new Lincolnton building was completed, and at the invitation of Dr. William Atkins, Graystone entered the High Country with the acquisition of Watauga Eye


in Boone. 2016 brought the construction of the new Boone building, as the physicians of Graystone merged their Boone and Linville offices. 2019 was another big milestone year with Graystone’s 50th Anniversary, and their continued investment in the community with the expansion of the Hickory location. Their 40,000-square-foot addition houses a brand-new Vision Correction suite, full-service Cosmetic and Aesthetic Center, and adds additional operating rooms to the existing Surgery Center space. By keeping up with the latest in science and technology, the practice continues to focus on comprehensive eye care, cataracts, glaucoma, refractive procedures (iLASIK), corneal

Hickory (Graystone Eye & Surgery Center, Graystone iLASIK, & Graystone Aesthetic Center) 2424 Century Place SE, Hickory, NC 28602

Lincolnton (Graystone Eye) 2311 E. Main Street, Hwy 150, Lincolnton, NC 28092

disorders, retina disorders, pediatric vision disorders, oculo-facial plastics (functional and aesthetic services) and optical services. The team at Graystone Eye (fourteen board certified ophthalmologists and one board eligible ophthalmologist) offers the latest in laser surgery and advanced technology lenses. Graystone is a fully accredited retinal research facility and is proud to offer new treatment options for patients. The practice takes pride in its rich history throughout the region and continues to evolve to offer the best in advanced eye care. The mission is and has always been to preserve the gift of sight and enhance lives — one patient at a time. Lenoir (Graystone Eye) 2060 Hickory Boulevard, SW (Hwy 321S), Lenoir, NC 28645

Boone (Graystone Eye) 2640 Hwy 105, Suite 102, Boone, NC 28607


and a father who had Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 3, helping others has always been top of mind for the physician. While attending medical school, this award-winning

704.664.7328 phc-lake-norman-family-medicine

357 Williamson Road, Mooresville

We’re in it for life


r. Amanda Bailey has always known family medicine was the right career path for her. With a mother who worked at the local hospital and a grandmother as a nurse,

care of all ages, acute medical conditions such as colds, flu, joint pain/sprains, physicals, gynecologic services, DOT physicals, sports medicine/joint therapy, outpatient lab and X-ray services. Their office has several Piedmont HealthCare Specialists available on location throughout the week and recently hired a new Physician’s Assistant, which has increased patients’ accessibility to their services. “I try to spend time and listen to my patients and their needs, says Dr. Bailey. “I prefer to focus on quality of care not quantity. As an Osteopath, we are taught to treat the body as a whole: mind, body, and spirit.” Dr. Bailey was recently nominated by the PHC Board of Directors to be on their board for the new Piedmont Healthcare Alliance (PHCA), which will function as a Clinically Integrated Network to serve as Piedmont’s own value-based contracting and care management organization (ACO). She also obtained DOT physical certification to better serve patients. “I truly care about my patients. Listening to my patients and discussing benefits vs risk of treatment decisions to provide best quality care. My role as a physician is to provide patients with treatment options while allowing them to take more control of their health.”


Dr. Amanda Bailey Piedmont Healthcare-Lake Norman Family Medicine

physician received a scholarship through the Health Professions Scholarship Program with the Air Force. She did rotations at the NICU and with genetic counseling in San Antonio, Texas and completed an anesthesia rotation at the Veterans Administration in Martinsburg, W. Va. “After the residency, I went into active duty in the Air Force,” says Dr. Bailey. “I served as the family doctor taking care of active duty military and their families as well as retirees and their families. During my time in the Air Force, I obtained the rank of Major. I got extensive training with the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) while in the Air Force.” Having vacationed in the area a few times with her family, Dr. Bailey fell in love with Mooresville and knew she wanted to live here and work here as well. “I really like the smalltown atmosphere, but also being close enough to the city (Charlotte) that you can easily go for the day,” she says. “There’s also a lot of opportunities and activities for both children and adults which makes it a great place to raise a family.” Working with Piedmont HealthCare enables Dr. Bailey to treat patients in a variety of areas in family medicine, from routine chronic family medical

Profile in Medicine



Profile in Medicine


(Left to Right): Andrew Healy, MD, Peter Bailey, MD, Christopher Holland, MD, PhD, Sam Chewning, Jr., MD, Frederick Finger, III, MD, Byron Branch, MD, John Lesher, MD | Carolina NeuroSurgery & Spine Associates FEBRUARY 2020


arolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates is home to a nationally recognized group of pioneering neurosurgeons who’ve made a profound impact in the lives of patients for over 80 years. The brain and spine expertise of these specialists is unrivaled, as is their commitment to innovate, educate, and heal adults and children. Advanced specialty care provided by Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates includes stateof-the-art intra-operative imaging, spinal navigation, and robotics for highly accurate and reproducible spinal surgery related to the treatment of disc herniation, spinal stenosis, disc degeneration, spinal tumors, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis. Many of these complex

procedures and techniques were not previously available in this area. The practice doctors are renowned for their neurosurgical expertise and development of new surgical techniques, as well as their training of other surgeons from around the world. With multiple offices in the Lake Norman and Charlotte region, our team of brain and spine specialists includes fellowship-trained neurosurgeons Byron Branch, MD, Andrew Healy, MD, and Christopher Holland, MD, PhD, as well as spine surgeon Sam Chewning, Jr., MD, and Frederick Finger, III, MD. The practice surgical team has specialized training in complex spinal procedures and spinal reconstruction, including the treatment of spinal tumors using advanced technologies Huntersville 9735 Kincey Ave, Ste. 300 Huntersville, NC 28078

and minimally invasive techniques. These doctors also offer minimally invasive spine surgery and artificial disc replacement to treat degenerative disc disease and care for children and adolescents with scoliosis. While these neurosurgeons are leaders in their field, Carolina NeuroSurgery & Spine Associates is committed to conservative medical care. Board-certified physiatrists Peter Bailey, MD, and John Lesher, MD, provide patients with comprehensive non-operative spine and musculoskeletal care, including diagnostic testing, spinal injections, radiofrequency ablations, and image-guided injections with platelet rich plasma (PRP) for patients who are appropriate candidates. The practice also offers in-office physical therapy and imaging Concord 110 Lake Concord Road NE Concord, NC 28025

Mooresville Charlotte 143 Joe Knox Avenue, Ste. 200, 225 Baldwin Avenue Mooresville, NC 28117 Charlotte, NC 28204

at multiple locations. Their experienced physical therapy team is specifically trained to treat spine disorders and injuries, while on-site MRI and X-ray help to quickly detect the source of a patient’s problem, without patients needing to travel to a separate imaging facility. Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates has changed the lives of patients who could not previously find lasting relief from back pain and were told they were not candidates for spine surgery. From minimally invasive procedures with mere one-inch incisions to complex spinal surgery, the team of doctors at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates continues to pioneer spine care and make a difference for patients every day.



Profile in Veterinary Medicine

cleaning; and ultrasounds. The full-service practice also offers a complete in-house laboratory, as well as grooming and boarding services. “We pride ourselves in making both the client and the pet feel comfortable while they visit our state-of-the-art facility that was designed to have a spalike atmosphere,” explains Dr. Fennell, who earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Our veterinarians focus on continuity of care,” adds Dr. Adams, a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. “Continuity of care is very important to us. You and your pet will be scheduled with the same veterinarian every

We offer law enforcement and military 10% off our services.

visit unless you are notified otherwise. This allows us to practice a higher quality of medicine.” Dr. Fennell and Dr. Adams are full-time practice owners and veterinarians who incorporate other doctors as relief veterinarians and specialists at their facility. Board certified radiologists, orthopedic surgeons and soft tissue surgeons work within the practice to make sure patients receive the highest level of care, making it less likely that your pet will have to travel to an outside referral hospital for advanced procedures. The practice aims to be one stop for all of your pet’s needs. In addition, Carolinas Veterinary Care Clinic offers


Carolinas True Wellness Plans, which are affordable health care plans designed to help pets live longer and healthier lives. These plans allow monthly payments for preventative care. “For me, the most interesting part about being a veterinarian is not just having a career that allows you to interact with people and pets, but being allowed to interact in a way that enhances the human-animal bond,” explains Dr. Adams. “It is endlessly rewarding to relieve a hurting animal’s pain, or to see a formerly too-sick-to-eat dog chow down a bowl of food.” says Dr. Fennell. “For many pets there is that one moment when you can visibly see them start to feel better. We live for these moments.”

10110 Northcross Center Court, Suite 100 Huntersville, NC 28078


rowing up in small rural towns, Dr. Alisha Fennell and Dr. Alycen Adams developed an affinity for taking care of animals at a young age. Their love of animals and medicine led them to create Carolinas Veterinary Care Clinic in Huntersville seven years ago. Their non-traditional veterinary clinic offers the latest in veterinary technology, including digital X-rays and companion laser therapy, for a variety of pets such as dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles, small mammals, pigs and more. Medical services include soft tissue surgery; orthopedic and reconstructive surgery; skin, allergy and ear disease treatment; dental


Dr. Alisha Fennell and Dr. Alycen Adams | Carolinas Veterinary Care Clinic

Make 2020 the year of 20/20 vision. A full-service, multi-specialty eye care center to better serve the Mooresville region. Come see us!

Royce R. Syracuse, MD, MBA

Hunter S. Stolldorf, MD

Randall N. Stein, MD

S. Heather Bell, OD

Services: BOTOX, Cataract, Dry Eye, Eye Exams, Glaucoma, LASIK Consults and Optical Visit for an appointment or call 704.365.0555. Mooresville location: 185 Joe Knox Ave., Mooresville, NC 28117 FEBRUARY 2020


Living Well Your local resource for health and wellness services near you Acupuncture

Family Medicine

Best Acupuncture Deleon Best LAc Tom Cohen LAc Raven Seltzer LAc

Iredell Family Medicine Jodi Stutts, MD Lori Sumner, PA Kristie Smith, MSN, FNP

8213 Village Harbor Drive Cornelius NC 28031 • 704 655 8298


PHC – Lake Norman Ear, Nose & Throat Megan Mathis-Webb, AuD Susie Riggs, AuD Del L. Hawk, Au.D 140 Gateway Blvd. Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-9638


PHC – Cardiology Gary K. DeWeese, MD, FACC Jips Zachariah, MD

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1829


PHC – Mooresville Dermatology Center Naomi Simon, MD Scott Paviol, MD Kristin Prochaska, PA-C Lauren Wilson, PA-C Gina Noble, PA-C 128 Medical Park Road, Suite 201 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1827

PHC – Wolfe Dermatology Steven F. Wolfe, MD Molly Small, PA-C

114 Gateway Blvd., Unit D Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-663-2085

Riva Aesthetic Dermatology

“Imagine your skin at its Best!” General Dermatology for the Family, Botox, Fillers, Laser/IPL & more

Kerry Shafran, MD, FAAD Lindsay Jayson, MPAS, PA-C Erin Dice, MPAS, PA-C Ashley Noone, MPAP, PA-C Nikki Leahy, MSBS, PA-C Mari Klos, LME

704-896-8837 Cornelius, Mooresville, Denver

Sona Dermatology & MedSpa

Dermatology CoolSculpting Botox

Michael J. Redmond, MD Shane O’Neil, PA-C

14330 Oakhill Park Lane Huntersville, NC 28078 I-77 & Gilead Rd, Huntersville • 704-834-1279

544 Brawley School Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-360-5190

PHC – Nabors Family Medicine Emily Nabors, MD

142 Professional Park Drive Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-696-2083

PHC – Lake Norman Family Medicine Timothy A. Barker, MD Heather C. Kompanik, MD Bruce L. Seaton, DO Amanda H. Bailey, DO Sherard Spangler, PA Daniel King, PA-C 357 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-7328

PHC – Sailview Family Medicine Tiana Losinski, MD Courtney Mastor, FNP

206 Joe V. Knox Ave. Suite J Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-360-4801

PHC – Full Circle Family Medicine James W. McNabb, MD Ann Cowen, ANC-P Jacqueline Swope, FNP 435 East Statesville Avenue Mooresville, NC 28115 • 704-663-5056

PHC – Fairview Family Medicine Golnar Lashgari, MD Jennifer Scharbius, MD

150 Fairview Road, Suite 210 Mooresville, NC 28117 •704-235-0300

PHC - Troutman Family Medicine Amrish C. Patel, MD Amanda Honeychuck, NP Lauren Brannon, NP Denton Mow, PA-C 154 S Main Troutman, NC 28166 • 704-528-9903


Charlotte Gastroenterology and Hepatology John H. Moore, III, M.D. Steven A. Josephson, M.D. Scott A. Brotze, M.D. Michael W. Ryan, M.D. Devi Thangavelu, M.D. Vinaya Maddukuri, M.D. Nicholas R. Crews, M.D.

Ears, Nose and Throat

Lake Norman Offices: 13808 Professional Center Dr. Huntersville, NC 28078 115 Commerce Pointe Blvd. Mooresville, NC 28117 Appointment Line: 704-377-0246 Locations also in Charlotte, Mint Hill, Matthews, and Ballantyne

140 Gateway Blvd. Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-664-9638

PHC –Northlake Digestive Care Carl A. Foulks, Jr., MD Chi Zuo, PA-C

PHC – Lake Norman Ear, Nose, & Throat Keith Meetze, MD Thomas Warren, MD Herb Wettreich, MD Fred New, Jr., ANP

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-878-2021

PHC –Comprehensive Digestive Care Center Vivek Trivedi, MD Tiedre Palmer, FNP-C

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-878-2021

Internal Medicine PHC – Internal Medicine & Weight Management Manish G. Patel, MD Julie Abney, PA Andrea Brock, PA-C

128 Medical Park Road, Suite 101 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-658-1001

PHC – Lake Norman Internal Medicine John C. Gatlin, MD LuAnne V. Gatlin, MD 548 Williamson Road, Suite 6 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-660-5520

Stout Internal Medicine & Wellness Dr. Sam Stout Andrea Colvin, NP

Occupational Medicine Iredell Occupational Medicine Joe Wolyniak, DO

128 E. Plaza Dr., Unit 3 Mooresville, NC 28115 • 980-444-2630

Orthopaedic Surgery Iredell Orthopaedic Center Jason Batley, MD

544 Brawley School Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-658-0956

PHC – Piedmont Bone & Joint Scott Brandon, MD Byron E. Dunaway, MD Brett L. Feldman, MD Alex Seldomridge III, MD Kim Lefreniere, PA-C Sherry Dawn Repass, FNP-BC

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1829

Orthopedic Surgery – Spine PHC – Piedmont Bone & Joint Alex Seldomridge, III, MD

444 Williamson Road, Suite B Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-360-9310

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1838


Physiatry –Interventional Spine Care

PHC – Neurology & Sleep Medicine Dharmen S. Shah, MD 359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-873-1100

PHC – Lake Norman Neurology Andrew J. Braunstein, DO Ryan Conrad, MD Craig D. DuBois, MD Douglas Jeffery, MD Roderick Elias, MD

124 Professional Park Dr, Ste A Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-662-3077

PHC – Lake Norman Neurology Andrew J. Braunstein, DO Ryan Conrad, MD Craig D. DuBois, MD Douglas Jeffery, MD Roderick Elias, MD

9735 Kincey Avenue, Ste 203 Huntersville, NC 28078 • 704-766-9050

NeuroSurgery- Spine Iredell NeuroSpine Peter Miller, MD, Ph.D.

544 Brawley School Road 28117 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-954-8277

Obstetrics/Gynecology PHC – Lake Norman OB/GYN James Al-Hussaini, MD Laura Arigo, MD Katie Collins, DO Grant Miller, MD James Wilson, MD Nicole S. Wellbaum, MD Coral Bruss, ANP-C

131 Medical Park Road, Suite 102 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-663-1282

PHC –Govil Spine & Pain Care Harsh Govil, MD, MPH Thienkim Walters, PA-C April Hatfield, FNP-C

359 Williamson Road Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-235-1829

Primary Care

Iredell Primary Care for Women Eva Imperial, MD, FAAFP

114 Gateway Blvd, Suite B Mooresville, NC 28117 • 980-435-0406

PULMONOLOGY PHC –Pulmonology Enrique Ordaz MD Jose Perez MD Ahmed Elnaggar, MD

125 Days Inn Drive, Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-838-8240


PHC – Rheumatology Sean M. Fahey, MD Dijana Christianson, DO

128 Medical Park Road, Suite 101 Mooresville, NC 28117 • 704-658-1001


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Support Where You Need it Most


Learning to Move

Moving to Learn





otally shocked. Flattered. Taken aback. Cindy Utzinger felt all of these things when she realized her book was a number-one bestseller on Amazon. She released her debut book, Why is My Kid Doing That? A Sensory Approach to Understanding Your Child’s Behavior late last year. In its second week on Amazon, the book had secured the number-one new release spot in the Popular Development Psychology and Children’s Learning Disability categories. Utzinger’s long journey toward self-publishing made the milestone even sweeter. “Years and years went into getting the book out there,” she says. “It was definitely a tearful moment.”

As a pediatric occupational therapist, Utzinger works with children to address issues rooted in the sensory system.

and move to learn. A lot of times we put band-aids on the issues we see, like focusing only on handwriting issues. But the handwriting is the tip of an iceberg. There are underlying issues we can’t see, and many of those issues are rooted in the sensory system.”

The sensory lifestyle Utzinger encourages a “sensory lifestyle” to ensure that children are primed for focus and learning. “If we know the types of sensory activities they need to be doing, we can find ways to incorporate them into our day.” Hopping from tile to tile at the grocery store is an example. “So much sensory input can occur naturally if we have them moving in their environment.” You can probably guess the biggest obstacle to a sensory lifestyle. Putting a screen in front of a child’s face instantly takes him or her out of the

environment and strips the experience of valuable sensory input. Utzinger advises keeping a “bag of tricks” handy to occupy children in waiting rooms. She also relieves parents of the duty to constantly entertain their children. “Let your kids be bored. There is so much cognitive development that comes from being bored.” Utzinger wants people to know that all children have sensory quirks, and they don’t all require occupational therapy. “When the quirks start to interfere with daily life, that’s when it’s time to call an OT,” says Utzinger. She says adults have sensory quirks, too. In fact, people have been asking Utzinger to follow up her latest release with Why is My Husband Doing That? In the meantime, you can find Why is My Kid Doing That? A Sensory Approach to Understanding Your Child’s Behavior on Amazon or www.


As a pediatric occupational therapist with more than 20 years of experience, Utzinger has seen just about every behavior out there, and she is passionate about showing parents the why behind those behaviors. “I wanted to empower parents to know there are things we can do to help them.” Seven years of practicing at Lake Norman Children’s Therapy in Cornelius, combined with 13 years at other locations, have given Utzinger a wealth of experience and knowledge. Her own children have also helped by providing plenty of opportunities to ask herself, “Why is my kid doing that?” As mom to Britton, 13 and Lauren, 11, Utzinger has seen her share of puzzling behaviors. “My daughter rides around the house with a helmet and ski goggles on,” says Utzinger, who lives in Huntersville with

her husband Eric and their children. Utzinger was juggling a job and two small children when the book started taking shape seven years ago. She managed to fit writing into the cracks in her busy schedule, and says that her husband had to learn how to fall asleep to the sound of a clicking keyboard. “I was very passionate about it, so it wasn’t a chore,” says Utzinger. “Of course, there is always that ‘mom guilt’ where you feel like you should be working when you’re with your kids, and when you’re with your kids you feel like you should be working. But I was driven, so it made the time sacrifice of writing the book easier.” Now that the book is topping Amazon lists, it’s clear that parents are eager for answers. So, what does Utzinger want us to know about the behaviors we see in our children or students? “Kids need to learn to move


Empowering parents


Alexandra Brown and Para Guide Foundation volunteer Shannon Houlihan have completed three half-marathons and one full marathon together.


photography by Gayle Shomer Photography


Brown and Houlihan during a recent practice run.

lexandra Brown was drawn to sports at a young age. The Huntersville resident played youth soccer as a child, and was a swimmer on her high school team. But there’s more to her story than a love of athletics. Brown is visually impaired. As a child, Brown was diagnosed with myopia and astigmatism. At age 15, doctors noticed something different with her retina. It wasn’t until five years later, and after genetic testing, that she was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition Prom1related Macular Dystrophy. The disorder causes vision to become blurry or warped and affects color and contrast. A progressive disorder, her vision changes were very gradual. “I noticed the greatest changes between the last couple of years of high school and going into college. That’s when it was challenging to sit in class and see the board,” Brown says. Her change in vision didn’t slow down her determination to play on. In college at UNC





by Michele Huggins




Brown and Houlihan cross the finish line during the Charlotte Marathon half-marathon portion of the race.

Wilmington, she played club sports and was on the rowing team. It was there that she decided she wanted to train for a triathlon. She completed her first triathlon two years later, and in December of last year, she ran the Huntersville Half Marathon at age 26.

Leading the way As if training for a triathlon isn’t demanding enough, running, biking and swimming without clear eyesight presents a gamut of new challenges. After returning home from college to Monroe, North Carolina, a running friend connected Brown with Para Guide Foundation. Founded by Shannon Houlihan and Paul Harrold, Para Guide assists paravisually impaired athletes run,

bike and swim with the help of a sighted guide. Houlihan and Harrold met each other on the triathlon circuit where they also met athletes with vision loss. “We realized there wasn’t anyone helping support blind athletes, and we just wanted to serve population that wanted to have the support,” Houlihan says. At the outset, Para Guide supported two blind athletes. Two-and-a-half years later, it supports more than 50 athletes in the Charlotte area with vision loss ranging from mild to severe. Through community and corporate guide clinics, including trainings hosted at Bank of America, Piedmont Plastics and GMR Marketing, Para Guide has instructed 200

GameOn people on how to be sighted guides. At the core of the partner match: trust and communication. A sighted guide serves as the eyes for a runner that helps to keep them on course and avoid dangers. “Imagine running on the road with your eyes closed and there’s a child on a razor scooter, or dog off leash, or a pine cone on the road,” Houlihan says. “Building a relationship to be the eyes for an athlete takes time, so guides train with athletes on a regular basis to build that trust.”

Training in tandem

To learn more about Para Guide, visit

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Houlihan, right, serves as the eyes for Brown and helps her avoid dangers on the course.


Houlihan and Brown have become partners in athletic pursuits, training together for two years. Houlihan is Brown’s sighted guide. By wearing a waist belt, the two women run together with Houlihan in the lead, setting a coupled cadence for their pace. As a team, they have completed three half marathons, including the Huntersville Half Marathon, and ran the Chevron Houston Marathon — their first marathon together — in January. Brown also swims and bikes in tandem with Houlihan. Tandem bikes are provided by Para Guide, and a tether around each participant’s leg is used for swimming. “I swim slightly behind Shannon, with my head at her waist, and with very little room between us. The tether is only there for going around a buoy or to tell if I’m going left or right,” Brown says. “It takes a lot of practice and you have to find a rhythm just like in running.” The nitty gritty of training is a mental thing, Brown says. “The thing with tri’s is there’s so much time needed to train, and three different disciplines to train for.” She gives Para Guide credit for helping her stick to a week-to-week structure of getting up early, and being consistent and accountable in order to reach her goals. “I feel like it’s said a lot, but don’t give up on your goals. If you have a goal, no matter how small or large it is, there are people out there like Para Guide that can help you even if you feel isolated,” she says. Brown’s next goals include improving her speed in each discipline and, with the help of Houlihan, ultimately competing in an Ironman triathlon.



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lake Spaces How we live at the lake

p. 48 A couple finds joy in a custom-built home from their favorite builder.



Photo by Tiffany Ringwald Photography



Good Things Left to Right; Chris Knight, Sara & Barry Rubens, their dog Bailey, and Dylan Knight.



photography by Gayle Shomer Photography





ew people who elect to build a custom house get to know their builders as well as Barry and Sara Rubens. In October 2019, they moved into a beautiful house in Davidson, built by Chris Knight of C.M. Knight Fine Home Building, Inc. This is the third custom house he’s made for them in the past twenty years. Chris, along with his wife Shelly, is now practically family.


A perfect match


The 2,400-square-foot Dutch colonial is just right for the Rubens family. LaBella Associates in Charlotte served as the home’s architect.

In 2000, when the Rubenses decided to build their first custom house, they interviewed several builders. They chose Knight because of his responsiveness and his attention to detail. The 3-acre lot they purchased was located in the same neighborhood where Chris and Shelly were living. Both couples had two children about the same ages, and they all became friends. Chris completed that house, a 6700-square-foot traditional Southern antebellum, and the Rubenses lived there happily until their oldest child began thinking about college. They decided to downsize and hired Chris again. In 2008 they moved to their second custom house, a 4700-square-foot Charleston-style house, and they thought they would remain in it permanently. But after their youngest child moved out, they realized once again it was more house than they needed. To simplify, they adopted a new philosophy: “If someone comes into our home and picks up an object,


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dwellings there has to be a story attached to it,” explains Sara. If it came from Target or Home Goods, it was just “stuff,” and they gave it away.

A home that’s just right Their current house, a 2400-squarefoot cozy Dutch colonial, is designed to be “a welcoming spot that meets the lifestyle of the way we roll,” explains Sara. “We wanted to have the ability to entertain without making it a big deal,” she says. Barry loves to cook, and for him it doesn’t matter if it’s two people or ten.

The Davidson connection

Custom built-ins in the home are a great place for the couple to showcase their treasured mementos.

The Interior Design Society of Charlotte, along with three custom builders and 45 area interior designers, have teamed up to build three of the area’s most cutting-edge, top-of-the-line homes all to benefit charity. Located at The Preserve at Narrow Passage in Davidson, the Charity Designer Showhouses will open with a gala on March 13th and then be available for tours from March 14th through April 4th. Do not miss the opportunity to attend the Showhouse events, hear from top voices in the industry, and see one of a kind homes.


The Preserve at Narrow Passage 19617 Shearer Road

February 12: Sip and See MARCH 13: GALA March 14: Showhouse Opens March 18: Designer Panel March 20: Vendor Day MARCH 25: Progressive Luncheon by Queen City Audio Video Appliances March 26: Book Signing April 1: Taste of Davidson April 2: Garden and Landscape Tour April 4: Last day for Tours

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Although they’ve loved each of their houses and say Chris Knight’s work is “exceptional,” each was right for different seasons of their lives. One common thread through all three is their location in Davidson and their proximity to the college. This has been ideal since they’ve had ongoing close relationships with many Davidson

photography by Gayle Shomer Photography


Love Your Bath

photography by Gayle Shomer Photography

Three glass accordian doors off the kitchen can bring the backyard right inside the house.


Signed Davidson College basketball jerseys are a testament to the Rubenses long-standing relationship with mentoring players.


Creating Beautiful Kitchens and Baths

Two convenient Kohler Showrooms

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The upstairs loft serves as a cozy reading library.

College basketball players over the years. For example, Sara Rubens met player Bryant Barr in church. He wanted to set up a non-profit organization to purchase mosquito nets to prevent the increasing number of deaths from malaria. Sara was working in the nonprofit arena at the time, and she became his mentor. The two became friends, and the Rubenses often had him over for dinner, along with his

roommate Steph Curry and other members of the team. When Bryant graduated, Sara and Barry asked him to introduce them to a freshman on the team so they could continue the tradition. Their close relationship with the Davidson Wildcats is evident in Sara’s home office. One wall features 11 signed jerseys given to them as gifts when players graduated. Custom built-ins serve as a


“On a nice day, it brings the backyard right into the house.” says Sara.

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The kitchen, of course, is a focal point. It’s not unusually large, but it’s light and bright with contemporary elements, and it’s designed efficiently. Just adjacent, a small space is intended as a mudroom. With the days of kids with piles of shoes and backpacks behind them, Barry suggested they make it a butler’s pantry. It’s where they keep most of their dishes, which leaves the kitchen itself a clean, uncluttered space. Other unique features of the house include an upstairs

loft that they turned into a cozy reading library, two-story screened-in porches, and three accordion glass doors off the kitchen that completely collapse. On a nice day, “it brings the backyard right into the house,” says Sara. Downsizing allowed the Rubenses to enter this phase of life without a mortgage, which certainly adds to their more carefree lifestyle. This house, Angela Jackson they feel, is the right amount Jackson Insurance Group, Inc. 19824 W. Catawba Ave. Don Carney Mike Griffin Angela Jackson Harbour Park, Cornelius of space, artfully designed ® 892-6004 190 Jackson St. 227 West Plaza Dr. 19824(704) West and built, and decorated Catawba Ave. Davidson Mooresville with whimsical touches AUTO | HOme | POwersPOrTs | BUsiness Suite D (704) 892-1115 (704) 664-9111 Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. and meaningful belongings. Cornelius Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Availability varies. Nationwide, Nationwide Is On Your Side, and the(704) Nationwide N and Eagle 892-6004 Although they’ve certainly are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2018 Nationwide CPO-0836AO (08/16) 8483897 changed things up, it is very Angela Jackson (704) 892-6004 much home.


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Dine + Wine Eating, drinking, cooking and fun

Dark chocolate is the star of this month’s “In the Kitchen with Jill Dahan”.

A Latin pairing at The Prickly Pear in Mooresville. p. 58 Royal Bliss Brewing Co. opens in Denver p. 59 Lotus Soul Cafe promotes healthy food and healing p. 60 Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes p. 62



Dine + Wine

Wine Time

by Trevor Burton | Photography by Trevor Burton

Latin Impressions

Visit The Prickly Pear in Mooresville for authentic fare and robust wines




Try a wine from the Priorat region of Spain with a layered dish of of poblano peppers, onions, cheese, rice and steak at The Prickly Pear in Mooresville.

y wife, Mary Ellen, and I spend as much time as we can in Latin America and on the Iberian peninsula—not enough time but as much as we can. Much of that travel revolves around local food and wine. So color me happy when I dug into the wine list the afternoon we sat down for lunch at The Prickly Pear. I anticipated that we would be into some quality Mexican fare but it was the wine list that caught me. There was a great selection of wines from Chile, Argentina and Spain— different varietals and blends of several different grapes. The wine that caught my eye and my heart was one from the north-eastern part of Spain, from Priorat— most wines in Europe are named for the region they come from, not what grape they’re made from. The predominant grape in this region is the intense grape Garnacha—or, in the local language, Garnatxa. The Priorat region, in Catalonia, is just a few miles from Barcelona but it’s a completely different world. Priorat wines are proof that you could probably grow grapes on the moon. Priorat is defined by its soil, if you can consider it as soil. The local name for the soil is, ‘Llicorella.’ Llicorella is volcanic in origin; crumbled rock with no apparent nutrients. It’s amazing that grape vines can survive

there. They’ve done more than survive, grapes have been growing there since the 12th century. Grape growing began at the Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei, which is where The Prickly Pear’s wine came from. Up jumped joy; I was in for a tasty ride through vinous history. So, that gets me to what dish to pair with the wine. The Prickly Pear prides itself with its “Modern Mexican Cuisine.” There are a few of the usual suspects from south of the border but most of the choices are much more substantial fare and much more representative of true Mexican dishes. This wine demanded a dish that could stand up to its strength and depth. A steak dish was on my mind. I went for an Alambres. This is a layered dish of poblano peppers, onions, cheese and rice along with, of course, strips of steak. Perfect. I have always enjoyed all Mexican food. But the vast majority of it is formulaic. And any wine that accompanies it is unexciting and often not well cared for. That’s why I go for establishments, like The Prickly Pear that feature more authentic dishes and, of course, good wines to go with them. The Prickly Pear 637 Williamson Rd, Mooresville, NC 28117

Dine + Wine

On Tap

Royal Bliss Brewing Co. Opens in Denver



business venture together. The idea for Royal Bliss Brewing Co. was hatched.

From left to right: Bobby Lamby, Executive Chef; Gianni Masciopinto, Director of Marketing and Sales; Chris Wertman, Brewmaster and Greg DiPietro, Taproom Manager.

A true passion project

wine and a prosecco available on tap for those who love the brewery experience, but don’t love beer.

Deliciousness without pretentiousness Chef Bobby Lamby, formerly of eeZ Fusion and Sushi in Birkdale and owner of the Carolina Smash food truck, brings his culinary experience to the kitchen at Royal Bliss. The menu includes traditional appetizers and bar food, as well as some interesting healthy alternatives, Ginger


says. Entertainment is also planned to round out the social vibe at Royal Bliss. The two-story, 6,500 squarefoot space with outdoor terraces and patios is also available for private event space. The upstairs space can be rented with its own terrace and separate bar space, and accommodates at least 100 people, Ginger says. “Deliciousness Without Pretentiousness” is what the couple intends for its guests at Royal Bliss. Keep an eye out for the exact opening date at

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Set to open mid-February, Royal Bliss Brewing Co. is the couple’s “passion project,” Ginger says. “Even though we each owned our own businesses, we never owned together. We wanted to have the partnership together.” The couple has been involved in every facet of the decision making for design and construction of the brewery, which is located at Waterside Crossing Shopping Center in Denver. Brewmaster Chris Wertman, former head brewer at The Unknown Brewing Co. in Charlotte, has been tweaking and perfecting 20 different beer recipes and batches brewed on site, and plans to have eight to nine beers on tap upon opening. They also plan to have a red and white


hen Larry and Ginger Griffin’s twins went off to college three years ago, the couple found themselves with some extra time. They began exploring local breweries in Lake Norman and discovered that they really enjoy the warm, welcoming vibe found at breweries, and they fell in love with craft beer. Both longtime Lake Norman-area residents and successful business owners each on their own, a new idea started, well, brewing: What if they opened their own brewery? Larry Griffin, who operated family-owned Griffin Brothers Tires until selling the company in 2016, has years of successful customer service under his belt. Ginger Griffin, who owns Ginger Griffin Marketing and Design, is a maven in marketing and branding. Combined with their new love for breweries and craft beer, the two saw an opportunity to use their talents and experience and start a new

by Michele Huggins photography by Jamie Cowles

Dine + Wine

Nibbles + Bites

by Lara Tumer |

photography by Jamie Cowles


STATS Cuisine

Health-conscious casual fare, juices, smoothies, elixers

Price FEBRUARY 2020

lunch dinner


In addition to healthy food and drink, Lotus Soul Cafe offers a variety of nutritional supplments for sale.


hether you’re already immersed in the Lake Norman wellness community or have simply resolved for more mental and physical health in 2020, the newly opened Lotus Soul Café in Cornelius will fit the bill. Owners Heather Krengel and Shelia Tierney originally met through their daughters, bonding over a wholistic approach to wellness that was inclusive of mind, body, and spirit. Krengel grew up on an organic rural farm in Mississippi. Her Native American grandmother practiced earth healing and it was during Krengel’s childhood that her spiritual journey began. With a background in restaurants and operations, Tierney was the

perfect partner in creating this inclusive space.

A sign from the universe When asked about how the location of Lotus Soul Café was chosen, Krengel provides an interesting answer, explaining that she feels as though the location chose her rather than the other way around. She was originally looking for a meditation studio, which happened to be located above the café, but once she walked through the space, the idea for the café and retail space was born. She vividly pictured the wealth of services and products that they could offer and quickly

turned this vision into a business plan. The space is conveniently located on the corner of Statesville and Bailey Road, just across from the 131 MAIN Restaurant.

Feel good food The food and beverage menu is extensive and, in a word, wholesome. You’ll find carefullycrafted creamy overnight oats, tasty savory toasts, or a slew of juices, smoothies, and elixirs; each made with predominately locally sourced and organic plant-based ingredients. If you can’t sit down to eat, many of their offerings are available in a grab-and-go style, perfect for the busy individual who still wants to prioritize fueling their body

Attire Casual

Atmosphere Clean and simple

Group Friendly Heart Friendly Going solo Early Date

PRICE KEY 15 and under


25 and under


50 and under


75 and under


This includes an entree and a non-alcoholic beverage.

with nutritious foods. If you’re not sure where to start, the menu is created to showcase the specific healing powers of each ingredient with an easy to follow, colorcoded guide. With two nutritional specialists on staff, the menu was created thoughtfully, taking into consideration not only taste but also the use of nature’s most powerful gifts. With long hours (opened from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. most days), there’s plenty of opportunity to visit for a meal or snack.

Beyond the café

Lotus Soul Cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sundays.

body chakras 101, which teaches the basics of our body’s energy centers, and sound healing, which explores the use of music to improve mental and physical health. The workshops are taught by local experts. For those interested, spiritual services and readings can also be arranged in a one-on-one or private group setting. While you’re visiting the

café, you won’t want to miss the curated retail wall, packed with supplements, healing crystals, clothing, jewelry and so much more—the perfect place to snag a gift for yourself or someone you love. The owners are most excited about the opportunity for Lotus Soul Café to be a centerpiece for the community, going far beyond

simply a place to grab lunch. With an ever-changing workshop schedule and new offerings, joining the café’s membership called the “Goodbye Tribe” is a great way to stay informed and take advantage of special member deals. Lotus Soul Café 9606 Bailey Road, Cornelius,


The menu notwithstanding, it’s the product and services offered at Lotus Soul Café that really sets them apart from your typical health-conscious café. Yoga and meditation are offered weekly in the space. Additionally, there are a number of specific wellness workshops offered for an affordable price. Workshops include a children’s cooking class, emphasizing the importance of proper nutrition for our bodies,

61 LAKE NORMAN CURRENTS • 704.778.6364

Gayle Shomer Photography

Dine + Wine Photography by Glenn Roberson

Photography courtesy of Jill Dahan

In the Kitchen with Jill Dahan Ingredients 3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter (I like Kerrygold brand)


3 large eggs and 3 egg yolks, responsibly laid eggs Jill Dahan 8 oz. dark chocolate (I like Equal Exchange 70% cocoa) 12 caramel pieces for inside (I like caramel crunch from Equal Exchange) Butter and coconut sugar for greasing inside of cake pans

Instructions Chocolate Molten Caramel Cakes


What better way to transport your love to someone than through a decadent chocolate molten oozing caramel cake? This rich cake is barely a notch away from a souffle, with a melt in your mouth tenderness and a gooey dark chocolate caramel center. No added sugar is needed, except for the coconut sugar dusting to ensure a crispy outer crunch. The exquisite flavor comes from top quality chocolate, so don’t be tempted to substitute anything less or your cakes will lose chocolate street-cred. Be careful to not under or over bake so don’t you end up with chocolate milkshakes or hockey pucks. Remember when life happens, chocolate helps.

Grease the inside of mini muffin pans and sprinkle lightly with sugar to coat. Melt chocolate and butter on low until just melted. Beat eggs on high until thick and pale yellow. Add in chocolate mixture and pour into cups. Press caramel pieces into each cup and set aside until 10 minutes before serving. To serve, bake at 375F for 5-7 minutes until just set but with wobble in the center. Remove from the oven, run knife around inside of each, and invert onto a serving plate to serve warm or room temperature. Note these can be poured and baked into ramekins for a bigger size if desired. Baking will take a few minutes more to ensure they are done with just a slight wobble in the center. Makes about 10-12 cakes.

ill Dahan lives in Cornelius and is the author of Starting Fresh! Recipes for Life. You can J learn more about her at To learn more about her nonprofit, Sunninghill Jill Kids, visit

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“Auguste Rodin: Truth Form Life/ Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections” runs through April 5 at Davidson College.


Home School Day: African Influence on Our Southern Culture (Feb. 13) Learn about the important contributions African Americans made to Southern history and culture in this interactive living history event. There will be demonstrations, music, storytelling, reenactment, live animals and a special craft to make and take home. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $6 per person; members and children under the age of 4 years free. Historic Latta Plantation, 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville,


The Lake Norman Big Band (Feb. 17) The band performs the third Monday of every month at 7 p.m. $20 cover charge includes a buffet dinner. The Finish Line Restaurant and Lounge, Victory Lanes Family Entertainment Center, 125 Morlake Drive, Mooresville, www.

Music @ St. Alban’s (Feb. 23) Enjoy music by DC area cellist Kevin Jones and pianist Topher Ruggiero as they perform sonatas by Dmitri Shostakovich and Grigory Smirov. Arrive early to enjoy the pre-concert young artists performance at 2:20 p.m. The concert will be followed by a “meet the artist” reception. 3 p.m. $20, general admission; $15, seniors; $10, students; children under 12 free. www.


Annual Seed Swap at Historic Latta Plantation (Feb. 15) Bring your extra seeds to swap with other gardeners in the community. Each participant will receive at least 10 free packets of non-genetically engineered, heritage seeds. A representative from the Mecklenburg County Master Gardner’s Association will be on site to offer advice and answer your gardening questions. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. Historic Latta Plantation, 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville,


Davidson College Men’s Basketball The Wildcats take on Fordham (February 11, 7 p.m.), Rhode Island (February 22, 5:30 p.m.), La Salle (February 25, 7 p.m.)

Davidson College, Baker Sports Complex, www. Davidson College Women’s Basketball Cheer on the team against Dayton (Feb. 5, 7 p.m.), Duquesne (Feb. 16, 1 p.m.), Saint Joseph’s (Feb. 19, 7 p.m.), VCU (Feb. 29, 1 p.m.), Davidson College, Baker Sports Complex, www.


The Odd Couple (Feb. 7-16) Neil Simon’s Tony-award winning comedy revolves around two mismatched friends: the neat, uptight Felix Ungar and the slovenly, easygoing Oscar Madison. Watch the hilarious results when the clean freak and the slob ultimately decide to room together. Fri. and Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. Adults, $18, Seniors, $16, Students, $14. The Green Room Community Theatre, 10 S. Main Ave., Newton, www. The Cake (Feb. 20-23) Della makes cakes, not judgment calls—those she leaves to her husband, Tim. But when the girl she helped raise comes back home to North Carolina to get married, and the fiancé is actually a fiancée, Della’s life gets turned upside down. She can’t really make a cake for such a wedding, can she? For

Family Fun the first time in her life, Della has to think for herself. $5.59-$11.19. 7:30 p.m. Barber Theatre, Davidson College, The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time (Feb. 20-March 8) Fifteen-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain: he is exceptional at math but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. At seven minutes after midnight, Christopher stands beside his neighbor’s dead dog, Wellington, who has been speared with a garden fork. Finding himself under suspicion, Christopher is determined to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington, and he carefully records each fact of the crime. Thurs., Fri. and Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun. at 2 p.m. Adults, $20, Seniors, $18, Students, $12. Davidson Community Players, Armour Street Theatre, 307 Armour Street, Davidson,


Cornelius Arts Center Various exhibitions. Mon-Thu 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri-Sat 9 a.m.noon. 19725 Oak St., Cornelius. Foster’s Frame and Art Gallery Various exhibitions. Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 10a.m.-4p.m. 403 N. Old Statesville Road,

Me Time Huntersville. 704.948.1750. Four Corners Framing and Gallery Various exhibitions. Tue-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 148 N. Main St., Mooresville, 704.662.7154, Lake Country Gallery Various exhibitions. Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Exit 36 – Mooresville, between Belk and Kohl’s, 704.664.5022. www. Mooresville Arts Gallery Various exhibitions. Tue-Fri noon-4 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mooresville Train Depot, 103 W. Center Ave., Mooresville, The Van Every/Smith Galleries Auguste Rodin: Truth Form Life/ Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections (Through April 5) View 22 of Rodin’s bronze sculptures, molded between 1860 and 1910. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., noon-4 p.m. Davidson College, Katherine and Tom Belk Visual Arts Center, 315 N. Main Street, Davidson, Tropical Connections Various exhibitions Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. or by appointment. 230 N. Main Street, Mooresville.


heART pARTy (Feb. 8) Enjoy Valentine’s Day card-making, crafts and refreshments. 9:30 a.m.11:30 a.m. Free. Cornelius Arts Center, 19725 Oak Street, Cornelius, www.

Girls’ Night Out

Cellist Kevin Jones will perform at Music @ St. Alban’s on Feb. 23.


Date Night

esy of Kevin Photo court

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What’s trending in


vacations? by Renee Roberson | photography by Renee Roberson


Ca’ d’Zan in Sarasota, Fla., the original home of John Ringling and his wife Mabel.


Parasailing in Holmes Beach, Florida.

Visiting the fictional town of Springfield, home of The Simpsons.

Fun at Universal Studios.


t’s tough planning travel when every member of the family has different expectations. Now that my kids are teenagers, I realize there are only a few precious years left where we’ll be able to travel together. We’re also not the greatest at planning trips well in advance—for us, planning travel is stressful with all the various details and costs, so we often put it off until the last minute. Since I really want to be more intentional about planning family travel whenever I can this year, I reached out to a local expert, Jen Boles with Explore More Family Travel, to find out more about current travel trends. Boles is a seasoned planner with a specialty in getting a more in-depth experience during your travels, whether you’re planning a cruise, destination vacation or a beach trip with family. One of the biggest trends she’s seeing right now is multigenerational travel. Boles enjoys planning and going on vacations with members of her immediate family, including her father. “Grandparents are more active than they used to be,” she says. “It’s a good way for the grandparents to connect with their grandkids.” Boles also recommends gifting travel experiences in lieu of money or other presents. “Take your family on a cruise rather than giving a lot of gifts at Christmas time.” Did you know that January and February are called WAVE season because of all the deals cruise lines put out during this time of year? If you’re considering a cruise in the future with your family, now would be a good time to check those out before the rates increase due to the boats filling up.

Boles is also seeing more clients seeking sustainability during travel. Travel companies are trying to plan for offpeak times at highly-traveled destinations (think places like Venice, Italy, where the crowds of tourists at certain times of the year can be overwhelming). Off-the-beaten path travel is also becoming more popular. There are businesses in the travel industry that are making an effort to reduce their ecological impact by removing straws from their hotels and ships and eliminating single-use plastics. If that’s a cause that is important to your family, seek out those types of companies and experiences. Another area Boles enjoys helping people with are authentic experiences. On a trip Boles and her husband took with her sons to Thailand, she sought out an ethical elephant camp where they could hang out with elephants who weren’t performing tricks or giving rides to the tourists. The entire family spent an unforgettable afternoon feeding and bathing the elephants who lived on the camp. Talking with Boles made me all the more excited to start planning future trips, whether they involve an anniversary getaway with my husband, travel with the grandparents, or a memorable whirlwind weekend that checks off the U.S. Travel Bucket List we’ve created. A final word of advice from Boles? “Get your kids involved in the travel planning,” she says. “They will be more invested in the trip if they have something to do with it.”

Get more ideas at

A PET FOR YOU! 2106 Charlotte Hwy., Mooresville 704.663.3330 E-mail:

These adorable animals are looking for their forever homes . . . Visit Lake Norman Humane’s website for a full list of adoptable pets.


Eva is a sweet six-year-old pit mix who came to us from local animal control. She knows a few commands, eager to please, and loves to play ball. Eva has been spayed and is up-to-date on all shots. Her adoption fee is $200.



This hunk of a pup came to Lake Norman Humane from a local animal control. Even though he is a big boy he thinks he is a lap dog and wants to be as close as he can to you. His adoption fee is $200.

Maple Leaf

“Fall” in love with Maple Leaf! This lovely lady is a 2-year-old Border Collie mix. She is up to date on vaccines, spayed and will be chipped when you take her home. Her adoption fee is $200.

Maple Leaf


Benny is a Siamese ragdoll mix who was received at Animal Control on Christmas Eve. He will allow people to pet and handle him, but he is still a bit timid from his experience. Benny is neutered, microchipped, dewormed, combo negative and had flea prevention. His adoption fee is $150.


Bryson is a sweet but reserved boy who came to Lake Norman Humane from a kill shelter. He is up to date on vaccinations, dewormer, flea and tick treatment, microchip and will be neutered very soon. His adoption fee is $100.

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