Fort Mill Magazine SPRING 2012

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Tom will build 998 more birdhouses his wife doesn’t need after Piedmont’s Heart & Vascular Center saved her life.

FORT MILL | contents

F E AT U R E S Hockey Night National championship in Green Bay, WI

There's only one place to find the best BERRIES Nature Therapy Natural Therapy for your Soul

Velodrome Introduction to a phenomenal sport facility

Carnivale New gallery show revealed

ON THE COVER: Mayor Funderburk enjoys berry time with his grand kids, Tucker and Savannah. Location provided through Kathryn Miller of Coldwell Banker United Realtors.



FORT MILL | contents


FORT MILL magazine

Published by Market Style, LLC Publishers Louis Roman racey Roman Contributors Michelle Black Ken Caputo Je Commer ord Paul Culver Dr Laura Du resne Jared underburk Matthew Gri in Vinita Maigur Morgan McAteer Celia McCarter

AROUND TOWN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

TO YOUR HEALTH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41



LOCAL FOLKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

GOOD EATS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43



Valerie McGann Patti Mercer Jen Mildenberger Linda Mur in Laura enton Pidge Ginenne Ri e Anita Sayago Alex Shoenthal Anna Skidmore

FINE LIVING. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

COOL DRINKS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46


BEER 101

WEALTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

SOUTHERN STYLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49



TRAVEL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

INSPIRED THOUGHT. . . . . . . . . . . . 56



Paula Smith Catherine Spain Larry Stevens Jan Wallace Derick Wilder Emily Wyatt Vice President Sales Louis Roman 803 207 0851 louis@ ortmillmagazine com Advertising Executives Allison Wilhelm 704-557-5614 allison@marketingshoppe net Morgan McAteer 803-242-8353 morgan@ ortmillmagazine com Catherine Spain 843-509-3473 catherine@ ortmillmagazine com Lisa Mason Hagen 803-412-8285 lisa@ ortmillmagazine com

Please send all editorial items to: racey Roman Publisher & Editor-in-Chie troman@ ortmillmagazine com Š 2012 ort Mill Magazine All rights reserved No part o this

Never m ss an ssue of Fort M Magaz ne. Subscr be on ne at www.fortm magaz

publication may be reproduced in any orm without the express written consent o the copyright owner

ort Mill Magazine does

not necessarily endorse the views and perceptions o contributors or advertisers



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FORT MILL | from the publishers


is with great pleasure that we bring to you the Spring issue of Fort Mill Magazine. Our hope is that you will join us in celebrating all that s good in our town...southern hospitality, quality education, exceptional dining, business excellence, and a community rich in history and visual culture. We love this town and enjoy exploring every corner...learning about the history and the wonderful people who call Fort Mill home. We are so looking forward to the annual Strawberry Festival held right here in beautiful Fort Mill. As you can tell from the cover, we aren't the only ones excited about this award winning event. We are growing and creating opportunities for the community. We have learned a great deal this past quarter and we're excited to share not just another beautiful publication, but a phenomenal new


photographed by Anastasia Roman

website, too. You'll find in this issue everything you need to know about the 2012 SC Strawberry Festival. We had the pleasure of talking with Mayor Funderburk and several committee members about this year's event. We ll introduce you to the Giordana Velodrome that opens to the public on March 17th. We'll share entertainment news that covers music by Outlaw Symphony, movie magic with Fred De La Garza and much more. You'll meet a variety of local residents, talent, and business owners. You might recognize someone special or you'll learn of their talents for the first time here with us. We continue to show you how our town prospers thanks to some enterprising people with an adventurous spirit. You won't want to miss one tiny morsel. If that wasn't enough, you'll learn how to improve your health and your credit from our local experts. There is something for everyone in the pages of Fort Mill Magazine and if you can't get enough, go

to where the content is updated daily. As always, we strive for the best community-rich content and we look to you for suggestions, ideas, and comments. Please share your thoughts with us. Enjoying life and creating good,

Louis & Tracey Louis & Tracey Roman Publishers, Fort Mill Magazine

letter from the mayor |



FORT MILL | contributors MICHELLE BLACK - WRITER Michelle Black is a local credit expert, co-owner o Home Ownership Program or Everyone (HOPE) and a 25 year resident o ort Mill, SC Her articles have been eatured in At Home Magazine and in a weekly blog at www HOPE4USA com She has also been a eatured credit seminar speaker locally and throughout the Southeast Michelle has over 9 years experience in helping people to overcome credit issues in order to achieve a healthy credit report n the past 4 months alone she, her business partner, Ron Lambright, and their company, HOPE, have helped over 85 people to ix their credit problems and reach credit scores high enough to quali y or a home loan KEN CAPUTO - WRITER Ken and his amily are 4 year residents o ort Mill, having moved rom Central New Jersey he Caputos live in the Dominion Bridge community t s a ull loving home with wi e Lin, sons Jason and Mike and their grandkids JP and ina Ken is in the midst o launching KC Communications LLC, a marketing communications irm targeting energy- related companies as well as non-pro its He s put together a dynamic team o designers, a web developer, a social media expert and a pro with video/photo imagery Ken has over 25 years marketing experience in a wide range o industries He s worked on the corporate as well as the agency side developing and executing communication programs that get results And now he has the opportunity to join orces once again with some o the very best people in the business he web site or KC Communications LLC is www kccommteam com We are planning to have it up by March 1 or more in ormation please e-mail us at ken@kccommteam com or call 803-389-6446 JEFF COMMERFORD - WRITER Je moved to the Charlotte area over ourteen years ago rom upstate New York He graduated rom Hobart College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science n 2008, Je moved to ort Mill with his wi e, Shannon, and two daughters, Sophia and Sadie he small town atmosphere attracted Je to the area, a amiliar reminder to where he grew up in Rome, NY When ree time is available, he enjoys playing ice hockey and guitar Je covers the Carolinas as Regional Sales Manager or igus, inc , a manu acturer o cable carriers and continuous lex cables or the automation industry PAUL CULVER - PHOTOGRAPHER Paul has been ascinated with photography since he was a young boy watching his Grand ather tinker with his old 35mm camera “ was 7 when he died and just wanted to stay as close to him as possible, so became interested in his hobby o ten wonder i he is standing there behind me as capture a raction o li e that most others would walk right past without recognizing it s beauty Paul is married to his childhood sweetheart and best riend, Kristin, and they have a beauti ul little girl named Eden Rae hey enjoy the small town charm o ort Mill and are o ten ound exploring the Greenway Paul is the o icial photographer or ort Mill Magazine, but he is also available or weddings and other special events, portraits and creative advertising ollow him on aceBook at in initephotography or check out his website www in initephotography com DR. LAURA DUFRESNE - WRITER Laura has taught art history at Winthrop University or twenty two years, but considers hersel a happy southerner transplanted rom the “other south – southern Cali ornia Both are hot and ull o eccentrics She studied art history at the University o Washington and throughout Europe Ms Du resne is married to a Liam Neeson look alike and is soon to be an empty nester as her son heads o to college someday She rescues dogs and loves Zumba and historical novels and all the art themed design contests on V rom Design Star to America s Next op Artist Her avorite ood? Cupcakes JARED FUNDERBURK - WRITER Jared is a native o ort Mill and graduated rom ort Mill High School in 1999 He has a B A in History and Geography, and also a Master s degree in teaching, both rom Winthrop University or the past 2 years he s worked as a Ranger with the National Park Service at Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve in Yakutat, Alaska Being outdoors and exploring the world has always been Jared s greatest passion and he is eager to share it with others Now that he is back home, he plans to pursue a job in teaching and also expand on his interest in outdoor photography and writing He has traveled to 16 oreign countries during the past 8 years, mastering the art o


Backpacking, and learning as much as possible rom each new experience You might ind Jared out mountain biking on the ASC Greenway, or maybe swimming at the Rec complex, but always with a smile Check out some o his adventures on his Blog at www JL EXPLORER blogspot com MATTHEW GRIFFIN - WRITER Matt is the inancial consultant or amily rust nvestment Services A native o ort Mill, he graduated in 1994 rom ort Mill High School and graduated cum laude rom UNC Charlotte in 1999 with a bachelor s degree in accounting Matt worked 10 years at Smith Barney in Charlotte, where he was trained in port olio management and two years as a wholesaler at SunAmerica Asset Management He lives in ort Mill, SC, with his wi e Laura and their 3 children Ava (5), Cole (3), and Lila (1) ollow Matt on aceBook and witter VINITA MAIGUR - JR WRITER Vinita is a junior at South Pointe High School and was born in Scranton, PA on April 24, 1995 She was born to Samuel and Varsha Maigur who immigrated rom ndia in 1985 Vanita hopes to become a broadcast journalist in the uture She is currently a reporter or her high school newspaper and a morning show anchor She enjoys cooking and spending time with her amily and riends MORGAN MCATEER - WRITER Morgan is a recent college graduate rom Winthrop University where she received a Bachelor o Science in Sport Management Originally rom ndian Land, SC she moved to ort Mill last year a ter marrying her sweet heart and best riend, Reid McAteer o ort Mill hey share a dog named Mowgli because Jungle Book was their avorite story as kids Active with the youth group at church, Morgan also enjoys attending Gamecock games and ollowing her other avorite team, Pittsburgh Steelers Morgan is an Advertising Executive or ort Mill Magazine and enjoys writing or them as well VALERIE MCGANN - WRITER Valerie resides in ort Mill with her Husband o 13yrs, Chris, and their 3 children n her late teens, she developed a passion or cooking n her early 20's, she poured over her monthly issues o Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, and aste o Home experimenting with new recipes and reinventing old ones (she especially wants to give thanks to her Husband or his willingness to be her guinea pig in the early years, and or being her "sous che ") Her love o cooking and entertaining has earned her the nickname o "Martha" by her riends and amily Valerie is a native o Syracuse, NY PATTI MERCER - WRITER Patti was crowned Mrs South Carolina nternational 2008, coming in 2nd Runner-up at their National Pageant She was crowned Mrs South Carolina United States 2006 A wi e and mother o our, Patti has traveled the state as Mrs South Carolina and Spokesperson or the South Carolina Autism Society and Autism Speaks promoting Autism awareness, the importance o early intervention, and the possibilities o recovery Patti, a Winthrop University graduate, is an Executive Director o the SC Strawberry estival Pageant in ort Mill, SC She is also the Sales Manager or ortMill com where she utilizes her marketing experience to advance commerce throughout York County Additionally, Patti covers live broadcast remotes as an "on-air" personality with radio stations WRH 94 3 and nterstate 107 1 and has been eatured in a variety o print, radio, and television advertisements n addition to her busy work and home li e, Patti enjoys opportunities or volunteering at her children's schools, motivational speaking, pageant consulting and judging n April o 2010 she was awarded the Hometown Hero Award by WCBL-CN2 News JEN MILDENBERGER - WRITER Jen has lived in the Charlotte area over 20 years which is very rare or most residents Her love or the business and working with people produces energy and excitement easily absorbed by her clients and peers She works hard to ensure you will walk away with a positive real estate experience Whether you are buying or selling or the irst time or a seasoned client, Jen will tailor the process to match your needs Educating her clients is very important to her as it makes the process much easier and allows them to eel com ortable each step o the way Jen Mildenberger is licensed as a Broker/Realtor in both South Carolina and North Carolina

LINDA MURFIN, CTC - WRITER or 39 years now, Linda Mur in has been telling people where to go And they actually thank her or it hat is because she has spent those years as a travel agent sending people all around the world and seeing much o it hersel Linda holds a Master's degree rom the College o Disney Knowledge as well as a Bachelor's degree in Rhetoric and Communication/Journalism rom Kent State University in Ohio She is a certi ied Gol ravel specialist and has completed courses on destinations throughout the world She also has clients rom such places as Australia, rance and South A rica plus numerous states in the USA Linda's agency, Above he Crowds ravel & Meeting Planning, is the o icial planning agency or the ort Mill Magazine ravel Club trips She has produced a video called "Lighten up Practical Packing or Overburdened ravelers" on how to pack or a one week trip in a carry-on bag, n addition to travel, Linda enjoys gol , swimming, wine tasting and cooking with husband Don, and doting on their 13 grandchildren, including triplets born this July She and Don reside in ort Mill LAURA FENTON PIDGE - PHOTOJOURNALIST Laura has been a resident o ega Cay, South Carolina since 2005 coming here as a transplant rom her native state o Oklahoma She grew up on a wheat and cattle arm with just a couple o trees that all leaned in one direction because o the constant, brisk winds On the contrary, ega Cay, with its diverse oliage and proximity to the water, has been a nice change or her Laura is a graduate o Oklahoma State University with a degree in Mass Communications She spent the majority o her career in marketing and advertising or a travel industry sales company and currently works ull time in sales or a major music provider Her passion lies in reelance writing and candid photography or children and amilies his passion has sparked a new endeavor Blue Beetle Photography he name came rom daughter Olivia s ascination o a blue bug in a library book Blue Beetle is currently a weekend operation serving ega Cay, ort Mill, Baxter and Rock Hill, South Carolina GINENNE RIFE - WRITER As a native o Rochester, New York, Ginenne relocated to the Carolinas 17 years ago She lives in ort Mill with husband, om and daughter, Megan, a senior at ort Mill High while their son, ommy is a sophomore at Wo ord College in Spartanburg, S C Ginenne has worked in all acets o mortgage inancing, rom welcoming clients, preparing loan applications, working with underwriters, as well as sitting at the closing table Because she is licensed in both North and South Carolina, she is able to work with you regardless o where you ind your next home One o the accomplishments that she is most proud o is her past service as the President o the ort Mill Chapter o riends- n-Business, an organization comprised o business owners in the area which is vital to our growing community Her a iliation with American Equity Mortgage allows her to o er a variety o inancing programs to it every need ANITA SAYAGO - WRITER Anita Sayago is the owner o Sayago s Ca é & Creamery in Baxter Village with her husband Jose She is the proud mother o 4 boys n her spare time, she enjoys photography, writing, going to the YMCA, laughing with riends and spending time with her amily A native New Yorker, Anita graduated rom Baruch College in Manhattan with a Bachelors in Business Administration, majoring in Marketing Research with a minor in Psychology Anita s past work experience included working or Cooper s & Lybrand NY as a writer and graphic designer She le t NY in 1994 and moved to East Brunswick, NJ, where she lived or 11 years be ore calling ort Mill home ALEX SHOENTHAL - WRITER rom Bucks County, PA just outside o Allentown (yes, like the Billy Joel song), Alex attended East Stroudsburg University where he received a BA in Communication Studies He met his wi e, Lori Jane, in college and they ve been together or 12 bliss ul years She is a beer lover as well and very supportive o his passion, she even brews her own beer, a Coconut Cream Ale hey have 3 wonder ul Boxers Dragon, Lotus, and Saber hey reside in the Mt sland Lake area o Charlotte Alex manages Grapevine Wine & Beer shop/bar in Baxter Village He was deemed the “Beer Guru during his irst year at Grapevine s and is now the Education Minister or the Carolina Brewmasters home brew club He says, “ think the down to Earth people o ort Mill are its li eblood Everyone meet here is just so riendly, interesting, and has a vigor or li e

contributors | ANNA SKIDMORE - WRITER Anna s hometown is ort Mill She received her BS in Recreation & Sports Management rom Coastal Carolina University She s the Director o Corporate Services or the Charlotte Checkers o the American Hockey League where she manages corporate clientele and contracts She enjoys shopping, antiquing, reading ashion magazines, studying ashion trends and traveling A ter recently competing in Miss South Carolina nternational, Anna decided to embrace her deep passion or ashion and style Anna & Co was ormed to o er ashion, mentoring and li e consultation to young girls and women with goals and dreams in the world o pageantry, ashion, and the work orce PAULA SMITH - FOOD WRITER Originally rom Kansas City, MO, Paula moved to Rock Hill, SC, in 1987 She earned her M A in Ceramics rom the University o llinois, has exhibited her works nationally and won an 18 month residency at the McCall Center or the Arts during 2004-2006 She taught part time in the art department at Winthrop University and owned Oakland Art Supply, until getting a ull time teaching job at Gaston College Now she is the head o the Ceramics department at Central Piedmont Community College Paula continues to create unctional and sculptural ceramics, and is invited to exhibit her work continuously both regionally and across the country She loves to travel, play with her cats, eat good ood, decorate her home and enjoy her garden CATHERIINE SPAIN - WRITER Catherine Spain is a graduating Winthrop University senior studying business with a concentration in entrepreneurship and Spanish Originally rom Charleston, Catherine grew up actively involved with the arts, per orming and working with the local Charleston Stage Company in the historic Dock Street heatre or 9 years Since joining the Winthrop and Rock Hill/ ort Mill community, she has developed a love or a broader range o arts including ine art, design, music, photography and media Also, Catherine recently spent a semester studying abroad in Spain, where she ell madly in love with the Spanish culture and there ore intends to return soon Otherwise, Catherine plans on starting a new business

aimed towards supporting and promoting local arts Wish her luck LARRY STEVENS - WRITER Larry is Region Director o the SC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Winthrop University, and an Assistant Pro essor at Winthrop s College o Business, teaching Entrepreneurship, Principles o Management and Academy 101 A husband and ather o three daughters, he is also actively involved in multiple community projects He serves on the York County Regional Chamber o Commerce Small Business Council and the Youth Leadership Planning Council and is also a member o the Regional Chamber Board o Directors He also serves on the Michelin Development Steering Committee which awards development unds to businesses in need in upstate communities, and is a volunteer and past board member o Junior Achievement o the Catawba Region Winthrop University honored Stevens with both the 2011 Presidential Citation or Service to the Community and the 2011 Excellence in Service Award rom the College o Business Administration JAN WALLACE - WRITER Jan studied at North Carolina State University and continued with a degree in plant biology rom the University o Utah She worked with the Utah Division o Wildli e Resources studying native ish and riparian areas She co-authored a Re erence Guide or Native ish, Amphibians, and Reptiles Jan and her husband, George, moved back home to the Carolinas in 1998 She spent much o her time volunteering or organizations such as the Girl Scouts and leading science enrichment programs at local schools Jan s love o plants and the desire to give back and be a part o the community set the vision or a new venture Along with her husband, Jan ounded Sugar Creek Garden Center in 2009 as a place or amilies, un and learning Jan's newest adventure is learning how to grow orchids


DERICK WILDER - WRITER Jan studied at North Carolina Derick Wilder is an Area Manager or Playball, an international child development organization that operates in 13 countries Playball s mission over the past 25 years has been to improve children s lives through their sports and movement programs A ter a career running a technology consulting irm, Derick exchanged his suits or coaching gear a decade ago so he could work with kids and make a di erence He brought Playball to ort Mill in 1996 and has expanded the business to eight ranchises in the region Derick is also a public speaker on children s issues, presenting at schools and con erences around the Carolinas, and a reelance writer with both newspaper and magazine credits he next step in his writing career is the publication o his irst children s books EMILY WYATT - WRITER Emily moved to ort Mill when she was our years old She grew up watching this small southern town blossom into a bustling eclectic suburb A ter graduating rom ort Mill High School, Emily went to Winthrop University where she double-majored in History and Journalism Her passion or history and research sent her to the College o Charleston where she received her MA in European History During her time in school, she participated in numerous internships with companies such as he ort Mill imes, Rock Hill Magazine, E V, and Sea Settings Magazine She also spent some time in Rocha and ierra Blanca, Nicaragua, where she aided in the construction o a one-room school and participated in an archeological dig Currently, Emily is a reelance web copywriter or various nationally recognized companies She enjoys traveling, scuba diving, exercising, and reading in her spare time


ANDYBOVENDERTEAM ALLEN TATE’S #1 TEAM COMPANY-WIDE 2011 OfďŹ ces in Baxter Village & Ballantyne.


FORT MILL | around town Dancing With The Stars Fort Mill Have you ever watched Dancing with the Stars and wondered how much preparation it takes to learn to a professionally choreographed dance routine and perform it in front of hundreds of people? Six local York County celebrities have signed up to face that challenge. Dancing with the Stars – Fort Mill has paired up six celebrities with eight dancing professionals to raise money for a very worthy cause – middle school athletes in Fort Mill. The event will be held at the Tega Cay Golf Club – Glennon Center on Saturday, April 28th, doors opening at 6:00 pm. Budget cuts have impacted our local school districts in many ways. For the Fort Mill School District, one of the most controversial cuts was to eliminate all middle school sports, over 50 teams. While many people in the community didn t agree with the decision, the school board did allow for a pilot program which gave the athletic booster clubs the opportunity to provide the funds to operate the sports program. Today, over 1000 athletes participate in middle school sports in Fort Mill, but not without hard work from many parents and community members who raise $50,000 each year to keep the programs alive. “Our booster organizations have sponsored our share of donut sales, golf tournaments and school dances, but we ve been looking for something a little different that the residents of Fort Mill and surrounding towns can participate in,” commented Jill Marr, School District Athletic Board Fundraising Chairman.

Our vision at United Artisans of America is a community store: a place where craftsmen and artists can sell their wares and a place to purchase things made by local artists. We now have 34 Artisans' wares in house (31 are from the Carolinas, 2 from Florida and 1 in Heaven). We have

courtesy UAA

pottery, welded art, purses, baby shoes, jewelry, crocheted hats, mobiles, stained glass, crystal nail files, paintings, photography, guitar pick holders, cards, beads and more...appropriate gifts for men, women and children handcrafted right here in the U.S.A. Our vision at United Artisans of America is a community center: you can let your kids play, sip a cup of coffee, hang out, play games, read a book or use the Wi-Fi. We offer classes for kids, teens and adults including: crochet, photography, watercolors, art 101, knitting, jewelry, beading, swing and ballroom dancing. We have meet-ups for deaf and hard of hearing (and those who want to learn ASL), photography, and book readers. We host birthday parties for kids and teens, baby and bridal showers, storytelling and more. We would be delighted to meet you and help you with figuring out a project, getting a unique birthday gift, learning a new skill or hosting your event. Things are buzzing in the Heart of Fort Mill, SC, so feel free to stop by. Check out our website for classes and events:


New Business On Main Street photo by S Marks Martell or call: 801-810-4066.

The Fort Mill High School Concert Choir and Alumni will be the guest choir performing at St. Peter s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome on March 30, 2012. The choir will perform at the 5:00 p.m. Mass. While in Rome, the Fort Mill High Concert Choir will also perform in the Panathenaic Stadium, also known as the Kallimarmaro, an athletic stadium in Athens that hosted the first modern Olympic games in 1896.

Dancers will compete in fundraising (sponsorships and ticket sales), two dance routines and crowd appeal. The goal - the mirror ball champion trophy and much needed funds to help our student athletes in Fort Mill. or (803)


Fort Mill High Concert Choir To Perform At The Vatican

Under the leadership and direction of Michael Dove, the Fort Mill High School Concert Choir has achieved many national music awards in Mixed Choir, Men s Choir, Women s Choir and Show Choir. They have performed in New York City, New York; Hollywood, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington D.C. and Honolulu, Hawaii. They have gained local, national and international recognition for their excellence and have performed in European venues such as the Duomo in Florence, Italy; St. Paul s Within the Walls in Rome, Italy; Notre Dame in Paris, France; St. Paul s Cathedral in London, England and Madrid, Spain. It is not currently known if Pope Benedict XVI will be present when the choir performs at the Vatican. However, Mr. Dove believes this performance will be a highlight of his career, as well as a life altering experience for him and his students. St. Peter s Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian Church in the world, holding 60,000 people. It is the symbolic “Mother Church” of the Catholic Church and is regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites. In Catholic tradition, it is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter s Tomb is directly below the altar of the Basilica. Prior to leaving for Rome, the Fort Mill Concert Choir will be performing at St. Philip Neri Church on 292 Munn Rd. East, in Fort Mill on March 25, 2012 at the 11:30 a.m. mass.


FORT MILL | around town SBDC We re Big on Small Business Text By Larry Stevens

As an introduction to the SBDC, we thought we d give you a little background as well as a list of workshops that we hope you ll find useful in growing your small business or starting a new business. Winthrop Region SBDC is a part of the South Carolina Small Business Development Centers, funded in part by the Small Business Administration, and hosted on the campus of Winthrop University. Larry Stevens is the Region Director, with the Winthrop Region encompassing a large section of South Carolina from Union and Cherokee Counties on the west to Horry and Georgetown Counties on the coast. We serve business owners in a total of 15 counties from three Area Offices: Rock Hill Area serving Cherokee, Union, York, Chester, and Lancaster Counties; Florence Area, serving Chesterfield, Lee, Darlington, Marlboro, Dillon, Florence, Williamsburg, and Marion Counties; and the Myrtle Beach Area, serving Horry and Georgetown Counties. Our SBDC mission is to help existing businesses as they grow and create jobs for our communities – “to advance South Carolina s economic development by helping entrepreneurs grow successful businesses” -- as well as assisting entrepreneurs as they research and plan to open new businesses. Our consultation services are free of charge to everyone, and our low cost workshops provide a wide variety of valuable, practical information. We make an effort to address those subjects that clients tell us they want to know more about as they go forward in sustaining or building a business. We also have an SBDC website offering aspiring entrepreneurs downloadable business plan templates and other documents to assist in business planning, as well as a wealth of general information for anyone in business. Please watch the calendar on our website for upcoming workshops. Visit our website, or friend WinthropRegionalSBDC on


Facebook for daily information and tips as they apply to small business.

Close-up: Fort Mill-Tega Cay With Patti Mercer on 94.3 FM

Information “Straight from the Source” is what Patti Mercer will be talking about on “Close-up: Fort Mill-Tega Cay”. Patti, a Fort Mill native and former Mrs. South Carolina, will be interviewing guests Tuesdays from 11:30-noon “LIVE” from the Towne Tavern in Fort Mill. The show is presented by Piedmont Medical Center and co-sponsored by York Electric Cooperative, Paul Davis Restoration, and the Towne Tavern Restaurant. Tune in Tuesdays for “Close-up” to hear about relevant issues in our community from the people who are making a positive difference! “Close-up: Fort Mill-Tega Cay”, Tuesday mornings at 11:30 on 94.3 FM and online @

Square Foot Gardening in Raised Beds Text By Jan Wallace

Are you considering growing a vegetable garden this year? Do you not want all the work that goes with it? Then square foot gardening in a raised bed may be for you. It s fun, requires very little space, and you will get more veggies than with a traditional garden. No tilling or digging is required! So why wait? All you need to do is to find a sunny location that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. Once you ve picked the location, building a raised bed is easy. It only needs to be raised 6” off the ground for regular vegetables and 12” for root vegetables, as long as you fill your box with the

perfect soil blend. The ideal size for a box is 4 x4 . This is preferred because you can tend your garden easily from any side without stepping into the soil, which causes the soil to be compacted. In a 4 x4 garden, you will have 16 one-foot squares where you can grow 16 different vegetables. If you stagger when they are planted then you can extend the harvest. That may be an ideal size for tending, but any variety of size will work. If you keep your box about 2 wide, then tending and reaching into the garden will be easiest. You can have a bottomless garden in your yard or one with a plywood bottom as a window box, or on your patio or deck, as long as their are adequate holes for drainage. Filling up your box with the proper soil is what is most important in raised bed square foot gardening. The best soil blend I ve found is Lady Bug Square Foot Gardening Mix. It s lightweight, so it s easy to work with and for plants to grow in. The blended compost in it is rich in nutrients and trace minerals, so there s no need to add fertilizers. It was developed by Mel Barthlomew (author of Square Foot Gardening) and contains five different organic composts, peat moss, and coarse vermiculite. Finally, it holds water yet drains well. You can find this special mix at most independent garden centers. I can t stress enough how important it is to start with the correct soil blend! Once the bed is in place and filled with the perfect soil blend, you are ready to start your seeds or plant your plants. I recommend 4 plants or seeds per square foot. If your growing vining plants, you can add some trellis netting to the raised bed for them to climb on vertically. Remember to keep climbers on the north side of the bed so that they do not shade the rest of the garden. Then, just add some water, which will probably be needed every day in the summer, and watch them grow. In a few weeks you ll have a great looking garden. Then, find your favorite recipes and enjoy! Anyone can be successful square foot gardening! Would you like to learn more? Sugar Creek Garden Center is offering a free class March 29th at 5:30. Please call 803-802-2600 for more information.


FORT MILL | around town

Unleash the Kraken Text and Photos By Derick Wilder “Watch out, here comes a dragon! And look - over there is a castle. Do you think that s where he lives?” When I don t respond right away, she follows with, “Can t you see it, Daddy?” But lying on a thick blanket of fluorescent green grass, all I m able to do is squint at a sky as blue as my little girl s eyes, admiring the sporadic puffs of white cotton candy. Then, with just a touch of her hand, I am transported back in time and the shapes spring to life. The heavens are transformed into a lighter-than-air menagerie from some faraway land that can only be seen through the gaze of a child. There are tigers about to pounce and damsels ready to be rescued, all played against a backdrop that would make Dr. Seuss smile.

glorious afternoon. For today we hope to not only admire the friendly skycreatures, but to join them in the fun. And we ve found the perfect spot right here in Fort Mill, as Walter Elisha Park offers an open area that stretches like poppy fields leading to the Emerald City.

In a few minutes, our own kraken springs forth with life. Like a mad scientist, I carefully assemble its synthetic skeleton, smooth its translucent, brightly-colored wings and unfurl a slithering tail. My daughter Taylor is in awe as she oversees Alas, we are adults, which means there is the action, completely oblivious to the only so far our imaginations can carry us. What can pass as fascinating entertainment limitations of her Dad s do-it-yourself skills. Sure, she s been delighted by a new car or for hours on end for children typically kitchen set, but doesn t realize the wheels engages us for mere moments. Reality may be on backwards or the cabinet doors soon sets in and I am again left to simply installed upside down. Shhhh – I want to enjoy families of inanimate clouds as they keep my SuperDad image in her eyes a joyfully bound along their invisible trail. It s one of those days you wish would move in little longer if possible. slow motion, as you d give anything to Finally, it s time to unleash the beast! So it s stretch it out just a little longer. actually a frog and not a mythical sea monster, but hey, they both like water. I ask A brisk breeze sneaks between the trees Tay to hold up our plastic amphibian, who and through the swings before wrapping she names Jumpy, as I unroll several yards around us. With just enough of its teeth dulled by an early spring forecast, it battles of string. Just a short run produces a successful liftoff, with Jumpy heading the sun s warmth for our skin s attention. straight up to the heavens at breakneck These gusts are one of the reasons we ve speed. Soon he is slicing up the Carolina decided to venture outdoors to greet a


blue with graceful figure eights in a whirl of color. The sight is bested only by Taylor squealing with delight as she mirrors his movements and jumps in hopes of snagging a tail that s now 100 feet above her! I m not sure how long Jumpy played hide and seek with the clouds. I was just glad to be outdoors with my girl on an unforgettable day. My hope is that she forever keeps that sense of wonder about games that play out across an endless sky as opposed to a 17” LCD screen. As for you Moms and Dads out there… if you want a little help spotting those dragons, don t be afraid to grab hold of your children s creative coattails - they can t wait to show you the way. Just hang on tight, because it can be a wild ride!


Derick Wilder is an Area Manager for Playball, an international child development organization. He is a pub c speaker on ch dren s ssues, present ng at schoo s and conferences around the Caro nas, and a free ance wr ter.

local folks


Chairman for the 2012 Strawberry Festival, David Ward, Jr. is also a proud native of Fort Mill. He s married to Teresa. They have a 21 year old son named Dallas. We recently caught up with David. Here are excerpts from our conversation. We hear you grew up with someone pretty popular in this town. "I think you are referring to our mayor, Danny Funderburk. I ve known him my whole life and I m proud of what he is accomplishing for this town." Tell us about the Strawberry Festival you are chairing this year. "There are a lot of people that put in a great deal of time to make it a success. We re branding it as a state and regional annual event that is now drawing people from all over. It s actually our opportunity to show off the town of Fort Mill. Little known fact, years ago this whole area was probably more well-known for strawberries than peaches. If you ve ever been to the Strawberry Festival you know how much fun it is for the whole family. Every year it continues to grow. Very proud to be a part of it." When you are not chairing Strawberry Festivals, what do you do? "I m involved in nuclear generation for Duke Power. Been with them for 34 years. I travel a bit with my job evaluating best practices." Being a native and living here all your life, what s the best thing about Fort Mill? "You know, I love to travel both for business and pleasure. And wherever I go I compare the place to Fort Mill. It can be a wonderful city or town but it s not my home town. Fort Mill is a relaxing place with a special charm all its own. It has a rich history. Best of all, I can make one phone call and I can reach 10 to 15 guys if me or my family needed help. I guess I really can t name just one thing. There s so much in this town. Like the closeness to Charlotte and the Greenway. You can go for a hike there and feel like you are in the middle of the Amazon." What would you like to see next for Fort Mill? "I d love to see the rebirth of Main Street. I m on the Fort Mill Economic Council and

Text By Ken Caputo Photo By Louis Roman we are working to bring in new business to the downtown district." What s your favorite restaurant? "Fort Mill is limited in terms of restaurant choices. I like to go over to Ballantyne where there are a lot of choices. We really need more restaurants to help make Fort Mill more of a destination for people. I do like to visit the local spots and we recently enjoyed Wing King. Without sounding “girly� I do like Savannah s Room. She d done a great job expanding her business from a small place on Spring Street."

I ve been to 321 of the 397. And I always try to keep things in perspective in life. The Lord comes first, then family and friends and then work."


Are you into social media at all? "I don t Twitter and I m not on Facebook although many of my friends say I need to get on Facebook." What do you do to unwind? "Like I said, I love to travel. And I have a few travel goals I m working on. Along with son, we ve traveled to every one of the 50 state capitals. I m also determined to see all the national forests. So far,


FORT MILL | feature


s Spring approaches the Carolinas, Fort Mill athletes will begin to dust off their cleats in preparation for the baseball, lacrosse and spring soccer seasons. But not all Fort Mill-ians! Fort Mill High School juniors Caleb Garrity and Chandler Paff, along with the rest of their Charlotte Junior Checkers U-16 hockey team, will be preparing to compete for a national championship in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The team clinched a berth to the USA National Tier II U-16 tournament in early February by shutting out the Raleigh Junior Hurricanes 4-0. According to the USA Hockey website, thirty-one states have had at least one National Championship at any level. The


courtesy Erin Garrity

Junior Checkers U-16 team hopes to bring home North Carolina s first in late March. This is not the first time Garrity and Paff will travel to compete, nor likely the last. They have had road trips to Pittsburg, Nashville and traditional hockey hot-beds like Boston, Detroit and Canada. Asked if the northern teams tend to take the southern teams lightly, Garrity offered “Maybe a little. Coming from Boston, I didn t know what to expect, but the hockey is pretty competitive here as well.” Charlotte hockey is making a name for itself on a national level. Last year, the Junior Checkers U-12 team travelled to San Jose, California to play for the national title. They made it to the finals, but fell short to the Oklahoma City Oil Kings in overtime, 3-2. That Junior Checkers team included Tega Cay s Clay Ellerbrock and Indian Land s Spencer Krul.

Hockey is growing in the Sun Belt, and the Charlotte area is no exception. USA Hockey touts a targeted growth rate of 8%. In the Charlotte area, Jeff Clark of the Pineville IceHouse says he has seen hockey enrollment up 20% over the past couple years. Extreme Ice Center s Mike Mulhall says they have seen a 5-7% growth in youth hockey, adding “the retention rate is over 95% at the eight and under age.” Most new hockey players are offspring of transplanted northerners who played the sport. Mulhall, also the USA Hockey Director for the Southeast District, says they starting to see more children of native southerners with little exposure to hockey get involved. Adult (at all levels) and youth hockey enrollment is up 8% last year in the southeast, surpassing all northern districts. Charlotte still has some catching up to do to with cross-state rival Raleigh. The Triangle has six rinks with more than



1200 boys and girls lacing up skates. In comparison, Charlotte has two rinks (three ice surfaces) to accommodate the growing 450 kids in hockey. There is plenty of local expertise to teach the skills to the Charlotte kids. Bob Halkidis, a 12year NHL veteran, coaches Garrity s Wisconsin-bound team. Fort Mill resident Jason Dawe, another NHL veteran, is Programming Director for Extreme Ice Center s Charlotte Metro Hockey Association (CMHA). Dawe also started the Southeast Nationals, a AAA organization comprised of elite players to compete in various tournaments. Last June, Dawe s U-16 Nationals, which included Paff, competed in the Niagara Youth Challenge in Canada, losing in the finals to a Toronto team. “The influx of northern transplants over the years certainly helped grow hockey in the area,” Dawe says. “In addition the Carolina Hurricanes winning the Stanley Cup in 2006 had a positive effect. And now, the Checkers affiliation with the Hurricanes should also help hockey in Charlotte to expand.”

FM courtesy Erin Garrity


FORT MILL | feature

Nature: Therapy For Your Soul Text and Photos By Jared Funderburk

Have you ever experienced the natural high that one can achieve simply by escaping the hustle and bustle of the city? or some it might mean standing on top o a mountain, but or others it can be as simple as a walk in the park t s a eeling o reedom and contentment and i you ve never experienced that eeling be ore, challenge you to make an attempt t is real, and it s power ul, but like so many o the good things in li e, you must search or it, not only in the orests or on top o a mountain, but also within yoursel “ o the dull mind nature is leaden to the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light -Ralph Waldo Emerson Just like Ralph Waldo Emerson, many other in luential writers, philosophers and naturalists throughout time have promoted the signi icance o nature in their work Here, will incorporate several well-known quotes, as they can o ten do wonders at putting my own thoughts into words Growing up as a lover o almost everything outdoors, built a irm appreciation or nature rom an early age My ather took me camping, ishing, and hunting and was always naturally drawn to its peace ulness and serenity can hear my mother now, saying “he ll just sit out there all day long and not even catch a thing , and that s true, but ll still enjoy every minute o it Later in li e realized why was able to do that and it comes down to one simple word, or lesson that nature taught me patience he society we live in today is built around instant grati ication hink about how that a ects our wants, needs, and desire or satis action immediately n many ways, we have lost a great deal o our patience and ability to slow down, use our imagination, and simply be content with anything simple Many children grow up so close to a television or computer that they rarely even consider where it came rom and what e ect it may have on them you don t like the show you re watching on tv, just turn the channel you re not satis ied with the current web page, game, or social network you are spending hours on, you just simply “click the mouse t may seem normal to you now, but think about how things used to be can t count the number o times ve been told by a person rom my parent s generation, or older, that they used to have to use their imagination in play nstead o playing X-Box, or Wi, they made up their own games and it o ten took place outdoors hough may not have understood it then, m sure glad my mother didn t let me sit around the house all day as a child had a riend over to visit, you best believe we would be outdoors exploring, and o course, out o her hair you look back even urther, to other civilizations, the connection between humans and “nature was much more personal You got your water rom a stream, rather than a aucet You hunted or, or grew your own ood, instead o purchasing it with money at the supermarket, and the rhythm o li e was determined more by Mother Nature than time and money Li e was much di erent then, and can t help but


question the true value o many o the things we consider “progress today “Adopt the pace o nature her secret is patience ~Ralph Waldo Emerson hroughout my li e, the experiences ve had in the wilderness have played a major role in shaping the person am today m not sure exactly where my adventurous spirit came rom, but there s no doubt it s there During the past 10 years, ve traveled to 16 countries and many places around the U S Most o my destinations were chosen not to visit a big city, though do love the culture and ood, but to see the wonders o nature in di erent parts o the world t wasn t just a “vacation or me, but a much more meaning ul experience When you set out to climb a mountain, or hike a trail or days on end, with nothing but the contents o your backpack, it s all up to you to survive hat s when you really experience the power and wonders o the wilderness You realize that it can provide you with everything you need to live, but also take your li e in an instant here were times when was pushed to the point o exhaustion, both physically and mentally During those moments, you might question why you even put yoursel in such a position, then you realize that ultimately you have no choice but to move orward i you want to live Nature is certainly un orgiving, but the rewards you ind within yoursel when you reach that summit or ending point o a trail are much more power ul than words can express rom those experiences, you gain a huge sense o achievement which is an essential part o growing stronger as a person t gives us con idence and a sense that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to You learn that you can survive and that you can push yoursel arther than you ever even imagined Once you ve realized that, those strengths translate into all aspects o your li e here have been several research studies done recently to determine how outdoor recreation can do things like help reduce stress, speed recovery rom surgery, or increase work per ormance and morale oday, we o ten overlook the importance o nature in our everyday lives Perhaps that s why one might pre er the o ice with a view, rather than an enclosed cubicle, or to take a walk during lunch rather than stay indoors A simple breath o resh air can be enough to improve your day n nature, you witness how thousands o di erent species coexist without intervention and realize that humans are an essential part o that “web o li e or many, including mysel , it brings a sense o purpose and belonging t can also help people gain a re reshing new sense o awareness by realizing that they too are part o something much bigger "Man did not weave the web o li e, he is merely a strand in it Whatever he does to the web, he does to himsel " -Chie Seattle During the past several years o my li e have traveled as much as could, not just in search o a new place, but also to

learn and grow as a human being without making assumptions rom a ar hrough those many days o adventure, discovery, and solitude, experienced several realizations about li e, and it helped me put things into perspective hose memories constantly remind me in my day-to-day li e, o where my priorities should truly lie here is no doubt that the time spent alone in the wilderness has enriched my li e to a point past any explanation t is all something you have to see or yoursel to truly understand Now, am eager to share my experiences with my own community here in ort Mill, help others discover the many opportunities that they might not otherwise, and promote a positive, healthy li estyle " go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order " -John Burroughs Nature is real t does not deceive us, hold prejudice against us, or judge us, but it gives us everything we need t gives us li e Only when we take these things or granted do we eel that nature has neglected us A ter all, nature is not just a place we visit t is our home “ housands o tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to ind out that going to the mountain is going home that wildness is necessity that mountain parks and reservations are use ul not only as ountains o timber and irrigating rivers, but as ountains o li e -John Muir As spring and summer approaches, encourage you all to get out and put a little nature into your li e you ve never understood why people love hiking, camping, or any other outdoor activity, maybe it's time you give it a chance Just make sure when you open your door to step outside, you also open your mind and let nature in Check out my article entitled “Get out and Explore in this past winter s issue o ort Mill Magazine i you still need some good ideas or outdoor recreation in the local area You ll ind that at www ortmillmag com would also like to thank Louis and racey Roman or their hard work in creating ort Mill Magazine see it as a great instrument in spreading the positive energy and ideas we need to help keep ort Mill moving orward Jared underburk www JL Explorer blogspot com jaredl 1@hotmail com


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FORT MILL | feature Yes, I admit, moments of envy creep up but discount it, reminding myself I ll save money in doctor visits, Ibuprofen and ice packs. But the pursuit of outdoor adventure lingers and I dream of dusting off my twenty year old bike from the back of the garage and following her. The true cycling enthusiast knows the correct answer; a velodrome is an arena with a banked track built specifically for cycle racing. Now that you know exactly what a velodrome is, you might also like to know there is one open practically in your own backyard. The Giordana Velodrome is a 250m Olympic standard cycling track with a judging station perched above. It is part of the Rock Hill Outdoor Center near the Riverwalk on the banks of the Catawba River, originally the home of the Celanese Corporation Plant. The track got its sponsor name from a high-end cycling apparel company; Giordana. The owner affectionately named the apparel company after his daughter. Founding partners include Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates and Carolinas Health Care System. German architect Ralph Schuermann is responsible for the design of the track which banks up at a 42 degree angle.

Ask a group of people if they know what a velodrome is and you ll get an array of best-guess answers. Is it a roller rink? Is it an amphitheater? Is it a sports arena? Finally I ask the super-fit mother of two in my neighborhood


betting she will know. Why do I think she will know? I ll give you a hint. When I m leaving for work her kids are off to school and she s getting on her bike for a ten mile ride or more. When I m going grocery shopping on Saturday mornings, she s headed to cycling events in places like Greenville to race on the BMW track.

So how did we get so lucky to land a velodrome in Rock Hill? A passion for cycling brought it here. The vision started almost twelve years ago by two friends; Spencer Lueders, a Charlotte attorney (also the founder of 24 Hours of Booty) and Mike Cowan a neurosurgeon, both avid cyclists. Lueders brought a business plan to the table and Cowan had a few great contacts. The original plan was to bring a velodrome to Charlotte, but with projects already in the works like the U.S. National Whitewater Center and Time Warner Cable Arena, the timing wasn t ideal. Lueders and Cowan then set their sights on Rock Hill where Cowan had an office. Originally Rock Hill was not on board either. They needed some background research on the project. Lueders and Cowan convinced then City Manager, Carey Smith and some of the Parks and Recreation staff to travel up to Trexlertown, PA in 2004 to help share



ride in a nurturing environment and learn skills from qualified coaches. You can exercise for fun or competition and you can participate with your kids,” he says. “The leadership and partnership between private citizens and the City of Rock Hill in order to make this happen is truly remarkable and something the citizens of this region can be proud of and will benefit from for years to come,” Lueders says.

Spencer Lueders with his bike at the Giordana Velodrome

the vision. “The town had a similar feeling to Rock Hill. We attended a Friday evening racing event that pulled hundreds from the community to come out and enjoy the racing,” says Lueders, “That was a pivotal moment in showing the viability and attractiveness of such a facility.” A second trip followed to a velodrome outside of Fort Lauderdale with Mayor Doug Echols which established more excitement for the project. “Another key event was the economic impact study conducted by Clemson University,” says Lueders. “The economics illustrated through that study showed the velodrome alone was a strong economic driver for the region.”

David Vehaun and their respective staff, we would not be where we are today,” says Lueders. What does this mean for the surrounding communities? “It means you can go ride bikes in a safe location, free of traffic, says Lueders, “Your kids can

USA Cycling has endorsed the velodrome which will host several high caliber competitive events while also exposing locals and amateurs to the experience of cycling as a sport. Thad Fischer is the Cycling Coordinator for the City of Rock Hill and is responsible for bringing in events to the facility. Cycling is in his blood, too. Fischer says he s been on a bike for as long as he can remember. His background includes 35 years of managing cycling teams and coordinating special events like the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium. “Velodromes were very popular in the area at the turn of the century,” says Fischer, “Winthrop and Pineville each had a velodrome in the past.” As Rock Hill s Riverwalk was being developed, this brought a new opportunity. “The developers of Riverwalk understood the quality of a

The positive evidence had stacked up and city officials made a stronger push to bring the velodrome vision to life. The project just needed a home. That s when Dave Williams, the developer of Riverwalk, stepped into the picture. Live, work and play would best describe the 1000 acre Riverwalk community. “The cycling amenities being built at Riverwalk even surpass what we originally proposed,” says Lueders, “Without Dave Williams and City Manager had ischer peers out over the new Velodrome


FORT MILL | feature facility like this and reached out to the city,” says Fischer. “They deeded 250 acres to the city and it was up to the city of Rock Hill as to what to do with the land.” Fischer says Rock Hill has had tremendous success with amateur sports tourism with Manchester Meadows soccer complex and Cherry Hill Park for softball

tournaments. Adding another sports complex to the area made sense. “Cycle enthusiasts will drive in from all over the area,” says Fischer. “It s going to be a great draw to Rock Hill while adding additional outdoor recreation areas for residents. ” The facility will also include miles and miles of mountain biking trails and a BMX super cross track this summer. Within seven to ten years it is

expected the Rock Hill Outdoor Center will employ over 4,000 people in industries surrounding it, such as hotels, convenience stores and restaurants. The estimated economic draw is $4 million per year. “The Giordana Velodrome is not just for the elite cyclist. It s for the entire community,” says Fischer. “We will have cycling programs for children to seniors.” Rider development and outreach programs to youth and amateur cyclists will be part of the routine. “There will be a children s program at no charge called Kids on the Track teaching children the basics of cycling and safety,” says Fischer. Specific nights will be blocked for Boys on the Track and Girls on Track for ages 15 and up with any range of biking experience. All riders must go through Try the Track certification class first teaching biking etiquette. Track approved bicycles and helmets are required. If your bike is not approved, you can rent a bike for $5. Racing will begin in May after the first certification process. It s safe to say that future generations here will know what a




velodrome is and that cycling will grow as a popular outdoor recreational activity. With a little luck and inspiration, our area may sprout a new Olympic cycling contender. I think I ll skip the grocery shopping this Saturday and get out my bike. Ibuprofen and icepacks aren t that expensive. Maybe I ll even get my daughter out of her Big Wheel and try her big girl bike with training wheels instead. The Giordana Velodrome is calling me. How about you? Learn more about the Giordana Velodrome and the Rock Hill Outdoor Center at:; or, on Facebook at “Riverwalk Carolinas,� and Twitter at @riderockhill.



FORT MILL | feature

There's only one place to find the best berries in the carolinas

The South Carolina strawberry festival Text By Emily Wyatt Photos By Paul Culver

My father loves strawberry shortcake. So, every year for his birthday, my mom and I would go to the Springs Strawberry Fields, which is now Springfield subdivision, and pick fresh strawberries for his cake. (Don t tell anybody but I would leave with as many strawberries in my belly as there were in my little basket.) This annual strawberry picking meant that spring had finally arrived here in Fort Mill. And since I hate any kind of cold weather,


this was always a glorious moment for me. My family moved to Fort Mill when I was four. I have lived here ever since, with a few years exception for college. There s something about Fort Mill. It has a charm to it. I didn t realize it until recently to be honest. Maybe it s because I have a small feeling that the town and I have grown up together. When I moved here, 21 years ago, there was one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. Now, there is several of each. This town has made itself be known. It is

no longer just “that town a little south of Charlotte.” People are beginning to recognize the name, Fort Mill. I think that s why holding the South Carolina Strawberry Festival in Fort Mill is so successful. From May 1-5, the most committed people I ve ever met will put on the biggest and (now officially) best festival in South Carolina. Strawberry Festival Director, Brown Simpson is excited to see what the event brings this year. “The thing I get most excited about,” Brown stated, “from my perspective is seeing the behind the

feature scenes work of our volunteers from our festival committee and the hours and preparation of work they put into this event and what they bring to the event.” The committee s main goal is to bring out the best in the town. “We strive to provider a festival that showcases what is the best about Fort Mill,” Brown continued. They succeeded. The Strawberry Festival is about working very hard to have as much fun as possible. It is truly everything that is great about Fort Mill. Last year was my first time at the Strawberry Festival. Sure, I attended Fest-i-Fun several times in my days in Fort Mill, but it was nothing like this. There were vendors, bouncy castles (that I, unfortunately, didn t go in), pigs, live bands, and a petting zoo. I mean honestly, what more could a girl ask for? The festival was so popular it won South Carolina s Event of the Year award. This award didn t shock Mayor Funderburk however, “The food is great, the music exceptional, and the atmosphere is family-friendly. It s no surprise that our festival was just recognized as South Carolina s Festival of the Year. It s a great accolade and it justifies the pride we ve felt in producing one of the top festivals in the Southeast.” After winning South Carolina s Event of the Year Award, the Strawberry Festival Committee is


expecting this year to be even bigger and better. “We work hard every ye to add fresh and interesting layers to the next event,” Mayor Funderburk added. The will be new events like family strawberry picking the Springs Farm berry patch, which is obviously dear to my heart, and a fu scale strawberry gala to b held at the Dairy Barn to bring a more formal event the festival. “The South Carolina Strawberry Festival at Fort Mill just ge better and better. We continue to be big on the berry in 2012,” Mayor Funderburk told me. Personally, I think “big on the berry” is an understatement.

Awarded "Event of the Year" On Wednesday, May 2, the Strawberry Festival Golf Tournament will be held at Springfield Golf Club. If you think you can win, or just want to have some fun, take a

favorite local golfers drive, chip, and putt their way to victory. After a long day on the course, scrub up for the Strawberry Festival Gala to really kick off the week. Thursday, May 3, cheer on your local strawberry sweethearts as they try to dazzle their way into being crowned this year s Strawberry Queens. Like last year s pageant, there are three categories: Teen, Miss, and Mrs. There will even be a tribute to the local veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces this year. Also, the proceeds of the event will be given to


FORT MILL | feature Hidden Wounds—a charity that provides emergency care of both mental and physical health to our veterans and their families. The festival kicks off on Friday, May 4 and continues on Saturday, May 5. Two stages will be available for live music to play. On some of the stages however, contests will be held such as the ice cream eating contest, the strawberry shortcake eating contest, or the Texaco Country Showdown. There will also be arts & crafts, food, and business vendors set up all over Walter Elisha Park for you to browse through. Due to the budding popularity of the festival, the committee decided to extend the boundaries of the festival to include N. White Street for additional vendors and the car show, which will be held on Saturday, May 5. There is also a 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, May 5 for the Gerald T. Park Memorial Foundation. There will be a slew of activities at the Kids Zone that will get every member of your family excited for the festival including pig races, ice cream eating contests, rock climbing walls, a bungee trampoline, and even a Guitar Hero contest. If none of those strike your fancy, then get creative at the arts & crafts table. It's amazing how much one piece of fruit can mean to a community. To the town of Fort Mill they re a reason to celebrate and appreciate everything the people in this town have to offer. To me, strawberries symbolize spring and celebrating another great year with my family. I just hope the peaches don t feel too left out.

FM Cover photo location provided through Kathryn Miller of Coldwell Banker United Realtors. 225 Buckner Hill Lane in Springfield is available for purchase. 803-517-1975


FORT MILL | fine living

BDesigns Text By Morgan McAteer Photos By Stefanie Morris


rom molding playdough and rearranging her bedroom at the age of five to a college graduate with her own business, Becky Hunt is a successful woman who likes to think of herself as a shabby chic designer and artist. She is the owner and founder of B Designs. Her M.O. is as Designer and Decorator with an artistic twist! Becky Hunt, although born in Newark, Delaware, is a southern girl at heart with big talent. She was only two years old when her family moved to Rock Hill, South Carolina. Now at the age of twenty-four, she would not have it any other way. It all started in college at the University of South Carolina with an internship at Pulliam Morris Interiors in Columbia, South Carolina. The incredible designers took her under their wings and taught her everything she needed to know. From there she also went on to teach the fresh minds of toddlers at Small Hands Big Art. This led Becky to design children s rooms, so they have a place to create magic as any young mind would do. Becky does a lot of work for friends in Rock Hill, but most of her clients are in the Fort Mill area. She says, “I love how the people of Fort Mill aren t afraid of wanting the unique and custom made. I have felt embraced by all aspects of Fort Mill and I feel like the people are always there to greet you with open arms and doors to share their time with you!” She has had many clients in the town of Fort Mill including Laurabree Monday from our very own CN2 News station. Mrs. Monday was B Design s first client in


need of a custom mural design for her little one. Excited and anxious, Becky knew that this was her chance to shine. Monday says, “ Becky was terrific, she took the time to come up with a design that was unique for us and adjusted it as we went along to make it just perfect. It was equally fun to watch her creative juices unfold into a reality on our wall.” She also said, “My husband and I smile every time we walk into our son's room. We can only imagine the wonderful dreams Ethan will have in his nursery thanks to Becky s mural.”

Since then, she has done many murals, painted and refurbished furniture, and designed rooms for many people and places. One of the projects she has begun now is at The Bump Maternity Boutique, located in Baxter Village. She is putting her artistic abilities to work in the fitting room. She described these murals as fabulous and whimsical and says that this will keep any mom-to-be inspired to keep trying on new things.

fine living

Becky also has many other upcoming projects. She will be re-doing a powder room for Page 6 in Baxter Village. This room will incorporate hand painted wallpaper and hand painted frames to showcase NicCole Photography's images of the boutique's clothing. Also, Becky has been invited to create the design and concept for artwork that will be done by the Boys and Girls Clubs of York County to be displayed in the windows of JCPenny while it is being renovated. Just to name a few more exciting adventures, she will be traveling to Florida to work on a beach house for a client and begin creating painted floorings. I guess we could say that she is overwhelmed with excitement.


design and decorate my own home and take what I have learned from my clients and turn it into a space that I can call home.” She is inspired by clients and friends and says, “Without my family s support, I would not be where I am today.” Follow her on Facebook at B Designs.


Working along side B Designs is the company MicroHUNT Consulting. Together, they are working on building a website that will allow customers to show Becky just what they want thousands of miles away. MicroHUNT Consulting has allowed Becky to take the non-creative side of B Designs off of her shoulders and on to theirs. They will continue to work together on the business side of things. Her dream was always to design with the likes of Genevieve Gorder from HGTV s Dear Genevieve, but now she says, I think my dream project is to


Life is


Good and the Market is Looking up

s a Realtor, I am often asked if the real estate market in Fort Mill is showing signs of recovery. While this is a difficult question to answer with a hard yes or no, I am assured that there are signs of improvement and positive growth all around. In reviewing the Carolina Multiple Listing Service data in Fort Mill, the 2011 real estate year showed an 11% increase in homes closed over 2010. There was also a reduction in homes on the market which has created a lessened supply and more demand. This positive movement will be very important as we work through the busy spring & summer market. Another positive is that our area is continuing to grow and diversify the economy away from banking. We are


Text By Jen Mildenberger

seeing more and more companies locate operations to the Charlotte area because of our good infrastructure with an international airport, attractive business environment, reasonable cost of living, and proximity to many customer headquarters. There have been recent announcements from companies such as Chiquita, Infinisource & NovantHealth that they will be hiring as well as relocating workforce to the area. Fort Mill will continue to benefit as many families choose to call it home due to the great school system, lower taxes and convenience to the airport as well as Uptown Charlotte. Schools are being built to handle the movement, builders are developing land to build more homes and roads are being improved to assist the growth. Finally, I am always reminded that while Fort Mill was definitely impacted by the

market downturn, we did not feel it nearly as bad as some parts of our nation such as Florida, California or Arizona. We are so blessed to live in a city that is still a top destination for many families to choose to call their home. I get many requests on a weekly basis from families that are so excited about our great schools, the low taxes we pay as well as all of the vacation destinations that are within a short drive of the area, such as the beaches and mountains. I am always excited to be on the receiving end and to be able to help them find a home in a place that they will also love. So, while the verdict is still out as to whether we are in recovery, overall, I am very positive that Fort Mill is showing great patterns of stability, growth and improvement. Happy Spring and enjoy all that our great Town of Fort Mill has to offer. FM

courtesy Jen Mildenberger

FORT MILL | fine living



Spring Cleaning for Your Budget Text By Michelle Black

Does the term “budget” bring to mind images of restriction, discipline, or doing without? The truth is that a properly balanced budget is a powerful tool you can use to achieve your goals. A budget can change your life - for the better. Simply put, a budget is a list of planned expenses and revenues. It is a plan for both saving and spending. A balanced budget is crucial to avoid the negative side effects that an unbalanced budget brings: stress, overspending, unpaid bills, poor credit rating, marital problems, etc.

The first step towards a balanced budget is to complete a budgeting worksheet. Go to contactus and request a free worksheet. Begin by making a list of all of your monthly expenses (i.e. mortgage/rent, car payment, insurance, utilities, groceries, etc.). Next, list your total monthly income (i.e. paycheck, child support, etc.). If the total monthly expenses (money spent) equal more than your total monthly income (money earned) then you have a budget shortage which needs to be fixed. The ultimate goal is to get your monthly budget to a place where you have a surplus (more monthly income than expenses). If you currently have a monthly budget shortage, then here are some great tips to use:

If you currently have an unbalanced budget then there is a simple solution to your problem: a personalized budgeting plan. Remember, “budget” is not a dirty word. Having a budget does not mean that you have to do without. A budget is actually a way for you to get what is really important to you such as a home, reliable transportation, vacations, even a debt free life. No matter how much or how little you get paid you will never be able to get ahead if you spend more than you earn.

Step 1 - Assess “wants” versus “needs” A want is something that you potentially could do without (i.e. dining out, excessive shopping, entertainment expenses and cable.). It is not necessary to cut all wants from your budget; however, it is important to know which of your current expenses are wants, so that you can evaluate how you are spending your hard earned money and whether or not you need to make any changes in your spending habits. It is also possible to simply cut back on the spending in your wants category and not necessarily eliminate a want all together.

Step 2 – Decrease bills in the “needs” category of your budget Certain items in your budget are considered needs. Rent/mortgage payments, vehicles, insurance, utilities, medical expenses and existing debt fall into this category. While needs cannot be eliminated from your monthly budget, it is often possible to save money in this category as well. You might save money on your needs by refinancing your mortgage or vehicle, getting cheaper auto insurance, deferring student loans, or requesting a reduction in your credit card interest rate. Having a “pay-down-my-debt” yard sale or temporarily getting a part time job can also help you to reduce the amount of existing debt you owe making your monthly bills more affordable. Deciding to balance your budget is a big step and can seem overwhelming at first. However, once you start to see the benefits that come from a balanced budget, the process suddenly becomes very worthwhile. So make a budgeting plan and determine to stick with it no matter what. Your dreams of homeownership, debt elimination, and a life free from every day financial stress can absolutely come true. HOPE Credit Education 803-548-5545 or 704-499-9696



FORT MILL | wealth

How Low will it go? That is the Mortgage Rate Question Text By Ginenne Rife

Should I wait to buy? Will rates drop any lower? These are the questions I field every day from clients waiting to buy or refinance. Before I answer that question, let s look at some information to gain perspective. We need to know where we have been to appreciate today s rates. CNN Money reported recently that “The 30-year, fixed rate fell to an average of 3.87% and the 15-year fixed dropped to 3.14% for the week ending February 2, both the lowest rates ever recorded in the 40-year history of the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey”. What about the popular FHA loan? The San Francisco Chronicle reports that “For the first 5 months of 2010, HUD reported FHA rates at between 5.21 and 5.26 percent, which are the lowest rates through that point in history”. At the time of this article, the 30 year FHA rate was 3.75%.* (see rate box). Conforming loans (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and FHA (Federally Housing Administration) are the two most popular loans available. Let s take a look at these two different


loan types from a historical perspective and see if we are really getting a “good deal”. In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with a “New Deal” which really was a great opportunity for consumers. Roosevelt wanted to stimulate the economy by making it easier for people to buy. His government introduced laws and institutions designed to make this happen. Under these new laws, the securities and banking industries were kept under tight supervision, which in turn revolutionized the way mortgage loans were structured and made available to average Americans. As a result of FDR s idea, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was created to insure mortgage lenders against losses from default. Now that the risk had been taken away from them, lenders were more willing to give people mortgages. The FHA also developed the 30-year fixed-rate loan program, providing homeowners lower payments and more stability. Soon it became apparent that lenders didn t always have enough money to lend and rates and terms were set according to the local economy which

varied around the country. As an answer to this problem, the Federal National Mortgage Association (better known as FNMA, or Fannie Mae) came along to save the day in 1938. FNMA bought FHA insured loans and sold them as securities on the financial markets. By doing this it also produced the introduction of more fair and efficient lending practices and similar underwriting guidelines. Fannie Mae grew so large over the years that in 1968, with the pressures of the Vietnam War straining the national budget, President Lyndon Johnson took Fannie Mae's debt portfolio off the government balance sheet; Fannie Mae was converted into a publicly traded company owned by investors. Two years later, Freddie Mac was launched, primarily to keep Fannie Mae from functioning as a monopoly. It went public in 1989. Now that we understand a bit about how our current day mortgages came to be; let s look at the rates over time.


FHA 30 yr fixed

Fannie Mae/ Freddie Mac 30 yr fixed



















A bit of interesting information; the highest mortgage rates for both loan types was in 1985, when the average 30 year fixed Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and FHA rates were around 13%. When I check rates every morning, I still pinch myself to see rates available in the 3 percent range! Last year, many of us wondered how low mortgage rates would go. This year, my question is this: how long will rates stay this low? There are a number of unknowns that could push rates in either direction. The quicker our economy finds its footing, the faster the rates will inch upward. An increase in the guarantee fees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, used to fund the payroll tax cut extension, may be followed by additional fees later this year and raise rates more. On the flip side, it's unclear what effect the 2012 presidential election, and possible efforts to shore up the economy beforehand, will have on the mortgage market. But Keith Gumbinger, vice president at market researcher HSH, suggests that people should be careful what they wish for, "To wish for continued record lows for rates is to wish for continued economic malaise," he said. "I can't imagine anyone would want to wish another year of economic malaise upon themselves or others." To answer the original questions: Should you wait to buy? Nope. Will rates go any lower? I doubt it. Now is the time to take advantage of the lowest rates in 40 years. To see if you qualify for either loan type in this article, call a licensed mortgage loan officer today. Ginenne Rife is a Licensed Mortgage Loan Officer in both North and South Carolina. 803-403-2336 FM


FORT MILL | wealth

The Retirement

Non-Negotiables Text By Matthew Griffin Photos By Paul Culver

I am not yet retired, and the way the financial markets have acted over the past decade, I may never reach that point.

very daunting. Everyone knows to worry about the money as they approach retirement, but very few take the time to consider the following:

However, I would rate my knowledge of retirement well above average because I have had the privilege of living vicariously through hundreds of retired clients over the past 17 years.

WHERE TO LIVE The assumption is that the retired couple will remain in the same home throughout retirement. Upon further inspection though, after asking the question, I often hear about plans to move closer to grandchildren or possibly purchase a mountain home. No matter what the future holds, any decision regarding houses will have financial impact, either positive or negative, and should be considered carefully with your advisor.

The number one fear in retirement is simple: running out of money. If I earned a nickel for every time I face the “do I have enough money to retire” question, I would have a continuous stream of annual income that would make a multilevel marketing executive blush. The answer to the money question depends on several specific factors, and if I could answer that question for you in one column, every financial advisor would be out of a job. That question is for your advisor to discuss with you one on one, after they know all of the pertinent facts. After the economic fears have been addressed, there are other aspects of retirement that can be both scary, and


Questions to consider: Can you afford that mountain home? Would you pay cash or have a mortgage? If you borrow, how would you structure your mortgage? If you sell your house, what are the tax implications and how will the funds be managed afterwards? How does the cost of living in Greenwich, CT compare to Fort Mill, SC and what adjustments need

to be made to make sure your financial plan is not derailed? HEALTHCARE DOLLARS Usually the largest component of a retiree s living expense is healthcare. This needs to be addressed BEFORE reaching retirement age. School yourself on potential options for coverage, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of Medicare. Also, if you spent your working years busting your hump for a large employer, know what options they offer for retired workers – it is sometimes possible to negotiate healthcare into an early retirement package. Think of it as taking less up front money in exchange for your old company paying all of your doctor bills. Questions to consider: Does a long term care policy make sense? What are your biggest genetic health risks? What will be your healthcare costs in retirement? What medications are you currently taking and are there generics available?

wealth ADOPT A HOBBY What is the one thing that you have always wanted to do, but never had the chance? Opportunity approaches your door to knock once you are fully retired. In the words of Nike: just do it. Many times a non-working spouse can get territorial once the other spouse retires. There is an extra person at home, and that can create animosity, at least initially. My father says “familiarity breeds contempt” and he is a wise man that has been happily retired for 15 years. Start a small business, take up golf, take a solo road trip…..anything, just get out of the house! Questions to consider: What current hobby would you like to improve (i.e.… golf)? Would your new hobby be something you could do with your spouse, or would you prefer to go it alone? What kinds of dollars would be required to delve into this new hobby and can you afford it? PLAN YOUR ESTATE Most retirees have a basic will, and for some, that might be enough. However, now that you are retired you have the time to sit down with an estate planning attorney and dictate exactly how you want your family s assets to be divided. It will cost you some money, but in many cases, could also save you thousands. If you and your spouse do not decide who to leave your million to, the probate court will happily divide it up as they see fit.

Questions to consider: Would you like to join a poker/spades/hearts/bridge club? Who are your best friends and what activities are they interested in? If taking a group trip, would you prefer airline travel or driving? What will those potential trips cost and does that number fit into your budget? FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS I am not advocating choosing a coffin and pre-paying a funeral home. If you own such an establishment, feel free to hate me, but I am not a believer in that whole process. What I am referring to here is to spell out in writing how you want your funeral to proceed. There are not many things worse than grieving loved ones wrestling over “how Dad would have wanted it.” Do not put them in that spot. Questions to consider: Who will preach your funeral? Where will it be held? What music, if any, would you like played? Are you a proper burial type or a cremation type? Approximately how much money will your ideal funeral cost and have proper funds been set aside?


consider these topics – a decision does not have to be made today. However, if you procrastinate on these things, you will likely be faced with some post retirement headaches. Once retired, you have all of the free time you have coveted for years, but don t waste that time negotiating the boring stuff. surprised at how much they want to keep your business.

FM Follow Matthew Griffin on Twitter: WallStSteward Facebook: WallStreetSteward Blog: Important Disclosures: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates.

Not NCUA Insured

No Credit Union Guarantee

May Lose Value

Obviously, there are hundreds of other decisions that arise when considering retirement, but these are some of the most problematic ones that I have come across. The important thing is to begin to

Questions to consider: Do you have a will? When was the last time your estate plan was updated? What is your peace of mind worth to you? Do you have potential heirs that you wish to exclude from your estate? Who will be your power of attorney if you become mentally incapable of making decisions? MIX AND MINGLE Please do not forget to have a social life. You re retired, not dead. Maybe this involves joining a regular card game, or inviting neighbors over to form a dinner club. Some people like to travel with other retirees, while others prefer to spend every spare second with their grandchildren. The point is, you have worked your entire life so that you can do what you want to do, so don t waste your time.


FORT MILL | travel

Destination: Text and Photos By Linda Murfin

It seems everyone these days has a "bucket list" of places to see before kicking off. Ever since the 2007 movie of that same name where two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off for a road trip with a wish list of "to-dos" before they die, you see Bucket Lists everywhere. Included in mine (and a lot of other people I've talked to) was a trip to Africa someday. Through the grace of God and a mutual friend, I became acquainted with a wonderful lady from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, who stayed with us during her visit to the USA to see our mutual friend. She made the invitation for us to come visit any time with her and her husband who live smack dab on the shore of the Indian Ocean. Since my momma didn't raise no fool, I began plans to take her up on this wonderful invite just as soon as humanly possible. We saved and planned for well over a year in advance of our November/December 2011 trip.



We headed out to London on Thanksgiving day where we spent the entire day in the fabulous Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge. No, we didn't have turkey this year but, wow!, we had just about anything else one could want during a 36-hour trip, including a complimentary facial or mini massage in the Lounge spa. (Note: there are more direct routes from Charlotte to Cape Town, but we especially wanted to try out Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class service. More about alternate routes at the end of my article.) We arrived in Cape Town in the morning after a surprisingly restful overnight flight from London. The totally flat sleeper seat "pods" worked well to get a full night's rest. We had prearranged transportation from the airport to Cape Grace Hotel, our home-away-from-home for the next three nights. This was a good plan as then we didn't have to find a taxi or negotiate wrong-way traffic on our own. (Driving is

on the left side of the road as it is in Britain.) Cape Grace Hotel is located at the entrance to the Victoria and Alfred waterfront, an upscale and lively area of shops, hotels and restaurants. The rooms are large and beautifully decorated with linens and art made by local artists. All have a view of either Table Mountain or the waterfront area. Chandeliers and art throughout the hallways and public areas depict the history and culture of Cape Town. A lavish buffet breakfast is included in the room rate. You will find eggs any way you like them prepared, fruit, pastries, cereal, meats, cheeses and even oysters from Namibia. There is a beautiful pool area and outside bar. In the evening, complimentary sherry and port are served in the library. In the short time we were in Cape Town, here are what I found to be my four favorite sights and things to do:

travel First is Table Mountain. We found that Cape Grace has a car to take you around Cape Town (based on availability) and took advantage of that service for the short 10-15 minute drive to Table Mountain and the cable car to possibly one of the most breathtaking vistas in the world. When you buy your ticket for the cable car, you will have the option to buy a package deal which includes a day pass for the Red Line Hop On/Hop Off tour bus, admission to the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Table Mountain cable car. It's a good deal and saves you about 20%. The aquarium is one of the finer ones I've visited and Table Mountain is a must-see, so long as it's good weather. Winds at the top can get really gusty and the ride will often close down because of high winds. It's also about 15 degrees cooler at the top than at sea level, so take a jacket. The only mistake we made in buying the ticket was in not realizing the tour bus ticket was only for the Red Line when we wanted to use it for the Blue Line circle trip that goes to the wine area of Constantia and the Kirstenbosch Gardens. Luckily, we were able to sell our Red Line ticket to someone at the ticket office and buy a Blue Line ticket to those areas. Both lines stop at Table Mountain and the V & A waterfront, my next favorite sight. The V & A waterfront with all of its entertainment and dining venues and unique shopping make it a fun stop any time of the day or night. There are "flea market" type shops all under one roof or upscale clothing, souvenir and art shops plus your typical mall type stores. You can spend hours just wandering inside or out and while you wander you're likely to run into an impromptu singing or dancing group. There are also nightly shows at the outdoor center stage area. The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, located on the eastern side of Table Mountain, is considered to be one of the world's finest botanical gardens. Admission is only about $5 US. We enjoyed the incredible variety of plants that are found only in South Africa and the beautiful setting. There is a nice snack shop with healthy choices and you can wander for hours around the vast grounds. On Sunday evenings in spring and summer you can attend open air concerts at the amphitheater.

Just a bit past Kirstenbosch is the Constantia Valley, one of the world's oldest winemaking areas, dating back to the early 1650's. Acording to the Constantia Valley website, "Mother Nature smiled when she prepared the Constantia Valley for the winemaker. She bestowed on him the influence of the sun, wind, oceans and fertile soil and then challenged him to plant vineyards and make excellent wine. The owners of Constantia have answered positively for more than three centuries, producing one of the world s most famous sweet blends and today continuing this tradition, creating a range of quality wines."


Asara, which is a Relais et Chateaux property, is simply stunning. There are 36 rooms plus two three-floor honeymoon suites that will knock your socks off. The vineyard suite will accommodate a family with two bedrooms. There is a lovely spa, a cooking theatre, nice shops and a tasting room.

We spent about an hour tasting and roaming about the Estate before hopping back on the bus for the return trip to Cape Town via the beautiful and windswept southern Atlantic shore. The next stop on our adventure was in Stellenbosch. This lovely area boasts over 300 wineries in the vicinity. One would think they were in Napa. We chose to stay at the quaint Stellenbosch Hotel located downtown. From there we could easily walk throughout town to restaurants, shops and wine tasting houses. The staff couldn't have been nicer and the price was quite reasonable. On another trip, we might choose to stay at either Spier or Asara, both of which are wineries with deluxe accommodations.


FORT MILL | travel unique. That evening we headed to The Apprentice, the restaurant of the local culinary school. We took our own wine with no corkage charged The food was pretty good, but those kids have a long way to go to make it in the restaurant business. A lot like Hell's Kitchen, I imagine. Next morning after breakfast we headed to an appointment (required) at Rupert and Rothschild, a very lovely wine estate between Franschhoek and Paarl just 10 or so miles from Stellenbosch. They have only been making wine here since around 2000. The property was formerly a fruit farm. The wines were very elegant Bordeaux-style wines. We ended up buying a Baron Edmond 2004 to have with a dinner during our trip. This wine is distributed to the US through a wholesaler in Georgia. On the way to Paarl we stopped at Glen Carlu and sampled their Chardonnay. It is distributed in the US by Hess and they have an elegant art gallery much like the one at Hess Collection in Napa.

Spier is equally impressive and gets a great big hats-off on the sustainability issue. It is quite an operation. There is a craft market, a cheetah reserve, bomas, the wine farm and more. They employ local people on all levels from the man who launders napkins on premises daily to the artists whose works are sold there. There are 155 rooms, with 4 suites. The resort has 7 pools, all but one of which are "community pools". The spa does treatments only and has no water therapy facilities. There is a self-guided Heritage Tour Walk through the property as well as Segway tours. Wineries we visited during our three days included Ken Forrester where we had a nice leisurely tasting on the patio. We bought a bottle of Renegade and the tasting price was refunded so we got a bottle of wine plus a tasting of 7 wines for around $10. We also had a nice plate of cheeses that was around $7. Next we headed off to wine & chocolates at Waterford Estate. This is a place you have to really want to go to. We took three wrong turns, but finally made it. For being so remote, it was really lovely and the wines and chocolate were very


Last stop of the day was at KWV in Paarl. It is much like the Napa Wine Company in California in that they have wines and spirits from various sources. Don did the (4) brandy and chocolate

tasting and I did the free-for-all where you choose any 5 drinks. Then I bought my own chocolates to go with them. This is the home of the World's Best 10 year brandy for 10 years running and it's easy to see why. Next stop on the trip was at Hermanus where the Right Southern whales winter. We were there December 1 (late spring) and, fortunately, they hadn't left yet. We were treated to a real show of breaching, bellowing and water spouting. Also about 20 miles or so east of Hermanus we visited a colony of penguins at Stony Point. There were literally thousands of penguins. Very smelly penguins, but very cute. In Hermanus, the mountains come right down to the sea. Every few minutes puts you into another climate with the clouds hanging around the mountains. The topography reminded me of Kauai combined with California. Along the way from town to town it is not unusual to see baboons along the roadside. They forage for food there much like squirrels do here. Knysna is a lovely stopping place a little over half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. One of the great attractions here are the Knysna oysters which are harvested from the shallow bay.



We were told by a waiter at 31 South, the restaurant where we consumed our oysters, that they are sometimes the size of a large saucer. If you love oysters, you will love Knysna. Another great trip out of Knysna is the the Featherbed Nature Preserve. The trip consists of a boat ride to the base of the mountain, a sumptuous buffet lunch, a ride to the top of the peak then a hike back down to the base. The terrain is a little rocky, but otherwise not too strenuous. The vistas on the way down are well worth the effort. Enroute to Port Elizabeth is Birds of Eden. From the outside, it looks kind of "touristy" and like there really must not be much to see, but we ventured in anyways and were really glad we did. There are all sorts of South African birds in a very native environment. It's a great stop on a hot day because of all the shade provided by the trees in which the birds reside. Cost is minimal and, if you're a bird lover, you'll love this place. Port Elizabeth was our final stop and from there we took several side trips with our hosts Janice and Errol. Janice is privileged to work at a private lion park in PE. Many big cats will eat or abandon their young so the game parks were developed to help nurture the babies. At Seaview Lion Park you are able to view animals such as giraffe, zebras, kudu, warthogs and other non-dangerous animals roaming freely. For a nominal fee (and a liability waiver) you can also go into the cages of the young cats and pet them. These cats will range in age from 10 weeks to almost a year old. We were able to touch and interact with tigers, white lions and servals on the day we visited. If you visit on Sunday, you can also observe the adult cats being fed. Our other excursion from Cape Town was to the Addo Elephant Park, where we spent the night in a lovely little selfcatering cottage. When I first heard from Janice that we were going to an elephant park, I pictured something like the size of Riverfront Zoo in Columbia. Much to my surprise and delight, Addo is more like the size of Half of South Carolina and then some. All the animals roam free and it's up to you to drive around and find them. We had the best luck at sighting elephants at one of several watering holes situated throughout the park. The

first day we sighted warthogs, ostriches, kudu, wildebeest, cape buffalo, lions and a pretty good size herd of elephants. The next day, when it was cloudy and cooler, we were treated to a migration to and gathering at the water hole by about 150 elephants. It was exciting and scary at the same time since, at one point there was a group of about 10 running full tilt right at the car we were watching from. We had no idea if they would stop, go around or what. Fortunately, they made a last minute turn and missed us.

also an outdoor grill so we took things to cook on it for our dinner. The cost per night was just a little over $100.

The cottages at Addo are simple, but quite nice with a kitchenette, basic bathroom, sleeping room and balcony from which to observe the birds and game. There is


FORT MILL | travel charge, but there's still the hassle of the London traffic. Staying there -There are many of the same hotel chains in South Africa as you will find here, but why not try a South African chain for more of a local feel? There are also many good B & Bs available.

There were tons more things to see and do than our 2 1/2 weeks allowed. I'd love to hear from readers via the FMM website about your adventures in South Africa. You can also reach me at 803-835-0585 for help in planning your next South African adventure. My email is Notes: Getting there - The most direct route from Charlotte to Cape Town is via Washington


DC and Johannesburg via United and South African Airways. This makes for about a 24 hour trip. There are also connections through Amsterdam and Frankfurt that will add a few hours. The most logical choice - US Airways to London then Virgin Atlantic to Cape Town is actually the shortest amount of total time, but involves changing airports from Gatwick to Heathrow in London. If you fly virgin Atlantic's Upper Class, they will actually provide you with a car and driver for transport between airports at no

Safety -Although we never felt threatened or unsafe during our roaming about the cities and towns of South Africa, the fact is that there are huge numbers of poverty stricken people who have migrated there from other parts of Africa. Most homes have barred windows and doors which gives a bit of an uneasy feeling. So long as you exercise common sense in your ventures, you should have nothing to fear.


to your health


Autism Awareness & The Strawberry Queen Text By Vinita Maigur Autism is a very prevalent disorder, which can be detected before the age of three in most cases. It can be categorized in three major diagnosis: social interaction, communication (non-verbal and verbal) and repetitive behavior according to The center for disease control and prevention say that on average 1 in 110 children in the US have autism spectrum disorders. So you might be saying what is this disorder? And how do I know if my child has autism? Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain and its normal development. Nikita Maigur, Miss South Carolina Strawberry Queen, has a unique connection to autism. “I had the opportunity to baby-sit a little girl who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of three and saw first hand what the disorder imposes on families,” said Nikita, whose dream is to work as a speech pathologist in a children s hospital and is currently a special education major at Winthrop University. That little girl now attends a mainstream school, is thriving socially and is like any other child.

Presler, Director of the Chrysalis Autism Center, is a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst with over 15 years of experience serving children with developmental delays; and Kasey Peterson, Lead Miss SC Strawberry Queen, Nikita Maigur with Jr Contributor, Vinita Maigur Therapist, who has a B.S. degree in Psychology from to give to help others live a full and Winthrop University and has worked at successful life. The Carolinas Walk Now Chrysalis since it first opened in 2008. for Autism Speaks is on Saturday, Kasey has seven years of experience October 27, 2012 and it s a great way to providing EIBI to children with autism start to get involved, it's family friendly fun according to and a great way to get connected with April is the official month for autism other families who are dealing with awareness and there are chances for autism. You are never too young to help, everyone to get involved. It doesn t matter because autism doesn t see an age limit if you have autism or if your child has it, when being diagnosed. you don t even have to know someone FM with autism to participate in the walks, or

“The little girl made me look at life and children in a whole new way,” Nikita recalled. Nikita Maigur has always said “that when you find it fast, a child s happiness will last!” It is true that the sooner you detect autism in your child whether that is talking to your child s pediatrician because you see signs that your child is not responding when you say his or her name, or that he or she is not making eye contact with you. There are so many different symptoms when it comes to autism. has categories for each diagnosis because not all children are alike, and that every child s needs are different when it comes to autism.

Chrysalis Autism Center is located locally in Rock Hill. Its staff is fully trained. Tobie


FORT MILL | to your health



Bad Breath

Explained and Tamed Text By Angela Davis, RDH Photos By Paul Culver

Bad breath can be managed and cured. You can take control by eating the right food and practicing the right oral care. 1 1 4 4


I n d i a

H o o k

R o a d ,

Another ingredient found in Oxyfresh products is xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that can also be found in chewing gum, mints, candy, etc and these products are located in health care stores. Studies have shown that if xylitol is used frequently throughout the day that it can reduce bacteria causing bad breath. If you have read this, tried these tips, and are still having issues with halitosis, schedule an appointment with your dentist.



1. What are some natural bad breath fixes? (a)Cinnamon Gum (b)Celery (c)Fish Oil Supplements (d)Vitamin C (e)All the above. 2. 90% of all bad breath originates in the oral cavity and not systemically. (a)True (b)False 3. A normal tongue is pink, moist and textured. (a)True (b)False


4. Which of these foods contributes to bad breath?


Old dental restorations that have become rough and worn provide a place for bacteria to colonize. Keep in mind you breathe what you eat. High protein foods, coffee, sugar, acidic foods and dairy products can worsen your breath. Some ways to contribute to bad breath include sleeping with your mouth open, snoring, consuming alcohol, taking certain medications and smoking. Acid reflux and dry mouth can also cause halitosis.

Oral Health

A couple of products that can help with the prevention of halitosis are Oxyfresh and Xylitol. Oxyfresh has a variety of dental products to help with bad breath. Oxygene is an important ingredient that safely destroys odor causing compounds without the burn you get from products containing alcohol. For best results, use the mouth rinse, dental gel, tongue scraper and toothpaste. Oxyfresh also has lemon mint breath spray. All of these products can be found in the Oxyfresh Fresh Breath Kit which is available at our dental office.


Our mouths experience an ongoing battle between anaerobic bacteria and aerobic bacteria. The precise balance between the two types of bacteria is what determines the quality of your breath. A normal tongue is pink, moist and textured. A white coating on your tongue is a sign that the volatile sulfur compound is harboring deep in the papilla on top of your tongue.

The most effective ways to battle your bad breath are: • Have your teeth professionally cleaned 2-3 times a year • Brush at least 2-3 times daily • Floss daily • Brush and scrape your tongue frequently • Eat right

(a)Dairy Products (b)Coffee (c)Acidic foods and drinks (d)All the above.




R o c k

H i l l ,

Answer Key 1. e 2. a 3. a 4. e

Halitosis is defined as bad breath and dealing with it can be a social embarrassment. Many people suffer from this condition and at least 90% of halitosis is of oral, not systemic, origin. The type of bacteria that resides in our mouths interior causes halitosis. Wastes from some of the bacteria are sulfur compounds. These volatile sulfur compounds excrete unattractive smells. Additionally the waste products of anaerobic bacteria live under the gum without oxygen.


2 9 7 3 2


8 0 3 - 3 2 4 - 7 6 4 0

good eats



Family Dinner

Text and Photos By Valerie McGann

What is the best part about Spring in the South? Is it the bright blue cloudless skies or the balmy starlit evenings? Perhaps it s the smell of the peach blossoms filling the air while sitting at the intersection of Highways 21 and 160. Maybe it s the longer days with the pinkish-orange sunrises or the lavender sunsets.

In addition to celebrating Modern Family Dinner, we celebrate the beginning of the growing season in our wonderful town. The Strawberry Festival is just around the corner and in honor of our new town tradition, I decided that I would experiment with savory strawberry recipes. After a lot of experimenting, my children unanimously picked the recipe below as what they can t wait for Mom to prepare once the picking season begins.

All of these things can be put at the top of your list if you live in Fort Mill. As we close our eyes and think about all of these images, my mind relishes that I can begin to enjoy my family dinner time on our back porch. My children take turns setting the table, and then, when dinner is over, they will often run into the backyard for a little extra outdoor fun before it s time to get ready for bed.

Baked White Fish with Savory Strawberry Sauce 2 lbs. white fish (flounder, cod, tilapia)* 1 quart strawberries cup sugar 2 Tbsp. butter 2 Tbsp. white Balsamic Vinegar 1 tsp. minced garlic Kosher Salt and Cracked black pepper to taste

as they begin to heat through. As liquid forms, use an immersion blender to puree the strawberry mixture until smooth. Place on low heat to keep warm. Bake the fish in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until the fish begins to appear to be flakey. To serve your fish, place onto a plate and ladle the strawberry sauce on top. Round out your meal by adding rice pilaf and a green salad.


*If you have an aversion to fish in your family, you may substitute boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Preheat your oven to 400째. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the fish onto the parchment paper. Salt and pepper to taste. In a saucepan, combine rinsed strawberries (caps removed), sugar, butter, vinegar, minced garlic, 1 tsp. of kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste. Place the burner on medium heat and use a potato masher to crush the strawberries


FORT MILL | good eats


Savannah's Tea Room

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Text and Photos By Laura Rinaldi Dufresne and Paula Smith

Ladies, are you looking for a place to wear your prettiest hat outside of church? Head to Savannah's Tea Room in Fort Mill for lunch or High Tea with your best pals, heads adorned, and you will feel right at home. Paula and I arrived on a windy Saturday afternoon to find an Anglophiles delight - a sweet yellow house filled with a multitude of charmingly hued rooms, furnished with romantically curved chairs and tables and lace everywhere the eye could see. The walls were decorated with a variety of china plates, impressionistic paintings and sentimental quotes on babies, mothers, weddings and friendship. Yes, this is the perfect place for any of the traditional showers and holidays associated with all such happy celebrations. It also is a place whose sights and smells just might evoke your most pleasant memories from the past. As soon as we entered, the pleasing smell caused Paula to recall one of her own - Dodd s Bakery in Independence Missouri. Decades ago, she and her grandmother would walk up the hill together and be rewarded by that same sweet smell once they passed the threshold, an aromatic blend of cherrytopped danish and sugary elephant ears. At this point in Paula s reverie, Ruth Robertson, the chef and owner of The Savannah Tea Room joined us to reminisce that she too has childhood memories of a family friends bakery. Too bad my grandmother only took us to an ancient Foster Freeze hamburger joint and complained about choking on the onions… My own reaction to Savannah's Tea Room was at first purely aesthetic. The quaint rooms, the elegant table setting, the rose patterned sugar bowl, the silver plated tongs and tea warmers, our individual pots of tea, our flower patterned porcelain tea cups and dessert plates. I felt like a young girl again playing with my miniature tea set – a visual estrogen cure. The tea pots were white with a subtle acanthus leaf relief. Paula, as a ceramic artist, particularly admired their traditional


English shape and well-proportioned handles. I was reminded of my sister Valerie s collection of porcelain tea cups, and my mother s Royal Dalton tea service purchased in London and carried back home on her lap, as she was too afraid to risk it to suitcase or mail service. Today, she uses her red and white set with sentiment and pride – we have never yet seen this pattern available in the United States. When our server, also named Laura, asked us which kind of tea we wished, I said give me the most English tea you have. Paula asked her to recommend something. All I can remember was that it had coconut in it, and she ordered it on the spot. We were both very satisfied with our choices. After marveling over our tea, in floated a fully laden two-tiered desert plate, with finger sandwiches on the top and desert on the bottom. Three varieties of dainty crust-less finger sandwiches awaited us; whole-wheat chicken salad with nuts, white bread with cucumber, cream cheese with walnuts, and tasty egg salad. Two kinds of minispinach and cheese quiches filled out the top plate. While licking our fingers, Paula and I both announced we could eat like this every day. Despite our best efforts, we only finished half. Luckily, doggy bags are readily available.

good eats

Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The tea house must be a well-kept secret, for though it has been in existence for several years, Paula and I only discovered it while looking for a restaurant in the historic area of Fort Mill to review. They moved to their recent location on Confederate Street to increase their space - although our server Laura told us they already needed more room. I am not surprised, for I am already planning to have my birthday here in a few months.

Desert consisted of brownies and scones, with a chocolate truffle each. At first the scone tasted very plain, like a soft short bread cookie, until Paula reminded me to ladle one of the two toppings, clotted cream or lemon curd, on top. Once I did so – it was heavenly. I especially loved the cream. Though delicious, we both wondered how English a brownie could be – Paula thought lemon bars would be more traditional. We soon discovered that lemon bars are available for dessert at lunch, and also come with the Desert Tea instead of the scone. We had no trouble filling up our two hour time allotment with talk and exclamations of delight and satisfaction over our entire High Tea experience. Paula noted that unlike a High Tea in a hotel, which can be very stuffy, this was much more relaxed, with a sort of shabby-chic homey atmosphere, perfect for all sorts of gatherings. They also offer a kid s High Tea for $10.95, complete with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In addition to the High Tea we ordered, at $20.00 per person, a Desert Tea is available for $10.95 –


It is hard to single out what makes this place so special – the dainty food, the fantasy setting, the charming atmosphere, the beautiful china, or the friendly service? Paula and I agree that it must be all of the above. Every single element combines to make your experience unforgettable. Check them out online or in person – and don t forget to make reservations. where lemon bars are substituted for scones. Business is good at Savannah's Tea Room, open seven days a week for lunch, whereas High Tea is only offered


Savannah's Tea Room 124 Confederate Street Fort Mill, SC 29715 803~835~0580 Lunch Every Day 11:00am ~ 2:00pm Thursday ~ Saturday Afternoon Tea 2:00pm (by reservation)


FORT MILL | cool drinks FRESH pint with friends and even get a Growler of delicious beer to go. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery 215 Southside Dr, Charlotte. Specializing in traditional German Ales and Lagers, Olde Meck serves up some of the best Session beers in town in true German fashion. They have an awesome Beer Hall with communal seating, great Brats, special events, and entertainment. NoDa Brewing Company 2224 N Davidson St, Charlotte. NoDa s only been open since October but has already made its mark on the local beer scene. Their beer portfolio includes great Session and Specialty brews, super hoppy High-Gravity brews, and a weekly release of their NoDable series EVERY Tuesday. That s right, a new beer every week! Four Friends Brewing 10913 Office Park Dr, Charlotte. These guys have been around for a few years and make great Artisan Ale in several styles including Irish Red Ale, Belgian Dubbel, Blonde Ale, English Brown, and their new I-77 IPA is fantastic! Hops Grill & Brewery 9950 E Independence Blvd, Matthews NC. Once a large chain Brewpub with many locations, our hometown Hops is one of the few remaining and still the best. They make a good selection of Craft Beer, have a great food menu, and FANTASTIC beer specials. Their beer menu has some mainstays and many seasonals. Try the Oatmeal Stout! In addition to our fantastic Breweries and Brewpubs, the Charlotte Area hosts countless bars and restaurants dedicated to bringing you the tastiest beer.

Local Beer 101: A User's Guide Text By Alex Shoenthal Photos By Tom Henderson

Your humble Beer Guru has been dropping beer knowledge on you for a year now. Hopefully you ve picked up a thing or two along the way and are thirsty for more. Though it takes years of “research� and experience to reach Beer Guru status, anyone can enjoy great beer and start exploring local beer culture. The greater Charlotte Metro and surrounding areas


are a wonderful place to find great brews. Craft beer is becoming easier to find and there are no end of beer-related fun times to be had. Charlotte is a fantastic beer city, with a few established breweries/brewpubs, lots of new breweries, and EVEN MORE on the way! These are great places to grab a

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium 9905 N. Tryon St, Charlotte. One of Charlotte s original beer hot spots, Flying Saucer boasts 80+ taps, 150 bottles, and standard Pub fare. The staff is welltrained and new beers are tapped daily. They have daily specials and regularly host beer dinners. Join their UFO club, drink 200 beers and get a $100 bar tab on them! Mac s Speed Shop, multiple locations. Mac s not only has some of the best BBQ

FORT MILL | cool drinks advance, they ALWAYS sell out), enter the fest, and enjoy unlimited samplings of countless craft beers while enjoying music, games, and more. What could be better than sampling a few dozen (or hundred) great beers while enjoying our beautiful Carolina outdoors! A few festival rules to keep in mind; start with lighter, lower-alcohol samples and work up to the heavies. Pace yourself, you ll never try them all! If there s a program guide of the beers, it s a good idea to choose the ones you really want to try so you have a plan of attack. DRINK LOTS OF WATER and don t forget to take in some tasty festival food. Charlotte Oktoberfest, Sept 29, 2012 at the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo. Beertopia, March 10, 2012 at Grapevine 1012 Market St Ft Mill, SC. Hickory Hops Brew Festival, April 21, 2012 in downtown Hickory, NC. North Carolina Brewers & Music Festival, May 12, 2012 at Historic Rural Hill, a historic site and farm about 15 minutes north of downtown Charlotte.

your enjoyment; how to properly taste and evaluate beer. Appearance. Examine the color. Is it clear, hazy, or too dark to tell? Notice the head. Does it last? Does it leave characteristic lacing on the glass? Looking at the beer should make you want to drink it. Aroma. Stick your nose in the glass but don t dip! Close your eyes and let your mind fill with the aromas. Relate what you smell to aromas you already know; bread, toast, flowers, citrus, pine, coffee, chocolate, caramel, smoke, fruit, etc. Are there any off-aromas like skunk, canned vegetable, wet dog, cat pee (yes this is a beer descriptor), or vinegar.

Now that you ve been well equipped to enjoy the finest beer culture our area has to offer, I give you one final tidbit to further


Flavor. My favorite part! To be broken down much like the smell. What flavor hits first? Is it sweet caramel malts or tangerine hops? How does the beer taste mid-palate? What is the finish like? Is it smooth and creamy or thin and astringent? Can you taste the beer a few minutes after swallowing or does the taste fade quickly? Is your tongue numb from hops or sweet from the malts?

Mouth feel. How does the beer feel in your mouth? Thin, watery, chewy, thick, or like used motor oil! Does the consistency hold the flavors down or lift them up? Is the body big enough to support the amount of complex flavors you taste? Mouth feel also helps determine drinkability. A great Imperial Stout can be viscous and thick, exactly the texture you want but you ll probably only want one. Conversely, a well crafted Session beer like a Pale Ale or IPA should have just enough body to support flavor, and have the consistency that will have you wanting several pints. So there you have it, Local Beer 101. There s a world of great beer right at your doorstep. It s time to hit the streets with your newfound knowledge and explore the diversity our local beer scene has to offer. Cheers, The Beer Guru Alex Shoenthal


southern style



CARNIVALE Carnivale is the theme for the

Town Hall Gallery with featured artists Todd Baxter, Katie Williams, and Basia Watts. Show runs from March 1st through April 30th. Opening night is Friday, March 2nd from 7pm to 9pm. ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Katie Williams lives, works and plays in the Charlotte NC area. A native of Fort Mill, she began as a print journalism major at USC before deciding that photography was her passion. After receiving her MFA from Winthrop University in Commercial Photography, she began working for Charlotte AHEC, a part of Carolinas Healthcare System, as a Medical Media Specialist. At CHS, she photographs marketing materials, portraits, events and surgeries for the healthcare system. Outside of work she prefers to shoot in film for the hands on experience and likes to focus on people and whimsical images that remind her of her childhood in Fort Mill. Currently, Katie is pursuing her Masters of Art in Arts Administration from Winthrop University. She also spends time volunteering with Morenga Hunt, an Arts Consultant working with the York County Arts Council. As a long-time resident of the Carolinas, Todd Baxter never lacks interesting and inspiring subject matter to capture on canvas. It might be the play of light and shadow on a ramshackle tobacco barn that grabs his attention, or the proud farmhouses, vintage trucks and other remnants of a rural society unwilling to totally uproot from its past. He s loved to draw the world around him as far back as he can remember, one of those enviable

people who always knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. His artist s eye first guided Todd s successful career as a graphic designer, begun after he graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. For more than three decades, he created images that engaged audiences in the world of advertising. Along the way, he shared a home and rewarding life with his wife of 36 years, four daughters and six grandchildren. Then in June 2010, with the responsibilities of raising a family in the rearview mirror, he decided to adjust course to focus on his passion for fine art, and started painting in earnest.

A California born, Nevada native, Basia Watts has lived in the Carolinas for nearly 16 years coming from a long career with AT&T in Nevada, New Jersey, Florida and Europe. She has been doing everything artistic since she was very young and had her first actual showing in Redding, California while in high school. Over the past 25 years, she continued artwork via Community Theatre by designing, constructing, painting and dressing the stage for productions; as well as getting up and acting on those same stages. Basia started doing stained glass works about 13 years ago starting out taking a class in Pineville. Not satisfied with making suncatchers, her first project was a pair of sidelights for her front door. She was so hooked on the medium that she has a small workshop set up in her garage and has been creating; both on commission and for the family. Many of Basia s friends and relatives are fantastic photographers and throughout the years, Basia has continued to do pen and ink and watercolours; many from their beautiful photographs. “I hope to always see my artistic vision in the beauty of a certain piece of glass or a certain photograph because I d like to do this FM until my forever.�


FORT MILL | southern style


Outlaw Symphony Text & Photos By Catherine Spain


hese guys are outlaws. And they’ll admit it, too.

When asked to describe Outlaw Symphony’s music, drummer Brian Lewis said, “You hear all those typical country songs on the radio singing about how they lost their girl, car, and dog. Well we’re the ones taking all that stuff!” Indeed, their music isn’t just country, not quite rock, not exactly folk, and definitely not commercial mainstream country. Instead, Outlaw Symphony is continually trespassing boundaries between traditional genre standards. With influences ranging from traditional country twang to heavy metal, this group produces some old favorites and original tunes that will surely get your toes tapping, your head bobbing, and a smile slapped upon your face.


The band’s two founding members, AK Plyer and Tod Ellis, started playing music together in high school and decided to make their new found hobby into something more official.

Gradually the band started forming as new members joined up, each bringing their own talents, influences, and styles. To start, Tod Ellis brings his refined strumming skills he learned while attending Winthrop University to become a classically trained guitarist. Also, lead singer AK Plyer and rhythm guitarist Robbie Vanderhoff bring their traditional country roots, inspired by the likes of Robert Earl Keene and others. To complete the equation bassist Lowell Ott and drummer Brian Lewis were the last to join the band in 2007, bringing their experience playing strictly heavy metal and rock music. All of these seemingly contradictory influences work together through the effortless natural chemistry between the band members. The final result is Outlaw Symphony’s finest attribute: an eclectic, familiar, yet unique sound. Yet peering deeper into the music, you’ll hear the soul of Outlaw Symphony in the lyrics of its songs. “I write about life,” says

southern style

co-songwriter, lead singer and acoustic guitarist AK Plyler, who has written over 15 original songs along side guitarist Tod Ellis for Outlaw Symphony. And indeed telling stories of changing times, encounters with that kind of girl, and being proud of where they’re from, Plyler’s simply singing about life like he sees it. Even in the short few years Outlaw Symphony has been playing, its unique sound has built up quite an impressive fan base here in the Rock Hill, Fort Mill, and Charlotte areas. One fan, Jason Helms from Rock Hill came out to see the Outlaws during their show at The Ponderosa in Rock Hill. As a recent fan of about six months, he says, “I like them ‘cause they’re not afraid to be them and play what they want.” This attitude and good music to prove it has taken Outlaw Symphony on the road, playing gigs as far as Asheville, NC and as big as the Country Music Festival in

Marion, SC, where they played in a line-up along side Hank Williams Jr., Sugarland, and Gretchen Wilson. Because of the festival’s attendance of over 10,000, bassist Lowell Ott remembers it as a pretty big moment for Outlaw Symphony. He recalls, “It was the coolest thing to look out and not see an end to the crowd.” Although they’ve played with the big time pros, ask any member of the Outlaw Symphony their


favorite gig, and they’ll say there’s no better venue than the Strawberry Jam stage at the Strawberry Festival here in Fort Mill. “We love playing for the locals, giving back to the town of Fort Mill, and the people who support us,” says front man AK Plyler. And sure enough, the folks of Fort Mill can expect to see Outlaw Symphony again at this year’s Strawberry Festival 2012. When they’re not performing, the guys of Outlaw Symphony rehearse and record just like any other band. With one CD recorded, they’re taking some time away from the stage to record their second CD. However, the main gig in all their lives is one they consider most important by far. Beyond the rugged country rockin appearance on stage, the Outlaw Symphony men are boyfriends, husbands, and fathers. When it comes to family, it’s clear these men are dedicated first and foremost to those they love. They’re proud of who they are, what they do, and loving life. AK Plyler asks, “Can it get any better than this?” No, life seems pretty FM


FORT MILL | southern style

Spring - Fling into the BOLD Text By Anna Skidmore

Pairing a bold heel with a lace sundress is an absolute hit for the workplace. As far as making a bold statement with the heel, try these knock outs from The best part about lace? Any fashionista can pull it off. For the quiet but curious

Spring trends have a promise for making a statement on and off the runway. With styles ranging from white lace dresses paired with neon electric heels to the everlasting transfer of aztec print from seasons past. My favorite trend for Spring 2012 is the bold chance taken with rounded shoulders as seen in the Spring Dior, Balenciaga and Prada campaigns. (insert dior. balenciaga photo here). This look can easily be brought back at a fraction of the cost by rumiging through your mother or grandmother's closet. A quick trip to Kim's alterations in Fort MIll (913 Crossroads Plaza Fort Mill, SC 29708 (803) 547-2455) will have you the talk of the night. Make sure you have the top or jacket alterted at the waist to create a fitted look to pair with the silolette of the shoulders. If you aren't feeling crafty or runway ready, check out these suttle yet stylish options. Whichever


way you go, trust me, you're bound to turn heads. Feeling frisky this Spring? Take your try at the sexy Sheer trend. Sheer can be found in every magazine hitting the stands now, think smooth and sexy meets Audrey Hepburn circa early twentieth century. The easiest way to wear sheer safe and appropriate is to pair a sheer blouse with a thick banded tank. If there isn't a dresscode to follow in your day to day routine, pair a bra top under a sheer t. This hot trend was featured on the runways of Paris for Spring 2012.

fashionista try a lace cami. Pair it under a classic button down or a classic LBD for a trend worthy option. Color blocking is alive and well. As we were introduced to the trends of the color block in seasons past, we've stepped out of our comfort zone of the two-tone block. This Spring try mixing three colors. Three colors will allow you to stand out without looking like you had the paint cans at the local Lowe's spill out into your wardrobe. Three colors can be easy. Start small with a solid colored top, paired with a bold necklace and a vibrant platfrom! Or if you pair the solid colored top with a two toned necklace you are ready to set the trend. Starting small is key when it comes to the trends for Spring and Summer. Think of it as a test run until you get comfortable with the boldness of the catwalk. As you become more comfortable with the threetone block, try experimenting with a two toned skirt and a bright top and a pair of

bold earings; these from Zappos I simply adore! Spring is known for sheding the winter blues and adding hues to make anyone smile. Want to just keep things simple this Spring? Pair your favorite skinnies with a white t and throw on a light weight aztec scarf. One of my new favorite finds in shopping is Cinch in Charlotte (715 Providence Rd #4) they have a HUGE selection of price worthy scarfs. Using this classic trend will allow you to stay simple but current. Or if you are ready to push the envelope a little more to the edge of runway, head for the sheer and you will make a statement in the right way!


Enjoy your Spring!



3578 Centre Circle For t Mill, SC 29715


FORT MILL | southern style

MOVIE NEWS: Fred De La Garza LOCAL Major Motion Picture Producer Text By Anita Sayago developed, filmed and financed in the southeast. It is comprised of a team of extraordinary talent, which includes, of course, Fred De La Garza (Producer), and his buddies, William Kaufman (Writer/ Director), Rodney Blair (Independent Movie Producer), and Leon Dunn (Producer).

How did a retired Navy man with a nuclear specialty end up as producer to a major motion picture? Sounds crazy, huh? The man of the hour, Fred De La Garza, would agree. In actuality, all it took was a few friends bouncing around the idea of making a backyard film for Fred to begin his almost surreal journey into major motion picture production. While Fred decided to set his sights on production, his friend s interest was as director. This led his friend to Raleigh s Director s Convention where he would meet someone that would change the course of their professional careers. William Kaufman would be the director that would prove to be Fred s greatest mentor and dear friend. While at the convention, Kaufman heard about their backyard film and would make them a most gracious offer. He volunteered to come down to Charlotte to show Fred and his buddies the ropes. This offer coming from the man who directed the Sony Pictures thriller, “The Hit List,” starring Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and Cole Hauser, was certainly not one they were going to refuse. As promised, Kaufman arrived in Charlotte with two of his cameramen in toe, and spent over a month helping them put together their film. Unfortunately, half way through filming, the project ran out of money. Funding, or lack thereof, is often what delays or temporarily halts the production of a film. While Fred was disappointed, the bonds he made on set would prove to be priceless. At Will s request, Fred would call him as soon as he got more investors on board to complete the film. The funds were raised and Fred reached out to Will. However, another fortunate


stroke of serendipity would befall Fred, as Will would offer him yet another amazing opportunity. The chance to earn production company credits, work with major actors, and essentially ride the coat tails of an amazing group of talent. Without hesitation, Fred and his friends shelved their backyard project, took their money and invested it in William Kaufman s action thriller, Sinners & Saints. As the movie would take place in post-Katrina New Orleans, Fred packed his bags with blind faith and an immense trust in Will, and embarked on a journey that would change his life. Carolina Filmworks would be the vessel by which Fred would make this all happen. Carolina Filmworks is one of the leading production companies of North Carolina. Their vision is to create a portfolio of highquality, box office hits, created,

In 2009, if you would have asked Fred de la Garza if he imagined he would be producing his first major motion picture a few years down the road, starring the likes of Johnny Strong, Tom Berenger, Costas Mandylor, Sean Patrick Flanery, Kevin Phillips, Bas Rutten, Clifford “Method Man” Smith, and Kim Coates, he would have said you were crazy. In only 4 years, Fred and his team have reached a level that people with over 20+ year s experience in film can only hope for and oftentimes never attain. Only twenty percent of films ever make it to the level of major distribution. “If we never make another movie at this level again, we have exceeded our expectations,” Fred said. Spoken like a man that has lived the dream that has truly played out. One can t help but notice his sense of contentment and accomplishment. While, it may be over 5 years before he ventures out to make another film, he is very content with this prospect. For Fred it is not about the quantity, but the quality of the production. He would rather produce one film of great quality than a multitude of mediocre films that have no potential. On a regular day, you ll find Fred reading all sorts of scripts, paying special attention to action thrillers. Belief in a script and one s commitment to it is fundamental to the success of a film. Fred recalls when he and his wife, Terrie, read the script for Sinners & Saints, “What we envisioned as we read it is

southern style exactly how it was filmed and produced.” Everyone s interpretation of the script is crucial to the success of a film. Everyone needs to be on the same page and have the same vision. “The script and its interpretation is the glue that holds the project together,” he said. The selection and interpretation of the script is only a small facet of his job as producer. In most cases, the producer is in charge of bringing the production together, bringing in the creative elements and taking care of the numerous and frequent problems that may occur with film development and production. This can mean any number of activities including, but not limited to: casting the film, handling the budget, hiring the crew, ensuring the set gets made on time, and getting the motion picture developed, mounted and sold. Oftentimes it takes several really good producers to get this arduous task done; however, finding investors to fund the project is paramount. A large part of film production is the recruitment of investors. Without investors, even the best script will never get off the ground. While Fred makes it clear that investing in a film definitely has its risks, the returns could also be great if the film reaches high levels in the industry. Although Fred has achieved what many in the business only dream of, his greatest passion lies in making Charlotte, Fort Mill and the surrounding areas, the film mecca of the East. He wants to see more major productions here utilizing local talent, as well as, any and all resources available. He hopes to achieve this by educating the public and the surrounding businesses on the importance of film as not only an artistic venue, but also as a means of spurring local economic growth. While our area is growing in many respects, we have barely touched on it as it relates to the film industry. Outside of studios in Wilmington, NC, the majority of filmmaking takes place on the west coast. The public needs to be educated as to the impact even one film can have on our local economy. In addition to adding jobs, one film has the potential to bring in millions. “With all the natural beauty, gracious people and willing businesses it would be a shame not to use Fort Mill and the surrounding areas for film,” Fred said. Just recently, Fred recalls working with

Dave Tally of Motion Pixel Post of Rock Hill, on the filming of a short film titled Automat. He expressed his great appreciation for the local community of Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and Pineville to name a few, as the businesses would open their doors to his production crew freely and graciously without hesitation. He was able to take over store fronts, as well as, interiors for the sake of producing this film. Sayago s Café & Creamery of Baxter Village, Two on Earth Bakery, and the York Museum were just a few of the local businesses that would welcome them with open arms, all in the name of art. The Anne Springs Close Greenway is another beautiful backdrop he would love to see in film. He plans on visiting with his wife, Terrie and their grandchildren in the spring in search of inspiration.


here s to supporting all things local: business, actors, producers, directors and the development of local film that will take on global appeal, while stimulating our local economy.


Sinners & Saints is available at Walmart and at other participating stores The sequel to Sinners & Saints is already in the works In addition Fred is working on a film about the racing scene that will be shot in Charlotte and the surrounding area For more information please check out: carolinafilmworks com and sinnersandsaintsthemovie com

Today Fred finds himself a far cry from Walla Walla, Washington where he was born and yes, there really is a place called Walla Walla. While Fred didn t know what he was getting into when he decided to take a leap of faith with his friend, Will Kaufman, it is clear he is very glad he did. Fred said, “it was a snowball that just kept getting bigger and bigger and became a full blown avalanche.” One thing is for sure, for Fred it s all gravy from here because professionally he has accomplished more than he ever dreamed possible. Personally, his mission to make our area the film mecca of the East is what will drive him to continue taking on quality projects and educating our community on the importance of supporting the film industry. Kudos to Fred, as frankly, it couldn t have happened to a nicer guy. Funny how his journey started with a backyard film and it s in that very backyard that Fred would like to see the major motion picture film industry flourish. So,


FORT MILL | inspired thought


Text By Tracey Roman Photo By Allison Wilhelm

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome". ~Anne Bradstreet Hasn't your mother told you that you must take the good with the bad. Well, it's true! But not only is it true, it is also necessary


for us to grow and to appreciate life. It's not about sucking it up when things go wrong, but actually welcoming the "wrong" for we know that with it comes another magical outcome. We needn't know what this change will bring, just believe in the goodness that will prevail. Every negative situation can be

devestating, neutral, or pleasant. It is up to us to control how we react. Which brings to mind another saying, "I laugh in the face of adversity." There is definitely something to it. Give it a try!


Summer 2012 will be your chance to visit America’s Last Frontier – Alaska with the Fort Mill Magazine Travel Club. See Hubbard Glacier, the Inside Passage, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Seward and more. We will offer trips from 7 to 10 days in June, July and August. You may choose from a round-trip Seattle itinerary (no passport required) or a north or south bound journey between Anchorage and Vancouver. We’re also working on a cruise/tour for these who want to extend their time exploring this magnificent area. For details on what we have to offer, call Linda Murfin at Above The Crowds Travel at 803-835-0585 or email her at