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NUMBER DECEMBER 2008

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WWW.LNCURRENTS.COM

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Wishing you and your family the warmth, love and joy of an old-fashioned Christmas throughout the year.

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Look what Santa left us under the tree! The McIntosh Law Firm congratulates the staff of Lake Norman CURRENTS on their premiere issue and wishes them years of success as they share their dedication to the Lake Norman area through journalistic integrity and community service. Photo courtesy of Rural Hill 1760 log cabin reconstruction and the expertise of Mary Ellen Werts.

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704-892-1699 11/6/08 5:43:14 PM


?Xggp?fc`[Xpj Best Wishes for a Safe & Happy Holiday Season.

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CommunityOne is now open in Cornelius.

“ Treat yourself to a great bank, and maybe a day at the spa. Here’s a simple fact:

Two lucky people in Cornelius will each win a weekend trip for two to the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.

Greetings from CommunityONE, the bank that likes to say Yes you can to customers. We’re excited to be open in Cornelius and invite you to experience unique banking and attentive service at its finest. From the Internet Café to the children’s play area, our new office doesn’t look or feel like most banks. Stop by soon for a delicious cup of Chairman’s Blend gourmet coffee, browse among our special rates and services and maybe win a day at the spa, compliments of CommunityONE. The power of positve banking.SM Yes you can.®

Pick-up a PIN... see if you win! CommunityONE Bank is giving away two (2) weekend trips for two to the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa. To participate, pick-up a PIN at our new Cornelius office before 6:00 p.m. on Friday, December 19,2008.

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*Sweepstakes Rules No purchase required. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. Each prize will be awarded and is worth $1,500. Not redeemable for cash. Winners acknowledge that CommunityOne may report the value of the prize to the IRS as required by law. Winners must show proof of winning PIN. If two winning PINs are not found remaining prizes will be awarded by special drawing in the Cornelius office on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. To enter drawing you must complete an entry form at the Cornelius office, while supplies last. You do not have to be present to win. Winners will be notified. Winning PIN recipients are not eligible for drawing. Employees, their relatives and other bank affiliates are not eligible to participate. **Annual Percentage Yield (APY) accurate as of 11/03/08. Minimum balance to open this account is $25,000. 3.51% APY paid on balances between one penny and $250,000, and .25% APY paid on the portion of your balance above $250,000. Fees may reduce earnings and normal transaction limitations apply. This rate is guaranteed through 3/31/09, however, this is a limited time offer and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. This offer is only available at CommunityOne’s Cornelius office. ©2008 CommunityONE Bank, N.A.

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Contents |

Inside | December 2008 Currently

15 Spotlight on regional events Top picks for things to do in the lake area

15

Currency Montly Financial Feature

16 Tax-saving strategies for December Rip Currents Local residents who are making waves

20 Creature comforter East Lincoln veterinarian marks 30 years of compassion

22 Back in time Tom Cotter opens Vintage Motor Club in old mill

22

Temptations

26 Set these cookies out for Santa Or just enjoy them yourself

26

Indulgences

30 Zensational Relax as Ahlara indulges your senses

34

The Galley

34 Artistic presentation Maddi’s puts food in a gallery setting Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Undercurrents Entertainment and nightlife

37 Zoned for laughs 40 Lights on the lake

Catch the comedians in Cornelius

Parade takes decorations to the water

30

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Team Nadine...Your Dream Home Finders

704-361-9183 www.ALakeHome.com

jtàxÜyÜÉÇà Xáàtàx Magnificent Lake Norman Waterfront Estate. Situated on 2 private peninsula acres in The Point Community with unbelievable PANORAMIC views & 800’ of shoreline. Old World European splendor in design details this masterpiece by Simonini. It boasts a dramatic domed circular stairway, 2 story wood paneled library w/Juliet’s balcony. 1st floor master suite, gourmet kitchen, billiards room with wet bar. A definite MUST see in The Point! #722854 List Price was $4,299,000 NOW $3,799,000!

Ask about our Waterfront lots available!

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Gorgeous waterfront in Sailview with private pier w/main channel view! Large finished basement. #773382 $2,250,000 $2,150,000

Amazing Lake Norman Country Estate. 7+ acres of serene vistas w/private pond, pool & outdoor firplc. #811547 $1,200,000

European Country waterfront in Sailview, Big Main Channel view w/private pier. A Must See! #777360 $!,600,000 $1,475,000

Like New Sailview home w/ deeded Boatslip. Drastically Reduced and Must Sell! #773861 $695,000 $650,000

WOW! Waterfront Estate in gated Norman Estates. Main channel view w/custom detail throughout! #781043 $3,900,000

Magnificent New Construction waterfront estate in The Point. Exquisite detail, gorgeous pool and spa! #806608 $5,890,000

Big Water w/this main channel home in Sailview. Private pier, inground pool & huge patio. #738138 $1,698,000 $1,500,000

Deeded Boatslip with this Northview Harbour Beauty! Immaculate! Open floor plan & huge bonus room. #783985 $569,900

Gorgeous waterfront in Summit Ridge. Features private pier and finished basement. Priced Right! #776208 $1,075,000 $899,000

Custom built waterfront home in Northview Harbour. Stunning detail throughout. Private pier, screen porch. #811845 $1,300,000

Pebble Bay Beauty! 5 bedrooms, 3 car garage and a walk-out finished basement. Super Deal! #757096 $559,000 $529,000

Big Water in this Sailview home. Truly a designer’s dream come true. Private pier and deep water. #801403 $1,249,000 $1,199,000

Gorgeous new construction in gated Pebble Bay. Privacy awaits you in this Stucco and Stone home. #781745 $674,000

True Waterview home in Sailview w/deeded boatslip. Open flr plan offers Master on main, gourmet kit. #800265 $659,000

Fabulous waterfront in gated Pebble Bay with private pier and finished basement. #780325 $1,099,000 $995,000

Breathtaking waterfront home in West Bay! Private covered pier, large patio area & main channel! #796673 $1,149,000 $1,100,000

Gorgeous waterfront in Sailview with private pier! Spacious floor plan features finished basement. #773821 $969,000 $939,000

Breathtaking views from this main channel home in Sailview. 2 story basement. Private pier. #797329 $1,450,000 $1,375,000

Waterfront in Catawba Co. w/ private pier, finished basement and 2 bonus rooms. Lots of space. #785118 $1, 289,000 $1,199,999

Lovely New Construction in gated Pebble Bay. Coffered ceiling, huge bonus rm, master on main. #769413 $519,000 $499,000

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Contents |

44 Winter scene

44 Holiday village Shop while the snow falls at Birkdale

The Grapevine Our monthly wine column

48 From the beginning The basics of enjoying wine

Strong Currents Ways to live strong through good health

54 No office? No Problem Doctors’ sole concern is hospital patients

48

Let’s go

58 Spruce Pine’s revival Book gives town Christmas identity, new hope

Home Port

51 Tasteful storage Starting a wine collection and building a wine cellar at home is easier than you might think

62 Drawn to the flame Decorate your fireplace for romance, nostalgia, fun

68

68 Year-round living Outdoor fireplaces keep back yard comfortable

62

73 Pulse of the real estate market Buyers have advantage now, but turnaround seen for sellers Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Game On

28 Indoor pursuits when it’s cold out

80 Chasing the Cats

28

Follow Davidson’s basketball season

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At The Helm | Sharon Simpson

Seas of uncertainty bring waves of opportunity A

s the winds of change blow into our lives we have two choices: Drown in the seas of fear and uncertainty, or create waves of success and opportunity. The magazine you hold is a product of the success and opportunity the staff of Lake Norman CURRENTS has chosen to embrace, and we hope you embrace it with us. Our mission is to create a magazine by and for the people who call Lake Norman home, and our pledge is never to stray from that mission. As our staff gathered on a beautiful fall day for this photo shoot, it was as clear as the skies above us and the waters beneath us that we were brought back together for a reason. The vision each of us shares for our community, our advertisers and our readers is evident in everything we do. We’re

a fun and slightly loud bunch, as our quiet and patient photographer, Wes Stearns, learned fairly quickly, but we love what we do and we love one another. It’s a combination for success that few co-workers ever find. We all live in the Lake Norman area. We shop here, attend church here, our kids go to school here. We have a vested interest in the growth and viability of our community. We’ve enjoyed getting reacquainted with many of you at community events, business expos, festivals, civic club meetings and chamber activities. One lady came up to me recently and said, “Do you guys ever sleep? I see you everywhere!” to which I replied, “Then we’re doing our job.” And that’s what being a community lifestyle magazine is all about: being part of the com-

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

munity, knowing the people you serve and offering them a publication they can be proud to call their own. I’m proud to play a small part in bringing CURRENTS to you each month and even prouder to have a staff of design, marketing and journalism experts who share my vision of community spirit and leadership. If you already know us, then you know “we’re back!” and if you’re just getting to know us, we invite you to Catch the CURRENT, and prepare to be swept away! And to all our friends, new and old, we look forward to sticking around here for years to come, sharing the good life we simply call “home.”

Lake Norman Currents is a monthly publication available through direct-mail home delivery as well as alternative neighborhood distribution. Copies also are available throughout the Lake Norman area at Harris Teeters supermarkets and Lowes Foods. Subscriptions are available for $25 per year. Send us your name, address, phone number and a check made payable to Lake Norman CURRENTS at the address below and we’ll start your subscription with the next available issue. Publisher Sharon Simpson Sharon@LNCurrents.com Editor Carol-Faye Ashcraft Carol@LNCurrents.com Advertising Sales Executives Cindy Dorman CindyD@LNCurrents.com Cindy Gleason Cindy@LNCurrents.com Jennifer Hansell Jennifer@LNCurrents.com Kim Morton Kim@LNCurrents.com Publication Design & Production SPARK Publications info@SPARKpublications.com www.SPARKpublications.com Ad Production Sumcad Design Mission Statement Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine will embody the character, the voice and the spirit of its readers, its leaders and its advertisers. It will connect the people of Lake Norman through inspiring, entertaining and informative content, photography and design; all of which capture the elements of a well-lived life on and around the community known as Lake Norman.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Lake Norman CURRENTS P.O. Box 1676 Cornelius, NC 28031 704-749-8788 www.LNCurrents.com The entire contents of this publication are protected under copyright. Unauthorized use of any editorial or advertising content in any form is strictly prohibited. Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine is wholly owned by Venture Magazines, LLC.

Vol. 1 No. 1 December 2008

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Lake Norman Currents |

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

There are 35,000 worldwide members of the Academy of General Dentistry. Of these dentists, who have invested in post graduate training, only 1500 have attained Mastership. Of this distinguished group, only 38 have been honored to receive the LifeLong Learning & Service Award. In the region from Washington, DC to Atlanta, only one dentist has earned this award. That dentist is Dr. Richard Pence, who is serving the Lake Norman Region from Denver, NC.

11/6/08 4:00:30 PM


Contributors |

Contributors Sam Boykin is an award-winning journalist and free-lance writer in Mooresville. He also has written for Scientific American, Entrepreneur, US Airways, Consumer’s Digest, Our State, Business North Carolina and Charlotte Business Journal. When he’s not writing Boykin is often embarrassing himself on the tennis courts or working on his 107-year-old house. Writer Jeremy Jarrell has worked as a writer, copywriter, editor and occasional photographer for several years for newspapers, magazines and advertising agencies. He is an alumnus of Marshall University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and is living in Huntersville and loving all that Lake Norman offers for outdoor adventures. Lee McCracken is a Charlotte-area freelance editor and writer who lives in Denver and grew up spending summers on Cayuga Lake in Upstate New York. Since moving to Charlotte in 1994, she has written on business, education, health care and real estate for various publications. Lee is a wife and mother who is always in pursuit of a story that will inform and inspire. Rosie Molinary is the author of “Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina” and is one of the founders of Circle de Luz, a national program that provides scholarship money and support to young Latinas to empower and inspire them to pursue further education upon graduation from high school. Learn more about the Davidson resident’s work at www.rosiemolinary.com.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Eloise Morano has been a free-lance writer and journalist for 28 years, including eight years in the Boston area as a food critic. Her articles and photographs have appeared in national as well as regional magazines and newspapers, including Dog Fancy and Travel + Leisure. As a broadcast journalist for 15 years, she was nominated for an Emmy and was a well-known face and voice on radio and TV in the Northeast. Eloise has a master’s degree in landscape design and ecology. Writer and photographer Trent Pitts, a native North Carolinian, has been photographing and writing about the people and places of

the Lake Norman area for several years. He got his start in photography at age 5, when he would drag his mother’s Polaroid camera around the house and try to capture anyone and anything within range on film. He still keeps a camera close by, never wanting to miss a photo op. Trent studied journalism for his media communications degree, and later earned a master’s degree in a businessrelated field. Sam Boykin

Trent Pitts

Jeremy Jarrell

Mike Savicki

After completing his graduate work at Duke University, writer Mike Savicki moved from Boston to Lake Norman, where he has lived and worked for 15 years. An adventurer as much as a writer, he has completed marathons, triathlons and multi-sport races around the world. He writes locally and nationally and was a contributing writer and editorial team member for “The Adversity Advantage,” published by Fireside, a division of Simon and Schuster, in 2007. Writer and photographer Valerie Spears moved to the Lake Norman area after receiving her master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Marshall University in 2007. She enjoys writing, graphic design and photography.

Lee McCracken

Valerie Spears

Rosie Molinary

Wes Stearns

Eloise Morano

Cathy Swiney

Wes Stearns is an award-winning photographer focusing primarily in the Carolinas. Since 2004, he has demonstrated his diversity through offering an array of capabilities from studio work to on-location architecture and landscapes, as well as commercial, retail and abstracts. His photography also has resulted in others winning awards for their work in home and pool design competitions. His passion for sharing what he is able to see and capturing it with an artist’s eye has inspired him to launch an entire product line based upon his photography. See his work at www.artisteyephotography.com. Writer Cathy Swiney, a Huntersville resident, brings us a visit to Birkdale Village during the Christmas season in this month’s issue. She has shopped the stores, dined at the restaurants and enjoyed special festivities at Birkdale Village since its official opening in 2002. One of her favorite traditions is visiting Birkdale with her husband and two sons on a night when the sky near the tall Christmas tree fills with snow. While the snow might be manufactured by a machine, the simple pleasure it brings is the real thing.

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Lake Norman Currents |

Did you know...

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Gynecological Problems – PMS, hot flashes, fatigue, infertility,

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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11/6/08 4:00:40 PM


Lake Norman Currents |

We help make sure the stuff you never think of is covered. Make sure you have the right kind of insurance with NationwideÂŽ.

Mike Griffin Angela Jackson Jim Jarrett Griffin Insurance Agency Jackson Insurance Services Jim Jarrett Insurance Agency Harbour Park Mooresville/Lincolnton 584 Brawley School Rd. Corner of Brawley School & Williamson 19824-D W. Catawba Ave. Denver/Statesville/Cornelius Mooresville Cornelius 704-664-9111 704-799-1571 704-892-6004

Bill Laurie William D. Laurie Agency 103 S. Old Statesville Rd Across from City Hall

Huntersville 704-875-3664

Wes Carney Assoc. Agent Carney Insurance Agency 190 Jackson Street Davidson 704-892-1115

Tracey Fox Smith Assoc. Agent Earl Carney Insurance 154-B S. Main Street Troutman 704-528-4141

Joanne Marinaro Assoc. Agent Nationwide at Birkdale 8600 Sam Furr Rd., Suite 100 Huntersville 704-895-2222

Bob Baker Assoc. Agent Sam Baker Agency 915 River Hwy.

Near Lake Norman High School

Mooresville 704-664-7283

Š2006 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Nationwide Life Insurance Company. Home office: Columbus, Ohio 43215-2220. Nationwide, the Nationwide Framemark and On Your Side are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Not available in all states.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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Currently |

CALENDAR What’s Currently Happening

Dec. 6-7

Photo by Jeff Cravotta

by Valerie Spears

Take the whole family to enjoy the 54th Singing Christmas Tree at Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte. This program will have everyone singing favorite holiday songs and will delight listeners with new melodies. Special guests will join the Carolina Voices’ Mainstage Choir, adding a wide range of genres that will please everyone – from country and gospel to classical and jazz. Shows are at 3 and 7:30

Dec. 12-14, 19-21 Join the North Carolina Dance Theatre as the troupe performs Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s “Nutcracker,” with music by the Charlotte Symphony. The Belk Theater will be filled with Tchaikovsky’s remarkable score as it provides the backdrop for more than 100 local and professional dancers. Travel with Clara and the Nutcracker Prince to the Land of Sweets and meet the enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy along the way. The timeless holiday classic is presented by the Levine Children’s Hospital. The N.C. Dance Theatre is sure to provide visitors with a captivating and magical evening. Both matinee and evening performances are available. For ticket information and performance times, visit www.ncdance.org or call 704-372-1000.

Through Jan. 11

p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. There will be a children’s matinee designed for ages 3 to 6 at 11 a.m. Saturday, plus an opportunity for lunch with Santa afterward. Tickets range from $18 to $30 and are half-price for kids. For more information, visit www.carolinavoices.org or call 704-374-1546.

Enjoy the sweet smells and sights of the holiday season at the 16th annual National Gingerbread House Competition at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville. The competition attracts more than 300 entries from 20 states and features edible creations made by artists of all ages. Although the main competition was held Nov. 17, the sugary gingerbread designs will be on display until Jan. 11. Community viewing is held Mondays through Thursdays and is free to the public. For more information, visit www.groveparkinn.com or call 828-252-2711.

Through Jan. 4

For an expanded calendar for the Lake Norman area, turn to Current Events on page 77.

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Take a trip to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii at Discovery Place in downtown Charlotte. “A Day in Pompeii” gives visitors a glimpse into the city’s life in 79 A.D. and looks into the day when the city was buried by the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The 13,000-squarefoot exhibit showcases the artistic talents and abilities of ancient Rome. The city’s refined culture, distinguished treasures and unparalleled history and art are brought to the surface after once being buried beneath 13 feet of volcanic mud and ash. For ticket information, visit www. discoveryplace.org or call 704-372-6261.

11/6/08 4:00:56 PM


Currency | by the staff of Ladd, McCall & Associates, PA, Cornelius Office

Tax-saving strategies for December Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a series of tax tips that we will be presenting each month with the hope that it will help taxpayers be prepared when it comes time to file their tax returns in 2009.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

The end of the year is a good time to do last-minute tax planning. Here is a list of actions that may help you save taxes, if you act before year-end. • Be sure to make any charitable contributions by year-end. Remember to keep good records. All cash contributions must be substantiated with a record of the contribution. For noncash contributions, obtain a receipt from the charitable organization. You should record a reasonably detailed description of the contribution. You also may want to photograph the items. • Rather than donate cash to a charitable organization, you may want to donate appreciated stocks to avoid capital gains tax. The maximum deductible amount of a gift of long-term appreciated property each year is 30 percent of your adjusted gross income. • If you are thinking of making eligible energy saving improvements to your home, such as installing extra insulation, energy-saving windows or a heat

pump, consider doing so before year-end to qualify for a tax credit that expires

for property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2007. Check to see whether the product qualifies for the credit before you buy. The product should have a manufacturer’s statement that certifies that the product meets the requirements for this credit.

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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Currency |

You may be able to save taxes this year and next year by bunching miscellaneous itemized deductions, medical expenses and other itemized deductions.

Keep this in your records. you have any capital gains or losses from sales of stock or other capital assets or you have stock or other capital assets that are ready for sale, it may be advisable to meet with your accountant to discuss how you can best coordinate timing your gains and losses to minimize tax on your gains and maximize the tax benefit from your losses. • You may be able to save taxes this year and next year by bunching miscellaneous itemized deductions, medical expenses and other itemized deductions. • Consider extending your subscriptions to professional journals, paying union or professional dues, enrolling in (and paying tuition for) job-related courses, etc., to bunch into 2008 miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income floor. • Depending on your situation, you may want to consider deferring paying off a debt until 2009. • Consider disposing of a passive activity to allow you to deduct suspended losses. • If you are receiving Social Security benefits, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce or eliminate tax on your benefits. 1. Reduce your interest income. 2. Reduce your dividend income. 3. Reduce your tax-exempt interest income. 4. Move liquid investments into a deferred annuity. In contrast with savings

• If

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

accounts, money market accounts and CDs that incur ur taxes yearly on interest earned, annuityy interest earnings are tax deferred until withdrawn. thdrawn. • If you did not payy enough tax, either through withholding or by making estimated tax payments, you u will have underpaid your estimated tax and may have to pay a penalty. However, you ou still may be able to increase your withholding lding for your December earnings to avoid such a penalty. Generally, you will not have ave to pay a penalty for 2008 if any of the following situations apply: 1. The total of your withholding and d estimated tax payments was at least as much uch as your 2007 tax (or 110 percent of your ur 2007 tax if your adjusted gross incomee was more than $150,000, $75,000 if your 2008 filing status is married filing separately), and you paid all required estimated tax payments on time. 2. The tax balance due on your return is no more than 10 percent of your total 2008 tax, and you paid all required estimated tax payments on time. 3. Your total 2008 tax minus your withholding is less than $1,000. 4. You did not have a tax liability for 2007. 5. You did not have any withholding taxes and your current year tax less any household employment taxes is less than $1,000. Special rules apply if you are a farmer or fisherman.

• Finally,

it may be advantageous to try to arran arrange with your employer to defer a prospective bonus until 2009. These are just some of the year-end steps that can be taken to save taxes. Consult your certified public accountant for further information and to have a plan designed for your particular needs. LNC Next month: Tips for tax planning and items to compile for preparation of your 2008 tax return. Disclaimer: This information was accurate as of the date of publication. Because of frequent tax law changes, information may no longer be accurate. For the latest tax information, please contact a CPA.

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www.LNCurrents.Com Qualify to win one of three $50 gift certificates to The Galway Hooker Irish Pub at Kenton Place in Cornelius by finding the correct answers to these 10 questions somewhere on our website. (Hint: You must click through the links to find some of the answers.)

7. 8. 9. 10.

What is the name of our Calendar of Events feature? What will you find under Current Sightings? How much does a full page ad cost in Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine? The name of our real estate section is The_________________ Market. What is the name of our publisher? Distribution of Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine will include direct mail to homes with a household income of _______________or more. Lake Norman CURRENTS magazine will be available at what two supermarket chains? Who is our editor? ________________________________________ What kind of dogs does staff member Cindy Gleason have? What is the name of our monthly health-care feature?

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Your name ______________________________________________ Your phone number ______________________________________ Email your answers today to Sharon@LNCurrents.com or fax to 888-887-1431. Drawing will be held Dec. 10, 2008. Only those contestants who answer all 10 questions correctly will qualify for the drawing. Winners will be notified by phone.

We want to create a website that is useful and essential to the Lake Norman community and we need your help! Tell us what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to see on our site. Lake access information? Chamber events? Newcomers info? Real estate? Classified ads? Boat rentals? Area entertainment? Blogs? Events calendar? Feel free to email us at Sharon@LNCurrents.com or editor@LNCurrents.com. We want your suggestions and promise to get right back to you. Lake Norman CURRENTS is the magazine created by and for the people who call Lake Norman home.. We want our website to reflect that mission, as well! Web Contest Ad.indd 1

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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11/7/08 11:42:53 AM


Rip Currents |

Dr. David Wilson says pets have become important members of the family.

D

by Lee McCracken | photos by Trent Pitts

r. David Wilson, owner of East Lincoln Animal Hospital in Denver, this year celebrates 30 years of caring for Lake Norman animals. The quiet, humble man, who back in the ’70s thought he’d become North Carolina’s version of British storyteller and veterinarian James Herriot, sees few farm animals now. Calling himself a “petiatrician,” these days, Wilson provides everything from preventive/wellness care and surgical services to trauma triage and end-of-life care to family pets across the region. “They aren’t just clients or patients – they’re somebody’s baby or child,” Wilson says, noting he coined the word petiatrician about five years ago. “I work for people who really enjoy their pets and consider them important members of the family. I enjoy them enjoying their pets.”

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Creature comforter

Betty Collins performs a parasite exam.

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Pampered pups East Lincoln Animal Hospital is in its fourth building since it opened in 1978. The 10,000-square-foot facility on N.C. 73 opened in August 2005. Wilson and his eight associates care for the lake area’s pets with seven exam rooms, an inhouse pharmacy, a surgical preparation room and surgical suite, an in-patient care and intensive care area with oxygen; and ultrasound and

with digital radiography.” Although Wilson hung out his shingle some 30 years ago, the history of East Lincoln Animal Hospital really starts on a diary farm in Mitchell County. Wilson, 58, grew up in Bakersville. “I was raised on a farm,” he says, recalling the exhausting, dirty work of his childhood and teen years. “The dairy farm joke is that it’s a high motivator for higher education.” Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree from N.C. State University, then headed south to attend the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating in 1976. “I predate the vet school at N.C. State,” he notes with a chuckle.

Rip Currents |

Donna Goodson affirms Wilson’s close relationships with the pets he sees and their people. As the office administrator, Goodson has been Wilson’s right-hand woman in the clinic for nearly 27 years. In the early days, she says, she helped wherever she was needed, from the front desk to the operating table. “We have pet owners now who’ve been with us since the beginning,” she says. “Dr. Wilson is very appreciative of what he has. The office has grown from a one-man practice to nine doctors and 30 employees. He really cares for and appreciates his clients.”

In addition to watching the area mature from farmland into suburban, lakefront neighborhoods, Wilson says he’s seen the lifestyle of family pets get cushier. “Living on a farm, a lot of pets stayed outdoors and ate leftover scrapes. By the mid ’80s, they were moving inside.” In July 1985, Wilson became the sole owner of East Lincoln Animal Hospital. Eight associates and three buildings later, East Lincoln Animal Hospital not only is keeping pets’ weight in check and cleaning their teeth, but also cutting their nails and blow drying their hair. Empathy for owners, too Wilson discovered early on that his true calling wasn’t just administering medicine to sick animals. He also enjoyed interacting with pet owners. Goodson said she has seen Wilson’s aptitude for human relations in action. “He’s gone to the hospital to visit clients (pet owners) who’ve been sick, and he’s gone to funer-

Above: The clinic on N.C. 73 opened in August 2005. Left: Dr. Kirk Carroll has worked with Dr. Wilson for eight years. Right: Dr. Janet Crawford, left, and Dr. Cathy Rose with receptionist Rebecca Bumgarner.

Fresh out of vet school and newly married to Libby, his high school sweetheart, Wilson went to work at Mooresville Animal Hospital. Less than two years later, he joined Dr. Wayne Jones at Lincolnton Animal Hospital, and he became a 50 percent partner after just six months. Wilson then opened a satellite office in Denver, and he split his time between the two offices for seven years. He says Denver was “a sleepy fishing village” back then. “Westport was here, but nothing else.”

als,” she says. And knowing how much people worry about their four-legged children, she says, the doctors call every pet owner after their cat or dog awakes after surgery. “They all definitely have compassionate hearts. They all do call-backs, and they all go above and beyond their jobs,” Goodson says. “We’re all pet owners, too,” Carroll says. “We treat them like we’d want to be treated and put ourselves in their place. We know how it is to be worried.” LNC 21

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

X-ray rooms. The center also has a grooming suite and boarding facilities, with a separate room for cats. Dr. Kirk Carroll, who lives in Cornelius and joined the practice eight years ago, says Wilson is committed to “staying ahead of the curve when it comes to new knowledge and new technology” in veterinary medicine. “A doctor with his experience and years behind him could be very set in his ways, but Dr. Wilson is very adaptive,” Carroll says. “The hospital has digital X-ray and a state-of-the-art dental lab

11/6/08 4:01:42 PM


Rip Currents | by Sam Boykin | photos by Trent Pitts Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Back in time Tom Cotter opens Vintage Motor Club in old mill 22

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The Vintage Motor Club is part of a new multi-use commerce center on McGill Avenue in Concord. Situated on about 58 acres, the 700,000-square-foot center is at the site of the old Pillowtex mill. The new state-of-the-art center represents an amazing transformation of the mill, which, along with other mills in Kannapolis and throughout the state, was shut down in 2003, putting thousands of people out of work. The enormous space has been completely renovated and contains a variety of office, retail, manufacturing and light industrial space, most of which is already occupied. Cotter, along with several business partners, hopes the center will help bring to the area a much-needed shot of commerce, perhaps even creating a thriving area similar to South End in Charlotte.

Rip Currents |

S

tanding in the middle of an enormous construction site as dozens of workers knock down walls and patch holes, Tom Cotter admires a surfboard. But it isn’t just any surfboard. It’s going to be affixed to his retro-cool 1931 Ford woodie wagon and used as a bar at the Vintage Motor Club, a banquet and event facility designed to host everything from weddings and trade shows to proms and business functions. At the time, Cotter, who collects vintage cars, was scouting locations to store some of his vehicles and perhaps start an auto storage business. George Liles, a friend and president of Liles Construction Co., had been showing Cotter different spaces and took him to the old mill, which was built in the late 1800s. Cotter initially told Liles the space was just too big. But Liles persuaded him to go back and take a second look. “The place seemed a little smaller once I learned my way around,” Cotter says.

Left: The banquet hall is ready for an event. Above: The facility includes period equipment decor such as a gas pump.

Moreover, he was charmed by the historic character of the red-brick mill. Knowing it was a bold gamble but convinced it was a smart move, Cotter and Liles brought in two other local businessmen, Bertram “Trey” Alexander 23

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Old cars are at the heart of Tom Cotter’s new venture.

Cotter says that when he first entered the abandoned building back in the summer of 2004, it was like walking into a ghost town. “There were still family pictures, Bibles and coffee cups on the desks,” he says.

11/6/08 4:01:48 PM


Rip Currents |

Barnette and Joe Liles (no relation to George). The four men, all left-handed, formed Southpaw Investors LLC and bought themselves a giant, abandoned mill. Changing gears When Cotter was growing up in Long Island, N.Y., two of his biggest passions were surfing and cars. Back then, the epitome of cool for a high school surfer kid was to own a Ford woodie wagon. Cotter bought a 1939 Deluxe model when he was 15 with $300 he earned from mowing yards. Cotter moved to North Carolina in 1985 and landed a job as public relations director for Lowe’s Motor Speedway (at the time it was known as Charlotte Motor Speedway). Cotter worked at the speedway for four years, then ventured out on his own and started Cotter Communications, which specialized in marketing and public relations for motor sports and auto racing. The firm grew from two employees to nearly 90, and in 2000 he sold it to Clear Channel Entertainment.

A woodie was the beginning of Tom Cotter’s car collection.

This was a big turning point for Cotter. “I was heading in another direction in my life, but I didn’t know where. I didn’t want to stay in racing, so I decided to pursue my love of cars,” he says.

Over the years Cotter has amassed nearly 40 vintage automobiles, including the 1939 Ford woodie wagon he bought as a teenager. Cotter had sold the car in 1973 to a collector in Puerto Rico to help pay for college. De-

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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surfboard – as the bar area. The grand opening was scheduled for November. “Something like this takes vision,” Cotter says. “I’m a creative guy, and I like the idea of building a creative environment. So we’re going to give this a shot and see what happens.” LNC For more photos associated with Tom Cotter’s vintage cars, check out the “Current Sightings” section of our website, www.LNCurrents.com.

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Visionary project After Southpaw Investors bought the old Pillowtex mill, Cotter and his partners decided that to help kick-start the project, they should each run a business out of the facility. Cotter and Joe Liles launched Auto Barn, a storage facility for classic and collector cars. Barnette opened a storage business called The Barnette Co., and George Liles moved his construction business to the mill. But Cotter wasn’t done yet. He soon came up with idea of creating an automotive-theme banquet space in a sprawling, 15,000-square-foot area of the mill. He invited the president and general manager of Lowe’s Speedway Club, Wanda Miller, to take a look. “When I brought Wanda in, the place was a junkyard,” Cotter says. “There were old mattresses, sewing machines, dust and garbage just piled up. But immediately she was like, ‘I get it!’ ” “It was frightening and a little creepy,” Miller says. “But it has so much character and history, and the Southpaw guys were undaunted. I think it’s fantastic that it’s (the mill) being preserved and made into something so unique.” Miller also is excited that the Vintage Motor Club will serve as the official off-site location for Speedway Club events. “We host a lot of business and social events, but

we have limited space,” she says. “So this is like an answer to a prayer. It’s perfect to help bring more of the automotive industry to this area.” As Cotter puts the finishing touches on the space, which will be able to accommodate up to 1,200 people, he’s implementing several unique touches, including a 1930sera used car lot where show cars will be displayed, as well as 1930s-era gas station – including the 1931 Ford woodie wagon and

Rip Currents |

cades later, and now living in Davidson, he joined the National Woodie Club and through its national registry tracked down the owner. After nearly a year of negotiations, Cotter and the owner worked out a deal, and in 1999 he was reunited with his beloved first car. During the 2005 Food Lion AutoFair, the 1939 woodie, which Cotter had restored inside and out, won the Best Ford of Show award as well as the top Best of Show prize. In addition to collecting vintage cars, Cotter is a published author. His books include “The Cobra In The Barn: Great Stories of Automotive Archaeology” and the recently released “The Hemi in the Barn.”

11/6/08 4:01:55 PM


Temptations | story and photos by Trent Pitts Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Gingersnaps, foreground, Snickerdoodles and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies come boxed for giving.

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Santa

Set these cookies out for

Temptations |

Or just enjoy them yourself

L

ake Norman has a tasty, well-kept secret – housed in the red brick, century-old Davidson Cotton Mill building in the heart of Davidson is the Bird and Bear Cookie Co., where baker Kim Cook creates quality, hand-crafted cookies. namon – “reminds me of cookies that my mom made when I was young,” she says. Trevor thinks the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk is great: thick, soft and peanut-buttery with big chunks of chocolate – sweet, yet slightly salty. Then there is the Chocolate Toffee cookie, and we all love this one. The quality of the Callebaut chocolate really comes through here – very rich, velvety chocolate flavor intermingled with crushed Heath Bar. “They are gigantic cookies, almost so big that you have to share,” Trevor says. But that was not to happen … Much of Cook’s business is mail order from her website, and corporate orders also are substantial. Local retail outlets that feature the cookies include Summit Coffee in Davidson, Three Goats Coffee & Espresso in Mooresville and Nordstrom Espresso Bar at SouthPark Mall. For those fortunate to live in Davidson and Cornelius, there is a free delivery service. Cook packages her cookies in perfectly wrapped, colorful boxes – great for gift giving during the holidays. And don’t forget to save a few cookies for Santa. LNC FOR MORE INFORMATION

Bird and Bear Cookie Co. 704-299-1235 www.birdandbearcookies.com cookies@birdandbearcookies.com

Kim Cook prepares Snickerdoodles.

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Cook started baking as a child under the watchful eye of her grandmother and eventually began baking for holidays and for friends. Her cookies were so well thoughtof that she was besieged by requests to bake them. So four years ago, she started her own business, and named it after her twins – affectionately known as “Bird” and “Bear.” Several kinds of cookies make up the Bird and Bear menu, and I was lucky enough to taste quite a few of them. They are enormous, about 4 to 5 inches in diameter, but even so, it is easy to eat one in its entirety – they are fantastic. “We use all natural, high-quality ingredients, with no preservatives in our cookies,” Cook says. “We use Nielsen-Massey vanilla, which is some of the best you can buy, and Callebaut chocolate.” I ask my wife, Kathryn, as well as my son, Trevor, to join in the sampling: Gingersnap, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk, Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Toffee varieties. All of the cookies are slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. My favorite is the Gingersnap: dark brown, topped with white chocolate icing. It has great molasses flavor, with a ginger finish. Kathryn comes from a long line of bakers and is quite particular about cookies. The Snickerdoodle wins her heart: rich and buttery, with an infusion of vanilla and cin-

11/6/08 4:02:04 PM


Kart racing at The Pit

Undercurrents |

Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for indoor activity around the lake and beyond – in fact, the hardest part is not necessarily getting up off of the couch, but making a choice from all the fun things to do. Here are some places to start:

story and photos by Trent Pitts

Club FX Club FX in Mooresville is a 12,000-squarefoot indoor entertainment multiplex that can be rented for special events and birthday parties. Centered on a huge hardwood dance floor and a 10,000-watt sound system, Club

Indoor Pursuits When it’s cold out

I

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

n the Lake Norman area, we are lucky when it comes to our agreeable weather. Many people move here from all parts of the country for that reason alone. The drudgery of blowing snow and scraping sidewalks can be all but forgotten, yet we still enjoy a nice change of seasons. But as we creep toward the mid-winter months, it can get a bit too chilly for outdoor recreation that we take for granted most of the year.

Club FX

FX has an arcade, inflatables for bouncing, a full-size rock-climbing wall and, get this, an indoor gem-mining sluice. The first and third Saturday nights of the month are teen night, for ages 13 to 18. One night per month is family night, and the arcade opens during lunch, which can be had at the club’s Backstretch Grill. Weekends are booked for private birthday parties and group events for churches, corporations and school groups. “We only host two birthday parties at any given time, with no walk-in traffic – about as close to a private party as you can get,” says owner Ken Connor. Boy Scout and Cub Scout organizations can hold rock-climb-

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The Pit No rain checks here. Kart racing has moved indoors – in a big way. A former factory has been converted into a 70,000-squarefoot kart-racing track in Mooresville. Looking like a maze when viewed from above, the winding speedway offers a thrilling race experience for all ages. The 5.5 horsepower youth karts may be rented for those at least 8 years old and 48 inches tall. The speedier

skating, pickup hockey games, hockey league games, and stick and puck practice, where individuals can practice slap shots and other skills. Private skating lessons are available for all ages, and the Coffee Club is an adult group lesson with a social atmosphere. The Learn to Play Hockey program, designed for beginner and intermediate players, teaches basic skills such as stick handling, passing and shooting. Ballet classes are provided in a six-week introductory course for figure skaters who want to develop their balance and poise. The Silver Star Figure Skating

try a pickup basketball game during the free “open gym” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Lunchtime basketball is offered at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Learn to use a computer at the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson. Introductory classes and softwarespecific classes, including Microsoft Word and QuickBooks, are available. Belly dancing and water aerobics classes can be taken up at the Charles Mack Citizen Center in Mooresville, and kids cooking classes, art lessons, fencing and karate are taught at the War Memorial, also in Mooresville. LNC

Undercurrents |

ing events, where Scouts can work toward earning the rock climbing merit badge.

WANT TO GO?

Club FX 243 Overhill Drive, Suite C Mooresville, NC 800-409-1915 www.clubfx.com

The Pit Indoor Kart Racing, Laser Tag & Arcade 346 E. Plaza Drive Mooresville, NC 704-799-3470 www.meetmeatthepit.com

The Pineville Ice House 400 Towne Centre Blvd. Pineville, NC 704-889-9000 www.pinevilleice.com

Mooresville Recreation Department Pineville Ice House

Pineville Ice House In this case, you will want to bundle up to go indoors, and you’ll have to drive a bit. But there is plenty of fun to be had at the area’s only indoor ice-skating rink. General rink times are slated for public skating, figure

704-663-7026 www.ci.mooresville.nc.us/recreation/ index.html

Club meets at the rink and promotes figure skating for all ages. Birthday parties and corporate functions are welcome, and WiFi is available for those who would rather not sit and watch the Zamboni.

Huntersville Parks and Recreation For information on indoor basketball facilities: 704-766-2220 www.huntersville.org/parksrec_2.asp

Ada Jenkins Center Local parks and recreation facilities We often think of our local parks and recreation departments as providers of great baseball and soccer fields, picnic shelters and playgrounds, yet they have plenty going on inside. Take Huntersville’s Waymer Center: It offers many youth programs at its 8,000-square-foot basketball facility. Or

212 Gamble St. Davidson, NC 704-896-0471 www.adajenkins.org

Cornelius Parks and Recreation www.corneliuspr.org

Davidson Parks and Recreation www.d-recs.org

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

9 horsepower adult models may be driven by those 16 and older with a valid driver’s license. If you get hooked, then join one of the racing leagues for youth and adults. But there is more. Upstairs contains a laser tag area and an arcade. Any of the facilities can be booked for parties, and conference rooms are available for corporate affairs.

Belly dance class at the Charles Mack Citizen Center

11/6/08 4:02:09 PM


Indulgences | by Sam Boykin | photos by Glenn Roberson

Zensat L

ounging in a comfy, low-slung chair while soothing music plays and dimmed lights create a warm, soft glow, it’s easy to forget the world outside. As I take a sip of chilled lemon water, I breathe in the cinnamon aroma of incense that fills the air. Economic turmoil, banking crises and other worries all fade away. I’m nestled inside the Zen Den at Ahlara International, an Asian-inspired health spa in Mooresville, which also includes an international retail market and a wellness center that holds classes and seminars.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

In Race City USA, the land of NASCAR racing teams, home-improvement retail giants, pickup trucks and speedboats, a New Age spa with artisan goods from all over the world might seem a little incongruous – which is exactly why Lynne Wiggins opened Ahlara International in 2005. “When I first moved here, if I wanted to take a yoga or meditation class, there was nothing,” she says. “So I saw a big need and an opportunity.” This wasn’t Wiggins’ first foray into the business of health and well-being. After spending 18 years in the retail corporate environment, Wiggins, who felt burned out and depleted, decided to start a new career path. She quit her corporate gig and in the late 1980s opened a wellness center in Boston that offered everything from massages and yoga to acupuncture. She also plugged into the burgeoning spiritual, self-help movement, and hosted writers and

authors such as Deepak Chopra and Bernie Segal. Moreover, Wiggins had more time to indulge in one of her passions, world travel. She started taking people on guided tours of exotic locales, focusing on local healers and spiritual leaders. “My favorite areas are Egypt, Asia and Peru,” she says. “There’s just so much history and beauty.” Wiggins experienced another big life change in 2003 when, necessitated by her husband Jim’s need to be near a major airport for business, the couple moved to Statesville. While she loved the quiet, rustic atmosphere of her new hometown, she missed being involved in the business of helping keep people’s minds, bodies and spirits healthy. She saw an opportunity in Mooresville and, in 2005, along with a couple of investors, opened Ahlara International in Morrison Plantation.

Right: Herbal Bandle treatment.

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Indulgences |

tional


Indulgences | Ahlara owners Lynne Wiggins and Don Simmons.

Earthy, dark tones invite visitors to relax.

Staff member Maureen Jennings in the market area.

Before or after your treatment you can relax in the serene, Japanese inspired Zen Den, or spend some time in one of the saunas, which are lined with cedar and feature infrared heating lamps.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Asian influence Wiggins says she modeled the spa after the ones she visited during trips to Asia, and with its earthy, dark tones and elegant aesthetics, the space does, indeed, exude a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. In the spa section, a block window partition separates two hallways that contain treatment rooms. Each is decorated with the theme of a different country, including original artwork and décor pieces. It’s here where folks such as Jarrett Worster work their magic. Worster has been licensed massage therapist for about eight years. She moved to North Carolina from New York a few years ago and started working at Ahlara in 2007. She says the spa’s most popular treatment is the Chi Massage, a relaxing, total body massage that including long, gliding strokes and gentle pressure. I opted for the Himalayan, which focuses on the head, neck, back and shoulders. And in just 30 minutes, Worster, using steady pressure, erased and soothed away all the tension and tightness I had walked in with. Other treatments include the Andes, a deeply calming head and scalp massage, which is good for relieving stress, tension, fatigue, headaches and migraines. There’s also the Mani Stone Massage, which combines traditional Swedish massage with the use of heated lava stones. The heat enhances the benefits of the massage by warming the muscles and joints, creating a deeper state of relaxation. There also are unusual procedures such as

cupping, an ancient technique using clear plastic cups that create suction and help drain the body of toxins and improve blood flow. Ahlara offers a variety of skin-care treatments, as well. The Aegean Sea uses seaweeds and French green clay infused with green tea, garden mint and amino acids to help detoxify the body and decrease the appearance of cellulite. There’s also the Moroccan Rassoul treatment, which uses residual volcanic lava, volcanic rocks and other natural elements to help replenish, rejuvenate and smooth the skin. And Ahlara is one of the few spas in the country to offer a dry float bed, which wraps guests in a soothing cocoon of warmth and weightlessness while they’re undergoing a treatment. Before or after your treatment you can relax in the serene, Japanese-inspired Zen Den, or spend some time in one of the saunas, which are lined with cedar and feature infrared heating lamps.

During her world travels, Wiggins often visits Third World countries, many of which rely on tourism as their main source of income. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when overseas travel became increasingly rare, those already impoverished countries were plunged into real financial trouble. “They were begging us to buy stuff,” she says. “And I love their arts and crafts so much. Ahlara gave me a place to put it all, and now that I’ve combined the retail with the spa and wellness center, it’s really become a one-of-a-kind place in Lake Norman.” LNC

Wellness center, market In addition to the spa, there’s Ahlara’s 1,500-square-foot wellness center, which hosts a number of exercise classes, including yoga and tai chi, as well as workshops and community events. Wiggins says she is open to hosting other professionals looking to promote their business, such as nutritionists, therapists or artists. This year, Wiggins expanded the retail market, which contains a growing array of handcrafted furniture, fabrics, jewelry, clothes, artwork and other gifts from around the world. “I’m turning it more into an upscale boutique,” she says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Ahlara International 155 Joe Knox Ave. Mooresville, NC 28117 704-662-0946 www.ahlarainternational.com Wiggins still coordinates several spiritual tours each year to exotic countries. This June she has a trip scheduled to Tibet, where Wiggins and others have helped build a school and finance medical and health-care needs for a poor Tibetan village.

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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The Galley |

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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by Carol-Faye Ashcraft | photos by Trent Pitts

A

t Maddi’s Southern Bistro in Huntersville, you dine not only amid art, but also on art. The small restaurant, which seats about 50 inside, is an extension of Maddi’s Gallery in Birkdale Village. Pass under a Deco arch and have a seat at a handcrafted table. You are surrounded by paintings, funky sculpture and an almost spiritual-looking Elvis in a frame reminiscent of an altar. The gallery calls it Southern folk art.

The Galley |

Artistic presentation Maddi’s puts food in a gallery setting

The décor is a strong indicator of the type of food served at the bistro. Think of a satisfying Southern Sunday family dinner at Grandmother’s and you’ll get an idea of what’s on the menu. Fried chicken, Chef Eric Rice, left, and sous chef Michael Wells. flounder, fried quail, chicken and dumplings, collard greens, sweet potatoes, fried green tomatoes, hushpuppies and, for dessert, a Moon Pie creation, will leave you satisfied. And, like at Grandmother’s, the freshest ingredients make the meal that much better. Executive Chef Eric Rice, who came on board in late summer, recently changed most of the menu – and will continue to do so seasonally – to incorporate ingredients such as micro herbs, organic vegetables and meats that he can find at area farms and farmers markets. “This is the direction we’ve always intended to go,” says owner John Dalton. “We’ve always intended to use Southern dishes … and now we’re using ingredients indigenous to the South.” Dishes to dine on amid the artwork include, top left, an American Kobe Beef Burger, which comes ith pimento cheese, lettuce, an heirloom tomato, Vidalia onion with roasted garlic mayo on a toasted brioche roll; top right, Fried Green Tomatoes, served with fire roasted tomato vinaigrette and buttermilk sauce, and, bottom center, Grateful Growers Pork Osso Bucco, served with hominy sauce, herbed risotto and asparagus.

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The Galley |

Surrounded by art Centering the small restaurant is a breathtaking free-form sculpture by New Jersey glass artist Robert Kuster. It is reminiscent of Dale Chihulyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chandelier that hangs in the lobby of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, but with vivid streaks of color. Even the salt and pepper shakers and serving pieces are works of art. Sugar bowls and creamers are miniature versions of face jugs. Anything, from glasses to plates to knives, is available for purchase in the gallery. Despite its simplicity, the food itself is artistic and crafted with a twist. For instance, Rice has taken a favorite Southern beverage, iced tea, and created an herb vinaigrette served on Maddiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Salad. Love mac and cheese? Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t miss out on Maddiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s version made with cheddar and smoked gouda. Our experience My husband, Dave, and I stopped in on a Friday evening and enjoyed watching the passing crowds on Birkdaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sidewalk from our table near the large front windows. We started with a

glass of Riesling, one of a dozen wines served by the glass. (And generous glasses, they are.) Our waiter, Kevin, a delightful young man from New York, stopped by to drop off corn bread muffins that were so tender they were crumbling. Dave chose Springer Mountain Free Range Fried Chicken, which came with Cheddar and Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese. He substituted Fresh Cut Parmesan Fries for the Braised Collard Greens with Watauga County Country Ham. The chicken was succulent, and the fries were a treat. The macaroni, however, was simply divine. I kept helping myself to bites from his plate. Good coastal native that I am, I ordered Low Country Shrimp and Grits, described as sauteed shrimp and seasonal vegetables served over creamy chipotle cheddar grits with lobstersherry butter sauce. When I die, please bury me with this dish. This was one of the best meals Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever had. Grateful Growers Pork Osso Bucco, served with a hominy sauce, herbed risotto and organic vegetable, and Fried Stuffed Quail, with a stuffing made with corn bread, pecans and Boursin

cheese, also are worthy of notice. We ended dinner with a slice of Bourbon Pecan Pie and two forks, plus coffee. This pie is not nearly as sweet as Grandmother used to make, so eating it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel like such a sin. The Check Our dinner for two came to $63.87, including tax but not tip. Fried Chicken, $17; Shrimp and Grits, $18; wine, $9 per glass; Pecan Pie, $5. The same menu is used for lunch and dinner, although some prices increase at dinner. LNC â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Writer Cathy Swiney contributed to this story.

THE RESTAURANT

Maddiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Southern Bistro 16925 Birkdale Commons Parkway Huntersville 704-987-7762 www.maddissouthernbistro.com Hours: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday

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Travel Undercurrents / Wine | by Carol-Faye | by Jeremy Ashcraft Jarrell

Zoned for laughs

Catch the comedians in Cornelius

E

Located above the Galway Hooker Pub and Cafe, a popular bar and restaurant in Cornelius, the Comedy Zone brings in big-name acts and rising comedy stars. “Who doesn’t want to laugh?” asks Chris Boukedes, an owner/partner in the Galway Hooker and Comedy Zone. “Give me a bad economy, and you need to laugh more. Give me

Pauly Shore is among well-known performers who appear at the Comedy Zone.

Above: Dishes from the Galway Hooker are available. Left: Shaun Jones of Atlanta on stage. Below: Ray Pennetti of New Jersey appears at the Comedy Zone.

every week, but on a week-to-week basis you will see the comedians that you may not notice when you’re walking down the street but are on the cusp of making it big – the really passionate ones that want to kill every single night.” Adding to the entertainment is the full menu and bar offerings from the Galway Hooker. Chef Steve Jordan, affectionately known as Papa Bear, gives the wait staff lots of amazing, fresh and delectable appetizers and entrees to deliver to the crowds enjoying the entertainers. And, unlike many comedy clubs, there is plenty

WANT TO GO?

Lake Norman Comedy Zone 17044 Kenton Drive Cornelius, NC 28031 To see who will be performing at the Comedy Zone this month, check out www.lkncomedyzone.com. To make reservations for your own special event, call manager Mike Hall at 704-293-0624.

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

a great economy, and you want to celebrate.” There have been plenty of reasons to celebrate the addition of the Comedy Zone since it opened about three years ago. Comedians such as movie star Pauly Shore and Ralphie May, who made a name for himself as a finalist in the first season of NBC’s hit reality series “Last Comic Standing,” have entertained the club’s crowds. As part of the 60-plus comedy clubs within HGI Inc.’s Comedy Zone network, the Lake Norman club is able to bring quality comedic entertainment to the lake. “A lot of times comedy clubs will book nearly anyone. We put only seasoned veterans on the stage,” Boukedes says. “You won’t see the big names come through

of room to enjoy the show in the 4,000-squarefoot club, which doubles as a banquet room when not hosting comedy acts or corporate functions. The Comedy Zone’s easy ambience is a reflection of living the lake life. “Being in Lake Norman we go with that atmosphere, that Lake Norman mentality,” Boukedes says. “We have a laid-back, comfortable and casual atmosphere with plenty of elbow room and without the cigarette smoke.” It is open to the public on Tuesday evenings, with the doors opening at 7 and shows starting at 8. LNC

| photos by Valerie Spears

veryone could use a deep, cathartic chuckle from time to time. In our area, getting that good guffaw can come from quality comedic entertainment, a comfortable atmosphere and terrific food at the Comedy Zone of Lake Norman.

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Undercurrents | by Rosie Molinary

Lights on Parade takes decorations to the water Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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Undercurrents |

T

he Peninsula Yacht Club’s Lighted Boat Parade in Cornelius offers neighbors, families and friends a unique way to kick off the holiday season. It’s a popular tradition in oceanfront communities on the East, West and Gulf coasts. The Peninsula Yacht Club started its Lake Norman parade 12 years ago.

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“There’s not snow here, so this is a way to feed the holiday spirit,” says Loraine Vienne, general manager of the Peninsula Yacht Club. “It can be a family or adult event, and it’s a reason for everyone to get together because it is something that’s different.” Scheduled this year for Dec. 6, Winter Festival activities begin at 5 p.m. on the boardwalk that lines the water at the club. Families often take tailgate chairs and blankets to make their viewing location more cozy while enjoying the carolers and sweet and savory holiday treats such as popcorn balls, pumpkin bars, hot chocolate, hot dogs, seafood bisque, cookies and brownies from the concession stand. Just as the clock strikes 7, a spotlight highlights the

John Domoney

the lake

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Undercurrents |

Experience the Elegance

photos courtesy of Peninsula Yacht Club

arrival of Santa Claus by water to ceremoniously light the club’s holiday tree. Then the parade boats, customarily 20 to 30 entrants who compete for prizes in categories such as best presentation of the theme, best overall, best dressed crew, most unique decorations, and the most clueless and confused, are off with a lead boat guiding the way on the parade route. This year’s theme is the Twelve Days of Christmas. “The decorations get better and better each year, and people get more into it,” reflects Harry Smith, the club’s marina manager. Some 300 to 400 visitors line the quartermile boardwalk as the parade makes at least two passes by the crowd to give everyone a chance to take in the splendor and creativity before turning the corner into a neighboring cove to enable waterfront residents to enjoy the view. “Kids love to see all the lighted boats,” says

Want to Participate? Registration is $15. Visit www.peninsulayacht.com or call 704-892-9858 for a registration form. A skippers meeting is held at the club at 5 p.m. the evening of the parade. Boats of all sizes are welcome. Ed Black and Harry Smith offer this advice to parade participants:

Make her Christmas dreams come true.

When decorating… • Be creative. Think outside the box (and boat). • Get the kids involved. • Use only low-voltage lights. Come prepared… Make sure that you have plenty of fuel.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

704-872-8941

122 W. Broad Street, Statesville

On the water… • Even though it is a special event, all boating rules apply. • Keep track of kids at all times while you are out on the water. • Don’t over imbibe unless you want The Most Confused prize.

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Undercurrents |

something like this during my favorite time of year with my kids is just a joy.” Black, who lives in Huntersville, most appreciates hosting the community at the club for this event. “As a membership club, it’s really fun for us to have the public as our guests that night. It’s such a nice kickoff to the holiday season.” LNC

can vas .

WANT TO GO Winter Festival activities begin at 5 p.m. Dec. 6 on the boardwalk of the Peninsula Yacht Club. The Lighted Boat Parade begins at 7 p.m. 18501 Harbor Light Blvd. Cornelius NC 28031 For more information: www.peninsulayacht.com

DEBORAH YOUNG S T U D I O

LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY

on str ech ed

e4

Art sav ist s

0%

Ed Black, a member of the club who serves on the fleet committee and helps to organize the event each year. “Even people who don’t participate will light up their boats on the marina. Sailboaters will run the lights up their masts. So it’s a really pretty thing to see.” Past parade participants have done everything from covering themselves in lights to going all out. “One of the ones that I thought was really good in the past was a group that had a guy on the bow of the boat playing a trumpet. Our commodore does a South Sea island theme with palm trees on his boat,” Black says. “We used to have a boat that we nicknamed The Griswolds. They did a Gilligan’s Island theme one year, but the most clueless and confused category is one of my favorites,” adds Smith, who takes his three children to the parade each year. “It’s an event I look forward. I have seen it continue to grow. Having such a love and passion for boats and the water and having

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Art supplies, art gallery, art lessons, art workshops and art studios.

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WORKS

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11/6/08 4:03:19 PM


Winter Scene |

by Cathy Swiney

Holiday village

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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Winter Wint Wi nter e S Scene ce ene n |

J

ump-start your holiday season by heading to a place where you can shop for gifts, find nourishment after that adventure and see snow – without leaving the lake area.

Birkdale Village in Huntersville, with its charming main street lined with boutiques, specialty shops and outstanding restaurants, offers plenty of ambience in any season, but during the holidays, it is transformed into a greeting card vision. Lights shimmer in trees, store windows are decorated festively, and a slight nip in the fresh air will coax even the

you’ll feel like you’re enclosed in a snow globe that’s been shaken to set the snow in motion. Opposite of Santa, children can enjoy sipping hot chocolate purchased from a nearby vendor as animated bears sing holiday favorites. Whether you are window shopping or seriously shopping along the inviting main street, you’ll

from artists from countries around the world, including Peru, Napal, Ghana, Kenya and Pakistan. The artisans are paid in advance for their products, so you are directly supporting them when you make a purchase. Unusual wall hangings, musical instruments, onyx figures and candleholders, jewelry (check out the bright phone wire bracelets) and toys will catch your attention.

Shop while the snow falls at Birkdale enjoy browsing through national retail stores such as Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, Talbots, Jos. A. Bank, Barnes and Noble, Pier One, Kirklands, Williams-Sonoma, and Bath and Body Works. If you are searching for one-ofa-kind gifts to give to others – or yourself – venture into any of the independent specialty stores for inspiration. You probably won’t leave without a purchase or two. Worldwide arts One Neighborhood, a fair trade marketplace, features merchandise

“We can tell the stories of the people who are making these items,” says David Cloniger, store owner. “It opens people up to different cultures. In the store, it’s through tangible art.” Find other works of art at Maddi’s Gallery, which showcases whimsical Southern folk art, crafts and jewelry. Or create your own work of art by painting a clay piece at Amazing Pottery for the perfect sentimental gift. Personalized items are the way to go at Poppies. Stationery, totes, cups, coasters, picture frames, pajamas and bright metal buckets are among 45

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biggest Scrooge into the joyful spirit of the season. Shopping or food might be the mission of your trip, but you’ll find yourself staying for the atmosphere, especially at night. Within the shadow of a 34-foot tree adorned with colorful lights, children will find Santa stationed in his house awaiting their visits. To make Santa feel at home, and to the delight of young and old, snow machines crank out fluffy white flakes. As you laugh with glee (hey, we live in North Carolina, so we’ll take snow however we can get it!) at the swirling flakes,

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Winter Scene |

items that go from a generic gift to a memorable one with the addition of a monogram or name. If you’re meandering through The Basket Case and are torn between that package of colorful napkins with black-and-white photographs and hilarious sayings, a monogrammed cutting board or a plate wishing “Merry Christmas y’all,” don’t fret about

Julie’s will rev your holiday spirit. Bling is the thing at The Jewel Box. The eye-catching handmade creations are sure to please the recipient, and you’ll love the affordable prices. Shopping for a young girl who’s a big fan of the Jonas Brothers, “High School Musical” or Hannah Montana? Swing into Justice. The store stocks all manner of clothing

taste of Mexico. After a day of shopping, playing in the snow or just strolling amid the lighted trees, settle in at Corkscrew Wine Shop & Bar for a glass of merlot to chase away the winter chill. Or, if you’re with your children, chill out a little more by treating them to a scoop of ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery or gelato at Café Mia. LNC

Shopping or food might be the mission of your trip, but you’ll find yourself staying for the atmosphere, especially at night.

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS

making the right choice. The store, which also stocks food items, skin-care products and novelty gifts, will happily fill a basket with those must-have items. “The gift baskets are whatever you want, you can put in there,” says Liz Poole, owner. “It’s what you want to give. Or we can do it for you.”

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Independent boutiques Mixed among the national retail clothing stores are independent boutiques carrying the latest fashions and accessories. At Bella Ropa you’ll find high-end classic couture appropriate for any outing. Go for a trendy European look with clothing from Belle Ville. Festive novelty sweaters with holiday and winter themes available at

and accessories that will appeal to young fashionistas. At Payton’s Closet you’ll find upscale fashions for all occasions for young boys and girls. Your wandering may leave you hungry, and whether you are dining or grazing, you will find restaurants featuring all varieties of food and atmosphere. Fox and Hound offers traditional pub fare such as ribs and fish and chips, and plenty of televisions to catch sports action. For more upscale dining, head to Dressler’s for a rack of lamb or pepper-crusted steak, among other selections. At Red Rocks Café, you’ll find satisfying American fare such as lobster ravioli and filet medallions. For a quick meal prior to a stroll along the main street, swing into eeZ for sushi or Asian fare, or Qdoba for a

Nov. 29: The season kicks off with the arrival of Santa. Photos with Santa will be available every day, beginning at noon most days. Snowfall is every day from 6 to 9 p.m., every hour on the hour. Singing Bears perform every day, every hour on the hour. Dec. 6: Breakfast with Santa for Habitat for Humanity; Red Rocks Café. Ticket proceeds benefit Our Towns Habitat for Humanity. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be carriage rides. For more information, contact Birkdale Village at 704-895-8744, or visit www.birkdalevillage.net/events.htm. Dec. 6, 13 and 20: Music performances will be held at 2 p.m.

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Au Courant One of the hottest trends for fall this year is taking your holiday

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party dress and putting it to good use. For example, pairing this Nanette Lepore multistriped dress with a pair of black tights and flat riding boots takes this look from day to night in a snap! Dot’s Women’s Wear is a uniquely blended store where you can find something for any occasion. A few brands Dot’s carries are Hale Bob, Eva Franco, Dolan and David Kahn. Dot’s Women’s Wear-IIIrd Generation, 127 N. Main St., Mooresville, NC 28115, 704-660-9223.

Quickly and easily charge your BlackBerry® smartphone, a spare battery and a BlackBerry® HS-655 Bluetooth® Headset all at the same time in this stylish and efficient desktop power station. Only $89. Data Driven, 125-A Trade Court, Mooresville NC 28117, 704-664-9306.

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Stay warm this winter without sacrificing your sassy style

Noted artist/potter, Cathy Walling handcrafts her Blue Lace pottery in Lake Norman. Visit At Seaweed Designs boutique, you’ll find... unique locally crafted, coastal cottage, lake, mountain and gardenthemed tables, home décor, art, pottery, glassware and gifts. Seaweed Designs Art Boutique and Gifts, 416-C S. Main St., Davidson, NC 28036, 704-895-3546, seaweeddesigns.com.

Galleries, Inc., in downtown Mooresville is the home of renowned North Carolina artist “Cotton” Ketchie. Over the past 25 years, “Cotton” has dedicated himself to preserving our heritage through his art, photography and literature. In addition to the artist’s works, the gallery features a wide selection of pottery from artisans across North Carolina. 212 N. Main St., Mooresville, NC,704-664-4122.

with the Snowbird Vest from Ariat Int. This vest is reversible for a more versatile look. It’s easy care and machine washable. Jayne’s Village Tack Shop, 428-C S. Main St., Davidson, NC 28036, 704-895-4240.

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Arts ts

from casual to fabulous! She has created exclusive bags for the Tony Awards, Oscars, Olympics, Elton John, Patty LaBelle, Iman, and the Avon Foundation to raise money for breast cancer. Her handbags have been seen on the arms of some of the most beautiful celebrities in the world including Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jewel. These unique bags are available R. Gregory Jewelers, 122 W. Broad St., Statesville, NC 704-872-8941.

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11/6/08 4:03:49 PM


The Grapevine |

by Trevor Burton

From

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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What a shame. The more you know about wine, the more pleasure you’ll get from it. And that really isn’t difficult to do. Despite all appearances; wine is pretty easy to understand.

their “terroir.” Terroir is a French word that has no direct translation into English, but it defines the “whereness” of a wine. In the Old World, terroir is everything. For example, wines from the village of Gevery-Chambertin in Burgundy carry that description on their labels. They’re made from 100 percent pinot noir grapes, but the way they are marketed is as Gevery-Chambertin – they’re wonderful, by the way. California component Fast forward a couple of thousand years to the wine industry that emerged in the 1960s. California winemakers, most especially the recently deceased Robert Mondavi, figured that Americans were ready to start drinking fine, quality wines. And they knew that the way to get Americans sipping was to make it simple for people to buy wine in a store or to order it with a meal. What simpler way than

to describe wines by the grape that they’re made from and not by the place they were made? Ordering a Cabernet Sauvignon is so much simpler than ordering a bottle of Chateaux Mârgaux. Welcome to varietal wines. Varietal descriptions are what you’ll see on all New World wine labels: Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Shiraz from Australia and so on. New World winemakers also went after a different style of wine. Just as they took complexity out of ordering, they took complexity out of their wines. They made them with an emphasis on the fruit part of the taste experience, masking out much of the earthy aspects of Old World wines.

The Grapevine |

T

he world of wine can appear vast, complex and intimidating. A simple act like facing a comprehensive wine list and choosing a bottle of wine for friends may cause fear and trepidation. Because of this, lots of people tend to stay in a small, safe comfort zone, always drinking their same, familiar wine and never exploring further.

Compare the styles An obvious question poses itself: Is one style better than the other? Absolutely not. It all depends on your personal taste. Wine’s real plea-

The Beginning The basics of enjoying wine sure comes from exploration and discovery. I find that Old World wines are better, more balanced with food. Test it for yourself. Grill a really juicy steak and try it first with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, perhaps, and then with a Bordeaux wine from Haut Médoc. See what you think. Another fun way to dabble with Old Worldstyle wine is only a short drive away. Michael Helton, the winemaker at Hanover Park Vineyard in Yadkinville, makes his wines with a deliberate Old World feel. Especially try his blended red wine, 1897. A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to attend an event in Paris along with Michael and his wife and vineyard co-owner, Amy. One of the city’s most renowned chefs prepared a meal pairing his creations with Hanover Park’s premier wine, 1897. 49

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Let’s start with the big picture. The world of wine is divided into two parts. There are Old World wines, and there are New World wines. Or maybe even a little simpler, there are wines from Europe, and there are wines from everywhere else in the world. The two types of wine give you different taste experiences and, on the label, they are categorized and described differently. European wines take on more than 2,000 years of the customs and traditions of each community in which they are made. Wines that are made from grapes from a single small field on a hillside somewhere develop unique characteristics from that field – its soil, the way it faces the sun and also the evolved techniques of the winemakers that farm it. Wines are defined by what’s called

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The Grapevine |

WANT TO TASTE? At this time, Hanover Park Vineyard wines are available in Elkin at the Surry Gift Shoppe; in Greensboro at Total Wine, Cafe Europa, 223 South Elm, and Pacific and Vine; in High Point at J. Basul Nobles; in Lexington at the Wine and Kitchen Shop; and in Winston-Salem at Total Wine, City Beverage, Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Michaelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Nobleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Grill and Mellow Mushroom. Hanover Park is a short and easy drive from Lake Norman. â&#x20AC;˘ Head north on Interstate 77. â&#x20AC;˘ Take Interstate 40 east in Statesville, â&#x20AC;˘ From Interstate 40 take exit 170 (N.C. 601) and head north towards Yadkinville â&#x20AC;˘ In about 10 miles you will see a sign for the winery. â&#x20AC;˘ Make a right on Courtney-Huntsville Road â&#x20AC;˘ Hanover Park is just a little way after your turn, on the left. Michael Helton

Michaelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wines. They absolutely shone. In fact, after tasting Hanover Parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wines, one of the wine servers rushed to the kitchen in search of an atlas while muttering, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Where is this North Carolina?â&#x20AC;? Taste these wines in Yadkinville or wait until the next time theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re featured in Paris. Either way,73NOVPDF0itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s well worth the trip. LNC

â&#x20AC;˘ The winery is open from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit www.hanoverparkwines.com or call 336-463-2875.

Trevor Burton of Mooresville, a retired technology marketing consultant, now occupies himself in the field of wine and its enjoyment. Certified by the International Sommelier Guild, he is founder of SST Wine Experiences and, along with his wife, Mary Ellen, conducts wine education and tasting tours to wine regions throughout the world.

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Home Port |

photo by Trent Pitts

Photo by Trent Pitts.

by Mike Savicki

W

hen it comes to selecting and collecting wine, the possibilities are almost endless. From quality and quantity to varietal and price point, wine is quite personal.

Tasteful storage Photo by Trent Pitts.

While a 10,000 bottle custom cellar stocked with magnums of ultracollectible Burgundy may appeal to some, and a 200 bottle, climate con 51

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Starting a wine collection and building a wine cellar at home is easier than you might think

11/6/08 4:03:58 PM


Home Port |

trolled closet full of Cabernet may appeal to others, a 100 bottle collection of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or champagne may be just right for you. No matter your preferences, budget or tasting experience, wine collecting is a rewarding venture. And storing wine in the home can be equally rewarding, no matter the amount of available space or your experience as a collector.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Adding storage to your home Whether your goal is to add a kitchen unit, convert a closet or build a private room dedicated to wine display and storage, there are several factors to keep in mind. Wine should lie flat in a cool, dark place with low humidity and rest at a steady temperature. Fifty-five degrees and 70 percent humidity are optimal storage numbers. And under no circumstances should wine be exposed to vibration and movement. Keeping these factors in mind, a home wine cellar becomes a matter of personal choice and budget. Trevor Burton, a local collector certified by the International Sommelier Guild and wine tour operator, says form should follow function when it comes to storage. “The purpose of a wine cellar is twofold. It is first and foremost a place to store and age your collection. It should also relieve you of the necessity of heading to the store when you want a bottle.” Burton recommends three levels of wine storage for a home collection. He explains, “Wine hates fluctuations in temperature, so if you have a place in the home that is dark and stays fairly constant, you might consider storing your collection there on wooden or metal racks to begin. A better level would be to get a wine storage cooler such as a EuroCave that keeps the en-

Myths and Mispe Misperceptions Wine collecting is ffor the wealthy – While it is true that you can spend thousands of dollars on a single bottle, you also can bring home a good quality wine for less than $10 a bottle. Wine collecting is daunting and complex – While building a 1,000 bottle library of wine may not be on your radar, selecting and storing several dozen varieties is simple and readily achievable. Red wines are best at room temperature – Central heating has made it difficult to keep a red at the optimal 65 degrees. Chill your reds for 20 minutes before serving so flavors react and the wine oxidizes. All wines improve with time – Most wine is made for drinking within a year of purchase. Better wines will last a bit longer, and only certain ultracollectables will last for years in a cellar. A different glass is necessary for every wine – It once was believed that the shape of a glass perfectly delivers the taste of a wine to the correct part of the palate. This is not entirely true, so pick a glass you like and enjoy.

vironment consistent. And the next big step up is to build a wine cellar. As long as you keep in mind that your space must be kept at a consistent temperature with a lack of light and vibration, you are on the right track with an investment less than $100.” Building a wine cellar or converting an unused space is not a daunting task. Construction basics include installing a wood or tiled floor resistant to dampness, ensuring proper framing and insulation, adding an exteriorgrade and insulated door to the design, selecting a cooling unit sized for the desired space, choosing wine racks that keep the bottles flat and the corks moist, and wiring in a surge protector to safeguard your investment. Collector’s essentials If your desire to collect and enjoy wine advances to more than the basic corkscrew, carafe and spare cork, there are a few essentials to keep in mind. Julie Niles, wine manager of Total Wine in Huntersville, suggests you start with the wine glass. “Usually I suggest starting out with a solid and comfortable glass with the desired shape for red, white or champagne. Crystal is typical better because it allows you a more pure and clean taste; however it isn’t essential for beginners. Riedel glasses are considered among the very best, and they offer a complete line that fits almost every need.” When opening a full-bodied bottle of red, Niles recommends serving from a decanter instead of the bottle. “If you open a full-bodied red and let it sit, it won’t open up as fast as it will in a decanter. Certain reds need to breathe, and a decanter is the best way to introduce oxygen at a faster rate,” she says. Niles also recommends investing in a quality corkscrew to ensure the tasting experience begins without a hitch. “Bad things can happen to some corks, and a

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Home Port |

Wine’s real pleasure comes from exploration and discovery.

good corkscrew eliminates potential error,” she says. And now for the wine The perfect wine collection includes bottles meant for conversation and display and those meant for consumption. In fact, many collectors classify their wines according to occasion. Everyday wines are food friendly and versatile; they typically are the least expensive and most widely available. Weekend wines come with a higher price tag and are made from some of the higher-quality domestic and international grapes. Special occasion wines are often sold at the highest price point and come from the most respected winemakers in the

most proven regions of the world. “Another way to look at classifying wine is to simply start with two or three bottles of

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wine that you have on hand to share with friends and family on weekends or a special occasion,” Burton says. “It might take some taste comparisons to find the ones that suit you best but when you do, those become your special wines. Then I’d find what I call the Tuesday night wines that you shouldn’t be afraid to open whenever you feel the need.” “It takes time to get refined in your knowledge of wine, but that is part of the fun,” Burton says. “Learn how to taste your favorites and, before you know it, you’ll be able to distinguish between a good Cabernet, pinot and merlot. You’ll know which one you like best, when you want to serve it and exactly how it has been stored.” LNC

11/6/08 5:06:26 PM


Strong Currents |

by Lee McCracken | photos by Trent Pitts

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

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Strong Currents |

T

hey wear white coats but don’t keep office hours (or even have offices), and their patients usually are confined to a hospital bed. A new breed of doctors, called hospitalists, is caring for adults in the Lake Norman area. These doctors are employed by area hospitals such as Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. They have come straight from a residency program or have given up their private practices. Hospitalists coordinate care for patients from the time of admission until it is time to go home. “A hospitalist’s office is the hospital,” says Dr. James Benson of LNRMC. “We provide on-the-spot care, devoting all of our attention to looking after the patients in the hospital.” A resident of Troutman, Benson has three grown children and moved from New Hampshire to the Lake Norman area in 2000. He made the transition from a traditional office practice in 2002, when he joined Catawba Valley Medical Center as a hospitalist. Benson joined the staff at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in December 2004. “We offer 24-hour coverage,” he says. “People who show up in the middle of the night get seen by their admitting doctor when they come in.”

Timely care The term hospitalist first appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996. Since then, hospital medicine, like emergency medicine, has grown to become a specialty. More than 80 percent of hospitalists are board-certified internal medicine specialists, and their numbers are exploding across the country. The number of physicians specializing in hospital medicine has increased from a few hundred in the mid 1990s to more than 8,000 in 2003, aaccording to the Society of Hospital Medicine. Currently, there are more than 20,000 hospitalists nationwide, and by 2010, about 30,000 hospitalists are expected to be practicing in North America. Round-the-clock care The hospitalist program at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center began in September 2004. Patients suffering from pneumonia, infection, congestive heart failure and gastrointestinal problems, as well as those who’ve had a heart attack or stroke, are cared for by several full-time, permanent hospital-

No office? No Problem Dr. James Benson

Doctors’ sole concern is hospital patients

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Lake Norman Regional Medical Center hospitalists include, clockwise from upper left, Dr. Mahdi Ajjan, Dr. Michelle Ong, Dr. Stephen Giordano and Dr. Jorge Paulino.

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Strong Currents |

ists who work 12-hour shifts, generally from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “Some patients do have previous experience with a hospitalist, but many times we have to explain to patients that we are internists and are acting as their primary-care physician while they are in the hospital,” says Dr. Mahdi Ajjan, who came to Lake Norman in February 2007. A native of Syria, Ajjan lives in Huntersville; his wife is a graduate student at UNC

Charlotte. He earned his medical degree from the University of Tichreen in Lattakin, Syria, and completed his residency at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where he also worked as a hospitalist and faculty member. In addition to Benson and Ajjan, Dr. Stephen Giordano came to Lake Norman Regional Medical Center directly from an internal medicine residency program at St. John West Shore Hospital in Westlake, Ohio. Dr. Michelle Ong previously was an internist in

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Dr. Stephen Giordano checks on a patient.

private practice in Mooresville. In addition, Dr. Jorge Paulina recently joined the staff. Because they are already at the hospital, hospitalists can respond more quickly when a patient needs care or a family member has a question or concern. And because they are near the bedside, they also can recognize and react quickly to any changes in a patient’s condition. Before hospitalists came on the scene, a patient’s primary-care physician or internist who had hospital privileges would admit him or her to the hospital and then visit during hospital rounds before and/or after normal office hours. “Nurses generally appreciate the fact that the hospitalists are in the house and more reachable than the office doctor,” Stephanie James, a registered nurse who works on the medical-surgical floor at Lake Normal Regional Medical Center, says. “If a patient has an urgent need, we are able to respond faster than the office doctor.” “There is always a hospitalist in house,” she says. “It’s faster than having the operator page a beeper and wait on the doctor to come over (to the hospital) from his or her office.” She adds, “Hospitalists are not confined to an office, trying to squeeze in patient rounds before or after office hours or during lunch. This also allows more time per pa-

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“Besides timely, more efficient care, I think another reason for shorter stays is more coordinated care,” Benson says. “We’re able to keep all the patient’s therapy and treatment coordinated, as well as be available for family meetings, work with case managers and expedite discharge plans. “When patients go home, we always send reports to their primary-care physician about their hospital care.” LNC

Strong Currents |

– the equivalent of about a half-day off an average four-day visit. The study, the largest of its kind regarding hospitalists, also found that patients cared for by hospitalists had slightly lower costs per stay than those treated by a general internist or family physician. (Healthwise, however, patient outcomes were similar, regardless of whether they were treated by a hospitalist, internist or family physician.)

tient, now that more hospitalists have joined our facility.”

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Bedside manner, communication count Ajjan says hospitalists are physicians who are “comfortable in the hospital setting and able to handle stressful situations.” Besides often having to make quick decisions when problems arise, hospitalists are caring for and communicating with people who are under stress – they aren’t feeling well, and they are in the hospital. A good bedside manner is important because hospitalists are always talking with and answering the many questions thrown at them by family members. “We must be sensitive to patients’ needs and good at communication, not only with patients and family but also the other hospital staff,” Ajjan says. Communicating with patients’ primary-care or referring physicians also is an important part of the job. Hospitalists follow standards of care, focus on prevention of complications and remain attentive to length of stay. Ajjan points to studies that have shown that “patients who are cared for by hospitalists have shorter stays and fewer complications.” A study published in the Dec. 20, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine concluded that hospitalists trimmed 12 percent from the average hospital patient stay

11/6/08 4:04:23 PM


Let’s Go | by Jeremy Jarrell

Spruce Pine’s revival Lake Norman Currents December 2008

W

e all know its true – it’s better to give than to receive during the holiday season. It’s part of what puts an extra spring in our steps when the weather gets colder and a brighter twinkle in our eyes when we gaze upon festive holiday lights. But maybe no place truly represents the spirit of the holidays

Book gives town Christmas identity, new hope

like Spruce Pine, now known as “The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree.” Tucked away in the hills of Mitchell County, Spruce Pine is a small town where not too long ago furniture manufacturing and the textile industry supported the local economy and provided good jobs to good people. But times

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Let’s Go |

photos courtesy of Mary Vogel

Left: The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Store sells works by local artists. Above: Sales of hand-crafted items based on the book are helping revive the economy of Spruce Pine. Below: The store is in a renovated retail building. Bottom: Marquitta Holtsclaw’s plates depict artwork from the book.

changed, and as companies moved their operating to areas with lower wages and operating costs, Spruce Pine’s buildings began to empty and those steady, well-paying jobs disappeared. Things looked bleak, but with an act of generosity from just one of Spruce Pine’s many creative forces, the town is now a beacon of hope and an example of what it really means to give.

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Gift like no other In 2003 Dr. Gloria Houston, a hometown girl and popular children’s book author, returned to Spruce Pine to serve as the grand marshal for the town’s Christmas parade. The annual parade borrowed its theme from her popular 1988 book, “The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree,” which is set in the fictional Pine Grove in 1918. The seasonal classic tells of little Ruthie and her mother’s efforts to carry out the town’s tradition and the honor of providing a Christmas tree to the town’s church by her family while her father is away serving in World War I. Seeing the signs of Spruce Pine’s economic

decline, Houston suggested Spruce Pine become “The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree” as a way to boost morale and provide her hometown a new identity. Town officials jumped at the opportunity, and Houston contributed not only the idea, but also rights to her book. The gift and the resulting Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Project are now revitalizing Spruce Pine by tapping into residents’ craft talents. Now local craftspeople, many of whom lost their jobs when manufacturing industries left, are contributing to the project and helping to attract new business and tourism money to Spruce Pine. “Many of the displaced workers were very skilled and talented, but did not have the experience of starting their own businesses,” says Patti Jensen, who has worked with the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce on the project since it began. “We encouraged them to use their skills to create handcrafted products that could be marketed and sold as Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree products. The proj-

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Let’s Go |

ect helps the participants with marketing assistance, small business skills and support by partnering with (Spruce Pine’s) Mayland Community College.” And just as little Ruthie was successful in bringing the perfect Christmas tree to Pine Grove’s church, Houston’s inspiration for Spruce Pine’s project is proving to be the perfect gift for Spruce Pine. Crafting inspiration With the progress of the project came signs of revitalization in Spruce Pine. In 2005, the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Store opened in a renovated retail building, offering handcrafted products inspired by Barbara Cooney’s illustrations in Houston’s book, and other wares derived from the tale. The project has helped “transition the area from a manufacturing economy to a placebased economy where we are building businesses and a way of life based on the heritage and the crafts of the area,” Jensen says. Ornaments created through the project

were featured in the White House in 2006, and word of the craftsmanship associated with the project continues to incite interest from other retailers, providing a brighter future for Spruce Pine. Marquitta Holtsclaw is one of the artists who have joined the project. Her decoupage plates depicting artwork in the book are available downtown. Serving as a place to showcase and sell book-inspired products, the store also holds artist demonstrations. “It’s something to be proud of,” Holtsclaw says. “The products there represent quality, and it represents a sense of our area, Western North Carolina, and our roots. I think the other product makers feel the same way, and we have some really fine artists that contribute to the project. Spruce Pine is really developing a great arts community, and the project is part of that.” Decembers to remember Spruce Pine is now very much alive and thriving during the holiday season. With the excitement generated by the town’s new proj-

ect and hopes renewed, families and visitors make special trips to The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree to find just the right tree for their own home. “Spruce Pine provides a place for visitors to enjoy a slower pace and special time amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays,” Jensen says. “The holidays in Spruce Pine bring families together over a marshmallow roast, a snowy hike and a chance to take a photo in front of the perfect tree your little ones just discovered at the Christmas tree farm. There’s time to explore the beautiful mountain scenery on your way to an artist studio and to find that once you reach your destination they have homemade goodies waiting for you.” LNC CAPTURE THE SPIRIT To find your own perfect Christmas tree, and to give and to receive an extra dose of holiday sprit, check out the many events held in December at Spruce Pine by visiting the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce website at www.mitchellcounty.com or calling 828-765-9033.

Come Help Us Celebrate Our First Christmas! Join the Lake Norman CURRENTS crew as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Christmas in Davidson and our first Christmas with you! Stroll down Main Street, smell the scent of fresh cider, hot cocoa and Christmas cookies. Enjoy the romance of a horse-drawn carriage ride, or take the whole family on an old-fashion hayride. Meet Mr. and Ms. Santa Claus, enjoy a variety of holiday music, and be sure to stop by the CURRENTS display and register to win one of five copies of “The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree,” the book that launched the revival of a small NC town called Spruce Pine. We can’t wait to say hi! And though we’re really old friends, its time to get reacquainted. See you there! Lake Norman Currents December 2008

December 4-6, 6-9 p.m., Downtown Davidson

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Home Port | Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Jan Enright uses all natural materials to create a woodsy feel in a luxurious master bath.

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Home Port |

F

ireplaces and winter holidays go hand in hand. Fireplaces warm the home, relax the soul and add a special sense of warmth to the season. The holidays bring families together and rekindle love and nostalgia despite the chill in the air. To brighten the home and enhance the holiday season, decorate your fireplace in a style that matches your spirit, tradition or sense of adventure.

Decorate your fireplace for romance, nostalgia, fun

there was always a fire going to keep us warm. We would eat our dinner and then tell stories around the fireplace until we fell asleep.” As a green designer, Pippin interacts with a variety of clients who typically feel that including at least one fireplace in their home is a way to customize and make a personal statement. Pippin says, “Clients typically tell me if they want a fireplace in the home and where they would like it to be. I usually don’t have to ask. In the most traditional cases, one generally goes in the main family area, with the master suite second and outside on the porch third.”

Tracie Johnson-Sawyers uses a simple design for a fireplace on a covered porch.

Special attention at the holidays While the Christmas tree may be the sym63

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Unique place in the home Jennifer Pippin, home designer and owner of Pippin Home Design in Sherrills Ford, believes fireplaces are one of the most personal items in a home at the holidays. “Even if people don’t use them all the time, they like the idea of fireplaces at the holidays. They conjure up the ideas of romance and togetherness, and they promote coziness,” she says. “Fireplaces can be one of the main things that make people feel good in their own home, especially in this difficult economy.” Pippin has childhood memories of holidays around the fireplace. She says, “I didn’t have a fireplace growing up, but my grandmother did, so we would have family gatherings around the fireplace at her house. On the big holidays,

by Mike Savicki | photos by Wes Stearns

Drawn to the flame

11/6/08 4:04:33 PM


Home Port |

look like snow and allow it to contrast to the warmth and comfort of the fire in the firebox. If you add a background of cedar and pine to your design, you will get a softer and more tranquil feel that works in the master suite.” Hip holiday designs Decorating a fireplace in a contemporary home offers its own opportunities for creativity, originality and fun. Linda Thunberg, prin-

Above: Oversize decorations and other funky pieces help set off a modern stainless steel fireplace in a great room. Below: Cindy Shugart gives a fireplace in a master bedroom a cozy, holiday feel.

Linda Thunberg opts for a nautical theme for the tree and fireplace at her own home.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

bol of the holidays for many, the fireplace is widely regarded as the focal point of the room. If the tree and the fireplace are in the same room, it is hard to decorate one without paying attention to the other. Decorating a fireplace can enhance the mood and feel of the holiday season, no matter where it may be located. Interior designer Cindy Shugart, owner of Cindy Shugart Interiors in Newton, offers, “The fireplace gives off warmth and sets the holiday tone. Typically the tree and the fireplace are the two focal points that dictate what

your other decorations will be. They are signs of your hospitality and mood. Whether it has a mantel to hang stockings or display keepsakes or not, you can’t overlook the fireplace, even if your focus is on your tree.” Shugart says that decorating a master bedroom fireplace during the winter promotes more than a mood of Christmas togetherness. “A seasonally decorated fireplace in a bedroom makes you think of the winter season in addition to the holidays,” she says. “I like to add glitz and glitter to a holiday wreath to make it

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color adds to the feel. Oversized ornaments introduce a sense of whimsy. And if you want a theme or want to change it up a bit year to year, that’s fine, too. Pick your favorite pieces, work around them, and don’t be afraid to leave some decorations in the box from year to year.” Natural and simple Jan Enright, owner of Creations by Jan Enright in Mooresville, is a garden and landscape designer who also enjoys using natural, earthy materials to decorate spaces such as fireplaces. She believes that holiday decorations should include natural elements. “The cool thing about decorating a room or setting for the holidays is that you can change colors and decorate to match existing color patterns by using things from your yard and garden,” she says.

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cipal of Full Circle Interior Design in Denver, says, “To decorate the contemporary fireplace, I use very funky pieces like oversized ornaments hung from the ceiling on invisible fishing line and bring in a color through a color wheel against a white Christmas tree or with bright bulbs to give it a really funky look.” She adds, “A design like this works well in either a contemporary home or in a setting where you are looking for color contrast against white walls or a plain space. I think contemporary appeals to a fun family or a couple of any age that is looking to change away from the more traditional look.” No matter how you choose to decorate, Thunberg recommends keeping color, texture, scale and feel in mind. She explains, “Even if you like the traditional white lights at the holidays, mixing in

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Home Port | Cindy Shugart uses candles and a holiday village to help adorn a rustic fireplace in an original lake cabin.

“If the traditional red and green holiday pattern do not work in a room that features a different or contrasting color scheme, there are complimentary colors in nature that bring it

all together. Take a look at what’s growing in your yard, and don’t be afraid to prune at the holidays. You can be natural, earthy and organic with colors like oranges and brown and

still promote the holiday feel.” Designer Tracie Johnson-Sawyers of PTI Designs in Denver adds class and elegance to her outdoor fireplace designs by staying simple. “I take things you would typically find around the house and try to keep it simple and natural,” she says. “While I tend to be very showy in my designs, I also think there are occasions when you can be traditional and use everyday items without spending a lot of money. Outdoor fireplaces are transitional spaces that can use combine indoor items like lanterns and candles with outdoor greenery, berries and pine cones.” As the winter season brings a chill to the air and the focus turns to the warmth of the fireplace, let your sense of holiday design extend to the mantel and firebox, no matter where your fireplace might be located. Pippin concludes, “Your fireplace is a conversation piece, no matter how your home is designed. If you include it in your holidays, you will enhance the mood and add a new dimension to the holidays in your home.” LNC

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O

by Rosie Molinary | photos by Eloise Morano

utdoor living in the Lake Norman area once seemed possible only in the warming of spring and the cooling of fall, but today’s hot trend of outdoor fireplaces and fire pits is dramatically changing the feel and face of back yards, allowing families to go al fresco with their dining and entertaining well into the winter.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005 alone, Americans spent $50 billion renovating and remodeling their outdoor spaces. Today many outdoor living spaces are deliberately designed to extend the use of the back yard well into the winter while adding family and fiscal values to any home. “We built this house from scratch, and we always thought we would add a screen porch one day,” says Louisa Dow of Mooresville. “Once we got into the house, I really felt like what was missing was a room

The Dows added a screened porch onto the back of their house, and built a two-way stone hearth that also opens to the outdoor patio.

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

where there was just peace. I wanted a place where people could be outside, even in the winter.” First Dow considered the practical matters. What did her family most want and need? Because their original deck didn’t protect them from mosquitoes, she envisioned a screened porch that was big enough

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to fit her family of five comfortably around a table for meals. A fireplace would extend the use of the space into the winter. A grill and compact kitchen prep area would allow most meals to be cooked – and cleaned up after – outside. A paved area would allow for additional outdoor seating, and a hot tub seemed like a nice touch. With ideas in mind and magazine clips in hand, Dow met with Susan Leonard and John Kiker

Above: The fireplace opens to both the screened porch and the back yard for year-round use. Below: The patio includes an outdoor kitchen under a pergola and a secluded nook for a hot tub.

Lisa Dow, at head of table, enjoys her outdoor area with Susan Leonard of Troutman Pools and neighbors Wendy Portelance, Leslie Simmons, Dawn Jeffer and Stacey Koster.

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of Troutman Pool & Leisure, whose niche market is creating backyard oasises. “What we do is consolidate the backyard space into a living area,” Kiker says. “A lot of these homes have a basement with a walkout. People have been there for a few years and are just realizing that they haven’t been able to use that outdoor space.”

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Functional space The Dows had been in their home two years when they began to work on their back yard. By then, Dow had made a keen observation about their lot. “There’s no point in having a big yard if you aren’t using it,” she says. “I wanted it very functional but not excessive,” Dow says. “The double fireplace heats both the screened porch and the patio. Sue suggested a wood fireplace with a gas igniter because the thought of starting a fire can sometimes turn you off from doing it. They listened to what we wanted, and the price was right.” Collaborating with the clients is an important hallmark to Leonard’s and Kiker’s work. Families sometimes put $20,000 to $200,000 into transforming their back yards, and Leonard and Kiker want them to get the experience they envisioned from the investment. They also operate on the philosophy that no two back yards are alike, and no two families’ needs are the same.

Meeting customers’ needs “We like to get a lot of input from the customer,” Kiker says. “They know what they like and what they want, and we want to incorporate it into their space and budget.” For the Dows, a five-month build stretched through the late winter and early spring of 2007. The family celebrated their new space on Memorial Day. Today, Dow’s children do their homework on the porch, and meals often take place outside. The hot tub is a popular option as the nights cool down, and the porch is the ideal place to watch football games on winter weekends. The space also has made them a more spontaneous family. When the kids wrap up a football or basketball game, Dow often extends an impromptu invitation to the families of teammates for a snack or meal out back. Having a designated space she knows both children and adults will enjoy and that is well suited for entertaining at any minute has taken them outside more than ever, even deep into the winter months and late into the winter nights. “It’s nice to be able to sit outside and have quality family time whether or not you have peo-

ple over or not. It is the go-to place,” Dow says. “Everybody loves the back yard now, and before everyone had a complaint about it, me included. It just wasn’t very appealing. Now, it’s a nice quiet place. It has really added to the quality of the house and enjoying the yard.” LNC

Your Space Thinking about creating your own backyard oasis? Dow offers these suggestions: · Prioritize what you want to get out of it. · Trust your intuition when you interview contractors, and check references. You can tell a lot about a person from your feeling about him or her. · Make sure the project is big enough. If you are going to do it and have people out there, it probably won’t be much more money to make it good, livable space. · Include the landscaping in your budget. It can make it a lot better if you soften the look around the space. You can learn more about Troutman Pool & Leisure by visiting www.troutmanpool.com.

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photo by Carol-Faye Ashcraft

by Carol-Faye Ashcraft

Pulse of the real estate market Buyers have advantage now, but turnaround seen for sellers

H

“Today it’s difficult to ignore the news media in their daily dose of bad news about the housing market,” says Julie Jones of the Julie Jones Team in Davidson. Indeed, the news hasn’t been hopeful, at least for sellers, in the past few months. In September, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association reported that 86 homes sold in the Lake Norman area in August, with an average selling price of $479,547, down from 91 sold 73

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ere’s the reality of the real estate market in the Lake Norman area: Shoppers, you couldn’t find a better buyer’s market. Now is the time to commit. Sellers, hang in there. It’s predicted to improve after the first of the year. So say some top real estate agents and brokers in the area.

11/7/08 11:10:49 AM


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in July at an average price of $484,620. That was a drop of about 5.5 percent in the number of homes sold and a decrease of a slight 1 percent in price. Compare that with the overall Charlotte Julie Jones market, however, and the picture doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look so gloomy. The number of closings dropped 34.5 percent overall, and the average selling price slid 4.5 percent. The lake effect â&#x20AC;&#x153;Lake Norman off-waterfront and water homes have seen a reduction in the months of inventory weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re carrying,â&#x20AC;? Jones says, down four and seven months, respectively. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Davidson seems to be holding up the best.â&#x20AC;? Sales in Davidson were up 3 percent for the third quarter (July through September), rising from 38 in 2007 to 39 in 2008. Other areas werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t faring quite as well, with sales down

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because there is only so much of this lake to go around, demand will always be a factor in this region.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Abigail Jennings across the board. Abigail Jennings, president of Lake Norman Realty, says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The state of the Lake Norman real estate market is remarkably strong, considering the current economic climate. Although sales are down here, as they are nationwide, fortunately we have not experienced the actual statistical depreciation seen in so many other markets.â&#x20AC;? She adds: â&#x20AC;&#x153;In other words, people are generally still selling their homes for more than they paid for them, but no longer realizing the stellar short-term returns of several years ago.â&#x20AC;? Ideal for buyers Bob Hecht of Century 21 Hecht Realty says that, for now, buyers control the market. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been in the real estate business in the area for 37 years and have never seen a better buyerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s market.â&#x20AC;? He adds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Interest rates are low, prices are not inflated and are dropping with many sell-

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ers, there is a large inventory to choose from, and banks will give you a loan if you have some funds and good credit.â&#x20AC;? The brokers note that this also is a great time to buy inAbigail Jennings vestment property. Buyers who also arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t trying to sell a house are the most fortunate. Hecht advises them to get a good real estate agent, get qualified for a loan, then find three to five houses they want and draw up offers. Start with the most desirable, then, if necessary, work your way down. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make a ridiculous offer,â&#x20AC;? Hecht advises, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but make something that you think is a great price on the house. You as the buyer are in the driverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seat.â&#x20AC;?

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Strategies for sellers Hecht says sellers must set a realistic, competitive price for their houses. “As a seller, you may have to accept an offer for less than your house is really worth,” Hecht says. “But once you

have it under contract to a qualified buyer, then you are free to go out with your agent and become a buyer. Sure you may have just sold your house for less than the market, but you now are one of those coveted buyers, and you can be the one who finds three to five houses, makes five offers and sees what happens.” Jones takes a similar positive stance. “As you can see, the hit you may take on selling your home should be a wash with the great deal you get on your purchase.” And when interest rates inch up, shoppers may be more inclined to buy. “That usually gets our buyers off the fence,” Jones says. Jennings adds that the Lake Norman area has its own advantages for sellers. “Because there is only so much of this lake to go around, demand will always be a factor in this region. At the moment, we have many prospective buyers who are anxious to move to Lake Norman but are being held back by difficulty selling their homes in other parts of the country.” Looking to the future Jones sees a brightening on the horizon. “I

really look for some small increases in activity after the election and then again after the first of the year,” she says. Hecht takes a longer-term view of the market. “I see much of the same through the winter and honestly feel like we will see some movement by next spring,” he says. “I feel our recovery will be over a longer period than in the past, with a lot of that time attributed to the high inventory of unsold homes.” Sellers must be aggressive if they are to be competitive. “The key to selling in this market is to make sure your home stands out,” Jennings says. “It is essential that a home be staged properly, featuring de-cluttered elegance inside and maximum curb appeal out.” Hecht also recommends getting a home inspection and fixing any problems, and offering a home warranty. “Your house must be ready for showings at all times,” Hecht adds. “These showing are normally planned in advance, but your buyer may be driving by with his/her agent and your house just jumps out. Be ready.” LNC

Home Port |

Those who also must sell a home so they can buy are riding both sides of the market at this point. “Lake Norman residents considering putting a Bob Hecht home on the market should be prepared for a lot of competition right now due to the large inventory of homes for sale in all price ranges,” Jennings cautions. “The good news is that houses are still selling, but the average amount of time a given house stays on the market has increased.” Days on the market in the Charlotte area have gone from an average of 130.7 days in 2007 to 136.1 this year.

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Gorgeous, brick ranch in The Peninsula! Open flrpln, lots of windows, new carpet & paint throughout. Gourmet kitchen w/new Thermador & Fisher/Paykel appliances, granite, glazed cabinets & exquisite bksplsh. Mstr suite w/stunning bath opens to enclosed sunroom. Step outside to your heated saltwater pool & spa, fenced yard & lush landscaping.Bonus room w/full bath above garage. Immaculate condition! MLS 805224 $829,900.

Ed Fo res t

Location, location! Perfectly maintained home with brand new tile in kitchen and baths. All new hardwoods throughout main floor and new granite in kitchen. Open floor plan, fenced back yard, cul-de-sac lot, side load garage. Walking distance to Birkdale Village thru walking bridge. Walk to bus terminal. Home warranty included. MLS 809407 $289,000.

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Tri-level townhome located in beautifully manicured neighborhood, including pool/clubhouse, walking trails, pond & tree-lined streets! Entry level foyer & attached garage. Main level is open w/bright kit, bar seating, formal DR,LR w/gas FP & deck overlooking pond. Top level has laundry, 2nd & 3rd BRs, master suite w/garen tub, dual sinks & tile. 2’ blinds, nickel hdwr & neutral decor throughout. MLS 811038 $184,999.

2007

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November

Photo by Bill Russ

23 Cotton Ketchie’s Landmark Galleries

December Fresh Fraser fir Christmas wreaths from the North Carolina mountains will be available from the Friends of the Sherrills Ford Library during December. They will be cut after the first frost to ensure freshness. Profits will be used for library programming and to help with additions to the new library. Each wreath is adorned with a red bow. Prices: 24-inch, $20; 28inch, $25; 32-inch, $30. Orders are being taken now. For more information or to order, call the library at 828-478-2729.

will hold its annual Christmas open house from 1 to 5 p.m. at 212 N. Main St. in downtown Mooresville. Music will be provided by local musician Richard Woods, there will be refreshments, and drawings for free gifts will be held throughout the afternoon. Ketchie’s 2008 Christmas cards, featuring the artist and author’s “Christmas as the Lake,” will be available. The event is free to the public.

24 Enjoy a choral concert by several Davidson College ensembles and

Through Dec. 31

at Historic Latta Plantation in Huntersville and celebrate Christmas in the 1800s as you tour the plantation house, kitchen and slave cabin. Regular admission applies ($6 for adults, $5 for ages 62 and older and students and free for ages 5 and under.) For more information, visit www.lattaplantation.org or call 704-875-2312.

29 Fly into fall with the Fall Family Through Feb. 21 Experience Gaston County’s early history through “Standing on a Box,” an exhibit of photographs taken by Lewis Hine of textile industry child laborers in 1908. Hine was a staff photographer of the National Child Labor Committee. Between November 1908 and February 1909, Hine photographed children in and around 19 cotton mills in North Carolina and South Carolina as part of efforts to document child labor in regional textile mills. Many of those photographs were made in Gaston County. The images of young textile workers were displayed around the country to bring attention to the issue of child labor. Those poignant photographs have been credited as being instrumental to the success of the child labor reform movement. The free exhibit is at the Gaston County Museum of Art & History, 131W. Main St., Dallas. Fore more information, visit www.gastoncountymuseum.org or call 704-922-7681

Festival at the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville.

There will be live raptor presentations, arts and crafts, games, photos taken with a raptor, and a chance to see one of the birds of prey fly. Food will be available for purchase from Armin’s Catering. The festival runs from noon to 4 p.m. Activities are free with regular admission. Photo with a raptor is an additional charge. The center is at 6000 Sample Road. For more information,

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Explore a variety of art mediums as Christa Faut Gallery presents “Metamorphosis: from Jewelry to Sculpture.” The gallery is at 19818 N. Cove Road (Jetton Village) in Cornelius. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, or by appointment. For more information, call 704-892-5312 or visit www.christafautgallery.com.

Young musicians will perform during a Western Piedmont Youth Symphony concert at 7 p.m. at the Arts & Science Center of the Catawba Valley in Hickory. Tickets are $5. For more information, visit wpsymphony.org.

28-29 Step back into the 19th century

Through Dec. 10 See 150 black and white images of women in India as part of the “Beloved Daughters: photographs by Fazal Shiekh” exhibit at Davidson College. Photos explore the lives of dispossessed widows who travel to the holy city of Vrindavan with the ultimate goal of reaching “moksha,” or heaven and also the perils faced by girls and young women in the changing conditions of modern India. The exhibit in Belk Visual Arts Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and noon to 4 p.m. weekends. There is no admission charge. Call 704-894-2519 for details.

solo vocalists Jacquelyn Culpepper, soprano; Leslie Jones, contralto; James Allbritten, tenor, and Anthony Deaton, baritone. General admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for ages 18 and under, and free at the door for college students with IDs. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Duke Family Performance Hall. Call 704-894-2848 for more information.

Current Events |

Calendar

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the children, will be served at 9 a.m. Music will be provided by the Lake Norman High School choir, and there will be crafts and games for children. The cost is $18 per family for Y members and $25 for others, which includes a free 5-by-7 photo with Santa. The event runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. For details or to register, call 704-716-4000.

Current Events |

visit www.carolinaraptorcenter.org or call 704-875-6521.

29 Birkdale Village in Huntersville kicks off the holiday season with a parade, music, games and the official lighting of the 34-foot tree, plus the arrival of Santa. Photos with Santa will be available daily until Christmas, and there will be snowfall daily from 6 to 9 p.m.

Share breakfast with Santa to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Breakfast will be at Red Rocks Café. For more information, contact Birkdale Village at 704-895-8744, or visit www.birkdalevillage.net/events.htm.

December 1-2 Lenoir-Rhyne University will present sacred music concerts at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Hickory. For more information, visit www.lr.edu or call 828-328-7147.

1, 8, 9 The North Mecklenburg

museum by visitors. If objects are too large, take photographs. No appointment is needed for this free program. There is a limit of three items per person, and there will be no monetary appraisals. The program runs from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The museum is at 131 W. Main St., Dallas. Fore more information, visit www.gastoncountymuseum.org or call 704-922-7681

Community Chorus brings its annual free Christmas concert to the lake area. Dec. 1, Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Cornelius at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 8 at Huntersville Presbyterian Church, 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 9 at Davidson College Presbyterian Church, 7:30 p.m.

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What are those things from your attic? Stop by the Gaston County Museum during the monthly Coffee with the Curator and find out. A curator will identify objects and provide preservation assistance on pieces taken to the

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Have breakfast with Santa and enjoy a fun family morning at the Lowe’s YMCA in Mooresville. A hot buffet breakfast, with a special breakfast for

Do your holiday shopping during the annual Denver Art Trail. See and buy original watercolor, oil, acrylic, fiber art, pottery, jewelry, wood, metal and clay sculpture and photography works by area artists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Locations are Fine Framing and Gallery, 120 N.C. 16 S., Food Lion Shopping Center at N.C. 16 and N.C. 73; 1732 Verdict Ridge Drive; Blue Heron Bed & Breakfast, 4339 Little Fork Cove Road; 8106 Blades Trail; 2832 Morris Lane; 8890 Graham Point Lane; Frameworks and Gallery, 1215 N.C. 16 N., across from the Captain’s Cap restaurant, and 8005 Bluewater Bay Lane. Brochures and maps are available at the two retail locations.

December 4-6 Sip hot chocolate, ride in a

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Photo by Bill Giduz

horse-drawn carriage, listen to strolling singers, hop aboard a hayride, visit the live Nativity scene or shop with vendors on the Village Green during the annual Christmas in Davidson celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown Davidson.

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After the parade, follow Santa to the Cornelius Holiday Celebration. Enjoy performances by members of the Cornelius Youth Orchestra, Cornelius Elementary Chorus and the Recorder Club, and the J.V. Washam Elementary Choir. Take a ride around town in a horse-drawn carriage or create crafts with the Children’s Arts Project. Santa will be on hand to hear children’s holiday wishes. The celebration will run from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave. For more information, contact the Cornelius PARC Department at 704-892-6031, ext. 160, or visit www.corneliuspr.org. Be ready to say “Ooohhh” as the Christmas tree is official lighted at 6:30 p.m. at the Sherrills Ford Library gazebo, 8456 Sherrills Ford Road in Sherrills Ford. Santa will make an appearance with goodies for all.

Catch the lights on the water during the annual Winter Festival and Lighted Boat Parade, which begin at 5 p.m. at Peninsula Yacht Club in Cornelius. The boat parade begins at 7 p.m. For more information: www.peninsulayacht.com.

December 13-14 Get ready for foottapping good fun when Kate Minogue and the Beggar Boys present three concerts of Christmas music from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, including old and new carols as well as dance tunes. The quartet will present their “Celtic Christmas” program at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 301 Caldwell Lane in Davidson. The group will be joined by Irish step dancers from Charlotte’s Rince na h’Eireann Academy of Irish Dance. A portion of the proceeds from this concert will benefit the Ada Jenkins Center. General admission is $15; $10 for students and ages 65 and older, and free for under age 10. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. For more information, call 704-941-0650. The group will be back at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 for the fourth presentation in the Mooresville Concerts series. They will perform at the Charles Mack Citizen Center in downtown Mooresville. Tickets can be purchased at the Mack Center or at the Mooresville Recreation Department office, or by calling 704-662-3334 or 704-663-7026.

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Several Davidson College musical ensembles will perform during the annual Christmas Vespers service of music and readings. There is no charge to attend the service, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Davidson College Presbyterian Church. Call 704-894-2848 for details. Meet NASCAR celebrities and help less-fortunate children during the annual Stocks for Tots event in downtown Mooresville. Donations provide gifts for children in need and also will go toward helping prevent child abuse. The evening includes show cars, entertainment, live auction and an opportunity to get autographs from NASCAR celebrities beginning at 7 p.m. The event is at the Charles Mack Citizen Center, 215 N. Main St., downtown Mooresville. Admission and wristband are $10 (cash) and a new, unwrapped toy valued at $10 or more. Wristbands will be available from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. the day of the event at the North Carolina Racing Hall of Fame on Knob Hill Road in the Lakeside Business Park in Mooresville, then at the entry points leading into the event after 4 p.m. The event runs from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Fore more information, visit www.stocksfortots.com or call the

North Carolina Racing Hall of Fame at 704-663-5331.

10 Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Arts Aloud presents Puddingstone in concert at the P.E. Monroe Auditorium on campus in Hickory at 7:30 p.m. Puddingstone performances mix ancient and modern instruments, melodies and cultures. For ticket information, go to www. lr.edu or call 828-328-7234.

12 Enjoy the town of Dallas Christmas Parade beginning at 4 p.m., then head into the Gaston County Museum for cookie decorating, crafts, live music and a visit with Santa, plus do some Christmas shopping in the gift shop until 7 p.m. The museum is at 131 W. Main St. in Dallas. Fore more information, visit www.gastoncountymuseum.org or call 704-922-7681

13 Huntersville’s downtown will be transformed into a magical winter wonderland during the Huntersville Christmas event. There will be pony rides, magic shows, entertainment, horse and carriage rides, a bonfire, storytelling, rides and games, children’s crafts and a visit from Santa. The free festivities run from 5 to 8 p.m.

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Lake Norman Currents December 2008

Celebrate an 1860s Christmas by candlelight at Historic Latta Plantation. Walk the plantation house, kitchen, cabin and grounds by candlelight as Christmas is celebrated as in days of old. The plantation will decorated for the season Admission is $6 per person, ages 5 and under free. For more information, visit www.lattaplantation.org or call 704-875-2312.

Current Events |

Grab a spot by 1 p.m. to watch the annual North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade from Beaty Street in Davidson down N.C. 115 to Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Cornelius. There will be fire trucks, floats, performers, local organizations and high school bands. The parade is sponsored by the Cornelius-Lemley Volunteer Fire Department and the Davidson Fire Department, and supported by the Cornelius and Davidson parks and recreation departments. For more information, contact the Cornelius PARC Department at 704-892-6031, ext. 160, or visit www.corneliuspr.org.

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One More Thing |

It’s gonna get

WILD(cats) Don’t miss a shot!

Lake Norman Currents December 2008

The Davidson College men’s basketball team is gearing up to make another run at the NCAA championship this year after narrowing missing the Final Four last year. Tenth-seeded Davidson advanced to the Elite Eight last March, but lost a heart-breaker 59-57 to the eventual champ, the University of Kansas. Davidson was the last team eliminated from the NCAA Tournament short of a trip to its ultimate weekend in

San Antonio, Texas, and the Wildcats were sent home by the slimmest margin – a single 3-point jumper that was inches off line. Stephen Curry, an all-American junior now playing point guard, will be back to help drive Davidson’s game. Curry is the nation’s top returning scorer. You can follow coach Bob McKillop and this year’s Wildcats action at home games at Belk Arena.

For ticket information, call 1-800-768-CATS (2287) or visit www.davidsonwildcats.com. The opening game against Winthrop is sold out. For the women’s basketball schedule and ticket information, visit www.davidsonwildcats.com.

Date

Opponent

Time

11/21/08

Winthrop

7 p.m.

12/13/08

Chattanooga

7 p.m.

1/3/09

Samford

2 p.m.

1/14/09

Elon

7 p.m.

1/21/09

Furman

7 p.m.

1/24/09

Wofford

7 p.m.

2/2/09

Western Carolina

7 p.m.

2/7/09

College. of Charleston

6 p.m.

2/18/09

The Citadel

7 p.m.

2/20-21/09

BracketBusters

TBA

2/25/09

UNC Greensboro

7 p.m.

2/28/09

Georgia Southern

2 p.m.

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T

! e l b a l i a v A Now ime for t n i t s u J istmas! Chr

96 Page Hard Cover Book $34.95 plus shipping & handling To pre-order or for ordering information Call, Email or Visit Our Website!

ѤѤѤ.LюјђNќџњюћRђѓљђѐѡіќћѠ.ѐќњ 704-308-7617 or Tќљљ Fџђђ: 1.877.љјћ.4ѦќѢ Nіѐќљђ@LюјђNќџњюћRђѓљђѐѡіќћѠ.ѐќњ

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ruly a celebration of this dynamic region, Lюјђ Nќџњюћ RђѓљђѐѡіќћѠ covers the many moods of the lake, its people, traditions and culture. The Gleasner’s launch this saga with “The Black Dog and the Red Barn”, their quest to find the source of Lake Norman. They explored Lake Norman State Park trails and traveled to the Catawba Indian Nation near Rock Hill to photograph master poĴers at work. Bill’s aerial photography presents a loĞy view of the lake and its nearby communities. Photos of birds, wildlife, festivals, holiday celebrations and local heritage highlight its pages. The book concludes with a heartfelt tribute to the beautify of the lake.

This is the second “Lake Norman” Book by the Gleasner’s. Lake Norman - Our Inland Sea has been in print since the late 80’s with over 25,000 copies.

Reflections L ю ј ђ Nќџњюћ

11/6/08 5:43:53 PM


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11/6/08 5:44:16 PM

Lake Norman Currents Premier Issue  

Lake Norman Currents 1208 Premier issue