• A Sunday Walk in the Park

    When the Intimidators are at bat, a dark-haried figure watches from the press box, which is directly behind home place, just up the stairs.

    Jeff Manto is the hitting coordinator for the Chicago White Sox. He is continuing his journeyman ways as he roves around among the teams in the White Sox organization, working with players, watching for stance, proper posture, and if they swing.

    “At this level, you swing at everything,” he said, in a soft Pennsylvania accent. “As you get higher, you can take your time.”

    He watched intently as the Intimidators took the bat, occasionally making notes in a leather-bound notepad.

    Next to Manto in the booth sat his son, Jeffrey, 10, who was learning how to keep score and stats. Jeffrey would ask about a play and Jeff would tell him how to record it.

    I said earlier that Manto is continuing his journeyman ways with the White Sox organization. He played pro baseball for 16 years, ending his career with the Colorado Rockies in 2000. He was on the road, playing for the Cleveland Indians, the New York Yankees and even a stint in Japan.

    He said he got tired of the road when he retired.

    “I knew then I would be better as a coach and a trainer,” he said.

    Read more about Jeff Manto’s career here.

    Series recap

    Easter weekend was a big start for the Intimidators.

    After a stormy Friday night, which forced the second game with the Asheville Tourists to be rescheduled, the I’s played a doubleheader Saturday night, and swept the Tourists, 3-2 and 4-1, respectively.

    This came after a pitcher’s battle on Opening Night Thursday, that forced 10 innings, which the Intimidators won after infielder Tyler Kuhn’s walk-off single brought in the runner, 1-0.

    Sunday afternoon—Easter Day—has brought the baseball fans out to the Cannon. A later afternoon game, but the die-hards are out in force, although not as exuberant as they were Thursday night, when pitcher Greg Infante was pulling a no-hitter for most of the game.

    But Sunday was a different story.

    The Intimidators made some costly errors in the fourth inning which the Tourists capitalized on, bringing in four runs and another in the fifth inning, and holding the I’s scoreless.

    Tourists win 5-0, but Kannapolis takes the series, three games to one.

    The Intimidators hit the road this week to play a four-game series against the Lexington Legends in Kentucky, then a three-game series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. They will play against at home Tuesday, April 21.

    – Post by Ben McNeely

  • Opening Day

    The Kannapolis Intimidators took the field Thursday night against the Asheville Tourists on Opening Day.

    And, as Intimidators fan Thelma Honeycutt said, it was a pitchers’ game—for 10 innings.

    Pitchers Greg Infante for Kannapolis and Robinson Fabian for Asheville dueled from the mound, keeping the score even at zero. Despite pop-flys, line drives and Justin Greene called out at third late in the game during sacrifice bunt play, neither team could get a run in.

    Until a wild pitch from Asheville’s Tyler Trice loaded the bases, when Kannapolis left fielder Tyler Kuhn stepped to the plate and hits a single.

    It was enough to bring in short stop Eduardo Escobar to home plate for the win.

    1-0, Kannapolis. The crowd, a little thinned out, but nonetheless vocal, went wild.

    And the season was off to an exciting start.

  • Legislators Discuss Priorities for Upcoming Year

    By Jonathan E. Coleman
    [email protected]
    In the spirit of working together during tough economic times, more than 100 people gathered at the old Cabarrus Bank & Trust building in downtown Kannapolis Monday to hear from local and state legislators their priorities for the upcoming year.

    While the topics at the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Breakfast varied from transportation needs to education and health care, the theme of continued collaboration was pervasive.

    “I think that’s something that’s probably unique about our county — that we would have a group this size of legislators come together in one room to discuss important issues,” said Steve Morris, chairman of the chamber.

    Local officials from across Cabarrus County were joined by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell and Reps. Jeff Barnhardt, Linda Johnson and Fred Steen to discuss the 2009 legislative priorities.

    As discussion unfolded, three major themes emerged:
    • The need for educational funding to retain teachers and to update technology;

    • Funding for transportation projects along Interstate 85, including the Yadkin River bridge;

    • Finding affordable health care solutions to serve the uninsured and underinsured.

    Johnson (R-Dist. 83), who serves on the Education Committee, said that it is important to supply students with the proper tools to succeed, especially as the local job market is becoming more reliant on technology.

    “With the new businesses here in our region, understanding technology is going to be necessary,” she said. “We’re going to have to have it (funding for updated technology) in order for our students to keep up.”

    Currently, she added, the community colleges are funded for technology upgrades on a 10-year cycle. The equipment, Johnson said, is long since outdated by the time funding comes to replace it.

    “I think that we have, budgetarily, almost starved community colleges when they are at the forefront of what we’re trying to do,” said Hartsell (R-Dist. 36).

    Barnhardt (R-Dist. 82), who serves on several health-related committees, said in a time of financial difficulty, it’s important to ensure that residents have access to affordable health care.

    “Long term, what we need to do with health care is, we need to decrease costs,” he said. “What happens with an increase? More people fall off and become uninsured. We’ve got to get our hands around that.”

    Funding for new road projects is an important issue for Cabarrus County as well as its neighboring communities.

    Steen (R-Dist. 76) called the widening of Interstate 85 a “safety issue, not a convinence issue,” addressing specifically the Yadkin River bridge, which is in need of repair.

    But, Steen admitted, legislators face a tough road headed into the upcoming budget season.

    “For the first time since I’ve been in Raleigh, it’s a financial situation, not just an appropriation situation,” he said. “It’s not just an issue of where the money is going to be appropriated, it’s also an issue of where it’s going to come from.”

    But in all, legislators agreed that there are brighter days ahead, and Cabarrus County has put itself in a position to prosper moving forward.

    “People are coming from all across the country who have the same interests we have,” Hartsell said, “who want the same things we want for ourselves and our children — and that is just an opportunity.”

    • Contact Managing Editor Jonathan E. Coleman: 704-789-9105.

  • Easter event pairs children with 35,000 treat-filled eggs

    By Jessica Groover
    [email protected]
    Most of the children who came to the Rocky River Community Church Easter Egg Hunt did not have a hard time finding the colorful eggs on Saturday. They had a problem fitting all the ones they collected in their baskets or bags.

    The church had 35,000 brightly colored, plastic eggs lying on a field, available for children at the ninth annual egg hunt at Pitts School Road Elementary School. 

    “I wasn’t expecting this many,” said Leah Thompson, of Concord, who came with her sons, Greyson, 10, and Justin, 8. “Our baskets aren’t big enough to hold all the eggs.”

    This year’s egg hunt had about 10,000 more eggs than last year’s, and it added six moon bounces, which were a favorite among children.

    Amy Bunker, of Charlotte, said her son, Gus, 5, enjoyed jumping in the moon bounces, especially while he was waiting for his age group’s egg hunt.

    To make sure each child had a fair chance at the eggs and candy, the church divided the field into different age groups. 

    Dividing the ages up was something many parents liked so that the smaller children were not injured by older children. 

    The group of 3- and 4-year-olds cleared the field of eggs in a little under 10 minutes, while the 5- to 8-year-old children took less than three minutes.

    “It was like a race,” said Alyssa Howard, 5, of Concord.

    Besides the candy inside the eggs as a prize, there was also a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to Concord Mills that the church purchased. 

    Children could also have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny.

    Last year’s egg hunt was at Frank Liske Park, but the church moved it to the school where the church members attend service so that they could attract more members. 

    Sixty-five church members volunteered at the event, and Donnie Icenhour, pastor of connections for the church, said he thought about 2,700 people attended in the first hour.

    Icenhour and many of the attendees were pleased with the event and look forward to next year’s egg hunt.

    “Right now, I don’t think there’s anything we’d do differently,” Icenhour said. “The Lord has blessed us and blessed the day.”

    • Contact reporter Jessica Groover: 704-789-9152.

  • School board considers cost efficient busing options

    By Jessica Groover
    [email protected]
    The Cabarrus County Board of Education reviewed a three-tier busing plan Monday night that, if approved, could save more than $500,000 in capital outlay but would change school opening and closing times for the 2009-10 school year.

    Jim Amendum, the associate superintendent for the school system, said the plan originates from a priority over the last three years to replace all teacher assistants who drive buses with full-time drivers. This move would allow for teacher assistants to be in the classrooms more and for bus drivers to be eligible for benefits.

    Currently, there are 60 regular teacher assistants who drive buses and 110 substitute drivers.

    As a part of the plan, school times would be affected to make bus routes triple-tiered and more efficient. If approved, high schools and four elementary schools would start at 7:15 or 7:30 a.m. and end at 2:15 p.m. Amendum did not specify which four elementary schools would have this schedule.

    Middle schools would begin at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m., and most elementary schools would commence at 9:15 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

    The plan would also add 30 minutes to the elementary school day, which Amendum said principals had requested.

    Under this plan, school officials anticipate saving $4 million in costs, because as many as 50 buses will not be driven until they are needed to replace older ones. The school system would then use a portion of that amount to purchase cameras for school buses as a way to make the ride safer. Even with the purchase of the cameras, the savings left would be at least $500,000 if the plan is approved.

    In an e-mail survey of all principals, most were in favor of changing to the three-tier system, according to Amendum.

    Several board members complimented the plan.

    “We will be able to get more academic time in the classrooms because teacher assistants will be there all day, and elementary schools will have more time,” said Wayne Williams, board vice chair.

    Board members Andrea Palo and Carolyn Carpenter and board chair Holly Blackwelder also complimented the plan.

    “This will hit three areas, staff, safety and transportation,” Blackwelder said prior to the meeting. “To have one plan affect three areas of the school system, that’s excellent.”

    At the meeting, Blackwelder asked that before voting, the board hear feedback from the parent council, which meets with superintendent Barry Shepherd. 

    The board agreed to vote on this plan at the April 23 work session, which will be at Concord High School.

    • Contact reporter Jessica Groover: 704-789-9152.

  • Fundraiser highlights arts community’s local impact

    By Jonathan E. Coleman
    [email protected]
    Devin Kirkpatrick is a living example of the impact exposure to the arts can have in the life of a child. In 2005, then a 14-year-old teenager, Kirkpatrick lived without much guidance, her life headed down a bad path. After being taken under her aunt’s wing, Kirkpatrick was steered toward Multicultural, a Christan-based nonprofit dance group that teaches values as well as dance.

    “I was a troubled teen,” Kirkpatrick told a group of nearly 700 community members at the 7th Annual Cabarrus Arts Council Breakfast for the Arts on Friday. “Multicultural helped me express myself.”

    In the years since joining the dance team, Kirkpatrick has performed at public gatherings, developed lasting relationships with her dance partners and righted the path that defined her youth. Now a senior at South Rowan High School, she plans to attend UNC Charlotte in the fall.

    “When you are exposed as a child to something special, something beautiful can be created,” Cabarrus County Schools’ Superintendent Barry Shepherd told the crowd, adding how much of an impact Cabarrus Arts Council programs have made for students under his direction.

    Through programming in schools and public event spaces, the Arts Council reached nearly 30,000 area students and almost 300,000 people overall last year. The nonprofit also offers grants — amounting to nearly $50,000 last year alone — to community groups, like Multicultural, that support the arts. 

    “The Arts Council is about making your lives good — about touching the heart and soul of children and giving you something to look forward to,” said Arts Council Executive Director Noelle Rhodes Scott. “Art is part of survival. It is part of the human spirit. It is essential to who we are.”

    But essential to the survival of programs like those the Arts Council provides are the donations provided by community supporters.

    In fact, nearly 44 percent of the Arts Council’s $443,000 operating budget for the 2007-08 fiscal year was raised through individual and corporate donations.
    Eighty-five percent of that money goes directly back into programming efforts, according to Dan Boone, the fund drive chairperson for Thursday’s event.
    For that reason, Scott said, events like Thursday’s fundraiser are an important part of both spreading the word about what role the group plays in the community, but also for soliciting support to continue to build Cabarrus’ art community.

    “The economic crisis is impacting everyone,” she said. “So what do we do? Do you stop supporting groups, and do we as nonprofits just close our doors?
    Of course not.

    “The arts are so intrinsic to our nature that we need to become aware of them. We don’t see how vital the arts are to our lives until we stop and take notice.”

    With stories like Kirkpatrick’s, whose life was chaged for the better through her experience made possible by Arts Council grants, it seems almost certain increasing numbers of people will soon be taking notice.

    • Contact Managing Editor Jonathan E. Coleman: 704-789-9105.

  • Citizens offer thoughts on greenway projects

    By Karen Cimino Wilson
    [email protected]
    Residents chose from three plans for the proposed Rocky River Greenway during a public workshop Thursday evening.

    The options include a user-friendly plan that focuses on giving greenway users access to popular destinations including Concord Mills, area hotels, restaurants and retail shops. The celebration of the river concept keeps all trails close to the water for the nature enthusiast. The ecologically-sensitive plan has fewer loops and doesn’t cross the river as often as the other two plans.

    The most popular was the user-friendly plan, which would offer multiple trail loops and give walkers, bicycle riders and runners the best access to local attractions.

    The Rocky River Greenway is proposed to be at least three miles long and will cost about $1 million per mile to develop. It could be four or five miles under the user-friendly plan, because it includes more trails, said Mark Kincaid, deputy director of the Concord Parks and Recreation Department.

    Concord Parks and Recreation is working with Greenway Inc., a greenway developer, to design the greenway. 

    The Parks and Recreation Department has funding for the design phase, but Concord City Council would have to approve additional funding to pay for the construction of the greenway, Kincaid said. The design phase is expected to be completed by fall 2010.

    Twenty-seven people attended the workshop Thursday to share their thoughts on the plans. 

    The city and Greenway Inc. will narrow the plans to one based on the input and hold another workshop sometime later this year.

    Rosemary Ruiz, who lives in Ridge Crossing off Pitts School Road near the western end of the proposed greenway, said she’s worried about privacy.

    “I’m already having issues with people running through my backyard,” Ruiz said, adding that she would like the city to include a fence to protect homeowners from trespassers.

    “I think greenways are the best, but we just need to be aware of all of the ramifications,” she said.

    Alejandro Suarez and his 18-month-old son also attended the meeting Thursday. Suarez said he likes to take walks on the existing greenways with his son and daughter. He preferred the user-friendly plan.

    “I think it’s the plan that does more to connect us to everything,” he said.

    Terry Crawford, the general manager at Embassy Suites Concord Convention Center, and his wife, Carolyn Crawford, also attended the workshop. They live in Afton Ridge.

    They also preferred the user-friendly plan, which Terry Crawford said would be a great feature for guests staying at hotels along Bruton Smith Boulevard and Concord Mills Boulevard.

    Crawford said the user-friendly plan has a trail that will pass by the 14th hole on the Rocky River Golf Course, which is within view of several blue heron nests. It will be great for bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts, he said.

    To learn more about the Rocky River Greenway plans or to make a comment on the plans, visit http://www.greenways.com/rockyriver.html

    • Contact reporter Karen Cimino Wilson: 704-789-9141.

  • Life as mom

    Andrea Scola
    Life as Mom
    Hello. My name is Andrea, and I’m a mom. But before I get into my life as a mom, let me give you some background information.

    I’m one of those transplants that North Carolina has become quite familiar with — Long Island, N.Y. to be exact. My family and I moved to Harrisburg in October 2006. Right from the get-go we were asked the infamous question: “What made you move to North Carolina?” I learned pretty quickly how to give the short version, but here’s the exact details as to how the move came about. 

    My husband was a New York City firefighter for about 10 years. He loved his job. He loved the camaraderie of men, hanging out in the kitchen and cooking meals for the guys, and, most importantly, knowing how important his job was; he loved helping others. But then 9/11 came, and his whole world changed.

    I, like so many others, will never forget that day. We had only been married for a year, and I was working as a middle school math teacher. Being in a classroom, I was not aware of what had just transpired (the planes crashing into the towers). When I finally had a break, I ran to the office phone to check my messages on my home answering machine (Rich, my husband, was working that day — Queens, N.Y.). His message can still bring tears to my eyes… “Hey Ang, you have probably heard what has happened. We are getting ready to go in. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I just want you to know that I love you.” How do you go back and teach math after hearing that?!  When the final bell rang, I couldn’t get home fast enough. I sat on the couch with the phone in one hand and the remote in the other. Family and friends were continually calling, but I had not heard from Rich, not until about 10 p.m. that night. Thank God he was OK, but they lost someone from their house — Ray York.

    I did not get to hug and cry with my husband until three days after 9/11. He wouldn’t leave Ground Zero. He had to help with search and rescue, and I knew that that was dangerous too. When he finally walked into the door and hugged me, he just melted. I have never seen him cry before. He was/is always the strong one. What do you say? I tell you, he really felt like he lost 343 brothers.

    So, how does this bring us to North Carolina? Within the year Rich developed many health ailments that led to an early retirement — disability to be exact. He was lost. What’s he supposed to do with the rest of his life? Since 9/11, we started a family. He always dreamed that they would know him as a fireman; now how will they see him? We started to contemplate moving, a fresh start and somewhere warmer. Close friends of ours were moving to a small town right outside Charlotte, so we decided to check it out. Viola! We are no longer New Yorkers, but now North Carolinians. What brought us here? A date. Sept. 11, 2001.

    Next time I will start talking about life as mom…

  • Intimidators Photo Booth

    We set up a camera and a couple of lights in the dug out during the Kannapolis Intimidators’ media day and handed over a remote to the players for them to take their own “photo booth” style pictures while they waited. Not all players on the team took advantage of the option, but those that did showed off their goofy side and had a little fun with it.

    We set up a camera and a couple of lights in the dug out during the Kannapolis Intimidators’ media day and handed over a remote to the players for them to take their own “photo booth” style pictures while they waited. Not all players on the team took advantage of the option, but those that did showed off their goofy side and had a little fun with it.

  • Dog day in Cabarrus features top canines

    By Jessica Groover
    [email protected]
    National champions, out-of-towners and even a celebrity came to the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center Saturday on all fours.

    The American Kennel Club hosted its National Agility Championship over the weekend, bringing 890 dogs and their handlers to the competition. 

    Even Brody, who was one of the dogs that played Marley in the movie “Marley and Me,” came to see the event and promote the film’s DVD release.

    A line of people waited to have their picture taken with the famous dog.

    “He was very cute,” said Carson Smith, 10, of Harrisburg. “(My friend and I) were both thinking, ‘we’re about to meet a celebrity.’”

    But most of the event was about the dogs who jumped, ran and weaved through the various courses. 

    On one of the jumper’s courses, dogs were led by their handlers through 19 jumps and an area the dogs had to weave through. Some dogs completed the course in just 24 seconds.

    In the year leading up to the national event, the competing dogs had to have received six perfect agility scores and be just as fast or quicker than the standard course time. 

    Among the dogs from 43 different states, six will be crowned national champions in their various categories today.

    “For agility, this is the biggest event,” said Andy Hartman, director of agility for American Kennel Club.

    The event is big enough that people drove hours or days more than they usually do for competitions. Cynthia Hornor, of Howard County, Maryland, drove six-and-a-half hours so that her Shetland Sheepdog, 5-year-old Dash, could compete in his second national championship.

    Usually Hornor attends trials within about an hour from her house.

    Hornor said Dash started competing when he was two. She said the typical amount of time to train a dog is two years and another year for nationals.

    And while many dogs and people were competing, the event also drew a large crowd of people who just wanted to watch. Chris Amsbary and Stephan Amsbary, both of Charlotte, had never been to an event like it.

    “We will be back,” Stephan Amsbary said. “These are really riveting. It makes us realize how lazy we are. We’re going to have to work our dogs harder.”

    Chris Amsbary, like many others who had never been to one of the championships, was surprised at how fast the dogs were as they ran through the course.

    “I had no idea,” Chris Amsbary said. “The handlers have to be really good athletes too.”

    While only six dogs and handlers will walk away with a national championship, Hartman’s advice for competitors is to enjoy being there.

    “The key to agility is to have fun,” Hartman said. “The most important thing to remember is we’re out here to have fun with our dogs.”

    • Contact reporter Jessica Groover: 704-789-9152

  • Input wanted for future greenway improvement projects

    By Karen Cimino Wilson
    [email protected]
    The City of Concord will host a meeting Thursday to gather citizen input on a greenway that will eventually connect some of the city’s biggest and most asphalt-locked attractions.

    The three-mile Rocky River Greenway will give Concord citizens a pedestrian- and cycle-friendly path connecting the Rocky River area to Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Rocky River Golf Club, the Concord Convention Center, Concord Mills and local restaurants.

    Concord will have a meeting for public input on the proposed plan from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday at Concord Fire Station No. 9, at 1020 Ivey Cline Road.

    The public is invited to talk with city staff and project consultants with Greenway Inc. about how best to connect people and places with the proposed trails, said city spokeswoman Deborah Clark.

    The first phase of the Rocky River Greenway will be along the commercial area of Weddington Road just east of Concord Mills Mall and Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the southwest corner of Concord. 

    The greenway also will eventually tie into the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County greenway system.

    Greenways are corridors for walking, jogging, skating and biking that are often built along banks of rivers, streams or lakes. 

    “Our existing Harold B. McEachern Greenway has been hugely successful,” said Judy Quesinberry with the City of Concord. “It is common to see people pushing strollers, people of all ages walking and joggers, using this greenway. I’m sure the Rocky River Greenway will be just as popular.”

    The McEachern Greenway is a one-mile paved walkway along Branchview Drive between Les Myers Park and J.W. McGee Park. The trail includes a pedestrian tunnel under Corban Avenue. The future phases of the trail will connect Concord’s downtown to the hospital area. 

    Concord’s Village Greenway opened in August 2007 and runs through the historic Gibson Village community. This greenway connects Gibson Village to Historic Downtown Concord.

    • Contact Karen Cimino Wilson: 704-789-9141.

  • Funding requested for traffic management center

    By Karen Cimino Wilson
    [email protected]
    Concord has asked the Federal Highway Administration for $6.8 million to build a traffic management center that will help improve the flow of traffic on several roads throughout the area.

    The center would provide Concord with a system of cameras and fiber optics throughout the city to help mitigate traffic congestion from accidents, events like NASCAR races and rush-hour congestion. The equipment would likely be installed along busy thoroughfares including N.C. 49, U.S. 29, Bruton Smith and Concord Mills boulevards, N.C. 3, U.S. 601 and Church Street, which is part of N.C. 73. 

    “Those are your major corridors,” said Joe Wilson, director of streets and transportation for the City of Concord. “They’ve been updated to signal systems. We’d tie all of those together and be able to monitor and manipulate what’s going on.”

    The system would allow the city to change stoplights to improve the flow of traffic based on the conditions, Wilson said. 

    The city has commissioned a $75,000 study to determine how much traffic the major corridors handle now and determine where cameras and equipment should be placed along the roads, Wilson said. 

    “The most important thing to remember about a traffic management center is that it’s not the bells and whistles of seeing all the video, it’s that rather than spending money to build more lanes…you’re managing the lanes you have more efficiently.”

    Barry Moose, division engineer overseeing Division 10 of the N.C. Department of Transportation, said several North Carolina cities already have traffic management centers.

    “Traffic management centers take all signals and time them together to optimize the flow of traffic in the area,” Moose said.

    Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Asheville all have traffic management centers to help control traffic on city streets. The state also runs a center in Charlotte that handles area interstates.

    The Concord traffic management center will not require a new facility. It will be housed in an existing city building downtown. Most of the cost of the center is for equipment and software, Wilson said. The center will initially be staffed with one employee, but could grow.

    Concord City Manager Brian Hiatt said he expects the traffic management center to help with race and other traffic concerns in the area.

    “If we can get that program funded, it certainly would be a great asset to Concord,” he said.

     Contact Karen Cimino Wilson: 704-789-9141.

  • Cotton economy — Part II

    By Janet Morrison
    Did You Know?
    There were no commercial cotton gins in present-day Township No. 1 when the 1860 U.S. Census was taken, as well as I can determine. For purposes of that census, the county was divided into two “subdivisions:” west and east of the North Carolina Railroad. Since the railroad ran through Harrisburg, the community’s residents were not all listed together.

    Cabarrus County was divided into townships in 1868 and Harrisburg has been in Township No. 1 since that time. When the 1870 U.S. Census was taken, there were five cotton gins in the township. Most of the gin owners were also farmers. 

    Samuel Dwight Morrison, a 29-year-old farmer with a wife and three young children, owned a cotton gin operated by four horses. The gin was in active operation only two months of the year and employed two males and one female.  Morrison reported processing 69,990 pounds of seed cotton in 1869 valued at $4,196. His gin produced 24,000 pounds of lint valued at $5,400 and 45,990 pounds of cotton seed valued at $210.

    Dwight Morrison’s 55-year-old father, Pinkney, also owned a cotton gin in Township No. 1. Powered by four horses, the gin employed three males and two females and was in active service for two months in 1869. It processed 27,800 pounds of seed cotton valued at $1,670 and produced 8,000 pounds of lint valued at $2,080 and 14,450 pounds of seed valued at $70. 

    Joseph R. Neisler also owned a cotton gin in Township No. 1 in 1870. It was powered by water. In three months of active operation in 1869, Neisler’s gin employed two males and processed 40,500 pounds of seed cotton valued at $2,430. The gin produced 13,500 pounds of lint valued at $3,120 and 20,000 pounds of seed valued at $122. Neisler also owned a cotton factory on Rocky River, which will be the subject of a future two-part “Did You Know?” series.

    John N.D. Wilson was a 40-year-old farmer who operated a cotton gin in 1870 where Samuel Wilson had owned one in 1850.  Wilson’s gin was powered by water. He employed four males over 16 years old and one child or youth. In the four months his gin was in operation in 1869, Wilson paid a total of $75 in wages. His gin processed 312,000 pounds of seed cotton valued at $18,720 and produced 92,400 pounds of lint valued at $24,024 and 6,260 pounds of seed valued at $959.

    The other cotton gin in Township No. 1 was owned by Elam S. Teeter and was located on Reedy Creek near present-day Robinson Church Road. It was powered by water. In the four months the gin was in operation in 1869, Teeter employed one male over 16 years of age and paid a total of $75 in wages. 
    The gin processed 60,000 pounds of seed cotton valued at $3,600 and produced 20,000 pounds of lint valued at $4,576 and 40,000 pounds of seed.
    In 1948, William Eugene Alexander wrote: “steam gins soon came into use along in the ‘70s [1870s]. The Harris gin at the Mack Harris place, and Benjamin Burleyson had one at Flowe’s store. Each of these gins was considered doing well if they ginned 400 bales in a season.” 

    He continued, “Cotton seed oil mills had not then come into vogue, and cotton seeds were fed to cows and used for fertilizer. Commercial fertilizer began to be used for growing cotton about the middle of the ‘70s [1870s]. In earlier days cotton was taken to market in wagons to Charlotte and other distant cities where there was water transportation to manufacturing places.”

    Part III of this series will concentrate on the 1880s.

    “Some Sketches of Rocky River Church and Vicinity,” by William Eugene Alexander, 1948.

    Eighth Census, Cabarrus County, North Carolina – 1860, transcribed by Betty L. Krimminger and James R. Wilson, 1987.

    Ninth Census, Cabarrus County, North Carolina – 1870, transcribed by Betty L. Krimminger and James R. Wilson, 1990.

    By the Old Mill Stream, by The Stephen Cabarrus History Club, Harrisburg School, 1968.

  • New food pantry serves southern Cabarrus

    By Jessica Groover
    [email protected]
    In the first 40 minutes of operation, six people came to the newest Cooperative Christian Ministry food pantry, Cupboard of Love, at Westford United Methodist Church on Saturday.

    “We knew this would be a good location,” said Ed Hosack, executive director for Cooperative Christian Ministry. “We have no idea how many people we’ll see, but to have six in the first 40 minutes implies they may be busy.”

    It is the second new food pantry for the nonprofit organization this year, with a total of six food pantries. 

    The other pantry established this year is located at West Point Baptist Church in Kannapolis. The church had already operated a food pantry and needed assistance, so they formed a partnership with Cooperative Christian Ministry.

    Food pantries like these are becoming more essential to county residents. In February, the nonprofit organization had a 112 percent increase in clients compared to the amount of clients in February 2008.

    Hosack also said Cooperative Christian Ministry’s crisis center has administered three times the amount of financial assistance this year than at this time last year. He said the biggest factors of these trends are unemployment and underemployment, or people working fewer hours than normal.

    “If we can save them $75 on groceries, that’s $75 they can spend on medicine, utilities, bills, or wherever they’re feeling the need,” Hosack said.

    Lorita Childress, of Concord, can relate. She was laid off from her job as a machine operator in October. Childress had not been to a Cooperative Christian Ministry food pantry in a few months, but she has had more financial difficulties since her husband was recently laid off.

    As a mother of three boys, she was especially grateful for the opportunity to receive help from the food pantry.

    “It’s rough because I don’t like to ask for help, but we’ve got to find a way to make rent for April,” Childress said. “I look at it as a hand up instead of a hand out. It’s just to get us on our feet because the unemployment office said there are no jobs in this area.”

    Because Childress said her husband spends many weekdays looking for a job, being able to visit the food pantry on the weekend was convenient for her so that her husband could watch her sons while she left.

    The two newest Cooperative Christian Ministry food pantries are the only ones open on the weekends.

    “One of the reasons we’re so pleased with this and the (Kannapolis food pantry) is because they’re open on Saturday mornings,” Hosack said. “This is a huge plus for working families who are struggling.”

    The newest food pantry also brings the nonprofit organization closer to its goal of having one in Midland. Because Westford United Methodist is so close to Midland, the food pantry is more convenient for Midland residents and others who live in the southern part of the county.

    Westford United Methodist Church had approached the nonprofit just as Cooperative Christian Ministry was developing a plan to better serve the southern part of the county. The church had never had a food pantry but accepted donations for the nonprofit organization.

    “There are a lot of members from our church who have lost their jobs recently and within the community,” said Pam Boyles, outreach chairperson for the church. “With the need growing like it is, we thought now would be a good time.”

    More than 40 volunteers from the church signed up to help with the pantry that will operate every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The church will also accept donations on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    With Saturday’s opening attracting more people than expected, the church looks forward to the future of the food pantry.

    “We had a huge response from the church in donations,” said Jeff Rushing, pastor at the church. “It’s a great outpouring of love. We’re glad people are using our pantry and making good use of the food people have donated.” 

    • Contact reporter Jessica Groover: 704-789-9152.

  • For teen, March Madness plays out on the Web

    By Ben McNeely
    [email protected]
    For Victoria Smith, finding scholarship and college information is difficult.

    Tori, 17, is homeschooled and does not have access to, or the experience of, a guidance counselor at a public or private school.

    For her, the Internet has been vital to getting information about colleges and how to pay for it.

    “I’m on my own with this,” she said. “I was looking everywhere.”

    She found FastWeb, a Web site that helps students search for college admissions and scholarships. 

    “You fill out a profile — you give a ton of information — and schools can recruit you from there. Since I don’t have a guidance counselor, it was a good fit for me,” she said.

    Tori also enrolled in an online scholarship contest at Zingo.com — whose tagline reads “I am more than a test score.” 

    The contest is set up like an NCAA Tournament bracket, where teens are pitted against each other in one-on-one voting contests.

    Tori got into the contest as one contestant of the “Cinderella Six” by setting up a Facebook group to promote herself.

    Sixty-four contestants, just like the 64 teams in the men’s basketball tournament, will participate and will be winnowed down based on the number of votes they receive. The winner receives a $20,000 scholarship.

    While this will get Tori’s face, name and story out there, it’s been difficult for her to do the research: She pretty much teaches herself with a curriculum program called the American School. She studies, takes tests, then has to do the research.

    “She’s had to do a lot of work on her own,” mother Tammy Smith said. “She’s used the Web. She’s gone to the library. I’m not very versed in it, so she’s had to do a lot on her own.”

    But, Tammy said, Tori is very motivated and creative.

    “This is our first foray into homeschooling, so it’s a learning process,” Tammy said. “But I’m proud of her. She’s had a lot of fun doing this.”

    • Contact reporter Ben McNeely: 704-789-9131.