Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Davidson Community Chat: HOT Lanes is HOT Topic

Tonight's Davidson Community Chat with Town Commissioners brought to you from Twitter.  Additional commentary added in italics post meeting.

6:04 PM - @TownofDavidson Community Chat underway at Summers Walk in #davidson; about 25 present including Board and staff #nicethingaboutsmalltowns

@TownofDavidson Mayor Woods opens discussion with HOT lanes and Red Line comments before any citizen asks a question... #Davidson
    //Knowing this was going to be a hot topic (pun intended) Mayor Woods attempts to seize the initiative for the evening and get in his spiel while saying the discussion should really only be had with all parties present including NCDOT.

@TownofDavidson resident Vince Winegardner w/ wideni77.org comments & the discussion begins Comm Jenest launches defense of tolls #davidson
   //Not willing to let the discussion be that stage managed, Vince Winegardner makes several points from the WidenI77.org list of issues with the project.
  //Commissioner Jenest makes several comments that indicate he is a supporter of the HOT concept and makes references implying this is the new reality for how infrastructure projects will get built.

@TownofDavidson Comm Venzon posits that not doing this will cause economic hardship and cause business to bypass region & #davidson
   //In an attempt to justify the toll road, Commissioner Venzon takes the "50,000 foot view" saying repeatedly that this is much bigger than just Lake Norman - this is a regional issue.  She tries to tie in that the port of Charleston is about to become a major port of entry for cargo, so we need better connectivity or they will just go around us - costing jobs and development.  Attendee points out that if this is a region impacting project, why are just Lake Norman rush hour commuters paying the cost through their tolls.

@TownofDavidson things getting a bit tense discussing HOT lanes...nice to see citizens asking questions in #Davidson
   //One attendee asks for cost estimates for the HOT project versus just widening I77 further up.  Mayor Woods does not want to get into those details.  Mr Winegardner offers numbers.  Multiple commissioners ask the citizen asking the question to just attend the February 13th meeting the LNTC has planned.  He agrees, but it also glad to have gotten the numbers from Mr Winegardner.

@TownofDavidson commissioners anxious to move on from HOT lanes...next question, why no welcome sign entering #davidson from E Rocky River

@TownofDavidson comm chat...onto flashing lights @ roundabouts in #davidson to improve pedestrian safety Comm Wessner passionate a/b subject

@TownofDavidson more on pedestrian safety, Comm Fuller reminds people pedestrians have accountability 4 own safety too...be smart #davidson

@TownofDavidson, question a/b status of Carolinas Health System behavioural health facility; Q1 closing, ground break soon after #davidson

@TownofDavidson Spinnaker Reach #davidson resident makes comment, DRB needs to do better with approving bldgs like "enormous" MSC at exit 30

7:14 PM - @TownofDavidson Communit Chat mtg adjourned #davidson

Sunday, January 27, 2013

UPDATED: Media Watch: Is Lake Norman Media in the tank on I-77 HOT lanes?

The good news is that in general the answer is "no" they aren't completely and totally biased on this subject. 

Most local news outlets seem to be doing a decent job of getting out both sides of this story - covering the WidenI77.org efforts to promote investigating alternatives.  Most are at least making an attempt to give space to alternative opinions in their letters to the editor or commentary pages.  Most aren't aggressively attacking those alternative opinions when they should know better.

DavidsonNews.net & CorneliusNews.net have covered the story well - posting notifications of WidenI77.org meetings, multiple articles about the citizens group's efforts, and even giving space for a lengthy commentary on the subject by Mr Vince Winegardner.  See articles herehere, and here with Mr. Winegardner's commentary here.  DNN has even posted links directly to WidenI77.org information and links to audio and video of the Iredell County Commissioners and Cornelius Board meetings where those boards voted against the proposed toll plan.  They are doing a good job of giving citizens all sides of this important story as it unfolds.  (Note: Posting Mr. Windgardner's commentary shows a particular willingness to give hearing to all voices.  During the last municipal election in Davidson, there was a bit of tension between Candidate Winegardner and DavidsonNews.net, but the publication does not appear to let that impact it's editorial choices.)

The Huntersville Herald has also done a fair job of reporting.  It's coverage of the WidenI77.org January 14th meeting was nothing but a presentation of the facts of the event.  The publication has also allowed letters to the editor from the citizens group's members to be published.  See here and here.

Cornelius Today has had similar reporting to the Herald - covering the January 14th meeting here as well as the Cornelius Board resolution against the project here.  They also posted the announcement for the December North Mecklenburg Republican Women's (NMRW) meeting in December where this topic was discussed as did some of the other publications.

Incidentally, the NMRW hosted both Kurt Naas, founder of the WidenI77.org  group, and Bill Thunberg of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission (LNTC) at their December monthly meeting.  There was a conscious effort on the group's part to include both sides of the discussion at the meeting to ensure attendees heard as much information as possible.  For a group that's not a news organization, this effort at evenhandedness was nice to see.

Then we get to the Lake Norman Citizen.  The Citizen is one of the Lake Norman area's main sources of local news.  They have a history of poking at some of the Lake Norman area municipal governments and have regularly posted biting letters to the editor on controversial subjects.  However, on the I-77 HOT Lanes the Citizen has fallen down on the job.  In fact at times, they have veered into actively attacking those who are questioning the proposal.  They seem to have thrown objectivity into the backseat on this ride.

Here are some examples:

Citizen coverage of the WidenI77.org January 14th meeting painted a much different picture than what actually happened.  The post-meeting article focused almost entirely on comments by State Rep Bill Brawley rather than the presentation which was the reason for the meeting.  It very incorrectly painted the meeting as "tense".  If anything, the presenters from WidenI77.org did an excellent job throughout the evening of keeping what could have been a tense evening rather light.  Everyone was treated with respect including those on hand from the NCDOT and the elected officials willing to express support for the project.  The Citizen apparently didn't see it that way.  (Watch the whole presentation here if you want proof.)

They took their disdain for opposition to toll lanes a step further when they also attacked a fellow member of the media - Mark Washburn of the Charlotte Observer - for writing this piece.  The Citizen's anonymous Talkers page took a few cheap shots - anonymous cheap shots - at people who might want to speak out on the subject.  And here's the kicker, they paint Mr. Washburn this way...

"Talkers just love it when one of the Charlotte daily paper's professional pontificators practices his profundity on a topic impacting we suburban pioneers (Did you know there are towns north of Charlotte that actually are in Mecklenburg County? Astounding!)."

...as if they didn't know Mr. Washburn actually lives in North Mecklenburg himself and certainly would have an opinion on what it's like actually driving I77 every day. 

The Citizen has also refused to open it's pages to the members of WidenI77.org for commentary pieces and letters to the editor - at least since that January 14th meeting when the subject has become a much hotter topic.  Based on what members of the group have made available to aShortChronicle, multiple pieces have been turned down from multiple writers.  That's a sharp diversion from the openness to differing opinions the paper has shown in the past. 

Finally, Citizen coverage of Cornelius's vote to oppose the current toll lane plan focused almost exclusively on why supporters thought opposition should be muted, and it reinforced the status quo position that there are no other options. 

For all these reasons, the Citizen deserves 4 tanks out of 5 on their I-77 HOT Lanes coverage.

UPDATE: The Citizen has finally published a piece that is just "the facts" on the subject of I-77 HOT Lanes for their January 31 issue.  Nice to see they were finally able to get there.  See here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

LNTC Searches for "Relevance", Provides Examples of Revolving Door Politics, Engages in Revisionist History

On Thursday, January 17th, the Lake Norman Transportation Commission (LNTC) met in Mooresville to discuss the group's future plans, how to remain relevant, and hear presentations on the impacts of growth in the LKN Area.  (See below for video of the meeting, courtesy of Jay Privette.)

Attendees including elected officials, staff, and other interested parties talked through 4 major areas: Roads, Transit, Land Use, and Bike/Pedestrian.  Here are the top vote-getters in each category from the informal straw poll  conducted at the end of the event.

  • RoadsIncrease capacity on I-77 from Exit 19 to Exit 36 followed by a close second Widen I-77 with GP Lanes.  Notice, toll lanes as defined in the current I77 plan did not even make the list.
  • Transit - Decide on the Red Line received by far the most votes.  There seems to be a serious lowering of expectations with this project.  The group is now trying to just get to a point on whether the project should go forward rather than pushing it forward on an expedited schedule.
  • Land Use - Work with private sector to develop employment center space blew away all other land use items.
  • Bike and Pedestrian - Complete thread trail received the most votes. When this trail network is complete it would connect 15 counties through an extensive network of greenways.

Nobody would seriously challenge the notions that the LKN area has some serious congestion issues during rush hour and the area's future growth poses significant challenges.  What can be challenged though is how our leaders go about addressing it.  Who those leaders are.  And how information is presented to the public.  Regarding those questions, the LNTC Summit provided an interesting view into how transportation projects really get done.

They operate on the revolving door between government and the private sector with a little revisionist history thrown in.

The summit kicked off with the LNTC's new director, Bill Thunberg, setting out the afternoon's agenda.  Who is Bill Thunberg you may ask?  Mr Thunberg is the former Mayor of Mooresville who lost a re-election bid to political newcomer and eventually scandal ridden, Chris Montgomery, in 2009.

Much of  the reason for that loss has to do with Mr Thunberg's tie breaking vote as Mayor in 2007 to create the municipally owned Mi-Connection cable company along with the Town of Davidson.  His was the vote that broke a 3-3 tie in Mooresville's decision to create the company from the remnants of the old Adelphia Communications.  That decision has become a weight around the necks of both towns.  Comments on this post from The Gatton Report blog also provide a window into why Mayor Thunberg became Former Mayor Thunberg.  There was apparently a sizable "anybody but Thunberg" group of voters, and he ended up losing by a razor thin margin of only 16 votes.

Out of office and looking for a job, Mr Thunberg somehow managed to land the position at the LNTC - an $80,000/yr position.  It's good to have friends in the right places when the revolving door turns.

Mr Thunberg was not a telecommunications expert when he tossed Mooresville into the deep end of the pool with his Mi-Connection vote, and he is not a transportation expert even though he is Lake Norman's chief representative for over $1 billion in proposed transportation projects.

The question  taxpayers should be asking is why is someone best defined as merely a self described expert running our local transportation body here in the Lake Norman area?  Do qualifications count, or only connections?

Other examples of the revolving door on display at the meeting were Carroll Gray, a former Charlotte Chamber President, and himself a former LNTC Director as well as Barry Moose - formerly of NCDOT and now with SEPI Engineering.  Mr Gray and Mr Moose have long been fixtures at area transportation meetings and both were prominent speakers during the afternoon's discussions.  Now that they have moved back to the private sector, one can only guess at their continued interest in keeping a hand in local transportation decisions.

During Mr Gray's update on the Red Line commuter rail project another theme in area transportation discussions reared its head.  That's the theme of revisionist history when it comes to how we have gotten to where we are with our mass transit decisions.

In giving a history of the Red Line, Mr Gray mentioned the transit tax of 1998 and the tax repeal effort in 2007.  Whenever the repeal effort is mentioned, local rail transit supporters always remind people that voters have approved this "twice".  They say it as if that alone justifies any amount of spending on trains from any sources of tax revenue.  As they present it, those two votes put questioning trains out of the question.  Here's what they don't tell you.

  • Voter turnout in the 2007 repeal vote was much lower than in 1998 due to being an off year election - 24% vs 40%.  Yes, voters kept the tax, but a much smaller percentage of overall registered voters actually voted to keep it than in 1998.  When population growth in the decade between 1998 and 2007 is considered, the numbers are even worse.  The tax was kept based on approval of 17% of all registered voters.  Yet, train supporters somehow translate that into an overwhelming victory.
  • During the repeal effort, voters were deliberately deprived of a viable option to keep the tax but to make it for buses only.  The Mecklenburg County Commission voted 4-4 to not promote that as a viable option even though the County Attorney said it would be legal. (See page 12 at the link.)  See these links from the old RhinoTimes for more detail - Pro Taxers Lampoon Plans to Save Buses and Pro Taxers Want Flawed Transit Plan Kept on Track
  • The pro-tax side in that debate was awash in money compared to those supporting repeal.  See this article from the Charlotte Business journal on how the Charlotte Chamber (Mr Gray's former employer) took the lead on raising that money. 

What has happened in the wake of the tax repeal's failure?  Bus fares have gone up repeatedly - affecting those who need mass transit most.  The Streetcar has stalled and may never reach the East and West side communities who supported the tax based on that promise.  The communities of North Mecklenburg are being asked to commit their property tax base to the Red Line.

Red Line supporters never emphasize in public that the current Red Line financing plan includes TIF and SAD financing components which do not require a vote of the general public.  This is money well above what was approved by the voters in those two previous referendums.  Even more disturbing, one of the "positives" of TIFs in the Red Line documentation is the fact that it does not have to go before the voters.  See As We See Fit for why there will not be another referendum on the Red Line even though it will commit local tax dollars well beyond the 1/2 cent transit tax.

Why is this history important?  Why bring it up now?

If you live in North Mecklenburg you already know the Red Line is going to cost you more.   You know the history of the current transit plan has not delivered what was promised when you voted for it - twice.  Now, if you listen closely to the discussions going on about the I77 HOT Lanes and the plan to toll commuters, you will hear many similarities to the tactics used in the Transit Tax Repeal and Red Line discussions.

"There is no other option than the one we've presented."

"Take it or leave it."

"It's this way or no way."

Those lines are beginning to sound eerily familiar.

Video courtesy of Jay Privette

LNTC Summit 1-17 Early Afternoon Part 1
8:45 - Jeff Tarte (NC SEN 41) speaks on his involvement in creating LNTC and what it needs to do to remain relevant.
20:00 - Jeff Michael of UNCC Urban Institute presents on regional growth.

LNTC Summit 1-17 Early Afternoon Part 2
2:10 - Barry Moose (former NCDOT) now consultant with SEPI

LNTC Summit 1-17 Late Session
0:00 - Bill Thunberg gives I77 HOT Lanes update.
5:15 - Carroll Gray gives Red Line update. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Red Line Lobbying Picks Back Up

Buried in this piece from the Charlotte Business Journal is a nugget about Charlotte lobbying for legislation to benefit the Red Line.

"as part of the city’s annual meeting with the local delegation of state lawmakers preceding the start of the General Assembly session. City lobbyist Dana Fenton included a couple of transit items in his agenda of items for support by the legislators. These included flexibility for special tax districts and government bond financing options that could be used for a proposed 25-mile commuter rail line between uptown and Mooresville" - CBJ Jan 14, 2013

The mention of "special tax districts" refers to the legislation that needs extending if the current Red Line financing plan is to go forward.

As mentioned in this post last July, Legislature Silently Deals Potentially Fatal Blow to Red Line, the legislature pulled the extension of the required law's sunset provision out of Senate Bill 426 prior to passing the bill at the end of the last session.  The current special assessment law expires July 1, 2013.

Keep your eye on this one.  It will be interesting to see which legislators (if any) get behind extending this early in the new session.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

HOT Lane Opponents Pack Cornelius Town Hall (Video)

The WidenI77.org activist group generated an overflow crowd at Cornelius Town Hall on Monday night to present information on the proposed High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes for widening I77 through North Mecklenburg and South Iredell.  To say the least they did an excellent job communicating some very important and useful information!

Every major local news organization was there covering the event.  Various elected officials from the North Meck towns were present.  NCDOT sent representatives.  Our state officials were represented by newly minted Senator Jeff Tarte.  Rep Bill Brawley was there as a representative of the legislature's House Transportation Committee.

The major takeaways from the meeting were these:

  • HOT lanes would be a $500m project where only a small fraction of that cost, perhaps as little as only $50m - $125m, could do the job of relieving the bottlenecks in the Lake Norman area with general purpose lanes.
  • NCDOT's primary motivation for doing the project is to relieve congestion in downtown Charlotte, not Lake Norman.  However, Lake Norman commuters would be the primary payers of the project's tolls.
  • HOT lanes require congestion on the existing general purpose lanes to entice people to pay the toll.  This project will therefore do nothing to actually relieve congestion for existing commuters and will actually make the situation worse for many current users of the existing HOV lane since they will now be required to have 3 people in the future HOT lane to avoid the toll rather than only 2 in today's HOV lane.
  • Compared to other HOT lane examples around the country, the LKN area does not contain the population to make the project work financially.  This could lead to extremely high tolls in the future or an additional State bailout.

The meeting ran over two hours with the attached videos covering about 1:45.  The first covers the WidenI77.org group's presentation itself.  The second finishes the presentation and most of the QA.  The third includes comments from Rep Bill Brawley on the Legislature's take on the project.

The videos obviously speak for themselves, but maybe the most important comment of the evening came from Bill Brawley just after the recorder ran out of space.  While recalling how he was involved in stopping an unwanted road in the Matthews area as a councilman on the Matthews town board, he said it requires citizens to work on the State Legislature.  That was also the major point of this recent post here at aShortChronicle, Understand Whole Story on I-77 Toll Lanes.  Municipal leaders can are our best and most effective channel to the Legislature.  Use them for that purpose.

For those of us here in Davidson, Commissioners Graham, Fuller, and Venzon were present Monday night.  It was encouraging to see them there after a note sent to the Davidson Board regarding the meeting seemed to fall flat with Mayor Woods.  He described the citizen effort questioning HOT lanes as spreading "errors and wrong assumptions" and effectively wasting our state officials' time.

Judging by Rep Brawley's attentive comments, the presence of numerous other elected officials, and the active participation of NCDOT, the Davidson Mayor's perception seems to be far from reality on this one.

Video WidenI77.org Cornelius Town Hall  - January14, 2013
(Please excuse the shakiness. There are also a couple places with lost audio - just skip ahead a little.)

PART 1 - Presentation
3:45 - Cornelius Tranportation Advisory Board Member Kurt Naas put on a clinic on MUMPO, HOT, and I77.

PART 2 - Presentation Cont and QA
18:30 - Cornelius Mayor Lynette Rinker defends her non-position on HOT lanes.
32:50 - Lewis Mitchell of NCDOT makes comments on state toll efforts.

PART 3 - QA Cont and Rep Bill Brawley's Comments
10:30 - Cornelius Commissioner Gilroy wants study of alternatives before going forward.
12:30 - Huntersville Commissioner Julian opposes HOT.
14:30 - Rep Bill Brawley explains how we got where we are with this decision.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Updated: North Meck Gets New Republican Leaders, Davidson Gets $2000 Trash Bins

North Mecklenburg saw the addition of new Republican leadership in the area this week. 

Monday night, former Cornelius Mayor Jeff Tarte took the oath of office to become Senator Tarte as the area's Senator in the General Assembly.  As Senator, Tarte represents the new NC Senate 41 district created as part of the last round of redistricting.  For North Meck's  more conservative residents, having a Republican as the area's Senator will be a welcome departure from Democratic Senator Malcolm Graham.  With Davidson's move to NC-9 at the Congressional level, Tarte (along with Thom Tillis and Charles Jeter in the NC House) rounds out the area's solid representation by Republicans at almost all levels of Government. 

The only top elected official in the area at any level of government who is not a Republican is Davidson's Mayor, John Woods.

On Tuesday, the North Mecklenburg Republican Women (NMRW) installed their new set of leadership.  The new officers are:

President - Linda Angele
1st VP - Pat Murray  Programs
2nd VP - Vallee Bubak  Social Media & Press Contact
Treasurer - Annette Mastrogianni
Assistant Treasurer - Carole Gibbons
Corresponding Secretary - Mary Jo Lyons
Recording Secretary - Randie Long
The NMRW has become a real force in area politics, hosting regular meetings attended by elected officials of all levels and providing a tremendous amount of volunteer effort during campaign season.  As mentioned in the recent post on 2012 Mecklenburg activism the NMRW put up some impressive numbers during the past election cycle.  For example one NMRW volunteer made over 30,000 calls during this campaign season from the Republican Victory Centers. You read that right. 30,000 calls. Another knocked on 3000 doors.  That impressive door knocker was Linda Angele, the group's new president. 
With dedication and leadership like that, expect great things from this group in the future.
However, it's not all good news when it comes to North Meck's slow march towards more conservative government. Tempering the week's events comes news that the spending spree continues in the Town of Davidson.  At Tuesday night's Town Board meeting, a little item is scheduled to pass on the consent agenda approving a budget amendment for 11 new "duo-bins" along Main Street.

At just over $2000 a piece, they are a reminder that there is still work to do when it comes to local government.
2000 of your State and local tax dollars

UPDATE: At the April Town Board work session the Board was presented data which showed this expenditure did not have the desired impact.  Town recycling as a percentage of overall solid waste was down from 18% to 14%.  Rather than asking hard questions about why this might not be working as expected, the prevailing sentiment on the Board was that the data must somehow be wrong.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Understand Whole Story on I-77 Toll Lanes

Info session Monday, 1/7. Click for larger view
I'm a daily bus rider, so if the proposed High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes are built on I-77, I will benefit.  It will make my commute shorter and reduce traffic for me and my fellow bus riders.  Because I ride the bus, I won't even have to pay the toll.  It won't cost me a thing.  That's what I'm told to think.  That's why I should support the toll lanes.  But I try to only support things only when I know all the facts...

What you have heard is that toll lanes are the only way to widen I-77 in the foreseeable future.

What you have heard is that other options do not exist.

However, that's not the whole story.

Residents of North Mecklenburg and Mooresville will be the primary funders of this project if tolls become a reality, and we should encourage our municipal leaders to have all the information before they throw their support behind this decision.  To date, that has not been done.  Only one side of the story has been presented to most local bodies.

Below are some links to an effort to get out the rest of the story.

I would encourage people to reach out to their local boards in Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, and Mooresville.  Ask them to go into this decision with their eyes wide open.  Ask them to have all the information before they throw their support behind this effort.  Don't let them off the hook with a simple "it's a State decision, not local".  Your municipal representatives can be your most effective channel to the State representatives.  Ask them to do that job.

But first, they need the information.  Here are some resources that can provide just that.

www.wideni77.org - Citizen activist group leading effort to look at alternative solutions.

Lake Norman citizens group opposes toll lanes on I-77 CharlotteObserver.com

Opposition to I-77 Toll Lanes Grows FoxCharlotte.com

Update:  Here is another link that comes at this from a different point of view.

Unequal at Any Speed: How the Beltway's New 'Hot Lanes' Divide Us into Speed-Rich and Speed-Poor  - thebreakthrough.org

Update #2:  In a response to an email to the Davidson Town Board encouraging them to take in all sides of the story, Mayor Woods indicated that the Lake Norman Transportation Commission (LNTC) may be in the process of organizing a meeting that would bring all parties to the table including NCDOT, the Towns, and those presenting another point of view.  No date given, but it is a potentially encouraging sign that at least nobody will be able to claim they "didn't know" about other viable options.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Davidson Community Garden Needs Your Help

Below is a note from Connie and Eddie Beach who coordinate the Davidson Community Garden activities covered here at at aShortChronicle over the past year.  I'm posting it in case anyone has any interest in helping support this community effort.

After 3 years of operation, the DCG needs to get its own irrigation tap.  The total cost is estimated to be about $3000.  Donations are being accepted through one of the garden sponsors here in town, Davidson United Methodist Church.  See details at the bottom of the note.  If you think you can help, it would be greatly appreciated.  As the campaign progresses I'll be posting updates here.

Including an initial matching grant from an anonymous donor, the total starts off at $1000.

Other DCG Posts...

Davidson Community Garden - Growing Food for a Good Cause  March 24, 2012

Davidson Community Garden - A Quarter Ton So Far July 1, 2012

Davidson Community Garden Reaches 1-Ton Goal! December 20, 2012

Note from Connie and Eddie Beach

Dear Volunteers and Friends of Davidson Community Garden,

As we move toward the completion of our 3rd year of gardening, let's look at
3 words* describing growth now and ahead.

* WOW! A ton of vegetables from DCG has been given to
Loaves and
. We hit 2002 pounds the week before Christmas. That is an increase
of about 600 lbs. from last year and over 1000 from the previous year.
Here's a photo of the harvest that topped the one ton mark: .

* THANKS! Credit for this bountiful harvest goes to the many
volunteers-individuals and groups-who have given time, energy, and know-how
to the tending of the garden. From soil preparation to planting to watering
to weeding to harvest, everyone has dug in and given their best. Thanks to
our sponsors for their support . especially Davidson United Methodist Church
and Davidson College. And thanks to God for the miracles of community and

* HELP! Water is an essential for any garden. For the first 3 years
we have been able to get water from the empty house next door. Since at
some point this will no longer be a resource, it makes sense to secure our
own water supply. The fee for tapping into the water line is $2200, and the
cost for plumbing and materials is $800, for a total of about $3000. So, for
the first time, we are asking volunteers and friends of the garden to make a
donation to help achieve this goal. The great news is that we already have
a grant which will match up to $1000 in donations! All donations are
tax-deductible. If you'd like to contribute, please make check payable to
DUMC, note "Community Garden" in the memo and mail to:

Davidson United Methodist Church
PO Box 718
Davidson, NC 28036

We'd love to have the garden's water installed by early March, ready
for spring planting!

The Davidson Community Garden continues to fulfill its mission of bringing
people together from the community to grow healthy, abundant food made
available to many needy families through Loaves and Fishes, and to everyone
willing to "dig in". We appreciate your taking part in the garden's growth
and success thus far and in the years ahead!

Connie and Eddie Beach

* The 3 words were inspired by Anne Lamott's newest book HELP THANKS WOW;