Friday, September 29, 2017

Save Davidson "splits the rock"...Beaty Street Luminous Project dies

"You never know which strike will split the rock...but you have to keep striking."

The above quote is a version of the Stonecutters Credo sent to aShortChronicle by Jamie Ramsden, one of the leaders in the Save Davidson movement.  That was back on August 19th.  By that time the activist group had been pounding the rock for months with blow after blow.

Today, the Beaty Street RFP rock split.

Was it the protests, the packed Town Hall meetings, the countless emails, the lemonade stands, the signs, the car magnets, the magnet mobile, the t-shirts, the records requests, the videos, the growing number of Facebook likes, the relentless fact checkers, the SHINE events, the information sessions, the Save Davidson Run for the Green participants, the constant drip of conflicting information, or the Save Davidson funded appraisal?

We may never know why, but today the Town of Davidson posted this...

A great example of citizen activism and perseverance came to fruition today.  An unbelievable amount of dedication and work went into putting a stop to a crazy idea that never should have been allowed to get this far.  Everyone involved needs to take pride in what has been accomplished, take a day or two to breath it all in.  Then, continue to work to make sure it does not happen again.

On November 7th, make sure that happens by getting out to vote.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Air of intrigue builds around pending Mi-Connection announcement

At the September 12th town Board meeting citizens got the first real update in years (maybe ever) on the financial health of Mi-Connection and what citizens should expect in coming years.  FY2017 numbers had just been published prior to that and the results were not good.

As aShortChronicle pointed out in this post, unless something changes future growth for the company appears to now be highly dependent on the growth in rooftops and businesses.  At the same time the company faces a more competitive marketplace with new service providers and more potential for churn between them.

At about the same time some interesting flyers started appearing around town and circulating on social media.  They were for a service called "Continuum" and the flyers also referenced a website called  The site registered people for a contest to win free service.  Below are a couple of screenshots from the site.

Several commenters on social media pointed out they thought it looked like Mi-Connection might be getting ready to re-brand itself.  Giving some credence to that idea, it was also pointed out that the PO Box on the flyers and website matched that for Mi-Connection.

aShortChronicle asked the Town of Davidson if these flyers were possibly a scam of some sort, not by the Town of course, but possibly as a way for a scammer to collect personal information.  The answer was that the flyers were "not a scam" indicating the Town did know about them.  The answer also said there would be an announcement of some sort coming from Mi-Connection in a couple of weeks.

That was on the 19th.   Now, this week, the website is no longer active.

As September comes to a close, depending on what this pending (and intriguing) announcement turns out to be, this could make for an interesting "October Surprise" during the final weeks of an election season.

PSA - October 4th is International Walk to School Day - Davidson Details

Davidson Elementary School, the Community School of Davidson, Lake Norman Christian School, and Davidson Green School will join schools from around the world to celebrate “International Walk to School Day” on October 4.

This event is organized by the Town of Davidson and the North Carolina Active Routes to School Project along with Davidson Elementary School, the Community School of Davidson, the Lake Norman Christian School and the Davidson Green School.  The Town of Davidson seeks to establish consistent walking and cycling programs as a commitment to the town’s emphasis on being a walking and bicycle friendly community.

Students will be walking and riding to school along with parents, teachers, Davidson College students, and community leaders. Some local schools will also engage in campus-wide pedestrian-themed activities.

Walk to School Day seeks to raise awareness for pedestrian safety, environmental conservation, and the importance of physical activity. The events build connections between families, schools, and the broader community.

The Town of Davidson encourages all students to participate. Students who walk or bike regularly are encouraged to take their normal routes as a part of the event. Details for the event are listed below by participating school:

·         Davidson Elementary School students can be dropped off, by bus or car, at the Davidson town green from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. Adults will accompany students to the school via South Street. Students may also be dropped off at the South Prong Rocky River Greenway on Avinger Lane near The Pines. Volunteers will be present from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. to assist students who bike or walk.
·         Community School of Davidson families are invited to meet at Roosevelt Wilson Park from 7:30 to 7:50 a.m. to walk to school together. Community volunteers will pass out stickers. Physical education instructors will also facilitate pedestrian-themed activities throughout the week.

·         Davidson Green School students, staff, and parents will walk during an off campus activity.

·         Lake Norman Christian School students can be dropped off in front of the Davidson Public Library at the Davidson town green. The library parking lot will serve as a carpool lane. Volunteers will greet children at the library starting at 7:40 a.m. and depart at 7:55 a.m.
“The Davidson Police Department continues to educate citizens on pedestrian safety and we hope to see lots of children and families walking and biking to school on Walk to School Day and every day,” said Davidson Police Chief Penny Dunn.
Additional events during the month of October can be found at, they include:
·         Fisher Farm Family Bike Fest on October 8th (9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) 21215 Shearer Rd, Davidson, NC
·         Afterschool Kids’ Bike Clinic on October 18 (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.) – register at link above
·         Davidson Tour de Trees on October 21 (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) – register at link above
For more information on Davidson’s “International Walk to School Day,” please contact Charlene Minor at (704) 892-3349 or
For additional information, please visit these websites:
Walk to School Day in the USA                                                 
National Center for Safe Routes to School                   

About “International Walk to School Day”
Walk to School Day was established in the United States in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. Canada and Great Britain already had walk to school programs in place.  In 2000, these three countries joined together to create “International Walk to School Day.”
In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School serves as the national coordinating agency for “Walk to School” activities in the United States.

“Walk to School Day” began as a simple idea – children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. It is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike. Schools focus on health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment.
Organizations supporting “International Walk to School Day” in the United States include America Walks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. In North Carolina, the Active Routes to School project is a Safe Routes to School partnership between the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Division of Public Health.

PSA - Christmas planning underway in Davidson

Hard to believe, but the Holiday Season is upon us once again.   Two of North Mecklenburg's largest holiday events are Chrismas in Davidson and the North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade.  Planning is ubderway for both.  Here are the details from the town.

Applications for the North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade Are Now Available

DAVIDSON, N.C. – – The Town of Davidson announces that applications for the 35th Annual North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade are available online

The parade is Saturday, December 2 at 1:30 p.m. (please note new time) and starts at the intersection of Main and Griffith streets and ends in Cornelius. The deadline for applying is Friday, October 27.

To become a parade sponsor, please contact Davidson Parks and Recreation Director Kathryn Spatz or 704-940-9644.

For more information on the North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade please contact event coordinator Tina Gibson at or 704-995-29

Application Forms For Christmas In Davidson
Now Available

DAVIDSON, N.C. – The Town of Davidson announces that applications for Christmas in Davidson, one of its signature events, are now available. Christmas in Davidson is:

·         Thursday, November 30,
·         Friday, December 1, and
·         Saturday, December 2 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Forms for:

·         Event sponsorship,
·         Food vendors in the food court,
·         Davidson business participation,
·         Vendors on the green, and
·         Entertainment

are all available online at:

Vendors on the green will feature food options (to consume or purchase as gifts) and local artists displaying and selling their artwork and handmade gifts. Preference will be given to Davidson non-profits, businesses, and organizations. For more details, please visit

Christmas in Davidson sponsorships are available at the following levels:

Angel: $2,500
Wreath: $1,500
Candy Cane: $1,000
Elf: $500
Reindeer: $250
Interactive Photo Booth sponsorship: $1,500 per night

The benefits of each sponsorship level are listed at

“Christmas in Davidson is an event started by our business community 29 years ago to celebrate the season,” said Economic Development Manager Kim Fleming. “As our core values state, ‘the physical, social and intellectual well-being of Davidson citizens is fundamental to our community, so we will provide and encourage enjoyable, safe, and affordable recreational and cultural opportunities in town,’ so we’re pleased to sponsor this signature event again this year.”

For more information on Christmas in Davidson, please (be sure to refresh your browser to update the site) or contact Kim Fleming at or 704-940-9622.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

PICTURES - Oct 5 NCDOT meeting on Potts-Sloan-Beaty Connector & NC115-Potts Intersection

October 5th will see an NCDOT meeting on two projects that will have significant impact on Davidson.  Per the below, this is not a "hearing".  Make sure you submit your comments in writing.

The Potts-Sloan-Beaty project and the NC115-Potts intersection redesign projects are primarily being paid for with the I77 HOT lanes "Bonus Allocation" funds.  Davidson Town Hall is also hoping to get additional funding for the PSB Connector to add another "big wide sidewalk" (aka multi-use path) along with the project.  This money would come from "mobility" bonds the Town has on the ballot this November.

Below is the press release from Town Hall.

DAVIDSON, N.C. – The N.C. Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting on Thursday, October 5, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Cornelius Town Hall (21445 Catawba Avenue) for two proposed projects in Cornelius and Davidson.
One project would improve the intersection of N.C. 115 (Main Street) at Potts Street, potentially with a roundabout. The other proposes to extend Potts Street to Sloan Street, add a multi-use trail between N.C. 115 and Griffith Street, and a roundabout at the Sloan Street/Griffith Street intersection. The purpose of these projects is to provide travel alternatives through Cornelius and Davidson by improving connectivity and traffic flow. During the meeting, NCDOT representatives will be available to answer questions about the projects and receive input from citizens. Interested citizens may attend the meeting at any time as no formal presentation will be made.
In order to encourage attendance and alleviate the need to park at Cornelius Town Hall, the Davidson Parks & Recreation bus will shuttle meeting attendees from Davidson Town Hall starting at 4:50 and will run on a continuous loop until 7:10 p.m.
“We recognize that traffic flow is challenging around town and feel that these two NCDOT projects will help provide motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians with alternative routes through town,” said Town Manager Jamie Justice. “We want Davidson citizens to be aware of these two projects, provide feedback, and have an easy way to get to and from the meeting.”
Written comments can be provided at the meeting or by phone, email, or mail through Oct. 19. Comments received will be taken into consideration as the project develops. For information about the proposed projects, contact Sean Epperson, NCDOT Division Design Team Lead at (704) 983-4400 or, or consultant Teresa Gresham at (919) 677-2194

While the press release does not provide the below pictures, aShortChronicle received them from a citizen familiar with these efforts.  Look closely.  Every one of these designs negatively impacts home owners along the routes in som way.

NC115-Potts Options

Potts-Sloan-Beaty Options

Monday, September 25, 2017

23rd Annual Bethel Prebyterian Church BBQ on Thursday

Below is the press release for a great event this week.  It supports some excellent causes and you get some delicious BBQ too.

The 23rd Annual Bethel Presbyterian BBQ, Silent Auction, Baked Goods & Handmade Quilt Sale will be on Thursday, September 28, 2017from 11:00am to 7:00pm, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Children’s Hope Alliance. We invite the community to come enjoy a great meal, buy silent auction items, and enjoy making a lasting impact on their local community!

Community membrs are invited to drive through, eat in, or carry out BBQ dishes from the church. Patrons can also enjoy bake goods including cakes, pies, and other. Cash, check or credit cards willbe accepted. Bidding on silent auction items will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. There are hundreds of silent auction itemsincluding home decor, gift cards for great area restaurants, vacation homes, children's items, gift baskets, sporting event tickets and more. A great variety of items!

Bethel Presbyterian Church is located at 19920 Bethel Church Road, Cornelius, NC, 1 mile west on Catawba Avenue off I-77 Exit 28. Additional info at

Ticket Prices
$9.00 - BBQ Plate including beans and slaw
$9.00 - Three sandwiches including slaw
$12.00 - One pound of BBQ

Delivery is available to the Lake Norman Area for orders of 10 plates or more. Please contact for more information on placing an order.

Over the last ten years, the church has donated over $300,000 in BBQ funds to area organizations, including Children’s Hope Alliance(formerly Barium Springs), Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitchen in Huntersville and Loaves and Fishes food pantry in Davidson. It’s important for our church to make an impact in our local community. Once again, we are proud to be support Children’s Hope Alliance with 100% of the proceeds from this event. In past years, funds from the BBQ, Silent Auction, Baked Goods & Handmade Quilts Sale have gone toward replacing appliances, furniture, and the roofs on four residential buildings. Your participation will allow Children’s Hope Alliance to focus on providing their high level of care for children who need it most.

Join us on September 28th and let's do something extraordinary!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

About that so called "business" "support" for Davidson Griffith Street hotel

The plan to put a new 4 story Hyatt Place hotel mere feet from the Community School of Davidson and across the street from Davidson Day School has generated a lot of media coverage lately.

About the only group that seems to "support" this project is "business".  Both "support" and "business" are in quotes because there is definitely some question about whether local "business" actually "supports" putting a hotel right next to two schools.

Yes, Lake Norman Chamber president, Bill Russell, and Visit Lake Norman Exec Director, Sally Ashworth, recently spoke up in favor of the project.  What would you expect?  They both are paid to promote business.  Visit Lake Norman actually gets a hefty chunk of its funding from the hospitality tax that hotels generate.  Of course these people will support it.  They won't have to deal with any of the potentially negative consequences of this decision, but as the saying goes, they know on which side their bread is buttered. 

More tellingly is the nature of the so called "support" from the local "business" community presented by the development team's attorney, Susan Irvin, at the September 12th public hearing.

While talking about the specific project on the specific site next to two schools, Irvin showed a slide purporting to show support for this specific project.  It had 19 businesses.

While certainly some business owners likely are not concerned about the serious issues that have been raised with the project, the most obvious way to look at a list this size is to say "just 19 businesses?"   That's actually a very small percentage of the businesses in town.

However, that percentage actually gets smaller when one takes a closer look.  aShortChronicle reached out to several businesses on the list.  We also know others who have been doing the same.  What we found out is this.

It was confirmed general questions were asked, not something specific to the site or this project.  Questions like "Would a new hotel be good for your business? and Does Davidson need a new hotel?"  One small business owner added a humorous take on the generic wording of the questions saying "they were like asking a five year old if they wanted an ice cream cone.  Of course the answer is yes."

Punching another hole in the actual level of business support, we also came across multiple cases where a member of the business's staff and not the actual business owner or senior management responded to the questions.  When they realized what had happened, these business owners told aShortChronicle their businesses don't take positions on issues like these.

Those were for the small businesses on the list.

The list of supporting businesses also included large local corporations like Ingersoll Rand, Lowes, and MSC.  These three corporations even had slides in the developer's presentation in an attempt to give it a certain air of authenticity.  However, a close reading of these slides makes it clear the same generic questions asked of the smaller business were posed to the larger corporations.  None of the slides mention this specific project or mention the proposed Hyatt Place for example.

aShortChronicle was particularly interested in the response from MSC because the company had been contacted for a story back in 2016 on the corporate opinion on this specific project.  Director of Communications, Paul Mason, responded recently with this feedback. "Consistent with our exchange last September, we would endorse the overall need for more hotel rooms and meeting space in Davidson, but we do not take a position on city planning matters with regard to a particular location, etc."

So, taken all together, the so called "business" "support" presented by the development team hardly presents a convincing argument in favor of Davidson Commissioners granting a conditional approval for this project.  The developers trotted out people who are paid to spin things in favor of business.  The so called "support" presented as fact by the project team in an official public meeting did not always come from the actual "business" owners.  The number of businesses was small to begin with and likely would get significantly smaller if everyone was re-surveyed with actual questions around this specific project.

Most importantly, the questions asked were not about the specific site.  Since the site is the issue on this project whether the concerns be around parking, traffic, gentrification, or safety of children, questions and responses without that context are all but meaningless.  The Board of Commissioners should treat them that way.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Commissioner Rodney Graham's ironic campaign ad

One could take it as a compliment when an incumbent politician uses a post of yours in a campaign ad, but when the point of said post is entirely missed by the incumbent politician, the irony gets noticed more than anything.  That's what happened when Davidson Commissioner Rodney Graham used a story from the early days of aShortChronicle in a paid campaign Facebook ad this week - accompanying it with tag line "when Rick Short actually supported me".

The post from aShortChronicle to wss titled "What's next in Davidson, stocks and pillories on the Green?"

To get to the irony, let's take a ride in the ol' time machine.

First stop, May 2012.  aShortChronicle had just started 3 months earlier and Commissioner Graham had just been elected to office 3 months before that.  Graham, a newly minted Commissioner who also happened to be a developer, had been the sole vote against loosening rules on the development process.  That vote and Graham's opposition to it earned him a shot from Mayor Woods during the meeting.  In classic Mayor Woods fashion, the "misinformation" attack was launched Graham's way.

Graham's current ad/Facebook post tries to point out that aShortChronicle "supported" him back then because of agreement with Graham's position on this particular vote.  A close reading of the aShortChronicle blog post however, shows that's not really the case.  While yours truly did agree with Graham's position, the reason for the post had nothing to do with that.  The reason for the post was to call out Mayor John Woods for attacking Graham's dissenting vote.

The irony here is that in the years since 2012, Graham himself has become the Davidson Commissioner most likely to take shots at dissenters.

Fast forward to September 12th of this year.   Most recently Graham's intolerance of dissent was on graphic display during the Griffith Street Hotel public hearing.  From his seat on the dais, Graham had direct conflict with not one, but two, of the speakers who were against the hotel project.  Graham got into a bickering match with one lady and a gentleman called Graham out for rolling his eyes...twice.

The closing line on the post Graham referenced included the following about people involved in local political discussion at Town Hall.  It was about Commissioners, but it should apply to everyone.

"They should be allowed to freely express their opinions to their constituents without accusations of misinformation and threat of public criticism from the dais."

After Commissioner Graham's display at the last Town Hall meeting, those words apply to him more than just about anybody.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Davidson Depot project faces change in driver but not direction

Rumors of the demise of the Davidson Depot  project have been greatly exaggerated.

aShortChronicle was told by a reader that it was mentioned at Monday's "Commissioners Chat" at the Egg that the project has been canceled.  Turns out, that isn't entirely true - at least not at this point.

It is true that the Miller Valentine Group who initially brought the project to the Town is no longer involved in the effort to bring it to fruition, but the project as-is has been handed off to another firm - Holliday Fenoglio Fowler (HFF) - a major national commercial real estate financing firm with offices in Charlotte.

HFF describes itself as "One of the largest and most successful commercial real estate capital intermediaries serving the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland."

aShortChronicle spoke to Allan Lynch with HFF about the project on Friday.  Lynch says the project as planned to this point is still going forward, but the firm is looking for a developer that can handle the required remediation efforts in an economical way.  As one might imagine the costs around the required asbestos remediation on a large site are considerable.  That may be a nut that is too hard to crack, but HFF is used to tackling such challenges.

If the cost challenges for the current plan cannot be met, then other options would likely be pursued.  Lynch said an update would possibly be available late this year or early next.

As confirmation of this change in status, Christina Shaul with the Town of Davidson told aShortChronicle that the project page on the Town website would be updated soon.

Rusty Knox snags first big endorsement in Davidson Mayoral race

On Thursday, one of the leading organizations on the #1 regional issue announced its endorsements on the upcoming elections.  That would be the I77 Business Plan group leading the charge against the I77 HOT lanes project.  The group is made up of heavy hitters in the Lake Norman community. 

Interestingly, the announcement gives particular focus to the race for Davidson Mayor.  See below...

September 20, 2017

I-77 Business Plan Announces Endorsement List for the Upcoming North Mecklenburg Municipal Town Elections.

Lake Norman, NC - The I-77 Business Plan is a group of elected officials, community and business leaders who have worked together over the last few years to articulate the extreme negative impact of the I-77 TOLL project and lobby for the cancellation of the CINTRA Toll Contract.
The I-77 Business Plan has attracted extraordinary support and realized overwhelming success in the last several election cycles; by endorsing candidates and working the polls to support those candidate who understand the significant problems of CINTRA Contract and support its cancellation.

Today, few credible candidates support the tolls and most leaders understand its detriment to the community without solving the problem of congestion.  Therefore, this election cycle, the I-77 Business Plan chose to identify the individuals who have not only supported cancellation, but also have put forth significant personal effort and activity in an attempt to cancel the CINTRA toll contract.  We further want to speak directly to the single candidate who has actively worked against our efforts, John Woods in Davidson.  As Mayor, John Woods has repeatedly and enthusiastically supported this project, continuing to give credence to the false narrative that only a small number of activist are against the project, and promoting the misleading rhetoric that north Mecklenburg wants this toll project to continue.  As Mayor, he traveled to Raleigh to meet with Senate Pro Tem Berger to lobby to leave the contract in place.  When reporters questioned John Woods why he obviously went against his community wishes, he was disingenuous to indicate that he met with Senate Pro Tem Berger as an ordinary citizen.  We strongly encourage voters of Davidson to support Rusty Knox.

It is with this in minds that we announce the following endorsements for the November municipal election cycle
Endorsement for Town Commissioners (in alphabetical order):
Town of Cornelius -                 Jim Duke
                                                Michelle Ferlauto
                                                Dave Gilroy
                                                Dr Michael Miltich
                                                Kurt Naas
                                                William Rakatansky

Town of Davidson –                Jim Fuller
                                                Stacey Anderson

Town of Huntersville –           Dan Boone
                                                Mark Gibbons
                                                Charles Guignard
                                                Danny Phillips                           
Endorsement for Mayor:
          Town of Cornelius –      Woody Washam

          Town of Davidson -       Rusty Knox

Thursday, September 21, 2017

LKN Citizen doubles-down on Griffith Street Hotel "opinion" bias

aShortChronicle told readers about the ridiculous anonymous editorial penned by the "staff" at the
Lake Norman Citizen mocking safety concerns around the location of a new hotel next to two schools.  They described those concerns as just election year politics.  Well, that piece of writing got quite a response from their readers it appears.  So much so, the paper did two unusual things.

They actually wrote a half decent straight news piece on the public hearing last week acknowledging parental safety concerns were raised.  The paper also said they would print some of the comments received on the column.  This is where things jumped back off the rails.

In this week's edition of the Citizen "staff" did print some comments, but the balance was totally off.  Yes, there were more opposing comments than supporting, but one of the two supporting comments was from the Hotel development company itself.  That one was titled "Self appointed hotel experts".  What the Citizen failed to do was also print an opposing comment it received from an actual hotel expert.

The below comment from hotel industry veteran Fred Dalton was sent to the Citizen in response to the paper seeking comment post on Facebook.  Here's ehat Dalton had to say.

I cannot speak for others who have committed their own personal time towards this issue, but allow me to speak for myself.

I do not speak out against the construction of the hotel adjacent to an elementary school with any political motive or intent. I have met some wonderfully passionate and committed people in the past month. They care deeply about the town of Davidson and feel that the best remaining option to save what they love is through political change.

I am not a resident of Davidson. I support no local politician and am not aligned with any candidates. I speak out because it is wrong. I speak out because I am a CSD parent with a great deal of experience in the hotel industry and because of common sense. I speak out because I am a father.

Yes, “The greatest concern is safety for the school children in light of potential increase in drugs, pedophilia, human trafficking, guns and other violence, and other safety issues.” ... Yes, really.

I speak from 20 years of hotel industry experience that no one else associated with the issue could bring to the conversation.

While the editorial makes light of our concerns about human trafficking, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is concerned enough about human trafficking that it produces a program within the DHS Blue Campaign specifically for the hotel industry. Within this program they describe: "Traffickers often take advantage of the privacy and anonymity offered by the hospitality industry. They can operate discreetly because staff and guests may not know the signs of human trafficking. Hotels and motels are also major locations where traffickers force sex trafficking victims to provide commercial sex to paying customers. Victims may be forced to stay at a hotel or motel where customers come to them, or they are required to go to rooms rented out by the customers" Information on additional resources, literature, materials, and training offered by the Blue Campaign can be found at  

In 2016, North Carolina saw a 62% increase in trafficking year over year, nearly doubling the also troubling 35% nationwide average increase. In the state, the Charlotte Region has the highest number of cases. DSS and CMS are not making light of this issue either and have worked with Present Age Ministries to teach CMS educators as well as 7th and 8th graders about trafficking and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Mecklenburg County currently has 911 registered sex offenders. Iredell County currently has 257 along with Cabarrus County with 275. There are 34,722 registered sex offenders in the Carolinas and 747,408 in the U.S. Based on GS 14-208.16: "Any offender... is prohibited from knowingly residing within 1,000 feet of the property on which any public or nonpublic school or child care center is located" Unfortunately the statute is non-specific regarding hotel accommodations, creating a potential legal safe space for predators. 

Overall, the hotel industry is a wonderful place. Hundreds of thousands of guests have passed through the doors that I have directly or indirectly managed across the country. Being in a guest services industry, you get to meet many fascinating people. Most that you meet are under the best of circumstances; families on vacations, fans attending sporting events or coworkers gathering for a meeting. Some you meet are under less than ideal circumstances; damaged homes, displaced spouses, or medical procedures. A very small number of guests are those that you refer to as the "unwanted". Regardless of snarky attempts to minimize my concerns in a manner oddly familiar to the same attitude projected from the Board, these individuals do represent a percentage of the overall hotel guest population. 

This developer builds and operates fantastic hotels and top of the line staff. This fact is not up for debate. He is well known and respected locally in the industry. I have no doubt, that no matter where this hotel is built it will be a beautiful and well run property. The only issue with this hotel is the location, and to me it is not a laughing matter. 

Fred Dalton

aShortChronicle has also seen the lengthy response to Dalton's email from editor Lee Sullivan, so it is clear the paper received Dalton's message.

Putting a comment from the developer's firm that focuses on "qualifications" to even be able to comment while at the same time leaving out opposing comments from an equally "qualified" person is the epitome of bias by omission.  Furthermore, the developer's comment acts as if his firm has been portrayed in a negative light.  Again, read the last paragraph of Dalton's comments.  He actually specifically complements the developer on the quality of the firm's hotels.  Opposition to this proposal has nothing to do with the quality of the planned development.  It is simply a question of location due to the potential for safety issues.

Yes, this is the opinion section and not the news, but not presenting all the information available when it was specifically asked for by the Citizen was a real disservice to the public. 

It also shows which "opinion" the Citizen "staff" really sides with.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mi-Connection FY2017 numbers disappoint...subsidy needed until FY2024

Numbers were put out by the Town of Davidson in a press release last week on the municipally owned cable company's financial performance for FY2017.  That was followed up by a presentation from Town Manager Jamie Justice at the Tuesday Board meeting.

The long and the short of it boils down to these bullet points.

  • The company is still losing money and did not meet projected growth in FY2017.
  • Subsidies will still be needed for years to come with FY2024 as the new subsidy-free target date.
  • Competition is increasing with new players entering the municipally owned company's footprint making growth even more difficult.
  • Davidson has little to no leverage in determining the company's future under the current inter-local agreement with Mooresville which pegs Davidson's ownership at 30%.
  • All of the numbers are projections based on continued rapid growth in rooftops and businesses.
Here is the press release put out by the town.  Emphasis added in bold.

DAVIDSON, N.C. – On Thursday, August 23, the MI-Connection Board of Directors met to review financial results for FY 2017, which ended June 30, and compare last quarter to the same quarter a year ago. Data has been externally audited, but are preliminary and still subject to external audit.

Quarter Comparison
Revenue is even when comparing Q4 2017 to Q4 2016 and total expenses are up by 3.02% in Q4 2017 compared to Q4 2016. EBIDA (Earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, a key metric used by cable operators to measure performance) decreased by 7.64% from Q4 FY 2016 to Q4 FY 2017. Average revenue per customer is even.

“We didn’t meet our growth projections for this year, and recognize that we have had some tough competition in the marketplace,” said MI-Connection CEO David Auger. “We are confident that the services we offer and our superior customer will make us more competitive in the future.”

FY 2017 vs. FY 2016
Financially, year-over-year, FY 2017 revenue exceeded FY 2016 by 1.79%.  EBIDA declined by 8.61% from FY 2016 to FY 2017. Average revenue per customer is up 1.88% from FY 2016 to FY 2017. The customer level stayed about the same year-over-year.

In the enterprise and small/medium business market in FY 2017, MI-Connection grew commercial customers by 10.9% and increased revenue by 10.2%.  Commercial revenue as a percentage of overall revenue increased from 12% in FY 2016 to 13.7% in FY 2017.

MI-Connection made a contribution of $2.919 million in debt payment to the Town of Mooresville for FY 2017, and projected a payment of $3.45 million in the FY 2018 budget. The amount the Towns of Mooresville and Davidson made to the debt payment for FY 2017 was $3.44 million and the projected payment for the towns in FY 2018 is $2.93 million. MI-Connection’s contribution toward the debt is projected to exceed the towns’ contributions in FY 2018.

During his comments at the meeting Tuesday night, Justice did address the stall in the drop of the annual subsidy required by the towns for 2017.  aShortChronicle pointed that out back in May.  The explanation given by Justice was that there were some new developments scheduled to come on line that were delayed.  That delayed the new revenue.  Those developments are now coming online so 2018 should see a bump.

What's left unsaid here is that Mi-Connection future growth is essentially now wholly dependent on significant growth in rooftops and or businesses within its footprint.  The operational and financial improvements over the past few years are now fully baked into the year over year performance expectations.  There are no more big chunks of cost savings that can be wrung out of the financials.

Justice mentioned that RGUs or Revenue Generating Units actually dropped very slightly year over year in 2017.  RGUs are individual services such as voice, data, and video.  A single "triple play" household would count as 3 RGUs.  If RGUs dropped and there certainly was some growth in rooftops/businesses in 2017, that logically means Mi-Connection lost some existing customers to other provider and got some new ones to nearly break-even, but the company didn't get the new ones it was expecting from the delayed developments Justice mentioned to show any growth.  As competition increases and other providers build out their networks this industry "churn" among competing providers will only increase as well.

The current predictions in Justice's presentation say subsidies are needed through FY2023 - another 5 years.  It also says, the company's debt to value trend likely makes the company saleable 2-4 years from now with another 5-6 years needed to get that ratio down to where the towns could recoup all the subsidies they had paid over the years. However, competition will only increase in coming years, and if the housing market or economy slows or stalls, then all these projections go out the window.  In a high-tech industry such as telecommunications, keeping Mi-Connection for another decade just to attempt getting towns' their money back would be a high risk maneuver.

While Justice tried valiantly to put as good a face as possible on this situation, it's still an ugly situation the towns have in front of them.

Read the whole presentation here.