Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Covered dish smack-down

As if you needed another reason to attend the annual Elizabeth covered dish dinner meeting Sept. 13: Both candidates for Charlotte City Council District 1 have told Under the Water Tower they'll be there. What could be more exciting than democracy in action? Come hear Patsy Kinsey and Hardin Minor explain why they should be our city representative.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stealing Volare

One of Myers Park's better restaurants is moving to Elizabeth. The Observer's Jeff Elder reports that Volare will move from Providence Road to Grubb Property's place on Elizabeth Avenue, just down the street from another killer spot, Carpe Diem. I like the intimate, cozy feel of the old Volare. The new will be twice as big, Elder reports. Can it maintain the feel? Also coming: Vinoteca and Loft 1523.

Neighborhood dishes

Come see our dishes. The Elizabeth Community Annual Dinner and Meeting will be held Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at Broach Hall at St. John's Baptist Church. The food is secondary, although always quite good. The really meaty stuff is the reports we get from ECA committees, the speeches by the candidates and, of course, catching up with our neighbors. You can sign up to be an ECA member and to volunteer, elect officers and hear from local police. Bring yourself and your favorite dish. Questions? Call Rachel Eldridge at 704-258-6033.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Housing values up 18%

The average price of homes in the Elizabeth ZIP code of 28204 went up 18% last year, the Charlote Observer reports. That's one of the highest rates of increase in the county, although far short of the 35% of 28206, north of downtown. The numbers are for June 2004 to June 2005, and include only those homes sold through the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service. I understand that not too long ago homes in Elizabeth would sell without listing. Any real estate experts know if this is true? If so, what does it mean for the data?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

True crime news

Crime is a serious issue in this neighborhood. That doesn't mean I want to turn this blog into all-crime-all-the-time. That would make it too much like prime time network TV. But I would like to mention this: Police recommend that you engrave your drivers license number on valuables. (I'm going to engrave mine on my kids.) And they have an engraving pen that they will let you borrow so you have no excuse. Contact our CMPD community liaison officer, Laura Nelson, at 704-943-2433 to borrow it. And hey, be careful out there.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Originally uploaded by johnfmcbride.
Police have seen a rash of break-ins lately. Officer Rick Greene says: "People in the area have seen 2 B/Ms driving in the area in a U-haul truck over the past two days circling the block and stopping at people’s homes. Police that work in this area have advised me of three subjects that they are looking at as possible suspects. The mens names are: Daryl Walker (below), Eric Bernard Houston (above) and Timothy Houston." Call 911 if you see them on your street.

Trolleys, trains and buses

The Charlotte Observer had an interesting two-page spread on mass transit in the Sunday paper. (I'd link to it here, except I can't find it on their &*%#@ site. Guess they want you to buy the paper.) As is typical, the coverage hits the high notes for downtown and points farther away, leaving those of us near downtown wondering about things like: Will the street car route really have only one stop between Independence Park and The Plaza as the Observer map indicated?

Some people think mass transit is a waste. I don't. I see it as a key to preserving the livability of our neighborhood. As traffic continues to worsen, those stuck in it will complain bitterly and elected officials will rush to add and widen roads. We weren't able to stop Independence Boulevard from bisecting Elizabeth. How long can we block the state from widening 7th Street? Once drivers have a choice we can tell them: No more roads. Don't like the traffic? Take the train.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

We're noticed

Charlotte magazine's Buzz took a quick look at local blogs and "came up a little short." "Charlotte is missing out" the headline says. Well, some of Charlotte maybe. One blog that was noticed: our own Under the Water Tower, although you'll have to look at the hard copy to find it.

About last break-in

The last time my house was broken into the police arrested a suspect who was subsequently convicted and sent to jail (albeit for a very short time). What broke the case? I had photographs of the stolen items with serial numbers written on the back. The dim bulb burglar used his ID to pawn the stuff at a nearby pawn shop. A neighbor picked him out of a lineup. Open and shut case.

Without the serial numbers, however, this guy walks. As Sgt. Rich Stahnke of CMPD noted in a recent email to ECA members: "Pawn shops are required to keep a record of who pawned/sold them merchandise and our burglary detectives routinely search through pawn records looking for merchandise that has been reported stolen. The biggest hindrance to this system is the fact that many homeowners cannot provide us with the serial numbers for their merchandise."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Is a Minor old enough to vote?

Leave it to an Elizabethan to breathe life into the local elections scene. Hardin Minor is running for city council. He'll face fellow Democrat Patsy Kinsey, giving us two strong candidates in District 1.

At least two incumbent city council members face no opposition. "An election without opportunity for serious opposition is a hoax." Politicians gerrymander districts to create safe havens for the party in power. They have the nerve to call this democracy and wonder why people turn away. Thank you Hardin for taking a stand for real democracy.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


ECA board president Peter Tart says Elizabeth is eligible for matching grants from the city for: neighborhood improvements; crime and public safety; neighborhood organizational development; and neighborhood educational, recreational and cultural initiatives. The grants are for as much as $25,000. Personally, I think a blog qualifies for "neighborhood organizational development," don't you? I am ready for the city to cut me a check. However if you have better ideas on how Elizabeth could use grant money, bring them to the ECA meeting Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m. at the Hawthorne rec center.


Twenty-eight reported incidents in Elizabeth for the month of June. That's nearly one a day. Most of them are people taking what doesn't belong to them: 7 burglaries, 9 larcenies, 3 auto thefts. These are our homes being robbed and our cars being taken. What does it take for this to stop?