Monday, December 01, 2008

Goodwill drive

Maya Packard writes:

Dear Neighbors,
Clean out those closets! The Elizabeth Goodwill Drive is coming! As a 5th Street neighbor says, "It's the time of year to pass along some  of our past blessings to get ready for new ones this holiday season."

When: Saturday, December 6, 9-12 noon
Where: Goodwill truck stationed at 2125 Greenway Ave. (empty lot)
What: furniture, clothes, baby items, home goods, small appliances  in working order, books, etc.
Who: We welcome any Elizabeth neighbors, friends and families
Why: Goodwill needs our donations more than ever.
What else: Goodwill attendants will be on site with receipts.
Hungry?  Morning snacks and coffee for all donors!
Let's fill up the truck!

BB makes the All Star list

I was remiss by not drawing attention to longtime Elizabethan Byron Baldwin when he was featured as one of the All-Stars of the Arts in the Observer. If you see him, congratulate him on recently becoming a grandfather.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Janet on the economy

There's Elizabeth's own Janet Woodson on the Observer's Business page, featured in a story about how companies are cutting back on parties. Woodson's business, La-tea-da's, is -- like most businesses -- being hit by the economic downturn. "Woodson has been in the business 12 years and has never seen scaling back on this level, she said."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Centers, corridors and wedges

Dana Inge writes:

There’s an "emergency" ECA meeting next week. Note from our ECA president Melanie Sizemore: We will have a community-wide meeting Nov. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Hawthorne Lane United Methodist Church to discuss a very important planning document which is being proposed by the planning office. The plan is on a fast track approval process so we need to make our comments heard as soon as possible. You can go to this link to read more about this proposed plan. In addition, the city has a survey at this link which will only be available online until Nov. 7. We need as many people as possible to attend this meeting so we can discuss this plan and how we will respond as a community.

The City of Charlotte's Office of Planning is updating their "Centers, Corridors and Wedges." Per the planning website:

"The 'Centers and Corridors' development framework was originally introduced in 1994 and is the City of Charlotte's adopted overarching policy for organizing and guiding growth and development within the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The framework is currently being updated and is expected to be adopted by the Charlotte City Council in the spring of 2009. The updated framework – referred to as the Centers, Corridors and Wedges Growth Framework - broadens the original transportation oriented focus to include other aspects of planning and development, such as public facility needs and environmental concerns. The update also provides more specific definitions and guidance for Centers and Corridors and expands the concept to provide recommendations for Wedges, as well."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Carving commenced

The carving at the Elizabeth Pumpkin Wall has more than commenced -- it's almost done, as you can see ahead of the official lighting on Wednesday. Among the carvers Monday night were Hughes (left) and McLean Maddrey of East 8th Street, who fashioned a scary one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin wall returns

The Elizabeth Pumpkin Wall returns to 537 Lamar Ave. this year, site of the original wall in 2004. (The above photo is from two years ago, on Clement.) Carving starts Oct. 24 and the official lighting is Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The project is put on by the Woodpeckers, a group of mostly Elizabethans who like to work with wood. And pumpkins. My guess is that, like past years, there will be a political component to the wall. In the past that has rubbed some people the wrong way. The wall is on private property, and the ECA has nothing to do with it. All are welcome to attend.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't forget to vote

Yes, that's Elizabethan Donna Bise with James Taylor at his concert at Ovens today for Barack Obama. No matter who you support, don't forget to vote. In Elizabeth, you can vote early at CPCC:

CPCC Central Campus Facilities Building
Located at 1325 E. 7th St., Charlotte
October 16 – 31 (Weekdays) 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
October 25 (Saturday) 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
October 26 (Sunday) 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
November 1 (Saturday) 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM (Final Day)

Charlotte on 60 Minutes

Ok, it's got nothing to do with Elizabeth specifically, but it's fun to see 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl walking down Tryon Street with Bank of America's Ken Lewis and hear her say things like "B of A seems to own Charlotte" and hear him say things like "We need to cut back compensation in this industry." Elizabeth is home to lots of BofA employees, so there you go.

Minor at Burning Man

Hope you got to see Elizabethan Hardin Minor's take on the Burning Man festival in The Observer.

TJ and HT

I'd never been to a Trader Joe's before ours opened in Midtown, so I thought it was going to be like a regular grocery store, one that could replace a Harris Teeter. And it could, I suppose, but it's not really a regular grocery store. JT veterans already knew that, but I didn't. I love the stuff at Trader Joe's, stuff I didn't know I could get. But I'll still wander over to Central and The Plaza, although probably not as often as I used to, for more commonplace items.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Midtown grocery

I've been a loyal Harris Teeter customer for years but I have to admit I'm looking forward to the new Trader Joe's opening at Midtown on Oct. 10. Choice is good, right? I got my postcard offering a free reusable Trader Joe's shopping bag if I show up before Oct. 24. If you check it out on Friday, let me know how the crowds are. I may wait for Saturday morning before I go.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What do you want the park to be?

So you're walking through lower Independence Park and there it is: A parking lot. In the park. Maybe it made sense to have a place for cars in our park when there was a building there, but seems like they should have torn out the blacktop when they tore down the building. But that's just me. What do you think should be done to lower  Independence Park over the next 10 years?

The rose garden is lovely. The fountain, when it's not ruined by vandals or drought, is ok. But should we add a big ole gazebo like the one in Latta Park? More walkways or other "pedestrian connectivity"? What about a playground? Now is your chance to tell Park and Rec about your ideas. There's no money for improvements to the park, mind you. But if money becomes available, we better be ready to tell them how we want it spent.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cool bridge on Central Avenue

Have you seen the cool addition to the Briar Creek bridge on Central AvenueGreensboro sculptor Jim Gallucci used galvanized steel for the artwork. We were remiss in not reminding folks of the dedication of the bridge held Saturday. Hope you had a chance to check it out. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

City saves neighborhood from falling into hole

As soon as I proclaim the city won't "drop everything" to come fix our hole they do exactly that, saving our street from certain doom less than 24 hours after my post. The repair job (above) was professional and clean. That's a paperback book at lower right to give you an idea of how big the patch is. I'd say it's about 6 feet by 5 feet. I wasn't around when they did the repair, so I don't know how deep they had to dig and if they carefully cleaned the cavity or just poured in the macadam. However, in response to the polite wag who wanted a photo, Elizabeth Maddrey supplied the picture below. A brave yardstick measures exactly what we had to fear: About 31 inches of street-devouring depth. Brrrr. Thank goodness the city saved us before things got out of hand. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Come see the E. 8th St. sinkhole

We got us a sinkhole. Ok, it's not a town-eating sinkhole, like the one in East Texas. Ours is only few inches wide and a few feet deep. So far. But hey, with a few more days of rain and a few more honking Cadieu trucks hauling out fallen trees (one fell on Fred Holder's house the other day; Cadieu dealt with it this evening), who knows how cavernous it may grow. It's not like the city is going to drop everything to fill our petit pit. Several folks have already called 311, among them Elizabeth Maddrey, whose home lies mere feet  from the aspiring abyss. Elizabeth says she was told it would be fixed... yesterday. She's promised to keep us posted. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Elizabeth green home

Hope you enjoyed the article on the eco-friendly Scott-Tylman home in Charlotte Magazine's Home and Garden summer issue. The work Elaine and Jerry did on their Kenmore home is very inspiring. Perhaps you spent some time in their backyard, having a drink before starting this year's progressive dinner. (Can't seem to find the article on the Web site.) 

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Who cooks for you

We had a visitor in our backyard tonight. He cut a striking figure, high in the pecan tree. He was worried for some time by a mockingbird, but outlasted the smaller bird and settled in for a good sit. Last time I checked, he was still there. But it got way dark, so I can't be sure.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Veggie oil power

Hope you caught Dannye Romine Powell's column on Elizabethan Bob Teixeira, who converted his 1981 Mercedes to run on vegetable oil.

Fabulous Fourth

As usual, the shy and retiring Hardin Minor (top) was MC and host of the annual ECA 4th of July parade. The 15th annual celebration of America's birthday started shortly after 10:30 a.m. in front of Hardin's Clement Avenue chateau. In keeping with parade tradition, the temperature and humidity were as high as the spirits. After the parade, folks gathered in the Minors' back yard to eat, sing and perspire. EC Grill King Mike Watson tended three fires and, for the first time, served turkey dogs along with the traditional beef. It was a fine affair, and big thanks are due to the Minors and the Watsons for their generous hospitality. One little firecracker (right) enjoyed her first parade peacefully. She is the granddaughter of the Baldwins on Lamar (I apologize for not remembering her name!).

Update: Check out Linda Minor's excellent photos from the event.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

SouthPark still waiting

Turns out Elizabeth isn't the only neighborhood having a hard time landing Whole Foods. Even with its tony demographics, SouthPark is finding Whole Foods a little on the persnickety side. The Observer reports that construction on the site won't start until 2010, and you know these things don't tend to get early starts.

The article says Whole Foods is considering additional locations in Charlotte, one of the three largest metro areas in the country without a Whole Foods. My guess is one additional location won't be Elizabeth -- despite the best efforts of Elizabethan Beth Haenni -- because by the time they make up their minds, we'll have been won over by Trader Joe's, Fresh Markets, Earth Fares and who-knows-what-all stores.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thomas Street rocks

The only North Carolina bar on Esquire magazine's list of the best bars in America? Thomas Street Tavern of course. No, it's not in Elizabeth, but it is often full of Elizabethans.

Leaving Eastland

The news just keeps getting worse for Eastland Mall. Now the owners may walk rather than pay the mortgage, because they owe more than the thing is worth. I tend to remember what Eastland used to be at this time, but in addition to figuring out what to do with the east side, now is the time to wonder: What will be the next Eastland?

Guns in Plaza Midwood

Maybe if I was shot at Snug Harbor I might feel more like Scott Yamanashi, who is starting an armed neighborhood patrol in Plaza Midwood to battle crime. I certainly understand the frustration. Crime is a constant worry in this city, and sometimes it seems like nothing is being done. But I wonder about the setup: An armed and perhaps angry crime victim searching the mean nighttime streets for evil. No problem as long as wisdom and patience prevail.

I applaud Scott for standing up, for getting involved, for organizing. I hope lots of people follow his lead and his neighborhood and ours becomes awash in nightside eyes watching out for all of us. But I'd feel better if the guns stayed home.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Door-to-door trouble

The Elizabeth Crime Dawg writes:
There is a 30-ish white male going door to door as an alarm company salesman. He was aggressive with one of my neighbors. He has been seen in Elizabeth and Plaza Midwood, yesterday and today. He is driving a small silver car with Ohio plates. Today he was seen cruising the neighborhood, stopping in front of each house, making notes. He may be taking notes of who does and who doesn't have an alarm system.

DO NOT OPEN the door to him. Call the police if you spot him. Dark hair, dark blue shirt, white shorts. When I saw him again today he sped off in his car as though he was afraid I would see him. The police have gotten several reports and are trying to catch him. There is no alarm company with the name on his clipboard.

I just had another person come to my door from a different company. It is suspicious because they are coming during the day when most people are working. Don't be afraid to call the police, if these are legitimate businesses they should know that this is no way to sell products. On the other hand, if it is a theft ring, they need to know that neighbors are watching.

Elizabeth news

My recent post got a pair of excellent responses:
  • The Observer's Dan Tierney, staff writer for Neighbors of The City, says: "Please feel free to tell your neighborhood association, neighbors or anyone to please contact me if they have any story ideas or suggestions." Don't be bashful, folks. Call or email Dan and let him know what's going on here. Or tell me and I'll post it and/or call Dan. His phone: 704-358-5696.

  • A note that Merry Oaks's fine blog underoak has a bit of Elizabeth news: Free classical music in a beautiful space.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Where's Elizabeth?

I hope you've been enjoying the new Neighbors of The City section of The Observer. It's a welcome replacement for the old Mecklenburg Neighbors section, and it's one of the first sections I look for Sunday mornings. (If newspapers are going to survive, they'll do so only by offering readers something they can't get anywhere else, and that will include hyper-local content like you see in NOTC.)

However, one thing has struck me as I've been reading the new section: It's almost as if Elizabeth doesn't exist. In today's section, for example, I count about 35 column inches of news space over 14 pages, and not one news item from Elizabeth. To be fair, there is a mention of CPCC in the College Notes and an event at the Visulite in the calendar. But surely there's more going on in Elizabeth than that.

Labels refer to SouthPark, Uptown, East Charlotte, Myers Park, Cotswold, Eastover, Plaza Midwood, Eastland, Coventry Woods, Idlewild Farms -- but no Elizabeth. And, apart from two Presbyterian Hospital ads, a listing for St. John's Baptist Church in the Worship directory, and a mention of a Helen Adams Realty office in "Historic Elizabeth," there aren't even any ads from our neighborhood.

This is not a one-time deal. I no longer have last week's section, but if memory serves there were only two mentions of Elizabeth, one in the traffic news column on page 2 and one in the list of homes sold by ZIP code.

C'mon NOTC. I'm doing a terrible job covering Elizabeth lately. Why don't you step in and put me out of business? Show Elizabeth some love!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Time to remove tree bands

Kara Gooding writes:

Congratulations Elizabeth Neighborhood! We conquered the cankerworm this year. Your banding efforts, along with the spraying program have saved our canopy from what was sure to be a devastating Spring for our mature tree canopy. I hope everyone is getting out and appreciating all the healthy green leaves we have right now.

However, there is one last critical step: it is now time to take down the cankerworm bands. It is important that bands do not stay up longer than needed as they tend to hold moisture against the tree bark and if they stay up too long, can house insects and/or cause the bark to get infected or rot. Also, its important to pull out any staples that were used in the installation process.

So please take down the tree bands in your area. The city has not let us know when they will remove their bands, but if a city tree was banded in your area, please try to remove that band as well.

Thank You again for all your hard work. Anyone can see how wonderfully green our tree canopy is this year and that is in large part due to your wonderful efforts.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

This old house

When we moved into our Elizabeth home 11 years ago, the foundation was straight and true. In the last few drought-plagued years it's begun to crack and list. That's not all. During the storm Tuesday night I noticed a leak in the roof. It's been six years since we last painted the exterior. And that's just the outside. Don't get me started on the improvements needed inside.

Our homes give our neighborhood such character. Sometimes character costs. 

If the painter I used last time is still in business, I'll hire him again. He was great. But as far as a roofer or someone to fix my foundation, I have no clue. Who can recommend a few folks who can help me restore some character to my old house? 

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Straight bourbon

Elizabethan Monte Ritchey is one of three Charlotte businessmen who have bought an old distillery in Kentucky to salvage heart pine, limestone and other treasures for reuse. The result is Bourbon Boards.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Supersizing in Dilworth

Our sister neighborhood continues to deal with growth issues, as do we. The Observer checks in with a piece headlined: "Smaller houses vanish as property values rise."

Restaurant rezoning

Not much detail, but this appeared in The Observer today:

City Council approves plans for restaurant expansion at Pecan, Gordon

Charlotte City Council on Monday approved plans for a restaurant at Pecan Avenue and Gordon Street in the Elizabeth neighborhood. Robert Nixon asked the city to rezone .19 acres to allow the expansion of the building at Pecan Avenue and Gordon Street by 11,132 square feet. The expansion would add a second floor in several areas as well as rooftop seating. The site was last used as a nightclub, but is vacant now.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Independence disaster (continued)

The paragraph that stuck out to me in this Observer article about Eastside residents losing patience with what's happening (or not happening) with Independence Boulevard was the one that began:
In the 1980s, the state began widening Independence Boulevard to ease traffic between Matthews and the center city.
Why should Charlotte neighborhoods have to be cleaved in two and forced to deal with the abomination that Independence has become just so people who choose to live far away from downtown can get downtown quicker? Why?

If you want to see what the people who brought us this mess have up their sleeves next, there will be an "informational workshop" in the Activity Center Room at Eastland Mall Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. The end result: East Independence will be a freeway from downtown to Conference Drive. I guess it's too late to tear it up.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


In case you missed this report from the Crime Dudette:

Breaking and Entering: 2200 block of Kenmore; Monday, the victim and her daughter were home at approximately 7 a.m. when the daughter left to go to school. An unknown suspect entered the residence through an unlocked door. The victim was upstairs when the suspect entered the residence. When the victim came downstairs she saw the suspect. The victim began screaming, got into a physical altercation with the suspect, bit the suspect, at which time the suspect ran out of the house. The victim could not advise if the suspect had a vehicle or left on foot. The suspect is described as a white male, 5-10, thin build, wearing a dark jacket and hat.

This is a reminder that we live in a big city. Like birds on a lawn, we need to keep one eye out for the cats. We have to be ever vigilant, for ourselves and our neighbors.

Elizabeth church picks Elizabeth pastor

Looks like Elizabethan John Cleghorn's commute will be a little shorter now. Cleghorn is giving up the gilded halls of Bank of America downtown for the pastor's office at Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Church -- in our 'hood, 'natch. Congratulations, John.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New organ for St. John's

Elizabeth is home to a honking new organ at St. John's Baptist Church. The Observer covered it over the weekend, but our friends at underoak broke the story Jan. 13.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Elizabeth graffiti

With big city status comes big city problems. Latest case in point: A few vandals have been busy tagging walls around Elizabeth lately, including Snoops (above), Cooking Uptown, Dollar General and Family Dollar on Central. If you see someone spray-painting someone else's property call the police.

Fire on Bay Street

The duplex often referred to as the adobe house on Bay between Hawthorne and Lamar caught fire on Friday. I don't have any details. If you do, please share them.

Atlanta developer buys block of 7th

The Charlotte Business Journal reports that Winter Properties of Atlanta has spent $4.6 million and three years assembling a collection of buildings between 7th Street and Weddington, but won't say what its plans are for the site. CBJ says Winter is known for developing urban condo and apartment projects and converted the Highland Mill in NoDa into apartments.

Crane rises over Elizabeth

The construction continues on the apartment complex on Hawthorne next to Independence.