SLLA LogoIt was only this past winter that the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] was rushing to complete valve repairs on Lake Echo in time for early Spring rains to refill the lake — rains that proved unequal to the task.

Little did the board know, as they paid the hefty sum to pump water from Lake Sequoia into Lake Echo in March, that Mother Nature was planning a continuous deluge during month of June.

Seven Lakes' 2013 monsoon season has continued into July with a daily chance of thunderstorms. For the first time in recent memory, the lakes have been as much as six to eight inches over full pond.

During their Monday, July 15 work session the SLLA Board discussed issues raised by the full-to-the-brim lakes. Recognizing that the discussion would benefit from professional advice, they tabled several items until the following night, during a special meeting (scheduled to discuss bylaws). The day's delay would give SLLA management and the Lakes and Dam Committee time to seek recommendations.

Ramapo overflow pipe needs work

SLLA Manager Ray Sohl reported that a recent engineering study found that one of the outlet pipes on Lake Ramapo dam had failed. The engineer reported to Sohl that the three drain pipes that are still working are not sufficient to lower the water level at the recommended rate.

The engineer recommended a thorough structural assessment of Ramapo; and a repair proposal would then be presented to the NC Dam Safety Office with a request that the dam be released from the state’s jurisdiction for necessary repairs.

“The engineer would provide a cost option to repair the overflow systems or to redesign the overflow with a siphon installed for drainage,” Sohl said.

The Dam Safety office of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources has jurisdiction over dams.

“Releasing the dam from the state’s jurisdiction for repairs would be ideal.” Sohl said. “The cost should be infinitely less to design it and repair it.”

Sohl reminded the Board that, during the repair of Little Juniper Dam, “the state required an engineer at $50 per hour to be on site.”

Read more: Heavy Rains Bring Challenges for Lake Management

Moore County LogoThe design phase of a project that will bring water from Harnett County to the Seven Lakes area has begun, with the selection of McGill and Associates as the engineering firm that will both design the project and prepare an application for state funding.

During its Tuesday, July 17 regular meeting, the Moore County Board of Commissioners authorized County staff to negotiate a contract with McGill.

The Board also authorized the negotiation of a contract with Hobbs Upchurch and Associates for the design of a second water supply project: the development of three new wells near Foxfire Village.

Public Utilities Director Randy Gould told the Board that the engineering firms will be on a fast track in order to meet a September 30 application deadline for the state revolving loan fund, which may allow the County to fund the projects with a zero-interest state loan.

Read more: County Awards Design Contract to Bring More Water from Harnett County

Moore County LogoRodney Pickler resigned from the Moore County Planning Board at the conclusion of its Thursday, July 11 regular meeting, to the surprise of Chairman Robert Hayter and most Planning Board members.

"When I was in school, I made all A's," Pickler said. "A Beta Club member. I took the IQ test; they didn't believe it; and I had to take it over again."

"But I don't feel like I'm smart enough for this Planning Staff or for the Commissioners of Moore County. So, I am officially resigning, as of right now. That's it."

A surprised Chairman Hayter thanked Pickler for his service, but Pickler, already on his way out of the meeting room, replied, "I don't want a recognition award. I won't show up; so don't bother."

Pickler did not explain the reasons for his resignation beyond those brief comments, and Hayter told The Times that Pickler had not notified the Chair in advance of his intention to resign.

However, other Board Members suggested that Pickler was motivated by the Planning Staff's decision to forward zoning ordinance text amendments permitting industrial scale solar farms to the Board of Commissioners, even though the Planning Board had unanimously opposed the proposed rules.

The Commissioners ultimately approved the text amendments in a unanimous vote. Pickler had criticized the tax subsidies received by North Carolina solar farms during the Planning Board's discussion of the proposed amendments.

Pickler was appointed to the Planning Board in 2009; his current three-year term was scheduled to expire in June 2015.

Read more: Pickler Quits Planning Board, Seven Lakes Rezoning Approved

Helen Mantila, M.D., says she has two passions in life: being a mother and being a physician.

“They’re both hard jobs, but the most rewarding ones I could imagine,” she says.

Dr. MantilaThis mother of three joined FirstHealth of the Carolinas last year as a primary care physician in Richmond County. On July 8, she moved to the FirstHealth Family Care Center-Seven Lakes, joining a family medicine practice that also includes Dan Matthews, P.A.-C, and Amanda Martin, ANP.

Board certified in family medicine, Dr. Mantila earned her undergraduate degree from Purdue University in Indiana and her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine. She was elected chief resident during her residency at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) and later spent five years as a UCSD faculty member, caring for patients, mentoring resident doctors, and teaching medical student classes.

She takes pride in being a family doctor and having the privilege of providing health care to entire families.

“I truly enjoy providing health care to the entire family,” she says. “There is great value in a doctor knowing the whole family, and family medicine is unique in our training to be able to care for children, adults and seniors. The diversity of the care we provide in family medicine is extremely rewarding. I particularly enjoy practicing preventive care and participating in patient education.”

Dr. Mantila, her husband, and their children make their home in Seven Lakes.

“I love being a part of this community,” she says, “and I look forward to working with the families here on their health and wellness.”

The FirstHealth Family Care Center-Seven Lakes is located at 1035-C Seven Lakes Drive in Seven Lakes. All three providers are currently accepting new patients, and appointments can be made by calling (910) 673-0045.

SLWLA LogoThe flooding that makes Butterfly Court in Seven Lakes West impassable during heavy rains is a perennial and long-unresolved problem. Over the years, among the most persistent and passionate advocates for Association action to correct the problem have been Priscilla Snee and her late husband Jerry.

The recent spate of storms brought flood waters to Butterfly Court, and Priscilla Snee to the microphone during the Public Comment segment of the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] Tuesday, June 26 Board meeting.

But, before addressing the floods, Snee had something else on her mind: a perceived lack of respect paid by the Association to families mourning the loss of a loved one.

Read more: Rains bring flood to Butterfly Court

[Clarification: Seven Lakes West Landowners Association Events Director Rosemary Weber expressed concern that this report on the Tuesday, June 26 Board meeting may have created the impression that CAS, Inc. staff are currently involved in the planning and execution of Community Events. Weber told The Times that "CAS has not orchestrated any of the Events for Seven Lakes West -- and will not, until next year, when the Events Director's position will be eliminated, along with the Safety and Security Director position, reducing the Board to seven Directors."]

Responsibility for Safety & Security, as well as Events, will pass from the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] Board of Directors to the Association’s management company, CAS, Inc. when the terms of current Directors Ed Cockman and Rosemary Weber expire next March.

The Directors had voted earlier in the year to downsize the Board from nine to seven members, a recommendation made by last year’s Nominating Committee. They voted during their Tuesday, June 25 meeting to reassign the functions that Cockman and Weber had been handling.

After the meeting, SLWLA President Stevens told The Times that it was difficult to find nine board members who are willing to volunteer.

“We went from nine to seven because it is more typical,” he added. “All of the associations that CAS represents have boards with seven members. Plus, the Board, over time, is trying to come up with a plan to make volunteering as a Board Member to be more enticing. It’s a better plan get people to volunteer.”

Read more: CAS will manage Westside security, events

The NC Department of Transportation [NCDOT] has released a drawing of its plan for a new gated railroad crossing at the main intersection in Seven Lakes, where Seven Lakes Drive and Lakeway Drive meet NC Highway 211. Download the plan here.

When a train is approaching, traffic entering Seven Lakes West will be stopped by 30 foot gate, with four two-light assemblies affixed to its mounting structure.

RR Crossing CantileverTraffic using one of the two exit lanes from Seven Lakes West will encounter a slightly longer gate, as well as signal lights mounted on a cantilever that extends across both exit lanes of Lakeway Drive. The illustration at right shows a typical railroad crossing cantilever.

Traffic lights at the intersection will be interconnected with the crossing signals (the technical term is “pre-emption”), so that traffic headed for Seven Lakes West will be stopped when a train has the crossing closed.

NCDOT Engineer Nancy Horne told The Times that the Department’s signal group has completed its plan for the traffic signal pre-emption, and the crossing plan has been submitted to the Aberdeen, Carolina, & Western Railway [ACWR], which will design the signal circuitry and, eventually, handle signal construction.

Once a cost estimate from ACWR is in hand and approved by NCDOT, construction can begin.

Horne said that is still several months off, “but we are a lot further along than we were.”

Excessive speed was the cause of a single vehicle accident on Longleaf Drive in Seven Lakes West Saturday night, June 22, that claimed the life of 48-year-old Earnest Ray Barber of Pinebluff.

That's the conclusion reached by NC Highway Patrol Trooper K.R. Burroughs, who told The Times on Monday that he estimates Barber's vehicle was traveling at nearly 70 miles per hour when it crossed the center line and slammed into a tree around 11:00 pm. The accident occurred between the two ponds on the outside of Longleaf, west of Lakeway Drive, near Patman Court.

Burroughs said Barber was traveling east on Longleaf, and his high rate of speed was observed by witnesses in two other vehicles heading west on Longleaf.

Barber was driving a full-sized Dodge pickup, with 25-year-old Bryan Scarlett, of Jackson Springs, in the passenger seat. Scarlett was transported to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. On Monday, the hospital reported Scarlett in good condition.

In addition to the Highway Patrol, first responders called to the scene included Moore County EMS, Seven Lakes EMS, Seven Lakes Volunteer Fire Department, and West End Fire and Rescue.

The accident, rescue efforts, and investigation stopped traffic on Longleaf for about two and one-half hours, Ed Cockman, Safety and Security Director of the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association, told The Times. The Association opened the road across Lake Auman Dam to facilitate the flow of traffic to and from the neighborhoods west of the dam.

Moore County LogoMoore County's Board of Commissioners have approved new zoning rules that will allow the development of industrial scale solar farms in the County, despite a unanimous recommendation to the contrary from the Planning Board. The Board took up the matter during their Tuesday, June 18 regular meeting.

The text amendments approved allow solar farms as a conditional use in the County's business and industrial zoning districts, as well as in the RA-Rural Agricultural zoning district that encompasses most of the county's rural areas.

As a "conditional use," each proposed solar farm will have to win approval from the Planning Board in a process that allows both supporters and opponents of the use to weigh in on the project under oath in a quasi-judicial public hearing.

Solar farms will be subject to number of requirements under the approved ordinance, including a minimum lot size, height restrictions, setbacks, fencing, and screening where they adjoin residential property and public rights of way. The applicant for a zoning permit for a solar farm is also required to supply a plan for removing the structure once it is no longer in use.

Read more: Commissioners Say 'Yes' to Solar Farms

Moore County LogoOtis Ritter, a stalwart of the Moore County Republican Party, has been selected by the party's executive committee to serve out the unexpired term of Craig Kennedy on the Moore County Board of Commissioners.

The 73-year-old Ritter, who currently serves as Chairman of the County's Emergency Services Advisory Committee [ESAC], told The Times that he will be a staunch conservative on matters of taxes and spending, and that he plans to continue to work on public safety issues as Commissioner.

Otis RitterKennedy resigned on April 25; his term would have expired in November of 2014. Under state law, a resigning Commissioner must be replaced by someone from the same district and party, and the law requires that the remaining Commissioners accept the person recommended by the executive committee of the appropriate political party in the county.

Moore County GOP Chairman John Rowerdink told The Times that the party's executive committee met on Tuesday, May 14 and voted unanimously to recommend Ritter for the post. Party officers had interviewed three other individuals who had expressed an interest in filling the seat, Rowerdink said, including GOP Men's Club President Lewis Gregory, Soil and Water Conservation Board Chairman Scott Sheffield, and former Robbins Mayor Theron Bell.

"I think he'll be an excellent Commissioner," Rowerdink said, noting that Ritter regularly attends Board of Commissioners meetings, and thus is well acquainted with the issues facing the County.

"All things being equal, we felt it was important to have someone from the northern part of the county," Rowedink added. "In the interest of geographic balance, we wanted to make sure those people were represented." Ritter lives outside Robbins, near North Moore High School.

Read more: GOP Selects Ritter as County Commissioner

In Memory Of

  • Jane Scales Facey

     of Foxfire Village died on Tuesday, April 19 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. A private...

  • Nancy P. Neilson

    formerly of Seven Lakes, died on Monday,  April 18. Nancy and her husband, Roger, retired from...

  • John E. Letter

    95, of Seven Lakes, died Monday, March 21, at his home, surrounded by family and friends. A...

  • Marilyn Rose Kemble Bearden

     84, formerly of Seven Lakes, died on March 8 in Greenville, SC. The family will receive friends on...

  • Vonadora Baker Stackhouse

    96, died on Wednesday, March 2, her wedding anniversary, at her home in Seven Lakes West. Services were...

  • James R. Nichols

    (Jim) of Seven Lakes died at his home on Monday, February 22.  A Celebration of his life will be...

  • Timothy William Bouchelle

    49, of West End died on Friday, February 19, 2016 at his residence.  A visitation will be held from...

  • John P. Carpenter

    75, of Seven Lakes North died Saturday, February 13 at FirstHealth Hospice House in Pinehurst. A...

  • Michael Jerome Loney

    87 of Seven Lakes West died Tuesday, February 9 at First Health Moore Regional Hospital in...

  • Glenda Mae (Marks) Tucker

    64 of Seven Lakes passed on Sunday February 7 at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro.  A...

  • Dr. William Harrell Johnson

    92 years old, of Seven Lakes West, died on Tuesday, February 2, at home.  A memorial service was...