In an unexpected announcement during the Monday, December 6 Work Session of the Seven Lakes Landowners Association Board, President Randy Zielsdorf announced his intention to resurrect the Lakes & Dams Committee, a group he disbanded in April 2009.

SLLA LogoIn previous meetings, Zielsdorf explained that decision was based on his desire to shift responsibility for the monitoring, care and maintenance of the dams from volunteer to management’s supervision – in effect, swinging back the pendulum after the committee was created and provided exceptional proactive service following many years of deferred maintenance and what many characterized as minimal oversight by former manager Dalton Fulcher. Zielsdorf acknowledged that failure, but cited concerns that at least one committee member had been working with contractors on behalf of the Association in an inappropriate manner and that while substantial funding had been channeled into dam maintenance, he was not convinced that every expense was warranted.

Responding to criticism this Summer from former committee members, Zielsdorf agreed to a meeting in October between himself, Treasurer Denny Galford, Community Manager Alina Cochran, and several representatives from the former group. Discussions included a comprehensive five-year review of dam expenditures and joint approval of an eight item action list of regularly scheduled dam maintenance projects.

During Monday’s Work Session, Cochran noted that new information would require an adjustment to one of those items.

“There is some concern that mowing the grass when it has grown too long smothers the grass underneath,” Cochran explained.

Once mowed on a regular basis for aesthetics, over the last few years the grass on the dam faces has only been cut twice or thrice each year to prevent soil erosion. Cochran recommended that instead of limiting cuttings to a predetermined number, that the action item should be amended so that grass is mowed when it reaches a specified maximum height.

Following her report, Zielsdorf announced his decision to reconstitute the Lakes & Dams Committee and said he is seeking four interested individuals to serve. Specifically, he noted the committee would be useful in providing guidance for special requests related to the lakes that do not fall under already established committee interests of security, recreation or infrastructure. He anticipated an initial meeting in January and at least one more meeting prior to the new Board members being seated following the Annual Meeting in March.

Read more: Zielsdorf Resurrects Lake & Dam Committee

[CORRECTION - An earlier version of this story reported that CommissionerJimmy Melton's election as Vice Chairman of the Board of Commissioners was a a continuation of his service in that post last year. In fact, Cindy Morgan served as Vice Chair last year. The Times regrets the error.]


Nick Picerno of McLendon Hills will return to the Chairman's seat on the Moore County Board of Commissioners, placed there by the unanimous vote of the Board to approve a nomination made by new Commissioner Craig Kennedy and seconded by former Chairman Tim Lea during the Board's Monday, December 6 meeting. Picerno served as the county board's Chairman in 2008, the first year of his term; Lea has served as Chairman for the past twelve months.

Moore County LogoOn a motion by Larry Caddell, seconded by Kennedy, and unanimously approved, Jimmy Melton will serve as the Board's Vice Chairman. Caddell and Melton were both re-elected to the Board in November. They, along with Kennedy, who successfully challenged Cindy Morgan in the Republican primary, were sworn in at the opening of the meeting.

Picerno wasted no time in assuming the mantle of leadership, laying out what he jokingly called "St. Nick's Christmas List" -- seven ""ideas" that he said he would "like the Board to consider" in the coming year. He asked his fellow Commissioners to explore:

• Selling the Village of Pinehurst the portions of the county water system that serve the Village, using the proceeds from that sale to extend county water service to the rest of the county.

• Partnering with the Town of Robbins to make it a source of water for county customers, by preparing a concrete proposal and asking the Town to do the same, exchanging those proposals in a public meeting, and beginning serious negotiations.

• Giving taxpayers a one-year break from paying the two-cent Advanced Life Support tax, which is dedicated to funding county emergency services. Picerno noted that the tax has produced a current surplus of $5.1 million, creating the opportunity for a one-time tax break.

• Using a portion of the county's fund balance, currently just under $19 million, to retire some of the county's debt that carries higher interest rates.

• Taking a second look at last year's reconfiguration of the county's longevity and performance bonus system for rewarding its employees. The rewrite of the system, which eliminated bonuses given solely on the basis of longevity, "May have gone too far," Picerno said, noting that it may be impossible for employees to reach the highest performance rating in the system.

• Continuing to reduce the number of county employees through attrition, using the savings realized to provide a pay raise for the remaining employees.

• Forming a citizen's task force that would review the ordinances proposed for the county's proposed Unified Development Ordinance and make recommendations to help make Moore County more business-friendly.

Picerno's list, offered at the very end of the meeting, provoked no public reaction from his fellow Board members. He joked that he didn't want his fellow Commissioners "to have too much of a holiday."

Though they will not meet again in December, the Board of Commissioners have a regular meeting scheduled for January 4, a work session on January 6, a retreat on January 13 & 14, and another regular meeting on January 18.

Read more: Picerno Will Chair Board of Commissioners

Final details on implementing the three and a half-year-old driving range agreement between the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] and Seven Lakes Country Club [SLCC] may be resolved by the end of the year, with attorneys from both sides meeting during Thanksgiving week to work out a few remaining differences.

“We’re very, very close to the covenants being finished and agreed upon,” President Randy Zielsdorf reported at the SLLA Open Meeting on Wednesday, November 17.

As the only current Board member who participated in the contentious 4-3 split vote that approved the agreement in July 2007, Zielsdorf has indicated his interest in seeing the matter finally put to rest.

Prompted by the SLCC’s desire to sell the old driving range for residential development, the agreement lays out five bullet points concerning the future use of the five acre tract and the Club's other landholdings.

Read more: SLLA, Club Close to Nailing Down Agreement

Approved on a 3-2 split vote, the new Code of Ethics for the Moore County Board of Commissioners is a comprehensive guideline that includes both general and specific recommendations for legal and ethical behavior. The Board adopted the document during its Tuesday, November 16 meeting.

The Code lays out and explains a list of basic principles: that commissioners shall obey the law, should uphold the integrity and independence of their office, should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety, should perform the duties of the office diligently, should conduct the affairs of the Board in an open and public manner, and should endeavor to stay updated on new or ongoing legal or ethical issues. The text in the primary document was approved as presented, without comment.

But a short section in an attachment to the Code split the Board along familiar lines, with Chair Tim Lea and Commissioner Cindy Morgan holding the minority vote against Commissioners Larry Caddell, Nick Picerno, and Jimmy Melton.

Read more: Commissioners Approve Ethics Code in Split Vote

A special meeting of the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] to vote on reopening the road across Lake Auman Dam has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 15 in the Great Room of the Westside Park Community Center.

Image After hearing from Secretary Karen Milligan that 218 members in good standing had signed petitions calling for a special meeting, the six members of the SLWLA Board of Directors present for their Tuesday, November 9 Work Session approved the December date and appointed the Association's outside attorney, Stephen Later, to chair the meeting and serve as parliamentarian.

Though it is clear the meeting will be held on December 15, that Later will chair it, and that it will concern the reopening of the dam road, few other details are available. Speaking with The Times after the Work Session, Legal Director Ed Silberhorn said he had placed the details of how the meeting will be announced and conducted in the hands of the Association Attorney. Thus, it is not clear whether a ballot will be mailed with the meeting announcement, what that ballot will say, or how proxies will be handled was also not clear.

 

Read more: Special Meeting set on Dam Road

Joe Sikes has resigned as Director and Treasurer of the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA]. The Westside Board appointed Don Freiert to serve out the two-plus years remaining in Sikes' term as Director and also named him Treasurer during the Tuesday, November 9 Work Session.

Image President Ron Shepard announced that Sikes had tendered his resignation on Saturday, November 6, and thanked Sikes for his service. Shepard did not elaborate on the reasons Sikes stepped down, although the former Treasurer had outlined the concerns underlying his action in an open letter to the membership.

A copy of that document provided to The Times suggests that Sikes found himself in frequent conflict with his fellow Directors, at least in part because of operating philosophy and style; that he believed that conflict could be detrimental to the membership; and that he, despite his title of "Treasurer," felt he was being marginalized in the process of setting the FY 2011-2012 budget.

[The full text of Sikes' resignation letter is available here .]

 

Read more: Sikes resigns from Westside Board

Dear Fellow Members:

I have been engaged in an internal debate for some while now. The urgency of this self-examination has only been heightened by the recent (and continuing) quarrel over the closing of the dam road and by internal Board communications over the budget process.

Image Here are my conclusions:

1. The style and methods of operation of some members of this particular Board are ones for which I have a certain distaste;

2. My philosophical liberalism is inimical to the philosophical affinities of at least a majority of my present colleagues on the Board and that is unlikely to be changed by the upcoming Board election, or, probably, by any subsequent election;

3. The positions I have sometimes taken on issues often seem to act as a lightning rod for negative reaction, closing minds on the Board not opening them. This is, I expect, my fault;

4. My complaints about Board processes may be having the unfortunate effect of diminishing opportunities for member input, not increasing those opportunities. Again, I expect this is my fault;

5. Having promised not to do so, I find myself falling all too easily back into habits of competitiveness;

6. Though this is trivial to my decision, I selfishly include it so as not to be perceived to be any more derelict than may be convenient. I consider that I have been authoritatively informed that my role in the budget process will be such that my absence from the process is unlikely to be noticed;

7. The conclusions I have listed above clearly indicate that my continuing service on the Board would be a disservice to the membership, to the Board, and to me.

I hereby resign from the Board of Directors of the Seven Lakes West Landowners’ Association.

Respectfully,

Joseph T. Sikes

    IncorporateSevenLakes.com will not be presenting the North Carolina General Assembly with a petition this month aimed at making Seven Lakes a town.
Image    "We have no plans to submit a petition," Randy Merritt told The Times. Merritt, one of three Seven Lakes business owners who spearheaded the incorporation effort, added "It's effectively dead, as far as we are concerned.”
    Merritt, Darrell Marks, and Vann Joyce introduced the idea of incorporating Seven Lakes and McLendon Hills — while keeping the communities' gates intact — in March, touching off a months-long community-wide debate about whether — and how — Seven Lakes could become a town.
    The group rapidly attracted several hundred signatories to their incorporation petition, but, in the long run, fell short of the minimum 596 signatures needed to present their proposal to the General Assembly's Joint Legislative Commission on Municipal Incorporations.
    Moore County Elections Director Glenda Clendenin told The Times that IncorporateSevenLakes.com had presented 522 signatures, of which 459 were found to be those of registered voters residing in the area that would be incorporated.
    Merritt told The Times that he had learned that Moore County's state legislators — Representative Jamie Boles and Senator Harris Blake — wanted to see much more than the minimum fifteen percent support before getting behind any incorporation effort. The support of local legislators is critical to the success of any incorporation effort, UNC School of Government incorporation expert Kara Millonzi told several Seven Lakes groups earlier this year, because the local legislators draft and introduce the enabling legislation that actually creates the town.

 

Read more: IncorporateSevenLakes.com drops effort to create town

    Two pit bull terriers that reside in the Sunset Way area of Seven Lakes North have been deemed vicious after an investigation by Moore County Animal Control. In a telephone interview with The Times, Community Manager Alina Cochran said the Association is taking the appropriate steps to resolve the matter.
Image    Late in October, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board heard from Northsider Edith Swigart that her leashed dog had been attacked in the street by the two dogs, apparently after their electronic invisible fence collars had failed.
    Animal Control Officer Bryant Voss investigated the complaint and determined that the two dogs in question had also attacked another resident’s animal a year ago.
    “The first time a dog attacks a person or pet, we say shame on the dog,” Voss told The Times. “
    “The second time a dog attacks, we say shame on the owner — because you know the potential of the animal.”
    Voss explained that the county has an informal “three strikes and you’re out” policy on vicious dogs.
    “If there is a third attack,” he said, “that is pure neglect, and we will do what we have to do and remove them at that point.”
    Once deemed vicious by Moore County, the owner is given fourteen days to construct an appropriate outdoor enclosure or to make arrangements for the animal to be secured at all times —housed indoors, supervised when outdoors, and only allowed off-property when leashed and muzzled.
    SLLA rules, however, are more restrictive.
    In fact, two vastly different regulations have come under consideration in recent meetings between Voss, Cochran, and Directors Melinda Scott and Chuck Mims.
    First, the county’s requirement for a secure outdoor enclosure with a six-foot chain link fence, roof, and concrete pad would not be allowed by Architectural Review Board [ARB] standards.
    Secondly, SLLA rules stipulate that household pets shall be kept so as not to become a nuisance, that the keeping of a vicious animal is prohibited, and that it is unlawful for any owner or custodian to maintain a vicious animal in the community, irrespective of whether said animal is on a leash or otherwise confined.

 

    Fully trained and certified, Ruger, a five-year-old Czech shepherd was sworn in on Tuesday, November 9, as the newest member of the Foxfire Police Department.
Image    Initiated over a year ago, Foxfire’s K9 program started with the donation of a puppy and assistance from Sandhills K9.
    Unfortunately, after several months of training, the puppy named Asia was unable to pass the required certifications and simply did not exhibit the drive necessary to serve as a police dog. Chief Mike Campbell said she was placed in a good home, but that left the program was in limbo.
    Through a stroke of good luck, K2 Solutions, another local training facility that primarily works with military dogs, heard that an Indiana Sheriff’s office had a certified K9 available and recommended the dog to the Foxfire Police.
    Worth an estimated $16,000 to $18,000 in training and equipment, Campbell was able to negotiate for the purchase of Ruger and his equipment for the ridiculously low sum of $500. He explained that the Indiana force had undergone a major personnel change and their K9 program was eliminated with one dog retired and the other being Ruger.
    A dual-trained K9 officer, he can perform searches for both people and narcotics, and is also trained to attack on command. Intimidating in size but the perfect gentleman when in good company, Ruger was a big hit at West Pine Elementary during a recent K9 demonstration during Red Ribbon Week.
    While on-duty with Sgt. Chad Shue, he has already proved his mettle by alerting Shue twice to the presence of narcotics.
    In addition, Foxfire Police also recently welcomed part-time Officer Scott Patterson.

 

Read more: Foxfire swears in new K-9 police officer

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...