2 Winter 2018 SOUTHBROOK TIMES Harry Fear EDITOR Melissa McCauley GRAPHICS Susan Johnson PHOTOGRAPHY We are very pleased to announce that Southbrook s longtime Mail Carrier, Ron Kramer, is now recovered from shoulder surgery and has returned to active duty. During his 9 years serving the residents of Southbrook Ron has made many friends along the way who we know will be pleased to learn of his long-awaited return. In This Issue 3 New HOA Website 3 Clip & Save Important Numbers 4 Greek Travelgram 5 Southbrook Snapshots 6 A Cool Place to See Santa 6 Whoopie Pies with a Twist 7 Holidays Glow In & Around Our Area 8 Hot Spots for New Year 9 Read It and Reap Getting To Know Your Neighbors 10 Doug Kerr 11 Anita Divittorio 12 Southbrook Anniversary Chris McQueen 12 Think Pawsitive 13 In and Around the Neighborhood 14 News Cues 15 What s On Your Nightstand 15 What s the Word on Scrabble 16 Overheard In the Line at the Post Office 17 Community Partners Volunteer On The Cover Susan Wolter 2 SOUTHBROOK TIMES Winter 2018 For those of you wishing to send Ron a welcome back greeting he can be reached at HAVE A STORY IDEA? Send your story or photo ideas to MINDING YOUR BUSINESS Beginning with our next issue, the Southbrook Times will highlight resident owned/operated businesses with our new RESIDENT BUSINESS GUIDE. If you would like to see your business highlighted for free, just us with your name, the name, address, and phone number of the business, and a short message of what you would most like potential customers to know. Send to or, for more info, call Harry at TRASH TALK In case you missed an earlier announcement that because of the Christmas Holiday trash pickup will now be on Friday December 28th. COMMENTS?
3 HOA LAUCHES NEW WEBSITE FOR SOUTHBROOK What s new in Southbrook, you ask? How about a new ad vastly improved website! Long overdue for an overhaul, our board of directors called on fellow BOD member George Partelow (see photo) to review and make recommendations for our website upgrade. George in collaboration with the web team of Cedar Management, developed the new and user-friendly version to keep Southbrook residents up to date on the latest developments in our community. Here you will find easy access to association documents, contact forms, BOD minutes, a photo gallery, the latest newsletter, and access to our HOA management company. Visit it today IMPORTANT NUMBERS TO CLIP AND SAVE Utilities Duke Energy Outages Piedmont Natural Gas Water and Sewer Cable (Spectrum) Storage Ballantyne Commons Storage Center Pharmacy (CVS Rea Rd.) Emergency (Police, Fire/Ambulance) 911 Public Schools CMS Preschool/Daycare Voter Registration Division of Motor Vehicles Poison Control South County Library (Rea Rd) Winter 2018 SOUTHBROOK TIMES 3
4 GREEK Hi Southbrook, A note about our vacation to Greece. Santorini was on our bucket list. Our journey began with a 7 hour flight from Charlotte to London on American Airlines. After a short layover, we caught a direct flight on British Airways to Santorini. 3 hours later we arrived about 1 1/2 hours before sunset. A common practice that nearly everyone on the island would participate in is to sit or take a sunset boat tour to wait for the sun to set. Beautiful! The mid-september weather was 82 degrees and sunny daily. The food was fantastic- especially the fresh fish and, of course, the olives. We stayed in Fira, and went to Oia which are the two most popular destinations on the island. The architecture is stunning-beautiful white buildings with blue roofs. TRAVELGRAM Two Southbrook residents, Jeri Siejka and Susi Gaus, setout to conquer new sights. This past summer the women found themselves on the Greek Island of Santorini. We asked them to share the highlights of their trip. Our next trip is already scheduled to visit Susi s family in Germany. 4 SOUTHBROOK TIMES Winter 2018
5 SOUTHBROOK SNAPSHOTS 95% of Americans Celebrate Christmas And of these, 51% describe the holiday as strongly religious for them continuing an upward trend seen since Source: Americans for Religious Freedom IT MATTERS WHERE YOU PUT THE PRICE TAG 84% of parents say their children are only interested in their holiday gifts for six months or less. Source: Kahali Resorts and Convention survey of 1000 U.S. parents. 43% Say they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford during the holidays. Source: Sun Trust survey of 2,000 adults 77% of shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $983 for gifts this holiday season, up from $929 last year. Source: American Research. A random sample of 1,100 adults nationwide. THOUGHT FOR THE DAY You shouldn t worry about old age. It doesn t last very long. Winter 2018 SOUTHBROOK TIMES 5
6 A COOL PLACE TO SEE SANTA CHIMNEY ROCK How could Santa resist a 315-foot granite monolith shaped like a chimney? As he has done for more than two decades, this man in red will warm up for his Christmas Eve chimney-thon by repelling down this iconic natural landmark. December 1-18 Chimney rock Park. WHOOPIE PIES WITH A TWIST T he origin of the whoopie pie, that wonderful sandwich of chocolate cake with cream filling, is open to debate. Maine? New York? Massachusetts? Pennsylvania? But Tico s bakery in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania has been making them from a family recipe since the 1930 s and is now selling them online. In addition to the original chocolate, they also offer chocolate with peanut butter, red velvet, and pumpkin that s mellow and not aggressively spiced. Makes for a welcomed Christmas gift. Tico s Whoopies, $24.95 for four, $54.95 for a dozen, Tico s Family Bakery, 6 SOUTHBROOK TIMES Winter 2018
7 HOLIDAYS GLOW IN & AROUND OUR AREA Christmas at Biltmore: November 3-Jan. 6, Asheville America s largest private home has a larger than life tradition that involves 55 decorated Christmas trees inside the 250-room mansion. The trees reach a crescendo with a 35-foot Fraser fir in the seven-story-high Banquet Hall. Out front, a lighted 55-foot tall Norway spruce is encircled by 20 illuminated evergreens, and 35 additional trees are decorated at Biltmore Winery, Antler Hill Village, restaurants and other points on the 8,000-acre estate. Through Jan.5, visitors can catch the glow in a candlelight tour of Biltmore House. And new this year, carolers will rove Antler Hill Village each afternoon. National Gingerbread House Competition: Nov. 25-Jan. 4, Asheville Sugar and spices lay the foundation for the competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn, and craftsmanship sets it apart. Arrayed in a Blue Ridge Mountain inn with marvels of its own, the edible architecture attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Even without gingerbread, the inn s roaring fires, splendid decor and music raise holiday spirits. Biltmore, Asheville Christmas Town USA, McAdenville Christmas Town USA: Nov. 30-Dec. 26, McAdenville In this mill town west of Charlotte, the 375 Christmas trees on view outnumber the households in a celebration that started in 1956 with nine evergreens. From modest (6-foot tree, 500 lights) to dazzling (90-foot tree, 5,000 lights), the displays blaze a trail to the heart of town, where trees ring the lake and reflect their colors. With a car count in the hundreds of thousands on the 1.3 mile route, be prepared to relax and enjoy a very slow ride, especially on weekends or cover the route by foot. Speedway Christmas: Nov. 18-Dec. 31, Concord Whether you come with visions of sugar plums or the fantasy of passing Jimmie Johnson on the straightaway, Charlotte Motor Speedway s holiday spectacle delivers a winning experience. Three million lights pulse in synchronized displays along a 3.7-mile course that takes you onto the quad oval. The best time to go is Thursday-Saturday or Christmas week, when you can visit a Bethlehem Village, petting zoo and Santa in the Speedway Christmas Village. Complete your plans with dinner at the Speedway Club (open to all for the run of the show) and a photo op at the new scenic overlook above Turn 4. Speedway Christmas, Concord Charlotte Christmas Village: Romare Bearden Park Nov. 22-Dec.24 Romare Bearden Park, a magnificent urban masterpiece, transforms into a European-inspired Christkindmarket with crafts and other merchandise plus an irresistible array of holiday fare. Temptations include bratwurst with sauerkraut, strudeland lebkuchen, and cider and gluhwein in a souvenir mug. Performances add to the fun of the event, which is now in its third year. Winterfest at Carowinds Nov.18-Dec. 31 Carowinds At Carowinds here in Charlotte, Winterfest strikes lively notes with live shows and strolling performers plus a 70 foot tree and lavish displays. Sixteen rides, hands on activities and a great holiday menu. Romare Bearden Park Winter 2018 SOUTHBROOK TIMES 7
8 HOT SPOTS FOR NEW YEAR NEW YEARS EVE POSSUM DROP Andrews, NC In it s 25th year, the Possum Drop was previously held in the nearby Clay County community of Brasstown ( Opossum Capital of The World ). Clay Logan, who originated the celebration at his store, Clay s Corner, will enhance this year s this festivities. This alcohol-free event is ideal for families seeking a truly unique New Year s Eve event. Daytime activities include skits, live music and refreshments (think funnel cake and hot chocolate). Just before midnight, the possom is slowly lowered in its cage. Don t worry, procedures for possom care are specific and include comfortable accomodations, food and water, a climbing limb and a veterinary check. For details, contact FIRST NIGHT RALEIGH 2019 Raleigh, NC With just about everything from a daytime DIY Festival at thr NC Museums of History and Sciences to evening amusement rides, First Night Raleigh provides plenty of entertainment to fill your day on Dec, 31. In its 28th year, the event plays host to almost 100 performances in more than 35 venues throughout the downtown area. Part of the festivities include the dropping of a 10-foot, 1,250-pound copper acorn just before midnight. Raleigh is known as the City of Oaks for the large number of oak trees that line the city streets. Visit FirstNightRaleigh.com for details. 8 SOUTHBROOK TIMES Winter 2018 NEW YEAR S EVE PICKLE DROP Mt. Olive, NC The corner of Cucumber and Vine at the Mt. Olive Pickle Company is the place to be for their annual New Year s Eve Pickle Drop. Thousands will be on hand to witness the three-foot pickle make its descent on the 45-foot flagpole at 7 p.m. (which is midnight Greenwich Time) to land in a huge redwood pickle tank at the bottom of the pole. This family friendly event begins and ends at a perfect time for kids who want to participate in New Year s Eve festivities but might not be able to hang until midnight. Live music begins at 5:30 p.m. and guests can enjoy free cookies, hot chocoalte and, of course, pickles! You can also bring canned food or make a financial contribution to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Donors earn the chance to win door prizes, which include a giant pool pickle. For more information, visit MtOlivePickles.com YORKTOWN COUNTDOWN Charleston, SC For a unique coastal celebration, ring in the new year with the only artifact carrier ball drop on the East Coast. Charleston s largest annual New Year s Eve party takes place on USS Yorktown, one of the Essex-class artifact carriers built during WWII for the U.S. Navy. The vessel was a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 space mission and was used in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora!, which recreated Japan s attack on Pearl Harbor. During the VIP event, you can explore the mammoth aircraft carrier, and enjoy all-inclusive premium bar and local cuisine. The celebration also includes three stages featuring live entertainment. Please note: This is a 21-and over event, and limited tickets are available. For ticket and event details, visit YorktownCountdown.com NEW YEAR S EVE STROLL UNDER THE LIGHTS Murrells Inlet, SC Surround yourself with holiday lights live music and thousands of hand-lit candles as you wander throughout Brookgreen Gardens for this New Year s Eve celebration. This event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is a perfect lowkey celebration for families. Light refreshments will be on hand for purchase. Reservations are required and space is limited. AAA Members receive a discount on their admission. To reserve your ticket, visit BrookGreen.org. Event details are subject to change. Contact event directly for latest information. Easy trip planning is just a phone call away! Call for your New Year s Eve hotel reservations, or stop by your local AAA office for AAA TourBooks and other road trio essentials.
9 Read it And Reap... Local vendor reviews submitted by your neighbors regarding the quality of service they received from various local vendors they have employed. For more detailed information you may contact the individual submitting the review. PLUMBING R.V. PLUMBING, Timely service Reasonable fees Bob and Karen Holt, APPLIANCE REPAIR Carolina Appliance, Service was fast and solved the problem Bob and Karen Holt, PAINTER Ray Quincy, Pleased to recommend. Excellent work Shelly Northcutt, WINDOW CLEANING Christopher Coxum Windows, Excellent and reasonable Janice Williamson, DIRTY BLINDS Jack Ballway, owner, Excellent onsite cleaning Billie Richards, PLEASED TO RECOMMEND NOT SATISFIED HAVE YOU HAD AN EXPERIENCE WITH A VENDOR GOOD OR BAD, THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? Let us hear about it! Phone:
10 Getting To Know Your Neighbors DOUG KERR 9209 Duckhorn Drive Q: What is your hometown? A: I was born in the small town of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, but I grew up in Washington, D.C. so I really consider that my hometown. Q: What kind of business are you in? A: I am an IT Systems Engineer. Q: What do you like best about your work? A: I enjoy solving work-related problems that I encounter in my position. Q: We understand that you are a retired State Trooper. Tell us a bit about that part of your career. A: I joined the Maryland State police in I served 12 years with the Troopers and retired with a disability in Q: What type of work did you do after leaving the Maryland State Police? A: My brother owned a restaurant in Washington, across the street from the White House, and I went to work for him as the restaurant s manager. I did that for 12 years. Q: How long have you lived in Southbrook? A: We moved here in 2005 Q. How active have you been in our community? A: I have served as treasurer on the Southbrook Board of Directors in 2010 and as secretary from 2011 to In addition, I built and maintain the Southbrook HOA website. I am responsible for sending all communications from the board and the various committees and for maintaining the distribution list. Q: Do you have any family here? A: I have two kids. My oldest lives in Seattle, Washington and works for Microsoft and my youngest lives in Falls Church, Virginia and works in Washington, D.C. as a journalist. I also have one step-grandchild who is a year and a half old and lives here in Charlotte. Q: What did you want to be when you were a kid? A: I wanted to join the Air Force so I could learn to fly. Q: How do you spend your free time? A: My hobbies center around computers and today s technology. I am an avid reader, hiker, and exercise enthusiast. Q: What s number one on your bucket list? A: I am a WWI history buff. I would like to visit Belgium some day and retrace the German trenches of that period. Q: What s something people would never guess about you? A: That I think of myself as an ardent student of Shakespeare. I can recite from memory many of Shakespeare s sonnets. My interest in Shakespeare began when I saw Lawrence Olivier in King Lear and was totally taken by it. I love to read poetry, too. 10 SOUTHBROOK TIMES Winter 2018
11 Getting To Know Your Neighbors ANITA DIVITTORIO Silverado Lane Q: What is your Hometown? A. I was born in Columbia, South America, but moved to Marlboro, New Jersey when I was three years old Q. And how long have you been a Southbrook resident? A. Four years. When my husband passed away suddenly, my children, who live here in Charlotte, insisted that I sell my fivebedroom house in Jersey and move here to live with them. I did that for four years, but eventually decided I needed my own place. After discovering Southbrook, the first house I saw was going to be on the market the very next day. I bought it and have been very happy here. Q. Tell us about your family A. I have two sons, both living in Charlotte and both just a few miles from here. I also have four grandchildren ages 17, 16, 13 and 11. Q. You ve done extensive traveling. What are some of the places you have traveled to? A. I have family that live in Columbia, so I travel there twice a year. I also have two friends living in Europe. One in Paris and the other in Verona, Italy and another good friend that lives in Columbia. The three of us have been friends since we were ten years old and attended school together. As we are now all widows, we have the freedom to come and go as we please. We ve toured Italy, France, and Switzerland. I am leaving for Columbia again on November 24th and will return just before Christmas. Q. It s fascinating to note that you are considered to be a champion in one of the world s oldest game, Mah Jongg. We would like to hear more about that part of your life. A. I have been playing Mah Jongg for over 40 years and have taught probably hundreds of people to play the game. Mah Jongg was very popular in my neighborhood in Jersey, and that is where I learned to play the game. I play regularly now with a group of ladies that I introduced to the game here in Southbrook. We meet at my home every Wednesday. It s practically a whole day affair. They come at noon, have lunch, and play all afternoon. Then we have dinner and play until about eight o clock. There is a worldwide competition held in China each year where a champion is crowned. I have never entered that tournament, but since I taught the ladies here how to play the game and I perhaps win more than I lose, some of the ladies might occasionally refer to me as champ. Q. Do the winners of your weekly group take home prizes? A. Each player contributes $3.00 to the pot every time we play. When the pot reaches $100, we donate it to some worthy charity. This year we sent an underprivileged child to the YMCA camp for a week. And we also donated $100 to the Hurricane Florence Relief Fund. Q. If any of our readers are interested in learning more about playing Mah Jonng may they contact you? A. Absolutely. I can be reached online at Q. New Year s Day is just a couple of weeks away. What s number one on your New Year s resolution list? A. I am planning yet another trip. This time to the Dominican Republic with my friends from Italy and France. Last year we spent two wonderful months in Florida. Q. What would someone never guess about you? A. I have a big mouth. Anyone who knows me, knows everything there is to know about me; I can t keep secrets. Winter 2018 SOUTHBROOK TIMES 11
12 A SOUTHBROOK ANNIVERSARY CHRIS MCQUEEN 9105 Duckhorn Drive Sixteen years ago a bitter cold wind whipped across Charlotte on Monday, December 16, 2002, with temperatures in the low 20 s. Most would have considered the day dismal, but not so for Hoosier transplant Chris McQueen, as this was the day she took possession of her new Southbrook home located at 9105 Duckhorn Drive. Being one of Southbrook s earliest settlers has afforded Chris a front row seat to Southbrook s growth, its evolution, and its emergence as a place where people from all walks of life have chosen to settle down as Chris has so happily done. Happy Anniversary, Chris. Merry Christmas, too! Think Pawsative LINDA NEIDERMEIER WITH MAX If the man of the house is a boxer, you would not be surprised to find he has a powerful build. But if he also possessed goofy mannerisms, extreme loyalty, and showed his happiness by waving with half his body, then you must be talking about Max, the canine boxer, owned by Linda Neiderman. Originally from Evanston, Illinois, Linda moved to Southbrook four years ago. While attending an open house at The Humane Society, Max sauntered by a number of other visitors and then gently put his head in Linda s lap. She was knocked out. Love at first sight. And who could blame her? The boxer is hard to resist. Such an expressive face, and yet a bit of a walking contradiction: loyal and playful, but sometimes headstrong. Convinced he is a lapdog one minute, and a staunch protector the next. Always whimsical, never boring, Max keeps Linda smiling. Several specially selected gifts have already been purchased for Max to enjoy on Christmas morning, but in true boxer form, when it comes to happiness and surprises, Max will always beat her to the punch. 12 SOUTHBROOK TIMES Winter 2018
13 In and Around the Neighborhood THREE NEW DIRECTORS ELECTED TO HOA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Pictured left to right: Ron Kennedy, Barbara Kingsrud and Bruce Moyer SELFEY WITH AN ELFEY Two Santa s helpers are shown delivering a Christmas trrr to Silverado Lane as a surprised Ethel looks on FOWL PLAY Shown above are John Lindley and Mark Robinson as they begin to prepare the main course (four turkeys) for their 17 guests on Thanksgiving Day. Winter SOUTHBROOK TIMES 13
14 News Cues EVENTS, ACTIVITIES & MORE PIZZERIA LOCATING NEXT TO SPROUTS MOD Pizza, a fast pizzeria that makes individually-sized artesian pizzas to order, is expected to open soon at Ballancroft Parkway next to Sprouts. Info pizza.com/locations/ballantyne. WEIGHT-LOSS FIRM OPENS 20/30 Fast Track, a weight loss, wellness and nutrition franchise that promises a 20-pound weight loss in 30 days has opened its first Charlotte location at the Shops of Piper Glen. For information call EYELASH EXPERTS OPEN Lash Lounge Blakeney offering customized eyelash extensions and more recently opened in Blakeney Shopping Center. Info SOUTHBROOK TIMES Winter 2018
15 What s On Your Nightstand? MR. DICKENS AND HIS CAROL BY SAMANTHA SILVA TruthHave you found yourself not quite feeling the Holiday spirit? Are you perhaps drifting towards the Bah, Humbug zone? In Mr. Dickens and His Carol you ll find Charles Dickens suffers from the same malaise. Author Samantha Silva tells a very charming and poignant story of how Charles Dickens came to write the most famous Christmas tale ever written. Living a very privileged life as a successful author, Charles Dickens has the rug pulled out from under him when his latest book is a flop. As he soon learns, there seems to be an unending list of people that rely on him to be successful. At the top of this list are his publishers who attempt to blackmail him into writing a Christmas book and save them all from an impending financial disaster. Immersing yourself into this historical fiction laced with humor could result in just the right dose of Christmas cheer. WHAT S THE WORD ON SCRABBLE? Serial Scrabble players have been given a long awaited reprieve with the addition of 300 new, acceptable words. As all participants in the game know, Merriam-Webster has the last word when it comes to fair play, and their newly published Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (sixth edition) makes this early release perfect timing for Holiday gifting. Believing that any word beginning with Q must be followed by the letter U will cost you valuable points as MW has 20 such words that don t subscribe to that rule. And if the words zomboid, nubber, bokeh, and sheeple sound foreign to you, prepare to have your scrabble aficionado status revoked. As the American English language changes with time, so it goes with Scrabbles seal of approval. Frowny, Puggle, and Hivemind, all recently deemed acceptable, would lead one to believe Scrabble is keeping up with the times. That s why this one, newly added word that I haven t heard since the last Edward G. Robinson movie, leaves me scratching my head. Yowza! Winter 2018 SOUTHBROOK TIMES 15
16 I just learned that Hillary Clinton s s won t be delivered to congress until sometime next year. Whose delivering them? The Post Office? I love the way the Post Office tries to sell us insurance when we mail a package Like There s a good chance we ll screw this up. Although it takes more time eating a gallon tub of heavily salted lard it s better for your heart than a ten-minute trip to the Post Office. OVERHEARD WHILE WAITING IN LINE AT THE POST OFFICE
17 Community Partners Volunteer Opportunities Every Wish Is Special And so are you. The Make a Wish Foundation needs your help. Every 34 minutes of every day a wish is granted...a life is transformed and it s all because of people just like you. You are invited to share the power of a wish whether you can give a few hours each month or a few days each year. From Volunteer Wish Granters, fund raisers, and special event volunteering, to many other opportunities the Make a Wish Foundation in Charlotte has the perfect fit for you. Volunteers are matched to positions based on their ability, interest and position availability. Thank you for considering to take that first step to join the foundation in their mission to grant the wishes of children in our community. Make A Wish Carolyn Harrison Manager Doing good feels good. DO GOOD with your time. Volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Together we CAN end hunger. There are a handful of different volunteer opportunities, so please visit the volunteer section of their website at to learn more. Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina 500-B Spratt Street Charlotte, NC Second Harvest Food Bank Salvation Army Christmas Assistance Program: Donations and financial support provide Christmas assistance such as dinners, clothing and toys for families in need. Our local Salvation Army operates the Angel Tree Program that offers gifts for disadvantaged children and senior citizens. Contact the Salvation Army at 4015 Andrew Blvd, Charlotte Your special gift will help the Salvation Army make this a Christmas to remember for people in need.