Feb 272013
 

Here’s a bill that should not have been necessary, but I’d like to add spelling to that list of traditional and essentials lessons not being taught these days.  I’d really like to know who made the decision that children don’t need to learn cursive or multiplication tables.  Though on second thought, those of us who benefited from a full education, could make a little side money translating cursive for a generation of children who block print everything and stare blankly at birthday cards with notes from Aunt Edna.

Earlier this week, a bill was introduced in the North Carolina House of Representatives that would require students to learn cursive and memorize their multiplication tables in school. The bill was sent to the education committee.

The bill, given the short title “Back to Basics,” requires that students are able to write readable documents through “legible cursive handwriting” by the end of fifth grade.

Should the bill pass into law, it will not mark a change for elementary school students in the Union County Public Schools system.

“It is something we teach,” Tom Bulla, director of elementary education, said.

A few years ago the department of public instruction gave the local education agencies the option of teaching cursive.

“We opted to continue teaching cursive,” Bulla said. “That came before the principals and they decided that we would continue focusing on (cursive handwriting).”

via Bill would require cursive, multiplication tables | The Enquirer Journal.

Feb 152013
 

Union County Public Schools employees are at-risk after someone hacked the Public School System web server Thursday.

According to an email from Superintendent Mary Ellis, “It is possible that confidential employee information, including social security numbers, has been compromised.”

Officials say once the district learned about the hack, the web server was immediately shut down and disconnected while law enforcement was notified.

via Union County Public Schools: Web server hacked, information may – WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC.

Feb 082013
 

Anthony Burman
Mayor Pro Tem

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Marvin from Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Burman

As Mayor Pro Tem for the Village of Marvin I believe that you as residents should be kept informed and deserve to know the truth about projects currently underway or being considered. This is my response to the politically motivated and inaccurate flyer you received in your newspaper boxes this past week by a small, vocal minority of residents and non-residents.

It is disappointing that there is a segment in our community that continues to spread half-truths, hyperbole, and scare-tactics for personal benefit. The ironic part of the letter is that the author is not saying the Village shouldn’t build a community center or Village Hall, but that the Village shouldn’t build it at Marvin-Efird Park. The letter even states “Yes, it would be nice to have a Center for the Village…” The author wants a new building, but it has to be where they want it located.

In the summer of 2010, when the Village of Marvin made the first offer to purchase the 27.67 acres of land on New Town Road, there was always the intention that this land would fulfill the number one desire of all previous Village surveys, which was a passive park (meaning no athletic fields or structured recreation, other than a playground). Part of the draw to this property was the idea that the old Efird family home could be renovated into a community center and/or Village Hall. Engineering and architectural studies show that it would be more cost-effective to build anew than to renovate the existing house and bring it up to commercial code.

The concept of a community center at Marvin-Efird Park has been discussed for a period of years. There are many examples – here are just three:

1. At the September 14, 2010 Council meeting, the Council held a Public Hearing and later adopted Resolution RS-2010-09-01, which included a community center as an intended use at Marvin-Efird Park.

2. An article in the October 1, 2010 issue of the Union County Weekly titled “A park that makes cents” quoted Councilman Ron Salimao stating that he envisioned a community center in the park.

3. The Village’s PARTF Grant Application, approved at the January 13, 2011 Council meeting, has discussion about a community center.

When Councilman Salimao and I ran for office in 2009, we literally spoke to more than one thousand people about our platform and issues facing the Village. People couldn’t believe there was no park, no community center, and that the Village Hall was still being rented.

Some other issues I would like to address are:

1. What are presented in the letter as facts are either incorrect or taken out of context. For example, the letter quotes a figure for our rent, but does not take into account other costs of the rental. The fact the author chose to only represent one figure, when the actual cost-benefit was readily available, begs the question: Did the author do their homework, or did they cherry-pick what figures they wanted to include to manipulate you? Either way, the heart of the issue is their credibility.

2. In addition, the letter states, “At this rate the payback on spending just the $400,000 is more than 30 years.” Using the author’s logic, it would be much cheaper for everyone if they stayed in their first apartment and not purchase a house, as it will take 30 years to pay your house off. If our analysis leads us to do this project, it will be paid off in 2.5 to 6 years – NO borrowing costs and NO tax increase necessary.

3. The letter states this can “cost you a lot more than $400,000, maybe as much as $700,000.” I’m not sure where the $700,000 figure came from, as there’s been no discussion of spending anywhere near that amount. By contrast, every other municipality in the county that has built or is building a new town hall has spent over $1 million, with the exception of Mineral Springs, who still spent more than Marvin plans.

4. The letter states this will be “a community center you can rent. Yep a taxpayer subsidized service you can ‘rent’ for more of your dollars.” There are only four out of more than 20 subdivisions in Marvin that have clubhouses, and those residents who already pay for the clubhouse with their HOA dues have to pay to “rent” their facility, including a number of people known to be distributing the letter in question. This community center will provide an amenity that more than 80% of the subdivisions do not have, in addition to providing revenue (not factored into the letter) for the Village, similar to the barn at the park.

5. The letter makes alternative suggestions for allocating money in addition to supporting a new community center at a different location. While these are all noble ideas, they are nothing but red herrings used to divert attention away from the discussion at hand – which is really not about a building at all. You already pay for these ideas through the appropriate taxing authorities, the county, and your separate fire tax.

6. Finally, the letter states “One Councilman suggested a public private partnership in an open and accessible parcel of land elsewhere to defray the cost. The rest of the Council ignored this suggestion.” I believe all members of the Council would embrace a concept such as this, but the Councilman put no proposal on the table.

You elected me because I look at all the facts, am detail-oriented, ask the tough questions, and know my commitment to open and transparent government. Those who know me know that I base my decisions and votes on those reasons; not political pressure, emotion, or pressure from “special-interest groups”, including those masquerading themselves as “concerned citizens” hiding behind anonymity.

I encourage you to contact your elected officials, attend meetings, and stay involved. An informed and engaged public is what makes a good community a great community. Once informed, I ask that you base your opinions on fact, not fiction.

{Signed}

Anthony J. Burman
Mayor Pro Tem
Village of Marvin
February 7, 2013

Feb 012013
 

If there’s any County in North Carolina that needs more news coverage it’s Union. So I am encouraged by the story in today’s Enquirer Journal detailing the changes slated for next month.

Enquirer Journal has always been Monroe’s local newspaper. In years past they tried to expand into Indian Trail and Waxhaw with separate publications. Unfortunately, neither publication proved economical.

This just follows a national pattern, traditional media across the country is under great pressure as readership habits and the Internet news sources have eroded their paying subscribers.

The EJ article announced that they were going to drop Associated Press national and state stories from their content. I’m sure that will be a cost savings to say the least, but state stories are very important to the County. Hopefully they’ll find another source.

The other surprise, at least me, is the reduction of the print paper publication to three days a week, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. With their revamped website, including mobile and tablet formatting, they should be able to bridge the content gap easily, though I wonder if the lack of print advertising will adversely affect their revenue.

The Enquirer Journal is actually the County newspaper in my view.  I am a fan and I’m looking forward to seeing new changes implemented.


More local news, more color coming to the Enquirer-Journal

New, more colorful local news is coming to The Enquirer-Journal.

In March, the newspaper’s content will become increasingly local with the addition of public records news such as court news, property transfers, building permits, marriage licenses and divorce decrees among other items.

To help increase the amount of locally generated information, more local columnists will be added including food, gardening, religion and community columnists.

Most local photos taken by the newspaper’s staff will be published in full color, particularly photos of local high school sports.

With an emphasis on more local content, the use of national and state stories from the Associated Press will be discontinued.

Along with the increase in local news and information, on March 3, 2013, The Enquirer-Journal will change publication of the print edition of the newspaper to Sunday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.  The newspaper’s website, enquirerjournal.com, will be updated with the latest local news, including obituaries, on a daily basis.

Print edition home and mail delivery subscribers will have complete 24/7 access to The Enquirer-Journal’s website, including the e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.   In the coming months, mobile and tablet apps will be added to the ways in which The Enquirer-Journal can be read by subscribers.

via More local news, more color coming to the Enquirer-Journal | The Enquirer Journal.