Happy New Year to all! Hope you had generous helpings of black-eyed peas, collards and ham hocks. Beautiful warm weather graced our New Year’s festivities but what does January have in store? Will we soon look like the home in this photo? Cold weather this week will put us in the mood but at least no snow predicted. Just in case better keep the sleds and snow shovels handy.
Catching up on some 2011 news, we have reports today on a Christmas birthday for Scotty Nicholls, a scout project helping the Davidson Housing Coalition, an award for Dee Gardner and a few notes on Davidson road rules.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SCOTTY
Scotty Nicholls was born on Christmas Day in 1917. And how did she celebrate as a child? According to Scotty, it was just a regular Christmas Day with no special birthday activities – and no, she did not celebrate a half-birthday as some do on July 25! This year, Scotty has a visit before Christmas with her daughter, Jane, who lives in Massachusetts. On Christmas Eve, Scotty celebrated with her other daughter, Hope, and family in Charlotte. Christmas Day they gathered at son Sandy Nicholls’ home in Davidson for their traditional Christmas brunch. It was a busy weekend for Scotty but filled as well with many wonderful birthday wishes from friends and family (especially her six grandchildren).
Scotty has been a resident of The Pines at Davidson retirement community for 11 years. Before that Scotty and her late husband, Peter Nicholls, moved to Davidson in 1963. At first they rented space on Main Street from Taylor Blackwell and opened P. Nicholls General Merchandise store. When Peter and Scotty moved on to employment at Davidson College, Taylor used the space to open The Village Store which remains in that space to this day.
Both Scotty and Peter retired from Davidson College and continued to be active in the community. Who can forget Peter’s red jeep in every town parade? Always a pleasure to visit with Scotty and this past week to wish her a very Happy Birthday! (And Scotty reminds me that three others well known in town share this distinction. Happy Christmas Birthday as well to Wookie Payne, Guydell Connor and Evan Webster.)
HELPING HANDS FROM TROOP 58
Boy scouts in Davidson’s Troop 58 are always ready for service projects. Last month they joined with the Davidson Housing Coalition (DHC) to assemble luminaria kits for our town’s annual “Noel for Neighbors” night. For a donation to the DHC, residents received the kits containing bags, sand and candles. Noel for Neighbors is a fund raiser for the DHC and this year, their 11th, raised more than $16,500 for the organization.
It was a beautiful sight to see the luminaria lighting up our town Dec. 10 with glowing bags stretching from downtown Davidson to the edges of River Run and as far north at the Davidson Pointe neighborhood. Many thanks to the helping hands of the scouts in Troop 58 who assembled the hundreds of luminary kits.
A WELL DESERVED HONOR
Nice to hear that Davidson resident Dee Gardner has seen her hard work at Piedmont Middle School well rewarded. Last fall, Piedmont, an IB World School, was named a 2011 Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education. This distinction was awarded to only 304 schools nationwide and among eight of those in North Carolina, it was the only one named in Charlotte Mecklenburg (CMS). (See the September press release – PDF)
Was Dee pleased? In her own words, “Piedmont was awarded The Blue Ribbon School of America Award which is based on student achievement. You cannot apply; the state office has to nominate you. Our school is majority minority / inner city / and 50 percent poverty, so scoring 98 percent proficient in Math, 93 percent in reading and 94 percent in science made us stand out. There was an application process and we won. Really amazing! (Inner city middle schools NEVER win this award)”
Then someone nominated Dee for a Principal’s award and she was selected as one of seven in the nation to receive the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership. Dee was recognized for fostering successful teaching, learning and helping students to meet high standards. On Nov. 15, Dee received this individual leadership award in conjunction with the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Awards at a ceremony held at the US Department of Education in Washington, D.C. (See more about the award on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools’ website)
Our congratulations go out to this longtime educator who taught Spanish for a year at Providence Day School when the Gardner family moved to Davidson in 1987. Her late husband, Rob, worked for Davidson College and their three children, Scott, Ian and Kaile, grew up here. In 1988, Dee moved to Piedmont as a Spanish teacher before assuming duties as Assistant Principal and for the past eight years as Principal. She credits Piedmont’s success to the strength of her teachers, one of whom was Davidson’s Pam Grant, until her retirement. Does Dee have plans to retire? Not at the moment. She loves what she is doing and from her 2011 awards, is obviously doing something right!
As for her children, Scott lives in Woodstock, N.Y., and is working in film and photography. Ian lives in Los Angeles with his daughter, Charley, and works in finance for “green tech” with Oracle Financial Group. Scott and Ian have worked together on two start-up companies, Lab4Less and Helix Wind, that they sold and now are collaborating on documentary projects in what Dee calls, “faraway places.”
Daughter Kaile is married to Anthony Rizzo and lives on a 20-acre farm north of Raleigh. They have full time jobs but also find time to keep horses and raise Akitas. The children all come home several times a year to check on Mom at her home on East Rocky River Road. Dee comments that nothing is traditional about her children but they are happy and healthy. How nice to catch up on the Gardners!
Since Robert Whitton’s untimely death, we all are much more attentive to crosswalk activity. How pleased, therefore, to see the waist high pedestrian warning signs positioned in the middle of some of our town’s crosswalks. Will we get more? Let’s hope so. It goes without saying that the crosswalk on Concord Road at St. Alban’s Way needs one as does the intersection crossing at Kimberly and Concord Roads. Cars coming east accelerate quickly once they pass Grey and Pine Roads with the 35 mph speed limit and downhill grade leading to 45 mph or faster. And it would not hurt to see one or more on South Main Street in front of the Davidson United Methodist Church or on Concord Road where two crosswalks see a lot of foot traffic between Baker Sports Complex and Lorimer Road. For the safety of walkers, joggers, bicycles and dogs, the town should install without delay additional crosswalk signs. (See DavidsonNews.net Dec. 22, 2011, “New crosswalk signs arrive; better lighting on the way.”)
Harris Teeter Parking
A McConnell resident got a parking ticket recently while getting groceries at Harris Teeter (HT). This is a careful driver who does not pass on the right, stops for jaywalkers, is mindful of crosswalks, never speeds … but had to shell out $25 when she found that yellow ticket under her windshield wiper.
Seems that the police do not allow parking against the traffic flow in the few spaces along Peninsula Drive, citing the danger of pulling out into oncoming traffic. Well, Duh! First of all, it is not posted and second, traffic moves at a crawl in the area anyway. Shopping at Harris Teeter is always a collegial event where you greet neighbors, help the elderly with their carts and just pull into any free space – very carefully. Surely the town can find other law breakers to tend to and let HT shoppers focus on their lettuce and linguine.
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Have news for Around Davidson? Write to Brenda Barger at firstname.lastname@example.org.