Matthews Playhouse

Morning Minute: Wednesday, March 27, 2019

News About Town:  At Monday’s Board of Commissioners meeting the board voted on facade grants for two early-twentieth-century properties on West John Street. The owner of the first property, 455 West John St., requested  $2,500 toward a total exterior painting cost of $7,860. Other improvements include architectural work for an ADA compliant entry, which will be designed by Commissioner John Urban (Urban recused himself from the facade grant vote). The property owner of 501 West John Street requested $2,500 which will be used for replacement of damaged siding and repainting of the exterior.

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News Around Town:  Livable Meck, a public/private nonprofit partnership, gathers Mecklenburg County data to share with municipalities in order to shape plans for growth in the greater Charlotte area. Livable Meck’s Community Plan is considered a “Voice of the Community.” Survey results gathered from residents reflect their experiences, needs, priorities, and concerns for the future of the county. Share your thoughts through their Spring Survey to make your voice heard.

One Fun Thing:  After filling your belly with Kiwanis pancakes, and having a blast at Charlie’s Carnival this Saturday (March 30), join the Matthews Playhouse School of Theatre at the Matthews Library from 3-4 p.m.  Meet cast members from upcoming performances, join them for art and games, and hear the stories behind their upcoming plays (Stuart Little, Anne Frank and Me, and more).

Sweet Jenn: A Poignant One-Woman Show

Image courtesy  @MatthewsPlayhouse

Image courtesy @MatthewsPlayhouse

Over the weekend, we had an opportunity to watch the presentation of Sweet Jenn at the Matthews Playhouse. The one-set exhibit was impressively performed, created, and directed  by Lakeetha Blakeney. 

Before the presentation , I had a chance to meet Lakeetha and ask her about the inspiration behind the exhibit. It was incredible to hear the depths of time she spent delving into biographies and researching six specific former slaves and weaving them into one complex character, whom we meet on stage.  

As curtain rises, we meet Sweet Jenn, as her mom use to call her, who is a slave  in the south before Emancipation. As a mother, my heart broke as she was torn away from her own mother at age 10. And soon after, at age 13, she started bearing child after child, each taken away and sold soon after birth. Sweet Jenn never had the chance to share life with her children, but she tells each before they go that she is always with them.

Photo courtesy Debbie Chopas

Photo courtesy Debbie Chopas

A heart breaking tale that turns triumphant. In spite of horrible conditions, there are glimpses of hope:

After a brutal physical encounter, we revisit a character that we had met earlier when Jenn was first sold—her friend named Pearl. As Jenn lay waiting to die, Pearl visits and reminds her of who she is. Jenn is a fighter with a resilient spirit that has purpose to live. After months of physical healing, Jenn gets back to life with vigor. 

When serving daily food rations, a young man calls Jenn “my lady”, which confounds her as she has never been called a lady. But soon, she too is enchanted by this gentleman named Charles. 

And in time, she takes in an orphan slave as her own - Jenn finally has a sweet daughter to love. 

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Love always prevails to grow even in the worst conditions. 

Lakeetha delivered a beautiful tapestry that is poignant, thought-provoking, and brilliantly woven story in which laughter, hope, and love win.  

The actual tale is true. The message is lasting: we must remember that slavery still occurs today.  

I adore that Matthews Playhouse and the Town of Matthews partnered to present this powerful presentation. In these perilous times with racial tension from various fronts, it is critical to keep these stories in front of us. Conversations that provoke questions is how we can identify slavery and prevent history from repeating itself.

Photo courtesy Debbie Chopas

Photo courtesy Debbie Chopas

Debbie Chopas is a mamaprenuer, cold-coffee drinker and fan of all things Matthews. Find Debbie and her husband on Saturday mornings running their coffee shop Good Cup Coffee, and keep up with her adventures around town @goodcupcoffee_co.

#FiveForFriday: A Morning Minute News Round Up

This #FiveForFriday Morning Minute News Round Up is for the week of February 18 through February 22, 2019.

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News About Town: The opioid epidemic has grown in staggering proportions and hasn't left Matthews untouched. Matthews emergency service responders see the effects of this routinely, and thanks to Mecklenburg County Medic, the Police Department has a line of defense against opioid overdose. Medic provided Naloxone, an opioid "antagonist", and the necessary training for the entire Matthews Police force to safely administer it.

Officers, and their canine counterparts are in danger of being exposed to drugs during search and arrest. Not only will having Naloxone on-hand benefit those who have overdosed, but will be an aid in keeping officers (and police K-9’s) safe.

The Matthews Police Department urges anyone with an opioid addiction to please seek help immediately. For more information on addiction and available resources, please see the links below.

Opioid Crisis Information (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Naloxone Information (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
How to find Treatment (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services)

 
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One Important Thing: If there’s more action on Wile E. Coyote’s Tinder account than usual, know that it’s because it’s coyote mating season. Coyotes are fairly common to the area, so watch out for your indoor-outdoor pets; mating season means the wild canines will need more calories than other times in the year. During mating season, with hormones running amok, they may be somewhat more aggressive than usual. Use precautions when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.

 
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News About Town: The Planning Conference for the Board of Commissioners starts Friday. Pursuant to NC open meeting laws, the meeting is open to the public but there will be no portion for public comment. Items of note include: Properties of Significance with Existing “By Right” Zoning; Residential Construction and Overcrowded Schools; 4-Year Terms for Mayor and Board of Commissioners; and Hiring a Lobbyist. The full information packet can be found here.

 
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News About Town: The Board of Commissioners Agenda for the Monday, February 25 meeting was posted yesterday. The Board will revisit the Streetscape Conceptual Design contract. The Board will also hear what State Senate Bill 469 means for stormwater control on property to be redeveloped.

 
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One Good Thing: The Matthews Habitat for Humanity has expanded its reach to include critical home repairs. Moving beyond the scope of building new homes, this program is for Matthews homeowners who are current on taxes and payments and meet income criteria. The Critical Home Repair Program is for low-income residents who have repair needs around their home that create an unsafe or unhealthy living situation, such as a failing roof or necessary accessibility modifications.

Morning Minute: Monday, February 18, 2019

News About Town: The opioid epidemic has grown in staggering proportions and hasn't left Matthews untouched. Matthews emergency service responders see the effects of this routinely, and thanks to Mecklenburg County Medic, the Police Department has a line of defense against opioid overdose. Medic provided Naloxone, an opioid "antagonist", and the necessary training for the entire Matthews Police force to safely administer it.

Officers, and their canine counterparts are in danger of being exposed to drugs during search and arrest. Not only will having Naloxone on-hand benefit those who have overdosed, but will be an aid in keeping officers (and police K-9’s) safe.

The Matthews Police Department urges anyone with an opioid addiction to please seek help immediately.  For more information on addiction and available resources, please see the links below.

Opioid Crisis Information (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Naloxone Information (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
How to find Treatment (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services)

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News Around Town: The Greater Matthews Business Expo, organized by the Matthews Chamber of Commerce, is coming up tomorrow, February 19, at CPCC Levine (2800 Campus Ridge Rd.) from 4 to 7 p.m.
Don’t miss the speed networking event, an opportunity to make lots of connections with no time for awkward lulls. (Is it just me?)

The expo is free to the public, just show up ready to meet new people and learn about the many things the Matthews business community has to offer.

One Fun Thing: Proving there’s no rest for thespians, Matthews Playhouse has another show opening this Friday! The Playhouse is bringing The Jungle Book (based on Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories) to Fullwood Theater under the artful eye of celebrated Charlotte director Sidney Horton.

This musical tells the familiar story of Mowgli, a precocious boy raised by wolves, as he journeys through the jungle to escape the ferocious tiger Shere Khan.  February 22 - March 3, 2019. Suitable for 5-year-olds and older. $14 Adults - $12 Students & Seniors.

#FiveForFriday: A Morning Minute News Round Up

This #FiveForFriday Morning Minute News Round Up is for the week of February 4 through February 8, 2019.

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News About Town: Tonight the Board of Commissioners will consider entering into contract with Bloc Design for streetscape improvement design work for the downtown portion of Trade Street through North End and a portion of the downtown area of John Street. The cost for design work has been estimated by Bloc Design at $37,000 and, if approved, may not exceed $41,250. Their suggestions might include sidewalk improvements, traffic calming measures, and a cohesive design. The planned design will function as a schematic for future reconstruction of sidewalks and aesthetics within the study area.

Previously the Board hired McGill Associates for a streetscape design. The 2016 renderings and document detailed designs and improvements that projected up to twenty years in the future. It is unclear why another design is being sought now.

 
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News About Town: Matthews Playhouse, in conjunction with the Town Parks & Recreation Department, and the Charlotte Post, are putting on a special performance of “Sweet Jenn” February 23rd at 7:30 pm. The play was awarded Festival Favorite at The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival in October 2018 and tells the poignant story of Jenny Butler, an emancipated woman in the antebellum south. Tickets are $5 and are on sale now.

 
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News Around Town: If you have a costly erosion problem at your home or business, the county may be able to help. The Urban Cost Share Program, a Mecklenburg County grant, provides funds for projects that will improve local water quality. Property owners throughout the county are welcome to submit applications for projects to stop stream bank erosion and address other water pollution issues. The grant may cover up to 75% of allowable costs (maximum of $7,500) for installation and implementation. More information is available here, and the application is available here.

 
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News Around Town: Over the past decade, Arts and Science Council funding has dropped 48% due to less giving (by both individuals and businesses). As a result, a study committee created by the ASC examined ways to keep the cultural sector funded and determined dedicated funding through sales tax is the best approach. ASC is asking for 1/10 of one cent from authorized-yet-unused sales tax (a portion of the quarter-cent increase approved by the NC General Assembly in 2009) as the dedicated funding. This use of sales tax requires approval and will be put to a public vote. Matthews groups that receive funds from ASC include, but are not limited to, Matthews Playhouse, Project Art Aid, and the Town of Matthews Parks and Rec department. Previous IRS Form 990s may be found here.

 
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News Around Town: On February 19, four Matthews churches - Matthews Baptist, Matthews Presbyterian, Matthews United Methodist, and Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist - are combining resources to host the next in a series of Community Forums on Racial-Bridge Building. WBTV's Tonya Rivens will moderate the discussion. Representatives from town staff, the Matthews Board of Commissioners, and housing professionals form the panel. Discussion will focus on the topic of affordable housing. Tuesday, February 19, 7:00 p.m., Brace Family YMCA, 3127 Weddington Rd.

Morning Minute: Tuesday, February 12, 2019

News About Town:  Matthews Playhouse, in conjunction with the Town Parks & Recreation Department, and the Charlotte Post, are putting on a special performance of “Sweet Jenn” February 23rd at 7:30 pm. The play was awarded Festival Favorite at The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival in October 2018 and tells the poignant story of Jenny Butler, an emancipated woman in the antebellum south. Tickets are $5 and are on sale now. 

News Around Town:  Have you ever had a sudden urge to play the piano, learn Finnish, or master excel spreadsheets? Lucky for you, all of that information - and so much more - is available at your fingertips through the library! Hit up the library’s e-resources and check out eBooks from Overdrive and Hoopla, online courses from Lynda and Universal Class, and enough knowledge databases to keep you busy learning for at least a hundred years.

One Fun Question: Every once in a while fun topics come up around Beacon HQ, and we wonder what our readers think. Recently we were discussing the ability to watch the Board of Commissioners meetings online.

Morning Minute: October 26, 2018

Photo by Norah Burke  

Photo by Norah Burke 

Some Fun Things: Looking for Halloween fun? There’s plenty of fun for everyone!

  • Today, October 26 through Tuesday, October 30, the Matthews Playhouse is ready to scare you silly on the Haunted Trail! Each day from 6 until 7 PM things are on the tame side of terrifying, but from 7 PM until closing at 10 PM there's no telling how frightful things will get. Tickets are $7 for 12 years and under and $10 for 13 years and older.  Located on the Greenway Connector Trail behind the Community Center, 100 McDowell St East.   

  • Matthews Mojo Halloween Costume Run! Let’s cut to the chase, you’re going to eat a lot of candy. A LOT OF CANDY. Why not prep for Halloween by giving your costume a dress rehearsal and run on October 27 (8 AM til about 10 AM). Think of it as preemptively neutralizing the sugar?Post-run wind down with a (few?)  pumpkin beers and hang out with like-minded people.

  • Don’t forget the Town’s Not-So-Spooky Halloween and Pumpkin Carving Contest, this Saturday, October 27, from 5 PM to 9 PM in Stumptown Park. The evening starts with festive fun and will end with the movie “Halloweentown”.

  • Mount Moriah Church, 381 Crestdale Rd, is hosting a Trunk or Treat on Halloween with food and games. It’s open to everyone and costumes should be based on book characters. The festivities start at 6:30 PM and will go to 8:30PM.

  • If you don’t have kids and want something to do, Halloween Bike Night is the season-ender on October 31 at Kristopher’s (at the Corner of Matthews-Mint Hill Road & Trade Street). The fun starts at 6 PM and you’ll want to get there in time to see bikers arrive in costume.

Morning Minute: October 24, 2018

News About Town:  During last night’s council meeting the Board looked at and discussed the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resource Advisory Committee’s recommended annual tourism grants. Recipients are Charlotte City Ballet, Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association, the Matthews Chamber, Matthews Kiwanis Club,  NC Youth Rugby, and Matthews Playhouse.  With half of the Chamber’s request granted, the committee spokesman explained the requested amount for the organization was not granted because the Chamber received funds from the town as a Departmental Operation line item in the fiscal year ‘19 budget. The Board requested reconsideration by the committee on their decision.

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News Around Town: Love it or leave it, Nextdoor is tuned into the community at large. They’ve just opened the 2018 Neighborhood Favorites Survey and want to know what members think of area businesses. Categories include, but are not limited to restaurants, nail salons, florists, and auto mechanics, most of which have several Matthews options. Too bad there’s no option for “Matthews-centric Online Newspaper”.

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One Fun Thing: Get those obliques working by belly dancing with Nayna tonight and every Wednesday at Rhythm Dance, 120 W Matthews Street in downtown Matthews. Nayna teaches the essentials (including footwork, figure 8s, shimmies, arm and hand movement) in this basics course that’s suitable for all levels.  7:30-8:30 PM, $20 per class or $60 for a four week session.