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: Tuesday, January 8, 2019

News About Town: The Town’s recycling calendar should be arriving in mailboxes all over town in the next couple of days. In the meantime, the next week for recycling pick up is January 14-18. If you find yourself with an overflowing bin on the bi-weekly schedule, an additional bin is available for $40 annually. Call Republic Services Group at 704-393-6900 to request an extra bin. If you’re overflowing and want recycling relief now, the closest self-serve center is the McAlpine Creek Park Recycling Center (8711 Monroe Rd., Charlotte), where you can drop off residential recycling during park hours.


News Around Town: Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners will soon begin working on the FY2020 budget. Mecklenburg County residents are encouraged to weigh-in on budget priorities. There is a hearing for public input Tuesday, Jan 15 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. (Meeting Chamber, Lobby Level, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, 600 E. Fourth St, Charlotte, NC 28202. You must sign-up in advance to speak.) There is also a survey available online. Property tax, sales tax, service fees for county-provided services, and other sources are pooled to for the County budget. County Commissioners then create a budget to fund educational programs (CPCC, CMS, pre-k), county parks and rec, the Sheriff’s Department, libraries, the Public Health Department, and many other county services.

One Fun Thing: Did you resolve to get around to that book you’ve been wanting to write? How about a short story for your favorite local online paper (ahem)? The Matthews Fiction Writers Group meets tonight at the Matthews Library (230 Matthews Station St.) at 6:30 p.m. Join the group for work-shopping, critique, and to find camaraderie with area fiction writers.

Morning Minute: November 27, 2018

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News About Town: ast night, during the Board of Commissioners meeting, the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resource Advisory Committee made its second recommendation for tourism grants within the Town of Matthews. Originally the committee made recommendations to allot $63,000.00 (an arbitrary dollar amount typical of years past) in grants dispersed between six organizations (Charlotte City Ballet, Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association, Matthews Chamber of Commerce, Matthews Kiwanis Club, NC Youth Rugby Union, and Matthews Playhouse). Town Commissioners considered the budget and conceded that a percentage of tourism revenue would make more sense in the grant process. For 2019 onward the finance department estimate 5% of the end of year tourism revenue to calculate the tourism grant budget. Using 5% of the estimated revenue for next year allotted the committee an additional $19,400 for a total budget of $82,400.

Good Things Around Town: It’s #GivingTuesday and Matthews has an abundance of worthy nonprofits to support. Here are five of our favorites (there are so many more):

  • Bright Blessings is a volunteer-led organization that will impact more than 10,000 homeless and impoverished children this year through its core programs, Bless-A-Birthday, Bless-A-Baby, Gift of Literacy and Gift of Care. 

  • Habitat and Wildlife Keepers (HAWK), founded in 2006, as the first chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), is a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental education and conservation.

  • MANA doesn’t go for all of the complicated “vision-mission-values” exercises. Their purpose is simple: to end malnutrition. They do it, they do it ingeniously, and they do it from right here in Matthews.

  • The Matthews Library is easy to forget in terms of being nonprofit, but they are. Their mission is to improve lives and build a stronger community, which is exactly what they do for Matthews.  

  • Matthews Playhouse is a 501(c)3 non-profit, community-based, theater organization committed to enriching the lives of children and adults through the world of performing arts.

Morning Minute: October 31, 2018

News About Town: News about the Butler shooting has been unfolding. As the Matthews community searches for answers, there are still few. What has become known is that the gun was stolen from a vehicle in Gaston County in August. According to Jatwan Cuffie, the 16 year old shooter, he hid the gun in the woods outside the high school and retrieved it before school Monday. Cuffie was involved in a fight this past weekend with several other boys outside a Matthews Harris Teeter. Bobby McKeithen, the vicitim, was not involved in the fight. According to Cuffie, McKeithen punched him in the face Monday morning.

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News Around Town: Happy Halloween! Trick or treaters are sure to be out around dusk filling their bags with candy. Look for the growing-in-popularity Teal Pumpkin, where kids with allergies can find allergy-friendly treats. For adults, several of the establishments around town are offering spooky specials. However you celebrate (or don’t), exercise caution when driving around town tonight.


One Good Thing: The coast of North Carolina is still in need of support from the inland community after Hurricane Florence. Some schools have lost their entire library collections and many classroom collections have been destroyed by flooding, mold and contamination. Joanna Schimizzi, Matthews resident and teacher, has started a book drive with the goal of collecting one new and like-new book per child (600,000!) living in the 28 majorly affected counties.
If you would like to give or host a book drive click here. For questions or to volunteer, please email Joanna:

Yarn Crafters: a Tightly Knit Group

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Two years ago, Evy Ellis approached the Matthews Public Library about hosting a weekly knitting group – “a place open to everyone, (where) I didn’t need to worry about parking and setting up,” said Ellis. Having knitted since she was 10 years old, she envisioned that the comfort this group might provide – to each other and to others, together with the final product to be donated to others, might serve a worthy purpose in the community.

Through word of mouth, notices around Town Hall, online information and the library calendar, more than one dozen people signed up. Today, they meet twice each month, due to popular demand.

We have given up on knowledge of how to do natural things, use our resources. I’m trying to recapture those as much as possible and I think these ladies are doing the same thing.
— Sandy Davis

The “they” includes (older) women who moved to the Charlotte area to be near children, people already residing in the area and the youngest member – the “resident dessert maker,” who is known for her blue hair.

In addition, they are sometimes joined by a gentleman from Africa who rounds out the group.

“This is a welcoming group,” said Ellis. “It’s an eclectic bunch…very interesting (people). We have a great time talking. Since we meet in the library, the majority of people are prolific readers, and knitters. We discuss books, movies, art, recipes…It reminds me of (a time) when women had quilting gatherings.”

Although conversation is often at a premium, it’s the by-product of the group that takes center stage: scarves, hats, baby blankets, NICU hats, lap blankets (for seniors) at the rate of more than 100 per year. All the knitted creations go to local churches, Room at the Inn, homeless shelters, Meals on Wheels, missions and NICU units (one member transports them to Nashville, when she visits relatives).

In addition to camaraderie, the members get to ogle the great craftwork being created right before their eyes. “I’m astounded by the work – the craftsmanship which the women do,” said Ellis. “They use intricate patterns; some make beautiful things.”

It is a sentiment also reflected in the thank-you cards they receive from the recipients who receive the knitted work.

Do any of the women stand out? “A couple of them are like an assembly line,” laughs Ellis. “I just met some great ladies. We all reach out to each other. I’m (also) glad we can get together and chat.”

Said Sandy Davis, of Weddington, a knitter since her teenage years, “(The group) is totally welcoming.  There is no pressure or social biases. We’re there to share our yarn and be together. I’m glad that these ladies are keeping up with (this craftwork)……We have given up on knowledge of how to do natural things, use our resources. I’m trying to recapture those as much as possible and I think these ladies are doing the same thing.”  

“We’re yarn crafters specifically,” said Davis. “We go there and play with our yarn!”  

Rolande Sowers, of Matthews, is one of the newest members.  A creative person with many artistic interests, in the past, she made dozens of blankets for wheelchair-bound people but had a hard time finding a place for them.  Now, she sees exactly where the fruits of her labor land. “I have only been with the group since the summer. I have enjoyed every bit of it - I’ve even brought my best friend. I have made 25 scarves so far…. We just go at it. I want all my efforts to go to the right people.”

Yarn Crafters meets the first and third Thursday of each month from 2:15 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Matthews Public Library Activity Room.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro