Little Sacrifices = Big Results

Some Highlights:

  • The pumpkin spice latte is launching soon, so you may be tempted to spend your extra cash on a daily caffeine fix, but that small expense can add up to a big number – fast!
  • Saving for a down payment takes a little discipline, so limiting your extra purchases (like a latte a day from your favorite coffee shop) will help you get there faster.
  • Depending on where you live, putting away just a small amount each day will get you to the average down payment you may need for homeownership faster than you think.

Promotion “Fine Print”

SCHRIVER’S 2019 “SCORE 3 NIGHTS” RULES AND REGULATIONS

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. VOID OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTIAL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW.

CONTEST PERIOD. The Score 3 Nights (“Promotion”) will begin promotional efforts on March 8, 2019 and will conclude all elements of the Promotion on, or about, April 9, 2019 (the “Promotion Period“) with the announcement of the Grand Prize winner.  The Score 3 Nights promotion Registration Will End at Exactly 12:15pm (Eastern Standard Time) on March 21, 2019 (the “Registration Period”).  Entries not completed, and successfully submitted by 12:15pm, March 21, 2019 will be VOID, and not eligible for participation. 

1. How to Enter. To enter the Promotion during the open Registration Period, eligible participants are asked to navigate to the following website https://www.runyourpool.com/join/pool_info.cfm?id=112465&p=NCLakeLiving%2Ecomand complete the entry form in full (“Eligible Entries”).  By entering this Promotion, each participant warrants that he or she agrees to abide by all Promotion rules and that he or she is not prohibited from participating in the Promotion.

 2. Eligibility. The Promotion is open to all legal residents of the continental United States (excluding Hawaii, Alaska, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. military bases outside the U.S.) who are 18 years of age or older as of the date of entry. The Grand Prize winner may be required to provide proof of legal U.S. residency to determine eligibility and as a condition of prize award.

 3. No Purchase Necessary. Limit of one (1) entry per person during the official open Registration Period, by submitting an entry you agree to abide by these Official Rules. All completed entries must be received by 12:15pm (EST) on 3/21/2019, the official end of the Registration Period.  Proof of entry submission will not be deemed to be proof of receipt by RunYourPool.com or its parent company, RYP Technologies, LLC.   RunYourPool.com and its parent company, RYP Technologies, LLC, are not responsible for lost, misdirected, late, incomplete, illegible or unintelligible entries or for inaccurate entry information, whether caused by a participant or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in this Promotion, or by any technical or human errors that may occur in the processing of entries.  Incomplete, duplicate, mechanically reproduced or automated entries are not permitted and will be deemed void.  Entries containing inappropriate material or language, including profanity, are disqualified. 

 4. Additional Terms: The winner will be determined to have earned the highest collective point total AND correctly selected the team to win the final Championship Game on or about of April 8, 2019.  Further, to be considered an eligible Completed Entry to the Promotion, each participant in the Promotion must also provide a prediction of the Combined Total Score of the Two Teams Participating in the Men’s Basketball National Championship Game; That predicted combined score total number will be used exclusively as a tie-breaking factor between two (or more) Promotion participants in the event of an overall Tournament Point total tie, AND correctly selecting the winner of the Championship game.  IN THE EVENT OF A TIE THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER WILL BE THE PARTICIPANT THAT MOST CLOSELY PREDICTS THE COMBINED FINAL TOTAL SCORE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WITHOUT PREDICTING A NUMBER THAT IS GREATER THAN THE ACTUAL COMBINED CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TOTAL SCORE. The grand prize winner will be contacted directly by an executive from NC Lake Living, LLC on or about the week ofApril 8, 2019. The provision of the Grand Prize being offered is subject to all of the terms and conditions within this document.  

Likewise, the Grand Prize winner must agree also agree to Additional Terms and Conditionsprovided by the ownership specific to Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC. Participants may request a copy of the Majestic Oak Lodge Terms by emailing “Request Terms” to MajesticOakLodge@gmail.com.  As a condition of occupancy for the three (3) night term of the Grand Prize, the winner must provide Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC with valid credit card information to hold in the event of any damage resulting during the winner’s stay.  In lieu of credit card information, the winner may provide Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC with a $250 security deposit check that will be fully refunded within seven (7) days following the winner’s reservation provided no damage caused by the Promotion Grand Prize Winner is found during the post-reservation inspection.   RunYourPool.com and the parent company, RYP Technologies, LLC, Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC, NC Lake Living, LLC and Helen Adams Realty are not responsible if Promotion cannot take place, or if any prize cannot be awarded due to delays, interruptions or failures due to acts of God, war, natural disasters, weather, acts or threats of terrorism, strikes, lockouts, labor disputes, work stoppages, fire, acts of government, or other events outside of the reasonable control of aforementioned business entities. If, for any reason, Promotion is not capable of running as planned, including, without limitation, infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of RunYourPool.com or its parent company, RYP Technologies, which, in their sole determination, corrupts or affects the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Promotion, RunYourPool.com or its parent company, RYP Technologies, LLC  reserve the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend Promotion or any part of the Promotion.

 5. Selection; Odds of Winning; Notification. The determined winner must comply with all terms and conditions of these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements. The potential winner will be notified either by telephone or e-mail using the contact information as provided in their entry form. The potential winner may be required to execute and return:  a) a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility; b) a Liability Release; c) or any other forms as provided and requested. All requested forms must be returned by the date and/or time indicated. If the potential winner cannot be contacted with seven (7) calendar days of the first attempt to contact the winner, or if the potential winner fails to return the forms required within the specified time, or if any prize or prize notification is returned as undeliverable, or if the potential winner is found to be ineligible, or if the potential winner does not comply with the Official Rules, then the potential winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner awarded based on placing second in the competition. 

 6. PRIZE. There will be one (1) grand prize winner awarded from all Eligible Entries on or about the week of April 9, 2019.  The winner will receive, subject to the terms and conditions of these Official Rules, the following: (i) three nights’ accommodation at Majestic Oak Lodge, located in Sevierville, Tennessee (ii) all state and federal applicable taxes to be paid by Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC (iii) additional cleaning and damage protection waiver fees to be paid by Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC.

The winner is solely and exclusively responsible for their own transportation and all other non-lodging expenses associated with redeeming the grand prize.

The combined value of the grand prize is $940 (or greater depending on dates of stay) and the odds of winning depend on the number of Eligible Entries received during Registration Period.  In the event the Grand Prize winner elects to forfeit the accommodation there is NO EQUIVILENT CASH PRIZE to be awarded to the winner. The grand prize is NON-TRANSFERABLE to any other person(s) without the advanced written approval from Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC.

The Grand Prize of three (3) nights accommodation must be used within one (1) calendar year from the date received and is required to be used as one (1) reservation for three (3) consecutive nights.  Dates of availability are subject to existing reservations.  “Premium Rate” periods as outlined on the “Rates & Availability Calendar” located at: www.MajesticOakLodge.comare excluded.  Reservation dates are limited to open dates with a Maximum Nightly Lodging rate of $250 (or less).

The prize and all components must be accepted as awarded and is awarded “AS IS” with no warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, made by RunYourPool.com and the parent company, RYP Technologies, LLC, Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC., NC Lake Living, LLC and Helen Adams Realty or for which RunYourPool.com and the parent company, RYP Technologies, LLC, Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC., NC Lake Living, LLC and Helen Adams Realty shall be liable, including, without limitation, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. No substitution, assignment, refund or transfer of a prize is permitted, without the sole written consent of Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC.  If applicable, winner will be issued an IRS Form 1099 for the retail value of the prize.  

 7. Administration: By entering, entrant agrees to follow the official rules and hold harmless and indemnify RunYourPool.com and the parent company, RYP Technologies, LLC, Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC, NC Lake Living, LLC and Helen Adams Realty, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officer, employees, and agents against liability, damages or causes of action (however names or described), with respect to or arising out of either (1) entrants participation; or (ii) the receipt or use of the prizes awarded in the promotion. Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC and NC Lake Living, LLC reserve the right to amend, suspend or terminate this Sweepstakes at any time without prior notice or consent. Any questions relating to eligibility, these Official Rules or any other questions concerning this Sweepstakes will be resolved at the sole discretion of Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC. No requests for exchanges, or cash equivalent for the accommodation/lodging value will be considered and no substitutions will be made. 

ILLEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE PROMOTION MAY BE IN VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAW AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, RUNYOURPOOL.COM, RYP TECHNOLOGIES, MAJESTIC OAK LODGE, LLC, NC LAKE LIVING, LLC AND HELEN ADAMS REALTY, AND ADMINISTRATOR IF APPLICABLE, RESERVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK REMEDIES AND DAMAGES (INCLUDING ATTORNEY’S FEES) FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITED BY LAW. THE NORTH CAROLINA COURTS (STATE AND FEDERAL) SHALL HAVE SOLE JURISDICTION OF ANY CONTROVERSIES REGARDING THE SWEEPSTAKES AND THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA SHALL GOVERN THE PROMOTION. EACH ENTRANT WAIVES ANY AND ALL OBJECTIONS TO JURISDICTION AND VENUE IN THESE COURTS AND HEREBY SUBMITS TO THE JURISDICTION OF THESE COURTS.

8. Sponsor(s): This Sweepstakes is sponsored by Majestic Oak Lodge, LLC, with mailing address located at: 161 E. Cold Hollow Farms, Mooresville, NC 28117

Are You Smooth Sailing With Your 2018 Tax Filing?

Help me out, was I just dreaming or does anyone else remember the current President standing in front of the cameras in 2017, displaying a postcard-sized document, and promising that tax laws were going to be so simple that most us wouldn’t need more than a form the size of that postcard to file our annual taxes? Oh to dream…

If you’re at all like me, that proclamation sounded pretty darn good at the time because taxes (and lately Pittsburgh Steelers playoff games) seem to raise my intake of heartburn medicine about this time every single year. I guess for 2018 I’ll just have to be satisfied that my postcard dream is still “in the mail”.

Let me note right up front that I am not a tax professional, I’ve never played one on television or believed to be one at the free breakfast bar at the Holiday Inn Express, even though I did stay there the night before. That said, I did spend some time this past month trying to do some research on what the tax law changes actually are, and what they may mean for me this year. So, in the spirit of sharing what I gleaned that may be of value for some of my friends, I thought I would pass along these bite-sized bits of what I discovered.

Somewhat shockingly, I found that 48% of taxpayers claim to understand how the new law affects their tax bracket — I mean yes, that is less than half of all taxpayers but still seems kind of impressive to learn that many folks say they know what’s up…I sure don’t!

Less shocking to me, (according to a study from NerdWallet) only 51% of Americans were even aware that there is a new tax law! So, if you’re unclear exactly how friendly (or not) Uncle Sam is going to be to you this spring, pop open a fresh bottle of Zantac** and try to find some comfort in the knowledge that by being confused & in the dark about taxes you’re in with the majority of us! (** note, as with my disclaimer of not being a tax professional, I am also not a medical professional. So, popping Zantac may not be right for you. Although, if you were at a breakfast bar at a Holiday Inn Express I will say you might want to at least think about those Zantac).

With thanks to some actual tax pros at CNBC, TurboTax, H&R Block, NerdWallet & HerMoney.com here’s what I can share:

New standard deductions. By far the biggest change is a new, higher standard deduction. It’s $12,000 for single filers, $18,000 for heads of household and $24,000 for people married filing jointly. Taxpayers have always had a choice between taking the standard deduction and itemizing — taking individual write-offs for things like mortgage interest and charitable contributions — but because the standard deduction has gone up, itemizing will make sense for fewer people. According to estimates from TurboTax, nearly 90 percent of taxpayers will now take the standard deduction, up from about 70 percent in previous years. (If you’re unsure which camp you’ll fall into, there’s an interactive calculator here.)

New limits on State and Local Income Tax (SALT) deductions. Per the new law, deductions are limited to just $10,000. While this change won’t be a burden to all homeowners, it will hit folks hardest in states with the highest property taxes, which include New Jersey, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Illinois and California.

New rules around medical expense deductions. In years past, your medical expenses had to exceed 10% of your annual income before you could deduct them, but now if they exceed 7.5% you can enjoy that deduction — if you itemize.

Dependent exemptions have been eliminated, but child tax credits have been increased. The $4,050 exemptions that millions of parents had grown accustomed to taking for their children are no longer allowed, but the child tax credit was raised from $1,000 to $2,000, for children under 17, and families earning up to $400,000 can take advantage of the credit. The law also introduced a $500 credit for non-child dependents, which could include elderly parents or children over the age of 17. (Cool, in Uncle Sam’s eyes, Mom living down the hall may mean a little $$…sweet bonus beyond the home cooking & seeming love of doing laundry!)

Moving expenses are no longer deductible: Even if you complete a necessary cross-country move for a new job, you’re no longer allowed to deduct those expenses under the new law. This does not include active duty military personnel, or companies that move. (So small business owners can still claim moving expenses on their business taxes.) One bright spot here though, if your company is reimbursing you for your moving expenses, you no longer get taxed on that reimbursement as if it were income, according to the Executive Director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block.

529 accounts aren’t just for college anymore: In the past, funds from 529 educational savings plans could only be used for college, but under the new law, families can use them for tuition expenses for grades K-12 as well as for university studies. This could potentially be really beneficial for parents paying for private school or religious schools who have those kinds of expenses and may warrant looking into a bit deeper if you’re in that situation.

Is there anything you can still do to reduce your tax burden before April 15?  Yes. You can still get a tax deduction of up to $5,500 (or $6,500 for individuals 50 and over) and lower your 2018 taxable income by making a 2018 IRA contribution up until April 15…again, very much worth looking into, especially if that deduction has the ability to make a difference in your overall tax bracket.

Will the new tax law affect my refund? Whether you see a bigger refund this year really comes down to your personal tax situation and whether or not you adjusted your W-4 withholdings. To know for sure, you’ll need to look at your “big” tax picture, not just your refund. The majority of taxpayers who usually take the standard deduction may see more money in their pocket this year, but this does not necessarily mean it will show up in their refund; it can show up in their refund, or paycheck, or as a lower tax balance due.

Okay, so now you think you get it…when are you going to be able to shout Show Me the Money??? If you’re fortunate enough to get a refund & are concerned about getting it in a timely manner — the government shutdown sure didn’t do any of us any favors on that front!  The best course of action you can take is to make sure to file electronically, and file for your refund to be direct deposited right into your account. Electronic filing will increase your chances for things to sail smoothly… anytime people have to open and sort through mail, that’s going to add lag time to the process (there’s a golden nugget of advice…hmmm, I want something quickly, should I send an email or a snail mail???)

What should you do if you end up owing more money than you were expecting?  Hopefully friends, that’s not your situation. However, the tax pros all recommend that if it is, you should talk to your employer asap about making adjustments to your withholdings on your W4 form, soon.  If your 2018 outcome isn’t what you expected or hoped for (remember, hope is not a plan) act now to make sure it’s not too late to do something about 2019 — the sooner the better!  If you’re not sure what kind of changes you’re going to need to make, or how much you’ll need to have withheld, the IRS has a handy withholding calculator you can use to see where you stack up, and help ensure that if 2018 wasn’t, that 2019 can still be smooth sailing for all of my NC Lake Living friends.

Last Minute Spring Break Planning???

Are you still looking for a great place to get away with family over the upcoming 2019 spring break?  

Below are a few of my family’s personal favorites that are all within a reasonable driving distance and provide just the right blend of kid activities and on-premise water attractions to keep everyone happy when you aren’t off exploring mega-amusement parks.

A money-saving personal tip to share — if you’re not already a Marriott Rewards member you may want to consider joining & accumulating some points…because each and every recommendation that I have shared is a Marriott-owned or affiliated property and my family has enjoyed each of these terrific properties “FREE” — 100% on our rewards points!  

If these look like places you might enjoy, drop me a note or email me, I’d be happy to share how we’ve managed to save thousands of dollars on accommodations while enjoying some of the most amazing resort properties in Florida.


Amelia Island:  The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island…We loved this place.  They did an amazing Easter egg hunt and had dozens of free carnival-type games for the kids to play.  There were smores around the fire in the evenings right down on the beach. If you’re not up for socializing around a big bonfire, there are also pairs of adirondack chairs scattered around the property with their own personal little firepits to enjoy.  The pool was very peaceful and the service was fantastic. We even had a personal visit from the Easter Bunny on Saturday evening when we checked in!

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/florida/amelia-island?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2#Resort

last moment prep before getting ready for the egg hunt

We’ve made multiple visits to Orlando over the years and you really can’t go wrong with any of the options where we’ve stayed.

The JW Marriott Grande Lakes is super kid-friendly and has great (enormous) lazy river that circles the multiple pools on property.  This place definitely draws families & can provide you with as much social interaction as you want. Given that you are in Orlando, you’ve got thousands of entertainment options all around you, but if you’re just looking to relax and forget about your car for a few days you’ll find plenty to do here without ever leaving the property.

Orlando:  JW Marriott Grande Lakes

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mcojw-jw-marriott-orlando-grande-lakes/

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sneak away for a cozy fireside snack at the JW Marriott

The Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes is immediately adjacent to the JW Marriott and is connected by a walkway along the back of the property.  The pool at the Ritz is pretty basic…beautiful, but not geared as much towards kids as the neighboring JW Marriott. The upside however, when you’re ready to take a break from the relative tranquility at your own pool, you can make the short walk over to the JW and have access to the lazy river & all their activities.  

Orlando Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/florida/orlando#Hotel


The Orlando Marriott World Center is ENORMOUS.  When you’re there for a family spring break you’ll see a lot of other families, but you’ll no doubt also run across a convention or two being hosted at the property as well… One really fun part of this property is that in addition to a great pool with cascading waterfalls hiding a hot tub grotto, they also have a couple of very fun water slides that the kids will love (I can attest, even 49 year old kids)!

Orlando Marriott World Center

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mcowc-orlando-world-center-marriott/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2

pool hijinks at the Orlando Marriott World Center

Marco Island:  JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort  In fairness, we were really, really fortunate to be able to work the front desk into an upgrade to one of their villa suites that enabled us to walk right out our backdoor and take 5 steps before hitting the sand.  If you go here, pour on the charm at check in & ask about a villa upgrade. The beaches and the water are absolutely fantastic — with bright white, almost powdery, sand and crystal clear gulf waters.  There are some terrific casual restaurants in the resort right there along the beach or you can reserve a beach tiki cabana & enjoy drink/food service while you relax in the shade.

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mrkfl-jw-marriott-marco-island-beach-resort/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2

take in some shade & amazing views in Marco Island

*  BONUS RECOMMENDATION

beautiful day for boating in Anna Maria

Anna Maria Island is wonderful.  It’s sleepy little beach town just south of Tampa and north of Sarasota that reminds me of the old-school Florida beach towns.  Situated on the western coast of Florida, you’re treated to amazing nightly sundowns over the Gulf. You can pretty much bicycle anywhere, or if you plan ahead you can rent a golf cart for the duration of your stay to help make treks to the beach or the ice cream shop even more enjoyable.  My family was turned on to Anna Maria a few years ago by friends and on that visit we actually rented a small house (no Marriott Points on that one!). There a so many great home rental options but you might need to act fast if that’s the way you want to go. Besides VRBO searching, there are a couple of rental management companies right in Anna Maria that can assist you in your search.

This spring we’re headed back to Anna Maria & back to my favorite luxury… “FREE” accommodations with our points.  Anna Maria Island is home to one of Marriott’s Autograph Collection hotels, the Waterline Marina & Beach Club.  We haven’t been there yet personally but the pictures and reviews are amazing. They offer multi bedroom suites with kitchens, living rooms etc so we should have plenty of space for the family.  We’re excited to check it out!

Anna Maria:  Waterline Marina & Beach Club https://www.waterlineresort.com/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2

incredible beach & nightly sunsets over the Gulf from Anna Maria Island

Finding the Wins amidst the Losses

As a new blogger going through the process of trying to find my “voice” for the NC Lake Living postings that you’ll find here on my blog pages, I’ve been reading a lot of interesting posts. While reading through different blogs I also read a lot of “interesting” blogs (if you catch my drift). Wow!

That said, between my own original content posts, I plan to share an occasional link every now & then to some other bloggers that shared a story that I found interesting (not “interesting”) and accurately portrays the pros & cons of lakefront living.

Please take a few minutes to check out this link — I think it’s a great example of realizing that not all wins and losses can be boiled down & calculated on a P/L spreadsheet.

Finding the Wins amidst the Losses

Finding the Wins amidst the Losses
— Read on smartersooner.com/2018/12/17/win-some-lose-some/

Lake Norman Sun Lovers…

I guess this one is kind of like how eggs were great for you, then they weren’t, and then they were again.

It’s a refreshing feeling to know that I’ve been doing something good for my health by continuously forgetting to put on sunscreen?

I’m pretty certain there will be plenty of articles to refute the claims in this article, but in the meantime lake lovers shouldn’t be too hard themselves if they “forget”, like I regularly do, to slather on the SPF.

apple.news/AfEyjpe9QS1a9p2opq63Reg

Sorry Folks, the Park’s Closed…

So, this evening I attempted to attend the Duke Power Marshall Steam Station meeting that was a public forum to discuss the issue with Duke’s coal ash ponds. However, despite arriving at the Sherrills Ford Elementary School (site of the meeting) 10 minutes before the meeting was to start, there wasn’t a parking spot to be had…I mean anywhere. It was pure chaos outside with people parking on lawns, curbs, double parking cars in… you get the picture.

After a solid 30 minutes to complete one circle around the stuffed parking lot I crossed the road and headed down a small side road determined to find a parking spot & walk…no matter how far away I was from the school.

Man, I was thrilled to have found a spot about a quarter of a mile away, now 30 minutes after the start of the meeting, alongside this road, my vehicle’s passenger side tires precariously gripping an embankment about 18 inches lower than my driver’s side tires.

SUV secured & seemingly safe from rolling down the hillside, I set off for my little hike in the rain back towards the school. Look out Duke Power, here I come!

As I was making my way back up the road to the school I happened to notice several small groupings of folks making their own trek back towards the row of cars (each one of which was also seemingly defying the law of gravity as they too were parked sideways along the hill). That’s when two very frustrated 40-something women said to me “…they’re over capacity at the meeting, not letting anymore people in…”

WHAT?!?!?

Surely these nice ladies we just working on some grand April Fools joke two and a half months early???

I’d come this far, my frustration dial already turned up to an 11. I’ll be damned if I’m not going to get up there & find my way in to this thing (like I did one time at a Jimmy Buffet concert in the early 90’s, but I digress).

A few moments later, as I approached the entrance, I could see dozens (maybe more) equally frustrated folks all standing outside in the 40 degree drizzle. That’s when it hit me, this feeling of utter disappointment — like Clark W. Griswold when he finally got to Wally World and was greeted by an animatronic moose…”Sorry folks, the park is closed”.

Instead, I’m just rambling about the cold, the rain, the traffic & all the things that are out of my control.

On the dejected walk back to my car however, a new feeling was beginning to settle in with me — there were a ton of people (hundreds maybe thousands?) that weren’t turned away. People that, like me, are fed up by the utter disregard, and general ambivalence this giant company appears to have for the health & welfare of the people in our community.

My goal was to make it into that meeting tonight, listen to whatever PR pro line of BS they were going to share, and then come back here tonight and help spread the word of what went down in that WAY TOO SMALL venue.

Taking the fight to a giant environmental polluter is something that is in each and every one of our own individual control. You see, the point is that despite my personal disappointment about not being able to be in the room tonight, the thing that I can take away from the evening is that SO MANY of our neighbors, friends, co-workers etc. did engage, did show up and did manage to make it in that room.

If you ever felt like you might be a lonely voice crying out about the coal ash problem Duke has brought to our front door here around Lake Norman, what I can tell you is that you are not alone.

Please stay tuned, I’ll have much more actual information on this topic in the coming days, weeks, months (God willing, not years).