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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting - August 19, 2014

Agenda about the City Council meeting of August 19, 2014


*** The tone of this meeting was much better with the Mayor allowing back and forth interaction on the Oktoberfest issue.

A. Mr. Alan Barnhardt, Executive Director, Catawba Science Center will discuss the
uniqueness of Catawba Science Center, what it is doing to promote the local economy, and the newest featured exhibition – Furniture. Well Crafted.

*** Mr. Barnhardt's presentation will be provided in the Newsletter presentation. Below is a video he presented to Council.

 Visit Catawba Science Center's latest exhibit Furniture. Well Crafted. Science + Innovation + Technology - For more information: http://catawbascience.org/exhibits.ht...








B. Ms. Bebe Leitch, CEO, Hickory Metro Convention Center, presentation of a Resolution to Hickory City Council
Ms. Leitch presented a resolution detailing the history and direction, through the years, of the Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors' Bureau and the Convention Center... how the entities been funded, developed, and have evolved.



C. Representative of Hickory Downtown Development Association – Discussion of Oktoberfest

Hound Notes: One of the key issues of the night. Tracy Nestor presented information related to the operational hours of this year's festival. Oktoberfest has for years been closing between 11pm and 11:30pm. This year a closing time of 10pm was imposed on the festival. The festival coordinators asked for a compromise and eventually it was granted by the city council. The Festival will close at 10:30pm. (According to the HDR, the festival will close at 11pm and it is the beer sales will end at 10:30pm).

Personally, I'm tired of the leaders of this community having a desire to roll up the sidewalks after dark. It blows me away how unrealistic it is. I understand that the people on the Council relate to Codgers, but it is ridiculous. Hickory Alive and the Sails events have had their operational hours reduced to 9pm from the previous 10pm. Ms. Nestor and another lady, the head of the Jaycees, talked about how this has had a negative impact on their revenues this year and it will have an effect on their upcoming operational budget.

Mayor Wright, the Council, and Chief Adkins went back to the issue of unsupervised kids roaming the streets of Hickory. They say that this is an issue of Public Safety. We've heard this before over the past several years. Nothing is being resolved other than for people who act properly to have to endure an imposition based upon the possibility that someone else might do something wrong -- gonna throw the baby out with the bath water.

Because in the end, we can put society on lockdown and things are still going to happen and then the reaction is to tighten things down even further. None of this makes me feel safer... It makes me feel claustrophobic.

Remember This: June 27, 2011





New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. (a) Vacant Building Grant Program. - Update City Council on the status of the Vacant Building Grant program and request changes to the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant Program guidelines, to appropriate fund balance for projects in progress across the most recent fiscal year for which final payments have not been made, and to appropriate fund balance for an additional amount of grant funding for project that are in the initial stages of review and could be awarded a grant in FY 2014-2015.
(b) Amend Vacant Building Grant Agreement from Jack Sipe Construction Company. (First Reading Vote: Unanimous)

Hound Notes: The Council on this night voted to change the Vacant Building Grant Program in a way that will help to better spread the funds. Dave Leonetti presented information detailing these changes. They also agreed to fund $40,000 for projects already agreed to and $40,000 for anticipated projects upcoming in this fiscal year.

Jack Sipe Construction was to receive two $40,000 grants. One grant was to be paid upon completion of the project. The other would not be paid until the building was occupied within a defined period. The first of those grants was allowed even though there were delays in the completion of the project. On this night, the second $40,000 grant was denied, because the planned building occupier (Lenoir-Rhyne) will not be moving into the building until next July.

Below are the details of the changed grant process. Anyone notice anything related to the map of the project locations:








Monday, August 18, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- August 17, 2014

*** Hound Notes: What I want you to realize is that your way of life that you have grown accustomed to is over. Those of you who want to shuffle the deck chairs. Your freak out time is coming. Too bad you have refused that and won't realize it until that overwhelming time comes. We've already seen it all around us. Each of us know those people who have been overwhelmed. If you don't meditate and think this out, then you will be that person. The theme this week is Accepting Reality.

*** There currently aren't many stories to report because economic activity has slowed so much.

Cops Gone Wild - Paul Craig Roberts - August 15, 2014

NAFTA Is 20 Years Old – Here Are 20 Facts That Show How It Is Destroying The Economy
- The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder - August 14th, 2014 - Back in the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was one of the hottest political issues in the country.  When he was running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton promised that NAFTA would result in an increase in the number of high quality jobs for Americans that it would reduce illegal immigration.  Ross Perot warned that just the opposite would happen.  He warned that if NAFTA was implemented there would be a "giant sucking sound" as thousands of businesses and millions of jobs left this country.  Most Americans chose to believe Bill Clinton.  Well, it is 20 years later and it turns out that Perot was right and Clinton was dead wrong.  But now history is repeating itself, and most Americans don't even realize that it is happening.  As you will read about at the end of this article, Barack Obama has been negotiating a secret trade treaty that is being called "NAFTA on steroids", and if Congress adopts it we could lose millions more good paying jobs.                         It amazes me how the American people can fall for the same lies over and over again.  The lies that serial liar Barack Obama is telling about "free trade" and the globalization of the economy are the same lies that Bill Clinton was telling back in the early 1990s.  The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Paul Craig Roberts...






Gerald Celente: Founder & Director of the Trends Research Institute - King World News Interview - August 15, 2014 -  Gerald has had a long track record of making some of the most controversial, yet correct calls in terms of global trends and events. (Interview Audio)
Geopolitics don't change from day-to-day. These are wars. Oil is going down because of lack of demand. Data on commodities show downward trends created by lack of demand. Global stagnation. WalMart is the barometer of the middle class of the nation. WalMart is seeing flat or declining store sales. He talks about a person from Wastchester County, New York and how they are struggling. Westchester County is one of the richest counties in the nation. Doesn't look like there is any way out. We will see another round of stimulus. Global Ponzi Scheme is on its deathbed. Ferguson, Missouri is the future of what is to come. People are going out of their minds and we see overreactions by the cops. We will see more and more desperate actions by desperate people, especially the leaders. The World is being led to war by sociopaths and psychopaths.

20140815 - Max Keiser Bitcoin & Current Geopolitics





The Geography Of Jobs: Mapping The Recovery - Tyler Durden - August 17, 2014 -
The current 'boom'in energy production, the hangover from the housing bubble, and the long-term decline in manufacturing employment are combining to shift the employment profile of the US economy. But as Deloitte Unioversity press notes, the national story of slow recovery obscures the more complicated regional picture: As is the case during most business cycles, the pace of recovery has been very uneven among the states. At present, only 16 states plus the District of Columbia have employment rates at least one percent higher than they were prior to the start of the recession. Overall, as the following chart shows, Americans have been struggling to find work, but some states and industries have had an easier time than others.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Agenda about the City Council meeting of August 19, 2014

This Agenda is about the Hickory City Council meeting that took place on the date listed above. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date. You can also look in the upper right hand corner of the front page of the Hickory Hound and (will soon) find the link to the past history of Hickory City Newsletters.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.

City Website has changed - Here is a link to the City of Hickory Document Center

Hickory City Council Agenda - August 19, 2014

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 The Hound's Notes:

1) Plenty of thoughts about certain issues, but sometimes you hold the cards close. Nothing of urgency at this meeting. Looks mostly to be ceremonial.

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Invocation by Rev. Bob Thompson, Pastor, Corinth Reformed Church


Special Presentations:
A. Mr. Alan Barnhardt, Executive Director, Catawba Science Center will discuss the
uniqueness of Catawba Science Center, what it is doing to promote the local economy, and the newest featured exhibition – Furniture. Well Crafted.
B. Ms. Bebe Leitch, CEO, Hickory Metro Convention Center, presentation of a Resolution to Hickory City Council
C. Representative of Hickory Downtown Development Association – Discussion of Oktoberfest

Consent Agenda:
A. Approval of Community Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by Hickory Chiro Properties, LLC Located at 256 3rd Avenue NW, in the amount of $5,000. - City Council created the Community Appearance Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission reviews applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $5,000. The applicant, Hickory Chiro Properties, LLC, has provided two bids for replacement of the existing steel frame windows with new energy efficient white vinyl windows. The bids quoted $12,980 and $13,470, qualifies for a $5,000 grant. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend funding of the requested grant in the amount of $5,000.

B. Approval of Community Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by Travis L. Winn and wife, Christine D. Winn, Located at 439 4th Street SW, in the amount of $4,090.47. - City Council created the Community Appearance Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission reviews applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $5,000. The applicant, Christine Winn, has provided two bids for the renovation of the
exterior of a residential structure that is being changed into a professional office. The renovations include, new masonry (stone) work, new doors, and lighting fixtures. The bids quoted $8,180.94 and $8,700.20, qualifies for a $4,090.47 grant. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend the funding requested grant in the amount of $4,090.47.

C. Approval of Landscape Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by Travis L. Winn and wife, Christine D. Winn, Located at 439 4th Street SW, in the amount of $290.82. - City Council created the Landscape Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission review applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $2,500. The
applicant, Christine Winn, has provided two bids for the installation of new plant materials around the front and side of the building. The bids quoted $593.15 and $581.64, qualifies for a $290.82 grant. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend the funding requested grant in the amount of $290.82.

D. Approval of Landscape Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by Jon David Ross and wife Meredith Ross, (The Hickory Tree), Located at 831 Old Lenoir Road, in the amount of $1,120. -  City Council created the Landscape Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission review applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $2,500. The applicants Jon David Ross, and Meredith Ross, have provided two bids for the installation of new plant materials around a newly surfaced parking area, and the front of their commercial building. The bids quoted $2,240 and $2,495, qualifies for a $1,120 grant. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend the funding requested grant in the amount of $1,120.

E. Approval of Community Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by Jon David Ross and wife, Meredith Ross, (The Hickory Tree), Located at 831 Old Lenoir Road, in the amount of $1,200. -City Council created the Community Appearance Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission reviews applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $5,000. The applicants, Jon David Ross and Meredith Ross, have provided two bids for the repair of a wooden deck, replacement of the trim surrounding the building’s windows, and the installation of protective posts around a natural gas meter. The bids quoted $2,600 and $2,767, qualifies for a $1,300 grant. The Community Appearance Commission’s funding recommendation was $1,200. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend the funding requested grant in the amount of $1,200.

F. Approval of Community Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by KAD Investments, LLC Located at 881 Highland Avenue NE, in the amount of $2,240. - City Council created the Community Appearance Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission reviews applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $5,000. The applicant, KAD Investments LLC has provided two bids for cleaning and
repainting of the exterior of a commercial building. The bids quoted $4,480 and $5,850, qualifies for a $2,240 grant. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend the funding requested grant in the amount of $2,240.

G. Approval of Landscape Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by the Catawba County Historical Association Inc., Located at 310 North Center Street, in the amount of $2,500. - City Council created the Landscape Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission review applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $2,500. The applicant, Catawba County Historical Association Inc., has provided two bids for the installation of a butterfly garden and an Event/Formal Garden area. The bids quoted $5,351.32 and $5,535.25, qualifies for a $2,500 grant. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend the funding requested grant in the amount of $2,500.

H. Approval of Community Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by Catawba County Historical Association Inc., Located at 310 North Center Street, in the amount of $5,000. - City Council created the Community Appearance Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission reviews applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $5,000. The applicant, Catawba County Historical Association Inc., has provided two bids for the removal of the existing paint, repair of any damaged areas, and the repainting of the Harper House and the Carriage House utilizing specialized period paint. The bids quoted $19,000 and $23,700, qualifies for a $5,000 grant. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend the funding requested grant in the amount of $5,000.

I. Approval of Community Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property owned by Piedmont Wagon Properties, LLC, Located at 1020 Main Avenue NW, in the amount of $10,000. - City Council created the Community Appearance Grant program in 1999 to provide economic incentives for property owners to improve the general appearance of their property. The Community Appearance Commission reviews applications for the grant program and forwards a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $5,000. The applicant, Piedmont Wagon Properties LLC, has provided two bids for the rail dock platform and awning. The bids quoted $38,471 and $50,400, qualifies for a $5,000 grant. The private investment in the property is estimated to be $2 million dollars, and the redevelopment of the building is considered to be a historical restoration. Given these two factors the Community Appearance Commission recognizes the Piedmont Wagon building, and it’s redevelopment, to be of significant economic scale, as well as exceptional architectural merit; and worthy of an enhanced grant in the amount of $10,000. Additionally, the Community Appearance Commission recognizes the complexity of the redevelopment project and further recommends the term of the grant agreement be ten months from the date of City Council approval. The Community Appearance Commission unanimously voted, at their July 28, 2014 regular meeting, to recommend the funding requested grant in the amount of $10,000, and to extend the  period of the grant agreement to ten months.

J. Approval to Accept Two Grants from Susteen in the amount of $17,760. - Hickory Police Department requests approval to accept two grants from Susteen for Secure View Next Gen and Secure View 3 Mobile Forensic Software. The two systems will provide equipment and software for mobile cell phone forensics, file extraction, password acquisition tool to unlock mobile devices, and advanced analytics which will equip personnel to handle the increased amount of cases involving mobile cell phone data. This equipment and software will assist in criminal investigations. The cost for Secure View Next Gen is $12,390, and the City’s portion will be $4,999. Secure View 3 Mobile Forensic Software’s cost is $5,370, and the City’s portion will be $1,995. The total for both grants is $17,760, with the City’s portion for both grants being $6,994. Funds for the City’s portion are budgeted in FY 2014-2015 annual budget.

K. Approval of Amendment to Agreement for Purchase and Sale of Real Property Located on 3rd Street SE. -  Staff requests approval of an amendment to the agreement for purchase and sale of real property located at 11 3rd Street SE (PIN#3702-0087-9970), 17 3rd Street SE (PIN#3702-0879-9646), 21 3rd Street SE (PIN#3702-0879-9641), and 27 3rd Street SE (PIN#3702-
0879-9556). The City of Hickory’s interest in the property is 10.7143%. The request is to amend Section 11: Closing – Seller(s) shall deliver unto buyer a special warranty deed; Section 18: Assignment – This agreement is assignable upon the written permission of the Wells Fargo Bank Trust Department; Additional Provisions: Seller(s) have agreed to provide a credit at closing to the buyer of a total lump sum of $6,000 to offset the repair costs of a sink hole that exists on the subject property as a repair allowance.

L. Approve Transfer of Cemetery Deed from William R. Deitz, widower, to Helen Deitz Catt, single.

M. Approve Transfer of Cemetery Deed from William R. Deitz, widower, to Cynthia Deitz
Moore, widow.

N. Approve Transfer of Cemetery Deed from William R. Deitz, widower, to William R. Deitz
Jr., married.

O. Call for Public Hearing – for the Review and Presentation of the Financing Concept for
the Hickory Metro Convention Center Parking Deck. (Authorize Public Hearing for
September 2, 2014)

P. Call for Public Hearing – for Consideration of the Consolidated Annual Performance and
Evaluation Report. (Authorize Public Hearing for September 2, 2014)

Q. Adopt a Resolution of Intent to Execute a Lease Agreement with Catawba County Council on Aging for Property Owned by the City of Hickory. - To comply with NCGS §160A-272, Council must adopt a resolution expressing Council’s intent to execute a lease agreement at its next regularly scheduled meeting. Following adoption of the resolution, notice of the lease agreement must be published at least ten days prior to the date Council will consider the lease agreement. Staff recommends that City Council adopt the resolution expressing Council’s intent to execute a lease
agreement with Catawba County Council of Aging for city-owned property located at 400 17th Street SW at Council’s September 2, 2014 meeting.

R. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs. -  The following request was considered by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on August 7, 2014:
The following applicant is being recommended for approval for assistance under the City of Hickory’s 2013-2014 Urgent Repair Program. This program provides qualified low income citizens with assistance for emergency-related repairs not to exceed $5,400.
 DeSharra Wright, 2120 11th Avenue NE, Hickory

S. Approval to Declare as Surplus (9) Nine Phoenix Rescue Tool Power Units and a Compliment of Tools. - Hickory Fire Department requests City Council to declare as surplus nine Phoenix rescue tool power units and a compliment of tools that can be used by other public safety agencies in the area, and to allow the sale to surrounding agencies. The units and tools were purchased in 2001, and have met their intended service life for hydraulic rescue equipment. The Hickory Fire Department has received verbal requests from six local agencies requesting access to these units. The intent of this request is to sell each unit for one dollar to the requesting agencies for the purpose of training and/or incident mitigation and life safety in surrounding communities. Estimated market value of this equipment is $2,700.

T. Authorization for City Attorney John Crone to Execute All Necessary Settlement Documents on Behalf of the City of Hickory to Resolve a Pending Litigation. - In August 2012, City Council voted to increase the privilege license fees for internet sweepstakes businesses to $2,500 per establishment plus $1,500 per machine. The majority of the sweepstakes businesses operating at that time, including Clark Consulting LLC, paid the increased privilege licensed fees. Clark Consulting LLC owned and operated the Fish the Net sweepstakes businesses in Hickory. Clark Consulting paid a total of $55,000 in privilege license fees. Following two court decisions, in Lumberton and Fayetteville, the courts held the high fees were unconstitutional. Clark Consulting, represented by Morningstar Law Group, sued the City of Hickory claiming the privilege license fees they had paid violated their constitutional rights. City Council authorized City Attorney John Crone to enter into settlement negotiations with Clark Consulting, and made an offer of $37,950 on behalf of the City; Clark Consulting accepted the offer. Attorneys for Clark Consulting are in the process of drafting the settlement documents. Staff requests authorization of City Attorney John Crone to execute all settlement documents on behalf of the City of Hickory to resolve the lawsuit.

U. Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 4.
1. To appropriate $34,980 of General Fund Contingency and transfer to the FY2013 Assistance to Firefighter Grant Project. The Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved the FY2013 Assistance to the Firefighters Grant application in the amount of $1,974,800. (90% Federal $1,777,320 and Local $197,480) for equipment purchases of P25 compliant radio equipment. The City of Hickory Fire Department will be acting as the lead
agency for 18 fire and emergency medical agencies within Catawba County.
2. To appropriate $25,905 of General Fund Balance and transfer to the Parking Fund due to an excess in budgeted parking fine revenues and parking fee revenues in FY13-14.

V. Grant Project Ordinance Number 4.
1. To budget a total of $1,974,800 in the FY2013 Assistance to Firefighter Grant Project. The Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved the FY2013 Assistance to the Firefighters Grant application in the amount of $1,974,800. (90% Federal $1,777,320 and Local $197,480) for equipment purchases of P25 compliant radio equipment. The City of Hickory Fire Department will be acting as the lead agency for 18 fire and medical agencies within Catawba County.

New Business - Public Hearings:
1. Consideration of Contiguous Annexation of Startown Road Right of Way. - The City of Hickory has submitted a petition for the voluntary contiguous annexation of 0.6 acres of property. The annexation area is comprised of a portion of the public street right-of-way of Startown Road. The annexation is being requested in an effort to fill in some gaps in the City’s boundary within the
Startown Road public street right-of-way. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on August 8, 2014.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. (a) Vacant Building Grant Program. - Update City Council on the status of the Vacant Building Grant program and request changes to the Vacant Building Revitalization and Demolition Grant Program guidelines, to appropriate fund balance for projects in progress across the most recent fiscal year for which final payments have not been made, and to appropriate fund balance for an additional amount of grant funding for project that are in the initial stages of review and could be awarded a grant in FY 2014-2015.
(b) Amend Vacant Building Grant Agreement from Jack Sipe Construction Company. (First Reading Vote: Unanimous)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This is awesome!!!




Uma Thurman, Jump: Jameson First Shot 2014
- Published on Jul 26, 2014 - Jameson Irish Whiskey in association with Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Productions presents 'Jump' starring Uma Thurman Subscribe, like and share Jessica Valentine's film, the Jameson First Shot 2014 winner for the USA.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- August 10, 2014

Paul Craig Roberts - USA Watchdog.com - August 10, 2014



1) Russian sanctions on the West.
2) Germans believe that way U.S. is acting (direction) is contrary to common sense and against German Interest.
3) Russians want to separate Europeans from acting as U.S. surrogates.
4) Sanctions will hurt certain sectors, but not the entire economy on either side.
5) ISIS (in Iraq) is about different religious sects. Strong men suppress the conflicts between the sects.
6) Removal of strong men encouraged Jihadists.
7) ISIS is a religious movement that demands strict adherence. No one can deal with it. Represents mental change.
8) ISIS movement will likely spread. Washington created the environment for this to happen.
9) Washington is reckless with force and does not use diplomacy.
10) U.S. companies are decapitalizing (Cash & Debt) to bolster stock prices. Companies are less public.
11) Dow Jones value is unrealistic. Trades are made by (according to) computer models, not the market.
12) Everything (financial) is going to blow at the same time. It will be something the government can't rig.
13) U.S. Government can't control the flight from the dollar.
14) 4% growth in the GDP isn't an honest number. No growth in incomes, credit, or consumption.
15) Inventory accumulation in the 2nd quarter will lead to a decline in the 3rd quarter.
16) Massive money & deficit creation. Keynesian demand management has had no effect in raising the economy.
17) Russia and China don't want war. Only the U.S. (Neo-con ideology) wants to control the World.
18) Neo-con ideology is threatening the world.


Black Monday 1987
(Wikipedia) Black Monday (1987) - In finance, Black Monday refers to Monday, October 19, 1987, when stock markets around the world crashed, shedding a huge value in a very short time. The crash began in Hong Kong and spread west to Europe, hitting the United States after other markets had already declined by a significant margin. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped by 508 points to 1738.74 (22.61%).[1]

Financial News network - MarketWrap - October 19, 1987




Black Monday - Nightly Business Report - October 19, 1987





Lehman Brothers Collapses - September 15, 2008

(Wikipedia) - Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers - Financial services firm Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008. The filing remains the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, with Lehman holding over $600 billion in assets.[1]


Pain Continues on Wall Street as Lehman Goes Bankrupt, and Merrill Sold to BofA
- ABC News - Scott Mayerowitz - September 15, 2008 - Wall Street had its worst day more than six years after hectic and historic weekend brought the quick demise of two of America's oldest and best-known investment banks.                         Stocks dropped dramatically -- with the Dow closing down 504.48 points -- after 158-year-old brokerage firm Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy this morning and the other Wall Street stalwart, Merrill Lynch, was sold to Bank of America for $50 billion.




Flash Crash - Fox Business - May 6, 2010
(Wikipedia) - Flash Crash May 6, 2010 - The May 6, 2010 Flash Crash[1] also known as The Crash of 2:45, the 2010 Flash Crash, or simply the Flash Crash, was a United States stock market crash on Thursday May 6, 2010 in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged about 1000 points (about 9%) only to recover those losses within minutes.[2] It was the second largest point swing, 1,010.14 points, and the biggest one-day point decline, 998.5 points, on an intraday basis in Dow Jones Industrial Average history.[3][4][5]




Saturday, August 9, 2014

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of August 5, 2014

I began video recording the City Council in 2012, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. With each agenda item, you can click on the links and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can always drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

City Council Agenda - August 5, 2014 

Thoughts about the Hickory City Council meeting - August 5, 2014



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 The Hound's Notes: 

1) Long Agenda, but they rolled through it pretty quickly, other than the Hickory Housing Authority Grant issue and Warren Woods presentation on the Quarterly Financial Report.

2) Want to reiterate my initial thought about this meeting from the other night that you can find in the link above.

3) Quarterly Financial report may look good in a static and targeted fashion, but when assessed within the current overarching environment it sure looks like a Dead Cat Bounce to me. Please factor in inflation in the numbers. The CPI may be showing 2% to 3% inflation over the past 7 years, but that isn't what we are experiencing in the real world. You've been to the grocery store... You've paid your utility bills... Warren shows deflation in the housing market = 6% decrease in assessments in the upcoming year, but think about people who bought their houses before the Real Estate Depression. Many are paying mortgages based upon those bubble prices at the same time that their income is stagnant or declining... and Hickory Inc. and Catawba County Inc. will raise taxes to achieve Revenue Neutrality... speaking of which, have you seen the number of homes on the market around here and it has begun to swell in Northwest Hickory now. In Hickory, we have been claiming that Fast Food restaurants = Economic growth. That is idiocy.

*** I will re-edit to put in the direct links to the different parts of the meeting this evening. I've had delays in producing this material due to other obligations, including the situation with my maternal grandmother. I will do my best to provide information as soon as possible, but there may be delays for now and the immediate future. Peace and Thanks!

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Invocation by Alderman Danny Seaver


Consent Agenda: 

Alderman Zagaroli had Item I removed from the Consent Agenda -  I. Approval of a Contract with Varrow, Inc. in the Amount of $367,114.50 for Data Center Upgrades to the City’s Network. - his question related to how the bidding process worked and was awarded. There was a limited discussion before the Council voted unanimously to approve this contract along with the rest of the agenda.


New Business - Public Hearings
1. Resolution Confirming and Levying Assessment Along a portion of 8th Street Drive NW, Petition Number 01-14 (Curb and Gutter). - The City Clerk received a petition from the owner of property along 8th Street Drive NW to install curb and gutter along a portion of their street per Section 29-2 of the Hickory Code of Ordinances. The City Council adopted a Resolution Directing that Street Improvement Project be Undertaken on April 1, 2014, and the project was completed on June 12, 2014. The Preliminary Assessment Roll for Petition No. 01-14 has been prepared based on the curb and gutter constructed along 8th Street Drive NW. Staff recommends that Resolution Confirming and Levying Assessment be approved. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 18, 2014.

2. Consideration of Rezoning Petition 14-01 for Property Located at 1218 Bugle Lane, Newton. - The City of Hickory has petitioned for rezoning of .479 acres of property located at 1218 Bugle Lane. The petition is to rezone the property from Catawba County R-20 Residential to City of Hickory Low Density Residential – 1 (R-1). The requested rezoning has been put forth to assign City zoning to a property that was recently annexed. Hickory Regional Planning Commission held a public hearing to consider the petition on June 25, 2014, and voted unanimously to forward a recommendation of approval to Hickory City Council. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 25, 2014 and August 1, 2014.

3. Consideration of Adoption of ABC Permit / Local Opinion Ordinance. - Hickory Police Department requests adoption of an ordinance authorizing access to State Bureau of Investigation / Division of Criminal Information (DCI) system for the purpose of obtaining criminal history information on ABC permit applicants to determine their suitability to be an ABC permit holder within the City of Hickory. North Carolina Administrative Code requires the City of the local law
enforcement agency to have an ordinance in place authorizing access to criminal record information on all persons applying for ABC permits for proposed locations within their jurisdiction for the agency to be granted access to computerized DCI information for this purpose. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 18, 2014.

4. Issuance of General Obligation Bond Order for $25,000,000 of Streets and Sidewalks Bonds. - The public hearing is conducted to authorize the issuance of each general bond order and to discuss all matters concerning the proposed general obligation bond orders. The proposed bond referendum consists of $25,000,000 of Streets and Sidewalks Bonds. Funds will be used to construct, enlarge and improve certain streets, roads and intersections including the costs of studies, plans and designs. The improvements will include streetscape and pedestrian improvements, signage, landscaping, pedestrian/bicycle paths and relocation of utilities. Funds will be used to acquire land, rights-of-way and easements as necessary for each Inspiring Spaces project. Authorize the issuance of a general obligation bond order for $25,000,000 of Streets and Sidewalks Bonds. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 25, 2014.
a. Request City Council adopt the Bond Orders without change or amendment and direct the City Clerk to publish a notice of adoption, as prescribed by the Local Government Bond Act, of the general obligation streets and sidewalks bond order entitled, “Bond Order Authorizing the Issuance of $25,000,000 General Obligation Streets and Sidewalks Bonds of the City of Hickory, North Carolina,” which was introduced at the meeting of the City Council held on July 15, 2014.

5. Issuance of General Obligation Bond Order for $15,000,000 of Economic Development Bonds. - The public hearing is conducted to authorize the issuance of each general bond and to discuss all matters concerning the proposed general obligation bond orders. The proposed bond referendum consists of $15,000,000 of Economic Development Bonds. Funds will be used to provide land and improvements suitable for industrial and commercial purposes, including the acquisition of land rights-of-way and easements for industrial and commercial purposes and providing public infrastructure and facilities in order to make land and improvements suitable for industrial and commercial purposes. Authorize the issuance of a general obligation bond order for $15,000,000 of Economic Development Bonds. This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on July 25, 2014.

a. Request City Council adopt the Bond Orders without change or amendment and direct the City Clerk to publish a notice of adoption, as prescribed by the Local Government Bond Act, of the general obligation economic development bond order entitled “Bond Order Authorizing the Issuance of $15,000,000 General Obligation Economic Development Bonds of the City of Hickory, North Carolina,” which was introduced at the meeting of the City Council held on July 15, 2014.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Resolution Setting a Special Bond Referendum, Directing the Publication of Notice of a Special Bond Referendum, and Providing Notification to the Catawba County Board of Elections. - The bond orders will be submitted to the voters of the City of Hickory, North Carolina for their approval or disapproval in order to comply with the constitution and laws of North Carolina at the November 4, 2014 Special Bond Referendum. A Notice “City of Hickory, North Carolina Notice of Special Bond Referendum” will be published in the Hickory Daily Record at least twice by the City Clerk to notify qualified voters of the November 4, 2014 Special Bond Referendum. The City Clerk will deliver a certified copy of the Resolution setting the Special Bond Referendum to the Catawba County Board of Elections. The Board of Elections will print and distribute the ballots and provide equipment to hold the November 4, 2014 Referendum. Staff recommends approval of a Resolution to set a Special Bond Referendum, publish notice of a Special Bond Referendum, and notify the Catawba County Board of Elections.

2. Consider Hickory Housing Authority’s request to have the City of Hickory make Application for a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. - Hickory Housing Authority contacted City Staff June 30th about applying for a Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant. This Federal program through HUD provides up to $500,000 in funding to eligible municipalities to develop comprehensive neighborhood transformation plans in areas that contain distressed public housing. The project will emphasize revitalization of public housing sites, develop a plan for new mixed income housing in the target area and in other locations across Catawba County, and address other needed infrastructure improvements. Hickory Housing Authority has contracted with the Wooten Company to assist in the preparation of the grant application. The required grant match will be provided by Hickory Housing Authority. The City of Hickory would be the main applicant for the grant with Hickory Housing Authority as the co-applicant. The grant is for planning services only. A future application would need to be made to HUD for implementation of funds. Andrea Surratt Presentation.

Dr. Myles, member of the board of the Hickory Public Housing Authority, allowed to address the City Council.

Larry Pope, former member of the board of the Hickory Public Housing Authority, not allowed to address the City Council and ruled out of order by the City Council.


3. Park 1764 Option Payment. - With County Commissioner approval of zoning of the 178 acres, Park 1764 progresses to the step of the first payment of the option agreements. The option costs are shared 50-50 with Catawba County and tie up the property for seven years. Hickory’s share of the first year option payment is $103,189 and is recommended to be transferred from General Fund Contingency.

4. Quarterly Financial Report - presentation by Warren Wood


General Comments 
Mayor Wright commented that he had been in D.C. over the weekend visiting his son, in a multiuse neighborhood. His son lives on the third floor of a multiuse building, and on the first floor is a 7-Eleven. Next to the 7-Eleven is a Verizon store, and then down the street is an entire city block that is a shopping mall with Target, Best Buy and a number of other large names. That area is considered a success story because in addition to the mixed use, they have greatly changed the proportion of low income to middle and high income people. A pretty decent place.

Mr. Berry recognized students in attendance, Thomas McBrayer and Cole Lackey. Cole will be doing an internship with the City and is a rising senior at Hickory High, a bright capable young man that is interested in local government and politics. Cole will receive High School credit for his internship with the City this fall.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Economic Relevance: Complexity, Manipulation, and Instability

Expert Economist: U.S Is Heading Toward Financial Ruin - Infowars - August 7, 2014




Youtube Commenter quote: Government is like fire. If you control it it will give you light, keep you warm, cook your food, warm your bath water etc. but if you let it go out of control it will burn everything within it's reach feeding itself.

(Wikipedia) - Bill Bonner is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of a daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist.[1] Bonner is also co-founder and regular contributor to The Daily Reckoning. And he has written articles for the news and opinion blog, LewRockwell.com.[2] and MoneyWeek magazine.[3]

 Bill's latest work is entitled Hormegeddon (the word comes from the scientific process of hormesis---which is what happens when a small dose of something produces a favorable effect, but anything larger makes one sick ... the process that is tearing America apart today.


Why the Government Views You As Collateral Damage - Daily Reckoning - Bill Bonner - July 29, 2014 - The illusions, mistakes and misconceptions of central planners take their toll in a great variety of ways — mostly as costly nuisances.                  Occasionally, when they are particularly ambitious, they make the history books.                     Napoleon’s march on Moscow. Mao’s great famine. The Soviet Union’s 70-year economic experiment. These fiascos are caused by well-meaning, smart public officials. They are the Hell to which the road paved with good intentions leads...                              errors that might have been revealed and corrected are not discovered. The future has to wait.                          Even when they are applied with ruthless thoroughness, central plans inevitably and eventually go FUBAR. No ‘workers’ paradise’ ever happens. The War on Drugs (or Poverty… or Crime… or Terror… or Cancer) ends in a defeat, not a victory. Unemployment does not go down. The ‘war to end war’ doesn’t end war. The Domino Theory falls; the dominoes don’t.
Or, if any of these grand programs ‘succeeds,’ it does so by undoing previous plans often at a cost that is far out of balance with the reward. World War II is an example of central planning that seemed to work. But the Allies were merely nullifying the efforts of more ambitious central planners in Germany and Japan.                         Generally, life on planet Earth is not so ‘rational’ that it lends itself to simpleminded, heavy-handed intervention by the na├»ve social engineer...                        
Large-scale central planning can be effective, but only by pulverizing the delicate fabric of evolved civilized life. It is a future that practically no one wants, because it means destroying the many different futures already in the works — marriages, businesses, babies, baptisms, hunting trips, shopping, investment, and all the other activities of normal life.                  Not all central planning produces calamities on that scale, of course. But all, to the extent they are effective, are repulsive. The more they achieve the planners’ goals, the more they interfere with private goals, and the more they retard or destroy the progress of the human race.                             Still, this view I am putting forth is hardly accepted wisdom.