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Matthews-Mint Hill - Carolina Weekly

Matthews-Mint Hill - Carolina Weekly

Matthews-Mint Hill - Carolina

Auto Matthews-Mint Hill Driving home a great deal! Randy Marion ...........................................2 Hendrick Lexus (New) ................................. 4 Larry Jay Mitsubishi ..................................8 Hendrick Lexus (Preowned) ....................11 Lake Norman Chrysler Jeep Dodge.........28 Volume 2, Number 16 • April 17-23, 2009 www.matthewsminthillweekly.com An independent, locally owned newspaper Inside ... JAARS: new leader, same mission News Briefs ..............................................6 Crossword ...............................................13 Sports.......................................................14 Books .......................................................20 Arts ..........................................................16 Culinary ..................................................18 Calendar .................................................19 Movies .....................................................21 Classifieds ...............................................23 WBTV Weekend Weather FRI 70/40 page 21 SAT 72/44 page 5 Patriots star puts others first page 14 O'Connell reviews '17 Again' SUN 67/50 Flight of Matthews native is among 120 World War II veterans making trip to D.C. by Kara Lopp kara@matthewsminthillweekly.com Dodging bullets near the Dutch-German border in 1944, James Crowell lost his helmet as he jumped a small fence. He debated whether he should stop to pick it up, but he did. Two hours later, that helmet likely saved his life. A Matthews native, 83-year-old Crowell will share that story, and many others, with 119 other World War II veterans from North Carolina making a one-day Flight of Honor trip to the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., on April 18. Organized by Rotary Club District 7680, which represents Mecklenburg and 13 other counties, the trip is free for veterans. It’s a first for the Rotary, which raised $500 per veteran for the flight. There’s a waiting list of 16 veterans for the next flight, which hasn’t been scheduled yet. Without the free trip, the retired mail carrier said he likely wouldn’t get a chance to see the memorial. Crowell was drafted in 1943 shortly after his 18th birthday, during his second year at Brevard College, where he was studying to become an electrical engineer. “It’s a terrific honor for me,” Crowell said. “I feel like there’s other folks around that probably Mint Hill town hall project stalled HONOR deserve it more than I do.” Crowell’s wife of 58 years, Martha Anna, died two years ago. The couple had six children, including twin daughters, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The Mint Hill town hall project has stalled, but the town manager and council disagree about why. Town Manager Brian Welch said this week he’s waiting for direction from town commissioners before crafting a plan to pay for the project or setting up another meeting to discuss possible locations. The commissioners say they’re waiting for Welch to come up with both. And somewhere in the middle are harsh economic conditions that have some town officials wondering if they can afford to build. Welch, who said he’s in “constant contact” with several banks, maintains that the project can be done without raising taxes. The War stories A member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, Crowell volunteered to be a paratrooper because it paid $50 a month more than the $50 salary infantry soldiers earned at the time, he said. He parachuted 11 times during his Army career, but only once during a combat mission – the Market Garden Operation, organized to take three bridges in Holland with the help of British paratroopers. Though unsuccessful, the mission inspired the 1977 movie “A Bridge Too Far.” Most of Crowell’s wartime stories – including the one about his helmet – unfolded when his feet were on the ground. After picking up his helmet, Crowell joined his unit, the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment, digging foxholes by Kara Lopp kara@matthewsminthillweekly.com (more on page 10) (more on page 10) 2009 KNIGHTS POCKET SCHEDULE inside this week's issue USA WEEKEND inside (Clockwise from top left) Retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. James Crowell of Matthews in 1946 after returning home from active duty. In 1945 Crowell guarded the former U.S.-occupied building in Frankfurt, Germany where General Eisenhower worked during the war. In the early 1980s Crowell returned to the Frankfurt building. On Saturday, the 83-year-old will travel to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. with 119 other World War II veterans on the Flight of Honor. Too good to be true Former Mint Hill business really Ponzi scheme by Kara Lopp kara@matthewsminthillweekly.com From August 2002 to April 2007, Mint Hill was home to Barki LLC, now believed by federal authorities to be a front for a lucrative Ponzi scheme. Bruce Kramer, 55, solicited at least $40 million from about 80 investors to trade foreign currency but instead used most of the money to buy a 48-acre horse farm in Midland, N.C., where he lived; a 6,000-square-foot house; a Maserati sports car; artwork; and a race horse; according to federal court documents. Kramer committed suicide Feb. 25. Kramer’s business is a local example of what experts say is an (more on page 12) Some photos courtesy of James Crowell/Kara Lopp/MMHW photo

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Matthews-Mint Hill - Carolina Weekly Newspapers
Matthews-Mint Hill - Carolina Weekly Newspapers
Matthews-Mint Hill - Carolina Weekly Newspapers
Matthews-Mint Hill - Carolina Weekly Newspapers
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