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Is there a battle of the bands for Union teens?

As a mother of high school-age sons, I understood the reader's dilemma: She wanted ideas for fun, safe activities for Union County teens but didn't want her name used.

Her older son might be mortified to see his mother's name in print. “Teenage boys get really embarrassed when their moms get involved with their ‘free time,'” she explained.

Truer words were never spoken.

This mom, who moved to Union County from New Jersey, wondered if there are any battle-of-the-band events here, as there were in New Jersey when she was growing up. She recalled how schools regularly took turns hosting these concerts, drawing high school students from all over the area.

Dr. Tom Moncrief, performing arts curriculum coordinator for Union County Public Schools, said there is no systemwide program here for battles of the bands, but Union County high schools occasionally organize them.

So, other than the usual high school sporting events, what does Union County offer for teens to do? In particular, what activities are available that enable them to mingle with students from other schools? Here's my short list:

Extreme Ice Center, 4705 Indian Trail-Fairview Road in Indian Trail. It features a DJ on Friday and Saturday night skates, attracting mostly high school students. Cost is $11, admission and skate rental. Bring your own skates, $7.50. Hours are 7 p.m.-9:50 p.m. on Fridays, and 8-10:50 p.m. Saturdays.

Kate's Skating Rink, 14500 Independence Blvd., in Indian Trail. Evening sessions Friday and Saturday nights, 7-10 p.m., attract a mostly teen crowd. Cost: $7 admission and skate rental.

Please send your ideas to at or leave me a message at 704-358-6035.

Prisoner of War follow-up

After writing about Dr. Robert Billinger's book, “Nazi POWs in the Tar Heel State,” I heard from reader Lola McDonald of Waxhaw. She told me about German prisoners of war from Camp Sutton who worked at her grandfather's dairy in Mint Hill. She shared several photos of the prisoners and showed me a wooden plate made by a former Russian prisoner who lived on the farm. It's always great to hear from readers, and often surprising to learn the stories they have to share.