Kitchen redone to train disabled

Seventy-one Iredell County residents, most with developmental or physical disabilities, will receive culinary arts training next year to help them land jobs in the food service industry, after Charlotte-based LifeSpan renovates a kitchen at its Troutman campus.

LifeSpan, a 35-year-old nonprofit, provides education, employment and other opportunities for people with disabilities.

Its Troutman campus announced last week that it received a $100,000 federal stimulus grant through the N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services to renovate its 30-year-old kitchen and start a culinary arts training program.

Renovations will include a new hood system, grease trap, gas line, updated lighting, ceiling tiles and commercial flooring tile. The grant will also pay for such commercial kitchen equipment as a sink, prep sink, dishwasher, icemaker, work tables, refrigerator, freezer, deep fryer, range, griddle, oven and dry storage shelves.

LifeSpan held a pre-bid meeting with interested contractors Friday, and sealed bids are due by 5 p.m. Sept. 24. Work will be complete in time for the program to begin in early January, said Deborah Brown-Smith, director of development for the Troutman campus.

The program will prepare participants for entry-level jobs in food service, especially institutional kitchens such as in hospitals and corporate cafeterias, LifeSpan officials said.

Chef Ron Ahlert of the Community Culinary School of Charlotte will serve as a program mentor and trainer. He also operates Friendship Trays, a Charlotte meals-on-wheels program.

Ahlert also belongs to the Professional Chefs Association and intends to have members speak and lead cooking demonstrations at the Troutman campus. Program participants will learn in 12-week sessions.

Details: Brown-Smith at 704-873-5646;

Cornelius board approves nursing home

The Cornelius Board of Commissioners unanimously approved plans last week for a $9million, 60,000-square-foot Autumn Care nursing home at the foot of Zion Street. Commissioner Lynnette Rinker abstained and commissioner Thurman Ross was out of the country.

Mount Zion Church is leasing the land to Autumn Care.

"It is a beautiful project and a welcome addition to the town," commissioner Jim Bensman said.

Former mayor Gary Knox, while supporting the project, raised the issue of creating connectivity by extending Zion Street farther south, Bensman said. After a long, intense discussion, Bensman said, the board determined that the topography wouldn't support an extension if the Autumn Care facility were built.

Help Cornelius draft first master plan

Help shape the future of Cornelius at workshops this week on the town's first comprehensive master plan, "Navigate Cornelius."

Each workshop will be the same, so residents can attend whichever fits their schedule:

6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Bethel Presbyterian Church, 19920 Bethel Church Road.

6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Bailey Road Middle School, 11900 Bailey Road.

6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Community in Christ Lutheran Church, 7621 Norman Island Drive 10 a.m.-noon Friday, Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave.

RSVP to Becky Partin by Monday at or 704-896-2461.

Learn about Huntersville Parks and Rec plan

Share ideas for parks and recreation at a second public meeting on the Huntersville Parks and Recreation Department's 2020 master plan at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Torrence Creek Elementary School, 14550 Ranson Road.

The department needs public input as it plans and develops its parks and recreation system through 2020. The plan is scheduled to be completed in May.

Details: or Michael Jaycocks at 704-766-2228,

Buy townhome or brownstone, get Smart Car

The Harbour Place development is offering a Smart Car with the purchase of a townhome or brownstone.

The luxury townhomes have master bedrooms on the main floor and private "Charleston" courtyards. The brownstones' rooftop decks have panoramic views of Lake Davidson and Lake Norman.

Details: Robert Tremblay, 704-907-7540;;