Cabarrus Co. in 2011: We take a look back

Cabarrus News in 2011 documented hundreds of stories about the lives of Cabarrus County residents and visitors.

We highlighted area happenings through photos, videos and even enhanced our online coverage using social media.

Here's glimpse of a few of the bigger stories Cabarrus News published throughout the year. Visit for an online slideshow of the year in pictures.


About a year ago, Concord city workers began a five-day effort to prepare for and clean up the area's first Christmas snow since 1947. A January ice storm would eventually hault most activity for days. It even snowed in February. Work to reduce the eventual cleanup started Dec. 22 and ended early Dec. 27. Workers made and distributed 20,000 gallons of brine to nearly 200 miles of Concord's main thoroughfares, traveling nearly 1,000 miles.

More than a dozen Concord Electric Systems employees helped restore power to nearly 40,000 customers in eastern North Carolina, where hundreds of thousands of people were affected by Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27.

Concord power line and tree-trimming crews had just returned from a weeklong trip when, late Sept. 2, straight-line winds - remnants of Tropical Storm Lee - toppled 15 power lines on U.S. 29 across from the former Phillip Morris plant. More than 670 customers were temporarily without power. Among other damage that night, the roof was partially ripped off the Bassett Furniture store near Concord Mills. Winds from an early morning storm Sept. 6 downed more power lines and caused three schools to close. About 800 people were without power throughout the Rocky River Road area in Cabarrus County.

Former Super Bowl champ Ed "Too Tall" Jones was the special guest at ceremonies in March honoring the completion of the 500,000-pound steel framework that would support the world's largest high-definition video board, which debuted May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Speedway officials found other creative uses for the screen and on July 9 simulcast the Avett Brothers' sold-out concert from Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. Fans of the Concord band traveled from as far away as Raleigh and Spartanburg to be part of the first-time event in Concord. The speedway also has hosted three "drive-in" movie events using the HDTV.

Charlotte Motor Speedway and the city of Concord reached a deal that included promises of support to the speedway worth $2.8 million to settle a longstanding lawsuit over development incentives. The agreement is intended to ease traffic congestion and support development of the Carolina Thread Trail.

Concord over the next few years will pay Charlotte Motor Speedway/Speedway Motorsports nearly $3 million for engineering documents and area public rights-of-way.


Harrisburg's Town Council reversed its decision to eliminate the fire marshal's office less than two weeks after residents urged council members to reconsider. A record-breaking 36 residents showed up at the regular Fire Advisory Board meeting July 21 to learn details behind the cuts.

Mayor Tim Hagler called a special council meeting July 25 to discuss the layoff of the fire marshal and the cutting of five part-time firefighter positions. The cuts came after Cabarrus County commissioners in June denied a 2-cent tax increase for Harrisburg's rural fire district. Cabarrus News broke the story live on Twitter, a first for the paper.

The Harrisburg Town Council voted Oct. 24 not to renew the town administrator's contract and immediately removed her from duties. The Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office began investigating financial transactions made by Michele Reapsmith, hired as finance director in 2009 and appointed administrator in 2010.

Cabarrus County

More than 35 years ago, Mary Snead Boger spearheaded a campaign to preserve Cabarrus County's 1878 Victorian courthouse in downtown Concord. With help from Historic Cabarrus, she and others produced a Chautauqua-style program featuring local talent in the courthouse.

After a sold-out inaugural season, Boger transformed the effort into the Old Courthouse Theatre Company and became its artistic director. Praised for playing an integral role in bringing cultural arts to Cabarrus County, the Concord resident died in May at Carolina House of Chapel Hill. She was 90.

The Concord Museum featured her in its exhibit, "35 Years of the Old Courthouse Theatre."

Cabarrus County ranked worst among Charlotte-area counties in its percentage of bridges rated deficient, according to a recent national report by Transportation for America. North Carolina ranks No. 14 nationwide, with 13 percent of bridges deficient. One in nine highway bridges are classified structurally deficient.

While 47 of the 155 N.C. DOT-maintained bridges are classified structurally deficient, 29 of those have a sufficiency rating of less than 50 percent, and 15 of those 29 bridges are scheduled for replacement.

The Virginia earthquake Aug. 23 was felt throughout the Piedmont region of Virgina and in parts throughout the Charlotte area, including Cabarrus County. The epicenter was 38 miles northwest of Richmond. The quake had a 5.8 magnitude and several aftershocks, ranging up to 4.5 in magnitude.

It was the largest to occur in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains since 1897. It was felt across more than a dozen U.S. states and in several Canadian provinces.