More Home Inspection Surprises

When inspecting homes, ordinary doors can provide a surprise. Some doors lead to rooms, some doors lead to a dark void, and some doors are curiously locked. Sometimes you get all three.

I was inspecting a large vacation home north of Cashiers, North Carolina, on a fast running creek. It was full of boulders, twists and turns, and waterfalls. The drive to the home was narrow and steep, leading to a heavy gate. The remote agent agent gave me worked, and the gates slowly opened on complaining hinges.

The house was beautifully built into the side of the granite ledges, with stunning floor to ceiling windows. Although the home had a small footprint – perhaps 1500 square feet – two stories towered upwards, taking advantage of the very steep lot. The home had been foreclosed on, and was now vacant.

The first part of the inspection on the first floor revealed no anomalies. I started up the stairs to move upwards and not aware a closet door with a deadbolt lock. When you see something like this, owners are usually trying to protect something. Normally I note in the report that I could not access the closet or room, but in this case the bank was the owner and I doubted that they knew anything about this locked door.

I quickly got on the phone to the real estate agent.

"I'll call the bank," she said.

Three minutes later the phone rang.

"No one has a key to that door.

"I'm no locksmith. No problem, I'll put it in my report," I said and hung up.

But I was curious.

I ran my hand across the top of the door trim which is where I "hide" a key. My fingers encountered an object with Velcro stuck to the trim. A key! I put the key in the lock and tried rotating it. It worked! Leaving the key in the tumbler, I turned the knob and opened the door.

A black void.

I rolled out my flashlight and aimed it into the area. A black metal circular staircase came into view. Now I felt like Nancy Drew. I started slowly down the narrow stairs and began to hear the sound of water. When I reached the bottom, my feet were on an uneven stone floor and I was in a room about six by six feet with two more doors in the walls. I looked around for a switch. I found it on the opposite wall. I flipped the switch and light filled the room. I was amazed to see that the walls were carved into the cliff.

One closet was a tiny space with an electrical box. The other door was locked with a deadbolt like the one upstairs.

"Oh! I left the key upstairs," I said to myself. "Shoot, I'll have to go back up and get it."

I went back up the circular staircase to retrieve it. I moved back down the stairs to the locked door. The key worked, and I opened the door. I was in a very narrow passageway. The walls were solid rock and I could see the furrows where blasting caps had been used. I was feeling a little claustrophobic. Should I keep going?

The sound of water stronger stronger as I moved slowly down the cavern path. After traveling 12 feet, I was suddenly outside! The waterfall that was visible from inside the home was directly in front of me.

What a surprise! Never underestimate what might be behind a locked door.

Question and Answer Session: How This Physical Therapist Successfully Uses Hydrotherapy

Carolina Spine & Neurosurgery Center (CSNC) has a thriving hydrotherapy practice. It is one of the largest private neurosurgical and spine care centers in Western North Carolina. CSNC operates as an independent part of the Mission Hospital System and is a major reason the hospital was named one of the top 101 hospitals for spine care by Becker’s Hospital review.

The therapists at CSNC understand the beneficial properties of water and use hydrotherapy as a successful tool for patient recovery, well-being, and rehabilitation. Here’s how they achieve success.

The hydrotherapy room includes a warm-water (94-degree) therapy pool with independent performance zones at depths of 4 feet, 5 feet; and 6 feet. The pool generates a water current with 99 speeds and can accommodate patients at all stages of recovery to safely improve mobility, balance and confidence.


with Roger Meade, DPT, director of physical therapy at the Carolina Spine & Neurosurgery Center.

What are the common diagnoses where you utilize hydrotherapy?

We work with the following:

A: Orthopedic: all joint replacements (once incisions heal); strain/sprains all joints, trauma fractures to limbs requiring multiple joint limitations in rehab (once incisions heal); all sports injuries especially with sooner initiation of Rehab post injury; arthritic issues to improve movement and conditioning.

B: Neuro/Orthopedic: all spinal surgeries, basic head trauma with difficulty in coordinated movement patterns, CVA varied levels depending on cognitive and bladder/bowel issues, Parkinson’s (to work patient outside comfort zone), MS if we can keep pool cool; or central neurological systemic issues depending on physician’s projection of recovery. Most spinal paralysis except high quadriplegic.

Balance issues not related to inner ear issues or Menier’s Disease; but more related to CVA, physical de-conditioning, dementia, and proprioceptive loss lower extremities.

C: Pediatrics for birth defects, injuries during delivery, or early trauma. Extremely effective with children 1-8 years old.

What does a typical week look like for pool hours and scheduling?

Our pool is open 7AM to 7PM, 5 days per week. Patients are scheduled for 45 minute slots and up to four may be scheduled in same slot depending on difficulty. We schedule “high water current” patients together.

Who do you have on staff for hydrotherapy?

We have 5 therapists and 5 PTAs on staff. All PTAs work in the hydrotherapy pool. I am the only therapist at the present time that works in the pool. Patients are evaluated and treatment plans proposed to the physician. If approved, the PTA will follow the plan as outlined with the therapist checking at least every 4-6 visits for changes needed.

How do you schedule therapists?

Each PTA will work one half day in the pool – AM or PM. This is rotated by schedule through the 5 PTAs. I see complicated patients and would be the only one working with patient in the pool.

PTAs are required to be in the pool with patients. We have a waterproof computer at side of pool for writing notes, charges, and reviewing patient’s history and physician notes.

How many patients do you schedule in one session?

We see up to 4 patients per 45 minutes depending on the difficulty of the patient, however we leave this up to the therapist to decide the number to schedule.

How do you bill for hydrotherapy?

We charge in 15 minute increments, and we have a number of different systems to maximize billing. But all insurance is different and it’s important to understand parameters specific to each state, plan and region.

Do you use your pool in other ways?

We hold classes in pool that are offered at specifically blocked times. These group classes are very successful and generate extra revenue. They include Aqua Yoga and Tai Chi.

NASCAR Hall Of Fame

The NASCAR Hall of Fame was designated to be built in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 6, 2006 and groundbreaking began in 2007. It is projected to be opened for visitors in 2010. The Hall of Fame will be a welcome asset for tourism in Charlotte plus create jobs for the locals. It will have an office building that will house the business operations of marketing the image and licensing. The Hall of Fame has also adopted the words “Racing was built here Racing belongs here” as its slogan.

Besides being a very modern building that captures the spirit of racing, the Hall of Fame has as its first mission to pick the first inductees. There are some unofficial Hall of Fame sites where people are taking polls and we’ll take a look at some of the popular drivers getting voted for.

Lee Petty

Lee Petty had 54 victories and is the father of Richard Petty. He raced during the 1950s an 1960s when it really began to take off. His home state is also in North Carolina. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, and elected to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Richard Petty

He is getting a lot of votes at unofficial Hall of Fame sites and it is to no surprise. Richard Petty has 200 wins and 7 championship titles. He and Dale Earnhardt are the only two drivers in NASCAR’s history to have 7 championship titles. Richard Petty was dubbed the title of the “King of Racing.” He is the son of Lee Petty who was also a championship driver.

Bobby Allison

Here is another well-known name is racing. He has 84 victories with 3 Daytona 500 championships.

Cale Yarborough

Cale Yarborough has 83 victories plus he’s famous as being the only driver to win 3 straight championships. He is ranked 5th in the All-time winner’s list. He has also been the winner of the Daytona 500 four times.

Bobby Isaac

Bobby Isaac had to leave a race in 1977 because of heat exhaustion. During the time they were treating him he had a heart attack and died. In his short life of 45 years, he would achieve 37 victories. He would also set 28 world land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah (outside of the competition). He would eventually be named as one of 50 of the all-time great drivers. He is also a 1979 inductee of the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame.

There are other driver greats being considered including Buck Backer, Clay Earls, Tim Flock, and Junior Johnson.

Charlotte, North Carolina is a perfect location for the NASCAR Hall of Fame because there are over 50 teams of the Busch, Craftsman Truck, and Nextel Cup Series Championship competition all in close proximity to Charlotte. And Charlotte was the home of the first premier race in 1949. That’s why they say racing started in Charlotte and should remain in Charlotte.

Forced Sterilization in America and Canada

We are lucky to have a choice about our birth control options. Some people, world-wide, have not been given that choice. Forced sterilizations have been performed in the United States and Canada as well as globally. Find out why these atrocities were committed, and learn about your contraceptive rights.


Eugenics is the practice of trying to make the human species better. This is the bid to build a faster, smarter, and better human. Many sterilization programs, including the programs in numerous American states, were created to improve the gene pool. These forced sterilizations focused on mentally disabled people, or people with physical disabilities, such as being blind.


In 1897, Michigan became the first state bring up forced sterilization legislature. This legislature did not pass; nor did Pennsylvania’s attempts a few years later. The first state to introduce sterilization laws was Indiana, in 1907; Washington and California followed suit in 1907. In 1927 the famed sterilization case Buck v. Bell was heard in the supreme courts, which legalized forced sterilizations, and began the age of the most forced sterilizations. In 1942 the case Skinner v. Oklahoma ruled that you cannot sterilize someone as a punishment, which partially curtailed forced sterilizations. By 1963, most states had taken sterilization laws out of use, though many of them remained in the law books for longer: North Carolina did not rescind their laws until 1974. Roughly 70,000 Americans were sterilized against their will.

Buck v. Bell

In 1924 Virginia passed a law that stated that all mentally disabled individuals had to be sterilized for eugenic reasons. In 1927, Carrie Bell was ordered to be sterilized. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. explained that the sanctity of the gene pool outweighed one person’s physical rights. The reason for sterilizing Carrie was that she was allegedly mentally slower and had a history of prostitution. Current scholarship has demonstrated that Carrie was probably sterilized because of her and her mother’s promiscuous ways.


As the case of Carrie Bell demonstrates, forced sterilizations were often performed on women for unjust reasons. Whereas men were allowed to be sexually promiscuous (and were often encouraged to be), women were meant to be chaste. Having children out of wedlock could lead to sterilization. Some women were sterilized without their knowledge of it. Many of the women who were forcibly sterilized were barely women at all, being often only 14, or even younger.


In many states and provinces, racism was a motivating factor in compulsory sterilizations. In North Carolina, for instance, many black women were sterilized when they went in to give birth to their babies. In Alberta, eugenics was allegedly being used to prevent further babies being born with mental or physical disabilities. However, an overly large proportion of Métis women were sterilized. The Métis people are an aboriginal people, who have a heritage of First Nations mixed with European settlers. It is possible that the government was concerned because they represented miscegenation, that is, the mixing of racial genes.


Just as gender and race are factors in forced sterilizations, socioeconomic status is also a factor. Often, gender, race, and class were all combined. It was more often than not the black people who were poor, and it was often the black poor women who were sterilized against their wills. Some argued that sterilizing poor people was a blessing because it allowed a family to take care of the children they already had.

Your Rights

You have a right to not be sterilized without your consent. No matter of physical or mental disabilities, nobody in Canada or the United States is legally allowed to be sterilized without consent.

You can, however, choose to have a sterilization for your method of birth control. Birth control remains in your hands, and not the governments’. Learn more about your birth control options to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to use your power of choice.

What Exactly is a Boar?

The wild boar is a male animal of the pig family, or swine. It is only two feet high and four feet long, but it is strong enough to kill a tiger or a bear. The boar has a woolly body covered with bristles, which are short, stiff hairs. The boar has several tusks in its mouth, and they are almost as sharp as razor blades. These dangerous little animals used to live and be hunted in England until they were all killed, about five hundred years ago.

Today you can still find wild boars in the forests of central Europe and in certain parts of Russia, India, and the United States. The wild boars that now live in America were brought to North Carolina about fifty years ago by an English sportsman. He wanted to raise them so he could hunt them on his estate. Some of them escaped. Now they wander over a large area of dense forest in the southern part of the Great Smoky Mountains. People who live in the hills of Tennessee and North Carolina often see them.

Hunting the wild boar has been a favorite sport of man for many thousands of years. In India, the boar is hunted with spears and the sport is known as “pig-sticking.” Most often the boar is hunted on horseback, with rifles and a pack of specially trained brave dogs. The dogs are no match for an angry boar, but the dogs can chase and tire the boar out until the hunters arrive. A wild boar is so strong and courageous that it will not cry out no matter how badly it is wounded. Even when it is shot through the heart and is dying, it will stay on its feet and kill anyone who comes near.

Car Accident Claims in At-Fault States

In most states, a person responsible for a car accident is the party legally liable for losses and damages (including injuries to passengers and other drivers) resulting from the accident. These states are referred to as “fault” states, and include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Losses and Damages

Losses and damages that result from car accident claims among these states are generally covered by the “at-fault” party’s insurance company. The at-fault driver will then face an increased car insurance premium. But sometimes, insurance companies are not willing (or extremely hesitant) to payout the full and fair amount of compensation needed by the driver or any injured victims, in which case, a personal injury lawyer is necessary to take control of the negotiations between parties and recover what is rightfully owed.

Proving Fault

Although there are various factors and laws that influence the final verdicts of such cases, the main influence is fault. In a fault state, any person injured in a car accident will carry the burden of proving the opponents fault and liability in the accident. In fact, this will be the primary objective for their legal team. This however, can be quite challenging and complex, since fault is not always so cut and dry. For example, if a stop light is not functioning properly and a driver crosses an intersection and collides with another driver, which makes the first driver then collide into a third vehicle, assigning fault is complicated. This is why it is important to retain experienced counsel for professional and assertive representation.

To prove fault, the claimant must prove 4 things:

1. A legal duty of care was owed

In the case of car accidents, all drivers have the legal duty to operate a motor vehicle safely and obey all laws, traffic signals, and rules of the road.

2. The duty was breached.

The claimant would have to provide evidence proving the opponent did not uphold their duty of care.

3. The breach was a direct cause of the accident and subsequent injuries.

Again, the claimant would have to provide evidence demonstrating how the breach led to the accident, which then caused their injuries.

4. The injuries resulted in losses and damages that can be compensated financially.

Last, the claimant has the burden of proving how their injuries caused them to suffer monetarily, such as lost wages, time of work, hospital bills, medical expenses, and more.

Historic Real Estate: Revival of the Curtis-Foster House

Neighbors cheer as award-winning preservationists help restore the black sheep of the block to its original beauty. Over the past several decades, the historic Curtis-Foster House, located on North 6th Street in Wilmington North Carolina, has fallen into significant disrepair and turned into an eyesore on a street of historical homes. This came to a halt in late 2005 when Osprey Holdings LLC bought the property, ending its tenure as an unauthorized, low-rent boarding house and began to restore the property to its original grandeur.

110 North 6th Street, named the Curtis-Foster House after its original owners, was built circa 1865 for George Curtis and his wife, Melvina Ann Medley. The couple married on November 23 1849 and had three children, one of whom, Katie, died from measles age six February 2, 1869. Curtis died a year later, leaving his wife to care for the home until 1881 when she leased the property to Gertrude Foster for five dollars a month (in today’s market, a house of this type could rent for over $1000 a month!).

Tim O’Callaghan of Osprey Holdings LLC began work on the 5000 square foot home last summer. His first step was to take a sledge hammer to the walls in search of asbestos, a hazardous material used for insulation up until the 1980s. To his relief, O’Callaghan found only cedar lap siding, a sign of solid construction.

Patching and coating the original tin roof with Hydro Stop to prevent leaks was next, followed by restoring the windows. To re-tie, re-weight, scrape, clean, and prime just one window is a full-day project. Still on the list: refinishing the original hardwood floors and cherry banister.

“The most exciting step is restoring the floors,” said O’Callaghan. “The entire room will reflect off them.”

Though not yet complete, renovation of the Curtis-Foster House has already had an impact on neighbors’ comfort and the salability of the area. Since March 2006, four homes on the block sold for an average of $197 per square foot, a huge increase in activity and value since the years before. The Curtis-Foster house will join the selection of Wilmington historic homes for sale in the late spring.

AP US History Outlines – The Restoration Colonies

After the end of the Cromwell era in Britain, Charles II, who was restored to the throne, gave his supporters large tracts of land in the New World. The colonies that were developed on these parcels of land are known and the Restoration Colonies, and form an important part of US history.

New York

James, the brother of Charles II, took a group of British ships and forced the Dutch out of New York. James moved cautiously, and initially created a legal code called the ‘Duke’s Laws’ that only applied to Englishmen. New York grew slowly and was ruled autocratically. It was hardly the important commercial center that it is today.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Colony was owned by Quakers and developed to become quite successful. Generous land grants, limited freedom of religion and a representative assembly fueled migration to this colony.


Pennsylvania was owned by William Penn, who advertised the advantages of moving to his colony throughout Europe. Pennsylvania also became an economic success and expanded quickly. Penn was quite tolerant, and his colony had relatively good relations with the nearby Indian tribes. Ironically, it was this toleration brought people to Pennsylvania that didn’t care about Indian rights, creating conflicts.


The colony of Carolina (which had a constitution that was drafted by John Locke) developed two distinct population centers and eventually split in half. The two resulting colonies, North Carolina and South Carolina, had different economic bases. North Carolina generally grew tobacco for transport to Virginia and later export to Europe. South Carolina, on the other hand, grew largely food crops. This food was then sold to feed the expanding slave populations in the Caribbean.

Why Are Family Fun Events Important?

A family fun destination can transform a typical day or evening into a intimate time of bonding and adventure. With the advent of social media and rapidly developing computer technology, children are becoming more isolated from their parents, taking their cues from pop culture icons with an agenda. Family fun is not just about entertainment! Carving out space in time where you can gain the ear of your children and instill good values in them that will help them to grow up with integrity and the wisdom to stay safe in a dangerous world.

UpwardEvents is a company that operates with the goal of promoting family fun destination events, so that families can spend quality time together. Whether that means keeping you apprised of Charlotte Christian events or if it entails connecting you with a North Carolina ticket broker, we are committed to getting you outside of the house with your little tribe.

Family fun tickets are our specialty, helping you to secure reasonably priced passes to the family fun destinations of your choice. There is no reason to spend yet another weekend in front of the computer while your children lose themselves in their iPods and video games. Utilize a North Carolina ticket broker to obtain tickets to shows, exhibits, interactive learning adventures and more.

We live in the age of information and social media, where ‘cyber-friends’ are becoming the norm and face-to-face social interactions are on a severe decline. Don’t text your children, take them out to Charlotte Christian events where you can enjoy each others’ company while getting rooted and grounded in strong family “moral” values. Family tickets are easy to come by and your kids will appreciate your effort to connect with them, whether they want to show it at first or not. Secure your family event and bring your family together as a tight-knit unit.

Amethyst is February’s Birthstone

If you’re still young enough to remember your birthday, you probably also remember the special birthstone assigned to it. But at your age, we bet you don’t really know the SIGNIFICANCE of your birthstone and what power the ancients felt would be bestowed about you by wearing it.

February’s birthstone: Amethyst

Birthstone powers: Brings peace and calm to your life

Alternative Birthstone: Bloodstone

Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February and the traditional anniversary gemstone for the sixth of marriage. Once considered more valuable than diamonds, this member of the quartz member occurs naturally as crystals within rocks. The stones are mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Zambia, Australia and in the mountains of Russia

American amethysts are mined in Maine, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Montana and Colorado. Amethyst from Maine is usually dark with North Carolina amethyst having a bluish tint unique to that area. Amethyst can lighten if exposed to strong sunlight for a long time. When heated to 550-560 Centigrade, the color changes to dark yellow or reddish brown. (They are then called citrines. These are more richly colored and more expensive then natural citrines)

Ideally deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes, amethysts generally range in hue from pale lilac to nearly black purple. Since purple has always been the color of royalty, amethysts abound in the ornaments of in the British Crown Jewels and in the adornments of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, as well. They have been found in ruins dating as far back as the ninth century, adorning royal jewelry, scepters, and crowns.

The intense violet hue of February’s birthstone appealed to early monarchs, perhaps because they often wore this color…as a symbol of their elevated position. Purple dye was once scarce and expensive, so it was reserved for the garments of royalty, and the color came to symbolize power and status.

Sobering Thoughts with Amethyst

The Greeks believed that whoever wore an amethyst or drank from an amethyst cup would not become intoxicated. In fact, the word amethyst is derived from the Greek word “amethystos,” meaning sober. In ancient Greece, the gemstone was associated with the god of wine, and it was common practice to serve this beverage from Amethyst goblets in the belief that this would prevent overindulgence. It was also claimed that amethyst had a sobering effect on those “drunk” on love’s passion.

Even today, amethyst is considered a stabilizing force for those struggling to overcome addictive behaviors. In general, the gemstone is believed to be a calming, tranquil influence that symbolizes peace.

Amethyst and Prayer

Amethyst is symbolic of piety, spirituality, and a devotion to God. The rich purple gemstones are used worldwide to ornament churches and crosses used in religious ceremony, and they frequently found in the rings and on the rosaries worn by bishops and priests.

It is also believed that amethysts bring on pleasant dreams because they allow you to “channel” positive universal energy. As a result many people place an amethyst under their pillow before going to sleep at night to enjoy “sweet dreams” throughout the night.