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PRESERVATION TAX CREDITS TO SUNSET IN NORTH CAROLINA

Preservationists across the state are experiencing the doldrums after the General Assembly decided not to include the historic tax credits in the upcoming state budget.

Preservation Greensboro posted the following message on Facebook on Friday:

“Last night, efforts to continue our state’s historic tax credit program were ended. The credits will now sunset on December 31, 2014. THANK YOU for taking time to contact your elected officials, and special appreciate goes to our elected officials who took the time to understand and support the impact of our hard work on the economy, especially Guilford County Representative Jon Hardister. Preservationists will now have an opportunity to work on a new legislation through a stateappointed study commission in time for the 2015 Long Session.”

Hardister shared in an email to Preservation Greensboro Development Director John Graham that even with expected House support for the bill today, that the outcome looks grim as the Senate members have already gone home.

The lack of historic tax credits will likely mean that many projects will be put on pause. While the construction at Revolution Mill would not be affected the preservation efforts for many downtown buildings, such as the Book Trader, would no longer receive the assistance of the historic tax credits beginning in 2015.

Graham said that for a city like Greensboro that has several historic buildings that have fallen into a state of disrepair, the lack of historic tax credits could create barriers to development.

“These tax credits are what make marginal projects doable,” said Graham.

The lack of tax credits could also have an effect on a number of economic development projects planned in Winston Salem, if they are not completed by the end of the year.

Winston-Salem councilman James Taylor Jr. said he thinks not having the tax credit could harm the way business is done locally. “When it comes time to balance the budget, I don’t think it’s good to balance it on the backs of the people or the backs of expansion,” he said.

Taylor said tax credits are necessary for cities in North Carolina that have been

undertaking downtown redevelopment projects.

Winston-Salem is competing with Charlotte, Raleigh, and several other cities across the state and the country, he said. If we’re going to be competitive we have to have the ability to redevelop our buildings.

REWARD FOR REFLECTION

In the course of 72 hours restaurant owner Mary Haglund, owner of Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, has become the talk of the town and the country.

Haglund appeared on NBC’s Today show Monday after a customer posted a photo over the weekend of their receipt that included a 15 percent discount on their meal for praying in public. She said the idea came four years ago when her daughter was inspired by a couple that would eat in the restaurant at night.

“There was a little couple that used to come here so faithfully,” Haglund said. “And they always would say grace. I don’t know who they were praying to or what they were doing, but they would acknowledge gratefulness for their food. And my daughter was so touched by that because they were someone that was supporting us at night when we weren’t getting a lot of support.”

Her daughter decided to create the discount specifically for the couple and didn’t even tell the wait staff. Haglund explained that the restaurant offers a number of discounts, and that the prayer discount is not advertised because it is not meant to be a sales pitch, but rather an expression of gratitude for people willing to take a moment and appreciate their food.

“It was just someone being grateful,” she said. “And we were just showing we were grateful to them for being grateful. So that’s how it started.”

Haglund said the discount is not specific to any religion, as long as the customer expresses some form of reflection before eating, and she hopes people don’t read too much into it.

“There’s been a lot of negativity on the internet,” she said. “I don’t even read those things. I don’t really care what those people think. They’re not my people. It’s kind of sad to me that people can take something that’s so positive and turn it into something really hateful and negative, but that’s their problem, right.” !

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