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Cornelius News

Meet and greet: Police host National Night Out

Commissioner Thurman Ross (second from left) and Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam (second from right)

Aug.1. By Marco Wertheimer. Hundreds of residents—and plenty of political candidates—turned out for National Night Out at Smithville Park Tuesday and were treated to free hot dogs, snow cones and chips. Hosted by the Cornelius Police and the Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture department, the event was one of thousands held nationwide on the first Tuesday of every August to nurture police and community relationships.

Cornelius Police Lt. James Quattlebaum said National Night Out is the department’s flagship event, requiring almost two months of planning. The department’s spokeswoman, Betsy Shores, organized the event.

For entertainment, there was a police officer dunk tank, live music and  an inflatable slide, courtesy of Dobi Financial Group,

Lt. George Brinzey and Al Updike, owner of Alton’s Kitchen

The Cornelius Volunteer Fire Department truck was there, as well as  such community organizations as Smithville Community Coalition, Cornelius Library, YMCA Lake Norman, North Meck Crimestoppers, TopDeck Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Allen Tate Realtor Dixie Dean, a Big Sister herself, helped staff the mentoring agency’s booth. Al Updike, owner of Alton’s Kitchen & Cocktails, grilled hundreds of frankfurters.

Resident Dave Edwards said that this year’s event, at spacious Smithville Park, seemed to bring out more people than in years past. Political candidates were everywhere.

Kurt Naas, who is running for the Cornelius Town Board, said National Night Out “is a wonderful way for the community to interact with the police.”

NC Sen. Jeff Tarte was there with his wife Dr. Nancy Tarte as well as Jim Duke, Michael Miltich and Thurman Ross, incumbent commissioners who are seeking re-election.

Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam was there, too. He is running unopposed; incumbent Mayor Chuck Travis, who also attended, is not seeking re-election. In addition to Naas, commission candidates Denis Bilodeau, Michelle Ferlauto and William Rakatansky and Tricia Sisson also greeted voters and kids alike.