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A group gathered at the H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Life and Conference Center to learn more about the proposed reopening of the Kings Mountain Mine.

Community meeting to learn more about Kings Mountain Mine redevelopment plan

Albemarle held an Open House event at the H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Center on Tuesday, June 11, so attendees could learn more about the proposed redevelopment plan for the Kings Mountain Mine.
The first meeting was held on June 11, from 6 p.m.–8 p.m., at the H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Life and Conference Center. Albemarle introduced the plan to redevelop the Kings Mountain Mine responsibly. During the event, visitors learned more about the mine’s proposed footprint and physical features. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback directly to the Albemarle project team.
Smaller informational meetings took place:
• June 15, 9 a.m.–11 a.m. at Mt. Olive Baptist Church (146 Dixon School Road)
• June 18, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. at Mt. Zion Baptist Church (220 N. Waterson Street)
Two more meetings remain:
• June 25, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. at Bethlehem Baptist Church (1017 Bethlehem Road)
• June 27, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. at Mauney Memorial Library (100 S. Piedmont Avenue)
   To learn more and keep up with what is happening at the mine, visit: https://albemarlekingsmountain.com/.

Monday KM shooting investigation continues

On Monday, June 17, at 8:22 a.m., the Kings Mountain Police Department (KMPD) and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) responded to 539 Belcaro Drive in Kings Mountain regarding a domestic dispute in which one of the persons involved had been shot.
CCSO deputies arrived first on the scene and quickly determined the subject who had been shot was transported by private vehicle to Atrium Health of Kings Mountain, where they began to receive treatment for a gunshot wound to the leg. The injuries to this subject appear to be non-life threatening at this time.
The second individual involved in the domestic dispute was found at 539 Belcaro Drive by first responding deputies and is cooperating with Kings Mountain Police Criminal Investigations Unit Detectives.
The scene and investigation were turned over to the Kings Mountain Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit for further investigation. At this time, no charges have been brought against either of the subjects involved in the incident.
If anyone has information about this incident, please contact Detective R. Hoyle with the Kings Mountain Police Criminal Investigations Unit at (704) 734-0444 (robert.hoyle@cityofkm.com).
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dr. frank sincox

Dr. Frank Sincox passes

By Loretta Cozart

Dr. Francis Sincox passed away on Tuesday, June 11, just one month after his 92nd birthday. He is survived by his son, Doug, and daughter, Kathy.
Dr. Sincox, known as Frank, practiced medicine in private practice at McGill Clinic in Kings Mountain. The well-known doctor earned a respected reputation as one of the area’s top diagnosticians through his care to hundreds of patients. Even in retirement, he continued to serve the community, often filling in for doctors on vacation or wherever he was needed.
One of the ways he contributed to the community was through his involvement in the CLECO program administered by the Cleveland County Health Department, which helped the medically underserved population. Additionally, from May 1994 until June 2001, he covered the Jail Health Program for Cleveland County. Furthermore, he provided medical supervision and support for the jail’s physician assistant and primary and backup supervision for nurse practitioners and physician assistants employed by the County Health Department in the school-based health centers. He also served as the sports physician for several county schools.
He chaired the Fatality Task Force in 2000, which led to establishing the Gunlock Safety program for children in 2004. Additionally, he was certified as a National Weapons of Mass Destruction Standardized Awareness Trainer and conducted training for the Health Department staff on weapons of mass destruction in 2005.
Growing up in Saginaw, Michigan, Dr. Sincox always dreamed of becoming a doctor. After graduating from high school in Decatur, Georgia, in 1950, he attended Emory University in Atlanta and subsequently graduated from the Medical College of Emory University in 1958. Following his medical training, he joined the Navy and served for seven years, including a period as a Flight Surgeon with deployments to various locations.
   Upon joining the McGill family practice, Dr. Sincox became active in the Kings Mountain community. In his early career years, he made house calls, delivered babies, and saw patients at Kings Mountain Hospital and in nursing homes. He was known for his compassionate care and professionalism, and his nurse, Mary Jo Stewart, played a crucial role in assisting him throughout his career.
In 1989, Dr. Sincox joined the US Navy Reserves and was deployed during the Persian Gulf War. His service included caring for the injured and serving in Saudi Arabia during the war. He retired from the Navy in 1996 with the rank of Captain and received 15 ribbons, medals, and campaign ribbons, the highest being combat action ribbons. Dr. Sincox spent 41 years in the military, including 7 years of active duty and 9 years in the ready reserve. He is a lifetime member of MCL Detachment #1164.
After the war, he continued serving the Kings Mountain community while pursuing his passion for aviation. He became a civilian pilot in 1961 and attended air shows along with his wife. Additionally, he was an active member of the US Marine Corps League.
   He worked in various areas, including the diabetes clinic, pediatric clinic, and county employee health clinic, and served as a resource for bioterrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and disaster response. He previously worked at CLECO health clinics in Boiling Springs and Lawndale.
   Sincox was involved in numerous Kings Mountain organizations, including serving as a Kings Mountain Rescue Squad director and Chief of Staff at Kings Mountain Hospital. He was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol, active in the county chapter of the American Cancer Society and the Kings Mountain Kiwanis Club, a member since 1968. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
   Aside from his work, Dr. Sincox also enjoyed flying his plane and playing Bluegrass music on his guitar, as friends and family noted at his 91st birthday party at First Presbyterian Church.
   The Marine Corps League N.C. Foothills Detachment #1164 was honored to present Francis John ‘Doc’ Sincox with the Silver Distinguished Citizen Medal at his birthday party last year.
   He will be well remembered as a man who loved medicine and helped the underserved. He served his country and is a patriot for his service to the nation in the Navy and Marines. Semper Fi, Frank. Semper Fi.

 
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What topics are allowed for discussion during certain city council meetings, and why

By Loretta Cozart

On Thursday, June 13, Kings Mountain City Council held its monthly work session. Speakers were advised twice during the meeting that their discussion topics were not on the agenda and, therefore, inappropriate for the work session meeting.
Concluding a presentation by Gaming Authority President Kathy George of Catawba Two Kings Casino, she asked if she could bring a concern to the city council, as she wanted to do so at the appropriate time. She was told she could. But when the topic turned to an issue with utilities, Mayor Pro Tem Annie Tombs asked her to return to the City Council Regular Meeting on June 25 and bring her concern at that time since that item was not on the evening’s agenda.
Christina Hildebrand spoke during the citizen recognition portion of the meeting regarding the scheduled Closed Session that would
See TOPICS, Page 4A
From  Page 1A
discuss City Manager Jim Palnenick. She began saying that she was not a fan of his due to the handling of the Dixion Ridge development and that she had concerns about renewing his contract. At that time, she was told that the topic was not on the agenda and that it was not the appropriate time to discuss it. After learning the closed session would address Mr. Palenick’s performance review, she modified her statements to make them allowable and continued.
Ed Richardson, Energy Manager at Cleveland County Schools, spoke during the public hearing regarding approving the city’s 2024-2025 budget. He explained that he felt the city’s proposed solid waste costs are too high, significantly higher than Republic and other vendors, and companies are bound by a city ordinance to buy solid waste services through them.
   City Councilwoman Sherra Miller confirmed that her husband, Tim Miller of Bridges Hardware, had been told the same information.
City Manager Palenick assured the attendees that the city is open to customers finding more cost-effective alternatives and that it would address the ordinance soon.
When Richardson pressed, “How soon?” Councilwoman Miller said, “Sooner than later.”
   On Friday, the Herald was contacted four times asking for clarification on what could be brought before the city council and when. So, we contacted Kings Mountain’s City Clerk, Karen Tucker, for clarification.
The following information was shared by phone and followed up by email, explaining why certain topics are allowable and when.
“I wanted to provide background on the regular work session and how those came to be. I am always available to answer any questions you may have.
“Before adopting the work session into the regular meeting schedule, the City scheduled various Special Meetings to handle items that might require the attention of the Council prior to the meetings at the end of the month.   Although completely permissible by statute, there seemed to be a feeling that these meetings lacked transparency because they were somewhat sporadic in nature.
“The discussion regarding adding a second meeting each month began in January 2023.  The City really had a lot of work ahead of it and adding an additional regularly scheduled meeting would provide for greater transparency.  In an effort to further both, a recommendation was presented to the City Council to hold a second monthly Council Meeting that would serve as a work session.  The meeting would give an opportunity for discussion regarding items that may come before Council for action at a later time, provide time for program updates, and give opportunity for items that require action without waiting until the end of the month.
   “The recommendation was to add a regular work session for the second Thursday each month, at a time established by Council.  After discussing schedules and meeting time of other City advisory boards, Council determined that holding the work session at 6:00 p.m. would be consistent with the regular meetings at the end of the month.  During the meeting on January 31, 2023, City Council voted unanimously to amend the 2023 City Council Regular Meeting Schedule, to add a second regular meeting each month on the second Thursday at 6:00 p.m.   The work session has been part of the regular meeting schedule since.  This has nearly, although not completely, eliminated the need for special meetings.
   “As to the Citizen Recognition portion of the meeting, presently, the Thursday work session allows for citizens to address Council regarding only items that are included on the agenda; whereas, on the Regular Meeting that is held on Tuesdays, citizens may address Council regarding any topic that they would like. It is most probable that this will change in the very near future. In both cases, citizens have three minutes allotted to address their concerns.  This is noted on the agenda for both. 
“Ed Richardson addressed the solid waste increases in the FY 2024-25 budget. He addressed the Council during the public hearing, which was the appropriate time to do so.
“I hope this helps. Please let me know if I may be of further assistance.”
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Dignitaries break ground on Pilot Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant – Pictured L-R: Thor Inman, Commissioner - Town of Grover; Richard Smith, Mayor Pro Tem - Town of Grover; Jay Rhodes, Councilmember - City of Kings Mountain; Annie Thombs, Mayor Pro Tem - City of Kings Mountain; Amanda Morrow, Clerk - Town of Grover; Mark McDaniel, Public Works Manager – Town of Grover and Rick Duncan, Public Infrastructure Director – City of Kings Mountain. (Photo provided)

City breaks ground, rebuilding and upgrading Pilot Creek

The City of Kings Mountain held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Pilot Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant on Monday, June 10.
The Pilot Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Rebuilding Project is an ambitious and essential undertaking, aiming to revitalize and modernize a critical piece of infrastructure that has served our community for over 50 years. As this plant nears the end of its useful life, the design will not only rebuild the entire existing facility but also significantly upgrade the sanitary sewer collection system. This project includes more than 9.5 miles of force main and 8.5 miles of gravity sewer, extending vital services to new development areas southwest of the city.
The treatment plant's extensive rebuilding involves strategic improvements to essential facilities such as the lab, office, headworks, and chlorinator. These upgrades are designed with future expansion in mind, ensuring the plant can meet increasing treatment demands and support ongoing community growth.
Moreover, this project represents a significant step towards the regionalization of sanitary sewer systems, reinforcing our commitment to economic development across the region. It underscores our support for the City of Kings Mountain, the Town of Grover, and the surrounding areas.
The $78+ million investment in this infrastructure project will yield lasting benefits, enhancing the quality of life and economic prospects for generations to come for residents of the City of Kings Mountain, the Town of Grover, and southeastern Cleveland County.
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Albemarle Project Plan. Photo by Albemarle

Albemarle introduces project plan for Kings Mountain Mine

Albemarle Corporation has introduced its project plan for the Kings Mountain Mine, one of the few known hard-rock lithium deposits in the U.S. The plan includes the proposed site footprint, primary physical features, and details of the mining processes. Pending permitting approval and a final investment decision, the mine is anticipated to produce approximately 420,000 tons of lithium-bearing spodumene concentrate yearly, providing a crucial building block for sustainable transportation and supporting key defense applications.
“The Kings Mountain Mine is a world-class resource that can provide an essential element to power our future,” said Albemarle Energy Storage President Eric Norris. “We are pleased to share our plan with the community as we continue to seek their engagement to redevelop this rich, domestic resource in a safe and responsible manner.”
The proposed project plan, shared today at a community open house and available online, includes several environmentally and socially responsible mining features and practices:
• Reduced land disturbance: The plan includes the use of the former Kings Mountain Mine to support mining operations and the use of a former mica mine for tailings storage—both
designed to minimize the amount of land disturbance necessary.
• Sustainable materials management: Non-ore-bearing material from mining operations is planned to be transferred to the adjacent Martin Marietta Kings Mountain Quarry for processing and sale as construction aggregate. The arrangement is intended to contribute to a more sustainable management of resources and a portion of the sales are planned to be used to support Kings Mountain and the surrounding communities. In addition, Albemarle is currently testing secondary markets for processed ore tailings, which may have applications in ceramics or construction materials industries.
• High standards and accountability: Planning for environmental protection measures and community engagement has been conducted to align with the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance’s (IRMA) Standard for Responsible Mining, a comprehensive set of requirements designed to reduce adverse environmental and social impacts and create benefits for local communities. Once operational, the mine would undergo a full third-party verification assessment conducted by an IRMA-approved certification body.
• Sustainable water management: The mine is designed to operate with collected precipitation to support its operations, relying on external sources only for drinking water, fire protection and sanitary purposes.
   With the U.S. currently producing less than 2% of the world’s supply of lithium, the Kings Mountain Mine is expected to play a key role in growing the U.S. supply chain. In 2023, Albemarle was awarded a $90 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to help support the purchase of a fleet of mining equipment as part of the mine’s redevelopment. Lithium is a critical element for key defense applications including batteries for communications equipment and remote and deep-sea sensors, and for carbon dioxide adsorption in submarines, gas masks, and the space program. In 2022, Albemarle was also awarded a $150 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand domestic manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles.
   Along with the project plan, Albemarle also commenced the public participation portion of a voluntary Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). As a key element of IRMA’s Standard for Responsible Mining, the assessment seeks to better understand and manage potential impacts from the proposed mine with consideration to the surrounding environment, local economy, and the community’s health and safety. Albemarle plans to use the outcomes of the assessment to develop environmental and social management plans to minimize adverse impacts and enhance benefits.
Stakeholder participation is essential to the ESIA’s development and Albemarle is encouraging the community to engage in the process via planned meetings and by submitting comments. Albemarle plans to publish and share the assessment’s findings and anticipated management measures with the community stakeholders throughout 2024 and 2025. More information about the assessment, including a draft scoping report, can be found at https://albemarlekingsmountain.com.
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Enjoy Farce of Habit this weekend at the Joy Theatre for a fun, laughter-filled show. Photo by Robb Webb

Get your tickets for Farce of Habit

KM Little Theater’s Farce of Habit is a scream...with laughter! Make plans to come out this weekend to check out this amazingly talented cast, and be prepared to laugh the night away!
Kings Mountain Little Theatre presents Farce of Habit, sponsored by The Family of Jim and Penny Larson, Liz Pflieger, PHR, SHRM-CP HR Consulting & Services, and Kenneth J. Pflieger, AIA, Architect.
The last chance to catch this performance is this weekend: Friday & Saturday, June 21 and 22, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, 23, at 3:00 pm.
Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for students, children, and seniors, and can be purchased online at kmlt.org
KM Little Theater performs at the Joy Theatre at 202 S. Battleground Avenue in Kings Mountain.

Full day of events

Downtown KM comes alive
this Saturday, June 15
  • Kings Mountain will come alive on Saturday, June 15 with hours of shopping, music, fun, and foam.
  • Look for the following events to take place in your downtown:
  • • 8:00 am-12:00 pm - Foothills Farmer’s Market-125 South Battleground Avenue
  • • 10:00 am-5:00 pm - KM Pop-Up Artisan Market-Patriots Park, 220 South Railroad Avenue
  • • 10:00 am - KM Historical Downtown Walking Tour-301 N.  Piedmont Avenue-(Registration required @mauneylibrary.org)
  • • 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm-National Foam Party Day- Patriots Park, 220 South Railroad Avenue
  • For additional information call 704-734-0333 or visit www.cityofkm.com.
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Special Occasion dresses are available in various styles and sizes. (Photo by Loretta Cozart)

Nena’s Fashion Boutique
Grand Opening Saturday

By Loretta Cozart

KM Forward announces the grand opening of  Nena’s Fashion Boutique at 219 S. Battleground Avenue in downtown Kings Mountain on Saturday, June 15, at noon. The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting this Saturday.
Maria Vasquez, along with husband Kevin Ulloa, and daughter Sindy Ulloa, invite everyone to attend the event. “I am really excited to open the store for our community,” Maria said. “I encourage them to visit our store and look at the inventory. More clothing is on the way and will be arriving soon.”
Nena’s Fashion Boutique  offers  formal  andparty dresses, as well as a summer selection of women’s loungewear, gym wear, and clothes for going out with friends. They also carry accessories, including shoes, purses, and jewelry.
Eventually, they hope to expand their offerings to include Quinceanera dresses. “The plan is to start out small and expand to other locations,” Maria said.
In addition to this business, Maria owns Happy House Cleaning Service, which opened in Charlotte in 2017 and has expanded to Kings Mountain.
Come to celebrate Kings Mountain’s newest store with Maria, Kevin, and Sindy. The event will offer music and refreshments.
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Sherra Miller and Susan Mosk buy flowers at the market.

Kings Mountain Farmer’s Market Ribbon Cutting

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Farmers’ Market, the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce, and The Davidson Association held a ribbon cutting on Saturday, June 8, at the new KM Marketplace parking lot at 125 S Battleground Avenue.
This year, the KM Farmers Market, in association with the Davidson Association, is proud to partner with the Patrick Senior Center and Albemarle Corporation to support seniors. On the first Saturday of each month, they host Senior Day, a special event where the Patrick Center will provide transportation for seniors to the market. Albemarle will offer vouchers for seniors to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to show our commitment to the health and well-being of our senior community members.
Shoppers can also use their SNAP/EBT cards at Kings Mountain Farmers’ Market each week. Using your EBT/SNAP card, you can get up to $10 extra in “Market Moolah” for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Here’s how it works:
• Bring your EBT/SNAP card to the Information Booth to redeem as many $1 tokens as you want.
• Each purchase receives up to an extra $10 in Market Moolah to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Use your tokens to shop at food tables throughout the market.
• SNAP tokens do not expire.
Tamra Moody shared, “We look forward to seeing you at the Kings Mountain Farmers’ Market!”
The Davidson Alumni Resource Center, Inc. is a nonpartisan 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

 
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CASINO GROUNDBREAKING – Chief Brian Harris, in the red vest, with Assistant Chief Leach to his left. See more photos on page 5A. (Photos by Loretta Cozart)
Catawba Two Kings Casino groundbreaking last Friday
By Loretta Cozart

The Catawba Two Kings Casino held its official groundbreaking, or MANUU HAR HE WE, which in the Catawba language means “We intend to dig the earth,” at 538 Kings Mountain Blvd. in Kings Mountain on Friday, June 7.
Kathy George, President of the Catawba Nation Gaming Authority, welcomed guests and local dignitaries, saying, “What a great day to have you all join us, and what great weather we have. So, thank you to all who dialed that in today.
“A special thank you to our tribal elders, the entire Catawba Nation citizens, the Executive Committee leadership, and the Catawba Nation Gaming Authority Board leaders. In addition, thank you to all of the tribal members who have come before us to pave the way for today, tomorrow, and future generations to come.
She added, “Also, thank you to all of our partners, vendors, and government officials who are with us today or have stood by us throughout the last few years to get us to today. I'd also like to thank our distinguished speakers, who will share a few words with us to help memorialize the day.
“Last but certainly not least, I want to thank all
of the team members of the Catawba Two Kings Casino who make it happen daily. Every day at the casino, I ask the team to provide great guest service by creating special experiences and being a little better every day. We are committed to being better in every way possible and know that the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort will make us the best.
“We look forward to continuing to serve our guests well and helping to provide for the Catawba Nation, and all of the surrounding communities today, tomorrow, and for the next seven generations. So, to start us off right, we'd like to welcome the Catawba Men's Group, who will perform a Calling Song.”
Following the song, George introduced Chief Brian Harris. The Chief welcomed everyone and recognized the Catawba citizens by asking them to stand. He reminded the community of the most recent tribal election, with the most participation in Catawba history. Chief Brian Harris ran on a platform of change, and he reminded the citizens, “Change is what you got. Not only did we make history with the most citizen turnout, but we also made history in the fact that we elected our first female assistant chief.”
   He shared, “It is with great pleasure and pride that I stand before you today on this momentous occasion of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Catawba Indian Nation’s Catawba Two Kings Casino and Resort. This groundbreaking represents not just the physical construction of the building but the realization of a dream. It's always been a dream for the Catawba to get out of the shadow of others, to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining. It is one of my jobs, along with the ladies and gentlemen of the executive committee, to create generational wealth to cherish and deserve. And that is what we are doing.
   "The establishment of this casino is a major accomplishment for the Catawba Indian Nation, the residents of Cleveland County, and the City of Kings Mountain. It signifies our ability to come together and create opportunities. Mayor Wagman, we are going to do that, correct? (Mayor Wagman confirmed.)
“As we start the process of building and growing, it's important to remember the significance of unity, collaboration, and perseverance. Let's continue working together towards a shared goal of prosperity and success,” he urged.
“And let's never forget the sacrifices and struggles of those who came before us, the legacy we honor today with this groundbreaking ceremony.”
   “During the event, Chief Brian Harris acknowledged the presence of Donald J. Trump, Jr., and thanked Donald Trump for his support of the Catawba, as well as many North Carolina and South Carolina politicians who supported them, including Governor Roy Cooper.
   Several dignitaries spoke at the event, including Ryan Foxx, Chair of the Catawba Nation Gaming Authority; Lou Jacobs, CEO of Delaware North; Mayor of Kings Mountain Rob Wagman; Jason Falls, Business Development Director of Cleveland County; Kevin Gordon, Chairman of the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners; Christine Cribb, President of Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce: Nory Hazaveh, Principal of SOSHNY Architects; Chet Nadolski, COO of Yates Construction; and Aaron Thomas President and CEO of Metcon Construction.
   During his remarks, Mayor Wagman shared, "It is an honor to represent the city of Kings Mountain on this incredible day. People may not know that I am also Native American from a tribe in northern Wisconsin, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. What I love about the partnership that I have with the Catawba Nation and Chief Brian Harris is that we don't celebrate things; we celebrate people. So, a groundbreaking is an amazing thing, but more important than the groundbreaking is every person it represents.
   Mayor Wagman noted that Kings Mountain is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year by honoring the people who make it a great place to live. He then honored the chief of the tribe with a proclamation from the city, stating that ongoing conversations would continue between the Catawba Nation, the City of Kings Mountain, and Cleveland County.
   After reading the proclamation, Mayor Wagman said, “I, Robert C. Wagman, Mayor of Kings Mountain, and an official member of the Red Cliff Band Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewas, do hereby acknowledge the contributions, communication, friendship, and community impact of Catawba Nation Chief Brian Harris.
   He continued, “This endeavor is single-handedly allowing the city of Kings Mountain and the County of Cleveland County officials to have conversations we should have had a long time ago. And for that, you deserve a round of applause.
   He then explained, “If you have an eagle feather in your car or your garage, you're going to jail, unless, of course, you are Native American. Native Americans are allowed to gift an Eagle feather to another Native American.
   “The impact of the moment that you guys are experiencing is pretty incredible honestly.” Choking back tears, Mayor Wagman continued, “So, from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewas, we would like to give you this feather for the honor, the dignity, your character, and all things that you are.”
   After the ceremony, the Friendship Song - Southern Eagle dance, was led by Monty Branham, followed by the AIM Honor Song performed by the Catawba Men’s Group and Southern Eagle Warpaint. The Traveling Song was played, and the event concluded with the Groundbreaking Ceremony.

 
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NC Driver's License
and ID Cards  to feature
new, more secure design

The NC Division of Motor Vehicles has released new driver licenses, permits, and identification cards featuring the latest in card security design and construction, specifically intended to combat fraud.
The new credentials are the most secure in state history and among the most secure identifying documents worldwide.
The state’s new credential is a 100% polycarbonate card that is personalized using laser engraving technology. Because of its composition, the card will not only look different, it will also feel and sound different.
The card will feel stiffer and have both embossed and debossed patterns and lettering on the surface of the card. When dropped onto a tabletop, it will make a unique metallic sound.
The new card design showcases imagery familiar to North Carolinians, with hints of blue and green specifically chosen to correspond with well-known state attributes such as its rolling hills and abundant nature.
The card front includes the state’s flower – the dogwood, the state flag, the state border outline, a marbled salamander, and a lighthouse, all at the forefront of the rolling hills in the west. The card back includes the Colonial Spanish Mustang grazing along one of North Carolina’s many beaches in the east.
The card will feature a vertical portrait-style layout for recipients under 21, while all others will include a horizontal landscape-like design.
These design elements are among over 50 security features used to assist law enforcement in deterring and detecting fraud.
The new card design went into production last week, and the current design will be phased out by the end of June.
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Filter Balls will be at the old Coats facility at 700 S. Railroad Avenue. (Photo by Loretta Cozart)

City approves amended economic incentives for
Filter Balls

 

By Loretta Cozart

The city council approved an altered economic incentive plan for Filter Balls, a non-woven textile manufacturer, during the Kings Mountain City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 28. The original economic incentive plan for “Project Ball” was approved on April 11. At that time, it was anticipated that the county would also offer economic incentives.
To attract the manufacturer, the City of Kings Mountain is applying for an NC Department of Commerce Building Reuse grant that requires it to give a 5% match.
City Manager Jim Palenick explained the need to amend the incentive saying, “At that time, our approved incentive was for three years as 20% of property taxes in the form of a rebate. They would have to pay the taxes first and then receive 20% back for each of three years, post-investment, post-job production, and that total was 21,456.”
He continued, “Because the State Building reuse incentive grant requires a 5% match, and we are not having the county participate as well to meet that 5% match, we need to alter our incentive to three years at 30%, with a similar structure in terms of a rebate against property taxes. That now would total $29,856 as an incentive.”
The project passed by unanimous vote.
Filter Balls will be located at 700 South Railroad Avenue and is investing approximately $9.5 million. The manufacturer is projected to hire 84 employees with an annual average salary of $63,298.00.
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MAY 28 CITY COUNCIL MEETING – With the council chamber filled to capacity the crowd poured into the lobby, quickly filling to capacity. With nowhere else to go, the crowd spilled out into the plaza of City Hall. (Photo by Ricky McDonald)

City council approves lake fees increase

By Loretta Cozart

An estimated 500-plus citizens attended the May City Council meeting on May 28 to express their displeasure with the proposed fee increase for residents living on waterfront property or those using watercraft on John H. Moss Reservoir (Moss Lake).
With the council chambers filled to capacity, the crowd poured into the lobby, quickly overflowing. With nowhere else to go, the crowd spilled out into the plaza of City Hall. The sound system, which can be played in the lobby, did not work properly, so attendees had to monitor the proceedings using their cell phones.
Before the public hearing on the issue, Councilman Jay Rhodes used his portion of the city council meeting normally set aside for comments to clarify the proposed increase in lake fees.
He shared, “Consternation. That's a big word, but I think it's appropriate on what's been going on relative to lake fees. Later in this meeting, I am going to make a motion to approve or modify what you've all seen or not seen in the papers and in notes.
“I'm of the opinion that fees do need to be increased. And this is what I'm going
See FEES, Page 5A
From Page 1A
 to recommend. All lots aside from those in the Clinestead settlement and any city-controlled lots will have a lease fee. The lease fees will be 50 feet or less, $575; 51 feet to 100 feet lake frontage, $625 dollars; 101 to 300 feet, $710 dollars; 301 to 1,000 feet, $830;  and more than 1000 feet, $985.
Secondly, there will be no more bundling or family plans. Aside from that, the lease fees will be due on January 1st. If failure to pay those by the 15th, there will be a late fee of $50.00 and a 1.5% payment after that. Boat fees will be $200.00, but those on the lake will get a 25% discount. $150.00. That's on an annual basis and that includes jet skis as well. Boat permits on a daily basis, including jet skis, are $40, and you will get a discount of 25% if you live on the lake. Camping fees will be $35 a day and $175 a week.
“Other fees: the picnic shelter for one-hour costs nothing. For one day, $60.00. Slip fees in the group pier facilities are $75.00, which remains the same.
“And you will be able to use your irrigation pump. The fee will be increased to $650 on an annual basis. I want to explain that because I've had several (people) contact me. I'm a resident of the City of Kings Mountain. I have an irrigation system in my yard. I will be paying much more than you on an annual basis because for every drop of water I use, Mr. Palenick charges me money. So, $650 is an annual fee, and that is the only thing you'll have to do. There are the city codes people will come by; they want to make sure that you have a backflow check valve. OK. And that's so that when you turn your irrigation system off, whatever waters in those lines does not come back into the water (system). That's the only thing. You will be getting 25% discounts on all boating permits, and the city reserves the right to issue civil penalties for using unpermitted irrigation pumps up to $250. But I hope that never occurs. We don't care to do that.”
   In addition, city citizens will receive a 50% discount on boat fees. Instead of paying $200, they will pay $100.
   Over the next hour, seventeen citizens expressed their anger and frustration over the situation at the lake. John H. Moss Reservoir Commissioner and Moss Lake resident Trip Boinest shared, “I am currently in my second term as a Moss Lake Commissioner, and it is an honor to work to advise this group on the workings of the lake. The committee is made up of five at-large members from Kings Mountain who do not live on the lake and two lakefront property owners. Our objective is to maintain regulations, approve events to be held on the lake, and advise the King's Mountain Council on matters related to the lake, including annual fees.
  “We worked on a new fee schedule for about two months prior to our April meeting, and we were to have voted on it then so that it would be in there in time for the new city budget. A week before that meeting, the meeting was canceled with no explanation. And about that time the Kings Mountain City manager James Palenick posted a piece on Facebook indicating that the lakefront homes were the main cause of contamination and Algae bloom in the lake, because of emissions from their septic system. He had no data. He had no statistics. He went on to say that homeowners really did not pay their fair share and should support the lake in some way, if they could only be taxed. He later posted another Facebook post about water, lawns, and runoff.
   “The lakefront property owners for years have been leasing the land below 8 feet above the water line and then paying to maintain it, put up sea walls, put up rip rap. We've done all kinds of things to try and prevent runoff in the lake. And at the same time, through dock fees, boat fees, lease fees, we fund more than 75% of the income side of the Moss Lake budget. How do you think we have not been a participant?
   “In nine of the last 11 fiscal years, the late budget has had an excess at the end of the year, many times in the 20,000 range. And in no subsequent year has there been a carryover of funds. Wasn't that money for the operation of the lake,” he asked.
  “The city has received two grants that I'm aware of $250,000, funded by 10 more from the state of North Carolina to help the Hollyfields specifically to get the mud and sticks out from one of their piers. The city instead spent that money to do a lake study.
  “There's been another $400,000 grant for studies, and we have seen no accounting on that at the Commission.
   “We've been told that there's another $400,000 grant that's going to be made available for dredging, but we see no accounting on that.
   “I've been a member on Moss resident on Moss Lake since 1992 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think we live in a symbiotic relationship, and we want to keep it that way. I do think that the fees are excessive. He (City Manager Palenick) mentioned he couldn't tax us. But to me, this looks like taxation without representation. I think we've got the Boston Tea Party right here in Kings Mountain.”
   In a unanimous vote, the city council approved the fee increase at Moss Lake.
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Rendering by Catawba Two Kings Casino
Catawba Nation to begin construction after settlement with former developer
The Catawba Nation is set to begin construction of a more than $700 million permanent casino resort in Kings Mountain, after finalizing a settlement with its former casino developer over the ground lease for its trust lands.
The Catawba Nation finalized the private settlement with Sky Boat Gaming in early May, removing the firm from any interest in the project. In February, the Catawba Nation also purchased land around its temporary casino from Sky Boat, including the parking lot and additional property that may be used to support resort amenities and experiences.
“We persevered to achieve a fair deal so that we can now realize the full financial and economic benefits of the project for Catawba Nation members and residents of Cleveland County,” Catawba Nation Chief Brian Harris said.
“The establishment of this casino is not just about bricks and mortar; it symbolizes our commitment to preserving our tribal identity, supporting our community and creating opportunities for our people. This project will not only generate revenue for our tribe but also provide jobs, education and social programs that will benefit our members and the surrounding region. These jobs, including construction jobs, along with increased patron traffic, will provide local governments and the state of North Carolina with additional tax revenue and other investments under our compact. The Catawba are working to keep casino revenue in North Carolina as opposed to what outside commercial casino companies would do,” Harris said.
Planning for the permanent casino resort continued while the settlement was being negotiated, with construction and design plans now finalized. Initial financing is in place and a ceremonial groundbreaking is set for 10 a.m. June 7 at the site to mark the beginning of construction.
“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have contributed to making this dream a reality – from our tribal council, legal team, (Catawba Nation) Gaming Authority, (Catawba Nation) Gaming Commission and partners, to the hard-working individuals who will construct this casino. Together, we stand united in our mission to build a sustainable future for our tribe and uphold our cultural values,” Harris said.
   Work has also been completed on two key infrastructure projects funded by the Catawba Nation for the development of the permanent casino resort: doubling the size of the Dixon School Road Bridge over I-85 near the casino entrance and installing new sewer lines near the casino.
Delaware North, the global hospitality and entertainment company that has been a consultant to the Catawba Nation on the project since 2019, is expected to manage and serve as the developer of the permanent casino resort once the contracts are approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission. SOSHNY Design, which has designed many casino resorts, including Delaware North’s $320 million Southland Casino Hotel in West Memphis, Arkansas, is the architect.
During construction, the Catawba Nation will continue to operate its temporary casino, which opened in 2021 and features 1,000 slot machines, electronic table games (ETGs), a retail sportsbook, and a restaurant. The temporary casino will add 12 live table games and 56 additional slot machines in early summer, and additional surface parking.
The permanent casino resort, which will be about 2 million square feet at full buildout, will be completed in two main phases:
• Introductory Casino:
This phase will be constructed at ground level with 1,350 slots/ETGs, 12 table games and a restaurant with 40 seats that will include a sportsbook area with 30 self-service kiosks. In addition, supporting back-of-house space for surveillance, security, the cage and part of the first two floors of the parking garage (1,600 spots) will be completed above the ground level.
   Upon opening, estimated for early 2026, the Introductory Casino will replace the current temporary facility. Employment will be at about 420 positions, which is 20 more than what is anticipated when the new table games area in the temporary casino opens this summer.
• Full Casino Resort
   Construction will then begin on the 400-room hotel and the remainder of the casino complex, which will be stacked above the ground floor. The hotel tower will be a separate structure that is connected to the casino complex to maximize the patron experience.
   The casino complex will feature three levels of parking (floors 2-4), an entire floor devoted to back-of-house operations and offices, and the main casino floor and restaurants on top.
• At full buildout, the main casino complex will be about 2 million square feet and feature:
• 4,300 slots
• 100 table games
• Five restaurants, including a steakhouse, Italian restaurant, marketplace buffet, café, and grab-and-go outlet
• A players’ lounge
• Six bars, including a center bar and sports bar
   There is no estimate at this time of when the main casino complex and hotel will be completed. After the main casino complex opens, the Introductory Casino will become the smoking section of the casino.
   Upon completion, the casino resort will employ an estimated 2,200 team members.

 
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If you have seen this Dozer, contact the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. Photo by CCSO

CCSO seeks help finding stolen Dozer

Cleveland County Sheriff's Office seeks information regarding a stolen Dozer late on May 25 or early May 26. They ask the community for assistance from anyone near Chatfield Road / Hwy. 226 / New Highway 74 areas who may have home surveillance cameras.
If you live in his area and have home surveillance, please check for any video that may help them identify the person/persons who stole the dozer.
As always, anyone with information should contact Investigator Shumate at 704-473-6895 or submit a tip anonymously through the Crimestoppers app.
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The new water slide, a thrilling addition to the Kings Mountain Family YMCA, is now open for all to enjoy. Photo provided

Get your Splash on!

By Loretta Cozart

“Summer has arrived, and families are going to the water to cool off. Kings Mountain has several budget-conscious options for families to escape the soaring temperatures without draining their wallets.
A popular spot to cool off is the splash pad in Patriots Park, which is open during daylight hours. There is no cost, and children must be supervised.
A new water slide is now open at Kings Mountain Family YMCA. The pool and slide are open to the public Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost is $5.00.
Group swimming lessons are also available at Kings Mountain Family YMCA for children ages 3 to 14. Swimming is a life skill and great exercise. Instructors use a variety of fun methods to help kids overcome fears, build confidence in the water, and develop skills that last a lifetime. Register online. Classes cost $50 for members and $70 for non-members.
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Responding to the scene were Kings Mountain Fire, Oak Grove Volunteer Fire, and Bethlehem Fire Departments.

Stovetop fire at Comfort Inn

Kings Mountain Fire Department responded to the Comfort Inn at 3:43 p.m. on Friday after receiving a call of active smoke from the hotel.
The hotel was evacuated and searched. A small stovetop fire was found in a room on the third floor.
Kings Mountain Fire Department issued the following statement, “We would like to give a special thanks to the Bethlehem Fire Department and the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department for arriving on the scene to assist.”
The investigation is ongoing.
 

Gas purging operations scheduled this week

The City of Kings Mountain announced that they will be conducting gas purging operations this week as part of a scheduled project. This task began on Monday, June 3, and gas purging is planned intermittently through Friday, June 7, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day.
Specific work zones include the following areas:
• I-85 in front of UTZ
• Dixon School Road
• York Road
• Gage Road
There may be concerns regarding the smell of gas during this period. If anyone contacts you about detecting a gas odor, please direct them to our team at 704-734-4516. The City of Kings Mountain must address every call to ensure the safety of the citizens.
The city requests, “Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the gas purging operations, please contact the city. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”
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SEE KEEPSAKE
2024 GRADUATION SECTION

Inside May 29, 2024 Issue of KM Herald
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KINGS MOUNTAIN HIGH SCHOOL class of 2024

KMHS to graduate 286 seniors in the Class of 2024 Saturday

By Loretta Cozart

Commencement exercises for the 286 seniors in the Kings Mountain High School Graduating Class of 2024 will be held on Saturday, June 1, at 9 a.m. in Gamble Stadium on the KMHS campus.
“We are praying for good weather so everyone can be outside and enjoy the program,” said Dr. Dustin Morehead, Principal, who said there is no limit on the number of people attending.
In the event of rain, the graduation program will be held in the B.N. Barnes Auditorium on the school campus.
The seniors will practice at the stadium on Thursday and Friday, May 30 and May 31, at 9 a.m.
Seniors will lead the graduation program, which will feature special music and speeches by the valedictorian, the top student academically, and the salutatorian, the second-ranked student in the Class of 2024.
KMHS Principal Dr. Dustin Morehead will present the diplomas, assisted by Cleveland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephan Fisher and Robert Queen, chairman of the Cleveland County Board of Education.
The Class of 2024 will be dressed in black robes with white collars and graduation cords, which signify the campus clubs in which they were active, including the National Honor Society, white stole; Beta Club, gold cord; Renaissance club,  turquoise cord; CTE Honor Society, purple and white cord; National/International Honor Thespian, royal blue cord; Scholar Thespian, royal blue and gold cord; TR-IM Music Honor Society, light pink cord; National Art Honor Society, multi-colored cord; Student Participation Organization, blue cord; HOSA, blue/green cord; FFA, blue/red cord; TRI, red cord; CNA, pin; EMT, pin; and FCCLA, red and white cord.
Senior Class officers are SPO President Hunter Cruise, Senior Class President Addison Peeler, and Senior Class Representative Kendall Parker.
Junior Marshals are Angel Conner, Tatyana Crespo, Brooke Waseman, Wren Ballard, Cole Groves, Mary Ruffalo, Noel George, Alexys Padgett, Alexis Hampton, Jaylyn Wallace, Jonathan Baker, Nathan Parsons, Kaleb Youngblood, Max Thompson, Hector Hernandez Mendez, Thomas Spicer, Philip-Mark Bryson, Alex Browning, Luca Narcisco, and Kaydance Smith.

 
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KM Marketplace will open at 125 S. Battleground Avenue this June. Photo by Terry Edwards Group

KM Marketplace
opening June 1

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, KM Marketplace, managed by the Terry Edwards Group, announced its opening at 125 Battleground Avenue on Saturday, June 1. The property had been a bank from the 1960s until Wells Fargo closed a few years ago.
In a Facebook post at KM Marketplace, the owners, Michael Terry and Woody Edwards, announced their newest joint venture, “From fashion to food, tech to toys, we've got it all under one roof. With food truck Fridays coming and Kings Mountain Farmers' Market on Saturdays, it will be a hotspot for the town! Come explore our mini mall and discover a world of shopping delights right in the heart of the city.”
Spaces are available for small business owners or professionals in downtown Kings Mountain offering retail shops downstairs and office spaces upstairs.
The group is excited to bring weekly food trucks to the Kings Mountain Marketplace. Your input is welcome, and they would love to hear suggestions on their Facebook page.

Tickets on sale for KMLT production of “Farce of Habit”

Tickets are now on sale for the Kings Mountain Little Theatre production of the uproarious comedy, Farce of Habit written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten.  The production is sponsored by the Jim and Penny Larson Family and Ken and Liz Pflieger.
Performances will be at the Joy Theatre, 202 S. Railroad Ave, Kings Mountain on Fridays and Saturdays, June 14th, 15th, 21st and 22nd at 7:30 p.m, with matinee performances on Sundays, June 16th and 23rd at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors/students.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.kmlt.org and KMLT season members may make reservations at tickets@kmlt.org or by phone at 704-730-9408.
Comic fireworks explode in KMLT’s production of FARCE OF HABIT.  Greg Dixon, Denise McCoy, Mary Grace Keller, Madeline Spurling and Mark Griffin reprise their roles in the absurdly funny Southern-fried romp that takes us back to the Reel ’Em Inn, the finest little fishing lodge in the Ozarks.
 The proprietor, D. Gene Wilburn (Greg Dixon) is looking forward to a peaceful weekend on the lake. But there are only two chances of that happening: slim and none. Why, for example, has his wife, Wanelle (Denise McCoy), picked these three days to white-knuckle her way through caffeine withdrawal? Why is his son Ty’s (Mark Griffin) marriage to Jenna (Madeline Spurling) falling apart so fast? How on earth would D. Gene’s feisty sister, Maxie (Mary Grace Keller), allow herself to get caught up in such a bizarre undercover police assignment? And that’s just his family.
 If this isn’t enough to thwart D. Gene’s weekend plans, he’s got a gaggle of nuns who’ve converged on the Inn, hell-bent on experiencing a nature retreat—which might be tolerable if D. Gene didn’t have a chronic fear of anything in a habit. Add to this the presence of Jock McNair (David M Baez), a nationally known relationship guru whose colossal ego threatens everyone’s sanity; a shy retiree (Tim Evans) anxious to cut loose and embrace his “inner caveman” and a couple of wild women (played by Caswell Martin and Estelle Grabert) who may or may not be who they claim to be. Throw in the storm of the century that’s fast bearing down on Mayhew, Arkansas, and D. Gene has no prayer of baiting a hook any time soon.
Oh, and did we mention there’s an axe murderer on the loose? If you enjoy gloriously preposterous hilarity, then laughing your way through the take-no-prisoners lunacy of a Jones Hope Wooten comedy is one habit you’ll never want to break!
“Farce of Habit” is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New
See KMLT, Page 10A
From Page 1A
 York. Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. is a volunteer based, 501c3 tax-exempt community theater.  It owns and operates the Joy Theatre and the Liberty Mountain Garden.  It is a funded affiliate of the Cleveland County Arts Council and is supported in part by a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.
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Pictured L-R: Bela Grae Edmonson receives the Sally Southall Scholarship from GFWC NC Kings Mountain Woman’s Clubwoman Anne Gamble. (Photo by Anne Gamble)

Edmonson awarded the Sally Southall Scholarship

Bela Grae Edmonson is an accomplished student set to graduate from Kings Mountain High School in June. In addition to her high school diploma, she has earned an associate in science degree and a Biotechnology Basic Healthcare Certificate through Cleveland Community College’s Career and College Promise program. This fall, Bela Grae will begin her undergraduate studies in Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University.
Throughout her high school years, Bela Grae has shown a strong commitment to her community. She has volunteered extensively at local elementary schools and has served as a tutor in the special-needs classroom at Kings Mountain High School. In addition to her academic and volunteer commitments, she works over twenty hours each week as a Golf Pro Shop Attendant at Kings Mountain Country Club.
In her free time, Bela Grae enjoys various activities, including recreational reading, journaling, thrifting, attending music festivals, and spending quality time with her family and friends. Her dedication to her studies and community highlights her as a well-rounded and driven individual, ready to embark on the next chapter of her academic journey.

City of KM and  KM Gateway Trail host Earth Day Celebration April 20

The City of Kings Mountain in partnership with the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail will celebrate the 54th Anniversary of Earth Day by hosting an Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 20, 2024.
Free activities will be provided by various community organizations and vendors.
Dino Encounters by Ross plans to bring some very cool dinosaur friends and fossils to the event. Woody the Owl will be there too.
Other attractions will include Son Ridge Farms’ Petting Zoo, Woodworking, Live Encampments, Upcycle Artisans, a Music Jamboree presented by The Dancing Fleas, and a live performance by Bright Star Touring Theatre called Gus Goes Green.
The Butterfly Release is by far a crowd favorite! Make plans to help release 300 Painted Lady butterflies back into their natural habitat. This activity supports the national and environmental cause to save our pollinators.
Extra parking is across the street from the trailhead and along Quarry Road. Come out, celebrate our beautiful earth, and enjoy a walk on the trail! This special event will begin at 11:00 am.
The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is located at 807 South Battleground Avenue.
For more information on Earth Day, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Marketing, Tourism, and Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com.

 

Accident on I-85 leaves one killed, another injured

By Loretta Cozart

One truck driver was killed, and another injured after two tractor-trailers collided on I-85 South on Sunday, April 14, afternoon around 3:35 pm, according to WCNC. Three hours later, I-85 South was reopened.
According to troopers, one tractor-trailer was in the far-right lane, attempting to move onto the shoulder of the road with a flat tire, when the second truck merged into it at full speed and both trucks then caught fire. The fire engulfed a tractor-trailer involved in the crash, and the blaze emitted thick, black smoke.
According to troopers, the truckdriver traveling at full speed died. The other driver also sustained injuries.
Crowders Mountain Fire Department, Gastonia Fire Department, Tryonota Fire Department, Gaston Emergency Medical Services, Gaston County Police Department, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Kings Mountain Fire Department and Bessemer City Police Department all responded to the crash and subsequent fire.

 
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This photo of Julie Yawn, left, and her staff was taken two weeks after the restaurant opened in 2004. Photo Herald Archives

Chat-n-Nibble to
celebrate 20th anniversary

By Loretta Cozart

The Chat-n-Nibble restaurant at 415 N. Piedmont Avenue in Kings Mountain is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Tuesday, April 23, starting at 6 a.m. Customers can enjoy cookies, punch, and giveaways on this special day. The restaurant's Special of the day will be their delicious deep fried pork loin, a popular dish among the customers. Julie Yawn, who owns the restaurant with her husband Jerry, shared her excitement about the anniversary.
Two decades ago, the Yawns lived in Gastonia and decided to go into the restaurant business. Julie's parents ran a restaurant for 20 years in their native Kentucky, so the commercial kitchen wasn't new to her.
A friend who worked in sales noticed the empty building on North Piedmont Avenue. So, Julie visited, loved the place, and decided to start her business there.
The Herald featured Chat-n-Nibble in an article two weeks after it opened in 2004, reporting that customers were flocking to the new restaurant. Even after twenty years, customers still visit the restaurant, which is a testimony to their good food and friendly atmosphere.
On their tenth anniversary, the Yawns decided to upgrade the restaurant. They removed three layers of carpeting from the dining room and discovered hardwood floors. They sanded and sealed the hardwood floors, which looked great and were easy to keep clean. Recently, the Yawns bought new chairs for the dining room, which matches well with the blue and white checked tablecloths, making the restaurant inviting and cheerful.
Chat-n-Nibble posts its weekly menu on Facebook so customers can check out the available options, including their very popular deep fried pork loin, hamburger steak, grilled chicken breast, fried chicken strips, and fried flounder. They also serve a variety of sides, salads, and more, so there is something on the menu to suit everyone.
When asked what she loves the most about her restaurant, Julie answered without hesitation, "The people." The customers have become like family, and that's what makes running the restaurant very rewarding for the Yawns.
   Julie invites everyone to come and celebrate the 20th anniversary with them on Tuesday, April 23. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, customers can call 704-734-0100.
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Come on out to the Outdoor Yard Sale on April 27. You never know what treasure you might find.

Senior Center Outdoor Yard Sale fundraiser April 27


The Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain is holding an Outdoor Yard Sale on Saturday, April 27, from 8 am to 1 pm. The general public is welcome to shop.
If you are age 55 or over and want to sell items that day, please come by the Patrick Center during operating hours to pay the $5 fee and reserve your spot. Space is limited space. Sellers are responsible for their tables and chairs.  
Proceeds from the space rentals will go toward the Patrick Center Pet Food Pantry, which is located at 909 E. King Street in Kings Mountain. For more information, please call 704-734-0447.
 
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KM Farmers’ Market opens on May 4

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Farmers’ Market will open on May 4, from 8:00 a.m. to noon, at 125 S Battleground Avenue, in the old Wells Fargo parking lot.
Anyone interested in participating in the market this season should apply online at the Foothills Farmers Market website http://www.foothillsfarmersmarket.com.
This year, the KM Farmers Market will partner with the Patrick Senior Center and Albemarle Corporation to assist our seniors. The first Saturday of each month during the season will be Senior Day, during which the Patrick Center will provide transportation for seniors to the market, while Albemarle will provide seniors with vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
Shoppers can also use their SNAP/EBT cards each week at Kings Mountain Farmers’ Market. When you use your EBT/SNAP card you can get up to $10 extra in Market Moolah to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.
   How It Works:
• Bring your EBT/SNAP card to the Information Booth to redeem as many $1 tokens as you would like.
• Each purchase receives up to an extra $10 in Market Moolah to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Use your tokens to shop at food tables throughout the market.
• SNAP tokens do not expire.
We look forward to seeing you at the Kings Mountain Farmers’ Market!
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Gaston Christian

The new sign that reads “Gaston Christian School” was placed over the doorway of the former Central School at 105 E. Ridge Street in Kings Mountain on April 2. A school has occupied this property for ninety-eight years, since 1876. In the Fall, Gaston Christian School – East Cleveland will open its doors to kindergarten through eighth-grade students, continuing the educational tradition valued by the community for nearly a century.
  • Photo by Gaston Christian School – East Cleveland
Child Abuse Prevention Month
Building a hopeful future together
Recognizing the role everyone plays in helping North Carolina’s children reach their full potential, Governor Roy Cooper declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. This Child Abuse Prevention Month, community organizations, government agencies, businesses, faith groups and other stakeholders will come together to focus on creating partnerships to prevent child maltreatment from occurring and the importance of building hope for children and families.
This year’s Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign theme is “Building A Hopeful Future Together.” The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Positive Childhood Alliance North Carolina (formerly Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina) recognize that every single child is filled with tremendous promise, and all North Carolinians are responsible for defending and nurturing that potential.
“We want North Carolina families to have access to supports they need, when they need them, so children can grow up in nurturing environments with hope for the future,” said NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being Susan Osborne. “Policies and programs that put families first are critical to ensuring parents and caregivers have the resources they need to keep children safe within their own communities. We are continuing to work to transform the many systems that directly impact child and family well-being to build a North Carolina where everyone can thrive.”
Children who live in families with access to economic and social support are less likely to experience abuse and neglect. Too often, people think of raising healthy children as a parent or caregiver’s responsibility alone, but it takes community resources and partnerships to help lighten the burden of care and strengthen families. All North Carolinians share the responsibility of creating more positive outcomes for children by working together to address the underlying causes of health and social inequities in our communities.
In collaboration with statewide partners like NCDHHS, Positive Childhood Alliance NC (PCANC) is championing a new theory of change in North Carolina, which aims to build the well-being of our state’s children and families.
“At Positive Childhood Alliance NC, we are committed to challenging the status quo and advocating for policies prioritizing the well-being of all North Carolina children and families,” said PCANC President and CEO Sharon Hirsch. “By offering data-driven coaching and professional development, building public understanding, and advocating for systemic change, we’re working toward a future where every child has more positive experiences filled with hope and joy, supported by caring relationships and connected communities.”
   During Child Abuse Prevention Month, PCANC and NCDHHS are joining the national effort to reshape the narrative around child maltreatment prevention and increase investments in programs and policies that prioritize children and families. This month and all year long, communities and individuals can help NCDHHS and PCANC advance family-centered prevention programs and policies by acting in the following ways:
• Attend a Pinwheel Planting hosted by NCDHHS and PCANC on Tuesday, April 2, 11:30 a.m., at the NC State Farmer’s Market (1201 Agriculture St., Raleigh, NC 27603). Learn more.
• The public and media are invited to attend. Speakers include Lisa Tucker Cauley, Division Director, Human Services Child, Family, and Adult, Regional Support; Sharon Hirsch, President & CEO of Positive Childhood Alliance North Carolina; and Heather McAllister, Family First Prevention Services Manager in the Division of Social Services. Food and drink will be provided on a first-come-first serve basis.
• Participate in digital advocacy day on Tuesday, April 16, to advocate for increased federal investment in community-based child abuse prevention grants that provide states and communities with the resources to implement community-based solutions to prevent child abuse and neglect.
• Follow PCANC on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Threads and X (Twitter) and share our posts throughout April. Encourage friends and family to do the same. Click here to follow NCDHHS on all social media platforms.
• Plant a pinwheel as a visual reminder of the world we want – for all children to grow up happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed.

 
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National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week – At the March 26th City Council meeting, Mayor Rob Wagman read a Proclamation recognizing April 14 through 20 as
National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. During this special week, the Kings Mountain Police and Fire Department recognize their public safety telecommunicators for their dedication to the city's citizens. The mayor thanked the city’s telecommunicators for their hard work and dedication. Photo by Susan Mosk
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Woman’s Club, KMPD
Plant Pinwheel Garden

GFWC NC Kings Mountain Woman’s Club, in partnership with the Kings Mountain Police Department, planted a pinwheel garden on April 1 to inform citizens of the need to prioritize child abuse prevention.  According to NC Child, 114,806 child abuse cases were investigated across NC in 2022 (most recent data), and 19,639 were substantiated. That is a rate of 7.6 cases per 1,000 population of children investigated in a single year. (Photo by GFWC NC Kings Mountain Woman’s Club)

Cherry Blossom Festival & Antique Car Show coming to Cherryville

 Join the Spring festivities as downtown Cherryville comes alive on Friday, April 19, for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Held at the Gazebo Mini-Park on 219 East Main Street from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, the event promises an evening of music and fun for the whole family. Live entertainment by Dirty Grass Soul will be the highlight, accompanied by various food vendors, rides, and attractions. Don’t miss the Miss Cherry Blossom Pageant, adding to the festive atmosphere. The public is invited to enjoy this delightful outdoor venue with a charming gazebo and a picturesque picnic area. The Cherryville Chamber of Commerce proudly sponsors the Cherry Blossom Festival.
Gear up for the 23rd Annual Antique and Classic Cars & Trucks Show located at 111 North Mountain Street in Cherryville, on Saturday, April 20,  hosted by the C. Grier Beam Truck Museum and Gift Shop. From 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, this prestigious judge’s show will showcase classic cars and trucks aged 25 years or older. Trophies in various categories will be up for grabs, including Modified & Original Cars & Trucks, Most Unique Vehicle, Best Hotrod, and Club Participation.
The event, sponsored by Michael Beam & FleetNet America, will also feature Eating Contests, Bounce Houses, Arts & Crafts, and a range of Food and Beverage Vendors. In case of rain, mark your calendars for the rain date on Saturday, August 31.
The Annual Antique and Classic Cars & Trucks Show is held in conjunction with the Cherry Blossom Festival, offering a double dose of entertainment for attendees.
Admission is free. Register now to display and showcase a car in the show at a discounted rate of $20 in advance or $25 on the day of the show. Visit www.BeamTruckMuseum.com for registration and further details.
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Solar Eclipse, Devil Comet, and Nova Outburst present sky shows over KM
By Loretta Cozart

Join the community for an unforgettable experience, witnessing the solar eclipse on April 8. The event will commence at 1:30 pm at the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail at 807 S. Battleground Avenue. Weather permitting, stargazers will gather in the parking lot for an optimal view.
The Cleveland County Astronomical Society will be present to share valuable insights and offer telescopic views of this celestial event. Additionally, the Mauney Memorial Library will provide eclipse-themed activity books for children, while Albemarle Kings Mountain will distribute free viewing glasses while supplies last.
From our vantage point in North Carolina, spectators will witness a partial eclipse, determined by the alignment of the moon’s orbit with the Sun and Earth. The moon will obscure up to 83% of the Sun as it moves across, presenting a captivating visual spectacle. The eclipse will commence around 1:54 pm and reach its peak just before 3:12 pm.
While this eclipse will be more pronounced in other regions of North America, Carolinians are poised to enjoy clear views if weather conditions cooperate. However, to avoid severe eye injuries, participants must refrain from directly looking at the Sun before, during, or after the eclipse.
Inexpensive protective glasses can be obtained to safely observe the eclipse from local retailers such as Staples, Target, and BestBuy or ordered online through leading vendors. Additionally, nearby Warby Parker offers free solar eclipse glasses while supplies last. The American Astronomical Society and other reputable sources provide a list of vendors selling ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses online for those seeking alternatives.
Another safe method of viewing the eclipse is using a homemade pinhole camera-like viewer made from cardboard. Instructions for constructing these viewers can be found easily online. This simple device projects the eclipse image onto a surface, allowing viewers to observe the phenomenon without risking eye damage.
Other remarkable celestial events will soon follow April’s solar eclipse.
Stargazers hope to catch a glimpse of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks as it gradually brightens over the coming months, possibly becoming faintly visible to the naked eye by the time of the eclipse. Bill Cooke, who heads the Meteoroid Environment Office at the National Aero Space Agency NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, sheds light on the phenomenon:
“Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is an intrinsically bright Halley-type comet that experienced an outburst in July. The pressure exerted by sunlight has caused the gas and dust surrounding the comet to form a horseshoe shape, which some observers have likened to a devil with horns. The upcoming spring will present two celestial events that would have struck fear into our ancestors—a solar eclipse turning day into night and a ‘devil’ comet. It’s sure to be thrilling!”
Dubbed the Devil Comet for its horn-like shape, enthusiasts of interstellar exploration have also noted that the distorted appearance of the central coma of this sizable comet resembles the iconic Millenium Falcon from the STAR WARS movies. 12P/Pons-Brooks, categorized as a Halley-type comet, last ventured into the inner Solar System in 1954. Its next closest approach to the Sun, known as perihelion passage, is scheduled for April 21, 2024.
Then, prepare for another celestial spectacle as a star system located 3,000 light-years away from Earth will soon become visible to the naked eye in the night sky. According to NASA, this event could offer a rare viewing opportunity, as the nova outburst occurs only every 80 years. Known as T Coronae Borealis, or T CrB, the last explosion of this star system took place in 1946, and astronomers predict it will happen again between February and September 2024.
Ordinarily, T CrB shines at a magnitude of +10, too faint for the unaided eye to perceive. However, during the event, its brightness is expected to skyrocket to magnitude +2, similar to the same brightness level seen by the North Star, Polaris.
Once it reaches its peak brightness, T CrB should remain visible to the naked eye for several days and through binoculars for over a week before gradually dimming again, possibly in another 80 years.
The event will occur in the constellation Corona Borealis, or the Northern Crown, a small, semicircular arc located near Bootes and Hercules. The outburst will manifest as a “new” bright star in the night sky.
T CrB’s recurring nova phenomenon is one of only five in our galaxy because T CrB is a binary system comprising a white dwarf and a red giant. The stars are located close together, and as the red giant becomes unstable due to increasing temperature and pressure, it begins to shed its outer layers, which the white dwarf then collects onto its surface. Eventually, the dense atmosphere of the white dwarf heats up enough to trigger a runaway thermonuclear reaction, resulting in the nova observed from Earth.
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City of KM Needs YOU!

Did you know that as a City of Kings Mountain citizen, you are eligible to participate in YOUR local government? The city offers many opportunities for you to be involved by serving on our advisory boards and commissions. This is a great way for citizens to be involved in decisions that may directly impact them and their community. Serving also allows you to contribute your special expertise or training to the public process. Being a member of an advisory board gives citizens the unique opportunity to serve their community and positively impact their local government.
   Here is a complete listing of the City’s boards and commissions:
• Planning and Zoning Board
• John H. Moss Reservoir Commission
• Mauney Memorial Library Board of Trustees
• Patrick Senior Center Advisory Board
• Kings Mountain ABC Board
• Kings Mountain Tourism Development Authority
• Kings Mountain Transportation Committee
Currently, there are vacancies on the Planning and Zoning Board for one resident of the Cleveland County ETJ and one for Gaston County ETJ. These seats are open for application through the County in which you reside and are appointed by the county’s Board of Commissioners. Individuals appointed to serve on behalf of the ETJ are also appointed to the City’s Board of Adjustment. We encourage you to take this opportunity to serve your community. Please contact the City Clerk at 704-734-0333 for information on how to apply.
For more information about the various boards, meeting times, and vacancies, and to apply, please visit the City’s website at www.cityofkm.com. You may also pick up an application in the Office of the City Clerk at City Hall. Applications are retained in an application pool and reviewed as vacancies occur. Remember, terms for each board are staggered, so if there is not currently a vacancy on the board to which you have applied, there will be in the near future. Your application is a step towards a brighter future for our community.
Human Trafficking: it is closer than you think
By Loretta Cozart

In a Facebook Post by Gaston County Police, North Carolina consistently ranks within the top 10 states for human trafficking. Charlotte ranked #1,
How often and how many? In a 1-year period, from July 2020 to June 2021, a total of 368 human trafficking victims were served by state-funded sexual assault agencies, according to the NC Department of Administration.
In 2022, the state Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force received a total of 18,873 cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 48% increase from the year 2021. Even more shocking, this is a 383% increase since 2019.
According to a brochure by the North Carolina Faith & Freedom Coalition, Human Trafficking is one of the most prevalent crimes and forms of victimization in the world. Human Trafficking is the second most prevalent crime in the United States, second only to narcotics.
According to the FBI, between 60% and 70% of trafficked children in the US come from child social services or foster care programs.
According to the US Department of Justice, the average age a child first becomes a victim of sex trafficking is between 12 and 14 years old. And 84% of those in sex slavery were first sexually abused as children.
To fight human trafficking, you need to know the warning signs:
• Appearing malnourished
•  Showing signs of physical injuries and abuse
• Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, and authority figures/law enforcement
• Seeming to adhere to scripted or rehearsed responses in social interaction
• Lacking official identification documents
• Appearing destitute/lacking personal possessions
• Working excessively long hours
• Living at the place of employment
• Checking into hotels/motels with older males and referring to those males as boyfriend or “daddy,” which is often street slang for pimp
• Poor physical or dental health
• Tattoos/branding on the neck and/or lower back
• Untreated sexually transmitted diseases
• Small children serving in a family restaurant
• Security measures that appear to keep people inside an establishment – barbed wire inside of a fence, bars covering the insides of windows
• Not allowing people to go into public alone or speak for themselves
Everyone has a role to play in combating human trafficking. Recognizing the signs of human trafficking is the first step to identifying a victim. Remember to SEE. CALL. SAVE.
Do not at any time attempt to confront a suspected trafficker directly or alert a victim to your suspicions. Your safety, as well as the victim’s safety, is paramount. Instead, call local law enforcement directly by dialing 911. Or, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.
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Legion breakfast  for Veterans, Sat., April 6

American Legion Post 155 invites all veterans for a free Veteran’s Breakfast on Saturday, April 6, from 9 am to 11 am at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street.
Breakfast includes made-to-order eggs, bacon, liver mush, gravy, grits, biscuits, toast, coffee, and juice.
All veterans are invited to this free breakfast on the first Saturday of every month. Others are welcome to attend for a small donation that will help fund future breakfasts.
 
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Auditions for Liberty Mountain April 6 and 7

Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. Founding Sponsors Gilbert and Jancy Patrick, and Presenting Sponsor Albemarle announce upcoming auditions for Liberty Mountain – The Revolutionary Drama. Director Jeremy Trent Homesley and Assistant Director Ashley DeMar urge everyone interested to come join the fun of participating in the production of this historical drama by playwright Robert Inman.
 Liberty Mountain depicts the dramatic events leading up to the October 7th, 1780 Battle of Kings Mountain. It brings to life the story of the Carolina Backcountry patriots, who with their victory helped secure our nation’s liberty. The indoor drama features immersive action, music, epic battles, an special effects. The cast and crew of approximately 35 has onstage and behind the scenes opportunities for actors of all ages. Actors and technicians receive a salary for the seven-week commitment from late August thru early October. Performances are each weekend beginning September 13th, 2024 and ending October 6th, 2024. More specifics at www.libertymountaindrama.com
 Audition dates are Saturday, April 6th and Sunday, April 7th at 3:00 PM at the Joy Theatre, 202 S. Railroad Avenue, Kings Mountain, NC. There are opportunities for lead and supporting actors, ensemble, musicians, backstage, and technical positions. There are roles for 5-10 women, 15-20 men, 5-10 pre-teen aged actors.
Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. is a volunteer based, 501c3 tax-exempt community theater. It owns and operates the Joy Theatre and the Liberty Mountain Garden.
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(Right) The restroom addition to the Joy Performance Theater is moving right along. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Joy Performance Center addition continues
 

By Loretta Cozart

Construction of the restroom addition to the Joy Performance Center, located on Railroad Avenue in Kings Mountain, is underway. A doorway has been created from the former women's restroom, which will allow access to the new ADA-compliant men's and women's restrooms. These facilities will also be accessible from the garden during outdoor events. Although there isn't a specific completion date set, progress is being made.
 
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Runners of all ages participated in the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail Runs. Photo by Doug Satterfield

Scenes from the 2024 Gateway Trail Bear Run 5K and 10 Miler

By Loretta Cozart

The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail Bear Run 5K and 10 Miler was held on Saturday, March 23, 2024. The weather was cool and rainy but that didn’t curb the enthusiasm of the dedicated supporters. This was the largest year ever with a total of 200 registered runners. 132 runners participated in the 5K and 68 participated in the 10 Miler.
Following several requests from previous Gateway Trail runners, the Gateway Trail Board decided to mix things up a bit this year. The 5K started at 8:30am, and the 10 Miler started at 9:15am. This change provided a new challenge. By separating the start times, runners had the option of running both races and completing a half marathon. 19 runners took advantage of this opportunity!
Caleb Overman, 18-years-old from Ellenboro, NC was the fastest male overall in the 5K with a time of 19:32:53. This time was closely followed by 42-year-old Chad Lenox from Mount Holly, NC and 41-year-old Wesley Gurley of Marion, NC, with times of 19:47:15 and 20:00:26 respectively.
Wendy Koeck, 52 years old from York, SC, was the fastest female overall in the 5K with a time of 25:58:00. Her time was followed by E. Hollifield of Cherryville, NC with a time of 26:09:86 and A. Shelton of Kings Mountain, NC with a time of 27:25:58.
Troy Lee, 37 years old from Charlotte, NC, was the fastest overall male in the 10 Miler with a time of 1:07:13. Chad Lenox, 42-years-old, from Mount Holly, NC, followed in 2nd place with a time of
See RUN, Page 8A
From Page 1A
1:10:39. Steve McClure, 49 years old from Lincolnton, NC finished 3rd with a time of 1:14:55.
    Angela Congelli, 45, from Belmont, NC, finished as the fastest overall female in the 10 Miler with a time of 1:23:44. McCayley Pettus, 28, from Charlotte, NC, finished second with a time of 1:30:27. 25-year-old Brittany Teller, from Concord, NC, finished third with a time of 1:32:53.
   Congratulations to ALL who braved the elements to support the Gateway Trail. We would like to acknowledge and thank each and every participant. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to our sponsors and volunteers. Without you, this event would not be possible. Your contribution to the Trail helps make it what it is today, and they are greatly appreciated.

 
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Chief Greg W. Main

City of KM hires new Fire Chief 

Chief Greg W. Main is the new Fire Chief of the City of Kings Mountain. He recently retired from the Evansville Fire Department after serving for 38 years and held various ranks such as Lieutenant, Captain, Fire Inspector, District Chief, Chief of Operations, and Chief Fire Marshal.
Chief Main has a Master of Science degree in Fire and Emergency Management Administration from Oklahoma State University. He has also completed the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and the International Associations of Fire Chief’s Fire Service Executive Development Institute. Additionally, he has the honor of being designated as a Chief Fire Officer by the Center of Public Safety Excellence and is a member of The Institution of Fire Engineers as a MIFireE.
Chief Main has been inspired by his two children, who have contributed to the success of his career. His daughter, Jacqueline, is a social worker and has two children of her own, Grace and Hunter, residing in Evansville, IN. His son, Zachary, is a Paramedic Firefighter with the Lexington Kentucky Fire Department and has been serving for 11 years, currently assigned to Ladder #7.
Chief Main is excited to serve and work for the people of the City of Kings Mountain.
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Member of City of Kings Mountain’s city council and executive leadership team listened to a presentation by City Manager Jim Palenick during its Strategic Planning Session. Photo by Loretta Cozart
City of Kings Mountain holds
Strategic Planning Session

 
By Loretta Cozart

The City of Kings Mountain’s city council and executive leadership team held their annual strategic planning session at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte on March 8 and 9. The public was invited to observe as Kings Mountain’s leadership team discussed topics impacting our community for the next decade and beyond.
The overreaching theme for this year’s meeting was “Catalysts and Cornerstones – How to Embrace Rapid Change.” When City Manager James Palenick took the job one year ago, he predicted that change would come to Kings Mountain within five years. This year’s strategic planning session addressed those issues.
The topics of conversation Friday included servant leadership, catalytic leadership and cornerstones, staffing and analysis for future growth, budget and finance for future growth, and renewable natural gas.
Resuming on Saturday, topics included municipal electric utility, signage restrictions, special and limited land uses, imagining a vastly expanded Gateway Trail Loop, Moss Lake – an underutilized Gem, and the future of the KM Tourism Development Authority (KMTDA).
The meeting concluded with an exercise in which the city council and staff were given limited budgets to accomplish various tasks. They could allocate all their resources individually or partner with others to accomplish larger goals.
The strategic planning session was recorded and will soon be available to the public. Check the city’s Facebook page for information on when the video will be released and how to view it.
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Little Annie WAFFLES AND WILDFLOWERS food truck team (L-R): Taylor Geissenger, Brooke Jeffries, Christy Conner, Kylie Tomberlin, Abby Walker and Debralee Tomberlin (not pictured). (Photos provided by Christy Conner)

Little Annie opens
this Sat., March 16

By Loretta Cozart

Little Annie Gourmet Waffles and Wildflowers will hold its grand opening and ribbon cutting on Saturday, March 16, from noon to 6 p.m. at Eva’s Garden Center, 736 Stony Point Road in Kings Mountain.
As Christy Conner approached retirement, she dreamed of opening a food truck called Little Annie in honor of the founders of her family (her grandparents Annie and Aaron  Conner), where the charm of Mawmaw Annie’s kitchen met Pawpaw’s favorite breakfast, waffles!
As the former Director of Special Events for Kings Mountain, Christy retired early from her role in city government because she knew in her heart that another adventure awaited.
The concept of Little Annie blossomed from a dream to expand her family’s business, Eva’s Garden Center, at the intersection of Stony Point Road and Oak Grove  Road  and elevate the
See  LITTLE ANNIE, Page 4A
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customer experience by envisioning a space where customers can shop, savor sweet treats, sip refreshing drinks, and even enjoy special activities. So, she and her family embarked on a mission to honor her grandparents through this endeavor.
Various gourmet waffles will be offered, along with specialty drinks, including seasonal ones throughout the year. Many of the waffles offered are creatively named after the likes of her family.
Her team is made up of family members, including Brooke Jeffries, Kylie Tomberlin, Abby Walker, Debralee Tomberlin, Taylor Geissenger, and, of course, Christy Conner.
“This dynamic team brings a whirlwind of excitement, fresh ideas, and vibrant energy to create a memorable experience for each and every customer,” Christy shared. “I’d like to thank the incredible team behind our concept’s creation, my mother whose unwavering belief in me and her encouragement to make it happen have been the driving force behind it all. And last but certainly not least, Sayphon Thongsamouth, my supportive husband who believed in my dream and helped get it to the finish line. Welcome to our world of waffle wonders!”
Christy invites you to visit her social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Tick-Tok, for her days and hours of operation.”

 
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KM Gateway Trail 5K and 10-mile
runs  to be held March 23

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Gateway Trail announced its 5K and 10-mile runs for March 23 this year at 807 S. Battleground Ave. in Kings Mountain. Runners can sign up at www.runsignup.com.
The runs are professionally managed on the day of the run, on Facebook, and at the website www.runsignup.com.
Sponsors for the run receive a thank you letter and complimentary runner forms to give to runners. Complimentary run shirts are given to the runners, and nice trophies are awarded to winners of all ages and run categories. Run Shirts have the sponsor names on the back, and a large banner is placed with sponsor names on the front of the trail building. They are listed on the trail website each year.
The trail opened in 2009 and began having annual 5K and l0-Mile runs for a fundraiser, exercise, and getting folks to Kings Mountain. Many local folks from a large area around Kings Mountain come to participate in a healthy event, giving runners something to look forward to and having lots of outdoor fun.
Kings Mountain Gateway Trail Director Shirley Brutko said, “2024 marks the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail’s 15th year, and all the runs have been a big success. We usually have anywhere between 180 to 230 runners participating and approximately 150 attending and watching the event.”
“It supports tourism and economic development for Kings Mountain, the county, and the region. Sometimes we have out-of-town runners who stay at our local hotels,” she continued. “We have been able to give pottery leaves and beautiful pottery disks for trophies, which are very popular with our runners. We run in all weather and have sometimes had rain, snow, ice, and sunshine. We serve refreshments at the event and have a large tent to shelter runners if needed. All sponsor dollars are used to pay for the run expenses and to help with trail needs such as upkeep, etc.”
   To sign up, visit www.runsignup.com. For more information, call 704-685-3549 or 704-739-9663.
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Lib Stewart, right, reminisces with Linda Quinlan. Photo provided by Linda Quinlan

Lib Stewart’s fond memories as ALA National President

By Linda Quinlan

During a recent late winter afternoon, Linda Quinlan, the current North Carolina American Legion Auxiliary Historian, visited Elizabeth (“Lib”) Stewart, American Legion Auxiliary Past National President 1999-2000. Linda knew that Lib would soon commemorate the 25th anniversary of her August 1999 election as National President and thought it seemed like an opportune time for a visit since Linda lives in Shelby – just ten miles away from Lib’s hometown of Kings Mountain.
Upon arriving at Lib’s country home, Linda and her husband, Jim, were warmly welcomed. They enjoyed a long visit reminiscing about Lib's many warm memories from her year as President.
Curious about the happenings Lib experienced during her tenure and how things may have changed during the past 25 years, Linda peppered her with many questions. An energetic woman in her 60s when she was elected National President, Lib’s mind, is still sharp as a tack 25 years later. She has attended every National Convention since 1975 but has missed the last four due to health issues.
First joining the American Legion Auxiliary in 1969 through the eligibility of two brothers in the Navy and USAF, she immediately became involved and was elected North Carolina Department President in 1976. Lib recalled, “I attended my first Department Convention in 1969 and the first National Convention in 1975”. Mary Sue Jarrett, a good friend who lived a mere 13 miles away, was elected National President in 1974 and encouraged Lib to pursue a path toward the presidency herself. Lib enthusiastically continued her service to the organization and filled many roles in the National Auxiliary from 1980 onwards. She held National appointments in the Southern Division and later as chairperson of the National Community Service, Public Relations, Poppy, and VA&R committees, to name a few. She was elected National Historian in 1993 and National Vice President 1998-1999.
National President Stewart said during her tenure that “… it was a time to celebrate America; to celebrate the new millennium.”  After being elected, the National Auxiliary Headquarters provided her with a cell phone and a laptop, which she took with her everywhere. They also provided her with an apartment in Indianapolis to stay in while in town for meetings and in between trips. Back then, there was no such thing as virtual meetings and Zoom, so she was on the road or in the air quite a bit.
During her term as National American Legion Auxiliary President, Ms. Stewart stressed unit revitalization. Her membership theme was “TNT” – The New Threshold, and at the turn of the century, Lib recalled that the ALA had nearly 1,000,000 members. She also used her office to spread awareness of breast cancer. A 35-year survivor of the disease, she was passionate about informing audiences far and wide about the disease. She encouraged women and men to take advantage of early detection and screening procedures. Lib mentioned a humorous incident during the 19th Annual Awareness Assembly in March 2000.
“There were several American Legion Past National Commanders and NECmen at a large reception, and they provided a unique fashion show to raise money for breast cancer awareness,”  Lib said. She was surprised and initially somewhat embarrassed but then continued her story. “…These normally reserved and distinguished Legionnaires pranced around the banquet room modeling their fashions and raised nearly $13,000 for breast cancer research and the Susan G. Komen Foundation!”
 An extensive traveler during her year in office, Lib visited nearly every state and several foreign countries, including France, Taiwan, the Philippines, Mexico, and Germany. She traveled to South Korea in June 2000, during the 50th anniversary, observing the start of the Korean Conflict.
But it was while in France Lib experienced some of her most memorable events during her tenure. During a special ceremony at a French National Cemetery, where Lib placed flags and a wreath, she was asked by the French General in charge of the event to review the troops. This was a complete surprise – not on the itinerary – and fortunately, she quickly recalled some French from her high school days.  She said, “… I passed the line of handsome young soldiers standing at attention, smiled, shook their hands, and thanked them (in French) for their service. It ended up going very well, and I still have wonderful memories of that visit.” While in Paris, she had the unique opportunity to flip the switch to light up the Arc de Triomphe for an evening event. She then took a train trip to visit Flanders Field in Belgium. She paid her respects to the many service members buried there and marveled at the fields of red poppies.
At Hickam AFB, Hawaii, she participated in a solemn December 1999 repatriation ceremony, the remains believed to be those of US Marines killed in action on Butaritari Island during World War II. It represented the largest and most significant recovery of remains of that time. National Commander Al Lance and National President Stewart went on this trip and were very impressed with the ceremony and Operation Homecoming.
   Working with the National American Legion Commander and National Sons of the Legion Commander, Lib raised money to help fund the planned World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. A photo in the ALA National News May-June 2000 magazine shows Lib presenting a large replica check to Senator Bob Dole for $2,750,000 on behalf of the Legion Family. So many programs were near and dear to her heart. Among them were Veterans Rehabilitation & Affairs, and Children and Youth Programs. She also led the Auxiliary fundraising efforts for the Children’s Miracle Network.
    A unique item gifted to her during her presidency was a small “button chair” made in her home state. Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina created the original Button Chair in 1998 as a tribute to all women—as well as their families, friends, and support networks—who have battled breast cancer in North Carolina. Every button represented a unique story of courage and strength, each belonging to a breast cancer survivor or someone who had lost their battle with the disease.
   Many times, during Lib’s speeches, she spoke of breast cancer awareness. She was gifted with a small, hand-crafted wooden replica chair made in North Carolina. The symbolic button idea quickly caught on, and the chair traveled throughout the state during conferences and appearances at various functions. Auxiliary members and the general public soon adorned the little chair with hundreds of brightly colored buttons representing themselves or loved ones diagnosed with breast cancer. Lib still has and cherishes the little chair today as one of her favorite memories.
   She has enjoyed a long career as a journalist and received many writing awards throughout her life. While she received a year off during her presidency, the fall of 2000 saw her return to 50-hour work weeks at the newspaper office. And still today, she spends several hours each week on her home computer writing for the Kings Mountain Herald.
   Now nearing 90 years of age, Past National President Stewart reflected that “… I enjoyed excellent health throughout my year as National President and never once called in sick.” She is very grateful for the support of the North Carolina American Legion Auxiliary and will forever cherish the memories, friendships made, unforgettable opportunities, and world travel experiences. She is a small-town girl treated like royalty whose American Legion Auxiliary dreams came true. She is blessed, indeed!

City of KM 2024 Calendar of Events

Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the City of Kings Mountain will be a thrill this 2024 event season as the City presents an Earth Day Celebration, a birthday bash, fireworks, a beach blast, the return of a beloved festival and an historic Christmas season.
What better way to mark the incredible milestone of 150 years than with a series of unforgettable events and celebrations? The City of Kings Mountain is pulling out all the stops to ensure that this anniversary is a memorable one for residents and visitors alike.
The Gateway Trail is the site of the first event of the season. Saturday, April 20th, join us as we celebrate our planet and the 54th anniversary of Earth Day. Dinosaurs, fossil digs, live encampments music jamborees and more await on this special day.
Join us Saturday, May 4th, as the City hosts Kings Mountain’s 150th Birthday Bash! Imagine a lively atmosphere filled with laughter, music, and a sense of community as we come together to honor the rich history of our beloved city. From historical exhibits showcasing the growth and development of Kings Mountain to great bands, fun attractions and a joyful carnival atmosphere, this event promises to be a memorable event for everyone.
Revolutionary 4th will be held at the  Deal Park Walking Track, Thursday, July 4th. Exciting activities, music and FIREWORKS await you at this event.
Saturday, August 17th, get ready to embrace the beach vibes at the North Carolina BeachBlast Festival. Picture yourself enjoying some fun in the sun while dancing to the rhythm of some of the hottest Carolina Beach Music bands in the Southeast. This award-winning event is the perfect opportunity to bring your family and friends to indulge in some seaside fun without leaving our beautiful city.
One of the most exciting highlights of this anniversary celebration is the return of a beloved festival that hasn’t graced the streets of Kings Mountain since 2018. Mountaineer Day Heritage Festival, to be held Saturday,   October 12th,  holds
 a special place in the hearts of the community, and its comeback is sure to create new cherished memories. With a vibrant tractor parade, contests (grow those beards fellows), delectable food vendors, live demonstrations, and great music from a National Act many of you know and love, this festival is a must-attend for everyone who loves Kings Mountain.
The Christmas season will kick-off Saturday, December 7th with the Christmas Kings Mountain Parade and Festival. This season, our parade will highlight the history of our city with very nostalgic entries along the route. 
In addition to these marquee events, the City has planned an array of other activities throughout the anniversary season. From art exhibits, cultural showcases, artisan markets to observances and community service initiatives, there will be something for everyone to enjoy and get involved in. This is a time to come together as a community, celebrate our shared history, and build an even brighter future for Kings Mountain.
Mark your calendars and spread the word - the 150th Anniversary of the City of Kings Mountain is an event season you won’t want to miss. Keep an eye out for updates and detailed schedules, as there will surely be more surprises and special announcements in store. Let’s make this milestone celebration a true testament to the spirit, resilience, and unity of our incredible city.
For more information about our schedule of events, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Marketing, Tourism and Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com.

 
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Smoke detector volunteers like these will work across Kings Mountain on March 16 to install smoke detectors in various areas around town. (Photo by Albemarle)
Sound the alarm: smoke detectors save lives
By Loretta Cozart

On Saturday, March 16, Kings Mountain volunteers will meet at Albemarle’s Project Center at 129 W. Mountain Street downtown, preparing to go door-to-door for an education and service event offering 10-Year Lithium Battery smoke alarms and home fire safety education. This event coincides with the American Red Cross’ National Sound the Alarm campaign time period.
Portions of the city being visited during this event include the Mountain Crest Drive and Northwoods Drive areas, N. Lackey Street and Gantt Streets, and the Mt. Olive Baptist church area.
Residents will be asked if they have smoke detectors or if their detectors are less than 10 years old. If residents agree to participate, several folks will install new smoke detectors or replace older ones in their homes. There is no cost to the resident for the smoke detectors or installation. The service is free.
In last year’s Home Fire Campaign, volunteers:
• Knocked on 100 doors.
• Engaged 57 residents in 26 households in fire safety education.
• Installed new lithium battery 33 alarms.
If you would like to volunteer to assist in this lifesaving and worthwhile project for your Kings Mountain neighbors, email Margo Plonk at Margaret.plonk@albemarle.com, or call 704.473-1625.
Did you know you have two minutes to leave your house when a fire strikes? According to the Red Cross, you should know two ways out of every room and never return to a burning home once you get outside.
The risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 55 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.

 
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Woman’s Club indoor yard sale Saturday

By Loretta Cozart

GWFC Kings Mountain Woman’s Club will hold their next indoor yard sale this Saturday, March 2, at their clubhouse at 108 East Mountain Street in Kings Mountain from 7:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Funds from this event support the club’s Sallie Southall Cotten Scholarship. Cotton was a principal leader in the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs organization in 1902. The Sallie Southall Cotten Scholarship was started to honor her legacy.
Join the Kings Mountain Woman’s Club members as they share various items for sale supporting this fundraiser. Clothing, household items, and children’s items will be available for purchase, along with various homemade baked goods.
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How to handle
yard waste in KM

The City of Kings Mountain recommends bagging all yard waste, including grass, weeds, flowers, limbs, and leaves, and placing it behind the curb and out of ditches when put out for collection.
Citizens who follow these rules adhere to the City’s Stormwater Ordinance. It also helps keep stormwater from having a negative effect on the quality of water flowing to our downstream neighbors and avoids a violation of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act by the city. These River Basins provide drinking water and recreational water for families downstream from us.
Everything that enters our stormwater system through catch basins and stormwater ditches travels through the city’s system and is released unfiltered to the Catawba River Basin or the Broad River Basin.
Did you know it is against the law to blow debris into the road when cutting grass or raking leaves? When cutting grass, the city also asks that citizens not blow grass or leaves onto streets or into ditch lines. Not only will the debris wash into the storm drain and end up in the creeks and streams, but the grass and leaves themselves are dangerous to motorcycle riders and bicyclists.
If you use a lawn service, please advise them of these rules so that we may also keep the stormwaters clean and prevent flooding conditions, which can occur when catch basins and ditch lines are covered by debris.
For more information, contact the Stormwater Department by calling 704-734-4501, M-F, 7:30 am – 4 pm or email them at Stormwater@cityofkm.com.