Scenes from KM Cruise-In and Concert

Scenes from KM Cruise-In and Concert
The Cruise-In coincided with the Concert Series that was held this past Saturday, June 5 at Patriot’s Park. The event was sponsored by the Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department. Over 5,000 people attended the event.        

Photos from KM Special Events FB

KMHS Graduation

Kings Mountain High School seniors toss their caps into the air, celebrating 13 years of hard work and study. Congratulations to the Class of 2021!  See more photos on 5A.

(Photo by Mark Bryson)
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Pickin’ at the Park will be held each Thursday in Patriot’s Park at 6 p.m.

Pickin’ at the Park continues Thursday

By Loretta Cozart

The sweet sound of acoustic music drifted through the air as the city’s first Pickin’ at the Park took place near the Gazebo  in Patriots Park late Thursday afternoon. The joint venture is sponsored by City of Kings Mountain and Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame and will be held each Thursday starting at 6 pm. All pickers are welcome, so dust off that banjo (guitar, fiddle, or mandolin) and join other musicians for some fun on Thursday evening. This is a free event.
If you don’t play and instrument but enjoy acoustic music, feel free to bring a chair and listen.
 For more information on Pickin’ At The Park, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame at 704-860-4068.

First Baptist’s Dr. Jonathan Bundon
recognized for 15 years service

On Sunday, May 30,  First Baptist Church KM recognized Worship Pastor Dr. Jonathan Bundon for fifteen years of ministry at FBCKM.
Bundon is the leader of the music programs of First Baptist, including adult praise ensembles, adult choir, instrumental and band groups, youth choir, senior adult choir and supervision of children’s music.  His role of “Worship Pastor” recognizes his emphasis
 beyond music itself to the
establishment of the overall worship experience of the church services.
Under his leadership, both the adult choir and youth choir have opened for several Charlotte area ball games, and the adult choir released it’s first CD of worship music last year.
Jonathan’s wife Heather assists in the church music activities and is accompanist for music programs at Kings Mountain Middle School and High School. She is also President of the Parent Teacher Organization of Bethware School.
Dr. Bundon is also a professor of Church Worship Ministry at Gardner Webb University.
In acknowledgement of the Bundons’ years of service, Pastor Dr. Chip Sloan reminisced of the two years of active searching for the one to fill the position of Worship Pastor. The search team, he said, was extremely selective in their goal of finding someone of spiritual depth who was thoroughly capable in both traditional and contemporary musical styles.
“You are not ‘like’ family — you are family” Bundon said to the congregation in appreciation of the recognition, adding that "it is rare to find a church with as much harmony among the membership and among the church staff as this church.”  He further acknowledged, “this is the kind of church leadership team that my father (himself a church music minister) prayed that God would lead me into.”
The Bundons arrived in Kings Mountain as a couple, but now have two children: Caleb and Blakely.


Photos by  Pat Mahiney
 

County Commissioners approve
3.25 cent tax cut as part of
2021-2022 fiscal year budget

Following a public hearing at its June 1 meeting, Cleveland County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the County’s budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The new budget decreases the property tax rate by 3.25 cents while maintaining, and in some cases enhancing, the services and programs available to Cleveland County’s citizens. The tax rate changes includes a 2.25 cent decrease in the County General Tax rate and a 1.00 cent decrease in the County School tax rate.
“Very few local governments are in a position to enact tax rate decreases in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chairman Doug Bridges said. “The fact that Cleveland County can do so, while continuing to provide a high level of service to our citizens, is a testament to our team’s fiscal prudence and careful planning.”
The budget process is carried out under the general direction of the Board of Commissioners. With the Board’s guidance, County staff plan for the financial management of over twenty-five County departments. This involves analyzing projected revenues from sources including property and sales taxes, state and federal funds, and grants from partner agencies. Staff then determine how the County can budget the available revenues to provide services and meet policy goals set by the Board of Commissioners.
“When the COVID-19 Pandemic first hit, our team immediately took a ‘ReAct/ReBuild/ReThink’ approach to crisis management,” County Manager Brian Epley said. “This involved a total budget reset in March of 2020. After reacting to the immediate crisis and rebuilding over the last year, the 2021-22 budget process has been an opportunity to rethink how our team can do more with less by incorporating the lessons learned during the pandemic to streamline our operations moving forward.”
One example of the County doing more with less has been its focus on lean operations. “We have been intentionally focused on right-sizing county government,” Commissioner Johnny Hutchins said. “This is evidenced by the budget having grown only a little over 6 percent since 2015.”
The 2021-22 budget also continues the trend of providing competitive wages for County employees. “As commissioners we continue to be committed to positioning Cleveland County Government as an employer of choice,” County Commissioner Deb Hardin said. “Competitive wages, minimal turnover, and an improved benefits package ensure the County can recruit and retain the talent necessary to Make Our Community Better.”
Despite a decrease in the County’s property tax rate, the 2021-22 budget includes significant investments in public safety, economic development, and capital planning. The Board of Commissioners’ commitment to public safety is most evident when analyzed over time. Since 2015, the cumulative investment in the Sheriff’s Department, Detention, EMS, Emergency Management, and E-911 Communications has increased by 39 percent to $19,608,050.
Examples of this investment at work in the new budget are the County’s first year of payment for a full fleet replacement of nine ambulances, a system-wide radio replacement for public safety employees, over $700,000 allocated to the replacement of Sheriff’s Department vehicles, and continued support for the County’s newest EMS base in Casar.
 “This Board has prioritized ensuring that our public safety professionals have the best available tools at their disposal to protect and serve our community,” Commissioner Kevin Gordon said. “Before Cleveland County can be somewhere that people can live, work, and play, it first must be a place where people feel safe. We will continue to find cost-effective ways to invest in and support the people who look out for us and our families twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.”
   The new budget also continues the County’s focus on economic development, as the County will again be appropriating funds to the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership. Working with the Partnership, the County has recently recruited employers including Greenheck Fan Corporation and Benestar Brands. The County, in cooperation with the City of Shelby, is also actively marketing its latest Shell Building Project, which provides an opportunity for yet another major manufacturing employer to set up shop in Cleveland County.
   “Economic development has been one of the Board of Commissioners’ highest priorities over the last ten to fifteen years, and we are now seeing the benefits of that,” Commissioner Johnny Hutchins said. “In addition to projects such as Clearwater and Greenheck, we are also excited at the continued development of the Catawba Indian Nation’s Two Kings Casino Resort. Cleveland County is positioned to be one of the leading counties in North Carolina for economic development in the Twenty-First Century. The benefits of our economic development success include job creation and increased tax revenue, which in turn lessens the tax burden on our county residents.”
   Cleveland County is also staying the course on its five-year Capital Improvement Plan. Using this plan, the County is preparing for future capital needs at the detention center, courthouse, board of elections, and 911 call center. Staff are further beginning the process of co-locating the Health Department and Social Services Department into one location, which will result in further savings for taxpayers.
   “Co-location is very different than operational consolidation,” Epley said. “This is a simple calculation that allows the County to avoid constructing a new building while moving DSS staff out of a facility that is nearing the end of its life. An added benefit to co-location is the ability to capitalize on shared operating costs.”
   The County’s overall financial health has been crucial in allowing the Board of Commissioners to continue to identify and pursue strategic priorities while not burdening taxpayers. As recently as 2017, Cleveland County received a bond rating upgrade from S&P/Moody’s and is now AA+ rated.
“This puts us in the top fifteen percent of counties in the State,” Commissioner Ronnie Whetstine said. “We are in a healthy financial position, with limited debt. As to the debt the County does have, we are positioned to liquidate more than ninety percent over the next ten years.”
The entire 2021-22 Cleveland County Budget, along with budgets for past years, can be viewed online at clevelandcounty.com. Click on County Departments, Finance/Purchasing, Annual Budget.
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City of KM Mayor's Choice Winner

City of Kings Mountain Mayor’s Choice winner for the June 5 LIVE at Patriots Park Cruise-In was this 1960 Edsel Ranger belonging to Steve Bland of Lincolnton NC. See more photos from the Cruise-In and Concert held at Patriot’s Park this past weekend on page 3B (June 9, 2021 Issue)

Photo by Angela Padgett
 
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East Coast Party Band to perform on Saturday, June 5. (Photo provided)

East Coast Party Band to
appear LIVE in Kings Mountain

Concert second show of the LIVE
at Patriots Park
Concert Series


It’s time to put on your boogie shoes! The City of Kings Mountain welcomes East Coast Party Band to Patriots Park and the Liberty Falls Amphitheatre, June 5, 2021 for the second concert of the Live at Patriots Park Concert Series.
Based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, East Coast Party Band covers six decades of Rock, Rhythm and Blues, Beach and much more!
The band’s founder, Mark Black, is no stranger to the Kings Mountain area. “I grew up in nearby Clover South Carolina,” says Mr. Black. “However, my mother’s family all live(d) in Kings Mountain. My Grandfather, Ed Bumgardner, started the first youth football program in Cleveland County. I have close ties with Kings Mountain High School as well. I was a Student Teacher there in the Fall of 1988 and studied with Chris and Sarah Cole. It means a lot for me to come back and perform in the area again. My Mother hasn’t seen me on stage since 2005. As you might can tell, I’m excited for my group to take the stage and host a night of fun and musical entertainment.”
Sure to be a fun night indeed, Carolina Beach Music Association Award winning DJ Eric Bowman opens the show at 6:00 pm. East Coast Party Band will follow at 7:00 pm.
A Cruise-In, also hosted by the City of Kings Mountain, will begin at 5:00 pm.
 Want to participate? All makes and models are welcome.
Food trucks, concessions, games and beverages will be available as well.
For more information on the Concert Series or Cruise-In, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.

KM Memorial Day Observance

By Loretta Cozart

   On Monday, May 31, City of Kings Mountain held a Memorial Day Service at Mountain Rest Cemetery at 10 am. A large crowd gathered to honor and morn military personnel who died in the performance of their military duties.
Loch Norman Pipers performed the Prelude, followed by the welcome and opening remarks by Mayor Scott Neisler.
Kings Mountain Police Department Honor Guard posted the colors and Chief Lisa Proctor gave the Invocation.
   The Pledge of Allegiance was let by Lt. Todd McDougal, KMPD-U.S Army, SPC. Miss Mecklenburg County Sophia Kellstrom sang the Star Spangled Banner, followed by remarks by the mayor. The Fulton Family performed Color Me America.
Ric Francis, US Air Force, SrA, of American Legion Post 82 read the Final Roll Call and American Legion Post 155 presented the wreath.
Abraham Ruff, U.S. Army, SGM, recited A Toast to the Flag, followed by Rifle Salute and Taps by Marine Corp League 1164.
Miss Mecklenburg County Sophia Kellstrom sang God Bless America.
Loch Norman Pipers performed an Interlude, and the Colors were Retrieved by the KMPD Honor Guard.
Following closing remarks by Mayor Neisler, Loch Norman Pipers played a Postlude.

Photos by Ellen Devinny
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Heavy traffic heading
to Downtown KM

Shuttle Service to be offered to Concert/Cruise-In goers
June 5


Heavy traffic is expected in Downtown Kings Mountain, June 5, 2021 as the City of Kings Mountain hosts the Live at Patriots Park Concert Series and Cruise-In.
Roads impacted during the events will be Railroad Avenue, West Gold Street and a portion of West Mountain and South Cansler Streets. As a result, the City is offering Shuttle Pick-Up and Drop-Off at the following locations:
First Baptist Church located at 605 West King Street, Kings Mountain and Cherokee Street parking, located at South Cherokee Street.
Shuttle service will begin at 4:00 pm and end at 11:00 pm.
The City urges patrons to use the shuttle services as parking will be scarce in the downtown.
Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through Downtown Kings Mountain due to the increase in motor vehicles and pedestrians.
Please plan to travel different roads if you are impacted by road closures.
For more information on the Concert Series or Cruise-In, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.

Road closures  

Several roads in the Downtown area to be impacted on June 5 due to Concert Series and Cruise-In

The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department will host a Concert Series and Cruise-In, Saturday, June 5, 2021. Several roads in the Downtown area will be impacted during the events. Railroad Avenue, West Gold Street surrounding Patriots Park and a portion of West Mountain and South Cansler Streets will be closed beginning 2:00 pm, Saturday June 5th, 2021 and remain closed or barricaded until 11:00 pm. Further information regarding road closures is listed below.
• Partial barricade placement will begin at 8:00 am – some roads will still be accessible during this time but vehicles must be moved by 2:00 pm
• Additional barricade placement will begin at 2:00 pm
• Roads closed at 2:00 pm and remain closed until 11:00 pm (ALL unauthorized vehicles will be towed after 2:00 pm)
• Arrival time for Cruise-In participants will begin at 4:00 pm with the Cruise-In beginning at 5:00 pm-Concert will begin at 6:00 pm
• Participants in the Cruise-In and concert goers,  must use travel from King
Street to Cansler Street for access to Railroad Avenue, Mountain and Gold Streets
Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through Downtown Kings Mountain due to the increase in motor vehicles and pedestrians. Please plan to travel different roads if you are impacted by this change.
For more information on the Cruise-In or Concert Series, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.
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City of Kings Mountain’s
Special Events Dept.
to host Cruise-In

Cruise-In will
coincide with the
concert scheduled
on June 5


Some very cool rides are heading back to Downtown Kings Mountain as the City of Kings Mountain once again hosts the Live at Patriots Park Cruise-In, Saturday, June 5, 2021.
On June 5, local car enthusiasts will fill the streets in the Downtown with their favorite street or stock cars, trucks and motorcycles too. The Cruise-In, will coincide with the Concert Series scheduled on the same day. Roads impacted during the events will be Railroad Avenue, West Gold Street and a portion of West Mountain and South Cansler Streets.
The Cruise-in will begin at 5:00 pm.
With live music, cool rides and great food, you do not want to miss this event!
Want to participate in the Cruise-In? All makes and model are welcome!
For more information on the Cruise-In or Concert Series, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.
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Top students speak out
at KMHS Commencement

Olivia Green is Valedictorian of the Kings Mountain High School Class of 2021 and Emily Poeng is Salutatorian.
The No. 1 and No. 2 academic scholars in the graduating class of 264 seniors gave the keynote addresses at commencement exercises Saturday morning, May 29, at 9 a.m. in John Gamble Stadium.
Green interspersed her remarks with reflections on moments the class shared before COVID defined “our lives.” I am an optimist and I prefer to live by the motto, “Live, laugh and love,’’ she said. Green also challenged the graduates to be the cure of racism.
‘The past two years have been the embodiment of unprecedented times. Each day it seemed a new conflict arose without giving us enough time to recover from the last. From a virus that has taken the lives of 3.5 million people to witnessing incidents that reinforced the notion that racism sadly still prominently exists within our society, she said.
“Injustice runs deep. It’s similar to a virus. It takes on  new forms to ensure its survival and it’s our job to be the cure, adding “I want our generation to be defined as unity and peace. I don’t see us as the “lazy generation who will run this country into the ground, a statement that I have heard more than enough,’’ she said. “Prove them wrong, we have big dreams and so much resilience we can accomplish anything and proved it by accomplishing so much in spite of difficult circumstances.”
Motivating the graduates to “be the cure for injustice it’s our job to be the generation to cause the change we want to see in the world.”
“We have the potential to make change and the potential to be the change,’’ she said. As a generation we have been exposed to so much violence, hatred and division that sadly has become the norm. We hear about mass shootings, blatant hate crimes and increasing political divide and this should not be  our norm. We must no longer allow it to be,’’ said Green.
‘Let us be the generation that becomes the change, the one who actually creates the reality that we have envisioned for ourselves. If we can accomplish all we did in a time like this, I find it hard to imagine what obstacles could possibly hold us back in the future.”
Green was raised by her mother, Chrissi Green and her grandparents, Gene and Janie Murray. She said her Grandpa inspired her and believed in her “no matter what.” She said her grandparents gave her unconditional support that has helped her to achieve goals. She also signaled out Tara Fliesher, Jenny Robinson, Nicholas Inman, Rayvis Key, and Laura Robinson as teachers who helped her become confident and a person capable of achieving her aspirations. She thanked graduates, teachers and administrators who “tried extraordinarily hard to make the school year fulfilling in spite of the pandemic.
Green is recipient of $380,000 in scholarships and will enter Duke University in the Fall on a full scholarship to major in neuroscience on the pre-med track. She aspires to become a Neurosurgeon. “I would find no greater joy than to dedicate my life to improving and saving many people’s lives through my occupation,’’ she said.
Poeng visited family in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before her freshman year at KMHS.  ‘’I realize how fortunate I am to have free education and clean and available necessities at home, adding, seeing all the homeless children in Southeast Asia who didn’t go to school and instead were selling trinkets on the streets made volunteering and helping children read and interact with others even more vital here in town,’’ said Poeng.
During her sophomore year Emily was a positive role model  to young children at Mauney Memorial Library and during her junior year as an AP Chemistry student she entered the US Chemistry Olympiad to gain more exposure to real-life problems involving chemistry and passed a local exam. In the Fall at UNC-Chapel Hill she will major in either Bio-Chemistry or Pre-Pharmacy.
“My uncle, a proud father of a current Yale University student, always told me that knowledge is power.  I took his advice and ran with it,” she said.
At KMHS Emily took challenge classes “simply because I wanted to learn more.”
Poeng dedicated her salutatory speech to the Class of 2021, spoke of class colors and her pride of the regional football championship game as a highlight of their lives.
‘While writing my speech I couldn’t help but think about how as children we all begin as “unpolished clay blocks’’ and even as freshmen were s till very much unpolished and naïve in the ways of high school and the experiences it brought. To me we had yet to be “confidently ‘standing statues’ because of the many lessons we had yet to learn from high school before being thrust into the real world.
“Additionally, these four years of high school are only a small puzzle to be a bigger picture of who we are- a missing shard of clay found out of several million, if you will,’’ Emily said. “We are all constantly  trying to understand ourselves  and who we are as we move into the next chapter of our lives,’’ she added.
“As each new school year opened and a new year started there were  times when we were placed into the “licks of fire in the kiln, hardship that can only strengthen or break our stature similar to h ow a clay structure can withstand the heat or crack. The “pinching and rolling” the people in our lives have bestowed upon us are the lessons we have learned that have shaped and molded us and were put to the test to see if we could withstand “the blaze.”
Emily added, “From 2020 to 2021 our class experienced the uncertainty of the future and safety, something I consider hardening of us, yet also tempting, to crack under pressure. Without this invaluable gift, the experiences high school gave us, none of us students would be the people we are today.”
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Pickin’ At The Park

Kick-Off set for
June 3 at Gazebo
in Patriots Park


Thursday nights in Downtown Kings Mountain will sound much sweeter this summer as the City of Kings Mountain and the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame partner to host Pickin’ At The Park.
Pickin’ At The Park is an acoustic jam session which will run every Thursday night at the Gazebo located in Patriots Park. Kick-off to this FREE series begins June 3, 2021 at 6:00 pm.
Bring your lawn chair and join the fun.
Want to participate? All pickers are welcome!
Patriots Park is located at 220 South Railroad Avenue, Kings Mountain.
For more information on Pickin’ At The Park, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame at 704-860-4068.

Big money for
Class of 2021

Big money in scholarships totaled $2,266,175.00 and earned by the 2021 graduating Class of 2021, according to Jill Cruise, National Board counselor.
Senior Olivia Green was a big winner of scholarship money. She received a total of $380,000 in scholarships, including $220,000 from Quest Bridge National College Match and Jack Kent Cook Foundation $160,000. Green will study at Duke University on a full scholarship.
Students will be using the money to attend college and universities to pursue careers in many areas of study beginning in Fall 2021.
Twenty-seven juniors nd seniors have earned extra credits at Cleveland Community College, including seven seniors graduating with Associate degrees and may help them to enter college as sophomores or juniors.
Seniors earning associate degrees from Cleveland Community College while attending KMHS were Breanna Davis, Katherine Martin, Savannah Poston, Sara Putnam, Allie Pyne, Donald Lee Page and Emma White.
The full list of recipients of awards and scholarships is in today’s Herald on page 10B.
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City of Kings Mountain to host
Memorial Day Observance May 31

By Christy Conner

The City of Kings Mountain will observe Memorial Day in person this year. With mass gathering restrictions lifted, the City invites everyone to Mountain Rest Cemetery, Monday May 31, for its annual Memorial Day Observance.
Scheduled to begin at 10 am, Vietnam Veteran and Kings Mountain native, Abraham Ruff, U.S. Army, SGM will lead the observance as our guest speaker.
“I am honored to be a part of this observance,” said Mr. Ruff. “Memorial Day is such a special holiday. This observance will be a wonderful event to remember those who died serving this great country.”
Mr. Ruff served over 20 years in the United States Army retiring as a Sergeant Major. He served in seven countries including, Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Iran, Spain, France, and Greece. 
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May. Over 1,600 veterans alone are buried in Mountain Rest Cemetery. Nineteen of which were killed in action.
Mountain Rest Cemetery is located at 111 South Dilling Street in Kings Mountain.
The event will be live streamed on the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department’s Facebook page. That page can be found at www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.
For more information, you may also call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101 or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com.
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Walls are being placed at the new Benestar Brands site on Industrial Drive in Kings Mountain. The facility is slated to open this fall. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Walls are going up at the
Benestar Brands facility

By Loretta Cozart

Within the last month, much progress has been made at the Benestar Brands plant being built on Industrial Drive in Kings Mountain. Just a few weeks ago, the first of three concrete pads were poured at the site. Within the last week, walls began going up.
Benestar Brands, an international snack food manufacturer, will create 129 jobs in Cleveland County, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $24 million to establish a new production facility in Kings Mountain.
According to their sign, the company intends to open in the fall of 2021.
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Road closures
for June 5 concert
and Cruise-In  

The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department will host a Concert Series and Cruise-In, Saturday, June 5. Several roads in the Downtown area will be impacted during the events. Railroad Avenue, West Gold Street surrounding Patriots Park and a portion of West Mountain and South Cansler Streets will be closed beginning 2:00 pm, Saturday June 5, and remain closed or barricaded until 11 pm. Further information regarding road closures is listed below.
• Partial Barricade placement will begin at 8 am – some roads will still be accessible during this time, but vehicles must be moved by 2 pm
• Additional Barricade placement will begin at 2 pm
• Roads closed at 2:00 pm and remain closed until 11 pm (ALL unauthorized vehicles will be towed after 2 pm)
• Arrival time for Cruise-In participants will begin at 4 pm with the Cruise-In beginning at 5 pm - Concert will begin at 6 pm
• Participants in the Cruise-In and concert goers,  must use travel from King Street to Cansler Street for access to Railroad Avenue, Mountain and Gold Streets
Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through Downtown Kings Mountain due to the increase in motor vehicles and pedestrians. Please plan to travel different roads if you are impacted by this change.
For more information on the Cruise-In or Concert Series, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.
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This section of Cleveland Avenue is being repaired by NCDOT. The work should be completed by May 28. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Area road construction projects

Cleveland Avenue, Hwy. 161: The NCDOT will be working on Hwy 161 near the YMCA to repair a 10’ x 266’ section of pavement and to install new curb and gutter. On Friday, May 7, work began.. This area was reduced to a two-lane traffic pattern instead of the usual four lanes. Officers from the Kings Mountain Police Department will be assisting for about an hour in the morning until the traffic shift is complete. This project is expected to be completed by Friday, May 28.
Phifer Road between KMHS and KMMS: On Monday, May 10, the NCDOT began work on the crosswalks on Phifer Road between Kings Mountain High School and Kings Mountain Middle School. Work is expected to be completed between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day. Please expect traffic delays where road work is being performed and be mindful of the safety of the officers and NCDOT workers in this area.
   South Cansler Street: On Monday, May 24, RCA Underground Utilities, Inc. began boring along the west side of South Cansler Street. The location of the first bore pit will be on the north side of West King Street at the Cansler Street intersection. The second bore pit and any other bore pits will be located in the attached section of the road. There will also be  places at the intersection of West Mountain Street and West Gold Street that they are required to hand dig and locate our natural gas lines. At this time there is no plan to close any section of the roadway, but there will be traffic control measures to protect the boring rig site areas. All work will be completed within State and City right of ways. This pipe installation is being completed in conjunction with a new cell tower to be installed within the general area.

Scenes from KM Cruise-In and Concert

(May 5, 2021 Issue)

The City of Kings Mountain hosted their first annual live Cruise-In and launched the first of their 2021 Concert  Series this past Saturday, May 1 at Patriot’s Park. The New York Bee Gees Tribute show performed in Liberty Falls Amphitheatre. Carolina Beach Music Association award winner Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot  opened for them. Lots of fun was had by all!  Future concerts will be held on June 5, July 17, September 11 and October 2.
 
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Patrick Senior Center
Rock-a-thon Friday 

(May 5, 2021 Issue)

By Tabitha Thomas


The Patrick Senior Center will hold a Rock-a-thon this Friday, May 7, from 9 am-2 pm, to support the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Call the center if you or your group want to participate - all ages welcome!  The senior center also needs people to lend them rockers for the day and to sign up to rock. Everyone is welcome to support this fun event!
H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Life and Conference Center, a North Carolina Senior Center of Excellence, is at 909 E King Street in Kings Mountain. For more info call 704-734-0447.

City Council agrees to meet with downtown businesses May 10

(May 5, 2021 Issue)

The April 27 City Council meeting stretched on for four and a half hours Tuesday, as nine people who either own businesses, properties or represent them voiced their concerns regarding downtown development throughout the meeting.
   First to speak was Iris Hubbard, owner of 133 West in Kings Mountain. “I thank the city for their support. We opened on August 26, 2020. My business employs four full-time employees and 21 part-time employees. I currently serve on the Main Street Advisory Board and the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors,” she said. “I request a meeting of building owners, business owners, city council, the city manager, and Director of Economic Development within the next 14 days to assure we can all achieve our goals for the better of our community.”
   Next, architect Ken Pflieger represented two clients and said he has also served on the Main Street Design Committee for 12 years. “Main Street’s Mission is to create a pivotal lifestyle center in our community that offers locally owned shopping, dining,
live entertainment venues, as well as multi-generational options,” he said. He is currently working on two projects downtown, Taylor Commercial Properties, the former First Citizens Bank Building, and David Stone’s property at 138 W. Mountain Street.
   “I have two concerns tonight. One is the formal complaint letter I sent this morning asking for a meeting. We are dealing with two issues. One is a pattern of obstruction on getting a flow of information regarding the streetscape into our hands. We’ve been asking for this since November 2020.” The city provided renderings of the streetscape last November, and they remain on display in the lobby of City Hall. “The specific area I’m working on is about the size of a matchstick, and there is very little detail about it,” he said.
   “Since I’ve been asking, there have been patterns of withholding information that is needed until just last Tuesday. We met with Mr. Flowe at the project site and were very surprised to learn that plans are 99% complete. I have been tasked with an alternate study that does work with grade and entry points on either side of the alley. There is a one-and-a-half-foot difference between the building and the plaza elevation. I don’t know how we are going to resolve that. We are asking for collaboration,” Pflieger requested.
   Jewel Reavis spoke on behalf of the Southern Arts Society. She shared, “In 2025, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Depot. We support the businesspeople in town asking for a meeting with the city council, the city manager, and staff in the next two weeks to hear from the main street community on revitalization of downtown.”
   Jimbo Thompson shared that his business, Gutter Guys, has 13 full-time positions and numerous subcontractors. “We would like to see more transparency and cooperation with the city to become partners in advancing downtown. We also fear retaliation for having a strong voice. I support having a meeting in 14 days,” Thompson said.
   Jackie Falls and her husband own the Edward Jones building downtown and rent apartments above. “We love the people here and want to give back. We want to work to collaborate with revitalization downtown,” she said.
   Stella Putnam shared, “I’ve seen a lot out of my window over the last 44 years. This city means a lot to me. I’ve watched public and private partnerships and am excited about what is happening. Look around. The business owners are putting blood, sweat, and tears (into their projects). These people live here! We are remodeling Neisler brothers after all these years! Everybody here wants the same thing.”
   Marlo Parker spoke, saying her husband is Michael Parker Construction, a general contractor who holds a realtor’s license and has a civil engineer background. “We have received violation notices. The Main Street Coordinator threatened to have my husband arrested for working on the building. The city also tried to enforce construction permits and liens when there is no construction time frame on this type of permit.”
   She went on to say, “The straw that broke the camel’s back was a voicemail we received from the NC General Contractors’ Board from the city trying to file a claim against Parker Construction. The board simply replied, ‘There is not a violation. There is no contract. I am not sure why the city is doing this.’ Why is the city being so malicious? Why aren’t they taking the time to promote growth instead of hindering the growth that is here?” She also asked for a meeting within 14 days.
   Russ Putnam was the last to speak to represent downtown business and building owners. He said, “In many ways, Kings Mountain looks like it did when I was a child. I can’t stress enough the importance of working with and listening to the building owners and businesses in finalization of the downtown streetscape to make it work better.”
   Later during a public hearing the city council discussed a proposed amendment to the City of Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance for vacant properties located in the KMPPED overlay district. The amendment included language requiring upkeep maintenance to vacant buildings in the Main Street District and that would require owners of vacant buildings to register them and pay fees every six months that a building remains vacant. Fees would range from $250 to start and going up to $1,000 after 18 months.
   Under the proposed ordinance amendment, general maintenance of vacant properties would require that windows and doors remain intact and operable, storefronts and facades be maintained, all awnings and signs must not appear worn, tattered, or have missing parts, visible interiors be maintained, broken windows be replaced or re-glazed, and that properties vacant for more than 90 days have lighting at entrances and exits. Under the proposed ordinance, vacant buildings must be maintained in a way that does not provide evidence of vacancy. There were exceptions to the ordinance also noted.
   Economic Development and Planning Director Stuart Gilbert shared with the city council, “The Main Street Board recommended against the amendment the Planning and Zoning Board recommended for it. And as a Broker-in-Charge in the state of NC, I can attest to the fact it is important to maintain buildings.”
   Jimbo Thompson spoke against the proposed amendment saying, “I have a total of four buildings. To even be asking for ordinances on zoning for downtown business owners after what you heard tonight from multiple constituents, from people that live here. What are you doing to encourage building owners to get these building up? Do you know how long I’ve been trying to get one building off the ground? I was encouraged to get architectural drawings. NC statutes say I don’t even need them. Steel has stopped, and I can’t move forward,” he said.
   “Downtown, you want to find people to encourage them to upfit their buildings. Have you talked to any of the building owners? Have you ever spoken to me? I have made complaints, and only one person spoke to me, and that was Keith Miller. How can you make an ordinance part of zoning when you don’t have zoning? I think the zoning ordinance should be tabled or done away with,” said Thompson.
   David Stone spoke against the ordinance as well, saying, “Based on what you heard from main street businesses, will this ordinance bring us together or drive a wedge between us?” He encouraged a dynamic public / private partnership similar to those in Wilson and Belmont, NC.
   Mayor Neisler spoke, saying, “To say we are not transparent… We are virtual, sharing meetings online, and have held community meetings. To say we don’t want public input is false. We want a strong and vibrant downtown. We have building owners who don’t care about their buildings. But not all business owners are like that.” He went on to say, “We go to the nth degree. The character of our board is stellar. Zoning protects owners; it protects property. We have asked for public input. We even hired someone. We’ve invested in Patriots Park, where people want to go. We want downtown to be the same.”
   The city council unanimously decided to table a decision regarding the vacancy ordinance until May 25 and scheduled a meeting with the main street building and business owners for May 10.    
   Councilman Jimmy West said, “We need to go out and meet with property owners. I don’t want to make it punitive for those who are trying to fix their buildings. We have to meet them in the middle.” Councilman Keith Miller agreed to go with West to talk with all the business and property owners downtown before their May 10 meeting.
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Jimbo Thompson speaks against an amendment regarding vacant properties in downtown Kings Mountain. Photo provided

Height variance approved at Casino,
allows for parking garage

City approves Cannon 35 rezoning

(May 5, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

During the April 27 City Council meeting, the R. Dean Harrell Company’s request for rezoning from R-10 to Conditional District R6 PUD was unanimously approved.
The decision was continued from the March meeting when several citizens complained that a limited number of impacted residents were notified of the community meeting. A second meeting was held at the Patrick Senior Center to inform the community of the plans for the project.
The R. Dean Harrell Company petitioned to rezone approximately 56.95 acres located in Cleveland County with road access on Kings Mountain Boulevard, Crocker Road, and located North of Margrace Road.
Citizens Charles Stevens and Trey Edgerton spoke against the project during the Public Hearing. Mr. Stevens said, “There will be unsafe driving conditions with Beason Creek and Crocker Ridge. I hope you won’t do it, but it probably will be done because citizens are at the bottom of the totem pole. The city’s transparency isn’t very good, and the casino is causing a lot of growth.”
“I’ve earned the right to live in peace. We are being kicked aside for the fourth time. We haven’t had one councilman call to see how we are doing, except Mrs. Thombs,” he said. “We need to have a person we can go to. We seem to be ignored. The zoning signs were hidden in a field and people didn’t know it was in the plans. Transparency does not exist.”
Trey Edgerton said he wasn’t there so much to speak against but to warn the city of the coming growth like he witnessed in Boone, NC. He also said, “In the ETJ, we have no voice. Think about what you approve before you approve it. Just because a plan is detailed does not mean that it is right.”
Councilwoman Thombs asked to speak and said, “I understand everyone’s concern about growth, and everyone’s concerned about change. Change is here; there is nothing we can do about it. I am speaking as an elected official.”
“As far as the casino, whether it is there or not there, it is 16 ½ acres of federal land trust. Our responsibility is to govern the ETJ and that’s what we are elected to do. You might not like our decisions, but just because we don’t make the decisions you like, stop calling us corrupt, stop calling for investigations, because none of us is corrupt,” she said. “It is our responsibility to govern the ETJ. We have a choice to leave it as it is and let anything spring up or do the responsible thing and vote to do the best we know how for this city.”
She went on to say, “You might consider that we are not transparent. We are as transparent as we know how to be, and we are constantly improving our being transparent. Just because you don’t like what we put out there doesn’t mean we aren’t transparent. The decisions I make, I make thoughtfully concerning all the citizens of Kings Mountain.”
In other action, the city council approved two items relating to facilities physically connected to the Catawba Indian Nation Trust property:
• Councilman Miller made a motion to adopt an ordinance to change Article IV – Section 4.8 Height Limitation Exceptions as follows: Add the following text after
See REZONING, Page 5A
From Page 1A
the word hospital, “Automobile Park (commercial) including elevator shafts when such facilities are physically connected to Catawba Indian Nation Trust Property.”
The height limitation was set at 130 feet and will facilitate the construction of Kings Mountain’s first parking garage. The vote passed 6 – 1, with Councilman Rhodes voting against. Councilman Rhodes voted against saying, “We shouldn’t make rules for specific projects and not the entire community.”
• Councilman Miller made the motion to adopt an ordinance to change Article VII – Table of Permitted and Conditional Uses. Section 7.4 Table of Permitted and Conditional Uses (See Table) Add on Page 61 and change the table of permitted and conditional uses as follows:
Change Automobile Parking (commercial) from a Conditional Use Permit (C) to a Permitted by Right Use (X*) in the G-B zoning district and add as a note on the bottom of Page 61 (X*) “when such facilities are physically connected to Catawba Indian Nation Trust Property.”
Chairman of the Cleveland County ETJ and Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board Doug Lawing spoke prior to the vote saying, “I’m here to see that we do this the right way. My problem with all of this is that we can’t start making exceptions for every little piece of property. The fact is we want to give a setback to the Catawba Indian Nation because, whether through their fault or the Federal Government’s fault, they didn’t take adequate steps to plan ahead and know that they need more than 16 acres. That is what this boils down to. Undoubtedly they are going to use in excess of that 16 acres or they wouldn’t be asking for the ability to connect to their property.”
   “There are two methods here we could have used to do this.” He went on, “The more conventional method would have been to go through the Board of Adjustment and ask for a variance. But we chose not to do that because we thought going through the legislative process would be much quicker. Stuart told the Planning and Zoning Board, ‘to move the process along, vote yea or nay.’ We felt like you, as the city council, wanted to know yes or no if we approved it. In other words, not put it off two or three weeks. We could have said, ‘No, it needs to go through the Board of Adjustment,’ which I assure you would have taken much longer. But we chose not to do it that way and that is why the Planning and Zoning Board voted 9 -1.”
   City council voted to adopt the ordinances 6 – 1, with Councilman Rhodes voting against.
   In other business, the city council:
• Awarded bid in the amount of $289,150 to Marvin Hoyle Construction for the Meadowbrook Water Line Replacement and asphalt paving.
• Authorized the Mayor to execute a Moss Lake Use Agreement which would allow Tommy Brooks, Moss Lake Resident, to host the Float in Concert free event at Moss Lake on June 19, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. No dock will be utilized, and others will not be allowed to tie off on the shoreline.
• Authorized the Mayor to execute a Moss Lake Use Agreement which would allow the Moss Lake Ski Club to host the Slalom Ski Course event on Moss Lake for a one (1) year period.
• Authorized the Mayor to execute a Moss Lake Use Agreement which would allow the Cleveland Masonic Lodge #202 to host an Inaugural Bass Fishing Tournament on May 22, 2021 from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• Accepted a Certificate of Sufficiency and schedule a Public Hearing for Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. to consider a Voluntary Non-Contiguous Annexation Petition from R. Dean Harrell and Colton Harrell to annex property lying between Kings Mountain Boulevard and Crocker Road, containing 60.91 acres.
• Adopted an Ordinance to authorize the City Manager or her designee to declare temporary road closures for streets within local authority during days and times in which City sponsored events are being held.
• Adopted an Ordinance amending the City of Kings Mountain Code of Ordinance § 96.004 “Noise” to exclude the City during City sponsored events and festivals.
• Adopted a Resolution supporting expansion of the Piedmont NC by Train Service.
• Adopted a Resolution opposing House Bill 401 (HB 401) and Senate Bill 349 (SB 349) – Increasing Housing Opportunities.
• Approved a Resolution to delay the November 2021 City of Kings Mountain Municipal Election until March 2022, or such time decided by the Cleveland County Board of Elections.
City Council voted to:
• Continue a Public Hearing to consider a request from Larry D. Carroll for a Voluntary Contiguous Annexation Petition for property located at 2108 Vestibule Church Road, containing .31 acres, Parcel #10863, Map 4- 26, Block 1, Lot 3 – Case No. 2020-VA-4
• Continue considering an Amendment to the City of Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance regarding vacant properties located in the KMPPED overlay district to include language in Article VI, Section 6.16 Kings Mountain Protection, Preservation and Enhancement District (KMPPED), beginning at page 53-R.1, requiring upkeep maintenance to vacant buildings in the Main Street District.
• Continue considering an Ordinance to create the City of Kings Mountain’s Mural Ordinance.
   After a closed session, Councilman Miller made a motion to add a Public Hearing for Project Joe to the May 25, 2021 City Council Agenda.  
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Swedish manufacturer to create 22 new jobs in Gaston County

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Polykemi AB, a Swedish manufacturer of plastic compounds, will create 22 new jobs in Gaston County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $11.8 million to locate its first U.S. production facility in the Gastonia Technology Park.
 “We are pleased to welcome another global manufacturer that has selected North Carolina for their North American operations,” said Governor Cooper. “Polykemi’s decision emphasizes our state’s world-class talent and affirms the strength of our economy in the global market.”
   Polykemi AB, part of the Polykemi Group, has been providing custom plastic compounds for the automotive, furniture and household industries for more than 50 years. The plastic compounds are formulated into granules to be melted and injection molded for automotive components, household interiors and more. Polykemi is a third-generation family-owned company with sales offices worldwide and factories in Sweden and China, including a recycling operation and innovative packaging company. The new Gastonia manufacturing plant will be the company’s first North American operation and represents Polykemi’s single largest investment to date.
“Since creating our subsidiary Polykemi Inc. in 2012 our aim has been to establish a production site in the US and we are very happy to announce that this project is now becoming a reality,” said Johan Hugoson, CEO of Polykemi Inc. “Being present with our own production will enable us to get closer to our customers and to explore the many opportunities we see in the US market.”
   “When international companies choose to expand, they are often attracted to our strong manufacturing workforce,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “In addition to our talent, growing companies like Polykemi appreciate North Carolina’s robust infrastructure, market access, and affordability to increase their global success.”
   The North Carolina Department of Commerce led a team of partners in supporting Polykemi’s decision to establish a manufacturing plant in North Carolina. New positions include operations, maintenance, finance and managerial personnel. The average annual salary for all new positions is $59,132, creating a potential payroll impact of more than $1.3 million per year. Gaston County’s overall average annual wage is $42,018.
A performance-based grant of $50,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help with Polykemi’s expansion to North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
   “We are thrilled to welcome another international company to Gaston County,” said N.C. Representative John Torbett. “Polykemi’s new addition to our business community is just the beginning of a strong partnership to grow our global reputation as a great place to do business. We welcome them to their new home.”
   “Polykemi’s investment is a win for everyone,” said N.C. Senator Kathy Harrington. “With a strong, capable workforce and great infrastructure, the people of Gastonia are ready to support the company for many years to come.”
   Joining the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were key partners in the project that included the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Gaston College, Gaston County, Gaston County Economic Development Commission, City of Gastonia, Two Rivers Utilities, and Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.
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(Original concert photo of Jimmy Wayne taken in Burlington, VT by Vincent Ferrante)

Hometown Hero Jimmy Wayne to be honored with mural

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Muralist Scott Nurkin To Begin Work On
Kings Mountain’s
Historic Joy
Performance Center,
May 15

Jimmy’s Mural will Mark 10th Stop On The North Carolina Musician Murals Trail


The City of Kings Mountain, in partnership with the Tourism Development Authority and the Kings Mountain Little Theatre Board of Directors, have commissioned artist Scott Nurkin, founder of the North Carolina Musician Murals Project, to create a mural honoring hometown hero — author, singer, songwriter, musician — Jimmy Wayne as part of an art installment celebrating art and artists from North Carolina.
Jimmy, who was born in Kings Mountain (Cleveland County), is a former foster kid turned award-winning country recording artist and New York Times bestselling author, whose songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for children in foster care.
Scott Neisler, Mayor of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, says, “The City of Kings Mountain is proud to honor Jimmy Wayne with this special mural at the Joy Performance Center. Jimmy’s story, from his birth here in Kings Mountain, to his path to country stardom is remarkable. He deserves to be recognized in his hometown.”
Jimmy shares, “When Mayor Neisler called to share this news with me, I was deeply honored. I hope the mural is a reminder to anyone who sees it, ‘no matter who you are, your dreams can come true  — and it’s okay to give God all the credit for your success.”
“Jimmy is a shining example of the power of music; but more than that, he’s never forgotten where he came from and is always giving back,” says Angela Padgett, Special Events Coordinator for the City of Kings Mountain  “It’s part of why we’re honored to have his profile grace the Joy Performance Center. As soon as you top the hill on your way into Kings Mountain, you’ll see Scott Nurkin’s rendering of Jimmy. We can’t wait to see it completed.”
Scott Nurkin is no stranger to creating murals to honor North Carolina musicians. In collaboration with Backdrop, a Raleigh-based consultancy, Nurkin has created nine murals from John Coltrane on the historic Opera House in Hamlet to Earl Scruggs on Newgrass Brewing Co. in Shelby. Jimmy’s mural will be the 10th stop on the North Carolina Musician Murals Trail.
“When I first heard about Jimmy Wayne, I'll admit I was not very familiar with his work,” says Nurkin. “After doing a little digging I found out that he is an incredibly accomplished singer-songwriter with several Top Ten hits. But what impressed me most was learning about his dedication to raising awareness for children in foster care. As a foster kid himself, Jimmy walked halfway across America (from Nashville to Phoenix) to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster care system. He wrote a movie and a best-selling book dealing with the subject of children in foster care. This is a guy who deserves recognition not for just being an amazing musician but for also being an amazing human being and humanitarian. I'm honored to paint his picture.”
Nurkin will begin work on the mural on Saturday, May 15th  and, weather permitting hopes to have it completed by Friday, May 21st.
For more information on Scott Nurkin and his work, visit his website at musicianmuralsproject.com.
About Jimmy Wayne:
Having recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of finishing his walk halfway across America — Project Meet Me Halfway — to raise awareness of the plight of more than 30,000 children in foster care, Jimmy, a Cleveland County native, is a former foster kid turned award-winning country recording artist and New York Times bestselling author of Walk To Beautiful. Jimmy’s songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for these forgotten youth.
Jimmy’s hits include “Stay Gone,” “Paper Angels,” “I Love You This Much” and “Do You Believe Me Now,” which earned BMI’s prestigious Million-Air Award for receiving more than one million radio spins in America. In 2009, Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded “Sara Smile” with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates.
In 2005, Jimmy became the youngest recipient of The William Booth Award, one of the highest honors that may be conferred upon an individual by The Salvation Army.
In 2012, Jimmy lobbied to pass legislative bills extending the age of foster care from 18 to 21 in California and Tennessee.
In 2013, Jimmy’s first film, Paper Angels (UPtv) became an instant holiday classic and in 2014 he released Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way (Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins) which became a three-time New York Times bestseller, crossing the 170,000 sales milestone in early 2019, and becoming a #1 Bestseller at Amazon.
In 2016 Jimmy received the prestigious Points of Light award from President George W. Bush (41), while simultaneously contributing to the extension of foster care services from age 18 to 21 in North Carolina and Ohio.
In 2017, Jimmy was honored with the inaugural Community Maker award by Verizon and received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from William Woods University. In 2018 he received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Cal State University San Marcos and most recently, (May 2019) he was honored by the National Council for Adoption with the Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux Award in recognition of his continued commitment to creating positive change in the lives of children in foster care who need permanent families.
Jimmy has shared his story — The Power of One — around the world as a keynote speaker and has performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage 224 times. He lives in Nashville and continues to give back through his non-profit awareness campaign, Project Meet Me Halfway. For more about Jimmy Wayne, visit www.jimmywayne.com.
Follow Jimmy Wayne on social media:
https://www.facebook.com/JimmyWayneOfficial/
https://twitter.com/JimmyWayne
https://www.instagram.com/jimmywayneofficial
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimmy-wayne-67140061/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrWfAQuJcJT_ULqzV9aZVAQ

KM Road closures

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Several roads in the Downtown area to be impacted on May 1st due to Concert Series and Cruise-In


The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department will launch a Concert Series and Cruise-In, Saturday, May 1st, 2021. Several roads in the Downtown area will be impacted during the events. Railroad Avenue, West Gold Street surrounding Patriots Park and a portion of West Mountain and South Cansler Streets will be closed beginning 2:00 pm, Saturday May 1st, 2021 and remain closed or barricaded until 11:00 pm. Further information regarding road closures is listed below.
• Partial Barricade placement will begin at 8:00 am – some roads will still be accessible during this time but vehicles must be moved by 2:00 pm
• Additional Barricade placement will begin at 2:00 pm
• Roads closed at 2:00 pm and remain closed until 11:00 pm (ALL unauthorized vehicles will be towed after 2:00 pm)
• Arrival time for Cruise-In participants will begin at 4:00 pm with the Cruise-In beginning at 5:00 pm-Concert will begin at 6:00 pm
• Participants in the Cruise-In and concert goers, must use thoroughfare King Street to Cansler Street for access to Railroad, Mountain and Gold Street
Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through Downtown Kings Mountain due to the increase in motor vehicles and pedestrians walking. Please plan to travel different roads if you are impacted by this change.
For more information on the Cruise-In or Concert Series, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.
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Spring cleanup time for some downtown business owners

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

After removal of the trees along Battleground Avenue and Mountain Street, City of Kings Mountain Main Street Program has announced a spring cleanup for some downtown businesses where trees were removed. The city is making a one-time offer to help clean up the front of their building.
If an awning or front of a building needs pressure washing, let the city know after getting two estimates for the work. If, after inspection, the Main Street staff agrees that it is a good project, the Main Street Program will pay half of the cost once the work is complete.
If you awnings need replaced and are beyond cleaning, please be aware that the Main Street Program will pay for half of the cost of replacement, up to $2,000. See Page 1A for more information on the city’s Main Street Awning Grant Program. For grant applications or additional information, contact Main Street Coordinator Christy Adkins at 704-730-2197.
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With trees removed on Battleground Avenue, aging awnings show need of replacement. A Main Street Grant can help owners with the cost. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Downtown KM businesses and property owners:
Awning grant available

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

The City of Kings Mountain, with the support of the Kings Mountain Main Street Program, has established a Downtown Awning Grant Program to provide financial assistance to downtown businesses/property owners, located within the established Downtown District, for the purpose of installing new awnings on the exterior of their buildings.
The administration of the Downtown Awning Grant Program is carried out by the Main Street Department, in accordance with the procedures and guidelines outlined here. The administration and operation of the Grant Program shall conform to all federal, state, and local codes. Funding for Downtown Awning Grants will come from the General Fund of the City of Kings Mountain.
Awning grants will be offered on an ongoing basis each fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th) until all funding has been expended for that year. Grants are available for up to 50% of the total cost of the improvement project and therefore must be matched at a ratio of 1:1. One awning grant per business/property owner per visible façade is allowed within a three year period and a tenant must have the property owner’s signed approval of the proposed awning. The amount of the grant fund reimbursement  shall be up to 50% of the total paid, for a maximum of $2,000.
An awning grant may only be approved for a property that is located within the defined Downtown District. All applications will be reviewed by the Kings Mountain Main Street Coordinator with assistance and input from the Design Review Committee for design approval. The applicant will be reimbursed for the amount of the grant award only upon completion of the project, confirmation that the finished project complies with the pre-approved plans, and submission of paid invoices and /or cancelled checks.
Applicant must submit the attached Awning Grant Application Form, along with two cost estimates, photos of the current façade and design sketches. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Proposed improvements that do not comply with the Guidelines will not be eligible for grant funding.
Applications can be obtained from the Main Street Coordinator at 101 W. Gold Street Kings Mountain NC 28086 or email Main Street Coordinator Christy Adkins at Christy.adkins@cityofkm.com.
The submitted application will be reviewed within one week of receipt and applicant will be notified of grant award within 2 weeks. Installation of the awnings may begin at any time after receiving official grant award notification and design approval. Upon completion of the project, the business owner/property owner shall submit paid invoices and copies of cancelled checks for the completed work. The Main Street Coordinator and members of the Design Review Committee will then perform an inspection to determine that the work was completed in accordance with the original grant application and cost estimates.  Upon a satisfactory inspection, the Main Street Coordinator will submit an approved reimbursement request to the City of Kings Mountain. Reimbursement will be processed within 2-4 weeks.
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Legislators introduce three
Marijuana bills in NC Senate

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Virginia legalizes
weed July 1

By Loretta Cozart


Two new marijuana bills were filed in the NC Senate on April 7 by North Carolina Democratic Senators. One bill supports medical marijuana and the second supports full legalization of the drug. A third bill introduced the same day by a powerful Senate Republican recognizes marijuana’s medical potential and allows doctors to prescribe it for some patients.
Senate Bill 669, known North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act, would legalize medical marijuana; its primary sponsors are Senators Nickel, Murdock, and Marcus.
Senate Bill 646, known as the Marijuana Justice and Reinvestment Act, would fully legalize weed. The primary sponsors are Senators Chaudhuri, Woodard, and Foushee. It is also supported by Senators Nickel, Murdock, and Marcus.
Later that day, Brunswick County Republican Senator Bill Rabon, the powerful chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, introduced Senate Bill 711, known as the NC Compassionate Care Act that recognizes marijuana as having medical potential and allowing doctors to prescribe it to patients under certain circumstances. Its primary sponsors also included Republican Senator Michael Lee and Democratic Senator Paul Lowe and is supported by Senators Nickel and Woodward.
An Elon University Poll asked North Carolinians about potential impacts if marijuana were to be legalized. The poll used an online opt-in sample marketplace of 1,455 adult residents of North Carolina and was conducted Jan. 29-31 and was conducted in partnership with The Charlotte Observer, The Durham Herald-Sun, and The Raleigh News & Observer.
The poll’s results showed growing support among North Carolina residents for legalizing marijuana for recreational use and continued strong support for medical marijuana legalization in its more recent survey.
Nearly two-thirds of the state’s adults say they do not believe marijuana use is morally wrong and support reducing penalties for marijuana possession, saying that legalization would boost the state’s economy.
The study found that Democrats are more likely to support the legalization of recreational marijuana than Republicans, but Republicans are more evenly divided on the issue between support and opposition.
   Fifty-nine percent of Democrats support the legalization of recreational marijuana use while 29 percent oppose it. That is similar to those who belong to neither party, with 57 percent supporting legalization and 27 percent opposing.
   In addition, younger residents are more likely to support and less likely to oppose recreational marijuana legalization. Sixty-two percent of those 18 to 24 percent and 65 percent of those 25 to 44 percent support legalization, while 52 percent of those 45 to 64 years of age support legalization and just 32 percent of those 65 or older support legalization.
   On the flip side, more than half - 56 percent of those 65 or older oppose legalization compared to 38 percent of those 45 to 64, 22 percent of those 25 to 44 and 23 percent of those 18 to 24.
     According to the study, The N.C. Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, a group formed by  Gov. Roy Cooper and headed by Attorney General Jeff Stein, recommended in November that the state decriminalize the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. The task force cited data showing that North Carolinians of color are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession and recommended that possession still be a civil offense.
   Decriminalizing marijuana possession received the most support from residents who have higher levels of educational attainment, Democrats, White residents, and men. 72 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or more support the change compared to 65 percent of those with less than a bachelor’s degree.
   Seventy-one percent of Democrats would like to see the laws changed compared to 60 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of those who belong to neither party.
   Breaking down the results by race, the change generated the most support from Whites (70 percent), followed by Blacks (65) and those of other races (56 percent). Men were slightly more likely to support a change in the law (69 percent) than women (65 percent).
   Interestingly, support for changing the laws was lowest among the youngest residents and the oldest. Among those 18 to 24 years old, 62 percent said the laws should be changed and among those 65 or older, 63 percent supported the change. That compares to 68 percent of those 45 to 64 and 70 percent of those 25 to 44.
    All three senate bills are slated for discussion during the 2021-2022 session. Time will tell if North Carolina lawmakers choose to decriminalize marijuana, allow those with certain conditions to use it, or prevent the sale of marijuana in the state altogether.
   In Virginia, marijuana will become legal on July 1, but retail sales won’t begin until 2024. The legislation allows for legal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older. While adults can possess it up to an ounce of the drug, they can’t buy it there until 2024. However, the legislation does allow gifting of an ounce of the drug to any adult.
   Virginia is the first southern state, and the 16th state in the nation, to approve the sale of marijuana, an action will bring the sale of marijuana right to North Carolina’s doorstep very soon.
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Kindergarten just got way cooler

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Cleveland County Schools
Offer online enrollment


Cleveland County Schools announced their new online enrollment system April 9. Using their online enrollment system, you can upload documents such as proof of residency, birth certificates, and immunization records.
Visit https://www.clevelandcountyschools.org/ and click on the banner that reads, “Kindergarten Just Got Way Cooler. On that page, you can click directly on the name of the school your child will attend and register online.
There are also additional links sharing ways to prepare your child for kindergarten.
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Chief Bill Harris

US District Court finds in favor of the Catawba Indian Nation

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

On Friday, US District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled in favor of the Catawba Indian Nation and determined that the taking land into trust for the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort was done so legally.
In a ruling filled with gambling metaphors, Judge Boasberg wrote, “To the undoubted relief of the reader who has made it thus far, the Court is out of gambling metaphors. It will, therefore, simply restate its conclusions once more: Interior did not violate the Settlement Act or IGRA by taking the Kings Mountain parcel into trust for the Catawba; the agency properly applied its IGRA regulations; it did not act arbitrarily by failing to consider the background of Wallace Cheves; Plaintiffs lack standing to press their NHPA claims and those NEPA claims that overlap; and their remaining NEPA claims fail. The Court will accordingly enter summary judgment on all counts for the Defendants. An Order so stating shall issue this day.”
Judge Boasberg also concluded that: “Interior did not violate the Settlement Act or IGRA [Indian Gaming Regulatory Act] by taking the Kings Mountain parcel into trust for the Catawba; the agency properly applied its IGRA regulations… .” He further held that “Plaintiffs [EBCI] lack standing to press their NHPA [National Historical
 Preservation Act] claims and those NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] claims that overlap; and their remaining NEPA claims fail.”
   In the ruling, the judge also confirmed that the Catawba are eligible to open a gaming facility at the Kings Mountain site in accordance with IGRA and that Interior had the authority to take the site into trust status and add it to the Catawba reservation under the Indian Reorganization Act.
    Following the judge’s decision, the Catawba Nation sent out a press release saying that it “applauds the ruling of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia that the U.S. Department of the Interior acted properly in taking 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation”.
    “This is the right decision and the one we anticipated from the court to reject the litigation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” Catawba Chief Bill Harris said. “We hope this exhaustive review of the facts and emphatic 55-page decision means the Eastern Band will not seek a frivolous appeal and that our two tribes can now work together for the betterment of our people.”
   Harris continued: “This decision reaffirms the clear historical record of the Catawba’s ancestral lands and cultural ties in North Carolina and the rigorous process of review undertaken by the U.S. Department of the Interior in taking the land into trust. The Interior Department righted a historical wrong, allowing the Catawba to achieve the promise of self-determination through economic development.”
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Patrick Senior Center
Rock-a-thon May 7

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

By Tabitha Thomas


The  Patrick Senior Center is holding a Rock-A-Thon on Friday, May 7, from 9am-2pm, to support the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Call the center if you or your group want to participate. All ages are welcome!  The Senior Center also needs people to lend them rockers for the day, to sign up to rock, and to raise money ahead of time or stop by the day of the event to donate. Everyone is welcome to support this fun event!
Keep in mind that many employers offer programs to match charitable contributions made by their employees. These matching gifts are an opportunity to double or possibly triple your donation to Walk to End Alzheimer's and increase funding for the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. Check with your HR department of visit https://act.alz.org/ and search for matching gifts.
H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Life and Conference Center, a North Carolina Senior Center of Excellence, is at 909 E King Street in Kings Mountain. Phone: 704-734-0447.

City of Kings Mountain’s
Special Events Department
launches concert series

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

Live Music at Patriots Park to begin May 1st


Live entertainment is back at Patriots Park! The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department is proud to bring live music back to Downtown Kings Mountain with the “Live Music at Patriots Park” Concert Series
The series, two years in the making, brings a diverse group of entertainers to the Liberty Falls Amphitheatre covering Beach, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Classic Rock and much more!
“The only thing that is better than music - Live music,” says Christy Conner, Special Events Director with the City of Kings Mountain. “We have a top notch diverse group of talent scheduled to hit the stage. They are some of the hottest bands currently trending in the entertainment industry.”
The line-up for this series includes:
May 1 - New York Bee Gees-Opening Act, Gary Lowder and Smokin Hot; Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert 7:00 PM.
June 5  - East Coast Party  Band- Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert  7:00PM.
July 17 - Voltage Bros- Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert  7:00PM.
September 11 -  On the Border/Eagles Tribute Band-Opening Act, CAT5 Band; Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert  7:00PM.
October 2 - Who’s Bad! Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute-Opening Act, The Party Prophets; Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert  7:00PM
A concert series would not be complete without a cruise-in. Each night of the series, local car enthusiasts will line Railroad Avenue and West Gold Street with their favorite street or stock cars. Special guests will be on hand to make these cruise-ins even more special. The cruise-ins will start at 5:00pm each night of the concert series. All makes and models are welcome.
Great food and a beverage garden will be available for concert goers each night of the series as well.
For more information on the concert series or cruise-in, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit the website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit the Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.
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Liberty Mountain production cancelled for 2021

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

As happened in 2020, the 2021 season production of “Liberty Mountain: The Revolutionary Drama” has been canceled, an unfortunate victim of the coronavirus pandemic.  The play had hoped to resume performances for its 7th season in June and July at the Joy Performance Center in Kings Mountain, NC.
“Our concern continues for the health and safety of our audiences, cast, crew and volunteers,” said Jim Champion, Liberty Mountain’s General Manager, in announcing the decision by the production’s steering committee.  “It is with great regret that we have to put our plans on hold,” he said, “but with the immersive nature of our drama taking place throughout the theater and the continuing restrictions on indoor event capacities, I’m confident we have made the responsible choice.”
Champion said that plans are already underway for the next season, beginning in June, 2022.  “A great deal of work has been done,” he said, “and that puts us well ahead for next year.”
Caleb Sigmon, Liberty Mountain’s artistic director, promised a “bigger and better” experience for theatre-goers next year.  “We have time now to work on some exciting new ideas for telling this inspiring and dramatic story of the 1780 Battle of Kings Mountain that turned the tide of the Revolution and guaranteed America’s independence.”
Playwright Robert Inman noted the similarity between the difficult decision to cancel the season and that reached by the Patriot settlers of the Colonial Carolinas.  “Their lives, their homes, their families and their faith were threatened,” Inman said.  “They had to decide whether to bow to British demands to lay down their arms, or to fight.  They fought.”
Champion paid special tribute to those whose hard work and support have made “Liberty Mountain” possible through the years – the steering committee, presenting sponsors Gilbert and Jancy Patrick, Sigmon Theatrical, community businesses and organizations, Cleveland County and Kings Mountain local governments, playwright Inman, and the cast, crew and volunteers who bring the play to life.
“We’ll be back,” Champion said, “and we’ll give you a theatrical experience you’ll never forget.”

Streetscape project
started last week

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, City of Kings Mountain began its $1.5 million dollar streetscape project by removing trees on Battleground Avenue and Mountain Street. Many Kings Mountain residents seemed unaware of what was planned and posted comments online in various online forums.
In November, City Council discussed the streetscape plan during their November 2020 meeting and again in February. The streetscape plan includes upgrades to city sidewalks, landscaping, parking, and utilities for businesses in the downtown district. It also addresses the flow of traffic and pedestrians within that space. This article is a recap of those meetings regarding the city’s streetscape project.
Richard Flowe of N-Focus reviewed the plan with city council in November. The plan is designed to spur infill and development downtown. “Areas near downtown, including Piedmont at Mountain Street is almost perfectly configured,” he said. “The area between Piedmont and Battleground needs attention.”
Flowe recommended using Cherokee Street as access to Battleground Avenue. He also recommended removing the stop light at the intersection of Cherokee and Mountain Streets and replacing it with a 4-way stop sign.
Suggested was making Cherokee Street a one-way street, with on-street parking, and configuring it to encourage pedestrian traffic. Regarding Cherokee Street, he stated, “The view of Kings Mountain is
your money shot. Can you imagine  the  view  of  that  mountain from a third-floor condo? That opportunity will be lost without vertical construction downtown. Condos in that area would provide good foot traffic and support for downtown merchants.”
Regarding Mountain Street, Flowe said, “Mountain Street is an opportunity we may not have fully taken advantage of originally. Mountain Street is a vibrant area, especially considering the new restaurant there.” The city owns a parking lot behind the old billiard hall, and he suggests taking advantage of that space and reconfiguring the alleyway leading to it as part of the plan.
“Parking is a valuable asset you already own in downtown,” Flowe said. For the parking lot behind the billiard hall, he suggested digging below the surface to determine what is down there, making any needed repairs, and resurfacing it adding elements to make it orderly.
“The alleyway to the parking area needs a bit of attention to make it user friendly. Using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, to address on individuals discomfort from walking through that area will improve use of parking and pedestrian traffic,” Flowe said. “If people are not comfortable in an area, they won’t use it.” He recommends reconfiguring the stairs and keeping the community art.
Flowe also recommended opening solid walls of buildings with side entrances along alleyways to encourage areas where smaller businesses could survive, should building owners consider subdividing their space.
Along Mountain Street, Flow recommends creating sidewalks with pop-outs to plant trees. Doing so will define the space and draw diver’s attention to pedestrian crosswalks. Those same pop-outs would be ustilized on Battleground Avenue.
In addition, he recommended bring the street to curb level in places, instead of dropping the sidewalk down from the curb. Road humps to slow traffic would be utilized at Cherokee and Mountain Streets, as well as Piedmont and Mountain Streets.
Phase I of the Streetscape Plan includes work along Battleground Avenue down to the intersection of E. Gold Street.
In February, City council unanimously approved a budget amendment in the amount of $1.5 M for the Phase II  Streetscape project which should be completed by August. Funds for the project are being taken from General Fund ($500,000), Capital Reserve Fund ($500,000), and Electric Fund ($500,000).
“We’ve never had a full-blown streetscape study and project during my 32-year tenure with the City of Kings Mountain,” said City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “This will be done with no rate increase, tax increase, or borrowing money from a financial institution.”
“I’d like to add that I feel we have gone beyond with funding and projects downtown with the city stepping up to the plate, and that I hope this will bring an enthusiasm and desire from the private sector to make the improvements necessary to fill the empty buildings in the downtown and achieve our ultimate goal. That goal is 100% occupancy downtown,” Sellers said.
City Council hopes the money invested will encourage building owners to update their buildings or sell them to others who are willing to do so.
Within the last two weeks several properties have been listed for sale in the downtown district, a sign that owners are making hard decisions to invest or sell those properties. As work progresses, it is likely other property owners will be making those same tough decisions.
 
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Wells Fargo’s KM branch
closing July 14

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Wells Fargo Bank at 125 S. Battleground Avenue will close its Kings Mountain branch on July 14, according to Mike Hughes, Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo State & Local Government Relations, due to more transactions being handled digitally.
In an email to Mayor Neisler, Hughes shared, “Until then, our customers can continue to use the branch and bank with us as they always have. After the Kings Mountain branch closes, they can visit us at our Gastonia Main Branch, located approximately nine miles away. Other nearby branches and ATMs are located in Kings Mountain, Gastonia, Shelby, and Dallas.”
Hughes went on to say, “We continually evaluate our branch network, and make adjustments based on changing customer needs, market factors, and economic trends. This process leads to both expansion and consolidations.”
Hughes  also  attributed  the closure to customers’ increased use digital tools for transactions such as check deposits and resulting in more transactions happening outside the branch.
“We understand the deep roots that Wells Fargo and predecessor banks have in the community, this was not an easy decision or one that we take lightly,” said Hughes. “We continually evaluate our branch network, and make adjustments based on changing customer needs, market factors, and economic trends. This process leads to both expansion and consolidations.”
In January of 1900, Bank of Kings Mountain opened its doors as the first bank in Cleveland County. It received its national charter six months later, on June 25, 1900. By, the 1960s the bank had merged with First Union National Bank of Charlotte. On September 1, 2001, First Union National Bank and Wachovia merged to form Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo’s ATM will remain open at 1027 Shelby Rd, in the parking lot of Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Actions approved by
City Council in March

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

During the March 30 City Council meeting several items were approved under the consent agenda. Among those items are several budget amendments and public hearings were scheduled. All items noted were unanimously approved by city council. Absent from the meeting was Councilman Dave Allen. The budget amendments approved include:
▪ A budget amendment to transfer funds among departments to cover General Fund payroll and benefit costs at the departmental level for the remainder of the fiscal year. *Note: There is no increase to the overall budget, and it is projected that there will be more than enough payroll budgeted in total for the General Fund. This is necessary due to variances in projected OT, employees (Public Works) transferring between departments since adoption of the original budget, temporary labor requirements, etc. Council approval is required given that we are transferring monies between departments/functions.
▪ A budget amendment to transfer Streetscape Budget, which was approved last month, from the General Fund to a newly proposed Capital Project Fund. This prevents the necessity for reappropriating unspent funds at year end in next year’s General Fund Budget, as a project ordinance is valid until action is taken to formally close it. Council approval is required as we are transferring budget between funds.
   Adopt a Capital Project Ordinance for Streetscape to move previously approved budget to a project fund. This prevents the necessity of having to reappropriate the amounts in next year’s General Fund Budget.
▪ A budget amendment in the amount of $1.5M to the General Capital Reserve Fund Ordinance. This fund was established to accumulate resources for capital related activities, then transferred to other funds to finance the capital. In order to move monies into this fund, amounts must be budgeted as transfers in other existing funds. In order to spend these funds, capital must be approved/budgeted in other funds. There is currently no remaining budget in this fund - $500,000 is the amount to be transferred to fund Streetscape, which will exhaust the funds current budget, thus the need to amend the ordinance. Council approval is required to amend a project ordinance.
▪ A budget amendment in the amount of $250,000 to move resources from the Medical Self-Insurance Fund to the Worker’s Comp Self-Insurance Fund. The Medical Fund received transfers of excess resources from the Worker’s Comp Fund in past periods and is now in a position to “reimburse” the Worker’s Comp Fund. The City is partially self-insured for both functions, but they are accounted for in separate funds.
   Mayor Neisler was authorized to execute a Lake Use Agreement with the 2021 Thursday Night Bass Tournament, a non-profit organization to allow “Thursday Night Bass Tournaments” from 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at Moss Lake beginning April 1, 2021, then every Thursday night until October 14, 2021. A final “Fish Off” will be scheduled for a later date on a Saturday in October 2021. This is a recommendation from the Moss Lake Commission.
Four Public Hearings were scheduled for Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. to:
• Consider a Resolution to delay the November 2021 City of Kings Mountain Municipal Election until March 2022.
• Consider a Zoning Text Amendment to add Section 6.16 (4) Kings Mountain Protection, Preservation and Enhancement District (KMPPED) beginning at Page 53-R.1, a vacant properties/building registration process.
• Consider an Ordinance to create the City of Kings Mountain’s Mural Ordinance.
• Consider amendments to the City of Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance - Case No. Z-24-3-21 as follows:
Article VII – Table of Permitted and Conditional Uses. Section 7.4 Table of Permitted and Conditional Uses (See Table) Add on Page 61 and change the table of permitted and conditional uses as follows:
• Change Automobile Parking (commercial) from a conditional use permit (C) to a Permitted by Right use (X*) in the G-B zoning district and add as a note on the bottom of Page 61 (X*) “when such facilities are physically connected to Catawba Indian Nation Trust Property.”
Add to the list of height limitations exceptions in the Zoning Ordinance – Section 4.8 Height Limitations Exceptions
• Add the following language after the word hospital, “Automobile Park (commercial) including elevator shafts when such facilities are physically connected to Catawba Indian Nation Trust Property.”
   Additionally, city council decided to:
▪ Award a bid in the amount of $889,432 to WESCO Distribution for the Delivery No. 5 MVA Substation Power Transformers. The Capital Project Ordinance for the Delivery 5 project was approved at the regular Council Meeting of January 26, 2021.
▪ Award a Contract for System Development Fee Study for Water Sewer Department to Willdan based on the rating evaluation. This is a recommendation from the Water Department and from Purchasing.
▪ Authorize a Capital Project Ordinance for the Beason Creek Lift Station. The developer agreement was previously approved by Council, and the developer fee in the amount of $1,200,000 was paid to the City in early March. This project is required to be completed within 14 months. Since the project will overlap into the next fiscal year and the fact that these are restricted funds, it is best practice to adopt a project ordinance.
▪ Adopt a Resolution directing the City Clerk to investigate a Voluntary Non-Contiguous Annexation Petition received under N.C.G.S. § 160A58.1 from R. Dean Harrell and Colton Harrell being located in Cleveland County containing 60.91 acres, for property that R. Dean Harrell owns located between Crocker Road and Kings Mountain Boulevard.
 
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George Cornwell House

KM Historical Museum
renovating Cornwell House

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

The Kings Mountain Historical Museum officially started the George Washington Cornwell House Preservation Project on March 9. They are currently working on Phase I of the project.
The KMHM needs the community’s support to help us with the restoration project. Donations can be made by going the museum’s website click on Get Involved just below the logo to the right. Click on the link and you be taken to a new page where you can Make a Donation. .
The house’s owners, George Washington Cornwell and his wife, Frances Lou (Lucinda) Smith, purchased the lot at 106 King Street in April 1876. They had just married and moved to the newly incorporated city of Kings Mountain, NC. George and Lucinda built this house on their lot and raised seven children.
George and his brother, William (who lived next door) were wagon makers. It is believed their shop was between their homes. Lucinda Cornwell, a devoted Baptist, was a founding member of Kings Mountain Baptist Church (located next to the museum), which started in 1890. The original building was a wooden structure, though Lucinda lived to see the current building built in 1919.
In 1910, George and Lucinda sold part of their lot to their oldest son, Clarence. This house was placed on logs and rolled to the far side of the lot, so Clarence had space to build a new, fashionable house. When this move happened, the kitchen and back porch were detached from the house.
The house was moved again in 2005 to its current location on the museum property, when Central United Methodist Church donated the structure to the Museum after purchasing the land.

Cleveland County Health Department needs your help

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

Please take
community
satisfaction survey 


The Cleveland County Health Department needs your help in assessing community satisfaction with our services and operation. If you have received any service from or participated in any events/programs sponsored by the Cleveland County Health Department in 2021, please answer a few questions in our Community Satisfaction Survey.
Services and events/programs may include, but are not limited to, our clinic services, dental services, eye exams, pharmacy, health education information and presentations, coalitions, and COVID-19 services such as testing, contact tracing, and vaccinations.
You have the opportunity to respond until May 3. All responses are anonymous. You may access the survey by visiting: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CCPHSurvey2021
Your input is vital as we strive to meet the public health needs of the residents of Cleveland County. The Cleveland County Health Department thanks you in advance for your participation.

Easter Bunny Visits
Children in KM

(April 7, 2021 Issue)

Childcare centers and NC Pre-K students across Kings Mountain and Grover got a surprise visitor to their classrooms on April 1, when Peter Cottontail himself paid a visit bringing goodies along the way. Each classroom received an Easter gift bag filled with eggs, sidewalk chalk, and toys donated by the City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department, as well as books donated by Mauney Memorial Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. See more photos on page 3A.

Photos by Angela Padgett
 

Kings Mountain Cruise-In #1 last Saturday

(April 7, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Last Saturday, Kings Mountain Cruise-In & Hot Rods had its first Cruise-In from 4 until 9 pm at
Hardee’s. They are looking to meet other people who love Hot Rods and Classic Cars. They received permission to gather at the restaurant prior to the event.
In an April 1 post, Donnie Beard shared, “Started this two days ago and we already have 200 members!” For now, the plan is to meet every Saturday from 4 pm to 9 pm at Hardees.
Cruise on by Saturday, April 10 between 4 pm and 9 pm for a flash from the past and to check out some Hot Rods and Classic Cars.

 Photos by Jon Beard
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Andy Underwood

KM Call Center to be dedicated
to Andy Underwood

(April 7, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Andrew Stuart (Andy) Underwood, Public Safety Answering Point Manager for the 911 Center for the City of Kings Mountain, passed away on March 17.
Chief Lisa Proctor spoke during City Council regarding Underwood saying, “Andy was our PSAP Manager. Because Kings Mountain is in two counties, our call rating was low at 77.55%. Calls would go to Gaston County and then get routed to us. We wanted to fix it to better serve our citizens, so I assigned the job to Andy. Within 30-days the problem was solved, thanks to dual routing. After he solved the problem, our call rating went to 99.9% and we were ranked #1 in the state.
Andy Underwood described his process to Chief Proctor saying, “You set goals, strive for excellence, and you never settle for less.”
City of Kings Mountain will dedicate the call center at Kings Mountain Police Department to Andy Underwood. A ceremony is being planned and his family will be invited as soon as a date is set,” said Chief Proctor.
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WINDY BAGWELL

Windy Bagwell is KMMS
employee of the month

(April 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Media Specialist, Ms. Windy Bagwell for being selected as the KMMS March Employee of the Month! Ms. Bagwell always serves in many roles and never complains.
She is in classrooms teaching or doing remote coaching for a team, along with all of her other duties. She goes very unnoticed and is very humble. It is an honor to work with her. She goes above and beyond to help all teachers and students with any media materials they may need.
Bagwell also helps researching materials to assist staff and students in their classes. She has assisted with tutoring and helping some of our remote students. She willingly helps wherever and whenever needed. She deserves to be recognized as Employee of the Month for KMMS!
Congratulations to Ms. Bagwell.  Thank you for all you do for KMMS!
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Officer Penny Phillips receives her badge and weapon during her retirement ceremony at city hall as Councilman Rhodes watches. Pictured L-R: Police Chief Lisa Proctor, Travis Phillips, Penny Phillips, and Mayor Neisler. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Officer Phillips retires

By Loretta Cozart

During the March 30 City Council meeting, Officer Penny Fulton Phillips retired after 25-years of service to City of Kings Mountain, most recently working in Records. Photos from Phillips’ career from October 18, 1995 onward were shared in a slide presentation.
Mayor Scott Neisler invited Police Chief Lisa Proctor to present Phillips her badge and gun, which is customary during police retirement ceremonies. “I am proud to have served as your chief. We will carry on the tradition of faith, trust, honor, integrity, professionalism, and loyalty that you have carried on for us. I wish you nothing but the best,” Chief Proctor said.
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American Legion Veteran’s breakfast Saturday

(March 31, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


   American Legion Post 155 has its Veteran’s Breakfast Saturday morning, April 3, at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street.
   All veterans are invited to this free breakfast the first Saturday of every month. Others are welcome to attend for a small donation which helps fund future breakfasts. The next breakfast will be on May 1 from 9 am to 11 am.
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Hale, Lee, Jess, and Arika in front of Bin Raiders. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Bin Raiders opens on Walker Street

(March 31, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


Bin Raiders is open for business. Srimaha Rithiphong, who goes by Hale, along with his wife Jee and his sister Aricka, operate Bin Raiders, a family-owned business that opened on January 23. The shop is so popular that customers wait in line for the store to open each day.
Bin Raiders purchases inventory in lots and passes the savings on to their customers. Much of the inventory items are Amazon returns or overstock. Most items are in the original packaging. “Sometimes we get an item wrapped in bubble wrap and we don’t know what is inside. I’ve had customers find cell phones and Fitbit watches that way,” Hale said.
When asked why he decided to open a store, Hale answered without hesitation as he pointed to his son, Lee. “I started the store for him. If I worked in a plant on the second-shift, I would get home after he goes to bed. In the morning, I would only have time with him until I dropped him off at school. That is not what I want.,” Hale said.
Hale got the idea of opening a discount store in Kings Mountain while shopping in similar stores in other communities. However, Kings Mountain did not have this type of store. ‘I just observed how they did things, how they priced items and when they brought out more inventory. Then, I went online and found other people who were doing the same thing and they shared how they were doing it. Later, I learned how to buy lots online and it all came together from there.”
Once he got his plan formalized, Hale reached out to Dan Potter, his soccer coach and friend from high school, asking him to help getting the store ready. “It was a lot of fun to be part of this and hopefully it will take off. I want to see him succeed,” Potter said. Together, they built bins for the store.
Bin Raiders’ model opens the store Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, from 10 am until 6 pm. On Friday and Saturday, items cost $6 each. On Monday, the price drops to $3, Tuesday it drops to $2, and on Wednesday, the price drops to $1 each. Or customers can buy a big bag full for $10.
Inventory ranges from electronics, kitchen items, clothing, pet supplies, snacks, toys, purses, gun cleaning kits, ammo crates, smart cameras, razors, home theater items, curling irons, video game components, vehicle security systems, sheets, backpacks and more. Inventory depends upon the lot, but Bin Raiders posts sneak previews of items for sale that week.
Hale points out that many of the folks in the neighborhood have already become regular customers. “When they come in, we try to get to know them. I hope the rest of Kings Mountain will come check out the store. Folks who shop here can get high end items at below retail prices. We just want to help people save money.”
Bin Raiders is located at 205 Walker Street, at a corner store known for decades as the hub of the Pauline Mill community. Charlie and Mary Spearman operated their neighborhood store here for decades. Dewey Allen ran the Pauline Store before Charlie. A church was located there for years before vacating several years ago. Since then the property sat empty.
Hale and his family came to Kings Mountain from Laos, via San Francisco, in 1984. Hale, Jess, Lee, and Aricka Rithiphong are a new generation of business owners, thankful to have this location at the  corner of Walker and Gantt Streets. With their vision and hard work, their business will help revive the once bustling Pauline community.
Casino

 Catawba Nation to fast-track casino opening this summer with 500-slot 
‘pre-launch’ facility at Kings Mountain site 

Faster opening of Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort will accelerate job creation for region 

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. – The Catawba Nation today announced it will fast-track the opening of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project in Kings Mountain by opening a “pre-launch” facility this summer with 500 slot machines.
The pre-launch facility, which will be constructed using prefabricated modular structures, will provide an initial opportunity for patrons to game with limited food & beverage and other guest amenities.
“With the completion of our compact with the State of North Carolina, the Catawba Nation is eager to open the casino as quickly as possible to begin bringing economic benefits and jobs to the state and region,” Catawba Chief Bill Harris said. “We’re working with Delaware North, our consultant on the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project, as well as our developer, Skyboat Gaming, to make that happen by opening what we are calling a ‘pre-launch’ facility this summer.”
An introductory phase of the full casino is still planned and will feature an additional 1,300 slot machines. It will be a permanent structure that will become part of the full casino. Its construction is expected to take about a year.
“It makes sense to have the temporary pre-launch facility to start, and it will continue to operate during the construction of the introductory phase and possibly subsequent phases,” said Brian Hansberry, president of Delaware North’s gaming business. “It gives us a place to teach incoming staff and accommodates people in the region who are anxious to start gaming this summer.”
The 17-acre casino site off Dixon School Road in Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, is near Interstate 85 and about 35 miles west of Charlotte. The total $273 million casino resort project is expected to create 2,600 permanent jobs at full buildout and thousands of construction jobs in the region.
“This project will prove to be a long-lasting and sustainable economic engine for the residents of Cleveland County, we are excited about the expedited timeline” said Cleveland County Commissioner Johnny Hutchins.
“Chief Harris and the members of The Catawba Indian Nation are great partners. Our team looks forward to continuing to work side by side as the project develops” said Cleveland County Manager Brian Epley.
The Catawba Nation and the State of North Carolina in January signed a compact that allows the state to share in revenues generated by the new casino, which will be operated by the Catawba. In March 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, took the 17 acres of land into trust for the Catawba Nation. The action recognized the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College, as well as in the six counties, including Cleveland County, specifically identified by Congress as part of the Catawba’s service area. The state compact acknowledges this connection to North Carolina as well.
In addition to creating revenue for the State of North Carolina, the casino will help support an education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state-recognized tribes, support local communities on economic development initiatives and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba lands.
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Cindy Parker gets immunized by Mark Woodall during the recent vaccination clinic at CUMC. Photos by Loretta Cozart

Woodall one of nation’s first Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician Immunizers

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Last week the Kings Mountain Herald covered a story regarding Mountain Street Pharmacy’s sponsoring a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Central United Methodist Church. Organizer and Pharmacist Allan Propst assembled a team of professionals who immunized 300 people in a single day. Propst was very complimentary of one of his immunizers and explained, “He is one of a very few Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician Immunizers in the nation. He is an amazing guy who does many things. If you talk with him, ask him about his snakes.” Intrigued, an interview was scheduled.
Certified Pharmacy Technician Mark Woodall works with Propst in many of his stores, and sometimes trains pharmacists, though he is not a pharmacist himself. “In January of this year, I received my Advanced Pharmacy Technician Certification. That required I take four more boards, which I did in September of last year. However, they had to wait until enough people had taken the test to determine the pass rate. As of January, there are less than 1,000 Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technicians in the nation. I am also a Tech check Tech, meaning I can do the final check of a prescription like a pharmacist would do.”
In addition to his job with Allan Propst’s stores, Woodall teaches three classes at Cleveland Community College. He teaches the entire Pharmacy Technician Program, with morning and night classes. “Thanks to recent changes in the work pharmacy technicians can handle, and the reputation the program has achieved at Cleveland Community College, companies where our students intern (pre-COVID-19) have called wanting to hire four of the students before they graduated,” he said.
“Atrium Health Cleveland sends students to my Sterile Chemical Compounding class, specifically technicians who need to learn how to do IVs. After passing their boards, the IV Technician receives a $2 raise and a promotion after completing the three month class,” Woodall commented. “The hospital also calls us to hire new technicians. CVS calls, too. We have also partnered with six to eight local pharmacies to place technicians. After passing their boards, students can make $20 per hour to start.”
Currently, Woodall wears many hats. He works with Allan Propst at his pharmacies, at Cleveland Compounding, part-time at the Dermatology Center, and travels doing immunizations during COVID. He also teaches three classes at Cleveland Community College. And he teaches pharmacists compounding.
When asked where he sees himself in five years, Woodall said, “I want to move more toward teaching and elevating pharmacy technicians as a career. I might get involved with the Board of Pharmacy, or even with Board of Pharmacy Technicians. They have positions like president and vice-president, like the Board of Pharmacy does. Maybe I’ll get involved in that to help evolve the career.”
“If there is any bright side to the pandemic, it would be that it has caused changes in the way pharmacies work. Pharmacists are working more with patients, like a clinician would. Some pharmacists can even prescribe medicines,” he said. “Technicians are taking on the jobs of immunizations, screening patients, and in some states even doing COVID-19 testing. In the 90s, it could take 10 years to see changes in pharmacy. In the last two years, I have seen major changes in what we can do as technicians. If nothing else, COVID has made lots of new opportunities for jobs in this field.”
When asked what he does in his spare time, Woodall said he works 18-hour days but has time for family. He has one daughter and a grandson.
In what little time he has left, Woodall breeds Ball Pythons. “I’ve always loved snakes and I played with them as a kid. Three years ago, I decided to buy a Ball Python. Then I decided to try breeding them. After getting my first set of eggs and selling them, I decided it was a good way to make money in my spare time. After three years, I now have a good breeding colony.”
Luckily, snakes are easy to keep. They do not make noise, make few messes, and require basic care. Ball Python females grow to about 5-feet long; their male counterparts are about half the size of the female. “I feed them once a week because they need to be fat and happy to breed. Many people only feed their Pythons once a month. When the female stops eating and wraps herself in a ball, that is a good sign she is pregnant. I’ve hatched most of the Pythons I own, and I have held them since they were born, so they are pretty friendly,” Woodall said.
Mark Woodall stays busy teaching future pharmacy technicians, Once trained, he helps place those students in good jobs, which in turn helps local hospitals and pharmacies. His students benefit because they have been trained well as pharmacy technicians in a career that continues to grow. He works in local pharmacies and also teaches pharmacists how to compound medicines.
   Woodall loves his work, no doubt. One can hear it as he speaks passionately about his career. But he does not stop there. He is active on the front-line, vaccinating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a father and a grandfather. And, he has found a way to relax in his spare time in a hobby he also loves. His is a full life, yet he aspires to elevate the career of pharmacy technicians in ways one can only imagine. Allan Propst was right, Mark Woodall is quite an amazing guy.

Catawba Nation Compact with the State of North Carolina approved by U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs 
 

Compact allows Class III gaming at Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort in Kings Mountain 

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. – The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved the Catawba Nation’s Tribal-State Compact with the State of North Carolina, allowing the state to share in revenues generated by the new Two Kings Casino Resort
The Catawba can now conduct Class III gaming, including operating slot machines and table games, at the casino being developed at a site in the City of Kings Mountain in Cleveland County, about 45 minutes from downtown Charlotte.
The approval of the compact was communicated to Catawba Chief Bill Harris in a March 19 letter from Darryl LaCounte, director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and takes effect when the notice of the approval is published in the Federal Register. A similar letter is also being sent to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, LaCounte’s letter noted.
“We completed our review of the Compact and conclude that it does not violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and any provision of the Federal law that does not relate to jurisdiction over gaming on Indian lands, or the trust obligations of the United States to Indians,” LaCounte wrote. “Therefore, pursuant to my delegated authority and Section 11 of IGRA, I approve the Compact.”
The Catawba Compact was approved by Gov. Cooper, as well as North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein, in mid-January, and underwent a 45-day review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“This is great news for the Catawba Nation, the State of North Carolina and the Kings Mountain region, and I’d like to thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs for its work in reviewing our Compact,” Harris said. “Our focus now is developing the casino to bring economic benefits and thousands of jobs to the citizens of North Carolina.”
In March 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, took 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation. The action recognized the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College, as well as in the six counties, including Cleveland County, specifically identified by Congress as part of the Catawba’s service area. The compact with North Carolina acknowledges this connection to North Carolina as well.
In addition to creating revenue for the State of North Carolina, the casino will help support an education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state-recognized tribes, support local communities on economic development initiatives and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba lands.
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NC House approves Resolution proposing term limits for Congress

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

A resolution sponsored by Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) that proposes adding Congressional term limits to the US Constitution was approved by the North Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday.
House Joint Resolution 172 Term Limits for Congress is sponsored by Speaker Moore, Rep. Mike Clampitt (R-Haywood), Rep. Jeff McNeely (R-Iredell), and Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly).
The resolution supports an application to the US Congress for an Article 5 'Convention of the States,' submitted for the specific purpose of proposing an amendment to the US Constitution to impose term limits on members of Congress.
Speaker Moore said Wednesday a broken legislative process in Washington D.C. is harming the federal government and the American people, requiring serious measures to command accountability for leadership of the United States.
“I sponsored House Joint Resolution 172 because I think term limits for members of Congress is an idea whose time has come," Speaker Moore said Wednesday.
"When you talk to the American people, they support term limits for the US Congress. They know the President is term-limited. So I am proud to advance this important proposal that has broad bipartisan support among our citizens.”
"This bill is a step forward giving the states an opportunity to put in place term limits and is narrowly drawn to address this issue. If a Convention of States were held to consider an amendment proposing term limits, it must be ratified by 38 states, and each state has just one vote."
"This is what the framers had in mind - a procedure they put in the US Constitution. This is an important issue that Congress has not done, and that they presumably won't do. So if you want to see term limits at the federal level this is your best, and I would say this is your only, opportunity to do so."
"We talk about reform on the Democratic side of the aisle, and on the Republican side of the aisle. This is a bipartisan reform that is much-needed in Washington D.C., and I urge you to support term limits for Congress today."
HJR 172 was sent to the North Carolina Senate.
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Easter Sunrise service planned

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

The Kings Mountain Ministerial Association will be leading in an Easter Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday, April 4 at 7:00 a.m. at Mountain Rest Cemetery.
The service will be held around the large white cross in the cemetery.
In the event of inclement weather, the service will be moved to Eastside Baptist Church, 308 York Road, Kings Mountain.  If the event is held inside, everyone  is requested to wear a mask.
The Easter Sunrise message will be delivered by Pastor Ron Caulder from Eastside Baptist Church.  Special music will be provided by East Gold Wesleyan Church.
Everyone is invited to attend.  The service will be approximately 30 minutes.
Come and let’s celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus!
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JENNA RAMSEY - 20201 KMHS HOMECOMING QUEEN

Jenna Ramsey crowned
2021 KMHS Homecoming Queen

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

Jenna Ramsey was crowned Kings Mountain High School Homecoming Queen for 2021 at the Friday, March 12 Homecoming football game  at John Gamble Stadium. Ramsey was nominated by the KMHS Band. Students chose her as one of the five finalists for the Homecoming Court and elected her as Homecoming Queen prior to the football game. She is the daughter of Tandra Ramsey and Billy Ramsey. She is pictured with her father who escorted her.    
                                                                              Photo provided by KMHS 
 
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City crews work in a northbound lane of Battleground Avenue near E. Gold Street mapping the pipes for the new sewer slip-liner that will repair sewer lines downtown. Photo provided by Scott Neisler

Sewer slip-lining project
begins in downtown KM

(March 24, 2021 Issue)


By Loretta Cozart

During the January 26 city council meeting a sewer slip-lining capital project related to the upcoming streetscape project downtown was approved. Last week, city crews began the work budgeted at $400,000.
City Manager Marilyn Sellers explained during the January meeting that the condition of the sewer in downtown is not good. Using cure in place slip-lining eliminates tearing up the street to replace the existing sewer  pipes, expedites the process, and creates less disruption for citizens.
Only one lane of traffic was closed as city crews mapped the pipes in advance of placing the slip-liner allowing workers to know exactly where connections are that need to be cutout after the liner cures.  Next crews will install the new 8-inch slip-lining into existing sewer pipes on Battleground Avenue from Kings Street to Falls Street and a 4-inch slip-lining on Mountain Street from Piedmont Avenue to Battleground. With this work, 12 connections to existing businesses will to be replaced.
Once this work is finished, the city will begin the streetscape project in downtown Kings Mountain.
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Middle and high school students
return to school 4-days a week April 12

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

Full-week schedule
begins two weeks later

By Loretta Cozart


Cleveland County School Board held a special called meeting on Monday, March 15, one year to the day after a similar called meeting was held in 2020 regarding the Coronavirus, according to Cleveland County Schools Superintendent Stephen Fisher. But this meeting was held to return students to the classroom for full-time instruction.
In a 6-3 vote, Cleveland County School Board decided to in favor of a plan outlined by the superintendent to return students in grades 6-12 to school full-time.
All middle and high school students will return to school on Monday, April 12 four days per week for in-person instruction. Two weeks later, on April 26, those students will return to school full-time.
School Board members voting for the plan include: Robert Queen, Rodney Fitch, Ron Humphries, Danny Blanton, Joel Shores and Greg Taylor. Voting against were Philip Glover, Dena Green, and Coleman Hunt.
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The cast for ‘Til Beth Do Us Part prepare for their performances, which will begin this Friday night, March 26 at 7:30. Pictured above L-R: Chad Spurling, Jackie Sibley-Newton, Greg Dixon, Leslie Brown, Sara Corbin and Mary Grace Keller. Photo provided

‘Til Beth Do Us Part opens this Friday

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

By Jim Champion

Ken and Liz Pflieger, Kings Mountain Little Theatre’s Corporate Sponsor, are pleased to announce the performances of ’Til Beth Do Us Part on Friday, March 26 - 27, at 7:30 and April 2 - 3 at 7:30 pm, with matinees on Sundays, March 28 and April 4 at 3 pm.
Priority is given to season members and they are able to make a reservation to attend a performance for our plays. All others may purchase tickets at the box office. KMLT will have 30 tickets per performance for purchase at the Box Office on a first come first served basis.  Reserved seating not claimed at least 10 minutes before show time are subject to release for purchase by others seeking tickets.
Due to the limited audience capacity allowed under the North Carolina Covid-19 Plan, the protocols listed below are being followed. KMLT will maintain stringent health and safety protocols.
For more detailed information, please visit www.kmlt.org or the Kings Mountain Little Theatre Facebook page. 
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Demolition at the Spectrum Dyed Yarns plant is ongoing, although it is not currently clear the extent of the work being done on-site. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Partial demolition
at Spectrum Dyed Yarns

(March 24, 2021 Issue)


By Loretta Cozart

Demolition around the old Spectrum Yarns, Inc. plant can be seen from both Hwy. 74 and Patterson Road. Portions of the building located at 136 Patterson Road are being torn down, while the office remains intact. The property housed Spectrum Dyed Yarns until the banking crisis of 2008, when the company announced it could no longer find financing.
In August 2013, Spectrum Yarns, Inc. filed a Brownfields Property Application due to contamination caused by a release of chlorinated solvents from a wastewater treatment lagoon associated with the manufacturing operation located on an adjacent site.
The entire property, including the subject parcel and the adjacent parcel, was developed for the dyeing and finishing of textile yarns  by  Spectrum  Dyed
Yarns, Inc. in 1972. The property was undeveloped prior to that time. Spectrum Dyed Yarns, Inc. ceased operations in October 2008.
Permits have been issued for partial demolition of the plant, but exact plans for the property are not known at this time, according to Codes Enforcement Director Clint Houser.
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Pictured left to right are Sonya Nalley, Teacher Assistant of the Year, and Johnna Wyte, Teacher of the Year. Photo by Anna Hughes

North School Teacher and Teacher Assistant of the Year

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

North Elementary School honored their Teacher Assistant and Teacher of the Year at North Elementary School.
First Grade Teacher Johnna Wyte received her BS in Elementary Education at UNCC and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She taught adult education for six months before she starting teaching first grade. She taught 18-years at Bethware School and 10-years at North
Elementary. She is married to Mark and has three children. She is a member of Patterson Grove Baptist Church.
Sonya Nalley - Kindergarten Teacher Assistant and Bus Driver received her Associate degree in Early Childhood Education at Cleveland Community College. She has worked with children for 25-years. 14-years in daycare, 1-year at Crest Middle, and 10-years at North Elementary School. She is married to Tony and has two children and one grandson. She is a member of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church.
 
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Cindy Parker gets immunized as Pressley Anderson completes vaccination.

Mountain Street Pharmacy holds second vaccine clinic

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Mountain Street Pharmacy, working in conjunction with the Cleveland County Public Health Center, held a COVID-19 Vaccine clinic on Friday, March 12, hosted by Central United Methodist Church in Kings Mountain.
“I am pleased to say that we distributed all 300 vaccines,” said Pharmacist Allan Propst, BS R.PH. “I thank everyone involved including Cleveland County Health Department, Gardner Webb’s Hunt School of Nursing, Central United Methodist Church for hosting and many of its members for volunteering, Kings Mountain Rescue Squad, and the staff at Mountain Street Pharmacy.”
“I’d like to thank again DeShay Oliver, Deputy Health Director of Cleveland County Public Health Department for allowing  Mountain Street Pharmacy to administer these COVID vaccines,” Propst said. “I also want to thank Health Department Director of Pharmacy, Dr. Chris Breese, Pharm.D. for all his help.”
“We are so grateful to Dr. Tracy Arnold, DNP, RN, Dean of Gardner Webb’s Hunt School of Nursing, along with Dr. Sarah Tate, DNP, RN, Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Clinical Coordinator who provided the three nursing students for the clinic. Student nurses from their program were Zebib Zera, Caitlin Hunt, and Kiersten Laney.”
 “Of great help to us were Lila Johnson and Abilia Peeler, who normally work at the health department from the state entering all the information into the NCCVMS. Their help was crucial because it helped get this data entered quickly,” Propst said. “Helping them enter the data were Deborah Gwyn and Caitlin Queen.” Most of the data was entered that day.
Central United Methodist Church, Minister Rev. Bruce Gwyn, along with 17 church members volunteered in various roles. RNs Mary Lou Ware, Audrey Brooks, and Susan Hluch worked throughout the day drawing the vaccines. Check-in and temperature staff included Tricia Propst, Linda Childers, and Drew White.
Church facility setup was handled by Joe Patterson and Barry Brogdon. Jim Larson handled various jobs. Debbie Green and Barry Brogdon handled intake and confirmed info provided prior to immunization. Gene and Melissa Bragg assisted with the questionnaires.
Community volunteers from The Walt Disney Company included Jim Larson, Wayne Hawkins, and Barbara Justice. Tim Miller and Gibb Brazzell helped with parking. Other church volunteers included Jeff Dixon and Carol Brazzell.
Mountain Street Pharmacy provided Pharmacist immunizers including Certified Tech Immunizer Mark Woodall, Pharmacists Allan Propst, Jeff Nunnery, Carson Koone, Jacob and Heather Wallace, with the assistance of Angel Queen.
Propst also thanks Tabitha Thomas from Patrick Senior Center for taking calls and scheduling screenings. Additionally, he thanks Kings Mountain Rescue Squad Captain John Harris for allowing Lindsay Ballard and Shannon Bell to be on-site the entire day.
Those vaccinated Friday will return to Central United Methodist Church on April 16, at the same appointment time, for their second vaccine. Propst asks them to bring the immunization card they were given after their first vaccine, so it can be completed after receiving their second shot.
“I especially want to thank my staff of Mountain Street Pharmacy for all their help during our two COVID-19 clinics, Pharmacist Manager Laura Boyd, Certified Technicians Susan Sipes, Tiffany Lowrance, Sarah Parker, and Karen Tate,” Propst said. “They have been working non-stop behind the scenes for a month to get appointments set and handle all the paperwork. They are the unsung heroes because they have been working constantly to make these clinics possible. I am truly grateful and appreciative of our entire team effort.”

Crow’s Nest now
open to the public

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Crow’s Nest at Kings Mountain County Club opens to the public this week with a soft opening starting this Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day.
On January 7, M.K. Arrowood Holdings. Inc. took over the food services for the club, including the restaurant and bar, as well as the pro-shop concessions, explained Jack Acheson, on-site Manager, Chef, and Liaison to the Club. Essentially, the bar and restaurant operate under a lease. But the group has made updates to the décor and some of the kitchen equipment.
The restaurant was given the name Crow’s Nest, because the Front 9 can be seen from the restaurant. “The Crow is a symbol of coming home, so we thought the name was appropriate. We have a great view of the Front 9 from the patio and covered deck. We recently added a TV out there, just in time for warmer weather. During Covid the club has  seen 15,000 non-member rounds of golf played here,” Acheson said.
The foyer to the club has been renovated, with new tile, fresh paint, and furnishings that welcome guests. “We want folks to feel welcome here, a place where they can stop in for a bite to eat or have a beer on the way home. Soon, we will be adding music and activities throughout the week. We want to give our customers a variety of options, so they visit with us often.”
Acheson is no stranger to Kings Mountain Country Club; when he was 15-years old his family joined   the club. “I’ve played this course for years; I have a lot of very good memories here.”
Prior to taking on the day-to-day operations of Crow’s Nest, Acheson operated a chef consulting business. Before that he and his family owned The Round Bistro in Gastonia, a restaurant well-known for great food. Acheson graduated The Art Institute of Charlotte in 2003, where he received a degree in Culinary Arts.
“We are taking things slowly, trying to navigate COVID-19 and steadily grow our clientele. We do not want to get ahead of ourselves and then have to scale back. We plan music and other activities as soon as it makes sense for us to do so.”
Crow’s Nest restaurant is open to the public and guests are not required to have a country club membership.
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Chief Proctor pins badge on Kings Mountain’s newest member of the force, Officer Childers. See more photos on Page 3A. Photo by Karen Tucker

City swears-in Officer Childers

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

On Friday February 19, KMPD welcomed Officer Wesley Childers to the force. “Officer Childers grew up in Kings Mountain and has wanted to become an officer for this city for many years,” said Chief Proctor. “Officer Childers asked if I would pin his badge on him for his swearing in ceremony. It was an honor for me to do this for him.”
In attendance was many family members and officers of KMPD. Mayor Pro Tem Keith Miller conducted the ceremony and swore Officer Childers in on behalf of the city.

KMPD respond to death on US 74

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

On Monday, March 15, at approximately 06:56 am, Cleveland County Communications dispatched Oak Grove Fire Department and Cleveland County EMS to a vehicle accident on US 74 Bypass in the east bound lanes.
Arriving first responders found a vehicle on the side of the US 74 East Bypass off ramp to Oak Grove Road. Upon investigating further, the owner of the vehicle, Roger Wesley Lineberger, 67, of Matthews, NC was found unresponsive underneath the back tires of the vehicle.
Immediate first aid was given but the subject, succumbed to injuries that he had sustained. A full investigation of the scene was completed by the Kings Mountain Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit with the assistance of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
At this time, no indications of foul play were found regarding this incident. The investigation is still be conducted and if anyone has information pertaining to the investigation, they are asked to contact Sgt. KL Hamrick with the Kings Mountain Police Department at 704-734-0444.

KM man wins lottery

Sidney Brown of Kings Mountain could not believe it when he won the lottery at a convenience store in town. Some tears, some dancing, and some celebration broke out as he reacted to the win.
"I lost it,” he said. “I started crying immediately, running around the store, breakdancing, whatever you want to call it, I was doing it. All I could think about was that I could do everything I finally wanted to do.”
The celebration broke out after Brown purchased his winning $25 Extreme Cash ticket from the Tobacco Barn on North Cleveland Avenue in Kings Mountain.
   “I’ve just been crying and thanking God,” he said. “I’m truly blessed and it’s still not real to me.”
He claimed his prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $70,757.
   “I’ve wanted to get me a house, and buy a little piece of land,” said Brown. “I want to invest. I want to give back to the church that my family grew up in. Just take care of my closest family and friends that always looked out for me ever since I was young.”
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Dr. Plonk celebrates 102nd  birthday

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

Dr. George Plonk was born on March 17, 1919 and celebrates his 102nd birthday this week. A lot has changed in Kings Mountain, and the world, in the last 102 years. The following information was taken from an exhibit on early doctors in Kings Mountain, and from an interview recorded by Scott Neisler in 1995 courtesy of Kings Mountain Historical Museum.
Dr. George Plonk grew up with nine siblings on a farm between Kings Mountain and Cherryville. Of the ten Plonk children, all but the youngest were born with the assistance of a midwife at home; the last-born son was birthed with the assistance of a doctor, Dr. Stokes. This was representative of a regional trend taking place in the first half of the 20th century, towards more accessible professional healthcare in rural North Carolina.
Dr. Anthony and Dr. Hord were the Plonks’ family doctors, and Dr. Plonk recalls that in those days some fresh ears of corn or whatever else was in season on the local farms were often used as payment to those doctors who made house calls to the people of Kings Mountain.
He spent his first six grades in a one-room schoolhouse on land donated by his grandfather, before attending Kings Mountain High School. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1940.
After earning his degree from Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia, he served two years in the U.S. Army as a physician in Europe. Following his service, Dr. Plonk made his way back to the Kings Mountain area. After working as a general practitioner for several years in town, Dr. Plonk returned to medical school to study surgery, this time studying at the University of Pennsylvania. From there he went on to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he practiced from 1952 until 1957.
Of his degrees, the 1937 certificate from the American Board of Surgery declaring that he is a Board-certified surgeon is the one Dr. Plonk is most proud to have earned. He also recalls in the interview with Scott Neisler that the mentors he had through his early years of studying and practicing medicine that inspired his own caring, compassionate his bedside manner.
During WWII, Dr. Plonk served two years in the U.S. Army, including serving as a physician in Europe.  In the interview, Dr. Plonk explains how he learned about the use of bone screws for the first time from prisoners of war who had been treated with them before they were released back to the Fracture Ward where he was stationed. This is a good example of how advances in military medicine translated into significant progress in civilian medicine.
Dr. Plonk’s first wife, Margaret Cooper, was also from Kings Mountain, and with a new hospital having opened there, they decided to go home. In 1957, he became Kings Mountain Hospital’s first surgeon.
In the interview, Dr. Plonk explains how the first few years of surgery at Kings Mountain Hospital were challenging. By that point, he and his wife had five children, and even though they were living in a one-bedroom apartment in his wife’s parent’s house, it was still difficult to make ends meet.
Dr. Plonk still had the opportunity to return to his practice in Raleigh, and he had made up his mind that was what he had to do to support his family. Fortunately, a group of concerned citizens circulated a petition urging Dr. Plonk to stay in Kings Mountain. Honored by the effort, and by the number of signatures, he decided to stay, continuing to practice medicine in Kings Mountain until his retirement in the 1980s.
During his long career, he tended and mended the citizens of this region as one of its most respected doctors for over forty years. Dr. Plonk frequently runs into his former surgical patients around town and receives expressions of their gratitude – it is not uncommon for him to hear, “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you.”
  In addition to his career as one of Kings Mountain’s most esteemed surgeons, Dr. Plonk has always been an active community member, serving in the Lions Club and the Kings Mountain Rotary Club.
   During his lifetime, he saw medical care in Kings Mountain transition from backcountry home medicine to professional doctors making house calls; then he watched Kings Mountain Hospital grow from a 24-bed facility in 1951 to a full service 102 bed hospital with state-of-the-art technology. He saw the development of life-saving antibiotics and vaccines, as well as advances in anesthetics, cancer-fighting medicines, and minimally invasive surgical techniques. 
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City to implement new billing software 

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

The City of Kings Mountain will be implementing NorthStar Utility Solutions billing software to better serve their customers on March 29. There will be changes in the billing statement and online features offered. Questions that you may have are:
• Will the due dates change? No, all due dates will remain the same. All payments are due by the 20th of each month to avoid a late fee and accounts need to be paid in full by the last day of each month to avoid additional fees and possible disconnection.
• Will I need to redo my paperwork (CSA, SSI information, Payment Arrangements, Bank Draft, etc.)? No, you will only need to complete paperwork if there have been any changes.
• Will I need to give my bank new information for sending my payment? No
• Why did my account number change? When changing software companies, the account format changed so we had no choice but to change the accounts number. You will see your new account number in the top left hand corner of the billing statement (see image of new statement below).
• Will my bill go up with you buying new software? No
• Can I still pay my bill at City Hall? Yes, the lobby and drive-thru hours will remain the same.
• How do I get to this new portal? There will be no changes as to how you get to the new portal, just the look and features once you click on the “online bill pay” link:  (see image of the customer portal below).
• What payment methods are available now? Online payment (e-check, visa, master card, american express, discover, apple pay, and google pay), check, cash, money order, bank draft, and we have added IVR feature (855) 844-0495. Note: if you have the link saved in your favorites please update.
• I have two electric meters on my property. Will I have two graphs for electric on my bill? The graphs will be one per service so if you have multiple electric meters the consumption represented on the graph will be combine consumption for each service.

Gov. Cooper issues Executive Order to connect unemployed with jobs

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

Governor Roy Cooper today issued an Executive Order that the Department of Commerce will increase efforts to help North Carolinians who file for unemployment benefits return to work.
Executive Order 200 establishes a flexible work search requirement for all new claimants who apply for unemployment benefits on or after March 14, 2021. With the recent end of the Extended Benefits program for state unemployment under federal law, this step will ensure that out of work North Carolinians can access job seeking assistance available through NCWorks and other state-sponsored job search programs.
   The Order directs the Department of Commerce to interpret work search laws flexibly to account for burdens posed by COVID-19 that could affect a job seeker’s ability to satisfy search requirements. The department is also directed to establish a broad set of reemployment activities that qualify for a claimant’s job search.
“More jobs are being created as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, and people who are out of work need help getting them. Unemployment payments have been critical for families and we want them to have jobs before the payments end,” said Governor Cooper.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $10 billion in unemployment benefits has been disbursed to North Carolinians through multiple state and federal benefit programs, despite the state providing among the fewest weeks of state benefits in the country.
In his COVID relief budget announced in February, Governor Cooper proposed expanding state unemployment benefits, which are still among the lowest in the country. Since the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance is high and the ongoing need of North Carolinians out of work due to the pandemic is so great, he proposed that the maximum duration of benefits be increased to 26 weeks and the maximum benefit be increased from $350 to $500 per week.
For assistance searching for work in North Carolina, job seekers can contact NCWorks for remote services at NCWorks.gov or call 1-855-NCWORKS.
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COVID vaccine clinic in KM Friday

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Mountain Street Pharmacy and Shelby Drugstore, working in conjunction with the Cleveland County Public Health Center, will host a COVID-19 Vaccine clinic on Friday, March 12 at Central United Methodist Church in Kings Mountain.
Do not call Mountain Street Pharmacy or Shelby Drugstore to schedule an appointment. Those interested in getting the vaccine should call the Patrick Senior Center to complete the screening and pre-registration process. Call 704-734-0447 between 1:30 pm – 4 pm. Calls will be taken daily, now through March 11 or until all appointments have been filled.
Qualified individuals will be contacted later in the week if an appointment is available to you.
   The Clinic is open to the following eligible individuals:
• Persons 65 years of age or older
• Healthcare workers
• School employees/Childcare workers
  Mountain Street Pharmacist Alan Propst wants to thank Mayor Scott Neisler, City Manager Marilyn Sellers, and Patrick Senior Center Director Tabitha Thomas for their part in helping organize this COVID vaccine opportunity for the City of Kings Mountain.
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The Wonderland Experience live at Patriots Park

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Christy Conner

It’s time to visit Wonderland! The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department is excited to partner with Sigmon Theatrical to present The Wonderland Experience, an immersive, multi-sensory, intimate theater production where audience members literally walk into and through the world of Alice in Wonderland featuring live characters, interactive activities, breathtaking costumes and scenery, amazing circus feats, puppetry, special effects, and 360º immersive environments.
Fall down the rabbit hole (a magical tunnel with swirling lights) and meet Alice, the White Rabbit, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, solve a riddle by the Cheshire Cat, celebrate at a mad tea party with the Mad Hatter, and have a royal visit with the Queen of Hearts.
Guests can travel through the experience in their own group of family or friends, with a limit of ten (10) people per group. Tickets, with a scheduled departure time, are required to attend this event in order to reduce crowd size and maximize the guest experience. General Admission tickets are free of charge, and may be secured for your group at www.KingsMountainEvents.com/Wonderland. You can also upgrade your group to a VIP Experience for a small fee, including a souvenir photo, and a special gift that unlocks extra magic inside the experience.
The Wonderland Experience is a safe, socially distanced adventure for the entire family. Audience members will be required to wear face coverings, temperatures will be taken upon arrival, gloves will be provided to audience members to wear throughout the experience, all touch points will be sanitized between groups and a thorough deep clean will take place each evening, in addition to other safety protocols.
Experience Wonderland, Thursday, April 1 and through Saturday, April 3. The event begins each evening at 5:30 pm.
To learn more, and to reserve your experience today, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit the web at https://www.KingsMountainEvents.com/Wonderland.
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Mrs. Sandra Stirewalt. Photo by Windy Bagwell

KMMS Employee of the Month

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Windy Bagwell

Congratulations to Mrs. Sandra Stirewalt on being selected as the Kings Mountain Middle School February Employee of the Month.  Mrs. Stirewalt is more than just a substitute teacher; she is a hard-working team player that goes the extra mile to help everyone she encounters.  She works tirelessly with individual students to promote their success. Mrs. Stirewalt is well respected throughout our school community.  Her contributions to KMMS are much appreciated and very impactful.  Congratulations Mrs. Stirewalt!  Thank you for all you do for KMMS!

Homecoming Court chosen

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Students at Kings Mountain High School voted for their 2021 Homecoming Court, narrowing the list of 23 nominees to five.  Those chosen include Jenna Ramsey – Band, Emma Goff – Art, Bailey Ledford – SPO, Abby Henson – Varsity Cheerleading, and Emma Herndon – Ambassadors.
Other nominees chosen representing the schools’ organizations and clubs include Madison Ayscue -FCA, Kennedy Barnes - Beta Club, Emily Costner - C.T.E.H.S., D’Erica Davis - Kings Revue, Bailey Dulin – HECS,  Olivia Green – Debate Club, Ansley Habel - Math Club, Lauren Hullender – Drama, Keegan Irby - Interact Club, Rachel Johnson - Symphonic Chorale, Rachel Longwell – MMAW, Carmyn Mack - International Thespian Society, Katherine Martin – NAHS, Madison Morrow - Tri-M Music Honors Society, Olivia Moss – Milestones, Sara Putnam - Science Club, Kennedy Ross – KMBA, and Rebecca Alcia Nakamura Trahan - Anime Club.
The student body will vote again, choosing their Queen from a member of the Homecoming Court. The winner will be announced on or around March 12. 
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Pre-K screenings
begin on March 22

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

Cleveland County Schools begin pre-school screenings March 22 – March 25, and March 29 – April 3. Schedule your child’s screening by calling 704-476-8064 between the hours of 8:30 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Eligible students must live in Cleveland County and be 4-years old by August 31.
Office of School Readiness is located at 308 W. Marion Street, Shelby, NC 28150. Building B is on the grounds of the old Shelby Middle School – in the small building near tennis courts with parking in the back. Screenings are by appointment only and Cleveland County Schools will not offer make-up screenings.
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As the casino construction continues, City Council is considering a text amendment that would allow for no required yard setbacks on the property. Photo by Loretta Cozart

City to consider a Public Hearing on zoning setbacks for federal tribal land 

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain City Council will hold a special meeting of the City of Kings Mountain City Council on Wednesday, March 10 at 6 pm to discuss scheduling a public hearing for Tuesday March 30 at 6 pm, allowing them to consider a zoning text amendment allowing no required yard setbacks when federal tribal property is adjacent to the City of Kings Mountain ETJ.
The meeting on March 10 is to add the public hearing to the March 30 agenda, so they can consider the text amendment during that meeting.
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Governor eases some COVID-19 restrictions, defers some 
ABC Permit renewal fees

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

On Feb. 25, Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 4 – Extend ABC Permit Renewal Fees into law. The legislation will help bar owners by allowing them to defer ABC permit fees until they are able to reopen at full capacity. The bill clarifies an existing emergency relief law passed in 2020 to allow bar owners to defer their permit fees up to 90 days after they are able to operate at full capacity.
“I’m grateful to see this legislation signed into law,” said Chairman Moffitt. “House Bill 4 will give private bars and small business owners reprieve until they are back at full capacity. The House ABC Committee will continue to advocate for NC businesses and plans to file additional relief legislation to help even more restaurants, bars, and businesses across the state recover from the COVID pandemic.”
“This is welcome news for these struggling business owners,” said Majority Leader John Bell. “I appreciate the hard work of Representative Moffitt and other bill sponsors to get this much-needed legislation signed into law. These small businesses continue to face significant challenges due to the Governor’s restrictions, and it is critical we continue to support and stand with them during these difficult times.”
“This legislation will provide many struggling businesses a much-deserved continuation of the deferral on their ABC permit fees,” said Representative Jamie Boles.  “We know this will not repair all the damage that has been done, but any help we can provide to these bars and restaurants will go a long way in helping our communities recover.”
 “I am elated that House Bill 4 became law today,” said Rep. Paré. “I am even more happy for all of the small businesses that will benefit from this law. HB 4 will provide flexibility to private bars that were crushed by COVID and numerous executive orders. I look forward to continuing my work to support small businesses at the Legislature and provide relief to those affected by the pandemic.”
House Bill 4 was filed on January 27 by Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Henderson), along with primary sponsors Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), Rep. Jamie Boles (R-Moore), and Rep. Erin Paré (R-Wake). The legislation was drafted in response to news in January that countless bar owners had their liquor permits revoked unexpectedly by the ABC Commission due to delinquent fees. House Bill 4 passed unanimously through the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper on February 25. The legislation goes into effect immediately, with Section 1 retroactively becoming effective June 30, 2020.
On Feb. 24, Governor Cooper lifted his Modified Stay at Home Order that required people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm.
Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors. 

Project Clean Sweep planned for early April

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

The City of Kings Mountain’s Codes and Public Works Departments are teaming up for another spring cleanup April 5 – 9. The city is offering a free pickup service for yard trash, junk, and litter. Items must be placed in the front yard next to the curb. The normal fee of $20 per truckload for collecting yard items will be waived during that week.
The intent of this project is to remove litter and junk that has accumulated on the exterior of properties, excluding items such as furniture, mattresses, batteries, electronic equipment, or paint cans. Do no not bring items from inside the house or other buildings to be collected. If you do place unapproved items, the standard $20 fee per truckload will be required to be paid prior to removal by the city.
Plan now to take advantage of the free service and to do your part to clean up the city. For questions on approved items, or to schedule a pickup for unapproved items, call 704-734-0735.
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Brooke Clark with her trophy after the 2019 5k race. Photo by David Evans

10Miler race has begun
Gateway 5K scheduled
for March 13

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain’s Gateway Trail’s 5K is scheduled for March 13. Registration is $20 and ends March 10 at 11:59 pm. This year’s race mark the 11th year because all races were cancelled in 2020 due to Coronavirus.
The 5K race begins at the Trail Head at 807 Battleground Avenue, Kings Mountain, Lat: 35-13-49 / Long: 81-21-02. As of Saturday, 50 runners had registered. T-shirts are only guaranteed for those who register for the 5K by March 5. Runners will have a staggered start, allowing space between them as a safety precaution.
Due to new technology purchased by Race Director Starr Dowell, chips will enable runners to start and end the race without timers.  “When a runner goes through the gate on Quarry Road, they will have a chip on that will be scanned so we will know the exact time someone starts,” Brutko said. “It will scan them again when they finish. Runners can leave with their chip because they are disposable. So, we will not collect them after the race. Runners are strongly discouraged from gathering afterward. We ask that they just finish and leave.”
There is no reason for runners to gather because the winners are not being announced after the race. That evening, the winners will be announced on the Gateway Trail Facebook Page.
The 10Miler began Monday, March 1 and continues through March 12. Runners report on the honor system. Registration is $20. Each runner runs by themselves from Quarry Road to Galilee Church Road, and back. They must report their time to Starr no later than midnight on March 13. T-shirts are not provided for this race. As of Saturday, 18 had registered for this event.
All winners of both runs will pick up their trophies at the Arts Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday, March 16 through March 20. There will be a few members from the Gateway Trail Committee there handing out trophies. The trophies are unique pieces of pottery made by members of the Gateway Trail Committee.
If you have any questions about this race, please contact the race director starr@finishwelltiming.com.

Back the Blue cookout
for KMPD officers Saturday

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

A Back the Blue Cookout will be held at the Cleveland County Courthouse on March 6 from noon until 6 pm by Trudie Wilson and Elmer Obovie. The event supports Officer Skinner and Cpl. Lee Whittington, two Kings Mountain police officers injured in the line of duty. Donations are accepted and will be given to support the families.
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American Legion
Veteran’s breakfast  Saturday

 

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion Post 155 announces its monthly Veteran’s Breakfast is this Saturday morning, March 6, from 9 am to 11 am at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street.
All veterans are invited to this free breakfast the first Saturday of each month. Guests can dine-in or carry-out their meal. Selections include eggs, bacon, liver mush, gravy, grits, biscuits, toast, coffee, and juice.
The gathering is an opportunity for the community to support local veterans by joining them for a meal and visiting with them in fellowship. Non-veterans are asked to make a small donation to offset the cost of the meal, enabling American Legion Post to continue the program on a monthly basis.

City Council meeting
$1.5M approved for  Downtown Streetscape

(March 3, 2021 Issue)


By Loretta Cozart

City Council unanimously approved a budget amendment in the amount of $1.5M for the Phase II Streetscape project which should be completed by August. Funds for the project are being taken from General Fund ($500,000), Capital Reserve Fund ($500,000), and Electric Fund ($500,000).
“We’ve never had a full-blown Streetscape study and project during my 32-year tenure with the City of Kings Mountain,” said City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “This will be done with no rate increase, tax increase, or borrowing money from a financial institution.”
“I’d like to add that I feel we have gone beyond with funding and projects downtown with the city stepping up to the plate, and that I hope this will bring an enthusiasm and desire from the private sector to make the improvements necessary to fill the empty buildings in the downtown and achieve our ultimate goal. That goal is 100% occupancy downtown,” Sellers said.
Other budget amendments approved during the meeting include:
• A budget amendment in the amount of $24,000 to budget receipt of grant funding from Firehouse Subs Foundation to purchase AED’s (defibrillators) for Police cars. The grant requires no match, so the equipment is fully financed by the grant.
• A budget amendment in the amount of $150,000 to budget expenditures for HVAC repairs/upgrades necessary at City Hall. The project is necessary due to the fact the current software controlling the thermostats is no longer supported. Also, issues with the air handler need to be addressed due to inadequate, or in some cases excessive, heating and cooling in certain areas of the building.
• A budget amendment in the amount of $175,000 to budget expenditures for roof replacements/repairs at the YMCA and Police Departments. Both roofs currently leak and require imminent
repair  and or  replacement given current age and condition, staff recommendation is replacement.
   Three Public Hearings were scheduled for the next city council meeting on March 30:
• to consider a City of Kings Mountain Economic Development Financial Incentive Policy, as well as a proposed Text Amendment to the Downtown Development Incentives Grant Policy for the City of Kings Mountain, North Carolina as Amended February 24, 2015, increasing the amount awarded from $750.00 to $2,000.00.
•  regarding the trash transfer station in operation at the Public Works Facility.
• to consider a rezoning application from R.D. Harrell Company to rezone property located in Cleveland County and consisting of 56.95 acres, more or less, owned by R.D. Harrell and Petitioner R.D. Harrell Company with road access on Kings Mountain Boulevard, Crocker Road, and located North of Margrace Road. Property being further Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 44 Page 74 known as Parcel Numbers 11081, 55635, 11082, 72747, 13810, and 62514 from R-10 to Conditional District R6 PUD – Case No. Z-14-1-21.
   City council also adopted three resolution:
• granting Eddie & Victoria Byars relief from Section 2.8 Special Provisions for Family Subdivision, Subsection 3 of the Subdivision Ordinance for the City of Kings Mountain to allow for an easement that is greater than the 500 feet maximum for a 5.00-acre tract (Parent Tract 11014) off of Phifer Farm Road.
• authorizing the donation of a 1984 Chevrolet Truck to the Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department.
• to formally adopt the Cleveland Gaston Lincoln Regional Mitigation Plan and agree to take such other official action as may be reasonable and necessary to carry out the proposed action plan.
Both the Mayor and Mike Butler, chairman of the TDA, were authorized to enter into an Audit Contract with Martin Starnes and Associates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021 as required by the Local Government Commission.
City council awarded bid in the amount of f $144,000 to Carolina Air Solutions for Air Handling Units and Control Panels for City Hall air conditioning unit.
   Two appointments and reappointments to the Boards and Commissions were approved:
• Lew Dellinger – Appointed to the ABC Board for a 3-year term expiring 1/31/2024.
• Marian Denise Edwards – Appointed to the Main Street Advisory Board to fill a vacant seat expiring on 6/30/2023.
   City Council also approved adding the Main Street Advisory Board to the Policy for City Council Appointments to Authorities, Boards, Commissions, and Committees. This was inadvertently omitted when the policy was written.
   A Public Hearing was held to consider a request from Larry D. Carroll for a Voluntary Contiguous Annexation Petition for property located at 2108 Vestibule Church Road. Staff recommended continuing the Public Hearing for several reasons including lack of plat map. City council approved of the continuation until March 30 at 6 pm.
   During the regular meeting, city council unanimously approved an ordinance to demolish and remove a dilapidated dwelling and accessory buildings located at 123 McGinnis Street, due to the determination that it is not fit for human habitation. According to Codes Director Clint Houser, “This dwelling does not meet the minimum standards as outlined in the City of Kings Mountain Housing Code.”
   City council also approved a Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Kings Mountain and the NC Department of Commerce for the purposes of a complimentary review of ordinance changes in the Kings Mountain Downtown Protection, Preservation & Enhancement District.
   Kendig Keast Collaborative presented an update regarding the Unified Development Ordinance and presented their timeline. City council discussed future Council Work Sessions and times for public input. Mayor Neisler commented that he had reached out to House Speaker Tim Moore to discuss the possibility of pushing the deadline back to December due to challenges related to COVID-19.
   City Council entered into close session to consult with City Attorney regarding potential claims to be filed on behalf of the City regarding violations of the Community Appearance Ordinance and junk car violations. No action was taken.
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Murder suspects arrested

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

On February 18, at 11:45 pm, the Gaston County Police 911 Center received a report of a shooting at Lowery Wood Rd. and Lewis Farm Rd. Upon arrival officers found two males, Robert Lucas (Luke) Gibby, 22 years old, and Adam Kale Wood, 19 years old, near the intersection deceased.
Approximately two hours later, another male, Todd Payton Lee Waggoner, 21 years old, entered Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem with non-life threatening injuries. This male reported to have been at the scene earlier in the night.
Through the investigative process, three suspects have been identified. Warrants have been obtained and served for two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder on the following suspects: Michael Shane Barnes, 19, 95 Callie Lane, Taylorsville, NC, and Kaleb Isiah Carver, 21, 24 Steve Watts Drive, Taylorsville, NC.
Both suspects are currently incarcerated in the Gaston County Jail on a hold pending a first appearance in Gaston County District Court.
The third suspect is a juvenile that has been charged on juvenile petitions and arrested for two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder. The juvenile’s information cannot be
released at this time.
The Gaston County Police wish to thank the public and out law enforcement partners for their help in this investigation. The following agencies assisted during the investigation
North Carolina SBI, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Bessemer City Police Department, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Wilks County Sheriff’s Office, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Wilkesboro City Police Department, and Gaston County Sheriff’s
office.
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The new Broad River plant joins more than 40 other Duke Energy solar plants in NC. Photo provided by Duke Energy

Duke Energy begins construction
on
 50 MW solar project

Expanding its significant clean-energy portfolio, Duke Energy has begun construction on the 50-MW Broad River Solar power plant in Cleveland County.
The project will be owned and operated by Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial subsidiary of Duke Energy. The project was selected as part of the competitive bidding process established by 2017’s landmark solar legislation in North Carolina.
The power plant will contain more than 170,000 solar panels across approximately 500 acres near Boiling Springs. The facility will power the equivalent of 12,500 homes. It is expected to reach commercial operation by the end of 2021.
“Solar power continues to play a big role in our aggressive pursuit to reduce carbon emissions and achieve our net-zero carbon goal for 2050,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We’ll continue to deliver renewable energy by building and purchasing more carbon-free power for our customers.”
 Under North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement for Renewable Energy, proposed projects must be built where there is a need for energy capacity on the Duke Energy system in North Carolina or South Carolina. The bids can come from any company, including Duke Energy, and can be in the form of power purchase agreements (PPA), utility self-developed facilities or utility asset acquisitions.
 “In addition to increasing the renewable energy resources in the state, the project will also deliver significant economic benefits to Cleveland County,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Renewables.
During peak construction, Broad River Solar will generate approximately 120 jobs. Along with indirect economic benefits that accompany solar project development, such as increased local spending in the service and construction industries, Broad River Solar will also have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing local tax revenues to the county and local school districts, as well as meaningful payments to the participating landowners.
The facility’s design, procurement  of  inverters, balance of plant systems and construction of the project will be performed by Swinerton. The solar power generated by Broad River Solar will be sold through a 20-year power purchase agreement.
   Because of the project, the Duke Energy Foundation recently awarded a $5,000 grant to the Cleveland County Schools Educational Foundation and Crest High School to add a renewable energy and green construction skills module into the school’s workforce development curriculum.
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Due to pandemic census delays
Elections could be moved to 2022

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain and Shelby could see their elections moved to 2022 due to census delays. The Census Bureau ended the self-response and field data collection operations for the 2020 census on Oct. 15. The statutory deadline for the delivery of apportionment data was missed because of the delays caused by the pandemic and the anomalies found in the census data.
On Jan. 27, the Census Bureau announced the apportionment data is expected to be delivered by April 30. However, on Feb.12, the Bureau announced the timeline for releasing the redistricting data to the states would occur by September 30.
North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 160A Cities and Towns, is very specific with regard to redistricting after the decennial census and the process to move the election is very complicated. The statute reads, “Municipal redistricting must be completed by third business day before the opening of the filing period, (Wednesday, July 21, 2021). If the city or town determines that it will not be possible to adopt the redistricting changes before the third business day before opening of the filing period, the municipality may adopt a resolution delaying the election.”
This is because the council of any city which elects the members of its governing board on a district basis, like Kings Mountain, or where candidates for such office must reside in a district in order to run, like Shelby, is required to evaluate the existing district boundaries to determine whether it would be lawful to hold the next election without revising districts to correct population imbalances.
If such revision is necessary, the council must consider whether it will be possible to adopt the changes  (and obtain approval from the United States Department of Justice, if necessary) before the third day before opening of the filing period for the municipal election.
   The council must also take into consideration the time that will be required to afford ample opportunities for public input. If the council determines that it most likely will not be possible to adopt the changes (and obtain federal approval, if necessary) before the third business day before opening of the filing period and determines further that the population imbalances are so significant that it would not be lawful to hold the next election using the current electoral districts, it may adopt a resolution delaying the election.
Before adopting such a resolution, the council must also hold a public hearing on it. The notice of public hearing shall summarize the proposed resolution and shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation, not less than seven days before the date fixed for the hearing.
“The NC Legislature is also considering moving all municipal elections to 2022,” said Director of Elections of Cleveland County Clifton Philbeck. “Either way, if the election is moved, the new filing period would be noon Monday, December 6, 2021 through noon Friday, December 17, 2021.  The Legislature could also change the 2022 Primary Election from March to May 2022.  If this happens, the filing period would be in February 2022.”
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Clev. County Board of Education
approves 2021-2022 school calendar

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Cleveland County Board of Education unanimously approved implementing a new school calendar to in the fall term. School will start on Monday, Aug 23, and end on Friday, June 3, 2022.
North Carolina law requires the term to begin on the Monday closest to August 26. Schools superintendent Dr. Stephen Fisher explained, “This is problematic because that schedule makes it difficult for students to complete exams before Christmas,” he said.
Two calendars were shared online for the community’s feedback: one that follows the current calendar, and another that would allow students to take exams before leaving for winter break.
Fisher shared that during the two-week window for community response, 769 people submitted their preference on the two school calendars offered. “Those in favor of the new calendar numbered 630, or 81%. Those who preferred to keep the current calendar numbered 139, or 18%.”
“The challenge with the new calendar is that it is out-of-balance,” Fisher said. “The first semester has 83 days, and the second semester has 97 days. But the second semester typically has bad weather in January and February, and A/P exams also take place in the spring.”
The school board unanimously approved the new calendar beginning in the fall.
In other business, it was determined that fifth-grade students in the Burns and Crest zone will return to in-classroom learning five days a week beginning Monday March 8. The Shelby and Kings Mountain zone will return to the classroom on Monday, March 22. Families who wish to continue remote-only learning continue to have that option.
  The board voted 7-2 in favor of this plan. Dena Green and Coleman Hunt voted against.
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These runners participated in the Gateway Trail 5K Race in 2019. Photo by Shirley Brutko

Gateway 5K and 10Miler scheduled for March

(February 24, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain’s Gateway Trail Committee confirmed that their 5K and 10Miler Run are still scheduled for March, but the races will be handled differently this year due to COVID-19. This year’s races mark the 11th year, as all races were cancelled in 2020 due to Coronavirus.
The Trail 5K Run will be held March 13 starting at 9 am. Registration is $20 and ends March 10 at 11:59 pm. Runners will have a staggered start, allowing space between them as a safety precaution. “Runners must start with their masks on and can take them off while on the trail. When the runners return, they must put their mask back on, so it is going to be safe,” according to Kings Mountain Gateway Trail President Shirley Brutko.
The 5K race begins at the Trail Head at 807 Battleground Avenue, Kings Mountain, Lat: 35-13-49 / Long: 81-21-02. As of Saturday, 50 runners had registered. T-shirts are only guaranteed for those who register for the 5K by March 5.
“Race Director Starr Dowell ordered all new equipment that automates the timing of the race. When a runner goes through the gate on Quarry Road, they will have a chip on that will be scanned so we will know the exact time someone starts,” Brutko said. “It will scan them again when they finish. Runners can leave with their chip because they are disposable. So, we will not collect them after the race. Runners are strongly discouraged from gathering afterward. We ask that they just finish and leave.”
There is no reason for runners to gather because the winners are not being announced after the race.
 That evening, the winners will be announced on the Gateway Trail Facebook Page.
The 10Miler is scheduled between March 1 – 12, and runners report on the honor system. Registration is $20. Each runner runs by themselves from Quarry Road to Galilee Church Road, and back. They must report their time to Starr no later than midnight on March 13. T-shirts are not provided for this race. As of Saturday, 18 had registered for this event.
All winners of both runs will pick up their trophies at the Arts Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday, March 16 through March 20. There will be a few members from the Gateway Trail Committee there handing out trophies. The trophies are unique pieces of pottery made by members of the Gateway Trail Committee.
If you have any questions about this race, please contact the race director starr@finishwelltiming.com
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Michael Shane Barnes

Gastonia Police identify suspect
in KM homicide investigation

(February 24, 2021 Issue)

On February 18, at 11:45 pm, the Gaston County Police 911 Center received a report of a shooting at Lowery Wood Rd. and Lewis Farm Rd. in Kings Mountain.
Upon arrival, officers found two males, Robert Lucas (Luke) Gibby, 22 years old, and Adam Kale Wood, 19 years old, near the intersection deceased.
Approximately two hours later, another male, Todd Payton Lee Waggoner, 21 years old, entered Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem with non-life threatening injuries. This male reported to have been at the scene earlier in the night.
Through an on-going investigation, a suspect has been identified. Warrants have been obtained for 2 counts of first degree murder and 1 count of attempted 1st degree murder on:
Michael Shane Barnes, white male,19, of Taylorsville, NC. He is described as 5’ 8” with sandy hair and blue eyes.
Barnes is considered armed and dangerous. The public is cautioned not to interact with Barnes.  Instead they are encouraged to contact 911.
The Gaston County Police ask anyone with information about this investigation to contact Gaston County Police Detective J. Brienza at 704-866-3320.  Information can also be provided through Crimestoppers at 704-861-8000. A monetary reward is available for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Barnes.
This is an on-going investigation. There is no further information to be released at this time.
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Back the Blue events help local officers

(February 24, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


Two local Kings Mountain Police officers will benefit from fundraising events being held on their behalf in March. A year ago, Officer Skinner was injured in the line of duty and is still recovering. In December Cpl. Lee Whittington was shot after responding to a call near Kings Mountain County Club.
A Back the Blue Cookout event will be held at the Cleveland County Courthouse on March 6 from noon until 6 pm by Trudie Wilson and Elmer Obovie to support both men. Donations are accepted and will be given to the families.
Lisa Cash has organized a second Back the Blue event for Officer Skinner
on March 13 from noon to 5 pm at American Legion Post 155 on East Gold Street in Kings Mountain. Hot dog plates, chips, desserts,, and a drink will be available for a donation. Police, Fire, and EMT eat for free. Raffle items will also be available, and tickets are 1 for $5, or 3 for $10. All the proceeds go directly to Officer Skinner’s family.
The community is encouraged to show their support for the Officer Skinner and his family by coming by throughout the afternoon. Contact Lisa Cash at 704-685-2930 with questions.
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Open entries for
“I AM WOMAN” 2021

(February 24, 2021 Issue)

Artists are invited to express their interpretation of the feminine and compete for prizes in Southern Arts Society’s annual “I AM WOMAN” exhibit. This is a judged show with first, second and third place prizes along with three merit awards. Though the exhibit and competition focuses on the feminine or female experience, both men and women may enter work for the show, allowing for a variety of viewpoints to be expressed.
All work must be original, completed within the last two years. Painting (oil, watercolor, acrylic, pastel), drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, mixed media, and fiber are eligible. Two-dimensional work is restricted to 48" by 48" including frame. Please read the prospectus/entry form on our website CALL TO ARTIST page for entry specifications http://southernartssociety.org/call-to-artists/.    All work will be accepted unless it does not meet our criteria. Entry Fees apply.
Deliver Art: Deliver artwork February 23-25 during gallery hours 10 am – 2 pm and Saturday February 27 from 11 am – 4 pm and Sunday February 28 from 1-4 pm.
Public Reception: Saturday March 13, 2021 from 6-8 pm; Awards presented at 7 pm (dependent on COVID restrictions).
Exhibit dates: “I AM WOMAN” will be on exhibit March 3 thru April 16, 2021.
Southern Arts Society (SASi) Gift Shop & Gallery is located at 301 N. Piedmont Ave. at the intersection of Piedmont and Battleground Avenues, Kings Mountain, NC, in the historic Southern Railway Depot. SASi offers a gift shop, ongoing exhibits and art competitions, programs, and classes in a variety of media for artists of all levels. GALLERY HOURS: Tues-Wed-Thurs-Sat 10 am – 2 pm and by appointment.
Information: Ph 704.739.5585 Email southernartssociety@gmail.com
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Free Medicare seminar
to be held on March 9

(February 24, 2021 Issue)

SHIIP, the Senior’s Health Insurance Information Program, is a division of the NC Department of Insurance that offers free, objective information about Medicare, Medicare supplements, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare fraud and abuse, and long-term care insurance.
SHIIP will conduct a free seminar entitled: Welcome to Medicare – Zoom Seminar presented by the Patrick Senior Center on Tuesday, March 9 from 5:30 – 7 pm. Call the Patrick Senior Center to register and receive the Zoom link.
To register, call 704-734-0447. For additional information, contact Lynn Lail.
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Diana Bramble

New Superintendent hired
for KM Battleground

(February 17, 2021 Issue)

Last week, National Park Service (NPS) South Atlantic-Gulf Regional Director Stan Austin announced the selection of Diana Bramble as the new Superintendent of South Carolina’s Cowpens National Battlefield and Kings Mountain National Military Park, effective March 14.
In her role, Bramble will also oversee management of Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and Ninety Six National Historic Site. Bramble has managed the four units on temporary assignment since September.
“Diana brings experience caring for iconic landmarks with complex operations and stories critical to America’s advancement as a democratic society,” Austin said. “As we prepare to mark the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, Diana is wholly committed to protecting the parks’ treasured resources and enhancing collaboration with staff, visitors, partners and gateway communities.”
Bramble said, “I am incredibly grateful to have been selected for this opportunity. The staff here are profoundly dedicated to their work as caretakers of America’s heritage. It is an honor to help lead the park as a team towards an exciting future with many opportunities for partnership and engagement in anticipation of the 250th commemoration of America’s founding.”
Bramble began her NPS career in 2011 as the supervisory horticulturist for Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, with responsibility for horticulture, arboriculture, and grounds management. Four years later, she became chief of maintenance at National Capital Parks-East, where she has managed the entire facility operations and project management portfolio for a vast set of resources spanning 8,000 acres, including historic homes, commuter parkways, earthen and masonry fortifications, working farms, marinas, and a campground. Prior to joining NPS, Bramble worked six years at the Smithsonian Institution as a horticulturist.
Originally from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Bramble holds a Bachelor of Science degree in natural resources from University of Maryland and a Master of Professional Studies in sustainable landscape design from George Washington University. She is a graduate of the NPS Facility Manager Leaders Program and now serves as a program mentor. In 2019, Bramble was awarded the NPS National Capital Area Facility Manager of the Year honor.
Outside of work, Bramble enjoys spoiling her niece and nephews, spending time outdoors, traveling and strength training.
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TIM MOORE

Legislation passed by the NC House
Families can choose In-classroom learning 

(February 17, 2021 Issue)

Families of public school students in North Carolina could choose in-classroom learning under legislation passed by the state House of Representatives in a bipartisan 74-44 vote on Thursday. After passing the state House, the legislation will return to the North Carolina Senate for further consideration.
Senate Bill 37 In-Person Learning Choice for Families lets students continue remote learning if they choose and directs North Carolina schools to provide in-classroom instruction. The bill is supported by more than $1.6 billion in new funds sent to public schools in separate legislation signed by the Governor this week.
The state legislature also fully-funded state per-pupil allotments for schools, promised to “hold harmless” education budgets regardless of enrollment drops, and provided teacher salary step increases during the pandemic, in addition to the new federal funds.
Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), a public school teacher and co-chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said the legislation provides families
 certainty in education and economic planning.
“Currently our students are subject to shifting executive orders and mixed messages from the administration which have created confusion and led to local delays, making it very difficult for parents to plan for their jobs and their child’s education,” Rep. Elmore said Thursday.
   “This legislation gives North Carolina families certainty and access to classrooms by combining over a billion dollars of new education funding with local decision-making to implement a return to in-person learning now.”
   Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said that current restrictions keeping students out of the classroom are forcing parents to miss work or seek education alternatives, and the legislation gives school systems flexibility to adjust student assignments for in-person learning.
   “Closing schools has burdened North Carolina families economically while young people fall behind in their studies, producing a devastating impact on student achievement and exacerbating socieconomic disparities,” Moore said Thursday.
   “We are listening to educators, healthcare experts, parents, and most importantly our students, who have a constitutional right to access education communities that serve their academic needs.”
   “I appreciate the leadership of my colleagues getting North Carolina students back into the classroom with legislation that builds on powerful funding for our schools and provides flexibility to adjust student assignments as needed.”
   The General Assembly provided $335 grants to families of school-age children to assist with increased child-care costs, but experts agree that closed classrooms hurt vulnerable young people the most and widen education gaps between low-income and affluent students. Special education students are hit particularly hard by the loss of in-person learning.
   Expert medical guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, the Harvard School of Public Health, and other leading healthcare organizations demonstrates that there is limited risk of infection in education settings that are prepared safely.
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NICK HENDRICK

Council approves $12M Capital Project Ordinance 

(February 17, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

City Council unanimously approved a $12.02 million dollar Capital Project Ordinance during an Energy Utilities Update in its January 26 meeting. The ordinance for improvements to the electric system infrastructure of the City of Kings Mountain which consists of the construction of an additional Delivery 5 electrical distribution substation and transmission lines that will be installed that will serve the new Delivery 5. Also, there will be six (6) new distribution lines that will come from the substation that will tie into existing distribution lines that are served from other existing City electric substations. The resolution authorizes the Mayor to execute a resolution Declaring Official Intent to Reimburse pursuant to United Treasury Regulations.
“This project has nothing to do with the casino and we are doing this work without a rate increase to customers,” said Assistance City Manager/Energy Services Director Nick Hendricks. The project is generally being funded through wholesale electric savings we have experienced when switching to the Kings Mountain Energy Center Power Plant. “We are preparing for anticipated growth in that area as well as addressing our general growth." To date our existing three substations general capacity at peak is as follows: Gaston St: (95%), York Rd: (100%) and Margrace Rd. (90%). The new Delivery 5 will assist in freeing up the load at other station as well as providing shorter circuits therefore assisting in electric reliability.
This ordinance includes improvements to the electric system infrastructure of the City of Kings Mountain which consists of the construction of an additional substation (Delivery 5) and transmission lines to the substation and distribution lines from the substation totaling $9.02 million.
The following revenues are anticipated to be available to complete these projects:
Proceeds from debt issuance    $9,020,000
Transfers from
other funds-Electric    $3,000,000
Total    $12,020,000
The following amounts are appropriated in the fund:
Capital Outlay-Delivery    $3,015,000
Capital Outlay-Substation    $4,600,000
Capital Outlay-Distribution    $1,405,000
Transfers to other
funds-Electric    $3,000,000
Total    $12,020,000
Essentially, the city plans to use $3,000,000 from the Electric Fund and will finance the entire project at a later date. At that time they will apply for the entire project cost of $12.02 million and will reimburse the Electric Fund at that time. “This is a common practice many municipalities use,” according to Hendricks.
Other items from the report share that Benestar Brands has begun grading at a fast pace. “We are excited because Benestar could be, should be based upon our load numbers, the largest natural gas user 4x larger than our current largest client, which is astronomical,” said  Hendricks.
Hendricks also reported the completion of two projects: Kings Mountain Blvd. Project and the Floyd Street Project.
Kings Mountain Blvd. was completed, and all engineering, design, and easements were handled by staff in-house. This project eliminated back ally exposure by moving Kings Mountain Intermediate School and Life Enrichment Center to the new line on Kings Mountain Blvd. The project included 4000 feet of three phase electric primary circuit construction within the NCDOT 140 foot right-of-way, installation of 20 45-foot poles spaced 200 feet apart, and two 3-phase aerial crossings.
The Floyd Street Project includes work along I-85 to Woodlake Parkway and Canterbury Road. An extension of the Industrial circuit provides better reliability and re-routing flexibility, and to serve new economic projects on Woodlake Parkway and Canterbury Road to extend mainline circuit to connect to new build. The project has added new LED lighting on Floyd Street. Additional new LED roadway lighting on Canterbury Road and Woodlake Parkway will take place once the new electric distribution line is completed.
The next step is to cross the road in front of Firestone and connect at Canterbury Road to an existing line. This gives the city a total redundant loop, back feed, served by two substations.
“The Sarah Lee Road project been planned, engineered, and right-of-way obtained by in-house staff. The city will not put additional funds toward this until that particular project becomes more solidified,” Hendricks concluded, “Once we move forward with this project, we will be placing an existing wastewater pump facility that is connected to Duke Energy and connect it to City electric infrastructure.”
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Neighborhood Watch

(February 17, 2021 Issue)

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office is revitalizing the Neighborhood Watch program in all communities throughout the county. Our mission is to build upon the original concepts of Neighborhood Watch, by using all available resources to create a proactive community-police partnership to help prevent crime and solve problems on our communities.
The Neighborhood Watch program is a crime prevention program that enlists the active participation of citizens in cooperation with law enforcement to reduce crime in our neighborhoods.
If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch program in your community, please contact Captain Bryan Gordon 704-484-4832.

COVID-19 update for Cleveland County

   Cleveland County Public Health Center reported, as of Friday, Feb. 5, there have been a total of 9,532 cases of COVID-19 in Cleveland County. There are an estimated 299 active cases and 9,030 cases have recovered. There are currently 22 Cleveland County residents who are hospitalized, and we have had a total of 203 COVID-related deaths in the county.
   Last week, the Cleveland County Health Department received 700 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Of the 5,300 first dose COVID-19 vaccines received, Cleveland County Public Health Center has administered 5,210, using 98% of the available vaccines.
   They continue to vaccinate eligible individuals in Group 2 (age 65 and older) as dose allocations allow.
Appointments can be made for eligible recipients by calling our COVID Vaccine Appointment Line at 980-484-6019 on Fridays beginning at 1 pm until all appointments are filled. Last week all appointments were filled by 4:30 pm.
   If the line is busy, continue to call back. Once all appointments are full, you will receive a recording stating all appointments have been filled. This line is only staffed on Fridays during the designated time frame.
   Continue to monitor the Cleveland County Public Health Center’s Facebook page. If additional vaccine is transferred to us from a community partner such as Atrium Health, additional pop-up vaccination clinics may be scheduled, and details will be posted on our Facebook page.
   The Cleveland County Public Health Center also warns of scams related to the COVID-19 vaccine. They have received reports about being contacted via phone from people claiming to be employees of the Cleveland County Health Department and asking for specific health information pertaining to their COVID-19 Vaccine Card.
   The Cleveland County Health Department will not contact residents by phone asking for specific health information. If you are contacted by someone asking for this information, claiming to be a Health Department employee, please hang up and call 980-484-5316 to verify authenticity before providing any information.
   Refrain from sharing your COVID-19 Vaccine Card via social media as it displays self-identifying information making you vulnerable to identity theft and can help scammers create phony versions.
   Free COVID-19 testing is available at Cleveland County Public Health at 200 S. Post Road in Shelby, in conjunction with Kintegra Health, on Saturday, February 13, from 10 am – 2 pm. Preregistration is encouraged by calling 704-874-3316.

Governor Cooper, state education leaders support
in-person instruction in K-12 schools statewide

(February 11, 2021 Issue)

Top state education leaders joined Governor Roy Cooper today to call on K-12 school districts across the state to allow in-person instruction for all students. The Governor joined North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis to thank educators for their extraordinary work during an unprecedented time, to highlight ongoing research that shows that with proper mitigation measures, in-person learning is safe, and to emphasize the critical importance of ensuring all students have an opportunity to learn in a classroom.
“Protecting the health and safety of the people of this state, especially our children and our teachers, has been our goal,” said Governor Cooper. “We know school is important for reasons beyond academic instruction. School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Research done right here in North Carolina tells us that in-person learning is working and that students can be in classrooms safely with the right safety protocols in place.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, state leaders have emphasized the importance of returning students to in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. Children who rely solely on remote instruction are feeling the negative effects of isolation, including learning loss, mental health challenges and food insecurity. The state’s public health toolkit details specific health and safety protocols K-12 schools must implement to keep students and teachers safe during in-person instruction.
“Even with the thousands of students and teachers attending school in-person across the state, we have seen few COVID-19 clusters in our public schools,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Our Department will continue to serve our school communities, offering resources and support so we can keep our school doors open.”
Increasing evidence suggests that, with prevention measures in place, there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission in primary and secondary school settings even with high rates of community transmission. In addition, ongoing medical studies and peer-reviewed data affirm that children infected with COVID-19 generally have mild or no symptoms and are less likely to spread the disease. Read more at What are We Learning.
“Learning loss resulting from COVID has the potential to be a generational hurdle, but the data we have seen shows us that schools can reopen safely if they adhere to COVID prevention policies,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt. “For many schools, the logistics of returning to in-person instruction five days per week will be a challenge, but this is absolutely a challenge we must face head on so that all students have a chance to fulfill their potential. With strong prevention measures in place, and the scientific research to back them, now is the time to act. North Carolina’s students cannot lose any more time.”
“We know that to equitably and fully address the needs of the whole child in every student, it is imperative that schools reopen for in-person instruction,” said State Board Chairman Eric Davis. “Since August, public school leaders have proven the merits of the safety protocols that have kept our schools safe for students and staff.”
The Governor and state health and education officials have made protecting the health and safety of students and educators the top priority since the beginning of the pandemic, moving to fully remote learning last Spring and giving local school districts the flexibility to gradually return to the classroom in September.
Today, Governor Cooper, Superintendent Truitt, Chair Davis and Secretary Cohen sent a letter to local school board members and superintendents encouraging in-person instruction across the state.
North Carolina has now administered more than 1 million COVID-19 doses across the state. Today, two new resources that will help provide North Carolinians with more information on vaccines were announced. First, the state’s call center has now expanded its operations and will be open seven days a week to help answer questions about vaccine eligibility, how the vaccines work and more. The number for the call center is: 888-675-4567. Additionally, NCDHHS launched an online search tool where users can enter their ZIP code or current location to find nearby vaccine providers.

Gateway Trail signs installed on I-85

(February 11, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


With the help of Dan Gurley, Senior Policy Advisor for the NC House of Representatives, Office of Speaker Tim Moore, signs for the Gateway Trail were installed on I-85 near the bridge which is part of the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail.
Shirley Brutko, Director, Kings Mountain Gateway Trail, Inc., spoke with Dan Gurley regarding signage for the Gateway Trail last November. “Dan talked to Mark Stafford, Division Engineer with DOT for Cleveland County asking if we could get signs on or near the bridge which is part of the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail. The signs were installed last week; this is a dream come true for the trail,” Brutko said.

KMPD needs public’s help

(February 11, 2021 Issue)

On February 2, at approximately 1:21 pm, Kings Mountain Police Department responded to the intersection of Fairview Street and Third Street to investigate a ‘shots fired’ call for service.
Responding officers found evidence of recent gunfire in that area and contacted the Criminal Investigations Division to further investigate.
Gaston County Police Department also received information about a possible shooting in that same  timeframe at the intersection of US 74 Bypass and CV Alexander Drive. Gaston County Police found a subject suffering from a gunshot wound at that location.
This individual was transported to Gaston Memorial Hospital to be treated for injuries. Gaston County Police determined that the incident occurred in the City of Kings Mountain. The Kings Mountain Police Department was contacted, and the incident was turned over to the Criminal Investigations Division for further investigation.
 Anyone that might have information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact Cpl. Bryant at 704-734-0444. Victim names are not being released at this point in the investigation.

KM’s Boy Scout Troop 92 volunteers
at Boys & Girls Club

(February 11, 2021 Issue)

On Saturday, January 16, 2021, Boy Scouts from Troop 92 in Kings Mountain volunteered at the Cleveland County Boys and Girls Club in to help them with maintenance on their basketball court floor.
The director of the Boys and Girls Club, Joshua Propst (who is also an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 92), requested the assistance of the troop with cleaning the floor.
The floor is a modular tile type floor. The tiles interlock and lay down on the floor to make the basketball court.
The Scouts, along with staff from the Boys and Girls Club, pulled the tiles up and cleaned the floor underneath it. The tiles were then disinfected, pressure washed, dried, and laid back down.
The project provided the Boys and Girls Club with a clean and safe floor for the boys and girls to play on. For the Scouts, it provided an opportunity to put in a good day’s work and
volunteer time and labor in  service to their community.
 Keeynan Pharr is the Operations Director for the Boys and Girls Club in Shelby. He said, “The Boy Scouts service over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday was a fitting demonstration of character in the spirit of Dr. King himself. In all, they saved the Boys & Girls Club about $4,000 in labor costs for the project."
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Quilt made between 1894-1933. This is a “Tulip” pattern quilt donated by the Neisler family.

STITCHED: The Fabrics of a Community
KM Historical Exhibit
opens Feb. 16

(February 11, 2021 Issue)

By January Costa


Kings Mountain Historical Museum invites the public to mark the calendar for their upcoming exhibit, STITCHED: The Fabrics of a Community. The exhibit is on display February 16 – May 8 and open Tuesday - Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is free.
What does the term stitched mean? It is the process of making, mending, or joining with stitches. In relation to textiles, people have been sewing in one form or another, for thousands
of years, with evidence that  suggests even up to 20,000 years ago.
Throughout history, it was a common task for people to make their own quilts, coverlets, clothes, and many other everyday objects by hand stitching. Over time, improved sewing techniques led to the invention of the sewing machine, and machine stitching. This exhibit showcases a selection of stitched examples from the museum collections that were produced by members of the community in Kings Mountain.
The hanging coverlet was made in the 1930s. This thin coverlet is designed in the “Grandmother’s Fan” pattern. It consists of 48 blocks and has a blue wide band trim along all four sides. This piece belonged to Nancy Nickels (1925-2020) and was likely made by her aunt Estelle Willeford King (1892-1981) or mother, Eloise Willeford Nickels (1895-1983). On loan by Mary “Pucky” Nantz.
The display shows a quilt made between 1894-1933. This is a “Tulip” pattern quilt. It is made of white material (now faded) on the front and has designs of purple and pink tulips on the front with green vines. The reverse side is pink and bare, with no design. This quilt was owned and made by Myrtle Kathleen Baker Neisler (1894-1933) of Kings Mountain, N.C.  Donated by the Neisler Family.
This event will adhere to social distancing protocols and guidelines in place at the time of the event. Masks and temperature checks will be required upon entry to the museum.
Kmseal

Downtown sewer work
to begin in early March

(February 11, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


During the January 26 regular meeting, City Council unanimously approved a budget amendment of $400,000 for a sewer slip-lining capital project relating to the upcoming streetscape project downtown. The funding is available, given grants several years ago and significant savings regarding the I-85 loop project verses original projections.
City Manager Marilyn Sellers explained that the condition of the sewer in downtown is not good and that this work can be done with a cure in place slip-lining, eliminating tearing up the street to replace the existing sewer pipes. Using cure in place slip-lining will also expedite the process and create less disruption for citizens.
Only one lane of traffic will be closed at a time, as city crews install the new 8-inch slip-lining into existing sewer pipes on Battleground Avenue from Kings Street to Falls Street and a 4-inch slip-lining on Mountain Street from Piedmont Avenue to Battleground. With this work, 12 connections to existing businesses will need to be replaced.
Regarding a time-line for the work, Assistant City Manager Nick Hendricks said, “Request for proposals have been sent out to qualified vendors. The bid proposals are due back to us by mid-February. Bid proposals will be evaluated with a recommendation being provided to City Council. If all goes according to plan, we will recommend Council’s approval at the February Council meeting. If approved, we anticipated the project to begin the first part of March..”

Sheriff needs help identifying suspects

(February 3, 2021 Issue)

Cleveland County Sherriff’s Office recently posted a Ring security video showing two subjects breaking into vehicles at a residence in Earl. If you have any information about the identity of these two suspects, please call the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office at 704-484-4822 or submit a tip on the app.
Valentinescreen
Valentine Grams will be displayed on the new media screen at Patriots Park on February 10-14. Photo provided

City offers personalized
Valentine grams at
Patriots Park Feb. 10-14

(February 3, 2021 Issue)

Wish your sweetheart a Happy Valentine’s Day by purchasing a personalized Valentine Gram from the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department.
For $20.00, this special Valentine Gram will be displayed February 10th - 14th on the new media screen at Patriots Park.
“Love is sweet and so is this opportunity,” said Christy Conner, Special Events Director for the City of Kings Mountain. “Showcase your special someone on the new media screen with a personalized Valentine Gram in a super-sized way!”
Deadline for purchasing a Valentine Gram is Monday, February 8th. For more information or to purchase a Valentine Gram, please contact the City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department at 704-730-2101 or e-mail the department at angela.padgett@cityofkm.com.
Pauljamescandle1
Mykel and Alex Baker opened their shop offering holistic products featuring homemade candles, wax melts, and body butters. Photos Loretta Cozart

Paul James Candle Co.
Open for business

(February 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

On January 17, Paul James Candle Co. opened for business at 807 Cleveland Avenue, next door to Linwood Produce. Proprietors Paul Mykel Baker and James Alex Baker used their first names to brand their business. They moved to Kings Mountain with hopes of opening a business this year. Thanks to the help of many, their dream came true a little earlier than expected.
The Baker’s specialize in healing candles made of 100% pure soy, essential oils, and vitamins A, D, and E. “When the candle wax melts, you can spread it on dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, and even new tattoos to heal it,” he explains. “It doesn’t leave a greasy residue and our candles contain no alcohol or harmful additives. Aside from that, we also carry essential oils, body butter, goat’s milk soap, honey soap, and wax melts, all made with natural ingredients. And our products are reasonably priced compared to the large box stores,” Michael said.
In two weeks, the shop will add holistic products containing almost 100 percent natural ingredients such as herbs, plant extracts, phytonutrients and
antioxidants, and essential oils. In addition, they intend to add metaphysical items as well. “Nobody offers items like this in Cleveland County, so we’ve decided to include those lines because customers have been asking for them,” Mykel said.
The store also offers custom made furniture; signage; local artwork; and jewelry, including diffuser necklaces and bracelets. “With the exception of just a few items, everything in the store is made locally. We strongly believe is supporting local artists and the community through our work,” Michael adds. “We are excited to open our shop in Kings Mountain and invite everyone to stop by and say hello.”

Paul James Candle Co. Open For Business 

Photo Gallery 

(February 3, 2021 Issue)
Americanlegionlogo

American Legion Veteran’s breakfast Saturday

(February 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion Post 155 announces its monthly Veteran’s Breakfast is this Saturday morning, February 6, from 9 am to 11 am at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street.
All veterans are invited to this free breakfast the first Saturday of each month. Guests can dine-in or carry-out their meal. Selections include eggs, bacon, liver mush, gravy, grits, biscuits, toast, coffee, and juice.
The gathering is an opportunity for the community to support local veterans by joining them for a meal and visiting with them in fellowship. Non-veterans are asked to make a small donation to offset the cost of the meal, enabling American Legion Post to continue the program on a monthly basis.
Mayorneisler
Mayor Scott Neisler received his first COVID-19 vaccine last week. Photo Dawn Neisler

Cleveland County releases
new  COVID-19 vaccine plan
for Group 2 – Adults 65+

(February 3, 2021 Issue)

Effective Friday, January 29, the Cleveland County Public Health Center’s COVID Vaccine Appointment Line (980-484-6019) will be open every Friday from 1 pm – 5 pm for the clinic(s) that will be held the following week based on our dosage allocation from the state.
Since vaccine rollout began, vaccine allocation from the State of North Carolina has been extremely unpredictable which has caused Cleveland County Government to have to shift and adjust on an almost daily basis.
Last week, counties across North Carolina had a call with North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen who apologized to counties for not being transparent with the dose allocation disbursement model. They committed to counties to give dose allocations three weeks in advance. However, during this call, counties were also told weekly dose allocations across the state will be limited, with only 84,000 vaccine doses being shared amongst all approved providers in 100 counties based on population. 
Due to this change, Cleveland County anticipates only receiving a very limited number of vaccine doses moving forward. As a result, county officials made the decision to transition from mailing letters to notify of appointments to scheduling appointments by phone call in an effort to get their limited doses to eligible
 individuals as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“Every call is important to us and all volumes are incredibly high. If you receive a busy signal, please continue to call back. Once all available appointments are filled for that week, the phone lines will be closed, and you will receive an automated message stating all appointments have been filled,” said Deputy Health Director DeShay Oliver.
   Dawn Neisler confirmed having difficulty getting through to the Cleveland County Public Health Center. “You have to be persistent and not give up. It took 317 attempts before the call finally went through and I was able to schedule Scott’s appointment.”
Cleveland County Public Health is only able to schedule as many appointments as their vaccine dosage allocation will allow, as they do not want to schedule appointments and then not have enough vaccine to cover them. A number of NC counties had to call thousands of people to cancel their appointments because they did not receive the number of vaccines they hoped to receive.
“We have had many people express the desire for us to place them on a waiting list. If we did this, the waiting list would very quickly grow to having thousands of people on it. With our current low weekly dose allocations, it would take us months to work our way through this list,” Oliver said.
  “We are aware that many residents are being vaccinated outside of Cleveland County. Scheduling weekly appointments based on vaccine dose allocations guarantees that those who sign up will attend the event.  In addition, because many individuals sixty-five (65) and older do not have access to the Internet, making appointments by phone seems to be the most equitable way of scheduling appointments under our current circumstances.”
Should the county be re-allocated additional vaccine doses from their partners at Atrium Health, the county will also host pop-up clinics. They expect this to happen on a limited basis; follow the Cleveland County Public Health Center’s and Cleveland County Government’s Facebook page for information about these pop-up clinics.
Residents who have access to transportation are encouraged to look for mass vaccination events across the state. The county will share these opportunities on social media sites as they become aware of them.
   Oliver asks, “Please be patient. With 19,000 residents 65 and older and weekly dosage allocations of less than 750, this will take time. Cleveland County is committed to ensuring that every dose received is given in a timely manner.” 
Cclogo

Elementary students
to return to school

(February 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


Students pre-K through first grade will return to in-classroom learning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday beginning on Feb. 22.
School board members voted six to three to begin returning elementary students back to the classroom during their January 25 meeting.
Two weeks later, on March 8, students pre-K through fourth grade will return to a five-day school week. A remote option will remain available to parents.
During the meeting, 19 people spoke. Some parents shared concern for their student’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Others worried that returning to the classroom too soon might endanger  students, educators, and staff.
On the other side of the argument, concern was shared for students who do not have the needed support at home and are falling behind in their studies.
Robert Queen, Rodney Fitch, Greg Taylor, Joel Shores, Ron Humphries, and Danny Blanton voted to approve the plan.  Phillip Glover, Dena Green, and Coleman Hunt voted against.
Board members also voiced the desire to make vaccines available to educators, but the vaccine is currently designated for those 65-years and older. Dr. Stephen Fisher assured educators that he is advocating for teacher’s turn as soon as possible.
However, in other parts of NC educators are being given the vaccine. On January 22, Jackson County Schools dismissed early to vaccinate the teachers. By working with local hospitals in their area, vaccines were made available. Since then, public school employees in Rutherford County, Union County, and Swain County have received their first dose of the vaccine.

Catawba Ridge subdivision approved

(February 3, 2021 Issue) 

By Loretta Cozart


During the City of Kings Mountain’s meeting on January 26, city council approved the zoning change from R-20 to CD-PUD. Tommy Hawkins, Mike Butler, Jay Rhodes, and Keith Miller voted in favor and Dave Allen and Jimmy West voted against. Councilwoman Annie Thombs was absent due to illness.
After continuing the public hearing twice prior, councilmembers made their decision to approve rezoning the property from R-20 to Conditional District R6-PUD (Planned Unit Development). At question was to rezone property consisting of approximately 82.73 acres of the 118 total acreage purchased by Let’s Roll Holdings LLC for $1.77M last year. Phase 1 of the development will contain no more than 200 apartment units. Phases 2 and 3 will have another 400 units of homes and townhomes.
   Catawba Ridge is less than a mile from the Catawbas Two Kings Casino Resort, the casino that was granted Class III gaming by Governor Cooper last month. Catawba Ridge will offer housing for casino workers, as well as those looking for apartments with upscale amenities and quick access to I-85.
In a prior public hearing, Leonard Fletcher, an  engineer with TGS Engineering in Shelby said, “I’ve probably designed a hundred developments in the last 40-years and I’ve tried one of my own. I just know that with the kind of requirements that the staff has put on the development, you know, brick, stone, the houses are going to cost $300,000 to $400,000 at a minimum. And apartments are going to rent for probably $1,500. I just wanted to get it straight,” Fletcher said.
“He (Cheves) is not going to have a choice but to build you a legacy. It will be the nicest place in Shelby or Kings Mountain,” Fletcher said.
Mark Hughes, a resident who lives near the Catawba Ridge property spoke against the rezoning. “You put that many people in that small space, you are going to have major crime issues. We don’t want it on our end of the road,” he said.
Hughes, along with 13 of his neighbors made their case to city council voicing their concerns regarding crime, lowering the quality of life in the area, lowering home values, and worsening traffic. Those speaking against the rezoning included Mark Hughes, Randy McDaniel, Aaron Sellers, Beverly Grail, Emeline Lambert, Felicia Dover, Bobby Maner, Sonya Beatty, Mike Hinson, Billy Ramsey, Donna Spencer, Ricky Spencer, and Elmer Black.
   Before taking the final vote, Councilmember Jimmy West said, “About a year ago when I ran for this position, I made a promise that I will be the voice of the people. And I am sure that at some point everyone on council made that same promise. I don’t know if this is a good move; I don’t know if it is or isn’t… But I am not going to have to hang my head when I walk through the grocery store and see some of these people sitting back there. I am going to do what I said I would do and be the voice of the people. I would urge each of you to do what you promised.”
   Councilman Miller also spoke, saying, “It may not be perfect, but it takes a wide array of possibilities and narrows it down to a very limited set of possibilities. I can only vote for what’s before me.”
   After the meeting, Mark Hughes commented, ““The Kings Mountain City Council spent much more time debating an ordnance on murals than discussing destroying a community that has existed for over a century.”

 
Whittington1

Local fundraisers benefit
Cpl. Whittington and family

(January 27, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Two weeks ago, American Legion Riders participated in an event and raised funds to help the Whittington family. Last weekend, three events were held simultaneously across Kings Mountain.
Saturday afternoon, a steady stream of people visited Central United Methodist Church’s parking lot, across from Kings Mountain Police Department, to support the Back the Blue event honoring Cpl. Lee Whittington for a hamburger and hot dog fundraiser.
Organizers Elmer Oboyle, along with his mother, Kevin and Kelly Dogan, and Bill and Lisa Cash promoted the fundraiser on Facebook. This is their fourth Back the Blue event since September. The project began on September 11, with an event in Gastonia, followed by ones at Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department, and one in Mt. Holly. Today’s event, honored Cpl. Whittington, and the community came out to show their support.
 “The goal of this event  is to show the officers we support them, that the community supports them, and that we’ve got their backs just as much as they’ve got ours. Deviney’s Lumber in Polkton donated the gas for today’s event. Ingles on Hwy. 226 donated the buns, Walmart the drinks, Food Lion more drinks and to go plates. The shirts and tumblers were designed by Sandy Kay’s Custom Designs. All of us just want to show our support for local heroes. Anyone who puts on the badge and goes out every day is a hero to us.”
When asked what this event means to him, Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Russell said, “Anytime the community shows that they have faith in us, that they back us, it’s always good. We are blessed to have the support of the citizens of Cleveland County. We really appreciate it.”
Lisa Cash, along with her husband Bill, organized the raffle fundraiser. “We are excited to see the community come together in support of Cpl. Whittington. Even if you do not know him personally, you can come out to support him and show him the respect he deserves. Kings Mountain businesses supported the raffle big-time. They were so generous.”
Sunday, Oboyle posted, “I just wanted to thank everyone that came out and helped yesterday at the Back the Blue cookout for officer Lee and his family. With all the support we were able to raise over $3,600.00 for officer Lee and his family. To all the people that helped cook and do the raffle, thank you. Y'all are amazing and we will be doing more cookouts for our police.”
Other events held throughout the day included a t-shirt sale to support the family, organized by Cortney Whisnant and Trish Putnam. “Lee is my husband’s Corporal,” said Putnam. “And he is Cortney’s brother-in-law. We sold 630 shirts in our first order, between December 27 and January 9. Thanks to the American Legion Riders and Road to Hope, we were able to pay for the shirts outright. So all the money we raise goes to Lee.”
Those who want to order a shirt in the next round can go to Lets get “Whitt” it Supporting Corporal Lee Whittington on Facebook. Shirts are $20 each for sizes S – XL. Sizes over XL are $25. Leave a comment on the page. If there is enough interest, a second order will be made.
The same day, Paul James Candle Co. on Cleveland Avenue dedicated 10% of their sales Saturday to Lee Whittington and his family. “When tragedy strikes, the love and compassion of a community can help heal what was broken, we can come together in unity proving that evil will never win,” wrote owner Mykel Baker.
In December, Cpl. Whittington was shot in the line of duty while responding to a burglary call on Downing Drive in Kings Mountain. Whittington faces a long road to recovery and the people of Kings Mountain responded to the call to show their love and support of Cpl. Whittington and his family.
Casino
An artist’s rendering of the Catawba Indian Nation’s proposed gaming resort in Kings Mountain. (Rendering by SOSH Architects)

Catawbas, NC approve compact; agreement allows state to share
in casino proceeds 

(January 27, 2021 Issue)

The Catawba Nation and the State of North Carolina signed a compact Friday, January 22, that allows the state to share in revenues generated by the new Two Kings Casino Resort, which will be located in the City of Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, NC. The casino will be operated by the Catawbas, according to a press release from the Catawba Nation Office of Tribal Government.
“On behalf of the Catawba Nation, I sincerely thank Governor Roy Cooper and his team for their thoughtful collaboration in creating this compact, which is the key step in bringing economic benefits and thousands of jobs from our casino project to the citizens of North Carolina,” said Catawba Chief Bill Harris.
Chief Harris continued, “I would also like to thank Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein for their review and signoff of the compact. With work on the compact completed, we will advance the project from the site preparation phase to vertical construction of an introductory casino gaming facility to open this Fall.”
In March 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, took 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation. The action recognized the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College, as well as in the six counties, including Cleveland County, specifically identified by Congress as part of the Catawba’s service area. The compact acknowledges this connection to North Carolina as well.
In addition to creating revenue for the State of North Carolina, the casino will help fund a Catawba-backed education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state recognized tribes and support local communities “to assist in economic development for public services, recreation, entertainment and community economic development and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba Indian lands”, among other things.
Upon hearing the news of the compact, Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler stated, “Kings Mountain will become a major economic engine in North Carolina. We look forward to creating thousands of good jobs for our hardworking local people. We thank the Catawba Nation for extending their hand of partnership in making this dream a reality.”
Cleveland County Officials also commend the signing of the compact. “We support the State of North Carolina recognizing the casino project’s tremendous economic benefit to Cleveland County. We are pleased that a compact has been signed that establishes a collaborative partnership with this tribe and the State of North Carolina,” said Cleveland County Manager Brian Epley.
What is a compact and what does it mean to the project? Under federal law (the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) there are three forms of gaming, Class I (which are traditional and social games subject only to Tribal authority), Class II (with are various forms of bingo subject only to Tribal and Federal authority), and Class III (which are all other forms of gaming--generally casino-type gaming--which is subject to Tribal, State and Federal authority). While the Catawba Indian Nation can move forward on the development of Class I and II gaming, it must negotiate a Class III gaming compact with the State in order to have Class III gaming. That compact then must be approved by the Department of the Interior.
North Carolina and the Catawba Indian Nation have reached agreement on a Class III gaming compact that establishes a regulatory framework for the Nation’s Class III gaming activities, protects public safety and provides for certain payments to the State and to a community foundation. That compact will now go to the Department of Interior for final review and approval. It is not anticipated that this compact will pose any special difficulties as it is closely modelled after a compact that Interior has approved for another Tribal Nation.
The payments to the State are similar to what is provided in the Cherokee Compact. There are three streams of funds that benefit the state and surrounding communities, as well as tax benefits from the casino/resort activities:
 • For an exclusive right for live table gaming in certain counties the state will receive a percentage of the Nation’s live table gaming revenue that is projected to eventually reach $5-10 million/year.
 • To defray the State’s costs associated with sports and horse wagering oversight a flat fee of $191,000. –
 • To be transferred to a foundation for the benefit of the Catawba, other state and federally recognized tribes, and the local community an amount that begins at $1 million/year, but on full development will reach $7.5 million/year.
 • Tax generation. The casino/resort will generate may millions in state tax revenues through vendor and employee taxation. In addition, the Nation has agreed to make payments in lieu of taxes to Cleveland County.
Defendnc

Who is DefendNC

(January 27, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Last week Kings Mountain residents received mailers urging them to contact elected officials and oppose the proposed Catawba casino. Several people who received these materials reached out to the Herald asking, “Who is DefendNC and why are they mailing me.”
At its website, DefendNC explains that it is “an initiative launched and funded by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and supported by like-minded North Carolina stakeholders who oppose the unwanted casino in Kings Mountain.” DefendNC calls on Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein “to defend North Carolina from the threat this unwanted casino poses to our state and economy,” a comment attributed to Principal Chief Richard Sneed.
The organization sent two types of mailers to Kings Mountain residents. If you live near the casino site, you probably received a packet encouraging you to mail included letters, stamped and ready to mail, to Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein asking them to oppose the casino in Kings Mountain. Other residents were sent postcards asking them to reach out to elected officials and oppose the project.
At DefendNC.com, the group shares, “DefendNC is leading a growing movement of North Carolina elected officials, communities, residents, and organizations who oppose the shady casino deal that is a bad deal for Kings Mountain, Western North Carolina, and the state.”
Essentially, DefendNC and NC Policy watch, a project of the NC Justice Center, are lobbyists encouraging citizens to write local and state legislators to support their cause in opposing the Catawba casino. NC Policy Watch solicits online donations which can be made at their website. Supporters are asked to “help us continue to expand our aggressive reporting and thoughtful commentaries.
 Make a tax-deductible financial contribution today and count yourself among thousands ensuring real news is reported.” Yet, neither DefendNC nor NC Policy Watch are registered with the NC Secretary of State as lobbyists. Neither are listed as non-profits, either. If you donate by check, you are asked to write the check out to the NC Justice Center in Raleigh, using their address.
   The NC Justice Center describes their organization writing, “We have a better sense of our capability and strength. We know—more than ever—what a significant role each of us can play in building a more progressive state. One that stands by individuals from all walks of life, regardless of race, gender identity, income, sexual orientation, country of origin, immigration status, religion, disability, or history of incarceration. We hope you’ll join us on this journey to a kinder, better, and wiser North Carolina.”
It is interesting to note DefendNC uses NC Policy Watch’s articles to argue against the proposed casino, citing a study about Cherokee’s Harrah’s Casino. They conclude, “Jackson and Swain counties have been home to a thriving and expanding Cherokee casino for more than 20 years. But the latest census data shows they are not significantly better off than Cleveland County. By some measures, they’re doing worse.”
The argument was written specifically about the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, using their situation in Western NC to argue against the proposed casino in Kings Mountain. Their argument does not take into consideration the improved economy since 2010 or the proximity of the proposed casino site to major highways and cities within a one to two-hour drive.
DefendNC claims to be supported by North Carolina elected officials, communities, residents, and organizations who oppose the casino deal. Kings Mountain City Council Member Keith Miller and Mayor of Lattimore, Reverend Alton Beal have signed their support to DefendNC in opposition of the casino.
If a casino is such a bad deal for a community, why do so many communities and organizations around Cherokee in Western North Carolina support the Eastern Band of Cherokee in this effort? Those listed as supporters on DefendNC’s website include Buncombe County, Cherokee County, Clay County, Graham County, Haywood County, Jackson County, Macon County, Swain County, Town of Bryson City, Town of Murphy, Council of Independent Business Owners, North Carolina Family Policy Council, and Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.
The answer can be found on DefendNC’s website itself, “Our local and state economies are struggling right now. The last thing we need is a new threat to the economic well-being of communities in western North Carolina. And that’s exactly what this proposed casino would do.” So the issue comes down to money, plain and simple.
Last October, DefendNC took their argument a step further making the issue personal and accusing Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler of supporting the project for personal gain. With the latest round of accusations from DefendNC, both in mailings and online, Mayor Neisler responded:
“Because of the mailers and calls, I have found it necessary to comment on the recent bombardment of our citizens by Defend NC. The group represents the Cherokee tribe. People in Kings Mountain are smarter than to fall for the outright false statements of this non-registered lobby group concerning this project. They state that a casino is a shady deal, so I guess Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is shady deal too! Maybe they should explain what it has done for them. It has dramatically lifted up the Cherokee people. Defend NC and the Cherokee tribe are trying to stop the Catawbas from prospering like the Cherokees have for years. It’s a money thing!”
“Also, Defend NC would have you believe that the City of Kings Mountain has the authority to stop the Catawba from establishing an entertainment complex here in our area,” he shared.
“The City never had, or will ever have, the decision up or down towards approving this entertainment project. The land has already been approved and granted to the Catawbas solely by the federal government.”
 He went on to share, “In conclusion, I hope this has cleared up the misconception of the city’s role. Defend NC has no problem smearing anything or anybody to protect the monopoly of the Cherokee Casino. My main concern, and it will always be my concern, is for the City of Kings Mountain to benefit from this economic opportunity and I’ll assure you that it is not for me or my family’s financial gain.”
The discussion continued Sunday, when DefendNC posted another comment directed to the Mayor saying, “Kings Mountain residents are calling and emailing you and the City Council because they are justifiably concerned. On Tuesday, the Council may vote to rezone a large amount of land, based on little more than the assurances of an indicted developer, Wallace Cheves.”
   In response, Mayor Neisler said, “I agree that our citizens are justifiably concerned, and I don’t mind addressing those concerns. It’s my job. But you have falsely smeared me and my family plus misled people thinking we have the power to stop the casino. So where does your truth start?”
   “I’ll assure you that we have defended our city’s interest and in doing so it gives us the opportunity to get housing we don’t currently offer. Something you seek to deny us obtaining. I really do understand why you seek to be involved in our affairs. Preserving the monopoly the Cherokee’s currently possess. We will always be the best at determining our own destiny not Defend NC,” Mayor Neisler said.
Vaccinations
Brenda Hoover received her vaccine earlier this month. Photo by Atrium Health

Mass vaccinations last Saturday at KMIS

(January 27, 2021 Issue)

County Facebook pages keep citizens updated

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic was held at Kings Mountain Intermediate School on January 23 and 850 Kings Mountain residents 65 and over were mailed information as to the location and time. It was not an open drive-thru clinic. Residents receiving the letter were asked to bring their letter and arrive at their scheduled time.
   In a Facebook post after the event, Elizabeth Anne Tate wrote, “My mom is 87. She got a letter this past Thursday giving her a time for her vaccine at KM Intermediate School. (It was) so well organized, smooth as could be. From entrance, until 15 min wait after vaccine was given, took less  than 30 minutes. Great job by all, and much appreciated.”
Cleveland County’s roll-out of the vaccine was shared on their Facebook page on January 19, “Please call the COVID Vaccine helpline at 980-484-6019 or email covid.vaccine@clevelandcountync.gov to make an appointment. If you are unable to secure a spot for this week’s clinics and you qualify for Group 2, you will be eligible for an upcoming drive through vaccination clinic over the next few weeks – depending on dosage allocation from NCDHHS. Please continue to look for a letter in the mail in addition to regularly checking the Cleveland County Health Department’s Facebook page.”
Gaston County COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic is being held weekly at Gastonia Farmer’s Market, 410 E Long Ave. For more information, can call the Gaston County Vaccine Clinic Pre-registration line: 704-866-3170. Representatives will be available 8 am -5 pm, Monday to Friday to help.
North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System currently shows that 99 counties are now listed as red or orange. Eighty-six counties are red with critical community spread of COVID-19 and 13 are orange with substantial community spread.
As of January last Saturday, 7,181 Coronavirus cases were reported within a 24-hour period and 3,416 North Carolinians were hospitalized.
   In Cleveland County, 8,917 people have gotten the virus since the pandemic began and has had 175 COVID-related deaths. Kings Mountain has experienced 2,536 cases and 79 deaths, so far. In a Facebook announcement on January 22, Cleveland County Health Department posted, “There are currently 41 Cleveland County residents who are hospitalized.”
   Citizens eligible to get the vaccine include health care workers and long-term care staff and residents and adults 65 and over.
   North Carolina’s Secretarial Directive remains in effect, and with COVID-19 positive cases, percent of cases that are positive and hospitalizations remaining high, citizens are asked to:
    •    Wear a mask at all times and maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet) from people when you leave your home.
    •    Stay home. Only go out for essential activities like work, school, health care, or caring for family, or buying food.
    •    Avoid gathering with people that you do not live with. If you cannot avoid being with other people, stay outside and keep it very small. Do not do things where you need to take off your mask, like eating or drinking.
    •    If you were with people who you do not live with, you should assume you may have become infected and get tested.
Parkerbuilding
Scaffolding in front of the Parker Building has been removed. Repairs the sidewalk appear complete. What once appeared lost has been reclaimed as Michael Parker Construction continues bringing this old landmark back to life. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Parker Building Progress

(January 27, 2021 Issue)

Scaffolding in front of the Parker Building has been removed. Repairs the sidewalk appear complete. What once appeared lost has been reclaimed as Michael Parker Construction continues bringing this old landmark back to life. Photo by Loretta Cozart
 
Jackgeorgia1
Emily Harris, Proprietor of JACK & georgia.

JACK & georgia
opens new location

(January 20, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

A crowd gathered at the new location of JACK & georgia, a young woman’s clothing and accessories boutique located at 209 S. Battleground Avenue in Kings Mountain, just before 10 am on Saturday, January 16.
Thirty women, excited for the store’s new location and a special discount offered to early shoppers, looked through the windows to see the newest offerings made available by proprietor Emily Harris.
When asked about her new location, Harris said, “I love being on main street now. It is a lot different where we are here on main street; it is completely different even though we are in a small town. It’s exciting; it’s a big deal, especially in an historic town like Kings Mountain.”
“We had a better turnout than I expected, really, especially when you open at 10 am… you just don’t know what to expect.” Harris pauses to thank customers for coming in, then continues, “Of course, we had people come from all over town, but people came from Florida, South Carolina, and all over come up and that was really cool. Being able to see that reaction was really nice on opening day. It’s been a good day, so far.”
When asked if she added new lines or products, Harris said, “We just got to expand our inventory. It is  probably five to six times more than we used to carry, because we have so much more space. We have new pieces, due to constant turnover, and new offerings as they are released.”
The store sets a new bar for Kings Mountain shops, with clean lines and a feminine flair. Above a pink sofa near the dressing rooms, a pink neon sign reads, “You’re Like Really Pretty.” As to the décor, Harris said, “When you first open, you do what you can. With this move, I got to make it what I always wanted it to be now that I have finally gotten into the door in town. I’m really excited!”
The shop includes cute tops, bottoms, sweaters, shoes, swimwear, outerwear, and accessories for young women. New inventory arrives every Tuesday, for those who keep up with the most current fashion trends.
Cplwhittington
Cpl. Lee Whittington

Back the Blue event for Cpl. Whittington this Saturday

(January 20, 2021 Issue)

An event to support Cpl. Lee Whittington is scheduled for Saturday, January 23 from noon to 6 pm. It will be held at Central United Methodist Church, 112 S. Piedmont Avenue, across from the Kings Mountain Police Department.
Hamburger and hot dog plates with fries and a drink will be available for a donation. The event is hosted by Elmer Oboyle.
All plates are available by donations only. Tumblers and shirts will also be available. Proceeds will go to Cpl. Lee Whittington of Kings Mountain Police Department, the officer injured in the line of duty last December. 
Candles

Paul James Candle Co.
opens in Linwood area

(January 20, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Paul James Candle Co. held a soft opening Sunday at 807 Cleveland Avenue, right next door to Linwood Produce. Owners Michael Baker and partner James Baker moved to Kings Mountain last December from Conover with plans to open a business later this year. Thanks to several fortunate occurrences, the date was moved up to January 17.
“A friend of mine, Cinnamon, works for Keith Falls and a home he owns became available, so we came to Kings Mountain to see it. I met Keith Falls and before we knew it, we were moving to Kings Mountain. Everyone we have met has been so welcoming and friendly,” Michael said. “Keith has a heart of gold and helps people. I have only lived here short time, but I can see what a caring person his is toward others. As luck would have it, this shop was also available, and everyone encouraged us to open the business. Keith helped make that happen.”
The Baker’s specialize in healing candles made of 100% pure soy, essential oils, and vitamins A, D, and E. “When the candle wax melts, you dab your finger
in the wax and spread it on dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, and even new tattoos to heal the skin,” he explains. “It doesn’t leave a greasy residue and our candles contain no alcohol or harmful additives. Aside from that, we also carry essential oils, body butter, goat’s milk soap, honey soap, and wax melts, all made with natural ingredients. And our prices are reasonably priced compared to the large box stores,” Michael said.
The store also offers custom made furniture; signage; local artwork; and jewelry, including diffuser necklaces and bracelets. “With the exception of just a few items, everything in the store is made locally. We strongly believe is supporting local artists and the community through our work,” Michael adds. “We are excited to open our shop in Kings Mountain and invite everyone to stop by and say hello.” Hours for the business are Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 am to 6 pm.
Architecture

Community meeting held for proposed Catawba Ridge
development

(January 20, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


On Wednesday, January 13, Wallace Cheves and his real estate partner and co-developer, Paul Sparks, with Let’s Roll Holdings LLC, met with approximately 15 citizens in a community meeting at city hall to discuss the plans for Catawba Ridge, a proposed development located at 415 Dixon School Road.
City Council met twice in December to consider rezoning the property from R-20 to Conditional District R6-PUD (Planned Unit Development). At question was to rezone property consisting of approximately 82.73 acres of the 118 total acreage purchased by Let’s Roll Holdings LLC for $1.77M last year. Phase 1 of the development will contain no more than 200 apartment units. Phases 2 and 3 will have another 400 units of homes and townhomes.
The developers presented their plan to those gathered with information they had shared with City of Kings Mountain prior to the meeting. The presentation stated that the Catawba Village Planned Use Development is a comprehensive mixed-use development intended to bring high quality housing development to Kings Mountain.
Leonard Fletcher, an engineer with TGS Engineering in Shelby spoke during the last public hearing in mid-December said, “I’ve probably designed a hundred developments in the last 40-years and I’ve tried one of my own. I just know that with the kind of requirements that the staff has put on the development, you know, brick, stone, the houses are going to cost $300,000 to $400,000 at a minimum. And apartments are going to rent for probably $1,500. I just wanted to get it straight,” Fletcher said.
“He (Cheves) is not going to have a choice but to build you a legacy. It will be the nicest place in Shelby or Kings Mountain,” Fletcher said.
A challenge for the developers is available housing supply. According to the Cleveland County, North Carolina - Housing Needs Assessment, Prepared by Bowen and completed in 2019, “More Than 1,100 Housing Units in the County are Considered Substandard a based on ACS 2013-2017 estimates, …, it is clear that many households are living in housing conditions that are considered to be below modern-day housing standards. There is also limited available inventory among all levels of affordability for multi-family rentals, based on Bowen National Research.
   Several artist renderings of the proposed units were shared in the presentation, along with a description of amenities for each apartment unit. Those include:
• Proposed Apartment Amenities
• Granite Countertops
• White Cabinetry
• Mosaic Backsplash
• Stainless Steel Appliances
• French Door Refrigerator w/ Water Dispenser
• Pendant Lighting in Kitchen
• Energy-Efficient Appliances
• USB Outlet in Kitchen
Proposed Community Amenities
Fitness Center
• Swimming Pool
• Courtyard BBQ Grills
• Outdoor Fireplace & Firepit
• Clubhouse TV Lounge
• Clubhouse Coffee Bar
• Dog Park & Pet Spa
• Package Delivery
   The architectural concepts on display, along with the floor plans, gave those in attendance an idea what the apartments might look like, however, these concepts are not approved plans. They are concepts representing what the builder intends to do. The apartments shared were multi-level units of three to four-stories and showed three bedroom units of approximately 1,200 sq. ft with a patio/deck.
After the meeting, the Herald spoke with Mark Hughes who attended and lives nearby. “In my opinion, this is a BAM development, they are doing the bare absolute minimum to get by. When I asked about the buffer zone and water run-off, they told me they would do what the law requires,” he said.  Hughes also shared concerns about the number of apartments and that without home ownership, renters might not take pride in the property. He also worries that transient populations might bring vice into the area.
City Council will address this project zoning again at the public meeting scheduled for January 26 at 6 pm at City Hall.

JACK & georgia holds
Grand Opening this Saturday 

(January 13, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


This Saturday, January 16, from 10 am to 4 pm, women’s clothing store JACK & georgia holds its grand opening at their new location at 209 S. Battleground Ave.
Proprietor Emily Harris said, “We closed our old location right after Christmas on December 26. The old location, including the storeroom, was 800 sq. ft. The new location is 2,700 sq. ft.
This is a very exciting move for us. We hope to see everyone for our grand re-opening!” The first 25 customers in the door will receive an exclusive discount on our brand new collection.
The shop includes cute tops, bottoms, sweaters, shoes, swimwear, outerwear, and accessories for young women.
Prayer
Community prayer rally was held at Patriots Park Gazebo on Saturday.

Community gathers to pray for first responders

(January 13, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


On Saturday, January 9, Kings Mountain Ministerial Association held a Community Prayer Rally at Patriots Park Gazebo at noon. The day after Kings Mountain’s first snow of the year, a small crowd gathered as spiritual leaders from across the city, and beyond, joined in praying for first responders in the community. The prayers were heartfelt and are summarized here so that all who missed the event might hear their words and remember the first responders.
Pastor Ron Caulder, Pastor of Eastside Baptist Church and President of the KM Ministerial Association opened the prayer event saying, “We have a sovereign God; we have been through some very difficult times over the last 10 months. We certainly need Him in the hour we are living in here today. We come to praise His holy name and pray for people who are special to us who are helping us to get through this pandemic and praying for the Lord’s deliverance. In time, the Lord will deliver us.”
Dr. Jonathan Bundon, Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church led the group in song, singing the Lord’s Prayer to begin the prayer rally.
Rev. Corey Gaines of Maiden Chapel in Maiden, NC, prayed for Healthcare Workers saying, “We pray and commit them to you, oh God, asking that You be their strength like no other. We pray right now, in the name of Jesus, that You give them the tenacity to keep moving forward. We know, God, that nothing is impossible with You. With You, all things are possible. We come against the spirit of the virus in the name of Jesus.”
Praying for Fire and
Rescue was Rev. Greg Neely of Chestnut Ridge Baptist Church who said, “Many people pursue a career and realize later in life, they should have pursued a calling. Others pursue a calling and make it a career. Father, as they make their shifts, my prayer is that You help sustain Fire and Rescue workers spiritually. As they lie in their bunks, may it not be idle time. May they find themselves drawn with the need and desire to study Your word, so when they leave out, they leave out with purpose. God, give them the vision to see that those they help are people, just like the rest of us, and they may be helping them in the very hour of their greatest need. Father, would You keep them safe, not only for their own benefit, but for ours, in Jesus’ name we pray.”
Rev. Brian Taule of David Baptist Church prayed for retail workers.
“God, I pray for protection for those ones that stand behind the register as we pick up our groceries, being exposed to who knows what. Not just ones in the grocery store, but all of the retail establishment. God, protect them. We thank You for them and we thank You for living in a county where we can go. Thank You for the blessing of just being able to shop and not have all the stores closed.”
Dr. Rob Patrick of Boyce Memorial ARP Church prayed for the educators. “In this time of unprecedented challenge and difficulty for our educators, we pray for those throughout our nation, our state, and particularly here in Cleveland County that they might know you and be strengthened by Your spirit.”
Praying for Law Enforcement was Rev. Jeff Longwell, Pastor of Penley’s Chapel. “I ask You, oh God, to put Your blessing and Your protection upon our Law Enforcement Officers as we think about all the things they have been through this year. Many have laid down their lives, Lord. We know You said that there is no greater love that a man could give than to lay down his life for his friends. These men and women are called to the duties they do. You have put them in that place, and we trust You to bring them safely home to their families night after night. As they lay their live on the line, may they have eternity with you in their hearts.”
Rev. Reginald Hartgrove of New Life Christian Church shared a prayer for the Transporters, “Father, in Jesus name we come humbly before You to thank You for your grace, Your mercy, and Your loving kindness. We praise You before we ask You for anything. As we lift up every transporter, You appeared to and guided the children of Israel and we ask that You do so in a like manner to every transporter. Guide them, protect them, keep them from seen and unseen dangers. Let Your grace, let Your mercy abide heavily upon them in Jesus name.”
Volunteers were prayed for by Rev. Paul Brintley of Fellowship Baptist in Dallas, NC. “You know, a volunteer is a person who remembers to do things that makes other people happy. When we have times of service, they can be so intense and physically draining for volunteers. I pray Your blessing on each volunteer that You have brought to serve during this trying time. I ask that You set a guard over each volunteer and keep them strong in You. You promised that You will be our strength, so I ask you to give each volunteer the measure of strength that they will need to accomplish what You have called them to do even though they are not compensated financially. You said in your word that You would reward them if they stored it up where no moth or rust can destroy. So, Father, I ask You to reward them mightily.”
Dr. Moses Nueman, Director of World Care Ministries prayed for Ministers and Churches. “Father, God, you ordained the Church. You ordained that that is a place of refuge, a place where we can run into and find refuge. It is also a place the community calls the Watchtower. You have also ordained ministers who are the Watchmen on the tower. You have asked us to go into the world and preach the gospel. We thank You for the city of Kings Mountain and the whole community we have here. We want to thank You, Father God, for the ministers in the area who worship You in spirt and in truth. Thank You for the Kings Mountain Ministerial Association that brings us together. Let Your name be glorified and let Your love abide in us. Most of all, have mercy on our Country and grant us peace.”
Rev. Bruce Gwyn of Central United Methodist Church prayed for Government workers saying, “God of all ages, in Your sight and in Your time nations have risen and they have fallen. Lord, they pass through times of plenty and they pass through times of peril. In this turbulent time, my all of our leaders be led by Your wisdom. May our leaders seek Your will and not theirs. Lord, if they do not see clearly and have turned from Your way, I pray that they will repent. You are our hope, God. You are our strength, our help in our time of need. Serving through the light that You shine upon their minds and their hearts.”
A prayer for our community was offered by Rev. William Thompson of William Thompson Ministries and Coffee Time with a Preacher. “Community is defined by all the different entities we have prayed for already. They have been called, one by one. As we call God to remember us, we want to remember Him as our creator, as our redeemer, and as a healer of our land. Dear Father, we lift up the Kings Mountain Community. We ask that we understand who we lift the community up to, the Creator, the very One who brings about all the things we so desperately seek. I want to lift up the community and ask for peace, ask for joy, ask for love, kindness, forgiveness, loving on one another, that this community will be the very place we would want to bring our children, and our children’s children. And whenever we look at this place, that we will remember one thing. That the center of Kings Mountain is The Christ.”
Dr. John Sloan, Jr., known by many as ‘Brother Chip’, shared a word of thanks, “Our gracious heavenly Father, You have instructed us that we should rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. In obedience to You, we have gathered together, we have sung, we have rejoiced in our fellowship. We have prayed, Lord, specific prayers for specific needs. Lord, now we just want to give thanks to You. We thank You for Jesus, for he is our helper. I thank You for this land we call America. You have for so many years protected us and given us a place of protection. We thank You for how you have blessed us with this great land. Lord, we thank You for the government, for the wisdom of the founders, who designed a government that is truly for the people and by the people. The technology we enjoy today is a gift from You. Lord, I give you thanks for this town. May daughter, who is a wife and a mother of two little children just riding into Kings Mountain not long ago burst out with the words, ‘I love this little town.’ And Lord, I do love this little town. We are grateful for it. We are grateful, Father, for every citizen who is here.  And we thank You Lord for every church that stands to minister for You to build harmony and unity. Lord, we give You thanks for the big things and the little things. In the precious name of Jesus.”
Pastor John Wilcox of First Presbyterian Church offered the closing prayer, saying, “I think everything has been said that could be said. It is wonderful to be here and see a community that has come together for the needs of the people of the community. It is such a blessing to be a part of this. We pray that Christ may grant us, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with the power in our inner being through his spirit. So that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. To Him, be glory and the Church, and Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.”
Pastor Ron Caulder of Eastside Baptist Church thanked all the ministers for participating and concluded by saying, “The Lord has heard our prayers here and we give him praise. May you now go in peace. God Bless you.”
After the event, the Herald asked Officer T. Bell what this event meant to him as a member of Kings Mountain Police Department. “As far as the community standing behind our police officers, it means the world to me. When the community and police work together, it fits like a hand in a glove,” he said.

Clev. County COVID-19
testing locations 

(January 13, 2021 Issue)

• Cleveland County Health Department: 980-484-5316 (Testing is FREE)
• Kintegra Family Medicine (Testing is FREE)
   Kings Mountain: 704-710-1077
   Boiling Springs: 704-818-9200
• Atrium Urgent Care – Shelby: 704-468-8888 (Contact to ask about cost)
• CVS in Boiling Springs and Kings Mountain:
https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-assessment (Contact to ask about cost)
• NextCare Urgent Care – Shelby: 704-481-0555 (Contact to ask about cost)
Check with your healthcare provider about testing options and cost.
Cclogo

Board of Education moves to return youngest students to classroom February 8

(January 13, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

During Cleveland County Board of Education’s special called meeting on January 7, members voted 5 - 4 to return pre-kindergarten through 4th grade students to full-time instruction beginning on Monday, February 8. Plan A’s previous start date had been set for January 19.
Chairman Robert Queen summarized research he had done with Shelby Pediatrics and Atrium Health, among others. He indicated that Atrium Health expects a spike in COVID-19 cases in early February. Currently there are no issues of being seen by Emergency Departments, but there could be an issue with finding a bed if a patient needs to be admitted. Some patients have been transferred to other facilities. But patients have also been transferred here if beds are available.
Queen reported that he checked with Shelby Pediatrics and they suggested that January 19 was not the  right time to go forward with in-person learning. On January 6 at 3 pm, a letter was received confirming Shelby Pediatrics’ concern.
Representatives from Cleveland County Health Department and Cleveland County Schools also spoke regarding current data.
Motion was made by Rodney E Fitch to return pre-kindergarten through 4th grade students to full-time instruction on February 8, second by Danny Blanton. Voting in favor were Robert Queen, Danny Blanton, Ron Humphries, Joel Shores, Rodney Fitch.
Voting against were Phillip Glover, Dena Green, Coleman Hunt, Greg Taylor.
While public participation was not allowed at during this meeting, the next Cleveland County School Board meeting is January 11. During that meeting, public participation will be allowed. Vice Chairman Joel Shores spoke in favor of allowing public participation at this special meeting, but it was voted down 7 -2.

Downtown shop gets renovation

(January 13, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Work has begun at 205 S. Battleground Avenue on property owned by Shane Adams. Last Saturday, a concrete truck was parked outside the property, as Adams and workers poured a new floor in back right portion of the building.
“We decided to go head now to fix the plumbing in the building. What we had was 60-years old and it is easier to fix it now and before we do further renovations. It would cost much more to come in after renovations,” Adams said. “Venues are now required to have ADA compliant bathrooms, so we decided to add those as we updated the plumbing.”
Jerry and Sherryl Adams are renovating the property with plans to open a venue for receptions, gatherings, and meetings. No date has been yet been set for the opening.

Mlk

City of Kings Mountain hosts
Virtual online event honoring
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(January 6, 2021 Issue)

Online event will 

take place,
January 15th-19th, 2021

Kings Mountain, NC:  Honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the City of Kings Mountain is set to host a virtual online event, “Meet Dr. King”, January 15th-19th, 2021.
Performed by Bright Star Touring Theatre of Asheville, NC, “Meet Dr. King”, introduces audiences to Dr. King and follows key moments in his life beginning as a young boy experiencing racism for the first time, to meeting his wife, Coretta, to becoming a pastor and finally a national inspiration.
Audiences will get the opportunity to watch the production live on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mauneylibrary and www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.
In addition to this special production, Mauney Memorial Library will honor Dr. King by providing a “Doves of Peace” paper craft in select businesses throughout the City. Businesses participating are, Big Red’s Café, Mauney Memorial Library, Mountain Holiday, and Swooger's.
Schools throughout Cleveland County will receive the link to allow students to watch the production as well.
For more information, please contact the City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department at 704-730-2101 or access their website at www.kingsmountainevents.com
Fantasylights1
Fantasy Light show in downtown Kings Mountain honored police officers. Photos by Angela Padgett

Special Fantasy Light Show supports local police

(January 6, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Kings Mountain honored the city’s police officers with a tribute during a specially programmed Fantasy Light Show. The trees along Railroad Avenue were trimmed in blue.
“We wanted to do something to honor our police and let them know we are thinking of them,” said Mayor Neisler. “This has been a tough time for our police officers in the last few weeks and they need to know we appreciate what they do to protect us in our community.”
If you missed the light show, you are in luck. Angela Padgett of Kings Mountain Special Events took pictures and shared them with the Herald.
A special Prayer Gathering will also be held this Saturday at noon in Patriots Park by the Kings Mountain Ministerial Association. It is a great opportunity to show Kings Mountain Police, and all law enforcement in the county and the region, how much the community appreciates all they do to keep everyone safe.
Dellinger
Photo provided

$250 Main Street Bucks Winner

Main Street Director Christy Adkins announced the winner of the $250 Main Street Bucks promotion! Presenting the $250 Main Street bucks to Karla Stamey is Lew Dellinger, owner of Dellinger’s Jewel Shop. Stamey met the qualifications by spending a minimum of $25 at Dellinger's Jewel Shop and turned in her receipt. She can spend that $250 at any of the downtown businesses.                                 
 
Americanlegion

American Legion Veteran’s breakfast this Saturday

(January 6, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


American Legion Post 155 holds its next monthly Veteran’s Breakfast on Saturday morning, January 9, from 9 am to 11 am at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street.
All veterans are invited to this free breakfast the first Saturday of every month. Others are welcome to attend for a small donation that helps fund future breakfasts. Everyone is asked to follow Governor Cooper’s guidelines for social distancing. The following month’s breakfast will be on February 6.
Policeofficers
Cpl. Lee Whittington, Jr., right, was shot in the line of duty on Dec. 21. Here, with another officer, they express their concern for fellow officers. The KM Ministerial Association will lead prayer for all essential workers who protect our community. Photo by KMPD

Special Prayer Gathering
Saturday at Patriot’s Park

(January 6, 2021 Issue)

The Kings Mountain Ministerial Association will hold a special prayer gathering this Saturday, January 9, at noon at the Gazebo in Patriot’s Park.
The community prayer gathering is planned to pray for police officers and all essential workers in Kings Mountain who work to keep the community safe and who are always there to help in a time of need.
Essential workers include police, fire fighters, city employees, EMT’s, doctors, nurses, nursing home workers and employees, to name a few.
This has been a one of the most challenging years in the lives of most people. The Ministerial Association shared, “We are thankful to God for seeing us through some of the most some difficult times. You are invited to join us Saturday at noon in Patriots Park as we come together to pray for His help as the new year begins, praying especially for those who are in harm’s way to protect us in times of crisis. These people are on the front lines for us. They need our prayers and support as a community of faith.”
Patriots Park is located at 220 S. Railroad Avenue in Kings Mountain.
2020 1

Hindsight is 2020: the year in review

(January 6, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


The year 2020 is one few of us will ever forget, but one probably we wish we could. Just days into the year, the Coronavirus pandemic began, resulting in say-at-home orders, mandatory wearing of face masks, and governmental assistance to citizens as well as businesses. As of Dec. 31, about 342,000 Americans had died from the virus. On that day alone, 3,479 North Carolinians were hospitalized. In Cleveland County, 6,956 cases of the virus and 144 deaths were reported last year.
On a positive note, three pharmaceutical companies have developed Coronavirus vaccines and two have begun inoculating those at highest risk: medical professionals and those living in congregate housing. This week anyone 75 and over can get the vaccine. It will take a while to get everyone inoculated but it is a good step forward.
Despite the virus, all news was not bleak. The area has seen business growth and witnessed firsthand the resiliency of people. Front-line workers kept commerce flowing as everyone worked to help each other through one of the toughest times in recent memory.
January  – As 2020 began, a 16-year mystery was solved at Moss Lake. A fisherman using a fish finder discovered a submerged vehicle near the Camp Creek Church Road boat ramp, 27-feet below the surface. It was reported missing in Oct. 2004. On January 15, Sgt. Bob Myers retired after 30-years with Kings Mountain Police Department. Friends of Crowders Mountain asked for volunteers for trail work and litter pick-up. Greg Payseur offered free genealogy assistance at the Mauney Memorial Library. Atrium Health Kings Mountain tightened visitation requirements due to the prevalence of flu in the region. Kings Mountain Rotary Club awarded a check to Tropzie McCluney of the Community Math Academy. Jasmine Suarez and Kallee Heffner came in first and second respectively in the East School Fourth Grade Spelling Bee. After 79-years of service, the Kings Mountain Kiwanis Club disbanded. Edgar Lee (Dean) Adams retired and closed his barber shop after working 60-years in his profession. Accelerate Cleveland began recruiting for their spring class.
February – Layoffs were announced for Eaton Corporation due to consolidation of its heavy-duty transmission assembly division. Starbucks announced opening a new store at 717 York Road in July. Mauney Memorial Library announced a Makerspace sneak-peek. On Feb. 4, Cleveland County Health Department announced no cases of Novel Coronavirus in Cleveland County. Early February brought an EF-2 tornado to the Dixon Community, toppling four high tension electrical transmission towers and felling trees in its wake. Sheriff Norman switched political parties, registering as a Republican. Catawba Nation opened a display at Kings Mountain Historical Museum. President of Kings Mountain Touchdown Club David Brinkley officially presented the new tennis courts and football field to Superintendent of Cleveland County Schools Stephen Fisher. City of Kings Mountain acknowledged a water spill of 3.1 million gallons into Potts Creek. Temple Baptist Church celebrated its 75th anniversary. Warren Bingham spoke to the DAR on the life of George Washington; his wife, Laura Carpenter Bingham, is a Kings  Mountain Native. North Elementary School’s fourth grade spelling bee winners were Johaunna Shaw and Kal Frishmuth. Shaw represented North in the district level competition.
March – City of KM trashes its recycling program due to costs. Thoroughbred Partners announce plans for the old Senior Park. Don Crawford celebrated his 90th birthday. Over 130 attend American Legion Auxiliary Unit 155’s Spaghetti Dinner. Cub Scout Pack 93 celebrated its 25th anniversary. KMHS Senior Myla Athitang published her first book: Annalise: Twenty Years Everlasting. Kings Mountain ranked 25th  among the safest cities in NC. Citizens were advised by the CDC on ways to protect themselves from COVID-19. United States Department of the Interior rules in favor of the Catawba Nation’s casino plan. City given a $25,000 civil penalty and notification of violation due to the city’s failure to properly implement the pretreatment program. Because Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus, Atrium Health Kings Mountain restricted visitors to those age 13 and over. Cleveland County Potato Project collected fruits and vegetables with a longer shelf-life for citizens impacted by COVID-19. Lenten services, Frozen, Jr., Gateway Trail races, Honors Chorus, Medicine Drop, and Friends of Crowders Mountain were cancelled or postponed. Kings Mountain Historical Museum temporarily closed. The nation celebrated 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. Local schools celebrate Read Across America and invite local celebrities to read to the children. Citizens start feeling the impact of Coronavirus. Beginning on March 19, city buildings were conducting business but limiting access. NC schools were closed until May 15. Patrick Senior Center was closed. City of Kings Mountain turned on its Christmas Lights on Railroad Avenue to brighten the citizen’s spirits. Cleveland County Schools announced the continuation of the school lunch program. Phrases like The New Normal, Together Apart, and In This Unprecedented Time became part of our vocabulary. In stores, signs on floors and on isles reminded shoppers to stay six-feet apart and travel isles in one direction only. Reminders of the 3-Ws were everywhere: wear your mask, wait (maintain social distancing six-feet apart), and wash your hands. Glenn Mollette noted that 9,000 lives had been lost to the virus, with 22,000 sick. Atrium Health added new restrictions for visitors. Restaurants were closed to COVID-19; takeout and delivery became extremely popular with local restaurants that remained open. American Legion celebrated its 101st birthday nationwide.
April – Coronavirus help is on the way; COVID-19 unemployment checks go out. Patrick Senior Center distributed non-perishable food and scheduled in-county medical appointments through TACC. Cleveland County Potato Project collected food for those in need. KM Spring Litter Sweep kicks-off. EIDL and PPP loans were announced to help small businesses. The fifth Coronavirus case was reported by Cleveland County Health Department.  City of KM broadcast its city council meeting on Facebook Live for the first time. Fifteen Kings Mountain and Gastonia residents were quarantined at Ft. Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia after disembarking the Grand Princess cruise ship in San Francisco. YMCA offered daycare for essential workers. Kings Mountain’s Easter Service was cancelled. The Easter Bunny visited Kings Mountain on the back of a fire truck. Lib Stewart was honored by District 13 American Legion Auxiliary. Governor Cooper tightened COVID-19 social distancing measures. Kings Mountain had four confirmed COVID-19 cases and the county had 39 cases. Citizens begin gardening as a pastime and to grow difficult to find items. Local hardware stores see a booming business. Porch sitting becomes more popular. Citizens started a Where’s Waldo type event for children. People hid various stuffed zoo animals for the children to find. American Legion Auxiliary Girl’s State went virtual for the first time. Governor announced a plan to reopen NC. Educator Beverly Owens used a desktop 3D printer to make facemasks for healthcare providers. Schools continued remote learning for the rest of the school year.
May - High school seniors received caps and gowns in drive-thru. Cleveland Pines reported 5 Coronavirus cases. Kings Mountain’s Memorial Day event was held virtually. Mauney Library offered curbside pickup. KM ranked #1 as healthiest home market in US. First Presbyterian held services in the garden beside the Joy Theater. Governor opened NC for business with limitations. KMHS senior players were honored in a drive-thru event. Michael Parker made good renovation progress on the old Fulton’s building. City of KM had no tax increases in their new budget. Veronet Vineyards and Winery reopened using social distancing. Windows at Mauney Memorial Library were refurbished. Absentee Balloting was announced as an option for November primary. Red, White, and Boom will feature fireworks only. Kings Mountain’s newest restaurant, 133 West, continues toward its grand opening. Dead & Gone shot at the George Washington Cromwell House. Twelve new COVID-19 cases reported in Kings Mountain last week. DAR holds national conference online. Kings Mountain rebrands itself. KMHS Class of 2020 holds drive-thru graduation ceremony. YMCA moved many activities outdoors. Cleveland County Potato Project received 40,000 pounds of potatoes. Clean Sweep hauled away 88,000 pounds of yard waste. Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office released a new smartphone App.
June – Kiameshia Young bought the old McGill’s Exxon. COVID-19 numbers doubled every two-weeks for three weeks. On July 10, Kings Mountain had 102 cases, Grover 20, Shelby 178, and Boiling Springs 128. Ed Blackburn’s bees help apple trees flourish. Cleveland County had sixth COVID-19 death. KM cancelled its fireworks show and held a virtual event and also honored the Class of 2020. Face masks were now required in public per Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order.
 July – David Stone and his family brought the old Summer’s home back to life. Dellinger’s Jewel Shop a KM tradition for more than 60 years. Kings Mountain Coronavirus cases continue to climb. Six local sites failed swim guide results for the Broad River. Dr. Gangoo retired after 41 years in KM. Latinos for Freedom Back the Blue and provide lunches for local police. A 5.1 earthquake near Sparta, NC was felt in Kings Mountain. KM Historical Museum held its 17th annual Reverse Raffle virtually. Uniquetex and Ecoguard donated 5,000 masks for KM citizens that were distributed at Patrick Senior Center. COVID-19 outbreak at White Oak Manor. KM’s Beach Blast went virtual. Jimmy Wayne was named to Cleveland County Hall of Fame. Betsy Wells served as a Democratic National Delegate. A Cleveland County woman wins $186,776 in Cash 5 jackpot. Levi Keever was introduced as a Future Firefighter. City distributed 15,000 masks. 133 West completed soft opening and is a big hit with patrons. Delta Kappa Gamma installed new officers.
August – Developers plan for $230 million in projects for KM. 133 West opened on Wednesday, September 2. Name announced for Catawba Nation’s Casino: Catawbas Two Kings Casino Resort. Wayne King served as a Republican National Delegate. Kings Mountain Fire Department joins Cleveland County’s Emergency Warning System. Cleveland County reports 35 COVID-19 deaths. Jim Potter retires from CUMC’s Community Kitchen. One hundred and five residents at White Oak Manor had COVID-19. Commander Keith Morrow retired from the Navy. KM native Sarah Lee Owensby was nominated for Major Market Broadcast Personality. Senior Center requests donations of food for older adults. Land near casino sold for $1.77 million. Julie Rikard named CCS Principal of the Year. Battle of Kings Mountain commemoration went virtual. Future firefighter Grady Hooper was introduced. Alliance Bank and Trust moved to Shelby Road. DAR celebrated Constitution Week. Christy Adkins took over as Main Street Director. Land near casino sold for $2.725 million. Advent Academy held its ribbon cutting.
September – Michael and Nakisha Wenzel bought Big Red’s Café. City approved $1.2 million budget expenditures and annexed land into the city. Library hosted virtual book fair. KMHS basketball over 100 years old, football should turn 100 in 2022. Second positive case of rabies reported in the county. Potato Project harvested 3,000 pounds of potatoes. Angela Padgett was born into life of NASCAR. 133 West Ribbon Cutting Oct. 22. KMLT held auditions for Till Beth Do Us Part. Revolutionary War Iron Sword part of Museum’s collection. Melvin Ware’s Victory Garden did well. KM Hospital to celebrate 70th anniversary in March 2021.
October – President Trump held a campaign rally in Gastonia at the airport. Benestar Brands to invest $24 Million in KM. Wilcox new minister at First Presbyterian Church. Strong showing by voters in early voting. Neisler fabrics were featured in 1956 Indianapolis race car. Delta Tau recognized future teachers. Shelters welcome those in need. KM area voters go to polls Tuesday. Helen Bullock turned 103. Border’s daycare recognized for 26-years of service. 133 West held its ribbon cutting. Grants available for businesses impacted by COVID-19. DAR celebrated Day of Service..
November – Greg Putnam recognized by city for doing the right thing. City honored Veteran’s on Nov. 10. City approved incentive grants and zoning petitions. Sixty-three percent of Kings Mountain voters have cast their ballots. Water project adds $175,000 to budget. King Mountain had 936 cases of Coronavirus with 29 deaths, of which 23 were living in nursing homes. Republicans won big in Cleveland County. City council approved sale of alcohol before noon on Sunday. Patriots park got a landscape facelift. Fourth and fifth cases of rabies reported. Jones Tennis Building completes best athletic facility in the state. Jalen Roberts received Eagle Scout rank. Keith Corporation marketing Kings Mountain Corporate Center. KM Beach Blast named CBMA’s best event of the year. NCDOT paving project continued through town. Work continued near Exit 5. December 19 was Wreaths Across America Day. Shelby and Gastonia DMV now offers instant title services. Feed the Children on Dec. 4. Christmas in Kings Mountain began Dec. 5 for three consecutive weekends. Murphy Toy Run a success. Nutcracker performed with limited seating. Governor Cooper tightened mask restrictions and enforcement.
December – Home for Christmas back in Kings Mountain. Here comes Santa Claus. City presented streetscape plan. City received $200,000 from KM ABC Board. Benestar Brands purchased property in KM. On Dec. 1, an older driver accidentally drove her vehicle into Kings Mountain Post Office. Santa visited Kings Mountain. Library renovations ongoing. Work at 100 E. Kings Street continues. Floyd inspires others on a journey to a healthier life. Atrium Health first to administer COVID-19 vaccine. Sisters shared holiday warmth with Y-kids. NC Voter Law upheld in US Court of Appeals. Huggins welcomed you to Revolution Brewhouse. Shop local for Christmas. Officer Tyler Herndon killed in the line of duty. Another KMPD Officer shot Saturday night. Santa visited with children just in time for Christmas. Meadowbrook Road water project approved. During Wreaths Across America, 600 veterans honored at Mountain Rest Cemetery. Tyler Herndon laid to rest as community mourns. City grapples with mural ordinance. KM featured in Life in the Carolina’s Christmas special. Bolin’s Daycare celebrated 50th birthday. Student boarders start KM Christmas tradition in 1883. Atrium KM to get Moderna vaccine. City council continues decision on rezoning for Catawba Village.

DSS taking applications
for assistance

(January 6, 2021 Issue)

Cleveland County Department of Social Services is now taking applications from individuals who need financial assistance with paying their heating bills. Each eligible household may receive up to a maximum of $600 per year for heating and cooling assistance combined.
This is a federally-funded program and the total amount that Cleveland County received for heating and cooling assistance this year was $547,000. Of this total funding, $264,000 was paid to 1,342 households for cooling assistance this past summer. That deduction leaves a remaining balance of $283,000 in the County’s emergency fund to pay for heating bills this winter.
To be eligible to receive financial assistance with heating, a household must:
• Be located in Cleveland County
• Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
• Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty limit
For example:
• For a household of one, an income of $18,732 or less
• For a family of four, an income of $38,628 or less
• Have a health-related issue that might be made worse without heat
• Have a utility bill that shows how much is owed to the utility company
• Be responsible for their heating cost
Each household is individually evaluated, and if determined eligible for assistance, payments are made directly to the household’s utility company.
Last year, Cleveland County provided heating and cooling assistance to 2,775 applicants for a total of $588,000.
For more information on the program and eligibility, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/crisis-intervention. You also can call Cleveland County’s Department of Social Services at (704) 487-0661, ext. 394.
There is not a cap on the number of people who can be helped. However, the emergency assistance fund for heating and cooling has a limited amount of money. The total available for heating and cooling assistance this year is $547,000. As noted previously, $264,000 has been provided for cooling assistance, leaving a balance of $283,000 available for heating assistance this year. The number of people served will be determined by the number of people who are eligible and how much is needed per household.
The emergency financial assistance for heating and cooling is a federally funded program.
Each household can receive a maximum of $600 per year in heating and cooling financial assistance. For example, if a household received $200 for cooling assistance this summer, they would be eligible to receive up to $400 more for heating assistance this winter.
This program provides a total payment to the utility company on behalf of the person who has applied and determined to meet eligibility requirements. However, many utility bills bundle electric or heating with water, sewage and/or trash. This program provides financial assistance for the portion of the bill that covers heating. The purpose of this program is to resolve the financial crisis caused by the heating bill. If the total utility bill has fees associated with other utilities (trash, water, sewer), that portion of the bill must be paid before the applicant can receive financial assistance for heating, or else the crisis that the household is facing will not be resolved.
Herndon

Fund set up in memory of Officer Herndon

(December 30, 2020 Issue)

A memorial fund has been set up in honor  of Mt. Holly police officer Officer Herndon who lost his life in the line of duty on December 11, 2020. “The Tyler Herndon Memorial Fund” has been created at  SouthState Bank. Cash or check donations can be dropped off at any Gaston county location (Mount Holly, Belmont, Gastonia, Dallas, Stanley). All monies collected will be given to the Herndon family in honor of their son.
Fantasy

Fantasy Light Show continues through New Year’s Eve

(December 30, 2020 Issue)

If you think you have seen the Fantasy Christmas Light Show, you need to rethink that. “After Christmas, the light show was reprogrammed to Back the Blue in Kings Mountain,” according to Mayor Neisler. “We reprogrammed the whole show and added the City of Kings Mountain Logo and songs like, “God Bless the USA,” Neisler said. “There’s a little something in there for everyone, including Thunderstruck by AC/DC.” Kings Mountain’s Fantasy Light show will continue until New Year’s Eve, when the display will count down to midnight, welcoming in 2021.
 
Bolin
Kelly Bolin (left) directs guests to arts and crafts at Bolin Daycare’s 50th birthday celebration last Saturday. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Bolin’s Daycare
50th birthday

(January 30, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Bolin’s Daycare celebrated its 50th birthday the last Saturday before Christmas. Their anniversary should have been held in September, but with COVID-19, things got pushed back. Jeff and Kelly Bolin celebrated the daycare’s birthday party outdoors in the parking lot and on the grounds of their daycare.
Tables were filled with gift bags packed with goodies for the first 50 guests. There were games, crafts, and activities for the entire family. Some folks just came by to reminisce and take a walk down memory lane.
Photo books were placed on tables, with images of young children, now grown, spanning a half century. Games of life-size Jenga, corn hole, and a cake walk kept kids and their parents busy. Crafts filled tables as young and old gathered to create items to take home. Cupcakes and refreshments filled tables.
Santa even dropped by for a quick visit before Christmas. Kids climbed into Santa’s lap to share their Christmas wishes with Santa, wide-eyed in awe and wonder.
Students, now parents, bring their children and grandchildren to Bolin’s Daycare. One grandmother shared that her grandson had terrible separation anxiety and could not stand to be away from his immediate
family. “If someone he did not know looked at him, he would just scream. We brought him to Bolin’s and he absolutely loves it here. We often leave and he never even realizes we are gone. It is a huge success for him,” she said.
"Daycare is a lot more than just babysitting," said Kelly. "Bolin's Daycare is very structured with a focus on preparing children for Kindergarten. Everything we do, from birth to age five prepares them for that."
   In 1970, Barbara Ellen Bolin and her husband, Herman, lived two blocks away at 705 Ramseur Street. They had just completed construction of a new home on Cansler Street and decided to open a daycare in their basement. They had three children: Cindy, David, and Jeff. Jeff was just a year old.
Eventually, the Bolin's business outgrew their space, so they moved the daycare back to their house on Ramseur Street. In 1978, the Bolin’s bought the current property across from North School and built a facility that can accommodate 98 students. The 74 Bypass took their property, and they needed a new location. Now Jeff and Kelly own the daycare.
Bolin’s Daycare is a special place, as evidenced by all who gathered to share this milestone with the Bolin family this last Saturday before Christmas. The Bolin’s love traditions and have kept them going for 50 years. “Every Friday, children visit the office and get a piece of candy and Friday is also Hot Dog and Chili Day,” Jeff said. When asked the secret to their chili, he replied, "It is so simple…" Kelly quickly interrupted, saying, "The chili recipe is a highly classified secret," and they both laugh.

KM featured on “Life in the Carolinas” Christmas special

(December 30, 2020 Issue)

Carl White paid a visit to Kings Mountain, December 9th, to film a segment for his annual Big Holiday Social 2020 Christmas Special. The show, which also featured other towns such as Forest City and Wilkesboro, aired Saturday, December 19th, on WJZY Fox 46 and other stations throughout NC and SC.
Carl interviewed Grady Costner's Granddaughter, Amelia Hedtke, Mayor Scott Neisler, Jeff Ward, Christy Conner and Brandon and Annie Bolin.
The segment centered around the story of Grady and Katie Costner and their lights in Patriots Park (Why Grady created the lights and how they found a home in Patriots Park) and the Mayor's Fantasy Light Show on Railroad Avenue.
To see the show https://youtu.be/SylUDOmQkD0.
Carl White’s Life In The Carolinas is an Emmy nominated and award winning syndicated TV show that features the great people and places of the Carolinas. Over the past several years, Executive Producer and Host Carl White has visited much of the Carolinas and has gathered and shared some amazing stories.
The show focuses on the inspiring and positive things that people do. They visit individuals and communities that have pulled together to accomplish extraordinary things. They have seen the power of one person’s vision that has become the passion of many and improved the lives of even more.
The power of a well told story is amazing and has the potential of doing a lot of good.  It is this idea that drives the creativity of our programming.
Carl says, “There are few things in life that a person can do that compares to celebrating the lives of others. Looking for the good and advancement in a journey makes life a bit better and gives hope for a brighter tomorrow for all of us.  We love looking at our history, our today and our future, as they are all part of our reality.”
Map
Catawa Village diagram. See larger image inside.

City Council continues decision on rezoning for Catawba Village

(December 30, 2020 Issue)

During an unusual meeting on Friday, December 18 at 5 pm, city council continued the public hearing held during the Regularly scheduled meeting from December 15, to consider a request of Let’s Roll Holdings, LLC. At question was to rezone property consisting of approximately 82.73 acres on Dixon School Road, Parcel #11598, Map 4, Block 1, Lot 10, from R-20 to Conditional District R6-PUD (Planned Unit Development). The planned name for the development is Catawba Village.
In the prior meeting held the Tuesday before, it was determined that the application was not complete, specifically Article 14.1a, items 4, 5, and 6, so that public hearing was continued to Friday.
Of concern to Director of Community & Economic Development Stuart Gilbert, was that the amended application contained a run-on sentence in Exhibit B, paragraph 2 with regard to the building material to be used in Phase 1 that contains no more than 200 multi-family apartment units.
Mayor Neisler invited the public to speak in favor of the project and two people spoke. Leonard Fletcher, an engineer in Shelby spoke first. He explained he wouldn’t normally speak regarding this but that he had received a phone call implying that Mr. Wallace Cheves was a liar and a cheat.
“I can only say that I’ve known him for about the last 10-years. He has paid me every month and he has done everything he said he would do. There were a lot of things he (Cheves) didn’t say (in the city council meeting) because he didn’t know. He is not in that part of the development.”
 “I’ve probably designed a hundred developments in the last 40-years and I’ve tried one of my own. I just know that with the kind of requirements that the staff has put on the development, you know, brick, stone, the houses are going to cost $300,000 to $400,000 at a minimum. And apartments are going to rent for probably $1,500. I just wanted to get it straight,” Fletcher said.
“He is not going to have a choice but to build you a legacy. It will be the nicest place in Shelby or Kings Mountain.”
Also speaking in favor was Tommy Register, who is also an engineer working for Wallace Cheves. “This is a multi-family project. Low-rent is not what it is intended to be. These are high quality luxury apartments. There are no facilities like this for someone to move and    live  until   they can build a house somewhere locally,” he said.
“This project is not just for casino workers. It could be for young professionals working in Charlotte, Gastonia, or Greenville. With the housing you have now, there is a whole market sector that is missing. This housing can also be used for young professionals coming to the area.”
Mayor Neisler then invited citizens who wished to speak against. Dale Greene was the first of seven to speak against the rezoning. In response to a Facebook conversation from the night before, Greene commented that the Mayor had implied the rent for the multi-family housing units would be between $700 - $800. He urged city council to table the item.
“Tonight’s vote is going to demonstrate who is all-in with the casino,” Greene said. “You need to sit back and evaluate this, because (we are meeting on a) Friday at 5 pm. My fear is that we will be looking at subsidized housing again. I’m going to remind you we have 44.2% rental properties in Kings Mountain. That’s astounding. In fact, that’s appalling!”
“I am really concerned about the transparency of this council. You are my representatives and I feel like I have no representation. I hope you will, at least, table this matter. Do the right thing and open this thing up and let’s talk about it further. Let’s have the developer come in with a good consistent plan about what he’s going to do, how many units, how many acres it is going to cover, and what the rentals are going to be,” he said.
“If you don’t think this is being rushed, then you are sadly mistaken. I told you a long time ago that corruption’s going to roll over this town like a steamroller. Well, it’s started. Vote to table this or vote it down,” he concluded.
Second to speak was Mike Hinson, “I’m not a full-fledged citizen of Kings Mountain, but this is affecting my area. There’s a lot of people in my community that’s against this and they feel like they have no voice. I’m here to vote against it. There’s not a lot of information about what these apartments are going to look like or what they are being built out of. I think the casino is bad enough, let alone what kind of issues it is going to bring with it,” Hinson said.
“I hope each of you will search your heart tonight and think if it was going in your neighborhood or back yard, how would you feel about it, and what you would do.”
Bobby Maner took the podium next. “I had a conversation with the Mayor this morning after something he posted on Facebook yesterday. He alluded to the term Market Based Housing. There is no such thing in the real estate market.”
“When using rents of $700 - $800, that is on the bottom end of your rental market for, basically, mill housing. If you want a nice apartment somewhere in Gastonia or Charlotte, you are going to pay considerably more than that,” he said.
Maner brought up several good points, asking if the city wanted to provide dormitory housing for the casino, if public money would be involved, will the project be subsidized in any way, and what could be done if the developer sold it after completion, could it be turned into Section 8 housing. “There is nothing you can do about that. Nothing,” he said.
Maner also pointed out that a similar situation had occurred across from the hospital. “Fields Young, Inc. built one of the finest units in this town. When his estate sold, the property became what it is now. Someone died in a shooting there last year.”
He went on to say, “Putting low cost, low rent housing on that property will doom any other development that could potentially go on that side of the interstate. Don’t take my word for it. You ask developers all over the state and the county. You put this in an area, it hurts things that go in around it. It will cost the city far more than whatever money it gets out of it in utilities and taxes. So, stop it or table it, please.”
Billy Spencer approached his argument against in a different way. At 49, he grew-up and continues to live in the Dixon Community. “I have seen change,” he said, “but this is just drastic. I didn’t know about it until today. Consider those who make a home there and have lived there for their whole life. This is a major thing, and I would love to have you knock it down.”
Three citizens, Dina Spencer, Rick Spencer, and Janet Kulick shared their concerns about Wallace Cheves and his investor group, along with vague plans for the surrounding area nearby.
After the citizen comment portion  of the meeting ended, city council discussed the importance of Conditional District zoning. Attorney Corry explained, “A Conditional District is legislative, and those conditions become part of the vote and are absolute. The developer must follow those conditions and they are site specific. In other words, those conditions are tied to the land, even if the land changes ownership.”
He added, “Fortunately, these conditions are so tight, it may contain the most conditions I’ve ever seen with  a conditional district. It’s about as good as you can get, I think.”
Councilmen West, Hawkins, and Allen expressed their desire not to rush to a decision. Councilman West said, “Mr. Mayor, I think we are acting a little hastily. We are in a position where we can pick and choose. I think we have to be really careful about what we do down there (near the casino). I agree with Mr. Hinson and Billy. We have to be concerned about those folks, as well.  I don’t think we need to be in a hurry about anything. We need to make sure this is not only good for us, but also for the folks who live down there.”
City Council voted unanimously to close the public hearing, but then realized that in order to continue the discussion they should reconsider the previous motion, which they did and was approved.                                                 
Councilman Miller then made the motion to reverse their previous action of closing the public hearing, and then to continue the public hearing to January 26, 2021 at 6 pm. The vote was unanimous, and the meeting was adjourned.
Atrium
Atrium Health - Kings Mountain

Atrium KM to get
Moderna vaccine

(December 30, 2020 Issue)


Three Atrium Health facilities located in rural areas of North Carolina are prioritized to be among the first to receive the Moderna vaccine including: Atrium Health Stanly, Atrium Health Kings Mountain and Atrium Health Anson.
Atrium Health was among the first in the Southeast region to receive the first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization of the vaccine. With this shipment of the new vaccine from Moderna, frontline healthcare employees who work at one of Atrium Health’s integrated network of hospitals outside of the Charlotte area will now have convenient access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
The main difference in the Moderna vaccine is that it is able to be kept in a standard freezer between -25  to -15 degrees Celsius, (-13 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an ideal vaccine to use at healthcare facilities without access to an ultra-cold freezer. Once removed from the freezer, the vaccine is viable for 30 days. To ensure that every dose of the vaccine is quickly and effectively distributed, Atrium Health has developed a process that allows for ease of scheduling and convenient access to receive the vaccine.
Atrium Health received an initial shipment of 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has been clinically proven to be safe and 94.1% effective. This supply will be used to vaccinate thousands Atrium Health’s frontline healthcare workers, working in high-priority areas where they are at a higher risk of exposure, to receive the vaccine at a faster pace.
Atrium Health is following recommendations from the CDC and the state to prioritize distribution.
The emergence of a second vaccine also brings the opportunity to have the general public vaccinated sooner. Current projections indicate those vaccinations will begin taking place in Spring of 2021. Atrium Health is also scheduled to participate in a clinical trial with a third possible vaccine candidate, with those trials beginning in late December.
The side effects of Moderna’s vaccine include soreness at the injection site and are similar to the side effects from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is given in two doses, separated by 28 days. There are approximately 10 doses per vial. The FDA reviewed safety and efficacy data of this vaccine from an ongoing phase 3 trial in approximately 30,000 participants ages 18 and above.
This second vaccine follows a historic week at Atrium Health, after being among the first in the country to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the first in the state to administer it to Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director of Infection Prevention at Atrium Health. Following an initial diverse group of teammates from across Atrium Health receiving the vaccine on Monday, December 14, Atrium Health quickly vaccinated a group of teammates who will be administering the vaccine across the system. In just one week, Atrium Health has been able to vaccinate more than 1,500 teammates with their initial dose. Additionally, more than 5,300 are scheduled for their first vaccine and more than 5,300 scheduled for their second vaccine dose.
As vaccinations are beginning across the country, medical experts at Atrium Health caution against  complacency in preventing spread of the virus. It remains essential that everyone wear a mask when they are outside of their home and around others, that social distance of six feet be maintained at all times and to wash hands frequently. These methods will continue to be the best, first line of defense against the spread of COVID-19 until sufficient numbers of the population, as a whole, has been vaccinated.
Atrium Health also opened a voluntary vaccine research registry, which allows people to learn more about vaccine research and development. People who take part in the registry may be invited to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials in the future and will be provided with convenient access to trials should they be interested. Participating in clinical trials is a way for people to receive potentially lifesaving medications before they become FDA available. Clinical trials are crucial for advancing research and bringing new vaccines to the general public.
   As a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education, and compassionate patient care at hundreds of care locations throughout the Carolinas and Georgia, Atrium Health is bringing the most advanced therapies to patients and anticipates treatment trials it is running will guide physicians closer to identifying additional safe and effective treatments. To date, Atrium Health has conducted 10 clinical trials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine approved

By Loretta Cozart

The FDA approved the Phizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 10 and the rollout should begin soon, according to the Department of Defense. So what comes next?
In a press release issued on Dec. 11, the US Food and Drug Administration informed Phizer that it will rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization. Then the vaccine  goes to the CDC for approval.
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, said the US would work with Pfizer to get the vaccine shipped out, so that it could be administered to the most vulnerable people by Monday or Tuesday. In our area, Atrium Health Charlotte will distribute the vaccine.
Hospitals in NC to receive the vaccine include:
• Bladen Healthcare LLC (Bladen County Hospital)
• Caldwell Memorial Hospital
• CarolinaEast Medical Center
• Catawba Valley Medical Center
• Cumberland County Hospital System Inc (Cape Fear Valley Health System)
• Duke University Health System
• Henderson County Hospital Corporation (Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital)
• Hoke Healthcare LLC (Hoke Hospital)
• The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority (CMC Enterprise) - Atrium Health
• University of North Carolina Shared Services Agreement
• Wake Forest Baptist Health
NC DHHS released their vaccination rollout plan in October. First to receive the vaccine, in Phase 1a, will be every health care worker at high risk for exposure to COVID-19—doctors, nurses, and all who interact and care for patients with COVID-19, including those who clean areas used by patients, and those giving vaccines to these workers.
Additionally, long-Term Care staff and residents— people in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family, and group homes are included in this phase.
Second to receive the vaccine, in Phase 1b, will be adults with two or more chronic conditions that put them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC, including conditions like cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes, among others.
In that same phase, adults at high risk of exposure including essential frontline workers (police, food processing, teachers), health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters, migrant, and fishery housing with 2+ chronic conditions.
Phase 2 immunizes Essential frontline workers, health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters, or migrant and fishery housing, adults 65+, and adults under 65 with one chronic condition that puts them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC.
In Phase 3, the vaccine will be made available to college and university students, K-12 students when there is an approved vaccine for children, and Those employed in jobs that are critical to society and at lower risk of exposure.
Phase 4 makes the vaccine available to everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.
Some people may have temporary reactions after being vaccinated, such as swelling from the injection,  tiredness or feeling off for a day or two, according to NCDHHS.
According to the state’s Interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Executive Summary released on Oct. 16, “North Carolina is exploring the use of the federally supported web-based Vaccine Administration Management System application as well as an alternative end to end system to support data collection and tracking efforts. These systems will allow us to track doses administered and support second dose reminders via these data collection systems and provider systems as well as the vaccine administration cards provided at the time of administration.”
Herndon
Officer Tyler Herndon

Two communities mourn:
Officer Tyler Herndon
killed in the line of duty

(December 16, 2020 Issue)

On Friday, Officer Tyler Avery Herndon of Mount Holly Police Department was shot and killed while responding to a break-in at a car wash at 313 Beatty Drive at 3:30 am.
A resident of Kings Mountain, Herndon graduated Kings Mountain High School and UNC Charlotte majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. He would have celebrated his 26th birthday last Sunday.
Authorities said Joshua Funk, 24, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder and is now in custody at the Cleveland County Detention Center without bond.
While responding to a break-in at the car wash, police officers encountered an armed suspect. Shots were fired between officers and the suspect and Officer Herndon was hit. He was rushed to CaroMont Regional Medical Center where he later died.
In an afternoon press conference, Mount Holly Police Chief Don Roper said, “We are hurting, our department is hurting, our family his hurting, but we will rely on each other to get through this. The law enforcement community turned out today to support a brother, us and the community."
"I've  been  around  for a long time and one of the things I can do is read potential in young police officers, and Tyler had that potential." he said. Chief Roper described Herndon as a selfless man who routinely stood up for what was right.
Chief Roper said, “Society lost a good man today. You can tell he was raised well. His parents should be recognized for this. They raised a fine young man. He is the guy who liked to be around, he liked to be involved. He was quiet, but he would join in and you liked to be around him.” His parents are Mark and Debbie Phillips Herndon of Kings Mountain. His twin sister is Lindsey Herndon. His girlfriend is Holly Weldon.
When asked why he hired Herndon, Chief Roper said, “He had personality, bearing, and the work ethic that was right for our community. He was with us just less than two years.”
This was Herndon’s first position as a police officer, and he is Mount Holly’s first officer lost in the line of duty.
Late Friday, Officer Herndon was brought home to Kings Mountain, escorted by police officers from departments across the region. The procession was several miles long, driving southbound on I-85. Drivers pulled off the road to allow the fallen officer to pass as he was taken home to Kings Mountain. Fire departments displayed flags at overpasses, and the procession was covered live by local television stations.
Over the weekend, Mt. Holly businesses displayed blue lights to support Herndon and the Mount Holly Police Department.
On Sunday, December 13, the day what would have been Henderson’s 26th birthday, two vigils were held in honor of him. A candlelight vigil took place 5:30 pm at Mount Holly Municipal Complex. Another celebration of life vigil was held on Sunday at 6:30 pm in Kings Mountain at the Patriots Park Amphitheater where 500 – 700 guests came to mourn and support Tyler’s family.
Herndon lay in state Tuesday December 15,  from 10 am until 1 pm at First Baptist Church in Kings Mountain. His funeral was held at 2 pm with Rev. Dr. Steve Taylor and Rev. Dr. John Sloan officiating. He was laid to rest at Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery.
Carriageride
Carriage rides continue through Saturday. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Home for Christmas continues in Kings Mountain

(December 16, 2020 Issue)

By Christy Conner

The sights and sounds of Christmas continue in Downtown Kings Mountain as Christmas lights brighten the sky and the sounds of your favorite Christmas tunes fill the air.
Bring the kids downtown to meet Santa on Wednesday and Saturday evenings this week. The city added a giant Snow Globe, allowing children to see and talk to Santa while maintaining social distancing. While it is not the traditional sitting on Santa’s lap photo opportunity, kids can still get close and talk with Santa in a safe and protected way.
Costner’s Christmas Lights Extravaganza, a wonderful display of Christmas lights formerly owned by Grady and Katie Costner, continues to greet visitors to Patriots Park. Visitors are encouraged to stay on the path through the park to stroll through this magical wonderland of lights while enjoying traditional Christmas tunes from Liberty Falls Amphitheatre.
The Mayor’s Downtown Christmas Fantasy Light Show synchronized to music from Let it Snow Radio 87.9 FM, can be viewed by strolling down Railroad Avenue or by parking on South Battleground Avenue. These special lights will be available for viewing throughout the Christmas season.
Need a special gift for that special someone for Christmas? December 19 marks the last day of the Artisan Pop-Up Market. Local craft vendors will be on hand once more selling their hand-crafted wares. Our downtown businesses have extended shopping hours as well.
Other surprises await you at the Kings Mountain  Home for Christmas Celebration. Dress warmly and remember your mask.

Shop local for Christmas

By Loretta Cozart

With Christmas less than ten days away, many are scrambling for those last minute gifts. Many Kings Mountain merchants offer unique gifts for that special someone on your Christmas list. Downtown Kings Mountain’s Main Street Program is incentivizing your next shopping trip. If you spend $25 downtown between now and midnight December 24, you can be entered to win $250 in Main Street Bucks Just text a photo of your receipt to 704-734-8549. Winner will be notified on Dec. 28.
 If you have not shopped in downtown in a while, check out the shops and make a day of it. With the new restaurants, you have many options from which to choose for lunch. Kick-off your day at Revolution Brewhouse for a cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich to fuel your day of shopping.
Downtown has many boutique shops that offer one-of-a-kind gifts. Whether you need unique engraved gifts, from cutting boards to key fobs, Mountain Holiday has you covered. The shop also sells a wide variety of collectibles, gifts, seasonal, and holiday decorations. They also carry a line of men’s grooming products and tools that make shaving an experience… and less of a chore. Stop in to listen to their Corinthian Bells; that alone will put you in the holiday spirit.
Everyone wants gifts from Dellinger’s Jewel Shop. Kings Mountain’s hometown jeweler has served the needs of generations of families as their trusted jeweler for brilliant diamonds, beautiful
fine jewelry, elegant watches,  treasured gifts, custom made styles and expert jewelry repairs.
Just down the block is Uncommon Artisans, a shop that carries an eclectic range of handmade items: candles, home goods, jewelry... items for body and mind. The feature curated permanent artists and rotating artists, bringing unique gifts for that hard to buy individual on your list.
For the crafty person, consider Carolina Cotton Company, home to a diverse selection of premium quality fabrics in a wide range of colors and prints. They have novelty fabrics, sports teams, floral and landscapes, tribal prints, or bold contemporary designs? There is something there that will inspire creativity. Their fabric is cut with rotary cutters to prevent ripping or tearing and carefully packaged.
If you are looking for alternative ways to garden, check out Inorganics Plus. If hydroponics interest you, stop by and chat. Their company is based on the belief that their customers’ needs are the grassroots of their business and of the utmost importance. If you would like to try your hand an organic gardening, or you know someone who does, be sure to stop in.
If you are in the need of a manicure, pedicure, or both, Elle & Co. provides salon and spa services, including their lash lounge. Take a moment to pamper yourself and relax.
Jack & Georgia serves the fashion needs of teen girls and young women in the Kings Mountain area. Whether you daughter, niece, or granddaughter are hard to shop for, especially if they enjoy trendy fashions, you are sure to find a gift to make them smile. They carry accessories, dresses, outerwear, pants, sets, shoes, and a variety of other items.
Uptown Girl Boutique carries fashion items for the slightly older, yet fashion conscious shopper. Uptown Girl Boutique provides upscale fashion that you can wear anywhere. They carry clothing including pants, tops, dresses, outerwear, sets, tops, and accessories for petite to curvy women.
   Trackside Traders offers a bit of everything, from furniture, to clothing and accessories. Their newest addition is their ladies clothing boutique. They feature a variety of stylish clothing in sizes from XS to 3x. They look for unique clothes and accessories and strive to have new items arriving each week. While there, be sure to step next door for tasty beverage.
And remember those smaller boutiques setup at Kings Mountain Historical Museum and Southern Arts Society. If you are looking for unique art, items to brighten every room in your home, or a book for local history lovers, these are the places to shop. A portion of your purchase supports the mission of each of these organizations.
 If the family wants new furniture for the holidays, be sure to visit Farmer’s Furniture to decorate any room in your home, setup a home office, or purchase outdoor furniture or lawn equipment. These folks are close by and have a variety of items to meet your needs.
Downtown is home to two hardware stores that have supplies for whatever DIY or holiday project you might tackle: Bridges Hardware and Hometown Hardware. Both have a plethora of tools and workwear that make great gifts. And if you need any help with your project, just stop in and ask the experts to get your project done right.
Family Dollar is on the edge of downtown, but they have a variety of items including last minute gifts,  cosmetic and gift sets, toys, wrapping paper, household needs, small electronics, groceries, and snacks. They are conveniently on your way and are budget friendly.
If you know someone who enjoys older items, not necessarily antiques, but items that are a flash to the past, visit Cash Pro Pawn and Cleveland Music, Kings Mountain Thrift, or 2nd Appreciation. All have a variety of items to make that special someone on your list smile this Christmas.
While downtown, be sure to check out the variety of dining options. We have two new restaurants, 133 West and Tara Mia. But tried and true options are available also. If you have not eaten downtown lately, you may be surprised by the choices you now have
Whether you chose to grab a pizza at Papa Johns or Domino’s or prefer to dine-in at 238 Cherokee Grill, Mountain View, Sub Factory, Thai Hut Restaurant, or Mountain View, you cannot go wrong. If you time your meal right, you can enjoy the lights downtown and in Patriots Park for Christmas.
Shopping local can save you time, gas, and money. And it helps the community, your friends, your neighbors, and your family. In fact, 62% of U.S. small businesses reported that they need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 in order to stay in business, as reported in Amex-commissioned 2020 Small Business Recovery Research poll. When you Shop Small this holiday season – and all year long – you can help create a big impact and help the community in the big way.
Revolutionbrewhouse
Revolution Brewhouse has expanded its offerings to include a full-service bar and live entertainment. Photo Loretta Cozart

Huggins welcomes you
to Revolution Brewhouse

(December 16, 2020 Issue)

Michel Pilar Huggins is the new proprietor at Revolution Bredawhouse Coffee Shop at 211 S. Battleground Avenue, an artisanal coffee house/pub/lounge/cafe in Kings Mountain featuring craft coffee cocktails, craft beer and wine selections.
When the shop first opened, Huggins thought she would only offer coffee and coffee cocktails but soon realized she needed to expand her offerings to make the business more profitable. “When I added a full bar, I tripled sales. Then we added entertainment and that has helped a lot too.”
On Friday and Saturday, Revolution Brewhouse offers live music. Musician Scott Sanders stopped by to order a coffee and expressed his appreciation to local venues, ”Places like 
this help me a lot. I offer a service and the more opportunities I have to play in town gives me the opportunity to earn a living locally. In the last week, I have played here at Revolution Brewhouse, Trackside Traders, the Country Club, and the American Legion. We have a lot going on now but need to get the word out that local music is available in town.”
Huggins said, “We offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights. On Monday, we have Open Mic Night and that is very popular. Folks bring their own instrument and play. And on Wednesday, we have Karaoke Night with DJ Tommy Tonka. Both of those are very popular. Every week, more and more people show up.”
Like most other businesses, COVID-19 has impacted the business. “We had to cancel our New Year’s Eve Party, because businesses have to close at 10 am under the Governor’s Executive Order. We cannot serve any alcohol past 9 pm. Even so, folks usually stay around until we close at 10 pm.”
With the governor’s executive order, Huggins plans to open at from 7 am to 10 pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The business will be open from 7 am to 6 pm Tuesday and Thursday and is closed Sunday.
“I welcome folks to drop by and say hello. We offer a wide variety of coffee and also have a full-service bar,” she said. “Local artists display their work here and folks come by to see that. Drop by and check out our menu, grab a coffee, and shop. If you are looking for a fun evening on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, come on by.”
 
Roy cooper 2
Governor Roy Cooper

North Carolina to begin Modified Stay at Home Order to slow COVID-19 spread

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will begin a Modified Stay at Home Order after a rapid increase in North Carolina’s key COVID-19 trends. The Order requires people to stay at home between 10 pm and 5 am and takes effect Friday, December 11 and will be in place until at least January 8, 2021.
   “We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Governor Cooper said. “Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.”
   The Order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 pm. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted. Read more in the Frequently Asked Questions document.
   In the past week, North Carolina’s case count has broken single-day records on three separate days, including crossing more than 6,000 cases per day on two of those days. Just a month ago, cases were under 3,000 per day. In recent days, the percent of tests returning positive has increased to more than 10%.
   Governor Cooper was clear that further action would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve. This could require further limiting of restaurant dining, indoor entertainment or shopping and retail capacity restrictions, among other safety protocols.
   Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map. The number of red counties (critical community spread) has more than doubled since November 23, up to 48 red counties from 20 red counties. There are now 34 orange counties (substantial community spread), as compared to 42 orange counties from the previous report. With today’s report, more than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier. Read the update to see where each county stands and how the system was designed.
   “Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
   Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.
  • Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.
  • Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.
  • Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing.
  • Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.
  • Testing
Testing capacity is high, surpassing 50,000 tests per day for much of the past week. 
  • Tracing Capability
The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments.
There have been more than 500,000 downloads of the exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC.
Personal Protective Equipment
North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

Read Executive Order 181.
 
Kmseal

City receives $200,000
from KM ABC Board

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

During the November 24 city council meeting, Mayor Scott Neisler announced that Kings Mountain’s ABC Board awarded the city a check for $200,000, which came from a surplus in the ABC board’s funds. “These funds allow us to do what we really want to do,” Neisler said.
 In the Consent Agenda, city council unanimously approved budget amendments that included $90,000 for an outdoor video screen to be installed in Patriots Park and $85,000 for Library window restoration and plaster repair. A restricted contribution from the ABC Board will be utilized to pay for these improvements.
An additional $15,000 was used to fund Feed the Children this year, which provides $75,000 in non-perishable food items to area families in need during the Christmas season.
Other items in the consent agenda included:
$40,000 to budget Grant Funds for YMCA Wifi ($15,000) and Patriots Park Wifi ($25,000). These funds are restricted specifically for these projects. Council approval is required because it increases the General Fund.
$9,500 to budget funds received and to budget a capital expenditure for an ATV. The funds are a restricted contribution from the ABC Board to be utilized specifically by the Police Department to purchase an ATV/side by side.
City council also adopted a Resolution clarifying the role of the Planning and Zoning Board in deliberations on zoning text amendments, rezoning requests, and zoning map amendments. This action eliminates the public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Board for the aforementioned types of cases and require only one public hearing before City Council.
Coucil also approved a Downtown Kings Mountain Façade  Grant  Application 
$200,000 the amount of $5,000 for 100 E. King Street, which is owned by Kiamesha Young, for the purpose of façade repairs, rehabilitation, and renovations.
Six public hearings were scheduled for December 15 at 6 pm at City Hall:
•  to consider the approval of a Mural Ordinance for the Kings Mountain Downtown Protection, Preservation & Enhancement District (KMDPPE).
• to consider a text amendment to the Zoning Table of Permitted Uses, and Definitions pertaining to Existing “Single Family Dwellings” in the Neighborhood Business (NB) Zoning District.
• for an amendment to the Incentive Agreement for Benestar Brands.
• to consider a Utility Incentive Agreement with Benestar Brands.
• to consider a request from Let’s Roll Holdings, LLC to rezone property consisting of approximately 82.73 acres on Dixon School Road and being further described as a portion of Parcel #11598, Map 4-39, Block 1, Lot 10, from R-20 (Residential) to Conditional Use R6-PUD (Planned Unit Development) – Case No. Z-1-9-2020.
• to consider a request from E5 Holdings, LLC to rezone property consisting of approximately 17.11 acres on Dixon School Road and being further described as Parcel #63027, Map 4-41, Block 1, Lot 16, from HI (Heavy Industrial) to GB (General Business) – Case No. Z-3-10-20.
   City council pproved the following appointments and reappointments to the Boards and      Commissions listed below:
 Board of Adjustment
• Jim Potter – reappointed for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
• Bill McMurray – reappointed for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
Planning & Zoning Board
• Ron Humphries – reappointed for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
• Ronnie Franks – reappointed for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
• Clifton Bouldin – initial appointment for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
• Maury Williams – extend temporary appointment for six months in order to assist with the Comprehensive Plan and UDO – term to expire 6/30/2021.
 Mayor Neisler addressed the topic of term limits in response to Tim Greene’s request during last month’s city council meeting. The mayor reached out to League of Municipalities and received a reply stating, “In NC, enacting term limits would not withstand a constitutional challenge. This is because NC Constitution sets forth the requirements for who can run for office and that list of requirements is exclusive. Any additional qualifications, such as term limits, would be deemed unconstitutional.”
City attorney Mickey Corry agreed saying, “Some years back there was a question about creating term limits for the council. The answer then, and the answer now, is that it is not lawful in our state.”
During the citizen recognition, Mayor Neisler said to Greene, “I hope these responses clarify this for you.’ In response, Greene told council, “It (the response) clarifies but doesn’t satisfy. If Tim Moore, one of the most powerful Republicans in the state, can get it to where the School Board is partisan, then he can change the (state) constitution, too, adding amendments to reflect term limits.”
“My goal is transparency. There are several of us who owe Chip Sloan an apology,” Greene said with regard to the new Brunch Bill which allows alcohol to be served at 10 am on Sunday that was enacted by city council during the October meeting. “We should have called him, letting him know about the 10 am issue for ABC. We have to restore the trust in the citizens of this community, the state of NC, and the federal government.”
 Two public hearings were held during the city council meeting. Both cases were approved by the Planning and Zoning Board.
City council approved a request from Matt Bailey and Patricia C. Queen to rezone property located on North Cansler Street containing .366 acres, also identified as Parcel #8540, Map KM 20, Block 7, Lot 23 from RS-6 Page 64 Page 66 Page 67 Page 93 Page 107 Residential to R-6 Residential – Case No. Z-1-10-20.
The second request, made by Barry & Sherry Jenkins, was approved to rezone property located at 145 Yarbro Road containing 9.07 acres, also identified as Parcel #10722, Map 4-22, Block 1, Lot 25 from R-10 Residential to R-20 Residential – Case No. Z-2-10-20.
As a result of both properties being annexed, along with prior annexations, council also approved the motion to adopt Resolutions indicating the Intent of the City Council to consider the redrawing of Ward lines for placement of annexed properties into the existing 5 wards and setting the date of Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 6 pm for a Public Hearing to consider the adoption of Ordinances amending the City Charter assigning the annexed properties.
According to City Attorney Corry, “About 19 parcels, 15 in Cleveland County and 4 in Gaston County, that have been rezoned but have not been assigned to a ward, so council needs to address this.”
In another action, Attorney Corry explained that when City of Kings Mountain annexed property that is now owned by E5 Holdings, the city is required to assume some of the debt of Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department, according to NC General Statutes. Law requires that the amount be paid annually, but the total amount owed is $1,027.41. Council and Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department agreed to allow payment in one lump sum.
City council also authorized the mayor to execute a variance at 105 Hinson lane on Moss Lake. The lake commission recommended the variance.
Two properties on N. Cansler Street were approved by council for demolition: 113 N. Cansler Street (Parcel #6788) and the house next door (Parcel #6787) because they are not fit for habitation. Council’s vote was unanimous.
Council also approved revisions to the Community Appearance Standards Code Ordinance allowing it to now be enforced by the Codes Department instead of Zoning. In addition, Codes Director Clint Houser offered to share a list of homes he is reviewing to city council.
Streetscape
KM’s Streetscape Plan diagram.

City of KM presents
Streetscape plan 

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

During the November City Council Meeting, Assistant City Manager Nick Hendricks announced he had met with Main Street’s Board of Directors to get their input on the updated Streetscape Project presented by N-Focus.
“About 80 percent of the Main Street Board was there, and they voted 100 percent on what is planned. We will continue to engage them. If you approve, we’ll put the plan to a RFP process and budget the numbers. We hope to begin construction and release bids sometime in March 2021, on schedule,” Hendricks said.
Richard Flowe of N-Focus reviewed the plan with council. The plan is designed to spur infill and development downtown. “Areas near downtown, including Piedmont at Mountain Street, are almost perfectly configured,” he said. “The area between Piedmont and Battleground needs attention.”
Flowe recommended using Cherokee Street as access to Battleground Avenue. He also recommended removing the stop light at the intersection of Cherokee and Mountain Streets and replacing it with a 4-way stop sign.
Suggested was making Cherokee Street a one-way street, with on-street parking, and configuring it to encourage pedestrian traffic. Regarding Cherokee Street, he stated, “The view of Kings Mountain is your money shot. Can you imagine the view of that mountain from a third-floor condo? That opportunity will be lost without vertical construction downtown. Condos in that area would  provide good foot traffic and support for downtown merchants.”
Regarding Mountain Street, Flowe said, “Mountain Street is an opportunity we may not have fully taken advantage of originally. Mountain Street is a vibrant area, especially considering the new restaurant there.” The city owns a parking lot behind the old billiard hall, and he suggests taking advantage of that space and reconfiguring the alleyway leading to it as part of the plan.
“Parking is a valuable asset you already own in downtown,” Flowe said. “For the parking lot behind the billiard hall, he suggested digging below the surface to determine what is down there, making any needed repairs, and resurfacing it adding elements to make it orderly.
“The alleyway to the parking area needs a bit of attention to make it user friendly. Using CPTED, or Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, to address on individuals discomfort from walking through that area will improve use of parking and pedestrian traffic,” Flowe said. “If people are not comfortable in an area, they won’t use it.” He recommends reconfiguring the stairs and keeping the community art.
Flowe also recommended opening solid walls with side entrances along alleyways to encourage areas where smaller businesses could survive, should building owners consider subdividing their space.
Along Mountain Street, Flow recommends creating sidewalks with pop-outs to plant trees. Doing so will define the space and draw diver’s attention to pedestrian crosswalks.
In addition, he recommended bringing the street to curb level in places, instead of dropping the sidewalk down from the curb. Road humps to slow traffic would be utilized at Cherokee and Mountain Streets, as well as Piedmont and Mountain Streets.
Phase I of the Streetscape Plan includes work along Battleground Avenue down to the intersection of E. Gold Street. Phase II of the Streetscape Plan is slated to begin in March 2022.
Benstar

Benestar Brands purchases property 

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

On November 4, Benestar Brands purchased two properties in Kings Mountain. The first property on Quality Lane is 5.648 acres and was purchased by Chippy Acquisitions in care of Evans Food Group, doing business as Benestar Brands. The excise tax paid on the property was $790, indicating the property is valued at $395,000. (QUALITY LN KINGS MTN BK 1786 PG 1183).
The same day, a second parcel designated at Tract 3 consisting of 14.779 acres was purchased on Industrial Drive and an excise tax of $1,626 was paid. That equates to a purchase price of $843,000.
(TCT 3, 14.779 ACS PL BK 38 PG 132).
   In October, Benestar Brands announced they had chosen Kings Mountain for their newest production facility which will create 129 jobs in Cleveland County. The newest project in North Carolina will provide easier access to the fast-growing company’s customer base and the nation’s east coast market. This new facility will support Benestar Brands’ expansion plans into new snack categories.
Benestar Brans intends to produce Chica’s Corn Chips, a better-for-you, high-quality snack. According to FoodBev Media, the Kings Mountain facility will give Benestar Brands easier access to  the nation’s east coast market and is expected to grow NC’s Gross Domestic Product by $431 million over the grant’s 12-year term.
The company’s 129 new jobs in Kings Mountain will include managerial, operational, maintenance, warehouse and office staff. The average annual salary for all new positions is $43,021, creating a payroll impact of more than $5.5 million per year. Cleveland County’s overall average annual wage is $40,019.
Artisanpopup
Artisan Pop-Up Market will be held on Saturdays, December 5, 12 and 19.

Artisan Pop-Up Market featured at Home for Christmas Celebration

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

Did you know there are less than 22 shopping days until Christmas? Do you need help finding that special gift for that special person? Stop in Downtown Kings Mountain, Saturday, December 5, 12 and 19, take in the sights and sounds of Christmas while shopping in many of our local businesses and the Artisan Pop-Up Market.
Held in Liberty Garden located beside the Joy Performance Theater, the Artisan Pop-Up Market will feature local talented artisans who have hand crafted unique wares to sell just in time for Christmas. The Artisan Pop-Up Market will open each Saturday during the Home for Christmas Celebration at 3:30 pm.
For information regarding our Downtown businesses, including hours of operation and Christmas promotions, access the City of Kings Mountain Main Street Program’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Downtown-Kings-Mountain-Welcome-to-the-Revolution.
For more information regarding the Home for Christmas Celebration, contact the Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, access their website at www.kingsmountainchristmas.com or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.
Feedchildren

Feed the Children event this Friday

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

On Friday, Dec. 4, the City of Kings Mountain joins forces with Feed the Children and Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry to provide 400 families with food and essentials. The food distribution will take place at Patrick Senior Center parking lot from 12 pm – 6 pm.
“The city is pleased to sponsor the Feed the Children event this year,” said Mayor Neisler. “Hopefully it will help ease the stress of those less fortunate in our community. This could not have been possible without the support of the ABC Board’s generous gift to the city. Thanks to the Feed the Children organization, the $15,000 cost of the truck delivers $75,000 worth of food. What a great way to expand our outreach to the hungry.”
The event is first come, first served for needy families and seniors in the Kings Mountain area.
Each household will get one box of grocery items plus a box of personal items, a box of AVON products and a book while supplies last.
The event is being held in the front parking lot of the Patrick Senior Center at 909 E King St., in Kings Mountain.
With the help of City of Kings Mountain and the support of Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry, Feed the Children can help feed those in need in North Carolina communities. 
Cormetech, which had sponsored this event for several years, is also assisting this year by storing any undistributed boxes, Mayor Neisler shared.
This is one of many events Feed the Children has planned across the country to help defeat hunger. Feed the Children is committed to helping children and families across the US and around the world. Visit feedthechildren.org for more information.

Medicare open enrollment
continues to December 7

(December 2, 2020 Issue)


Medicare Open Enrollment is officially open and will run through December 7, but the deadline is fast approaching. More than 60 million people with Medicare can review health and drug plans and make changes to their healthcare coverage for next year, based on their financial and medical needs, from the comfort of their homes.
With Medicare Advantage (or private Medicare health plans) and Part D prescription drug plan premiums at historic lows – and hundreds of healthcare plans now offering $35 monthly co-pays for insulin – there are plenty of reasons to compare coverage options.
   As part of this year’s open enrollment, CMS also reminds people with Medicare to get their flu shot, beware of open enrollment scams, and seek virtual assistance if they need it to enroll in a plan amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
   “I hope everyone with Medicare takes time to review their health and drug coverage for next year,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “There are more plans than ever to choose from, many new benefits, and historically low plan premiums. You may well find a plan that’s a better fit for you and save yourself some money in the process. Shopping for plans is easy with Medicare Plan Finder.”
During Open Enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries can compare coverage options like Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and choose health and prescription drug plans for 2021. Medicare health and drug plan costs and covered benefits can change from year-to-year. CMS urges Medicare beneficiaries to review their coverage choices and decide on the options that best meet their health needs. Over the past three years, CMS has made it easier for seniors to compare and enroll in Medicare coverage. The redesigned Medicare Plan Finder makes it easier for beneficiaries to:
• Compare pricing between Original Medicare, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies;
• Compare coverage options on their smartphones and tablets;
• Compare up to three drug plans or three Medicare Advantage plans side-by-side;
• Get plan costs and benefits, including which Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits;
• Build a personal drug list and find Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage that best meets their needs.
Highlights for 2021 Open Enrollment include:
   A 34 percent decrease in average monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage plans since 2017. This is the lowest average monthly premium since 2007. Beneficiaries in some states, including Alabama, Nevada, Michigan, and Kentucky, will see decreases of up to 50 percent in average Medicare Advantage premiums. More than 4,800 Medicare Advantage plans are offered for 2021, compared to about 2,700 in 2017. Similarly, more Medicare Part D plans are available, and the average basic Part D premium has dropped 12 percent since 2017.
Medicare beneficiaries can join a prescription drug plan that will offer many types of insulin at a maximum copayment of $35 for a 30-day supply. More than 1,600 Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans are participating in the Part D Senior Savings Model for 2021. People who enroll in a participating plan could save up to an estimated $446 a year in out-of-pocket costs on insulin. CMS has added a new “Insulin Savings” filter on Medicare Plan Finder to display plans that will offer the capped out-of-pocket costs for insulin. Beneficiaries can use the Medicare Plan Finder to view plan options and look for a participating plan in their area that covers their insulin at no more than a $35 monthly copay.
   Free, personalized counseling on Medicare options is also available through the nonprofit State Health Insurance Assistance Program or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
   Finally, CMS urges people with Medicare to practice safety measures to guard against identity theft during open enrollment. Beneficiaries should not give their Medicare card or Medicare number to anyone except their doctor or people they know should have it. CMS removed Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards last year to reduce fraud and protect beneficiaries from identity theft. Even with this change, people with Medicare should guard their Medicare card like they would a credit card. They should also check their Medicare claim summaries for errors and questionable bills and report fraud to Medicare’s toll-free customer service center at 1-800-MEDICARE or online.
Americanlegion

American Legion Veteran’s breakfast Saturday

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 155 has its Veteran’s Breakfast Saturday morning, December 5, at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street.
All veterans are invited to this free breakfast the first Saturday of every month. Others are welcome to attend for a small donation which helps fund future breakfasts. The next breakfast will be on December 5 from 9 am to 11 am. Everyone is asked to follow Governor Cooper’s guidelines for social distancing.

Nutcracker performances
to be held at Joy Theatre

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

Believe it or not - the holidays are fast approaching. This holiday season enjoy a family classic, The Nutcracker, the all-time favorite story of Clara’s magical trip to the land of sweets, presented by Kimberla's School of Classical Ballet. The Nutcracker will be performed on Friday, December 4th at 7pm, Saturday, December 5th at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday, December 6th at 4pm at The Joy Performance Center in Kings Mountain.  Tickets are $12 each in advance or $15 at the door for general admission seating and $85 in advance or $100 at the door for a mezzanine seating cluster of 4 with hor d'oeuvres. Only 100 tickets available to each performance. Tickets are  available by calling 704-300-4130 or at  https://sites.google.com/site/kimberlasclassicalballet/nutcracker-tickets
Experience this magical storybook ballet with your family and friends or escape one evening to dream with your children for our 11th annual production of The Nutcracker.  Hope to see you there!
Santa
Santa will make his rounds in Kings Mountain on Saturday, December 5.

Here comes Santa Claus

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

Santa Claus is heading to Kings Mountain and bringing Christmas cheer along the way. On Saturday, December 5, a day normally set aside for the Home for Christmas Parade, Santa will bring the parade to residents of all ages by making a special trip through the City of Kings Mountain.
Santa will begin making his rounds at 12 pm and head back to the North Pole at 4 pm. A map of  Santa’s route is now available online at www.kingsmountainchristmas.com and the Special Events Department’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.
For more information, please contact the Special Events Department at 704-730-2101. 
Homeforchristmas

Home for Christmas comes back to
Downtown KM

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Christy Conner,  City of KM

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Downtown Kings Mountain turns into a magical wonderland, as the sights and sounds of Christmas come back Home for Christmas.
Costner’s Christmas Light Extravaganza, a magnificent display of Christmas lights formerly owned by Grady and Katie Costner, now awaits visitors to Patriots Park. Visitors are encouraged to stroll through this magical wonderland of lights while enjoying traditional Christmas tunes from Liberty Falls Amphitheatre.
Beginning Saturday, December 5, the Mayor’s Downtown Christmas Fantasy Light Show synchronized to music from Let it Snow Radio 87.9 FM, will light up the night sky. To view the lights, visitors can stroll down Railroad Avenue or park on South Battleground Avenue and view from the comfort of their car. These special lights will be available for viewing throughout the Christmas season.
Other surprises await you at the Kings Mountain Home for Christmas Celebration. Dress warmly and don’t forget your mask.
   For more information, contact the Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, access their website at www.kingsmountainchristmas.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.

Accident at KM Post Office

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

On Tuesday morning, December 1, a vehicle drove into the Kings Mountain Post Office at 115 E Gold St. One person was injured and taken to the hospital. “The incident is still under investigation, but no charges have been filed at this time and the older driver showed no signs of impairment,” Chief Proctor said.       

Photos by Reg Alexander                                                      

 
Dotlocal
NCDOT employees worked Saturday to pave N. Piedmont Avenue from the Arts Center to the Highway 74 bypass. Photo by Loretta Cozart

NCDOT paving project continues through town

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

NCDOT continues to pave Hwy. 216 through Kings Mountain. To date, the state road has been paved from Kings Mountain Blvd. to the Hwy. 74 bypass on Piedmont Avenue, with the exception of downtown.
“We’ll begin working on the Streetscape in downtown Kings Mountain in late March 2021 for completion scheduled by September,” said City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “We are finalizing the Streetscape plan and presenting it to City Council at the end of this month.”
In downtown, water line updates need to be made in conjunction with the Streetscape project, so NCDOT skipped that portion of the work and will give the funds to the city for use when it comes time to pave Battleground Avenue.
Keithcorporation
This artist’s rendering shows a modern facility with ample warehouse and office space for new KM Corporate Center. Work is slated to begin in 2021. See topographical map on page 5A. Photos provided by Keith Corporation

Keith Corporation markets new Kings Mountain Corporate Center

(November 18, 2020 Issue)
By Loretta Cozart
Charlotte based Keith Corporation has begun marketing Kings Mountain Corporate Center’s 5-star industrial space at 705 Canterbury Road. The 164-acre site is permitted for 1,263,600 square feet under one roof and all utilities including water, sewer, gas and electricity will be provided by City of Kings Mountain. The property has extensive I-85 frontage with access to the interstate by two interchanges.
The facility will be built using construction reinforced concrete and work is slated to begin in 2021. The property is offered for sale for $35,000 per acre or build-to-suit for purchase or lease by The Keith Corporation. Industrial Developers on the project are Alan Lewis and Justin C. Curis.
Build-to-suit options include 100,000-1,000,000 SF. Companies in the park include Hanes Brands. Access to I-85, NC Highway 161 and Canterbury Rd. The corporate park is located 26-miles west of Charlotte Douglas International Airport via I-85.
Chicas
Chica’s Corn Chips will be produced in Kings Mountain at a new facility.

Benestar Brands to open plant in Kings Mountain

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Benestar Brands announced opening a plant in Kings Mountain in October with plans to produce Chica’s Corn Chips at the local facility. The company headquarters are in Harbor City, CA.
The company’s 129 new jobs in Kings Mountain will include managerial, operational, maintenance, warehouse and office staff. The average annual salary for all new positions is $43,021, creating a payroll impact of more than $5.5 million per year. Cleveland County’s overall average annual wage is $40,019.
According to FoodBev Media, the Kings Mountain facility will give Benestar Brands easier access to  the nation’s east coast market and is expected to grow NC’s Gross Domestic Product by $431 million over the grant’s 12-year term.
At its website, Benestar Brands tells the story of Chica’s Corn Chip founder Irlanda Montes, and her dream to share her mother’s family recipes. This dream brought a time of laughter and joy as her sisters worked  along-side her making small batches of tortilla chips and salsa.
“Chica’s Corn Chips aren’t just made of corn and sea salt,” the website states. “They are made from love and laughs around the kitchen table, handwritten recipes on weathered scraps of paper, and the aroma of freshly made chips and salsa flowing through the entire neighborhood. When you dive into a bag of Chica’s Corn Chips, you are opening up a bag of history and authentic flavors.”
Today, Chica’s continues to be family operated. Irlanda, along with her husband and daughters, take pride in making and serving the same wholesome and delicious tortilla chips and salsa shared at their own family gatherings.
Currently, Chica’s Corn Chips products can be found in over 200 locations all over Southern California and beyond and on Amazon.com.
 
Mikehouser
Mike Houser is pictured receiving a certificate and pin from the city for 30 years of service on October 29, 2019. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Local man dies during hunting trip

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

John Michael (Mike) Houser’s body was recovered on Sunday, Nov. 8, following a two-day search for him when he did not meet his brother at the designated time while hunting in Jonesville, South Carolina the morning prior.
Union County Sheriffs’ Office began the search early Saturday afternoon and continued until 11:30 pm. The next morning the search was resumed, and Houser’s body was found around 1 pm on Sunday.
Indications are the death was accidental and that he fell from a tree, according to the Union County Sheriff’s office.
Houser’s funeral service was held on Friday, Nov. 13.
Mike Houser worked for the City of Kings Mountain for 31-years in their Energy Services Department. City Manager Marilyn Sellers asks everyone, “Please pray for staff because they not only lost a coworker but a very dear friend.” 
Beacblast
BeachBlast 2019 was named the Carolina Beach Music Awards Event of the Year during ceremonies Saturday. Pictured L-R are Special Events Coordinator Angela Padgett , City Manager Marilyn Sellers, Special Events Director Christy Conner, and BeachBlast band/stage coordinator Chris Johnson. (Staff’s masks were removed while the taking of this photo) Photo provided

KM Beach Blast 2019 named CBMA’s Event of the Year

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

CBMA’s was held
virtually Nov. 14


The City of Kings Mountain is celebrating a big win! The city’s 2019 Beach Blast Festival held at Patriots Park in downtown Kings Mountain on August 23 and 24, 2019, has been named the Carolina Beach Music Awards Event of the Year. Beach Blast was one of six events nominated for this prestigious award winning over Fort Lauderdale FL, Raleigh NC, Cape Canaveral FL and two events at North Myrtle Beach.
“This win speaks to the excellence of leadership from our Special Events Director, Christy Conner,” stated Marilyn Sellers, City Manager. “Starting her career with the City of Kings Mountain in 2001, Christy was promoted in 2017 as the Special Events Director. Her leadership brings energy and enthusiasm to all our events. With her vision and ability to rally a team of staff and volunteers, the Beach Blast Festival has grown to be recognized across the State of NC and  the Southeast.”
“The Special Events team is honored by this win,” stated Christy Conner, Special Events Director.  “I would like to express my sincere thanks to our team of staff and volunteers. This win would not be possible without the creativity, dedication and passion of this group. I am very grateful for our City Council and Administration and their continued support. Through their support and leadership, we have a beautiful state of the art venue to host Beach Blast and other festivals and events. With confidence, I can say that Kings Mountain is on the right path to creating a vibrant entertainment district in Downtown and I’m excited to be a part of it!”
   Each year, members of the Carolina Beach Music Awards Association nominate on the best in Beach Music entertainment, such as, radio announcers, bands, events, and clubs. After the nominations are announced, members then vote for the official winners of each category.
   “It is really great that the CMBA has named Beach Blast 2019 the Southeast’s top Event of the Year as announced on FM 94.9 The Surf.” says Mayor Scott Neisler. “For one weekend in the piedmont of the Carolinas, we take our shoes off and pretend to walk in the sand enjoying some great beach music! This is a well-deserved accolade for our staff because we have no beach! Make plans now to join us in 2021 and see what all the fun is about!”
   The Carolina Beach Music Awards were held virtually, November 14. The awards ceremony aired online at www.949thesurf.com.
   For more information, you may also call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com.
Ccschoolslogo

Clev. Co. Schools
holiday calendar

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Cleveland County Schools begins the holiday on Nov. 25 with an annual leave day. Schools will be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 26 and 27.
High school and middle school progress reports go out on December 1. Elementary and Intermediate school report cards go out on Dec. 3.
December 21 marks the end of the second quarter and is a Remote Learning day. Annual Leave days are December 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, and 31. Christmas holiday is December 24 and 25; New Year’s day is January 1.
Veterandrivethru
The City of Kings Mountain hosted a Veteran’s Day Drive-thru on Nov. 10. Pictured above is Dr. Frank Sincox. See more photos on page 8A. Photo by Christy Conner

Veterans honored at  drive-thru meal event

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department, Mauney Memorial Library and Patrick Senior Center partnered to honor Veterans with a drive-thru meal event on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at the senior center.
Veterans enjoyed a BBQ meal prepared by Linwood Restaurant. Harris Funeral Home sponsored the beautiful wreath displayed during the event that was later moved to Patriots Park.
B&D RV Park and the Tom Brooks family co-sponsored the meal. Tony Coppola, owner of 238 Terra Mia Ristorante, provided gift cards to our Veterans.
Over 80 cars came through the event held at the Patrick Senior Center and the community thanks our veterans for their service to our county.

Advent Lutheran Honors Local Heroes

(November 12, 20202 Issue)

On Thursday, November 5, Advent Lutheran Church, 230 Oak Grove Road, had the opportunity to say THANK YOU to the heroes that keep our community safe. Advent invited Police Officers, Highway Troopers, First Responders, EMS, and Firefighters out to their picnic shelter for a dine-in or take-out appreciation luncheon. Approximately 70 meals were served!
Pastor Joshua Morgan said, “Please know that Advent Lutheran Church is ever keeping those who serve our community in their prayers.”        


Photos provided by Pastor Joshua Morgan
 

KM holiday trash schedule

(November 12, 20202 Issue)

City Offices were  closed Wednesday, November 11 in observance of Veterans Day. Garbage Service Wednesday & Thursday will be one day later.
City Offices will be closed Thursday & Friday, November 26 & 27 in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Garbage service for Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday will be one day earlier. The
City Offices will be closed Thursday & Friday, December 24 & 25 in observance of the Christmas Holiday. Garbage Service for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be one day earlier.
All trash should be placed in bags and inside the garbage container for collection. If you have questions about additional trash collection, please call Public Works at 704-734-0735.

City council hears update on Comprehensive Plan 

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


City council heard an update on Kings Mountain’s Comprehensive Plan during their Oct. 27 meeting.  Presenting were President Gary Mitchell and Senior Associate-in-Charge Kelli McCormick of Kendig Keast Collaborative. The Comprehensive Plan helps the city and others make sound and coordinated decisions regarding the future of the Kings Mountain community.
The project kick-off
occurred in April, just after the COVID-19 pandemic began, resulting in a delay to their original timeline.
In May, Kendig Keast held a remote introduction meeting with city council, referred to as the startup and early engagement phase, during which town meetings and listening sessions were to be held. This phase deadline was shifted to end in October and town meetings were removed from the plan.
Phase 2 addressed Kings Mountain Today, consisting of advisory group meetings, reviewing the existing city report, and leadership workshops. This phase was shifted to June – November.
Kings Mountain Tomorrow, Phase 3, includes advisory group meetings and the future-focused portion of the plan. This phase was changed to December through April 2021.
Finalization and Adoption is the last phase in which implementation strategies, a public open house, a leadership workshop, and final hearings and adoption would be addressed. This is now scheduled for  April to May 2021.
COVID-19 has caused many issues with timelines and Phase 3 and Phase 4 may by pushed back even further, should the Coronavirus continue into 2021.
An online survey was conducted and 218 individuals from Kings Mountain, Grover, Shelby, and Cherryville responded. According Kendig Keast, the response percentage is on average with most surveys they conduct.
Approximately 30 respondents were not from Kings Mountain. About 115 people lived in the city for more than 20 years. The number of people who lived in the town 1–5 years was about 35. Twenty people respondents lived in Kings Mountain for 6–10 years. And about 18 people lived in the city for 11-20 years.
Respondents reported that they worked in Gaffney, Charlotte, Shelby, Kings Mountain, Belmont, Stanley, or were retired. A few respondents also work remotely. Other municipalities were mentioned, but only one of two people worked in those communities.
The top five priorities, according to those who took the survey were, (1) ongoing downtown enhancements and improvements, (2) public safety (police, fire, ambulance service), (3) more leisure/entertainment options, (4) safety when walking/biking, and (5) more shopping choices.
When asked what “small town feel” Kings Mountain needs to preserve, respondents indicated they wanted a traditional downtown, local shops/restaurant vs. chains or fast food, community events / family activities, control traffic, maintain low crime rate, and that it be a walkable place.
The majority of people felt the city needs more housing options. The top five indicated a need for more downtown residential, followed by move-up mid-level housing, large-lot housing for people to live in the city but be separated from their neighbors, more housing options for seniors to stay in Kings Mountain, and attached housing types like patio homes or townhomes.
When asked what public service contributes most to quality of life, the top five included public safety, infrastructure, downtown development, parks / recreation / trails, and economic development.
In evaluating the community’s character, Kendig Keast evaluated communities comparing three components: paving, open space, and buildings.  A community with more buildings was considered Urban. Towns with an equal amount of buildings and open space was considered Suburban. And a city with more pavement and buildings than open space was considered Auto Urban. They urge Kings Mountain to address character and balance of paving, open space, and buildings in its plan for the future.
Even in areas where seas of pavement currently exist, planning can make way for future improvement to balance it with trees and plantings.
Strategic priorities for Future Kings Mountain Phase were identified as:
 • Housing - More supply, options, mid-market rental, condition of older housing stock, and more living opportunities in/near Downtown.
• Downtown - Continue to enhance (businesses, restaurants, mixed use, aesthetics), find our niche to attract/retain next generations and keep our leisure activity and spending here (along with jobs).
• Economic Development - Keep building industrial base, more local job options, support business startups especially Downtown.
• Beautification - Overall aesthetics, upkeep, and better streetscapes.
• Natural & Cultural Resources - Park / trail improvements, protect lakes, tap into heritage tourism and National Park visitation.
• Growth & Land Use - Pace of growth we can manage while maintaining what makes life good in Kings Mountain, more connected community.
• Education –-Technical and higher education to support area economy and higher-level jobs, improve quality of life and reduce poverty.
Americanlegion

Chili Cook-off at the
Legion Nov. 14

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 155 announces a Chili Cook-off at Otis D. Green American Legion Post 155 at 613 East Gold Street, Kings Mountain this
Saturday, Nov. 14, from 6 pm to 8 pm.
All those who wish to enter the contest must have their chili at the post by 6 pm. Bring your warmed chili in a crock pot.
To enter the chili cook-off, the American Legion Auxiliary asks for a $5 donation. Cost to sample all the chili entered, and one vote for your favorite chili recipe, is a $10 donation. All proceeds go to American Legion Auxiliary Unit 155.
There will be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners chosen. All votes must be cast by 7:45 pm.
The Chili Cook-off will be followed by karaoke. Please be sure to follow all social distancing guidelines during this event.

City Council passes sale of alcohol
before noon on Sunday

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain City Council voted 5-2 in favor of an ordinance allowing alcohol to be served in restaurants as early as 10 am on Sundays during a special called meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5. All councilmembers were present, and Jay Rhodes and Keith Miller cast the dissenting votes.
This topic had been voted on during the October 27 City Council meeting, however it was brought before council to be re-voted because the ordinance was not officially passed due to a lack of 2/3 majority of the actual membership on the date of introduction.
Under the voting rules in G.S. 160A-75, if the date on which the board votes on the ordinance is regarded as the date of introduction, an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the actual membership of the council is required to adopt the measure. If an earlier date is deemed to be the date of introduction, a majority of the members of the council would be sufficient.
   City Attorney Mickey Corry addressed council explaining, “After the Oct. 27  meeting, we took a closer look an decided out of an abundance of caution city council should vote on this ordinance again. It may be overkill, but we decided it best to for city council to vote again.”
  Atty. Corry also explained that the ordinance would impact all businesses in Kings Mountain that have a license to sell alcohol. Councilman Jay Rhodes asked, “Convenience stores?” Corry clarified saying, “Convenience stores, grocery stores, wherever there is a permit for the sale of (alcohol). This ordinance covers them all.”
   Originally this provision of the ordinance only applied to restaurants, but it was revised to apply to any licensed permit holder, including retail businesses.  Breweries, bottle shops, and other retails businesses that have the necessary permit to sell malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, and mixed beverages for on premises and/or off premises consumption may now sell such beverages beginning at 10 am on Sunday when the local government adopts the necessary ordinance.
   Speaking in favor of the ordinance at the Oct. 27 city council meeting was Iris Hubbard, owner of 133 West on Mountain Street. “133 West is open Thursday through Sunday and employs four full-time and 15 part-time employees. The ability to serve alcohol during brunch on Sunday would be a game changer for us.”
   The ordinance is a result of 2017 legislation known as SL 2017-87, specifically Section 4, commonly known as the brunch bill, that passed on June 28, 2017 and was signed into law by Governor Cooper on June 30 and is subject to local government approval.
   In accordance with G.S. 18B-1004(c), a city may adopt an ordinance allowing for the sale of malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, and mixed beverages beginning at 10 am on Sunday pursuant to the licensed premises’ permit issued. Shelby and Gastonia adopted the brunch bill in August 2017.
   “This bill basically was passed, by the state, to accommodate tailgating in Charlotte during Panther games on Sunday. Within a year of passing other local cities passed it as well,” said Mayor Scott Neisler. “The restaurant business is already a tough business and I think as a city we have to support our restaurants, so they have no barriers to success. There has been a lot of questions surrounding this bill as to who would qualify. Interpreting ABC laws can be hard. If you have a business that possesses an ABC permit, I invite you to contact our ABC officer at the police department to get clarification on your specific situation.”
Politicans citycouncil

Gordon new face on county board

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

Republican Kevin Gordon, Chief Emeritus of the Waco Fire Department with a 30-year career in public service, is the new face on the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners.
Cleveland County voters went to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3, and elected Gordon, a newcomer to county politics, and re-elected incumbent commissioners Johnny Hutchins and board vice-chairman Ronnie Whetstine.
Shaun Murphy, Democrat and newcomer to politics, lost his bid for one of three seats open on the board.
Hutchins, of Kings Mountain, led the ticket with 32,821 votes or 28.5 percent of the votes cast.
Whetstine, of Shelby, followed closely with 32,645 or 28.4 percent of the votes cast and Gordon, of Shelby,  with 32,248 votes or 28 percent of the votes cast. Shaun Murphy, of Kings Mountain, received 17,294 or 15 percent  of the votes cast.
Other members of the board with unexpired terms are Republicans Doug Bridges and Deb Hardin, both of Shelby.
Politicans schoolboard

Republicans sweep school board race

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

A Republican sweep of the Cleveland County Board of Education race has placed five new faces on the 9-member board.
Joel Shores, who recently retired from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department, led the winners with 29,735 votes or 13.5 percent of the votes cast.
Following closely was Robert Queen with 29,658 or 13.4 percent of the votes cast.
Greg Taylor, who received 28,371 of the votes cast,  or 12.8 percent, Ron Humphries with 28,317 votes or 12.8 percent of the votes cast, and Rodney Fitch with 27,715 votes or 12.5 percent of the votes cast, round out the winning candidates.
Ron Humphries is from Kings Mountain and other four winners are from Shelby.
The three incumbents, Shearra Miller, current board chairman, garnered 17,251 or 7.8 percent of the votes cast; Roger Harris received 17,077 or 7.7 percent of the vote cast;  Richard Hooker Jr, current board vice-chairman received 15,644 or 7.1 percent of the vote cast, and Samantha Davis received 14, 108 or 6.4 percent of the votes cast, and Michael Tolbert Sr. received 13,190 votes or 6 percent of the vote cast. All are Democrats. Mrs. Miller is from Kings Mountain. The other candidates are from Shelby.
Five Democrats and five Republicans sought the five open seats on the school board.
Transparency with the public, safety in schools, Corona Virus pandemic, high school graduation, and current policy on how a school board attorney is used were issues addressed during a candidate forum.
Other board members with unexpired terms are Danny Blanton, Phillip Glover, Dena Green, and Coleman Hunt.
Politicalpresident

Record-shattering votes for Biden, Trump
Republicans win big
in Cleveland County

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

Republicans won big in Cleveland County and voters supported candidates in state and national elections.
Tuesday’s turn-out in the 2020 general election set records.
In the Presidential election more than 75 million people cast votes for
Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat, and more than 71 million people cast votes for Republican President Donald J. Trump on Nov 3.
President Trump is challenging the election results  and declaration by media outlets that Biden has won the highly-contested race while votes are still being counted, including in North Carolina where the Presidential race is still up for grabs and Trump is leading Biden..
Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, put Biden over the 270 votes needed to clinch the election Saturday night but President Trump’s challenge of alleged voter fraud may wind up in the courts.
This year a record 103 million Americans voted early to avoid waiting in lines at polling places during a pandemic. More than 4.5 million people cast ballots in the Tar Heel State. That is more than 95 percent of all NC voters who cast ballot ins 2016. Turn-out at the polls on Nov. 3 was lighter.
Cleveland County voters supported Trump 2-1 over Biden. The unofficial vote was: Trump, 33,664 and Biden, 16,879.
Tim Moore, R - Cleveland, NC House of Representative 111, was re-elected. He defeated Jennifer Childers, also of Kings Mountain, 24,407-14,004. Moore is also Speaker of the NC House of Representatives.
Angela Woods of Kings Mountain lost her bid for District Court Judge 27-B Seat 5.  The  vote   totals: Jamie Hodge, R, 31,407; Woods, D, 17,173.
Cleveland County voters supported Thom Tillis, (R) 31,899 and Cal Cunningham (D), 16,681.
Democrat Governor Roy Cooper won re-election, defeating Republican Dan Forest. Cleveland County voters supported Dan Forest, 31,919 to Cooper’s 18,463.
Political newcomer and Republican Mark Robinson will become the state’s first African American to be elected Lieutenant Governor. Cleveland County voters supported Robinson 33, 182 to 16,881 for Democrat Yvonne Holly.
Ted Alexander, former mayor of Shelby, won 70 percent of the vote in his race for re-election to District 44 NC Senator. His opponent was Democrat David Lattimore.
Kelly Hastings won re-election to his District 110 NC House seat.
Republicans make up majority party on both the Cleveland County Board of Education and the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners with five new faces on the school board and one new face on the board of commissioners.
Ballots are still being counted in the Tillis- Cunningham US Senate race in North Carolina. Tillis claimed victory Nov. 3 but Cunningham said he waits for the vote count as the race has been too close too call. Tillis said he held 89 percent lead on Nov. 3.
There were 71 write-ins for US President by voters in Cleveland County. 
Frozen

KMLT’s Frozen Jr.
runs one more week 

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

The 2020-2021 season of Kings Mountain Little Theatre (KMLT) opened with Frozen Jr. on Thursday, November 5 at 7:30 pm.
Due to the limited audience capacity allowed by Phase 3 of the North Carolina Covid-19 Plan, KMLT has added a Thursday evening performance to their schedule.  KMLT and corporate sponsor, Edward Jones Investments – Jack and Pam Buchanan announced the performance schedule that spanned two weekends. Remaining shows of Frozen, Jr. this week are scheduled for November 12, 13, and 14 at 7:30 pm, with a matinee scheduled on Sunday,
November 15 at 3 pm.
KMLT will have 100 seats available for each performance. Additional capacity may be available if NC has a change when the current Phase 3 order ends. Please look for further updates from KMLT.
Priority is given to season members and they are able to make a reservation to attend a performance. All others may purchase tickets at the box office.
KMLT will have 20 tickets per performance for purchase at the Box Office on a first come, first served basis.  Reserved seating not claimed at least 10 minutes before show time are subject to release for purchase  by others seeking tickets.
Season members may make reservations by calling the theater at 704-730-9408 and leaving a message or send a request to us at tickets@kmlt.org.
KMLT will maintain stringent health and safety protocols. To protect our audience, cast, crew and volunteers, they will:
• Check each individual before entering the building and ban anyone who has a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Log attendee and or group name, plus answers to the following questions (a yes answer to either question bans the individual and/or group)
• Ask the number in the group.
• As if you have exhibited any Covid-19 symptoms.
• Ask if you have been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19.
• Require mandatory mask wearing for non-actors (KMLT will provide as needed)
• Maintain social distancing when seating the audience
• Provide disposable masks and hand sanitizer
   Due to these protocols, the box office will open 90-minutes prior to the performance time and will work diligently to get everyone into the Joy Performance Center for a fantastic theatrical experience.

Nail-biting race for US President

With a historic amount of early votes still to be counted, the US Presidential vote is unsettled in a nail-biting race between President Donald Trump, Republican, and former Vice-President Joe Biden, Democrat.
According to the Associated Press North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Democrat, won re-election defeating Republican Dan Forest.
NC Senator Thom Tillis, Republican, in a closely-watched race with challenger Cal Cunningham, Democrat, claimed victory Tuesday as the US Senate race  in North Carolina remains too close to call..
Gordonhutchinswhetstine

 Kevin Gordon new face
on county board

Republican Kevin Gordon, Chief Emeritus of the Waco Fire Department with a 30-year career in public service, is the new face on the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners.
Cleveland County voters went to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3, and elected Gordon, a newcomer to county politics, and re-elected incumbent commissioners Johnny Hutchins and board vice-chairman Ronnie Whetstine.
Shaun Murphy, Democrat and newcomer to politics, lost his bid for one of three seats open on the  5-member board.
Hutchins, of Kings Mountain, led the ticket with 32,821 votes or 28.5 percent of the votes cast.
Whetstine, of Shelby, followed closely with 32,645 or 28.4 percent of the votes cast and Gordon, of Shelby,  with 32,248 votes or 28 percent of the votes cast. Shaun Murphy, of Kings Mountain, received 17,294.
Deb Hardin and Doug Bridges serve unexpired terms on the board. Susan Allen, board chairman, did not seek re-election.
Fitch

Republicans sweep
school board race

A Republican sweep of the Cleveland County Board of Education race has placed five new faces on the 9-member board.
Joel Shores, who recently retired from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department, led the winners with 29,735 votes or 13.5 percent of the votes cast.
Following closely was Robert Queen with 29,658 or 13.4 percent of the votes cast.
Greg Taylor, who received 28,371 of the votes cast,  or 12.8 percent, Ron Humphries with 28,317 votes or 12.8 percent of the votes cast, and Rodney Fitch with 27,715 votes or 12.5 percent of the votes cast , round out the winning candidates.
Ron Humphries is from Kings Mountain and other four winners are from Shelby.
The three incumbents, Shearra Miller, current board chairman, garnered 17,251 or 7.8 percent of the votes cast; Roger Harris received 17,077 or 7.7 percent of the vote cast;  Richard Hooker Jr, current board vice-chairman received 15,644 or 7.1 percent of the vote cast, and Samantha Davis received 14, 108 or 6.4 percent of the votes cast, and Michael Tolbert Sr. received 13,190 votes or 6 percent of the vote cast. All are Democrats. Mrs. Miller is from Kings Mountain. The other candidates are from Shelby.
Five Democrats and five Republicans sought the five open seats on the school board.
Transparency with the public, safety in schools, Corona Virus pandemic, high school graduation, and current policy on how a school board attorney is used were issues addressed during a candidate forum.
 

Nail-biting race for US President

With a historic amount of early votes still to be counted, the US Presidential vote is unsettled in a nail-biting race between President Donald Trump, Republican, and former Vice-President Joe Biden, Democrat.
According to the Associated Press North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Democrat, won re-election defeating Republican Dan Forest.
NC Senator Thom Tillis, Republican, in a closely-watched race with challenger Cal Cunningham, Democrat, claimed victory Tuesday as the US Senate race  in North Carolina remains too close to call..
Roy cooper 2
Governor Roy Cooper

Governor Cooper’s Executive Order  strengthens eviction prevention in NC

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

Last Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 171 to strengthen eviction protections to help North Carolina renters stay in their homes. With COVID-19 case counts increasing and many people continuing to work and learn remotely, preventing evictions is critical to the state’s fight against this virus. This order supplements the existing NC HOPE initiative started two weeks ago that pays landlords and utilities directly to keep people in their homes with the lights on.
“Many families are trying to do the right thing, but this virus has made it difficult. Roughly three to 400,000 households across North Carolina are currently unable to pay rent. Therefore, today, I have signed a new Executive Order to prevent evictions in North Carolina for people who can’t afford the rent,” said Governor Cooper. “The result during this global
pandemic will be more North Carolinians staying in their homes, more landlords getting paid rent, and fewer utility companies shutting off power.”
The economic toll of COVID-19 has left thousands of families struggling to make ends meet. According to a report from the National Council of State Housing Agencies, approximately 300,000 – 410,000 households across North Carolina are currently unable to pay rent, and an estimated 240,000 eviction filings will be submitted by January 2021.
Last month, the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) put a temporary residential eviction moratorium into effect nationwide from September 4 through December 31, 2020. The CDC order protects residential tenants from eviction for nonpayment of rent. However, confusion over who this order protects has caused inconsistent enforcement and unwarranted evictions in some parts of the state.
   Executive Order No. 171 requires landlords to make residential tenants aware of their rights under the CDC Order. For eviction actions commencing after Executive Order No. 171, landlords must give residents the option to fill out a declaration form before starting any eviction action.
   The Order also sets forth procedures to ensure protection for residential tenants once they provide the required declaration form to the court or to the landlord.
   Executive Order No. 171 also clarifies the CDC moratorium so that it clearly applies to all North Carolinians who meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria, regardless of whether they live in federally-subsidized properties. The Order ensures that recipients of the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program are still able to qualify and that these renter protections will apply to North Carolinians regardless of the CDC Order’s status in other courts.
Today’s Order received concurrence from the Council of State.
Two weeks ago, Governor Cooper launched the $117 million NC HOPE program that provides  assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. This program has received 22,800 eligible applications as of today. Given the demand for assistance shown over the last two weeks, the state will continue working to boost the HOPE program so it can help more North Carolinians make ends meet.
“The HOPE program is going a long way to help families stay safe in their homes by using coronavirus funds responsibly to pay landlord and utilities directly,” said Governor Cooper. “My administration is continuing to find ways to help struggling renters, but we still need Washington to put partisanship aside and send more relief to North Carolina.”
People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to nc211.org/hope.
In addition, to help ease housing concerns, North Carolina is funding the Back@Home program, which helps families experiencing homelessness and provides financial relief to some landlords whose tenants are at risk of homelessness.
 
Americanlegion

American Legion Veteran’s breakfast this Saturday

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion Post 155 has its Veteran’s Breakfast Saturday morning, November 7, at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street. The event is hosted by the Legion Riders.
All veterans are invited to this free breakfast the first Saturday of every month. Others are welcome to attend for a small donation which helps fund future breakfasts. The next breakfast will be on December 5 from 9 am to 11 am.
Veterans
Veterans attended last year’s 2019 Veteran’s parade and observance. They gathered afterward for a group photo at Kings Mountain’s War Memorial. (Photo by Angela Padgett)

City of Kings Mountain
to honor veterans Nov. 10

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

As restrictions remain in place for large gatherings and events, the City of Kings Mountain will honor our Veterans with a drive-thru meal event on Tuesday, November 10.
This event will take place at the Patrick Senior Center located at 909 East King Street, Kings Mountain. Veterans are asked to please arrive promptly, drive around the front of the building and continue to the back of the building under the canopy.  Please remain inside your vehicle and all meals will be carried out to you.
All veterans must contact the Patrick Senior Center at 704-734-0447 by Thursday, November 5 to RSVP. During registration, each Veteran will receive a meal pick-up time between 11 AM and 1 PM. 
For more information, contact the Patrick Senior Center at 704-734-0447 or visit www.KingsMountainEvents.com.
Stuartgilbert
Director of Community and Economic Development Stuart Gilbert presents two economic incentive grant proposals to city council. Combined, both projects represent $124 million in economic development for Kings Mountain. Photo by Loretta Cozart

City Council approves economic
incentive grants, rezoning petitions

Kings Mountain City Council approved two economic incentive grants during the Oct. 27 City Council meeting that could impact business growth and job opportunities in Kings Mountain.
   Benestar Brands plans to build a $24 million dollar manufacturing facility to produce international food snacks and create 129 jobs with an average wage of $43,021.00 in Kings Mountain.
Kings Mountain City Council approved an economic incentive agreement with a financial cash grant  anticipated to be $61,920 per year over five years, or $309,600.00. This financial cash grant matches the financial cash grant by the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners in an economic development agreement approved on October 5.
Benestar Brands is the parent company of Evans Food Group and manufactures better-for-you high-quality snacks, and plans to produce Chica’s Brand Tortilla Chips in the Kings Mountain facility.
The company’s 129 new jobs will include managerial, operational, maintenance, warehouse and office staff. The average salary of $43,021.00 will create a payroll impact of more than $5.5 million per year. Cleveland County’s overall average annual wage is $40,019.
  A second company, yet to be named, plans a $100 million dollar warehousing and distribution site, in the Gaston portion of Kings Mountain. The company will decide upon their location soon between Kings Mountain and second location.
   The project is proposed to bring in 305 new jobs with an average salary of $45,627.00. The company has also requested economic incentive grants and is being referred to as Project TRIPLE PLAY. Gaston County Board of Commissioners already approved a Level Four Financial Incentive. Kings Mountain has been requested to do the same. Kings Mountain’s Economic Incentive Grant will mirror that of Gaston County.
   Under Gaston County’s Level 4 Industrial Grants, the company must pay their taxes in full each year based on the actual tax value of the property or investment. If the company meets all of the criteria in the application, a portion of the property tax will be returned as a grant. The amount of the grant is based on a sliding scale.
   All grant monies will be taken directly from the company’s tax payment. The company must be current with all other payments required by Gaston County.
   All investments in real property, new machinery and equipment over $50,000,000.00 would be eligible for a grant as shown below.
Year 1 - 85% property tax grant Year 6 - 70% property tax grant
Year 2 - 85% property tax grant Year 7 - 70% property tax grant
Year 3 - 85% property tax grant Year 8 - 70% property tax grant
Year 4 - 85% property tax grant Year 9 - 70% property tax grant
Year 5 - 85% property tax grant Year 10 - 70% property tax grant
   In addition, investment grants are based on the increase in tax value of all real property, machinery and improvements above the base year prior to investment and no grant will be given to a company that would reduce their tax payment to an amount lower than the previous tax year.  
   In other business, city council unanimously approved a request from Brinkley Properties of KM, LLC, Owner of 600 W. King Street, also identified as Parcel #7326, Map KM 8, Block 5, Lot 6 from Neighborhood Business (NB) to Residential Office (RO) and Ann Lin Chen, by her authorized agent, David Brinkley, to rezone property located at 604 W. King Street, also identified as Parcel #7933, Map KM 8, Block 5, Lot 7 from Neighborhood Business (NB) to Residential Office (RO) – Case No. Z-2-9-20.
   City council also unanimously approved a request from Kings Mountain Land Development Partners, LLC, to rezone property that fronts Compact School Road and Dixon School Road containing approximately 18 acres more or less as shown on a plat recorded in Plat Book 43 at Page 128 of the Cleveland County Registry, also identified as a portion of Parcel #11744, Map 44-4, Block 1, Lot 21 from Heavy Industrial (HI) to General Business (GB) – Case No. Z-3-9-20.
   Public hearings will be held Tuesday, November 24 at 6 pm to consider a request from Matt Bailey to rezone property on North Cansler Street containing .366 acres, also identified as Parcel #8540 from RS-6 Residential to R-6 Residential – Case No. Z-1-10-20.
  A second public hearing will be held Tuesday, November 24 at 6 pm to consider a request from Barry & Sherry Jenkins to rezone property located at 145 Yarbro Road containing 9.07 acres, also identified as Parcel #10722 from R-10 Residential to R-20 Residential – Case No. Z-2-10-20.
Jillhinson
Jill Hinson

Hinson named KMMS employee of the month

By Windy Bagwell

Congratulations to CTE Teacher, Mrs. Jill Hinson, on being selected as KMMS’s October Employee of the Month. Mrs. Hinson works tirelessly to be in contact with all of her students. She calls them and does individual Google meets to make sure they are able to do her work. She has been dedicated to doing this since remote learning began in March.
Mrs. Hinson loves to give students positive reinforcement with kind words and soft drinks. She cannot stand for even one of her students to get left behind in the coursework. Congratulations Mrs. Hinson! Thank you for all you do for KMMS!
Marilynsellersgregputnam
Marilyn Sellers, KM City Manager honors Greg Putnam with the “Doing the Right Thing” award. Photo provided

Greg Putnam recognized by city for doing the right thing

By Loretta Cozart

Greg Putnam of Kings Mountain’s Sanitation Department was recently recognized by the city. Kings Mountain City Manager Marilyn Sellers explains, “I have an award that I recognize city employees called Doing the Right Thing award. This is something that I observe personally and not relayed to me. In the spirit  of teamwork, I always ask our city employees to cross boundaries out of their departmental duties and rise up to the need before them to be helpful on behalf of the community.”
“Our recent award went to Greg Putnam in our Sanitation Department. I was on Cleveland Avenue during a very busy time of day and traffic was very heavy,” Sellers explained. “I saw brake lights and cars dodging a large box in the middle of the four lane road near Bojangles and several accidents almost happened. I immediately became concerned and looked at all
options to remove the box.” 
“I pulled in to Bojangles and started to call for assistance when a City truck stopped, and Greg Putnam quickly jumped out and retrieved the box. I was so proud to find out this was not the result of a phoned in complaint. He did it on his own and rose to the need. Good job to Greg Putnam for doing the right thing!’
“Our citizens safety and welfare is our number one priority and I want that displayed on a daily basis. The employees come together often to assist in projects like building parks, holiday and special event preparation, storm preparation and clean-up. I am proud of all the accomplishments through teamwork,” Sellers added.    
Nick
NICK HENDRICKS

Water project adds $750,000 to budget

By Loretta Cozart

A budget amendment in the amount of $750,000 to budget expenditures and a contingency for the I-85 water project was approved by city council on Oct. 27 during the City Council meeting.
According to Assistant City Manager / Energy Services Director Nick Hendricks, “The project is being paid for with Water fund balance from grants received several years ago designated for that purpose.”
   The I-85 Water project will consist of clearing a 75 – 100 feet right of way to be utilized by the Water, Electric, and Gas Departments along I-85 from NTE to Highway 161. The city plans to install approximately 8,700 feet of 12 inch pipe, along with hydrants, valves, and services.
“Completing this project will encircle the city with water, reduce dead-ends and create consistent pressure throughout the city while improving water quality,” according to Hendricks.
   “This right of way will allow Gas and Electric to create a looped system as well, allowing all three utilities to provide exceptional service through redundant feeds. This will complete a process that the city has been working towards for over 30 years,” Hendricks added.
   The project was anticipated to cost $1.5 million, but bids were offered between $688,194.65 to $1.5 million. The low bid was offered by Two Brothers Utilities, LLC and council unanimously approved awarding them the contract.
Finance Director Chris Conner explained that the difference in the budget amendment and the contract bid of $61,805.35 was to allow for contingencies or delays.
“Once approved, the project could begin within 15 days and should take six months to complete the water portion of the project,” Henricks said.
Politicalcandidates

KM area voters go to the polls Tuesday

(October 28, 2020 Issue)

Kings Mountain area voters will go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3 to help elect county, state and national political leaders in an election season unlike any others because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Polling places open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.
Kings Mountain area polling places are: Kings Mountain North at Patrick Senior Center, 909 E King Street; Kings Mountain South at Central United Methodist Church, 113 S. Piedmont; Bethware at Bethlehem Baptist Church Activities Center, 1017 Bethlehem Road; Oak Grove at Oak Grove Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 1022 Oak Grove Road; and in Grover at Town Hall, 207 Mulberry Road.
COVID 19 safety measures at polling places include social distancing, hand sanitizing and masks for voters and election workers who do not bring their own, barriers between election workers and voters at check-in tables, single use pens for voters to mark ballots and frequent cleaning of surfaces and equipment.
Several races involving area candidates are of interest to local voters. Local poll watchers point to the school board as the local race to watch because of the number of candidates, 10, and its significance because the results could also determine the majority Party on the 9-member board.
Five Democrats and 5 Republicans seek the five open seats on the board of education.   Candidates are   Republicans Robert Queen, Joel Shores, Greg Taylor, Rodney Fitch and Ron Humphries. Democrats are Michael Tolbert, Samantha Davis, and Roger Harris, Richard Hooker and Shearra Miller, incumbents.
Two other contested races involve local candidates.
 Four men seek the three open seats on the Cleveland County board of commissioners.  They are Republicans  Ronnie Whetstine, Johnny Hutchins, incumbents, and Kevin Gordon, and Shaun Murphy, Democrat.
Jennifer Childers, Democrat, is challenging Republican Tim Moore for his District 111 NC seat in the House of Representatives.
The Presidential race,  down to the home stretch, has four  candidates from four Parties but chief interest locally is the hot race between the incumbent President Donald Trump, Republican, and Joe Biden, Democrat,  former Vice President in the Obama administration. Other candidates are Don Blankenship, Constitution Party; Howie Hawkins, Green Party; and Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian.
Local voters are also interested in the NC Governor’s race where incumbent Roy Cooper, Democrat, is challenged by Dan Forest, Republican. Also running are Al Pisano, Constitution, and Steven DiFlore, Libertarian.
The United States Senate race has also heated up in recent weeks. Incumbent Thom Tillis is challenged by Democrat Cal Cunningham. Also running are Shannon Bray, Libertarian, and Kevin Hayes, Constitution.
Incumbent NC State Senator Ted Alexander of Shelby, District 44, Republican, is challenged by Democrat David Lattimore.

Four more days of Early Voting

(October 28, 2020 Issue)

Early voting continues for four days at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 220 N. Watterson Street, in Kings Mountain.
Evening hours today (Wednesday) through Friday are 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 1-5 p.m.
 No ID is required except for those registering who can also cast their vote at the same time.
Safeguards are in place as voters cast their ballots including masks for all poll workers and voters who don’t bring their own, single-use pens for voters to mark their ballots, sanitation stations and protective barriers. The site is professionally cleaned throughout the 17-day voting period and election workers routinely sanitize all surfaces.
Helen bullock
Helen Bullock celebrated her birthday, greeting many friends and family from her window. Photo by Christy Speed

Helen Bullock turns 103

(October 28, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Helen Williams Bullock celebrated her 103rd birthday on Sunday, October 25. Bullock has experienced a lot in her lifetime. The year after Bullock was born, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 swept across America and eventually the world. This year, Bullock battled and survived the Coronavirus.
“I got through it,” Bullock said. “I was lucky, because I had no symptoms. To live to my age requires being healthy.”
Any other year, Bullock would have celebrated her birthday at the First Baptist Church where she is a member. This year, the pandemic and Governor Cooper’s executive orders don’t allow for large gatherings. So, White Oak Manor, her friends and family arranged for a special drive-thru celebration so well-wishers could help her celebrate the big day.
“My birthday was so nice,” she said. “I spent the day answering phone calls and greeting people at the window,” a popular way for friends to visit loved ones in assisted living centers due to the Coronavirus. “I got calls from cousins, one even visited me early. Other friends from Florida had an accident on the way. They are okay, but their car was totaled. Friends from First Baptist Church called with well-wishes. It was wonderful.”
   Bullock's parents, Wray and Emma Mae Ware Williams, owned a farm where Watterson Street and Waco Road intersect. In 1941, she remembers that Watterson Street was opened from Davidson School  to Waco Road. “Back then, that road just separated pastures and fields,” she said. “My parents decided to move out to the country. They were able to get a newer house with air conditioning. It was much more comfortable, and they were lucky to have that in their older years.”
Bullock remembers walking to West School and then to Central High School. She attended West School from first-grade through seventh-grade. "We walked to school and joined with other families along the way. Walking to West School and Central wasn't too bad. When we walked all the way to East School, that was hard," she said. “In those days, we didn’t have buses, so everyone walked to school. If it rained, daddy would drive me.”
Bullocks parents had a farm, so she didn’t go into town often. “If mama needed something, she would send me to Mr. Gantt’s store, at the corner of Waco Road and Gantt Street. It was the only store I knew about back then and it was across the road from the Pauline Mill Mama would send me there for necessities; things we couldn’t get from the farm like salt and pepper, necessary things.”
During her junior year of high school, Central School burned, and students attended two different schools while the facility was being rebuilt. They attended East School in the morning and then went to Central late in the day. On some days, that schedule was flip-flopped. "The auditorium and classrooms below did not burn. Classes in those sections included primary grades and home economics," said Bullock. "We went to school in the evening for Home Economics, and I played basketball on the auditorium stage."
   Her high school class photo was taken in front of Central School. "I guess they finished rebuilding the school by graduation in 1934. It was tough dividing our class time across two different schools, but we got through it. We had 37 or 38 students in our senior class."
   "I do remember singing in the Glee Club for President Hoover when he came to the battleground in 1930," said Bullock. "Of course, we didn't get to stay to enjoy the celebration. As soon as we finished singing, they took us right back to school."
   After high school, Bullock attended school at WC-UNC, later called the Woman's College of Greensboro. Today it is known as UNC-G. She earned a double major in Home Economics and Science. After college, she taught both classes in Seaboard, NC for four years. While there, she met her future husband, Welford Bullock. When World War II began, life changed dramatically.
Bullock's brother was drafted. Her boyfriend, Welford Bullock, volunteered for the Navy and was stationed in the Pacific. Helen felt the call to serve and joined the Army but was turned down. A short time later, she applied again and was accepted in the Women's Army Corps. Helen said, "I joined for my well-being. It was an exciting time in my life."
She worked in Intelligence for the Army, "The most exciting time I remember was an invasion that occurred during our shift. We went to work at 7 am before the invasion occurred. We worked through the night and weren't allowed to change shifts; they brought us food. It was exciting to know what was going on and to be a part of that."
   Helen and Welford Bullock married in 1944 before her tour of duty ended in May of 1945. "That was a difficult time of me," she said. After the war ended, the couple returned to Seaboard, NC, where she worked as a teacher of Science and Home Economics until she her retirement.
   "We moved back to Kings Mountain to take care of my sister, Maud Williams McGill," said Bullock. "She wasn't well and needed us." After McGill passed away, the Bullocks remained in Kings Mountain.
Welford Bullock passed away in 2003 and Bullock now lives in White Oak Manor. "Christy Speed takes care of my clothes and business affairs. She does a wonderful job for me; she is very professional."
Speed feels a similar admiration for Bullock. “She is an amazing person. She always does for others and continues to stay active,” she said. “Before COVID, Helen ate lunch in the cafeteria and stayed active. I enjoy working with her because she has led an amazing life.”
Helen Bullock has lived an interesting life and survived two pandemics. She has seen tremendous change in the city in her 103 years. But the pandemic is different, because it causes isolation, which is difficult for many people, including senior citizens. “The days are hard to fill now. We don’t have activities here due to the virus, so I welcome creative uses of my time to fill the day. We’ll get through this too, one day at a time.”
Barbaraborders
Barbara Borders recognized by the city for providing the community’s children with a safe and exciting learning environment and supporting local parents. Photo Scott Neisler

Borders’ daycare recognized for
26-years of service to the community

Director Barbara Borders, owner of Higher Learning Childcare Academy was recognized by the City of Kings Mountain for the daycare’s contribution as a safe and exciting learning environment for children in the community. Mayor Neisler presented Borders a proclamation upon the 26th anniversary celebration held Friday, October 23.
Borders opened the daycare after spending time with the public school system and subsequently opening a small home center. What was started then has grown to become Higher Learning Childcare Academy, a great support for busy parents of young children in the community.
Monsterbash

Monster Bash LIVE!

Mark your calendars and get ready to dance! Something spooky is heading to Kings Mountain.
Dance the night away with the City of Kings Mountain’s virtual event Monster Bash LIVE.
 Some of your favorite Halloween characters come back from the grave for a night of music and fun, exclusively on the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents
This ghostly event will take place Halloween night at 6:30 pm - It’s guaranteed to be spooky fun for the entire family!
For more information, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, visit the web at www.KingsMountainEvents.com/monster-bash.

President Trump visits Gastonia

(October 28, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

President Trump made a campaign stop at Gastonia on Wednesday, October 21 at 7 pm. Initially, the rally was to accommodate 15,000 at Gaston Municipal Airport, but an estimated 23,000 people attended according to event officials. Seating was provided for 800 and the rest stood to hear President Trump.
Parking was not allowed at the rally site. Instead, satellite parking lots across Gaston County were utilized and supporters were bused in from Carolina Speedway, Eastridge Mall, Evangel Assembly of God, Forestview High School, Martha Rivers Park, Robinson Elementary, Sandy Plains Baptist Church, Union Presbyterian Church and, W.A. Bess Elementary.
The gates opened at 8 am and the president began speaking shortly after 7 pm. His speech lasted about an hour. Many supporters spent 12 hours at the facility. After the long day, attendees returned to the buses for a ride back to their vehicles. Attendees from Kings Mountain shared photos of the rally with the Herald.
Mountainbiz

Grants available to business impacted by COVID-19

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

Cleveland County Small Business Recovery Program announced grants up to $10,000 for small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19. The application period is October 23 through November 6.
To qualify, the businesses must be located in Cleveland County, earn $500,000 or less in revenue according to its most recent tax filing, have a minimum of 25% impact in revenue due to COVID-19, have 25 or fewer full-time employees, and have operated for 2 years or more.
Applications will be taken online though Mountain Bizworks. To learn more, visit: https://www.mountainbizworks.org/coronavirus/covid-19-loans/cleveland-county-small-business-recovery-program/
Mm

Martin Marietta
KM Quarry honored

 (October 21, 2020 Issue)

 Martin Marietta Kings Mountain Quarry was recognized as Best of the Best among 400 operations after recently winning their company’s prestigious Diamond Honor Award during a ceremony the Gateway Trailhead on October 2. The award is presented each year by Martin Marietta to the best operation companywide.
   While the award is the first for Kings Mountain Quarry, the team is no stranger to companywide recognition, having been named a Martin Marietta Honor Plant in 1999 and 2012. The Diamond Awards program succeeded Honor Plant recognition in 2016.
   According to Martin Marietta’s Chairman and CEO Ward Nye, “operations considered for Diamond Honor Award status are evaluated based on their performance over the previous three years and must demonstrate continuous improvement over that period in the areas of safety, ethical conduct, operational excellence, environmental sustainability, cost discipline and customer satisfaction.”
   Kings Mountain Quarry has a positive and long-standing relationship with both the city of Kings Mountain and the Gateway Trail. The land for the trailhead on Hwy 216 was donated by Martin Marietta and serves as a parking area, office/restroom facility and shelter area for the public.
   Martin Marietta recognized the team at Kings Mountain with a socially-distanced luncheon on October 2 at the Gateway Trailhead. At the lunch, Regional Vice President-General Manager Jim Thompson and Plant Manager Adam Thompson thanked employees for their dedication, hard work and commitment to safety.
   Honorees recognized at this event included Ronald Borum (plant manager who retired in May), Adam Thompson, Chris Safrit, Peter Glisson, Phil Wright, Chris Foster, Deborah Dover, Todd Scism, Thomas Whelan, David Barnette, Kyle Jarrell, Michael Jenkins, Rodney Lynch, Travis Brady, Randy Cogdell, Timothy Harvely, Brandon Frigo, Mark McWhirter, John Williams, Kenneth Caveny, Keith Smith, Michael Sanders and Jakob Garcia.
Presidenttrump
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

Trump rally in
Gastonia Wednesday

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

President Trump will make a campaign stop in Gastonia on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at  7 pm at the Gastonia Municipal Airport for a rally, according to his campaign. Doors open at 4 pm.
In the 2016 election, Trump received 641,798 votes, or 64% of the vote in Gaston County. Hillary Clinton received 31,177 votes, garnishing 32.33% of the vote.
In Cleveland County, Trump won 28,479 votes, to Clinton’s 14,964. As in the 2016 election, the battle for the White House is critical with the state’s 15 electoral votes hanging in the balance.
Gastonia Municipal Airport is at 1030 Gaston Day Road in Gastonia, NC.

Monster Bash LIVE! 
(October 21, 2020 Issue)

A virtual event is coming to City of KM’s Special Events Facebook Page.
Mark your calendars! Get ready to dance! Something spooky is heading to Kings Mountain.
Dance the night away with the City of Kings Mountain’s virtual event Monster Bash LIVE! Some of your favorite Halloween characters come back from the grave for a night of music and fun, exclusively on the City of Kings Mountain's Special Events Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents
This ghostly event will take place Halloween night at 6:30pm - It's guaranteed to be spooky fun for the entire family!
For more information, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, visit the web at www.KingsMountainEvents.com/monster-bash.
Electionphotos

4 seek 3 seats on County Board
(October 21, 2020 Issue)

Voters will go to the polls in a local competitive race Nov. 3 to elect three members of the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners from a candidate list of four.
Incumbents Johnny Hutchins, Kings Mountain, Ronnie Whetstine, Shelby, board Vice-Chair, political newcomers Kevin Gordon of Shelby, all Republicans, and Democrat Shaun Murphy, Kings Mountain, face-off in the general election.
Susan Allen, board chairman, did not seek re-election because of planned family activities. Other members of the board not up for re-election this year are Republicans Doug Bridges and Deb
Hardin, both of Shelby.
“Cleveland County has always been my home,’’ said Johnny Hutchins. He continued, “After serving in the United States Army I returned to Kings Mountain to start and raise my family.  Over 20 years I volunteered and was Captain of the Kings Mountain Rescue Squad, so leadership and service define who I am.
‘’After retiring from the mining industry I felt the need to do something that would help better the lives of my children and grandchildren, so instead of talking about it I ran for county commissioner. Working for the people of Cleveland County is an honor,’’ said Hutchins.
‘’I have great interest in improving and making this county the best it can be, for everyone, my greatest ‘’assets - live, work, worship and go to school here,’’ Hutchins added,
Since being elected Hutchins said he has dedicated himself, giving 100 percent to Cleveland County, county employees and the citizens. “As your county commissioner, I will continue to make myself easily accessible for your concerns and issues. There are many projects that I am a part of that need to be completed and I will continue to work diligently for the development of Cleveland County,’’ he added.
“My goals are simple - towork for the people to make Cleveland County a better place to live. Working with Economic Development, I have and will continue to support all  public entities such as  the Fire Departments, EMS and law enforcement to make certain they have the resources they need to continue to provide excellent service and protection for the county, Hutchins added.
“Thank you for your support.  Together we can make a difference,’’ he added.
“As a native to Cleveland County it has been my ongoing desire to improve the place we live, work, play and worship,’’ said Ronnie Whetstine. He continued, “I feel our county and state is the best place in the country to reside.”
Whetstine says he has served on many boards and projects as he and his wife, Susan, raised their daughter and built WW Contractors, Inc. into a business that has provided over 300 homes for the citizens of the county.
He lists some of the accomplishments led by the commissioners and goals.
• Built and develop Cleveland County for growth.
• Protect our conservative Christian values.
• Keep taxes low.
• Grow our workplace by promoting economic development including innovative ideas such as                                                            the Charlotte Back Yards program.
• Tele-medicine expanded from Graham School to Marion and Jefferson Elementary in Shelby and North, East, West and Bethware in Kings Mountain.
• County-wide insurance rating for property owners decreased an average of $15 per month due to implementation of VFD Strategy Plan.
• Accelerate Cleveland-Program to help under-employed to move up to higher paying jobs which help employers advance and  employers find higher qualified workers. Graduate salaries doubled after placement. (average wage approximately $42,000.)
• Find more efficient ways of doing business, including replacement of out -dated IT and software systems. First upgrade in over 30 years.
• Work  to improve overall health of the county by supporting green spaces, trails, parks and the West End Reach.
• Support all 15 municipalities within the county by sharing information, resources and working together on projects.
Kevin Gordon says his opportunity to fill one of the candidacy seats for county commissioner parallels his professional background and is of much interest after a 30-year career in public service including leadership roles in both city and county governments.
After retiring as Deputy Fire Chief for the Charlotte Fire Department in 2018 he serves as Director of Emergency and Fire Services for Gaston County.
Gordon is Chief Emeritus of the Waco Fire Department having served as a volunteer fireman since 1984 and for a number of years as Fire Chief. At Waco he led the transition of Waco Fire Department from a volunteer department to a combination department. A FLSA compliance program began July 1, 2017 paying stipends to volunteers and paid daytime firefighters. At Charlotte  Fire Department he led a department  of  1,207   and had a successful track record serving as chair  of the joint legislative committee for NC State Firefighters Association and NC Association of Fire Chiefs and for five years instrumental in passing key pieces of legislation which became NC Session law. He is a past president of the NC Firefighters Association. Gordon resides in Shelby with his wife, Sherry, and their Labrador Retriever. The Gordons have two sons, Alex (Macy) and Zachary (Ann Marie) and grandson Elliott James Gordon.
Gordon ‘s platform:
• Strong advocate for all public safety agencies, unwavering support for the Sheriff’s Department, Fire
Departments, EMS, and Rescue Squads.
• Proficient in maximizing efficiency of county operations and resources by modernizing outdated systems, processes and technology.
• Champion of Economic Development and the creation of jobs with decent salaries and benefits to create sustainable growth within the county.
• Experienced fiduciary manager with over 30 years public service in both city and county operations.
• Steadfast proponent of fiscal sustainability, responsible spending, and effective use of county resources.
Dedicated to fiscal conservatism, protecting conservative values, transparency in the county operation and improving the health and wellness of our citizens.
• Facilitator of regional collaboration with adjoining counties and intergovernmental collaboration with the towns and cities in the county.
.Partner who will maintain the state-county relationship through effective communication and maintain positive working relationships at all levels to acquire needed resources for our citizens.
Born in Shelby and raised in Kings Mountain, Shaun Murphy’s mother and father were soldiers. A 2004 graduate of Kings Mountain High School, he attended Appalachian State University from 2011-2013. He says since a young boy he has been a big fan of food, video games, music and swimming.
“Learning life lessons the hard way eventually taught me that I really wanted to do something to give back to the community and that I could serve a higher purpose than just existing. I got my start serving on the John Henry Moss Reservoir Commission from June 2017-19 when I moved outside Kings Mountain city limits,’’ said Murphy.
Growing up in Cleveland County all his life, Murphy said he’s more than qualified to have an influence and interest in what happens in the county.
Said Murphy, “I know what it’s like to work long hours for not enough pay like so many of our residents do every day. While I can relate to many I feel I can better relate to anyone who has ever needed a second chance at anything or has ever had to start over from scratch. I know that life is not always perfect and that sometimes struggle is necessary to get to a better position. With me as county commissioner I promise to struggle for us all to get  to a better position, a position where we can all thrive.”
Vote

Strong showing
by voters at early voting 

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

With 14 days until the Nov. 3 general election more than 12,782 ballots have been cast in Cleveland County.
Election officials report a strong showing of more than 19 percent of registered voters in Cleveland County by voters who have cast ballots, more than 14 percent in the state.
More than 1 million people have already voted in North Carolina in the 2020 election, according to the state board of elections website. This is the first weekend that voters cast their ballots in person. There are 7,292,471 registered voters in the state and 1,350,599 absentee ballots have been requested.
As of 1:30 p.m. Oct. 16 North Carolina voters had cast 570,019 ballots by mail and 468,020 ballots in person.
Early voting continues through Oct. 31 in Kings Mountain at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 220 N. Watterson Street with a significant increase in hours and weekend voting.
Evening hours are Oct 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, and 29. Saturday hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 24 and Oct. 31. The Sunday hours on Oct. 25 are from 1-5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27 is the deadline to apply for absentee ballots from the Cleveland County Board of Elections, Shelby. For your ballot to count, voter and a witness must sign it and it can be returned to the County Board of Elections by mail, to early voting site or by dropping off at the Cleveland County Board of Elections.,
“We’re glad to see so many North Carolina voters performing their civic duty and letting their voices be heard by voting,’’ said Karen Brinson Bell, Executive Director of the State Board of Elections and we look forward to more North Carolinians casting their ballots and staying safe while doing it.”
Safeguards are in place as voters cast their ballots- masks for all poll workers and voters who do not bring their own, single-use pens, sanitation stations and protective barriers. The sites will be professionally cleaned throughout the entire 17-day period and election workers routinely sanitize all surfaces.
Wilcox
Reverend Wilcox and his wife Amanda with their four children. Photo provided

Wilcox is new minister
at First Presbyterian 

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Reverend John Wilcox joined First Presbyterian Church in Kings Mountain two months ago. He is a graduate of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI and completed his eligibility for Ordination through Reformed Theological Seminary.
“I am passionate about connecting people to Christ, into community, and into ministry, as well as caring for the needs of those both in the church and in the community,” Wilcox said. “Through my years of ministerial service in various roles, God
has  graciously  led  me  in  shepherding, equipping, and preaching His Word in grace with a fervent heart. I look forward to being part of First Presbyterian Church and the Kings Mountain Community.”
Reverend Wilcox is joined by his wife, Amanda, who, according to Wilcox “worked for GE Aviation for 9 years before being promoted to stay at home mom of 4.” Their children are Vivienne - 11, Trevor - 9, Ethan - 5 and Elise - 2. The family resides at the church’s manse.

Cityofkmnewlogo

City Council considers economic incentive grants Oct. 24
(October 21, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain City Council will address the issue of economic incentive grants for the recently announced Benestar Brands (Project CHIPPY) and the yet to be disclosed Project TRIPLE PLAY during their meeting on October 27 at 6 pm. Currently, the city does not have an Economic Incentive Grant policy but has been discussing one in closed session.
The Herald reached out to Kings Mountain’s City Manager, Marilyn Sellers regarding the methodology being used in framing these agreements. Sellers replied, “Staff is still working on information for our economic agreement. At the minimum we are adopting what Gaston County and Cleveland County are approving. We currently work very close with Gaston County’s economic development commission and Cleveland County’s economic development partnership regarding incentives.’
In the public notice that ran in Herald on October 14, it was shared, “The City of Kings Mountain proposes a financial grant that would be at least equivalent or similar to the Level 4 financial incentive grant approved on September 22, 2020 by the Gaston County Board of Commissioners.” 
To better understand what a Level Four incentive grant means, the Herald referred to Gaston County’s Economic Development Commission’s Local Investment Grant Program documentation, since that is one after which Kings Mountain’s agreement will be mirrored. Under Gaston County’s Level 4 Industrial Grants, all investments in real property, new machinery and equipment over $50,000,000.00 would be eligible for a grant as shown below.
• Year 1 - 85% property tax grant Year 6 - 70% property tax grant
• Year 2 - 85% property tax grant Year 7 - 70% property tax grant
• Year 3 - 85% property tax grant Year 8 - 70% property tax grant
• Year 4 - 85% property tax grant Year 9 - 70% property tax grant
• Year 5 - 85% property tax grant Year 10 - 70% property tax grant
   In addition, investment grants are based on the increase in tax value of all real property, machinery and improvements above the base year prior to investment and no grant will be given to a company that would reduce their tax payment to an amount lower than the previous tax year. Also, purchases of any existing Gaston County facility or equipment will not qualify under their program.
All grant monies are taken directly from the company’s tax payment and the company must be current with all other payments required by Gaston County.
Economic incentive grants help municipalities stimulate economic development. If done properly, both the city and its citizens benefit by stabilizing the economy and through offering higher paying jobs that provide better pay. Both the city and its people must benefit from the agreement.
An article written by Jonathan Q. Morgan, in January 2009: Using Economic Development Incentives: For Better or for Worse. Popular Government, 74 (2): 16-29, through UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Government examines how states and localities that aggressively use incentives in the job wars may win big—but at what actual cost?
   Morgan suggests several mechanisms that might help jurisdictions win with incentives but avoid the winner’s curse of paying too much for too little in return. These include some safeguards already adopted in North Carolina, such as clawback provisions, tying incentives to company performance, requiring performance contracts, conducting cost-benefit analyses and establishing standards for wages and job quality.
“The City of Kings Mountain believes this project will stimulate and provide stability to the local economy and will provide local economic benefits as well as new diverse high paying jobs for the citizens of Kings Mountain,” the city’s public notice states. “This will have a positive effect on the City’s corporate tax base and further ensure stability for the City of Kings Mountain.”
City council will decide upon the city’s first Economic Incentive Grant Policy on Tuesday, October 27. Done correctly, the city and its people could benefit from these decisions for generations to come.
 

Cleveland County COVID-19
numbers going in wrong direction 

practice the 3 W’s – Wear, Wait, Wash 

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

    As of today, there have been a total of 2,956 cases of COVID-19 in Cleveland County. Of those, 197 are currently active, twenty (20) are currently hospitalized, and eighty-one (81) residents have died from the virus.
   Cleveland County had a total of 640 cases in August, 686 cases in September, and has had a total of 616 cases thus far in October, which is an average of approximately 29 new cases each day. At this rate, by the end of October, we will have had a total of approximately 906 cases for the month. The rate of COVID-19 cases in Cleveland County is 302 cases per 10,000 residents, one of the highest rates in our region.
   “One may suggest that our number of cases are increasing at a more rapid rate now than they were in months prior due to increased testing capacity,” Cleveland County Deputy Health Director DeShay Oliver said. “While I would agree that we are doing more testing now than we were in months prior, with over 2,000 tests being administered weekly, we are also seeing an increase in the percent of individuals who are testing positive in proportion to the total number of tests being done. During the first week of September, we saw our percent positive dip as low as 5.5% and it has now increased to 9.5% compared to state’s rate of 7.4%.”
   While Cleveland County’s rates remain higher than the state’s rates, after weeks of continued stabilization and decreases, North Carolina is also beginning to see increases in rates of new daily cases, percent of positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths.
   “There are a number of factors that could be contributing to the increases we are seeing in Cleveland County and are beginning to see across the state,” said Oliver. “The cooler weather is more hospitable to the virus and as temperatures get colder, more people are participating in indoor activities. People are going more places and many are not as diligent about social distancing and wearing face coverings as they were just a month ago. I think many people are experiencing quarantine fatigue and are ready for the things to return to normal. Acting as though things are back to normal does not make them more normal. The coronavirus is still very much alive in Cleveland County and if we don’t continue to do our part, we risk having to go backwards. One of the things I think almost everyone can agree on is we need our kids to be able to go back to school.  This cannot happen if we can’t stop widespread community transmission of the virus.  Now more than ever, we must remain vigilant in practicing the three W’s of wearing a cloth face covering over our nose and mouth, waiting six feet apart, and washing our hands.  I believe that we, as a community, can work TOGETHER to stop the spread.”
   Cleveland County Public Health Center is also encouraging everyone 6 months of age and older to get their flu shot. Flu season in combination with COVID-19 has the potential to severely impact hospital capacity. The flu vaccine is now available at the Cleveland County Public Health Center as well as most healthcare provider offices and minute clinics.
   “The same practices that help prevent coronavirus also help prevent the flu. I urge everyone to do their part to protect loved ones and our community by, again, wearing a face covering, waiting six feet apart, and washing your hands frequently. These simple yet very effective steps can make a huge impact when we all do them together,” said Oliver.
   You can receive local COVID-19 updates by following the Cleveland County Health Department’s Facebook page @clevelandcountyhealthdepartment. You may also view additional county and state COVID-19 data and information on the NC DHHS COVID-19 Dashboard available at: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.

###

 

Mobile food pantry at Mt. Calvary Baptist
October 21 

A mobile food pantry on Wednesday, October 21, 10:30 am-12:30pm at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 422 Carolina Ave., Shelby, NC 28150.
Through a USDA grant, Hospice Cleveland County is partnering with Out of the Garden, a food distributor based in Greensboro, to provide 384 free food boxes which will include vegetables, dairy and meat, to Cleveland County families in need.
The distributions will be offered weekly for 6 weeks at various Cleveland County locations to be announced.

International snack food company
to invest $24M in KM 

(October 21 Issue)

(October 21 Issue)

Benestar Brands, an international snack food manufacturer, will create 129 jobs in Cleveland County, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $24 million to establish a new production facility in Kings Mountain.
“Even during a pandemic, companies like Benestar Brands can expand operations because of our strong workforce, quality transportation network and management of this crisis,” said Governor Cooper.
Benestar Brands, the parent company of Evans Food Group, is a rapidly growing snack food manufacturer focused on better-for-you, high-quality snacks. The newest project in North Carolina will provide easier access to the fast-growing company’s customer base and the nation’s east coast market. This new facility will support Benestar Brands’ expansion plans into new snack categories.
“After an extensive search throughout the southeast, we selected Kings Mountain, North Carolina for our newest production facility based on the state’s strong support of the manufacturing industry and talented workforce,” said Carl E. Lee, Jr., CEO of Benestar Brands. “Over the past year, our company has expanded
our portfolio of innovative savory snacks, entering new categories that will be produced at this Plant. We look forward to an ongoing partnership with the State of North Carolina as we expand our    company.”
   “Today’s decision by Benestar Brands shows that North Carolina is a prime destination for companies of all kinds striving to innovate and grow market-share,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Our state has the assets and amenities to support growing companies realize their strategic objectives.”
   The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s efforts to support Benestar Brands’ decision to expand its operations to North Carolina. The company’s 129 new jobs will include managerial, operational, maintenance, warehouse and office staff. The average annual salary for all new positions is $43,021, creating a payroll impact of more than $5.5 million per year. Cleveland County’s overall average annual wage is $40,019.
   Benestar Brands’ North Carolina expansion will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of the grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s GDP by more than $431 million. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 129 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,212,000 over 12 years. State payments occur only after verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met incremental job creation and investment targets.
Projects supported by JDIG must result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company. The provision ensures all North Carolina communities benefit from the JDIG program.
   In addition to the NC Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, Cleveland Community College, Cleveland County Government, Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership, and the City of Kings Mountain.
   In a separate press release that same day, Speaker Tim Moore said, “I appreciate all of our local officials partnering with the state to successfully bring Benestar Brands and 130 new jobs to Kings Mountain, maintaining Cleveland County’s economic momentum as North Carolina continues to outpace competitors in this recovery thanks to our excellent business climate.”

 
Schoolboard

School Board candidates
speak out

The competitive local school board race will probably be one of the most watched on Election Day Nov. 3 because of the number of seats to be filled.
Poll-watchers say the race is also significant because the results could also determine the majority Party on the 9-member board.
Ten candidates – 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans- seek 5 open seats on the Cleveland County Board of Education   The candidates are Democrats Samantha Davis, Roger Harris, Richard Hooker, and Michael Tolbert, all of Shelby and Shearra Miller of Kings Mountain. Republicans are Rodney Fitch, Robert Queen, Joel Shores, and Greg Taylor, all of Shelby, and Ronald Humphries of Kings Mountain.
Candidates responded to eight questions in a 90-minute forum at Cleveland Community College sponsored by CCC, C-19TV, The Star, and Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce. C-19TV is broadcasting the forum until Election Day.
There were obvious differences expressed but all candidates gave frank answers to the questions posed by moderators Andy Dedmon and Mike Philbeck of Political Smackdown, a C-19 TV program conducted by CCC broadcasting students.
All candidates were prepared to speak about transparency with the public, safety in the schools and the Corona- virus pandemic, graduation, taxing, and the current policy of how an attorney is used.
Majority of candidates said the school system needs to work on transparency and one political newcomer said on a rating of 10 the record would not top 4.
“I’ve attended meetings, taken notes and submitted questions to the board but I don’t get answers,’’ said Queen.
Joel Shores, who retired from the Sheriff’s Department, called for a culture change. He said he had hired folks and sent them to the schools and they were sent back because they couldn’t read or write on the 9th grade level.
Tolbert said the schools are doing a good job on transparency. “We need to build on that,’’ he added.
Majority of candidates say they favor having an attorney present at all regular board meetings. Some candidates would prefer a local attorney who specializes in education.
“We don’t need an attorney coming from Raleigh who knows nothing about Kings Mountain,’’ was the statement of majority of candidates. Shores, Humphries, Taylor,  Queen,  Fitch  and   Davis agreed that a local attorney would be invested in the community.
“Queen agreed that education law is more complex. “The school system has a $150M budget and the cost of a lawyer is a small cost versus repercussions.
Three incumbents - Roger Harris, board chairman Miller and board Vice-Chair Richard Hooker – defended the current policy, saying an attorney isn’t needed at every meeting and that education law is different.
‘Every dollar you spend for an attorney is one less dollar for the children. Cleveland County Schools has to have legal advice and we rarely need an attorney in the middle of a meeting. Occasionally we do and when that’s necessary the attorney comes in person or by speaker phone,’’ said Harris.
Hooker says education law can be very complex, comprehensive and multi-dimensional.’’ I am very comfortable with the representative we have given reputation and thorough knowledge of education law.”
Candidates had mixed reaction to re- opening schools now for in-person classes but were unanimous that students do their best learning in person. . Fitch, Queen, Shores and Humphries said they favor reopening schools now.
“We’re not close enough,’’ said Taylor. Queen  said a strategy is needed to move along faster and suggested that teachers change classes instead of students changing classes to avoid large groups in the halls. Engineers Fitch and Humphries want to use their analytical skills to come up with a remedy for seating. Davis said it’s necessary to pay attention to the numbers of Covid cases. Incumbent board members said Covid is real and protocols should be observed. Shores said “We need to have a healthy respect for the virus and need to open schools with options. “Students learn best in the classroom but I want them to be safe and healthy,’’ said Miller. “The plan we have in place is the best we can have,’’ said Tolbert.
Majority of candidates favor traditional in-person graduations. “You can put 480 students 10 feet apart   on the football field, that’s a no-brainer,’’ said Humphries.
“I hope to see a return to traditional graduations in Spring, Miller said. “The schools went out of their way to make students feel special like they were. I hope restrictions are lifted but if they are not we need to make sure families and students are healthy and it will be a special graduation,’’ she added
“The graduation process this year was the best it could be,’’ said Taylor. The graduates got more attention. If we are still in restrictions next year I am in favor of the non-traditional graduation.
“Covid isn’t fair, we’ve all had to make changes,’’ said Harris He said he would favor non-traditional graduation if restrictions are not relaxed.
“Students want to see their friends and I don’t see why we can’t have a traditional graduation in 2021,’’ said Fitch. “I will fight for social distancing and a traditional graduation,’’ said Davis..
Most candidates would not support a tax increase for school facilities. Harris said he would support a short-term sales tax for special needs.” “Show me where there’s a need, make cuts,’’ said Fitch. “Get rid of waste,’’ said Davis. Hooker said he would lean more to a referendum for facility needs. Miller said she would support short-term tax for facilities or a bond referendum but spell out the project to the public ahead of time. Queen said the board should follow the example of Cleveland Community College trustees, a diverse board that saved a couple million dollars in two years’ time. I don’t approve a tax increase.”
The newcomers pledged to bring fresh ideas to the board of education and all 10 candidates pledged to be a voice for the students, teachers, employees and parents.
Votecounts

Early Voting kicks-off Thursday
for 17 days

Early voting begins Thursday, Oct. 15 at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 220 N. Watterson Street and continues through Saturday, Oct. 31 - a total of 17 days and 167 hours and Saturdays and Sundays.
“The health and safety of everyone is high priority this year and Kings Mountain is among four large sites in the county opening  early morning, late evenings, Saturday and Sunday hours to give voters every opportunity to safely cast a ballot,’’ say Board of Elections Chairman Doug Sharp and Board of Elections Director Clifton Philbeck.
Evening hours are 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27,28, 29; Saturday hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 17, Oct. 24, Oct. 31; Sunday hours are 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 18, Oct. 25.
Safeguards will be in place as voters cast their ballots and these include PPE’s for all poll workers and voters who don’t bring their own, single-use pens, sanitation stations, and protective barriers. The site will be professionally cleaned throughout the entire 17-day period and election workers will routinely sanitize all surfaces.
Many people are voting by mail this year because of the global pandemic. The deadline to submit a request to the Cleveland County Board of Elections is October 27.
For your ballot to count, the voter and a witness must sign it and you can return it return it  by taking  it to the early voting site, mailing it or dropping it off at the Cleveland County Board of Elections in Shelby by Nov. 3.
Potatoes

Potato Project harvested 3,000 pounds of potatoes

By Loretta Cozart

Cleveland County Potato Projected harvested 30,000 pounds of sweet potatoes two weeks ago at the Botts site and 941 boxes of very nice produce was distributed last week. 
Wet conditions will keep workers out of the field early this week, but they hope to work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday beginning at 9 am.  To prepare for harvest, all vines have been cut away from potatoes, so  they must  be harvested, or they will rot.
The organization is also facing a box shortage. If you are aware of a large supply of boxes, please call Doug Sharp at 704-472-5128. ABC boxes work well for this purpose. 
Bridges

Howard, Bridges left their mark

Grady K. Howard Sr., who died Sept. 6 at age 97, and Norma Falls Bridges, who died Sept. 17 at age 88, left their mark on the Kings Mountain community.
Howard, former Administrator of Kings Mountain Hospital, and Bridges, former city commissioner and the city’s first female elected to this office, left behind a legacy of service and leadership.
“I met Grady Howard in 1953 when he came to work at the hospital and as a young reporter I went to his office from the Herald to start what began a weekly log in the paper – the names and dates of discharged patients,’’ said Lib Stewart, longtime employee of the Herald. The last interview was for a feature section on veterans and Howard was among the few World War II veterans living at the time.
“Grady Howard was a great friend of the Herald and a favorite reader. He told us what he liked  and  often congratulated us on putting out a good hometown newspaper,’’ added Stewart.
Ms. Stewart continued, “I covered city council for years and worked with mayors and elected officials, including Norma Bridges.
“Norma Bridges was always open with the Press. She had a great rapport with voters and swept the field of candidates on election day.  Her fellow council members honored her as mayor pro tempore.
“Bridges was a champion for young people and the Parks & Recreation committee was her favorite place for service. She and her husband attended the games and helped the players in many ways while keeping out of the spotlight, Stewart said.
“This year we have mourned the deaths of many citizens. Their pictures and obituaries in the Herald tell some of their story of their close-knit relationship with family, friends, and the community. Mr. Howard and Mrs. Bridges are among those who left behind a lasting legacy,’’ said  Stewart.
Seniorcenter
Pictured (L-R) Volunteer of the Year Janet Beani and Patrick Center Director Tabitha Thomas. Photo by Lynn Lail

Senior Center hosts drive-thru volunteer appreciation event

Patrick Senior Center honored their volunteers with a special drive-thru Volunteer Appreciation event on September 29 at the center. The theme of this year’s event was “Excellence. Every day, Every time!”
Each volunteer received a catered Chick-Fil-A lunch along with a certificate of appreciation and a zippered multi-purpose bag printed with this year’s theme. The center had 132 volunteers this year giving a total of 10,252 hours of volunteer service.
Janet Beani was recognized as Volunteer of the Year, with 1,104 hours of service this year. Janet joined with the staff to greet other volunteers as they arrived and helped to present their gifts.
   The center also honored members of the “Centennial Club,” members with over 100 hours of service for the year, with a poster of recognition and an additional gift. New volunteers were recognized with a sign listing their names. The outside display also featured a special memorial board for the volunteers who had passed away over the last year.
   Volunteers at the Patrick Center help in many wonderful ways. From helping with the Friday Lunch program, outreach to the community, to folding newsletters, they provide invaluable help to the participants and staff. For more information on how to volunteer with the Patrick Center when it reopens, please call Karen Grigg at 704-734-0447.

Mobile food pantry Oct. 14
at Hope Community Church

A mobile food pantry on Wednesday, October 14, 10:30 am-12:30 pm at Hope Community Church, 1114 S. Lafayette St., Shelby.
Through a USDA grant, Hospice Cleveland County is partnering with Out of the Garden, a food distributor based in Greensboro, to provide 384 free food boxes which will include vegetables, dairy and meat, to Cleveland County families in need.
The distributions will be offered weekly for 6 weeks at various Cleveland County locations to be announced.
Ribbons

City Of KM - Honors Regina Ruff and Ovarian Cancer Awareness

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

City of Kings Mountain hung teal ribbons on the four light polls on the Overhead Bridge in honor of Regina Ruff and Ovarian Cancer Awareness. Pictured (L-R) are Rick Ford and Main Street Coordinator Christy Adkins. Each year, the city honors those who have fought and those who continue to fight Ovarian Cancer with teal ribbons. Photo by Mayor Scott Neisler
 
Lisproctorgroup
Kings Mountain Police will wear pink some during the month of October in honor of those who have fought or continue to fight breast cancer. Photo provided

God stepped in and helped

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Lisa Proctor,
KMPD Chief Of Police


Over 3 months ago, I was approached by some of my staff about doing something special for breast cancer awareness in October. They knew that I am breast cancer survivor and some of them have had family members that have had it in the past as well.
My staff came up with the idea of getting pink polo shirts to wear some during the month to stand and support all of those who have fought and those who continue to fight this devastating disease. The staff did this on a voluntarily basis and those that want to participate were allowed to do so.
I was diagnosed in 2009 with Triple negative Breast cancer with a growth rate of 98%. It was doubling in size in just a few short weeks. By the grace of God, and an amazing team of dedicated doctors and nurses that He put together, I am alive to share the hope that lives in me with others. This will make 11-years past my original diagnosis for me when the odds were stacked against me God stepped in and showed out. I am only here alive by His grace and mercy.
This disease not only effects the ones with the diagnosis, but it has a tremendous effect of the loved ones who are joined in the battle in support of their family and friends. We here at KMPD are just hoping to bring a glimmer of hope to the family of those who had been there in the past and to those who are fighting now.
Redhen
Michael and Nakisha Wenzel are the new owners of Big Red’s Café. Photo by Loretta Cozart

New owners for Big Red’s Café

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

On Saturday, October 3, Michael and Nakisha Wenzel took over as the new owners of Big Red’s Café. The couple moved to Kings Mountain a year ago to pastor and restart Kings City Church. In their spare time, they enjoyed visiting the coffee shop.
Former owners Sandie Dee and Ashley Herndon recently decided to sell the business and looked for someone to acquire the cafe. Over the last year, Michael and Nakisha had become regulars and that is how the conversation began. The new owners have kept the same staff and trained in the café for a month in preparation for a smooth transition.
Kings City Church was designed with a coffee shop and community can rent the space for special events. Michael has experience in catering and came to Kings Mountain from Lockheed  Martin in Marietta, Georgia. While there, he helped pastor a church in addition to working his day job. King City Church is the couple’s first assignment pastoring on their own.
   “We love the Kings Mountain and have a heart for the community. Buying Big Red’s Café isn’t a great leap from what we’ve been doing at the church, and Sandie and Ashley have been so gracious and helpful through the transition,” said Nakisha.
   Michael added, “Nakisha handles the register and doesn’t know a stranger; she is welcoming and does a great job in that role. I’m more comfortable preparing the food. Together we make a great team.”
   The couple have plans to expand the café into the empty unit next door, offering a community meeting space for special events while providing more seating during regular hours.
   “Michael has experience in carpentry and construction, so he’ll build the sliding barn doors separating the spaces and allowing for private parties and events,” Nakisha shared. “He’ll also construct two community tables that seat 10 – 12 people. We want to create a welcoming place where people come to gather.”
   Café hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 am to 7 pm and Sunday, noon to 5 pm.
Landclearing

Land being cleared for business park

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Land near Sara Lee Road, just off Canterbury Road at I-85, was annexed into Kings Mountain during the September 29 city council meeting. By Saturday, October 3, all rezoning signs were gone, and logging trucks filed with timber from the site lined the dirt road leading to the property.
According to city documents, the 119.25 acre site is being developed into a business park. Portions of the property were in both Cleveland County and Gaston Counties, making the parcels hard to sell due to the tricky tax situation that created for the owner.
City council unanimously approved a Contiguous Annexation Petition by Matthews Land Company and rezoned the property for Heavy Industry. 

City Council approves $1.12M in budget
expenditures; annexes land into city

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


   During the September 29 City Council Meeting, $1.12M was added to the city’s General Fund Budget. Items funded include:
• $30,000 for tree trimming around utility lines
• $50,000 for software expenditures
• $55,000 to budget proceeds from a grant award and establish an expenditure item
• $25,000 for LED install lights on Crown Court, Duke Energy had trouble with rock costing the city more
• $25,000 to install Wi-Fi in Patriots Park
• $50,000 to budget expenditures for Phase II Streetscape Planning
• $417,701 for Server/Storage Project IT
• $139,709 for Connectivity Project IT
• $325,183 for a new garbage truck
   Finance Director Chris Conner reported to council that the city was recovering well financially from the pandemic and is ready to move forward on projects. He explained that the city delayed some expenditures due to the financial uncertainty the Coronavirus brought.
“We aren’t 100% back to normal, but I am comfortable in moving forward with the purchase of a new garbage truck,” Costner said. “Our oldest garbage truck is 18-years old and it constantly needs costly repairs. It just needs to be replaced.”
Conner also reported that the auditors visited last month, and that the city’s fund balance remains at 51%, the same as last year. He also noted that he intends to have no findings, no issues, and no audit adjustments when their audit is received.
   Mayor Neisler added, “We are in the best shape (financially) of any city in the state of North Carolina.”
   Four Public Hearings were scheduled for Tuesday, October 27 at 6 pm to:
• Consider a request from Brinkley Properties of KM, owner of 600 W. King Street and Ann Lin Chen, owner of at 604 W. King Street, by her authorized agent, David Brinkley, to rezone both properties from Neighborhood Business to Residential Office.
• Consider a request from Kings Mountain Land Development Partners, LLC to rezone property that fronts Dixon School Road and Compact School Road from Heavy Industrial to General Business.
• Consider a financial incentive agreement for Project CHIPPY.
• Consider  a financial incentive agreement for TRIPLE PLAY.
In other business, city council voted in favor of a request by Matthews Land Company, LLC to rezone three parcels of land located in Gaston County into Kings Mountain zoned for Heavy Industry. Motion was made by Councilmember Keith Miller and the vote was unanimous.
City council also voted to approve and Ordinance extending the corporate limits of the City of Kings Mountain for Matthews Land Company, LLC’s property located in Gaston County containing 119.25 acres. Motion was made by Councilmember Annie Thombs and the vote was unanimous.
City council voted to approve and Ordinance extending the corporate limits of the City of Kings Mountain for property located at 245 Dixon School Road, containing 22.46 acres. Motion was made by Councilmember Jay Rhodes and the vote was unanimous.
A motion to adopt a Resolution to award the high bid in the amount of $300,000 from E5 Holdings, LLC, on property consisting of 17.11 acres and authorize the mayor to execute required documentation to complete the sail of the property. Discussion followed, noting that 5 of the 17.11 acres were preserved for a right-of-way for utilities and an extension of the Gateway Trail . Motion was made by Councilman Jay Rhodes. Vote was unanimous.
   Codes Director Clint Houser asked council to approve an Ordinance to vacate and close a dwelling located at 102 Waterson Street, because it was determined not to be fit for human habitation as outlined in the City of Kings Mountain Housing Code. In discussion, council confirmed that nobody will be allowed into the house without proper building permits. The owner has one year to repair the property before the city can demolish the dwelling. Motion made by Keith Miller. Vote was unanimous.
   Mayor Neisler took a moment to remember Norma Bridges as Kings Mountain’s first woman City Council Member passed away recently. Bridges took office in the late 1980s and Mayor Neisler wanted to acknowledge her service to the City of Kings Mountain.

Great Pumpkin Story Walk
in Patriots Park

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


The Great Pumpkin Story Walk kicked-off the Halloween season in Patriots Park on October 1 and continues through October 31. Opening day brought families who enjoyed the story together and posed for photos.
City of Kings Mountain decorated Patriots Park with pumpkins, hay bales, dried corn stalks and mums. And what Peanuts themed story walk could be complete without Linus’ Pumpkin Patch?
Bring the family and enjoy a beautiful fall day at Patriots Park, read It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! storybook together and make timeless memories with your children.
The Great Pumpkin Story Walk is a join effort between Mauney Memorial Library and Kings Mountain Special Events.

Property being cleared for Casino

(October 7, 2020)

Grading on the 17-acre Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort property continued last week. All trees have been cleared from the property and a retention pond has been created on the back left portion of the property.
Photos by Loretta Cozart

 
Mountainmen

The Overmountain Men and the Campaign to Kings Mountain, Oct 1

Join the Overmountain Victory Trail Association as they present a first-person interpretive story-telling of the Overmountain Men and the Battle of Kings Mountain, a turning point in the Revolutionary War.
The Overmountain Men and the Campaign to Kings Mountain will be held on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at  6:00 pm.
The program will take place outside on the Visitor Center Patio at South Mountains State Park, 3001 South Mountains Park Ave, Connelly Springs, NC 28612.
This program was designed with your safety in mind.  A 6-feet social distancing will be maintained in the outdoor area. To keep everyone healthy, we ask that you postpone attending the program if you have experienced fever of 100.4 with cough or muscle aches within the past 10 days, or if you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
For more information call  828-433-4772.
Greatpumpkin

It’s the Great Pumpkin
Charlie Brown Storywalk
in KM, October 1-31

The City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department partners with Mauney Memorial Library to present It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown StoryWalk.
This unique StoryWalk features the timeless Peanuts tale of Linus Van Pelt’s dream to meet the Great Pumpkin! Located at Patriots Park in Downtown Kings Mountain, this safe, outdoor event will begin October 1 and run throughout the month of October. This month long event allows for families to visit at their leisure to prevent any mass gatherings. Photo ops will be available in Linus’ pumpkin patch. Festive music will fill the air.
“Mauney Memorial Library has hosted the StoryWalk experience at the Gateway Trail”, says Christina Martin, of Mauney Memorial Library. “We placed pages of a children’s storybook along the walking trail for families to enjoy. We are excited to partner with the Special Events Department to host this event at Patriots Park.”
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.
“This passive activity connects literacy, the great outdoors, physical activity, and the magic of the holiday season,” says Christy Conner, Special Events Director for the City of Kings Mountain. “How can you and your family participate? It’s simple. Bring your imagination, take a walk, read a book and have an adventure.”
Patriots Park is located at 220 South Railroad Avenue in Kings Mountain. For more information, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.kingsmountainevents.com.
Christyadkins
Christy Adkins

Adkins takes over as new
Main Street Coordinator

The City of Kings Mountain welcomes the city’s new Main Street Coordinator, Christy Adkins.  Christy has five years of experience working within the Main Street America Program. Her background in construction, renovation and retail gives her the knowledge which has allowed her to be successful in her previous positions in Cross Plains, TN and most recently in Angier, NC.
Christy has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Cultural Resource Management from Adams State University in Colorado. Her passion is to make wherever she is a better place than she found it, and lives by the motto that “Transformation begins with a small change, again and again.”
Her hobbies are renovating old homes, refinishing furniture and having dogs. Christy has two dogs now, a 13-year-old rescued Dachshund and a 17-year-old Papillion. Christy’s other family includes a step-daughter who lives in Michigan, a son and two granddaughters who live in Kentucky and a daughter who is finishing the last year of her B.A. in Fine Art at KSU in Georgia.
Having been born and raised in Michigan, she has also lived in Florida, Georgia, and for 25 years in Tennessee. Of all of these locations, she prefers North Carolina for the diversity of having mountains, ocean, quaint small towns and thriving metropolitan areas in a vibrant economy.
Christy looks forward to meeting the people of Downtown Kings Mountain and to being the advocate for them and their businesses. She has a passion for Main Street and is proud to be part of the Local, State and National Main Street Programs. She is excited to be included on the team helping to bring new growth to Kings Mountain and to working on the upcoming city initiatives.  
When asked what she’ll be focusing on initially, Christy said, “Currently I’m going through files and familiarizing myself with city ordinances. I’m getting up to speed with ongoing projects and look forward to meeting more of the downtown businesspeople. Between that, meeting my board and city staff, it’s been a good first week on the job.”

Ccc

NCDHHS releases COVID-19 exposure notification app

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called ‘SlowCOVIDNC’, which began on Sept. 22. The app will help North Carolinians slow the spread of the virus by alerting them when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is completely anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data.
SlowCOVIDNC, which leverages Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification System (ENS), alerts users who have the app if they have been in close contact with an individual who later tests positive for COVID-19. It is voluntary to download and use and designed to enhance the state’s existing contact tracing efforts. The app completed Beta testing earlier this month and can now be downloaded for free through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
“With SlowCOVIDNC App, North Carolinians have another powerful tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 right in their pockets. Downloading SlowCOVIDNC is a practical step each of us can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our state,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
Here’s how SlowCOVIDNC will work:
Download the free SlowCOVIDNC Exposure Notification app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and enable Bluetooth and Exposure Notifications. Bluetooth must be on for the app to work.
After opting-in to receive notifications, the app will generate an anonymous token for the device. A token is a string of random letters which changes every 10-20 minutes and is never linked to identity or location. This protects app user privacy and security.
Through Bluetooth, phones with the SlowCOVIDNC app work in the background (minimizing battery) to exchange these anonymous tokens every few minutes. Phones record how long they are near each other and the Bluetooth signal strength of their exchanges in order to estimate distance.
If an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may obtain a unique PIN to submit in the app. This voluntary and anonymous reporting notifies others who have downloaded the app that they may have been in close contact with someone in the last 14 days who has tested positive.
PINs will be provided to app users who receive a positive COVID-19 test result through a web-based PIN Portal, by contacting the Community Care of North Carolina call center, or by contacting their Local Health Department.
SlowCOVIDNC periodically downloads tokens from the server from the devices of users who have anonymously reported a positive test. Phones then use records of the signal strength and duration of exposures with those tokens to calculate risk and determine if an app user has met a threshold to receive an exposure notification.
NCDHHS is partnering with institutions of higher education, local businesses and influential North Carolinians to promote SlowCOVIDNC and educate the public about how widespread use of the app can slow the spread of COVID-19.
To learn more about SlowCOVIDNC and to download the app, visit https://www.covid19.ncdhhs.gov/slowcovidnc, which also includes an FAQ.
Adventribbon cutting
Advent Academy held its ribbon cutting on September 25. Pictured (L-R) Ana Camaj, Charity Robinette, Mayor Scott Neisler and Amanda Holland. Photo provided

Advent Academy ribbon cutting

Advent Academy held a ribbon cutting Friday, September 25 at 230 Oak Grove Road in Kings Mountain.
Advent Academy is for pre-school children ages 2½ through Pre-K with classes being held Monday through Friday from 8:50 am to 12:45 pm. Classes will begin on Thursday, October 1.
Advent Academy’s experienced staff and small classes allow for safety while providing a caring and fun environment. The Academy hopes to meet a need to provide quality care to students displaced by COVID-19 pandemic. Precautions to ensure safety and cleanliness are in place and all state recommendations will be followed.
Registration is underway and anyone interested or have questions can contact Advent Academy at advdentacademy554@gmail.com or call 704-685-6622.

Land near casino sells for $2.725M

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Land Development Partners, LLC purchased 113.32 acres adjacent to the casino for $2.725M from Pyramid Motor Company, according to the deed recorded with the Cleveland County Register of Deeds office on August 3. The transaction closed on July 31.
The manager of Kings Mountain Land Development Partners, LLC is CHT Enterprises, LLC according to the 2020 Florida Limited Liability Company’s Annual Report filed on June 16. However, their 2019 Annual Report states the manager is AGH Manager, LLC.
On September 3, Kings Mountain Land Development Partners signed a Deed of Trust with ASE Solutions, LLC for a loan of $2,900,000. The maximum amount that can be borrowed, according to the agreement, is $5,367,109.62.
ASE Solutions, LLC is managed by AGH Manager, LLC according to their corporate filing in Florida dated July 23, 2015. AGH Manager, LLC’s 2020 Annual Report shows the authorized persons for the corporation are Alan H. Ginsburg, Gene Harris and Aaron Gorovitz.

Gardner-Webb hosts virtual internship fair October 28

Are you looking for an intern? If your company or organization offers internships that allow college students to acquire practical work experience, don’t miss this opportunity. Gardner-Webb University is hosting a virtual internship fair and students are looking for work opportunities.
Gardner-Webb’s internship fair will be held Wednesday, October 28 from 10 am-1 pm and will be completely virtual using the Handshake platform. Handshake is the largest employer to student career management site in the world.
You will have the opportunity to video chat with students looking to partner with you to get the skills and experience they need for the real world of work. This event is completely free! Register using the link below. We’ve attached step by step directions here for registering and scheduling your availability in Handshake.
Need help developing an internship position? Gardner-Webb will guide you through every step of the process to develop opportunities that best fit your organization's need. Email us at career@gardner-webb.edu.
   Register today at:  https://app.joinhandshake.com/career_fairs/19220/employer_preview?token=rNZceFq23YejMMkRkSDWn2h_hylek3QK7WMCPAon8jC6BuMNwEJJeg

Medicare Beneficiaries should compare plans during open enrollment
 

Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey reminds Medicare beneficiaries to compare and evaluate their current plans and make necessary changes during the annual Open Enrollment Period. Medicare plans and prices change. It is important for Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of the Open Enrollment Period by contacting local Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) counselors to save money, improve your coverage or both.
The Open Enrollment Period begins on Oct. 15, 2020 and runs for eight weeks to give you enough time to review and make changes to your Medicare coverage. Changes must be made by Dec. 7, 2020 to guarantee your coverage will begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2021.
It’s important to contact your local SHIIP counselor before deciding about coverage because you may be able to receive more affordable and better Medicare health and/or drug plan options in your area. For example, even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, there may be another plan in your area that covers your health care and/or drugs at a better price.
SHIIP is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance and offers free, unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance issues. In addition to helping Medicare beneficiaries compare and enroll in plans during the Open Enrollment Period, SHIIP counselors can help people find out if they are eligible for Medicare cost savings programs.
Here are some of the ways to review and compare plans available for 2021:
• Get one-on-one help from your local SHIIP office by calling the Patrick Senior Center at 704-734-0447.
• Get one-on-one help from SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, by calling 1-855-408-1212, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also request in-person assistance in your home county.
• Visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are
• available in your area and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.
• Review the Medicare & You handbook. It was mailed to people with Medicare in September.
• Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
For more information about SHIIP and the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, call 1-855-408-1212 or visit www.ncshiip.com.
Roy cooper 2
Governor Roy Cooper

Additional $40M COVID for small businesses

Some North Carolina small businesses that have experienced extraordinary disruption to their operations due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic may benefit from a $40 million relief program to help offset fixed costs like rent, mortgage interests and utility bills, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – powering our local communities and giving back in so many ways. They deserve our support, and this new initiative can help them weather this tough time,” said Governor Cooper.
The NC Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR), administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, can provide up to $20,000 in relief funds per qualifying business location.  Business applicants from certain industry sectors that have not been able to operate during the COVID period may apply for up to two of their business locations.
Applicants can apply for up to four months of mortgage interest or rent expenses, and utility expenses.  The help offers relief for some of the fixed costs a business cannot easily control on its own.
Applications to the program should open next week and will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Applicants must certify that they were closed during the period April 1 through July 31; they expect to be able to operate after the COVID crisis has passed; and they have not been reimbursed by any other federal source for the expenses for which they seek reimbursement through this program.
Eligible applicants include:
• Amusement parks
• Banquet Halls (with catering staff)
• Bars, taverns, night clubs, cocktail lounges
• Bingo parlors
• Bowling alleys/centers
• Dance halls
• Indoor fitness and recreation centers
• Motion picture/movie theaters (except drive-ins)
• Museums
The Department of Commerce will begin accepting applications soon.  Business leaders can learn about the MURR program by registering for one of the free educational webinars offered by the Department of Commerce over the next two weeks.  
   For the webinar schedule and additional information on the program, visit www.nccommerce.com/murr.
   Governor Cooper and NC DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen also announced that effective October 2, large outdoor venues would be permitted to open at 7% capacity with key safety precautions in place. The announcement was made today so these locations could begin putting safety measures in place in order to operate.
Large entertainment venues are those that can seat over 10,000.
“We will continue analyzing our data and indicators as we determine how to move forward safely in other areas that may be included in the new order on October 2nd. In it, we hope to ease some other restrictions, while still keeping safety protocols like masks, social distancing, and mass gathering limits in place,” said Governor Cooper.
   “With more things open and people moving around more, we need everyone to stay vigilant about wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing their hands often,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Our progress is fragile and will take our continued hard to work to protect it.”
State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next week to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires October 2 at 5 pm.
Timmoore

NC lawmakers file
federal lawsuit alleging
backroom elections deal

North Carolina lawmakers filed a federal lawsuit to stop “an alleged backroom elections deal struck by Democrats’ top D.C. attorney with his former client Gov. Roy Cooper and state Attorney General Josh Stein” on Saturday, according to a press release issued on September 26 by NC House Speaker Tim Moore.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and follows a Friday press conference “that detailed the secret settlement reached by the Democratic Attorney General with a Democratic Party front group he recently gave the keynote address to at an annual convention - on elections.” A series of press releases this week by House Speaker Tim Moore laid out the case.
The settlement comes after the State Board of Elections previously tried to rewrite absentee ballot laws in May but was unanimously rejected by the North Carolina Rules Review Commission.
The Governor then filed a lawsuit seeking to disband the commission, which has protected North Carolinians against executive overreach since 1986.
In early September, a three-judge state court panel upheld absentee ballot laws the settlement now seeks to undo.
The North Carolina legislature and Governor further approved the Bipartisan Elections Act of 2020 this summer, preserving and reforming many of the important absentee ballot.
When confronted Friday regarding the settlement, “Attorney General Stein dismissed a reporter’s concerns as political noise,” the press release states.
On Thursday, two Republican members of
the State Board of Elections resigned saying they felt misled by the state attorney general’s office and staff when they agreed to a settlement weakening absentee ballot laws.
   “These resignations raise serious questions about the integrity of the Cooper-controlled State Board of Elections, Josh Stein’s Department of Justice, and the circumstances of how this collusive settlement was put forward,” Speaker Moore said.
   “Deceiving the minority Republican members of the board is completely unacceptable and damages faith in our electoral institutions. We are continuing to explore all of our legal options.”
   Over 1 million North Carolinians requested their absentee ballots, and over 220,000 returned them prior to the State Board of Elections attempting to arbitrarily change state law, the lawsuit notes, asserting the consent agreement thus violates the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
    According to Saturday’s release, the board is administering the election in an arbitrary and nonuniform manner that inhibits North Carolinians who have already cast their ballot from voting on an equal basis with citizens who would vote after, the lawsuit contends, actions that would allow otherwise unlawful votes to be counted, thereby deliberately diluting and debasing lawful votes.
   “By usurping the General Assembly’s constitutional prerogative to “[p]rescribe” the “Times, Places and Manners” of the federal election, the Board is violating the Elections Clause,” the lawmakers’ complaint asserts.
   “This agreement was official action, taken without constitutional or statutory authority, to influence the 2020 election after voting already started in a disgrace to American due process,” Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said.
   “We have asked the court to preserve North Carolinians’ right to a fair and nonpartisan elections system free from backroom schemes launched after over 200,000 voters have already cast their ballots.”
   Major election changes included in the “consent agreement” released well-after voting has already begun in North Carolina include:
    •    Rewriting the statutory deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots.
    •    Subverting the absentee ballot witness requirement agreed to in the Bipartisan Elections Act of 2020.
    •    Rewriting the statutory definition of “postmark”
    •    Weakening protections against ballot harvesting
   State House Speaker Tim Moore released the following statement:
   “Roy Cooper and Josh Stein are attempting to gut the integrity of North Carolina voting laws by colluding with partisan Democratic attorneys from Washington D.C. while ballots are already being cast in this Presidential Election.”
   “These actions are utterly lawless, and we will be reviewing them to assess all of our legal options.”
Beachblastsmall
Scene from KM’s 2019 BeachBlast Festival. (Photo provided by Angela Padgett)

BeachBlast Festival nominated for CBMA Event of the Year

The City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department announced the nomination of the 2019 BeachBlast Festival for the Carolina Beach Music Awards Event of the Year. BeachBlast was one of six events nominated for this prestigious award.
“This nomination speaks to the excellence of leadership from our Special Events Director, Christy Conner,” stated Marilyn Sellers, City Manager. “Starting her career with the City of Kings Mountain in 2001, Christy was promoted in 2017 as the Special Events Director. Her leadership brings energy and enthusiasm to all our events. With her vision and ability to rally a team of staff and volunteers, the BeachBlast Festival has grown to be recognized across the State of NC and the Southeast.”
“The Special Events team is honored by this nomination,” stated Christy Conner, Special Events Director. “I would like to express my sincere thanks to our team of staff and volunteers. This would not be possible without the creativity, dedication and passion of this group. I am very grateful for our City Council and Administration and their continued support. Through their support and leadership, we have a beautiful state of the art venue to host BeachBlast and other festivals and events. With confidence, I can say that Kings Mountain is on the right path to creating a vibrant entertainment district in Downtown and I’m excited to be a part of it!”
Each year, members of the Carolina Beach Music Awards Association nominate the best in Beach Music entertainment, such as, radio announcers, bands, events, and clubs. After the nominations are announced, members then vote for the official winners of each category.
“It is really great that the CBMA has named BeachBlast 2019 as one of the top 6 events in the Southeast as announced on FM 94.9
The Surf.” says Mayor Scott  Neisler. “For one weekend in the piedmont of the Carolinas, we take our shoes off and pretend to walk in the sand enjoying some great beach music! This is a well-deserved accolade for our staff because we have no beach! Make plans now to enjoy us in 2021 and see what all the fun is about!”
The Carolina Beach Music Awards will be held virtually, November 15th, 2020. The awards ceremony will air online at www.949thesurf.com. The time of the event has yet to be determined.
For more information, you may also call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com.
Chief bill harris
CHIEF HARRIS

Catawba Land Trust - New
Legislation introduced

The Catawba Nation today announced its support and appreciation of Tuesday's introduction of the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act (H.R. 8255) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC) was joined in introducing the bipartisan bill by Congressman Jim Clyburn (SC), Congressman William Timmons (SC), Congressman Dan Bishop (NC), Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC), Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC), Congressman David Price (NC) and Congressman Joe Wilson (SC).
The bipartisan bill reaffirms the actions earlier this year of the Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, in taking 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation.
The Catawba Nation’s aboriginal  lands  extend to six North Carolina counties and farther north in the Piedmont of North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College.
 “The newly introduced legislation demonstrates the ongoing support from members of Congress in righting historical wrongs against the Catawba people,” said Chief Bill Harris of the Catawba Nation.
 “We are pleased that this legislation will reaffirm the Interior Department’s action recognizing the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to the lands in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. These are the lands of not just our ancestors, but also the hundreds of Catawba citizens that reside there today,” Harris said.
   Harris noted that it is not unusual for Congress to reaffirm land-trust decisions by the Interior Department. The “Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act” from 2014 and the “Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act” from 2019 are recent examples of such an action.

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Jimbo Conner and girlfriend Angie Shugart with their six-year old son. (Photo provided)

KM resident robbed
and shot in Charlotte

On Tuesday, September 15, Angie Shugart was robbed and shot in broad daylight at a gas station on Lawyers Road in Charlotte. She was hospitalized at Atrium Main in critical condition with gunshot wounds to her neck and face. The gunshots left devastating injuries and dozens of surgeries ahead, the family was told.
Angie and her partner, Jimbo Conner, have a 6-year old son. When Jimbo visited Angie on Saturday at the hospital, she was awake and able to use a communication board. Via a phone call, their son was able to tell his mother he loves her as Jimbo held the phone to her ear. For three days, the hospital had kept Angie sedated due to the severity of her injuries.
Upon hearing the news that Angie had been shot, Jimbo’s sister, Christy King, sprang into action to help the family. Christy also started the Angie Shugart Personal Emergency Fundraiser of Facebook.
Angie took care of Jimbo’s business for him. He is disabled, and Angie was his helper in life and business. Their car is considered a crime scene and was impounded and by the police. Unfortunately, Jimbo’s wallet was in the car, leaving him without identification or bank card. This has been both an emotional and financial struggle for their family.
For the next few weeks Jimbo will not be able to work due to caring for their 6-year old and traveling back and forth to the hospital to visit Angie. In the meantime, bills still need to be paid.
King shared, “I will be able to pay his bills out of this account, so he doesn't have to worry about it.  Anything you give will go 100% towards bills, groceries, parking fees, medical needs for their family.”
“This has hit them hard and Angie did not deserve this random act of violence. If the Lord lays it on your heart to help in this way, please help but most importantly, please pray for complete healing of Angie,” Christy asked.
Alliance bank and trust
Alliance Bank & Trust moves to 1113 Shelby Road. (Photo by Gary Smart)

Alliance Bank & Trust moves to Shelby Road
 

By Loretta Cozart

On September 8, Alliance Bank & Trust opened its doors at their new location at 1113 Shelby Road in Kings Mountain. For more than a decade, the bank maintained a presence in downtown.
“We enjoyed being in downtown Kings Mountain but decided to move from a convenience standpoint,” said Dan Boyd, President and CEO of the bank. “We had the chance to purchase the old credit union location and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. There is plenty of parking and two drive through lanes. With COVID-19, that means a lot to our customers. And the new locations has great visibility.”
Just 16 years earlier, On September 8, 2004, Alliance Bank & Trust opened for business after raising over $11.7 million and being granted a State Bank Charter. The bank currently has four branches, two in Gastonia, one in Kings Mountain and one in Shelby.
Alliance Bank & Trust prides itself in being local, since all decision makers live nearby. The bank’s leadership shares a vision to make a difference in their communities—offering local decision-making to consumers and businesses in their market and assisting with economic development.
   “We are one of the last locally owned banks in the area and we want to remain independent. Kings Mountain has been very good for us and we look forward to serving the community. Our customers absolutely love the drive through. We are also open by appointment, wearing masks and following all safety protocols,” Boyd said.

Battle of km videos2

Videos highlight new aspects of KM battle

By April Shauf
Special to Community First Media

If you have lived in Cleveland County for very long, you probably think you already know the story of the battle of Kings Mountain. But a new video series is poised to offer new information and insights into the fight that took place 240 years ago this October.

Offered through the Kings Mountain Historical Museum (KMHM), the video trilogy will be released in three installments Sept. 18 – Oct. 18, 2020. Each 40-minute episode will be released in sequence with the previous episodes remaining available for the duration of the offering. All will be free to watch via the link on the museum website, www.kingsmountainmuseum.org.

“This video trilogy is especially appropriate for those who think they already know the story of Kings Mountain,” says video producer Randell Jones. “In this series we reveal new stories and new heroes and expand the story onto new landscapes. If you think you know Kings Mountain, we invite you to watch and hear what you’ve been missing.”

Jones, along with two other independent scholars, carefully researched the new history revealed in the video series. Shelby native John Robertson, a well-known Revolutionary War aficionado, was among the contributors.

“This year is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, and it is the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain,” says Jones. “If it had not been for the pandemic, commemorative events would have been held throughout North Carolina along the trail, including presentations to school groups by reenactors in period dress telling the story of the Overmountain Men of 1780 and the Battle of Kings Mountain. With so many museums and libraries closed, we thought this would be a way we could still tell the story during a time of social distancing.”

According to Jones, the story of the battle of Kings Mountain is an involved tale.

“It is more than just the battle,” says Jones. “In fact, the story of the men gathering from across western North Carolina, including what is now eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia, is what prompted the creation of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail in 1980. That story of the muster, the march, the pursuit and the battle is what is shared in the first video, ‘The American Spirit, 1780.’”

South Carolina militiamen were also at the battle in great numbers, along with militiamen from Lincoln County. “We now know that these two groups of militiamen marched as far as anyone else to get to a battle that was in their own backyard,” says Jones. “And that new story is the reason for the second video, ‘A Broader, Bolder Kings Mountain Story.’”

Jones says that the third video starts where most people stop paying attention to the story.

“This is the story of what happened after the loyalists surrendered,” says Jones. “The patriot militiamen marched 800 prisoners away on a death march across the NC countryside for two weeks. So, the story continues and gets larger.”

January Costa, KMHM director and curator, says that this video series works well with the museum’s goals.

“The Kings Mountain Historical Museum was contacted by local author Randell Jones with a proposal for us to host this video trilogy,” says Costa. “As soon as I saw the proposal, I knew that it would be a perfect fit for us this fall. Since this fall is the 40th anniversary of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, we wanted a way to educate the public and commemorate the Battle of Kings Mountain. The pandemic has caused a lot of restrictions and the closure of our museum, so this is a great way for us to continue to get this story to the public in a virtual manner.”

For more information or to view a trailer for the video series, visit the KMHM website at

www.kingsmountainmuseum.org/events.

City utilities update

By Loretta Cozart

In a special called session of city council on Thursday, September 10, a utilities update was presented by Energy Services Director / Assistant City Manager Nick Hendricks. Updates were given on Electric Utility Capital Projects and two new substations.

The city currently has three substations that are in excellent shape, according to Hendricks. However, growth along Kings Mountain Boulevard is coming and the city needs to prepare for it now by adding two additional substations.

The city plans to tap onto Duke Energy’s 100,000 volt transmission line near the AT&T Datacenter. The route would come into town near Dick Elam Road and King Street. It will travel along King Street to a substation that is planned in that area, but the city hasn’t yet chosen the location. “By the way we build and landscape the substation, folks won’t even know it is there,” Hendricks said. The second new substation will be further down Kings Mountain Blvd., closer to the Margrace Roundabout.

Work on the project began in August on the engineering and design phase. During the first quarter of 2021, the project will be let out for bids. Construction is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2021 with completion planned for September 2022.

Cost for the project is estimated at $15.2 M. With financing, the cost is projected to be $16.75M over 20 years. Yearly payments are estimated at $870,000 beginning with the 2021-2022 budget year. The cost for rights-of-way land purchases and substation purchases are not included in these costs. Plans are for the city to bring bid packages to council for approval with plans on how to finance, in the second quarter of 2021.

According to Hendricks, the city’s electric and gas have recovered 100% from the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and he assured council and citizens, “There will not be an electrical increase to build out this capital project.”

The city’s three substations can handle the current load because the city can switch between them when demand gets high. However, Henricks advised council that “economic development is coming, and we have to be prepared for that capacity.”

The new line along Kings Mountain Boulevard will eliminate what Hendricks referred to as back alley exposure. Both Country Creek and the Life Enrichment Center will be moved onto the new line on Kings Mountain Blvd. in the next few weeks.

Other capital projects will remove Mountain View Townhomes from the mainline and create a loop within the complex. This should improve mainline reliability and give the complex a two-way feed to assist in outage control.

Additional LED lighting is being added to several areas near I-85, including Broadview, Floyd Street, I-85 to Woodlake Parkway, Canterbury Road and Sarah Lee Access Road.

The city is currently working in these areas to extend the industrial circuit to create reliability and rerouting flexibility, as well as to serve new economic projects along Woodlake Drive and Sarah Lee Access Road. They are also reconducting section on Canterbury Road to extend mainline circuit to connect to new build.

After the meeting, Mayor Neisler shared a slide he used in a presentation on C19 regarding the impact of the new substations on the City of Kings Mountain. Currently, the city has an electrical capacity of 40 MW. The two new substations will increase the capacity by 30 MW, bringing the capacity to 70 MW.

Henricks pointed out, “Economic Development is coming our way, whether you like it or not. We have to be prepared for the needed capacity. We are preparing for growth on the 74 fallout area, down Kings Mountain Blvd., out to the Bethware area along with the eastern part of Gaston County. Those areas are our growing points.”

“You’ve got to get yourself in a position to not only serve the customers that are growing in our town,” he said, “you’ve got to have the capacity to handle any folks that may be coming in.”

“The casino will be served off of the transmission. We will build a line over to them with their own substation. Even if there were no casino, everything we’ve talked about today would have to be built,” Hendricks concluded.

Next week, the Herald will report on the city’s Natural Gas update, a purchase agreement for additional natural gas capacity and commodity, and a proposed new wastewater rates for specific customers directed to Gastonia.
Conceptual drawing of casino area
Conceptual drawing of Two Kings Casino Resort. (Photo provided)

Conceptual drawing of casino area released

By Loretta Cozart
A conceptual drawing of development around Catawbas Two Kings Casino Resort shows plans for the area, with adjacent development that encompasses a live, work, and play concept in close proximity of one another.

The development allows casino guests to stay nearby, while workers could lease apartments or buy homes within a short distance of their jobs.

While these plans are subject to change, developers currently plan apartments, hotels, restaurants, outparcels, residential housing, and a gas and travel center.

Single family residential lots, 50’x150’, are part of the development. As of now, 671 lots are planned, with the potential for another 160 or more lots depending upon land acquisition.

Eleven apartment buildings, two outparcels, and six hotels are also planned. Each hotel will have four levels with 120 rooms according to the drawing key, which equates to 720 hotel rooms.

The drawing also indicates that Dixon School Road will be rerouted through the complex to allow for more residential housing at the perimeter. Tim Mine Road will also be extended to a new road adjacent to I-85 to bring traffic past the gas and travel center.

The developer is also paying for a new a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) at I-85Exit 5/Dixon School Road. “The DDI moves high volumes of traffic through an intersection without increasing the number of lanes and traffic signals while providing easier access to an interstate,” according Larry Carpenter, Jr. Professional Engineer for the NC Department of Transportation.

In an Economic Impact Study done by London and Associates, they predict advantages for Cleveland County to be:

• 2,600 direct jobs

• 656 indirect and 323 induced jobs

• $273 million Facility investment

• $208 million in economic activity

• $100 million total labor income annually

• $5.1 million per year in total sales, property taxes

• $428 million in annual impact
Landnearcasinosmall

Land near casino sells for $1.77M

By Loretta Cozart
One-hundred-eighteen acres of land near the casino sold for $1.77M on Monday morning. The property, once owned by the Humphries family, is located just southeast of the I-85 bridge on Dixon School Road. The property is zoned R-20.

The buyer is Let's Roll Holdings, LLC and their address is listed as Greenville, SC on the deed. Bill McCarter of Foothills Commercial Real Estate was the buyer’s agent and the closing was handled by The Schweppe Law Firm, PA of Shelby.
Battleofkm sar at us monumentsmall
Battle of KM – Sons of the American Revolution at US monument. (photo provided)

Battle of Kings Mountain commemoration goes virtual

The National Society Sons of the American Revolution announced on September 10 that the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain will be held virtually.

The National Society Sons of the American Revolution, The Kings Mountain Chapter, North Carolina SAR, and the Daniel Morgan Chapter, South Carolina SAR are hosting the virtual event and invite SAR, DAR, CAR and other patriotic societies to participate in a virtual commemoration and wreath presentation ceremony to be held on Zoom.

The meeting will open at 10 am on October 7 and the virtual ceremony will commence at 10:30 am.

Questions about the event can be directed to Joe Culik, jc@fairview-law.com
Kmhistoricalmuseumlogonew

Kings Mountain Historical Museum reopens - Reverse Raffle and Auction days away


The Kings Mountain Historical Museum re-opened on Tuesday, September 15, just days before their biggest fundraiser of the year.

Kings Mountain Historical Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and will also hold their 17th Annual Reverse Raffle and Auction between September 18 through 27.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on the museum and the need to social distance for safety measures, they have moved the reverse raffle and auction to an online format. The museum will not have an in-person event this year.

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, KMHM also had a special logo created. The logo utilizes a design that spells out KMHM with historically significant themes for Kings Mountain. The top left block with tools is for the mining history, the top right is for the settlement of the area with a wagon wheel, the bottom left tracks is for the railroad history, and the bottom right is a loom for our textile history.

The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret history through exhibits, educational programs, tours, and other appropriate means, in order to foster a deeper understanding of the history of our community and the region.

If you’d like to support the museum and purchase a ticket for the raffle or get more info on their auction, contact the museum at 704-739-1019 during their new hours: Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 3 pm.
Patrick senior center
Drop off non-perishable food in the blue barrel at Patrick Senior Center’s back door.

Senior Center needs food for older adults

The Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain provides donated food to more than 50 older adults in our area every week. According to Patrick Senior Center Director Tabitha Thomas, “We need food donations to continue helping our seniors.”

If you can donate food, please drop off non-perishable food in the blue barrel at their back door. Pop-tops are preferred for food items to ease the task of opening cans. The Senior Center is located at 909 E. King Street in Kings Mountain. If you would like to make a financial contribution, please call the Senior Center at 704-734-0447.

“We appreciate financial contributions because we can use that money to purchase specific food and other items needed by seniors that we may be running low on,” Thomas added.

If you need food, please call 704-734-0447 to make arrangements.

Below is a list of foods that are especially needed:

• Canned meats (chicken, turkey, tuna, ham, salmon)

• Boxes of macaroni & cheese

• Canned fruits and vegetables

• Canned chili, beef stew, spaghetti-o's and ravioli

• Cornbread mix

• Canned beans and bags of dried beans

• Cereal or variety packs of small boxes

• Fruit or pudding cups

• Apple sauce or other fruit pouches

• Pasta

• Spaghetti sauce

• Nuts/trail mix

• White and brown rice

• Peanuts and peanut butter

• Cheese and crackers

• Variety packs of chips, cooks and snacks

• Ensure/Boost

“We appreciate the community’s generous support,” Thomas added. “Your donations enable us to help older adults who depend on us for food every week,” Thomas said.
Ymcaweight lifter with mask
Masks are required upon entering YMCA. (Photo provided)

YMCA reopens, taking measures to ensure safety


On September 5, all Cleveland County Family YMCA branches reopened indoor fitness centers with limited capacity and following all local, state and national guidelines. Kings Mountain Family YMCA hours of operation are Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 7:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am - 2:00 pm, and Sunday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm.

At their website, the YMCA shared, “While we are excited to welcome members back inside, we recognize that the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 isn’t over.”

“North Carolina’s YMCAs have spent 24 weeks preparing to reopen facilities responsibly to ensure the safety of employees and participants. To keep indoor numbers small, the YMCA will continue their virtual and outdoor fitness opportunities, keeping pools open for as long as possible and delivering programs that improve spirit, mind and body,” they wrote.

“The pandemic has hurt many, including the Y. Because of donors and members who stayed with us, the Y has remained on the front lines, serving the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

What should you expect when visiting the YMCA?

• Masks are required upon entering, exiting and transitioning through the building

• A brief health screening will be conducted at the Welcome Center for each member

• Showers, steam rooms and saunas (where available) are not open at this time

• Staff will be available to help you with any questions about available equipment and spaces

• Basketball, racquetball and pickleball are not available at this time

• Child Watch and Kid Zone services are not available during this time

What are we doing for safety and cleanliness of the facility?

• Equipment is spaced apart or either marked to maintain a social distance of at least six feet

• All equipment is thoroughly cleaned before and after use with certified disinfectant

• Deep overnight cleaning is done each day

• Sanitation stations are within each space of the YMCA for your convenience

• Members and staff are required to wear masks to keep each other safe

The YMCA shared, “We’re thrilled to welcome you back inside our Y, but not because you’re reconnecting to a gym. You’re reconnecting with a cause. Welcome back to where you belong! For more information, please visit our website at www.CleveCoYMCA.org.”
 
Rikard

Rikard named CCS Principal of the Year

During a surprise visit among a small group of administrators, school board members, and select family members, Julie Rikard of Kings Mountain High was named Principal of the Year for Cleveland County.

“Cleveland County Schools has many wonderful, dedicated principals who work hard each day to meet the needs of their students and staff, said Rikard.  “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as the CCS Principal of the Year; I was surprised and humbled with this recognition.”

During Mrs. Rikard's tenure, KMHS was recognized as being in the top 1% of all public and charter schools in the state of North Carolina in growth test scores.

The Principal of the Year program is sponsored annually by Wells Fargo, and Rikard will now vie for regional consideration for top honors.

“I look forward to sharing the great principles and practices that Cleveland County has as I represent our school district,” added Rikard.

Principal Rikard received a monetary award from Wells Fargo for professional development and will soon receive a crystal apple handcrafted by N.C. artist Robert Levin.

“I have been blessed to work in this community for the past 30 years at Kings Mountain High School and Kings Mountain Middle School,” she concluded. 
— KM Herald

New Legislation introduced reaffirms Catawba Land Trust status of Catawba Nation

The Catawba Nation today announced its support and appreciation of Tuesday's introduction of the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act (H.R. 8255) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC) was joined in introducing the bipartisan bill by Congressman Jim Clyburn (SC), Congressman William Timmons (SC), Congressman Dan Bishop (NC), Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC), Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC), Congressman David Price (NC) and Congressman Joe Wilson (SC).

The bipartisan bill reaffirms the actions earlier this year of the Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, in taking 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation.

The Catawba Nation’s aboriginal lands extend to six North Carolina counties and farther north in the Piedmont of North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College.

“The newly introduced legislation demonstrates the ongoing support from members of Congress in righting historical wrongs against the Catawba people,” said Chief Bill Harris of the Catawba Nation.

“We are pleased that this legislation will reaffirm the Interior Department’s action recognizing the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to the lands in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. These are the lands of not just our ancestors, but also the hundreds of Catawba citizens that reside there today,” Harris said.

Harris noted that it is not unusual for Congress to reaffirm land-trust decisions by the Interior Department. The “Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act” from 2014 and the “Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act” from 2019 are recent examples of such an action.
Jim potter puts canned goods into gracie's blessing box
Jim Potter retired from CUMC’s Community Kitchen, but still puts canned goods into Gracie’s Blessing Box to feed the needy. Photo provided

Central United Methodist ChurchPotter retires from Community Kitchen:

By Libby Putnam 

For almost 18-years, the Community Kitchen has been staffed by volunteers from Central United Methodist Church and other churches in Kings Mountain. During that time over 500,000 meals have been served to those in need in our community.

The church is most thankful for those volunteers for their dedication and service led by Jim Potter to make this ministry a success. Jim will be retiring from his work with the Community Kitchen and the community thanks him for his faithful service.

The idea for a food ministry actually came about while Rev. Bob Little was the minister. Plans for a new activities building were being discussed and a committee was formed to help envision how that building could be used.

Of the over 50 ideas that were generated, one was a food ministry. Construction for the Christian Activity Center (CAC) was completed in 2002. John Plonk, John Maddox, and Jim Potter visited Shelby Presbyterian's five day a week food ministry to see how it worked. Contact was made with Second Harvest Food Bank and soon the Community Kitchen at Central was off and running.

In addition to having contributions of food from Second Harvest, volunteers began picking up food donations from Food Lion seven days a week. Initially meals were cooked and served in the CAC only, but later delivery of meals began after the pastor at Second Baptist and a helper volunteered for that duty. Soon volunteers began to deliver on regular routes as well as serve meals in the CAC.

On Thursday, September 3 from 3 – 6 pm., the Community Kitchen will be transitioning from a ministry that serves prepared meals to a ministry where grocery items will be available for pickup.

This new phase of the Community Kitchen ministry will continue as long as there is participation. Even though the nature of this ministry has changed, if you are interested in being a volunteer, you will be warmly welcomed, and your service greatly appreciated. For more information, please email central@cumckm.org or call 704-739-2471.
Food bank 3
Pictured are grocery items that were available for pickup at Central United Methodist Church Community Kitchen this past Thursday. Photos by Candy Love

Central United Methodist Church Community Kitchen

Central United Methodist Church has transitioned their Community Kitchen from a ministry that serves prepared meals to a ministry where grocery items will be available for pickup. The process started on Thursday, September 3, from 3-6 pm. Central United Methodist Church will continue this ministry as long as there is support. Food contributions are received from Second Harvest Food Bank and Food Lion.
Cityseal

Citizen comments bring fireworks at City Council meeting last month

By Loretta Cozart

During the August city council meeting, citizens expressed their concern over decisions by City Council and the leadership of Kings Mountain.

Connie Green, of Landing Drive expressed her concern over decisions made by City Council. “Decisions are being justified that we are doing what is best for the city. Back room and front lawn deals are conspired prior to meetings and the citizens never really know the truth behind the decisions or the details involved,” she said. “It seems that a few people vote, and this small group makes the decisions for many.”

“There have been an awful lot of fireworks going on in the last few months. I realize a licensed professional was hired by Hounds Campground to do those fireworks,” she said. “But I question if the person hired had been different than who was hired, would the permit have been given?”

“Hounds Campground has been a topic of much undesirable activity. These activities can be viewed on Facebook and are despicable. The things I saw… I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but something needs to be done.”

She went on to say, “Kings Mountain Police Department patrols my neighborhood; I see them in other neighborhoods, too. I’ve heard comments made that they (Hounds Campground) gets to do whatever they want. The city doesn’t patrol them, and they don’t control them.”

She concluded, “I hope Kings Mountain Police Department will be patrolling and monitoring what they are doing.”

Next to speak was Dale Green of Landing Drive. He commended the city for its efforts in cleaning up and for hiring codes enforcement officer. He encouraged council to increase their budget in the next cycle. “What has been done is commendable and I think Clint (Houser) is on the right track and you will continue to support him in his efforts to clean the city up.”

He also encouraged City Council to hire at least two more police officers in the next budget cycle as a result of the casino. “Corruption is coming, and we need to be conscious of that,” he said. “We need to make sure we are on top of that and I am going to ask County Commissioners to do the same thing.”

“You are all in favor of the casino. I am not,” he pointed out. “I don’t think we will benefit from it. I also know that this council has put in an inordinate amount of time towards it. I would like to ask that this stop. I don’t want my tax dollars going towards that. If that’s the type of growth you want, that is the type of growth you will get.”

Green also asked that the Mayor stop shooting fireworks at Hounds Campground. “I think it is inappropriate: Tuesday nights, Thursday nights, and Saturday nights. I applaud the police department for issuing a noise ordinance violation. I hope you will look at the noise ordinance and revamp it because (allowing fireworks) on weeknights is clearly inappropriate.”

Green asked Councilmembers Thombs, Hawkins, West, and prior to the meeting, Allen to team up and start clearing a path for a change in leadership. “I would seriously consider a vote of no confidence in our leadership in this community, starting with the Mayor, City Manager, and Assistant City Manager,” he said. “It’s time for a change. It’s time for us to start moving forward.”

Mayor Neisler responded regarding his work shooting fireworks saying, “I was hired by the band that came and did a concert there. This was not the rave event you alluded to. I want you to know that I am licensed by the state of NC and go by all the rules. I do understand that it does make noise, but I am doing it legally,” he said.
Tree trimming graphic
This is a graphic of the area that will be trimmed near our mainline power lines, low growing shrubs and trees may or may not be trimmed or removed dependent upon their species or height. Photos provided

City of Kings Mountain to continue tree trimming

By Janet Hart, City of Kings Mountain

The City of Kings Mountain announced recently that Carolina Tree Service will continue trimming trees along the City’s mainline electric distribution circuits for the coming year. 

“As an electric utility provider, the City of Kings Mountain is required by state law to follow the regulations as set forth in the National Electric Safety Code,” said Energy Director Nick Hendricks. “This code requires that all electric utilities are responsible for trimming trees near their power lines,” Hendricks added.

The City does not trim trees along service drops that serve individual homes and businesses unless the tree or limb is placing pressure on the electric line. 

According to Hendricks, “It is imperative that as an electric utility provider, we take the tree trimming responsibility seriously as we have in the past, because the failure to keep trees and tree limbs away from our power lines could result in serious injuries to our lineman and our citizens.”

The City is also required by federal law, through our Energy Information Administration (EIA) reporting, to list the City’s reliability and outage information through Customer Average Interruption Duration Index/System Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI/SAIDI) reporting. 

“The City of Kings Mountain takes power disruptions seriously and we will continue to put great emphasis on mitigating all areas we can control,” said Hendricks.

“Several factors that cause blinks and outages are out of our control, such as storms and motor vehicle incidents,” Hendricks said. “However, squirrel and tree related outages or disruptions can be reduced, and we need to do all we can to reduce these types of incidents,” added Hendricks.

Therefore, the City’s tree trimming contractor will trim back all of the trees on the mainline to an approximate point of 15 feet. “This action is necessary to reduce the number of outages and blinks caused by squirrels and tree related issues,” said Hendricks.

“Even though the City did not plant the trees along the mainline, we are still required to engage in preventative tree trimming,” added Hendricks.

Taking a more aggressive approach to tree trimming will affect the appearance of some trees, but this approach will assist in preventing unplanned service disruptions.

Key points:

• The City’s Electric Division is working with Zoning to ensure that future zoning regulations consider tree growth and will specify that smaller trees be planted near power lines.

• The City understands the frustration with blinks and power outages and the disruption to daily life that can adversely impact our residential, commercial and industrial customers.

• Prospective residents, businesses and industries review reporting indexes on reliability when choosing sites to locate. With safe and reliable power as our number one priority, it is imperative that the City proactively and aggressively trims trees to mitigate safety hazards and reliability concerns.

• There is no way to trim the trees without, in some cases, completely topping or side cutting them in order to maintain a safe clearance of the branches from our power lines. This City observes a fifteen (15) foot right-of-way for mainline tree clearance and does not have the right to cut beyond fifteen (15) feet.

• Citizens will have to choose -- at their expense -- whether or not they want to remove a tree after trimming has occurred. “Beatification after such trimming has occurred is the responsibility of the landowner.
Whiteoak
WHITE OAK MANOR

105 patients at White Oak Manor have COVID-19

By Loretta Cozart

According to NCDHHS, White Oak Manor in Kings Mountain continues to experience higher numbers of COVID-19. As of September 4, the 156-bed facility reported that more two-thirds (105) of its patients have contracted the COVID-19 and 16 have died. Fifty-four staff members have also gotten the virus.

In an undated letter on White Oak Manor’s company website, President Doug Cecil shared, “Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. White Oak Management, Inc. made the decision to restrict visitors at all of our locations as required by the CDC and state officials.”

“It has also been made mandatory for all staff and residents to obtain daily temperature checks until further notice.”

“We want to assure everyone that our team is continuously being advised by the CDC and other governmental agencies as to how best to keep our facilities free from COVID-19, while at the same time, maintaining a safe and comfortable environment for our residents and staff.”

“The following are guidelines which might be helpful in staying connected with facility residents during this time:

“Communicate with your loved ones through alternative ways for the time being, whether by phone, video, Facetime, social media, or other methods. Ask the facility about ways they can help with this.”

“Make sure your loved one’s facility has your emergency contact information. The facility may need to communicate with you about any developments regarding your loved one or about the facility as a whole.”

“I prayerfully ask for your patience and understanding as we all work through this pandemic isolation period.”
Moore cooper

Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 to provide $1 billion in relief

On Friday, September 4, Governor Cooper’s office released that he would sign House Bill 1105: Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0.

Governor Cooper said, “This budget followed my recommendations on school enrollment funding and invested in important areas like high speed internet access and disaster relief, but legislators should have done more to expand Medicaid, support small businesses, pay our educators, assist with rent and utilities relief and further help unemployed North Carolinians. Obviously I don’t agree with every provision, but the funding for pandemic support in this budget is critical and must move forward.”

The state General Assembly gave final bipartisan approval to a $1 billion historic relief package the day before that includes direct payments to North Carolina parents of $335 to cover unexpected childcare costs.

The relief measure also increases North Carolina’s unemployment benefits for families to the second highest in the Southeast, while maintaining tax rates for employers still recovering from the pandemic and rehiring displaced workers.

The measure delivers on a top public school priority of holding education funding levels as harmless, regardless of expected drops in enrollment.

The hold harmless funding policy was cited by education leader