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NC voters will be asked to show a
photo ID when they check in to vote

Beginning with the municipal 2023 elections, voters were asked to show photo ID when voting in North Carolina. Most voters will simply show their driver’s license, but many other forms of photo ID will be accepted. Voters who vote by mail will be asked to include a photocopy of their ID when returning their ballot.
What photo can you use? Any of the following unexpired or expired for one year or less:
• NC Driver’s license or state ID from the NCDMV (non-operator ID)
• Driver’s license or non-operator card from another state, D.C., or U.S. territory (only if voter registered in NC within 90 days of the election.)
• U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card.
• NC voter photo ID card issued by a county board of elections
• Student & government-employee photo IDs approved by the State Board of Elections
• Voters 65+ may use an expired form of acceptable ID if it was unexpired on their 65th birthday.
Any of the following regardless of whether the ID contains an expiration or issuance date:
• Military or veteran ID card (with photo issued by the U.S. government.
• Tribal enrollment card (with photo) issued by a state or federally recognized tribe.
• ID card (with photo) issued by a U.S. government agency or the state of NC for a public assistance program.
All voters will be allowed to vote with or without a photo ID.
Voters who do not have a photo ID when they vote can make sure their vote counts by either 1) filling out a form explaining why they are unable to show ID, or 2) showing their ID at their county board of elections office by 5 p.m. on March 14, the ninth day after the election.
Remaining dates to keep in mind regarding the Primary Election Calendar:
• Feb. 15: In-person early voting begins; same-day registration available.
• Feb. 27: Absentee ballot request deadline (5 p.m.).
• March 2: In-person early voting ends (3 p.m.).
•    March 5: Primary Election Day (Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.).
• March 5: Absentee ballot return deadline (7:30 p.m.). Ballots must be received by the county board of elections by this time.
   For more information, visit ncsbe.gov, or call 919-814-0700. Cleveland County’s Board of Election is at 215 Patton Dr, Shelby. Its phone number is 704-484-4858.
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Finishing touches on the façade of Hardee’s were made on Wednesday last week, as the restaurant reopened its dining room for business. (Photo by Loretta Cozart)

Hardee’s dining room reopens

By Loretta Cozart

On Tuesday, January 30, Hardee’s dining room at 509 E King Street in Kings Mountain reopened its dining room to customers.
According to staff, the restaurant’s dining room is repaired and ready for business. They welcomed customers back, saying, “We hope folks will visit and bring friends and family to enjoy our dining room.”
On July 17, 2023, a driver lost control of their vehicle and slammed into the southwest corner of the restaurant, smashing glass, injuring customers, and made a general mess of things. Three months later, the drive through reopened on October 23.
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ServePro was on site last week cleaning up the smoke and water damage after the Feb. 3 fire. Photo by Loretta Cozart

KMPD seeks public’s help
Roses’ fire is
deemed suspicious

On February 3, Kings Mountain Police Department (KMPD) and Kings Mountain Fire Department (KMFD) responded to a working structure fire located at 1314 Shelby Road (Roses).
The fire was quickly extinguished but not before a portion of the business received substantial damage. A joint investigation into the cause and origin of the fire was conducted by KMFD and the Cleveland County Fire Marshalls Office resulting in the determination that the fire was suspicious.
Unfortunately, video surveillance did not capture the area of the store where the fire was set. Approximately 20 customers were inside of the business at or near the time of the fire. Therefore, KMPD’s Criminal Investigations Unit requests that any citizen who had been inside or near the store during this timeframe and observed suspicious activity to contact them at 704-734-0444 or email Detective Sergeant J. Bryant at josh.bryant@cityofkm.com. You can also leave a tip through the Cleveland County Crime Stoppers app at the QR code.
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City of Kings Mountain Finance Director Chris Costner holds the birthday cake as City Manager Jim Palenick and other staff members join him in celebrating the town’s 150th birthday. See more photos on page 4A. (Photo by Loretta Cozart)

City Council and staff celebrate Kings Mountain’s 150th birthday

By Loretta Cozart

In honor of Kings Mountain’s 150th birthday, Kings Mountain’s City Council, staff and attendees celebrated the sesquicentennial by singing Happy Birthday and enjoying birthday cake during the city council work session. The heartfelt rendition of the song started out slowly and improved as the song ended, as most renditions of Happy Birthday usually do.

 
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Front row, L-R: Legislators Kelly Hastings, Tim Moore, and Ted Alexander. Back row, L-R: CCMHOF Board Members Angela Padgett, Christy Conner, and Ronnie Whistnant. See photo on page 4A. (Photos by Angela Padgett)

CC Music Hall of Fame
receives $75,000 donation

By Loretta Cozart

Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame (CCMHOF) thanked Speaker of the House Tim Moore, Senator Ted Alexander, and Representative Kelly Hastings for supporting them with a $75,000 donation on Wednesday, February 7. Their Board met with them on Wednesday at their Hall of Fame Building, at 1511 West Dixon Boulevard in Shelby.
“We are appreciative that they took the time to learn more about our plans for the renovation of the building and about preserving the History of Music in Cleveland County,” the CCMHOF shared.
The Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame was established in 2019. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to honor the legacy of pioneers from Cleveland County whose talent has enriched the musical landscape of the area in which they live/lived while giving the tools needed to future generations of musicians to hone their craft. In 2021, Calvin and Teresa Hastings donated the WOHS studios on Hwy 74. In that building the Hall of Fame plans to house a museum, as well as recording studio and a learning center for students who want to play an instrument.
For more information on the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame, contact the Hall at 704-692-5246 or visit their website at www.ccmusichallofame.org You may also visit their Facebook page at @CCMUSICHALL.
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The Truck Stop fire on January 2 has been ruled by undetermined cause. (Photo by Cox Media Group)

KM Truck Stop fire ruled undetermined

By Loretta Cozart

The Kings Mountain Herald obtained the NC Office of State Fire Marshal’s report from Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mike Williams. In the report, the cause of the fire at 400 Dixon School Road on January 2 was ruled undetermined.
The report shared the following items of fact:
• On Tuesday, January 2, the Cleveland County communications center received a 911 call for a structure fire located at the Kings Mtn Truck Plaza at 400 Dixon School Road in Kings Mountain. The Kings Mountain Fire Department responded to the call and arrived on scene to find a commercial building with heavy fire conditions coming from the rear of the building.
• The Kings Mtn Fire Department and several other mutual aid departments began suppression efforts. The Cleveland County Fire Marshal’s Office and the NC Office of State Fire Marshal’s Fire Investigation Unit conducted an Origin & Cause investigation. The cause of the fire is listed as undetermined.
• On Tuesday, January 2, Cleveland County Fire Marshal Perry Davis contacted Office of State Fire Marshal (OFSM) Investigator Kevin Head to request assistance with the Origin & Cause Investigation. OSFM Investigator Marsh responded to the scene on Wednesday, January 2, to assist with the Origin & Cause investigation.
• The building was being used as a truck fueling center and a convenience store.
• The legal authority for conducting the fire scene investigation was by exigent circumstance (meaning that the circumstances were urgent enough to justify a warrantless entry). Kings Mountain Fire Department maintained custody of the scene throughout the entire investigation.
According to the report, a neighbor reported the fire to Cleveland County 911 Center. Kings Mountain Fire Department conducted witness interviews. Farm Bureau Insurance collected one sample from the scene. There were no injuries or fatalities due to the fire event, and a weather event causing the fire was ruled out.
A formal Origin & Cause determination report was authored by Perry Davis with the Cleveland County Fire Marshal’s Office. The report was generated as a response report documenting the assistance of the NC Office of State Fire Marshal to the Cleveland County Fire Marshal’s Office.

 

Cambridge Oaks Apts.
fire Thursday night

By Loretta Cozart

On Thursday, February 8, first responders received a call to a fire at Cambridge Oaks Circle. Three fire departments, including Kings Mountain, Grover, and Bessemer City responded, along with Kings Mountain Police and GEMS.
According to Josh Wall, Kings Mountain Fire Department’s Interim Chief, Kings Mountain Police was first on the scene and were able to put a stove’s grease fire out. Interim Chief Wall expressed his gratitude to KMPD for handling the fire quickly.
Afterward, KMFD firefighters attended to the situation, working with the residents, and taking care of the scene. Nobody was hurt in the incident.

LTA creating 54 new jobs in Gaston Co.

Lynddahl Telecom America Inc. (LTA), a duct solutions company for fiber optics installations, will create 54 new jobs in Gaston County, Governor Cooper announced in January. The company will invest more than $5.6 million over the next three years to establish its first North American plastic extrusion production site in Belmont.
“North Carolina is benefiting yet again from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with Lynddahl Telecom’s decision to make Gaston County its North American home,” said Governor Cooper. “Expanding access to high-speed internet is imperative to closing our digital divide, and having companies in our corner that are well-equipped to extend broadband throughout our rural regions puts us closer to high quality internet for everyone.”
Building on more than 30 years of international experience in the fiber optics and duct industry, the three founders established the parent company in Denmark in 2020. Having seen extensive success in Europe, LTA incorporated in 2023 as a subsidiary of Lynddahl Telecom A/S with the aim of offering duct solutions for the North American market. The company specializes in product development and customization as a supplier of complete duct solutions for fiber optics for the international telecom industry. LTA will begin operations with a 55,000-square-foot facility to manufacture the protective conduits for fiber-optic cables.
   “Everyone is increasingly expecting high speed internet everywhere – be it for remote work, distance learning or leisure. Over the next decade, historic investments into upgrading broadband access throughout America will be made and this represents a major business opportunity for us. We have found a cost-effective method to rapidly deploy fiber optics in Europe and we are excited about being able to offer this to our American, Canadian and Mexican partners,” said Jacob Ulrik Petersen, President of LTA.
“North Carolina continues to rank as a leading state for doing business in America,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “I am proud to see our state compete to win more economic opportunities with innovative companies like Lynddahl Telecom America that will benefit from our diverse manufacturing workforce, affordability, and our shared commitment to digital equity.”
   New positions created by LTA will include production managers, plastics engineers, administrative officers, and production technicians. Salaries will vary by position; however, the average annual wage is $60,315, exceeding the Gaston County average of $50,746. These new jobs could potentially create an annual payroll impact of more than $3.2 million for the region.
A performance-based grant of $100,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help LTA establish its new production site. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and 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 matching participation from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
   “I am pleased to welcome Lynddahl Telecom America to Gaston County,” said State Senator Brad Overcash. “I am confident that Gaston’s first-rate workforce, educational opportunities, and business-friendly atmosphere will set the stage for Lynddahl to be successful and prosperous.”
“Congratulations to Lynddahl Telecom America on making their home in North Carolina,” said N.C. Representative John Torbett. “It makes me proud to see Gaston County support the expansion of high-speed internet across the nation through this project and I look forward to seeing what heights this company will reach in the future.”
In addition to the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in this project include the North Carolina Community College System, Gaston County, the Division of Workforce Solutions, the City of Belmont, the Gaston County Economic Development Commission, and Duke Energy.

KMPD seeking two for fraud at Dollar General

Kings Mountain Police Department asks for the public's help identifying two suspects involved in Fraud at Dollar General on Shelby Road on December 29th. If anyone can identify these individuals or has any information regarding the incident, please contact Detective R. M. Hoyle at 704-730-2119 or email robert.hoyle@cityofkm.com. You can also submit a tip using the QR code.
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Loretta Husky Cozart

Cozart selected as Kings Mountain Forward Director

Kings Mountain Forward (KM Forward), an emerging economic development organization in the region, announces the appointment of Loretta Husky Cozart as its first Director. With over 30 years of entrepreneurial experience and a diverse background in management, fundraising, finance, public relations, business development, retail, economic development, communications, and marketing, Cozart is poised to lead the organization.
Cozart's career has been highlighted by successful roles as an Executive Director in various Chambers of Commerce, including the Greater Pineville Chamber of Commerce, Matthews Chamber of Commerce, and Kings Mountain Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Cozart was responsible for managing membership recruitment and retention, organizing events, and collaborating with local and regional media outlets for promotional activities.
She founded and managed the Greater Pineville Chamber of Commerce to foster business relationships in Charlotte's then-evolving Ballantyne area, eventually merging the organization with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce to establish the Perimeter South Area Council, now the Ballantyne Area Council, and served on the Board of Advisors for four years.
She has also demonstrated her expertise in finance and accounting as the CFO, VP/Accounting, and Co-owner at CC Communications, Inc., an online marketing, application development, and web design firm in Charlotte.
In addition to her professional expertise, Cozart has been actively involved in various activities. She founded Matthews Executive Group, an alliance of business professionals,
to create opportunities  for
See COZART, Page 5A
COZART
From Page 1A
business growth, foster friendships, and strengthen the community. The group has thrived for 30 years. She also served as a Regent at Col. Frederick Hambright DAR Chapter in Kings Mountain for three terms, where she and the chapter undertook a Regent's Project to install a marker for the Black Patriots who participated in the Battle of Kings Mountain at the Kings Mountain National Military Park.
Commenting on her appointment, Cozart said, "I am excited for this new role working with the KM Forward board and area businesses to drive economic growth and development in the region. My experience in management, finance, public relations, and economic development will be valuable assets in achieving our goals."
KM Forward is a non-profit organization that promotes economic development and business growth in the Kings Mountain region. The organization works closely with local businesses and government agencies to create a favorable business climate and attract new investment to the community.
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JIM PALENICK

Catalytic economic development drives KM downtown boutique hotel

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain City Manager Jim Palenick’s February 1 “Update with the City Manager” outlines plans for the new Cobblestone Hotel project at 200 E. Gold Street in downtown Kings Mountain. He started the presentation by sharing, “Let me tell you a little bit about that project and why that makes sense, what it is, and maybe more importantly, what it isn’t.”
He explained that it is necessary to bring more people downtown to experience economic growth, “Essentially, when we talk about how we help downtown thrive and prosper, there is one critically important thing that has to be in evidence, and that is you have to have significant numbers of actual residents.”
“So it’s important as we move forward to try to work to get some new development of urban-scale apartments and condominiums being built in and around downtown, some new apartments, particularly the ones that can be above the retail and commercial on some of the existing commercial buildings.”
He shared, “A downtown hotel can serve as a critical catalyst for revitalization and economic activity. It can and does bring large numbers of recurring overnight lodgers, and with them comes disposable income that they will then spend in immediate proximity to that lodging facility. And that’s the primary reason you want to see this downtown.”
Palenick explained that Cobblestone Hotel serves a small urban city niche market using a turnkey template model. The company normally engages SHG to manage its Cobblestone Hotels for efficiency, economies of scale, quality assurance, and consistency.
To test the feasibility of such a hotel here, Kings Mountain engaged Core Distinction Group in 2023 to do a study conducting separate demand generator interviews within local businesses and industries. From those interviews, it was determined that the project would be financially feasible, made sense, and should move forward.
So, what will the hotel look like? Palenick described it as a four-story tall hotel with 76 units. The three top floors would each have 24 units. The lower level would have four ADA-accessible  units,  an
See HOTEL, Page 5A
From Page 1A
indoor pool, a fitness center, an area for hospitality, and some small conference space back of the office in the lobby area. The total cost for this project would be $13.5 million in investment.
   How would the hotel be financed? The City Manager states, “This investment is completely contemplated as privately owned and operated. It will only move forward if it is privately owned and operated for the long term.”
   What other amenities will be available at Cobblestone Hotel? The hotel will include a first-floor Wissota Chophouse, a high-end destination steakhouse restaurant. There will also be indoor and outdoor dining spaces attached to that restaurant. Most Cobblestone Main St. Boutique-branded hotels are smaller, usually 64 units or fewer. This one would be larger because the feasibility study believes that it should be and that it can support that financially. It also typically doesn’t have a high-end steakhouse. However, in this case, the feasibility study suggested that it can and should support it.”
   The general look of the hotel will be slightly different from that of other Cobblestone Hotels in other cities because it will have its own specific design for King’s Mountain. But the shared look is indicative of the design.
   The Wissota Chophouse offers an intimate, comfortable, yet upscale atmosphere. It includes an exclusive dining area, which can be rented out to accommodate bigger parties. They can also be used for corporate meetings or special events, with a very nice, warm, welcoming atmosphere and a lot of brick and stone, typical of something you would expect in a high-end steakhouse restaurant.
   In addition to the hotel and restaurant, the city plans to develop a new $4.2M, 150-space parking garage that will fully support the parking needs, using project financing. It would also be designed to have a foundation that would support additional levels in the future. City Manager Palenick explained how the project funding would work, “Basically, there will be fees for using the parking space. Those who use the hotel and the restaurant will have modest fees attached to them. The city could have modest fees attached to its use. More than anything, the city will be capturing the property tax and the occupancy taxes produced by the new hotel, which, together with the parking fees themselves, will fully cover the hotel’s debt service. The debt service is expected to be about $379,000 annually for 15 years.”
     Palenick continued, “In that matrix, these taxes and fees would produce a little over $404,000 per year, fully covering the deck financing. As such, project financing, so no taxpayer funding is coming to pay for this., It is the project itself that is paying for it. Also, understand that any and all of the costs the city is putting in to help create the site and prepare it for sale to or partnership with the entity that will own and operate the hotel comes from something we call the Economic Development Fund.”
   “The Economic Development Fund was funded exclusively by property taxes that have been captured from large industrial users who had gotten economic incentives, didn’t fully comply with those incentives, and the city captured the additional property taxes that they otherwise were going to get back and then put it into a separate segregated economic development Fund for use to catalyze additional economic development in the future.”
    He shared, “It’s really about private investment, about finding a way to encourage, support, and ensure it happens. And then, to make it successful in a way that by controlling the narrative of it, the placement of it, and the type and the way that it happens, we can assure that it then has the kind of impact that we hope it will. And, of course, you don’t enter into this unless you know it’s highly feasible.
   “That’s why you do in advance a very detailed, very complete, very thorough financial pro forma and feasibility analysis, both of which the city has completed, both of which have come forward and said this can and should be a very successful project. We know that, just in the kinds of things where Duke Energy has people come in regularly to get training, the folks at Albemarle come and go as professionals working with them in their mine setup, so many of the other things that are going to be going on attached to our entertainment district and casino in the future. Even when you look at the architects, engineers, and consultants, that alone will keep a hotel full for years on end.”
   “So, we have no concern about that. The demand will be there; it’s just a matter of making the right product come at the right time and in the right place. So, we’re helping make that happen, and we think it’s important for this success in the community,” he concluded.


 
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Farce of Habit
auditions at KMLT

Join Kings Mountain Little Theater for its upcoming auditions at the Joy Performance Center for the hilarious “Farce of Habit” production!
Comic fireworks explode in FARCE OF HABIT, an absurdly funny Southern-fried romp that takes us back to the Reel ’Em Inn, the finest little fishing lodge in the Ozarks. The proprietor, D. Gene Wilburn, looks forward to a peaceful weekend on the lake. But there are only two chances of that happening: slim and none. If you enjoy gloriously preposterous hilarity, then laughing your way through the take-no-prisoners lunacy of a Jones Hope Wooten comedy is one habit you’ll never want to break!
Audition dates will be (only need to attend one):
• Saturday, Feb 24th at 10 am
• Monday, Feb 26th at 7 pm
• Tuesday, Feb 27th at 7 pm
The cast includes four men and five women. Performance dates are June 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and June 16 and  23 at 3:00 p.m.
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This map depicts the planned road construction zone provided by the NC DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (NCDOT).

Public meeting set for upcoming I-85 and I-485 Highway Interchange Improvements Plan

Prepare for three to four years of detours, heightened traffic congestion, and inconveniences for drivers along one of the most traveled routes in the area as highway road right-of-way preparation begins this Fall. Construction will start by Fall 2025. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will soon initiate extensive improvements in the heavily traversed Interstate 85 and 485 interchange on the border of western Mecklenburg County and Gaston County. The $45 million project is expected to be completed by Fall 2028.
A public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 8, 2024, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Mount Caramel Baptist Church on 7237 Tuckaseegee Road in Charlotte. The purpose of this meeting is to inform the public of the proposed project and to solicit comments. The public can view project information at NCDOT’s webpage (https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/i-85-i-485-improvements/Pages/default.aspx). NCDOT representatives will be available to answer questions and receive comments. The comments and information received will be collected for review as work on the project develops.
The meeting will allow residents to submit comments during the session. The public may also submit feedback via phone at (984) 205-6615, project code 6824, or email at l85-l485-westcharlotte@publicinput.com. The deadline to submit comments is February 27, 2024.
The construction project will implement several improvements to one of the most congested interchanges in North Carolina. NCDOT estimates that as many as 146,000 vehicles pass through this area on average daily (Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT).
During construction, two primary detours are under consideration to temporarily support traffic flow: A west detour option called the “Blue Route” would lead cars along Sam Wilson Road to Performance Road to Moores Chapel Road to U.S. 29/74. An east detour option known as the “Pink Route” would send vehicles from Sam Wilson Road to Moores Chapel Road to I-485 to U.S. 29/74.
NCDOT will redesign the southbound ramp toward Interstate 85 southbound as part of the project. The ramp is used daily by commuters from Gaston County - and others traveling from I-85 or US-321. The project includes several additional planned improvements, including:
• NCDOT will widen the bridge from the I-485 off-ramp to I-85 South, located over the I-85 southbound off-ramp to Sam Wilson Road.
• NCDOT will build a new road along I-85 South to carry I-485 off-ramp traffic to I-85 South.
• NCDOT will construct a new bridge on Sam Wilson Road over the new road.
• NCDOT will move the Sam Wilson Road ramp to I-85.
In a letter to reporters promoting the project, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore said the redesign would “enhance public safety, help eliminate congestion, boost efficiency and productivity, and enhance the quality of life for the motor public.”
It’s a project that also improves the traffic flow in and out of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport near the proposed construction zone.
“The added lanes are going to be so important for roadway connections, to streamline arrival, speed, time and congestion and all of that… but most importantly, it allows us to continue to grow,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said.
In a press release, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper supported the project, stating, “This $45 million investment will make a real difference for commuters in Mecklenburg County and the entire region. By improving the I-85/I-485 interchange, we’re easing traffic congestion, saving people time and money, and creating safer travel conditions for everyone. This project is another example of our commitment to investing in infrastructure that supports economic growth and improves quality of life for North Carolinians.”
Travelers from Gaston, Cleveland, Lincoln, Iredell, and other surrounding counties should also benefit from the improved roadway system.
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The entire community purchased and cherished centennial artifacts. Women wore long dresses and bonnets, as their ancestor mothers might have worn. (Photos by KMHM)

KM Historical Museum exhibit celebrates
Kings Mountain’s 150th anniversary

By Loretta Cozart

To celebrate the City of Kings Mountain’s 150th anniversary, the Kings Mountain Historical Museum has displayed in its lobby artifacts from the centennial celebration held in 1974. Kings Mountain was incorporated on Wednesday, February 11, 1874.
Visit the exhibit to see how Kings Mountain residents celebrated this momentous occasion 50 years ago with week-long events that included several fondly remembered activities, such as a rocking chair marathon, Brothers of the Brush beard contest, youth tennis competition, centennial dance, art awards, car pounding, guitar clinic, Karate display, street   sketches,  fashion

show, street dance, Kings Mountain Woman’s Club Community Festival, butter churning contest, caravan of old cars, children’s day with lots of activities for kids, an 1820 replica steam engine parked at the train depot, community parade, children’s parade, senior citizen’s day, commemorative coin auction, religious heritage day, and an interdenominational service at Kings Mountain High School, to name but a few.
   As you celebrate this momentous occasion with your family, be sure to drop by Kings Mountain Historical Museum to share with your children many of the events you may have participated in as a child.
   The City of Kings Mountain and members of the community will officially celebrate Kings Mountain’s sesquicentennial on Saturday, May 4, so mark your calendars now. More information will follow as plans are announced.
      Kings Mountain Historical Museum is at 100 E. Mountain Street, and open Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Admission is free. For more information, call 704-739-1019.

Patriots Rally

A Patriots Rally will be held on Sunday Night, February 4 at 6 p.m. at
Family Worship Center, 1818 Shelby Rd., Kings Mountain.
Special speakers will be  Dr. Paul Brintley, Dr. Mark Harris and special guests.
Worship will be led by Family Worship's Worship Team and  specials by
Molora.  Event is free and everyone is welcome.
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Eng School of Self-Defense in Kings Mountain saw the roof repaired after a fire damaged the building on December 26. (Photos by Eng School of Self-Defense KM)

Repairs continue at Eng School of Self-Defense KM

By  Loretta Cozart

Fire damaged Eng School of Self-Defense in Kings Mountain at 403 N. Piedmont Avenue on December 26, but repairs to the structure are moving right along. On January 24, the group shared that a new roof was now on the building, and the façade was secured. The fire burned through the roof, so the rafters and roofing had to be replaced. In addition, the owners are replacing the flooring.
While no date has yet been announced for the reopening, things are progressing quickly. The Herald will share the reopening date when it is announced.
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Just before 5 a.m. Saturday, four people were shot at 200 Waco Road. (Photo by KMPD)

Fatal shooting Saturday morning on Waco Road

Just before 5:00 a.m. on January 27, Kings Mountain Communications Center received numerous 911 calls of shots being fired at 200 Waco Road. Officers arrived on the scene within seconds and were able to locate two individuals suffering from gunshot wounds.
Cleveland County EMS transported both victims to CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia. Two additional victims believed to be related to the shooting
on Waco Road arrived separately at the medical center.
Both of these victims were also suffering from gunshot wounds.
All victims have been identified as:
• Tyshem Daquan Sharpe, B/M, 30 years of age.
• Rodney Edward Stevens Jr. B/M, 30 years of age.
• Andre Lashawn Littlejohn. B/.V1 DOB, 30 years of age.
• Nayoka Iteke Burris, B/F, 37 years of age.
Tyshem Daquan Sharpe died as a result of his injuries. Stevens and Littlejohn were listed in critical condition. Burris, who only suffered minor injuries, was released from the medical center.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Kings Mountain Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit at 704-734-0444. You may also leave a tip through the Cleveland County Crime Stoppers App or at the QR code provided. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) is assisting with this investigation.
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Executive Director Lisa Harrison, center of Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry, receives a check from Davidson Association Board members Katherine Pendergrass and Randy Miller. (Photo by Davidson Association)

The Davidson
Association
awards donations

The Davidson Association awarded donations to non-profits on January 27 during the board’s regular monthly meeting. Monies were collected during the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast, which was held on January 15. This was the organization's second year in distributing funds from that event.
This year’s recipients were Kings Mountain Crisis Assistance Ministry, Mt. Olive Food Ministry, and People Without Walls Ministry.
A representative from each organization was present during the monthly Davidson meeting. Crisis Assistance Ministry and Mt. Olive received a check, while People Without Walls received gift cards to be distributed.
Davidson is a non-political, non-profit organization whose vision is to renovate the old Davidson Elementary School to become a Community Resource Center. Davidson is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Davidson Association has been instrumental in returning the KM Farmers' Market in partnership with the Foothills Farmers' Market, opening the new Atrium Virtual Clinic in collaboration with Mt. Zion Baptist Church, hosting the NC MedAssist program in partnership with Albemarle-Lithium, sponsoring an annual Health Fair and the Juneteenth Celebration, awarding yearly scholarships, and hosting and participating in other various projects.
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The new sign at 211 S. Battleground Avenue announces that The Sweet Station will open this month. (Photos by The Sweet Station)

The Sweet Station moving
to Battleground Avenue

By Loretta Cozart

If you have visited downtown Kings Mountain in the last week, you may have noticed some changes. A lot of activity has been centered around 211 S. Battleground Avenue, where The Sweet Station’s new location is sandwiched between Back Door Antiques and The Wild Cholla, which is soon to open.
The owners, Erin Jolly and Susie Wease opened The Sweet Station on Railroad Avenue in April 2023. However, they later discovered an opportunity to move to Battleground Avenue, and they decided to close their old location to give themselves time for renovations.
In an interview with the Herald, Erin shared, “Our intent was to keep the store on Railroad Avenue open year-round. But at that location, we were at maximum capacity indoors. When this opportunity became available, and realizing the potential for the indoor space, we decided to close at that location and to give ourselves time for renovations.”
Last week, the owners shared some images on The Sweet Station’s Facebook page. The aim of the new location is to offer a space for families and friends to hang out, drink coffee, relax, and play games. They are creating a cozy and welcoming environment that is suitable for all ages.
According to Erin, “We want everyone to feel welcome here and not worry their children will mess something up. We’ll have a children’s corner, books,  and  lots of games, so the parents can relax and chat with friends. The world is so busy; this will give people a place to gather.”
Susie said, “The new location is equipped with a kitchen, and we will bake our own items for sale in the shop. We will also have a full coffee bar, including unique coffee beverages like Affogato and coffee milkshakes.”
“We will offer Wi-Fi for folks who want to work away from their homes or offices. And people who work from home can have informal meetings here, so they don’t have to take people into their homes.”
As for events, The Sweet Station plans to host everything from birthday parties to family or work group gatherings. On warm days, the outside patio will be available for customers to enjoy the weather with their friends.
   Downtown Kings Mountain is changing, and The Sweet Station’s new location is just one of the businesses contributing to this transformation. If you’re looking for a place to unwind and spend quality time with your loved ones, The Sweet Station’s new location will definitely be worth checking out. They plan to open the new shop sometime in February.

Two KMPD officers promoted

On Wednesday, January 24, K9 Officer Craig Cooke and Officer Robert Medlin were promoted to the rank of Corporal. With their promotion, both Corporals are recognized as emerging leaders within the Kings Mountain Police Department.
KMPD shared, “We would like to thank Mayor Rob Wagman, who issued both Corporals their Oaths, and many city officials, employees, co-workers, family, and friends who attended the ceremony. Please help us congratulate Corporal Cooke and Corporal Medlin on their achievement.”

 
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ANNIE THOMBS

Senior Center Black History Month celebration

The Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain will host a Black History Month Celebration on Tuesday, February 13, from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
Albemarle is sponsoring this year’s event, “Celebrate a Day of the Arts! Educate, Elevate!” showcasing local black artists.
The keynote speaker is Kings Mountain Councilmember Annie Thombs, and the Patrick Center Chorus sings a special song for the celebration.  Lunch will also be served.  Persons ages 55 and older are welcome to attend the event and are asked to RSVP by Tuesday, February 6, by calling the Patrick Senior Center at 704-734-0447.
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This is the anticipated look for Kings Mountain’s new Cobblestone Hotel project, including an upscale chophouse. (Photo by City of Kings Mountain)

Downtown boutique
hotel in the works for KM

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, the Herald spoke with City Manager Jim Palenick regarding land at 200 E. Gold Street and the plans for the property once site prep is completed. During the November 9, 2023, City Council Work Session, it was unanimously voted to approve a budget amendment of $250,000 for costs associated with site prep expenses.
During the meeting, the city council discussed the possibility of constructing a hotel on the property, but they also noted that the land might be used for residential purposes. The council approved site preparation work with the anticipation of further use, but they did not discuss any potential investor or owner/operator during the meeting.
The city manager said of the project, “We feel very comfortable that the project can and will go forward. We are working through and completing all of the site preparations and looking to solidify the financing model and agreements for the parking garage development while also working and vet the ultimate owner/investor/operator model.”
Palenick also shared a PowerPoint presentation of the project, including a 76-room hotel and Wissota Chophouse, an upscale steakhouse with indoor and outdoor dining. The three-floor structure will have 24 units each and four ADA units on the ground floor.
The estimated cost of the hotel is $13.5 million, while the parking deck is expected to cost another $4.5 million. Palenick states that the funding for these projects is expected to come from city and county occupancy taxes, as well as property taxes. Furthermore, Palenick clarified that the parking deck project will not begin until construction commences on the hotel.
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Albemarle Kings Mountain (Photo by Loretta Cozart)

Albemarle reduces costs to optimize cash flow as lithium prices drop

Albemarle Corporation outlined on January 18 a series of proactive measures underway to re-phase its organic growth investments and optimize its cost structure in response to changing end-market conditions, particularly in the lithium value chain. These actions are designed to unlock cash flow over the near term and generate long-term financial flexibility.
Albemarle expects its 2024 capital expenditures to be in the range of $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion, down from approximately $2.1 billion in 2023. This new level of spending reflects a re-phasing of larger projects in the near term to focus on those that are significantly progressed, near completion, and in startup. Decisions made by the company include to:
• Commission the Meishan lithium conversion facility, which reached mechanical completion at the end of 2023
• Complete commissioning activities for Trains 1 and 2 at the Kemerton lithium conversion facility and focus construction on Train 3
• Prioritize permitting activities at the Kings Mountain spodumene resource and defer spending at the Richburg mega-flex lithium conversion facility
• Defer investment for the Albemarle Technology Park in North Carolina
• Limit sustaining capital spending to the most critical health, safety, environmental, and site maintenance projects
   The company is also pursuing actions to optimize its cost structure, reducing costs by approximately $95 million annually, primarily related to sales, general, and administrative expenses, including a reduction in headcount and lower spending on contracted services. Albemarle expects to realize more than $50 million of these cost savings in 2024 and to pursue additional cash management actions primarily related to working capital.
   "The actions we are taking allow us to advance near-term growth and preserve future opportunities as we navigate the dynamics of our key end-markets," said Albemarle CEO, Kent Masters. "The long-term fundamentals for our business are strong, and we remain committed to operating in a safe and sustainable manner. As a market leader, Albemarle has access to world-class resources, industry-leading technology, and a suite of organic projects to capture growth."
   Related to the actions announced today, Albemarle will record a charge in the first quarter of 2024, primarily associated with severance and related benefit costs, exit and disposal activities, and asset write-downs.
   The company will provide further details on its conference call to announce full-year 2023 results at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 15.
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Citizens asked to participate
in Parks & Rec survey


 

By Loretta Cozart

Take the Kings Mountain Parks & Recreation Master Plan Survey by scanning the QR code below or by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KingsMtnRecSurvey. You have until February 10th to complete the survey.
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Water main breaks
diverts traffic Monday

On Monday, at 4 p.m., the City of Kings Mountain Water Department was in the process of repairing water main breaks at Cleveland Avenue and Countryside Court. Water services at both locations were expected to be restored within four hours.
Due to a water leak at Cleveland Avenue, the city closed the northbound lane on Cleveland Avenue, starting at the Kings Street intersection. Traffic will be diverted west on Kings Street, then north on Piedmont Ave., and turning onto the exit ramp of Hwy 74 to return to Cleveland Avenue.
No cause for the breaks were shared.
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Back Door Antiques Ribbon Cutting

On Friday, January 19, Kings Mountain Forward held a ribbon cutting for Back Door Antiques at 209 S. Battleground Avenue at 12 p.m. A great showing of business leaders, politicians, and citizens joined in as President David Stone welcomed the new venture to downtown Kings Mountain. Cutting the ribbon is owner Gary Nadel, with his fiancé Randi Hicks to his right. The shop will begin regular hours on Friday, January 26. (Photo by Taylor Caldera)
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City of KM crews worked to relocate city utility services i

City of KM crews worked to relocate city utility services in the 200 block of E. Gaston Street last week. The road was closed between Monday, January 15 and Friday, January 19. This is the proposed site for a new hotel slated for downtown Kings Mountain.

(Photo by Loretta Cozart)
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The Children's Closet has clothing, shoes, outerwear, and supplies necessary for all ages. (Photos by Loretta Cozart)

KM Crisis Ministry
helps neighbors in need

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry (KMCM), an emergency organization sponsored by the Kings Mountain Ministerial Association, helps individuals and families in need in our community. With rising inflation resulting in greater needs locally, the ministry is asking the community for help.
In 2022, KMCM helped 2133 people with food. That is roughly 25 percent of all the people living in Kings Mountain. This year, 259 families got help with utilities, 128 families were helped with rent, 184 individuals received clothes, and 72 families received needed gas or kerosene.
Executive Director Lisa Harrison shared, “The numbers are double what they were the previous year, and we anticipate that even more individuals and families will need help this coming year. Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry is unique to our area. Shelby and Gastonia have nothing like this, it is truly an example of Kings Mountain people taking care of each other in the community.”
“The individuals and families we help are in crisis, and they come from all walks of life,” she said. “They are in need, and we are able to meet them where they are and provide much-needed resources like food, rent, and utilities – to help propel individuals and families into a better position for success and well-being.”
When the organization began, it was funded by local churches that pooled funds to help with the food needs in Kings Mountain. At that time, it was called the Helping Hands fund.
In the 1990s, the group moved to the YMCA at 208 Cleveland Avenue and began a food pantry, clothes closet, and financial assistance with rent and utilities.
KMCM is a Second Harvest Food Pantry and receives donations of fresh produce, deli and bakery items from Food Lion and Walmart. They receive canned goods from businesses, churches, and individuals holding food drives and donating food monthly. Local realtors leave door hangers, and many individuals support the mission through them.
The ministry receives funding from local churches, individuals, United Way, the City of Kings Mountain, grants, charitable organizations, and fundraisers. The City of Kings Mountain provides office space and facilities at the YMCA free of charge.
Those applying for assistance must meet certain criteria and provide all the following items: driver’s license or picture ID of all adults in the household, Social Security CARDS of all in the household (adults & children), proof of income/money received in last 30 days, copy of DSS Food Stamp Letter, proof of residency (correct name & address), and proof showing why in crisis - any receipts, statement, etc.
Anticipating greater needs from people and due to rising inflation, KMCM is looking for partners, both individual and corporate, to become monthly donors. For more information or to make an online donation, visit www.kmcrisisministry.org.
The Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry is located at the rear, right side, of the YMCA building. Visitors can park outside pool area. The ministry is open for donations, food, clothes, and financial assistance on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Call 704-739-7256 to make an appointment. Items needed are clothing, and linens. No furniture or other household items are accepted.
Donors can call 704-734-5419 and schedule a time to drop off donations at Battleground Community Church, 309 S Battleground Avenue instead if you want to make donations outside the ministry's hours. They will get them to the ministry.
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Patrick Center kicks off Senior Games & Silver Arts Jan. 26

By Loretta Cozart

If you're 50 years old or above and enjoy a little competition, you can participate in the Cleveland County Senior Games & Silver Arts. The kick-off event will be held on Friday, January 26, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Patrick Senior Center at 909 E. King Street in Kings Mountain. Call the Patrick Center to sign up at 704-734-0447.
The Senior Games and Silver Arts are multisport/talent events open to athletes/artists aged 50 years or above. It consists of individual and team sports, with track and field, swimming, and basketball being some of the most popular sports.
Silver Arts is a part of the event that consists of individual and team talent competitions centered around the Arts. Competitions include singing, dancing, painting, photography, and much more.
This is a great opportunity for seniors to compete against their peers from all over the county. To sign up for the kick-off event, contact the Patrick Sr. Center to register
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Moss Lake Lending
Library now open

By Loretta Cozart

Moss Lake Lending Library, a part of Mauney Memorial Library, is now open. Feel free to drop by 2621 Oak Grove Rd. to check out and return items anytime via the vending machine.
At the conclusion of the City of Kings Mountain council meeting on June 8, Mayor Neisler honored the city’s Director of Cultural Enrichment, Christina Martin, for procuring a $46,000 grant from North Carolina to place a lending library in Moss Lake.
In an interview with the Herald, Martin said, “Moss Lake Director Rick Duncan, gave us permission to put this kiosk on the permit office porch. It will hold up to 500 physical library items and dispense them like a vending machine. It will run off Wi-Fi and will also be a hotspot for library e-materials. A library cardholder can scan their card, select their item, and it will dispense to them,” she explained. There will also be a book return on site so people can return their borrowed items.
Martin hopes this will allow Moss Lake residents to easily return library materials, even those that may have been checked out at a physical library building, at this location.
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Displays of various items give customers ideas for their own homes. See more photos on page 4A. (Photos by Gary Nadel)

Back Door Antiques
Grand Opening Jan. 19

By Loretta Cozart

Back Door Antiques' Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting by Kings Mountain Forward will be held on January 19 at noon at 209 S. Battleground Avenue. The store will be open from noon until 5 p.m. that day, allowing customers to meet Gary Nadel and browse the shop.
Owner Gary Nadel specializes in 17th to 20th-century antiques, including mirrors, furniture, chandeliers, and artwork. He recently purchased a collection of paintings from Los Angeles, which will be on display. In addition to these items, he also carries candles and other home décor accessories.
Gary’s father was one of the largest art dealers in the southeast. When he suffered a stroke, Gary moved the inventory to Banner Elk, where he was living at the time, and sold it on his father’s behalf. 
Two years ago, Gary and his fiancé, Randi Hicks, opened two businesses in Cherryville: Gary owns Back Door Antiques, and his fiancé Randi Hicks owns The Wild Cholla. They recently decided to expand to Kings Mountain.
The Wild Cholla is a boutique and wine shop offering women’s clothing, jewelry, and shoes. The shop will open soon at 213 S. Battleground Avenue, but the exact date and time have yet to be set.
 Be sure to drop by Back Door Antiques and welcome Gary to Kings Mountain.

 

KM receiving grants for 34 EV charging stations

By Loretta Cozart

On January 11, the US Department of Transportation announced grants worth $623 million to build an electric vehicle (EV) charging network across the United States. This initiative will create American jobs and ensure more drivers can charge their electric vehicles where they live, work, and shop. Kings Mountain, NC, will receive $823,000 for Public Access to EV Charging to build 34 charging ports in parking areas along the South Carolina border close to two highways and a growing central business district.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program makes the grants possible, providing $2.5 billion in funding for this competitive program. The program will fund 47 EV charging and alternative-fueling infrastructure projects in 22 states and Puerto Rico, including constructing approximately 7,500 EV charging ports. The CFI program complements the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula program, which provides $5 billion to build a network of high-speed EV chargers along our nation’s highways. Thanks to the NEVI program, new charging stations in Ohio and New York have opened, and states like Pennsylvania and Maine have broken ground.
“The US led the arrival of the automotive era, and now we have a chance to lead the world in the EV revolution—securing jobs, savings, and benefits for Americans in the process,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This funding will help ensure that EV chargers are accessible, reliable, and convenient for American drivers while creating jobs in charger manufacturing, installation, and maintenance for American workers.”
As part of this initiative, the Federal Highway Administration is awarding $311 million to 36 “community” projects, including two Indian Tribes in Alaska
 and Arizona. These projects invest in EV charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure in urban and rural communities, including convenient and high-use locations like schools, parks, libraries, multi-family housing, and more. Another $312 million in funding will go to 11 “corridor” recipients whose projects are located along roadways designated as Alternative Fuel Corridors. These projects will fill gaps in the core national charging and alternative-fueling network.
   The CFI program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which sets a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Over 70% of the CFI funding announced today will support project sites in disadvantaged communities.
   “The Federal Highway Administration is pleased to announce these grants that will bring EV charging and alternative fuels to people and communities across the nation,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “These investments through the CFI Program will grow our national EV charging network, support President Biden’s goals of achieving net-zero emissions for the nation by 2050, and promote opportunity for all Americans to enjoy the benefits of EV charging.”
   To ensure a consistent charging experience for users that ensures a convenient, affordable, and reliable national charging network, EV chargers constructed with CFI funds must adhere to the same minimum standards established for NEVI-funded chargers. This includes requirements that CFI-funded chargers are Made in America and installed and maintained by strong workforce standards. FHWA is working closely with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, providing technical assistance in the planning and implementing of a national network of electric vehicle chargers and zero-emission fueling infrastructure.
   The only other NC community included in this grant is the City of Durham, which will receive $5 million for Empower Durham: Equitable EV Charging in the City of Durham, NC – Corridor Component.
   For a complete list of grant recipients, visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/cfi/grant_recipients/

 

KMPD road closure notice

East Gold St. will be closed to all traffic from S. Piedmont to the Post Office between January 15 and January 19. The closure is due to the relocation of sewer lines.
Please use extreme caution when traveling in this area, and plan to travel on different roads if possible. The city thanks you for your cooperation in this matter.

 
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KM City Council
approves Dixon Ridge Development
Agreement
By Loretta Cozart

During the City of Kings Mountain City Council’s Work Session on January 11, the council approved a motion to adopt an ordinance authorizing the mayor to execute a Development Agreement between the City of Kings Mountain and IP KMCC 2022, LLC and WHC Humphries, LLC, the Developer, for the 384-acre Dixon Ridge development. The vote was 5 to 2, with Councilmembers Allen and West voting against.
City Manager Jim Palenick explained the need for a second public hearing and a development agreement, saying, “The reason for a second public hearing is that when we went through this process and held the first public hearing, we weren’t sure if we needed to have two public hearings, one for the rezoning agreement,
and a second for the development agreement.” It was determined that a separate public hearing was needed.
The city council approved the rezoning agreement last November. Palenick explained, “The rezoning agreement contains conditions of the zoning and is attached to the land. By approving the development agreement, we are attaching all those conditions to human beings, to an entity that is also accountable, not just to the land itself. This contractual development agreement is for a 20-year period with the people who signed that agreement.”
Many citizens spoke against the Dixon Ridge development during the public hearing portion of the meeting, with most issues directed toward the rezoning agreement, which was already approved.
Matthew Carpenter with Parker Poe spoke regarding the development agreement and how it evolved. “Mr. Palenick asked if we would be willing to enter into a development agreement because of what happened with the casino. The casino started development under the sovereign tribe. Because of that, whatever they build there, the city will not reap the benefits of the property taxes, the sales taxes, and the hospitality taxes that come from that development,” he continued.
“Mr. Palenick was insistent that he wasn’t going to let that happen here. So that is how the development agreement began. One of the main components of that agreement is that the developer is committing to building the development within the City of Kings Mountain. In fact, it goes as far as to say that if we try to remove it from the city’s jurisdiction, we have to pay fees in lieu of property, hospitality, and sales taxes. It is an important commitment as part of the development agreement.
Palenick explained that the rezoning of the property contains conditional agreements that make up the development agreement. It makes the developer accountable for those agreed commitments. “This is a ratification of that agreement that attaches it to human beings… to hold them accountable,” he explained.
“There was a lot of discussion this evening on how I’m not skeptical, or that I wasn’t looking out for the best interest of the community. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.” He explained how the negotiations on the 384 acres evolved and how the city made it clear there to the developers there would need to be many conditions for the project to go forward and that they needed to pursue a planned development.
The city manager also reminded the council that the developer could build many homes on that property already because it was pre-zoned that way. “That’s how it started,” Palenick said. “Now they have to annex, they have to pay city taxes, and if they decide to go away from the project, they have to pay in lieu of taxes.”
Regarding the casino, he said, “We have the sovereign nation in the middle of our city, in which by all accounts makes two million dollars per day, that has no obligation of any kind to pay the city one dime in any taxes, and never will, apparently, by the agreement they have with the county. We didn’t want to see that happen again. That’s not good land use practice.”
   Addressing environmental and traffic issues noted by citizens during the public hearing, Palenick said, “Simply because the development agreement doesn’t say so, doesn’t mean something is not required. It doesn’t mean it is not law,” he explained. “Our UDO requires you to get a traffic analysis. If you have a thousand traffic movements daily, you must get a traffic analysis. If there is a state, county, or federal government requirement for the environment, those laws are in place, and they have to be followed. Those requirements don’t go away simply because they aren’t included in the development agreement. All those safeguards are there and will continue to be there. I want to clarify that many things are covered, even if they aren’t spoken to directly in the development agreement itself. Those requirements are done in every case.”
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KMLT presents Clue: on stage

Kings Mountain Little Theatre and Harris Funeral Home present Clue: On Stage at Joy Performance Theater from February 23 through March 3.
Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, Clue: On Stage is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery.
   The tale begins at a remote mansion where six mysterious guests assemble for an unusual dinner party where murder and blackmail are on the menu. When their host turns up dead, they all become suspects.
   Led by the butler Wadsworth, the guests - Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, and Miss Scarlet – race to find the killer as the body count stacks up. Though discouraged from revealing personal information, it is soon discovered that they all have fallen victim to the same blackmailer, their very host of the evening. What follows is a madcap, slapstick evening full of murder, mystery, and laughs as they seek to puzzle out the culprit among criminals.
The main production staff include Producer Susan Champion, Director Wendy Walega, and Stage Manager Linda Mazzie.
“We are thrilled to bring
the beloved board game Clue to life on the stage,” said Director Wendy Walega. “Our talented cast and crew are working tirelessly to create a production that captures the essence of the game while adding a theatrical flair that will keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout the entire performance.
 “Audiences can expect a fast-paced and highly entertaining evening filled with suspense and humor. It’s a classic whodunit with a modern twist that we know will delight both fans of the board game and the cult film.”
There will be a drawing each night for a special edition of the Clue board game signed by the cast.
The cast in order of appearance includes Kelsey Garber as Yvette, Nick Howell as Wadsworth, Caswell Martin as Cook, David Baez as Colonel Mustard,  Ellie Dudeck as Mrs. White,   Suzie Crews as Mrs. Peacock,  Kevin L. Burke as Mr. Green,  Chad Spurling as Professor Plum, Nicole Wilson as Miss Scarlet, Tim Evans as Mr. Boddy, Shawn Hougas as Motorist, Mark Griffin as Cop:  Jackie Sibley-Newton as Singing Telegram Girl, and Kevin Newton as Chief of Police.
   Performances are February 23, 24, and March 1, 2 at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are on February 25 and March 3 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. For info or reservations, contact tickets@kmlt.org or call 704-730-9408. Beginning February 1, tickets are available online at www.kmlt.org.
   This production contains mature themes and situations, suggestive and adult language, and depictions of stage violence. It will employ the use of theatrical weapons, gunshots, and a strobe effect. Patrons with health conditions should be advised.
   Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. is a volunteer-based, 501c3 tax-exempt community theater. It owns and operates the Joy Theatre and the Liberty Mountain Garden. It is a funded affiliate of the Cleveland County Arts Council and is supported in part by a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.

 
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January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Supreme Court of North Carolina Chief Justice Paul Newby has proclaimed January 2024 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day for the Judicial Branch through proclamation.
Since 2010, January has been recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month by a presidential proclamation. The anniversary of the presidential proclamation, January 11, is known as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
“We set aside this month to help North Carolinians recognize and prevent the cruel crimes involved in human trafficking in our state,” said Chief Justice Newby. “Collaboration across state and local government and public awareness
See TRAFFICKING, Page 5A
From Page 1A
can help put an end to human trafficking in North Carolina.”
 North Carolina has made significant progress over the last decade in reducing human trafficking, thanks largely to the efforts of the North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission (NCHTC). In June 2023, a new law was enacted that gives human trafficking victims a statutory right to seek permanent no-contact orders against their trafficker. It also keeps victims from being denied money from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund based solely on their conduct while they were being trafficked. The law also expands the definition of what is considered human trafficking and sexual servitude to include patronizing or soliciting someone, which mirrors the federal law.
The North Carolina Human Trafficking Commission is the legislatively mandated leader of anti-human trafficking efforts in North Carolina per S.L. 2013-368. The Commission is charged primarily with examining and combating human trafficking; funding and facilitating research; creating assessment and accountability measures; informing and educating law enforcement personnel, social services providers, and the general public; suggesting new policies, procedures, and legislation; and developing regional response teams and identifying gaps in law enforcement or service provision and recommending solutions. The Commission is housed within the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts and also works to increase awareness and foster partnerships to bring services to survivors.

 
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CENTRAL SCHOOL

KM’s Central School sold
to Gaston Christian School

By Loretta Cozart

On December 22, Gaston Christian School, GCS, purchased Central School at 105 East Ridge Street in Kings Mountain with plans to restore the property and use it for its intended purpose: as a school for children. The facility will be known as Gaston Christian School - East Cleveland Campus.
GCS currently has two campuses: one in Gastonia at 1625 Lowell Bethesda Road, and the other in Shelby at 301 N. Post Road.
For eighteen months, the school searched Cleveland County for land, churches, and school buildings that were no longer in use. Real estate agent Brittany McNeilly Austin helped in the search. Her daughters attend GCS.
“I had the honor of helping my girls’ school close on their new location in Kings Mountain. For the last 18 months, we’ve looked all over Cleveland County, hoping to find a permanent location. Prayer after prayer, we knew God's plan was far greater than our own, and we knew He had the ultimate say in where He wanted to grow this campus,” she shared.
“After talking with some colleagues and mentioning Central to our Headmaster, I was able to set up a tour of this historic property. GCS began to pray over this location, renovation costs, and everything needed to restore this school to its former beauty. Central School dates back to 1876 when it was first established as a Boarding and Day School and eventually turned into KMHS in 1887,” Brittany continued.
“My girls have been a part of  Gaston  Christian  School for the last four years, and I can’t say enough about the school, administrators, and teachers. I know God will continue using this new campus in Kings Mtn to further His Kingdom and Prepare People, Teach Truth and Glorify God.” Brittany also thanked David Brinkley, Marie Myers Brinkley, and John McGill, who sold the property to GCs.
   David Brinkley shared about the deal: “We looked at several options for the Central School prop-erty, including mixed-use with condominiums and a restaurant. But then this opportunity popped up. Keeping it as a school made sense because the property was originally designed for that. And supporting our children and Christian values is always a priority. The school will serve the children of our community and be a powerful addition to Kings Mountain, attracting students from other towns as well. Gaston Christian School’s desire to preserve the buildings made this an easy decision for us since many Kings Mountain residents love this building and want to see it saved.”
Gaston Christian School is a premiere Christian school with a mission to prepare students academically and spiritually in light of God’s word. GCS graduates have been accepted to over 200 four-year colleges and universities – small and large, public and private, Christian and secular, Ivy League, and art & design institutes.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. photographed by Marion S. Trikosko

MLK Day venue change

By Loretta Cozart

The MLK, Jr. Breakfast will be hosted by the Davidson Association in partnership with Bynum Chapel AME Church. Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and City of Kings Mountain on January 15 at 8:00 a.m. The event will take place at Bynum Chapel Zion Church, located at 213 N. Cansler Street. The guest speaker is Jeff Ross of Atrium Health.
Unfortunately, the venue had to be changed due to unforeseen circumstances. The breakfast cost is a $10.00 donation per person. Parking is available on Simms Street.
This year's breakfast will also  honor  Mrs.  Ina Hager, who recently passed away.
Mrs. Hager hosted the MLK, Jr. Breakfast for many years at Bynum Chapel and would open it to the public. Members of Zeta Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. will also be present to serve and assist as they have in the past.
The Davidson Association's mission is to preserve and enhance the Historic Davidson Elementary School Building for the benefit of all. Their vision is to have the school facility become a center of hope and empowerment through education and training, serving as a model of self-determination. Davidson Alumni Resource Center, Inc. is a nonpartisan 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and the Davidson Association continues to serve the community.
For more information, please contact Katherine Pendergrass at 864-680-0555 or historicdavidson@gmail.com.
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On January 2, around 1 a.m., a fire broke out at Kings Mountain Travel Center, across from the newly announced Dixon Ridge development near northbound I-85 at Exit 5. The Herald has confirmed that Trent Testa of Roadside Truck Plaza, Inc., owns the property. Photo by WSOC, Cox Media Group

KM Truck Plaza fire a total loss
the investigation is ongoing

On January 2, at approximately 1:10 a.m., the Kings Mountain Fire Department responded to a working structure fire located at the Kings Mountain Truck Plaza at 400 Dixon School Rd., where the main building was found to be engulfed in flames. Along with the Kings Mountain Fire Department, assisting fire departments included Bethlehem Volunteer, Grover Volunteer, Oak Grove Volunteer, Antioch Volunteer, Cleveland Volunteer, and Bethany-Santiago
Volunteer Fire Departments.
The Kings Mountain Police Department and the Criminal Investigations Unit were contacted to as-sist with traffic control and investigative purposes. While responding to this fire, a volunteer fireman from an assisting department was injured. Although the injury was non-life threatening, the fireman was transported to Caro Mount Healthcare in Gastonia for further treatment. This Fireman has since been released from the hospital after receiving treatment.
The Cleveland County Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted to assist in the investigation and the origin and cause of the fire. Officials from the North Carolina Department of Insurance and Office of State Fire Marshal were also contacted to assist in investigating the fire. This fire is still being investi-gated, and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective C. K. Pitman of the Kings Moun-tain Police Department at @704-734-0444. No updates to the fire have been released.
You can also leave a tip through the Cleveland County Crimestoppers app by scanning the QR code or visiting p3tips.com.

KMPD investigating woman’s death

On January 5, at approximately 4:20 pm, the Kings Mountain Police Department, Kings Mountain Fire Department, and Cleveland County Emergency Medical Services responded to the 200 block of South Watterson Street in reference to a single motor vehicle collision with a power line pole.
Upon arrival, first responders quickly determined that the driver of the vehicle was unconscious and not breathing. Immediate life resuscitation measures began but were unsuccessful, and the driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver was identified as Linda Richardson Guevara, 43, of 115 Holly Tree Dr, of Grover.
This incident continues to be investigated by the Kings Mountain Police Department. They ask anyone with additional information regarding this incident to contact Detective C.E. Pitman at 704-743-0444 or email cullen.pitman@cityofkm.com. You can also leave a tip through the Cleveland County Crime Stoppers app.
 
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This suspect is sought in the Larceny of Motor Vehicle at KM Gateway Trail on December 30. Photo by KMPD

KMPD needs help with vehicle larceny at KM Gateway Trail

Kings Mountain Police Department is asking the community for assistance in a Larceny from a Motor Vehicle Case that occurred on Saturday, December 30, at 3:28 p.m. in the parking area of the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail. The suspect and the suspect’s vehicle are pictured.
If anyone can identify the above suspect or has any information regarding this incident, please contact Detective Cpl. T.J. Cutler  at   704-734-4610, or email thomas.cutler@cityofkm.com, and reference case KM2023-02925, or submit a tip through the Cleveland County Crime Stoppers app by scanning the QR code, or by visiting p3tips.com.

Fire at KM Travel Center

On January 2 around 1 a.m., a fire broke out at Kings Mountain Travel Center, across from the newly announced Dixon Ridge development near northbound I-85 at Exit 5. The fire was so severe that it resulted in a total loss of the truck stop, according to the Kings Mountain Fire Department. Seven departments responded to the fire, two from outside Cleveland County. The Kings Mountain Fire Department reported that up to 50 firefighters fought the blaze for 75 minutes before extinguishing the flames. One firefighter was injured during the incident, but the injuries were described as not life-threatening.
 Photo by WSOC, Cox Media Group

Teen driver law changed on Jan. 1

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles reminds teen drivers and their parents of changes to the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system made by the legislature that will go into effect in the new year.
On Jan. 1, teenage drivers need to have their Level 1 Limited Learner Permit for nine months instead of the current six months before being able to get their Level 2 Limited Provisional License.
DMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said, “The law doesn’t allow for grandfathering anyone in, so if someone has their six months of Level 1 in before the end of the year but doesn’t get in to take their road test by Dec. 29, they will have to wait until they hit nine months to take the road test and get their Level 2. Anyone who got their Level 1 after June 30 must have nine months.”
   The requirement to advance to Level 2 had been 12 months for most of the past 25 years since the GDL system was implemented in 1997. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the legislature temporarily shortened this requirement to six months.
 That provision lapsed at the end of 2022 until a new law was enacted on May 8, which extended the six-month provision again through 2023. As of Jan. 1, the provision was permanently changed to nine months.
Teen drivers seeking a Level 2 license must be at least 16 years old, log 60 hours of driving time, pass a road test, and show printed proof of insurance in the teen driver’s name.
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Cook Out restaurant
to build in KM

By Loretta Cozart

The Herald heard Cook Out will soon be joining the other dining establishments already on York Road in Kings Mountain. Checking the Register of Deeds Office, a lot has been acquired at 701 Charles Street, on York Road, north of Starbucks.
Cook Out was established in 1989 in Greensboro, NC, specializing in fresh meat for their burgers. According to the company, “All of our meat is ground and pattied every single day, loaded on a truck every single day, delivered to each individual store location every single day, and cooked fresh every single day. This is where our motto was born, ‘Always Fresh, Never Frozen.’”
Their first dine-in restaurant was opened in 1996. By 2008, they had opened their fiftieth restaurant, expanding outside the state into SC by 2010. Its 250th store opened in Mobile, Alabama, in 2018. The closest Cook Out to Kings Mountain is in Shelby, NC.
The Herald has contacted Cook-Out’s corporate office for comments and will share details as they are learned.

 
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Auditions for KMLT’s
Beauty and the Beast

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Little Theater announced auditions for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on:
• Friday Jan. 19, 7:00-9:00 pm
• Saturday Jan. 20, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
• Sunday Jan. 21, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
• Friday Jan. 26, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Parts are for ages 10 – 25 years old on the day of your audition.
Rehearsals begin February 12 and are on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Performances will occur on the weekends of April 26 – 28 and May 3 – 5. Check the performance dates to be certain you do not have conflicts for those weekends
WHAT to expect at auditions:
• friendly faces greeting you inside the door
• arrive early enough to fill out form; be prepared to write a short bio
• check the rehearsal/performance calendar for personal conflicts
• auditions will be in groups of 5-8
• only directors and auditionees in the audition area
When choosing a monologue or song, remember the content of Beauty and the Beast and that it is a FAMILY show.
To prepare for
 your audition,
• Select a monologue from the links provided by KMLT
See BEAUTY, Page 5A
From Page 1A
 or find your own that will allow you to show various emotions, facial expressions, characterization, or comedic timing.
• Select 16 bars from a song you like or from the links provided by KMLT that demonstrate your vocal range. An accompanist was provided, and Bluetooth and a plug-in speaker were available. You need to bring sheet music in the correct key,
•    Practice your voice projection & articulation for both of these.
•    Print & fill out the audition sheet & write your bio as you would want it to appear in the program.
•    Choose your time on the Sign-up Genius link provided on January 1st
Prepare for your audition:
•    Choose & memorize a monologue 90-120 seconds long
•    Choose & memorize 16 bars/90 seconds of a song from a musical in the STYLE of Beauty and the Beast, but NOT from Beauty and the Beast. You may use an accompaniment track or bring sheet music, but no a cappella
•    Be ready to do a “cold” read along with others auditioning, from sections of the script provided by the director on audition day
•    Be ready to sing a portion of a song from the musical, taught to you by the music director on audition day
•    Be ready to participate in simple dance moves taught to you by the choreographer on audition day
What is the director looking for:
•    good projection & articulation
•    character development (with prepared monologue)
•    big facial expressions
•    demonstrative body language
•    voice characterization
•    eye contact
What is the music director looking for:
•    vocal range and quality
•    good projection & articulation
•    pitch
What is the choreographer looking for:
•    ability to follow instructions
•    ability to follow a beat
•    ability to move in unison with others
•    any special dance abilities
On the day of your audition:
•    bring your completed audition form or, arrive early to fill out a form completely
•    bring sheet music for your vocal piece if you desire an accompanist
check the rehearsal calendar to be certain that you will be available for most rehearsals

 
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Smoke poured through the roof of Eng School of Self-Defense last week. Photos by Eng School of Self-Defense

Two-alarm fire at
Eng School of Self-Defense

By Loretta Cozart
 
On Tuesday, December 26, around 7:40 a.m., the owners of Eng School of Self-Defense at 403 N. Piedmont Avenue at Kings Mountain were notified that fire was detected at the karate school, according to a Facebook post.
When the owners arrived, Kings Mountain Fire Department and Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department were putting out the blaze and ensuring no one was injured.
According to the post, the owners shared that “the structure still stands and can be fixed. After they cleared the upstairs, they took the time to carry out anything of value. They helped us load our vehicles with pictures from the walls, merchandise, and electronics. So, thank you to all these outstanding men who put their lives on the line daily and serve so well.”
“Although situations we are put in aren’t always ideal, God can still do miracles in the middle of chaos. God is Master of All, and we will continue to praise Him IN all things,” they shared.
“We are still working on finding a temporary location to host classes until the renovations are complete. We will keep you updated on the progress.”
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City Manager Marilyn Sellers (right) retired on January 31, 2022. Johana pictured with mother after the December 15 city council meeting. (Photo provided)

2023 KM Year in review

By Loretta Cozart

It was a busy year in Kings Mountain as the community saw more improvements to the downtown district. COVID continued into its third year, with variants causing additional challenges, but folks now treat it like the flu. Funds for the water treatment facility scheduled for the Dixon community were diverted to Pilot Creek for updates and improvements at that facility. As readers will note in this year’s year in review, many story topics continued throughout the year.
What was old is being made new again, retaining the town’s history and making new memories for future generations. Below are some highlights taken from the headlines of the Kings Mountain Herald.

January: Thrive Kings Mountain! began the year opposing a new warehouse development by Insignis Partners on 200 acres in the Dixon Community that included eight warehouses. The Catawba Indian Nation filed an appeal after receiving a Notice of Violation due to its relationship with SkyBoat Partners. Tim Moore was voted as NC House Speaker for a record fifth term. Clifford’s Army Rescue Extravaganza, C.A.R.E., held a hike at the Gateway Trail. The City of KM and Gaston County EMS partnered to offer enhanced services to residents. The American Legion held a male beauty contest.
February: Marilyn Sellers retired as City Manager on January 31. CRAVE Hot Dogs & BBQ announced a new restaurant in downtown Kings Mountain in the old Plonk’s Department Store. One of the largest speculative buildings in the southeast, at 799 Sara Lee Access Road, continued construction. Marilyn Sellers received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. The city added Work Session to the City Council’s meeting schedule, to be held on the second Thursday of each month. KMLT held a groundbreaking for the next phase of work on the Joy Performance Theater and Liberty Mountain Garden. Objects were shot from the skies over the U.S. and Canada. Preston Brown announced the closure of The Hounds Drive-in.
March: The City of Kings Mountain was awarded $400,000 for sediment remediation and a water study. Kings Mountain Family YMCA’s soccer 2023
field lights were upgraded to LEDs to improve the fields for players after dark. The American Legion announced Legion Walk and Roll for Veterans in May. House Speaker Tim Moore was involved in an accident while on state business after a visit to Wilson, NC. City Manager Jim Palenick announced a departmental reorganization, reducing the number of directors from 15 down to eight. Kings Mountain resident Margaret Horn turned 101 years old. Ashley Champion, Tiana Roberts, and Kyrea McCluney partnered to bring the whole prom experience to local young women. Albemarle announced its Project Center would open in April in the renovated Griffin Drug Store building on Mountain Street.
April: Chief Jeff Ledford, a Kings Mountain resident, retired from his role with the Shelby Police Department on March 31. The 14th Annual Gateway Trail runs saw a great turnout of participants. Brinkley Amphitheater construction began at Gardner-Webb University. City Manager Jim Palenick began monthly Coffee & Conversation chats with citizens at various locations around town that continued into September. The Hord Mansion, which houses Mauney Memorial Library, celebrated its 100th anniversary on April 12. Mt. Olive Baptist Church’s food drive giveaway helped citizens in need. City employees from all departments helped collect trash along the city’s roadways.
May: The City of KM kicked off Live! At Patriots Park concert series with The Prince Experience on May 6. The event included a car show and was a huge success. The Davidson Association announced the Kings Mountain Farmer’s Market starting in June. The roof behind the space of Mountain Holiday collapsed at 110 Mountain Street, forcing water through the backdoor and flooding the floor of the entire shop. K Donuts opened on King Street. Kimesha Young added signage to her real estate office in the old McmGill’s Esso Station. AL Post 155 kicked off its Walk and Roll for Vets events, drawing attention to suicide among America’s veterans. The city proposed an $11.2M budget increase.
June: KMHS graduated 275 students on June 3. Kings Mountain Farmer’s Market held a ribbon cutting on June 3. The sponsors were the Davidson Association, City of Kings Mountain, Kings Mountain Rotary Club, Albemarle, Cleveland County, and NC State Extension. The city approved a $65.08M budget. Toney Peavy of Kings Mountain won $1M in the NC Education Lottery. Albemarle’s Project Center opened officially in June. Mountain Holiday announced it would reopen for business on July 5. Susan Mosk was hired as the city’s Marketing, Tourism, and Events Manager. Pickin’ at the Park returned to Patriots Park on June 29. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited Albemarle to tour the mine and facilities.
July: The City of Kings Mountain pivoted on Project South, opting instead to divert those funds to build a large-scale pump station to serve that area. Since the city owns the land, the property might be used as a wastewater treatment plant in the future. Bolin’s Daycare was purchased by Tyler and Jessica Fletcher, and Woody Edwards. An automobile crashed into Hardee’s, destroying the front left portion of its dining room. Lawrence Etters had another bumper crop of blueberries this year. During the July City Council Meeting, the council was asked to adopt an ordinance to demolish or repair the property at 124 W. Mountain Street, causing a rift lasting several months, ultimately resulting in the UnCommon Artisans shop moving out of town.
August:  Country Artist Chris Lane performed during downtown Shelby's 7th Inning Stretch Festival. A nightly revival was held at Kings Mountain Walking Track on Cleveland Avenue. The Skillet opened on Cherokee Street. The Davidson Association partnered with Albemarle to sponsor an OTC Drug giveaway at Mt. Zion Church. Thanks to their generosity, 732 families benefited. Mid-Pines Recycling Center closed due to safety concerns. Gold Medusa Coffee moved to Imperial Mercantile. School went back into session on August 16. The Davidson Association held its annual Health Fair serving 100s of citizens. BeachBlast drew huge crowds to downtown Kings Mountain this year.
September: Patriot Jack’s Outfitters was purchased by Jan and David Stone, owners of The Imperial Mercantile and other businesses in town. Insignis Partners filed papers on a new 384-acre project called Dison Ridge. The project mixed-use of industrial, research and development, and residential space. Mountaineers for a Better Community announced a candidates’ forum for opposed candidates on October 9. GFWC Kings Mountain Woman’s Club announced a “Meet the Candidates” at their clubhouse on September 25. The last Saturday for the KM Farmer’s Market was on September 16. Liberty Mountain opened its eighth season on September 15. In partnership with the Blue Ridge Chapter of the  American Red Cross and Kings Mountain Fire Department, Albemarle distributed smoke detectors to Kings Mountain residents. Department of Defense has entered into an agreement to expand domestic lithium mining for U.S. battery supply chains. Michelle Mack, kindergarten teacher at North School, was named Cleveland County School’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. Savannah Ross was named CCS’ Exceptional Teacher Educator of Excellence. Six bear sightings occurred in Kings Mountain during the last week of September.
October: KM received $39.85M in water and sewer upgrades. Albemarle and Caterpillar announced the first-ever zero-emissions lithium mine site planned for Kings Mountain. This includes the next generation of battery-powered mining equipment to be produced by Caterpillar. Bess Phifer turned 106 years young. The intersection at W. Gold and Cansler Street became a four-way stop. Alexis (Lexi) Jackson was crowned KMHS Homecoming Queen. SkyBoat Gaming and owner Wallace Cheves were at odds with the Catawba Indian Nation over trust lands to advance with its $700 million casino project. The city’s meter audit found issues with six meters, resulting in an over-billing of $62.619.38. Those clients received credit to their accounts. Hardee’s restaurant reopened on October 23 after a driver plowed into its building in July. The city holds several events for Halloween, including Meet Dorothy Gale and a Halloween Costume Contest. The Davidson Association holds a Community Blood Drive. Kings Mountain Rotary Club holds its annual Spaghetti Supper.
November: A $1.9M resurfacing project began in late October in the northwest quadrant of the city near the Linwood section. Repairs began on the Bullock Building at 124 W. Mountain Street, and barricades surrounded the building for the public’s safety during the work. Troops were deployed to the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war. Registration for the Christmas parade was opened to the community. NC House Speaker Tim Moore visits the southern border. CCSO arrested two traffickers at the intersection of Hwy. 75 and Shelby Road from outside our area for bringing 48.05 pounds of Methamphetamine and 4.75 pounds of Heroin into the county. KMLT received a $285,000 NC state grant. Kings Mountain High School Girl’s volleyball team won the 3A NCHSSA Volleyball Championship. Tim Moore announces he is running for Congress. The city of Kings Mountain decided to redirect $79M in funds intended for Project South to the Pilot Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant for renovations and updates. Arlene Johnson McMurtry retires and sells her business to Becky Cain Simmons. KM Christmas Tree lighting was held on November 22. The DAR announced Wreaths Across America would be held on December 16.
December: Commissioner Ronnie Whetstine announced he would not seek re-election to the Cleveland County Commission and intended to serve his term. The City of Kings Mountain City
Council approves the Dixon Ridge rezoning request with amendments. Kings Mountain Family YMCA’s Jingle Bell Rockin’ Run/Walk drew 535 participants this year. David Allen announced he would run for the NC House of Representatives, District 111. Newly elected Mayor Rob Wagman and At-Large Councilwoman Shearra Miller were sworn in on December 12. Scott Neisler filed for NC House, District 111. DAR honors 700 veterans during the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Mountain Rest Cemetery on December 16. Fifteen city employees, now referred to by many as Hometown Heroes, spent overnight hours in frigid weather restoring power to the city. During the council's work session, another Public Hearing will convene for the Dixon Ridge project on January 11, 2024.
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Christmas Lights!

Tommy and Kay Hawkin's house on Woodside Drive. They invite you to drive by to enjoy the lights.

Photo by Loretta Cozart
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NCSDAR State Recording Secretary and Colonel Frederick Hambright Chapter WAA Committee Chair Renee Bost thanks Terry E. Dunlap for his service during WAA Day in 2021. Photo by Loretta Cozart

“All-hands-on deck” for Wreaths Across America Day - Dec. 16

By Loretta Cozart

This year, on Saturday, December 16, the community is invited to participate in Wreaths Across America Day. The ceremony begins at noon and takes place at Mountain Rest Cemetery on 111 S. Dilling Street in Kings Mountain. The event is spearheaded by Colonel Frederick Hambright DAR Chapter, supported by the Kings Mountain Woman's Club and the Shelby Civil Air Patrol. Together, these groups have secured sponsorships for over 700 wreaths to honor veterans.
On National Wreaths Across America Day, the community's yearlong mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach is carried out with a wreath-laying ceremony at Mountain Rest Cemetery, as well as at more than 3600 participating locations in all 50 states, at sea, and overseas. The ceremony involves laying a live balsam veteran's wreath on an individual headstone for a veteran and saying their name out loud. This gesture is a small way to express gratitude for the freedoms Americans enjoy each day, and to ensure that the legacy of duty, service, and sacrifice of each veteran is never forgotten.
Colonel Frederick Hambright DAR Chapter, Kings Mountain Woman's Club, and Shelby Civil Air Patrol would like to invite everyone to join them in honoring Kings Mountain veterans on December 16. The ceremony and honoring of veterans last about an hour and is a great way to remember the veterans of Kings Mountain at Christmastime.
If you would like to help set up, please arrive at Mountain Rest Cemetery by 10:30 a.m. and meet near the veterans' section near the stage. Wreaths need to be distributed in bulk to various sections throughout the cemetery, so bring your pickup truck and lend a hand. Feel free to bring a few friends, too. Those who wish to place wreaths are asked to arrive shortly before noon.
As Kings Mountain citizens gather to thank veterans residing at Mountain Rest Cemetery, let us not forget the sacrifices these veterans made for us and our country. Let us remember that these individuals were husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, wives, sisters, daughters, mothers, and friends. Most called Kings Mountain home at some point in their lives, and now they rest among us for eternity. Let us take time to remember and honor each of them this Saturday at noon.
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Pictured, Hartley Plyler, with parents Lucy and Charles, visiting with Molly Grantham. Photos by Loretta Cozart

Molly Grantham visits at Trackside Trader

By Loretta Cozart

Over the weekend, Molly Grantham held a book signing meet and greet at Trackside Trader at 210 S. Railroad Avenue in Kings Mountain.
Molly was there to promote her latest book titled “Practice Makes...Progress.” According to her website, “Molly Grantham’s third book is the continuing chronical of how you can love your kids and a career, as told by a woman willing to bare her soul. Her authenticity will make you think about your own path, choices, and ability to be human in our unpredictable and beautiful world.”
The event was attended by her fans who came to meet her and get their copies of the book signed. Despite the light rain outside, Molly greeted her guests warmly and took the time to speak to each one of them.
Many of the attendees were people she had met before, while some were meeting her for the first time. Many expressed their admiration for her story coverage, especially her thoughtful and respectful handling of tragic events.
Others came to thank her for her work with Molly’s kids. Molly spent extra time with two of the kids who visited her during the event, taking photos with them and giving them big hugs.
One individual even traveled from York, SC to buy a set of her books as a baby shower gift for an expectant mother.
The event took place at the invitation of Sharon and Bobby Horne, who own Trackside Trader. Sharon described Molly as a wonderful person who is genuine and down to earth. And that she certainly was, and more.
Molly Grantham is an Emmy award-winning anchor and investigative reporter for WBTV Charlotte. She has been named TV News Reporter of the Year for both Carolinas, one of Charlotte’s Top “40 under 40,” and one of Mecklenburg County’s “50 Most Influential Women.”