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KM votes for change

By Loretta Cozart

During the municipal elections in Kings Mountain on Tuesday, November 7, the voters decided to bring about a change. Rob Wagman, a newcomer, won the mayoral race by receiving 717 votes while the incumbent Mayor Scott Neisler only managed 678 votes. Write-in Jimbo Thompson and Write-in Miscellaneous received 16 and four votes respectively.
The City Council At-Large race was a closely contested one with Shearra Miller winning by a significant margin of 934 votes against incumbent Tim Miller's 485 votes. Write-in Miscellaneous received three votes.
In Ward 5, the incumbent Jay Rhodes was re-elected as city councilman with 253 votes. Mark Wampler and Woody Edwards, the challengers, received 189 and 27 votes respectively. Write-in Miscellaneous received four votes.
Annie Thombs ran unopposed in Ward 1 and won with 153 votes while Write-in Miscellaneous received seven votes.
Jimmy West also ran unopposed in Ward 4 and won with 403 votes while Write-in Miscellaneous received 27 votes.
In the Grover Mayor's race, Tony Willis won, receiving 64 votes while Write-in Miscellaneous received five votes. Four people, Richard D. Smith, Bill Willis, Dylan Emory, and Thor Inman ran for two seats in the commissioner's race. Richard D. Smith and Bill Willis won by receiving 46 and 41 votes respectively while Dylan Emory and Thor Inman received 23 and 15 votes respectively.
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Rob Wagman Mayor

Meet Rob Wagman

By Loretta Cozart

On November 7, Rob Wagman won his first bid for Mayor against an incumbent whose family founded Kings Mountain 149 years ago. Not a small fete in a small town of 11,000 people where folks like knowing their leaders and feel comfortable they will lead the town while keeping their interests in mind.
The Herald sat down with Rob Wagman over breakfast last week to learn more about the new mayor and what drives him.
 We asked five questions about his leadership approach, hobbies and interests, favorite local spot in town, thoughts on technology and innovation, and what he wants his legacy to be as mayor.
1. How would you describe your leadership style, and what values do you believe are crucial for effective leadership in a mayor's role?
To lead is to listen. I am honored to transition into this role as Mayor of Kings Mountain. What the residents will notice in my leadership style is that I hear them, and while that won't always mean resolution for their specific issues, it will mean strengthened communication. They will not feel ignored.
   As a leader, encouragement is at the heart of how I lead; I empower those who have gifts and skills to use them for the greater good so that when implemented in a team atmosphere, those gifts and skills in action allow us to reach and exceed goals.
2. Outside of your mayoral duties, what are some of your personal hobbies or interests that help you relax and stay grounded?
   On my back on my bed at age 26, when a life of ego, drinking, and drugs led me to the brink of homelessness, I called out to a God whom I wasn't sure even existed, and He did something surreal. He answered. He calmed my heart, mind, and soul, and over the course of 32 years, He has healed some deep wounds. I find my peace and grounding in the faith of Jesus, a faith He made real by whispering into my soul.
As an on-the-go dad, I often move too fast in my work and don't share enough downtime with my wife, Sarah Lee, and our two sons. I have been finding the greatest joy in fishing with the family, building birdhouses, planting gardens, and making them the priority.
3. Do you have a favorite local spot or a hidden gem you recommend to residents and visitors?
The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is a great way to exercise and clear your head. And it has some spectacular views, including our downtown, which can be seen clearly from the top of Cardio Hill. With each season, we take in something new there, from a sanctuary for butterflies to a family of beavers relocating twigs. We have grown attached to both the butterflies and beavers, and we were elated to find that both are federally protected wildlife.
4. In what ways do you see technology playing a role in the city's development, and how do you plan to leverage innovation to benefit residents?
Money doesn't rule a city; ideas do, and the cost of an idea is free. So let's dream big and refrain from saying no to anything too fast just because we don't have the experience of that circumstance just yet.
Something that stood out to me during the streetscape project on West Mountain Street was that the vision cast for our downtown was limited, that of a 'brick and mortar' mentality, meaning physical stores and shops and restaurants, which will help our downtown look better and grow, but eCommerce has destroyed many good corporations and numerous downtowns throughout the South and the US. Done right, we can have beautiful storefronts with local businesses that are bustling online beyond the foot traffic, whether light or heavy.
As a city, we could combine our online eCommerce efforts, local retail, and outlets working together for a common cause of growth, beautification, and prosperity.
5. Looking ahead, what legacy do you hope to leave for future generations in our city, and how would you like to be remembered as a mayor?
The legacy of your mayor is less important than the residents who are already doing great work. Martha Lou Wells, in my opinion, is Kings Mountain royalty. This treasured queen walks daily with discipline, taking care of herself and her health, and by the time her walk is complete, she has picked up ALL the trash along her route.
Could you imagine if there wasn't just one who cared and had as much respect for this city as she has, but a village of people just like her?  This town would change for the better quickly.
I admire the work of Maurice and Brandy Tate and the way they pour into our children through their KM Elite program, creating a strong character in our youth with a byproduct of competitive sports at all ages throughout our city. Sometimes, we get caught up in where we ended in the playoffs, and we forget to watch the real victory, which is to witness the many scholarships that these athletes have been able to secure over the last five years for a continued education that may not have been available to them otherwise. Good character is everything.
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Jim Medlin recites the Toast to the Flag. See more photos on page 8A. (Photos provided)

KM Veterans honored at breakfast

On Thursday, November 9, the Patrick Senior Center hosted a special breakfast for area veterans sponsored by the City of Kings Mountain and Home Instead Senior Care.
Each veteran received a hot breakfast, a commemorative veteran key chain, a bracelet, and a flag. The Patrick Center Chorus provided patriotic entertainment, and Air Force Veteran Jim Medlin made a toast to the flag and shared some inspirational words.
Mayor Scott Neisler also shared some remarks and helped to distribute door prizes. The Patrick Center hosts a veterans meeting on the first Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. For more information, please call the Patrick
Center at 704-734-0447.
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Citizens enjoyed KM Fantasy Light Show in years past. (Photo by KM Fantasy Light Show)

KM Fantasy Light Show cancelled

By Loretta Cozart

In a Facebook post last week, Jeff Ward announced the Kings Mountain Fantasy Light Show was canceled. As a result, 296 comments were left by citizens who expressed concern about the light show’s cancellation less than a day after the polls closed and Mayor Scott Neisler lost his re-election bid.
Conspiracy theories and finger-pointing ran rampant. The Star ran an article only fanning the flames further. Politics, construction, the city, and the building’s past and present owners were blamed.
The new restaurant Crave, coming to Kings Mountain, began construction last week on the building where lights had been mounted. In addition, a tree that once held lights as part of the light show had also been removed.
Scott Neisler and Jeff Ward brought KM Fantasy Light Show to downtown Kings Mountain for a decade with the help of Donnie Beard and Rick Murphrey, among others.
Mayor Neisler shared various factors on the Kings Mountain Fantasy Light Show Facebook page that played into the situation when accused of taking his ball and going home after losing the election, “I want to do my job to the very end, but it became like baseball, saying three strikes and we were out. It would be impossible to rewire the show at this late date, so that’s why the lights can’t happen.”
On a positive note, Katie and Grady’s Christmas lights are being placed in Patriot’s Park right on schedule. Kings Mountain’s Christmas Parade is on Saturday, December 2, at 3 p.m. As part of
the Christmas Festival on December 2, Kings Highway and Heaven Bound Trio will perform a Christmas concert together at Patriots Park. And Scott Neisler has offered to continue the Holly Jolly Hayride.
   While it is sad the Kings Mountain Fantasy Light Show will not be displayed this year, that doesn’t mean it will never return. Sometimes, when a door closes, a window opens. And those who love the Kings Mountain Fantasy Light Show have not given up hope for a show next year.

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Tim Moore announces
running for Congress

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore officially announced his candidacy for Congress in the 14th Congressional district, covering portions of the southwestern corner of North Carolina.
Moore was elected to the NC House in 2002; since 2016, he has served as Speaker of the House.
He opened the announcement by saying, “Hi, I’m Tim Moore. I want to let you know it is official. I’m running for the United States Congress. I’ve been proud to serve with a conservative Republican majority in the State House for the last nine years as Speaker. And now, I’m ready to take that same conservative leadership to Washington, DC.”
A lifelong resident of Cleveland County and the new 14th district, Speaker Moore said, “I’m proud to stand on my record of passing the biggest tax cuts in North Carolina history, protecting parents’ rights over the woke indoctrination of our children, protecting the unborn, and making Voter ID the law of the land here in North Carolina. We need conservative leadership in Washington committed to fighting and winning these tough fights.” 
He reminded those watching that he has been a resident of this community his whole life and has raised two sons here. He warns that there will be attacks on him and his record, saying, “That’s just politics.”

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Breakfast with Santa will be held on November 18 at 108 E. Mountain Street, beginning at 7:30 AM. Photo by GFWC NC KM Woman’s Club

Breakfast with Santa at
Woman’s Club November 18

Get into the festive spirit with a special Christmas event at the GFWC NC Kings Mountain Woman's Club’s Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, November 18.
Start your day with a delicious breakfast served in the dining room. Then, head upstairs for a magical photo session with a professional photographer. Your digital snaps will be edited to perfection, and you can choose from 3 poses for just $15 or 5 poses for $20. The finished product will be delivered to you promptly within 48 hours.
While the little ones pick out gifts for mom and dad in the Elf Closet (all items are 2 for $3), the adults can relax and enjoy the holiday cheer.
Tickets are available for purchase from club members, and pricing is as follows: Adults $10, Children $5 (ticket is for breakfast only). Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. while the Elf Closet is open from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and photos with Santa are from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (payment directly to the photographer). Got any questions? Send us a message on Facebook, and they will gladly help.
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Kings Mountain Little Theater receives a grant of $285,000 from Speaker Tim Moore and Senator Ted Alexander. KMLT President Mary Grace Keller is holding the check with Jim Champion as the Board of Directors looks on. (Photo by Ellis Noell)

BIG news for KMLT
and renovation project

Speaker Tim Moore and Senator Ted Alexander presented KMLT President Mary Grace Keller and the KMLT Board of Directors with a “big check” representing a North Carolina State grant of $285,000 for this fiscal year.
In remarks before the presentation, Senator Alexander applauded KMLT for providing “family-friendly” programming, being a fiscally sound business, and being a leader in downtown revitalization.
Speaker Moore echoed these comments and added his pride in KMLT’s successful efforts to keep our area’s Revolutionary War history alive with its “Liberty Mountain, the Revolutionary Drama” play by Robert Inman. KMLT just completed a very successful 8th season in October.
The drama depicts the dramatic events leading to the October 7, 1780, Battle of Kings Mountain. It brings to life the story of these Carolina Backcountry patriots, who, with their victory, helped secure our nation's liberty. The indoor drama features full theater action, music, epic battles, & special effects.
Speaker Moore also praised KMLT leadership, Lead benefactors Gilbert and Jancy Patrick, Architect Ken Pflieger, and General Contractor Foothills Historic Conservation for keeping and featuring the art deco elements of the Joy.
Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. is a volunteer-based, 501c3 tax-exempt community theater. It owns and operates the Joy Performance Center and the Liberty Mountain Garden. It is a funded affiliate of the Cleveland County Arts Council and is partly supported by a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.
   For more detailed information or to learn about becoming a supporter, please visit or the Kings Mountain Little Theatre Facebook page.
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KMHS Girls 3A NCHSSA Volleyball State Champs!

2023 KMHS Girls 3A NCHSSA Volleyball State Champions holding the banner after the match.  See story and more photos on page 1B in November 8, 2023 issue of KM Herald.

(Photo by KM High School)

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KMLT presents
“An Enchanted Bookshop
November 10 and 11

Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. will present “An Enchanted Bookshop Christmas” directed by Amy Hardin on November 10 and 11 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, November 12 at 3:00 PM.
Performances are at the Joy Theatre, 202 S. Railroad Avenue, Kings Mountain.
All tickets are $10.
Online ticket sales:
Reservations: 704-730-9408
Miss Margie, the scatterbrained owner of the shop, has two very special guests her sister Ellen and book-loving niece Annabelle. Ellen was recently laid off, however, when high-tech billionaire Philip Brantley stops in at the shop and Margie convinces him to hire Ellen for his new space project.
Margie has a brainstorm to wrap the bookmark that Philip wrote his phone number on and give it to Ellen as a Christmas present. After all, what could possibly go wrong? Ha!
When the present disappears, it’s up to our come-to-life  book  characters  to solve the mystery of the missing bookmark and save the day for Ellen - all without giving away their magical existence. It’s a hilarious, heartwarming tale that reminds us that the best gifts don’t come wrapped in pretty paper and bows.
Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. is a volunteer based, 501c3 tax-exempt community theater. It owns and operates the Joy Performance Center 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.

23rd annual Jingle Bell Rockin’ Run
5k Run/Walk December 2

Kings Mountain Family YMCA’s 23rd annual community Jingle Bell Rockin’ Run 5k Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, December 2. The 5K begins at 9 a.m. on Dec 2nd. There will also be a Kids Fun Run beginning at 9:45 a.m.
Packet pick-up is between 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec 1, or between 8 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. the morning of the race.
Both the race and Packet pick-up will take place at First Baptist Church located at 605 W King Street in Kings Mountain, NC 28086.
All runners, walkers, strollers, and pets (on a leash) are welcome at this great annual family-friendly race.
To register, visit
For the best price and a guaranteed hoodie, register before November 23. The hoodies are not guaranteed after this date. So, register now.
All proceeds from this family-friendly event go to your YMCA’s financial assistance and scholarships programs. Your support helps kids and families in our community.

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Patriot Jack’s Outfitters Ribbon Cutting

On Friday, November 3, at 11 a.m., KM Forward held a ribbon cutting for Patriot Jack’s Outfitters at 832 King Street in Kings Mountain. KM Forward shared, “Thank you to everyone that came out to Patriot Jack’s ribbon cutting!  Congratulations to the new owners! May your business grow and bring you prosperity!”
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Candidates share their thoughts on critical issues

(Part 1 In October 31, 2023 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Question 4. How do you plan to enhance public safety in Kings Mountain, including addressing crime-related concerns?
Scott Neisler: I am very proud of our legacy of being one of the Safest Cities in North Carolina! Unfortunately, crime will always be here. The challenge we face is maintaining competitive salaries for our Police and Fire Departments that we will have to meet. It costs a lot of money to train an officer to have them, in a short time transfer to another city. Being a training ground for other cities is not what we want.
Rob Wagman: In a recent city council meeting, I was impressed with our police chief, Gerald Childress, and a plan he unveiled to better serve and protect our communities, which was a zone-type defense, where specific officers will have a focus on a specific neighborhood, ward or community. What this allows is for the officers to get to know the people in these neighborhoods in a better and more personal way and vice versa. These kinds of plans when followed through, help in the revitalization of neighborhoods, which will be the base of our growth in any other form.
   In my run for Mayor, I have knocked on doors in all of our communities and more than five times, a concerned citizen will point to a home or neighborhood, and say, “Do you know what takes place there?”  It isn’t gossip to make these accusations, but instead concern, caring, and a cry for protection, when our citizens in several neighborhoods can look out their windows and wonder why they can see something that our elected officials have either ignored or deemed not important.
   Drugs and homelessness is are real issues in Kings Mountain, and our community could use a process of rehabilitation. These aren’t losers and lowlifes walking about but somebody’s son and somebody’s daughter who have no idea the prayers of hope that sit above them, awaiting an awakening and a promise.
Keith Miller: We keep the fire, police and EMS departments properly and professionally staffed and equipped. We support our Police and Fire departments staying at the cutting edge of best practices, such as community policing and staying involved within the community. We use professional consultants to recruit public safety leadership. We spend money on professional development and education of the public safety staff. We have zero tolerance for crime while at the same time having compassion for those challenged by disadvantage.
Shearra Miller: As Kings Mountain goes through changes, we must fight to protect the small-town charm that we all know and love. Feeling safe and secure in our community is certainly an extension
of that small-town charm. As the Council makes decisions, we must put that priority at the forefront. The recent hiring of Police Chief Childress has seemed to be seamless and very beneficial. As comes with most new hires, he has brought new perspectives and vision. I will not only support him and his staff in their efforts, but I will work to bring these same things to the City Council. I know that there are concerns about the homeless in our community. The City should be able to work with our private and public health partners to make sure that the appropriate resources are available to those who need them.
Annie Thombs: Continue to support public safety through our budget process to allow for continued training and development, through hiring and promotional opportunities, including diversity outreach, employment and vendor procurement services. Keeping our Police Department fully staffed to meet the current and growing need and support the joint partnership with communities to address crime and crime-related activities.
Jimmy West: Obviously, crime is a concern throughout the country, especially in larger urban areas; we are fortunate here in Kings Mountain that our violent crime numbers are low. The Police Chief has developed and implemented a new initiative focusing more on Community Policing. This new initiative will involve Officers being more visible within the community and becoming more involved with community members. One thing that I would personally like to see is an increase in drug enforcement, and this is a conversation that will need to be had with the Chief of Police, who I feel is more than qualified to handle those concerns.
Jay Rhodes: Can we eliminate all the crime? No, not until the second coming. Can we work to improve our crime rate? Yes! I am pleased with Police Chief Gerald Childress new Simple Community Initiative. Under this program officers are assigned to specific areas of the city where they are to foster personal relationships with businesses and residents, not just respond to crimes as they occur. This approach aims to improve the quality of life in each area by proactively preventing and reducing future crimes.
Mark Wampler: As a Police Officer, I started 10-15 Neighborhood Watches in Shelby, and I started a Business Watch. I went door-to-door and spoke to residents setting up locations and times to meet, as well as all businesses. I let them know what was happening in their neighborhoods, things to look out for, and ways to communicate with each other and the Police Department – building relationships. The next step is to start a Faith Watch, getting all the churches and community leaders together to see how we can improve OUR quality of life. I have been involved in Neighborhood Walk-Throughs – this is going door-to-door, asking residents what they need, or things fixed to uplift the community. It is about getting input from all and bringing everyone together. Communication!
Woody Edwards: Public safety is so important for our community; I plan on strengthening the police force with whatever resources and training is needed to make sure they have the proper tools and manpower to serve and protect our growing community.
Question 5. Kings Mountain has faced challenges related to affordable housing. What policies or initiatives do you propose to address this issue?
Scott Neisler:  Possibly acquiring land to be a Habitat for Humanity Community would be a great start for someone wanting to be a first-time homeowner. Also, revamping the Kings Mountain Housing Authority to modernize our stock of homes.
Rob Wagman: I believe this is a city that still dreams, which is why I believe the goodness that is still to come for Kings Mountain, and yes, that should include the dream of one day owning our own homes, but instead of selling the idea of a box with bedrooms in it, we must first think of what the community will look like and how it will be maintained.
   We also must stop looking at the future of our children as ‘barely’ making it and begin believing that they will prosper wildly. One of the greatest things to happen to Kings Mountain in the last 20 years was a community built by the late Tommy Hall and his teams, Hall Crossing.
   While many believe this is a neighborhood of the affluent, the greatest stories that come from its residents are the ones of a dream, which include the process of desiring to live there and taking on extra jobs, or eliminating things in their everyday lives so that they could make that dream come true.
   Before we continue to map out a new neighborhood for the potential of even ‘one more home,’ we must first get our plan for our schools in order and make sure we have sufficient space to give these families and their children the best education. Overcrowding is a great hindrance and distraction to learning.
Keith Miller: We have put in place an Affordable Housing Relocation Policy that throttles the expansion of new housing units at the low-poverty end of the income/housing cost spectrum. We can turn it faster or slower as conditions warrant. To deal with the next price band, starter homes/modestly priced housing, we use the state law that allows city councilmembers to file minimum housing complaints which authorizes codes inspectors to gain access to rental housing. We combine that with funding and approving demolitions where warranted.
   The goal is to continue to improve the quality of the aged housing stock at this part of the price spectrum. To encourage new stock in this price band, we have used the state law to put throttles in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that impacts the costs and profits builders may experience. This can incentivize and/or discourage certain types of development. The goal is to expand the quantity of housing stock in the middle price bands and keep the quality near the midpoint of the quality spectrum. (If construction quality is too low, neighborhoods deteriorate quickly, and disposable income demographics go in the wrong direction.) We have to adjust policies to market demand.
Multifamily is next. Staff and council will soon be working on standardizing a multifamily housing (MFH) plan/policy to reduce or eliminate the need for MFH special use permits. Redeveloping the Kings Mountain Housing Authority properties is another huge opportunity. We have begun that process. The Mayor has the authority to populate the KMHA board. The council can dissolve the charter, approve a new one, provide technical and financial assistance, and partner with KMHA. This will be a big focus in my next term.
We need to create the modern version of the mill village. An employer-funded workforce housing trust. The trust will buy and own the land and build the infrastructure. Employees of member companies can rent or buy transferable long-term leases for the homes and apartments built in the subdivisions owned by the trust. Ocean
Lakes is a vacation home community that has a similar financial model. I have seen employer-sponsored workforce housing versions of this elsewhere in the country. This will be a focus of my next term. We have already met with some large employers.
Shearra Miller: We need to ensure that the housing we approve and provide is what our citizens want and need. This means emphasizing senior housing that meets their unique needs, housing for all income levels, and housing that allows our young people to stay here if they want. It also means ensuring that we have market-rate housing that will entice and allow other families to become part of our community and contribute to it alongside us. This requires not only involving all aspects of our community in decision-making but also taking a fresh look at codes and regulations that have historically prevented things like affordable housing for seniors from being built.
Annie Thombs: One of the greatest challenges to affordable housing is education. There are housing tiers such as low-income housing, subsidized housing including NCHFA Tax Credits and affordable or workforce housing, and market-rate housing. Each addresses housing needs for different income streams. The first thing we need is to be mindful of how we refer to low-income housing so that our low-wealth citizens are not spoken of despairingly. Continue to be flexible with our Unified Development Ordinance and other policies to stay current with the housing development market. Seek out funding to capitalize a Housing Trust Fund to promote and develop affordable/workforce housing for those who would like to live, work, and play in our great City. We have established a housing policy that allows for mixed-use housing and will continue to find ways to address our growing housing needs.
Jimmy West: With the current economic climate and the housing market being what it is at this time, it would be worth truly trying to define what affordable housing is at this point. As the economic landscape changes in this area, the need for more housing, both higher-end and affordable, will continue to rise. Our City Manager is actively working with builders on a regular basis to encourage them to build in this area as a means to improve our current housing market.
Jay Rhodes: With housing construction costs high ($151 sq. ft. average in NC) along with interest rates at a 30-year high on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage (7.541% for VA to 8.026% Conventional), I really don’t know what is defined as “affordable” housing. The most inexpensive housing available seems to be tract homes or barnndominiums, but when you combine the cost of the homes with the land and infrastructure, the cost is still high.
   One possibility that has been mentioned is that corporations moving to Kings Mountain wanting workforce housing might consider a hybrid of the old mill village concept. The general market will have more impact on housing and costs than what City Council can do. We have approved a housing policy that addresses the desire to raise the value of our housing stock and our economic demographics.
Mark Wampler: The American Dream is not an easy one. I have lived in affordable housing, and was grateful. Run-down or dilapidated houses/apartments need to be torn down through Inspections and Codes and rebuilt with grants and through Habitat for Humanity. Board members on the Housing Authority need backgrounds in Finance, Housing, Real Estate Development, and Community Members to help provide good quality and safe housing for all by putting Kings Mountain Residents First.
Woody Edwards: The affordable housing crisis starts with us having more housing available, we need to strategically approve homes to be built to help our community have more access to affordable housing.
Question 6. How will you work to ensure that all residents of Kings Mountain, regardless of background, feel included and represented in local government?
Scott Neisler: I believe we have a good government that is well-represented throughout the city. There was an effort to have everyone in the city vote on everyone and have ward residency requirements, but that means that the majority of the city will tell that ward who can represent them. I think each Ward should decide from within who represents them.
Rob Wagman: If I could point out one weakness of our local government, it’s communication, the sibling to transparency, and without it, we create apathy, a hermit type lifestyle where the residents feel no real access to our local government, and subsequently, this turns into low voter turnout as our residents feel their voice or vote makes no difference.
   When we allow our residents access and talk to them and actually listen to them and address their concerns, then there is no bias, whether ethnicity or lifestyle that would keep a beating heart from feeling like they aren’t included, desired, loved or cared for.
It’s in this style of government where the people will be encouraged and motivated by the way they are treated, and this is our base place to get them to take that step forward and get involved.
Keith Miller: Community input strategies like surveys, focus groups, town halls, meet the manager/mayor/council events at locations around the community, and Citizens Academy are all things we do and will continue to do more of to involve all residents form all the subcommunities. Personally, my cell phone number and email address are posted. I reply to almost everyone. I listen to everyone. I attend lots of events and groups in lots of the different communities within our city. I try to stay approachable. I have taken training on how to communicate with those of opposing views. I try to keep an open mind. I walk humbly.
Shearra Miller: Listen, listen, listen. I believe all our citizens deserve respect and the opportunity to be heard. Communication and relationship building is so important in building trust and that is lacking at this time. I would like to bring back trust between the citizens and the Council with more transparency and answers to citizen questions. There needs to be better communication with the public at large. Folks from all walks of life must be included on City boards and committees. It seems like many folks, who have probably done a great job over the years are just reappointed. Again, new perspectives help all of us.
Annie Thombs: What a challenge before the City’s governing board. Restoring trust because of a system of the past is difficult. Most citizens think, “Why bother.”  The development of the Citizens Academy is a tool that helps our citizens to understand how local government works, if utilized by our citizens. As a Councilmember, I will become more engaged with the citizens at large and remind them, what you think and what you say does matter. Provide opportunities and services where all, not just a select few, have the same access to all city services. Encourage committee representation of every income stream on every committee in place and formed in the future.
Jimmy West: I feel like transparency is paramount when it comes to getting our residents involved. With our current leadership, I do feel like transparency has been far more prevalent than in years past when transparency seemed to be nothing more than a buzzword. Moving forward, I would like to see the citizens of Kings Mountain become more involved with political decisions and making their voices heard. It is my hope that the younger members of the community will become engaged within the political spectrum to further assist the city in continuing to grow for years to come.
Jay Rhodes: I can only speak for myself, but in every decision that comes before me, I weigh the benefit versus the cost and how my vote will impact each of our citizens. By doing so, I am seeking to ensure that each of our citizens in our city is represented. It is impossible to please everyone, given the number of decisions your City Council makes. I have also had situations where I do not like any of the options available to us. But by listening, questioning, exercising due diligence on the issue at hand, and prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom, I believe that I am doing my best to be the representative that our entire city needs and wants.
Mark Wampler: We have five wards, with a Councilmember representing their own area and two Council-At-Large members. It is their responsibility to know the wants/needs of their constituents. I have personally done this by going door-to-door speaking to many residents in Ward 5 gathering their input on what direction Kings Mountain should be going. Creating Neighborhood Watches, Business Watches, and Faith Watch is an easy way of communicating with Kings Mountain Residents. Communication is the key!
Woody Edwards: I will be available night and day to everyone in this community for questions and concerns about their issues I will listen and make sure their voices are heard.
Question 7. What is your vision for Kings Mountain in the next five to ten years, and how will you work to achieve it?
Scott Neisler: 1) Continuing to advocate for low taxes! In the next few years, my main goal is to get the General Assembly to allow us to transfer what we can reasonably transfer out of our enterprise funds to support our General Fund. They want to limit us to 5%, which lumps us in with the other cities that carry debt over investing in Nuclear Power plants. We don’t carry that liability and should not be penalized for being successful. A reasonable return on our investment is 10%. We had a low tax rate because of those transfers, which is a win for all citizens. It also helps attract new businesses and because of that rate, it creates jobs for us all! 
2) Maintain the quality of life! Planning well ahead before something becomes a problem. It’s good that development is at Exit 5, and it becomes a new city center that can be planned for that growth. The rest of the city will upgrade along with it but avoid overcrowding and sprawl.
Rob Wagman: God has blessed my professional life so dramatically that I expect extreme fruitfulness and resolve in many areas of our great city. Communication is the door that opens up the opportunity to make these visions a reality.
   Synergy is strangely ignored in our good town, but it is the working together process that makes things happen in faster time than a 5 or 10-year vision. When our community begins to see that what we say can happen, actually is happening, they begin to release their apprehensions and start to buy in. What this creates more than just a great hope or dream, is active participation. When we as a community become active together, in a likeminded outcome, we celebrate mile markers and victories together and we become unstoppable.
Keith Miller:
1000-2000 quality residential housing units built/under construction. I have entitlement exhaustion. We may need to establish a revolving construction funding reserve to mitigate current construction loan rates.
Redeveloping the KMHA properties using proactive board development, inter-agency partnerships, and external consultants whom we have already visited with.
Managing/throttling growth with Development Agreements and other policies.
Completing Streetscape, via collaboration with KM Forward, the downtown stakeholder nonprofit.
Partnering with the YMCA and Library stakeholders for new facilities.
Capital Reserve Policies and a standalone Capital Budget for the utilities and general government.
Fuel cost Hedging and alternative wholesale sourcing policies for the electric and gas utilities.
Once exit 5 develops as a tourist destination, then market the development of the city lakes south of the city.
Phifer road widening and cross ties to KM Blvd. Leverage the schools to access separate NCDOT safety funding. Increase STIP scoring with local funding matches.
Shearra Miller: My vision for Kings Mountain is for it to thrive. Kings Mountain is poised to grow, but we need to make sure that we are growing the way we want it to happen. As I mentioned, we are at a crossroads. We talk a lot about our small-town charm and that we don’t want to lose it, but we don’t want to miss opportunities that can help us. The right type of growth can provide more dollars, and dollars can provide more opportunities.
   I would like to see a busy downtown area with locally owned unique shops and restaurants. I would like to see more parks, greenspaces, and recreational opportunities for citizens of all ages. I would like to see businesses thriving and providing jobs for our citizens. I envision a community that has come together with everyone’s input and thoughts. I will work to open the process of appointments to city boards and commissions to ensure that every citizen has a chance to put themselves forward if they choose, and so that everyone can know how and why individuals have been and will be chosen for these positions.
   How will I work to achieve this? I will work with the other council members to share responsibilities on committees and boards; I will allow the City Manager and staff to do their jobs; I will ask questions. I do not have all the answers so I will seek out and listen to subject matter experts before making decisions. I believe in term limits and will let other citizens step up and contribute. My vision is for our citizens and local government to work together to build a stronger community.
Annie Thombs: My Vision for the City of Kings Mountain is to see our city redefine and become a model city in every way. To see the City of Kings Mountain become a City of Influence nationwide where all cities and towns will desire to emulate what we have and who we are; a city full of gems and resources of great minds, with cutting-edge ideas and creative ways of catapulting our city forward. Local government does not have all the answers, but working with our citizens, working through our differences with respect, being present, and hearing what our constituents say……we will redefine what a city really is and what great things we can accomplish TOGETHER. IT WILL HAPPEN OF THAT I AM CONFIDENT!
Jimmy West: My overall goal and vision for Kings Mountain is that we would continue to address our main thoroughfares and move forward with cleaning up the city overall. To continue attracting more development and growth, is it imperative that our city stands out and is a showpiece that puts us above other surrounding cities. I would like to see there be more growth in the form of quality parks and playgrounds that are within walking distance of every child in our community.
Jay Rhodes: I would like for us to see the 2,000 housing units that have been approved come into being as designed and as approved. This in itself will drive our economic demographics higher (median income) and will then improve the business climate for our city. I want to see developmental agreements be the norm for large projects. These agreements spell out specific things that the city and developer must do for a project to continue to completion. I hope our downtown streetscape will be behind us and that new businesses will be attracted to downtown. I hope that the impact of the mining at Albemarle will be positive for us both now and in the future. As a result of these and other economic developments that come our way, each of our citizens will see an improvement in their own personal lives.
How will I work to achieve it?
I promise you 6 things that I will do if elected to serve on City Council
1. I will use the gifts, the education, and the experience that I have to make wise decisions that come before me as your servant leader.
2. I will make decisions based on what I believe to be in the best interest of all of our citizens, not for any personal approval or gain.
3. I will seek to preserve peace and understanding even in light of difficult and controversial issues.
4. I will exercise due diligence on every issue that comes before me. To learn, question, listen and study the issue at hand before making a decision.
5. I will take my fiduciary responsibilities seriously, being prudent with the financial resources made available to me by our citizens.
6. I will continue to pray over all the decisions that need to be made, seeking God’s wisdom.
Mark Wampler: Not to be like some large cities that have traffic, crime, division, and mistrust. Focus on slow and controlled growth (housing), sustaining our infrastructure, and supporting local businesses. Allocate resources to Police, Fire, and EMS so they can provide quality services and grow as Kings Mountain grows. We have a unique small town that needs to put Kings Mountain Residents First.
Woody Edwards: My vision for our community in the next five to ten years is a safe and thriving community that includes everyone working together to build the best future for a child and future generations to come.
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The community gathers for a Thanksgiving meal together. Photo by Feeding Children Cleveland County

KM Community Table
Thanksgiving Meal Nov. 22

By Loretta Cozart

Feeding Children Cleveland County, in partnership with Albemarle, Kings Mountain Family YMCA, Mauney Memorial Library, Martin Electric, and The Davidson Association, is hosting a Community Table Thanksgiving Meal on Wednesday, Nov. 22 at 4 p.m., at the Deal Street Walking Track in Kings Mountain.
This meal is a community-wide effort, aiming to bring all areas of Cleveland County together in unity for a shared meal and fellowship. Each meal occurs in a high-need community area the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day.
This year, the meals will take place at six locations throughout Cleveland County. All are invited to come and enjoy this meal with your neighbors. This year’s locations are:
• Jefferson Park in Shelby
• Hope Community Church in Shelby
• Kings Mountain YMCA in Kings Mountain
• Holly Oak Park in Shelby
• Piedmont Community Park in Lawndale
• Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Waco/Cherryville
Feeding Kids of Cleveland County was started in 2016 out of the homes of several families who wanted to make a difference in the lives of students in need in our community. Its mission is to help kids and families in Cleveland County survive and thrive.
This meal is a community effort aiming to bring the community together in unity for a shared meal and fellowship. A primary goal is to have as many Cleveland County businesses, churches, organizations, groups, and individuals as possible embrace this idea, not only to serve and provide but also to come together and enjoy a meal with one another.
For more information, contact Feeding Children Cleveland County at

Street paving
and resurfacing
begins in KM

By Loretta Cozart

In Kings Mountain’s “Update from the City Manager” YouTube video, Manager Jim Palenick and Manager of Public Works Daniel Blanton shared information about the city’s $1.9 million paving and resurfacing project that officially began on Monday, October 23. The city hopes the project will be completed this year, but weather may impact the progress.
Palenick explained that the city’s 2023-2024 budget set aside $1.6 million dollars in capital spending and an additional $300,000 from Powell Bill funds that come to the city through the state.
“We’ve heard for a long time that many of the streets are not in the best condition. As a result, we (the city) went through a very detailed, very comprehensive, professional analysis of the condition of those streets and determined which ones were in the worst shape and which were the highest priority to either resurface or repair,” Palenick shared. “We have a prioritized list, and we’re going to tell you what to expect in the coming days, weeks, and months regarding this paving program.”
Blanton explained, “Most of our roads that need improvement come from the Northeast quadrant of the city. And some of you guys in this area have probably already seen yellow paint hit the asphalt. That’s our contractors coming in andpreparing their crews. You’ll see some street work start, gutter cleanup, and some Milling equipment coming in preparing for the asphalt projects coming in up into this corner of the city.”
   Palenick asked Banton what citizens can expect during the project, and he shared, “From the citizen’s side of it, we would love to see you make sure your gutter side’s clean, the end of your driveways clean, your cars are not parked in our way, and to prepare for a day, to a day-and-a-half that the contractor will be in and out of your street.”
   It is possible residents could be blocked from their driveways for a few hours as the asphalt is put down and rolled on the street.
   He continued, “We ask that you try to keep as much traffic off the immediate area that they’re working at that time, but within a day or so, they’ll clear your area.”
   Palenick explained that this budget year’s project will impact 15% of all the surfaced lane miles within the city, and fixing the worst roads is critical. In addition, some currently unpaved city roads will be paved for the first time. The goal is to eventually pave all the roads in the city, so future annual projects will focus on surface work.
   Citizens with questions are urged by Blanton to “Reach out to our public works department. Our admin assistant, Bonita, will answer your questions as much as she can, and the ones she can’t, she’ll forward to me. I’ll be more than happy to discuss it with you and possibly even meet you on-site if need be.” The phone number for Public Works is 703-734-0735.
   When citizens notice crews cleaning gutters and streets in their area, the work isn’t far behind. Door hangers will be left to notify residents when to expect the work to begin.
   The city manager urges residents to be patient with crews and work with them to finish the job as quickly as possible. When Palenick asked Blanton for any further information to share with residents, he answered, “Patience, we just ask for patience.”
   To subscribe to Update from the City Manager, visit:
   The following road will be paved and resurfaced in the Fall of 2023:
•    Catherine St from cross street Stowe Acres to cross street Second
•    May Street from cross street Grace to cross street Church
•    Stowe Acres from cross street Fairview to cross street second
•    North Cansler Street from cross street Walker to the City Limits
•    Myers Street from cross street Baker to Dead End
•    Dilling Street from cross street King to cross street Phenix
•    Grace Street from cross street Linwood Road to Dead End
•    Fourth Street from cross street Linwood Road to Dead End
•    Peaceful Valley from cross street Second to the City Limits
•    Plaza Drive from cross street Garrison to the Parking Area
•    Phenix Street from cross street Linwood Rd to cross street Mill
•    Linwood Road from cross street Second to Cleveland Ave
•    Henry Street from cross street Katherine Ave to Dead End
•    Linwood Road from cross street NC 216 to cross street Second
•    Church Street from cross street Cleveland Ave to cross street Lynn
•    Boyce Avenue from cross street Linwood Rd to cross street Groves
•    Monroe Avenue from cross street Woodside Ave to cross street Henry
•    Hendricks Street from cross street Hendricks to cross street Ridge
•    Virginia Avenue from cross street Virginia Ave to Dead End
•    Jackson Street from cross street Church to cross street Boyce
•    Northwoods Drive from cross street Grove to cross street Alpine
•    Mobile Home Drive from cross street Pennington Pl to the City Limits
•    Groves Street from cross street Alpine Dr to Dead End
•    Groves Street from cross street Cleveland Ave to Dead End
•    Alpine Drive from cross street Northwoods Dr to Northwoods Dr
•    Kiser Street from cross street E Gold St to cross street Cline
•    Carolina State Lane from cross street Spruce to cross street Gold
•    Slater Street from cross street York Rd to cross street Oriental Ave
•    Carpet Lane from cross street N Sims to Dead End
•    Davidson Street from cross street King St to Dead End

CCSO arrests two in KM for trafficking drugs

On October 28, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office Community Interdiction Team (CIT) conducted a vehicle stop on Highway 74 at the intersection of Shelby Road in Kings Mountain, NC. During the vehicle stop, deputies located approximately 48.05 lbs. Methamphetamine and 4.75 lbs. Heroin. The combined street value of these narcotics is approximately $400,000.00.
Javier Rivera Romero, 41, of Lake City, SC, was charged with two Counts of Trafficking Methamphetamine, and two counts of Trafficking Heroin.
He was given a $250,000 Secured Bond.
Nicolas Noe Torres Castro of Fresno, CA was charged with two Counts of Trafficking Methamphetamine, and two counts of
Trafficking Heroin. She was given a $250,000 Secured Bond.
Both were arrested and taken to the Cleveland County Detention Center.
“The Sheriff’s Office will continue to make drug investigations a high priority,” Sheriff Alan Norman said. “Statistics have shown for years that drug use leads to other crimes, in particular breaking and entering and larcenies, where users must steal to fund their habit. The violence associated with drug dealing is also a huge concern of mine, and those dealers who possess guns during drug transactions will be a very high priority.”
“The Sheriff’s Office takes complaints of drug sales very seriously,” Norman said. He requests that anyone with information on drug dealers in their neighborhood contact the Vice/Narcotics Division at 704-484-4987.

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Buildings owned by the heirs of Frances Bullock are being repaired. Fencing has been placed to protect pedestrians. Photo by Greg Ledford

Repairs started on
Bullock property

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, fencing was placed around the Frances Bullock property at the corner of W. Mountain and Cherokee Street. The buildings were condemned for various code violations, but building permits have now been issued, and repairs are taking place.
According to Matt Blackwell with the City of Kings Mountain, “The fencing was placed to protect pedestrians as repairs are made to the building.”
During the July 25 City Council Meeting, council members were asked to adopt an ordinance to demolish or repair property owned by the heirs of Frances Bullock at 124 W. Mountain Street in Kings Mountain. Because repairs were not made, the building was condemned.

Registration open for
KM Christmas Parade

 It is that time of year again!  Registration is now open for the Christmas Kings Mountain Parade scheduled for December 2, at 3:00 p.m. in downtown Kings Mountain.
Want to participate? Participants may register online at the Marketing, Tourism, and Events website at Participants must pay for an entry in the parade at the time of registration. For more information or assistance with registration, please call 704-730-2101 or via email at
Over 100 entries are expected. More exciting information concerning this special parade will be available soon.
The deadline to register for the parade is November 10.

Troops being deployed to the Middle East

The Army air defense units deploying to the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war come from Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Liberty (formerly Ft. Bragg) in North Carolina, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma, the Pentagon said Tuesday, Oct. 24.
The units are bringing Patriot missile batteries and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, battery to the region after more than a dozen drone and rocket attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria over the past week that the Pentagon has blamed on Iranian proxies. NBC News reported Tuesday evening that two dozen American military personnel were wounded in the attacks, but that could not be immediately confirmed by
Although Pentagon officials didn’t name the deployed Army units, Fort Bliss is home to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Fort Liberty hosts the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and Fort Sill is home to the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
The units are among the latest deployments to the Middle East following two aircraft carrier strike groups earlier this month; F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets this week -- adding to jets and A-10 Thunderbolt II planes already sent; and military advisers, including
 a Marine Corps general, versed in urban warfare to aid Israel as it wages war on Hamas.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the top Pentagon spokesman who briefed reporters Tuesday, would not say how many troops are deploying with the air defense units or give their specific destinations. He did say that a THAAD battery was coming from Fort Bliss and the Patriot battalions would come from Fort Liberty and Fort Bliss.
More than 2,000 U.S. troops were also put on ready-to-deploy orders by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as yet another show of support for Israel, which declared war against Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, after its sudden and brazen terrorist attack on Oct. 7 killed about 1,400 Israelis.
The deployment of the air defenses came as Pentagon officials disclosed new details about an uptick in drone and missile strikes on U.S. bases in the region since last week. On Monday, the Pentagon blamed the attacks on Iran and groups it supports in the region and said it expected the threat to grow as the bloody war in Israel and Gaza drags on.
Ryder said that between Oct. 17 and 24, “U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least ten separate times in Iraq and three separate times in Syria via a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets.”
The Pentagon had revealed some of these attacks last week as they occurred, but Ryder stressed that 13 attacks are “initial numbers.”
   Defense officials have also stepped up the rhetoric around the attacks, telling reporters Monday that they “see a prospect for much more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel in the near term and, let’s be clear about it, the road leads back to Iran.”
   Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith was even more direct. Defense officials said last week that the Marine Corps’ 26th Expeditionary Unit was heading “to the waters off of Israel” as a result of the crisis after it abruptly ended pre-scheduled training in Kuwait.
   A Navy spokesperson told on Monday that the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which transports the 26th MEU, was in the Gulf of Oman area conducting freedom of navigation operations.
The Marines now deployed to the area “bring with them the weapons of war, if needed,” Smith told a crowd Monday while speaking at a memorial for the 40th anniversary of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.
   “For those that are in the area, if that MEU has to go in, if you target them, someone else will raise your children,” Smith added.
   Meanwhile, at sea, the destroyer USS Carney shot down drones and Houthi-launched cruise missiles on Thursday. The incident has been framed as a self-defense move by the Pentagon since last week when officials wouldn’t say whether the threat they posed was to the ship or Israel.
   Ryder told reporters Tuesday that the land attack cruise missiles that the Carney shot down had a range that “was likely in excess of 2,000 kilometers,” making them quite capable of striking Israel.
Another addition to the Middle East besides the Army’s air defense missiles will be more F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets from the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. Ryder said that the unit arrived in the Middle East on Tuesday.

Screen shot 2023 11 01 at 4.31.38 pm
NC House Speaker Tim Moore talks with Guardsmen at the U.S. – Mexico border. (Photo provided)

NC House Speaker visits
the southern border

The Army air defense units deploying to the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war come from Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Liberty (formerly Ft. Bragg) in North Carolina, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma, the Pentagon said Tuesday, Oct. 24.
The units are bringing Patriot missile batteries and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, battery to the region after more than a dozen drone and rocket attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria over the past week that the Pentagon has blamed on Iranian proxies. NBC News reported Tuesday evening that two dozen American military personnel were wounded in the attacks, but that could not be immediately confirmed by
Although Pentagon officials didn’t name the deployed Army units, Fort Bliss is home to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Fort Liberty hosts the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and Fort Sill is home to the 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
The units are among the latest deployments to the Middle East following two aircraft carrier strike groups earlier this month; F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets this week -- adding to jets and A-10 Thunderbolt II planes already sent; and military advisers, including
See TROOPS, Page 2A
From Page 1A
 a Marine Corps general, versed in urban warfare to aid Israel as it wages war on Hamas.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the top Pentagon spokesman who briefed reporters Tuesday, would not say how many troops are deploying with the air defense units or give their specific destinations. He did say that a THAAD battery was coming from Fort Bliss and the Patriot battalions would come from Fort Liberty and Fort Bliss.
More than 2,000 U.S. troops were also put on ready-to-deploy orders by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as yet another show of support for Israel, which declared war against Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, after its sudden and brazen terrorist attack on Oct. 7 killed about 1,400 Israelis.
The deployment of the air defenses came as Pentagon officials disclosed new details about an uptick in drone and missile strikes on U.S. bases in the region since last week. On Monday, the Pentagon blamed the attacks on Iran and groups it supports in the region and said it expected the threat to grow as the bloody war in Israel and Gaza drags on.
Ryder said that between Oct. 17 and 24, “U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least ten separate times in Iraq and three separate times in Syria via a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets.”
The Pentagon had revealed some of these attacks last week as they occurred, but Ryder stressed that 13 attacks are “initial numbers.”
   Defense officials have also stepped up the rhetoric around the attacks, telling reporters Monday that they “see a prospect for much more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel in the near term and, let’s be clear about it, the road leads back to Iran.”
   Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith was even more direct. Defense officials said last week that the Marine Corps’ 26th Expeditionary Unit was heading “to the waters off of Israel” as a result of the crisis after it abruptly ended pre-scheduled training in Kuwait.
   A Navy spokesperson told on Monday that the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, which transports the 26th MEU, was in the Gulf of Oman area conducting freedom of navigation operations.
The Marines now deployed to the area “bring with them the weapons of war, if needed,” Smith told a crowd Monday while speaking at a memorial for the 40th anniversary of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.
   “For those that are in the area, if that MEU has to go in, if you target them, someone else will raise your children,” Smith added.
   Meanwhile, at sea, the destroyer USS Carney shot down drones and Houthi-launched cruise missiles on Thursday. The incident has been framed as a self-defense move by the Pentagon since last week when officials wouldn’t say whether the threat they posed was to the ship or Israel.
   Ryder told reporters Tuesday that the land attack cruise missiles that the Carney shot down had a range that “was likely in excess of 2,000 kilometers,” making them quite capable of striking Israel.
Another addition to the Middle East besides the Army’s air defense missiles will be more F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets from the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. Ryder said that the unit arrived in the Middle East on Tuesday.
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Candidates share their thoughts on critical issues


By Loretta Cozart

On September 21, candidates running for office in Kings Mountain were asked to respond to questions on issues facing Kings Mountain.
Running for Mayor in this election are Scott Neisler and Rob Wagman. Keith Miller and Shearra Miller are vying for the Council Member At-Large seat. Ward 5 has the largest number of candidates: Jay Rhodes, Mark Wampler, and Woody Edwards.
Two of the Wards have already determined their representation. In Ward 1, Annie Thombs continues as its council member. Jimmy West returns as the council member from Ward 4. Nonetheless, their opinions are important and have been included in all the responses received.
In less than two weeks, voters will go to the polls to cast their votes for the leadership of Kings Mountain. The candidates were tasked with answering seven questions. Here are their thoughts on the challenges facing the city.
Question 1. What inspired you to run for political office in Kings Mountain? Please share your relevant experience and qualifications that make you a strong candidate for this position.
Scott Neisler: I came back from college in 1978 wanting to run for office and was told by a commissioner that I was too young. I held on to that desire until 1989, when I was elected to City Council in Ward 6. Two years later, I ran for Mayor and was elected as the youngest to serve at 35! If elected this year at 67, I will have served for 20 years. I still have the fire in the belly to serve and am more invigorated since growth is taking off, making sure we maintain our quality of life. Experience, along with networking with other communities, as well as my lifelong residence, I hope, makes our citizens feel comfortable that I can continue to work for them! It is an honor to serve because we live in the best place, Kings Mountain!
Rob Wagman: I was inspired to run for Mayor of Kings Mountain because I see incredible potential here regarding an enhanced way of life for our residents, growth to our amazing little city, but growth that brings with it a benefit for us as a community. Growth for growth’s sake doesn’t typically bear fruit for all.
   In media, I am known as a fix-it man. I am typically handed impossible situations, and within a few months, the people internally are feeling a real difference, and three to six months following -- the external people affected by what we do on a daily basis begin to take notice.
Keith Miller: In 2005 I saw the council doing things I thought were wrong. I kept telling the Lord, “Somebody has to do something about this.” I kept hearing, “How about you?” That started it.
 My education and experience are very well matched for the job of a councilmember. My bachelor’s degree is in political science. My master’s degree is in public administration, the same degree city managers get. My master’s focus was on housing and economic development. I am a series 50 registered municipal advisor. I am a chartered financial analyst candidate. I have spent over 25 years working with cities and city utilities on investments related to their bond financing. I have chaired, co-chaired, or vice-chaired the city finance, redistricting, and housing committees, planning board, and board of adjustments, and am a member of the Gaston Cleveland Lincoln Municipal Planning Organization. I have been the executive director of Judgment House and Crosswalk for over 10 years. Refereed church basketball and managed church softball for over 20 years. This education and background are exceptionally well suited for overseeing and guiding a small city.
Shearra Miller: My inspiration to run is because I care about Kings Mountain right now and in the future. We have a great city and I want to be a part of making it even better. I’m running to bring my experience as an advocate, public servant, and forward thinker to the City Council at a time when our community is facing exciting opportunities as well as important challenges. It’s no secret, our city is going through changes, and I can help us navigate through these changes. I’m willing to spend the time it takes to make informed decisions that will affect our city for years to come. I will actively listen and consider all sides on every topic.
I have lived in Kings Mountain for over 30 years; we have a family-owned business, I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization, and I have served on the Board of Education. While on the School Board, I worked to bring diverse voices and beliefs together to work towards a common good. I will bring that same experience to the City Council at a time when we need some new and different perspectives to make important decisions about the future of Kings Mountain and not be influenced by personal agendas. I share the concerns of others about the direction that our City is going and some of the decisions that have been made. Utility prices, zoning decisions, and the lack of a clear vision worry me and a lot of others. I am honest, I have integrity and I will keep the best interests of the citizens at the forefront of my decisions.
Annie Thombs: Carefully making a personal evaluation of progress verses no progress, very little population growth, no median income growth but a decline in growth, and lack of quality of life for all citizens regardless of income status, an appreciation for all citizens regardless of race, creed, color, or religion. I knew I had to be a voice for change, to be the difference, because I do have something to offer to make those things become a reality. Having spent forty years of public service in local government, and I am a retired Community Development Administrator; I know how government basically functions on the Local, State, and Federal levels. I am familiar with the intricacies and statutory rules and regulations we are governed by as a City. Recognizing that Cities and Towns do not have carte blanche to do as they please, even if the citizens feel we can. Public perception IS NOT the reality of governing.
Jimmy West: I first got involved with the city council to hopefully make a change in how the city was being run. During my first term I ran in an effort to try and implement a positive change for the city. I do feel that during my tenure on the city council, we are on the brink of seeing some exciting things as it correlates to economic growth and prosperity.
Jay Rhodes: Eight years ago, the late Tommy Hall and former Mayor Kyle Smith came to me and asked me to run for City Council. I had never really given much thought to serving our community in that way, but then others encouraged me, and I filed. I have a background in Banking and Administration, as well as being a head basketball coach for 11 years, 8 at the college level, and served as an athletic director for 6 of the 11 years. Plus, now I have 8 years of City Council experience representing Ward 5.
Mark Wampler: I am running because Kings Mountain is growing too fast. We have too many Mega-Neighborhoods popping up. With all this growth, our infrastructure needs help – roads need paving, utilities too high, and water system. I believe in growth; it needs to be slow and controlled. Need to focus on our Downtown and Local Businesses to make Kings Mountain an exciting and fun place to visit, shop, and eat. I have been a Shelby Police Officer since 2006, a public servant, where I have used common sense and unique solutions to fix many problems while following the law. I have to research, investigate these problems, and handle them correctly. I will do the same for Kings Mountain, by putting Kings Mountain Residents First.
Woody Edwards: The city needs new faces and fresh ideas to help with our growth that’s coming. if we like it or not. The best thing to do is make smart decisions about our future now. I am a local business owner and always willing to give a helping hand to my community when and where it’s needed.
Question 2. How have you been involved in community activities or organizations in Kings Mountain before running for office?
Scott Neisler: Having a young family, I basically attended church and raised a family. I was very involved with the High School Baseball program that won 2 State Championships since my degree was in Physical Education.
Rob Wagman: I am grateful to Jim Champion, Bridget Allen, Greg Dixon, Joanna Brown and Mary Grace Keller; pillars of our theater community, who helped me overcome a 50-year old diagnosis of stage fright. I was cast in a play alongside them, and they can tell you, they watched my struggles in real-time, and in the end, we presented a wildly comical and successful production.
   The Joy Theater holds a warm place in my heart as it was back in 2005 when I began attending Sunday church service there. That’s where Apostle Theron and Kathy Feemster and the congregation of Miracle Tabernacle called home before moving up on Gold Street. To this day, my family is blessed by the Feemster family and this entire church body.
Keith Miller: I taught Sunday School (still do, over 30 years), Rotary, PTO, and youth sports.
Shearra Miller: I am a member of Central Methodist Church and the Executive Director/President of the Cleveland County Arts Council. Community service is important to me and over the years, I have served on many boards and committees. I served on the Kings Mountain and Cleveland County Boards of Education, serving as chair of both boards. Currently, I am on the Board of Directors of the Education Foundation, Friends of the Library, Neal Senior Center, and a member of the Rotary Club. Serving on a variety of boards and working with different groups of people has given me experience in building bridges and communicating with many different people. I am a recipient of the Commission for Women’s Distinguished Woman Award. I have built relationships with leaders across our city and county that will help Kings Mountain be a part of discussions regarding our city. My work across a broad range of groups within the city and county makes my perspective and experience an important addition to the city council.
Annie Thombs: I have always served others, especially in the community. I am a community activist and advocate. Nothing gives me greater joy than empowering others to fulfill their purpose in life. Capacity-building neighborhood groups and organizations and one-on-one mentoring of families and individuals. Helping others to find and recognize their voice, but being that voice while they discover their own. Looking ahead to unlimited possibilities.
Jimmy West: Until I ran for office, I wasn’t really involved in things per se, but I have always been very supportive of our city and always felt like we could do better, to quote David Stone “sometimes good is not good enough.”
Jay Rhodes: I served on the capital campaign for the Patrick Senior Center, chaired the campaign for the Testa Hospice House, served and now serving on our local hospital board, served on two capital campaigns for the Kings Mountain Neisler Life Enrichment Center, assisted the Touchdown Club with their fundraising projects, currently serving on the Life Enrichment Advisory Board, serving on the Cleveland County Schools Foundation Board, serving as Treasurer of the Kings Mountain Sports Hall of Fame and I initiated the discussion for the YMCA and City recreational partnership. There are multiple “I”s there, but I have been privileged and it has been a joy to have had those opportunities to serve our community.
Mark Wampler: I have volunteered as a coach for Upwards Basketball and Soccer at two Kings Mountain churches for nearly ten years. My neighborhood had a lot of crime at one point in 2018, and everyone was talking about it. I went door to door, dropping off flyers to start a Neighborhood Watch, and I had the first meeting at my house. We have used phone calls, e-mails, and social media to contact each other. Now, we have 102 members watching our areas. It is about seeing a need, getting involved, and finding a solution. That is what I did. Our Neighborhood Watch is very active. Communication!
Woody Edwards: I have attended every city council meeting, minus a handful, for about a year now. Also, I have been
 a member of the Moss Lake Commission Board since June of 2023.
Question 3. What are your plans to promote economic growth and job creation in Kings Mountain? And how would you work with local businesses to support their growth and sustainability?
Scott Neisler: Scott Neisler: Economic growth will not be a problem as we have location, location, location! And we are lucky because of Lithium and that good-paying jobs are coming our way. Housing is the next thing that we need badly. Economic growth is a 2-way street. In my first tenure as Mayor, we were successful in economic development, but it was slow. Now, we are very attractive to the point that we can be choosy about what we want as a community. Planned Development agreements are a must to hold developers to what their agreement of what will be built so that it satisfies the market but at the same time maintains a quality of construction for our community. So, we are all winners!
Rob Wagman: Economic growth in Kings Mountain has been a trouble spot for longer than a decade, with many scratching their heads as to the ‘Why.’ The key to economic growth is to ensure our neighborhoods are being kept up, and that residents with  needs have a way to get those needs answered and dealt with. To believe we can grow economically but allow deterioration in our homes and on our streets is a plan that is dead on arrival.
   Our local businesses were promised an influx of customers with the building of the casino, and the traffic it would bring to our outskirts. The reason that hasn’t happened is because we simply expected the visitors to be curious enough to drive our streets to see what we offer. We have never created a specific plan to bring a percentage of that traffic to our downtown. It isn’t too late to put a real plan in place to draw more visitors from the casino; however, if the residents of our own city aren’t taken care of in the areas in which they live, we lose the most important customers for any of our businesses, our own folks.
Keith Miller: I have more than plans, I have a 15-year track record. To attract employers, industrial taxpayers, shops, and restaurants, we work to keep utilities, taxes, services, and quality of life competitive and efficient. We maintain strong working relationships with the government, chamber, and political entities around and above us to maintain local synergistic advantages versus other communities. We continue to hire consultants to continually improve our efforts.
Small businesses live or die based on the amount of disposable household income the households in the area can spend in local shops and restaurants. We use housing policies to try to expand the stock of quality housing targeted to the starter–mid-market, as well as our professionals, downtown, second home, and active retiree housing stock. This upwardly drives the local household income and retail spending demographics.
   We ask the marketing manager to work with KM Forward and the business community to plan events and parade routes that will help business, not interfere with business. I have recently asked that our forthcoming Purchase Power Adjustment Policy defer surcharges during the peak months. We have put in place several policies to push deadbeat landlords to fix their dilapidated buildings or sell them to someone who will.
Shearra Miller: The City needs to listen to local business owners and citizens who are working to grow our economy and create local jobs. Small, locally owned businesses are the lifeblood of our community, and the city council must ensure that our regulations and our expectations for new and existing businesses are streamlined, easy to access, understand, and utilize so that businesses are not being held back. Streetscape was a disappointment on the part of the City to involve and engage business owners, and that hurt many of those businesses. Although that part of Mountain Street looks good, we don’t need to make that mistake again. Communication is so important.
   We have to ensure that our City Council does not drop the ball when it comes to big projects that will impact our town. I believe that the council needs to work with the casino to make sure that their plans for expansion help Kings Mountain and allow other businesses to benefit from the visitors and dollars to our city. The City secured very little from the Casino in the way of economic impact guarantees and we could be in the same position with the lithium mine if we’re not careful.
   Finally, we must do a better job of defining what we, as a community, want the future of our city to look like. I feel like we’re at a crossroads, and as your Councilmember, I will ensure that we not only have that vision but that it is also communicated to the public. Another important component of economic growth is our position and regulation of housing and planning. New and creative ideas for zoning and other housing regulations need to be explored so that KM has the right mix of housing for current and future residents.
Annie Thombs: In our current and future digital and e-commerce climate, we must be forward thinkers and seek out those opportunities that promote growth and job creation. Our Local Businesses are key to our city’s growth and job creation. We must find creative ways to empower and advocate for our local business city-wide and not be afraid to do what has never been done before, and carefully consider how opportunities will impact our citizens. Public/Private Partnerships are a win/win for our economic future. The City Manager presented a “But For” Economic Development Policy adopted by the Council that is a great tool for economic development outreach. We are on the precipice of change in a very exciting time for growth with the capacity and resources to meet the challenges ahead.
Jimmy West: Right now, we find ourselves at the forefront of growth regardless due to the development of the casino and Albemarle coming into the area. Neither of which were solicited by us; however, this will force growth within our community. We are working closely with the downtown business owners and together, we have been able to collaborate on a system that allows the business owners more autonomy to decide what they do with their businesses, and hopefully this will result in a ripple effect that will spread throughout the rest of the community.
Jay Rhodes: For the downtown, I would like to see the Streetscape project move forward to completion, the vacant buildings rehabbed, shops filled, and upstairs apartments developed. I am thankful that we have put the downtown back in the hands of the stakeholders. We have approved several industrial and commercial projects that are operational (Ferguson, Utz). The others I would like to see move forward to completion (Pinnacle Park, Mauney Distillery). As far as helping local businesses, raising our economic demographics is the best thing that I know we can do for business. That means we need some of these market-rate housing projects that have been approved to come into being.
Mark Wampler: Short-term Goal – highlight and promote our downtown so that it is enticing to lure new businesses. We must focus on and support our current local businesses because one building was recently condemned, and two businesses were forced to move out. We, as a town, need to support our local businesses.
   Long-term Goal – Focus on the four exits along Route 74 in Kings Mountain. The Bypass around Shelby will be completed in the future. We can market and cater these areas to encourage shops, housing, and gas stations for businesses and residents. It is easy access around Shelby and to I-85.
Woody Edwards: My plan is to get as many local businesses thriving to keep our residents employed in Kings Mountain instead of having to go out of town to work. Plan on talking to the local businesses seeing what their needs are, and see what the City can do to help out.

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Chad Gunter and Katie Reese were last year’s costume contest winners with the best overall costume. Photo by Damien O’Brien

Ghosts, Witches, and Zombies, Oh My!
Halloween costume
contest Sat., Oct. 28

Dress up in your Halloween best and join us for a howling Halloween Costume Contest. This kooky contest occurs during The Wonderful Adventure to Oz event at Patriots Park on Saturday, October 28th. Want to participate? Registration will take place Oct 28th between 4:45-5:15 pm. The contest starts at 5:20 p.m. Categories: Most Unique, Oziest, Judge’s Choice, and Best Overall Group.
The Wonderful Adventure to Oz takes you through an immersive journey through the classic story of the Wizard of Oz while meeting your favorite Oz characters along the way.
The costume contest will begin at 5:20 p.m. The Wonderful Adventure to Oz will open at 6:00 p.m. Prizes await. Don’t be late!
 For more information, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101 or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com/adventure-to-oz
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Dorothy will be at Patriots Park on Saturday, October 28th at 6:00 p.m. as the City of Kings Mountain turns the park into the merry ole Land of Oz.

Meet Dorothy Gale
at KM’s Land of Oz

She survived a tornado and escaped from a witch’s castle. Now, Dorothy Gale is on her way to Kings Mountain in a new Wonderful Adventure to Oz.
Who is this, Dorothy Gale?
Raised by her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, Dorothy lives on a farm in Kansas. Her best friend is a terrier named Toto, who loves to get into mischief. He especially likes to aggravate a mean lady named Elmira Gulch.
Dorothy’s other friends include farmhands Zeke, Hunk, and Hickory. She helps them around the farm as much as she can. She tries to stay away from the pigs.
Dorothy loves to sing. “Over the Rainbow” is her favorite song.
Want to meet Dorothy and Toto? Take a journey to Patriots Park on Saturday, October 28th at 6:00 p.m. as the City of Kings Mountain turns the park into the merry ole Land of Oz. Walk down the Yellow Brick Road and visit with Dorothy, Toto, and other favorite characters from the classic story while trick or treating along the way. The Wonderful Adventure to Oz begins each night at 6:00 p.m.
Plan your experience to Oz at There is no place like Kings Mountain.
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City of KM responds to questions on water issues

By Loretta Cozart

Citizens have reported that the water in town has a bad odor and taste, so the Herald reached out to Rick Duncan, Public Infrastructure Director for the City of Kings Mountain. He quickly responded sharing, “The city monitors algae growth in Moss Lake and has done so for several years. This year, algae doubled over last year’s numbers. Algae growth is the driving force behind our odor and taste problems.”
“We have instituted a robust flushing program throughout our system along with the addition of activated carbon into our treatment process to aid in the removal of bad taste and odor. The city will begin cleaning our finished water tanks in the next few weeks as well,” he added.
“Cooler temperatures, along with increased flushing and cleaning of our systems tanks, will remove remaining taste/odor issues in our system. Water quality is monitored throughout the day to ensure we meet DEQ and EPA standards.”
While he can’t predict how quickly improvement will be realized, he added, “We expect positive results will be seen in the next days and weeks to come.”
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In-Person Early
Voting has begun

By Loretta Cozart

The early voting period for the municipal elections in November 2023 has commenced. It started on Thursday, October 19, and will end at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 4.
During this period, voters can cast their ballots in person at the Cleveland County Board of Elections located at 215 Patton Drive in Shelby. The voting site will remain open from October 19 to November 3, Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturday, November 4, it will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
It is mandatory to carry a valid ID to vote in this election. Eligible individuals can register and vote on-site. For more information, please contact the Cleveland County Board of Elections at 704-484-4858.

KM Baptist hosts FREE Fall Festival

Kings Mountain Baptist Church announces its Fall Festival on Tuesday, October 31, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., weather permitting, at 101 West Mountain Street in Kings Mountain. Best of all, everything at the festival is free, so you can enjoy all the fun activities without spending a dime.
The Fall Festival is a fun and exciting event perfect for families. Hosted by the Kings Mountain Baptist Church, this festival offers an array of activities everyone can enjoy. Whether you're a fan of bouncy houses, hot dogs, games, or candy, you'll find something to love at this festival.
One of the highlights of the festival is the costume contest. This is a great opportunity to show off your creativity and create a unique and fun costume. There will also be plenty of other activities to participate in, including crafts and games. And, of course, there will be plenty of candy to go around.
The festival will occur at the Kings Mountain Baptist Church, 101 West Mountain Street in Kings Mountain, NC. It will run from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Best of all, everything at the festival is free, so you can enjoy all the fun activities without spending a dime. Don't miss out on this completely FREE and exciting event that includes a Bouncy House (weather permitting), Hot dogs, Games, Costume contest, Crafts, and lots of Candy!

Central Methodist annual
Fall Festival October 29

By Loretta Cozart

Central Methodist Church at 113 South Piedmont Ave. in Kings Mountain announced its Annual Fall Festival on Sunday, October 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
   The festival features various activities such as bounce houses, face painting, Trunk or Treat, food, candy, and more. This is a free community event; everyone is invited to join the fun!
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Carve out time to save lives
community blood drive Oct. 28

By Loretta Cozart

The Davidson Association and Mt. Zion Church, in association with The Blood Connection, are holding a blood drive on Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 220 N. Cansler Street in Kings Mountain.
With all the fall festivities and Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, now is a good time to carve out a little time to donate blood.
To register, visit and look in the top right corner to click the red locations button. Type in zip code "28086" and fill in the Start Date as "10/28/23" and the End Date as "11/7/23." Then click the red "Search" button. Scroll down, and The Davidson Association and Mt. Zion Baptist Church should be the first on the list. Scroll over to the right, click "Schedule," choose your time, and then create an account so they'll have your email and phone #.
Blood or the components of blood are used to treat patients with medical conditions, such as anemia, cancer, and blood disorders, as well as those having surgery. It can be vital for people with medical conditions or having surgery, and improving the quality of life for those whose illness has no cure, like sickle cell disease.
If you have any questions or need help with registration, please get in touch with Coordinator Norma Black at, 704-418-4432, or Katherine Pendergrass at, 864-680-0555.
Whole blood can be donated every 56 days. Donors must be 16 or older to donate.

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City of KM Special Events’ final concert a huge hit

By Loretta Cozart

The City of Kings Mountain’s final concert for the season was held on Saturday, October 14, when Dirty Grass Soul took the stage in Patriots Park at 6 p.m. for a beautiful evening celebrating Fall downtown.
The Main Event Band, along with DJ Drew Fulton, opened the show cruise-in and pre-show at 5:00 p.m., and all makes and models of cruisers were welcome. Fans poured in and stayed late to enjoy a beautiful evening celebrating Fall downtown.
Activities included fun for the whole family, including live music, cool rides, and great food.

KM’s Patriots Park turning
into the merry ole Land of Oz

Lions! Tigers! Bears! Oh my!

In celebration of the 84th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Wizard of Oz, the City of Kings Mountain will transform Patriots Park, in downtown Kings Mountain into the magical Land of Oz as the City hosts The Wonderful Adventure to Oz on Saturday, October 28, from 6 – 9 p.m.
Journey down the Yellow Brick Road while meeting your favorite Oz characters. An old-fashioned Hayride awaits, taking you to find the Wicked Witch of the West. Liberty Falls Amphitheatre will turn into the Emerald City as the City hosts costume contests, photo opportunities, trunk or treat, food vendors, and so much more. There is no place like Halloween in Kings Mountain.
Patriots Park is located at 220 South Railroad Avenue. For more information, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101 or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com/adventure-to-oz
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Alexis (Lexi) Jackson was crowned KMHS Homecoming Queen on Thursday, October 12. She is the daughter of Jay and Amanda Jackson and the twin sister of brother Alex Jackson. (Photo by TPS Photography)

Alexis (Lexi) Jackson crowned
2023 KMHS Homecoming Queen

Alexis (Lexi) Jackson was crowned KMHS Homecoming Queen on Thursday, October 12. She is the daughter of Jay and Amanda Jackson asnd the twin sister of brother Alex Jackson. (Photo by TPS Photography)
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YMCA helping those with food insecurity in our area

By Loretta Cozart

The Cleveland County Family YMCA started the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and fed the afterschool children in September 2023.
The CACFP is a nutrition education and meal reimbursement program helping childcare providers serve nutritious and safely prepared meals and snacks to children and adults in daycare settings.
The program currently serves over 275 children in Cleveland and Rutherford counties.
Ruby C Hunt YMCA (Boling Springs) serves 110 children, Kings Mountain Family YMCA serves 75 children, and Jefferson Elementary in Shelby serves 34 children.
In Rutherfordton County the Forrest Hunt program serves 19 children, Harris Elementary serves three children, MVR serves 9 children, and Rutherfordton Elementary serves 24 children.
The YMCA is currently waiting for approval for Pinnacle, Spindale, and Thomas Jefferson Academy too.  They hope the Dover Foundation YMCA location will be on board soon, bringing the number of people served to almost 400 by the end of October.
Food insecurities are a huge problem in our communities and your local YMCA is here for our kids.

City’s meter audit finds issues

By Loretta Cozart

The City of Kings Mountain launched an extensive meter audit in March to verify that every meter in the city was 100% accurate. The audit was performed to cross-check internal operations, field operations, record keeping, billing, and contractors that perform work for the city. Issues were found in both electric and gas billing.
The audit determined that six electric meters were found to have been installed in the field, and a wrong multiplier was applied, causing the affected City to overbill the customers by $62,619.38. The overbilled $62,619.38 was credited to each business customer in October 2023.
The customers overbilled include Battleground Church of God, $8,667.77; Blackwoods Drive-in, $23,852.55; David Brinkley – Warehouse, $1,461.76; Grace Christian Academy, $10,172.43; Harris Funeral Home, $10, 912.59; O & W Surplus, $7,552.28.
The report states that no water meters were found to have any discrepancies, other than minor issues, relating directly to the current AMI program the city uses, and those issues were non-reads for meters up to 2 months. Those meters have been reprogrammed and the bills have been averaged and are now back operating normally.
  During the gas meter audit, it was discovered that 19 meters were recording incorrect consumption. The meters measured in CCF, which stands for 100 cubic feet of natural gas, but they should have measured consumption in MCF, which stands for 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas.
    Both AMI and Honeywell spent a week reviewing the system and found that the programming was incorrect and that the dials used were installed incorrectly from the first day the AMI program was installed, roughly 9 years ago, This resulted in the City underbilling 19 customers.
    According to the report submitted, “These programs have been cut down from 37 to 7, and the correct registers have been applied. Since these changes were made in July 2023, readings and consumption are now correct as we move forward and have been verified with billing, as well as cross-checks with our AMI portal page.”

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Catawba Nation and Developer at odds over casino deal

By Loretta Cozart
Developer SkyBoat Gaming is demanding the Catawba Nation pay an exorbitant price to gain control of its trust lands to satisfy National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) casino ownership requirements so it can proceed with its planned $700 million casino resort project, new Catawba Nation Chief Brian Harris said. 
SkyBoat, headed by businessman Wallace Cheves, was to have developed the casino resort for the Catawba. But in December SkyBoat and the Catawba were issued Notices of Violation (NOVs) by the NIGC regarding contracts for the casino development.
The NIGC cited the ground lease for the trust lands and other agreements that gave SkyBoat too much ownership control and management authority over the casino project. The NIGC threatened fines and said the permanent casino could not be developed until the NOVs were resolved. The Catawba Nation was allowed to continue operating its temporary casino housed in modular structures featuring 1,000 gaming machines.
The Catawba have since attempted to cut ties with SkyBoat and Cheves by negotiating to regain control over the trust lands for the casino development. Harris met with Cheves in early October but said the current offer from Cheves calls for exorbitant payouts to SkyBoat – a one-time $125 million payment and then $6 million annual payments for access to adjacent non-trust land currently housing the temporary casino’s parking lot.
The adjacent non-trust land was acquired by SkyBoat at the same time SkyBoat was working to secure the trust lands for the Catawba, an acquisition that Harris characterized as trying to advantage SkyBoat at the expense of the Catawba.
“SkyBoat is holding hostage this casino resort project and all of the economic and quality-of-life benefits for our people and residents of the area,” Harris said. “We need a fair deal so we can realize the full financial benefits of the project, create 2,600 permanent jobs and hundreds of construction jobs, and provide local governments and the state of North Carolina with tax revenue and other investments under our compact.”
   Harris noted the NIGC has not approved the planned settlement but certified it was not a management contract as the previous agreement with SkyBoat was deemed to be.
   The Catawba Nation’s gaming operations are also now fully compliant with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Catawba Nation’s gaming machine lease is now with an NIGC-approved company that supplies gaming machines to many Native American casinos, ending the previous connection to a company that had political ownership ties.
   Planning for the permanent facility has continued, with construction and design plans being finalized in the coming months.
   “Not long after we reach a fair settlement with SkyBoat we will be ready to put shovels in the ground and begin this long-awaited and vital project,” Harris said.
   The Charlotte Business Journal interviewed Wally Fayssoux, an attorney representing SkyBoat, who responded to Chief Harris’ statement saying it is “‘profoundly untrue’ that the developer is the impediment to closing the deal. He said the developer and the previous Catawba Nation leadership agreed to a deal earlier this year. However, the new Catawba Chief Harris is opposed to it.
   “Fayssoux said the Catawbas’ previous leadership ‘begged’ the developers to accept those terms and that the National Indian Gaming Commission was on board with the deal,” the article continued.
   “Fayssoux said Cheves is still planning to be involved in development surrounding the casino site. He noted the developer would be happy to plan the projects in coordination with the Catawbas’ vision for the area.
   “SkyBoat worked with the Catawbas for well over a decade to try to win approval for the casino project. The U.S. Department of the Interior placed the casino site into a trust for the Catawbas in 2020 after years of debate surrounding the project. The pre-launch facility opened in July 2021, was expanded later that year, and added a sportsbook last year. The full casino’s construction has been held up by the NIGC for well over a year.
   “’SkyBoat is ready to close immediately and honor its word and proceed with the deal the Tribe pleaded for it to accept in January,’ Fayssoux said. ‘We sincerely hope the current leadership will honor that agreement and recognize the tremendous benefits of moving forward today. We certainly understand their need as new leaders to carefully analyze the history of the deal so that they can move forward in the best interests of the Tribe and so we will remain patient while they do so.’”


Kings Mountain Family YMCA’s reply to the question, “When is Hardee’s opening?”

By Loretta Cozart

Hardee’s, at 509 E King Street in Kings Mountain, closed on July 17 after a driver lost control of their vehicle and slammed into the southwest corner of the restaurant, smashing glass, injuring customers, and making a general mess of things.
Three months have passed since the accident, and citizens have asked, “When is
Hardee’s reopening?”
Kings Mountain Family YMCA addressed the question using the sign in front of their building, just a block away. The sign drew comments on their Facebook page, and a few chuckles from passersby on Cleveland Avenue.
The Herald also asked the same question of Morningstar, LLC, the parent company of Hardees based in Charlotte, with no reply.
Driving through Kings Mountain on Saturday, the company finally replied with a sign of their own that read, “Open Oct. 23.”
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KM Homecoming
Game Changed

Due to chance of rain on Friday, the Kings Mountain High School Homecoming parade will be held on Thursday afternoon and the football game will be played on Thursday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m at KM High.

Public Hearings for the City of KM

Public Hearings are scheduled for Thursday, October 12, at 6 pm, in the Council Chambers at City Hall to consider rezoning requests from the following applicants:
• Kiamesha Young/Owner Youngco, Inc., located on Margrace Road and consisting of approximately .86 acres, being further known as Cleveland County Parcel No. 11887 from Suburban Residential (SR) to Semi-Urban Residential (SU) – Case No. Z-23-8.
• Christina Hutchins, located at 808 Piedmont Avenue and consisting of approximately 1.4 acres, being further known as Cleveland County Parcel No. 8351 from Semi-Urban Residential (SU) to Auto-Urban Commercial (AU) – Case No. Z-23-9.
• Crystal Matre/Owner RE-DO-IT, LLC, located at 301 Cherokee Street and consisting of approximately .34 acres, being further known as Cleveland County Parcel No. 8061 from Central Business (CB) to Semi-Urban Residential (SU) – Case No. Z-23-10.
• Thomas Fletcher/Owner Lawndale Sand, LLC, located at 450 Countryside Road and consisting of approximately 41.18 acres, being further known as Cleveland County Parcel No. 10748 from Auto-Urban Commercial (AU) to Light Industrial (LI) – Case No. Z-23-11.
• Matthew Carpenter/Owners IPKMCC 2022, LLC and WHC Humphries, LLC, located on the southeast side of Dixon School Road and west of Kings Mountain Lake 2, known as Dixon Ridge, consisting of approximately 384.745 acres, being further known as Cleveland County Parcel Nos. 11599, 65944, 11598, 12880, and 12879 from Special Use Conditional District (SU-CD) and Suburban Residential (SR) to Planned Development District (PD) – Case No. Z-23-12.
In addition, a Public Hearing was scheduled at the same date and time to consider an amendment to the Table of Permitted Uses (for Resource Extraction in Heavy Industrial) to the City of Kings Mountain UDO.
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Candidates for the City of Kings Mountain municipal races and Cleveland County Water Board Commissioner shared their platforms with attendees. (Photo by GFWC NC Kings Mountain Woman's Club)

Women’s Club Candidate Forum

By Loretta Cozart

GFWC NC Kings Mountain Woman's Club hosted the annual candidate forum on Monday evening, September 25, at 6 p.m. at the clubhouse for local candidates to be on the November 7, Cleveland County ballot. Ten of the fifteen invited candidates came and gave a three-minute platform for the office they seek.
Deputy Director of the Cleveland County Board of Elections Renee Bost updated the attendees on the changes in the N.C. Voter ID laws. She also gave the dates for Early Voting to begin on October 19 through November 4, to be held in the basement of Cleveland County Board of Election's Office, 215 Patton Drive, Shelby, N.C.
Attending candidates running for the City of Kings Mountain Mayor were George Scott Neisler and Robert Charles Wagman. Running for the office of City of Kings Mountain City Council At-Large were Keith Edward Miller and Shearra Beachum Miller.
Candidates running for City of Kings Mountain City Council Ward 1 was Annie Cole Thombs; running for City of Kings Mountain Ward 5 were Merrill Jones Rhodes, Jr., and Mark Andrew Wampler; running for Cleveland County Water Board Commissioner were William Ralph Cameron, Jr., Pamela Parker Maddox, and Kenneth Bruce Martin.
A time of Meet and Greet the Candidates was held after the forum.
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2023 Municipal Election voter registration
deadline approaching

Voter registration deadlines are approaching for eligible individuals who wish to vote on Election Day for municipal elections on November 7 in North Carolina.
• The regular registration deadline for the November 7 municipal elections is 5 p.m. Friday, October 13.
Under state law, the regular voter registration deadline is 25 days before an election.
To be eligible to vote in a municipal election, you must be a municipality resident. Working at a place of employment within city, town, or village limits does not make a voter eligible to vote in municipal elections. Similarly, while a voter’s postal address may indicate a municipality, that does not always mean their residence is within the incorporated boundaries of the municipality.
If you are seeking to register to vote in time for the municipal elections, you can contact your county board of elections to determine whether your residential address is within the incorporated boundaries of a municipality.
“Elections officials encourage all eligible individuals to register to vote and cast ballots in this year’s municipal elections,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “Those elected in 2023 will serve in the government closest to you – your city, town, or village governing board. Their decisions about local matters like sidewalks, zoning, water, sewer, and police and fire services directly affect your community”
   Eligible individuals who miss the regular registration deadlines may register and vote simultaneously during the in-person early voting period at any early voting site in their county if early voting is available in their municipality. County-by-county early voting sites and schedules can be found at the State Board of Elections’ One-Stop Early Voting Site Search at, once they are available for each election.
   Eligible individuals have many options to register to vote, including the following:
• If the individual has a North Carolina’s driver’s license or other NCDMV identification, they may submit a voter registration application online. Learn more at Complete Your Registration Online Through the DMV. Eligible individuals may also register in person at DMV offices.
• IEligible individuals may also register to vote when applying for services at a number of state agencies. Learn more at National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
• Any eligible resident can complete a Voter Registration Application in English or Spanish on paper and return it to their county board of elections office by 5 p.m. the day of the deadline and those returns are available at 
If an application is received after the deadline, it will be timely if it is postmarked on or before the deadline date. If the postmark is missing or unclear, the application will be processed if received in the mail no later than 20 days before the election. Otherwise, the application will not be processed until after the election. If submitted by fax or e-mail, the application must be received by 5 p.m. on the deadline date, and a hard copy of the document must be delivered to the county board office by 20 days before the election.
North Carolina residents may not register to vote on Election Day, unless they become eligible after the registration deadline due to becoming a U.S. citizen or having their rights restored following a felony conviction.
Voters who need to update their existing voter registration may use the DMV website or a regular voter registration application.
   Those with a North Carolina driver’s license or other DMV identification may update their residential or mailing address and party affiliation through the DMV online service but may not change their name through that service.
   If using the paper application to update a registration, it must be signed and mailed to the voter’s county board of elections by the registration deadline. Updates to name, address (if within the county), and party affiliation must be signed but can be provided by fax or email to your county board of elections. If a voter is using the paper form to update their residential address to a new county, they must return the paper form by mail or in person.
   Registered voters may also update an existing registration at an early voting site during the early voting period.

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Robert Hoenes shakes the hand of Anita Natesh after both company representatives sign the contract between Albemarle and Caterpillar. Pictured L-R: Rob Hoenes, Caterpillar senior vice president of Resource Industries Operations and Products; Rod Shurmwan, senior vice president of Electrification and Energy Solutions at Caterpillar; Eric Norris, Albemarle’s Energy Storage President; and Anita Natesh, Albemarle’s Commercial VP for North America, Europe, and India for Energy Storage. (Photo by Loretta Cozart)

Albemarle and Caterpillar join
efforts to establish first-ever
zero-emissions lithium mine site

Albemarle Corporation signed agreements on Wednesday, September 27, with Caterpillar Inc. to collaborate on solutions to support the full circular battery value chain and sustainable mining operations.
The collaboration aims to support Albemarle’s efforts to establish Kings Mountain, N.C. as North America’s first-ever zero-emissions lithium mine site. These efforts include the utilization of next-generation, battery-powered mining equipment. Caterpillar and Albemarle signed an agreementto make  Albemarle’s  North American-produced lithium available in Caterpillar battery production. The two companies will also explore opportunities to collaborate on research and development of battery cell technology and recycling techniques.
“At Albemarle, we are committed to building a more resilient world. Our partners are critical to achieving that impact, and this collaboration with Caterpillar exhibits how we ‘walk the talk’ to pioneer what’s next. It’s a win-win-win scenario, in which we are both customers and suppliers of each other, and the innovation we pursue together benefits the world,” said Eric Norris, Albemarle’s Energy Storage President.
“Beyond supplying infrastructure and materials, battery-powered Caterpillar machinery and potential improvements to cell technology will open up new possibilities for the future of sustainable mining,” said Norris. “We look forward to replicating at Kings Mountain the same progress that we have made toward social and environmental responsibility at our Salar de Atacama operation, where we became the first lithium producer in the world to complete a third-party audit and publish our report through the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance’s (IRMA) stringent standard.”
   “Caterpillar is developing lithium-ion batteries and battery-electric products today for our customers around the world who, like Albemarle, are driving toward net zero carbon emissions goals,” said Rod Shurman, senior vice president of Electrification and Energy Solutions at Caterpillar. “The agreements for lithium offtake and potential collaboration on R&D signed today will help to advance this work and further build out a secure, resilient, and sustainable value chain for electrified equipment across the Caterpillar portfolio while also supporting Albemarle’s journey to more sustainable operations.”
   “Through this collaboration with Caterpillar, Albemarle is creating a new pathway where we can make a global impact – outside of the leadership we’re known for with EVs,” said Anita Natesh, Albemarle’s Commercial VP for North America, Europe, and India for Energy Storage. “Together with Caterpillar, we will  bring more sustainable mining equipment to market… and, in the process, demonstrate that our commitment to powering the clean energy transition extends beyond our collaborations with auto OEMs.”
   “By working together, we have the opportunity to support Albemarle’s goal of becoming the first zero-emissions lithium producer in North America while contributing to a more sustainable future for the mining industry,” said Rob Hoenes, senior vice president of Resource Industries Operations and Products at Caterpillar.
   The announcement comes on the heels of Albemarle’s recent award of $90 million from the Department of Defense to help support domestic mining and lithium production expansion for the nation’s battery supply chain.

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Leslie Plonk Tomasovich claims her prize of $10,000. Photos by January Costa

Leslie Plonk Tomasovich wins museum raffle

By January Costa,
Museum Director

Kings Mountain Historical Museum’s 20th Annual Reverse Raffle & Auctions occurred on September 16th at the Patrick Senior Center. The Museum Board Members and staff are proud of the success of the event and appreciate the support of the Kings Mountain community. The event was themed around the beautiful rolling hills of nature in our community in the fall and resulted in a beautiful environment for the evening, The proceeds from this annual event go to support the funding needed for the museum to provide educational exhibits, events, and outreach programs free of charge to the public.
The Museum thanks our event sponsors and in-kind donors for their generous contributions and those who purchased tickets and auction items. With tremendous community support, we had a successful fundraiser and gave away a Grand Prize of $10,000, which went to Leslie Plonk Tomasovich. The Kings Mountain Historical Museum looks forward to continuing to provide a home for the artifacts of Kings Mountain, interpreting our local history, and seeing you all soon for future exhibits and programs!
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Mountaineers for a
Better Community
to host candidate forum

By Loretta Cozart

On Monday, October 9, at 6 p.m., Mountaineers for a Better Community (KM Better) will host a candidate forum at Central United Methodist Church’s Christian Activity Center at 113 S. Piedmont Avenue in Kings Mountain.
KM Better is a non-profit and nonpartisan organization encouraging community education and transparency to promote a forward-thinking vision for the future of Kings Mountain.
The forum will include mayoral and city council candidates, providing an excellent opportunity for citizens to learn more about the city's issues and how each candidate plans to address those challenges while keeping the growth of the local economy at the forefront.
The forum will also allow candidates to share their vision for Kings Mountain and why they are running for office. This free event is open to the public. 
   During the forum, candidates will answer questions critical to the community. The event will be recorded during the forum and later air on Cleveland Community College’s C19.
   Early voting will occur from October 19 through November 4; election day is Tuesday, November 7. Kings Mountain Polling locations are Patrick Senior Center, 909 E King Street, Kings Mountain, and Mauney Memorial Library, 100 S. Piedmont Avenue, Kings Mountain. It is important to note that photo IDs are now required for all municipal elections.
   If you do not know your Polling Place, visit the Cleveland County Board of Elections at 15 Patton Dr. in Shelby or call (704) 484-4858.
   KM Better has three main goals:
    •    To foster conversations with the community about our collective future – what it holds and how we get there. We will always prioritize transparency, accountability, and engagement when it comes to City Government.
    •    To add knowledgeable voices to important conversations – to ensure that ALL citizens are involved and educated when it comes to important issues facing our city.
    •    To create change – for the better. This comes from engagement and education, but also collective action towards a forward-looking vision for Kings Mountain.
   For more information about Mountaineers for a Better Community, please visit
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Pictured, not in order: Katherine Pendergrass, Karl Pendergrass, Valerie Boyd, Geraldine Dye, Randy Miller, Betty Jordan, Deborah Morgan, Melba Clinton, and Tabitha Thomas. Photo by Patrick Senior Center

The Davidson Association donates to Patrick Sr. Center 

The Davidson Association in Kings Mountain recently donated a month’s supply of reusable grocery bags to the Patrick Senior Center to fill with food for the monthly food distribution to local seniors in need.
“The Patrick Center appreciates the generous donation made by the Davidson Association. It welcomes other community partners who would also like to donate bags or give monetary donations toward food purchases,” Senior Services Manager Tabitha Thomas said.
The center gives away
100 or more bags of food each month, and funding is limited. If you would like to contribute toward feeding local seniors, please call Tabitha Thomas at 704-734-0447.
   Davidson Alumni Resource Center, Inc. is a nonpartisan 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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Voters can now get Free photo ID cards from County Boards of Elections

  Registered voters who do not have an acceptable identification card for voting in North Carolina can now go to their county board of elections office to get a free ID.
   Most voters have a North Carolina driver’s license, an acceptable form of photo ID for voting. Those voters do not need to obtain a separate ID from their county board. Other common forms of acceptable ID include military or veterans ID cards issued by the federal government and college student and public employer ID cards that the State Board approved for use in voting. For a full list of acceptable forms of photo ID for voting, see the State Board’s website at Voter ID.
Registered voters who do not have an acceptable form of identification for voting purposes can now get a free photo ID from their county board of elections office. No special documents are needed. Voters will simply provide their name, date of birth, and the last four digits of their Social Security number, and have their photo taken.
   In most counties, voters can get an ID printed and given to them on the spot. A few counties may need to get the required information from the voter, take their photo, then mail the ID card to the voter or inform the voter that the ID card is ready to be picked up, whichever the voter prefers. Voters with questions about the ID process should contact their county board of elections.
A free voter photo ID will include the voter’s photo, name, and registration number. They will expire 10 years from the date of issuance. The county boards of elections can issue cards at any time during regular business hours, except for the period following the last day of early voting through Election Day.
   “Any voter who does not have an acceptable ID card for voting can now get a free ID from their county board of elections,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “State Board staff has worked diligently with the county boards of elections over the past couple of months to get the necessary software and hardware for ID printing.”
Voters also can get a free ID from the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). Find more information under “No-Fee ID Cards” at State IDs | NCDMV.
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John Norris

Nashville recording  artist to perform at Clev. County Fair

Nashville recording artists and songwriter John Norris is a native of Sanford, North Carolina.
John’s love of music was forged in the church and country music tradition of his home town. Singing with his family in church and picking up the guitar at age 10, he learned his craft alongside family and friends, with a healthy dose of YouTube to hone his skills.
At age 14, John turned to writing music to help deal with the hardships of circumstances in life. Then, at just 16, John hit the road playing at bars, festivals, and music venues.  Within two years he headed to Nashville to network, write and grow in knowledge of the music industry.
John recorded part of his debut Nashville record at Direct Image Recording Studio, with producer Kenny Royster. The tracks include: “God’s Up To Somethin”, “Thank God She Did”, “This Town”, “Good Jeans”, “Natural Light”, and “Lonely Don’t Last Long”.
John will be performing with his band several times daily at the Cleveland County Fair. The fair will be held September 28-October 8.
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Michelle Mack, CCS Teacher Of the Year 2023

Michelle Mack named
Clev. Co. Schools 2023
Teacher of the Year 

Meet North Elementary School Kindergarten teacher Michelle Mack, CCS Teacher of the Year 2023.   She has been working for Cleveland County Schools since 1995.  Michelle received her Child Development and Family Relations degree from UNC-Greensboro and her teaching certificate from Belmont Abbey College.
Since then, she has taught Kindergarten at North Elementary School for many years! Michelle later went on to earn her master’s degree from Appalachian State University along with her National Board certification.
Michelle had such positive, impactful school experiences that she became a teacher. She wanted to return the same kindness and passion to students. “In the classroom, I strive to be a positive role model, make learning fun, build confidence, and empower students to be successful lifelong learners,” Michelle says. “Seeing the growth in each child is rewarding and priceless! I am proud to be a North School Tiger! I am so blessed to be able to work with an amazing, awesome, and gifted staff who enjoy teaching students and helping them succeed. We are a close-knit family caring for each other and our students. We love our students!”
Michelle is married to Bruce Mack, the Vice President of Academic Programs at Cleveland Community College. They are members of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Kings Mountain. Bruce and Michelle have two wonderful children. Cameron is an engineer and lives in Greensboro, and Carmyn is a junior at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, majoring in education.

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Grover Elementary School’s Savannah Ross was named CCS’ 2023 Exceptional Children Educator. Photo by CCS

Savannah Ross named EC Educator of Excellence

Cleveland County Schools is proud to announce that Savannah Ross of Grover Elementary has been named the 2023 Exceptional Children (EC) Educator of Excellence. This prestigious honor recognizes Mrs. Ross’s outstanding dedication and unwavering commitment to the success of students with special needs.
According to a nomination letter, it is said that
“Savannah Ross implements evidence-based instructional programs with the highest fidelity. Only in her eighth year as an educator, she understands the importance of making data-based instructional decisions and consistently uses a variety of progress monitoring tools to measure her students’ growth and make critical instructional adjustments.”
“Mrs. Ross exemplifies true dedication to improving the lives of children in all that she does,” said Wendy Fitch, Executive Director of Exceptional Children.  “She is passionate about teaching and seeing her students succeed, grow, and reach their highest potential in their academic, social, and behavioral skills.”
In addition to her responsibilities as an Exceptional Children’s teacher, Mrs. Ross is a crucial staff member at her school, serving on various committees, going above  and  beyond  to help
  “Savannah Ross was born to love and care for children,” said Brandy Curtis, principal at Grover Elementary. “She looks for the best ways to support and meet the needs of her students, not the easiest or quickest.”
   As the EC Educator of the Year, Ms. Ross will receive recognition at the Conference of Exceptional Children in Greensboro later this year representing Cleveland County Schools at the annual reception.
   “Oh, my goodness,” said Ross during a surprise recognition at Grover Elementary that included members of the CCS Central Services, Exceptional Children’s Department, and Grover Elementary administrators. “I was not expecting this today at all.”
   Cleveland County Schools congratulates Savannah Ross on her well-deserved recognition as the EC Educator of Excellence.

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Temporary site for household garbage will open at Midpines Convenience Center at 615 Margrace Road in Kings Mountain. (Photo provided)

Midpines Convenience Center Temporary Site

Starting October 2, 2023, Cleveland County Government will open a temporary site at the Midpines Convenience Center at 615 Margrace Road in Kings Mountain. Only household garbage will be permitted, and no trailers will be allowed at this location.
“The Midpines location is one of our busiest convenience sites,” said Josh Davis, Solid Waste Director. “Both staff and the County Commissioners heard concerns of those in the nearby community and believed a temporary site would be important while long-term options are considered.”
The Midpines Recycling Center was closed on August 10 due to safety concerns related to the structural integrity of the concrete driving and unloading areas. The engineered cost estimate for demolishing and rebuilding the site is approximately $1.1 million.
The Cleveland County Solid Waste Division is studying long-term options, including relocation of a convenience site that will address existing traffic queueing issues and lack of space on the existing site.
The temporary site will be open 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday, following the same hours as the other convenience sites throughout the county. The Oak Grove Recycling Center, located at 1127 Oak Grove Road in Kings Mountain, is the closest alternate site for bulk and recycling.
Any additional updates or changes to the Midpines Convenience Center will be posted on the County’s Facebook page and our website at

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This teenage black bear was seen on the Gateway Trail Sunday around 3 p.m. Use caution in rural or wooded areas, as six bears have been seen in KM within the last week. Photo by Jim Gibson

Six bear sightings in KM last week

By Loretta Cozart

A marked increase in bear sightings occurred in Kings Mountain last week. A black bear sighting occurred on the Gateway Trail Sunday afternoon around 3:15 p.m., but it was not an isolated event.
“Most folks are reporting a teenage bear out foraging last week. While we can’t be sure this is the same bear, we know a mother bear and several babies were seen foraging last year. It is likely those cubs are teenagers now and are out on their own,” Shirley Brutko shared.
“Bears have been seen in Hillside, Hall Crossing, Kings Mountain Blvd. near the Intermediate School, behind the Comfort Inn, and twice on the Gateway Trail. We are getting bear warning signs for the trail and urge hikers to familiarize themselves with bears.
According to the Humane Society, don’t fear the worst if you see a black bear in your yard. A youngster may simply be passing through in search of a home of  their  own. Or an  adult
See BEAR, Page 5A
From Page 1A
may be checking out an enticing smell or interesting sound. Usually, when they find out there are people around, they’ll head for the hills, never to be seen again.
If you do encounter a bear, remain calm and remember that the bear is likely more scared of you than you are of them. Attacks by black bears on people are very rare and most black bears can be easily scared away with the following approach:
• Stand and face the bear directly. Never run away from or approach them.
• Make yourself look as big as possible by spreading your arms or, better yet, a coat.
• Make as much noise as possible by yelling, banging pots and pans, or using other noisemaking devices.
• If the bear approaches and you have bear spray, spray the bear as they approach.
• In the rare case that a black bear attacks you, fight back (don’t play dead).
• After the bear leaves, remove whatever attracted them to the location (barbecue grill, bird feeder, pet food, or garbage).
If you choose to carry bear spray with you, review these things to know:
• Bear spray is a deterrent made of red pepper oil (oleoresin of capsaicin). It inflames the eyes and upper respiratory system. If used properly, it can effectively deter an aggressive bear.
• Treat bear spray like a firearm. Contents are under pressure: Spray comes out at more than 70 mph and could cause permanent eye damage.
• Do not pre-spray objects. Bear spray does not work like an insect repellent. It may attract a bear because of the residue’s strong odor if used this way.
• When purchasing, look for canisters marked “Bear Spray” or “Bear Deterrent” with an EPA registration, 1-2% capsaicin and capsaicinoids, and a 25-foot (8 m) or more range.
• Keep the spray away from heat (120°F) and cold (-7°F). In extreme heat, pressure can build until the canister explodes; in extreme cold, pressure may decrease, so the canister may not spray properly.
• Keep in mind when traveling that safety regulations prohibit airlines from transporting bear spray. If traveling in be sure to inform the pilot of small planes or helicopters before your departure. The pilot may allow you to store bear spray in the aircraft’s float or outer compartment.
•    When camping, keep bear spray accessible at night.
•    If you have a partially used canister of bear spray or if it is beyond its expiration date, dispose of it or use it for training purposes. Do not rely on it as a deterrent. A completely emptied bear spray canister may be discarded as trash or disposed of as hazardous waste. Check with your local waste authority.


Patriot Day Memorial observed Monday

By Loretta Cozart

On Monday, September 11th, Patriot Day was observed at 9 a.m. in Kings Mountain Fire Department Station 1, located at 106 Spruce Street. It has been 22 years since America was attacked, and nearly 3,000 people lost their lives due to acts of terrorism against the nation on that day.
The Fire Chief, Tom Harmon, welcomed everyone gathered. The Fire Chaplain, James Waseman, offered the invocation, and the Assistant Fire Chief, Josh Wall, led all in reciting The Pledge of Allegiance.
The First Baptist Church Kings Mountain Ensemble, led by Pastor Johnathan Bundon, provided Patriotic Music. Mayor Scott Neisler gave the opening remarks, and Chief Harmon introduced the Keynote Speaker, USAF Master Sgt. John Whitaker. The speech was preceded by Captain Jamie Black reading The Ringing of the Bell.
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Overmountain men gather at Sycamore Shoals and pray before leaving for Kings Mountain. Photos by Torrence Photography.

Liberty Mountain opens Sept. 15

By Loretta Cozart

Liberty Mountain: The Revolutionary Drama opens for its eighth season this Friday, September 15. The play shares the personal trials many families faced during the period of the Battle of Kings Mountain in the South during Cornwallis’ Southern Campaign.
When the Herald visited with Bob Inman and Jim Champion last week, Bob shared a significant fact about the victory at Kings Mountain. “When the battle was won, it swayed people to the patriot cause, helping them recruit more participants. The victory turned the tide in favor of the patriot cause and swayed public sentiment,” he said.
   Nobody wants to back a losing cause, especially against the British, one of the most powerful and technologically advanced militaries in Europe and the world. To do so could mean the loss of everything a family had worked so hard to achieve or the loss of the family altogether. Many settlers were unwilling to take that risk by fighting until people saw that it was possible to defeat the British. The Battle of Kings Mountain gave them that hope.
   The battle took place eight miles south of Kings Mountain and is the pivotal historical event for which the city took its name. Many descendants of this battle remain in the community and embrace that history in name and spirit.
   When asked about this season, Jim Champion said, “I am hopeful for this year.” And Bob quickly pointed out that a sophisticated marketing effort is underway under Jim's supervision. “Thanks to our sponsors, we have funds for a robust marketing plan utilizing geotargeted marketing.” Geotargeting creates more relevant, targeted promotions to engage consumers.
   “In addition, Albemarle is a new sponsor,” Jim adds. “Thanks to them, every fourth grader in Cleveland County received tickets for them and a parent. Every fourth grader in Cleveland County can see the play this year, around 1,400 students. That is huge.”
   “Moving to the Fall allowed us to do a school drive. This year, three schools from Gaston, Cleveland, and Cherokee Counties will join us for three school-day performances. That accounts for another 750 students who will see the play,” Jim said. “The sponsorship from Albemarle helped us accomplish our goal for an educational component with the play.”
   “The Patrick family is our Founding Sponsor, and they support us in all ways, and we are very thankful for their support.” Another key sponsor this year is the City of Kings Mountain Tourism and Development Authority.
   “This year, we have included the Catawba Indians into the play, as well. Because many lived in this area and traded with the settlers,” Bob added. “We have done the research and cannot prove that the Catawba Indians participated in the battle. But we do know that they interacted with the settlers and would have traded with them. They are also very much a part of this story.”
  When asked about the cast, Bob said, “We have 26 cast members this year, and they are the most experienced theater cast, top to bottom, that we have had so far. They know what they are doing, hit their marks, and do a wonderful job.”
   In addition to the play, Jim has lots going on with the theater. And moving to the Fall put an increased workload on the Liberty Mountain committees. “I think it will be a rewarding season for us, and we will accomplish what we set out to do: Educate, entertain, and have a great show.”
   The theater remains under renovation, so Jim asks patrons to “excuse our dust.” They will have the facility ready for the performance, but due to supply and demand issues, new doors will not be installed until after the season.
   Performances are on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, September 15,16,17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, October 1, 6, and 8. Performance Times: Friday: 7:30 p.m., Saturday: 3:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., and Sunday: 3:00 p.m. Joy Performance Theater is 202 S. Railroad Ave. Kings Mountain, NC 28086.