Accident at KM Post Office

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

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

Photos by Reg Alexander                                                      

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

NCDOT paving project continues through town

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Keith Corporation markets new Kings Mountain Corporate Center

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

Benestar Brands to open plant in Kings Mountain

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Local man dies during hunting trip

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

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

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

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

CBMA’s was held
virtually Nov. 14


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

Clev. Co. Schools
holiday calendar

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Veterans honored at  drive-thru meal event

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

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

Advent Lutheran Honors Local Heroes

(November 12, 20202 Issue)

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


Photos provided by Pastor Joshua Morgan
 

KM holiday trash schedule

(November 12, 20202 Issue)

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

City council hears update on Comprehensive Plan 

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


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

Chili Cook-off at the
Legion Nov. 14

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

City Council passes sale of alcohol
before noon on Sunday

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Gordon new face on county board

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

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

Republicans sweep school board race

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

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

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

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

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

KMLT’s Frozen Jr.
runs one more week 

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

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

Nail-biting race for US President

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

 Kevin Gordon new face
on county board

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

Republicans sweep
school board race

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

Nail-biting race for US President

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

Governor Cooper’s Executive Order  strengthens eviction prevention in NC

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

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

American Legion Veteran’s breakfast this Saturday

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

City of Kings Mountain
to honor veterans Nov. 10

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

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

City Council approves economic
incentive grants, rezoning petitions

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

Hinson named KMMS employee of the month

By Windy Bagwell

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

Greg Putnam recognized by city for doing the right thing

By Loretta Cozart

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

Water project adds $750,000 to budget

By Loretta Cozart

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

KM area voters go to the polls Tuesday

(October 28, 2020 Issue)

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

Four more days of Early Voting

(October 28, 2020 Issue)

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

Helen Bullock turns 103

(October 28, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

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

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

Monster Bash LIVE!

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

President Trump visits Gastonia

(October 28, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Grants available to business impacted by COVID-19

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

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

Martin Marietta
KM Quarry honored

 (October 21, 2020 Issue)

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

Trump rally in
Gastonia Wednesday

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Monster Bash LIVE! 
(October 21, 2020 Issue)

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

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

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

Strong showing
by voters at early voting 

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

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

Wilcox is new minister
at First Presbyterian 

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Cityofkmnewlogo

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

By Loretta Cozart

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

Cleveland County COVID-19
numbers going in wrong direction 

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

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

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

###

 

Mobile food pantry at Mt. Calvary Baptist
October 21 

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

International snack food company
to invest $24M in KM 

(October 21 Issue)

(October 21 Issue)

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

 
Schoolboard

School Board candidates
speak out

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

Early Voting kicks-off Thursday
for 17 days

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

Potato Project harvested 3,000 pounds of potatoes

By Loretta Cozart

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

Howard, Bridges left their mark

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

Senior Center hosts drive-thru volunteer appreciation event

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