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.


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.”


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.

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.

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. 

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.
Pictured (L-R) Volunteer of the Year Janet Beani and Patrick Center Director Tabitha Thomas. Photo by Lynn Lail

Senior Center hosts drive-thru volunteer appreciation event

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

Mobile food pantry Oct. 14
at Hope Community Church

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

City Of KM - Honors Regina Ruff and Ovarian Cancer Awareness

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

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

God stepped in and helped

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Lisa Proctor,
KMPD Chief Of Police

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

New owners for Big Red’s Café

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Land being cleared for business park

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

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

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Great Pumpkin Story Walk
in Patriots Park

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

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

Property being cleared for Casino

(October 7, 2020)

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


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

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

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

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

Adkins takes over as new
Main Street Coordinator

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


NCDHHS releases COVID-19 exposure notification app

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

Advent Academy ribbon cutting

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

Land near casino sells for $2.725M

By Loretta Cozart

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

Gardner-Webb hosts virtual internship fair October 28

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

Medicare Beneficiaries should compare plans during open enrollment

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

Additional $40M COVID for small businesses

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

NC lawmakers file
federal lawsuit alleging
backroom elections deal

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

BeachBlast Festival nominated for CBMA Event of the Year

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

Catawba Land Trust - New
Legislation introduced

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

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

KM resident robbed
and shot in Charlotte

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

Alliance Bank & Trust moves to Shelby Road

By Loretta Cozart

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

Battle of km videos2

Videos highlight new aspects of KM battle

By April Shauf
Special to Community First Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


City utilities update

By Loretta Cozart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conceptual drawing of casino area released

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• 2,600 direct jobs

• 656 indirect and 323 induced jobs

• $273 million Facility investment

• $208 million in economic activity

• $100 million total labor income annually

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

• $428 million in annual impact

Land near casino sells for $1.77M

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

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

Battle of Kings Mountain commemoration goes virtual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senior Center needs food for older adults

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

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

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

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

Below is a list of foods that are especially needed:

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

• Boxes of macaroni & cheese

• Canned fruits and vegetables

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

• Cornbread mix

• Canned beans and bags of dried beans

• Cereal or variety packs of small boxes

• Fruit or pudding cups

• Apple sauce or other fruit pouches

• Pasta

• Spaghetti sauce

• Nuts/trail mix

• White and brown rice

• Peanuts and peanut butter

• Cheese and crackers

• Variety packs of chips, cooks and snacks

• Ensure/Boost

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

YMCA reopens, taking measures to ensure safety

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

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

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

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

What should you expect when visiting the YMCA?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Deep overnight cleaning is done each day

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

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

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

Rikard named CCS Principal of the Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Legislation introduced reaffirms Catawba Land Trust status of Catawba Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Central United Methodist ChurchPotter retires from Community Kitchen:

By Libby Putnam 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Central United Methodist Church Community Kitchen

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

Citizen comments bring fireworks at City Council meeting last month

By Loretta Cozart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City of Kings Mountain to continue tree trimming

By Janet Hart, City of Kings Mountain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key points:

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

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

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

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

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

105 patients at White Oak Manor have COVID-19

By Loretta Cozart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 to provide $1 billion in relief

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

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

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

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

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

The hold harmless funding policy was cited by education leaders as the most important measure lawmakers could take to support North Carolina schools. Today, Republicans accomplished it.

“This is a historic day of promises kept for North Carolinians, the culmination of a decade of state government reform by this Republican General Assembly that allows us to continue investing in recovery for all our citizens today,” Speaker Moore said Thursday.

Relief for North Carolinians in House Bill 1105 Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 includes:

• Childcare support of $335 to North Carolina parents

• Better unemployment benefits increased $200/month

• $75 million for PPE to protect North Carolinians

• Promises kept to K-12 schools to “hold harmless” funding

• A total increase of $115 million to education

• $17 million in grants for exceptional children’s services

• $50 million to the Lost Wages Assistance Program

• Help for more families to qualify for scholarship programs

• Additional $45 million for small business grant program

• Bipartisan priorities like the PPE+NC program

• Elimination of education wait lists for kids with disabilities

• $40 million investment in broadband and home connectivity

• Higher enrollment in virtual education options for families

• $44.5 million for hurricane recovery from four major storms

• $38 million on direct services for behavioral health

• Support for safe voting with $5 million for elections boards
Sarahlee 2018large
Sarah Lee Owensby

Sarah Lee Owensby nominated as Major Market Broadcast Personality

Kings Mountain native Sarah Lee Owensby, along with Paul Schadt and Geof Knight at WKKT 96.9 The Kat, have been nominated for a Country Music Award for Major Market Broadcast Personality of the year.

Sarah Lee began working at WKKT two years ago and had this to say of the award, “To say I’m honored is an understatement! Thank you for the opportunity to share my life every morning, for encouraging me, motivating me, and believing in me. God is good y’all. With Him all things are possible. To all the dreamers, keep dreaming!”
Commander Thomas Keith Morrow, II

Morrow retires from United States Navy

After 20 years of service, Commander Thomas Keith Morrow, II is retiring from the United States Navy.

A native of Kings Mountain, he graduated from Kings Mountain High School in 1996. He went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering–Aeronautical Systems. He also holds an Executive Masters in Business Administration degree from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Commander Morrow is a Naval Aviator with over 1,900 flight hours in the T-34, TH-57, and H-60 aircraft. He completed flight training at Naval Air Stations Pensacola (FL), Corpus Christi (TX), and Whiting Field (Milton, FL), earning his “wings of gold” in 2002. After training as an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter pilot, he joined the HSL-46 “Grandmasters” at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, FL.

While there, he deployed on board USS NICHOLAS (FFG 47) in support of the Global War on Terrorism in 2003 and on board USS DOYLE (FFG 39) conducting Counter-Narco Terrorism operations in 2005. Commander Morrow also served on board USS WINSTON S CHURCHILL (DDG 79) and was recognized as part of the 2005 Naval Helicopter Association’s Region 3 Aircrew of the Year.

After graduating from the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center’s Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI) course in 2006, Commander Morrow reported to Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Weapons School, Atlantic where he served as an instructor pilot and program manager for multiple tactical training programs. While there, he earned the distinction as the most qualified pilot in the Wing, and in 2008 he was recognized as the HSM Weapons School, Atlantic Instructor Pilot of the Year. Commander Morrow then returned to HSL-46 where he served as the squadron’s Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor and Training Department Head.

In 2010, Commander Morrow joined the HSL-48 “Vipers” and served as the Training and Planning Director prior to deploying in 2012 and again in 2013 as the Officer-in-Charge of aviation operations and maintenance on board USS HUÉ CITY (CG 66), “shotgun” escort for the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and Carrier Strike Group EIGHT.

After completing back-to-back deployments to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Arabian Gulf Security operations, Commander Morrow returned home to serve as the squadron’s Director of Operations and Logistics and was recognized as the 2013 HSL-48 Officer of the Year.

Following a year at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI, Commander Morrow joined the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, Office of Budget (FMB) at the Pentagon in Washington, DC in 2014 where he has served as the Senior Financial Manager for the readiness portfolios, providing operations and maintenance funding for all of the Navy’s ships, aircraft, and shore facilities.

Commander Morrow’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), and numerous unit and campaign awards. He is married to the former Elizabeth George from Reidsville, NC and together they have two daughters, Lyla and Caroline.