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Toneika Stephens-Young, whose stage name is Neika Simone, plans a Smooth Jazz Festival for Kings Mountain this May. Photo provided

KM Smooth Jazz Festival slated for May 13 at
Joy Performance Center

By Loretta Cozart
Toneika Stephens-Young, whose stage name is Neika Simone, is a Kings Mountain native bringing  Kings Mountain Smooth Jazz Festival to town on Saturday, May 13, at Joy Performance Center, at 202 S. Railroad Avenue.
So far, there are five confirmed performers, ranging from vocalists, to a grammy nominated saxophonist. Opening the show is V Siren, followed by Black Coffee Quartet, Tryon Parks, and Simone. The performance also features saxophonist Jakiem Joyner. The event host is Comedian Ketta Keet. The lineup is guaranteed to bring an exciting evening of Smooth Jazz.
Many of Simone’s family members, including her parents, still reside in the area. Her parents are Charles and Pasty Stephens, and her brother is Michael Stephens. Growing up, she attended Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where she sang in the youth choir. She
attended  Kings  Mountain District Schools: Bethware Elementary, Central School, Kings Mountain Middle School, and she graduated from Kings Mountain High School in 1993. She sang in the Pop-Choir at Central and Kings Review in high school. She attended Elizabeth City State on a scholarship majoring in music.
While in college, friends asked her if she had ever thought about jazz. But it wasn’t until she moved to Richmond, Virginia that she took the time to really listen to that genre of music.
“As a teenager, I was shy and stayed with things that were most comfortable. In Richmond, I met a group of performers and with them, I began to grow as a singer and accept my own voice,” Simone said.
Hype Magazine described Simone’s work stating, “Released on February 3, 2022, the tantalizing four-track EP covers relatable emotions from opening oneself up to the sweet cravings of new love, unpacking the complicated nuances of infidelity, to setting boundaries after a break-up. With lyrics and melody written entirely by Simone, her work has been described by as having ‘powerful vocal range, a dynamic expanse of emotions, an intoxicating rhythm diversity and a hypnotic gift for intimate and inviting songwriting.’ Her major influences aside from Nina Simone include Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Nancy Wilson.”
   Simone shared the reason for bringing this performance home, “I see Kings Mountain progressing as a city. What is going on downtown is exciting and I feel the time has come to bring an annual Smooth Jazz Festival event here. The folks in our lineup are top-rated musicians and Joy Performance Theater is an excellent venue in which to host such an event. Friends keep asking me, ‘Where are you performing? When are you playing?,’ so it makes sense that I to bring my music home and share it with the community.”
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The Brinkley Amphitheater, a 900-seat venue, should be open by the fall. (Photo by GWU)

Brinkley Amphitheater construction
underway at Gardner-Webb University

David and Marie Brinkley, longtime donors who have contributed to the advancement of Gardner-Webb University, continue to see their recent investment flourish. The Brinkley Amphitheater, a 900-seat venue, is progressing.
“According to our construction schedule, we are looking at being able to host our first show this fall,” said David Wacaster, director of operations for Facilities and Maintenance.
   The finished project will engage students and the community while also adding an inviting and welcoming presence to Main Street and the South entrance to campus. The Brinkley Amphitheater will provide a new place to present performing arts, outdoor worship services, Webbstock events and other summer concerts.
This new venue is part of a larger outdoor complex. In the second phase of development for the site, Gardner-Webb intends to construct a Main Street-facing building adjoining the amphitheater that will house both a campus shop and a nationally    recognized eatery open to the public.
   The Brinkleys provided the lead naming gift, and according to GWU’s Vice President for Advancement Nate Evans, additional support for the outdoor performance complex came from a $500,000 budget appropriation from the North Carolina General Assembly, with endorsements from the Boiling Springs Town Council and the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners. Several other university donors have also generously provided financial contributions towards this project. 
The Brinkleys have a strong philanthropic background and pledged to give portions of their income to making a difference in the community. “Every day when I say my prayers, I ask the Lord to give me opportunities that I can share my blessings,” David Brinkley stated.
In addition to their gifts to various organizations in Cleveland County and Kings Mountain, N.C., where they live, the Brinkleys have financially supported several projects at Gardner-Webb. Most recently, they donated money toward a new Runnin’ Bulldog sculpture at Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center. In the past, they have provided gifts for Gardner-Webb academic programs, the Marching Bulldog Band uniforms and the Brinkley Softball Stadium.
When the opportunity presented itself for them to contribute to the amphitheater project, they were excited about the possibilities of a new performance venue for the University. They believe that the amphitheater will give the University exposure and open doors for opportunities for people in the region to become more familiar with the town of Boiling Springs and Gardner-Webb University.
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M.E. Brown, LLC purchased the old Challenger 3 Golf & Amusement property north of Shelby. Photo by Google Earth

M. E. Brown Enterprises, LLC, buys 60+ in N. Cleveland County

By Loretta Cozart

M. E. Brown Enterprises, LLC, the former owner of Hounds Drive-in, Michel E. Brown listed as agent, has purchased 61.53 acres in northern Cleveland County.
The property was once the site of Challenger 3 Golf & Amusement, and later Oak Mills, at 1650 N. Post Road/Hwy. 180 in upper Cleveland County. The sale was recorded on February 28.
On February 19 Hounds Drive-in announced it would close, and according to NC Secretary of State, Hounds Drive-In Theatre, LLC has been dissolved.
Deer Brook Golf Club, LLC  adjoins the property on three sides. A church and residences are across the street. No plans have yet been announced for the property.   
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Chief Jeff Ledford

Chief Jeff Ledford looks
back on career at SPD

By Loretta Cozart

On Friday, March 31 at 4 p.m., Shelby Police Chief Jeff Ledford retired, signing off for the last time after 30-years of service with the department.
He was quick to thank others for pointing him toward a career in law enforcement. After graduating from Kings Mountain High School in 1986, he began his path into public service when he joined the Kings Mountain Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter at the age of 18.
Chief Ledford was born, raised, and continues to live in Kings Mountain. He is the son of the late Harold and Rachel Ledford.
“My Godfather was David Corn, and he had a heavy influence on me. He had worked at Kings Mountain Police Department before going on to the state to instruct officers in use of the Intoxilyzer. On his advice, I studied Criminal Justice and went into the Police Academy in 1991. He introduced me to Shelby Police Department, and I began my career here in 1992. I was promoted to chief fifteen years ago and have been fortunate to work my entire career in one place.”
When asked if any event in his career stands out in his mind, Chief Ledford answered saying, “I’ve spent the last couple of months reflecting about that and there is not one single moment that was the moment. I would have to say that moment is made up of lots of different moments, if that makes sense?”
“It is made up of all the people I’ve worked for. I came up under some good leaders and mentors. They helped me, and not just people from Shelby. Those I worked alongside watching what they did every day, it was just humbling to watch,” he said.
“Lots of moments in the last five years stand out, watching how officers have handled and worked with groups in the community. And this was before the time that the national narrative was police being against the community. The people I work alongside take customer service very seriously, engaging the community. It is amazing how the community has rallied around us. We have had our dark days, but I have been blessed for 30-years to be part of this group.”
According to Chief Ledford, the program he takes immense pride in is Partners for Change, started in 2012. He feels this group has strengthened community relations and community cohesion. “I didn’t do this myself,” he was quick to point out. “This group was formed by several pastors, community leaders, and me. We didn’t just have 10 to 20 people involved for our quarterly lunches, we had 80 to 100.”
“To see people come together in a room for lunch and conversation. I ask myself, ‘Had we not done that, where would we be?’ I have learned that it takes years to build trust and relationships, but that trust can be lost in a minute. We held a lunch yesterday to thank everyone, and to say that we aren’t through yet; we have more work to do.”
“Here, I have seen law enforcement who really cares about the community, Shelby Police Department, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, Kings Mountain Police Department, and Bessemer City Police Department. I have been blessed to work among the best in this business. When you work with people like that, you realize you are lucky to have found such a good place to be.”
When asked what his plans are for retirement, Chief Ledford shared that he had spoken to several retired officers earlier in the day. “Talking to them, I realized I wouldn’t be where I am today were it not for them putting me on this path.”
Chief Ledford’s initial plans include a family trip to the coast for a couple of weeks. “I have to catch up on a few things I’ve put off. Family, they are the people who paid the price the most. They have sacrificed for me. And the person who tolerated the most was my wife, Kendra. I have a debt to repay to her.”
My son, Jarrett, just graduated. He is a prosecutor and the Assistant District Attorney. I’m passing that public service torch on to him. My daughter Bailey is a student at Campbell University, and I plan to go watch her cheer there. She is working on a Marketing Major, and now it’s my turn to cheer them both on.”
   Chief Ledford paused, “Today is bittersweet, especially when I do my final sign-off. I’ve watched others do it and didn’t understand how hard that is to do, until I was preparing for it myself. I look forward to the next chapter. I just know it is going to be hard to close this one. At 4 pm, I’ll say for the last time, ‘Shelby, I’m 10-42,’ the code used to indicate an officer's end of tour. “If I can get through that, then I’ll be off to the coast.”
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Easter Sunrise
Service planned

The Kings Mountain Ministerial Association will be leading in an Easter Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday, April 9 at 7:00 A.M. at Mountain Rest Cemetery in Kings Mountain.
The service will be held around the huge white cross.  Brother Chris Waldt, Lay Assistant to the Pastor at East Gold Wesleyan Church, will bring the Easter Sunrise message.
Special music will be provided by Mr. Bill McMurrey and Mr. Johnathan Frady. Rev. Scott Whitney, Pastor of the East Gold Street Church will lead the service. In the event of inclement weather, the service will be moved to Eastside Baptist Church, 308 York Road.
Everyone is invited to come and worship as we celebrate the greatest event in history—the Resurrection of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!
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Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg Hunt at the American Legion – Otis D. Green American Legion Post 155 in Kings Mountain announces their 10th annual Easter Egg Hunt at the post home at 613 E. Gold Street on Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for children ages 1 – 12. This family friendly event is open to the public. A hotdog lunch will be served.
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Members of the Gateway Trail Committee, politicians, and stakeholders posed for the ribbon cutting for Kings Mountain’s newest playground. See more photos on page 5A. Photos provided

KM Gateway Trail Playground ribbon cutting

By Loretta Cozart

   Kings Mountain Gateway Trail held a ribbon cutting on Friday, March 31 at 3:30 p.m. for the new playground at 807 S. Battleground Ave., in Kings Mountain.
   Shirley Brutko thanked the folks that made the playground possible and introduced Tim Moore, Speaker of the NC House.  
   Speaker Moore spoke about the financial gift from the state that helped make the playground possible and added that 2023 is the Year of the Trails for North Carolina and how important trails are to the state.
   For more information about the Gateway Trail, call: 704-685-3549 OR 704-739-9663 or email Shirley Brutko at ““.

Bill filed banning foreign adversaries
to buy NC farmland

On March 28, state House Majority Leader John Bell filed the N.C. Farmland and Military Protection Act, House Bill 463, to prohibit China, Russia, Iran and other foreign adversaries and state-controlled entities from purchasing agricultural land, including property surrounding military bases.
Primary sponsors include Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), Rep. Jeff Zenger (R-Forsyth) and Rep. Jennifer Balkcom (R-Henderson).
“Allowing foreign adversaries to purchase farmland is a legitimate concern in rural North Carolina and poses a serious risk to our national and food security,” said Rep. Bell. “By putting a halt to these land grabs, this bill will protect our state’s most precious natural resources while further safeguarding our military instillations. It is critical that we act now to mitigate this unnecessary threat to our state and nation.”
The legislation, which has the support of the N.C. Farm Bureau, becomes effective on January 1, 2024, and applies only to land acquired on and after that date.
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KMPD warns of
pine straw scam

Last week, KMPD responded to a residence on Garrison Drive in reference to a dispute over services rendered putting out pine straw. Two black males driving a red in color Ford F250 with Georgia plates solicited an elderly citizen to hire them to put pine straw out at $9.00 a bale. The work took approximately one hour to complete when the males provided the citizen with an invoice for $3800.00 after only putting out an estimated 12 to 15 bales of pine straw.
These “SCAMMERS” misrepresented to the citizen that the ($9.00 per bale) was $9.00 per bundle, which was described by the
“SCAMMERS” as the size of approximately a basketball. Fortunately, this dispute/incident was settled at a much lower price between the two parties.
   KMPD warns all citizens of the possibility of this SCAM being conducted in our community. The “PINE STRAW SCAM” is common for the beginning of spring and in early fall.
   Citizens should not feel intimidated to pay an over-inflated price for these types of services. The “SCAMMERS” are typically from out of state and will coerce the citizen in paying thousands of dollars more than what the average price is from reputable lawn and garden businesses.
   Always get the “agreed” upon price and amount of material in writing before allowing services to be done.
   If anyone feels that they or someone they know is a victim of this SCAM contact the Kings Mountain Police Department at 704-734-0444 to report the incident. Also remember that the City of Kings Mountain has an ordinance for door-to-door solicitation in the city. Contact KMPD to report any door-to-door solicitors at any time.
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14th annual
Gateway Trail Runs had huge turnout

The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail Run was a big success even with a little rain. Over 180 runners signed up for the runs, 10Mile & 5K.
Thirty-five pottery trophies were awarded to the 10Mile runners and 47 were awarded to the 5K runners. The run t-shirts featured the new North Carolina “Year of the Trail” logo for 2023.
Director, Kings Mountain Gateway Trail, Inc. Shirley Brutko said, “Approximately 16 volunteers helped with the run. Starr and Neil Dowell, of  Finish Well Timing, did an awesome job of timing the runners. Taylor Caldera from Royal T Café, as well as Ronnie & Rita Franks, helped with drinks and refreshments for the crowd.”
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Children scramble through Patriots Park searching for Easter Eggs. Photo by City of KM Special Events

Easter EGGstravaganza
at Patriots Park April 6

Kings Mountain’s Easter Egg Hunt kicks off the city’s 2023 event season and what a kick-off it will be! Join them April 6, at 7:30 p.m. for an Egg-citing time at 220 South Railroad Avenue, as children, ages 1 up to 14, are welcome to hunt for colorful eggs filled with candy and toys after dark.
More than 10,000 prize and candy filled eggs will be hidden across Patriots Park. Subway Cleveland Mall are proudly sponsoring four golden eggs to be hidden throughout the park. Inside each golden egg, a lucky egg hunter will find gift certificates redeemable at Subway. The EGGstravaganza will include a petting zoo, compliments of Son Ridge Farms, music, and a visit from the Wendell the Easter Bunny himself. Along with all the fun, Battleground Community Church will provide free hot dogs and local businesses such as, Child Care Connections, Cleveland County Partnership  for  Children, and the Kings Mountain YMCA among others will offer activities for the kids.
Families should gather at Patriots Park at 7:30 pm. Egg Hunt will begin at 8:00 p.m. Parents are encouraged to participate with their little ones.
Don’t forget to bring your Easter basket, flashlight, and camera!
The city acknowledges their 2023 annual sponsors, Albemarle Corporation, and Ronald’s Garage.
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.
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Albemarle Lithium is opening their new location in downtown Kings Mountain in April. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Albemarle Lithium opening downtown location in April

By Loretta Cozart

The Project Center, Albemarle Lithium’s new information center, at 129 W. Mountain Street in Kings Mountain is scheduled to open in April. The Herald caught up with Community Affairs Manager at Albemarle Corporation’s Kirsten Martin to get an update on plans for the mine in Kings Mountain and their new space downtown
With the announcement of Albemarle’s recent acquisition of 800 acres in Chester, SC last week, the Herald asked if the newly announced Mega-Flex facility might impact plans for the Kings Mountain mine, lithium concentrator, and job and educational opportunities locally. According to Kirsten, there will be some changes. “Once the  material goes through the concentrator in Kings Mountain, materials will be shipped to the Mega-Plex in Chester, SC,” Kirsten said.
   “When reopening the mine was announced last year, it was thought we would hire around 200 employees. Since then, that number has increased significantly. Now we anticipate hiring 300 – 400 employees.”
   She went on to say, “The lab at Kings Mountain must be moved due to its proximity to mining operations. We have not begun mining yet, but before we do, the lab will be moved to Charlotte.” Currently the lab employs approximately 25 people.
   In addition to reopening the mine and the new lithium concentrator for Kings Mountain, Albemarle will also invest $5 million at Cleveland Community College for workforce development.
   As for the new space Albemarle Lithium has leased at 129 W. Mountain Street, Kirsten said, “We will be opening The Project Center in April, but don’t have a firm date set just yet. Furniture is being delivered this week and two new employees have been hired: Community Education Specialist Margo Plonk, and Stakeholder Engagement Specialist Sarah Degnan.”
   “Margo Plonk will help us focus on how we hire employees locally, reaching out to Cleveland Community College, University City’s Albemarle Technical Park, and the high school. We also plan The Project Center to be a hub for available job opportunities, with a Human Resources person on-site certain days of the week,” Kirsten said.

KMPD responds to shots fired into a residence

On Friday March 17, just after 11:30 p.m., Kings Mountain Police received a call of shots fired into a residence near Fulton Street and Gantt Street.
Responding officers confirmed that several rounds had been fired at 113 Fulton St. striking the residence. There were no injuries reported resulting from this criminal act.
The Kings Mountain Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the per-son or persons responsible for this crime.
This is an active investigation and anyone with information about this case is asked to please con-tact the Kings Mountain Police Department at 704-734-0444. Or contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip through the new Cleveland County Crime Stoppers P3 Tip App using the QR Code.
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Happy Easter… stop
and take a picture

A photo opportunity awaits, as Wally the Bunny, Wendell the Easter Bunny’s cousin, has hidden some very large Easter Eggs within Patriots Park in a setting pretty enough for a family picture. The City of Kings Mountain Special Events invites citizens to stop by the park, take a picture with Wally and the Easter eggs and post it on Facebook using #HappyEasterKM. They will share picture submitted on their Facebook page. Patriots Park is located 220 South Railroad Avenue in Kings Mountain.

Photo provided
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Miranda McDaniel, Grover Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year. Photo by Brandy Curtis

Grover teacher brings CPR
to the classroom

For the past 3 years Miranda McDaniel, PE teacher and Teacher of the Year at Grover Elementary, set up a heart obstacle course in which the students participate.
The course is set up into the four chambers of the heart. Students learn how blood flows through their heart, to the lungs, into their body, and back to their heart. Students really get their heart pumping with the obstacle course and love it! Mrs. McDaniel talks to the students about how important our heart is and what we can do to make it strong and healthy.
This year she wanted to do more! So, she decided to do hands-only CPR with 4th graders. At first the students were not sure about it but after talking and learning that at least half of the students in each class knew someone close who had suffered from a heart issue they seemed to be on board. Most thought they were too young and wouldn’t be able to do anything, but the students soon learned just how valuable they might be in helping save a life.  
With the help of Brown Emergency Training Center, we were able to use training manikins with the students to correctly perform CPR. Students worked in groups to help each other make sure they were correctly placing their hands in the right place, pushing hard enough, and at a good pace. Students were really involved and cheering each other on to do their best. The students could
be heard saying “you got this,” "don't give up,”  and “keep pushing.”
Once students felt confident, the class went through an interactive video of a scenario that could happen and worked in teams to deliver CPR. All students learned a valuable skill that we hope stays with them in case they must help save a life.  
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Post 82 Commander Martha Bridges with National Commander Troiola. Photo by Gary Schacher

American Legion National Commander visits Post 82

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion National Commander Jim Troiola visited American Legion Post 82, on Wednesday, March 22 to acknowledge the support of the American Legion World Series and other youth programs, among the Post’s many other accomplishments. Earlier in the day, he had visited Keeter Stadium and had lunch at LeGrand Center.
Troiola was elected national commander of the nation’s  largest  veterans’ organization on September  1, 2022 in Milwaukee during The American Legion’s 103rd national convention. He serves one year and spends 330 days on the road visiting Posts in all 50 states and abroad. His theme as national commander is “V.E.T.S., Veterans, Education, Teamwork and Sponsor.”
He spoke to Post 82 members and guests regarding various topics, including the importance of youth programs, needs of active-duty personnel, veteran’s initiatives, and a new mental health program started by American Legion Department of Wisconsin, called Be The One. The program became so popular it has now been embraced by the organization nationally.
Be The One’s goal is to destigmatize asking for mental health support, provide peer-to-peer support and resources, and educate everyone on how they can Be the One.
The No. 1 issue facing the veteran community is suicide, according to the National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. It is estimated that between 17 and 22 veterans or servicemembers take their lives each day. That’s more than 6,000 annually. The rate of suicide for veterans is more than 50% higher than that of non-veteran adults. As the Global War on Terrorism continues, there will be more veterans facing mental-health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. 
   “The biggest purpose of Be The One,” Troiola said in a subsequent interview, “is to remove the stigma. Those who are at risk don’t want to be labeled because it could result in them losing their firearms, security clearances, or their families. That is why we chose to visit smaller posts, because a veteran talking to a veteran is different than a non-veteran talking to a veteran because non-veterans don’t understand us. There is more camaraderie between veterans, and we can build trusted relationships. The main purpose is to visit veterans and get this information in their hands.”
   He went on, “Be The One was chosen as the official charity of Indy Car Racing. It is a big deal, because that is our demographic. The trailer is staffed by Veterans Service Officers who know how to talk to veterans. And they’ve taught us how to do that, too. We can make Buddy Calls and check up on each other. We aren’t doing this for the credit. That isn’t important. What we are doing is about helping veterans.”
   As he concluded his speech, Troiola said, “Being at the national level and wearing this red cap… it’s about getting out there and finding in local communities what’s going on, and advocating for veterans and active-duty military, just like you do at the Post level. It is so important that we get this done.”
   He shared a joke recently that was recently told about him saying, “Jim Troiola isn’t like a National Commander, he’s a blue cap (Legion member) stuffed into a red hat (National Commander).” The Legionnaires chuckled with him. “And that’s okay. I am here to help and make a difference. The red cap identifies me as the National Commander, and I am one of you. You can take that to the bank.”
   Afterward, National Commander Troiola went around the room, shaking hands and speaking to veterans with the ease of someone who had been a member of the Post his whole life, like he was talking to dear friends. And he was.
   For more information about Be The One, visit A 24/7 confidential hotline is available to veterans and their families by calling 988 and then pressing 1, or texting 838255. You do not have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to connect.

Groups partner for second
annual prom dress giveaway

By Loretta Cozart

Earlier this year, Kyrea McCluney founder of Book Me Boo Events and Rentals felt called to help local girls get the full experience of shopping for, choosing, and trying on dresses for their school proms. She and her business partner, Ashley XYZ partnered with Parents Against Bullying and wrote a proposal for New Bynum Chapel AME Zion Church requesting the use their fellowship hall. As Kyrea prepared her proposal, she kept hearing the Lord tell her, “Be still.”
Little did she know that Tiana Roberts, founder of Girl Talk Ministry, a program that allows adolescent girls  transform  their  mind and enhance a better life through Christ, was also searching for a venue to hold the organization’s 2nd Annual Prom Dress Giveaway. People in the community suggested she reach out to New Bynum Chapel AME Zion Church in Kings Mountain, because Bynum Chapel Family Life Center has plenty of room for the event.
Trustees of the church met to hear the proposals of these two women, who had hot met until the presentations. As Kyrea listened to Tiana’s presentation, she knew why the Lord kept telling her “Be still,” so she spoke with Tiana and the two groups joined forces to offer the prom dress event.
   Last Saturday, at noon, the doors were opened wide at Bynum Chapel Family Life Center and girls visited the venue to choose dresses for their proms. As the girls browsed dresses, smiles filled their faces looking at all the beautiful options available to them.
   “The cost of a dress, shoes, and accessories can be prohibitive to many. This program breaks down those financial barriers and helps these young ladies experience the joy of shopping for a dress with their parents and friends,” Kyrea said.
   “We received 250 dresses, from size 0 to 24, for this event,” Tiana shared. “And we are thankful for our partners, Quick Way Cleaners, 279 Cleaners, and Folks Cleaners for getting the dresses ready. Without their help, this wouldn’t have been possible.”
  The 2nd Annual Prom Dress Giveaway continues on Saturday, March 25 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Bynum Chapel Family Life Center at 311 Ellis Street in Kings Mountain.
   Any girl who may be going to prom or has a middle school dance may register at Scroll down to “March 25” to see the open slots available. The slots are scheduled in thirty-minute increments. There are 7 slots available for each time frame. If you have any questions please email
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This photo is from a 2016 Gateway Trail race. ( provided by Photo KM Gateway Trail)

Time is running
out to register for
Gateway Trail races

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Gateway Trail will hold their 5K Walk and 10-Miler on Saturday, March 25 at 807 S. Battleground Avenue in Kings Mountain. This race is happening on a beautiful segment of Thread Trail in Kings Mountain, NC and this year's t-shirts will have a special NC Year of the Trail logo on them.
To register, visit, or call 704.685-3549 or 704-739-9663. Email Shirley Brutko at
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The Sisters portrayed by: Gaia King – Sister Mary Luke; Sara Corbin - Sister Robert Anne; Ginger Bullock – Sister Mary Wilhelm; Antoinette Matthews – Sister Mary Toni; and Brenda Elliott – Sister Mary Bree. Photo by Katherine Stone

Nunsence – The Mega Musical rocks the Joy Performance Theater

Kings Mountain Little Theatre’s production of “Nunsense – The Mega-Musical” completed a successful opening weekend and will return to the Joy for its final weekend on Friday, March 24th at 7:30 p.m.
KMLT and corporate sponsor, Edward Jones
Investments, Jack and Pam Buchanan are pleased to announce that performances are scheduled for March 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and March 26 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for all ages and are on sale at or by contacting the box office or 704-730-9408. Tickets for groups of 10 or more is $12
 for all ages. Please call or email KMLT to make a group reservation.
Season members may make reservations by calling the theater at 704-730-9408 and leaving a message or send a request to us at Reserved seating not claimed at least 10 minutes before show time is subject to release.
• Reverend Mother Mary Regina -  - Mother Superior – Suzie Crews
• Sister Mary Hubert - Mistress of Novices – Mary Grace Keller
• Sister Robert Anne - Streetwise nun from Brooklyn – Sara Corbin
• Sister Mary Amnesia- Nun who lost her memory – Leslie Brown
• Sister Mary Leo - Novice who wants to be a ballerina – Eve Yarulan
• Sister Julia, Child of God- Convent Cook – Estelle Grabert
• Sister Mary Brendan – Novice – Hannah Hood
• Sister Mary Luke– Novice – Gaia King
Sister Mary Wilhelm - Convent Nurse – Ginger Bullock
• Father Virgil - Sr. Leo's Brother – Greg Dixon
• Brother Timothy– Tyler Elliott
• Chorus - Nuns, Brothers, Priests, and Students – Antoinette Matthews, Brenda Elliott, and Mark Griffin
• Father James – Director – Jim Champion
• Sister Mary Elizabeth - Musical Director – Libby Putnam
• Sister Penny – Choreographer – Penny Larson
• Brother Andrew – Percussion – Andy Neisler
• Brother Jerree – Bass – Jerre Snow
   All the fun of the original Nunsense has been super-sized! Mega-Nunsense, starring the original five nuns features five new (male and female) characters, including the never-before-seen infamous convent cook, Sister Julia, Child of God. Nunsense, the winner of four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, was called "A hail of fun and frolic" by The New York Times. And now it's bigger and better than ever! It would be a sin to pass up the opportunity to see it!
   Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. is a volunteer based, 501c3 tax-exempt community theater. It owns and operates the Joy Performance Center and the Liberty Mountain Garden. It is a funded affiliate of the Cleveland County Arts Council and is supported in part by a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.
   For more detailed information, please visit or the Kings Mountain Little Theatre Facebook page.

Shelby teen drowned in Moss Lake

By Loretta Cozart

On Friday, March 17,  just before 12:30 p.m., Kings Mountain Police and Cleveland County Emergency Management personnel responded to Moss Lake near 121 Sunshine Ln. in Cherryville, for a search and rescue of an individual that had entering the water, but had not resurfaced.
Witnesses told investigators on scene that a black male had jumped off a pier and entered the water. Once in the water the black male began to struggle and soon fell beneath the water’s surface. Cleveland County Emergency Management Director Perry Davis contacted Charlotte Mecklenburg Fire Department Dive Team to assist in the rescue.
Around 3:30 p.m., rescue divers recovered the victim from the lake. The victim was transported to Atrium Health Care in Shelby, and was pronounced dead at 5:03 p.m. The victim has been identified as Jeremiah Roberts, 18, of Shelby.
Kings Mountain Police Department thanks the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department, Cleveland County Emergency Management, Cleveland County EMS, Waco Volunteer Fire Department, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Fire Department for their prompt response and support during this incident.

CC Crimestoppers back in business

Cleveland County Crimestoppers introduced their new Facebook page for the Cleveland County Crimestoppers. Cleveland County Crimestoppers, Inc. is back in business for Cleveland County, and are ready to pay for tips leading to an arrest or successful conclusion to a case.
Cleveland County Crimestoppers is affiliated with the following agencies: Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, Boiling Springs Police Department, Kings Mountain Police Department, and Shelby Police Department.
Cleveland County Crimestoppers Inc is pleased to announce the addition of P3 Tips! The addition of P3 Tips will help encourage citizens in the community to volunteer vital information helpful to law enforcement agencies to fight against crime.
Benefits of P3Tips:
• P3 Tips is available as a free download on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
• Tipsters can send criminal information and engage in anonymous, two-way dialog with law enforcement from their smartphone or tablet using our P3 Tips mobile application.
• P3 Mobile tips are completely secure and anonymous. Tipsters can also anonymously upload photos, screenshots, videos, and audio files with their tips. Download the P3 TIPS App today by scanning the QR Code.
• Only tips submitted directly and anonymously to Crimestoppers are eligible for cash rewards.
• CRIMESTOPPERS pays a cash reward of UP TO $1,000 for tips that lead to an arrest or solving a case. The Cleveland County Crimestoppers Inc hotline is also available to tipsters if they choose to call to provide tips! 704-481-TIPS(8477).
Download the P3 TIPS App today by scanning the QR Code.

More changes near the casino

By Loretta Cozart

The area around Two Kings Casino continues to evolve, as roads are widened, and city services expand in that section.
Driving southwest on Dixon School Road, near the intersection of Kings Mountain Blvd., a new natural gas gate station has been built. Nearby, large traffic signal poles span the newly widened streets.
Traveling toward I-85 on King Mountain Blvd., fiber optic cable has been installed and the ground seeded  beside  the   new
6-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side of Kings Mountain Blvd., across from the casino.
The bridge over I-85 is in process of being rebuilt as a diverging diamond, one if not the first one built in Cleveland County. Nearby, components of the large traffic signal poles are ready to be used in and around that area.
   According to NCDOT, “A diverging diamond interchange allows two directions of traffic to temporarily cross to the left side of the road. It moves high volumes of traffic through an intersection without increasing the number of lanes and traffic signals. This movement provides easier access to an interstate.”
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Ready… Set… SPRING at Patriots Park this Saturday

City of Kings Mountain welcomes the Gaston Symphonic Band to Patriots Park, Saturday, May 20 at 1 p.m. Bring your family and enjoy a day filled with music from the band's Spring concert, Ready...Set...Spring! The event begins at 1:00 p.m. Patriots Park is located at 220 South Railroad Avenue, Kings Mountain. Don't forget your lawn chairs.
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Margaret Horn

Margaret Horn turning 101

By Loretta Cozart

Margaret Horn has seen a lot in her 101 years in Kings Mountain. “I feel like Methuselah,” she said in an interview with the Herald last week. “It is hard to believe that I am 100 years old and about to be 101.”
Margaret was born on March 20, 1922, in the family’s home at 220 Walker Street, to Arthur Wright Huffstetler and his wife Doshia Ella Dover Huffstetler. Together the couple would have 10 children: Howard, Arthur “Lucio”,  Jacob, Margaret, Ernest, Juanita, Kermit, Bobby, Corrie, and William. Margaret has outlived all her siblings.
When she was a young child, Margaret lived on Walker Street and then the family moved to 108 Lackey Street during her later childhood. She attended First Baptist Church (before the split), Second Baptist Church, and Oak Grove Baptist Church during her lifetime.
   When asked what kids did for fun, she said, “We jumped rope in the street and played hide and seek after dark. As children, we also sang a song called ‘Go in and Out Your Window, Go in and Out Your Window.’ Then we would kneel in front of ‘our lover’,” she said laughing.
   Margaret’s older brother, Jake, was the clown of the family, so much so he would get into trouble at Central that would often result in him leaving school after being sent out into the hall during class. Margaret was sometimes sent home with notes for her parents about Jake, and he would get into trouble. “He got lots of whippings. After a while, I stopped giving those notes to my parents,” she confessed.
   “We didn’t have a cafeteria at school back then, so we walked home for lunch. Sometimes, when we walked back to school, a train would be blocking the railroad crossing on Piedmont Avenue. We would have to crawl under the train to get back to school,” she said. “I finished ninth grade at Central.”
   In those days, school extended through 11th grade, but students were not required attend. “For a time, I worked at Pauline Mill. My daddy, Wright Huffstetler, was a Loom Fixer,” she said.
   Margaret explains what young people did for fun, “Teenagers would gather at a friend’s home that had a piano and sing. I could play the piano by ear. On days when we didn’t sing, we would walk over to the Old Waterworks Park on Gantt Street and swim. Sometimes, we’d walk downtown and go to Summers Drug Store for banana splits. They had the best banana splits. We went to town as much as we could.”
   A big smile comes across Margret’s face when she speaks of her husband, Holland A. Horn. She explains how they met. “He had a friend who had a car, and the boys would drive by our house and flirt with us girls. Once there were a bunch of girls at a house across the street from my parent’s home, and we flirted with the boys when they drove up and down the road.”
   Holland must have made a big impression on Margaret because they married when she was 17 years old. Holland’s parents lived in Nebo, down Waco Road. “Before we married, we had gone to their property and picked out where we wanted to build our house. His parents wanted us to live with them, but we wanted a house of our own. Holland’s family were carpenters, so they helped us build our house for $500.”
   By 1941, World War II had begun, and Margaret’s life got a lot harder. My brother Jake (Jacob Columbus Huffstetler) went into service at the beginning of the war, and he was the first boy from our section to die.”
   “Less than a year after he joined the Navy, seventeen boys from his ship went into town and a big storm came up. They were trying to get back to the ship, USS Gherardi, on a small boat, when it flipped over, and all the boys were lost on December 10, 1942. Jake hit his head on a rock and drowned. It took three weeks to get him home and we buried him at Bessemer City Memorial Cemetery. He recently had his picture made and the negative was in his shoe, so we have a photo. He left behind a wife in Bessemer City and their daughter, Becky, who was just six-months old.”
   Husband Holland was also called up to serve and he participated in the Battle of the Bulge and was a Squad Leader. “He served two years,” Margaret shared. When asked what life was like while he was gone, she said, “It was a difficult time, we had two sons, Don who was older and Arnie (Arnold) who was six-months old. We lived with my parents for a time.”
   She went on, “When it was time for Holland to come home, I watched the paper and knew when his ship was going to dock. I remember waiting up for him at home. Our house was between two creeks, and I heard him when he got out of the car. I ran to meet him on the bridge to our house; it was a happy homecoming,” she said. Margaret was just 24 years old.
   Together, Margaret and Holland had three children, Donald, Arnold (Arnie), and Saundra. Holland died early, and Margaret became a widow. “Dad died in 1963, daughter Saundra shared. “Mom, had good jobs and she did well.”
   But life threw the family another challenge in 1990 when son Arnie needed a heart transplant. “I had read about heart transplants using pig’s valves and watched television shows about it. But I never imagined one of my children would ever need that. That surgery added 21 years to his life, and I am thankful for it. He lived to be 63-years old. Progress surely is amazing!”
   Margaret remembers a lot about Kings Mountain in her lifetime. “I remember when Central burned, and we had to go to West School in the morning and then to Central until 5 p.m. My favorite teacher was Miss Gussey Huffstetler. I also had a good friend named Irene Gladden, and her daddy was John Gladden.”
   “I remember seeing President Hoover and then when President Roosevelt drove through town. People really did turn out for the presidents back then,” she said.
   She also remembers a funny story about shopping at Pauline Store, “Once I had a big piece of silver with a hole in it when I was young. I tried to use it to buy a doll. That didn’t work,” she laughs.
   She also remembers shopping at Robert’s Store, Gault Brothers Grocery, and Bridges TV. Downtown, she remembers Sterchi’s, Lawyer Davis’s office, Griffin’s Drug Store, Fulton’s, Home Savings & Loan, Kings Mountain National Bank, Belk’s, Summers Drug Store, Plonk’s, and Cooper’s Furniture.
   “Those were sure the good old days, back then,” Margaret said with a smile.
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Pictured, L-R: Selena Watson, Teacher Assistant of the Year and Michelle Mack, Teacher of the Year for North Elementary. Photo by Anna Hughes

North Elementary teacher and teacher assistant of the year

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, North Elementary School in Kings Mountain named their teacher and teacher assistant of the year. Michelle Mack was named the school’s Teacher of the Year. Selena Watson was selected as North Elementary’s Teacher Assistant of the Year
Michelle Mack has been working for Cleveland County Schools since 1995. “I received my Child Development and Family Relations degree from UNC-Greensboro and my teaching certificate from Belmont Abbey College. Since then, I have been teaching Kindergarten at North Elementary School for many, many years! “
“I later went on to receive my master’s degree from Appalachian State University along with my National Board certification,” she said.
“I am so proud to be a North School Tiger! I am so blessed to be given the opportunity to work with an amazing, awesome, and gifted staff that enjoys teaching students and helping them to succeed.”
She went on to say, “I have been married to my friend and soul mate, Bruce for 27 years. Bruce is employed as the Vice President of Economic Development by the NC Community College System Office. We have two wonderful children. Cameron is an engineer in Greensboro, NC and Carmyn is a sophomore at UNC-Greensboro.”
Michelle’s Motto is, “Every child can learn something and be successful if they have a positive mentor or role model guiding them in life.”
On the naming of Selena Watson as North School’s Teachers Assistant of the Year, she said, “I have been at North Elementary School for 21 years. I was hired for Title 1, one on one reading with 1st grade students. I did this for about a decade. Then, I became a 1st grade assistant for Mrs. Nicole Smith. I have really enjoyed working with my North School family. I am married to Jewel. We have 4 children Travis, Angel, Shelton, and Camille and 2 grandchildren Taylor and Samari.”

City of KM seeks citizen’s opinions
on stormwater

City of Kings Mountain is required by their stormwater permit to provide a survey for citizens take to determine the knowledge and views of citizens with respect to stormwater and stormwater issues. The city has a new survey for citizens to complete online.
This is a voluntary anonymous survey to assist the City of Kings Mountain Stormwater department in gauging public awareness about stormwater and environmental issues. Results of this survey will be used to enhance the City's Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) and improve your experience as a citizen of the City of Kings Mountain.
Questions range from the quality of streams and ponds in the city, stormwater education, where citizens believe water goes after reaching a storm drain, sources of pollution in the city, whether pet waste contributes to water pollution, and the maintenance of stormwater drains, ditches, or outfalls being properly near you.
The Stormwater Department’s survey for Kings Mountain Citizens can be completed online at Please take a minute to visit the survey and share your opinion.
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Miss Katie Reese and date, Chad Gunter, Jr., posing right before heading out to dance the night away at their, “Night To Shine.” (Photo provided)

Kings Mountain couple trip the light fantastic during “Night To Shine”

Feb. 10 event,
sponsored by the
Tim Tebow

Special to the Herald

For handsome Chad Gunter, Jr., and his beautiful date, Katie Reese, dancing the night away among friends and family at the Feb. 10, 2023 Tim Tebow “Night To Shine” event, was a night they will never, ever forget. The event was hosted by Anthony Grove Baptist Church, located in Crouse, N.C.
That said, it’s not every day a guy gets to take his best girl out, twirling her around to tunes meant to make you tap your toes and shake a leg, but Feb. 10, 2023 was that “night of all nights” for the young Kings Mountain couple.
According to Tebow’s web site, “Night to Shine” is a “…complimentary event for people with special needs hosted by local churches around the world. The event is open to anyone living with disabilities, ages 14 and older. Although each event is a little bit different, some activities included are a red-carpet entrance, limousine rides, dancing, karaoke, gifts, a catered dinner, a Respite Room for parents and caregivers, a crowning ceremony where every honored guest will receive a crown or tiara, and more – Night to Shine is a celebration of God’s love for YOU, our Kings and Queens!”
Chad’s father, Chad Gunter, Sr. said his son is
23,  and  his girlfriend Katie Reese, is 25. They are both from Kings Mountain.
Said Chad Sr. recently via email, “They attended the Tim Tebow Night to Shine event in Crouse, N.C., at Anthony Grove Baptist Church, on Feb. 10, 2023, and this event (took) place worldwide! As you can see, these two young people, who both have Down Syndrome, wore classy, matching, purple outfits.”
Mr. Gunter continued, “When they arrived, they walked a red carpet with many on-lookers clapping and cheering, giving them the special treatment they deserve. All the participants were given the royal treatment.”
Chad Sr. noted the two young folks danced the evening away to the music played by a live DJ, and the floor even cleared, he said, for them to dance to Michael Jackson’s epic tune, “Thriller.”
Additionally, Mr. Gunter noted they had delicious snacks and refreshments and got to ride in a luxurious stretch limo. “Moreover, they had their pictures made in a photo booth. Each boy was given a crown and each girl was given a tiara,” he added.
Chad Gunter, Jr. said of his “Night to Shine” memory, “I had the best time at the prom. Katie is the love of my life and I gave my heart to her.”
For her part, Ms. Katie Reese said, “I had a great time, and my favorite (part) was the music and dancing.”
Katie’s mother, Diane Reese, noted, “I was impressed with the obvious amount of time and effort put in by the volunteers. The event was well organized – from the red carpet, the DJ, the food; to the limo rides. The participants were made to feel special with an abundance of attention. I felt honored to be in attendance and experience the outpouring of love for our special ones. There was lots of fun and smiles that night.”
Chad Gunter, Sr. said, “I had a great time! I am very thankful to see my son and other people with special needs having a blast in a safe environment. I really appreciate Tim Tebow, the host of churches and the many volunteers who made this event possible.”
Chad Jr.’s mother, Robin Gunter agreed, adding, “I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all that made February 10 a special night for my son, Chad, and his girlfriend, Katie. They wore big smiles the entire evening! I am thankful to Tim Tebow and Anthony Grove Baptist Church for this great local event, and love you with my whole heart!”

How to volunteer
next year…
On Feb. 9, 2024, there will be another event and to volunteer, go to the group’s web site, Night to Shine at, and check out their information.
Tebow’s organization and the Night to Shine event, as the site said, “…requires the help of thousands of volunteers across the globe and is a wonderful way to connect with and serve your community of people with special needs! From serving as a guest’s buddy or member of the red-carpet paparazzi, to keeping the enthusiasm up on the dance floor or serving food, there is something for everyone. To volunteer at Night to Shine, you will register and receive a background check through your local host church location. Once registered, your local host location will provide you with the necessary information and training you will need to serve.

ABC Board gives $40,000 to city for KMPD

On March 8, City of Kings Mountain’s ABC Board delivered a check to the city in the amount of $40,000, to be used by the City’s Police Department to purchase an unmarked vehicle for use by the Investigation Division.
“The ABC Board, in addition to its State-mandated distributions for alcohol education and rehabilitation, along with law enforcement relating to alcohol; distributes any remaining surplus funds deemed to be profits to the City of Kings Mountain. This however occurs after all expenses, including the maintenance of a significant fund pool of retained earnings for capital replacement or new construction,” City Manager Jim Palenick shared with city council and the Herald.
“This $40,000 came before retained earnings and not as part of what would be expected as the normal yearly return of profits, but rather somewhat, over and above. As such, our gratitude goes out to the ABC Board for its assistance to Chief Childress and the Police Department for what would have otherwise had to have been budgeted for in the City’s 2023-24 General Fund.”
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City of Kings Mountain held its Executive Leadership Strategic Planning Session 2023. (Photo provided)

City Manager announces departmental reorganization

By Loretta Cozart

City of Kings Mountain held its Executive Leadership Strategic Planning Session at US Whitewater Center’s Conference Room B in Charlotte on Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4. Also in attendance were all members of city council.
Two months after taking his role as city manager, Jim Palenick shared his vision for city government that prioritizes organizational culture and structure, adopts a policy-based model, and embraces financial transparency.
Palenick’s vision also encourages staff to work smarter when they consider projects, debate policy, allocate scarce resources, that requires them to act as representatives of all constituencies, based upon the greater common good, not that which is easy or politically expedient.
“During the transformation process,” Palenick said, “communication is important and the only way to change is leadership by example.” He continued, “Embracing change is never a criticism of the past – it is an acknowledgement of changed circumstances.”
Prior to Friday, Kings Mountain had 15 directors answering directly to the city manager who met weekly. “We must adopt a leaner, more focused organizational structure,” Palenick said. As of Monday, March 6, eight directors will report directly to the city manager, and departments will be grouped vertically according to similar function. Executive staff in those departments will now report to their respective department director.
Department titles have also been changed. For example, Aging Department will now be called Senior Services and each department is made up of similar city services. “Department titles should accurately reflect what we do and the fact that we are all here to serve our community,” Palenick said.
Directors who no longer report to the city manager will not see a decrease in pay; however, their titles may change, who they report to may change, and performance evaluations will more accurately reflect the city’s performance indicators and focus on goals and goals achieved.
Here are the new city government departments as outlined in the meeting:
Fiscal Services Director Chris Conner will oversee a Finance Fiscal Services Officer, Customer Service (Billing) manager, and the IT Director.
The Development Services Director oversees the Planning Manager, Inspections and Codes Manager, and Marketing, Tourism, and Events. Last week, Planning Director Stuart Gilbert announced his retirement, so a national search will begin immediately to fill that position. Until it is filled, Palenick will oversee that department.
Cultural Services Director Christina Martin supervises the library director, Senior Services manager, and recreation contract services.
Energy Services Director Wayne Ledbetter oversees the Natural Gas Director and Electric Manager.
Public Infrastructure Director Ricky Duncan oversees the Water Resources Director and Public Works Manager.
Police, Fire & Emergency Services, and Human Resources have not changed.
The city manager also expressed his desire bring a Professional Engineer (PE) on staff and that everyone should look for that in the upcoming budget.
In addition to the departmental changes, Palenick announced that the city is instating a review process for all employees. Each employee will be reviewed after their probationary period, and then annually at their anniversary date.
A video of the city’s Executive Leadership Strategic Planning Session will soon be available for public view. For more information, contact the city clerk at 704-734-0333.
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KMHS Musical: Mamma Mia March 10-12

The KMHS Musical: Mamma Mia! will be performed on March 10-12, Friday and  Saturday at 7pm and Saturday & Sunday at 2pm in the Barnes Auditorium. Tickets are $10.
This musical is fun, colorful, and energetic. “We are excited to showcase our department,” said  Heather Achter, the director of theatre at KMHS. She is proud of how much the students lead in each area of theatre at KMHS: acting, choreography, stage management, scenic design, props, costumes, publicity, hair and makeup, and sound.
This show is competing in the Blumey Awards: a Charlotte Region Musical Theatre Competition where KMHS has had success in previous years. We hope you fill the seats in Barnes Auditorium and celebrate the hard work and fun! If you have any questions, please email Heather Achter at
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Iris Hubbard receives
Duke Energy Citizenship
and Service Award

Kings Mountain restaurateur and businesswoman Iris Hubbard, owner of 133 West in Kings Mountain, won the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award during Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce’s Black and White Party on Friday, March 3 at the LeGrand Center in Shelby. Congratulations, Iris!
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KM Woman's Club recognizes two diligent members

Two GFWC NC Kings Mountain’s Clubwomen, Betty Sue Morris and Valerie Boyd were honored by the club. The organization works locally and nationally to bring about positive change with an unwavering dedication to community improvement through volunteer service.
Valerie Boyd, a retired educator, was selected as Kings Mountain Woman's Club Woman of the Year. Valerie gives of her time, talents, interest organization efforts and active participates to render outstanding service through the KM Club, She is a hard worker that strives to meet the goals and purposes of the organization,
She was invited to join the club through member Ann Bennett. Valerie has and continues to use her talents in working with the program committees, serving as an officer, and supporting the activities of the club. Through the years she has seen the Club grow, and continues to grow, and be a service to the community under the leadership of President Denise Cobb,
Her passion for service to others and to involvement carries over into her community where she is an active member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, serving as a ministry leader, a member of the Davidson Association and the formed Davidson Resource Center Board, Incorporated, where she has served in many of the leadership roles and is currently the chair of committee, and serves on the Education Committee of the Cleveland County Arts Council.
Valerie is a 39-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, a service organization. , Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, serving on the NC -State membership committee, Order of Eastern Star - Adah Chapter #7 and a board member of the Mauney Memorial Library. Her commitment to service and serving others is beyond reproach.
Betty Sue Morris was selected as Kings Mountain’s Clubwomen with Heart. This award is to be given annually to a general clubwoman who by her efforts provides the “heart” for her club. It is not to be given based on community or club involvement, but rather to the person who best exemplifies the words of the Collect for Clubwomen,
This clubwoman may be the backbone and heart of her club, an exemplary leader or the person who has prevented its extinction. She has proven over the years ever faithful and true to the organization.
Betty Sue Morris has served faithfully as an officer in the Kings Mountain Woman's Club, Managing the job as 2nd vice president, she has shown true dedication to maintaining the integrity of the building and facilities, As chair of the House Committee, Betty Sue rented the club house to hundreds of local and out of town families, friends, and groups, A job that takes up a lot of time each day, she has handled with grace and laughter.
   In true GFWC NC fashion, Betty Sue exemplifies the Collect for Clubwomen in the phrase " may we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice... may we never be hasty in judgement and always generous."
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“It's All About the Music"
portraits by Bonita Lowe
at Southern Arts Society

Bonita Lowe has always been drawn to art. As a young child she watched her father draw and paint, and he inspired her artistic curiosity. Mostly self-taught, she has pursued studies in life-drawing, design and painting which expanded her knowledge greatly. Another person who influenced Bonita was AB Mauney Snow, the founder of Southern Arts Society. AB wanted to retire from working as a colorist in the textile industry at Dicey Mills and saw the potential in Bonita’s work. Bonita then took over for AB at Dicey and worked there for 20 years before retiring herself.
Now Bonita lives in Mount Holly where she works in her home studio. Her primary medium is graphite pencil, which she uses to create detailed, highly realistic drawings. Primarily focusing on portraits of her favorite people, she also has drawn animals, structures and even an airplane.
   Bonita’s drawings are featured in an exhibit at Southern Arts Society in Kings Mountain now through April 22. "It's All About the Music" showcases many of Bonita’s favorites in the music industry. Among the musicians/singers portrayed in the exhibit are members of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, and Tom Petty to name a few. There are 24 portraits in the exhibit.
   What draws Bonita to certain portraits? “First of all, my love for music, and my gratitude to the people who make it happen. I feel that every face tells its own unique story, and my goal in creating a portrait is to try to bring a little of that story to life. Some people have more stories to tell than others, and because of the lives they lead, musicians are among them.”
   The public is invited to meet Bonita Lowe at a reception Saturday March 11, from 6 - 8 p.m. at Southern Arts Society. This event is free, and dress is casual. Bonita’s framed original portraits are available for sale, along with prints of her work. Bonita has artwork displayed in homes across the United States and the United Kingdom.
   Also on view - works by AB Mauney Snow in the Founders Gallery. In 1984 Snow invited friends and newcomers to start an art organization to educate and support local artists. The name Southern Arts Society (SASi)was chosen to be inclusive of all artists in the region. Snow died in 2003, just as SASi found a permanent home in the old Southern Railway Depot. Though she began painting later in life, Snow was a prolific painter. She worked in a variety of mediums and styles, taking workshops with well-known artists around the county. Several of the paintings on display are watercolor and mixed media landscapes, some real and some imagined. Also included are musical figures and florals. SASi continues to sell Snow’s work in their gallery.
   Southern Arts Society (SASi) Gift Shop & Gallery is located at 301 N. Piedmont Avenue, Kings Mountain, NC, at the intersection of Piedmont and Battleground Avenues in the historic Southern Railway Depot. SASi offers a gift shop, ongoing art exhibitions and competitions, programs, and classes in a variety of media for artists of all levels. Gallery Hours:  Tues through Sat, 10 am to 3 pm, and by Appointment. Admission is Free. For more information go to or call 704.739.5585. Email
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Markell Lutrell Porter

Police stand-off in
KM ended peacefully

Kings Mountain Police Department received several 911 emergency calls about gun fire in the 100 block of Gaston Street on Thursday, February 16, just after 10:00 a.m.
One witness told police that a male neighbor had fired multiple rounds into their home at 114 S. Gaston St. from an unknown weapon. The witness further told police that after firing the weapon, the male suspect retreated inside his home at 115 S. Gaston St.
A Facebook post notified the community that West Mountain Street was closed from South Piedmont to Gaston Street, and that South Gaston was closed from East King St to East Gold Street due to Police Operations. Citizens were advised to avoid the area.
Responding officers on scene confirmed that several rounds had been fired striking and entering the home of the witness. Officers quickly secured the area and began evacuating neighboring residents.
Based on the events reported, KMPD requested the assistance of the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department Crisis Negotiations, and Emergency Response teams for support and assistance.
Units with the Sheriff’s Department arrived and were able to negotiate with the male shooter to surrender to authorities without further incident.
The suspect has been identified as Markell Lutrell Porter, 39 of Kings Mountain. Mr. Porter was charged with firing a weapon into an occupied dwelling and possession of a firearm by  a felon. He has been transported to the Cleveland County Jail for further processing.
KMPD thanks the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department, Cleveland County EMS and Emergency Management, and Kings Mountain Fire and Rescue for their prompt response and support during this incident.
   “I am so thankful that this situation resulted in a non-fatal event in Kings Mountain. We avoided what could have been tragic outcome for innocent people. I’m extremely proud of the work of our Kings Mountain police department as they engaged in a very dangerous encounter,” Mayor Neisler said. “Also, a big thank you to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office for backing us up. It’s always great to know they have our back!”

Brown announces
closure of
Hounds Drive-in

By Loretta Cozart

Preston Brown thanked the community for their patronage in an announcement on his Facebook page on February 19, sharing that after seven seasons, he and his father had decided to close.
“This has been a very difficult decision for my father and I. We started this journey together with a vision of a campground and drive-in movie theater that ultimately turned into the #1 highest-grossing drive-in theater with the largest screens in the nation. We broke attendance records not only with other drive-ins, but walk-in theaters also. During the pandemic in 2020, I decided to utilize our space for the benefit of others to safely hold church services, graduations and concerts.”
Brown continued, “I am very proud of what we brought to our small town of Kings Mountain. Many local businesses have thanked me for bringing tourists to the area because their restaurants and gas stations have flourished but it is unlikely there will ever be another Drive-in theater or campground in this county.”
He concluded the post thanking his wife, Holly, and his father Mike Brown for their support, sharing that after the birth of his son Corbin, he wants to spend more time with his family.

R.D. Harrell developments
in KM listed for sale

By Loretta Cozart

On April 27,  2021, R.D. Harrell and Co. petitioned the city and council approved rezoning property on Margrace Road in Kings Mountain known as Cannon 35. The two developments are projected to add 810 new homes.
However, less than two-years later, R. Dean Harrell and Co. has listed both of those properties for sale with Cushman & Wakefield Sunbelt Multifamily Advisory Group. The listing states, “Cushman & Wakefield Sunbelt Multifamily Advisory Group is pleased to present the exclusive listing of the +/- 57.98-acre Cannon 35 Master Planned Community Development Site. The site successfully went through rezoning to allow for 730 multifamily units: 360 apartment units, 215 townhomes, and a 155-unit senior living center. Plans also call for two commercial out-parcels.” 
In a separate listing, the Cottages at Clovis Point Development, a 29.77-acre property on Kings Mountain Blvd. has also been listed. The listing describes the property “The age-restricted (51+) development site has successfully gone through the rezoning process to allow for 80 single family units. The site is well located to allow for expedited access to the local retail and attractions of Kings Mountain and Charlotte via I-85.”
In both listings, Cushman & Wakefield points out various reasons why these projects should thrive, “Large-scale nearby projects like the Catawba Two Kings Casino, Albemarle Corp.’s new lithium facility, over two and half million square feet of proposed and under development industrial space bode well for the submarket’s future. Voted the Healthiest Housing Market in the country just a couple years ago, Kings Mountain maintains strong housing fundamentals today.”
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Sign up for KM’s Emergency Alert Notification System

Get notified about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for their Emergency Alert Program. This system enables the city to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.
You may enter up to five addresses that you would like to monitor. You will certainly want to enter your home or business address. You may also want to get alerts for your child’s school or family members that also live in Kings Mountain.
This service is provided free of charge by The City of Kings Mountain; however, normal messaging fees may be applied by your service provider for cell phones and text messages.
You will receive time-sensitive messages wherever you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. You pick where, you pick how.
Be sure to document your Username, Email Address and Security Question/Answer when you set up your account. You will need it to reset your password.
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Time to register for kindergarten

By Loretta Cozart

It is time to register your child for kindergarten if he or she will be five years old before August 31.
You can enroll your student online by visiting The site is multilingual.
The online enrollment process asks for a scan or photo of the following items. However, you can enroll without providing them immediately, but you'll need to drop these by your school of enrollment.
• Health Assessment Form
• Immunization Records
• Student's Birth Certificate
   Kindergarten Orientation Day (K-Day) is March 17, at 9 a.m. at your student’s school of residence.

Worship Services

The ministers of the Kings Mountain Ministerial Association have planned to lead in several community services in the coming weeks prior to the celebration of our Lord’s glorious Resurrection on that first Easter morning. However, before the Resurrection of our Lord, there was the Cross in which our Lord gave Himself for our redemption. Therefore, the ministers have entitled this series of services “Journey to the Cross” focusing on the question “Were You There?”
The services will be held on Wednesdays at 12 noon in several of your local churches. Because of the continual existence of covid in our area, there will be no fellowship meals following the services.
The first service will be on Wednesday, February 22, at Central United Methodist Church at 12 noon.
Listed below is a complete schedule of the service dates, the host churches, and the ministers who will bring the messages.
Wednesday, February 22—Central United Methodist Church; Rev. Randy Patterson, Pastor, Dixon Presbyterian Church
Wednesday, March 1—Boyce Memorial Presbyterian ARP Church; Rev. Ron Caulder, Pastor, Eastside Baptist Church
Wednesday, March 8---First Church of the Nazarene; (Preacher to be announced)
Wednesday, March 15—First Baptist Church; Dr. John Houze, Pastor, Peoples Baptist Church
Wednesday, March 22—Peoples Baptist Church; Rev. Dennis Pruitt, Second Baptist Church
Wednesday, March 29—Bethlehem Baptist Church; Rev. Brian Taule, Pastor, David Baptist Church
Everyone is invited to come and be a part of these special community services as we Journey to the Cross.
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Donors, board members, and guests gathered to kick-off the $850,000 renovation transforming the Joy into one of the leading entertainment venues in the region. (Photo provided)

KMLT holds groundbreaking

Kings Mountain Little Theatre, Inc. was pleased to host the groundbreaking for the next major project for the Joy Performance Center and the Liberty Mountain Garden at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, February 10, at the Joy Theater, 202 South Railroad Avenue in Kings Mountain.
KMLT President Mary Grace Keller joined Lead Donors Gilbert and Jancy Patrick, Speaker Tim Moore, Senator Ted Alexander, and David Stone – Foothills Historic Conservation, Inc. in a traditional gold shovel ceremony in the Liberty Mountain Garden. A reception in the lobby followed the ceremony in the Joy Theater with refreshments from Iris Hubbard and 133 Cafe.
President Keller welcomed the group of about 40 to the event and recognized dignitaries including the Patricks, Speaker Moore, Senator Alexander, and several KM city council members. She thanked the Patricks for their generosity and guidance with the esthetics for the project. Major Contributor John Harris (Harris Funeral Home) also helped Architect Ken Pflieger and the KMLT Building Committee design the restored and enhanced art deco/mid-century modern elements of the project.
Ms. Keller gave special recognition to Speaker Moore, Senator Alexander, and Representative Kelly Hastings for their successful efforts to bring significant North Carolina state grant funds to the project. Speaker Moore spoke briefly about the importance of the project
for  Kings   Mountain  and his pride that KMLT, its Board, and the community had worked together to preserve the Joy.
The Joy and the Liberty Mountain Garden Complex is a cornerstone of downtown Kings Mountain.  This $850,000 renovation will transform the complex into one of the leading entertainment venues in the region. It includes renovation of the façade, refurbishing the marquee, installing a new, commemorative gate and fence for the Liberty Mountain Garden, redesign of the lobby layout, and the addition of new bathroom facilities.
Capital Campaign Manager Jim Champion stated: “KMLT purchased the Joy in 2001 and has made many improvements in those 20+ years. With this project, we take a huge step in our presence in downtown Kings Mountain and in our amenities and comfort for our patrons. Our fundraising goal is ambitious, but current 5-year pledges have us at about the 70% level. I’m certain there are other businesses and private citizens who are interested in being a part of our success.”
If you are interested in learning more about making a pledge or other information about us, visit, contact us at, or the Joy box office 704-730-9408.
KMLT is a funded affiliate of the Cleveland County Arts Council and programs are partially funded by a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council.
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Corporal Breanna Joel and seven others were promoted and sworn in. (Photo by KMPD)

KMPD promotions, new officers

On February 3, at 10:00 am, Kings Mountain Police Department held a promotional and swearing in ceremony. In all, four officers were promoted to the rank of Corporal, one to the rank of Sergeant, and three were sworn in as new hire employees.
KMPD asks the community to congratulate everyone who achieved their individual goals and pray for safety, wisdom, knowledge, and courage as some start and others continue their journey with KMPD.
The following were promoted to the rank indicated:
• Sergeant Josh Bryant
• Corporal Breanna Joel
• Corporal Thomas Cutler
• Corporal Jonathan Price
• Corporal Wesley Childers
  Three new officers are:
• Officer Kevin Hernandez
• Officer Robert Medlin
• Officer Christopher Mackay
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Front row, L-R: Sallie Suttle and Libby Blanton. Back row, L-R: Debbie Thompson, Kathy Scott, Cindi Wood, Susan Denton, and Micki Padgett. Photo provided

Cindi Wood’s next pop-up
Bible study starts March 9

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain native Cindi Wood, and her team, announce their next pop-up Bible study at Big Red’s Café, 830 E King Street, starting on Thursday, March 9, from 10 a.m. until noon and continuing for seven-weeks. The topic of this Bible study is: The Frazzled Female for such a time as this.
After seeing the popularity of pop-up markets, Cindi and her team got the idea to hold seven-week pop-up Bible studies for women and started one in Shelby at Phifer’s Café which will end later this month.
The Frazzled Female Bible study is based on Cindi’s twenty-plus years of experience helping people combat stress by managing time, using humor, organizing, and teaching them to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus.
“Our ministry’s heart is to share the love of Jesus and encourage women in this day and time,” Cindi said. “Whether married or used to be married, single, with kids or without, working on the home front or out in the work world (or both), you may qualify for membership in the Frazzled Female Club! The frazzled female ministry is a ministry reaching out to all females who long for more peace and sanity in daily living.”
Cindi is a sought-after speaker and Bible teacher, guiding women to deal with daily stress by experiencing a practical and deep relationship with Jesus Christ.
“It’s my joy to share with women from all walks of life how to begin and then continue to live a victorious life—one that is not free from stress but one that is lived with the confidence, power, and peace that an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ offers,” she adds.
The fee to register is $20 by and can be done by texting your name to 704-418-1199. For further information, email Attendance is limited to 49 registrants.
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tim moore Speaker of the House

Rioting bill passes in NC House

By Loretta Cozart

In a bipartisan vote on February 8, the North Carolina House overwhelmingly approved HB 40, “Prevent Rioting and Civil Disorder” in a vote of 76-42. Sponsors of the bill are Republicans Tim Moore, John Sauls, and Charles Miller. Democrat Shelly Willingham also sponsored.
House Speaker Tim Moore said, “This common-sense bill increases penalties for inciting deadly and dangerous riots to deter bad actors in otherwise peaceful protests. Our first amendment right to free speech is not an endorsement of violence, looting, or causing bodily harm to another person.”
He continued, “We must do a better job of supporting our law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. It’s time to take a stand for the rule of law and the safety of our neighbors and business owners.”
In September 2021, a similar bill was passed by both the General Assembly. However, it was vetoed by Governor Roy Cooper.
After the mid-term elections in 2022, Republicans gained more power, failing a supermajority by one vote in the House. The NC Supreme Court also has a 5-2 Republican majority.
It is feared that Republicans are positioning themselves to challenge the veto power of Governor Cooper. While Republican’s don’t have a vetoproof majority, they are only one vote away, making attendance by Senators and Representatives crucial for both parties.
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Pentagon Press Secretary U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder conducts a press briefing at the Pentagon, Feb. 10. Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza

More objects shot down
over US and Canada

By Loretta Cozart

Three objects were shot down over the US and Canada last week. On Sunday, February 12, an object was flying at 20,000 feet over Lake Huron when it was spotted. On Saturday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said it detected a "radar anomaly" over Havre, Montana, after an aircraft investigation of radar hits failed to locate an object matching the hits. The Department of Defense believes this to be the same object. Gen. Ryder said, officials could "reasonably" link the object downed that afternoon to the radar signal picked up over Montana based on its flight path and data.
The Canadian incident occurred on Saturday, February 11. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a Tweet, “I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace. NORAD Command shot down the object over the Yukon. Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled, and a U.S. F-22 successfully fired at the object. he ordered the takedown of an "unidentified object" flying over Canada's Yukon territory on Saturday.”
Anita Anand, Canada’s Defense Minister, said the downed object was cylindrical in shape and flying at about 40,000 feet. She said it was downed in central Yukon, about 100 miles from a U.S.-Canada border.
On Thursday, Feb. 9,  North American Aerospace Defense Command detected an object using ground radar and sent aircraft to identify the object. It was shot down on February 10.
"The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet and posed a reasonable threat to the safety of civilian flight," Ryder said. President Joe Biden ordered Northern Command to shoot down the object. Civilian airliners typically fly between 40,000 and 45,000 feet.
The object fell onto sea ice off the coast of Alaska and U.S. Northern Command has begun recovery operations, Ryder said. "U.S. Northern Command's Alaska Command coordinated the operation with assistance from the Alaska Air National Guard, Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation," he said.
   The object was about the size of a small car, the general said, and does not resemble in any way the Chinese surveillance balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina earlier this week. "We have no further details about the object at this time, including any description of its capabilities, purpose or origin," he said.
   Two F-22s flying out of Joint Base Elmendorf in Alaska, took down the object. The one missile shot was an AIM-9X Sidewinder. "We have HC-130, HH-60 and CH-47 aircraft participating in that recovery," the press secretary said.
   During the briefing, Gen. Ryder commented as to the origin of the object shot down, “So in terms of this object, again, as I highlighted, we don't know where it's from. It posed a reasonable threat to civilian air traffic and so the determination was made to take it down.”

China’s balloon passes
over Kings Mountain area

By Loretta Cozart

At approximately 10:30 a.m., on Saturday, February 4, a balloon launched by China passed over the Kings Mountain area. In a photo shared by Sarah Mauney Rhea, the balloon can be seen above the KM Post office as a distant speck in the sky.
A statement from Secretary of Defense (DOD) Lloyd J. Austin III on Saturday afternoon announced the balloon had been shot down off the South Carolina coast.
The statement read, “… at the direction of President Biden, U.S. fighter aircraft assigned to U.S. Northern Command successfully brought down the high altitude surveillance balloon launched by and belonging to the People's Republic of China (PRC) over the water off the coast of South Carolina in U.S. airspace. The balloon, which was being used by the PRC in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States, was brought down above U.S. territorial waters.”
“On Wednesday, President Biden gave his authorization to take down the surveillance balloon as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon's path,” the press release continued. “After careful analysis, U.S. military commanders had determined downing the balloon while over land posed an undue risk to people across a wide area due to the size and altitude of the balloon and its surveillance payload. In accordance with the President's direction, the Department of Defense developed options to take down the balloon safely over our territorial waters, while closely monitoring its path and intelligence collection activities.”
“This action was taken in coordination, and with the full support, of the Canadian government. And we thank Canada for its contribution to tracking and analysis of the balloon through NORAD as it transited North America,” the press release continued.
“Today's deliberate and lawful action demonstrates that President Biden and his national security team will always put the safety and security of the American people first while responding effectively to the PRC's unacceptable violation of our sovereignty.”
In a second press release issued later Saturday, a description of shooting down the balloon was given by the DOD, “An F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon.” It was hit at an altitude between 60,000 and 65,000 feet.
“The balloon fell approximately six miles off the coast in about 47 feet of water. No one was hurt.
Long before the shoot down, U.S. officials took steps to protect against the balloon's collection of sensitive information, mitigating its intelligence value to the Chinese,” the press release shared. “The senior defense official said the recovery of the balloon will enable U.S. analysts to examine sensitive Chinese equipment.”
“I would also note that while we took all necessary steps to protect against the PRC surveillance balloon's collection of sensitive information, the surveillance balloon's overflight of U.S. territory was of intelligence value to us," the official said. "I can't go into more detail, but we were able to study and scrutinize the balloon and its equipment, which has been valuable.”
The mission has now turned into one of recovery. The DOD estimates the recovery will be “fairly easy.”
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Retired City Manager Marilyn Sellers accepts Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Mayor Neisler. Photo by Christy Conner

Sellers receives Order
of the Long Leaf Pine

By Loretta Cozart

During special presentation by city council on January 31, retired City Manager Marilyn Sellers was bestowed the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Mayor Neisler, on behalf of Governor Cooper. Special Events Director Christy Conner suggested the nomination, and City Clerk Karen Tucker and Mayor Neisler submitted the nomination.
One of the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina is The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. It is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolina.
Among the honors and awards the Governor of North Carolina can bestow, none is more valued than The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Since its creation in 1963, it has been presented to honor persons who have a proven record of service to the State of North Carolina or some other special achievement, and to others as a gesture of friendship and good will. Upon being named to The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the honoree receives a certificate by which the Governor confers
upon the recipient “…the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary privileged to enjoy fully all rights granted to members of this exalted order among which is the special privilege to propose the following North Carolina Toast in select company anywhere in the free world:

‘Here’s to the land
of the long leaf pine,
The summer land
where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong
and the strong grow great,
Here’s to “down home”,
the Old North State!”

The Governor can grant the following awards:
• The Order of the Long Leaf Pine
This is the highest award for state service granted by the Office of the Governor. Nominations can be made for retiring individuals who have 30 or more years of service in the State of North Carolina. All submissions must include a biography of the nominee. Non-state employees must submit three (3) letters of recommendation and a statement of service from Human Resources on letterhead, if available. All nominations of state employees must be submitted by a Human Resources Officer and include a statement of service. Please note that all award requests for state employees must be submitted within 120 days of the nominee’s retirement date.
• The Old North State
Nominations can be made for individuals who have 20 or more years of service in the State of North Carolina. These submissions must be accompanied by a biography of the nominee and a statement of service from Human Resources on letterhead, if available.
• Certificate of Appreciation
Granted to recognize the efforts of an individual, organization, or business. Nominations can be made for those who have contributed outstanding public service in North Carolina. Submissions must include a biography and a statement of service from Human Resources on letterhead, if available.
• Laurel Wreath Award
Granted to individuals in North Carolina who have made outstanding contributions to sports or athletics. All nominations should include supporting documentation including any previous athletic awards, news articles, or commendations, as well as a recommendation from a coach or athletic director.
• Student Excellence Award
Nominations can be made by a non-family member who is the nominee’s principal, teacher, counselor, school administrator, or community leader for individual students to recognize outstanding service to their school or community beyond academic achievement. Submissions must include a biography of the nominee and two letters of recommendation (with at least one from a school principal, teacher, counselor, or administrator). Recommendations cannot be submitted by parents or other family members.

Two KM ministers recognized by city

By Loretta Cozart

Nakisha Wenzel and Diane Wilson, two prominent ministers in Kings Mountain, have been recognized by proclamation awarded at city council for their service to the community.
Nakisha Wenzel received the Community Service Award for 2022. She is co-pastor of Kings Church, a board member of KM Family YMCA, chairman of the board of Least of These Carolinas (an organization that bridges the gap in foster care), owner of Big Red’s Café in Kings Mountain and Shelby, council member of International Foursquare Church, and a wife and mother. She has been an agent for change and has given her time, talents, and money for the benefit of others.
Minister Diane Wilson was also recognized for her work in the faith community by Mayor Neisler. Diane faced her own life challenges and came out victorious after a 20-year addiction. She went back into the community to help others overcome the challenges of addiction through Faith, Hope, and Love Ministry at Ebenezer Church.
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This dwelling at 105 Urban Drive was condemned as uninhabitable by city council at their January meeting. Photo by City of Kings Mountain

Urban Drive dwelling condemned

By Loretta Cozart

City council voted unanimously to demolish the dwelling at 105 Urban Drive in Kings Mountain during their January 31 meeting. Codes Enforcement Director requested city council issue an ordinance to demolish. There had been discussion with the owner to clean up the property, but no action was taken. The property was declared unfit for human habitation.
The Director of Building Codes was directed to demolish the structure located on the premises within ninety (90) days of this date, pursuant to state statues
The costs of demolition, lot cleaning, grass abatement, postage, and a twenty-five ($25.00) dollar administration fee shall be charged against the owners, if not paid within thirty (30) days of billing.
If the fees go unpaid, a lien against the real property upon which the cost was incurred shall be recorded in the  Office  of the Register of Deeds for Cleveland County. The cost shall also be placed upon the City of Kings Mountain’s tax books, representing an assessed lien against said property and may be collected and foreclosed in the same manner as taxes and tax liens are collected and foreclosed or by such civil action as the law may provide.
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Johana, with mother, Marilyn Sellers after the December 15 city council meeting. Photos provided

Marilyn Sellers retires
as KM’s City Manager

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, the Herald caught up with Marilyn Sellers just one week before her retirement. Sellers is currently acting as Assistant City Manager since the new City Manager, Jim Palenick, took over that role on January 1. Her last official day with the city of Kings Mountain was Tuesday, January 31.
We asked Marilyn what plans she has after retirement, and she shared, “My daughter is getting married in June.” Marilyn and her husband, Jody, have two daughters, Johana, and Morgan. “I am also preparing my house in the city for sale. We are building a house on my husband’s family property in Oak Grove and my daughter is remodeling the family home place there. We enjoy boating and camping. Jody enjoys restoring cars and even has a YouTube channel, so I’m sure I’ll be helping with that.”
At the December city council meeting, it became evident this is a close-knit family. In passing on the morning of December 15, Marilyn mentioned to her daughter Johana that that night’s city council meeting would be her last sitting in the city manager’s chair. That got Johana’s attention, and unbeknownst to her mother, she sprang into action.
She called City Clerk Karen Tucker and together with sister Morgan, they worked on some surprises for the city council meeting. At that meeting, Johana spoke about her mother. As family sat in the council chambers, and sister Morgan listened in from California, Johana shared stories of their mom, and that, “She came to work at the city through a job with a staffing company. Little did she know that she’d spend the rest of her career here.”
“To mom, city hall is more than a government building or a place to pay a bill… This building is also where my mom and dad met. Back in 1991, dad came to city hall to pay a bill. Little did he know he’d meet the love of his life. But for mom, she’s had a headache ever since,” Johana said laughing.
Marilyn’s daughters used to visit city hall while their mother worked. “We were so proud  to tell everyone our mom worked at city hall. For 34 years, that’s 8,840 days, mom walked up the same stairs and through the doors doing the same routine. She loves this town and believes in this town. City events were a family affair and we never drove straight home. We always detoured through town to admire the flowers and all the hard work done by all city employees.”
   Johana took the time to thank city staff for all their support of her mother, “Her experience as city manager would not have been what it is if it wasn't for the people - the employees, staff, and department heads. You all made my mom's world go round so I want to thank you for taking good care of mom because honestly you all spent more time with her than we did sometimes.”
   She continued, “As your daughter, I’m excited to have my mom back.  We have shared you with the city long enough!  Mom has served this city longer than Morgan and I have been around.  I’m excited that you can wake up every morning and do things you want to do, not what you have to do, like catching up on the Price is Right.”
   Marilyn is the city’s longest tenured city manager, serving 17 years in that role. Before then, she worked as secretary and city clerk, before being hired by George Wood, the town’s first city manager. She was the town’s first woman city manager, and during her career she hired the town’s first woman police chief, Lisa Proctor.
   “I am very proud of all the work we accomplished here at the city during my time as city manager, projects, good audits, infrastructure. We have laid the groundwork for future growth. While I leave a lot         of good memories behind me, what is most precious to me are my memories and friendships,” she said.
   As for the future, Marilyn plans to take a little time for family, her daughter’s wedding, and prepare for her move to the Oak Grove community. “Once those things are complete, I’m sure I’ll be looking for other ways to contribute, perhaps at a non-profit. We’ll see,” she said.
   Sellers also received recognition by the city for her years of service during the December city council meeting and was given a retirement party on Tuesday, January 25.
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Pictured L-R: Morgan, Marilyn, Jody, and Johana at the retirement party at Veronét Vineyards & Winery.

Marilyn Sellers with family
at Retirement Party

Pictured L-R: Morgan, Marilyn, Jody, and Johana at the retirement party at Veronét Vineyards & Winery.