U.S. Congress considers
Sunshine Protection Act

By Loretta Cozart

On March 15, the Sunshine Protection Act passed the U.S. Senate, with amendment, by unanimous voice vote. The bill was then sent to the U.S. House of Representatives for their consideration.
If passed by both chambers of Congress, this bill makes daylight saving time the new, permanent standard time, effective November 5, 2023. The amendment added also provides that states with areas exempt from daylight saving time currently may choose the standard time for those areas.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced her personal support of doing away with daylight saving time but added that that discussion would have to occur with their caucus and Congress.
Due to the war in Ukraine, it is uncertain how long it will take for such legislation to be brought before the U.S. House. Even if the Bill were passed, it would not go into practice until November 2023.
Daylight Savings Time was introduced in the United States in 1918, during WWI, when Germany used the technique to save energy during the war. The practice went into place again in the 1960s and has continued since in many states. During WWII, Daylight Savings Time was adopted year-round and was again in 1973 during the oil embargo. It was later repealed.
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Brianna Baity proudly displays her Yamaha Raptor 125. Photo by Mark Baity

Baity to compete in world’s premier off-road racing series event

Kings Mountain resident Brianna Baity will compete with the best off-road racers in the world on Saturday, March 26. The 10-year-old ATV racer will compete at the Tiger Run GNCC, in nearby Cross Anchor, SC, round four of the 13-stop Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship.
More than 1,500 racers are expected to compete over the weekend, as the event includes four-wheeled ATV racing on Saturday and dirt bikes on Sunday. Classes range from riders as young as four and as old as the 60-plus divisions. The top GNCC pro classes feature some of the world’s top riders, including talent from England, Europe, and Australia.
“The unique thing about GNCC Racing is that an average racer gets to race alongside some of the top racers from across the world” said GNCC Trail Boss Jeff Russell. “Even with all of this talent, local racers always seem to have an advantage because the course is so similar to the terrain they’re used to riding.”
The tough local terrain makes for a great equalizer when it comes to the talent. Racers will start together on a massive Starting Line before rushing onto a course featuring tight trails, mud and rolling hills. Spectators can watch the action from a variety of vantage points throughout the course, which will be marked on race day.
Baity is in the fourth grade at a local Kings Mountain school. Baity has been racing ATVs for five years and competes in the highly competitive Girls Jr. class. She is currently tied for second in her class for the national championship and rides a Yamaha Raptor 125 with help from her sponsors, Action Off-Road, O'Neal, Penske Racing Shocks, Custom AXIS Racing Shocks, Honda Motorcycles of Shelby, BAD Plastics Skids, Custom Covers Racing, Fowler Motorsports, PRO Works Racing, Senge Graphics Inc, Alba Racing, Lone Star Racing, and Nine2Crew Goggles. Baity uses #RidePink on social media.
So far this year, Baity has competed in GNCC rounds in the states of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. This is the second year in a row Baity has contested the prestigious series for a national title. In addition to the GNCC, Baity also competes in the local Mid East Hare Scramble series in 2 different classes!
Saturday’s race format starts with Micro (50cc) ATV racers at 8 a.m., Micro (50cc) bike racers at 8:45 a.m. and Youth racers at 9:30 a.m., Amateurs racing at 11 a.m., and the Pros and top amateurs at 2 p.m., rain or shine. Sunday’s race format will begin with Youth racers starting at 8 a.m., then move onto Amateurs at 10 a.m., followed by the Pros and top amateurs at 1 p.m., rain or shine. GNCC events are grueling, endurance races, with Youth riders racing for 90 minutes, Amateurs two hours, and the Pros a whopping three hours. Baity will race on Saturday with the youth division starting at 9:30 am for a grueling 1 hour.
   Spectator passes run $25 for adults and $10 for kids (6-11), and ages five and under are free for the full weekend. Gate admission includes pro pit access. Sponsor displays and food concessions will be available. The economic impact for a community hosting an event of this magnitude is estimated more than $1.3 million dollars.
   Each round of the GNCC Series is streamed LIVE on RacerTV.com, showcasing the top amateur racers and professional athletes. For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com or call (304) 284-0084.
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The smoke seen just before lunchtime on Friday, March 11, was Keith Corporation clearing land for their new office park. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Keith Corporation prepares
land for construction

By Loretta Cozart

On Friday, March 11, smoke rose adjacent to I-85 North, as The Keith Corporation prepares the land for the upcoming construction of Kings Mountain Corporate Center on Canterbury Road. The brownish white smoke bellowed into the air, as remaining debris on the property was gathered into piles and set ablaze.
This work is part of the process for Keith Corporation to begin construction on a speculative industrial building of nearly 1.3 million square feet in Kings Mountain. It is the largest spec building in Cleveland County, North Carolina, and the southeast.
Kings Mountain Corporate Center is a 164-acre, master-planned, business park in Kings Mountain. The business park has extensive I-85 frontage with access to the interstate by two interchanges. And with Charlotte Douglas International Airport just twenty-six miles away via I-85, the location is ideal for many large companies.
“We appreciate City of Kings Mountain’s and Gaston County’s incentive grants, which will help draw potential tenants to this property,” said Justin Curis, Vice President, Industrial Development for The Keith Corporation. “Our intention for this property is for one company to occupy. We anticipate completion at the end of 2022, with a new tenant operational during the first quarter of 2023.”
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On March 5, roof work continued at Mauney Memorial Library. A crew worked on the ground preparing the roofing for installation, as roofers replaced sections of the roof above the Harris Children’s Wing. This is an ongoing project by City of Kings Mountain, replacing the old clay tiles with modern metal roofing that can last many decades with proper maintenance. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Roof work at Mauney Memorial Library

On March 5, roof work continued at Mauney Memorial Library. A crew worked on the ground preparing the roofing for installation, as roofers replaced sections of the roof above the Harris Children’s Wing. This is an ongoing project by City of Kings Mountain, replacing the old clay tiles with modern metal roofing that can last many decades with proper maintenance.                         Photo by Loretta Cozart
 

Biscuitville doing a brisk
business since opening

By Loretta Cozart

Biscuitville held its Grand Opening on March 1, and traffic around the building has been busy since. A mini-traffic jam stretched .2 miles, or 1,056 feet, with cars at a stop from the restaurant all the way back to Los Tarascos Restaurant that makes the area difficult to navigate some mornings.
While the line appeared long, staff quickly delivered breakfasts to waiting customers. Online, customers commented that their entire wait took about 15 minutes.
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TIM MOORE

North Carolina House
passes resolution supporting Ukraine

On Thursday, March 10, the North Carolina House approved HR 981, a resolution expressing support for Ukraine as its people fight for freedom, and urging Congress to increase domestic energy production.
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore said, “We stand firmly with the Ukrainian people as they fight to defend their country from Russian aggression. As millions of refugees flee and hundreds of civilians have been slaughtered, it is crucial that civilized nations of the world stand with them now.”
He continued, “Furthermore, it’s time for our leaders in Congress and in the White House to reverse course on unnecessarily limiting our production of energy. We must increase our domestic energy production to strengthen our security here at home.”
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Gov. Cooper

Governor visits port 
as supply chain
challenges continue

NC ports increase
capacity


Governor Roy Cooper visited the Port of Wilmington and highlighted North Carolina’s strategic and long-term investments in the trade and infrastructure sectors. The Governor toured the new South Gate Container Complex, the Port’s container berth and a NeoPanamax Crane.
“The increase in capacity at the Port of Wilmington brings North Carolina better paying jobs, helps ease supply chain problems, and helps reduce the cost of goods to every day working families,” said Governor Cooper.
“As today’s tour illustrates, North Carolina is actively working to help address nationwide shipping issues,” said State Transportation Secretary J. Eric Boyette. “Facilities like our ports, and the Carolina Connector intermodal terminal, show how important it is to invest in infrastructure that moves goods throughout North Carolina and beyond.”
“Investments from the State of North Carolina have allowed for the recent
completion of several major capital improvement projects,” said Brian Clark, Executive Director, NC Ports. “These improvements allow NC Ports to develop long-term solutions to the ongoing supply chain crisis, while concurrently strengthening port efficiency and delivering on our mission to enhance the economy of North Carolina.”
   The South Gate Container Complex opened on February 14 and enables the North Carolina State Ports Authority to meet the demand of increased container volume at the Port of Wilmington and continue to improve on the best trucker turn-times on the East Coast.
   The $26 million project increased the Port’s number of inbound lanes from 4 to 7 and outbound lanes from 3 to 6 for truck traffic, incorporates a new Terminal Operating System and Gate Operating System to optimize efficient and integrate security features, as well as increases the number of outbound Radiation Portal Monitoring lanes. The Port of Wilmington has three Neo-Panamex cranes that accommodate the loading and unloading needs of some of the largest vessels on the East Coast.
   With the completion of the South Gate Container Complex, container yard expansion and three Neo-Panamax cranes, annual potential shipping container capacity has increased from 600,000 twenty-foot equivalent units to 1.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units. The Port of Wilmington currently handles both container cargo and general cargo.
   The North Carolina State Ports Authority and the State of North Carolina have funded several capital improvement projects including berth renovation and expansion, turning basin expansion, air draft clearance and a refrigerated container yard. These investments will help create long-term solutions to ongoing supply chain issues.
   Under Governor Cooper, North Carolina is making investments in infrastructure across the state to move products more efficiently. In November 2021, the Carolina Connector (CCX) intermodal transportation facility opened in Edgecombe County. The facility’s opening enabled the North Carolina Ports Authority to launch the Wilmington Midwest Express, which provides port customers with a daily direct rail connection to the Midwest via the CCX.
   The North Carolina Ports Authority generates over $60 million in annual revenue. According to a 2018 study, the North Carolina State Ports Authority supports 87,700 jobs, $687.2 million in tax revenue and $15.4 billion in economic output.
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The buzzer sounded, and the runners were off! (Photos Shirley Brutko and Starr Dowell)

Gateway Trail race results

By Loretta Cozart

The Gateway Trail 5K had 132 runners in their annual Gateway Trail 5K Race in Kings Mountain on Saturday morning, March 12. The day started out rainy, but the sun came out just in time for the race to begin. Divisional winners include:
• Overall Male Runner, Joshua Koziol, 16, Rock Hill, 18:56:54.
• Overall Female Runner, Grace Benes, 38, York, 22:07:68.
• Male Masters 40 and Over, Morgan Maskell, 53, Shelby, 21:29:70.
• Female Masters 40 and Over, Angela Town, 51, Gastonia, 27:07:19
• Male 0 – 19, David Creighton, 15, Kings Mountain, 28:54:84.
• Female 0 – 19, Kaeleigh Overman, 13, Ellenboro, 28:21:68.
• Male 20 – 29, Alex Spurling, 26, Blacksburg, 56:35; 53.
• Female 20 – 29, Katy Robinson, 26, Kings Mountain, 30:46:45.
• Male 30 – 39, William Paulding, 36, Charlotte, 26:35:31.
• Female 30 – 39, Rebekah Maes, 38, Belmont, 30:39:37.
• Male 40 – 49, Drew
 Baker, 40, Shelby, 26:03:46.
• Female 40 – 49, Crissy Elliot, 46, Dallas, 30:38:13.
• Male 50 – 59, Joe Marlowe, Gastonia, 58, 24:43:25.
• Female 50 – 59, Jan Deviney, 55, Casar, 34:38:85.
• Male 60 – 69, Tim Hepler, 61, Bessemer City, 26:29:60.
• Female 60 – 69, Peggy Baker, 67, Shelby, 38:57:48.
• Male 70 and Over, Robert Paratore, 70, Charlotte, 31:17:96.
Of the 132 runners, 23 were from Kings Mountain. Those runners were Lyndsay Pierson, Nicholas Berryhill, Lucas Robinson, Jason Habel, David Creighton, Katy Robinson, Makenzie Warren, Pedro Lopex, Sidney Coker, Leslie Coker, Corbin Butler, Scott Hoppes, Bryan Butler, Rocio Lopez, Eddie Robinson, Emma Kay Lewis, Ramona Hinson, Rachel Whitaker, Ashely Ellis, Bayleigh Ellis, Sarah Bell, Logan Babiec, and Cheryl Babiec.
Eighteen runners participated in the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail Virtual 10 Mile Run. Divisional winners include:
• Overall Male Runner, Morgan Miskell, 53, Shelby 1:25:00:00.
• Overall Female Runner, Liz Waddell, 44, Lowell, 1:35:31:00.
• Male Masters 40 and Over, Jimmy Glover, 65, Gastonia, 1:30:45:00.
• Female Masters 40 and Over, Susan Riener, 64, Moore, 2:08:05:00.
• Male 30 – 39, Robert Rhyne, 37, Belmont, 01:35:39:00.
• Male 40 – 49, Jason Habel, 49, Kings Mountain, 1:43:19:00.
• Male 50 – 59, Reggie Norris, 57, Belmont, 01:46:32:00.
• Male 60 – 69, Robert Peterson, 61, Blacksburg, 01:38:45:00.
Jason Habel of Kings Mountain was the only runner from Kings Mountain to participate in the Virtual 10 Mile Run.

Scenes from Gateway Trail Race

Photos provided

Contests assured in upcoming races

By Lib Stewart

Contests are assured in the city council race for the Ward 2 and Ward 3 seats held by Mike Butler and Tommy Hawkins, 11 people are vying for 4 seats open on the school board and 4 people are seeking the two seats open on the county board of commissioners as candidate filing ended Friday at noon.
Patty Hall, 111 Stowe Acres Road, is running against Butler, who has filed for a 5th 4-year term. Jim Larson, 102 N. Gaston Street, is running against Tommy Hawkins, who is seeking a 4th four-year term on city council.
At-large city councilman David Allen is running unopposed for his seat as are Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman, R-Cleveland, who is seeing a fourth term and NC House Rep. for Cleveland County Tim Moore, and Rep. Kelly Hastings. Moore also serves as Speaker of the NC House of Representatives.  Senator Ted Alexander, R, will seek a third term representing the 4th Senate District seat.
The Primary election is scheduled May 17. If a second Primary is needed it will be on July 5 with the general election scheduled Nov. 8.
In the board of education race, Meghan Hoppes, Democrat, is challenging the three incumbent Democrats Philip Glover, Coleman Hunt, and Dena Green in the Primary while Republicans in the Primary are Aaron Bridges, incumbent Danny Blanton, Annette Fain, Ronnie Grigg, Dale Riviere, Walter Scott Spurling and Glenda Womack, all Republicans.  The Primary voters will determine candidates on the ballots in November.
In the board of commissioner’s race David White and Malarie Thompson, Republicans, are challenging incumbent Republicans Deb Hardin and Doug Bridges in the Primary. Voters at the. The Primary will determine which two candidates will be on the ballots in November.
Jeff Gregory of Cleveland County was one of 7 people filing for the US House District 10 Congressional seat.
Seventy-six candidates filed for local, county, US Senate, US House, Court of Appeals and NC Supreme Court Associate justices during the filing period from Feb. 24-March 4.

Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame announces first class of inductions

The Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame announced its inaugural class of inductees Wednesday, March 2, and what an impressive list of inductees it is.
Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson, both natives of Shelby, highlight the first class. Joining Scruggs and Gibson are legendary disc jockey Hugh Dover, who worked at both local stations WOHS, in Shelby and WKMT in Kings Mountain, Bobby Rogers, owner of Bobby’s Records and Rogers Theatre, Kings Mountain native and renowned record producer Ron Feemster and JB and Kathleen Lewis, as well as Herman and Jean Dawson, owners of J&K Records.
“The Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame has been waiting two years for this day,” stated Phil Weathers, President of the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors. “We have done a lot of research to develop this first class. We look forward to the actual induction ceremony where we will honor this special group of people in front of their families and the community in which they lived.”
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame every year will be two hit records recorded by artists from Cleveland County. This year those records will be “I Love the Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges and “Timber I’m Falling in Love” by Patty Loveless.
The induction ceremony will be held September 17, at the Don Gibson Theatre. Information concerning the ceremony, including ticket sales, will be forthcoming.
Board of Directors include Phil Weathers-President, Angela Padgett-Vice President, Mary Fox-Secretary, Patti Weathers-Treasurer, Jeff Champion-Marketing, Andrew Fulton, Ryan Fox, Ronnie Whisnant, Tommy Ellis, Jo Boggs, Howard Padgett Jr., and Michael Hayes.
The Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame was established in 2019. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to honor the legacy of pioneers from Cleveland County whose talent has enriched the musical landscape of the area in which they live/lived while giving the tools needed to future generations of musicians to hone their craft. In 2021, Calvin and Teresa Hastings donated the WOHS studios on Hwy 74. In that building the Hall of Fame plans to house a museum, as well as recording studio and a learning center for students who want to play an instrument.
For more information on the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame and the induction ceremony itself, contact the Hall at 704-692-5246 or visit their website at www.ccmusichallofame.org You may also visit their Facebook page at @CCMUSICHALL.
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Special meeting
called to consider
annexing 125 acres

By Loretta Cozart

A special meeting was called for Tuesday, March 8 at 5 p.m. for a motion to adopt a Resolution directing the city clerk to investigate a Voluntary Contiguous Annexation Petition for property located near 102 Woodlake Parkway in Kings Mountain. There are 92.677 acres in Cleveland County and an additional 33.127 acres in Gaston County.
The request to annex was received from Michael Eugene Bumgardner, II, Rebecca Cashion Bumgardner, Faylene Falls Voet, Michael Eugene Bumgardner, and William Zura Cashion, Jr.
The property is in Cleveland County and being identified Parcel #12661, and Parcel #12656 and Gaston County Property identified as Parcel #154966 and consisting of approximately 125.804 acres.
The notice for the special called meeting was shared by the city on Friday, March 4 at 4:35 p.m.

KM City Council schedules four public hearings 

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain City Council met on February 22 to conduct the business of the city. Discussed were budget items, four public hearings, and authorization of the city manager to execute right-of-way and easement agreements, among other items.
Four Public Hearings were scheduled for Tuesday, March 29, at 6:00 p.m. The first Public Hearing is to consider a request from South Oak Partners, LLC to rezone property located on S. Battleground Avenue and consisting of 1.53 acres from Auto Urban Commercial (AU) to Suburban Residential (SR) – Case No. Z-22-1. D.
The second Public Hearing scheduled is to consider a request from Morris Family Holdings, LLC to rezone property between David Baptist Church Road and Stony Point Road and consisting of 14.73 acres, 0.78 acres, and 0.97 acres, and being further identified as Cleveland County Tax Parcels 10869, 10867 and 48436 from Special Use Rural (SU-RU) and Suburban Residential (SR) to Heavy Industrial (HI) – Case No. Z-21-2.
  A third Public Hearing was also scheduled to consider the adoption of an Ordinance amending the City Charter assigning the annexed properties after council declared the Wards boundaries of the City of Kings Mountain, known as of December 31, 2021, in order for Planning Staff to forward updated city limit and ward maps to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the city, this action just places the properties that were annexed in 2021, and a couple that were inadvertently left off the one done in 2020, into wards.
   A fourth Public Hearing is scheduled to consider text amendments to the City of Kings Mountain Unified Development Ordinance based upon discussion at the Work Session, which was held prior to this meeting.
   Regarding the budget, the following items were approved:
• $400,000 to advance money from the Gas operating fund to be repaid when loan proceeds are received and to transfer budget among expenditure line items in the Gas Capital Project Fund.
• $289,935 to increase revenues in the ARPA Grant Project Fund budget based upon actual amounts to be awarded, and to reclassify expenditures among line items.
• $15,000 to budget for a Kings Mountain TDA contribution for an eight-passenger utility vehicle for Special Events. This contribution was restricted for this purpose and was intended for the 2020-21 budget; however, it was not shipped and invoiced until this fiscal year.
• $60,000 to budget for projected occupancy tax revenues and the corresponding pass through (expenditure) to the TDA. Note occupancy tax revenues are projected to exceed budget due to extreme conservatism in budgeting (unknowns of COVID impacts on travel/hotel occupancy at the time the budget was adopted last spring). It is important to note that the city essentially acts as a collection agent for the tax and is required by law to remit these taxes, less a 3% collection/admin fee to the TDA.
   City council next voted to authorize the City Manager, or her designee, to execute all right of way and easement agreements. There was no public discussion of this topic at the meeting. Mayor Neisler clarified later that the purpose is to give the city manager, or a her designee, the ability to execute right of way and easements agreements for utilities.
   City Council voted to donate equipment, valued at approximately $5,000, to ElectriCities, a non-profit organization for use at their new training facility. Donated were an ABB, 15 KV Overhead Electronic Recloser and cabinet o Purchased in 2006, a Siemens, 15.5 KV Substation Vacuum Circuit Breaker and stand o Purchased in 1991, and a Siemens 5/8% Step – Voltage Regulators and Control Panels purchased in 1991.
   City council also voted to create the Kings Mountain Recreation Committee and appoint the following members: Councilmember David Allen, Councilmember Jay Rhodes, and Councilmember Jimmy West. The committee will also consist of one member of the Kings Mountain YMCA, Kings Mountain Elite, Kings Mountain Optimist Club, NC Crown Soccer Club and Cleveland County School District, which members are to be appointed by the organization.
   Chip McGill was appointed to the ABC Board, with term beginning April 1 and expiring on March 31, 2025.
   City Council also approved a request from Steve and Brad Moffitt, at 166 Northshore Drive, Cherryville, to replace a pier with the same projection of 85-feet on Moss Lake. New docs are limited to 60-feet, but since this was for the replacement of an existing pier, staff recommended approval.
   Also approved was to authorize the mayor to execute the School Resource Officers services contract with Cleveland County Board of Education and authorize Chief Lisa Proctor to execute the Memorandum of Understanding as to the School Resource Officers service.
   City council also declared the Wards boundaries of the City of Kings Mountain, known as of December 31, 2021, in order for Planning Staff to forward updated city limit and ward maps to the U.S. Census Bureau.
   According to the city, the new GIS maps are much more detailed, and the US Census Bureau’s corporate limit boundaries do not match perfectly with the City of Kings Mountain official corporate boundaries. The new conflated maps that City Council approved will be sent to the US Census (in electronic GIS files) so that in the future the US Census Bureau’s depiction of the City of Kings Mountain Corporate Boundaries will match perfectly with the official City of Kings Mountain Boundaries. It includes annexed areas that were added to the city limits in December 2020. 

Bass Tournaments scheduled for Moss Lake

By Loretta Cozart

At their February 22 regular meeting, Kings Mountain City Council approved several bass fishing tournaments throughout the year. The requested events had been approved by the Moss Lake Commission. All boats are required to have proper Moss Lake permits, state registrations, and insurance. The events approved were:
• A Thursday Night Bass Tournament, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. was approved beginning March 17, then every Thursday night until October 13, 2022. A final Fish Off is scheduled on October 22. This is a non-profit event.
• Cleveland Masonic Lodge #202 received approval to host a Charity Bass Fishing Tournament on April 30, from 5:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• Eaton Bass Masters Club got approval to host a non-profit event on August 13 from 3:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

KM gets $350,000 in state grants

By Loretta Cozart

North Carolina’s Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) distributed more than $330 million in directed grants to local governments and community organizations in the last 10 days. More than 170 entities across North Carolina received funds in this first round of grant disbursements.
Two grants were allocated for City of Kings Mountain. One for $250,000 was from the Department of Public Safety. The second grant is for $100,000 from OSBM. The press release did not indicate the purpose of these grants and, as of publication, the city has not responded to our request for  comment.
 “These grant funds will help local communities invest in projects that can improve the lives of those they serve,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “I expect to see great work from our partners in local government and the nonprofit sector as these projects move forward.”
   Other projects across the county included in this first round of grant disbursements include vital community improvements like:
• $14 million for repairs to the Boiling Springs Dam in the Boiling Spring Lakes
• $4.9 million to the Cleveland County School System for repairs and renovations of the following facilities: lighting upgrades at all four county high schools; stadium press box upgrades at Burns, Crest and Kings Mountain High Schools; HVAC at Shelby High School; track and field house renovations at Shelby High School; restroom renovations at Crest and Burns High Schools. renovations at Crest and Burns High Schools
• $450,000 for a Cleveland County Sheriff Mobile Command Unit
• $3.8 million to modernize the Madison County Courthouse in Marshall
• $1.2 million for improvements to the Brunswick Riverwalk Park in Belville
   The state budget contained more than 900 Directed Grants of which over 640 are being administered by the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM). The agency expects to distribute more than $1.4 billion in directed grants over the next 12 months.
This is largely a new grant program, leading OSBM to set up a website and training webinars for the directed grant recipients to help them meet state grant requirements and receive their grant funds as quickly possible.
 OSBM is an agency within the Governor’s Office responsible for administering the state budget and providing objective information and analysis to ensure effective stewardship of public resources.
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The old gas station at 100 E. King Street is taking shape as Kiamesha Young enters the home stretch of her building renovation. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Progress continues 
at 100 E. King Street

By Loretta Cozart

Progress is being made at the old McGill’s Esso gas station at 100 E. King Street in Kings Mountain. The building has been secured, with a new wall and a locking door at the back of the building. Windows resembling glass garage doors have been added in front of the old service bays, but inside the garage doors remain intact. With the new paint, the station draws the eye to drivers by.
The station is one of only three remaining Standard Oil Stations in the nation and Young has done an exemplary job in bringing the facility into the 21st century while preserving the original structure. Modernization has occurred without destroying the old. In doing so, new owner Kiamesha Young shows her respect for the past as she prepares the building for future  business in Kings Mountain.
The plan was to have the entire station dried in and secured in December to early January. According to Young, “That way, we can keep the property secure. Once that happens, we can do the necessary work inside and that shouldn’t take too much time. Hopefully, I’ll be done by March. That is the goal.”
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Community Lenten Services start this Wednesday, Mar. 2

The ministers of the Kings Mountain Ministerial Association will host Lenten services again this year. The theme for the services is “Personalities Around the Cross.” The services are planned for each Wednesday at 12 noon in Lent on the following dates:
Wednesday, March 2: Central United Methodist Church - Rev. Randy Patterson, Pastor of Dixon Presbyterian Church will bring the message on “Judas: The One Who Betrayed Him.”
Wednesday, March 9: First Baptist Church - Rev. Bruce Gwyn, Pastor of Central United Methodist Church will speak on “Barabbas: Jesus Died in My Place.”
Wednesday, March 16:  Boyce Memorial ARP Church  - Rev. Ron Caulder, Pastor of Eastside Baptist will bring the message on “Simon of Cyrene:  Suffering May Lead to Blessing.”
Wednesday, March 23: Eastside Baptist Church - Dr. John (Chip) Sloan will speak on “Mary the Mother of Jesus: The Depth of a Mother’s Love.”
Wednesday, March 30:  Peoples Baptist Church - Rev. William Thompson, President of William Thompson Ministers will bring the message on “The Thief on the Cross:  The Way of Salvation.”
Wednesday, April 6: Bethlehem Baptist Church - Dr. Robert Patrick, Pastor of Boyce Memorial Presbyterian Church will bring the message on “Joseph of Arimathea: Giving Our Service for Christ.”
Because of covid, there will be no fellowship meals following the services as in the past. 
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Pictured L to R: Mary Grace Keller, Robert Wagman, AnnaLee Sibley, and Jackie Sibley-Newton. (Photos provided)

“Deliver Us From Mama”
premiers March 4 at Joy Performance Center

The 2021-2022 season of Kings Mountain Little Theatre will continue with the comedy, “Deliver Us from Mama,” directed by Amy Hardin (828-447-3967), on Friday, March 4, at 7:30 PM.
KMLT is pleased to announce that performances are scheduled for March 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 PM with matinees on Sundays, March 6 and 13 at 3:00 pm.
Priority is given to our wonderfully supportive season members, and they can make a reservation to attend a performance for our plays. All others may purchase tickets at the box office or online at www.kmlt.org. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. Reserved seating not claimed at least 10 minutes before show time are subject to release for purchase by others seeking tickets.
Season members may make reservations by calling the theater at 704-730-9408 and leaving a message or send a request to us at tickets@kmlt.org.
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Project South second meeting to be held on March 15

By Loretta Cozart

The second meeting for Project South, the proposed wastewater treatment facility in the Dixon Community, is planned for Tuesday, March 15 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Senior Center at 909 E. King Street in Kings Mountain, according to the city.
Letters went out to those residents whose properties are impacted by right-of-way easements on Friday, February 25. All property owners South of I-85, between the state line and Exit 5 are invited to attend this drop-in informational meeting regarding a prospective utility infrastructure project in their area.
According to the project schedule released at the February 8 meeting on the topic, property owners should anticipate receiving letters regarding surveys by March 8.
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Runners participating in the Gateway Trail 5K Race. Photo Shirley Brutko

Time is running out
to register for
Gateway Trail races

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Gateway Trail will hold their 5K Walk & Fun Run on March 12 at the trailhead and their 10-Miler being held from  February 28 to March 11.
The 5K Walk & Fun Run on March 12 starts at 9 a.m., and race packets are available on March 11 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the trailhead. Participants should wear a mask and stay 6-feet apart.
The 10-Miler Virtual Run is until March 11 on Quarry Road to the trailhead, Galilee Church Road, and back. Runners must email their proof of distance and time to starr@finishwelltiming.com before midnight on March 11.
To register, visit runsignup.com or call 704.685-3549. Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is at 807 S. Battleground Avenue in Kings Mountain. For more information, visit www.kmgatewaytrails.org.
Trail events for 2022 include National Trails Day June 4, Story Walk June-July, and their photo contest in October.
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Senator Ted Alexander (third from left) with other presenters at the town hall on Human Trafficking outside Asheville. Photo provided

Working to end Human Trafficking

On January 29, Senator Alexander attended an essential conference on combating human trafficking within North Carolina. This meeting was held in Arden, NC, about 20 minutes outside Asheville, at their town hall meeting.
Numerous crucial actors that have worked on this issue in North Carolina were present at the conference. Some of the groups that were in attendance include: Kathy Yurista of Awake & Bold, Forrest Sealey of the Veterans For Child Rescue, and Jason Sisneros. Many other non-profit organizations contesting human trafficking in North Carolina were also in attendance. The group discussed current steps that have been taken to contest human trafficking. Senator Alexander was extremely proud to announce the progress he and the NCGA have made towards combatting human trafficking in North Carolina. Senator Alexander states, “The lives of so many of God’s children depend on this cancer being permanently removed from society.”
These vital steps taken are not the end. The deliberation of future plans and the exchange of contact information ensures these actors will stay connected as they continue the fight.
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Kindergarten Orientation March 18

By Loretta Cozart

Kindergarten Orientation Day (K-Day) will be held on March 18 at our elementary schools. Registration will begin at 8:15 a.m. and the parent program will follow from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Call your elementary school today for additional information about the orientation.
Although each school will hold an orientation session, kindergarten registration will be held online and will become available by March 18 as well.
To enroll in kindergarten children must be five years of age by August 31, 2020. A health assessment form, Immunization records, and a birth certificate is required.
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New Biscuitville location located at 716 York Rd.

Biscuitville open for business

By Loretta Cozart

Biscuitville Fresh Southern opened its newest restaurant in Kings Mountain at 716 York Road in Kings Mountain, on Tuesday, March 1, with a grand opening held from 8 a.m. until noon. A ribbon cutting ceremony occurred at 2:15 p.m.
Guests were invited to register for an opportunity to win free breakfast for a year. Ten free breakfast winners will be awarded combo coupons for a total of fifty-two coupons per prize. Selected winners will be notified next week. No purchase is necessary to enter. Biscuitville branded swag prizes were also available while supplies lasted.
Headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, Biscuitville Fresh Southern® is a family-owned company serving authentic Southern food made fresh daily from locally sourced ingredients. Known as the Home of the Biscuit Window Since 1966®, Biscuitville serves scratch-made biscuits baked fresh every 15 minutes.
The company was founded in 1966 when owner Maurice Jennings opened two pizza restaurants in Burlington, NC. Using a family recipe, he later added fresh-baked biscuits to the menu—which proved so popular; the brand evolved to become Biscuitville. Today, the company sources its ingredients from other local and family-owned partners to serve guests classic Southern breakfast.
Biscuitville employs over 2,000 people and operates sixty-seven restaurants in North Carolina and Virginia, serving breakfast all day from morning to 2 p.m.
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New Biscuitville location located at 716 York Rd.

Biscuitville to open March 1

By Loretta Cozart

Greensboro based Biscuitville announced plans to open the Kings Mountain drive-thru breakfast restaurant on March 1, according to their sign. The location of the new restaurant is 716 York Road, in Kings Mountain.
The restaurant chain opened in 1966 but specialized in pizza. In 1975, they opened their first store in Danville, VA, followed by eight stores in North Carolina in 1978.
Biscuitville offers a variety of breakfast options, from a variety of biscuits to muffins, pancakes, and breakfast platters.
Those looking to apply should visit https://biscuitville.com/ and look for the yellow rolling pin at the top of the page and click on “careers”.
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Smoke bellowed into the sky at the scene of a work truck fire on I-85 North on Saturday afternoon just before 5 p.m. Nobody was injured in the blaze. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Truck catches fire on
I-85 Saturday afternoon

By Loretta Cozart

Just before five o’clock on Saturday, February 19, a work truck traveling North on I-85 near the Cleveland County line caught fire. The occupants of the vehicle were able to escape before the cab burst into flame.
Clouds of black smoke bellowed into the sky above the scene. Within minutes, Kings Mountain Fire Department’s Engine 283 arrived, followed by a second firetruck. Fire and rescue members scrambled to get the engine fire of the Ford work truck under control.
Shortly after, KMPD Officer T. Bell responded to the scene and directed traffic through the area. With the fire extinguished, emergency vehicles cleared a lane and traffic resumed at 5:02 pm.
  An hour earlier, another crash occurred near mile marker 2, near the state line. According to DOT, the road was closed with a detour of vehicles around the accident.

Community Lenten Services start March 2

The ministers of the Kings Mountain Ministerial Association will host Lenten services again this year. The theme for the services is “Personalities Around the Cross.” The services are planned for each Wednesday at 12 noon in Lent on the following dates:
Wednesday, March 2: Central United Methodist Church - Rev. Randy Patterson, Pastor of Dixon Presbyterian Church will bring the message on “Judas: The One Who Betrayed Him.”
Wednesday, March 9: First Baptist Church - Rev. Bruce Gwyn, Pastor of Central United Methodist Church will speak on “Barabbas: Jesus Died in My Place.”
Wednesday, March 16:  Boyce Memorial ARP Church  - Rev. Ron Caulder, Pastor of Eastside Baptist will bring the message on “Simon of Cyrene:  Suffering May Lead to Blessing.”
Wednesday, March 23: Eastside Baptist Church - Dr. John (Chip) Sloan will speak on “Mary the Mother of Jesus: The Depth of a Mother’s Love.”
Wednesday, March 30:  Peoples Baptist Church - Rev. William Thompson, President of William Thompson Ministers will bring the message on “The Thief on the Cross:  The Way of Salvation.”
Wednesday, April 6: Bethlehem Baptist Church - Dr. Robert Patrick, Pastor of Boyce Memorial Presbyterian Church will bring the message on “Joseph of Arimathea: Giving Our Service for Christ.”
Because of covid, there will be no fellowship meals following the services as in the past. 
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Jim Patterson Road was mentioned at the meeting as a potential location for the new wastewater treatment plant. According to the city, no site has yet been determined. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Proposed wastewater treatment plant planned for the Dixon community

By Loretta Cozart

Project South, the proposed wastewater system for the Dixon community, was unveiled at a community meeting hosted by City of Kings Mountain, Town of Grover, and Cleveland County at the Patrick Senior Center on February 8, at 6 p.m.
Citizens who attended the meeting were upset because they felt they had not received adequate notice of the meeting, and not all citizens in the Dixon Community received notice.
A letter was mailed to residents on Thursday, February 3 and was received by most on Saturday, February 5. Due to the weekend, those residents were not able to reach out to the city until Monday, February 7, just one day prior to the meeting.
On February 4, a post was made to the City of Kings Mountain’s Facebook page stating, “PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: All property owners South of I-85, near Exit 5 are invited to attend an informational meeting regarding a prospective utility infrastructure project in your area. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the Patrick Senior Center, 909 East King Street. The City of Kings Mountain, Town of Grover, and Cleveland County are excited for the economic development progress this project will bring to the region. (Letters have been sent by mail to those in the area. This post serves as notice in case an owner or resident was missed.)”
According to the city, 80 to 100 people attended the meeting in which the project was discussed. The overview reviewed installing, owning, and maintaining a new sewer infrastructure, a new state-of-art treatment plant, three Lift Stations along route, and sewer connectivity to a growing area along I-85 between Exit 8 and the South Carolina State line. The $45 million project was funded by the state for assistance in population growth and economic development value in their last budget.
No firm decision has
yet been made regarding the site of the wastewater treatment plant, according to City Manager Marilyn Sellers.
The Town of Grover is at capacity, so Project South will assist them in needed capacity, upgrades, and expanding their customer base.
Natural Gas infrastructure will also be part of the utility expansion into this area using a different route than sewer. NCDOT right-of-way installation was noted. As the city starts the proposed expansion, they will be contacting the property owners along the way to offer natural gas service, giving them the opportunity to consider becoming a natural gas customer of the City of Kings Mountain. Natural Gas service in the area is limited, so many use propane. The city is offering to wave tap fees during installation of the gas line expansion.
Why does Project South need a Right of Way Easement? The County, the City, and the Town of Grover have recognized the need for sewer capacity along the 1-85 corridor and believe that the best alternative to provide sewer service to the 1-85 corridor is to develop a regional approach to solving the problem of needed sewer capacity. After reviewing various alternatives, the group believes the best alternative is to provide a stand-alone wastewater collection and treatment facility in the service area that can meet the current and long-term needs for wastewater collection and treatment. The plan would provide a major collection line to provide gravity sewer service along the 1-85 corridor from Kings Mountain (Exit 8) to the Town of Grover and construct a new 4.0 million gallon per day wastewater treatment facility that can be expanded to sixty million gallons per day.
If owners are asked to grant a Right of Way Easement, it is because a portion of their property has been deemed appropriate for the installation of the wastewater collection line.
The project began on February 8 and will follow the estimated timeline is below:

Start Date: February 8

Property owner notifications
of surveys: 30 days      

Initial Design Surveys : 90 days         
  
Easement preparation
and acquisition: 120 days

Design and permitting :  270 days from Start Date

Construction Period: 720 days from receiving a permit to construct
 
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KMLT Comedy
Deliver Us From Mama
premiers March 4

 The 2021-2022 season of Kings Mountain Little Theatre will continue with “Deliver Us From Mama”, directed by Amy Hardin, on Friday, March 4, at 7:30 PM. 
KMLT is pleased to announce that performances are scheduled for March 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 7:30 PM with matinees on Sundays, March 6 and 13 at 3:00 pm. 
THE STORY:  Mama’s back—so chaos can’t be far behind! This rip-roaring, hilarious, high-octane race to beat the stork begins when Walker Sprunt’s wife, Hayley, goes into labor with their first child. The problem? She’s in Alabama, and Walker (Robert Wagman) is in L.A., trying his best to get through a surprise visit from his meddling mother (Jackie Sibley-Newton) and his bossy big sister, Savannah (Mary Grace Keller), when he gets the call. Unfortunately, an air traffic controllers’ strike has just begun across the nation and Walker is at a loss for what to do. But his Mama, as usual, is not. And when she proclaims, “Family Road Trip!” Walker, from experience, knows disaster can’t be far behind. And is he ever right—as the clock ticks, Mama and her squabbling offspring jump in a car and sprint across two thousand miles of America and through its most unbelievably eccentric and colorful communities, and comedic chaos follows them everywhere.
Despite experiencing zany alien encounters near Roswell, New Mexico, witnessing an uproarious last-minute wedding with off-their-rockers relatives, participating unwillingly in a high-speed police chase across Texas, surviving a churning river on a daiquiri party barge, and even escaping a wild New Orleans Mardi Gras night court, this exuberantly desperate trio drive on, determined to make it to Alabama before the new baby is born. And heaven help anyone who gets in Mama’s way, because she WILL be in Birmingham in time for the birth of her first grandchild! This flat-out-funny Jones Hope Wooten comedy will get your motors racing as it delivers miles of smiles and loads of laughs!
   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.
   Priority is given to our wonderfully supportive season members, and they can make a reservation to attend a performance for our plays. All others may purchase tickets at the box office or online at www.kmlt.org. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. Reserved seating not claimed at least 10 minutes before show time are subject to release for purchase by others seeking tickets.
   Season members may make reservations by calling the theater at 704-730-9408 and leaving a message or send a request to us at tickets@kmlt.org.
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Phenix Mill being demolished

Portions of the old Dilling / Phenix Mill have been demolished, another part of Kings Mountain’s history in the process of disappearing. The Dilling Mill, later renamed the Phenix Mill, was built by Freno Dilling, part owner of Kings Mountain Manufacturing with W. A. Mauney. The Dilling Mill eventually became the Phenix Mill #2, then renamed the Burlington Mill, and was located near the intersection of Battleground Avenue and Baker Street. It was bounded to the east by Phenix Street. 
                                                                                              Photo by Loretta Cozart
 

Pedestrian fatality on York Road Friday

On Friday, February 11, at approximately 5:42 p.m., the Kings Mountain Police Department received a telephone call of an accident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian in the 1100 block of York Road in Kings Mountain.
The Kings Mountain Police Department, Kings Mountain Fire Department, and Cleveland County Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene of the accident and attempted life saving measures. The pedestrian was later identified as Kristy Ann Huffman, age 52, of Kings Mountain and she died at the scene resulting from her injuries. There were no other victims or injuries reported.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Sarah Elizabeth Mead. The driver remained at the scene and is being cooperative with law enforcement and the investigation. The investigation is ongoing and anyone with any information is asked to contact Detective Sgt. P.W. Alexander with the Kings Mountain Police Department at 704-734-0444.
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CLIFTON W. PHILBECK Director of Elections

Candidate filing
resumes  Feb. 24

Candidate filing resumes Thursday, Feb. 24 at 8 a.m. and ends on Friday, March 4 at noon at Cleveland County Board of Elections, 215 Patton Drive, Shelby.
Director of Election
Clifton W. Philbeck said the Primary election is scheduled on May 17. If a second Primary is needed it will be on July 5 with the general election scheduled on Nov. 8.
 Candidates who filed during the December filing period are still considered filed and will be allowed to redraw their notices of candidacy if they decide not to run. Deadline to redraw notice of candidacy is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1.      
These are the offices, the names of the incumbents, terms of office, and filing fees of candidates who file with the Cleveland County Board of Elections:
NC Senate 44th District, Ted Alexander, 2 years, filing fee $140.
NC House 110th District, 2 years, Kelly Hastings, filing fee $140.
NC House 111th District, 2 years, Tim Moore, filing fee $140.
Clerk of Superior Court, 4 years, Mitzi McGraw Johnson, filing fee $1,208.00.
Cleveland County Sheriff, 4 years, Alan Norman, filing fee $1,017.00.
Cleveland County Board of Commissioners, 4 years, filing fee $100. Incumbents Philip Glover, Coleman Hunt, Dena Green, Danny Lee Blanton.
Kings Mountain City Council, 4 years, filing fee $35. Incumbents Ward 2, Mike Butler; Ward 3 Tommy Hawkins; At Large David Allen.
Filing for the office of Soil and Water will begin at noon on June 13 and end at noon on July 1. The filing fee is $5, and the term of office is 4 years. Incumbents are Roger Eaker and Sherry Greene.
Offices filing with the State Board of Elections:
US 13th Congressional District, open seat, $1,740.00
District Court judge 27-B, 4 years, incumbent Micha T. Sanderson, filing fee $1,251.00
District Attorney 39th District, incumbent Mike Miller, $1,374.00.
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CAUSBY

Man arrested on thirty-five 
counts of chop shop activity in Kings Mountain

By Loretta Cozart

On Friday, Jeffery Lee Causby was arrested several times by Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office and charged with thirty-five counts of chop shop activity at 198 Gage Rd. in Kings Mountain. He received bonds totaling $75,000.
The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the NC Department of Motor Vehicles, were able to recover an estimated $120,000.00 in stolen property during a joint investigation at the scene.
CCSO recovered nine stolen vehicles, two stolen trailers, a stolen tractor, a stolen camper, and a stolen Jaws of Life tool. This property came from Cleveland County and other counties in the region.
The investigation is still ongoing, and more charges and arrests are anticipated. Anyone with information is asked to call Cleveland County Sheriff's Office at 704-484-4888.
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CENTRAL SCHOOL

School Board to vote Monday night
Stone’s group wins high
bid for Central School

By Loretta Cozart

David Stone’s group, Central School Renovation Partners, LLC’s bid of $909,665 was the highest bid received during the upset bid process for Central School in Kings Mountain. As of 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 10, no upset bid was offered to continue the process.
 “We are really excited about being the final high bid on this property and we look forward to working with Cleveland County School Board concerning the offer,” said Stone.
The group will conduct an environmental study which checks for hazardous materials, like asbestos, and the presence of petroleum products.
Preston Brown shared why an upset bid was not offered by his group, “I backed out because the property is zoned SU, meaning no retail type business can never ever be used on the property. No retail shops. No restaurant. All maintenance buildings must go. The auditorium can never be used for a paid type (of) concert or event. Apartments only is all that is allowed. David Stone can have it. Glad I found this out before I upset his bid.”
On October 11, Cleveland County Board of Education voted to place Central School on their surplus property list, pending the County Commissioners’ decision. City of Kings Mountain was offered an opportunity to take the building but declined the opportunity to do so. The sealed bid process ended on November 3 at 4 p.m. Cleveland County School District awarded the high bid to Mike Brown at $750,000 and then bidding went into an upset bid process. Several upset bid cycles were completed until the final high bid was reached.
Cleveland County School Board met Monday night and it is anticipated that Central School Renovation Partners, LLC will be awarded the high bid during that meeting.
Cleveland County School Board requested time to vacate the building when they offered the building for sale, and it is unclear how much time will be needed for them to complete that task. Currently, Cleveland County School District’s Maintenance Facility is housed in the school building, along with Cleveland County Partnership for Children.
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Hats Off! A History of Headwear
February 22 – May 14

Kings Mountain Historical Museum has a new exhibit opening on Tuesday, February 22 featuring a history of headwear. The production and use of hats has seen cultural and social changes throughout history. In the past, hats were usually more about fashion than function. The Kings Mountain Historical Museum has collected a variety of hats and head coverings over the years as part of an overall effort to preserve our communities’ shared history.
This exhibit will feature highlighted pieces from our collections and explore the history of headwear and its place in our culture. We will examine the creation and evolution of hats, symbolism and style, and how they are an expression of functionality and form.
The exhibit is free and open to the public. Face masks are required to enter the museum. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact the museum at (704) 739-1019 or visit Kings Mountain Historical Museum at 100 E Mountain Steet.
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DONALD CRAWFORD

Don Crawford led
by example, impacted thousands in his lifetime

By Loretta Cozart

William Donald “Don” Crawford, longtime Kings Mountain resident, died on Sunday, February 5 at his home in Matthews. He would have celebrated his 93rd birthday on February 26. He is survived by his second wife, Gloria Perkins-Crawford.
Don was born to Thomas Harmon Crawford and Ethel Reynolds Crawford in Kings Mountain. He was an industrious young man and joined scouting at the age of eleven.
Crawford joined Troop 5 in 1940 as a Cub Scout and picked up rocks for five cents an hour to pay for his uniform. The rocks were used to build the Scout clubhouse at the southeast corner of Cansler and Walker Streets. The rock house is now a private residence.
Crawford fell in love with scouting at an early age and his dedication to the program is well known. He rose to the rank of Eagle and the awards he has received over the years attest to his diligence and leadership locally, in the Piedmont Council, and in the state and nation. Manteo, NC, and Kings Mountain Lions Club and as Lions District Governor 31C also attest to his strong leadership. He continued to serve in the Kings Mountain Lions Club, the city’s oldest civic club.
While District 31C Governor in 1997 – 1998, Crawford led forty-two clubs in a high record of accomplishment by Lions. Crawford recorded the progress in a monthly newsletter, a big hit and drawing card for new members. The Friendship pin he distributed as a collectable was of a frontiersman and labeled, “A Mountain Top Experience.” Lions International presented him the Governor’s Award of Excellence.
NC Governor Mike Easley honored him with the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest award to a civilian, in 2006. He is also recipient of the Silver Beaver award, the Order of the Arrow, and Charles Bell award, among others.
He retired from the US Post Office at Kings Mountain after 22 years after serving as a US Postal Inspector in 1964 and then working as a clerk. He was employed by the National Park Service eight years, including six years at Cape Hatteras National Seashore at Manteo and two years at  Kings Mountain National Military Park.
After retiring in 1980, he became active in the real estate and insurance business. His love for genealogy has led to a huge book of family histories which required time-consuming research. He is on the board of Kings Mountain Historical Museum, and he uses his hobby of photography to snap pictures for the museum. He is an ardent supporter of events at the museum.
   Crawford has accompanied Scouts on 28-day trips to Philmont Ranch in New Mexico and as deputy camp chief for the USA visited Gilwell Park, the birthplace of scouting in England. Of that trip he said, “This is where a Scout or scouter gets his ticket punched, it’s like a Christian visiting the Holy Land or an ARP (he is a long, active member of Boyce Memorial ARP Church) going to Erskine college or Bon Clarken Assembly grounds.
   During his long tenure in scouting, he served Kings Mountain District, Piedmont Council, Battleground District, and Tidewater Council as a Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, wood badge Scoutmaster, assistant district commissioner, assistant Council commissioner and member of the Piedmont Council executive board to name a few of the positions he has held.
   Crawford estimated he trained over 50,000 Scouts. “I love Scouting and my Scouts keep in touch with me,’’ he once said.
   He attended ten national Boy Scout Jamborees. In 1973 and 1977 the national jamborees were held at Morane State Park, PA. He attended as a representative of the National Park Service on the conservation trail and was the Mountain Man firing a flint lock rifle, telling the difference of life then and now. He helped develop a living history program on the site which is still used by the National Park Service at Boy Scout Jamborees.
  “My late wife, Joe Ann Blalock Crawford, always said Scouting was my first love and she was my second. Not so, we were married over 50 years and our daughter, Donna, earned the curved bar in Girl Scouting. I guess you could say we are a Scouting family,’’ he said.
   Don took oaths and the things he learned in scouting and church to heart. When he memorized the Scout oath, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country,’’ the Scout law and Bible verses and the catechism at church they became real to him.
   A life member of Boyce Memorial ARP Church, he previously taught Sabbath School, was Sunday School superintendent and a past chairman of the board of deacons.
   Crawford said in a 2020 interview with the Herald, “Scouting continues to survive by keeping current with the needs of boys without sacrificing character building traits and helping boys develop into men of good, solid character.”
   In April 2016, the Piedmont Boy Scout Council honored Crawford with the distinguished National Eagle Scout Association award at a banquet at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory.
   Crawford received the Dr. Charles Bell Award at the third annual Friends of Scouting dinner on April 27, 2000, at First Baptist Church. East School was recognized for its contribution to Scouting through its successful Cub Scout program.
   That year, Pack 93 was honored as a “Quality Unit” for two straight years. Ninety-eight percent of all registered scouts advanced within the Pack, and over 80% regularly attended their Monday meetings at East School.
   Crawford has a legacy of leadership in Kings Mountain, from scouting to his work, religious, and charitable life. His work with youth has impacted thousands who knew him personally, or through the funds his charitable work impacted. 
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Kindergarten Orientation Day March 18

By Loretta Cozart

Kindergarten Orientation Day (K-Day) will be held on March 18 at our elementary schools. Registration will begin at 8:15 a.m. and the parent program will follow from 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Call your elementary school today for additional information about the orientation.
Although each school will hold an orientation session, kindergarten registration will be held online and will become available by March 18 as well.
To enroll in kindergarten children must be five years of age by August 31, 2020. A health assessment form, Immunization records, and a birth certificate is required.
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HOUNDS DRIVE-IN PROPERTY

Hounds Campground 
property sells  for $40M

By Loretta Cozart

In documents recorded with the Cleveland County Register of Deeds Office in Shelby on December 22, Michael and Cynthia Brown sold 55.07 acres of land at 114 Raven Circle in Kings Mountain, currently occupied by Hounds Campground and Hounds Drive-in, to Albemarle U.S., Inc. for approximately $40 million dollars.
In a Memorandum of Lease, also recorded on December 22 at the Register of Deeds office, Albemarle U.S. Inc. leased the property back to the Browns for a period of five years.
As outlined in a Purchase Money Promissory Note dated December 22, it was defined that Albemarle U.S. would pay the Browns through a trustee $22 million dollars and the final date of the note is set as January 5, 2048.
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Aleiyah Yarbro

Woman’s Club
scholarship winner

GFWC NC Kings Mountain announced the winner of the Woman’s Club scholarship is Aleiyah Yarbro. The daughter of Christy Pearson and Timothy Yarbro, this Kings Mountain High School senior plans to attend a four-year university and work toward a registered nursing degree. The KMWC is proud to sponsor Aleiyah as she competes at the district level in the coming weeks.
Sallie Southall Cotten was a principal leader in the organization of the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1902. The Sallie Southall Cotten Scholarship was started to honor her legacy.
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Playwright, director, and performer Mike Wiley will hold a question-and-answer session after the performance. (Photos provided)

Tired Souls: The Montgomery Bus Boycott on February 18
at Joy Performance Center

To honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mauney Memorial Library, and the City of Kings Mountain welcome Mike Wiley to perform, Tired Souls: The Montgomery Bus Boycott at the Joy Performance Center on February 18 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tired Souls opens in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955 – the day Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man. Her determination was the catalyst that inspired Montgomery’s black citizens to abandon all travel on city buses until they were no longer forced to sit in the back or stand when a white person boarded. But there were others who came before Mrs. Parks and laid the groundwork for this pivotal moment. Tired Souls introduces audiences to Jo Ann Robinson, Claudette Colvin, and others so instrumental in lighting a fire under the Civil Rights movement and changing the course of U.S. history forever.
Immediately after production, the audience is invited to take part in a talkback with Mike Wiley. No photos or videography will be allowed during production.
The event is free and open to the public. The Joy Performance Center is located at 202 South Railroad Avenue, Kings Mountain.
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Doug Crawford

W. Donald Crawford
dies at age 92

William Donald Crawford, longtime prominent Kings Mountain resident who was active in Boy Scouting for 80 years, longtime member of Boyce Memorial ARP Church, Kings Mountain Lions Club, and other civic and community service activities, died Sunday, Feb. 5, 2022, at his home in Matthews.
He was 92 and would have celebrated his 93rd birthday February 26.
Crawford was recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award to a civilian by the Governor of. North Carolina and the Rev. Dr. Charles Bell award for scouting. He was District Governor for the International Association of Lions Clubs and Wood Badge Deputy Camp Chief of Boy Scouts of America.
Crawford was the son of the late Thomas and Ethel Reynolds Crawford. He was predeceased by his wife. JoeAnn Blalock Crawford and their daughter, Donna Ann Crawford Cornwell.
Graveside services will be held February 19, 2022, at 3 p.m. at Mountain Rest Cemetery.
“Don loved Kings Mountain and enjoyed people. He loved to get on his computer and share the memories with us,’’ said his wife, Gloria Perkins Crawford.
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The Gateway Trail 5K Walk & Fun Run draws hundreds of runners to Kings Mountain each year. (Photo provided)

Register now for Gateway Trail races

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Gateway Trail announces their 5K Walk & Fun Run on March 12 at the trailhead and their 10-Miler from February 28 to March 11.
The 5K Walk & Fun Run on March 12 starts at 9 a.m., and race packets are available on March 11 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the trailhead. Participants should wear a mask and stay 6-feet apart.
The 10-Miler Virtual Run is from February 28 to March 11 on Quarry Road to the trailhead, Galilee Church Road, and back. Runners must email their proof of distance and time to starr@finishwelltiming.com before midnight on March 11.
To register, visit runsignup.com or call 704.685-3549. Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is at 807 S. Battleground Avenue in Kings Mountain. For more information, visit www.kmgatewaytrails.org.
Trail events for 2022 include National Trails Day June 4, Story Walk June-July, and their photo contest in October.
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Search begins for top talent
for triumphant return of
“Liberty Mountain” drama

The search begins to secure top talent for triumphant return of “Liberty Mountain” drama in Mountain Kings Mountain, NC:
The search is officially on as casting directors begin looking for talented actors, singers, and technicians to perform this summer in Liberty Mountain, the Revolutionary War era drama depicting the struggles and triumphs of the brave people who settled in the Carolinas and founded our nation. Playing onstage at the Joy Performance Center in Kings Mountain, cast members will learn to sword fight, fire replica muskets, dress up in incredible costumes, and charge into battle!
The company will host local auditions at the Joy Performance Center on Saturday, February 5th at 9:30am. Video submissions are also being accepted. Paid contracts are currently available, and those selected and hired will work alongside professional theatre staff to bring this massive production to life for the 2022 Summer Season.
“We are so excited to see this production return to the stage,” says director Caleb Sigmon. The company delayed performances for the past two summers due to the impact of COVID-19. “It’s a story that means so much to me, and it is an honor to bring it to life.”
The historically accurate production was written by playwright Bob Inman. Many will remember Inman from his significant career with WBTV. Since then, he has written a score of novels, Hallmark movies, plays, and musicals. The show will feature new and exciting moments that have been developed during these years off.
There are positions open in the following departments: Acting, Stage Management, Technical, Wardrobe, Wig & Makeup. Ideal candidates are highly driven, enthusiastic, imaginative, and have full availability for all dates. Rehearsals are June 4th - 23rd with performances June 24th - July 17th. Housing is provided for out-of-town company members. No previous professional experience necessary.
Please visit the website for complete audition information, along with details about how to submit an audition video or register for in-person auditions at the Joy Performance Center, 202 S. Railroad Avenue, Kings Mountain, NC. on Saturday, February 5th at 9:30am. www.LibertyMountainDrama.com
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Trent Troxel (third from left),Vice President of the Catawba Nation Gaming Authority, and Catawba Nation Assistant Chief Jason Harris (center) present a check for $10,000 to Hospice Cleveland County and the Cleveland County Partnership for Children. The funds were raised by the Catawba Two Kings Casino from patron donations. At the Jan. 21 presentation were (left to right) Tina Dellinger, Assistant Director of Cleveland County Partnership for Children; Shannon White, Executive Director of Cleveland County Partnership for Children; Myra McGinnis, President of Hospice Cleveland County; Pam Sharts, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Hospice; and Patty McMurry, Vice President of Access for Hospice. Photo provided

Catawba Two Kings Casino
donates $10,000 to
local nonprofits

The Catawba Two Kings Casino Share Change program has raised $5,000 each for Hospice Cleveland County and the Cleveland County Partnership for Children (CCPFC).
Share Change, the Catawba Nation’s charitable initiative through the casino, enables patrons to donate the remaining change on slot vouchers by dropping them in wishing wells and large ticket barrels located on the casino floor.
“The Share Change program is a way for Catawba Nation and Catawba Two Kings Casino to make a positive change in our community,” Catawba Assistant Chief Jason Harris said. “We thank our generous casino patrons and are happy to support such worthy organizations.”
Funds were raised for Hospice Cleveland County and Cleveland County Partnership for Children from October through Dec. 31, 2021.
Hospice Cleveland County has two houses (Wendover in Shelby and Testa in Kings Mountain) that provide peaceful environments for patients with life-limiting illness such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and debility and decline. Services at Hospice are provided regardless of ability to pay, with medications, supplies and equipment covered by Hospice Medicare Benefit. Bereavement services for the family and community are also available, as well as support groups and programs.
Wendover Hospice House was one of the first hospice houses in North Carolina and has served more than 5,000 patients since opening 25 years ago. Testa Family Hospice House is located about 1 mile from the Catawba Two Kings Casino and has served more than 1,700 patients since opening in 2010.
Hospice Cleveland County cares for about 50 percent of all deaths in Cleveland County. On a typical day, it serves about 150 patients, primarily in their own homes but also in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and its two hospice houses. In 2021, Hospice Cleveland County provided compassionate end-of-life care to nearly 900 patients and their family members.
“Hospice Cleveland County is very grateful to the Catawba Tribe and Two Kings Casino for their support,” said Myra McGinnis, president of Hospice Cleveland County. “This generous gift will enable us to provide excellent care for patients and their family members.”
Cleveland County Partnership for Children provides pre-k, Early Head Start and inclusive Smart Start programs that help children and families access high-quality and affordable childcare, health care and family support services. The goal of CCPFC is to partner with families, businesses, and the community to ensure children are healthy and ready for school. The organization has been leading early childhood education in Cleveland County since 1993.
“The Cleveland County Partnership for Children is so thankful to have the support of the Catawba Two Kings Casino,” said Executive Director Shannon White. “The donation will enable us to continue providing early childhood education and support for Cleveland County’s youngest learners and their families. Your contribution makes an impact, and we are extremely grateful that you decided to Come Grow With Us!”
The casino launched the Share Change program several weeks after its July opening and anticipates that the program will grow as the casino grows. The first $10,000 donation benefitted the Cleveland County Fund for Children and Adults with Disabilities, and new charitable recipients will be designated every three months.
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Governor vetoes bill
to delay primary to June

On Friday, January 28, Governor Cooper vetoed House Bill 605, an act to “Set the date for the 2022 date for the 2022 primary as June 7, 2022; to allow the State Board of Elections to issue temporary rules for conducting the 2022 primaries and elections…”
According to the State Board of Elections, districts must be finalized by the week of February 14, just 12 days after the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in redistricting cases. This would give the courts a few days to make their decision before that deadline and would give the General Assembly little time to draw new maps if required.
Governor Cooper made the following statement on HB 605, “This bill is an additional attempt by Republican legislators to control the election timeline and undermine the voting process. The constitutionality of congressional and legislative districts is now in the hands of the North Carolina Supreme Court and the Court should have the opportunity to decide how much time is needed to ensure that our elections are constitutional.”
North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore said, “House Bill 605 is a reasonable measure taken by the legislature to ensure a thorough and constitutional process. Unfortunately, Governor Cooper’s veto undermines that process in the name of politics.”
He continued, “Furthermore, during his time as Senate Redistricting Chair, Cooper presided over some of the most tortured and gerrymandered maps in state history. Now, he wants to sow chaos and confusion in the hopes that the Supreme Court will usurp the constitutional duty of the General Assembly to the benefit of his Democrat allies.”
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CENTRAL SCHOOL (Photo by Loretta Cozart)

Upset bid for
Central School reaches $909,665

By Loretta Cozart

Cleveland County Board of Education ended their second upset bid process for Central School on Monday, January 31, at 4 p.m., with a bid of $909,665 from David Stone. The school board voted to classify Central School at 105 E. Ridge Street in Kings Mountain as surplus property on October 11, and the property has since gone through two upset bid cycles.
The process started with sealed bids and Mike Brown won with an offer of $750,000.
The first upset bid cycle ended January 21 at 4 p.m. David Stone offered $825,000, and Mike Brown upset that bid with a second bid of $866,300.
The next upset bid cycle ends on Thursday, February 10, at 4 p.m.

Boom Supersonic brings 1,700 Triad jobs 

Boom Supersonic, the high-profile aviation company building modern supersonic airliners for commercial service, will build its manufacturing and final assembly facility in Greensboro, creating more than 1,750 jobs by 2030, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The project will bring an investment of more than $500 million through 2030 at a site located at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Guilford County.
“It is both poetic and logical that Boom Supersonic would choose the state that’s first in flight for its first manufacturing plant,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “Like the success of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, this innovative company will succeed by transforming passenger air travel with speed and sustainable energy.”
Boom Supersonic is redefining commercial air travel by bringing sustainable, supersonic flight to the skies. Boom’s historic commercial airliner, Overture, is designed and committed to industry-leading standards of speed, safety, and sustainability. Overture will be net-zero carbon, capable  of  flying  on
100% sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) at twice the speed of today’s fastest passenger jets. Overture has garnered significant commercial interest, including orders and options from United Airlines and Japan Airlines as well as contracts with the U.S. Air Force for government applications    .
   Named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2021, the Boom XB-1 demonstrator aircraft rolled out in 2020, and its carbon neutral flight test program is underway. The company’s manufacturing plant in North Carolina, called the Overture Superfactory at Piedmont Triad International Airport, will house the company’s first final assembly line, test facility, and customer delivery center.
   “Selecting the site for Overture manufacturing is a significant step forward in bringing sustainable supersonic air travel to passengers and airlines,” said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic. “With some of the country’s best and brightest aviation talent, key suppliers, and the state of North Carolina’s continued support, Boom is confident that Greensboro will emerge as the world’s supersonic manufacturing hub.”
   The North Carolina Department of Commerce coordinated the state’s recruitment of Boom, which also involved state, regional, and local organizations.
   “Ever since the Wright Brothers but even more so today, the aviation and aerospace sector drives a significant part of the North Carolina economy,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “We’ve reached this achievement by developing specialized workforce development programs for this industry, and as our state strategic plan for economic development makes clear, we’ll keep working to make North Carolina First in Talent, and not just First in Flight.”
   The project from Boom Technology, Inc., operating as Boom Supersonic, will be facilitated, in part, by a High-Yield Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today, the first JDIG of this classification ever awarded. Boom’s project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by at least $32.3 billion over 20 years, the time period when the grant could be active. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 1,761 new jobs, and accounting for a company investment of $500 million, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $87.2 million, paid over a time period of 20 years.
    Like all grants from the JDIG program, any state payments only occur following performance verification each year by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets.
   Boom’s JDIG agreement also calls for moving as much as $9.6 million into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities anywhere in the state finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business.
   The state approved additional support to help with final site preparations at the Piedmont Triad International Airport as part of the recently passed state budget (North Carolina House Bill 334). The legislature appropriated $106.7 million to the Department of Commerce to be used for site and road improvements and the construction of one or more aircraft hangars.
  Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position, but taken together will average $68,792, increasing the regional payroll by more than $120 million every year. The Guilford County average annual wage stands currently at $53,994.
   “Boom Supersonic’s decision to build its new campus in North Carolina proves once again that we are a top state for job creators and have a deep pool of talented workers,” Senator Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate, said. “Over the past decade we’ve turned North Carolina into a jobs-friendly state with low taxes, reasonable regulations, and a world-class education system. Today’s announcement is a result of that transformation.”
   “We’re excited to see even more new jobs and investment come to North Carolina thanks to the thriving economic environment in our state,” said North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore.    “Boom Supersonic will write the next chapter of North Carolina’s great aviation story, and they’ll do it right here in the Piedmont Triad region.”
   Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Duke Energy, the Piedmont Triad Partnership, Guilford County, Forsyth County, the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, the City of Greensboro, the City of High Point, the City of Winston-Salem, the Carolina Core, the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance, and the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce.

KM man dies after being struck by train

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Police Department responded to the area of South Railroad Avenue and Elm Street in reference to a pedestrian on the train tracks being struck by a train on January 28 just after 4 a.m.
Michael Wayne Price died at the scene from his injuries. There were no other victims or injuries reported. The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sgt. P.W. Alexander with the Kings Mountain Police Department at 704-734-0444.
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The façade of the building maintains the original look, including the marquee, with residential above and in the rear, and mercantile below to the front. Photos from StoneWright Realty

Imperial Lofts opening 
downtown this Spring

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, David Stone, of StoneWright Realty, took the Herald on a walkthrough of The Imperial Lofts, upscale living units in the heart of Kings Mountain, where residents can work, live, and play in the heart of downtown.
The two-story brick building sits across Mountain Street from the former Griffin Drug Store. Lofts are pre-leasing now, and range in price from $1,200 to $1,450 per month per unit.
The Imperial Lofts will house six loft style apartments with a mercantile shop below. According to Stone, “A modern day general store has leased our retail space and will open in Spring 2022.”
The second floor has been framed-in for six apartments ranging in size from 430 sq. ft. to 1,060 sq. ft. and features one two-bedroom, two-bath apartment, one studio, and three 1-bedroom apartments. The two-bedroom apartment is 1,060 sq. ft. and the 1-bedroom apartments are each approximately 730 sq. ft. The studio is approximately 430 sq. ft.
This week, Stone plans to open former windows, bricked over in the early eighties, along the alleyway to bring in more ambient light into the space.
The Imperial Lofts are Kings Mountain’s first modern loft / studio / apartment building in the downtown area. Recent development downtown has brought new restaurants and retail, and City of Kings Mountain’s Streetscape work has been planned in the area this year.
“I plan ahead for projects like this and have everything in place to get the job done quickly. When I pull the trigger on a project, we are fully committed. We have a timeline and expect to be finished with the lofts in May,” Stone said.
The Imperial is a commercial building located in downtown at 138 W. Mountain Street
Kings Mountain that was constructed in 1920s and served primarily as a movie theater, named The Imperial Theater. Since the late 1950's the building was the home to several billiard businesses and was most recently operated as The Friendly Billiards.

New group submits bid for Central School

By Loretta Cozart

Central School Renovation Partners, LLC reached out to the Herald on Friday, January 21 to share that they had submitted a bid for the Central School property at 105 Ridge Street in Kings Mountain.
According to David Stone, representative for the group, “We have a two-pronged approach regarding this property. First, we hope to preserve Central School as a valuable asset for Kings Mountain. Secondly, our group is made up of a team who can work with the community and are experienced in this field. We have experience in redevelopment for commercial and residential construction, as well as new commercial and residential construction. And we have the confidence we will be successful restoring and protecting this property. Buying it is only one piece of the puzzle.”
The group is working with Shelby Historic Foundation and Preservation North Carolina to ensure protective covenants will be placed on the property, to protect it into the future.
“The property is important because it is walkable to downtown. It is also located in the heart of the Central School Historic District and several school buildings have anchored that community for more than a century,” Stone shared.
Investors are integral to the success of this project because the property needs significant renovation, as well. When asked what plans the group has for the property should they be awarded the bid, Stone adds, “We are listening to the community for best uses of the property. We are considering commercial / residential mixed-use, with market rate and affordable housing or possibly small business / residential. We can learn from what others have done successfully and protect the property in the process. We are excited about this project and, if we win the bid, we are going to do it right.”
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Central School (Photo by Liz Harlow)

City declined purchase
of Central School;
current bid is $866,300

By Loretta Cozart

Sources say City of Kings Mountain representatives declined to acquire Central School offered by Cleveland County School Board after being invited to tour the facility in March/April of 2021.
Given that decision, the Herald asked city council their stance on the acquisition of the school property and their reason(s) behind their decision. The email was sent on January 19 to Mayor Scott Neisler and council members Keith Miller, David Allen, Mike Butler, Jay Rhodes, Annie Thombs, and Jimmy West. Councilman Tommy Hawkins name was inadvertently omitted from the email.
No city council members replied to the query from the Herald, but several emails from the Mayor arrived mid-afternoon on Friday. Mayor Neisler wrote, “From time to time, we have looked at the gym for possibilities in recreation, but never considering the entire property. I had heard that Cleveland Community College had long-range plans to locate a satellite campus in Kings Mountain, which would have been a great tenant. Upon contacting Jason Hurst, he was not interested in the building, and with most of the tenants not paying that much in rent supporting the operations of the building, it was a bleak scenario.”
“The utilities, maintenance, and renovation costs would be astronomical,” the mayor continued. “It was the consensus by a few council members that it wouldn’t be a good investment for the taxpayers in Kings Mountain.”
“I believe that it was always our intention to facilitate finding someone that would develop the property taking its historical significance into account. But I don’t believe we ever investigated it to become owners of the building unless it was self-sustaining.”
“We  asked   the  school board for more time in helping evaluate, including the level 1 environmental assessment, but in their regular meeting, they voted to start the upset bid process, which is their prerogative to do,” he said.
When asked which council members voted against acquiring the property, the Mayor replied, “We never discussed it at Council meeting, nor did I even know it was up for sale until I heard someone had offered a bid. In my discussions with a few council members, not all members, it didn’t look like it would pass to buy the building. So, we didn’t have a formal vote as it looked like it was destined to fail.”
At the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners meeting on October 19, that board unanimously declined the opportunity to acquire Central School. And on October 11, the Cleveland County Board of Education voted to place Central School on their surplus property list, pending the County Commissioners’ decision. The sealed bid process ended on November 3 at 4 p.m.
In early November, the City of Kings Mountain formed an ad-hoc committee with the help of five citizens. The group offered ideas for preserving the building and other ways to protect the property long-term. Loretta Cozart of the Herald also participated on that committee.
In early January, Mayor Neisler discussed the ad-hoc committee’s ideas with CCS’ Superintendent Dr. Stephen Fisher, but the City of Kings Mountain did not submit a proposal. As a result, CCS awarded the bid to Mike Brown at $750,000. Bidding then went into an upset bid process, with the second deadline ending January 21, at 4 p.m. As of 5 p.m. Friday, the high bid has now reached $866,300.
The next upset bid deadline is Monday, January 31, at 4 p.m.