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(Original concert photo of Jimmy Wayne taken in Burlington, VT by Vincent Ferrante)

Hometown Hero Jimmy Wayne to be honored with mural

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Muralist Scott Nurkin To Begin Work On
Kings Mountain’s
Historic Joy
Performance Center,
May 15

Jimmy’s Mural will Mark 10th Stop On The North Carolina Musician Murals Trail


The City of Kings Mountain, in partnership with the Tourism Development Authority and the Kings Mountain Little Theatre Board of Directors, have commissioned artist Scott Nurkin, founder of the North Carolina Musician Murals Project, to create a mural honoring hometown hero — author, singer, songwriter, musician — Jimmy Wayne as part of an art installment celebrating art and artists from North Carolina.
Jimmy, who was born in Kings Mountain (Cleveland County), is a former foster kid turned award-winning country recording artist and New York Times bestselling author, whose songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for children in foster care.
Scott Neisler, Mayor of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, says, “The City of Kings Mountain is proud to honor Jimmy Wayne with this special mural at the Joy Performance Center. Jimmy’s story, from his birth here in Kings Mountain, to his path to country stardom is remarkable. He deserves to be recognized in his hometown.”
Jimmy shares, “When Mayor Neisler called to share this news with me, I was deeply honored. I hope the mural is a reminder to anyone who sees it, ‘no matter who you are, your dreams can come true  — and it’s okay to give God all the credit for your success.”
“Jimmy is a shining example of the power of music; but more than that, he’s never forgotten where he came from and is always giving back,” says Angela Padgett, Special Events Coordinator for the City of Kings Mountain  “It’s part of why we’re honored to have his profile grace the Joy Performance Center. As soon as you top the hill on your way into Kings Mountain, you’ll see Scott Nurkin’s rendering of Jimmy. We can’t wait to see it completed.”
Scott Nurkin is no stranger to creating murals to honor North Carolina musicians. In collaboration with Backdrop, a Raleigh-based consultancy, Nurkin has created nine murals from John Coltrane on the historic Opera House in Hamlet to Earl Scruggs on Newgrass Brewing Co. in Shelby. Jimmy’s mural will be the 10th stop on the North Carolina Musician Murals Trail.
“When I first heard about Jimmy Wayne, I'll admit I was not very familiar with his work,” says Nurkin. “After doing a little digging I found out that he is an incredibly accomplished singer-songwriter with several Top Ten hits. But what impressed me most was learning about his dedication to raising awareness for children in foster care. As a foster kid himself, Jimmy walked halfway across America (from Nashville to Phoenix) to raise awareness for kids aging out of the foster care system. He wrote a movie and a best-selling book dealing with the subject of children in foster care. This is a guy who deserves recognition not for just being an amazing musician but for also being an amazing human being and humanitarian. I'm honored to paint his picture.”
Nurkin will begin work on the mural on Saturday, May 15th  and, weather permitting hopes to have it completed by Friday, May 21st.
For more information on Scott Nurkin and his work, visit his website at musicianmuralsproject.com.
About Jimmy Wayne:
Having recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of finishing his walk halfway across America — Project Meet Me Halfway — to raise awareness of the plight of more than 30,000 children in foster care, Jimmy, a Cleveland County native, is a former foster kid turned award-winning country recording artist and New York Times bestselling author of Walk To Beautiful. Jimmy’s songs and story highlight his mission to raise awareness for these forgotten youth.
Jimmy’s hits include “Stay Gone,” “Paper Angels,” “I Love You This Much” and “Do You Believe Me Now,” which earned BMI’s prestigious Million-Air Award for receiving more than one million radio spins in America. In 2009, Jimmy toured with Brad Paisley and recorded “Sara Smile” with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo Daryl Hall and John Oates.
In 2005, Jimmy became the youngest recipient of The William Booth Award, one of the highest honors that may be conferred upon an individual by The Salvation Army.
In 2012, Jimmy lobbied to pass legislative bills extending the age of foster care from 18 to 21 in California and Tennessee.
In 2013, Jimmy’s first film, Paper Angels (UPtv) became an instant holiday classic and in 2014 he released Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way (Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins) which became a three-time New York Times bestseller, crossing the 170,000 sales milestone in early 2019, and becoming a #1 Bestseller at Amazon.
In 2016 Jimmy received the prestigious Points of Light award from President George W. Bush (41), while simultaneously contributing to the extension of foster care services from age 18 to 21 in North Carolina and Ohio.
In 2017, Jimmy was honored with the inaugural Community Maker award by Verizon and received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from William Woods University. In 2018 he received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Cal State University San Marcos and most recently, (May 2019) he was honored by the National Council for Adoption with the Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux Award in recognition of his continued commitment to creating positive change in the lives of children in foster care who need permanent families.
Jimmy has shared his story — The Power of One — around the world as a keynote speaker and has performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage 224 times. He lives in Nashville and continues to give back through his non-profit awareness campaign, Project Meet Me Halfway. For more about Jimmy Wayne, visit www.jimmywayne.com.
Follow Jimmy Wayne on social media:
https://www.facebook.com/JimmyWayneOfficial/
https://twitter.com/JimmyWayne
https://www.instagram.com/jimmywayneofficial
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimmy-wayne-67140061/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrWfAQuJcJT_ULqzV9aZVAQ

KM Road closures

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Several roads in the Downtown area to be impacted on May 1st due to Concert Series and Cruise-In


The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department will launch a Concert Series and Cruise-In, Saturday, May 1st, 2021. Several roads in the Downtown area will be impacted during the events. Railroad Avenue, West Gold Street surrounding Patriots Park and a portion of West Mountain and South Cansler Streets will be closed beginning 2:00 pm, Saturday May 1st, 2021 and remain closed or barricaded until 11:00 pm. Further information regarding road closures is listed below.
• Partial Barricade placement will begin at 8:00 am – some roads will still be accessible during this time but vehicles must be moved by 2:00 pm
• Additional Barricade placement will begin at 2:00 pm
• Roads closed at 2:00 pm and remain closed until 11:00 pm (ALL unauthorized vehicles will be towed after 2:00 pm)
• Arrival time for Cruise-In participants will begin at 4:00 pm with the Cruise-In beginning at 5:00 pm-Concert will begin at 6:00 pm
• Participants in the Cruise-In and concert goers, must use thoroughfare King Street to Cansler Street for access to Railroad, Mountain and Gold Street
Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through Downtown Kings Mountain due to the increase in motor vehicles and pedestrians walking. Please plan to travel different roads if you are impacted by this change.
For more information on the Cruise-In or Concert Series, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.
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Spring cleanup time for some downtown business owners

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

After removal of the trees along Battleground Avenue and Mountain Street, City of Kings Mountain Main Street Program has announced a spring cleanup for some downtown businesses where trees were removed. The city is making a one-time offer to help clean up the front of their building.
If an awning or front of a building needs pressure washing, let the city know after getting two estimates for the work. If, after inspection, the Main Street staff agrees that it is a good project, the Main Street Program will pay half of the cost once the work is complete.
If you awnings need replaced and are beyond cleaning, please be aware that the Main Street Program will pay for half of the cost of replacement, up to $2,000. See Page 1A for more information on the city’s Main Street Awning Grant Program. For grant applications or additional information, contact Main Street Coordinator Christy Adkins at 704-730-2197.
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With trees removed on Battleground Avenue, aging awnings show need of replacement. A Main Street Grant can help owners with the cost. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Downtown KM businesses and property owners:
Awning grant available

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

The City of Kings Mountain, with the support of the Kings Mountain Main Street Program, has established a Downtown Awning Grant Program to provide financial assistance to downtown businesses/property owners, located within the established Downtown District, for the purpose of installing new awnings on the exterior of their buildings.
The administration of the Downtown Awning Grant Program is carried out by the Main Street Department, in accordance with the procedures and guidelines outlined here. The administration and operation of the Grant Program shall conform to all federal, state, and local codes. Funding for Downtown Awning Grants will come from the General Fund of the City of Kings Mountain.
Awning grants will be offered on an ongoing basis each fiscal year (July 1st to June 30th) until all funding has been expended for that year. Grants are available for up to 50% of the total cost of the improvement project and therefore must be matched at a ratio of 1:1. One awning grant per business/property owner per visible façade is allowed within a three year period and a tenant must have the property owner’s signed approval of the proposed awning. The amount of the grant fund reimbursement  shall be up to 50% of the total paid, for a maximum of $2,000.
An awning grant may only be approved for a property that is located within the defined Downtown District. All applications will be reviewed by the Kings Mountain Main Street Coordinator with assistance and input from the Design Review Committee for design approval. The applicant will be reimbursed for the amount of the grant award only upon completion of the project, confirmation that the finished project complies with the pre-approved plans, and submission of paid invoices and /or cancelled checks.
Applicant must submit the attached Awning Grant Application Form, along with two cost estimates, photos of the current façade and design sketches. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Proposed improvements that do not comply with the Guidelines will not be eligible for grant funding.
Applications can be obtained from the Main Street Coordinator at 101 W. Gold Street Kings Mountain NC 28086 or email Main Street Coordinator Christy Adkins at Christy.adkins@cityofkm.com.
The submitted application will be reviewed within one week of receipt and applicant will be notified of grant award within 2 weeks. Installation of the awnings may begin at any time after receiving official grant award notification and design approval. Upon completion of the project, the business owner/property owner shall submit paid invoices and copies of cancelled checks for the completed work. The Main Street Coordinator and members of the Design Review Committee will then perform an inspection to determine that the work was completed in accordance with the original grant application and cost estimates.  Upon a satisfactory inspection, the Main Street Coordinator will submit an approved reimbursement request to the City of Kings Mountain. Reimbursement will be processed within 2-4 weeks.
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Legislators introduce three
Marijuana bills in NC Senate

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Virginia legalizes
weed July 1

By Loretta Cozart


Two new marijuana bills were filed in the NC Senate on April 7 by North Carolina Democratic Senators. One bill supports medical marijuana and the second supports full legalization of the drug. A third bill introduced the same day by a powerful Senate Republican recognizes marijuana’s medical potential and allows doctors to prescribe it for some patients.
Senate Bill 669, known North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act, would legalize medical marijuana; its primary sponsors are Senators Nickel, Murdock, and Marcus.
Senate Bill 646, known as the Marijuana Justice and Reinvestment Act, would fully legalize weed. The primary sponsors are Senators Chaudhuri, Woodard, and Foushee. It is also supported by Senators Nickel, Murdock, and Marcus.
Later that day, Brunswick County Republican Senator Bill Rabon, the powerful chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, introduced Senate Bill 711, known as the NC Compassionate Care Act that recognizes marijuana as having medical potential and allowing doctors to prescribe it to patients under certain circumstances. Its primary sponsors also included Republican Senator Michael Lee and Democratic Senator Paul Lowe and is supported by Senators Nickel and Woodward.
An Elon University Poll asked North Carolinians about potential impacts if marijuana were to be legalized. The poll used an online opt-in sample marketplace of 1,455 adult residents of North Carolina and was conducted Jan. 29-31 and was conducted in partnership with The Charlotte Observer, The Durham Herald-Sun, and The Raleigh News & Observer.
The poll’s results showed growing support among North Carolina residents for legalizing marijuana for recreational use and continued strong support for medical marijuana legalization in its more recent survey.
Nearly two-thirds of the state’s adults say they do not believe marijuana use is morally wrong and support reducing penalties for marijuana possession, saying that legalization would boost the state’s economy.
The study found that Democrats are more likely to support the legalization of recreational marijuana than Republicans, but Republicans are more evenly divided on the issue between support and opposition.
   Fifty-nine percent of Democrats support the legalization of recreational marijuana use while 29 percent oppose it. That is similar to those who belong to neither party, with 57 percent supporting legalization and 27 percent opposing.
   In addition, younger residents are more likely to support and less likely to oppose recreational marijuana legalization. Sixty-two percent of those 18 to 24 percent and 65 percent of those 25 to 44 percent support legalization, while 52 percent of those 45 to 64 years of age support legalization and just 32 percent of those 65 or older support legalization.
   On the flip side, more than half - 56 percent of those 65 or older oppose legalization compared to 38 percent of those 45 to 64, 22 percent of those 25 to 44 and 23 percent of those 18 to 24.
     According to the study, The N.C. Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, a group formed by  Gov. Roy Cooper and headed by Attorney General Jeff Stein, recommended in November that the state decriminalize the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana. The task force cited data showing that North Carolinians of color are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession and recommended that possession still be a civil offense.
   Decriminalizing marijuana possession received the most support from residents who have higher levels of educational attainment, Democrats, White residents, and men. 72 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or more support the change compared to 65 percent of those with less than a bachelor’s degree.
   Seventy-one percent of Democrats would like to see the laws changed compared to 60 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of those who belong to neither party.
   Breaking down the results by race, the change generated the most support from Whites (70 percent), followed by Blacks (65) and those of other races (56 percent). Men were slightly more likely to support a change in the law (69 percent) than women (65 percent).
   Interestingly, support for changing the laws was lowest among the youngest residents and the oldest. Among those 18 to 24 years old, 62 percent said the laws should be changed and among those 65 or older, 63 percent supported the change. That compares to 68 percent of those 45 to 64 and 70 percent of those 25 to 44.
    All three senate bills are slated for discussion during the 2021-2022 session. Time will tell if North Carolina lawmakers choose to decriminalize marijuana, allow those with certain conditions to use it, or prevent the sale of marijuana in the state altogether.
   In Virginia, marijuana will become legal on July 1, but retail sales won’t begin until 2024. The legislation allows for legal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for people 21 and older. While adults can possess it up to an ounce of the drug, they can’t buy it there until 2024. However, the legislation does allow gifting of an ounce of the drug to any adult.
   Virginia is the first southern state, and the 16th state in the nation, to approve the sale of marijuana, an action will bring the sale of marijuana right to North Carolina’s doorstep very soon.
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Kindergarten just got way cooler

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Cleveland County Schools
Offer online enrollment


Cleveland County Schools announced their new online enrollment system April 9. Using their online enrollment system, you can upload documents such as proof of residency, birth certificates, and immunization records.
Visit https://www.clevelandcountyschools.org/ and click on the banner that reads, “Kindergarten Just Got Way Cooler. On that page, you can click directly on the name of the school your child will attend and register online.
There are also additional links sharing ways to prepare your child for kindergarten.
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Chief Bill Harris

US District Court finds in favor of the Catawba Indian Nation

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

On Friday, US District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled in favor of the Catawba Indian Nation and determined that the taking land into trust for the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort was done so legally.
In a ruling filled with gambling metaphors, Judge Boasberg wrote, “To the undoubted relief of the reader who has made it thus far, the Court is out of gambling metaphors. It will, therefore, simply restate its conclusions once more: Interior did not violate the Settlement Act or IGRA by taking the Kings Mountain parcel into trust for the Catawba; the agency properly applied its IGRA regulations; it did not act arbitrarily by failing to consider the background of Wallace Cheves; Plaintiffs lack standing to press their NHPA claims and those NEPA claims that overlap; and their remaining NEPA claims fail. The Court will accordingly enter summary judgment on all counts for the Defendants. An Order so stating shall issue this day.”
Judge Boasberg also concluded that: “Interior did not violate the Settlement Act or IGRA [Indian Gaming Regulatory Act] by taking the Kings Mountain parcel into trust for the Catawba; the agency properly applied its IGRA regulations… .” He further held that “Plaintiffs [EBCI] lack standing to press their NHPA [National Historical
 Preservation Act] claims and those NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] claims that overlap; and their remaining NEPA claims fail.”
   In the ruling, the judge also confirmed that the Catawba are eligible to open a gaming facility at the Kings Mountain site in accordance with IGRA and that Interior had the authority to take the site into trust status and add it to the Catawba reservation under the Indian Reorganization Act.
    Following the judge’s decision, the Catawba Nation sent out a press release saying that it “applauds the ruling of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia that the U.S. Department of the Interior acted properly in taking 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation”.
    “This is the right decision and the one we anticipated from the court to reject the litigation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” Catawba Chief Bill Harris said. “We hope this exhaustive review of the facts and emphatic 55-page decision means the Eastern Band will not seek a frivolous appeal and that our two tribes can now work together for the betterment of our people.”
   Harris continued: “This decision reaffirms the clear historical record of the Catawba’s ancestral lands and cultural ties in North Carolina and the rigorous process of review undertaken by the U.S. Department of the Interior in taking the land into trust. The Interior Department righted a historical wrong, allowing the Catawba to achieve the promise of self-determination through economic development.”
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Patrick Senior Center
Rock-a-thon May 7

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

By Tabitha Thomas


The  Patrick Senior Center is holding a Rock-A-Thon on Friday, May 7, from 9am-2pm, to support the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Call the center if you or your group want to participate. All ages are welcome!  The Senior Center also needs people to lend them rockers for the day, to sign up to rock, and to raise money ahead of time or stop by the day of the event to donate. Everyone is welcome to support this fun event!
Keep in mind that many employers offer programs to match charitable contributions made by their employees. These matching gifts are an opportunity to double or possibly triple your donation to Walk to End Alzheimer's and increase funding for the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer's Association. Check with your HR department of visit https://act.alz.org/ and search for matching gifts.
H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Life and Conference Center, a North Carolina Senior Center of Excellence, is at 909 E King Street in Kings Mountain. Phone: 704-734-0447.

City of Kings Mountain’s
Special Events Department
launches concert series

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

Live Music at Patriots Park to begin May 1st


Live entertainment is back at Patriots Park! The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department is proud to bring live music back to Downtown Kings Mountain with the “Live Music at Patriots Park” Concert Series
The series, two years in the making, brings a diverse group of entertainers to the Liberty Falls Amphitheatre covering Beach, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, Classic Rock and much more!
“The only thing that is better than music - Live music,” says Christy Conner, Special Events Director with the City of Kings Mountain. “We have a top notch diverse group of talent scheduled to hit the stage. They are some of the hottest bands currently trending in the entertainment industry.”
The line-up for this series includes:
May 1 - New York Bee Gees-Opening Act, Gary Lowder and Smokin Hot; Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert 7:00 PM.
June 5  - East Coast Party  Band- Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert  7:00PM.
July 17 - Voltage Bros- Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert  7:00PM.
September 11 -  On the Border/Eagles Tribute Band-Opening Act, CAT5 Band; Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert  7:00PM.
October 2 - Who’s Bad! Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute-Opening Act, The Party Prophets; Pre-Show 6:00 PM/Concert  7:00PM
A concert series would not be complete without a cruise-in. Each night of the series, local car enthusiasts will line Railroad Avenue and West Gold Street with their favorite street or stock cars. Special guests will be on hand to make these cruise-ins even more special. The cruise-ins will start at 5:00pm each night of the concert series. All makes and models are welcome.
Great food and a beverage garden will be available for concert goers each night of the series as well.
For more information on the concert series or cruise-in, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit the website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit the Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.
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Liberty Mountain production cancelled for 2021

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

As happened in 2020, the 2021 season production of “Liberty Mountain: The Revolutionary Drama” has been canceled, an unfortunate victim of the coronavirus pandemic.  The play had hoped to resume performances for its 7th season in June and July at the Joy Performance Center in Kings Mountain, NC.
“Our concern continues for the health and safety of our audiences, cast, crew and volunteers,” said Jim Champion, Liberty Mountain’s General Manager, in announcing the decision by the production’s steering committee.  “It is with great regret that we have to put our plans on hold,” he said, “but with the immersive nature of our drama taking place throughout the theater and the continuing restrictions on indoor event capacities, I’m confident we have made the responsible choice.”
Champion said that plans are already underway for the next season, beginning in June, 2022.  “A great deal of work has been done,” he said, “and that puts us well ahead for next year.”
Caleb Sigmon, Liberty Mountain’s artistic director, promised a “bigger and better” experience for theatre-goers next year.  “We have time now to work on some exciting new ideas for telling this inspiring and dramatic story of the 1780 Battle of Kings Mountain that turned the tide of the Revolution and guaranteed America’s independence.”
Playwright Robert Inman noted the similarity between the difficult decision to cancel the season and that reached by the Patriot settlers of the Colonial Carolinas.  “Their lives, their homes, their families and their faith were threatened,” Inman said.  “They had to decide whether to bow to British demands to lay down their arms, or to fight.  They fought.”
Champion paid special tribute to those whose hard work and support have made “Liberty Mountain” possible through the years – the steering committee, presenting sponsors Gilbert and Jancy Patrick, Sigmon Theatrical, community businesses and organizations, Cleveland County and Kings Mountain local governments, playwright Inman, and the cast, crew and volunteers who bring the play to life.
“We’ll be back,” Champion said, “and we’ll give you a theatrical experience you’ll never forget.”

Streetscape project
started last week

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Last week, City of Kings Mountain began its $1.5 million dollar streetscape project by removing trees on Battleground Avenue and Mountain Street. Many Kings Mountain residents seemed unaware of what was planned and posted comments online in various online forums.
In November, City Council discussed the streetscape plan during their November 2020 meeting and again in February. The streetscape plan includes upgrades to city sidewalks, landscaping, parking, and utilities for businesses in the downtown district. It also addresses the flow of traffic and pedestrians within that space. This article is a recap of those meetings regarding the city’s streetscape project.
Richard Flowe of N-Focus reviewed the plan with city council in November. The plan is designed to spur infill and development downtown. “Areas near downtown, including Piedmont at Mountain Street is almost perfectly configured,” he said. “The area between Piedmont and Battleground needs attention.”
Flowe recommended using Cherokee Street as access to Battleground Avenue. He also recommended removing the stop light at the intersection of Cherokee and Mountain Streets and replacing it with a 4-way stop sign.
Suggested was making Cherokee Street a one-way street, with on-street parking, and configuring it to encourage pedestrian traffic. Regarding Cherokee Street, he stated, “The view of Kings Mountain is
your money shot. Can you imagine  the  view  of  that  mountain from a third-floor condo? That opportunity will be lost without vertical construction downtown. Condos in that area would provide good foot traffic and support for downtown merchants.”
Regarding Mountain Street, Flowe said, “Mountain Street is an opportunity we may not have fully taken advantage of originally. Mountain Street is a vibrant area, especially considering the new restaurant there.” The city owns a parking lot behind the old billiard hall, and he suggests taking advantage of that space and reconfiguring the alleyway leading to it as part of the plan.
“Parking is a valuable asset you already own in downtown,” Flowe said. For the parking lot behind the billiard hall, he suggested digging below the surface to determine what is down there, making any needed repairs, and resurfacing it adding elements to make it orderly.
“The alleyway to the parking area needs a bit of attention to make it user friendly. Using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, to address on individuals discomfort from walking through that area will improve use of parking and pedestrian traffic,” Flowe said. “If people are not comfortable in an area, they won’t use it.” He recommends reconfiguring the stairs and keeping the community art.
Flowe also recommended opening solid walls of buildings with side entrances along alleyways to encourage areas where smaller businesses could survive, should building owners consider subdividing their space.
Along Mountain Street, Flow recommends creating sidewalks with pop-outs to plant trees. Doing so will define the space and draw diver’s attention to pedestrian crosswalks. Those same pop-outs would be ustilized on Battleground Avenue.
In addition, he recommended bring the street to curb level in places, instead of dropping the sidewalk down from the curb. Road humps to slow traffic would be utilized at Cherokee and Mountain Streets, as well as Piedmont and Mountain Streets.
Phase I of the Streetscape Plan includes work along Battleground Avenue down to the intersection of E. Gold Street.
In February, City council unanimously approved a budget amendment in the amount of $1.5 M for the Phase II  Streetscape project which should be completed by August. Funds for the project are being taken from General Fund ($500,000), Capital Reserve Fund ($500,000), and Electric Fund ($500,000).
“We’ve never had a full-blown streetscape study and project during my 32-year tenure with the City of Kings Mountain,” said City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “This will be done with no rate increase, tax increase, or borrowing money from a financial institution.”
“I’d like to add that I feel we have gone beyond with funding and projects downtown with the city stepping up to the plate, and that I hope this will bring an enthusiasm and desire from the private sector to make the improvements necessary to fill the empty buildings in the downtown and achieve our ultimate goal. That goal is 100% occupancy downtown,” Sellers said.
City Council hopes the money invested will encourage building owners to update their buildings or sell them to others who are willing to do so.
Within the last two weeks several properties have been listed for sale in the downtown district, a sign that owners are making hard decisions to invest or sell those properties. As work progresses, it is likely other property owners will be making those same tough decisions.
 
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Wells Fargo’s KM branch
closing July 14

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Wells Fargo Bank at 125 S. Battleground Avenue will close its Kings Mountain branch on July 14, according to Mike Hughes, Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo State & Local Government Relations, due to more transactions being handled digitally.
In an email to Mayor Neisler, Hughes shared, “Until then, our customers can continue to use the branch and bank with us as they always have. After the Kings Mountain branch closes, they can visit us at our Gastonia Main Branch, located approximately nine miles away. Other nearby branches and ATMs are located in Kings Mountain, Gastonia, Shelby, and Dallas.”
Hughes went on to say, “We continually evaluate our branch network, and make adjustments based on changing customer needs, market factors, and economic trends. This process leads to both expansion and consolidations.”
Hughes  also  attributed  the closure to customers’ increased use digital tools for transactions such as check deposits and resulting in more transactions happening outside the branch.
“We understand the deep roots that Wells Fargo and predecessor banks have in the community, this was not an easy decision or one that we take lightly,” said Hughes. “We continually evaluate our branch network, and make adjustments based on changing customer needs, market factors, and economic trends. This process leads to both expansion and consolidations.”
In January of 1900, Bank of Kings Mountain opened its doors as the first bank in Cleveland County. It received its national charter six months later, on June 25, 1900. By, the 1960s the bank had merged with First Union National Bank of Charlotte. On September 1, 2001, First Union National Bank and Wachovia merged to form Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo’s ATM will remain open at 1027 Shelby Rd, in the parking lot of Walmart Neighborhood Market.

Actions approved by
City Council in March

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

During the March 30 City Council meeting several items were approved under the consent agenda. Among those items are several budget amendments and public hearings were scheduled. All items noted were unanimously approved by city council. Absent from the meeting was Councilman Dave Allen. The budget amendments approved include:
▪ A budget amendment to transfer funds among departments to cover General Fund payroll and benefit costs at the departmental level for the remainder of the fiscal year. *Note: There is no increase to the overall budget, and it is projected that there will be more than enough payroll budgeted in total for the General Fund. This is necessary due to variances in projected OT, employees (Public Works) transferring between departments since adoption of the original budget, temporary labor requirements, etc. Council approval is required given that we are transferring monies between departments/functions.
▪ A budget amendment to transfer Streetscape Budget, which was approved last month, from the General Fund to a newly proposed Capital Project Fund. This prevents the necessity for reappropriating unspent funds at year end in next year’s General Fund Budget, as a project ordinance is valid until action is taken to formally close it. Council approval is required as we are transferring budget between funds.
   Adopt a Capital Project Ordinance for Streetscape to move previously approved budget to a project fund. This prevents the necessity of having to reappropriate the amounts in next year’s General Fund Budget.
▪ A budget amendment in the amount of $1.5M to the General Capital Reserve Fund Ordinance. This fund was established to accumulate resources for capital related activities, then transferred to other funds to finance the capital. In order to move monies into this fund, amounts must be budgeted as transfers in other existing funds. In order to spend these funds, capital must be approved/budgeted in other funds. There is currently no remaining budget in this fund - $500,000 is the amount to be transferred to fund Streetscape, which will exhaust the funds current budget, thus the need to amend the ordinance. Council approval is required to amend a project ordinance.
▪ A budget amendment in the amount of $250,000 to move resources from the Medical Self-Insurance Fund to the Worker’s Comp Self-Insurance Fund. The Medical Fund received transfers of excess resources from the Worker’s Comp Fund in past periods and is now in a position to “reimburse” the Worker’s Comp Fund. The City is partially self-insured for both functions, but they are accounted for in separate funds.
   Mayor Neisler was authorized to execute a Lake Use Agreement with the 2021 Thursday Night Bass Tournament, a non-profit organization to allow “Thursday Night Bass Tournaments” from 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at Moss Lake beginning April 1, 2021, then every Thursday night until October 14, 2021. A final “Fish Off” will be scheduled for a later date on a Saturday in October 2021. This is a recommendation from the Moss Lake Commission.
Four Public Hearings were scheduled for Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. to:
• Consider a Resolution to delay the November 2021 City of Kings Mountain Municipal Election until March 2022.
• Consider a Zoning Text Amendment to add Section 6.16 (4) Kings Mountain Protection, Preservation and Enhancement District (KMPPED) beginning at Page 53-R.1, a vacant properties/building registration process.
• Consider an Ordinance to create the City of Kings Mountain’s Mural Ordinance.
• Consider amendments to the City of Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance - Case No. Z-24-3-21 as follows:
Article VII – Table of Permitted and Conditional Uses. Section 7.4 Table of Permitted and Conditional Uses (See Table) Add on Page 61 and change the table of permitted and conditional uses as follows:
• Change Automobile Parking (commercial) from a conditional use permit (C) to a Permitted by Right use (X*) in the G-B zoning district and add as a note on the bottom of Page 61 (X*) “when such facilities are physically connected to Catawba Indian Nation Trust Property.”
Add to the list of height limitations exceptions in the Zoning Ordinance – Section 4.8 Height Limitations Exceptions
• Add the following language after the word hospital, “Automobile Park (commercial) including elevator shafts when such facilities are physically connected to Catawba Indian Nation Trust Property.”
   Additionally, city council decided to:
▪ Award a bid in the amount of $889,432 to WESCO Distribution for the Delivery No. 5 MVA Substation Power Transformers. The Capital Project Ordinance for the Delivery 5 project was approved at the regular Council Meeting of January 26, 2021.
▪ Award a Contract for System Development Fee Study for Water Sewer Department to Willdan based on the rating evaluation. This is a recommendation from the Water Department and from Purchasing.
▪ Authorize a Capital Project Ordinance for the Beason Creek Lift Station. The developer agreement was previously approved by Council, and the developer fee in the amount of $1,200,000 was paid to the City in early March. This project is required to be completed within 14 months. Since the project will overlap into the next fiscal year and the fact that these are restricted funds, it is best practice to adopt a project ordinance.
▪ Adopt a Resolution directing the City Clerk to investigate a Voluntary Non-Contiguous Annexation Petition received under N.C.G.S. § 160A58.1 from R. Dean Harrell and Colton Harrell being located in Cleveland County containing 60.91 acres, for property that R. Dean Harrell owns located between Crocker Road and Kings Mountain Boulevard.
 
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George Cornwell House

KM Historical Museum
renovating Cornwell House

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

The Kings Mountain Historical Museum officially started the George Washington Cornwell House Preservation Project on March 9. They are currently working on Phase I of the project.
The KMHM needs the community’s support to help us with the restoration project. Donations can be made by going the museum’s website click on Get Involved just below the logo to the right. Click on the link and you be taken to a new page where you can Make a Donation. .
The house’s owners, George Washington Cornwell and his wife, Frances Lou (Lucinda) Smith, purchased the lot at 106 King Street in April 1876. They had just married and moved to the newly incorporated city of Kings Mountain, NC. George and Lucinda built this house on their lot and raised seven children.
George and his brother, William (who lived next door) were wagon makers. It is believed their shop was between their homes. Lucinda Cornwell, a devoted Baptist, was a founding member of Kings Mountain Baptist Church (located next to the museum), which started in 1890. The original building was a wooden structure, though Lucinda lived to see the current building built in 1919.
In 1910, George and Lucinda sold part of their lot to their oldest son, Clarence. This house was placed on logs and rolled to the far side of the lot, so Clarence had space to build a new, fashionable house. When this move happened, the kitchen and back porch were detached from the house.
The house was moved again in 2005 to its current location on the museum property, when Central United Methodist Church donated the structure to the Museum after purchasing the land.

Cleveland County Health Department needs your help

(April 14, 2021 Issue)

Please take
community
satisfaction survey 


The Cleveland County Health Department needs your help in assessing community satisfaction with our services and operation. If you have received any service from or participated in any events/programs sponsored by the Cleveland County Health Department in 2021, please answer a few questions in our Community Satisfaction Survey.
Services and events/programs may include, but are not limited to, our clinic services, dental services, eye exams, pharmacy, health education information and presentations, coalitions, and COVID-19 services such as testing, contact tracing, and vaccinations.
You have the opportunity to respond until May 3. All responses are anonymous. You may access the survey by visiting: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CCPHSurvey2021
Your input is vital as we strive to meet the public health needs of the residents of Cleveland County. The Cleveland County Health Department thanks you in advance for your participation.

Easter Bunny Visits
Children in KM

(April 7, 2021 Issue)

Childcare centers and NC Pre-K students across Kings Mountain and Grover got a surprise visitor to their classrooms on April 1, when Peter Cottontail himself paid a visit bringing goodies along the way. Each classroom received an Easter gift bag filled with eggs, sidewalk chalk, and toys donated by the City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department, as well as books donated by Mauney Memorial Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. See more photos on page 3A.

Photos by Angela Padgett
 

Kings Mountain Cruise-In #1 last Saturday

(April 7, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Last Saturday, Kings Mountain Cruise-In & Hot Rods had its first Cruise-In from 4 until 9 pm at
Hardee’s. They are looking to meet other people who love Hot Rods and Classic Cars. They received permission to gather at the restaurant prior to the event.
In an April 1 post, Donnie Beard shared, “Started this two days ago and we already have 200 members!” For now, the plan is to meet every Saturday from 4 pm to 9 pm at Hardees.
Cruise on by Saturday, April 10 between 4 pm and 9 pm for a flash from the past and to check out some Hot Rods and Classic Cars.

 Photos by Jon Beard
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Andy Underwood

KM Call Center to be dedicated
to Andy Underwood

(April 7, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Andrew Stuart (Andy) Underwood, Public Safety Answering Point Manager for the 911 Center for the City of Kings Mountain, passed away on March 17.
Chief Lisa Proctor spoke during City Council regarding Underwood saying, “Andy was our PSAP Manager. Because Kings Mountain is in two counties, our call rating was low at 77.55%. Calls would go to Gaston County and then get routed to us. We wanted to fix it to better serve our citizens, so I assigned the job to Andy. Within 30-days the problem was solved, thanks to dual routing. After he solved the problem, our call rating went to 99.9% and we were ranked #1 in the state.
Andy Underwood described his process to Chief Proctor saying, “You set goals, strive for excellence, and you never settle for less.”
City of Kings Mountain will dedicate the call center at Kings Mountain Police Department to Andy Underwood. A ceremony is being planned and his family will be invited as soon as a date is set,” said Chief Proctor.
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WINDY BAGWELL

Windy Bagwell is KMMS
employee of the month

(April 7, 2021 Issue)

Congratulations to Media Specialist, Ms. Windy Bagwell for being selected as the KMMS March Employee of the Month! Ms. Bagwell always serves in many roles and never complains.
She is in classrooms teaching or doing remote coaching for a team, along with all of her other duties. She goes very unnoticed and is very humble. It is an honor to work with her. She goes above and beyond to help all teachers and students with any media materials they may need.
Bagwell also helps researching materials to assist staff and students in their classes. She has assisted with tutoring and helping some of our remote students. She willingly helps wherever and whenever needed. She deserves to be recognized as Employee of the Month for KMMS!
Congratulations to Ms. Bagwell.  Thank you for all you do for KMMS!
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Officer Penny Phillips receives her badge and weapon during her retirement ceremony at city hall as Councilman Rhodes watches. Pictured L-R: Police Chief Lisa Proctor, Travis Phillips, Penny Phillips, and Mayor Neisler. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Officer Phillips retires

By Loretta Cozart

During the March 30 City Council meeting, Officer Penny Fulton Phillips retired after 25-years of service to City of Kings Mountain, most recently working in Records. Photos from Phillips’ career from October 18, 1995 onward were shared in a slide presentation.
Mayor Scott Neisler invited Police Chief Lisa Proctor to present Phillips her badge and gun, which is customary during police retirement ceremonies. “I am proud to have served as your chief. We will carry on the tradition of faith, trust, honor, integrity, professionalism, and loyalty that you have carried on for us. I wish you nothing but the best,” Chief Proctor said.
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American Legion Veteran’s breakfast Saturday

(March 31, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


   American Legion Post 155 has its Veteran’s Breakfast Saturday morning, April 3, at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street.
   All veterans are invited to this free breakfast the first Saturday of every month. Others are welcome to attend for a small donation which helps fund future breakfasts. The next breakfast will be on May 1 from 9 am to 11 am.
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Hale, Lee, Jess, and Arika in front of Bin Raiders. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Bin Raiders opens on Walker Street

(March 31, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


Bin Raiders is open for business. Srimaha Rithiphong, who goes by Hale, along with his wife Jee and his sister Aricka, operate Bin Raiders, a family-owned business that opened on January 23. The shop is so popular that customers wait in line for the store to open each day.
Bin Raiders purchases inventory in lots and passes the savings on to their customers. Much of the inventory items are Amazon returns or overstock. Most items are in the original packaging. “Sometimes we get an item wrapped in bubble wrap and we don’t know what is inside. I’ve had customers find cell phones and Fitbit watches that way,” Hale said.
When asked why he decided to open a store, Hale answered without hesitation as he pointed to his son, Lee. “I started the store for him. If I worked in a plant on the second-shift, I would get home after he goes to bed. In the morning, I would only have time with him until I dropped him off at school. That is not what I want.,” Hale said.
Hale got the idea of opening a discount store in Kings Mountain while shopping in similar stores in other communities. However, Kings Mountain did not have this type of store. ‘I just observed how they did things, how they priced items and when they brought out more inventory. Then, I went online and found other people who were doing the same thing and they shared how they were doing it. Later, I learned how to buy lots online and it all came together from there.”
Once he got his plan formalized, Hale reached out to Dan Potter, his soccer coach and friend from high school, asking him to help getting the store ready. “It was a lot of fun to be part of this and hopefully it will take off. I want to see him succeed,” Potter said. Together, they built bins for the store.
Bin Raiders’ model opens the store Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, from 10 am until 6 pm. On Friday and Saturday, items cost $6 each. On Monday, the price drops to $3, Tuesday it drops to $2, and on Wednesday, the price drops to $1 each. Or customers can buy a big bag full for $10.
Inventory ranges from electronics, kitchen items, clothing, pet supplies, snacks, toys, purses, gun cleaning kits, ammo crates, smart cameras, razors, home theater items, curling irons, video game components, vehicle security systems, sheets, backpacks and more. Inventory depends upon the lot, but Bin Raiders posts sneak previews of items for sale that week.
Hale points out that many of the folks in the neighborhood have already become regular customers. “When they come in, we try to get to know them. I hope the rest of Kings Mountain will come check out the store. Folks who shop here can get high end items at below retail prices. We just want to help people save money.”
Bin Raiders is located at 205 Walker Street, at a corner store known for decades as the hub of the Pauline Mill community. Charlie and Mary Spearman operated their neighborhood store here for decades. Dewey Allen ran the Pauline Store before Charlie. A church was located there for years before vacating several years ago. Since then the property sat empty.
Hale and his family came to Kings Mountain from Laos, via San Francisco, in 1984. Hale, Jess, Lee, and Aricka Rithiphong are a new generation of business owners, thankful to have this location at the  corner of Walker and Gantt Streets. With their vision and hard work, their business will help revive the once bustling Pauline community.
Casino

 Catawba Nation to fast-track casino opening this summer with 500-slot 
‘pre-launch’ facility at Kings Mountain site 

Faster opening of Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort will accelerate job creation for region 

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. – The Catawba Nation today announced it will fast-track the opening of the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project in Kings Mountain by opening a “pre-launch” facility this summer with 500 slot machines.
The pre-launch facility, which will be constructed using prefabricated modular structures, will provide an initial opportunity for patrons to game with limited food & beverage and other guest amenities.
“With the completion of our compact with the State of North Carolina, the Catawba Nation is eager to open the casino as quickly as possible to begin bringing economic benefits and jobs to the state and region,” Catawba Chief Bill Harris said. “We’re working with Delaware North, our consultant on the Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort project, as well as our developer, Skyboat Gaming, to make that happen by opening what we are calling a ‘pre-launch’ facility this summer.”
An introductory phase of the full casino is still planned and will feature an additional 1,300 slot machines. It will be a permanent structure that will become part of the full casino. Its construction is expected to take about a year.
“It makes sense to have the temporary pre-launch facility to start, and it will continue to operate during the construction of the introductory phase and possibly subsequent phases,” said Brian Hansberry, president of Delaware North’s gaming business. “It gives us a place to teach incoming staff and accommodates people in the region who are anxious to start gaming this summer.”
The 17-acre casino site off Dixon School Road in Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, is near Interstate 85 and about 35 miles west of Charlotte. The total $273 million casino resort project is expected to create 2,600 permanent jobs at full buildout and thousands of construction jobs in the region.
“This project will prove to be a long-lasting and sustainable economic engine for the residents of Cleveland County, we are excited about the expedited timeline” said Cleveland County Commissioner Johnny Hutchins.
“Chief Harris and the members of The Catawba Indian Nation are great partners. Our team looks forward to continuing to work side by side as the project develops” said Cleveland County Manager Brian Epley.
The Catawba Nation and the State of North Carolina in January signed a compact that allows the state to share in revenues generated by the new casino, which will be operated by the Catawba. In March 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, took the 17 acres of land into trust for the Catawba Nation. The action recognized the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College, as well as in the six counties, including Cleveland County, specifically identified by Congress as part of the Catawba’s service area. The state compact acknowledges this connection to North Carolina as well.
In addition to creating revenue for the State of North Carolina, the casino will help support an education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state-recognized tribes, support local communities on economic development initiatives and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba lands.
# # #
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Cindy Parker gets immunized by Mark Woodall during the recent vaccination clinic at CUMC. Photos by Loretta Cozart

Woodall one of nation’s first Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician Immunizers

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Last week the Kings Mountain Herald covered a story regarding Mountain Street Pharmacy’s sponsoring a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Central United Methodist Church. Organizer and Pharmacist Allan Propst assembled a team of professionals who immunized 300 people in a single day. Propst was very complimentary of one of his immunizers and explained, “He is one of a very few Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician Immunizers in the nation. He is an amazing guy who does many things. If you talk with him, ask him about his snakes.” Intrigued, an interview was scheduled.
Certified Pharmacy Technician Mark Woodall works with Propst in many of his stores, and sometimes trains pharmacists, though he is not a pharmacist himself. “In January of this year, I received my Advanced Pharmacy Technician Certification. That required I take four more boards, which I did in September of last year. However, they had to wait until enough people had taken the test to determine the pass rate. As of January, there are less than 1,000 Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technicians in the nation. I am also a Tech check Tech, meaning I can do the final check of a prescription like a pharmacist would do.”
In addition to his job with Allan Propst’s stores, Woodall teaches three classes at Cleveland Community College. He teaches the entire Pharmacy Technician Program, with morning and night classes. “Thanks to recent changes in the work pharmacy technicians can handle, and the reputation the program has achieved at Cleveland Community College, companies where our students intern (pre-COVID-19) have called wanting to hire four of the students before they graduated,” he said.
“Atrium Health Cleveland sends students to my Sterile Chemical Compounding class, specifically technicians who need to learn how to do IVs. After passing their boards, the IV Technician receives a $2 raise and a promotion after completing the three month class,” Woodall commented. “The hospital also calls us to hire new technicians. CVS calls, too. We have also partnered with six to eight local pharmacies to place technicians. After passing their boards, students can make $20 per hour to start.”
Currently, Woodall wears many hats. He works with Allan Propst at his pharmacies, at Cleveland Compounding, part-time at the Dermatology Center, and travels doing immunizations during COVID. He also teaches three classes at Cleveland Community College. And he teaches pharmacists compounding.
When asked where he sees himself in five years, Woodall said, “I want to move more toward teaching and elevating pharmacy technicians as a career. I might get involved with the Board of Pharmacy, or even with Board of Pharmacy Technicians. They have positions like president and vice-president, like the Board of Pharmacy does. Maybe I’ll get involved in that to help evolve the career.”
“If there is any bright side to the pandemic, it would be that it has caused changes in the way pharmacies work. Pharmacists are working more with patients, like a clinician would. Some pharmacists can even prescribe medicines,” he said. “Technicians are taking on the jobs of immunizations, screening patients, and in some states even doing COVID-19 testing. In the 90s, it could take 10 years to see changes in pharmacy. In the last two years, I have seen major changes in what we can do as technicians. If nothing else, COVID has made lots of new opportunities for jobs in this field.”
When asked what he does in his spare time, Woodall said he works 18-hour days but has time for family. He has one daughter and a grandson.
In what little time he has left, Woodall breeds Ball Pythons. “I’ve always loved snakes and I played with them as a kid. Three years ago, I decided to buy a Ball Python. Then I decided to try breeding them. After getting my first set of eggs and selling them, I decided it was a good way to make money in my spare time. After three years, I now have a good breeding colony.”
Luckily, snakes are easy to keep. They do not make noise, make few messes, and require basic care. Ball Python females grow to about 5-feet long; their male counterparts are about half the size of the female. “I feed them once a week because they need to be fat and happy to breed. Many people only feed their Pythons once a month. When the female stops eating and wraps herself in a ball, that is a good sign she is pregnant. I’ve hatched most of the Pythons I own, and I have held them since they were born, so they are pretty friendly,” Woodall said.
Mark Woodall stays busy teaching future pharmacy technicians, Once trained, he helps place those students in good jobs, which in turn helps local hospitals and pharmacies. His students benefit because they have been trained well as pharmacy technicians in a career that continues to grow. He works in local pharmacies and also teaches pharmacists how to compound medicines.
   Woodall loves his work, no doubt. One can hear it as he speaks passionately about his career. But he does not stop there. He is active on the front-line, vaccinating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a father and a grandfather. And, he has found a way to relax in his spare time in a hobby he also loves. His is a full life, yet he aspires to elevate the career of pharmacy technicians in ways one can only imagine. Allan Propst was right, Mark Woodall is quite an amazing guy.

Catawba Nation Compact with the State of North Carolina approved by U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs 
 

Compact allows Class III gaming at Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort in Kings Mountain 

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. – The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved the Catawba Nation’s Tribal-State Compact with the State of North Carolina, allowing the state to share in revenues generated by the new Two Kings Casino Resort
The Catawba can now conduct Class III gaming, including operating slot machines and table games, at the casino being developed at a site in the City of Kings Mountain in Cleveland County, about 45 minutes from downtown Charlotte.
The approval of the compact was communicated to Catawba Chief Bill Harris in a March 19 letter from Darryl LaCounte, director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and takes effect when the notice of the approval is published in the Federal Register. A similar letter is also being sent to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, LaCounte’s letter noted.
“We completed our review of the Compact and conclude that it does not violate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), and any provision of the Federal law that does not relate to jurisdiction over gaming on Indian lands, or the trust obligations of the United States to Indians,” LaCounte wrote. “Therefore, pursuant to my delegated authority and Section 11 of IGRA, I approve the Compact.”
The Catawba Compact was approved by Gov. Cooper, as well as North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein, in mid-January, and underwent a 45-day review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“This is great news for the Catawba Nation, the State of North Carolina and the Kings Mountain region, and I’d like to thank the Bureau of Indian Affairs for its work in reviewing our Compact,” Harris said. “Our focus now is developing the casino to bring economic benefits and thousands of jobs to the citizens of North Carolina.”
In March 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, took 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation. The action recognized the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to its aboriginal lands throughout North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College, as well as in the six counties, including Cleveland County, specifically identified by Congress as part of the Catawba’s service area. The compact with North Carolina acknowledges this connection to North Carolina as well.
In addition to creating revenue for the State of North Carolina, the casino will help support an education fund that will benefit environmental conservation, provide educational support for members of federal and state-recognized tribes, support local communities on economic development initiatives and foster employment opportunities on or near Catawba lands.
# #
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NC House approves Resolution proposing term limits for Congress

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

A resolution sponsored by Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) that proposes adding Congressional term limits to the US Constitution was approved by the North Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday.
House Joint Resolution 172 Term Limits for Congress is sponsored by Speaker Moore, Rep. Mike Clampitt (R-Haywood), Rep. Jeff McNeely (R-Iredell), and Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly).
The resolution supports an application to the US Congress for an Article 5 'Convention of the States,' submitted for the specific purpose of proposing an amendment to the US Constitution to impose term limits on members of Congress.
Speaker Moore said Wednesday a broken legislative process in Washington D.C. is harming the federal government and the American people, requiring serious measures to command accountability for leadership of the United States.
“I sponsored House Joint Resolution 172 because I think term limits for members of Congress is an idea whose time has come," Speaker Moore said Wednesday.
"When you talk to the American people, they support term limits for the US Congress. They know the President is term-limited. So I am proud to advance this important proposal that has broad bipartisan support among our citizens.”
"This bill is a step forward giving the states an opportunity to put in place term limits and is narrowly drawn to address this issue. If a Convention of States were held to consider an amendment proposing term limits, it must be ratified by 38 states, and each state has just one vote."
"This is what the framers had in mind - a procedure they put in the US Constitution. This is an important issue that Congress has not done, and that they presumably won't do. So if you want to see term limits at the federal level this is your best, and I would say this is your only, opportunity to do so."
"We talk about reform on the Democratic side of the aisle, and on the Republican side of the aisle. This is a bipartisan reform that is much-needed in Washington D.C., and I urge you to support term limits for Congress today."
HJR 172 was sent to the North Carolina Senate.
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Easter Sunrise service planned

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

The Kings Mountain Ministerial Association will be leading in an Easter Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday, April 4 at 7:00 a.m. at Mountain Rest Cemetery.
The service will be held around the large white cross in the cemetery.
In the event of inclement weather, the service will be moved to Eastside Baptist Church, 308 York Road, Kings Mountain.  If the event is held inside, everyone  is requested to wear a mask.
The Easter Sunrise message will be delivered by Pastor Ron Caulder from Eastside Baptist Church.  Special music will be provided by East Gold Wesleyan Church.
Everyone is invited to attend.  The service will be approximately 30 minutes.
Come and let’s celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus!
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JENNA RAMSEY - 20201 KMHS HOMECOMING QUEEN

Jenna Ramsey crowned
2021 KMHS Homecoming Queen

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

Jenna Ramsey was crowned Kings Mountain High School Homecoming Queen for 2021 at the Friday, March 12 Homecoming football game  at John Gamble Stadium. Ramsey was nominated by the KMHS Band. Students chose her as one of the five finalists for the Homecoming Court and elected her as Homecoming Queen prior to the football game. She is the daughter of Tandra Ramsey and Billy Ramsey. She is pictured with her father who escorted her.    
                                                                              Photo provided by KMHS 
 
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City crews work in a northbound lane of Battleground Avenue near E. Gold Street mapping the pipes for the new sewer slip-liner that will repair sewer lines downtown. Photo provided by Scott Neisler

Sewer slip-lining project
begins in downtown KM

(March 24, 2021 Issue)


By Loretta Cozart

During the January 26 city council meeting a sewer slip-lining capital project related to the upcoming streetscape project downtown was approved. Last week, city crews began the work budgeted at $400,000.
City Manager Marilyn Sellers explained during the January meeting that the condition of the sewer in downtown is not good. Using cure in place slip-lining eliminates tearing up the street to replace the existing sewer  pipes, expedites the process, and creates less disruption for citizens.
Only one lane of traffic was closed as city crews mapped the pipes in advance of placing the slip-liner allowing workers to know exactly where connections are that need to be cutout after the liner cures.  Next crews will install the new 8-inch slip-lining into existing sewer pipes on Battleground Avenue from Kings Street to Falls Street and a 4-inch slip-lining on Mountain Street from Piedmont Avenue to Battleground. With this work, 12 connections to existing businesses will to be replaced.
Once this work is finished, the city will begin the streetscape project in downtown Kings Mountain.
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Middle and high school students
return to school 4-days a week April 12

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

Full-week schedule
begins two weeks later

By Loretta Cozart


Cleveland County School Board held a special called meeting on Monday, March 15, one year to the day after a similar called meeting was held in 2020 regarding the Coronavirus, according to Cleveland County Schools Superintendent Stephen Fisher. But this meeting was held to return students to the classroom for full-time instruction.
In a 6-3 vote, Cleveland County School Board decided to in favor of a plan outlined by the superintendent to return students in grades 6-12 to school full-time.
All middle and high school students will return to school on Monday, April 12 four days per week for in-person instruction. Two weeks later, on April 26, those students will return to school full-time.
School Board members voting for the plan include: Robert Queen, Rodney Fitch, Ron Humphries, Danny Blanton, Joel Shores and Greg Taylor. Voting against were Philip Glover, Dena Green, and Coleman Hunt.
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The cast for ‘Til Beth Do Us Part prepare for their performances, which will begin this Friday night, March 26 at 7:30. Pictured above L-R: Chad Spurling, Jackie Sibley-Newton, Greg Dixon, Leslie Brown, Sara Corbin and Mary Grace Keller. Photo provided

‘Til Beth Do Us Part opens this Friday

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

By Jim Champion

Ken and Liz Pflieger, Kings Mountain Little Theatre’s Corporate Sponsor, are pleased to announce the performances of ’Til Beth Do Us Part on Friday, March 26 - 27, at 7:30 and April 2 - 3 at 7:30 pm, with matinees on Sundays, March 28 and April 4 at 3 pm.
Priority is given to season members and they are able to make a reservation to attend a performance for our plays. All others may purchase tickets at the box office. KMLT will have 30 tickets per performance for purchase at the Box Office on a first come first served basis.  Reserved seating not claimed at least 10 minutes before show time are subject to release for purchase by others seeking tickets.
Due to the limited audience capacity allowed under the North Carolina Covid-19 Plan, the protocols listed below are being followed. KMLT will maintain stringent health and safety protocols.
For more detailed information, please visit www.kmlt.org or the Kings Mountain Little Theatre Facebook page. 
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Demolition at the Spectrum Dyed Yarns plant is ongoing, although it is not currently clear the extent of the work being done on-site. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Partial demolition
at Spectrum Dyed Yarns

(March 24, 2021 Issue)


By Loretta Cozart

Demolition around the old Spectrum Yarns, Inc. plant can be seen from both Hwy. 74 and Patterson Road. Portions of the building located at 136 Patterson Road are being torn down, while the office remains intact. The property housed Spectrum Dyed Yarns until the banking crisis of 2008, when the company announced it could no longer find financing.
In August 2013, Spectrum Yarns, Inc. filed a Brownfields Property Application due to contamination caused by a release of chlorinated solvents from a wastewater treatment lagoon associated with the manufacturing operation located on an adjacent site.
The entire property, including the subject parcel and the adjacent parcel, was developed for the dyeing and finishing of textile yarns  by  Spectrum  Dyed
Yarns, Inc. in 1972. The property was undeveloped prior to that time. Spectrum Dyed Yarns, Inc. ceased operations in October 2008.
Permits have been issued for partial demolition of the plant, but exact plans for the property are not known at this time, according to Codes Enforcement Director Clint Houser.
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Pictured left to right are Sonya Nalley, Teacher Assistant of the Year, and Johnna Wyte, Teacher of the Year. Photo by Anna Hughes

North School Teacher and Teacher Assistant of the Year

(March 24, 2021 Issue)

North Elementary School honored their Teacher Assistant and Teacher of the Year at North Elementary School.
First Grade Teacher Johnna Wyte received her BS in Elementary Education at UNCC and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She taught adult education for six months before she starting teaching first grade. She taught 18-years at Bethware School and 10-years at North
Elementary. She is married to Mark and has three children. She is a member of Patterson Grove Baptist Church.
Sonya Nalley - Kindergarten Teacher Assistant and Bus Driver received her Associate degree in Early Childhood Education at Cleveland Community College. She has worked with children for 25-years. 14-years in daycare, 1-year at Crest Middle, and 10-years at North Elementary School. She is married to Tony and has two children and one grandson. She is a member of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church.
 
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Cindy Parker gets immunized as Pressley Anderson completes vaccination.

Mountain Street Pharmacy holds second vaccine clinic

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Mountain Street Pharmacy, working in conjunction with the Cleveland County Public Health Center, held a COVID-19 Vaccine clinic on Friday, March 12, hosted by Central United Methodist Church in Kings Mountain.
“I am pleased to say that we distributed all 300 vaccines,” said Pharmacist Allan Propst, BS R.PH. “I thank everyone involved including Cleveland County Health Department, Gardner Webb’s Hunt School of Nursing, Central United Methodist Church for hosting and many of its members for volunteering, Kings Mountain Rescue Squad, and the staff at Mountain Street Pharmacy.”
“I’d like to thank again DeShay Oliver, Deputy Health Director of Cleveland County Public Health Department for allowing  Mountain Street Pharmacy to administer these COVID vaccines,” Propst said. “I also want to thank Health Department Director of Pharmacy, Dr. Chris Breese, Pharm.D. for all his help.”
“We are so grateful to Dr. Tracy Arnold, DNP, RN, Dean of Gardner Webb’s Hunt School of Nursing, along with Dr. Sarah Tate, DNP, RN, Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Clinical Coordinator who provided the three nursing students for the clinic. Student nurses from their program were Zebib Zera, Caitlin Hunt, and Kiersten Laney.”
 “Of great help to us were Lila Johnson and Abilia Peeler, who normally work at the health department from the state entering all the information into the NCCVMS. Their help was crucial because it helped get this data entered quickly,” Propst said. “Helping them enter the data were Deborah Gwyn and Caitlin Queen.” Most of the data was entered that day.
Central United Methodist Church, Minister Rev. Bruce Gwyn, along with 17 church members volunteered in various roles. RNs Mary Lou Ware, Audrey Brooks, and Susan Hluch worked throughout the day drawing the vaccines. Check-in and temperature staff included Tricia Propst, Linda Childers, and Drew White.
Church facility setup was handled by Joe Patterson and Barry Brogdon. Jim Larson handled various jobs. Debbie Green and Barry Brogdon handled intake and confirmed info provided prior to immunization. Gene and Melissa Bragg assisted with the questionnaires.
Community volunteers from The Walt Disney Company included Jim Larson, Wayne Hawkins, and Barbara Justice. Tim Miller and Gibb Brazzell helped with parking. Other church volunteers included Jeff Dixon and Carol Brazzell.
Mountain Street Pharmacy provided Pharmacist immunizers including Certified Tech Immunizer Mark Woodall, Pharmacists Allan Propst, Jeff Nunnery, Carson Koone, Jacob and Heather Wallace, with the assistance of Angel Queen.
Propst also thanks Tabitha Thomas from Patrick Senior Center for taking calls and scheduling screenings. Additionally, he thanks Kings Mountain Rescue Squad Captain John Harris for allowing Lindsay Ballard and Shannon Bell to be on-site the entire day.
Those vaccinated Friday will return to Central United Methodist Church on April 16, at the same appointment time, for their second vaccine. Propst asks them to bring the immunization card they were given after their first vaccine, so it can be completed after receiving their second shot.
“I especially want to thank my staff of Mountain Street Pharmacy for all their help during our two COVID-19 clinics, Pharmacist Manager Laura Boyd, Certified Technicians Susan Sipes, Tiffany Lowrance, Sarah Parker, and Karen Tate,” Propst said. “They have been working non-stop behind the scenes for a month to get appointments set and handle all the paperwork. They are the unsung heroes because they have been working constantly to make these clinics possible. I am truly grateful and appreciative of our entire team effort.”

Crow’s Nest now
open to the public

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Crow’s Nest at Kings Mountain County Club opens to the public this week with a soft opening starting this Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day.
On January 7, M.K. Arrowood Holdings. Inc. took over the food services for the club, including the restaurant and bar, as well as the pro-shop concessions, explained Jack Acheson, on-site Manager, Chef, and Liaison to the Club. Essentially, the bar and restaurant operate under a lease. But the group has made updates to the décor and some of the kitchen equipment.
The restaurant was given the name Crow’s Nest, because the Front 9 can be seen from the restaurant. “The Crow is a symbol of coming home, so we thought the name was appropriate. We have a great view of the Front 9 from the patio and covered deck. We recently added a TV out there, just in time for warmer weather. During Covid the club has  seen 15,000 non-member rounds of golf played here,” Acheson said.
The foyer to the club has been renovated, with new tile, fresh paint, and furnishings that welcome guests. “We want folks to feel welcome here, a place where they can stop in for a bite to eat or have a beer on the way home. Soon, we will be adding music and activities throughout the week. We want to give our customers a variety of options, so they visit with us often.”
Acheson is no stranger to Kings Mountain Country Club; when he was 15-years old his family joined   the club. “I’ve played this course for years; I have a lot of very good memories here.”
Prior to taking on the day-to-day operations of Crow’s Nest, Acheson operated a chef consulting business. Before that he and his family owned The Round Bistro in Gastonia, a restaurant well-known for great food. Acheson graduated The Art Institute of Charlotte in 2003, where he received a degree in Culinary Arts.
“We are taking things slowly, trying to navigate COVID-19 and steadily grow our clientele. We do not want to get ahead of ourselves and then have to scale back. We plan music and other activities as soon as it makes sense for us to do so.”
Crow’s Nest restaurant is open to the public and guests are not required to have a country club membership.
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Chief Proctor pins badge on Kings Mountain’s newest member of the force, Officer Childers. See more photos on Page 3A. Photo by Karen Tucker

City swears-in Officer Childers

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

On Friday February 19, KMPD welcomed Officer Wesley Childers to the force. “Officer Childers grew up in Kings Mountain and has wanted to become an officer for this city for many years,” said Chief Proctor. “Officer Childers asked if I would pin his badge on him for his swearing in ceremony. It was an honor for me to do this for him.”
In attendance was many family members and officers of KMPD. Mayor Pro Tem Keith Miller conducted the ceremony and swore Officer Childers in on behalf of the city.

KMPD respond to death on US 74

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

On Monday, March 15, at approximately 06:56 am, Cleveland County Communications dispatched Oak Grove Fire Department and Cleveland County EMS to a vehicle accident on US 74 Bypass in the east bound lanes.
Arriving first responders found a vehicle on the side of the US 74 East Bypass off ramp to Oak Grove Road. Upon investigating further, the owner of the vehicle, Roger Wesley Lineberger, 67, of Matthews, NC was found unresponsive underneath the back tires of the vehicle.
Immediate first aid was given but the subject, succumbed to injuries that he had sustained. A full investigation of the scene was completed by the Kings Mountain Police Department Criminal Investigations Unit with the assistance of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
At this time, no indications of foul play were found regarding this incident. The investigation is still be conducted and if anyone has information pertaining to the investigation, they are asked to contact Sgt. KL Hamrick with the Kings Mountain Police Department at 704-734-0444.

KM man wins lottery

Sidney Brown of Kings Mountain could not believe it when he won the lottery at a convenience store in town. Some tears, some dancing, and some celebration broke out as he reacted to the win.
"I lost it,” he said. “I started crying immediately, running around the store, breakdancing, whatever you want to call it, I was doing it. All I could think about was that I could do everything I finally wanted to do.”
The celebration broke out after Brown purchased his winning $25 Extreme Cash ticket from the Tobacco Barn on North Cleveland Avenue in Kings Mountain.
   “I’ve just been crying and thanking God,” he said. “I’m truly blessed and it’s still not real to me.”
He claimed his prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $70,757.
   “I’ve wanted to get me a house, and buy a little piece of land,” said Brown. “I want to invest. I want to give back to the church that my family grew up in. Just take care of my closest family and friends that always looked out for me ever since I was young.”
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Dr. Plonk celebrates 102nd  birthday

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

Dr. George Plonk was born on March 17, 1919 and celebrates his 102nd birthday this week. A lot has changed in Kings Mountain, and the world, in the last 102 years. The following information was taken from an exhibit on early doctors in Kings Mountain, and from an interview recorded by Scott Neisler in 1995 courtesy of Kings Mountain Historical Museum.
Dr. George Plonk grew up with nine siblings on a farm between Kings Mountain and Cherryville. Of the ten Plonk children, all but the youngest were born with the assistance of a midwife at home; the last-born son was birthed with the assistance of a doctor, Dr. Stokes. This was representative of a regional trend taking place in the first half of the 20th century, towards more accessible professional healthcare in rural North Carolina.
Dr. Anthony and Dr. Hord were the Plonks’ family doctors, and Dr. Plonk recalls that in those days some fresh ears of corn or whatever else was in season on the local farms were often used as payment to those doctors who made house calls to the people of Kings Mountain.
He spent his first six grades in a one-room schoolhouse on land donated by his grandfather, before attending Kings Mountain High School. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1940.
After earning his degree from Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia, he served two years in the U.S. Army as a physician in Europe. Following his service, Dr. Plonk made his way back to the Kings Mountain area. After working as a general practitioner for several years in town, Dr. Plonk returned to medical school to study surgery, this time studying at the University of Pennsylvania. From there he went on to Raleigh, North Carolina, where he practiced from 1952 until 1957.
Of his degrees, the 1937 certificate from the American Board of Surgery declaring that he is a Board-certified surgeon is the one Dr. Plonk is most proud to have earned. He also recalls in the interview with Scott Neisler that the mentors he had through his early years of studying and practicing medicine that inspired his own caring, compassionate his bedside manner.
During WWII, Dr. Plonk served two years in the U.S. Army, including serving as a physician in Europe.  In the interview, Dr. Plonk explains how he learned about the use of bone screws for the first time from prisoners of war who had been treated with them before they were released back to the Fracture Ward where he was stationed. This is a good example of how advances in military medicine translated into significant progress in civilian medicine.
Dr. Plonk’s first wife, Margaret Cooper, was also from Kings Mountain, and with a new hospital having opened there, they decided to go home. In 1957, he became Kings Mountain Hospital’s first surgeon.
In the interview, Dr. Plonk explains how the first few years of surgery at Kings Mountain Hospital were challenging. By that point, he and his wife had five children, and even though they were living in a one-bedroom apartment in his wife’s parent’s house, it was still difficult to make ends meet.
Dr. Plonk still had the opportunity to return to his practice in Raleigh, and he had made up his mind that was what he had to do to support his family. Fortunately, a group of concerned citizens circulated a petition urging Dr. Plonk to stay in Kings Mountain. Honored by the effort, and by the number of signatures, he decided to stay, continuing to practice medicine in Kings Mountain until his retirement in the 1980s.
During his long career, he tended and mended the citizens of this region as one of its most respected doctors for over forty years. Dr. Plonk frequently runs into his former surgical patients around town and receives expressions of their gratitude – it is not uncommon for him to hear, “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you.”
  In addition to his career as one of Kings Mountain’s most esteemed surgeons, Dr. Plonk has always been an active community member, serving in the Lions Club and the Kings Mountain Rotary Club.
   During his lifetime, he saw medical care in Kings Mountain transition from backcountry home medicine to professional doctors making house calls; then he watched Kings Mountain Hospital grow from a 24-bed facility in 1951 to a full service 102 bed hospital with state-of-the-art technology. He saw the development of life-saving antibiotics and vaccines, as well as advances in anesthetics, cancer-fighting medicines, and minimally invasive surgical techniques. 
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City to implement new billing software 

(March 17, 2021 Issue)

The City of Kings Mountain will be implementing NorthStar Utility Solutions billing software to better serve their customers on March 29. There will be changes in the billing statement and online features offered. Questions that you may have are:
• Will the due dates change? No, all due dates will remain the same. All payments are due by the 20th of each month to avoid a late fee and accounts need to be paid in full by the last day of each month to avoid additional fees and possible disconnection.
• Will I need to redo my paperwork (CSA, SSI information, Payment Arrangements, Bank Draft, etc.)? No, you will only need to complete paperwork if there have been any changes.
• Will I need to give my bank new information for sending my payment? No
• Why did my account number change? When changing software companies, the account format changed so we had no choice but to change the accounts number. You will see your new account number in the top left hand corner of the billing statement (see image of new statement below).
• Will my bill go up with you buying new software? No
• Can I still pay my bill at City Hall? Yes, the lobby and drive-thru hours will remain the same.
• How do I get to this new portal? There will be no changes as to how you get to the new portal, just the look and features once you click on the “online bill pay” link:  (see image of the customer portal below).
• What payment methods are available now? Online payment (e-check, visa, master card, american express, discover, apple pay, and google pay), check, cash, money order, bank draft, and we have added IVR feature (855) 844-0495. Note: if you have the link saved in your favorites please update.
• I have two electric meters on my property. Will I have two graphs for electric on my bill? The graphs will be one per service so if you have multiple electric meters the consumption represented on the graph will be combine consumption for each service.

Gov. Cooper issues Executive Order to connect unemployed with jobs

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

Governor Roy Cooper today issued an Executive Order that the Department of Commerce will increase efforts to help North Carolinians who file for unemployment benefits return to work.
Executive Order 200 establishes a flexible work search requirement for all new claimants who apply for unemployment benefits on or after March 14, 2021. With the recent end of the Extended Benefits program for state unemployment under federal law, this step will ensure that out of work North Carolinians can access job seeking assistance available through NCWorks and other state-sponsored job search programs.
   The Order directs the Department of Commerce to interpret work search laws flexibly to account for burdens posed by COVID-19 that could affect a job seeker’s ability to satisfy search requirements. The department is also directed to establish a broad set of reemployment activities that qualify for a claimant’s job search.
“More jobs are being created as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, and people who are out of work need help getting them. Unemployment payments have been critical for families and we want them to have jobs before the payments end,” said Governor Cooper.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than $10 billion in unemployment benefits has been disbursed to North Carolinians through multiple state and federal benefit programs, despite the state providing among the fewest weeks of state benefits in the country.
In his COVID relief budget announced in February, Governor Cooper proposed expanding state unemployment benefits, which are still among the lowest in the country. Since the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance is high and the ongoing need of North Carolinians out of work due to the pandemic is so great, he proposed that the maximum duration of benefits be increased to 26 weeks and the maximum benefit be increased from $350 to $500 per week.
For assistance searching for work in North Carolina, job seekers can contact NCWorks for remote services at NCWorks.gov or call 1-855-NCWORKS.
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COVID vaccine clinic in KM Friday

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Mountain Street Pharmacy and Shelby Drugstore, working in conjunction with the Cleveland County Public Health Center, will host a COVID-19 Vaccine clinic on Friday, March 12 at Central United Methodist Church in Kings Mountain.
Do not call Mountain Street Pharmacy or Shelby Drugstore to schedule an appointment. Those interested in getting the vaccine should call the Patrick Senior Center to complete the screening and pre-registration process. Call 704-734-0447 between 1:30 pm – 4 pm. Calls will be taken daily, now through March 11 or until all appointments have been filled.
Qualified individuals will be contacted later in the week if an appointment is available to you.
   The Clinic is open to the following eligible individuals:
• Persons 65 years of age or older
• Healthcare workers
• School employees/Childcare workers
  Mountain Street Pharmacist Alan Propst wants to thank Mayor Scott Neisler, City Manager Marilyn Sellers, and Patrick Senior Center Director Tabitha Thomas for their part in helping organize this COVID vaccine opportunity for the City of Kings Mountain.
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The Wonderland Experience live at Patriots Park

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Christy Conner

It’s time to visit Wonderland! The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department is excited to partner with Sigmon Theatrical to present The Wonderland Experience, an immersive, multi-sensory, intimate theater production where audience members literally walk into and through the world of Alice in Wonderland featuring live characters, interactive activities, breathtaking costumes and scenery, amazing circus feats, puppetry, special effects, and 360º immersive environments.
Fall down the rabbit hole (a magical tunnel with swirling lights) and meet Alice, the White Rabbit, Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum, solve a riddle by the Cheshire Cat, celebrate at a mad tea party with the Mad Hatter, and have a royal visit with the Queen of Hearts.
Guests can travel through the experience in their own group of family or friends, with a limit of ten (10) people per group. Tickets, with a scheduled departure time, are required to attend this event in order to reduce crowd size and maximize the guest experience. General Admission tickets are free of charge, and may be secured for your group at www.KingsMountainEvents.com/Wonderland. You can also upgrade your group to a VIP Experience for a small fee, including a souvenir photo, and a special gift that unlocks extra magic inside the experience.
The Wonderland Experience is a safe, socially distanced adventure for the entire family. Audience members will be required to wear face coverings, temperatures will be taken upon arrival, gloves will be provided to audience members to wear throughout the experience, all touch points will be sanitized between groups and a thorough deep clean will take place each evening, in addition to other safety protocols.
Experience Wonderland, Thursday, April 1 and through Saturday, April 3. The event begins each evening at 5:30 pm.
To learn more, and to reserve your experience today, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit the web at https://www.KingsMountainEvents.com/Wonderland.
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Mrs. Sandra Stirewalt. Photo by Windy Bagwell

KMMS Employee of the Month

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Windy Bagwell

Congratulations to Mrs. Sandra Stirewalt on being selected as the Kings Mountain Middle School February Employee of the Month.  Mrs. Stirewalt is more than just a substitute teacher; she is a hard-working team player that goes the extra mile to help everyone she encounters.  She works tirelessly with individual students to promote their success. Mrs. Stirewalt is well respected throughout our school community.  Her contributions to KMMS are much appreciated and very impactful.  Congratulations Mrs. Stirewalt!  Thank you for all you do for KMMS!

Homecoming Court chosen

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Students at Kings Mountain High School voted for their 2021 Homecoming Court, narrowing the list of 23 nominees to five.  Those chosen include Jenna Ramsey – Band, Emma Goff – Art, Bailey Ledford – SPO, Abby Henson – Varsity Cheerleading, and Emma Herndon – Ambassadors.
Other nominees chosen representing the schools’ organizations and clubs include Madison Ayscue -FCA, Kennedy Barnes - Beta Club, Emily Costner - C.T.E.H.S., D’Erica Davis - Kings Revue, Bailey Dulin – HECS,  Olivia Green – Debate Club, Ansley Habel - Math Club, Lauren Hullender – Drama, Keegan Irby - Interact Club, Rachel Johnson - Symphonic Chorale, Rachel Longwell – MMAW, Carmyn Mack - International Thespian Society, Katherine Martin – NAHS, Madison Morrow - Tri-M Music Honors Society, Olivia Moss – Milestones, Sara Putnam - Science Club, Kennedy Ross – KMBA, and Rebecca Alcia Nakamura Trahan - Anime Club.
The student body will vote again, choosing their Queen from a member of the Homecoming Court. The winner will be announced on or around March 12. 
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Pre-K screenings
begin on March 22

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

Cleveland County Schools begin pre-school screenings March 22 – March 25, and March 29 – April 3. Schedule your child’s screening by calling 704-476-8064 between the hours of 8:30 am and 3 pm, Monday through Friday. Eligible students must live in Cleveland County and be 4-years old by August 31.
Office of School Readiness is located at 308 W. Marion Street, Shelby, NC 28150. Building B is on the grounds of the old Shelby Middle School – in the small building near tennis courts with parking in the back. Screenings are by appointment only and Cleveland County Schools will not offer make-up screenings.
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As the casino construction continues, City Council is considering a text amendment that would allow for no required yard setbacks on the property. Photo by Loretta Cozart

City to consider a Public Hearing on zoning setbacks for federal tribal land 

(March 10, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain City Council will hold a special meeting of the City of Kings Mountain City Council on Wednesday, March 10 at 6 pm to discuss scheduling a public hearing for Tuesday March 30 at 6 pm, allowing them to consider a zoning text amendment allowing no required yard setbacks when federal tribal property is adjacent to the City of Kings Mountain ETJ.
The meeting on March 10 is to add the public hearing to the March 30 agenda, so they can consider the text amendment during that meeting.
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Governor eases some COVID-19 restrictions, defers some 
ABC Permit renewal fees

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

On Feb. 25, Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 4 – Extend ABC Permit Renewal Fees into law. The legislation will help bar owners by allowing them to defer ABC permit fees until they are able to reopen at full capacity. The bill clarifies an existing emergency relief law passed in 2020 to allow bar owners to defer their permit fees up to 90 days after they are able to operate at full capacity.
“I’m grateful to see this legislation signed into law,” said Chairman Moffitt. “House Bill 4 will give private bars and small business owners reprieve until they are back at full capacity. The House ABC Committee will continue to advocate for NC businesses and plans to file additional relief legislation to help even more restaurants, bars, and businesses across the state recover from the COVID pandemic.”
“This is welcome news for these struggling business owners,” said Majority Leader John Bell. “I appreciate the hard work of Representative Moffitt and other bill sponsors to get this much-needed legislation signed into law. These small businesses continue to face significant challenges due to the Governor’s restrictions, and it is critical we continue to support and stand with them during these difficult times.”
“This legislation will provide many struggling businesses a much-deserved continuation of the deferral on their ABC permit fees,” said Representative Jamie Boles.  “We know this will not repair all the damage that has been done, but any help we can provide to these bars and restaurants will go a long way in helping our communities recover.”
 “I am elated that House Bill 4 became law today,” said Rep. Paré. “I am even more happy for all of the small businesses that will benefit from this law. HB 4 will provide flexibility to private bars that were crushed by COVID and numerous executive orders. I look forward to continuing my work to support small businesses at the Legislature and provide relief to those affected by the pandemic.”
House Bill 4 was filed on January 27 by Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-Henderson), along with primary sponsors Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), Rep. Jamie Boles (R-Moore), and Rep. Erin Paré (R-Wake). The legislation was drafted in response to news in January that countless bar owners had their liquor permits revoked unexpectedly by the ABC Commission due to delinquent fees. House Bill 4 passed unanimously through the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper on February 25. The legislation goes into effect immediately, with Section 1 retroactively becoming effective June 30, 2020.
On Feb. 24, Governor Cooper lifted his Modified Stay at Home Order that required people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm.
Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors. 

Project Clean Sweep planned for early April

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

The City of Kings Mountain’s Codes and Public Works Departments are teaming up for another spring cleanup April 5 – 9. The city is offering a free pickup service for yard trash, junk, and litter. Items must be placed in the front yard next to the curb. The normal fee of $20 per truckload for collecting yard items will be waived during that week.
The intent of this project is to remove litter and junk that has accumulated on the exterior of properties, excluding items such as furniture, mattresses, batteries, electronic equipment, or paint cans. Do no not bring items from inside the house or other buildings to be collected. If you do place unapproved items, the standard $20 fee per truckload will be required to be paid prior to removal by the city.
Plan now to take advantage of the free service and to do your part to clean up the city. For questions on approved items, or to schedule a pickup for unapproved items, call 704-734-0735.
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Brooke Clark with her trophy after the 2019 5k race. Photo by David Evans

10Miler race has begun
Gateway 5K scheduled
for March 13

(March 3, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain’s Gateway Trail’s 5K is scheduled for March 13. Registration is $20 and ends March 10 at 11:59 pm. This year’s race mark the 11th year because all races were cancelled in 2020 due to Coronavirus.
The 5K race begins at the Trail Head at 807 Battleground Avenue, Kings Mountain, Lat: 35-13-49 / Long: 81-21-02. As of Saturday, 50 runners had registered. T-shirts are only guaranteed for those who register for the 5K by March 5. Runners will have a staggered start, allowing space between them as a safety precaution.
Due to new technology purchased by Race Director Starr Dowell, chips will enable runners to start and end the race without timers.  “When a runner goes through the gate on Quarry Road, they will have a chip on that will be scanned so we will know the exact time someone starts,” Brutko said. “It will scan them again when they finish. Runners can leave with their chip because they are disposable. So, we will not collect them after the race. Runners are strongly discouraged from gathering afterward. We ask that they just finish and leave.”
There is no reason for runners to gather because the winners are not being announced after the race. That evening, the winners will be announced on the Gateway Trail Facebook Page.
The 10Miler began Monday, March 1 and continues through March 12. Runners report on the honor system. Registration is $20. Each runner runs by themselves from Quarry Road to Galilee Church Road, and back. They must report their time to Starr no later than midnight on March 13. T-shirts are not provided for this race. As of Saturday, 18 had registered for this event.
All winners of both runs will pick up their trophies at the Arts Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday, March 16 through March 20. There will be a few members from the Gateway Trail Committee there handing out trophies. The trophies are unique pieces of pottery made by members of the Gateway Trail Committee.
If you have any questions about this race, please contact the race director starr@finishwelltiming.com.