Special Planning and Zoning meeting called for June 16 

At the regular monthly meeting of the Planning and Zoning Board on June 8th, the Planning and Zoning Board decided to hold another public meeting on the Proposed Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to discuss the Planning and Zoning Board members collective thoughts and recommendations to send to City Council on the proposed ordinance and Chapter 160D compliance. The board intends to have a UDO discussion and Draft Zoning Map Review based upon the proposed UDO.
The special public meeting will be held on June 16 at 5:30 pm in City Council Chambers. Members of the Planning and Zoning Board include Chairman Doug Lawing, Ron Humphries, Renee Bost, Ronnie Franks, Maury Williams, Joseph Allen, Bobby Elliot, Donald Adkins, Todd Wilson, Chris Jolly, and Clint Bouldin.  The city’s staff include Community Planning and Economic Development Director  Stuart Gilbert, Kimberly Herndon, Brian Finnegan, and Tinelle Wallace.

Sex offender registries available online

By Loretta Cozart

In NC, there are 20,816 registered sex offenders. As of May 2021, it is estimated that approximately 780,000 offenders are registered nationwide. Offenders are required by law to register and are restricted as to certain areas in which they cannot live, like near schools, churches, or parks.
The North Carolina General Assembly created the North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry in January 1996. This law outlines registration requirements for persons living in North Carolina, non-resident students, and non-resident workers.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation maintains the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry. At the site, the public may search the registry or get statistics on sex offenses in the state. The United States Department of Justice maintains a site as well, at www.nsopw.gov.
You can sign up to receive an email notification when a sex offender reports moving to a North Carolina address within 1, 3, or 5 miles of your home. In fact, you can register multiple North Carolina addresses which will enable you to be alerted when an offender reports moving to a North Carolina address within 1, 3, or 5 miles of any of the locations you register. This enables citizens to sign up to receive email notification if an offender moves near their homes, children’s daycare centers, grandparents homes, etc.
In addition, the public can sign-up for email alerts. When registered sex offenders move into or out of an area, those who have registered for alerts in that area are notified. Visit: https://signup.ncsbi.gov/ to register. Click “Register” on the main page, and then provide a username, first and last name, password, password confirmation, and email address. An email will be sent to you with a validation link. Once you click the validation link, your account will be enabled, and you can add subscriptions.
Victims may receive telephone notifications for any status change of a registered sex offender through the Notification program.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety website has information for parents, guardians, educators, and law enforcement, including Internet safety tips, an Internet safety video and resource guide, how to schedule a child safety presentation, and information on school safety.
Visit the site to learn more about protecting our children. www.ncdps.gov When using the site, remember the following:
• Because of certain North Carolina General Statute provisions, juvenile offenders adjudicated delinquent of sexually violent offenses are not included in the public Sex Offender Registry.
• The Registry does not include information on those individuals whose sexually violent behavior has not come to the attention of authorities.
• Not every sex offender is required to register.
• Portions of the registry information, and therefore its reliability, are based on information provided by the offender. For example, the offender reports his address, whether they are a student, etc.
• The SBI and county sheriffs attempt to ensure that Registry information is accurate and current. Although the database is updated regularly, information can change quickly.
• Positive identification of a person you believe to be a sex offender can only be made by a fingerprint comparison between that person and the person in the state registry. Other information such as name, date of birth, and other information are not necessarily unique to one individual.
An offender can be found guilty of a Class F felony if they:
• Fail to register
• Fail to notify the last registering sheriff of a change of address
• Fail to return a verification notice
• Forge or submit under false pretenses the information or verification notices required
Any law enforcement officer who is aware of the violation shall immediately arrest the person or seek an order for the person's arrest.
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Rotary Bingo Night Saturday evening in KMLT Garden 

Kings Mountain Rotary Club is having a Bingo Night Friday, June 18, 5:30 to 7:30 in the Garden beside the Kings Mountain Little Theatre. Tickets are $20.00 for 10 games with prizes for winners. Tickets may be purchased at the door or call Ronnie Franks at 704 460-1571.  A cash bar will be provided.

Scenes from KM Cruise-In and Concert

Scenes from KM Cruise-In and Concert
The Cruise-In coincided with the Concert Series that was held this past Saturday, June 5 at Patriot’s Park. The event was sponsored by the Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department. Over 5,000 people attended the event.        

Photos from KM Special Events FB

KMHS Graduation

Kings Mountain High School seniors toss their caps into the air, celebrating 13 years of hard work and study. Congratulations to the Class of 2021!  See more photos on 5A.

(Photo by Mark Bryson)
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Pickin’ at the Park will be held each Thursday in Patriot’s Park at 6 p.m.

Pickin’ at the Park continues Thursday

By Loretta Cozart

The sweet sound of acoustic music drifted through the air as the city’s first Pickin’ at the Park took place near the Gazebo  in Patriots Park late Thursday afternoon. The joint venture is sponsored by City of Kings Mountain and Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame and will be held each Thursday starting at 6 pm. All pickers are welcome, so dust off that banjo (guitar, fiddle, or mandolin) and join other musicians for some fun on Thursday evening. This is a free event.
If you don’t play and instrument but enjoy acoustic music, feel free to bring a chair and listen.
 For more information on Pickin’ At The Park, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame at 704-860-4068.

First Baptist’s Dr. Jonathan Bundon
recognized for 15 years service

On Sunday, May 30,  First Baptist Church KM recognized Worship Pastor Dr. Jonathan Bundon for fifteen years of ministry at FBCKM.
Bundon is the leader of the music programs of First Baptist, including adult praise ensembles, adult choir, instrumental and band groups, youth choir, senior adult choir and supervision of children’s music.  His role of “Worship Pastor” recognizes his emphasis
 beyond music itself to the
establishment of the overall worship experience of the church services.
Under his leadership, both the adult choir and youth choir have opened for several Charlotte area ball games, and the adult choir released it’s first CD of worship music last year.
Jonathan’s wife Heather assists in the church music activities and is accompanist for music programs at Kings Mountain Middle School and High School. She is also President of the Parent Teacher Organization of Bethware School.
Dr. Bundon is also a professor of Church Worship Ministry at Gardner Webb University.
In acknowledgement of the Bundons’ years of service, Pastor Dr. Chip Sloan reminisced of the two years of active searching for the one to fill the position of Worship Pastor. The search team, he said, was extremely selective in their goal of finding someone of spiritual depth who was thoroughly capable in both traditional and contemporary musical styles.
“You are not ‘like’ family — you are family” Bundon said to the congregation in appreciation of the recognition, adding that "it is rare to find a church with as much harmony among the membership and among the church staff as this church.”  He further acknowledged, “this is the kind of church leadership team that my father (himself a church music minister) prayed that God would lead me into.”
The Bundons arrived in Kings Mountain as a couple, but now have two children: Caleb and Blakely.

Photos by  Pat Mahiney

County Commissioners approve
3.25 cent tax cut as part of
2021-2022 fiscal year budget

Following a public hearing at its June 1 meeting, Cleveland County Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the County’s budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The new budget decreases the property tax rate by 3.25 cents while maintaining, and in some cases enhancing, the services and programs available to Cleveland County’s citizens. The tax rate changes includes a 2.25 cent decrease in the County General Tax rate and a 1.00 cent decrease in the County School tax rate.
“Very few local governments are in a position to enact tax rate decreases in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chairman Doug Bridges said. “The fact that Cleveland County can do so, while continuing to provide a high level of service to our citizens, is a testament to our team’s fiscal prudence and careful planning.”
The budget process is carried out under the general direction of the Board of Commissioners. With the Board’s guidance, County staff plan for the financial management of over twenty-five County departments. This involves analyzing projected revenues from sources including property and sales taxes, state and federal funds, and grants from partner agencies. Staff then determine how the County can budget the available revenues to provide services and meet policy goals set by the Board of Commissioners.
“When the COVID-19 Pandemic first hit, our team immediately took a ‘ReAct/ReBuild/ReThink’ approach to crisis management,” County Manager Brian Epley said. “This involved a total budget reset in March of 2020. After reacting to the immediate crisis and rebuilding over the last year, the 2021-22 budget process has been an opportunity to rethink how our team can do more with less by incorporating the lessons learned during the pandemic to streamline our operations moving forward.”
One example of the County doing more with less has been its focus on lean operations. “We have been intentionally focused on right-sizing county government,” Commissioner Johnny Hutchins said. “This is evidenced by the budget having grown only a little over 6 percent since 2015.”
The 2021-22 budget also continues the trend of providing competitive wages for County employees. “As commissioners we continue to be committed to positioning Cleveland County Government as an employer of choice,” County Commissioner Deb Hardin said. “Competitive wages, minimal turnover, and an improved benefits package ensure the County can recruit and retain the talent necessary to Make Our Community Better.”
Despite a decrease in the County’s property tax rate, the 2021-22 budget includes significant investments in public safety, economic development, and capital planning. The Board of Commissioners’ commitment to public safety is most evident when analyzed over time. Since 2015, the cumulative investment in the Sheriff’s Department, Detention, EMS, Emergency Management, and E-911 Communications has increased by 39 percent to $19,608,050.
Examples of this investment at work in the new budget are the County’s first year of payment for a full fleet replacement of nine ambulances, a system-wide radio replacement for public safety employees, over $700,000 allocated to the replacement of Sheriff’s Department vehicles, and continued support for the County’s newest EMS base in Casar.
 “This Board has prioritized ensuring that our public safety professionals have the best available tools at their disposal to protect and serve our community,” Commissioner Kevin Gordon said. “Before Cleveland County can be somewhere that people can live, work, and play, it first must be a place where people feel safe. We will continue to find cost-effective ways to invest in and support the people who look out for us and our families twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.”
   The new budget also continues the County’s focus on economic development, as the County will again be appropriating funds to the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership. Working with the Partnership, the County has recently recruited employers including Greenheck Fan Corporation and Benestar Brands. The County, in cooperation with the City of Shelby, is also actively marketing its latest Shell Building Project, which provides an opportunity for yet another major manufacturing employer to set up shop in Cleveland County.
   “Economic development has been one of the Board of Commissioners’ highest priorities over the last ten to fifteen years, and we are now seeing the benefits of that,” Commissioner Johnny Hutchins said. “In addition to projects such as Clearwater and Greenheck, we are also excited at the continued development of the Catawba Indian Nation’s Two Kings Casino Resort. Cleveland County is positioned to be one of the leading counties in North Carolina for economic development in the Twenty-First Century. The benefits of our economic development success include job creation and increased tax revenue, which in turn lessens the tax burden on our county residents.”
   Cleveland County is also staying the course on its five-year Capital Improvement Plan. Using this plan, the County is preparing for future capital needs at the detention center, courthouse, board of elections, and 911 call center. Staff are further beginning the process of co-locating the Health Department and Social Services Department into one location, which will result in further savings for taxpayers.
   “Co-location is very different than operational consolidation,” Epley said. “This is a simple calculation that allows the County to avoid constructing a new building while moving DSS staff out of a facility that is nearing the end of its life. An added benefit to co-location is the ability to capitalize on shared operating costs.”
   The County’s overall financial health has been crucial in allowing the Board of Commissioners to continue to identify and pursue strategic priorities while not burdening taxpayers. As recently as 2017, Cleveland County received a bond rating upgrade from S&P/Moody’s and is now AA+ rated.
“This puts us in the top fifteen percent of counties in the State,” Commissioner Ronnie Whetstine said. “We are in a healthy financial position, with limited debt. As to the debt the County does have, we are positioned to liquidate more than ninety percent over the next ten years.”
The entire 2021-22 Cleveland County Budget, along with budgets for past years, can be viewed online at clevelandcounty.com. Click on County Departments, Finance/Purchasing, Annual Budget.
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City of KM Mayor's Choice Winner

City of Kings Mountain Mayor’s Choice winner for the June 5 LIVE at Patriots Park Cruise-In was this 1960 Edsel Ranger belonging to Steve Bland of Lincolnton NC. See more photos from the Cruise-In and Concert held at Patriot’s Park this past weekend on page 3B (June 9, 2021 Issue)

Photo by Angela Padgett
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East Coast Party Band to perform on Saturday, June 5. (Photo provided)

East Coast Party Band to
appear LIVE in Kings Mountain

Concert second show of the LIVE
at Patriots Park
Concert Series

It’s time to put on your boogie shoes! The City of Kings Mountain welcomes East Coast Party Band to Patriots Park and the Liberty Falls Amphitheatre, June 5, 2021 for the second concert of the Live at Patriots Park Concert Series.
Based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, East Coast Party Band covers six decades of Rock, Rhythm and Blues, Beach and much more!
The band’s founder, Mark Black, is no stranger to the Kings Mountain area. “I grew up in nearby Clover South Carolina,” says Mr. Black. “However, my mother’s family all live(d) in Kings Mountain. My Grandfather, Ed Bumgardner, started the first youth football program in Cleveland County. I have close ties with Kings Mountain High School as well. I was a Student Teacher there in the Fall of 1988 and studied with Chris and Sarah Cole. It means a lot for me to come back and perform in the area again. My Mother hasn’t seen me on stage since 2005. As you might can tell, I’m excited for my group to take the stage and host a night of fun and musical entertainment.”
Sure to be a fun night indeed, Carolina Beach Music Association Award winning DJ Eric Bowman opens the show at 6:00 pm. East Coast Party Band will follow at 7:00 pm.
A Cruise-In, also hosted by the City of Kings Mountain, will begin at 5:00 pm.
 Want to participate? All makes and models are welcome.
Food trucks, concessions, games and beverages will be available 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 their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.

KM Memorial Day Observance

By Loretta Cozart

   On Monday, May 31, City of Kings Mountain held a Memorial Day Service at Mountain Rest Cemetery at 10 am. A large crowd gathered to honor and morn military personnel who died in the performance of their military duties.
Loch Norman Pipers performed the Prelude, followed by the welcome and opening remarks by Mayor Scott Neisler.
Kings Mountain Police Department Honor Guard posted the colors and Chief Lisa Proctor gave the Invocation.
   The Pledge of Allegiance was let by Lt. Todd McDougal, KMPD-U.S Army, SPC. Miss Mecklenburg County Sophia Kellstrom sang the Star Spangled Banner, followed by remarks by the mayor. The Fulton Family performed Color Me America.
Ric Francis, US Air Force, SrA, of American Legion Post 82 read the Final Roll Call and American Legion Post 155 presented the wreath.
Abraham Ruff, U.S. Army, SGM, recited A Toast to the Flag, followed by Rifle Salute and Taps by Marine Corp League 1164.
Miss Mecklenburg County Sophia Kellstrom sang God Bless America.
Loch Norman Pipers performed an Interlude, and the Colors were Retrieved by the KMPD Honor Guard.
Following closing remarks by Mayor Neisler, Loch Norman Pipers played a Postlude.

Photos by Ellen Devinny
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Heavy traffic heading
to Downtown KM

Shuttle Service to be offered to Concert/Cruise-In goers
June 5

Heavy traffic is expected in Downtown Kings Mountain, June 5, 2021 as the City of Kings Mountain hosts the Live at Patriots Park Concert Series and Cruise-In.
Roads impacted during the events will be Railroad Avenue, West Gold Street and a portion of West Mountain and South Cansler Streets. As a result, the City is offering Shuttle Pick-Up and Drop-Off at the following locations:
First Baptist Church located at 605 West King Street, Kings Mountain and Cherokee Street parking, located at South Cherokee Street.
Shuttle service will begin at 4:00 pm and end at 11:00 pm.
The City urges patrons to use the shuttle services as parking will be scarce in the downtown.
Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through Downtown Kings Mountain due to the increase in motor vehicles and pedestrians.
Please plan to travel different roads if you are impacted by road closures.
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 their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com. You may also visit their Facebook page at @cityofkmspecialevents.

Road closures  

Several roads in the Downtown area to be impacted on June 5 due to Concert Series and Cruise-In

The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department will host a Concert Series and Cruise-In, Saturday, June 5, 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 June 5th, 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 travel from King
Street to Cansler Street for access to Railroad Avenue, Mountain and Gold Streets
Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through Downtown Kings Mountain due to the increase in motor vehicles and pedestrians. 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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City of Kings Mountain’s
Special Events Dept.
to host Cruise-In

Cruise-In will
coincide with the
concert scheduled
on June 5

Some very cool rides are heading back to Downtown Kings Mountain as the City of Kings Mountain once again hosts the Live at Patriots Park Cruise-In, Saturday, June 5, 2021.
On June 5, local car enthusiasts will fill the streets in the Downtown with their favorite street or stock cars, trucks and motorcycles too. The Cruise-In, will coincide with the Concert Series scheduled on the same day. Roads impacted during the events will be Railroad Avenue, West Gold Street and a portion of West Mountain and South Cansler Streets.
The Cruise-in will begin at 5:00 pm.
With live music, cool rides and great food, you do not want to miss this event!
Want to participate in the Cruise-In? All makes and model are welcome!
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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Top students speak out
at KMHS Commencement

Olivia Green is Valedictorian of the Kings Mountain High School Class of 2021 and Emily Poeng is Salutatorian.
The No. 1 and No. 2 academic scholars in the graduating class of 264 seniors gave the keynote addresses at commencement exercises Saturday morning, May 29, at 9 a.m. in John Gamble Stadium.
Green interspersed her remarks with reflections on moments the class shared before COVID defined “our lives.” I am an optimist and I prefer to live by the motto, “Live, laugh and love,’’ she said. Green also challenged the graduates to be the cure of racism.
‘The past two years have been the embodiment of unprecedented times. Each day it seemed a new conflict arose without giving us enough time to recover from the last. From a virus that has taken the lives of 3.5 million people to witnessing incidents that reinforced the notion that racism sadly still prominently exists within our society, she said.
“Injustice runs deep. It’s similar to a virus. It takes on  new forms to ensure its survival and it’s our job to be the cure, adding “I want our generation to be defined as unity and peace. I don’t see us as the “lazy generation who will run this country into the ground, a statement that I have heard more than enough,’’ she said. “Prove them wrong, we have big dreams and so much resilience we can accomplish anything and proved it by accomplishing so much in spite of difficult circumstances.”
Motivating the graduates to “be the cure for injustice it’s our job to be the generation to cause the change we want to see in the world.”
“We have the potential to make change and the potential to be the change,’’ she said. As a generation we have been exposed to so much violence, hatred and division that sadly has become the norm. We hear about mass shootings, blatant hate crimes and increasing political divide and this should not be  our norm. We must no longer allow it to be,’’ said Green.
‘Let us be the generation that becomes the change, the one who actually creates the reality that we have envisioned for ourselves. If we can accomplish all we did in a time like this, I find it hard to imagine what obstacles could possibly hold us back in the future.”
Green was raised by her mother, Chrissi Green and her grandparents, Gene and Janie Murray. She said her Grandpa inspired her and believed in her “no matter what.” She said her grandparents gave her unconditional support that has helped her to achieve goals. She also signaled out Tara Fliesher, Jenny Robinson, Nicholas Inman, Rayvis Key, and Laura Robinson as teachers who helped her become confident and a person capable of achieving her aspirations. She thanked graduates, teachers and administrators who “tried extraordinarily hard to make the school year fulfilling in spite of the pandemic.
Green is recipient of $380,000 in scholarships and will enter Duke University in the Fall on a full scholarship to major in neuroscience on the pre-med track. She aspires to become a Neurosurgeon. “I would find no greater joy than to dedicate my life to improving and saving many people’s lives through my occupation,’’ she said.
Poeng visited family in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before her freshman year at KMHS.  ‘’I realize how fortunate I am to have free education and clean and available necessities at home, adding, seeing all the homeless children in Southeast Asia who didn’t go to school and instead were selling trinkets on the streets made volunteering and helping children read and interact with others even more vital here in town,’’ said Poeng.
During her sophomore year Emily was a positive role model  to young children at Mauney Memorial Library and during her junior year as an AP Chemistry student she entered the US Chemistry Olympiad to gain more exposure to real-life problems involving chemistry and passed a local exam. In the Fall at UNC-Chapel Hill she will major in either Bio-Chemistry or Pre-Pharmacy.
“My uncle, a proud father of a current Yale University student, always told me that knowledge is power.  I took his advice and ran with it,” she said.
At KMHS Emily took challenge classes “simply because I wanted to learn more.”
Poeng dedicated her salutatory speech to the Class of 2021, spoke of class colors and her pride of the regional football championship game as a highlight of their lives.
‘While writing my speech I couldn’t help but think about how as children we all begin as “unpolished clay blocks’’ and even as freshmen were s till very much unpolished and naïve in the ways of high school and the experiences it brought. To me we had yet to be “confidently ‘standing statues’ because of the many lessons we had yet to learn from high school before being thrust into the real world.
“Additionally, these four years of high school are only a small puzzle to be a bigger picture of who we are- a missing shard of clay found out of several million, if you will,’’ Emily said. “We are all constantly  trying to understand ourselves  and who we are as we move into the next chapter of our lives,’’ she added.
“As each new school year opened and a new year started there were  times when we were placed into the “licks of fire in the kiln, hardship that can only strengthen or break our stature similar to h ow a clay structure can withstand the heat or crack. The “pinching and rolling” the people in our lives have bestowed upon us are the lessons we have learned that have shaped and molded us and were put to the test to see if we could withstand “the blaze.”
Emily added, “From 2020 to 2021 our class experienced the uncertainty of the future and safety, something I consider hardening of us, yet also tempting, to crack under pressure. Without this invaluable gift, the experiences high school gave us, none of us students would be the people we are today.”
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Pickin’ At The Park

Kick-Off set for
June 3 at Gazebo
in Patriots Park

Thursday nights in Downtown Kings Mountain will sound much sweeter this summer as the City of Kings Mountain and the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame partner to host Pickin’ At The Park.
Pickin’ At The Park is an acoustic jam session which will run every Thursday night at the Gazebo located in Patriots Park. Kick-off to this FREE series begins June 3, 2021 at 6:00 pm.
Bring your lawn chair and join the fun.
Want to participate? All pickers are welcome!
Patriots Park is located at 220 South Railroad Avenue, Kings Mountain.
For more information on Pickin’ At The Park, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or the Cleveland County Music Hall of Fame at 704-860-4068.

Big money for
Class of 2021

Big money in scholarships totaled $2,266,175.00 and earned by the 2021 graduating Class of 2021, according to Jill Cruise, National Board counselor.
Senior Olivia Green was a big winner of scholarship money. She received a total of $380,000 in scholarships, including $220,000 from Quest Bridge National College Match and Jack Kent Cook Foundation $160,000. Green will study at Duke University on a full scholarship.
Students will be using the money to attend college and universities to pursue careers in many areas of study beginning in Fall 2021.
Twenty-seven juniors nd seniors have earned extra credits at Cleveland Community College, including seven seniors graduating with Associate degrees and may help them to enter college as sophomores or juniors.
Seniors earning associate degrees from Cleveland Community College while attending KMHS were Breanna Davis, Katherine Martin, Savannah Poston, Sara Putnam, Allie Pyne, Donald Lee Page and Emma White.
The full list of recipients of awards and scholarships is in today’s Herald on page 10B.
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City of Kings Mountain to host
Memorial Day Observance May 31

By Christy Conner

The City of Kings Mountain will observe Memorial Day in person this year. With mass gathering restrictions lifted, the City invites everyone to Mountain Rest Cemetery, Monday May 31, for its annual Memorial Day Observance.
Scheduled to begin at 10 am, Vietnam Veteran and Kings Mountain native, Abraham Ruff, U.S. Army, SGM will lead the observance as our guest speaker.
“I am honored to be a part of this observance,” said Mr. Ruff. “Memorial Day is such a special holiday. This observance will be a wonderful event to remember those who died serving this great country.”
Mr. Ruff served over 20 years in the United States Army retiring as a Sergeant Major. He served in seven countries including, Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Iran, Spain, France, and Greece. 
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May. Over 1,600 veterans alone are buried in Mountain Rest Cemetery. Nineteen of which were killed in action.
Mountain Rest Cemetery is located at 111 South Dilling Street in Kings Mountain.
The event will be live streamed on the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department’s Facebook page. That page can be found at www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.
For more information, you may also call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101 or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com.
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Walls are being placed at the new Benestar Brands site on Industrial Drive in Kings Mountain. The facility is slated to open this fall. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Walls are going up at the
Benestar Brands facility

By Loretta Cozart

Within the last month, much progress has been made at the Benestar Brands plant being built on Industrial Drive in Kings Mountain. Just a few weeks ago, the first of three concrete pads were poured at the site. Within the last week, walls began going up.
Benestar Brands, an international snack food manufacturer, will create 129 jobs in Cleveland County, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $24 million to establish a new production facility in Kings Mountain.
According to their sign, the company intends to open in the fall of 2021.
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Road closures
for June 5 concert
and Cruise-In  

The City of Kings Mountain Special Events Department will host a Concert Series and Cruise-In, Saturday, June 5. 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 June 5, and remain closed or barricaded until 11 pm. Further information regarding road closures is listed below.
• Partial Barricade placement will begin at 8 am – some roads will still be accessible during this time, but vehicles must be moved by 2 pm
• Additional Barricade placement will begin at 2 pm
• Roads closed at 2:00 pm and remain closed until 11 pm (ALL unauthorized vehicles will be towed after 2 pm)
• Arrival time for Cruise-In participants will begin at 4 pm with the Cruise-In beginning at 5 pm - Concert will begin at 6 pm
• Participants in the Cruise-In and concert goers,  must use travel from King Street to Cansler Street for access to Railroad Avenue, Mountain and Gold Streets
Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when traveling through Downtown Kings Mountain due to the increase in motor vehicles and pedestrians. 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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This section of Cleveland Avenue is being repaired by NCDOT. The work should be completed by May 28. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Area road construction projects

Cleveland Avenue, Hwy. 161: The NCDOT will be working on Hwy 161 near the YMCA to repair a 10’ x 266’ section of pavement and to install new curb and gutter. On Friday, May 7, work began.. This area was reduced to a two-lane traffic pattern instead of the usual four lanes. Officers from the Kings Mountain Police Department will be assisting for about an hour in the morning until the traffic shift is complete. This project is expected to be completed by Friday, May 28.
Phifer Road between KMHS and KMMS: On Monday, May 10, the NCDOT began work on the crosswalks on Phifer Road between Kings Mountain High School and Kings Mountain Middle School. Work is expected to be completed between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day. Please expect traffic delays where road work is being performed and be mindful of the safety of the officers and NCDOT workers in this area.
   South Cansler Street: On Monday, May 24, RCA Underground Utilities, Inc. began boring along the west side of South Cansler Street. The location of the first bore pit will be on the north side of West King Street at the Cansler Street intersection. The second bore pit and any other bore pits will be located in the attached section of the road. There will also be  places at the intersection of West Mountain Street and West Gold Street that they are required to hand dig and locate our natural gas lines. At this time there is no plan to close any section of the roadway, but there will be traffic control measures to protect the boring rig site areas. All work will be completed within State and City right of ways. This pipe installation is being completed in conjunction with a new cell tower to be installed within the general area.

Scenes from KM Cruise-In and Concert

(May 5, 2021 Issue)

The City of Kings Mountain hosted their first annual live Cruise-In and launched the first of their 2021 Concert  Series this past Saturday, May 1 at Patriot’s Park. The New York Bee Gees Tribute show performed in Liberty Falls Amphitheatre. Carolina Beach Music Association award winner Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot  opened for them. Lots of fun was had by all!  Future concerts will be held on June 5, July 17, September 11 and October 2.
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Patrick Senior Center
Rock-a-thon Friday 

(May 5, 2021 Issue)

By Tabitha Thomas

The Patrick Senior Center will hold a Rock-a-thon this Friday, May 7, from 9 am-2 pm, to support the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Call the center if you or your group want to participate - all ages welcome!  The senior center also needs people to lend them rockers for the day and to sign up to rock. Everyone is welcome to support this fun event!
H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Life and Conference Center, a North Carolina Senior Center of Excellence, is at 909 E King Street in Kings Mountain. For more info call 704-734-0447.

City Council agrees to meet with downtown businesses May 10

(May 5, 2021 Issue)

The April 27 City Council meeting stretched on for four and a half hours Tuesday, as nine people who either own businesses, properties or represent them voiced their concerns regarding downtown development throughout the meeting.
   First to speak was Iris Hubbard, owner of 133 West in Kings Mountain. “I thank the city for their support. We opened on August 26, 2020. My business employs four full-time employees and 21 part-time employees. I currently serve on the Main Street Advisory Board and the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors,” she said. “I request a meeting of building owners, business owners, city council, the city manager, and Director of Economic Development within the next 14 days to assure we can all achieve our goals for the better of our community.”
   Next, architect Ken Pflieger represented two clients and said he has also served on the Main Street Design Committee for 12 years. “Main Street’s Mission is to create a pivotal lifestyle center in our community that offers locally owned shopping, dining,
live entertainment venues, as well as multi-generational options,” he said. He is currently working on two projects downtown, Taylor Commercial Properties, the former First Citizens Bank Building, and David Stone’s property at 138 W. Mountain Street.
   “I have two concerns tonight. One is the formal complaint letter I sent this morning asking for a meeting. We are dealing with two issues. One is a pattern of obstruction on getting a flow of information regarding the streetscape into our hands. We’ve been asking for this since November 2020.” The city provided renderings of the streetscape last November, and they remain on display in the lobby of City Hall. “The specific area I’m working on is about the size of a matchstick, and there is very little detail about it,” he said.
   “Since I’ve been asking, there have been patterns of withholding information that is needed until just last Tuesday. We met with Mr. Flowe at the project site and were very surprised to learn that plans are 99% complete. I have been tasked with an alternate study that does work with grade and entry points on either side of the alley. There is a one-and-a-half-foot difference between the building and the plaza elevation. I don’t know how we are going to resolve that. We are asking for collaboration,” Pflieger requested.
   Jewel Reavis spoke on behalf of the Southern Arts Society. She shared, “In 2025, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Depot. We support the businesspeople in town asking for a meeting with the city council, the city manager, and staff in the next two weeks to hear from the main street community on revitalization of downtown.”
   Jimbo Thompson shared that his business, Gutter Guys, has 13 full-time positions and numerous subcontractors. “We would like to see more transparency and cooperation with the city to become partners in advancing downtown. We also fear retaliation for having a strong voice. I support having a meeting in 14 days,” Thompson said.
   Jackie Falls and her husband own the Edward Jones building downtown and rent apartments above. “We love the people here and want to give back. We want to work to collaborate with revitalization downtown,” she said.
   Stella Putnam shared, “I’ve seen a lot out of my window over the last 44 years. This city means a lot to me. I’ve watched public and private partnerships and am excited about what is happening. Look around. The business owners are putting blood, sweat, and tears (into their projects). These people live here! We are remodeling Neisler brothers after all these years! Everybody here wants the same thing.”
   Marlo Parker spoke, saying her husband is Michael Parker Construction, a general contractor who holds a realtor’s license and has a civil engineer background. “We have received violation notices. The Main Street Coordinator threatened to have my husband arrested for working on the building. The city also tried to enforce construction permits and liens when there is no construction time frame on this type of permit.”
   She went on to say, “The straw that broke the camel’s back was a voicemail we received from the NC General Contractors’ Board from the city trying to file a claim against Parker Construction. The board simply replied, ‘There is not a violation. There is no contract. I am not sure why the city is doing this.’ Why is the city being so malicious? Why aren’t they taking the time to promote growth instead of hindering the growth that is here?” She also asked for a meeting within 14 days.
   Russ Putnam was the last to speak to represent downtown business and building owners. He said, “In many ways, Kings Mountain looks like it did when I was a child. I can’t stress enough the importance of working with and listening to the building owners and businesses in finalization of the downtown streetscape to make it work better.”
   Later during a public hearing the city council discussed a proposed amendment to the City of Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance for vacant properties located in the KMPPED overlay district. The amendment included language requiring upkeep maintenance to vacant buildings in the Main Street District and that would require owners of vacant buildings to register them and pay fees every six months that a building remains vacant. Fees would range from $250 to start and going up to $1,000 after 18 months.
   Under the proposed ordinance amendment, general maintenance of vacant properties would require that windows and doors remain intact and operable, storefronts and facades be maintained, all awnings and signs must not appear worn, tattered, or have missing parts, visible interiors be maintained, broken windows be replaced or re-glazed, and that properties vacant for more than 90 days have lighting at entrances and exits. Under the proposed ordinance, vacant buildings must be maintained in a way that does not provide evidence of vacancy. There were exceptions to the ordinance also noted.
   Economic Development and Planning Director Stuart Gilbert shared with the city council, “The Main Street Board recommended against the amendment the Planning and Zoning Board recommended for it. And as a Broker-in-Charge in the state of NC, I can attest to the fact it is important to maintain buildings.”
   Jimbo Thompson spoke against the proposed amendment saying, “I have a total of four buildings. To even be asking for ordinances on zoning for downtown business owners after what you heard tonight from multiple constituents, from people that live here. What are you doing to encourage building owners to get these building up? Do you know how long I’ve been trying to get one building off the ground? I was encouraged to get architectural drawings. NC statutes say I don’t even need them. Steel has stopped, and I can’t move forward,” he said.
   “Downtown, you want to find people to encourage them to upfit their buildings. Have you talked to any of the building owners? Have you ever spoken to me? I have made complaints, and only one person spoke to me, and that was Keith Miller. How can you make an ordinance part of zoning when you don’t have zoning? I think the zoning ordinance should be tabled or done away with,” said Thompson.
   David Stone spoke against the ordinance as well, saying, “Based on what you heard from main street businesses, will this ordinance bring us together or drive a wedge between us?” He encouraged a dynamic public / private partnership similar to those in Wilson and Belmont, NC.
   Mayor Neisler spoke, saying, “To say we are not transparent… We are virtual, sharing meetings online, and have held community meetings. To say we don’t want public input is false. We want a strong and vibrant downtown. We have building owners who don’t care about their buildings. But not all business owners are like that.” He went on to say, “We go to the nth degree. The character of our board is stellar. Zoning protects owners; it protects property. We have asked for public input. We even hired someone. We’ve invested in Patriots Park, where people want to go. We want downtown to be the same.”
   The city council unanimously decided to table a decision regarding the vacancy ordinance until May 25 and scheduled a meeting with the main street building and business owners for May 10.    
   Councilman Jimmy West said, “We need to go out and meet with property owners. I don’t want to make it punitive for those who are trying to fix their buildings. We have to meet them in the middle.” Councilman Keith Miller agreed to go with West to talk with all the business and property owners downtown before their May 10 meeting.
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Jimbo Thompson speaks against an amendment regarding vacant properties in downtown Kings Mountain. Photo provided

Height variance approved at Casino,
allows for parking garage

City approves Cannon 35 rezoning

(May 5, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

During the April 27 City Council meeting, the R. Dean Harrell Company’s request for rezoning from R-10 to Conditional District R6 PUD was unanimously approved.
The decision was continued from the March meeting when several citizens complained that a limited number of impacted residents were notified of the community meeting. A second meeting was held at the Patrick Senior Center to inform the community of the plans for the project.
The R. Dean Harrell Company petitioned to rezone approximately 56.95 acres located in Cleveland County with road access on Kings Mountain Boulevard, Crocker Road, and located North of Margrace Road.
Citizens Charles Stevens and Trey Edgerton spoke against the project during the Public Hearing. Mr. Stevens said, “There will be unsafe driving conditions with Beason Creek and Crocker Ridge. I hope you won’t do it, but it probably will be done because citizens are at the bottom of the totem pole. The city’s transparency isn’t very good, and the casino is causing a lot of growth.”
“I’ve earned the right to live in peace. We are being kicked aside for the fourth time. We haven’t had one councilman call to see how we are doing, except Mrs. Thombs,” he said. “We need to have a person we can go to. We seem to be ignored. The zoning signs were hidden in a field and people didn’t know it was in the plans. Transparency does not exist.”
Trey Edgerton said he wasn’t there so much to speak against but to warn the city of the coming growth like he witnessed in Boone, NC. He also said, “In the ETJ, we have no voice. Think about what you approve before you approve it. Just because a plan is detailed does not mean that it is right.”
Councilwoman Thombs asked to speak and said, “I understand everyone’s concern about growth, and everyone’s concerned about change. Change is here; there is nothing we can do about it. I am speaking as an elected official.”
“As far as the casino, whether it is there or not there, it is 16 ½ acres of federal land trust. Our responsibility is to govern the ETJ and that’s what we are elected to do. You might not like our decisions, but just because we don’t make the decisions you like, stop calling us corrupt, stop calling for investigations, because none of us is corrupt,” she said. “It is our responsibility to govern the ETJ. We have a choice to leave it as it is and let anything spring up or do the responsible thing and vote to do the best we know how for this city.”
She went on to say, “You might consider that we are not transparent. We are as transparent as we know how to be, and we are constantly improving our being transparent. Just because you don’t like what we put out there doesn’t mean we aren’t transparent. The decisions I make, I make thoughtfully concerning all the citizens of Kings Mountain.”
In other action, the city council approved two items relating to facilities physically connected to the Catawba Indian Nation Trust property:
• Councilman Miller made a motion to adopt an ordinance to change Article IV – Section 4.8 Height Limitation Exceptions as follows: Add the following text after
From Page 1A
the word hospital, “Automobile Park (commercial) including elevator shafts when such facilities are physically connected to Catawba Indian Nation Trust Property.”
The height limitation was set at 130 feet and will facilitate the construction of Kings Mountain’s first parking garage. The vote passed 6 – 1, with Councilman Rhodes voting against. Councilman Rhodes voted against saying, “We shouldn’t make rules for specific projects and not the entire community.”
• Councilman Miller made the motion to adopt an ordinance to change 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.”
Chairman of the Cleveland County ETJ and Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board Doug Lawing spoke prior to the vote saying, “I’m here to see that we do this the right way. My problem with all of this is that we can’t start making exceptions for every little piece of property. The fact is we want to give a setback to the Catawba Indian Nation because, whether through their fault or the Federal Government’s fault, they didn’t take adequate steps to plan ahead and know that they need more than 16 acres. That is what this boils down to. Undoubtedly they are going to use in excess of that 16 acres or they wouldn’t be asking for the ability to connect to their property.”
   “There are two methods here we could have used to do this.” He went on, “The more conventional method would have been to go through the Board of Adjustment and ask for a variance. But we chose not to do that because we thought going through the legislative process would be much quicker. Stuart told the Planning and Zoning Board, ‘to move the process along, vote yea or nay.’ We felt like you, as the city council, wanted to know yes or no if we approved it. In other words, not put it off two or three weeks. We could have said, ‘No, it needs to go through the Board of Adjustment,’ which I assure you would have taken much longer. But we chose not to do it that way and that is why the Planning and Zoning Board voted 9 -1.”
   City council voted to adopt the ordinances 6 – 1, with Councilman Rhodes voting against.
   In other business, the city council:
• Awarded bid in the amount of $289,150 to Marvin Hoyle Construction for the Meadowbrook Water Line Replacement and asphalt paving.
• Authorized the Mayor to execute a Moss Lake Use Agreement which would allow Tommy Brooks, Moss Lake Resident, to host the Float in Concert free event at Moss Lake on June 19, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. No dock will be utilized, and others will not be allowed to tie off on the shoreline.
• Authorized the Mayor to execute a Moss Lake Use Agreement which would allow the Moss Lake Ski Club to host the Slalom Ski Course event on Moss Lake for a one (1) year period.
• Authorized the Mayor to execute a Moss Lake Use Agreement which would allow the Cleveland Masonic Lodge #202 to host an Inaugural Bass Fishing Tournament on May 22, 2021 from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
• Accepted a Certificate of Sufficiency and schedule a Public Hearing for Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. to consider a Voluntary Non-Contiguous Annexation Petition from R. Dean Harrell and Colton Harrell to annex property lying between Kings Mountain Boulevard and Crocker Road, containing 60.91 acres.
• Adopted an Ordinance to authorize the City Manager or her designee to declare temporary road closures for streets within local authority during days and times in which City sponsored events are being held.
• Adopted an Ordinance amending the City of Kings Mountain Code of Ordinance § 96.004 “Noise” to exclude the City during City sponsored events and festivals.
• Adopted a Resolution supporting expansion of the Piedmont NC by Train Service.
• Adopted a Resolution opposing House Bill 401 (HB 401) and Senate Bill 349 (SB 349) – Increasing Housing Opportunities.
• Approved a Resolution to delay the November 2021 City of Kings Mountain Municipal Election until March 2022, or such time decided by the Cleveland County Board of Elections.
City Council voted to:
• Continue a Public Hearing to consider a request from Larry D. Carroll for a Voluntary Contiguous Annexation Petition for property located at 2108 Vestibule Church Road, containing .31 acres, Parcel #10863, Map 4- 26, Block 1, Lot 3 – Case No. 2020-VA-4
• Continue considering an Amendment to the City of Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance regarding vacant properties located in the KMPPED overlay district to include language in Article VI, Section 6.16 Kings Mountain Protection, Preservation and Enhancement District (KMPPED), beginning at page 53-R.1, requiring upkeep maintenance to vacant buildings in the Main Street District.
• Continue considering an Ordinance to create the City of Kings Mountain’s Mural Ordinance.
   After a closed session, Councilman Miller made a motion to add a Public Hearing for Project Joe to the May 25, 2021 City Council Agenda.  
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Swedish manufacturer to create 22 new jobs in Gaston County

(April 21, 2021 Issue)

Polykemi AB, a Swedish manufacturer of plastic compounds, will create 22 new jobs in Gaston County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $11.8 million to locate its first U.S. production facility in the Gastonia Technology Park.
 “We are pleased to welcome another global manufacturer that has selected North Carolina for their North American operations,” said Governor Cooper. “Polykemi’s decision emphasizes our state’s world-class talent and affirms the strength of our economy in the global market.”
   Polykemi AB, part of the Polykemi Group, has been providing custom plastic compounds for the automotive, furniture and household industries for more than 50 years. The plastic compounds are formulated into granules to be melted and injection molded for automotive components, household interiors and more. Polykemi is a third-generation family-owned company with sales offices worldwide and factories in Sweden and China, including a recycling operation and innovative packaging company. The new Gastonia manufacturing plant will be the company’s first North American operation and represents Polykemi’s single largest investment to date.
“Since creating our subsidiary Polykemi Inc. in 2012 our aim has been to establish a production site in the US and we are very happy to announce that this project is now becoming a reality,” said Johan Hugoson, CEO of Polykemi Inc. “Being present with our own production will enable us to get closer to our customers and to explore the many opportunities we see in the US market.”
   “When international companies choose to expand, they are often attracted to our strong manufacturing workforce,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “In addition to our talent, growing companies like Polykemi appreciate North Carolina’s robust infrastructure, market access, and affordability to increase their global success.”
   The North Carolina Department of Commerce led a team of partners in supporting Polykemi’s decision to establish a manufacturing plant in North Carolina. New positions include operations, maintenance, finance and managerial personnel. The average annual salary for all new positions is $59,132, creating a potential payroll impact of more than $1.3 million per year. Gaston County’s overall average annual wage is $42,018.
A performance-based grant of $50,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help with Polykemi’s expansion to North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
   “We are thrilled to welcome another international company to Gaston County,” said N.C. Representative John Torbett. “Polykemi’s new addition to our business community is just the beginning of a strong partnership to grow our global reputation as a great place to do business. We welcome them to their new home.”
   “Polykemi’s investment is a win for everyone,” said N.C. Senator Kathy Harrington. “With a strong, capable workforce and great infrastructure, the people of Gastonia are ready to support the company for many years to come.”
   Joining the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were key partners in the project that included the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Gaston College, Gaston County, Gaston County Economic Development Commission, City of Gastonia, Two Rivers Utilities, and Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.
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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:

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
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 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.

 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.