2020 1

Hindsight is 2020: the year in review

(January 6, 2021 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


The year 2020 is one few of us will ever forget, but one probably we wish we could. Just days into the year, the Coronavirus pandemic began, resulting in say-at-home orders, mandatory wearing of face masks, and governmental assistance to citizens as well as businesses. As of Dec. 31, about 342,000 Americans had died from the virus. On that day alone, 3,479 North Carolinians were hospitalized. In Cleveland County, 6,956 cases of the virus and 144 deaths were reported last year.
On a positive note, three pharmaceutical companies have developed Coronavirus vaccines and two have begun inoculating those at highest risk: medical professionals and those living in congregate housing. This week anyone 75 and over can get the vaccine. It will take a while to get everyone inoculated but it is a good step forward.
Despite the virus, all news was not bleak. The area has seen business growth and witnessed firsthand the resiliency of people. Front-line workers kept commerce flowing as everyone worked to help each other through one of the toughest times in recent memory.
January  – As 2020 began, a 16-year mystery was solved at Moss Lake. A fisherman using a fish finder discovered a submerged vehicle near the Camp Creek Church Road boat ramp, 27-feet below the surface. It was reported missing in Oct. 2004. On January 15, Sgt. Bob Myers retired after 30-years with Kings Mountain Police Department. Friends of Crowders Mountain asked for volunteers for trail work and litter pick-up. Greg Payseur offered free genealogy assistance at the Mauney Memorial Library. Atrium Health Kings Mountain tightened visitation requirements due to the prevalence of flu in the region. Kings Mountain Rotary Club awarded a check to Tropzie McCluney of the Community Math Academy. Jasmine Suarez and Kallee Heffner came in first and second respectively in the East School Fourth Grade Spelling Bee. After 79-years of service, the Kings Mountain Kiwanis Club disbanded. Edgar Lee (Dean) Adams retired and closed his barber shop after working 60-years in his profession. Accelerate Cleveland began recruiting for their spring class.
February – Layoffs were announced for Eaton Corporation due to consolidation of its heavy-duty transmission assembly division. Starbucks announced opening a new store at 717 York Road in July. Mauney Memorial Library announced a Makerspace sneak-peek. On Feb. 4, Cleveland County Health Department announced no cases of Novel Coronavirus in Cleveland County. Early February brought an EF-2 tornado to the Dixon Community, toppling four high tension electrical transmission towers and felling trees in its wake. Sheriff Norman switched political parties, registering as a Republican. Catawba Nation opened a display at Kings Mountain Historical Museum. President of Kings Mountain Touchdown Club David Brinkley officially presented the new tennis courts and football field to Superintendent of Cleveland County Schools Stephen Fisher. City of Kings Mountain acknowledged a water spill of 3.1 million gallons into Potts Creek. Temple Baptist Church celebrated its 75th anniversary. Warren Bingham spoke to the DAR on the life of George Washington; his wife, Laura Carpenter Bingham, is a Kings  Mountain Native. North Elementary School’s fourth grade spelling bee winners were Johaunna Shaw and Kal Frishmuth. Shaw represented North in the district level competition.
March – City of KM trashes its recycling program due to costs. Thoroughbred Partners announce plans for the old Senior Park. Don Crawford celebrated his 90th birthday. Over 130 attend American Legion Auxiliary Unit 155’s Spaghetti Dinner. Cub Scout Pack 93 celebrated its 25th anniversary. KMHS Senior Myla Athitang published her first book: Annalise: Twenty Years Everlasting. Kings Mountain ranked 25th  among the safest cities in NC. Citizens were advised by the CDC on ways to protect themselves from COVID-19. United States Department of the Interior rules in favor of the Catawba Nation’s casino plan. City given a $25,000 civil penalty and notification of violation due to the city’s failure to properly implement the pretreatment program. Because Governor Cooper declared a state of emergency due to the Coronavirus, Atrium Health Kings Mountain restricted visitors to those age 13 and over. Cleveland County Potato Project collected fruits and vegetables with a longer shelf-life for citizens impacted by COVID-19. Lenten services, Frozen, Jr., Gateway Trail races, Honors Chorus, Medicine Drop, and Friends of Crowders Mountain were cancelled or postponed. Kings Mountain Historical Museum temporarily closed. The nation celebrated 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. Local schools celebrate Read Across America and invite local celebrities to read to the children. Citizens start feeling the impact of Coronavirus. Beginning on March 19, city buildings were conducting business but limiting access. NC schools were closed until May 15. Patrick Senior Center was closed. City of Kings Mountain turned on its Christmas Lights on Railroad Avenue to brighten the citizen’s spirits. Cleveland County Schools announced the continuation of the school lunch program. Phrases like The New Normal, Together Apart, and In This Unprecedented Time became part of our vocabulary. In stores, signs on floors and on isles reminded shoppers to stay six-feet apart and travel isles in one direction only. Reminders of the 3-Ws were everywhere: wear your mask, wait (maintain social distancing six-feet apart), and wash your hands. Glenn Mollette noted that 9,000 lives had been lost to the virus, with 22,000 sick. Atrium Health added new restrictions for visitors. Restaurants were closed to COVID-19; takeout and delivery became extremely popular with local restaurants that remained open. American Legion celebrated its 101st birthday nationwide.
April – Coronavirus help is on the way; COVID-19 unemployment checks go out. Patrick Senior Center distributed non-perishable food and scheduled in-county medical appointments through TACC. Cleveland County Potato Project collected food for those in need. KM Spring Litter Sweep kicks-off. EIDL and PPP loans were announced to help small businesses. The fifth Coronavirus case was reported by Cleveland County Health Department.  City of KM broadcast its city council meeting on Facebook Live for the first time. Fifteen Kings Mountain and Gastonia residents were quarantined at Ft. Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia after disembarking the Grand Princess cruise ship in San Francisco. YMCA offered daycare for essential workers. Kings Mountain’s Easter Service was cancelled. The Easter Bunny visited Kings Mountain on the back of a fire truck. Lib Stewart was honored by District 13 American Legion Auxiliary. Governor Cooper tightened COVID-19 social distancing measures. Kings Mountain had four confirmed COVID-19 cases and the county had 39 cases. Citizens begin gardening as a pastime and to grow difficult to find items. Local hardware stores see a booming business. Porch sitting becomes more popular. Citizens started a Where’s Waldo type event for children. People hid various stuffed zoo animals for the children to find. American Legion Auxiliary Girl’s State went virtual for the first time. Governor announced a plan to reopen NC. Educator Beverly Owens used a desktop 3D printer to make facemasks for healthcare providers. Schools continued remote learning for the rest of the school year.
May - High school seniors received caps and gowns in drive-thru. Cleveland Pines reported 5 Coronavirus cases. Kings Mountain’s Memorial Day event was held virtually. Mauney Library offered curbside pickup. KM ranked #1 as healthiest home market in US. First Presbyterian held services in the garden beside the Joy Theater. Governor opened NC for business with limitations. KMHS senior players were honored in a drive-thru event. Michael Parker made good renovation progress on the old Fulton’s building. City of KM had no tax increases in their new budget. Veronet Vineyards and Winery reopened using social distancing. Windows at Mauney Memorial Library were refurbished. Absentee Balloting was announced as an option for November primary. Red, White, and Boom will feature fireworks only. Kings Mountain’s newest restaurant, 133 West, continues toward its grand opening. Dead & Gone shot at the George Washington Cromwell House. Twelve new COVID-19 cases reported in Kings Mountain last week. DAR holds national conference online. Kings Mountain rebrands itself. KMHS Class of 2020 holds drive-thru graduation ceremony. YMCA moved many activities outdoors. Cleveland County Potato Project received 40,000 pounds of potatoes. Clean Sweep hauled away 88,000 pounds of yard waste. Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office released a new smartphone App.
June – Kiameshia Young bought the old McGill’s Exxon. COVID-19 numbers doubled every two-weeks for three weeks. On July 10, Kings Mountain had 102 cases, Grover 20, Shelby 178, and Boiling Springs 128. Ed Blackburn’s bees help apple trees flourish. Cleveland County had sixth COVID-19 death. KM cancelled its fireworks show and held a virtual event and also honored the Class of 2020. Face masks were now required in public per Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order.
 July – David Stone and his family brought the old Summer’s home back to life. Dellinger’s Jewel Shop a KM tradition for more than 60 years. Kings Mountain Coronavirus cases continue to climb. Six local sites failed swim guide results for the Broad River. Dr. Gangoo retired after 41 years in KM. Latinos for Freedom Back the Blue and provide lunches for local police. A 5.1 earthquake near Sparta, NC was felt in Kings Mountain. KM Historical Museum held its 17th annual Reverse Raffle virtually. Uniquetex and Ecoguard donated 5,000 masks for KM citizens that were distributed at Patrick Senior Center. COVID-19 outbreak at White Oak Manor. KM’s Beach Blast went virtual. Jimmy Wayne was named to Cleveland County Hall of Fame. Betsy Wells served as a Democratic National Delegate. A Cleveland County woman wins $186,776 in Cash 5 jackpot. Levi Keever was introduced as a Future Firefighter. City distributed 15,000 masks. 133 West completed soft opening and is a big hit with patrons. Delta Kappa Gamma installed new officers.
August – Developers plan for $230 million in projects for KM. 133 West opened on Wednesday, September 2. Name announced for Catawba Nation’s Casino: Catawbas Two Kings Casino Resort. Wayne King served as a Republican National Delegate. Kings Mountain Fire Department joins Cleveland County’s Emergency Warning System. Cleveland County reports 35 COVID-19 deaths. Jim Potter retires from CUMC’s Community Kitchen. One hundred and five residents at White Oak Manor had COVID-19. Commander Keith Morrow retired from the Navy. KM native Sarah Lee Owensby was nominated for Major Market Broadcast Personality. Senior Center requests donations of food for older adults. Land near casino sold for $1.77 million. Julie Rikard named CCS Principal of the Year. Battle of Kings Mountain commemoration went virtual. Future firefighter Grady Hooper was introduced. Alliance Bank and Trust moved to Shelby Road. DAR celebrated Constitution Week. Christy Adkins took over as Main Street Director. Land near casino sold for $2.725 million. Advent Academy held its ribbon cutting.
September – Michael and Nakisha Wenzel bought Big Red’s Café. City approved $1.2 million budget expenditures and annexed land into the city. Library hosted virtual book fair. KMHS basketball over 100 years old, football should turn 100 in 2022. Second positive case of rabies reported in the county. Potato Project harvested 3,000 pounds of potatoes. Angela Padgett was born into life of NASCAR. 133 West Ribbon Cutting Oct. 22. KMLT held auditions for Till Beth Do Us Part. Revolutionary War Iron Sword part of Museum’s collection. Melvin Ware’s Victory Garden did well. KM Hospital to celebrate 70th anniversary in March 2021.
October – President Trump held a campaign rally in Gastonia at the airport. Benestar Brands to invest $24 Million in KM. Wilcox new minister at First Presbyterian Church. Strong showing by voters in early voting. Neisler fabrics were featured in 1956 Indianapolis race car. Delta Tau recognized future teachers. Shelters welcome those in need. KM area voters go to polls Tuesday. Helen Bullock turned 103. Border’s daycare recognized for 26-years of service. 133 West held its ribbon cutting. Grants available for businesses impacted by COVID-19. DAR celebrated Day of Service..
November – Greg Putnam recognized by city for doing the right thing. City honored Veteran’s on Nov. 10. City approved incentive grants and zoning petitions. Sixty-three percent of Kings Mountain voters have cast their ballots. Water project adds $175,000 to budget. King Mountain had 936 cases of Coronavirus with 29 deaths, of which 23 were living in nursing homes. Republicans won big in Cleveland County. City council approved sale of alcohol before noon on Sunday. Patriots park got a landscape facelift. Fourth and fifth cases of rabies reported. Jones Tennis Building completes best athletic facility in the state. Jalen Roberts received Eagle Scout rank. Keith Corporation marketing Kings Mountain Corporate Center. KM Beach Blast named CBMA’s best event of the year. NCDOT paving project continued through town. Work continued near Exit 5. December 19 was Wreaths Across America Day. Shelby and Gastonia DMV now offers instant title services. Feed the Children on Dec. 4. Christmas in Kings Mountain began Dec. 5 for three consecutive weekends. Murphy Toy Run a success. Nutcracker performed with limited seating. Governor Cooper tightened mask restrictions and enforcement.
December – Home for Christmas back in Kings Mountain. Here comes Santa Claus. City presented streetscape plan. City received $200,000 from KM ABC Board. Benestar Brands purchased property in KM. On Dec. 1, an older driver accidentally drove her vehicle into Kings Mountain Post Office. Santa visited Kings Mountain. Library renovations ongoing. Work at 100 E. Kings Street continues. Floyd inspires others on a journey to a healthier life. Atrium Health first to administer COVID-19 vaccine. Sisters shared holiday warmth with Y-kids. NC Voter Law upheld in US Court of Appeals. Huggins welcomed you to Revolution Brewhouse. Shop local for Christmas. Officer Tyler Herndon killed in the line of duty. Another KMPD Officer shot Saturday night. Santa visited with children just in time for Christmas. Meadowbrook Road water project approved. During Wreaths Across America, 600 veterans honored at Mountain Rest Cemetery. Tyler Herndon laid to rest as community mourns. City grapples with mural ordinance. KM featured in Life in the Carolina’s Christmas special. Bolin’s Daycare celebrated 50th birthday. Student boarders start KM Christmas tradition in 1883. Atrium KM to get Moderna vaccine. City council continues decision on rezoning for Catawba Village.

DSS taking applications
for assistance

(January 6, 2021 Issue)

Cleveland County Department of Social Services is now taking applications from individuals who need financial assistance with paying their heating bills. Each eligible household may receive up to a maximum of $600 per year for heating and cooling assistance combined.
This is a federally-funded program and the total amount that Cleveland County received for heating and cooling assistance this year was $547,000. Of this total funding, $264,000 was paid to 1,342 households for cooling assistance this past summer. That deduction leaves a remaining balance of $283,000 in the County’s emergency fund to pay for heating bills this winter.
To be eligible to receive financial assistance with heating, a household must:
• Be located in Cleveland County
• Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility criteria
• Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty limit
For example:
• For a household of one, an income of $18,732 or less
• For a family of four, an income of $38,628 or less
• Have a health-related issue that might be made worse without heat
• Have a utility bill that shows how much is owed to the utility company
• Be responsible for their heating cost
Each household is individually evaluated, and if determined eligible for assistance, payments are made directly to the household’s utility company.
Last year, Cleveland County provided heating and cooling assistance to 2,775 applicants for a total of $588,000.
For more information on the program and eligibility, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/low-income-services/crisis-intervention. You also can call Cleveland County’s Department of Social Services at (704) 487-0661, ext. 394.
There is not a cap on the number of people who can be helped. However, the emergency assistance fund for heating and cooling has a limited amount of money. The total available for heating and cooling assistance this year is $547,000. As noted previously, $264,000 has been provided for cooling assistance, leaving a balance of $283,000 available for heating assistance this year. The number of people served will be determined by the number of people who are eligible and how much is needed per household.
The emergency financial assistance for heating and cooling is a federally funded program.
Each household can receive a maximum of $600 per year in heating and cooling financial assistance. For example, if a household received $200 for cooling assistance this summer, they would be eligible to receive up to $400 more for heating assistance this winter.
This program provides a total payment to the utility company on behalf of the person who has applied and determined to meet eligibility requirements. However, many utility bills bundle electric or heating with water, sewage and/or trash. This program provides financial assistance for the portion of the bill that covers heating. The purpose of this program is to resolve the financial crisis caused by the heating bill. If the total utility bill has fees associated with other utilities (trash, water, sewer), that portion of the bill must be paid before the applicant can receive financial assistance for heating, or else the crisis that the household is facing will not be resolved.
Herndon

Fund set up in memory of Officer Herndon

(December 30, 2020 Issue)

A memorial fund has been set up in honor  of Mt. Holly police officer Officer Herndon who lost his life in the line of duty on December 11, 2020. “The Tyler Herndon Memorial Fund” has been created at  SouthState Bank. Cash or check donations can be dropped off at any Gaston county location (Mount Holly, Belmont, Gastonia, Dallas, Stanley). All monies collected will be given to the Herndon family in honor of their son.
Fantasy

Fantasy Light Show continues through New Year’s Eve

(December 30, 2020 Issue)

If you think you have seen the Fantasy Christmas Light Show, you need to rethink that. “After Christmas, the light show was reprogrammed to Back the Blue in Kings Mountain,” according to Mayor Neisler. “We reprogrammed the whole show and added the City of Kings Mountain Logo and songs like, “God Bless the USA,” Neisler said. “There’s a little something in there for everyone, including Thunderstruck by AC/DC.” Kings Mountain’s Fantasy Light show will continue until New Year’s Eve, when the display will count down to midnight, welcoming in 2021.
 
Bolin
Kelly Bolin (left) directs guests to arts and crafts at Bolin Daycare’s 50th birthday celebration last Saturday. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Bolin’s Daycare
50th birthday

(January 30, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Bolin’s Daycare celebrated its 50th birthday the last Saturday before Christmas. Their anniversary should have been held in September, but with COVID-19, things got pushed back. Jeff and Kelly Bolin celebrated the daycare’s birthday party outdoors in the parking lot and on the grounds of their daycare.
Tables were filled with gift bags packed with goodies for the first 50 guests. There were games, crafts, and activities for the entire family. Some folks just came by to reminisce and take a walk down memory lane.
Photo books were placed on tables, with images of young children, now grown, spanning a half century. Games of life-size Jenga, corn hole, and a cake walk kept kids and their parents busy. Crafts filled tables as young and old gathered to create items to take home. Cupcakes and refreshments filled tables.
Santa even dropped by for a quick visit before Christmas. Kids climbed into Santa’s lap to share their Christmas wishes with Santa, wide-eyed in awe and wonder.
Students, now parents, bring their children and grandchildren to Bolin’s Daycare. One grandmother shared that her grandson had terrible separation anxiety and could not stand to be away from his immediate
family. “If someone he did not know looked at him, he would just scream. We brought him to Bolin’s and he absolutely loves it here. We often leave and he never even realizes we are gone. It is a huge success for him,” she said.
"Daycare is a lot more than just babysitting," said Kelly. "Bolin's Daycare is very structured with a focus on preparing children for Kindergarten. Everything we do, from birth to age five prepares them for that."
   In 1970, Barbara Ellen Bolin and her husband, Herman, lived two blocks away at 705 Ramseur Street. They had just completed construction of a new home on Cansler Street and decided to open a daycare in their basement. They had three children: Cindy, David, and Jeff. Jeff was just a year old.
Eventually, the Bolin's business outgrew their space, so they moved the daycare back to their house on Ramseur Street. In 1978, the Bolin’s bought the current property across from North School and built a facility that can accommodate 98 students. The 74 Bypass took their property, and they needed a new location. Now Jeff and Kelly own the daycare.
Bolin’s Daycare is a special place, as evidenced by all who gathered to share this milestone with the Bolin family this last Saturday before Christmas. The Bolin’s love traditions and have kept them going for 50 years. “Every Friday, children visit the office and get a piece of candy and Friday is also Hot Dog and Chili Day,” Jeff said. When asked the secret to their chili, he replied, "It is so simple…" Kelly quickly interrupted, saying, "The chili recipe is a highly classified secret," and they both laugh.

KM featured on “Life in the Carolinas” Christmas special

(December 30, 2020 Issue)

Carl White paid a visit to Kings Mountain, December 9th, to film a segment for his annual Big Holiday Social 2020 Christmas Special. The show, which also featured other towns such as Forest City and Wilkesboro, aired Saturday, December 19th, on WJZY Fox 46 and other stations throughout NC and SC.
Carl interviewed Grady Costner's Granddaughter, Amelia Hedtke, Mayor Scott Neisler, Jeff Ward, Christy Conner and Brandon and Annie Bolin.
The segment centered around the story of Grady and Katie Costner and their lights in Patriots Park (Why Grady created the lights and how they found a home in Patriots Park) and the Mayor's Fantasy Light Show on Railroad Avenue.
To see the show https://youtu.be/SylUDOmQkD0.
Carl White’s Life In The Carolinas is an Emmy nominated and award winning syndicated TV show that features the great people and places of the Carolinas. Over the past several years, Executive Producer and Host Carl White has visited much of the Carolinas and has gathered and shared some amazing stories.
The show focuses on the inspiring and positive things that people do. They visit individuals and communities that have pulled together to accomplish extraordinary things. They have seen the power of one person’s vision that has become the passion of many and improved the lives of even more.
The power of a well told story is amazing and has the potential of doing a lot of good.  It is this idea that drives the creativity of our programming.
Carl says, “There are few things in life that a person can do that compares to celebrating the lives of others. Looking for the good and advancement in a journey makes life a bit better and gives hope for a brighter tomorrow for all of us.  We love looking at our history, our today and our future, as they are all part of our reality.”
Map
Catawa Village diagram. See larger image inside.

City Council continues decision on rezoning for Catawba Village

(December 30, 2020 Issue)

During an unusual meeting on Friday, December 18 at 5 pm, city council continued the public hearing held during the Regularly scheduled meeting from December 15, to consider a request of Let’s Roll Holdings, LLC. At question was to rezone property consisting of approximately 82.73 acres on Dixon School Road, Parcel #11598, Map 4, Block 1, Lot 10, from R-20 to Conditional District R6-PUD (Planned Unit Development). The planned name for the development is Catawba Village.
In the prior meeting held the Tuesday before, it was determined that the application was not complete, specifically Article 14.1a, items 4, 5, and 6, so that public hearing was continued to Friday.
Of concern to Director of Community & Economic Development Stuart Gilbert, was that the amended application contained a run-on sentence in Exhibit B, paragraph 2 with regard to the building material to be used in Phase 1 that contains no more than 200 multi-family apartment units.
Mayor Neisler invited the public to speak in favor of the project and two people spoke. Leonard Fletcher, an engineer in Shelby spoke first. He explained he wouldn’t normally speak regarding this but that he had received a phone call implying that Mr. Wallace Cheves was a liar and a cheat.
“I can only say that I’ve known him for about the last 10-years. He has paid me every month and he has done everything he said he would do. There were a lot of things he (Cheves) didn’t say (in the city council meeting) because he didn’t know. He is not in that part of the development.”
 “I’ve probably designed a hundred developments in the last 40-years and I’ve tried one of my own. I just know that with the kind of requirements that the staff has put on the development, you know, brick, stone, the houses are going to cost $300,000 to $400,000 at a minimum. And apartments are going to rent for probably $1,500. I just wanted to get it straight,” Fletcher said.
“He is not going to have a choice but to build you a legacy. It will be the nicest place in Shelby or Kings Mountain.”
Also speaking in favor was Tommy Register, who is also an engineer working for Wallace Cheves. “This is a multi-family project. Low-rent is not what it is intended to be. These are high quality luxury apartments. There are no facilities like this for someone to move and    live  until   they can build a house somewhere locally,” he said.
“This project is not just for casino workers. It could be for young professionals working in Charlotte, Gastonia, or Greenville. With the housing you have now, there is a whole market sector that is missing. This housing can also be used for young professionals coming to the area.”
Mayor Neisler then invited citizens who wished to speak against. Dale Greene was the first of seven to speak against the rezoning. In response to a Facebook conversation from the night before, Greene commented that the Mayor had implied the rent for the multi-family housing units would be between $700 - $800. He urged city council to table the item.
“Tonight’s vote is going to demonstrate who is all-in with the casino,” Greene said. “You need to sit back and evaluate this, because (we are meeting on a) Friday at 5 pm. My fear is that we will be looking at subsidized housing again. I’m going to remind you we have 44.2% rental properties in Kings Mountain. That’s astounding. In fact, that’s appalling!”
“I am really concerned about the transparency of this council. You are my representatives and I feel like I have no representation. I hope you will, at least, table this matter. Do the right thing and open this thing up and let’s talk about it further. Let’s have the developer come in with a good consistent plan about what he’s going to do, how many units, how many acres it is going to cover, and what the rentals are going to be,” he said.
“If you don’t think this is being rushed, then you are sadly mistaken. I told you a long time ago that corruption’s going to roll over this town like a steamroller. Well, it’s started. Vote to table this or vote it down,” he concluded.
Second to speak was Mike Hinson, “I’m not a full-fledged citizen of Kings Mountain, but this is affecting my area. There’s a lot of people in my community that’s against this and they feel like they have no voice. I’m here to vote against it. There’s not a lot of information about what these apartments are going to look like or what they are being built out of. I think the casino is bad enough, let alone what kind of issues it is going to bring with it,” Hinson said.
“I hope each of you will search your heart tonight and think if it was going in your neighborhood or back yard, how would you feel about it, and what you would do.”
Bobby Maner took the podium next. “I had a conversation with the Mayor this morning after something he posted on Facebook yesterday. He alluded to the term Market Based Housing. There is no such thing in the real estate market.”
“When using rents of $700 - $800, that is on the bottom end of your rental market for, basically, mill housing. If you want a nice apartment somewhere in Gastonia or Charlotte, you are going to pay considerably more than that,” he said.
Maner brought up several good points, asking if the city wanted to provide dormitory housing for the casino, if public money would be involved, will the project be subsidized in any way, and what could be done if the developer sold it after completion, could it be turned into Section 8 housing. “There is nothing you can do about that. Nothing,” he said.
Maner also pointed out that a similar situation had occurred across from the hospital. “Fields Young, Inc. built one of the finest units in this town. When his estate sold, the property became what it is now. Someone died in a shooting there last year.”
He went on to say, “Putting low cost, low rent housing on that property will doom any other development that could potentially go on that side of the interstate. Don’t take my word for it. You ask developers all over the state and the county. You put this in an area, it hurts things that go in around it. It will cost the city far more than whatever money it gets out of it in utilities and taxes. So, stop it or table it, please.”
Billy Spencer approached his argument against in a different way. At 49, he grew-up and continues to live in the Dixon Community. “I have seen change,” he said, “but this is just drastic. I didn’t know about it until today. Consider those who make a home there and have lived there for their whole life. This is a major thing, and I would love to have you knock it down.”
Three citizens, Dina Spencer, Rick Spencer, and Janet Kulick shared their concerns about Wallace Cheves and his investor group, along with vague plans for the surrounding area nearby.
After the citizen comment portion  of the meeting ended, city council discussed the importance of Conditional District zoning. Attorney Corry explained, “A Conditional District is legislative, and those conditions become part of the vote and are absolute. The developer must follow those conditions and they are site specific. In other words, those conditions are tied to the land, even if the land changes ownership.”
He added, “Fortunately, these conditions are so tight, it may contain the most conditions I’ve ever seen with  a conditional district. It’s about as good as you can get, I think.”
Councilmen West, Hawkins, and Allen expressed their desire not to rush to a decision. Councilman West said, “Mr. Mayor, I think we are acting a little hastily. We are in a position where we can pick and choose. I think we have to be really careful about what we do down there (near the casino). I agree with Mr. Hinson and Billy. We have to be concerned about those folks, as well.  I don’t think we need to be in a hurry about anything. We need to make sure this is not only good for us, but also for the folks who live down there.”
City Council voted unanimously to close the public hearing, but then realized that in order to continue the discussion they should reconsider the previous motion, which they did and was approved.                                                 
Councilman Miller then made the motion to reverse their previous action of closing the public hearing, and then to continue the public hearing to January 26, 2021 at 6 pm. The vote was unanimous, and the meeting was adjourned.
Atrium
Atrium Health - Kings Mountain

Atrium KM to get
Moderna vaccine

(December 30, 2020 Issue)


Three Atrium Health facilities located in rural areas of North Carolina are prioritized to be among the first to receive the Moderna vaccine including: Atrium Health Stanly, Atrium Health Kings Mountain and Atrium Health Anson.
Atrium Health was among the first in the Southeast region to receive the first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization of the vaccine. With this shipment of the new vaccine from Moderna, frontline healthcare employees who work at one of Atrium Health’s integrated network of hospitals outside of the Charlotte area will now have convenient access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
The main difference in the Moderna vaccine is that it is able to be kept in a standard freezer between -25  to -15 degrees Celsius, (-13 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit), making it an ideal vaccine to use at healthcare facilities without access to an ultra-cold freezer. Once removed from the freezer, the vaccine is viable for 30 days. To ensure that every dose of the vaccine is quickly and effectively distributed, Atrium Health has developed a process that allows for ease of scheduling and convenient access to receive the vaccine.
Atrium Health received an initial shipment of 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has been clinically proven to be safe and 94.1% effective. This supply will be used to vaccinate thousands Atrium Health’s frontline healthcare workers, working in high-priority areas where they are at a higher risk of exposure, to receive the vaccine at a faster pace.
Atrium Health is following recommendations from the CDC and the state to prioritize distribution.
The emergence of a second vaccine also brings the opportunity to have the general public vaccinated sooner. Current projections indicate those vaccinations will begin taking place in Spring of 2021. Atrium Health is also scheduled to participate in a clinical trial with a third possible vaccine candidate, with those trials beginning in late December.
The side effects of Moderna’s vaccine include soreness at the injection site and are similar to the side effects from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is given in two doses, separated by 28 days. There are approximately 10 doses per vial. The FDA reviewed safety and efficacy data of this vaccine from an ongoing phase 3 trial in approximately 30,000 participants ages 18 and above.
This second vaccine follows a historic week at Atrium Health, after being among the first in the country to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the first in the state to administer it to Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director of Infection Prevention at Atrium Health. Following an initial diverse group of teammates from across Atrium Health receiving the vaccine on Monday, December 14, Atrium Health quickly vaccinated a group of teammates who will be administering the vaccine across the system. In just one week, Atrium Health has been able to vaccinate more than 1,500 teammates with their initial dose. Additionally, more than 5,300 are scheduled for their first vaccine and more than 5,300 scheduled for their second vaccine dose.
As vaccinations are beginning across the country, medical experts at Atrium Health caution against  complacency in preventing spread of the virus. It remains essential that everyone wear a mask when they are outside of their home and around others, that social distance of six feet be maintained at all times and to wash hands frequently. These methods will continue to be the best, first line of defense against the spread of COVID-19 until sufficient numbers of the population, as a whole, has been vaccinated.
Atrium Health also opened a voluntary vaccine research registry, which allows people to learn more about vaccine research and development. People who take part in the registry may be invited to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trials in the future and will be provided with convenient access to trials should they be interested. Participating in clinical trials is a way for people to receive potentially lifesaving medications before they become FDA available. Clinical trials are crucial for advancing research and bringing new vaccines to the general public.
   As a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education, and compassionate patient care at hundreds of care locations throughout the Carolinas and Georgia, Atrium Health is bringing the most advanced therapies to patients and anticipates treatment trials it is running will guide physicians closer to identifying additional safe and effective treatments. To date, Atrium Health has conducted 10 clinical trials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine approved

By Loretta Cozart

The FDA approved the Phizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 10 and the rollout should begin soon, according to the Department of Defense. So what comes next?
In a press release issued on Dec. 11, the US Food and Drug Administration informed Phizer that it will rapidly work toward finalization and issuance of an emergency use authorization. Then the vaccine  goes to the CDC for approval.
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, said the US would work with Pfizer to get the vaccine shipped out, so that it could be administered to the most vulnerable people by Monday or Tuesday. In our area, Atrium Health Charlotte will distribute the vaccine.
Hospitals in NC to receive the vaccine include:
• Bladen Healthcare LLC (Bladen County Hospital)
• Caldwell Memorial Hospital
• CarolinaEast Medical Center
• Catawba Valley Medical Center
• Cumberland County Hospital System Inc (Cape Fear Valley Health System)
• Duke University Health System
• Henderson County Hospital Corporation (Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital)
• Hoke Healthcare LLC (Hoke Hospital)
• The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority (CMC Enterprise) - Atrium Health
• University of North Carolina Shared Services Agreement
• Wake Forest Baptist Health
NC DHHS released their vaccination rollout plan in October. First to receive the vaccine, in Phase 1a, will be every health care worker at high risk for exposure to COVID-19—doctors, nurses, and all who interact and care for patients with COVID-19, including those who clean areas used by patients, and those giving vaccines to these workers.
Additionally, long-Term Care staff and residents— people in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family, and group homes are included in this phase.
Second to receive the vaccine, in Phase 1b, will be adults with two or more chronic conditions that put them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC, including conditions like cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease and Type 2 diabetes, among others.
In that same phase, adults at high risk of exposure including essential frontline workers (police, food processing, teachers), health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters, migrant, and fishery housing with 2+ chronic conditions.
Phase 2 immunizes Essential frontline workers, health care workers, and those living in prisons, homeless shelters, or migrant and fishery housing, adults 65+, and adults under 65 with one chronic condition that puts them at risk of severe illness as defined by the CDC.
In Phase 3, the vaccine will be made available to college and university students, K-12 students when there is an approved vaccine for children, and Those employed in jobs that are critical to society and at lower risk of exposure.
Phase 4 makes the vaccine available to everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination.
Some people may have temporary reactions after being vaccinated, such as swelling from the injection,  tiredness or feeling off for a day or two, according to NCDHHS.
According to the state’s Interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Executive Summary released on Oct. 16, “North Carolina is exploring the use of the federally supported web-based Vaccine Administration Management System application as well as an alternative end to end system to support data collection and tracking efforts. These systems will allow us to track doses administered and support second dose reminders via these data collection systems and provider systems as well as the vaccine administration cards provided at the time of administration.”
Herndon
Officer Tyler Herndon

Two communities mourn:
Officer Tyler Herndon
killed in the line of duty

(December 16, 2020 Issue)

On Friday, Officer Tyler Avery Herndon of Mount Holly Police Department was shot and killed while responding to a break-in at a car wash at 313 Beatty Drive at 3:30 am.
A resident of Kings Mountain, Herndon graduated Kings Mountain High School and UNC Charlotte majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. He would have celebrated his 26th birthday last Sunday.
Authorities said Joshua Funk, 24, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder and is now in custody at the Cleveland County Detention Center without bond.
While responding to a break-in at the car wash, police officers encountered an armed suspect. Shots were fired between officers and the suspect and Officer Herndon was hit. He was rushed to CaroMont Regional Medical Center where he later died.
In an afternoon press conference, Mount Holly Police Chief Don Roper said, “We are hurting, our department is hurting, our family his hurting, but we will rely on each other to get through this. The law enforcement community turned out today to support a brother, us and the community."
"I've  been  around  for a long time and one of the things I can do is read potential in young police officers, and Tyler had that potential." he said. Chief Roper described Herndon as a selfless man who routinely stood up for what was right.
Chief Roper said, “Society lost a good man today. You can tell he was raised well. His parents should be recognized for this. They raised a fine young man. He is the guy who liked to be around, he liked to be involved. He was quiet, but he would join in and you liked to be around him.” His parents are Mark and Debbie Phillips Herndon of Kings Mountain. His twin sister is Lindsey Herndon. His girlfriend is Holly Weldon.
When asked why he hired Herndon, Chief Roper said, “He had personality, bearing, and the work ethic that was right for our community. He was with us just less than two years.”
This was Herndon’s first position as a police officer, and he is Mount Holly’s first officer lost in the line of duty.
Late Friday, Officer Herndon was brought home to Kings Mountain, escorted by police officers from departments across the region. The procession was several miles long, driving southbound on I-85. Drivers pulled off the road to allow the fallen officer to pass as he was taken home to Kings Mountain. Fire departments displayed flags at overpasses, and the procession was covered live by local television stations.
Over the weekend, Mt. Holly businesses displayed blue lights to support Herndon and the Mount Holly Police Department.
On Sunday, December 13, the day what would have been Henderson’s 26th birthday, two vigils were held in honor of him. A candlelight vigil took place 5:30 pm at Mount Holly Municipal Complex. Another celebration of life vigil was held on Sunday at 6:30 pm in Kings Mountain at the Patriots Park Amphitheater where 500 – 700 guests came to mourn and support Tyler’s family.
Herndon lay in state Tuesday December 15,  from 10 am until 1 pm at First Baptist Church in Kings Mountain. His funeral was held at 2 pm with Rev. Dr. Steve Taylor and Rev. Dr. John Sloan officiating. He was laid to rest at Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery.
Carriageride
Carriage rides continue through Saturday. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Home for Christmas continues in Kings Mountain

(December 16, 2020 Issue)

By Christy Conner

The sights and sounds of Christmas continue in Downtown Kings Mountain as Christmas lights brighten the sky and the sounds of your favorite Christmas tunes fill the air.
Bring the kids downtown to meet Santa on Wednesday and Saturday evenings this week. The city added a giant Snow Globe, allowing children to see and talk to Santa while maintaining social distancing. While it is not the traditional sitting on Santa’s lap photo opportunity, kids can still get close and talk with Santa in a safe and protected way.
Costner’s Christmas Lights Extravaganza, a wonderful display of Christmas lights formerly owned by Grady and Katie Costner, continues to greet visitors to Patriots Park. Visitors are encouraged to stay on the path through the park to stroll through this magical wonderland of lights while enjoying traditional Christmas tunes from Liberty Falls Amphitheatre.
The Mayor’s Downtown Christmas Fantasy Light Show synchronized to music from Let it Snow Radio 87.9 FM, can be viewed by strolling down Railroad Avenue or by parking on South Battleground Avenue. These special lights will be available for viewing throughout the Christmas season.
Need a special gift for that special someone for Christmas? December 19 marks the last day of the Artisan Pop-Up Market. Local craft vendors will be on hand once more selling their hand-crafted wares. Our downtown businesses have extended shopping hours as well.
Other surprises await you at the Kings Mountain  Home for Christmas Celebration. Dress warmly and remember your mask.

Shop local for Christmas

By Loretta Cozart

With Christmas less than ten days away, many are scrambling for those last minute gifts. Many Kings Mountain merchants offer unique gifts for that special someone on your Christmas list. Downtown Kings Mountain’s Main Street Program is incentivizing your next shopping trip. If you spend $25 downtown between now and midnight December 24, you can be entered to win $250 in Main Street Bucks Just text a photo of your receipt to 704-734-8549. Winner will be notified on Dec. 28.
 If you have not shopped in downtown in a while, check out the shops and make a day of it. With the new restaurants, you have many options from which to choose for lunch. Kick-off your day at Revolution Brewhouse for a cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich to fuel your day of shopping.
Downtown has many boutique shops that offer one-of-a-kind gifts. Whether you need unique engraved gifts, from cutting boards to key fobs, Mountain Holiday has you covered. The shop also sells a wide variety of collectibles, gifts, seasonal, and holiday decorations. They also carry a line of men’s grooming products and tools that make shaving an experience… and less of a chore. Stop in to listen to their Corinthian Bells; that alone will put you in the holiday spirit.
Everyone wants gifts from Dellinger’s Jewel Shop. Kings Mountain’s hometown jeweler has served the needs of generations of families as their trusted jeweler for brilliant diamonds, beautiful
fine jewelry, elegant watches,  treasured gifts, custom made styles and expert jewelry repairs.
Just down the block is Uncommon Artisans, a shop that carries an eclectic range of handmade items: candles, home goods, jewelry... items for body and mind. The feature curated permanent artists and rotating artists, bringing unique gifts for that hard to buy individual on your list.
For the crafty person, consider Carolina Cotton Company, home to a diverse selection of premium quality fabrics in a wide range of colors and prints. They have novelty fabrics, sports teams, floral and landscapes, tribal prints, or bold contemporary designs? There is something there that will inspire creativity. Their fabric is cut with rotary cutters to prevent ripping or tearing and carefully packaged.
If you are looking for alternative ways to garden, check out Inorganics Plus. If hydroponics interest you, stop by and chat. Their company is based on the belief that their customers’ needs are the grassroots of their business and of the utmost importance. If you would like to try your hand an organic gardening, or you know someone who does, be sure to stop in.
If you are in the need of a manicure, pedicure, or both, Elle & Co. provides salon and spa services, including their lash lounge. Take a moment to pamper yourself and relax.
Jack & Georgia serves the fashion needs of teen girls and young women in the Kings Mountain area. Whether you daughter, niece, or granddaughter are hard to shop for, especially if they enjoy trendy fashions, you are sure to find a gift to make them smile. They carry accessories, dresses, outerwear, pants, sets, shoes, and a variety of other items.
Uptown Girl Boutique carries fashion items for the slightly older, yet fashion conscious shopper. Uptown Girl Boutique provides upscale fashion that you can wear anywhere. They carry clothing including pants, tops, dresses, outerwear, sets, tops, and accessories for petite to curvy women.
   Trackside Traders offers a bit of everything, from furniture, to clothing and accessories. Their newest addition is their ladies clothing boutique. They feature a variety of stylish clothing in sizes from XS to 3x. They look for unique clothes and accessories and strive to have new items arriving each week. While there, be sure to step next door for tasty beverage.
And remember those smaller boutiques setup at Kings Mountain Historical Museum and Southern Arts Society. If you are looking for unique art, items to brighten every room in your home, or a book for local history lovers, these are the places to shop. A portion of your purchase supports the mission of each of these organizations.
 If the family wants new furniture for the holidays, be sure to visit Farmer’s Furniture to decorate any room in your home, setup a home office, or purchase outdoor furniture or lawn equipment. These folks are close by and have a variety of items to meet your needs.
Downtown is home to two hardware stores that have supplies for whatever DIY or holiday project you might tackle: Bridges Hardware and Hometown Hardware. Both have a plethora of tools and workwear that make great gifts. And if you need any help with your project, just stop in and ask the experts to get your project done right.
Family Dollar is on the edge of downtown, but they have a variety of items including last minute gifts,  cosmetic and gift sets, toys, wrapping paper, household needs, small electronics, groceries, and snacks. They are conveniently on your way and are budget friendly.
If you know someone who enjoys older items, not necessarily antiques, but items that are a flash to the past, visit Cash Pro Pawn and Cleveland Music, Kings Mountain Thrift, or 2nd Appreciation. All have a variety of items to make that special someone on your list smile this Christmas.
While downtown, be sure to check out the variety of dining options. We have two new restaurants, 133 West and Tara Mia. But tried and true options are available also. If you have not eaten downtown lately, you may be surprised by the choices you now have
Whether you chose to grab a pizza at Papa Johns or Domino’s or prefer to dine-in at 238 Cherokee Grill, Mountain View, Sub Factory, Thai Hut Restaurant, or Mountain View, you cannot go wrong. If you time your meal right, you can enjoy the lights downtown and in Patriots Park for Christmas.
Shopping local can save you time, gas, and money. And it helps the community, your friends, your neighbors, and your family. In fact, 62% of U.S. small businesses reported that they need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 in order to stay in business, as reported in Amex-commissioned 2020 Small Business Recovery Research poll. When you Shop Small this holiday season – and all year long – you can help create a big impact and help the community in the big way.
Revolutionbrewhouse
Revolution Brewhouse has expanded its offerings to include a full-service bar and live entertainment. Photo Loretta Cozart

Huggins welcomes you
to Revolution Brewhouse

(December 16, 2020 Issue)

Michel Pilar Huggins is the new proprietor at Revolution Bredawhouse Coffee Shop at 211 S. Battleground Avenue, an artisanal coffee house/pub/lounge/cafe in Kings Mountain featuring craft coffee cocktails, craft beer and wine selections.
When the shop first opened, Huggins thought she would only offer coffee and coffee cocktails but soon realized she needed to expand her offerings to make the business more profitable. “When I added a full bar, I tripled sales. Then we added entertainment and that has helped a lot too.”
On Friday and Saturday, Revolution Brewhouse offers live music. Musician Scott Sanders stopped by to order a coffee and expressed his appreciation to local venues, ”Places like 
this help me a lot. I offer a service and the more opportunities I have to play in town gives me the opportunity to earn a living locally. In the last week, I have played here at Revolution Brewhouse, Trackside Traders, the Country Club, and the American Legion. We have a lot going on now but need to get the word out that local music is available in town.”
Huggins said, “We offer live music on Friday and Saturday nights. On Monday, we have Open Mic Night and that is very popular. Folks bring their own instrument and play. And on Wednesday, we have Karaoke Night with DJ Tommy Tonka. Both of those are very popular. Every week, more and more people show up.”
Like most other businesses, COVID-19 has impacted the business. “We had to cancel our New Year’s Eve Party, because businesses have to close at 10 am under the Governor’s Executive Order. We cannot serve any alcohol past 9 pm. Even so, folks usually stay around until we close at 10 pm.”
With the governor’s executive order, Huggins plans to open at from 7 am to 10 pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The business will be open from 7 am to 6 pm Tuesday and Thursday and is closed Sunday.
“I welcome folks to drop by and say hello. We offer a wide variety of coffee and also have a full-service bar,” she said. “Local artists display their work here and folks come by to see that. Drop by and check out our menu, grab a coffee, and shop. If you are looking for a fun evening on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, come on by.”
 
Roy cooper 2
Governor Roy Cooper

North Carolina to begin Modified Stay at Home Order to slow COVID-19 spread

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina will begin a Modified Stay at Home Order after a rapid increase in North Carolina’s key COVID-19 trends. The Order requires people to stay at home between 10 pm and 5 am and takes effect Friday, December 11 and will be in place until at least January 8, 2021.
   “We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place – including a statewide mask requirement. With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down,” Governor Cooper said. “Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays. It’s also a reminder that we must be vigilant the rest of the day – wearing a face mask when we are with people we don’t live with, keeping a safe distance from others and washing our hands a lot.”
   The Order requires restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, personal care businesses and more to close at 10 pm. Travel to and from work; to obtain food, medical care, fuel or social services; or to take care of a family member is exempted. Read more in the Frequently Asked Questions document.
   In the past week, North Carolina’s case count has broken single-day records on three separate days, including crossing more than 6,000 cases per day on two of those days. Just a month ago, cases were under 3,000 per day. In recent days, the percent of tests returning positive has increased to more than 10%.
   Governor Cooper was clear that further action would be taken to slow the spread of the virus if trends do not improve. This could require further limiting of restaurant dining, indoor entertainment or shopping and retail capacity restrictions, among other safety protocols.
   Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System map. The number of red counties (critical community spread) has more than doubled since November 23, up to 48 red counties from 20 red counties. There are now 34 orange counties (substantial community spread), as compared to 42 orange counties from the previous report. With today’s report, more than 80% of the state’s counties fall into the red or orange tier. Read the update to see where each county stands and how the system was designed.
   “Your actions can keep people from getting sick, save lives, and make sure our hospitals can care for people whether it’s for a heart attack or a car accident or COVID-19. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community now,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
   Dr. Cohen also provided an update on North Carolina’s data and trends.
  • Trajectory in COVID-Like Illness (CLI) Surveillance Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID-like illness is increasing.
  • Trajectory of Confirmed Cases Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of cases is increasing.
  • Trajectory in Percent of Tests Returning Positive Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing.
  • Trajectory in Hospitalizations Over 14 Days
North Carolina’s trajectory of hospitalizations is increasing.
In addition to these metrics, the state continues building capacity to adequately respond to an increase in virus spread in testing, tracing and prevention.
  • Testing
Testing capacity is high, surpassing 50,000 tests per day for much of the past week. 
  • Tracing Capability
The state is continuing to hire contact tracers to bolster the efforts of local health departments.
There have been more than 500,000 downloads of the exposure notification app, SlowCOVIDNC.
Personal Protective Equipment
North Carolina’s personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies are stable.

Read Executive Order 181.
 
Kmseal

City receives $200,000
from KM ABC Board

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

During the November 24 city council meeting, Mayor Scott Neisler announced that Kings Mountain’s ABC Board awarded the city a check for $200,000, which came from a surplus in the ABC board’s funds. “These funds allow us to do what we really want to do,” Neisler said.
 In the Consent Agenda, city council unanimously approved budget amendments that included $90,000 for an outdoor video screen to be installed in Patriots Park and $85,000 for Library window restoration and plaster repair. A restricted contribution from the ABC Board will be utilized to pay for these improvements.
An additional $15,000 was used to fund Feed the Children this year, which provides $75,000 in non-perishable food items to area families in need during the Christmas season.
Other items in the consent agenda included:
$40,000 to budget Grant Funds for YMCA Wifi ($15,000) and Patriots Park Wifi ($25,000). These funds are restricted specifically for these projects. Council approval is required because it increases the General Fund.
$9,500 to budget funds received and to budget a capital expenditure for an ATV. The funds are a restricted contribution from the ABC Board to be utilized specifically by the Police Department to purchase an ATV/side by side.
City council also adopted a Resolution clarifying the role of the Planning and Zoning Board in deliberations on zoning text amendments, rezoning requests, and zoning map amendments. This action eliminates the public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Board for the aforementioned types of cases and require only one public hearing before City Council.
Coucil also approved a Downtown Kings Mountain Façade  Grant  Application 
$200,000 the amount of $5,000 for 100 E. King Street, which is owned by Kiamesha Young, for the purpose of façade repairs, rehabilitation, and renovations.
Six public hearings were scheduled for December 15 at 6 pm at City Hall:
•  to consider the approval of a Mural Ordinance for the Kings Mountain Downtown Protection, Preservation & Enhancement District (KMDPPE).
• to consider a text amendment to the Zoning Table of Permitted Uses, and Definitions pertaining to Existing “Single Family Dwellings” in the Neighborhood Business (NB) Zoning District.
• for an amendment to the Incentive Agreement for Benestar Brands.
• to consider a Utility Incentive Agreement with Benestar Brands.
• to consider a request from Let’s Roll Holdings, LLC to rezone property consisting of approximately 82.73 acres on Dixon School Road and being further described as a portion of Parcel #11598, Map 4-39, Block 1, Lot 10, from R-20 (Residential) to Conditional Use R6-PUD (Planned Unit Development) – Case No. Z-1-9-2020.
• to consider a request from E5 Holdings, LLC to rezone property consisting of approximately 17.11 acres on Dixon School Road and being further described as Parcel #63027, Map 4-41, Block 1, Lot 16, from HI (Heavy Industrial) to GB (General Business) – Case No. Z-3-10-20.
   City council pproved the following appointments and reappointments to the Boards and      Commissions listed below:
 Board of Adjustment
• Jim Potter – reappointed for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
• Bill McMurray – reappointed for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
Planning & Zoning Board
• Ron Humphries – reappointed for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
• Ronnie Franks – reappointed for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
• Clifton Bouldin – initial appointment for a 3-year term expiring on 12/31/2023.
• Maury Williams – extend temporary appointment for six months in order to assist with the Comprehensive Plan and UDO – term to expire 6/30/2021.
 Mayor Neisler addressed the topic of term limits in response to Tim Greene’s request during last month’s city council meeting. The mayor reached out to League of Municipalities and received a reply stating, “In NC, enacting term limits would not withstand a constitutional challenge. This is because NC Constitution sets forth the requirements for who can run for office and that list of requirements is exclusive. Any additional qualifications, such as term limits, would be deemed unconstitutional.”
City attorney Mickey Corry agreed saying, “Some years back there was a question about creating term limits for the council. The answer then, and the answer now, is that it is not lawful in our state.”
During the citizen recognition, Mayor Neisler said to Greene, “I hope these responses clarify this for you.’ In response, Greene told council, “It (the response) clarifies but doesn’t satisfy. If Tim Moore, one of the most powerful Republicans in the state, can get it to where the School Board is partisan, then he can change the (state) constitution, too, adding amendments to reflect term limits.”
“My goal is transparency. There are several of us who owe Chip Sloan an apology,” Greene said with regard to the new Brunch Bill which allows alcohol to be served at 10 am on Sunday that was enacted by city council during the October meeting. “We should have called him, letting him know about the 10 am issue for ABC. We have to restore the trust in the citizens of this community, the state of NC, and the federal government.”
 Two public hearings were held during the city council meeting. Both cases were approved by the Planning and Zoning Board.
City council approved a request from Matt Bailey and Patricia C. Queen to rezone property located on North Cansler Street containing .366 acres, also identified as Parcel #8540, Map KM 20, Block 7, Lot 23 from RS-6 Page 64 Page 66 Page 67 Page 93 Page 107 Residential to R-6 Residential – Case No. Z-1-10-20.
The second request, made by Barry & Sherry Jenkins, was approved to rezone property located at 145 Yarbro Road containing 9.07 acres, also identified as Parcel #10722, Map 4-22, Block 1, Lot 25 from R-10 Residential to R-20 Residential – Case No. Z-2-10-20.
As a result of both properties being annexed, along with prior annexations, council also approved the motion to adopt Resolutions indicating the Intent of the City Council to consider the redrawing of Ward lines for placement of annexed properties into the existing 5 wards and setting the date of Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 6 pm for a Public Hearing to consider the adoption of Ordinances amending the City Charter assigning the annexed properties.
According to City Attorney Corry, “About 19 parcels, 15 in Cleveland County and 4 in Gaston County, that have been rezoned but have not been assigned to a ward, so council needs to address this.”
In another action, Attorney Corry explained that when City of Kings Mountain annexed property that is now owned by E5 Holdings, the city is required to assume some of the debt of Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department, according to NC General Statutes. Law requires that the amount be paid annually, but the total amount owed is $1,027.41. Council and Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department agreed to allow payment in one lump sum.
City council also authorized the mayor to execute a variance at 105 Hinson lane on Moss Lake. The lake commission recommended the variance.
Two properties on N. Cansler Street were approved by council for demolition: 113 N. Cansler Street (Parcel #6788) and the house next door (Parcel #6787) because they are not fit for habitation. Council’s vote was unanimous.
Council also approved revisions to the Community Appearance Standards Code Ordinance allowing it to now be enforced by the Codes Department instead of Zoning. In addition, Codes Director Clint Houser offered to share a list of homes he is reviewing to city council.
Streetscape
KM’s Streetscape Plan diagram.

City of KM presents
Streetscape plan 

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

During the November City Council Meeting, Assistant City Manager Nick Hendricks announced he had met with Main Street’s Board of Directors to get their input on the updated Streetscape Project presented by N-Focus.
“About 80 percent of the Main Street Board was there, and they voted 100 percent on what is planned. We will continue to engage them. If you approve, we’ll put the plan to a RFP process and budget the numbers. We hope to begin construction and release bids sometime in March 2021, on schedule,” Hendricks said.
Richard Flowe of N-Focus reviewed the plan with council. The plan is designed to spur infill and development downtown. “Areas near downtown, including Piedmont at Mountain Street, are 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 CPTED, or 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 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.
In addition, he recommended bringing 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. Phase II of the Streetscape Plan is slated to begin in March 2022.
Benstar

Benestar Brands purchases property 

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

On November 4, Benestar Brands purchased two properties in Kings Mountain. The first property on Quality Lane is 5.648 acres and was purchased by Chippy Acquisitions in care of Evans Food Group, doing business as Benestar Brands. The excise tax paid on the property was $790, indicating the property is valued at $395,000. (QUALITY LN KINGS MTN BK 1786 PG 1183).
The same day, a second parcel designated at Tract 3 consisting of 14.779 acres was purchased on Industrial Drive and an excise tax of $1,626 was paid. That equates to a purchase price of $843,000.
(TCT 3, 14.779 ACS PL BK 38 PG 132).
   In October, Benestar Brands announced they had chosen Kings Mountain for their newest production facility which will create 129 jobs in Cleveland County. The newest project in North Carolina will provide easier access to the fast-growing company’s customer base and the nation’s east coast market. This new facility will support Benestar Brands’ expansion plans into new snack categories.
Benestar Brans intends to produce Chica’s Corn Chips, a better-for-you, high-quality snack. According to FoodBev Media, the Kings Mountain facility will give Benestar Brands easier access to  the nation’s east coast market and is expected to grow NC’s Gross Domestic Product by $431 million over the grant’s 12-year term.
The company’s 129 new jobs in Kings Mountain will include managerial, operational, maintenance, warehouse and office staff. The average annual salary for all new positions is $43,021, creating a payroll impact of more than $5.5 million per year. Cleveland County’s overall average annual wage is $40,019.
Artisanpopup
Artisan Pop-Up Market will be held on Saturdays, December 5, 12 and 19.

Artisan Pop-Up Market featured at Home for Christmas Celebration

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

Did you know there are less than 22 shopping days until Christmas? Do you need help finding that special gift for that special person? Stop in Downtown Kings Mountain, Saturday, December 5, 12 and 19, take in the sights and sounds of Christmas while shopping in many of our local businesses and the Artisan Pop-Up Market.
Held in Liberty Garden located beside the Joy Performance Theater, the Artisan Pop-Up Market will feature local talented artisans who have hand crafted unique wares to sell just in time for Christmas. The Artisan Pop-Up Market will open each Saturday during the Home for Christmas Celebration at 3:30 pm.
For information regarding our Downtown businesses, including hours of operation and Christmas promotions, access the City of Kings Mountain Main Street Program’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Downtown-Kings-Mountain-Welcome-to-the-Revolution.
For more information regarding the Home for Christmas Celebration, contact the Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, access their website at www.kingsmountainchristmas.com or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.
Feedchildren

Feed the Children event this Friday

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

On Friday, Dec. 4, the City of Kings Mountain joins forces with Feed the Children and Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry to provide 400 families with food and essentials. The food distribution will take place at Patrick Senior Center parking lot from 12 pm – 6 pm.
“The city is pleased to sponsor the Feed the Children event this year,” said Mayor Neisler. “Hopefully it will help ease the stress of those less fortunate in our community. This could not have been possible without the support of the ABC Board’s generous gift to the city. Thanks to the Feed the Children organization, the $15,000 cost of the truck delivers $75,000 worth of food. What a great way to expand our outreach to the hungry.”
The event is first come, first served for needy families and seniors in the Kings Mountain area.
Each household will get one box of grocery items plus a box of personal items, a box of AVON products and a book while supplies last.
The event is being held in the front parking lot of the Patrick Senior Center at 909 E King St., in Kings Mountain.
With the help of City of Kings Mountain and the support of Kings Mountain Crisis Ministry, Feed the Children can help feed those in need in North Carolina communities. 
Cormetech, which had sponsored this event for several years, is also assisting this year by storing any undistributed boxes, Mayor Neisler shared.
This is one of many events Feed the Children has planned across the country to help defeat hunger. Feed the Children is committed to helping children and families across the US and around the world. Visit feedthechildren.org for more information.

Medicare open enrollment
continues to December 7

(December 2, 2020 Issue)


Medicare Open Enrollment is officially open and will run through December 7, but the deadline is fast approaching. More than 60 million people with Medicare can review health and drug plans and make changes to their healthcare coverage for next year, based on their financial and medical needs, from the comfort of their homes.
With Medicare Advantage (or private Medicare health plans) and Part D prescription drug plan premiums at historic lows – and hundreds of healthcare plans now offering $35 monthly co-pays for insulin – there are plenty of reasons to compare coverage options.
   As part of this year’s open enrollment, CMS also reminds people with Medicare to get their flu shot, beware of open enrollment scams, and seek virtual assistance if they need it to enroll in a plan amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
   “I hope everyone with Medicare takes time to review their health and drug coverage for next year,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “There are more plans than ever to choose from, many new benefits, and historically low plan premiums. You may well find a plan that’s a better fit for you and save yourself some money in the process. Shopping for plans is easy with Medicare Plan Finder.”
During Open Enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries can compare coverage options like Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and choose health and prescription drug plans for 2021. Medicare health and drug plan costs and covered benefits can change from year-to-year. CMS urges Medicare beneficiaries to review their coverage choices and decide on the options that best meet their health needs. Over the past three years, CMS has made it easier for seniors to compare and enroll in Medicare coverage. The redesigned Medicare Plan Finder makes it easier for beneficiaries to:
• Compare pricing between Original Medicare, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies;
• Compare coverage options on their smartphones and tablets;
• Compare up to three drug plans or three Medicare Advantage plans side-by-side;
• Get plan costs and benefits, including which Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits;
• Build a personal drug list and find Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage that best meets their needs.
Highlights for 2021 Open Enrollment include:
   A 34 percent decrease in average monthly premiums for Medicare Advantage plans since 2017. This is the lowest average monthly premium since 2007. Beneficiaries in some states, including Alabama, Nevada, Michigan, and Kentucky, will see decreases of up to 50 percent in average Medicare Advantage premiums. More than 4,800 Medicare Advantage plans are offered for 2021, compared to about 2,700 in 2017. Similarly, more Medicare Part D plans are available, and the average basic Part D premium has dropped 12 percent since 2017.
Medicare beneficiaries can join a prescription drug plan that will offer many types of insulin at a maximum copayment of $35 for a 30-day supply. More than 1,600 Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans are participating in the Part D Senior Savings Model for 2021. People who enroll in a participating plan could save up to an estimated $446 a year in out-of-pocket costs on insulin. CMS has added a new “Insulin Savings” filter on Medicare Plan Finder to display plans that will offer the capped out-of-pocket costs for insulin. Beneficiaries can use the Medicare Plan Finder to view plan options and look for a participating plan in their area that covers their insulin at no more than a $35 monthly copay.
   Free, personalized counseling on Medicare options is also available through the nonprofit State Health Insurance Assistance Program or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
   Finally, CMS urges people with Medicare to practice safety measures to guard against identity theft during open enrollment. Beneficiaries should not give their Medicare card or Medicare number to anyone except their doctor or people they know should have it. CMS removed Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards last year to reduce fraud and protect beneficiaries from identity theft. Even with this change, people with Medicare should guard their Medicare card like they would a credit card. They should also check their Medicare claim summaries for errors and questionable bills and report fraud to Medicare’s toll-free customer service center at 1-800-MEDICARE or online.
Americanlegion

American Legion Veteran’s breakfast Saturday

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 155 has its Veteran’s Breakfast Saturday morning, December 5, 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 December 5 from 9 am to 11 am. Everyone is asked to follow Governor Cooper’s guidelines for social distancing.

Nutcracker performances
to be held at Joy Theatre

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

Believe it or not - the holidays are fast approaching. This holiday season enjoy a family classic, The Nutcracker, the all-time favorite story of Clara’s magical trip to the land of sweets, presented by Kimberla's School of Classical Ballet. The Nutcracker will be performed on Friday, December 4th at 7pm, Saturday, December 5th at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday, December 6th at 4pm at The Joy Performance Center in Kings Mountain.  Tickets are $12 each in advance or $15 at the door for general admission seating and $85 in advance or $100 at the door for a mezzanine seating cluster of 4 with hor d'oeuvres. Only 100 tickets available to each performance. Tickets are  available by calling 704-300-4130 or at  https://sites.google.com/site/kimberlasclassicalballet/nutcracker-tickets
Experience this magical storybook ballet with your family and friends or escape one evening to dream with your children for our 11th annual production of The Nutcracker.  Hope to see you there!
Santa
Santa will make his rounds in Kings Mountain on Saturday, December 5.

Here comes Santa Claus

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

Santa Claus is heading to Kings Mountain and bringing Christmas cheer along the way. On Saturday, December 5, a day normally set aside for the Home for Christmas Parade, Santa will bring the parade to residents of all ages by making a special trip through the City of Kings Mountain.
Santa will begin making his rounds at 12 pm and head back to the North Pole at 4 pm. A map of  Santa’s route is now available online at www.kingsmountainchristmas.com and the Special Events Department’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.
For more information, please contact the Special Events Department at 704-730-2101. 
Homeforchristmas

Home for Christmas comes back to
Downtown KM

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

By Christy Conner,  City of KM

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Downtown Kings Mountain turns into a magical wonderland, as the sights and sounds of Christmas come back Home for Christmas.
Costner’s Christmas Light Extravaganza, a magnificent display of Christmas lights formerly owned by Grady and Katie Costner, now awaits visitors to Patriots Park. Visitors are encouraged to stroll through this magical wonderland of lights while enjoying traditional Christmas tunes from Liberty Falls Amphitheatre.
Beginning Saturday, December 5, the Mayor’s Downtown Christmas Fantasy Light Show synchronized to music from Let it Snow Radio 87.9 FM, will light up the night sky. To view the lights, visitors can stroll down Railroad Avenue or park on South Battleground Avenue and view from the comfort of their car. These special lights will be available for viewing throughout the Christmas season.
Other surprises await you at the Kings Mountain Home for Christmas Celebration. Dress warmly and don’t forget your mask.
   For more information, contact the Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, access their website at www.kingsmountainchristmas.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents.

Accident at KM Post Office

(December 2, 2020 Issue)

On Tuesday morning, December 1, a vehicle drove into the Kings Mountain Post Office at 115 E Gold St. One person was injured and taken to the hospital. “The incident is still under investigation, but no charges have been filed at this time and the older driver showed no signs of impairment,” Chief Proctor said.       

Photos by Reg Alexander                                                      

 
Dotlocal
NCDOT employees worked Saturday to pave N. Piedmont Avenue from the Arts Center to the Highway 74 bypass. Photo by Loretta Cozart

NCDOT paving project continues through town

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

NCDOT continues to pave Hwy. 216 through Kings Mountain. To date, the state road has been paved from Kings Mountain Blvd. to the Hwy. 74 bypass on Piedmont Avenue, with the exception of downtown.
“We’ll begin working on the Streetscape in downtown Kings Mountain in late March 2021 for completion scheduled by September,” said City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “We are finalizing the Streetscape plan and presenting it to City Council at the end of this month.”
In downtown, water line updates need to be made in conjunction with the Streetscape project, so NCDOT skipped that portion of the work and will give the funds to the city for use when it comes time to pave Battleground Avenue.
Keithcorporation
This artist’s rendering shows a modern facility with ample warehouse and office space for new KM Corporate Center. Work is slated to begin in 2021. See topographical map on page 5A. Photos provided by Keith Corporation

Keith Corporation markets new Kings Mountain Corporate Center

(November 18, 2020 Issue)
By Loretta Cozart
Charlotte based Keith Corporation has begun marketing Kings Mountain Corporate Center’s 5-star industrial space at 705 Canterbury Road. The 164-acre site is permitted for 1,263,600 square feet under one roof and all utilities including water, sewer, gas and electricity will be provided by City of Kings Mountain. The property has extensive I-85 frontage with access to the interstate by two interchanges.
The facility will be built using construction reinforced concrete and work is slated to begin in 2021. The property is offered for sale for $35,000 per acre or build-to-suit for purchase or lease by The Keith Corporation. Industrial Developers on the project are Alan Lewis and Justin C. Curis.
Build-to-suit options include 100,000-1,000,000 SF. Companies in the park include Hanes Brands. Access to I-85, NC Highway 161 and Canterbury Rd. The corporate park is located 26-miles west of Charlotte Douglas International Airport via I-85.
Chicas
Chica’s Corn Chips will be produced in Kings Mountain at a new facility.

Benestar Brands to open plant in Kings Mountain

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Benestar Brands announced opening a plant in Kings Mountain in October with plans to produce Chica’s Corn Chips at the local facility. The company headquarters are in Harbor City, CA.
The company’s 129 new jobs in Kings Mountain will include managerial, operational, maintenance, warehouse and office staff. The average annual salary for all new positions is $43,021, creating a payroll impact of more than $5.5 million per year. Cleveland County’s overall average annual wage is $40,019.
According to FoodBev Media, the Kings Mountain facility will give Benestar Brands easier access to  the nation’s east coast market and is expected to grow NC’s Gross Domestic Product by $431 million over the grant’s 12-year term.
At its website, Benestar Brands tells the story of Chica’s Corn Chip founder Irlanda Montes, and her dream to share her mother’s family recipes. This dream brought a time of laughter and joy as her sisters worked  along-side her making small batches of tortilla chips and salsa.
“Chica’s Corn Chips aren’t just made of corn and sea salt,” the website states. “They are made from love and laughs around the kitchen table, handwritten recipes on weathered scraps of paper, and the aroma of freshly made chips and salsa flowing through the entire neighborhood. When you dive into a bag of Chica’s Corn Chips, you are opening up a bag of history and authentic flavors.”
Today, Chica’s continues to be family operated. Irlanda, along with her husband and daughters, take pride in making and serving the same wholesome and delicious tortilla chips and salsa shared at their own family gatherings.
Currently, Chica’s Corn Chips products can be found in over 200 locations all over Southern California and beyond and on Amazon.com.
 
Mikehouser
Mike Houser is pictured receiving a certificate and pin from the city for 30 years of service on October 29, 2019. Photo by Loretta Cozart

Local man dies during hunting trip

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

John Michael (Mike) Houser’s body was recovered on Sunday, Nov. 8, following a two-day search for him when he did not meet his brother at the designated time while hunting in Jonesville, South Carolina the morning prior.
Union County Sheriffs’ Office began the search early Saturday afternoon and continued until 11:30 pm. The next morning the search was resumed, and Houser’s body was found around 1 pm on Sunday.
Indications are the death was accidental and that he fell from a tree, according to the Union County Sheriff’s office.
Houser’s funeral service was held on Friday, Nov. 13.
Mike Houser worked for the City of Kings Mountain for 31-years in their Energy Services Department. City Manager Marilyn Sellers asks everyone, “Please pray for staff because they not only lost a coworker but a very dear friend.” 
Beacblast
BeachBlast 2019 was named the Carolina Beach Music Awards Event of the Year during ceremonies Saturday. Pictured L-R are Special Events Coordinator Angela Padgett , City Manager Marilyn Sellers, Special Events Director Christy Conner, and BeachBlast band/stage coordinator Chris Johnson. (Staff’s masks were removed while the taking of this photo) Photo provided

KM Beach Blast 2019 named CBMA’s Event of the Year

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

CBMA’s was held
virtually Nov. 14


The City of Kings Mountain is celebrating a big win! The city’s 2019 Beach Blast Festival held at Patriots Park in downtown Kings Mountain on August 23 and 24, 2019, has been named the Carolina Beach Music Awards Event of the Year. Beach Blast was one of six events nominated for this prestigious award winning over Fort Lauderdale FL, Raleigh NC, Cape Canaveral FL and two events at North Myrtle Beach.
“This win speaks to the excellence of leadership from our Special Events Director, Christy Conner,” stated Marilyn Sellers, City Manager. “Starting her career with the City of Kings Mountain in 2001, Christy was promoted in 2017 as the Special Events Director. Her leadership brings energy and enthusiasm to all our events. With her vision and ability to rally a team of staff and volunteers, the Beach Blast Festival has grown to be recognized across the State of NC and  the Southeast.”
“The Special Events team is honored by this win,” stated Christy Conner, Special Events Director.  “I would like to express my sincere thanks to our team of staff and volunteers. This win would not be possible without the creativity, dedication and passion of this group. I am very grateful for our City Council and Administration and their continued support. Through their support and leadership, we have a beautiful state of the art venue to host Beach Blast and other festivals and events. With confidence, I can say that Kings Mountain is on the right path to creating a vibrant entertainment district in Downtown and I’m excited to be a part of it!”
   Each year, members of the Carolina Beach Music Awards Association nominate on the best in Beach Music entertainment, such as, radio announcers, bands, events, and clubs. After the nominations are announced, members then vote for the official winners of each category.
   “It is really great that the CMBA has named Beach Blast 2019 the Southeast’s top Event of the Year as announced on FM 94.9 The Surf.” says Mayor Scott Neisler. “For one weekend in the piedmont of the Carolinas, we take our shoes off and pretend to walk in the sand enjoying some great beach music! This is a well-deserved accolade for our staff because we have no beach! Make plans now to join us in 2021 and see what all the fun is about!”
   The Carolina Beach Music Awards were held virtually, November 14. The awards ceremony aired online at www.949thesurf.com.
   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.
Ccschoolslogo

Clev. Co. Schools
holiday calendar

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Cleveland County Schools begins the holiday on Nov. 25 with an annual leave day. Schools will be closed for Thanksgiving Nov. 26 and 27.
High school and middle school progress reports go out on December 1. Elementary and Intermediate school report cards go out on Dec. 3.
December 21 marks the end of the second quarter and is a Remote Learning day. Annual Leave days are December 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, and 31. Christmas holiday is December 24 and 25; New Year’s day is January 1.
Veterandrivethru
The City of Kings Mountain hosted a Veteran’s Day Drive-thru on Nov. 10. Pictured above is Dr. Frank Sincox. See more photos on page 8A. Photo by Christy Conner

Veterans honored at  drive-thru meal event

(November 18, 2020 Issue)

City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department, Mauney Memorial Library and Patrick Senior Center partnered to honor Veterans with a drive-thru meal event on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at the senior center.
Veterans enjoyed a BBQ meal prepared by Linwood Restaurant. Harris Funeral Home sponsored the beautiful wreath displayed during the event that was later moved to Patriots Park.
B&D RV Park and the Tom Brooks family co-sponsored the meal. Tony Coppola, owner of 238 Terra Mia Ristorante, provided gift cards to our Veterans.
Over 80 cars came through the event held at the Patrick Senior Center and the community thanks our veterans for their service to our county.

Advent Lutheran Honors Local Heroes

(November 12, 20202 Issue)

On Thursday, November 5, Advent Lutheran Church, 230 Oak Grove Road, had the opportunity to say THANK YOU to the heroes that keep our community safe. Advent invited Police Officers, Highway Troopers, First Responders, EMS, and Firefighters out to their picnic shelter for a dine-in or take-out appreciation luncheon. Approximately 70 meals were served!
Pastor Joshua Morgan said, “Please know that Advent Lutheran Church is ever keeping those who serve our community in their prayers.”        


Photos provided by Pastor Joshua Morgan
 

KM holiday trash schedule

(November 12, 20202 Issue)

City Offices were  closed Wednesday, November 11 in observance of Veterans Day. Garbage Service Wednesday & Thursday will be one day later.
City Offices will be closed Thursday & Friday, November 26 & 27 in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Garbage service for Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday will be one day earlier. The
City Offices will be closed Thursday & Friday, December 24 & 25 in observance of the Christmas Holiday. Garbage Service for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be one day earlier.
All trash should be placed in bags and inside the garbage container for collection. If you have questions about additional trash collection, please call Public Works at 704-734-0735.

City council hears update on Comprehensive Plan 

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


City council heard an update on Kings Mountain’s Comprehensive Plan during their Oct. 27 meeting.  Presenting were President Gary Mitchell and Senior Associate-in-Charge Kelli McCormick of Kendig Keast Collaborative. The Comprehensive Plan helps the city and others make sound and coordinated decisions regarding the future of the Kings Mountain community.
The project kick-off
occurred in April, just after the COVID-19 pandemic began, resulting in a delay to their original timeline.
In May, Kendig Keast held a remote introduction meeting with city council, referred to as the startup and early engagement phase, during which town meetings and listening sessions were to be held. This phase deadline was shifted to end in October and town meetings were removed from the plan.
Phase 2 addressed Kings Mountain Today, consisting of advisory group meetings, reviewing the existing city report, and leadership workshops. This phase was shifted to June – November.
Kings Mountain Tomorrow, Phase 3, includes advisory group meetings and the future-focused portion of the plan. This phase was changed to December through April 2021.
Finalization and Adoption is the last phase in which implementation strategies, a public open house, a leadership workshop, and final hearings and adoption would be addressed. This is now scheduled for  April to May 2021.
COVID-19 has caused many issues with timelines and Phase 3 and Phase 4 may by pushed back even further, should the Coronavirus continue into 2021.
An online survey was conducted and 218 individuals from Kings Mountain, Grover, Shelby, and Cherryville responded. According Kendig Keast, the response percentage is on average with most surveys they conduct.
Approximately 30 respondents were not from Kings Mountain. About 115 people lived in the city for more than 20 years. The number of people who lived in the town 1–5 years was about 35. Twenty people respondents lived in Kings Mountain for 6–10 years. And about 18 people lived in the city for 11-20 years.
Respondents reported that they worked in Gaffney, Charlotte, Shelby, Kings Mountain, Belmont, Stanley, or were retired. A few respondents also work remotely. Other municipalities were mentioned, but only one of two people worked in those communities.
The top five priorities, according to those who took the survey were, (1) ongoing downtown enhancements and improvements, (2) public safety (police, fire, ambulance service), (3) more leisure/entertainment options, (4) safety when walking/biking, and (5) more shopping choices.
When asked what “small town feel” Kings Mountain needs to preserve, respondents indicated they wanted a traditional downtown, local shops/restaurant vs. chains or fast food, community events / family activities, control traffic, maintain low crime rate, and that it be a walkable place.
The majority of people felt the city needs more housing options. The top five indicated a need for more downtown residential, followed by move-up mid-level housing, large-lot housing for people to live in the city but be separated from their neighbors, more housing options for seniors to stay in Kings Mountain, and attached housing types like patio homes or townhomes.
When asked what public service contributes most to quality of life, the top five included public safety, infrastructure, downtown development, parks / recreation / trails, and economic development.
In evaluating the community’s character, Kendig Keast evaluated communities comparing three components: paving, open space, and buildings.  A community with more buildings was considered Urban. Towns with an equal amount of buildings and open space was considered Suburban. And a city with more pavement and buildings than open space was considered Auto Urban. They urge Kings Mountain to address character and balance of paving, open space, and buildings in its plan for the future.
Even in areas where seas of pavement currently exist, planning can make way for future improvement to balance it with trees and plantings.
Strategic priorities for Future Kings Mountain Phase were identified as:
 • Housing - More supply, options, mid-market rental, condition of older housing stock, and more living opportunities in/near Downtown.
• Downtown - Continue to enhance (businesses, restaurants, mixed use, aesthetics), find our niche to attract/retain next generations and keep our leisure activity and spending here (along with jobs).
• Economic Development - Keep building industrial base, more local job options, support business startups especially Downtown.
• Beautification - Overall aesthetics, upkeep, and better streetscapes.
• Natural & Cultural Resources - Park / trail improvements, protect lakes, tap into heritage tourism and National Park visitation.
• Growth & Land Use - Pace of growth we can manage while maintaining what makes life good in Kings Mountain, more connected community.
• Education –-Technical and higher education to support area economy and higher-level jobs, improve quality of life and reduce poverty.
Americanlegion

Chili Cook-off at the
Legion Nov. 14

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 155 announces a Chili Cook-off at Otis D. Green American Legion Post 155 at 613 East Gold Street, Kings Mountain this
Saturday, Nov. 14, from 6 pm to 8 pm.
All those who wish to enter the contest must have their chili at the post by 6 pm. Bring your warmed chili in a crock pot.
To enter the chili cook-off, the American Legion Auxiliary asks for a $5 donation. Cost to sample all the chili entered, and one vote for your favorite chili recipe, is a $10 donation. All proceeds go to American Legion Auxiliary Unit 155.
There will be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners chosen. All votes must be cast by 7:45 pm.
The Chili Cook-off will be followed by karaoke. Please be sure to follow all social distancing guidelines during this event.

City Council passes sale of alcohol
before noon on Sunday

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain City Council voted 5-2 in favor of an ordinance allowing alcohol to be served in restaurants as early as 10 am on Sundays during a special called meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5. All councilmembers were present, and Jay Rhodes and Keith Miller cast the dissenting votes.
This topic had been voted on during the October 27 City Council meeting, however it was brought before council to be re-voted because the ordinance was not officially passed due to a lack of 2/3 majority of the actual membership on the date of introduction.
Under the voting rules in G.S. 160A-75, if the date on which the board votes on the ordinance is regarded as the date of introduction, an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the actual membership of the council is required to adopt the measure. If an earlier date is deemed to be the date of introduction, a majority of the members of the council would be sufficient.
   City Attorney Mickey Corry addressed council explaining, “After the Oct. 27  meeting, we took a closer look an decided out of an abundance of caution city council should vote on this ordinance again. It may be overkill, but we decided it best to for city council to vote again.”
  Atty. Corry also explained that the ordinance would impact all businesses in Kings Mountain that have a license to sell alcohol. Councilman Jay Rhodes asked, “Convenience stores?” Corry clarified saying, “Convenience stores, grocery stores, wherever there is a permit for the sale of (alcohol). This ordinance covers them all.”
   Originally this provision of the ordinance only applied to restaurants, but it was revised to apply to any licensed permit holder, including retail businesses.  Breweries, bottle shops, and other retails businesses that have the necessary permit to sell malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, and mixed beverages for on premises and/or off premises consumption may now sell such beverages beginning at 10 am on Sunday when the local government adopts the necessary ordinance.
   Speaking in favor of the ordinance at the Oct. 27 city council meeting was Iris Hubbard, owner of 133 West on Mountain Street. “133 West is open Thursday through Sunday and employs four full-time and 15 part-time employees. The ability to serve alcohol during brunch on Sunday would be a game changer for us.”
   The ordinance is a result of 2017 legislation known as SL 2017-87, specifically Section 4, commonly known as the brunch bill, that passed on June 28, 2017 and was signed into law by Governor Cooper on June 30 and is subject to local government approval.
   In accordance with G.S. 18B-1004(c), a city may adopt an ordinance allowing for the sale of malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, and mixed beverages beginning at 10 am on Sunday pursuant to the licensed premises’ permit issued. Shelby and Gastonia adopted the brunch bill in August 2017.
   “This bill basically was passed, by the state, to accommodate tailgating in Charlotte during Panther games on Sunday. Within a year of passing other local cities passed it as well,” said Mayor Scott Neisler. “The restaurant business is already a tough business and I think as a city we have to support our restaurants, so they have no barriers to success. There has been a lot of questions surrounding this bill as to who would qualify. Interpreting ABC laws can be hard. If you have a business that possesses an ABC permit, I invite you to contact our ABC officer at the police department to get clarification on your specific situation.”
Politicans citycouncil

Gordon new face on county board

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

Republican Kevin Gordon, Chief Emeritus of the Waco Fire Department with a 30-year career in public service, is the new face on the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners.
Cleveland County voters went to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3, and elected Gordon, a newcomer to county politics, and re-elected incumbent commissioners Johnny Hutchins and board vice-chairman Ronnie Whetstine.
Shaun Murphy, Democrat and newcomer to politics, lost his bid for one of three seats open on the board.
Hutchins, of Kings Mountain, led the ticket with 32,821 votes or 28.5 percent of the votes cast.
Whetstine, of Shelby, followed closely with 32,645 or 28.4 percent of the votes cast and Gordon, of Shelby,  with 32,248 votes or 28 percent of the votes cast. Shaun Murphy, of Kings Mountain, received 17,294 or 15 percent  of the votes cast.
Other members of the board with unexpired terms are Republicans Doug Bridges and Deb Hardin, both of Shelby.
Politicans schoolboard

Republicans sweep school board race

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

A Republican sweep of the Cleveland County Board of Education race has placed five new faces on the 9-member board.
Joel Shores, who recently retired from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department, led the winners with 29,735 votes or 13.5 percent of the votes cast.
Following closely was Robert Queen with 29,658 or 13.4 percent of the votes cast.
Greg Taylor, who received 28,371 of the votes cast,  or 12.8 percent, Ron Humphries with 28,317 votes or 12.8 percent of the votes cast, and Rodney Fitch with 27,715 votes or 12.5 percent of the votes cast, round out the winning candidates.
Ron Humphries is from Kings Mountain and other four winners are from Shelby.
The three incumbents, Shearra Miller, current board chairman, garnered 17,251 or 7.8 percent of the votes cast; Roger Harris received 17,077 or 7.7 percent of the vote cast;  Richard Hooker Jr, current board vice-chairman received 15,644 or 7.1 percent of the vote cast, and Samantha Davis received 14, 108 or 6.4 percent of the votes cast, and Michael Tolbert Sr. received 13,190 votes or 6 percent of the vote cast. All are Democrats. Mrs. Miller is from Kings Mountain. The other candidates are from Shelby.
Five Democrats and five Republicans sought the five open seats on the school board.
Transparency with the public, safety in schools, Corona Virus pandemic, high school graduation, and current policy on how a school board attorney is used were issues addressed during a candidate forum.
Other board members with unexpired terms are Danny Blanton, Phillip Glover, Dena Green, and Coleman Hunt.
Politicalpresident

Record-shattering votes for Biden, Trump
Republicans win big
in Cleveland County

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

Republicans won big in Cleveland County and voters supported candidates in state and national elections.
Tuesday’s turn-out in the 2020 general election set records.
In the Presidential election more than 75 million people cast votes for
Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat, and more than 71 million people cast votes for Republican President Donald J. Trump on Nov 3.
President Trump is challenging the election results  and declaration by media outlets that Biden has won the highly-contested race while votes are still being counted, including in North Carolina where the Presidential race is still up for grabs and Trump is leading Biden..
Pennsylvania, with its 20 electoral votes, put Biden over the 270 votes needed to clinch the election Saturday night but President Trump’s challenge of alleged voter fraud may wind up in the courts.
This year a record 103 million Americans voted early to avoid waiting in lines at polling places during a pandemic. More than 4.5 million people cast ballots in the Tar Heel State. That is more than 95 percent of all NC voters who cast ballot ins 2016. Turn-out at the polls on Nov. 3 was lighter.
Cleveland County voters supported Trump 2-1 over Biden. The unofficial vote was: Trump, 33,664 and Biden, 16,879.
Tim Moore, R - Cleveland, NC House of Representative 111, was re-elected. He defeated Jennifer Childers, also of Kings Mountain, 24,407-14,004. Moore is also Speaker of the NC House of Representatives.
Angela Woods of Kings Mountain lost her bid for District Court Judge 27-B Seat 5.  The  vote   totals: Jamie Hodge, R, 31,407; Woods, D, 17,173.
Cleveland County voters supported Thom Tillis, (R) 31,899 and Cal Cunningham (D), 16,681.
Democrat Governor Roy Cooper won re-election, defeating Republican Dan Forest. Cleveland County voters supported Dan Forest, 31,919 to Cooper’s 18,463.
Political newcomer and Republican Mark Robinson will become the state’s first African American to be elected Lieutenant Governor. Cleveland County voters supported Robinson 33, 182 to 16,881 for Democrat Yvonne Holly.
Ted Alexander, former mayor of Shelby, won 70 percent of the vote in his race for re-election to District 44 NC Senator. His opponent was Democrat David Lattimore.
Kelly Hastings won re-election to his District 110 NC House seat.
Republicans make up majority party on both the Cleveland County Board of Education and the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners with five new faces on the school board and one new face on the board of commissioners.
Ballots are still being counted in the Tillis- Cunningham US Senate race in North Carolina. Tillis claimed victory Nov. 3 but Cunningham said he waits for the vote count as the race has been too close too call. Tillis said he held 89 percent lead on Nov. 3.
There were 71 write-ins for US President by voters in Cleveland County. 
Frozen

KMLT’s Frozen Jr.
runs one more week 

(November 11, 2020 Issue)

The 2020-2021 season of Kings Mountain Little Theatre (KMLT) opened with Frozen Jr. on Thursday, November 5 at 7:30 pm.
Due to the limited audience capacity allowed by Phase 3 of the North Carolina Covid-19 Plan, KMLT has added a Thursday evening performance to their schedule.  KMLT and corporate sponsor, Edward Jones Investments – Jack and Pam Buchanan announced the performance schedule that spanned two weekends. Remaining shows of Frozen, Jr. this week are scheduled for November 12, 13, and 14 at 7:30 pm, with a matinee scheduled on Sunday,
November 15 at 3 pm.
KMLT will have 100 seats available for each performance. Additional capacity may be available if NC has a change when the current Phase 3 order ends. Please look for further updates from KMLT.
Priority is given to season members and they are able to make a reservation to attend a performance. All others may purchase tickets at the box office.
KMLT will have 20 tickets per performance for purchase at the Box Office on a first come, first served basis.  Reserved seating not claimed at least 10 minutes before show time are subject to release for purchase  by others seeking tickets.
Season members may make reservations by calling the theater at 704-730-9408 and leaving a message or send a request to us at tickets@kmlt.org.
KMLT will maintain stringent health and safety protocols. To protect our audience, cast, crew and volunteers, they will:
• Check each individual before entering the building and ban anyone who has a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Log attendee and or group name, plus answers to the following questions (a yes answer to either question bans the individual and/or group)
• Ask the number in the group.
• As if you have exhibited any Covid-19 symptoms.
• Ask if you have been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19.
• Require mandatory mask wearing for non-actors (KMLT will provide as needed)
• Maintain social distancing when seating the audience
• Provide disposable masks and hand sanitizer
   Due to these protocols, the box office will open 90-minutes prior to the performance time and will work diligently to get everyone into the Joy Performance Center for a fantastic theatrical experience.

Nail-biting race for US President

With a historic amount of early votes still to be counted, the US Presidential vote is unsettled in a nail-biting race between President Donald Trump, Republican, and former Vice-President Joe Biden, Democrat.
According to the Associated Press North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Democrat, won re-election defeating Republican Dan Forest.
NC Senator Thom Tillis, Republican, in a closely-watched race with challenger Cal Cunningham, Democrat, claimed victory Tuesday as the US Senate race  in North Carolina remains too close to call..
Gordonhutchinswhetstine

 Kevin Gordon new face
on county board

Republican Kevin Gordon, Chief Emeritus of the Waco Fire Department with a 30-year career in public service, is the new face on the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners.
Cleveland County voters went to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3, and elected Gordon, a newcomer to county politics, and re-elected incumbent commissioners Johnny Hutchins and board vice-chairman Ronnie Whetstine.
Shaun Murphy, Democrat and newcomer to politics, lost his bid for one of three seats open on the  5-member board.
Hutchins, of Kings Mountain, led the ticket with 32,821 votes or 28.5 percent of the votes cast.
Whetstine, of Shelby, followed closely with 32,645 or 28.4 percent of the votes cast and Gordon, of Shelby,  with 32,248 votes or 28 percent of the votes cast. Shaun Murphy, of Kings Mountain, received 17,294.
Deb Hardin and Doug Bridges serve unexpired terms on the board. Susan Allen, board chairman, did not seek re-election.
Fitch

Republicans sweep
school board race

A Republican sweep of the Cleveland County Board of Education race has placed five new faces on the 9-member board.
Joel Shores, who recently retired from the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department, led the winners with 29,735 votes or 13.5 percent of the votes cast.
Following closely was Robert Queen with 29,658 or 13.4 percent of the votes cast.
Greg Taylor, who received 28,371 of the votes cast,  or 12.8 percent, Ron Humphries with 28,317 votes or 12.8 percent of the votes cast, and Rodney Fitch with 27,715 votes or 12.5 percent of the votes cast , round out the winning candidates.
Ron Humphries is from Kings Mountain and other four winners are from Shelby.
The three incumbents, Shearra Miller, current board chairman, garnered 17,251 or 7.8 percent of the votes cast; Roger Harris received 17,077 or 7.7 percent of the vote cast;  Richard Hooker Jr, current board vice-chairman received 15,644 or 7.1 percent of the vote cast, and Samantha Davis received 14, 108 or 6.4 percent of the votes cast, and Michael Tolbert Sr. received 13,190 votes or 6 percent of the vote cast. All are Democrats. Mrs. Miller is from Kings Mountain. The other candidates are from Shelby.
Five Democrats and five Republicans sought the five open seats on the school board.
Transparency with the public, safety in schools, Corona Virus pandemic, high school graduation, and current policy on how a school board attorney is used were issues addressed during a candidate forum.
 

Nail-biting race for US President

With a historic amount of early votes still to be counted, the US Presidential vote is unsettled in a nail-biting race between President Donald Trump, Republican, and former Vice-President Joe Biden, Democrat.
According to the Associated Press North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Democrat, won re-election defeating Republican Dan Forest.
NC Senator Thom Tillis, Republican, in a closely-watched race with challenger Cal Cunningham, Democrat, claimed victory Tuesday as the US Senate race  in North Carolina remains too close to call..
Roy cooper 2
Governor Roy Cooper

Governor Cooper’s Executive Order  strengthens eviction prevention in NC

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

Last Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 171 to strengthen eviction protections to help North Carolina renters stay in their homes. With COVID-19 case counts increasing and many people continuing to work and learn remotely, preventing evictions is critical to the state’s fight against this virus. This order supplements the existing NC HOPE initiative started two weeks ago that pays landlords and utilities directly to keep people in their homes with the lights on.
“Many families are trying to do the right thing, but this virus has made it difficult. Roughly three to 400,000 households across North Carolina are currently unable to pay rent. Therefore, today, I have signed a new Executive Order to prevent evictions in North Carolina for people who can’t afford the rent,” said Governor Cooper. “The result during this global
pandemic will be more North Carolinians staying in their homes, more landlords getting paid rent, and fewer utility companies shutting off power.”
The economic toll of COVID-19 has left thousands of families struggling to make ends meet. According to a report from the National Council of State Housing Agencies, approximately 300,000 – 410,000 households across North Carolina are currently unable to pay rent, and an estimated 240,000 eviction filings will be submitted by January 2021.
Last month, the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) put a temporary residential eviction moratorium into effect nationwide from September 4 through December 31, 2020. The CDC order protects residential tenants from eviction for nonpayment of rent. However, confusion over who this order protects has caused inconsistent enforcement and unwarranted evictions in some parts of the state.
   Executive Order No. 171 requires landlords to make residential tenants aware of their rights under the CDC Order. For eviction actions commencing after Executive Order No. 171, landlords must give residents the option to fill out a declaration form before starting any eviction action.
   The Order also sets forth procedures to ensure protection for residential tenants once they provide the required declaration form to the court or to the landlord.
   Executive Order No. 171 also clarifies the CDC moratorium so that it clearly applies to all North Carolinians who meet the CDC’s eligibility criteria, regardless of whether they live in federally-subsidized properties. The Order ensures that recipients of the N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) program are still able to qualify and that these renter protections will apply to North Carolinians regardless of the CDC Order’s status in other courts.
Today’s Order received concurrence from the Council of State.
Two weeks ago, Governor Cooper launched the $117 million NC HOPE program that provides  assistance to eligible low-and-moderate income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic by making direct payments to landlords and utility companies. This program has received 22,800 eligible applications as of today. Given the demand for assistance shown over the last two weeks, the state will continue working to boost the HOPE program so it can help more North Carolinians make ends meet.
“The HOPE program is going a long way to help families stay safe in their homes by using coronavirus funds responsibly to pay landlord and utilities directly,” said Governor Cooper. “My administration is continuing to find ways to help struggling renters, but we still need Washington to put partisanship aside and send more relief to North Carolina.”
People can apply for help by calling 2-1-1 or going to nc211.org/hope.
In addition, to help ease housing concerns, North Carolina is funding the Back@Home program, which helps families experiencing homelessness and provides financial relief to some landlords whose tenants are at risk of homelessness.
 
Americanlegion

American Legion Veteran’s breakfast this Saturday

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

American Legion Post 155 has its Veteran’s Breakfast Saturday morning, November 7, at the Otis D. Green Post home on East Gold Street. The event is hosted by the Legion Riders.
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 December 5 from 9 am to 11 am.
Veterans
Veterans attended last year’s 2019 Veteran’s parade and observance. They gathered afterward for a group photo at Kings Mountain’s War Memorial. (Photo by Angela Padgett)

City of Kings Mountain
to honor veterans Nov. 10

(November 4, 2020 Issue)

As restrictions remain in place for large gatherings and events, the City of Kings Mountain will honor our Veterans with a drive-thru meal event on Tuesday, November 10.
This event will take place at the Patrick Senior Center located at 909 East King Street, Kings Mountain. Veterans are asked to please arrive promptly, drive around the front of the building and continue to the back of the building under the canopy.  Please remain inside your vehicle and all meals will be carried out to you.
All veterans must contact the Patrick Senior Center at 704-734-0447 by Thursday, November 5 to RSVP. During registration, each Veteran will receive a meal pick-up time between 11 AM and 1 PM. 
For more information, contact the Patrick Senior Center at 704-734-0447 or visit www.KingsMountainEvents.com.
Stuartgilbert
Director of Community and Economic Development Stuart Gilbert presents two economic incentive grant proposals to city council. Combined, both projects represent $124 million in economic development for Kings Mountain. Photo by Loretta Cozart

City Council approves economic
incentive grants, rezoning petitions

Kings Mountain City Council approved two economic incentive grants during the Oct. 27 City Council meeting that could impact business growth and job opportunities in Kings Mountain.
   Benestar Brands plans to build a $24 million dollar manufacturing facility to produce international food snacks and create 129 jobs with an average wage of $43,021.00 in Kings Mountain.
Kings Mountain City Council approved an economic incentive agreement with a financial cash grant  anticipated to be $61,920 per year over five years, or $309,600.00. This financial cash grant matches the financial cash grant by the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners in an economic development agreement approved on October 5.
Benestar Brands is the parent company of Evans Food Group and manufactures better-for-you high-quality snacks, and plans to produce Chica’s Brand Tortilla Chips in the Kings Mountain facility.
The company’s 129 new jobs will include managerial, operational, maintenance, warehouse and office staff. The average salary of $43,021.00 will create a payroll impact of more than $5.5 million per year. Cleveland County’s overall average annual wage is $40,019.
  A second company, yet to be named, plans a $100 million dollar warehousing and distribution site, in the Gaston portion of Kings Mountain. The company will decide upon their location soon between Kings Mountain and second location.
   The project is proposed to bring in 305 new jobs with an average salary of $45,627.00. The company has also requested economic incentive grants and is being referred to as Project TRIPLE PLAY. Gaston County Board of Commissioners already approved a Level Four Financial Incentive. Kings Mountain has been requested to do the same. Kings Mountain’s Economic Incentive Grant will mirror that of Gaston County.
   Under Gaston County’s Level 4 Industrial Grants, the company must pay their taxes in full each year based on the actual tax value of the property or investment. If the company meets all of the criteria in the application, a portion of the property tax will be returned as a grant. The amount of the grant is based on a sliding scale.
   All grant monies will be taken directly from the company’s tax payment. The company must be current with all other payments required by Gaston County.
   All investments in real property, new machinery and equipment over $50,000,000.00 would be eligible for a grant as shown below.
Year 1 - 85% property tax grant Year 6 - 70% property tax grant
Year 2 - 85% property tax grant Year 7 - 70% property tax grant
Year 3 - 85% property tax grant Year 8 - 70% property tax grant
Year 4 - 85% property tax grant Year 9 - 70% property tax grant
Year 5 - 85% property tax grant Year 10 - 70% property tax grant
   In addition, investment grants are based on the increase in tax value of all real property, machinery and improvements above the base year prior to investment and no grant will be given to a company that would reduce their tax payment to an amount lower than the previous tax year.  
   In other business, city council unanimously approved a request from Brinkley Properties of KM, LLC, Owner of 600 W. King Street, also identified as Parcel #7326, Map KM 8, Block 5, Lot 6 from Neighborhood Business (NB) to Residential Office (RO) and Ann Lin Chen, by her authorized agent, David Brinkley, to rezone property located at 604 W. King Street, also identified as Parcel #7933, Map KM 8, Block 5, Lot 7 from Neighborhood Business (NB) to Residential Office (RO) – Case No. Z-2-9-20.
   City council also unanimously approved a request from Kings Mountain Land Development Partners, LLC, to rezone property that fronts Compact School Road and Dixon School Road containing approximately 18 acres more or less as shown on a plat recorded in Plat Book 43 at Page 128 of the Cleveland County Registry, also identified as a portion of Parcel #11744, Map 44-4, Block 1, Lot 21 from Heavy Industrial (HI) to General Business (GB) – Case No. Z-3-9-20.
   Public hearings will be held Tuesday, November 24 at 6 pm to consider a request from Matt Bailey to rezone property on North Cansler Street containing .366 acres, also identified as Parcel #8540 from RS-6 Residential to R-6 Residential – Case No. Z-1-10-20.
  A second public hearing will be held Tuesday, November 24 at 6 pm to consider a request from Barry & Sherry Jenkins to rezone property located at 145 Yarbro Road containing 9.07 acres, also identified as Parcel #10722 from R-10 Residential to R-20 Residential – Case No. Z-2-10-20.
Jillhinson
Jill Hinson

Hinson named KMMS employee of the month

By Windy Bagwell

Congratulations to CTE Teacher, Mrs. Jill Hinson, on being selected as KMMS’s October Employee of the Month. Mrs. Hinson works tirelessly to be in contact with all of her students. She calls them and does individual Google meets to make sure they are able to do her work. She has been dedicated to doing this since remote learning began in March.
Mrs. Hinson loves to give students positive reinforcement with kind words and soft drinks. She cannot stand for even one of her students to get left behind in the coursework. Congratulations Mrs. Hinson! Thank you for all you do for KMMS!