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Martin Marietta
KM Quarry honored
(October 21, 2020 Issue)

   Martin Marietta Kings Mountain Quarry was recognized as Best of the Best among 400 operations after recently winning their company’s prestigious Diamond Honor Award during a ceremony the Gateway Trailhead on October 2. The award is presented each year by Martin Marietta to the best operation companywide.
   While the award is the first for Kings Mountain Quarry, the team is no stranger to companywide recognition, having been named a Martin Marietta Honor Plant in 1999 and 2012. The Diamond Awards program succeeded Honor Plant recognition in 2016.
   According to Martin Marietta’s Chairman and CEO Ward Nye, “operations considered for Diamond Honor Award status are evaluated based on their performance over the previous three years and must demonstrate continuous improvement over that period in the areas of safety, ethical conduct, operational excellence, environmental sustainability, cost discipline and customer satisfaction.”
   Kings Mountain Quarry has a positive and long-standing relationship with both the city of Kings Mountain and the Gateway Trail. The land for the trailhead on Hwy 216 was donated by Martin Marietta and serves as a parking area, office/restroom facility and shelter area for the public.  
   Martin Marietta recognized the team at Kings Mountain with a socially-distanced luncheon on October 2 at the Gateway Trailhead. At the lunch, Regional Vice President-General Manager Jim Thompson and Plant Manager Adam Thompson thanked employees for their dedication, hard work and commitment to safety.
   Honorees recognized at this event included Ronald Borum (plant manager who retired in May), Adam Thompson, Chris Safrit, Peter Glisson, Phil Wright, Chris Foster, Deborah Dover, Todd Scism, Thomas Whelan, David Barnette, Kyle Jarrell, Michael Jenkins, Rodney Lynch, Travis Brady, Randy Cogdell, Timothy Harvely, Brandon Frigo, Mark McWhirter, John Williams, Kenneth Caveny, Keith Smith, Michael Sanders and Jakob Garcia.
Presidenttrump
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

Trump rally in
Gastonia Wednesday

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

President Trump will make a campaign stop in Gastonia on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at  7 pm at the Gastonia Municipal Airport for a rally, according to his campaign. Doors open at 4 pm.
In the 2016 election, Trump received 641,798 votes, or 64% of the vote in Gaston County. Hillary Clinton received 31,177 votes, garnishing 32.33% of the vote.
In Cleveland County, Trump won 28,479 votes, to Clinton’s 14,964. As in the 2016 election, the battle for the White House is critical with the state’s 15 electoral votes hanging in the balance.
Gastonia Municipal Airport is at 1030 Gaston Day Road in Gastonia, NC.

Monster Bash LIVE! 
(October 21, 2020 Issue)

A virtual event is coming to City of KM’s Special Events Facebook Page.
Mark your calendars! Get ready to dance! Something spooky is heading to Kings Mountain.
Dance the night away with the City of Kings Mountain’s virtual event Monster Bash LIVE! Some of your favorite Halloween characters come back from the grave for a night of music and fun, exclusively on the City of Kings Mountain's Special Events Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents
This ghostly event will take place Halloween night at 6:30pm - It's guaranteed to be spooky fun for the entire family!
For more information, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, visit the web at www.KingsMountainEvents.com/monster-bash.
Electionphotos

4 seek 3 seats on County Board
(October 21, 2020 Issue)

Voters will go to the polls in a local competitive race Nov. 3 to elect three members of the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners from a candidate list of four.
Incumbents Johnny Hutchins, Kings Mountain, Ronnie Whetstine, Shelby, board Vice-Chair, political newcomers Kevin Gordon of Shelby, all Republicans, and Democrat Shaun Murphy, Kings Mountain, face-off in the general election.
Susan Allen, board chairman, did not seek re-election because of planned family activities. Other members of the board not up for re-election this year are Republicans Doug Bridges and Deb
Hardin, both of Shelby.
“Cleveland County has always been my home,’’ said Johnny Hutchins. He continued, “After serving in the United States Army I returned to Kings Mountain to start and raise my family.  Over 20 years I volunteered and was Captain of the Kings Mountain Rescue Squad, so leadership and service define who I am.
‘’After retiring from the mining industry I felt the need to do something that would help better the lives of my children and grandchildren, so instead of talking about it I ran for county commissioner. Working for the people of Cleveland County is an honor,’’ said Hutchins.
‘’I have great interest in improving and making this county the best it can be, for everyone, my greatest ‘’assets - live, work, worship and go to school here,’’ Hutchins added,
Since being elected Hutchins said he has dedicated himself, giving 100 percent to Cleveland County, county employees and the citizens. “As your county commissioner, I will continue to make myself easily accessible for your concerns and issues. There are many projects that I am a part of that need to be completed and I will continue to work diligently for the development of Cleveland County,’’ he added.
“My goals are simple - towork for the people to make Cleveland County a better place to live. Working with Economic Development, I have and will continue to support all  public entities such as  the Fire Departments, EMS and law enforcement to make certain they have the resources they need to continue to provide excellent service and protection for the county, Hutchins added.
“Thank you for your support.  Together we can make a difference,’’ he added.
“As a native to Cleveland County it has been my ongoing desire to improve the place we live, work, play and worship,’’ said Ronnie Whetstine. He continued, “I feel our county and state is the best place in the country to reside.”
Whetstine says he has served on many boards and projects as he and his wife, Susan, raised their daughter and built WW Contractors, Inc. into a business that has provided over 300 homes for the citizens of the county.
He lists some of the accomplishments led by the commissioners and goals.
• Built and develop Cleveland County for growth.
• Protect our conservative Christian values.
• Keep taxes low.
• Grow our workplace by promoting economic development including innovative ideas such as                                                            the Charlotte Back Yards program.
• Tele-medicine expanded from Graham School to Marion and Jefferson Elementary in Shelby and North, East, West and Bethware in Kings Mountain.
• County-wide insurance rating for property owners decreased an average of $15 per month due to implementation of VFD Strategy Plan.
• Accelerate Cleveland-Program to help under-employed to move up to higher paying jobs which help employers advance and  employers find higher qualified workers. Graduate salaries doubled after placement. (average wage approximately $42,000.)
• Find more efficient ways of doing business, including replacement of out -dated IT and software systems. First upgrade in over 30 years.
• Work  to improve overall health of the county by supporting green spaces, trails, parks and the West End Reach.
• Support all 15 municipalities within the county by sharing information, resources and working together on projects.
Kevin Gordon says his opportunity to fill one of the candidacy seats for county commissioner parallels his professional background and is of much interest after a 30-year career in public service including leadership roles in both city and county governments.
After retiring as Deputy Fire Chief for the Charlotte Fire Department in 2018 he serves as Director of Emergency and Fire Services for Gaston County.
Gordon is Chief Emeritus of the Waco Fire Department having served as a volunteer fireman since 1984 and for a number of years as Fire Chief. At Waco he led the transition of Waco Fire Department from a volunteer department to a combination department. A FLSA compliance program began July 1, 2017 paying stipends to volunteers and paid daytime firefighters. At Charlotte  Fire Department he led a department  of  1,207   and had a successful track record serving as chair  of the joint legislative committee for NC State Firefighters Association and NC Association of Fire Chiefs and for five years instrumental in passing key pieces of legislation which became NC Session law. He is a past president of the NC Firefighters Association. Gordon resides in Shelby with his wife, Sherry, and their Labrador Retriever. The Gordons have two sons, Alex (Macy) and Zachary (Ann Marie) and grandson Elliott James Gordon.
Gordon ‘s platform:
• Strong advocate for all public safety agencies, unwavering support for the Sheriff’s Department, Fire
Departments, EMS, and Rescue Squads.
• Proficient in maximizing efficiency of county operations and resources by modernizing outdated systems, processes and technology.
• Champion of Economic Development and the creation of jobs with decent salaries and benefits to create sustainable growth within the county.
• Experienced fiduciary manager with over 30 years public service in both city and county operations.
• Steadfast proponent of fiscal sustainability, responsible spending, and effective use of county resources.
Dedicated to fiscal conservatism, protecting conservative values, transparency in the county operation and improving the health and wellness of our citizens.
• Facilitator of regional collaboration with adjoining counties and intergovernmental collaboration with the towns and cities in the county.
.Partner who will maintain the state-county relationship through effective communication and maintain positive working relationships at all levels to acquire needed resources for our citizens.
Born in Shelby and raised in Kings Mountain, Shaun Murphy’s mother and father were soldiers. A 2004 graduate of Kings Mountain High School, he attended Appalachian State University from 2011-2013. He says since a young boy he has been a big fan of food, video games, music and swimming.
“Learning life lessons the hard way eventually taught me that I really wanted to do something to give back to the community and that I could serve a higher purpose than just existing. I got my start serving on the John Henry Moss Reservoir Commission from June 2017-19 when I moved outside Kings Mountain city limits,’’ said Murphy.
Growing up in Cleveland County all his life, Murphy said he’s more than qualified to have an influence and interest in what happens in the county.
Said Murphy, “I know what it’s like to work long hours for not enough pay like so many of our residents do every day. While I can relate to many I feel I can better relate to anyone who has ever needed a second chance at anything or has ever had to start over from scratch. I know that life is not always perfect and that sometimes struggle is necessary to get to a better position. With me as county commissioner I promise to struggle for us all to get  to a better position, a position where we can all thrive.”
Vote

Strong showing
by voters at early voting 

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

With 14 days until the Nov. 3 general election more than 12,782 ballots have been cast in Cleveland County.
Election officials report a strong showing of more than 19 percent of registered voters in Cleveland County by voters who have cast ballots, more than 14 percent in the state.
More than 1 million people have already voted in North Carolina in the 2020 election, according to the state board of elections website. This is the first weekend that voters cast their ballots in person. There are 7,292,471 registered voters in the state and 1,350,599 absentee ballots have been requested.
As of 1:30 p.m. Oct. 16 North Carolina voters had cast 570,019 ballots by mail and 468,020 ballots in person.
Early voting continues through Oct. 31 in Kings Mountain at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 220 N. Watterson Street with a significant increase in hours and weekend voting.
Evening hours are Oct 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, and 29. Saturday hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 24 and Oct. 31. The Sunday hours on Oct. 25 are from 1-5 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27 is the deadline to apply for absentee ballots from the Cleveland County Board of Elections, Shelby. For your ballot to count, voter and a witness must sign it and it can be returned to the County Board of Elections by mail, to early voting site or by dropping off at the Cleveland County Board of Elections.,
“We’re glad to see so many North Carolina voters performing their civic duty and letting their voices be heard by voting,’’ said Karen Brinson Bell, Executive Director of the State Board of Elections and we look forward to more North Carolinians casting their ballots and staying safe while doing it.”
Safeguards are in place as voters cast their ballots- masks for all poll workers and voters who do not bring their own, single-use pens, sanitation stations and protective barriers. The sites will be professionally cleaned throughout the entire 17-day period and election workers routinely sanitize all surfaces.
Wilcox
Reverend Wilcox and his wife Amanda with their four children. Photo provided

Wilcox is new minister
at First Presbyterian 

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Reverend John Wilcox joined First Presbyterian Church in Kings Mountain two months ago. He is a graduate of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI and completed his eligibility for Ordination through Reformed Theological Seminary.
“I am passionate about connecting people to Christ, into community, and into ministry, as well as caring for the needs of those both in the church and in the community,” Wilcox said. “Through my years of ministerial service in various roles, God
has  graciously  led  me  in  shepherding, equipping, and preaching His Word in grace with a fervent heart. I look forward to being part of First Presbyterian Church and the Kings Mountain Community.”
Reverend Wilcox is joined by his wife, Amanda, who, according to Wilcox “worked for GE Aviation for 9 years before being promoted to stay at home mom of 4.” Their children are Vivienne - 11, Trevor - 9, Ethan - 5 and Elise - 2. The family resides at the church’s manse.

Cityofkmnewlogo

City Council considers economic incentive grants Oct. 24
(October 21, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain City Council will address the issue of economic incentive grants for the recently announced Benestar Brands (Project CHIPPY) and the yet to be disclosed Project TRIPLE PLAY during their meeting on October 27 at 6 pm. Currently, the city does not have an Economic Incentive Grant policy but has been discussing one in closed session.
The Herald reached out to Kings Mountain’s City Manager, Marilyn Sellers regarding the methodology being used in framing these agreements. Sellers replied, “Staff is still working on information for our economic agreement. At the minimum we are adopting what Gaston County and Cleveland County are approving. We currently work very close with Gaston County’s economic development commission and Cleveland County’s economic development partnership regarding incentives.’
In the public notice that ran in Herald on October 14, it was shared, “The City of Kings Mountain proposes a financial grant that would be at least equivalent or similar to the Level 4 financial incentive grant approved on September 22, 2020 by the Gaston County Board of Commissioners.” 
To better understand what a Level Four incentive grant means, the Herald referred to Gaston County’s Economic Development Commission’s Local Investment Grant Program documentation, since that is one after which Kings Mountain’s agreement will be mirrored. Under Gaston County’s Level 4 Industrial Grants, 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. Also, purchases of any existing Gaston County facility or equipment will not qualify under their program.
All grant monies are taken directly from the company’s tax payment and the company must be current with all other payments required by Gaston County.
Economic incentive grants help municipalities stimulate economic development. If done properly, both the city and its citizens benefit by stabilizing the economy and through offering higher paying jobs that provide better pay. Both the city and its people must benefit from the agreement.
An article written by Jonathan Q. Morgan, in January 2009: Using Economic Development Incentives: For Better or for Worse. Popular Government, 74 (2): 16-29, through UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Government examines how states and localities that aggressively use incentives in the job wars may win big—but at what actual cost?
   Morgan suggests several mechanisms that might help jurisdictions win with incentives but avoid the winner’s curse of paying too much for too little in return. These include some safeguards already adopted in North Carolina, such as clawback provisions, tying incentives to company performance, requiring performance contracts, conducting cost-benefit analyses and establishing standards for wages and job quality.
“The City of Kings Mountain believes this project will stimulate and provide stability to the local economy and will provide local economic benefits as well as new diverse high paying jobs for the citizens of Kings Mountain,” the city’s public notice states. “This will have a positive effect on the City’s corporate tax base and further ensure stability for the City of Kings Mountain.”
City council will decide upon the city’s first Economic Incentive Grant Policy on Tuesday, October 27. Done correctly, the city and its people could benefit from these decisions for generations to come.
 

Cleveland County COVID-19
numbers going in wrong direction 

practice the 3 W’s – Wear, Wait, Wash 

(October 21, 2020 Issue)

    As of today, there have been a total of 2,956 cases of COVID-19 in Cleveland County. Of those, 197 are currently active, twenty (20) are currently hospitalized, and eighty-one (81) residents have died from the virus.
   Cleveland County had a total of 640 cases in August, 686 cases in September, and has had a total of 616 cases thus far in October, which is an average of approximately 29 new cases each day. At this rate, by the end of October, we will have had a total of approximately 906 cases for the month. The rate of COVID-19 cases in Cleveland County is 302 cases per 10,000 residents, one of the highest rates in our region.
   “One may suggest that our number of cases are increasing at a more rapid rate now than they were in months prior due to increased testing capacity,” Cleveland County Deputy Health Director DeShay Oliver said. “While I would agree that we are doing more testing now than we were in months prior, with over 2,000 tests being administered weekly, we are also seeing an increase in the percent of individuals who are testing positive in proportion to the total number of tests being done. During the first week of September, we saw our percent positive dip as low as 5.5% and it has now increased to 9.5% compared to state’s rate of 7.4%.”
   While Cleveland County’s rates remain higher than the state’s rates, after weeks of continued stabilization and decreases, North Carolina is also beginning to see increases in rates of new daily cases, percent of positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths.
   “There are a number of factors that could be contributing to the increases we are seeing in Cleveland County and are beginning to see across the state,” said Oliver. “The cooler weather is more hospitable to the virus and as temperatures get colder, more people are participating in indoor activities. People are going more places and many are not as diligent about social distancing and wearing face coverings as they were just a month ago. I think many people are experiencing quarantine fatigue and are ready for the things to return to normal. Acting as though things are back to normal does not make them more normal. The coronavirus is still very much alive in Cleveland County and if we don’t continue to do our part, we risk having to go backwards. One of the things I think almost everyone can agree on is we need our kids to be able to go back to school.  This cannot happen if we can’t stop widespread community transmission of the virus.  Now more than ever, we must remain vigilant in practicing the three W’s of wearing a cloth face covering over our nose and mouth, waiting six feet apart, and washing our hands.  I believe that we, as a community, can work TOGETHER to stop the spread.”
   Cleveland County Public Health Center is also encouraging everyone 6 months of age and older to get their flu shot. Flu season in combination with COVID-19 has the potential to severely impact hospital capacity. The flu vaccine is now available at the Cleveland County Public Health Center as well as most healthcare provider offices and minute clinics.
   “The same practices that help prevent coronavirus also help prevent the flu. I urge everyone to do their part to protect loved ones and our community by, again, wearing a face covering, waiting six feet apart, and washing your hands frequently. These simple yet very effective steps can make a huge impact when we all do them together,” said Oliver.
   You can receive local COVID-19 updates by following the Cleveland County Health Department’s Facebook page @clevelandcountyhealthdepartment. You may also view additional county and state COVID-19 data and information on the NC DHHS COVID-19 Dashboard available at: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/dashboard.

###

 

Mobile food pantry at Mt. Calvary Baptist
October 21 

A mobile food pantry on Wednesday, October 21, 10:30 am-12:30pm at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 422 Carolina Ave., Shelby, NC 28150.
Through a USDA grant, Hospice Cleveland County is partnering with Out of the Garden, a food distributor based in Greensboro, to provide 384 free food boxes which will include vegetables, dairy and meat, to Cleveland County families in need.
The distributions will be offered weekly for 6 weeks at various Cleveland County locations to be announced.

International snack food company
to invest $24M in KM 

(October 21 Issue)

(October 21 Issue)

Benestar Brands, an international snack food manufacturer, will create 129 jobs in Cleveland County, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest $24 million to establish a new production facility in Kings Mountain.
“Even during a pandemic, companies like Benestar Brands can expand operations because of our strong workforce, quality transportation network and management of this crisis,” said Governor Cooper.
Benestar Brands, the parent company of Evans Food Group, is a rapidly growing snack food manufacturer focused on better-for-you, high-quality snacks. 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.
“After an extensive search throughout the southeast, we selected Kings Mountain, North Carolina for our newest production facility based on the state’s strong support of the manufacturing industry and talented workforce,” said Carl E. Lee, Jr., CEO of Benestar Brands. “Over the past year, our company has expanded
our portfolio of innovative savory snacks, entering new categories that will be produced at this Plant. We look forward to an ongoing partnership with the State of North Carolina as we expand our    company.”
   “Today’s decision by Benestar Brands shows that North Carolina is a prime destination for companies of all kinds striving to innovate and grow market-share,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “Our state has the assets and amenities to support growing companies realize their strategic objectives.”
   The North Carolina Department of Commerce led the state’s efforts to support Benestar Brands’ decision to expand its operations to North Carolina. The company’s 129 new jobs 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.
   Benestar Brands’ North Carolina expansion will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of the grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s GDP by more than $431 million. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 129 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,212,000 over 12 years. State payments occur only after verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met incremental job creation and investment targets.
Projects supported by JDIG must result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company. The provision ensures all North Carolina communities benefit from the JDIG program.
   In addition to the NC Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Community College System, Cleveland Community College, Cleveland County Government, Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership, and the City of Kings Mountain.
   In a separate press release that same day, Speaker Tim Moore said, “I appreciate all of our local officials partnering with the state to successfully bring Benestar Brands and 130 new jobs to Kings Mountain, maintaining Cleveland County’s economic momentum as North Carolina continues to outpace competitors in this recovery thanks to our excellent business climate.”

 
Schoolboard

School Board candidates
speak out

The competitive local school board race will probably be one of the most watched on Election Day Nov. 3 because of the number of seats to be filled.
Poll-watchers say the race is also significant because the results could also determine the majority Party on the 9-member board.
Ten candidates – 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans- seek 5 open seats on the Cleveland County Board of Education   The candidates are Democrats Samantha Davis, Roger Harris, Richard Hooker, and Michael Tolbert, all of Shelby and Shearra Miller of Kings Mountain. Republicans are Rodney Fitch, Robert Queen, Joel Shores, and Greg Taylor, all of Shelby, and Ronald Humphries of Kings Mountain.
Candidates responded to eight questions in a 90-minute forum at Cleveland Community College sponsored by CCC, C-19TV, The Star, and Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce. C-19TV is broadcasting the forum until Election Day.
There were obvious differences expressed but all candidates gave frank answers to the questions posed by moderators Andy Dedmon and Mike Philbeck of Political Smackdown, a C-19 TV program conducted by CCC broadcasting students.
All candidates were prepared to speak about transparency with the public, safety in the schools and the Corona- virus pandemic, graduation, taxing, and the current policy of how an attorney is used.
Majority of candidates said the school system needs to work on transparency and one political newcomer said on a rating of 10 the record would not top 4.
“I’ve attended meetings, taken notes and submitted questions to the board but I don’t get answers,’’ said Queen.
Joel Shores, who retired from the Sheriff’s Department, called for a culture change. He said he had hired folks and sent them to the schools and they were sent back because they couldn’t read or write on the 9th grade level.
Tolbert said the schools are doing a good job on transparency. “We need to build on that,’’ he added.
Majority of candidates say they favor having an attorney present at all regular board meetings. Some candidates would prefer a local attorney who specializes in education.
“We don’t need an attorney coming from Raleigh who knows nothing about Kings Mountain,’’ was the statement of majority of candidates. Shores, Humphries, Taylor,  Queen,  Fitch  and   Davis agreed that a local attorney would be invested in the community.
“Queen agreed that education law is more complex. “The school system has a $150M budget and the cost of a lawyer is a small cost versus repercussions.
Three incumbents - Roger Harris, board chairman Miller and board Vice-Chair Richard Hooker – defended the current policy, saying an attorney isn’t needed at every meeting and that education law is different.
‘Every dollar you spend for an attorney is one less dollar for the children. Cleveland County Schools has to have legal advice and we rarely need an attorney in the middle of a meeting. Occasionally we do and when that’s necessary the attorney comes in person or by speaker phone,’’ said Harris.
Hooker says education law can be very complex, comprehensive and multi-dimensional.’’ I am very comfortable with the representative we have given reputation and thorough knowledge of education law.”
Candidates had mixed reaction to re- opening schools now for in-person classes but were unanimous that students do their best learning in person. . Fitch, Queen, Shores and Humphries said they favor reopening schools now.
“We’re not close enough,’’ said Taylor. Queen  said a strategy is needed to move along faster and suggested that teachers change classes instead of students changing classes to avoid large groups in the halls. Engineers Fitch and Humphries want to use their analytical skills to come up with a remedy for seating. Davis said it’s necessary to pay attention to the numbers of Covid cases. Incumbent board members said Covid is real and protocols should be observed. Shores said “We need to have a healthy respect for the virus and need to open schools with options. “Students learn best in the classroom but I want them to be safe and healthy,’’ said Miller. “The plan we have in place is the best we can have,’’ said Tolbert.
Majority of candidates favor traditional in-person graduations. “You can put 480 students 10 feet apart   on the football field, that’s a no-brainer,’’ said Humphries.
“I hope to see a return to traditional graduations in Spring, Miller said. “The schools went out of their way to make students feel special like they were. I hope restrictions are lifted but if they are not we need to make sure families and students are healthy and it will be a special graduation,’’ she added
“The graduation process this year was the best it could be,’’ said Taylor. The graduates got more attention. If we are still in restrictions next year I am in favor of the non-traditional graduation.
“Covid isn’t fair, we’ve all had to make changes,’’ said Harris He said he would favor non-traditional graduation if restrictions are not relaxed.
“Students want to see their friends and I don’t see why we can’t have a traditional graduation in 2021,’’ said Fitch. “I will fight for social distancing and a traditional graduation,’’ said Davis..
Most candidates would not support a tax increase for school facilities. Harris said he would support a short-term sales tax for special needs.” “Show me where there’s a need, make cuts,’’ said Fitch. “Get rid of waste,’’ said Davis. Hooker said he would lean more to a referendum for facility needs. Miller said she would support short-term tax for facilities or a bond referendum but spell out the project to the public ahead of time. Queen said the board should follow the example of Cleveland Community College trustees, a diverse board that saved a couple million dollars in two years’ time. I don’t approve a tax increase.”
The newcomers pledged to bring fresh ideas to the board of education and all 10 candidates pledged to be a voice for the students, teachers, employees and parents.
Votecounts

Early Voting kicks-off Thursday
for 17 days

Early voting begins Thursday, Oct. 15 at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 220 N. Watterson Street and continues through Saturday, Oct. 31 - a total of 17 days and 167 hours and Saturdays and Sundays.
“The health and safety of everyone is high priority this year and Kings Mountain is among four large sites in the county opening  early morning, late evenings, Saturday and Sunday hours to give voters every opportunity to safely cast a ballot,’’ say Board of Elections Chairman Doug Sharp and Board of Elections Director Clifton Philbeck.
Evening hours are 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27,28, 29; Saturday hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 17, Oct. 24, Oct. 31; Sunday hours are 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 18, Oct. 25.
Safeguards will be in place as voters cast their ballots and these include PPE’s for all poll workers and voters who don’t bring their own, single-use pens, sanitation stations, and protective barriers. The site will be professionally cleaned throughout the entire 17-day period and election workers will routinely sanitize all surfaces.
Many people are voting by mail this year because of the global pandemic. The deadline to submit a request to the Cleveland County Board of Elections is October 27.
For your ballot to count, the voter and a witness must sign it and you can return it return it  by taking  it to the early voting site, mailing it or dropping it off at the Cleveland County Board of Elections in Shelby by Nov. 3.
Potatoes

Potato Project harvested 3,000 pounds of potatoes

By Loretta Cozart

Cleveland County Potato Projected harvested 30,000 pounds of sweet potatoes two weeks ago at the Botts site and 941 boxes of very nice produce was distributed last week. 
Wet conditions will keep workers out of the field early this week, but they hope to work Wednesday, Thursday and Friday beginning at 9 am.  To prepare for harvest, all vines have been cut away from potatoes, so  they must  be harvested, or they will rot.
The organization is also facing a box shortage. If you are aware of a large supply of boxes, please call Doug Sharp at 704-472-5128. ABC boxes work well for this purpose. 
Bridges

Howard, Bridges left their mark

Grady K. Howard Sr., who died Sept. 6 at age 97, and Norma Falls Bridges, who died Sept. 17 at age 88, left their mark on the Kings Mountain community.
Howard, former Administrator of Kings Mountain Hospital, and Bridges, former city commissioner and the city’s first female elected to this office, left behind a legacy of service and leadership.
“I met Grady Howard in 1953 when he came to work at the hospital and as a young reporter I went to his office from the Herald to start what began a weekly log in the paper – the names and dates of discharged patients,’’ said Lib Stewart, longtime employee of the Herald. The last interview was for a feature section on veterans and Howard was among the few World War II veterans living at the time.
“Grady Howard was a great friend of the Herald and a favorite reader. He told us what he liked  and  often congratulated us on putting out a good hometown newspaper,’’ added Stewart.
Ms. Stewart continued, “I covered city council for years and worked with mayors and elected officials, including Norma Bridges.
“Norma Bridges was always open with the Press. She had a great rapport with voters and swept the field of candidates on election day.  Her fellow council members honored her as mayor pro tempore.
“Bridges was a champion for young people and the Parks & Recreation committee was her favorite place for service. She and her husband attended the games and helped the players in many ways while keeping out of the spotlight, Stewart said.
“This year we have mourned the deaths of many citizens. Their pictures and obituaries in the Herald tell some of their story of their close-knit relationship with family, friends, and the community. Mr. Howard and Mrs. Bridges are among those who left behind a lasting legacy,’’ said  Stewart.
Seniorcenter
Pictured (L-R) Volunteer of the Year Janet Beani and Patrick Center Director Tabitha Thomas. Photo by Lynn Lail

Senior Center hosts drive-thru volunteer appreciation event

Patrick Senior Center honored their volunteers with a special drive-thru Volunteer Appreciation event on September 29 at the center. The theme of this year’s event was “Excellence. Every day, Every time!”
Each volunteer received a catered Chick-Fil-A lunch along with a certificate of appreciation and a zippered multi-purpose bag printed with this year’s theme. The center had 132 volunteers this year giving a total of 10,252 hours of volunteer service.
Janet Beani was recognized as Volunteer of the Year, with 1,104 hours of service this year. Janet joined with the staff to greet other volunteers as they arrived and helped to present their gifts.
   The center also honored members of the “Centennial Club,” members with over 100 hours of service for the year, with a poster of recognition and an additional gift. New volunteers were recognized with a sign listing their names. The outside display also featured a special memorial board for the volunteers who had passed away over the last year.
   Volunteers at the Patrick Center help in many wonderful ways. From helping with the Friday Lunch program, outreach to the community, to folding newsletters, they provide invaluable help to the participants and staff. For more information on how to volunteer with the Patrick Center when it reopens, please call Karen Grigg at 704-734-0447.

Mobile food pantry Oct. 14
at Hope Community Church

A mobile food pantry on Wednesday, October 14, 10:30 am-12:30 pm at Hope Community Church, 1114 S. Lafayette St., Shelby.
Through a USDA grant, Hospice Cleveland County is partnering with Out of the Garden, a food distributor based in Greensboro, to provide 384 free food boxes which will include vegetables, dairy and meat, to Cleveland County families in need.
The distributions will be offered weekly for 6 weeks at various Cleveland County locations to be announced.
Ribbons

City Of KM - Honors Regina Ruff and Ovarian Cancer Awareness

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

City of Kings Mountain hung teal ribbons on the four light polls on the Overhead Bridge in honor of Regina Ruff and Ovarian Cancer Awareness. Pictured (L-R) are Rick Ford and Main Street Coordinator Christy Adkins. Each year, the city honors those who have fought and those who continue to fight Ovarian Cancer with teal ribbons. Photo by Mayor Scott Neisler
 
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Kings Mountain Police will wear pink some during the month of October in honor of those who have fought or continue to fight breast cancer. Photo provided

God stepped in and helped

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Lisa Proctor,
KMPD Chief Of Police


Over 3 months ago, I was approached by some of my staff about doing something special for breast cancer awareness in October. They knew that I am breast cancer survivor and some of them have had family members that have had it in the past as well.
My staff came up with the idea of getting pink polo shirts to wear some during the month to stand and support all of those who have fought and those who continue to fight this devastating disease. The staff did this on a voluntarily basis and those that want to participate were allowed to do so.
I was diagnosed in 2009 with Triple negative Breast cancer with a growth rate of 98%. It was doubling in size in just a few short weeks. By the grace of God, and an amazing team of dedicated doctors and nurses that He put together, I am alive to share the hope that lives in me with others. This will make 11-years past my original diagnosis for me when the odds were stacked against me God stepped in and showed out. I am only here alive by His grace and mercy.
This disease not only effects the ones with the diagnosis, but it has a tremendous effect of the loved ones who are joined in the battle in support of their family and friends. We here at KMPD are just hoping to bring a glimmer of hope to the family of those who had been there in the past and to those who are fighting now.
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Michael and Nakisha Wenzel are the new owners of Big Red’s Café. Photo by Loretta Cozart

New owners for Big Red’s Café

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

On Saturday, October 3, Michael and Nakisha Wenzel took over as the new owners of Big Red’s Café. The couple moved to Kings Mountain a year ago to pastor and restart Kings City Church. In their spare time, they enjoyed visiting the coffee shop.
Former owners Sandie Dee and Ashley Herndon recently decided to sell the business and looked for someone to acquire the cafe. Over the last year, Michael and Nakisha had become regulars and that is how the conversation began. The new owners have kept the same staff and trained in the café for a month in preparation for a smooth transition.
Kings City Church was designed with a coffee shop and community can rent the space for special events. Michael has experience in catering and came to Kings Mountain from Lockheed  Martin in Marietta, Georgia. While there, he helped pastor a church in addition to working his day job. King City Church is the couple’s first assignment pastoring on their own.
   “We love the Kings Mountain and have a heart for the community. Buying Big Red’s Café isn’t a great leap from what we’ve been doing at the church, and Sandie and Ashley have been so gracious and helpful through the transition,” said Nakisha.
   Michael added, “Nakisha handles the register and doesn’t know a stranger; she is welcoming and does a great job in that role. I’m more comfortable preparing the food. Together we make a great team.”
   The couple have plans to expand the café into the empty unit next door, offering a community meeting space for special events while providing more seating during regular hours.
   “Michael has experience in carpentry and construction, so he’ll build the sliding barn doors separating the spaces and allowing for private parties and events,” Nakisha shared. “He’ll also construct two community tables that seat 10 – 12 people. We want to create a welcoming place where people come to gather.”
   Café hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 am to 7 pm and Sunday, noon to 5 pm.
Landclearing

Land being cleared for business park

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart

Land near Sara Lee Road, just off Canterbury Road at I-85, was annexed into Kings Mountain during the September 29 city council meeting. By Saturday, October 3, all rezoning signs were gone, and logging trucks filed with timber from the site lined the dirt road leading to the property.
According to city documents, the 119.25 acre site is being developed into a business park. Portions of the property were in both Cleveland County and Gaston Counties, making the parcels hard to sell due to the tricky tax situation that created for the owner.
City council unanimously approved a Contiguous Annexation Petition by Matthews Land Company and rezoned the property for Heavy Industry. 

City Council approves $1.12M in budget
expenditures; annexes land into city

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


   During the September 29 City Council Meeting, $1.12M was added to the city’s General Fund Budget. Items funded include:
• $30,000 for tree trimming around utility lines
• $50,000 for software expenditures
• $55,000 to budget proceeds from a grant award and establish an expenditure item
• $25,000 for LED install lights on Crown Court, Duke Energy had trouble with rock costing the city more
• $25,000 to install Wi-Fi in Patriots Park
• $50,000 to budget expenditures for Phase II Streetscape Planning
• $417,701 for Server/Storage Project IT
• $139,709 for Connectivity Project IT
• $325,183 for a new garbage truck
   Finance Director Chris Conner reported to council that the city was recovering well financially from the pandemic and is ready to move forward on projects. He explained that the city delayed some expenditures due to the financial uncertainty the Coronavirus brought.
“We aren’t 100% back to normal, but I am comfortable in moving forward with the purchase of a new garbage truck,” Costner said. “Our oldest garbage truck is 18-years old and it constantly needs costly repairs. It just needs to be replaced.”
Conner also reported that the auditors visited last month, and that the city’s fund balance remains at 51%, the same as last year. He also noted that he intends to have no findings, no issues, and no audit adjustments when their audit is received.
   Mayor Neisler added, “We are in the best shape (financially) of any city in the state of North Carolina.”
   Four Public Hearings were scheduled for Tuesday, October 27 at 6 pm to:
• Consider a request from Brinkley Properties of KM, owner of 600 W. King Street and Ann Lin Chen, owner of at 604 W. King Street, by her authorized agent, David Brinkley, to rezone both properties from Neighborhood Business to Residential Office.
• Consider a request from Kings Mountain Land Development Partners, LLC to rezone property that fronts Dixon School Road and Compact School Road from Heavy Industrial to General Business.
• Consider a financial incentive agreement for Project CHIPPY.
• Consider  a financial incentive agreement for TRIPLE PLAY.
In other business, city council voted in favor of a request by Matthews Land Company, LLC to rezone three parcels of land located in Gaston County into Kings Mountain zoned for Heavy Industry. Motion was made by Councilmember Keith Miller and the vote was unanimous.
City council also voted to approve and Ordinance extending the corporate limits of the City of Kings Mountain for Matthews Land Company, LLC’s property located in Gaston County containing 119.25 acres. Motion was made by Councilmember Annie Thombs and the vote was unanimous.
City council voted to approve and Ordinance extending the corporate limits of the City of Kings Mountain for property located at 245 Dixon School Road, containing 22.46 acres. Motion was made by Councilmember Jay Rhodes and the vote was unanimous.
A motion to adopt a Resolution to award the high bid in the amount of $300,000 from E5 Holdings, LLC, on property consisting of 17.11 acres and authorize the mayor to execute required documentation to complete the sail of the property. Discussion followed, noting that 5 of the 17.11 acres were preserved for a right-of-way for utilities and an extension of the Gateway Trail . Motion was made by Councilman Jay Rhodes. Vote was unanimous.
   Codes Director Clint Houser asked council to approve an Ordinance to vacate and close a dwelling located at 102 Waterson Street, because it was determined not to be fit for human habitation as outlined in the City of Kings Mountain Housing Code. In discussion, council confirmed that nobody will be allowed into the house without proper building permits. The owner has one year to repair the property before the city can demolish the dwelling. Motion made by Keith Miller. Vote was unanimous.
   Mayor Neisler took a moment to remember Norma Bridges as Kings Mountain’s first woman City Council Member passed away recently. Bridges took office in the late 1980s and Mayor Neisler wanted to acknowledge her service to the City of Kings Mountain.

Great Pumpkin Story Walk
in Patriots Park

(October 7, 2020 Issue)

By Loretta Cozart


The Great Pumpkin Story Walk kicked-off the Halloween season in Patriots Park on October 1 and continues through October 31. Opening day brought families who enjoyed the story together and posed for photos.
City of Kings Mountain decorated Patriots Park with pumpkins, hay bales, dried corn stalks and mums. And what Peanuts themed story walk could be complete without Linus’ Pumpkin Patch?
Bring the family and enjoy a beautiful fall day at Patriots Park, read It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! storybook together and make timeless memories with your children.
The Great Pumpkin Story Walk is a join effort between Mauney Memorial Library and Kings Mountain Special Events.

Property being cleared for Casino

(October 7, 2020)

Grading on the 17-acre Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort property continued last week. All trees have been cleared from the property and a retention pond has been created on the back left portion of the property.
Photos by Loretta Cozart

 
Mountainmen

The Overmountain Men and the Campaign to Kings Mountain, Oct 1

Join the Overmountain Victory Trail Association as they present a first-person interpretive story-telling of the Overmountain Men and the Battle of Kings Mountain, a turning point in the Revolutionary War.
The Overmountain Men and the Campaign to Kings Mountain will be held on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at  6:00 pm.
The program will take place outside on the Visitor Center Patio at South Mountains State Park, 3001 South Mountains Park Ave, Connelly Springs, NC 28612.
This program was designed with your safety in mind.  A 6-feet social distancing will be maintained in the outdoor area. To keep everyone healthy, we ask that you postpone attending the program if you have experienced fever of 100.4 with cough or muscle aches within the past 10 days, or if you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
For more information call  828-433-4772.
Greatpumpkin

It’s the Great Pumpkin
Charlie Brown Storywalk
in KM, October 1-31

The City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department partners with Mauney Memorial Library to present It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown StoryWalk.
This unique StoryWalk features the timeless Peanuts tale of Linus Van Pelt’s dream to meet the Great Pumpkin! Located at Patriots Park in Downtown Kings Mountain, this safe, outdoor event will begin October 1 and run throughout the month of October. This month long event allows for families to visit at their leisure to prevent any mass gatherings. Photo ops will be available in Linus’ pumpkin patch. Festive music will fill the air.
“Mauney Memorial Library has hosted the StoryWalk experience at the Gateway Trail”, says Christina Martin, of Mauney Memorial Library. “We placed pages of a children’s storybook along the walking trail for families to enjoy. We are excited to partner with the Special Events Department to host this event at Patriots Park.”
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.
“This passive activity connects literacy, the great outdoors, physical activity, and the magic of the holiday season,” says Christy Conner, Special Events Director for the City of Kings Mountain. “How can you and your family participate? It’s simple. Bring your imagination, take a walk, read a book and have an adventure.”
Patriots Park is located at 220 South Railroad Avenue in Kings Mountain. For more information, call the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department at 704-730-2101, or visit their website at www.kingsmountainevents.com.
Christyadkins
Christy Adkins

Adkins takes over as new
Main Street Coordinator

The City of Kings Mountain welcomes the city’s new Main Street Coordinator, Christy Adkins.  Christy has five years of experience working within the Main Street America Program. Her background in construction, renovation and retail gives her the knowledge which has allowed her to be successful in her previous positions in Cross Plains, TN and most recently in Angier, NC.
Christy has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan and an M.A. in Cultural Resource Management from Adams State University in Colorado. Her passion is to make wherever she is a better place than she found it, and lives by the motto that “Transformation begins with a small change, again and again.”
Her hobbies are renovating old homes, refinishing furniture and having dogs. Christy has two dogs now, a 13-year-old rescued Dachshund and a 17-year-old Papillion. Christy’s other family includes a step-daughter who lives in Michigan, a son and two granddaughters who live in Kentucky and a daughter who is finishing the last year of her B.A. in Fine Art at KSU in Georgia.
Having been born and raised in Michigan, she has also lived in Florida, Georgia, and for 25 years in Tennessee. Of all of these locations, she prefers North Carolina for the diversity of having mountains, ocean, quaint small towns and thriving metropolitan areas in a vibrant economy.
Christy looks forward to meeting the people of Downtown Kings Mountain and to being the advocate for them and their businesses. She has a passion for Main Street and is proud to be part of the Local, State and National Main Street Programs. She is excited to be included on the team helping to bring new growth to Kings Mountain and to working on the upcoming city initiatives.  
When asked what she’ll be focusing on initially, Christy said, “Currently I’m going through files and familiarizing myself with city ordinances. I’m getting up to speed with ongoing projects and look forward to meeting more of the downtown businesspeople. Between that, meeting my board and city staff, it’s been a good first week on the job.”

Ccc

NCDHHS releases COVID-19 exposure notification app

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has launched a COVID-19 Exposure Notification app called ‘SlowCOVIDNC’, which began on Sept. 22. The app will help North Carolinians slow the spread of the virus by alerting them when they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is completely anonymous and does not collect, store or share personal information or location data.
SlowCOVIDNC, which leverages Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification System (ENS), alerts users who have the app if they have been in close contact with an individual who later tests positive for COVID-19. It is voluntary to download and use and designed to enhance the state’s existing contact tracing efforts. The app completed Beta testing earlier this month and can now be downloaded for free through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
“With SlowCOVIDNC App, North Carolinians have another powerful tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 right in their pockets. Downloading SlowCOVIDNC is a practical step each of us can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our state,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.
Here’s how SlowCOVIDNC will work:
Download the free SlowCOVIDNC Exposure Notification app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and enable Bluetooth and Exposure Notifications. Bluetooth must be on for the app to work.
After opting-in to receive notifications, the app will generate an anonymous token for the device. A token is a string of random letters which changes every 10-20 minutes and is never linked to identity or location. This protects app user privacy and security.
Through Bluetooth, phones with the SlowCOVIDNC app work in the background (minimizing battery) to exchange these anonymous tokens every few minutes. Phones record how long they are near each other and the Bluetooth signal strength of their exchanges in order to estimate distance.
If an app user tests positive for COVID-19, the individual may obtain a unique PIN to submit in the app. This voluntary and anonymous reporting notifies others who have downloaded the app that they may have been in close contact with someone in the last 14 days who has tested positive.
PINs will be provided to app users who receive a positive COVID-19 test result through a web-based PIN Portal, by contacting the Community Care of North Carolina call center, or by contacting their Local Health Department.
SlowCOVIDNC periodically downloads tokens from the server from the devices of users who have anonymously reported a positive test. Phones then use records of the signal strength and duration of exposures with those tokens to calculate risk and determine if an app user has met a threshold to receive an exposure notification.
NCDHHS is partnering with institutions of higher education, local businesses and influential North Carolinians to promote SlowCOVIDNC and educate the public about how widespread use of the app can slow the spread of COVID-19.
To learn more about SlowCOVIDNC and to download the app, visit https://www.covid19.ncdhhs.gov/slowcovidnc, which also includes an FAQ.
Adventribbon cutting
Advent Academy held its ribbon cutting on September 25. Pictured (L-R) Ana Camaj, Charity Robinette, Mayor Scott Neisler and Amanda Holland. Photo provided

Advent Academy ribbon cutting

Advent Academy held a ribbon cutting Friday, September 25 at 230 Oak Grove Road in Kings Mountain.
Advent Academy is for pre-school children ages 2½ through Pre-K with classes being held Monday through Friday from 8:50 am to 12:45 pm. Classes will begin on Thursday, October 1.
Advent Academy’s experienced staff and small classes allow for safety while providing a caring and fun environment. The Academy hopes to meet a need to provide quality care to students displaced by COVID-19 pandemic. Precautions to ensure safety and cleanliness are in place and all state recommendations will be followed.
Registration is underway and anyone interested or have questions can contact Advent Academy at advdentacademy554@gmail.com or call 704-685-6622.

Land near casino sells for $2.725M

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain Land Development Partners, LLC purchased 113.32 acres adjacent to the casino for $2.725M from Pyramid Motor Company, according to the deed recorded with the Cleveland County Register of Deeds office on August 3. The transaction closed on July 31.
The manager of Kings Mountain Land Development Partners, LLC is CHT Enterprises, LLC according to the 2020 Florida Limited Liability Company’s Annual Report filed on June 16. However, their 2019 Annual Report states the manager is AGH Manager, LLC.
On September 3, Kings Mountain Land Development Partners signed a Deed of Trust with ASE Solutions, LLC for a loan of $2,900,000. The maximum amount that can be borrowed, according to the agreement, is $5,367,109.62.
ASE Solutions, LLC is managed by AGH Manager, LLC according to their corporate filing in Florida dated July 23, 2015. AGH Manager, LLC’s 2020 Annual Report shows the authorized persons for the corporation are Alan H. Ginsburg, Gene Harris and Aaron Gorovitz.

Gardner-Webb hosts virtual internship fair October 28

Are you looking for an intern? If your company or organization offers internships that allow college students to acquire practical work experience, don’t miss this opportunity. Gardner-Webb University is hosting a virtual internship fair and students are looking for work opportunities.
Gardner-Webb’s internship fair will be held Wednesday, October 28 from 10 am-1 pm and will be completely virtual using the Handshake platform. Handshake is the largest employer to student career management site in the world.
You will have the opportunity to video chat with students looking to partner with you to get the skills and experience they need for the real world of work. This event is completely free! Register using the link below. We’ve attached step by step directions here for registering and scheduling your availability in Handshake.
Need help developing an internship position? Gardner-Webb will guide you through every step of the process to develop opportunities that best fit your organization's need. Email us at career@gardner-webb.edu.
   Register today at:  https://app.joinhandshake.com/career_fairs/19220/employer_preview?token=rNZceFq23YejMMkRkSDWn2h_hylek3QK7WMCPAon8jC6BuMNwEJJeg

Medicare Beneficiaries should compare plans during open enrollment
 

Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey reminds Medicare beneficiaries to compare and evaluate their current plans and make necessary changes during the annual Open Enrollment Period. Medicare plans and prices change. It is important for Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of the Open Enrollment Period by contacting local Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) counselors to save money, improve your coverage or both.
The Open Enrollment Period begins on Oct. 15, 2020 and runs for eight weeks to give you enough time to review and make changes to your Medicare coverage. Changes must be made by Dec. 7, 2020 to guarantee your coverage will begin without interruption on Jan. 1, 2021.
It’s important to contact your local SHIIP counselor before deciding about coverage because you may be able to receive more affordable and better Medicare health and/or drug plan options in your area. For example, even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, there may be another plan in your area that covers your health care and/or drugs at a better price.
SHIIP is a division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance and offers free, unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance issues. In addition to helping Medicare beneficiaries compare and enroll in plans during the Open Enrollment Period, SHIIP counselors can help people find out if they are eligible for Medicare cost savings programs.
Here are some of the ways to review and compare plans available for 2021:
• Get one-on-one help from your local SHIIP office by calling the Patrick Senior Center at 704-734-0447.
• Get one-on-one help from SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, by calling 1-855-408-1212, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also request in-person assistance in your home county.
• Visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are
• available in your area and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.
• Review the Medicare & You handbook. It was mailed to people with Medicare in September.
• Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
For more information about SHIIP and the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, call 1-855-408-1212 or visit www.ncshiip.com.
Roy cooper 2

Additional $40M COVID for small businesses

Some North Carolina small businesses that have experienced extraordinary disruption to their operations due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic may benefit from a $40 million relief program to help offset fixed costs like rent, mortgage interests and utility bills, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – powering our local communities and giving back in so many ways. They deserve our support, and this new initiative can help them weather this tough time,” said Governor Cooper.
The NC Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR), administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, can provide up to $20,000 in relief funds per qualifying business location.  Business applicants from certain industry sectors that have not been able to operate during the COVID period may apply for up to two of their business locations.
Applicants can apply for up to four months of mortgage interest or rent expenses, and utility expenses.  The help offers relief for some of the fixed costs a business cannot easily control on its own.
Applications to the program should open next week and will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Applicants must certify that they were closed during the period April 1 through July 31; they expect to be able to operate after the COVID crisis has passed; and they have not been reimbursed by any other federal source for the expenses for which they seek reimbursement through this program.
Eligible applicants include:
• Amusement parks
• Banquet Halls (with catering staff)
• Bars, taverns, night clubs, cocktail lounges
• Bingo parlors
• Bowling alleys/centers
• Dance halls
• Indoor fitness and recreation centers
• Motion picture/movie theaters (except drive-ins)
• Museums
The Department of Commerce will begin accepting applications soon.  Business leaders can learn about the MURR program by registering for one of the free educational webinars offered by the Department of Commerce over the next two weeks.  
   For the webinar schedule and additional information on the program, visit www.nccommerce.com/murr.
   Governor Cooper and NC DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen also announced that effective October 2, large outdoor venues would be permitted to open at 7% capacity with key safety precautions in place. The announcement was made today so these locations could begin putting safety measures in place in order to operate.
Large entertainment venues are those that can seat over 10,000.
“We will continue analyzing our data and indicators as we determine how to move forward safely in other areas that may be included in the new order on October 2nd. In it, we hope to ease some other restrictions, while still keeping safety protocols like masks, social distancing, and mass gathering limits in place,” said Governor Cooper.
   “With more things open and people moving around more, we need everyone to stay vigilant about wearing a mask, waiting six feet apart, and washing their hands often,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Our progress is fragile and will take our continued hard to work to protect it.”
State and public health officials will continue watching the key COVID-19 trends over the next week to determine if any further restrictions can be eased when the current Executive Order expires October 2 at 5 pm.
Timmoore

NC lawmakers file
federal lawsuit alleging
backroom elections deal

North Carolina lawmakers filed a federal lawsuit to stop “an alleged backroom elections deal struck by Democrats’ top D.C. attorney with his former client Gov. Roy Cooper and state Attorney General Josh Stein” on Saturday, according to a press release issued on September 26 by NC House Speaker Tim Moore.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and follows a Friday press conference “that detailed the secret settlement reached by the Democratic Attorney General with a Democratic Party front group he recently gave the keynote address to at an annual convention - on elections.” A series of press releases this week by House Speaker Tim Moore laid out the case.
The settlement comes after the State Board of Elections previously tried to rewrite absentee ballot laws in May but was unanimously rejected by the North Carolina Rules Review Commission.
The Governor then filed a lawsuit seeking to disband the commission, which has protected North Carolinians against executive overreach since 1986.
In early September, a three-judge state court panel upheld absentee ballot laws the settlement now seeks to undo.
The North Carolina legislature and Governor further approved the Bipartisan Elections Act of 2020 this summer, preserving and reforming many of the important absentee ballot.
When confronted Friday regarding the settlement, “Attorney General Stein dismissed a reporter’s concerns as political noise,” the press release states.
On Thursday, two Republican members of
the State Board of Elections resigned saying they felt misled by the state attorney general’s office and staff when they agreed to a settlement weakening absentee ballot laws.
   “These resignations raise serious questions about the integrity of the Cooper-controlled State Board of Elections, Josh Stein’s Department of Justice, and the circumstances of how this collusive settlement was put forward,” Speaker Moore said.
   “Deceiving the minority Republican members of the board is completely unacceptable and damages faith in our electoral institutions. We are continuing to explore all of our legal options.”
   Over 1 million North Carolinians requested their absentee ballots, and over 220,000 returned them prior to the State Board of Elections attempting to arbitrarily change state law, the lawsuit notes, asserting the consent agreement thus violates the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
    According to Saturday’s release, the board is administering the election in an arbitrary and nonuniform manner that inhibits North Carolinians who have already cast their ballot from voting on an equal basis with citizens who would vote after, the lawsuit contends, actions that would allow otherwise unlawful votes to be counted, thereby deliberately diluting and debasing lawful votes.
   “By usurping the General Assembly’s constitutional prerogative to “[p]rescribe” the “Times, Places and Manners” of the federal election, the Board is violating the Elections Clause,” the lawmakers’ complaint asserts.
   “This agreement was official action, taken without constitutional or statutory authority, to influence the 2020 election after voting already started in a disgrace to American due process,” Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said.
   “We have asked the court to preserve North Carolinians’ right to a fair and nonpartisan elections system free from backroom schemes launched after over 200,000 voters have already cast their ballots.”
   Major election changes included in the “consent agreement” released well-after voting has already begun in North Carolina include:
    •    Rewriting the statutory deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots.
    •    Subverting the absentee ballot witness requirement agreed to in the Bipartisan Elections Act of 2020.
    •    Rewriting the statutory definition of “postmark”
    •    Weakening protections against ballot harvesting
   State House Speaker Tim Moore released the following statement:
   “Roy Cooper and Josh Stein are attempting to gut the integrity of North Carolina voting laws by colluding with partisan Democratic attorneys from Washington D.C. while ballots are already being cast in this Presidential Election.”
   “These actions are utterly lawless, and we will be reviewing them to assess all of our legal options.”
Beachblastsmall
Scene from KM’s 2019 BeachBlast Festival. (Photo provided by Angela Padgett)

BeachBlast Festival nominated for CBMA Event of the Year

The City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department announced the nomination of the 2019 BeachBlast Festival for the Carolina Beach Music Awards Event of the Year. BeachBlast was one of six events nominated for this prestigious award.
“This nomination 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 BeachBlast Festival has grown to be recognized across the State of NC and the Southeast.”
“The Special Events team is honored by this nomination,” stated Christy Conner, Special Events Director. “I would like to express my sincere thanks to our team of staff and volunteers. This 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 BeachBlast 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 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 CBMA has named BeachBlast 2019 as one of the top 6 events in the Southeast 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 enjoy us in 2021 and see what all the fun is about!”
The Carolina Beach Music Awards will be held virtually, November 15th, 2020. The awards ceremony will air online at www.949thesurf.com. The time of the event has yet to be determined.
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.
Chief bill harris
CHIEF HARRIS

Catawba Land Trust - New
Legislation introduced

The Catawba Nation today announced its support and appreciation of Tuesday's introduction of the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act (H.R. 8255) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC) was joined in introducing the bipartisan bill by Congressman Jim Clyburn (SC), Congressman William Timmons (SC), Congressman Dan Bishop (NC), Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC), Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC), Congressman David Price (NC) and Congressman Joe Wilson (SC).
The bipartisan bill reaffirms the actions earlier this year of the Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, in taking 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation.
The Catawba Nation’s aboriginal  lands  extend to six North Carolina counties and farther north in the Piedmont of North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College.
 “The newly introduced legislation demonstrates the ongoing support from members of Congress in righting historical wrongs against the Catawba people,” said Chief Bill Harris of the Catawba Nation.
 “We are pleased that this legislation will reaffirm the Interior Department’s action recognizing the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to the lands in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. These are the lands of not just our ancestors, but also the hundreds of Catawba citizens that reside there today,” Harris said.
   Harris noted that it is not unusual for Congress to reaffirm land-trust decisions by the Interior Department. The “Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act” from 2014 and the “Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act” from 2019 are recent examples of such an action.

Kmresidentjimbo connerlarge
Jimbo Conner and girlfriend Angie Shugart with their six-year old son. (Photo provided)

KM resident robbed
and shot in Charlotte

On Tuesday, September 15, Angie Shugart was robbed and shot in broad daylight at a gas station on Lawyers Road in Charlotte. She was hospitalized at Atrium Main in critical condition with gunshot wounds to her neck and face. The gunshots left devastating injuries and dozens of surgeries ahead, the family was told.
Angie and her partner, Jimbo Conner, have a 6-year old son. When Jimbo visited Angie on Saturday at the hospital, she was awake and able to use a communication board. Via a phone call, their son was able to tell his mother he loves her as Jimbo held the phone to her ear. For three days, the hospital had kept Angie sedated due to the severity of her injuries.
Upon hearing the news that Angie had been shot, Jimbo’s sister, Christy King, sprang into action to help the family. Christy also started the Angie Shugart Personal Emergency Fundraiser of Facebook.
Angie took care of Jimbo’s business for him. He is disabled, and Angie was his helper in life and business. Their car is considered a crime scene and was impounded and by the police. Unfortunately, Jimbo’s wallet was in the car, leaving him without identification or bank card. This has been both an emotional and financial struggle for their family.
For the next few weeks Jimbo will not be able to work due to caring for their 6-year old and traveling back and forth to the hospital to visit Angie. In the meantime, bills still need to be paid.
King shared, “I will be able to pay his bills out of this account, so he doesn't have to worry about it.  Anything you give will go 100% towards bills, groceries, parking fees, medical needs for their family.”
“This has hit them hard and Angie did not deserve this random act of violence. If the Lord lays it on your heart to help in this way, please help but most importantly, please pray for complete healing of Angie,” Christy asked.
Alliance bank and trust
Alliance Bank & Trust moves to 1113 Shelby Road. (Photo by Gary Smart)

Alliance Bank & Trust moves to Shelby Road
 

By Loretta Cozart

On September 8, Alliance Bank & Trust opened its doors at their new location at 1113 Shelby Road in Kings Mountain. For more than a decade, the bank maintained a presence in downtown.
“We enjoyed being in downtown Kings Mountain but decided to move from a convenience standpoint,” said Dan Boyd, President and CEO of the bank. “We had the chance to purchase the old credit union location and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. There is plenty of parking and two drive through lanes. With COVID-19, that means a lot to our customers. And the new locations has great visibility.”
Just 16 years earlier, On September 8, 2004, Alliance Bank & Trust opened for business after raising over $11.7 million and being granted a State Bank Charter. The bank currently has four branches, two in Gastonia, one in Kings Mountain and one in Shelby.
Alliance Bank & Trust prides itself in being local, since all decision makers live nearby. The bank’s leadership shares a vision to make a difference in their communities—offering local decision-making to consumers and businesses in their market and assisting with economic development.
   “We are one of the last locally owned banks in the area and we want to remain independent. Kings Mountain has been very good for us and we look forward to serving the community. Our customers absolutely love the drive through. We are also open by appointment, wearing masks and following all safety protocols,” Boyd said.

Battle of km videos2

Videos highlight new aspects of KM battle

By April Shauf
Special to Community First Media

If you have lived in Cleveland County for very long, you probably think you already know the story of the battle of Kings Mountain. But a new video series is poised to offer new information and insights into the fight that took place 240 years ago this October.

Offered through the Kings Mountain Historical Museum (KMHM), the video trilogy will be released in three installments Sept. 18 – Oct. 18, 2020. Each 40-minute episode will be released in sequence with the previous episodes remaining available for the duration of the offering. All will be free to watch via the link on the museum website, www.kingsmountainmuseum.org.

“This video trilogy is especially appropriate for those who think they already know the story of Kings Mountain,” says video producer Randell Jones. “In this series we reveal new stories and new heroes and expand the story onto new landscapes. If you think you know Kings Mountain, we invite you to watch and hear what you’ve been missing.”

Jones, along with two other independent scholars, carefully researched the new history revealed in the video series. Shelby native John Robertson, a well-known Revolutionary War aficionado, was among the contributors.

“This year is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, and it is the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain,” says Jones. “If it had not been for the pandemic, commemorative events would have been held throughout North Carolina along the trail, including presentations to school groups by reenactors in period dress telling the story of the Overmountain Men of 1780 and the Battle of Kings Mountain. With so many museums and libraries closed, we thought this would be a way we could still tell the story during a time of social distancing.”

According to Jones, the story of the battle of Kings Mountain is an involved tale.

“It is more than just the battle,” says Jones. “In fact, the story of the men gathering from across western North Carolina, including what is now eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia, is what prompted the creation of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail in 1980. That story of the muster, the march, the pursuit and the battle is what is shared in the first video, ‘The American Spirit, 1780.’”

South Carolina militiamen were also at the battle in great numbers, along with militiamen from Lincoln County. “We now know that these two groups of militiamen marched as far as anyone else to get to a battle that was in their own backyard,” says Jones. “And that new story is the reason for the second video, ‘A Broader, Bolder Kings Mountain Story.’”

Jones says that the third video starts where most people stop paying attention to the story.

“This is the story of what happened after the loyalists surrendered,” says Jones. “The patriot militiamen marched 800 prisoners away on a death march across the NC countryside for two weeks. So, the story continues and gets larger.”

January Costa, KMHM director and curator, says that this video series works well with the museum’s goals.

“The Kings Mountain Historical Museum was contacted by local author Randell Jones with a proposal for us to host this video trilogy,” says Costa. “As soon as I saw the proposal, I knew that it would be a perfect fit for us this fall. Since this fall is the 40th anniversary of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, we wanted a way to educate the public and commemorate the Battle of Kings Mountain. The pandemic has caused a lot of restrictions and the closure of our museum, so this is a great way for us to continue to get this story to the public in a virtual manner.”

For more information or to view a trailer for the video series, visit the KMHM website at

www.kingsmountainmuseum.org/events.

City utilities update

By Loretta Cozart

In a special called session of city council on Thursday, September 10, a utilities update was presented by Energy Services Director / Assistant City Manager Nick Hendricks. Updates were given on Electric Utility Capital Projects and two new substations.

The city currently has three substations that are in excellent shape, according to Hendricks. However, growth along Kings Mountain Boulevard is coming and the city needs to prepare for it now by adding two additional substations.

The city plans to tap onto Duke Energy’s 100,000 volt transmission line near the AT&T Datacenter. The route would come into town near Dick Elam Road and King Street. It will travel along King Street to a substation that is planned in that area, but the city hasn’t yet chosen the location. “By the way we build and landscape the substation, folks won’t even know it is there,” Hendricks said. The second new substation will be further down Kings Mountain Blvd., closer to the Margrace Roundabout.

Work on the project began in August on the engineering and design phase. During the first quarter of 2021, the project will be let out for bids. Construction is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2021 with completion planned for September 2022.

Cost for the project is estimated at $15.2 M. With financing, the cost is projected to be $16.75M over 20 years. Yearly payments are estimated at $870,000 beginning with the 2021-2022 budget year. The cost for rights-of-way land purchases and substation purchases are not included in these costs. Plans are for the city to bring bid packages to council for approval with plans on how to finance, in the second quarter of 2021.

According to Hendricks, the city’s electric and gas have recovered 100% from the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and he assured council and citizens, “There will not be an electrical increase to build out this capital project.”

The city’s three substations can handle the current load because the city can switch between them when demand gets high. However, Henricks advised council that “economic development is coming, and we have to be prepared for that capacity.”

The new line along Kings Mountain Boulevard will eliminate what Hendricks referred to as back alley exposure. Both Country Creek and the Life Enrichment Center will be moved onto the new line on Kings Mountain Blvd. in the next few weeks.

Other capital projects will remove Mountain View Townhomes from the mainline and create a loop within the complex. This should improve mainline reliability and give the complex a two-way feed to assist in outage control.

Additional LED lighting is being added to several areas near I-85, including Broadview, Floyd Street, I-85 to Woodlake Parkway, Canterbury Road and Sarah Lee Access Road.

The city is currently working in these areas to extend the industrial circuit to create reliability and rerouting flexibility, as well as to serve new economic projects along Woodlake Drive and Sarah Lee Access Road. They are also reconducting section on Canterbury Road to extend mainline circuit to connect to new build.

After the meeting, Mayor Neisler shared a slide he used in a presentation on C19 regarding the impact of the new substations on the City of Kings Mountain. Currently, the city has an electrical capacity of 40 MW. The two new substations will increase the capacity by 30 MW, bringing the capacity to 70 MW.

Henricks pointed out, “Economic Development is coming our way, whether you like it or not. We have to be prepared for the needed capacity. We are preparing for growth on the 74 fallout area, down Kings Mountain Blvd., out to the Bethware area along with the eastern part of Gaston County. Those areas are our growing points.”

“You’ve got to get yourself in a position to not only serve the customers that are growing in our town,” he said, “you’ve got to have the capacity to handle any folks that may be coming in.”

“The casino will be served off of the transmission. We will build a line over to them with their own substation. Even if there were no casino, everything we’ve talked about today would have to be built,” Hendricks concluded.

Next week, the Herald will report on the city’s Natural Gas update, a purchase agreement for additional natural gas capacity and commodity, and a proposed new wastewater rates for specific customers directed to Gastonia.
Conceptual drawing of casino area
Conceptual drawing of Two Kings Casino Resort. (Photo provided)

Conceptual drawing of casino area released

By Loretta Cozart
A conceptual drawing of development around Catawbas Two Kings Casino Resort shows plans for the area, with adjacent development that encompasses a live, work, and play concept in close proximity of one another.

The development allows casino guests to stay nearby, while workers could lease apartments or buy homes within a short distance of their jobs.

While these plans are subject to change, developers currently plan apartments, hotels, restaurants, outparcels, residential housing, and a gas and travel center.

Single family residential lots, 50’x150’, are part of the development. As of now, 671 lots are planned, with the potential for another 160 or more lots depending upon land acquisition.

Eleven apartment buildings, two outparcels, and six hotels are also planned. Each hotel will have four levels with 120 rooms according to the drawing key, which equates to 720 hotel rooms.

The drawing also indicates that Dixon School Road will be rerouted through the complex to allow for more residential housing at the perimeter. Tim Mine Road will also be extended to a new road adjacent to I-85 to bring traffic past the gas and travel center.

The developer is also paying for a new a diverging diamond interchange (DDI) at I-85Exit 5/Dixon School Road. “The DDI moves high volumes of traffic through an intersection without increasing the number of lanes and traffic signals while providing easier access to an interstate,” according Larry Carpenter, Jr. Professional Engineer for the NC Department of Transportation.

In an Economic Impact Study done by London and Associates, they predict advantages for Cleveland County to be:

• 2,600 direct jobs

• 656 indirect and 323 induced jobs

• $273 million Facility investment

• $208 million in economic activity

• $100 million total labor income annually

• $5.1 million per year in total sales, property taxes

• $428 million in annual impact
Landnearcasinosmall

Land near casino sells for $1.77M

By Loretta Cozart
One-hundred-eighteen acres of land near the casino sold for $1.77M on Monday morning. The property, once owned by the Humphries family, is located just southeast of the I-85 bridge on Dixon School Road. The property is zoned R-20.

The buyer is Let's Roll Holdings, LLC and their address is listed as Greenville, SC on the deed. Bill McCarter of Foothills Commercial Real Estate was the buyer’s agent and the closing was handled by The Schweppe Law Firm, PA of Shelby.
Battleofkm sar at us monumentsmall
Battle of KM – Sons of the American Revolution at US monument. (photo provided)

Battle of Kings Mountain commemoration goes virtual

The National Society Sons of the American Revolution announced on September 10 that the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Kings Mountain will be held virtually.

The National Society Sons of the American Revolution, The Kings Mountain Chapter, North Carolina SAR, and the Daniel Morgan Chapter, South Carolina SAR are hosting the virtual event and invite SAR, DAR, CAR and other patriotic societies to participate in a virtual commemoration and wreath presentation ceremony to be held on Zoom.

The meeting will open at 10 am on October 7 and the virtual ceremony will commence at 10:30 am.

Questions about the event can be directed to Joe Culik, jc@fairview-law.com
Kmhistoricalmuseumlogonew

Kings Mountain Historical Museum reopens - Reverse Raffle and Auction days away


The Kings Mountain Historical Museum re-opened on Tuesday, September 15, just days before their biggest fundraiser of the year.

Kings Mountain Historical Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and will also hold their 17th Annual Reverse Raffle and Auction between September 18 through 27.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on the museum and the need to social distance for safety measures, they have moved the reverse raffle and auction to an online format. The museum will not have an in-person event this year.

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, KMHM also had a special logo created. The logo utilizes a design that spells out KMHM with historically significant themes for Kings Mountain. The top left block with tools is for the mining history, the top right is for the settlement of the area with a wagon wheel, the bottom left tracks is for the railroad history, and the bottom right is a loom for our textile history.

The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret history through exhibits, educational programs, tours, and other appropriate means, in order to foster a deeper understanding of the history of our community and the region.

If you’d like to support the museum and purchase a ticket for the raffle or get more info on their auction, contact the museum at 704-739-1019 during their new hours: Tuesday through Friday from 10 am to 3 pm.
Patrick senior center
Drop off non-perishable food in the blue barrel at Patrick Senior Center’s back door.

Senior Center needs food for older adults

The Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain provides donated food to more than 50 older adults in our area every week. According to Patrick Senior Center Director Tabitha Thomas, “We need food donations to continue helping our seniors.”

If you can donate food, please drop off non-perishable food in the blue barrel at their back door. Pop-tops are preferred for food items to ease the task of opening cans. The Senior Center is located at 909 E. King Street in Kings Mountain. If you would like to make a financial contribution, please call the Senior Center at 704-734-0447.

“We appreciate financial contributions because we can use that money to purchase specific food and other items needed by seniors that we may be running low on,” Thomas added.

If you need food, please call 704-734-0447 to make arrangements.

Below is a list of foods that are especially needed:

• Canned meats (chicken, turkey, tuna, ham, salmon)

• Boxes of macaroni & cheese

• Canned fruits and vegetables

• Canned chili, beef stew, spaghetti-o's and ravioli

• Cornbread mix

• Canned beans and bags of dried beans

• Cereal or variety packs of small boxes

• Fruit or pudding cups

• Apple sauce or other fruit pouches

• Pasta

• Spaghetti sauce

• Nuts/trail mix

• White and brown rice

• Peanuts and peanut butter

• Cheese and crackers

• Variety packs of chips, cooks and snacks

• Ensure/Boost

“We appreciate the community’s generous support,” Thomas added. “Your donations enable us to help older adults who depend on us for food every week,” Thomas said.
Ymcaweight lifter with mask
Masks are required upon entering YMCA. (Photo provided)

YMCA reopens, taking measures to ensure safety


On September 5, all Cleveland County Family YMCA branches reopened indoor fitness centers with limited capacity and following all local, state and national guidelines. Kings Mountain Family YMCA hours of operation are Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 7:00 pm, Saturday 8:00 am - 2:00 pm, and Sunday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm.

At their website, the YMCA shared, “While we are excited to welcome members back inside, we recognize that the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 isn’t over.”

“North Carolina’s YMCAs have spent 24 weeks preparing to reopen facilities responsibly to ensure the safety of employees and participants. To keep indoor numbers small, the YMCA will continue their virtual and outdoor fitness opportunities, keeping pools open for as long as possible and delivering programs that improve spirit, mind and body,” they wrote.

“The pandemic has hurt many, including the Y. Because of donors and members who stayed with us, the Y has remained on the front lines, serving the most vulnerable members of our communities.”

What should you expect when visiting the YMCA?

• Masks are required upon entering, exiting and transitioning through the building

• A brief health screening will be conducted at the Welcome Center for each member

• Showers, steam rooms and saunas (where available) are not open at this time

• Staff will be available to help you with any questions about available equipment and spaces

• Basketball, racquetball and pickleball are not available at this time

• Child Watch and Kid Zone services are not available during this time

What are we doing for safety and cleanliness of the facility?

• Equipment is spaced apart or either marked to maintain a social distance of at least six feet

• All equipment is thoroughly cleaned before and after use with certified disinfectant

• Deep overnight cleaning is done each day

• Sanitation stations are within each space of the YMCA for your convenience

• Members and staff are required to wear masks to keep each other safe

The YMCA shared, “We’re thrilled to welcome you back inside our Y, but not because you’re reconnecting to a gym. You’re reconnecting with a cause. Welcome back to where you belong! For more information, please visit our website at www.CleveCoYMCA.org.”
 
Rikard

Rikard named CCS Principal of the Year

During a surprise visit among a small group of administrators, school board members, and select family members, Julie Rikard of Kings Mountain High was named Principal of the Year for Cleveland County.

“Cleveland County Schools has many wonderful, dedicated principals who work hard each day to meet the needs of their students and staff, said Rikard.  “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as the CCS Principal of the Year; I was surprised and humbled with this recognition.”

During Mrs. Rikard's tenure, KMHS was recognized as being in the top 1% of all public and charter schools in the state of North Carolina in growth test scores.

The Principal of the Year program is sponsored annually by Wells Fargo, and Rikard will now vie for regional consideration for top honors.

“I look forward to sharing the great principles and practices that Cleveland County has as I represent our school district,” added Rikard.

Principal Rikard received a monetary award from Wells Fargo for professional development and will soon receive a crystal apple handcrafted by N.C. artist Robert Levin.

“I have been blessed to work in this community for the past 30 years at Kings Mountain High School and Kings Mountain Middle School,” she concluded. 
— KM Herald

New Legislation introduced reaffirms Catawba Land Trust status of Catawba Nation

The Catawba Nation today announced its support and appreciation of Tuesday's introduction of the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act (H.R. 8255) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC) was joined in introducing the bipartisan bill by Congressman Jim Clyburn (SC), Congressman William Timmons (SC), Congressman Dan Bishop (NC), Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC), Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC), Congressman David Price (NC) and Congressman Joe Wilson (SC).

The bipartisan bill reaffirms the actions earlier this year of the Department of the Interior, following a thorough, years-long review, in taking 17 acres of land into trust status in Cleveland County, North Carolina, for the Catawba Nation.

The Catawba Nation’s aboriginal lands extend to six North Carolina counties and farther north in the Piedmont of North Carolina, as evidenced by names such as Catawba County and Catawba College.

“The newly introduced legislation demonstrates the ongoing support from members of Congress in righting historical wrongs against the Catawba people,” said Chief Bill Harris of the Catawba Nation.

“We are pleased that this legislation will reaffirm the Interior Department’s action recognizing the Catawba Nation’s historical and ancestral ties to the lands in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. These are the lands of not just our ancestors, but also the hundreds of Catawba citizens that reside there today,” Harris said.

Harris noted that it is not unusual for Congress to reaffirm land-trust decisions by the Interior Department. The “Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act” from 2014 and the “Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act” from 2019 are recent examples of such an action.
Jim potter puts canned goods into gracie's blessing box
Jim Potter retired from CUMC’s Community Kitchen, but still puts canned goods into Gracie’s Blessing Box to feed the needy. Photo provided

Central United Methodist ChurchPotter retires from Community Kitchen:

By Libby Putnam 

For almost 18-years, the Community Kitchen has been staffed by volunteers from Central United Methodist Church and other churches in Kings Mountain. During that time over 500,000 meals have been served to those in need in our community.

The church is most thankful for those volunteers for their dedication and service led by Jim Potter to make this ministry a success. Jim will be retiring from his work with the Community Kitchen and the community thanks him for his faithful service.

The idea for a food ministry actually came about while Rev. Bob Little was the minister. Plans for a new activities building were being discussed and a committee was formed to help envision how that building could be used.

Of the over 50 ideas that were generated, one was a food ministry. Construction for the Christian Activity Center (CAC) was completed in 2002. John Plonk, John Maddox, and Jim Potter visited Shelby Presbyterian's five day a week food ministry to see how it worked. Contact was made with Second Harvest Food Bank and soon the Community Kitchen at Central was off and running.

In addition to having contributions of food from Second Harvest, volunteers began picking up food donations from Food Lion seven days a week. Initially meals were cooked and served in the CAC only, but later delivery of meals began after the pastor at Second Baptist and a helper volunteered for that duty. Soon volunteers began to deliver on regular routes as well as serve meals in the CAC.

On Thursday, September 3 from 3 – 6 pm., the Community Kitchen will be transitioning from a ministry that serves prepared meals to a ministry where grocery items will be available for pickup.

This new phase of the Community Kitchen ministry will continue as long as there is participation. Even though the nature of this ministry has changed, if you are interested in being a volunteer, you will be warmly welcomed, and your service greatly appreciated. For more information, please email central@cumckm.org or call 704-739-2471.
Food bank 3
Pictured are grocery items that were available for pickup at Central United Methodist Church Community Kitchen this past Thursday. Photos by Candy Love

Central United Methodist Church Community Kitchen

Central United Methodist Church has transitioned their Community Kitchen from a ministry that serves prepared meals to a ministry where grocery items will be available for pickup. The process started on Thursday, September 3, from 3-6 pm. Central United Methodist Church will continue this ministry as long as there is support. Food contributions are received from Second Harvest Food Bank and Food Lion.
Cityseal

Citizen comments bring fireworks at City Council meeting last month

By Loretta Cozart

During the August city council meeting, citizens expressed their concern over decisions by City Council and the leadership of Kings Mountain.

Connie Green, of Landing Drive expressed her concern over decisions made by City Council. “Decisions are being justified that we are doing what is best for the city. Back room and front lawn deals are conspired prior to meetings and the citizens never really know the truth behind the decisions or the details involved,” she said. “It seems that a few people vote, and this small group makes the decisions for many.”

“There have been an awful lot of fireworks going on in the last few months. I realize a licensed professional was hired by Hounds Campground to do those fireworks,” she said. “But I question if the person hired had been different than who was hired, would the permit have been given?”

“Hounds Campground has been a topic of much undesirable activity. These activities can be viewed on Facebook and are despicable. The things I saw… I don’t know if you’ve seen them, but something needs to be done.”

She went on to say, “Kings Mountain Police Department patrols my neighborhood; I see them in other neighborhoods, too. I’ve heard comments made that they (Hounds Campground) gets to do whatever they want. The city doesn’t patrol them, and they don’t control them.”

She concluded, “I hope Kings Mountain Police Department will be patrolling and monitoring what they are doing.”

Next to speak was Dale Green of Landing Drive. He commended the city for its efforts in cleaning up and for hiring codes enforcement officer. He encouraged council to increase their budget in the next cycle. “What has been done is commendable and I think Clint (Houser) is on the right track and you will continue to support him in his efforts to clean the city up.”

He also encouraged City Council to hire at least two more police officers in the next budget cycle as a result of the casino. “Corruption is coming, and we need to be conscious of that,” he said. “We need to make sure we are on top of that and I am going to ask County Commissioners to do the same thing.”

“You are all in favor of the casino. I am not,” he pointed out. “I don’t think we will benefit from it. I also know that this council has put in an inordinate amount of time towards it. I would like to ask that this stop. I don’t want my tax dollars going towards that. If that’s the type of growth you want, that is the type of growth you will get.”

Green also asked that the Mayor stop shooting fireworks at Hounds Campground. “I think it is inappropriate: Tuesday nights, Thursday nights, and Saturday nights. I applaud the police department for issuing a noise ordinance violation. I hope you will look at the noise ordinance and revamp it because (allowing fireworks) on weeknights is clearly inappropriate.”

Green asked Councilmembers Thombs, Hawkins, West, and prior to the meeting, Allen to team up and start clearing a path for a change in leadership. “I would seriously consider a vote of no confidence in our leadership in this community, starting with the Mayor, City Manager, and Assistant City Manager,” he said. “It’s time for a change. It’s time for us to start moving forward.”

Mayor Neisler responded regarding his work shooting fireworks saying, “I was hired by the band that came and did a concert there. This was not the rave event you alluded to. I want you to know that I am licensed by the state of NC and go by all the rules. I do understand that it does make noise, but I am doing it legally,” he said.
Tree trimming graphic
This is a graphic of the area that will be trimmed near our mainline power lines, low growing shrubs and trees may or may not be trimmed or removed dependent upon their species or height. Photos provided

City of Kings Mountain to continue tree trimming

By Janet Hart, City of Kings Mountain

The City of Kings Mountain announced recently that Carolina Tree Service will continue trimming trees along the City’s mainline electric distribution circuits for the coming year. 

“As an electric utility provider, the City of Kings Mountain is required by state law to follow the regulations as set forth in the National Electric Safety Code,” said Energy Director Nick Hendricks. “This code requires that all electric utilities are responsible for trimming trees near their power lines,” Hendricks added.

The City does not trim trees along service drops that serve individual homes and businesses unless the tree or limb is placing pressure on the electric line. 

According to Hendricks, “It is imperative that as an electric utility provider, we take the tree trimming responsibility seriously as we have in the past, because the failure to keep trees and tree limbs away from our power lines could result in serious injuries to our lineman and our citizens.”

The City is also required by federal law, through our Energy Information Administration (EIA) reporting, to list the City’s reliability and outage information through Customer Average Interruption Duration Index/System Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI/SAIDI) reporting. 

“The City of Kings Mountain takes power disruptions seriously and we will continue to put great emphasis on mitigating all areas we can control,” said Hendricks.

“Several factors that cause blinks and outages are out of our control, such as storms and motor vehicle incidents,” Hendricks said. “However, squirrel and tree related outages or disruptions can be reduced, and we need to do all we can to reduce these types of incidents,” added Hendricks.

Therefore, the City’s tree trimming contractor will trim back all of the trees on the mainline to an approximate point of 15 feet. “This action is necessary to reduce the number of outages and blinks caused by squirrels and tree related issues,” said Hendricks.

“Even though the City did not plant the trees along the mainline, we are still required to engage in preventative tree trimming,” added Hendricks.

Taking a more aggressive approach to tree trimming will affect the appearance of some trees, but this approach will assist in preventing unplanned service disruptions.

Key points:

• The City’s Electric Division is working with Zoning to ensure that future zoning regulations consider tree growth and will specify that smaller trees be planted near power lines.

• The City understands the frustration with blinks and power outages and the disruption to daily life that can adversely impact our residential, commercial and industrial customers.

• Prospective residents, businesses and industries review reporting indexes on reliability when choosing sites to locate. With safe and reliable power as our number one priority, it is imperative that the City proactively and aggressively trims trees to mitigate safety hazards and reliability concerns.

• There is no way to trim the trees without, in some cases, completely topping or side cutting them in order to maintain a safe clearance of the branches from our power lines. This City observes a fifteen (15) foot right-of-way for mainline tree clearance and does not have the right to cut beyond fifteen (15) feet.

• Citizens will have to choose -- at their expense -- whether or not they want to remove a tree after trimming has occurred. “Beatification after such trimming has occurred is the responsibility of the landowner.
Whiteoak
WHITE OAK MANOR

105 patients at White Oak Manor have COVID-19

By Loretta Cozart

According to NCDHHS, White Oak Manor in Kings Mountain continues to experience higher numbers of COVID-19. As of September 4, the 156-bed facility reported that more two-thirds (105) of its patients have contracted the COVID-19 and 16 have died. Fifty-four staff members have also gotten the virus.

In an undated letter on White Oak Manor’s company website, President Doug Cecil shared, “Coronavirus (COVID-19) poses a serious threat to older adults (especially 80 years old and older) and those with underlying health conditions. White Oak Management, Inc. made the decision to restrict visitors at all of our locations as required by the CDC and state officials.”

“It has also been made mandatory for all staff and residents to obtain daily temperature checks until further notice.”

“We want to assure everyone that our team is continuously being advised by the CDC and other governmental agencies as to how best to keep our facilities free from COVID-19, while at the same time, maintaining a safe and comfortable environment for our residents and staff.”

“The following are guidelines which might be helpful in staying connected with facility residents during this time:

“Communicate with your loved ones through alternative ways for the time being, whether by phone, video, Facetime, social media, or other methods. Ask the facility about ways they can help with this.”

“Make sure your loved one’s facility has your emergency contact information. The facility may need to communicate with you about any developments regarding your loved one or about the facility as a whole.”

“I prayerfully ask for your patience and understanding as we all work through this pandemic isolation period.”
Moore cooper

Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 to provide $1 billion in relief

On Friday, September 4, Governor Cooper’s office released that he would sign House Bill 1105: Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0.

Governor Cooper said, “This budget followed my recommendations on school enrollment funding and invested in important areas like high speed internet access and disaster relief, but legislators should have done more to expand Medicaid, support small businesses, pay our educators, assist with rent and utilities relief and further help unemployed North Carolinians. Obviously I don’t agree with every provision, but the funding for pandemic support in this budget is critical and must move forward.”

The state General Assembly gave final bipartisan approval to a $1 billion historic relief package the day before that includes direct payments to North Carolina parents of $335 to cover unexpected childcare costs.

The relief measure also increases North Carolina’s unemployment benefits for families to the second highest in the Southeast, while maintaining tax rates for employers still recovering from the pandemic and rehiring displaced workers.

The measure delivers on a top public school priority of holding education funding levels as harmless, regardless of expected drops in enrollment.

The hold harmless funding policy was cited by education leaders as the most important measure lawmakers could take to support North Carolina schools. Today, Republicans accomplished it.

“This is a historic day of promises kept for North Carolinians, the culmination of a decade of state government reform by this Republican General Assembly that allows us to continue investing in recovery for all our citizens today,” Speaker Moore said Thursday.

Relief for North Carolinians in House Bill 1105 Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0 includes:

• Childcare support of $335 to North Carolina parents

• Better unemployment benefits increased $200/month

• $75 million for PPE to protect North Carolinians

• Promises kept to K-12 schools to “hold harmless” funding

• A total increase of $115 million to education

• $17 million in grants for exceptional children’s services

• $50 million to the Lost Wages Assistance Program

• Help for more families to qualify for scholarship programs

• Additional $45 million for small business grant program

• Bipartisan priorities like the PPE+NC program

• Elimination of education wait lists for kids with disabilities

• $40 million investment in broadband and home connectivity

• Higher enrollment in virtual education options for families

• $44.5 million for hurricane recovery from four major storms

• $38 million on direct services for behavioral health

• Support for safe voting with $5 million for elections boards
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Sarah Lee Owensby

Sarah Lee Owensby nominated as Major Market Broadcast Personality

Kings Mountain native Sarah Lee Owensby, along with Paul Schadt and Geof Knight at WKKT 96.9 The Kat, have been nominated for a Country Music Award for Major Market Broadcast Personality of the year.

Sarah Lee began working at WKKT two years ago and had this to say of the award, “To say I’m honored is an understatement! Thank you for the opportunity to share my life every morning, for encouraging me, motivating me, and believing in me. God is good y’all. With Him all things are possible. To all the dreamers, keep dreaming!”
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Commander Thomas Keith Morrow, II

Morrow retires from United States Navy
 

After 20 years of service, Commander Thomas Keith Morrow, II is retiring from the United States Navy.

A native of Kings Mountain, he graduated from Kings Mountain High School in 1996. He went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering–Aeronautical Systems. He also holds an Executive Masters in Business Administration degree from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Masters of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Commander Morrow is a Naval Aviator with over 1,900 flight hours in the T-34, TH-57, and H-60 aircraft. He completed flight training at Naval Air Stations Pensacola (FL), Corpus Christi (TX), and Whiting Field (Milton, FL), earning his “wings of gold” in 2002. After training as an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter pilot, he joined the HSL-46 “Grandmasters” at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, FL.

While there, he deployed on board USS NICHOLAS (FFG 47) in support of the Global War on Terrorism in 2003 and on board USS DOYLE (FFG 39) conducting Counter-Narco Terrorism operations in 2005. Commander Morrow also served on board USS WINSTON S CHURCHILL (DDG 79) and was recognized as part of the 2005 Naval Helicopter Association’s Region 3 Aircrew of the Year.

After graduating from the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center’s Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor (SWTI) course in 2006, Commander Morrow reported to Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) Weapons School, Atlantic where he served as an instructor pilot and program manager for multiple tactical training programs. While there, he earned the distinction as the most qualified pilot in the Wing, and in 2008 he was recognized as the HSM Weapons School, Atlantic Instructor Pilot of the Year. Commander Morrow then returned to HSL-46 where he served as the squadron’s Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor and Training Department Head.

In 2010, Commander Morrow joined the HSL-48 “Vipers” and served as the Training and Planning Director prior to deploying in 2012 and again in 2013 as the Officer-in-Charge of aviation operations and maintenance on board USS HUÉ CITY (CG 66), “shotgun” escort for the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and Carrier Strike Group EIGHT.

After completing back-to-back deployments to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Arabian Gulf Security operations, Commander Morrow returned home to serve as the squadron’s Director of Operations and Logistics and was recognized as the 2013 HSL-48 Officer of the Year.

Following a year at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI, Commander Morrow joined the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller, Office of Budget (FMB) at the Pentagon in Washington, DC in 2014 where he has served as the Senior Financial Manager for the readiness portfolios, providing operations and maintenance funding for all of the Navy’s ships, aircraft, and shore facilities.

Commander Morrow’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), and numerous unit and campaign awards. He is married to the former Elizabeth George from Reidsville, NC and together they have two daughters, Lyla and Caroline.
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Owner Iris Hubbard with Executive Chef Evan Garr welcome you to 133 West. Photo Loretta Cozart

133 West opens today

By Loretta Cozart

Owner Iris Hubbard and executive chef Evan Garr have worked hard for this day, the grand opening of 133 West on Mountain Street.

The old Grayson’s Jewelry, later the home of Kings Tavern, has undergone a total transformation. Inside, the restaurant is tastefully decorated in a monochromatic black and white, with pops of color from flowers placed throughout.

The Senior Park next door was gutted and a beautiful patio with performance stage added. Plantings and benches soften the hardscapes and invite passersby to stop in and take a break from the heat.

For three weeks, Hubbard and Garr have worked through the soft opening, followed by limited hours last week. Starting Wednesday, Sept 2, the restaurant will begin normal hours, serving lunch, dinner, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Reservations are only required for parties of six or more.

On Saturday, Sept. 5, singer-songwriter Scoot Pittman will perform on the patio between 1 pm and 4 pm. “We hope folks will join us this week to celebrate our grand opening. Stop in on Saturday afternoon to relax and listen to music on the patio with us,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard and Garr have sifted through customer comment cards to hone the menu from items offered during the soft opening. They describe their menu as a modern and creative approach to southern cuisine.

Their Grand Opening menu offers a variety of southern dishes, Fried Green Tomato, Pork Rinds with Smokey Cheese Dip, Brie & Crackers, and Filet & Grits - an 8 oz certified angus beef filet mignon atop their house made grit-cake dressed with fresh arugula salad. They have Shrimp & Grits, too. These aren’t your mama’s grits. They also have a 3-course pairing menu and a menu sure to please the kiddos.
— KM Herald
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Roy Cooper NC Governor

Governor Cooper announces $175 Million to assist North Carolinians for rental and utility payment support

Governor Roy Cooper today announced August 24 that $175 million will be made available to help North Carolinians with rental and utility payment support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has strained family finances across North Carolina, and many people are struggling to make ends meet,” said Governor Cooper. “People need a safe, stable place to call home, especially during this pandemic, and we must help keep people in their homes and keep their utilities on while our economy recovers.”

Today’s announcement includes three programs designed to work together to help people avoid eviction and pay their bills, per the Governor’s direction.

Eviction Prevention and Utility Payments: Approximately $94 million of the funding will be disbursed by the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) to support rental and utility payments and prevent evictions for those with a demonstrated need. The funding will be distributed to eligible community agencies around the state that will work directly with North Carolinians on an application and disbursement process. The fund includes $28 million from federal Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funding and the remaining $66 million from CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) money.

Crisis Response and Housing Stability: About $53 million of the funding is designated for the Emergency Solutions Grant-Coronavirus (ESG-CV) Program through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). The federal ESG-CV money is intended for families experiencing homelessness or who face a more immediate risk of homelessness and will be distributed by similar community agencies handling NCORR’s program. This innovative model will help streamline the process for families. Once a person applies, local community agencies will determine which program they are eligible for and then complete the application quickly.

“Families in crisis don’t have time to spare, and our state agencies are coordinating a plan to make it easier for people to get the support they need,” said Governor Cooper.

Information about how people can apply for the NCORR program and the ESG-GV program will be shared once the programs have launched in the coming weeks.

“During this crisis, it is more important than ever that government work smarter and faster to deliver relief to people facing eviction and utility disconnection. NCORR is proud to be partnering across agencies to make the most of federal funds in North Carolina,” said Chief Operating Officer Laura Hogshead.

“Having a stable, safe place to live is fundamental to well-being and health. We continue to prioritize supporting people in meeting basic needs as part of our COVID response,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen.

Local Government Funds: Another $28 million of federal funding will be administered by local governments through the North Carolina Department of Commerce. This money also comes from the federal CDBG-CV program and will be administered by incorporated municipalities under 50,000 residents and counties under 200,000 residents that apply to participate. Local governments are encouraged to prioritize the money locally to help their residents pay rent and outstanding utility bills. In addition, the funds may provide support for internet access, food distribution, COVID-19 testing and diagnosis and employment training for health care workers.

“The Commerce Department has a long history of collaborating with our local government partners to administer federal resources during times of crisis,” said Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland. “As a ready conduit for vital assistance to North Carolina communities, our CDBG program has proven its value many times over.”

The application process for local governments to apply for the Commerce-administered funding has opened. Eligible local governments who would like to apply for the Commerce CDBG-CV program can contact the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Program.
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During COVID-19, Too Much Silvia performs to an empty house at Joy Performance Center as 8,000 viewers watched online. Photos by Sigmon Theatrical

City of KM Special Events hosts successful virtual BeachBlast

2020 Marks the 21st Anniversary
of this Special Event 


The year 2020 marks the 21st anniversary of BeachBlast, Kings Mountain’s Carolina Beach Music Festival. The City of Kings Mountain celebrated online with a virtual event featuring DJ Johnny B’s Beach and Boogie and 2019 CBMA Group of the Year, Too Much Sylvia.

Viewers were invited to put on their favorite beach attire, grab their snacks and drinks and tune into the City of Kings Mountain Special Events Facebook page for this special event. Over 8,000 viewers tuned in with watch parties thrown all over the country, including: Montana, Florida, Wyoming, Georgia, West Virginia, Knoxville and many more.

Many viewers participated in Beach Music trivia with over 1,200 interactive comments made throughout the show. “This was by far one of the best virtual events I had ever seen,” says John Barkley aka Johnny B. “Beach Music fans may not have been able to attend in person, but they showed up tonight on Facebook and I cannot be more thrilled for the Special Events Department. They have worked so hard to make this event spectacular.”

BeachBlast is nominated for the 2020 Carolina Beach Music Festival awards for Event of the Year, as well as the 2020 Cleveland County Best of the Best Event of the Year.

Mary Elrath commented, “Sure wish we could do this in person. Watching in Black Mtn., NC. Watch party in full swing.” Randy Orton wrote, “Enjoying from Bozeman, Montana.”

Cassie Biddix shared, “Johnny B we’re tuned in over in Blacksburg, SC! Wish we could be there in person!! Jake, Anita, Will, Fld, Jennifer and Marshall!! By the pool having adult beverages and burgers and dogs.”

For more information concerning the City of Kings Mountain’s Special Events Department call by phone at 704-730-2101 or visit their website at www.KingsMountainEvents.Com.

Virtual 17th Annual Reverse Raffle & Auction offers chance to win $5K

By January Costa, Director and Curator

Be a part of the development of KMHM. Please support the museum during this time to help us with our fundraising efforts! Proceeds go toward the everyday operations of the museum.

Every September, Kings Mountain Historical Museum hosts a fundraiser to generate revenue necessary to support our programming. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions on the museum this year, and the need to social distance for safety measures, we are moving the reverse raffle and auction this year to an online format. The museum will not have an in-person event as we have in prior years.

This year the 17th Annual Reverse Raffle and Auction will be back to the tradition of the reverse raffle for prizes with a ticket drawing to be posted online on September 26, through our social media. Tickets are on sale for $100 to be entered into the drawing for door prizes and the chance to win $5,000!

The online auction will start on September 18 and run until September 27 and is open to all bidders with unique auction items and great raffle prizes!

You can find the auction link at: https://www.32auctions.com/KMHMfundraiser2020

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by emailing the museum at mhmdirector@outlook.com or by mailing a check to Kings Mountain Historical Museum, P.O. Box 552, Kings Mountain, NC 28086.

Each ticket is $100. It also includes a 1 in 300 chance of winning the $5,000 Raffle Prize, along with other raffle items!

This event is a great opportunity for local business owners to showcase their business while investing in the community. Kings Mountain Historical Museum is currently welcoming event sponsors as well as in-kind donations for auction items.

The Museum is recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt organization; donations are tax deductible as permissible by law. To find out more about sponsorship and donation opportunities, please call 704-739-1019 or email kmhmdirector@outlook.com.

For more information, please visit our event page: https://www.kingsmountainmuseum.org/annual-fundraiser

You can also call (704) 739-1019 or follow us on Facebook & Instagram.

 
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Citizens, churches and community organizations picked up masks for themselves or to distribute throughout the community. Photos by Janet Hart

City of KM distributes more than 5,000 face masks

By Janet Hart, City of Kings Mountain

The City of Kings Mountain distributed more than 5,000 face masks on Thursday, August 27 at the Patrick Senior Center.

Gaston County donated 15,000 face masks to the City of Kings Mountain from their allotment from North Carolina Health and Human Services.

There were 225 cars that came through the City’s drive-thru mask distribution and the people in each car received two or more packs with five masks in each pack. Multiple churches and community organizations also picked up hundreds of masks for their members.

The City of Kings Mountain will hold additional mask distribution events in the next few months. Wearing a face mask is one of the precautions that leading health officials cite as ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“We appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the health and wellness of our community by giving away face masks,” said Janet Hart, Marketing and Communications Director for the City of Kings Mountain. “Everyone who picked up face masks was so happy that they could  get extra masks for family members, neighbors, and friends,” Hart added. “It’s wonderful to see how people are helping each other.”
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Developers plan $230M in projects for KM

By Loretta Cozart

During City Kings Mountain’s city council meeting on August 25, three requests were discussed to annex land into the city. The associated projects are estimated at $230,000,000. Two properties being considered for annexation are located near the newly named Catawba Two Kings Casino Resort. The third is off Sarah Lee Access Road between Kings Mountain and Gastonia.

City of Kings Mountain scheduled a public hearing for September 26 at 6 pm to accept a Certificate of Sufficiency to consider the non-contiguous annexation petition for E5 Holdings, LLC at 245 Dixon School Road. The proposed use of the property is for 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 560,000 sq. ft for other use not specified. The build-out value of the project, land and buildings, is estimated at $115,000,000.00. The application was signed by Stuart LeGrand, Eddie Holbrook and Doug Brown. Trent Testa is listed as the person to contact with questions about the petition.

City of Kings Mountain also scheduled a public hearing for September 26 at 6 pm to accept a Certificate of Sufficiency to consider a non-contiguous annexation petition for Roadside Truck Plaza at 259 Dixon School Road. The proposed use of the property is for 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 100,000 sq. ft for other use not specified. The build-out value of the project, land and buildings, is estimated at $40,000,000.00. The application was signed by Trent Testa, President of Roadside Truck Plaza, Inc.

A public hearing was also scheduled for September 26 at 6 pm to consider a rezoning request from Matthews Land Company, LLC which would change its zoning to heavy industrial. The company has also requested that 119.25 acres of land near Sarah Lee Access Road be annexed into the city. The build-out value of the project, land and buildings, is estimated at $75,000,000. The application was signed by B. Frank Matthews. Gene Matthews is listed as the person to contact with questions about the petition.

In other business, city council amended the ordinance and removed the Willow Oak from the list of recommended trees in City of Kings Mountain’s Street Tree Plan. Downtown and west King Street would not be included in this change. Willow Oaks grow 60 ft. tall and their root system is as broad. These trees are planted along roadways and the roots cause damage to sidewalks and pavement.

Proposed trees for inclusion in the ordinance are maples and redbuds that grow between 15 and 20 feet tall including Trident Maple, Ruby Sunset Maple, Bloodgood Japanese Maple, Emperor Japanese Maple, Coral Bark Japanese Maple, Fireglow Japanese Maple, Eastern Redbud and Forest Pansy Redbud.

Councilman Keith Miller asked, “Can accommodation or variances be made for citizens, were we to approve this change?” City Planner Stuart Gilbert said that variance would go to the Board of Adjustments. Legal counsel Mickey Corry agreed. Councilman Mike Butler made the motion to approve amending City of Kings Mountain’s Street Tree Plan. No citizens spoke in favor or against regarding this issue. City Council approved the motion.

Royster Oil withdrew their request to rezone 43 acres of property on Shelby Road.

New owner Kaimesha Young spoke to city council with an update on her property at 100 E. King Street, the old McGill’s Esso Station. “If everything goes as planned, we are shooting for a Christmas Grand Opening,” she said. She intends to open a real estate office at the location.

In other action, City Council reauthorized the Kings Mountain Housing Committee and appointing board members to the committee. They also approved appointing Tracy Bolin to the Mauney Memorial Library Board to fill a vacant seat, with the term expiring June 30, 2022.

 
Chief tommy harmon

KMFD joins Cleveland County’s Emergency Warning System

Beginning Saturday, September 5, at 12 noon, Kings Mountain’s emergency warning sirens will be tested along with all of the warning sirens in Cleveland County. After that, on the first Saturday of each month at 12 noon, Cleveland County 911 Communications will test the emergency warning system for the entire county. This testing will help ensure that the sirens operate during a true emergency.

“It is imperative that the emergency warning system for the entire county be reliable and available to warn the public of pending severe weather 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Perry Davis, Emergency Management Director for Cleveland County. “The addition of Kings Mountain’s siren to the system utilized by the rest of the county is a vital piece of that coverage,” Davis added.

Kings Mountain Fire Department’s sirens have been reprogrammed to communicate on the same frequency as Cleveland County and have been through initial testing. September 5 will be the first countywide test that includes Kings Mountain’s sirens.

According to Cleveland County’s Assistant 911 Communications Director Stori McIntyre, “Cleveland County Communications is excited to partner with Kings Mountain Fire Department to provide lifesaving notifications during inclement weather.”

“We are happy that we could use our existing equipment and still become part of the system already in place throughout the county,” said Chief Thomas Harmon of the Kings Mountain Fire Department. “Cleveland County’s 911 Communications Center can simply transmit on one frequency and activate every emergency warning siren throughout Cleveland County simultaneously,” added Chief Harmon. “Now, Kings Mountain will be a part of that system.”

In addition to the monthly testing, the sirens will be activated for tornado warnings only. The sirens will not be used to alert the public of tornado watches, only tornado warnings. A tornado warning signifies that a tornado has been spotted and is in the area.

The sirens will also not be used to alert people of watches or warnings for thunderstorms, severe weather, wind, lightning, or winter weather.

“We do not want people to become immune to the sound of the siren,” said Chief Harmon. “We want people to understand that if they hear the siren, they should seek shelter from a tornado immediately,” Chief Harmon added.

“The siren testing on the first Saturday of each month is a great time for the public to review their emergency weather preparedness,” said Chief Harmon. “We hope that this will lessen some of the confusion during severe weather alerts.”

Chief Harmon continued, “Instead of people calling the fire station or 911 when the siren activates to find out what is going on, they should immediately take precautions for potentially dangerous weather.”

Tornado preparedness information can be found on multiple websites including the American Red Cross, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and the National Weather Center.

“As always, if you have questions about weather preparedness before a weather event occurs, you are welcome to call your local fire station,” added Chief Harmon.
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Nikki Massey and Wayne King at President Trump’s acceptance speech in Washington. Photos provided

King served as Republican National Delegate last week

By Loretta Cozart

Wayne King attended his fifth Republican National Convention last week as a North Carolina Delegate, but this year’s convention was very different than in prior years. Starting on Saturday, August 22, King spent three days in Charlotte doing party business before traveling to Washington to see President Trump’s acceptance speech.

“The Republican Convention was a lot different than in prior years, due to the Coronavirus. In Charlotte, about 350 delegates attended, along with Republican National Committee employees,” King said.

On Thursday, King traveled to Washington, DC with 1,000 invited guests and members of congress to attend President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech on the South Lawn of the White House. “I learned that this wasn’t the first time a president accepted their party’s nomination at the White House,” said King. Attending with him were his girlfriend, Nikki Massey, and son, Noah King.

“Noah really enjoyed seeing the president and his acceptance speech. There were not many kids there and Noah noticed,” King said. “I think President Trump laid out a positive vision and reviewed the challenges and accomplishments of his first term.”

King had served as Chief of Staff for NC Congressman Mark Meadows who resigned his office on March 30 to serve as Chief of Staff for President Trump. Currently, King works for Fidelis Government Relations in Washington, DC.

On July 19, 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for President shortly after midnight in a radio address and in front of newsreel cameras, according to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

In 1932, television was in its infancy and Roosevelt said he was using all means necessary “to break foolish traditions” by being the first nominee to accept their party’s nomination at the convention. He asked delegates to stay an extra day and flew with his family to Chicago to accept the nomination in person.
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133 West has a warm and inviting atmosphere

By Loretta Cozart

Iris Hubbard’s long awaited 133 West just completed its soft opening, a period of tasting and training of staff during which she and executive chef Evan Garr tested their menu while maintaining required social distancing.

For dinners, patrons were served a five-course meal and were then asked their opinion regarding each item.

Sunday Brunch had fewer items, but the same attention was paid to the patrons and the items they tasted.

“Evan and I touched every table. We asked everyone for honest feedback and some items just didn’t make the cut,” said Hubbard.

Full dinners will be served between August 26 to 29, with Sunday brunch.

Beginning September 2, full lunch and dinner will be served. Brunch will be served both Saturday and Sunday and reservations will only be required for parties of six or more.

On Saturday, Sept. 5, KM singer-songwriter Scoot will perform between 1 pm and 4 pm. “We offer Saturday brunch because we think folks will appreciate the opportunity to relax and listen to music in a casual atmosphere on Saturday’s while music is played on the patio,” Hubbard said.

The restaurant serves a farm-fresh seasonal menu sourced locally and prides itself on freshness and seasonality. The décor is unique, unlike any seen in Kings Mountain restaurants and exemplifies Hubbard’s flair in creating a warm and inviting atmosphere where guests can relax and enjoy chef inspired meals.

The restaurant is lovely, and from the comments left on 133 West’s Facebook page their guests wholeheartedly agree. Guest Amanda White wrote, “Everything was great! The restaurant looks amazing! Can’t wait to come back for brunch on Saturdays.”

The restaurant is located at133 West Mountain St., Kings Mountain.
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Tony Coppola

New firm buys 238 Pizzeria

By Loretta Cozart

Tony Coppola bought 238 Pizzeria last week and it opened under new management at 4 pm Monday. The new name will be Terra Mia 238 Streets of Naples.

Coppola is a native of Italy and the former general manager of Portofino Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria. In June 2019, he and partners opened Reginella Italian Pizzeria & Grill on South York Road in Gastonia. His second restaurant, Terra Mia, opened in McAdenville this year.

At Terra Mia’s website they shared, “Tony Coppola is the business owner and brings many years of experience to the area from owning other restaurants. Tony worked alongside his father for many years as they owned and operated successful Brothers Pizza Restaurants from the Eddington New Jersey area.”

“It's a place offering high quality Italian meals at excellent prices. If you love Italian food, you will love Terra Mia! Last year, Reginella Pizzeria in Gastonia opened. Reginella Pizzeria was just voted Gastonia's best pizza award in 2019. Plans are also underway for another Terra Mia to open in Belmont in September of 2020 as well as another new location in Kings Mountain,” the website shared.

“At Terra Mia, Tony prides himself on providing fresh pizza dough made in-house, three rotating varieties of pasta prepared fresh every day, and meat from Piscataway, New Jersey. Those ingredients will be used within a menu that includes staples such as pizza, homemade sandwiches, and a variety of classic Italian dishes.”

Be sure to stop in and welcome the owners of Terra Mia 238 Streets of Naples, Kings Mountain’s newest Italian restaurant.
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City of KM will distribute free masks Thursday

The City of Kings Mountain will be giving away 15,000 free face masks on Thursday, August 27 from 9 am – 3 pm in a drive-thru event at the Patrick Senior Center located at 909 E. King Street in Kings Mountain. Gaston County had surplus masks and offered them to the City of Kings Mountain through an allotment from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

“The Mayor and City Council appreciates the opportunity to partner with Gaston County to distribute these face masks to help protect our citizens from COVID-19,” said Kings Mountain City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “The safety of our community members is our top priority.”

Individuals, churches, community groups, nonprofits and small businesses are encouraged to get face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Since March 2020, Kings Mountain has had more than 350 people test positive for the Coronavirus. Wearing a face mask when you are in close proximity to other people is one of the precautions that health officials recommend, along with social distancing and hand washing.

“Last week, we distributed 5,000 face masks donated by Uniquetex in Grover to hundreds of people who needed masks for themselves and their family members,” said Tabitha Thomas, Patrick Senior Center Director. “Since then, we have heard from more people who need masks, so we appreciate having more masks to provide to the community.”

Individuals will get a minimum of five masks per person. These masks are available to anyone who needs them. If you are with a group, you can get a larger quantity of masks, while supplies last. If you are a group leader and can pick up masks at the Patrick Senior Center before Thursday, please call 704-734-0447.
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Volunteer Fireman Levi Keever has worked toward a career as a fireman and continues his studies at Cleveland Community College. Photo by Janet Hart

Meet future firefighter James “Levi” Keever

By Janet Hart, City of Kings Mountain

Eighteen-year old James Levi Keever, from Kings Mountain, NC is a young man on a mission to build a career as a firefighter. He was driven from an early age and learned to work hard in order to succeed. 

“From the age of 12, I have maintained some form of employment, from cutting grass to cleaning offices,” said Keever. “Through my high school years, I worked part-time and full-time hours in a retail store, and then, in contracting,” Keever added.

Keever attended high school at Narrow Way Christian School, until his junior year. At that point, he transferred to Cleveland Community College (CCC) through a dual enrollment program to receive credit hours towards his high school diploma and a college degree.

“At the age of 15, I joined Kings Mountain Fire Department’s Junior Firefighter Program and that’s when I realized the passion that I had for the fire service,” said Keever.

“Early on young Mr. Keever exhibited all the traits required of a firefighter – smart, respectful and hard working,” said Kings Mountain Fire Department Chief Thomas Harmon.

During the winter of 2019-2020, Keever attended a 6-month long Emergency Medical Training (EMT) class and obtained his National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician Certification, as well as legal recognition in the state of North Carolina in April of 2020.

During the summer of 2020, Keever graduated from high school and then attended Cleveland Community College’s Firefighter Academy. “The academy is a ten week program that not only tests the candidate’s intellectual ability, but also tests their physical ability and fortitude,” said Chief Harmon.

Upon graduation from CCC’s firefighter academy, Keever obtained his North Carolina Firefighter Certification, as well as a Hazardous Materials Operations certification. While going to school, Keever worked as a volunteer firefighter for the Kings Mountain Fire Department.

“The classes that Levi has taken and the certifications that he has earned are quite the accomplishment,” said Chief Harmon. “These courses and certifications require hard work and intelligence, and Levi has excelled in both all areas,” added Harmon. “Levi earned the same credentials that are required of a career firefighter while he was still in high school.”

This fall, Keever plans to continue pursuing an associate degree in Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology at CCC.

“I hope to graduate in the summer of 2021,” added Keever, “and I look forward to becoming a full-time firefighter.”

“I have no doubt that Levi will be successful,” said Chief Harmon, “I am so proud of what he has accomplished, and I look forward to watching him build a career as a firefighter and seeing the benefits the he adds to Kings Mountain Fire Department.”
Too much sylvia
Too Much Sylvia, the 2019 Carolina Beach Music Association’s Group of the Year, will perform concert on August 22. The beach party starts at 6 p.m. Photo provided

KM’s BeachBlast goes virtual on August 22

“You can’t stop the music”

One of the City of Kings Mountain’s most exciting festivals, BeachBlast, has been modified this year because of COVID-19 group size restrictions. In place of the festival, the City is planning a virtual beach party on August 22.

“Nothing is stopping us from having a party online,” said Special Events Director Christy Connor. “COVID can’t stop the music!”

The City of Kings Mountain invites you to join them online on Saturday, August 22 on the city’s special event’s Facebook page for a virtual beach party. Celebrate the 21st anniversary of BeachBlast with DJ Johnny B and a concert by the 2019 Carolina Beach Music Association’s Group of the Year, “Too Much Sylvia”.

“Tune into the City of Kings Mountain Special Events Facebook page to enjoy your favorite beach music, shag on your porch and have a fun watch party with us,” said Connor.

This beach party starts at 6 pm and will be packed with entertainment, music, games and fun until 9 pm.

You can “Like” the City of Kings Mountain Special Events Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cityofkmspecialevents to view this exclusive event.

 
Yardsale

KMLT Community Yard Sale

A Community Yard Sale to benefit Kings Mtn. Little Theatre’s Special Projects Fund will be held on Saturday, August 22nd, 7 AM until 11 AM in the Liberty Mountain Garden, 202 S. Railroad Ave., Kings Mountain. Furniture, Small Appliances, Tools, Vintage Clothing, Household Items, and MORE!!!!

Cleveland County Republican Men
to meet Aug. 22

Cleveland County Republican Men’s Club will hold its next regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Saturday, August 22, at Swooger’s in Kings Mountain. The meeting starts promptly at 7:30 am with fellowship and breakfast.

This month’s meeting will be a representative from the Cleveland County Board of Elections who will make a short presentation and, more importantly, answer questions about voting in the coming election, possibly the most crucial one in the history of our nation. We must be as informed as possible. 

Please start your Saturday morning off with us. The address for Swooger’s is 1016 Shelby Road, Kings Mountain. All Republicans are welcome, so please bring any friends you believe would enjoy the group.
Darren graves swearing in photo
Mayor Scott Neisler, right, swears in Darren Graves as Codes Enforcement Officer.

City assigns Graves as new Codes Enforcement Officer

By Janet Hart, City of Kings Mountain

The City of Kings Mountain has selected Darren Graves to fill a newly-created position as a Codes Enforcement Officer. Graves is transferring from his position as Equipment Operator in the City’s Public Works Department into this position. So, there is not an increase in total employees or total expenses. 

In this role, Graves will primarily focus on insuring compliance with three primary state laws: minimum housing standards, building codes for new construction and junk cars on residential properties.

“The City of Kings Mountain is a beautiful city in which to live, work and play, but we do have pockets of the city that need cleaning up,” said Mayor Scott Neisler. “The City Council has made it a top priority to address those areas.”

Graves will be assessing dilapidated properties and enforcing citations for non-compliance. Property owners will be cited for violations and will have 30-90 days to comply with the citation, depending on what issues are being cited. Enforcement could include fines, condemning the property as uninhabitable and demolition of the property if it is unsafe and not brought into compliance.

Property owners with junk cars could be subject to fines, or have the vehicles towed by the City, if they do not remove the vehicles within a specified time.

“These dilapidated properties pose a health and safety issue and they can attract criminal activity.” added City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “We want to showcase Kings Mountain as a city that is attractive for economic and residential investment.”

For more information about the City of Kings Mountain’s Codes, please visit www.cityofkingsmountain.com.
Dr. gangoosmall
DR. GANGOO

Dr. Gangoo retires

Abdul Rashid Gangoo, M.D., F.A.C.P., an internist who subspecialized in infectious diseases, retired on August 1, 2020 after practicing medicine in Kings Mountain for forty-one years.

Dr. Gangoo was born and raised in the city of Srinagar in the picturesque valley of Kashmir. He grew up with four siblings all of whom still reside in Srinagar. Upon graduating from Government Medical College, Srinagar in 1968, he was employed by the Indian government’s health services. In 1972, he moved to the United Kingdom and worked at Poole General Hospital in Dorset, England and later at St. David’s Hospital in Cardiff, Wales. He then immigrated to the United States in September 1973 and joined Long Island Jewish Medical Center’s medical residency program in Internal Medicine. 

He spent his first two years of residency at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, New York City and his third year at Queens General Hospital. From 1976 to 1978, Dr. Gangoo was enrolled in a two-year fellowship training program in Infectious Diseases at Nassau County Medical Center (affiliated with the State University of New York at Stony Brook).

After completing his fellowship, Dr. Gangoo and his wife Firdous left the hustle and bustle of New York City and moved to Cherryville, North Carolina in September 1978 before settling in Kings Mountain in March 1979. For Dr. Gangoo, the slower pace of life that Kings Mountain offered was a very welcome change from his years amidst the frenzy of New York City. “A calmer and quieter atmosphere is much more suited to my natural disposition and personality,” he says.

Dr. Gangoo was the first internist in Kings Mountain and the first infectious diseases specialist in Cleveland County. He joined the medical staff of Kings Mountain Hospital (KMH), Cleveland Regional Medical Center, and two hospitals in Lincoln County. He established his medical practice at a clinic located at 810 W. King Street which he shared with Dr. George W. Plonk, a well-established and beloved surgeon, and has been seeing patients at the same location ever since.

“It’s been an honor to serve the Kings Mountain community. I am so grateful to have been warmly embraced by this town, and I am indebted to my patients for entrusting their medical care to me,” he shares.

“The most heart-warming and rewarding part of practicing medicine in Kings Mountain has been forming and building long-standing relationships with patients and their families. Being able to treat three generations of a family is an incredibly unique experience. My patients have, in turn, treated me as a part of their family as well. There is a certain level of trust, rapport, and comfort that has developed over time,” he said.

Dr. Gangoo served as President of the Cleveland County Medical Society from 1998 to 1999. He has also held the position of Chief of the Medical Staff at Kings Mountain Hospital for several years. In 2007, he had the honor of being elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

The landscape of healthcare has changed drastically in the past several decades, including the management of small and rural hospitals. Dr. Gangoo witnessed this first-hand when Kings Mountain Hospital transitioned to Carolinas HealthCare System-Kings Mountain in 1995 and more recently to Atrium Health Kings Mountain. In 2015, Carolinas HealthCare System-Kings Mountain received national recognition when it had been named as one of the country’s “Top Rural Hospitals” by The Leapfrog Group.

Since 2015, however, certain patient services were gradually phased out, and more recently, the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit was downgraded to a Progressive Care Unit. “I would like to see specialized inpatient and outpatient services and the ICU return to the hospital once again so that it can better serve the needs of Kings Mountain. The care services a hospital provides ought to align with the needs of the community.”

In addition to thanking all of his patients, Dr. Gangoo wishes to express his gratitude to his fellow physicians who have helped him with patient care. He is especially indebted to Dr. Everette Thombs, Dr. Martin Stallings, Dr. Christian Anderson, Dr. Cornelius Okonkwo, Dr. Temidayo Adelekun, and Sigrid Smith of Charlotte Area Health Education Center for their friendship and support. He also would like to thank all of the former and current nurses and technicians, hospital staff members, and hospital administrators. “Their tireless hard work and dedication made my job easier.”

Last not but least, Dr. Gangoo is thankful for his office staff members: Julie McDaniel, Kathy Brooks, Janet Burns, Sherry Sellers, Amber Norman, and his wife Firdous for their invaluable contributions in caring for their patients. “This practice simply would not have been possible without them.”

In his retirement, Dr. Gangoo plans to spend more time with his wife and children, Talia and Basit, and pursue his hobbies of gardening, woodworking, and painting. “I wish all of my patients and members of the community the best of health. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.”
 
238 cherokee grill
238 Cherokee Grill

238 Cherokee Grill and 238 Pizzeria: Restaurants add flavor to downtown Kings Mountain

By Janet Hart, City of KM

In 1982, Robert Bolin left his hometown of Kings Mountain to join the U.S. Army. After his tour of duty was over with the Army, he decided to move back home.

“When you have a passion for your hometown, you want to help in any way that you can,” said Bolin.

Since he loved food, Bolin decided to open a restaurant. The first restaurant was 238 Cherokee Grill which opened in 2010. Next, came 238 Pizzeria in 2016.

While both restaurants share some similarities, they are definitely different. 238 Pizzeria has a casual atmosphere and serves a variety of pizzas and Italian foods. Whereas, 238 Cherokee Grill is more upscale and serves steak, fish, burgers, wraps and salads.

Both restaurants are located in downtown Kings Mountain, but 238 Cherokee Grill is not actually on Cherokee Street. It’s located at 222 S. Railroad Avenue next door to Patriots Park and 238

Pizzeria is located at 238 Cherokee Street.

If you get confused, just follow the amazing smell of garlic, onion and Italian spices to either restaurant. The restaurants are only about a block apart.

“Having both restaurants in downtown Kings Mountain is the primary reason for our success,” said Bolin. “We get tremendous business when the City of Kings Mountain has special events in the Park and festivals downtown.”

In the past six months, the City of Kings Mountain has canceled or modified all of its festivals and special events because of COVID-19 restrictions that limit crowd sizes and require social distancing.

“Our inside dining has been negatively affected,” Bolin said. “COVID-19 restrictions have required us to reduce dine-in traffic, stagger tables at six feet intervals and have customers wait outside at times,” added Bolin.

“However, the volume of takeout orders has been unreal,” said Bolin. “Plus, we can take food over to Patriots Park for customers who want to eat lunch or dinner in the Park.”

Both restaurants have survived COVID-19 because of the community’s support.

“We believe that when you support the community, they will support you in return and the community of Kings Mountain has been so good to us,” Bolin added. “We appreciate their support.”

For more information or to view menus, please visit www.238CherokeeGrill.com or www.238Pizzeria.com.
Uniquetex logo

Get your free PPE masks this weeka

By Loretta Cozart

Local businesses Uniquetex, LLC and their sister company, Ecoguard Inc., donated 5,000 masks for distribution in Kings Mountain and Grover within the next two weeks.

Masks will be distributed through a concerted effort between Uniquetex and Ecoguard, Kings Mountain Herald, City of Kings Mountain’s H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Center, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Wat Lao Temple.

The purpose of the distribution to get masks into the hands, and on the faces, of Kings Mountain and Grover residents as Coronavirus numbers continue to rise. Facemasks are one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from the Coronavirus.

Distribution sites and times are listed below. Walk-ups are welcome.

City of Kings Mountain will distribute masks at the H. Lawrence Patrick Senior Life and Conference Center at 900 E. King Street on Thursday, August 13, in drive thru fashion from 9 am to 4 pm. Drive around the front of the Patrick Center around to the back under the canopy to pick up. Phone: Phone: 704-734-4489

Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 220 N. Waterson Street, will distribute masks on Sunday, August 16 from 2 – 3 pm via drive thru in front of the Family Life Center.

Ebenezer Baptist Church will distribute masks on Sunday, August 16 from 10 am to 1 pm, and again on Saturday, August 22 from 10 am to 1 pm.

Wat Lao Temple will distribute masks within the Laotian community to those in need. Sak and Tawny Athithang are coordinating the distribution. 704-619-2035.

Town of Grover will inform citizens regarding their mask distribution in a note included the power bill, according to Mayor Roy Dyer. 704-937-9986

“Supporting our local community is an important part of the business, and Uniquetex and Ecoguard are committed to going above and beyond,” said Director of Public Relations Lina Sheng. ”We are thankful that our local government agencies help distribute these masks to the needed groups and we sincerely wish our residents to be safe and healthy!”

In addition, Ecoguard donated tens of thousands of masks to the state governments of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Kentucky, as well as local small businesses and non-profit organizations.

As the pandemic became an increasing threat, the company realized how critical and necessary it was to produce high quality PPE locally. As a result, Uniquetex’s sister company Ecoguard, Inc. was formed in February, with only one mission and that was to produce face masks.  Both companies continue to provide high quality PPE during the coronavirus pandemic.
Beachblastlogo

BeachBlast 2020 going virtual

Kings Mountain Special Events announced that the 21st anniversary of Beach Blast, scheduled for August 22, will be held virtually via their Facebook page.

“With all the challenges our community has faced adjusting to the restrictions during these difficult times, the Special Events staff challenged themselves to think outside the box and collaborate unique ways to bring fun to your doorstep,” said Special Events Director Christy Conner.

“COVID-19 may have challenged our on-site festival, but it can’t stop the music,” Conner said.

Check the Special Events Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/CityofKMSpecialEvents or call 704-730-2101 for the itinerary and special announcement.

Back to School Prayer Rally August 9

The Kings Mountain Ministerial Association is holding the Annual Back-to-School Prayer Rally on Sunday, August 9, at 6:00 PM, at East Gold Street Wesleyan Church. The church is located at 701 E. Gold St., Kings Mountain. 704-739-3215 for info.

Everyone is encouraged to join other members of our community as we worship our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, and “pray in” what we hope will be a fantastic school year.

East Gold Street Wesleyan is located at 701 E Gold St, Kings Mountain, NC 28086.
Home from the street
F.R. Summers home as seen from N. Piedmont Avenue. (Photo by David Stone) See more photos on page 4 in this week's KM Herald (August 5, 2020)

Stone’s bring Summers’ historic home back to life

 (See more photos on page 4 in the August 5, 2020 edition of KM Herald)

By Loretta Cozart


In 2018, David and Janet Stone purchased the Frank Rickert Summers home at 1220 N. Piedmont Avenue, built in 1928. Together the Stone’s are slowly bringing the grand home back to life. They moved into the house in December 2018.

Bonnie Elouise Mauney was born on January 26, 1897, the daughter of Andrew Mauney and Candice Virginia Miller. Bonnie went to college in Charlotte there she met Frank Summers, who worked at the Charlotte Observer during that time. Frank also served in WWII prior to their marriage.

Frank and Bonnie Summers were married on September 28, 1925 and purchased 12 acres on N. Piedmont Avenue from W.A. Mauney. Renowned architect Hugh Edward White of Gaston County was contracted to draw the architectural plans for their 3,166 square foot Tudor Revival home.

According to The National Register of Historic Places multiple property documentation form filed by David Foard Hood honoring The Architecture of Hugh Edward White and White, Streeter & Chamberlain, 1921-1939 Gaston County, North Carolina, “The buildings which White designed in the period from late 1926 until 1930 were similar in scale and appearance to those produced by the firm of White, Streeter & Chamberlain. In short, he (White) continued to design houses and other nonresidential buildings for virtually the same clientele which had earlier patronized the partnership. The three houses he designed in 1927-1928 are large, important residences for Gastonia and Kings Mountain businessmen.”

It is suspected White also designed the Kings Mountain Graded School (Central) extension in 1924, according to Hood’s application. Past research also confirms that Bonnie Summers served as the city’s first woman principal at Kings Mountain Graded School in that timeframe. It is not known if White knew the Summers from that project or other projects in Gaston County.

According to the Hood documentation, “The F. R. Summers House (#122) in Kings Mountain is similar in spirit; however, its appearance is very different. Its red brick elevations are heightened in tone by the rusty-red metal Casement windows and the rust and cream half timbering; fieldstone is used for the main chimney.”

Elevation drawings of the F.R. Summers house were found in the Hugh Edward White family archives held by White’s son. “We were excited to find that Mr. White’s architectural drawings, and we now have copies. We have learned a lot about the house from those original drawings.”

During the last two years, David Stone and his family have painstakingly restored the home. “The kitchen has seen the most work. All the electrical was knob and tube, which had to be replaced. Most of the home’s water, sewer, and electrical run into the house through the wall behind the kitchen range. So, we had to rip that wall out in the kitchen to get everything updated. After remodeling the kitchen, that work is hidden and other original plastered walls were preserved,” Stone said.

“The front foyer had a boiler, which was removed. Doing so left a hole, which we have covered with a strategically placed piece of furniture. As for the new HVAC system, we used the original boiler vents for returns and avoided having to install modern vents in the hallways,” he said. “It also maintains the original look of the home.”

There are several hammered copper light fixtures used throughout the house. “One was missing, but we found a replacement on eBay. Later, we found several others like it at the Mauney home. We aren’t sure why the family bought extras, but they really must have liked them,” Janet Stone commented.

“The fireplace in the living room is just beautiful. We restored the fireplace and lined the flues so we can enjoy the fireplace when the weather is cool. People who spent time in the home when the Summers’ family owned it tell us that that fireplace can really put out the heat,” David Stone said.

“Probably the biggest challenge we faced during the renovation was replacing 300 panes of glass in the casement windows throughout the house. There are 900 panes, and we had to clean the casement windows and replace at least 300 panes, glaze, and repaint. That was a big job,” Stone said.

“The big project for this year has been landscaping. We had to address water issues and overgrown vegetation. We still have work to do, but it is much improved,” Stone said.

On the south side of the house, above the sunroom, a porch overlooks the pool and property. The porch once had a canvas roof according to White’s drawings. Stone shared, “When we peeled away layers of material, we found the original canvas roof. The work there continues there. We are replacing the metal rails with those of the original design. This is definitely a work in progress as we prioritize and tackle the most important tasks first.”

“I’ve always enjoyed old houses,” David Stone shared. “When Janet and I first got married, we lived in Mount Holly. Then we bought a farmhouse up in Statesville and that was the first home we remodeled. I figure if Janet can live with me through a winter of remodeling, without heat or a kitchen, we can handle anything. It was a mess.”

When asked why he takes on these projects, David Stone replied, “I have a passion for remodeling. I don’t care anything about sports; you won’t catch me at a football game. I love taking projects, like this one and the Mauney house, that are in disrepair and bring them back to life. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes from this work and that I love. Aside from remodeling, we shop for antiques and hardware to match those used in the original house that need replacing.

While remodeling the downstairs bath, David noticed a stain on the floor matched the same footprint from a sink in the garage bathroom. “We determined the sink had been moved to the garage. The date on the sink is 1928, so we know it is original to the house and we are glad we could return it to its original spot in the house”

Despite all the work the Stone family does restoring their property, they do take time to enjoy their new home on Piedmont Avenue. A covered deck on the back of the house has a view of downtown Charlotte on a clear day. “We’ve enjoyed the fireworks of Gastonia, Belmont, Mount Holly from this deck,” Stone said.
Lew and linda dellinger
Lew and Linda Dellinger celebrate their shop’s 130th anniversary this year. (Photos provided)

Dellinger’s Jewel Shop, a KM tradition for more than 60 years

By Loretta Cozart

Dellinger's Jewel Shop is one of the most trusted names in jewelry in the Kings Mountain region and sells high-quality, hand-crafted, fine jewelry.

A family of jewelers that spans four generations, the Dellinger’s have been in the jewelry business since 1890. They opened their first store in Cherryville, followed by a store in Kings Mountain in the 1950s. The Dellinger’s built the current store located at 112 West Mountain Street in 1974.

“Our location in downtown Kings Mountain has been a key to marketing our business because of the higher volume of people who visit downtown,” said owner Lew Dellinger. “Plus, the businesses in downtown Kings Mountain are a community within a community and we support each other.”

Dellinger's Jewel Shop’s is known for their high ethical standards, knowledge of jewelry products and services, fair pricing and providing value to their customers.

“Our relationship with our customers lasts a lifetime. We have served multiple generations of families and pride ourselves on the personalized service we provide our customers,” added Dellinger. “Our integrity is important to us and we appreciate the trust that our customers have in us.”

Dellinger’s Jewel Shop was closed for six weeks during the COVID-19 business shutdown.

“It was a tough time,” said Dellinger. “When we reopened we wanted to celebrate our 130th anniversary, so we had a 50% off sale and the community response was absolutely tremendous.”

Dellinger hopes that all of the businesses in downtown Kings Mountain can rebound and he looks forward to seeing the downtown area grow into a hub of dining, shopping, events and festivals.

 
Permitnew city logo small

Permit may be needed for home improvements or repairs

By Janet Hart, City of KM

Are you planning to close in your carport to convert it to a garage? Are you building a deck on the back of your house? Are you trying to stay cool during these hot days, but your air conditioning system is withering in the heat? If you are planning work on your home or property, you may need to get a permit before your project begins.

The City of Kings Mountain wants to make sure property owners know that it is important to check with the building Codes Department before starting any project to find out if a building or zoning permit is required. Building and zoning laws are set by the State of North Carolina and municipalities have adopted those laws into local ordinances. To find out if a project requires a permit, contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Building Codes Department at 704-734-4599.

Obtaining a permit helps ensure that work being performed meets building code standards.

“It’s for your safety and protection,” said Clint Houser, Director of City of Kings Mountain’s Building Codes Department, “For example: if you are building a deck, it’s important that the deck be structurally sound so that no one is injured by substandard work.”

Permit applications are available online at the City of Kings Mountain’s website – www.cityofkm.com, under Your Government, then click on Code Enforcement. The direct link to the permit application is: https://www.cityofkm.com/154/Permit-Applications-Forms

Permits can be obtained by emailing the application to the email address on the application - tammy.scruggs@cityofkm.com. Permit applications can also be submitted in person to the City of Kings Mountain’s Building Codes Department, located at 1013 N. Piedmont Avenue in Kings Mountain.

“We can usually fulfill a residential permit on the same day that an application is submitted,“ said Houser, “but certainly within one to three days.”

Anyone who fails to obtain a permit before a job begins will pay a penalty fee equal to twice the cost of the permit.

“We want to make sure that homeowners know that a permit may be needed for certain types of home repairs and improvements,” added Houser. “Doing unpermitted work on your home, can invalidate warranties and cause issues when reselling a home.”

For more information about obtaining residential building and zoning permits, please contact the City of Kings Mountain’s Building Codes Department at 704-734-4599.

Two Properties rezoned: City council denies amending zoning on Bumgardner property

By Loretta Cozart

On Tuesday, July 28, Kings Mountain livestreamed the city council meeting online. In an effort to comply with mitigation standards and social distancing as required by the Governor of North Carolina, the city shared the meeting on its website. Due to technical difficulties there was no audio.

Below are the actions taken by city council during the meeting. Without audio, the Herald cannot report on discussions between council members. The city clerk shared what actions were taken.

A motion was made by Councilman Jay Rhodes and seconded by Mike Butler to approve the Consent Agenda. The vote was unanimous. Items approved included minutes of the Special Session of June 11, 2020 and the Regular Meeting of June 30. 

Two budget amendments required Council approval:

• Budget amendment in the amount of $12,000 to budget funds for Library window restoration.

• Budget amendment in the amount of $7,000 to account for Senior Center restricted donations/contributions and to establish an expenditure line item for expenditures of these restricted funds. Council approval is required due to the fact that we are increasing the total General Fund Budget.

Mayor Neisler was authorized to execute a Moss Lake Use Agreement which would allow the Eaton Bass Masters Club to host a non-profit event on October 3. This event would be held from 7 am to 3 pm. This event has been approved by the Moss Lake Commission.

City Council adopted a Resolution directing the City Clerk to investigate a Voluntary Non-Contiguous Annexation Petition received under N.C.G.S. § 160A-58.1 for E5 Holdings, LLC for property located at 245 Dixon School Road, containing 22.46 acres, Parcel #11650, Map 4-41, Block 1, Lot 2 – Case No. VA-2020-1.

City Council adopted a Resolution directing the City Clerk to investigate a Voluntary Non-Contiguous Annexation Petition received under N.C.G.S. § 160A-58.1 for Roadside Truck Plaza for property located at 259 Dixon School Road, containing 6.24 acres, Parcel #11658, Map 4-41, Block 1, Lot 10 – Case No. VA-2020-2.

A Public Hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, August 25 at 6 pm at the City Council Meeting to discuss amending the City of Kings Mountain’s Street Tree Plan and Article XI – Landscaping Ordinance, Sections 11.1 thru 11.4.

A Public Hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, August 25 at 6 pm at the City Council Meeting to consider a request from Royster Oil Company, Owners, for a rezoning of property located at Shelby Road Lot, Parcel #13757 from R-10 to CU-CB and property located at 1903 Shelby Road, Parcel #11034 from NB to CU-GB for their existing company – Case No. Z-1-3-20.

City council entered into a Public Hearing to consider two requests. The first from E5 Holdings, LLC, Owner, for rezoning of property known as 245 Dixon School Road, containing 22.46 acres, Parcel #11650, Map 4-41, Block 1, Lot 2 from Light Industrial (LI) to General Business (GB) – Case No. Z-2-6-20.

The second item was from request from Trent Testa, Roadside Truck Plaza, Inc. Owner, for rezoning of property known as 259 Dixon School Road, containing 6.24 acres, Parcel #11658, Map 4-41, Block 1, Lot 10 from Light Industrial (LI) to General Business (GB) – Case No. Z-1-6-20.

Both requests were discussed at the Planning and Zoning Board earlier on July 14 and the board recommended making the zoning change. The vote was 10 to 1. Board member Renee Bost cast the dissenting vote.

After returning to the Regular Meeting, Councilman Keith Miller made the motion to adopt a consistency statement in Favor the request by E5 Holdings, LLC, Owner, for rezoning of property known as 245 Dixon School Road, containing 22.46 acres, Parcel #11650, Map 4-41, Block 1, Lot 2 from Light Industrial (LI) to General Business (GB) - Case No. Z-2-6-20. Seconded by Councilwoman Annie Thombs, the vote was unanimous.

Councilman Jay Rhodes made the motion to approve an Ordinance amending the Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance rezoning property known as 245 Dixon School Road from Light Industrial (LI) to General Business (GB). Councilman Jimmy West seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

Councilman Jay Rhodes made the motion to adopt a consistency statement in Favor of the a request by Trent Testa, Roadside Truck Plaza, Inc. Owner for rezoning of property known as 259 Dixon School Road, containing 6.24 acres, Parcel #11658, Map 4-41, Block 1, Lot 10 from Light Industrial (LI) to General Business (GB) – Case No. Z-1-6-20. Councilman Miller seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

Councilman Jay Rhodes made the motion to approve an Ordinance amending the Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance rezoning property known as 259 Dixon School Road, from Light Industrial (LI) to General Business (GB). Councilman Mike Butler seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

Stuart Gilbert, Economic Development and Planning Director, made a presentation on changes to consistency statements and reasonableness statements due to Chapter 160D update.

Councilman Tommy Hawkins make the motion to authorize the City Manager to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Kings Mountain Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) to take delivery of Motorola radios that communicate on the 800 MHz frequency. This partnership with GEMS will allow us to directly communicate with both Gaston and Cleveland Counties, and will provide higher quality of service to our citizens. Councilman Jay Rhodes seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

Last month, Michael Bumgardner made a request for amending the Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance Application of property located on York Road, Map 4-79, Block 1, Lot 45 Parcel #63398 for removal from the literal provision of the City of Kings Mountain’s Thoroughfare Protection (TP) Overlay Section 6.16 Overlay Districts (3), which will remove the property from the Official Overlay District Map – Case No. A-1-2-20 – This public hearing was heard and closed at the regular meeting of June 30. Action was tabled until the next regular meeting.

Councilman Keith Miller made a motion to deny adopting a consistency statement request by Michael Bumgardner, Owner. Councilwoman Annie Thombs seconded the motion. Council’s vote was 6 to 1, with Councilman David Allen voting against the motion.

Councilman Jay Rhodes made a motion denying an Ordinance amending the Kings Mountain Zoning Ordinance removing property located on York Road. The motion was seconded by Annie Thombs. Council’s vote was 6 to 1, with Councilman David Allen voting against the motion.
Casino
The groundbreaking for the Catawba Nation Casino gets under way (on Wednesday, July 22) as nine men, representing the Nation and its leaders, the City of Kings Mountain, Cleveland County Commissioners, Delaware North, and Sky Boat Gaming ceremoniously get a shovelful of dirt to toss into a pile, signifying work is officially begun on the long-awaited casino. Left to right are: Wallace Cheves (Sky Boat Gaming); Butch Sanders (Catawba Nation); Jason Harris (Assistant Chief of the Catawba Nation); Sam Beck (Catawba Nation Councilman); Johnny Hutchins (Cleveland County Commissioner); E. Brian Hansberry (Gaming President, Delaware North); Rodrick Beck (Catawba Nation Secretary/Treasurer), Scott Neisler (Mayor, City of Kings Mountain); and Catawba Nations Chief William “Bill” Harris. (photos by MEP/CF Media)

Catawba Indian Nation breaks ground for a multi-million dollar casino

by MICHAEL E. POWELL

Special to Herald

Last Wednesday, July 22, representatives from the Catawba Indian Nation, located in Rock Hill, S.C., and the City of Kings Mountain, and from Cleveland County, met to break ground for the Catawba’s Casino Resort Project.

The group of individuals met at 10:30 a.m., at the Catawba’s 16-acres of land set aside for the casino, just off Exit 5 on I-85, the actual address being 260 Dixon School Rd., Kings Mountain.

In a Monday, July 20, media release from Tribal Administrator Elizabeth Harris, there was limited space available due to COVID-19 restrictions, and the expected mask and social distancing guidelines and rules were in place.

Catawba Chief William “Bill” Harris, after brief introductions of all those who were invited to speak and take part in the auspicious occasion, said, “We are privileged to work with the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners and the City of Kings Mountain. We are also pleased to be working with Delaware North as well as Sky Boat Development.”

Chief Harris spoke about the history of the Catawba Nation and the tribe’s close historical ties with first the English during the French and Indian War, then with the Colonial Americans, when they later took up arms against the British in the Battle of Kings Mountain.

He spoke of the Catawba’s great King Hagler, who in the 1750s spoke about living in peace, love and friendship with all nations. King Hagler, or Nopkehee, was born about 1700, and died in 1763. He became Chief of the Catawba in 1754.

“We, the Catawba Nation, were there to read the signs and warn the colonists of British attacks,” Chief Harris said, as he continued on the history of the Catawba Nation.

Chief Harris referenced how their nation has developed many partnerships over the many years, bringing it home by referring to the coming casino and its many job opportunities by saying, “Today, we celebrate the thousands of jobs that will be created; we celebrate the economic growth that will come about.”

Regarding that economic growth: it is estimated that a total of $428.1 million will be realized as far as an annual economic impact is concerned. The breakdown is as follows: $308 million (once operational, in per year of direct economic activity and employment of an estimated 2,600 workers); $77.3 million (an additional per year in indirect impact through local purchases from local business); and another $42.8 million per year in induced impact from employer expenditures, according to information provided by London & Associates (February 2020). This same study projects that construction activity alone will generate $311 million, with a “total employment of 2,347 from direct, indirect, and induced effect”, as per that same media release.

Harris continued, “Today the Catawba Nation wants to express it gratitude to Kings Mountain, Delaware North, Cleveland County, and Sky Boat, as well as others as this project unfolds.” Some of those others he talked about include U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, Richard Burr, Tom Tillis, and Sen. Scott for their 2019 support that encouraged the request to accept the 16 acres of land into trust for the Catawbas. That decision is still being contested by the Cherokee Tribe but the casino continues to move forward, noted Chief Harris, in a March 2020 article in the Eagle.

According to the Project History & Timeline handed out at the groundbreaking, the projected Introductory Phase, complete with 1,300 operational gaming devices is possibly summer of 2021.

Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler, who was one of the project leads, along with Cleveland County Commissioner Johnny Hutchins, was quoted on the handout as saying, “Finally, the Catawbas have the opportunity to perpetuate their culture as a meaningful elevation of their place in North American history.

“Before today, this eight-mile stretch of I-85 had little to offer to locals and tourists. With this project we will become the premier destination between Atlanta and Washington, DC, for entertainment.”

Neisler said at the groundbreaking, “Today, we are standing on official Catawba Nation lands! This is historical Catawba land! We are all Americans, and we are in lockstep with them, and wish them well in the furthering of their culture. I want to thank Chief Harris and others of this Catawba Nation for having us as guests on their land.”

Commissioner Hutchins was quoted on the handout as saying, “Our steadfast partnership with the Catawba Indian Nation has brought us to this moment in time to celebrate their culture and their desire to improve the future of tribe members and those in Cleveland County and the region through jobs, tourism, and economic potential.”

He added at the groundbreaking, “This (casino and its jobs) is going to be beneficial to us all.”

In addition to Hutchins being there for the Cleveland County Commissioners, Chairperson Susan Allen was present as well, as was Delaware North’s Gaming President E. Brian Hansberry, and a host of dignitaries and others. Sheriff Alan Norman and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department provided security and direction for the event.

Hansberry noted that Delaware North wants “to create a world-class operation here,” and that they were “glad to be working on this.”

In closing, Chief Harris, said, just before inviting everyone to the actual groundbreaking area, “This project will have a huge economic impact on this area!”

Providing tribal music and prayers for the event, along with ceremonial drumming were Jason and Ronnie Beck.

For those desiring more information on the Catawba Nation Casino or the tribe, contact Elizabeth Harris, Tribal Administrator at elizabeth.harris@catawbaindian.net, or call (803) 366-4792, ext. 225.
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The new patio at 133 West takes shape.

Work continues in downtown KM

By Loretta Cozart 

Additional renovation and construction progress is being seen in the downtown area. The patio at 133 West continues is taking shape. A stage as been added, along with decorative concrete work. The restaurant has yet to open, but furniture has been delivered.

Just down the block, Michael Parker’s property, once home of SageSport / Fulton’s Department Store, has seen the addition of joists for the second floor that are almost complete. Every fourth joist is anchored into the wall with eight inch bolts, which helps stabilize the structure and allows for work to be done on the roof next.

McGill’s Service Station has seen cornice and masonry work begin. Once this step is complete, cleaning of the exterior will begin. New owner, Kaimesha Young, shared that she closed on the property July 15.
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Bill Harris

Catawba Indian Nation to break ground on casino Wednesday

The Catawba Indian Nation held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new, state-of-the art casino development project today, Wednesday, July 22, at 10:30 am, at 245 Dixon School Road in Kings Mountain, off I-85 at Exit 5.

The event was a celebration for the Catawba Indian Nation and the surrounding community as work begins on this important and long-awaited economic development project. Through construction and completion, the project will employ 4,000 North Carolinians from the surrounding region.

Speakers include Catawba Indian Nation Chief Bill Harris, Delaware North, Gaming President E. Brian Hansberry, Cleveland County Commissioners Chair Susan Allen, and Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler.

Masks are required, and social distancing measures will be in effect. We will be adhering to North Carolina's COVID19 Restrictions on outdoor event capacity.
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Marilyn Sellers

City clarifies purchase of land in 2015

By Loretta Cozart
Last week, the Herald reported on two parcels of land purchased by the City of Kings Mountain in 2015 in order to provide utilities to NTE Energy, now known as Carolina Power Partners, LLC. Documentation provided by City of Kings Mountain shows the city billed NTE Energy, and NTE Energy paid the city a month later and before the property switched hands.

In a phone call with Kings Mountain City Manager Marilyn Sellers on Monday, July 20, Sellers explained the transaction saying, “We had an agreement with NTE that the city would purchase the property and they (NTE) would, in turn, reimburse us. What happened was that it became a pass through. A payment was received by the city from NTE, and we City paid for the two parcels. We didn’t use taxpayer dollars and the closing fees were included in their payment.”

Reviewing the city’s ledger sheet, City of Kings Mountain billed NTE Energy for $119,723.25 on July 7, 2015 and check was received from NTE Energy in that amount on August 3, 2015. The deed was executed on September 1, 2015 by Atty. Neisler and recorded with the Register of Deeds office on September 3, 2015.

Sellers explained the upset bid process. “Anytime we get a bid on a property, we, as staff, in turn put that on the council agenda to let them know we received a bid,” she said. “When we accept the bid, it starts the process. And, we don’t have to accept it (the bid) after a month. That’s up to council.”

“As for the property having no value, ‘of no use’ would be a better term,” Sellers said. “We looked at several options for the property and decided it was of no use to us. We purchased the 17.11 acre parcel for $69,723.25. We did have the property appraised at $125,000 and we got a bid for $150,000. We are hoping for higher offers and the first bid starts the process. It is up to council and, in the end, they may decide they don’t want to sell it.”
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Roy Cooper

NC K-12 public schools require safety measures to re-open

Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen were joined today by education and health leaders to announce health and safety plans for K-12 public schools for the new school year. Schools will open for in-person instruction under an updated Plan B that requires face coverings for all K-12 students, fewer children in the classroom, measures to ensure social distancing for everyone in the building, and other safety protocols.

“The most important opening is that of our classroom doors. Our schools provide more than academics; they are vital to our children’s’ health, safety and emotional development,” said Governor Cooper. “This is a difficult time for families with hard choices on every side. I am committed to working together to ensure our students and educators are as safe as possible and that children have opportunities to learn in the way that is best for them and their families.”

The Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit outlines the updated requirements for Plan B. Districts may choose to operate under Plan C, which calls for remote learning only, and health leaders recommend schools allow families to opt into all-remote learning. Modifications have been made to Plan B since it was released in June to make it more protective of public health.

“After looking at the current scientific evidence and weighing the risks and benefits, we have decided to move forward with today’s balanced, flexible approach which allows for in-person instruction as long as key safety requirements are in place in addition to remote learning options.” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD. “We will continue to follow the science and data and update recommendations as needed. We ask every North Carolinian to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and follow the three W’s: Wear a face covering when in public, Wait 6 feet apart, Wash your hands.”

Governor Cooper also announced that the state will provide at least five reusable face coverings for every student, teacher and school staff member in public schools. In June, the state provided packs of personal protective equipment to schools that included a two-month supply of thermometers, surgical masks, face shields and gowns for school nurses and delegated staff who provide health care to students.

“Educators and stakeholders across our state have worked tirelessly to reopen our school buildings safely for our students, teachers and staff. Today, we take another critical step towards that goal. We also know families need to choose the option that is best for their children, so all school districts will provide remote learning options,” said Eric Davis, Chairman of the State Board of Education.

“In-person education is important for children, and it happens in the context of a community. This plan strikes the right balance between health and safety and the benefits of having children learn in the classroom. We must all continue with proven measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission like wearing a face covering, keeping distance between people, and frequent hand and surface cleanings so we can move closer to safely re-opening public schools,” said Dr. Theresa Flynn, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, a practicing pediatrician who serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Pediatric Society and joined today’s announcement.

Under Plan B, schools are required to follow key safety measures that include:

• Require face coverings for all teachers and students K-12

• Limit the total number of students, staff and visitors within a school building to the extent necessary to ensure 6 feet distance can be maintained when students/staff will be stationary

• Conduct symptom screening, including temperature checks

• Establish a process and dedicated space for people who are ill to isolate and have transportation plans for ill students

• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in the school and transportation vehicles regularly

• Require frequent hand washing throughout the school day and provide hand sanitizer at entrances and in every classroom

• Discontinue activities that bring together large groups

• Limit nonessential visitors and activities involving external groups

• Discontinue use of self-service food or beverage distribution

In addition, schools are strongly recommended to follow additional safety measures that include:

• Designate hallways and entrance/exit doors as one-way

• Keep students and teachers in small groups that stay together as much as possible

• Have meals delivered to the classroom or have students bring food back to the classroom if social distancing is not possible in the cafeteria

• Discontinue activities that bring together large groups

• Place physical barriers such as plexiglass at reception desks and similar areas

More details can be found in the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit. Read the Screening Reference Guide for schools and the Infection Control and PPE Guidance.

In addition to the announcement about school plans, Governor Cooper shared that North Carolina will remain paused in Safer at Home Phase 2 after the current Executive Order expires on Friday, July 17.

“As we continue to see rising case numbers and hospitalizations, we will stay in Safer at Home Phase 2 for three more weeks,” said Governor Cooper. “Our re-opening priority is the school building doors, and in order for that to happen we have to work to stabilize our virus trends.”

“While all school re-entry plans have their challenges during this pandemic, our superintendents, principals, and other school leaders will continue to prioritize student and staff safety in reopening schools under the cautious parameters outlined today by the Governor,” said North Carolina Association of School Administrators Executive Director Katherine Joyce. “We look forward to continuing work with the Governor, the General Assembly, and other state leaders to ensure our schools have the support needed to get student learning back on track in the safest manner possible in each local district.”

“I recognize Governor Cooper faced a very difficult decision. The good news is that local school boards can now begin to officially put their school reopening plans in motion,” said Brenda Stephens, President of the North Carolina School Board Association. “While the current situation may not be ideal for all, I’m confident North Carolina’s educators will continue to provide students with the best education possible.

 
Zoning 245 dixon school road
The area highlighted on the map is property owned by E5 Holdings, LLC and they have asked for a rezoning. The large parcel east of the highlighted property is owned by the city and is currently open for upset bid. The smaller property to the south, between E5 Holdings and the I-85 Service Road, is property owned by Trent Testa, who has also requested rezoning. Photo by Cleveland County GIS

Planning and Zoning Board meets: Board recommends City Council approve 2 rezoning requests

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain’s Planning and Zoning Board met on Tuesday July 14 to discuss several zoning requests along Dixon School Road near the I-85 interchange.

There was a quorum present and all members of the board were in attendance: CCETJ Chairman Doug Lawing, Vice Chairman Ron Humphries, Todd Wilson, Chris Jolly, Ronnie Franks, Joseph Allen, Maury Williams, Bobby Elliott, Donald Atkins, Renee Bost, and Audrey Cody.

After Stuart Gilbert updated to the board on the Comprehensive Plan and shared a PowerPoint presentation regarding Consistency Statements, the board addressed the two matters of action on the agenda.

Property owner Trent Testa submitted Zoning Request Z-1-6-20, for parcel number 11658 at 259 Dixon School Road in Kings Mountain and asked his property to be rezoned from light industrial to general business. Testa did not attend the meeting.

The second item considered was Zoning Request Z-2-6-20 submitted by members of E5 Holdings, LLC, Eddie Holbrook, Doug Brown, Stuart LeGrand, for parcel number 11650 at 245 Dixon School Road in Kings Mountain, asking the property to be rezoned from light industrial to general business. Nobody representing E5 Holdings, LLC attended.

Prior to public input, Gilbert shared that E5 Holdings had requested annexing paperwork late Tuesday afternoon. He explained, “E5 Holdings wants annexed into the city because City of Kings Mountain has adjacent annexed property.”

Two Kings Mountain residents who live nearby spoke. Marcus Howze of 212 Dixon School Road addressed the board asking, “How will this rezoning affect us?” Chairman Lawing explained, “It should not impact taxes or zoning at this time.” Howze then asked for clarification and Chairman Lawing assured him, “The only parcels impacted are the two parcels we discussed.”

Pricilla Dunlap of Tin Mine Road spoke next, questioning Chairman Lawing’s response to Howze’s, using the phrase, “… at this time.” Lawing explained, “Cities cannot annex properties in the ETJ unless the property owners request annexation.”

Board member Renee Bost made the motion to delay the rezoning decision on both properties until next month. Chairman Doug Lawing explained to the board that if nobody seconded the motion, it would fail. He then asked for a second and a second was not given, so the motion did not carry.

Board member Maury Williams made a motion to recommend approval of both zoning requests and the board voted 10 – 1 in favor of the motion. Board member Renee Bost cast the dissenting vote.

A motion was then made by board member Ron Humphries to send the recommendations to approve both requests on to city council for both the Testa and E5 Holdings, LLC properties, and the board voted 10 – 1 in favor of the motion. Board member Renee Bost cast the dissenting vote.
Rainbow

Rainbow over KM

Eric Pardo took this photo last Friday as storms passed through town and posted it on the What’s Up Kings Mountain!’s Facebook page. According to Eric, “I was just at the right place at the right time.”
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KM designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America™ program

KM designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America™ program

The N.C. Main Street Center & Rural Planning Center at the NC Department of Commerce announced that 48 North Carolina communities have been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America™ program. Accredited status is Main Street America’s highest tier of recognition, signifying a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and showcasing a proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach.

“We are so proud that the City of Kings Mountain is one of the 48 North Carolina communities that has earned Main Street America’s national Accreditation,” said City Manager Marilyn Sellers. “This recognition illustrates the City’s commitment to economic development, downtown revitalization and historic preservation.”

“North Carolina’s accredited Main Street programs have worked diligently to meet the standards established by the National Main Street Center, and we are pleased to see them recognized on a national level for their achievement,” said Anthony M. Copeland, N.C. Secretary of Commerce. “Local Main Street programs across our state work every day to bring jobs and businesses to their downtowns, which strengthens the overall economy of their communities and, in turn, that of our entire state.”

The North Carolina Main Street communities that have earned accreditation for their 2019 performance are Albemarle, Belmont, Bessemer City, Burlington, Cherryville, Clinton, Concord, Eden, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Elkin, Elon, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, Kings Mountain, Lenoir, Laurinburg, Lexington, Marion, Monroe, Morehead City, Morganton, New Bern, Newton, North Wilkesboro, Oxford, Reidsville, Roanoke Rapids, Roxboro, Rutherfordton, Salisbury, Sanford, Shelby, Smithfield, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Sylva. Tarboro, Tryon, Wake Forest, Washington. Waynesville, Waxhaw, Williamston, and Wilson.

The performance standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street community’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determine the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

“Earning Accreditation for our Main Street program makes the City of Kings Mountain even more attractive for residential and business development,” said City of Kings Mountain’s Community Planning and Economic Development Director Stuart Gilbert. “The City was recently named as the Healthiest Housing Market in the country and these types of distinctions are important to families, businesses and investors.”

“The NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center is proud of this year’s accredited communities,” said Liz Parham, Director of the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center. “These communities have worked hard to build sustainable organizations, which are able to create vibrant downtowns that can pivot quickly during a crisis like COVID-19. We commend these communities and their volunteers on these accomplishments and look forward to seeing their continued success.”

“This is another great honor for the City of Kings Mountain,” said Mayor Scott Neisler. “First, SmartAsset.com, a web-based financial technology firm, named Kings Mountain as the Healthiest Housing Market in the United States,” Mayor Neisler added. “Now, Main Street America has recognized our downtown revitalization efforts as one of the top 48 in the state,”

Since 1980, The North Carolina Main Street program has generated $3.25 billion in private and public investment. In 2019, North Carolina Main Street downtown districts generated 345 net new businesses, 148 expansions of existing businesses, 2,211 net new jobs, 378 façade rehabilitations, 297 building rehabilitations, and logged more than 150,000 volunteer hours.

The success of the Downtown District is a partnership requiring strategic planning and financial investment from both the public and private sectors.

“The leadership of the City of Kings Mountain and the dedicated property and business owners in Downtown Kings Mountain have worked hard to create the type of positive changes that brought forth the National Main Street America Accreditation,” said Main Street Coordinator Susan Matheson. “Being an Accredited Main Street community is an honor to achieve and we appreciate everyone who has helped us to reach this milestone.”

The City of Kings Mountain has been intentional in creating appropriate improvements that maintain the historic integrity of our downtown structures such as the building restorations along South Battleground Avenue and those currently underway on West Mountain Street. The City’s strategic planning helped guide the development of new amenities such as the Amphitheater and updated Streetscape along Cansler Street.

“We are proud to recognize this year’s Nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have dedicated themselves to strengthening their communities,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.”

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $85.43 billion in new public and private investment, generated 672,333 net new jobs and 150,079 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 295,348 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Nationally, Main Street America communities generated $6.45 billion of public and private reinvestment, helped open 6,466 net new businesses, facilitated the creation of 32,316 net new jobs, and supported the rehabilitation of 10,412 buildings in 2019.
— KM Herald
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Photo taken of May 26 City Council meeting in which they voted to annex the two parcels into the corporate limits. Photo by Loretta Cozart

When a gift is not a gift

By Loretta Cozart

The Herald reported on actions taken during the May 26 City Council Meeting in the June 3 edition of the Kings Mountain Herald, sharing the discussion of councilmembers who described two parcels of land as being gifted to the city. The Herald has since learned the land had instead been purchased by the city in September 2015.

On May 26, 2020, City of Kings Mountain held a Public Hearing before the annexation of two parcels of city-owned land located near Dixon School Road and across from the planned casino, being described as “New Lot 1,” consisting of .71 acres and “New Lot 2,” consisting of 17.11 acres as shown on a plat recorded in Plat Book 38 at Page 59 of the Cleveland County Registry.

Discussion by councilmembers followed, and Councilman Jimmy West asked, “How did we acquire the property and how long have we had it?” City Planner Stuart Gilbert replied, “We acquired it on September 1, 2015.”

Councilman Jay Rhodes added saying, “Albemarle (Rockwood Lithium) gave us a large portion of it. And a family gave us the other small lot.” Mayor Neisler added, “We got it so we could provide power to the NTE (Energy Center) project.”

However, the property was not gifted to the city as described by city council. The two properties were purchased by City of Kings Mountain for a total of $119,723.25 as noted in the July 28, 2015 City Council Agenda.

Item I of that agenda reads, “Authorize Mayor to execute documents purchasing 0.71 acres of the tract of land owned by PMC Holdings, Inc., DB 1473 P. 777, in the amount of $50,000 plus closing costs and 17.11 acres of the tract of land owned by Rockwood Lithium, Inc., subsidiary of Albemarle Corporation; DB 1636 P. 19, in the amount of $69,723.25 plus closing costs for the purpose of utility infrastructure to and from the NTE Energy Center.”

According to Cleveland County GIS, the 17.11 acres of land, identified as Parcel 63027, was sold to City of Kings Mountain by Rockwood Lithium for $69,723.25 plus closing costs. The current land value is listed as $188,210. The second lot, Parcel 62997, was sold to the City of Kings Mountain by Pyramid Motor Company, Inc. for $50,000 plus closing costs and the current land value is $4,259.00.

The Herald called City Attorney Mickey Corry to discuss the gifted land. Atty. Corry, in turn, had Assistant City Manager Nick Hendricks call the Herald. When told that the city had not been gifted the land as described during in the May city council meeting, Hendricks replied, “Let me explain to you how the process works. We needed a 100-foot easement to supply NTE water, electric, and gas when they built their plant. So, we went to Rockwell Lithium to get the easement and they wouldn’t sell it to us unless we purchased the entire parcel.”

He went on to say, “To service NTE, we had to put in the infrastructure that cost the city a lot of money. Monthly, every 30-days, the city bills NTE for the infrastructure and utilities. In that invoice they also pay us for the land we purchased, essentially making it a gift because we considered ourselves gifted to have received it.”

Henricks also explained that the land is filled with 100-foot drop-offs and the city considers the land of no value. When asked, “If that is the case, why did the city bother annexing the land into the city last month?," he replied, “I don’t know. That is a question for City Manager Marilyn Sellers or Mayor Neisler. I can’t answer that.”

One month after annexing the property, during the June 30 city council meeting, councilmembers approved “a Motion adopt a Resolution to receive an Offer to Purchase in the amount of $150,000 from E-5 Holdings, LLC (Eddie Holbrook, David Brown, and Stuart LeGrand) for property consisting of 17 acres, more or less, and being located on Dixon School Road and authorize advertisement for upset bid process.” The land was neither identified by a street address nor a parcel number. Without discussion, council approved the motion.

When the Herald asked Hendricks, “Is the land that you discussed in item 15 on the June 30 agenda the same 17.11 acres purchased in 2015?,” Hendricks replied, “It is one and the same, but the city is keeping a 100-foot easement to NTE.” When queried why the property wasn’t identified by address and parcel number as it should have been,” he replied, “It must have been an oversight by the City Clerk. You can call and ask her.”

Legally, City of Kings Mountain purchased 17.11 acres of land in 2015. It was not a gift. On May 28, the city annexed that property into its corporate limits. One month later, city council approved authorizing advertisement for upset bid process for this same property without discussion, at the urging of E5 Holdings. And, now, because the city annexed that property, the city is legally required by state law to provide all the utilities and services to that property that it provides to all owners within their corporate limits.
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Kings Mountain native Kiamesha Young is in the process of purchasing McGill’s Service station. Photo provided

Kiamesha Young buys McGill’s Service Station

By Loretta Cozart

Kings Mountain native Kiamesha Young is buying McGill’s Service Station at 100 E. King Street in Kings Mountain. The building was constructed in 1924 by Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and the McGill family ran the service station from 1926 to 1992. The McGill’s were well-known for their commitment to service, drawing loyal customers to their business for 66 years.

At the June 30 Kings Mountain City Council meeting, property owner Joe Champion introduced Young as the new buyer and asked them to delay the Order to Repair or Demolish the building to allow her time for due diligence.

Young currently lives in Charlotte and has a degree in mathematics from UNC-Charlotte. She taught middle and high school math before entering into the real estate business. She has been in business in for 15-years and is no stranger to hard work. “I am very hands-on. My whole family is from Kings Mountain and we are hard workers,” she said. “That work ethic was instilled in us by our grandfather, Leroy Young. He laid pipe for Gaston County until he retired. We work with our hands and we don’t wait on anybody to do anything for us that we can get out there and do ourselves,” she added.

Young explained that she is transitioning into the contractor’s side from the real estate industry in this project. “I have a vision for the property and have a building contractor’s license, so I have the resources to make sure the work gets done, and done well,” she said. “I own the Y3 Work Bar in Gaston County, so I understand the kind of hard work that is required.”

The Order to Repair or Demolish, issued by City of Kings Mountain, cited four primary issues with the building: (1) Loose and overhanging objects or leaning objects that constitute a danger of falling on persons on the premises, (2) Exterior of the building is not in good repair or free from deterioration, (3) Broken glass, loose wood, crumbling brick and similar hazards, (4) Flaking and peeling exterior surfaces need to be scraped and repainted.

On Monday, Moon builders began repairing the brick, cornice, and windows of the Service Station. “We want to preserve the history by restoring the building to its original look on the exterior,” Young added. “The inside will definitely have a more modern feel. The two bays will most likely become conference space and a lounge area, with glass doors in the front. Features we want to keep include the wall safe and the service pits.”

Once completed, Young will move her real estate business into the building. “Right now, I am pretty much a one-man show. But my goal with this building is to provide opportunities and jobs in the city through real estate.“

Like the McGill family, who developed a loyal customer base through hard work, Kiamesha Young intends to continue that commitment to quality service at 100 E. King Street in the heart of Kings Mountain, and she invites other entrepreneurs to bring their business to town.

“For people like me who moved away and started businesses outside of Kings Mountain, I would say that it is time for them to bring their resources and talents home. It’s just time.” Young added, “Kings Mountain is growing and there is a place for us now. There are opportunities for us to make a difference.”

Joe Champion and Steve Wallace purchased McGill’s Service Station in 2005, along with several other properties that had once housed or distributed fuel products. “People kept telling me that reclaiming these properties couldn’t be done. But it can!”

“Cleanup on the service station property took a substantial investment, but it was worth it to save this piece of our history,” Champion said. “People offered to help us but couldn’t come up with the money. The hardest thing for people to understand was that work had been done, but they couldn’t see it because it was below the ground.”

On December 4, 2017, NC Department of Environmental Quality, UST Division, Waste Management, Asheville Regional office issued a No Further Action determination letter for 100 E. King Street. That decision came with a deed restriction designating the site as only suitable for industrial/commercial businesses, due to groundwater contamination “exceeding residential” Maximum Soil Contaminant Concentration Levels (MSCCs) from petroleum in the ground. Left undisturbed, that petroleum poses no issue, according to state guidelines.


 
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Ed Blackburn’s beehives. Photos Shirley Brutko

Blackburn’s bees help apple trees flourish

By Loretta Cozart 

Kings Mountain banker, Ed Blackburn, has always gardened. Ten to fifteen years ago he added heirloom apples to his repertoire, planting trees at his home and in his family’s apple orchard in Todd, NC. He has several apple varieties, including Early Transparent, Virginia Beauty, Green Cheese, and Johnson’s Fine Winter.

“The family orchard had been neglected, so I took on the project, cleaning it up and planting new trees.” Between his orchard in the mountains and at his home, Blackburn now has 13 apple trees.

His orchard and his garden have kept him busy. However, his garden just hasn’t produced as he would like recently. “This year is the sorriest garden I’ve ever had,” Blackburn said. “Memorial Day rains washed most of the garden away. I was only able to save maybe 40% of my green beans.”

Over the years, Blackburn had considered keeping bees. “I’ve always had an interest in beehives, because I love honey. But I just kept putting it off. In December 2019, I read that the Gaston County Bee Association was offering a bee class and decided to take it. I took the class in January and by April 15, I had my first hive.”

Blackburn now has six hives and has named them after places from his family history. He also named his queen bees after women in his family. “The Watauga hive is in honor of my mother; I named the queen Betty to honor her. My mother’s family is from Mabel, North Carolina, located in Watauga County.”

The remaining five hives were named in the same fashion: Texas, Scottie; Mabel, Lillian (Blackburn’s maternal grandmother); Red Carolina (named for Carolina Freight because his dad, mother, and sister worked there), the queen is named Ms. Beam; Santa Fe, Rosa; and Blue Ridge. He hasn’t named that queen yet. “I’m working on it though,” Blackburn said. In addition to naming each hive and queen, Blackburn and his family have painted the hives to match their place names.

What started as a hobby out of a love of honey has blossomed in ways Blackburn never imagined. “My apple trees are producing far more than they did last year. My blueberry bushes are producing two to three times better. My Raspberries have just exploded in growth, too. And those green beans are also producing well. It is amazing.”

“An apple tree normally produces 250 apples, but with the bees pollinating them they are producing 1,200 apples each. I have two Early Transparent trees that are 12-years old now. The fruit ripens in early June. So far, between my wife and family members, we’ve put up 50 – 60 jars of apples from those trees alone. We have a lot of apples.”

Blackburn suggests taking the Gaston County Bee Class if you are interested in keeping bees. “I am a firm believer that people learn by observing, reading, and being taught. And, when you finish the class, you are assigned a mentor to help you for a year. I highly recommend taking the class, as opposed just to watching videos on YouTube. Mentors help you apply the knowledge from class in your own hives and their experience is invaluable.”
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N.F. McGill and Son’s service station served KM residents for 66-years

By Loretta Cozart 

On February 2, 1926, Norman Fuller McGill took management of N. F. McGill and Son’s Standard Oil Station at the corner of E. King Street and N. Piedmont Avenue in Kings Mountain. Many people remember the building that housed a family business for three generations and the way the McGill family made them feel. The McGill family appreciated their customers, and the customers knew it.

In a story in the Herald written by Lib Stewart in 1976, McGill shared that he “made the motion at a city board meeting in the early 1920s that resulted in the rezoning of the Ella Harmon property for construction of a one-room service station.” He had no idea at the time that just two-years later he would become the operator of the station for Standard Oil Co., then Esso and later Exxon in 1972. 

When the station opened, there were few other service stations in town. One was located at the intersection of Battleground and W. Mountain Street, where the Cleveland County Chamber once kept an office. That station was operated by I.G. Patterson and Charlie Falls. W.A. Mauney Stores was open at that time and remained so until 1929, the year Andrew Mauney passed. 

Other downtown stores of that era were Kiser and Mauney, Carpenter Brothers Hardware, and Plonk Brothers. All those businesses are gone now but for the buildings that once housed them. The same is true for McGill and Son’s service station.

McGill shared in the article that Zeb Means, son of a preacher, was a loyal employee who worked for him before N.F. McGill, Jr. was born. He sometimes washed as many as 25 cars on Saturdays in an open wash pit beside the station.

One of McGill’s busiest days was the day in 1932 when President Herbert Hoover came to town for the celebration at the Battleground, before it became a National Military Park. “I had a front row seat,” McGill said. “But the crowds who lined the streets from the depot (then located downtown) and streets by the station did not cheer Hoover. There was only one man who did,” he said. The nation was in the throughs of the Great Depression.

That day, McGill had a continuous stream of cars stopping at his station on the corner to fill up and his nephew enjoyed a booming business with a refreshment stand.

McGill was asked to come from Sunday Church services at the ARP Church, which was then located where the Mountain View Restaurant is now, to gas up 40 – 50 motorcycles in the president’s motorcade. Those were the good ole’ days. 

The McGill family operated the business until N.F. McGill, Jr. retired in 1992, celebrating 66-years of service to the people of Kings Mountain and those who passed through town on their way to points west, or to view the fall leaves each year.

For 46-years, the building was owned by Standard Oil Company as noted on the Cleveland County Ledger Sheet, from April 15, 1926 until 1972. 

McGill and Son’s was a full-service station. Many Kings Mountain residents visited the station religiously. Jackie Jordan Davis commented on a recent Facebook post, “Trip, I love the picture of your grandaddy pumping gas in his suit and hat!! My grandaddy always dressed the exact same way. He never went anywhere without being ‘dressed’ and had his hat on.”

Gladys Jones shared, “We couldn't have survived our ten years in that town without McGill’s Service Station and even more importantly - without knowing and being friends with the McGill’s.”

Chris Ledbetter reminisced, “As a teenager with a bike I remember going there for free air for my tires that where always flat. I still love to see that landmark as I ride by in my truck with air filled tires...”

Byron Fite wrote, “I was born in 1954, and remember the station when service stations were Service Stations, with full service, and clean windshields, oil check, gas fill ups, and tire pressure checks in one stop... Just Saying, how old I am I reckon...”

Jeff Bogan shared the sentiments of many who commented, “I’d hate to see that building go away. It holds some good memories for me.”

Norman Fuller McGill, III (Trip) recently shared some photos on Facebook of the service station the year it opened., “100 E. King Street was the home of my grandaddy and dad’s business for years. The original building was built in 1924 and my Grandaddy, Fuller McGill, operated the business starting in 1926 and my dad closed the doors in 1992!” 

He added, “Pictured here is the original building before the bays and restrooms were added. My grandaddy standing in front as it was Standard Oil of NJ and then later McGill’s Esso and McGill’s Exxon. Also pictured is a story about my grandaddy and a picture of me with my dad sitting on the doorstep of the service station when I was about 3 years old, which would have been 1963.”

Three generations of McGill men, and countless others, worked at N.F. McGill and Son’s service station in its 66-year history. A new era of service stations began here in 1926 and the McGill family proudly continued that tradition until they closed the business. 

Fuller McGill and his son, Norman, were veterans of WWI and WWII respectively. They were civic minded family men who served the community on town boards and in a variety of roles at the ARP Church. 

The example they set while in business remains unequalled in Kings Mountain today. Humble men who did their job well, and served their community with their energy, time, and talents.

As Lib Stewart pointed out in her 1976 article, “McGill prides himself that his station has offered ‘first class service’ throughout the years and on the walls of the renovated modern establishment is a 40-year service award fromEsso and other citations.”

“McGill is apt to tell you very quickly that he doesn’t want to return to the ‘good ole’ days,” Stewart reported. “I just count my blessings every day,” he said.
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DAR holds virtual Continental Congress online

By Loretta Cozart

This pandemic has impacted every part of our lives, from work, school, and play and the same applies to the Daughters of the American Revolution’s (DAR) annual meeting, referred to as Continental Congress. This year marks the 129th annual Continental Congress held in Washington, DC, just blocks away from the White House. But this year’s event will be virtual, and members are able to enjoy the events from their homes, or in small chapter gatherings across the country from June 24 – June 28.

Thousands of DAR members make the trip to Continental Congress around July 4 each year. Groups fill hotels inside the beltway and travel back and forth from the DAR buildings via shuttles and taxis during the day. From start to finish, Continental Congress is busy from morning to night with meetings, award ceremonies, and honoring our military and veterans.

Many go to Continental Congress to take advantage of the DAR’s Library, an extensive collection of genealogical records gathered from across the country. Others go to meet like-minded individuals who share similar interests and goals in the organization. 

DAR members join for a variety of reasons as diverse as the members themselves. Some join to foster good citizenship, educate youth, preserve history, learn about American history, research genealogy, coordinate local service projects, or to participate in commemorative events.  

A good example of a commemorative event witnessed locally occurred in 2016, when the Col. Frederick Hambright DAR Chapter dedicated a marker to African American Patriots at the Battle of Kings Mountain at the Kings Mountain National Military Park. All patriots who participated in the American Revolution deserve to be recognized for their service and three black patriots, among others unknown, are honored there.

In light of recent events, the DAR President General recently shared the society’s continued commitment to equality on its website saying, “DAR is an organization committed to historic preservation, education and patriotism, and knows that examining history helps us to better understand our nation’s long struggle to provide equality, justice and humanity for all Americans.”

She went on to share, “Our National Society encourages and celebrates a diverse membership, and we embrace the opportunity to support our members of color. DAR reaffirms to the membership and the public alike that our organization condemns racism. Bias, prejudice and intolerance have no place in the DAR or America.”

DAR members are women who come from diverse backgrounds and have a variety of interests. Their common bond is their lineal descent from patriots of the American Revolution – any woman, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove this lineage is eligible to join.
Ovid

Cleveland County Reports Third Death Related to COVID-19

The Cleveland County Health Department is sad to report the third death associated with COVID-19 in Cleveland County.
The individual, who passed on June 23, was in the age range of 25-49 and had multiple underlying health conditions. To protect the family’s privacy, no further information about this individual will be released.
“I am deeply saddened that we have lost another member of our community to COVID-19,” Cleveland County Health Director Tiffany Hansen said. “My thoughts and prayers are with this individual’s family. This reinforces that we must continue to take this virus very seriously.” 
As of today, there have been a total of 248 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cleveland County. Of these, 70 are currently active, 175 have completed their isolation period and recovered, and 9 are hospitalized. 
“The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our county continues to rise on a daily basis,” Cleveland County Deputy Health Director Deshay Oliver said. “The virus has become widespread throughout our county, and we are seeing ongoing community transmission. Since moving into Phase 1 and 2 of reopening, things seem to feel more normal, which can lead people to become more relaxed about taking precautions. However, it is more important now than ever to be responsible when leaving our homes by waiting six feet apart, washing our hands, and wearing a cloth face covering or mask. We must maintain the mindset that anyone could have the virus and take appropriate precautions.”
To view the Cleveland County COVID-19 case count update on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, visit www.clevelandcounty.com, click on “County Departments,” select “Health Department,” and then click on “Coronavirus Information.” You can also receive COVID-19 updates by following the Cleveland County Health Department’s Facebook page @clevelandcountyhealthdepartment.