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Arts at the Abbey presents the Black Mountain Trio as series begins

University of NC School of the Arts faculty members Kevin Lawrence, violin, cellist Brooks Whitehouse and pianist Dmitri Vorobiev present a diverse concert as we open the arts season at the Abbey. The September 27, 2021, concert will be held at 8:00 PM in the Abbey Basilica, Belmont, NC.  The ensemble is named to honor the vision of Black Mountain College, a vibrant artistic and educational institution that enriched the cultural history of North Carolina during the middle of the 20th century. The trio performs music of Martinu, Ives and Mendelssohn.
There will be in-person attendance with masks required. The concert is free to the public. Donations are gladly accepted.
The college will also continue a livestream service which can be found on the college’s website at
All Arts at the Abbey concerts are in the Belmont Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey College (at Exit 26 on I-85) Belmont NC and are free to the public.  This series is made possible in part by the Associated Foundation, Inc. of Belmont, The Monks of Belmont Abbey, and other private donors.
The Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey College just off of Exit 26 on I-85. For more information: Karen Hite Jacob. 704-461-6012, or

Community Calendar

Senior Center lunch
Join in Thursday, September 30th at 11am at the Gaston County Senior Center, 1303 Dallas-Cherryville Highway, for Lunch & Learn celebrating Healthy Aging Month.
There will be a panel of speakers who will focus on these 4 areas: nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, and socialization. These four areas are especially important during these times as we are living during a pandemic. Participants are encouraged to ask questions during each speaker’s informational session.
Lunch will be served, so RSVP by Tuesday, September 28th to 704-922-2170.

Gospel concert planned
Saturday Sept 25th – 6 PM, Lowesville Gospel Concerts at Living Word Ministries – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley (Lowesville) NC,  presents The Williamsons from Weleekta OK, and The Childers Family from Lincolnton.   No Admission fee, a freewill offering only to be received, and you are invited.  Contact Carroll Cooke 704-618-9762.

Ebenezer UMC
community yard sale

Ebenezer’s United Methodist Women, 120 Belmont Mt Holly Rd., will have a community yard sale: Saturday, October 2, 2021, 7:00 AM ~ 1:00 PM.
Rental Spaces: $15.00 per space (Tables not furnished) Payable in advance if possible.
Reserve your space: 704-827-3366 (leave message and you will be called back).
Food and snacks available.

Gaston County Tax Collections
Office moves to new location

Gaston County Tax Collections has completed its move to a new location at 100 E. Garrison Blvd., in Gastonia. This is the former location of a PNC Bank branch and is less than a mile south of the county’s administration building in the heart of Gastonia.
The new in-person with a contactless drive-through option replaces the building the location at 405 N. Chester St., which the county has been using since November 2020. The Garrison Boulevard location will become the new home for the Tax Collections Department, and will phase out in-person tax payment collections at the county’s administration building. However, the county will maintain a dropbox for payments at both the administration building, 128 W. Main Ave., and at the new Tax Collections Office.
Due to COVID restrictions, residents are asked to use the drive-through option to pay taxes in person, or call 704-866-3158 to make an appointment.
Property owners may continue to pay taxes online, by mail or by phone. To pay online, property owners may visit the Gaston County Tax Office home page at, listed under County Services, and click on the Pay Online icon. Online payments will require the property key number shown on the actual tax bill or the bill number listed on the online Tax Bill Search page. A non-refundable convenience fee will be charged for all electronic transactions.
To pay by phone, dial 1-855-976-3866. The property key number will be required for payment by phone.
For more information, contact the Gaston County Tax Office at 704-866-3158 or visit the Tax page at
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Thanks to Kristi, Farmers Market Manager and Bobby Downs, Downs Family Farms, Casar, NC for the cantaloupes and all the other local farmers who provided the wonderful vegetables for the Bessemer City Meals on Wheels participants. We look forward to the weekly produce bags to provide to participants across Gaston County.

Gaston Meals on Wheels receives grant

 Meals on Wheels (MOW) Gaston is pleased to announce it has received a grant from SC Johnson to support its frozen meal program in Gaston County.
Currently, MOW serves approximately 400 participants and plan to use the $20,000 grant from SC Johnson to expand the frozen meal delivery program for the elderly homebound who reside outside the hot meal service delivery area.
“We are so appreciative of the grant award,” said Selina Pate, the Adult Nutrition Program Supervisor. “It will help us provide much-needed services in our community.”
Meals on Wheels Gaston focuses on caring for individuals who are unable to shop for food, prepare meals, or socialize with others. If anyone is interested in learning more about the program or getting started, call 704-862-7540 to speak with one of the Intake Specialists.
About Meals on Wheels Gaston
At the core of the Meals on Wheels Gaston service is a nutritious meal, companionship and a watchful eye on the health and safety of Gaston County seniors. MOW serves adults age 60 or better with the help of more than 950 volunteers, who are making a difference in the lives of seniors across Gaston County.
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South Point High School Tennis Courts.

Gaston Schools renovation
and repair projects

Students and teachers at 27 schools may have noticed something different about their campus when they returned to class to begin the 2021-2022 academic year.
Crews spent time over the summer taking care of various renovation and repair projects, everything from parking lot paving to roofing work.  Some projects are more visible than others; it is easy to notice when a school’s interior has been painted while it might not be as obvious when a new generator has been installed.
Regardless of the visibility of the work that has been done, all of the effort is a step toward providing students and teachers with even better school facilities, according to Dr. Morgen Houchard, executive director for auxiliary services.  Houchard’s team is responsible for identifying necessary renovation and repair projects and working to make them happen.
Projects are listed in more than a dozen categories.  Life safety, lighting, media centers, flooring, outdoor drainage, and painting are a few of them.  The list also includes work on pump grease traps at 54 schools (equipment that “traps” grease and oil from wastewater in kitchens before the water gets to the sewer lines) and wastewater/sewer lift stations at 24 schools.
Here is a list of the projects and schools:
Dining Room Renovation
Hunter Huss High School
Elevator Renovations
Ashbrook High School
Southwest Middle School
Hawks Nest STEAM Academy
Lowell Elementary School
Mount Holly Middle School
South Point High School
Webb Street School
Generator Installation
Brookside Elementary School
Cramerton Middle School
Forestview High School
Sadler Elementary School
LED Lighting
Cherryville High School
Forestview High School
Highland School of Technology
Webb Street School
Libraries/Media Centers
Lowell Elementary School
Mount Holly Middle School (in design process)
Life Safety (cameras, intercoms, security systems, fire alarms)
Bessemer City High School
Carr Elementary School
New Hope Elementary School
Outdoor Drainage Improvements
Ashbrook High School
Bessemer City High School
East Gaston High School
Forestview High School
Rankin Elementary School
Painting and Locker Renovation
Webb Street School
Parking Lot Paving and Design
Bessemer City High School
Bessemer City Middle School
Catawba Heights Elementary School (in design process)
Gardner Park Elementary School (in design process)
Hunter Huss High School (in design process)
Roofing Design
Bessemer City Middle School
Cramerton Middle School
Forestview High School
Holbrook Middle School
Kiser Elementary School
Pinewood Elementary School
Springfield Elementary School
Tennis Courts
South Point High School
Additionally, another summertime project focused on the installation of a four-camera system in all yellow school buses.  The system helps to monitor behavior and safety and aids in the COVID-19 contact tracing process. 
While much work was done this summer, Houchard said some of the projects are in the development stages and will be completed in the months ahead.  He said funding for the repair and renovation projects comes from the 2018 school bond referendum and funds set aside for routine maintenance.
“It is an investment in our schools for sure,” said Houchard.  “We are pleased to be making progress on addressing our critical facility needs, but there is more work to be done.  We look forward to using our school bond funds to continue efforts to enhance our school buildings and make them the best they can be for our students, teachers, and the community.”
Chris Mills, principal at Webb Street School, said the new LED lighting, new flooring, and fresh coat of paint on the building’s interior walls have made a significant difference for the school’s look and atmosphere.     
“Our students, staff, and parents were amazed when they came into the building and saw how much work had been done this summer,” said Mills.  “It is a welcomed transformation.  With the new lighting, flooring, and painting, we feel like we have a new school.  It looks wonderful.”
Perhaps the most visible construction project came to fruition this summer with the completion of the new Belmont Middle School.  The school held its grand opening celebration on August 15 and welcomed students and staff for the first day of school on August 23. 
The new Belmont Middle School replaces the historic building on Central Avenue near downtown Belmont that was used as a school campus for eight decades.  Belmont Middle is the third new school for Gaston County Schools in five years. 
The new Pleasant Ridge Elementary School opened in August 2017 and houses the district’s Gifted and Talented Academy for elementary school students.  The larger Pleasant Ridge building was designed to facilitate the merger of Forest Heights and Rhyne elementary schools with Pleasant Ridge.
In March 2018, Stanley Middle School held its grand opening with the new facility being built on the old football field.  When the new building opened, new athletic fields were built where the old school once stood.  Essentially, the campus “flipped” with the building now at the back of the site and the athletic fields at the front of the property. 
Now, attention turns to the next school campus construction project.  In August, the Board of Education approved a resolution requesting the approval and appropriation of additional school bond funds from the county.  In the resolution, the Board indicated its intention to use a portion of the next allocation of funds for the construction of a new Grier Middle School in Gastonia.

Mt. Holly Park Bond information

The Park Bond 2021 would provide funding to build additional parks and recreation facilities and infrastructure in Mount Holly.
The City of Mount Holly is dedicated to the continual and sustainable development of our Parks and Recreation amenities to the community. The bond package, Park Bond 2021, outlines efforts to implement publically-supported projects.
The information on this bond package is available for citizens in preparation of the vote this November.
Learn More About Park Bond 2021, visit

Mt. Holly Historical Society event

The Mt. Holly Historical Society, 131 S, Main St., in downtown Mt. Holly will have a special event on Tuesday, September 28th at 7:00 PM. Guest will be Colonel Chaplain Henry Haynes - “9/11 at the Pentagon, I was there!” Chaplain (Colonel) Henry Haynes who was Chaplain of the Pentagon on 9/11/2001. He remembers vividly the sequence of events on that heartbreaking and devastating day and will share his experiences with a focus on what it means to be an American from the context of 9/11.  All local veterans are encouraged to attend. Bring your friends and neighbors. Free admission, open to the public. Light refreshments will be served after the program.
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Press ‘Play’ with Girl Scouts this fall

Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont (GSCP2P) is currently forming troops and recruiting new leaders in preparation for the new troop year this fall. All girls in grades K-12 are invited to join, and dozens of Girl Scout Information Events are scheduled throughout western and central North Carolina for interested families to come learn more about the organization and locals troops in their area.
Through STEM activities and outdoor adventure programs to creative arts and impactful service projects, Girl Scouts is a way of life that brings out the best in a girl, even in the most challenging times. And while she is busy learning about entrepreneurship and money management, she is also realizing how she can make her world a better place.
The Girl Scout organization is guided largely by adult volunteers and, every year, GSCP2P counts on parents, caregivers and community members to step up and be the lead in cheering girls on as they select exciting hands-on activities and projects, try new things and earn badges in a troop setting. This fall, GSCP2P is offering free memberships to all adults who become a new troop leader. Interested adults can learn more at
Making sure girls see and have opportunities to reach their full potential is what Girl Scouting is all about. So is your girl ready to shine and create the world she wants to see? To join today, visit You can also find out more information about Girl Scouting in your area or starting a new troop by contacting or 800-672-2148.
Girl Scout Information Events near you can also be found on the online event calendar at
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GEMS recognitions...

Congratulations to GEMS Paramedic Madison Ballard and EMT Trevor Bates for an outstanding job with a field delivery. They received a Pre-Hospital Child Delivery challenge coin to honor their achievement. Congratulations to GEMS EMT Jason Ledbetter on his recent NC Technical Rescuer course. This course better prepares first responders for emergencies dealing with technical rescues. GEMS is proud of all your accomplishments. Keep up the outstanding work, EMT Ledbetter! 
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Miss Tina joins Pinewood Elementary

Pinewood Elementary School in Mt. Holly is starting off the school year with a new custodian, Miss Tina (at left), who has been hard at work preparing and keeping the hallways spotless.
Gaston County Schools Facilities has also provided a new floor scrubber for Miss Tina to pilot on her daily rounds.
If you see Miss Tina - be sure to welcome her to the team at Pinewood.

Gaston Schools photo
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N.C. Mountain State Fair “Rides Again” in 2021

The N.C. Mountain State Fair “Rides Again” in 2021, returning to the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher, Sept. 10-19.
In response to requests, a youth show for llamas has been added. This includes multiple youth classes for pack, public relations, obstacles and even a costume class with the theme, “All Things Food!”
Since so many youths are raising their own flocks of chickens and ducks, a new Youth Poultry Egg Show sets the stage for fierce competition where judges will evaluate each dozen of white, brown or blue/green or other shelled chicken and duck eggs based on USDA standards. Fresh eggs entered must be from the exhibitor’s flock raised on their farm or homeplace.
The gospel singing contest will be held Sept. 18 with contests for solo performers and groups.
Cooking contests will be held daily throughout the fair. Every contest is sponsored by a state commodity association, including the N.C. Tomato Growers Association, N.C. Aquaculture Association, N.C. Beef Council, N.C. Pork Council, N.C. Egg Association, N.C. Blueberry Council, N.C. Dairy Producers Association, N.C. Apple Growers Association and N.C. Sweet Potato Commission.
The ice cream eating competition will be in the Davis Event Center on Sept. 14 with several categories for different age groups and even celebrities. Mills River Creamery, a local dairy and creamery, sponsors this contest. Winners receive trophies for being the first person in their category to eat a specified amount of ice cream.
In addition to gospel singing and cooking contests, the N.C. Mountain State Fair is hosting competitions for livestock, clogging, art, photography, agricultural and horticultural products, preserved foods, youth flower and garden, and more.
To stay up to date with a full list of competitions, upcoming deadlines and rules, visit For questions regarding competitions, contact entry coordinator Tamara Crain at 828-687-1414, ext. 210.
The 27th N.C. Mountain State Fair runs Sept. 10-19 at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for seniors 65 and up and children ages six to 12. Children five and under are free. Check the website for special promotions and discount days. More information is available at
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Takasha Morrow is new Pinewood assistant principal

Pinewood Elementary in Mt. Holly has a new assistant principal, Mrs. Takasha Morrow. Mrs. Morrow is an army veteran, a mother of three, and has been an award-winning teacher in Gaston County Schools for the past five years. She earned her Masters in Educational Leadership from Queens University and is excited to make a difference at Pinewood!

Gaston County Public Library to
host dementia education series

Gaston County Public Library (GCPL) will be hosting two dementia-related workshops in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association – Western Carolina Chapter at GCPL’s main library, located at 1555 East Garrison Boulevard in Gastonia. Both workshops begin at 6 p.m., and each session is free and open to the general public. Registration is required.
The first session titled “10 Warning signs of Alzheimer’s” will be Tuesday, September 14, and the second session, “Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia,” will be Tuesday, September 21.
This program is particularly valuable for adults, specifically those with loved ones who might be affected by Alzheimer’s.
Face coverings are required at the request of the presenter. Those wanting to attend can register by phone at 1-800-272-3900 or online at for “10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s” and for “Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia.”

“The Med Way”: online workshop
focuses on Mediterranean Diet


If you’re looking for a diet that tastes good and makes you feel good, then the North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s new online workshop series, “Med Instead of Meds,” may be just what you’re looking for.
The workshop, which focuses on the Mediterranean Diet, consists of six sessions and will be held online on Tuesdays, September 21 – October 28 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. The registration deadline is Tuesday, September 14, and group size is limited.
The Mediterranean Diet reflects a way of eating that is traditional in the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea, and includes eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and seafood, while limiting consumption of highly processed foods and added sugars.
The series teaches people about the Med Diet and its many health benefits, including its association with decreased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the Mediterranean Diet is recommended in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
To register or for more information, contact Linda J. Minges, with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, at or 704-922-2127.

In-person fall prevention workshop
for seniors returns

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer its popular program for older adults that aims to reduce, or even prevent, fall risks at home. The “A Matter of Balance” workshop is a national program sponsored by Centralina Area Agency on Aging and consists of eight sessions that will be held in person on Mondays and Wednesdays, September 20 through October 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. All sessions will be held at the Lucile Tatum Center, located at 959 Osceola St., Gastonia, NC.
“This program makes such a difference in the lives of workshop participants,” said Linda Minges, a program instructor. “The fear of falling could actually lead to a fall because that fear limits activities, causes difficult emotions, and leads to isolation, which can lead to poor balance and weakness.”
There is no charge for the course, but participants must be a resident of one of the following North Carolina counties: Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, or Union.
To register or for more information, contact Linda J. Minges, with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, at or 704-922-2127. The registration deadline is September 10, and group size is limited.

Master Gardener Group
of Gaston County program

Payton Flowers is a Gaston County native that grew up in Belmont. Flowers graduated from South Point High School, and attended North Carolina State University where he obtained his bachelor of science degree in Animal Science with a minor in Agribusiness. He spent five years managing and operating a local nursery and farm. Since starting his role as Commercial Horticulture Agent for Gaston County in June of 2020, Flowers has hosted numerous pesticide applicator trainings, landscape contractor trainings, began work on multiple agent lead field trials and distributed grower certificates to our local farmers’ market participants.
The topic of suburban wildlife and our landscape is of increasing interest to most of us, regardless of property size. Please join us for Payton Flower’s presentation.   
When: Thursday, September 16, 2021, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Where: Citizens Resource Center, 1303 Dallas-Cherryville Highway, Dallas, NC 28034
There is no admission charge and reservations are not required. If you have any questions, please contact Barbara Linster at or 704-674-0860.
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Take a hike in Mt. Holly

Looking for a relaxing hike in Mt. Holly?  Along with Parks and Facilities that the City maintains, there’s also access to greenway trails and mountain bike trails. The 1.2-mile greenway trail that connects Tuckaseege Park to the Mount Holly Municipal Complex is a paved trail that takes visitors along the picturesque Catawba River. Mountain Island Park at Mount Holly is home to a 1.6-mile natural surface trail that meanders through the woods and is home to many types of wildlife. This trail starts at the parking lot below the dam and continues into the woods.

Crowders Mtn. trail cleanup planned

The Friends of Crowders Mountain, Inc. needs volunteers for National Public Lands Day trailwork and/or litter pickup on Saturday, September 25.  New state park guidelines require Proof of Vaccination.  Volunteers will spread Crush & Run from the trailhead to the T-intersection of Pinnacle and Crowders trails.  Meet at the Sparrow Springs Visitor Center, 522 Park Office Lane, Kings Mountain, NC at 8:30 a.m.; work finishes at 11:30 a.m.  Tools, snacks, and water will be provided.  Dress appropriately for outdoor work and bring any necessary medications.  Trailwork days are heat index(90+) and weather(rain, snow, strong wind, lightning, storms) dependent, as well as any additional COVID-19 restrictions.
Please see or   If questions, contact the park office at 704-853-5375.
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Front Row: Flower Power volunteers: Kay Ziemer, Samantha Blakemore, Nancy Bosch, Pam Shubert, Denise Kessell, and Judy Closson. Middle Row: Public Works Director Bill Carroll and Flower Power Chairperson Susan Wall, volunteers: Ashley Bruce, Dave Kessell, Shirley Brown, and Councilwoman Martha Stowe. Back Row: Flower Power volunteers: Roger Bruce, Darin Zepf, and Downtown Director Phil Boggan.

KBB Flower Power

Keep Belmont Beautiful recently held a  Flower Power Hour celebration at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen.
 The get-together was held to celebrate our volunteer’s service to the City of Belmont through Keep Belmont Beautiful’s Flower Power initiative. KBB and the City of Belmont appreciates their support of the downtown and for cultivating small town values.
 Flower Power invites volunteers to help maintain more than 50 flower beds downtown and in the River District. For more information contact Keep Belmont Beautiful at 704-825-8587.

Upcoming Gospel Concert

Gospel Concert- Saturday Aug 28th – 6 PM, Lowesville Gospel Concerts @ Living Word Ministries – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley (Lowesville) NC,  presents a southern gospel quartet evening.  Living Faith Quartet is a southern gospel quartet based out of Cullman Al. The ministry was formed in 1996 and has progressed over the years to include ministry opportunities in all types of venues in several different states. Our focus is to bring an uplifting message in song and testimony to a people that needs to hear and know that God cares about their every need. Our goal is to see souls saved and lives changed.
Kingsway Quartet from Greenville, SC will be returning to Lowesville, and we are happy they were willing to come. They have been singing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for many years, and are excited about their future. This will be an awesome quartet evening.   No Admission cost, a freewill offering only to be received, and you are invited.  Contact Carroll Cooke 704-618-9762.
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Six year old Colbie Rankin of Stanley was excited about her very first day of school. She’s now officially a first grader at Community Public Charter School. Photo provided

It’s back to school time for
Gaston County Schools

It’s back-to-school time in Gaston County!  On Monday, August 23, approximately 29,000 students (pre-kindergarten through high school) and more than 1,900 teachers in Gaston County Schools returned to class at the district’s 56 schools to begin the 2021-2022 year.
 Students, parents, and school employees are looking ahead to the new academic year with enthusiasm and optimism and hopes of experiencing a school routine that is as normal as possible while still navigating the effects of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.  It is the goal of all teachers and school employees to see students grow and thrive this school year, according to Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker.
 Here is a look at some back-to-school information for students, parents, and employees.
Academic achievement is a priority
In an effort to mitigate learning loss as a result of the pandemic, schools will concentrate attention on helping students to build on what they learned last year.  With a focus on small-group enrichment lessons and activities, teachers will be able to review materials and concepts in subjects like math and reading and personalize learning to address content areas where students need the most help.  Schools also will offer various programs to support students socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.
 Additional highlights include a new program for pre-kindergarten students that teaches them about social and behavior skills, students in the fifth grade will engage in career awareness opportunities through the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, and the district’s Composer program, which is designed for students who demonstrate qualities of being academically/intellectually gifted, expands to all Title I elementary schools.  
COVID-19 protocols and procedures
On Monday, August 16, the Gaston County Board of Education voted to require face coverings/masks for people inside school buildings and central office buildings.  The requirement is for students, employees, parents, and visitors while they are inside a Gaston County Schools facility regardless of vaccination status.
The requirement goes into effect immediately and continues through September 20 when the Board of Education meets again and plans to review the decision.
Factors that contributed to the decision include the high transmission rate of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the high COVID-19 positivity rate in Gaston County.  Additionally, wearing face coverings/masks indoors is expected to reduce the number of students/employees who are required to quarantine when there is a confirmed case.  Students/drivers are required to wear a face covering/mask while riding on a school bus or activity bus in accordance with federal requirements for public transportation.
 When there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 among students and employees, Gaston County Schools will follow the quarantine procedures that are outlined in the “StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit” beginning on page 14.  Parents and employees are encouraged to review the procedures so they are aware of what steps will be taken when quarantine becomes necessary.
 Like last year, the district will post on its website a weekly count by school of the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases among students and employees, and schools will send a weekly e-mail to parents and employees to provide a summary of the number of confirmed cases.  When there is the need for quarantining students, the school will contact the affected families to provide them with information/instructions.  If the closure of a classroom or school becomes necessary, the school will provide information/instructions for parents and employees.  When students are away from school because of quarantine, they will have coursework/assignments available in the Schoology or Canvas learning management system.
 Schools will encourage social distancing when possible.  Students will be reminded to wash their hands frequently, hand sanitizer will be available, and students/staff will be asked to follow one-way traffic flow in hallways where feasible.  Upon arrival at school, students will report directly to class rather than congregating in a common area – this practice was in place last school year.  Parents/students and employees are asked to conduct a COVID-19 symptom screening each morning at home before coming to school.
 Field trips will not take place during the first nine weeks of school, and non-essential visitors will be limited in school buildings.  Athletic events will be held as scheduled.
School schedule and bus transportation
Schools will operate five days a week using the start/end times that were implemented last year.  Elementary schools will operate from 7:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  Middle schools and high schools will operate from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.  (Parents should check with their child’s school for the exact schedule as start/end times for some schools may vary by 5-10 minutes.)
 With a “two-tier schedule,” bus drivers are able to run two routes (rather than just one) in the morning and in the afternoon – an elementary route first and then a middle school or a high school route.  The process is intended to get students to school and back home in a timely manner and ensure that there are enough bus drivers.
 Please note that students/drivers are required to wear a face covering/mask while riding on a school bus or activity bus per federal requirements for public transportation.  Buses will be cleaned/disinfected after morning and afternoon routes.  Every school bus has a four-camera system, which will aid in monitoring behavior and safety and COVID-19 contact tracing.
 Parents will receive information from their child’s school about bus routes, pick-up and drop-off times, etc.
Continued focus on school safety
In addition to encouraging health and safety procedures related to COVID-19 (such as frequent handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, frequent cleaning/sanitizing, social distancing when possible, etc.), schools will follow its protocol to keep the school environment safe and secure for students and employees.
 Schools will continue the practice of random metal detection screenings for students and staff.  Additionally, metal detection screenings and bag checks will be in place for athletic events such as high school football games.  It is recommended that spectators do not bring bags to athletic events – doing so slows down the entrance line because the bags need to be checked.
 Schools also will conduct evacuation, lockdown, and tornado/severe weather drills periodically.  The internal, two-way radio communication system used by schools is being upgraded with the replacement of analog “walkie talkies” with digital ones.
 A new high school and a new middle school campus
For the first time, Gaston County Schools is welcoming students to the new Belmont Middle School campus and the Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences.
Belmont Middle is the newest school in Gaston County.  It is located at 1020 South Point Road and is less than a half-mile away from South Point High School.  It cost approximately $40 million to build the school, which replaces the historic school building on Central Avenue near downtown Belmont.
The Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences is located on the Gaston College campus in Dallas.  The new high school is designed to develop a future workforce to meet the growing demand for healthcare professionals in Gaston County.  Students have the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma and associate degree in preparation for a medical-related career.
 The grand opening celebration for Belmont Middle School was held on August 15.  An open house program for the Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences will be held in September.
It’s worth mentioning
Here are some additional items that are worth mentioning as students and teachers head back to school:
Students will receive breakfast and lunch meals free-of-charge.  This is made possible again this year through the USDA’s National School Lunch Program.  New menu items include chicken wings for middle schools and high schools and chicken drummies for elementary schools.  Some schools have chosen to implement the “grab and go” breakfast option for students. 
Students will be issued a Chromebook computer for use at school and at home.  Providing a computing device for each student was done for the first time when the pandemic began to support remote/virtual learning.
Each school will be assigned a full-time nurse to provide additional health-related support and care for students.  Previously, some nurses were assigned to two schools.
Motorists are reminded of heavy traffic near schools in the early morning and mid-afternoon hours.  It is important for motorists to decrease speed in school zones, watch for pedestrians, and use caution when they see a school bus.
If parents have a question or concern, they are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher or the school principal to discuss the issue or schedule a meeting.  Parents are reminded to make sure that their child’s school has up-to-date contact information (home address, telephone number, and e-mail address).
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The Belmont High School Class of 1951 recently held its 70-year reunion at Amberjacks Restaurant. Members in attendance- front row Ted Rumfelt, Perry Huffstetler, Bob Thornburg, Max Robinson. Middle row- Don Lingerfelt, Phyllis Buckner Holderby, Jean Rumfelt Robinson, Delores Hodge Edwards, Peggy Steele Hall. Back row- Jerry Haney, Odell Cook, Jack Skidmore. Since the last reunion two years ago, 13 classmates died. Photo by Dale Callan

Belmont High School Class of 1951
70th Year Reunion

The Belmont High School Class of 1951 recently held its 70-year reunion at Amberjacks Restaurant. Members in attendance- front row Ted Rumfelt, Perry Huffstetler, Bob Thornburg, Max Robinson. Middle row- Don Lingerfelt, Phyllis Buckner Holderby, Jean Rumfelt Robinson, Delores Hodge Edwards, Peggy Steele Hall. Back row- Jerry Haney, Odell Cook, Jack Skidmore.
Since the last reunion two years ago, 13 classmates died.

Photo by Dale Callan
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Summer enrichment program makes learning fun for students

Gaston Schools story/photos
It’s been a summer for learning in Gaston County Schools.  The “Camp Gaston” program is concluding its six-week run after providing a wide variety of academic, enrichment, leadership, and extracurricular activities for students.
Literacy and math programs ranged from “Camp Little Scholars” and “Camp Ignite” for elementary students to various science, math, and reading programs for middle schoolers.  Reading programs featured themes such as “A Hero Lies in You” for sixth grade, “Museum of the Fascinating” for seventh grade, and “Finding the Funny” for eighth grade.  Math concepts explored by students included ratios and proportional reasoning, expressions and equations, statistics and probability, and geometry.
At the high school level, students were able to choose from college prep, reading and math prep, SAT/ACT test prep, and course preview programs as well as Career and Technical Education (CTE) credentialing.  Plus, camp programs were available for various grade levels in the areas of Exceptional Children and AIG (Academically and Intellectually Gifted.)
In the “Sparking Your Knowledge” camp, middle school students got a glimpse into what it is like to work as an electrician.
“Our students started camp on Monday morning not knowing what to expect,” said teacher Brian Mitchell.  “By Thursday afternoon, students were able to wire fairly complex electrical circuits with light bulbs, switches, and electrical outlets commonly used in their homes.”
Other camps such as “Robofun” focused on technology and made it possible for students to design and build robots.  “Students worked on an attachment arm that allowed the robot to grab a block, pick it up, and place it into a box,” explained teacher Eric Miller.
Middle school students in “Creative Adventures” spent a week learning many aspects of the family and consumer sciences curriculum from sewing to interior design, nutrition, and childcare.  The hands-on projects were a hit among the students.
“For many of them, this was their first experience with the skills involved in creating and constructing a sewing project or reading and following a recipe,” said teacher Diane Gibson. “I was impressed with the students’ persistence in learning a skill in which they were unfamiliar and how they took pride in their work.”
Gibson added, “The students also expressed their excitement and interest in continuing this as a hobby and enrolling in CTE classes at the high school level.”
Not only did “Camp Gaston” offer programs in enrichment areas such as Career and Technical Education, students focused on academic subjects like math, reading, and science and electives such as art, music, foreign language, and physical education.  Teachers Alexa Fuller and Laura Rayfield agreed that the time spent on the various subjects will help students get a jump start on the new school year.  And, they said it was important for students to practice and hone their academic skills even during summer break.
In addition to the in-person enrichment programs at 14 school locations, some students took advantage of virtual learning.  Elementary and middle school students were able to engage in online activities at their own pace.  High schoolers used the virtual format to get a preview of a course such as finding out what’s ahead in Math 2 after having completed Math 1 last year.
The “Camp Gaston” summer session was designed for students to engage in academics, explore life-enriching lessons, discover how they can be a leader, and enjoy activities just for the fun of it.  More than 3,000 students took advantage of the various programs.
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2021 Commissioners’ School “Movers & Shakers” group: Back Row left to right: Trinity Brown (East Gaston), Rachel Long (Forestview), Kiersten Sadler (East Gaston), Quinnlyn Beam (Highland School of Technology), Madelyn Ludwig (Forestview), Mo Snipes (Gaston Christian) Front Row left to right: Lilly Riley (Forestview), Keira Wilcox (South Point), Claire Hayes (North Gaston), Kameron Kee (Ashbrook) and Ben Kimmel (Hunter Huss). Photo provided

Gaston Together facilitates 2021 Commissioners School “Movers & Shakers” session

On June 7th, Gaston Together facilitated a session for the “Movers and Shakers” group of the 2021 Commissioners School.  Eleven students spent the morning participating in a mini-town hall community forum.  The session was held at First United Methodist Church, “Greene House” in Gastonia.  Student participants represented Ashbrook, East Gaston, Forestview, Gaston Christian, Highland School of Technology, Hunter Huss, North Gaston and South Point. 
Donna Lockett, Executive Director, provided a brief overview of the work of Gaston Together to begin the program and discussed the non-profit concept.  She reminded students who were living in Gaston County in their third grade year that they also participated in Gaston Together’s “Pride in Gaston” Traveling Tour, a program designed to build community pride in young students.  Dwayne Burks, a member of Gaston Together’s clergy association, the Gaston Clergy & Citizens Coalition, partnered to conduct the session. 
Lockett and Burks discussed the community visioning process.  Students worked in small groups in their role as future leaders to identify points from their perspective for the community visioning process.  Then they took a deeper look at our current state of life in Gaston County.   Through a skit format, one team demonstrated what’s good about Gaston County.  A second team provided insight into the current challenges in Gaston County.  The third team looked at needed improvements in our county.
Traditionally, the team that wins this presentation competition receives a basket of goodies - snacks and fun trinkets such as “clappers” and nerf balls.  The winning team’s skit highlighted things that need to be improved in Gaston County.  They focused on community beautification through redevelopment:  1) abandoned buildings into new businesses and 2) the old Belmont Middle School into a community center for kids.  The team was composed of Trinity Brown (East Gaston), Rachel Long (Forestview), Kirsten Sadler (East Gaston), and Keira Wilcox (South Point).

Mt. Holly Parks and Rec. welcomes Kris Lang

The Annual Mt. Holly Parks and Recreation Basketball Camp took place from July 19th-22nd. The Camp, which is sponsored by the City Of Mt. Holly Parks and Recreation Department, is held yearly and is free to campers ages 9-14. The Camp is run by Rob Brendle, Parks and Recreation Specialist for the City of Mt. Holly and a former college basketball coach for 16 years.
“The camp is a great way to fill some weekdays during the summer and a chance for the City of Mt. Holly to provide a free activity for local kids,” said Brendle.   “What is better than being able to give back and at no cost to our parents? That was our goal and the City of Mt. Holly made that possible. Our wonderful staff helped make this camp a success with help from Kent Womack, Connor Sisk, Tom Katsuleris, Landon Helton and Austin Cook.”
The kids enjoyed skill development, games and daily competitions. On the last day of camp the campers were treated with free lunch and ice cream and a special guest speaker- former UNC Tar heel/ Pro Basketball player Kris Lang.
Lang spoke to the campers about his experiences at UNC and playing Pro Basketball all over the world.  He spoke about favorite teammates and his time with San Antonio Spurs in preseason and playing with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and against Lebron James and Shaquille O’Neal.  Lang encouraged the kids to be respectful to parents, teachers and coaches and to be a good team mate and always work hard. Lang also told the campers about playing in the Final Four, McDonald’s All American game and winning a championship overseas.
Kris has retired from Pro basketball and is back living in Gaston County and has his own camps and training sessions.  A quote form Kris
“This is my calling to be able to speak into these kid’s lives and be there for the kids,” Lang said.
For more info on Kris Lang- Check him out on Facebook, Instagram at Langhoops or contact by phone at 704-904-0050.

GEMS congratulations

Congratulations to Paramedics George Kelley, Rebecca Williamson, and Act. Captain Leannda Lowrance for an outstanding job at successfully resuscitating a patient in cardiac arrest. These excellent Paramedics are being awarded a Code Save challenge coin to honor their achievement. Well done!

Congratulations are also in order to Captain Billy Mitchell (right) on his retirement! With over 30 years of GEMS service, Captain Mitchell has shown a great deal of dedication to the EMS profession and has impacted many lives throughout his service.
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Gaston College nursing student Madeline Hare and instructor Joyce Floyd. Gaston College photo/story

Gaston College nursing
student steps up to save a life

What started out as a fun outing for Gaston College LPN students and their teacher turned into an actual life-or-death experience.
 On Thursday, July 22, seven students and their clinical nursing instructor Joyce Floyd, BSN/RN, went to the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant in Gastonia to celebrate the completion of their two-month clinical rotation at the Stanley Total Living Center earlier in the day.
 They had been at the restaurant for about 45 minutes when a restaurant employee ran to their table and asked for help. Floyd had been pointed out as a nurse by someone who knew her. Another employee was in the kitchen choking on food and unable to breathe. Floyd immediately rushed into the kitchen and got behind him to administer the Heimlich maneuver in order to dislodge the food stuck in his throat, and she told employees to call 911. After three or four thrusts that did not have the desired result, Floyd called for nursing student Madeline Hare to come to the kitchen.
Hare is much taller than Floyd and, given the height of the employee who was in distress, Floyd felt she could be more effective. Under Floyd’s guidance, Hare performed the Heimlich maneuver and on the fifth forceful thrust the food was ejected. After assessing the employee’s breathing and condition, it was determined that the 911 call could be cancelled.
Prior to Thursday, Hare had never performed the Heimlich maneuver and never imagined that she would be called upon to do it. When Floyd summoned her help, she did not hesitate and followed Floyd’s directions. “During the procedure the adrenaline took over and I don’t even remember thinking—I was just doing,” Hare said. “After the procedure, I thought, ‘Did that just happen? My family will never believe this!’ And then my hands were shaking and I was so overwhelmed by what had just happened. I could not believe it was real.”
Although this incident was something Hare could not have anticipated, helping people has been a goal for years. When Hare was in high school, her sister had a surgery that went wrong and she almost lost her life. Hare helped her during her recovery and she realized how much she loved taking care of people. “Ever since then,” Hare said, “I have had a dream of becoming a nurse.”
 Hare got her Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, certification from Gaston College in 2016 and started in the College’s LPN—Licensed Practical Nurse—program in fall 2020. She will graduate from the program on Tuesday, August 3, and will apply to the LPN-RN Program for the 2022-2023 year. After that, she plans to continue her education and eventually get her bachelor’s degree in the Science of Nursing.
 Hare has worked for just over a year at CaroMont Regional Medical Center as a CNA in the medical/surgical/oncology unit. After passing her NCLEX-PN exam, she will be an LPN in the same unit. Her career goal is to work in labor and delivery or women’s health.
 “We are so proud that the quick action of our people saved someone’s life,” said Dr. Allison Abernathy, Dean of Health and Human Services. “It demonstrates the professionalism, skill, and dedication to helping people that our faculty and students share. I’m very happy that Madeline, Joyce, and the other students were in the right place at the right time.”
 After the incident, the Olive Garden manager, employees, and the choking victim expressed their gratitude to Hare, Floyd, and the other students. As for Hare, this lunch at Olive Garden was “an experience [she] will never forget!”

2021 Belmont Back
To School Supply Drive

The Back to School Supply Drive will return in downtown Belmont this year August 6th through 14th. The Belmont Main Street Advisory Board and downtown businesses will be collecting school supplies to benefit students in Belmont and surrounding communities. We are committed to helping those in need and providing our schools and teachers with the items needed to promote a healthy, safe, and successful school year. We are also excited to announce that this year’s annual Back to School Bash will be held at Stowe Park. The event will be hosted by the Belmont Police Department and the Belmont Main Street Advisory Board. This anticipated event will include free hotdogs, drinks, and fun activities for children and families of all ages. Attendees will be able to participate in a DWI simulation course, fire safety, and water activities. Join us as the Back to School Bash is designed to give back and educate the community with awareness demonstrations and programs. The Back to School Bash will take place on August 14th from 10:00am – 1:00pm at Stowe Park in Downtown Belmont.
 Items needed include, but are not limited to: Pencils, Colored Pencils, Crayons, Pens, Washable Markers, Expo Markers, Highlighters, Erasers, Glue Sticks, Scissors, Composition Books, Sticky Notes, Clorox Wipes, Tissues, Hand Sanitizer. 
Look for the participation posters and drop off boxes located inside participating businesses and restaurants in Belmont from August 6th through 14th. There will also be a collection box at the Back to School Bash on August 14th and at the Downtown Belmont Friday Night Live Concert beverage tent on August 6th.

Mt. Holly Schools reunion

Mt. Holly Schools Reunion -  Sept. 25,  2021  5 - 9 pm.   The location is Tuckaseege Park in Mt. Holly. 
This is open to anyone who attended MH schools. $10 per person at the door,  Food trucks on site.  See you there!

The Lighthouse breaks ground at new site

The Lighthouse: Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, July 22 at 9:00 a.m. at its future location at 3100 City Church Street, off South New Hope Road.
The CAC – known as ‘A place of healing and hope’ – opened to clients in April 2016 on the lower level of the Highland Health Center in Gastonia with a mission “to provide a safe and child-friendly location that will assist in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases, while focusing on reducing trauma to child victims and their families.” Since that time, The Lighthouse has served more than 1,700 children.
A child advocacy center acts as a roadmap to assist children and their families from initial concern or disclosure through their healing journey and offers support, education, and referrals during this difficult time. The Lighthouse, along with the Cathy Mabry Cloninger Domestic Violence Shelter, and the Family Justice Center, are all a part of the Hope United Survivor Network. With so many families in the community in need, the current facility is not large enough to handle the numbers.
“No parent wants to find themselves in this situation,” said Tara Joyner, director of the Hope United Survivor Network. “However, at this new facility, children and families will receive the services needed to heal from the trauma they have experienced.”
City Church offered the land to The Lighthouse to assist in its efforts to secure a larger, more child-friendly location. City Church has partnered with The Lighthouse for several years by providing land, making financial contributions, advocating for child abuse prevention education, and offering community support.
The new, larger facility will offer a more home-like feel to help children and their families using the facility feel more comfortable, while also providing room to grow to meet increased needs for services. It will provide specialized medical services and serve as a collaborative-use space for various law enforcement jurisdictions, mental health providers, prosecutors, and child welfare staff.
For more information about The Lighthouse, visit

Partial animal shelter closure

Gaston County Police Animal Care and Enforcement would like to request help from the community. The animal shelter is currently experiencing an outbreak of the ringworm virus in our cat population.
Through discussions with North Carolina’s Department of Agriculture: Veterinarian Services the suggested protocol to follow is for Gaston County Police Animal Care and Enforcement to partially shut down the shelter.
For a twenty-one-day period, 21 days, we will not adopt or intake any cats. During this twenty-one-day period of partial shutdown our cat population will be isolated and medically treated for the virus. Gaston County Police Animal Care and Enforcement appreciates your assistance, understanding and we apologize for any inconveniences this places on our community.
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Music in the Park

On August 14, the City of Lowell will be hosting Music in the Park featuring Echo13. The event will be from 7pm-9pm at Harold Rankin Park. Food trucks by Lobster Dogs, Cavendish Brewery, and XCite Sweet Connections will be on-site. Echo13 is an Amplified Acoustic Experience performing Rock, Blues, Funk and Originals. Bring a lawn chair or a beach towel and enjoy an evening of tunes by Echo13. Music in the Park is sponsored by CaroMont Health.

Lowell Briefs

Lowell Community Committee
Do you have ideas to help enrich Lowell’s programs, community events, and beautification projects? Do you want to help make these ideas a reality? Do you have a passion for seeing your community thrive? If so, we are looking for YOU! Volunteering on the Lowell Community Committee provides a meaningful opportunity to contribute time, talents, ideas, and expertise to our community. Committee members meet on the 4th Monday of each month at 6pm at Lowell City Hall. To apply, please visit our website, or email the City Clerk at

Parks Master Plan
In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the City of Lowell will be developing a Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The Parks and Recreation Master Plan will guide decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public in understanding the needs and priorities related to parks and recreation in Lowell. This includes items such as parks, community facilities, programs and activities, operations and maintenance, policy development, and financial strategies. Through research and public input, the Master Plan will establish priorities for the next 10 years. Recommendations will be developed to respond to community needs, population changes, participation trends, gaps in service, and operational requirements. Your input will be needed! Be on the lookout for surveys & public workshops.

Youth Sports Signups
July 15 - August 15 Soccer for ages 3-15 $50 Lowell residents/$65 nonresidents. Registration includes child’s uniform Sign-up at or at City Hall Questions: 704-824-0099.

Senior BBQ
Lunch is ready: a drive thru summer BBQ for senior citizens on Thursday, August 26 Pick-up between 11:30am and noon at the Lowell Community Center. Lowell Residents only. $3/plate Registration opens 7/26. RSVP required by 8/19 by calling 704-824-3518, option 1.
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Walk, Run or Paddle in Gaston County’s revitalized Goat Island Games 2021

Saturday, August 28, 2021 Goat Island Games will return to Cramerton’s Goat Island Park after going virtual in 2020. The games are a day dedicated to the active, outdoor lifestyle that include free river side yoga, a 5K race, cornhole tournaments, kayak time trial races, and more, with most events being free to the public. Goat Island Park is a 40 acre, family-friendly island with two engaging, natural
playgrounds and an outdoor fitness facility. So come enjoy some friendly competition, locally brewed beer, music, and food on the river in Cramerton.
Goat Island Games consists of several competitions with handmade custom prizes from a local artist going to the top two competitors in each event. A free youth and adult fishing derby kick off the games at 7:00am. Then find your Zen at 7:30 in Centennial Center with free Flow Yoga before walking across the beautiful Goat Island pedestrian bridge to start the Goat Island Games 5K. Participants will experience one of the most picturesque race courses in the area with shaded rolling hills, four bridges over the river, and history dating back to the late 1800’s.
G-Town Disc Golf will be hosting our free amateur disc golf tournament and a pro disc golf tournament requiring an entry fee on Goat Island’s 18-hole disc golf course. Bring your bikes for one of the coolest groups rides around with the Tarheel Trailblazers. The Trailblazers will be leading a group ride to preview the flowy single-track trail at the newly renovated Rocky Branch Park and Central Park.
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation will be hosting the Games Kayak Time Trials. Time trials are a race against the clock to see who can put in the fastest kayak lap around Goat Island. If you get knocked out of the top spot, you can hop back in a kayak and try to reclaim the leaderboard as many times as you want.
Free Ping pong and cornhole tournaments on our 10,000-pound permanent, outdoor ping pong tables and cornhole courts will close out the games with the smooth sounds of the Brooks Dixon Band winding down the day. Cramerton’s first and only brewery, South Fork Brew Project will be serving locally brewed goodness and Tino’s Munch Box will be taking food orders all day.
All the proceeds from the Goat Island Games 5K will be donated to the Carolina Thread Trail, a non-profit organization responsible for our regions premier network of trails that connect 2.9 million people in 15 counties in North and South Carolina. All the proceeds from the Goat Island Games Kayak Time Trials will be donated to the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation whose mission is to preserve and protect the waters of the Catawba-Wateree River Basin.
Cramerton is a town of 5,000 in Gaston County founded in 1915 along the shores of the South Fork Catawba River. Though it was founded as a model mill village, today it is natural resources, bustling downtown, and eclectic neighborhoods have made it an outdoor recreation destination in a vibrant community.
Visit website at or our Facebook event page at for updates and to register for the 5K race:
Cramerton Parks & Recreation, Rachel Andrea 704-824-4231 email
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Gaston County  Libraries
accepting school supplies

​​​The Gaston County Public Library will accept donations of school supplies through the end of August. Look for the donation bin in the children’s section of the Main Library Branch at 1555 East Garrison Blvd., Gastonia.
Pencils, crayons, composition books, pocket folders, glue sticks and filler paper are among the most needed items. Supplies will assist students in Gaston County Schools.
Donations will also be accepted at the Union Road, Dallas, Mount Holly, and Cherryville branches. These items will be shared with schools in those communities.

South Point Class of 1971 reunion

The South Point High Class of 1971 will be holding its 50th reunion on Saturday, October 16 at the Gaston County Wildlife Club. Time and details at a later date. If interested call Don Davis at 864-903-5299, Allen Waters at 704-491-2465, or Joey Metz at 704-460-7713. Friday night October 15 is a homecoming football game.

Town of Stanley news...

Several swearings in took place at the Town of Stanley council meeting last Monday. Folks sworn in included new planning board member Alisha Summey and new police officer T.J. Sanders.
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Pinewood Elementary news...

Everyone at Pinewood Elementary in Mt. Holly wants to express many thanks to this group of Redemption Hill Church members. The church members helped out with some projects around the school and did a great job.  Redemption Hill Church meets at 10am Sunday mornings at the Stowe Family YMCA in Belmont/Mount Holly.

Photo provided
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Gaston College alumni Carson Dockery, Adam Rhyne, and Caleb Stalcup (L-R) will lead the broadcasting team covering the College’s sports events.

Gaston College alumni return to
lead new Sports Broadcasting Team

When Gaston College’s new intercollegiate sports teams begin competing in the 2021-2022 season, the broadcasting team made up of students from the College’s new Sports Broadcasting class will be on hand as camera operators and directors and to provide play-by-play and color commentary. The students will learn sports broadcasting from three alumni of the Gaston College Broadcasting and Production Technology program that are currently working in the field.
Adam Rhyne, Carson Dockery, and Caleb Stalcup are eager to share their knowledge and professional sports broadcasting experience with students and to help share the inaugural season of Gaston College sports with the fans and community.
Rhyne graduated from Gaston College in 2013. As a student, he interned at Charlotte TV Station WCCB and went on to work there after graduation. He is now a director and Tech Operator at the station and has also filmed games for the Charlotte Knights baseball team. Most recently, he filmed sports for Wake Forest University.
A 2020 graduate of Gaston College, Dockery is also a Tech Operator at WCCB. He films local high school sports games for the South Fork Conference Sports Network and was on the broadcasting team for the Gastonia Grizzlies.
Caleb Stalcup graduated from the Broadcasting and Production Technology program in 2018. Like Dockery, he works with the SFC Sports Network, and he also currently runs the Broadcasting program’s equipment room, assisting students when they need to check out audio and video equipment for their projects.
Stalcup will be on location coordinating Gaston College’s games and will be the ground contact for the students on the broadcasting team. He will help Rhyne and Dockery, the main instructors, teach the course when needed.
The Gaston College Sports Broadcasting Team will be open to students from all majors who have an interest in exploring sports broadcasting. The goal of the program is to have students shoot, direct and do play-by-play for many of the school’s sporting events.
Beyond Gaston College, there are many broadcasting opportunities with local sports organizations like the Gastonia Honey Hunters, the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets, the Charlotte Knights, and NASCAR.
Students who would like to join the school’s Sports Broadcasting Team must register for the BPT 235 class, which will focus exclusively on sports broadcasting and give them the opportunity to get game experience. While part of the Broadcasting and Production Technology program, the class is open to all students regardless of their major.
For more information on registration, visit

Dinos in the Park scenes

The City of Lowell held a spectacular Dinos in the Park event last week. Over 1,000 folks came out to see and touch dinosuar replicas. Everyone was amazed!

Photos by Cristy Cummings

Lowell Citizens Academy signups

If you have wondered how the City of Lowell government works, you’re encouraged to apply for the 2021 Lowell Municipal Government Citizens Academy.
The 10-session course provides an in-depth view of all City of Lowell operations. The 2021 program starts on Monday, August 30 at 6 p.m. Sessions will be on alternating Mondays at 6 p.m. with a graduation ceremony at the January 11, 2022 City Council meeting. Each two-hour session includes presentations by City employees, hands-on activities, group discussions, facility tours, a police ride-along and a chance to ask questions of City leaders and staff.
Applications are due by August 2, 2021. Apply online today!

Mt. Holly School
reunion is Sept. 25th

Mt. Holly Schools Reunion -  Sept. 25,  2021  5 - 9 pm.   The location is Tuckaseege Park in Mt. Holly. 
This is open to anyone who attended MH schools.   $10 per person at the door,  Food trucks on site.  See you there!

Belmont PD plans
National Night Out

The Belmont Police Department will holds its National Night Out event on Tuesday, August 3 from 6-8pm at Stowe Park.
The event will feature K9 demo, DJ Buddy Love, McGruff the Crime Dog, Bounce House, DWI simulator, free hot dogs and other snacks, Sparky the Fire Dog, the Belmont Fire Department Safety House, and a Dunk Tank.
Come on, get to know your Belmont  Police and Fire department folks and have a great time while you are at it.

Lowell PD National Night Out

The Lowell Police Department is proud to host National Night Out on Tuesday, August 3 from 6pm-8pm at Harold Rankin Park. National Night Out is a nationwide community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships.  Admission is free! Giveaways, police demos, games, and more!

Mt. Holly PD plans National Night Out

The Mt. Holly Police Department will hold its National Night Out event on Tuesday, August 3 from 6-8pm at Tuckaseege Park. There will be food, music, games, and door prizes.  There will be a number of Mt. Holly Police Officers on hand to meet and get to know the community better.
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Gaston County Police to host
7th annual National Night Out

On Tuesday, August 3rd, neighborhoods throughout Gaston County are being invited to join forces with the Gaston County Police Department for Gaston County’s 7th Annual National Night Out. Residents are invited to spend the evening outside with neighbors and police at Dallas Park located at 1303 Dallas Cherryville Hwy, Dallas NC to celebrate this free community event from 6PM to 9PM.
National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime efforts, strengthen police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
This year’s event will feature, live music, free hot dogs, chips, drinks, snow cones, popcorn, and more.  The event will also include K-9 demonstrations, pony rides, free fingerprinting for Child I.D. kits, free games and prizes, a fire smoke house, emergency vehicle displays, and booths featuring child safety information and much more.
The Gaston County Police Department will showcase a static display of its specialized unit police vehicles on site.  Officers will be on hand to speak and answer questions for attendees about their roles in each of the specialized units within the department.  Those scheduled to be present include patrol officers, K-9 officers, and members of the Bomb Team, Marine Unit, Crime Scene, Negotiators, and members of the Emergency Response Team (ERT), and Animal Care & Enforcement.  Public safety officials from other local police departments, fire departments, and rescue squads will be on hand as well.
Headlining this year’s event will local blue grass group The Quail Hollow Band.  So come prepared to eat, dance and have an AMAZING time.
For more information, please contact Officer C.E. Owens with the Gaston County Police Department at 704-862-6286.
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The City of Mt. Holly Police Dept. wants to thank 10-42 Custom Wood for this beautiful work of art honoring Officer Tyler Herndon who lost his life in the line of duty on December 11, 2020. This piece is absolutely amazing and is already on display in the Police Department. Photo provided

Flag honors Tyler Herndon

The City of Mt. Holly Police Dept. wants to thank 10-42 Custom Wood for this beautiful work of art honoring Officer Tyler Herndon who lost his life in the line of duty on December  11, 2020. This piece is absolutely amazing and is already on display in the Police Department. 

Photo provided
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Pictured with the award left to right- Lt. Arthur Pullen, Officer Daniel Marlow, Sgt. Cody Willett, Capt. Todd Davis, Officer Mike Harris, Chief Chad Hawkins, and Assistant Chief Corky Falls.

Belmont PD receives
prestigious MADD award

On Friday, June 25, 2021 the Belmont Police Department received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Agency of the Year Award of Excellence.
The award was presented to the agency for proactive efforts to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. This award was earned during the 2019 calendar year and could not be presented due to Covid-19 protocols.
The Belmont Police Department is the first agency in Gaston County to receive this award.
The Belmont Police Department has also received grant funding from the North Carolina Governors Highway Safety program to create a DWI enforcement position. This new position was implemented in October of 2020.
“As the Chief of Police, I am very impressed with the staff of the Belmont Police Department for their commitment to remove impaired drivers from the streets of Belmont. These efforts make our community a safer place,” said Chief Chad Hawkins.
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Founder Mary Wright at podium

House of Mercy honors founder Mary Wright

On May 18, 2021, House of Mercy celebrated its 30th Anniversary at its residential facility with a small, intimate for social gathering with social distancing to honor its founder Mary Wright and the Sisters of Mercy. May 18, 1991 is the official birthday of House of Mercy.
Mary Wright may be a woman whose name isn’t found in history books or on social media like most pioneers.  She will forever be found written on the hearts of hundreds of persons living with HIV/AIDS who called House of Mercy their home over the past thirty years.
In the mid-late 1980’s when the virus was becoming an epidemic, the HIV/AIDS stigma was at its height. Hospitals and hospice homes were not admitting those with HIV/AIDS to take on a new global pandemic just like at the moment (COVID-19). It was Sister Mary Wright of the Sisters of Mercy who was faced with a task of stepping up where our medical care professionals hadn’t moved forward in time.
As the founder of House of Mercy and first President and CEO, Mary Wright provided a home for persons living with HIV/AIDS who needed hospice care.   From corporate professionals to the homeless, House of Mercy served as a home to everyone.
Mary tears up when she reminisces about the great friendships and family made at House of Mercy. “We all ate together and “broke bread” at the dinner table at House of Mercy,” Mary says. “This truly was the Eucharist. We shared laughs and were family. We did everything together.”
 For some, the only family they ever had was at House of Mercy.
 “At the end of the day, we are all the same.”  Mary continued, “Never. Judge. Anyone. Our motto at House of Mercy was to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God from Micah 6:8 and my prayer is that it will continue to be the guiding principles for all decisions.
House of Mercy will celebrate its 30th Anniversary all year through its World AIDS Day on December 1, 2021 and Walk for AIDS, featuring Bark for AIDS set to take place in the spring of 2022. These events will be opened to the entire community post-covid.
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Gaston County Reading Soul Mates Progra

The Reading Soul Mates program sponsored by the Gaston Literacy Council recently celebrated its end-of-year virtual sessions at Sherwood Elementary School. Eight students worked with volunteer reading tutors to strengthen their reading skills and build supportive relationships while developing a love of reading. A new book was presented to each student.