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Leigh Spach, executive director of the BackPack Weekend Food Program in Gaston County, told Belmont Rotarians how the program provides weekend meals for hundreds of students who otherwise would go hungry. Seth Sherrin, immediate past-president of the Belmont Rotary Club, arranged the program.

“A hungry child cannot learn,” says BackPack Weekend Food Program

A program started 11 years ago has provided more than 1.8 million meals to Gaston County students who otherwise would have been hungry on weekends.
The BackPack Weekend Food Program was the topic when Executive Director Leigh Spach spoke recently to the Belmont Rotary Club. She said the mission of the program is “to provide nutritionally balanced, non-perishable weekend meals to students in Gaston County schools during the school year so they can come to school ready to learn.”
The program was started by former nurse Carolyn Niemeyer and her husband Dr. Charles Niemeyer in a bedroom of their home.
Dozens of partner churches and hundreds of volunteers are required to operate the program, which has just one full-time staff member and three part-time. And the challenges have increased since the COVID pandemic and resulting economic strains on families. In one school, the number of children needing weekend meals has increased from 50 to 161, Spach said.
The cost of food also has risen significantly this year. Last year a donation of $299 would provide weekend meals the entire school year for one elementary student, and a donation of $325 would do the same for middle and high school students. Those prices have risen this year to $323 and $385.
Non-perishable food is delivered in bulk to a warehouse, where dozens of volunteers work one day each month to pull supplies required for each church partner. Volunteers from the churches then pack meals for all of the participating students in the schools they serve. Students pick up their meals at school each Friday.
The BWFP is a non-profit organization and relies heavily on contributions and fund-raising. One of the major annual fundraisers, Dining at the Chef’s Table, is set for November 12. For more information on the program and the event, visit, or call 704.689.3363 #102.
Belmont Rotary Club, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2025, meets for lunch and a program on local topics each Wednesday, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., at the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Belmont. Guests interested in learning more about local businesses and issues and how Rotary serves the community are welcome. For more information, visit
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Carl Ratliff

Jazz show at Abbey

A jazz music show will take place Sunday, November 13, 2022 at 4:30 PM at Belmont Abbey.
Elements of Empowerment, Inc., in partnership with Belmont Abbey College, is pleased to announce the return of the Community Jazz Series.
Carl Ratliff & Common Ground will perform on the set of The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. You can purchase tickets at the door or online at
Ticket Options:
Single - $10.00 each
Seating for this show is general admission.
Concerts are coordinated with the Abbey Players’ theater season and performed on the working set of the current production. Accomplished artists perform intimate concerts at the Haid Theater on the campus of Belmont Abbey College. The show will feature two 45-minute sets, with a brief intermission. Light refreshments will be served following the concert.
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Private/Public partnership unveils new Belmont Historic District sign

It’s been three years since the Historic Belmont Foundation (HBF) partnered with the City of Belmont to purchase new signage to recognize the town’s National Historic District.  Belmont’s national district was established in 1993, but until recently hasn’t had much visible recognition.  The new bronze sign is strategically placed near the intersection of North Main Street and Central Avenue to denote the northernmost boundary of this district.  “We wanted to let folks know that they are entering an important part of our town’s history and this sign serves as a reminder of what a special place downtown Belmont really is”, said City Councilman Alex Szucs.
Each bronze sign costs around $8,700, with HBF contributing 50% of the funds for the project.  The Historic Belmont Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the National Historic District and preserving important historic structures located within it.  HBF raises funds through their annual Christmas ornament sale and historic home tours.  This year’s Christmas ornament goes on sale soon and features a local historic landmark known as Stowe Manor.  Please follow the Historic Belmont Foundation on Facebook for details on upcoming events.
Being designated a National Historic District is not only a great honor, but it also provides financial incentives that can be quite lucrative for home and business owners.  If your house is located within the district, you may be eligible for restoration tax credits.  “We took advantage of the tax credit program several years ago and it was an easy and helpful process”, according to Nancy Gadd, HBF interim President.  “Sometimes you hear that it’s not worth it or will be difficult and time consuming, but that was not our experience at all”.   For more information about the Renovation Tax Credit program visit the City of Belmont’s website and the NC State Historic Preservation office to apply for the program at
In attendance for the sign dedication were the Mayor of Belmont, Charlie Martin and City Council members Alex Szucs, Jim Hefferan, and Marc Seelinger and the amazing city staff.  From the Historic Belmont Foundation board was Chris Stryker, David and Wendy Hostetler, and Nancy Gadd.
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Photo by Scott Griffin

8th Annual Christmas Enchantment in the Garden is December 10th

The Mount Holly Community Garden will be holding its 8th Annual Christmas Enchantment in the Garden on Friday 12/10 from 5:00pm-8:30pm.
This free, family-friendly event for all in the community has grown each year and is often called the “McAdenville of Gardens”.  Located at 126 N. Main Street in Mount Holly, the Mount Holly Community Garden has become a popular destination in the city, housing 52 organic garden beds each leased and attended to yearly by garden members. Over the past 8 years, the Mount Holly Community Garden has supplied the Mount Holly CRO with thousands of pounds of fresh produce, implemented free community programs, and showcases unique art projects including a gorgeous mural by local muralist Boyce McKinney.
This year’s Christmas Enchantment in the Garden is sure to be one to remember.  Each of the 52 garden beds will be decorated differently by garden members, along with hundreds of glowing luminaries lighting your way.
Local businesses and artists will also be taking part this year by decorating designated areas around the garden. Enjoy live music by the Ida Rankin Elementary Chorus, Cathy Black and Jonathan Brackett. Bolton’s Curbside Cookery, Food Junkie’s Old Fashioned Donuts and Catawba Coffee Co. will be on site to curb your appetite.
Cap off the festive evening by visiting with Santa, be sure to bring your camera to capture the magic. Special thanks to the Mount Holly Tourism Development Authority for the recent grant award to help make this event possible.
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Queen of Apostles Thanksgiving
 will be Nov. 24th

The members of Queen of the Apostles Church, 503 N. Main St, Belmont, will resume their custom of offering a Thanksgiving Meal, complete with all the trimmings, on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2022, from 11:00 am to 12:45 pm.
We serve folks in need at our Family Life Center and we will also deliver meals to residents of eastern Gaston County who are unable to travel to our church campus.
Please call the church office if you plan on attending or if you need a meal, or meals, delivered to your residence.  The phone number is (704) 825-9600.  You must call by Friday, November 18, 2022, so we know how many meals to prepare.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
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Vote for MHPD K9 grant...

The Mount Holly Police Department K9 Unit has been nominated for the Aftermath Cares K9 Grant, but we need your votes! Your votes are needed to help our K9 Unit win this competitive grant to purchase equipment and training aids. You may vote once every 24 hours on each of your devices by following the link below.
We can also earn extra votes by following and commenting on the daily Instagram @aftermathk9grant and Facebook Aftermath Cares ! Like the daily K9 Grant post and comment “Mount Holly Police Department, Mount Holly NC”.
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Old Goshen Cemetery in N. Belmont dates to the early 19th century. A dozen veterans of the American Revolution are among the pioneers buried there. Photo by Alan Hodge

This time of year great
for visiting old graveyards

By Alan Hodge
Now that cool fall days are here and the spirit of Halloween still lingers, it’s a perfect time to get some outdoor exercise and learn about our local lore by strolling through old graveyards.
The oldest graveyard in the BannerNews region is Goshen Cemetery on Woodlawn St. in North Belmont. This plot dates back to the early part of the 19th century and was the burying ground for Goshen Presbyterian Church that was founded in 1764. It is said to be the oldest graveyard west of the Catawba River.
The ground where Goshen Cemetery is located was originally owned by Robert Smith. It was part of a 650-acre piece of property that Smith had bought from two Catawba Indians that encompassed what is now most of Catawba Heights and North Belmont. In 1839 Smith sold 17-acres to the Goshen Church Trustees for eighty-five dollars. Smith and many of his relatives are buried in Goshen Cemetery.
Joining Smith in the graveyard are about a dozen men who fought in the American Revolution. A plaque naming them was at one time affixed to the cemetery gate, but it is now gone. Most of the old tombstones in Goshen Cemetery have survived, including some going back nearly 200 years, but vandals have also desecrated several others.
Other graves in the older portion of Goshen Cemetery hold members of Belmont area pioneers including names such as Armstrong, Abernethy, Fite, and Rhyne.
Local legend has it that there were once Indian burial mounds and a village near where Goshen Cemetery is located.
The Abernethy clan itself also has a small and very old cemetery at the end of Turner Rd. off Hickory Grove Rd. not far from Goshen Cemetery.
The Smith name also appears on an old graveyard on Belwood Dr. off South Point Rd. This Smith graveyard has dozens of graves going back to the early 19th century. For many years it was neglected and had fallen prey to vandals, nature, and time. However, an effort led by Leigh Ford of Charlotte a couple of years ago saw most of the broken tombstones repaired. Ford and other volunteers also cleaned up the overgrown grounds and formed an organization dedicated to preserving the site.
In East Belmont there’s a tiny old graveyard on Old NC7 near the Catawba River known as the Abee Cemetery. The cemetery is surrounded by a stone wall. Names that appear on some of the tombstones go back to the early 1800s and include Fite, Smith, Abee, Ewing, and Wells.
Machpelah Presbyterian Church’s rock-walled cemetery off Old Plank Rd. near Stanley was established in 1801 as a family graveyard located halfway between Joseph Graham’s Vesuvius Furnace and Alexander Brevard’s Mt. Tirzah Forge. In 1848, the quaint church was built beside the cemetery. The first pastor of the church was Dr. Robert Hall Morrison, president of Davidson College and father-in-law of Confederate general “Stonewall” Jackson. The small Greek Revival Church contains pews and a slave gallery that are thought to be original. Members of the Graham, Brevard, and Morrison families are buried in the cemetery.
Flat Rock Cemetery on Flat Rock Rd. near Mount Holly holds the graves of several Civil War veterans. This graveyard is maintained by the Flat Rock Cemetery Association and Confederate History and Monument Preservation Society. Among the markers is one dedicated to seven Confederate soldiers who drowned in the Catawba River as they were returning home after the end of the Civil War. The men had hitched a ride on a fishing boat that capsized as they were crossing the swollen river on April 25, 1865.
An old graveyard in the backyard of a school might seem an odd mix, but that’s the case with the Pinhook Cemetery and Lowell Elementary. The graveyard is on a gravel path in the woods behind the school and has an association with the 19th century Pinhook textile mill that once stood nearby on the banks of the South Fork River. Among the graves is Nathan Ford who died in 1824. Other graves are marked Harris and Huffstetler. Each year, the kids from Lowell Elementary as well as other volunteers tidy the little graveyard up.
Old graveyards are not only interesting to visit, they are a reminder of our area’s  past and the people who lived here in decades gone by.
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Congratulations to Lt. Ben Dunivan

Congratulations to Gaston Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) Lieutenant Ben Dunivan on his recent National Child Passenger Safety Certification (CPST) achievement. CPS technicians use their considerable knowledge and expertise at various community-based activities, such as child safety seat checks, where parents and caregivers receive education and hands-on assistance with the proper use of child restraint systems and seat belts. 
            GEMS photos
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Dr. Matthews provides medical help in  Ukraine

Gaston Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) medical director, Dr. Matthews, recently returned from Ukraine with the International Medical Corps. During two weeks, Dr. Matthews provided trauma care training to medical providers. GEMS is proud of his commitment to ensuring medical providers around the World are trained and ready to respond.


Rick Strickland gospel concert planned

Well-known gospel singer Rick Strickland will give a concert on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1:30 at Ranlo Baptist Church, 1517 Spencer Mtn. Rd. Strickland will also perform at the 11am worship service. Strickland has been singing gospel songs for 40 years.

Lowesville Gospel Concerts...

Saturday Nov 12th - 5 PM. Lowesville Gospel Concerts at Vineyard Church – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley (Lowesville) NC,  presents in concert ETERNAL VISION, a male quartet from Knoxville TN.  Shannon Shelby of the group is one of the most talented young men we have ever seen, he will be a tremendous blessing.    A freewill offering only to be received, so bring a friend and worship with us. For information contact Carroll Cooke 704-618-9762.
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Stanley Veterans Day event set

The November 10th Third Annual Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund Community Veterans Day Celebration in Stanley will be held at the First Presbyterian Church-Stanley, Stanley, NC.  The ceremony begins at 6:00 p.m.  No reservations are needed but come early to be sure you get a seat.
The audience will be entertained by a host of great speakers providing important information, patriotic music, and an inspiring keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Dr. Grant Campbell.
Dr. Campbell is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN). He has special interests in robot-assisted surgery, complicated pregnancies, and endometriosis. He serves as chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Atrium Health University City and sits on the board of advisors of The Independence Fund.
He’s been recognized as a Top Doctor by Charlotte magazine and Business North Carolina for multiple years. Dr. Campbell has received numerous awards, including the Susan G. Komen Foundation Pink Tie Guy award, the Meritorious Service Medal, and 2 Army Commendation Medals for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dr. Campbell received his medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a residency at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center.
Outside of work, he loves spending time with his family. As a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he spends a great deal of time advocating for veterans’ issues. He’s also a writer and had a fiction novel published in 2013.
The Gaston County Honor Guard will be presenting the colors and retiring the colors.  Each family attending will receive a commemorative Program Guide that includes the names of veterans being honored or remembered for their service to our country, information about the 144 veterans resting in the Stanley Cemetery, and other helpful information. Veterans in attendance will receive a memento.
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Car Show

Charlie Craig of Belmont held his annual Car show on October 7 and dozens of fantastic vehicles and their proud owners showed up. Here’s a sampling of the beautiful machinery that was on display and the owner’s names. Above is the Bright Star cruise-in group.

See more photos on page 13 in the October 20, 2022 Banner-News issue

  Photos by Terri Adcock

A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play
at Gaston Christian School

The Charles Dickens holiday classic will come to life at Gaston Christian School as a live 1940s radio broadcast, complete with vintage commercials for fruitcake (extra-fancy), and the magic of live sound effects and musical underscoring. A handful of actors bring dozens of characters to the stage, as the familiar story unfolds: Three ghosts take Ebenezer Scrooge on a thrilling journey to teach him the true meaning of Christmas. A charming take on a family favorite that will leave no one saying “Bah Humbug!”
November 4, 2022 - High School Cast - 6:00 PM
November 5, 2022 - Middle School Cast - 2:00 PM
November 5, 2022 - High School Cast - 6:00 PM
Adult $11.00
Student $6.00
Purchase Tickets
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“Katie” Byrd

Katherine Byrd of Carr Elementary is
Gaston County’s nominee for state award

Gaston Schools story/photo
Kindergarten teacher Katherine “Katie” Byrd realized something was going on when Carr Elementary principal Rebekah Duncan called an afternoon school assembly for all kindergarten and first grade classes. However, she did not know the program was for her.
That changed when her family walked into the gymnasium, and she saw her mother’s smiling face.
Byrd is the Gaston County Schools nominee for the 2023 N.C. Beginning Teacher of the Year award, which is presented by the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT).  The news, announced during the assembly on September 22 by Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker, came as a complete surprise to Byrd.
“I am very shocked and surprised.  I thought the award was for the school and not about me,” said Byrd, who added that, according to the chatter at school, the assembly was going to be about a new playground.  Her husband, Thomas, was in on keeping the secret (Duncan had contacted him the previous week about getting family members to attend) and so were others at the school.  
Each year, NCCAT sponsors the N.C. Beginning Teacher of the Year program.  Every school district has the opportunity to nominate a candidate for the state honor, and from all of the nominees, 27 regional finalists are chosen.  The finalists go to the NCCAT headquarters in Cullowhee for a week of professional development in March.  The week-long activities culminate with the announcement of the N.C. Beginning Teacher of the Year winner for 2023.
  The state award is designed to honor new teachers who have completed their first year in the classroom and show promise as excellent teachers and education leaders.
Byrd began her teaching career in August 2021.  She earned her degree from UNC-Chapel Hill where she met her husband, who graduated from Gaston County Schools.  Originally from Pinehurst, Byrd says Gaston County feels like home.
“I love being at Carr,” said Byrd, who knows that establishing a good relationship with her students is the foundation for success.  “I love my students and the energy they bring to the classroom, and I try to match that energy.  I really am a kindergartener at heart.”
Like its sister schools in the Dallas attendance area (Costner, W.C. Friday, and North Gaston), Carr Elementary incorporates the Leader in Me program into the curriculum.  The program highlights the importance of leadership and outlines seven habits that help students of all ages become more effective, more goal-oriented, and more successful as leaders both at school and in the community.
Duncan, who knows what it is like to be an “of the year” winner – she was the Gaston County Principal of the Year for 2013-2014, said learning about and displaying leadership is not just for the students.  Teachers and staff members at the school are leaders, too.  At a Leader in Me School like Carr, effective leadership involves everyone, including outstanding teachers like Byrd.
“Because of her work and leadership as a first-year teacher, Mrs. Byrd is being recognized by Gaston County Schools, and we are so proud of her,” said Duncan.  “All of us at Carr know that Mrs. Byrd is the best nominee any school could ask for, and we know that she will represent us well in the competition.  If the selection committee sees in her what we already see and know, we are confident that she will be the state winner.”
First presented during the 2019-2020 academic year, the NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year is a state-level award that is separate from the Gaston County Schools New Teacher of the Year recognition.  The NCCAT program requires a teacher to have completed one year in the classroom and be in his or her second year of teaching at the time of nomination.  The New Teacher of the Year program for Gaston County Schools considers beginning teachers with 1-3 years of experience.  The current Gaston County Schools New Teacher of the Year is Ryan Magill of Cramerton Middle School.
Nominees for N.C. Beginning Teacher of the Year
2019-2020: Victoria Freeman, Catawba Heights Elementary School *
2020-2021: James Robinson, Belmont Central Elementary School
2021-2022: Sydney Hillman, Lowell Elementary School
2022-2023: Katherine Byrd, Carr Elementary School
* Chosen as a regional finalist
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The second combined meeting took place on Sept. 29, in Mount Holly at the Municipal Complex. The topic was the Gaston County Meals on Wheels program for senior citizens. Speaking were Nutrition and Adult & Aging Program supervisor Selina Pate (right), with Nutrition Program social workers Amanda Dawson (left) and Maren Brown Lopez. All three are with the Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services.

Rotarians in Belmont and Mount Holly come together over mounting needs of senior citizens

“The forgotten, softly spoken elderly aren’t used to needing help and don’t know where to go for help.”
--Jennifer Grant
Rotary clubs in Belmont and Mount Holly are exploring how they can work together to help meet the growing needs of senior citizens in their communities.
Belmont Rotary President Whitney Norton and Mount Holly Rotary President Brandon Kaufman collaborated on the problem recently and each agreed to host a meeting of the combined clubs to consider the issue.
Belmont hosted the first meeting on September 21 at the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Belmont. Belmont Rotarian Jennifer Grant, who works at Gaston County United Way, was the speaker for the for the first meeting
While Gaston County has several agencies and programs dedicated to serving senior citizens, Grant said the needs are growing faster than the resources to meet them.
“The forgotten, softly spoken, elderly are not used to needing help and don’t know where to go for help,” she said.
Some of the biggest issues as seen from the United Way perspective include: The elderly being priced out of their rental homes, and costs rising on owned homes. Many don’t drive and have little knowledge about how to use the internet and technology. Grocery and utility costs are increasing faster than incomes. Inability to make home repairs or keep up with routine home and yard maintenance. Seniors being ignored or forgotten, especially during the holidays.
Some potential ways Rotary could help include: Raising funds to hire an intern to advocate for the elderly. Establishing a fund to help with needs as they arise. Collecting needed items such as gas and grocery cards, toiletries, heaters, blankets, etc. Working with churches and agencies to compile a list of people needing help with repairs, maintenance, computer issues. Having an intern work toward matching people to share ever-growing expenses.
Grant said these issues and ideas were put forth to start the discussion as the clubs consider how to help meet the needs of senior citizens.
Senior citizen nutrition and Meals on Wheels
“The most pressing need for the Meals on Wheels program is more volunteer drivers and workers in meal delivery sites.”
-- Selina Pate
At the second joint meeting, hosted by the Mount Holly Club at the Municipal Complex on September 29, the program  topic was the Meals on Wheels program in Gaston County, which now serves 363 qualified seniors age 60 and over a meal on Monday through Friday each week.
Selina Pate, supervisor in the Nutrition and Adult & Aging Program at the Gaston Department of Health & Human Services, spoke along with Nutrition Program social workers Amanda Dawson and Maren Brown Lopez.
Catered hot meals are distributed from nine sites serving seniors in all areas of the county. For seniors living too far from a meal site to receive hot meals daily, a bundle of five frozen meals is delivered once each week. Funding for the program comes from the federal and county governments and from private grants and donations.
In addition to delivering meals, volunteers also perform a service by providing a safety check on senior citizens and offering a few moments of conversation to some who seldom leave their homes.
“The most pressing need for the Meals on Wheels program is more volunteer drivers and workers in meal delivery sites,” Pate said. “There’s always a waiting list of qualified senior citizens eager to receive the service.” It is estimated that 20 to 25 seniors in the Belmont and Mount Holly areas are currently on the waiting list.
Discussions between the two clubs will continue on how Rotary can help meet some of the most critical needs of senior citizens in the communities.
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Abbey Students Attend
Leadership Institute’s Bootcamp

Five Belmont Abbey College students attended the Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School held in Charlotte on September 16-18. Along with dozens of students from around the country, the Abbey students received full scholarships to this “bootcamp of politics”. The students participated in running advertising campaigns, managing social media, writing press releases, and fostering teamwork. Dr. Mary Imparato, Assistant Professor and Chair of Politics, was impressed with the students’ hard work and is eager to see them use their training as leaders on campus.

American Pit Bull Foundation hosts
6th Annual Charity Race in Stowe Park

The American Pit Bull Foundation, a Charlotte-based animal welfare nonprofit organization, is hosting their sixth annual RescueMe 5k, a fundraising event for their Operation Sidekick program. Operation Sidekick is their shelter dog to service dog program which rescues, raises, and trains service dogs for veterans with PTSD.
The RescueMe 5k will be held on October 22nd from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. It will take place at Stowe Park in Belmont, NC. For $35, attendees can register to run the 5k with (or without) their dogs and receive an official race shirt, a running buddy bandana for registered dogs, and a free beer from NoDa Brewing Company if 21 and over. Attendees can also expect to see a variety of local vendors, participate in raffles, a silent auction, a costume contest with prizes, and get free ice cream
For more information about the RescueMe 5k, visit Updates can be followed on Instagram at @apbf5k and on the organization’s Facebook page.

City of Lowell news...

City of Lowell coloring contest
The City of Lowell Fall Kid’s Coloring Contest is now open. Four age groups and winners will receive a kid’s prize pack. Entries can be returned to Lowell City Hall, Monday-Friday, 8:30pm-5:00pm OR they can be dropped into the water bill drop box. Entries can also be emailed to Please include your child’s name, age, and phone number with the artwork. Entries are due by Monday, October 25 at 5pm. Winners will be notified by Tuesday, October 26. Prizes must be picked up from Lowell City Hall.
Lowell Basketball signups
Lowell Youth basketball sign-ups are open
Ages 3-15
$50 Lowell Residents / $70 Non-Residents
Program is December thru February
Registration fee includes uniform
More details on the registration page. Registration available online or in-person by appointment. For questions or for an appointment, please email or call 704-824-0099.
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Gaston County students attend NC Countdown to College.

Event provides opportunity for high school students to connect with colleges

As part of the ‘NC Countdown to College’ effort, high school juniors and seniors in Gaston County Schools recently had an opportunity to visit with college representatives from more than 70 universities.
Sponsored by the Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (CACRAO), colleges, universities, and post-high school organizations set up tables with brochures and information in the Myers Center at Gaston College.  Rather than students taking valuable time to complete information cards, students received a QR code that college representatives scanned to add them to an email distribution list.  This gave the students more time to interact with the college representatives and ask questions.
South Point High School counselor Erin Stokes said the college fair allowed schools to connect with prospective students face-to-face.
“I like for our students to have the opportunity to interact with representatives from different colleges to find out what types of programs they offer,” said Stokes. “In addition, I want them to be able to learn what campus life is like and have questions answered about the admissions process.”
Kennedy McGruder, a senior at Highland School of Technology, was one of many students who took advantage of the college fair, which was held on September 26-27.
“I am here to find out what universities offer a pre-dentistry track,” said McGruder, who is enrolled in the Health Sciences Academy at Highland. “A lot of times, I am searching online for information, and I don’t get the opportunities to ask questions about the admission process, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities.”
Ian McGinnis, a junior at South Point High School, learned that he could attend Converse College for a few years and then transfer into the College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences at Clemson University.
“I was excited to learn about the dual education program Clemson has with several schools in and around South Carolina,” said McGinnis. “I can begin my academic career by pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Converse College while preparing for an engineering degree from Clemson University.”
Stokes said the college fair also reminds students that the month of October is an opportunity for them and their families to focus on the college application process.
“October is ‘NC Countdown to College’ when we try to encourage all of our students to complete the necessary steps to get their college applications, residency determination, and financial aid completed,” said Stokes.
Additionally, many universities and colleges waive application fees during College Application Week, which is October 17-21.
For more information
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Erika Thorsell

Belmont resident among first Peace Corps volunteers to return to service overseas

Belmont resident Erika Thorsell is among the first Peace Corps volunteers to return to overseas service since the agency’s unprecedented global evacuation in March 2020. The Peace Corps suspended global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m an evacuated Peace Corps volunteer who had to leave Guyana in March 2020,” said Thorsell. “I was also part of a rare collaboration between Peace Corps Response and FEMA that helped at Community Vaccination Centers domestically in getting Americans vaccinated against COVID-19. I’m excited and thrilled now to be reinstated back into Peace Corps Guyana to finish what I started.”
Thorsell is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. She will serve as an environment volunteer in Guyana.
The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of Peace Corps’ six sectors – agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health or youth in development – and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.
Currently, the agency is recruiting volunteers to serve in 53 countries around the world at the request of host country governments, to connect through the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach across communities and cultures. Volunteers have already returned to a total of 29 countries around the world. The Peace Corps continues to monitor COVID-19 trends in all of its host countries and will send volunteers to serve as conditions permit. Americans interested in transformative service and lifelong connections should apply to Peace Corps service at
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Seaman Apprentice Joana Guevara

Gastonia native serves aboard Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex

By Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Seaman Apprentice Joana Guevara, a native of Gastonia, North Carolina, serves the U.S. Navy assigned to Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex.
Guevara joined the Navy in January. Today, Guevara serves as a culinary specialist.
“I was looking for better opportunities to learn different skills and explore different experiences,” said Guevara.
Growing up in Gastonia, Guevara attended North Gaston High School and graduated in 2020.
“I want to send a shoutout to my mom, Christina, and my stepdad, Jose,” said Guevara. “Also, I want to say hello to my friends and cousins back home.”
Today, Guevara relies upon skills and values similar to those found in Gastonia to succeed in the military.
“I learned the importance of respect and teamwork in Gastonia,” said Guevara. “You can’t do everything by yourself, and in the Navy, there’s always a strong support system. The Navy is also diverse, so it’s important to respect others who may come from different backgrounds.”
These lessons have helped Guevara while serving in the Navy.
The Dam Neck site is located on Virginia’s Atlantic shore near where the first Jamestown settlers landed and where the infamous Blackbeard and other pirates were said to have buried treasures. This area is also where battles of the Revolutionary War were fought, where Blue and Gray clashed during the Civil War, and where German submarines sank American shipping vessels within yards of the beach during World War II.
Today, the U.S. Navy uses the site for training and support services to meet fleet requirements.
Serving in the Navy means Guevara is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on strengthening alliances, modernizing capabilities, increasing capacities and maintaining military readiness in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Having a strong Navy gives our nation the confidence it needs to defend our freedoms,” said Guevara.
Guevara and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“In boot camp, I was an honor grad,” said Guevara. “This gave me the confidence to succeed. The Navy rewards you when you do well based on what you do.”
As Guevara and other sailors continue to train and perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.“Serving in the Navy gives me the opportunity the protect those I care about back home,” added Guevara.
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Megan Wollam

Holy Angels fall plant sale

Horticulture therapy is a very popular program for the residents of Holy Angels. The residents will spend the year seeding, watering and nurturing these plants and flowers. As a way to connect with the community, and help fund this program, a limited number of these plants and flowers are now being offered to the public during the fall plant sale.
What: Holy Angels Spring Plant Sale
When: October 13-14, 10am-4pm
Where: Holy Angels Greenhouse. 6600 Wilkinson Blvd., Belmont. Follow the directional signs once on campus.
  There are dozens of different types of plants, flowers, herbs and trees available for purchase.  Many of these plants are being sold for less than what you would find at a typical nursery. You can find a complete list of plants and prices at
All proceeds from this sale benefit the horticulture therapy program.
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City of Mount Holly
receives check  for bike racks

During the recent Mt. Holly City Council meeting, board members of the Mount Holly Community Development Foundation presented a check to the City of Mount Holly for artistic bike racks in our downtown district. The city appreciates its partners.
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Pumpkin Patch now open...

The Belmont Community Garden in downtown Belmont is having a Pumpkin Patch event through October 23 times are Saturdays 10am-4pm and Sundays 11am to 4pm. Pick a pumpkin or paint one or just hang out and have pumpkin fun.                                                Photo by Alan Hodge

The Abbey Players kicks off Season 139!

Now in the 139th season of continuous theatre on the campus of Belmont Abbey College, The Abbey Players are gearing up for a fantastic selection of shows, kicking off with the courtroom drama, Twelve Angry Jurors, running October 6-8 & 13-15 at 8pm, and October 16 at 2:30pm. Adapted from the 1950s television movie Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose, the stage version by Sherman L. Sergel expands to include both men and women, with the same captivating story.
Twelve Angry Jurors contemplates the huge responsibility of twelve ordinary people as they consider the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of murder.  The twelve jurors bring their own histories, prejudices, and biases to the jury room as they work through this life-or-death decision. It looks like an open-and-shut case until one of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to facts not previously considered. Discussions become heated as each juror reveals their true character. In this classic story set in 1958, we see ourselves in this relevant play today.
The mainstage season also includes Macbeth (Nov. 10-20), Christmas at The Abbey (December 3), The Book of Will (Feb. 16-26), and Guys and Dolls (April 20-30). More info, season passes, and single tickets at Tickets also available at the door. Single tickets just $10, Season Passes start at $35. Contact: or 704.461.6787.
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Governor Kam Chandan (center) during a Learn Rotary summit in Belmont attended by more than 100 Rotarians. Rotaract Club students are (from left) Co-president and Secretary Emily Helms, Co-president Maggie Stocking, Marketing Director Adrian Skipper and Project Chair Emma Pherson.

Belmont Abbey Rotaract Club students help at Rotary event

Belmont Abbey College Rotaract Club student volunteers played a leading role in preparations for a Learn Rotary summit in Belmont attended by more than 100 Rotarians from 14 North Carolina counties on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.
The half-day session was conducted at the Kimbrell Campus of Gaston College in Belmont. Rotaract students assisted in setup preparations, greeting guests and staffing the event registration table.
Participating Rotaract Club students were: Co-president and Secretary Emily Helms, Co-president Maggie Stocking, Marketing Director Adrian Skipper and Project Chair Emma Pherson.
Rotaract is the college version of Rotary, and the Belmont Abbey College Rotaract Club is sponsored by the Belmont and Gastonia Rotary Clubs. Belmont Abbey College staff members and Rotaract co-leaders Debbie Windley and Daphne Friday also assisted at the event.
At the summit, Rotarians focused on learning about three topics critical to Rotary success: membership strategies to enhance growth and service, the Rotary Foundation and how lives are changed because of gifts to the Foundation, and the importance of public image and outreach to members and the community. Rotary District 7680 Governor Kamlesh (Kam) Chandan of the Lake Norman-Huntersville Rotary Club presided.
Belmont Rotary Club, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2025, meets for lunch and a program on local topics each Wednesday, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., at the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Belmont. Guests interested in learning more about local businesses and issues and how Rotary serves the community are welcome.
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Gaston Library seed bank announced

The Gaston County Library is excited to announce the new Community Seed Garden. These seeds are available for free to the community. When you take your first set of seeds, please fill out the Membership Record! Also please log the seeds you are receiving in the log sheet provided. This amazing new service is made possible by the Herculean efforts of Caroline Ingram and the amazing Gaston County Master Gardeners. The seed bank is located near the 2nd floor service desk at the Main Library, 1555 E. Garrison Blvd. Also come by on Saturday, September 24th at 11:00 a.m. in the Main Library’s Carol K. Reinhardt Auditorium for a Seed Saving Class from Master Gardeners.
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Kathryn Eisel and a student.

H.H. Beam Elementary teacher chosen to attend workshop and celebration

Teachers from across the country, including one from Gaston County Schools, were invited to “the happiest place on earth” for the Disney Imagination Campus 50 Teachers Celebration.
Kathryn Eisel, a teacher at HH. Beam Elementary School, was recognized by the Walt Disney World Resort as an outstanding educator who is passionate about using the tool of imagination in the classroom.
As part of Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration, Disney invited 50 deserving teachers to Florida for a time of reflecting on the creativity and imagination of Walt Disney.  The one-of-a-kind teacher event took place over Memorial Day weekend.
Eisel was one of the teachers selected from more than 5,800 written applications.  Applicants had to share how creativity and imagination are demonstrated in their classrooms on a regular basis.
“I am a big Disney fan and found out about the contest through Facebook,” said Eisel, who just completed her first year as a content teacher at H.H. Beam Elementary. “The application required teachers to submit an essay explaining the importance of imagination in the classroom and how they use it to inspire their students.”
Eisel wrote about how she hosted an event inspired by the NFL Combine where students competed in events such as the broad jump, vertical jump, and the 40-yard dash.
“I had my students analyze all the data collected and make graphs and charts to compare the information we collected,” said Eisel, who is a big believer in making learning relatable to students. “Each student was drafted by their favorite NFL team and received a certificate.”
Over Memorial Day weekend, Eisel walked in a parade at Disney World with 49 other teachers as spectators cheered and thanked them for their work as educators.
The teachers also took part in workshop activities such as designing their own theme park and listening to Disney executives speak about the importance of bringing imagination and creativity into the classroom to help students learn.  Additionally, keynote speaker Alton Fitzgerald spoke about the influence teachers have on students and strategies to keep educators motivated in the teaching profession.
Eisel and the other teachers also took part in some magical moments, such as learning a portion of the choreography from the song “Colder by the Minute,” which is performed in “Frozen” on Broadway, and getting selected to film a promotion on “Good Morning America” about the theme park’s newest ride attraction.
“One of the biggest things I learned while I was there was the importance of making lessons and activities creative and driven by real-world experiences,” said Eisel, who plans on bringing ideas she learned from other educators into the classrooms at H.H. Beam Elementary. “Students are much more likely to learn when they are allowed to think creatively and use their imagination to solve problems.”
Gaston Schools story/photo
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Friends Reunited, Class of 1970 of Highland Jr/Sr High School makes donation

Friends Reunited, Class of 1970 of Highland Jr/Sr High School recently made a donation of 192 earbuds to Edward Sadler Elementary School to help the students as they work in learning labs. Pictured left to right are Thomas Jackson, Anita Freeman, Murphey Wellman, president, Jacob Barr, principal, and Verlee Adams.
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Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who dropped off school supplies at the Gastonia Fire Department during the recent Gaston County Schools School Supply Collection Drive. Here are some of the supplies that were collected at Station 4.
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Gaston Day School  9th and 10th grade Leadership Retreat

The recent Gaston Day School  9th and 10th grade Leadership Retreat helped students prepare the underclassmen for leadership opportunities they will take on in the future at Gaston Day. Gaston Day partnered with Xtreeme Challenge in Monroe, NC - 17 acres of high and low ropes course team building - for a skills course that help students understand what it means to be a leader and the characteristics that are needed to be successful.                                                            Gaston Day School photos

Belmont events planned

Downtown Belmont will be bustling with action in the coming weeks. Here’s a rundown of the action planned.
Thursday Night Pops
Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to Stowe Park on Thursday nights for live music in the park! Mark your calendars for the dates listed- September 22 - September 29 - October 6 - October 13. Time is 5-8pm. Groups will include- Sept. 22- September 22 Under Hill Rose; Sept. 29 The Parks Brothers; October 6 Courtney Lynn and Quinn; October 13 Melonbelly.
September 29 - Gaston County Art Guild
Gaston County Art Guild will hold a pop-up affordable art sale at the fountain in Stowe Park in conjunction with Thursday Night Pops. The subject of the paintings will be Gaston County Scenes and the paintings will all sell for $300 or less. Art is also available for sale on the Gaston County Art Guild website through the month of October.

Gospel concert set

Saturday Sep 24th - 6 PM. Lowesville Gospel Concerts at Vineyard Church – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley (Lowesville) NC, presents in concert two very good bluegrass groups.  LakeSide Bluegrass from Madisonville TN, plus Caroline & Company from Denton, NC. A freewill offering only to be received, so bring a friend and worship with us.  Contact Carroll Cooke 704-618-9762.
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Centerview Baptist Church Homecoming

Centerview Baptist Church would like to invite all to its 101st Homecoming Service on Sunday, September 25th starting at 10:30am. If you would like to stay for the meal after the service please call the church office 704-827-2061 between 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Mon -Thur.  The church address is 2300 Acme Rd. Belmont N.C. 28012.    

Photo provided

Mt. Holly Historical Society special program

The Mt. Holly Historical Society will have a special program Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7pm at its museum 131 S. Main St. in downtown Mt. Holly. The event is open to the public. Light refreshments afterwards.
The program will be “Heroes in Our Midst- Col. Henry Haynes 9/11 at the Pentagon”.
On Sept. 11, 2001, at 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 struck the west wall of the Pentagon, killing 64 people aboard the plane and 125 people in the building.
Chaplain (Colonel) Henry Haynes remembers vividly the sequence of events on that heartbreaking and devastating day. He was serving as the Pentagon Chaplain. Chaplain Haynes will share his experiences with a focus on what it means to be an American from the context of 9-11.
Chaplain (Colonel) Henry A. Haynes served as a senior Chaplain in the United States Army where he provided comprehensive religious instruction for Major Army Commands. He is a highly decorated officer with awards that include four Legion of Merit medals and six Meritorious Service medals.  He is Airborne qualified and holds the Army Staff Identification Badge.
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Dye Hard Toastmasters Club of Belmont announces 2022-2023 officers

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization’s membership exceeds 280,000 in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.
The local Dye Hard Toastmasters Club has been serving the Belmont community for 36 years, offering a supportive environment for individuals to improve speaking and leadership skills.  All are welcome to visit and experience what Toastmasters is all about!
Dye Hard Toastmasters meets weekly:
When: Tuesdays, from 7:00 to 8:15pm
Where:  Second floor, room 220 at Gaston College Kimbrell Campus, 7230 Wilkinson Blvd., Belmont, NC 28012
Zoom option:  Email for virtual information

Family and friends remember Katie Sparrow Hedrick

Yellow balloons were released skyward at Evergreen Cemetery on September 5 in memory of Belmont’s Katie Sparrow who passed away one year ago at age 35 from cancer. Katie was the wife of Miles Hedrick and the mother of twin daughters Eliza and Olivia.  She was the daughter of Allan and Marcia Sparrow. Local musician Dugi Bakalli sang the Coldplay song “Yellow” at the event.
“Yellow was one of Katies favorite songs and one of her favorite colors so the yellow balloon release after the song just seemed so appropriate,” Marcia said. “I can never thank all the people who helped pull this off enough. It turned out perfectly and I plan to do it every year on September 5th.”
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Class of 1953 Belmont High School Reunion

The Class of 1953 Belmont High School reunion took place August 27. Members celebrated by donating a bench to Stowe Park in memory and honor of the class. They ate lunch at Old Stone Steakhouse and reminisced old times. Peggy Bowen Jones and James Franklin also made it to join Catherine Burnette Dellinger and Elsie Horne Williamson. They hope to be able to meet again soon to keep up with each other. The class has unfortunately dwindled down to around 35 surviving classmates. The ones that didn’t make it this time were missed greatly. See with the bench are Elsie Horne Williamson, Belmont Parks and Rec. director Zip Stowe, and Catherine Burnette Dellinger.
                                                                                                Photo provided
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These rails from the South World Trade Center are in the Mt. Holly Fire Dept. lobby at the Headquarters Station. In 2001 many people rode in on these rails never returned home. These are not just reminders of those people but of the countless emergency workers who died that day and those who died since then because of that day. These rails also represent the men and women who have served in the armed forces protecting our freedom because of that day. Take some time to reflect, teach your children, about those who died and the heroes that sacrificed everything to and save those who were trapped. MHFD photo

I didn’t want her to cut the cord

By Tony Marciano
My dad loved to be the first in everything. We had the first color television in the family when everyone else had black and white TV’s. We were the first with an above ground pool. The larger family came over to swim every day. Our neighbors were curious and leaned over the hedges to watch us swim. Not to be deterred, my dad let the hedges grow to nine feet tall. The hedges were so tall, the neighbors were unable to watch us swim. We enjoyed the pool and all its privacy. But it came with a price.
We had nine foot hedges. They required a lot of work. Both my parents helped trim the hedges. The kids had to pick up the clippings. As the years went on, the trimming fell to my mother. I can remember her saying, “Don’t cut the cord. Keep the cord behind you. Be very, very careful.”  Even to this day, when I pull out the hedge trimmer, I can still hear my mother’s words about keeping the electric cord behind me so I wouldn’t cut the cord.
While I heard this as a regular part of growing up, my wife never heard it. For most of our marriage, I cut the hedges. I enjoyed trying to shape them, thinking I was working at Disneyworld where they shaped hedges to look like animals. I was grateful if I got square cuts with our hedges.
As this summer went on, we had a few weeks where we got a lot of rain. The hedges loved the water and started to grow. I’d come home and that boxy look I shaped in the spring was replaced by a look that was overgrown going in many different directions. I knew my schedule was tight. I asked my wife if she would trim them for me.
I came home one day and the front yard looked wonderful. The hedges had all been trimmed and the clippings had all been raked up. I was grateful.
When I went into the garage, I noticed a note taped to the extension cord. It said, “Do not use – I cut the cord.”  There was a spot, six inches from the end that the hedge trimmer and the cord had found one another. The trimmer cut the cord and the power went out. I was grateful my wife was ok.
The cord was plugged into a drop line from the garage ceiling. Both the drop cord and the garage door opener are plugged into the same outlet. The garage door worked fine. I was concerned as the circuit breaker should have tripped, shutting off the power. That didn’t happen. The power continued on. But when I plugged in the battery charger into the drop cord, it didn’t work. It had no power. Then I remembered.
Where the drop cord plugged into the ceiling was a little box. If you drew too much power or if you cut the extension cord, the breaker in the box “tripped” and shut off the power before it got to the circuit breaker box. I learned that the hard way when the welding machine drew too much power and tripped the little box.
I don’t understand how life works. I know that God is not an insurance policy to protect me from the bad in this world. But there have been too many times I was protected when the light turned green, I didn’t go forward, and a vehicle came racing through the red light.
When these moments happen to you, I encourage you to pause and thank God for his protection.

New online nursing program at Belmont Abbey

Belmont Abbey College announces its new online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership degree. Healthcare professionals are in high demand, and Belmont Abbey is answering the call to create qualified leaders in healthcare. Belmont Abbey launched a pre-licensure Bachelors of Science in Nursing in 2021 and an RN-BSN program earlier this month. The inaugural MSN in Leadership offers nurses a seamless path to furthering their education and advancing their careers.
The MSN at Belmont Abbey places a strong focus on leadership with focal pathways in Executive Leadership, Clinical Leadership, Academic Leadership, Clinical Educator Leadership, or Informatics Leadership. Belmont Abbey College MSN in Leadership graduates will display an unparalleled commitment to exceptional patient care and leverage compassion to better the lives of others.
Belmont Abbey College’s MSN in Leadership degree explores the connection between faith and healthcare, while providing a solid foundation in ethical leadership, safety science, and healthcare informatics. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have graduated from an accredited nursing program or completed a baccalaureate degree or higher in a related field. Over the course of 8-week semesters, MSN in Leadership candidates will gain the skills and confidence needed to take the next steps in their careers. The first cohort of MSN Leadership students will begin classes in January of 2023 and the program takes approximately 18 months to complete.
The new MSN in Leadership is part of Belmont Abbey College’s focus on healthcare, along with the new hospital that is currently under construction on the college’s property in partnership with CaroMont Health. The facility will open in 2023 and will provide MSN in Leadership candidates the opportunity to familiarize themselves with best practices in the industry while preparing for ethical leadership in the healthcare community. For information on the MSN in Leadership, visit Applications for the program are open now. Press inquiries can contact Julia Long at 423-827-8727 or
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Amara Guitry

Arts at the Abbey presents Amara Guitry

Amara Guitry, flutist, appears at Belmont Abbey Basilica and begins the arts season at the Abbey. The September 26, 2022, concert will be held at 8:00 PM.
Dr. Guitry’s concert entitled “Buried Treasures” will consist of rarely heard sonatas by composers who were famous in their day but have since been forgotten. Hear different historical flutes that are from the time the music was written. Lillian Pearson from Western Carolina University is the accompanist. 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
Amara Guitry, graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with degrees in historical flute and modern flute performance, recipient of a Fulbright graduate award to the United Kingdom, earned a master’s degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a doctorate from the City University of London and the Guildhall School.  An avid teacher, she especially enjoys introducing and inspiring modern flute players to play the baroque flute.  She has performed with the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra in England, Apollo’s Fire, and The English Haydn Festival.  She also serves as principal flute of the Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra.  Her principal teacher in the United Kingdom was Stephen Preston whom she assists at the Wildacres Flute Retreat every summer.
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, The Gaston Community Foundation, and other private donors.
The Abbey Basilica, Belmont Abbey College just off Exit 26 on I-85. For more information: Karen Hite Jacob. 704-461-6012, or

NC Cooperative Extension workshops

The NC Cooperative Extension has planned a number of workshops for the coming weeks. To register, contact Linda Minges at 704-922-2127 or
Extension Master Food
Volunteer Program
Wed., September 14th - November 2nd - 2-4pm
(9 in-person sessions)
Training program will be a combination of in-person and virtual sessions beginning in September at the Lucile Tatum Ctr., 959 Osceola St., Gastonia, NC. Cost: $30 (scholarships available upon request) More info: Linda Minges or 704.922.2127
Benefits to Volunteers: Gain cooking and knife skills. Receive nutrition and food safety training. Participate in day trips to area food processing plants and research facilities. Make connections to our local food system. Meet new people who share your interest in food and nutrition. Be a part of N.C. Cooperative Extension’s food, nutrition, and wellness workshops.
EMFVP Volunteer Opportunities: Conduct cooking demos at farmers markets, churches, and other community locations. Assist with home canning workshops. Provide educational outreach at health fairs and community festivals. Assist with Extension youth-based nutrition and cooking workshops.
Program Requirements: 30-hrs educational training, 30-hrs “shadowing” an agent, 20-hrs volunteer service annually, 10-hrs continuing education annually.
Common Nutrition Myths of Diabetes (webinar)
Mon., September 19th | 10:00 - 11:00am
When it comes to diabetes, there is a lot of misinformation about what you should eat. Join us for a discussion on the basics of healthy eating with diabetes and learn practical tips to better management. We’ll explore common nutrition myths related to diabetes. Register by Sept. 16. Instructor: Linda J. Minges & Dietetic Interns
Cooking Smart with Local Fall Fruits & Vegetables (webinar)
Thurs., September 22nd | 10 - 11am
Learn how to make tasty, delicious, and EASY meals using the bounty of fall fruits and vegetables. Includes recipes, preparation, and storage tips. Register by September 19th.
Instructor:  Linda J. Minges & Dietetic Interns. No cost to participants.
Med Instead of Meds (webinar)
Mon., September 26th - October 31st - 11am - 12pm
Interested in eating the Mediterranean Way, but not sure where to start? If so, this program is for you! The 6-session workshop will help you Go Med by exploring simple steps to eating the Med Way. Register by Sept. 23. Instructor:  Linda J. Minges & Dietetic Interns.
LIFT:  Lifelong Improvement through Fitness Together
Tues. & Thurs., September 27th - November 17th - 10 - 11am
Common Ground - First United Methodist Church of Stanley, 5481 Hickory Grove Rd., Stanley, NC
Our newest program designed to help older adults improve strength, mobility, and build healthy eating habits. This 8-week strength training program is designed to help you:  have fun, improve everyday fitness, connect with others, make daily activities easier, eat smart, and build healthy habits to last a lifetime! Instructor:  Linda J. Minges & Dietetic Intern. Register by September 16th. No cost to participants.

Holy Angels recruiting for those trying to “Find Your Purpose”

Holy Angels is looking for people who want a purpose.
“This continues to be a job-seekers’ market. You can go to any corner down the street and find a job,” said Holy Angels Chief Operating Officer Donnie Thurman. “We are looking for people who want more than just a job. We want people who are seeking to find a purpose. We guarantee you that our incredible residents will touch your heart in a major way.”
Holy Angels is a special place with extraordinary residents who need loving and caring support. The nonprofit is looking for direct care and nursing staff specifically for second and third shifts to support the children and adults who are differently able.
“Not everyone wants or needs a traditional 9-5 type of position. We need dedicated people for a variety of roles on swing and night shifts. While we need full-time employees, we also need caring individuals who want to work a couple of weekends a month,” said Thurman.
Holy Angels is hosting a “Find Your Purpose” job fair:
Find Your Purpose Job Fair
Friday, September 16
Holy Angels
6600 Wilkinson Blvd., Belmont
An international accreditation firm recently gave Holy Angels a perfect rating for its services and programming. This is a feat only accomplished by less than three percent of healthcare facilities surveyed around the world.
“Holy Angels is a very special place,” said CEO Kerri Massey. “We’re not just looking for anyone. We’re looking for teammates with big and caring hearts. We love our residents and we want people who come to work here to love them as much as we do.”
Purpose-seekers can get more information by coming to the job fair or visiting
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Belmont Farmers Market coming

The re-birth of the Belmont Farmers Market is starting Thursday, September
22nd from 3:30-7:00pm. There are currently 26+ local vendors and community organizations and lots of buzz about the event.
The market is aimed to share the stories of local farmers, vendors, and organizations, while bringing the community together to celebrate local food and products. The market hopes to benefit all downtown businesses and to bring more people downtown. The market will be held on Glenway St. in front of Belmont Station.
Organizers are asking local businesses in Belmont to be engaged with the market and the community, offering deals, discounts, or extending operating hours the day of the market.
There will also be a raffle for repeat market customers, and organizers are asking local businesses to   contribute to the raffle, such as a gift card, discount coupon, swag, t-shirts, koozies, etc.  The goal is to support the community and promote downtown businesses.
Contact Belmont Farmers Market Committee
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Keep Belmont Beautiful Big Sweep set

Help make a difference in our community by participating in Keep Belmont Beautiful’s
Big Sweep Cleanup. Have questions... call 704-825-8587.
Join in from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 1st in front of Stowe Park on Main Street. Volunteers will be given a target area along with disposable gloves, pickers, and trash bags. Wear close toe shoes and long pants. Look forward to seeing you there!
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MHPD Reminds Motorists School Is Back In Session

The Mount Holly Police Department would like to send out a reminder to all motorists that school is back in session. Please allow yourselves extra time each school day to account for school traffic each morning and afternoon. Each school zone has specific traffic signs that must be followed. These signs are in place to ensure picking up and dropping off your students can be accomplished in a safe and timely manner. This sign is at the intersection of S. Hawthorne and W. Catawba (Mount Holly Middle School).

Photo provided

City of Lowell upcoming events

The City of Lowell has a number of upcoming events:

5th City Offices Closed (City Holiday)
6th Planning Board, 6pm, City Hall
8th Trucks in the Park, 4-6pm, Harold Rankin Park
13th Council Meeting, 6pm, City Hall
17th Arbor Day Event: Live Music, Shred-It Truck, & Yoga 10am-12pm, Downtown Lowell
26th Community Committee Meeting, 6pm, City Hall
3rd Bulk Item Pick-up for Monday Trash Route
4th Bulk Item Pick-Up for Tuesday Trash Route 4 Planning Board, 6pm, City Hall
5th Bulk Item Pick-Up for Wednesday Trash Route
8th Fall Festival, 3-7pm, Downtown Lowell
11th Council Meeting, 6pm, City Hall
24th Community Committee Meeting, 6pm, City Hall
25th Treat Walk, 4-5pm, Downtown Lowell (Randy’s Garage)

Mount Holly High School
Celebrates 50th Class Reunion

THE MHHS class of 1972 will celebrate their 50th class reunion on Thursday evening, October 6th, at Lineberger’s Steakhouse in Sherrills Ford. The dinner will be from 6-9:00 PM and will offer a variety of six entree options, with a cash bar available. Everyone will pay their own meal. The deadline for attending is September 26th.
Please contact the following for more details and letting us know if you are attending: Jerry Pressley at 704-737-2451, Scott Pope at 704-214-1605, Phyllis Brooks Harris at 704-661-3665, or Ricky Wrenn at 704-506-3918 or  Sandra Brooks at 704-616-8971.

Keep Belmont Beautiful

Keep Belmont Beautiful (KBB) volunteers have been hard at work this summer making sure the city is looking its best. Here are some KBB members doing their thing. 
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Andy Kane

program planned

Andy Kane has a B.S. in Horticulture and a M.S. in Forestry. He was formerly the Executive Director of YMCA Camp Thunderbird and has for the last eleven years worked for the Catawba Lands Conservancy (CLC) and the Carolina Thread Trail as a Land Stewardship Associate and Program Director. His first job out of college was as an Extension Agent in rural Alabama.
Properties conserved by the CLC include local forests, lands and farms with significant conservation value. Most conserved properties are owned by private landowners, yet some is owned by the CLC. Farmland, farm land with forest, forest land, municipal land and land owned by North Carolina (to protect water and streams) are all types of land that is preserved. Andy will talk about preserved land in our area and explain the care, inspections and reporting required for the specific types of properties.
Please join in this program to learn about preserved properties and their relevance to our future. Andy is knowledgeable and easy to listen to. You can expect to not only learn a lot, but also enjoy his presentation.
When: Thursday, September 15, 2022, 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.