New in-person strength training workshop for seniors

Beginning in September, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, in partnership with the Common Ground in Stanley, will offer its newest workshop designed to help older adults improve their strength and mobility, as well as build healthy eating habits.
LIFT, which stands for “Lifelong Improvements Through Fitness Together” is a national program sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension and consists of 16 sessions. Each session will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, September 27 through November 17, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
All sessions will be at the Common Ground, located at 5481 Hickory Grove Rd., Stanley, NC. Facilitators include Linda J. Minges and Macrae Walters.
“This workshop makes such a difference in the lives of participants,” said Minges, a program instructor. “Participants find they have more energy for everyday tasks, enjoy connecting with others, plus build healthy habits such as eating more fruits and vegetables.”
There is no charge for the course, but registration is required. 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 6, and group size is limited.

Gaston County Police Night Out

On Tuesday, August 9th, neighborhoods throughout Gaston County are being invited to join forces with the Gaston County Police Department for Gaston County’s 8th Annual National Night Out. Residents are invited to spend the evening outside with neighbors and police at Biggerstaff Park located at 1303 Dallas Cherryville Hwy, Dallas NC to celebrate this free community event from 6PM to 9PM.
The event is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime 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 hotdogs, 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, 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.  In addition, there will also be numerous non-profit agencies and organizations attending, that will be providing free resources and information to guests attending this year’s event.
Headlining this year’s event will country music cover band Tim Hall and Buffalo Country.  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 or

South Point High Class of 1972

South Point High School class of 1972 50 year reunion is coming.
Friday Oct. 21, 2022 - South Point High School Football Game (Lineberger Stadium).
Saturday Oct. 22, 2022 - Lunch in the park.  Kevin Loftin Park.  Noon - 4:00 pm.  BBQ dinner (pork, chicken, fixings).  $25.00 per person.
Saturday Oct. 22, 2022  6:00 pm - Social after party.  TBD
More info to come.
Reach out to: Beth Bass Hollars 704- 689-0698; Phyllis Davie Mack 704- 345-0785; Danny Clawson 704-860-5528; Audie Murphy 704-578-2167; Mickey Lineberger 704-616-9769 or Beth Bass Hollars on facebook.
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Belmont Rotary installs president

Whitney Norton (left) accepted the gavel as president of Belmont Rotary Club from outgoing president Seth Sherrin at a recent meeting. Norton told members the club will focus this year on service to senior citizens in need, informing students and others to help combat a growing drug problem in the county and increasing club visibility. Sherrin was presented a plaque in appreciation for two years of service as president during the COVID pandemic. In its 97th year and preparing for a centennial celebration in 2025, Belmont Rotary is the second oldest Rotary club in Gaston County. Weekly lunch meetings and programs on topics of local interest are on Wednesdays,12:30 - 1:30, at Home2 Suites by Hilton in Belmont. Guests interested in learning more about Rotary are welcome.
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Pictured- Post P’s Secretary David Payseur presenting the $500 check to Karissa Smith, with her mom, Shelly Smith, and Scholarship Committee member Linda Payseur participating.

Post P Scholarship awarded to Gaston Christian School grad

Post P of the Travelers Protective Association of America recently presented its annual scholarship to Karissa Smith, a 2022 graduate of Gaston Christian School.
Karissa was chosen to receive the $500 scholarship for her academic achievement, outstanding character, community service involvement, and exemplification of the three cardinal virtues of TPA - TRUTH, PATRIOTISM, AND ALTRUISM. She will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Travelers Protective Association of America promotes safety, with a special focus on child safety, and is widely known for its “WATCH THAT CHILD” and “MAKE SAFETY FIRST and MAKE IT LAST” ongoing campaigns as well as for its C.H.A.D. (Children Have an Identity) project. The stickers provide child identification and are used on carseats, bookbags, bike helmets, skateboards, etc. TPA is also a leader in providing a wide range of community service both locally and nationally.
Additionally, Post P helps fund the Association’s national fund for the hearing impaired. The Scholarship Trust awarded $62,375 to 89 recipients during the 2021 grant period.
TPA is a 132-year-old fraternal, benefit organization that continues to grow both locally and nationally in its membership and its many services. For more information on the Travelers Protective Association/Post P, membership, safety projects, etc., contact David Payseur, Secretary, at 704/865-3005.
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Belmont Police Department was the program topic at a recent Belmont Rotary Club meeting. In the photo, from left, are Assistant Chief Boyce (Corky) Falls, Club Past President Seth Sherrin, President-elect for 2022-23 Thomas Hunter of Stowe Insurance and Sgt. Allen Buchanon.

Belmont Police Department
at Belmont Rotary Club meeting

Belmont Police Department was the program topic at a recent Belmont Rotary Club meeting. In the photo, from left, are Assistant Chief Boyce (Corky) Falls, Club Past President Seth Sherrin, President-elect for 2022-23 Thomas Hunter of Stowe Insurance and Sgt. Allen Buchanon.
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From left to right is Sergeant Austin Cox, Cadet C. Hentschel from Catawba County and Officer Delton Williams.

MHPD Officers participate in Academy

On July 1, 2022 members from the Mount Holly Police Department traveled to the North Carolina Justice Academy in Salemburg, NC to participate in the 43rd Annual North Carolina Academy for Law Enforcement Explorers Graduation Ceremony. Each year, awards are presented to cadets in honor and memory of fallen officers from North Carolina. Congratulations to Cadet C. Hentschel from Catawba County for earning the Most Outstanding Award, which was presented in memory of Officer Tyler Herndon.
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Gaston Meals on Wheel

Kudos to the wonderful Gaston Meals on Wheels staff for all they do to serve our participants throughout the county. The staff recently celebrated their success with an appreciation lunch at Rankin Lake Park.
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School uses donation
to build gaga ball pit

Chad O’Brien did not attend Gaston County Schools, but when he and his wife moved to the Charlotte area from Pittsburgh, they wanted to continue their efforts of supporting local schools.
O’Brien is the founder of the “Give Back a Backpack” children’s charity and works directly with teachers and principals to see where the need is the greatest.  His wife, Deb, attended Art Cloth Elementary in Lowell and agreed that is where they want to continue their work of helping children.
Now known as Lowell Elementary, O’Brien reached out to principal Kristin Kiser to discuss some possibilities to support the children and staff.  The School Improvement Team met and discussed several different options and eventually decided on a gaga ball pit.
Gaga ball is a fast-paced, high-energy sport played in an octagonal pit.  Dubbed as a kinder, gentler version of dodgeball, the game is played with a soft foam ball, and it combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees.
“The only gaga I know is Lady Gaga,” joked O’Brien when he was told of the school’s chosen project.  “Children need to have fun, and I am really happy we started with this.  My gifts are unconditional so whatever they think they need that is what we’re going to support.”
Melissa Bess, the school’s physical education teacher, said the sport allows students to be accountable for who is in and out of the game.  In addition, it provides great exercise and teaches lessons and skills about working together.
For student Joseph Wilson, he was excited to see the gaga ball pit completed, especially after he had a hand in building it. “My dad is on the PTO and agreed to build the pit to save the school money,” said Wilson.
Kiser says she is grateful for O’Brien’s generosity and hopes the two can continue the wonderful partnership.
“He is so great to work with and willing to listen to any of our suggestions,” said Kiser, who is the current Gaston County Principal of the Year.  “I am so thankful that he approached us.  His in-laws remain in Lowell, and they wanted to give back to their community.  It was such a blessing that he reached out to us, and we look forward to working with him on future projects.”
Among the projects under consideration are additional landscaping and gardening at the front of the school and the establishment of an outdoor classroom.
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Belmont Middle School 8th graders
Tropical Picnic

Belmont Middle School 8th graders wrapped up their school year with a tropical picnic. Congratulations to the class of 2026 for completing their middle school years. Best of luck to all of you as you move on to your next journey in high school.

Upcoming Gospel Concerts announced

Saturday July 23rd - 6 PM. Lowesville Gospel Concerts @ Vineyard Church – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley (Lowesville) NC.  presents in concert The Baker Family Bluegrass from Birch Tree MO.
A freewill offering only to be received, so bring a friend and worship with us.
Also, Saturday July 30th - 6 PM. Lowesville Gospel Concerts @ Vineyard Church presents in concert Gloryway from Mansfield OH, and Cross Anchored from Elkin NC, both groups sing southern gospel music.
A freewill offering only to be received.
Contact Carroll Cooke 704-618-9762 for information.

God and Country celebration 

First Baptist Church in Stanley held a God and Country celebration event on July 3 that featured a variety of speakers, praise, and a plentitude of patriotism. Here are some photos from the moving morning.
Photos by Bill Ward

Town of Stanley Independence Day celebration

The Town of Stanley celebrated Independence Day with a big jamboree in Harper Park. Friends and families from all over the area converged for the fun and fireworks. Here are some shots from the patriotic partying.                          Photos by Bill Ward
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Sue Lowe is City of Lowell Employee of the Year

Congratulations to Sue Lowe, the City of Lowell’s 2022 Employee of the Year. City Department Heads submitted nominations to the City Manager for the Employee of the Year and Sue Lowe overwhelmingly received the vast majority of the nominations. Sue works at the front desk at City Hall as the City’s Customer Service/Billing Specialist. Sue has been employed by the City of Lowell for 6 years.
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Jenny and Jerry Simpson

MASTER GARDENER program planned

The MASTER GARDENER Group of Gaston County invites the public to the CRC in Dallas for a program on “Plant Introductions for 2023” presented by Jenny Simpson from Creekside Nursery.
The speaker is Jenny Simpson from Creekside Nursery, located in Dallas, NC. Jenny will make a presentation on “Plant Introductions for 2023.” Creekside Nursery is owned and operated by Jerry and Jenny Simpson. They both had prior careers, but the seed for growing things was indeed planted within them. Starting with a vegetable garden and selling veggies in 2005, morphing into consumer greenhouses, production greenhouses, a gorgeous barn and a partnership with Proven Winners by the year 2020. For more information on the nursery, go to or watch Jenny’s informative ‘Gardening with Creekside’ YouTube videos. Please join us for this awesome opportunity to hear about new plants for 2023 and to meet this delightful local nursery owner!
When: Thursday, July 21, 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.
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Congratulations to Mrs. Amy Cook

Congratulations to Mrs. Amy Cook, who was recognized as Pinewood Elementary School’s New Teacher of the Year at a recent GCS ceremony. She is pictured here with her mentor, Mrs. Stacy Brady, who has supported her during her first three years of teaching.
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Thank you!

A huge thank you to the Stuart Cramer Student Council for donating books and a check for $500 to the North Belmont Elementary Kindergarten classes for even more books. It was a great gesture of generosity.
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Carr Elementary School
Teacher Assistant of the Year

Congratulations to Mrs. Janeen Silver. She was recognized as the Carr Elementary School Teacher Assistant of the Year. She received her award May 24 at the Schiele Museum.

Gaston County Schools administrative appointments and transfers

During the Gaston County Board of Education regular meeting on Monday, May 23, the following administrative appointments and transfers for the 2022-2023 academic year were announced.  The appointments are effective July 1, 2022.

Principal Appointments
Bridgette Best was appointed to serve as principal of Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.  She currently is an assistant principal at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.
Anarah Henderson was appointed to serve as principal of Woodhill Elementary School.  She currently is an assistant principal at Southwest Middle School.
Jada Owenby was appointed to serve as principal of Costner Elementary School.  She currently is the assistant principal at Cherryville High School.
Kimberly Reese was appointed to serve as principal of Pinewood Elementary School.  She currently is an assistant principal at Holbrook Middle School.
Aimee Tolleson was appointed to serve as principal of Belmont Central Elementary School.  She currently is an assistant principal at South Point High School.
Patrick Watson was appointed to serve as principal of Cherryville Elementary School.  He currently is the assistant principal at Bessemer City Central Elementary School.
Josh White was appointed to serve as principal of W. Blaine Beam Intermediate School.  He currently is an assistant principal at Southwest Middle School.

Principal Transfers
Staci Bradley was transferred to serve as principal of Catawba Heights Elementary School.  She currently is the principal for grades K-2 at the Gaston County Virtual Academy.
Glenn Cook was transferred to serve as principal of Southwest Middle School.  He currently is the principal at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.
Crystal Houser was transferred to serve as principal of North Gaston High School.  She currently is the principal at Forestview High School.
Jamie Peoples was transferred to serve as principal of Forestview High School.  She currently is the principal at Mount Holly Middle School.
Tyler West was transferred to serve as principal of Mount Holly Middle School.  She currently is the principal at Pinewood Elementary School.
Central Office/District Leadership
Dr. Kecia Coln was appointed to serve as the executive director for human resources.  She currently is the assistant superintendent of human resources for Stanly County Schools.
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Congratulations to the Belmont Middle School Robotics Team

Congratulations to the Belmont Middle School Robotics Team, the Cargo Cats. They placed 1st in Teamwork May 14 at the RoboGaston competition. Everyone at BMS is proud of all of their hard work!
                                                                                                  Gaston Schools photo
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Historic Mundy House open for tours

The Eastern Lincoln Historical Society is offering tours of the historic Mundy House on Saturdays at 10 am, 11 am and at Noon, through September 10 led by the Mundy House Tour Guides. The Mundy House is located at 4353 Business Highway 16 North in Denver, NC.
Find out:
Where the Mundys dried apples; How Maggie Mundy saved her grandchildren from a snake; How the Mundys sharpened their knives; What day was “wash day.”
The tour is free, donations are appreciated. For groups larger than 10, call 704-483-9446. Sponsored by the Eastern Lincoln Historical Society.

Seniors earn top academic, perfect attendance distinctions

Gaston County Schools has 28 students in the Class of 2022 who have achieved the top academic distinction of valedictorian or salutatorian.  Additionally, one senior in the Class of 2022 has earned the distinction of 12 years of perfect attendance.
Valedictorian and Salutatorian Information
The senior with the highest weighted grade point average (GPA) is selected valedictorian, and the senior with the second-highest weighted GPA is chosen salutatorian.
“We are proud to recognize and honor 28 outstanding seniors in the Class of 2022 as our valedictorians and salutatorians for Gaston County Schools,” stated Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker.  “The students have maintained an impressive academic record during their high school career.  They also have been excellent leaders at school and in the community.  We are confident that our high-achieving valedictorians and salutatorians will continue to be successful in everything they choose to do.”
Listed below are the valedictorians and salutatorians for Stuart W. Cramer, East Gaston, and South Point High Schools and biography information for each student.
Stuart W. Cramer High School
Valedictorian:  Colin Mitchell Brockman College Plans:  UNC-Chapel Hill to major in computer science.
Accolades:  Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship; President’s List, Dean’s List, and Honors List at Gaston College.
Salutatorian:  Gwen Alexandra Campau College Plans:  UNC-Charlotte to major in computer science.
Accolades:  Received various scholarships from the UNC-Charlotte Honors Program; earned an associate in science degree from Gaston College.

East Gaston High School
Valedictorian:  Allie Elizabeth Grice  
College Plans:  UNC-Charlotte to major in civil engineering.
Accolades:  UNC-Charlotte Levine Scholarship; Gaston County Schools/Gaston Gazette Star Student; Female Scholastic Athlete of the Year Award; Co-Female Athlete of the Year Award; standout athlete in volleyball, basketball, and tennis.
Salutatorian:  Bryson Elliott Jones 
College Plans:  N.C. State University to major in civil and environmental engineering.
Accolades:  Ferguson Company Scholarship; Real Life Baptist Church Scholarship; Mount Holly Masonic Lodge Scholarship; standout athlete in swimming, soccer, track and field, and tennis; captain of the swimming, soccer, and tennis teams; East Gaston executive council - student body president; Eagle Scout Troop #59.

South Point High School
Valedictorian:  Caroline Greer Beaty
College Plans:  Clemson University to major in architecture; plans to pursue a career as an architect focusing on interior architecture.
Accolades:  Gaston County Schools/Gaston Gazette Star Student; Tennis MVP Award; Tom Browne Scholarship; Lester Carpenter Scholarship; American Airlines Educational Foundation Scholarship; Clemson Out-of-State Tuition Scholarship.
Salutatorian:  Tala Ayman Musa Eid
College Plans:  UNC-Charlotte with plans to transfer to the biomedical engineering program at UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University; plans to pursue a career in the research and development of prosthetic devices, various artificial tissues and organs, and new drug therapies.
Accolades:  Junior Marshal; Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizen Award; National Honor Society; Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar with Distinction; UNC-Charlotte Chancellor’s Scholarship; Islamic Society of Gastonia Arabic Teacher.

Perfect Attendance
Each year, the Board of Education honors graduating seniors who achieve perfect attendance for either 12 years or 13 years.  One senior in the Gaston County Schools Class of 2022 earned 12 years of perfect attendance.
Colby Andrew Green of Stuart W. Cramer High School achieved 12 years of perfect attendance.  The son of Scott and Angie Green, he plans to attend a four-year university.  During his school’s graduation ceremony, Green received a perfect attendance plaque from the Gaston County Board of Education in recognition of his outstanding accomplishment.
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Dr. W. Jeffrey Booker

Gaston’s Superintendent of Schools earns regional recognition

Dr. W. Jeffrey Booker, Superintendent of Gaston County Schools, has earned the prestigious Southwest Region Superintendent of the Year recognition for 2022-2023.
Superintendents in the Southwest Region, which includes 11 public school districts in nine counties across the greater Charlotte area, selected Booker for the honor, which is presented by the Southwest Education Alliance.  This is Booker’s second time as the Southwest Region Superintendent of the Year.  He also won the honor six years ago in 2016-2017.
Booker will compete against seven other regional winners for the A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year title.  The state winner is traditionally named in November during a ceremony sponsored by the N.C. School Superintendents Association, N.C. Association of School Administrators, and the N.C. School Boards Association.  The current State Superintendent of the Year is Dr. Valerie Bridges of Edgecombe County Public Schools.
During the Gaston County Board of Education meeting on May 23, Board chairman Jeffrey K. Ramsey announced Booker’s selection as the Regional Superintendent of the Year.
“We are delighted and extremely proud to have the Regional Superintendent of the Year leading Gaston County Schools,” said Ramsey.  “Dr. Booker has been selected by his fellow superintendents for this honor twice during his time as our superintendent, which is very impressive.”
Ramsey added, “Since becoming our Superintendent of Schools in January 2014, Dr. Booker has demonstrated excellent leadership and exemplary vision for Gaston County Schools.  We are very fortunate to have him as our superintendent, and winning the recognition for a second time reminds all of us of his many accomplishments, his knowledge and expertise in education, and his steadfast dedication to supporting our schools, our employees, and our children and families.”
During Booker’s eight-year tenure as Superintendent of Schools, Gaston County Schools has focused attention on improving student achievement; providing more technology for students and teachers; supporting employees through professional development opportunities like the Superintendent’s Leadership Academy; expanding school choice options as well as Career and Technical Education programs; enhancing school safety and partnerships with local law enforcement; increasing communication, partnerships, and outreach with parents and the community; and managing various school construction and renovation projects as a result of the 2018 school bonds.  Further, Booker has provided excellent leadership for the district during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is not uncommon for Gaston County to have its Superintendent of Schools to be recognized at the regional and state levels for outstanding leadership.  Booker’s predecessors, L. Reeves McGlohon and the late Edward D. Sadler, Jr., both received the regional superintendent recognition, and Sadler was chosen as the 2003 N.C. Superintendent of the Year.
McGlohon, who retired in December 2013 from Gaston County Schools and now serves as executive director of the Southwest Education Alliance, is confident that Booker will be a formidable contender for the State Superintendent of the Year award.
“We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Booker as our Southwest Region Superintendent of the Year for 2022-2023,” said McGlohon. “He is a visionary leader in public education who wants the very best for the students, families, and employees of Gaston County Schools. Dr. Booker’s tenure as superintendent has been filled with many significant accomplishments, and the Regional Superintendent of the Year recognition is both earned and deserved.  Without question, he is the epitome of what a school superintendent should be.”
Gaston Schools story/photo
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Washburn’s General Store, 2426 Bostic-Sunshine Highway.

North Carolina’s oldest general store still going strong

By Alan Hodge

If you want to see what a community dry goods and hardware store looked like 100 or more years ago, then you need to hop in your car and head for Washburn’s General Store near Bostic in Rutherford County.
Washburn’s General Store is the oldest, continuously operating, family owned, retail business in North Carolina.
It was first established in 1831 as a tavern on the Lincoln-Rutherford counties stagecoach line by Benjamin Washburn, and has been handed down through brothers and sons to his current owner great-great nephew Edward Nollie Washburn III.
The National Department of the Interior inducted the General Store, the family mansion, a classic wooden barn built in 1915, and several other buildings as a historic district in 2002. The other structures include several rental houses, a funeral home, a 1915 powerhouse, and a pump house.
The Washburn family mansion-house located across the street from the store has a twin in Belmont, the Albert Hand House at 211 N. Main St., that was built in 1907. In 1914, Nollie Washburn traveled to Belmont and bought a copy of the Hand House blueprints for two dollars. A Washburn ledger reveals that it cost $8,005 to build the house. Materials for the massive Tuscan columns on the front porch cost $240. Slate for the roof set Washburn back $226 and maple flooring another $117.
The store’s present location opened in the late 1920s. It’s the fourth building the business has been in.
The Store’s original building actually stood on the other side of the Washburn’s Crossroads to its current home. It began as a tavern, inn, and mercantile store that served stagecoaches traveling between Rutherford and Lincoln counties.
Today, Washburn’s General Store operates as a business, local hangout, and tourist attraction- pretty much in that order. Thirsty? Grab a cold, bottled Blenheim ginger ale or Cheerwine. As you cool your esophagus, let your eyes feast on the multitudinous amount of old timey “stuff” available for sale at Washburn’s. Here’s a partial list- Aladdin oil lamps and lanterns, aluminum wash tubs, butter churns, pottery, kraut crocks, cast iron pots and skillets, Amish molasses old time stick candy, pine tar soap, canning supplies, pecan pickers, local sourwood honey, all types of jams and jellies, Radio Flyer wagons, Troutman rocking chairs, old time ice cream churns, wood stoves, handmade afghans, and canning supplies. Need a new pair of overalls? Washburn’s sells Pointer brand in sizes small enough to fit a tot or big enough to serve as Omar’s tent.
Other fascinating features of Washburn’s Store include a 3,800-pound safe, a reminder that Edgar Nollie Washburn was once president of the First State Bank of Bostic. Legend has it that during the Great Depression, Edgar went to the Federal Reserve in Charlotte and brought back two suitcases of cash to keep the bank open.
Washburn’s General Store is a great place stop by on your way to the mountains or Lake Lure. It’s a short trip that will form long lasting memories.
Washburn’s General Store is open every day but Sunday and Wednesday. Hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s located at 2426 Bostic-Sunshine Highway. The phone is 828-245-4129.
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Library Summer Reading program is here

Summer Reading is here. There’s an Ocean of Possibilities waiting for you to explore this summer! All Gaston County library locations have many fun events and programs planned, so make sure you’re checking back in frequently so you don’t miss a thing! Summer Reading records can be picked up at any location.
There are three levels of Summer Reading programs: Children’s, Teens, and Adults. The Children’s program includes reading for 15 minutes each day & filling out a reading record to track progress & earn prizes along the way.
TEENS: read six books over the summer, fill out a reading card, choose a finishing prize & be entered into a grand prize drawing.
ADULTS: read four books over the summer, fill out a reading card, choose a finishing prize & be entered into a grand prize drawing.
**multiple records can be completed & entered into the Grand Prize drawing, but only one finishing prize will be given**
Gaston County Public Library Youth Services Paperless Record options:
Children’s Readsquared:
Adult GoodReads:
#gcplreads #summerreading #summerreading2022 #oceanofpossibilities
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East Gaston High School
Spring Dance Showcase

East Gaston High School recently held its Spring Dance Showcase. It was a grand evening of entertainment and talent. Thanks to Mrs. Bowman for all she does to make East Gaston dancers great.
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Belmont Rotarians

Belmont Rotarians took advantage of a beautiful spring day to move their recent meeting outside to the Home2 Suites patio. Brothers Patrick and Ryan Murphy (right) are presenting a program on Heirloom Restaurant and Honeycomb Cafe.

Two new farm-to-fork restaurants serving locally sourced dishes in Belmont

The farm-to-fork-focus of Belmont’s newest restaurants was on the program menu when the Belmont Rotary Club met recently.
Brothers Patrick and Ryan Murphy, sons of owners Scott and Linda Murphy, presented a program on Heirloom, a fine-dining restaurant, and Honeycomb Cafe, which offers a brunch menu. Both eateries are committed to providing “locally sourced and globally inspired” food for their guests.
Patrick, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University, focuses on the culinary aspects of the restaurants, while Ryan, who has a masters degree in horticulture from Clemson University, works mainly with area farmers and other producers to obtain locally sourced products. Ryan also is helping to expand Belmont’s community garden plots located behind Honeycomb Cafe.
Heirloom’s first location was in Charlotte, but it closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and reopened in Belmont late last year in the new North Main Station Building at 33 Glenway Street. Hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 5 - 10. For more information, go to, or call 704.829.8232.
Honeycomb Cafe is just around the corner from Heirloom at 31 N. Main Street. Hours are 9 - 2 Wednesday - Friday and 8 - 2 on Saturday and Sunday. More info at, or 980.283.7103.
Belmont Rotary Club meets each Wednesday, 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., at the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Belmont for lunch and a program on timely local topics.  Guests interested in learning more about how Belmont Rotary serves the community are welcome.

Memorial Day in Stanley

The second annual Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund Memorial Day Celebration took place in Stanley on May 30th.  It was held in the parking lot in the middle of the cemetery, 203 S. Main Street, Stanley.
This location was selected because it is the resting place of 141 veterans.  These veterans are representatives of every war our country has been engaged in.
The audience was entertained by a host of great speakers providing important information, patriotic music, and inspiring keynote speaker U.S. Marines Lt. Col. Jeffrey “Stimdaddy” Stimpson.
The Gaston County Color Guard was present to help in honoring all veterans.
The celebration was organized by the Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund, a non-profit that is building a perpetual care fund for the long-term care of the lawn in the Stanley Cemetery.  For anyone who would like to support the work of the Fund, donations can be sent to Stanley Cemetery Ancestry Fund, c/o T. Deese, Treasurer, P.O. Box 772, Stanley, NC 28164.

Photos by Bill Ward

Ranlo Parks and Rec. Dept. Lunch

The Ranlo Parks and Rec. Dept. held a senior bingo and lunch event recently at The Lodge. A large crowd of folks showed up for some exciting bingo action and a great lunch.
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Belmont Abbey College
2022 Graduation scenes

Belmont Abbey College held its 144th annual graduation ceremony on May14. Over 500 students received diplomas. The weather cooperated. Here are some photos from the memorable day.

See more photos on page 12
(June 9 edition of Banner-News)

 Photos by Mike Gibson and Belmont Abbey College
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Stuart Cramer High School
2022 Graduation

Stuart Cramer High held its graduation ceremony at 9am on Saturday morning in Storm Stadium. Students were resplendent in their colorful purple caps and gowns as they filed by to receive their diplomas. Many great memories were made and here are some photos of the scene.

See more photos on page 11
(June 9 edition of Banner-News)

Photos by Bill Bostick Tarheel Sports Photography
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East Gaston High School
2022 Graduation

East Gaston High held its Class of 2022 commencement event Saturday morning in Arrowhead Stadium where the stands were packed with well-wishers. Hats off to students and staff for a job well done. Here are some scenes from the memorable milestone.

See more photos on page 7
(June 9 edition of Banner-News)

Photos by Bill Ward
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South Point High School
2022 Graduation

South Point High School held its graduation event early Saturday in Lineberger Stadium under a beautiful sunny sky. The Class of 2022 had 218 graduates who received their diplomas.  Here are some shots from the memorable morning.

See more photos on page 4A
(June 9 edition of Banner-News)

Photos by Alan Hodge
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Mountain Island Charter School
2022 Graduation

Mountain Island Charter School held its graduation exercise on May 26. The evening was marked by celebration of a job well done by the graduating senior Class of 2022. Here are some scenes from the gala event.

See more photos on page 4
(June 9 edition of Banner-News)

Photos by Michael Strauss Studios

Gospel concert planned

Saturday June 11th - 6 PM, Lowesville Gospel Concerts at Vineyard Church – 1062 South Hwy 16 – Stanley (Lowesville) NC,  presents two southern gospel families for this evening.   Mylon Hayes Family from Hudson NC and The Detty Sisters (a YouTube sensation) from Frankfort OH. No Admission cost, a freewill offering only to be received, and you are invited.  Contact Carroll Cooke 704-618-9762.
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Amazon CLT2 employees were led by Bayly Reid of the Site Sustainability Team.

Keep Belmont Beautiful Cleanup Day is community effort

The recent Keep Belmont Beautiful Citywide Cleanup Day was a huge success. More than 60 volunteers picked up over 1,150 lbs. of trash.
Amazon employees bagged an amazing amount of trash along Parkdale Street. Plus, we were inspired to see old friends and dedicated individuals but also families teaching their children important lifelong lessons in caring for the earth and giving back to their community. Let’s not forget the wonderful representation of councilmen and staff members from the City of Belmont’s various departments: police, fire, planning & zoning, and public works.
Last but not least, KBB wants to recognize our local Lowe’s and Walgreen’s for donating some essential supplies for this event.

See more photos on page 7 in this week's issue of Banner News (April 28, 2022)

Float the Fork scenes

The recent “Float the Fork” event put on by Cramerton Parks and Rec. Dept. drew a nice gathering of folks who launched kayaks and canoes at Goat Island Park and paddled around the South Fork River. Spring was in the air as these scenes attest.
Cramerton Parks and Rec. photos
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Belmont PD Officers
participate in tournament
to benefit Holy Angels

Eight Belmont Police Dept. officers were given an awesome opportunity to not only represent the BPD, but also support Holy Angels Belmont.  Asst. Chief Falls, Ofc. Wyatt, Detective Cape, Cpl. Fussell, Ofc. Henderson, Sgt. Green, K9 Ofc. Guffie, and Detective Harris competed in the 2022 Holy Angels Clay Shoot Tournament. This tournament serves as one of the many fundraisers that Holy Angels hosts every year. Thanks to Gastonia Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram for their support which allowed the officers to participate.  For more information about Holy Angels, visit
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Congratulations Belmont Police Department officers

Congratulations to these fine Belmont Police Department officers.  They were recently recognized for their hard work and dedication.  From left- Officer James Reagan- Commendation; Officer Sam Dunlap- Offaicer of the Month; Asst. Chief Corky Falls; Sgt. TJ Green- Commendation; Officer Tristan Buchanan, Officer of the Month.

Holy Angels welcomes back plant lovers
and gardeners for spring sale

The annual Spring Plant Sale is back in person on April 28-30, 10am-4pm at Holy Angels Greenhouse, 6600 Wilkinson Blvd., Belmont. Follow the directional signs once on campus.
“We cannot wait for our community supporters to come back on campus and browse all the varietals in our greenhouse and gardens. The best way to buy plants and flowers is to touch, smell and see the wonderful colors and varieties,” said Holy Angels President & CEO Regina Moody.
Many of these plants and flowers were grown by the residents of Holy Angels as part of its Horticulture Therapy program.
“Horticulture therapy is working with the plants and having a true relationship with plants,” said Director of Horticulture Ed Brogden. “The residents get to touch the dirt, plant the seeds, water the soil and experience the plant grow and bloom. There’s a connection there. There is something magical about growing plants and Holy Angels.”
This therapy program began more than a quarter century ago and has proven to be very powerful in engaging the residents. This therapy has been proven to help physical functioning along with decreasing the levels of anxiety, depression and stress.
“This program is a way for residents to experience a form of nature. It’s very sensory oriented. We grow plants that have furry textures, or herbs with aromatic qualities. Working with plants engages multiple senses for our residents,” said Director of Creative Arts Gaye Dimmick.
Due to the pandemic and the campus being closed, the plant sales for the past two years have strictly been online. We welcome all garden lovers back to our campus to experience the nearly four dozen types of plants and flowers available for purchase.
The sale of these plants benefits the Holy Angels Horticulture Therapy program.
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John Marrino and Mayor Bryan Hough.

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery coming to Mt. Holly

The City of Mount Holly and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery have closed on the sale of property located at 725 Elm Street, the former location of Mount Holly’s water treatment facility. Construction is set to begin this spring and is the brewery’s third announced restaurant and biergarten location in the Charlotte Metro region.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to be a part of the Mount Holly community,” says OMB’s founder John Marrino. “It’s a great town and a beautiful location with tremendous potential for future expansion.”
The Mount Holly location will feature a 7,000 square foot two-level restaurant true to OMB’s cozy and relaxed feel, and an expansive Biergarten like its flagship location in Charlotte’s lower South End. Visitors will have a view overlooking the Catawba River at Dutchman’s Creek.
“This announcement is exciting news for our city,” commented Mayor Bryan Hough. “This project will bring a lot of people to Mount Holly. Being out with people and enjoying one another is important to our community.”
OMB is targeting a Summer 2023 opening for the new location.
City Manager Miles Braswell said, “This transformative project is part of our commitment to the economic development of Mount Holly. The arrival of OMB is an indication that we are more and more becoming a destination for businesses, families, and visitors.”
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Congratulations to Firefighter Robert Heussy

Congratulations to Firefighter Robert Heussy who took his oath last week as a Mount Holly Firefighter. The oath was delivered to him by Mayor Bryan Hough. He was issued a badge with a number that will permanently be assigned to him. His mother was able to be there and pin him.
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Safe Kids Gaston County celebrates 6th annual Safe Kids Day

Safe Kids Gaston County in coordination with the Gaston County Police, Gastonia City Police, and Gastonia City Fire Department is hosting a free Child Safety Fair, to celebrate kids and help families learn simple things they can do to keep kids safe. The event will take place April 30th, 2022 – 10AM to 2PM at 2557 W. Franklin Blvd. Gastonia (Parking Lot of Wow Supermarket).
The 6th Annual event is free to the public and will include a child safety seat inspection station, along with information in other areas of safety to include fire safety, bicycle safety, gun safety, medication safety and disposal, hyperthermia, water safety, animal safety, and much more.
Professionals will be on hand to discuss, answer questions, and provide free resources and materials on safety related topics.  The event will also include free hot dogs, and drinks.
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Just Plain Dog Show coming up

Join in for the 50th Anniversary Gaston Parks and Rec. Just Plain dog Show on Saturday, May 7. Begin with check-in at 10am.
The Just Plain Dog Show is for all ages (6 years and older as long as they can control the dog) are eligible to participate, there will be two age groups for each event: 17 and under and 18+.
Rain date will be Sunday, May 8th.
There is no admission or entry fee.
All dogs must be tagged and have a current rabies vaccination.
Ribbons will be presented to the top two finishers in each class. All participants must arrive no later than 10:00am.
You can pick up and turn in your entry forms at the Gaston County Parks and Recreation Department or email to
For additional information please contact Gaston County Parks & Recreation at 704-922-2164 or visit the County’s website.
Gaston County strives to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to access its programs, services, and activities. If you require assistance to participate in a program, service or activity of Gaston County, contact Parks and Rec. at least 5 days before the event.
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Scene from a previous year’s plant sale.

Extension Master Gardener Group
of Gaston County
annual plant sale

The MASTER GARDENER Group of Gaston County (MGGGC) will hold their annual plant sale on Saturday, May 7, 2022, 8:00 -10:30 am, at the Citizens Resource Center, 1303 Cherryville Hwy (NC 279), Dallas, NC.
You must come early for best selection. There is often a line at the door before the sale begins. It is helpful for those intending to buy several items to bring a wagon. Assistance is available to help carry purchases to the car. Quality plants from our own gardens will be available, including perennials, small trees, shrubs, annuals, house plants, herbs and vegetables.
There will be a silent auction for garden-themed items, several made by local artists. The silent auction will end at 10:00 am and the highest bidder will be announced and called if not present. The winner must be available to pick up and pay for their item by 11:30 am. Cash and credit card sales accepted. Please stop by to shop, visit, ask questions!
All the proceeds from this annual event are used to fund MGGGC educational programs. The planning committee has worked hard to make this event safe for all to attend. All activities will not be in the main area; members will be available to provide direction to provide consistent flow and to allow for social distancing.
The MASTER GARDENER GROUP of Gaston County has over 100 active volunteers serving the  community in various educational gardening activities. Any questions regarding the NC State Extension  Master Gardenersm Program may be directed to Area Extension Agent Julie Flowers, 704-922-2104 or
Barbara Linster, publicity contact for the group, can be reached at 704-674- 0860 or

NC Cooperative Extension workshops planned

Be sure to check out the NC Cooperative Extension’s upcoming workshops, podcasts, and volunteer opportunities. Virtual sessions are recorded and shared - view when most convenient for you. For more details about sessions or future workshops, contact Linda J. Minges – or call 704.922.2127.

Cooking Smart with Spring Foods
Tues., April 26th | 10:00 - 11:00am (virtual)
Contact or call 704.922.2127 by April 22nd
Have an interest in local foods? Want to learn how to make tasty, delicious, and EASY meals this spring? If so, this workshop is for you!  We’ll provide you with a fresh taste of spring flavors and recipes that are sure to help you eat smart and to enjoy delicious foods all season long.
Instructor:  Linda J. Minges
No cost to participants. Online registration required as listed above.

Matter of Balance 
Tues., May 10th - June 28th (includes 8 sessions)
2-4pm | in-person at the Lucile Tatum Center (959 Osceola St., Gastonia)
You will learn to:
View falls as controllable
Make changes to reduce fall risks at home
Set goals for increasing activity
Exercise to increase strength and balance
You should consider attending this program if you:
Want to improve balance, flexibility and strength
Are concerned about falls or have fallen in the past
Have restricted activities because of falling concerns
Facilitators: Maren Brown, Dana Croston, Amanda Dawson, Linda Minges, & Ruth Murphy
Need a ride to this workshop?  If you are currently registered to ride ACCESS through the Senior Transportation program at DSS, you can make an appointment for this workshop. If you are not currently riding ACCESS and are at least 60 years old, call 704.862.7540 to enroll in Senior Transportation.
No cost to participants. Sponsored by Centralina Area Agency on Aging.
To register:  Contact Linda J. Minges by May 3rd - or 704.922.2127

Intro to Home Canning
Tues., May 17th | 10:00 - 11:30am (virtual)
Learn how to safely preserve foods with water-bath canning and  pressure canning. Guidelines on a variety of foods provided:  jams, jellies, pickles, fruits, and vegetables.
Also includes discussion of commonly used canning equipment.
Instructor:  Linda J. Minges, MPH, RD, LDN
No cost to participants. Register by May 13th:  704.922.2127 or

Eat Smart & Move More with MyPlate
Wed., May 25th | 10:00 - 11:00am (virtual)
Overview of online MyPlate resources and tools to help you eat smart, cook smart, and move more.
Instructor:  Linda J. Minges, MPH, RD, LDN
No cost to participants. Register online by May 20th:  704.922.2127 or

Cooking Smart with Fresh Herbs
Thurs., May 26th | 10:00 - 11:00am (virtual)
Summertime is perfect for enjoying the taste of fresh herbs. Learn how to add flavor to foods, while using less added salt and sugar. Recipes, storage tips, and much more to be provided.
Instructor:  Linda J. Minges, MPH, RD, LDN
No cost to participants. Register online by May 20th:  704.922.2127 or
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Songwriting workshop returns for the third year

Are you a writer, a singer, a poet, a musician, or someone who might like to be? Carolina Pro Musica invites you to attend a songwriting workshop on Saturday, April 30, 2022. 11:00 AM, ballroom of The Haid, Belmont Abbey College, 100 Belmont-Mt Holly Rd Belmont, NC 28012 (exit 26 on I-85). The workshop is free.
Members of Carolina Pro Musica assisted by Jocelyn Pharr Thompson will help in you in writing lyrics, composing a tune, or writing down something you’ve already created. The workshop will include a segment on musical illustrations of texts.
This workshop is part of the Carolina Pro Musica GEMS (Gaston Early Music Series) which is supported by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the Gaston Arts Council, and the Gaston Community Foundation. Photos furnished

Foster care parent
recruitment event slated for April 23 in Dallas, NC

In an effort to address the great need for foster parents in the area, Gaston County DHHS along with community partners is hosting a Foster Parent Recruitment Event on Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Dallas Park. There will be food, music, games and a chance for those interested in becoming foster care parents to ask questions of those already doing so currently, or those who have done so in the past.
Over the past few years, the need for foster parents has grown significantly, especially for teens and sibling groups. Due to the lack of foster families in Gaston County, many of the children in care are placed in other counties -- with a significant number being two or more hours away. These children are placed away from their family, friends, churches, sports teams, and communities during an already difficult time in their life.
More information about becoming a foster care parent is available online at You can also call (704) 862-6750.

Thank You!

Members of the Cramerton Community Committee and other volunteers took part in the 6th Annual South Fork River Sweep on March 27. The crowd collected 143 bags of trash, 11 tires, a grocery cart, oil drums, and countless other large items from the South Fork River and its surrounding banks and roadways. Thanks also to American Rivers who help put on the River Sweep every year. Here are some great scenes from the day.
Photos provided